Dong Hoon & Ji An: An Unexpected Couple

By @anipanch, @danielassny and @noor1 from Soompi

Some background on the issue by @anipanch:

Firstly, I’ll start with the age gap issue which still is seen as something problematic. I have to disagree on this one and the talk about JA and DH shippers being delusional and trying to justify their relationship. At this point in the drama*, I don’t see how people would have the need to make up things about this relationship; it is pretty clear that it’s not an ordinary one and what makes it even more attractive is the fact how everything is so subtle about them. The drama doesn’t focus and scream about how they might be “in love” but we still see hints about their feelings in little details, like their way of acting, their stares. Another important aspect is their growth as characters. I can’t understand how someone can deny the differences both DH and JA went through after getting connected to each other. They are just reflections of what they used to be in the first episode and a person doesn’t change you unless they mean a lot to you.

Now, I have said many times that I won’t insist on extremes like them getting married or some make-out sessions, because frankly it will contradict for all the drama stands for. But I’ll be waiting for something unexpected, because My Mister is full of unexpected developments. I strongly believe, that whatever their feelings are, JA and DH became irreplaceable parts of each other’s lives. I’m not sure, how everything will turn out in the end, but saying that they will just go on their separate ways acting like nothing has happened is dropping the whole drama in the water.

My Mister succeeded on showing us an unconventional relationship, how two different people from drastically different backgrounds can still form a very strong bond. For those, who still emphasises the fact that DH is still married and it will be immoral to have some kind of relationship with JA will be immoral, I’ll say this: DH and YH’s marriage has been dead and just a formality even before YH started cheating on DH. This is the time DH realizes and acknowledges that he can’t keep on latching on a dead relationship just to make others happy. New DH can and should move on with his life and leave every toxic person and thing behind him.

For the last part, I’ll still go back to the age gap part. Those who have paid attention to my posts have probably read how I’ve never actually seen their big age difference. Even from the start, IU and LSK’s unexpected couple is what drew me to this drama and My Mister actually completely erased any dynamics that could indicate that DH and JA are actually from very different generations. I only see two people who empower each other, make each other happier, help each other overcome the difficulties in life and heal each other.

@danielassny responds:

I am with you on this. I don’t expect extreme gestures from them because that would be so out of characters for both (though I would very much appreciate a hug at least). I personally insist for them to be the endgame because My Ajusshi has so far thrived in handling the sensitive subjects in a really beautiful way. Since there has been so much furor over the huge age gap, it’s therefore important for the show to challenge whatever perceived notions, criticism and just bridge the gap in opinion – that is two soulmates finally find each other and defy whatever society standards imposed on them.

And then, came the issues of the circumstances of how these two lonely souls establishing that strong bond and connection. My take is, the circumstances maybe is wrong but fate has its way in bringing people together. If JA and DH could find room in each other’s heart to forgive and overlook those past mistakes, those lack of judgments, then there is no reason why these two should not be together. As YH quoted herself, she spent 15 years of her life with DH but could not understand the man whereas JA could see right through him, even prior to the wiretapping and he could see beyond her facade and in the true words of DH, he also felt that he knows a lot about her – I mean the real JA.

Over in my country, MA is being promoted as a drama that will bring into light the most controversial pairing between IU and LSK and will be telling the “romance story” between two unlikely characters. When tvN Asia ran the promotion, they mentioned few highlights of the drama and one of them is the age gap (and then they played the montage from GOBLIN). And they mentioned that the pairing of IU and LSK is the “most controversial” in K-drama yet. Interestingly… They explicitly mention “romance”… So this allows me to believe that JA and DH will find romance and be together in the end.

Truthfully, I really hope they stick with their guns and if it was meant to be a romance, just go ahead and let it be. Yes, large age gap couples are unconventional and don’t really fit society’s norm but it does happen. What I mean to say is… I trust this combo of PD and writer to allow viewers to see the beauty in the unconventional. To open a wider perspective for others and allow them to be receptive of something that deviates from what society’s categorized as normal. Sometimes, imperfection is what makes the thing beautiful.

