Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 6
How can two characters be so incredibly cute, and the rest of the drama so boring? I wish the magnetism and chemistry of Moon Geun-young and Jang Geun-seok could somehow spill into the other parts of the drama when they’re not onscreen, but sad to say, the screen only lights up when they’re on it. Since this is a drama mostly about them, at least there are plenty of scenes that fit into that category… but I’m starting to feel like even that’s not enough.
SONG OF THE DAY
Na Yoon-kwon – “Close To You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Following the kiss, Mu-gyul throws Jung-in a defiant “See what I did there? HA!” look. Jung-in merely gives a half-smile and leaves.
Mary reels in the aftermath, devastated by the kiss. And not in a good way. She rushes outside before giving in to her tears, and when Mu-gyul blankly wonders what’s wrong with her, she bursts out that it was her first kiss.
Mu-gyul grimaces to realize he’s just robbed her of the romance of that moment — not to mention agency over it, since he sprung it on her without notice — and kneels before her. If he thinks that yet another piggyback ride is gonna fix this… But no, he’s offering his back to her as a punching bag. He apologizes and tells her to vent her anger on him. She obliges with surprising force, crying as she whacks him, feeling like her first kiss was stolen from her.
During another drama planning meeting, Jung-in asks Seo-jun how long she and Mu-gyul have been broken up, and whether Mu-gyul is dating anyone. I know he’s supposed to be thinking of Mary, but in the alternate drama playing in my mind, it just sounds like he’s more interested in Mu-gyul’s availability. (Hey, a girl can daydream, especially if the plot isn’t doing much to provide much excitement.)
Seo-jun answers that Mu-gyul is single, and that despite his extensive experience dating girls, he doesn’t fall in love and has no interest in marriage. (Which also works in my alternate drama scenario. What? I’M JUST SAYING.) Jung-in reacts with a frown, since that doesn’t add up. How queer. Snerk.
(Either this drama is loading the double entendres on us, or it’s totally blind to them. It’s like that silly game we’ve all played with fortune cookies, I’m sure, where you add “…in bed” to every fortune. It totally applies here, I’m tellin’ ya.)
Mary nervously tells Jung-in that he’d better give up on her now that the kiss proves her relationship with Mu-gyul. On the contrary, Jung-in answers that he’s just going to try harder. (In what universe does this make sense? You’re mighty cute, Jung-in, but cute doesn’t negate stalkery creepiness. Not unless you’re the K-drama hero, of course.)
A meeting is held to discuss changes needed to get the drama on the air. The writer reads through the notes given on her script, which state that its lead character is unappealing for being poor, that a birth secret would liven things up, that they should age the characters to appeal to a larger market… Basically, things you could say of Mary. Why do I feel like the writer is using this drama as therapy?
Jung-in offers a contrasting reader report, which the writer likes better; this report doesn’t want to see the same old cliches and suggests hiring real indie musicians to lend credibility. This is Mary’s report, and the writer is pleased at the discerning comments. Which is sort of like automatically thinking someone’s a genius because they like you.
Oh, look, it’s the Contrivance Machine: At the office, Mary overhears Manager Bang on the phone, gloating to Mu-gyul about not letting him out of his scam contract.
And what should she find when she goes to Mu-gyul’s studio that evening? Said contract, lying on the couch! She doesn’t understand a lot of the terms but stuffs it in her bag for later perusal.
The sight of Mu-gyul today makes her blush, though, now that their kiss has awakened her attraction to him. She rushes out that night with a lame excuse, letting him believe that her blush is the result of an oncoming cold.
The next day, Mary hands the contract to Jung-in — hello, invasion of privacy? — and asks him what it means. Despite being unfamiliar with the legal lingo, she has a bad feeling and worries for Mu-gyul.
Jung-in immediately understands the contract’s outrageous terms, and confronts Manager Bang with her misdeeds calmly, pointing out that she has tricked Mu-gyul into a slave contract (whereby he only gets $4,000 for ten years of indentured servitude). That’s enough to get her to back off; she signs a contract agreeing to let Mu-gyul go.
Mary anxiously eavesdrops (or tries to) that night as Mu-gyul gets the message from Manager Bang releasing him from the contract. He’s perplexed at this sudden development, until Mary asks about the case. Narrowing his eyes, he asks if she said anything to Jung-in about it.
Mary can’t deny it, and Mu-gyul sighs in exasperation, immediately stalking out to confront Jung-in.
