Drama Recaps
Sly and Single Again: Episode 1
by | March 1, 2014 | 124 Comments

Sly and Single Again, or Cunning Single Lady, is the newest in the trendy category of divorcee rom-coms. We meet the two leads who are in their mid-30s and were once blissfully married. The union doesn’t last long; the man continues to fail at his business ventures, and his wife becomes tired of working multiple jobs to keep them both afloat. The ultimate irony is that after she chooses to end their marriage, he goes on to become a hugely successful businessman.

It’s a Wednesday-Thursday MBC drama, but the first two episodes aired back-to-back on Thursday night due to Miss Korea ending on Wednesday. Sly and Single Again faced some stiff competition as it aired the same night as the the You From Another Star finale, and therefore it premiered at 5.4% in viewer ratings.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

In voiceover, we hear Mom telling her daughter NA AE-RA (Lee Min-jung) that a woman has two opportunities in life: the first is to succeed on her own, and the second is to meet and marry a good man. Mom continues her lecture as the two sit preparing food for the family’s restaurant. Mom tells her to be selective about who she dates and to curb her quick temper, at which Ae-ra flares up indignantly.

Mom points out CHA JUNG-WOO (Joo Sang-wook), a nerdy-looking restaurant patron, and says admiringly that he’s supposed to be an excellent computer science student. Ae-ra later notices him dozing off in the restaurant and laughs to herself.

Dad and Oppa raucously enter the restaurant, clearly having had a few drinks. They ask Ae-ra to bring them soju, to which she snaps back that they can get it themselves. They continue singing loudly (Cho Yong-pil’s ’80s classic “Leopard of Mt. Kilimanjaro”) and Mom rushes up to Dad, smacking him for being so drunk.

We see her brother lying on the floor of his room, watching an inappropriate video with his earbuds in. He’s just reaching his hand under the covers when Ae-ra bursts in, grabs the laptop and smashes it to the ground. She looks down in satisfaction at her handiwork and is gone in a flash with the damaged property, leaving her oppa startled and sputtering behind her.

Ae-ra brings the computer to Jung-woo, who happens to be in the restaurant again, and Mom looks on approvingly as Ae-ra calls him Oppa, bats her eyelashes, and asks him to take a look at the laptop while shoving it into his hands. He’s startled but pleased by the attention, and stammers to himself that he’ll have to take it home to work on it.

She invites herself over, and browses around while he is engrossed in fixing the laptop. To thank him, Ae-ra gives him a stack of coupons for free meals at the restaurant. He declines, saying it was no problem. He gets the notebook to boot up and LOL, if it auto-launches the video her brother had been watching… and BAHAHA, sure enough, erotic noises start emanating from the speakers. Ae-ra lunges to shut the notebook, at a loss for words in embarrassment, but Jung-woo just laughs kindly.

Thus begins their dating relationship, and while Jung-woo clearly already had a crush, Ae-ra definitely pursued him, giving Jung-woo extras at the restaurant and winking and flirting up a storm.

We see her at his side when he passes his professional engineering exam, and time skips ahead to life shortly after their wedding (and thankfully, Jung-woo’s horrible bowl cut is gone).

He builds a small model house for her and says that he’ll work hard and make lots of money to build her a house like it. The two are clearly smitten with each other.

Ae-ra gets together with her girlfriends, and they are in awe over an apartment one of the girls received as a gift from her in-laws. That girl, OH BANG-SOON, humble-brags that she’s just upset she has to pay more in taxes, as her in-laws are planning to give her and her husband another building too.

Ae-ra’s best fried, KANG MIN-YOUNG, accidentally spills something all over Bang-soon’s skirt, and she freaks out and angrily sniffs, “This skirt costs more than your husband’s one month salary.”

Ae-ra is about to give her a piece of her mind but Min-young silences her with a look, and does her best to smooth ruffled feathers between the friends.

Ae-ra takes a call from Jung-woo, and the other girls comment that Ae-ra married a good man too: he has an impressive education, passed the national exam, and is on his way to becoming a civil servant (a respected position in Korea – it’s quite difficult to become one).

Ae-ra tells them to stop, pointedly saying she wouldn’t want Bang-soon to feel bad because Bang-soon’s hubby failed the exam seven times, when Jung-woo passed it on his first try. They trade barbs filled with faux concern, and thankfully (I’m suffering whiplash from all the back and forth), Ae-ra is off to meet Jung-woo for dinner.

They’re celebrating the 100th day since their wedding, and in the romantic dinner setting, Jung-woo asks Ae-ra if she doesn’t regret marrying him. She says her dreams came true; she always wanted to be a housewife, and he had told her to marry him so she wouldn’t have to work anymore.

She goes on to say that he didn’t make off too badly either; she talks herself up, saying she’s pretty, cooks well, has tons of aegyo, and had lots of suitors. He’s aware of all that and reminds her of his promise when he proposed, that he would never let her regret her choice. (Famous last words!)

He tells her that on that note, he’s made a decision for their future together, and wants her to confirm that she’ll go along with his decision. She emphatically agrees, saying they’re a couple who will live out the rest of their lives together.

And he drops a bombshell: he handed in his resignation today. He goes on excitedly about launching a start-up, and already we can see Ae-ra waver in her resolution to stick with him through thick or thin.

Ae-ra picks up several odd jobs as a waitress, a hustling door-to-door insurance salesperson, and a street clothing vendor. The two are forced to downgrade to a shabby apartment, and Jung-woo comes home one day to find that the lock code for the front door doesn’t work.

He calls Ae-ra, apologetic about waking her, and she bristles, “The code doesn’t work because I changed it. Don’t even think about coming home until you can get investors and pay off all of our debt!” He starts spending nights at his threadbare office, and we see Ae-ra selling clothes on the street in winter, chilled to the bone.

She falls sick, and friend Min-young comes to care for her, while Ae-ra sheds silent tears of desperation. Jung-woo comes home, and Min-young approaches him with an envelope of money. He refuses, but she insists, saying that she heard their gas got cut off.

Jung-woo sits contemplatively and remorsefully amongst their belongings, and craaaaaack, there crumbles the marriage, and their wedding photo frame shatters.

Fast-forward into the future three years after the divorce, when we see Ae-ra and Min-young attending Bang-soon’s child’s 1st birthday party. Ae-ra compliments Bang-soon on the success of her husband’s businesses, and Bang-soon sniffs that she lost all interest in what was going on with Ae-ra after her divorce.

Ae-ra is rightfully at a loss for words, so Min-young jumps in, saying that Ae-ra’s doing fine and living with her now. Bang-soon asks if she’s dating, and Ae-ra declares she doesn’t have time to date. Yet when Bang-soon hints that one of her husband’s business partners is an eligible man, Ae-ra is all ears. She goes on about his desirable qualities, then mockingly reminds Ae-ra that she said she doesn’t like entrepreneurs.

As they leave the party, Ae-ra grumbles about how Bang-soon likes to rub salt in wounds, but Min-young defends her, saying that Bang-soon is lending them the money for the security deposit on their apartment. Ae-ra is dismayed to hear it, but perks up when Min-young offers to drop her off at work.

At the high-end boutique Ae-ra works at, a casting director for a reality show asks the manager if she knows any pretty divorcees who could be a contestant for a single-again dating show.

Ae-ra walks by and a light bulb goes off. The manager calls Ae-ra over, and the director says she’d never considered Ae-ra because she thought she’d never been married, but as a divorcee, she’d be perfect for the dating show. Ae-ra turns the offer down, saying she probably wouldn’t be very popular.

Later, Min-young tells Ae-ra she should’ve taken it, but Ae-ra clamors, “When would I have the time to date? I’m swimming in bills!” Min-young is onto her always playing pitiful because she thinks she’ll be pushed to help out with the living expenses, because it gets worse whenever the bill comes.

Ae-ra smiles coyly and offers to go halfsies starting next month, because by then she’ll be done recouping debts. Min-young sighs exasperatedly that the debt wasn’t even hers to begin with.

Ae-ra goes to visit Bang-soon, who is her usual unpleasant self. She gives Ae-ra the money for the security deposit, and tsks-tsks that she should never have gotten divorced. Ae-ra tells her not to worry about the past, but Bang-soon wonders if Ae-ra hasn’t heard the news.

She hands her a magazine with Jung-woo on the cover, who’s now so successful he’s practically a chaebol. Ae-ra reads the article in utter disbelief and nearly passes out from the shock.

Jung-woo is in the midst of accepting a major award for entrepreneurs. In his speech, he notes that his small venture company, started four years ago, is now the creator of Korea’s No.1 social networking application, and he plans to revitalize the mobile world.

