[MSOAN] RECAP : Episode 5

Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 5

Oh, jealousy. You always manage to brighten up my day — in a drama, that is. And of all these characters, I’m thrilled that the first one to demonstrate any is the one who makes it most deliciously fun to watch: Mu-gyul the indifferent. He’s still light-years from admitting it, natch, but thanks to our familiarity with the Standard K-Drama Playbook, we know how it really is!


The morning after Jung-in’s “I’m here” declaration (translation: “I’m going to pursue you”), Mary wakes up at Jung-in’s father’s house feeling confused. While she burrows into bed, Jung-in hovers outside and slides a note under her door.

But then he reconsiders — what if she doesn’t see it? Second-guessing his choice, Jung-in repositions the note, inserting the paper into the doorjamb by the handle. It falls. Then he imagines himself walking out of her room to estimate where her eyes would fall, then crouches down to leave it a few feet in front of the door. His uncertainty is slightly juvenile and therefore adorable, but made more so at his embarrassment at being caught in the act by Mary.

In the car ride back, he asks for her music preference, and she idly responds that she likes everything but “noisy music like rock.” A few beats pass before she realizes that sounds strange and bursts out, “I mean, except for Mu-gyul’s music!” and starts singing lamely, “Go, go, please, my bus…”

To overcompensate for her slip, Mary goes on about how she misses my jagi soooo much — only to have Jung-in offer to drop by his place so she can say hello before work. He also agrees to grant her the four-day vacation in exchange for her coming on this trip with him.

Mu-gyul labors on some song lyrics, and ends up doodling a cat while thinking back to Mary’s “I love you” (even if it was just for show). Seo-jun wakes up on his couch, since she’d been drunk the previous night. Looking around, she spots the skeins of yarn and asks if he’s taken up knitting or has a new girlfriend. He mumbles an unconvincing no while self-consciously pulling off the half-finished mitten Mary had started for him.

Jung-in pulls up outside Mu-gyul’s place and retrieves the television Mary has brought with her (so she can watch dramas at Mu-gyul’s, lol) — just as Mu-gyul emerges with Seo-jun, who’s leaving in a taxi. Mary hurriedly distracts Jung-in by keeping him turned around and fixing his tie, and as soon as the taxi drives off, she squeals, “Jagi-yaaaaa!” and runs up to Mu-gyul.

Jung-in looks around Mu-gyul’s studio with interested eyes — this is exactly how he pictured life in Mu-gyul’s mystical world of indie-musicianship (spoken like a true suit!) — while Mu-gyul stares with annoyance. That stare narrows into a glare at Jung-in’s comment that he’s going to “do his best” regarding Mary, since Jung-in hadn’t been interested in the marriage before. Jung-in warns that he’ll give him a run for his money, which puts Mu-gyul into a bit of a snit. How much do I love that Mu-gyul is the first of these three to show a little jealousy?

At the office, Jung-in invites Mary to eat lunch with him daily, and takes her to a posh, empty restaurant. Mary wonders if he might have done that Kdrama Hero Grand Gesture by renting out the entire restaurant, only to be proven wrong immediately, to her embarrassment.

Rather, he has invited the writer to join them to discuss the changes needed in order to get the drama on the air. It had failed to secure a slot on a broadcaster’s schedule, having been deemed “too mania,” so Mary has come up with the suggestion to insert family elements to appeal to a wider market.

Introducing Mary as his helper in planning the drama, Jung-in gives her the opening to share her ideas with the writer. The writer had her hopes pinned on writing a “cool” drama (which in Korean doesn’t mean the slang “How cool!” that it does in English, but is a more literal usage of the word meaning the opposite of warm and earnest — as in nonchalant, dispassionate), but she considers the suggestion.

Mary’s flattered at Jung-in’s show of faith, now that he’s giving her real work and asking for her opinions. Listening to her gush, Mu-gyul strums his guitar and pointedly sings a line about that “bourgeois, two-faced” guy — her initial description of Jung-in — only to have Mary defending him. She only called him that because they’d had a bad first impression.

That makes Mu-gyul grumble that she oughtta just marry the guy, to which Mary exclaims, “Are you jealous?!” He says it’s just out of brotherly concern that he’s warning her against the guy, who he can tell is a shifty fellow.

Mu-gyul’s flighty mother drops by to ask for money, which he doesn’t have. (Her boyfriend lent her 5 million won, approximately $4,000, and now that they’re broken up he’s demanding repayment.) Undeterred, She Of No Shame presses him to ask his buddies for a loan, but he flatly refuses. Mom bursts into manipulative tears and he crumbles, agreeing to ask around.

No doubt that’ll be difficult, as he himself is in dire need of funds. While he’s dealing with his mother, the landlady tersely tells Mary that if he doesn’t produce his 2 million won deposit, he’s out.

Mary is visited by a secretary who has been instructed by the president, Jung-in’s father, to supply her with fancy clothing as befits a proper chaebol wife/daughter-in-law. Mary doesn’t find anything wrong with the way she dresses, which seems to me a strange lapse in her drama-obsessed brain — she should be able to grasp that we are in the big makeover phase of her narrative. C’mon, Mary, this is in every drama, like, EVER. And you call yourself a fan.

(Frankly, after Secret Garden’s recent angst over a similar issue, I’m amazed at how easily this point gets accepted. Not that I would have expected Ra-im to meekly agree to glam up, or Mary to push back in a knock-down-drag-out fight in defense of boho chic, but is there no such thing as middle ground in Ye Almighty K-drama? Am I naive for even asking?)

In a planning meeting regarding the drama’s music choices, Jung-in learns that Seo-jun not only knows Mu-gyul, they used to date. She calls them friends now, and upon hearing that Jung-in failed twice to convince Mu-gyul to take the job as music producer, Seo-jun offers to persuade him.

Mary’s new wardrobe and elegant transformation earn her surprised admiration from both Jung-in and Seo-jun. (I love that she is told she looks “like a real secretary” now — because who else would count a secretary look as an upgrade?)

Jung-in takes her to lunch, and our laws of K-drama coincidence contrive to bring Mary’s friends to this exact restaurant. So-ra and Ji-ae recognize Mary — though just barely — as she is led by the hand by Jung-in, and the foursome end up dining together.

The girls are awestruck at Jung-in’s looks and obvious wealth, and So-ra slips by mentioning Mary’s utter lack of dating experience. Mary hurries to cover that she meant until Mu-gyul, that is! He’s her first love and all, heh heh, nervous gulp.

While Jung-in steps aside, the girls launch into a heated debate over which boy is better, with Jung-in representing a “realistic” choice of money and security over Mu-gyul’s more romantic artist’s heart. Yeah, only in a romance K-drama does a chaebol CEO Prince Charming represent a slice of “realism.”

With 86 days left in the contract, Jung-seok extends his fairy-godmother makeover-ing to Mary’s dad by buying him new suits too. (Dad thinks he’s too chubby for close-fitting suits, only to be told to diet to match the suit. Who knew Mr. Chairman subscribed to the Anna Wintour school of thought?) Dad nervously assures his hyung that the little Mu-gyul problem has been taken care of — an outright lie — but he manages to buy time by reminding Jung-seok that rushing Mary into marriage will only result in her rebellion.

Mu-gyul comes home to find Seo-jun waiting for him, wanting to discuss the drama job, stating that it’s a good opportunity that would pay well. He turns it down, saying he has no desire to work with “that jerk,” unswayed by Seo-jun’s reply that Jung-in’s actually a pretty decent guy.

It’s cute how he glances at the clock and hurries Seo-jun out, expecting Mary to appear at any minute. Instead, he gets the landlady, and although he makes sure to usher Seo-jun out before the landlady can state her purpose, Seo-jun catches on and asks if he needs money. Naturally his pride won’t allow him to admit it.

Mary walks into the neighborhood just in time to see Seo-jun leaving, and hides her face to remain out of sight. She enters the studio just as the landlady informs Mu-gyul that his deposit has been paid by his “girlfriend.”

He yells at Mary for interfering, but she makes a pretty good point: she’s essentially his roommate, so it’s only natural that she pay rent. “Are you the only one with pride? I have pride, too!”

That shuts him up, though he makes sure to write an IOU promising to pay back her 2 million won. She doesn’t want him to pay her back too soon, though, because as long as she has a stake in the rent, he can’t kick her out. Heh. Pretty clever line of attack, Mary.

She rejoices, and he sulks. Hee. She runs around happily, insisting she won’t be any trouble and that she’ll do her share of the cleaning.

Contrast that with the way she’s treated at Jung-in’s household, where the housekeeper has been instructed not to let her lift so much as a finger in work. Funny how excessive hospitality makes Mary uncomfortable, while she feels perfectly at ease pushing herself on Mu-gyul. You guys are so transparent, my god, it’s amazing that you two can still manage to come up with reasons to insist you’re not actually dating, or interested, or jealous. Denial, it is strong with these two.

Dad resorts to bribery to get rid of Mu-gyul, presenting him with a one-way ticket to Japan. He begs him not to tell Mary about it — “Can’t you just leave without a word, like they do in dramas?” Ah, but this drama is going out of its way to make it very clear that it’s totally not like all those others, so the answer must be no. And so, Dad drowns his worries in drink and asks Mu-gyul if he loves Mary, interpreting Mu-gyul’s lack of response as a no.

Mu-gyul invites the older man to “lower his speech” from jondaemal to banmal, but Dad declines, using the exact same words that Mary had used in a previous episode (“I can’t lower my words with someone I’m uncomfortable with”) — and this makes Mu-gyul momentarily burst into laughter.

How cute is Dad as he cries into his beer, “I need to diet!” even as he takes more swigs? The feeling is all too familiar.

Jung-in’s father calls Mary out to lavish her with even more fancy clothes. The exorbitant gifts make her uncomfortable, and she asks for stories about her mother instead of gifts. He answers that her mother was like her father — soft and warm in personality.

Jung-in arrives to take Mary home, and witnesses his father looking happy and light-hearted as he jokes around with Mary.

Mu-gyul finds himself half-carrying Dad out of the bar, bearing his weight with difficulty, and staggers home just as Jung-in arrives with Mary. Stumbling, Dad ends up landing on top of Mu-gyul, who’s in a pretty pissy mood by this point.

