The Virtual Bride – E03

Misunderstandings and hijinks galore! Inyoung seduces Myungsuk’s head of department and they get some failed couple yoga.  Sitcom forward!

THE RECAP

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Inyoung hears Myungsuk declare that he will only film with her and decides that Myungsuk must have fallen for her.

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Meanwhile, Choonja demands that Junsu take Inyoung away. However, the father cuts her authority by saying that he wants Inyoung to stay forever. Junsu promises to take Inyoung away after the filming ends.

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The first episode airs and everyone despairs that the viewership is so low. Junsu decides to switch her out if it doesn’t increase… And Inyoung schemes with the producer and Dongsuk about creating a loveline to increase the viewership.

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The next day, Inyoung wears some trendy glasses while grocery shopping. At her mother-in-law’s snapping, she takes it off after worrying that people would recognize her. Unfortunately, no one recognizes her at all.

In fact, they go to the meat shop where the owner mentions that he heard about a variety show featuring an idol… He hears that the idol is here and runs out!

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The women next go to the friend’s restaurant. There, Inyoung tries the bean paste and comments that it’s not her mother-in-law’s bean paste. The friend freezes but Haji also tries it and declares that it is Choonja’s paste.

Inyoung takes another taste and murmurs that it’s too sweet like it includes some MSG. Choonja suspiciously tries the paste herself and glares at her friend as she realizes her friend added some MSG in… She declares that her friend will get no more bean paste from their house and the women leave mid-meal.

Choonja’s friend calls the grandfather for help. He goes to speak with Choonja, finds her in a fury and leaves quietly.

Meanwhile, Dongsuk comes in with a bunch of orders for kimchi. Choonja just grumps that they don’t have the capacity to fulfill so many orders while Dongsuk suggests that they start a new company. As for Inyoung, she tries to get some brownie points by offering to help make the kimchi.

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At the same time, Junsu takes his mother out for a fancy lunch while his own wife works hard and has a late lunch. Pretending that she’s weak, she has Junsu call his wife and ask her to get the 100 signatures needed for his mom to be a candidate. There goes Young-Ah’s lunches!

Inyoung dresses in a little black dress, dancing around when Dongsuk comes in to tell her that they have a great opportunity! Myungsuk has a drinking event – he needs someone to come and drive him home!

Se-Mi excels at work, agreeing to put in extra hours before the midterms so that the academy can do well. Dongsuk calls at that point to tell her that his mother is in a pinch; Se-Mi can win points by helping his mom out. Tired and overwhelmed, Se-Mi hangs up.

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Cue Inyoung all dressed up, full makeup and full of confidence! She runs into the drinking meeting and introduces herself. Then, she finds out who is higher ranked than her husband and goes to flirt like crazy with the department head to show that she’s a great wife.

Being Inyoung, she also does a total sexy dance when they ask for a song. Then she pulls the department head up for a sultry dance instead of her husband! Like a true sitcom, Myungsuk gets jealous and angry. He gets up to pull her away but falls flat on his face…he does end up pulling her out and tells her to stay in the car.

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Inyoung happily flounces out thinking that she seduced him. When she drops her keys, she bends over and overhears other assistant professors gossip about Myungsuk and how he decided to call Inyoung because the department head said that he’s a fan. Deciding that Myungsuk only declared that he would only do the filming with her was because of the department head, she drives off without Myungsuk.

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At home, Inyoung tells Myungsuk that it’s all his fault without explaining anything. She tells him that they should try to help each other out and just have a strategic partnership.

Young-Ah comes home then as well. Choonja tells her to prepare the garlic. So begins Se-Mi’s housework until 3am while her husband sleeps… Afterwards, she starts preparing her lectures for the next day.

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Bad things flood – not rain… In the morning, Dongsuk tells Se-Mi in front of everyone that the reason their son San doesn’t want to eat is because today is the official pre-musical rehearsal at school… Yet, Se-Mi hasn’t made San’s costume. Young-Ah promises to have the costume made and brought to her son.

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As for the grandfather, he brings his girlfriend some of Choonja’s kimchi. The girlfriend doesn’t seem impressed and tells him that she’s angry that he doesn’t love her. The grandfather pulls out a lipstick… But confesses that he told the employee that it was for Choonja. Grandfather gets kicked out.

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Next, Inyoung and the other employee help Young-Ah get signatures for her mother-in-law… They work at the gas station, help clean restaurants and even visit an elder center. At the same time, the mother-in-law gets her hair and makeup done for a photo shoot.

After it’s all over, Young-Ah thanks Inyoung. Inyoung tells Young-Ah that it’s fine… But asks her to tell Junsu not to replace her on the show.

The mother-in-law comes and thanks everyone for their help. She offers to buy food but then notes that she cannot due to bribery laws… Inyoung suggests that the mother-in-law just cooks at home instead.

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Net show episode, some sultry couple yoga! They call out Myungsuk and put the couple through some poses that should result in gradual skinship. However, each pose doesn’t work and Inyoung gets thrown to the side each time. To top it off, Myungsuk declares that he’s not going to film the episode today… Just like someone came to drive him home but left with the car…

Inyoung angrily grabs Myungsuk’s arm and Choonja comes in at that moment.

