Hello drifters, please give Hess a warm welcome to our AVV family! – Kap
It’s here!! The Time I’ve Loved You has finally premiered. I’ve been anticipating this drama since news first came out that a Korean adaptation was in the works. That plus the fact that I’m a pretty huge fan of the Taiwanese version, and I’m pretty sure I’ve only built myself up for disappointment. This is my first time doing a drama recap, so please excuse any awkwardness as I find my way as I go.
Episode 1 Recap:
Series begins with our female lead, Oh Ha Na, packing up after a long day at work. She slips off her heels and into a pair of comfortable sneakers before heading home. While walking, Ha Na reflects on her life through a voice over, thinking about how she felt at various ages, 17, 20, 30. We see a shot of a clock tick tocking away. She gets home and the first thing she does is check if her friendly next door neighbor, I’m assuming male lead Choi Won, is home (he’s not). She puts on eye cream, complaining about her wrinkles, watches tv and comes across a show that explains to aging women how to hide their thinning hair.
In the next scene, Ha Na is in the shoe section of the mall. She’s looking at all the heels on the shelves, and then spots a pair of sneakers on the ground. She happily goes to try them on and is interrupted by a student telling her that the shoes are hers. The snotty student refers to her as an ahjumma, and Ha Na takes major offense. Suddenly we’re back at Ha Na’s room, as she wakes up from the nightmare. She’s horrified and upset at being called an ahjumma, and resolves to drift back to the same dream.
However, she’s unable to fall asleep again, and she ends up getting a call from an Assistant Hong. Apparently there’s been a major crisis due to an internet article about someone named Gu Yeon Jeong. She rushes out the door, breezing past her parents who have cooked her a breakfast that includes seaweed soup. Seems like it’s somebody’s birthday today!
Ha Na is now seen begging some unknown male for another chance. She rambles that she will find another actress to do the broadcast. But the unidentified male brushes her off, saying that there’s not enough time. Now I’m beat as to how this fits into her job description as a marketing manager for a shoe manufacturer. But by the end, not only does the guy deny her, but he ends the discussion by ordering her to clear out the towering stacks of shoe boxes in the storage room.
Ha Na walks back to her office, getting a couple of stink eyes from a group of co-workers. She puts her head down and walks by in embarrassment. A couple of her subordinates come into her office and help figure out a plan of action to take care of the storage shoes. Ha Na ends up taking out her frustration on them and orders them out of her office. On the way out, one of the girls tells Ha Na to look under her desk for some flowers sent by her boyfriend.
She sees the flowers, and also the attached card that says “Happy birthday Ha Na”. She suddenly remembers something and gives her boyfriend, Ho Joon, a call. He barely gets out a “hello?” before she asks him if the department store director (presumably the unidentified male from before) is a university sunbae of his. He confirms this, and Ha Na asks her boyfriend to talk her up to the guy. He agrees and Hana proceeds to ask about plans to meet up later that night. Boyfriend stutters and awkwardly lets her know that he’ll call her later.
Soon after hanging up, Ha Na gets a notification on her phone and opens up a video compilation of birthday wishes from her friends. We see a car salesman, a doctor, an obnoxious couple with a ukulele, a hefty tae kwon do guy, and last but not least, our male lead Choi Won finally makes his first appearance.
Hana gets nostalgic and we flash back to their 18 year old selves. The 2 clearly have a daily routine as we see them each come out of their houses, play a quick game (which Choi Won loses), and run off to a breakfast stall where the loser buys breakfast for the winner. Without a word, Choi Won is squirting ketchup on Ha Na’s toast before each bite she takes. Seems like these 2 have already been best friends for quite some time already. As they head off to school, we see a female student watching them from behind looking disappointed.
As our leads continue on their walk, we learn that Choi Won is an aspiring film director. He’s currently mulling out loud over a hypothetical question. What would he do if he ended up on a deserted island after his plane crashes while he’s on his way to the Cannes Film Festival. Man, talk about wasting your time on highly improbable what-ifs. Ha Na points this out, and retorts that he’s better off spending his time studying instead of worrying over useless things. Apparently Choi Won’s not doing too hot in school.
