Marriage, Not Dating
(연애 말고 결혼)
Synopsis: Gong Ki Tae is a successful and happy bachelor who does not want to find himself a wife. He believes that his life is perfectly planned, and being single is the only option he accept. However, his family is badgering him to marry. In an effort to get his parents off his back, Ki Tae purposely brings Joo Jang Mi home to meet his parents posing as his girlfriend, certain that they’ll never approve of her.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Casting: Yun Woo Jin, Han Groo, Jin Woon, Han Sun Hwa, Yoon So Hee, Heo Jeong Min etc…
It took me years to finish this drama but here we are! that’s finally over! Marriage, Not Dating wasn’t a bad drama. Actually it was a pretty good one. Unfortunately for me, I ended up spoiling it. I was either too busy to watch an episode either too excited about other dramas. On the whole I really liked the concept of this rom-com. It was fresh, cute and fun (I truly love cartoon sounds!). Most of the characters were well-written and the actors did a great work. The only slight note was maybe the too repetitive pattern. Every episode were built on the same one. The first minutes were showing an event of a near future and then we were sent back to the present we had left in the previous episode. I really appreciated those flash-forwards even thought it lost me for a bit at first. It was an interesting way to build a bit of suspense and nothing is better than a rom-com trying to arouse to a maximum our curiosity (cause let’s be honest they are generally not really imaginative).
But for the rest I was less enthusiastic. If at first I liked the all “let’s get married but not for real” I grew kind of tired by all the schemes and the heroine behaviour that were repeating themselves. Most of the episodes could be summarized by family events, family members butting into Gong Ki Tae’s life trying to make him break up with Jang Mi, Jang Mi creating huge fuss and finally breaking up with Ki Tae cause their situation was too complicated. Jang Mi was constantly saying “that’s it! our deal is off! and for good this time” (so to speak, that wasn’t her true words) but never kept her engagement. This pattern quickly bored me and that’s maybe why I had trouble “finding the time” to keep on this drama (let’s be honest we always have the time for at least one episode by day). That wasn’t the only thing that bothered me. Some incidents were a bit disappointing (I’m thinking about the whole “Jang Min is locked up in the clinic all alone”. I was waiting for some drama but wasn’t really convinced by this episode) and characters weren’t always behaving like I would have wished (specially the love triangle), but all those little defects were nothing compare to the monotony the drama was starting to take on, by re-using the same devices in each episodes.
Anyway on the characters side we were well “served”.
Joo Jang Min (Han Groo) and Gong Ki Tae (Yun Woo Jin) made me laugh a lot together. It was my first time meeting both actors but those roles seemed to be made for them.
I have nothing to say against Gong Ki Tae. I loved his character from A to Z. From once we had a real hero. Gong Ki Tae was certainly successful and rather rich but contrary to most of rom-com hero he was not arrogant, full of himself. He could seem rather cold at first but his motives were only lead by his desire of remaining independent, free. Seeing him fell in his own scheme was delectable. He is a character who slowly gets under your skins.
Joo Jang Min on her side had more defect. If she was a refreshing character that had the gift to make me smile every time she was appearing on my screen she could also bother me quite a bit. Like I said before I was a bit annoyed by her lack of actions. She was always talking big about breaking up with Gong Ki Tae and afterwards “chikened out” in the following episodes…and the next one, the next and the next next one. Her hesitant behaviour was also felt on the love triangle level. Her reaction was only human (hard to decide between two hot guys!) but I think it would have been as much enjoyable if she had been honest about her feeling earlier. Otherwise I can’t complain! Joo Jang Min is the kind of heroine I wish I could meet more often in dramas. The fact that she was always putting her foot in it, and solving her problem in her own way gave a very natural an realistic side to her character.
On the rival side we have two idols. I must say, this drama made me reconsider about idols being actors. I know that some of them are really good at acting even though it’s not their original job, but I can’t stop myself from grinding my teeth when I see an idol in a casting. I tend to avoid them in general.
Here I was pleasantly surprised by Jin Woon (2am) that I had only seen in Dream High 2 before *cough*(I didn’t know that Dream High was only composed of idols at that time). Not exactly the best drama to get to know him if you ask me *cough*. In Marriage, Not Dating he didn’t have the good role, unfortunately for him! but he did a great job. It’s not easy to play the third wheel. It was so painful to hear him say with that much of confidence, that he was the only one with whom Jang Min was serious, when Lee Hoon Dong told him to back off. If only he had knew that being the third wheel automatically meant ending up alone for him! Anyway the point I really appreciated about him was that once he had got Jang Min ‘s true feeling for Gong Ki Tae he gave her up (that happened quite late in the drama but still). He remained friends with her and Ki Tae, holding no grudge against them. That was cool of him (actually the word “cool” summarizes perfectly this character). NB: this drama made me discover a facet of Jin Woon I wasn’t aware of: this guy is in fact quite hot!
Kang Se Ah (Han Sun Hwa from Secret) was the character I understood the less. Han Sun Hwa was great in her role but her character! O_O Her motives were more than weird. That really destabilized me. I respected her desire of becoming pregnant but her obsession toward Ki Tae was beyond me. I felt like the scriptwriters were trying too hard to explain the use of this character. She was neither a pleasant character nor an unpleasant one. She sometimes got on my nerve with her schemes but fortunately for me, once she had been humiliated by Ki Tae she calmed herself and therefore was more absent in the remaining episodes.
To finish I’ll mention Ki Tae’s mother who held a quite important role. Her character would have normally been the one of the unbearable “evil mother-in-law” if we had been in a “classic” rom-com. But here the scriptwriters did wonderful efforts at making us sympathize with her. If I was becoming as crazy as Jang Min when this one pronounced her name, I was on the other hand even more touched by how she was taking everything on herself, trying to hide the reality of her pseudo-perfect family. The few times she lost faces were really great to see. She dropped her mask and revealed her true self: a hurt woman. I really enjoyed how close she grew of Jang Min, despite herself.
I understand why so many people liked this drama. Without being exceptional it was a real breath of fresh air. It’s a shame for me to not have been able to enjoy it to its full. Anyway I think Marriage, Not Dating is a perfect drama for those who search a nice, authentic rom-com -and not a wishy washy one- to watch.
Note de Dushbadou: 8/10
Note de Whoovy: 8/10
Note finale: 8/10