Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

Show any movie buff a romantic pottery scene, and they are bound to think of that iconic, sexy scene from “Ghost,” featuring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The 2023 Korean series “Unintentional Love Story” evokes cute first-crush jitters with a similar pottery scene, sans the sensuality, and does it really well.

Directed by Jang Eui Soon, the series is based on a webtoon titled “Biuidojeog Yeonaedam”. It stars Gongchan as the protagonist, Ji Won Young, a budding professional who loses his first job due to a bribery scandal involving his senior. Ji Won takes a vacation to a beach town, where he accidentally meets the famous ceramic artist, Yoon Tae Joon (Cha Seo Won), who is sought after by his company. In order to get his job back, Ji Won agrees to spy on the artist and help find a way to end Yoon Tae Joon’s self-imposed exile. But falling in love with the charismatic older artist wasn’t part of the plan.

Spread over ten 30-minute episodes, the best thing about “Unintentional Love Story” is the cinematography. Set against a small, beautiful beach town, many scenes unfold either in Yoon Tae Joon’s lavishly traditional home or his pleasing pottery workshop and shop. “It’s so fascinating, like magic,” Jo Won exclaims in a scene while watching Tae Joon smoothly make a cup, and as a viewer, I was equally mesmerized, longing to be able to breathe in the earthy smell of the fine clay, which starts out as a shapeless lump and then slowly turns into fine crockery.

However, the story wasn’t very compelling, especially because the primary conflict about a young professional spying on an artist for his firm seemed absurd. Cha Seo Won, as the confident and cold Yoon Tae, who goes soft for the handsome Ji Won, definitely makes hearts flutter with his mere screen presence. The two leads make a striking on-screen couple, although some of their interactions looked like they were written by a high-school student for a fluffy teen novel.

Han Do Woo is endearing in his supporting role as Kim Dong Hee, an openly gay coffee-shop owner who employs Che Seo Won and is sort of best friends with Yoon Tae. Won Tae Min plays Dong Hee’s childhood friend, Go Ho Tae, who is a bit of a ruffian and keeps changing girlfriends and is surprisingly upfront about wanting to date Done Hee. While their subplot is entertaining, the writers don’t give a conclusive end to their tale.

Some more maturity in the writing would have elevated this drama much more. Instead, we get a slightly cringey and cliched ending, which has the usual silly jealousies and juvenile behavior that would have been more appropriate if the protagonists were teens and not grown-up men with their own baggage. Regardless, it’s an engaging romance series.

It’s a 7 on 10 from me.

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