Mu-gyul gives Jung-in the stink-eye when Dad greets him enthusiastically as “son-in-law!” It’s a role he insists he doesn’t want, but it’s gotta chafe his pride to be treated so differently when technically he’s also Mary’s “husband.” Furthermore, Jung-in kneels down to help Dad like a dutiful son-in-law, and one-ups Mu-gyul by offering a piggyback ride… only to keel over because Dad’s too heavy.

Mu-gyul is NOT gracious about this petty victory over his non-quite-rival, and gleefully points and laughs at Jung-in. Both husbands-to-be take an arm each and haul Dad up, who singsongs drunkenly about his two son-in-laws. Yet the movement makes Dad gag, and Mu-gyul gets the honor of being hurled upon.

Mary apologizes for all the trouble she’s put him through, but he’s tired and irritable. Trudging home in the cold, Mu-gyul refuses Jung-in’s offer of a ride and even takes offense at Jung-in’s advice to take care of his health, since his body is his instrument. How presumptuous of him, that polite punk.

In the morning, a hungover Dad can’t remember what happened last night, and asks worriedly if he offended Jung-in. Mary bursts out that he ought to be worried about his treatment of Mu-gyul, but Dad doesn’t care so much about that one.

Mary finds an envelope in Dad’s suit pocket, and when she sees the plane ticket made out in Mu-gyul’s name, she realizes what Dad has done.

Contrite, Mary apologizes again to Mu-gyul for everything, knowing he has every right to be upset. He says in a resigned voice that they should end the whole thing now, and that he’ll return her money. He’s tired of all this hassle, and it sounds like he’s really ready to call it quits.

Mary protests and calls them “bound together by loyalty.” Eager to be obliging, she gives him space when he heads out for some air, and decides to clean and cook while he’s away.

He goes out drinking with his buddies, while Mary finds herself waiting for his return with his mother, who has no compunction about asking Mary to make her a fresh batch of radish kimchi.

Hearing how the young couple met, Mom sighs over the romanticism of their first meeting — it turns out she’s also a drama fan, and subscribes to the “love is like a car accident” belief. I’m guessing she’s never been in a car accident.

Seo-jun tracks Mu-gyul down at the bar and takes him aside to persuade him to meet with Jung-in and discuss the music producer position seriously. Thus Mary spies the two talking in her car and hides out of sight. She pouts, feeling strangely bothered to see them together again, having already witnessed a similar scene two times this episode. Third strike, you’re out.

The scene sticks with her, and that night she thinks of them while massaging her tired arms, feeling sorry for herself.

Mu-gyul comes home, and his irritation with Mary disappears the moment he sees the stacks of kimchi and realizes that his mother told her to make all that merely to satisfy her craving. Mom finds nothing wrong with the situation, but he feels bad and tries to call Mary, unsuccesfully.

The next day, Mu-gyul shows up at the production company offices to discuss the contract. (His fee is a whopping 20 million won, which would more than cover his mother’s debt, and his own to Mary.)

He has one condition: he’ll songwrite, but he wants his band to sing the songs. Jung-in replies that he’ll give it a listen, but he reserves the right to swap them out for session men if they aren’t good enough.

Mu-gyul gripes, “Are we idols, that we do as you tell us?” and declines. To Jung-in, this is a rational business decision and he doesn’t understand Mu-gyul’s stubbornness, while Mu-gyul has no problem saying no because it’s not like he wanted to do this in the first place.

Mary’s entrance has him doing a double-take, since she’s dressed up in her designer clothing. She pulls him aside to urge him not to sign the contract — if he does, it’ll put them all into a sticky situation at work.

Mu-gyul tells her flatly that that stuff has nothing to do with him, but to her relief, he turns Jung-in down anyway. He has no desire to stand in the background of “a drama without authenticity.”

Although he tells Mary this is not related to her, she thanks him anyway, feeling much relieved to know that they’ve averted possible crisis.

But it’s time for crisis of another sort to rear its ugly head, and it comes in the form of meddling Manager Bang. Hearing that Mu-gyul was offered the job, she warns Jung-in not to work with him, saying that Mu-gyul acts so innocent and righteous when he’s really just working him. Plus, he’s signed with her — if he signs with Jung-in, he’ll be violating the contract. Hello, legal entanglement!

She tells Mu-gyul as much, but he counters that he gave her money to cover their contract termination. She plays innocent, saying she recalls no such thing — does he have any proof?

She makes her threat clear — that she can make sure he’s tied up for the next three years, unable to work.

Jung-in drives Mary to Mu-gyul’s after work, and comments on the “awkward vibe” he senses between them. Immediately worried that he’s catching on, Mary races ahead to her jagi-yaaaaa! and pleads with him to help her — this is an emergency! Jung-in is starting to get suspicious!

Mu-gyul is feeling grim and warns her that he’s not in the mood for this right now, and that mood grows darker at the appearance of Jung-in.

Reminding his pseudo-rival of his earlier words — that Jung-in was going to “do his best” with Mary — Mu-gyul turns to Mary and makes his own point clear. Kiss!

And… gauntlet thrown. Bring it on, fancy boy.

COMMENTS from dramabeans

This drama keeps talking about dramas, but so far they’re being pretty tame with the sly references. I wish they’d take it a step (or ten) further with the meta and really go for satire or commentary or even just fun cultural references. Instead, we get vague mentions that could be amusing if they were sharpened and delivered more wittily… but aren’t.

For a drama about dramas, it’s not really playing with its premise much. Gourmet was all about food but tied its cooking storylines into the characters’ emotional developments. The World They Live In used its drama-production backdrop as a springboard for themes about work and relationships. And The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry incorporated a news report motif into Shin-young’s send-offs in each episode.

So… where’s the drama, Drama?

Take Jung-in and Mary’s conversation about mania dramas. She thinks he took her comment as an insult and assures him that she meant his drama is fresh and lacking makjang elements — which might be a commentary on this show. Or at least, it could have been if they made the connection in a sharper, cheekier way. The drama has ample opportunity to be funny, but I find myself a little frustrated with the blandness of the plot.

That isn’t to say I don’t like the show: The chemistry is still cute and the actors are great. Moon Geun-young and Jang Geun-seok make me smile every time they’re onscreen together, whether flirting, bickering, or being adorably jealous of each other. The thing is, these actors are so good and so natural that they make you believe in the reactions of these characters — even when their reactions make no sense at all if you think about it. How many times is Mary going to freak out that people don’t buy her relationship as real? How many times is Jung-in going to offer the job to Mu-gyul, and how many times with Mu-gyul turn it down? And why are the reasons always the same?

I still find you very cute, drama, but imma need some major plot developments to happen soon!

credit: dramabeans

reposted : lovesears blog


[MSOAN] RECAP : Episode 4

Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 4

Well, you were warned. Second lead ‘shippers, guard your hearts. Jung-in goes for the kill, and I don’t know about Mary, but everyone else gets slain. See, this is what happens when you marry two men. It gets confusing, for everyone involved. Including me. Couldn’t you have just gotten a job or gone into hiding? At least things are getting more fun, now that the triangle is in full effect.


Mary walks in to find her two husbands in a compromising situation (I know. But this isn’t fanfic. I swear, I’m not making this up.) She runs over to Mu-gyul, screaming, “Jagi-ya!” and drags him out before he can protest being kicked out without a shirt on. Are you at least wearing pants? Because if you’re not wearing pants, this recap is going to end up in a very different place…

Mary scoots him out of there, and even stops him from going back to get his guitar. The less husband-to-husband contact, the better. Well that’s what you say. She promises to bring his guitar to him after work, and adds that he shouldn’t be working with a guy like Jung-in. Only a crazy person would insist on marrying a girl who’s in love with someone else, and when she reasons that someone who thinks of marriage as a business deal can’t be trusted, Mu-gyul agrees that it’s weird.

At the office, Mary asks Jung-in to leave Mu-gyul alone, but he’s intent on bringing him in to do the music for the drama. Seo-jun comes by with a new cell phone for Mary as an apology for the other day, and Mary declines the gift, replying cheerily that her phone isn’t broken, but she’ll accept the apology. Later she sees Jung-in and Seo-jun walking around together, and wonders why he isn’t dating and marrying someone who suits him, and is instead dragging her into this arranged hullabaloo. Two words: Daddy Issues.

He sees that Mary’s been reading the script and asks her what she thinks. She says that it’s a fresh idea to do a music rom-com, but that it skews too young—adults won’t watch it. Haha. Well, my mom would beg to differ.

She asks for Mu-gyul’s guitar, but Jung-in insists on returning it himself. So Mary shows up running like a madwoman at Mu-gyul, screaming, “JAGI-YA!” to warn him that Jung-in insisted on following her here. She tries to keep them from talking, but Jung-in shoves her in the van to have a chat with Mu-gyul. Haha. It’s hilarious how she’s at DEFCON 1 and the guys are like, Do you hear something? Nope. Don’t hear a thing.

She climbs out the back and tries to stop them, but Mu-gyul pulls her aside with a hand to the forehead, (It’s somehow adorable the way he manhandles her like a puppy; I don’t know why.) saying that he’ll take care of it on his own. He asks Jung-in what his deal is, insisting on marrying a woman who is already married. He adds that he’s been scammed by managers before, and that he can’t trust a guy who treats marriage like a business. Mary smiles to herself, and Jung-in is silenced, for now.

Mary’s dad gets a talking-to by Jung-seok, who tells him to take care of this Mu-gyul character for good. Dad insists that he’s too much of a playboy to stick with Mary, and that he swore nothing happened between them. Jung-seok thinks him a fool for trusting a boy who’s running around with his daughter, and makes it clear in no uncertain terms that if Mary chooses Mu-gyul at the end of the hundred days, the debt money must be returned.

Dad goes straightaway to track Mu-gyul down, but finds that Mary’s with him, before her scheduled time. They see him spying on them, so they make a run for it and hide in a karaoke room. Dad follows them all the way there, so they’re forced to sing, despite Mu-gyul’s hatred of these places. He refuses to sing, so Mary picks up the mic and begins to sing, eliciting a look of sheer horror on Mu-gyul’s face. “What the…you’re totally tone deaf!”

Hahaha. He takes the mic from her and belts out a song, making her swoon. Dad hears from the hallway, and freaks out: “No, no…what do I do? He’s totally good!” After hearing Mu-gyul sing, he’s so impressed that he’s certain Mary’s fallen head over heels. Are you sure you’re not the one who’s smitten?

