The teaser for 2022 Korean mini-series ‘Love Class’ leads you into believing it’s going to be a fluffy college romance, and then comes drama, because damn, the lead hero is a little too intense.
There isn’t a lot of story going on in the series – cute but shy communications student Han Hyun Jun (Cha Ji Woo) signs up for a popular subject dubbed as ‘Love Class’ on campus, because the pretty Yu Na (Ryu In Ah), a girl he is crushing on is also taking it. His hopes of bonding with Yu Na are dashed, when he is paired up with senior Lee Ro-A (Kim Tae Hwan) for doing assignments that involve going on dates and spending a lot of time together. While Hyun Jun continues his attempts to get close to Yu Na, Ro-A seems to have a more than platonic interest in Hyun Jun. Who’s going to end up with who?
‘Love Class’ obviously has romance as its main theme, but with just 6 episodes each, the makers pack in more subjects than they can handle, so we get very superficial glimpses of each theme. For example, Yu Na has a creepy stalker, who seems to be aware of her every move and has enough information to cause her some serious harm, but the kids don’t report it to the police, not until things get out of hand. There’s also a completely unnecessary sub-plot about a secondary character who has the hots for her professor. And it felt like her story was used more for comic relief than to explore the slippery subject of student-teacher relationship.
Cha Ji Woo as lead Han Hyun Jun is adorable, but the character doesn’t get any space for growth, it’s a flat ‘cute puppy’ kind of role. Kim Tae Hwan on the other hand channels classic smouldering hero energy as Ro-A, as if he is in a some romantic-tragedy instead of the light campus romance. Doesn’t help that his character isn’t written consistently, while for most of the series Ro-A is a straightforward serious guy who doesn’t mask his feelings, but in the end he does a complete dramatic out-of-character U-turn for a forced climactic plot twist. We get a brief dive into the struggles of being gay in the conservative Koren, but with so much going on, everything is hastily wrapped in a rushed ‘feel good’ ending. On the bright side, since the scripting is mediocre, the almost movie-sized (about 120 minutes in total) series doesn’t make you feel like you’ve invested too much time and makes a decent watch for the weekend.
Kim Tae Hwan and Cha Ji Woo do have some chemistry, perhaps a stronger script/direction would’ve pushed them to do better. They do make a great looking pair and most viewers would perhaps like to see them paired again in a series with more concrete story.
It’s a 6/10 from me.
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