Again, My Love: Episodes 1-2

I need to begin this post with a little rant. Who coined the title Hateful But Once Again?

It isn’t just about semantics. Try substituting “hateful” with any other adjective (like “batty” or “butyraceous”). The phrase is still ungrammatical and illogical. But once again what?

So I’m going to go with Again, My Love as my preferred name for this 2009 drama. Privately, though, I’m calling it The Lioness, the Itch and the Warthog. Don’t tell the folks at KBS.

The “lioness” in the drama is Han Myung-in (Choi Myung-gil).

I feel sorry for everyone living with or working for her. Not only does this woman not smile, she is snappy, snooty and downright self-centered. So much for positive first impressions. Watching Her Scowly Lioness ride roughshod over the other characters (throwing things, yelling, slapping, threatening) made me squirm so hard it was like sitting on eels. The “Itch” to quit the drama in the first 30 minutes was very real, to be honest.

What’s the reason for Myung-in, otherwise known publicly as Chairman Han, to be so pissed with life? (I’m addressing her as “Chairman” in the generic sense because “Chairwoman” is such a mouthful, and no, I’m not shortening it to “Chair” because she’ll likely hit me on the head with one!)

Well, thirty years ago, the man she was very much in love with decided to kill himself, presumably because her (extremely wealthy) family was against their union. Her grief was so immense she would have joined him in the netherworld if not for the fact she was pregnant with his child. To save face, her family arranged for her to marry another man.

A loveless marriage. A son who daily reminds her of his father and thus her pain, of what might have been. I guess those are reasons enough for our Chairman Han to be all fangs and claws? For her own sake (and ours) let’s hope her taming comes soon. It must wear her down to be so unhappy every day.

Lee Jung-hoon (Park Sang-won) is the man who married Chairman Han. (Oops, that does sound weird, doesn’t it? Haha.)

He’s Vice Chairman in their company, but that doesn’t mean he enjoys special privileges. If he needs to discuss official business but his wife is in a foul mood, then he has to stand in line to see her, just like the other employees. Waiting for her has become habitual, but the dear man is blessed with the patience of a tree awaiting rain. He will wait, for as long as it takes, for her to open her heart to him.

Does that mean, therefore, that he loves his wife? It’s unclear at this stage if he does, because there’s no display of physical affection between them, they don’t share a bedroom, she calls him by his official title even at home, and… he has another woman. Whoa!

That’s not all. The other woman has a daughter. His daughter. Wait till Chairman Han finds out.

Lee Min-soo (Jung Gyeo-woon) is Chairman Han’s son. That he is her son and not Lee Jung-hoon’s, is a fact that he already knows, although we are not told in the first two episodes how he came by that knowledge.

Thirty years old and employed in his mother’s company as manager, Min-soo has a peculiar goal. He wants every woman he meets to remember him for the rest of her life, even if he has been a cad to her, even if their relationship is as brief as a one-night stand. So he woos and wines, beds and dumps, one woman after another. All in the name of making that one lasting impression. He is often drunk and a trip to work is as rare as snow in summer. His Casanova lifestyle is fodder for Internet gossip, but he is completely unconcerned.

Wherefore that wasted life? Because he despises his mother for her selfishness? It’s obvious to him how she is still immersed in the memory of his real father and how shabbily she treats her husband. Because he is ashamed that he is not Lee Jung-hoon’s son and therefore has decided to stop regarding him as dad? Because he hates business and wants instead to study art, but his mother absolutely will not hear of the idea because his deceased father was an artist? And so he rebels?

One day in his mother’s departmental store, evading one ex-girlfriend while eyeing a promising new catch, Min-soo runs into a changing cubicle to hide. He startles a woman changing inside. He covers her mouth to prevent her from yelling and giving his hiding place away. She thinks he’s a pervert and reacts by kicking him where a man must never be kicked. Ouch! Min-soo stumbles out, bent over in pain but still with enough cheek to yell out her vital statistics, to her abject embarrassment. A most memorable first meeting, wouldn’t you say?

