[Review] Can’t Lose – 지고는 못살아


Judge: Presiding over the case of whether or not “Can’t Lose” is a worthy drama worth fangirling over.  Two married lawyers end up getting divorced over irreconcilable differences and only then learn how to truly love each other. Prosecution is going to argue against the drama and Defense will argue for the drama.

Prosecution: Your Honor, Can’t Lose consistently stayed in third place for the Wed/Thur ratings throughout the run of the drama.  Therefore in the eyes of viewers, it doesn’t make it a popular drama.

Defense: The Defense would like to remind the court that Can’t Lose was up against a sageuk and a popular romantic comedy when it first started airing its series.  The ratings did go up slightly in the end as the competition ended their run.  Plus, the drama was given a two-episode extension.  Despite the low ratings, this drama offered an alternative programming option for viewers.

Prosecution: Okay, how about being annoyed over the main character, Lee Eun Jae (Choi Ji Woo)?  Yeon Hyung Woo (Yoon Sang Hyun) quit working for the man so he can help people.  Lee Eun Jae only cares about money.

Defense: Objection!  The Prosecution is bringing personal feelings to this review.

Prosecution: Yeah, but how can you not bring personal feelings in?  After all, you cannot connect with a k-drama character without having a personal connection with them.

Judge:  Sustained.  Dislike for a k-drama character can damage the success of a drama.

Defense: Yes, Lee Eun Jae cares about money but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care about people.  Yeon Hyung Woo was spending money left and right without considering Eun Jae and she was just looking out for her co-workers.  In order to keep Hope Law Offices afloat, she had to keep a look out for the bottom line.  In the end, Hyung Woo learned that he cannot rule financial matters with his heart and he needed to consult with his wife first before making that decision.

Judge: Cross examine?

Prosecution: So did Eun Jae quit on her marriage to look out only for her business?  Or does the Defense, only dislike half of the main leads?

Defense: The Defense asks the court that the Prosecution not make wild assumptions about the Defense.  The Defense is only arguing that Eun Jae’s character was compelling, realistic and a catalyst for the conflict in the drama. Hyung Woo had to be the polar opposite of Eun Jae in order to make that work.  Without that, we wouldn’t have a great drama.

Prosecution: However, both characters were a lot more similar than what was expected.  Eun Jae and Hyung Woo both had family problems that they did not share with their spouse and it paralyzed them.  These past trauma devices in k-dramas are often overused and it lessens the significance of them.

Defense: The past trauma plot device only illustrated what made up these characters.  It didn’t play a major plot point as Eun Jae and Hyung Woo’s relationship was at the center of this drama.

Prosecution: But the drama frequently used manipulative plot devices to keep the conflict going.  As Eun Jae was reconsidering her decision to divorce Hyung Woo, Hyung Woo went ahead and agreed to divorce Eun Jae.  The drama didn’t have enough of a conflict in order to keep the fighting going.

Defense: What the drama was trying to show and what the Prosecution grossly overlooked was that sometimes two people who really do love each other aren’t at the same place at the same time.  It doesn’t mean that they couldn’t learn to be on the same page with each other.  The characters grew to love each other again.

Plus, the drama wasn’t just a romantic comedy.  It was also a law drama.  The cases Hope Law Offices took were moving in their own right and it changed the way Eun Jae and Hyung Woo viewed their own situation.

Prosecution: Kim Jung Tae and Sung Dong Il were casted as supporting in the roles of Go Ki Chan (aka “Gogi”, meaning meat) and Jo Jung Goo, respectively.  However, their performances were at times over the top making it campy rather than witty.

Defense: Are you kidding me?  Kim Jung Tae, with his Gyeongsang dialect, was hilariously funny.  And Sung Dong Il who played the hot-tempered professor balanced out Joo Jin Mo’s melo performance of Office Comptroller Kang.  Combined with the rest of the supporting cast, it created a well-rounded point of view for or against our main characters and whatever grievance they needed to hash out.

And don’t forget about the slew of great actors in this drama that added humor, warmth, brought their own conflict, added to the main conflict or helped out our OTP couple.  It was truly an ensemble effort dramawise.

Prosecution: Couple’s therapy, men vs. women scenes, men supporting the men, women supporting the women, exes coming back to make our OTP’s jealous…  Been there, done that.  Yes, men are from Mars, women are from Venus.  Live with it.

Defense: If you’re talking about been there, done that, let’s talk about soju-drinking scenes at the neighborhood pojangmacha in k-dramas. However, without them we wouldn’t get ingenious scenes like Hyung Woo bonding with Eun Jae’s ex, Cha Suk Hoon (cameo by Uhm Ki Joon).

Followed by a little morning cuddling.  What’s not to love?

And what’s more realistic than seeing Eun Jae and Hyung Woo fail miserably in couple’s therapy?  The fact that she doesn’t know the answers in the relationship quiz means that they clearly entered into their marriage too soon. This brilliant lawyer can’t figure out her husband.

What person who had ever been in a relationship doesn’t understand that?  When Eun Jae realizes that she initiated everything in the relationship showed her how unequal their marriage was and they both learned that they needed to equally give and take in the relationship.

In addition, the scene in the playground where Hyung Woo discovers that he’s apart of the exiled husband’s club was hilariously brilliant.

Judge: Closing statements?

Prosecution: We think that the ratings speak for themselves.  While the drama might look like a humorous commentary on real life relationships, the drama makes life look like a fairy tale.  If these two people were real, they’d continue to have problems because old issues will continually resurface.  What’s so funny about that?

Defense: Despite the Prosecution’s pessimistic view on love, relationship problems plague and will continue to plague many future generations of couples.  A drama that is able to make light humor and create warmth for a couple that really love each other but didn’t appreciate each other is something that many people can relate to.

Judge: After hearing all the statements on Can’t Lose, I find that the drama is funny and heartwarming.  The fact that the drama has definite conflict, has two characters who are reasonably flawed, who are reasonably in the right, and together they both show growth makes it seem like a compelling drama that will not only make you laugh but will make you cry.  However, the drama did go against some fierce competition for viewership.  While the genre and characters of the other dramas were more unique, this drama followed the k-drama rules to the tee.  Sometimes it makes it stale.  In this case, I think following the rules worked as the drama gave us a believable story that compels you to take sides, laugh and cry.  My ruling…



2 thoughts on “[Review] Can’t Lose – 지고는 못살아

  1. Awesome review. I love how you set up your review like a court case and a ‘drama review’ trial. Brilliant on all the points brought up by the prosecutor and the defense attorney.
    Reading your review got me teary eyes , because you hit spot on what makes this drama so heartwarming and real. As I was watching the series, I felt like I was growing with the characters , as such when it finally ended I believe that these two will stay together forever. The problems will always be there but they now are equipped with tools and perspectives to tackle issues in their relationship. BRAVO REVIEW!


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