Genre: Romcom, Office Romance
Starring: Kim Min Hee, Kim Ji Hoon, Yoon Se Ah, Park Ki Woong
Written by: In Eun Ah (Goong, Mary Stayed Out All Night)
Synopsis: Romantic entanglements ensue when bold and brash mathcmaker Lee Kang Hyun and the well-mannered, reserved divorce attorney Park Hyun Soo meet and fall in love.
What It’s Really About: Letting go of old love, being changed by new love, and being open to new ways of loving so that the new love can survive and bloom.
The Wannadies — You and Me Song
Episode 1: Modern day woman Lee Kang Hyun is a professional couple maker–the elderly call her Ms. Matchmaker and her friends call her a pimp. She’s very good at her job, but just as she’s about to get a promotion her life is thrown into chaos: her boyfriend of five years dumps her, a client turns out to be a fraud, and she meets a lawyer who badgers her to no end. Park Hyun Soo, meanwhile, prepares to leave Korea and his job behind for a month, but is held back by his past.
See those happy expressions? Their happiness was created by me. These pitiful, pathetic souls, they need to be saved. Yes, I will rescue you all! -Lee Kang Hyun
I already love our heroine. She’s confident, irreverent, believes in herself, and is given to overdramatic musings. She’s initially introduced as someone who loves her job, the person who’s that annoying kiss ass colleague who always does the best and buffers it with false modesty. There’s a manic, aggressive quality to her intonation in the quote above, (and so condescending!) the kind you’d expect from a Disney villain, and it just makes it all the more delicious when all her fortunes are overturned by the end of the episode. Kang Hyun is hilarious, and I’m looking forward to her journey up from her fall. I like that Hyun Soo is kind and considerate, but of a different sort than her ex.
I’m getting some serious Jane Austen vibes from our characters, like with how Kang Hyun is a matchmaker who thinks she knows what’s best for everyone–that’s totally Emma. And there’s one exchange that reminds me of Pride and Prejudice.
From P&P, Chapter 8:
Darcy: All this she must possess, and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading. Lizzie: I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any. Darcy: Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this? Lizzie: I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united.
And from Love, Marriage:
Mid-twenties, at least 170 cm tall, weighs 45 kg. Why don’t you ask for a swimsuit inspection, too? Seoul university graduate, father is a civil servant, family assets of over 3 million won. this is really a shock to me. As if that’s not enough, you’re asking for a woman you can respect? Where can you find such a woman in the world?
Episode 2: Newly unemployed and deeply in debt, Kang Hyun decides to take up a job offer she’d once turned down. Hyun Soo stays in Korea because of his missing brother, accepts a job offer from his sunbae, and ends up sharing an office building with Kang Hyun, where office shenanigans throw them in constant contact with one another. Kyung Hwan offers to give Kang Hyun 2 million won as compensation for all the money she spent on him while they were dating.
I’m enjoying the parallel stories of our couple: both have new jobs, both are in places they’d rather not be, both have a debt hanging over their heads, and both have romantic relationships that ended sourly. The best part is how their differing personalities and social positions reflect on their similar situations: the man, the handsome and successful lawyer, gets doted on while Kang Hyun has to serve food at a dinner that’s supposedly being held in her honor. And Hyun Soo is just adorable. So quiet, so polite, and already falling for our heroine. And this time it’s the man who has the irresponsible, emotionally abusive, debt-ridden family member. I love that his sunbae is a woman. It avoids the boys club atmosphere I sometimes detect in those kinds of relationships.
Episode 3: In which our leads confront their pasts: Hyun Soo’s ex-wife contacts him and he gets some news about his missing brother, while Kang Hyun handles her feelings over her break up with Kyung Hwan. Hyun Soo gives Kang Hyun some good advice, which she uses to help keep her job and direct her life; Kang Hyun gets a shock from the divorce firm’s new intern.