Jung-in confirms that the scam contract is no longer a problem, and advises that Mu-gyul sign contracts with care in the future. And then wants him to sign a contract with him. You might want to work on your sales pitch, dude. I hear timing is everything.
Mu-gyul is suspicious of Jung-in’s motives, while Jung-in asks what he has to do in order for Mu-gyul to trust him (…in bed?). Mu-gyul indicates the expensive guitars lining Jung-in’s office — they’re finer than most musicians can afford to play — and pointedly says that he won’t trust rich dudes who use such instruments as decoration.
With that, he walks out of the office, intent on leaving… until a sound captures his attention. It’s the strains of a guitar, its strings plucked in a melodic, melancholy refrain. To his surprise, it’s Jung-in who plays, unaware he’s being watched.
Jung-in isn’t able to play for long, however, and clenches his fist in pain, which is scarred. Kim Jae-wook’s expression shows the first stirrings of real acting here as we are left to surmise that Jung-in’s respect for music comes from a genuine place, despite being unable to perform himself. The sight makes an impression on Mu-gyul, who wonders if perhaps Jung-in isn’t such a dilettante after all — maybe he does understand The Indie Rock more than he gave him credit for.
The next day, Mary offers to talk Mu-gyul into signing the contract, because illogical turnarounds are her specialty. (Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was begging Mu-gyul not to sign?) Jung-in tells her ruefully that Mu-gyul will never sign.
Which is, of course, the exact moment when Mu-gyul steps out of the elevator in front of them and announces, “I’m here to sign the contract.”
Jung-in’s curious to know about his sudden change of heart, to which Mu-gyul answers, “I want to know more about you.” (…in bed? They’re making it way too easy, honestly.)
Mu-gyul states one stipulation: He wants the contract to end on the same day that their 100-day marriage contract ends, because he still doesn’t trust Jung-in in areas outside of music. Wait — was that an outright admission of interest in Mary??
Jung-in agrees to the terms because he likewise acknowledges Mu-gyul’s musical talent, but won’t back off from pursuing Mary. They agree to “keep our three-way relationship a secret at the workplace.” (Pwahaha. Not. Making. This. Up.)
Mu-gyul’s bandmates show some solidarity by badmouthing Jung-in (aw, brotherly cuteness) and ask if he’s ever thought of Mary as a woman. Although he answers that he thinks of her differently than other women, he doesn’t mean in a romantic way — she’s like a mother to him.
It turns out that Mu-gyul’s contract-signing compromise turns out to be (in part) for naught, because his flighty Mom made up with her boyfriend, meaning she no longer needs the money. He tries to tamp down his hurt at going through all that for Mom’s sake when she’d forgotten to let him know it wasn’t necessary anymore.
Mary catches the tail end of that conversation and says sympathetically that his mother sure puts him through a lot. He returns that her dad is worse, and they both sigh, since this is a game where winning isn’t really winning.
Mu-gyul thanks Mary for helping with his contract problem, pinching her cheeks and calling them siblings. The proximity sends her hormones fluttering, and she pushes him back, uncomfortable with the closeness.
Mary joins the crew in the restaurant, who’ve been joined by Seo-jun, and Mu-gyul introduces Mary as his “fan” to avoid awkward misunderstandings (and understandings). When Mary asks about their relationship, Seo-jun replies, “We’re dating.” That sends uneasy looks all around the table, until she clarifies, “Or we were. Now we’re friends.”
After dinner, Mu-gyul and Mary run lines from the drama script together at his request, because he’s trying to get a sense of the scene he’ll be scoring. (This gives us the momentary thrill of seeing Mu-gyul beg Mary not to leave him, as well as amusement in watching Jang Geun-seok acting as a bad actor.)
Mary gamely gives the romantic dialogue a go, but he can’t because they’re too cheesy. Being used to this kind of storytelling, she talks him through the scene, the emotions it should stir, and the way the music ought to crest at the key moment.
Mu-gyul tries to get into the spirit of things, getting more in character as he recites the line, “Be my family.” (Meaning: Marry me.) With that, he puckers up and leans in for a kiss, as dictated by the script… but Mary nervously interrupts the moment.
He considers her overreaction and asks with a smile if she likes him. She protests, insisting that that will never happen (and thereby sealing her fate, since Destiny loves to be perverse).
