My instantaneous affinity for the Mu Gyul-Mae Ri coupling in Mary Stayed Out All Night (Marry Me, Mary!) has turned into full-blown adoration in episode 2. If the level of inexplicable but wholly natural caring they exhibit towards one another continue to blossom, I will be in so much love with this OTP that I might as well lay in bed for the remaining 7 weeks and giggle like a loony.
The story for M3 continue to be filler for the interactions between Jang Geun Seok and Moon Geun Young. In fact, the story simply serves as set-up, and frankly I don’t care anymore that the story is about as interesting as staring at a white wall for an hour. All I want is to spend time with Mu Gyul and Mae Ri, not individually because they don’t interest me much alone, but as a couple.
When they are together, magic happens. It’s like the two actors are on the same breathing rhythm, so their lines and cadences are perfectly time, and their interactions feel effortless and fluid. Poor Kim Jae Wook, I love his screen presence, but because his character hasn’t spent any time with Mae Ri yet, and with Mu Gyul being so amazing when he’s with Mae Ri, there almost zero chance he can convince me to give second-lead love a passing glance. I don’t care how unbelievably handsome he looks below.
I’m still uncertain as to whether I should continue with my M3 recaps. Watching M3, I’m wholly in the moment, and find I have very little I want to say, other than ohmygodmugyulandmaeriaresoawesometogether and/or ilovethemilovethemilovethem, something like that. Who knows, maybe the story proper will kick it up a notch and I’ll feel my inner drama muse awaken.
M3 Episode 2 Recap:
There is a three-way stare down going on at Casa de Wi, except one participant is still drunk and kinda doesn’t care too much any which way. Dad asks Mae Ri whether she is living with a man! Oh, the horror, dad. Mae Ri tries to explain, but dad starts to spank her. Mu Gyul’s millisecond of shock expression is priceless, and he steps in to stop the walloping.
Mae Ri ushers him out for the apartment to stop him from interfering, all the while dad bemoans the fact that his daughter is like all the other kids in this generation, not to be trusted to behave appropriately. Mu Gyul drunkenly staggers out, but not before leaving his signature sign off with Mae Ri – a wobbly Merry Christmas. Dad is utterly confused, since it’s only November. Heh.
Dad continues berating Mae Ri –what is she doing with a guy who looks like a girl for a boyfriend? Mwahahaha, I love how the drama completely accepts and makes fun of the fact that Mu Gyul is about prettier than the majority of the female population. Mae Ri screams at her dad that Mu Gyul is NOT her boyfriend, and before they can sort it out some more, the debt collectors return pounding on the door.
Mae Ri sighs and both of them matter-of-factly spring into action. Dad grabs his shoes and Mae Ri leads him to the open window where clearly he’s made his getaway innumerable times. Both tell each other they don’t want to live like this anymore. Turns out Jung In’s dad did offer to have their children united in marriage – mainly because he wants to take care of Mae Ri. It’s clear he was in love with Mae Ri’s mother in their youth.
Mae Ri is lured to the hotel by her dad to meet her upcoming groom Jung In. Mae Ri asks an actor for his signature, but his turned down when she asks to take a picture. When Mae Ri tries to make a call with her phone, the bitchy manager accuses her of taking a surreptitious picture and makes a scene, tearing at Mae Ri and breaking her phone.
Mae Ri is manhandled until Jung In steps in to control his subordinates. Jung In has selected Seo Jun as his choice for the leading lady in his upcoming K-drama. He goes to the hotel to meet with her, and she agrees to star in his drama and signs a contract with him. Notice that Seo Jun’s music of choice when doing yoga is “Take Care, My Bus.”
Jung In is polite but firm with Mae Ri, he helps her clean up and offers her money, telling her that he’s not looking down on her inasmuch as people cannot be trusted to be fine one minute and then suddenly suffering later on. Mae Ri realizes she thought the same of Mu Gyul, and pestered him to write a statement as well. She accepts the money and writes a statement for Jung In. He leaves, and she calls him a polite guy, but a bad dude nonetheless.
Mae Ri storms out of the hotel after finding out from her dad that she was brought there for a matchmaking date. She has a near miss with Jung In who is waiting to meet the girl his father selected for him, namely Mae Ri. She goes to a bridal salon and yells at her dad, telling him that there is no such thing as a free lunch and she won’t get married to settle his debt. Her father’s assurances that he didn’t sell her, but is instead finding the best possible husband for her (smart, good looking, rich) doesn’t get through to Mae Ri.
