Home K-Content Review of Remarriage & Desires Season 1: A theatrical, soapy story of...

Review of Remarriage & Desires Season 1: A theatrical, soapy story of retribution

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Desires Season 1

Remarriage & Desires is a fantastic illustration of why you shouldn’t judge a book or a television program by its cover or title. What the heck, Remarriage & Desires? That is dreadful. It’s just somewhat better than Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) in terms of terrible titles, and it creates the incorrect idea. The program does, in fact, deal with marriage, remarriage, and wants, but only as part of a soapy, theatrical retribution narrative that is aimed squarely at South Korean high society. Therefore, it isn’t really romantic.

In some ways, this is beneficial and in some ways it is awful. It’s understandable that Remarriage & Desires refrains from adding to the glut of sentimental romance in Korean drama, but when the show truly pushes into its antics, it runs the danger of sounding a little too cynical for its own good. Its interpersonal drama and fairly fantastical portrayal of affluent matchmaking, which includes human chess boards and masquerade parties, can verge on the ridiculous. However, the nuances of how marriage, particularly for social or political reasons, is so pervasive in Korean culture serve as a backdrop for a tale of retribution.

The first episode covers the most of the specifics. When Kang Nam-Sik ups and leaves Seo Hye-seung and their daughter Min-ji for a seductive coworker called Jin Yoo-hui, she thinks her marriage to him is rather steady. However, Yoo-hui is a con artist, and when Nam-sik becomes a little too serious for her taste, she damages his name in the industry and makes sexual assault claims against him. Nam-sik commits himself, but not before telling Hye-seung everything since he knows Yoo-hui has covered her bases to the point that he can’t defend himself against the charges.

By chance, Hye-seung and Yoo-hui are reconnected by the upscale matching agency Rex, and they start competing in nasty one-upmanship. This is only one of several interconnected subplots that Rex and its CEO Choi Yoo-sun are involved in. Tactical marriages link the economic and political worlds as everyone competes not just for a husband or wife but also for tremendous self-advancement and, in some cases, retaliation.

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