The woman who kicked Min-soo in his groin is Choi Yoon-hee (Park Ye-jin), an anchorwoman at KBN TV. Smart, beautiful and ambitious, she is the pride of her family. After being manhandled by Min-soo, she bumps into him again at a restaurant. Let’s just say their second meeting is anything but cordial and Min-soo brings home a slap on the cheek as souvenir.

A netizen spills the beans about the incident and Chairman Han is notified. Our lioness is outraged. She arranges for an interview (one that she had declined earlier) with KBN TV and insists that the interviewer be Yoon-hee. Uh oh.

The interview, conducted at Chairman Han’s company, proceeds swimmingly with both women poised and professional. No one knows of the little private drama just before the interview. Yoon-hee had asked to speak to Chairman Han, presumably to go over the interview formalities. Angry words were exchanged, a slap administered (there must be some slapping itch going around!), threats issued, mercy sought (most grudgingly), and a boxing ring readied for future matches.

Though she loses the first round, Yoon-hee is not retreating. She finds out where mama’s boy Min-soo usually hangs out and marches there. The next day the Internet is on fire about what happened. “Anchorwoman Choi Yoon-hee creates scene at nightclub!” “Anchorwoman Choi Yoon-hee fights with MJ Group’s heir Lee Min-soo!”

(I think Park Ye-jin is very pretty, but she looks so thin here. The long hair overwhelms her pinched face, making her look like one of those wig mannequins you see in the store. Love her acting, though. She is rapidly proving to be our second lioness in the drama.)

Eun Hae-jung (Jeon In-hwa) is an actress who has been around since forever, a fact that she trumpets (which instantly diminishes my regard for her; doesn’t hurt to be more humble, lady). She also happens to be the other woman in Lee Jung-hoon’s life.

We’re not shown their past, so we’re spared flashbacks of the two as teenagers or young adults (what a relief to not see him in a toupee or she in ponytails!). We’re just told that his family objected to their relationship (sounds familiar?) and he ended up as sacrificial lamb, wedded to Her Lioness.

So there’s your right royal mess: a couple who each has a child that the other didn’t beget. A Lee Jung-hoon caught between two women who, incidentally, look rather similar thanks to the liberal use of eye-shadow, eyeliner and mascara.

Eun Soo-jin (Han Ye-in) is Lee Jung-hoon and Eun Hae-jung’s daughter. Let’s just call her The Spoiled Brat.

I’m not sure what message the scriptwriter is trying to convey making both Spoiled Brat and Casanova such messed-up characters. That being illegitimate is a passport to self-destruction? Anyway, between the two I much prefer Casanova because… well, he’s Jung Gyeo-woon. Spoiled Brat wears too much fur and makes my skin crawl (that damned itch again!). Don’t get on her wrong side because she’ll take it out on your car, thus necessitating much cursing and an expensive trip to the car workshop. Her dad (whose car she rammed), however, neither curses nor chides. Perhaps out of guilt, he handles her like a delicate plant, patiently listening to her “I’m such a victim of cirumstances, how long are you going to hide me, reactivate my canceled credit cards or else!” tirade.

Problem is… someone is standing outside Lee Jung-hoon’s office and overhearing everything that Spoiled Brat is yelling. Then Spoiled Brat rushes out and Chairman Han can hardly believe her eyes. Her husband has a mistress and she is this young?

COMMENTS

The first two episodes are each an hour and seven minutes. That’s two hours and fourteen minutes total. For two hours and two minutes I could not wait to stop watching.

Again, My Love is really not my kind of drama. The plot just seems so entangled. I can’t stand histrionics and there’s a lot of that in the first two episodes. I’ll also be upfront and say I don’t like Han Myung-in. Her refusal to relinquish her past is just too implausible. C’mon, thirty years have already passed. Get a grip, will ya? I hate how she coddles Min-soo, micro-managing his life. So a news anchor has the audacity to slap your precious son. Why not find out the reason instead of jumping to conclusions and using your palm and your clout to intimidate her? What are you, a thug?