@noor1 balances it out:

Irrespective of how the writer plays it out, the drama is set in a linear, day-to-day existence mode, and is about ‘this is what life is like, how should it be lived?’ – that is what every character is going through. It’s not about how life will / should be like 10 or 20 years down the line. It’s about getting over the struggle, and being happy right now, in the present, not wasting another moment pining over something regrettable, avoidable, suicidal, or depressing.

It’s also about not placing contingencies or conditions on happiness or contentment: e.g. I’ll be happy IF / WHEN a person grows hair, or loses hair, or straightens hair; IF a husband gives me attention over his mother or IF the mom dies; I’ll be happy IF I have a job or become a director or CEO or elope with the girl I had a scandal with. The real question is are you content with the presence of someone or the absence of someone? Is that person good for you or not? Will it be okay if you are not together anymore? What if the other person moves on and you don’t?

I think people here are trying to find some middle ground so that they can be comfortable with the age gap and justify the romance.

If all of DH’s problems could be fixed with having Ji-An in his life, he would have been more open with her. Clearly, his problems range from work to marital to a midlife crisis. Divorce doesn’t take long, neither does a heart-to-heart with one’s kid! What does take time is being certain whether this is a girl worth enough to throw everything away for, become a laughing stock of fellow ahjussies (who probably would be too kind to say anything to his face), and probably find a new job too at his age! Basically, to have a completely new life with someone new.

If (or when) they get together, or end up as a couple, the company will come to know that. I don’t know how easy it will be (or considered appropriate by the company) for him to have a relationship with the girl he was rumored to have been an item with (as a married man) right before his promotion – and that too, a very young woman from lower economic status, who is of no apparent societal / status benefit to him.

I don’t think he can be in the company, as a respected senior, if they hook up. The directors will eat him alive and his colleagues will find it odd and objectionable (and these were guys who had defended him during the tough interview process to combat the rumors). Even if by some miracle he is appointed CEO (which I doubt) he can be voted out! (the other directors will not like a junior getting that position!)

So unless, the writers come up with a plan and the superiors and workers develop very large-hearts, he’ll have to find another job (which will be difficult because his reputation will precede him) or turn himself into an independent consultant or something.

As for Ji-An, she likes him but it could be admiration or a crush or as he noted ‘a pity party alliance’, not a life-changing passion. It could be a phase. She is 21 after all. Her whole life is ahead of her. He likes her, yes, and is probably flattered with all the attention from a girl he considers pretty (especially when his home life is in shambles). But maybe she’ll lose her feelings once she finds more loving people in the world. Why should she settle for the first decent man who was nice to her and looked out for her? (Because he’s gold! She knows a good thing when she sees it)… However, I don’t understand why people are insisting on 2-3/4-5 year jumps with ‘adult’ ‘non-chubby cheeked’ ‘educated’ ‘non-poor’ probably in-a-skirt Ji-An?!! Their age difference is already too big, let’s not turn it into an unrealistic kdrama-esque makeover!… Either he wants to be with her as a man right now or not. That should not / cannot take someone 2 years to figure out! Either she is ready to be in a responsible relationship right now or not. I think in Ji-An’s case, it is admiration which may or may not turn into love, and she has been very brave and intelligent about it, though in his case, she’s screwed his marbles for good. He’s done for. But he can always explain the feelings away and remain in his shell. And continue to have long walks with her, every now and then.

However, this drama has been all about coming out of the shell, so let’s see.

I liked this comment on twitter:

#MyMister offers a snapshot of the human struggle. You learn that no one is perfect. Relationships are messy, your loved ones can hurt you. You learn that sometimes it just takes one kind person to turn your dreadful life around. Beautiful drama.

So anyone looking for perfect people or perfect job or perfect time or perfect moment or perfect age or perfect time to have a relationship or get married, he/ she should not be watching this drama! There’s no such thing as ideal situations (and DH, Ji-An are ‘perfect’ examples of that), but one has to make choices and then live with them. That’s all there is to it.

*NOTE: These posts were written before Ep 13 aired.

One thought on “Dong Hoon & Ji An: An Unexpected Couple”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s