In the Mary Stayed Out All Night (Marry Me, Mary!) universe, the following things are in short supply: logic, originality, and fashion sense. Conversely, the following things are in abundance: acting chemistry, cuter than cute interactions between the OTP, and even some slash fan service thrown in for good measure. I think the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide. Which is why episode 3 of M3 was the turning point for me – I am All In with this drama. I will be like Lee Byung Hun, a million bullets (clichés) from M3 and I will still remain standing and laughing, because I have Mae Ri and Mu Gyul to keep me bathed in the growing warmth of their relationship.
I didn’t fully recognize how much I adored this silly fluffy drunk nugget of a drama until I realized that I was literally browbeating my poor sister into watching it so that I can have someone to discuss it with. Lo and behold, the drama gods mocked my efforts, because she did watch it, but she’s shipping Mae Ri with Jung In! How’s that for koala-branded irony? But you know what, I love Kim Jae Wook and actually like Jung In, so her doomed alterna-ship is fine by me. Because there ain’t no way in hell the Mae Ri-Mu Gyul ship is sailing anywhere other than a lifetime of happiness under the covers.
M3 Episode 3 Recap:
The newlyweds are introducing themselves to each other. Speak-before-you-think Mae Ri takes one look at Jung In’s poker face and blurts out “the polite bastard!” at him. Jung In makes the easy connection and asks her how her hand is doing. He is clearly unfazed by the K-drama brand of coincidences and two-degrees-of-separation.
Mae Ri uses this opportunity to clarify again that she’s not an extortionist. She hands back the money Jung In gave her with the caveat that it was too much and she hasn’t used a penny. Jung In politely (damn, I CANNOT wait for this man to lose his polite veneer and just blow a hot gasket) declines and tells her that the contract she signed has a confidentiality clause. The implication is that this money is to keep her mouth shut about the incident.
Mae Ri cuts right to the chase (god, I love her forthrightness) and presses Jung In on why he would accept such an parental decreed marriage arrangement. He matter-of-factly replies that it was a business decision. Which doesn’t sit right with Mae Ri – a marriage isn’t a business decision! He tells her not to think too much about it. Which is fine by Mae Ri, who tells Jung In she’s not losing sleep over it since she won’t be picking him after 100 days anyways.
Her response elicits a kindred spirit reaction from Jung In, who tells Mae Ri they are actually quite similar. They both are approaching this 100 day marriage in name only with a business-like attitude. Mae Ri confirms she’s not going to be getting compensation (i.e. her dad’s debt being paid off) for doing nothing. Jung In is pleased with her attitude, and tells her to go to the office and he’ll be there shortly.
At the office, Mae Ri asks if the business is a drama production company. Jung In confirms that it is, and asks her to serve as his secretary. When she asks what exactly are her duties, that appears to take Jung In aback since he likely hadn’t thought about giving her actual work to do. When Mae Ri moves to follow Jung In to his meeting, with her notepad in hand to act as his secretary, she is stopped with a polite request to not leave this office unless necessary.
Jung In’s politeness belies his attitude towards Mae Ri – she is to be tolerated and kept out of his way as much as possible. Mae Ri understands and shares the same sentiment back to him – Jung In is a burden on her life as well. Jung In asks Mae Ri for 100 days of a professional working relationship between them, and shakes her hand. Oh Jung In, you are SO going to eat your own words.
Mae Ri does an internet search of Jung In and confirms that his professional-like approach to marriage is due to his corporate-oriented education. She hears a noise from Jung In’s office and enters to find Seo Jun sitting there. She offers to get her a beverage, and Seo Jun is all “I can only drink sparkling water.” Mae Ri works up her courage to ask Seo Jun for an autograph.
The other actor and his manager arrive to meet with Seo Jun and Jung In, and the manager recognizes Mae Ri as the girl they had the run in with at the hotel. Jung In tells them it was a misunderstanding, but doesn’t explain any further. Mae Ri is bored out of her mind sitting in an office with nothing to do (watch dramas online, you silly puppy!). Jung In dismisses her at 1 p.m., telling her he’s out to lunch then to meetings for the rest of the day.
Mae Ri comes home exhausted from doing nothing (yes, ennui is at times more exhausting than being crazy busy, I can attest to that). Her wastrel dad is just waking up, and presses Mae Ri for her reaction to meeting Jung In. Isn’t he like a prince charming? Mae Ri replies that he’s more like a prince bastard. Heh. But one thing has been bothering her – why would a guy like Jung In (rich, handsome, successful, smart, professional) agree to being married to her?
