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!
SONG OF THE DAY
Mary Stayed Out All Night OST – “Super Star” by Han Seung-yeon [ Download ]
EPISODE 5 RECAP
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-hye 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.
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!