I’m sorry to say this, because I think My Fair Lady is definitely the better series, but there’s something about it that reminds me quite a lot of Witch Amusement, that hot mess of nonsensical repetition and confusion. I like this drama a lot more, but I can’t help seeing the similarities between them. But more on that later.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lyn – “사랑 다 거짓말” (Love is all lies) [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
At the company event, Eui-joo tells Tae-yoon that Dong-chan took the job to seduce Hae-na for money. Although he gave up on that goal, what’s worse is that now he’s in love with her. Having spilled the beans, Eui-joo stammers guiltily when Dong-chan finds her outside, saying, “I’m sorry. I mean, I’m not sorry — I’ve done nothing to be sorry for!”
Hae-na is called out to make her speech, which means Dong-chan doesn’t have a chance to respond to her wish that he stay on as her attendant. She takes the podium anxiously, starting off her prepared speech stuttering — which is when Uncle Chul-gu and Su-ah’s plan kicks into motion. A group of men (directors and trustees, I presume) stand up to interrupt Hae-na, shouting things like, “This is ridiculous!”
They storm out while Chul-gu looks on smugly. Hae-na is so startled that she freezes, until Dong-chan motions to her and starts to approach. At that, she collects herself and addresses the departing group in an assertive tone:
Hae-na: “To be honest, I also think it’s absurd for me to be the successor of Kang San Group. I’m not skilled, nor do I have experience. All I have is the backing of being the chairman’s granddaughter. It’s laughable for me to be the successor. However, I have my pride as well. This is an opportunity that has come my way, and my pride does not allow me to quit before even making the attempt. It’s true that I don’t know much. No, I don’t know anything. I never studied very hard, and I don’t know much about anything. However, I will try diligently. I may not have tried in the past, but I take after my grandfather and I do have brains. If, after I do my best you still consider me insufficient, then I will step down willingly. I’m saying that even if my grandfather wants to give me this position, I will not accept it. Will you accept this promise?”
It’s a pretty cool speech, and it takes the sting out of the directors’ attempted mutiny. However, Grandpa Kang scolds Hae-na for her rash words. How will she live up to that promise? How could she recklessly promise to step down like that? She may have made a grand gesture, but now she has to live up to it.
Understandably, Tae-yoon is pissed off to hear about Dong-chan’s unsavory intentions toward Hae-na, and punches him in the face. He manages to get in a warning to stay away from Hae-na before she comes upon the both of them.
As Tae-yoon drives Hae-na home, she sighs about how she’ll be busy with work, now that she has to live up to that deal she struck. Tae-yoon finds that an opportune time to ask, “If you don’t enjoy working at the company, how about marrying me?”
She laughs it off as a joke, thinking it’s too soon for marriage, but her smile fades to see Tae-yoon’s serious expression. He tells her he’s not joking: “Let’s marry.”
Hae-na comes home in a daze, wondering at the suddenness of Tae-yoon’s proposal. When she mentions it to Dong-chan, he covers up his own feelings and congratulates her. At her hesitation about whether it’s too early to marry, Dong-chan chides her, saying guys like Tae-yoon are rare.
Hae-na tries to suss out Dong-chan’s reaction, saying leadingly, “It seems like you’d be happy if I got married…” Dong-chan keeps up his happy facade, and advises her not to keep a jibsa when she gets married — she should leave that role for Tae-yoon.
His voice takes on the tone of a goodbye as he tells her she was pretty cool with her speech about her pride, and urges her to live like that in the future.
Not knowing what of the encounter between the two men, Hae-na feels they’re both acting odd but doesn’t quite get why. Tae-yoon exchanges the couple rings he’d bought for an engagement ring, and then meets Dong-chan for another talk.
This time, it’s Dong-chan who leads the discussion by telling Tae-yoon he will be quitting. He takes the blame for everything that happened, admitting that he likes Hae-na but that it’s a purely one-sided thing; she likes Tae-yoon, not him.
Hae-na is soon put to the test when the directors present her with an impossible task. In order to prove herself worthy, she must raise the company’s overall business ranking by increasing sales by 15%, and she only has one month to do it. Chul-gu taunts Hae-na, using her own speech against her, and the rest of the directors all smirk, believing she’s as good as gone.
Again her pride flares, and she accepts the challenge. She reminds them to be careful — when she’s named successor, she’ll remember all of them.
