Love to Hate You (2023)
Title: Love to Hate You
Writer: Choi Soo-young
Director: Kim Jeong-kwon
Love to Hate You Cast and Characters
Kim Sung-ryung as Choi Soo-jin
Lee Joo-bin as Oh Se-na
Jeon Shin-hwan as Lee Jin-seo
Love to Hate You Plot Summary
Yeo Mi-ran is a spunky attorney who is uninterested in relationships. Nam Kang-ho is a famous actor with a gentlemanly reputation but dislikes women. The two meet, misunderstand one another but eventually fall in love.
Love to Hate You Ending Explained
Does Love to Hate You Have a Happy Ending?
Love to Hate You ends with both Mi-ran and Kang-ho and Won-joon and Na-eun happily dating.
What Happened to Mi-ran?
Mi-ran’s extensive dating history and string of one-night stands is exposed to the public by a gossip channel show online.
The public backlash is harsh and swift with eggs even being thrown at Mi-ran by Kang-ho stans. Mi-ran also suffers backlash at work for dating a high-profile client and is told to quit by her boss.
After trying to make their relationship work amidst all the public attention, Mi-ran breaks up with Kang-ho at his press conference to save his image and career.
One month later, the negative public sentiment has died down considerably but Mi-ran is still struggling with the break-up.
Mi-ran’s reputation makes a full recovery after her ex-boyfriend Jin-seo makes an appearance on the gossip talk show that exposed her.
The show plays a video of testimonies of anonymous women revealing Mi-ran is a hero who dated multiple men to “punish” them. She would date guys who had a bad reputation so that she could put them in their place.
Public opinion of Mi-ran changes quickly and she is now viewed as a hero for women.
What Happened to Kang-ho?
After Kang-ho and Mi-ran make things official, Kang-ho’s aversion to women is seemingly cured. He smoothly films a love scene for his movie with his ex Se-na without his anxiety medication and doesn’t have a panic attack.
After Mi-ran’s dating past is exposed, Kang-ho’s image and career are tarnished as companies begin to pulls ads and request compensation for breach of contract. His fans also demand an apology and ask him to break up with Mi-ran.
Kang-ho is defiant and even offers to quit acting rather than give up his relationship. He rejects Mi-ran’s suggestion to break up and suggests they announce their break-up but continue dating in secret.
When the couple are revealed to still be dating, Kang-ho holds a press conference to apologize to the public for misleading them and announce that he will not break up with Mi-ran. In fact, not only will Kang-ho not break up with her but he publicly proposes to Mi-ran.
But Kang-ho is publicly rejected by Mi-ran at the press conference and they break up for real.
Do Mi-ran and Kang-ho End Up Together?
Mi-ran and Kang-ho do end up together at the end of Love to Hate You.
But first, they got through the requisite last-minute kdrama break-up.
Amidst the public furor around Mi-ran’s dating past, she and Kang-ho agree to announce a break-up but continue dating in private.
Mi-ran and Kang-ho’s secret relationship era is short-lived as they are spotted on a karaoke date by fans further inciting the negative feelings towards the couple.
Mi-ran crashes Kang-ho’s press conference and breaks up with him not because she’s ashamed of her past but to salvage his career and reputation.
One month later, Mi-ran and Kang-ho remain broken up but reconcile after Mi-ran’s reputation is restored after Jin-seo’s appearance on the gossip show reveals Mi-ran to be a “hero” and not a promiscuous girl.
Mi-ran reaches out to Kang-ho and when they meet up, he pretends he’s not interested in getting back together to get back at Mi-ran for publicly rejecting his marriage proposal.
The two get back together and Love to Hate You ends with Mi-ran and Kang-ho happily dating.
Kang-ho brings up marriage again but Mi-ran is uninterested, saying she doesn’t believe in marriage and will never get married.
Do Won-joon and Na-eun End Up Together?
