The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: My Husband Oh Jak Doo [My Husband, Mr. Oh]

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Every so often, I like to pop a weekend drama on my drama plate, because the weekenders tend to lean simpler (though that’s not always the case), and those simpler dramas tend to make good drama nightcaps. Usually, they’re easy on the brain, aren’t so intense that they’d keep me up, but just interesting enough to make me want to keep on watching. The only downside is, most weekenders clock in at 50 episodes on average – a major deterrent if you’ve got limited drama hours to spend.

So when My Husband Oh Jak Doo showed up, I thought this fit the drama nightcap bill perfectly. Not only did it seem to fit the weekend drama simple sort of type, it also starred a pair of leads I liked individually, and it clocked in at only 24 episodes instead of 50. Pretty much a no-brainer win, yes?

..well, no, not really. This one ended up being better in concept than in execution, unfortunately, and I found myself dragging my feet to the finish line. Darn my completist streak for rearing its untimely head.

STUFF THAT SHOULD’VE WORKED FOR ME

Here’s a quick list of things that I ought to have enjoyed in this show, and very much so.

1. I love me a contract marriage set-up, and the associated forced proximity and growing feelings.

2. I think Kim Kang Woo is – sigh – so handsome, and here’s the Pure Pretty post to prove it.

3. I thought UEE was excellent – like, really excellent – in Marriage Contract, and I thought she’d be a shoo-in win in this.

STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME

Unfortunately, all the things that ought to have worked for me, didn’t quite pan out the way I’d hoped. Here’s a quickish spotlight on how it really turned out.

1. UEE as Seung Joo

I’m sorry to say that I did not enjoy UEE in this role.

Seung Joo is introduced to us as a strong, independent woman surviving in a dog-eat-dog male-dominated industry, which is great, coz it’s not often that we have female leads who are strong, independent, professional women. The problem I had was, Seung Joo consistently came across as too loud and too angry. I tried to rationalize that this was all just Seung Joo’s facade; that she was living as hard and as loud as she could, to mask the frustration and loneliness she felt.

But, later in the show, even when Seung Joo is showing her more vulnerable side, I still felt like UEE was awkward in the skin of this character. In scenes where Seung Joo was blissfully happy with Jak Doo (Kim Kang Woo), that happy smile did not come across to me as real or organic.

Which basically led me to conclude that the issue was with UEE’s delivery. Somehow, this character seemed to feel awkward, on her.

As a side note, I seriously wish UEE’s wardrobe people would’ve dressed her in pants of a more flattering length. All the too-short pants looked weird on her, I thought.

2. The OTP

Perceived chemistry is a funny thing; sometimes everyone seems to be able to agree whether an OTP shows chemistry, and sometimes the reactions are mixed. It seemed to me that most folks thought Kim Kang Woo and UEE shared a good amount of chemistry. I, on the other hand, struggled to see that chemistry, throughout my watch of the show.

Whether they were bickering or getting along, I thought I felt an awkwardness between our leads. In particular, I felt like UEE’s expressions seemed a little forced. Case in point, this screenshot above, where the two of them are supposed to be in a happy place. His expression leans muted to me, but what bugged me more, were the hints of strain in UEE’s face. Maybe it’s just me, though, because lots of folks seemed to find these two very cute together. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t quite see what everyone else saw.

Also, just look at this screenshot of Seung Joo receiving kisses from her beloved, in the final episode. I say that that is most definitely not the face of someone who is comfortable being kissed by the kisser:

On the upside, there were several spots of OTP cute which I enjoyed reasonably well. I mean, the OTP didn’t blow my socks off or make me flail into a puddle of spazz, but, I wasn’t opposed to the cute. Said cute was way too naive-Disney-esque to be believable though. Just sayin’.

3. The expected weekender annoyances

There are a whole lot of secondary characters to provide annoyance, frustration and obstacles to our OTP. From Jak Doo’s clingy first love Eun Jo (Han Sun Hwa), to Seung Joo’s whiny colleague Jung Mi (Kim Bo Mi), to Seung Joo’s scheming sunbae Hong In Pyo (Jung Chan), I could always count on there being someone on hand to frustrate our OTP – and me, too, while they were at it.

