Last week, MBC announced that ‘We Got Married‘ would be ‘divorcing’ one of its married couples, Lee Jang Woo and T-ara‘s Eunjung. Their final episode was broadcast last Saturday. The following essay is a retrospective about the couple, and the program in general. We’ll miss you, Woojung.
‘We Got Married’ is possibly one of the cruelest shows on the planet.
Two strangers get together. They move into a house. They live together (if only in part). They fall in love (according to the editors). They dress up in wedding clothes. They get married. They kiss. Then, inevitably, it’s over.
And the only thing that’s left in the viewers’ hearts is an emptiness, where once there used to be a sort of giddy happiness every time Saturday rolled around. It’s the perfect fantasy.
Of course, ‘We Got Married’ is a fantasy. No reasonable person will deny that the show is purposely designed to tug at our heartstrings.
But even though we all know that it’s two people putting on a show, a part of our minds can’t help but think, “what if…?” and that’s what makes ‘We Got Married’ so powerful. It’s why we, as viewers, knowingly fall for their trap every Saturday, when we sit in front of our televisions (or computer monitors) and tune in to this on-going drama, fully knowing it’s not going to have a happy ending.
Because we can dream and we can indulge in our fantasies, if only for the briefest moment – that the couple on screen is actually dating, and perhaps they really fell in love. And our fanboy/fangirl hearts would be validated.
That never happens, of course. ‘We Got Married’ has a real-life track record of exactly zero percent. No couple that has ever ‘wedded’ on the show has ever gone on to become an actual couple.
Rumors abound – they were seen wearing identical bracelets! They locked eyes for a brief second! She smiled when a fan mentioned his name! Nothing ever comes out of it, though. And there’s always the press conference, where one inevitably says, “We were just friends.”
The more lovey-dovey a couple acts on ‘We Got Married’, the faster we fall into the fantasy pit. Which brings us to Lee Jang Woo and Eunjung.
It’s pretty darn obvious that the ‘Woojung’ couple has gone farther than your average ‘We Got Married’ relationship. Heck, they kissed – on the lips! – at a time when other couples would be holding hands for the first time. (‘YongSeo’ couple, I’m looking at you.) Even Nichkhun and Victoria didn’t kiss until … well, never, if my memory serves correctly. (Oh, they brushed. Nope, not kissing.)
To be honest, the show had fallen into a bit of a rut by the time Jang Woo and Eunjung came around. The three anchor couples from Season 2 – ‘YongSeo’, ‘Khuntoria’, and ‘Adam’ – were all gone or close to being gone, and with it went most of the program’s fandom. Korean ratings were dipping, and the producers knew they wanted a couple that would shake things up a bit.
I don’t know if the producers intended to have it this way, but Lee Jang Woo was possibly the best person they could have chosen to take ‘We Got Married’ in a new direction.
Let’s face it: men like women. In a primal way.
With previous couples, this aspect of male psychology was carefully hidden, out of the way, buried where distraught fangirls would never get to see it.
But Jang Woo, he embraced it. He gave male viewers (the whole five of them) a figure to identify with. He was like a burst of fresh air in a room clouded with suppressed dust.
I lost count how many times Jang Woo cracked a dirty joke, made Eunjung blush, and generally acted like a pervert (in a good kind of way). And every time that happened, male viewers smiled and said, “That’s what I would’ve done!”
No more goody-two-shoes husbands for ‘We Got Married’. Lee Jang Woo knew what he wanted and went for it. Eunjung, on her side, responded good-naturedly to Jang Woo’s playful side (“molkang molkang”) and it resulted in the creation of one of the most romantic, lovey-dovey couples ever. And for a while, they were the ‘ace’ couple of the show – before they fell into their own mannerisms and tired cliches, but that’s another story for another issue.
Unfortunately, we’ll probably never get to see Eunjung’s “molkang molkang” or Lee Jang Woo’s byuntae mode ever again. But if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that another couple will soon find their way into the show – with their own catchphrases, characters, and special moments.
And we, as viewers, are taken for a ride once again. A ride we hate, yet hate to love, at the same time.
To our readers…
What’s your favorite memory of the Lee Jang Woo – Eunjung couple? Share your story in the comments section below, and we’ll feature a few of the best and well-written comments in next week’s issue of TV Guide.
Here’s our recommendations on what to catch for the week coming ahead. Keep in mind that these picks are the writer’s personal choices; your own opinion may vary. All times in KST.
Monday, August 27
Come to Play ::: MBC, 11:15 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Kim Won Hee
Come celebrate ‘Come to Play’s very special 400th episode! Join Song Hae, Lee Juk, Yoon Do Hyun, Jo Young Nam, and a milieu of other special guests as this fabled talk show celebrates its milestone. Also, get up close and personal as Yoo Jae Suk delves into the audience seats to find out the truth about some of the invited guests! Don’t forget to come to play, on ‘Come to Play’.
Tuesday, August 28
Win Win ::: KBS2, 11:05 PM
Hosts - Kim Seung Woo, Tak Jae Hoon, Lee Soo Geun, Lee Ki Kwang
It’s the gymnastics queen Son Yeon Jae and weighlifting champion Jang Mi Ran on this episode of ‘Win Win’! Join them on their journey, starting from their humble beginnings but ending with an Olympics triumph, and their endeavors to even greater heights. Find out about their dreams this Tuesday!
Wednesday, August 29
Golden Fishery – Radio Star ::: MBC, 11:05 PM
Hosts – Yoon Jong Shin, Kim Kook Jin, Kyuhyun, Yoo Sae Yoon
[Preview not available at press time.]
Thursday, August 30
Happy Together 3 ::: KBS2, 11:15 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Park Myung Soo, Park Mi Sun, Shin Bong Sun
[Preview not available at press time.]
Friday, August 31
GO Show ::: SBS, 11:05 PM
Hosts – Go Hyun Jung, Jung Hyung Don, Yoon Jong Shin, Kim Young Chul
Friday night’s hottest talk show welcomes ‘Gentleman’s Class‘ actress Kim Jung Nan and actors Im Chang Jung and Choi Daniel! Learn the finer points of doing a kiss scene from Korean-American hottie Daniel Choi, and college friends Kim Jung Nan and MC Go Hyun Jung air out their differences. Plus, did Im Chang Jung stand up to his director on the set? Find out why on this week’s ‘GO Show’!
Saturday, September 1
Infinity Challenge ::: MBC, 4:00 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Park Myung Soo, HaHa, Noh Hong Chul, Jung Jun Ha, Jung Hyung Don, Gil
The race continues for the ‘Infinity Challenge’ members to get themselves to the lush tropical paradise of Hawaii! Having eliminated one member from the competition – poor Gil – what kinds of trickery, brains, and betrayals will the members have to endure to find themselves as the winner?
Sunday, September 2
[Note: last week, we mistakenly said that the Shinhwa vs. 2PM match was scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday, Aug 26. We apologize for the error - the preview two weeks ago specifically showed the two idol groups, which led us to believe it would be broadcast a week earlier than scheduled.]
God of Victory ::: MBC, 5:00 PM
Hosts – Kim Yong Man, Tak Jae Hoon, Kim Soo Ro, Noh Hong Chul, Kim Na Young, Lee Jae Yoon, Kim Jae Kyung
It’s the long-anticipated battle between ‘beast-dols’ Shinhwa and 2PM! Faced with a stunning array of challenges, games of skill, and draws of luck, the two top-tier idol groups compete to secure the title as the true ‘God of Victory’. Don’t miss the thrilling, show-no-mercy conclusion to their grand competition!
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