02 July 2013

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Goddess of Marriage - Episodes 1 & 2 (aka KimJiCap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on July 02, 2013
I'm trying out a new format, dear friends, and it's called KimJiCap. You may have guessed: KimJiCaps focus almost exclusively on Kim Ji-hoon. So don't expect any lengthy recaps. Or do, in case there are lengthy/hot/exciting/squeeworthy Kim Ji-hoon scenes. Since everybody around me already hates this drama with a vengeance (wae? *shrugs*), I'll be flying this one solo - not sure for how long, though ... It all depends on how Goddess of Marriage continues. Be assured, I'm very good at dropping dramas. And equally good at liberally fast-forwarding.

(Side note: Any German speakers among you? I have recently realized that his name Kim Ji-hoon could in fact be read as Kimchi Huhn - which would be Kimchi Chicken in English. Jeez, I can't stop giggling about this one. How yummy it would taste, this chicken!) 
"Did she just call me chicken?!"
Sure, I do understand that Goddess of Marriage can be hated. But strangely enough, I was quite entertained by the two episodes that have aired. Do I like any of the characters? Not in the least. But who ever said that's a necessity to make a drama enjoyable? The set-up is interesting enough to keep me hooked ... for the moment.
Look at his hair! What animal does it remind you of?
Episode 1

Episode 1 is mostly an extended commercial for Jeju Island and I must say, it is working well. I want to go there! NOW! Warm-up oppa aka Kim Hyun-Woo (played by Lee Sang-woo with the killer smile) is also doing a pretty good job (and I am highly tempted to gif or at least screencap him but this is a KimJiCap, so I'm not giving in. yet). The downside: Kimchi Chicken is NOT making an appearance until minute 59, which is just outrageous! He is playing a rich kid (Kang Tae-wook) with terrible parents, a terrible brother, and what seems a terrible temper. In sum, he is there to be hated (and pitied, a little, maybe?). I'm fine with that. I have so much love for him that hating him a little is even healthy.
Back to the Jeju commercial for a moment, though. Right, no Kim Ji-hoon scenes, but I do need to give you some background on what is happening for you to fully appreciate his 2 minutes later, right? (and I am allowing myself screencaps of others for the moment. When they don't show their faces).  

Song Ji-hye (played by the beautiful and natural Nam Sang-mi), who is a radio writer, goes to Jeju to get her friend's musician husband (a long haired hippie, who mistreats his guitar cause the actor really doesn't know how to even hold one) to come on her radio show. Yeah, right... She fails to convince him (no offense, but he seems to have a brain the size of a pea) and goes hiking. There, she meets warm-up oppa (again).
He is on Jeju for a vacation, the first one in years. A very busys architect, this one. I'm sure he's also suuuuper talented. And he has picked up (and later reads) her book by/about Lee Joong Seop in the plane. It is full of private comments and pictures that she drew. Kind of like a diary. She dropped it when she fell asleep on his shoulder (of course, she doesn't remember that she did that - but he sure does ... he is already totally smitten with her, also because of her scribbling in the book) and forgets about it when she rushes out. He wants to give it back, fails at first but then succeeds ... and they tour the island together, get wet together (twice) and sleep together (not sure how many times). They also step on cow shit together. I flat out admit, I would have slept with him too in her place, all smiles, caring, attentive, sweet, touchy-feely, you name it. A woman's dream come true. Totally suspicious, of course, but let's see about that.

She has issues, though, big ones, about love and marriage, as we learn. Who is the cause? This sexy beast, it seems (what do you think? prettier from the front or the side?):
We learn that she is Kang Tae-wook's fiancée. Oh hello, woman ... you have two absolutely gorgeous men after you? Did you save a country in your previous life?!
His super scary parents (great actors) demand to know what's going on with the marriage, his brother (Cheating Husband #1) suspects they have broken up. Well, something is clearly NOT okay, with her going away to cheat on Mr. Abs - and judging from the look on his face.
The episodes ends after only about 2 minutes of Kim Ji-hoon screen time (=scandalous), with him confronting her outside her apartment when she finally returns, wanting to talk ... and screaming at her "Is marriage a joke to you?", when she refuses to talk to him. Oh-oh ... I sense BIG issues!
And just for the record: We are also introduced to other actors:

- There is Cheating Husband #1's wife, living with the dragon-parents in the Family Palace (the house has about 100 rooms, I'm guessing). She is mistreated by everybody. But for how much longer? My guess: She will blow. Soon. Unless there is a reason why she married her dick of a husband. There are kids, too, and one ex-wife, who has kids, too.
- Then there's Cheating Husband #2, an Anchorman, who is absolutely ridiculous and therefore, in a way, great. He insists his family, his wife and two kids, learn English, cause you cannot get anywhere without it - but he also uses the language as a secret code to communicate with his mistress, another sexy anchorwoman.
- And then, there is Timid Husband (who is Cheating Husband #2's wife's brother) with the SUUUUUpppper loud wife (who is the sister of Song Ji-Hye). There are kids, too: three of them, in fact. I'll let you know if they become important.

Episode 2

Oh man, uri Kang Tae-wook can quarrel! He demands to know why she left him without a word - and never even answered his phone calls. Aha, we learn why she left him. "Left" him. Or really left him? I hope she really left him or at least thought she had really left him, cause if it's just plain cheating? That's not cool, woman. Sure, it can happen ... but .... no, not cool.