Dong-chan corners Eui-joo (who tries to avoid him), and her guilt over telling Tae-yoon everything makes her defensive. Contrary to her expectations, Dong-chan isn’t upset, and tells her that actually, he should thank her. He’d felt so uneasy with his secret hanging over him, worrying what would happen if/when it came out. Now that she told Tae-yoon, it’s a good thing that everything is out in the open.
He even understands why Tae-yoon was angry, because he would have reacted that way, too. He deserved the punch. Furthermore, he’ll be quitting soon and returning to live at Eui-joo’s house. (He doesn’t notice that Hae-na has overheard his recounting of his encounter with Tae-yoon.)
Hae-na’s big problem now is how to increase sales. Dong-chan is encouraging but realistic, reminding her that if she fails, it’s not only she who will suffer — her grandfather’s reputation is at stake. She must work extra hard to brainstorm ideas, and she stays up all night in the office with a team of employees and Dong-chan. (Throughout the work session, she tries to ignore the fact that she’s acutely aware of Dong-chan’s presence next to her.)
At dawn, they stop by a convenience store for some ramen, having worked all night. After a moment of hesitation, Hae-na broaches the topic of why he didn’t mention having met Tae-yoon. She sighs that she should have figured out what was driving his sudden proposal.
Hae-na asks if his feelings were hurt, but Dong-chan doesn’t feel he has that right. And although it seems she’s about to say something important, Dong-chan cuts her off to hurry her along; he’s got a “gift” he wants to show her.
He takes her to the rooftop. She’s nonplussed at the display until Dong-chan explains that he used to watch the sunrise with his mother when she was ill:
Dong-chan: “It makes it seem like everything will be all right, and gives you the confidence to start over, the feeling that you are alive — I wanted to give you the gift of feeling that. Congratulations on your new start.”
He also apologizes for not fulfilling her wish, because he will be quitting. Hae-na takes that in, then asks wistfully, “I suppose I shouldn’t hold onto you?” She wonders if she’ll be okay without him, to which Dong-chan answers confidently that she can do anything well without him.
She asks if it had been very difficult for him after returning to the position, and he answers, “No, this time I was happy.” It’s a bittersweet moment for both of them, and she says with a half-smile, “This time, I’ll let go first. Seo Dong-chan, you’re fired.”
When Grandpa Kang hears, he wishes they could have held onto Dong-chan a little longer, for Hae-na’s sake. Mr. Jang — ever-present and all-knowing — seems to understand the reason for his departure, and suggests to Grandpa that they not be so hasty to push Hae-na and Tae-yoon into marriage. But Grandpa feels the ticking clock keenly, because he wants to see Hae-na and the company settled before he dies.
Hae-na tells Tae-yoon she fired Dong-chan, denying that there’s any special reason she would miss him, calling Dong-chan just an employee. Tae-yoon admits that he had told Dong-chan to leave, and asks if he overstepped his bounds. Hae-na feels that his reaction was understandable, and figures that everything worked out best for everyone involved. If Tae-yoon senses the lack of conviction in her voice, he doesn’t comment on it.
When Tae-yoon asks if she’ll be looking for a new jibsa, she takes Dong-chan’s advice and answers that she’s decided to try to manage without one. After all, Tae-yoon had once asked whether she could be okay alone, so now she’s giving it a try.
Dong-chan spends a day or two wandering around to collect his thoughts before he returns to work at the flower shop. Eui-joo is again elated to have him back, and welcomes him enthusiastically.
Hae-na, on the other hand, has to handle her mounting frustrations, because sales for her internet shopping mall are actually falling despite her best efforts to promote it. One of her employees hesitantly proffers a method to boost sales, but it’s not exactly aboveboard.
Desperate, Hae-na takes her up on the suggestion, and employs a team of netizens to order a lot of merchandise from her own shopping mall.(It’s like in Story of a Man! Except that I’m sorry, SOAM, to compare this plotline to your brilliance.)
Thus the sales figures are unnaturally manipulated, and within days, they increase 7%. Chul-gu and Su-ah are baffled and displeased, while Grandpa Kang congratulates Hae-na for working so hard. She accepts his praise nervously, knowing she didn’t earn it.
Feeling uneasy with her own actions and lost without Dong-chan’s guidance, Hae-na wonders what he would have told her if he had known. She looks at a photo she had once snapped of him and imagines him telling her, “Are you crazy? Come to your senses.”
