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MBC’s ‘When I was Most Beautiful’ returns to basics of romance drama

The cast of “When I Was Most Beautiful” poses during an online press conference Wednesday. (MBC)
The cast of “When I Was Most Beautiful” poses during an online press conference Wednesday. (MBC)

A boy falling in love at first sight on a rainy day, a chance meeting as a teacher and a student a few days later and a romantic bike ride in the countryside seem too cliche for a Korean romance drama in a year when a series featuring a husband and wife cheating on each other was a huge hit.

Yet MBC’s new romance drama, “When I Was Most Beautiful,” does just that, presenting a romance drama reminiscent of those from the 1990s and early 2000s.

“When I Was Most Beautiful” shows the story of two brothers -- high school student Seo Hwan played by Jisoo and race car driver Seo Jin played by Ha Seok-jin -- falling in love with teacher trainee Oh Ye-ji, played by Im Soo-hyang, at the younger brother’s school. Add an ex-girlfriend of the older brother, played by Hwang Seung-eon, along with emotional scars each character has from the past and you have an emotional roller coaster.

“I really liked how this drama is a traditional romance drama. We don’t try to put in new material with the love story. A pure love story is harder to find these days,” said actress Hwang at Wednesday’s online press conference. “Their love is both beautiful and a shame.”

Other cast members agreed that the traditional romance drama aspect appealed to them.

“While drama series these days show only romantic comedy-level love and relationships, I think the characters in this drama show the deep emotions in love,” said Ha.

The contrasting love of the two brothers was apparent from the first episode, which aired Wednesday, as tensions rose between the two over the high school teacher trainee. While younger brother Seo Hwan showed the pure heartache of a high schooler’s first love, Seo Jin showed the straightforwardness of an adult, expressing his feelings head on. Im’s complete transformation into a sweet-hearted teacher further captured the audience.

As the title suggests, the series hopes to make viewers recall the days when they were most beautiful. Each member of the cast said they feel the most beautiful at this very moment.

“The title ’When I Was Most Beautiful’ coincides with the message that our drama is trying to convey. We look back and say ‘I was so beautiful back then,’ but each day that I struggle through will be remembered as beautiful,” said Im. “So, I’m always beautiful.”

The 16-episode series airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on MBC.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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