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Lie to Me (2011) Drama Review
Original Title: 내게 거짓말을 해봐
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Synopsis: Gong Ah Jeong is a level 5 Ministry of Culture official, who gets caught up in a big misunderstanding of her being married to Hyeon Gi Jun, the CEO of World Hotel. Things turn even more complicated when Gi Jun’s ex-fiancée, Oh Yun Ju, returns to his life.
The drama starts with introducing us to Gong Ah Jeong, our female protagonist. An event she had planned goes badly wrong, and triggers a chain of events which leads her into a fake marriage with Hyeon Gi Jun, the CEO of World Hotel. A lot of it has to do with the fact that Ah Jeong’s old best friend has moved back in town after marrying Ah Geong’s first love. Feeling inferiority, she lies about also being married, and when her husband is mistaken to be Gi Jun, instead of setting things right she pleads him to pretend to be married to her. After Gi Jun’s brother Sang Hi lends a helping hand to Ah Jeong, Gi Jun has no choice but to agree to the fake marriage for his own benefits. But things soon get complicated when Oh Yun Ju, Gi Jun’s ex-fiancée, returns to his life. Although he has already started warming up to Ah Jeong, he cannot ignore his past. Meanwhile, Gi Jun’s brother has set his eyes on Ah Jeong after finally getting over Yun Ju. So far so good.
Despite a weak prompt, the makers and actors of the drama managed to make these first few episodes and plot twists watchable ones, leaving you craving for more after each episode. The first half also moves on a rather fast pace leaving no room for boredom.
The second half is weaker in many aspects. It moves with a slower pace and the episodes have so many filler scenes you basically feel like yawning, cuddling the blanked you’re lying under, closing your eyes and taking a nap… The story is now concentrating more on the relationship between the two leading characters, and while the way it’s done is a fresh change to so many other main couples out there, it does so at the expense of the other characters in the drama. Yun Ju and Sang Hi do get some sort of conclusions but their character development is cut down to minimum, not to mention screen time. I think it is outrageous Sang Hi is the second lead yet he only showed up for a minute per episode and even then he’s just sitting, saying a line or two, and contributing absolutely nothing to the drama. It’s such a shame as the character was originally very well written. But back to the main two. Ah Jeong and Gi Jun face some problems – because no path can be too smooth – but they’re all solves so quickly, almost like swept under the rug, that it doesn’t manage to really capture the audience’s attention anymore. On a more positive note, the drama does have a nice ending although a lot of discussion has been going on that it should have been taken a step further.
Gong Ah Jeong (Yoon Eun Hye)… A level 5 Ministry of Culture official. She is adorable, sensitive and loves drinking while being completely adorable doing so.
Hyeon Gi Jun (Kang Ji Hwan)… The CEO of World Hotel who gets involved in a scandal with Ah Jeong. He is a bit of a jerk at first, like 90% of the other drama male leads, but keeps getting better and better as the drama moves on, although he does have his annoying moments. He’s so adorable when he’s in love and hilarious pretty much to the levels of obnoxiousness. Kwan Ji Hwan did such an amazing job with this role.
Hyeon Sang Hi (Bang Sung Jun)… Gi Jun’s younger brother who left home after an incident between his brother and him. After finally building up the courage to go back home he meets Ah Jeong, without realizing he’d have to fight for her with his brother. As a person, he is more on the funny and relaxed side than his slightly neurotic brother.
Oh Yun Ju (Jo Yoon Hee)… Gi Jun’s ex-fiancée who, much like Sang Hi, has finally decided to come back to Seoul. Her main objective with her return is to start over with Gi Jun. Overall she is nice but she does have a little bit of stubbornness in her.
Writing and Directing Analysis
While the drama started off well, at halfway through it started going downhill with a fast speed. It’s partly understandable because the writer changed around halfway point in the drama, but along with that change also changed the direction where the original writer was most likely taking it to, and the new writer unsuccessfully continued the story from where it left off. The second leads got entirely forgotten, and it’s definitely not a good thing when you forget the existence of them when they’re supposedly important to the drama. This was very bothersome. Especially because the drama started from a setup where it looked like it would head into the direction of the two brothers fighting for the same girl, eventually forming a rectangle once Yun Ju arrives back in town. In addition, we also have the Aunt who might have become the person to restrict Gi Jun’s love life at all costs like the mothers in Boys Over Flowers and Secret Garden did. But neither ever really happened. And while it was a refreshing change from the usual pattern, perhaps they would have been needed to spice things up a bit.
There were moments, several of them, when it started looking like the drama had lost its direction entirely and was just running around aimlessly with a few fences to jump over here and there. And that just won’t do. There was also a plot issue that might have been of a lot of annoyance [minor spoiler alert]: the original reason why Ah Geong wanted to pretend to be married to Gi Jun was because of her old best friend, So Ran, and the faking was originally just supposed to last for a month because after that So Ran was going abroad to study. However, she never went nor was it ever explained why she didn’t go. It was brushed off as if it had never been part of the story in the first place, and then So Ran was given other plotlines to go by.
Since there are no complaints to make about the directing, nor the acting job, the fault lies on the writing. Had it been executed even slightly better, this drama may have been tons better.
I was a little harsh up there but don’t let it discourage you from giving this drama a try if the plot synopsis or actors attracted your attention. We all have a varying taste, and my own opinion is by no means the ultimate truth. I know many people with differing watching experiences, too. For instance, I started out by being very much in love with this drama, but my affection slowly got stomped down by each episode. A friend gave up after a few episodes, another watched nearly until the end before resulting to just reading the recaps, and one says it’s one of her favourite dramas. So there you go. While it’s not going to be in my top 10, it might become one in yours
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