They finally borrow a bike to shake him for good, and as they ride along, Mary tells him that he was really cool back there, with the singing. He looks back at her, like he’s going to say something snarky, but then breaks into the cutest smile ever: “So what…you like me now?”

Flutter. Flutter. Sigh.

Mary: “NO! Just…objectively speaking, you were cool.” Mu-gyul: “I know.” Aaaaand, we’re back down to Earth. Okay.

They ride around Hongdae, and Mary stops him when they pass by a yarn store. They end up back at Mu-gyul’s place, and he builds a makeshift heater while she knits herself some mittens. Aw, they’re so cute. She finds out that she’s two weeks older than him, and teases him to call her noona from now on.

Mu-gyul: “Hey, noona, you actually look like a girl, doing that.” Mary: “I AM a girl.”

He blows on his hands to warm them up, and she asks if he wants a pair of mittens too. He nods, so she asks for his hand, to measure it against hers. Excuse for skinship! He peers at her scar while she measures his hand, and asks how she got it. She doesn’t remember, and just knows that Dad told her she hurt herself while playing, at the age of four. She’s nearing curfew, so she leaves the mittens half-done, and promises to finish later.

Jung-in’s drama production reaches a standstill, as he worries over how to deal with costs while the drama has no airdate. Dad comes by to make things clear to Jung-in, as far as Mary is concerned: she must choose HIM at the end of the hundred days, or Dad will pull all of his investments in Jung-in’s company. Time to turn on the charm, lover boy.

He comes by to pick her up the next day, for a two-day trip to his father’s house. Mary calls Mu-gyul on the way, making a show of how this is an infringement of the contract hours, and that they should ask for a four-day vacation in exchange. Jung-in agrees to whatever she wants, but asks her to do her best this weekend.

He leaves as soon as they get there for a meeting, to try and talk the lead actor out of pulling out of the drama because the production might get pushed back. Seo-jun arrives to announce that she’s in regardless, because she believes in the project. She invites Jung-in to her birthday party later that night, but he declines.

Left alone in the house, Mary wanders around, and can’t shake the feeling that the place feels familiar. She just assumes she must’ve seen it in a drama. Oh, dear. Please no birth secrets, Show. Just…no.

She sees a picture of her parents with Jung-in’s father, and wonders who the man is, which is exactly when he walks into the room. She thanks him for repaying her father’s debts, but doesn’t understand why he wants her for a daughter-in-law. He says that he knew her mother before she even met her father, and promises to tell her more about it later.

They sit down for some awkward tea, and Jung-seok tries his hardest to find something in common with Mary, or some activity to do. He lands at ba-dook, a Korean chess-like game. Mary doesn’t know how to play, but she does know one game…

Jung-in comes home to the sound of his father laughing and playing a game with Mary, and finds them using the ba-dook pieces in a game of marbles. That’s exactly what I used to do with MY dad! Man, this scene is totally bringing back memories.

The three of them eat an awkward meal, and Mary is clearly more comfortable with Jung-seok, who she calls “ajusshi,” and hardly looks at Jung-in. She finds out that Dad is recovering from cancer, and tells him to take care of himself.

Meanwhile, Mu-gyul keeps a hairy eyeball locked on a surprise visitor…it’s Mary’s dad, who tries to do his best impression of an imposing figure, and fails miserably. He tells Mu-gyul that he’s not husband material, and that Mary will suffer if she’s with him. Mu-gyul just laughs at Dad’s seriousness, and tells him to take it up with Mary.

He gets a call from Mom, and runs out to meet her, brushing off Mary’s dad. Mom is heartbroken yet again, and Mu-gyul tells her to just date and stop falling in love. He asks her of the three—faith, hope, and love—which is most important. She says love, but he says no—it’s dependability. He tells her to stop meeting men she loves, and start meeting men who are dependable.

Mom asks where he heard that from, and he tells her it’s the girl she met that night outside his place. Mom: “Oh, that cute girl who looks like a puppy!” Haha. Now we know where he gets the expression from.

Mom sighs that she’s so lonely, and suggests that she and Mu-gyul live together. He perks up at the idea, but says it’s okay—she’ll just end up leaving once she finds a new boyfriend anyway. She hugs him and apologizes for bringing him up this way, with no father and going from relatives’ homes here and there.

He doesn’t seem bitter about it in the least, and says that it’s all in the past now. He looks at her sweetly and asks if she wants ice cream. Heh. He’s so the parent in this relationship. Looks like he and Mary are birds of a feather.

Mary’s dad follows them and snaps a picture, thinking that this’ll prove that Mu-gyul is home-wrecking cougar-bait. But while Mu-gyul is paying for the ice cream, Mom gets a call from the ex-boyfriend and runs out without a word, leaving him holding the ice cream alone. Aw, poor kitty.

He eats the freezing cold ice cream alone in the park, and Mary calls, to put on another show in front of Jung-in. She screams “jagi-ya” so many times that he asks her to stop because he’s getting goosebumps from the cheese-factor. She replies that she misses him too, and he scoffs that she should get an award for her acting. Jung-in smirks to himself as he listens to her, probably amused at how hard she’s overacting to sell the fact that she’s in LURVE.

She asks Mu-gyul what’s most important—faith, hope, or love—and reminds him that dependability is most important, and that a family is built on that. Even though he rolls his eyes at first, her words hit him, especially in light of his evening with Mom.

She yells, “I love you!” and hangs up. It comes out of the blue, and both of them are a little stunned at the outburst. She stares wide-eyed, surprised at herself, and Mu-gyul can’t help but smile. Aw. So. Cute.

Seo-jun sits alone at her own birthday party, holding Mu-gyul’s guitar pick and thinking of him. Sigh. Been there, done that. A small group of people from the drama production arrives with cake and presents, but it doesn’t do much to lift her spirits. She gets a text from Mu-gyul’s bandmates, and meets them for a drink.

Jung-in fills his dad in on his drama production woes, but insists on seeing it through, despite Dad’s protests to let it go. Have to say, Jung-seok’s eyebrow raise is definitely a contender for the hall of fame. Mary’s dad arrives as well, to reassure him that he’s taken care of the Mu-gyul situation.

Mary wanders about the house, and happens across an old picture of Jung-in piggybacking her when they were both kids. That totally counts as a piggyback in this episode. I say we’re on, for the countdown!

Jung-in finds her, and they both stare at the picture wondering why he’s piggybacking her, and why they don’t remember. Please don’t be brother and sister. Please don’t be brother and sister.

The two dads reinisce about old times, and the fact that when Mary and Jung-in were little, they had planned to marry them off to each other. Well that’s cute, if their families were close when they were young that they had played and piggybacked and whatever, but the fact that Jung-seok is still clearly in love with Mary’s mom makes it all a bit squicky.

Mary asks Jung-in what the inscription on the photograph says. Jung-in: “I’m here. I will protect you. Forever.” Oh, swoon. Here we go. Third leg of triangle, locked and loaded.

Jung-in asks to see Mary’s scar, and she refuses. She wonders why he doesn’t remember anything about them meeting as kids, since he was about eight in the photograph. But he doesn’t remember anything from that age, and doesn’t really want to.

He does admit that it’s romantic—that their relationship began twenty years ago. He tells Mary that regardless, he’s going to marry her at the end of the hundred days. She balks that he’s going back on his word that he didn’t care about marriage and that she just had to get through the hundred days. He claims that things have changed, and that he needs her to choose him in the end.

She declares that she’ll be doing no such thing, and reminds him that she’s in love with someone else. She turns to leave, but trips and falls. Oy. Jung-in sighs, and then…

Piggyback? Seriously? Hahahahaa…okay this really does need to become a running gag through the whole series now, because it’s becoming like clowns in a car at this point. He carries her in, and the two dads beam.

Mu-gyul sits at home, and finds Mary’s notes on their love story (the version she told Dad). He calls it a “goosebump-inducing romance novel,” but then smiles gleefully while reading it. He catches himself, and looks around his empty apartment furtively, like he doesn’t want to get caught enjoying it. Heh.

He tries on the half-finished mittens to keep his hands warm, and when his phone rings, his first thought is, “Is it Mary Christmas?” Aw.

Sadly, no, it’s his friends calling, and he comes out to find Seo-jun there. She awkwardly suggests that they start dating again in front of everyone, and Mu-gyul says that she ought to know—when something’s over for him, it’s over. That’s that.

Ouch. She insists on heading out to the bathroom alone, and his friends marvel that Seo-jun is still hung up on Mu-gyul, still wearing the guitar-pick-necklace that he made for her. He reminds them that they’re the ones who told him to marry Mary, and they reply that Seo-jun’s more his type, but peg him as having developed feelings for Mary anyway.

He denies it and walks out, further upset when he gets a text and it’s STILL not from Mary. Heh. He walks home, but finds Seo-jun being attacked in the street by a couple of drunk guys. (Sigh. Of course she is.)

He gives them a good beating and drags her away, yelling that he told her not to go out by herself. He asks if she’s okay, and she says no, as she hugs him tightly. Ugh. I hate it when the second lead is damsel-in-distressy. So. Much.

Meanwhile, Jung-in ices Mary’s ankle, and she asks why he’s changed his mind about marrying her. He says that it’s good for business and what his father wants. He says that his father is like a god to him, and Mary looks at him curiously

He reaches over to put her feet up on a pillow, and she hides under the covers. She reaches for her phone to call Mu-gyul (fast becoming a defense mechanism), but he takes the phone out of her hand, and tells her not to call: “Kang Mu-gyul is my rival now.”


He reaches his hand out and brushes aside her hair, touching her scar tenderly. He repeats the words, “I will protect you.” As he kisses her on the forehead.

COMMENTS from dramabeans

Glad that the second leads are stepping up to the plate, ’cause I’m already hating Seo-jun, but that’s the point, right? It’s looking like a good game of four-square, although of course, nobody beats the ridiculous amount of Cute from Mu-gyul and Mary. I suppose now that she has a past with Jung-in, he’ll be a contender for her heart, especially if he keeps up with the knight-in-shining-armor bit.

It’s interesting that all the characters are all damaged in some way, but Mary and Mu-gyul are able to stay sunny despite spending their entire lives…essentially raising themselves. I like that they’re bright and cheery, and manage to turn their situations around, because they’ve lived enough in the real world to know that the only person you can count on is yourself. As Mu-gyul says to his mom, “You live alone and you die alone.”

