kooriyuki: I’m generally a satisfied camper for Show, because I think it managed to strike a balance between conventional rom-com and realism. There’re of course some detours and fillers which I’d rather not be introduced into Show, but at least those were kept at a minimum and overall Show is zippy fun.
To call Show the Korean version of Sex and the City it too far a stretch, although it does realistically explore modern day females’ outlook on love and life. But of course being a Korean drama, nothing is risque but it is far from being boring either. We have four friends in their early to mid 30s, some married, some divorced, some single. Roughly equal time were spent on developing all four ladies’ individual love story, which makes it an ensemble drama.
Jang Nara plays the role of Han Mi Mo, who runs a re-marriage matchmaking consultancy with her bestie Baek Da Jung (Yoo Da In). The two were yester-year’s idols in an idol group Angels, which comprises of 3 other girls, Hong Ae Ran (Seo In Young), Go Dong Mi (Yoo Inna) and the most famous among them Go Seul Ah (special appearance by Sandara Park). Go Seul Ah remains an idol in the present day and is an enemy of sorts to the other four ladies. Among the four of them, Da Jung is the most pragmatic and somewhat jaded (which also translates to frustratingly stubborn) while the other three are relatively flighty, idealistic about love and to a certain extent, immature.
I’d say that I like Da Jung’s story most, because I just can’t help but wish her happiness and to release herself from all the conventions and pressure she locks herself in, when she failed to produce a child years into her marriage. Kudos to Kim Tae Hoon for the wonderful portrayal of Kim Gun Hak, a frustrated husband (with lots of patience to boot) trapped in a bitter marriage even though he still loves Da Jung very much. In most context it’d have elicited a groan from most of us viewers when the cancer troupe is employed, but here it is a well-used deus ex machina to reignite the love between Da Jung and Gun Hak.
And the best guy among all four beaus of our ladies has to be Song Soo Hyuk (Jung Kyung Ho) because OMG, he is just simply awesome, attentive, sensitive yet playful, he is just the man for Mi Mo. They really balance out each other well, he can rein Mi Mo back on her impulsiveness while she can encourage him to step out of his wall of protection to love again. And how cute it is that he had a crush on her since elementary school? Again the oft-used troupe of boy meets girl since childhood is generic and boring, but in this context it is introduced with a refreshing twist (ok maybe not so much of a twist but rather the narrative was cute and interesting) and it builds a better understanding between our OTP here.
I wasn’t so keen on the late introduction of Soo Hyuk’s family and last minute love rival for Mi Mo, although I have to admit I didn’t see it coming for Soo Hyuk’s sister to be Mi Mo’s ex-husband’s new wife-to-be. It certainly added hijinks but I think most importantly it serves to tell us how much Soo Hyuk loves Mi Mo and Mi Mo has also grown into a better person with more self-introspection.
Perhaps not the best rom-com, but definitely one that’s worth the time spent and lives up to its title.
sab: I won’t crown Happy as “Best rom-com of the Year” either, cos it does have obvious flaws, especially in the narrative in the latter part of the show. (hands up if you agree that Mi-mo, Soo-hyuk, Hae-joon’s love triangle got reeeally annoying after a while)
Thankfully, after moping around for 4 or so eps, Happy picks itself up again and gets back on its lighter, oftimes tongue-in-cheek tone. Even though Mi-mo and her warring beaus are the focus of Happy, I very much prefer the side stories of the other 3 girls. Ae-ran, with her goody-two-shoes turned douchebag turned goody-two-shoes husband, Dong-mi with her decade age gap between her new boyfriend and herself, and of course Da-jung, whom we all want a happy ending for. They are the “unconventional” love stories, even for kdramaland. Mi-mo’s, on the other hand…ah well, we have been there, and done that.
Unfortunately, cos Mi-mo and Soo-hyuk’s romance is after all Happy‘s main narrative, a little too much time is spent on their meandering love story — that literally spans 2 decades (if you count in Soo-hyuk’s one-sided crush for Mi-mo from elementary school). That leaves precious little time to dwell on the romances and problems of the other 3 ladies. For one, Jung-woo’s attraction for Dong-mi isn’t explained in details, and he really does appear out of the blue. I was half afraid that he has some dirty tricks up his sleeves and is juz teasing Dong-mi noona for the fun of it.
Same for Dong-bae’s change of heart — his explanation for having so many girlfriends and willingness to drop all of them for Ae-ran…somehow isn’t compelling. So much so that even Ae-ran is suspicious. I’d be wary too. Although Da-jung’s reconciliation with Geun-hak is given almost similar weightage to Mi-mo/ Soo-hyuk’s romance in the last 3eps, Da-jung suffers from a lack of screen time in the earlier half of Happy. Until now, I am not too sure exactly why her marriage with Geun-hak broke down. I can only guess that it is due to the baby stress, and other small nitty gritty stuff, based on the few flashbacks we saw.
Ironically, Mi-mo’s issue seems rather small and easily resolved as compared to her 3 bffs. Her (seriously) non-issue of having her ex-hubby turn her future brother-in-law…well, if she owns up to Soo-hyuk earlier, she can save most of her headaches. Doesn’t she realise that in a relationship, decisions need to be made by two parties instead of one? And then Happy pulls the rug under Mi-mo (and us) by saying Shi-ah isn’t Soo-hyuk’s blood relative…duh…
So all in all, Happy is a can-watch (for its light fizzy charm), but not a must-watch.