Friday, 1 August 2014

Drama Recaps & Commentary: Marriage Not Dating (Episode 3)

      If anyone is curious, the series is broadcast every Friday and Saturday. We are currently around episode 8 (episode 9 after Friday Night). :) Hui'er and I are obsessed with this show and will be trying to catch up with the live broadcast while providing our obsessive commentary! 

    Bed hijinks! The best part of contract marriages is watching the couple unconsciously (and grudgingly) fall in love. In my opinion, Ki Tae was merely intrigued by Jang Mi (and her usefulness) in the first two episodes, but in Episode 3, his heart starts to unravel. 

All screenshots from Marriage Not Dating

Episode 3: What does it mean to be lonely? 

   At the end of Episode 2, Jang Mi was about to say yes to dinner with Yeo Reum when she receives a call. It is from her mother! Ki Tae also receives a phone call from his mother. His mother went to visit Jang Mi's mother. Ki Tae's mother was "apologising" to Jang Mi's mother for her son leading on her daughter since he has no intentions of marrying her, and pleading with Jang Mi's mother to "free" her daughter from her son's evil clutches. Ki Tae and Jang Mi arrive and Jang Mi's mother is happy to hear from Ki Tae that he plans to become her son-in-law. Ki Tae's mother is foiled for now.

  Jang Mi's mother is so happy that Jang Mi is dating a plastic surgeon that she *gasp* speaks to her husband (their relationship is frosty and they usually communicate through phone or a whiteboard). Jang Mi sees her parents so happy and conversing in real life about her relationship that she realises that this contract dating could become messier than she expected.

    Ki Tae's mum visits his house and she shrewdly deduces that he is still a bachelor from his kitchen. It does not seem like anyone has cooked. Ki Tae warns that if she just pops by unannounced, she might see something she doesn't want to see. 


   So Ki Tae brings Jang Mi over to his house, and Jang Mi marvels at how beautiful and clean it is. Ki Tae snarks that he is an intentional bachelor - he wants to be alone, not that he has to be alone. Jang Mi's gushing over the clownfish "Nemo" is adorable. Ki Tae appears to start to regret inviting Jang Mi into his house when she takes off her socks and uses his massage chair. 

  The bell rings! Ki Tae immediately pushes Jang Mi to his bedroom and covers her with his bedcover. He also takes off his shirt before he greets his mother. Making it appear more... fishy... than it really was. Ki Tae's mother leaves, and says that she didn't see anything. Haha.

     Jang Mi visits Yeo Reum at work to ask to go for their dinner date. However, it's his lunch time and he appears more engrossed in watching the cook, well, cook. Yeo Reum tells Jang Mi that he will call her. Later, Jang Mi sees Yeo Reum getting off a fancy car and saying goodbye to a lady. She hurriedly rushes off and goes to... Ki Tae's apartment! She has brought ramen to cook. Ki Tae wants to kick her out and Jang Mi threatens to use Nemo for a fish stew. So Ki Tae is reluctantly brought into Jang Mi's ramen making. However, Jang Mi receives a call from her handphone while she uses the bathroom in Ki Tae's apartment and it is from Yeo Reum. Yeo Reum explains that that was his "charity" date from the auction and he asks to meet her now. 

  While Jang Mi rejoices, Ki Tae locks Jang Mi in the bathroom. Haha! Ki Tae tells Jang Mi that she is too easy and she should play harder to get with Yeo Reum. Jang Mi refuses and they play a tug of war on the toilet door. Causing the locks to come loose!


  Yeo Reum has prepared a park dinner for Jang Mi! He prepares the dish he was watching the cook make earlier in the day. Jang Mi eats with joy. However, when the date ends, Yeo Reum meets up with Se Ah who gives him a packet of money to find out about Jang Mi's relationship with Ki Tae. Sigh, must all second leads turn evil?


   The women in Ki Tae's family plots on finding out what is really going on in Ki Tae's heart. They get grandma to go find Ki Tae (though grandma is on Jang Mi's side). Ki Tae tells grandma he is busy on the handphone so she finds Jang Mi instead. Jang Mi brings her to Ki Tae's apartment and they have a soju feast. However, grandma after mysteriously saying that it's all her fault that Ki Tae is like this, she suddenly collapses into the korean pancake. Haha.

  Jang Mi rushes grandma to the hospital and she is scolded by Ki Tae and family. All is well when they find out that grandma was merely... sleepy. Yes, she fell asleep. Ki Tae tells Jang Mi that she is intruding into his life and they are not really family. They end off very unhappily. 

  Hilariously, Ki Tae gets locked in his bathroom. He despairs because his phone does not work and no one will find him, because he always wanted to be alone! 

    It's almost two days and Ki Tae is practically faint from the dehydration... Jang Mi is worried because he is not answering her calls. Jang Mi actually comes across Se Ah and asks about him, Se Ah hints she should get the message if the guy does not return her messages and calls. 

   I thought this was an interesting parallel to the first episode when everyone tells her not to find Hong Dong after he no longer returns her messages and calls, but she insists because she wanted her feelings to be respected. So, if she had "learned" the "lesson" of episode 1 like all the cynics, she would have left Ki Tae alone, like he had "taught" and probably deserves. 

  But, Jang Mi is Jang Mi. She decides to visit his apartment to check if he is ok. After she enters, she sheepishly apologises and says that she is worried for him. She confesses that when she was young, she almost died when she was left alone, so she never wants to be alone. 

  She suddenly hears something from the toilet! 


   Jang Mi breaks down the toilet door and sees Ki Tae faint on the floor. She goes up to carry him up, and he pulls her into a hug!


decembi:  I loved episode 3. I like how Ki Tae's house is a physical and emotional fortress. He appears so prickly, trying to keep people out of his house, out of his heart, but he also can't stop caring. Which is why he was so frantic when he realised grandma was "missing" (she was actually drinking soju with Jang Mi), it's always the people who care too much that tries so hard not to care. This is the complete opposite of Jang Mi - who can't stop caring even when she is told not to care. She fears being alone so much that she can't leave people alone!

But, Ki Tae definitely likes Jang Mi enough to let her into his house. And, he is clearly a softie when he allowed her to cook ramen at his place, and hilariously had to eat it alone and had a puffy face when she went off to her date! At the end, there was a nice ring to it all as Ki Tae realises that the only one who could rescue him would be Jang Mi - who refuses to leave people alone - but he had pushed her away. So, it was with great relief and joy, that Ki Tae grasped Jang Mi tightly when she returned. 

Hui3r: Episode 3 was really snappy and fun in a lot of places. I especially love the "Nemo" fish stew scene. Han Groo is awesome as Jang Mi, because she really throws herself into the character. Her reactions are amazingly funny, and yet not so OTT. I absolutely loved it when she plastered her face against the fish tank and grabbed Nemo out.

This episode starts to delve into the one of the central themes of the drama: of a boy who only wanted to be alone and a girl who never wants to be alone. Whilst Ki Tae sees solitude as a refuge from the manipulation of his mother/family, Jang Mi only sees potential danger in being alone. And therefore, while being amazingly funny, the Ki Tae's Bathroom Lock-In Incident was perfectly necessary in order for Ki Tae to start understanding Jang Mi a little, and also to appreciate her pushing his boundaries.


  1. Sounds like a cute concept! Plus I have seen good reviews from afew places on this series, so will try to track down the version with English subs :)

    Female lead looks so loveable !!

    1. It's halfway through it's broadcast! Cross fingers that it remains super cute and watchable! So far, I like it all the way to episode 7! Episode 8 was a bit crazy and episode 9 threatened to lose all logic, but it looks like episode 10 will put the drama back on track <3