(1) I like this shot because it looks like a real-life watercolor.
(2) I’ve noticed more recent drama series adopting an episodic format, where each episode contains its own “plot of the day” with shorter storylines. Although I particularly appreciate the kdrama template of telling the main story over the course of sixteen or twenty episodes, I think the addition of episode storylines is a growing trend and probably not a bad one. In Love & Marriage, the structure is conducive to this kind of plotting since Kang-hyun works at a matchmaking company and each episode (or two) can focus around the problems surrounding a particular client.
(3) Episode 6 is kyooooooooot.
SONG OF THE DAY
Sister’s Barbershop / 언니네 이발관 – “작은 마음” (small heart) [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Kang-hyun leaps into action, trying to get the troubled couple back together. Wifey (Jang-hee) is angry because she supported the family while the Husband never worked. Hubby (Wan-ho) feels unfairly vilified because he never had a chance to go on proper auditions because he raised the baby while Wifey has never changed a diaper.
Still, Kang-hyun succeeds in convincing Jang-hee to come to Korea to talk it out in person.
With Hyun-soo opposed to Kang-hyun’s reconciliation plan, thinking she’s only going to make the inevitable split more painful, the budding friendship between them comes to a halt. (It’s more on her side, because he is unflappably calm as usual. She’s the one who finds it difficult to be friendly when she sees his stance as cold and fatalistic.)
He notices, “You talk of divorce like it only has to do with other people, as though ignoring your own experience.” Although she had intended to tell him the truth about her divorce lie, this isn’t the time to get into it, so she brushes that aside and asks, “What about you, then? Do you consider divorce an easy thing because of your own experience?”
Hwa-young’s mother orders Sung-ho to find Hwa-young a new husband, pronto. The sick woman has a tough exterior, but she’s driven by a need to see her daughter settled before she dies.
In response to the request, Sung-ho takes on Hwa-young as a client. Making use of her talents as a food stylist, the company puts on a match-up event for their members, planned by both Hwa-young and Kang-hyun. The event offers people the chance to mingle while making chocolate together.
Kang-hyun uses this as a chance to bring her friends together, and brings Jang-hee there directly from the airport. Wan-ho is already there, and when the spouses see each other, they sigh in annoyance. Kang-hyun tries to grease the wheels, succeeding a bit when she tells Jang-hee that Wan-ho just got a role. Jang-hee’s annoyance is tempered with gladness for him.
The couple, forced to make chocolate together, gradually starts talking. Kang-hyun is gratified to see them warm up toward each other, and she drops by Hyun-soo’s office to inform him that her plan is working. She brings Hyun-soo over to the event to let him see for himself.
Unfortunately, in that short time, the couple has erupted into another fight. He accuses her of treating him like a supporting actor in her life, and storms out. Each tells Kang-hyun thanks but no thanks. They’re really over, and she can’t change that.
Discouraged, Kang-hyun sits by herself in the stairwell, immersed in gloom. Hyun-soo sees her dark mood and gives her space, leaving without speaking to her. (I’m not sure if that was kind of him or cold.)
On the other hand, Kyung-hwan, silly boy that he is, chooses to rub it in her face. He teases her about fighting with Hyun-soo, whom she supposedly respects so much, shamelessly gloating. He also tells her to make him chocolate, and Kang-hyun answers blandly, “You want chocolate? Fine.”
She goes back to the event with one goal in mind: petty revenge. Something inside Kang-hyun snaps, and while she’s not in a dangerous frame of mind, she IS set on bringing the annoyingly superior men in her life down a peg. She brews up a batch of especially dark (dark, dark) chocolate with an evil grin on her face. (Soon-young: “You look like the queen in Snow White making poison.”)
Btw, Kang-hyun’s friends Soon-young and Hee-soong are there as part-time employees hired by Kang-hyun’s company to liven up the mood. They to talk to Kang-hyun, but see that she’s not in a listen-y frame of mind.
Their loyalty kicks into high gear when they spot Kyung-hwan in the building, and swoop in to attack him in a burst of righteous fury. For a moment I thought that this would turn out to be a dream sequence, but happily it is not: Kyung-hwan really does get the crap beat out of him.
It’s amusing because he’s such a wimp. Furthermore, the entire peanut gallery (aka his firm’s gossipy lawyers) is present to witness his shame.
Kang-hyun presses Hyun-soo to try some of her specially made chocolate, presented with an oversweet smile (and vastly undersweet cocoa). In fact, she left out sugar altogether.
Hyun-soo spits the chocolate out as soon as she leaves, and when Hwa-young drops by and sees the chocolate left behind, Hyun-soo explains, “I think she’s mad at me.”
In characteristic Kang-hyun style, her tactic here is both childish and not really well-conceived, but it’s harmless and silly. The others think so, too — Hwa-young tastes one against Hyun-soo’s warning and laughs in amusement at Kang-hyun’s childish antics, saying, “She’s like a little kid. Like you said, she really is cute.”
