Marriage, Not Dating


Reviewed by: sukting

May 23, 2015

Rating: two

How long
16  episodes
 
Foreword

Wealthy plastic surgeon, Kong Qi Tai has no interest in getting married. Marriage is all shop girl Qiang Wei dreams about. In an effort to get his parents off his back about the constant string of blind dates and marriage prospects, Qi Tai deliberately brings Qiang Wei home to meet his parents posing as his girlfriend, certain that they'll never approve of her. To his dismay, they approve and they have to carry on pretending to be a couple. What is the outcome?

Story/Introduction on characters
 
1.Yeon Woo-jin as Kong Qi Tai
He is a 33-year-old successful plastic surgeon with an abrasive personality. Qi Tai enjoys solitude too much to settle down, much to the dismay of his parents. He pretends to be attached to Qiang Wei and things get out of hand when his parents want them to get married.
 
He has taken her for granted till uneasiness sets in whenever she talks to Xun Dong or Xia Tian. Shi Ya wishes to reconcile with him but he knows that there is no hope as she often takes matters into her own hands. Slowly, he starts to appreciate Qiang Wei and both finally become husband and wife.  Acting wise, he is not really outstanding and does not inject much feelings into the role.  
 
2.Han Groo as Zhu Qiang Wei
She is a 29-year-old girl who earnestly believes in true love despite her countless failures in previous relationships. As an employee at a luxury brand shop, she is surrounded by luxury products, but has none of her own.
 
Although her age and socio-economic class make her an unattractive bride in the "marriage market," she still wants to find the right man to marry, because her greatest fear is being alone. She is locked at home for 3 days when her parents quarrel. she is dismayed when Qi Tai pulls her to meet his parents when she is poorly dressed. Surprisingly, Dian Shun admires her character and both hit off well. She is slowly accepted by them.  I find her over-acting in many scenes with exaggerating expressions.
 
3. Jeong Jinwoon as Han Xia Tian
He is a restaurant waiter with aspirations of becoming a chef. Though playful and sweet, Xia Tian's painful past (his mother abandoned him as a child) makes him push away anyone who gets too close. But he finds himself falling for Qiang Wei. Qi Tai becomes jealous when Qiang Wei does consider going out with him to get Qi Tai to let Xia Tian stay over at his apartment when he loses his rent to pay for damages over a food poisoning case.
 
Shi Ya also makes use of him to appear at a charity party as Qi Tai brings Qiang Wei along as his    partner. Qiang Wei is too close to Xia Tian as both have aspirations which do not come true so he often cooks for her. Xia Tian becomes Qiang Wei’s business partner to open a restaurant and Qi Tai gets suspicious till the day they get married.  This actor resembles Rain in looks but acting wise, it is only passable. This role does not require much expression except to smile all the time.  

4.Han Sunhwa as Jiang Shi Ya
Like her former fiancé , Shi Ya is a rich and single plastic surgeon. Plus her father is a hospital director, this results in her wanting things to go her way. Qi Tai tolerates her in everything else except when she wants to renovate his home to sell it away. To him, it gives him happy memories of his childhood and thus he is here when he is an adult.    
 
After their break-up, Shi Ya is convinced that women (including herself) can do without men. She believes that he will get back to her till Qiang Wei appears. She then tries to please his parents again, putting Qiang Wei into a disadvantage position. In order to get pregnant, she begins to blackmail Qi Tai into giving her his sperm. Qi Tai rejects her and she finally finds a real boyfriend. This actress is pretty but can be very wooden in acting.   
 
5. Heo Jung-min as Li Xun Dong
He is the owner of an upscale restaurant and is also Qi Tai's best friend. Xun Dong once dates Qiang Wei but breaks her heart and even accused her of being a stalker. Qi Tai feels sorry for her and decides to seek her help to deceive his parents.
 
But when she gets over him, he regrets his actions and begins pursuing her again. This man is fickle-minded – he doesn’t want to get tied down and enjoys bachelorhood. After a one night stand with Xian Xi to get her pregnant, he marries her.

6. Yoon So-hee as Nan Xian Xi

She is Qiang Wei's coworker who wants to hit the jackpot by marrying a rich man. She secretly dates Xun dong without telling Qiang Wei after her breakup. Xian Xi develops real feelings for Xun Dong after their one-night stand. He keeps avoiding her but later gives in. she has no sense of security so she also joins in the partnership with Qiang Wei in the restaurant. 

7.Kim Hae-sook as Shen Feng Xiang                                                                                                        

She is Qi Tai's mother. Seemingly cold and aloof, she's obsessed with marrying off her son Qi Tai, but he constantly thwarts her schemes.  Qi Tai is sure that she will not give Qiang Wei the pink diamond ring that Xiu Huan gives her when Qiang Wei is fluttered as the elders press her to marry him. To his dismay, she passes it to Qiang Wei.

Qiang Wei can tell that it is a fake product just at a glance. She breaks it with a hammer. The happy family image that they try to project to a magazine reporter is a scam. The reporter has seen Xiu Huan buying it for his mistress so he has no choice to agree to the interview to put it on her finger. After that, this despicable man gives her this fake ring to give the real one to his mistress!  

