The Liar and His Lover

“We realize we are alone when we’re among people. When you feel that no one amongst all these people are on your side, loneliness can surge up, and it’s more terrifying than anything else.” –Seo Chan Young (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“Just because you don’t believe on something, you treat it as if it doesn’t exist.” –Kang In Woo (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“When someone talks as if they know everything, that’s probably because they don’t want to admit that they might be wrong. They live like that for years. After some years, they can’t admit that they’re wrong. They’re afraid to change. They can’t change.” –Kang In Woo (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“I’ve just realized that there is a limit for how many lies you can use just to cover up other lies.” –Kang Han Gyeol (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“You taught me that hiding something or lying about something might be harder than telling the truth, but still it’s not the right thing to do.” –Kang Han Gyeol (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

Have you ever questioned your own moral compass when it comes to “lie”? People say that however good it is, a white lie is still much worse than an ugly truth. On the other side, some people say that sometimes a white lie is better than an ugly truth. Is it really contextual? Don’t we really have the moral compass regarding to it? Which one really is better? Which one is worse? People say that once a lie is always a lie, since it knows no end, and people will always be telling more lies until they finally tell the truth. Imagining myself as the person who receives the “lie”, somehow I’m still pondering whether it’s better for me to know the ugly truth or just keep fooling myself with the white lie as long as I’m okay. However, one thing that I know for sure is: telling lies is different from not telling the whole truth. Ones can cover some truth out of courtesy, but they tell lies in order to obtain something else. In South Korean drama series titled “The Liar and His Lover”, one was unintentionally covering some truth for getting dragged by the situation.

"The Liar and His Lover" official series poster | source:

Title                               : The Liar and His Lover/Lovely Love Lie
Genre                             : romantic comedy, drama, musical, adaptation
Starring                          : Lee Hyun Woo, Joy, Lee Jung Jin, Lee Seo Won
Channel                          : tvN
No. of episodes               : 16
Original broadcast           : March – May 2017

