‘Love Like A K-Drama’ Ending And Episode 12 Review: Is The Show Successful In Making Real Couples?

Netflix’s original Japanese reality show Love Like a K-Drama combines the drama of reality television with the romance of Korean dramas to create a unique show that is a perfect blend of the two concepts. But does it really work? I’ve spent the last four weeks watching this show despite having no taste for reality TV (thanks to the job), and as a casual cynic, I’d say it doesn’t hit the mark. I will admit, that this is only my second experience watching a dating show (I didn’t choose this life), and it’s left me with the same sour taste as the last one. Although I will admit, it was fun to be biased towards one of the members. The show may be trying to prove that language isn’t a barrier to love, but it seems this “love” is lost in translation. The finale of the show was terribly lackluster and simply felt like a montage of the couples that formed within the show meant to make us believe that they’re truly, madly, deeply, hopelessly in love with each other, yet it’s devoid of any color and felt as awkward as a polar bear at Coachella.


What Happens In The Finale Episode?

Is it just me, or do panels generally feel rather dormant for such shows? The final episode begins with the studio panel discussing what’s happened throughout the show and being overenthusiastic about the ending. I suppose some of them can speak from their hearts, but it all just seems quite insincere considering how uneventful the show actually is. Honestly, every time we were with the studio panel, I wanted to turn off my TV. It breaks the momentum of the real content we’re meant to be here for. The episode is titled “Thank you for letting me fall in love” and feels like a chaotic and cringy ending for an overall decent show. Before we meet the panels, though, we see the group pack their bags at a painstakingly slow pace, already making me tired, before they sit down for a conversation about the world ending. Sorry, their time together is ending. For added dramatic effect, Won-Shik admits that he’s confused after everything that happened the previous week, and so we have to wait with bated breath for what’s to come.

At least the men seem somewhat natural; it almost feels as if the ladies are desperate to go back home but are trying really hard to pretend they’re sad to leave. The final night takes place at the airport (umm), where those who have fallen for each other must confess their feelings. The couples will then share a “real” kiss on screen, not one for drama. The host, actress Yuko Fueki, says her emotional final goodbyes to the group, leaving them to find their partners one last time. All the members are spread across the airport (all I was thinking about was how empty it was) while they wait for someone to take the first step.


Who Does Won-Shik End Up Choosing?

Well, it’s not Nozomi, which leaves me wondering why the best ones always have it bad (TT). Apparently, after shooting the episode, Won-Shik felt like Nozomi was only being nice to him because she wanted to do a good job shooting the K-drama. After their kiss, he felt rather emotional (I really didn’t want to laugh) and realized he kept thinking of Honoka the whole time. After they finished their shoot, they had a word with each other where Nozomi admitted she’d have liked to spend more time with Won-Shik, which they didn’t have. Won-Shik thanks her for “opening her heart up” and closes the chapter. We see a recap of Won-Shik’s experience on the show (way too long, if you ask me) before he goes up to Honoka. Nozomi (my girl deserves the world) admits that she couldn’t connect with Won-Shik, and though she ended up getting in the way of their relationship, she thinks it’s a good thing because it helped them realize their true feelings for each other. The first couple to share their “true love’s kiss” are Won-Shik and Honoka.


Who Does Ayano Choose?

This one is obvious, yet the producers thought they were being so coy by making it look like she was “choosing” between Ji-Hyuk and Tae-Gyun. I suppose most people would find these two really cute, like the panelists who are gaga over them. Tae-Gyun is the “crazy” one of the lot, and Ayano is always laughing at what he does or says. She presents him with a letter, and he starts to cry immediately (they’re supposed to be actors, though; why does it all look so wrong?). She tells him that she’d love to come back to Korea for him and gives him a Beatles record with a song titled I’ll Be Back, an apt parting gift. He then rewards her with a kiss and reveals his warm feelings, making them the second “real” couple of the show. 

Ji-Hyuk went from being the “oppa” (older brother) to the “appa” (father) of the group (ouch) real quick, and his trajectory on the show crashed hard. He admits that knowing the language actually didn’t help him but caused more problems. If he were asked back on the show, all the members would have to be over 30 as well (oops). Oh! So the dude does have a funny side.


How Do Things Turn Out Between Dong-Kyu And Rio?

The most lovey-dovey couple in the show are Dong-Kyu and Rio. After Dong-Kyu moved on from Nozomi in what seemed like a split second, he fell head over heels for Rio. At the beginning of the episode, he admits his worries that Rio will return to Japan and forget all about him because she’s such a workaholic. His fears are tossed out of the window when Rio thanks him for showing her what it’s like to actually like someone and how work and love can be balanced. She admits that at first, she imagined it would simply be another part of work for her, but meeting Dong-Kyu changed her life (I can be dramatic too!). She brings Dong-Kyu some flowers because she couldn’t do it back in round 3 to seal the deal. Dong-Kyu gives her a handwritten letter in Japanese as a gift for her ride home. He thanks her for allowing him to like her and says that they’ll meet again soon. He then can’t hold onto his feelings any longer and asks to kiss her (cringe max). They’re the final couple to have their “real” kiss.

There’s a group hug, and we see Ji-Hyuk baby everybody before their final goodbyes. No, it’s almost like watching parents send their kids off on their first day of school. To be honest, when the credits roll and we get to see some behind-the-scenes clips, seemingly shot on the cast’s iPhones, it almost feels like that could’ve been a really good show. They have natural chemistry and seem comfortable with each other, so a show where they simply lived together and had fun may have been more exciting than whatever mess was made this way. I’ll admit there were some parts where I had a smile on my face, mostly because the female cast members are quite charismatic and always cheerful (which must be exhausting). Ultimately, Love Like a K-Drama felt too manufactured for us to believe in its stories. I suppose reality shows are also an escape, but the escape should at least be fantastical for effect. For someone like me who prefers to skedaddle to fictional worlds when in a crisis, this show didn’t do anything for me at all. I’d give the finale of Love Like a K-Drama about 2.5 stars out of 5.


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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