In a last-ditch effort, Mae Ri packs up her meager belongings and runs away from home, dressed in layer of clothing. She leaves a runaway note, and proceeds to leave the apartment when she spots Mu Gyul’s guitar and cellphone, which he left last night when he was pushed out of the apartment. Mu Gyul and his band mates are performing at an empty club. The club manager tries to recruit only Mu Gyul, and is immediately rebuffed. Same thing as with the other manager lady – Mu Gyul takes along his band mates or it’s a no-go.
As the guys walk out, one band mate apologizes to Mu Gyul for obstructing his success. Mu Gyul brushes it off as simply he didn’t like that manager, but the band mates all know that they are not as talented as Mu Gyul, who has given up many opportunities to keep their band together. Mu Gyul says that they made a promise to stay together, and his band mates marvel at how handsome and loyal of a guy he is.
Mae Ri tracks down the band and returns Mu Gyul’s guitar and cellphone to him. When she arrives, Mu Gyul welcomes her with a Merry Christmas, and the other band mates call her sister-in-law (either the phrase for younger or older sister-in-law since some of the guy are younger or older than Mu Gyul). Mae Ri is appalled they’d call her that, to which they reply that she spent the night with Mu Gyul already, didn’t she? They then tell the two of them to get married. Hee, I’m giggling here.
Mae Ri also returns Mu Gyul’s money to him, since he didn’t end up crashing at her place. When Mu Gyul tells her to keep it since he slept there the night before, that reinforces to the band guys that they did in fact sleep together. Another chorus of “get married” greets Mae Ri, and she’s so embarrassed she walks away with her face covered.
Mu Gyul stops her when he asks whether she’s run away from home. She protests that she didn’t, she’s simply carrying a big bag is all. Mu Gyul starts laughing at her – how old is she to run away from home? Mae Ri is indignant, and says this is her first time. Mu Gyul clambers up and walks up to her, asking if she actually left a runaway note. When she asks how he knew, he chuckles at her again and tells her she’s so cute! Oh god, these two are such love for me.
Mae Ri is having dinner with the band, and they compliment their new sister-in-law on how pretty she is. Mae Ri’s friends arrive and join the meal, but ending up mostly fawning over Mu Gyul. This causes one guy to get drunken jealous that, as always, the ladies only want Mu Gyul. This leads to a fight over the band situation itself between two of the guys, while Mu Gyul silently sits and watches.
The fight moves outside, and Mae Ri joins Mu Gyul on some steps to try and get him to step in and break it up. Mu Gyul refuses, he doesn’t like fighting, he likes peace. He then teases her about being Merry Christmas again, and then tells her that the name Mae Ri is a dog’s name. He mung-mungs (the sound a Korean dog makes) at her, and laughs at his own ingenuity. Mae Ri retorts that if she’s a dog, then he’s cat. She then niaow-niaows (the sound a Korean cat makes) back at him. They go back and forth munging and niaowing and it’s so adorable and hilarious to watch how cute they are together.
The cops come to break up the fight, and everyone disperses. Mu Gyul grabs Mae Ri’s hand and they take off running, backed by the song from the OST “Tell Me Your Love” except this version is sung by Jang Geun Seok. And it’s wonderful. I can never ever ever resist a good K-drama couple running away scene. Ever.
They end up walking down an alley, and Mu Gyul accidentally bumps into a pair of drunken guys. Mae Ri and Mu Gyul immediately apologize, but one guy is immediately belligerent. He asks whether Mu Gyul is a man or a woman, and Mu Gyul isn’t even fazed by the insult, he just takes Mae Ri’s hand and walks away. The guys don’t let it go and continue to insult Mu Gyul, but none of it makes him mad.
Mae Ri, on the other hand, is mad for him. Mu Gyul just barks at her one more time and laughs it off. Until the drunks call Mu Gyul a bad luck jerk. This makes the dispassionate Mu Gyul mad for the first time since we’ve met him, and he clocks one of the guys with a punch. They all get dragged to the police station, where they meet up with the rest of the band and Mae Ri’s girlfriends.
