Melting Me Softly: Age Is Just a Number

Rom-Coms can really be so fun. I enjoyed watching this one, though I think it was a tad slow to binge watch. Melting Me Softly stars the ever handsome Ji Chang Wook (The K2), and Won Jin A. The plot is science fiction, but the genre is definitely romantic comedy. Ji really impressed me this time with his acting–he’s definitely getting better over time, and he had great chemistry with Won, who’s a petite firecracker with a really cool, low voice. She reminds me a bit of So Ye Ji from Lawless Lawyer and Save Me.

Melting Me Softly is about cryogenics. Ji plays Ma Dong Chan, a top-of-his-game production director, who in 1999 decides to do an experiment in freezing people for his hit show. Won plays Go Mi Ran, a college student who works part-time doing crazy stunts for the same show. Mi Ran agrees to be frozen with Dong Chan for a total of two hours, and the production assistants will get it all on camera. Due to a mishap, the two end up being frozen not for two hours, but for twenty years!

I really enjoyed watching this despite the often slow pace. It was so fun to revisit the 90s and many parts were funny, with both over-the-top scene chewing and deadpan humor. Some of the jokes were quick one-liners I almost missed. It was hilarious watching the leads wake up in 2019 and encounter their friends and relatives, now all twenty years older.

At the beginning, Dong Chan is 32 and Mi Ran, 24, so when they end up in 2019 they are technically 52 and 44. Much fun is made of this, as both the leads and people around them decide to treat them as their past age or their technical age, depending on the circumstances. Many of the supporting characters are just as they were in 1999, just a bit grayer and wrinklier, but some have become even more outlandish. Some of the best comedy comes from this, and the four standouts were: Lim Won Hee (You’re All Surrounded) as Dong Chan’s subordinate, who still sports longish hair and bites his nails; Jeon Su Kyeong (Devilish Charm) as Dong Chan’s now alcoholic younger sister; Kim Won Hae, who is a Kdrama staple, as Dong Chan’s younger brother (Kim also plays their dad, who in 2019 has passed away. Dong Chan keeps mistaking his younger, now older brother for his dad); and, finally, Shim Hyung Tak (My Sassy Girl), who plays Mi Ran’s weirdo ex-boyfriend who still has a thing for her twenty years later. Shim chomped the scenery five times over and gave that crazy character his own solar system.

This show stuck pretty close to rom-com territory. There’s a couple of cartoonish villains, but not a lot of action as a whole. Most of the plot centered around relationships, which was a way to use the jump in time well. To heat up the romance, the bane of being frozen is that the leads’ body temperatures need to stay at 31.7 degrees Celsius or about 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The “steamiest” scene is a cold shower makeout session, and much of the last half of the show is spent with the doctors and scientists trying to figure out how the two can live and love normally. Good foreshadowing for the ending, and I give the writer props for working it in so well. We know it’s coming, we know it’s coming, and then it happens.

The best part of the show is that it reinforces the idea that age is just a number. Dong Chan is still given respect even though he looks 32 not 52, and Mi Ran considers herself 24 or 44 depending on her mood, and no one much cares because she looks young and beautiful. The friends and relatives they knew in 1999 still have the same hearts and essential cores in 2019, and it’s cool to see that the siblings who are all now technically older still need their older brother or sister. Vitality and goodness of heart as being more important than age is constantly reinforced, as well as the idea that no matter how old you are, you can always improve and change for the better. This is also a great show for those who are thinking being frozen would be a good thing. Living out one’s life in real time is something that one can’t get back, should one choose to skip it by getting frozen. The twenty years missed still hang over the couple, and I think their share in that sorrow is really what pulls the two together into a romance. No one else on earth knows what they are going through.

My next Kdrama review will be a weird one: Missing: The Other Side. It’s a creepy, supernatural one, so I’m not sure I’ll make through the whole thing, but we’ll see. One episode in, and it’s intriguing simply because I have no idea what’s going on. Look for that review in a few weeks.

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