[Review] Twelve Men in a Year – 일년에 열두남자

A NEW FLAVOR FOR EVERY MONTH

Brian – 백마를 두고 온 왕자 (The Prince Charming Who Forgot His White Horse)

브라이언 (Brian) – 백마를 두고 온 왕자

While it was hard, I had a good time recapping this series.  But now I get to finally do a review of the series as a whole.  Na Mi Roo (Yoon Jin Seo) is a feature reporter for a woman’s magazine who ends up writing a sex column in order to save her job.  Freshly single, Mi Roo dates and writes about each sign of the astrological calendar in order to discover love.

What’s great about the drama is that the premise is straightforward.  There’s a formula that works.  However, what first attracted me to this series is that the drama wasn’t afraid to approach the subject of sex.  I know that Korean television can be behind the times.  Trust me, I watched K-Dramas when they were only allowed to show main characters embracing each other.  While the network TV can only go so far on the topic of sex, cable TV has less restrictions and therefore can be more liberal in their storytelling so the stories are that much closer to being relatable.  Korean cable TV is still very new but I like that they are taking off.  It’s still early but the growing popularity is a good indication that they are here to stay.

In some ways, Twelve Men in a Year reminded me of Sex and the City.  Our main character, Mi Roo writes about her dating experiences and so she kinda resembled Carrie.  However, the similarities stop there.  Mi Roo seemed grossly inexperienced when it came to dating. Sometimes it was funny, other times it was annoying.

I understand that she had just come out of a long-term relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Jin Oh (Ohn Joo Wan) but I was a bit annoyed at how ignorant she was.  Not that she’s got to be up on all things regarding sex and dating but she’s a feature reporter for a woman’s magazine and she seemed overly uneducated about the modern dating world of young professional women.  I tried to go along with it though.

What got me through those early episodes was Park Tan Ya (Go Joon Hee).  She’s the best friend who stuck by Mi Roo no matter what but didn’t believe in love.  She was merely out looking for a good time and her easy breezy attitude made the drama funny.  She provided Mi Roo with the ins and outs of the current dating world while making me laugh.

I didn’t have a very good impression of Cha Jin Oh in the beginning.  While I totally sided with him on the issue of Mi Roo being wrong to fry his watch just because she didn’t get her diamond engagement ring, we also viewed him through Mi Roo’s eyes, which made him look like a schmuck.  It was clear that these two didn’t belong with each other but he was so quick to end things and then regret breaking up with her.

I felt that mostly it was his pride that was hurt and he was using it to take it out on Mi Roo.  However, my feelings about him started to change with the Won Bin episodes.  Despite his faults, he still loved our heroine and wanted to look out for her.  In that way, he might have been a meddler but it was hard to completely write him off as the bad guy.

The problem with Jin Oh was he made a series of bad choices throughout the drama and I ultimately didn’t want to root for him to get back together with Mi Roo again.  One such bad choice was when he started dating hotel heiress, Oh Hae Ra (Bae Geu Rin).  Of course, she was in love with him but he wasn’t.

On the one hand, he seemed like he felt sorry for her while pursuing a promotion at work.

From that point on, he appeared to keep both Mi Roo and Hae Ra within arms length, which ignited Hae Ra’s jealousy and wrath for Mi Roo.

Despite some of the plot choices, I think the acting was commendable.  Yoon Jin Seo was great as Mi Roo.  At first I found her whiny and annoying, but she grew on me.  She was especially excellent in Episode 7 when she finally gives back Jin Oh his Gundam robot.  It had taken awhile but Mi Roo decided to close the door on that relationship and move on.  Since the drama is a comedy, Yoon Jin Seo can be over-the-top with exaggerated crying and clumsiness.  Here, she expressed an honest portrayal of sadness and betrayal by suppressing her emotions and let it fill her up until it overflowed.

However, that wasn’t the only touching scene of Yoon Jin Seo’s that affected me.  I loved her scenes with her mom (Yang Geum Seok) as they were partly about the relationship between a mother and daughter and partly about the breakup of Mi Roo’s parent’s marriage.  Mi Roo’s mom had put everything into her marriage and to make her way through all these years to suddenly have your partner breakdown that foundation is just another reality of love that was depicted well.

I’ve watched Bae Geu Rin in 49 Days and now here.  She’s got this great ability to do a 180 with her acting.  I’m not sure how that type of acting will work if she were the lead but she’s excellent for a supporting cast.  Her characters usually have her going from being sweet to extremely cold.  It’s got me thinking that I would never want to be on her bad side because she is damn right scary but for the sake of the drama, she’s very effective.

The good thing about some of the early episodes is that we got to see Mi Roo date different types of men.  I felt it was a somewhat honest representation of the modern dating scene.  There’s the guy who’s a commitment-phobe, the younger guy, the date rapist and the smooth talker.  From funny to the very serious, we got a range of dating experiences.  I also liked most of the guest stars that appeared for Mi Roo’s 12 Men column.

I honestly wish we got Mi Roo to date some more men because I don’t think they’ve explored this as much as they could have.  There were some men that we got to know through secondary characters but they weren’t given as much attention as when Mi Roo dated them. Then there were other characters that were there to drive the plot like the magician (Choi Hyun Woo).  So I felt a little jipped as I wanted to see Mi Roo explore more flavors of men for the column.

What resulted was that the final episodes were wrapped up entirely too quickly.  I kept checking the tvN website to see if they would extend the series but no such announcement came.  It would have served the drama better to do 4 more episodes because the ending was so rushed.  Mi Roo would have been able to date more men, we would have gotten to know Writer Lee Joon (Lee Yong Woo) better and I would have preferred a different ending for Mi Roo’s mom.

I think the only storyline that was paced well was Tan Ya’s storyline from the issue with her mom to choosing between Gwan Woo (Kim Sung Je) and Young Ho (Kim Jung Min).

While I liked the open ending, I didn’t like concluding the series with a rundown accompanied by Mi Roo’s narration in the last episode informing us of what happened with each of the characters.  It felt like a grocery checklist instead being a natural conclusion.  Despite that, I was satisfied with most of the pairings.

Rating

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