This scene is hilarious — I’m tellin’ ya, laugh-out-loud funny for me — because the girls start out mumbling their lines since they must take care not to disturb their facial masks. The words start out a little muddled but generally understandable, but as the conversation goes on, it degenerates into random grunting and wheezing, so in the end it sounds like they’re just saying, “Zzzhrr! Bmmmg. Lbbbth.” “Grrrlp? Nsssm.”
Gist: Girlfriends tell her to forget that creep Kyung-hwan. Kang-hyun grumps about Hyun-soo. They tell her to give up on the couple; she says no.
Hyun-soo warns Kang-hyun that the married couple fought even harder after the event, and that for the time being, it would be best if she didn’t try contacting either spouse. Feeling remorse for having contributed to the problem, Kang-hyun sinks to her feet and asks plaintively, “What do I do now?”
Maybe the beating Kyung-hwan endured evened the score, or maybe she’s no longer angry because Kyung-hwan doesn’t mean anything to her anymore, or maybe she’s too distracted by her warring couple. In any case, the mood between Kang-hyun and Kyung-hwan is civil — maybe not exactly pleasant, but without the undercurrent of resentment she has felt in the past.
She apologizes for her friends getting out of hand, and he reminds her to pay the debt back in a timely manner. When she teases him for feeling self-important at his job, he insists he’s making a good impression, and shows her his lauded written report as proof. Kang-hyun reads the document and realizes it’s about Wan-ho’s case, and that he’s getting divorced today.
She pulls out one last stop to make her case. She rushes home and dresses in a thick wool coat (despite the summer heat), then races to the courthouse to intercept the couple on their way in. This time, she’s not pushy or aggressive, but merely reads their vows from their wedding invitation card.
She reminds them that the couple had bought her these clothes in thanks for bringing them together, admitting that part of why she was drawn to her job was because of the idea of receiving gifts like this. She knows that thought was silly, but their marriage made her so happy that she went into her profession. She reminds them of the excitement they’d felt when marrying and the promises they made, and asks with a wavering voice, “Do you think you could remember that spirit and try again?”
Jang-hee and Wan-ho are moved by her words, but don’t change their minds. They walk inside the court and proceed.
When they exit, they both tell Kang-hyun that they’re sorry to her, but they’ve changed too much and this is for the best. They’ve come to an amicable agreement with joint custody of their child, too. And finally, as they all part ways outside, both Jang-hee and Wan-ho thank her.
Kang-hyun faces Hyun-soo with a resigned, gloomy spirit. Blinking back tears, she blames herself for introducing them in the first place: “Because of me, two people who shouldn’t have been together went through a lot of hardship.” Hyun-soo tells her no, that they were adults responsible for their own decisions.
She tells him she knows he didn’t tell her about the divorce proceedings because he was afraid she’d make it worse: “I was angry before, but I understand now.” Hyun-soo tells her that he’d consulted with them for the past three months: “They did their best. They won’t have regrets.” Kang-hyun realizes that Hyun-soo really did do everything possible to avert divorce, and that divorce was the last resort.
Wan-ho has left Kang-hyun a parting gift, which are two tickets to his first theater role. Kang-hyun suggests to Hyun-soo, “Ah, I feel lousy today. Let’s play hooky.” And they go to the play.
Kang-hyun sweats through the performance in her winter clothes but laughs along, and grabs Hyun-soo’s hand in excitement when Wan-ho comes onstage. She doesn’t even realize she’s holding his hand, although Hyun-soo reacts to it (surprised, but not displeased). When she does realize, she drops his hand, embarrassed (and Hyun-soo flexes his hand as though reacting to her touch, not unlike Darcy does in the latest P&P film — I know I’m not the only one who thought that!).
When the cast takes its curtain calls, Kang-hyun rises to give her standing ovation, and Wan-ho spots another one — given by Jang-hee, standing in the back, happy for him and his big moment. She leaves flowers on the chair and exits without talking to them, but Kang-hyun reads the card, which says, “Now you’re the star in your life.”
They cool off with a slushee snack in the park while watching a couple playing badminton. For a moment, Kang-hyun flashes back to an old memory, wistfully remembering playing badminton with Kyung-hwan. She snaps back to the present and asks if Hyun-soo has hobbies, like golf, which spins Hyun-soo into a flashback of Hwa-young asking him to go golfing with her.
And then, a little girl passes by and tells Kang-hyun: “You smell!”
She does indeed. She hadn’t noticed it, but apparently she’s been stinky all day from the excessive sweating, and now she’s terribly embarrassed, apologizing profusely to Hyun-soo. He tells her he hadn’t noticed, but admits matter-of-factly that he does, now. She wails her apology, and he smiles.
