“Melting Me Softly” is a topic of interest to me, hence, why I am covering many stories about this drama. A good reason for that is my love for Ji Chang Wook.
I was interested in how his first drama post-military service does in South Korea, and hint… it’s doing well, AT ALL.
I can argue that it’s his lowest-performing drama in years since he gained massive popularity with the huge success of “Empress Ki.”
While Ji Chang Wook dramas following “Empress Ki” didn’t do amazingly in South Korea in terms of ratings, they still pulled good ratings, enough to make a hallyu star out of him. His fans adore him and would literally watch everything that has his face in it, me being one of those fans.
Today, I’d like to discuss with you guys the reasons why “Melting Me Softly” failed to live up to expectations and why it failed to get good ratings in South Korea.
As the title reads, this article is obviously subjective and it’s about my own thoughts on this drama, take this with a grain of salt and if you mind people expressing critical opinions, please don’t proceed to read this article.
“Melting Me Softly” had rather lackluster ratings up until this point of the article writing. It’s safe to say that it’ll continue to waver around the 1-2% for the remaining of its run time.
“Melting Me Softly” started out with okay ratings and actually began to climb up and reached its highest 3.2% with its 4th episode but it’s been on a downhill ride ever since, it dropped below the 3% and continues to waver around the 1% and 2% ever since with its Sunday episodes doing better than its Saturday episodes.
Back in the day, 2% was considered great for Korean cable dramas. With the rise of tvN, OCN and JTBC, the norm became 4-6%, and these days there are many cable dramas that even surpass the 15% in viewership ratings and top its timeslot despite competition from free channels such as MBC, SBS, and KBS.
This is why “Melting Me Softly” ratings are considered lackluster because many had higher expectations and considering the shifting trend towards cable dramas and Ji Chang Wook massive popularity, many expected better, including me.
But why did this happen? Here are some of the reason I came up with:
The weekend drama timeslot is extremely competitive, that’s when everyone is fighting for your eyeballs and people in South Korea can’t focus on million things at once, naturally.
MBC’s “Golden Garden” airs at the same timeslot and it’s been getting good ratings. Around the same timeslot [close to it], we have JTBC “My Country,” the hit blockbuster drama “Vagabond” and many other interesting dramas and TV shows.
People have many choices to pick from, they have the heavy sageuk drama, the blockbuster action drama “Vagabond” and they have family dramas to pick from as well.
When compared, “Melting Me Softly” isn’t anything too special. While; as I had previously written; I believe the core idea is very interesting and worth exploring, the writer definitely didn’t try to take advantage of the possibilities.
The slow start
“Melting Me Softly” could be in the eyes of some very intriguing and I understand why, but I think we can agree, to a certain extent, that the drama could’ve progressed faster.
As I had previously told you, episode 3 and 4 saw good rise in ratings but after that, the drama was continuously declining and it never managed to get back up.
The reason is; in my opinion; the slow start. Episode 1 and 2 of any drama are supposed to lay down the foundation for what’s to come, episode 3 and 4 should usually give us an indication of drama direction, the issue is, “Melting Me Softly” never gave away that in episode 3 and 4. Instead, it ponders on itself and creates unnecessary filler scenes that if subtracted wouldn’t influence the plot in any shape or form. The plot didn’t progress at the most crucial time.
At a time when the writer should’ve been trying her best to capture the audience attention, she instead did nothing to help with that but instead drove them away.
Audience attention span is very short; it’s just the reality of TV these days. You need to provide instant gratification and justification for your drama to exist; episode 1-4 should really be up to par with the competition if you want to retain audience and keep them glued to their screen waiting for the next episode.
This is why the drop happened at episode 5, more people tuned in on episode 3 and 4 but found nothing interesting or worthy of keeping up so they just ditched it at episode 5.
I find the biggest issue with “Melting Me Softly” to be its script. I’ve spoken in great detail about that here, but I’ll sum it up again shortly for the sake of this article.
“Melting Me Softly” is a lacking script in my opinion, it’s a watered-down version of what could’ve been a way better more interesting script. Many characters are annoying or difficult to like, many character existence isn’t really important or detrimental to the plot, the plot goes nowhere for the first half of the drama and it only picks up around episode 7 and 8 which is around the time many had already dropped it.
If I compare this drama to any other weekend drama, it’s the weakest of the bunch by far.
The comedy aspect isn’t funny enough; the romance aspect isn’t developing fast enough, and the mix of the genres isn’t working too well.
If I had to pick Ji Chang Wook weakest project, I’d pick “Melting Me Softly” in an instance. I’ve seen almost all of his dramas and all of them had enough reason to exist but this drama.
“Melting Me Softly” is the safest project he could’ve chosen.
I would like to ask you this, would you still watch “Melting Me Softly” if the lead actors were unknown? A good indication of a good drama is how many would answer this question. To me personally, I wouldn’t have even made it past episode 3 if it wasn’t for Ji Chang Wook.
I also would dare say that many [not all,duh!] who are watching this drama are watching it because they terribly miss and love Ji Chang Wook, he’s the reason they came and stayed.
I don’t think anyone would’ve bothered with the drama if it weren’t for the main cast, which isn’t good.
High Expectations paired with extensive Marketing
tvN really went all out marketing Ji Chang Wook’s return with “Melting Me Softly.” I was extremely excited about this drama and had high expectations; I read the script outline and liked it. I saw potential and trusted Ji Chang Wook’s choice only to be disappointed.
Its just life, the more you expect, the more you’ll be disappointed. tvN marketed “Melting Me Softly” as the grand return of the hallyu star and a new drama that shall entertain everyone and take over, it cemented the idea inside fans’ heads and potentially led many to have higher expectations.
Many could have also had high expectations because they trust Ji Chang Wook’s choices, even if they didn’t pay attention to the marketing like I did, they immediately associate the name Ji Chang Wook with good projects.
“Melting Me Softly” is not an awful kdrama but it’s not anything special either. The writer had a chance to make this one of the most successful cable dramas of 2019 and she blew it away with her lazy writing. She depended too much on Ji Chang Wook’s status when the reality is that no matter how good an actor is, he’s only as good as the project he has.
This article isn’t done out of malicious intent but rather for the sake of discussion. This is not the end of the world nor is it for Ji Chang Wook. I wish him the best with his drama and would’ve loved for it to do better, I am not happy that it’s doing badly, but at the same time I understand why.
I would like to know your opinion guys; do you agree or disagree with me? Were you disappointed with “Melting Me Softly” or not?