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“The Time I Loved You”: What Subtly Broke the Drama Remake?

Poster for The Time We Were Not In Love kdrama

Ughh!

How could they botch it?

What were they doing?

To ruin something that was all in place for them?

Why did “The Time That I Loved You” drama suck? I was utterly disgusted with the way this Korean drama turned out, so much so that it left a bitter taste in my mouth that I couldn’t get rid of.

The reason that I’m telling you this is so that you won’t make the same mistake that I did and waste your time watching this crap. I just had to get these feelings off my chest and tell you my inner thoughts before I tell anyone else.

The reason why I’m so angry and exasperated is because I had high expectations for this drama. A couple of months ago, I learned that the Korean channel SBS was going to do a drama based on the highly successful Taiwanese series “In Time With You“, which made me think,

“Hmmm…. This seems interesting. I wonder how the Korean version of this highly rated drama will turn out. I want to see what made it SO great.”

Then it happened.

What made my heart get caught in my throat. I couldn’t breathe at all.

Ha.

Ji.

Won.

Yayy!!! She had been cast as the main female lead in the drama! When I heard this, I fell over.

With all these accomplishments to her name, I had good reason to believe that upon hearing that she had been cast for “The Time We Were Not In Love“, that this drama would be another hit in her long line of work. That having the director Jo Soowon along, who had also produced gems such as “Swallow The Sun“, “I Can Hear Your Voice” and “Pinocchio” would make this a sure thing.

But…

That did not happen.

This should have been a simple story of two people, Oh Hana and Choi Won, who have been friends for 20 years and have been through so many things together. Hana, a career woman and Won, a male flight attendant at an airline who helps her whenever she is in trouble.

A teenage Hana makes a bet with him that she will get married first before they turn 35 years old. Will they find true love or will they miss what is already in front of them?

That’s it. It should have been as simple as that.

However the drama did not turn out this way.

Everything that could have gone wrong, DID go wrong and there were many reasons why this was a terrible soap opera but I have narrowed it down to the following factors.

The Awful Production Mismanagement That Stops the Flow?

This drama didn’t get off on the right foot after Soowon and the production company had a difference in creative opinion, causing him to withdraw, only for the director to return a week later after their differences were resolved.

Then the writer Min Hyojeong was replaced by two new ones Jung Doyoon and Lee Hana before it aired. I thought why are they switching writers so late into production and why do they need two people to do the job of one person. “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

As if that wasn’t enough, they later brought in 3 new writers after episode 4 to replace Min and Lee since the production company wasn’t satisfied with the direction of the drama.

I was saying “What is going on here?!”.

This musical chair of screenwriters broke the flow of the soap opera, affecting storylines such as Hana’s interaction with Won by disrupting their chemistry. I felt all bent out of shape with the inconsistent pace of the drama.

Unfit Cast: Placing the Square in a Triangle

The Time We Were Not In Love” had many people who were unsuitable for their roles such as Ha Jiwon playing the part of Oh Hana.

Hana’s character required someone to have a cute and carefree personality but Jiwon was not able to pull it off. Whenever she had to act all tender and girly around Won in order to coax him, I cringed because she looked immature for her age at 37 years old.

During the flashbacks, instead of giving the young role to someone like an up and coming actress like Park Jinhee, Jiwon had to dress in school uniforms and young attire, which I did not believe for one second. As good as an actress as she is and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t pull off the role of a woman with a young attitude because she was too old. Hana’s part should have been given to an actress in their 20’s like Jinhee, which would have been more credible.

Yoon Gyusang was a bad actor as he played Cha Seohoo, who chased after Hana for her love. He was so stiff and boring whenever he came on screen, always having that expressionless look on his face whenever emotion needed to be shown, like when he told Hana that he needed her by his side.

Another complaint I have is that it wasn’t believable the interaction between him and Hana since he was 28 years old trying to act mature while she was 37 years old trying to act like a woman in her 20’s.

Really?

Come on!

I just rolled my eyes at the unconvincing chemistry between the both of them.

Instead of Gyusang, who had only done small roles in 3 previous dramas and never a lead role, a better choice wold have been Jung Woojin, a mature veteran who fits more her age group. That would have been a better complement to Jiwon rather than a rookie who had never done it before.

I blame all these issues on the person in charge of the casting. He should have found people better fit for these roles, whether it was a young girl with a vibrant personality for Hana’s role or an experienced actor who could express feelings for Seohoo’s part.

The casting person should have analyzed better what each role required and auditioned suitable actors so that there would have been better chemistry and credibility between the actors in the drama.

Digging the Story Soil to Find a Good Plot

The Time I Loved You” had such a ridiculous storyline that just made me shake my head in disbelief. Everything was so out of whack and inconsistent leading to unnecessary confusion.

Hana & Won: The Seesaw of a Relationship

Hana is a career woman working for a shoe company, who after many years encounters her childhood friend Won, a flight attendant coming back to Korea.

They remember the bet they made as youngsters that Hana would be the first to marry before turning 35 years old and both set out to find love.

