It’s getting harder for My Lovely Girl (My Lovable Girl) to sell the preordained OTP when the narrative starts to tie Se Na and Shi Woo together in mutual success or failure. Sure the rise and fall of AnA hinges on developing new talent to fill the void left by the departure of Infinite Power, and conveniently that option combines Se Na songwriting with Shi Woo singing. Even then the problems facing Hyun Wook feel like a different beast than the incipient starting out struggles that Se Na and Shi Woo share, the insecurity combined with desire to please. Never have the lead couple felt this palpably in different stages of their life, making the warmth of their affection settle into the familial without evidencing the sexual.
I can buy Se Na’s crush on Hyun Wook, who wouldn’t like the kind and straight talking daddy long legs over the rude bristly boy just out of short pants, but that doesn’t mean the narrative sells it a step further into an inevitable romantic entanglement. For now the drama briskly gets Shi Woo prepping for his solo debut while Se Na nets her first big break, bringing with their tentative step forward the too real potential for more setbacks barreling towards them in the form of Jae Young, Hyun Wook’s dad’s messy affairs, and Hae Yoon starting to see Se Na as a potential rival to keep an eye on and her claws ready for.
Episode 6 recap:
Shi Woo finds Se Na on the roof after she finishes listening to the revised track with Hyun Wook. He asks her why she’s always making people’s heart flutter which Hyun Wook takes in with some consternation. Hyun Wook and Hae Yoon walk up to ask whether Shi Woo has made up his mind on going solo? Shi Woo has two days to think so he’s going to use it before pulling Se Na off with him.
Shi Woo takes Se Na to a noraebang to sing and relieve his stress. Shi Woo wants to sing for Se Na and explains that when he was with Infinite Power he would at most sing 40 seconds so it’s strange for him to sing an entire song. Se Na grabs the selection book and rifles through it to quickly pick a song for Shi Woo to sing. He finds her choice a song he likes and gets up to sing.
Hae Yoon and Hyun Wook sit down to dinner and she’s can’t understand why Shi Woo would be looking for Se Na at a time like this. He knows everyone at the company is worried about him, he should be looking for them. Hyun Wook tells her to eat and Hae Yoon places banchan before Hyun Wook with items that are good for hearing. They dig in but Hyun Wook is clearly not unaffected as he remembers Shi Woo telling Se Na that she has an ability to make his heart flutter.
Se Na listens to Shi Woo sing but her mind is on Hyun Wook telling her that he makes his heart flutter when he listens to her song. Shi Woo finishes singing and gets an abysmal score of 46 which makes Se Na laugh that he needs more practice. Shi Woo tries to cling onto his IP cred but a call from Rae Heon interrupts the moment. Rae Heon impatiently barks at Shi Woo to get his mom away from outside his house right now!
Shi Woo rushes out with Se Na following. They arrive at Rae Heon’s house to see Shi Woo’s mom pleading with Rae Heon’s mom to ask Rae Heon to take Shi Woo along with him as part of Infinite Power. Rae Heon’s mom shoos Shi Woo’s mom away and is about to call the cops when Shi Woo arrives. Rae Heon’s mom orders them to leave and Shi Woo drags his mom off.
Shi Woo’s mom is so worried that the three IP members are continuing on without Shi Woo and wants to help him not be excluded. Shi Woo yells at his mom not to worry about him and if he can’t make it as an idol then he can work construction jobs, no matter what he will make money to support his mom.
Se Na interrupts Shi Woo yelling at his mom to butt out. Shi Woo storms off and Se Na offers to get Shi Woo’s mom a taxi to go home. Mom is fine and wants Se Na to go after Shi Woo and take care of him, he’s clearly needing some comfort right now.
Se Na finds Shi Woo brooding by the car and chastises him for being rude to his mom back there. It’s clear his mom was worried about him yet he went to the noraebang to sing. Shi Woo has no choice because he couldn’t think clearly in the hotel room. Se Na argues that he should discuss things with his mom but Shi Woo can’t, his mom is not someone he can share burdens and worries with and instead is a burden for him to carry. Family represents people he needs to take care of.
Se Na says she’s disappointed in Shi Woo and he retorts that she’s never thought highly of him from their first meeting. Se Na started to have some expectation of him because he was the first person to sing her song but now she’ll stop with those unlikely hopes. Se Na walks off while Shi Woo seethes, and when she changes her mind and walks back, he’s already gone.
