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How Does Romance Is A Bonus Book Compare To Younger?

Joan MacDonaldContributor



The Korean remake of Younger has many similarities but also some significant differences.

Translating the TV Land hit Younger, which stars Sutton Foster, Nico Tortorella, Hilary Duff, and Debi Mazar, into a Korean drama was never going to be simple, but that’s the task taken on by the new drama Romance Is A Bonus Book, starring Lee Jong Suk and Lee Na Young.


The original comedy-drama was created and produced by Darren Starr and is based on the novel Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran. The k-drama version is produced by Studio Dragon for the Korean television station tvN and features Lee Na Young’s first drama appearance in nine years.

So, how does it compare? Some plot alterations have taken place to appeal to a Korean audience, but it remains a winning story. Spoilers ahead:

The first hurdle a Korean version has to overcome is the fact that Foster’s character Lisa lies about her age. It’s a lot harder to avoid talking about your age in Korea since so much of the way people relate to each other or even speak to each other is based on their relative age. What’s different is that instead of lying about her age, Lee Na Young’s character Kang Dan Bi has to lie about her education and experience, ditching accomplishments rather than years. What’s the same is that both women took time off from their careers to raise a child and that works against them when they apply for a job.


What’s similar to both stories is that the main character lost her home due to her husband’s shortcomings. And in both cases, the financially insecure single mom has a daughter who attends an expensive school. Both women are desperate for a job. What’s different is that Foster’s character has a quirky artist friend who is prepared to share her loft in trendy Williamsburg. Lee Na Young's character has friends but no one offers her a couch, so she is secretly living in Lee Jong Suk’s house. It’s a classic k-drama trope that a man and woman are forced to live together before they find out how well they fit together.

Both women work for a publishing company. In Younger, Foster’s character Lisa wears a fun collection of funky secondhand clothes to her job. That might not work in a Korean office, so a fairy godmother of sorts gets her counterpart some designer clothes. In both cases the clothes make the character look younger than her years.

The biggest difference between the original and the k-drama remake is that Lee Na Young’s character knows her future employer and he is obviously already in love with her. In this drama Lee Jong Suk, who recently played a doomed poet in Hymn of Death, plays the editor-in-chief of the publishing company. His character is five years younger than Lee Na Young's and they've been friends since childhood. In the American story, Younger, Foster’s character is actually the same age as her publisher, although pretending to be younger, but then is considerably older than the young tattoo artist she dates.

In both versions a younger man is interested in an older woman, but given the ages that the characters are supposed to be, Lee Na Young’s character could wind up in  a love triangle with two younger men.  The other romantic possibility is the freelance book designer played by Wi Ha Joon, who is supposed to be eight years younger. By the end of the first episode he’s already charmed Lee Na Young's character by finding her lost heels and slipping them on her feet, Cinderella style.

The younger man character definitely got a makeover in the k-drama version. He's far less edgy than Tortorella’s tattoo artist. Dating a tattoo artist gives Foster’s character an exciting new perspective, so it remains to be seen what Wi Ha Joon’s character will offer.

Lee Jong Suk is a popular actor with a long string of successful k-dramas, including Pinocchio, Doctor Stranger, W and While You Were Sleeping, so this drama is likely to earn good ratings. Even if it veers from the original American story, both stories still offer an important lesson. Judging women negatively for interrupting a career to raise children is short sighted. Raising a child confers many practical skills that can help you succeed in the workplace. Both stories explain why employers should perhaps step beyond simple hiring prejudices and take a chance.

Exactly reproducing Younger would have been impossible, but the k-drama’s compendium of romance, publishing and top stars, is likely to make Romance Is A Bonus Book a hit.






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Lee Jong-seok's visual level, which is 31 years old and plays 'high school student'

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“You look beautiful.” he said.
Dan-I seemed like she did not hear him.









“The bride is gone?”

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