Oh yay, another potentially good show that is watchable. And omg, I love all the metaphors inherent in Oh Hae-young. More about that later…
And apologies for being late on the Reviews’ bandwagon again.
- Eric (from Discovery of Love) as Park Do-kyung. Sound effects producer who is extreeeemely nitpicky about his work — and he has a right to. Since he is excellent at what he does (helps that he is gifted with heightened hearing). Was dumped at the altar by Pretty Oh Hae-young, but chose to hide his hurt and anger beneath his usual veneer of aloofness.
- Seo Hyun-jin (from Let’s Eat 2) as Oh Hae-young. The supposed “Plain Jane” version. Haunted by her high school past where she shared name with another prettier, more popular Hae-young, our “plain Jane” Hae-young thinks she has managed to move out from Pretty Hae-young’s shadow after they graduated and parted ways. Seemingly sassy and outspoken on the exterior, we learn later that Hae-young still retains that fragile, insecure ego when Pretty Hae-young resurfaces.
- Jeon Hye-bin (from Gunman in Joseun) as Pretty Oh Hae-young. The Miss Popular that cast Plain Jane into the deep shadows. Also Do-kyung’s ex-fiancée who dumps him on wedding day and disappears — for a good 2 years. Now she waltzes back into their lives and becomes Hae-young’s superior in the catering industry.
Up to ep4; for detailed recaps, visit Dramabeans.
Introduction to our characters in ep1 appears piecemeal, but as events unfold, we begin to see the web of entanglement between them.
Hae-young announces her breakup with her fiancé (Han Tae-jin) one day before her wedding, to her parents’ anger and embarrassment. But we learn later it is not her who initiated the breakup but her fiancé. And even sadder is — he didn’t WANT to break up with her in the first place.
All thanks to Do-kyung’s spiteful messing around, arising from the name “Hae-young”. Do-kyung’s bride-to-be (who shares the same name) left him at the altar, and his bestie (Lee Jin-sang) mistakenly thinks Do-kyung’s Hae-young ran off with Tae-jin (since his fiancée is also named Hae-young, and enrolled in the same high school…based on his skimpy checks). When the boys realize the mistake, they are shocked…and very guilt-stricken. More so for Do-kyung, who suddenly experiences premonitions about Hae-young and how their paths will cross.
As luck would have it, Hae-young is kicked out of her family by her juz-as-eccentric mother (Mdm Hwang) and she moves in next to Do-kyung, whom she has the (mis)fortune to literally bump into recently. At first, Do-kyung wants her to move out, but he gradually learns to accept (or pity? or tries to make amends?) her and their relationship blossoms from being mere acquaintances to friends…and possibly something more. Hilariously, it seems like Hae-young’s entire world knows Do-kyung or is related to him. Her immediate superior (Park Soo-kyung) who is Madame Stern in the day, but Drunk Alien in the night, is Do-kyung’s elder sis.
Juz as things are going really rosy for Hae-young, who should breeze in to her life again, but Pretty Hae-young? Pretty Hae-young apparently has earned a reputation in the last 2 years in Germany as a brand manager, she is back as a consultant to help Hae-young’s (and Soo-kyung) food catering service to up their brand image. The two girls meet, and the usual happens — everyone and everything revolves around Pretty Hae-young, and Hae-young is again cast into the shadows.
Like I said, I wanna talk about the metaphors inherent in Oh Hae-young. First off, the show reminds me of She Was Pretty, with its emphasis on “the one in the shadows”, and how a “supporting cast” is juz as important as the “main lead”. Take Do-kyung’s line of job for example, he is a sound effects producer who creates background noises which we all take for granted in any shows. But if we remove them…we’d definitely pick up on its absence. (importance of sound effects are even more apparent in horror flicks) Similarly, Hae-young’s passion for bap (rice) instead of “main dishes” underscores the importance of the usually un-noticed “small characters” that pepper a drama/movie. Without the rice (or in the Western context, a carb) in a meal, there’s also a feeling of incompleteness, even though the carb/rice itself isn’t the main star on the plate.
Ironically, Do-kyung and Hae-young also become supporting “cast” for Pretty Hae-young. Although she is recently introduced into the show, we have seen/ heard enough of her via Do-kyung/ Hae-young’s memories’ flash backs. Pretty Hae-young is the main dish, the protein, the action visual in the movie…the thing that draws your eyes, keeps you riveted. But somehow, by introducing her late into Oh Hae-young, she weirdly becomes a non-entity (even more ironic as she is playing second female lead). I dunno about you, but at the moment, I can’t care about her — even without re-introducing her, Hae-young + Do-kyung’s storylines are engaging enough. Especially if and when Hae-young finds out about Do-kyung’s role in her breakup with Tae-jin. Then again, I am curious about where Pretty Hae-young has gone in her 2 years of absence, we have been reminded again and again that nobody managed to contact her, no one knew where she went (her Germany thingy is mere speculation). And the SNS pic of her with another guy? Who is that guy?