Se Na calls Hyun Wook to apologize for losing track of Shi Woo and for not sticking by his side. Hyun Wook asks her not to worry since Shi Woo is his responsibility. Hyun Wook is about to say more but ends the call. Hae Yoon asks Hyun Wook what’s going to happen with Shi Woo and Hyun Wook remains chill and says Shi Woo has until tonight to show up or not.
Shi Woo cries in the car as he remembers Rae Heon’s mom being rude to his mom, and how Se Na started to have expectations of him.
Hyun Wook is playing tablet games in the AnA office as Hae Yoon keeps him company. She’s still worried about Shi Woo and can’t believe he’s so nonchalant about it. Hae Yoon moves over to sit next to Hyun Wook who puts his hands on hers to show her how to play the game. Shi Woo arrives and is upset that Hyun Wook never called to keep convincing him. Hyun Wook didn’t want to pressure him and let him decide. Shi Woo has decided to go solo so Hyun Wook sends him home to rest up before a very taxing schedule will start. Shi Woo is surprised that plans are already in place for his solo career and Hyun Wook laughs that he wouldn’t have made the offer if plans weren’t already in place.
Hyun Wook calls Se Na to report that Shi Woo has decided to go solo. Se Na’s happiness leads Hyun Wook to ask why she cares so much about Shi Woo? Se Na retorts that she was more worried about someone else. Hyun Wook walks over to Se Na and turns out he’s standing right there on the phone with her. They end their call and converse in person. She hears that Hae Yoon went home and sasses about how in dinner went? Hyun Wook claims he was distracted worried about Shi Woo. He asks back what she did with Shi Woo and hears they went to a noraebang. Se Na is certain that Shi Woo didn’t agree to go solo because of her since they always argue when they see each other.
Joo Hong and her boyfriend are walking home when they run into Se Na and Hyun Wook talking on the bench. Joo Hong drags her boyfriend over to make small talk before inviting Hyun Wook to have drinks and snacks at their place. Se Na declines for Hyun Wook since he just said he was tired but Hyun Wook is totally energetic now and especially happy to hang out with neighbors.
SBS must own a chain of fried chicken stores plus a beer brand because once again it’s the late night snack of choice. Joo Hong’s boyfriend is disappointed to hear from Hyun Wook that AnA doesn’t currently have plans to rep actors and admits that is his dream. Joo Hong compliments her model boyfriend as having the looks and talent to make it as an actor. Joo Hong toasts to Se Na and doggie flower boy which makes everyone pause so her boyfriend adds a toast for AnA repping actors soon.
Joo Hong’s boyfriend is the first to pass out drunk while a tipsy Se Na claims she has great tolerance and proceeds to toss peanuts into her mouth and instead hits Hyun Wook with it. Hyun Wook orders Se Na to stop it with the peanuts but she refuses to stop. Joo Hong laughs that Se Na used to call Hyun Wook a bastard but not anymore, he’s doggie flower boy since he repaid her debt and gave her a chance at her dreams. Joo Hong brings up how Se Na is a very tragic young lady, her older sister died and then her mom died from the heartbreak.
Se Na doesn’t feel pity for herself, she’s living well now and her unni is even more tragic than her. Her unni died and her boyfriend didn’t even attend her funeral. Joo Hong rages at that bad guy which wakes her drunk boyfriend up and she hauls him inside to bed. Se Na plops backwards and sleeps right on the floor while a solemn Hyun Wook stares at her. He reaches out to lightly stroke her face but when she stirs he pulls his hand back.
Hyun Wook drags Sang Jin out for drinks and a weary Sang Jin asks what Hyun Wook needs to unload on him this late in the night. Hyun Wook wants to get raging drunk and needs Sang Jin to take care of him. Sang Jin suggests calling Hae Yoon to do this job but Hyun Wook stops him. Hyun Wook sadly brings up why he did that, why he didn’t tell Se Na the whole truth from the very start. Sang Jin suggests that Se Na would not accept Hyun Wook’s help if she knew the truth so he needs to keep this secret until the end.
Shi Woo holds a press conference at AnA announcing his departure from Infinite Power and pursuit of a solo career. The management team meets to discuss the positive feedback to Shi Woo going solo and his large contingent of female fans will be supporting him. Director Kang brings up preparing a great first solo track for Shi Woo and suggest Hyun Wook pen it. He assures the team that the track will be ready soon and wants to release it on the same day when Infinite Power drops its first track as a trio. He orders Hae Yoon to hurry up with getting Shi Woo’s visual concept ready.
