TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
Click here for the First Impression Review.
It is rare when Korean dramas successfully balance lighthearted comedy and real drama.
But KBS’s Haeundae Lovers (해운대 연인들) is one of those rarities. The sweet and charming romantic comedy was the perfect summery escape that got everything right; from the sweet chemistry of the lead stars to the catchy and sunny theme song by LED Apple.
The series started off quick, and hilariously so. Immediately, Kim Kang Woo and Jo Yeo Jung endeared as Tae Sung and So Ra, the two who would become our loveable destined couple. Their first meeting was funny, indicative of how the rest of the series would play out. Both stars oozed charm and charisma and a likeability that drew you in.
And that would help give the series its heart as well. While Haeundae Lovers maintained a bright atmosphere throughout, the times when things got a little more serious and emotional never felt forced or out of place. The performances of Kim Kang Woo, Jo Yeo Jung and the rest of the talented cast, paired with the solid writing, helped make the stories feel grounded, realistic and relatable.
Sure, a story about reformed gangsters turned fishermen hoping to regain control of the hotel taken from them by a rival gang and an amnesiac public prosecutor who is more involved than any of them ever imagined may seem like an out there premise. But its Busan setting gave the story a hometown feel, a sort of humble and more down to earth setting than the hustle and bustle of Seoul even though Busan itself is a busy resort and tourist metropolis.
At its core, the series was about love and family. And the Busan setting complete with local dialect, or saturi, added to that down-home flavor and the show’s charm.
The series’ final few episodes definitely ramped up the drama and soapy twists, especially in the first third of the final episode. But as the rest of the finale showed, the series was all about the fun and romance. This was one of those times when having an ending wrapped with a neat little bow on top was actually a welcome sight. You never had to get your blood boiling during the series nor did you ever have to feel the urge to want to throw something at the TV. As many other series, whether drama or comedy, unsuccessfully try to balance on a tonal seesaw for 16 episodes, Haeundae Lovers walked a tightrope like they were walking on a newly paved road.
With an excellent cast, great writing, a bright setting and plenty of heart and charm, Haeundae Lovers is a hilarious, sunny and fulfilling summer getaway.