THE SUM OF IT

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Premise: Opposites attract. Hero suffers from mysophoia (fear of germs) and Heroine doesn't care about dirtiness. Hero owns a cleaning business, and Heroine is hired to work there. She is the only woman who can touch him and is asked by Hero's rich mother to cure his illness.

Long Story Short: Show has a lot of exaggerated humor, but it's based on a webtoon and I'll assume that's for the sake of keeping true to it's source material. For the most part, Show has some genuinely funny moments sprinkled with heart.

When Show works, it's fun, romantic, and touching. Kim Yoo-Jung and Yoon Kyun-sang as the main characters have a cracky chemistry that leaps off the screen. When the show isn't going all that well, unfortunately, it's draggy and nonsensical.

Toward the end, it was a struggle not to throw my slippers at the screen. A few of the subplots came out of nowhere. Show is--by no stretch of the imagination--perfect, but despite its faltering moments, Show's main couple kept me invested. I rank Clean With Passion For Now as one of my all-time favorite K-dramas.

THE DEEP DIVE:

This little gem of a show flew way under the radar for me. At first, I waffled over giving it a shot. I knew Show would probably fit my tastes (I'm a sucker for romantic comedies), but I didn't know the main actor all that well and I'd heard whispers that the age gap was off-putting for some.

But I'm so glad I didn't let those comments stop me. My first watch of Clean With Passion For Now gave me all the feels. Despite being a decade apart, the main couple's chemistry was the best part of the entire production. I still go back and rewatch their sappy moments whenever I need a little pick-me-up.

The Look: Show served up a pastel-powered watch with beautiful colors that made it a very pleasing experience indeed. I loved being in a drama world surrounded by all that pretty.


The Sound: If the colors were eye-candy, the OST was ear-candy. A balanced mix of cutesy, heart-wrenching ballads and victorious symphonies made it an all-around glorious watch. My favorite track (and the one I replayed while writing a few of my YA Interracial Romance books) was Gravity by KLANG. The singer's voice is soothing and it blends so beautifully with the strong acoustic guitar. And when KLANG goes into her higher pitch... whew, chile... perfection.

WHAT MADE SHOW WORK

Baked with love, Show emerged from the oven as an entertaining, heartwarming and mostly-fluffy watch ('mostly', because it gets ridiculous towards the end and never quite found its feet). Still, Show bubbled over with charm to create the delicious, cracky stew that I feasted on for sixteen episodes straight (that's a feat for me because I'm very picky with my Kdrama hours). When it's perfect, CWPFN feels bright, addictive, and entertaining. Yay for Director-nim's vision and the production team's hard work in crafting a Kdrama as warm as comfort food.


Remember, Show is based on a webtoon so it's not to be taken too seriously. Show leans toward exaggerated for its humor and tends to not care too much about jumps in logic or raging plot holes. Even as I say this, I still think Show made up for it with these two ingredients: Amazing Acting and Crazy Chemistry.


  1. Amazing Acting

2 Crazy Chemistry


Yoon Kyun-sang's Amazing Acting


Like I said earlier, I'd seen Yoon Kyun-sang in a handful of other Kdramas, but I wasn't too sure how he'd make it as a main lead. However in CWPFN, this *clap* man *clap* killed it. I loved his big puppy dog eyes and the quirks he showed in relation to his illness. Watching him stride seriously through his 'disinfectant' hallway to get to his office always made me giggle.

Yoon Kyun-sang (the actor) is a giant--all legs and big hands and charismatic presence. His tall figure should be intimidating, but I just wanted to wrap my arms around him for most of the watch and squeeze him like a teddy bear.

Yoon Kyun-sang brought Jang Seon-kyul to life and I fully believed he was a gruff-but-goodhearted CEO with a mental illness. Though his mysophobia was mostly played for laughs, the cause of it was heart-wrenching and added another layer to his already intriguing character.


I liked that Show took the time to show us why we should be rooting for Jang Seon-kyul. Although the CEO doesn't take flak, he is a genuinely good person, {SPOILER} which we see in a later episode when we find out that one of his employees has a criminal record and Seon-kyul takes up for him and refuses to fire him {END SPOILER}.

