Cunning Single Lady (Series Review)

Characters:

  • Lee Min-jung as Na Ae-ra
  • Joo Sang-wook as Cha Jung-woo
  • Kim Gyu-ri as Gook Yeo-jin
  • Seo Kang-joon as Gook Seung-hyun

Details:

  • Korean
  • 16 episodes
  • Original run: Feb 27 – April 24, 2014

Quick Rundown:

Na Ae-ra thought she found her “happily ever after” when she married Cha Jung-woo. Never did Ae-ra think that Jung-woo would quit his stable job to start his own tech business, and she’d become the sole provider for the family. After 4 years of marriage, the couple divorced and went their separate ways. Fast forward 3 years, and fate has them meeting again. Only this time, JW is the CEO of his own successful tech business and AR is still paying off the debts he accumulated during their marriage. Faced with the loss of her job, AR decides to become an intern at JW’s company. Little does the couple know that their past resentment for each other would slowly disappear as they become reacquainted, and realizes that the love they once shared still exists.

Our Takes

Anna: This was my actually my first kdrama after a lengthy hiatus from the drama world. In that regard, this was a perfectly fine, and mostly entertaining, drama to reintroduce myself to the themes of a romcom kdrama. While this was not the best drama that I’ve ever seen, I enjoyed it while I was watching it and looked forward to the next episodes. Lee Min-jung was particularly good in her role as the “scorned” wife of Joo Sang-wook’s character. Without her, this drama could have quickly dissolved into a big pile of shallowness. JSW’s acting, however, wasn’t quite up to par. I found him to possess only 2 real expressions: nervous laughter and a soulful stare into the distance. Besides the 2 main characters, the supporting cast didn’t really do much to contribute to the overall storyline.

My main gripe with “CSL” was the lack of real stakes that would affect the characters and their decisions. Most of the dramatic moments felt like a cop out when they would be quickly resolved, often within the same episode. The drama also never provided a clear cut answer as to why Ae-Ra became interested in Jung-Woo again, leading me to think that it was his newfound wealth, and not him, that she found attractive. Then again, I didn’t watch this thinking that I’d learn something profound about human nature, so maybe I shouldn’t criticize too much. “CSL” and its cute, albeit simple, charms are worth a viewing, but just don’t expect too much out of it. Maybe keep it playing in the background while you clean the house.

Estelle: I thought this drama was fun to watch, despite it being a little ridiculous from time to time. Joo Sang-wook was hilarious as the nerdy businessman eager to please his ex-wife, and Lee Min-jung was great at evoking sympathy from me. Seo Kang-joong as the secondary love interest was entertaining but I felt that he is almost too young for the role, therefore unconvincing. His charm might be put to better use in a school themed drama or something more suitable for his age. Kim Gyu-ri’s turn as the conniving evildoer left much to be desired, and her whole tragic backstory wasn’t put to use as well as it could have been. There wasn’t much scheming at all, and any obstacles were resolved quickly, which made it easy for me to enjoy, but might turn off some of you who like the main characters to endure a little more suffering before reconciliation. It is a light hearted piece. While I would not re-watch it any time soon, I just might pull it out when I’m on a dry spell or want something light and fluffy.

This & That:

  • L of the Korean boyband, Infinite, plays Jung-woo’s personal secretary.
  • Lee Min-jung is married to Lee Byung-hun in real life. He played “Storm Shadow” in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  • Gook Seung-hyun’s painting of Ae-ra and himself makes an appearance in the currently airing kdrama, Hotel King.
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