The drunks wants settlement money because Mu Gyul’s punch has caused one dude a nosebleed. Mae Ri tries to apologize, but the drunks insult Mu Gyul again and he flies off the handle to land another punch. Mae Ri restrains him and call him sweetheart (the Korean term “chagi”), causing Mu Gyul to stop in surprise. She leads him to a stairwell, and uses a ruse to get him to punch himself in the nose. With mutual nosebleeds from both participants of the brawl, the police can resolve the situation without Mu Gyul needing to admit fault or pay settlement money. She’s a bright little puppy, isn’t she?
The band is totally wowed by Mae Ri’s street smarts. They emphasize again that Mu Gyul needs to marry her. Mae Ri reveals her plight to everyone, and they come up with a plan to dissuade her father from forcing her to marry Jung In. They make Mu Gyul and Mae Ri pose for wedding pictures, and then the rest of the gang join to round out the tableau. Mu Gyul yawns his way through the photoshoot.
Mae Ri send the picture off to her dad telling him she is in love with this guy and married him. The group sets off their separate ways, with Mae Ri thanking Mu Gyul for helping her. She says that she’s not going home until her dad ends his plans for her marriage. Mu Gyul confirms that they have no reason to see each other again, and Mae Ri concurs. They shake hands, and turn to walk away, each content with their own lives as is, without realizing that it’s likely never going to be the same again. They both turn to look at each other’s departing backs – not with reluctance but more like a curious passing glance.
When Mae Ri’s dad receives the picture, he is floored! Jung In’s dad also sees the pictures. Speaking of Jung In, he’s signing a contract with Seo Jun at the moment. She’s depressed at the prospect of doing a drama – that means she can’t do whatever she wants or have a relationship. She reveals that she broke up with her boyfriend last year during her filming for another drama. Three guesses who that ex-boyfriend is?
Mae Ri is at her job when her dad call her home, telling her he understands the situation. Turns out he registered the marriage of Mae Ri and Jung In already, by taking her identification card. When Mae Ri goes to the a lawyer, he tells her that since her dad got her married without her consent, to undo it may get her dad in trouble with the law. Mae Ri is such a filial daughter that she doesn’t want to do anything that will hurt her dad. The lawyer suggests then that Mae Ri get a divorce.
Jung In tells his father that since Mae Ri appears to have married another man, shouldn’t the whole marriage thing be set aside now. His father tells him that his investment in the drama production will also not be forthcoming if that happens. Jung In then asks why he can’t pick another girl, and his dad reveals that it MUST be Mae Ri, he wants nothing more than to take care of this girl for the rest of her life.
Jung In asks his father for some time – a year is too long, 100 days should suffice – for everyone to consider this proposition of marriage seriously. After one hundred days, both sides can make a final decision, who will stay married to whom? Mae Ri’s dad reveals to Mae Ri that he doesn’t want his daughter to make the same mistake as her mother, marrying the wrong man and making her life so hard. Mae Ri accepts this proposition, because she can get the money to pay off her dad’s debt AND simply not choose to stay married to Jung In after 100 days.
Mae Ri calls out Mu Gyul, on the pretext of thanking him for taking the fake wedding pictures with her, but in actuality to convince him to participate in 100 days of fake marriage. He doesn’t want to drink, but when he sees her getting drunk alone, he takes her drink and down it. When they are outside walking, he asks her what her dreams are, and finds out all Mae Ri wants is an ordinary life – mother at home, father not running from debt collectors, the chance to attend school without worrying about tuition. They make their respective animal sounds at each other again, and I smile without even realizing it.
Finally Mae Ri gets to the point and shows Mu Gyul her wedding certificate. He’s surprised and wonders what she wants from him. She needs him to be the other party to the 100 day marriage. She won’t bother him at all, they never need to see each other, but Mu Gyul has to agree to the pretext. Otherwise, she’s stuck being married to Jung In for real.
He doesn’t want to, since her problems have nothing to do with him. Mae Ri follows him all day, as he plays for coins and walks around the city.
Mae Ri loses Mu Gyul, and is about to be accosted by hooligans when Mu Gyul walks right up to her and drapes his arm around her, signaling that she’s protected by him. She ends up with blisters on her feet, and Mu Gyul finally stops and helps her. He offers to piggyback her, and convinces her that despite her objections that she’s fine, she can’t walk anymore.