None were quite as horrifyingly abominable as Seung Joo’s determinedly parasitic mother and brother (Park Jung Soo and Sul Jung Hwan) though. Every time these two came on my screen, particularly in the earlier episodes, I wanted to throw things.

On top of it all, Seung Joo starts receiving murder threats from the get-go as well. I guess in this drama world, bad things really do happen altogether.

Also. Because the supposed cuteness and light from our OTP wasn’t working as well as it should have, to balance out my watch, these negative elements felt like extra heavy downers. Especially when things got shrill and screechy, which happened a little – or a lot – more often than I would have liked.

(For the record, the 3 countryside halmonis were more in a neutral zone for me – I didn’t love them, but I didn’t hate them. But they did contribute a fair bit to the screech factor, and that’s why I’m mentioning them here.)

4. The long gayageum tangents

The entire premise of this show – that Jak Doo is actually a hidden gayageum master and Seung Joo needs to make a documentary about him – gives rise to a whole lot of politicking at the broadcasting station (yawn), and also, a whole lot of gayageum-related tangents (also yawn – sorry).

I could rationalize the protracted politicking as one of those drama annoyances that come with any drama of this ilk. But those gayageum tangents felt strangely like extended preachy cultural lessons that were shoved in there to make this all feel more “meaningful.” I appreciated learning a little more about the gayageum as an instrument, but I didn’t appreciate the preachy manner in which it was served up.

WHY I KEPT ON WATCHING

To be honest, a lot of the reason that I kept on watching, in spite of so many things not working for me, is the fact that I was watching this as a drama nightcap. With the lights off, my head on the pillow, and my brain getting ready to shut down, it was simply a lot easier to tolerate a drama that wasn’t great. As you might recall, this was the exact same way I managed to finish the mind-numbingly bad Goong S. That just proves how much bad drama I am able to swallow, if said drama is acting as my drama nightcap. Heh.

At the same time, Show did have a few brighter spots that helped it all go down easier. Here’s the quick list.

1. Kim Kang Woo as Jak Doo

Did I think that Kim Kang Woo was amazing in this? No. Frankly, I felt like his delivery in this role wasn’t his best. I just didn’t feel like he was super comfortable in Jak Doo’s skin, and on top of that, I thought the Satoori that Jak Doo spoke somehow didn’t sound as natural as it could’ve.

But, I did find Kim Kang Woo’s delivery relatively more natural than UEE’s, and that helped. Also, Kim Kang Woo cleans up real nice, and that helped too. I mean, lookie:

Mmm. So handsome. ❤

2. Jung Sang Hoon as Eric Cho

I started out finding Eric a rather bemusing character with the odd tendency of spouting random English phrases, in a try-hard effort to up his cool factor.

Color me surprised when by the episode 8 mark, I actually started finding Eric rather endearing. [SPOILER] Mainly, that turnaround was powered by Eric growing a deep crush on Seung Joo, and being a complete dork about it. I liked that the more he saw of her strong personality, the more he fell for her. That little detail did a lot to endear him to me. I mean, instead of being intimidated or put off by her aggressive driving, he swoons. Ha. Gotta love that. [END SPOILER]

I grew to regard Eric as quite the hoot, with his curious mix of oddball earnest dork and egotistical nouveau riche. I also found his adoring wonder over Seung Joo the funniest thing. So when a whole lot was spiraling downwards in Show’s second half, Eric’s brand of oddball humor actually became a bright spark for me. Who woulda thunk it, eh?