Hyun Wook marches to the recording studio and orders Se Na and the mixer to work even more on Se Na’s song to tighten up the melody. It’s very promising and he has a use for it coming up soon.
Sang Jin gives Shi Woo voice lessons and advises him to stop over-thinking it and relax his muscles so he can hit the high notes. Shi Woo tries and Sang Jin asks for a break, he can hear from the voice that Shi Woo practiced all night and needs rest. Sang Jin reports to Hyun Wook that Shi Woo is too tense right now which is why he can’t sing at his full potential. Mina walks up asking to speak with Hyun Wook.
Hyun Wook’s dad reads the Shi Woo news and angrily calls Director Kang for the news reports not being writing properly. Hyun Wook interrupts and tells Director Kang to do nothing and reminds his dad that he’s in charge of AnA now. Dad thinks Director Kang is in Jae Young’s pocket which is why his media work is slacking. Hyun Wook doesn’t want his dad to worry about the company and be more concerned about what is going on at home. Hyun Wook reveals that Mina shared her worries about the home situation so Hyun Wook orders his dad to keep his scandal from Mina or else risk losing his daughter.
Hyun Wook declines dinner with his dad and after he leaves, Hyun Wook’s stepmother laughs at her husband for being a lonely old man that no one wants to spend time with. She leaves refusing to make him dinner and snarks that he likes being alone when he’s at home anyway.
Se Na and the sound mixer are working late into the night but she sends him off to rest seeing that he’s tired. She wonders how to capture the feeling a man might have in the song?
Se Na hears Shi Woo practicing alone in the dance studio and goes inside to chat with him. She asks if he’s made up with his mom and he doesn’t see the need since they are family. Se Na points out that children want to be filial only after losing their parents. Shi Woo asks if her parents are dead and hears Se Na’s dad has not been in touch while her mom passed away.
Se Na changes the topic to ask Shi Woo’s advice on how to write a song that captures a man’s feelings? Shi Woo stares before leaning in really close to Se Na’s face and staring. She pushes his head away since that’s no help in her writing the lyrics. Shi Woo suggests she reverse her song to expressing when a man likes a woman. Se Na gets that but doesn’t know how a man feels when he likes a woman. She wants to know what he was feeling when he liked Ra Eum but Shi Woo claims he doesn’t remember anymore.
Se Na plays the remixed song for Hyun Wook with the new lyrics and he plays coy for a few beats before smiling at her and complimenting her on the arrangement and new lyrics. He asks the sound mixer to change it up for a man to sing it.
Hyun Wook plays one fast song along with Se Na’s new song for the management team and discussion goes to which song better fits Shi Woo’s first track. Hae Yoon wants Shi Woo’s first song to have a sexy image but Hyun Wook points out Jae Young will be doing that for Infinite Power so they need to differentiate Shi Woo. Everyone votes on the various songs and the majority choice is the song written by Se Na. Director Kang is angry that Hyun Wook didn’t tell them beforehand but another director doesn’t care since Se Na’s song was the one everyone liked.
Hae Yoon follows Hyun Wook out and tries to urge him not to use Se Na’s song because it’s too risky especially at a time like this. Hyun Wook wants to go big or go home and asks Hae Yoon to trust his taste. He may not be able to write songs anymore but he can still determine what is good and what is not. Is there a reason not to use Se Na’s song just because she has no formal training or experience? He doesn’t want that to be a precedent here.
Hyun Wook goes to stop Shi Woo from over working himself before his new album comes out. Shi Woo wonders what problem Hyun Wook has with Jae Young that caused this rift. He never got along with Rae Heon and those guys but what happened with Hyun Wook and Jae Young? Hyun Wook doesn’t explain but called Se Na inside to tell both of them the good news that Se Na’s song has been chosen as Shi Woo’s first single.
Se Na excitedly runs out to talk with Hyun Wook but doesn’t bother him because he’s speaking with another person. She goes to call Joo Hong to share the good news.
Hyun Wook’s stepmother is at work calling the private eye she has tailing her husband and is upset that he just stays at home gardening. Director Kang finds her to hand her the money for the car accident. He asks if she’s okay since she doesn’t look well lately. Hyun Wook’s stepmom asks why Director Kang got divorced and hears his wife fell in love with another man and wanted to be with him. Hyun Wook’s stepmom doesn’t understand why Director Kang would let go like that but he sadly explains that they wanted to be together so he’s not going to stand in there way.
