Mae Ri Christmas & Cotton Candy Romance

Some of the Korean dramas I come across are so messed up that even the incest trodden weep-fest of One Fine Day seems fairer in comparison. It makes me wonder what goes on in the minds of the drama houses, script writers, and directors when they conceive such a plot. Sadly, most of the K-drama content available in English is by fans. The real meat on what goes on is probably available on Hangul sites.

Hence, I am forced to make up my own theories and derive my own conclusions. My money is on the audience analysis, which makes the drama houses believe that they need a handsome cast, and cute moments, with affable OST with the word sarang thrown in for a good measure. Next, they weave a story to encompass all those cute moments that they have come up with, and voila, we have the storyline for a 16-episode series ready!

First up for discussion is the bizarre fest called Mary Stayed Out All Night. With extremely cute little 24-year old girl in lead, it is a story of Wi Mae Ri who has to take care of financially delinquent dad, who is trying to get her married to a guy in order to get his sorry ass out of debts. In order to escape this forced alliance, she forces the indi singer Moo Kyul, whom-she-crahsed-her-car-into-and-then-he-came-over-to-shampoo-his-lovely-hair, to pose as her husband while her dad gets her marriage with the guy of his choice registered using her ID behind her back. After some quick complicated scenes, Mae Ri’s father and father-in-law-to-be decide that she should get 100 days to decide between the two guys by spending first half of the day with one guy, and the second half with the other.

Do you still think Winter Sonata was unrealistic?

So, Mae Ri of gorgeous hair spends more time with Moo Kyul of superb locks in order to stay away from the guy her dad chose. Complicated things continue, the other guy falls in love with Mae Ri (I bet it was her hair!), while she is increasingly drawn to Moo Kyul (of course, it’s his hair). She keeps running between the two houses, and her father apparently is fine with her daughter dating two men at the same time. Interestingly, the two men are also fine with it. They all seem to be extremely empathetic of the delinquency of her father, and are epitome of patience. The journey is full of cutesy moments that my melted my heart appropriately and there are some very catchy tunes to go with it. Wi Mae Ri’s innocence and Moo Kyul’s charisma made me continue with the series and I continued to disregard reality and went with the over-the-top flow of the show.

Moo Kyul’s character is unlike any I have seen in a Korean drama before. He isn’t the picture perfect quintessential hero with icy attitude towards the girl nor is he a spoilt brat with a good heart hidden under the layers. He is a street cat who gathers stuff off the street to build his pad, and does a cool job of it. His mother is a scatter brain who lives off his meager earnings and regularly ditches him, but he takes it in his stride without any bitterness. Even when he is clearly attracted and attached to Wi Mae Ri, he is supremely cool about it and does not pursue her actively. He just hangs around, but he is still warm and caring. How does one achieve this balance?

The warmth between the two leads, which is unlike the love-hate relationship in most dramas and the indie vibe of locations was a plus. From the first scene, the two share a rapport which is seen being transformed into affection almost naturally. However, every other character than the two mentioned above is uninteresting and fails to impress. The other guy is the quintessential good boy we earlier talked about; he is sweet, gentle, caring, generous, and extremely boring. Also, his hair is pretty ordinary. However, the parents are deeply infuriating and add to the flaws the weak story line. Their characters are etched to create problems but are completely cowardly and spineless at the same time. The other girl (what? You thought this wasn’t a romantic square?) could have easily fit in any other drama, where she is obsessed with the guy and hates the girl he likes. The obsession with vamps continues.

The last episode sees Mae Ri walking down the aisle with the guy of her father’s choice but in the end the one with better hair wins! Thankfully, no one gets married to anyone, which is a relief seeing that everyone with good hair is pretty childish and needs to grow up.

Now coming to the point, why did I finish watching this show? And why am I writing about it after almost three months? How on earth something so silly stick with me for so long?

It goes to show that whatever miraculous formula those drama-houses are brewing works despite its apparent flaws. Also, I wish I can find some web sites which give me the real news about the Korean television industry; any recommendations?


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