When she gets home, she gets a text message from Hyun-soo that makes her giddy. While at the park, she had reminded him of the terse text message he had sent to her — after the wedding, she’d texted him, “Did you get home safely? Thanks to you, today was a happy day” and he wrote back, “Yes.” Hyun-soo had admitted to being unfamiliar with texting, so she showed him how to make smiley faces on his phone.
Now, he texts her a longer message: “Did you get home safely? <(^^*)>”
Her friends say this is unexpectedly childish of him, but Kang-hyun is thrilled.
On payday, Kang-hyun prepares her first repayment to Kyung-hwan. I love that she pays him back in cash — the principal in bills, and the interest IN COINS. (They’re 100-won coins, so she’s paid approximately $140 in dimes. LMAO. Next time she warns she’ll pay in pennies.)
New office client, new storyline. Sung-ho is in raptures over their new case, a super-rich businessman who sends his representative to handle the arrangements. The fee for successfully matching this man has him drooling in anticipation. The client is 50-to-60-ish and divorced, but wants a young wife. He specifically wants to meet divorcees (because they have more life experience) and requests that everything be kept quiet from the media out of respect for his privacy.
Despite the warning, Sung-ho goes ahead and advertises for prospective matches, and mention of the man’s wealth has the applications pouring in.
Kang-hyun thinks there’s something fishy going on, feeling slightly suspicious about the man’s request for complete secrecy. She suggests the firm take its time with the selection process, making sure everything is legally sound before rushing along, and goes to Hyun-soo for a consultation. He compliments her for her dedication, but she reminds him that she just doesn’t want to repeat her old mistake.
Not only that, she disagrees with the client’s approach in seeking a new wife. Sung-ho tells her to keep her mouth firmly shut, but she speaks up in a consulting meeting with the representative, asking, “Do you think you can marry someone by buying them?” She speaks matter-of-factly, pointing out that if this is how the process starts, their marriage will always be based on money.
Sung-ho tries to override her comments and apologize to the representative, but she actually likes Kang-hyun’s conviction. She wasn’t impressed with the selection Sung-ho had presented her, and wants Kang-hyun put in charge.
Kang-hyun is resistant until she hears that she will get a 5 million won ($50,000) commission, and so she finds herself swamped in paperwork. She works late hours until finally finishing processing applications on the weekend. (She flips through client files and finds Hwa-young’s, and sees how rich and prestigious her family is. She doesn’t notice, however, that she’s placed it on the pile of applications and forgets to remove it. I’m sure this will come into play soon.)
Hyun-soo, also working extra hours, takes a look at the information Kang-hyun had given him about the suspicious new client, and brings something to her attention: all three of his ex-wives are now dead. (Kang-hyun jumps to conclusions, thinking of stories where people are killed or buried in walls. Hyun-soo: “You really are bizarre.”)
While chatting, Kang-hyun is distracted by the TV, which is on to a variety show where people talk about legal matters. Presented with a case about whether a particular case merits alimony or not, Kang-hyun answers, “Of course, yes.” Hyun-soo plays devil’s advocate, saying that’s not always true. Kang-hyun: “Care to make a bet? Winner gets a wish.”
He turns her down, but Kang-hyun probes his weak point, saying he must not want to bet because he knows he’d lose. Bet: ON.
Everyone on the panel agrees with Kang-hyun, to Hyun-soo’s shock. He tries to backpedal, saying he’s going to get another opinion, but Kang-hyun wants her wish, and — this is too cute — you can see that Hyun-soo is suddenly afraid of what she might ask for.
He tells her nervously, “Ah, um, an unreasonable wish won’t be possible…” When she claims a churro, he answers, relieved, “If it’s a type of snack, that’s doable.” But Kang-hyun clarifies, with a gleam in her eye: “But not just any churros. The most delicious churros in the world!”
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Love & Marriage, while very entertaining, does have its weak points. It occasionally gets a little too explainy when Hyun-soo and Kang-hyun are having a conversation that reeks of “This Is A Life Lesson” or “Here’s Today’s Divorce Metaphor.” Occasionally the conversation lays it on rather thick when making those “insights” into life, which I think could be a lot better if they were edited down to subtle commentary, not lectures. However, this isn’t such a big deal in the long run. I wish these conversations were done better, but they’re a minor complaint.
Also, what’s cute about Kang-hyun’s effect on Hyun-soo is that she actually has one. An effect, that is. Hyun-soo has women constantly throwing themselves at him, but those advances never engage his emotions. Perhaps he’s flattered on the inside, but mostly he finds the attention uncomfortable and treats their advances with polite indifference. With Kang-hyun, while their encounters are not always friendly, she’s always pushed his buttons. I notice that whenever Kang-hyun calls out Hyun-soo for thinking or acting a certain way (usually accusing him of being unfeeling), even when she’s exaggerating, he’s bothered by her words. Like when she called him a tattletale-ing evil lawyer, or when she says he’s too willing to divorce a couple.
That makes it all the more fun whenever he’s caught off-balance by her, since he so very rarely is out of control.