[2010] Oh my lady drama recap by dramabeans

108 March 22, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 1

by javabeans

Cute show. Challenging, no. But amusing, generally yes. It pretty much delivered what I expected: some conventional setups and kdrama cliches, with a cute lead boy (Choi Siwon may have the body of a man but he’s firmly in boy-man territory for me) and a lovable leading lady. (I am SO glad to see Chae Rim back on television.)

Oh My Lady feels like a remix of several familiar stories and dramas, so it’s not wildly original. Its charm is in the characters and the relationships, and if things continue the way they’ve started, I think it’ll be a fun, light watch.

SONG OF THE DAY

Oh My Lady OST – “Love Is” [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
CHARACTERS

Chae Rim is YOON KAE-HWA, a 35-year-old single mother, divorced two years, who now lives with her young daughter MIN-JI. They’re very close and Min-ji has a love of piano playing; top on Kae-hwa’s list of things she wants to buy her daughter is their own piano for her to practice on.

That won’t happen anytime soon, however, because Kae-hwa is struggling to pay the bills, though no fault (or at least little fault) of her own. She used to work as a restaurant manager until recently, where her boss had been promising to pay her for months. Thus she is behind on the rent and works a side job with a maid service while looking for a new full-time job.

On the other end of the spectrum is 28-year-old star SUNG MIN-WOO (Choi Siwon), a top actor with a boatload of fans, CF contracts galore, and a hot bod. His main weakness, of course, is that he can’t act. And we’re not talking just-a-little-weak-in-dramatic-roles bad, but everyone-acknowledges-he-sucks bad. Butt-of-every-joke bad. Keanu Reeves bad.

On the other hand, Min-woo is so hot that he still rakes in the money and the fans despite his deficient talents. Plus, he doesn’t really care about the acting itself — he’s superficial and vain and more impressed with his celebrity than his work. He’s not a mean guy, just incredibly self-absorbed. He can turn on the charm when necessary, but it’s mostly show. Min-woo has had trouble with the media in the past, although his manager has managed to keep his image squeaky-clean in recent months.

Lee Hyun-woo has had a whole career playing the same character — cool, smooth, professional — but at least it works for him: his YOO SHI-JOON is the CEO of a musical production company called The Show Company. He is currently working with employees JAE-HEE and JIN-HO to get their new project funded and produced.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We open on the set of Min-woo’s latest project, where he races in glorious slow-motion toward his love interest, music swelling dramatically, hair blowing in the wind, sweat glistening prettily off his anguished expression. All looks beautiful and affecting… until he opens his mouth to deliver his dialogue.

He’s alternately flat and overemotive, which makes the director grimace and the staff sigh — even his co-star is dissatisfied — but Min-woo remains blissfully ignorant that he’s the problem here and maintains a smug attitude. To make things worse, he has barely read the script. He tells his manager that his fan-signing event yesterday tired him out, but he’s confident he can pull off the rest of the shoot without a hitch.

Amazingly, he’s right about that, because when filming resumes Min-woo gets to show us why he’s so popular as he wows the crowd — and his co-star — with a kiss. As the schoolgirl fans squeal in the background (and deliver gifts to the crew), the director is reminded that working with Min-woo has its benefits, like popularity and foreign investment interest. So what if he can’t act? Everything has its ups and downs, right?

Min-woo even appears in an Andre Kim fashion show, and you know what that means, since Andre Kim is shorthand for two things: ugly clothes and hot stars. This tells us that Min-woo is the drama-land equivalent of Song Seung-heon or Daniel Henney, only with even worse acting.

Amazingly, he’s cultivating an image as a thoughtful, intelligent person (har!), thanks to his manager’s prepared soundbites. For instance, he explains to a reporter that he’s currently reading a book by Paulo Coehlo, even though we can bet he has no idea who he’s talking about. His manager wants him to take on a sageuk drama next, but Min-woo balks at that.

He’d rather sneak off to meet a lady friend than be mindful of his reputation, even though he last ran into a scandal six months ago when he hit a reporter and took his camera.

With the aid of a friend, Kae-hwa accosts her old boss to demand her seven months of owed salary — a total of 10 million won ($8,000). The woman fobs her off with a fraction of that amount, and Kae-hwa has to sigh and turn her energies to finding new employment. She has been taking odd maid jobs through a maid service, but what she needs is a steady office gig. She used to be a reporter for a magazine that folded, but doesn’t have a lot of relevant work experience, which is her main obstacle.

Through some careful sucking-up, Kae-hwa gets assigned a prime maid job that pays extremely well, in exchange for keeping her mouth shut about the employer. She discovers the reason for this when she arrives at the posh apartment.

Kae-hwa doesn’t understand immediately that this is Min-woo’s place; her initial reaction to his wall-size portrait is to grumble at this fangirly gesture. She looks at the photo and concedes half-grudgingly, “Well, he is good-looking.”

Min-woo arrives just in time to catch that part, and he’s gratified at her assessment. But when she looks over and spots him, her first instinct is to assume he’s an intruder, and she whacks him on the head with her vacuum.

Like I said, Min-woo may be a mimbo (himbo?) but he’s not mean. He accepts her profuse apologies and waves her aside. Kae-hwa offers him some fresh-made juice, which he has to admit is pretty good.

He finds her hovering annoying, though, because he’s trying to watch a movie and she keeps casting glances his way, as though working up her nerve to ask for something. When you’re hottie Sung Min-woo, you automatically assume that what she’s interested in is YOU, so he sighs and grabs a pen and paper to write his autograph.

She actually wasn’t asking for one, but says, “Sure, you can give me one” before catching on that that’s insulting to his pride. She adds, “I mean, please absolutely give me your autograph!” even though it’s clear it’s just to flatter him.

This next exchange made me laugh out loud, because Kae-hwa is so not impressed with Min-woo, who is not used to people not being impressed with him:

Kae-hwa: “Do you happen to be friendly… with Kim Myung-min?”
Min-woo: “Huh?”
Kae-hwa: “Kim Myung-min is such a great actor. But it seems like he might be a little difficult in real life. You know how people who are so intense about their own work can make things hard on people around them. He doesn’t seem like he’d be such a great husband at home, either, but what is he like?”
Min-woo: “How would I know that?”
Kae-hwa: “True, Kim Myung-min’s a real actor, so he’s probably friendly with serious actors, isn’t he?”
Min-woo: “What did you say?”
Kae-hwa: “Even among actors, you stick together in groups, right? Serious actors with serious actors, kids who party with kids who party. You seem like you’d be friends with ‘flower boy’ or ‘momjjang’ types of stars.”
Min-woo, defensively: “I’m friends with Kang-ho hyung. You know Song Kang-ho, the serious actor.”
Kae-hwa, laughing: “But it seems like Song Kang-ho would be so nice that he’d be friends with anyone!”

Gratuitous ab shot! And that’s not even the only one in this episode.

Min-woo gives a shirt to Kae-hwa to iron, telling her to be careful since he has to wear it tonight. She gets right to work, but is soon distracted with a distraught phone call from her daughter (and burns his shirt in her distraction). Min-ji reports that their belongings are out in the street — they’ve been kicked out of their home.

Kae-hwa rushes out, telling Min-woo that there’s an emergency and that he doesn’t have to pay her for today. She hurries home and pleads with her landlord, but she’s months behind on rent and the landlord is out of patience.

With nowhere to go, Kae-hwa takes Min-ji to a sauna where they can bathe and spend the night. Kae-hwa has to make some hard decisions, and tells Min-ji gently that she’s saving to buy her a piano, but she’s still pretty short. What if Min-ji stays with her dad, just until she has enough money?

This is a tough choice, but one that Kae-hwa feels is better for her daughter in the long run. Her ex-husband protests at first — he’s a newlywed — but he ultimately takes her.

The online character descriptions say that the ex cheated on Kae-hwa, leading to the divorce, but they haven’t mentioned that in the drama yet. Even without that info, we can see how this marriage dissolved when he grumbles about Kae-hwa’s money problems — she wouldn’t be in this mess if she hadn’t poured everything into medical treatments for her mother, who ended up dying anyway. He begrudges the money they used, thinking it was a waste, and this is a very sore point between them. Aside from this (not-insignificant) issue, he seems like a generally decent sort, just selfish.

Kae-hwa buys her daughter a cell phone so she can stay in touch, and assures Min-ji she’s not abandoning her. It’s just for a very short while, okay? She then checks herself into a gosiwon — a sort of hostel, like a bare-bones dormitory. They’re usually populated by young students and offer tiny rooms with communal bathrooms and often no kitchens.

Meanwhile, Min-woo basks in the adulation of the adoring masses at a fan meeting. The guy sure knows how to play up to a crowd, and the girls scream their love for him. When they clamor for him to show off his ripped abs, he has to pause — because his shirt is burned underneath the jacket, thanks to Kae-hwa. With some maneuvering, Min-woo manages to bare his choco abs without showing off the singed shirt.

Afterward, Min-woo deflects a persistent reporter, who has sniffed out rumors of Min-woo’s romantic connections to another star. (While it appears that Min-woo is interested in pursuing her, they don’t seem to be dating yet. His manager warns him to keep cool and not let this grow into a scandal.)

Now for The Show Company. The relatively small firm is run by Yoo Shi-joon, who is preparing for a new musical called “All That Love.” The theater company is resistant to the idea, saying that the production won’t be able to get the required funding, but Shi-joon says confidently that it’ll go.

His confidence is more for show, because as he discusses things with his employees Jae-hee and Jin-ho, we can see that the project is on shaky ground. Jae-hee sighs that they need a big name to buoy their project — someone on the level of Sung Min-woo, for instance. True, the guy can’t act for beans, but his name alone would get the investors onboard. So for their presentation with an investor, they add the name Sung Min-woo to their list, hoping it’ll help them look favorably on the musical. Unfortunately, the businessman calls their bluff and guesses that they were just using Min-woo’s name. If they do get him, then he’d be willing to do business, but only then.

Shi-joon plays along with the bluff and accepts the challenge. Jae-hee and Jin-ho fear that if he can’t deliver, their company will sink.

Kae-hwa has been sending her resume around for job interviews, with little success. So when she receives a call from her maid service about a job opening, she jumps at the chance. And when she arrives early to practice her interview answers on the roof, she doesn’t notice that Shi-joon has overheard. Perhaps it’s embarrassing to have him witness her practice session, but on the upside Shi-joon’s curiosity is piqued, and he is less likely to dismiss her straightaway.

Jae-hee and Jin-ho see that she’s an ajumma, and realize that something went awry — the job posting for an intern went to the wrong agency. They dismiss her, but Kae-hwa has got one foot in the door and asks for an opportunity to be their intern. They’re going to hire someone anyway, so why not her? She promises to do anything they need.

Jae-hee asks sarcastically, “What, then can you cast Sung Min-woo for us?” Because what they really need right now is Min-woo.

Not understanding the subtext here, Kae-hwa scoffs at their choice, replying that Min-woo’s not so great — from her personal experience, he’s not as good-looking up close, plus he’s super immature. The Show Company staff exchange looks — she’s talking about him like she knows him. Is that really true?

Kae-hwa answers that it is, then grows wide-eyed as Shi-joon tells her that if she brings Min-woo to them, he’ll make her a full-time employee.

 
COMMENTS

I could probably list a half-dozen or more drama series that Oh My Lady reminds me of, or shares very similar plots/themes with — off the top of my head there’s Full House, Last Scandal of My Life, Wish Upon a Star. So right off the bat we know this is not going to break new ground as far as dramas go, neither in content nor in execution/delivery.

As a light-hearted, family-friendly romantic-comedy, though, Oh My Lady seems to be on solid footing. It’s got a well-picked cast, led by a winning Chae Rim, and Choi Siwon ain’t so bad himself — I like him poking fun at himself and star stereotypes. Maybe one day he’ll tackle more serious dramatic roles, but at this budding stage of his acting career I think he’s picked well in showing off his comic sensibilities.

I’m not so thrilled about Lee Hyun-woo, who’s always the stiff businessman in dramas, but he’s not really much of a contender for Kae-hwa so I don’t have much problem ignoring him. (He is actually not bad when the script calls for dry humor like in Dal Ja’s Spring, which started off with him as a straight-man character but then played around and poked some fun at him.) I’m not much excited about Park Han-byul (who’ll be Min-woo’s ex), whom we haven’t seen yet, but I do like Moon Jung-hee (as Shi-joon’s wife).

All in all, I’d say that Oh My Lady is a pleasant successor to Wish Upon a Star. Personally, I’m in the mood for something a little more serious to balance out all the recent and upcoming comedies, but I always have room for a good-natured and funny series.

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62 March 23, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 2

by javabeans

Episode 2 continues the light, comic feel of Episode 1. For those of you who felt Episode 1 was too familiar and conventional, plot-wise, perhaps the added complication in Episode 2 will capture your interest. Yes, it’s rather like Speed Scandal: The Drama Version — but hey, who doesn’t want to see the drama version of Speed Scandal?

SONG OF THE DAY

Oh My Lady OST – “그대 인형” (You’re a Doll) by Sunny (SNSD). I don’t really like this song, but it’s pretty much the main theme of the drama. [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

After getting Show Company CEO Shi-joon to promise to hire her if she succeeds in bringing Min-woo to their musical, Kae-hwa decides to give it a shot. First on the list is internet research to find out about Min-woo’s background, personality, and hobbies. (Her notes indicate that he’s arrogant, picky, and cocky.)

Next, Kae-hwa writes up her proposal, discarding a few other approaches before hitting upon her hook: He has risen to stardom because of his six-pack, but now it’s time to pour his soul into acting, perhaps even walk the red carpet at Cannes.

Shi-joon aims to convince Min-woo himself, so he seeks him out in person at the gym. Min-woo’s manager runs interference — access to the star is tightly controlled — but Shi-joon actually knows Min-woo personally. Despite not recognizing him at first, Min-woo soon recalls his former teacher who’d put him through rigorous (acting?) training in the past. From the way they talk, it’s clear that Shi-joon was one for strict discipline, while Min-woo was, well, not.

They relocate to a quiet restaurant, where Shi-joon gets to the point about his musical. Min-woo takes the script, but his answer is the sort of noncommittal thing everyone says out of politeness, that he’ll have his manager take a look.

Min-woo’s immature enough to enjoy this role reversal, now that he’s in the more powerful position, and reminds Shi-joon of something he’d said a long time ago — that Min-woo wouldn’t be able to become an actor within ten years. Min-woo says there are no hard feelings, but he does get a kick out of rubbing it in Shi-joon’s face now. In fact, when he emerges from the meeting (with a rock-star swagger) and rejoins his manager, he says that he purposely picked this exclusive restaurant to intimidate Shi-joon. He laughs at the script, having no intention of doing the musical.

Another (brief) character introduction: This is successful choreographer JUNG-AH, played by Moon Jung-hee (who, by the way, got her acting start in the musical world).

Jung-ah has a flirty thing going on with one of her colleagues, which I suppose wouldn’t be such a big deal if only she weren’t married. To Shi-joon, in fact.

Kae-hwa cringes at the idea of shamelessly presenting her proposal to Min-woo, but she works up the nerve to go back to his apartment. A reporter is harassing the security guard for entry, eager to sniff around Min-woo’s apartment, but he is denied entry. Kae-hwa, on the other hand, is remembered as the maid from the other day, so the guard lets her through.

When she nervously rings Min-woo’s doorbell, she is surprised to be welcomed inside, having expected greater difficulty in capturing his attention. He shoves his shirt at her and shows her the singed hole. Realizing that this is her doing, she apologizes and promises to replace the shirt.

Kae-hwa had been fired as his maid, so he wonders what she’s doing here. Identifying herself as an intern for The Show Company, she starts her pitch about casting Min-woo in a musical. He kicks her out.

She can’t just give up here, so Kae-hwa pesters him as he gets into his car, even jumping into the vehicle to make her spiel. She reminds him of a recent interview in which he declared his desire to succeed for his acting rather than his looks. Furthermore, she’s watched his dramas and found that the common weakness is that his characters lack depth and thought. She leaves him with her proposal and exits the car… only to have Min-woo toss her papers out his window.

Kae-hwa’s friend Bok-nim advises that she give up, because it’s a losing battle. Getting Min-woo to agree is hard enough, but the Show Company may not even hire her — what if they were just saying empty promises to get rid of her?

Kae-hwa is dejected after today’s events, but she’s not giving up yet. Confident in her persuasive tactics, she reminds her friend (yet again) that she once scored a big interview in her reporter days. One gets the sense that’s the sole success story in Kae-hwa’s professional life, and she’s been clinging to it all these years.

Min-ji calls about her piano lesson fees, so Kae-hwa rushes to the piano academy to give her the money. The girl is quite perceptive for her young age, and she says she wasn’t sure whether she should call her mother for the money or ask her father. Plus, her stepmother wants to be called unni rather than ajumma, but that’s weird — should she do it? Also, she doesn’t want to ask but she’ll need a new dress for her piano recital…

It’s sweet how Kae-hwa covers her feelings and gives positive answers to ensure her daughter doesn’t feel bad. For instance, it can’t be pleasant to hear about the girl’s stepmother insisting on being called unni and being late to pick up Min-ji, but she smiles and says that stepmom is right, and unni’s easier to say anyway. And even though mention of a new dress makes her smile falter momentarily, Kae-hwa recovers and assures her that of course she’ll get one for her. She’s on top of it!

In order to bring her daughter home soon, she’ll need to land that job, and this reinforces her drive to succeed. With revived motivation, Kae-hwa heads back to Min-woo’s apartment, where she catches the guard in a curious argument with a taxi driver. The man has been paid to drop a young girl off at this address, but the guard can’t accept a random child. But he can’t let the driver up to the tenant’s apartment, either.

Thus the guard is relieved to see Kae-hwa and dumps the girl in her arms. She’s supposed to go to Apartment 702 — Min-woo’s place — and he’s happy to let the maid deal with this tricky situation.

Kae-hwa is at a loss and has no idea what to do. She tries to talk to the girl, but the child remains frustratingly silent. On top of that, she has to go to the bathroom and can’t hold it, and wets her pants.

With nobody answering the doorbell, Kae-hwa figures she’ll have to let herself in and take care of the girl first.

Min-woo is out at the moment, and walks into his manager’s office in time to catch the tail end of his conversation with his boss. The manager says confidently that Min-woo won’t switch agencies; he will be able to get him to re-sign his contract with the exact same terms, because he’s holding a special card over him.

Furrowing his brow, Min-woo confronts his manager. He must be referring to an accident in his past — Min-woo had been accused wrongly of a hit and run, probably by an opportunistic type who was trying to extort some money from the star. His manager had told him to stay put and that he would cover everything up for him.

Now, Min-woo is genuinely hurt to realize that his manager didn’t do all that because he believed in his innocence. The manager has a coldly pragmatic view on things — his job was to get rid of the matter, not have faith in Min-woo’s innocence.

Min-woo understands that his manager is clinging to him using his weakness (or at least he’s ready to use the weakness if Min-woo should ever try to leave), and this comes as a big blow. Disillusioned, he remains quiet on the drive home.

No solace for him there, though, because as soon as he steps inside, he sees unfamiliar shoes and knows someone’s here. He immediately assumes that the girl is Kae-hwa’s own daughter and that she has come back to beg him to do the stupid musical. Grabbing both ladies, he starts to shove them toward the door.

Kae-hwa can’t get in a word edgewise so finally she bursts out that this is HIS daughter! A little dumbly, he protests — but they never… together… (Okay, so he’s a little dim. But so pretty!) Impatiently, she clarifies that she’s HIS daughter, not her own.

Now he’s even more annoyed, jumping to the conclusion that she has made up this ridiculous story to blackmail him. He shoves them out into the hallway and shuts the door, ignoring the girl’s crying.

But that doesn’t last long because Kae-hwa keeps pounding his door and calling out his name. With other people living nearby, he can’t have a random woman with a kid shouting for him, so he grudgingly lets her back inside.

Kae-hwa shows Min-woo the note that came with the girl, which identifies her as Ye-eun. The note is signed with the mother’s name — Yeon-hee — and although he says he doesn’t know who that is, his reaction says otherwise. It’s apparent to us that he does know exactly who this Yeon-hee is — and that he realizes Ye-eun could very well be his daughter — but he insists to Kae-hwa that the mother must be some crazy stalker.

Min-woo tries to talk to the little girl, asking for her name and her parents, but his temper flares at the girl’s continued silence and he ends up yelling at her.

Frustrated, he wants nothing to do with this and yells at Kae-hwa to take care of the kid. If she wants to abandon her, fine. Or she can raise her herself!

Min-woo heads out to find his friend Tae-gu, who manages a smoothie shop that Min-woo owns. He asks Tae-gu about Yeon-hee — has he heard from her? Does he have her number?

Yeon-hee had in fact looked Tae-gu up recently to ask for Min-woo’s address, but left no information for herself. Min-woo orders his friend to get a hold of her immediately.

They call out a couple more old buddies and hit a club, where they drink together. These three are all non-celebrities, sort of like Min-woo’s Entourage-esque clingers-on, who date back to his younger days and enjoy the perks of being friends with a famous star.

Meanwhile, Kae-hwa is left to take care of Ye-eun in Min-woo’s apartment. Thinking of her own daughter, she sighs, “Kids stuffer a lot because of adults,” then texts her daughter to check in.

Kae-hwa’s friend Bok-nim — the one obsessed with Min-woo — texts her with the latest scoop. Another scandal has broken regarding Min-woo and a certain ladyfriend, but Kae-hwa thinks that’s nothing compared to the brewing problem he’s got at home. And then the thought comes to her — as the only one who knows about Ye-eun, she has got a powerful secret that she could hold over his head…

In the morning, Min-woo finds Kae-hwa and Ye-eun still in his kitchen. Kae-hwa sits down for a talk, having thought over her strategy carefully, and hesitantly makes her proposal/blackmail threat. She can help him with the girl, in exchange for him appearing in the musical. After all, he’s a top star and if news about Ye-eun leaked, his career would surely take a hit. She threatens (rather weakly) to talk to the press.

Min-woo calls her bluff, so she tells him that she’s taken photos of the letter and the girl. She’s really sorry, but she’ll use them if she has to. Min-woo wrestles the phone from her, but she hurriedly adds that she’s already backed up the data elsewhere.

Perhaps he can tell she’s not really up for real blackmail, because he challenges her to go ahead and leak the information. He’s got lawyers and managers, and he’s not scared of her. He kicks Kae-hwa out of the apartment, and she worries, “That’s not how this was supposed to end.”

But this means he’s left alone with Ye-eun, and he still has to contend with the matter of what to do with the girl. The wee, unwanted, mute girl.

First, he heads to his car, but finds that the tenacious gossip reporter is camped out in the parking garage next to his car. The man tells his boss over the phone that he won’t move a muscle until he gets his story.

Therefore Min-woo is forced to leave on foot, keeping his face half-covered and his head bowed as he leads the girl to the police station. He wants to just dump her there, but the police officers tell him that he’ll have to fill out a report and identify all the details — how the girl was left, where, his contact information.

Min-woo can’t have that, and one of the officers starts to recognize him. Denying it, Min-woo quickly leaves, taking the girl with him.

It’s not long before he’s spotted in the street — fangirls! — who recognize him instantly. They don’t buy his weak denials and accost him, doggedly pursuing him down the street.

Min-woo grabs the girl — holding her as far from him as he can while running — and races down the street until he’s finally able to lose them.

He puts Ye-eun down for a moment, and she wanders off to play with a toy. For a brief second he thinks he has lost her, and when he sees her a few feet away, a curious look comes across his face — nobody’s around and the girl is distracted. This might be the perfect chance to ditch her for good…

He starts to turn away to leave, just as the two fangirls corner him again.

 
COMMENTS

The addition of Min-woo’s child definitely spins Oh My Lady into a different direction than the other dramas that it otherwise resembles. There are still elements of Full House, Last Scandal, Wish Upon a Star, and Speed Scandal — but rather than repeating those dramas, it picks a few elements from each and puts them together in a new way. So that gives this a different angle. I’m still not going to call this an original drama, but it’s not a direct copycat, either.

The addition of Ye-eun may also be that factor that bridges Kae-hwa and Min-woo and makes their connection more credible — or at least I hope. I don’t have a problem with the age gap, or the older-woman trend, or even Choi Si-won’s age. (Honestly, if I didn’t know he was an idol star in a boy band of hot young things, I don’t think I’d find him so very young-looking in this drama. I don’t have a hard time thinking Min-woo’s 28 even if Siwon is actually 23.) But I wasn’t sure if the chemistry would work between the characters. Now that both are parents to young daughters, perhaps they’ll find more common ground as Min-woo has to figure out how to be a parent. Especially since he’s a very reluctant one, compared with Kae-hwa who would do anything to be able to bring her daughter back home with her.

Also: How adorable is this boy, right? I’ve been reading reviews and articles since the drama’s premiere yesterday, and most have been very favorable of Choi Siwon. This is hardly his first acting endeavor (I’ve liked him since Hyang Dan, where I thought he was very charming), but now that he’s starring in a prime-time miniseries, I expect he’ll be the next idol star to be declared a crossover success.

 
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55 March 29, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 3

by javabeans

Generally I don’t have a problem buying Choi Siwon playing a 28-year-old in this role — he can look older than his age and he’s dressed like a grown-up — but in this shot (from a fantasy sequence, no worries about additional kiddos showing up unannounced) he positively looks like a high schooler. Until he strips that shirt off and bares his choco abs, of course — and this drama sure doesn’t skimp on showing off his physique. Not that I’m complaining.

SONG OF THE DAY

Oh My Lady OST – “못났죠” (Aren’t I stupid?). The soundtrack is generally upbeat but this is my favorite track, used in more subtle scenes. It reminds me of God of Study‘s “Because I’m Weary” in that it’s an unexpected but nice break from the lightness. [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

Min-woo gets stuck taking pictures with the two schoolgirls, who are not from Seoul and therefore easily excited at the idea of running into celebrities. Min-woo takes advantage of their interest in other stars by pointing them off into the distance and saying that Kang Dong-won, Hyun Bin, and some other big names all live in the same neighborhood.

