Queen of Tears (2024) Would Have Flopped So Hard If They Did This

When news first broke of a potential collaboration between Kim Soo Hyun and Kim Ji Won, the whole world was stunned. This was a pairing nobody had anticipated, and based on their filmography, the expectations were pretty high.

Queen of Tears is a second chance romantic Korean drama about a couple who have to face a ruthless villain, their impending divorce, a terminal illness, and their families’ affairs.

At the helm is screenwriter Park Ji Eun, who worked on Crash Landing On You, The Legend of the Blue Sea, and My Love From The Star. This is her second time working with Kim Soo Hyun; she also wrote the screenplay for his 2015 workplace romance drama The Producers.

The directors for this drama, Kim Hee Won and Jang Young Woo, have credits ranging from Bulgasal: Immortal Souls to Vincenzo under their belts. This lineup is impressive, and one little improvement by the showrunners saved Queen of Tears from being a bigger flop.

It was billed as a romantic comedy, and while it did deliver on romantic moments, there was a big possibility it may have collapsed on itself. 

As expected, ranking soared for weeks: first came the announcement that its rating (nationwide & metropolitan) has exceeded Goblin, which placed it as tvN’s 2nd highest-rated drama; then the ending of March brought tidings of a sweeping rule of Netflix’s Global List Chart for weeks in different countries; up until the final feature-long episode catapulted the rankings and it’s now the tvN Korean drama with the highest viewership in history. 

Every episode of Queen of Tears is a little over 80 minutes, with the last episode being a 110-minute feature-long episode. These durations include both the intro, outro, and preview of the next episode, but they are still way above the normal duration of romantic comedy dramas.

The truth is, Queen of Tears would have flopped if it had abided by the tried and true 1-hour-long format of other romantic comedy dramas.

And the flopping would have been even more dramatic if they had cast any other actors aside from Jennifer and Michael in their roles. In my opinion, they pretty much held this drama together at every point in time, which is disappointing.

From the outside looking in, this might not seem like much, but remember, this is supposed to be a lighthearted and soothing romantic comedy drama.

Take, for example, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, which also has 16 episodes, each a little under 70 minutes, which is, in my opinion, the perfect length for a romantic comedy drama.

And this is only made worse by the fact that Queen of Tears comes across as an ensemble drama, which isn’t bad, but it feels a little deceptive to viewers who had been patiently waiting for it to be released.

If viewers needed a lesson on managing expectations, Queen of Tears is probably a lesson and a punishment rolled into one, and I don’t think I’m going to forget this less-than-optimal experience anytime soon.

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