Oh, Hae Young

Maybe it’s the silence; maybe it’s the space; maybe it’s the conversation that takes place; or maybe, it’s a combination of all three: the silence between them and the conversation that follows afterwards, as if there is no space between them. I can’t quite pinpoint what is it exactly that makes me like this drama so much even if it is quite early into the series. Still, four episodes are enough for the viewers to weigh in whether the drama will be actually watchable or not, but for me, I’m in for Oh Hae-young Again. Oh wait, I think I know why now. It makes my heart flutters like crazy.

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So, backstory of the story is quite complicated but easy to follow once you have watched the first four episodes: the titular Oh Hae-young (Seo Hyun-jin) found herself dumped one day before her wedding ceremony by her soon-to-be-husband then without a logical reasoning other than the vague ones he blurted out, so she was left fending off by herself post-break off. What she did not know is her name – as common as John Smith – has caused a misunderstanding when a man named Park Do-kyung (Eric Mun) pulled some strings to ruin the wedding, thinking that she is his ex-fiancee who dumped him on the wedding day, Oh Hae-young (Jeon Hye-bin). Whether for better or for worse, he starts getting visions of the near future like a reverse deja vu, and most of them involving the other Oh Hae-young; the new Oh Hae-young in his life. That, and he keeps running into the person he wants to avoid the most: Oh Hae-young.

It’s funny how the title (and the name) itself suggests that there will be a lot of misunderstandings with regard to the name: oh-hae-young already sounds like “Ohaeyo!” (meaning “It’s a misunderstanding!”). It is fun to watch people getting muddled in a misunderstanding, but having similar name with someone completely opposite of you is not a pleasant thing at all. That was something the ‘dirt’/’other’/’just’ Hae-young had to live with when she was a high schooler, sharing her common name with the ‘gold’/’pretty’ Hae-young. Through flashbacks and memories of her and the other classmates, we saw how she was always overshadowed by the golden girl. The feelings are all too real: the inferiority she felt back then and the ‘freedom’ she found when she went to college; they are things people can relate to.

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Oh, Hae-young, my lovely Hae-young! I can’t even begin to express my admiration for her. Heck, I’m willing to sing praises for her overnight. No matter how many times she is stepped on, she picks herself up in each and every occasion and just, fly. She puts on a brave face and wears a happy heart, but she is not afraid to cry whenever she feels down. She is brave to admit that she was once inferior to golden Hae-young, and still very much is at the the moment. She did manage to escape the complex once she graduated high school and learns how to shine in her own light, but that feeling is still very much alive, especially when her memories of the past reawakened by her own thoughts or by her friends. Still, our Hae-young is able to love herself for what she is and she is proud of herself, if not wishing for the better for her own self, instead of dreaming to become the golden Oh Hae-young.

I like how Hae-young took a different approach in ‘explaining’ things to other people. She could tell the truth, but the decision she made was probably because of the stigma people will have towards her. If she did accept the break-off as-is and told people that her ex was the one who made the decision, people would look at her and try to figure out if there is something wrong with her which made him cancel the wedding. The tide did not turn completely when she declared that she was the one who made the decision, but at least people did not try to seek out the reason actively from her side. Sure, people would talk no matter what way you put it, but it is better than bearing the shame of being dumped rather than being the one who does the dumping. That, also, spared her parents from being ashamed and possibly attacking her ex to find out the reason he did so. The answer is on her, so all the questions would be directed towards her. Clean finish, without involving her ex anymore.

At first, her mother’s decision to ‘kick’ her out of the house seems like a harsh decision, but as we get to know Hae-young better, I can see why it was the best decision mom could think of while secretly mulling over the sadness of sending her daughter away, not to live with the husband like the original plan but alone. Mom had a hard time but deep down, I think she knew that what her daughter needed the most was her time alone to mend her own heart, away from the prying eyes of the family and neighbours.