Tae-yoon contemplates the engagement ring and prepares a romantic dinner during which to propose. But along the way to dinner, Hae-na is assailed with memories of Dong-chan, and therefore when they meet, her mood is subdued.
Tae-yoon admits that he isn’t comfortable with fancy gestures like this, but he’d been urged to make a grand statement. He presents her with the diamond ring and asks, “Will you marry me?”
Whenever the answer to that is not an emphatic “YES!” you know you’re in for a rocky road, and Tae-yoon senses this when Hae-na takes her time answering.
She prefaces her response by saying she’ll be honest with him, and admits, “I’m going through a tough time these days.” Tae-yoon asks, “Is it because of Seo Dong-chan?”
We don’t hear her answer to that but we can guess, since Hae-na leaves the ring behind at the restaurant with Tae-yoon. As she drives home, she broods over their conversation, particularly Tae-yoon’s question, “Are you sure I’m really the one you like?”
So it is that Dong-chan receives a call a little while later, asking him to collect Hae-na from a bar (again).
By the time Dong-chan arrives, Hae-na is thoroughly drunk. She’s perplexed to see him there, not remembering that she had told the bartender to call her attendant so she could go home.
She’s in a loopy sort of mood, and resists when he tries to get her to rise. Instead, she asks, “Have you been doing okay?” She tries to get him to join her for a drink, telling him she’s glad to see him after such a long time.
Ignoring his admonitions, Hae-na pinches his cheeks and coos that he’s gotten cuter since she last saw him. She’s not trying to make a move, but she’s very drunk and she sways toward him as she shakes his head back and forth, which causes their lips to brush against each other.
It’s hardly a kiss, but they both feel something and freeze in shock, then pull back in alarm. Hae-na wonders, confused, “What did you just do to me?” Dong-chan defends himself saying he didn’t do anything.
Obligatory piggyback scene! Dong-chan tries to help Hae-na walk, but she’s so tipsy that she stumbles along, and finally he picks her up to carry on his back.
Dong-chan wonders if something bad happened, not believing her when she says no, and asks whether she fought with Tae-yoon again. Hae-na answers yes, adding, “And a lot of things happened.” However, he’s no longer her jibsa so he doesn’t have to know, and she won’t tell him.
This scene is both cute and poignant because Hae-na is like a little child who resorts to petulance in reaction to being hurt. Dong-chan understands that she’s acting out of hurt and agrees with her, to which she sniffles grumpily, “You jerk. This is all your fault.”
Hae-na: “It’s because you’re gone that things turned out like this. Because you’re not here. Because you left me.”
Dong-chan: “Are you having a hard time?”
Dong-chan: “What’s troubling you?”
Hae-na: “I said nothing!”
Dong-chan: “You’re troubled right now.”
Hae-na: “I’m not! You’re not my attendant anymore, so don’t ask anything.”
Dong-chan: “You’re right, I’m not your attendant anymore, so I won’t ask.”
All the while, Hae-na wipes at a few errant tears and Dong-chan looks perturbed.
After Dong-chan brings her home, he leaves her with one last bit of advice. He asks how long she will continue to live so immaturely, getting drunk and kicking up a fuss in reaction to hardship. Even if she’s going through tough times, she should still conduct herself sensibly. It’s quite sweet, actually, how Dong-chan manages to be reproving but gentle at the same time. Even when she asks bitterly why this matters to him, he answers that it shouldn’t — but still, she should be strong and independent, as befits her.
It’s not exactly a lesson she learns quickly, however, because she is tested the next morning (and fails). Su-ah and Chul-gu march in smugly to present Grandpa Kang with some very interesting information. They have discovered (by way of Hae-na’s employee) that the internet mall sales have been manipulated by Hae-na. Hae-na defends herself, saying that she bought everything with her own money, so there’s nothing wrong with her actions.
Chul-gu counters that it’s not her money but the chairman’s — but even if it had been her money, this is unacceptable and dishonest behavior.
After Grandpa Kang dismisses the two, Hae-na complains indignantly at the way they keep conspiring against her, expecting her grandfather’s support. So she’s shocked when he tells her sternly, “Leave my house.”
