Despite my initial misgivings, Bride of the Century is awesome. Stupid and insane, but still awesome.
Airing on TV Chosun, a cable network that doesn’t churn out hits like tvN, and with no big names attached, Bride of the Century didn’t get a lot of pre-air hype. Luckily Dramafever picked it up and word of mouth has made it a hit, domestically and internationally.
The premise: Rich girl Jang Yi-kyung (Yang Jin-sung) is engaged to Taeyang empire heir Choi Kang-joo (Lee Hong-ki), but Kang-joo’s a dick (because what chaebol heir isn’t?) and her family’s making her marry him because they’re in debt. She gets fed up with Kang-joo’s crap and runs off, so her family is forced to find a replacement. Enter Na Doo-rim (also Yang Jin-sung), Yi-kyung’s doppleganger and a plucky country girl. She’s down on her luck, so the family pays her to be Yi-kyung until she returns. There’s also a curse on the Choi family that results in the death of the first wife of the eldest son. There’s also a ghost, fauxcest, and the run of the mill scheming moms and jealous second leads.
It sounds awful right? It should be awful and while I won’t say that BotC is the most amazing thing I’ve ever watched, it is pretty addicting.
First off, there’s the heroine Doo-rim. Yes, she’s a Candy, but she’s such a kickass Candy. She doesn’t take shit from anyone; not customers who try to cheat her, not loan sharks, and definitely not from Kang-joo. She twists his arm, headbutts him, bites him, and tells him off when he’s being a dick (which is all the time).
Na Doo-rim: kicking ass and taking names since 2014.
And let us not forget how she handles Yi-kyung’s frenemy and Kang-joo’s secretary/childhood friend, Lee Roo-mi. Roo-mi thinks she can’t live without Kang-joo, so she’s using whatever means necessary to sabotage this marriage.
Not if Doo-rim has anything to say about it.
She catches Roo-mi playing footsie with Kang-joo at dinner, so what does she do? She steals her shoe, like a boss.
Doo-rim’s “Don’t mess with my man or I will fuck you up,” face.
I know Roo-mi’s beef is actually with Yi-kyung, but I really want Roo-mi and Doo-rim to fight it out like in My Lovely Sam-soon. Watching Roo-mi get stomped would be so satisfying.
Though she’s a badass, she’s also adorable. She wins a cake eating contest to win a TV for her grandma.
She plays baduk with Kang-joo’s dad and they end up painting ink all over each other. She even gives Kang-joo’s great-aunt a piggy-back ride.
Overall, Doo-rim is just awesome. Please don’t let Doo-rim become a weepy, useless female lead in the second half!
I also adore Kang-joo. Honestly, when I saw the promo pics and posters, I didn’t realize the male lead was Lee Hong-ki. How did adorable, hyper Jeremy from You’re Beautful become the cold, serious, and kind of hot Kang-joo?
What a difference five years make!
Since he’s an ass, he must have some deep, dark tragic past, because that explains why all jerks are the way they are. Kang-joo was kidnapped by his tutor as a kid, so now he doesn’t trust people. And yet, that doesn’t keep him from cozying up to Yi-kyung, who seems like a completely different person these days.
Too bad Doo-rim rejects him at every turn (Another plus for Doo-rim for not putting up with this sexual harassment!)
How does Kang-joo not notice that bubbly Doo-rim is not the calm Yi-kyung? They were separated shortly after getting engaged and he was generally disinterested in her once he came back, treating her worse than gum on the bottom of his shoe, so it’s not that far-fetched, though you’d think he’d realize something’s going on.
Kang-joo wants to be in charge so bad and he was always treating Yi-kyung like crap, so it’s satisfying watching Doo-rim boss him around.
She makes him save cats.
And drags him to his brother’s idol showcase (Yes, Kang-joo’s brother is an idol and everyone in the family approves).
They get into a fight and when he tries to apologize, he is forced to watch a scary movie with her while she ignores his existence the entire time.
Of course Doo-rim’s not doling out pain all the time. She saves him from a tomato!
And…she gives him sweet potatoes!
Who am I kidding, Doo-rim just beats up Kang-joo all the time.
If only she gave him half the affection she shows fake oppa Yi-hyun.
Bride of the Century asks the question, is it okay to fall in love with your sister’s look-a-like if she’s only your half-sister?
Not….No, this is weird.
You know, if Yi-hyun actually had a personality and I didn’t have the feeling he had more than brotherly love towards his sister, I could ship this, but he’s boring and borderline creepy, so I don’t even see the point in this storyline. Oppa, you just keep being oppa and look out for Doo-rim, okay?
I have no idea why the ghost, who is supposed to be killing the brides, is so invested in getting Doo-rim and Kang-joo together, but I approve of everything she’s doing, even if it leads to the most cliche situations.
Good job ghost, keep doing what you’re doing.
Unfortunately for matchmaking ghost, there are way too many people invested in making sure this union ends in tragedy.
Unsurprisingly, the first one is Kang-joo’s mom. She believes in the curse, since she’s her husband’s second wife, so she’s making Kang-joo marry Yi-kyung, just to off her and bring in her beloved Roo-mi as the second wife.
But Kang-joo’s mom has nothing on Yi-kyung’s mom. Once she finds out about the curse, she hides her daughter and has Doo-rim brought in to die in her place. Then Yi-kyung will come back and take her rightful place as the mistress of Taeyang group.
Wait, how exactly do you plan to bring in Yi-kyung after Doo-rim dies? And if Doo-rim marries Kang-joo, how does that make Yi-kyung his wife?
Sense, it does not exist in this drama.
Initially I felt bad for Yi-kyung. Her family was using her, Kang-joo was mean to her, she had to put up with Roo-mi, and there was a possibility that she was going to die because of the ghost. When she ran off, I thought, good for her, I hope she finds a better life, but since she’s willingly going along her mother’s stupid idea, I could care less about what happens to her.
Though it’s played out like a rom-com so far, Bride of the Century is labeled as a melodrama, and with separation angst coming, I don’t know if all the love I’ve had for the first six episodes will carry into the next ten (or fourteen, since the episode count is apparently undecided) if it becomes a wailing, crying mess.
Oh well, at least there’s lots of fanservice.