3. The grudging friendship growing between Eric and Jak Doo [MINOR SPOILER]

In Show’s later stretch, Jak Doo moves into Eric’s house and forced proximity hijinks ensue. I found those mildly amusing. But what got me more, was that through all the bickering and tension, a genuine friendship eventually grows between the two men, by show’s end. This was legitimately one of my late-show highlights. I can honestly say I enjoyed the scenes between these two grudging friends more than I enjoyed the scenes featuring our OTP, in Show’s second half.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Not gonna lie; I was distinctly disengaged through Show’s later episodes, and I was eager to finish the finale and be done with it. I didn’t hate this show, but I have to admit that by Show’s second half, I wasn’t having a very good time of my watch either. Therefore, I was eager to see Show tie everything up in neat bows and send off our OTP in a cloud of cheery sunshine, a task which Show completed just as expected.

I rather like the compromise that our OTP (finally) arrives at, with them spending most of their time in the mountains and making regular trips into Seoul, with him working on his gayageums, and picking herbs, and picking on Eric’s gayageum progress (ha), and her working independently on documentaries focused on the countryside.

Yes, I thought it was really convenient that Seung Joo’s documentary idea won first prize. More than that, I thought it was even more convenient, that Seung Joo’s mom suddenly seemed so nice and supportive, all of a sudden. But, I have to admit that our OTP’s countryside wedding was very pretty indeed, and I couldn’t argue against all the warm and happy vibes that Show served up in its final hour. I think just this shot of Jak Doo taking his bride to the wedding on a bicycle, made this entire finale worthwhile, heh.

So cute ❤

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Cute concept, but the execution leans protracted and unwieldy.

FINAL GRADE: C+

TEASER:

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Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

36 thoughts on “Flash Review: My Husband Oh Jak Doo [My Husband, Mr. Oh]

  1. You are in a roll, gurl! 😀

    You know, I’d probably concur with you but I don’t seem to recall much of the drama thought I did watch it. Sorta. 😛 I think I got through ce. 8-10 epis then something came up and I put it on hold. When I finally did get back to Drama, I skipped several epis, ff’d through others and then watched only the finale. The funny thing is I don’t think I missed much, LOL!

    My fave character was definitely Eric, he WAS a hoot. The OTP never felt like real people to me, though I did think they were kinda cute on occasion, and the rest I could have done without. The plot took such odd by-ways, like that ‘killer/stalker’-arch. Did anyone actually think it was needed? I’m also with you about the politicking at the broadcasting station and gayageum-related stuff – ‘tripple yawn’ indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 100% agree! The only thing that kept me watching was Jung Sang Hoon’s Eric. Even then, I couldn’t get through the whole thing, and dropped out before the halfway mark. 24 episodes of that? Nope. They could have told this story in half-maybe 2/3 that time, Perhaps that would have helped?

      Why not a show dedicated to the Eric character? Has that ever been done before? Would it be successful? An adorkable guy who grows and learns and gets the girl? Hmmm…. Or would that ruin his character and everything we find so refreshing about him?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, I agree that shortening the show would’ve definitely helped. Then they wouldn’t have had so much screen time to fill, with all that politicking and family stuff.

        A show just for Eric? That would be funny! I don’t know if anything like that has been done in dramaland specifically, but History of the Salaryman does come to mind, for the fact that it features a non-standard hero. That whole show had a off-the-wall sense of humor, and is worth checking out, if you haven’t seen it 🙂

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    • I AM on a bit of roll, I think! But it’s mostly because work has let up for a bit, and so I’ve got more time to give to dramas – and writing about ’em. 🙂

      I’m sorta surprised that you watched this, it doesn’t feel like the kind of show that usually appeals to you. And you’re right, you didn’t miss much! I think I could’ve skipped a fair bunch of episodes, and I wouldn’t have felt much differently about the show afterwards. I agree, that killer/stalker arc was strange. I rationalized, though, that Seung Joo was supposed to be such a strong independent character, that they needed something big enough, to convince her that she needed a contract husband.

      I never would’ve imagined it, but at one point, Eric was THE thing that was keeping me going, in my watch! 😆 He really was such an odd duck, with the most sentimental, intense feelings, heh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with you. The concept was great, and the first couple episodes hinted that this was going to be a superb drama….then it became an unwieldy mess with the stalker/killer plot, the political garbage at the station, and by that time the OTP looked like they were done with each other and with the whole drama. A huge disappointment for me.