“The Liar and His Lover” is a Korean drama series broadcasted by tvN cable television network. It was adapted from Japanese manga “Kanojo wa Uso o Aishisugiteru” by Kotomi Aoki. It follows the story of an aspiring musician/highschool student, Yoon So Rim (portrayed by Joy) who accidentally met Kang Han Gyeol (portrayed by Lee Hyun Woo), the man whom she had a crush with, not knowing that he was the producer of famous idol band, Crude Play, since he was always wearing a mask whenever he came to public spotlight and went under the pseudonym “K”. In her school, So Rim formed a band of three along with her two childhood bestfriends, the drummer Lee Kyu Sun (portrayed by Park Jong Hyuk), and also guitarist Baek Jin Woo (portrayed by Song Kang) who was secretly had a crush with So Rim. So Rim herself was a big fan of Crude Play. And one day, by the help of their homeroom teacher, Teacher Bong (portrayed by Kim In Kwon), So Rim and her friends got scouted by the talent agency, Sole Music, which was the agency of Crude Play.
It was Choi Jin Hyuk (portrayed by Lee Jung Jin), the director of Sole Music who brought So Rim and her friends to the company, not knowing that So Rim and Han Gyeol had known each other prior. Things got twisted in their personal relationship, since Han Gyeol recently broke up with Chae Yoo Na (portrayed by Hong Seo Young), female singer under Sole Music for learning that she had been meeting Director Choi behind his back. Moreover, while setting her mind for only Han Gyeol, So Rim was approached by the bassist of Crude Play, Seo Chan Young (portrayed by Lee Seo Won). Chan Young planned to be the producer of So Rim’s band too, which was ready to debut under the stagename “Mush & Co”. So Rim was taken by surprise learning the fact that Han Gyeol was actually Producer K of Crude Play. However, the biggest secret in the company is not about Producer K’s identity, but about the fact that Crude Play was using proxy musicians for their recording and live performance. And sooner or later, they had to deal with the secret they had kept.
There are things I think about while watching “The Liar and His Lover”. First of all, I have to say that I keep wondering: How can someone be so naive like So Rim? Is it because she’s young? Or is it just the way she is? If it is really just the way she is, well, I’m lost for words. How could she doesn’t have any sense of things that are going around her for most of the times? No matter how young we are, I guess some people are given the ability to sense things that are going around them, unlike So Rim. How could she not realize that Jin Woo has a feeling for her, more than just a friend? It is obvious in the way that he gets irritated and angry every time So Rim meets Han Gyeol or just talks about him. How could she not realize that Chan Young has a feeling for her, more than just taking care of his trainee? It is obvious in the way that he cares so much about her even for things that actually are not in professional terms. How could someone be so indecisive? Her personality may come out as innocent and pure for some people, but for me, it’s just overrated.
Actually, problems that So Rim has to deal with in the storyline of “The Liar and His Lover” are not that very big deal in compare to other characters’ problems (though she makes it seems like the world’s biggest problem). Kang Han Gyeol, for example, he definitely has the daddy issues. As a musician himself, he lives with the traumatic experience upon learning that his father, Kang In Woo (portrayed by Choi Min Soo), is uncredited for writing a song sung by another singer. He has to face more problems when the band he forms with his highschool mates, Crude Play, has to debut using proxy musicians because of their lack in musicianship. He makes a brave yet selfish decision to step back and let his proxy musician, Seo Chan Young, to debut in his place as bassist. He even hides his face as Crude Play’s producer for he’s feeling ashamed. He means good, but his actions are misunderstood by everyone around him. Having a life like Han Gyeol, I guess it is understandable that he chooses to hide behind lies rather than to face the truth.
It is not that Han Gyeol is that kind of person since the beginning. It is just that his circumstances have turned him into that kind of person. And it is also the circumstances that have turned Chan Young into “the man who doesn’t belong”. He always feels out of place, since he debuts as a replacement for Han Gyeol. And even in love, he feels like a replacement too. At this point, I can finally see So Rim’s contribution in the storyline. She’s there to give bravery towards Han Gyeol to face the truth and come clean. She’s there to give faith towards Chan Young to believe that he’s more than just a replacement. Hence, from this point I can see why both Han Gyeol and Chan Young are feeling hard to let her go. As for So Rim, it is not that she is being lied to that makes her upset, but rather it is the feeling that she is not being trusted enough to receive the truth. It is the feeling of embarrassment. However, at some point in the storyline, I cannot understand So Rim’s indecisiveness regarding to her feeling and actions toward those two men.
Talking about circumstances, watching “The Liar and His Lover” makes me wonder how cruel the entertainment industry is. Everyone in this drama series is the victim of the industry’s heartless system. Han Gyeol becomes that lying bastard. Chan Young develops the inferiority syndrome. Chae Yoo Na becomes the company’s puppet doll. And the worst is: Crude Play. Before debuting, they were just some bunch of buddies who played music for fun and passion. However, joining the major company had turned their life upside down. It makes me wonder: is it always a high price to pay for a dream to come true? Well, I guess, playing music is one thing, but becoming celebrity is another thing. It all comes with consequences. It leads to the members’ personal issues. And only when the drummer Ji In Ho (portrayed by Jang Ki Young) is almost killed in car accident, Han Gyeol, guitarist Lee Yoon (portrayed by Shin Je Min), and vocalist Yoo Si Hyun (portrayed by Kim Sung Joo) realize how much it all takes toll on them. And eventually, they have to come clean.
I started watching “The Liar and His Lover” because of the visuals. I adore Lee Hyun Woo ever since he was a child actor. Moreover, Joy is my personal favorite member of Red Velvet; hence I was curious of her acting. And surprisingly, I guess she performed well enough to depict Yoon So Rim’s annoying innocence, considering that it is her debut as an actor. I have to note that I like the songs in this drama series. They are all easy-listening; they are able to hook me in. However, as the whole package of drama series, I feel that “The Liar and His Lover” is lacking something. It is good enough but I feel that it can actually do better. Lee Hyun Woo’s acting is unquestionable though. His acting is the only thing that I think is saving this drama series from a really devastating result. For me personally, I think it’s more interesting to focus on Crude Play’s issues since the first episode rather than So Rim’s puberty issues. But, yeah, if you really have time to spare and no other choice of drama series, you can watch it then. Hyun Woo’s acting is worth it.

“My pride is hurting because I’m liking someone so much. Thinking about the possibility that she might go apart from me is terrifying me. That’s why I’ve made music as my reason, that I only love music and that’s the only thing I need. I keep hiding and telling that to myself.” –Kang Han Gyeol (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“Thanks to you, I realize that I still have many things to learn. Music is not everything, and I’m still lacking in so many things. I need something else in my life. I need you on my side. I love you.” –Kang Han Gyeol (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“Can you just stay where you are? I don’t even hope that you would come to me. If you will just stay right there, I will come to you. I will do my best. So, can you stay there?” –Yoon So Rim (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“Even jewels are unworthy if you don’t appreciate them. Your song is great. Even where there is no one else who likes your song, I will always like it.” –Yoon So Rim (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)

“Just because I’m not good enough, it doesn’t mean that you deserve to belittle my efforts.” –Lee Yoon (The Liar and His Lover, 2017)


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