In a nutshell: A slice-of-life drama in which a young couple learns that the proposal (the question of the title is equivalent to N. America’s “Will you marry me?”) is the easy part. Getting themselves and their families to the actual wedding is the real test of their bond. I adored the main couple, loved the supporting characters and their stories, and found myself taking strong sides in the clash of the mothers (and being surprised by the side I took). But most of all, I found myself nodding my head at the challenges they faced while remembering my own wedding. Some things really are universal.
The epic cast: It’s the cast that drew me. Four of my favorite “actors to keep an eye on” were in this drama.
I’d caught her in Playful Kiss where her comic abilities and sheer likability pretty much carried the drama. And he won me (and so, so many others) in Shut Up Flower Boy Band. Then I watched him in White Christmas (probably my most favorite drama ever). It was an earlier role but a vastly different character. That he, yet again, played a vastly different role in Can We Get Married? means I’m pretty much guaranteed to watch whatever else he shows up in. (Actually, Sung Joon’s characters are so different from each other I’d kind of love to drop them all in a room just to see how they’d interacted.)
I’d seen her in Killer Girl K where she played a school-girl assassin and pretty much rocked the role. And he was also in my beloved White Christmas, playing an intriguingly disturbed character. Just like the leads, they both played vastly different roles from my first introduction to them. So just on a technical level I was pleased with the meaty characters the actors were able to sink their teeth into.
The clash of the mothers: Surprisingly, my favorite part of the whole drama was Hye-yoon’s mom, Deul Ja. I went in expecting to find her annoying — hopefully in a humorous way — but fearful she’d jump all over my nerves as the quintessential interfering mother. She certainly looked the part.
But by the time the drama ended I was fiercely in her corner. To an extent I doubt the drama-creators expected. Part of it, I’m sure, is how protective she was of her daughters. Tight-knit families always get me in right in the heart. Part of it was the actress, Lee Mi-sook. She did a wonderful job fleshing out Deul Ja, showing her insecurities and determination and the deep, deep love she had towards her family.
The insanity of weddings: Setting the story around wedding preparations was such a clever way to anchor the exploration of all the ties that bind — whether we want them to or not. By giving us the ready-made drama that is the mad attempt to blend two families the story was able to focus in on the characters without relying on crazy plot-twists to keep everything moving. Everyone gets thrown out of their comfort zone, out of their routine, and the drama leaves them in a much different place from where they started. And while I had my favorites and sides, the story itself was incredibly caring towards its characters. It exposed their weaknesses but didn’t mock them for it. Instead, I think, the point was more to illustrate that everyone has their various foibles; it’s the failure to recognize that fact that causes the most problems. Which is what made this drama so heartwarming and such a good watch.