[K-DRAMA] Marriage, Not Dating (2014)

warning: may contain spoilers

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A man who doesn’t want to get married, and a woman who wants to get married.

Plot:

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Joo Jang Mi has a boyfriend named Lee Hoon Dong and planned to propose to him. One night, she prepared a surprise event for him at a hotel room, but he doesn’t want to get married so he avoided and broke up with her. Meanwhile Hoon Dong’s friend, Gong Gi Tae is a rich plastic surgeon who has no thoughts to get married. The next day, Jang Mi went to Hoon Dong’s cafe to find him but coincidentally met Gi Tae. Gi Tae’s mother who passed by saw the two of them and assumed that they are lovers. Gi Tae thought that this was a chance for him to stop his mother from arranging blind dates and marriage deals for him. Gi Tae convinced Jang Mi that they should act as lovers to take revenge on Hoon Dong. Gi Tae even brought Jang Mi home to meet his family, certain that they will never approve of her. Will Gi Tae’s mother believe their fake relationship? And how can Jang Mi move on from her breakup with Hoon Dong?

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Opinions:

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This was not in my watch list, but I’ve read good reviews about this drama, and it was available to download, so I gave it a try. I’m not a fan of any particular actor, but I ended up liking this drama! The start of each episode showed a glimpse on what’s going to happen on the end of the episode. It makes me anticipate every time on the ending. The drama style is similar to the I Need Romance Series. It talks about love, friendships and relationships, but in a more fun and quirkier way! The beginning of the drama was unconvincing though. I mean, how could you get your best friend’s girlfriend? This should be the last thing on earth that you should do. Why? Because you’ll end up having to choose between your best friend or your lover. But I’m glad that the characters in the drama were so cool about it. I wonder how do people react if it happens in real life?

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Marriage. Both the leads view marriage differently. Jang Mi wants to get married, but Gi Tae is afraid of getting married. Gi Tae’s parents, although they lived together, are actually not in good terms. Gi Tae’s father has actually an affair with another woman, but keeps it a hush to the public. Jang Mi’s parents are living together, but they are not in a good relationship as well. It’s been years since they last slept together in one bed, and they don’t talk to each other. I think Gi Tae wanted to stay single, because he saw his parents having difficult times in their marriage, and he don’t want the same thing to happen to him. Jang Mi’s view of marriage is optimistic. Even though she already sees her parents like that, she wants to be different. I guess people want to strive for a “perfect” marriage, but of course there’s no such thing as “perfect” marriage or relationship.

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In-laws. I can totally understand that mothers want the best for their child, and in-law have to please the mother. Gi Tae is troubled because he loves them both. It’s also hard on Jang Mi’s part because his mother isn’t an easy mother to beat. She’s making Jang Mi’s life difficult, but I guess that’s really a test to be part of the family. In the past, the daughter-in-law must really serve the mother and she should obey her. I also saw it on my mother that she’s having difficult times as well with my grandmother. I guess it’s really a part of Asian culture. But nowadays, mother-in-laws’ thinking are more open and modern and decide not to interfere with their son’s relationship. I’d say this drama did a good job on portraying this issue. I can still hear “Jang Mi” with Gi Tae’s mother’s voice lingering in my ears. lol

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Chemistry. I love Yeon Woo Jin and Han Groo’s chemistry throughout the drama! It was an unexpected outcome. I love that both of them look so natural in those lovey-dovey scenes. I especially look forward to the scenes when they are at home lying down together or playing around; those fluffy scenes. This is one of the few times that I didn’t ship the female lead with the second male lead. Even though I admit that Jin Woon is more handsome and cuter than Woo Jin, but Woo Jin wins for portraying this charming character!

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Characters:

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Yeon Woo Jin as Gong Gi Tae — He wasn’t really likeable to me in Arang and the Magistrate and When a Man Loves, but finally I’m seeing him in a new light with this drama. I was surprised to see him as a male lead, because I don’t really see him as an attractive actor. After watching this drama, I find him to be perfect for the role; he portrayed the character naturally. I love that Gi Tae is manly and cute at the same time, and whenever he acts shy or just play around in front of the mirror. And Woo Jin isn’t afraid of ruining his image for the role. I realised that Yeon Woo Jin isn’t suitable to be an antagonist, but he suits protagonist and optimistic roles like this.

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Han Groo as Joo Jang Mi — It’s my first Han Groo drama and I didn’t know that she is popular in Korea. I actually don’t know her prior to her appearance in Running Man. At first, I got irritated by her over exaggerated facial expressions and actions, but I eventually got used to it. She’s so funny and I loved her acting style as Jang Mi. She’s an active female lead who isn’t afraid of ruining her image too. Her face isn’t the usual plastic surgery face, and I think she’s a natural beauty. I also can’t believe that she’s a 92-liner and she’s married already in real life. Her life basically is life goals, because she’s already achieved a lot at this age. Han Groo has really brought Joo Jang Mi to life. I can’t help but fall in love with her character too. I’ll be anticipating her future works!

