My Not-So-Secret Romance With ‘My Secret Romance’

A Korean drama about a nutritionist making meals for her impossible-to-please boss is taking over my entire life.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

Well, I’m spiraling. More than usual, anyway.

When I agreed to review the first episode of the new OCN/DramaFever Korean drama My Secret Romance, primarily because the lead actress is a member of the girl group Secret, I didn’t think I would actually keep up with the hour-long episodes week after week. Advancing from basic to semi-knowledgable K-pop stan over the past few years, especially as an outsider to the culture, is a full-time job as is.

To quote Janet: I guess I shoulda known better.

After binging both the fifth and sixth episodes this evening — and pounding down some jjamppong while watching, because I now cannot stop eating (even more) Korean food thanks to this damn cuisine-centric show — it’s become quite clear to me now that I’m in it for the long haul.

My Secret Romance is basically about a lonely rich kid exacting his revenge on a former one night stand who ditched him the next morning in a panic and unwittingly became his personal nutritionist years later — a sweet girl carrying a whole lot of emotional baggage after being bullied in school because her mom did an adult film, no less! — by forcing her to cook for him constantly. Except, um, she sort of likes this 50 Shades of Three Meals a Day setup, and she gets the nervous hiccups every time he gets close and/or she falls on his crotch. (Also, how does that keep happening?)

It’s Stockholm Syndrome with cucumber kimchi. Why put myself through this?

It might be the fact that I’ve possibly-maybe fallen in love with the handsome, intimidatingly confident Jin-wook — played by Sung Hoon — despite his bratty behavior, rough manhandling and the extremely questionable, stalker-like decision to keep a pair of bra inserts inside a jewelry box for years.

It might also be that Nutritionist Yoo-mi — otherwise known as Secret K-Pop Kween Song Ji-eun — is a joy to watch in all her pouty, pretty, if not frequently frazzled glory. (That, and her prepared meals are becoming progressively cuter every week.)

And who can forget poor, adorable Hyun-tae? Um, Yoo-mi, evidently. Yoo-mi’s busy friend-zoning a perfectly good boyfriend by her side this whole time. Or is she?

Frankly, I have no idea if My Secret Romance is even a “good” show by K-drama standards, given that this is my first series. I don’t even know if I’m supposed to be rooting for these two to work out in the end, given the frat-like hazing that Jin-wook is putting sweet, sweet Yoo-mi through.

But I’m now fully invested in Yoo-mi’s inner turmoil. I let out an actual gasp when he said he doesn’t need her to prepare his meals anymore at the end of this latest episode. WELL, THEN WHO IS GOING TO PREPARE YOUR DAILY HEALTHY MEALS, JIN-WOOK? Not that thirsty newscaster Joo Hye-ri, that’s for sure.

And after what Hye-ri did at that interview taping, ordering the food when she knew damn well that lunch was already being prepared by Yoo-mi in the kitchen? I’ve never felt so devastated as I did watching an entire film crew opt for the delivery and ignore those lovingly prepared meals.

Shattered by untouched salad.

Basically, I’m going to gain 600 pounds stress-eating while watching this young woman prepare three (sometimes illness-inducing) meals a day for one eternally unsatisfied customer with an unhealthy crush (and a real sick way of showing it), unsure whether I want them to sweep the sandwiches off the desk and bang already or for her to go full-on Audition on his ass. Maybe both? I think both.

The show’s got genuine emotion and plenty of on-screen chemistry, but it’s shady dialogue like this right here that really makes it all worth it.

It’s not just about watching My Secret Romance at this point either, of course: the original songs recorded for the soundtrack are great, including “Same,” sung sweetly by Song Ji-eun and Sung Hoon, and “Love Song.”

If you’d like to join me in My Secret Cult, My Secret Romance is available on Viki. (Yes, there are subtitles.) If you’re following the show already, let me know please! I’m fairly certain I’m screaming into the void in my corner of the Internet — but I’m happy to be proven wrong.

Bon appetit, baby.

Photo credit: Viki

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