After King of Dramas, I decided to tackle some other dramas in my later-folder. I started watching I Live In Cheongdam-dong casually back in February, and am slowly but steadily savouring bits of the sitcom as the days go by. I also started watching Can We Get Married, which I first thought was going to be a ball of fluff rom-com. I was wrong, but not unpleasantly so.
The story focuses on Jung Hoon and Hye Yun, who are two lovebirds getting ready for marriage. Jung Hoon proposes to Hye Yun in the first episode, and all hell breaks loose. (To put it rather lightly.) We are also introduced to the other ladies in Hye Yun’s family – her strong-willed mother Deul Ja, her sister Hye Jin and her aunt Deul Rae. Also closed related is Dong Bi, who is a friend to Deul Rae, Hye Yun and Jung Hoon.
What I love about this drama is that although all the characters are connected to one another somehow, they are quite well-developed throughout the drama, so none of them feel out of place or less important. I have varying levels of love and tolerance for each character but I don’t think the drama could have done without any of them at all. I won’t delve much into the plot specifically; I’d rather focus on the growth and development of the characters/couples from the beginning to the end.
Jung Hoon and Hye Yun
I started off not liking Jung Hoon or Hye Yun at all. I felt that they were a good match, but he was too kind and she basically steamrollered him through everything instead of trying to figure things out together. I knew a breakup was imminent as the drama went on. They both thought that marriage was rather simple, until they had to deal with their meddling mothers. Jung Hoon’s mother had her own set of ideals when it came to her future daughter-in-law, and wouldn’t compromise on anything that wasn’t her own perfect little fantasy. The marriage brought out her materialistic and arrogant side, which neither Jung Hoon or his father has ever seen (let alone Hye Yun).
Hye Yun’s mother Deul Ja is realistic and a bit rough (not just around the edges). She raised her two daughters on her own, so she wants her daughters to be married into good, well-to-do families. Except she’s a steamroller too. At first she seemed like she was trying to milk all that’s worth from Jung Hoon’s family, for the sake of Hye Yun, of course. This lack of subtlety and respect was what stoked the fire in Jung Hoon’s mother in the first place. I can see Deul Ja’s love for Hye Yun being the driving force behind her actions, and eventually she does come to her senses and realises that Jung Hoon is the best choice for Hye Yun.
Jung Hoon is a gentle, warm man who generally tries to avoid confrontation. He takes after his father (who is probably the best husband/father ever) in most ways. Throughout the series I don’t think I have ever questioned his love for Hye Yun (and vice versa actually), but I thought that they could have avoided so many of the petty squabbles that they had. When they eventually made up after their Big Break-up and put up a united front for the parents I knew they were going to be the big winners. All they needed to really do was to accept that the other person is not perfect, their families are not perfect and not everything needs to be perfect in life for it to go on. Once they got their heads together and stopped letting the elders dictate how things would go, everything worked out. Even their living plans, which was the bit that gave me the most satisfaction at the end of the series.
Acting-wise, I have never watched Jung So Min before, but I am familiar with Sung Joon having watched Shut Up: Flower Boy Band. I like how So Min brought some spunk to a character like Hye Yun who could have been a bit bitchy at times, but in the more emotional moments did manage to move me. Sung Joon hit it out of the park with this one, his decisions and rationale were almost childlike at times (not childish, that’s Hye Yun for you), but his character was so grounded and patient that I could not help but come to love him.
Ki Joon and Dong Bi
This pair was my favourite couple in terms of growth. Granted, Hye Yun and Jung Hoon did have quite a bit of maturing to go through as well, but watching Dong Bi and Ki Joon find their place with each other was so rewarding. Ki Joon and Dong Bi started off as a couple who had dated for 5 years, but he dumps Dong Bi when she demands for marriage. He is from a rich background and she’s practically a nobody, and he quite bluntly tells her that it’s not possible for him to marry her. Dong Bi agrees to remain friends with him in her desperate attempt to cling on to him. Well, basically their relationship was more like a friends-with-benefit kind of arrangement, except Dong Bi really did love him.
