Making the Case for Radio Romance
It’s been quite some time since I’ve found myself with my laptop up against my face, pressing next episode without even considering the fact that it was past midnight and I had work the next morning. I’ve been able to suppress my K-Drama binge tendencies lately, but Radio Romance successfully threw all of that out the window. So what is it about Radio Romance that is so addictive?
A Sweet and Pure Love Story
I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a huge sucker for a childhood love plotline. It became clear the moment this drama began, the main focus would be a first love scenario. So essentially, you have lead male protagonist Ji Suho (Yoon Doojoon of HIGHLIGHT) and lead female protagonist Song Geurim (Kim Sohyun) share an intimate past, although Geurim is completely unaware of it. However, Suho recognizes Geurim the moment he sees her in a random encounter in a hotel elevator lobby. But before getting into that, let’s take a look at the background of the main characters.
Geurim is a sub-writer for a radio show, but is often criticized for being bad at it, and instead focuses more on good relations with the celebrities her company attempts to bring in to do shows. She’s a feisty, hard-working individual with a big and loud personality that is unapologetically herself and doesn’t take “no” for an answer. As such, she often freely expresses her emotions.
In contrast, Suho is an extremely popular actor and star who is in the public eye so often, he has crafted a perfect facade that paints him as the perfect man with the perfect family. It’s quickly revealed that his personality, as well as his family life, are nothing but an illusion to cover up his truly dysfunctional family life and emotional repression.
This becomes clear in their first reunion (at least for Suho), in which he subtly insults her treatment of her radio show star Minoo (a character that is played by Block B’s U-Kwon, a surprising but welcome cameo!), implying an intimate relationship between the two. She immediately sees through his polite words to the intent behind them, growing infuriated. She recalls a time in the past when she’s certain Suho tripped her on purpose, despite insisting it was an accident. Since then, she’s held contempt for him.
However, an opportunity arises after she gets fired as a sub-writer in which she can become the lead writer on a radio show for recently returned PD Lee Kang (Yoon Park) if she successfully casts Suho for this reoccurring show. Geurim shows her tenacity by putting aside all of her prejudices in order to create this reality, even volunteering herself as a stunt double for the actress playing opposite him in his drama and plunging herself countless times in the cold water just to show him how serious she is.
Doojoon does an amazing job at expressing his character’s love and admiration for Geurim with only his eyes, as Suho is not emotionally expressive whatsoever. It’s felt by the viewer the moment he lays eyes on her after all those years. There’s something extra sugary sweet about seeing a man hold such a genuine and warm gaze for a woman, and that is probably what truly got me hooked.
As the show progresses, Geurim’s love for the radio not only becomes apparent but is explained by the introduction of her blind mother. Suho himself slowly falls in love with the radio as well as time goes on, when he realizes that it’s safer to be himself and let his guard down without cameras present. With Geurim refusing to take his initial “no” for an answer, Suho finally caves and in turn begins to learn how to deal with his emotions through daily exposure to her, as well as the well-known crazy PD that is Lee Kang.
Watching Suho struggle to break through the emotional wall he’s built up over his life is something that can be incredibly relatable to the viewer if they have found themselves in a similar situation of many scars that resulted in emotional repression. His pure, young love for Geurim is also so refreshing in comparison to some other overly melodramatic love stories that inject angst into just about every scenario. If you’re looking for a feel good romance that transcends past trauma, Radio Romance is the drama for you.
I’ll be honest, I had thought that when it comes to Spring dramas, Tempted was going to be my big win of the season (I mean, who wouldn’t be totally moved by seductive Woo Dohwan?). Radio Romance came out and surprised me in almost instantly dethroning Tempted not even 15 minutes into the first episode. If this drama wasn’t on your radar thus far, definitely reconsider taking a peek at it and falling in love with this pure, wholesome love story.