I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this show. I love, love, love the character of No Ra. Watching her backbone grow episode by episode as she finds the self she lost raising her son and kow-towing to her self absorbed husband is pure joy for me. I can totally identify–after 20 years of raising my kids on my own, I’m also starting to do a few things for myself. Thankfully, I don’t encounter the same level of resistance NR does, but there’s been a little bit…so I find myself cheering for her. No Ra is my Unni, going through a parallel experience. She’s far and away the most relatable female character currently in my Kdrama watch list. The last scene in Episode 8 where she’s dancing brought tears of joy to my eyes–the No Ra of 19 is back, the lost years have drifted away and she’s found another part of her youth–perfect. Woo Chul, that husband-in-name-only of hers is totally flummoxed. HS looks like he is still a lovestruck teenager with her. Too bad they are both worthless jerks.
I am completely irritated with the men in No Ra’s life, and at the top of the list is Cha Hyun Seok. I’m supposed to be on his side, but his behavior makes it difficult. The writer seems to delight in making this dude even more immature and clueless than he was in the previous episode. It makes me think about Lee Sang Yoon’s character Dong Joo in Episodes 5-6 of “Angel Eyes”. I was so angry over the personality transplant the writer seemingly gave him, I wrote a pretend letter to his mother offering to fly over to Korea and personally chastise him since she was not here on earth to do so. I am pretty sure I could get a planeload of fans to accompany me to do the same thing to HS at this point. I almost don’t want No Ra to end up with him at the end of the show. He doesn’t deserve her. He’s too petty and self centered. What a shame. He’s got potential to be a great guy for NR–if he could quit thinking of himself as the central victim in the personal melodrama playing in the “Little Theater” between his ears!
BTW, it’s a darn good thing LSY looks so cute on the bike in this show, just like he did in “Angel Eyes”. I don’t know exactly what it is about LSY on a bicycle that sends my heartbeat into overdrive. Some SK bicycle manufacturer better get him signed up for an endorsement deal ASAP. I’d love to know if there’s been a surge in bicycles sales since this show started. He’s so believable as a university theater professor, with his bike, his rumpled clothes, and mussy hair. LSY is nailing it as the perpetually grumpy and childishly petty CHS. I’m just tired of the whole immature act, even if it’s well-acted grumpy and petty.
However, let it be noted that I will flip tables and have an electronics-destroying meltdown if No Ra goes back to the Supreme Jerk in this show, the hypocritical and pretentious Woo Chul. His attitudes and behavior toward No Ra are inexcusable and infuriating. I am not sure why some commentators find him pathetically funny or have any sort of sympathy for him. He truly deserves his snotty paramour Ye Jin, the smug Psychology teacher of the ‘Marriage and Family’ class who has no life experience in either! These two are made for each other; soulless soulmates who seem destined for a life of scholarly boredom together.
I like how the younger generation of men are coming around to No Ra’s side, and have no compunction about changing their minds. Thankfully, their brains have not fossilized like Woo Chul’s, or atrophied like Hyun Seok’s. Right now, Soon Nam is my pick for No Ra to end up with–as friends, not really as a romantic couple. I’m loving how SN calls No Ra “noona”, and how great he looks in a suit. Guilty admission: I would love to see those two kiss while HS and/or WC watch from afar–or close up. I don’t care either way! The mouth drop moment would make me love this show forever. The hope I have to see this imaginary scene come true is part of the reason I keep watching this frustrating show. Realistic chances of that happening–probably zero, but I would go bonkers if the writer went all-in and took the risk. I love how SN is starting to treat NR with respect. It’s interesting that the show mentioned he was an older student who had already completed his Military Service. Perhaps it’s that combination that gives him an added maturity level beyond that of his other university peers. Of all the men in her life, SN sees potential in NR; he seems to be aware that her life experiences combined with her optimistic personality makes her a valuable friend. The dance moves she can pull off for their school club is merely icing on the cake!
NR’s son Min Soo is also starting to come around. After he realized that his mom wouldn’t rat him out about dating Hye Mi to his dad, and covered for him on the April Fool’s dress-like-a-high-school-student event, I believe he’s going to respect and defend his mom in the future. I didn’t care for the character of MS at first, and the relationship between him and the clingy Hye Mi was a superfluous distraction. Now it is a delightful foil to the relationship of his parents, and he’s getting more interesting to watch. I can only hope he learns from their mistakes–including being able to use a condom properly so he doesn’t become a father while he’s still a student. It seemed that this actor was sleepwalking in the first few episodes, but either he’s improving his game or the writer is giving him a little more to work with because the last two episodes have seen a marked improvement in his acting. I hope MS fully sides with his mom at the end of the show; she devoted so much of her life to raising him and it would be a shame for them to have a broken relationship. When Min Soo finds out about his Dad’s infidelity, the feelings of anger and betrayal should accelerate his progress toward being a real adult instead of being a kid trying to please a parent who has completely unrealistic expectations for his son.
Memo to Show: If you want me to root for the No Ra/Hyun Seok pairing, you better give HS a big-time personality transplant soon, and turn him into a thoughtful, mature and caring guy who puts NR first, and his own issues second. NR–don’t settle for anything less than the best behavior from any man, whether it’s your son, schoolmate or first love. You’ve made great strides to take control of your life and find the part of you that got buried beneath housework and childcare for years. Now go for it–and if you have to do this alone, so be it. You still have your BFF Yoon Young on your side. It would be great to get Hyun Seok on board, but if he’s going to be a petty dork and as equally self centered as your soon-to-be-divorced husband, then ditch him and move on!
This show has so much it could be saying about how society treats women who are in their middle years, about poor communication between spouses, and about the real-life ridiculousness of open relationships like Sartre and de Beauvoir–which is the solution I think WC is going for now, but NR will never agree to. She’s stuck a fork in their marriage, and it’s done. The scene where NR tells WC to go ahead with the divorce ’cause she’s not quitting school made my week. But Show seems to want to skate around the tough questions and go for easy platitudes. I want this show to step up big time and leave the petty antics of HS behind and tackle some bigger issues. C’mon Show–like No Ra, I know the potential is there. Like No Ra, don’t be afraid to step out and take a risk! It just might work!