Hyun Soo continues to be adorable. The way he wrote down what Kang Hyun had called him (a tattling, two-faced womanizer) to try to figure out what she’d meant and wrote two memos–two!–to make sure that she’d see them? Too cute. One moment between them I really liked was when Kang Hyun tells him that when he likes something , he can’t hide it. It think it’s an observation that’ll help shape their romance in future episodes, and it’s already showing here, with how Kang Hyun thinks he’s walking away from her because it’s embarrassing to be around a crying woman, when he was really just getting her ice cream. Also, when she says that to him she’s referring to his love of math, but I don’t think it’d be a stretch to think that his demeanor changed because of her, too.
Episode 4: As rumors of Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo dating go around the two offices, their exes become jealous; Hwa Young, Hyun Soo’s ex, returns to Korea; Kang Hyun’s job is again at stake and she’s determined to keep it; Hyun Soo helps Kang Hyun, and in repaying him for it the two end up spending quality time together.
Kang Hyun: Honestly, I don’t like the princes in the fairytales very much. Look at The Littele Mermaid. The prince almost died and was saved, but he doesn’t recognize the face of the perso who saved him. Rapunzel is worse. He climbed the tower using her hair. That had to hurt. And the Prince in The Swan Princess has too many brothers; I’m sure all those brother in laws will be trouble for her. But the worst prince of all is the one in Cinderella. He danced with her at the party but couldn’t recognize her. He got so happy that the glass slipper fit her, and then he married her.
Hyun Soo: That makes sense, but you have to look at fairytales in the long stretch. A pretty foot that fits the glass slipper. The glass slipper represents expectations that adults look for.
Kang Hyun: Then it’s the connections?…So the connections between families are more important than looks? Oh my, such meaning in children’s stories.
Hyun Soo: Yeah. When I was young, I thought Cinderella purposefully left the glass slipper behind. It fit her foot perfectly, so why did it fall off while she was walking?
Kang Hyun: Wow. You were a scary kid. A lawyer even then. So then the prince fell for Cinderella’s ploy? I like the princes from the Prince Frog and Beauty and the Beast. They hide their identities and wealth, and have them fall in love with them first. Then, ta-da, a great change.
Hyun Soo: You’re quite innocent.
Kang Hyun: No. I’m really picky, too. I think wealth is as important as love.
Kang Hyun: In the movie A Spring Day, Yo Ji Tae asks, “How can love change?”
Hyun Soo: Wasn’t it person?
Kang Hyun: What? The person? So, “How can a person change?” Is that how you really heard it? That’s funny. Then again, it’s because the person changed that love would change.
Hyun Soo: No. People don’t change. It’s the love. Kang Hyun: What? It’s the person that changes, which causes the love to change.
Hyun Soo: that’s not what I think. Because people dont change, it’s the love that does. People think they change because of love, but hat’s just an illusion. The people never really got along in the first place, but forced themselves to try to match the other person and live on. But in the end they get sick of it and revert to who they really are. The thing about people who get divorces is that when they got married they thought the other person would change.
These two are so communicative and functional. I like how they can have these long conversations with one another. They don’t reach me the way the ones in Coffee Prince did, (do any?) but I welcome the fact that they can be thoughtful and honest with one another, that they become something like friends before any real romance crops up. They don’t agree on everything, but they don’t bicker over their differences. They share their own ideas, they listen to one another, and even if they don’t accept the other’s view they’re willing to let it make them think over their own. It’s like they’re instigating these ripples of change in one another, not the type that comes as a revelation of a gross misunderstanding of character or anything that world altering, but calmer, gentler little persuasions.
Episode 5: Kang Hyun starts to examine and indulge in her romantic feelings for Hyun Soo while he contemplates the possibility of starting over with Hwa Young; meanwhile Hwa Young’s mom insists that she marries before she dies, but Hwa Young can’t stop thinking about her happy moments with Hyun Soo. Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo clash over one of his divorce cases.
Hwa Young: What kind of a person is Kang Hyun?
Hyn Soo: I don’t know. How should I put it? She gets angry easily. She gives 120% and does as she says.