Won-joon and Na-eun end up together at the end of Love to Hate You.
But first, Na-eun rejects Won-joon multiple times and tells him to try again in the next life. Na-eun rejects Won-joon after he confesses his feelings for her and tells him to shot his shoot in their next life.
At Kang-ho’s party, Won-joon is hit on by a woman but he rejects her saying he has feelings for someone else. Won-joon also has a conversation with Grace and Won-joon tells her they will only ever be friends.
After the movie screening, Won-joon makes a grand gesture to Na-eun. He shows up in a limousine with flowers and confesses to Na-eun in front of everyone. Won-joon asks her out and Na-eun accepts and the couple kiss.
Love to Hate You ends with Won-joon and Na-eun on a double date with Kang-ho and Mi-ran. Na-eun reveals to Mi-ran that she is introducing Won-joon to her parents soon.
What Happened to Soo-jin?
Soo-jin’s divorce/cheating scandal is resolved as she receives half of her ex-husband’s assets in the divorce and her name is cleared from the cheating allegations.
What Happened to Jin-seo?
Mi-ran’s ex-boyfriend/co-worker helps repair Mi-ran’s public image after her past is exposed by a gossip channel.
One month after Mi-ran and Kang-ho’s break-up, Jin-seo guest stars on the same gossip channel show that exposed Mi-ran to reveal the truth: Mi-ran dated multiple men so she could teach them a lesson and get back at them for wronging women.
What Happened to Se-na?
Se-na gets closure with her relationship with Kang-ho.
After filming is over, the two exes talk, and Se-na is rejected once again by Kang-ho who tells her their relationship was over years ago.
Love to Hate You Ending Review
I love that the leads got their happy ending but I absolutely hated how the ending to Love to Hate You was constructed and how Mi-ran’s character was handled.
Mi-ran and Kang-ho facing backlash for their relationship was inevitable but I didn’t enjoy how Mi-ran’s character was dismantled in order for the couple to get their happy ending.
The ending is a mess and really exposed Love to Hate You‘s shallow understanding of feminism.
Kim Ok-vin’s charismatic performance as Mi-ran is unquestionably the best part of Love to Hate You. Mi-ran is a strong and confident 30-something woman who enjoys sex, has a lot of it, and is upfront and unashamed about it.
Mi-ran is a refreshing change of pace from the typical chaste kdrama FL who has never been in a relationship and acts like she doesn’t even know what sex is.
Unfortunately, society is judgmental and unkind to women even in kdramaland and when Mi-ran’s sexual history is revealed to the public, Mi-ran and Kang-ho both suffer severe backlash and career repercussions.
Kang-ho is a famous actor so the public scrutiny and backlash leading to a breakup was sadly inevitable.
It’s a storyline I was anticipating because I was curious how Love to Hate You would address society’s double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to female sexuality.
I also had high hopes Mi-ran and Kang-ho would overcome the intense public backlash and find their way back to each other together.
The good news is Mi-ran and Kang-ho get back together in the end.
The bad news is their happy ending comes at the expense of Mi-ran’s character, her feminism, and sex positivity.
Sex is for Justice, not for Pleasure!
Mi-ran is a confident and sex-positive woman. She likes sleeping around. She has one-night stands.
Mi-ran is also a tough but kind-hearted person who stands up for justice. She stands up for what she believes in.
Love to Hate You takes Mi-ran’s sexual history, ties it to her vigilante justice and the result is a mess.
To help restore Mi-ran’s public reputation, her ex-boyfriend, Jin-seo, goes on a trashy gossip talk show to “expose” her. But plot twist, he exposes her for being a good person!
A video is shown featuring several women vouching for Mi-ran and clearing her name. They talk about how Mi-ran is a “vengeful dater” with stories like:
- “Mi-ran beat up my abusive ex-boyfriend!”
- “Mi-ran seduced my cheating ex-boyfriend to break up his engagement!”
