First Impressions & Unfiltered Thoughts: Romance Is A Bonus Book

Netflix has begun airing the highly anticipated Lee Jong Suk drama, Romance Is A Bonus Book.  Since Lee Jong Suk will be beginning his military service soon, it’s time to start preparing for his absence.  Read on to see if the Fangirls think this drama will carry us through until his return or if we will be sticking to repeat viewings of our Lee Jong Suk favorites.


MiataMama:  A divorced, down-on-her-luck, single mom begins working at a publishing company, where her childhood best friend is the successful chief editor.  Sounds like an office romance with a dash of comedy, right?!  That’s what I was expecting when I settled in to watch the first 4 episodes.  What I got was a very slow-paced storyline, with a couple of comedic bits randomly interjected, and a whole LOT of emotional baggage to wade through.  This was not the uplifting and fluffy rom-com I was excitedly anticipating.   

Clkytta: I feel like we’ve had a bit of a bait-and-switch. The first episode was kind of fun and interesting, and it sets up the friendship of the OTP. Then it all goes downhill from there. We go from a character who is brave enough to run away from her wedding to a character who has hit rock bottom so hard she’s shoeless. She’s supposed to be plucky, but then they keep reminding us that she’s old with zero prospects.

Cast of Characters

MiataMama:  I consider myself a pretty big LJS fan, as I’ve watched a majority of his dramas (even toughing it out all the way through Doctor Stranger).  So I really planned on loving him in this drama too.  However, his character, Cha Eun Ho, has just been so… so… boring.  And the female lead Kang Da Ni, played by Lee Na Young, has fallen rather flat for me as well.  I feel her character was supposed to be spunky, with a dash of ‘wisdom of years’ thrown in.  But instead she just comes across as tired and kind of clueless.  I actually was more excited to see some familiar supporting cast faces – Kim Tae Woo, Kim Sun Young, Jo Han Chul, and Kang Ki Doong.  Sad to say, I would likely keep watching for their interactions at the office, rather than the main story line.    

Clkytta: Lee Jong Suk is trying hard in this role, but his character is all over the place. They have his character hyper-successful with multiple important positions such as a writer, a professor, and he’s running a publishing house. They should have just picked one and focused on that. Cha Eun Ho has nothing interesting about him beyond his titles so far–he’s just really successful and has a long-standing crush on his noona.

Then you have Lee Na Young, the woman who won Won Bin’s heart and hand, a woman of many charms. Her character Kang Dan Ni is completely uninteresting. She’s got zero spark. Zero. She’s supposed to be plucky and an underdog, but she comes across as beaten down and a doormat. They haven’t given this character a single thing of her own and after three episodes of her getting shoved back into the background, I’m not interested in finding out more.


MiataMama:  Yawn.  The Fangirls know that Noona romances are not my thing, so unfortunately that’s already one strike for me.  While OTP backstory is sweet, their current relationship is that of siblings, so no sparks as of yet.  Meanwhile, newbie actor Wi Ha Joon, who plays the second lead Ji Seo Joon (and his adorable golden retriever), have managed to give me SLS already!  

Clkytta: I am not feeling this OTP at all. I love Noona romances, love them, love them! I’m just not feeling this one. It’s not the cast. I blame the writing. The cast is all very talented, but the writing is not helping them one bit. I’m with MiataMama on this one, they have more of a sibling relationship with zero chemistry. How do you write a romance with Lee Jong Suk and fail to convince me that there is any chemistry between the leads? The man oozes chemistry just by breathing!

Overall Impression

MiataMama: Too slow, too much baggage and at this point I don’t feel there’s going to be enough character growth to make this a worthwhile watch.  I’d rather be re-watching one of my Lee Jong Suk favorites (W: Two Worlds or While You Were Sleeping) instead. 

Clkytta: The writing just isn’t strong enough to keep my attention. It’s a total waste of a good cast. They have spent too much time setting Da Ni up as an outdated character whom everyone walks all over and I’m not even interested to find out how they will overcome that. She’s the main character and everyone else in the drama is more interesting than she is.

Will We Continue Watching?

MiataMama: As much as it kills me to say this (sorry LJS!), I won’t be continuing.  There was a hint of a mystery towards the end of episode four that momentarily intrigued me, and I wondered if I should keep going.  But overall, I found myself wishing I had used my precious drama watching time more wisely.

Clkytta: Nope. I gave it a good three episodes and I’m bored stiff. Not even Lee Jong Suk’s handsome face and smirks can keep me interested. I know some of the other fangirls weren’t watching because they don’t like this writer’s style and I feel like I should have done the same.

Until the next time-


The Fangirls

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

5 thoughts on “First Impressions & Unfiltered Thoughts: Romance Is A Bonus Book

  1. I tried more than once and can’t make it through the first episode. I don’t like it when writers bully a character, kick her when she’s down, and then toss her high heel in the middle of the street.

  2. Very interesting and diverse reactions to this drama.. This is actually one that my husband will sit down and watch with me. He even laughs..

    I have enjoyed what I have seen so far. They are just slowly unwrapping the story.

    I found it interesting that they included a small side of a lesbian couple…kind of a bold move for a Kdrama.

    I am staying optimistic!

    • Okay, so are they being respectful to the lesbian couple? If so, I may have to rethink my opinion of this drama (full disclosure, I only made it through half of episode 1). I’m willing to give any writer some leeway if they’re willing to tackle this with respect.

      • They are very side… one of the women is an ex of LJS character who owns a clothing store. She has shown up a few times, but her girlfriend (a hair stylist) has only showed up once. But it was respectful with a few eye raises from Dan-I and a shrug from LJS.

        We finished up episode 6 last night. DH is still on board with watching with me. 🙂

  3. Wow, this is one of the drams that I actually like and is may be the second drama where I enjoy LJS.
    I find Dan-i’s character interesting and even though most of her downfalls are blatant social commentary on the place/state of the divorced women in Korean society I still enjoy it.
    I also like that they are normal people, even when the ML is geeeeeenius writer and everything is character driven.
    Hopefully they will manage to keep the quality.

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