The Weekend Binge: “Love in Contract”

Park Min-young and Go Kyung-pyo’s latest kdrama Love in Contract had everything going for it—promising leads, a contract marriage trope, and rom-com queen herself—but was it enough to make us fall in love with it?

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "Love in Contract" (photo of Park Min-young, Go Kyung-pyo, and Kim Jae-young)

The Plot

Park Min-young's character Choi Sang-eun is every guy’s dream wife. As a “single life helper” she morphs into whatever a man needs to impress his mother, friends, or ex-girlfriend all for a very hefty sum and a limited time. Her best client is Jung Ji-ho (Go Kyung-pyo). He eats dinner with her on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They barely ever speak, but both of them are fine with their companionable silence. But things get complicated when superstar Kang Hae-jin (Kim Jea-wong), otherwise known as Mr. T-Th-S gets into the picture. And then it’s one problem to solve after another as Park Min-young’s character realizes she might actually be in love with one of her “husbands.”


The Review

The visuals of Park Min-young and Go Kyung-pyo together should have been enough to get us rooting for this couple. She with her tiny frame, her expressive eyes, and great comedic timing, and he with his gentle giant vibe had enough chemistry to want the audience to see it through the very end.


But oh, it was such a very long journey to get to the end—more like finishing homework than watching a rom-com. It was one of those plots that made sense on paper but didn’t carry over on the screen.


For one, Choi Sang-eun had a convoluted backstory that was meant to justify her interesting career choice. And backstories are supposed to remain in the past. But the writing just wouldn’t let it go, and the backstory also became the main plot point and refused to make any of the characters move forward.

For another, Kang Hae-jin (Kim Jae-young) was played up as a force to be reckoned with—as a successful entertainment personality, he was supposed to provide enough charisma to make Sang-eun waver. But he never quite pulls it off. Instead he just becomes another plot point, and sometimes an annoying one at that.


Kang Hyung-seok who played an adorable cop on Hometown Cha Cha Cha (2021), was a wonderful character as Sang-eun’s BFF and housemate but was woefully underused. It seemed like the writer didn’t know what to do with him apart from making him fill some scenes and move the story forward.


Finally, the drama tried to overturn expectations in its treatment of an overused plot. I liked that the characters decided to confront each other rather than being noble idiots. And I liked that it resolved misunderstandings quickly instead of drawing it out. But in trying to be fresh and new, the show lost the charm, chemistry, and comedy of the contract relationship trope—the heightened tension of physical closeness, the awkwardness of having to play up to the crowd, and the growing connection between two people who found love unexpectedly. The show took itself too seriously when it could have just stayed true to its frivolous premise and kept it light at 10 or 12 episodes. But no. It had to throw in some strange chaebol adoption drama into the mix.


As someone who loves the trope—I mean, seriously love it—I found myself wanting for the drama to end quickly despite the chemistry between the main leads. And they did have plenty of it to be sure, but it was all the show had. It’s a sad, sad day for a contract marriage fan to admit that there’s so much more to the rom-com than chemistry.


Stream If: You must stream this at all, go straight to the scenes with Go Kyung-pyo and Park Min-young.


Skip If: You're looking for a fun rom-com.




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