He exits the ceremony and is interviewed by reporters, who ask what the most difficult experience was during his challenging early venture days.

He flashes back to a time when Ae-ra chastises him for not receiving funding, and takes away the food she prepared for him, saying he doesn’t deserve to eat. Jung-woo answers the question: “What was most difficult was the coldness and ridicule of the people I trusted.”

The reporters ask whom he’s most thankful to? He starts off saying, “I’m thankful to many, but if I had to pick one person…” He flashes back to following Ae-ra to the courthouse to file divorce papers. He begs her not to, asking her to give him another chance.

He pleads that the chances of funding are good for his new product, but she tells him bitterly she’s lived like this for four years and cannot take it any longer.

He asks if they didn’t agree to be a married couple, seeing each other through good times and bad, and she says, “No, you’re wrong. My definition of marriage is you providing for me, not the other way around. Stop dragging me down with you.”

We return to Jung-woo, who finishes answering the interview question with gritted teeth, “The person I’m most thankful to is the person who made me determined to succeed, no matter what it took.”

Cut to Ae-ra, head on table at a fried chicken and beer joint, with Min-young murmuring “unbelievable” in disbelief. Ae-ra is livid: “He was doing so well. That’s why not a trace of him could be found for the past four years, that disgusting jerk!”

Min-young is rational: “You divorced, why would he have shown up?” She asks Ae-ra if she’s feeling jealous, which Ae-ra adamantly denies.

“No, I’m not jealous, I’m indignant. You know how hard I worked. I spent all these hours doing odd jobs, just so he could keep researching. In fact, he can thank me for his free texting idea!”

Jung-woo’s flagship product, DonTalk, is a WhatsApp-like text-over-data app. “It’s because I sent 200 texts out to sell insurance and we were shocked when we got the bill!” In flashback, we find Ae-ra telling Jung-woo angrily that instead of working on other projects, he should develop a way to send text messages for free.

She tells Min-young, “If he’s got any decency, he should name me as the copyright owner!” Min-young brings her back down to earth, calling her crazy and pointing out that she’s never even received a cent of alimony.

Ae-ra says that’s because he didn’t have any money, and Min-young, ever the voice of reason, tells her she shouldn’t have split with him when he was so poor, and should’ve waited until he got rich. Ae-ra guzzles her beer and puts her stein down decisively, determined not to take the revelation of Jung-woo’s success lying down.

In the next scene, her store manager puts in a call to the casting director, saying Ae-ra has agreed to go on the divorcee dating show. Ha, so this is her revenge strategy?

We then get footage of a show-within-a-show, as the divorcee dating special airs (It’s a parody of the actual dating reality show Jjak). The captions are hilarious; just as clever as they would be on the actual show. We get a brief panning view of a grassy field by the sea, where all of the contestants are sitting on blankets eating together. On the screen flashes the words: “It looks like a pretty picture, but the atmosphere is cutthroat!”

The camera zeroes in on the contestants: Ae-ra is sitting by herself (her caption dramatically declares that she’s cold because she’s all alone) while the others sit in small groups.

One woman tells the men that her father is desperately looking for a son-in-law to take over the business. At this, the man next to her randomly flexes his biceps. The conversations go on like this, and haha, this is like the divorcee version of The Hunger Games, where, instead of emerging the sole victor, the goal is to pick off the other contestants until you end up with the most desirable partner.

The female competitors race and the first to grab the flag at the end gets to choose a partner for a date. With the theme song from Chariots of Fire playing in the background, Ae-ra reaches the flag first and waves it around, victorious.

Later on in the show, the man who had been eyeing Ae-ra during her obstacle course run suddenly calls her out to talk. He turns out to be a dermatologist, and he gives Ae-ra some facial masks to put on her face. Ae-ra is flattered and chooses him as her date.

As they take a walk together, the show sets them up in a romantic light and fireworks suddenly appear in the sky. Ae-ra says she wishes her life would explode like the fireworks above. Dermatologist reassures her that her life will be like that, and that her prior mistake only happened so that she could meet a better man. She smiles up at him.

Cut to an interview, and Derm has only sweet things to say about Ae-ra, how he wants to make her smile, and how he’d like to protect her. Ae-ra’s also interviewed: “I like the feeling of being taken care of; it’s been a really long time since I’ve felt this way,” and then she starts to get teary.

She explains her tears by saying she had a really tough time in her marriage, and wonders how she had the misfortune of marrying her ex. She says with conviction that she doesn’t ever want to meet a man like him again, EVER (methinks the lady doth protest too much), and she just wants to be happy again.

Back at the boutique, Ae-ra’s co-workers compliment her on her successful stint on the show and for landing Derm as a potential suitor. He’s even ordered 100 of the store’s latest wallets, and Ae-ra says airily that one of his sunbaes needed some VIP client gifts. Her manager teases that at this rate, she’ll get married next month. Ae-ra dismisses the thought, but not without an inkling of hope.

Second lead KOOK YEO-JIN (Kim Gyu-ri) finally makes her appearance in a board meeting for Jung-woo’s company, D&T Soft Ventures, during which they discuss increased competition for their app and rising server costs. She concludes that the company needs to start charging for their service.

Jung-woo disagrees, and says his first priority is to build a great service, and if the platform is set up correctly, sales will follow. He tells the board to get their priorities straight, and exits the meeting.

He heads to his office, and Yeo-jin storms in after him, telling him he doesn’t understand that the investors are in an uproar. He asks if this is about her father, and tells her that he can pull his investment out then.

She says no, that she convinced her father to invest because she believed in him. However, she’s starting to tire of his stubborn ways, and he tells her to pull out now, since there’s more to get sick of and he doesn’t want to disappoint someone who’s trusted him.

She scoffs and says that she can’t even argue with him because her words aren’t connecting. He says he doesn’t like to argue with women, and asks if she can’t just trust him. She says that she’s won at least one battle, in that he is acknowledging her as a woman.

We meet Yeo-jin’s father, President Kook (why hello, Hwi-kyung’s dad from You From Another Star), who is overseeing the firing of one of his old buddies. He lights up when Yeo-jin arrives home, but she’s testy and heads off to her room. He wonders why all the women he likes don’t like him back.

Ae-ra and Derm have plans to go out of town for the weekend to stay at a vacation house with his friends, a close sunbae and another dongsaeng. Ae-ra has brought a bottle of wine, and they make the drive together in Derm’s convertible.

The conversation turns to her ideal type, and she says her it would be someone who owned a vacation house in their destination town. He says she’s lucky, because she will meet her ideal man today, and she does a little internal squee.

They arrive at the vacation house and it is gorgeous, but then a younger attractive girl makes a beeline for Derm, who reciprocates with fondness. Ae-ra stares at the two (her WTF expression is priceless), who are looking curiously couple-y. Oh no. It seems like Derm has been a stand-in for Sunbae, who, well, looks like this:

Sunbae was the man who ordered 100 wallets from the store Ae-ra works at, and according to Derm, has several other vacation homes. Sunbae wonders if Derm will have the time to vacation at his other villas, since he’s been really busy.

Derm concurs: ever since he appeared on Sunbae’s show, business has been booming. He wonders if he should go on another time, and his girlfriend is clearly miffed, saying she only agreed to let him do it once.

Ae-ra looks on in disgust, downs her glass of wine, and excuses herself to the powder room. She’s rightly incredulous and irritated that Derm lied to go on the show to promote his practice.

When Girlfriend lets her know they’re leaving, Ae-ra says she’ll grab her things, but Girlfriend says, “You can’t go, we’re leaving so that you two can spend some time together. Even though he looks like that, he’s really generous with his women. He even bought his ex-girlfriend an apartment.”

Ae-ra hurries out after the couple, and slaps Derm a good one. “Do I look that easy to you?” He’s shocked, saying, “Isn’t it nice if you have a sponsor, too? Isn’t that why you followed me here? What, did you think I would marry you?” Girlfriend hands back the wine, saying neither of them drink that cheap stuff.

They drive off, and Ae-ra walks home in the rain, pitifully clutching the wine. She attempts to catch the bus, but even it abandons her. On her way home, the entrepreneurial awards ceremony is airing on a giant billboard.

Utterly dejected at seeing Jung-woo’s successful, smiling face on the big screen, she turns and stops at a pojangmacha on her way home.

Whilst downing soju, she overhears a nearby table discussing D&T Soft Venture’s CEO and his divorce. They gossip about how the ex-wife received alimony, and is now demanding equity because the company is doing well. She’s incensed because, as we know, she got nothing out of the marriage.

