Anticipating The Man Who Can’t Get Married

As recently as two weeks ago, I had little interest in the upcoming Korean drama The Man Who Can’t Get Married. Then over the weekend I watched a Japanese dorama that my pals were raving about. Now I can’t wait for June to roll around.

Unlike many people, I’m not at all worried that The Man Who Can’t Get Married might be a sorry remake of Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. Whatever happens, I know it will never be as good. You can’t beat perfection.

Ji Jin-hee will play Abe Hiroshi‘s lead role. He will be Cho Jae-hee, the K-version of Kuwano Shinsuke, whom I adore to itty-bitty bits. Somehow the name doesn’t seem fitting, immediately conjuring up images of a youngish person (like a certain actor now in the army?). How about the name Kwang-ho instead? That’s close enough to Kuwano, isn’t it? Haha.

So, on one hand I want Jae-hee to be as similar to Kuwano as possible. On the other hand, I don’t want a remake to spoil Kuwano’s characterization, to exaggerate his eccentricity and turn him into a caricature of a fussy and aging bachelor. That can happen, because Kuwano possesses so many quirky traits.

He’s a creature of habit and fastidious to a fault. He’s 40 years old, but he walks like he’s either in his nineties or has a bad back. He speaks his mind exactly, but also stammers and blushes. He swears he won’t get married but turns his wardrobe upside down for a first date. He won’t allow anyone to invade his private space, but checks a fellow architect’s personal homepage religiously for updates. He cooks like a chef and conducts like he’s been doing it all his life, with verve and virtuosity. It’s mesmerizing to watch, and so funny. I don’t remember seeing a multifarious character like Kuwano’s in the dozens of Korean dramas that I’ve watched.

But a script is only so many words on paper; you need the right actor to interpret it, bring it to life, make it unforgettable.

Abe Hiroshi is simply peerless in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. He is Kuwano Shinsuke. An architect with a slouch and a bad haircut who can’t even tie a tie (despite step-by-step online instructions) makes me squeal and swoon (and also curse the insane schedule I have this week which is keeping me from rewatching the dorama). What can I say but that I’m utterly smitten?

I can’t imagine going as nutty over Ji Jin-hee in the Korean remake. But then I’ve only watched him in Dae Jang Geum and he was pretty droolsome there as Naeuri Min, the officer so devoted to our heroine’s well-being. He’s a fine actor and I’ve never seen him overact, so I’m confident he’ll deliver the goods, although not on Abe Hiroshi’s level. I’m also not worried about Ji Jin-hee’s comic timing. Although the dorama is extremely funny, Kuwano himself really isn’t a comic character. He’s actually pretty dour and he speaks in a deadpan manner often. So I’m not expecting Ji Jin-hee to be funny and I fervently hope he won’t try to be funny.

So I’m on the fence about Ji Jin-hee’s casting. I don’t really care if he nails the role or fails miserably. No one can play the man who can’t get married more convincingly than the one who played it first. But I am excited about Uhm Jung-hwa playing Hayasaka Natsumi.

I love Natsukawa Yui as Hayasaka. I love that she’s not stick-thin. I love her little dimples and how her eyes are like slits when she smiles. I love how she makes Hayasaka so human. Her acting is exquisite, just like her co-lead. They’re the perfect couple and I adore them.

Uhm Jung-hwa will be amazing as the K-equivalent of Hayasaka, I’m sure of it. She can play strong and spunky roles blindfolded, but I’ve also seen her play maternal and comic. Versatility is her name. I just hope whoever does her makeup will exercise plenty of restraint and go easy on the warpaint. Please keep the dressing simple, too.

I’m also excited about Yoo Ah-in‘s casting in the K-remake, although I honestly can’t see him as Murakami Eiji, Kuwano’s subordinate in the architectural firm. But that’s my fault, really. Yoo Ah-in was so convincing in Strongest Chil Woo as a brooding and mysterious assassin that I just can’t picture him in a different role. Eiji in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko is an open book, cheerful and somewhat flirty, but a dedicated assistant nonetheless to Kuwano. I can’t wait to see how Yoo Ah-in is going to interpret his role, whether he will play it the same light-hearted way or make it slightly more serious.

As for Kim So-eun and Yang Jung-ah, playing the K-equivalent of Tamura Michiru and Sawazaki Maya respectively, I have not watched them in anything before, so I can’t comment on their acting or my expectations. But I love these two characters in the dorama and hope their K-versions will be just as well-written. I’m really curious, though, about the casting for Kaneda, that playboy architect whose exploits Kuwano is so interested in. Funny how a supposedly minor character (doing such seemingly repetitive things, too) can be so charming and riveting!

So the main characters have been decided and the drama is set to air its first episode in June. I’m really looking forward to it, for one reason: that it’ll lead many more people to discover the dorama on which it is based.