Mu Gyul asks Mae Ri whether she’s been piggybacked before, and she says only by her dad. He asks again what he needs to do (with regards to the fake marriage), and she hurriedly assures him that he needs to do nothing. This will not inconvenience him at all! He warns her not to fall in love with him, and she genuinely laughs at the absurdity of that happening.
To Mae Ri, Mu Gyul might be objectively a beautiful man, but subjectively she doesn’t think he’s manly at all. My Gyul similarly replies that objectively Mae Ri might be considered very pretty, but subjectively he doesn’t think she’s womanly at all. Oh how I love this exchange, and how much the drama acknowledges the androgynous beauty of Jang Geun Seok. Mae Ri also reminds Mu Gyul that he already has a girlfriend, right? The girl whose picture is in his guitar case.
Mae Ri reassure him that her intention is not to pick either guy at the end of 100 days, she just wants to pay off her dad’s debt and then get her freedom back. Mae Ri’s dad has created a schedule for her two marriages, this is so absurd on its face yet so practical in this drama. Jung In gets weekdays from 9-5, then Mu Gyul gets the rest of the evening until 10 p.m. Saturdays belongs to Jung In, Sundays to Mu Gyul. Dad warns Mae Ri not to stay out past 10 p.m. on any night.
Mae Ri informs Mu Gyul of the schedule, and tells him that she’s of course not going to see him any of those nights or Sunday, She’s about to hang up, telling him she won’t be calling again, when her dad comes in. Mae Ri makes a big deal of wishing her sweetheart a good night and telling him to dream about her. Dad hangs up a 100 day countdown calendar on Mae Ri’s wall.
The next morning, Mae Ri arrives at Jung In’s house to begin the first day of her marriage to him. He’s not home, so she plays with his TV and marvels at how big it is (and what a joy it would be to watch dramas on said TV). Jung In arrives at home, and sees Mae Ri sleeping on his sofa, still clutching the remote. He turns off the TV, and gets a drink of water. When Mae Ri wakes up, the two come face-to-face, and Mae Ri recognizes her new groom as the annoying bad guy from the hotel!
Thoughts of Mine:
Watching M3 is like waging a battle of the wills. My mind knows that the writing and directing of this drama is nothing to write home about, but my heart leaps little backflips of happiness at each and every interaction between Mae Ri and Mu Gyul. I guess this is when I stop asking myself whether M3 is any good as a measure of why I like it, and just accept that watching it gave me a little bit of happy. The same goes for any qualitatively better dramas elude my watching-desire because watching it made me fall asleep and not so happy.
With that said, episode 2 was a better than episode 1. Not by much, but a positive forward momentum is better than the opposite happening. The interaction and chemistry of Mu Gyul and Mae Ri continue to roll in the I-can’t-believe-two-people-can-be-so-cute-together column of the win pile. I love how the drama acknowledges Jang Geun Seok’s ridiculous brand of feminine looks coupled with his masculine demeanor when he’s in character and acting. I continue to love Mu Gyul so much I may need to get my brain checked soon.
Mae Ri doesn’t annoy me by herself, which is a huge testament to Moon Geun Young’s acting since this character has the possibility of being too cartoonish and silly. I find Mae Ri simply comes alive around Mu Gyul. I can’t stress enough the indescribable chemistry between the Geun-Geuns. It has to be watched to really understand, reading a recap doesn’t capture their pitch-perfect interactions.
Thus far, M3 is strangely not as ridiculous or over-the-top as its promotional materials made it appear to be. It’s feels grounded somehow, not that its story is realistic in any way, but more like the there is no inherent self-referential medium at work. I think much of the credit has to go to Jang Geun Seok not over-acting his character, at all. His performance feels so natural, yet such a complete turnaround from his Hwang Tae Kyung in You’re Beautiful regardless of the similar musician roles.
I do worry that even the most sparkling of couple chemistry isn’t enough to sustain an entire 16-episode drama unless the story does step up a notch to make the situations more interesting and the narrative more compelling. My worry appears to be premature, since most dramas tend to take a few episodes to settle down and get started. Since the drama just premiered, I’m glad that I like it enough to continue, because lord knows I need a squee-worthy rom-com to fill the upcoming Playful Kiss void.
[Credit: all screencaps from Baidu Mary Stayed Out All Night bar]