Monday, August 03, 2009

Deconstructing Korea: 결혼 못하는 남자, The Man who Can't get Married. Episode 1 part 1

This guy is completely OCD and totally a foodie.

**Note. If you feel that this is not a Seoul Eats related post then simply ignore it. I'm a big fan of this drama and I feel it is very relevant to understand the culture to understand the food. Thanks, Dan**

I can tell you one of the main reasons I really like this drama is the cinematography. There is real skill shown here in the arrangement of the shots used to tell the story.

The first scene as the camera moves up from room to room and shows the different happenings in each apartment: family celebration, husband and wife fighting, old couple in love, etc- really sets the mood of how odd and peculiar Cho Jae-hee, played by actor Ji Jin-hee, is.

Then I just love how you then see him meticulously tenderizes his steak with his knife. By-the-way, Cho Jae-hee's diet would be deemed extravagant compared to Korean standards. First of all, he's only eating meat- there is no rice or side dishes. Second of all, he is drinking wine by himself. Koreans don't drink alone. It is not socially acceptable. If your boss from work invites you out to a bar, not drinking would be an insult and could result in being fired from work.

By drinking socially, it also helps police others so they don't drink to excess and it is everyone's responsibility to make sure others in the drinking party don't get out of control and that they can get home safely. I think it's a beautiful characteristic of Korea, this idea of mutual closeness and responsibility; the idea they like to call Jung.

Here is part 2 of the episode.

First you see the beautiful Dr. Jang, played by actress Uhm Jung-hwa, on a blind date. This dinner is called So-gae-ting 소개팅. The man is also about 40 years old and he is a man that is successful and is looking for someone to help him with his career. OK, he's somewhat successful, but it's more important to look successful. He is wearing make-up and when he wipes his brow, you notice a big black mole he is trying to cover.

Dr. Jang is another person that is unusual because she is a woman in her 40s that is not married and likes to spend her time in PC rooms playing Multiplayer Games. When Koreans see a woman like her- a professional, good looking, and-well educated person that is not married must have some sort of physical or mental defect. That is what the director is trying to establish with Dr. Jang.

Cho Jae-hee's next door neighbor is Jung Yoo Jin played the refreshingly coquettish Kim So Eun. She is 26-year and she’s taking care of her uncle's place for six months. She is trying to get a job and her current boyfriend constantly borrows money from her and has failed the civil service exam three years in a row.

Whoops, I gotta go, I'll finish the introduction later. If you want to watch more of these episodes. I recommend you go to It's a drama subbing community. Here is a direct link to the Man Who Can't get Married Episodes.