But when they see that the other is dependable too—trustworthy in a way that only they know the value of—they’ll hopefully come to rely on each other. I like that they’re both cynical based on what they’ve experienced, and yet optimistic enough to be their adorable selves.

credit: dramabeans

reposted : lovesears blog

[MSOAN] RECAP : Episode 3

Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 3

More cuteness abounds. Honestly, this drama can feel rather average whenever the scenes don’t involve both main characters, so I can see why it’s struggling to gain ground in the ratings (today’s episode had a 9%). But whenever Jang Geun-seok and Moon Geun-young are together, they just crackle with adorable chemistry.


After Mary and Jung-in realize that they’ve met before, she tries to return the money he’d given her as payoff (when the manager threatened her thinking she was trying to sneak a photo with the actor). She also finds it curious that he accepted their odd marriage contract arrangement.

Jung-in declines the money and answers that he sees the marriage as a business decision, and advises that she not take it too seriously. She’s onboard with that, since she intends to reject the suit after the 100 days are up anyway.

Given that intention, however, Mary asks to be put to work, because she feels more comfortable treating this like a job than as a handout. Jung-in agrees and employs her at his drama-production company as a secretary — only, he won’t actually give her any work. This has to be the cushiest contract “predicament” in kdrama history. Trust Mary to complicate things, huh?

The job affords Mary the opportunity to approach Seo-jun to ask for an autograph while she waits for a meeting with the lead actor. When he arrives with his manager, they jump to the conclusion that Mary makes it a habit harassing stars, even though Jung-in assures them that it had just been a misunderstanding earlier.

Jung-in dismisses her early since he has no work for her. She and Dad have to admit that his behavior doesn’t add up, starting with his easy acceptance of the marriage. Perchance he’s gay?, Mary thinks, seeing as he’s fashionable and talks of the marriage as a business transaction. (Also, she watches dramas.) Or, maybe he’s using the false marriage as a way to get at his inheritance.

Mary almost forgets about her ruse with Mu-gyul and fumbles for lies when Dad starts asking questions about how they met and fell in love. Thinking fast, she says that it was like in dramas, and that love is like a car accident: “That’s how we met. As though in a car crash, suddenly, love found us.” LOL. Well, I guess Dad can’t blame her for meaning something literally that he takes figuratively.

Again Mary speaks in that flowery romanticism drawn from dramas and insists that Mu-gyul did, in fact, want dearly to pay his respects to Dad, but that she’d held him back. She manages to get her father to agree to leave Mu-gyul alone, threatening to cancel the 100-day contract if he reneges on his promise.

Just in case, though, Mary presents the fabricated “love is a car accident” story to Mu-gyul, so he’s in on the official story just in case Dad should call to check on him. This annoys him, because Mary had promised that his involvement would be purely nominal, and that he wouldn’t have to do anything. At every step she insisted that this would be all he had to do, yet things have spiraled out of their control.

Furthermore, Mary needs to spend her evenings out (supposedly with him) in order to keep up the ruse that they’re a couple in love. She asks to spend that time in his new place, which he is just settling into now, and even offers to pay for the three months of nighttime visits with the payoff money Jung-in gave her.

Mu-gyul flatly refuses to cooperate, but he’s no match for her display of aegyo as she looks up at him with her most entreating puppy-dog expression — or, as Mu-gyul calls it, “Shrek cat” eyes. I suppose it’s appropriate, given their back-and-forth exchange of him barking teasingly at her, and her meowing in response.

Just to strike the nail in the coffin of Mu-gyul’s resistance (which is almost worn down completely by Mary’s cuteness), the landlady drops by to remind him that his deposit is due within the week. He agrees with some hesitation (he doesn’t have the money yet), and Mary eagerly jumps in to remind him that she has enough to cover it.

To wear down his reluctance, Mary tags along as Mu-gyul goes dumpster-diving around the neighborhood, picking up junk he can turn into furnishings for his new digs. By the end of the day, he’s got a pretty nice apartment/studio, decorated with his own DIY flair.

Mary asks him to let her stay for a while, just so she can kill time till 10 pm. Grudgingly, he agrees, but only for tonight. That’s enough to make her happy, and despite his lack of a television — horrors! How will she be able to watch her stories tonight? — she settles down with a book.

It’s her cue to leave when Mu-gyul’s bandmates come over bearing housewarming gifts, but they invite her to eat with them, and Mu-gyul’s protest is overruled. The friends prod her to call her girlfriends over again, and pretty soon the whole gang is assembled over drinks.

Mu-gyul remains disgruntled to have his wishes ignored, but it’s cute that everyone sides with Mary when hearing about the marriage farce they find themselves in. While he flatly refuses to let Mary spend each evening at his place, everyone urges him to agree. His friends even joke that since things have come this far, he may as well make the marriage real.

A woman drops by looking for Mu-gyul, and Mary recognizes her from the photo in Mu-gyul’s guitar case. Assuming that this is one of Mu-gyul’s many girlfriends, Mary launches right into an “I’m not his girlfriend, so please don’t misunderstand and fight with him” speech, which is interrupted by the arrival of the man himself.

The woman squeals and launches herself at Mu-gyul, who responds to her affectionately. The girls are surprised, then, to hear from the bandmates that the woman is Mu-gyul’s mother. She had him at 17 and is forever getting into scrapes that Mu-gyul has to clean up, which prompts Mary’s friend to comment that their relationship is just like Mary’s with her father.

Now for a round of drinking games, which is a version of “I Never” where people have to drink whenever a statement applies to them like, “Whoever hasn’t been kissed, drink.” Mary’s the easiest one to tease because she’s never dated or kissed anyone, and Mu-gyul laughs in disbelief. So Mary turns it around and makes HIM drink by pointing out the one who has dated the most, who has been unable to sustain relationships for longer than a month.

This ends, of course, with Mary getting very, very drunk. Mu-gyul is the only one sober at the end of the night, and is charged with getting her back home.

Alas, his junky van breaks down along the way, and he is forced to piggyback her the rest of the way home. (Another one? Already? While they’re at it, they should turn the piggyback ride into a running gag and give us one per episode.)

While he struggles along, Mary rambles on about her polite bastard and how she won’t marry him. He grumbles at this inconvenience, until Mary drunkenly tells him, “I’m sorry, Dad.” (Just the person your not-quite-husband wants to be compared to!) Mu-gyul’s disgruntled expression softens as Mary confesses to “Dad” that she had felt driven to run away, but now that their debt is taken care of, she wants to live well — she’ll return to school, get a good job, and make Dad happy because she knows he worked hard to raise her after Mom died.

Mary’s well past her 10 pm curfew, which has Dad on edge, and that’s before he sees the boho rocker dude carrying his drunk daughter home. Accusingly, Dad asks how long Mu-gyul plans to carry on with Mary. How far have they gone?

He refers to a physical relationship, and Mu-gyul replies that they’ve done nothing to worry about. In full protective parent mode, Dad orders Mu-gyul to look him in the eye as he says it, which gives us a hilarious bit as Mu-gyul stares directly at him in his own version of Mary’s Shrek-cat stare (mung-mung!).

Mu-gyul works on a new song long into the night, and despite his reluctance to get involved with Mary, it’s becoming clearer to us that they really are well-matched. For instance, he smiles as he remembers an exchange he’d had with Mary when she asked what kind of music he wants to make, and he’d said, “The kind that doesn’t lie.” He appreciates her response, which shows that she *gets* it — that he must mean music that moves you with its honesty.

Mary reports for work that morning, only to be told to call it a day right away. Jung-in is reluctant to give her real work, but Mary prods him to treat her just like any employee. Since they aren’t going to marry at the end of the 100 days, there’s no reason he should treat her differently.

Thus Mary is brought along to work at the photo shoot for Jung-in’s new drama project (title: Wonderful Life), which is set in the Hongdae indie music world. How very meta of them — but “meta” may as well be this drama’s middle name.

The project hits a little close to home for Seo-jun, who plays the role of rocker’s girlfriend, and during a break she calls Mu-gyul on a whim — he’s the ex-boyfriend she’d mentioned previously, whom she’d lost while working on her previous drama.

Their conversation is simple and a little awkward, but there are no hard feelings on either side — just a wistfulness that things are different now. Seo-jun keeps her tone light but is affected by the conversation, while Mu-gyul tells her to take care before hanging up to prepare for his upcoming show.

Mary approaches Seo-jun to offer her a drink, and calls herself a fan. Seo-jun asks which of her projects is Mary’s favorite, and is surprised at the answer — the indie movie she shot in Japan two years ago — because it’s fairly obscure.

Seo-jun speaks casually when she cautions Mary that she has a lot of anti-fans, which means there may be some noise surrounding this production, but Mary tells her encouragingly not to let the rumors get her down. Seo-jun is disarmed by Mary’s positivity and friendliness, and comments to her co-star’s manager that she likes the girl.

But the manager still remembers the hotel incident and is convinced Mary is a conniving hanger-on, saying that Mary blackmailed her way into this job by threatening Jung-in of going public with the manager incident.

Seo-jun is prejudiced by this information, which has immediate effects because she overhears a girl gossiping in the bathroom about her. The gossip is actually another staff member, who talks about Seo-jun snidely and calls her a phony and a troublemaker who only got on this drama with “sponsor” backing (which insinuates that she pimped herself out for the role).

So when Seo-jun steps out of the stall to see Mary on her phone, she assumes that Mary is the malicious gossip and angrily takes her phone, throwing it into the mirror. Hurt, Seo-jun storms out of the photo shoot, declaring herself too upset to continue.

Seo-jun winds up at Mu-gyul’s show, where she is joined by Jung-in, who has followed her. And lo and behold, he looks up and is immediately taken with the charismatic musician singing onstage.

Mu-gyul puts on an impressive performance of his new song…at least, until it’s time for the drummer to begin playing. Their drummer has been a no-show, so the guitarist has to take over, and the result is a mess. Mu-gyul ends up taking over solo, and the drummer sits in shame.

The actor’s bitchy manager has come with Jung-in, and she isn’t about to let her troublesome former client win any glory if she can help it, so she jumps in to warn Jung-in against Mu-gyul. She can see his interest and tries to convince him to leave this amateurish show, but Jung-in knows what he likes and tells the others to go on without him.

After the show, Jung-in presents his card to Mu-gyul, only to be rebuffed straightaway.

