The Reasons Why “Now We Are Breaking Up” Failed To Live Up To Expectations And Garner More Attention

Published Categorized as Kdrama Buzz

Now We Are Breaking Up” has been on many fans’ radars for a while now. The drama has been in post-production for some time, it boasts some of the biggest rising and established stars so expectations were high, however, the drama has been met with criticism and cold responses from K-netizens.

We’re here to discuss why that happened and why “Now We Are Breaking Up” hasn’t been able to garner the attention it was projected to, domestically.

Note: the below points are gathered from various k-netizens comments on the drama, this article aims to explain why some viewers felt that way about the drama.

Note: this doesn’t mean “Now We Are Breaking Up” is a failure or hasn’t been doing that well, however, considering the star-studded cast and production behind the drama, expectations were higher.

NOTICE: spoilers ahead of episode 1 to 10

The story- is it boring?

One of the first criticisms “Now We Are Breaking Up” struggled with was it’s plot. Many viewers believe the drama’s plot is boring and the pace is slow, or comparatively slower than originally expected.

“Now We Are Breaking Up” was projected to progress at a faster pace, whether that was the marketing that portrayed a faster pace image or whether it was the premiere, many viewers believe the drama’s plot is boring.

The ratings battle- the underdog “The Red Sleeve” emerging on top

“Now We Are Breaking Up” takes over the SBS time slot previously occupied by “One the Woman” which enjoyed high viewership ratings, and before that, the time slot was reserved for the penthouse series which was also a massive success in terms of ratings. “Now We Are Breaking Up” was set up for success taking on a successful time slot that garners attention from viewers on the regular.

What wasn’t expected and accounted for is the competition. “Now We Are Breaking Up” and “The Red Sleeve” compete on the same time slot and while “The Red Sleeve” began with 5% in ratings, it has steadily climbed up the ratings ladder and has recently surpassed 10% in ratings, it also took over “Now We Are Breaking Up” spot as the most-watched drama in its time slot.

The rise of “The Red Sleeve” was covered in another article that you can read here, but it is safe to say that “Now We Are Breaking Up” team wasn’t expecting a worthy competitor that would rival them for viewer’s attention at that specific time slot.

The unexpected competition from another drama took away from the attention it was supposed to receive.

The chemistry between Song Hye Kyo and Jang Ki Yong- why the mixed responses

This is a point that people are split on, some believe the chemistry between Song Hye Kyo and Jang Ki Yong is weak, among the weakest either has had with a co-star.

Considering the fact that the drama is a romance drama, chemistry plays a huge role and if viewers believe the lead actors chemistry is lacking, it ends up affecting their ability to be fully immersed in the drama.

The justification behind the romance- is it morally correct or not?

One of the other issues some viewers brought up has to do with the backstory connecting Young Eun and Jae Guk’s older brother and its effect on the level of enjoyment they could feel.

In the beginning, we find out that Jae Guk’s older brother Soo Wan used to date Young Eun and was deeply in love with her even considering marriage to her, he tragically passed away in a car accident on his way to meet her.

Despite Jae Guk knowing his brother used to date this woman and love her dearly, he insists on pursuing her. He doesn’t stop to think this is not morally okay to pursue someone his older brother used to date, when faced with this and criticized for it, he retorts by saying his brother is dead and it shouldn’t matter anymore.

This particular point has irked some viewers who find Jae Guk’s insistence on pursuing Young Eun and his lack of respect or consideration of his older brother to be a bit too much. This makes his character difficult to root for.

He also exposes his late brother for having been two-timing her with another woman whom he was engaged to, probably because Soo Wan’s mother forced him to. This makes his character appear even more terrible for bringing up his brother’s past to tip the odds in his favor even though Young Eun is happily dating him and is over his brother, he tells her to curse him if she’d like to do that.

Of course, this point is highly debatable, but Jae Guk’s actions are definitely receiving mixed responses and since this is a romance drama where the viewers are supposed to root for the main couple, this particular plotline makes it a bit more difficult.

Song Hye Kyo’s choice- are they all the same?

