I actually love when drama titles are a cliche. They sound more self-aware and willing to say, “Yep, this is what we are.” The straightforwardness reminds me of American films like Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached. We know what we’re in for; we’re just waiting to see how the approach will be different.
Here, we have a widowed mother in need of a caretaker for her daughter after she finds out she’s sick, and a desperate rich boy in need of a wife willing to give her liver to his dying mother… And there we have our Marriage Contract. Needless to say, things can’t end well.
Male Lead: Ummm… He’s kind of a jerkface. It’s sweet how Han Ji Hoon (Lee Seo Jin) cares so much for his mom despite all the family issues, but the rest of the time, he’s just extremely judgmental and snappy. And even if he does show more of a kind side to his mom, he still does it in a cold, standoffish way, as if he’s always irritated. I understand though, since the people around him don’t exactly give him enough reasons to smile. Hopefully, that changes.
Female Lead: Ooh, UEE‘s acting seems to be improving. Good job, Unni. *thumbs up* I couldn’t see her playing the mother type, but she does come off very mature here. Her character Kang Hye Soo looks as if she has years of exhaustion weighing down on her shoulders, yet she’s fighting to stand upright for the sake of her daughter. And when she’s on the verge of tears from frustration or the unfairness of it all, I’m right there with her.
Side Characters: I’m not gonna sugarcoat this. Almost every single character, except Hye Soo and her daughter, annoys me on some level. From the loan sharks to Ji Hoon’s mother to his step-mother… They all just seem to enjoy either inflicting pain or wallowing in it. Yeah, there are a few nice helping hands out there, but the bad seems to outweigh the good in this case.
Story/Writing: The first episode did feel like makjang territory, what with the illegitimate son, the dying mother, etc, etc… But the story’s not all that bad. I do root for our female lead and I care enough for the male lead that I want to see him change for his own good. I’m just not sure how I feel about them as a real couple. At this point, I can’t tell if it’s because the writers made him such a jerk or because the two actors don’t have the right chemistry.
Overall Yay or Nay? Usually this kind of drama would be a nay for me. If the outcome seems depressing and I don’t see any way out of it, I try to save myself from that kind of heartbreak. However, once the first episode ended, I felt a little excited to see the next, and I didn’t expect that. I don’t know, maybe my tastes are changing, because I was able to power through Remember (another drama that clearly promised major depression right in the synopsis).
Worth Continuing? What the heck, I’ll go for it. I honestly can’t see a happy ending from where I’m standing, but I’m sure the two leads will both have some meaningful character growth along the way.
Right, Drama? *gives the side-eye*