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    • Hi5 shamrockmom, that we feel similarly about this show! 😆I thought this one was reasonably promising at the beginning, and there was some cute OTP stuff, but I never could properly buy into the OTP connection, unfortunately. And yes, there was just so much unwieldy stuff. A regretful spend of 24 drama hours, that I sheepishly wish I could take back. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim Kang-woo is hot. His drama choices, not so. However, do watch him in Story of a Man, he was awesome in there. He was also very good in Le Grand Chef (film).

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    • Haha! Yes, Kim Kang Woo IS hot! 😍 But yeah, I haven’t loved most of his dramas, unfortunately. I watched Story of a Man years ago when I was much newer to kdramas, and I wasn’t quite able to appreciate the show then, despite the many raves. I guess I was more attuned to rom-coms then, and not much else! 😛 I should give that show another chance one day. I also attempted Le Grand Chef once, but I wussed out early into the movie, when they started killing the fish on camera. 😛 I should also give that another try. 😅

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      • I really liked Kim Kang-woo in Story of a Man, his character was so cool, and he did so well I rooted for him instead of the lead. I’ve also heard good things about two of his dramas: Missing M Noir and Circle.

        As for Le Grand Chef, the fish bit is ok, but the later part is a bit tear-inducing.

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        • I haven’t seen Circle or Missing Noir M, but I’ve also heard good things. I suppose it’s time to put them on the list too, even though I’m not so much into sci-fi or crime. 😅 For the love of good drama! – and for the eye candy of Kim Kang Woo too 😆

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  4. Makjang alert! Full makjang warning!

    At the beginning, this had quite an intelligent script but the direction was completely Makjang to the point that the two seemed to be at war. If you actually listened to what the people were saying the script was quite good: It doesn’t matter how strong or independent you are, it was saying, you still need somebody to be on your side. In essence, everybody needs a mountain. Seung-joo’s mountain was both figurative and literal: when things got too difficult for her, she now had somewhere solid and unchanging to rest.

    But then the director would throw-in intense close-ups, overwrought – almost screeching – line deliveries and humour of the ‘minor character bumbling antics’ variety and I found it really jarring. Uee suffered from this the most as she seemed to be directed to be as OTT as possible.

    Unfortunately, by about episode 14 or so it became obvious the director knew something we didn’t. The show veered sharply into Makjang and never recovered. This meant almost half the drama was full of contrived conflict, opaque character motivations and general audience confusion. And screeching. There’s a lot of screeching.

    I remember watching episode 18 or 19 and having absolutely no idea what was happening or why anybody was doing what they were doing. The script needed conflict and so everybody just acted like there was some even though there wasn’t. That’s a classic Makjang – things happen for no reason and people screech about it.

    I completely agree with you about Eric Cho though. He was so affectatious that I should have hated him but loved him instead. He was like the world’s most unlikely cinnamon roll. Definitely the best thing about this in the end.

    I’ll add a note that one of the other jarring things about this was it’s really weird portrayal of intimacy between the two leads. That probably added to the issue with Uee’s performance, since she was directed to be an old-school, “I love you, don’t touch me” female lead. Because heaven forbid a woman would want to be intimate with a man she loves and may or may not be married to at any particular point in time (yeah, that confused me too. I never knew what was going on there).

    I also wished I’d dropped this but by the time I realised it wasn’t going to recover from its Detour to Makjangville, I only had a few episodes left.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it did seem like UEE was directed to be as OTT as possible, because I have seen her do much better. I physically winced in that scene in E1, where Seung Joo is having her celebration with her 2 friends and stands up and starts waving the beer around and loudly starts shouting something that I can’t even remember now. I just remember recoiling from how loud and in-yo-face she was being. Unfortunately I feel like this seriously took away from Seung Joo’s appeal as a character, instead of adding to it.