Hwa Young: What kind os a woman is she?
Hyun Soo: I don’t know. A cute woman?
Hwa Young: That’s fine, then.
Hyun Soo: What’s fine?
Hwa Young: A fiery, cute woman–that’s not your type, is it.
Hyun Soo: Is that so?
Hwa Young: You’re not someone who opens up so easily. It took me more than a year.
Everyone in this drama is pretty honest. (Or is it that I’m also watching Nice Guy that’s coloring my perception?) Complications arise from the difficulties of actual problems and not from the lies of tryong to avoid those problems. What I like in this exchange is the smile Hyun Soo has on his face as he describes Kang Hyun, and I can’t help but remember how she said that he can’t hide it when he likes something. Also, he and Hwa Young agree to work to be good friends, while that’s just something that comes rather naturally to him and Kang Hyun.
I love how playfully resentful Kang Hyun is with Kyung Hwan, smearing his character and sticking her tongue out at him. Kang Hyun is just so cute with everybody that I could almost like her with either of her romantic prospects, but I like Hyun Soo as an individual, while Kyung Hwan has a pouty sense of entitlement in his new attitude towards Kang Hyun (probably a result of him trying to be more mature and be the kind of person she can “respect,” as she does with Hyun Soo) that I don’t appreciate.
And yay for a shout out to Mulder and Scully! They are one of my formative OTPs.
Episode 6: Kang Hyun learns a bittersweet lesson when she tries to keep two friends from divorcing and resolves to be a better matchmaker; we begin to see the problems that plagued Hyun Soo and Hwa Young’s marriage; Kang Hyun’s friends get revenge on Kyung Hwan for her; the matchmaking company gets a lurative client.
Episode 7: Romantic tension builds as Hyun Soo starts to realize he may feel something more than friendship for Kang Hyun; Kang Hyun wants to tell Hyun Soo that she’s not a divorcee and confess her love for him; Kang Hyun works with a mercurial, eccentric client who wants to date Hwa Young; Hwa Young’s mother continues to want for her daughter things she doesn’t want for herself; Kyung Hwan misreads a situation.
I think the best word to describe this show is effervescent, like some kind of sweet, fizzy cocktail that you finish faster than you should. The only vindictive people are the mothers, and they both have a depth to them I appreciate. I was so relieved when both Hwa Young and Hyun Soo could immediately see the reason behind Kang Hyun’s lie.
I love how Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo act with one another–the warmth, the playfulness, the gentleness, but most of all the friendship. They confide in one another and go to each other for advice (well, Kang Hyun does, anyway) and though I think the show is overstating the importance of Kang Hyun’s being divorced in order for her to keep her job, I do find it convincing that Hyun Soo would feel betrayed by her lying about her marital status. His divorce is something that plays a huge role in his life, and he’s rationalized that he and Kang Hyun get along so well because they both share an experience that determines so much of his life. There’s a trust between them that he thinks springs from their “being in the same boat,” but I think they just like each other, regardless of martal status. They both always mention how different they are, with their seemingly opposing professions and personalities, but they share some core qualities. Both are serious, in their own ways, insisting on maintaining professional integrity; both are willing to consider views different from their own; they’re both kind; and they’re both generous.
I love that Kang Hyun is so willing to be giddily in love. During Hyun Soo’s explanation of his feelings I had the exact same reaction to him that Kang Hyun had, thinking “Aww, you’re so cute!” when he said he talks like he’s in court when he’s anxious, and whispering “It’s love!” when he said he was figuring out his feelings for her. It’s like Kang Hyun is a fangirl of her own romance. This show has a whole range of cuteness, like…an exploration of cute. (Yes, I know how silly that sounds, and I love it.) Kang Hyun is an animated kind of cute. And Hyun Soo is a totally different kind of cute from Kyun Hwan, with none of the latter’s sulking petulance. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite kdrama heros.
