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Chocolate: Yoon Kye-Sang and Ha Ji-Won’s new K-Drama on JTBC is a confusing love story similar to The Time We Were Not In Love

Chocolate -- K-Drama
Chocolate is the new K-drama airing on JTBC. It stars Yoon Kye-Sang and Ha Ji-Won in the lead roles. Image Credit: Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC)

Late last month, the Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC) — the Korean cable network known for their K-dramas Sky Castle and Welcome to Waikiki — aired their newest series, Chocolate (초콜릿).

Starring Yoon Kye-Sang and Ha Ji-Won, the K-drama aims to tell a story of romance that goes across time and how the choices we make ultimately lead back to love. The concept may be a tough one to portray in any series, but it can if the delivery is simple.

Unfortunately, Chocolate is a love story that doesn’t know what direction it wants to take. Sadly, it has the same nostalgic feel of watching another Ha Ji-Won K-drama that suffered from such a course, The Time We Were Not In Love.

A simple love with many complications

When he was young, Lee Kang (Yoon Kye-Sang) only wanted to be one thing, and that is a chef just like his mother.

One day, a girl shows up at the restaurant his mother runs. Her name is Moon Cha-Yeong, and she is practically starving as her mother wants her to work in the Korean entertainment industry.

As a show of good grace, Kang sees that Cha-Yeong is hungry and feeds her a wonderful meal. He then promises her homemade chocolate if she comes back the next day.

Due to circumstances out of their control, Cha-Yeong is unable to make it back to Kang, and when she eventually saves enough money to see him years later, the restaurant is closed.

Moon Cha-Yeong became a chef because of that one moment with Lee Kang in her past. Coincidentally, she runs into Kang again, who is now a neurosurgeon and heir of a wealthy and powerful company.

 

At this moment, Chocolate is not a bad K-drama per se, but it is skirting the edges of not knowing what kind of love story it wants to be. The first two episodes seemed to establish a base in which the writers, directors, and actors can work off with the food.

The hospital and Lee Kang’s place in the family could be secondary. Unfortunately, things get jumbled.

All the plot mentioned above and details of characters, settings, and plot are not effectively used. At times, Lee Kang being a neurosurgeon and Moon Cha-Yeong being a chef doesn’t seem to be enough. At other times, it doesn’t make sense how things ended up this way, and when we find ou, it is not satisfactory.

Then we throw in the fact that in one episode, Lee Kang’s best friend ends up in a relationship with Moon Cha-Yeong. Then, Cha-Yeong breaks up with him and moves out of South Korea to “get away” from Kang. It all happens too quick.

Suddenly, Lee Kang shows up where Moon Cha-Yeong is so he can ask her to make dumpling soup for his best friend because he is dying, and suddenly it is too much to process.

The viewership is falling after a good initial debut

These issues with Chocolate might be the reason why the K-drama is suddenly floundering in viewership.

According to AGB Nielsen Korea, when the K-drama first debuted, it started out at 3.475 percent for the nation and 4.243 percent for Seoul. It grew to 4.603 percent for the nation and 5.370 percent for Seoul by the fourth episode.

Now that the sixth episode has aired, the viewership has dropped dramatically to 4.173 percent for the nation and 4.243 percent for Seoul. Note that the latter viewership for Seoul is the same as its debut.

That means if the viewership continues to drop, it will be less than the viewership the K-drama earned its first episode.

As for international viewership, at least for the Americas, it isn’t even featured as one of the popular K-dramas watched so far this month.

JTBC still has ten episodes to work with if they hope to turn around Chocolate. For viewers interested in the series, it airs on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. KST on JTBC.

For international viewers, specifically, those living in the Americas, Chocolate is streaming exclusively on Netflix. Viewers will need a subscription to the streaming site to watch the series.

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War Omega is an entertainment news writer and painter that specializes in Asian entertainment. On Monsters & Critics, he writes about K-pop, K-dramas, and Chinese... read more
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