Since childhood, I’ve been alone. I had my own way of doing things and didn’t experience things like loneliness. – Joo Jae Hee
Starring: Ji Jin Hee, Uhm Jung Hwa, Kim So Eun, Yoo Ah In, Yang Jung Ah
Joo Jae Hee (Ji Jin Hee) is anarchitect in his 40s who hates people and marriage. Only two people outside of his family are able to put up with his insufferable personality: his colleague Yun Ki Ran (Yang Jung Ah), and Park Hyun Kyu (Yoo Ah In), the intern at his office. When he suddenly falls to the floor of his apartment, his pretty new neighbor Jung Yoo Jin (Kim So Eun) takes him to the hospital. There, he meets the docile Dr. Moon Jung Jang, also 40 and unwed. These 5 people are haphazardly thrown together for a hilarious adventure as quirky as Joo Jae Hee himself!
Professional review (contains spoilers!): Ji Jin Hee brings the audience the Korean answer to America’s Monk, only more antisocial and brutally honest. 40-year-old Joo Jae Hee is an architect who has won many awards and is well-known for his design projects. However, he’s also notorious for not letting anyone into his home nor his private life. There is nothing he doesn’t know, and he won’t hesitate to tell you when you’re doing something wrong. And there is one thing that he will argue to his grave: life is better alone, and he doesn’t need anybody. While this is true, Jae Hee’s manic-obsessive personality is also completely insufferable to everyone around him – especially women. However, his life dramatically changes when his new neighbor Jung Yoo Jin (Kim So Eun) has the misfortune of finding him in a cold sweat on the floor. He is rushed to the hospital, where he meets Dr. Moon Jung Jang. She is a sweet doctor with a calming bedside manner and also freshly forty. She works at the same hospital where Jae Hee’s brother-in-law is the Vice President, and has to harass Jae Hee before he allows her to treat him. Just like his mother, Jae Hee discovers that Dr. Jang’s father is as insistent (if not more so) that his daughter marry and have children. These two women cannot understand how anybody could possibly be able to stand this strange man. But there are two people who know him better than anyone else and remain by his side no matter what: Yoon Ki Ran (Yang Jung Ah), his partner at work, and Park Hyun Kyu (Yoo Ah In), the intern. These five people are thrown together haphazardly and all form unique and special ties with hilarious hijinks along the way!
This is a Korean remake of a Japanese series, and I have to be honest and say that I wouldn’t have even heard about this drama if I didn’t know Kim So Eun. As she was one of the few things that kept me going in the disaster that was Boys Before Flowers, I was very interested in seeing her in another drama. She played a young professional who knew exactly what she wanted in life, but always seemed to meet the worst men. They were lazy, or uncommitted, or even worse, predators who preyed upon her naiveté. She had moved away from her parents to start her own life, but realizes that she’s still a child in many ways, even at 26. She randomly meets Dr. Jang, and the two become confidantes.
The drama presents the rarely-seen older/younger relationship that befits the times. Yoo Jin and Dr. Jang become close friends, and it is show that Yun Ki Ran and Hyun Kyu also have a very comfortable relationship. In both cases, one is able to be honest with the other, sometimes without meaning to. And in both cases, they depend on each other for support. And speaking of the times, Jae Hee represents the present and modern-day attitudes while simultaneously being old-fashioned. He refuses to get married in a society where marriage and children are life goals and to not want either is unthinkable. He has no problem with the idea of sex, but is awkward with females due to his lack of experience. The truly old-fashioned is embodied by Dr. Jang’s father. Played by Kim Byung Gi, he refuses to let his daughter rest until she is married. When he discovers that she is dating Jae Hee despite his beliefs on marriage, he begins to treat his daughter coldly. He constantly set her up on blind dates despite Moon Jung’s distaste for them, and even says, “If a woman exists, she should try to bear a child.”
Though it’s another Japanese remake, this drama manages to be Korean in every aspect. A comedic and charming examination of human relationships that should not be missed!
My thoughts: I loved the older-younger woman friendship, but I was not pleased with the way women were presented in this series. Like Yoo Jin, Dr. Jang was also soft and weak and in need of protection. The only one able to hold her own was Yun Ki Ran, who has known Jae Hee since college. She has grown accustomed to calming down the patrons he has upset by saying unkind (yet truthful) things. She has become impervious to his prickly manner of dealing with others, but still manages to retain a compassionate and caring attitude in the workplace. She is well-liked and respected by everyone around her, and is very persuasive.
I also liked the younger-older opposite sex interactions; they were written very well. Yoo Jin knows what she wants, and needs a man who will be focused and hard-working as she despises laziness. Therefore, it’s no surprise when she is charmed by the maturity and quirkiness of Jae Hee (whom she calls “Ahjusshi”). This raises the modern issue of: is age important in love? The answer of course, is no. Though nothing comes of her affections for Jae Hee, Yoo Jin’s relationship with Dr. Jang becomes strained. In the end, sisterly love wins out and they are able to reconcile.
I hated Dr. Jang’s father. HATED. I understand that he’s supposed to be the typical Asian parent who nags their child about everything. I understand that this is a drama. But I wanted to brick him bad. Even Jae Hee’s mother was tame compared to him. But I think that he just never thought about his child at all. It seemed that he was just selfishly pushing his own desires onto her, and she was just putting up with it because that’s what good daughters do.
[SPOILERS!] Children are a big issue with any couple. The way this was handled in the drama was poorly planned. The writers were using this subject as an excuse for there to be a fallout between Dr. Jang and Jae Hee. Bad move #1: running away. Oh, yes. Disappearing will definitely solve the problem. WRONG. Instead of discussing this issue like they should have, Dr. Jang doesn’t yield. While it’s good that she’s finally standing up for something, she’s making it an all-or-nothing case. Besides which, couples that don’t agree on children already have something fundamentally wrong with their relationship and shouldn’t continue it until they reach an agreement.
Secondly, I was never a fan of the Hyun Kyu/Yoo Jin relationship, and was glad that the series ended on ambiguous terms with them. I wanted him to end up with Yun Ki Ran. Fanfiction? Y/Y? :D I want everyone to know that Moon Seok Hwan is a cool name, and his actor was hot. I mean, he’s ugly & old-looking in his DramaWiki page, but was hot in the drama. He seemed like a good match for that airhead girl who worked at the coffee shop. Speaking of that girl, I think she’s a bad seed. Definitely need fanfiction on this.
And I just realized that Hyun Kyu is played by the same guy who played Ki Beom/Eiji in Antique! I KNEW HIS FACE LOOKED FAMILIAR. Anyway, now I have to go watch the Japanese version. It’s only 12 episodes anyway!