JTBC’s new drama Can We Get Married? (우리가 결혼할수 있을까?) aims to depict the unvarnished truth about Korean marriage through the different stories of various couples.
In Korea, it is commonly thought that women should get married before they enter their 30s. Most parents want their daughters to not only get married by a certain age, but also to find a doctor, lawyer, CEO, or inheritor of a big conglomerate as a marriage partner. Meanwhile, parents want their sons to marry a woman who behaves modestly and devotedly, and also follows Korean wedding traditions.
One of the wedding traditions at the heart of the debate is that of wedding gifts, which the bride and the groom exchange before the wedding. Traditionally, wedding gifts were considered a show of appreciation for the new family member. But nowadays, a couple’s families often demand an excessive amount of expensive gifts, including designer clothing, diamonds, alligator skin bags, and so on. Plus, if the groom is considered successful both socially and financially, the bride’s family is expected to send out a large-scale gift—something along the lines of a car or house. Such a distortion of tradition is giving the younger generation the wrong impression about what a happy marriage really is. JTBC’s new drama Can We Get Married? deals with society’s current issues with marriage by portraying the life of 28-year-old Hye-yoon (played by Jung So-min), a bride-to-be with just 100 days left before her wedding.
The interesting part about this new drama is that it shows different takes on marriage through the viewpoints of various couples, including Hye-yoon and her mother, older sister, and her best friend. First, Hye-yoon’s mother Deul-ja (played by Lee Mi-sook), who had an unhappy marriage herself, wants to make sure life is different for her daughters. She raises her children on her own and has an inferiority complex about the lack of a male presence in her family. After her first child gets married to a successful surgeon, she turns her full attention to Hye-yoon, who wishes to marry an ordinary salary man.
Meanwhile Hye-yoon’s older sister, Hye-jin (played by Jung Ae-yoon), struggles from serious trust issues and begins to secretly prepare for a divorce from her husband Do-hyun (played by Kim Sung-min), a famous plastic surgeon and an unfaithful husband. Hye-jin’s wealthy but unstable marriage seems to indirectly respond to Deul-ja’s theory of “happy marriage”, which emphasizes money as the most powerful thing. As the stories develop, Deul-ja faces an inevitable challenge where she’s forced to oversee marriage and divorce for her two daughters at the same time.
Can We Get Married? illustrates the reality of marriage in detail to show problems that a couple must solve in order to become a family. Find out how Hye-yoon struggles to become a bride on Monday and Tuesday on JTBC at
Kimberly Yoon is a New Yorker who found her way back to Korea as a consumer market analyst. She loves music and guacamole, and has recently co-authored Winner’s Law: Innovation by ERI of KPMG Korea.