She goes up to them and threatens, “Who’s spreading those kinds of lies?” One of the men pushes her and she falls to the ground. The men try to leave, believing her to be drunk, and in a fit of anger she launches a pig’s foot at the man, which hits him smack in the forehead and knocks him out cold.

Min-young arrives at the police office to retrieve Ae-ra, who is told by the officer that if they can’t settle this, she could be charged with assault. She states that one of the men pushed her first, to which they argue that she came over and started causing a ruckus.

Ae-ra sputters that they were defaming her honor as a woman, and the men scoff when she insists that she is the CEO’s ex-wife they were talking about, and tell her to prove it.

When the officer asks her directly if she is truly the ex-wife, Min-young emphatically confirms, pointing to the men and saying, “You’re all dead,” but Ae-ra, in a change of heart, says it isn’t true. She is embarrassed by the situation, and appears not to want to bring her ex into all of this.

Jung-woo is hard at work in his home office when the phone rings. He answers, only to realize it isn’t his current cell phone that’s ringing, but his old one, which has been tucked away on a back shelf along with the model house he built for Ae-ra.

It’s Min-young, calling his old number from the station. She tells him it’s urgent and asks him to come, but he says Ae-ra is nothing to her.

Ae-ra is moved to a holding cell, while Min-young desperately tries to placate the men so they don’t press charges. Ae-ra is fighting off a man placed in the same cell when (cue heroic music and slo-mo action) Jung-woo arrives at the police station to save the day.

 
COMMENTS

The first episode did a good job of introducing us to the two leads, and giving us the history of Ae-ra and Jung-woo’s relationship. Thank you, show, for giving it all to us in the first episode, versus making us wait several episodes to see how the romantic bliss turned sour (ahem, Emergency Couple).

It had good pacing, but the show-within-a-show, while amusing, made the episode seem longer. The satirical take on Jjak made for a few laughs, and the writers made it work, yet the detour ultimately didn’t seem to do much to develop Ae-ra’s character.

Ae-ra is pretty and confident, but somewhat of a simpleton and self-centered. She just wants to be a housewife, and when marriage is not what she expected, she tries for four years, then throws in the towel. Lee Min-jung plays her well (she really excels at subtle and adorable facial expressions), but I’m not completely invested in the character yet. She’s flawed and not completely likeable, and I can’t help but think she didn’t fight hard enough for her marriage.

Granted, life didn’t turn out as expected, and she was upfront with her requirements from the onset of the relationship – but, she signed up for “better or worse.” Perhaps I’m being too harsh; four years of working yourself to the bone and shouldering financial responsibility when you weren’t expecting it could cause irreparable cracks in any relationship. It’s just that I felt no sympathy for her during her reality show interview, when she was in tears discussing how difficult life was during her marriage.

Also, stay classy, woman! Don’t talk poorly about your ex on national television! While the numero uno in her life is herself, she does have some redeeming qualities: she does have standards and didn’t think twice about leaving Sunbae’s house, and she feels pangs of embarrassment over her actions at the police station. We’ll see how her character develops over the next few episodes.

In the little we’ve seen of Jung-woo, he seems to be the improbable successful businessman; one who is still a bit naïve in that he cares more about customer service than revenue. We’re shown that he’s bitter about the way his marriage ended, but there seems to be something more…

He kept the model house and his old cell phone: Is it because he has deeply hidden hopes of rekindling the relationship? Or is he so bitter that he’s held on to them in case the opportunity for revenge presents itself? It’s the same question I’m left with as we end the first episode. Does he arrive at the station because he still cares for her? Or will this be a chance for him to stick it to her? Does he revel in the prospect of leaving her indebted to him? Maybe it’s a combination of all three.

Currently, the scales are tipped in Jung-woo’s favor, which makes it difficult to root for our two leads to get back together – and maybe we’re not meant to. We see too little of second female lead Yeo-jin to guess at her chances, but we know she’s interested in Jung-woo as a man. It’s too early to tell, but maybe she’d make a worthier partner.

Or perhaps we’ll get to see a softer, more loyal side to Ae-ra, or we’ll find that Jung-woo’s resentment has hardened and changed him into a different person entirely. I’m looking forward to learning more about what’s in the hearts of both our leads.

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124 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. eastwestmess

    Thanks for the recap! I decided to tune in because the promos made it seem like she’d be unlikable at first, but I actually like her…

    • 1.1 Windsun33

      I don’t dislike her – which for me is a plus in many k-dramas :D

      She is obviously flawed, and I find myself alternately wanting to throw rocks at her, and cheering for her. With only two episodes, hard to say how this series will go, but in EP2 I am already seeing a lot of the old worn out clichés, so while still watching it, it is not at the top of my list.

      • 1.1.1 eastwestmess

        I say I like her having watched the first two episodes. Especially after meeting him more. Not my top drama either, but at least I’m not cringing at the terrible medical practices in EC (it’s now at a point where I fear getting incorrect medical knowledge and spewing in exams).

        • 1.1.1.1 Gidget

          They’d be better off going Monty Python-esque and having a clinic that uses old school stuff like leeches.

    • 1.2 Luna 2626

      This is going to be really really really tough for me to EVER accept her but maybe that’s an American thing? We’re not so much hung up on a spouse’s education and financial standing? There has to be a major turn around on this girl’s part to win me and I like the series. It’s really hard to imagine how the writer’s are going to turn her into a sympathetic figure – or am I crazy and it’s REALLY this important to be successful as a supporting spouse in South Korea? Please enlighten me – I’m learning so much these days.

      • 1.2.1 lemondoodle

        I don’t know what America you are from, but as an American girl I wouldn’t marry a broke man with a dream.

  2. Miky

    ‘Em i the only one who likes JW with the second haircut and glasses,i like him more than his curent cold rich guy,i guess i’m tired of the same hairstyle on JSW characters..At the moment i’m not rooting for the girl even if she had her fair share and still has of trouble,aka her brother…still if she wants him back now that he is rich i’m not rooting for her if she doesn’t come with much more on her favor for me to like her…Life sure is about karma when he got rich when she ended the marriage…

    • 2.1 wannabean

      yeah the second haircut makes him more lovable and cute.

    • 2.2 Carole McDonnell

      nerd-love! Right there with you.

    • 2.3 spazmo

      i liked his Mr. Peabody look… he looked so young and dweebie! didn’t recognize him at all… don’t care for the slick professional look – reminds me of him in Thornbirds (tortureous watch) and The Good Doctor (arrogance)…

  3. domo

    Thanks for the recap!

    I love both LMJ and JSW, so I was upset that they made Ae Ra kind of pathetic (at least to me). Even though Ae Ra is working hard, she still has these expectations that she’ll be taken care of. I’ve seen Ep2 and I’m more sympathetic towards her character. I really hope she’ll become more independent though.

    • 3.1 Windsun33

      Yeah, it kind of struck me that neither one of them has really grown up yet. I can sympathize with her plight of not having enough money to pay the gas bill, but it is also hard to feel like she is anything like heroic when her main goal in life is to be a housewife and nothing more.

      • 3.1.1 TS

        Housewives aren’t nothing. They do a shit-load of work, and, for someone who expected to be a civil servant’s wife, she would’ve been the person taking care of everything at home, every little detail, bills, laundry, kids, in-laws, you name it, if it’s not to do with his job directly, it’s her work. It’s a lot of unpaid labour.

        I see Ae-ra as someone who wanted traditional male-female roles like this, though, since her father just seems to play around and drink. She wanted to find some security in traditional values.

  4. Baek Song-yi

    Thanks for the recap, awcoconuts! I zoomed through the first two episodes (I needed something to fill the gap that ‘You From Another Star’ left), and was pleasantly surprised by how cute this drama is. It helps that the plot moves at such a zippy pace: seriously, they dated, married and divorced within the first fifteen minutes. Lee Min-jung is also the best I’ve seen her since ‘Smile You’, so here’s hoping it continues this way.

    Okay, now time for some wild speculation. I think Ae-ra had a miscarriage when she collapsed at her job – she was clutching her belly, and later looked wistfully at Bang-soon’s baby(you can see it clearly in the screen cap above). So I’m guessing she was a Noble Idiot and kept mum about it, which helped to derail their marriage. /speculation

    • 4.1 Chandler

      That’s totally what I thought too! In fact, I actually thought it was obvious. But then it wasn’t mentioned in the recap so I thought I was crazy. I mean, simply from looking at her when she was sick, I instantly jumped to that conclusion. That’s why I was so forgiving towards her character because I’m pretty sure suffering a miscarriage because of getting overworked could very likely lead to giving up on a marriage. I don’t think I’d say this is a Noble Idiot situation though. I think it’s more that something horrible happened and she was probably very distraught and weary of marriage and just gave up.