Things aren’t looking well for Young-Ah as well. Her coworkers come to get a free dinner on her mother-in-law who tells Young-Ah to sit as she prepares everything… Furiously….

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Back at home, Inyoung offers to get a storage box for Choonja. She jumps for it when Myungsuk comes in and tells her to use a chair. Inyoung refuses and keeps jumping. She ends up toppling a pot and Myungsuk pulls her out of the way saving her… But getting hurt instead.

Inyoung begs him to keep it a secret from his mother as he needs her help, too. Myungsuk agrees because he feels sorry for her but wonders why she keeps saying that he needs her help…

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At the same time, Young-Ah’s mother-in-law rips into Young-Ah for enjoying the noodles that she suffered in preparing. She orders that young-ah finish all of the clean-up!

Poor Young-Ah, she just can’t win. Even when Junsu comes home and shows his mother all of these photoshopped pictures, her mother-in-law snaps at her for giving a compliment.

Junsu’s father calls and Junsu takes the phone away to hang up on him.

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Meanwhile, Myungsuk goes to get some ice because the arm is starting to swell. Inyoung feels guilty and makes a cast for Junsu… Which Haji sees.

Choonja is also tired and grumpy. She calls Se-Mi and orders that Se-Mi buy some boxes on her way home before hanging up. Feeling cornered, Se-Mi has to ask another teacher to cover for her as she runs off to buy boxes.

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At the same time, Inyoung types for Myungsuk and he explains the 80:20 rule about how 20% of the work results in 80% of the progress. Inyoung murmurs out loud if she’s not in the 80% of the celebrities that don’t make any money.

Crisis alert! Junsu isn’t satisfied that Young-Ah does all of the work. He asks Young-Ah to help his mother prepare her PowerPoint presentation.

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Young-Ah goes in and sees a PowerPoint presentation that offers a plan for continued urban development… And it includes her mother’s house in the area for development. Her mother-in-law comes in and sees Young-Ah near the computer. Running over, she suspiciously closes her laptop.

Back at home, Se-Mi gets a call from the academy telling her that the place is a mess! Her substitute never took over the class and the parents are furious. She walks back into her room in a mood only to get yelled at by her husband because she forgot her son’s tree costume… San fell asleep crying!

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Choonja overhears this and walks in to yell at Se-Mi for being a horrible mother. She tells Se-Mi to quit. Se-Mi yells back that thanks to Choonja, she does not have to since she’ll probably be fired anyways…

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As this conflict boils over, Choonja leaves in a huff where Haji finds her and suggests that she brings Myungsuk tea. Choonja agrees and finds Inyoung in her son’s room to her utter horror.

MY TWO CENTS
Hmmm, I bet the writer is a woman. She’s not so subtly commenting on the state of many working moms in Korea, and I love it. Other than Choonja ordering Se-Mi to clean up the mess of kimchi making by herself, I don’t even think the conflict was that exaggerated. Se-Mi, herself promised to fix San’s costume and didn’t ask her husband to do it. Se-Mi is the one trying to create an overly comprehensive schedule at the Academy…

Once the writer added normal social pressures and responsibilities without adding the additional support (as many women still don’t get it) Se-Mi’s over commitment became apparent. Over breakfast, it was clear that both Dongsuk and Choonja were giving Se-Mi the guilt trip for not preparing San’s costume earlier. But in a more efficient world, Dongsuk would have already prepared it; all he has to do is take San to a tailor… Yet, due to the guilt trip, Se-Mi couldn’t help herself but promise to fix it herself…

Similar situation with the boxes. Choonja purposefully did not call Se-Mi to let her know that they found boxes after hanging up on Se-Mi. Her earlier call was the same as telling Se-Mi that she would have to bring boxes since she didn’t help prepare the kimchi. However, wouldn’t it be better if Se-Mi contributed financially to the family instead and the family could hire part time help? Just saying… It wouldn’t be traditional but seems more efficient and more appropriate given Se-Mi’s affinity for outside work.

Now that the tirade is over.  Beginning impressions/summary:

Pros of the show:

  • Refreshing sitcom that blatantly makes fun of itself.  It’s been a while since there was a sitcom where the focus was sitcom instead of the romantic comedy part.  Like Hello Francesca.
  • Parody music is spot on! Music Director, you are the best!
  • Strong acting from the main characters (Choonja, Inyoung, Se-Mi, Young-Ah, etc)
  • Several interesting storylines/conflicts.
  • Interesting snippets of the difficulty of pursuing a career in entertainment
  • The aesthetics and colors – the show is a pleasure to watch.

Cons/Issues:

  • Young-Ah’s mother-in-law’s character seems really cartoonish… She’s almost as cartoonish as Inyoung’s character.  I always cringe when she comes on.
  • Junsu’s character is the type that I hate the most in guys…I have difficulty keeping myself from speeding through the scenes focused on Junsu and his mother. We might need some back-story on this family before I warm up to them.
  • Less than stellar chemistry between Dasom and Ryu Soo-Young.  While, I like the plot and the characters…There is something…However, the exaggerated glasses on Ryu Soo-Young’s character helps with the cartoonish match-up with Dasom’s.
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