No matter how much I pray for golden Hae-young’s return to be delayed as far as possible, it has happened. I’m sure that everyone at this point is just wishing for the lovely Hae-young to be happy after facing so many trials in her life, but the happiness route is not looking any easier for the time being. With the golden girl in the mix, I do hope that Hae-young will hold herself well, staying true to her awesome character no matter what comes at her.

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While Hae-young is the bright girl with qualities you can relate to, Do-kyung is the exact opposite of Hae-young. They are like the embodiment of darkness and light despite having similar experience when it comes to marriage. While they might have undergone the same situation at one point in their respective lives, the way they handle and move on from the situation differs greatly. Hae-young takes charge of her own self and slowly mends her hurting self, while Do-kyung holds the anger in him and let it take over himself. He is still mulling in anger, ruminating in his revenge and keeps blaming the opposite side for what has happened. Thus, he just followed what he wanted to do deep in his heart: avenging his bleeding heart. He is focusing on the other person without thinking even for a single second about himself. He told Hae-young to get up after being punched, but he himself forgot to treat the wounds and cuts he got from the punch. He gave her the advice to live and prove that she has won in the silent war, but his own wounds from his own fight are still left untreated. He is focusing on the other person without thinking even for a single second about himself. What about his broken heart? He thinks that immersing himself in work would somehow chase away the emptiness. BUT Hae-young takes care of her own self first. Isn’t it ironic how different it is for both of them?

My favourite moments of them are no other when they are simply chilling against the comforting silence before pouring their hearts out. Of course, it’s mostly Hae-young covering the ‘pouring her hearts out’ section since she speaks (or try to speak) casually of her pain and wounds, but we have witnessed how Do-kyung’s mind speaks, whether when he is with her or when he is discussing his visions with his shrink. He is intrigued, he is confused, and on top of that, he is guilty for giving another source of pain, hurting Hae-young by having a hand in her failed marriage. Honestly, I doubt he will care much about a woman if he does not happen to have her appearing at the back (or rather in front?) of his mind like Hae-young, plus the guilt he carries after learning about her wedding tragedy. Part of it because he knew what it felt like; the feeling when someone you looked forward to spend your future with; someone you cherished with all your heart; suddenly left you at the altar, without any acceptable excuse. He definitely had it worse than Hae-young, but by no means, he has the right to give the same pain to other people.

Coincidentally, it is something done by people around him: projecting their anger they have towards golden Hae-young onto lovely Hae-young in many ways. Soo-kyung makes Hae-young’s work life a bit difficult not just because of her lacking skills, but also because she shares the same name as her brother’s ex and how she sees Hae-young as the personification of the golden girl who also happened to break off her marriage. It is almost like she wanted to have some sort of revenge on the person with the same name, although Hae-young was not involved, by any means, in Do-kyung’s failed wedding, other than sharing the same name with the bride-to-be. Soo-kyung does feel guilty doing so for a rather immature reason and I hope the drama addresses it further regarding her apologetic side. Plus, the so-called Isadora, in my opinion, holds high regard towards Hae-young for putting up against her. I especially like how the drama was quick to address the concern I had with regard to Soo-kyung’s character. Honestly, I was getting worried that she is just a character for comic relief but episode 4 provided deeper background for us to understand her more. Am I bad for wishing that she will make golden Hae-young’s life a living hell at work?

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Oookay, back to the heart-to-heart session between Do-kyung and Hae-young, she is doing most of the talking in their conversation but at the same time, Do-kyung is taking in her words. He is looking at someone who went through the same experience as him but has different take on the aftermath. It is easy for humans to relate to people with similar background and experience, and that is the case for both Do-kyung and Hae-young. She is comfortable to share her thoughts with him (albeit being a pure coincidence at first) because she knows he understands, while he is willing to lend his ears because of his guilt and also because he knows that pain.

