KDRAMALOVE KOREAN DRAMA REVIEWS



Fated To Love You
운명처럼 널 사랑해
MBC (2014) 20 Episodes
Romantic Comedy
, Grade: B+
 Recommended Age: 18 and Older
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

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A Korean remake of a hit 2008 Taiwanese romantic comedy with the same title, Fated To Love You (2014), starring "The Two Jangs", Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara, was also a big success both at home and abroad on the streaming web sites. Starting off with high comedy slapstick and an off the wall premise of examining a love relationship that begins backwards, with a pregnancy first between two strangers, marriage second and love third, this vehicle gave actor Jang Hyuk (Thank You, Chuno, Beautiful Mind) a chance to showcase his comedy skills for a change, instead of just his melodramatic skills. Of course he was helped a lot by a very corny, feminine hairstyle (no doubt a wig) that made his character goofy looking right off the bat (although thankfully he gets a far better manly haircut starting in episode thirteen, hooray!). Then his character also has an odd and annoying laugh, and we don't know until near the end of the drama why his laugh sounds so weird. I just thank God the costume people didn't decide to put a fake mole on his face too, or something even more distracting than the laugh and the wig, or I would have been outta there and missed his funniest performance! :)

It was the second television screen coupling he had with actress Jang Nara (My Love Patzzi, One More Happy Ending) after their 2002 drama Successful Story Of A Bright Girl, and then they were re-united for a third time in a short drama after Fated To Love You, called Old Goodbye (2014), which had the same director, Lee Dong Yoon. They have a nice natural chemistry together, so it's not surprising they've been re-teamed. Maybe there will even be a fourth time in future?



Thrice paired for television, the Two Jangs

Besides the two leads, this drama gives you a chance to watch handsome Choi Jin Hyuk (Gu Family Book, Heirs, Pride and Prejudice) as second male lead, playing a strong, warmhearted, kind and generous fellow, which is the typical personality given to second male lead characters, but seldom does it seem as genuine as it does in this drama. Heck, his character even financially supports an orphanage, you don't get better than that!

As of this writing (Sept. 30, 2016) Choi Jin Hyuk has been MIA in Acting since he left for his military assignment and then seven months later he severely injured his knee which required a major operation. It doesn't seem the Korean people are in a mood to be understanding where he is concerned because when he was offered the lead in Beautiful Mind, even before Jang Hyuk accepted it, the Korean people balked at him returning to acting too soon after his prematurely leaving the military, and the offer for the part was withdrawn from him.

Pretty darn unfair, if you ask me (even though ultimately I adored Jang Hyuk in the part), Jin Hyuk had a legit reason for leaving the military early, a medical exemption, and he shouldn't be penalized professionally because of it. Besides, I miss him, and he was another reason why I finally decided to watch this drama, despite its early premarital pregnancy theme, which I usually try to avoid in shows and films. I had put off watching this show for quite awhile because of that theme, until enough people told me the characters dramatically change during the course of the story and that I would end up enjoying it, which I did. Because of this theme and the frankly sensual bed scenes between the married couple that follow, I would recommend this show only for those eighteen years of age or older.

 

Choi Jin Hyuk (right) with the Two Jangs

The Story:

The hard working, kind but timid office worker Kim Mi Young (Jang Nara), whose nickname in the office is Post-It Girl because she does much of everyone else's work besides her own, has little in the way of education, sophistication, status or wealth, having lived most of her life on a small island with her mother (Song Ok Sook who played Ahjumma in Beethoven Virus) who runs a restaurant, but all that changes when she finally takes a vacation for herself in Macao (these scenes reminded me of Boys Over Flowers) and she ends up experiencing an unexpected but fateful night of accidental passion with the spoiled, silly, arrogant rich heir of a family chemical company, Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk). He was there on business while also planning a big proposal scene for his beloved.

During an awkward moment when she overhears Lee Gun practicing proposing to his beloved, Mi Young tries to hide and look nonchalant, inadvertently opening and drinking from a bottle of water she doesn't know has been spiked by a certain narcotic sex-enhancing drug, and Lee Gun had been purposefully drugged with the same sexual enhancer potion by two sneaky cretins who wanted to blackmail him with a prostitute. The drug makes the two of them very dopey and sleepy. Lee Gun's hotel room door number had also been inadvertently messed with by the same two cretins who had drugged him (#2009 had the 9 flipped around to look like a 6), so Mi Young enters Lee Gun's hotel room by mistake, thinking it's hers, and flops down into bed next to Lee Gun.