Kekkon Dekinai Otoko is such a treat on so many levels. The acting is superb, the writing is smart and witty, and it’s full of wonderful little details. The characters are disarmingly honest (even if they play dodge ball sometimes instead of catch) and its slice-of-life approach is refreshing. What a relief to be spared the usual melodrama and angst-ridden personalities, the birth secrets and fatal diseases, the rehashed-to-death plot devices. A tough act to follow, the J-version.

But wait! Who’s playing Ken-chan?

Change anything you like, dear writer Yeo Ji-na, but under no circumstances can you remove the dog from your script!

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19 thoughts on “Anticipating The Man Who Can’t Get Married

  1. Ken-chan~ Ontoni Kawaii desu ne~ ㅋㅋ

    From what I’m hearing, the dog might become a mere afterthought (read, probably cast, but not as paramount a character as in the original), not so much because of a tentative to stray from the original, but because of the live shoot curse. Takes ages to shoot animals properly, and time is not exactly what K-drama producers have in abundance. Still, if they manage to do it properly… would be nice.

    Cast is really fine, all considered. At this point, the biggest concern is production. Yeo Ji-Na’s past works were a bit on the pedestrian side, but she adds a bit of meat to the comedy (sorta like a low-rent Kim Do-Woo?). But if they don’t get production right and go all slapstick…. this is over before even starting.

    Still… might actually be a tad of a surprise, ratings wise. Some people can’t stomach sageuk (bless them for their profanity ㅋㅋ), so might actually choose this over Queen Seondeok. I’m thinking Seondeok 20s, Jamyung 7-8 and this in the early to mid 10s.

  2. Okay, gotta admit, I have a prejudice on Uhm Jung Hwa. I just saw her in Seducing Mr Robin, and was completely horrified by the movie in every single aspect. Plus it doesn’t help that this is the same woman who dons shiny spandex and spells disco to justify her singing career. But I see you’re actually excited about her, so I assume she’s actually a pretty good actress, no?

    I’m waiting for the drama mostly for JJH and KSE. JJH did comedy for Mrs Kim and he was pretty okay actually, I was surprised of the transformation of the serious guy in Jang Geum. And KSE is just so cute, hehhe..

    • Hi deeta

      I guess I’ve been fortunate and have not seen Uhm Jung-hwa in “shiny spandex” on screen (’tis a different story off-screen, LOL). Seducing Mr. Robin is one movie I don’t plan to touch with a ten-foot pole. (Not because of UJH but the male lead. *runs from DH’s fans*)

      I watched her first in Marriage is a Crazy Thing and thought she acted really well. Have watched her since in Singles, For Horowitz, All For Love, etc. She’s a good actress and I think she’ll be perfect in the K-remake of Kekkon.

      Kim So-eun seems very popular and I’m looking forward to watching her… for the first time! (Oops, now everyone knows I’ve not seen Boys Over Flowers. *hangs head in shame*)

  3. I am kind of worried about the K-version but after seeing the recently released stills on Dramabeans, I feel much more comfortable about Uhm Jung Hwa as Natsumi. She really does look the part! Without the dimples, I mean…which is too bad.

    Haha, I love Kaneda! It made me giggle when I found out the actor who plays him (Takachi Noboru) is married to Takashima Reiko who plays Sawazaki-san.

  4. Great post. 😀

    I think they’re all pretty well-cast, really. I think Ji Jin Hee can do grumpy well, and I feel much better about the casting of Uhm Jung Hwa after seeing those pics. I do worry the PD will make things overboard and OTT, but otherwise, I think it’ll be okay.

    Isn’t Yoo Ah In a little too young for that role? Hell, Kim So Eun is too, but I actually don’t think she looks as baby-faced as Yoo, which makes her casting a little more understandable. Oh well. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ll do with Kaneda. 😀

    • Dahee, first things first. You know you’re responsible for this Kekkon craze, don’t you? 🙂

      Off the camera Yoo Ah-in does look really baby-faced, but he can add years to his face when he goes into serious mode. *fends off sudden itch to rewatch Heuk-san in Strongest Chil Woo* I had the same thought about Lee Sang-yoon in Scale of Providence. Despite his towering height, he looked like he was only seven years old in ep 1. When he grinned in his impish way, I wanted to pat his head and say, “oh, little boy, you’re so cuuute!” All that changed, of course, when THE incident took place and he instantly aged.

      Was Kim So-eun a major character in BOF? Am getting quite a lot of hits from people searching WordPress for her. (Feel so bad that I had practically nothing to say about her! Sorry!!)

  5. Im Ho will probably be Kuwa… Ji Jin-Hee’s brother, and Kim Byung-Gi Eom Jung-Hwa’s father, so Kaneda might be a non issue after all.