At school, it’s study period and the students quickly head out of the classroom, clearly up to no good. The students all rally in the hall for a major girls vs. boys showdown. With Choi Won spearheading the boys’ side, and Ha Na leading the girls, the 2 play rock paper scissors. After 2 ties, Choi Won finally wins round 3 and he decides that “backpiling” is the game that they’ll be playing during study period. The boys celebrate in glee, and the girls mutter in dismay.
With everyone now outside, we find out that “backpiling” is some version of leap frog. The guys line up human centipede style, and the girls jump atop them landing squarely on the boys’ backs. Not entirely sure on the rules here, but seems like if the boys fall over, they lose the game. Now wait a minute…why were the boys so excited about playing this game? Anyways, the game is in full swing, and it seems like the boys have a solid chance at winning. Then, Ha Na sees the overweight new girl, trudging up the hill to where they’re playing. She quickly calls time and does a quick player substitution. The girls ultimately win triumphantly and saunter off, leaving the boys in a tired and defeated heap.
Nostalgia hour comes to an end, and Ha Na re-reads her birthday card from her boyfriend. She begins to question it, thinking the birthday message is too simple because he didn’t write “I love you” on the card. She picks up her phone and calls none other than her bestie Choi Won. The conversation starts with some light banter about Ha Na’s age. She brushes him off and rubs it in his face that her career and love life are running smoothly while he, on the other hand, hasn’t had a girlfriend in 3 years and will likely die alone. More back and forth, and then Ha Na pauses before voicing her concern over her bf’s message. He reassures her and says that her bf must be planning to propose soon, so he is acting coldly to throw her off on purpose.
After they hang up, Choi Won finds himself in front of a new intern stewardess. She’s hesitating about whether or not to walk in, and Choi Won gestures encouragingly. Just as she goes to open the door, the door swings open and the doe-eyed intern gets smacked in the head. The head honcho stewardess rolls in and greets everyone. The new intern greets her back excitedly stating that she’s been a fan of hers since she was a student. Is she some sort of celebrity stewardess? What sort of stewardess has fans?
Everyone’s now aboard the plane that is about to take off, and the stewardesses are giving the safety presentation. The clueless intern is failing horribly as she is unable to work the seat belt or the oxygen mask correctly. No one really seems to notice (because who honestly pays attention to these things), except for the male flight attendants who are huddled in front cringing while watching her stumble helplessly through the presentation. This was just a weird scene to me. Why are the staff separated by gender, and why are the men just standing around watching the women work?
Anyways, the flight takes off smoothly and we suddenly see a guest appearance by Hong Suk Chun who is harassing our innocent intern. He’s complaining of a fever which happens to magically go away as long as she puts her hand atop his bald head. Choi Won swoops in and offers a hand, literally. He passive aggressively comments that Suk Chun doesn’t feel feverish, but perhaps he should press down harder still. Suk Chun declines and Choi Won walks off suavely. Meanwhile the intern stares at him as he walks away, probably already falling head over heels for our male lead.
Meanwhile, Ha Na is at the department store, dropping off some of the storage shoes that they need to sell. She spots her boyfriend, Ho Joon, shopping at a jewelry counter and she thinks back to her conversation with Choi Won. She skips off excitedly to the nearest restroom to touch up her makeup thinking that he’s preparing to pop the big question. While in the restroom, sure enough, she gets a call from Ho Joon asking to meet up so that they can talk. Ha Na cutely hangs up with some class A cringe worthy aegyo, which to be honest I’m not really into at all.
The two meet up at some sort of park, and her boyfriend drops the marriage news. That is…news of his plan to marry another girl. He’s apparently been cheating on her for a while now. And the “other woman” is currently 3 months pregnant. Ha Na is dumbfounded. She stands up and stumbles a bit on her heels. Ho Joon reaches out to steady her and she absolutely flips, warning him not to touch her. She staggers off looking like she’s sprained an ankle and he yells out that he would prefer if she cursed or hit him. She promptly turns around, sprained ankle cured, and comes back to stomp on his foot with her heels. Twice. She then half screams and half asks about the identity of the other woman.
