This was my second Gong Hyo Jin drama and I finally fell for Jo Jeong Seok’s charm, even though he had given a powerful performance in Oh My Ghost! Not to forget the absolutely smoldering hot features of Go Kyung Pyo. From his supporting role in Flower Boys Next Door, to his stint as a newscaster in Saturday Night Live Korea, he has come a long way to becoming a second lead.
Jealousy Incarnate was expressly suggested to me by a friend and I went into the drama without knowing what to expect. The first thing I caught onto in the show was its name in Korean: 질투의 화신 (Jiltui Hwashin), with ‘Hwashin’ also being Jo Jeong Seok’s character’s name in the show. The drama played on a great many interesting themes; the most important one being what makes a man a man?
Lee Hwa Shin, a reporter for a news broadcasting based out of Bangkok, Thailand is a brutally honest and blunt man who is a little too proud and self-assured about his masculinity, specifically his body. Pyo Na Ri (played by Gong Hyo Jin) is a weather girl at the same station who has a crush on Hwa Shin for three years. I love the way people are named in the show, since Na Ri reports how the day will go, and ‘day’ in Korean is Nar/Nal. Nevertheless, Hwa Shin is completely aware of Na Ri’s feelings for him and he treats her horribly at work, since she is on contract and he is properly employed by the company. His behaviour is so incredibly bad that I hated him for at least the first 10 episodes or so. His pride and conceit are the weaknesses of the character. Though Na Ri’s servile attitude towards him, especially in the flashbacks was not something I could stand either.
On a shooting in Bangkok, where both Hwa Shin and Na Ri are working together, Na Ri
happens to meet Go Jung Won (Go Kyung Pyo), Hwa Shin’s super rich chaebol friend. Jung Won is, in fact warmer and much more gentlemanly towards Na Ri, which makes it rather obvious, why Na Ri becomes inclined towards Hwa Shin’s friend who can at least reciprocate the love, or at least treat Na Ri like a human.
This lays the foundation for the manly tug of war between both friends over who deserves to be with Na Ri and who she chooses to be with at the end. The war of egos is very intense and the emotions are incredibly palpable, and yet their bromance never dies throughout the show. The really captivating theme for me was, as I mentioned earlier, what makes a man a man?
While Hwa Shin thinks he embodies that perfect male body type and is proud of how ‘gifted’ he is, doctors think otherwise, so much so that throughout the drama, other than facing his childlike jealousy of his best friend, he also has to come to terms with his manhood, even if his body may be lacking in certain attributes. It is both of these humbling factors throughout the drama that actually help him become the man I absolutely adored towards the end.