One woman succinctly sums it up when she says Mi-ran is a “gifted pick-up artist that administers justice”.
Basically, the message is:
Mi-ran isn’t a good-for-nothing woman who sleeps around too much!
She’s a hero fighting for justice!
Mi-ran is not a horrible woman who has the audacity to have sex for pleasure.
She does it to avenge women who’ve been wronged!
If you’re having sex with lots of men for pleasure and enjoying yourself, you will be shamed and have eggs thrown at you.
The writers turning Mi-ran’s healthy sex life into a noble cause is infuriating.
Why can’t a woman just enjoy sex?
Why does she need a “moral” reason to sleep with multiple men?
“You know what I hate? Scenes where there’s a damsel in distress.”– Mi-ran
Mi-ran’s Colleagues Save the Day
Love to Hate You reduces Mi-ran to a damsel in distress who needs to be saved by men. Her happy ending is the result of the hard work done by men. It would not have been possible without them.
I’m not mad that the men at her firm rallied to help her. I’m happy to see that her male coworkers respected and supported her.
I like that her ex-boyfriend spoke up publicly for her.
But I really wish Mi-ran had played an active role in saving herself.
The law bros’ rescue plan would’ve been amazing if Mi-ran had been part of it.
Why not show Mi-ran strategizing with her co-workers to try and sway public opinion in her favour?
If Mi-ran had a hand in crafting the “Mi-ran the Avenger” PR angle to get the public on her side, I would have loved it.
Wouldn’t it have been amazing if Mi-ran had been the mastermind behind this victory and the architect of her happy ending?
But instead, Mi-ran’s rescue is done without her knowledge or participation.
I’m annoyed this strong, capable, and determined woman was not given the opportunity to take her fate into her own hands and fight for her happy ending with her man.
Instead, it’s the men who did all the work to get Mi-ran and Kang-ho their happily ever after. They’re the ones who came up with the plan and executed it while Mi-ran and Kang-ho were moping over their break-up!
They played a crucial role in the drama and I don’t even know their names!
Mi-ran’s Public Redemption
So the law firm bros’ plan is a success and Mi-ran is now being hailed as a hero instead of a horrible she-devil.
Mi-ran’s dating history is now widely accepted because it was revealed to be done in the name of JUSTICE! Not for fun and pleasure.
It’s now safe and socially acceptable for her and Kang-ho to date!
How depressing that the drama felt they needed this moral justification for Mi-ran sleeping around. Mi-ran had to be made a hero seeking revenge on others’ behalf for her sexual history to be accepted and the public outrage to stop.
Love to Hate You: Happy Ending?
Love to Hate You ended with Mi-ran and Kang-ho back together and happy. Which I’m thrilled about. They’ve quickly become one of my favourite kdrama couples.
I really enjoyed watching Mi-ran as a self-assured woman who enjoys sex unapologetically. I hate that the drama took her sex positivity and ruined it with the reveal that she was sleeping around to punish men. For justice!
I’m happy Mi-ran and Kang-ho are together in the end.
I just wish their path to happily ever after didn’t come at Mi-ran’s expense.
Love to Hate You Review
Is Love to Hate You Worth Watching?
Love to Hate You is absolutely worth watching for the sizzling chemistry between Yoo Teo and Kim Ok Vin. Amazing chemistry and phenomenal individual performances from the charismatic cast elevate the mediocre and cliche-filled writing of Love to Hate You.
With only 10 episodes, the drama is the perfect light binge.
The Main Leads
Kim Ok-vin as Mi-ran
I absolutely loved Mi-ran and she’s easily one of my favourite female leads in kdrama.
With a less talented actress, Mi-ran easily could’ve been an obnoxious, unlikable, and hard-to-watch character.
But Kim Ok-vin infuses Mi-ran with so much charm, heart, and personality and her performance prevents her from veering into insufferable Not Like Other Girls territory.
