Aw, Demon Lord Steve, He Who Rules Over Drama Romance: how did you know it was my birthday? And you got me the gift of utter cuteness between Dong-ha and Ji-yeon? It’s just what I wanted! Oh, and I see you got the fruit basket I sent.
Witch’s Romance has drawn to a close, having ended its 16-episode run on Wednesday. It did very well for a cable drama, managing to draw between 1.5-2% ratings almost every episode. The last four episodes were easily the strongest arc of the show and featured some of its best moments — Ji-yeon and Dong-ha, with some help, manage to start dating and proceed to be the cutest thing since baby sloths. Hey, I said strongest, not most complex.
These last four episodes really brought the story full circle; it succeeded in bringing back the fun, the sexiness, and Ji-yeon’s witch tendencies. Never has an audience been so happy to see a character turn into a bitch. It was cathartic to see Ji-yeon snap out of the trance Shi-hoon put her in. It almost felt like episodes 6-12 never happened in the first place. And honestly, that’s the only mark against Witch’s Romance.
After all, seven episodes is a huge part of this drama’s runtime — 40% to be exact. 40% of the time spent watching this drama is a waste. 40% of this story is utterly irrelevant to the drama as a whole. Shi-hoon’s return had no real effect on Ji-yeon; she ended up in the same place she was when he first came back. The only thing Shi-hoon did was put an artificial distance between her and Dong-ha. If Shi-hoon had shown up two weeks later, we would’ve been treated to his attempts to deal with the fact that his failure to communicate led to the love of his life starting a relationship with a younger, hotter, man. On second thought, that sounds hilarious. Why couldn’t we have had that instead?
Other than the Shi-hoon debacle, Witch’s Romance was wonderfully well done. It was flirty and fun, and it stayed that way for the most part. What really made it shine, though, was the characters and the relationships they formed. Not just Ji-yeon and Dong-ha, but the friendships and bonds they had with everyone else. Writers Ban Ki-ri and Lee Sun-jung managed to do something very rare with this drama– while Ji-yeon and Dong-ha’s relationship was spotlighted the most, it was not the most important. They gave equal respect and weight to every relationship shown, from Ji-yeon’s love life to her underlings bonding.
The friendships in particular stand out as being very realistic. Na-rae and Ji-yeon are each other’s best, oldest and only friends. This is something that seems odd when comparing Na-rae’s good temper and constant sense of cheer to Ji-yeon’s blunt agression. But instead of clashing with each other, the besties complement each other. Ji-yeon is blunt and to the point, often telling Na-rae things that she needs to hear, but her doting husband won’t tell her. Ji-yeon’s also fiercely protective of her friend, sticking up for her at all costs, even when it’s not appreciated. I.e., Ji-yeon’s dislike for Na-rae’s husband because she thinks her friend deserves nothing less than Prince Charming, despite the fact that Na-rae herself thinks Min-goo is Prince Charming.
Na-rae, on the other hand, makes sure that Ji-yeon doesn’t end up lost in her own cynicism. She provides the positive thoughts to Ji-yeon’s harsh practicality. She’s the one who really forces Ji-yeon to look at her life and make risky choices, pointing out that Ji-yeon is content, not happy. Na-rae wants her best friend to have the same happiness she does, and she isn’t particular about how she gets that way. When Ji-yeon panics about almost sleeping with a guy 14 years younger than her, Na-rae’s only reaction is “14 years younger? Niiiice.” In fact, Na-rae and Min-goo are the most ardent members of Team Dong-ha in the entire show. Ji-yeon keeps Na-rae grounded, while Na-rae makes Ji-yeon look at the bright side of everything.
Unlike Ji-yeon’s opposites attract best friend, Dong-ha and Soo-chul are two peas in a pod. They’re both good guys who didn’t belong in their families. Soo-chul and Dong-ha are both glib ladies men until they happen to fall in love– and they do so with someone outside their usual type. Dong-ha preferred gentle girls and ended up with Ji-yeon the witch. Soo-chul preferred glamorous girly-girls, but fell for the tough and simple Eun-chae. They have conversations where they don’t actually talk to each other, but they’re always listening and will do strange and ridiculous things to help each other out.
Dong-ha and Ji-yeon as a couple is the absolute best thing ever. When they get together, they don’t engage in drama or jealousy. Everything is seen as an opportunity for bonding or fun. They also have no qualms about just going for what they want. The best example come from the realization that they’ve been together for a few weeks and haven’t had sex. Not one to wait for that special moment, Dong-ha goes to her place to drink, pushing for beer in an attempt to recreate the events of episode 2. Ji-yeon is completely on the same page, going as far to shake every can of beer in her apartment so they can have another overflow-beer kiss. It’s hot, hilarious, and real.
There’s such a feeling of warmth that comes from Witch’s Romance. There’s no real anger or dislike among anyone. It’s so refreshing to see a show where there’s no antagonist, where misunderstandings aren’t tolerated, where everyone just gets along. Sure, there are rivalries, but nothing serious. Eun-chae and Ri-ji may have a small spat over Soo-chul, but it doesn’t stop them from being friendly. And of course, there’s the fact that Ji-yeon, despite being downright terrifying, is still loved by her staff. She’s harsh, but still takes the time to mentor the younger writers. They may not like her, but they do love her, which is heartwarming in and of itself.
Witch’s Romance isn’t perfect by a long shot, but it’s one of the best dramas of the year. It’s fun and zippy, definitely worth checking out if you like rom-coms. Your thoughts, readers, now that you’ve seen the whole thing?
(Images via tvN)