Episode 8: Love blooms! So do bathroom jokes. But there’s sexual tension, too. Hyun Soo starts to distance himself from Hwa Young, with dire consequences; Kang Hyun nurses Hyun Soo when he falls sick; Hyun Soo unwittingly meets Kang Hyun’s mother; Hyun Soo gets a little closer to tracking down his errant brother.
Hyun Soo-ah, I’d like to see you happy. You’ve always lived for someone else, always weighed down with difficulties. You seem like a person who’s afraid to be happy. Now t’s time for you to be happy. Meet someone who can make yo happy. I’d like to see you happy with someone. – Yoon Hye Sun
Wow, the Cash King’s greatest fear is that he’ll end up dying and be found later half-eaten by his dogs–just like Bridget Jones. Teehee. And oh, my perfectly functional babies! Hyun Soo doesn’t hold Kang Hyun’s lie against her, he doesn’t get jealous that Kyun Hwan used to be her boyfriend and instead gives hm good professional advice and tries to guide him. These two make me so happy.
Episode 9: [TW: Seizure warning] Our leads try to tell their exes that they’re dating; Hwa Young decides to go on matseons for her mother’s sake; Kang Hyun’s father tries to get her back together with Kyung Hwan; Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo survive the first hurdle of their relationship and attend an office membership training (MT,엠티) where they play a game of Truth.
Kyung Hwan, I am so disappointed in you.
Episode 10: Hwa Young suffers a great loss and Hyun Soo helps her through it; Kyung Hwan wants to get back together with Kang Hyun; our main couple promise not to misunderstand one another, but Kang Hyun finds it hard to bear the closeness between Hyun Soo and Hwa Young–Kyung Hwan makes things more difficult by daring that she won’t be able to keep her temper for more than 2 days; Kang Hyun’s mother is convinced she’s sick.
Episode 11: Kyung Hwan gives his best effort to remain an intern at the firm; the rift between Hyun Soo and Kang Hyun grows when he unwittingly takes on her mother as a client; Kang Hyun helps a divorcee reconnect with his wife
by stalking her; Hwa Young thanks Hyun Soo for his help with her mother’s funeral and her father ; Kang Hyun learns more about her parents’ marriage.
I can sympathize with Kang Hyun’s mother: her husband is the type of person who doesn’t listen when someone says they’re in pain and just glosses over it. Instead of letting her feel the way she feels, he tells her other people feel worse than her, which does two things: it tells her she should be ashamed for feeling as she does, and it indicates that he doesn’t actually want to hear what she has to say. People like him are incredibly frustrating because it’s like they aren’t doing anything wrong, but they make you feel horrible all the same. Kang Hyun’s father is very nice, but he’s also painfully clueless.
I like how Hwa Young has been handled, even if she can be melodramatic at times. I like that she’s not the evil first wife, and that little things about her character have remained consistent, like how she gets angry when food at a restaurant isn’t it’s best, and how that ties into her socioeconomic class. She’s pampered and used to getting her way, and sometimes she can be selfish, but she does try to think of others. Even I was moved by her story of falling for Hyun Soo first, and I adore Hyun Soo and Kang Hyun together.
Kyung Hwan is such a gross troll. His schadenfreude is unpalatable. He was smiling throughout Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo’s fight, and when Kang Hyun was crying, too. He uses this crisis in her life as an opportunity to show how grown up he is, how much of a man he’s become, but it’s not the kind of situation where he simply steps up to it, but the kind where he welcomes her misfortune. And then basically tempting Kang Hyun’s mother to return to her husband by saying she can’t be divorced in order for him to marry her daughter? And he’s not even dating her? No thank you.
Episode 12: Misunderstandings abound as Kang Hyun’s mother proceeds with her divorce and Kang Hyun gives Hyun Soo an ultimatum, which leaves Hyun Soo in despair; Kyung Hwan insists on marrying Kang Hyun; we learn more about the dynamics between Hwa Young and Hyun Soo’s brother; Hyun Soo works to release his brother from jail.
