Bad Love
나쁜 사랑 (2007) KBS 20 Episodes
Romantic Melodrama, Grade: C+

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA


The K-drama Bad Love (2007) obviously tried to tell a somewhat different story than most K-dramas do, starting off with scenes of passion, specifically adultery (although the female character doesn't know the man she becomes intimate with is married, she still was willing to agree to have sex before marriage right at the beginning of their relationship, which definitely has its own long-lasting negative consequences, though that isn't politically correct to say in this day and age).

d Love's story is not typical of the majority of K-drama themes, where usually the main lead characters have a purer love for one another. In many dramas a long time passes before the couples even hold hands or try a tentative kiss! However, there is a basic moral undertone that is felt as you watch Bad Love; the writers are certainly open to showing that any sex outside of marriage can have dangerous consequences for the people involved. The characters here have to suffer in some ways for their bad sexual decisions in life, but all of them do grow more mature and wise in the process. I really do think that most K-drama viewers prefer to watch the purer love stories, however, which is backed up by the low ratings this show received, on average only 7% of the TV audience in Korea tuned in to watch. Maybe a different title would have been wiser, however it would have been less honest.  

I didn't see much chemistry either between the leads, although the actors tried their best. My friend Alison loved the drama far more than I did, so if you would like to read her more positive review of Bad Love, please click HERE. I will simply review the basics of the plot, leaving out the ending. That you will have to watch for yourself. :)

The Story: In-jung Na (Yo Wan Lee from 49 Days) who is a pretty professional cellist, arrives at a newly opened resort hotel complex to play her instrument for her godmother's wedding. At the same time two handsome men are arriving at the same hotel for an opening ceremony, the man in charge of its design and construction, Soo-hwan Lee (Sung-soo Kim from Stained Glass), and his rebellious pop artist brother-in-law,
Yong-ki Kang (Kwon Sang Woo from Sad Love Story), an illegitimate son, who also brings the girlfriend he loves to the hotel, Jo Ann (Ye Ryun Cha from Star's Lover), to the annoyance of his strict father, Chairman of the family construction business Kang Woo-taek (Geun-hyung Park, Sandglass, The Suspicious Housekeeper). Father slaps his son when he sees him making out with Jo Ann in the hotel hallway (in America that would be no big deal; people make out in public all the time here!).

In-jung first meets Soo-hwan in the hotel elevator, as she graciously re-opens the doors for him as they're closing. They greet one another with respect. After the wedding ceremony, when In-jung walks outside, she runs into Yong-ki when he barges into the wedding buffet and samples the food. He throws a can of beer into the air when done and it lands on In-jung's head! This doesn't exactly endear her to this stranger, though she does say she forgives him because he calls her "pretty unnie". Then In-jung meets Soo-hwan again at a maze of
park bushes. It's obvious they are attracted to one another and he asks her if she would like to follow him out on his path. She impulsively assents and they end up on his family yacht the Shangri-la enjoying the ocean together.

In-jung meets two men who will change her life, Yong-ki and Soo-hwan

In-jung continues to be wined and dined - and bedded - by Soo-hwan, until she finally discovers that he is married. Shocked at his dishonesty, she stands on a bridge crying, and Yong-ki happens to pass by, stops and tells her to stop crying, that the best way to get revenge on those who hurt you is to forget them. They go their separate ways but In-jung does not take Yong-ki's advice and at first still finds it hard to break away from Soo-hwan completely, since he is her first real love.

The bad situation isn't made any better by the tempestuous, unloved wife,
Joo-ran Kang (Ga-yeon Kim, sporting the worst hairstyle I have ever seen on any female drama character!), who is Yong-ki's half-sister, staking her territory, slapping In-jung on the face in front of her orchestra, destroying her cello, and hitting her over the hand with the cello bow. (Why In-jung is jailed over this incident is anybody's guess, when it was the wife who hit her!). The injury that results permanently ends In-jung's career as a cellist, since she loses feeling in her hand. One tragedy after another occurs: In-jung discovers she is pregnant, but she ends up miscarrying the baby, and then her parents are involved in a car accident which kills her mother, and then In-jung attempts to commit suicide by walking in front of a truck (the poor actress had to do this AGAIN in 49 Days!).

Obviously she didn't end it all because five years later In-jung has forsaken her previous life, and she has moved to a small fishing island off the coast, opened her own little restaurant serving chicken (in a seaside town?), hoping to be able to support herself and her invalid father (Yong-min Choi) who survived the car accident but who is in a nursing home. Her hard-working ethic gains her much respect on the little island. Because she has been so badly burned in love she now leads a peaceful solitary life, until she happens to meet Yong-ki again, whose love Jo Ann had committed suicide. He buries her ashes and plants a tree over them, on the same island where In-jung now lives.

Yong-ki and In-jung very slowly fall in love, but their relationship has many ups and downs, especially when Yong-ki discovers In-jung had had an affair with his brother-in-law; how do you get over something like that? When the family realizes who Yong-ki is in love with there are even more violent emotions that flare up to the surface. Soo-hwan and his estranged wife had gone on to adopt a little girl named Mi-soo (
Hyang-gi Kim), but he had never really forgotten In-jung, and is pretty much miserable under the surface, throwing himself into his work as a panacea. Meanwhile, his wife had engaged in her own affair because she was so unloved by her husband. What a moose mess!

The Chairman father dies and Yong-ki suddenly decides to step up to the plate and seriously work in the family business that he had always spurned before. Competition results between Soo-hwan and Yong-ki in both business and love. Who will In-jung choose in the end, Yong-ki her second love, or Soo-hwan, her first love?

Actors Sang Woo Kwon, Yo Won Lee, and Sung Soo Kim promoting the drama Bad Love

This melodrama may not be for everyone but it's worth a try if you like these actors. Some of the plot twists are a bit far-fetched, but then in most melodramas there are many such unbelievable situations that arise. You need to suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow of the story.