    • 4.2 Adal

      I agree, that was my hypothesis as well. They show her on the bed glaring at him, and further events lead me to conclude that she never told him.

      Honestly, the previews made her seem like she was a money grabber. But you can see that although she’s a tad materialistic, what drives her is a need for security not wealth. I’m sure many married women can relate to this. I certainly can, I don’t know how I would feel if, as a stay at home wife, solely dependent on my husband’s income, my husband tells me he quit his job without discussing it with me first, and is going into the uncertain world of business. I might just blow a gasket. She said she was perfectly content to live in a rented house and with a salary.

      To Ae ra’s credit, she really did try to support him by handling multiple jobs for four years. Didn’t ask for alimony and still paid off all his debts he acquired when they were married. But I think she gave up when she couldn’t handle it anymore. I can’t say I blame her considering her dad and brother. She may have figured that all the men in her life were moochers. Unfortunately, she miscalculated with her hubby and the tide turned for him. Now he’s a hot item.

      • 4.2.1 Windsun33

        It kind of bothers me that just into ep2 that they have already brought in so many of the clichéd tropes – the worthless/useless dad & brother, the vicious debt collectors, the son returning from America (gee, never seen THAT one before, have we?), etc.

        The basic plot could be interesting, but concerned at the direction it is taking with some of the setups so far. Will wait until 3 & 4 before making up my mind, but so far I am still on the fence about this show.

        • 4.2.1.1 Carole McDonnell

          I’m accepting the tropes because they all affect the theme of security, family, trust, enduring in tribulations.

      • 4.2.2 ilikemangos

        “what drives her is a need for security not wealth.”

        This. Many people don’t realize that it’s part of south korean culture for families to expect you to marry to a well-off husband, with belief that their daughter will be provided with a secure future. I was incredibly irked at some viki comments that called Ae Ra a golddigger, mainly because they gave us more than enough reasons (imo) for the scale to tip in her favor. It wouldn’t have been love if she put up with it for 4 years. She didn’t need him to be a rich CEO businessman. it was the DEBT that she dreaded all her life (and we get a little bit more on that in the next episode).
        She worked hard to pay off all those debts, meanwhile, the show did not do a good job in explaining what Jung Woo did in those 4 years after he quit his job.
        Marriage is about making decisions as a team and his choice was not only a gamble, but he didn’t even think to discuss it with his wife. Sure, in the end he succeeded, but irl would just anyone become the 1% of the population to become CEO of a large company?
        On the flip side, she should’ve been more emotionally supportive rather than yelling at him everyday — that’s what resulted in their divorce. He was still working hard to try to make it, but it just didn’t work out. But she did push coldly push him away, mainly because she was so unhappy in those 4 years.

        • 4.2.2.1 ilikemangos

          But she did coldly push him away*

        • 4.2.2.2 John

          ilikemangos~

          Ugh ! I always turn off the Viki comments.

        • 4.2.2.3 mo0mi

          thank god some intelligent people, i don’t want to be mean, but i’m sick of reading comments on viki and gooddrama from people (probably kids tbh) that take every thing so literal and hate her character. she’s not perfect, which is great cause no one is irl, and every one that is married or at least has some maturity understands that she made the right decision at the time, imagine them staying together and his business not taking off at all, she would be so overworked and their love would be totally lost. the husband has no right hating her like that but i assume he only knows half of what she did for him..

          • 4.2.2.3.1 lemondoodle

            You can tell they are kids when they talk about “how about to death do us part!??” Please go and experience what she did and see how far that gets you. They all have naive views that if you love someone it’s going to work out regardless of the problems (that’s why most of them say she never loved him as well).

        • 4.2.2.4 maddragonqueen

          I so agree with you. She could have been more emotionally supportive but he REALLY should have consulted with his wife before quitting his job. I felt really angry that he was just going off to pursue his dream and leaving his wife to pick up all the pieces. Just because her dream was to be a housewife, does that make her dreams less important than his? And he wanted Ae Ra to just blindly trust him while actively breaking her trust in not even bothering to discuss his decision with her beforehand? -_- I was actually pretty impressed that she stuck around for those 4 years at all.

      • 4.2.3 Emmy

        Thanks for your comment! I had the same feelings coming into this show. I thought she was going to be a gold digger, but I am glad that she’s instead a woman who would have been perfectly content with a stable life and a civil servant’s wife.

        She is a character I definitely can root for. While I do feel bad for her husband, I can understand that the expectations she had going into her marriage were destroyed three months after the wedding. I do think she genuinely tried hard to make the best out of it and support her husband’s dream but at one point she just snapped and life had become too hard for her.

        I don’t think the scales are tipped in Jung-woo’s favour at all. To me it was unacceptable that he decided to quit his job without discussing the matter with his wife. I think if he had tried to understand her more, he would have realised how important it is for her to be financially secure, and perhaps put off his plans at being an entrepreneur until he had put aside more savings. Seriously, everyone is usually dirt poor after marriage. Quitting a job without the immediate means to secure a stable income is a sure way to end up in bad circumstances.

        • 4.2.3.1 Absolute

          Yes, this! He quit his job without ever discussing with his wife. That automatically makes me more sympathetic to ae-ra; she had no say in the matter. Especially a wife who hates debt after seeing her mother work her ass of for a drunk father. He should have discussed with her and they could have made a plan together. I found his bitterness towards get completely unfounded. Did he not see how hard she worked to fund his company? Did he not notice her burned arm? Or how hard she worked selling jackets in the winter?

          And I agree with the miscarriage hint; I feel like that was a pretty strong hint, and probably the tipping point that instigated the divorce.

    • 4.3 NewFan

      I thought miscarriage, too.

    • 4.4 domo

      Domo, I thought I saw a hint of the miscarriage too but assumed I was wrong. If that IS the case, then it makes me a little happier, not about the miscarriage but the fact that they’re not making it seem like AR left him just because she didn’t like being poor.

    • 4.5 peaches

      Yeah, I think that’s pretty plausible too. Wasn’t a baby mentioned when they were looking at the model house together?
      I agree that this is a somewhat tired premise, and I really hope that she’ll become a more independent, fleshed out character later on. But I can’t dislike her, because I can sympathize with her and her mom’s views of marriage, seeing as that’s the sort of environment they lived in for so long. He’s partly at fault for not discussing his decision with her either, and it’s not like she gave up on him right away. Hoping this will be a good drama and not a disappointment.

    • 4.6 Ilikemangos

      I love your name btw.
      Can I be Mahn song yi?

    • 4.7 TVaddict

      This is why I wanted to check out the recaps too because I thought also thought she had a miscarriage.

      If she didn’t tell him, that’s an even bigger plus for a character because it means she didn’t want to burden him with that guilt. But miscarriages can do a lot to someone emotionally even when you do share it with your spouse.

      I was also mad at him for not consulting her when he quit his job. Or know the reason for wanting job security as a civil servant over a small business owner.

  5. tura

    Me likey

  6. Moll

    This looks promising; thanks for the recaps! Also, I’m amused at how many stars (and non-stars) are hopping on the Chun Song-yi makeup look — I’ve been trying to find YSL 52 lipstick, and it’s sold out everywhere! Looks like this drama scooped it up. ;)

    • 6.1 Windsun33

      I saw on the news a couple of days ago that chicken and beer has become a big fad in China, due to the popularity of Lover from another Star show :D

      • 6.1.1 Ilikemangos

        Yeah it felt like yfas was even more popular in china than it was Korea. Some bosses were nice enough to let their employees go home early to catch yfas. There has been a decrease in chicken consumption due to an outbreak but yfas has revived the “chimek” (chicken and beer) combo in several restaurants.
        The fan coverage from Chinese fans were incredible.

    • 6.2 eastwestmess

      You’re joking! LOL!!!! Although can’t say I didn’t entertain thoughts of getting that lipstick. Definitely started using Line ‘cuz of the drama…

    • 6.3 pogo

      yeah, that lipstick is sold out EVERYWHERE and not just in countries where k-ent is a big thing (ie East/Southeast Asia). I guess Jeon Ji-hyun really can sell anything, lol.

      • 6.3.1 mo0mi

        it doesn’t surprise me, that lipstick caught my eye, that color was so pretty!

  7. Jnewin

    Thanks for the wonderful recaps and news Aw Coconuts! It’s a good fit for Dramabeans.

  8. tura

    I actually like AR, it must have been hard for her, what made JW resign from his first job anyway? This is the opposite of EC where CM would go peddle medicine and come home to a depressed JH. Here AR would go work her ass off to feed both of them and come home feeling frustrated and tired to her hubby’s failures. Any woman would be frustrated. Also poor JW it must have been hard on him too, always failing to make his wife happy, and being treated badly by ur wife and then having u leave u cos ur poor.

