What a great time to pick up two very fun rom-com about divorced couples! The two dramas may have the same concept but the tone and execution is very different, which gives a nice juxtaposition
Emergency Couple (EC) is situated in the Wushu Hospital where the two meet as interns. Their meeting was a shock and surprise to them. Whereas in Sly and Single Again (SSA), Jung Woo purposely called for Ae Ra to provide her “alimony” when he finally made it big.
Our two couples’ marital problems stemmed from the lack of financial resources to sustain them. In EC, Chang Min and Jin Hee would fight and hit each other until the house was a complete mess. It was a frustrating time for the proud Chang Min because he could have been an intern like all his friends are instead of being the salesman selling their hospital medicines. Instead of Jin Hee being able to support him, she was passive and scared of Chang Min’s overbearing mother who opposed to the marriage. In SSA, there were no problems with the in-laws. Instead, Jung Woo suddenly quits his stable job as a civil servant to build his own business. This leads Ae Ra, the housewife to become Ae Ra, the several part-time worker to make ends meet. It was backbreaking work for Ae Ra and out of anger and frustration would be mean to Jung Woo until she couldn’t take it any more. Jung Woo was so very patient with Ae Ra that he bore all those but was shattered when she decided to file their divorce. It’s funny how it’s the opposite gender who is dominant in the relationship. In EC, it’s Chang Min while in SSA, it’s Ae Ra.
Regardless of who was dominant, in many ways, our leads are very flawed. In EC, Chang Min was always proud and self-righteous. Growing up in an entitled doctor family, almost everything was provided for already. Jin Hee on the other hand, was always known as the mistake or trouble-maker. Because she felt like she never did anything right, she had low self-esteem. Well when the two meet again, she has changed into a steelier woman who won’t allow Chang Min to lower her once more. In SSA, Ae Ra was greedy and was going to seek out Jung Woo to demand money for all the pains she went through in their married life. Except that was taken aback to find out Jung Woo is so proud right now and wants her out of her life. Jung Woo is merely acting on impulsive anger. I actually don’t think the title Sly and Single Again or Cunning Single Lady is an appropriate title for the drama because Ae Ra isn’t actively out to make Jung Woo fall in love with her again. She began to work as an intern in the company Jung Woo created only so he won’t look down on her. Ae Ra has as much pride as Jung Woo has.
With regard to flow and development, Emergency Couple has the upper hand. They don’t use sloppy and random moments that bore the viewers. They also manage to integrate the side characters, whom we shall be talking about in awhile properly. EC is actually a really good medical drama, and this is coming from someone who has not been pleased with any Korean medical dramas. What makes it so good is that they don’t oversell and exaggerate the cases or medical politics involved. They even incorporate the actual issues doctors and interns are really concerned with. These medical cases are actual the catalyst used to develop the characters. It’s because Chang Min saw how good Jin Hee could be as a doctor, even better than he can that he began to see her in a different perspective. In SSA, unfortunately the tone feels too comical with all the antics. But I understand that it’s the only way an intern and CEO would be able to interact in the first place. There’s also a lot of filler time with the useless side characters that distracts us from the heart of the matter.
The secondary leads in EC are mature people. They don’t push and force themselves onto our leads. They even acknowledge their competition and still manage to work with them professionally. In SSA, it’s a bit more complicated and contrived since the secondary leads are siblings. They’re similar that they’re craving for love but how they try to get the attention of who they like is somewhat childish. I don’t like how Director Guk’s past was written. She doesn’t feel like a character I want to root for.
The cast extends up to the families. Once more I think EC has the upper hand, only because they were able to integrate them into the storyline. You understand how each member of the family felt about the divorce, which boils down to being hurt. In SSA, the families are not an integral part and fill out the rest of the time. Jung Woo’s family is plain mean for powertripping Ae Ra. While Ae Ra is just too goofy. They’re just used to move the story along when needed.
Well either way, the fun part of both dramas is when one of the leads begins to get jealous and want their spouse back. In both instances, it was the male who began to fell for the girl first. In EC, as I mentioned earlier, Chang Min saw how courageous and caring Jin Hee was. There were moments that she shone and rose above him, which naturally humbles his pride. In SSA, Jung Woo keeps the cool and angry act on but this façade is slowly chipping away whenever he sees Ae Ra and remember the good times between them.
The ex-wives reaction is rather different. In EC, Jin Hee is rather closed on the idea of getting back together. Despite that, she still deeply cares for Chang Min and even worries about his well-being. I think the love triangle with her and Chief falling in love makes the resolution unpredictable. But it’s nice to see that Jin Hee and Chang Min are good friends. In SSA, it’s still unclear whether Ae Ra does want to get back together but she clearly is weary about marrying or dating anyone again. She actually has the ego and temper problem but we see how her also getting more humble and realizing she does have her fair share of mistakes. She understands why Jung Woo is angry but isn’t doing anything actively to change that yet. What makes the difference is the dominance in the relationship I guess. Jin Hee used to be under Chang Min but now I can safely say they are on equal playing field now. While in SSA, they are in the point in the story where the wife’s feelings isn’t clear yet.
Whatever the resolution is, I’m excited to find out. These two shows have brought me so much joy and light-hearted feels that the journey has been well-spent so far.
Author’s Note: For reader purposes, the last episode I watched for Emergency Couple was episode 17 while Sly and Single was episode 9.