    • X, NOOOO! How can Kaneda be a non issue? He’s such an interesting character.

      No news yet on who will play him?

  6. ^yes . i want the dog to be in . so you caught the jdrama version too! .it was a wonderful script !i cant wait to see what is this version going to turn out

    • Woohoo, shirley, you’re here! How did you find out about this little blog? ^^

      Yes, I LOVE the J-version. Had to check it out because of Dahee. She’s gone completely loony over Abe Hiroshi, LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. X, dogs are easier to shoot (film) than cats. They’re more subservient. Has Temujin ever heeded your command to “Stay”? ^^

    But seriously, I can’t imagine the dog being an afterthought in the K-version. He’s instrumental in “humanizing” our grumpy protagonist. Heck, one entire episode in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko was devoted to Ken-chan! Also, I can’t imagine Michiru without her “Ken-chan!”; I love watching her with him. So, am crossing my fingers and hoping they’ll “manage to do it properly.” Please, Mr. PD!

  8. Haha, fizzle, I thought it so cute too when I found out that the actor playing Kaneda is married to our Sawazaki character in real life. I don’t think they have a scene together, do they? He playing a playboy with his arm draped across a different woman’s shoulder every episode, too!

    Read your latest blog post (and slipped on my drool, thank you very much). Miss Kekkon (and Abe Hiroshi) like crazy. Am going to rewatch the whole drama this weekend, yes I am!

  9. By the way, if anyone is interested in watching Kekkon Dekinai Otoko (with awesome English subs), let me know. Thanks to my WITHS2 pals, I have MU links for this gem.

  10. Thundie! Shhh! You’re giving away my looniness! 😛

    Oh, what’s the point in trying to hide it? I WUB Abe Hiroshi. He completes me, he really does. I’ve seen him in three doramas now (Kekkon, At Home Dad, and I just saw the first episode of Shiroi Haru), and he’s so very different each time. What a great actor. *heart*

    Hmm. Yoo Ah In was rather baby-faced (and hysterical) in “Antique”. But I guess that could have been due to his character. *sigh* Okay, I’ll be honest: I was sort of hoping someone like Lee Chun Hee would be cast in that role (he would have been perfect!). Oh well. I’ll take what I can get – at least it’s not Kim Ki Bum! *shudders*

  11. Temujin… well, would someone with that name obey commands? I don’t even bother. Ball of fur mostly gets the drill by himself. Except when he doesn’t… and it’s twouble.

    You really shouldn’t let the original sway you. They just took the basic premise of a grumpy professional in his early 40s (or late 30s, I guess) slowly opening to relationships, and will probably ignore all the small details — the director already reassured (?) us that he’ll fill it with exclusively Korean sentiment, so that’s why I’d keep expectations very low. Probably will be well acted and have a half decent script, but when they throw out the “Korean sentiment” card, be very afraid. You get a White Tower only in a blue moon, and this ain’t Ahn Pan-Seok for sure.

  12. ^^i was trying to read up on Eyes of Dawn and rem you should have something on your blog about it ~ i didnt expect you to be crazy over jdrama and especially about The Man who cant get married . it was such a charmer~and i can relate to alot of feelings revealed . i think is one of the best jdrama and i simply love the ending too~~ Abe was so great in the role lol i can understand u all going loony over him~ .. but actually i use to have a bad impression of him , blame it on this horrible HK movie in the 90s where i first see him ~~ .阿修罗 , lol i only rem he was dressed as a japanese monk …and i think his eariler jdrama doesnt really goes well with me .those Tricks drama series he is famous for ~ .till i guess a few years back i saw Runaway ..ohhhhhh gosh i think i fall for him .in that drama ..i realise he had changed so much haha he has acqiured a charm .that even his somewhat craziness in the drama was addictive ~ lol ..and ya that how i came to appreciate Abe ..and his drama . i seriously pick up Change because he was in it ~ keke …

    now i have his new drama on hand ..till current esp~ for the weekend .to enjoy! yippee!

  13. I am excited of this because of So eun and Ji Jin Hee….The other cast I dont know and I dont bother to see them in other movie/series………I am only interested with So Eun. I have seen her in Empress Chun Chu and BOF and I am hooked since she is really a great actress and very pretty too ……..I think I need to go over the Japanese version so I can compare two ……….

  14. Hi thundie!

    First off, great blog! I’ve been reading the entries and they are not only insightful and well-written but also hilarious! This particular post is no exception. Awesome job!

    Also, I was wondering if you still have those high-quality MU links of Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. If you do, can you e-mail or PM them to me pretty please? Thank you!

  15. Hi doozy!! What a neat surprise. And thanks for the compliment, muah!

    I’ve PMed you (WITHS2 forum) the Kekkon MU links. Happy watching!

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