I wish Kang Hyun could understand her mother more. I wish she could understand Hyun Soo more. They were doing so well with overcoming misunderstandings that I saw this problem with him being her mother’s divorce lawyer as something valid, but now, with that wedding photo shoot, I’m afraid more problems will develop that are just false impressions, like those Kang Hyun first had of Hyun Soo, which he dispelled so quickly. I miss my functional couple.
Episodes 11 and 12 of 16 episode romcom are usually the ones with the most angst. It’d be so awesome to see some kind of graph or chart that maps out progression of a group of rocoms, just to compare them.
Episode 13: Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo save her parents’ marriage and she and Hyun Soo are reunited :D; Kang Hyun’s parents raise objections to their dating and Kyung Hwan insists she marry him; Kang Hyun and Hyun Sung (Hyun Soo’s older brother) meet again.
I love the solution Kyun Hwan comes up with: we love each other and to hell with the rest! I loved that look Hyun Soo gave her when she made the announcement to the office. His whole face lights up, and it’s as if she hasn’t only saved their romance, but has saved him. He was the one who gave her the advice about the Gordian Knot, but she’s the one who figures it out and puts it to work. Our functional couple is back! And lol, I love how Hyun Soo’s older brother calls Kang Hyun his unni.
Episode 14: Cuteness all around! I think this handily makes up for all the angst from previous episodes. Kang Hyun’s parents take some drastic measures to try to split her and Hyun Soo up; Kang Hyun starts to set everyone around her up on dates; Kang Hyun does some self-reflection.
Being alone is lonely. That’s why I decided to pair people up. But now I understand. Two people can mean a beautiful relationship, but being alone can also mean the same. We’ll only be able to see the things close to us when we’re alone. Although all of us need to be in love, we must give ourselves time to be in a relationship with ourselves. – Lee Kang Hyun
How much do I love that they have enough faith in themselves and each other to choose to be apart for a month? How much do I love that Kang Hyun, in the midst of being so in love with Hyun Soo, decides to take some time to focus on herself? Goodness, this is one of those moments when you causally start a show and then 12 episodes later you’re just completely enamored and so glad you started it.
Episode 15: Kang Hyun and Hyun Soo reunite and she asks him a very important question; we see how our leads have grown and come to be good influences on each other’s work lives; one of Hyun Soo’s clients causes major problems for him; friendships develop.
A shower scene in episode 15? Y’all are late!
Episode 16: Hyun Soo makes his journey back to Seoul while Kang Hyun does what she can to help him; Hyun Soo and Hwa Young plus Kang Hyun and Kyung Hwan say their farewells to each other; Hwa Young gets a fine send off; Superman makes an appearance.
When love is over, where does that love go? …I’ve been thinking, and love that’s finished doesn’t disappear. Love turns into that person. – Lee Kang Hyun
I found this last episode surprisingly poignant, what with it’s focus on past love, and how it insisted on showing us the one person who was most hurt on this show, Hwa Young, and how she’s doing her best to carve out some happiness for herself. I like what Kang Hyun says about love that ends, and the gratitude that all our leads show to one another for what they’ve contributed to each other’s lives. And then how generous Kang Hyun is, encouraging Hyun Soo to go on that trip that was aborted, right after he hadn’t been able to finish his biking trip.
Did I cry a little? Yes. I love her.
Mini-Review: So cute, so sweet, such an adorable OTP! They’re toe-curling, hide-behind-your-hands cheesy, and I love it. The episodes are too long, sometimes they seem a bit meandering, and things get frustrating when the angst comes in around episodes 11 and 12, but the story and the characters are endearing. Kim Min Hee is lovely and vibrant, Kim Ji Hoon is kind and hot (he reminds me of a less aegyo-astic Joo Won), and Park Ki Woong is…young. There’s nothing novel about the story, but I fell in love with our leads and was smiling and aww-ing whenever they were onscreen. If you like romcoms then this is definitely for you. ❤ ❤