One title that says it all!
Marriage Not Dating was a zippy romantic comedy starring Yeon Woo Jin as Gong Gi Tae and Han Groo as Joo Jang Mi(I saw her previously in Can We Get Married? where she made a great couple with Kim Young Kwang) . The show had a very mundane story: a plastic surgeon, from a wealthy family who has no interest in marriage, ends up making a contract with his best friend’s ex who is desperate to settle down. The contract states that the two will act as a couple so that the man’s mother stops nagging him about getting married, and the woman’s family will be happy that she has a successful doctor to settle down with sooner or later.
Even though the plot was so banal, it was all laced with delicious scandal which the little rebel in me enjoyed thoroughly. The primary conflict of the show was around the way various generations view relationships between men and women. We got two sets of parents who were unable to give their children complete households. From extra-marital affairs to domestic abuse, the stage was set for rebellious children shying away from their parents’ ideals of a perfect relationship, while hiding the cracks of their own. The show dealt with the concept of loneliness and isolation in the most beautiful way possible. While some people choose to be alone because they think they’re unworthy of love from a partner, others will actively pursue a partner to fill the void within themselves… The real wonder lies in a couple finding the balance between their needs and their fears. I enjoyed watching the couple overcome their weaknesses, and becoming complete individuals with a little help from each other.
It was interesting to see our generation being analyzed from the lens of our parents. We truly are a generation that resorts to mundane relationships, that too halfheartedly, without any intentions of falling through with our vows and promises. The show attempts to understand where this viewpoint originates from and also what it’s a rebuttal of. Nonetheless, there is an honesty in the way this generation expresses itself, in comparison to how the previous generation was all about hiding things, covering them up, and always attempting to make it appear as everything is absolutely fine, even when it’s not.
Nonetheless, other than our main couple and their parents, I was not thoroughly pleased with the rest of the storyline, with the two sets of supporting couples. They only helped move the plot only slightly, and hence their presence was not incredibly helpful. The scriptwriter often seemed to a have a shift of heart towards them, where sometimes they would be shown as incredibly mean and self-serving and at other times would become helpful to our lead couple.
In the end, it was showing a romance blossom out of such a perfectly planned out relationship that I enjoyed the most. I also came to realize that Yeon Woo Jin is one incredibly talented actor with amazing facial expressions, even though he delivers his dialogues in such a low tone. That made me think that had it not been for the horrible scriptwriting for Shy Boss, Yeon Woo Jin could have shined much more than he was able to in the blunder of a drama. I absolutely loved him as the suave player with a soft heart, as Gong Gi Tae.