I know I stopped halfway through with the episode reviews but to be frank, I figured out that this was a drama to watch, not to criticize or discuss or debate. Just to watch and enjoy. And maybe swoon while you can. And have ovary explosions. And nosebleeds. Okay, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. *brushes ruffles down*
The Time We Were Not In Love features one common trope in kdramas- best friends who falls in love. This drama didn’t dig deeper into emotions or angst, and while that’s a good thing for some, some people would rather enjoy the T-version of it featuring the Taiwanese It couple, Bolin Chen and Ariel Lin and their hit drama In Time With You. TTWWNIL wasn’t a hit. Neither was it well received nor did it gain goof percentages. Buy one fact is, it had a ridiculously adorable couple with really good chemistry and had a fashionista heroine and an amazing hero who anybody would go gaga over. It wasn’t rocket science that Lee Jin Wook would do amazing in this portrayal. He does good in any character. I’m a huge fan of LJW so that might be my bias talking.
Irrelevant to that, the plot was a bit too long and it took 17 years and 14 episodes for our heroine to fall in love with her best friend, but there’s a saying called ‘all’s well that ends well’, right? I think that applies here. The last two episodes were all fluff and I think our hero deserved that fluff. He’d been pining for her toooooo long. Shall we get onto the story then?
Alrighty, so here they are Oh Hana (Ha Ji Won) and Choi Won (Lee Jin Wook), best friends in the strictest sense. Hana is the marketing manager of Tandy, a shoe company with amazing sales and Won was a flight attendant at Aria Airlines. Won was living with his cousin sister, Choi Mi Hyang ( Jin Kyung), who is a senior at Aria Airlines and is relatable as a fangirling ahjumma. I loved this character so much. Hana has a slacker younger brother, Oh Dae Bok and a pair of adorable parents who prefer Won as a son-in-law more than any other human being.
I love the chemistry Hana and Won have with each other. They argue, hug and even be mad at each other. There is a confidence between each other and a chemistry that no other could topple. Add to that the fact that they’d been best friends for 17 fricking years. No one could come between this package – a running gag with Hana meaning ‘one’ in Korean and Won being pronounced as ‘one’- making them 1 and 1 as in buy 1 and get 1 free- a trope which makes it a bit hard to date with the other ‘one’ dragging themselves along with the date. I love the fact that they are a packaged deal. If you want Hana you’ll have to accept the cute buggy bear with the sarcastic fetish too. If you want Won, you’ll have to accept the adorable fashionista with shoe nightmares. They can never be apart- which is a huge reason why their romances with other people don’t get any further than just a date or two. I also loved any conversations these two had. It was like they were still in high school, but there was just a tint on two adults talking. Just a tint. Lol. They matched each other’s wit anyway.
But then it turns out that Won has always been in love with Hana, without her knowing. Its hard having a one-sided love for 17 years, keep apart the fact that you are with that person the whole time and that she’s not returning your feelings at all. I feel for Won and I think this is the reason which made me fall for him, his one-sided love. The way he looked at her so lovingly just had my toes curl up. There was that much love in those eyes. But he kept mum for years and I kept wondering when he would profess his love. He didn’t. Not for a long time. But I think it would go in a wholly different path if he knew that Hana has been secretly in love with him too all these years….
Shit happened, in the form of second leads, Cha Seo Hoo, Hana’s exboyfriend who she had a huge history with and who had a huge grudge against Won who he had an inkling of being in love with her, and Lee So Eun (Choi So Hyun) a younger colleague of Won who was harmless with her never ending (literally, for all 16 episodes!) crush on Won. So Eun was harmless, but I just hated her. A bit, maybe? Seo Hoo was a whole new level of crazy, with a sky high attitude and who has no clue that Hana basically hated to be controlled. Won gave her freedom and Seo Hoo gave her a passionate love but with a begrudging feeling. Seo Hoo was a Hateable pianist if there ever was one.
After so much stalling after useless romances and jilted weddings, Hana finds her true soulmate in Won and when that happens, she doesn’t hold back her feelings. Won is the happiest in the world when Hana kisses him. When asked when she grew to love him, he answers that she loved him from the first time they accidentally kissed, back in high school. Won has written a script about their would be could be love story and that made Hana realize that the feelings she has for Won was actually love.
After so much going on on both ends, the happy ending is deserved to these friendbirds who meant everything to each other. No matter if there are hidden feelings for each other, they were actually best friends who they could count on. When Won’s mother left him Hana was there to comfort him. When Hana’s miscellaneous romances hit the waves, he was there to comfort her. They were there as a shoulder to cry on, as a friend to drink with, as a person to have full faith of and finally as a partner in their life. A soulmate. A person who knew the inner you and didn’t criticize or judge you. They were best friends and that’s why they matched each other. For seventeen years they were best friends, but for the rest of their lives, they are going to be soulmates, lovers.
The story ends on a high note, with the two getting married and announcing to Hana’s parents that they are pregnant in fact. A love story like no other? Nobody expected that, but a sizzling love story? Yes, definitely. Add to that that there is a hot hero and an adorable heroine. I loved this drama and I will definitely miss it. I might watch it again and again just to relieve the good old days. And even get reminded that this is how friends are like.
I will also look forward for another collaboration with these two. Everybody with me now, 1+1 FTW!
The Time We Finally Learned That We Were Definitely In Love: Picture Gallery
Hana and her best friend, Na Young
When Won’s romantic attempts became a knock on the head. Literally.
The lovebirds finally getting it on
And finally, the happy couple.