  9. NewFan

    The first episode was kind of all over the place and I was unsure of whether I wanted to add this to my list. But the 2nd episode was better, and I like the leads, so I’ll give it a shot. I go back and forth between liking Ae Ra and rolling my eyes at her.

    • 9.1 scbound

      thanks for posting my exact thoughts… lol

  10. 10 Chandler

    Well I’m saying this after watching the first 2 episodes, but I like them both and the direction we’re heading in. It’s less about money than I thought, and more about hurt feelings for both of them which is nice. That’s all I’ll say here.

    But I’m a little confused because I got the impression that she had a miscarriage, but then I realized that they never actually said that in the episode. Still, for some reason, I just assumed that that happened and took it to be fact. Did anyone else get that impression?

    • 10.1 Chandler

      Also I just think they have really good chemistry and make a good potential couple :)

      • 10.1.1 Adal

        I agree with both of your comments. They have good chemistry as a couple and it’s plain to see that they are still in love with each other. I also like that it really isn’t about money but feelings. I got the impression that she miscarried their baby when I saw how she clutched her belly, fell down on the ground, and later scenes of her on the bed crying, with her girlfriend comforting her. Ae ra is a flawed but very likable character. I think she’s doing her best to move on with her life, but she’s cursed ( or blessed) by that quick temper that keeps getting her into trouble, by making her say harsh things she often ends up regretting.

        Question about something I’ve observed in most kdramas, does society look down on divorced women and treat them as second class citizens? In emergency couple, I observed how people treated the lead actress because of her marriage status. And in this drama the same thing happened. I quite admired Ae ra for going on reality tv and trying to do something for herself, what I didn’t expect was for her male partner to be so unscrupulous as to try to pimp her to a married man. And the way he and his girlfriend spoke to Ae ra as if she were used goods, was quite disheartening.

        • 10.1.1.1 Windsun33

          I did some research on this a while back, and what I finally decided was that while k-dramas might depict some of the attitudes correctly, in real Korean society it is more of a “do what I say, not what I do” thing. The divorce rate in Korea has gone up to where it is now in the top 10, so attitudes are changing.

        • 10.1.1.2 Kim Yoonmi

          In the US divorce rates are around 50% (last I checked) Korea is around 50-60% from what I checked. More likely to divorce when you are younger than the older generation. Attitudes towards divorce change by generation a lot.

  11. 11 KDaddict

    I wasn’t gonna watch this cos the premise seems so old. But the 1st ep is really funny and fast-moving. The 2nd ep is less zippy IMO. Still there is enough going on to hook me.

    She is materialistic in a very modest way, not at all greedy. All she wants is a simple married life in a rented house and a civil servant’s salary. She married a civil servant; he does a “bait and switch” on her. She is not a bad person for throwing in the towel, but she is not a good one for treating him the way she did 4 years ago.

    He is dedicated to his business ventures. She feels such pressure from her girlfriends. If only young women know to keep away from rich, showy GFs who are doing well! Loving the 2 leads in their roles.

    It’s interesting that he obviously feels hurt by her treatment and rejection, but at root still wants her back, to make things right and take care of her this time around, which he failed at previously.

    That female 2nd lead by his side creeps me out. Don’t know why the actress (IDK her) is playing her that way. Her char seems like such damaged merchandise, and not at all a girl fr a straight-forward well-to-do family. I wish she were more likeable.

    Hope it’ll be good!

    • 11.1 Windsun33

      The 2nd lead girls family seems to be totally dysfunctional, to the point where it lacks credibility. Apparently the ruthless but ignorant father just goes around beating up everyone. A bit over the top for me so far. Still not sure what to make of the girl.

      I have seen that actress before, but cannot recall where – perhaps she was one of the many 4th or 5th leads that you never really remember much?

      • 11.1.1 Emy

        Well, since the father used to be a gangster, maybe that’s their justification for having him going around and hitting everybody?

        But I do agree that the second leads’ family is so dysfunctional. I have to say I’m not even a bit interested in their story, to be honest.

  12. 12 raindrops1

    I just finished watching ep 1 so I was thrilled to see a recap on DB. Thank you. I was afraid based on the premise I would not like (or would find it difficult to root for AR) but I like her. I also thought that that the two main leads are playing their characters well. I’m interested to see how the story develops. Off to watch ep 2 hope it contunues on a up swing. :)

  13. 13 pigtookie

    Thank you awcoconuts!! I’ve wanted to start this.

  14. 14 avicenna

    I may appear shameless, but actually I. .. I can relate to her.

    • 14.1 Chandler

      Not at all! I like her quite a bit and I understand the choices she made even if I wouldn’t have made them myself. She just has lots of room to grow, that’s all.

  15. 15 Kim Yoonmi

    This drama is going into back burner for things I’m not discussing about episode 2, which include massive plotholes in the writing–I do not fault the acting, but the directing and writing seem a bit off to me. (though it is definitely more watchable than Emergency Couple)

    I also do not fault her for being a housewife–it’s clear when she married him, she said she wanted to be a housewife–she told him up front that she wanted to be one and it’s clear that from the start that’s all she wanted–there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Four years is a long, long time to be working, supporting her husband in odd jobs while she’s getting the exact opposite of what she wants. (Her motivations are clearer in Episode 2, but the event chain gets more muddled in exchange.)

    Firm simmering back burner for me. The upcoming drama season seems thin. Makes me sad.

    • 15.1 Windsun33

      It sounds like you are about where I am on this one – not giving it up yet, but not too sure about it’s prospects further on. My biggest concern is that it seems to be very cliché ridden, which is over riding the main plot – which could have been good without all those side tracks that at this point don’t seem to make a lot of sense. I don’t have enough of the backstory to make sense of some things.

      I agree about the plot holes, esp in ep2 – perhaps more info will come out later, but at this point I am just scratching my head over a few things.

      • 15.1.1 Kim Yoonmi

        Pretty much, I think we agree. The writing still feels shaky, like the writer doesn’t know where to go, which is dangerous in the first few episodes. I forgive getting lost later, but you have to know where you are headed in the first 4, at least premise and theme wise… and I don’t get that sense.

        Also all the detours made me feel like the episode lost power for me…

        At the same time I can’t quite 100% give it up.

        Also the direction feels a bit shaky too… some of the camera angles, the way things are structured that are left up to the director doesn’t feel like it’s on even footing.

        I’ll discuss the plot holes in the Episode 2 summary, which left me going huh? Should I drop this? But ultimately I’ll give it another week before deciding. It’s a borderline drop for me.

        • 15.1.1.1 Chandler

          I do agree with you, but I like the chemistry between the leads so I’m willing to stick with it for a while. Well it’ll actually all depend on the next two episodes probably. Also I think things will pick up once they start their love game so I’m going to wait and see how that pans out before I give up. I actually like both leads and like how they’re clearly still damaged from their divorce which is something that I never really felt in Emergency Couple.

  16. 16 Hipployta

    I watched the first two episodes…I get why she got a divorce…he resigned without talking to her or considering the start up as a part time job…and she carried the weight for four years. Love has its limits to the realities of the stress of life. He has a sense of entitlement about his resentment that I do not like. Those debts she’s paying…I highly doubt they are hers but rather HIS

    • 16.1 Hipployta

      Also…I think she had a miscarriage…but I’m not sure

      If that was the case I wish she had told him when it happened…but the cliche of him finding out and feeling like a tool will happen eventually if that’s the case

    • 16.2 Lovedramas

      I absolutely agree with you on his sense of entitlement to his resentment and so far he has only showed me that he completely blames her on everything.

      And the whole trust grudge that he has against her. I understand what he is saying about trust but could he have not once seen it from her side? Maybe I’ll see that on the next few episodes.

  17. 17 barbara black fox

    Thanks for the recap. (Who is the actor who plays the dermatologist?) And I will watch this for a while. (I almost stopped watching Emergency Couple, but I’m liking it better. And (no spoilers, but agreeing) I liked episode 1 more than episode 2.

    • 17.1 barbara black fox

      In Gyo-jin was the dermatologist. And he had a small part in “Good Doctor too.” (And I couldn’t remember his name in that one, either.)

  18. 18 hannah

    I love the 1st and 2nd episodes of this drama because it doesn’t sell an empty dream to its viewers..

    • 18.1 trisha

      So which drama sells an empty dream? I do really want to know as I don’t watch Kdrama much. :)

    • 18.2 trisha

      my comment is missing. Is DB now required comment moderation?

