Netflix has been bringing its K-Drama A-game lately, with a huge selection of Korean dramas both classic and new. Has anyone else noticed that Lee Jong-Suk is in a LOT of them? We’re definitely not complaining – right now we’re SUPER into the ongoing Netflix original rom-com offering “Romance is a Bonus Book”, starring Lee Jong-Suk (obviously) and Lee Na-Young. Here’s why, at 10 episodes in, it’s getting our hearts all aflutter.
1. A mature romance that’s not afraid of reality
We love a rom-com as much as the next drama fan, but there’s only so many times you can watch the “teenage chaebol falls for poor misfit girl” plot play out. This drama echoes that storyline somewhat, but through the lens of adults. It touches on divorce, ageism, homelessness, grief, sex, being a single parent, and the myth of the friend zone, all while keeping its heart and its dignity – as well as its PG rating. And so far nobody has fallen on anyone’s lips or lost their memory, which is a good sign too.
2. Complex female characters
The typical K-drama female lead is often deliberately vapid so as to allow the viewer to project themselves onto her. That’s (thankfully) not the case here. In the Gyeoroo publishing house office, where much of the drama takes place, there are so many complex female characters bravely showing both their strengths and their flaws. Song Hae-Rin, a young editor, is intelligent and takes no crap, but hopeless in love. Go Yoo-Sun is a cold career woman struggling to deal with lost love, but also a dancing queen. Seo Young-A is hardworking and dedicated, but struggling with the breakdown of her marriage. Then there’s our heroine, Kang Dan-I (played by Lee Na-Young) – a divorced single mother struggling to break back into the job market. She’s determined and capable, but also compassionate and warm. It’s a welcome change from the pushover leading ladies of days gone by.
3. Lee Jong-Suk in snuggly winter sweaters
Come on, we know you love cute boys in turtlenecks as much as we do. Unless you’re Martina from Eat Your Kimchi, in which case… put down the scissors! “Romance is a Bonus Book” is set in winter, so it follows that snuggly clothes are a must. Lee Jong-Suk’s Cha Eun-Ho is a rich boy author and publisher and hence a snappy dresser. Is there anything more inviting than a pretty boy in a cable-knit to wedge his bookmark right into your heart? No there’s not, and that’s not a euphemism. Get your mind out of the gutter.
… Also he sometimes gets around in a fluffy bathrobe. You have been warned.
4. Wi Ha-Joon in snuggly winter sweaters
We all know nice guys (and second male leads) finish last, but we’re the real winners here when the second male lead is as attractive as fresh face Wi Ha-Joon in the role of book cover artist Ji Seo-Joon. Wi Ha-Joon is a fox – all strong masculine lines to contrast against Lee Jong-Suk’s flower boy image – and we might be a little obsessed. Plus, if the plot continues the way it’s going he might not lose out so bad after all… (no spoilers!)
5. New episodes on Sundays AND Mondays
Oh Korea, we are grateful for your weird television schedules! We know how frustrating it can be to have to wait a whole week for new episodes when we’re living in the age of the Netflix binge. Sunday AND Monday releases for Romance is a Bonus Book mean you can have two hits of your K-drama drug each week, or save them up for a movie-length double feature.
Whether you’re ready to jump in and catch up on the first ten episodes, saving them for a whole-series binge-watch later or keeping up week-to-week like me, we’d love to know what you think of “Romance is a Bonus Book”! Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.