A healing romance? Yes please! “Radio Romance” is a fresh new drama about an assistant writer named Song Geu Rim (played by Kim So Hyun), who casts a famous actor named Ji Soo Ho (played by Yoon Doojoon) for her radio show. This drama has a slice-of-life vibe that portrays the lives of people working behind the scenes in a radio station. It’s also Kim So Hyun’s first time playing an adult role, and it’s a comeback drama for Yoon Doojoon since he last starred in “Splash Splash Love.”
Spoilers are rife! Proceed accordingly.
1. LOVED: The spunky heroine Song Geu Rim and her punny name
Song Geu Rim is an assistant writer at a radio station. While she’s been one for the past five years, with seemingly no promotion in sight for the role of the main writer, she’s resilient as ever, passionate to a fault, driven as heck, and most importantly, more stubborn than a mule. It’s that stubbornness (and a dash of that ole childhood trope) that helps her to land top star Ji Soo Ho for her radio show.
She’s also a little bit crazy, as most K-drama heroines tend to be. Case in point: to help convince Mr. Top Star Ji Soo Ho, she decides to be a stunt double WITHOUT ABSOLUTELY ANY TRAINING. Granted, it was just falling into water (in freezing conditions), but still!
Also, her name is really cute. Geu Rim means “drawing,” and her mother, who is blind, always tells her to draw with her words. Aww!
Overall, she’s shaping up to be exactly the type of heroine to pull this story – and our hero – continuously forward. She can move mountains with her sincerity, spirit, and desire to write words of healing. March on, spunky Geu Rim!
2. HATED: Ji Soo Ho’s mother
WOW. I never thought I’d come to hate a character this quick, but here we are. This mother is just MEAN.
When she basically told the child to become perfect so he doesn’t hurt her reputation and image, my jaw dropped. Who says that to a child, let alone on the day of his birthday?! Ji Soo Ho’s real mother is probably one of his father’s many lovers, so I can understand (but not excuse) her resentment, but I wonder what made her take him in?
3. LOVED: The budding bromance we all know we’re going to be rooting for just as much as we root for the main couple
Kwak Dong Yeon plays a dashing psychiatrist named Jason, who comes to live in the same house as our hero (forced proximity, check). He’s also Ji Soo Ho’s high school friend (shared past, check), and follows him around everywhere (clinginess, check and mate!) because Ji Soo Ho is, after all, his patient.
And this, folks, is how fanfics are born.
It’s also interesting to note that Jason is the one who used to prescribe sleeping pills to Ji Soo Ho; he refuses to do it anymore until Ji Soo Ho begins to really confront his feelings (yay for supportive friendships!). It’s nice that Ji Soo Ho has a solid support system outside of his toxic family, and hopefully the friends he’ll make at the radio station will also help to reinforce that.
4. HATED: How much the age difference showed
While Kim So Hyun is a wonderful actress, and I see the potential chemistry brewing between her and Yoon Doojoon, I still feel her visual is a bit too young, and her current hairstyle makes her seem way younger as well. This was one of the main things I was a bit wary of going into this drama, and while Kim So Hyun’s acting does make up for a lot of it (and just the way she holds herself makes her seem really mature), I’m still not quite on board with the age that she’s suppose to portray.
5. LOVED: Ji Soo Ho, Mr. Top Star
So straight off the bat, he is a meanie. A world class meanie. He’s cold and a complete jerk – but he says everything with a smile. It’s a bit disconcerting that even as he puts people down or speaks harshly, he’s always smiling. But it’s that damned smile that actually is what makes him so interesting.
From a young age, he has had to hide his true emotions behind a smiling mask, because not only is he a top star, but he’s also a chaebol, which means his family is also in the limelight. They’ve built an entire empire around their family’s supposed image of perfection (an extremely devoted father and loving goddess of a mother, with an equally filial son), even though they’re anything but.
Nothing excuses his bad behavior, but bad behavior stemming from a tragic childhood and terrible circumstances makes Ji Soo Ho a very layered character. It’s clear he’s hiding a lot of pain and hurt under that harsh character, as shown by one of his nightmares, and it’s going to be interesting unraveling his story as the drama progresses.
It’s also clear he’s stunted emotionally, and has no way to express himself because he’s stuck in a medium that requires him to take on a different persona each time. But in radio, especially working with this particular writer who’s focused on providing healing for her listeners, he’ll have the chance to really express himself. I’m looking forward to seeing him heal and grow.
6. HATED: Jin Tae Ri and the reality of hierarchy within Korean society
The sub-title makes this out to be kind of deep, but it’s honestly not that deep. Rather than hating Jin Tae Ri (played by Yura), it was more of this particular scene that I hated. This was actually a very brief scene and also a little bit random, so I was kind of curious as to what purpose it served other than to introduce Kim Tae Ri.
It isn’t a particularly innovative or unfamiliar scene either. In this scene, Jin Tae Ri rips into an actress who debuted after her for not greeting her properly. The junior actress is being blatantly rude, but in reality, even if she wasn’t being so rude, the senior in the situation might still have “called her out” (like Jin Tae Ri did here) on something/anything just because they could, which is frustrating to watch.
Yura also did it with such a viciousness that made me wonder how many times she’s been on the receiving end of this. That point aside, I think it’s a bit too early to pass judgment on Jin Tae Ri, even though the very brief time she was on the screen didn’t do much in her favor.
7. LOVED: Song Geu Rim and her mother
Geu Rim’s relationship with her mom is absolutely adorable. I can definitely see where Geu Rim gets her “never give up” mentality from!
I also really loved how her mother influenced not just her spirit and character, but also how Geu Rim writes. While the other characters in the drama think her writing is poor, I think it’s very colorful and full of imagery.
8. HATED: Childhood trope
Throughout the episodes, there are flashbacks, on Ji Soo Ho’s end, to when he and Song Geu Rim were younger. It isn’t quite explained yet what the context of the scene is or how they exactly met back then, but we do know the circumstances were much favorable in comparison to when they meet as adults. It’s interesting to note that Song Geu Rim doesn’t seem to remember that they knew each other as kids.
For this trope, some people love it, some people hate it. I can be on both sides of this spectrum, and sometimes in the middle as well. In this case, I’m not a huge fan because I think there’s enough to work within the drama itself without having to add in another “complication.” But to each their own.
9. LOVED: Kim So Hyun’s lip color
I’m suspecting it might be Peripera, the brand Kim So Hyun is a model for. The colors of the lip products she wears are seriously so pretty.
10. LOVED: Slice-of-life romance vibes
I had initially thought this was going to be a rom-com because of the initial premise, but double checking, it’s actually just labeled as romance. I would also say it’s leaning more towards a slice-of-life romance – well as slice-of-life you can get with a chaebol who happens to be a famous actor. But its themes are very much slice-of-life: growth, healing, and so forth. Of course, I’m sure this drama won’t be without its hijinks, but I’m also thinking there will a bit of tears shed later as well.
Catch the first episode of “Radio Romance”:
Hey Soompiers! What did you think of the premiere of “Radio Romance”? Let us know in the comments below!
mayme22’s favorite Bible verses at the moment are Psalm 8:3-4.