Joo Hong is ecstatic to share in Se Na’s joy and wants to hang out with her after work. Se Na instead wants to know the best restaurant in Gangnam and how much it costs. Joo Hong thinks Se Na wants to treat her but that’s not the case.
Sang Jin sings for Hae Yoon who is distracted thinking about her unrequited crush on Hyun Wook and how she feels so insignificant because of it. She doesn’t like seeing herself like this and Sang Jin chides her for being so depressing while he’s singing a love song. Hae Yoon apologizes and Sang Jin resumes singing.
Hae Yoon changes her mind and tells Hyun Wook that she agrees to use Se Na’s song. It’s best for the company that Se Na turns out to be talented and she trusts Hyun Wook’s taste. Hyun Wook gets a call from Se Na informing him to come to dinner at 7 and hanging up before he can answer.
Se Na waits for Hyun Wook and her face lights up to see him walk in, but then falls when Hae Yoon follows behind. She hears that Hae Yoon also wants to congratulate her and the two of them sit down. Hyun Wook and Hae Yoon discuss ordering champagne and Se Na freaks out to see the price. Hae Yoon assures her that it’s no problem since they will pay. Se Na insists on paying since she already offered and can pay as long as they don’t order champagne. Hyun Wook speaks up and tells the two ladies not to argue because he’ll pay for dinner so go ahead and order the champagne.
Hae Yoon congratulates Se Na on officially debuting as a songwriter and then asks why Se Na picked such a nice restaurant to invite just Hyun Wook out? She presses on and wants to know how Se Na and Hyun Wook met? If it was at the hotel then how did Hyun Wook know Se Na’s musical talent. Hyun Wook claims it was through multiple coincidences. Se Na finally speaks up and asks what Hae Yoon’s relationship is with Hyun Wook? He answers and explains that he’s known Hae Yoon for over ten years. Se Na wants to know if they are dating and Hyun Wook says no….not yet. He ends the dinner by telling Se Na to be happy that she is a songwriter and for Hae Yoon to be happy that there is a talented songwriter at the company now.
After dinner Hyun Wook offers to drive Se Na home but she declines to take the bus. Hyun Wook chides Hae Yoon for not acting like an adult back there but Hae Yoon pouts that Se Na could also act like an adult because she’s a songwriter now. Hyun Wook goes home and remembers Se Na leaving the restaurant to walk to the bus station. Dalbong comes up for a treat and Hyun Wook wonders if he’s over-thinking things?
Hyun Wook’s dad is gardening and gets a call to go out for a meet someone. Hyun Wook’s stepmother overhears this call and sends her private eye to tail him. The private eye reports back that Hyun Wook’s dad went to meet the rich sleazy investor at AnA. Hyun Woo’s stepmom angrily stomps on the plants to vent her frustration.
Shi Woo finds Se Na listless at her locker and wonders why she’s down? He’s feeling quite upbeat as he readies to record the new song. Shi Woo mentions the company gathering at the nightclub tonight and whether Se Na can go dressed like this? Se Na gets a call from Joo Hong and heads out.
Hyun Wook’s dad marches into the company and all the trainees get up to greet him. He chides all of them to take care of their health and train hard. Director Kang rushes down to see him but hears that he’s meeting with Hyun Wook today.
Hyun Wook and his dad meet to discuss Shi Woo’s upcoming solo launch. Dad wants him to pick the second song as the first track since so much money is on the line. Hyun Wook’s dad says the investors aren’t pleased with the second track and want the first track. They will withdraw their investment if Hyun Wook goes with the second track. Hyun Wook doesn’t care and plans to find new investors.
Hyun Wook’s dad yells that he built up the company in the last 30 years but Hyun Wook yells back that it was his dad who left the company in this situation. That’s why Hyun Wook’s dad wants to help now to fix things but Hyun Wook orders his dad to just watch from the sidelines. Dad claims he cares about Hyun Wook as his son but doesn’t Hyun Wook doesn’t believe it. For so long his dad has placed the company above his family. Hyun Wook wants to meet with the investors to discuss this but his dad says that is not necessary.
Joo Hong drags Se Na off to give her a makeover so she makes a splash tonight at the company gathering. Cue makeover scene! Sang Jin stops Hyun Wook from brooding in his office to attend the company gathering at the club.