Ki Joon and Jung Hoon are cousins (their mothers are sisters), so Jung Hoon feels partially responsible for Dong Bi’s heartbreak. He also turns to her for support when he fights with Hye Yun. The bleep in Dong Bi’s feelings for Ki Joon was when her brother commits suicide and she leaves for Busan (where she’s from) without telling anyone. We then find out that Dong Bi is not a nobody after all; she’s also from a rich family but she chose to leave her family and disinherit herself. Her sisters would not even contact her, fearing that they would be cut off from the family fortune themselves. So poor Dong Bi grew up without much parental love.
Ki Joon doesn’t really find out about Dong Bi’s roots until the middle of the drama, which I think is the turning point for him in their relationship. After he dumps Dong Bi at the beginning of the series, he follows his father’s orders to marry another chaebol heir, for the sake of the family business. That falls through when the bride ditches Ki Joon right before the honeymoon. I feel sorry for him mostly despite him being a jerk, because he doesn’t as much guts as Dong Bi to defy his family and live without the family riches. To his credit, when he did know about Dong Bi’s family, he did what he thought was the best for her and got Jung Hoon to take care of her. (Even though that was wrong. He should have ran away with her!)
What I do love is that he tries to earn Dong Bi’s affections again and actually goes all out when he realises that he could use his failed arranged marriage as a bargaining chip with his parents. I love that they both did things in their own defiant way right up to the end, not because they had to, but because they wanted to.
Han Groo is a bit of a revelation for me – she is so young, yet she manages to channel such maturity in her performance as Dong Bi. Her acting is quite good and she has great charm despite Dong Bi’s questionable behaviour in the middle of the series.
Deul Rae and Min Ho
I really liked the Biker Couple, and I think that all couples could learn a thing or two from them. They are a bit cringeworthy at times (even the other characters think so), but the take-home message with them is crystal-clear. It’s never too late to find love, and you should never let go of who you are despite being in love.
I feel like this pairing got off quite easy in terms of conflict, as they were probably there to take our minds off the more emotional moments of the series. But not to say they didn’t have their own moments. I loved when Deul Rae told Min Ho that he shouldn’t sell his bike just because her sister told him to – she wanted him to remain true to himself. They put a smile on my face, these two. I absolutely love Choi Hwa Jung.
Hye Jin and Do Hyun
Do Hyun and Hye Jin have been married for 7 years and have a son, Tae Won. Their relationship started as an affair, when Hye Jin used to work at the clinic owned by Do Hyun and his ex-wife. He divorced his first wife (who is also a doctor) and married Hye Jin, with some pressure from Deul Ja. I think Hye Jin being pregnant was also one of the reasons. Hye Jin is a bit of a Stepford wife, but she finds out that her husband is cheating on her. She files for divorce but he would not go down without a fight, resulting in a ugly divorce battle for money and custody of their son.
This is the most emotionally heavy couple for me, because with the other pairs there are at least some happier moments. With Do Hyun and Hye Jin, practically every scene is filled with angst and tension. Predictably, the ultimate victim of their divorce is Tae Won, although it takes them a while to realise that. The drama doesn’t try to sugarcoat the pain and ugliness of divorce, and it doesn’t try to absolve Do Hyun’s affair with the unpretty-young-thing. It shows us Hye Jin’s pain of being trapped in a marriage she no longer wants to be in. We also see how Do Hyun may still love her but doesn’t have the courage to put his pride aside and ask for forgiveness. Instead he embarks on this mission to make life and the divorce process as difficult for her as possible, all because he doesn’t want to let go of Tae Won and Hye Jin.
Does he deserve to be forgiven? No, but I think he did redeem himself a little. When he saw how much his actions were affecting Tae Won, he stopped fighting (he was bound to lose anyway) and resigned himself to the fact that he would not have custody. At least his son still loves him. Not all is lost.
Despite the drama being less fluff than I expected it to be, I loved how honestly the drama and the actors portrayed the characters. I loved that the heroine isn’t a Candy type girl, and although Jung Hoon is near perfect, he does have his flaws as well. Some bits can seem a bit far-fetched, but I can tell you that I know people who are a lot of like Deul Ja. And if you are not afraid of a slice of life, this drama would be perfect for you. If you want a more dreamy, fantasy-like storyline, watch a Taiwanese drama.
My next attempt at a drama from the later-folder would be In Time With You. I am also following Jang Ok Jung, which is surprisingly very watchable and is keeping me waiting for the next episode.