Then there’s our resident spoiled brat. Is it even believable that the press and the public have no clue of her relationship to the famous Eun Hae-jung? We don’t see the mother doing anything to conceal her daughter. On the contrary the petulant one is prancing all over town, behaving like the princess she is not. Yet the mom can lie through her teeth and tell a nosy reporter that the only daughter she has is a houseplant named Samsoon. Hoho.

So there I was, all fidgety and ready to flee. Then it happened.

With twelve minutes left in Episode 2, the scene is the lioness’s den. Min-soo has come home drunk. His mom ticks him off for allowing Yoon-hee to make a mockery of him (all that Internet coverage is damaging his reputation) and a war of words follows. Then Lee Jung-hoon steps in. Telling Min-soo to shape up or leave, he continues: “If your head is not made of stone, there must be something you can do to put food in your mouth.”

Park Sang-won is just magnificent in this scene. Wow (and “Wow!” is exactly what Min-soo says after a stunned silence), I can watch more of this, certainly. I stop squirming.

And how about a little scene in the last few minutes of this episode that made me giggle? Yoon-hee calling Min-soo who has her handphone (she dropped it in the nightclub the last time they met). She calls, he answers and then hangs up. Repeatedly. See that mischevious grin on his face? He knows exactly how to nettle her. And she, on her part, is so different when she’s with him, all spunk and temper. Two puppies goading each other and making me squeal with delight at their antics. I can watch more of that, of course.

So yes, I’m not quitting the drama. Not with that sort of sterling acting and scorching pace.

And oh, if you’re wondering who’s Warthog, he’s the pesky paparazzo tailing the rich and the famous. We’re sure to see more of him because he has uncovered a juicy secret, something that’s bound to erupt into a whale of a scandal. Warthog is happy.

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20 thoughts on “Again, My Love: Episodes 1-2

  1. Never trust English titles, they’re always half-assed translations, 90% of the time not even the chosen International titles. ㅋㅋ

    This one is 미워도 다시 한번, so that’d be “Even if I hate you, let’s do it again.” It’s the title of a seminal (eerr… but not good) Chungmuro melodrama series from the 60s running all the way to the 80s, which I always translated as “Love me Once Again.” But I guess ymmv.

    Seems like this turned into crap around Ep. 14. Part live-shoot curse, part limited production values (the guy’s only shot family dramas), part crappy script. But acting-wise, seems good until the end. Stuck with it until Ep. 5, and then the silliness just forced me to stop. So… hmmm, although seemingly from the same species as Women in the Sun (rare mainstream with brains), probably too much in the way of brains, it seems.

    Oh well. What else is new?

  2. err… not too much in the way of brains, that is.

    Which would be a fitting description for Moi sans coffee.

  3. X, I know what you mean by the silliness.

    [SPOILER]

    Was watching Episodes 3-4 last night and could not believe Her Lioness’s abrupt change of behavior toward her husband. When she unveiled the baby grand, I just burst out laughing. It was so staged (pun intended) and ridiculous.

    And then Park Sang-won sang… Ahhhhhh… Sucked back in again.

    The acting so far is really good (Park Ye-jin especially), so I’m going to keep watching.

  4. Finished Ep 5 and am unsure if I want to continue. Conflicts starting to feel manufactured (and even absurd). Very little of Min-soo and Yoon-hee in the last two episodes (4 & 5) and they are the ones I’m more interested in.

    Those who have watched the drama (besides X, ha!), could you give me some compelling (and spoiler-free) reasons to keep watching? Thank you.

  5. You could keep watching just to keep me company….Now that I have invested so much time in the strange early episodes, I have to see how it ends. I think the chairwoman is a tough cookie, mentally askew from the sedatives and sleeping pills she has to keep taking. I am assuming that this is partly from the accident thirty years ago and partly from the stress of running that huge corporation.

