Drama Review: Mary Stayed Out All Night

In an attempt to declutter my hoards, I decided to return to complete watching some of the old Korean drama series I owned before deciding what to do with them i.e. banish to a dark corner of the store or dispose of them. And I started with ‘Mary Stayed Out All Night’  (매리는 외박중), a drama aired on KBS from Nov to Dec 2010.

Mary Stayed Out All Night

Right from the start, it was a conscious effort made not to watch ‘Mary Stayed Out All Night’. Going to offend a lot of fans out there, but I’m going to say it out loud anyway – I am not a Jang Geun Suk (장근석) fan. He was rather impressive in Beethoven Virus (베토벤 바이러스) but I just could not watch him after he changed his style completely and grew his hair out. Men with long mane generally don’t work for me; even the ethereally hot Brad Pitt as Tristan in Legends of the Fall only marginally made my cut. And that was the Brad Pitt.

Then I caught snippets of a particular episode on TV recently and found the storyline rather interesting and Jang Geun Suk tolerable enough to watch the entire drama. Strangely though, I found Moon Geun Young (문근영) to be exceedingly annoying in the drama. Her usual depth of acting was nowhere to be found, instead she was reduced to this childish to-be graduate who just irritated me senseless while her co-actor behaved like a petulant boy time and again. Her father and his mother were worse. A few episodes into the drama and I was so ready to drop it completely. What kept me going was the cool cucumber Kim Jae Wook (김재욱) who was acting as the long-suffering ‘official’ fiancée of Moon Geun Young’s character. In my eyes, he could do no wrong. 😆

But, that is not to say that I do not appreciate how the writer skilfully juxtaposed the family background of the three protagonists – Jang and Moon’s characters had impossibly irresponsible single parents while Kim and Moon’s characters shared a common theme of growing up in a family without a nurturing mother, albeit her in a pauper family and him in a wealthy, triad-connected one. It was nice how the script emphasised on their different backgrounds, but they were ultimately the same, growing up in incomplete families that couldn’t see to their emotional needs.

I was rooting for Kim’s character to end up with Moon’s character, but taking a look at the cast and one could tell it was not going to happen. This drama reaped in a rather poor show of ratings, prompting the writer to leave mid-way (Episode 11 thereabout). I didn’t know about it till I was watching Episode 13, or 14. The change in writer style was very apparent, because I felt the whole pace and feel of the drama changed right about when the original writer ditched it. It became very predictable in the final few episodes, and at the end of it I was left wondering if the original writer might have done a better job wrapping things up.

I guess it’s true that the older one gets, our likes and dislikes become much more deeply-seated and we become less accepting of anything that goes against our personal values, viewpoints etc. Totally true. My impression of Jang Geun Suk did not improve one bit after finishing the entire drama. Worse, my impression of Moon Geun Young completely crashed to rock bottom so much so that I’m not even sure if I will want to watch her future works.

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