Written by Seon Yeong
Directed by Cha Young-hoon
Original Air Date: February 12th, 2022 – April 3rd, 2022
There was a time when the office-set rom-com was a big deal, either on television or the big screen and some of the most popular films and television series of all time would get much romantic comedic joy from watching two characters in an office find their way to love.
While there were the likes of Working Girl, Broadcast News and even classics such His Girl Friday on the big screen, on television private detective comedies such as Moonlighting, and Remington Steele would find much humour and romance from watching its two leads bicker in the office as much as it did in their mystery-solving abilities.
Even the multiple versions of The Office found some of its best moments (especially the US version) in the romantic component. It’s the finding love and romance across an office desk variety that on the surface looks like a big reason to watch Forecasting Love and Weather, but it proves to be a more enjoyably trickier brand of romantic comedy.
There is much humour and fun to be had here, and the presence of Park Min-young might lead you to think that we’re in for another frothy, fun-filled rom-com the likes of which she is a master (What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Her Private Life), but it soon reveals itself to be a rom-com with an observational bite.
The path of true love doesn’t run smoothly, but in this case, it frequently doesn’t run smoothly because of the unpredictability of the weather, some of which frequently acts as a not very subtle metaphor for whatever emotional angst its characters are going through.
Storms gathering within a relationship just as actual storm clouds are gathering in the skies get a look in here, and yet the series is never for one moment trying to be subtle about its themes and messages. In fact, there is perhaps a little voice just behind the camera saying that ‘yes, we know this isn’t subtle, but you’re enjoying all of this, aren’t you?’. The answer to that is a big hearty yes, because this is a lot of fun, and when it piles on the angst for its final third, it does so in a way that you cannot help but fully engage with because the series has done such a great job up to that point.
The warning signs are there in regard to its high level of angst. The series begins with the revelation of shared infidelity amongst its charismatic leading characters, and where they both find the potential for happiness with themselves, they still must contend with having their exes in their lives and the dramas that come with it.
Comedy and a high degree of wit are to be found here, but the more Forecasting Love and Weather goes on, the more it finds moments of profundity with its characters. Nearly every character finds themselves contending with difficult relationships, unsettling moments with their significant others and even the possibility of divorce. All of this plays out against a quietly epic backdrop where the weather is all important.
Nearly every character has something that makes them sympathetic and a joy to watch, but they are never portrayed as being absolutely perfect. Television series set within an office environment, especially one that has a great deal of importance, only ever work brilliantly if the characters don’t succeed all the time, and more so if the stakes are high. Failure at work and failure in love is a big component of so much of the drama here and it gives the storytelling an enjoyable swashbuckling scope.
One might find the setting of the KMA (Korea Meteorological Administration) and how important the weather is played out here as something that’s possibly being portrayed as more important than it is, but then the weather is something we take for granted until it does become an important factor in our lives.
An angry public and the importance of public relations factor in many of the story arcs, while there are references to climate change which outlines why the work of these characters is maybe not quite the typical romantic comedy fodder it could have fallen into.
Better yet, what could have been a mere frothy concoction becomes more complex as it goes on, and while its leads must contend with increasingly fraught communication with the public, the lack of communication between themselves becomes a potent comparison and source of much of the drama.
Ha-kyung (Park Min-young) and Si-woo (Song Kang, adding to his increasingly growing roster of series in such a short space of time) might have to contend with an age difference, but their chemistry and the connection they make are undeniable. They must face obstacles such as their work environment, the possibilities of what might happen should their romance become public and the hostility of their exes, more so from Ka-Hyung’s ex-fiancé (Yoon Park), the latter being frequently portrayed at times as one of the most exasperating characters in recent k-drama history.
Characters inadvertently run circles around each other and find most of their troubles and strife are caused by a lack of communication. This might prove a tad frustrating for some, but it’s a great choice from the writers to place the viewers into the mindset and experience of its cast of players who portray their inability at times to say what they mean quite powerfully.
On top of all that, there are great production values on display; a ferocious storm in the latter stages of the series boasts some surprisingly effective CGI that outdoes some Hollywood productions which only adds to the scope of proceedings.
Better yet are the performances. Park Min-young has become something of a K-drama rom-com queen thanks to iconic work as Secretary Kim and Her Private Life, but this gives the actress a chance to show more dramatic heft than you might at first think it will from looking at the posters.
Yes, there is humour and a lot of comedy, and the chemistry between herself and Song Kang is fantastic, but from the dramatic discovery of her fiancé’s infidelity to her trying to work out the direction her life will go next, right through to her confusion at where her relationship with Lee Siu is going and the enjoyable amount of angst she gets to play off in the later stages, this is maybe her best work to date.
Amongst a sea of peak k-dramas on the air at the moment (this has gone out at the same time as Thirty-Nine, Twenty-Five Twenty-One and Business Proposal), Forecasting Love and Weather has maybe gotten lost amongst the increasing number of high-profile K-dramas that have premiered in 2022 alone, and yet it’s one that hopefully will be ripe for rediscovery.
It’s an entertaining piece of work that appears glossy on the surface and yet hides its complexities and intensities in plain sight, showing that sometimes television shows shouldn’t be judged by their cover and even the frothiest of concoctions can hide a complex heart.