Writer Review – Jung Hyun Jung – Love her or Leave her?

As I watch more and more dramas I’m seeing I have two primary drivers for selecting to watch a drama or not – the acting leads or the writer. I’m becoming more and more aware of the writer, and their skills in crafting stories that are to my liking. Writers have certain traits they utilize in every series they write.

For my first writer review, I’ll examine Jung Hyun Jung’s writing style and whether or not she resonates with me. Do I love her and watch her next series or do I leave her and avoid her next series?
First her body of work:
Discovery of Love (DOR) | KBS2 | 2014 | 16 episodes – Watched this series to completion (see review)
I Need Romance 3 (INR3) | tvN | 2014 | 16 episodes – Watched this series to completion
I Need Romance 2 (INR2) | tvN | 2012 | 16 episodes – Watched this series to completion (see review)
I Need Romance | tvN | 2011 | 16 episodes – Did not watch this series to completion
I Love You | SBS | 2008 – Have not watched
Love Can’t Wait | MBC | 2006 – Have not watched
Three Leaf Clover | SBS | 2005 – Have not watched
As you see, I am not familiar with her early body of work. I have watched her last 3 series.
Jung Hyun Jung’s “traits”:
1. Past love relationships will trump a current relationship
2. One of the male leads will be unbelievably patient and kind
3. Female lead will be prickly, lacking self awareness, and wounded
4. Close friends
5. Stretch the story in the final third of the series. There are storylines that should be wrapped up, but they are stretched to accommodate the number of episodes in the series.
Does Jung Hyun Jung really utilize these “traits” each series?

Jung Hyun Jung
“Traits”
DOR INR3 INR2

Past Love

Lead Male Second Male Lead Male
Unrealistic Male Lead Male Lead Male Second Male
Prickly Female Lead Female Lead Female Lead Female
Close Friends 2 close friends 3 co-workers 2 close friends
Stretch Story 12-16 14-16 14-16

Details:
Past Love
DOR: Male lead Tae Ha (Eric) was the past love for the female lead. Extensive flashbacks throughout the series established their past viability as a couple. It was Tae Ha’s evolution from selfish to caring that earned consideration for the leading lady to trust him again.
INR3: Granted this past relationship is a more of a stretch, second lead Tae Yoon (Nam Goong Min) is the past boyfriend of rival female Se Ryung (Wang Ji Won). The female lead Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) dates Tae Yoon on the rebound and eventually realizes he is not the man for her.
INR2: Male lead Seok Hyun (Lee Jin Wook) was the past love and current on/off hook-up for female lead Yeol Mae (Jung Yi Mi). He has avoided marriage even though she desperately wanted even. Fed up, she moves on until the male lead realizes he cannot live without and entreats her to return to him.
Unrealistic Male
DOR: Male lead Tae Ha (Eric) evolved from selfish to caring and patiently waited for the leading lady to decide if she was willing to take a chance on him. At one point, he completely gives up on her, allowing her to make her decision unencumbered by any expectations from him. Who does that?
INR3: Male lead Wan (Sung Joon) is supportive of the female lead’s needs to date the second male and explore that relationship that she has fantasizes about a long period of time. In general, Wan put up with ANYTHING the female lead did. Who does that?
INR2: Second male lead Ji Hoon (Kim Ji Suk) was the fantasy rebound man for our female lead as she dusted her heart of from the refusal to marry by the male lead. Ji Hoon was simply too good to be true. He offered the female lead a relationship with someone that openly reciprocated her feelings and was unbelievably supportive.
Prickly Female
DOR: Yeo Reum (Jung Yi Mi) was mercurial Yeo Reum and a difficult character to love, even like. She had her own way. Control in a relationship was important to her. Of the three shows, Yeo Reum is right in the middle for likability.
INR3: Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) was brittle, did not understand herself, and unlikable. Of the three shows, Jooe Yeon was the most unlikable.
INR2: Yeol Mae (Jung Yi Mi) talked – a lot, was forgetful, selfish but loyal. Yeol Mae was never shy about expressing herself. Of the three shows, Yeol Mae was the most likable. She was genuinely torn between her past love and new love. Hurting these men, hurt her.

Close Friends
DOR: Joon Ho (Yoon Hyun Min) and Yoon Sol (Kim Seul Gi) qualified. Of the three shows, these two friends were the most interesting as they inched towards romance with each other during the series.
INR3: The leading lady was so prickly that her 3 co workers counted as her friends. Lee Min Jung (Park Hyo Joo) was the closest coworker and more of a friend.
INR2:
Series reviews where I comment directly on Jung Hyun Jung’s writing:
Discovery of Romance – The writer, Jung Hyun Jung, did not have a strong enough story for 16 episodes and denied viewers the star crossed pairing until the last 2 minutes of the show. Both of these points irritate me greatly. Hyun Jung has a pattern of a) prickly women leads, Yeo Reum qualified; b) unrealistic and kind guys, Ta Ha qualified; c) vital close friends, Joon Ho and Yoon Sol qualified; and d) past loves trumping new or current loves, Ta ha and Yeo Reum were past loves to each other. Plot point fail – It was silly that Tae Ha and Yeo Reum dated in the past was a big secret everyone kept from Ha Jin. I’m fine with Hyun Jung’s self-references in the story, most writers do not insert self promotion in their stories. She took the opportunity to do so by referencing a book titled “Discovery of Romance” with the reveal that the writer character Jang wrote the book and performed the interviews woven into each episode. That was smart.

I Need Romance 2012 – Story line was not substantial from beginning to end. This series definitely ebbed and flowed from stronger to weaker to stronger episodes. The writer, Jung Hyun Jung, has penned the I Need Romance trilogy (I Need Romance, I Need Romance 2012, and I Need Romance 3). The first in the trilogy, I Need Romance, had characters that did not resonate with me. I could not get into the show and did not watch to completion. The third in the trilogy, I Need Romance 3, was more enjoyable and also had an unbelievably patient and kind male character, similar to Ji Hoon in this series.

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/.

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