THE SHORT VERDICT:
I Do, I Do is a show that seems to divide people. Most people say it’s too slow and boring, but there is also a fairly strong fan-base that loves it to bits.
I started on it feeling it was slow and that the chemistry between the leads wasn’t great, but somewhere along the way, I came around, and I actually enjoyed it fairly well.
Not fantastic, but not all bad.
THE LONG VERDICT:
I love Kim Sun Ah, and I like rom-coms done right, so when I Do, I Do first started releasing stills and teasers, I had hopes that this would be a fun, light ride. Those hopes were pretty much ruined when I read the online comments that it was slow and boring.
Still, I decided to check it out, and after a slow start, I started to like it – a little. It’s on the slow side, but it’s not as bad as everyone else said it was.
STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK
THE OVERLY COMEDIC TONE
The tone at the beginning felt rather uneven.
It felt like the show was aiming for a comic feel with the set-up, but I didn’t feel it. Somehow, the comic feel fell flat for me, and I felt like I was dragging my feet through the first episode.
[MINOR SPOILER ALERT]
The introduction to our hero Park Tae Kang (Lee Jang Woo) is clearly going for a comedic tone, with his father dragging him by the ear to have his name removed from the family registry for spending dad’s life savings on a new motorcycle that he’s named Beyonce.
I don’t know what it is. I could see that it’s supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t amused. It felt like the writers were trying too hard, and it came across as unnatural and forced in my eyes.
[END MINOR SPOILER]
LACK OF OTP CHEMISTRY
For a good part of the earlier episodes, I didn’t feel the chemistry between our OTP.
I found Kim Sun Ah’s Hwang Ji An too cold and aloof, and I found Lee Jang Woo too baby-faced and immature. Now, I have nothing against noona romances. In fact, I love a good noona romance and a part of me wants to be pursued by a hot younger man, so it wasn’t the age difference per se that put me off.
I just didn’t feel like they had chemistry, and their interactions felt unnatural and rather forced. I can forgive a lot in a middling drama if there is an OTP that I can get behind, so this was a big disappointment for me.
Combined with the uneven comic tone that the show was trying to serve up, this lack of OTP chemistry made it feel like a bunch of jigsaw puzzle pieces from different puzzles trying to fit together in one puzzle. It just didn’t fit right.
BORING CORPORATE STUFF
The corporate plot mechanisms were boring and took up too much screen time.
I completely understand that a show needs some kind of context, and yes, there are some workplace dramas that I really love, like Pasta and City Hall. In both of those dramas, the workplace was an essential context within which the story was told, but mostly, neither context ever felt obtrusive.
Here, though, the corporate politicking felt exaggerated and its significance overly magnified. In fact, there were many times that I felt like the corporate conflicts were manufactured just to conjure up some filler.
When everyone from Ji An to the staff at large to 2nd female lead Yeom Na Ri (Im Soo Hyang) basically started worshipping the floor that Madam Jang (Oh Mi Hee) walked on, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
Regular features of the corporate politics included: Madam Jang making sarcastic, derogatory remarks at Na Ri’s expense, Na Ri getting down on her knees, Ji An and Na Ri trading barbed comments while tussling for power, and Madam Jang pressuring Ji An to give up her baby in order to qualify herself to be CEO.
It all got rather repetitive, and made the show feel slow and boring. I really didn’t want to see so much corporate politicking. I’d signed up for a romance, not boring corporate warfare in a shoe company which had been magnified to cartoonish extremes.
This was a big downer because it affected the tone and feel of the entire show.
A related factor was the pacing of the show.
Certain things were dragged out for way too long and made the show feel much slower. One of my pet peeves with this show is how long everyone took to find out anything.
Firstly, it took quite a while for Ji An to find out that she was pregnant. And then it took forever for Tae Kang to find out that Ji An was pregnant.
And then worst of all, it took forever for Tae Kang to find out that he was the father of Ji An’s baby. I mean, when you’re a 16 episode show built on this premise, you really shouldn’t wait 13 – THIRTEEN!! – whole episodes to let your hero know that he’s the father of the baby. Dude. Seriously.
For a drama which is built on the premise of Ji An’s accidental pregnancy and how that causes our OTP to come together, this show sure wasted a whole lot of time in what felt like a super duper slow-motion set-up.
STUFF THAT DID WORK (SORT OF)
JO EUN SUNG (PARK GUN HYUNG)
Yes, Jo Eun Sung (Park Gun Hyung) was a character that got a bit extreme at times, but overall, I rather liked him, so I’m parking him here instead of among the stuff that didn’t work.
I admit that I found it unbelievable when Eun Sung suddenly professed to love Ji An. For a guy who’s regularly gone to extremes in order to scare off all his blind dates in order to remain single, his sudden turnaround with Ji An came across as too sudden and very, very strange.
Plus, it’s not like she came across as very charming either. She was prickly, pretty much all-around unpleasant and pointedly clear that she wasn’t at all interested in dating him either.
Some might argue that it’s the thrill of a challenge that got him intrigued to know more about her, and perhaps that is the only way to make sense of it, but it still rang false to me.
Once I put aside the unbelievability factor around Eun Sung’s feelings for Ji An, he really did seem like a really nice, good guy. In the earlier episodes, when I still found Tae Kang a strange match for Ji An, I actually wished that she would choose Eun Sung.
I found myself rooting for him as he went about wooing Ji An, and I also found myself thinking that if I were in her shoes, I would totally pick him.
Yes, it did get rather squicky when he insisted on being her gynecologist, and while some of the scenes around this were played for laughs, I did cringe at the very concept. Well, the concept and the breast massage demonstration he gave in the middle of a restaurant..! >.<
It also became really weird when he offered to be the father of Ji An’s baby, and then became her relationship counselor, friend and all-around supporter and caregiver in the later episodes. He became completely unreal, coz honestly, no one can be that nice and long-suffering after being rejected multiple times by the woman they supposedly love.
THE OTP TURNAROUND
I began to come around to our OTP in the later episodes.
Ji An began to show a little more vulnerability, and Tae Kang began to show that he’d grown up a little. The writers also let up on some of the comedic elements so that I could stop fighting the urge of seeing our hero as a little boy in an almost grown-up’s body.
Tae Kang’s sacrifices for Ji An began to feel endearing, and I began to actually root for our OTP.
The couple moments that the writers served up began to feel engaging, sweet and heartwarming, which was a big turnaround for me. I actually went from not buying into the OTP to rooting for them.
I liked that Tae Kang began to take charge of his life and make a stand for what he wanted and what he believed in.
I thought it was sweet that he wanted to marry Ji An even though he thought the baby was someone else’s. I think this is one of the reasons that the writers dragged it out for so long before letting him find out that he was really the father of Ji An’s baby.
Still. Spending more than three-quarters of your episode count on this kind of set-up is overdoing it.
When Eun Sung and Tae Kang finally stopped their schoolboy fights and began to be reluctant friends, the bromance added a nice, refreshing touch to the drama.
One of my favorite bromantic bits was when Tae Kang got Eun Sung to learn how to cook jokpal (pork hocks) for Ji An, because he knew that she would crave it after he’d left for the States.
There’s just something so sweet about a pair of blokes taking on the kitchen for the sake of the woman that they both care about.
All in all, I Do, I Do wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, but it did provide me with some pleasant, albeit low-key, entertainment.
I went in hoping to fall head-over-heels (pun not intended, heh!) in love, but came away fairly satisfied to have fallen quite warmly in like instead.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Worth attempting, with the help of your trusty fast-forward button, which will gallantly save you during the boring stretches 😉
FINAL GRADE: B-