Her dad finally concedes that he’s surprised by Jung In’s acquiescence to this arrangement as well. Which leads out Mae Ri to declare that she suspects her new husband is in fact a closet….gay guy! All the clues are there, belied by his willingness to enter into a business marriage to get his hands on his father’s inheritance. Her dad tells her to stop making up stories.
Finally, Mae Ri settles into the sofa and turns on the TV, excited to be with her true love, dramas. This leads her dad to get super excited that Mae Ri is already foregoing her night with Mu Gyul from day 1. Mae Ri’s response is beyond adorable – she gets up and announces that she will be spending the evening with her beloved. She didn’t realize how much she missed him until now.
She tries to call Mu Gyul, but no one picks up. Dad’s suspicion is raised, especially remembering that Mae Ri emphatically stated that Mu Gyul was NOT her boyfriend the first time Dad saw him in the house. He wants to know how Mae Ri met her guy, how they fell in love. Mae Ri compares it to what the dramas say – love is sometimes like a traffic accident, it just happens. Oh god, I died a little right here, especially when it flashes back to that accident, complete with the same soaring choir music.
Her recitation has her Dad buying into the dramatic declaration of love. She fell in love with this man whose music touched her, who is as handsome as a portrait, how can she not fall for him? When dad asks whether he loves her, too, Mae Ri says that he loves even her scars. And then she touches her forehead and repeats “Harry Potter” and smiles.
Dad wonders why she has no pictures of him, and Mae Ri shows him the shots she snapped (as proof that Mu Gyul was not injured in the accident). When asked why Mu Gyul is accepting of this arrangement, Mae Ri states that her beloved is drowning his sorrows in drink each day over this situation, and he wants to come get on his knees in front of Mae Ri’s dad but she is the one preventing him from doing so. Dad still wants to go see Mu Gyul, but is finally dissuaded when Mae Ri threatens to end the 100 day arrangement.
Mae Ri goes to find Mu Gyul, and shows him the story she constructed of how they fell in love. Mu Gyul warns her that she’s not supposed to bother him anymore. Mae Ri knows that is what she promised, but circumstances require that she spend evenings at his new place for the next 100 days. She wants to give Mu Gyul three-months rent for crashing with him every night. [During this scene, Mu Gyul is painting a wall and its clear that he’s moving into a new place].
Mae Ri says that they should use this money for mutually beneficial reasons. Mu Gyul grumbles that first it was just about taking pictures, then pretending to be married for 100 days, and now she has to move in with him. Mae Ri apologizes, but the situation is what it is. He refuses again, and she calls him out for being so cold-hearted with her. She then OPW (or cat-pout-wiggles) him in the cutest way imaginable.
Mu Gyul is moved by her cute cat pout, but he stops himself and repeats his refusal a third time. The landlord ahjumma comes by and asks if Mae Ri is his girlfriend. They both deny it simultaneously, but the ahjumma doesn’t mind her living here. But she warns Mu Gyul to pay the rent deposit this week or else she’ll take back the room. Regardless of his dire straits, Mu Gyul still refuses to take the money from Mae Ri for the deposit.
Since they are at an impasse, Mae Ri elects to just help Mu Gyul move into his new place. She follows him around, and they wander Hongdae picking up discarded items and using it to furnish his pad. Mu Gyul clearly has a love of graffiti and spray paint, which he uses liberally to personalize his place with music and rock slogans. We find out when Mae Ri asks that he has not yet done his military service. [And Mu Gyul is sitting on a home-slung swing during the exchange that is giving me ridiculously hot and NC-17 images in my brain – which I must wash with bleach afterwards].
Mae Ri admires his home music studio, and is informed that all these items are Mu Gyul’s lovers. So he loves his music that much, huh? Not for long, buddy, not for long. Mae Ri wonders where the TV is, and is disappointed that she can’t watch her dramas since Mu Gyul has no TV. She promises to sit, rest, and read for a bit before heading home.
Jung In reports to his dad that Mae Ri is different than most girls he’s met, and his dad asks him to treat her well since they will be married (dad is clearly thinking his boy is going to win out in the end). Mae Ri’s dad pays off his creditors with the money he received for selling his daughter off. Mu Gyul’s band mates all show up at his new place, and are impressed that it looks like the cozy love nest of a pair of newlyweds.
Mae Ri excuses herself to leave, with Mu Gyul shooing her and telling her not to come back tomorrow, but the band mates tells her to stay and to call her friends over as well for a housewarming party. Everyone marvels at how much Mae Ri’s life is like a drama – being married with one guy on paper, having a wedding ceremony with another guy. They tell the couple to just get married for real! These drunken friends are the best!