    I have to hold on to my own sanity when the actress comes into view and gets going. She is really on the edge more than the Han dragonlady. With her acting record and the way papparazzi lurks, I am surprised that her daughter has not been tagged as hers long ago. She has her sister handy to be the ‘mother’. I find that love affair between the actress and the vice Chairman to be very onesided and not exactly action packed (*as the actress said to the bishop)
    I still think the men are side dishes and the three women are the main course. Who will win. I have to stick it out. It is ‘high mellerdrama’ in the Bette Davis genre. I wonder which role she would pick. the Chairman I think.

    Peggy on April 26th.

    *English humour. Old and basically theatrical. 🙂

  6. Hi Thunder,
    Yea, I stopped watching on epi,? I can’t even remember anymore. Too many irritating moments for me. If I ever want to watched it again is bec. I want to see if KNB announcer will give in to Casanova. I love to see if she can handle the chairman as her mother-in-law.

  7. April27th 2009

    Just want to say that I was somewhat disappointed with the wooing, or lack thereof, between the reporter and the wayward son of the chairman. Seems that they got together emotionally much too fast. He is so good looking and could be very loving and win her over so nicely. they just let us assume all that and now they are ready to marry… Too Fast.

    Peg

  8. Hi Peggy

    Sure, I’ll stick this out for at least a few more episodes, to keep you company. 🙂 I dropped so many dramas last year, so I was really hoping this one would be a keeper. I really loved Park Sang-won in Eyes of Dawn and Sandglass (not in Legend, alas; that one is best forgotten… quickly!), so was looking forward to him here.

    I’m with you about Hae-jung the actress; the whole thing with her is just insane. What is she trying to gain cozying up to Lioness Han? Everything she does is so illogical. And I just can’t stand the plot treating us like we have the intellect of a glob of glue; surely anyone with ears and a brain would have known by now that Spoilt Brat is the actress’s daughter. C’mon!

    Am not looking forward to Han finding out the truth about Her Actress. More histrionics, aigoo.

    One more thing. I just don’t get the lovey-dovey feelings between the Chair and her Vice (a.k.a. the Hubs). All of a sudden she starts treating him like he’s her first love? And his heart is going all pitter-patter at the sight of her? Hoho, I didn’t fast-forward anything, so what did I miss? Sure didn’t see that coming.

    I really like Park Ye-jin here, though. Her acting is so controlled, it’s wonderful.

  9. Hi Winnie

    Yes, I want to see how Min-soo and Yoon-hee are going to fall in love, and I definitely want to see Yoon-hee taming the chairman. But too many things are getting in the way (of the story’s progression), like that irritating actress and her equally irritating daughter! And speaking of the daughter, who goes to school dressed like that anyway?

    Sigh, hopefully things will get better. Fingers crossed!

  10. Update:

    Finished ep 6 and it was RIVETING. Best episode so far. I’m on board again. Can’t wait to get to ep 7.

    You’ve gained a new fan in me, Park Ye-jin.

  11. I finished the whole series, and it was worth my time. Acting by the veterans was awesome; the dialogue was brilliant a lot of the time, pacing of the drama was brisk with the appropriate cliffhangers, execution was almost perfect, and the OST was.. wow! The series would have been even better if the young couple had more airtime. In two or three ep. in the later part of the series, the young lovers only appeared 5-10 minutes per ep, and their appearances weren’t meaningful??!!??!

  12. Hi rambutan

    Are you the rambutan who’s one of the editors for the subs? If yes, THANK YOU! I’m extremely grateful to be able to watch this with good subs.

    I finished ep 15 last night. [SPOILER] Didn’t like the swift turn of events; the reappearance of a certain someone felt so contrived. It’s that easy for Her Actress to find him? No kidding! I’m also getting quite tired of the three-ring circus (now four-ring?) and the endless remonstrations of “Woe is me, I’ve been wronged and I’m gonna pay it all back now, just wait and see.” The veterans keep saying the same things to each other!

    Still, the acting remains excellent and I love the young couple. Love their forthrightness and banter, love all their scenes together. I’ll scream if they don’t have a happy ending.