Sang Jin and Hyun Wook sit at a table on the balcony while Hae Yoon reminds all the trainees to have fun but not drink too much before she joins them. Sang Jin offers his seat to Hae Yoon and after he stands up he spots post-makeover sexy Se Na walking across the way. Hyun Wook turns to stare and his eyes widen to see Se Na dressed like this. Hae Yoon takes in Hyun Wook’s expression at seeing Se Na.
Ra Eum finds Shi Woo missing the party and sitting alone in the recording room. She understands his nerves at a time like this and believes Rae Heon is also stressed at this time. Shi Woo wonders why she knows so much about Rae Heon since they broke up? Ra Eum knows so much because she wants Shi Woo to beat Rae Heon. She encourages Shi Woo to be stronger and suggests she’ll be sad if Rae Heon beats Shi Woo again.
Se Na dances with Sang Jin while a trainee pulls Hae Yoon onto the dance floor. She immediately gets a drink on her shirt and heads off to clean up. Se Na pauses from dancing to stare up at Hyun Woo sitting above. The scene slows down as the two of them just stare at each other in the dark and through the crowd. Hyun Wook suddenly hears the ringing in his ears and he darts outside clutching his head in pain. Se Na notices and runs after him.
Hae Yoon finishes cleaning herself up in the bathroom and runs into Jae Young in the hallway. He tells her not to misunderstand since he’s having a company launch party here today. Jae Young is here to give Hae Yoon news that AnA’s investor has withdrawn the investment so doesn’t she want to know why?
Se Na finds Hyun Wook sitting outside and suggests that he tilt his head while hopping up and down to help balance his ears out. As she’s hopping she trips on her sky high heels and Hyun Wook quickly steadies her in his arms.
Se Na takes the chance to thank Hyun Wook for everything as the two of them pause in the moment. Hae Yoon and Jae Young walk out just in time to take in this scene. Jae Young makes a pithy observation “Why does this bring back the same feeling of watching Hyun Wook fall in love with So Eun back then?”
Thoughts of Mine:
The no hidden cards storytelling of MLG keeps this drama easy to watch but then the unexpected elements arising from the production rather throw an interesting takeaway for the viewer. I really like Hyun Wook as a character, he’s got issues but he doesn’t lash out. He’s nice without being overly solicitous and keeps a firm hand when required to move things along. He both quietly enjoys Se Na’s company and watching her develop her talent, but keeps it polite between them without the prospect for more. Maybe he’s worried about liking her so has preemptively erected a barrier, or thinks she might be liking him so wants to keep her at bay. Either way he’s not muddying up his intentions with her and for that he’s coming across like the honorable guy in a sea of tools. The problem really is his existence on a plane above Shi Woo and Se Na, he thinks too much and knows way more than them, so they get to behave like young adults expressing feelings as it bubbles forth while he’s buttoned up to the forehead much like those ridiculous cravats and neck scarves the production keeps making him wear. He needs to express himself for me to really connect with how he is growing closer to Se Na, much like I totally buy into her crush on him. She likes him to the point of inviting him out to expensive dinners and being bold in questioning Hae Yoon’s relationship with him. Se Na shines in moments like that and it’s a shame Hyun Wook remains so bundled up around her.
The lightning fast progress of the Shi Woo solo career launch doesn’t bother me, why bother with the struggle to show him really learning to sing or upping his talent when we know he’ll get there anywhere. Same with Se Na’s songwriting growth, it’s pretty much a given that she has innate talent so the polishing portions can be glossed over and we’re not missing out on much. This drama isn’t selling the experience, it’s delivering nuggets of satisfaction and/or conflict in between slow jams where Shi Woo and Se Na bounce ideas and issues off each other or Hyun Wook and Se Na bond over her achievements at work. Hae Yoon would be a much more character for me if the original casting of Im Joo Eun went through, in that case I would unequivocally be calling for the OTPs to be switched up and the drama end with two couple sets. Having Hyun Wook spend so much time with Hae Yoon must be for something because I’m not particularly entertained by their conversations and instead find Hyun Wook’s chats with Sang Jin more meaningful. Episode 6 is a nice canvas for Se Na to finally shine a bit more and perhaps it’s her crush on Hyun Wook that starts to give her character more agency and personal investment in this story. I do continue to find Hyun Wook and Se Na wonderfully reassuring together but that does not a believable or spine-tingling romance make.
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