      I just don’t get why so many weekend dramas get directed to be so exaggerated. I had the same jarring experience when I watched weekender Second To Last Love, which starred Kim Hee Ae. I’d found Kim Hee Ae so restrained and wonderful in Secret Love Affair, that I was quite shocked to see her acting in an exaggerated manner in Second To Last Love. I did eventually manage to come to terms with that and enjoy the show reasonably well, but I never managed to get used to Seung Joo’s OTT style, especially when she was demonstrating what a strong independent woman she was.

      And YES, I very much agree with how the dynamic between the leads was directed to be way too Disney. I mean, I could rationalize it in the beginning since that’s when they don’t quite know each other very well etc. But by the end, when they were properly in love and missing each other so much when they weren’t together, it was really, REALLY weird to have Seung Joo react in such a skittish, squirmish, jumpy manner every time Jak Doo wanted to kiss her. Also, that wedding night scene was very strange, with them sitting around waiting for the alarm to go off. Very baffling indeed. 🙄

      Also – I love that. Eric IS indeed the world’s most unlikely cinnamon roll! 😆

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      • Second to Last Love is crap. Please watch Saigo Kara Nibanme no Koi, the Japanese original 🙂

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        • Oh! I didn’t realize Second To Last Love was based on Japanese source material! Thanks for the tip Junny – I’ll add it to my list! 🙂

          Edit: I just checked my list, and it’s already on there because you’d suggested it before! 😀 But now I’ve got the additional information that it’s the source material for Second To Last Love 😉

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      • I think they missed such an opportunity with the sex thing. She had an anxiety disorder and he was practically a hermit and couples choose not to have sex for a variety of reasons. They could have explored her mental illness. But instead they didn’t deal with it at all. Intimacy was one of the things she was supposedly getting from him that she couldn’t get from anybody else and sharing a bed is possibly a greater intimacy than sex. And yet, there they were, in love and married and rolling out the toilet paper like a bunch of weirdos.

        Liked by 1 person

        • HAHA! I laughed out loud at your comment about them being a bunch of weirdos, with the toilet paper! 😆 You make a great point, though, about it being a missed opportunity. Instead of meaningfully exploring the issue of intimacy and what it meant to each of them, Show chose to turn it into a gag instead. But y’know, I tend to think weekend dramas don’t aim to be super meaningful, as a general rule.. And this one didn’t strike me as even attempting to be an exception.. 😛

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          • Yes you’re right about weekend dramas. I think the quality of the script in the beginning lulled me into thinking this was going to be a better show than it was. I need to stop having expectations. You have expectations and the next thing you know you’re at episode 20 of a 24 episode drama wondering when you lost the will to change the channel.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Lol. Hopefully you don’t have to have zero expectations all the time..! But yes, this one wasn’t ever designed to be much more than a bit of weekend fluff, I think. Any semblance to a meaningful statement about strong single women in society was just incidental, I’m fairly sure! 😝

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  5. Hi Fangurl – As always thanks for the review! I called this the Bipolar Drama because I never knew what kind of mood was gonna lunge off of the screen at me next. I hung in there for the whole 24 episodes because I hoped it would get better and because I am a huge fan of UEE. I honestly felt bad for her trying to pull off this acting job. I was very disappointed to say the least.

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    • Aw, sorry you suffered through this one too, phl! I’d come to think quite highly of UEE as an actress, after Marriage Contract, so this was really jarring for me too. I think it’s partly that the PD wanted that OTT style that is typical of weekend dramas, and also, I tend to think that maybe this role wasn’t the best fit for her.

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  6. In many ways (as others have pointed out here), My Husband became for me the wave you wait for at the beach that never arrives. I found myself watching the last six episodes through clasped fingers – hoping that it wouldn’t self destruct. Up until that point, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Yes, Eric, what a scream! He is, for me, one of the all time great Kdrama characters. The OTP I did enjoy and the compromise made perfect sense. I’m sad to say though (not really 😊) I liked the station/office politics. As for the friends and relatives – the brother – what a dropkick (a great Australian term). The mum – well, enough said already. The three old ladies I thought were great (and have enjoyed watching them in other shows).

    The threads regarding the gayageums I found interesting. I also understood Jak Doo’s need for seclusion as the means to protect himself and I didn’t mind that Eun Jo was really superfluous to the whole story.