What’s endearing about Mu-gyul’s bandmates is that despite the occasional bitterness at being overlooked by everyone, they do understand that Mu-gyul is in a different class than they are. He considers them all in the same boat together, but the boys feel like they’re holding him back with their lack of skills.

The drummer shows up after the show with a broken arm and apologizes profusely, but his apologies only make Mu-gyul angry — if they all did their best, there’s nothing to be sorry about.

As they drown their sorrows, the bandmates tell him that it’s time to be realistic — he has talent and looks, and he can make something of that while they’re, frankly, barking up the wrong tree.

I’m sure Mu-gyul has to know the truth on a gut level too; he grumbles on about the importance of loyalty (which, by the way, is a policy Mary also adheres to), but I wonder if he sees that his insistence on loyalty is more foolish than admirable in this case. Especially since his friends urge him to talk to that CEO guy.

Mu-gyul finds a text message on his phone, which he reads with boyish enjoyment. It’s from “Mary Christmas”:

“Sorry for yesterday, and thanks. You must’ve been tired because of me, so rest comfortably tonight. You aren’t off drinking after saying you wouldn’t, right?” (Here he mumbles, “I already did.”) “Don’t just insist you’re young, and take care of yourself. If you want to make music till you die, you have to be healthy. Bye. Mary Christmas! Meow.”

The photo shoot resumes, and Mary takes the opportunity to stand up for herself. She approaches Seo-jun and asserts that she misunderstood the situation earlier. Seo-jun asks who the true culprit was, then, which Mary can’t quite answer. But she says:

Mary: “I haven’t lived that much, but I think in life you can’t always say everything, even though you are wronged or feel angry. I’ll just reiterate the main point: It wasn’t me. But in that situation, it was understandable that you misunderstood, and I think your behavior to me was understandable. So I’ll be understanding. We’ll be seeing each other at the office, so I’d like if we didn’t have any more uncomfortable situations.”

The others marvel at her guts, a little impressed despite everything.

Meanwhile, Jung-in tracks down Mu-gyul again and tries again to make his case over drinks.

(Side note: Gotta point out that this scene plays my favorite song by FreeTEMPO, “Flowers.” With the drama’s plot and setting, they seem to be aiming for a “Hongdae indie” vibe with the soundtrack, which I don’t think is entirely successful — the music is pretty poppy and standard and Coffee Prince really did a better job with the indie-pop ambiance. But give ‘em props for trying.)

Mu-gyul’s skeptical of Jung-in, and the two have pretty opposing viewpoints: Jung-in points out that they’re only famous in this neighborhood, while Mu-gyul retorts that Jung-in’s neighborhood (on the other side of the river, aka the trendier mainstream culture) just assembles bands based on looks.

Jung-in lays out what he wants: The feel and emotion of Mu-gyul’s live performance, just as it was tonight, and his music. Mu-gyul scoffs, not trusting Jung-in’s words because it’s just as likely that he’ll go back on them later and dress him up in a different style and make him lip-synch.

So Jung-in throws down the gauntlent: “Are you that unable to get a sense of your talent and potential?” Mu-gyul responds, “Do you turn talent and potential into commodities?” Jung-in says, “I think having the rock spirit is the most important thing.” To which Mu-gyul laughs: “The money-loving producer knows about the rock spirit?”

But there’s some grudging respect there, and Mu-gyul seems to be considering the possibility that Jung-in may be the real thing. They drink.

In the morning, Mu-gyul wakes up in a fancy room in Jung-in’s posh home. He gets up groggily while Jung-in comes in, fresh from a shower and dressed in a robe, asks if he remembers last night. Oh, this conversation could go so many ways, which is half the fun of it.

Mu-gyul thinks back and remembers Jung-in carrying him along, since he’d been drunk.

Meanwhile, Mary has been excused from working today because she’d spent the whole night at the photo shoot. So Dad orders her to go to Jung-in’s house during the day, because she should honor the terms of her contract.

So she trudges along tiredly to Jung-in’s place, banking on the hope that her polite bastard has left for work already. To her dismay, she hears his voice and realizes that he’s still home — and then realizes what he’s saying. And that he’s saying it to another man. Wait — so he really IS gay??

Tiptoeing quietly to the sound of the two voices, Mary approaches the bedroom just as Jung-in tells his male guest that they worked out what they want from each other last night.

Thinking this is her ticket out of the contract marriage, Mary nears the doorway to confirm her suspicions just as Jung-in says, “We’ll make good partners.”

Her jaw drops when she recognizes Jung-in’s houseguest — dressed in nothing more than a bedsheet — and can’t believe it.

Jung-in registers the mutual look of recognition on their faces and wonders, “Do you know each other?” Mary blurts, “He’s my husband!”

Realization dawns on both men as they realize that they’re connected in more ways than one. Jung-in asks, “Then he’s… wedding ceremony guy?” Mu-gyul returns, “And he’s… marriage registry guy?”

Mary thinks fast and realizes she has to keep up her ruse, so she jumps in front of Mu-gyul and exclaims, “Jagi-ya!”

COMMENTS by dramabeans

There’s a concept in television called “hanging a lantern,” which refers to a show taking the meta approach in calling out its problem areas outright, rather than trying to hide or ignore them. That is to say, if there’s a logic issue that hampers the story (“But how can that possibly happen?”), a character will address it in an effort to minimize the impact the problem has on viewers (“I know, it’s like we’re in some weird movie or something”).

Sometimes hanging a lantern isn’t enough to solve the problem, because a logic hole is a logic hole. On the other hand, some writers are able to use it effectively — the Hong Sisters are one example, because they will often point cliches out plainly, but add their own twist. What could be trite is suddenly fresh.

Cliches are both the lifeblood and the bane of kdramas: On one hand, they’re used because they work, and they’re great narrative shorthand. On the other hand, we are by now so familiar with certain stories and characters that they can feel overused or tired. Mary Stayed Out All Night is practically Drama Cliche Central, but the reason I’m okay rolling with most of the overused conventions is because the drama is totally hanging a lantern on everything, either in meta dialogue or in the very act of making Mary a drama addict. And that, at least, makes it funny.

For instance, in Episode 2 she writes her runaway letter in this very exaggerated, stiffly formal sageuk language that she no doubt picked up from many a historical drama, which makes that scene unexpectedly hilarious. And Mary’s speculation that Jung-in is gay manages to be amusing because it’s so like her drama-addicted brain to jump to extreme conclusions — because that’s what would happen on television! Wink wink.

credit: dramabeans
reposted : lovesears blog

[MSOAN] RECAP : Episode 2

Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 2
credit: dramabeans

Is it strange that despite the fact that I find the premise beyond ridiculous, all I want is to watch Jang Geun-seok and Kim Jae-wook fight over Mary like a couple of petty dogs? It’s a sickness, I know. But I can’t get the image out of my mind, and now I can’t let it go. Does that mean that I’m hooked?


Dad flips his lid over the strange young man standing in his living room. Mary tries to explain, but it doesn’t help matters that she and Dad are freaked out, while Mu-gyul is weeble-wobbling about in his drunken state. To add insult to injury, he is of course the EXACT kind of guy every dad universally hates: rocker dude with long hair and eau de beer. Add motorcycle, and that’s pretty much Dad Nightmare Number One.

As Mary hastily ushers Mu-gyul out of the apartment, Dad mutters, “That long hair…is he a boy or a girl?” Hahaha. You’re not the only one who’s wondering, buddy.

Mu-gyul pauses on his way out to toss a drunken, “Mary Christmas!” with a sheepish smile.

Before they can even iron out the he’s-not-my-boyfriend-I-swear conversation, Dad’s debt collectors are back at the door, and father and daughter dejectedly saunter over to the window, tired of living this way day in and day out. Dad promises to call, and climbs out the window yet again.

He goes to see his hyung Jung-seok, who has by now seen Mary’s picture and discovered that she’s an exact replica of her mom, for whom he’s been carrying a lifelong torch. The dads set up a blind date for their kids, and the next day Mary sits and waits in the hotel lobby, not knowing why she’s been called there.

While sitting in the lobby, she sees a famous drama actor, so she goes up timidly to ask for an autograph and a picture. He obliges with an autograph, but declines the photo, so Mary sits back down. She starts to call her friend to tell her she scored the autograph, but the manager thinks she’s sneaking a picture anyway, and sends someone to snatch her phone away.

This is right when Jung-in walks up, seeing someone from his production company accosting Mary for her phone. He puts a stop to it and then, assuming that she’s trying to milk them for money, hands her an envelope of cash. She declines it, offended at the accusation, and then balks when he asks her to sign an incident waiver. Haha. What’s with everyone and their incident reports? That triggers a memory of her drunken night with Mu-gyul and how hard she had to work to get his signature, so she sighs and agrees to sign the document.

Jung-in manages to insult her the entire time, calling her a teenager and looking at her like a crazed fan. His demeanor is condescending and demeaning but not outright rude, and she remarks to herself, “That guy is annoyingly polite.” She calls him a polite bastard behind his back.

She realizes that he left the envelope anyway, and finds a boatload of money inside. Meanwhile, Jung-in returns to the reason why he was at the hotel in the first place: to score actress Seo-jun as the lead in his drama. She agrees to do it, and wishes him luck on his blind date, calling him old-fashioned for agreeing to an arranged marriage.

That reminds him that he’s late, but when he calls Mary, her phone’s broken, so she doesn’t answer. They sit at different tables in the same lobby, waiting but never meeting up. Mary finally finds out from Dad that she’s there for a blind date, and she hightails it out of there, shocked and angry.

She finds Dad at a wedding dress shop, where he insists she find a dress for her engagement. She’s like, engagement what, now? and guesses correctly that her dad’s rushing to marry her off to repay his debts. Although he denies it of course.

She can’t believe her dad wants to marry her off to some guy whose face she’s never laid eyes on, and is doubly wary of his faith in that family’s promise to cover his debts. She ends up packing a bag and leaving home, with a hilarious recitation of a typical drama-sageuk speech from a maiden escaping an arranged marriage. Ha. I love all the drama meta in this series, from Mary the drama addict to people’s throwaway remarks, like all drama heroines are the same.

She’s about to leave, when she notices Mu-gyul’s guitar case sitting in her living room. She can’t believe a rocker is without his guitar, but opens it up to realize that it’s just stuffed with clothes inside. She finds his cell phone too, so she decides to take his stuff along.

