What is a love Patzzi? I dunno. I guess it is a 2002 romcom Kdrama about a girl who lies and a tall handsome dude involved in a lot of weird hijinks. That is what a Love Patzzi is. This drama started off cute and breezy and fun (and really old fashioned), but then unfortunately got a little stagnant and boring about halfway through. It did totally redeem itself by the end though, clawing back all that shameless fluff fun, mainly just because the male lead was so damn awesome.
So is it worth it? Yeah, if you have some time to kill and enjoy meandering romantic comedies.
Is it brilliant? Nope.
Is the plot fresh? Nope.
Is there even really a plot? Nope, not really.
But hey, what it is, is a sweet romantic drama with some very likeable characters (okay like one very likeable character) you want to watch to the very end for, as well as some conniving bitchy characters (well only one really) that you totally love to hate … and then end up just hating because they never learn anything. Ever. And are totally annoying and smirk all the time.
Also there is a bit of a total sweetheart of a male lead!
Song-yi is not exactly your average candy girl. She has a loudmouth, is rude and quick to anger, boisterous and bossy, as well as just totally rude to everybody. Also, at times she has some seriously questionable ethics and a blame complex against the whole world, never learning from her mistakes…. like ever.
And in a turnaround from the most basic of drama clichés, it is nasty grumpy Song-yi who plays the female lead in this drama.
Her frenemy Hee-won is the sweet heart of gold type who goes out of her way to be nice and ensure everyone loves her. Except in reality she is a manipulative and sly bitchy bitch. Surprise! (or not..).
Basically both of these women are something different on the inside, with Hee-won being revealed as a meanie for no reason beyond jealousy, a girl who can’t stand to see her friend do well in the world, and Song-yi, though at times annoyingly dim on the totally obvious issue of morality, is still a really nice (and utterly naive and lonely) person on the inside.
All she needs is loooove! (apparently.)
Not that this is the type of drama to be delving too deep into emotions.
(although a rather layered performance from the male lead played by the totally gorgeous Kim Rae Won certainly makes things a little more nuanced, adding some unexpected emotional meaning beyond just the surface stuff)
But beyond the above basically what you see is what you get with this drama. Which isn’t a bad thing. Sure, it is simple as all hell but that is exactly what you want for a fluff drama with only a 10 episode commitment.
Light and easy and sweet. also… it is from 2002 and so everyone looks … very old-fashioned. The 2000s were a bad era for clothes.
So anyway, evil Hee-won helps Song-yi get a job at the amusement park where she works, meeting some random sea lion trainer dudes in a big clash of personalities and misunderstandings, and one of these guys, (totally lovely and unaffected) Hyun-sung, is our male lead. His competition is Mr Bland Son of a Chaebol who is so boring that the whole drama went downhill the moment he turned up.
This second lead guy doesn’t do anything at all ever, except be in head over heels inexplicable love with Song-yi for no reason. Which sounds more fun than it is. Because even after he is in love, he just walks around being really mildly mild and smiling a lot.
So Song-yi meets Mr Bland Son of a Chaebol after she saves him from a fiery train furnace and yells at him a bit (which again sounds more exciting than it was). But the main issue here of course is that Song-yi, through stupidity and incredibly bad judgement, actually caused the train fire herself (yet conveniently forgot about it and took all the credit for the rescue and none of the blame for the actual incident).
In fact she even lets some old dude resign his lifelong job over negligence of the fiery train (What the Fuck, Song-yi?) and although she certainly feels pretty bad about it, her main aim is still even then to get off scot free and win the bland chaebol of her dreams.
So basically she is a bit of an idiot.
And a terrible person.
Instead though she is publicly shamed and then dumped by Mr Bland Son of a Chaebol and this is around the time I started getting interested again, mainly because Mr Bland Son of a Chaebol takes a step back and just stares at her angrily / sadly from the background whilst we get on with the rest of the story.
It’s funny because the only time I found this second male lead engaging at all in this drama was actually during the one episode which I couldn’t find English subtitles for, so when he turns up at Song-yi’s door blind drunk and disheveled I have no idea what the hell he was saying, but I sure as hell liked it! He looked all pensive and interesting for once as he struggles with his continuing feelings for the woman he now believes (falsely) set up an accident chiefly so she could rescue him and then date him. Which does make me feel a little sorry for him but seriously, compared to the true love I discovered for the broad-shouldered Hyun-sung this other dude just really couldn’t cut it.
All I can say is thank freaking goodness for Kim Rae Won’s (I am going to be drama stalking him from now on!) character of Hyun-sung, even though he does have strange boofy hair and dresses like a hip dude from the noughties (which he is of course).