But no one can really predict what will happen when the fallout takes place. Will things go back to their ordinary places? By that place I mean Hae-young marrying her ex, and Do-kyung mending his own heart? That can be one possibility, but that will cause a lot of volcanoes in the form of annoyed viewers to erupt in anger and disappointment. They can’t just waste all the chemistry after teasing us with it, right? Heck, even I think Hae-young and Do-kyung’s silent chemistry is too good to pass as an ill-fated relationship. Thus, I am praying for the drama to handle the matter carefully, because no matter how I look at it, Do-kyung did a huge mistake and he has to tell the truth to Hae-young at one point. But the question is…WHEN? He is falling for Hae-young fast, and I am wondering how he will break the news to her. Will he wait until the past catches up with both of them? Ahhhhhh…I can smell the angst coming up, but is it too much to wish for the resolution to be as smooth as possible?

“I too, had a hard time back then.” This line intrigued me, coming from the gold spooned Hae-young. We have not met her properly yet, but I admit that I do have some resentment towards her in lovely Hae-young’s stead. Still, Jeon Hye-bin is good playing misunderstood characters (like her clueless silver spoon character in Queen of the Office against Eric’s past co-star Jung Yoo-mi) so I am looking forward to the writer’s way of shaping up this character. Was there a concrete reason for her to abandon her wedding ceremony one year ago? What is the reason for her to come back only after a year?

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I think the forces are conspiring to make me watch Eric’s dramas. Believe it or not, I always seem to have the time for his dramas each time they come out: I watched Spy Myung-wol despite its own drama behind the drama later; I checked out Discovery of Romance because of the writer and Jung Yoo-mi and fell head over heels for that drama; and now, Oh Hae-young Again is casting its charms on me.  Maybe I do have some lingering feelings for Eric without realizing it? This has got to be because of Super Rookie -.-‘’

I am thankful that I get to watch Seo Hyun-jin’s drama this time around! She is continuously working and I completely fell for her first leading role in King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang, a daily drama that might be the first and last of its kind that I finished. She took another princess role in Three Musketeers as the adorable Crown Princess Kang but unfortunately, my hopes to see her building her character to become the politically astute consort known in the history was dashed when the plan to have three seasons for the drama fell through due to the low ratings. She then starred in Let’s Eat 2 but I did not have the heart to watch it because I don’t want to break the perfect imagination I have for the couple in Season 1. Now that she is in Oh Hae-young Again (and nailing and killing her character perfectly), I hope this will give her wings to better chance in future endeavors!

Is it a pure coincidence that the three leads have idol background? Eric, as we all know, is the leader of Shinhwa, while Seo Hyun-jin and Jeon Hye-bin were both in idol groups before: Seo Hyun-jin in MILK and Jeon Hye-bin in LUV.

For those who are still weighing in whether you should give this show a try or not, you might like it for the screenplay, since the director also worked on Marriage Not Dating. The director’s touch makes the drama feels like a sibling of the director’s previous work. His signature is all over the drama: the camera work, the ambiance, the music, the sound effects, and even the personal ticks which are too familiar to those who watched Marriage Not Dating.

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Or maybe these few quotes will do the magic of attracting the potential viewers.

“I won’t die. Although the thing I want the most right now is to die, things never go my way. So, I won’t die.” ~OHY

“You should not think that you are the most miserable person in this world, because I am that person. Should we talk about the reason we are miserable? We will completely forget about it after we talk about it. I was dumped one day before my wedding. Ah..that was the first time I said that out loud. He was not sure if he could love me forever. And he could not stand the sight of me eating. But do you know what I said to him? ‘Okay, let’s call off the wedding, but let’s say that it was my decision.’ I wanted to tell this to someone once, to someone I would never see again, to someone who is as miserable as I am.” ~OHY

“No matter what, just live. Even if it hurts, just live. If you stay alive, that means you have won.” ~PDK

“There were two Oh Hae-youngs at the school back then. The other Oh Hae-young had everything going for her. I thought that the world revolved around me, but when I was with her, I was just the bridesmaid. But then, if there is a chance for me to completely disappear and become her, would I take the chance? I think I won’t. I just wish for a chance to be better as myself, not to become her. I still love myself like I always did, and I just want to do better.” ~OHY