  13. Hi thundie, yes, I am THAT Rambutan. I would not have picked up this drama if I had not dropped by HaruHaru. By the way, it seems I am mistaken about you being a native Kr speaker, seeing that you use Eng. subs. All your complaints about HBOA are true. Despite all that, plus the fact that the plot is pretty predictable, I was addicted to the end because of the awesome acting, cliffhangers, and twists and turns in the plot. Sometimes I was amazed at the brilliance of the dialogue, at times I cringed at the soapiness and cliches, but I stayed glued. Despite the predictability of the plot towards the end, I stayed glued because I wanted to know what was to become of the young couple. And they gave PLENTY of airtime to the young couple in the last few episodes! So hang on…

  14. Hi rambutan

    I’m flattered that you think I’m Korean (although my Korean pals must be aghast!). ^^

    I’m hopelessly dependent on English subs (can’t read Chinese to save my life). That’s why I became a subber, because I want to give back to the subbing community what I have so generously received all this time.

    Rest assured I will finish the drama. You’re right about it being quite addictive despite its flaws. And thanks for telling me that I will see lots of our young couple in the last few episodes!

  15. Just passed by your blog, thundie. 🙂
    Then I saw your rant about HBOA/AGAIN,MYLOVE!
    (I used HBOA since I just followed the flow!)
    I have to say that now that I’m in Episode 20.. I’m starting to lose the excitement not like before? And what X said is true! Crap began after Episode 14! haha! 🙂 The ahjumma plot is appearing already and I can’t take it! haha! :)) Well, I planned to just watch the FINALE then end. 🙂 No questions! haha! 🙂

  16. Once we manage to sail pass those few boring middle episodes from around ep. 14 ( I did by F/F), the pace will pick up again. The last 4-6 episodes left me breathless. Yes, I wept (but then I’m the baby in the family when it comes to melodramas). That lioness’ swagger at the end…. gosh, if I were not female, I’d think I was in love. Her acting left me breathless, no matter how many times I watched those few scenes. After watching so many silly idols acting (aka BOF, and esp. Taiwanese idols), I felt I had entered acting paradise when I watched HBOA. HBOA acting is what acting standards should be!!! (but that’s another topic for a rant, thundie).

  17. Howdy sayroo!! The amazing coordinator for the HaruHaru fansubs. *bows*

    Since rambutan says the pace will pick up again, let’s stick with it and at least watch eps 20-24 without skipping. ^^

    I FF’ed most of ep 16. Am not looking forward to poor Min-soo getting bashed by his future dad-in-law. Too much kicking and slapping in this drama!

    About BOF, I’ve not watched any of it. I really should check out the first two episodes at least, haha.

  18. thundie! LOL at the bow. haha! We’re both S2 members keke. 🙂
    Yes yes.. the ending should at least be fun. but saw some harsh comments in soompi about the ending. I’m already excited yet scared on what might happen.
    aaand. BOF! aah. the drama is your everyday chick-flick kdrama. add Return of Iljimae while your at it. (rambutan hasn’t started on ROI as what I read..)

  19. I enjoyed this drama. I like the veteran actor & actresses esp. z President. Yes, she is a bitch most times but I can also see her vulnerabilities. Excellent acting!!

    And I of coarse tune in to watch Lee Min Soo…..hihihi!!!

  20. Choi myung gil is very in her portrayal of Han myung-in. I really cried when I watch the scene when president Han is as if hallucinating thinking that his first love would come. I pity her. I felt the unconditional love that vice president has to her wife, the president.

    I wish she could realized that earlier so that she will not live most of her days miserable. However, once again we must stay strong and live the rest of the life to the fullest.

    Whatever other people says, I love this series. the acting is superb, the line is powerful and forceful.

    Though koreans didn’t vote choi myung gil as daesang for this series, for me she’s the best. I wish, when they are giving awards/recognition they didn’t consider the rating because some of the viewers are bias. Not all good series has good rating…

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