Hi all! Apologies for not having updated my blog for the rest of April. I was swamped with you know, my day job. Setting meetings and attending meetings and all that. Plus, I have been brainstorming ideas for the next blog post. I planned to write a thought piece on the change of look of Girl’s Day, my opinion on the Gwiyomi craze in the Philippines, even a full blown love letter to Tiffany Hwang (hey, that’s not a bad idea actually). But I chose to push through with my thoughts on KBS’ Drama Special, specifically ‘Like A Fairy Tale’. It’s the first time I’ve watched Drama Special, and this particular installment got my full attention.
A few weeks ago, I had to wake up early for something (I don’t even remember why I had to wake up early), so while getting ready I turned on the telly (oh it rhymes) and Drama Special was on. I wasn’t able to start it from the beginning (and wasn’t able to finish it since I had to leave), so I thought it was a Cinderella story, guy version. But I found the scenes cute, so I decided to see if there was episodes online. I guess the Goddesses of Good Luck found favor with me since KBS World uploaded all three episodes on YouTube! There, I was able to watch the fairy tale of Myeong-Je and Jang-Mi.
By the way, here are the links on KBS World’s YouTube channel if you’re interested.
Ep 1 1/7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttXQB1vj1EE
Ep 2 1/7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqzLIGyoIgs
Ep 3 1/7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByLap-NWfJQ
Ep 4 1/7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN3I6ps0gb0
Here there be spoilers.
Myeong-Je (played by Lee Cheon-Hee) was known as the frog prince in college. He’s smart (he took up Astronomy in college) but socially awkward. He meets Seo-Yeong (played by Kang Ye-Sol) and is immediately smitten by her. Despite not being able to carry a tune, he joins the school’s singing club after he finds out that Seo-Yeong was a member. Along the way, he earns the ire of Jang-Mi (played by Choi Yoon-Yeong). He joins the group for their Membership Training, and after getting his feelings hurt, he manages to share a moment (even holding her hand when they went to sleep! Or did he? Hehehe) with Seo-Yeong, Believing that he has a chance with her, he asks her out when they go back to school, and gets flatly rejected. To add, when he gets home, he gets his notice for National Service.
Then afterwards, we see Jang-Mi’s background. She got teased around a lot when she was young because of her name, and it doesn’t help if she has a mother (biological, mind you) who treats her like shit (but her mother also shows concern for her, but that’s stretching it already). Jang-Mi joins the singing group, because her crush is there in the person of Jeong-Woo (played by Kim Jeong-San). Jeong-Woo’s the smart guy with everything: looks, money, etc. And oh, he also happens to fancy Seo-Yeong.
We see their characters a few years later in the 90’s, nearing the start of the IMF crisis (which plays a crucial role in the plot). Myeong-Je has a nice job in a software company. He passes by a random bank to open an account and sees a customer berating the teller. SURPRISE it’s Jang-Mi. Her life’s still shitty, fending off advances from a co-worker in a relationship and trying to keep her job. Thinking that their meeting is fate, Myeong-Je asks her out to dinner. And after an awkward yet adorkable courtship, they fall in love and get married.
By the way, to prove the point that it was “destiny”, it wasn’t Seo-Young’s hand he was holding that night. It was Jang-Mi’s. Heehee.
Happily ever after? Not quite. That’s episode 1 of 4.
On the day of their wedding, Jang-Mi’s College Mr. Perfect shows up to congratulate the couple (Wedding Crasher much?) which starts to make Myeong-Je insecure. After the I do’s have been said, the newlyweds run into the first bump of their marriage. The travel agency they hired for their honeymoon goes bankrupt. Guess who manages to have a friend in Jeju who owns a hotel and could give them a room as long as they make the boat that evening? Yeah that’s right. It’s Jeong-Woo.
The honeymoon, instead of the R-18 romp that most of us expect it to be (heh), unfolds like an episode of Big Brother, with Myeong-Je continuously being insecure of Jeong-Woo and Jang-Mi getting annoyed at Myeong-Je because of aforementioned reason. Jang-Mi decides to leave Jeju earlier than expected, saying that this is the part where she wakes up from the dream. Myeong-Je, realizing his foolishness, goes after her and promises never to hurt her like that again.
Happily ever after? Not quite. We just reached the half of episode 2.
I mentioned that the IMF crisis plays a role in the plot right? Yeah, because both of them are at the risk of losing their jobs. At home, Myeong-Je just plops down in the couch in front of the TV and watches sports after work (did he really go to work? Hmmmm), occasionally neglecting Jang-Mi. Jang-Mi’s scared that she might lose her job at the bank, and since she’s starting to feel neglected, she starts contacting Jeong-Woo via e-mail.
