10 February 2023

K Drama Review: The Interest of Love (2022) 4.25 || 4

This drama was a must-watch for us because it has Yoo Yeon Seok who is part of my list. The bank branch setting also made us curious. And while Oppa and I have conflicting feelings about this show, it was good enough for both of us to finish watching it. 


The Interest of Love tells the story of KCU Bank Yeongpo branch colleagues whose lives get entangled as they form both romantic and platonic relationships with each other. Ha Sang Soo (Yoo Yeon Seok) falls for long-time teller Ahn Soo Young (Moon Ga Young). However, a few minutes of hesitation on the part of Sang Soo before their first formal date turns their lives upside down. Their budding romance is immediately cut short and Sang Soo and Soo Young end up constantly doubting and running after/away from each other, never quite finding the perfect timing. As a result, they find themselves in relationships with other people - Soo Young with the bank's security guard, Jeong Jong Hyun (Jung Ga Ram), and Sang Soo with his university junior and now the branch's assistant manager, Park Mi Kyung (Keum Sae Rok of The Last Princess). The drama takes us through how our main characters try to untangle themselves from the messy web they find themselves in. 

Yoo Yeon Seok as Ha Sang Soo

I've always loved Yoo Yeon Seok regardless of whether the drama he's in is good or not. And that's probably the reason why we've seen a lot of his shows - Reply 1994, Mr. Sunshine, Warm and Cozy, Hospital Playlist, Hospital Playlist 2, and Narco-Saints Suriname.

Yoo Yeon Seok delivers another solid performance as Ha Sang Soo. He's perfect as the shy, awkward, very kind, and giddy in love bank employee. 

It's so easy to fall in love with Sang Soo because of how considerate he is with everyone. (Easy to misinterpret too, though.) And I found him very endearing when he talked about Soo Young like when he was telling his mom (Seo Jeong Yeon of She Was Pretty, Descendants of the Sun, Something in the Rain, One Spring Night, Run On, Nevertheless, Forecasting Love and Weather, and Juror 8) about her or when he was confessing to Soo Young's dad (Park Yoon Hee of Extraordinary Attorney Woo and Twenty-Five Twenty One) about how he felt towards his daughter. You could totally feel his sincerity. 

Yoo Yeon Seok really did well in his dramatic scenes too. One of my favorites was when he was apologizing to Mi Kyung after the latter was hospitalized and he was begging her not to be in pain because of him. I felt his anguish in those scenes. 

Although Yoo Yeon Seok's now older than your typical K drama male lead, I still love him because he just seems to get better with time.

Moon Ga Young as Ahn Soo Young

This is our first full Moon Ga Young drama. We tried watching her on True Beauty but we ended up forgetting about it after watching an episode or two. We loved her more here though. Her character as Ahn Soo Young is more natural. She's perfect as the melancholic teller who's endured so much in life. She rarely smiles that's why scenes where you find some trace of happiness in her are priceless. And in the few funny scenes she had, like when she was bickering with Sang Soo, I know she can do comedy too. And we loved her style here. 

Although I was mostly rooting for her and I was sympathetic towards her, I just found her scenes with Jong Hyun quite depressing. I felt horrible for her that she could not go home freely because she shared it with someone she obviously did not like that much. 

Now we're tempted to continue watching True Beauty, if only to see Moon Ga Young in a happier/more cheerful role. 

Jung Ga Ram as Jeong Jong Hyun

I wish Jung Ga Ram would have a stronger character in his next drama. It was already unfortunate that he was so pitiful in Love Alarm and Love Alarm 2 (yes, even if he got the girl in the end). And yet he ends up with something more pitiful here, without even getting the girl this time. 

I know Jong Hyun feels inferior, especially with all the help Soo Young has given him - letting him stay with her, removing her piano and plants from her veranda to have more space for their stuff, giving him money for his dad's treatment, helping him review for his exams, etc. But he just becomes more pathetic when he acts all apologetic around her. Love is all about making compromises and sacrifices for each other so he should stop feeling sorry for himself. It just got worse when he didn't even want to tell Soo Young that he failed the exam. 

I'm glad that things worked out for Jong Hyun in the end but I would really love to see Jung Ga Ram play a more confident character. 

Keum Sae Rok as Park Mi Kyung

Even if it was obvious that Mi Kyung was going to get in the way of Soo Young and Sang Soo's relationship, it was difficult not to love her. Her cute and smiling eyes and face just made her so endearing. Never mind if she can be too clingy or tactless (like talking about college when she knew Soo Young didn't attend one or asking about the exam that Jong Hyun flunked) or lavish (not getting that Sang Soo does not want her to get favors for him like a new car so he can compete with her friends or asking the landlady of Sang Soo's mom not to increase the deposit). Yes, she can be a handful but she's too cute that you can overlook the other stuff. 