“It is hundred, thousand times better when there is someone who shares the same pain as me, rather than saying that it is no big deal or everything will be okay. It was just a fall after being hit. Let’s get up, Hae-young..let’s get up, Hae-young. When I think about it, I have never given myself a chance to completely love someone. It was always full of nervousness and worries, wondering if I loved the person more. Let’s not repeat the same mistake. If I meet someone I really like, I will love that person until the end. I will not cry after being told to get lost. I will hold onto that person even if I am beaten. I will give my everything. Should we try having that kind of love at least once in your lifetime?” ~OHY

“I just feel…lonely. As if I am reminiscing the old days with regret right before I’m dying of old age. It feels lonely. That kind of feeling when your life is about to end in sadness.” ~PDK

“I feel reassured, knowing that there is someone with the same pain as mine. I thought it was something that happened to me because I am just worthless. but I guess cool people also get dumped before their wedding like me.” ~OHY

This time, that woman is running towards me in that vision. She runs towards me before she hugs me. But what if I don’t accept her at this moment, will I be able to cut my ties with her? Still, no matter how hard I try to avoid her, I have a feeling that it is something that will not be cut off easily. It feels like that woman keeps on unraveling me, telling me to stop being miserable and be happy together.” ~PDK

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15 thoughts on “Oh, Hae Young

  1. I am completely in love with this drama. I wasn’t expecting it at all but the characters are so interesting and the time they spend together so full of expectations that I found myself waiting eagerly for the next episode. I hope that it continues to charm me and make me want to know more about its characters.

    1. Yes! There are so many things we have learned about the characters over the first four episodes, but that doesn’t mean we are not curious about what will unfold next! Looks like we will get to know more about Do-kyung and his story once he opens up to Hae-young ^^

  2. Thank you for the great summary to date. I am in love with the show as well; it is an interesting, fully fleshed out world with believable characters, and i am fascinated to see where we go from here.

    1. Maybe you can try watching episode 2? For me, the first episode is mainly introductory and the story picks up from the second episode. It was also the episode that made me even more eager for the next episodes and here i am right now, flailing over the show ^^;

  3. Im also in love with this drama. I watched all the episodes today and I have to say it has been a long time since I watched a drama that was this mysterious and exciting. Thanks for the recap.

  4. I love this show. What I think the story is about is coming to accept yourself. There’s Oh Hae Young who constantly tries to stand tall after repeatedly being knocked down. Does she have insecurities? Hell yes, but I think she will slowly overcome them. There’s Park Do Kyung who was wronged by her fiance, has a mother making mistakes over mistakes yet refuses to acknowledge them. There’s the sister who honestly I think admires Hae Young although abuses her on her face. The brother who wishes to be a director. All simple charters going through complex motions. The only one who I dont still get is the pretty Hae Young…she came back to Korea after ditching her fiance at the alter and acts like its nothing. How can she say that she was glad to have Isadora as her superior, you caused her brother so much hurt. Also she called Just Oh Hae Young dull and colorless, those who are miserable for no reason. She got treated like crap because of her especially when she got that letter in school by mistake, poor received a scratch in her face. I dont thing she acts out of malice but she is so far seems like a very self-absorbed character that has had things work out for her so she is oblivious to what her actions have done to the person she holds dear.

    1. Oh yes. The characters are layered and we can relate to every single one. Although the remarks made by pretty OHY sounded cruel at first, I agree with you. She might not realize that she hurt people’s feelings through her words and even actions. It might be unintended in some cases, but we are going to need a good reason from her about leaving DK at the altar. I think lovely OHY is easy to root for because most of us have been in her shoes at least once in our lives and not necessarily having our own wedding cancelled. It is a slice-of-life drama but the realistic approach doesn’t weigh down the plot, at least up to this point of the story.

  5. Love this show, love do kyung and Hae young, and love your review! 💟💟
    So happy – it is finally Monday tomorrow. Waiting one week is so, so painful. Can’t wait for your thoughts on the 5th and 6th episode.

    1. I have to admit that ep8 got me pondering for a long, long time…and the extension made me think that I should wait for 9 and 10 to be out. I have so much to say about this drama and I love it because it gets me thinking a lot 😀

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