Oh, Fated to Love You. How did you swallow my soul so completely? Guys, this show will be the most adorable/agonizing 20 hours of your life. It’s like the tv equivalent of a cupcake that is filled with tears. YOU WILL LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT.
What’s it about? Sweet, naive Kim Mi Young and rich, eccentric Lee Gun are forced to get married after he accidentally knocks her up while they’re both drugged out of their minds. (Don’t ask.)
If that premise does nothing for you, don’t worry. I felt the same way. Then I started watching and the characters basically reached into my heart and started squeezing until I was completely lost? Like, seriously — when you find yourself blubbering uncontrollably on the couch and it’s only the second episode, you know you’re in trouble.
Hold up, is here’s actually sex in this one? Yeah… no. The sex happens, but mostly off screen with the help of some goofy train-entering-the-tunnel style visuals. Oh, KDramas. But there is kissing! On multiple occasions! And not just the terrible kind where they stand there pressed together with their mouths not moving and it looks really uncomfortable and awkward! So, there’s that.
How’s the romance? Let’s just say that if you tend to over-identify with shy, self-sacrificing characters who are perpetually unappreciated by everyone in their lives until that one person shows up and realizes how wonderful they are… then this romance will be good for you.
Mi Young and Gun have tons of chemistry and they’re both genuinely likeable, even when you want to smack them. Mi Young could have been a dishrag, but she’s such a genuinely nice person that you can’t help liking her. And Gun could easily have been a stereotypical arrogant jerk. He’s wealthy, powerful, out-going, and doesn’t really care what anyone thinks of him. But even at his coldest or most cruel, he never crosses that line to True Douchedom to which so many other heroes fall prey.
My absolute favorite thing about Gun is his reaction whenever he sees someone treating Mi Young poorly. Even when they’re mostly strangers and he has good reason to be furious with her, he still instantly leaps to her defense when she’s being humiliated by a bully. That base of fairness and compassion is really refreshing in this kind of hero.
Also, he is a complete weirdo, and I mean that in the most delightful way?
Okay, but why is his hair so terrible? You will grow to love the hair. Trust me. You will even be sad when he cuts it.
This isn’t another story about a hot guy making over an “ugly” girl by taking off her glasses, is it? I mean, Jang Na-ra clearly did not fall off the ugly truck. There’s not hiding that, no matter how badly they dress her. But Gun only makes her over once, for the express purpose of utterly destroying a dude who’d been mean to her. Then she promptly goes back to her unfashionable glasses and dumpy clothes and he never says a word about changing her appearance. IT’S GREAT.
When she finally does change her look, it’s completely her choice, after several years of maturing professionally and personally without his involvement. Throughout the show, he never stops encouraging her to stick up for herself, but he never tries to change her or make her “good enough” for him.
Is there anything you didn’t love? The plot falls prey to fourth quarter angst-o-rama that afflicts so many KDramas. It’s not terrible, but when one honest conversation could have wrapped up 8 solid episodes of melodrama, you begin to feel like the writers are just stalling.
Also, the consistent use of roofies for hijinks and “hilarity” was… not a plot device that translated well over the cultural divide.
Special shout outs to: Gun’s relationship with Mi Young’s mom. Nothing makes me cry like mom feels, you guys. It got bad. Real bad.
Anything else? There’s some business with corporate intrigue and an orphaned artist searching for his sister. It starts off good, drags on too long, but comes to satisfying finish. Also, amnesia! Mystery illnesses! Misunderstandings! Hilariously translated baby nicknames!
So, should I watch this? Do you like Jane the Virgin but wish Rafael spent more time cackling madly for no reason? Do enjoy sunshine and puppies and also crying your eyes out? Do you have a high tolerance for noble self-sacrificing idiocy? Have you always wondered how someone wailing “Snail!” could become a charming term of endearment? THIS IS THE SHOW FOR YOU.