REVIEW: ‘Crash Course in Romance,’ Episodes 1-2

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Crash Course in Romance Episodes 1 & 2

There’s nothing like an enemies-to-lovers set-up that gets the hearts fluttering. Such is the scenario that might be set up in Netflix’s latest Kdrama series, Crash Course in Romance, though it is too soon to tell if that’s the way writer Yang Hee-Seung is going with this. Starting things off, the tone of Crash Course in Romance Episodes 1-2 sets the stage for quirky comedic shenanigans, with the conflict between Jeon Do-yeon’s Nam Haeng-soon and Jung Kyung-ho’s Choi Chi-yeol already generating laughs.

In this romantic comedy, we’re introduced to Nam Haeng-seon (Jeon Do-yeon), a banchan owner with a heart of gold, only now realizing that her adopted daughter, Nam Hae-yi (Roh Yoon-seo), wants cram school lessons in order to succeed in her college entrance exams. If that wasn’t stressful enough, she’s also her brother’s primary caretaker, and each new expense adds another level of pressure on her shoulders. Oh, did I mention she also gave up her promising athletic career to take care of her family? Haeng-seon has a lot going on.

Speaking of lots going on, we’re also introduced to Choi Chiy-yeol. While he is a mega-successful top hagwon (essentially, a crash course) instructor in mathematics, he is also an anxious workaholic prone to skipping meals. When he’s not concerned about his success rate and defeating the competition, he also has to deal with scandals. In the first episode alone, someone tries to frame him for inappropriate contact with a student. Based on the little touchstone moments in the first two episodes, someone has sinister intentions directed toward this teacher.

For audiences unfamiliar with the cram school culture in South Korea, enough is explained and hinted at for viewers to get a good grasp of what the stakes are for all characters in the series. From the overly-involved mothers hoping to get their children the edge to the stressed-out employees who cater to Chiy-yeol’s demands (which make perfect sense if you too are an anxiety-ridden workaholic perfectionist), the pressure is on and enforced in all corners of Korean society here.

While the acting all around is great, it is clear that the real magic is delivered by both Jeon Do-yeon and  Jung Kyung-ho. These two acting veterans know exactly what’s required of them and rise to the occasion to hit the quirky, over-the-top energy their characters require. That’s not to say that’s all their characters entail. In the first two episodes, we do see nuance, especially from Jeon’s Haeng-seon. They are both operating on all cylinders and are a blast to watch.

Crash Course in Romance Episodes 1-2 are clearly designed to introduce us to this world. There is an injection of suspense in certain key moments that are planting the seeds for what’s to come. As an introduction, the first two episodes work. The length of the episodes gives us time to meet the characters without distraction. A climactic scary moment towards the end of episode 2 sets the stage for the plot’s propulsion forward. It’s too soon to say, though, if that’s what will happen, given the 16-episode count. For now, a strong start.

Crash Course in Romance Episodes 1-2 are now available on Netflix, with new episodes airing on Saturdays and Sundays.


Crash Course in Romance Episodes 1 & 2
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

As an introduction, Crash Course in Romance Episodes 1-2 work. The length of the episodes gives us time to meet the characters without distraction. A climactic scary moment towards the end of episode 2 sets the stage for the plot’s propulsion forward. It’s too soon to say, though, if that’s what will happen given the 16-episode count. For now, a strong start.

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