International Dramas: ‘Soundtrack #1’

Screenshot of Park Hyungsik and Han Sohee in ‘Soundtrack #1’. Copyright goes to Disney+.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I’ve been trying to get around to watching some of the K-Dramas that Disney+ recently added and just haven’t had the time at all. Or the motivation. I’ve been slowly trying to get myself back into watching full K-Dramas (I currently lack the attention span), so when I saw that this was four episodes I thought it would be the perfect short watch to get me back into it! It helps that this drama stars Park Hyungsik. I’ve been wanting to watch him in something since seeing him in ‘In the SOOP: Friendcation’, so I was also thrilled that he was the lead of this drama. And this drama definitely did succeed in getting me back into watching K-Dramas! I’m watching another one now that’s actually a decent amount of episodes that I will also be reviewing soon. But, I can’t say that this is a recommended watch. I was sold immediately on the synopsis and how simple but adorable it seemed, but for some reason this drama just couldn’t pull it together enough for me to come out of it with that wholesome feeling I was hoping for. As always, I’m going to get into reviewing this and there will be MAJOR SPOILERS ahead. Though there’s honestly nothing much to spoil.

Summary: Eunsu and Seonwoo have been friends for almost twenty years and, despite Seonwoo’s feelings for Eunsu, have never dated. When Eunsu needs help with writing lyrics for her job and Seonwoo is kicked out of his own apartment, they decide to live together for two weeks.

The Soft:

The Acting- I love both of these actors. They succeeded in making their characters likable, as much as they can be, and their acting decisions were very believable and nuanced. Both of these actors took what they were given and ran with it. Every emotion the characters felt was sure to make the audience emotional as well. And they worked great together! It’s not too often you can put two actors together, say that they’ve known each other since they were nine, and have the audience actually feel like that was a true occurrence. The chemistry between these two completely sold it!

The Aesthetic- This drama was made to feel cozy and you can absolutely tell by watching it. Between the snow, the cozy jackets, the fairy-light lit streets, and the soft blankets, it really does feel like a cozy winter drama. Each shot had warm colors and even desserts galore. I absolutely had a sweet tooth by the end of watching this. And, as a California native where we don’t get much snow, I adored every shot with snow in it.

The Soundtrack- Part of the charm of this drama is the soundtrack that goes perfectly along with the story. Including songs that have the lyrics Eunsu is writing within the show. It really made the drama feel even more personal to the characters and the music itself was lovely.

The Scratchy:

The Plot- Yep, I’m coming out with the hard hitting ones first. Like I said before, I loved this synopsis. I loved the idea of two people who’ve known each other their whole lives, slowly realizing they are in love with each other while living together in a cozy apartment. It sounds adorable, right? Well, this synopsis doesn’t quite pan out like they advertise it will. Firstly, you have the fact that Seonwoo has always had feelings for Eunsu. We’re told at the very beginning that he’s had unrequited feelings for her and she knows he’s had unrequited feelings for someone; but he’s told her that it’s some girl she’s never met named “Jennifer”. The reason why she invited him to stay with her is because she needs help on lyrics about unrequited love because she’s told that she doesn’t know enough about it. For one, this doesn’t make sense because they later establish that she actually did have “unrequited” feelings for him. So wouldn’t she understand it enough to write about it? Why does she need his help? But for another, it takes the magic away of them falling for each other while living together if one (or more) of them is already in love. It’s like the story should have started far before this story actually started. This aside, they don’t actually fall in love or confess to each other while living together. One of the characters moves away not long into the show and then has to come back in order for that to happen. When they get together they are no longer living together and haven’t been for over a year. They don’t actually get to know each other much living together. In fact, them living together is pretty uneventful. Speaking of which…

Boring- I know this is rather blunt, but I really did find this drama to be boring. Nothing much happens in it at all. We don’t really see them fall in love because they were apparently already in love. We constantly see them apart and pining for each other while doing pretty menial tasks. Their jobs, photography and song-writing, seem really interesting but they find a way to barely show the jobs and make almost nothing of it whenever they do actually show them working. It was like watching absolutely nothing happen. I almost quit two episodes in before realizing that there were only two episodes left and I might as well finish those. The two leads don’t get together until ten minutes before the entire series ends, and it’s also a pretty nothing scene. They confess to each other pretty awkwardly, agree to date, and then it just ends. We get one more after-credits type scene (I’ll get back to this scene), but it’s very short and doesn’t focus so much on the leads. I sat there for a second afterwards wondering what the point of the series was.

The Characters- I wanted to like these characters. I really did. The actors were so likable and both of the characters seemed likable because of that. But none of the characters had any depth. We didn’t get much backstory for either character, probably because they didn’t have much time to do it, and what we got was very bare bones. We didn’t really delve into who these characters were, what their personality traits even are, or what caused them to finally get together in the end. They both had rejected each other at separate times because they didn’t want to ruin their friendship and were afraid of what would happen if they eventually broke up. We don’t really see why the moment they do get together was the right time for them. It feels like everything in this drama just sort of…happens. Like it’s going through the motions of every K-Drama ever with none of the heart.

The Message- Now we get back to that final scene. In this scene we see a cut to the future where the friends of the two leads are watching them cuddle cutely while making comments on the fact that they are finally together. Instead of saying really cute things about how they’re perfect together or how the young couple reminds them of their own relationship; they instead take this time to make it a lesson about how men and women can’t be friends. As a woman who has had male friends before who I never thought romantically of, I still don’t understand thinking that no men and women can ever be friends. I know this is a more controversial opinion in South Korea than in the US, but I still didn’t enjoy the oddly preachy nature of this scene. And it kind of soured this scene that was supposed to be cute.

I’m not saying at all that I thought this was the worst thing that I’ve seen. I honestly thought it was pretty boring and I wouldn’t watch it again. But this feels like something that you could put on in the background and not pay attention to. It has a nice aesthetic that makes you feel warm and cozy when you look at it; just don’t look for a compelling plot. If you want to watch this, go ahead and give it a watch! It certainly won’t take up much of your time. I was expecting more from this, which is saying something considering all I wanted was a simple, cute romance. I wish it would have followed more closely with the synopsis it advertised. But at least it was a cozy watch!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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