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Jeong Jin Woon as Han Yeo Reum — Since 2AM disbanded, I’ve never heard of them anymore. They had good songs and great vocals, but bad management made them like this. I’m glad that Jin Woon has picked up a new drama.  I didn’t quite liked his character as Yeo Reum, because I don’t really know his intentions for Jang Mi; if he really likes her or if he’s just playing around. It’s a good thing though that the role wasn’t really hard to portray. I really think Jin Woon was just being his usual self, constantly showing his eye smiles ^^ He definitely improved since Dream High 2, and he took a much mature role this time. I hope he continues to act because he has a lot of potential.

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Han Sun Hwa as Kang Se Ah — So this is the girl with the actress disease as named by Korean netizens. I love to listen to Secret’s title tracks, but eventually their popularity has decreased. I still remembered those days when Sistar and Secret were at the same level, but look at the gap now. The members of Secret are also doing things individually, so I think the gap will continue to grow wider. Her role as Se Ah wasn’t very challenging since Se Ah was supposed to be chic and cool. She didn’t need to show a lot of emotions. However, I admit that sometimes she is awkward as Se Ah. Recently, she’s been casted as the female lead of a weekday drama. I’m glad that Sun Hwa has found her love for acting. I think she enjoys acting more than being an idol. I hope she’ll continue to work hard with her acting skills and prove those salty netizens wrong!

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Heo Jung Min as Lee Hoon Dong — He was a member of the group, MC The Max, but what amazes me more is his long list of drama castings since 2002 and I’ve never seen him before! He is a really funny guy and he’s such a mood maker in the group. I simply love his natural portrayal of the character Hoon Dong. He’s the richest guy among the three, but always relies on his mother. He’s such a mama’s boy and also a spoiled brat. At first, I didn’t know how he will end up with Hyun Hee, but because of one night stand, he eventually married her. I like their side story too. This guy is such a great addition to the cast!

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Yoon So Hee as Nam Hyun Hee — This girl is definitely brains and beauty. I heard that she’s a student from KAIST which is really a prestigious school and it’s hard to get in. I loved her portrayal as Hyun Hee, because she’s quite reserved and her voice is so sweet. Although sometimes I don’t know what the character is up to. I mean, she definitely knows everything about Hoon Dong since she’s best friends with Jang Mi, and she knows that he’s not a good person either, but she went to slept with him. This is something that I couldn’t understand even until now. I guess she secretly liked him ever since Jang Mi was dating him? Anyway, I think she’s the prettiest among the three and I think she enjoys acting too. Can’t wait to see this lovely girl in other dramas!

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Soundtrack:

It’s been a while since I last downloaded a soundtrack. I fell in love with the songs in the drama. They’re so perfect for the scenes in the drama! “Love Lane” by Mamamoo is my favorite song in the series as it suits the spring/summer season. I feel lighthearted while listening to this song. The main theme song “Stop the Love Now” is also a cute song, with the wedding song as the intro. There’s also a rock version wherein Han Groo sang the song; I didn’t know that she sings well too! “Just One Day” is a wonderful ballad and a usual K-drama song. The rap during a part of the song adds flavor to the song too. The background songs/instrumentals are so nice to listen to as well. Definitely worth listening to the soundtrack!

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Ending:

We all know how this story will end up. Of course, the fake marriage will turn into a real marriage and their feelings for each other will eventually develop. The last scene at the wedding was funny. That everything turned into a chaos and all the guests left during the heavy rain, but they proceeded with the ceremony with just the two of them. I’m glad that despite everything else, they got the approval of their parents. I wished though that they can show a little bit of their marriage life, having kids and such. Meanwhile, Gi Tae’s mother got the divorce that she deserved. She’s finally free and enjoys not being stuck with her husband who’s having an affair. Hoon Dong and Hyun Hee have a happy ending too. Even if Hoon Dong’s mother disapproves their relationship, I know she secretly cares for them too. I wished though that Yeo Rum gets a love life that he deserves too. I thought that he will end up with Se Ah, but I guess not.

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Final Thoughts:

Marriage, Not Dating tackles all sorts of relationships and how they deal with them. Lovers, ex-lovers, friends, mother and son, mother and daughter, wife and husband, mother and daughter-in-law relationships, you have them all! It’s a refreshing drama. Good kisses, good storyline and good set of actors. Even if rom-com isn’t my favourite genre, but I enjoyed most the parts. I think one big part came from Han Groo and Woo Jin. Their chemistry is something unexpected and I love everyone’s natural acting. Not really fans of these actors, but after watching, I turned into a fan! I guess watching this with no  expectations on the cast, plot and everything else actually helped. Simply no regrets! I definitely recommend this as one of the good rom-com dramas I’ve watched in 2014!

Rating: 8.5/10

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