The first thing that I noticed when I started Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (also, Something In The Rain) was its look: subtle, washed with muted colours, soft. There is a distinct old school vibe in the execution. I’m glad the show maintained this to the end, albeit a few exceptions. It’s a drama that will surely make one swoon and also make one annoyed. And yes, it successfully transports us to a rainy, misty season, giving a ‘lazy, lying in bed and listening to radio’ feel which I really loved.
This is a love story between a working woman in her 30s (Yoon Jin Ah) and a younger guy (Seo Joon Hee, also in his 30s) who is also her best friend’s brother. The show is about their dating phase and the obstacles they face to reach the happily ever after. Some workplace plot also makes up the story.
I’m not a fan of stories where main characters fall in love at lightning speed. I can still take that in movies but in my dramas and TV, I want that slow build up so that I can fully get on-board the love train. Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food has the hero fall in love instantly just because he finds Jin Ah pretty. Now, I can get the infatuation or attraction if you find someone charming but then the level of intensity he shows is just not that convincing when you consider the start of his love. As for Jin Ah, I did enjoy how she finally falls for him after initially thinking of him only as her friend’s little brother. That did make me giddy (Especially the hand holding scene under the table of a pub.) Another downside to such fast track love is that you get bored with too much sweetness and cheese in the romantic scenes and they look repetitive.
The main struggle for our couple comes in the form of Jin Ah’s mother. Surprisingly, it is not the age factor that plays the prime role but Joon Hee’s family status even when he is doing a decent job professionally. The mom character is super annoying due to her rudeness and stubbornness. I just could not understand her basis for the way she acted at various points of the drama. Plus, the way the conflict is resolved, if you can call it that, is also not compelling.
Jin Ah and Joon Hee are not too good at being honest in their relationship. After the lovey-dovey phase and during that too, there is a lack of understanding and communication between the two. Their separation during last few episodes and arguments didn’t hold much water. Especially I didn’t like Jin Ah much as she never learns from her mistakes, is very impulsive and is not mature. She is also quite weak, crying at a drop of hat. Joon Hee is also too intense, short-tempered and possessive in some parts.
Then there is the case of Jin Ah’s ex-boyfriend. He looks too much like a stock villain in contrast to the realness the drama wants to show. I do get that there are abusive relationships but he just was too over-the-top. The workplace harassment puts up an important issue in forefront but then leaves it more or less open. Nothing changes for the main people in the wrong but Jin Ah herself gets a transfer — so disappointing.
The length of the episodes is very long with speed slower than snail, consisting of unnecessary paused moments, elongated moments and long flashbacks with original pace and length. I wish they had used such duration for giving some weight to character growth and satisfactory conflict resolution.
I did like the friendship between Jin Ah and her bestie Kyung Sun, as well as how Jin Ah’s brother is on the couple’s team. I liked the soundtrack which radiates feelings of rain, stillness and peace but it’s overused in some places. I also loved Jin Ah’s office colleague Geum Bo Ra, who has the guts, spunk and sense of humour. I liked her arc and the fact that she finally quit her job and started doing something of her own.
Acting wise, Jung Hae In is just so adorable! His smile and his romantic gestures are simply swoonworthy. Son Ye Jin is also charming but as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t like the role much. The leads have a comfortable chemistry and their romantic scenes were cute and swoony. Jang So Yun is brilliant, as is her character.
In the end, Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food is both good and bad, but unsatisfactory mostly.
My Rating: 7 out of 10