The workplace romance, The Interest of Love (based on Lee Hyuk-jin's novel of the same name) offers an interesting perspective within the arena of banks. The series mostly unfolds inside KCU Bank, which, we are told, runs on discrimination. You are treated differently based on your financial condition. A regular customer goes to the bank and waits for his number. On the other hand, a VIP doesn't even need to come to the branch. An employee is sent to him to take care of all the necessary requirements.
But it's not just the customers. Even bank employees face discrimination. For example, an inheritance case of a wealthy customer is snatched from a bank teller. These characters have been brought up in such a manner that they are always conscious about their status in the world and among each other. That's why they believe that a poor girl should date a poor boy and a rich girl should date a rich boy. The financial background must match, making the two parties easily adjust to each other's lifestyles.
The problem with love is that it just happens. The heart doesn't go for logic. It certainly doesn't analyze wealth to beat for that special someone. A character in The Interest of Love dares to break the established boundaries and dates an underprivileged girl. But as mentioned, these individuals are conditioned to look for someone residing on their pecuniary spectrum. Hence, this character breaks up with her girlfriend, and since he loved her for real, he drowns in depression and alcohol.
Ha Sang-su (Yoo Yeon-seok), a manager at KCU Bank, comments on the absurdness of the dating system based on background checks. He asks his friend, who broke up with his girlfriend, why he dated someone if he knew things won't eventually work out between them. You see, Sang-su has not yet experienced heartbreak, though he has fallen in love with Ahn Su-yeong (Mun Ka-young), the bank teller. What he doesn't know is that soon he too will be drinking alcohol with his friend after getting rejected by Su-yeong.
It all happens when Sang-su arrives late for a date at a sushi restaurant. From the next day onwards, Su-yeong starts giving him the cold shoulder. He, as well as the viewers, think she is angry because he couldn't arrive on time for the date (he got too busy at work). But apparently, things are not so straightforward. The exact details are hazy, as we don't get a proper explanation for Su-yeong's unfriendly behavior. Did she suddenly consider their backgrounds? During a flashback, we watch a happy Su-yeong seeing Sang-su running on the streets at a distance. But then, instantly, her expression changes. You have to wait for future episodes to get the full picture.
Jealousy and romance fill the air. Characters say things they don't mean, see someone together and draw inaccurate conclusions, and choose to break each other's heart instead of sitting down and talking to one another. That might seem like your usual dose of love games, and the series does tread on a familiar path. But the familiarity exists on a broader level. What infuses life into the material is the decision to focus both on the personal and professional lives of the characters. They don't just say "I love you" and merely talk about love. But they also have conversations where they discuss their work. Through brief scenes with mothers, we get enough information about the life of two characters, and a man's unsteady eyes speak volumes regarding his relationship with an employee at the bank.
Of course, no romantic show/movie can sustain without charming performances. Thankfully, Yeon-seok and Ka-young work well together. There is a natural chemistry between them, and you can see their characters really love each other. Even though one of them denies the existence of something special between them, her eyes shatter the facade and reveal the truth to the audience. The scene where Su-yeong and Sang-su walk on the street after exiting a movie theater or the one where the latter blushes upon receiving a text message are a delight to watch. With actors like these, the clichés cease to bother.
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