Live Your Best Second Life and Watch “Marry My Husband”

It takes a lot for me to recommend a show. I watch a lot of series that I’ve enjoyed, but I don’t necessarily want to recommend them for whatever reason. But Marry My Husband has me shooketh. I binged this over a matter of days, staying up until almost 3 am one night just because I didn’t want to stop and go to sleep. I have been excitedly demanding people in my real life watch it since I started it. (So far, no one has. They are all fired.)

Marry My Husband, based on the WEBTOON of the same name, is the story of Ji Won (Park Min Young, Her Private Life), who truly seems to have the most miserable life. Her mother left when she was a child, her father died young, she was bullied in high school and only has one friend, Soo Min (Song Ha Yoon). Her husband, Min Hwan (Lee Yi Kyung), is an unemployed lump, her in-laws are the worst. She has terminal cancer, with less than a year to live. And then she discovers that her husband is sleeping with her best and only friend.

Naturally, she confronts the two of them. During the confrontation, her husband pushes her, and because it’s a K-drama, she falls backwards onto a glass table and dies. But then, she opens her eyes, and it’s ten years in the past. She hasn’t yet married Min Hwan. She doesn’t yet have cancer. She has a second chance at life, retaining all the knowledge she has from her first one.

What grabbed me most about Marry My Husband is how cathartic and satisfying it is. One of my biggest complaints about a lot of K-dramas (and Thai dramas, and C-dramas) is that often the “villains” don’t really get the justice that I think they deserve. What tends to happen is that there is a last-minute redemption – toxic family members are forgiven, bygones are bygones, someone does something slightly not terrible and suddenly everything is fine. I know that this happens in real life, but in a drama, I want to see someone get slapped. I want to see people get put in their place.

That’s what’s so great about this show. Once Ji Won realizes that everything that happened in her first life has to happen – just not necessarily the same way – she begins planning how she can pass her awful fate onto Soo Min. She drags Min Hwan through the wringer (there are multiple slaps! as well as a supremely entertaining “meet the parents” dinner). She isn’t about to sit back and let them drive her to an early grave again.

By the way, Soo Min and Min Hwan absolutely deserve everything bad that’s coming at them. The longer the show goes on, the more Ji Won learns about how truly awful they are as individuals. And the two of them are such compelling villains because of the dichotomy that exists between their public and private faces. That’s why they’re so great as antagonists; they’re vile people, but they’re not cartoonishly evil. These are people who can and do exist in real life, and you’ve probably met one or two people like them.

Song Ha Yoon and Lee Yi Kyung are so good in their roles. Soo Min adopts a cutesy voice and girlish persona in order to manipulate people into doing what she wants, but you can see something sinister in her eyes. For most of the show, it’s relatively subtle, but as things start spiraling out of her control, she becomes more and more unhinged. And Min Hwan can effortlessly go back and forth between charming and violent. It’s actually kind of terrifying. And he never takes responsibility for the consequences that come from his actions. He’s a perpetual victim.

But Marry My Husband isn’t just about Ji Won getting vengeance. It’s about her living the life she would have had, were Soo Min not sabotaging her every step of the way. She makes friends with some of her other coworkers. She has a new, better love interest in her department’s general manger, Ji Hyuk (Na In Woo). She gets the stereotypical makeover. (Because this is an equal opportunity show, the male lead also gets a glow-up.) She starts taking advantage of opportunities at work.

Something that I love about Ji Won living her best life is that she isn’t even using that much knowledge of future events. She makes a few key stock acquisitions, in order to get enough money to leave Min Hwan, but for the most part, the good things in her new life come from her discovering her confidence. She spent so much of her first life convinced that she didn’t deserve anything better; now she knows that she does, and she’s determined to get it.

I absolutely love Park Min Young and will watch her in anything, though admittedly Her Private Life and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? are my favorites. Here she has amazing chemistry with Na In Woo; I invite them to step on me at their earliest convenience. I loved Ji Won and Ji Hyuk’s relationship, though he is keeping some secrets that end up causing problems later. I hate miscommunication as a plot device and could have lived without that, but I do like the fact that these two both have trauma that affects their behavior. Like, yes, they both make frustrating decisions, but you can see how they got to where they did.

I’ve already mentioned how entertaining our villains are, but the other side characters have their moments as well. I loved Hee Yeon, Ji Won’s coworker, who has such a positive impact on her second life. I loved the friendship that developed between those two and their other coworker, Joo Ran, which was so supportive and comforting. And I loved Eun Ho, Ji Won’s high school crush, who shows back up in her life and proceeds to just be adorable everywhere. Even Ji Won’s high school bullies had their role to play, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but it had me in stitches.

This show is the best kind of wish fulfillment. Who hasn’t wanted to go back in time and get the chance to re-do your life? Wouldn’t you want to get out of a terrible relationship before you got too trapped or downtrodden? Wouldn’t you want to cut toxic people out of your life before things were beyond repair? Well, now you can live vicariously through Ji Won.

Marry My Husband is 16 episodes and is currently streaming on Prime Video.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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