Jealousy has been a cute, lil’ fun show that has allowed Jo Jung-suk to shine. Well, the entire show has been about Hwa-shin – the title already tells you that, albeit a little tongue-in-cheek. However, to say Hwa-shin as a character has “changed” or “developed” across the narrative arc is pushing things a bit too far. He hasn’t become any better. Imo, we (and his friends/ family) juz got to know him better.
I’d say Na-ri knows Hwa-shin best, even better than himself at times. Her rather forceful (and physical) encounter with Hwa-shin during her first day at work as a weather girl has left such a positive first impression on her that for the next 3-4 years, she can only see him. So like a good old stalker observer, she has been clocking his every move, and attaching her own interpretations to them. Whether it is cos of her crush on him or maybe she juz sees more, Na-ri has always viewed Hwa-shin’s actions with rosy tinted glasses.
So while her colleagues may brush Hwa-shin off as arrogant and selfish, to Na-ri, he is juz “principled”, “professional” and “driven”. Even though Na-ri gets rejected (in the most publicly humiliating way) by Hwa-shin, she can’t help the butterflies in her tummy when she reconnects with him in Thailand later and she still fantasises about her dream job as a newscaster – with Hwa-shin as her partner. It’s ironic that when her dream does come true, it is as far from what she envisaged: she can’t stand Hwa-shin butting in with his personal commentary, and considers him a worse partner than her 7am sleazy sunbae. (lol)
Since we are on Na-ri, I do have a slight issue with her role in Jealousy. As mentioned earlier, I feel that the entire narrative centres on Hwa-shin, and no one frames his storyline better than Na-ri. So much so that she kinda becomes nothing more but a frame. Although we do get to see her personal growth from being an insecure, low confident weather girl with big dreams maturing to a competent newscaster who attains her dreams through sheer hard work, there is still something missing in her character. I attribute that to Na-ri being sort of an “outcast” in Jealousy.
If you haven’t noticed, all the characters whom Hwa-shin knew (aka his “in circle”) are related to him. And related to him in the closest way – they are family, or close friends who are like family. Hwa-shin’s brother wedded the 2 News Directors in his workplace, his bestie (Jung-won) is someone who grew up with him, since their mothers are so close. And by extension, Chef (who is brother to Jung-won’s mum) is no stranger to his family either. (more so as Hwa-shin’s niece ends up renting a space in Chef’s boarding house) So Na-ri is virtually an outsider – she is like a stray meteorite that crash-bang (literally) into his galaxy.
Jealousy probably means to keep Na-ri as the wild card. Cos she proves to be the catalyst that helped clear up the bad mojo around Hwa-shin. Her association with him helps Hwa-shin to reconnect with his mum, his 2 sis-in-laws, and even with Jung-won (whom he “assumed” knew him the best. Apparently not).
Or maybe it’s Na-ri – and the breast cancer.