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  • Writer's pictureLeslie W

Love Alarm – An Entirely Biased Review Because I Have Feelings And I Need To Write About Them

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

One of the scenes in this Netflix Korean drama left a deep impression on me, so I had to write down my thoughts in order to sort them out.


Image: Love Alarm/Netflix

Based on a webtoon by Chon Kye-young, Love Alarm is a Korean drama that traces the short-lived love story of two high school students, Kim Jo-jo and Hwang Sun-Oh. It’s reminiscent of Black Mirror, as the characters live out their lives under the pseudo glow of an app — called Love Alarm, of course — that syncs with your heart and lets your crush know that someone within a 10m radius likes them.

At times meandering, Love Alarm nevertheless, draws you in with a not-exactly linear storyline where you’ll have to wait (sometimes several episodes-long) to understand why the characters are where they are now.


Image: Love Alarm/Netflix

Kim So-hyun plays Kim Jo-jo, an orphan who lives with her aunt and bitchy cousin. Her backstory is told in a piecemeal fashion throughout the season.

Song Kang plays Hwang Sun-oh, a teen model who comes from a dysfunctional family with an actress mum and politician dad.

The last third of the love triangle, Lee Hye-yeong, is played by Jun Ga-ram. He’s Sun-oh’s best friend and son of his family’s caregiver, and the one who set his sights on Jo-jo first.

The two leads played by Kim So-hyun and Song Kang put up strong performances — even though I wasn’t sold on the latter earlier on in the series. Jo-jo’s bitchy cousin Gul-mi (Go Min-si) also deserves a shout-out for playing her antagonist role so well. Jun Ga-ram, not so much.

Thought and feelings

Image: Love Alarm/Netflix

There’s a lot of unrequited love going around in Love Alarm, but it is essentially a story about how two teenagers}' feelings for each other are affirmed, then denied by the app (i.e. technology, and perhaps, artificial intelligence).

While Jo-jo and Sun-oh’s first kiss was a little out of the blue — Jo-jo probably kissed Sun-oh because she was physically attracted to him, and Sun-oh too, but mixed with feelings of jealousy because of Hye-yeong — the two of them do develop genuine affection for each other.

Bad decisions are aplenty, as with almost every high school drama. But I still find it baffling that Jo-jo went ahead to install the beta patch that blocks her from ringing her crush’s alarm. And what is it with people regretting their choices yet choosing to not rectify them? Sigh.

Love Alarm also highlights how unattractive people always get the short end of the stick. Yes, I mean Duk-gu, without whom there wouldn't be this Love Alarm mess.

I'm waiting for Season 2 with a little dread because I've read spoilers about who Jo-jo ends up with eventually.

P.S.: I realised that I had to write down my thoughts because I wanted to read a novel on this. Also the reason why I envisioned this Instagram post before I started writing this post.

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