So, the big issue between the two is that he is rich. But not only rich, but RICH: from one of the top ten richest families in Korea. That's one part of the problem ... the second part is that he hasn't told her until a week ago. And the third part of the problem is that he gave her money. A LOT of money: So that she could pay for the marriage gifts. And the fourth part of their problem is that they are both very proud people. And apparently stubborn. And I don't want to know what is going to happen when he finds out she slept with another guy .... oh boy.
Her main point is that they don't match: their backgrounds are too different (plus, she feels he "bought" her). Ladiladila, that's an old KDrama trope. You know what, missey? It always works out for the poor, hardworking candy. Always. Cause the rich asses? The crumble in front of you upright, warm, emotional, special, tough ladies. You'll have him wrapped around your little finger if you're just a little bit smart. In fact, you already have him there. You actually made him cry, too!
Kim Ji-hoon's character is not easy to like, cause he's an asshole, a very dominating, harsh kind of guy. But there are very deep feelings there, that much becomes clear from their shouting-match. He has not told her earlier how rich he is, because he knew exactly that she would bolt and run if she found out. Because he didn't tell her that he was rich, she stayed with him for three years. And he had time to find out what kind of woman she is: "unusual and unique". He tells her about what kind of parents he has and between the lines, how hard his life actually is, but she doesn't get it. She is scared and thinks she doesn't love him (enough? anymore? never did?).

When he wants to hug her, she bolts, but he does not let her - she doesn't hug him back, though. He apologizes for hurting her pride and asks her to forgive him. And he promises to always protect her. He mumbles into her hair that she drives him crazy, that he feels like dying because of her.
 
When he brings her home later, he smiles his sweet, sweet smile at her ... and waves goodbye. She doesn't even look back. Someone will get his heart broken ... and it's most likely not her.
The next KimJi-scene is at breakfast. The Dragon Mother made the mistreated wife get up really, really early to get fresh fish (plus, in the evening before it, she is raped by her Cheating Husband. I want to see that one suffer. Suffer really hard). A word on the Dragon Mother: She is so over-the-top evil that I can only feel amused at the moment. She is like a witch-queen from a fairytale! Kang Tae-wook just sits there and says nothing. 
Their next scene together is at his parents' home. Oh my goodness. The Mother is like a big, fat toad that eyes a fly hungrily before eating it. I love this actress. The conversation is super awkward. Dragon Mother is very displeased about the fact that Song Ji-hye is never coming to see her. Kang Tae-wook speaks up several times in defense of his future wife (or at least trying to answer the unpleasant questions for her), but his mother brutally cuts him off ("how can you interfere when your mother is talking").
 
She then sends Song Ji-hye to the kitchen to help - where she hears from Mistreated Woman that in this family, talking about "work" one did before the marriage is not allowed. Song Ji-hye is very quiet on the way back in Tae-wook's car. At the red light, another car stops next to them. It's warm-up oppa!
Other important stuff that is happening:

- Warm-up oppa Kim Hyun-Woo goes back to Jeju, to "their" beach (where they first kinda got closer) and waits for her. He hopes she will also come back ... to fully accept him. He definitely wants more pillow talk. And, sure, sure, he is very romantic and it's truuuuue luuuurve. But she doesn't come, cause she already has a guy. He then stalks her on the internet until he finds her and is all broody about it.

- The slightly stupid wife of Cheating Husband #2 sees him and the sexy Anchorwoman together, but does not yet connect the dots ... fully. She is very, very, VERY much in love with her husband. At least he seems to be feeling sorry. A bit. Breaking free will be difficult for this woman. I hope she succeeds and gets her power back.
- The stressed out Carreer Woman (married to Timid Husband) gets fired because she is going grocery shopping during work hours. She really needs to chill, that one. I see a nervous breakdown looming. Timid Husband isn't helping, because he does nothing, really. But she gives her younger sister Song Ji-hye good advise: don't be fucking stupid and marry the rich dude already!
- And Mistreated Wife is just mistreated some more. And more. She doesn't say much, but we get glimpses of what goes on in her head. She is the most difficult character to read and I am most curious to see how she will get revenge. 

Final Thoughts:

In a way, this drama reminds me of Cheongdamdong Alice (but, oh boy, how I hope it doesn't go where CDDA went - i.e. down the drain!), which also took a bunch of characters that were deeply flawed and hateful, and played with our feels/non-feels for them. If they do it right, this drama is going to be about trashing our ideas of a perfect marriage, the fairy-tale thing we get to see so often (usually at the end of a drama). It is about "the morning after", the hangover phase, also known as reality. Love and marriage? It is damn hard. You have to work for them.

The topic of expectation vs. reality in love and marriage is a good one and so far, I find it well executed (with some exceptions, of course). The characters are all over-drawn, some of them outright ridiculous, but I am expecting (hoping for) some surprises along the way and some interesting catharsis for all the characters. Yes, all of them are flawed, all of them must go on the road of redemption (there is one exception: warm-up oppa has not shown any flaws yet. I hope he has some, i.e. transforms into a monster when he gets wet after midnight). There is not much sugar-coating and I guess that is one of the reasons people don't like the drama. Especially then men come across as dicks-de-luxe (except for one, see above). Well, some people are dicks - and some people are married to dicks. Some even love dicks. And dicks also love. That is reality. 
Kim Ji-hoon's character is an interesting one (and I am not just saying that because I am, a bit, in love with him). Growing up in this household must be living hell. He clearly has no love for anyone there and he probably never received a lot of it. He is in love with Song Ji-hye because she is so utterly different from everything he knows. Maybe he is in love with the ideal version of this ticket-out - maybe he is truly in love with her, the person. But at the same time, he is caught in this family spiderweb. Can he break out? We will see. But it is also clear that he needs to break out - otherwise, he will just lose her. At this moment, I have absolutely no clue where the OTP is headed - or who the OTP is. That, in itself, I find intriguing.

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