    In the end, what did resonate very strongly for me was the story between someone who has retained a practical connection to their existence contrasted against someone who has faced adversity time and again while trying to make a difference. I found their protection of one another regarding this to be very palpable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “The wave you wait for at the beach that never comes.” I love that! Perfect! Stealing it and using it for a multitude of situations. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • As always, you’re able to see so much more good in a show than I am, Sean! I am pretty sure that I found this show lacking when I had way more than 6 episodes left! 😆I had way less patience with the politics and the meddling family, though I had relatively better patience with the three grannies.

      I found the connection between Seung Joo and Jak Doo meaningful in theory, but rather clunky in execution. Perhaps if this show had less screen time to fill, this might’ve worked out to be a better watch. 🙂

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  7. I am glad I’m not the only one. I dropped this show and I am glad I did. The only good thing about this show to me was Eric.

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    • You are definitely not alone, D! I do wish I’d dropped this one, but unfortunately for me, my completist streak kicked in, and I somehow decided that I had to see where Show was taking this all. Again, not a drama decision I’m particularly proud of, ha. 😅

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  8. Pingback: Review: Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food [Something In The Rain] | The Fangirl Verdict

  9. That last screencap was SO cute, buuut…i thank the gods for not letting UEE’s skirt get caught in the rear-wheel. It couldve been one ugly wedding otherwise. And ended bad for not only her character,but UEE herself too. Heh.

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    • Lol! What a practical observation! 😆 I confess that that didn’t even occur to me, I was too busy lapping up the pretty of the scene – after all, Show had starved me good and proper by making stuff so unsatisfying so many other aspects. 😉

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  10. I liked this show well enough and I did buy into this couple together. I liked the concept of the lead male being a country bumpkin and how they ended up merging their lives together. I do get the complaints though. This was just a casual watch where I picked up an episode now and then.

    Two things I particularly enjoyed:

    – I hate love triangles but the way it was handled here is my favorite of all time. This is the rare occasion that I think a second lead character should get his own drama as a lead.

    -I like they took kind of a stock character, the infertile friend’s husband, and actually have him make a man out of the little brother. That was kind of a little pleasant surprise and gave me joy to see that brat slaving away instead of waiting for the perfect job to show up or asking his sister for $.

    PS: Yeah, I feel a little bad, but I could not care less on the making and care of that musical instrument other than seeing Eric injure himself repeatedly trying to use tools.

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    • Oh yes, Eric definitely deserved his own show, he was such a hoot! 😀 I’d love to see him be the lead of his own story, overcoming his one-sided love for Seung Joo, and finding himself, and maybe meeting someone who would appreciate him for the sweet dork that he is. ❤

      That's a great point about the friend's husband. I hadn't thought about that. Now that you mention it, though, yes, it really was satisfying to see him take the brat of a little brother and force him to earn a living. 🤣

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  11. I’m one of those people that absolutely LOVED the main couple. To be honest, they’re probably my favorite KDrama couple I’ve seen so far. I can’t explain why, their relationship was so sweet and natural to watch. There’s something about love stories between two people who feel outcast and lonely but find comfort and happiness with each other. I really felt like they were the most important person in each others’ life, and it wasn’t due to fate or over romanticism. They were just two people that needed each other to be happy.

    Admittedly, I agree that the drama is VERY flawed and drags greatly in the latter episodes. It seems like two different makjang dramas awkwardly spliced together. Some plot elements don’t get enough build up and some plot elements don’t get enough payoff. If you were to drop it halfway through, I wouldn’t blame you.

    Regardless, I adored the OTP and thus this drama will forever be in my heart. Great review btw! Your points were well explained, and I agreed with most of them despite my personal love for the drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks for enjoying this review despite your love for the OTP, Carrie! 🙂 Yes, sometimes we do find ourselves liking something about a show, even though logically Show has many flaws. So, yay for you, that this turned out to be a sweet drama experience for you, in spite of Show’s shortcomings! 😀

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