Mu Gyul heads out to get more drinks, and Mae Ri cleans up the party and leads the band mates to exclaim that she’s already acting like a wife. When Mae Ri goes outside to deposit the trash, she meets an older woman looking for Mu Gyul. They think she’s his noona girlfriend since she’s super cozy with Mu Gyul and even plants a kisser on him.
The band mates inform the girls that the lady is Mu Gyul’s mom, who had him when she was 17 and is constantly getting into scrapes and needs Mu Gyul to bail her out. They all note that Mae Ri and Mu Gyul have the same parental issues. Mu Gyul comes back after taking his mom elsewhere, and notices the mood is weird. Both Mae Ri and Mu Gyul declines to drink tonight (she because she gets into trouble when she drinks, he because he has work to do later), which results in another chorus of “you two are so married already!”
They entire gang starts playing a drinking game, which leads everyone to discover that (1) Mae Ri has never dated or kissed a guy, and (2) Mu Gyul has dated hundreds of girls since high school, and kissed the most amongst the entire group. They also discover that Mu Gyul is the type who doesn’t leave the apartment for one month if he’s in love (omo omo omo, what did I say about these two potentially spending 100 nights in bed if they really fell in love). Mae Ri ends up having to do shots and gets totally hosed.
Mu Gyul drives Mae Ri home, and has to piggyback her quite a ways when his van breaks down before arriving at the destination. Mae Ri is an animated drunk, loudly declaring that she won’t marry that polite bastard. Mu Gyul grumbles that she sure is heavy for such a small thing. He makes her promise that this will never happen again. One of the things I adore about them two is how often Mu Gyul refuses to do something Mae Ri asks, but then ends up doing it now and again in the future. He literally is inadvertent putty around her.
While Mu Gyul has Mae Ri on his back, he answers a call from his mom (whom he calls both Seo Yeon, her name, as well as omma), and his tone and attitude is warm and loving to this woman who must love him but can’t help but be a burden to him. Mae Ri launches into her drunken soliloquy to her dad – she loves him, knows that it was hard for him to raise her as a single parent, and she wants to pay off his debt by enduring this 100 day arrangement even though she’s thought about running away, but she’s looking forward to living happily after its all over, whereby she can get her degree and a job. Mu Gyul listens to her speech, and is clearly affected by it, perhaps hitting close to home with his own situation with his mom.
When Mu Gyul drops Mae Ri off into her dad’s hands, her dad uses this chance to ask him whether anything has happened between them. Mu Gyul looks directly into her dad’s eyes and confirms that nothing untoward has happened between them, which reassures her dad. Mu Gyul comes home and starts a music composition session, where we hear him start the background music for My Precious. He flashes back to a conversation with Mae Ri where she asks him what type of music he wants to make. When he answers that he wants to make music with no lies, she happily replies that his music must be honest and with sincerity then.
Mae Ri goes to work the next day late (after her dad gives her a guilt trip for staying out late with Mu Gyul and getting drunk), and passes by the bitch manager who gives her a dirty look. Jung In tells her to go home, since she’s not feeling well. Today Mae Ri doesn’t budge, and tells Jung In to give her actual work. Since she has no intention of staying married to him after 100 days, he might as well get some service out of her at work. She’s capable of doing anything, and nothing is beneath her.
Mae Ri goes to help out on the teaser poster shoot for the drama, which is based on the story of a rock star and his girlfriend. During a break from the poster shoot, Seo Jun listens to Mu Gyul’s Take Care, My Bus, and scrolls through happy pictures of them on her phone. She looks wistful, and decides to up her courage and calls Mu Gyul.
Mu Gyul answers her call with a long time no talk, how’ve you been? She informs Mu Gyul that she accepted a new drama, which is about a rock band. He tells her that with a new drama lined up, the battle will commence again. He wishes her the best of luck. There’s a bit of awkward silence as they haven’t spoken in awhile, and Mu Gyul finally ends the call by having to go perform.
Mae Ri brings water for Seo Jun, which pleases her since Mae Ri brought the type that she likes. Mae Ri reiterates that she’s a fan, and that her favorite movie of Seo Jun’s was an indie movie she did two years ago. Seo Jun is surprised that Mae Ri has seen that movie, since it wasn’t very well know. Mae Ri liked her character in the movie, since she also sang. Seo Jun confesses that’s why she accepted this drama, which has a music concept.
