Of course I’ve seen bits and pieces of telenovelas before. In this drama obsessed country, they’re unavoidable. Remember the time when those flower boys, who had smoother armpits than real females, were on TV? They were so ever present that even the tattooed musclemen at the wet market secretly watched their show, but even then I did not watch in full. This series I’d watched recently was the first I’d completed.
|I'm guilty. I watched this drama. Feel free to disown me now.|
Lie to Me is the story of Gong Ah Jung, a civil servant who lies to her friends about being married. By some misunderstanding, it becomes widely circulated that she is married to the rich, stuck up business executive Hyun Ki Joon. The lie spirals out of control, turning their lives upside down.
In Korea, the story hit rock bottom ratings and some say it’s because of the implausibility of the plot. I’d argue though that viewers really look for the implausible. Otherwise, a show would approach real life so closely it’d have the appeal of a root canal. I dare say the secret to a series’ success is in the proper execution of the implausible.
This is where the series fails. Even the love story which is at the core of it all is forced upon our consciousness like Dionisia Pacquio in her latest gown disaster. The struggling civil servant and the snobbish executive are given little excuse to fall in love but we are required to accept it.
The rest of the characters and their relationships are equally underdeveloped, served uncooked to viewers, thereby causing some fair amount of food poisoning. To make matters worse, there is so much drinking going on that the show deserves the award for most characters under the influence of alcohol in a romantic comedy. It increasingly looked like the abundance of alcohol was a precursor to the crying parts. No alcohol, no crying.
Still, there must have been something in it to have made me watch up to the end. I must give the credit to Kang Ji Hwan (Ki Joon) and Yoon Eun Hye (Ah Jung). Ji Hwan is the anti thesis of the meek, feminine boys that are now taken as a standard for male beauty and yet he is smooth as silk himself. All of a sudden you realize that this is how you want your man to be, not some kid who’d gone gung-ho over his mom’s waxing kit.
If I were asked, “When did you realize you were female?” I’d say it was right when I discovered Kang Ji Hwan in Lie to Me. Prior to this I had no clue of my gender.
Eun Hye, though seemingly overpowered at times by the physically and emotionally charged Ji Hwan, is at her element and promptly makes short work of the comic relief that is her job to dispense like an old veteran.
Then there’s Jeju Island which they shamelessly exploit to set the mood for the perfect romantic close. The running from opposite directions to meet at the middle of a cliff overlooking the sea scene makes you want to hurl the writer (or director) over the cliff as a sacrificial offering to Poseidon, but Jeju ultimately tugs at your appetite for scenic beauty and before the credits roll, you’ve forgiven the writer.
But I would have forgiven the writer anyway even without Jeju Island because I know that the show’s primary goal is to entertain. If I wanted something more real, I would have just watched the six o’clock news.