Lately, it seems there’s been an influx of time travel Kdramas – Manhole, Hit the Top, Chicago Typewriter, Tunnel, Tomorrow With You, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Splash Splash Love… – and I, for one, don’t think I’ll ever be tired of them. I love the fantasy surrounding that particular plot. And sometimes, when we’re lucky, we even learn a thing or two. Well, our luck runneth over with the newest one called Go Back Couple.
While at college, Choi Ban-Do and Ma Jin-Joo meet on a group date and are instantly attracted to one another. Their feelings quickly turn to love which leads to marriage and eventually parenthood. However, when life brings trials their way (as it always does) the couple finds it difficult to hold on to the love they once had. Fourteen years after their romantic “I dos”, Ban-So and Jin-Joo leave the courthouse with a signed divorce decree. Their life together has now come to and end, or has it? As they separately head home, both take off their wedding ring and let it go. But fate has something else in mind and sends the two back to a time before they met. With the chance to begin a new life, will they start over with someone different?
Nothing means more to Choi Ban-Do than his family, not even self-respect. Everything he has ever done has been for the good of his wife and son. He’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but he is a good provider. Being a pharmaceutical representative may not be the career he had always hoped for but he’s great at what he does and is always able to pay the bills.
Ma Jin-Joo is a full-time housewife and mother, always putting her family’s needs above her own. Although she loves her husband and son, there is a tiny part of her that misses dressing up and being told she is pretty and desirable. She realizes Ban-Do works hard for their family but dislikes the fact that he’s so often not there when she needs him.
When Ban-Do was still in college he was interested in a pretty ballet dancer named Min Seo-Young. Although they never had any kind of relationship, he still considers Seo-Young his first love.
Jung Nam-Gil once asked Jin-Joo out when they were in college. Although she turned him down she’s never forgotten the man and can’t help but wonder if he might still be pining away for her.
Ban-Do’s best friends and fellow civil engineering classmates are Ahn Jae-Woo and Go Dok-Jae. Jae-Woo is a fairly out-going guy who would enjoy having a girlfriend but fate hasn’t smiled on him where women are concerned. His crowning glory is his long hair which he grew so he could look like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. Jae-Woo is the quiet, reserved type. Some may think he’s a bit backward but it’s really just due to his shy nature. He likes Jin-Woo’s friend, Bo-Reum, going so far as to try out for the cheerleading team just to be near her.
Jin-Joo’s support team consists of Yoon Bo-Reum and Chun Seol. Bo-Reum is a very strong-willed individual who enjoys being the center of attention. She’s attractive, athletic, and a bit of a feminist. Chun Seol holds her feelings close and doesn’t let on if there’s a problem. She overhears Jin-Joo and Ban-Do talking and realizes they share a past (or future) together. She doesn’t like the fact that Ban-Do has made her friend unhappy and is determined to help Nam-Gil get closer to Jin-Joo.
In 2007 Son Ho-Jun joined the entertainment industry as the leader of the three-member boy band Tachyon, which disbanded shorty after its debut. When being a Kpop idol didn’t pan out, Ho-Jun decided to give acting a try. He made a name for himself playing Haitai in the Kdrama Reply 1994. Although I haven’t yet seen that show, I have seen several others he’s been in – Beyond the Clouds, Trot Lovers, Cinderella Man, Coffee House, and Jeju Island Gatsby – but, unfortunately, I can’t recall him in any of them. However, after playing the sweetheart character Choi Ban-Do in this drama, I’m positive he’s someone I’ll never again forget.
I’ve adored Jang Na-Ra ever since I saw her in My Love Patzzi opposite Kim Rae-Won. She was darling and impressed me with her acting abilities right from the first episode. It’s difficult to believe she is now 15 years older than when she played Patzzi. Like a fine wine, she just gets better with age. Her father is an actor and while still in primary school she appeared along side him in the play Les Miserables. She began her entertainment career first as a singer/trainee for SM Entertainment but was dropped after they decided she would have no more popularity than other rising artists. Oh ha! They called that wrong, didn’t they? After her singing career took off she moved on to acting. She is a huge star in China, having performed in TV, movies, concerts, and she’s recorded songs in both Mandarin and Cantonese. This multi-award winning singer/actress has been involved in many charities such as sending money and clothing to earthquake victims in China and sending powdered milk to starving North Korean children, as well as helping with charities in her home country of South Korea.
You can’t help but like every single character in this drama (except for a selfish doctor who takes advantage of anyone and everyone). We get to know more about what makes each one of them tick as the storyline progresses, some things being revealed in a character’s flashback moment. They all seem very real; real and down to earth.
Go Back Couple‘s writing is excellent. From beginning to end, everything flows well. There’s nothing choppy or drawn out about the storyline and the 12 hours is perfect for what needs to be said. One thing that made the show so realistic is the fact that neither Ban-Do nor Jin-Joo are at fault with the marriage falling apart. Neither one is “the bad guy”. We sympathize with both of them and understand where each person’s pain and anger is coming from. This drama teaches valuable lessons we all would do well to hear, lessons couples having difficulties with their relationship might appreciate. This is one Kdrama I could see myself watching again. It’s definitely worth the time.
There is one part at the end of the show that I wish had been left out. I understand why it’s there (the writer obviously wanted to explain the how part of the time travel) but in my opinion it didn’t need to be a part of the show. Mysteries aren’t bad.
It’s got to be difficult to come up with a way to make actors and actresses look years younger than their characters are at the beginning of a show. But Go Back Couple‘s make-up artists do a great job making everyone look almost two decades younger, with a little help from the costume designer.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Go Back Couple‘s music is Jin-Joo’s performance at the school festival. We get to hear (and watch) her sing a darling, upbeat song as she tries to win a beauty competition. My favorite song of the bunch, though, is a song called Confession sung by Choi Nakta. His voice is just perfect, sounding like a guy who is serenading, for the first time, the girl he likes. Two lovely ballads are Wind Song, performed by Sohyang, and Dream, sung by Lucia.
The scenery in this drama is perfect. The school, Jin-Joo’s and Ban-Do’s homes, the dorms… everything matched the characters and the whole feel of the show, and seeing 1999 South Korean clothes was fun. My favorite scene is a lovely nighttime shot of a couple on a bridge surrounded by the gentle glow of flickering fireflies. Romantic!
Why do people fall in love and why do those same people often end up going separate ways? Go Back Couple may not have all the answers but it does provide an entertaining look at one of them.
“… don’t look down on Korean dramas. They’re probably better than most how-to books.” – Ma Jin-Joo
Jang Na-Ra and Son Ho-Jun’s chemistry
A part at the end that explains how the time travel was possible
Inconsistent shot of Dok-Jae’s hair (in his face one second, not in his face the next)