Mu-gyul performs with his band for a new potential manager, who just wants to sign him solo. He declines, preferring to stick it out with his bandmates. Mary calls one of them with Mu-gyul’s phone, and tracks him down to return his stuff. His friends immediately call her jae-soo-sshi and hyung-soo-nim, both variations on what you’d call your brother’s wife. So cute.

She insists they’re not a couple, but they know that Mu-gyul’s been sleeping at her house, so they jump to conclusions, and Mu-gyul doesn’t help matters, finding her cute and fondling her face like she’s his new pet. He even finds it adorable that she’s run away from home, laughing at the ridiculousness of a 24-year old leaving home for the first time. He deduces correctly that she even left a dramatic letter for her father, and dies of laughter at her sweet innocence.

I sort of love how Mu-gyul is constantly drunk. It’s both hilarious and perfect for his character.

Mary ends up hanging out with the band until her friends come to pick her up, and then the girls stay for another round, despite Mary’s insistence that they go. Things start to go south, though, when the drunk band members start a fight that leads everyone into the street for some fisticuffs. (It’s fueled by the band’s jealousy at Mu-gyul’s relative popularity with girls and their continual shadow-status.)

Mu-gyul just sits by indifferently, drinking a beer and waiting it out. This seems pretty routine, and he barely registers any concern. Mary sits down next to him, and he drunkenly asks if her name is Mary Christmas. Exasperated, she tells him it’s just Mary, to which he decides she needs a new nickname. This time he decides that it’s Mary like a puppy, so he starts barking at her, grinning like an idiot. [In Korean, “mung-mung” is the equivalent of “bow-wow.”] She responds by meowing at him, calling him a kitty then.

The cops arrive to break up the festivities, so everyone takes off running, and Mu-gyul grabs Mary, and they run, wrist-in-hand, through the streets of Hongdae. Mary notes that crazy stuff happens to her every time she steps foot in Hongdae, but I’d say it’s more like, crazy stuff happens every time you’re with Mu-gyul.

For instance, they’re just walking along, and two crazy guys get all upset at Mu-gyul for bumping into them. They shout all manner of insults at him, from the “are you a man or a woman?” (which I’m beginning to see is so common a thing for him to hear that it doesn’t ruffle his feathers) to cursing at him outright. He initially walks away, but can’t take it anymore and goes back to punch the guy, landing them at the police station after all.

She tries to apologize to the guys on Mu-gyul’s behalf to get him out of any liability, but he refuses to be of any help, even starting a new fight in the police station. Mary stops him by yelling, “Jagi-ya! [honey/dear]” and takes him aside. She’s got an idea for how to get him out of it. She tells him to make a fist, and hold it close to his face…and then she pops him in the nose with his own fist. Hahaha. Now that he’s got a bloody nose, both parties are injured, and he’s not liable unless they are too.

The band and her friends cheer Mary for her brilliance (all learned from years of getting her errant dad out of such scrapes), and head out for more drinks. Oy, people. Even I’m like, more drinks? And that’s saying a lot.

Mu-gyul asks Mary why she helped him, and she says it’s because she was there when he fought. She’s speaking to him in banmal now, which he notes and says that she must feel comfortable around him now.

At his friends’ insistence that Mu-gyul needs to marry someone like her, Mary tells him that whoever he does marry is in for a rough life. He says he won’t marry, and she replies that he really shouldn’t, because it would actually be wrong to the other person, since he’s such terrible husband material. He’s: a drinker, a playboy, a musician, good-looking, lazy, and has a bad personality. Hahaha.

Meanwhile, Mary’s dad has responded to her escape by skipping the engagement altogether and barreling on through directly to the wedding. Mary frets over what to do to get out of this situation, and her friends come up with a plan: tell him that she has a boyfriend. That’s clearly not going to be a strong enough roadblock for Dad. Then they decide that she should just get married first, and that way she can’t marry anyone else. All they need is “proof,” enough to deter Dad from forcing her into the arranged marriage.

They all turn and look at Mu-gyul, who is blissfully unaware of what’s been put into motion while he’s had his headphones on.

Cut to their mock wedding photo shoot, with Mary in adorable red sneakers and little wedding dress, and Mu-gyul yawning away in his tux. Her request to the photographer: “Can you shoot us from far away so our faces don’t show?” Hahaha. Their friends join in with ridiculous costumes, and Mary sends her dad a photo, with a text that says she loves this man, and has married him.

She and Mu-gyul then part ways, amiably agreeing not to see each other ever again. They each turn back to glance as the other walks away.

Dad gets the photo while he’s with Jung-seok, who calls Jung-in right away. Jung-in has just signed the drama deal with Seo-jun, who is inexplicably dressed like she’s working the streets later that day. She continues to belittle his decision to marry whomever his father chooses for him, but he doesn’t seem to care much one way or the other.

Dad calls Mary home, pretending to be defeated. She apologizes for making him worry, and asks expectantly if the marriage talk is off the table now. He silently hands her a document…

…notifying her of her marriage registration to Jung-in. What the…?

She heads to a lawyer, who explains that she needs to furnish proof that her father registered this union without her knowledge, which then would turn her dad into a criminal. The lawyer tells her that if she doesn’t want him to take the fall, then the easiest way out is to divorce. She shouts out, “How can I divorce someone I never even married?!”

This is getting ridiculous. It’s taking farce to a new high, even for k-drama standards. But I’m rolling with it, since this double-marriage is the premise, after all. I just wish it made more sense.

Jung-in meets with his father, who explains the circumstances. He doesn’t see why it has to be this girl, if all his father wanted was for him to be married. But Dad is dead set on Mary, and gives it to him straight: in order for Dad to continue investing in his business, he must marry…Mary.

Jung-in decides that he needs some time, to test the waters and to make sure that she’s not rushed into this marriage either. So he decides that a year is too long, but a hundred days is just right. Oh REALLY, Show? Are we just going to arbitrarily throw every single k-drama cliché in the bag? Couldn’t we at least have come up with some flimsy excuse why it needs to be a hundred days? Sheesh.

Mary tries to reason with Dad, and asks him again if the real reason for all of this is to clear his debt. What’s infuriating is that the debt is the real reason, but he’s convinced himself that this is what’s best for Mary (to provide her with a rich husband who can take care of her in his stead, since he’s such a lousy father). Gah!

She’s taken to drowning her tears in a bottle of soju, in the middle of the afternoon. That’s a cry for help if I ever saw one. She calls Mu-gyul out as a drinking buddy, but he refuses to drink. He finally takes a shot to keep her from drinking too much, and sweetly feeds her soup, like he did instinctively the first time they drank together. I love how this kind of little stuff is so natural between the two of them, because they just feel comfortable and drawn to each other.

They walk outside, and Mu-gyul pats her on the head and says goodbye, but she follows behind him. She asks what his dreams are, and if he plans to just spend his life playing music. He says he plans to live this lifetime that way, and asks what her dreams are. She just wants to live a normal life—one where she comes home to Mom, where Dad doesn’t worry about money, where she goes to school without worrying about how to pay tuition. He smiles, realizing that she’s had quite a rough life, if those are her big dreams.

He leans in, “Mung-mung.” She leans in, “Yow-eng-ie [meow].” So cute.

She shows him the marriage certificate and starts to ask for another favor…but he inches away from her, with a resounding, “No.”

She follows him to the park where he plays a song for a small crowd, and she tearfully thinks over what her dad proposed: that she try being married to Jung-in for a hundred days, and then at the end, she’ll get to choose, either Mu-gyul or Jung-in.

She pleads with Mu-gyul to help her out just once more, asking to borrow his name for the duration of her contract marriage, but he refuses, telling her coldly that it has nothing to do with him.

She ends up following him around all day, until she finds herself down a dark alley and face to face with a couple of thugs who look at her like a tasty treat. Mu-gyul swoops in for the rescue though, appearing from behind and putting his arm around her. Her feet are all torn up from following him around (in tennis shoes? Whatever, Show), so he offers her a piggyback ride.

Okay, I’m pretty sure that’s a record number of k-drama clichés in one episode. That’s TWO contract marriages, one piggyback ride, an alleyway rescue, a wrist-grab-and-run, six turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Mu-gyul agrees to help her out, and says the one thing that people entering into a contract relationship always say: Don’t fall for me. She reassures him that she doesn’t like him in the least—he may be cool, but not as…a man. He agrees that she’s cute, but not at all a woman in his eyes. So that’s settled then. You two will NEVER fall in love. Nope.

Mu-gyul asks who she’ll choose at the end of the hundred days. She says that she’ll choose nobody. The contract will clear her father’s debts, saving their house, and at the end she’ll be free to choose whomever she wants…and she’ll choose no one. Or herself? Like Kelly Taylor?

She goes home and signs the contract, which actually divides her days between the two boys, by the hour. Hahaha. Jung-in gets her 9 to 5 and Saturdays, while Mu-gyul gets her 5 to 10, and Sundays. They’re time-sharing a bride!

She calls Mu-gyul to tell him about the schedule, and promises not to bug him. Dad comes into her room, blowing a gasket that she’s calling Mu-gyul. She quickly adds into the phone, “Jagi-ya, sleep well. Dream of me!” to keep up the pretense that they’re in love.

The next morning, Mary heads over to Jung-in’s place, and stands agape when she finds herself staring up at the ginormous house in front of her. The first thing that gets her excited when she looks around is the big-screen tv. “It’s going to be so fun watching dramas on that!” Heh. Girl after my own heart.

Jung-in arrives to find her asleep on the couch, mess of curls covering her face. She falls off the couch and wakes up, and they greet each other for the first time. After their introductions, Mary finally looks up at his face, and instantly recognizes him. “The Polite Bastard!”

COMMENTS by dramabeans

While the setup is as crazy as crazy can be, I do love the characters, and particularly find Mary and Mu-gyul refreshing. Moon Geun-young is so unbelievably cute and emotive that it amazes me how effortlessly she does everything. Mary is in many ways the standard sweet daughter, trapped by filial piety, but she’s also spunky and random, and has such a sunny disposition that you can’t help but love her.

Mu-gyul’s infuriating laissez-faire attitude towards life is also perfect, and I really like this Hongdae-street-rat-free-spirit vibe he’s got going on. As far as dramas go, it’s nice to make the characters feel organic to a certain neighborhood and a space, which is maybe why I’m responding to the fun and fresh all-night hijinks with Mary and the band more than the marriage-debt arrangement, which feels staid in comparison.

