This week brought with it the end of JTBC’s Secret Love Affair so it only makes sense to mention it as a weekend marathon option but I have to warn you now, this is not going to be my typical “oh I love this drama and you have to go watch it right now” review.
For the first time ever, I’m going to talk about a drama that I personally hated, and when I say hated, I mean I wanted to shoot myself in the face every time I sat down to watch an episode. That’s how strong my feelings of dislike are for this drama. So why, you may ask, did I force myself to sit through sixteen hours of pure torture? The answer is really quite simple… DramaFever asked me to write for their Secret Love Affair Drama Club and I, quite stupidly, said “yes.” (What was I thinking!?!) Being committed to finishing what I started, I dragged myself through sixteen hours of complete boredom and found that on the other side, things weren’t so very bad after all which is why I can sit here and tell you that there are some redeeming qualities about Secret Love Affair but you’re going to have to really be committed to watching the entire drama if you’re ever going to find them.
For those of you who have never heard of Secret Love Affair let me give you the skinny. As the title would imply, the drama is about a 40-something woman, Oh Hye Won (Kim Hee Ae), who falls in love with a 20-year-old boy who just happens to be her husband’s prodigy piano student, Lee Sun Jae (Yoo Ah In). In true melodrama fashion, Lee Sun Jae is poor and underprivileged and it’s only through a stroke of sheer luck that he finds himself the recipient of a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious fine arts school. Because Sun Jae’s professor, Kang Joon Hyung, isn’t nearly as talented as his wife, he passes Sun Jae off to Oh Hye Won and asks her to teach him all she knows. Naturally, the pair find themselves attracted to each other and a not-even-remotely-secret love affair quickly develops.
If the story relied completely on the development of an affair between Hye Won and Sun Jae, the show would have ended in about six episodes but there’s actually more to the story than that. (Thanks goodness!) Hye Won, aside from being the director of an arts institute, is also the personal lackey for an exceedingly rich and corrupt family. Having spent the past twenty years bowing to their every whim, Hye Won has been privy to a whole lot of secret information and under-the-table dealings that the Seo family would like very much to keep hidden. Having Hye Won in on everything has never been a problem, until the D.A.’s office starts poking around the Seo family’s business and suddenly Hye Won finds herself being thrown to the wolves by those she’s devoted most of her life to helping. This would have been problem for Hye Won, had she not been one of the most sly and cunning leading ladies I’ve ever come across in Dramaland. Seriously, this woman spent all her life at the bottom of the totem pole but when her entire world fell apart, she found herself standing on top, strong and proud and I have to admire her for that. (Too bad that’s the only praise I can give this drama.)
I know a lot of people raved and raved about this drama, saying how deep it was and how refreshing it was to have such a mature drama to watch, but I am not one of those people. I found this drama to be incredibly long and boring and just plain painful to watch. Most of the characters are rich, spoiled brats who feel they’re entitled to the world and throw massive temper tantrums when things don’t go their way and being one who is around a zillion temper tantrums a day, I do not find this entertaining at all. At best, this drama was good for a nap as I found myself dozing off at least once with every episode. The only upside to this drama was that it was full of beautiful music but if you’re not a fan of classical music, I’ll tell you now, you’re probably going to hate this drama because at least half of every episode is a shot of someone playing a piano. I kid you not. If, however, you are one who loves a slow-paced, uneventful drama that plods quietly along without any real direction or meaning, then Secret Love Affair is the drama for you but it’s most definitely not my cup of tea.