We cut to Yoon Min Ji from the design team (presumably the other woman and the K-version of Lala) who is about to start a presentation to a group including both Ha Na and Ho Joon. She introduces her new shoe design, targeted for women in their 20s. It features thin glitter straps, an ankle ribbon, and buckle adornments. Everyone seems to love the design, but Ha Na eventually speaks up and shoots down the design. According to Ha Na, the shoes are too flashy, too expensive, and just plain not to her liking.
Back to Choi Won whose flight has finally landed, he’s walking home when he finds a drunk Ha Na sitting in front of his house. He’s confused and asks her what happened. She replies that they’re currently on a plane to Venice. Choi Won is still lost, and she continues, saying that the plane ends up crashing and they land on a deserted island. Quick flashback, and we see a younger Ha Na holding out a pink bag with a red heart to a younger Choi Won. This is accompanied by Choi Won’s voice over saying that they live on the island for the rest of their life. Back to present times, Ha Na asks Choi Won if he remembers, and they’re finally on the same page. He asks again what’s happened and if it has to do with Ho Joon. Ha Na then points at Choi Won, dejectedly blaming all of her problems on him. Choi Won is confused and back to square 1. Ha Na clarifies further, saying that she’s not only been dating shoddy men but additionally getting dumped cruelly by them, and it’s all Choi Won’s fault.
Another flashback and we see 18 year-old Ha Na chatting with her friend (the same girl who disappointingly watched Ha Na and Choi Won walk off in a previous flashback). The friend is grilling Ha Na for information about the circulating rumors of Choi Won liking Ha Na. He’s always buying her toast and they go everywhere together. Ha Na explains that they’ve grown up as neighbors and classmates, and that’s it. The friend digs a little more, asking if Ha Na has any feelings for him. Ha Na exasperatedly repeats for the nth time that there’s nothing there. Her friend lets out a sigh of relief and admits that she’s been crushing on Choi Won. She asks Ha Na for advice and gets Ha Na to agree to help set them up, all starting with relaying a pink bag with a red heart to Choi Won for her. And wow I got major de ja vu here. Then I realized I was thinking of Reply 1997.
The Reply 1997 flashbacks continue as we see Choi Won working on his old school computer from the 90s complete with the blue screen. He gets up to find a book from his bookshelf and ends up coming across a mystery book with an eye on the cover, titled “The Love of the One-Eyed Fish”. Choi Won becomes gloomy and takes to shooting some hoops to improve his mood. We see him repeating “It’s okay” and “You can do it” to himself as he plays.
He walks home after his basketball workout and finds Ha Na pacing back and forth in front of his house holding a pink bag with a red heart. She hands him the bag, and he reluctantly takes it after she forces it into his hands. She then asks him who he thinks it’s from using her aegyo voice. He cuts her off though, and says, we’re on a plane to Venice right now. It crashes and we land on a deserted island. Everyone else dies except the 2 of us. We live the rest of our lives on that island. And still I would never fall for you. Wow…talk about a harsh rejection. Li Da Ren would never. Ha Na looks hurt but maintains a poker face, saying that it’s a relief. It takes 2 seconds before the shock wears off and she gets angry, asking why that’s the case. He just gives her the bag back and enters his house. Ha Na is left yelling after him that she would never fall for him either and that the bag isn’t even from her.
We’re brought back to the present and Ha Na says that those words have cursed her. She asks once again why he can’t love her, what is it about her that makes her unlovable. She asks whether it’s because she’s too picky, too strong-willed, too mean, or just unlucky. All the while, following up with more bursts of aegyo. He asks again what is it that happened. She brushes him off though and just says that she’ll find a way to pay him back and walks to her house. A kid hiding off to the side witnesses the entire event. He whips out his phone, facebooks Ha Na, and finds out that her boyfriend is engaged to another woman all in less than a second. Ahh, the stalking powers of facebook.