Having rid himself of them, he turns back to look for his daughter… but finds her gone. Even though he was thinking of ditching her just a few minutes prior, I have to think he’s got a heart (or at least a shred of one) because his first reaction is fear. Two seconds later that turns to relief when he sees Ye-eun sitting quietly nearby. He can’t be ALL bad if he’s relieved to find her, right?

Min-woo brings the girl back home and fields a call from his manager Yoon-seok, who finds Min-woo’s behavior suspicious and asks if he’s gotten into trouble again. Min-woo hesitates, then answers no.

He gets bad news from his friend Tae-gu, who informs him that nobody knows where to find Yeon-hee. Without any way to contact her, Min-woo will have to be stuck with the girl a while longer.

As Min-woo gulps water out of frustration, he sees the note that Kae-hwa has left on his fridge: “If you get angry, don’t just drink water but call me if you have trouble.” Irritated with Kae-hwa (and also the fact that she knew him well enough to predict his behavior), he rips up the note and tosses it in the trash.

He also finds Kae-hwa’s proposal, which contains a Jerry Maguire-inspired memo about huge agencies not caring about their stars, and only seeing them as moneymakers. She has also made note of the fact that Min-woo tends to get restless when he is asked about his acting ability and often shakes his leg in interviews. This indicates that he may be conscious of his lack, despite his overall confidence as a star. Again, Min-woo’s disgruntled to have Kae-hwa acting like she knows him.

All these thoughts spin him off into a fantasy scenario where he’s facing a press conference alone when he announces the existence of a child. The reporters pelt him with eggs and scorn for his irresponsible outlook (he admits he has a child but doesn’t want to be a father), and soon the news is flooded with stories digging into his personal life. Eventually he has to repent and finds himself relegated to serving drinks at a cafe and accepting tips from patrons to feed his kids — yes, in his nightmare scenario, he’s saddled with two additional crying babies.

That sound brings him back to the present, because Ye-eun won’t stop crying. He tries to hush her, and a neighbor rings his doorbell to ask about the crying noise (he assumes it’s coming from next door and tells Min-woo he’ll stop it). Without any other ideas, he grabs the ripped note from the trash and pieces it back together to find Kae-hwa’s phone number.

Kae-hwa is cautiously optimistic about the call, but also wary. Not wanting to get her hopes up only to have Min-woo renege on his promise, she declines to step inside his place until he first signs a contract. It’s not the official one for the musical production, merely a short one promising to accept the musical role. With a sigh, Min-woo agrees to sign the official contract later today.

He leaves her to take care of Ye-eun, and Kae-hwa rejoices to realize she’s going to get her office job after all. Min-woo is much less thrilled and works out his frustrations at the gym. This is our first of several sweaty/muscley Siwon shots this episode.


Shi-joon has no idea his marriage is facing trouble but discovers this because of his wife Jung-ah’s carelessness. As soon as he leaves home for work, she gets on the phone with her boyfriend. Shi-joon turns back to retrieve some forgotten documents, which is when he hears Jung-ah speaking affectionately and saying, “I love you, too.”

It’s quite a blow, and Shi-joon reacts with shock and anger. Half in a daze, he follows her as she leaves and tails behind her car in his own. He is unfortunately cut off by traffic and has to abandon his chase.

Kae-hwa drops off Ye-eun with her friend Bok-nim, who’s a pediatrician, before heading to meet Min-woo and The Show Company to work out contract details. She’s worried because she can’t get a hold of him on the phone and he’s enough of a flake that she is on edge that he might not show, so when he does arrive, she grabs him in a sudden hug. The look on his face is pretty telling (it practically reads, “Crazy ajumma alert! Back away slowly”).

Kae-hwa’s quite proud of herself for securing Min-woo’s cooperation, and she introduces him to the other employees, Jin-ho and Jae-hee. However, it soon becomes clear that Min-woo and Shi-joon already know each other, from the way they talk.

(I get a kick out of the total Zoolander face Siwon’s working in the pic below. How apt, given his pretty pretty face and his diva personality. Blue Steel forever!)

As before, the men’s conversation takes on subtly challenging undertones, as both men banter back and forth like they’re jockeying for power. Shi-joon didn’t think Min-woo would agree, based on his response at their last meeting, so Min-woo gets up, saying he can always just leave. Kae-hwa jumps in and quickly fabricates, “He said he felt the need for a new challenge.”

Shi-joon needs Min-woo much more than the other way around, but he’s still not the type of guy to fawn over someone to flatter their vanity. Quite the contrary. Therefore he says coolly that they didn’t strictly want Min-woo; they just needed a star. Min-woo understands that Shi-joon is calling him a mere star but not an actor, and answers that in that case, the company should treat him like a star.

Despite this exchange, both sides proceed with the agreement, and Kae-hwa sees Min-woo out. She tries to talk to him about Ye-eun, but Min-woo says impatiently that he doesn’t care to hear about her.

Shi-joon reads over Kae-hwa’s proposal to Min-woo, and wonders at Min-woo’s change of heart. He knows him well enough to know that casting him was a long shot — he’s immature, arrogant, and avoids hard work. Does Kae-hwa have some secret deal with him? Diplomatically, Kae-hwa answers that he’s probably just maturing.

In any case, Shi-joon agrees that this worked out well and is a good opportunity for everyone. He entrusts her with the task of making sure things run smoothly, and has a workspace set up for her. She has earned her job, as promised.

The news soon spreads about Min-woo’s casting in the musical, and one man who is not happy about his is Eom Dae-young, Shi-joon’s rival musical producer. Producer Eom blusters that Min-woo’s a poor choice as a pretty boy star (read: not true actor), and while Shi-joon may agree personally, he isn’t going to admit that to him and says that there’s nothing wrong with using a pretty boy actor if he’s right for the part. Producer Eom reminds him that Min-woo’s famous for his horrible acting, so Shi-joon answers that a skilled producer can draw out the actor’s talent.

Shi-joon has won this round fairly easily, but his good mood takes a hit when he spies his wife walking out of the restaurant, arm in arm with another man. He runs out after them, but their car roars off before he can reach them.

Hit hard by this shock, Shi-joon broods and seeks out some solo time on the roof of his office building. Overcome with anger, he punches the wall, and seriously, this is the most emotion I’ve seen from actor Lee Hyun-woo since… ever?

Kae-hwa checks in with Min-ji at lunchtime, and her daughter’s answers are pretty upsetting. Hearing that Min-ji was left home alone to eat ramen, she instructs her to come out to meet her immediately, and buys her lunch.

As they eat, Kae-hwa tells Min-ji that she’s got a new job now, working with that famous star Sung Min-woo. Min-ji isn’t impressed: “I don’t really like Sung Min-woo. He’s sleazy and cocky.” (Kae-hwa is pleased that her daughter has good taste.)

After lunch, she calls her ex, Byung-hak, and lets him have it. How could he leave a child at home alone for three days to go off to a spa for a vacation with his new wife? Byung-hak doesn’t think what he did was so bad and even tries to wheedle Kae-hwa into talking to his father for him. Byung-hak doesn’t want to work for him anymore and Dad’s always liked Kae-hwa, so he’ll listen to her. This conversation tells us a few things: Byung-hak is immature, irresponsible, and wussy.

So it is that Shi-joon looks up from his brooding to see Kae-hwa at the other side of the roof, strangling a broom as though it’s her husband and muttering things like “Jerk! Cheater!” His treatment of Min-ji is what unleashed the temper but now she’s venting old grievances — she’d put up with his immaturity and other faults, but cheating was the one thing he really shouldn’t have done. She declares that she will turn her life around, earn money, send Min-ji to school abroad, “and meet a man a hundred times better than you and remarry!”

She calms herself and heads back, which is when she sees Shi-joon. Embarrassed, she asks if he heard. His denial is cute, because it’s obvious he did:

Kae-hwa: “Did you… by any chance hear?”
Shi-joon: “No.”
Kae-hwa: “What didn’t you hear?”
Shi-joon: “Everything.”

It’s then that she notices his bleeding hand, but it’s clear he doesn’t want to talk about it so she leaves him to his privacy.

Manager Yoon-seok finds Min-woo at the gym, pissed off, to confront him about his musical role. Doesn’t he know that signing a contract without his management’s approval is a breach of contract? Min-woo points out that Yoon-seok signs for him all the time.

Yoon-seok asks if he’s being forced to do it, not buying Min-woo’s vague answer that he just likes the project. After all, he’s a guy who never even bothers reading the script. However, given Min-woo’s sensitivity about his acting, and his recent disillusionment with Yoon-seok’s tactics, the comment rankles. (It may be true that he sucks at acting, but he’s quite self-conscious about it, so pointing it out makes him defensive.)

This point is highlighted one more time when the spa employee expresses surprise at Min-woo’s plans to read. With boyish defensiveness, he grumbles that he can read scripts if he wants to — only, he doesn’t even get two lines into the script before he starts dozing.

When Kae-hwa picks up Ye-eun, Bok-nim tells her that the girl may not be able to talk for a while and needs further treatment with a specialist. It’s not that she is choosing not to speak, but that emotional shock has caused her to lose her ability to talk entirely.

This is big news, so Kae-hwa calls Min-woo to schedule a time to talk. Uninterested in anything she might have to say, he refuses to come to the hospital to meet her and hangs up on her, entering her into his phone as “meddler.”

So Kae-hwa comes to the spa instead, where he’s getting a massage — and this drama just keeps giving us excuses to see him half-naked, doesn’t it?

Contrary to her grave demeanor, his response to the news is, “So?” She urges him to be a real father to Ye-eun, because the most important element in recovering her speech is to feel love and support from her parents. Selfish as ever, Min-woo counters that he’s the one who’s to be pitied — does she even know how much is life has been turned upside down because of the kid?

Kae-hwa is not impressed with his answer, and glares. She maintains that they must help Ye-un, and he won’t be able to find her mother anyway until she speaks again.

As they leave the spa, Min-woo grabs Kae-hwa aside and tells her furtively, “Let’s just leave her somewhere.” Since the girl can’t talk, nobody will be able to trace her to them.

Quite rightly, Kae-hwa kicks him. (He balks, “Do you know how much this body’s worth?” She retorts, “I don’t know about your body, but your brain isn’t even worth a penny!”) She questions his sense of decency, accusing him of not having any, and then adds in a dig: “That’s why your acting is how it is.”

Ah, now that’s the way to his heart! (Or his wounded ego.) Min-woo is offended at her comment that his acting sucks because he lacks basic human character, and without that he’ll never be able to act well.

Now that she’s pricked his weak spot, he pricks hers by grumbling that she’s tiresome, and her husband must have tired of her. Hurt at that low blow, Kae-hwa tells him furiously that fine, she will step aside, since he finds her so meddlesome. Min-woo reminds her that if she backs out and breaks their contract, then he’s also going to back out of the musical.

Angrily, she declares, “I won’t work with a lowlife like you either!” and storms off.

Now we meet Yura, who is flying back to Korea from the U.S. to meet her boyfriend. One guess who that is.

Meanwhile, Min-woo hears about Yeon-hee’s whereabouts, but it’s not good news. She has married and moved to the U.S., and tied up all her loose ends in Korea to embark on a new life. I guess she thought a child was a loose end.

Not knowing the full story, Tae-gu thinks this is good, because he was afraid Yeon-hee would try to blackmail Min-woo — maybe threaten him with a sex video, or suicide threats. Instead, she left a simple message for him: “Sorry and thank you. Take care. I leave everything to you.”

Kae-hwa brings Ye-eun home and sings her to sleep, which is the sight that greets Min-woo upon his arrival. He watches the two for a moment, and a thought comes to him. Quietly, he leaves the two and waits for Kae-hwa in the living room. The wineglasses show that he’s approaching this as a truce, and he invites her to sit down for a chat.

Kae-hwa’s still a little stiff after their earlier argument and keeps her distance. When he comments at the way she doesn’t treat him differently even though he’s famous, she scoffs, “People are all the same. What’s different if you’re famous?”

With a smile and a conciliatory tone, Min-woo suggests that they try to get along from now on, and pours her a glass of wine. He explains that he was completely taken off-guard when Ye-eun showed up, and that’s why he said all those ridiculous things — he didn’t really mean them.

Kae-hwa loosens up at his warm demeanor and his explanation, and accepts the drink. There’s also a brief moment where she looks at him in a different light — sensing a brief attraction — which unsettles her.

Frankly, seeing Min-woo acting so nice has ME wound up with suspense, because I don’t believe for a second that he’s actually being nice for the sake of being nice. And sure enough, the reason for his friendly overture becomes apparent as he prepares to get to his main point.

Adding tension to the moment is the arrival of Yura, who steps out of the elevator and makes her way toward Min-woo’s door. Clearly he is the boyfriend she spoke of, and she pauses in front of the door to prepare herself…

…while Kae-hwa waits expectantly as Min-woo says, “It’s hard for me to say this, but… please be Ye-eun’s mother.”

And she spits her wine all over his face, just as Yura reaches to ring the doorbell.

 
COMMENTS

I don’t feel an emotional connection to this drama yet, in that everything is light and quick and entertaining without making much of an emotional statement yet. This isn’t to say that it’ll never happen, because we’re still pretty early in the run, although I’ve definitely seen plenty where that connection was there from the start.

On the positive end of things, Oh My Lady is very easy to watch, and there’s potential for it to get more interesting. I’m still in it to see how Chae Rim and Choi Siwon’s budding relationship will evolve, because right now they’ve got the bickering stuff down but Min-woo is far from deserving Kae-hwa, or even the audience’s sympathies. I like that he’s selfish and irritable — just as Kim Ji-hoon was so easy to dislike until about six episodes into Wish Upon a Star — and I’m looking forward to the change. I just hope that the romantic chemistry is credible.

But interestingly enough, I was most surprised with Lee Hyun-woo in this episode. Granted, I haven’t seen everything he’s done but I have seen several dramas with him so far, and he has always been such a bland, wooden actor playing the same kind of cold professional character. But suddenly, he’s emoting! I wouldn’t call it brilliant emoting, but just seeing him portraying any sort of anger, hurt, pain, and frustration was a nice surprise. I guess this goes to show you can never rule someone out — not when he finally shows some acting growth at the ripe age of 44!

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73 March 30, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 4

by javabeans

I think the drama is finally getting its emotional footing. I’d been a little worried that it wouldn’t make that emotional connection, so I’m relieved at the signs in this episode.

(By “emotional connection,” I don’t necessarily mean that I want melodrama or angst, specifically. It’s that I want a drama to feel like it has some sort of emotional sincerity, that the characters are built on something genuine, not just cliches of plucky ajummas and spoiled stars.)

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EPISODE 4 RECAP

After spitting wine in Min-woo’s face, Kae-hwa explains that he really caught her off-guard. How could he ask that she be Ye-eun’s mother when they barely know each other?

Min-woo doesn’t think that’s such a big deal, eager to fob off his parental duties to her, until he realizes what Kae-hwa is thinking — surely she doesn’t think… that he’s suggesting… they be parents together? He recoils with maidenly horror.

After taking a moment to primp in the hallway, Yura rings the doorbell, and as soon as Min-woo sees who it is, he panics. Hurriedly cleaning up, he pushes Kae-hwa into the bedroom and tells her to make sure Ye-eun stays quiet.

We can tell from Min-woo’s body language and his reaction — fawning, eager-to-please — that he still carries a torch for Yura, a friend from university days. Her confident, coy air is typical of a woman who was always the prettiest girl at the ball, who expects her looks to open doors for her. Because, naturally, they do.

She has Min-woo wrapped around her little finger and he, the lovesick idiot, heaps compliments on her about how she’s even prettier than before. Yura doesn’t even try for false modesty and says that she likes hearing the praise. She also calls Min-woo “nice and innocent,” which is surely something that nobody else could say, and wonders what would have happened with them if she didn’t move to America.

Kae-hwa tries to hold back the urge to pee but can’t resist any longer, so she peeks out of the room and gestures to Min-woo that she has to use the bathroom. Min-woo distracts Yura to allow Kae-hwa a moment to make a dash for it.

Yura explains that she’s actually here to lobby a cause with him. After graduating from fashion school in the States, she’s now working for her aunt’s clothing company in Korea. They want Yura to convince Min-woo to be their brand model. He’s only too happy to agree.

Unthinkingly, Kae-hwa flushes the toilet before recalling that she’s supposed to be silent. Thankfully, Yura buys Min-woo’s excuse that it’s the bathroom upstairs. He doesn’t have a good excuse when Ye-eun starts to cry, though, so he hurriedly ushers Yura out, saying that she should go home before it gets too late.

He sees her out, but Yura has forgotten her cell phone and heads back inside before he can stop her. She comes face to face with Kae-hwa, who has emerged thinking it’s safe now, and the two women gape at each other in surprise.

Kae-hwa thinks quickly and introduces herself as an employee of the agency. Min-woo makes up the excuse that she was just dropping off a script, but he hadn’t introduced her because he didn’t want Yura to misunderstand the relationship. Again, he’s happy that Yura doesn’t get suspicious — she’s too vain to be threatened by an ajumma, methinks! — and she just warns him to be careful of being seen at home with a woman because he might be the victim of a scandal.

Kae-hwa apologizes for the slip-up, and they get back to the matter at hand: Ye-eun’s care. Min-woo wants to write up a contract detailing her duties as surrogate mother, and they settle upon a monthly pay rate. However, he was under the impression that she’d just take Ye-eun away and raise her at home, while she was under the impression that she’d come by here, like a babysitter. Min-woo barks that she’s supposed to be on hand 24/7, so of course they’ll need to live together.

Kae-hwa talks as though this is a big sacrifice for her: “I understand, I guess there’s no other choice. I’ll come live here.” She’ll have to endure until they can locate Ye-eun’s mother.

Of course, Min-woo balks at this — wait a second! She can’t move in! Kae-hwa explains that she doesn’t have her own place right now. Maybe they should forget the deal, then. Assailed with the thought of Ye-eun crying all the time, he concedes the point. She can move in.

Kae-hwa has on several occasions shown that she can be unexpectedly persuasive, and she does that again here. She says that if she moves in, she’ll inevitably do some house chores, and being a babysitter AND housekeeper should merit more pay… Grudgingly Min-woo adds to her pay, but also deducts her salary from the overall total — after all, she’ll be working at the office during the day.

Min-woo is growing more agitated with the matter of Ye-eun, so now he tosses a bag of money at Tae-gu and tells him to bring Yeon-hee back, no matter what. If he has to fly to America to track her down, so be it. Since Min-woo hasn’t confided the details in his friend, Tae-gu thinks this is all because he’s still in love with Yeon-hee.

I’m a little apprehensive about the fact that Kae-hwa confides the truth to her friend Bok-nim. On the one hand, Bok-nim is a doctor and I’m sure she has a professional code of ethics regarding a patient, but on the other, she’s been shown to be a silly fangirl where Min-woo is concerned. Kae-hwa warns her to keep the truth to herself, but I worry about it…

It’s not long before Kae-hwa is called back to the daycare center where Ye-eun is staying, because the girl won’t stop crying. Bok-nim explains that the girl is suffering from social anxiety disorder and is overcome with a lot of emotions: she’s upset with her mother for leaving her, and scared of the new surroundings. Because her condition is completely psychological, the best way to start helping her is to cultivate an attachment with her father.

Bok-nim also advises a DNA test, for two reasons. First, if Min-woo is confronted with concrete data that Ye-eun is his daughter, it may force him to accept the truth quicker. Second, if it turns out she isn’t his, they can’t take responsibility for the girl forever. Therefore, Kae-hwa battles her nerves as she surreptitiously swipes both Min-woo’s and Ye-eun’s toothbrushes to turn over for testing.

Min-woo lunches with Yura and they chitchat about things like his musical project. While she doesn’t make an outright claim on Min-woo, he’s very encouraged by her suggestion to keep in touch.

Lunch is disturbed by a string of phone calls, all of which he tries to end quickly so he can get back to his date. He cuts off his manager Yoon-seok, who has just found that Min-woo has changed his door passcode, and also cuts off Kae-hwa’s call reminding him about his first musical rehearsal that afternoon. He removes the battery and turns his full attention back to Yura.

Dissatisfied with Min-woo’s recent behavior, Yoon-seok heads to The Show Company to check things out for himself.

There, the mood is ominous — Min-woo is more than an hour late and he’s unreachable by phone. The room of producers, songwriters, and employees wait in tense silence, and bickering erupts between two of them. To defuse the tension, Kae-hwa takes out her phone and pretends to talk to Min-woo, making it sound as though he’s very sorry and on his way over.

Of course, he walks in while she’s still on the phone. Awkward! At least it could SORT of look like they were just talking, but I don’t think anyone’s buying it.

Shi-joon has been stewing in silence, and is offended with Min-woo’s careless apology (which he only makes because Shi-joon prods him to). He instructs Min-woo to apologize properly — which of course Min-woo’s pride won’t let him do at Shi-joon’s command — so he then orders Min-woo to leave: “You don’t know how to be on time or to apologize. We have no need for a person lacking such basics.”

Min-woo doesn’t even argue with that, and points out that they needed a star, not someone with the “basics” of courtesy. They can pick one, but not both (because in Min-woo’s world all stars are assholes?). And when an angry Shi-joon sneers that Min-woo still isn’t “a real person,” Min-woo turns the tables and asks if a real person is someone who ruins his projects and runs up millions in debt. (Clearly this is a reference to Shi-joon’s struggling productions.)

Shi-joon says, “I’m the idiot for expecting even a little from you. Leave.” Min-woo exits.

Yoon-seok’s a little smug about the others having difficulty controlling Min-woo, but he takes precisely the wrong tactic (in my opinion) to win him back to his side by belittling Min-woo. He suggests that he quit the musical now, before he gets kicked out. When Min-woo takes issue with that, Yoon-seok lays down the harsh truth — his acting sucks, and it’s not what has made him successful.

Min-woo says, “Then I can work hard!” Even though I doubt he even knows what hard work feels like, he’s sincere in this moment so Yoon-seok’s condescension is particularly hurtful. The manager laughs that some things in this world just aren’t possible, and that calling yourself an actor doesn’t make you one. Yoon-seok advises that he stay put and obey.

Overhearing this conversation, Kae-hwa sees Min-woo’s hurt reaction and feels sorry for him. She waits by his car, and greets him cheerfully. Rather than mention the scene, she offers to be his driver and take him somewhere to cheer him up.

They end up at the grocery store, which makes Min-woo greatly paranoid at being recognized. This is what she calls cheering up?

Kae-hwa offers to make him anything he wants for dinner and picks out supplies. However, she can’t resist stepping in to warn a group of ajummas not to buy the crab they’re eyeing. She bought it previously and found it was a waste of money, so the ladies walk away.

This upsets the vendor ajumma, who gets in Kae-hwa’s face for meddling. What does she know, and how can she vouch that all the crabs are bad quality? Turning to Min-woo (thinking he’s her husband), she demands to know if he agrees, and in so doing knocks off his visor.

Immediately she recognizes him, and suddenly he becomes the focus of attention of everyone in the vicinity. He and Kae-hwa race off to avoid the onslaught — and you think fangirls are bad? Ain’t nothing compared to rabid ajummas. Fangirls are fearless, but ajummas are fearsome.

Shi-joon sits through dancer auditions with his choreographer wife, Jung-ah, but he’s distracted throughout and pays little attention. When he steps out for a break, he’s greeted by a man who introduces himself as Jung-ah’s colleague — whom Shi-joon recognizes as The Other Man.

He’s keeping this knowledge of his wife’s affair to himself, but it makes him cold when dealing with her (understandably). When she urges him to bring Min-woo back to the production — he can’t afford to let this musical fail — he says, “If we divorce, you have no responsibility for my debt. Don’t worry.” That leaves her utterly confused.

Kae-hwa and Min-woo eat together, after which she eases into conversation. If he drops out of the musical, it’s likely she’ll be fired from her job, so she tries to broach the topic in a natural way. Kae-hwa starts with flattery — calling him really smart, and really sexy — which is hilarious because Min-woo is sharp enough to sense that Kae-hwa’s up to something, but not sharp enough to think beyond, “Oh, she must like me.”

She suggests that he “go all-in” for a project for once (as in, do the damn musical), and assures him he has nothing to be afraid of. He retorts, “Do you think I’m not doing it because I’m afraid?” She jumps on that: “Since you’re not afraid, give it a try. And you can show your manager, who disregards you.”

Oops. She just said too much. Min-woo catches that last bit and asks if she overheard his conversation.

Kae-hwa immediately tries to soften the words, defending Min-woo against his unfair manager, but as we know, he’s particularly sensitive where his acting is concerned. That causes him to bark at her to shut up — who is she to act like she knows everything?

And then, as we’ve seen before, he retaliates for his own hurt by hurting her in turn, mocking her tiny salary and saying that the only reason he signed the contract was because he felt sorry for her for being divorced and homeless. So she’d better not overstep her bounds.

Min-woo stalks off, but overhears Kae-hwa answering her phone, and he’s inadvertently stirred by the conversation. Kae-hwa talks to her ex-husband about packing kimbap for Min-ji’s school outing, but the ex doesn’t want to bother. They can just buy it for her instead. Packing a child’s lunch is a traditional school picnic thing, so Kae-hwa doesn’t want to ruin that for her daughter:

Kae-hwa: “Min-ji will be so sad she’ll cry. I’m not going to make her cry anymore. She’s already been hurt a lot because of us. You’re only going to have her for a short while — can’t you try being a father properly?”

Kae-hwa heads out, pausing at Min-woo’s door to apologize and promise that she’ll be careful not to overstep her bounds in the future. Feeling a prick of conscience (for once!), Min-woo grumbles uncomfortably, “Don’t you have any pride, apologizing so quickly?”

Min-woo is called out for a meeting with Shi-joon, who has calmed now and apologizes for losing his temper. He even says that Min-woo was right — they cast a star, so it wasn’t fair to expect other things of him.

This is where he starts to win Min-woo over (although Min-woo wouldn’t ever admit it), because he opens up and admits honestly that Min-woo was right about him being in debt over a ruined project. Only, it wasn’t just the last ruined project, but the last three. He’s millions in debt. Perhaps this is just a passing project to Min-woo, without much meaning, “but to me, it’s something I’ve risked my life on.” That’s the life of a producer — if they keep putting out failed projects, eventually they’ll end up on the street.

