A house-poor man and homeless woman become housemates in a drama that examines the institution of marriage and the problems that young people face today. Nam Se Hee is a single man in his early 30’s. He has chosen to not marry. He owns his home, but he owes a lot on his mortgage. Meanwhile, Yoon Ji Ho is a single woman in her early 30’s. She does not own a home and envies those that do. She has given up on dating due to her financial struggles. Yoon Ji Ho begins to live at Nam Se Hee’s house. They become housemates. (Source: KoreanDrama.org) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
Let me just start off with the fact that two of the first dramas I watched were I Really Really Like You and Playful Kiss, so seeing Lee Min Ki and Jung So Min in a drama again was exciting and nostalgic. I had high expectations for this show since the writer of this show also wrote Ho Goo’s Love (which, by the way, is a MUST watch) and I worried that the bar I’d set for the show would not be met, which would probably ruin my love for the actors and the writer. However, my worries were unnecessary, because THIS SHOW IS IN MY TOP FIVE NOW! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adored this show (though I must, since this is a review after all)! My expectations weren’t just met, they were exceeded! The plot, the actors, the music, the CHARACTERS! Everything was just so, so perfect and genuine!
Story/Plot: Oh my god, where do I even begin? This show was just so layered and wonderful! It wasn’t a melodrama by any means, but contained so much depth. The plot contained three simple plotlines: cohabitation/contract marriage, rich man and poor woman, and a struggling long term relationship. Often, when stories try to cram too many plotlines into one show, there are too many loose bits and ends. But in this drama, every character was purposeful and important, adding texture and depth to the story and the themes, and there were no loose ends. Speaking of themes, this drama was very progressive and dealt with issues that usually aren’t dealt with in Korean dramas. It challenged traditional gender stereotypes, sexual harassment in the work place, and the traditional meaning of marriage, but all in a very thoughtful and eloquent way. Perhaps I’m making this show sound boring, like a class at school, but it’s difficult to explain how such a simple idea was so revolutionized through some VERY skilled writing. The whole show seemed deliberate, and not cliche at all, despite how the storyline seems on the surface. You’ll just have to see it for yourself! I promise that you’ll love every moment of it!
Characters/Cast: As I was saying earlier, the surface level plotline is very simple, but what really enhanced the story and made it so enjoyable were the ABSOLUTELY PERFECT characters! All of them were so realistic, and their thoughts were clear and coherent, and they weren’t there just to waste screentime. Starting with the main couple, Ji Ho and Se Hee were just so nice to watch. They had great chemistry and by this point, I just want LMK and JSM to date in real life! Ji Ho was really the star, because seeing such an intelligent main character in dramas is rare. She knew what she wanted and she approached it wholeheartedly, and overall, she was a very relatable character. Se Hee, on the other hand, encompasses a person’s more weary and cautious side, because he was afraid to be hurt and even more afraid of hurting others. The show focused on them and their character development rather than adding useless love triangles. On the topic of triangles, there were technically two, but both were short lived and ESSENTIAL to the story, because they brought out new sides in the main characters. What really stood out to me was how realistic the rivals were (if you could even call them that). I’d say that one of my favorite characters was the ex girlfriend, and I can’t say more without spoiling the story, but her arch was one that was worth watching. She was a realistic and admirable character, unlike the conniving ex girlfriends you usually see in dramas. The other two couples in the story were equally important, and their stories were full of substance and lessons worth watching. Soo Ji teaches us to follow our dreams and stand up for what’s right, against the face of adversity. Ho Rang and Won Seok teach us that there’s a difference between love and marriage, and that the bad things that happen are often unavoidable and we must move forward. I won’t go into the details, but the character development in all three couples is worth watching and then rewatching a couple more times! Every wonderful character in this story was played by a wonderful actor that truly did the characters justice, and I have no complaints at all with the perfect casting or the extremely convincing acting. (I might be a bit biased since I love Lee Min Ki, but the difference for someone who doesn’t love him already might be the difference between an 11/10 vs a 10/10 rating. Either way, it’s PERFECT!)
Music: This review is already long enough, so I’ll be brief. I downloaded the whole soundtrack! So cute and perfectly suited for this drama! >v<
Rewatch Value: Usually I don’t even mention the rewatch value since I rarely rewatch dramas regardless of how good they are, but I have to mention it this time! I finished episode 14 two days before episode 15 came out, and I started to rewatch my favorite episodes while I waited! I just wanted to relive all the cute moments, and I can’t wait to finish the show so that I can rewatch and relive everything a few months from now! The show is really refreshing and light, despite the heavy progressive reform oriented subplots, and it seems to be very timeless. It’s worth watching at any age, but I feel like it gets better and better as you get older and experience dilemmas faced by the characters. The value for me is a solid 10/10, since I’m already itching to rewatch it!
Overall: As you’re probably aware by now, because of all the gushing I’ve been doing, I LOVE THIS SHOW! I can’t recommend it highly enough! Everything was flawless, and I don’t say that very often. Please give this beautiful show a chance, because I know you won’t regret it! <3 In fact, you’ll be missing out if you don’t!
Maybe this show will be part of your room 19 ;))
Edit (Contains a hint of a soft spoiler): I've been reading a lot of comments saying that Ji Ho was selfish in the last two episodes, and I just wanted to say that I completely disagree - Ji Ho was trying to understand her own feelings and see whether or not her feelings were long lasting, and she gave Se Hee a chance to do so as well. While this might have hurt Se Hee in the short term, it let both of them be sure about whether or not they want to be together for the long term, so that they aren't hurt once they're in a truly serious and committed relationship.
the drama revolves around lives of 3 couples in their 30s. It narrates how the difficulties that they face in their lives can be explained in the most plain yet deep words. Also the relationship b/w different couples and how they try to overcome it. The best part about this drama is the way how unexplained feelings are explained in simplest way. How a loveless marriage can make 2 people fall for each other more deeper and yet maintain their space without intruding each other's privacy. It explains how the society is still cursed by discrimination, nepotism and gender based inequality. At times it was able to give some honest views about how the female leads felt by expressing their true self and not covering up their tears behind makeup or a mask. Because nothing haunts you more than the things and feelings left unexpressed.
Although it was a good drama but there are still some drawbacks which I want to point out.
1. The episodes were too long because the writers were suppose to focus on all 3 leads.
2. The storyline was unpredictable in start but it became a bit predictable after some episodes.
3. It got bit monotonous after few episodes because it started following the story of clichéd kdramas. So I would watch it after piling it up then watching it fresh.
So lastly I would say that more then the story or acting, the way each dialogue of this drama was carefully knitted to the scenes or people associated with it was beautiful. Each line of the drama depicts the struggles and hidden meaNing that could be read from our surroundings to overcome it. Also how some plain lines can express a person's emotions and his personality in a raw and simple form.