II. Character Analysis
Songha Chae - As a team leader Songha is constantly faced with sexist behavior from her superiors and the male clients she has to entertain. She genuinely enjoys her work and gives it her all, often to the detriment of home life with her family. She laments the distance between her and her husband and feels even worse that he doesn’t desire her sexually. She meets Min Sang-Sik (her new neighbor) when they work on an advertising project for his firm. At first, he doubts her ability to market their hangover drink since she is (gasp!) a woman. After a few days working together Songha drinks him under the table and he grudgingly gives her his respect. Soon they get close and he begins to respect her work ethic and glamorous image. He is attracted to Songha and longs for such excitement in a woman as his own wife is in his opinion boring and mismanages his money.
Ahn Sun-Kyu, Songha’s husband on the other hand, characteristically forgets that Songha works hard so he can have the financial freedom to become the kind of doctor he wants to be. He takes pride in his work and his ethical standards often clash with that of hospital management; however he won’t quit because he thinks Songha will kill him (his words). He spends a lot of his spare time cooped up in his home office “entertaining” himself and claims he is not sexually attracted to Songha since she is wife (huh?). Simpleminded as he is, all he wants is a wife who makes him feel like a man, cleans the house and cooks for him. He finds his “perfect” match in Mr. Min’s wife Kyung-Ju.
Hong Kyung-Ju and Ahn quickly bond over their mutual love of food and supposed easygoingness. Kyung finds comfort in Ahn who is very much the opposite of her husband. Despite her seemingly homely nature, there are a few strange things about Kyung. She likes to spit in her husband’s food, gives him toilet water to drink and occasionally cuts his head off of family pictures (no biggie!). She is emotionally repressed and lives with regret, anger and thoughts of what could have been had she not married the man who berates her and makes her life miserable.
Min Sang-Sik (Kyung-ju’s husband) for his part seems to be so aware and considerate of Songha’s trials as a career woman but ignorant of his own wife’s issues. At home, he is straight-laced, unemotional and focuses on the basics. He takes his job and filial duty seriously to the point of “begging” when there was a risk of him not being able to provide for them. However, none of this stops him from putting his future on the line due to his growing attraction to Songha.
I chose to watch this drama because I thoroughly enjoyed “A wife’s credentials” and believed this would be in the same vein. However, where in AWC it was easy to sympathize with the cheating party, this was so not the case with YNW. No one was an outright asshole (well maybe Min) and everyone was somewhat foolish.
I found Ahn the most bothersome due to his bratty, idealistic nature. He was dismissive of his wife’s effort to bring money to the household so the pressure was not totally on him. I wondered why he married Songha. Was it for love or for the promise of having a kept house and someone to make him feel like a “man”? He is at the end of the day, a weak guy who can’t bring the same pride he has at work home because he claims he is afraid of his wife. Conversely, I enjoyed Songha’s forward nature and commitment to her work and family. When her husband tells her he is not sexually attracted to her she makes it a point to seduce him. I got so angry when at some point she was the only one apologizing when her whiny husband never admitted to the part he played in the whole mess. Songha deserves better than both Ahn and Min and the same goes for Kyung-ju despite what she feels is her destiny. Kyung-ju the repressed lady was my favorite character! She is crazy and hilarious (kudos to Shin Eun-Kyung for playing up the part). Half of the time you’re not sure whether she is a potential murderess or laughing inside at how she’s trolling everyone around her. She was a riot and I felt the writers had so much potential with this character that was not utilized.
This show starts out funny and a bit daring but soon devolves into jealousy, rivalry and ridiculousness. In the end I don’t think my time was totally wasted since there were some truly hilarious moments and the tension kept me going till the end. Given its 22 episodes it felt slow moving but in this case it was fine since such a story needs nuance and a slower pace. I was initially worried about how the show will end since cheating never ends well for some in kdramaland. However, it all wraps up relatively well depending on what you consider a good resolution. Given the dramatics the show started with I for one expected something more “out of norm” as a resolution but the end was still satisfying.
Overall Rating – 7- 7.5/10
Reasoning – Mostly for the emotion it drew out of me (There were many moments where I was a ball of nerves wondering what would happen next). The other positives were the excellent actors and the decent comedic moments. Points taken off for promising a lot and not delivering much (all bravado and no real bravery)
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