The series started out fast paced and wacky with heart, but suffered from disease and noble idiocy by the midway point. Lee Gun to the rescue with a flying kick!
Gun and Mi Young enjoy some drug-free love.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★.5
Only 만: ★★★.5
A chemically induced one night stand brings about the unlikely pairing of crazed chaebol, Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) with overlooked and abused office worker, Kim Mi Young (Jang Na Ra). The resulting pregnancy wreaks havoc in both of their lives with Gun forced to give up his long time girlfriend, Nam Se Ra (Wang Ji Won). During this difficult time, Mi Young gains a neighbourhood oppa in Daniel (Choi Jin Hyuk) who becomes a rival for Gun to act crazy towards. A devastating accident, and noble idiocy regarding Gun’s genetic illness results in a three year time skip. Mi Young is now an artist on the rise, but remains resentful about Gun’s perceived abandonment of her. It is only a matter of time before Mi Young discovers the truth, and the couple are reunited and drugged again.
Side dish: The recurring message of this series was clearly, “Eat more snail” and we will happily comply. How about a classic Escargots à la Bourguignonne? You will find the recipe at Saveur.
Only 만: We’re finally at the end of the journey for the Snail couple.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: When I looked back at all of our screen caps to jog my memory about the entire series, I realized that it has felt like a long journey. They began and ended the series with roofies, but “Fated to Love You” was practically a different show by the end.
Only: The tone of the show changed considerably halfway through. Though I did enjoy how that was reflected in Gun’s hairdo, I can’t say I entirely enjoyed the ride. But, let’s talk about the positives first.
Junggu-eo Kaenada: Jang Hyuk’s insane chaebol was the main draw of the series for me. He was so over-the-top, and yet, Jang Hyuk still managed to convey a deep range of feelings with every maniacal laugh.
Only: It was a surprisingly nuanced performance for a comedy role. His antics were what drew me in, but I was equally hooked on his more subtle moments. While I enjoyed Jang Na Ra and the rest of the cast, no doubt, the star of this show was Jang Hyuk’s Lee Gun.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I have been critical of Jang Na Ra, but in retrospect, she did the best that she could with a mousy character. In the latter part of the series, when her character, Mi Young underwent a transformation, Jang Na Ra managed to retain enough of Mi Young’s characteristics to make her recognizable.
Only: Agreed. Jang Na Ra was still engaging as the mousy incarnation of Mi Young, and great as the more mature and forceful Mi Young. I’m not entirely reconciled to the timeskip to get her there, but I can’t argue with the result; Mi Young matured and became stronger, without changing the core of who she was.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I kind of wish Mi Young wasn’t such a pushover to start with, because her character was one of the few downsides of the beginning of the series. “Fated to Love You” started out so zippy and fun.
Only: It did, and because of that, I ignored some problematic elements of the story, like the drugging and the shotgun marriage, that really became sticking points later on when the show slowed down.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Though, even when the story slowed down in regards to Gun and Mi Young, they kept up the crazy in Gun’s relationship with Secretary Tak and, later, his adopted brother, Yong. Those were the brief moments of respite from the plodding melodrama.
Only: You could always count on Secretary Tak to up the fun factor. He’ll be one of my fonder memories of this show, with his spankings and his dancing, and his competition with Lee Yong for Gun’s approval.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I think we liked the side characters more than the second leads, Daniel and Se Ra. Mi Young’s friend, Ji Yeon was quite fun with her matchmaker career and her aggressive noona ways. And, Mi Young’s mother’s relationship with Gun was always very entertaining and touching at the same time.
Only: I wasn’t entirely sold on Mi Young’s mom and her browbeating ways at the start of the series, but I really enjoyed her secret post-divorce time with Gun, and her loud shirts. Ji Yeon was another series highlight, especially in the scene where they all disguised themselves as high school students to escape the reporters, and she took the opportunity to forcibly kiss Yong. Actually, I enjoyed that whole scene, especially Lawyer Hong and Secretary Tak. And, Gun’s emo hair.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Speaking of Mom’s loud shirts, the clothing was generally pretty fantastic in this series. Initially, Gun and Daniel were a walking suit competition. Then, after the timeskip, Mi Young’s brightly coloured outfits made up for the more sombre clothing that Gun and Daniel had to wear to reflect the mood. I was happy to see Daniel returning to the pink suit jacket in the final episode. Plus, Gun and Mi Young’s wedding was made up of perfectly coordinated guests wearing some vibrant pastels.
Only: I loved the competition between Gun and Daniel, especially with the contrasting blue and orange suits. Though I think my favourite instance of competition was the photo shoot. Or, was it the race in the park where Daniel looked like a hulking monster, as you put it? So many great moments. So many great clothes.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Have we gushed enough? Now on to the issues we had with this series. The most damning mistake was the writers’ decision to give Gun Huntington’s Disease. I think they realized the error of their ways when Huntington’s Disease morphed into an unnamed genetic disease that caused amnesia.
Only: Well, they had to back off on it when they realized that Huntington’s was entirely incompatible with the happy ending they had in mind. I suspect it was the result of a quick Google search to justify the entirely unnecessary amnesia and subsequent noble idiocy, without much thought being given to the hole they were digging for themselves. Even by the end, it left a giant gap in the plot, but it was the worst in the middle section, where we didn’t even have cuteness to mitigate it.
Junggugeo Kaenada: The middle part of the series was also around the time that both Daniel and Se Ra became increasingly unappealing. Daniel started out as Mi Young’s reliable source of support without any expectation of recompense, then actually turned creepy for a few episodes after the timeskip. Meanwhile, Se Ra’s tomboy ballerina became increasingly desperate to the point where she was doing unforgivable things like actively sabotaging Gun and Mi Young’s marriage. I don’t think either Daniel or Se Ra rebounded from the mid-series low in their characters, and they simply became innocuous by the time they found each other.
Only: Yes, by the end, it seemed as if Se Ra and Daniel were really there to tie up the remaining loose end of their relationship, rather than because anyone cared.
Junggugeo Kaenada: What other characters did you not care for?
Only: Grandma. She drove me nuts. In the beginning, she browbeat Gun into a shotgun wedding, without listening to his account of what happened. Then, when the divorce agreement came to light, she threw a fit and collapsed, again without listening to him. And then, she capped off this whole thing by drugging Gun and Mi Young into producing a grandchild. I mean, for what was presented as a nice character, Grandma was really awful in her actions.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I actually forgot about those terrible aspects of Grandma, because she was so nice and supportive towards Mi Young, even when the baby was no longer a factor. And, she was always very agreeable to catering to Mi Young’s rambunctious family, too.
Only: To be honest, I never warmed up to her.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Can you be brief in your disdain for one of your least favourite K-drama plot devices: noble idiocy? Unfortunately, it sucked up the entire middle section of the series.
Only: My main issue with it, aside from the amount of time it sucked up, was that Gun effectively treated Mi Young like a child. Sure, he may have been trying to save her the pain of being with him as his disease progressed, but he also took away her choice and inflicted several years’ worth of suffering on her. A note to the writers: the noble idiocy didn’t endear Gun’s character to me, and I didn’t buy how briefly it was dealt with by Mi Young.
I’ll stop there, because I’ll start ranting if I continue.
Junggugeo Kaenada: “Fated to Love You” started with a lot of promise, touting a fast pace and a super entertaining yet complex male lead in Lee Gun. Sadly, it became bogged down by disease and noble idiocy. Though the female lead, Mi Young became the kind of character that I wish I would see more often in K-dramas, the mood never returned to the giddy heights of the beginning.
Only: But, what heights they were.
Fated to Love You (운명처럼 널 사랑해)