Love to Hate You Season 1 Review – Contrived but entertaining

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 11, 2023 (Last updated: January 10, 2024)
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Love to Hate You Season 1 Review - Contrived but entertaining


Contrived and overlong, Love to Hate You is nonetheless watchable thanks to committed performances, light but effective comedy, and some interesting characterization.

This review of the Netflix K-drama Love to Hate You Season 1 is spoiler-free. 

It’s February, the month of love and mediocre film and television, so it’s no surprise that every streaming platform in existence is dropping rom-coms left and right to capitalize on the season. Netflix is not only no exception but is arguably leading the charge with such sappy fare as Your Place or Mine occupying the thumbnails. Even South Korean TV, usually the safest possible bet for high-quality drama – just look how much of a fuss people made about the last Korean binge-drop, The Glory – is getting in on the action with Love to Hate You, a ten-episode romantic comedy series that combines the contrived unlikely lovers concept with a bit of high-kicking weirdness.

Love to Hate You Season 1 review and plot summary

The show actually starts with fisticuffs. Mi-ran (Kim Ok-vin) is no stranger to smacking men around for the greater good, one of the first – but far from the only – ways in which the show deliberately inverts the typical gender dynamics. Mi-ran is promiscuous, tends to look at all men less than favorably, doesn’t put much faith in genuine emotions, and is incredibly blasé about crossing paths with the man she’s dating while both he and she are with other flings. It just is what it is.

Her counterpart in this odd tale is Nam Kang-ho (Teo Yoo), one of Korea’s best-known actors, particularly beloved for his work in rom-coms, despite the fact that he is – dun, dun, dun – a raging closet sexist, a personality trait his former actor turned manager/agent best friend Won-jun (Kim Ji-hoon) is currently making a career out of trying to keep under wraps.

Needless to say, these two opposites are fated to attract, and once the show conspires to bring them together it kicks into a slightly higher gear, though admittedly not one high enough to sustain ten long episodes. Mi-ran is a lawyer who is almost on the verge of being a Daredevil-style vigilante, but if you’re looking for a series about empowering women in a male-dominated workplace, you’re better off looking in the direction of something like The Exchange, another recent Netflix original from Kuwait based on a true story. Love to Hate You is a very different, much lighter, and more absurd affair, even if it also postulates gender roles, perceptions, and identities.

Is Love to Hate You good?

I planned to like this show a lot less than I did, honestly, since I’m not especially romantic myself, but then again neither is Love to Hate You. I enjoyed its cynicism, the committed performances, and its slightly atypical attitude; Mi-ran is not by any means your quintessential k-drama protagonist, and something is definitely gained in her willingness to play men at their own game.

READ: Best Korean Dramas of 2023

The male side of things seems more obvious and archetypal on its face, but being driven primarily by the female perspective is by no means a bad thing. It’s light fare, sure, and it’ll turn some people off with its sometimes-odd tone. But for a February release, it does the job well enough, delivering an always-watchable, sometimes quite funny experience that is just a touch too long for its own good.

You can stream K-drama Love to Hate You Season 1 exclusively on Netflix.

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Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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