[What Mary Thinks] The Interest of Love: Episodes 1-2

Patience. This drama is going to require me to have so much patience and I’m going to need so much more of it if I want to complete this show.

‘The Interest of Love’ was a drama that I was excited for upon hearing about it. Unlike many other dramas, I actually ended up watching the teasers/trailers to this drama for primarily two reasons. The moment you put Yoo Yeon-seok and Moon Ga-young together as the leads in a drama, you know I’m gonna be tuning in. I love these two individually so it’s a dream come true that they’re acting together. Plus, the person in charge behind the camera is the director from ‘Do You Like Brahms?‘ (a drama that I recapped on my blog). You have two favorable actors and a reliable director working on the same drama together. What is there not to like?

I’m not gonna go as far to say that I don’t like this drama because the first two episodes did just premiere earlier this week. But I also have to admit that I was not as impressed as much as I was expecting to or wanted to be. Episodes one and two didn’t do much for me and there wasn’t a whole lot going on. I did end up finishing the first two episodes, but I felt very underwhelmed by the end of it all.

It felt like episodes one and two would have been better fitted to be episodes 3 and 4 or maybe even 5 and 6. Episodes one and two did not feel like what the first and second episode of a drama should be. It was adorable watching Ahn Su-yeong (Moon Ga-young) and Ha Sang-su (Yoo Yeon-seok) get to know each other better and bond in episode one, but I guess I just needed more context and background information. We learn that she was his senior at the bank they work at and she trained him when he was still a rookie/trainee and he ended up developing feelings for her over time. But I needed more buy-in and I needed more reasons as to why I should root for Sang-su and Su-yeong to get together or why I should care for their relationship.

I felt as if we viewers were thrown into a situation and forced to accept it and just watch things as they unfolded which gave me no reason to really care at all. Su-yeong turned Sang-su down and away after he failed to show up (on time) to a dinner date and she never gave him another chance after he explained his valid reasons for being late. She immediately became cold and wishy-washy with him and Sang-su was going crazy over her behavior and attitude towards him. I think I would have understood why they acted the way they did if the drama just gave us more context and provided us more scenes between the two. They barely went on a Jeju business trip together as well as a movie theater date in episode one and then somehow the drama expected us to fully buy in to their ambiguous relationship. I think what would have helped was if the drama gave us more cute and adorable scenes of the two together; maybe give us a few more dates and show us the two getting to know each other better beyond just being co-workers. And then, from there, progress into the whole ‘I’m-not-into-you-anymore-because-I-don’t-like-ambiguous-relationships’ phase that we entered by the end of episode one.

I want to root for this couple; I want to see Su-yeong and Sang-su navigate their confusing relationship where it seemed like feelings were mutual at one point and then were cut off the next second. I want to see more of them respond to their emotions and their situation and clear huge misunderstandings that they have with each other. Sang-su’s afraid to cross the boundaries and walls that Su-yeong has clearly built with him over the course of an episode; Su-yeong doesn’t have the energy or time to put up with Sang-su and she enters a relationship with Jong-hyun (Jung Ga-ram). How did she fall in love with another man so easily and quickly? Did she always have a thing for Jong-hyun? Why was so she so quick to cut things off with Sang-su and turn him down? And I don’t want to make it seem as if I’m making excuses for Sang-su because I’m not. If he was making up lies and excuses as to why he was late to their dinner date, that’d be a totally different story and he wouldn’t deserve a second chance by Su-yeong. But the thing is.. he wasn’t lying to her. He really did break his phone which is why he couldn’t communicate with her and he really was running late because of work.