I also liked that Seon-kyul turned his illness --that could have been a severe weakness--into a business idea. He has an edge over everyone else in the industry because his cleaning is thorough enough to pass his rigid standards.

I also admired him for taking up for his employees who were belittled and treated as less than by some. Whenever Seon-kyul told off the nay-sayers (that includes the female lead's father), I found myself cheering. He was always calm and respectful, while also being unapologetic. Seon-kyul's stance was clear--those who clean aren't to be stomped on or laughed at for they fulfill a very important purpose. And no one knows that better than Seon-kyul because his life depends on avoiding germs.


Kim Yoo-jung's Amazing Acting


Kim Yoo-jung was a famous child actress who transitioned to more mature roles and found massive success. I'd seen her alongside Park Bo Gum in Moon Embracing The Sun (2012) and was impressed, so I had high hopes for her in this show.

I'm glad to say that Kim Yoo-jung was wonderful. In any other actress's hands, Gil Oh-sol would have come off ditzy, try-hard and slightly cringy. Kim Yoo-jung filled the role with gravitas, hinting at deeper layers just below the surface of the 'dirty' character.

For example, early on in the show, we see Gil Oh-sol struggle to find a job. She is relentless in her optimism, but there are moments when her smile will falter just a bit and we'll see the hopelessness seep into her eyes. It's such a quiet, subtle moment, but oof. It delivers a punch.

Because she is the 'cheerful despite all odds' character, Gil Oh-sol is sometimes presented as a pawn on a chest board. To the Hero, she is a helpless employee. To the Hero's mother, she is the key to saving her son from his illness. To her father, she is the epitome of hope for a better life.

But Oh-sol has her own dreams and, despite her kindness, she is no doormat. Kim Yoo-jung communicated Oh-sol's pride and strength, even in moments of humiliation. Oh-sol doesn't cave quickly but thinks her position through before agreeing to any propositions. I like that a lot.

When it comes to her 'dirtiness', I found Kim Yoo-jung's interpretation of that quirk compelling. Oh-sol isn't untidy because she hates grooming herself. She is struggling to make ends meet and does not have the luxury of being concerned about germs or a tidy appearance.

Her character could have been far more pitiful, but we never get that woe-is-me vibe from Oh-Sol. She takes the time to appreciate the little things—like having a sprinkler war with her friends at the cleaning business or helping her brother out when he needs a hand.

Her laughter is bright and infectious. Gil Oh-Sol brings light to every scene and, in her own small way, leaves a mark on everyone she comes around. Kudos to Kim Yoo-jung's youthful and exuberant delivery of this character for making her one we can root for.

2 Crazy Chemistry


Honestly, Kim Yoo-jung and Yoon Kyun-sang are everything. From the moment they appear on screen together, they share a cracky, fiesty chemistry that cannot be denied.

Maybe it's due to Kim Yoo-jung's plentiful years of experience in the industry, but I felt no awkwardness between the main leads despite their great age difference. In some ways, the level of comfort that Kim Yoo-jung had with Yoon Kyun-sang made me turn my eyes during their more intimate moments. It almost felt like I shouldn't be peeking.

Now, that's not to say their scenes were especially risque, only that their characters felt 'lived-in'. As if Oh Sol and Seon-kyul are real people fumbling through an awkward romance and then morphing into a sizzling relationship filled with slow, swoony kisses.

Everything about this couple--from the first two impromptu and impulsive kisses in the beginning of the show, to the tentative hand-holding and skinship in the middle-- to The Kiss in the kitchen when Oh-Sol decides to stay the night is imbued with so much heart.

The kisses in CWPFN are not your typical lip-locking—with the Hero doing his thing and the Heroine looking very uncomfortable. (Honestly, those kisses are always awkward for me to watch and make me wish they wouldn't kiss at all).

Nah, in CWPFN the OTP bring an absolute rawr factor to their smooching but there's also a layer of giddiness that makes the moment feel real. There's lots of giggles between the two. A lot of nose-bopping and gazing tenderly into each other's eyes and grr. It's all so cute while being fire-hot.

