This past weekend, another weekend drama premiered, SBS’s BAD COUPLE (불량커플), the third in its “bad / 불량” series after Bad Housewife and Bad Family. (Note that “bad” doesn’t mean necessarily evil or malicious, but more in the vein of “unsuitable” or “inferior”.) I don’t believe the same people are involved in the three different series, so the connection is loose at best, but I did really enjoy Bad Family, so if anything it sets a good precedent.
I wasn’t sure how I’d like the series ever since super-Hallyu star Lee Dong Wook dropped out of the project, citing dissatisfaction with the script and story — not exactly a vote of confidence. But I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the first two episodes of Bad Couple, and will definitely be sticking around, at least in the near future, to see how things pan out.
SONG OF THE DAY
Park Jiyoon – “여자가 남자에게 바라는 11 가지” (11 Things a Girl Hopes for in a Man) (In case you’re curious, the rather high-maintenance list includes: only be with me; only look at my eyes when you talk to me; don’t get mad even if I’m 20 minutes late; take me home even though you’re tired; take my picture out of your wallet from time to time to kiss it; call me three times a day; trust me; tell me what your day was like; always take my side; when I’m hurt, hurt with me; only call my name although other girls may try to approach you) [ zShare download ]
Director Lee Myung Woo 이명우 :: “올인” (All In), “발리에서 생긴 일” (What Happened in Bali), “돌아와요 순애씨” (Come Back, Soon Ae)
Scriptwriter Choi Soon Shik 최순식 :: “돌아와요 순애씨” (Come Back, Soon Ae)
Official site: http://tv.sbs.co.kr/badcouple/index.html
Part of my surprise came in the lead actress, Shin Eun Kyung, whom I actually recognized from one of her very first series, the 1994 basketball drama starring Jang Dong Gun, The Last Match (마지막 승부), which has been on my mind recently since I started rewatching the 1994 trendy drama Feelings (both dramas starred Son Ji Chang). I haven’t seen The Last Match since it originally aired in 1994, but I do remember that Shin Eun Kyung was one of my favorite characters, despite being a minor supporting character, and I thought she was an ever so much better actress than the then-inexperienced newbie Shim Eun Ha.
Shin Eun Kyung 신은경 stars as Kim Dang Ja, 31, single, fashion magazine editor
Ryu Soo Young 류수영 is Choi Gi Chan, 33, a serious, workaholic botany professor
Park Sang Min 박상민 is philandering plastic surgeon Shim Yoon Seok, 35
Choi Jung Yoon 최정윤 plays his doting, naïve housewife Han Young
Byun Jung Soo 변정수 is Na Dol Soon, cool housewife and mother to the cutest girl ever:
Kim Hyanggi 김향기 (pretty name, meaning “fragrance”) plays 8-year-old Jo Yeon Doo
Kim Sa Kyun 김사균 rounds out the family as the husband and father, Jo Yong Gu, 35
Yoo Gun 유건 (at right), aka the second coming of Won Bin, has barely been seen so far, but plays fashion model Seo Joon Soo
Chae Min Seo 채민서 is “other woman” Kim Sae Yeon
The story is simple, but interesting:
Dang Ja (Shin Eun Kyung), a young thirtysomething fashion editor and happy single, starts to feel the desire to raise her own child, but doesn’t want to have to get married first. We see gradually that Dang Ja has an ingrained distrust of the institution of marriage, since her father left her and her mother for another woman when she was young, and as he was leaving, told her apologetically not to grow up and marry a bad man like himself.
Dang Ja’s two close friends include the naive and somewhat conservative Han Young, who’s married to a cheating plastic surgeon and is just about to find out (about the cheating, that is). She’s a stay-at-home wife and mother to a young boy, and lives in cushy comfort. Their third friend, Dol Soon, is also a housewife but the cool kind, still fun and sassy, raising an 8-year-old daughter Yeon Doo.
Dang Ja’s biological clock comes ticking in full force when she babysits Yeon Doo and imagines it would be nice having a daughter to raise. Here’s one of my favorite scenes from episode 1, where she fights over pizza with the little girl:
[In this scene, Yeon Doo starts out protesting, saying that Dang Ja should act like the grown-up and let her have the pizza. If she were her mom, she would’ve let her eat it. Then the little girl resorts to flattery, calling Dang Ja “unni” (older sister) rather than “ajumma” (ma’am), and saying, “Okay, I’ll be honest. You’re a little prettier than my mother.” After the waiter comes by, Dang Ja tells her that she heard from her mother that Yeon Doo likes pizza so much she eats a whole pie by herself.]
Dang Ja realizes her life is lonely when she falls sick and calls various people, all of whom make excuses — an ex-boyfriend is on another date, another one’s engaged, Han Young’s at the zoo with her son. But when she calls her friend Dol Soon, little Yeon Doo answers the phone. Hearing that Dang Ja is sick, the little girl actually goes out and buys her porridge with her allowance money and brings it to her, bringing Dang Ja to tears at the gesture.
Working on a new issue for their magazine, Dang Ja’s co-workers mention the concept of “Miss Mom,” the hip young woman who’s a single mother by choice. The idea starts sounding attractive, and Dang Ja looks into going to a fertility clinic — only to be told that, in Korea, single women cannot be eligible for sperm donors. Only married women.
So she thinks, what if she has a one-night stand with a decent guy? All she has to do is find the right guy, seduce him, then cut off all contact. She doesn’t need his involvement or money, just the sperm will do!
She fixes her sights on botany professor Choi Gi Chan (Ryu Soo Young) — she’s already bumped into him once, he’s from a great family, good genes, good looks, good brain… And what ensues is her (many, repeated, numerous) hilarious attempts to seduce the competely work-absorbed Gi Chan. Let’s just say she’s very creative and has a high tolerance for self-embarrassment.
That setup is already interesting enough for me to be onboard, but there’s a twist, which we’ll probably be seeing in Episode 3 — which is, after their one-night stand, Dang Ja’s plans hit a snag when the conservative Gi Chan feels “responsible” for his actions and is determined to “do right” by her…. when all she wants is to get rid of him!
[The music is another plus, in particular this one song called “달콤한 당신” (sweet you) by someone named Song Hee Ran (송희란), which unfortunately isn’t available yet because the OST has yet to be released. But I made a clip of a scene where you can hear the song relatively clearly:]