Min-woo’s ruffled pride is more or less smoothed over by this admission, but he still asks why Shi-joon assumes he’s doing this without thinking. Maybe he’s being pressured by his agency, maybe he’s interested in an actress, but in any case, “I choose because I have a reason.”

Min-woo asks bluntly, “You disregard me, don’t you? Because we met when I was 20 and immature. But my age now is close to yours then.” He’s learned a little about life since then, so he understands fine without Shi-joon talking down to him.

Shi-joon asks him to do the musical, and asks for Min-woo’s understanding if he loses his temper in the future.

It was probably difficult for Shi-joon to make such concessions, and he’s still brooding over his marital problems on top of that, so he sits in the empty office alone that night, drinking. Kae-hwa has stayed late working, and feels bad to see Shi-joon obviously feeling down. Quietly, she enters the office and tells Shi-joon not to worry about Min-woo — she’ll take care of it.

On her way home, Min-woo calls to tell her to pick up some beer, which she does. (Here we see that she has listed him in her phone as “Awful Acting.” We’ve already seen that he’s listed her as “Meddler.”)

But soon afterward, Min-woo gets a call from Yura, and eagerly agrees to meet her. As he heads out, Kae-hwa gets a text message informing her that the lab results of the DNA test are being delivered to her home. Since she has done the testing without Min-woo’s knowledge, she has to race home to accept the documents before he gets a chance to see them.

She rushes home and beelines for the front desk, not knowing that the messenger had come just as Min-woo was leaving.

And Kae-hwa turns to see Min-woo standing in the lobby, staring at her with a hurt(? shocked?) look on his face, the test results crumpled in his hand. Ruh roh!

 
COMMENTS

As I mentioned up top, this is where I start to see glimmers of emotional connection, which I welcome. Until now, I’d felt amused by Oh My Lady, but not particularly moved, or attached.

For example, we got our first hint of a real connection, or at least understanding, between Kae-hwa and Min-woo in this episode. This is the first time Min-woo starts to look at Kae-hwa as an individual person — not just a representation of an “Ajumma” or “Annoying Presence” — which we saw when he overheard her conversation with her ex-husband. It’s also something that may speak to him as a father, hearing Kae-hwa pleading for her husband to be a dad to Min-ji, for the child’s sake. He hasn’t looked at Ye-eun’s situation from her perspective, and until that moment I doubt it even occurred to him to try. Conversely, Kae-hwa also sees some vulnerability in Min-woo for the first time when she overhears his conversation with his manager, and witnesses his hurt. At all other times he’s such a shallow, conceited star, but at least now she knows there’s something under that.

I was actually considering the possibility of dropping the recaps — depending on how the Wednesday dramas fare — because while I enjoyed the first three episodes, it sort of felt like Pasta to me. Enjoyable to watch, but all surface, no depth. I’m still not certain what the recapping schedule will be like until I’ve seen all the new shows this week, but I’m feeling a little more optimistic about Oh My Lady after Episode 4. I’m pretty much expecting at least one new show to speak to me, possibly two. Now if all three Wednesday shows turn out great, I’ll have a conundrum on my hands.

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103 April 6, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 5

by javabeans

Sing it, sista!

In the first four episodes, Oh My Lady hadn’t really wowed me, though it has been cute. Episode 5 ups the game and starts the bonding between Chae Rim and Choi Siwon in earnest, which revs my interest and adds some excitement.

SONG OF THE DAY

Kim Yeon-woo – “S.O.S.” [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

Min-woo is furious with Kae-hwa for getting his DNA tested behind his back. Now he knows what she was doing with his toothbrush, and calls her a “scary ajumma,” which is a term he’s used a few times. It’s kind of true, because she seems like a harmless, clueless ajumma on the outside, but when push comes to shove she gets the job done. (Maybe that’s not such a surprise: ajummas get shit DONE, yo! But she’s got a hidden sly streak, that one.)

He assumes she must be trying to blackmail him using the DNA information and tells her to get lost — she and the girl both. Kae-hwa argues that she’s just trying to get him to accept his daughter, and asks why that idea has him so angry.

Her question shuts him up — there’s clearly more there, but he’s not willing to share — and Min-woo leaves the room while she’s still midsentence.

He broods in his room, taking a frustrated look at the test results crumpled in his hand — they’re positive. (Well, more than 99% probability, which is as good as positive.)

In the morning, he gets up to go for a swim, because this drama has a Topless Siwon Quota to meet and no time to waste! Good thing Min-woo has such accommodating hobbies, eh? Pretty soon they’ll be running out of excuses to get him bare-chested. I can think of a few more activities he can try, like beach volleyball, or bodybuilding, or surfing. Or sumo wrestling.

In a rush, Kae-hwa has difficulty hailing a taxi and therefore enlists Min-woo as her driver. You can tell he’s softening toward her despite his angry outburst last night because he doesn’t really protest. Pressed for time, Kae-hwa even mutters at his slowness, “What kind of man drives so timidly?” She may have well just insulted his penis size because Min-woo immediately picks up the gauntlet and floors the accelerator, weaving in and out of traffic.

The pesky reporter who keeps lurking around Min-woo spies him driving off with a woman in the car, and automatically assumes that Min-woo is trying to shake him off his tail. Alas, gets stuck at a light and has to give up the chase.

The reason for Kae-hwa’s hurry is to get to her ex-husband’s house before Min-ji leaves, so she can give her the kimbap she made for her class picnic. Min-ji cries that Dad forced her to drink soy milk, which makes her throw up. Kae-hwa tries to be a good mom even though this angers her, and makes an excuse for Dad.

However, once Min-ji leaves she can’t hide her reaction. Min-woo sees that she’s on the verge of tears and feels sorry for her, though he covers up his concern.

In the car, she calls her ex-husband to let her displeasure known — can’t he just for a short while try to be a good dad? It makes her sorry to Min-ji for not being able to give her a better father.

Next, she takes it out on Min-woo: “Why the hell are dads like that? Why are you all so irresponsible and neglectful?”

Min-woo’s not busy today, so Kae-hwa hands him his script and tells him to study it. He’s like a reluctant teenager and she’s like his gently prodding mother, which is a thought that should make their relationship dynamics rather interesting to watch.

Kae-hwa drops Ye-eun off for her daycare, where Bok-nim urges her to bring Min-woo around, and quickly. Having gotten her professional duty out of the way, she then oohs over Min-woo’s choco abs.

At the office, the other two managers are pleased to hear that Min-woo has come back to the musical, and both offer to rearrange their schedules to escort Min-woo to his first dance rehearsal. Instead, Shi-joon assigns that task to Kae-hwa, which is a bit of a surprise. They also notice that Kae-hwa is getting along with Shi-joon. Jin-ho takes this in stride, but Jae-hee (the uppity woman) finds it a little threatening. Just wait till they become love interests, honey!

Kae-hwa has a hard time trying to urge Min-woo to make it to rehearsal, as he would rather spend the day in bed. She tries pestering, then sweet-talking, to win his compliance. But Min-woo will not be moved by nagging or flattery, and declines with his usual careless demeanor. Kae-hwa exclaims that he’s so frustrating that she wants to cry — so he latches on to that and takes her literally, challenging her to go ahead and cry, then. In fact, if she can produce real tears within ten seconds, he’ll go.

He even makes a big show of getting out his phone to engage the stopwatch and counts down, smug to have outmaneuvered her.

Only, when he looks up at her, Kae-hwa’s eyes are brimming with tears and she’s got a wounded look on her face. Min-woo is chastened at the thought that he actually did hurt her feelings for real, and quietly agrees to go, putting up no further resistance.

(Kae-hwa’s proven herself to be pretty resourceful so I wonder if the crying was another of the tricks up her sleeve, or if this just happened to come in handy. I like to think she’s a better actor than the actor and gave him a taste of his own medicine. Of course, with Min-woo that medicine isn’t very effective to begin with.)

By the time they arrive at the dance studio, Kae-hwa’s perfectly chipper. She looks admiringly at Jung-ah, who is practicing alone in a studio, and introduces herself as an employee of The Show Company. As she doesn’t know that this is her boss’s wife, she merely thinks Jung-ah is a professional contact, and Jung-ah doesn’t correct her.

Kae-hwa leaves the building, but when she turns back to drop off Min-woo’s script, she catches a glimpse of Jung-ah and her Other Man, who are getting cozy in a spare moment. She doesn’t make much of this, and quietly slips away.

It isn’t until she hears from Jae-hee that the choreographer is Shi-joon’s wife that the significance of the scene hits her, and this knowledge weighs on her. For instance, when she accompanies Shi-joon on some business, she eyes him warily and doesn’t know how to act with this knowledge on her conscience.

They also run into Shi-joon’s rival, Producer Eom, who never can resist a chance to make digs at Shi-joon and The Show Company. Kae-hwa — who can never resist sticking up for what she believes in — fires back a defense, prompting Eom to mock her as well as their star Min-woo, he of the notoriously noxious acting talents.

Eom, by the way, is in business with Kae-hwa’s ex-husband Byung-hak, who is a successful businessman and investor. The two get down to some schmoozing, and between Eom’s sleaziness and Byung-hak’s smugness, this really is a match made in producer heaven.

Min-woo’s rehearsal goes pretty well, and is watched by an eager audience of dancers, who are excited to have such a big star in their midst. Jung-ah is pleased with the rehearsal, and Min-woo feels pretty good about himself, too. Kae-hwa calls to check upon him, whereupon he requests snacks. Then Yura calls, and he invites her to drop by the studio.

Therefore, Yura and Kae-hwa arrive in the neighborhood at the same time. Yura wrinkles her nose at Kae-hwa’s prepared kimbap, having brought a pretty cake herself, and whines over a tiny run in her stocking. Being the princess that she is, she has no problem requesting that Kae-hwa buy her a new pair, as though Kae-hwa is her maid.

Kae-hwa finds the request a bit much, but agrees anyway and leaves the kimbap with Yura before heading off.

When Yura arrives, a few of the other dancers beeline for the kimbap and enthusiastically dig in. Yura had been expecting her offering to be the bigger hit, but she’s not about to claim it now, so she acts like she made the food and surreptitiously hides the cake she bought. Min-woo is proud of her for the gesture, too, because it reflects well on him. Happy to take the credit and run, Yura leaves before Kae-hwa returns.

Thankfully, this misunderstanding doesn’t drag on too long (and thereby endanger my blood pressure), because when Kae-hwa comments on the kimbap, Min-woo realizes she made it. He doesn’t tell her about the mix-up, but he smiles a bit to hear the truth.

The good mood is not to last long, because while Min-woo changes clothes, he overhears the conversation between two other dancers, who must be really dumb to talk about Min-woo behind his back when he’s still around. Even the guy who had flattered Min-woo to his face now grumbles about him — Jung-ah had praised Min-woo, but she was just giving him some lip service since they all know how harsh she usually is. They sneer at Min-woo for being gullible to believe her praise, and describe his dancing style as nightclub stuff (read: cheap and untrained). The thing is, they’re not exactly wrong, which is perhaps why he’s so bothered to hear their comments.

Kae-hwa also overhears the conversation, so when Min-woo storms out of the dressing room wearing a dark expression, she knows he must have heard.

In the car, she tries to lift his spirits with a few reassuring words, not addressing the locker room conversation directly. Would he like a trip to the spa to relax him?

He remains silent and grim, so Kae-hwa tries a different tactic. Suggesting that she needs a laugh to keep from falling asleep, she gives herself the challenge of making Min-woo laugh within ten seconds. With that, she starts to sing loudly — and very badly, in an off-key voice, with exaggerated embellishments. (The song is Wax’s “Oppa” — which is already rather silly to begin with.)

Despite the dark mood, Min-woo has to force himself to keep his face stoic at her ridiculous antics, and coughs to cover up his laugh. Kae-hwa exults — she made him laugh!

Second Topless Siwon scene! I do believe there was one episode missing a glimpse at his choco abs, so perhaps this episode is compensating. Min-woo relaxes in the spa, finding himself unwittingly humming the “Oppa” song before catching himself.

Kae-hwa’s plan has worked, and when he comes out, he’s feeling much better.

Meanwhile, Manager Yoon-seok shows up at Min-woo’s apartment. Sick of being out of the loop and angry at being unable to get a hold of Min-woo, he uses the master key to let himself inside. The apartment is empty — but he does find a crumpled sheet of paper on the bedroom floor. It’s the DNA results. Uh-oh! Somehow I don’t think Yoon-seok’s gonna use this knowledge for good instead of evil.

As they leave the spa, Kae-hwa gets a call to pick up Ye-eun, so she apologetically tells Min-woo they’ll have to make a stop. She knows this may annoy him, but he bears it pretty well — even when he’s got to share a backseat with her.

Ye-eun needs a spare set of clothing, so Kae-hwa braves Min-woo’s displeasure again to request a second stop on the way home. Again, he allows this without much fuss, and watches her shop inside the children’s store from the car.

She pauses in front of a girl’s dress (one for Min-ji) and eyes it wistfully, but keeps her purchases to Ye-eun’s clothing. To her surprise, when she returns to the car and hands back his credit card, Min-woo indicates that she take it back and tells her to buy the dress she was eyeing. He’ll buy it for her.

To keep up his cool image, he tells her he’ll just take it out of her pay. Kae-hwa knows him better than this and says, “You talk so mean but I know you’re not that kind of person.” She accepts the gesture gratefully and thrills at being able to buy Min-ji new clothes.

When they arrive home, both father and daughter are asleep, with Ye-eun halfway in Min-woo’s lap. The bonding has begun!

At their place, Jung-ah greets Shi-joon when he comes home, at first talking to him in her usual friendly manner. Ever since he found out she was cheating, he has treated her coldly, and today is no different — he packs a bag of clothing from his room, and starts to head back out.

Jung-ah wonders where he’s been sleeping, finding his behavior odd. Shi-joon, tired of her innocent act, asks why she should find this strange, challenging her to confront him about the truth. And Jung-ah has to know that he knows — if you’re cheating and your spouse starts to act distant and not share a bed with you, maybe you can have a clue?

Kae-hwa heads up to the apartment first, taking the girl with her, so as to avoid Min-woo getting caught with them in a compromising situation. A surprise awaits her, as Yoon-seok has been waiting in the apartment, stewing, and he confronts her about the exact circumstances of their arrangement. As he has seen the DNA results, Kae-hwa has to come clean and explain how she agreed to watch over Ye-eun in order to get Min-woo to agree to the musical.

Yoon-seok assumes that Kae-hwa is serious about blackmailing Min-woo with his kid in exchange for the contract. That’s technically true, but from Kae-hwa’s reaction (and what we know of her character), we can safely presume that she never intended to actually spread the gossip. Yoon-seok asks coldly how much money it would take to shut her up, and doesn’t accept her protestations that she’s not that kind of person.

Yoon-seok lives in a more jaded reality, and orders Kae-hwa to send the child to an orphanage. He’ll send someone round in the morning, by which time she should name her price.

Thinking quickly, Kae-hwa bursts out, “Then I’ll tell! I’ll reveal that Sung Min-woo abandoned his child.” (See, she’s more sly than she looks, as we know!) If she talks, Min-woo won’t be the only one ruined — the manager will also lose his cash cow: “That should be the scariest thing to a person like you who only thinks of a star as a money-making machine.”

Yoon-seok scoffs at her threat, but she demands with shaking voice and hands, “You think I can’t do it?” She dials for the operator on her phone and asks for the number to a broadcast station.

After waiting a suitable amount of time in the car, Min-woo comes up to the apartment, just in time to catch the rest of the conversation:

Kae-hwa: “To you, only the Sung Min-woo who makes money is really Sung Min-woo. You don’t think anything about the distress that he’s going through because of the child who suddenly appeared, do you? You don’t, which is why it’s so easy for you to tell me to get rid of her. Do you think Min-woo will be able to live comfortably after that?”
Yoon-seok: “Why can’t he? He’s plenty capable of that.”
Kae-hwa: “No! Not the Sung Min-woo as I see him. Sung Min-woo is different from you.”

Kae-hwa now dials the number to the broadcast station, and Yoon-seok grabs her arm fiercely, causing her phone to clatter to the ground. He threatens to scare her properly in order to teach her a lesson — at which point a voice cuts in: “Let go.”

Yoon-seok sees Min-woo watching near the doorway, and dismisses the warning to deal with Kae-hwa first. With more of an edge, Min-woo again warns his manager to let her go.

At that, Yoon-seok looks between the two and jeers. Still clenching Kae-hwa’s arm in a painful grip, he ask if there’s something going on between them.

Min-woo’s had enough, and strides up to Yoon-seok and punches him in the face. (Omo!) Wait, let me rewind that part again. Yup, he clocks him but good.

Taking Kae-hwa’s hand, Min-woo says, “Let’s go,” and leads her out.

 
COMMENTS

Talk about using all the cliches in the book, huh? There isn’t any single element of this drama that is terribly unique (spoiled stars, single moms, older-woman romance, evil managers, secret children), although this may be the only one to arrange its elements in this particular order. Throughout the first four episodes, I had felt amused by but disconnected to the characters and story, and wondered whether to drop this drama.

This episode brings me back (at least for now), since we get the two leads growing on each other in an emotional way. I like that the attraction isn’t physical, and that it goes both ways in this episode. Kae-hwa sees Min-woo’s hurt when the dancers badmouth him, and Min-woo gets a glimpse into the emotions underneath Kae-hwa’s chipper ajumma exterior several times — first with Min-ji and the milk, then when she packs the kimbap and cheers him up with song, and finally when she buys the dress for Min-ji.

On one hand, it sorta feels like the romance is growing out of mutual pity (which can’t be healthy?). But I suppose the pity acts as an entree to understanding, rather than an end in itself, so there’s that.

RELATED POSTS

84 April 8, 2010 January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 6

by javabeans

Jazz hands! I was trying to split these intro screenshots equally between Choi Siwon and Chae Rim, but what can I say, dude makes some funny faces.

Well, this is moving faster than I thought it would. In a kdrama, that’s almost always a good thing, since it keeps us on our toes.

SONG OF THE DAY

Younha – “LaLaLa” [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

After Min-woo does the macho Korean wrist-grab and leads Kae-hwa out of the apartment, they sit outside where she apologizes profusely, sorry for having initiated the DNA test. If not for her, Yoon-seok wouldn’t have found out about the results. She wishes she had thought faster and lied about it.

Oddly enough, Min-woo is much less agitated than she is, sitting there with a half-smile on his face as he calls her a meddler. She asks why he punched his manager. Min-woo retorts, was he just supposed to stand by with Yoon-seok saying such crap? Kae-hwa’s not upset that he did the hitting, but she is worried that Min-woo would get himself into more trouble.

The adults do briefly worry about Ye-eun, but the little girl can more than hold her own. Especially appearing suddenly dressed in a white shift in her creepy-mute way, like a ghost in the night. Before spotting her, Yoon-seok pockets the DNA test, muttering, “Wait and see. You dare hit me?” Then he turns and gasps to see the girl, before he realizes the ghostly image is just Ye-eun.

She starts to cry, and like so many grown men who are otherwise capable of handing difficult situations, the sight (and sound) of a bawling girl has him completely flummoxed. Yoon-seok is actually kind of funny here, because he’s completely at a loss as to how to react. He calls Min-woo and barks at him to do something about the kid. He leaves the apartment after shooting Min-woo a hard look.

The next day, Yoon-seok seeks out Min-woo at the gym, acting like things are back to normal and the whole descent into violence was just a blip on the radar. He cautions Min-woo to be careful with Kae-hwa and to keep her close for now, to make sure she stays in line.

Min-woo has noticed the removal of the DNA documents and asks if Yoon-seok took the test results. Yoon-seok evades the question, asking if that one piece of paper is so important. Clearly he expects the answer to be no, but when your career rests upon it, I’D SAY DUH IT IS.

At home, Min-woo tells Kae-hwa to be careful from now on not to let the situation out. He then comes upon Ye-eun drawing with crayons, and comments on the crude drawing. Sure it’s not Picasso, but the kid is, well, a kid. At his remark, Ye-eun picks up her drawing pad and actually hides the picture from Min-woo, which is adorable and hilarious. Hmph! Little baby’s got pride.

It gets even better when Min-woo enters his room and shouts in outrage. Somebody has scribbled all over his huge wall photo, of which he is very proud. One guess who that might be!

Seeing the black crayon smudged all over Min-woo’s face, Kae-hwa points out that he had it coming: “So why insult someone else’s drawing?” And despite the desecration of Min-woo’s face, Bok-nim takes this as a good sign that the girl is starting to express her feelings, even if it’s through vandalism.

Shi-joon has hired someone to follow his wife around to gather proof of her cheating. As she lunches with her man on the side, Jung-ah notices a parked car just outside, whose driver is pointing a camera at her. She runs out to confront the snooper, but the car pulls away. I don’t really know why she seems surprised because Lady, you’re really not being very discreet as far as illicit affairs go.

In fact, Shi-joon looks more conflicted at having her investigated than Jung-ah does at cheating, which I suppose tells us just how very shameless Jung-ah is. But JUST in case you didn’t get that message, we have the following scene:

Jung-ah heads to the office to confirm that Shi-joon is having her followed. She’s got some chutzpah taking HIM to task for not confronting her directly, suggesting that he didn’t want to bother saying the words himself. She’s actually offended, saying, “I’ve never insulted you like this.” What with all the cheating and the sneaking around and lying, NEVAH!

Her misplaced righteousness knows no bounds, because she adds, “I didn’t know you were the type of person who would do this.” Uh, HELLO?

Jung-ah tells him to fight with her instead of bringing in a third party, and okay, she has a point there. Only, I seem to recall that she also “brought in” a third party, so to speak. With that, she storms out.

Kae-hwa has returned to the office early from lunch, in time to overhear most of this argument. She tries to hide, but Shi-joon sees her through the blinds. Unable to pretend she didn’t witness the scene, Kae-hwa hesitantly enters his office to explain that she didn’t mean to overhear. He gives her a curt nod to acknowledge this, and she ducks back out.

When the others return from lunch, the conversation turns to musicals and reveals Kae-hwa’s painfully limited knowledge of the musical world — she doesn’t even know what an intermission is, and hasn’t ever seen a show. That’s hardly something to be proud of, and although Jin-ho says so nicely, the point is clear: she’s unqualified to hold her job.

Lucky for her, there’s a new musical out, for which Shi-joon and Min-woo have both received complimentary tickets via business contacts. Kae-hwa eyes Min-woo’s tickets and tries to segue into the topic naturally, working up to her pitch. Who is he going to the show with? At his noncommittal response, she suggests that if he’s not busy, she can go with him.

Min-woo’s shocked she’d even think that, and laughs: “Ajumma, do you think I’d have nobody to go with? The problem is I have too many.” He mutters that he’d rather not go than go with her. A little stung by his easy dismissal of her, she gripes to herself that she doesn’t care to go with HIM — she just wants to go to the musical.

Min-woo wonders why she’s so interested. Still miffed, Kae-hwa snaps at him, saying that she’s never been to a musical before. He’s incredulous, but she points out that tickets are expensive, and to all the country’s ajummas who live by scrimping and bargain-hunting, a $100 ticket is a lot of money. It’s not like they’re rolling in luxury, unlike some people.

He’s chastened at that — it’s like he genuinely didn’t consider the money angle until she pointed it out — and proposes giving her a 50% discount, deducted from her salary, in exchange for the ticket. She mutters that he got the tickets for free, but when faced with Min-woo withdrawing the offer altogether, she jumps on it and asks for a bigger discount. Say, 70%. Min-woo agrees, warning her not to look too shabby because he’ll have to be seen with her.

Min-woo goes shopping for clothes with Yura, who is buying him an outfit in thanks for agreeing to be the brand model for her company. A crowd of fangirls — and the Pesky Reporter — mill around the window to snap photos of Min-woo looking friendly with Yura, and she makes the most of the opportunity to touch his jacket repeatedly. She might as well stick a sign on him announcing “MINE” (subtitle: seduction pending).

As often happens when Min-woo is around Yura, he speaks without thinking and invites her to the musical that night. It’s not until he heads back to his car — safely out of orbit from Yura’s narcissistic gravity — that he remembers his deal to take Kae-hwa, and he grimaces. He calls his management to ask for another ticket to rectify the situation.

Reporter Han follows Yura in his car and makes a gutsy move to cut her off in order to force a meeting with her. He has been growing more desperate with each failure to find a decent story, and now he’s dead-set on getting his Min-woo scoop. He demands to know what Yura’s relationship to Min-woo is, and says he’s been gathering evidence. Why doesn’t she just reveal the relationship already?

Yura answers that they’re not at “that stage” yet, which is enough of an answer to delight the reporter, who asks for an off-the-record chat. As she doesn’t actually dislike the idea of making her relationship known — in fact, she’d love being known as his girlfriend — she agrees.

She happily runs through old stories of their relationship, highlighting how smitten Min-woo was over her in the past. However, to Reporter Han’s ears this is boring stuff. He’s dismayed to hear Yura describe their relationship as quite innocent. In her mind, this doesn’t make it less of a relationship, but to the reporter this sounds like kiddie play. So there’s nothing juicy? That’s it?

Kae-hwa looks forward to her outing all day, hurrying home after work to finish the housework and get ready. But just as she’s rushing out, she gets a call from her ex-husband about taking Min-ji for the night. Disappointed, she tries to tell him she has important plans, but at the end of the day it’s really not much of a contest. She picks Min-ji up, telling Min-woo she can’t make it.

Mother and daughter bond over a sauna session and have a fun day of it. Bok-nim, on the other hand, thinks Kae-hwa is crazy for giving up this chance to go to a musical with Min-woo. She invites Min-ji over for the night — bribing the girl with new DVDs — depriving Kae-hwa of the chance to protest.

But first, Kae-hwa needs a new outfit. While she doesn’t quite get a full makeover, Bok-nim insists on buying Kae-hwa a new dress that’s more fit for the occasion. Once she’s appropriately attired, she rushes for the theater, running late because of the last-minute plan changes.