All of these factors, plus the fact that Myeong-Je lied to her about not getting laid off culminates to Myeong-Je asking Jang-Mi for a divorce, saying that he could not deliver on his promise that he should’ve taken care of her better.
Nope. We meet our characters a year after their divorce. Myeong-Je lives with his Dad, and Jang-Mi just moves out of her parents’ abode and into her own place. Jang-Mi doesn’t get fired from her job, and Myeong-Je works for another software company. On the day of what was supposed to be their anniversary, Jang-Mi receives a check, allegedly from Myeong-Je, as her gift. She uses this money to buy notebooks so she could take up writing. Also, they get weird phone calls from each other during this interregnum, with Jang-Mi calling Myeong-Je’s phone just to hear his ringback tone (I did not know those stuff existed before 2011) and Myeong-Je calling Jang-Mi just to hear her voice.
Jeong-Woo gives out wedding invitations, for you know, his wedding. Myeong-Je sees his co-worker’s/former orgmate invitation and asks if he knows who the bride was (hehe someone’s jelly). To his relief, it’s not Jang-Mi.
The two exes meet during the wedding (Seo-Young also attends and asks how their marriage was. I cannot even) and decide to have a conversation afterwards. The two reminisce, then decide to keep in touch. They both end up waking up next to each other on New Year’s Day, and Myeong-Je proposes to her again, saying “can I cook for you every morning for the rest of my life” something to that effect.
Jang-Mi’s mom isn’t thrilled at the idea, telling her that why would she accept him back. But ever loving father says that Myeong-Je will always be his son-in-law. Myeong-Je talks to his dad about their impending reconciliation. Dad falls asleep and he brings him to his bed and he sees receipts of money deliveries. Turns out it was Myeong-Je’s daddy who has been sending money all along to Jang-Mi. You know, the money she used to take up writing, which in turn gave her the ability to write a her love letter to Myeong-Je.
The episode ends with Myeong-Je putting back Jang-Mi’s ring on its rightful place, her hand.
For the last episode, the two now deal with married life, with the couple trying to have a baby which starts to complicate things. Myeong-Je’s dad lives with them, and is getting sick. Jang-Mi experiences an imagined pregnancy which affects her, and makes her start taking medication after a visit to the psychologist. It doesn’t also help that Seo-Young arrives back from abroad after finishing her PH.D. Oh and guess what, she’s divorced now. After Seo-Young gets drunk, Myeong-Je brings her to a motel for her to sleep in, ironically named ‘Rose Hotel’. Why is it ironic? Because the name Jang-Mi means ‘rose’. That’s the name she was being teased with when she was young. Seo-Young asks Myeong-Je to stay, saying she’s scared. It is implied that the two do the horizontal cha-cha.
In the days after that, Myeong-Je starts apologizing for everything. He’s also startled every time his phone rings. Seo-Young reveals to him that she’s an alcoholic, and blacks out after getting drunk. She also decides to get treated for it, thanks to him (oh wow). Also, Jang-Mi this time asks that the two should get divorced, believing it’s her fault why she couldn’t get preggers.
In this interregnum, Jang-Mi gets to write again, and gets published. Her dad also gets Alzheimer’s. After seeing the book with Jang-Mi’s story, he is called by her to the hospital where his father-in-law asked for him. He runs there immediately where he is recognized by Jang-Mi’s dad and covers for Jang-Mi while she rests.
Mom and daughter have a heart to heart talk, where we find out that the reason why she treated Jang-Mi like shit is because she got pregnant with her at a young age, when she could’ve been a trained pianist. So she blamed Jang-Mi’s dad for it, since it gave her reason to live, and she knows he’ll be right beside her. But now that he’s sick, she might not have a reason anymore.
Myeong-Je becomes the dutiful son-in-law, taking care of Jang-Mi’s dad in the hospital (also helps that he’s the only one he recognizes). Jang-Mi gets to see what Myeong-Je was up to when they broke up for the second time: a notebook filled with sketches of her – from how she looked in college to how she looked on the day they broke up for the second time. He did those sketches because he missed her and he was scared he might forget her face. He apologizes to her for the last time.
At the end, it is implied (through the fairy tale narration that starts and ends every episode) that the two get back together, and live happily ever after.
Gonna try to keep this short due to the not-so-short summary of the drama.
With the glaring exception on how the Seo-Young one night stand issue did not get any resolution whatsoever as a negative, I love how the drama does not end with the marriage after the courtship. It shows what happens, to take Jang-Mi’s words, when you wake up from the dream. Or literally, what happens after the honeymoon stage of your marriage. It deals with problems that some real-life couples face every day, and that even though things seem to be shitty right now, it could still turn into one’s very own fairy tale.
Here’s to wishing that everyone gets to have their happily ever after.
7th grade (mentally) civil servant 🙂