Ho Goo’s Love is a cute, little drama with adorable characters populating its world. It’s darker than expected and cuter than expected. This is an amusing dichotomy but this ride is exceptionally heart-warming.
The story revolves around Ho Goo, a very kind-hearted, naïve, shy, a bit timid young man who never had any girlfriend. Do Hee is the national swimming champion. He suddenly meets his first love, Do Hee, one day and how his life takes a different turn after that, makes up the rest of the show.
Bless the person who suggested the new wave of drama heroes we are getting these days. Ho Goo is a sweet, considerate and caring person who respects Do Hee and her decisions. We also see that he can be pretty angry too at certain points. Yes, he is not flawless as he misunderstands certain things and also chases her without her knowledge but that’s because he doesn’t express what is in his heart openly and that leads him to make his own assumptions. I love the way he wholeheartedly embraces the new situation that arrives in his life, after meeting a pregnant Do Hee, giving his all for the love he has for the baby and his mom. Just look at the scenes of Ho goo and the baby, they are the cutest beings ever! And what can be more beautiful than sleeping Hoo Goo and baby, side by side. Do Hee is written with depth — she is the modern woman who is smart, self-dependent, confident. Initially we might misunderstand her into thinking that she is the typical mean girl who would not give a damn about a person like Ho Goo. But one by one, we see more layers to her character and we see how sweet and vulnerable she is. She is a very sensible and understanding girl and one of the few people who acknowledge the goodness in Ho Goo. I love how she comes out as a winner from the adversities she faced in life, all with determination and courage. The main couple shares a very different dynamics from what we normally see. The scenes where both of them spend time with each other while taking care of the baby — they are crafted lovingly and are an adorable sight. It was so much gratifying to see that both of them were each other’s first love. Their back story was as sweet as the present one. We also have another main player in the drama — Byun Kang Chul. I can bet my bottom dollar that you’ll hate him with the heat of thousand suns after meeting him. But then we see that he’s actually a lonely person without any friends who spent all his life in studies and preparations to become a successful person. His controlling parents had a lot to do with it. He’s actually a marshmallow from inside as we see how he allows (though reluctantly at first) Do Hee and her child to stay at his home and then taking care of them. He also starts finding enjoyment with others as he lives with more people surrounding him. Due to a mistaken identity scenario, he thinks that he is in love with Ho Goo, but it’s actually the person he spent his memorable day with during his high school year. That person is Ho goo’s twin sister Ho Kyung. I liked her a lot as she is bold, sassy and badass who loves to wear tracksuits at home only to doll up when she goes out, just like every one of us. I would have appreciated if she took it as a natural thing instead of hiding herself because she thinks she looks ugly without make-up. That I didn’t like because I feel that all of us try to remain comfortable at home and doing make-up does not change us, it only is one of the accessories which we use to feel good. But I love how she is a constant supporter of Ho goo and gives him life lessons from time to time, which is a mutual thing between these two. We see two kind of parents in this show who are as different from each other as chalk from cheese. Ho Goo’s parents are infused with so much warmth and affection and give full freedom to their children to make their decisions and respect it. On the other hand, Kang Chul’s parents are stubborn, controlling, rude. But they also give way to lots of funny scenes because of their very nature. I may sound like a broken record but tvN knows how to warm the cockles of our hearts through its portrayal of friendships. Here also the trio of friends including Ho Goo are a lot of fun and each and every scene featuring them gives us laugh out loud moments. Ho Goo’s Love has characters that strike an immediate bond with the viewers. It gives each and every character to stand out instead of just being there as a wallpaper. Like Do Hee’s coach and Kang Chul’s secretary who is also Ho Kyung’s best friend. I love that this drama never shows Ho goo as a pitiful person. Instead, every frame speaks to us about how wonderful it is to be like him. It talks about the fact that being different is not weird or a bad thing. The drama has a richly layered script that unveils itself gradually without giving away all of its contents and motivations in one go. It loves to change our perceptions about every one of its characters, just like what happens in real life. We have our first impressions but it’s with time that we come to know about the full picture. All the scenes with the baby are a gem and how cute is his voice. I love that the drama has realness in its treatment, especially when it shows Ho Goo’s family and home. There are many scenes which are really touching and heartfelt and romantic involving our main couple — like that sea beach moments or the lift scene of confession or all their high school bits. I also loved the small family that was formed between Ho Goo, Do Hee and Kang Chul. The pace of the show is unhurried. There are many funny scenes that either make you smile or laugh. The other side of drama is crazy where we see elaborate fantasy sequences and also slapstick comedy. The show tackles many serious issues like single motherhood, identifying one’s sexuality and rape. It handles these topics with sensitivity, although it’s debatable how much it succeeds to reach the satisfactory conclusion to these. Anyway, kudos to the drama for at least taking up these themes at its core. Let’s talk about my disappointments. The most comes from Kang Chul’s arc. It’s not like I wanted him to remain gay or anything because I always believed that he was in love with only the person who was in his memory, whether a girl or a boy. And it’s not like he showed interest in anyone else. But the way they concluded seemed a bit rushed. What was shown in last few episodes should have been covered a bit earlier — spending more time with Ho Kyung and realising liking towards her, but they started it too late to make it completely satisfying. I wanted that ending but it should have been done in a more proper manner. Another thing was how Do Hee’s harassment case was treated. It might be realistic but it was disappointing nevertheless as again,, less time was given to it. Still, it’s commendable that Ho goo’s Love spoke about issues that remain almost non-existent in dramaland. The drama is full of compelling performances. I cannot imagine any other actor playing Ho goo other than Choi Woo Shik. He is ADORABLE and provides the right amount of warmth and dignity to this role. He effectively makes Ho Goo a flesh and blood character and plays it endearingly, proving that he can lead a drama by himself. UEE gives a nice, understated performance, skillfully showing confidence as well as vulnerability. The leads have a charming chemistry. Im Seul Ong embraces his character with full devotion and shows off good acting skills in this slightly eccentric role. He perfectly shows off the frustrations and dilemmas of Kang Chul. Lee Soo Kyung is lovely and shows good comic skills. The drama is full of awesome supporting cast. I especially loved Ho Goo’s father and his friends. The whole cast has a fabulous camaraderie.
Bottomline: Ho Goo’s Love is an adorable show which is tooth-rottingly sweet, simultaneously tackling dark themes but peppered with tenderness from start to finish.