And then, Mu-gyul slaps on a shower cap as part of his hair treatment. Hey, a guy’s gotta take care of his crowning glory. Which leads us to the rhetorical question: Can a person still be the epitome of effortless cool when they care that much about their hair?
Mary’s friends guess from her daydreaming that she’s fallen for one of her two guys and prod her to say which one. Mary acknowledges that her opinion on Jung-in has come around, and that he’s a pretty good guy after all — but that’s purely from an objective standpoint. On the other hand, it’s strange how being around Mu-gyul is making her oddly uncomfortable…
Still, Mary insists it’s not love, and Ji-hye grumbles that for a girl with two hotties dangling after her, her love life sure is boring… (That’s what I’M sayin’.)
Mu-gyul and his bandmates settle into their spiffy studio workspace, marveling at the fancy instruments and equipment here. Jung-in welcomes them, and calls himself their unofficial fifth member, declaring his intention to act not merely as a manager, but as a true partner (…in bed).
He’s pulled away from the studio with a mini-crisis: dating gossip involving his two stars has hit the news. Haughty Lee Ahn proposes that he and Seo-jung make the rumors real, and urges her to ditch this sinking project before more time and money are wasted. Seo-jun snaps at him for his lack of loyalty, uninterested in either of his proposals. Lee Ahn retorts that he’ll be leaving — good luck with her impending trainwreck.
Jung-in is summoned by his father, who asks for a status report on his drama and his wooing of Mary. He’s pleased to hear that they’re spending a lot of time together, but leaves his son with a rather ominous-sounding “This is your last chance” warning.
So the next day, Jung-in drives them to a particularly faraway destination for lunch, and asks Mary what she does with Mu-gyul after work, since he should know what kind of rival he’s up against. Mary answers that they don’t go on special dates, with him working on his music and her glued to her dramas. Generally they stay at home, eat, clean, and so forth.
Those may sound like boring everyday things, but that’s the charm of the Mary/Mu-gyul relationship, since they’re already acting like a comfortable married couple. Even without the grand gestures or fancy meals, there’s plenty of cute keeping their relationship afloat.
For instance, Mary cleans the studio and grumbles to Mu-gyul over the phone about his messy habits like a nagging wife, then asks about his dinner plans in the way a spouse would. She agrees to have dinner ready for him when he gets home.
Mary finds her yarn lying around, and decides to finish making his mittens while dinner cooks. When the meal is ready, she texts a photo of it to Mu-gyul, who smiles in appreciation. He ends his vocal rehearsal with Seo-jun so he can get home to dinner right away.
Meanwhile, Jung-in’s father presents Mary’s dad with a ddukkbokki restaurant as a bribe to make sure that Mary stays away from her rocker boyfriend. Dad nervously assures him that all is taken care of, but is proven wrong when the president’s men turn up photos of Mary at Mu-gyul’s place. The president declares that Dad’s not doing a good enough job — he’ll take over.
And so, Mary’s Dad lurks outside the studio to accost Mu-gyul the minute he arrives home. Seeing that he was dropped off by Seo-jun, Dad accuses Mu-gyul of being a two-timer and drags him inside for a talking-to. If Mu-gyul is as serious about Mary as he says, then he wants him to make his official greetings to him (as future father-in-law). And cut that girly hair!
Mu-gyul issues a flat denial and leaves, after which Mary gets the full story from her weary dad, realizing that it’s Jung-in’s father who’s applying all the extra pressure. Indignant, she insists on seeing him right this minute to straighten this all out.
Dad, being a fidgety coward around his intimidating hyung, tries to hush Mary at several points, but she barrels forward, telling the president that she’s disappointed in his behavior. He was the one who came up with the contract, so he should honor his terms, so that she can honor hers.
To Dad’s surprise, the president readily agrees to all Mary’s terms, promising to leave Mu-gyul and her father alone from now on. Huh. Something tells me he agreed way too easily…
To Mary’s supreme shock, she finds Mu-gyul sporting a drastic new look the next day. The hair-cutting gesture makes such a statement that Dad can’t think of any protests, and finds himself wondering if Mu-gyul really loves Mary. He agrees to stop bothering Mu-gyul now that they’re all clear on where they stand.
Mary’s thankful, but also feels guilty as Mu-gyul sighs over the loss of his hair. He says he had to do it because if he hadn’t, her father would have kept interfering, and now at least he’s out of their (har) hair.