Well, it’s certainly not wanting for any more tropes to recycle and regurgitate, but I find the show charming overall in its dogged simplicity. They know they’re going with the standard clichés, but the tactic seems to be to overload us with so many that it actually becomes a commentary in and of itself. It’s ridiculous to the Nth degree, but that’s sort of what they’re banking on—our foreknowledge of every single cliché. It’s part and parcel of what we bring when entering into any k-drama—it’s like our own contract relationship with Show. The problem is, they’re not quite commenting on it outright, a la Hong Sisters parody, so it’s a hair shy of being meta enough to be brilliant.

So then I’ll do what Mu-gyul did. I’ll agree to the contract, but warn Show not to fall in love with me. Don’t do it. You’ll only get hurt.

reposted : lovesears blog

[MSOAN] RECAP : Episode 1

Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 1
credit: dramabeans

KBS premiered its new Monday-Tuesday drama today, Mary Stayed Out All Night, which I thought started out fluffy-silly with a basic premise that’s pretty ho-hum familiar, but which got progressively better as the hour went on.

The series started off with a tentative 8.5% rating (not bad, not great), though the public’s response seems generally positive. Rival dramas stayed about the same as usual; SBS’s Giant drew a 29.5%, and MBC’s Queen of Reversals a 10.8%.

With the first episode over, I can say that I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. I can’t say I’m hooked, but the tone is refreshing, the pace breezy, but most importantly, the chemistry between Jang Geun-Seok and Moon Geun-Young is incredibly cute. Like, ridiculously adorable. When they smile, it makes me smile. That’s a good sign.

We start out at the picturesque scene of an outdoor wedding, where the ceremony proceeds in typical fashion (except for the fact that the bride’s barefoot and the groom is wearing some kind of acid-washed atrocity for pants). The bride is beaming, and although we all know who the groom is, his face is purposely kept hidden from us.

The bride’s father stops the ceremony, bursting in with another groom and delivering him to the altar. The sunny scene immediately darkens like something out of a Tim Burton movie, and now they’re all in a graveyard. Groom #2′s head twists all the way around like it’s made of putty and the guests turn into zombies.

The bride tries to shake off the second groom’s hand but can’t; she clings to her own groom, whose face remains turned away. Obviously this is a fantasy that is supposed to represent a prescient nightmare of our heroine, but now for her real life:

The “bride” is WEE MAE-RI, or MARY, played winningly by Moon Geun-young. Currently all of her household belongings are being repossessed, but even so, she’s not a mess of hysterics. She politely helps the movers take away her things, then even cheers once she’s in her now-bereft apartment.

But we’ll soon see that she’s not actually happy to have her home stripped barren; this is her way of seeing the glass as half-full. We’ll gradually recognize that Mary’s habit of counting to ten is a coping mechanism, used to get her emotions under control. Hey, at least now she has room to dance, she tells herself, keeping her optimism alive.

It also helps that she’s squirreled away her basic necessities, and retrieves them after the repo men have departed.

The reason for all this can be traced to that ever-familiar kdrama cliche of the errant father. Mary’s dad has failed in business venture after business venture, not out of vice but because he is overly gullible and has fallen prey to several scammers. He keeps thinking that the next venture will save them, but just digs himself deeper and now they’re up to their eyeballs in debt — to a tune of 100 million won, in fact, or $90,000 USD.

When the debt collectors swing by to demand repayment, Mary tries to fend them off with a lie, while Dad escapes through a window.

(Har har: Dad’s name is Wee Dae-han, which in Korean also means “great.” Is it funny or sad that he has failed to live up to that name/expectation? Though to be honest, who could?)

Among the belongings Mary spared from repossession is her television, to which she turns as a source of comfort and escapism. Okay, she totally wins me over here, because how awesome is it that Mary is a drama addict?

At 24 years old, she’s only a semester shy of university graduation, but she has had to take a leave of absence from school because she can’t afford the tuition. Furthermore, she’s been avoiding her friends because she can’t spend money on entertainment, so it’s a rare occasion that’ll bring her out to meet them.

Tonight, she’s called out by friends who have been drinking; instead of calling a driver, Mary offers to drive the car for some cash. The trio decide to hang out, since they haven’t seen her in ages, and they decide to try the clubs in Hongdae.

Note: Hongdae is a neighborhood north of the Han River that is home to a bustling music and live-show scene. It’s where independent/rock/songwriter musicians often play, and has a more casual, independent vibe than, say, the scene on the other side of town.

For a long time, Seoul’s hottest hotspots have been south of the Han River in the Kangnam district (which literally means “south of the river”), where the newest nightclubs, cafes, and entertainment can be found. Within Kangnam you have neighborhoods like Apgujeong-dong (young, trendy, expensive) and Cheongdam-dong (upscale, luxurious). In contrast, Hongdae is looser, grungier, and hipper.

Just the kind of place where a talented, free-spirited rocker would be famous in local circles. By which I mean: KANG MU-GYUL (Jang Geun-Seok), front man and guitarist of a rock band that plays the Hongdae club scene regularly.

But Mary doesn’t know that about him when she hits him with her friend’s car in her distraction, since she’s not familiar with the Hongdae neighborhood. Hearing a thunk, she rushes out of the car to see the victim, who lies crumpled on the ground.

Afraid for his safety and her own liability in the accident, Mary checks on him worriedly. There’s a bit of a *moment* between the two as they get a good look at each other (ah, attraction at first sight!), although since we’re coming from Mary’s perspective, it seems to be mostly on her end.

You do have to appreciate the (probably) unintended humor of this exchange as one friend asks blankly, “Is he a beggar?” while the second friend marvels, “Wow, he’s good-looking!” Yup, you’ve just summed up the crux of Jang Geun-seok’s charm.

Mary’s both relieved and disbelieving when Mu-gyul dusts himself off, assures her he’s fine, and walks away. Her friends are also relieved to hear that he’s fine and not threatening to sue, but they fear that he might come after them later, and go after the friend because the license plate and car are registered in her name.

Thus Mary belatedly decides to follow him to make sure to settle this incident, fighting her way through the crowded Hongdae streets. She loses track of him in an alleyway, but finds herself at the entrance to a club where a show is just getting started.

(Sharp-eyed viewers will notice a poster for the band “Absolute Mu-gyul,” which is also a pun on the Korean term meaning “absolute perfection.”)

Mary works her way into the club, looking for any sign of Mu-gyul, and finally sees that he’s not in the crowd but onstage, singing his hit song Please, My Bus! — which, by the way, makes me giggle every time. It’s a pretty catchy song, but the lyrics are just absurd.

Mary gets a good photo of him performing, thinking that it’s proof that he was healthy after the accident, and then hangs around backstage after the show hoping to catch him. Alas, she has to contend with a throng of groupies, all equally eager for a moment with the hot rocker.

I’ll take a moment to point out one concertgoer who remains rather mysterious. Drama-loving Mary thinks she recognizes her as a television actress, SEO-JUN (and she’s right), but Seo-jun (played by Kim Hyo-Jin) keeps her face hidden and her demeanor aloof.

According to Mary, Seo-jun is a talented actress but hasn’t been seen in any dramas recently. We can see that she’s here to see Mu-gyul, but we’ll have to wait for more info on her (and her relation to Mu-gyul) for a while longer.

Backstage, Mary manages to get a brief word in with Mu-gyul, but he treats her as just another fan and gives her a hug (thinking that’s what she wants). So she resorts to following him to his next stop, hoping to get a moment alone with him

Witnessing how Mu-gyul shrugs aside a woman who tantrums, “How dare you do this to me?”, Mary assumes that he must be a cold-hearted player. That impression is reinforced by his next stop as he has a drink with another woman, and her misconception isn’t given a chance to be disproved because she can’t hear their conversation.

Here we find out that Mu-gyul has been tricked into signing a fraudulent contract with this woman, a band manager, and is ready to wash his hands of the matter. Especially since she hardly gets him or his music anyway; she’s pressuring him to ditch his bandmates and find new ones if he wants to hit it big on a mainstream level.

Mu-gyul rips up their contract and pre-empts her protests by handing her a wad of cash. He has given up his apartment (to get back his deposit money) and is giving her everything he has, to soothe the blow of all the money she’d invested into him. The manager can recognize a deal when she sees one, and accepts his decision.

After the manager leaves, Mary grabs the opening and slides into the seat opposite Mu-gyul, professing herself a fan and asking for an autograph. Fair enough; Mu-gyul obliges and dashes off a large signature — but to his confusion, Mary looks dismayed and says, “But that’s too big.”

Mary flips the paper over and asks for a small autograph at the bottom of the page, and although he finds her request odd, he obliges.

Happily, Mary grabs her ticket to freedom and dashes outside, where she starts to fill in the above blank space with some legal jargon about how the signer, Kang Mu-gyul, absolves the car driver of guilt for the accident.

Too bad she probably should have moved over a block or twenty before writing the fraudulent “agreement,” because Mu-gyul finds her outside and rips the paper up.

They’ve both had pretty crappy days, so they end up talking it over with some drinks. Or at least, he drinks while she prods him to sign the document stating that he won’t go after her later and allege that it was a hit and run.

But his bad experience with his band manager has soured him on contracts, and he tells her he won’t sign anything lightly anymore. Meanwhile, she needs the peace of mind of a written statement because she won’t trust anyone’s word anymore, having been scammed (with her dad) so many times already. So, impasse.

Mu-gyul offers Mary a drink, and here we see some of that Korean style of business-dealing/social interaction, because refusing the drink would be considered rude, and Mary still needs to soften him up into signing. After protesting faintly that she’s a weak drinker and that overindulging makes her black out, she takes the drink.

But when she tries to fake-drink a shot, spilling its contents out onto the floor, Mu-gyul catches her and gives her a double-shot to make up for trying to cheat.

What results is that the two of them get thoroughly, adorably drunk. They stagger out of the bar holding hands, both of them tottering along unsteadily. She keeps pushing the paper on him to sign, while he pinches her cheek and calls her cute.

Mary complains about her awful day, which stirs some sympathy in Mu-gyul. As we’ve seen, he’s pretty free with his hugs anyway (with all those fans to appease), but drinking makes him even more touchy and he grabs her in a huge hug to cheer her up. She shoves him off and grumbles at his awful drinking habit of skinship (like that’s a BAD thing! Perish the thought!).