Creepy stalker kid turns out to be Ha Na’s younger brother as we see him at the dinner table with Ha Na’s parents and Choi Won. The conversation topic moves to Ha Na, and Choi Won voices his concern that something must be going on. Younger brother pipes in, filling everyone in on what’s happened. Just then, Ha Na wanders listlessly into the kitchen to get a cup of water. They stop talking and awkwardly steal glances in her direction. She gets back to her room and beats up on her cloth punching bag. Later, we see Choi Won back at his house looking through pictures of the wedding photoshoot and upset that Ha Na didn’t tell him about it.
Next we see a series of scenes where Ha Na is frantically searching and begging to meet this mysterious Gu Yeong person who somehow screwed Ha Na over. Her aegyo lacks the persuasive pull she needs, and she ends up failing each time. We still know nothing about what’s going on here, and I’m at a loss for why this person is important enough to require all of this mysterious build up. I honestly don’t care about this subplot, and I can only see this becoming interesting if it turns out that Gu Yeong is Hana’s Ding Li Wei. Of course, this would require Gu Yeong to be male, and I think the subs referred to Gu Yeong as an actress. So either the subs aren’t accurate, or this adaptation decided to take a creative turn with the plot, lol.
Back at Ha Na’s workplace, there are marriage flyers plastered on the walls (talk about classy wedding invitations), and co-workers are filing down the halls to join in on the celebration. Apparently no one takes their work seriously seeing how the wedding is planned on a weekday and all the employees are ditching work to go to the ceremony. Ha Na’s subordinates are fretting about whether they should attend the ceremony or if they’d be betraying their boss. Ha Na walks in, and coolly sends them off to the wedding, saying that she’ll join them in a bit.
Ha Na is hesitating in front of the wedding location. Someone taps her on the shoulder and she turns around to find Choi Won who took off work to accompany Ha Na as her date to the wedding. He offers to play the role as her new boyfriend, and she rejects him but he grabs her hand and pulls her into the building.
Ha Na goes to greet and congratulate the bride on her own. Once she steps into the bride’s prep room, the air turns cold and everyone files out, leaving Ha Na and Min Ji in the room alone. One of the girls who left the room quickly calls Ho Joon, who is in the bathroom at the moment. She informs him that Ha Na has crashed the party, and he freaks out and assumes that she’s here to cause trouble. He begins bad mouthing Ha Na, and Choi Won who is also in the bathroom at the same time overhears it all.
Cut back to Ha Na and Min Ji, the two are in the midst of clearing the air. Min Ji explains that she only recently found out about Ha Na and Ho Joon’s dating history. She also expresses her respect for Ha Na and apologizes for stealing her boyfriend. Ha Na truthfully tells her that she doesn’t want to congratulate them. But explains that her previous remarks about Min Ji’s shoe design were honest and not out of spite.
Meanwhile, Choi Won has finally heard enough and the two get into a heated argument that leads them out of the bathroom and back to the main hall. Ha Na witnesses the fight quickly escalate and become physical, with Choi Won throwing the first punch. Ha Na rushes over and tries to break them up. Ho Joon finds out that the two came together and figures that Ha Na really was up to no good like he had concluded earlier. The bride rushes out as well and comes to the same conclusion about Ha Na once she sees the situation. The crowd that has now gathered starts talking in disapproving tones. Everyone then walks off to proceed with the wedding, and Ha Na is left behind apologizing while Choi Won stares at Ha Na looking apologetic.
Ha Na storms off, furious at Choi Won, and Choi Won trails meekly behind her. After some time walking like this, she finally turns around to vent her anger. She can’t believe that he embarrassed her like that in front of all of her co-workers. He feels like he was just watching out for her. After arguing, they fall into a tense silence that persists through their bus ride home.