Her marriage fails so she hopes he will be happy. After knowing her good intentions, Qiang Wei even sides her to fight with Xiu Huan’s mistress. She finally decides that this is enough to end her marriage.   

8.Kim Kap-soo as Kong Xiu Huan                                                                  
He is Qi Tai's father who is also a doctor. He has been cheating on his wife with a younger mistress. Because of his reputation, he doesn’t want a divorce. He even buys her a real pink diamond ring while giving Feng Xiang a fake one to pose for magazine photos. Fed up with the suffering all the years, Feng Xiang divorces him.

9. Im Ye-jin as Luo Shao Nu                                                                                                     
                              
She is Qiang Wei's mother. She and her husband run a chicken and soju restaurant, and are constantly bickering. Qi Tai’s mother looks down on them and she is irritated over how Qiang Wei suffers. She wants to divorce Qing Biao upon knowing that she suffers from cancer but Qing Biao stands by her.  


10. Park Jun-gyu as Zhu Qing Biao           
                                                                                                          
He is Qiang Wei's father.  He and his wife are so happy and excited to have a future doctor son-in-law that their relationship improves. This makes it hard for Qiang Wei to be unable to tell her parents the real score between her and Qi Tai. He forgives them when they are truly in love.                                                           

11.Park Hee-jin as Kong Min Zhen

She is Qi Tai’s aunt who gets bribed by her sister-in-law into tailing the couple, hoping to find proof that their relationship is fake. She makes Qiang Wei suffer by locking her up in Qi Tai’s clinic intentionally to let Qi Tai date with Shi Ya. Qi Tai is dismayed to rescue her out with Xia Tian to vow not to let her suffer again. Min Zhen later regrets with what she has done. 

 

12. Kim Young-ok as Lu Dian Shun

She is Qi Tai's grandmother, and the only member of his family who approves of Qiang Wei. She is disappointed to know that it is just a hoax but is determined to bring them together. She and Min Zhen side with Feng Xiang to divorce Xiu Huan. They also forbid him to stay in the house and stop him from attending Qi Tai’s wedding.  

 
13.Lee Bo-hee as Xun Dong's mother

She is a wealthy widow who dotes on and spoils her only son. She doesn’t like Xian Xi to lie about her parentage. She is not angry that Xian Xi’s mother is a restaurant waitress but is disappointed that Xian Xi looks down on her mother. Xian Xi has to work hard to win her approval. 

14.Choi Hyun as Chef Yan

He works at Xun Dong's restaurant where he is skimming off the profits. He is also antagonistic towards Xia Tian.  After realizing that Xia Tian is talented and soft-spoken, he treats him better and teaches him how to cook.   

15. Lee Yeon-kyung as Xiu Huan's mistress

She is an unbearable woman who keeps bullying Feng Xiang that she has to avoid her on the street. She keeps appearing in high profile with Xiu Huan to force her to stay at home to nurse her own wound. Qiang Wei can’t believe her own eyes upon seeing how low self esteem Feng Xiang has now so she stands up for her. They leave the woman wounded and Qiang Wei loses her job but she has no regrets.

16. Lee Han Wi as Mr Jiang

He does not know that his wealth burdens Qi Tai so much that they break up. Shi Ya keeps pressing Qi Tai to meet him again but he has no intention even though he is in the danger of being sued once. Qi Tai doesn’t want to ask him for help and either does he want to give Mr Jiang the wrong impression that he wants to woo Shi Ya again.
 
Interesting facts
 

2014 16th Seoul International Youth Film Festival
                                                                                                        
Best Young Actor Jeong Jinwoon Nominated

Best Young Actress Han Sunhwa Nominated
 
Most favourite character                                                                                                                              
Qiang Wei, she is frank but she is careful not to hurt others. She is warm and respects elders. Qi Tai only wants to deceive his family  but she is concerned how they can take it if they find out that they lie. That is why Qi Tai can’t help falling for her in the process.  
 

Most hated character

Shi Ya, she only cares about herself and has never asked what Qi Tai needs. After that she gets overboard to demand others to listen to her. No wonder Qi Tai can’t tolerate her. A close second is Xiu Huan, he is too greedy to want to have the best of both worlds.   
 
Conclusion
 
Yes, we have seen couples squabbling or fighting in other dramas but for this drama, it is quite magnified to a certain extent. Have you seen elderly couples who can’t stop fighting even though they eat at the same table? Qiangwei’s parents belong to this example.
 
I also find it totally unbelievable that Feng Xiang can tolerate Xiu Huan for so long. Although he does not abuse her physically, the mental torture is ridiculous to put up with. Isn’t this a sustainable reason for divorce or is she having an overly gender-inferior complex?!      
 
It is a comedy and the acting is only passable. The story is simple and heads in one direction with little wonders. The couples do not give in their best in acting. Thankfully, it is a very short drama. I will not advise you to watch it even if you are free as it offers little insight into a real marriage    
 
Sukting’s ratings :
 
On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
 
On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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