Well, that's until she turned into a horrible, entitled monster when Sang Soo wanted to break up with her. I thought she was better than that. Turns out she can be a spoiled brat too. But credits to the show for the great make up transformation from cheerful to depressed Mi Kyung. 

But she won me over again when she finally let go of Sang Soo. Keum Sae Rok's young and I know we'll be seeing more of her in the future. 

The Other Colleagues

There were many familiar faces here. The show seemed to have gathered all the annoying bosses from other dramas and put them all together here - Branch Manager Yook (Jeong Jae Sung of Confidential Assignment, Money Heist, Money Heist 2, Hospital Playlist, My Mister, and Prison Playbook), Deputy Manager Noh (Lee Hwa Ryong of 1987: When the Day Comes, Snowdrop, and Something in the Rain), Team Leader Lee (Park Hyung Soo of Confidential Assignment, Happiness, Hospital Playlist, Crash Landing on You, and Prison Playbook), and Assistant Manager Ma (Lee Si Hoon of Parasite, Mr. Sunshine, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Encounter, and Something in the Rain). 

My favorite colleague was Team Leader Seo (Yang Jo Ah of 1987: When the Day Comes, Hospital Playlist, Hospital Playlist 2, and Something in the Rain). She never gossiped. She was a genuine friend to Soo Young even if everyone seemed to bully Soo Young. She never talked about her colleagues' secrets. And I really found it so sweet of her to take Soo Young out for a farewell dinner. I'm glad to see that they've kept in touch throughout the years. 

I also enjoyed watching Kyung Pil (Moon Tae Yu of A Taxi Driver, Forecasting Love and Weather, Hospital Playlist, Hospital Playlist 2, and Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol). Although his chill vibe reminded me of his Hospital Playlist character, I found him really endearing because of what he did to help Soo Young get rid of Sang Soo and Jong Hyun. 


The show started out promising to me. I enjoyed getting a sneak peek of what happens behind the scenes in banks. 

I also liked the show's attempt to highlight the problematic stuff in office culture. Like the toxic work environment where junior staff are bullied to make them admit that they're dating colleagues or where women staff are forced to "entertain" clients. 

Of course there's the usual discrimination against non-college graduates and graduates from colleges outside Seoul. There's very little chance of them being promoted despite working hard for the company for years and showing exemplary skills. I liked how Soo Young finally had the guts to ask why she couldn't be transferred even if she ticked all of the boxes. And how that courageous move finally got her transferred. 

And there's the annoying office gossip, which some might find harmless but could actually ruin someone's career. 

Plus office politics, which can affect how far you'll go in the company. Going against your bosses is a big no-no. And it would really, really help if you're well-connected. 

And then there's the unwritten prohibition on falling for someone from a lower social class and how the poor person's family is considered as a burden by the richer one in the relationship. 

The show's presentation of the story got me confused at times. It was quite difficult for me to follow some stuff when the stories were not presented in chronological order. It's harder if you only watch the show weekly because you tend to forget what happened in the previous weeks. 

But that's nothing compared to how I felt about the love storyline in general. There were just too many roadblocks that made me want to give up on them. 

I believe all of the problems Sang Soo and Soo Young encountered started with Sang Soo's moment of hesitation. If that didn't happen, Soo Young probably had a lesser chance of doubting, feeling inferior, and running away. Yes, the hesitation might have been for a very short time. But I would have reacted the way Soo Young did. While Sang Soo is entitled to hesitate, he should have thought things through before he asked her out. 

What was really exhausting was the endless cycle of the two of them accusing each other of playing with the other's feelings. And the never ending story of someone getting in their way. Time was never right for them and I just felt that maybe they should just stop trying altogether. I was becoming convinced that they were better off with the people they were with at that moment. 

And because I hate cheating, I couldn't get why Sang Soo and Soo Young kept on seeing each other privately even if they were already in relationships with others. Yes, the emotions were strong. But they should have avoided being in situations where they could not control themselves. Especially since they worked together. And if they really could not stop themselves, they should have broken up with their partners first. It was too problematic for me that I could not even force myself to celebrate their first kiss. 

But having said that, and while I blame Sang Soo for getting into a relationship with Mi Kyung when he was unsure of his feelings, I somehow liked how he broke it off immediately with her when it became apparent that it was really Soo Young that he liked. And I loved how he didn't try to deceive Mi Kyung's parents, never mind if they were powerful enough to retaliate against him. 