      My comment was for Hannah.

      Which drama sells an empty dream? I do really want to know the title(s) as I dont religiously watch Kdramas/read recap.

      • 18.2.1 hannah

        @trisha why should you watch kdrama/read recap religiously? because my comment was not related at all to religious matter. just this context, about men who will do everything for the woman they love like ‘boys before flowers’ maybe? is that even real? well, we know it’s just a fiction.. for entertainment.
        P.S: it’s just my opinion, everybody has their own opinion ;)

        • 18.2.1.1 Kender

          In some contexts, “religiously” means regularly. It sounds like trisha is saying that she doesn’t watch Kdramas often enough to know which ones fit your description. :)

          • 18.2.1.1.1 hannah

            @Kender Oh I see.. I’m so sorry i misinterpreted the word.. thank you for clearing it up for me :)

          • 18.2.1.1.2 trisha

            LOL. Sorry for making different interpretation.

            Although I dont watch/read many Kdramas, I learnt some intl’ Kdrama viewers/readers lang. It’s true as Kender said, ‘religiously’ means ‘regularly’. Thank you for the answer Hannah and Kender as well :).

      • 18.2.2 Windsun33

        In one sense, quite a few sell empty dreams – every Cinderella type plot for example (and that is about 1/3 of all k-dramas). Of course that is hardly just Korean dramas – but at least this one is a little more realistic.

      • 18.2.3 John

        trisha~

        I don’t think it’s moderation, but for some reason it can take a minute or two for comments to appear.

  19. 19 liz

    Somehow there is any drama airing or upcoming that excites me.. what I’m going to do??

  20. 20 Sajen

    Here’s the thing I watched both episodes and I think I’ll keep watching, but I don’t like Ae-ra at all.
    Frankly they got divorced for a perfectly legitimate reason as financial stability is in the top five most important things in a relationship, however it demonstrates a lack of the most important thing on her part, which is trust.
    Ae-ra’s goal in life frankly makes me hate her almost as much as I hated Yoon in Miss Korea. Being a housewife is not a goal, at least not if you want to be treated with respect and as an equal in a relationship.

    On to Jung-woo, him I like quite a bit actually, even if the fact that he seems to have lingering affection for Ae-ra bothers me.

    • 20.1 Emy

      I’d have to respectfully disagree. Every woman is allowed to have her own life goal — even if that goal is being a housewife and having financial stability. Being a housewife does NOT mean that a woman is somehow less of an equal compared to her husband, or that she is not deserving of respect.

      Ae-ra didn’t marry her husband ONLY because of stability. She loved him. I feel like he was the one who didn’t trust her, since he didn’t sit down and discuss his decision to quit his job with her — especially since it has a profound effects on what she herself will have to do in the future.

      * And I’m coming to this as somebody who’d never consider being a housewife herself. I just believe that everybody is entitled to their own dream in life — and being a housewife (or a house-husband) does not make one inferior to others who are working professionals.

      • 20.1.1 Ilikemangos

        You couldn’t have said it better than myself.
        I don’t particularly aspire to be a housewife but that doesn’t make you any less if that is your true goal in life. Many women are full time mothers and absolutely love their job. I don’t really care what goal you have in life, esp. if alot of it has to do with cultural influence — but When you enter a marriage respect goes both ways. So does teamwork. They made a promise that she would be the supportive wife as long as he provided for their family. Call it old fashioned and unprogressive, but he broke off that promise by gambling away their security.

        • 20.1.1.1 Ilikemangos

          I couldn’t have said it better myself**

    • 20.2 L

      “Being a housewife is not a goal, at least not if you want to be treated with respect and as an equal in a relationship.”

      Why do you think wanting to be a housewife is less of a goal than any other job? How does being a housewife make you not entitled to the same amount of respect and equality in a relationship?

      • 20.2.1 Windsun33

        It is no less of a goal than being a hot doctor intern in RL, but I like my female leads in dramas to be at least somewhat heroic, and the whole housewife thing does not grab me much :D

        • 20.2.1.1 TVaddict

          It’s okay if you don’t think being a housewife is interesting enough to grab you but, I don’t think it is any less heroic than an intern. Especially the type she wanted to be (middle class housewife, who actually does everything at home herself).

          Too many people have looked down on housewives, which is sad and an ill-conceived stereotype. I live in the kinda house where we pay for house cleaning, baby sitters, home tutors, landscapers, school pickups, etc so I know first hand how much it costs (financially and otherwise). Also I have seen homes with housewives and sometimes envy the amount of time and attention the kids receive comparatively.
          This doesn’t mean I think I lacked in anyway growing up as the child of 2 physicians, or that I am personally doing a 180 career wise to keep it from happening to my future kids. It does however make me appreciate housewives a whole lot.

          • 20.2.1.1.1 Windsun33

            You have a point, especially since our current crop of Hot Interns don’t really seem to be doing much actual interning, just playing silly games.

            I guess part of it is that I have been mentally traumatized by so many of the “perfect housewife” tropes depicted by dramas, especially those of the rich and chaebol types. They seem to be portrayed as some of the most useless and shallow examples of humans on the face of the earth.

    • 20.3 a_diva

      There is nothing wrong w/being a housewife or even wanting to be a housewife when you grow up. It’s a “profession” that could really stand for less of the disdain than you showed for it here. Working in the home is just as important as working outside the home. And the mere fact that you are not contributing financially to the household does not entitle the housewife to less respect or unequal treatment. If you have free time, look into the economics of staying home. Add up how much it’d cost to pay for the services that housewives and stay-at-home moms provide–from housekeeping & child care to their services to their spouses’ career and I dare say you’d conclude some may actually be pulling their own weight.

    • 20.4 Kim Yoonmi

      If he respected her, he would have consulted with her first and then worked on the business at the same time as holding down a job. He doesn’t have to meet with business investors during working hours. He could arrange to meet after work, buy drinks, etc, with his money.

      Many writers, actors, etc, hold down second jobs before they make it–because it’s smart. But instead he thrust on her having to hold down 3 different jobs to make ends meet when *he* was the one with the higher earning power in the first place since he graduated with a degree in engineering and had a steady job. It shows a really big lack of reality on his part (and also is kinda a plot hole for me–’cause that lack of reality makes it hard to build a company properly and nothing about any second in command shows that the company could do that.)

      Even if he wanted to do it full time, he has a responsibility to tell her that and ask her if she is willing to get a job, etc. She wasn’t pissed off at his new business idea–she was pissed off that he did it irresponsibly when he knew her position in the first place.

      Also, power to the housewife… the professional chef, housekeeper, butler, babysitter, nanny, home ec, and accountant (at least in Asia) all rolled up in one. It’s not easy. And not a job I think I could do. So I think her aspiration to be a housewife isn’t bad–she told him up front when they got married that’s what she wanted. He understood and broke that trust. And she loved him for more than his financial security. She *supported* him through his civil service exams. Which means she gave him financial and emotional support… so now he has the job, she thinks they are home free. But he QUIT, didn’t get laid off.

      If the story was that he was fired… that’s different. But it isn’t.

      • 20.4.1 Windsun33

        I think it was the fact that he just went off and did everything unilaterally without even considering talking to her first is what makes me place about 80% of the blame on him.

  21. 21 Jo-hannah

    Thanks for making a recap of this series, I really liked the first episode and even more the second one… I don’t hate her at all, I actually like her character a lot and understand her reason, actually his reasons too lol… I can’t wait to watch the next episode :)

  22. 22 Kender

    I can’t help but think she didn’t fight hard enough for her marriage.

    Honestly, I’m the opposite of you. She held on for four years, working her fingers to the bone so her husband could pursue his dream. That would be hard on anyone, let alone someone whose dream was to be a housewife. Although I think she went about it the wrong way, I don’t blame her for eventually giving up and ending things with JW.

    Remember, JW resigned from his job without even consulting AR. He had a dream, assumed she would be supportive, and acted first, denying her any say in the matter. That right there was inconsiderate, and no matter how sweet he was to her otherwise, the fact that he made such an important decision by himself pushes him into [insert swear word here] territory. Sure, he ended up successful later, but he also left her with crushing debts and made no move to help pay them back after he became successful.

    Sure, AR swore to stick with him for better or worse, but she didn’t swear to have her life ruined based on the whims of her husband.

    In light of all this, right now, I’m Team AR all the way. And as for her interview in Jjakgoong? I have no problem with it. Her marriage was hard. She was a girl with no great ambition in life other than to be a housewife, and that dream got taken away from her. I don’t blame her for liking the feeling of being protected.