One of viewers complaints with the drama lies with its lead actress. Many argue Song Hye Kyo’s choices are all very similar and that she’s been playing very similar characters for a while now.

This means that there is little to nothing to make viewers excited for because the lead actress is playing yet another character they’ve seen her play in the past.

On the other hand, fans argue this is the character’s description and Song Hye Kyo should not be considered at fault for choosing this character as the screenwriter is the one who wrote it and the casting directors thought Song Hye Kyo was suitable for the character, hence, why she joined the project.

Song Hye Kyo’s acting- is it bad or not?

Song Hye Kyo is one of the biggest actresses in South Korea, she’s one of the top hallyu actors who has been acting for a very long time. However, her acting has been a hit or a miss with viewers, depending on who you ask.

One of the most repeated comments by k-netizens about “Now We Are Breaking Up” and why they’re struggling with the drama is the actress’s acting.

Some viewers think Song Hye Kyo’s acting is lacking, but why? The comments discuss Song Hye Kyo’s stoic facial expressions and their belief that she struggles with expressing her character’s emotions properly, or deeply. Some also believe her performance to be boring and not engaging enough for them to continue watching the drama.

These reasons stated above have contributed to “Now We Are Breaking Up” not being able to generate the type of response that was expected.

Are you currently watching this drama? What do you think was the reason behind the drama not being well received domestically?

Whats your reaction to this article?

By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas on this site in form of reviews an/or recaps, join me in the discussion~


  1. I tried (and re-tried again) watching NWABU, but it’s just really not for me. When watching it, I get reminded of those typical taking themselves seriously old k-drama maybe in the early 2000s. Its plot, superficial take of an industry (fashion industry), acting and even their intro just screams old-school makjang-y kdrama. All of the above comments are valid and yeah, doesn’t help that SHK’s has been consistently playing this type – well-dressed and cold characters. A character can be cold and emotionless from the outside, but a more adept actress can show layers to the inner workings of the character’s emotions. Unfortunately, SHK is not that and never really been known for her acting. JKY is also not doing it for me, as he seems more like “poser” actor. His role in My Mister was really the one where he seemed to be the character and not an actor acting.

  2. The chemistry between Song Hye Kyo and Jang Ki Yong is lovely. They are both great performers and the romance is very believable. But despite the opening, it is not a wildly passionate relationship—but a mature calm one. It is the drama’s pace—too lyrical and slow that affects the drama and that it is all too predictable. There are no unexpected events. Still it is enjoyable and sweet.

  3. I think the chemistry is just off with both leads and chemistry is all about the feels, so many scenes have them distancing with the actors having to act through facial expressions especially the eyes, it is repeated over and over whether it is over a friend suffering with cancer or losing a lover, or feeling guilt. The overacting second leads are at least throwing themselves into their roles. I get that both leads can emote however it is boring. I am watching until the end but truly this will not make my favorite list because of many reasons.

  4. I don’t know if it’s because of age, but I don’t find this drama boring at all. Yes it is slow-paced but there is still a lot going-on (emotionally). Maybe only those who feel more deeply can see how good the main actors are in portraying their characters. They say both main lead are having difficulty portraying their character’s emotions? I disagree. Their acting is based on what their character should be. The drama is not about wild and passionate romance. I’m excited how things will unfold. Emotions? I guess we’ll see a lot more of it in the next episodes since the main dilemma is out of the bag already.

  5. I think the drama so far is doing great. I like the pace, conflicts are explained/resolved right away. I love the chemistry, they act well together and they look so good together. I love the side characters, they bring in the lighter side of the drama. What I do not quite understand is the issue about loving an ex-gf of a deceased brother. Am thinking it’s a cultural thing so won’t question that anymore. And lastly of course, I love Song Hye Kyo

  6. Yes sad to say all comments are true. Pacing is kinda slow and acting is boring. I still watch it though because of jang ki yong hehhee… Chemistry is lacking also.

  7. add to this the color grading, music scoring, and the graphics in this drama. it’s just not it. the entrance of music and used music do not fit the scene. the drama is about fashion yet i don’t see anything fashionable on the featured dresses and even hye kyo, a fashion designer, is just a fashion terrorist here.