He is charming enough in his messy relaxed and assured way to basically carry this entire drama and to be honest I am not sure I would have lasted until the end without his injection of hidden longing and quiet rare seriousness, or the surprising depths he displayed, a bit unexpected for me from a total fluff romantic comedy such as this one.
This starts near the very beginning of the drama, as during one of my two favourite scenes Hyun-sung (back when he still barely knows her) follows Song-yi to her new job, letting her know (without ever actually getting serious enough to say it) that there is someone in this world who cares for her, that she isn’t as hated or worthless as she believes. It is a lovely scene, made even more touching by the fact that Song-yi cries at his gesture, a reaction that is a total surprise to him (but definitely endears her to him even more) coming as it did from such a tough fiery girl.
Towards the late middle this drama got ultra interesting (basically after all the boring Song-yi witch-hunt stuff was done with) as Hyun-sung was once again brought out from storage after being relegated to a back seat during all the Mr Bland Face romance was happening.
I think Hyun-sung’s obvious pining, longing and pain (all hidden away from his friends and the object of his affection behind easy smiles and laughs) really brings something a little deeper to this drama, something that was actually rather touching and made me truly begin to care about what would happen at the end. The scene where Hyun-sung first confesses how he feels to Song-yi is possibly my favourite in the entire drama, being both sweet and simple and oh so heartbreaking.
Song-yi is crying beside the amusement park fountain because she knows everything is over between her and Mr Bland as hell Son of a Chaebol, but still she cannot forget about him. Hyun-sung goes splashing into the fountain like the fantastical modern day hero that he is and retrieves the penny she wished on (she wanted to fall in love, a wish aimed at Bland Face). He throws the penny away as if he was throwing away her feelings for Mr Bland, telling Song-yi to forget him and not cry anymore. That by removing her wish, he will remove the hurt she feels.
But Song-yi cannot and she cries to him, saying that Mr Bland is the only man who ever liked her, what if there is never anyone else?
And Hyun-sung’s face right there is worth watching for. He stares at her and asks, then what am I? And while he has her attention all these emotions flit across his face, that familiar smile which he uses to mask so much more, as well as this look of ‘well fuck it’, before he pulls Song-yi in for a hug and tells her how he feels.
I loved this scene and even though there was no kiss (because Song-yi is a bit of an idiot and cannot even yet see the awesomeness of this man in front of her) it is still totally worthy of multiple rewinds and much swooning.
Things get subsequently more boring for awhile though after this as Song-yi ends up hanging with the blandest chaebol that ever lived again before finally Hyun-sung’s heart gives way (as in literally!) and he is rushed to the hospital. Although this doesn’t immediately wake Song-yi up to the fact that she loves him it certainly does hit home the fact that she needs him beside her, that he is truly important and quite possibly not someone she could ever live without. And this of course leads (eventually) to her realising she has feelings for both the blandest man alive as well as her best buddy, the most awesome guy ever. Gee tough choice Song-yi. Why don’t you choose the boring one and leave Hyun-sung for me?
The ending of this drama isn’t exactly a let down but the final get together is certainly a little quick for my liking and also definitely doesn’t enough kissing to satisfy me.
As in it completely lacked kissing.
As in there was none.
Which can I just say totally sucks! I know it probably would have been a frozen lip press anyway but I still wanted it!
Two elements this drama has that are probably my favourite drama tropes would be when the boy falls in love with the leading lady first and then spends a few episodes pining silently over her as she carries on unawares (not sure why I enjoy that so much but I do) and also the bickering romance, which is another of my favourites. The loveline between Song-yi and Hyun-sung incorporates both of these ideas (and also throws in a life threatening illness to boot… not too sure how I feel about those though) which made it a pretty fun watch for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed most of this drama in a fun thought-free fluff kind of way, though I am going to go out on a limb and say that it definitely got a little convoluted and boring at times what with all of Hee-won’s endless scheming and Song-yi’s constant ability to shoot herself in the foot.
And also no one learns anything! Mr Bland Chaebol remains such a mild character throughout that he almost pushes Song-yi towards Hyun-sung in his attempt to be chivalrous and understanding, and Hee-won stays crazy manipulative (and totally successful) and has only backed off on destroying Song-yi by the end because the girl no longer has anything that she envys (she chose the poor guy who has debt and works as a mascot in a costume!). And Song-yi herself thinks she has changed because she faced up to her mistake (only because there was evidence against her… not because she actually decided to do the right thing) and still enjoys lording it over people whenever she gets the chance.
Though despite all her faults I did still enjoy her as a heroine because of her fiery temper and over the top personality. Sure she was ultra petty, but still a sweet and fun character to root for.
And Hyung-sung? What a top guy! I loved evey minute of you in this drama and feel I may be forced to check out some of your other dramas where you will hopefully have less big hair….
Lee Evie is an author of historical fiction set in old Korea, during the Joseon dynasty.
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