Marriage, Not Dating

2014-08-28 23.39.22

Original Title: 연애 말고 결혼

Episodes: 16

Year: 2014

Channel: tVN

Theme: Rom-com

Joo Jang Mi is in her late twenties-early thirties and like a lot of women at that age she feels the need to find her husband. She first sets her eyes on Lee Hoon Dong. Jang Mi and Hoon Dong have been seeing each other for quite some time now, but it’s always been in shady places. They are not official yet and that is something Jang Mi is trying to set straight. When Jang Mi introduces the topic of a more serious and steady relationship, Hoon Dong panics and runs! Hoon Doong starts avoiding Jang Mi hardcore – not picking up his phone, running away when he sees her, and the worst: asking his friend Gong Ki Tae to help him get rid of Jang Mi.

Jang Mi chasing after Hoon Doong gets her a reputation of stalker + a little trip to court where she faces STALKING charges T___T.

Jang Mi has no choice, but to give up on Hoon Doong. Like they say, love comes when you least expect it. Ki Tae, who was used by Hoon Dong to get rid of Jang Mi, sees in Jang Mi a way to avoid getting married. Ki Tae’s parents, especially his mother, have been setting him up on blind dates; they dream of seeing him walking down the aisle. With the help of Jang Mi, Ki Tae hopes to have his parents drop the idea of him getting married. Jang Mi is loud, nosy, and doesn’t have the “ideal background” in his parents’ eyes (Jang Mi’s parents own a bar/restaurant. The business of selling alcohol is obviously looked down upon by Ki Tae’s parents).

Jang Mi reluctantly agrees to help Ki Tae. It starts as a simple deal, but Jang Mi inadvertently starts inserting herself in Ki Tae’s life. No matter how much he says he hates it, he misses Jang Mi when she is not there to disrupt his routine.

Another love interest of Jang Mi is Han Yeo Reum – a server at Hoon Dong’s restaurant. Jang Mi and Yeo Reum start developing a relationship that revolves mainly around their common love for food, but quickly develop deeper bonds. Yeo Reum is quite reserved. He hides his pain and emotion behind his smile and player like behavior (Ki Tae watch out! The competition might be rough).

Let’s also add that once Hoon Dong realizes that Jang Mi is quite popular he can’t accept it. Hoon Dong craves the attention…

Two more characters to make the romance even more complicated: Kang Se Ah and Nam Hyun Hee. Se Ah is none other than Ki Tae’s ex girlfriend/ex-fiance/ideal daughter-in-law for Ki Tae’s parents. Se Ah has never truly been over Ki Tae. They maintained a friendship, but she is determined to (re)create a deeper bond… Hyun Hee is Jang Mi’s co-worker/friend who has her eyes set on Hoon Dong (Let’s see if she can handle this coward/Mama boy).


Jang Mi and Ki Tae are one of the cutest couples I have seen on screen this year. Their chemistry is great and the drama tackles a lot of topic – infidelity, marriage, in laws relationship, etc.

Jang Mi and Ki Tae are great for each other because they are so different. Jang Mi is bubbly, warm, and noisy while Ki Tae is reserved and selfish. Both have different experiences when it comes to family relationship and that explains a lot. Jang Mi’s parents have been married, but not communicating. They would rather text and write on whiteboards than talk to each other. Saying that it is awkward and infuriating is an understatement. Yet, one thing is great: Jang Mi’s parents don’t pretend. They realize that their marriage is not working out; and they do not put on pretenses unlike Ki Tae’s parents.

Ki Tae’s parents are the kind of couple you see in magazines doing glamorous interviews, and giving a tour of their modern and beautiful house. Ki Tae’s parents pretend to have it all – the house, the money, the career, the harmony, and the successful son. But all that is a facade. Ki Tae’s father has been cheating on his mother for several years (Since Ki Tae was a young child) and the only time he pays attention to his wife is when he needs his shirt ironed or some other favor. Ki Tae’s mother is almost immune to the cheating, or at least she pretends to be. She spent so many years repressing her anger that it is almost second nature.

The two family dynamics above mentioned explained why Ki Tae would rather not express his feelings while Jang Mi is so vocal about hers.

Something else that I thought was interesting was Se Ah’s feelings toward Ki Tae. Se Ah’s attempt to be friends is a way to be close to Ki Tae although they are not together. Never being quite over him, Se Ah realize that the only way to create a permanent bond between Ki Tae and her is to have his child! She is of course also motivated by her personal desire for a child of course. Reading the comments about Se Ah’s character , I noticed a lot of judgment. I feel like it’s perfectly normal for her to want a kid given her age. She could give a child a lot of love and she also has the financial means to take care of the child. Plus, if she wants a child that badly why not have one with the person she loves (Even if he wouldn’t really be present in the child’s life)?

The pace of the show was great. There was never a dull moment. Sometimes rom-com tend to slip into sadness and melodrama to the point that I wonder where is the comedy component. Not for this show. The ending was also quite cute – not rushed and perfectly matching the show overall. A must watch!

~ maniac Ride

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