I understand how Soo Young's an escapist. She admitted that she'd rather destroy things herself before someone else does it or she'd rather hurt herself before others can get hurt or hurt her. But I just found her story of sleeping with Kyung Pil a bit too extreme, especially for Jong Hyun. Did she really want to get rid of him that bad? I'm not a Jong Hyun fan but I was totally on his side here. And while he was crazy for causing that scene in the bank which caused him his job, I was proud that he was no longer his usual pathetic self. It was nice to see him fight back and stop pretending that everything's okay. 

Sang Soo and Soo Young's relationships had so many ups and downs that I was always on the verge of giving up on them. But I always gave them another chance - only for them to make me feel bad over and over again. Like, I was finally going to be happy for them again but Soo Young decides to run away yet again. It felt so immature. Why can't she just be honest with Sang Soo? I was confused if the show was just toying with our emotions or if it was just stretching stuff because they still had a few more episodes left. 

The last two episodes started out promising. I loved all the closures the show was giving us. 

Mi Kyung with Kyung Pil, because the former finally understood why the latter broke up with her. They might not have been fully okay but I'm sure Mi Kyung was a bit more forgiving this time. 

Mi Kyung with her family (Yoon Yoo Sun of Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, She Was Pretty, and The Producers as mom), especially her dad (Park Sung Geun of At Eighteen and Encounter). I loved that scene where she thanked dad and acknowledged that he had a different love language. 

And of course, Mi Kyung with Sang Soo. That ride to the airport felt poignant. 

Then we have Soo Young with her family (Park Mi Hyun of Hometown Cha Cha Cha, D.P., Law School, and Record of Youth as mom). I was glad she finally got to know the real story. And I have such high respect for her dad for forgiving and accepting mom despite her infidelity. And for Soo Young too for not resenting mom and for acknowledging that she was the one who was there to help her when she was young. 

I liked how Soo Young saw Jong Hyun, who has finally passed the police exam, and how the show did not force them to have any interaction. It was bittersweet to see them both fulfilled while they lived separate lives.

It was nice to see Soo Young and Mi Kyung together. Had it not been for the love triangle, I'm pretty sure they would have been good friends. Hopefully, they'll have time for that now. 

I also enjoyed seeing the moms of Sang Soo and Mi Kyung rekindle their cute friendship. 

Although of course, there were moments when things felt contrived because everything was happening at the same time. 

I was hopeful for Soo Young and Sang Soo. Yes, Sang Soo looked more angry than sad or heartbroken when Soo Young ran away to her province without telling anyone. But I thought things have changed when Sang Soo followed her and they spent a good time together. I was ready to let go of the show's corny analogies like how Sang Soo said it was never too late for Soo Young to go back to the bank but Soo Young said nothing's ever too late for her because she destroys things before they're too late. Or how Soo Young said she was good in hiding when she played hide and seek as a kid and how Sang Soo said he always won because he would find everyone hiding since he never gives up. Or how Sang Soo said he didn't hesitate because of Soo Young's background but because he was not sure if he could be responsible for another person (when it's obvious that her background meant more responsibility for him). 

I was prepared to love them again until Sang Soo said in the 15th episode that that was his last moment with Soo Young. Seriously??? I was honestly hoping one of them would just die because while that would have been more dramatic and tragic and heartbreaking, it would have been a more acceptable reason of separation. But of course, that didn't happen. Soo Young ran away yet again and ghosted Sang Soo. For the nth time. Which felt really stupid and repetitive. It was awful that she was not mature enough to face her demons. Did she really think Sang Soo would not respect her decision if she just honestly told him that she was not yet ready to be with him and she'd rather be alone for now??? Ghosting would have been understandable if Sang Soo kept on running after her even after she told him not to bother her. But she led him on. She spent the night with him. She promised to call him when she goes to Seoul and to have pork cutlets with him. That was just so selfish. If she didn't have love to give, as she claimed, the least she could have done was be honest with him. Sang Soo deserved that much. 

But outside of her love life, I was happy for Soo Young because she finally found what she wanted to do. That Drawing Cafe concept was really cute. 

With how bad I feel about the storyline, I'm not even curious to find out if they ended up together. If I were Sang Soo, I don't think I can still trust Soo Young because I would always live in fear that she'll run away - again. 

I loved what Sang Soo said about love being about two people living life together. It's never about the big moments. Rather, it's more about your ability to stand each other while doing mundane things and going through tough times together. 

I liked the "what ifs" ending. It was like Sang Soo and Soo Young's way of acknowledging where they went wrong - Sang Soo's hesitation and Soo Young's untruthfulness about her feelings. 

I also liked the closing part where the show featured the different spots they used throughout the drama like the bank, Jeju, the beach, etc. 

Yes, the love storyline did not really meet my expectations. But thanks to Yoo Yeon Seok (and Moon Ga Young too), I was able to carry on until the end. 

Oppa says...4.25.

Noona says...4.