On the bus ride though, Choi Won begins nodding off. Ha Na is sitting behind him and sees this, laughing to herself. They reach their houses and Ha Na calls out Choi Won’s name. He smiles and quickly wipes off all evidence before turning to face her with a pout. She thanks him for what he did since it did have a cathartic effect for her, and the two decide to grab some spicy chicken feet together.
During their snack, Choi Won hands her a present. It’s eye cream that Ha Na had previously requested him to buy for her. He says that she needs to meet a nice man to buy her the eye cream next time. She says that she will. And that next time she won’t be looking for a certain height or good looks, instead she just wants him to be a nice guy. The 2 get unnaturally close and Choi Won is practically paralyzed. He comes out of it though and pushes her away, joking that she smells like chicken feet. Choi Won suggests that they make a bet. That whoever marries first before 35 will get $500 from the other person. Dare devil Ha Na scoffs at the stakes and raises it to $5,000. Choi Won agrees, emphasizing that he’s got no reason to be scared since he’s plenty popular with women.
We suddenly enter another flashback to the 17 year-old them. Choi Won wins a popularity vote among their classmates. On her walk home, Ha Na is musing to herself, happy that her friend won. It suddenly begins to shower and she pulls out an umbrella from her backpack. She comes across Choi Won who is walking blankly in the rain. She runs over and covers the both of them with her umbrella. She rambles for a bit about the popularity vote before finally realizing that something isn’t right. Ha Na asks what’s the matter. After a pause, Choi Won resolutely repeats once again that he will never love her. Ha Na is taken by surprise. I don’t blame the girl. This came completely out of left field. Ok already, I think you drove the point home enough the first time around. Ha Na asks him “what?”, and can’t help but reveal a hurt expression.
——————————– END ——————————–
hess: I guess I’m not entirely sure what I came into this drama expecting. There were fair warnings from the K-production that they would be taking free creative liberty in their adaptation. So I was actually surprised to see several scenes play out almost identically to the TW version. Plus the basic premise and the side characters all align quite neatly. On the other hand, I’m also surprised at how different the personalities of the main characters are from the original.
They really scale back on the female lead’s stubborn, confident, and headstrong personality. You Qing was able to handle any situation at work with confidence and poise. Throughout episode 1, however, we’re constantly seeing Ha Na not quite as cool and collected. Not to mention, Ha Na’s aegyo being so over the top. And then we have the male lead who is even more unrecognizable. Choi Won is a pretty forward and assertive guy. He handled the issue with Suk Chun on the airplane with not so subtle passive aggression, he picked a fight with Ho Joon and threw the first punch, and he firmly stood his stance on never loving Ha Na (twice might I add). He’s nothing similar to the passive and sensitive nice guy who is one step away from being everyone’s doormat.
It’s an interesting shift in the dynamic of the relationship between the leads. First of all, the change due to the difference in personality of the characters. And second their relationship is one of best friends growing up together as neighbors as opposed to high school rivals who eventually became best friends during college. It seems like it won’t take Choi Won as long as Da Ren to confess since he’s not as passive. But then again, it seems like there’d be more to lose for Choi Won because his friendship with Ha Na runs deeper than You Qing and Da Ren’s- at least theoretically judging at a surface level.
In the K-adaptation, we lose the slice-of-life charm that ITWY had. I think a big reason behind ITWY’s success as well as it’s uniqueness is how real the characters and the relationships felt. In TTILY, the characters have been tweaked and certain scenes added in-making it less real and more drama-like. I find that with these changes, there’s nothing too special about this pilot episode that would have made this drama stand out to me.
Now, overall, despite what it might sound like, I’m not super disappointed in the drama or anything. I’d say it’s a relatively solid pilot. It’s just that the ITWY comparisons are bound to happen, and I happen to love the drama dearly. So far the TTILY has changed the parts of ITWY that I loved the most, and left me with a drama that’s not bad but also nothing special. However, I’ll continue to watch to see what new aspects TTILY brings to this drama and whether or not it wins me over.
So where do you guys stand? Anyone like TTILY more than ITWY thus far?