Min-woo arrives at the theater with Yura and naturally causes a stir. He had given away Kae-hwa’s ticket when she first called, then had to take it back when she called back to say she would make it after all. Yura catches him looking around the lobby, and although he tells her it’s nothing, it’s obvious he’s looking for Kae-hwa. Even after they’re seated, he’s distracted and excuses himself from his seat to head out to the lobby to wait, where Kae-hwa finally comes running in.

Once inside, Kae-hwa greets Yura happily, but does not get back the same friendly response. Honestly, this whole scenario is worth it just to see the sour look on Yura’s face, and how utterly unfazed by it Kae-hwa is.

This dynamic continues through the performance, which Kae-hwa finds completely captivating. Yura is too cool to laugh at its jokes and Min-woo keeps his reaction to a smile, but Kae-hwa claps her hands together in childlike delight. In a moving moment, she wipes away tears.

(You may notice that Min-woo’s reactions are halfway between the two extremes. Yura doesn’t have much of a response at all, but Min-woo looks like he’s engaged by the show, even if he is too cool to express it as openly as Kae-hwa.)

On their way out of the theater, they run into Shi-joon and Jung-ah, who have come together. Thus the two groups join together to make up a table of five at the afterparty.

Jung-ah keeps up pleasant conversation, and when Kae-hwa enthusiastically raves about the musical, calling it “really, really fun,” Yura catches on to Kae-hwa’s relative ignorance of the genre and baits her, asking for more details. Min-woo is embarrassed on her behalf (she’s coming off rather gauche), while the others continue the conversation with more enlightened remarks about the background of the lead actor and the expression of emotions.

Feeling left out, Kae-hwa excuses herself to head over to the buffet tables, and when she looks back at her companions continuing their discussion, it makes her feel even more out of place. She stands alone, shoving desserts into her mouth.

In the bathroom, Yura solidifies her status as The One To Wish Bad Things Upon, commenting to Kae-hwa, “Your dress is stylish… though it doesn’t really suit you… Clothing and places have to suit a person. You didn’t have to come along — didn’t you understand that?”

Kae-hwa tells her not to worry, as she’s old enough not to mistake Min-woo’s kindness for more meaningful attention. Yura tells her to not hang around Min-woo — she could ruin his image if other people misunderstand their relationship. (Oh, how I wish mental slaps were effective.)

Shi-joon’s rival, Producer Eom, arrives at the party with Kae-hwa’s ex, Byung-hak. They’ve just formed a business relationship, and Byung-hak’s pretty starstruck.

The two ex-spouses are shocked to run into each other, and the bickering commences immediately. Byung-hak can’t believe she left Min-ji to come to this “important event,” while she thinks his involvement in another business venture is doomed to end badly. He’s keeping this a secret from his father, which means he knows it’s not something that would be met with approval, and has failed in ventures in the past. He obviously thinks he’s more capable than he actually is, and has grand ambitions.

He wonders why she’s here, and sneers, “Are you here to work in the kitchen?” She tells him to mind his own business and stalks off. But he’s soon gawking at the sight of Kae-hwa chatting with Min-woo, who offers her a cookie and asks her to find out the name of the song that’s playing. (Thanks to reader Maggie, here are the songs: it’s “The Winner Takes It All” and here’s the download for the musical version, as well as the Meryl Streep version from Mamma Mia.)

Kae-hwa’s had enough of this shindig so she grabs her things and starts to leave, at which point Byung-hak grabs her and takes her aside. He has heard from his colleague that Kae-hwa is working for a musical company, and calls her irresponsible for dumping their kid off at home. He also prods for info on her relationship to Min-woo (as he’s eager for introductions).

The tensions rise as he warns her not to go around messing things up for him, because he is working to advance his standing in this field. She retorts that he’d better not ruin another business.

Byung-hak isn’t one to take that kind of talk from her, so he accuses her of giving herself careerwoman airs. Just as her party comes within earshot, he says derisively, “You can’t even pay rent and got kicked out!” His voice booms and everyone in the lobby stares at her.

Mortified, Kae-hwa has no response to that and turns to go, which is when — BAM! — a waiter collides with her, spilling drinks all over her and her pretty new dress.

(Which would be a moment that would have had a lot more impact if it weren’t an exact replica of the one in Last Scandal, with the movie star looking on as his ajumma-housekeeper drips in beverages.)

Min-woo starts to step toward Kae-hwa, but Yura holds him back, saying that people are looking. In shame, Kae-hwa hurries away meekly, leaving both men looking troubled.

In fact, even Jung-ah looks sympathetic to Kae-hwa’s humiliation, showing us that even the shameless hussy of a cheating wife is more relatable than that smug Yura, who actually looks like she may be enjoying this.

Kae-hwa fights her tears on the bus ride back, and the others likewise make their drives home in pensive quiet.

Min-woo gets to the apartment first and calls out for Kae-hwa. A few moments later, she comes in carrying Ye-eun, but ignores him and heads straight for the bedroom, not even looking up at him.

Min-woo’s feeling bad but doesn’t really know what to do about it, so he loiters outside the room to speak to her when she comes out. He starts out with a sympathetic tone, about to say, “Din…” (as in, did she eat dinner), then goes for the brusquer “I’m hungry. Make me ramyun.”

Silently, Kae-hwa prepares the noodles and sets the pot in front of Min-woo. He’s just using this as a way to engage her in conversation, so he says the noodles are too soft — he can’t eat this, and requests a new batch.

I actually awwed at this, because to the viewer it’s a transparent excuse to get her to eat with him — if he rejects the first bowl, he leaves it free for her to claim. But Kae-hwa is feeling so upset that she doesn’t register this, and just dumps out the ramyun into the sink angrily.

That was not the reaction Min-woo was going for, and he still doesn’t know how to get the ball rolling to cheer her up. Thankfully she takes the lead this time, finally speaking up to ask if he’d like a drink instead.

As they sip their wine, Kae-hwa asks sadly, “I was really miserable today, wasn’t I?” He answers, “It wasn’t that bad.” Not that he’s fooling anyone.

Kae-hwa explains that the man was her ex-husband. “He’s the person I want to show my best, most confident side to, but I couldn’t do that.” Instead, Byung-hak mocked her for knowing nothing about musicals, and she found that she couldn’t argue with him. She knows she only got this job thanks to Min-woo, and she’s just clinging on now.

Now that the ice is broken and she is talking again, Min-woo can take a light tone as he blusters, “Well, it’s true that you’re ignorant! You didn’t even know that song title earlier. How can you assist a star like that?” She sighs that she knows that without him rubbing it in, and he smiles, saying, “We’ve got a problem. I don’t know that song either.” Kae-hwa sees his expression and can’t hold back a little smile.

Now he’s free to tease her, saying that she looked ridiculous at the musical, the way she was so into it. Forgetting her earlier woes, Kae-hwa exclaims, “It was really fun!” She starts to rave about the main actor and how wonderful he was, which makes Min-woo grumble over her taste (or lack thereof).

Intent to prove that he’s not without skills, Min-woo sings her a couple verses. Kae-hwa is just as tickled with his performance as she was about the musical actors, and claps in glee.

In fact, her response allows him to revel for a moment in his own talent. Even if that smile is then wiped from his face when she enthuses, “Now I know why you’re a star even though they say your acting sucks! You definitely have star quality.”

He says drily, “You should take out that part about the sucky acting.” But the mood is much lighter now, and she tells Min-woo that if he ever wins an acting Daesang, he’d better include her name in his acceptance speech. Min-woo replies — with jazz hands! — “Why not? I’ll say that I share this honor with Yoon Kae-hwaaaaa.” The last bit he says mimicking her intonation when she draws out her own name.

Kae-hwa hopes things will turn out well for Min-woo, which is a sentiment that strikes him as odd — she’s better off being happy over her own future, not other people’s. She answers, “I like it when anybody does well. I have to live with that spirit so that I’ll be blessed, and Min-ji will be blessed.” Min-woo replies, “If you say such nice things in this industry, people will call you a fool.” But he’s not one of them, since he doesn’t seem to find her generous spirit stupid.

When they’ve drained two wine bottles, both are drunk and tripping over their words. Min-woo brings the conversation back to the beginning and slurs, “You’re not miserable.” She mumbles, “I know that too. But really?”

Min-woo: “Your voice is loud. You’re interfering. You’re positive without a reason.”
Kae-hwa: “This doesn’t sound like praise.”
Min-woo: “On the whole, your face isn’t quite pretty, but if you take each part separately, you have big eyes, and your nose is cute. And your lips…”

At that, he looks at her lips, losing his train of thought. His thoughts start to take a different turn, while Kae-hwa prods, “What about my lips?”

Shaking himself out of it, Min-woo sends Kae-hwa into the kitchen to fetch more wine while he looks puzzled over these unfamiliar thoughts. Kae-hwa doesn’t return, so he heads to the kitchen to find her leaning against the open refrigerator door, momentarily dozing.

With her eyes closed, Min-woo takes a good, long look at her face. A thumping noise pounds in his ears — as though representing his heartbeat — just as Kae-hwa opens her eyes. She sees him staring down at her intently, and looks up at him curiously.

At which point he leans closer…

 COMMENTS

Yura (Park Han-byul) hardly seems like real competition, huh? I was not looking forward to the seeing this dynamic play out for too long, with Min-woo ditching Kae-hwa every time Yura comes calling. But already Yura’s pull over Min-woo is fading, and I was pleased that Min-woo didn’t take Kae-hwa’s ticket back after he invited Yura to the musical, and that he was more interested in Kae-hwa’s reaction to the show than Yura’s. Despite the outer appearances that say Yura and Min-woo are the perfectly matched beautiful couple, we can see from their reactions that Min-woo’s probably more like Kae-hwa than he’d care to admit. He’s got his appearance to keep up, but rather than sneering at Kae-hwa’s transparency (like Yura does), he seems to appreciate that about her.

I’m also surprised to be liking Jung-ah more than I probably ought, even with her ridiculous confrontation with Shi-joon. Maybe it’s because Moon Jung-hee’s awesome, or maybe it’s because at least she showed a little decency over Kae-hwa’s embarrassment. It’s funny how she’s committed the greater sin by cheating on her marriage, yet it’s Yura’s shallowness that makes her more fun to hate. ‘Cause we all know that girl, right? — the one who can’t fathom when people don’t fall at her feet just because she’s pretty — and it’s always fun to see her get her comeuppance.

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59 April 14, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 7

by javabeans

I find that my interest in this drama fluctuates wildly, not from one episode to the next, but within each hour. Overall it’s cute and it has a benign sort of charm to it. The conflicts work for this style of drama, but we all know they’re pretty lightweight and the stakes and angst factor aren’t too high. What carries it is the developing friendship of Chae Rim and Choi Siwon — while there are romantic hints, it’s too early to call the relationship romantic, and I’m okay with that — and the way we get to see the spoiled star developing feelings outside of the realm of selfish. On the downside, I feel there isn’t much to discuss, if you’re hankering for substantial themes and emotions, which I am.

SONG OF THE DAY

Urban Zakapa – “Crush” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 7 RECAP

After the kiss, Kae-hwa and Min-woo retreat to separate rooms, where they berate themselves for their rash behavior. What were they thinking? I’d say the clear answer is that they weren’t.

Min-woo decides that the kiss happened purely because he’s been single for so long, and is dismayed to recall that his last kiss was from a drama. If you’re one of the hottest hotties of your generation, I suppose it IS a little sad to have your last kiss be one that was bought and paid for. They both sigh: Now what?

At breakfast they try to act casual, as though nothing happened. Kae-hwa keeps her eyes averted, but despite their attempts to avoid each other, they end up at the refrigerator in a position reminiscent of the moment that led to the kiss. They freeze, and a thudding sound — heartbeats racing — echoes in their ears.

The moment is interrupted by Ye-eun, who tugs at Kae-hwa’s clothing to get her attention. A letter from her daycare/pre-school indicates that parents are invited to an open school day this morning, but unfortunately Kae-hwa can’t make it. Ye-eun hangs her head in disappointment.

They’re running late that morning, so Kae-hwa doesn’t have time to dump the soup that has soured. I smell a plot point!

At home, Shi-joon apologizes to his wife for having her followed. Jung-ah asks what that apology means, frustrated that he never explains himself. He’s always like this, and she’s growing weary of being unable to talk to him.

There were comments in the previous recap that perhaps Jung-ah isn’t really cheating, and that it’s all a misunderstanding. Judging from her reaction I think the affair is real. However, if there is a twist, I don’t think it’s that Shi-joon misinterpreted the cheating, but that Jung-ah may have done this purposely to get his attention. Just as a child will act out when a parent is negligent, she’s pushing him to a point where he can no longer ignore her. Only, he’s still half-ignoring her, and that drives her nuts.

On their way into work, Kae-hwa apologizes to Shi-joon for causing a scene the night before. She’s mortified over the events, but Shi-joon offers supportive words — it’s the person who said those things (her ex) who is at fault, not the person he was talking about.

Buoyed by his kindness, Kae-hwa thanks Shi-joon and vows to do her best to become someone who won’t merit those words. She’s further encouraged when Shi-joon gives her a guide book on musicals to help her along.

Dance rehearsal is particularly important today, as Shi-joon wants the practice taped so they can produce a behind-the-scenes “making of” video. While Min-woo tapes his intro statement, he loses his train of thought and has to tell Kae-hwa to step aside. We can tell that he’s still distracted by thoughts of the kiss, but everyone else interprets this to mean that the ajumma is annoying him, and they shoot her looks.

It’s a bad day for filming, however, as Min-woo has a fashion show scheduled later where he’ll model Yura’s clothing line. He’s fasting all day to preserve his choco abs, and is therefore listless and cranky.

Kae-hwa thinks that’s dumb (’cause it IS!) and tells him not to do things like that. She reaches to towel off some sweat from his forehead, but he flinches at her proximity in a nervous outburst. Naturally, that draws everyone’s attention and they again assume she’s harassing the big star.

That feels unfair, so she pulls Min-woo aside to the locker room to ask what’s with him. Funny how the experienced hotshot is having difficulty moving on from the kiss while the ajumma has put it behind her, isn’t it? She tells him that she’s already forgotten yesterday’s business, so they ought to move on and handle it like cool adults.

Min-woo has to make sure — lest she think otherwise — that the kiss had nothing to do with his real feelings, not at all, y’hear? We know what they say about people who protest too much. Thankfully, Kae-hwa tells him she’s not some young little thing who’d make that assumption.

In any case, he thinks she ought to feel lucky to have gotten the chance to kiss a top star like himself. To which she mutters that she doesn’t know why he was voted best kisser when his actual kissing is so mediocre. Whether she means it or is just saying it to deflate that ego a bit, it’s exactly the way to cut to his pride. Really, if the dowdy ajumma with limited romantic experience is calling him out as a bad kisser — when she ought to be his biggest, and most enthusiastic, demographic — it’s got to be a blow, right?

Because of his lack of energy, Min-woo just goes through the motions at rehearsal, doing such a lackluster job that Jung-ah comments on it. Min-woo declares that practicing today won’t work for him, and leaves rehearsal. Dude could use a lesson in diplomacy, frankly. Here’s a case of Min-woo’s diva ‘tude coming out — it’s not that he lacks a reason for his bad performance, but that he acts as though he’s above explanation. Surprisingly, Jung-ah’s gracious about the whole matter, saying that if he’s not feeling it, he won’t have a productive time of it.

Kae-hwa steps in to smooth over possible ruffled feathers, and explains to the others that he hasn’t eaten all day because of his fashion show.

Because rehearsal ends early, Kae-hwa sees that she can squeeze in some time to drop by Ye-eun’s class. The girl, who had been feeling down to have nobody come see her, perks up when Kae-hwa arrives and starts to participate in the dance. Aw. Little girls tug at heartstrings better than anything, except maybe frolicking kittens.

Seeing that all the mothers have their cameras out, Kae-hwa takes out the professional camera — which she is taking back to the company — and starts to record Ye-eun’s performance, and UH-OH who else thinks this cannot end well?

Due to the classtime detour, Kae-hwa returns to the office late that afternoon, but her tardiness takes a backseat to Jung-ah’s unannounced arrival. She confronts Shi-joon about the firing of one of her dancers from the musical, sticking up for the guy she has helped cultivate for the past three years.

Shi-joon has news for her — the guy went on an audition with a different company today, and another one the other day. He already had one foot out the door when Shi-joon fired him.

The team reviews the sample footage from rehearsal, and it’s pretty underwhelming, what with Min-woo’s half-assed performance. Shi-joon decides a reshoot is in order, just as the images switch from the studio to a different setting. Kae-hwa has forgotten the additional footage she shot until they all look up to see Ye-eun and her classmates performing their song and dance routine.

Aside from being plain embarrassing, this indicates that Kae-hwa took time in the workday for personal reasons, which reflects poorly on her work ethic. Especially since she vowed so vehemently to do well, Shi-joon’s disappointed in her — he thought she was sincerely passionate about the work. Sternly, he reminds her that she’s still an intern (message: Keep it up and you’re fired).

After spending the afternoon working out and starving, Min-woo makes his way to the fashion show, where Yura once again takes advantage of the moment to sidle up to Min-woo. (Ugh. That does seem to be my default reaction with this character.) This gives her the chance to pose with him, looking rather cozy as they’re photographed together.

Never one to let a Min-woo event escape his watchful eye, Reporter Han, tenacious as ever, sneaks into the venue as a staff member.

He gains entree into the waiting room, where he accosts Min-woo and presses for a story. Min-woo has nothing for him — although the man’s insistence has him a bit nervous — but is doing a pretty wussy job of getting rid of the man. (This is played for comic effect, but it’s also interesting that the Bigtime Star who has been shown to be rude to his colleagues can’t stand up to one little reporter who’s out of line. Character inconsistency or a chink in the armor?)

Lucky for him, Yura comes in and takes care of the situation. She recognizes the reporter, and as he is not allowed to be backstage, she has no qualms about kicking him out.

Following her video gaffe, Kae-hwa is eager to improve her standing with her officemates. If only they would give her the chance; Jae-hee and Jin-ho eye her with disdain (more so Jae-hee, who is both unimpressed by and threatened by Kae-hwa). When Shi-joon gives her a project, she leaps into action.

However, it’s not long before she has to slip out again, because Min-woo has an emergency. He had been so hungry earlier that he’d sneaked a few bites of the soup she’d left in the apartment — which she was intending to throw away — and now his face has broken out in spots.

This show can’t go on without its main draw, so Min-woo heads to the hospital to treat his allergic reaction to the spoiled food. Yura hangs her head and informs the grumbling press of the cancellation. Reporter Han, still smarting from her dismissive treatment of him, relishes the opportunity to get back at her, calling her irresponsible and rude.

Furthermore, Yura is chewed out by her boss, and this has shown her in an unflattering light among her colleagues. They had considered her a nepotism hire (it’s her aunt’s company), and it was only with this fashion show that she was able to earn their approval.

At this discovery that she has caused even more problems today, the guilt weighs on Kae-hwa’s already troubled conscience. She confesses to Yura that it’s her fault for letting the soup spoil, and apologizes for causing the situation.

Rather ungraciously, Yura blows her top — how dare she be so careless? Doesn’t she know that Min-woo’s a star? (As though anyone would let her forget that!) As a celebrity, his body and health are a crucial part of his job. Yura speaks harshly, telling Kae-hwa that she won’t accept the apology — it’s too selfish to merely say she’s sorry to make herself feel better. Snidely, Yura adds, “You’re still an intern, aren’t you? I wonder how long you’ll last at The Show Company.”

She doesn’t know that Min-woo has overheard. If she’d been aware, no doubt she would have plastered a fake-sweet smile for his benefit, and he would have been all too eager to fall for her act. I’m a little disappointed in him for seeing Yura’s mean side come out and not display more concern over it, but that goes to show how much a pretty face and a youthful crush can distract from an unattractive character.

Min-woo has answered Kae-hwa’s phone and brought it out to her, since Min-ji has called to wish her mother a happy birthday. After witnessing this scene, however, he tells the girl he’ll convey the message rather than intruding on Kae-hwa’s moment.


Kae-hwa cries in the bathroom over her miserable day. It seems the comparison must be intentional because Jung-ah is also shown in a similar light, working out her husband-related frustrations in the dance studio. (I don’t actually think the juxtaposition works, because we feel for Kae-hwa’s setback but not so much Jung-ah’s; even though the latter isn’t an outright villain, she has yet to really connect with the audience.)

Min-woo apologizes to Yura for ruining her day, and naturally she is much nicer with him (ugh, that phony), agreeing to let him buy her dinner to make up for it.

Both Min-woo and Yura are interested in taking the relationship to the next level (*suggestive eye waggle*), so she makes the excuse to have dinner at home instead of out at a restaurant. Min-woo reads the innuendo in this (night in = door is open for physical contact?) and is happy to agree. He texts Kae-hwa to order her to not return home tonight until he calls.

Min-woo tries to ease into this seduction naturally, and Yura is amenable to the idea. That is, until she heads to the kitchen and sees the leftover soup that Kae-hwa had cooked. She’s put out to realize that this means she cooked it here, in Min-woo’s apartment, and her attitude cools toward Min-woo.

Yura asks about Kae-hwa, trying to figure out how close they are. As far as she knows, Kae-hwa is merely an employee of The Show Company, so there’s no reason for her to be dropping by all the time. She advises Min-woo, “You shouldn’t be close to just anyone,” insinuating that Kae-hwa might be hanging around to take advantage of him or blackmail him.

With that, Yura gets up to leave, cutting the night short with the excuse that she’s tired. Min-woo is surprised and disappointed — so soon?

Without anywhere else to go, Kae-hwa heads to the office to get some work done, where she wonders despondently whether she’s even needed at this company. Shi-joon also returns to the office late that night following a business meeting, and sees that Kae-hwa is still working.

It’s his turn to overhear a private moment when she answers a call from her daughter, and from Kae-hwa’s side of the conversation he can infer the gist of their situation and how they’re not currently living together. Min-ji has called to wish her mother a happy birthday, and Kae-hwa assures her that of course she ate birthday cake. Why, her friendly officemates even threw her a party.

Min-woo’s night has unexpectedly been cut short, leaving him bored. When he sees a guy walk by with a cake, Min-woo remembers that it’s Kae-hwa’s birthday. He calls her to ask grumpily why she’s not home yet, since he texted the “all clear” to return. He complains that she has housework to do, and wants her to cut fruit for him.

(Now, normally this is such an exasperating, thoroughly Annoying Korean Guy Thing To Do — you know how to eat your own damn fruit, don’t you? — but Min-woo gets a pass because this is just an excuse to get Kae-hwa home so he can surprise her with the birthday cake he’s bought. Aw.)

Unbeknownst to him, Shi-joon has had the same idea, and drops by a bakery on his way home, too. He returns to the office in time to catch Kae-hwa as she’s leaving, and offers her the cake so she can celebrate with her daughter.

This is such an unexpectedly generous gesture, especially today of all days when she’s messed up repeatedly, and she feels too unworthy to accept. Shi-joon tells her she can think of it as motivation to do well in the future, and offers her a ride to see her daughter.

Kae-hwa accepts gratefully, just as Min-woo pulls up to the office in time to see her leaving in Shi-joon’s car.

 
COMMENTS

As I mentioned above, I am enjoying this drama — I wouldn’t be watching if I weren’t continually entertained — and it’s sweet fun. And when I call the conflicts lightweight, I don’t mean that the themes intrinsically are trivial — we have marital infidelity, irresponsible and negligent parenting, shady business practices, divorce, a heroine who struggles to make something of herself, and a hero who wants to be more than a pretty face.

What keeps the drama moving is the way it breezes along, not really delving too deeply into any one of these things, which is both an asset and a liability. We don’t get bogged down by melodrama, but it also means that everything remains at a superficial emotional level. It entertains me, but doesn’t move me. It doesn’t have to have Will It Snow For Christmas levels of angst to be moving; just a little more heartfelt storytelling would be nice. This sort of reminds me of the Wish Upon a Star ending, [SPOILER] whose last episode included an implied suicide amidst the happy ending, and wasn’t even weighed down by it. [END SPOILER]

Where this drama doesn’t work for me is all the extraneous side plots. I don’t particularly care about Shi-joon’s and Jung-ah’s marital problems, or Shi-joon’s possible romantic interest in Kae-hwa. Or producer Eom’s ongoing rivalry with The Show Company, or his business dealings with Kae-hwa’s ex-husband. Or anything with Yura.

The only time the drama sparks for me is when Kae-hwa and Min-woo interact, and when the story involves the two little girls. That leaves a pretty big chunk of the drama that I don’t care for, and hence my wildly fluctuating interest levels within each episode.

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60 April 15, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 8

by javabeans

I thought this episode was better than the previous ones. It didn’t suddenly get rid of its weaknesses, but it gelled together nicely, probably because the characters’ relationships are starting to take shape and Min-woo is taking significant steps in growing as a person. Also, the different plot threads — which have felt pretty scattered so far — start to come together, making for a more cohesive overall effect.

SONG OF THE DAY

Vanilla Acoustic – “음악이 되다” (Become the music) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Seeing Kae-hwa leaving with Shi-joon, Min-woo drives home with his cake, muttering all the way that she sure has nerve, riding in a man’s car at night. Where is she going at this hour, anyway? I wouldn’t say he’s jealous (yet), but he’s certainly more curious than he’d like to admit. He gives the cake to his security guard.

Min-ji comes out to meet her mother at the nearby park, where she thanks Shi-joon prettily for the cake. She asks if her mother is a good employee, and while Kae-hwa hesitates for a moment, Shi-joon answers in the affirmative. Not only is she a good employee, she even has the job title as planning manager.

He steps aside to let the ladies have their private party, although he watches from a distance. I’d say Kae-hwa’s a pretty cool mom just from the fact that she and Min-ji dig into the cake with forks, which is a prospect that would have my own dear fastidious mother clutching pearls in horror.

Min-ji tells her mother that she actually bragged about her at school today, which warms the cockles of Kae-hwa’s heart. Her classmate had been bragging about how her parents went to a musical, so Min-ji had to knock her off her high horse a little by saying that her mother MAKES musicals! I love that Kae-hwa doesn’t admonish Min-ji for that unsporting thought, even if perhaps she ought to have. Let the kid enjoy her moment, right?