Mi-ran is tenacious, funny, outspoken, confident in who she is, and can back up everything she says and does with her fists. Kim Ok-vin is an accomplished martial artist which Love to Hate You showcases many times with Mi-ran physically taking down men including Kang-ho.
She’s a badass.
But one consequence of Mi-ran being such a Strong Female Lead is most of the drama’s moments of vulnerability and emotional growth are given to Kang-ho instead of her.
Mi-ran’s personality and views about men were shaped by her growing up with a sexist father and his mistreatment of her mother. But the drama doesn’t really devote time unpacking that with Mi-ran.
In contrast, Kang-ho gets to grapple with his women issues stemming from his relationship with his ex-girlfriend.
But what really sets Mi-ran apart from most leading ladies in kdrama is how unabashedly sex-positive Mi-ran is. She loves sex, has multiple partners, and is unapologetic about it.
This makes the last-minute finale reveal that she was sleeping with men to exact justice and not for her own pleasure so profoundly disappointing.
Terrible reductive writing and I choose to focus on the sex-positive characterization of Mi-ran in the previous 9 episodes.
Yoo Teo as Kang-ho
Love to Hate You is the first drama I’ve ever watched with Yoo Teo and has wondering:
Why haven’t I seen this man as the main lead in a drama before?!
Gorgeous, charismatic, funny, and not afraid of looking silly…I loved Yoo Teo as Kang-ho.
When Kang-ho is first introduced, he comes off as a bit of an incel with his disdain for women. But the writer and Yoo Teo do a great job imbuing Kang-ho with vulnerability from the start. His visceral physical reaction to intimacy with women makes it clear that Kang-ho experienced Trauma and is not just a raging misogynist.
Love to Hate You does a good job of making Kang-ho sympathetic with his backstory, showing the pain he experienced with his ex-girlfriend and mother and how it deeply impacted his beliefs about women and resulted in his aversion to physical intimacy with them.
The Second Leads
Kim Ji-hoon as Do Won-jun
Arguably the breakout star of the drama, Kim Ji-hoon steals every scene he’s in. He’s just that charismatic.
Won-jun is handsome, funny, charming, and one hell of a friend to Kang-ho.
We could all use a best friend like Won-jun.
He practices kissing with Kang-ho.
He tries to protect him from being hurt again by Se-na.
He convinces Mi-ran to sign a relationship contract to help Kang-ho win her heart.
Won-jun was putting in the work in Love to Hate You.
Kim Ji-hoon is so charismatic that I really wanted to know more about Won-jun and his backstory. But sadly, he doesn’t really get much focus as a character outside of his relationships with Kang-ho, Mi-ran, and Na-eun.
Go Won-hee as Shin Na-eun
I’m a big fan of Go Won-hee but I was really disappointed by Na-eun. I just didn’t find anything about her or her relationships with the other characters very interesting.
I’m really struggling to pinpoint things about her that I enjoyed because I felt she was such a non-factor in the drama.
But I will say that Na-eun trying to fix her bangs using a public bathroom hand dryer was amazing and easily one of the funniest moments in the drama.
Other than that, I’ve got nothing.
Mi-ran and Kang-ho’s Relationship
Truthfully, the romance between Mi-ran and Kang-ho isn’t the most well-written, but Kim Ok-vin and Yoo Teo sell the hell out of it.
Their chemistry is what got me really invested in Mi-ran and Kang-ho’s relationship. They are so much fun to watch together on-screen whether they’re at odds or deeply in love.
The romance begins with a series of misunderstandings, evolves into contract dating, and ultimately turns into real love.
Yes, Mi-ran and Kang-ho’s love story cycles through many familiar tropes. But the actors elevate the material and their performances are what make the romance memorable.
Once they get on the same page, Mi-ran and Kang-ho are actually quite good at communicating and their relationship is quite mature.
After they start dating, Kang-ho says obnoxious things like “you’re not like other women” which made me roll my eyes.