    • 22.1 TVaddict

      In a way I can see how people didn’t find her very supportive. Because support is both financial and emotional. Her snapping at him, withholding food and locking him out in the chilling winter even while working multiple odd jobs to pay off their debt isn’t being supportive.

      However, like you I feel like she fought for their marriage, 4 years long. It’s not easy to change a life long bias against the lifestyle he singularly chose especially when things were going badly as she expected.

      • 22.1.1 Kim Yoonmi

        It’s not like he found another job to support them in the meantime to admit his wrong–he could have done both, but he didn’t even consider her feelings back nor say thank you even once for doing it or him. He was equally emotionally unsupportive of her and only thought of his own hurt. That’s really a big deal breaker in any relationship. (Man or woman)

        There is nothing in the story justifying him quitting so fast and/or finding another job in the interim while he started his start up.

  23. 23 phoenix

    the beginning of the drama almost feels like the taiwanese drama: Hi My Sweetheart!

    • 23.1 domo

      It’s the hair, isn’t it? :P

    • 23.2 Ilikemangos

      It’s the mushroom hair – nerdy glasses combo.
      He just happens to be missing the underbite :)
      I found him endearing in the first 20 minutes of the first ep because he reminded me of da lung.

  24. 24 Stuart

    Wow, reading your recap makes me think we were watching a different drama! I saw a woman who worked tirelessly for four years while married AND three years after divorce to financially support someone who contributed NOTHING to the marriage after unilaterally quitting his job barely 3 months in. She’s clearly not without fault, but she was unselfish and went WAY beyond any duty by not only refusing alimony but actually clearing all his debts, while he happily built his thriving business.

    The Drama I’m watching shows her as the heroine so far, him as a selfish prat who has no idea of how hard she worked or what she gave up for him. I much prefer it to the one you’re watching.

    • 24.1 a_diva

      Ditto.

    • 24.2 vannie

      Totally agree with you!

    • 24.3 Fab

      Word. I am already tired of comments calling Aera a goddigger andwhatnot.

  25. 25 Ilikemangos

    I don’t particularly like the leads yet but I do prefer this show based on the first 2 eps over the 2 eps of emergency couple mainly because the hero isn’t an outright ass and Im not second lead shipping or anything. Plus the downfall seemed mainly to be on financial instability whereas in EC it seemed to be a multitude of reasons that made it too far to go back. That could be different now, but I just couldn’t root for them to remarry.
    Anywho, I think this show is an easy watch. The music is sweet, but the color palette is just not working for me. It cheapens the quality — sometimes I feel like I’m watching a family drama.
    I’m glad to have you join the recapping team, awcoconuts ;) fruit buddy

  26. 26 peaches

    right…okay, so i take back my first comment. i watched the second episode, and i think i’ll be bowing out of the drama after all. i agree with previous comments about the plot holes and the weak writing; everything is so predictable. while i do feel for the heroine, i just can’t feel as invested in the drama itself.

  27. 27 a_diva

    I do not agree with the statement that she gave up on her marriage too easily and wonder if we saw the same drama as another viewer wondered higher up in the posts.

    Setting aside that she went into the marriage expecting to be a housewife, which he agreed to, he was just wrong for the way he handled things. If he wanted to change the dynamic of their marriage in such a drastic way, where she went from staying home to working like crazy, he should have discussed it with her and gotten her blessing. There is also an easier way to start a business, such as saving for a while and working on some aspects of it before quitting your job. How much different could things have gone had he told her in advanced and she got a part time job & saved her salary for his venture or towards paying their living expenses once their income stopped? Hell, even just giving her a warning that times were about to get very tough may have helped. She would have at least been mentally prepared. Instead, she was blindsided by his quitting his job & being thrust into the workforce. She managed to stay for four years. That is a looong time to suffer & he seemed oblivious to her suffering. I cannot fault her for leaving or for becoming mean and bitter toward him in the end of the marriage. Most people aren’t Candy-girls and can’t handle being grinded down on a daily basis and maintain a cheerful facade.

    On another note, if he started making money & became so wealthy, why didn’t any of it go to pay the debt that it took her four years to repay?

    • 27.1 Ilikemangos

      Good points.
      That was the main thing that tipped me over to ae ra’s side. How suddenly and irrationally he just gave everything up without a well thought out plan. By all means, chase your dreams. But you could’ve atleast given a heads up, kept your job, done extensive research. You need a back up plan, esp. if youre the sole income of the family. Take it slowly. Humans make mistakes, but for him to resent her for not being supportive past those 4 years and holding her at fault didnt sit well with me either. it seems very clear that there was a lack of communication between the two. If the show can bring out the sores festering underneath in both ae ra and jung woo, there may be potential for their characters to be redeemed and for them to fall in love again. Maybe a deeper love this time since they’ve seen and heard all uglier at this point.

      • 27.1.1 Windsun33

        I would place about 80% of the blame on JW for the reasons you mentioned. But what bothers me more is the fact that he still does not see what she went through – like he was not even aware of things like the gas had been turned off etc.

        • 27.1.1.1 lemondoodle

          Me too. She’s not blameless either, but I found him pretty self centered. He has no idea what she was going through (including the possible miscarriage) and had pity parties when she wasn’t enthusiastically supporting him.

          Yeah, she was over the line sometimes like locking him out of the house or taking away food, though she did try to call him back and he didn’t answer the phone so it does seem she had regrets.

          She didn’t help his probably already low self esteem and wasn’t supportive, but he was asking for emotional as well as financial support from her, but what was he offering her? A promise for a better future, but who can take that seriously once you already broke one promise so early into the marriage.

  28. 28 pumpkinattack

    Thank you for the recap! :)

  29. 29 Moonbean

    Thanks for the recap awcoconots.

    I was expecting not to like Ae-Ra based on the descriptions of the drama, expecting her to be the only one in the wrong. But after watching it, I must say, I don’t believe this is the case. This is a classic case of two immature people who expect too much from each other. While it is wrong of Ae-Ra to say yes, she will trust him with the decision he has made before she hears it and loses that faith immediately this is not unexpected. She has a fear of uncertain incomes that comes with those kinds of jobs, has said to her girlfriends her father went bankrupt many times so she feels comfortable with the modest but secure income of her husband’s salaried job. In spite of that, she gives up her dream (we may make fun of her dream of being only a housewife but regardless that was her dream and that’s what her husband promised her, he married her knowing this), works many menial jobs to support his decision for four years. In all honesty, I could not expect more from her, I did not even expect this much. Everyone’s breaking point is different.

    I agree with Adal and Ilikemangoes above that Jeong-Woo has flaws as well. He can’t expect being a couple to mean his wife should support any unilateral decision he takes that affects both of them. That was very very wrong of him but so far the drama completely ignored this. I hope they will come back to this point later and don’t make her out to be the only one at fault in the break up of their marriage.

    I also thought Ae-Ra had a miscarriage from the time I saw her clutching her tummy in the trailer and was surprised it didn’t get mentioned in the drama. I hope this isn’t what they use to make her worthy of a second chance with Jeong-Woo because to me they are equally at fault. Neither of them had the maturity to understand and support each other through the difficult times (which is weird with the ages the drama gave us. If Ae-Ra is 34, she must be 27 when they married so they weren’t very young).

    Also, I’m a bit confused why she ended up payıng his debts. Are they talking about business related debts or living expenses? Whichever, they do not need these to make her “worthy” of him.

    I’m also pleased that she did not run after him as soon as she learned he is rich (which was what I expected from the promotionary material). I started the episode not liking her very much but after the reality show disappointment I was totally feeling for her. Now, I’m curious about Jeong-Woo’s attitude. I hope he won’t be that much of a jerk.

  30. 30 Emy

    Thank you so much for the recap!

    I just watched the first 2 episodes, and have high hopes for this drama. It’s what I had hoped for from Emergency Couple. I’m hoping the rest of the drama will be equally good. :)

  31. 31 Aigoooo

    I like this drama. I like the controversial setup because it applies to the real world and happens everyday. Divorce due to money issues. I like the heroine because she is hardworking and has a sense of pride. I dislike her because she married for security and not love. I like the hero because he is tenacious and he’s a dreamer. I dislike him because his dreams ended up crushing hers. They are both at fault because they both did not provide what the other one needed. She gave up believing in him and he gave up taking financial responsibility for her.

  32. 32 lemondoodle

    I liked it and her. I think she fought hard enough for the marriage given the circumstances. It does seem she had a miscarriage, which only added to the issues they already had. As for the ex-husband, honestly I would have had serious thoughts of divorce after he quit his job without discussing it. They are both in the wrong, but imo he betrayed her first with that. She was okay with being a modest housewife and he knew that, but his goals came before her happiness. It just comes down to it’s really something that needed to be mutually agreed upon before it happened. Too big of a change in a new marriage. She did stick it out for 4 years as well.