He tells her to pack immediately and leave: “You don’t even know what you did wrong, or how dangerous your actions were. I can’t leave Kang San to you! I don’t even want to leave a grain of rice to you!”
He’s severely disappointed in her, and warns the employees not help her secretly. Mr. Jang counsels that Grandpa may be acting hastily, but Grandpa barks that this is Hae-na’s problem now.
Hae-na is dragged away and dropped off on the street, left to fend for herself. She’s incredulous at first, and then rallies her emotions and pouts that she can handle herself fine without her grandfather. She attempts to check into a hotel suite — only to find her credit card declined. One after another, they have all been blocked, and she has been effectively cut off.
Looking in her wallet for cash, she has to downgrade to a standard room, where she mulls over her situation. She considers calling Tae-yoon and even dials his number, but given their last meeting (and her rejection of his ring), she hangs up, unable to deal with talking to him. She considers Dong-chan, but is too embarrassed to call him, either.
The problem is, now she’s starving and low on cash. She calls her friends one by one, angling for a dinner invite, but they’re all busy. Stomach growling, she reaches for the mini bottles of hotel liquor, and chugs…
…but when she wakes up, she’s in a different room. Seeing the unfamiliar surroundings, she bolts upright — and then gapes when she finds Dong-chan by her side, announcing, “Wake up!”
You know a drama is running out if ideas when it repeats scenes from itself! Take, for instance, our second instance of Hae-na getting drunk and a bar employee calling Dong-chan to come get her. (On the upside, at least Yoon Eun-hye is a really cute drunk. And the piggyback scene is sweet enough to make up for the lack of originality in bringing it about.)
It’s this quality, among several others, that makes me think of Witch Amusement. On the plus side, this is not nearly as crazed and wacky as Witch Amusement, but on the minus side, this is not nearly as crazed and wacky as Witch Amusement. (That drama was a fantastic one for snark opportunities.)
Take Dong-chan’s constant hiring and firing. Is he her jibsa or isn’t he? It’s like the drama needs conflict so he has to quit, but then they need the two back together so they hire him again. And then he quits. And comes back again. And quits. (The previews for the next episode suggest he comes back again.) It’s like Jae Hee and his damned study abroad all over again. (He’s going abroad! No he’s not! Now he’s going to Paris! No, he’s not! Now he’s going to New York! No, he’s not!) Or like in Full House, when Song Hye-gyo keeps leaving, then returning, to the house. By the end, the reasons just don’t make sense anymore and you just have to close your brain to logic.
Hey, I’m okay with closing my brain to logic every once in a while. But I fear this drama is heading there too frequently, and that makes it tiring.
Like with Witch Amusement, the acting is generally carrying the plot over its rocky points, but the writing is really getting in the way. You get the sense that the actors have stopped understanding their characters (actually, we know that much is fact), so they can only act as they’re told to on the page — subtext and character-building is, by now, a futile exercise. That’s why I feel the characters’ emotions sorta make sense within each scene, but they don’t connect logically from one scene to the next.
And also like with Witch Amusement, the visuals and wardrobe continue to be lovely. I got the sense that WA’s director also stopped understanding his story, so he focused instead on directing, which made for lots of cool-looking shots, extreme angles, wonderful lighting. None of that had anything to do with the plot, but at least the director was getting to flex his muscles. (Car chases, check! Gangster fights, check! Faked kidnapping, check!)
I don’t think My Fair Lady is anywhere near as hopeless as Witch Amusement was, so I’m hoping for an upswing. If a drama can’t be good by conventional standards, the second best thing is to have it be good on an entertaining-crazy standard. I don’t see My Fair Lady dipping into entertaining-crazy, so it’s got to be the former.
- Stars of My Fair Lady deny dating rumors
- Jung Il-woo is confused with his character
- My Fair Lady: Episode 10
- My Fair Lady: Episode 9
- Fans rally to support Yoon Eun-hye
- Yoon Eun-hye sheds tears at acting criticism
- My Fair Lady: Episode 8
- Happy birthday, Jung Il-woo
- My Fair Lady: Episode 7
- My Fair Lady: Episode 6
- My Fair Lady: Episode 5
- My Fair Lady: Episode 4
- My Fair Lady: Episode 3
- Moon Chae-won promises more smiles in My Fair Lady
- More gifts for the staff of My Fair Lady
- My Fair Lady: Episode 2
- My Fair Lady: Episode 1