But I mostly looked past that because of how good they are together and because Kang-ho is shown to truly respect Mi-ran as a person.
I love how non-judgmental Kang-ho was about Mi-ran’s past and how he stands by her even at the cost of his career and despite the public backlash.
There is no shortage of romances in kdrama but very few couples have convincing sexual chemistry. You can add Mi-ran and Kang-ho to the very short list of kdrama ships that have amazing sexual chemistry.
The skinship and bed scenes in Love to Hate You are far more natural and intense than the typical perfunctory kdrama kisses.
Won-jun and Na-eun’s Relationship
Won-jun and Na-eun’s romance was by far the biggest letdown in Love to Hate You.
The writing was just awful for this pairing that even actors with chemistry couldn’t salvage it.
Watching their scenes, I was baffled why the two were even together apart from the physical attraction on Na-eun’s end.
What do they even like about each other?
I was especially confused watching Won-jun reciprocate Na-eun’s feelings.
I never felt any sparks or attraction on Won-jun’s end.
Won-jun has chemistry with everyone in the drama EXCEPT Na-eun. Pairing him up with either the actress or Kang-ho’s ex-girlfriend would’ve made more sense than Na-eun.
Won-jun and Na-eun are just another case of second leads being paired up together because what else are we going to do with them?
I hate the term ‘bromance’ but it’s the perfect word to describe Kang-ho and Won-jun’s friendship.
Yoo Teo and Park Ji-hoon’s chemistry is so natural and you truly believe these two men have been friends for a long time. No flashbacks to childhood are needed to show how close they are because the chemistry is just that convincing.
There are some homoerotic scenes between the two like the practice kissing and spraying champagne on one another but I never felt that I was being queerbaited.
Kang-ho and Won-jun just seemed like best friends who have known each other for so long that they are way too comfortable with one another that it makes others uncomfortable so well.
Much like their male lead counterparts, Kim Ok-vin and Go Won-hee have very natural chemistry that makes them believable as best friends.
I liked watching their scenes and enjoyed the natural camaraderie the actors had on-screen. However, I feel like Mi-ran and Na-eun’s friendship was severely underwritten and felt much more surface-level compared to Kang-ho and Won-jun’s deep friendship.
The chemistry was there but it wasn’t enough to make me really love this friendship.
The Core Four
The four main characters in Love to Hate You are all on screen together only a handful of times. Which was disappointing because I loved watching them hang out and have fun together near the end of the drama.
But I get it. There’s only so much you can do with 10 episodes.
I wish the writer had found a way to get all our leads together more often.
Lee Joo-bin as Oh Se-na
I never look forward to the return of the ex storylines in kdramas but I thought Love to Hate You did a great job with Kang-ho’s first love/ex-girlfriend, Se-na.
Her treatment of Kang-ho (not just dumping him but making him out to be a STALKER) was cruel and really helped explain why Kang-ho is the way he is when it comes to women.
Kudos to Lee Joo-bin for making Se-na sympathetic. I hated what she did to Kang-ho but I also understood her perspective. She’s ambitious, in a cutthroat industry, and willing to do what it takes to make it. Even sacrificing love because it could hinder her success.
Se-na wasn’t a cartoony villain out to ruin Kang-ho’s life and her love for Kang-ho came off as very genuine. It was fascinating watching her complicated dynamic with Kang-ho and Won-jun.
Se-na was quite funny at times as well. My favourite scene is when she gets her makeup artist to make her look tired just as Won-jun predicted.
Should You Watch Love to Hate You?
Love to Hate You is a predictable drama with many of the usual tropes but is elevated by the charisma and chemistry of the talented cast.
Love to Hate You is a must-watch if you want a fun straightforward rom-com without the extra side stories and murder mysteries that plague most kdrama romcoms these days.
Don’t go in expecting brilliant writing and characterization or you’ll be disappointed.
What did you think of Love to Hate You?