    Right now I’d love for her to not have to rely on a man, get a nice career and be happy. Though I’m sure I’ll eventually warm up to the two of them getting back together since I think they were both equally to blame for the marriage falling apart. I’m interested to see how they work it out.

  33. 33 Carole McDonnell

    Thanks, awcoconuts!

    I’m really liking this drama. It feels as if there’ll be a lotta thematic elements and playing aroun with subthemes, something i’ve kinda been missing in the last spate of dramas — at least the dramas I chose.

    I like both leads, because they’re human…flaws and good traits.

    I think a husband who quits his work out o the blue without asking his wife is somewhat culpable. At least i the wife agreed to him changing his job, she would be also responsible. Definitely a breach of trust. There is such a thing as planning a venture together.

    I like the side characters and tropes because they will add to the theme exploration.

    Gotta say I was prepared to dislike the second lead female but I really like her. Still, her cold chaebolesque advances toward hero –even if out of grief and attachment to a lost love– are a bit much. Why pursue the guy for his company now?

    Liking the second-lead guy as well and won’t mind if heroine gets with him in the end…although i think the leads are gonna reconcile.

  34. 34 darksilvercloud

    Seems like another drama to catch :) The plot looks interesting

  35. 35 Rovi

    Feeling guilty that I read this recap just to search for screencaps of L/Myungsoo as chauffeur. XD

  36. 36 cindy

    As I was watching Viki, I was really shocked how everybody just blamed the girl.

    I even read a comment like ”he worked harder than her!! she deserves be treated this way!!”

    Hum, really? It isn’t like she is a bad person, she was just bitter and full of resentment while getting a divorce, and after what she went throught I can’t really blame her.

    It wasn’t like he ”Can you support me?” it was more like ”You have to support me” and this isn’t something she was ready for since he decided all by himself.

    Then he cames back into your life, rubbing money into your face and looking down in you. If I was him, I would feel guilty and ashamed of the divorce, than blame her for it, when I was the person that betrayed/damaged our relationship/trust like that. It seems he never put himself into her shoes and it was all about himself.

    He didn’t even pay his debts!! Even when he had money, he decided to not pay the debts because of his hurt feelings and pride when AR said she didn’t want his money. If he had any feelings for her, and was ashamed he would pay his debts at least.

    AR also has some faults, but looking how much she suffered and he doesn’t recognize it and just thinks about his hurt feelings, I can’t help but be on her side more.

    • 36.1 Vannie

      What she said.

  37. 37 DHM

    When Ae Ra fell sick while working, my impression was that she had a miscarriage, and that’s why she was crying later. She didn’t tell her husband. I also felt like there was a subtext in the scene where she is dandling her frenemy’s baby- her real friend looked worried for her while she was playing with the baby.

    I think Ae Ra was somewhat selfish in the marriage, but I also think her husband didn’t truly understand what her father and brother had put her through. Her emotional need for security was totally undermined when he quit his job without discussing it first, and then made her be the family breadwinner for four years- particular when the basis of their marriage included her firm insistence (and his agreement) that she would be a stay at home wife.

  38. 38 @lfani

    LOL … The company name .. Don’t Talk ? as in KakaoTalk right

  39. 39 ZXW

    I actually have been an entrepreneur for four years and I can totally get behind Ae-Ra’s decision and bitterness – four years is no joke, people (although it did pass in a flash in the drama). Living that life when it’s not your dream and taking up the burden of expenses and debt, THEN not getting rewarded for it sucks. If the husband is fair he would have given her an exit after he succeeded. I’m not sure about Korea, but she actually would have a case in court for a share of the rewards where I am.

  40. 40 Dark Angel

    Why does k drama stich with stories of women being so helpless and need a man in a white shining armor to rescue her…its really pathetic .I like the actress but not the role. May be the story will get better and surprise me, i really hope so. Anyway thanks for the recap this is really by far the best site for k drama world.

  41. 41 dani305

    Very surprised with how mature and deep this drama is. There is so many lessons to learn and I appreciate it for bringing awareness to certain topics. Already in this page, I see people talking about views of divorce, housewives, and blame for failed relationships. This drama will keep me more than entertained, it’s giving me food for thought.

  42. 42 kikidee

    I’m confused at how people were calling Ae-Ra the selfish one.
    She wasn’t consulted at all in his decision to quit working so he could follow his dreams, though it affected her deeply, but she still gave it a try and financially supported him for four years. In those four years where she was working so he could do what he wanted to do, what was he doing for her? The episode didn’t show me anything. I saw him taking plenty, but I didn’t see him giving.
    All I know is that of the happy couples I know where the wife is the breadwinner, the husband handles all sorts of other stuff. He doesn’t just act entitled. But this guy. The rent isn’t getting paid? The gas is shut off? Dude! Handle the finances at least!
    Then there was the thing with the debt. Her friend asked, “Why are you paying off his debt?” Uh yeah, now that we know how successful he became, why did he let her pay off the debt that he accrued? WTH? That’s a pretty selfish guy right there.

  43. 43 UrsulaX

    Many of the comments here paint Na Aera in a sympathetic light, but I think people are trying too hard to gloss over her flaws. While she is justifiably upset that her husband’s rash decision left her struggling financially for years, she seems overwhelmingly superficial. The two of them are both immature, but her sense of entitlement is overblown. Many of us are willing to live on meager salaries and work odd jobs to make ends meet while we pursue our dreams (some of her work-related trials and tribulations seem pretty standard). Why shouldn’t she have to do the same, regardless of whether her dream is to become a housewife or a successful businesswoman?

    I wouldn’t fault her for divorcing him, blaming him for suddenly shattering her sense of stability, or even demanding compensation for his debts. However, it’s as if she’s upset that she was forced to work at all or, even worse, that she lost the ability to outshine her catty friend. She was lovey-dovey when he promised her a house and a stable income, but she turned cruel when he could not provide either of those things. Obviously, we have not seen the full story and I hope the miscarriage theory is true, but she pointedly told her husband that she lives according to a double standard: it is perfectly acceptable for her to leach off of him, but not vice versa. Anyone who believes marriage is an equal partnership would have trouble with that. Finally, how great is her dream to become a housewife if she can barely get by without relying on others or appearing on a degrading reality TV show?

  44. 44 adi

    does any one at all know the song that plays in the background in the scenes when Ae-Ra is upset. I think its in English but im not sure. It would bee superrr great if someone could answer my question ! Thanks :D

  45. 45 goldlilys

    I am on neither side on the first episode. No one is perfect and both the guy and the girl really are immature.

    First, the girl is fake from the start. She relied on a man to give her “security” instead of working hard at it for herself. She lured him without really loving him. Isn’t that messed up?

    Then the guy was easily taken and approved of her just being a housewife without any other dreams? In the real world, there is no such thing as financial security if you rely solely on someone else.

    The excuses about housewives is that they work “a lot” for free. But why do some people make it seem like those who do have “work” are not doing things for free? Some career people do have to work overtime for free. Like business people who are entrepreneurs.

    2nd flaw, the guy quit his job without discussing it with her. That is selfish because communication is the key to a good relationship.

    3rd flaw related to 2nd flaw: they didn’t have good communication to begin with because the girl is fake and main thing is to look good to her friends instead of doing something with her life and helping her husband.

    4th flaw: the husband had a dream and wanted to start his own company which meant he wanted to be an entrepreneur. From the sound of most of the posts here, no one has ever been an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of work and money to market, fund, go pitching your ideas to investors and that’s the reason why they were on debt. That’s also the reason why he shouldn’t have quit his work completely and should have balanced it out. It’s fine to follow your dream, but make sure your wife is there to support you, not take away the food that the guy needs to think clearly and make his app.

    I hate both of the characters so far. Will continue watching but yah.

  46. 46 goldlilys

    And yes true, this portrays “reality” of divorces. If this is so common, how come nobody has learned their lesson? Why do people marry each other without truly knowing the other person? Can’t people control themselves?

    Why do people want to get married yet not have the job or funding they need to care for a household? Then all they do is fight and complain about how hard life is … but all of that is your decision. Why do people justify divorces? If there was no such thing as divorces, then people wouldn’t get married in the first place. Why?

    Because divorce manipulates people’s heads that if they messed up, hey there’s always divorce and it’s normal. Why is dysfunctional normal nowadays?

    There shouldn’t have been divorce papers to begin with so people wouldn’t get married without thinking things through.

    Also please stop faking!! If you don’t love the other person, don’t marry them!! Will only ruin both of your lives.

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