Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Netflix original series Remarriage & Desires, released on the 15th, tells the story of revenge and desires at a top-class matchmaking agency Rex. Set in the marriage information agency (matchmaking agency) that only exists in Korea, the story revolves around the many desires surrounding marriage and love. Naturally, eyes are drawn to the familiar yet unique subject of marriage becoming a business, but unfortunately, the show fails to make good use of it.
The biggest factor that hinders viewers’ concentration is the setting that acts as the basis of the drama. The story of Remarriage & Desires begins when Seo Hye Seung (Kim Hee Seon) vows revenge against Jin Yoo Hee (Jung Eugene), who acts like nothing happened even after driving her husband to his death.
Jin Yoo Hee seduces her colleague, who’s also Seo Hye Seung’s husband, and together, they embezzle from the company. But she makes him take all the blame and even accuses him of sexually assaulting her. Drowning in pressure, Seo Hye Seung’s husband, who ended up taking the rap for Jin Yoo Hee’s crimes, takes his own life. Even after considering that Jin Yoo Hee is a villain in the story, her actions in this series of events are hard to understand. Even if she’s the type of person who’ll get her ways by hook or by crook, falsely accusing a man of being a rapist and using herself and her body as her weapon are just outdated and banal.
The same goes for the way Seo Hye Seung’s husband treats his wife and demands a divorce. Everyone around Seo Hye Seung only views her dead husband as a pitiful man who lost everything and sadly died because some wicked woman seduced him. As such, the show piles up settings that you can’t relate to from the start, and the unpleasantness you feel doesn’t get resolved throughout the story.
It’s not just Jin Yoo Hee. The old world views toward women pop up constantly. Rex CEO Choi Yoo Sun (Cha Ji Yeon) suggests Lee Hyung Jo (Lee Hyun Wook), a member of the highest-ranking Black, that he get a trophy wife to make him shine even more. How she says, “You should enjoy yourself after getting to where you are now,” makes women out to be just an item awarded to successful men.
Also, saying the line “A woman’s rank starts with her father’s wealth and is determined by her husband’s abilities,” she views marriage with a rich man as the means of success for women. Even though the characters in the drama have fancy jobs, women are portrayed as though they can’t do anything on their own, which is just peculiar. Moreover, there’s a scene where the mistress blames Seo Hye Seung, the victim, saying that it was her fault that she failed to protect her family and husband. It’s hard to believe that this drama was released around the world in 2022.
Even with all these “unacceptable” elements, had the show found a way to depict them interestingly, I’d want to keep watching it. However, Remarriage & Desires doesn’t showcase “enough fun” that’ll attract attention. The narratives that you’d see in soap operas flow out at a swift pace, so you wouldn’t find the overall story dragging, but since everything has to be sorted out in just eight episodes, the conflicts between the characters are drawn too thin and get resolved too abruptly.
In the drama, the love triangle between Seo Hye Seung, Lee Hyung Joo, and Cha Suk Jin (Park Hoon) is as important as Seo Hye Seung’s revenge, but everything about it is lacking. You can’t even tell when Seo Hye Seung and Lee Hyung Joo started to develop feelings for each other because the narrative between the two is drawn out too insipidly.
Additionally, the lines and the situations are full of cliches and the story is too predictable, so the drama doesn’t have what it takes to grab the attention. Rather, if Remarriage & Desires had visually exaggerated things and spiced up the already “spicy” stories like The Penthouse, The World of the Married, or Love (ft. Marriage & Divorce), it might’ve left a deeper impression.
Remarriage & Desires seemed to come to an end as Hye Seung successfully finishes her revenge and marries the new love, but at the very end, Park Ji Hoon walks into Rex, showing an open ending. It looks like it’s hinting at season two where Choi Yoo Sun, the owner of now-closed Rex, and Park Ji Hoon join hands, but will the show be able to get a green light for season two? If they do, I hope they come back with something better. (2/10)
Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.