When Kae-hwa finally arrives home, Min-woo feigns nonchalance but looks at Kae-hwa with suspicious eyes. Where has she been? His eyes narrow even more when she answers that she was at work, “and then had a great time!” What the heck is that supposed to mean? As she is thinking of her lovely mother-daughter bonding session, Kae-hwa remains oblivious to his disgruntled mood.

Casually, he asks for Kae-hwa’s thoughts on dating — has she dated a lot? She answers that her husband was her one and only experience, although she enjoyed her share of popularity when she was younger.

Using his extensive acting experience as a basis for human insight, Min-woo tries to give Kae-hwa advice about dating. Particularly about being used by married men, whom she must take care to avoid. “You should live quietly, and think of your child.” It’s the closest way he can warn her off Shi-joon without admitting to actual jealousy, and is therefore adorable. Not surprisingly, she scoffs to be given life advice from Min-woo of all people.

Kae-hwa gives Min-woo the tape of Ye-eun’s class, since he couldn’t go like all the other parents. Though he isn’t particularly eager to watch it, he puts in the tape and smiles to watch the girl dancing along with her classmates. He even feels a burst of indignation when the little boy at Ye-eun’s side pulls on her hair, and protests, “He’s a bad kid!” He goes to bed with a smile on his face, feeling warmth toward the child.

A recurring motif of this episode begins in this morning scene, as Kae-hwa starts off her day at full speed while Min-woo faces a day of nothing, having had his only activity canceled. He’s therefore a little put out to be relegated to the backseat as she makes calls and gets ready, as he’s unused to life as a low priority.

Byung-hak is tired of taking care of Min-ji — or rather, the new wife is — so he tells Kae-hwa to take her back. So desperate is he that he even offers to pay for a new place for them. Kae-hwa asks him to put up with it for just a little longer so she can become fully independent before she’s ready to take Min-ji back. Frankly I think it makes a lot more sense to take money from the father of your child who owes you child support than to (let’s face it) mooch off an unrelated movie star boss, but Law of Kdramas says that the couple needs to be forced together for the seed of love to sprout. Hence we must put up with the cliche a bit longer.

Producer Eom hears that The Show Company is holding auditions to replace the actor who was fired — who went to work for Eom, in fact. Eom exults that he’s working on scoring a big production — he doesn’t have the license yet, but when he acquires it, they’ll blow everyone out of the water and that’ll be the end of The Show Company. He’s got the investors lined up and ready.

Meanwhile, performers audition for the new show, showing off their skills and more than one rendition of that perennial musical favorite, “This Is the Moment.” (You’d think it’s the only solo from a musical ever. It’s a good song, but at this point it in itself is a cliche.)

At home alone, Min-woo is bored silly and hits upon the idea that he ought to drop in on the audition. It’s only common courtesy for the star to be there, right? He doesn’t need an ulterior motive like a certain meddling ajumma to justify his presence, does he?

So it is that Min-woo arrives as the auditions conclude, and offers to buy everybody lunch. Things quickly turn tense, however, when Jung-ah joins them with a lunch date — her Other Man.

Shi-joon stiffens (even more, if that’s possible) and Kae-hwa, being privy to this couple’s marital problems, notices right away. Feeling sorry for Shi-joon, she compensates by being extra-solicitous — which attracts Min-woo’s attention, to his dissatisfaction.

The tense mood hangs in the air until Shi-joon leaves the table early, forcing his employees to follow him out. Thus Jung-ah and her companion are left behind.

Kae-hwa accompanies Shi-joon back to the office in his car, and because the air is uncomfortable, she ignores a call from Min-woo. He calls back, so she picks up and mutters an excuse, hanging up quickly, which means that once again Min-woo has been relegated to the backseat of Kae-hwa’s attentions, to his confusion.

Rather than dancing around the pink elephant in the room — er, car — Shi-joon guesses that Kae-hwa knows what’s going on. Kae-hwa does, and apologizes for it. But at least this allows him to talk more openly about it, and when they take a detour to the park, he admits that his wife wanted more love than he gave her. Kae-hwa chides him gently for knowing that, and yet not giving it to her.

Given how she left him hanging the other night, Yura has been expecting a call from Min-woo, and wonders how to engage his attention again. She does this by texting Min-woo, but addressing it to someone else, making it seem like a mis-sent message about how she was sick. It’s telling that although Min-woo is quick to call her, he obviously hasn’t been thinking of her at all until she reminded him.

When they meet, Yura asks how much time he has left on his management contract — isn’t he interested in moving to a big company? Min-woo gives a vague response about sticking with the people who have been with him all this while, but she casts little seeds of doubt, saying that his company is on the wane. He ought to think of his future, not of loyalty to the managers. One would expect no less from an opportunist like Yura, huh?

Reporter Han drops by the office to press for news about Min-woo, and tries to wheedle Kae-hwa (who is there alone) for information. He wonders why Min-woo picked this project, which isn’t what one would expect of a star of his stature, and suspects that he has a hidden reason.

Kae-hwa doesn’t seem as suspicious as she perhaps ought to be, but at least she’s smart enough not to talk freely about Min-woo’s decision. She tells him that she doesn’t have any information for him and feigns ignorance of the matter, leaving Han thwarted once more.

When she gets home that evening, Min-woo is waiting for her and grumbles at her late arrival, although naturally he acts cool and indifferent. The reason for his impatience becomes clear when Kae-hwa takes note of the stacks of boxes in the entryway. He pretends he doesn’t know what they are and instructs her to open them for him.

When she does, to her surprise she finds the first box full of teddy bears… and the next, and the next. For one laugh-out-loud moment she wonders why Min-woo would have ordered so many stuffed toys for himself, leading him to point in exasperation at the little girl. Trying not to sound too proud of himself, Min-woo explains that he’d noticed Ye-eun looking at the stuffed animals when they were out the last time (in Episode 2).

Now understanding, Kae-hwa exclaims excitedly to Ye-eun and piles the teddy bears in her arms. Ye-eun smiles the widest we’ve seen her smile so far, and accepts them happily.

Min-woo doesn’t say anything outright, but he does pat the girl on the head as he walks by, glad to see that she likes the gift. Later as Kae-hwa puts Ye-eun to bed, she tells the sleeping girl, “Ye-eun, you melted your father. You must have started to enter his heart.”

And she (finally!) takes a rag and starts to clean Min-woo’s vandalized photo, which has till now remained smeared with Ye-eun’s crayon doodles. LOL. Looks like he’s finally earned some respect.

Pleased with this first fatherly step, Kae-hwa has a snack ready for Min-woo before he even asks. (He starts to request it just as she presents it, which suggests that they’re becoming more familiar with each other.)

Kae-hwa sighs to think of how much she still has to learn about musicals; she’s been poring over the book but there’s so much to go through. Min-woo hopes that the musical will be a hit, and Kae-hwa agrees. But she has to go and sour his mood by adding, “If only for the president.” He doesn’t see what’s so great about Shi-joon, which prompts her to list his virtues. He’s passionate about his work, which isn’t easy to find in a person — most people just get by doing average work. (Min-woo grumbles that she’s got poor taste in men.)

There’s a more personal reason she’d like the musical to be a hit, since she can’t continue to work there if it fails. She has always been identified in terms of other people (i.e., Min-ji’s mom) — which is a common plight of the average Korean woman — and even having her own business card is a marvel: “It’s been ages since I’ve had a card with my own name on it. I have my own card and my workspace — do you know how reassuring that feels? A famous person like you wouldn’t know.”

Shi-joon arrives home and looks in on his wife’s room, which is empty. To tell us this is a sad moment — as though the fact that they’re using separate rooms isn’t enough — his eyes fall on a photo of the couple from happier times.

Jung-ah is out late at the studio, where her Other Man finds her. (I know the guy has a name — something like Ho-seok? — but they hardly ever use it so I can’t be sure.) He tells her that her stunt at lunch — bringing him along to the table with her husband — was pretty low of her. It was a discourtesy to both him and to Shi-joon.

Things are starting to go well for Kae-hwa, which of course means that now is the time for the shit to hit the fan. Just as she’s starting to feel proud of herself (and buoyed by Min-ji’s pride in her), the office learns some catastrophic news: their investment funds have not come through.

Shi-joon senses interference and heads off to meet with the investor to sort this out. While naive Kae-hwa is horrified, the others know that this happens all too frequently in the industry, and speculate that someone else has claimed the investment that was going to go to their production.

Min-woo gives another fan meeting, and sits for an interview afterward. As usual, as soon as the topic turns to mention of his acting, his foot starts to shake nervously and he gives a generic answer about wanting to challenge himself with this project.

My first thought was that this scene was an unnecessary repetition of a familiar scene, but I suppose that it serves to get Min-woo thinking about his acting insecurities again. This brings out the dichotomy between his status as carefree star and his desire for recognition of his talents, which builds as the episode heads toward its finish.

After the day’s events are over, manager Yoon-seok gets a phone call conveying exceedingly good news: The Show Co. lost its investment. Laughing at this fortunate twist of fate, Yoon-seok is thrilled that Min-woo doesn’t have to do the musical anymore. He’d been feeling frustrated at being forced to let Min-woo do it, so now he is pleased to have gotten what he wants without having to lift a finger.

But Min-woo is learning to think of people other than himself, and asks what’ll happen to the company. When he hears that it’ll naturally be ruined, he looks upset, although he pretends he’s happy for Yoon-seok’s benefit.

Shi-joon, waiting to get a chance to speak with the investor, sees Eom emerging from his own meeting with him, and guesses what happened. Eom gloats at having scored the funds over Shi-joon; with his big-name project, he was able to lure the investor to his side, with the help of some handy-dandy lobbying (aka bribing).

Min-woo wonders if Kae-hwa is off crying somewhere and hesitates over whether he should call her. Yoon-seok senses something strange in Min-woo’s reaction and follows behind in his car, puzzled to find that they’ve arrived at The Show Company’s office.

Inside, Kae-hwa is looking over her business cards sadly when she gets a call from Min-ji. The girl is excited to bring Mom in to school to talk to her class about her job, and Kae-hwa can’t tell her that her job might not still be in existence in a week’s time, so she agrees to go.

Min-woo would like to say something but can’t think of the words, so he just watches quietly, unseen, from the doorway. Kae-hwa doesn’t notice, but at least she chooses this moment for a helpful soliloquy to let Min-woo in on her thoughts:

Kae-hwa: “Min-ji, what if I get fired from here? I don’t have anywhere to go. Where will I get hired again at this age? It was a miracle I got to work here. I have people to call colleagues, and people to acknowledge my work.”

Deciding that it’s best not to intrude, Min-woo quietly leaves, running into Shi-joon on his way out. He asks for a moment to talk, which takes them to the roof, while Yoon-seok follows to eavesdrop on their conversation.

Shi-joon can guess why Min-woo is here, assuming that as the star, he’s upset about the musical possibly being canceled. Shi-joon confirms that they did lose the investment, but says that since nothing is decided, he ought to wait things out.

Having gotten the gist of the conversation, Yoon-seok slips away, annoyed at Min-woo’s interest. Meanwhile, Min-woo isn’t buying Shi-joon’s calm assurances, seeing that they’re just empty words. The dynamic is similar to a father trying to assert his seniority over his son, only now the son is starting to come into his own and realizes that Dad isn’t always right. (It’s sort of like the son is trying to beat his father but also prove himself to him.)

Kae-hwa starts to head home, but she recognizes the two cars parked in front of the building as Shi-joon’s and Min-woo’s. Since they aren’t inside the office, she heads to the roof in curiosity, in time to hear Shi-joon sticking to his stubborn line — however ineffectual — that he’ll pull through somehow.

Min-woo sees that there is no clear plan, and says, “Let me help.” How much will the production budget cost?

The idea that Min-woo would put his own money into the musical is so shocking and ludicrous that Shi-joon can’t believe it. Taking it almost as an insult, he asks Min-woo if he’s asking to get hit. So Min-woo challenges, “Then hit me.”

 
COMMENTS

The reason I like this episode better than the others is because finally we are seeing the different threads coming together. Now Eom’s existence (previously annoying and trifling) makes sense, and his actions are the catalyst for this next stage of the drama. I also like that Min-woo has a clear character progression in this episode. He starts out bored to find himself idle — not that that was ever a problem for him — particularly when Kae-hwa is buzzing about busily, absorbed in her work. He becomes disgruntled at being pushed aside — and rightly so, because his demands (a cup of coffee, for example) are hardly more important than organizing an audition or managing meetings. He can stand to wait, even if he’s not used to waiting. When the production hits a crisis point, he has the clear option of walking away, and nobody — not even Shi-joon or Kae-hwa — could fault him for it. But for the first time he takes an active step.

The relationship between Kae-hwa and Min-woo is a little different than what we might expect in this genre, because it’s not about physical attraction, nor is it about one needing the other. I like that Kae-hwa isn’t really interested in Min-woo as a romantic partner (aside from a few moments that show that she isn’t UN-attracted to him), and probably won’t be until she sees Min-woo acting more maturely. He’s finding inspiration in her to change himself, and it’s after that happens that he’ll be worthy of her attention. Case in point: he buys Ye-eun the stuffed bears of his own accord, and earns himself her approval (and a snack!). He didn’t buy it specifically to make Kae-hwa happy, but the action makes her improve her opinion of him.

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67 April 21, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 9

by javabeans

Aw, finally the angst hits! Granted, for a drama of this tone the angst isn’t overpowering, which is probably a good thing. Plus, there’s plenty of cute to balance it out. I think we could all sorta see this coming so it wasn’t very surprising, but I did appreciate how we were brought here in a logical progression.

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EPISODE 9 RECAP

As Min-woo and Shi-joon face off, the air is tense. Kae-hwa steps in before things escalate and scolds Min-woo for exacerbating things. Min-woo, who had meant what he said about offering to invest, feels unjustly accused, but Kae-hwa chides him for adding to the problems.

Shi-joon excuses himself, leaving the two to continue the argument. Still, the mood lightens a bit, meaning that this isn’t so much a serious fight as it is another bickering match. Min-woo is insulted at her charge, and annoyed that Shi-joon is standing on his pride even when he needs help. He asks, “Whose side are you on?” Her response is basically “Picking sides? What are you, twelve?” (I’m paraphrasing that last bit.)

On the ride home, Min-woo can’t let the matter rest and asks if Kae-hwa finds him laughable — how could she disregard him like that? He was offering to help! We understand that Min-woo was sincere, but Kae-hwa has read it a different way and says that he was just bragging about his money and rubbing Shi-joon’s nose in it, “without affection or courtesy.”

Min-woo’s offended to be so misunderstood, but they can’t get fight it out while Ye-eun’s sleeping, so they pull over and step out of the car in order to argue. (In my book, if you’re taking extra precautions before launching into an argument, you can’t really be that mad, can you?)

Min-woo takes issue with Kae-hwa’s loyalty to Shi-joon — so he’s wonderful no matter what, and Min-woo’s wrong no matter what? At her faith that Shi-joon will produce a successful musical, Min-woo retorts, “Is he God? How can you have such faith?”

Kae-hwa answers that she can see the passion in how he works. In fact, Min-woo ought to take this opportunity to learn how to act properly. Irked, Min-woo points out that the company’s on the verge of ruin, then gets in the car and drives off, leaving her standing there. She sputters in outrage — how could he just ditch her?

I would feel worse for Kae-hwa if not for the fact that Min-woo is really the one inconvenienced by his selfish gesture. When he arrives at home, he has to carry the sleeping Ye-eun up, and who should be camped out in the parking lot but tenacious Reporter Han?

The reporter spies Min-woo hurrying by and calls out to him. Caught, Min-woo has no choice but to run carrying the girl, and manages to duck behind a parked car in time to avoid being seen. Still, the reporter smells a juicy tidbit and knows Min-woo is nearby, so he hunkers down to wait for sign of movement.

(Min-woo’s made a lot of strides, hasn’t he? The last time he was in this situation, he was holding Ye-eun with stiff arms, as far away from his body as possible like she were some contagious disease. This time he cradles her protectively. Though it’s a wonder the kid doesn’t wake up from all that jostling.)

Stuck in his hiding place, Min-woo tries calling Kae-hwa for help, but she doesn’t hear her phone because she’s busy trying to find a bus station. Serves ya right, buddy! He hesitates over whether to call his manager, but finally decides he needs the help and starts to dial Yoon-seok’s number.

Thankfully, he doesn’t have to, because the security guard comes to his rescue. A report from a resident has come in about a suspicious man lurking in the area, so he drags the reporter off.

Thankfully, he’s able to go home safely and put Ye-eun to bed without further ado. Kae-hwa comes home annoyed, but this encounter has shaken Min-woo and he doesn’t engage with her.

Meanwhile, nosy Reporter Han tries to make sense of the scene. Without a photo he’s got no basis for writing an article, but it’s particularly suspicious since Min-woo ran away from him. Trying to think of an angle, the reporter gets an idea and starts typing a story speculating about the identity of the mysterious hidden child.

In the morning, Kae-hwa cautiously defends Min-woo to Shi-joon, in case he’s still upset. She explains that he’s not a bad guy and was just trying to express his concern over the musical, however awkwardly. Shi-joon cuts her off to say that he has a rule to keep his personal emotions from intruding upon business, and therefore yesterday’s encounter is already forgotten.

Shi-joon is displeased with the promotional poster that has been conceived, and overrides Jae-hee’s concerns about their tight budget to instruct them to hire a better designer. This opens the door for an employee bitching session, which is mostly harmless because the three subordinates all like Shi-joon, but find him difficult to work for at times. This is definitely one of those times. This hushed griping session also serves as a bonding moment, which is so true to life that I get a little kick out of it. After all, who hasn’t been here, finding friendships through communal suffering? Jae-hee is even nice to Kae-hwa for the first time, treating her sympathetically.

Kae-hwa is sent to a costuming consultation with Jung-ah, after which the latter invites Kae-hwa to have lunch with her. Jung-ah sees something in Kae-hwa that she likes — perhaps it’s her sincerity, or desire to work hard — and treats her with friendliness. When Kae-hwa takes a call from her daughter, Jung-ah can’t help feeling envy, and confides that she had once been pregnant. However, she made the mistake of putting her ambitions first — she had just gotten her first large-scale job — and lost the baby. The words she’d most wanted to hear from her husband were “It’s okay,” but he never said them.

Kae-hwa sees that Jung-ah is still hurt over this, and gently suggests that she should voice these thoughts. Jung-ah briefly considers it, but decides that it’s too late for that.

Bad news: Reporter Han may not have had proof, but he has enough of a hunch that he writes a veiled gossip piece about the hidden child of a certain “pretty boy actor Mr. S.” Yoon-seok is pissed. Min-woo is also upset, but he says defensively that nobody will know who the trash paper is talking about.

Yoon-seok contradicts him — his big CF has been canceled, because the advertisers immediately knew that the report was about Min-woo.

Yura calls, hence Min-woo goes running. She explains that she could use his help in a tux fitting, because she designed a dress and tux for her sunbae’s wedding. Of course he is enthralled with Yura the minute he claps eyes on her in the bridal gown — in kdramas, the men MUST melt at the sight of a woman in a wedding dress, because it is naturally imbued with the mystical power to enhance a woman’s attractiveness, or some such.

When Min-woo is out of earshot, Yura thanks the bridal shop for lending her the clothing. It wasn’t actually her design after all. Y’see, it’s all a part of her master plan to get Min-woo in love with her by reminding him how beautiful she is and to get marriage on his mind. She’s a crafty one, but really the most roundabout manipulator ever. Whatever happened to the direct approach?

As he falls further into Yura’s clutches, Min-woo feels more guilty about the secret he’s harboring. He practices telling Yura that he already has a daughter and asking her to accept that, but he’s nowhere near being able to say this to her for real.

Ye-eun is improving more and more every day, and Bok-nim and Kae-hwa are optimistic about her chances for recovery. It would be nice to have her father express his affection, too, but they’re pleased with the girl’s progress.

Producer Eom gloats to Shi-joon, having managed to one-up him by stealing his investment. Technically the investor was originally interested in Eom’s project but had changed to Shi-joon’s superior production, so Eom sees this as merely recovering what was initially his. He does, however, have somebody to introduce Shi-joon to, a potential business acquaintance.

As Yura meets with Yoon-seok to discuss Min-woo’s upcoming schedule, she carefully broaches the issue of Kae-hwa, suggesting with false concern that the “strange woman” hanging around Min-woo cannot be good for him. What if she turns out to be a stalker, or worse? Neither really believes this of Kae-hwa, but they’re both eager to find a reason to get rid of her.

Therefore, Yoon-seok calls Min-woo out for drinks that night to press the issue of leaving behind this career detour and getting back to business as usual. They both know that The Show Company’s production is toast, and even if the company manages to scrape together a show, it’s going to fail.

So here’s the deal: Min-woo can send his daughter to an orphanage — not to abandon her for good but with the intention of adopting her later. In that way he can claim her back, but to the public it’ll look just like he’s adopting, and it’ll have the added benefit of improving his image. Also, doesn’t he want to marry? (At this, Min-woo thinks of Yura and her wedding dress.)

Despite his selfish motives, Yoon-seok’s suggestion actually seems reasonable to Min-woo, especially when Yoon-seok emphasizes that this is better for Ye-eun, too. If Min-woo hesitates too long and plays this situation badly, he could ruin his whole life in the ensuing scandal. As Min-woo has been feeling nervous ever since his near-miss with the reporter, the words sound convincing…

After thinking hard all night, he calls Yoon-seok to make his decision: “I’m definitely going to adopt her back. Absolutely.”

That night, Min-woo comes home in a serious mood, feeling a bit guilty but having convinced himself that this is the right thing to do. Therefore he doesn’t get upset when Ye-eun accidentally spills her milk on him, which surprises both Kae-hwa and Ye-eun, who were expecting a typical outburst.

Kae-hwa feels bad that Ye-eun is always stuck indoors, so she suggests going to the zoo tomorrow. To her surprise, Min-woo even offers to drive them, so she invites him along. Thinking that this is indication of Min-woo warming to his daughter, Kae-hwa exults to Ye-eun. Sigh, if only!

Jung-ah has managed to rustle up some funds of her own to help Shi-joon. It’s not much, but as the business is strapped for cash, this should help tide him over. Then again, this is the proud Shi-joon we’re talking about, and he is not gracious about her offer. Instead, he looks at her suspiciously to ask why she’s helping all of a sudden. She’s a woman who brought her lover to lunch with him, and he is in no mood to accept her money.

Man, not that I’m condoning adultery — that’s Jung-ah’s mistake and nothing excuses that — but you can really see how this marriage went south, and Shi-joon’s behavior makes it difficult to wish him well when he ought to be the sympathetic one in this pair.

Zoo day! Min-woo accompanies the ladies while wearing a cap and shades that do very little toward disguising his identity. He doesn’t show his emotions outwardly but he does enjoy himself, and Kae-hwa takes everything in with enthusiasm.

In one cute moment, the three are walking along when another father walks by carrying his child on his shoulders. Kae-hwa and Ye-eun both give Min-woo purposely doleful looks, guilting him into lifting Ye-eun on his shoulders. The little one is learning! (She’ll have him wrapped around her finger in no time.)

Another cute moment comes when Kae-hwa urges Ye-eun to tell her father “Thank you” for the fun day out. Instead, Ye-eun offers her lollipop as her form of gratitude, which Min-woo eyes warily. He doesn’t want to lick it after the girl has been sucking on it, but Kae-hwa points out that kids never give up their candies so this is a big gesture for Ye-eun. Grudgingly, he takes a lick.

Unbeknownst to them, they’re being photographed by an unseen witness, who keeps himself hidden while snapping shots of the group outing. Min-woo catches a glimpse of the photographer, but quickly loses sight of him and leaves the zoo feeling uneasy.

That sight reinforces Min-woo’s worries, and that night he tries to tell Kae-hwa of his decision. However, she thanks him happily and goes on about how well Ye-eun is doing. When he downplays his contribution to the day’s fun, she says that she knows he’s really a warm person inside — after all, the reason he talked to Shi-joon about investing was because he had a genuine attachment to the musical.

Her gratitude doesn’t help with his guilt, and she doesn’t give him a chance to say his piece because she gets a sudden call to come in for an emergency meeting. Min-woo is left with his heavy conscience.

Shi-joon has called his employees in for a last-minute session to work out the details of an upcoming presentation to a prospective new investor. They will need to prepare the materials for the big meeting.

Afterward, Shi-joon offers her a ride back and explains that the investments came from a referral via Producer Eom. He may be a rival, but Kae-hwa supposes he must have felt guilty about stealing their investor to have helped refer a new one.

When Kae-hwa arrives at home, she hears Min-woo on the phone (with Yoon-seok, presumably) asking questions in a somber mood. He wants to make sure Ye-eun is left at a good orphanage and adds, “I’m going to adopt her later, you know that, right?”

Kae-hwa is stunned. She can’t believe what she has heard, and asks if he’s really going to dump his daughter. This isn’t how Min-woo wanted to tell her, but now that the cat’s out of the bag he confirms it. He clarifies that he isn’t abandoning her forever and that he intends to get her back, but Kae-hwa isn’t buying it. She asks suspiciously if this was all Yoon-seok’s idea — does he really believe that Yoon-seok will keep his promise? She asks incredulously, “Were you this kind of person? Were you this frightening person?”

Min-woo has been feeling conflicted about his decision, but when he’s confronted with Kae-hwa’s reaction, it’s as though he decides he may as well be the bad guy, the guy she thinks he is. Rather than continue to defend himself, he goes the other way and hardens his attitude: “Yeah, this is who I am. Didn’t you know?”

Kae-hwa is upset and supremely disappointed in him, and he bursts out in frustration, “Then what am I supposed to do? Keep living like this?” Hide the girl and sneak her around? He was almost caught by the reporter yesterday — if that had happened, the news have been all over the internet today, and his livelihood would be over in a heartbeat: “But still, you want me to think of the kid? What if thinking of the kid gets my life ruined in one shot? Then what? What about my life? Marriage? How long do I have to live like this?”