Won refuses to go on numerous dates but when he does, he rejects them.

Hana is too busy with work that she doesn’t have time to date.

When both of them have free time, they hang out together.

What irritated me was when in an episode, Hana would get mad at Won for not calling her or he would give her the cold shoulder if she forgot to meet him at a predetermined location but then in a couple of episodes, they would makeup, either by a present or with pleading with the other person.

Then they would quarrel over another little thing and makeup again.

Fight.

Makeup.

Fight.

Makeup.

I kept ripping my hair out because of this back and forth interaction, which slowed the drama’s pace and disrupted the flow. I was like “Come on! Let’s get this going already!” All this unnecessary squabbling made me impatient and frustrated.

And then they FINALLY get married, only to argue about their clothes the next day and subsequently makeup in the next scene.

Again?!

“We became a married couple after being longtime friends….still we fight and makeup…hate and love repeatedly…”

as voiced by Hana as they walk together holding hands in the final episode, which pretty much summed up their interaction during the whole drama.

Their “on and off” relationship was a bumpy and rocky road that just turned me off as the story progressed.

Tacking on Unnecessary Storylines Whenever Possible

The Late Arrival of Unrequited Love

If Hana and Won’s tumultuous relationship was not enough, you also had the pianist Seohoo, who was trying to win Hana’s love after coming back to Korea to perform a recital.

By the time he finally appeared after episode 4, a rapport had already developed between Hana and Won, making it too late for the antagonist to move her heart and drive a wedge between them.

That and coupled with the fact that there was a 9 age difference between Hana and Seohoo, making his pursuit of her unconvincing, and I just felt that he was a third wheel coming along for the ride. Seohoo should have been in play from the very beginning so that you could see his feelings and his side of the story as he pursued her before Hana and Won’s relationship got out of hand.

The Annoying & Pitiful Love Fly Buzzing Around

Another unessential plot was that of Lee Soeun, a stewardess who works in the same airline as Won and is attracted to him and tries to make him love her even though she knows that he is close friends with Hana.

Every time that Soeun asked him out on a date, he said no and went on his way.

Or if they were eating together and she was trying to make moves on him, it would be interrupted when Won would leave her side after hearing that Hana needed his help and he would immediately go towards Hana.

Something always prevented her from getting close to him, whether it was his flatout refusal or an unforeseen event.

“Don’t you get it?”

“He doesn’t love you.”

“Leave already!”

I was so frustrated that she didn’t get the message. It felt like an insect hovering around a light bulb. Her unrequited love made me pity her relentless efforts. I didn’t want to see her anymore after all those failed attempts.

Killing L in Three Turns

The storyline of L as Ki Sungjae was the worst of them all.

He was in his early 20’s as a low level worker in the same industry as Hana, who came in episode 2. They met through work and since then, he would use every opportunity to see her, whether waiting for her after work with an umbrella if it was raining outside or bringing her coffee in the morning.

She slowly started to develop feelings for him thinking that he genuinely cared for her, even though Won warned her not to take the young buck seriously.

At this time she and Won were still friends and were exploring love in other people and Seohoo still had not come into the picture.

I was under the impression that Seungjae was going to be the antagonist of the drama. Later Hana eavesdrops on Seungjae saying that he was just using her to get ahead in his career, shocking her and damaging her feelings immensely.

Before they finish the project they are currently working together on, she reveals the truth about him and dismisses him. He doesn’t regret his actions and leaves quietly in episode 4, never to be seen again.

“What!”

“What was that?!”

How could they just throw away what seemed like a key figure in Hana ‘s life and make it seem like nothing happened? That everything would go back to normal? He only lasted 3 episodes and now I have to start all over again.

This must have been when the production company switched writers and the whole drama had to begin from scratch with a new antagonist and change of direction. This left me confused and in the dust, making me feel as if I just wasted my time watching the first couple of episodes.

Just in Time with You to Hear My Final Thoughts

In conclusion, “The Time I Loved You” was a terrible Korean drama. But don’t take my word for it. The ratings speak for themselves.

6.2% 5.9% NR (not rated) NR NR

How can an episode have no ratings at all?!

That’s how bad this soap opera was, between the mishandling of the screenwriters and director, poor selection of actors for the roles and absurd storylines.

All that needed to be done was follow the blueprint of the Taiwanese drama and go from there. This sorry excuse of a soap opera doesn’t do the original version any justice.

I can’t believe how all the wheels fell off and how it didn’t meet my high expectations. After seeing and living through this atrocity, let me give a piece of advice:

DON’T WATCH THIS CRAP!

Instead, watch the original Taiwanese version “In Time With You to get the full experience, the way it was meant to be seen.

You won’t be disappointed.

As for this “drama”, after watching it as a viewer, the title should not be “The Time I Loved You“.

It should be “The Time I DIDN’T Love You”.

That’s all I have to say about that. But what did you think? What got you watching to the end? What moments stand out now that it’s over?

I don't know. Sometimes it feels like my writing & thoughts are way off. Who knows if it'll help anyone or if it means anything.

Written by Ben

Silence means 100% agreement