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Viewers flock to ‘Marry My Husband’ for riveting drama, compelling cast

The poster for tvN's concluded series, 'Marry My Husband' / Courtesy of tvN

The tvN drama “Marry My Husband” concluded its run on Tuesday, stirring up a whirlwind of enthusiasm with its much loved themes and stellar cast.Starting with a 5.2 percent viewership on its premiere, the show saw its viewership ratings soar to double-digits soon after, becoming the winner in its time slot. The finale recorded a remarkable peak of 12 percent viewership rating. While not reaching the heights of past TV ratings, this figure is considered an exceptional success in an era where small-screen viewership is dwindling.Its narrative, adapted from a popular web novel serialized on Naver and later turned into a webtoon, has resonated with audiences worldwide. Distributed via Amazon Prime Video, “Marry My Husband” claimed the top spot in the TV show category across 67 countries.Following the success of its earlier adaptations, the TV version has earned its own recognition, drawing many to its absorbing plot that adds a twist to the original novel. “Marry My Husband” centers on protagonist Kang Ji-won (Park Min-young), who, after being murdered by her unfaithful husband Park Min-hwan (Lee Yi-kyung), is transported back in time 10 years, thereby getting a second chance at life. With this opportunity, she seeks vengeance against those who betrayed her — Park and her friend-turned-nemesis Jung Soo-min (Song Ha-yoon).

The drama sets itself apart as Kang is supported in her quest for vengeance by Yoo Ji-hyuk (Na In-woo), her boss, who has also been granted a second chance through regression. Their shared experiences of rebirth allow them to understand and relate to each other’s situations.This series is an exemplary “regression” drama, where the lead characters are reborn after a miserable life, with the memory of their past existence, which gives them a headstart.This theme of regression and second chances has struck a chord with viewers in recent years. Following the success of the 2022 drama “Reborn Rich,” featuring actors Song Joong-ki and Lee Sung-min, there has been a notable surge in regression-themed dramas, including SBS’ “My Demon” (2023) and Tving’s original series “Death’s Game” (2023). The popularity of these dramas can be attributed to a shared sentiment among younger audiences that life has become increasingly challenging, leading to a widespread desire for a fresh start. Consequently, various platforms, including webtoons and novels, have frequently explored themes of regression and second chances.

Rebirth dramas appeal to audiences for many reasons. The theme of reincarnation easily blends with other genres, including romance, historical and even thriller. This makes the concept of rebirth a familiar and engaging choice for Korean as well as international viewers.Additionally, the protagonist’s ability to foresee the future adds a touch of fantasy to the show without requiring long explanations. Knowledge from past lives becomes a superpower, eliminating the need for additional details that could slow down the narrative. The rapid pace of storytelling, free from additional plot developments, gives viewers an adrenaline rush with its streak of new developments in every episode.The popularity of these shows can also be attributed to the universal desire for a fresh start in life. Many fantasize about revisiting the past armed with present knowledge, allowing them to change their lives. The allure of revenge against those who wronged the protagonist adds a layer of intrigue, making the show even more intriguing. The series has been lauded for the strong performances of its cast.Notably, Park’s commitment to the role, including her significant weight loss down to 37 kilograms to depict Kang’s battle with cancer before her tragic death, generated plenty of anticipation for the series even before it premiered.

Park’s meticulous portrayal of Kang’s character development also fascinated viewers. Her portrayal of mental fortitude after rebirth offered a gratifying emotional release amid the narrative’s twists and turns.Similarly, Song’s portrayal of the villainous Jung also earned her high praise from critics and viewers alike. The actor’s performance adeptly navigated her character’s transition from benevolent to malevolent, leaving audiences captivated by the wicked duality of her character. During a press conference on Jan. 1, Song revealed her extensive efforts to prepare for her role, including consultations with professionals.”When I was filming the early episodes, I put a lot of emotion into delivering my lines, which ended up making me physically unwell,” Song said.”The plot and dialogues were too intense, and I thought I couldn’t keep up for all 16 episodes. So I sought help from a psychiatrist and met with profilers to learn how to approach the character’s psyche in a more rational manner.”Likewise, Lee’s portrayal of the antagonist and unfaithful husband, Park, has been praised for its depth, skillfully balancing his character’s villainous tendencies with moments of levity. Despite embodying a character eliciting anger and frustration, Lee’s nuanced 슬롯게이밍 performance ensured his character remained multi-faceted and compelling.

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