This also means Min-woo is done with the musical. Kae-hwa tells him that he must have grown attached to the production for him to come running to the office to offer to save it. But now that he’s decided to be the bad guy, Min-woo throws her words back at her, saying that it was just to brag about money.

Min-woo retreats to his room to brood some more, and when he emerges, Kae-hwa is sitting in the dark, pensive and silent.

She asks, “Can you really abandon Ye-eun?”

The words sink in and he takes a moment to gather his resolve to answer, “Yes, I can.” Turning to face her, he adds, “So please leave my home now.”

 
COMMENTS

Although this was an expected turn of events, I like how this was set up. For instance, the final argument between Min-woo and Kae-hwa played out the conflict in a convincing way, and I could actually see his point. Min-woo has been softening toward Ye-eun, true, but he’s still light-years away from being a proper father, so Kae-hwa’s protests sounded like she was clutching at straws. Even if she was on the “right” side of the argument.

You can’t quite discount Min-woo’s argument, though; even if the information was dropped into his ear by an untrustworthy Iago, the suggestion does seem appealing. If Min-woo adopts Ye-eun later, it would circumvent scandal and solve his problem in a neat way. Of course, our drama heroes must be made of more honorable stuff than that so we wouldn’t be satisfied without Min-woo acknowledging Ye-eun publicly, but from Yoon-seok’s standpoint this is the perfect solution.

With Kae-hwa and Ye-eun bonding so closely, what I fear most for isn’t the girl’s abandonment by her father but her separation from Kae-hwa. I feel like if she had to choose one parental figure, Kae-hwa is the one whose absence would be more hurtful, so I fear for her future if/when they have to part ways. Even if it is temporary.

On the other hand, Yura’s a pretty useless character, isn’t she? I know Park Han-byul has acted in several projects since Fantasy Couple in 2006, but Yura is practically a facsimile of the role she played in that drama. Granted, Yura isn’t the most fleshed-out character, but a good actor can bring a lot to an otherwise empty role. Park, on the other hand, has shown no growth as an actress and I can’t wait for the story to make her (even more) irrelevant.

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52 April 26, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 10

by javabeans

Sorry this is up later than I intended — I’ve been out of town and traveling, so I didn’t have as much time to keep current with the past week of episodes. Time to play catch-up!

SONG OF THE DAY

Wax – “참 다행이다” (How fortunate) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

After Min-woo tells Kae-hwa she’ll have to move out, in the morning he finds the apartment a mess, as though she’s rebelling by quitting her housekeeper duties. And I’d say she’s entitled, given his sudden and unceremonious decision to kick both her and Ye-eun out.

The Show Company employees fidget and fuss as they await their potential investor, to whom they will make a presentation for their musical. They are particularly nervous today, since this is their last hope of staying afloat, and it’s with some shock that Kae-hwa recognizes the man they are trying to woo — her ex-husband Byung-hak.

She can’t do anything and stays quiet, and the ex-spouses both pretend not to know each other, although he can’t resist making a few jabs at Kae-hwa (belittling her job and such). This is a bit inappropriate since the others don’t know their history, but he laughs off his comments as a joke.

Shi-joon makes the presentation, and things go pretty well. It’s not until after the meeting that Kae-hwa tells her co-workers who he was, and in a nice bit of office solidarity, Jae-hee asks worriedly if this means they ought not accept the investment. Kae-hwa isn’t worried for her own sake, but she wonders what possibly sneaky (or at least ill-advised) scheme Byung-hak is planning.

Meanwhile, Reporter Han sees photos posted online that show Min-woo at the zoo with Ye-eun. His hat and sunglasses obscure his face enough that he’s not 100% identifiable, but the shots bear the caption, “A dad who looks just like Sung Min-woo.” Reporter Han recalls seeing Min-woo carrying Ye-eun in the parking lot, so he goes off to confirm his hunch.

He therefore pays a visit to Yoon-seok, who has already seen the photos and taken damage control measures; he has ordered an employee to make a reservation at a Japanese resort, presumably for Min-woo.

Reporter Han fishes for info, but the manager is wary and answers vaguely. The reporter presents his theory, guessing that Min-woo must be married. Perhaps he married before he became famous, and thus had to hide both his wife and child. Han suggests that now is the time for Min-woo to come forward and go public about his family.

Despite his outer cool, Yoon-seok had been nervous in the face of the reporter’s confidence at figuring out the story, but now he relaxes since the speculation is so far from the truth. Still, he can’t be too careful: he excuses himself to take a phone call, sees that Reporter Han is watching curiously, and fakes a conversation to be purposely overheard. He “confirms” that Min-woo is heading to Japan tomorrow with a companion with the last name Hong (Yura), and then calls Yura to arrange things.

At lunchtime, Kae-hwa and Shi-joon are the only two in the office, so they head out to eat together. Shi-joon supposes that she’s uncomfortable about Byung-hak being a possible investor, and while she is, she answers that she is more worried about whether they can trust her ex. He’s not exactly reliable, and what if he’s just doing this to harass her?

Shi-joon alleviates her concerns, assuring her that he’ll have Byung-hak checked out anyway, so there’s no reason to worry about that. He’s worried about her, but Kae-hwa insists that she’s strong.

They don’t notice that another couple has arrived at the restaurant and have noticed them: it’s Jung-ah and her companion. Though she tries to act unaffected, we can see that she is hurt to see her husband smiling and seemingly enjoying himself when he’s so curt with her. Which might be sympathetic if not for the whole adultery angle. (Even if it turns out she’s not in a sexual/romantic relationship with her guy, she is presenting him as her lover so I don’t think she gets the moral high ground here.)


Yura meets up with Min-woo, who is back to acting the part of the bashful, enamored boy around her. (Sigh.) She asks if he’s free on the weekend, as she has scored tickets for a trip to a Japan. While we know that Yoon-seok has orchestrated this plan, she is acting like it’s her idea, so of course Min-woo is only too happy to agree. Idiot.

(I like Min-woo’s character and the portrayal by Choi Siwon, but you know how a person’s bad taste or judgment can alter your opinion of him? Although Min-woo is a likable guy and my derision is mostly reserved for the charisma-less Yura, the very fact that he is so puppy-doggish after her lowers my opinion of him. It’s like having a crush on a seemingly perfect guy and then finding out that all his girlfriends have been trashy, blathering imbeciles — suddenly the prospect of dating him doesn’t seem so appealing after all.)

Anyway. Barbie and Ken — so pretty, so bland together — embark on a shopping trip in preparation for their trip, attracting an audience as they try on clothing and browse in a department store. Min-woo basically buys everything Yura wants, and she happily accepts. The main thing I take away from this sequence is that montages are wasted on the vapid. Yeah, they make a good-looking couple, but that’s it.

Kae-hwa seeks out her ex, and unexpectedly (to us and to him), she lets him off the hook for worming his way into the production as investor. He hasn’t yet decided whether or not to invest with them, so Kae-hwa urges him to do it, which Byung-hak finds surprising. She’s not thrilled about the prospect, but says that they can be professional about this.

Kae-hwa gives herself a pep talk, vowing to make the most of this situation: She’ll do right by Ye-eun and the musical. With that, she cleans the mess she had allowed to accumulate, then settles down with Ye-eun to present Min-woo with a friendly gesture in hopes that they can start warming him up again.

Kae-hwa gets out the origami book and asks Ye-eun what she’d like to make. The girl picks out animals, which Kae-hwa understands as a reaction to their trip to the zoo, and they get to work building a miniature zoo of paper animals. To cap things off, Ye-eun cuts out paper dolls of people that represent their family.

Meanwhile, Min-woo is still out with Yura. After the shopping trip, they end up taking a walk, then head to the car for a more private conversation.

Min-woo admits that he had liked Yura in the past. While it’s clear that she was well aware (and it’s not like he was very discreet about it, if his behavior now is any indication), Yura plays coy, saying he’d never told her how he felt but hinting that she liked him too. Now that surprises him — she was much more popular, and one gets the sense he felt she was out of his league — and he suggests they start over now.

Still playing hard to get, Yura says she’ll think it over. Min-woo asks her not to take too long, then takes advantage of the moment to lean in for a kiss.

But his brain chooses this moment to flash back to the refrigerator kiss with Kae-hwa, and he freezes. Suddenly he’s disturbed — why is he thinking of this now, of all things? — and he pauses so long that Yura opens her eyes to peek at him, wondering what the hangup is. Min-woo tries to shake it off, but the moment has been marred and things take on an awkward air, so they decide to call it a night.

On his way back to the apartment, Min-woo berates himself for letting the moment slip by. How could he think of Kae-hwa then?

He enters the darkened apartment, and without taking a look at what they are, he kicks the zoo animals off the coffee table carelessly to drop his purchases on it. Kae-hwa bursts out of the room carrying Ye-eun as though to surprise him with their offering, while the girl holds up a sketchpad depicting the three of them at the zoo, wearing their bunny ears.

Alas, both ladies see the origami animals scattered on the ground, which hurts Ye-eun’s feelings. Kae-hwa tries to mitigate the disappointment, saying that Daddy didn’t mean it and made a silly mistake, but the girl understands Min-woo’s feelings and trudges back to her room unhappily.

Trying to bring Min-woo around, Kae-hwa promises to look after Ye-eun even more, even better. She’ll be super careful and they won’t ride in his car anymore. But Min-woo has already taken on the role (in his head) of being the bad guy with no conscience, so he tells her she’d better just acknowledge that and leave. It’s like her goodness is making him feel even worse for his foibles — she doesn’t have any trouble identifying what the Right Thing To Do is and sticking to it, which makes his human weaknesses seem more glaring in comparison. He tells her, “I know you’re an outstanding person, so stop repeating the same thing over.”

At work, they hear that Byung-hak is indeed going to invest in their production, to everyone’s relief. Kae-hwa assures the others not to worry about her — she asked her ex to go ahead with the investment, and they appreciate her effort.

Kae-hwa calls Min-woo to inform him that rehearsals are starting up again tonight, leaving a message because he ignores her phone call. He packs for his trip to Japan, and heads out to meet Yura.

Following her father’s rejection the last night, Ye-eun is extra clingy this morning when Kae-hwa drops her off at her therapy. And sure enough, her hurt manifests again that morning; Kae-hwa has to come back to check on her because the girl has had a tantrum, refusing to work with the teacher and throwing her toys.

Kae-hwa sighs that she must be old enough to understand everything, and Bok-nim agrees that she understands rejection clearly. Kae-hwa comforts Ye-eun with extra affection, trying to convince her that her father does love her — it’s just that the doesn’t know his own feelings yet. So can she wait until he is ready? Kae-hwa promises to watch over her until he does.

And at that, Ye-eun finally says, “Ajumma.”

Kae-hwa can’t believe it, and takes a few moments of stunned silence to register the moment. Excitedly, she tries to get the girl to speak more, and even though that’s all they’re going to get today, this is big news and Kae-hwa dials Min-woo right away to convey the good news. He, on his way to the airport, hangs up on her before letting her say anything.

But as we know, Min-woo isn’t as cold as he’s trying to force himself to be, and we have more proof of this when his car stops at a red light and he sees a little girl crying on the street. She has been separated from her mother and is all alone, and Min-woo briefly hesitates before pulling over at the curb and walking out to her. But when he’s halfway to her, the girl’s mother finds her and comforts the daughter, so Min-woo turns away before he’s noticed.

Instead of heading to the airport, however, Min-woo makes a detour to Yoon-seok’s office while Yura waits for him at the gate. The manager isn’t in, so Min-woo calls him to ask him about the orphanage and to make sure they send Ye-eun to a good place. Yoon-seok assures him that it’ll be no problem, and orphanages are much nicer now than they used to be.

Min-woo accidentally moves the computer mouse, bringing Yoon-seok’s computer out of sleep mode, and something captures his eye. There’s a folder on the desktop marked “Zoo,” and when he opens it, he finds photographs of his outing with Kae-hwa and Ye-eun. Remembering the photographer he had seen on that day, he realizes that Yoon-seok must have been behind it.

This suggests that his manager is gathering material that might be used to force Min-woo’s hand. He’s absolutely stunned at the discovery and even though he knows Yoon-seok is coldly businesslike, this is a huge disillusionment. Min-woo spends long moments brooding in silence.

Meanwhile, Yoon-seok approaches Kae-hwa as she heads toward her office building, and with the help of one of his accomplices he shoves her into his car. Shi-joon happens to see this scene as he leaves the building, and immediately gets in his car to pursue the kidnapping vehicle.

He follows them closely for a while, amidst some pretty dramatic music — are we in some gangster movie now? — but at the last leg he is forced to stop when his path his cut off by another car. He calls Min-woo, apprising him of the situation, and asks where Yoon-seok might have gone.

Yoon-seok takes Kae-hwa to a private room in a bar/room salon, where he often conducts business. His tone is vaguely menacing as he tells her he’s poured tons of money into making Min-woo a star, but these day’s he’s becoming “more and more strange.” She retorts that other people would call that being human, but Yoon-seok only cares about recouping his investment in his client, and until he does, they won’t let Min-woo go. Therefore, he advises, Kae-hwa should really just take the money he’s offering her and get lost.

Kae-hwa accuses him of treating Min-woo like a mere commodity, but that is hardly an insult to Yoon-seok, who agrees: “He is, a really important one.”

He presents her with contract agreeing not to reveal anything about Min-woo under threat of punishment (a large monetary penalty) and orders her to sign it. Kae-hwa tries to keep a brave front and challenges him — what’s he going to do if Ye-eun gets adopted and tells people that Min-woo’s her father?

On his way to meeting Shi-joon, Min-woo checks his messages and now hears the message Kae-hwa had left earlier, exulting that Ye-eun had finally spoken.

Shi-joon is parked in the spot where he’d last seen Yoon-seok’s car before losing sight of them, and suspects that Yoon-seok took Kae-hwa somewhere close by. Min-woo has a pretty good hunch, having been here before, and tells Shi-joon he can handle it alone. The latter insists on following, however, so the two take off together.

Therefore, both men arrive at the bar together and charge into the meeting just as Yoon-seok loses his temper with Kae-hwa’s refusals to sign. One of the henchman moves to stop him, so Min-woo punches him, then takes on the other accomplice. (Easiest takedown of burly bodyguards ever! Lucky thing Min-woo’s the hero, huh? Otherwise he might have actually had to exert himself.)

Min-woo looks down intently at Kae-hwa, who is stunned to see the two men here to rescue her. Shi-joon grabs her by the wrist (always the wrist!) to help her up, and says, “Let’s go.”

 
COMMENTS

This drama hasn’t met a single cliche it hasn’t liked, has it? I’ve said it before so I’ll be brief about it this time: Oh My Lady is purely enjoyable because of the relationship of the two leads and the girl. Without Chae Rim and Choi Siwon specifically in these roles, I don’t see much to get excited about, plotwise. The drama doesn’t try anything new, and even its shining moments aren’t outstanding; they are mostly just lifted by the cute chemistry and the characters.

I actually liked Episode 10, but it felt like a mix of every other drama I’d seen before. The bumbling paparazzo, the scheming manager, the simpering first love, the interrupted kiss, the kidnapping, the random car chase, the heroic beatdown, the love-triangle-reinforcing rescue scene… Yup, all there.

And lastly, the below screenshot is pretty much irrelevant to the entire episode, but after going a few episodes without seeing some skin, I figure we ought to take a moment to acknowledge the effort to give us a little bit of fan service, yeah?

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53 May 2, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 11

by javabeans

Little feetsies! He’s thinking, “How can such a teeny little thing cause so much trouble?” And I’m thinking, “Boy, just wait until she learns to talk back!”

This drama isn’t moving as quickly as I’d like it to, but I do think it’s picking up ever so slightly. It probably helps that there are more Min-woo/Ye-eun scenes today, which have always been the highlight.

SONG OF THE DAY

Creamchou – “샤워” (Shower) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Shi-joon escorts Kae-hwa out of the room (by the wrist, natch) while Min-woo stays behind to confront his manager. He asks, is Yoon-seok still doing shady stuff like this? He used to leverage Min-woo’s weaknesses against him when he was a newcomer, but I’m guessing Min-woo’s been too wrapped up in his star life to care much about how his manager conducts business these days.

He tears up the contract Kae-hwa was forced to sign, and warns Yoon-seok to back off. If he does this again, Min-woo will reveal everything and make sure Yoon-seok is ruined with him. He storms out, and he must have been expecting Shi-joon and Kae-hwa to be waiting for him because he looks chagrined to find that they’ve already gone.

After stopping to allow her to calm down, Shi-joon asks Kae-hwa what that was about. Kae-hwa can’t tell the full truth because Ye-eun’s existence isn’t for her to reveal, so she gives him a vague half-truth as an answer. She says that Yoon-seok doesn’t like Min-woo doing the musical and has been messing with Min-woo’s scheduling, so she argued with him. Yoon-seok hadn’t taken kindly to that and made her sign a contract saying she’d stop interfering.

Min-woo’s detour to rescue Kae-hwa means he has stood up Yura, who figures that he’s not coming and leaves the airport annoyed. She’s certainly not in the mood to indulge the pesky Reporter Han, who sides with her by saying sympathetically that Min-woo was rude to stand her up. Of course, she doesn’t like hearing that from him and insists that something important came up at the last minute.

That night, Min-woo is in a subdued mood, and he apologizes for Kae-hwa having to go through that nasty encounter because of him. In addition, he also asks her to forget all his awful words and actions, meaning with regard to giving Ye-eun to an orphanage. Kae-hwa softens at that, and thanks Min-woo for apologizing.

Jung-ah has heard that the company got their investor onboard, and just when she was about to insist she would help. She congratulates Shi-joon, and for once it’s nice to see these two actually talking instead of just angsting at each other.

I love this moment of awkwardness as Min-woo walks out of his room to see Ye-eun sitting quietly, just staring at him. Thinking to try engaging with her, he musters the nerve and kneels in front of her. It takes him a moment to figure out what to say, and he only gets out her name before Kae-hwa, not seeing the exchange, calls Ye-eun to eat. Min-woo quickly turns away to avoid the embarrassment of being caught. Aw, we won’t think less of you for being a good father!

Kae-hwa’s a little uncertain as she brings up the matter of the musical re-starting its practices, since Min-woo had said he would quit the last time. She’s therefore relieved when he agrees to go to whatever rehearsals are scheduled.

It also gives her the little push to press her luck with him, and Kae-hwa presents Min-woo with a contract to sign. While it’s not meant to be legally binding, it’s for her peace of mind to ensure that Min-woo will (1) throw himself into musical rehearsals without goofing off, (2) be on time to all rehearsals, and (3) dedicate his body to the success of All That Love. After he signs, she adds a postscript: “If I don’t keep this promise, I’m not even a man.” Although Min-woo protests at the unfairness of altering a contract after he has signed, he smiles when he reads the amendment, amused at her pluck.

Shi-joon meets with Yoon-seok to find out more about the encounter yesterday, since he can sense that Kae-hwa didn’t tell him the full story. Yoon-seok merely offers up non-answers, saying that if he and Kae-hwa know something else, it’s something they’re not at liberty to disclose. He warns that Kae-hwa seems much more innocent than she is, however, and tells him not to trust her too much. (Shi-joon doesn’t give his words any weight, but I think they do come back to him later in the episode.)

Min-woo throws himself into rehearsals, performing with much more dedication than he has done in the past. His effort wins favor with Jung-ah, who likens him to West Side Story‘s Tony, and he wins more points by having smoothies delivered for the rest of the cast. Kae-hwa is duly impressed.

What’s cute is that Min-woo has no idea who this Tony dude is, and goes out to buy the DVD for West Side Story just to check. Haha.

Shi-joon takes Kae-hwa with him when he goes to check on the construction of their stage, but as it happens they are early. To kill time before meeting with the crew, they stop for lunch, where Shi-joon orders for them. Kae-hwa is a little hesitant at his choice, but rather than protest, she goes along with it and winds up sick from the lunch.

They stop at a pharmacy to get something to settle her stomach, and she admits that this was what she had been eating with her husband when he told her he had another woman. She thought she had gotten over it by now, but this proves that it still bothers her. What she’s angriest about is that Byung-hak had never apologized for hurting her, and she felt belittled that he didn’t even see fit to say that.

She apologizes for burdening Shi-joon with these personal thoughts, saying, “I know I’m not an impressive person…” but Shi-joon contradicts her. She is, because she’s sincere and therefore lifts people’s spirits. Therefore, she should remember to value herself.

Kae-hwa receives a call from the teacher that Ye-eun is starting to come down with signs of a cold, and will have to go home. However, she’s at the set with Shi-joon overseeing the construction, and can’t go to pick up the girl. She therefore asks Bok-nim for the favor, and her friend is only too happy to comply, since this means she’ll get to meet Min-woo in the flesh.

As they pull up in the parking lot, Bok-nim casts a wary glance at Reporter Han, who has again taken up residence waiting for signs of Min-woo. Although he thinks that Ye-eun reminds him of the girl Min-woo was with, it’s a good thing for everyone that he’s not too bright and doesn’t connect the dots.

And of course, we can imagine how fluttery and giddy Bok-nim — a professional, thirtysomething doctor, mind you — gets to come face to face with Min-woo.

She puts aside her fangirliness enough to speak with him for a moment regarding the girl’s care, and gives him advice on bonding with her. For instance, it’s important for the adult to apologize if he has wronged the child, and to make sure not to lose his temper when the child makes mistakes.

Keeping that in mind, Min-woo gives this bonding thing a try, telling Ye-eun that he’s sorry he messed up her paper animals, and for thinking mean thoughts. In response, Ye-eun takes out her origami book and points to a picture. She wants him to fold the animal for her.

Min-woo gamely gives it a go, only he’s not very skilled and he’s certainly not very patient, and soon the ground is littered with crumpled origami paper.

Then, he feeds her spaghetti and pizza (oh, dads), and she accidentally knocks a plate of the noodles to the floor. Recalling Bok-nim’s words, he holds back his temper and forces a smiles to say that it’s fine. And then she knocks over the milk.

Ye-eun isn’t intentionally trying Min-woo’s patience, but I’m going to say this is a good sign that she feels comfortable enough to bounce around freely, knocking things over carelessly. Min-woo follows her around to right the damage she makes, but she’s a fast little thing. When he finds that she has puts onion ring chips on everything, Min-woo clamps a towel in his mouth to keep from yelling, but she just sticks her tongue out at him. LOL! Little girl totally knows she’s got him wrapped around her little finger.

Finally, he settles her in bed and reads her fairy tales (on his e-reader — that doesn’t have quite the same old-fashioned touch of bedtime stories, does it?). After he goes through several, they both fall asleep, and this is the scene that greets Kae-hwa when she comes home. Needless to say, she’s extremely gratified at how far they’ve progressed.

In the ensuing days, Min-woo goes through more training sessions; his vocals are already pretty good, but his acting starts out laughably bad. It’s the same overacty stuff of Episode 1, but to his acting coach’s surprise, he soon improves substantially, having learned how to tone down his deliveries to sound sincere.

I was tempted to leave out this scene, as it does very little in this episode, but I’ll include it because it’ll probably factor in at a later date. Jung-ah’s man has been admitted to the Broadway Dance Center in New York, and while she’s thrilled for him, he reminds her that at the outset she said they could go together. He figures she never really meant it, and her expression shows us that she’s sorry to disappoint.

Byung-hak is proving to be a big(ger) pain in the neck, bringing along his sister-in-law to meet with The Show Company for a role in the musical. The girl is pretty haughty, and Byung-hak says in his careless way that surely they can put in a good word with the director to satisfy their investor, no? It’s not only the request that is grating, but the crass way in which it is made that has the Show Company employees grimacing at Byung-hak’s nerve. Shi-joon tries to diplomatically decline responsibility for casting, but is forced to accept her resumé.

Kae-hwa is not having this, and she grabs her ex aside to scold him for his brash behavior. He’s such an arrogant douchebag that he acts like he’s their savior — as he is the one paying her paycheck, isn’t it her place to help her ex-husband’s wife’s younger sister’s debut? Coming from the adulterer, he sure has a skewed idea of propriety, eh?

When Yura calls, Min-woo hesitates to answer, feeling uneasy that she would still be spitting mad over their ruined vacation weekend. He apologizes to her and explains that he felt so bad that he couldn’t call her. Yura’s looking pretty peeved at first, particularly as he explains that his reason for skipping out was because Kae-hwa ran into trouble. He clarifies that the problem arose as a result of her helping him, and he therefore had to help her out.

But Yura is savvy enough to know that throwing a tantrum isn’t going to win her any brownie points, so she goes the other way and puts on a false front of understanding. And she’s successful in that, because her graciousness brings Min-woo back to his bashful self (urg, dummy) and he promises to explain these things to her in the future.

In the mood for a different kind of date, they engage in a game of racquetball at the gym, after which Min-woo drives her home. He’s visibly tired but chivalrous enough to know that the gentlemen ought to escort the lady home, although it’s obvious he’d rather not have to.

Yura brings up what a nice guy Yoon-seok is, since he seems quite considerate of Min-woo and even arranged for the vacation. Praise of the evil manager has got to be the oddest thing she could say after what just happened, but she can’t know what just went down so Min-woo doesn’t react. She suggests heading to dinner, but overrides his selection and opts for a salad bar — so he can maintain his physique — and therefore he barely hides his relief when she gets called in to work at the last minute.

No surprise that he then calls Kae-hwa, bored and hungry, and invites himself along to her office dinner. (Not that they mind; they consider it quite generous of him to show up, and he declares that tonight is his treat.)

Things get a little awkward when Jae-hee and Jin-ho suggest that their next round should be at Min-woo’s place, which makes Min-woo and Kae-hwa wide-eyed and nervous. To turn down the suggestion might appear rude (and even if not, it would kill the mood), so they fidget uneasily, trying to handle this appropriately. Shi-joon lets him off the hook by saying they don’t have to go, but after calming his initial reaction, Min-woo agrees and invites them over, and shoots Kae-hwa a look instructing her to go with it.

As they head out, Jae-hee angles for an invite to ride in Min-woo’s car, but Kae-hwa hurriedly claims the spot. As she is the most junior employee and supposedly not very acquainted with Min-woo, this is not quite the thing for her to do, but Min-woo and Kae-hwa have bigger concerns and they hurriedly leave. Hehe.