  8. She looks way older than him and her character looks to be without emotion even when crying. Literally no chemistry between these two! And I know it’s not him because the chemistry in My Roommate Is A Gumiho was AMAZING! I will stick through it because I’m not a quitter but so far all I want to do is shake her and slap both of the mothers!

  9. I like the show, the only problem I have are the subtitles, it takes around 2 days to at least have 70% done. The main characters have chemistry and connection, the secondary or side characters are also entertaining. Subtitles really is frustrating, for a project like this they should hire capable people to do the job otherwise this show will be a total failure.

  10. They’re bothe good actors on their own. The story, if I May say is the culprit here. It may have suit their personality esp SHK but it’s such a slow paced story, almost boring, but realistic, because it happens in real life. They should have incorporated some lightness to it to make it more attractive and appealing. I like both actors, and it’s true that SHK role is so similar to many of her movies. JKY on the other hand, I find him a versatile actors that can emote different facial expressions and scenarios. Therefore, actors are okay, storyline, just so-so. That’s why, personally, I still watch but does not get very excited about it.

  11. The sub-titles are an utter failure. I as a viewer is left very disappointed and I see I’m not the only one. How can a production such as this leave this very important piece out? While I like both lead actors, sadly, there is no chemistry. If viewers can feel the chemistry, it is easier to anticipate where they are going with the story; already there is lack of sub-titles even after 2 days so this is the first challenge.

  12. SHK doesnt have her touch in this kdrama. It is a bit wooden and takes away the empathy one might otherwise feel for her character. Her makeup especially her lipstick colors make her look absurdly old and lifeless though her costumes are absolutely gorgeous. No spark whatsoever like Full House or Descendants of the sun. I guess if the female lead was someone like Shin Minah it would have made the whole thing more appealing to the viewers. Storyline and the male lead are definitely worth the time. Just my view as an ardent K-drama fan.

  13. The two Leads just don’t have chemistry. They look like brother and sister so putting them together for any kind of sexual attraction is just awkward. I cringe every time they look at each other.

  14. I feel the author of this piece is throwing Jong Ki Yong-JKY under the bus to deflect from the truly justified criticism of Song Hye Kyo -SHK . I find it difficult to believe that people can’t accept his characters love of a woman who had a relationship with a brother presumed dead for a decade. I think this author needs to make that a bigger deal than it is so that SHK’s acting choices are not the main downfall of this story, which contains many problems. Another HUGE problem is having the sick wife’s cheating husband being given her blessings to entertain having his mistress be the mother of her daughter. This mistress knew she was having sexual relations with a married man with a child. He buys her an incredibly expensive which she brazenly wears to the wife’s house. Yet, with a smile like a saint she gives approval to their continuing this sordid affair into a possibility of marriage AND the raising of her precious daughter! Galling! There are no single, unattached, moral women she could have chosen? Is this choice teaching her daughter to one day accept a man who will do this to her when she’s grown? This is a tremendous miss by the writers.
    The issue of age is becoming more and more irrelevant but writers still feel the need to make it scandalous. What is incredibly irksome is have 30 + year old people cowering to dictatorial parents on who they can be with, as well as having them force others onto their children that they have no interest in at all.
    The script problems are too many to allow the positive attributes of the actors to shine through. JKY is a mesmerizing actor to watch. Not just because of his handsomeness. My Mister and Search WWW are extremely different in storyline but he nails the essence of the characters he plays. I feel he tried valiantly to bring his character in this drama alive but there isn’t much for him to work with as SHK choice to not give her character a truly complex inner core to play against. I love looking at SHK. But I was lulled into disinterest with her role. I agree with an earlier comment about the character is okay having an exterior cool demeanor but allowing the internal depth of emotion to play out in her eyes. SHK doesn’t own this skill. She is a capable but not extraordinary actress. My opinion. I respect all who disagree. I do always look forward to her roles because of her capabilities. I am always entertained by the supporting cast, especially the CEO’s President daughter and her ceo boyfriend. So cute and funny. However, I am chalking this series up as a miss. Can’t wait for JKY’s next role.

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