Living well is the best revenge.
If you’re not quite there yet, why not lie?
Last weekend I ended up watching my second Korean drama, a cute romance called Lie To Me. Since I watched the entire series all in one go, I didn’t even have a chance to write a First Impressions post for it! Hence you get a full-on review.
Kong Ah-Jung is a single gal with a good career as a civil servant. She lives with her widowed father and overall seems to be happy with her lot in life as well as good at her job. However, like so many of us ladies past the age of twenty-five, Ah-Jung keeps getting badgered about marriage. Worst of all, the badgering comes from the former best friend who stole her first love when they were all still in school! To add salt to the wound, the two of them ended up getting married while Ah-Jung remained single. One day, out of sheer annoyance and lingering heartbreak, she lies and claims to be married. Later on she’s seen in the company of handsome CEO Hyun Ki-Joon, and is mistaken for his wife. She tries to clear up the confusion, but that darn frienemy shows up again, and Ah-Jung only ends up making the lie worse.
Like so many romantic Kdramas, there are miscommunications flying left and right as well as a healthy heaping dose of chance meetings. Adding chaos to the mix are Ki-Joon’s first love, his wayward brother with his own interest in Ah-Jung, his proper and stoic aunt, and the various politicians and businessmen that hear the lie, not to mention Ah-Jung’s own former flame, concerned father, and wacky co-workers. Every time they try to make things better, the lie gets worse, until both Ah-Jung and Ki-Joon end up so entangled that the lie begins to feel more like truth than the actual facts.
As this is only my second Kdrama, the only other show I have to base this series on is Boys Over Flowers. While both are romances, this one has some distinct differences. First of all, and most notable, this is a story about adults, not high schoolers, which, as an adult around the age of the main characters, I find very appealing indeed. Who doesn’t like to see stories about people your own age every once in a while?
Everything about this series felt just a bit more mature, and less like a guilty pleasure. Having said that, the romance in Lie To Me isn’t as ostentatious and lavish as it is in Boys Over Flowers. Ah-Jung doesn’t get swept away to island locales and ski resorts and bedecked in jewels and new clothes like JanDi is, and even if she does get the occasional fancy dress or vacation, she almost always pays for it herself. I liked the independence of it, but a small part of me missed the ultimate fantasy that’s so all-encompassing in Boys Over Flowers. On the plus side, Ah-Jung’s pride wasn’t the cause of every problem in this series, which I found very refreshing. It annoyed me to no end that JanDi insisted on making everything harder on herself out of pride (ie: to create more drama). Not so with Ah-Jung. While it could be argued that she did indeed create many of her problems with her lies, overall I found her actions to be very relatable and not based on something as moralistic as pride. Who hasn’t wanted to rub an enemy’s face in something at one point or another?
I really enjoyed all of the characters, from the super cute leads to the bitchy frienemies to the fun group who seemingly lives at the Twosome Place cafe. One character even sings the answer to every question while strumming her guitar. While that could potentially be annoying, it actually came off as awesome. Speaking of which, I really liked the fun pop music on this show even better than the poppy soundtrack to Boys Over Flowers, although both seriously overuse their love themes. As I mentioned earlier, this is only my second Kdrama, but even so I couldn’t really choose a favourite. Boys Over Flowers is much more of an escapist fantasy, but Lie To Me seems like it could possibly happen in real life (it would be a stretch, but still). And as much as I enjoy being swept away in a romantic story, I feel more emotionally connected to the characters, settings, and story of Lie To Me. Everything from the problems to the passionate kisses (which put the teens of F4 to shame) feels more realistic, which draws me in even more. You can’t go wrong with either of these excellent Kdramas, but if you’re well past your own years of teenage angst and enjoy a good romance, I can’t recommend Lie To Me enough.