The magic behind these characters' chemistry is, believe it or not, our Hero's illness. More than any other k-drama where the touching and cuddling is just another milestone of an OTP's progression, Seon-kyul has a real and serious fear of germs which prevents him from getting close to people.


It impacts his daily life and worries his mother to death. Even his secretary has her own concerns which {Mild Spoiler} leads her to making decisions later on that disappoint him {End of Mild Spoiler}. That is why every touch, every hug, every kiss between the OTP couple feels earned.

Trust is building between them and it emerges in a physical connection that is exploring and hungry all at once. I can't tell you how many times I squealed and flailed watching these two slowly figure out how much they like each other.

Also, random shoutout to a jealous Seon-kyul. There is nothing like seeing the adorable giant mad-staring his employees who are a little too close to his Oh-Sol. Ha! Loved it. These two are just amazing together.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK SO WELL

  1. THE HUMOR

Like I mentioned before, Show's humor tends to lean on the 'whacky' end of the scale. Maybe others found the jokes funny, but I didn't laugh at the physical humor as much as I think Writer-nim and Director-nim intended. The slapstick comedy, in my opinion, took away from the believability of the show and the slice of life vibe that I wished they would have played up more.

2 THE SECOND MALE LEAD


Some K-dramas love taking our hearts and squeezing it through the Second Lead Syndrome ringer, but I did not experience this sensation in CWPFN.

Oh-Sol's upstairs neighbor came off as kind of creepy in the beginning and he never moved out of that weird, stalker-ish phase for me. It also didn't help that Oh-Sol seemed completely uninterested. Poor guy didn't even stand a chance.

I thought the main OTP line was plenty meaty enough without shoe-horning in another love line. The whole confusion between {Spoiler} Choi Ha-in / Daniel Choi--the psychiatrist {End Spoiler} didn't add much either. I'd rather the second lead had been a straight help to Seon-kyul rather than taking the complex and unnecessarily dramatic way out.

{Spoilers From Here On}

3 THE ENDING

Towards the ending of the Show, Oh-Sol gets a huge revelation about Seon-kyul's family. The incident was not even Seon-kyul's fault and still everyone in Oh-Sol's family acted as if Seon-kyul deserved to pay the price for sins he did not even commit.

There was far too much sulking, crying and forced distance in this half of the show. For all the pain Writer-nim and Director-nim put us through, we didn't even get a full episode of the OTP reuniting and living their happily ever after.

Instead, we got a little kiss and a snapshot of all the friends from the cleaning company.

After everything our poor Oh-Sol and Seon-kyul had to go through I wanted more *throws a temper tantrum in the middle of Aisle 4*.

Torturing Seon-kyul and breaking up the OTP for a totally ridiculous reason was enough of a slap to the face. Just throwing the OTP back together after years was not the right call and I will forever resent those last few episodes of CWPFN.

At least my girl Oh-Sol got her dream of working an office job and my man Seon-kyul came back from his mysterious trip 'healed'. In the end, they got their happily ever after. I just wish they had a better reason for walking on our broken hearts to get there.

{End of Spoilers}

CLOSING THOUGHTS


Clean With Passion For Now is not a perfect show by any stretch of the imagination and if I could shake my pen at Writer-nim and Director-nim for some of their decisions in the latter half of the show, I would. However, I would still recommend this show to anyone who loves romantic comedies and characters with heart. The OTP alone will make this a dazzling and entertaining watch.

INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB |  GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Have We Been Introduced?

Hey there! My name is Nia. I was born and raised in the West Indies, which means I grew up swimming in the Caribbean Sea and I like my food seasoned to the heavens. 


Most of the time, I'm glued to my laptop, frantically typing out the love story in my head, but when I manage to slink away from my desk, I enjoy bawling over k-dramas, watching natural hair videos on YouTube, and listening to K-pop. 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS | PRIVACY POLICY | NEWSLETTER POLICY 

JOIN MY NEWSLETTER

Sign up to my newsletter for bonus chapters, updates, book release details and more.