While doped, thinking Mi Young feels like the woman he wants to marry, longtime ballerina girlfriend Kang Se Ra (Wang Ji Won from I Need Romance 3), who has been in and out of his life on her own terms for several years, he becomes intimate with Mi Young in the night. She, in turn, half asleep as well, responds in kind, thinking she's dreaming about an attorney she has a crush on who had come with her on the trip. When they wake up in the morning next to each other of course it's a huge shock. The two cretins barge in and start to take pictures for the blackmail attempt, and there is a race to grab the camera from them. It ends up in the water outside the hotel.



Mi Young's insignificant existence completely transforms when she finds out she is pregnant with the chaebol heir's baby. She ends up deciding to do the moral thing and have the baby anyway.

Despite some misgivings, she eventually also agrees to a type of "shot-gun" wedding, partly because of the influence of Lee Gun's grandmother, Chairwoman Wang (Park Won Sook from Dear My Friends), who desperately wants a grandson to continue the family line, even if that child is to come from a woman not exactly equal to the status of their rich family. Lee Gun has a tentative divorce document drawn up that states she will agree to a divorce after the baby is born, an act that he is to bitterly regret soon enough.

All along Mi Young has the sympathetic ear of her best male friend, famous clothes designer Daniel Pitt (Choi Jin Hyuk), who helps her by encouraging her in her art talent while also being a comforting sounding board as she goes through momentous decisions in her life. As time goes by and he sees Mi Young tossed about in her troubles he begins to think he might actually care for Mi Young romantically after all. He tells her he is tired of seeing her being hurt by Lee Gun and that he can offer her a strong presence to rely on instead. She does not respond. It's obvious her heart is now firmly with her husband, no matter how tenuous their relationship might be. However, Daniel has another main goal in his life, that of finding his long lost sister, who ends up being none other than the ballerina Se Ra whom Lee Gun had been obsessed with for years.



Lee Gun and Mi Young decide to make the best of a bad situation, and they even start bonding a bit in their marriage. They also start enjoying going to prenatal visits, getting an ultrasound, going to childbirth classes together, and in general they both look forward to the birth of their baby, whom they nickname Gae Ddong.

However, just when Lee Gun begins to show his growing affection for Mi Young, his selfish, troublesome family interferes with their relationship again, and after Lee Gun collapses from the stress of an inherited condition he has, called Huntington's Chorea, which affects his memory, his first love Se Ra re-enters the picture to try and stake her claim on him. Will she be able to break our married couple apart because he temporarily can't remember marrying Mi Young?



Eventually most of his memory returns but he doesn't seem to have the same feelings for his wife. Tragedy strikes and Mi Young loses the baby. For awhile the couple are torn apart by grief and guilt, since the reason they married in the first place no longer exists. She agrees to a divorce.

Daniel convinces Mi Young to leave Korea for Paris to study art for three years. She returns sophisticated in appearance, and confident in her manner, having made her professional mark in the art world while away. Daniel meets her at the airport (Lee Gun with a new appearance passes right by her without recognizing her -- at first), and a new life begins for all the principals in our drama. Lee Gun has made his company more prosperous, he has cleaned up his act, his inherited condition has lain dormant, but all this time he has never really forgotten Mi Young ... nor she him. Are they fated to fall in love all over again, this time as stronger people? 



This drama sure had its share of typical K-drama cliches: the usual family clashes interfering in the relationship, various other people trying to break them apart, professional jealousies and rivalries, car accidents, good old amnesia rearing its familiar head, etc., but the over-riding theme of this show is ultimately upheld, that true love can bloom between two people when they least expect it, even under very difficult personal circumstances. In fact some of my favorite scenes in this drama were simple, quiet, sweet ones between the newly married couple in the beginning who are discovering each others' good points for the first time. Adorable and insightful conversations between a new husband and wife. It's the kind of bond which cannot easily be destroyed by anything or anyone, no matter how much time has gone by, or how many people have tried to break it apart.



This drama had a rough start for me, personally, but I ended up enjoying it a lot, due mostly to the incredible acting (again) of Jang Hyuk, and the sweetness (again) of Jang Nara. Remember, if you enjoyed Fated To Love You, don't miss the time travel short romantic drama Old Goodbye which they made together after this one. It's haunting and lovely. Enjoy.

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