But Mary’s particularly sad to be Mu-gyul’s reason for chopping off his beloved hair, wishing he’d told her before doing it. She’d had a talk with Dad the night before and gotten him to agree to back off, making the hair sacrifice unnecessary.
Mu-gyul’s eyes bug out for a moment and she cringes, expecting an outburst — until he pulls off the wig in relief. Stunned, Mary gapes as he asks, “Why would I cut my precious hair off?” (Heh. Who thinks the song “My Precious” is really about his hair?)
As for the drama… Despite one actor crying off and the scheduling problem still unresolved, Jung-in throws a kick-off party, where he makes the big announcement that has everyone gasping in awe: The drama will be 100% pre-produced. Oh the shock! Awe! Big Dramatic Music Swell!
Okay, so this revelation isn’t totally silly — it shows that Jung-in has faith in the drama’s own merits, and that they’re going to stand on their own without pandering to a broadcast station’s demands. By going pre-produced, they’ll make the drama they want to make, with faith that they can sell it later. It’s meant to be a risky but ballsy move, spurred by Mary’s suggestion.
So yes, it makes a narrative kind of sense, making him into a corporate maverick of sorts. Kind of. Barely. But in terms of dramatic reveals? Weak nuts, dude.
It does give Jung-in the satisfaction of sneakily trapping Lee Ahn into the drama, because the actor had agreed to do the drama if they could get it going within a few months, believing he was in the clear. Now he’s stuck, to his dismay.
With that said, Jung-in introduces the music that will establish the tone of the drama: The curtain lifts on the band onstage, led by Mu-gyul, who is wearing a hot pink top and SPARKLY PANTS. I kid you not.
As Mu-gyul sings his bus song, he notices Mary and Jung-in talking cozily together and his eyebrows furrow in displeasure. Ironically, the actual conversation is about how cool Mu-gyul looks — and Seo-jun clocks him staring fixedly at the two.
Afterward, as the partygoers mingle, Mu-gyul motions Mary over for some privacy, and she slips away to meet him.
Mu-gyul barks at Mary for talking throughout his performance, complaining that he was distracted by her. With a little smile, she guesses, “Are you jealous?” To which he rolls his eyes and asks, “Are you here to work or date?”
Jung-in comes upon the two, and Mu-gyul makes a show of taking Mary’s hand to lead her away so they can continue their conversation elsewhere.
Only, Jung-in’s not about to let them leave so easily. He reminds Mu-gyul about their agreement to keep the personal out of work matters, and grabs Mary’s wrist to keep her from leaving. (And as we know, the man who grabs the hand instead of the wrist is always our winner!)
The men glare at each other as Mary finds herself caught quite literally between the two…
…which is when the whole party comes into the room, looking for Jung-in.
Jung-in drops his hand, but Mu-gyul keeps holding Mary’s while Seo-jun looks at them in surprise and asks what’s going on. Mary self-consciously pulls free of Mu-gyul’s grip.
Jung-in offers to explain to the group, but Mu-gyul pushes his way forward past Jung-in. Taking Mary’s hand in his, he raises their joined hands above their heads and announces, “This is my woman. We’re married.”
So: This episode was pretty standard, in that we got our adorable couple being adorable and sweet and bickering, and everything else falling sorta flat.
I’m disappointed that the fizzy-cute scenes are starting to lose their fizz, because there’s only so much you can do before the lightweight story starts to collapse on itself like an underbaked soufflé. You have the ingredients and the tools, but somehow, it doesn’t hold together under its own weight.
The drama-within-a-drama is starting to wear thin too, because the writer is giving it only the most superficial treatment. When Mary is applauded for her supposedly insightful, keen comments on the drama, I groaned. Really? She’s somehow brilliant for liking the mania hit more than dull, populist drivel?
Mary is setting up the drama-in-the-drama (titled Wonderful Day) to be some kind of great hit — that if they only go their way and produce this sucker 100% pre-broadcast and listen to their hearts and be true to themselves and insert every tweenage inspirational movie cliche, that they’ll succeed. It’s not a bad concept in and of itself, but their treatment of this theme is painfully simplistic. It’s a little embarrassing.
I find myself thinking they’re terribly naive, rather than brave and edgy and forward-thinking. I’d respect someone who had a smart understanding of reality more than these people, who seem to subsist on rainbows and sugarpuffs and childlike wonder. I’m curious to see how the problem is solved, and if we’ll get the neat, Disneyfied perfect ending, or if they can somehow turn this problem around and make it dramatically interesting.