[Series Review] I Do, I Do

23 Jul

How does one define the meaning of life? It’s not an easy question although many people have tried for centuries to try making sense of what life means. But for starters, life is defined by the choices that people make. Each choice we make can cause shifts in the world and affect other people’s lives. Since life is defined by the choices we make, that means that inevitably each person will have a different definition for life because each person makes their own choices given the circumstances in front of them.


I Do, I Do essentially puts into perspective the choices that one particular woman makes when unexpected (and arguably unwanted) events happen. In this case, the woman in question is Hwang Ji An (Kim Sun Ah), a very talented shoe designer whose career is going really well. But because she focused all her energy into her career, her personal life and personality is a mess: she may be respected but she is also feared. She may be proud of where she is professionally, but she’s lonely on the inside. Enter Park Tae Kang (Lee Jang Woo), a young college dropout who runs into Ji An by coincidence and after a day full run-ins and drinking, they end up having a one-night stand. The rest of the drama is built around this premise—what happens when you stop becoming responsible for just yourself and becomes responsible for someone else? What are you willing to give up in exchange for a chance to do something you might never be able to do again? These things are fundamentally asked of both our lead characters, but especially of our heroine.

Thus, the drama presents us with modern-day women issues that I’m very happy they explored. The drama weaves in themes such as single motherhood, abortion, career vs. family, and women in the workplace. In the beginning, the way we are introduced to Ji An summarizes basically all the things that she might feel about all of these issues: she’ll never want to be a mother, she’ll be all up for abortion, and career is definitely a more alluring prospect than family. But by the end of the drama, she will be forced to reevaluate those beliefs especially when she’s faced to deal with all of them at once.

What I admired about the drama is how slow it builds up these themes. Just like the child in her belly, Ji An matures and makes hard choices but just as it takes 9 months for a child to develop, Ji An takes a while to truly figure out what she desires and if she’s ready. If anything, I think this drama is really about her coming to terms with the lot she is assigned in life and I love how she opens up to these ideas and how the writers genuinely make her struggle with these choices.

Where the drama falters is making the rest of the incidental stories seem interesting. I was uninterested in the company bickering because it seems almost unnecessary (even if it is to prove the point that women can work in a demanding profession) and undercooked. Madam Jang, for instance, seems unmotivated by anything and merely disposable. The writers essentially forgot to develop many of these storylines thoroughly.

While I genuinely gushed at the romance between Ji An and Tae Kang, I thought that the writers heavily favored Ji An to the point that Tae Kang doesn’t develop as fast or as much as Ji An. Tae Kang is essentially robbed of coming to terms with becoming a father since he doesn’t even find out until too late in the game. If the writers made him learn about the pregnancy, I think we’d have much more interesting growth from him.

But even if the writing sometimes feels uneven, the actors made up for it with their commitment to the work. Kim Sun Ah, unfortunately, doesn’t give me enough to praise because I felt her Ji An is too cold. I do love how she cracks slowly towards the end, the way she adorably talks to her “Ankle”, and even her happy moments. But sometimes her work seems too frosty and one-note. I understand that Ji An needs to be frosty but Sun Ah doesn’t always illuminate on why she’s like that or gives us assurance that she’s far more than an angry woman. My favorite in this drama is Lee Jang Woo, whose Park Tae Kang is such an openhearted, warm, and adorable guy. His acting is not unfussy and he does connect the dots pretty well between this guy’s self-doubt and his desire to be better. Park Go Hyung is admirable for making a potentially obnoxious (stalker) character appealing and actually enjoyable while Im Soo Hyang gives beautiful dimensions to a character that might have been easily pegged as one-note.

Overall, I like the drama because it drama doesn’t easily find answers to its questions but it does make compelling commentary on the issues it brings up. While it could have done better by focusing more on developing Ji An’s motherhood as supposed to just the challenges to her career, we’d have a better integrated drama. But even as it is, the drama compels people to think and that is essentially its greatest asset.



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