Now, Su-yeong can date whoever she wants and she can be with whoever she wants. And as we saw in the end of episode one, she was upset with Sang-su for another reason (not because he was late to their dinner date). And I also hope the drama really doesn’t go the ‘nice guy’ route with Sang-su’s character where he feels entitled to her feelings and time simply because he treats her nicely. I would hate to see that with Sang-su’s character. But where my confusion lies then is why the drama continued to emphasize on the relationship between Sang-su and Su-yeong as if it wanted us to care about them but then not really give us a reason to. I need more reasons to root for them as a couple. The decisions that the characters made in the first two episodes was also sort of confusing. Su-yeong refused to give Sang-su another chance after their dinner date even though he actually had valid reasons for doing so, but then she got semi-jealous when she witnessed Sang-su interacting with his college classmate Park Mi-gyeong (Keum Sae-rok) who now works at their bank. It’s as if she doesn’t want him, but she also doesn’t want him to be with someone else and it’s a little jarring as a viewer. I guess that doesn’t really matter at this point though because she somehow ended up with Jong-hyun after having gotten to know Sang-su beyond just as a co-worker. I’m not so sure how her relationship with Jong-hyun transpired that quickly, but I’m hoping the drama shows us and we get more out of the story.

I think the most jarring component to this drama that quickly stood out to me (which isn’t a good thing.. I never want to watch a drama and be able to point it out right away) is the use of the music in this drama. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a drama where you notice the music and songs playing in the background.. and not in a good way. Does anyone remember the drama ‘The Heirs’ with Lee Min-ho and how ‘LOVE IS THE MOMENTTTTT’ would play almost all the time? ‘The Interest of Love’ doesn’t have those moments (yet), but the amount of times there’s always music or some kind of song playing in the background throughout the whole hour episode is noticeable. The timing of the music in this drama is so interesting because it’s a bit overwhelming and it feels as if the drama’s doing just a tad bit too much. I get using instrumental songs or piano pieces to invoke a certain mood or tone; I love listening to the instrumental songs that the drama releases once it’s finished airing. But based off of the two episodes so far, I feel like I’ve heard quite a few OST tracks playing throughout to the point where 1) I’m confused as to what’s going on and 2) I don’t feel anything. The impact that the drama wants me to sense isn’t there.

Music in dramas (and movies in general) is so tricky because 1) you don’t want to overdo it by playing the same songs over and over and 2) you also don’t want to play too many songs in one episode. ‘The Interest of Love’ should be more strategic and smarter in the way that it uses music so it doesn’t feel like it’s being overdone. I felt like I was always hearing music and songs playing in the background whether it was an OST track with someone singing or an instrumental song and it became a bit tiring in all honesty. ‘The Interest of Love’ looks nice, but the writing and the music throws me off in a way where it prevents me from enjoying this drama more than I want to. Silence isn’t always a bad thing in certain scenes.

I think a perfect example of a scene that was well executed and just right was the ending to episode one. Sang-su addressed the dinner date from the other night, but Su-yeong was upset with him for other reasons. He confessed to her that he liked her and that’s where Su-yeong revealed that she’s actually dating Jong-hyun. The scene was so effective because of the brilliant acting by Yoo Yeon-seok and Moon Ga-young, but also because of how simple the scene was. There’s a soft piano piece that plays quietly in the background that matches the tone and vibe that the scene is going for and then the music is cut off into silence once Sang-su confesses that he liked Su-yeong. The drama didn’t make the scene more dramatic than it needed to be; it was just the right amount of angst and seriousness without going overboard.

I’m still going to give episodes 3 and 4 a try because I’m hoping things pick up and improve next week and also because I really like seeing Yoo Yeon-seok and Moon Ga-young together on the same screen. Seeing as to how the drama was adapted from a novel, I could totally see and understand why the drama is the way that it is and how the drama is trying to adapt the content from the book. I hope the drama is able to get the most out of the book, but I also feel like the characters and premise so far is stronger off in the form of a novel than the drama and they might also make more sense in the novel than in this drama adaptation. I hope to see ‘The Interest of Love’ the drama sort of be its own thing and try not to be too influenced by ‘The Interest of Love’ the novel. I’m still going to give this drama another chance because I’m holding out the hope that it could turn into a potential ‘Our Beloved Summer’ situation for me where I wasn’t feeling the start of the drama but ended up really liking it as it progressed. ‘The Interest of Love’ isn’t all that interesting to me right now, but there’s potential for it to turn things around and impress me with its upcoming episodes. Hopefully.

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