Mae Ri leaves, and the bitch manager comes by and bad-mouths Mae Ri to Seo Jun, falsely accusing Mae Ri of extorting this job out of Jung In by agreeing not to publicize the incident in the hotel. Seo Jun initially doesn’t believe her, but an incident in the bathroom leads Seo Jun to think that Mae Ri is a two-faced witch. Another employee is speaking ill of Seo Jun in the rest room, and when she walks out, Seo Jun exits a stall having overheard the call but thinks that it was Mae Ri talking badly of her. She slams Mae Ri’s phone against the mirror and stalks out.
Seo Jun storms out of the shoot, and Jung In follows her to the club where she’s gone to watch Mu Gyul perform. Mu Gyul sings My Precious on stage, and attracts the attention of Jung In. This song gets cut short since the band is short one member. He follows up with a performance of Take Care, My Bus and Tell Me Your Love, and I’m so loving all these songs and his onstage persona. So is Seo Jun, who watches her ex and moons over him.
Jung In waits outside for Mu Gyul, and gives him his card. Mu Gyul’s not interested and walks away, and Jung In tells the remaining band members that he’s conversely not interested in them. The band goes drinking, and one guy tells Mu Gyul that he’s better than being in this band with them. He can go places with his looks and talent, but Mu Gyul has no interest other than having fun (though we glimpse that he’s got other issues percolating behind this reluctance to become successful).
The band staggers out drunk, and Mu Gyul goes his separate ways. He repeats the refrain Mae Ri had asked of him outside the police station – between love, loyalty, and hope, what is the most important thing? He flips open his phone to find a text-message from his Merry Christmas. He reads the text and smiles.
Mae Ri thanks Mu Gyul for yesterday, and apologizes again for being a bother, she tells him to rest today, she reminds him that he said he doesn’t drink when he needs to work, so he’d better not have drank today, just because he’s young doesn’t mean he should drink so much, he should watch his health if he wants to play music until he’s good and old. If that isn’t a text from a girl who adores you, I don’t know what that is, Mu Gyul-yah.
He calls her back but her phone is turned off. Jung In walks up to Mu Gyul at this very moment, when husband #1 is calling the wife without husband #2 even realizing it. God, this drama is going to have so many epic moments like these, isn’t it? Back at the studio, Mae Ri goes right up to Seo Jun and tells her that it was a misunderstanding, she did not bad-mouth Seo Jun in the bathroom. When Seo Jun asks who did then, Mae Ri refuses to out the person, only stating that Seo Jun’s misunderstanding was understandable and she won’t hold it against Seo Jun. She offers her a hot dinner and her favorite mineral water, and Seo Jun accepts it with grudging respect that Mae Ri is so forthright and confident.
Back at the table of husbands, Mu Gyul asks Jung In if he knows what their band is? Jung In understands the indie band label, and promises that he isn’t like all the other mainstream labels which seek to suck the creativity out of their indie cred. Jung In wants the sexy and mesmerizing Mu Gyul who performed on stage, but Mu Gyul scoffs that sooner or later he’ll have to don the ridiculous outfit in the end and lip sync.
Jung In goads Mu Gyul with a challenge that he should have faith in his own talents, not just in his looks. Isn’t the rock star cred all about the rock star attitude? They drink to Mu Gyul questioning how a money-grubbing businessmna like Jung In would know anything about the rock attitude. The next day, Mae Ri walks home after working all night on the photo shoot. He dad won’t let her rest and send her to Jung In’s house for her day of marital servitude.
And…..what follows is K-drama’s slashiest scene EVER. The camera pans down in Jung In’s bedroom, to reveal a shirtless Mu Gyul sprawled on the bed. Mu Gyul stretches (OMG), and then sits up to look around. Jung In walks in, hair wet from the shower, dressed in a short black bathrobe. Mu Gyul wonders where the heck is this place, and Jung In asks whether he remembers last night. Mu Gyul thinks back and remembers that Jung In was supporting him home, and he mentioned how he hates the cold but his place doesn’t have a heater. How the heck does “my place is butt-ass freezing” result in Mu Gyul naked in Jung In’s bed is beyond the logic of mere mortals like myself.
Mae Ri tiredly walks to Jung In’s house. She hopes that the polite bastard has gone to work already, and she can spend the day sleeping at his place. Jung In offers Mu Gyul some water, and finds out that he produces all their songs at home. Mae Ri wanders in and lays down on the sofa to rest, when she hears Jung In’s voice (asking Mu Gyul if he’s alright).
Mu Gyul answers that he drank too much last night is all. And when Jung In asks if Mu Gyul remembers what he wanted last night, Mu Gyul’s response that Jung In wanted him very much jolts Mae Ri awake. She thinks to herself – so he really IS gay? Mae Ri sneaks up to catch Jung In in action, not out of curiosity (that would be ME and the rest of the universe), but hoping that it would void their contractual marriage if Jung In were to be gay.