Mu-gyul disappears for a second, then pops back ’round and thrusts something in Mary’s face. It’s a grubby little bunch of plants (lettuce?) that he’s obviously torn from the ground, but he presents it proudly like he’s a little boy with a bouquet of flowers, and it is so adorable you want to just pinch him. And kiss him. And other things I probably shouldn’t mention here.

His giddy little smile fades to catch a glimpse of a scar on her forehead, and he looks at it with concern. Self-consciously, Mary covers it up and protests too much about how she is NOT at all self-conscious about it, no not at all, that’s totally not why she wears bangs over her forehead to cover it up! It dates back to her childhood, she explains as she claps a hand to cover it up.

But Mu-gyul marvels at it, calling it pretty and likening it to Harry Potter. He leans forward and kisses her forehead, which — for the second time now — evokes an unexpected wave of feeling in Mary.

Mu-gyul heads off in his tipsy state, and Mary finds him a block later sleeping on the street. She tries to wake him up, but she’s feeling rather tired as well and sits down next to him, nodding off herself.

The next thing she knows, she’s waking up to bright morning sunlight in her own apartment. True to her word, the liquor has caused her to forget what happened last night, so all she can surmise is that she somehow made it home — bringing along, inexplicably, Mu-gyul’s guitar with her. She wonders how on earth she’ll be able to return it, but has to dash off to make it to work.

But today’s not much better a day than yesterday, because her boss regretfully lets her go. It’s through no fault of her own, but the economy is doing poorly and he just can’t afford to keep her on.

So she trudges back home in glum spirits, counting her way to ten and to higher spirits. Mood sufficiently lifted, she tells herself that the job didn’t pay much and she can always find more work.

To her shock, there’s an unwelcome visitor in the apartment. Mu-gyul explains that he brought her home last night, and only just woke up. Annoyed, she pushes him toward the door, saying he should have left instead of spending the night.

I suspect she may have been a leetle more charitable if she hadn’t seen the photo of a girl in his guitar case, because she pointedly tells him to go to his girlfriend’s place instead. He responds confusedly (clearly she’s not a girlfriend), but he hardly has a chance to explain since she shoves him toward the exit.

In so doing, however, Mu-gyul cries out in pain. He lifts his shirt to reveal a bruise — and that immediately brings out Mary’s concern (over his health, yes, but also about her liability in the accident).

And so she finds herself tending to his bruise with medicated lotion while he lounges back and watches TV. Mu-gyul’s injury isn’t that serious, but he milks this for everything and acts like a hospital patient, settling in to stay here for an unspecified amount of time.

I love that Mary alternates between true concern and irritation as she grumbles mentally to herself. Not only is it unseemly to be living with a strange man — one who’s bold and shameless about imposing on her “hospitality,” at that — she can hardly afford to feed herself, much less him. Which is why she flips out to see him cooking up her very last package of ramyun, and fights to claim her share of the pot.

Though Mary doesn’t know the full reason for his behavior, we understand that Mu-gyul is digging in his heels to squeeze a few nights of lodging here because he has given up his own place to free himself of his contract. He is, for all intents and purposes, homeless at the moment and this is a convenient place to rest for a while.

And whenever Mary’s vexation bubbles over, he pointedly lets out an exaggerated groan of pain and indicates his hip injury, which shuts her up. LOL.

After a day of this, he finally declares himself ready to leave. He even signs Mary’s document on his way out, to her everlasting relief.

Now let’s back up a moment to catch up with another thread involving a father-son pair: young businessman and CEO Jung-in (Kim Jae-Wook) and his father Jung-Seok (Park Joon-kyu). Both have been living in Japan for the past twenty years, and are only now heading back to Korea.

Jung-in’s current project is a drama that he wants to produce, but dad balks at the idea, saying that a drama is a risky investment that could turn out to be an easy way to sink a lot of money quickly. However, he agrees to finance Jung-in’s project if his son will agree to one stipulation: to go on a mat-seon, a marriage-minded blind date, with the girl he has picked out for him.

Jung-in agrees, and the two head back to Korea, where Jung-in gets to work casting potential actresses for his drama project. His attention is caught by one in particular: Seo-jun.

Meanwhile, his father heads to a mountain gravesite, where he spots a man being harassed by two thugs. He sends two of his men to intervene, and it turns out that he and Mary’s father are old friends, and they embrace warmly.

[SPOILERY ALERT: This isn’t a true spoiler because it’s mostly based on my deductions from this episode, but a few details are taken from the website, so you are forewarned. Jung-seok is seen looking at a photo of what appears to be Mary, but whom I suspect is really her mother. (In Mary’s childhood photo, her mother is represented by Moon Geun-young.)

It appears that he carried a tendre for Mary’s mother, and now wants his son to marry Mary. Today is also the death anniversary of Mary’s mother, which explains why both men are here at her gravesite to pay their respects.]

Mary trudges home after an unsuccessful day of job-hunting, and holds it together long enough to make it inside her apartment even in the face of shut-off notices from the gas, electricity, and water services. But her composure breaks when her landlord pounds on the door, knowing she’s inside, and orders her to move out immediately because of their unpaid back rent.

Mary reverts to her tried-and-true counting method to hold it together, but today it’s no match for her defeated spirits, and she sobs to her mother:

Mary: “Today’s the anniversary of your death and I couldn’t even go to see you, and I don’t know where Dad is. Mom, what’ll happen to our family? Help me, Mom… Mom…”

Just then the doorbell rings, and when she opens it, there stands… Mu-gyul? He smiles at her widely, swaying in his happy-drunken state, and enters the apartment. (Adorably, he brings with him a box of ramyun.)

To Mary’s alarm, he announces that he’ll stay with her a few days. He’s not threatening her with lawsuit, and even gives her an envelope of cash in compensation for staying here. He declares that he’s comfortable here: “It’s like we’re siblings.” (Siblings my ass!)

Mary’s not having it and protests — and makes another dig at him to stay with his girlfriend instead. Too bad for her that the doorbell interrupts, and also makes his exit impossible. It’s Dad, now free of the loan sharks, and he pounds at the door for Mary to let him in.

No matter how innocent the circumstances, this sure doesn’t look good, so Mary hurriedly tries to think of ways to get rid of Mu-gyul. He doesn’t make it any easier for her, though, since he doesn’t want to leave, and patently refuses to climb out the window. So she frantically stuffs him into the bathroom and tells him to be quiet while she deals with her father.

Dad enters in fantastic spirits, because their problems are solved! He announces that his debt AND her marriage can be solved in one fell swoop, and then they won’t have to worry anymore. Mary is, understandably, both confused and mistrusting, but I think it’s safe to read between the lines to understand that Dad’s old friend Jung-seok has probably agreed to pay off his debt (or something like that) as a reverse-dowry for marrying Jung-in.

But in any case, we don’t get that far, because just then, they hear the sound of a flushing toilet. Mary tries to cover for it, but the door swings open, and a tipsy Mu-gyul grins at them cheerily.

COMMENTS by dramabeans

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t feeling this drama right away. The first half was light and easy to watch, but felt generally fluffy and inconsequential. I liked it, but didn’t love it.

And then Mu-gyul and Mary got together and were just insanely cute together, and I found myself grinning along with all of their cute, silly interactions, both drunk and sober.

At first I thought Mu-gyul was going to be that typical hero — sort of brash, sort of haughty, like Hwang Tae-kyung to a less-abrasive degree — so it was to my delight that we got to see him being loopy and smiley and carefree. He’d been described in promo releases as “bohemian” and “free-spirited,” but I hadn’t understood what that meant — or had faith that they know what that meant — until actually seeing him in action, and I think it works. Finally, a hero who isn’t all tortured and angsty!

Moon Geun-young is delightful as Mary, which is probably even more impressive given that she is coming off such an incredibly different role in Cinderella’s Sister. In hindsight, I think it was a smart progression for her, because had she done Mary first, people would’ve probably just pegged her as doing a safe, familiar role. With brash, difficult Eun-jo breaking up the pattern, it’s even more remarkable to see how sunny and sweet she can be. My favorite thing about her character is the counting-to-ten defense mechanism, which is such a small device, but so telling.

I don’t expect the story to make big waves, and in fact am preparing myself to face a lot of standard cliches as we get deeper into the plot. But something about Mary reminds me of how I felt after the first episode of Coffee Prince; there like now, I’d felt that we had one foot in familiar waters, but that the drama had the potential to go someplace interesting.

I hope.


[RELATED NEWS] KBS TV series “Marry me, Mary” Preview – 1st episode

Bride Mary (Moon Geun-Young), standing hand-in-hand with groom Mugyul (Jang Keun-Suk), are about to be pronounced husband and wife through a happy wedding when her father Daehan (Park Sang-Myun) pushes the hand of another groom, Jungin (Kim Jae-Wook), into her other hand. The emotion that Mary then feels, after suddenly having become the wife to two men, was not expressed by her saying something but instead visually through the reproduction of film “Corpse Bride” — quite a successful risk and attempt the show took. But that is as far as the drama went in terms of being original. A string of cliches followed thereafter, ones seen in romantic comedies so often that they are considered ‘formula.’ The main male and female character encountering each other through a car accident is such a banal set-up that it is almost never used in dramas anymore, and them drinking together, then waking up the next morning in the same house, was an outcome that anybody would have guessed to happen. Of course, there was some gain from the first episode as well. Mary, who obsesses over a letter containing Mugyul’s confirmation that ‘It is okay’ she hit him with her car because she does not want to become involved with him over needless compensation being busy enough as it is already from looking out for her trouble-making dad, was established as a character who is full of vitality and always smiling no matter what hardship she may face. And Mugyul became established as a cold-hearted bohemian character who is interested in Mary but pretends to be indifferent by maintaining his distance from her. But the moment that Mugyul signed the letter, their relationship weakened. That is why Mugyul suddenly settling into Mary’s house seemed to lack reason. Also, focusing only on the incidents surrounding Mary and Mugyul has left the story about the show’s remaining two main characters Jungin (Kim Jae-wook) and Seojun (Kim Hyo-jin), yet to be told. Hence what the drama needs to focus on more in its next episode is naturally weaving the story of Jungin and Seojung into the fully-established relationship between Mary and Mugyul. If that too fails to be original, the drama’s core weapon — it being about a double marriage — will end up being weak as well.

Reporter : Lee Ga-on
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
Credit: Asiae

reposted: lovesears blog