Speeding home, Min-woo and Kae-hwa clean up the place to make it presentable, hiding all traces of Ye-eun’s presence. There’s a bit of a hiccup when Kae-hwa reflexively answers Jin-ho’s question of where the bathroom is, but that’s easy enough to laugh off, saying she just used it.

It’s a little stranger when Jae-hee goes into the kitchen looking for cups and plates and Kae-hwa immediately points out where they are. Catching herself, Kae-hwa explains that all kitchens are laid out in the same way, which isn’t quite convincing, but thankfully that mostly goes forgotten and Jae-hee is soon drunk anyway.

However, then it’s Min-woo’s turn to slip, as he makes requests of Kae-hwa that seem, to an outsider, quite presumptuous. For instance, it’s quite natural for him to ask her to fetch things for him or open his bottle, and Kae-hwa responds promptly. Neither catches themselves before Shi-joon’s quizzical gaze.

Shi-joon approves of Min-woo’s newfound work ethic, and smiles to see that he’s watching West Side Story. (Min-woo covers up, embarrassed to cop to it, saying that it’s an old DVD.) Shi-joon even offers to lend him DVDs of a few more musicals to help him, but he cautions Min-woo to watch how he talks to Kae-hwa, as she is his employee.

And just for fun: I love the little faces Min-woo makes at Kae-hwa throughout the night. The third one above comes when Kae-hwa is particularly solicitous of Shi-joon, which clearly Min-woo finds unnecessary. No, not jealous of her attention at all, is he?

The ruse gets inconvenient when Shi-joon offers Kae-hwa a ride home, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to keep up appearances. At least she has kept up the habit of requesting he drop her off at the subway station, which makes the return walk home less of a burden.

While in the car, Shi-joon offers her an employee loan — indicating she’s going to be promoted as a full-timer — so she can set up her own place and live with Min-ji. She thinks that’s way too generous of him, but he calls her quite pure (a direct contradiction of Yoon-seok’s charge earlier that she’s more sly than she appears), and tells her that she has the ability to cheer him up.

Kae-hwa brings Ye-eun in and comes back to the messy apartment, where she starts cleaning. (Min-woo hasn’t lifted a finger, to her chagrin, and she’s quick to give him the job of taking out some trash.)

Meanwhile, Shi-joon thinks back to his conversation with Min-woo and looks at a couple of DVDs he has in his glove compartment, deciding he’ll lend them to him, and I’m sure we all see where this is going…

Complicating matters is the fact that Reporter Han, still camping out in the parking garage, finally decides to give up his pursuit of Min-woo gossip. He’s finally willing to concede that he may never get a story, and gets up to leave, which is when Shi-joon pulls up to the building.

Kae-hwa steps out into the hallway to take out some trash, just as Shi-joon steps out of the elevator and comes face to face with her. Ruh-roh!

She’s caught red-handed, and there’s no use trying to talk her way out of this. They relocate downstairs to avoid talking in the hallway, and Shi-joon guesses that she lives here with Min-woo. I have to say I greatly dislike that half-sneer on Shi-joon’s face, because he’s not angry at her for lying, or hurt or betrayed or even shocked. (Not that he’d be right to feel those emotions either, but at least we could understand them. I’m thinking he’s reminded of Yoon-seok words that Kae-hwa’s not as innocent as she seems, and is judging her accordingly.) No, it looks like downright disgust, and that just smacks of… superiority? Douchey condemnation?

Kae-hwa has no choice but to confirm this as true, and says, “It’s true I live here, but…”

And Reporter Han gets his scoop after all.

 
COMMENTS

I find this cliffhanger pretty lame, just because the very next sentence could very well be “I live here as his housekeeper,” which is not only true but perfectly believable. Plus, all along we have been reminded that she’s a common ajumma who would never be mistaken for Min-woo’s date anyway, so in this case I think the resulting scandal would be relatively toothless. The only way this “shocking reveal” would actually be threatening would be if there actually were some romantic business going on that would give a scandal a hint of realism.

But whatever, because airtight logic isn’t this drama’s charm — that would be the burgeoning relationship between father and daughter, of course! It’s nice to see Min-woo taking initiative to talk to Ye-eun, and now that the episode with Yoon-seok has blown up in the manager’s face, it seems like Min-woo has turned away from the orphanage idea. (He also tells Kae-hwa and Ye-eun separately that he’s sorry for thinking “mean thoughts,” which suggests he’s no longer thinking along those lines.)

I do think it’s a very good thing that there are plenty of cute and comic beats in this drama, because otherwise the plot is creeping along at an immensely slow pace, isn’t it?

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58 May 5, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 12

by javabeans

That’s pretty much the face we all make when looking at Ye-eun, isn’t it?

This is actually the first episode that I connected with and made me feel for the characters. It’s a little late, and I don’t think I would have made it this long if I didn’t like the two leads’ interactions with each other (and, of course, with the kids). But now that it’s here, it finally feel like Yay! Now it’s a real drama! It’s like we’ve been lacking a crucial piece of the puzzle till now.

SONG OF THE DAY

Alex – “Sweet Dream (Andante)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 12 RECAP

Kae-hwa admits to Shi-joon that she is living with Min-woo, but insists that they don’t have a “strange relationship.” Why can’t she remember the tried-and-true “I’m his maid”? Goodness knows it’s been used in many a kdrama, and these guys are in the entertainment biz so I’m sure they’ve seen a few of those in their day.

Anyway. She feels miserable and sorry toward Shi-joon, not able to defend herself beyond that. As Shi-joon drives home, he recalls Yoon-seok warning him not to trust Kae-hwa, which indicates that tiny seeds of doubt have been planted; it’s up to him to decide whether to nurture them or decide they’re rubbish.

Reporter Han immediately gets on the phone to his editor to ask for the whole front page of tomorrow’s paper. Scoop!

Kae-hwa trudges back to the apartment wearily, and Min-woo approaches (clearly having waited for her) to say she’s a terrible liar who was practically announcing to the others that they live together. They bicker a bit, but Kae-hwa just isn’t up for it because she is so preoccupied with what has just happened. She worries over how to explain everything to Shi-joon — she can hardly tell him the full truth about Min-woo’s child, but she doesn’t have a ready excuse, either.

Jung-ah requests a talk with Shi-joon, who silently takes a seat across the room — as far from her as possible — which strikes me as a douchey thing to do. I know, he’s the victim of adultery so I have been cutting him some slack, and the one who cheats doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. But it would be nice for him to be more cooperative — if he wants to end it, then end it. If not, then not. But he’s being passive-aggressive and that’s just making it worse.

She tells him, “I want to let go of you now” and suggests divorce, as it’s been years since they’ve acted like real spouses. Living like this is meaningless: “I’m tired of the husband who doesn’t even get angry that his wife had an affair.” After she walks out, he seems to react — shock? hurt? — but it’s only a very tiny crack in his perma-cool facade.

I wish I could find this relationship interesting because there are a lot of tensions and dynamics at play here, but alas I’m not compelled by any of it.

Now, THIS twosome, on the other hand…! I love that Ye-eun is getting more assertive and proactive, as she goes up to Kae-hwa to request a signature for a teacher’s note. However, Kae-hwa is busy at the moment, so she toddles over to Min-woo and holds out her notebook. Min-woo signs, and tells her to brag to all the kids that Sung Min-woo gave her his autograph.

(I had expected this signature to play a bigger role in the plot, but was a little let down that it doesn’t. At least for now.)

Although he still refers to himself as Ye-eun’s “oppa” (which shows that he identifies more with his star status than his parental one), he fixes Ye-eun’s sock in a vaguely fatherly gesture and calls her adorable, which has Kae-hwa smiling. This also convinces her to keep Ye-eun’s existence a secret from Shi-joon, even if that makes him upset with her — if she keeps her mouth shut, that solves a lot of problems for other people.

None of our main characters is immediately aware that the story of Min-woo’s living situation has made the front page of the tabloid paper, which features a (barely) blurred photo of Min-woo and the headline “Top star Mr. S, living with older woman!” While it doesn’t name any names, the story identifies enough details that anyone with half a brain could figure it out. Even Yura! (Sorry, that was uncalled for. She’s not dumb — just shallow and smug, which is about ten times worse.)

Shi-joon appears unperturbed so Producer Eom assumes that he must have not heard the news and enlightens him. Already word is spreading quickly, but Min-woo sits at home, blissfully unaware, watching West Side Story (and thinking it’s not all that — he is convinced he can do just as well). Hilariously, he starts singing along to “Maria,” but as he doesn’t know the English lyrics, he just “ya ya ya”s it. Oh, you. I love it because it’s one of those things that’s true to life but that we’d all be embarrassed to admit we do, like singing in our cars to songs we only half-know. (You know you do it!)

Yoon-seok, who is hounded by the press, drops by Min-woo’s place to show him the newspaper. Is this what Min-woo meant when he said he’d ruin them both?

I appreciate that while Yoon-seok may be a controlling manager, he’s not a full-on, evil cackling supervillain (unlike, for example, dude in A Star’s Lover). He looks genuinely rattled at this, and orders Min-woo to stay home. In no time the lobby fills up with journos and photogs, eager for more fuel to toss on the gossip fire.

Yura is thoroughly out of the loop but accuses Reporter Han of writing false reports. He says he had a reliable source, which piques her interest, but she’s left to wonder who that could be.

I’ve never cared for Yura scenes, but the pouty look on her face (when her phone calls to Min-woo go answered and she is turned away by the security guard) just makes my day. Aw, the little princess didn’t get her way. Boo. Hoo.

Nobody’s having a good morning (well, except maybe Reporter Han), but things are the worst for Kae-hwa. She has left the office briefly to drop by the store, and on her way in she finds a crowd of reporters on the sidewalk outside The Show Company. One reporter asks if she works for them and knows who Yoon Kae-hwa is; when she answers that she’s the one in question, they go wild.

Not only do the reporters swarm madly like ajummas at a bargain sale, indignant fangirls (+1 for continuity!) start pelting her with eggs. Shi-joon arrives as she is being assaulted and comes to her rescue, shielding her and whisking her off in his car.

Shi-joon shows Kae-hwa the newspaper article, which badly shakes her up. She can tell immediately that she’s the one in the story, which paints the relationship in a lurid light. What will Min-ji think?

Shi-joon asks if she can tell him what’s really the issue between her and Min-woo. Unable to confide in him, she can only say, “I’m sorry.” He asks what she’s going to do — if she can’t defend herself with the truth, then there’s no way to fight the rumors. Even in the midst of her problems, Kae-hwa worries for Min-woo’s welfare, since he will be more affected than she will be.

Swooping into damage control mode, Yoon-seok calls a meeting with the now-smug Reporter Han. His plan is to spin this off a different way to save Min-woo, so he pretends to be amused with Reporter Han’s misguided article — doesn’t he know he missed an even bigger story?

Yoon-seok says, “We’re actually the victims. Do you know how frightening Yoon Kae-hwa actually is?” With this added info, Han gets to work on another article, painting Kae-hwa as a blackmailing opportunist.

Noooo! (And also, what are you smoking? Who would believe sweet Kae-hwa being an evil mastermind? Well, I suppose this IS the internet era where facts are so often irrelevant…)

Min-woo impatiently calls Kae-hwa, but as her phone has been left behind in the office with her purse, she doesn’t have it with her. When Yoon-seok comes by again, he assures Min-woo that the matter is taken care of, and advises him to get his rest. Yoon-seok takes this opportunity to remind Min-woo that in hard times like this, he’s always here to help out. That’s like spitting on a man who’s on fire and calling yourself noble for moistening the flames.

Kae-hwa apologizes to Min-ji for missing her in-class talk, which has Min-ji pouting and hanging up on her. (Man, if I hung up on my mother at that age, I’d’ve been whooped but good. Kids these days.)

She then checks in on Min-woo using Shi-joon’s phone, relieved to hear that he’s fine. She assures him that she’s also fine, and Shi-joon’s presence is a big help. (He grumbles, “Who said I wanted to know?”) She apologizes for being embroiled in a scandal with him and causing him embarrassment, admitting that she’s scared.

After they hang up, Min-woo vents his annoyance at why Kae-hwa is with Shi-joon. Doesn’t she have any other friends? I love when Min-woo gets grumpy while refusing to admit he’s jealous.

Things go from bad to worse when a television news report goes out based on the misinformation supplied by Yoon-seok — now Kae-hwa is called a blackmailer who strong-armed Min-woo into joining the musical. She is accused of threatening to use a car accident from his newbie days against him and misrepresenting it as a hit and run.

Kae-hwa and Shi-joon see this report while eating lunch, which upsets Kae-hwa all over again. She steps aside to call Bok-nim to take care of Ye-eun — which Shi-joon overhears. Left with no choice, she confesses the truth.

Shi-joon finds it rather hard to believe that she is just taking all this abuse to keep the secret about Min-woo’s child. She answers that she has to protect the girl, and because she is so honest and honorable, she even concedes that the blackmailing charge is correct — she agreed to take care of Ye-eun on the condition that Min-woo take the musical. Kae-hwa apologizes, feeling awful that the company got dragged into this, and suspects that Shi-joon is furious. He confirms that he is, and although she assumes he’s angry with her, we can deduce that his ire is directed elsewhere.

Min-woo also sees the report and yells at Yoon-seok for accusing Kae-hwa of blackmail. In fact, it’s particularly insulting because it had been Yoon-seok who had used the car accident against him. Min-woo defends Kae-hwa as honest and sincere, and points out that she has been raising Ye-eun all this while.

Yoon-seok finds Min-woo’s reaction strange, asking whether Min-woo would prefer to reveal the whole truth. He rationalizes his strategy by saying that nobody knows who Kae-hwa is anyway, so what’s the harm in dumping just a little more on her, if it saves him?

Min-woo can’t even finish the phone call and hangs up, yelling into the air in frustration.

Soon afterward, his friend Tae-gu drops by with a disguise to make him look like a deliveryman. Wearing a motorcycle helmet and delivery jacket, Min-woo is able to avoid being recognized and makes it to his car, which is when he gets a call from Shi-joon, who demands a meeting.

And now for an unexpected highlight: Byung-hak bursts into the office furiously, looking for Kae-hwa. I was expecting him to start badmouthing her right away, but instead he accuses the company of corrupting her — it must have taken a lot of bullying to force such a nice lady to such extremes.

Aw! I thought he was going to come out as the typical arrogant ass he has been, but he is actually defending Kae-hwa! He even asks suspiciously whether this is actually the company’s fault and if they’re using Kae-hwa as a scapegoat. If they continue to torment Kae-hwa, he will withdraw his investment.

So he did have a heart after all! Just not much of a brain. This surprise reversal makes this scene rather hilarious, even as he’s being misguidedly rude.

Shi-joon calls Min-woo out to the river, which has me ready to crack a joke about a gangster fight, only he actually DOES clock Min-woo in the face. Omo! (Not the pretty face!)

Min-woo had referred to himself as the victim (because the news reports were calling him that), and although he hadn’t meant it seriously, his use of the word has Shi-joon fuming. How dare he call himself the victim when an innocent woman has taken the brunt of this scandal in order to keep his secret? “I don’t care about your personal life — but you should have the bare minimum of conscience!”

Shi-joon tells him, “Yoon Kae-hwa must really be dumb. Even after I found out the truth, she was worrying about the likes of you.” It doesn’t matter if this is Yoon-seok’s doing, because Min-woo is just as complicit in it.

Min-woo is bothered by that charge, as though Shi-joon has confirmed what he’d been feeling about himself.

Shi-joon reminds Min-woo that he’d said before that he has grown up now, and that Shi-joon had better not look down on him because of his age. He issues a challenge: “So let’s see you acting like an adult.” Min-woo should step in and handle this incident.

Min-woo asks where Kae-hwa is right now, and although he has used her name before, this is the first time in many episodes (since they established their housekeeper-landlord dynamic) that he uses her name rather than calling her “ajumma.”

Kae-hwa can’t go back to Min-woo’s place so she has come to the all-night sauna, which is where Min-woo finds her. Wearing a towel on his head to mask his face, he sits next to Kae-hwa, who ignores the creepy stranger and moves to a different room. He follows.

He scoots up to her, and whoa there stranger, you’re getting mighty close — even for a friend! Then he grabs her foot to prevent her from leaving, to which she reacts instinctively and clocks him with a pillow. Ha!

He asks if she’s okay, and after first faking that she is, she admits that she’s really not. How does he handle all his scandals? She’s worried Min-ji will see the photos and read about her mother being labeled as a blackmailing stalker.

Min-woo tells her that as the more experienced one in the world of scandalmaking, he’s here to advise her.

Kae-hwa believes she shouldn’t feel unfairly accused, since the blackmailing charge is correct — he accused her of that at first, too. Min-woo levels with her, saying that the gossip could take a more unpleasant turn. The internet will overflow with comments so negative that they’ll make her want to jump into the river. However — and this is key — a few days later things always quiet down, funny enough. He advises her to endure it for now, because it will pass.

Kae-hwa brightens slightly at that, but we can see that Min-woo doesn’t feel great about what he has told her. It’s not that he’s lied, but he recognizes he’s taking the easy way out by leaving her out to dry and just telling her to “get through it.”

As if on cue to contradict Min-woo’s reassuring words, nearby ajummas start gossiping about the news and calling Kae-hwa names.

Min-woo calls her name to divert her attention back to him, and says, “Just keep looking into my eyes.”

He takes her head into his hands and stares straight at her as he thinks (but does not say aloud!), “I’m sorry. For making you encounter all these things because of a guy called Sung Min-woo, whom you wouldn’t have known if you’d stayed in Yoon Kae-hwa’s world. For not being able to tell you anything other than to endure, I’m sorry.”

After Min-woo leaves, Bok-nim brings both girls to the sauna. (I hadn’t even noticed before that the girls have the same hairstyle.) Kae-hwa apologizes to her daughter for missing the talk at school today, but Min-ji is in a much more understanding mood now — Bok-nim had explained to her that her mother’s job is unpredictable and busy, and that work had come up.

The girls have already bonded (over stickers!) and go off, leaving the adults to talk. Bok-nim has been constantly checking online for photos of Kae-hwa, but oddly enough they haven’t surfaced. Someone must have erased them.

Kae-hwa says miserably that she’ll have to quit her job because she feels so bad to have dragged the company’s name into the scandal. Bok-nim speaks hotly in her defense — Min-woo ought to take responsibility, not her.

That thought is not lost on Min-woo, who calls Shi-joon to ask for a meeting, his mood solemn.

They meet at an empty restaurant (it’s a busy night for meetings, isn’t it?), where Min-woo admits that he tends to live his life the same way he always has, which is why he finds it difficult to suddenly change direction. He’s afraid, after he’s been taken care of and managed all this time — he’s uncertain of how to go it alone.

Shi-joon gives him some wise words: “People don’t attempt things because they have confidence. After the fact, they develop confidence for having done them.” He adds that everyone has fear, and it doesn’t go away after one, two, or a hundred times — you just develop an ability to prepare yourself.

The tone is nice here, understated and friendly. Min-woo is showing Shi-joon some maturity by being honest rather than posturing as the Big Star, and Shi-joon respects him for it.

In his apartment lobby, Min-woo prepares himself mentally before facing the reporters, who quickly recognize him and swarm around. Min-woo announces that he will give a press conference tomorrow morning where he will reveal everything — but he has a condition. Erase all the photos online of Ms. Yoon, and back off from her. Although he’s a public person, she’s a private citizen and there’s no reason that she should have to suffer because of unconfirmed gossip. (Decisive Min-woo = sexy!)

Yoon-seok gets wind of his statement and calls, angry that Min-woo has agreed to a press conference. He warns him not to do anything strange, but from the way Min-woo broods that night, we understand that he’s preparing for some kind of big gesture.

In the morning, Min-woo takes his place in the conference hall and faces the reporters, who are dying of curiosity. In the sauna, it’s Ye-eun who first recognizes Min-woo on TV and points to get Kae-hwa’s attention.

Min-woo first apologizes for causing disappointment with the recent gossip, and explains that he will clear up some misunderstandings. Namely:

(1) He chose to act in the musical. Nobody blackmailed or pressured him into it. (2) The car accident really happened. However, she never tried to use that against him, and he was never blackmailed. (3) Ms. Yoon has absolutely nothing to do with anything. She is an honest, just person.

Though surprised, the reporters accept his explanations. But Reporter Han (tenacious bugger) persists that Min-woo must have some relationship with Ms. Yoon — she has been seen coming and going from his place frequently. So what exactly is the nature of their relationship?

Min-woo probably didn’t expect this question, so he pauses to think over possible answers while everyone waits with bated breath. And after a few tense, anxious moments, he finally decides what to say: “She and I are dating.”

OMO OMO!

 
COMMENTS

This episode was more fun to watch all around — and not just the last part where Min-woo says they’re dating — because of two reasons. (1) I finally felt that the writer/producers were bothering to give us some real plot after treading water for a while, and (2) Min-woo showed marked development.

Min-woo has been pretty appealing thus far due to the light-hearted script and Choi Siwon’s charm, but he hasn’t actually developed that much. He’s more thoughtful and considerate now than as that spoiled star in the beginning, but he was never outright rude or mean — not like Rain in Full House, or Jang Geun-seok in You’re Beautiful. He was just shallow and selfish. And he’s still generally shallow now (just not as much) and selfish (though better than before).

So the fact that he makes a real change in this episode is a huge step forward, and my response/attachment to the show grew accordingly.

(In contrast, I find almost all the other characters to be very static, which is too bad. Kae-hwa is a saint so she hardly changes at all, which may be the point for a drama like this where she’s the steady and warm influence on the hero, who is the one who changes, but I wish we saw a little movement on her part too. But in any case, she is played by the very winning Chae Rim, who I think makes it work.)

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70 May 7, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 13

by javabeans

The drama is stepping things up, which is a good sign since I thought the last two episodes were already a marked improvement. Despite his relative inexperience, after seeing Choi Siwon act in Hyang Dan three years ago I was expecting him to be decent. But I wasn’t expecting him to carry the show, which he pretty much is doing. (Which is no insult to Chae Rim; I’d just like to see her doing something that actually makes use of her talents.)

SONG OF THE DAY

Coconut – “Hello” [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

After Min-woo makes the announcement that he and Kae-hwa are dating, he smiles at the press, gets up, and walks out coolly.

Kae-hwa is flabbergasted, Yoon-seok is disgruntled, Reporter Han is suspicious, and Yura… well, let’s just say she was gripping her drink so hard I was hoping that the smoothie would burst all over her. But her vexation is almost satisfaction enough. She gripes that his comment should have been about her, not Kae-hwa.

Kae-hwa is more resigned than touched by Min-woo’s grand gesture, and tells Bok-nim that although he was probably thinking to save her, he just added fuel to the fire. Bok-nim asks if it’s true, to which Kae-hwa retorts that she’d be crazy to date such a rude young’un like Min-woo. (Her friend’s response? Everyone else would think HE’s the weird one for dating Kae-hwa.)

Bok-nim comments that the announcement felt sincere, and Kae-hwa mutters that he’s an actor: “When did that lousy actor learn to act?”

This also means that when Kae-hwa arrives at work, reporters and angry fans bearing anti-Kae-hwa signs are haunting the sidewalk. Kae-hwa decides to go for it and heads toward the door with her head down. When a reporter calls out her name, she ducks and says she’s not Kae-hwa, but the denial convinces nobody and she is accosted for an interview.

When she finally manages her way inside, she finds the others regarding her coolly, assuming the rumors are true. Kae-hwa can’t deny them, and Jae-hee is back to being snippy, annoyed at the inconvenience this poses to them all.

Kae-hwa apologizes to Shi-joon and promises to take responsibility for this scandal, although she’s not sure how. He asks if she means to write her resignation, and comments that quitting over a personal matter is even more irresponsible. He instructs his staff to power through and get back to work, and Kae-hwa is relieved that he doesn’t seem terribly ruffled by the gossip.

Byung-hak, on the other hand, comes in to lecture them all for their unprofessional behavior. When he addresses Shi-joon for the lax way he runs his business (letting an employee run amok and date his star), Kae-hwa grabs him and takes him to the roof for a private talk.

He asks if she really did blackmail Min-woo, because that makes more sense to him than a romance. At first I wondered whether I’d have to rescind the positive things I’d said in the previous recap, but I think this is in character. He isn’t angry or accusing, but incredulous.

Kae-hwa becomes so annoyed at his high-handed behavior that when he asks if she’s really dating Min-woo, she declares, “He says I’m beautiful!” Haha. That just makes Byung-hak burst into laughter, although he soon stops when she gets a phone call from Min-woo. Kae-hwa doesn’t answer the call, but it’s enough to make Byung-hak uncertain.

Back in the office, Jae-hee also has a hard time accepting the news and asks what Kae-hwa’s secret is, unable to picture them together. Jin-ho decides that Min-woo must have unique (read: eccentric) taste in women.

Shi-joon’s unperturbed demeanor can be attributed to the fact that he knows Min-woo’s announcement was merely a PR ploy, and now he expresses his disappointment in Min-woo’s tactic. Did he really think that would solve things? In reality, it has increased problems for Kae-hwa, who’s now being harassed by the media and his fan club.

Min-woo asks what he should have done — in the moment, that was the best he could do. Shi-joon says that Kae-hwa’s not used to the attention and cameras, and cautions him to take care that she’s not hurt further.

For the first time ever, Min-woo defers to Shi-joon and asks for advice on what he ought to focus on for this musical — what’s the most important thing? This is his first time acting without Yoon-seok, and he has to make sure he’s successful. This is one more step in Min-woo’s growth as a person and an actor, and Shi-joon answers that he ought to concentrate on the solo — if he can pull that off properly, he’s halfway to success.

Byung-hak’s threats to pull his investment have just been bluster, but now Eom tells him to withdraw his funds — is he going to put his money into a project where is ex is dating the star? Byung-hak actually gives a pretty mature response, saying that that’s a matter between the two single people, but I’m not too hopeful that he’ll stick with his more noble thoughts.

He asks what would happen if he did take back his funds, and Eom answers that not only would the company be over, so would Min-woo’s project and his ex-wife’s job. What better revenge is there? (Except… let’s not forget that you cheated on her, so even using the word revenge is ridiculous.)

