So whom [sic] do we contact to nominate #HyunBin for @people Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive? #CrashLandingOnYou”
This was tweeted by a socialite mom of millennials, more known for her philanthropic work than for swooning Korean drama tweets, after watching the finale of “Crash Landing on You” (or CLOY, to borrow fans’ abbreviation).
It’s a singular indicator of just how the glossy, fantasy romance about a Seoul heiress-slash-fashion company CEO (played by Son Ye-jin) who falls for a North Korean soldier (Hyun Bin) had invaded the consciousness of even the unlikeliest fans. According to online sources, CLOY, which aired on South Korean cable network TVN and is streamed on Netflix, broke viewership records—and markedly highest in the 40s female demographic—surpassing another hit drama, “Goblin.”
As K-dramas go, CLOY’s plotline and writing are hardly the most compelling, even formulaic, but its creators hit gold with sleek visuals—big-ticket designer labels at every turn; the breathtaking vista of the Swiss alps—and no doubt ferried by the drama leads’ palpable chemistry.
Son, a well-loved and multiawarded actress, had fashion fans drooling over her hot-off-the-runway looks from luxury labels Chanel, Hermès, Bottega Veneta, Dior, Miu Miu, Celine, Gucci, among many others. Week after week, through CLOY’s 16 episodes, Son gave fashion news sites plenty of click-bait content. For longtime K-drama viewers, it’s also bewildering to see this somewhat renewed interest in Hyun, who first found fame and critical acclaim in the hugely popular 2005 rom-com “My Lovely Sam-soon,” about a woman insecure with her looks because of her weight. Hyun played the younger, hunky male lead.
Another Filipino fan, a mom in her 30s, expressed on social media her admiration for Hyun, 37, whom she said she has followed since “Sam-soon,” and with Hyun’s apparent history of dating his costars, she said she’s “shipping” (fandom term for wanting two people to become a romantic item) him and Son, 38, to date in real life.
His looks—tall, razor-sharp cheekbones—are a given, but it seems viewers find him even more appealing now in his late 30s, CLOY’s strong but quiet and sensitive (his character is a classical pianist) hero, the lead in many an older woman’s escapist romantic fantasy.
Onscreen and in their minds, he is the sexiest man alive.—CVM