She hears the conversation – Mu Gyul says that it appears they both need each other, with Jung In responding that they would make great partners. Mae Ri walks in at this very moment, and recognizes the naked guy on the bed as her not-so-husband Kang Mu Gyul. She points her finger at him and says “Mu Gyul-yah” and he looks back at her and recognizes his Merry Christmas. Mu Gyul actually gets embarrassed and wraps himself securely in the bed sheet and asks what she is doing here.
Jung In asks how they know each other? Mae Ri rushes up to her on-paper husband and announces that the guy she thought was his gay lover is actually her husband! Jung In looks as Mu Gyul and calls him the-wedding-ceremony one (husband), and Mu Gyul points at Jung In and calls him the-registered-the-marriage one (other husband). Mae Ri rushes on the bed and calls out to Mu Gyul “chagi-yah” (otherwise known as honey in English).
Thoughts of Mine:
If I told you I only watched the last scene of episode 3 of M3 a few times, I would be lying through my teeth. I’ve watched it too many times to count, and each time the farce gets even more ridiculous and hilarious until I’ve lost all sensation in my belly from laughing too much. Yes, catching your husband in the bed of your other husband has DEFINITELY never been done before in the history of K-dramas (or in the history of television, for that matter). How M3 makes the whole two-fake-marriages thing work so well and continuously drops the characters into ever more convoluted situations is a work of K-drama art.
If I was a tad apprehensive about M3 from the first two episodes, all the apprehension has gone out the window. Other than the dual elementary plot thread dealing with the drama production, and Mu Gyul and the band’s musical future, the entire drama revolves around Mae Ri juggling her two husbands. And that is more than enough plot and drama substance for me.
I love how Jung In’s role is finally upped in this episode, and his character doesn’t disappoint. He’s polite, dispassionate, and unfailingly objective, which makes me curious about finding out what makes him tick and itching to see him discover his own emotions. Seo Jun is also not as stereotypically one-note bitchy as I thought she might be – she has a temper and a diva attitude, but she also has a thin shell and hidden insecurities. I would not be upset at all if Jung In and Seo Jun got together in the end, provided that such a pairing would have to be developed properly and feel organic to the story. For now, they continue to be interesting second leads with potential.
I cannot imagine a better way to spend an hour than in the company of Mae Ri and Mu Gyul, whether they are hanging out reluctantly, drinking, playing drinking games, getting drunk one or the other, and adding a second piggyback ride to the drama tally of K-drama clichés. It’s like the clichés sudden don’t feel tired at all for me to watch, because the twist and spin put on it being performed by Mae Ri and Mu Gyul make me SO HAPPY it negates the desire as a drama viewer for substance or originality.
This is when I realize that sometimes, as a viewer I want to be happy not because I am watching something ground-breaking or awe-inspiring, but because I am watching something that touches me. Every interaction between Mu Gyul and Mae Ri warms my heart, because it’s like watching two people subtly attracted to each other in a dual thread of friendship and poignancy.
I love how each time Mu Gyul says no to Mae Ri’s latest request, but he always acquiesces in the end because, well, she’s adorably Mae Ri. The drama is so meta in acknowledging all these wink wink audience reactions and builds it into the story. The ending of this episode was especially such a giant fan service to slash fiction around the world that hopes the two male leads end up together, and be discovered in flagrante delicto by the female lead.
So now the cat’s out of the bag – all three participants in the fake marriage sweepstakes knows everyone’s identity. And I bet my life savings that Mu Gyul will indeed go work for Jung In and produce that drama OST, otherwise there would be reason to keep everyone (including the still in-the-dark Seo Jun) in close proximity.
I am not complaining, for what is the point of plot devices except to make the viewer happy with one situation after another that creates conflict and or heart-pumping moments. I foresee lots of both coming up. This drama really is so much silliness in concept, but the execution is kept so mellow and chill that it tempers the tendency for such a drama to be OTT or excessively comedic. I think M3 is slowly but surely hitting all the right notes with me, and I couldn’t be happier.
Today’s episode of M3 rose a bit in ratings, hitting 9%. I am now firmly of the belief that trendy rom-coms are never going to do above mid-teens in ratings. Regardless, I’m happy this drama appears to have a solid if smallish audience. I personally think my squealing counts as multiple votes in tabulating the ratings, if I lived in Korea and my vote counted.
[Credit: all screencaps from Baidu Mary Stayed Out All Night bar]