But perhaps it won’t be such a big issue even if he takes back his money: Jin-ho looks online, and the news is starting to trend well for them. People are commenting that if Min-woo’s dating Kae-hwa, she must have other qualities if not her looks (you know, since Chae Rim is such a troll). Interest in their musical is skyrocketing and opinions of Min-woo are rising. Jae-hee even gets an email from someone interested in sponsoring the musical. All this gives Kae-hwa some relief that the scandal is no longer a burden to the company.

Yura bursts in to the office wearing her bitchface to confront Kae-hwa, and has the nerve to ask the employees to step outside to give them privacy. (Jin-ho doesn’t mind because she’s hot. Sigh. Boys!)

Kae-hwa is surprised that Yura believed the press conference, saying that her dating Min-woo makes no sense — he was misguidedly trying to help her against the blackmail claims. Yura is appeased, but is still suspicious of Kae-hwa and Min-woo’s relationship. Without giving away the issue of Ye-eun, Kae-hwa explains that Min-woo’s going through some difficulty that she’s helping him with.

Kae-hwa gently suggests to an impatient Yura that perhaps she should try to ride this out quietly, since Min-woo will appreciate being given space. That way, he can come to her when he’s ready, and since Min-woo likes her a lot, Yura should trust in him and wait. Her fears assuaged, Yura is much friendlier now; she sees Kae-hwa’s point and decides to give it a try.

Min-woo is busy at rehearsal when he gets called in by Yoon-seok, who wants him to renew his contract. Min-woo thinks Yoon-seok has got some nerve, but the latter casually pulls out the DNA test results as a silent threat, “suggesting” that he’d better renew.

Min-woo isn’t cowed and tells Yoon-seok to do as he pleases. In any case, he will only stay with him through the duration of his current contract, and adds that he’d prefer to end their relationship on good terms.

Unable to get through to Min-woo, Yura harangues Tae-gu into calling him to the smoothie shop. Min-woo knows she must have been shocked at the press conference and apologizes for not calling her back, expecting her to be upset with him. She is, but she keeps Kae-hwa-‘s advice in mind and affects an understanding tone. She tells him she’ll wait until the problem can be resolved and he can talk about it with her, hoping that easing off the pressure will earn her his appreciation. I think he is relieved, but he’s still distracted and excuses himself early, leaving Yura disappointed.

Tae-gu tut-tuts over Min-woo’s odd behavior, saying it was only recently that he was all in a bother to find Yeon-hee — and then he remembers he shouldn’t say that and has to quickly make up an excuse. He tells Yura (who knows Yeon-hee is the girl Min-woo dated after Yura rejected him) that he couldn’t forget Yeon-hee and wanted to find her again. This, of course, does not ease Yura’s already tense nerves.

At the end of the workday, the crowd is still gathered on the sidewalk outside the office, which keeps Kae-hwa from being able to leave. She tells Shi-joon that she’s still here because she has work to do, and although he understands her real reason, he doesn’t interfere. (He can’t help because he’s on his way to a business dinner, but tells her to let him know if she needs help.)

Reporter Han slips inside dressed as a cleaning lady, startling Kae-hwa, who tries to shove him outside when he pesters her for a story. Just then, Min-woo calls her, which piques the reporter’s interest. (He grabs her phone and sees the display, assuming that “Awful Acting” is Min-woo, lol.)

Min-woo is calling from just outside, having seen the crowd gathered on the sidewalk. Naturally she doesn’t want to answer the call in front of the reporter, but there’s no way he’s going to leave with this juicy tidbit dangling in front of him — so he grabs the phone and answers.

But that means that on Min-woo’s end of the line, all he can hear are sounds of struggling between a man and a woman, as Kae-hwa tries to wrest the phone back from the reporter’s grasp.

Hero time! Spurred into action, Min-woo drives through the crowd and parks right in front of the door. Naturally this attracts attention, and as he gets out of the car, camera flashes light up and the fans go crazy.

Kae-hwa has managed to grab her phone back, but Min-woo sees Reporter Han harassing her and shoves him aside, then leads her out of the building. (I love that he thinks to grab her purse for her, which is one of those small gestures that indicates intimacy.)

Shi-joon has returned to the office after dinner in time to witness the scene. His smile indicates approval at Min-woo’s gesture.

His own personal life, however, is just as troubled as Min-woo’s public one — he arrives home to find Jung-ah waiting to present him with divorce papers. He asks why she’s in such a rush; she answers that she doesn’t want to drag this out. She requests, “Just pay me as much attention as you do your employees,” which is a veiled reference to his interest in Kae-hwa.

In the car, Min-woo asks, a little anti-climactically, “So how was your day?” Kae-hwa is exasperated at his impetuous behavior and asks what he was thinking, lying that they’re dating. He says he couldn’t just let her be seen as the bad guy and points out that they can always announce later that they split amicably. He apologizes for causing her trouble, though, which mollifies her.

She’s surprised that he went to rehearsal today, and impressed with his answer that he has to work hard if he doesn’t want to be embarrassed with the musical.

They pick up Ye-eun and head home, but when they pull up to the building, there are more people waiting in front. Kae-hwa urges Min-woo to go inside alone, as she and Ye-eun can spend the night in the jjimjilbang. While Episode 1 Min-woo would have taken the suggestion in a heartbeat, now he thinks for an alternative and suggests going for a drive.

When Kae-hwa’s stomach grumbles, she blames it on Ye-eun (ha), but that is soon followed by the grumbling of Min-woo’s stomach, so they stop by a convenience store for cup ramyun. The cashier sneaks curious looks at her, so Kae-hwa says everyone’s been telling her she looks like Min-woo’s girlfriend. How funny, right?

The trio heads to a park to eat, which is when Min-ji calls to ask if her mother is dating Sung Min-woo. Kae-hwa’s about to explain, but Min-ji says she’s thought it over and decided that Min-woo’s not so bad after all, which throws Mom for a loop. Min-ji has decided that maybe he’s not as sleazy as she originally thought.

It’s clear she’s saying this to ease Mom’s concerns, so Kae-hwa explains that they are friends, but they’re not actually dating like everyone says.

Kae-hwa turns back to join the others, pleasantly surprised to see Min-woo is feeding Ye-eun. Aww!

He asks if she was talking to her daughter, and rather than fluff his ego by repeating Min-ji’s words, Kae-hwa tells him that Min-ji doesn’t think he’s all that great. In fact, she said her mother is wasted on him. Haha. Min-woo banters back that her daughter’s got no taste in men, but ruins the effect by asking, “Did she really say I’m not that great?”

At her store, Yura catches her employees surfing the internet and oohing over Min-woo’s latest news. Peering at the screen, she sees the latest photo of Min-woo ushering Kae-hwa out of the office, which gets her insecurities flaring again. The employees (who have presumably borne the brunt of Yura’s snobbishness in the past) enjoy poking at her pride now, saying that they thought she was dating Min-woo — didn’t she even call him her soulmate? Their knowing looks and giggling add insult to injury.

Yura hurries to Tae-gu to demand he call Min-woo (since she can’t call him, given her promise to back off). Before he can, Tae-gu gets a call from Yeon-hee, who confirms that she’d sent Min-woo her child to raise. As Min-woo had never confided the reason he’d been so desperate to find Yeon-hee, this is news to him.

Both are shocked, but Yura soon recalls the signs that Min-woo was hiding something from her, and it starts to add up. She warns Tae-gu not to tell Min-woo anything or breathe a word of this to anybody. She’s going to tell him herself.

Still killing time, Min-woo practices running his lines, then looks at the backseat to see the other two fast asleep. He covers them with a blanket, smiling at the sight of a sleeping Ye-eun, then lingers to brush a lock of hair out of Kae-hwa’s face.

He ignores Yura’s phone call, then drives to a hotel and tells Kae-hwa to spend the night here, as he’s made reservations. He tells her to call if she has any problems (just look at the expression on his face!), then heads back home… where he finds Yura waiting for him.


Late that night, Jung-ah comes into the living room to see Shi-joon drinking in the dark. Clearly he isn’t dealing with the divorce news well, although he hasn’t bothered (till now) to actually talk to Jung-ah about how he feels about it.

Now he asks for an explanation, and she says that he seemed so far away and alone that sometimes she’d thought he didn’t need a woman. Furthermore, he can’t think of anything else while he’s working, but he works 365 days a year, which leaves no room for her. She knows there’s no excuse for the affair, and can’t forgive herself for it either. Hence the divorce.

Min-woo lets Yura inside, where she sees signs of Ye-eun’s presence, like the origami animals (now on proud display) and her teddy bear. He speaks first: “I think this is as far as we go.” He’s going through things right now and can’t treat her well, nor can he hold on to her. So he’ll let go.

Yura tries to contain her shock and fishes for an explanation, trying to steer him into confiding the truth. Instead, Min-woo falls back on the musical and his schedule, saying that he doesn’t have time for anything else.

Min-woo: “Till now, I think I’ve just gone with the flow. After I started being called a star, I just did as people told me to do, since I lived well enough that way. But now I don’t want to live that way, doing what people tell me. I want to live thinking of the things I want to do.”

His phone rings, and he steps aside to answer. It’s Kae-hwa, who asks Min-woo to bring them Ye-eun’s pajamas and dolls because the girl is unable to sleep in these strange new surroundings. As she is annoyed that Min-woo is answering this call when he ignored hers, Yura eavesdrops and hears him confirming the hotel room number.

Therefore Yura takes her cue to leave, but waits in the parking lot in her car, fuming all the while. When Min-woo gets into his car, and follows him all the way to the hotel, where she keeps herself out of view while he makes his way up to Kae-hwa’s room with Ye-eun’s toys.

Yura can’t make out who answers the door, but when it swings open, she does notice Ye-eun’s little hand tugging on his pants. (Which is ADORABLE.)

Min-woo steps inside the room, where Ye-eun presents him with a drawing, and by now he’s learned enough to praise her for the effort. He compliments her drawing, but guesses wrong (“A monkey? A puppy?”) which makes Ye-eun frown. Kae-hwa surreptitiously points to the teddy bear in her hands, and he guesses right.

Just then, the doorbell rings. Kae-hwa goes to answer it… and opens the door on a very shocked Yura.

And then, Min-woo steps into view carrying Ye-eun.

 
COMMENTS

Byung-hak’s surprise defense of Kae-hwa in the last episode got me thinking about his character, which I hadn’t bothered to do till now because, frankly, the side characters in this drama aren’t really that deep.

Byung-hak has been talking big this whole time, but he doesn’t really mean it, which suggests that he just likes the ego boost of being the investor. I see him as a harmless inconvenience in the big scheme of things, even if he does end up taking back his money. He reminds me of the ex-husband in Last Scandal — albeit a much more likable version — in that he’s a weak, weak man who has been married to a strong woman whom he has grown to dislike because she is proof of his weakness. Oh, he’d like to tell himself his wife is a pushover, but underneath her meek exterior is a spine of steel, and he knows it. It’s probably been emasculating to live with someone whose very existence as a competent and hard-working person casts your own incompetence into stark relief, which is why both men remarried weaker women who made them feel good.

I did particularly enjoy the numerous instances of Yura’s stinkface in this episode, if just because she’s such a boring character otherwise. Alas, Yura’s still pretty toothless and she’s not nearly as fun to hate as In-hee from Personal Taste. I wish Park Han-byul would approach her characters with more gusto, because I think she could be hilarious if she actually had some fun with her villains. In Fantasy Couple, for instance, for the most part she was dull, but in the rare moments when she treated Han Ye-seul as an equal adversary, she was pretty funny. Being pretty is fine and all, but she’ll never get more interesting roles by coasting along by merely being pretty and boring.

Anyway. It’s nice to see Min-woo growing up and bonding with Ye-eun in obvious ways. He’s not even trying to hide it now, as he did before, and he didn’t betray any fear when he basically told Yoon-seok to go shove it. He was even mature about it, saying he’d prefer to keep things friendly between them.

Things seem to be building for Min-woo to claim Ye-eun as his own, both privately and publicly, which takes the sting out of Yura and his friend finding out the truth. In fact, I wonder why they didn’t find out earlier, which would have introduced tension and given us more plot. Don’t get me wrong, as a viewer I like knowing that those two idiots have no sway over Min-woo, but it seems like a missed dramatic opportunity.

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47 May 10, 2010January 24, 2016

Oh My Lady: Episode 14

by javabeans

This was the first episode that made me want to reach immediately for the next episode, and then feel bummed that it wasn’t available yet. (Although it will have aired by the time this recap is up.)

Let’s be honest, Oh! My Lady isn’t really a great drama and it doesn’t succeed on several levels like plot and characterization. So when dramatic tension arrives, though late, I’ll gladly take it.

SONG OF THE DAY

Mono Diary – “사랑..지난이야기” (Love… a bygone story) [ Download ]

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EPISODE 14 RECAP

Yura sees Min-woo with his daughter and reacts in shock, quickly running out of the hotel. Min-woo gives chase her but doesn’t get to her in time, and returns home feeling bothered. He texts Kae-hwa not to worry about it, but of course she can’t help but feel anxious after the awkward encounter.

Jung-ah has decided that with the divorce in progress, it’s time for her to move out. While she has known that her marriage is over for a while, Shi-joon has taken it for granted and assumed they would continue living as they’ve been. Thus all these changes are coming at him fast, and it’s taking more of a toll than he lets on outwardly. Which, of course, is the entire problem — he never lets on what’s on the inside, which drives them apart even farther.

Shi-joon asks where she’s going and if she’s going with her man Ho-seok, and while we can surmise that she’s not, Jung-ah answers that this isn’t something that concerns him. (I don’t see her refusal to answer as spiteful; it’s a hurt response born of his constant indifference to her life.)

With the money she has saved from her day job and playing maid to Min-woo, Kae-hwa has enough to start looking into getting her own place. She still has to take out a small loan from Bok-nim for a deposit and is looking at the cheap end of the spectrum, but she’s happy to be moving forward and to be able to bring Min-ji back home.

She schedules a meeting with a realtor while at lunch, where Shi-joon also enters while talking on the phone. That means they’ve overheard each other’s conversations, so Shi-joon asks if Min-woo knows she’s moving out. She explains that she hasn’t told him yet, but will once she finds a place.

Knowing that rental deposits are pretty hefty, Shi-joon offers to help. Kae-hwa turns him down, as she wants to bring Min-ji home on her own abilities.

She admits that she overheard his conversation as well — it was about legal paperwork — and Shi-joon confirms that he received divorce papers. His wife moved out, and he couldn’t insist that she tell him where she was going or with whom: “Because I’ve always been indifferent, I wondered if I had that right.” To be honest, he also felt it would have made him too pathetic to ask, although he was curious.

Shi-joon offers Kae-hwa a ride after lunch, and accompanies her to see new apartments. Kae-hwa’s eager to see the good points about them, but pragmatic Shi-joon notices the little things that may be important later. After taking a look at several options, Kae-hwa finds a small but clean apartment that suits her, and they sign the contract.

Min-woo is on his way out of the studio after practicing his solo (the big one, which Shi-joon advised him to pay particular attention to) when Kae-hwa calls. He drives to the park where she’s waiting, and laughs to see her all wrapped up in a scarf to deflect attention (which he points out just draws attention).

She asks him to pack up the rest of her and Ye-eun’s belongings from his place. He suggests that they continue staying at the hotel for a month, but Kae-hwa finds hotel living to be uncomfortable (not to mention costly), and proposes that it’s time for her to get her own place. Crafty Kae-hwa knows that offering up the idea first is more likely to get Min-woo to agree — this is really just a formality to get his approval — and Min-woo finds the idea favorable. However, as soon as he offers to find a place for her, she adds, “I already found a place.”

Immediately, Min-woo is miffed. I’m not even sure if he knows the full reason for his pissy reaction (and it IS pissy, which is hilarious) other than the obvious one that she acted without telling him. Kae-hwa tries to smooth things over, saying she is eager to bring Min-ji home — is he reacting this way because he sad she’s leaving so quickly?

Min-woo tells himself that this is a good thing, and he’ll be happy to return to happy bachelorhood. He almost even sounds like he means it.

When Kae-hwa picks up Ye-eun from her day care/school to go shopping for household items, she remains unaware that she is being watched by Yoon-seok. Parked at a distance, he has been observing Ye-eun’s daily routine, trying to figure out how to snatch the girl without the pesky ajumma interfering.

After the shopping trip, Kae-hwa goes to her new apartment where she finds Shi-joon arriving with tools and a cake to welcome her to her new home. He has come to help her move in, and installs basic things like blinds and nails things into walls for her. (Which is sweet of him and all, but one can’t help but think that if he put just a fraction of that attentiveness into his own marriage, which should really be more important to him, he’d be a lot better off. But you also get the sense that Shi-joon sorta-maybe likes being the martyr. I don’t mean he enjoys being cuckolded, but you’d almost think he wants to wallow in being the victim rather than doing anything proactive about the situation.)

Shi-joon is so good with Ye-eun that Kae-hwa is surprised, and tells him so. He confides that he’d once almost been a father, but lost the chance. It’s a story of the miscarriage that she has already heard from Jung-ah, and now she hears it from Shi-joon’s perspective. He’d felt very sorry to his wife, who lost the baby after overworking herself on his project, which was their first big production. He had felt ashamed for not being able to protect his wife.

Kae-hwa admits that she has heard this story before, but that Jung-ah described it differently. She had blamed herself for the loss and felt — and still feels — sorry to Shi-joon. Judging from his words, he must not have known this.

Byung-hak drops Min-ji off and tells her to be good to her mom. Just when I think he’s being a nice guy, he adds that if there are any strange men hanging around, be sure to tell Dad! Min-ji finds this double standard odd, and asks why it’s wrong for Mom to meet men. Byung-hak tries to explain that Mom and Dad are in different situations, but Min-ji doesn’t see it, and Dad has trouble making sense (because it doesn’t make sense, natch). Ha! Smart girl.

Byung-hak tries to prod Kae-hwa for gossip, and scoffs that she must not be dating Min-woo. If she were, he wouldn’t let her move to such a tiny place — he’d have gotten her a much nicer one, right? Now that Byung-hak has convinced himself he’s right, he’s got his air of superiority back and Kae-hwa doesn’t even bother arguing with him. Let him think whatever he wants.

As Byung-hak drives away, another car heads toward the apartment building, and the narrow street doesn’t permit both cars to pass at the same time. In a generous mood, Byung-hak backs up to let the other car go first, and raises a polite hand to the driver… whom he recognizes to be Min-woo. Surely… he’s not here… to see Kae-hwa?!

I love Min-woo’s reaction upon arriving at Kae-hwa’s new apartment. He has to hide his displeasure at seeing Shi-joon there, and makes a point to call Ye-eun over to himself (as she is currently sitting on Shi-joon’s lap, being fed cake).

Shi-joon gets up to leave, and Kae-hwa sees him out, leaving Min-woo inside with the girls. He says hi to Min-ji and asks what she thinks of him in person, expecting some admiration. Min-ji doesn’t quite disdain him, but she answers, “You look better in pictures.” (The courtesy compliment is supposed to be, “You look even better in real life.”)

As Min-woo steps out to retrieve Ye-eun’s teddy bears from his car, he sees Kae-hwa saying goodbye to Shi-joon warmly, which makes him grumble that the man’s got nothing better to do with his time.

Min-woo’s attitude in this scene is a mix of disgruntlement (provoked by Shi-joon’s presence) and pity/sorriness for Kae-hwa’s stark new apartment. (It’s not a shabby place, but it’s very plain and humble, especially in contrast to his place.) He tells her again that if she’d told him her plans ahead of time, he would have found her a better place — but he smiles at Kae-hwa’s pluck when she tells him that he still has to pay her half her salary because she’s still taking care of Ye-eun.

After eating dinner, Min-woo complains at the lack of beverages and tells Kae-hwa to get him some. (He’s not really complaining because he wants the drink, but he has learned that complaining is the easiest way — and least damaging to his pride — of initiating conversation with Kae-hwa. Of course, she doesn’t see this and just takes him at his word.) So Kae-hwa offers to step out to buy the drinks, but Min-ji shoots a sharp look at Min-woo, who mumbles a retraction. Big Star just got outmaneuvered by a 9-year-old! Even Kae-hwa has to smile at this.

It’s getting late so Kae-hwa asks if he’s going to go home. Instead, Min-woo offers to help get her settled in. Too bad the excuse doesn’t work, since Shi-joon has already helped and left there’s nothing left for him to do.

Lacking a good excuse to stay, Min-woo gets up to leave, grumbling at Kae-hwa’s perfunctory goodbye and how she was so much more solicitous to Shi-joon. Heh.

Arriving home, Min-woo sits back in his spacious apartment, saying, “It’s big… and quiet… and nice.” But his expression says otherwise, and he takes a look at the paper origami animals on his shelf, the only sign that Kae-hwa and Ye-eun were ever here.

In contrast, Kae-hwa settles in to sleep with a smile, nestled between the two girls.

In the morning, Min-woo comes out of his room yawning and asking for coffee per his usual routine before remembering that he lives alone now. Bored, he calls Kae-hwa, but she’s busy getting her day going and hangs up quickly. He gripes that it sounds like they’re all having fun without him.

A bit later, Min-woo calls again to ask where his new white shirt is, all the while holding it in his hand. She answers in a polite tone — she’s taking the call at work and pretending he’s a business contact — and brushes him off yet again.

Byung-hak, insecure about Kae-hwa dating Min-woo after all, strolls in to the office intent on more posturing. Again he uses the investment as a bargaining chip while admonishing Shi-joon for being so lax about his star dating his employee and blah blah blah.

However, Shi-joon has been busy shoring up new contacts, so he tells Byung-hak to go ahead. Perhaps the concerned investor had better put his money to projects with less problematic employees? Byung-hak hadn’t expected for anyone to call his bluff, but now he’s forced to agree.

Shi-joon comes up to Kae-hwa while she’s sighing in satisfaction — she admits that childish as it was, she’d wished for this kind of revenge.

What’s nice about this relationship is that although they could have pushed the romantic angle, they’ve chosen not to. It’s more enjoyable seeing these two as confidants and colleagues. Shi-joon solidifies this angle by suggesting that he and Kae-hwa officially be friends. (This is reminiscent of one of my favorite aspects about Dal Ja’s Spring, even if this an extremely watered-down version of that.)

Shi-joon watches Min-woo in rehearsal, and while he praises him for being much improved, he also says he’s still got a long way to go. Considering that a lot of things have happened in Min-woo’s life recently, Shi-joon advises him to use them to help his acting.

Min-woo accepts the advice, albeit grudgingly, but has a question of his own to ask — isn’t Shi-joon crossing the line with Kae-hwa? He’s married, and even if Shi-joon is right about just wanting friendship, Kae-hwa is naive enough to misunderstand his friendly impulse for something else.

Shi-joon wonders why this is a matter of concern to him, which prompts Min-woo to think fast to come up with the excuse that it’s because of Ye-eun — he has to make sure that Kae-hwa isn’t distracted with other things while caring for his kid.

Shi-joon finds Min-woo’s behavior amusing, but his mood takes a nosedive when he comes face to face with Jung-ah’s man Ho-seok, who tells him he’s leaving for the U.S. Ho-seok admits that he’d asked Jung-ah to go with him, but she said no, and says that she still cares for Shi-joon.

Shi-joon bristles; he finds Ho-seok’s approach inappropriate and a bit rude. Ho-seok answers that he wanted to say this before he left, but that Jung-ah isn’t accepting his calls.

To Kae-hwa’s surprise, Yura says she won’t ask for an explanation about the child (since she already knows it). But she does have a request — she wants to become friendly with Ye-eun. Kae-hwa had expected Yura to be shocked, but Yura (wanting to earn points with Min-woo) answers that she likes kids. Therefore she offers to take Ye-eun tonight for a fun day together, all on her own. Kae-hwa’s a little skeptical over whether she can handle this alone, but Yura brims with confidence, annoyed at Kae-hwa’s constant stream of nervous advice.

When she picks up Ye-eun from school, little does she know that Yoon-seok is putting his plan into motion today — he instructs one goon to take care of the ajumma, and the other to grab the kid. He’s surprised to see Yura instead of Kae-hwa, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Min-woo receives an international delivery and opens the box to find baby things inside, sent from Yeon-hee. Included is a note saying that she hopes Ye-eun has better fortune with her father than she had with her mother.

Min-woo smiles as he rifles through the items — baby toys, photos, sonograms. It’s obvious that despite Yeon-hee dumping the child off with Min-woo, she did love her. However, her decision is final, and the letter signs off with a request for Min-woo to stop trying to find her.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that Yura takes Ye-eun shopping at a department store as her idea of fun bonding. She dresses the girl up in different outfits and gives her a Pretty Woman montage, while Yoon-seok and his two thugs keep an eye on them from a distance.

Ye-eun tugs on Yura’s hand, trying to signal that she needs something — the bathroom — but Yura doesn’t get the hint and is distracted by her own desire to shop. Declaring that it’s time for her to try on clothes, she slips into the fitting room assuming that the girl will wait. However, Ye-eun can’t hold it and wanders off in search of the bathroom.

Even after discovering that the girl has gotten lost, Yura isn’t terribly worried and has the store relay the message over the P.A. Yoon-seok hears the announcement about the lost girl and races to Yura to demand how she lost track of Ye-eun. He orders his men to find her asap.

At the end of her workday, Kae-hwa calls Yura to check in and hears the bad news. Shi-joon sees her frantic response and gives her a ride to the department store.

Her hurried departure goes noted by Reporter Han, who has been keeping an eye on the office from his car. Smelling a story, he follows Shi-joon’s car to the store, where Kae-hwa and Shi-joon split up to make a sweep of the store. Not finding her, they reconvene at the information booth, where a now-worried Yura (took her long enough to care!) meets them.

Kae-hwa also calls to inform Min-woo, who races to meet them at the store. His response is particularly emotional given that he has just spent the afternoon flipping through Ye-eun’s baby items, his heart softening toward her even more.

Once he arrives, he’s too intent on his concerns to care about the curious looks his presence garners from the shoppers.

Min-woo asks the clerk at the information desk for the search status, and the man