The Greatest Love Review - A Heartwarming Romantic Comedy

The Greatest Love

Although this K-drama was recommended to me for a long time, it took me quite a while to watch it because it's not available on legal streaming platforms, which sucks, to put it bluntly. I remember the first time I pressed play, and after a few minutes, I abandoned it because it had this outdated look and weird music (it's from 2011).

The second time I picked it up, some time later, I couldn't stop until the end, and it's among my favorite adult rom-coms, along with "Oh My Venus". So, in this post, you'll find my review of "The Greatest Love".

It's a beautiful K-drama, from start to finish, nothing is unnecessary. Full of affection, with a back-and-forth of sharp tongues from both leads that I love, Cha Seung Won is spectacular, and Gong Hyo Jin is at her best. It has iconic scenes, tons of chemistry between them, and very little drama, just the way I like it.


The Hong Sisters

This K-drama is written by the Hong Sisters, known in dramaland for writing dramas like "The Master’s Sun" (one of my favorites), "My Girlfriend is a Gumiho" with Shim Min Ah and Lee Seung Gi, or "Big" (Gong Yoo), as far as I've seen.

In short, if you like enemy-to-lovers romantic comedies, aimed at an adult audience (I'm not talking about PG-18, okay? I mean characters in their 30s-40s), I don't think you'll be disappointed.

What's "The Greatest Love" about?

Well, don't expect a big plot behind it because there isn't one. It's a romantic comedy, one of those "oldies", so they go straight to the point, and they do it very well.

Basically, it's the story of Goo Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin, 1980), who used to be an idol in a girl band called the "National Treasure Girls," but over the years, she fell from grace, partly because of the scandals involving her frenemy Kang Se Ri, Yoo In Na (1982). Now in her 30s, she's just trying to get by in the entertainment world.

In the meantime, and by accident, she crosses paths with Dokko Jin (Cha Seung Won, 1970), a Hallyu star, one of the most well-known and famous in the nation, but he has quite a complicated character.

Accidentally, Goo Ae Jung ends up finding out a secret about Dokko Jin, and she exposes it on a radio show, making the famous actor furious. But, totally inexplicably, even to himself, he ends up falling madly in love with Ae Jung Gu.

Dokko Jin and Ae Jung

If I say it's one of my all-time favorite rom-coms, it's because, seriously, their romance is absolutely beautiful. There's no toxicity, not too much suffering, just a lot of humor and some incredibly sweet and memorable moments.

Goo Ae Jung is a responsible, humble, and kind-hearted girl with a pretty relaxed sense of embarrassment. She worries about making money to support the family she lives with: a normal, low-income family.

Dokko Jin is an eccentric star, apparently grumpy but also kind-hearted, who has a heart condition. He underwent open-heart surgery years ago with very few chances of surviving, and in his daily life, he has to keep a close eye on his heart rate because his heart could stop at any moment. He controls it through a watch that measures his pulse, which will be very interesting throughout the drama.

He lives an eccentric and lonely life in his mansion filled with toys, with no one to enjoy them with, and a really cool open shower that gives us some interesting moments, haha.

Dokko Jin and Kang Se Ri

Dokko Jin is in a fake relationship with another famous person, Kang Se Ri, Yoo In Na (1982), who is Ae Jung's frenemy from the past. They were both part of the National Treasure Girls (which ended up breaking up, partly because of Se Ri). Se Ri has now become a famous presenter with some fame partly because she's "the partner" of the great Dokko Jin.

The third wheel

Like any good rom-com full of clichés, there has to be a third wheel and a love triangle (although it's almost a square). The third wheel is Yoon Pil Joo (Yoon Kye Sang, 1978), an oriental medicine doctor who meets Ae Jung in a terrible way (including a water glass thrown in her face) but ends up falling in love with her and her personality. He's the opposite of Dokko Jin: kind, sincere, openly caring, supportive...

He's the typical character you know is a good guy, but Dokko Jin steals the show and your heart, let's not kid ourselves.

He ends up forming a friendship for various reasons with Kang Se Ri, the protagonist's frenemy. This leads to some quite curious conversations and moments, helping Ae Jung to straighten out a little.

The three end up coinciding on a couple-searching TV show, hosted by the very jealous Kang Se Ri. This unfolds over several episodes, and this second triangle formed by Se Ri – Pil Joo – Ae Jung has its ups and downs.

An enemy-to-lovers classic

Their romance is totally innocent and pure. There are no major sufferings or overly melodramatic moments, although, obviously, there's something. It's a classic enemy-to-lovers romance that gives us super fun scenes, as expected from these two actors who handle comedy and drama perfectly.

Entertainment Agencies and Public Opinion

Although this drama is a bit older, it seems like the shenanigans of entertainment agencies and handling public opinion haven't changed at all. We've seen it more recently in the kdrama "So I Married an Antifan" and in real life with the mess they made for poor Lee Seung Gi with his girlfriend. If you don't know what I'm talking about, google it; I don't like giving visibility to these things from here 😛

Honestly, it's not a topic that excites me, and if you read a few lines above, you'll see that it took me a couple of tries to start this kdrama because of this hehe. The issue of social status, fandom pressure, and public opinion is so strong that they are forced to have fake relationships until contracts expire. They also can't associate with certain people because they are considered "inferior."

At one point in the drama, Dokko Jin was at a much higher social level than Ae Jung, so they couldn't be together because public opinion would come down on them. Terrible.

This power of public opinion and what happens in idol agencies is seen in the separation of the National Treasure Girls.

The famous melody: thump thump

The National Treasure Girls had a famous melody called "Thump Thump," which represents the sounds of the heart. You can find it at this link.

Every time this song plays in any form (phone ringtone, on the radio, sung by her, etc.), Dokko Jin's heart races. This messes with his mental game because he doesn't understand why this is happening, especially with this girl he "doesn't even like," or so he thinks.

Warning: the melody is catchy, and you won't be able to get it out of your head haha.

Ding Dong and Dokko Jin

I don't know if I should call it a bromance because Ding Dong is a kid, but they have a beautiful relationship. Ding Dong is Ae Jun's nephew and, in part, he becomes an unintentional matchmaker between these two. I think their relationship works because, deep down and on the surface, Dokko Jin is as much a child as Ding Dong.

The Secret Garden gag

It was impossible not to recognize these awful outfits as soon as I saw them. They are clearly inspired by Hyun Bin's tracksuits in Secret Garden (awful but hand-sewn in Italy), which surprises me because Secret Garden was aired at the end of 2010, beginning of 2011; and "The Greatest Love" is from mid-2011. Well, it must have been something on the fly. I'm sure there's an explanation somewhere haha.

In conclusion, it's a beautiful romantic comedy, one of my favorites if not the most. I just want to say that while writing this review, I almost rewatched the whole drama "in diagonal" and got emotional at some points. I didn't feel like any secondary couple or storyline was unnecessary, and that's saying a lot. Also, Cha Seung Won and Gong Hyo Jin have amazing chemistry...

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