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The Weekend Binge: LTNS (Long Time No Sex)

A bored and cash-strapped couple stumbles on a wily moneymaking scheme: they realize that cheating spouses, once caught, will pay anything to keep their secret. Soon, their blackmailing business takes off, but they later realize that peering into other people’s private lives may be easier than taking a long, hard look at their own unhappy (and sexless) marriage.

6 episodes, on Viu

The Plot

Woo Jin (Esom, Taxi Driver) is a front desk clerk who’s been married to cab driver Samuel (Ahn Jae-hong) for nearly seven years. They would be considered a DINK (double income, no kids) couple but they hardly live an envious life as other glamorous DINKs typically do. Worse, they’re also a DINS (double income, no sex) couple whose lusty drives have long been stamped out by long hours of work, bad pay, and general dissatisfaction with life. 

One day, Samuel accidentally blurts to Woo Jin that a mutual friend wasn’t the family guy they thought he was. This “nice guy” was apparently having a brazen affair. Mortified, their mutual friend hastily offers to pay for Woo Jin’s silence.

Then it dawns on Woo Jin: as a hotel clerk, she’s seen her fair share of cheating partners check in and out of the hotel. Samuel, too, is no stranger to cheating spouses on their sojourns in his cab. In a simple but brilliant stroke, our main couple realizes that if they could find a way to blackmail these cheaters, they’d have the cash that they both direly need. 

As beginners in crime, the couple goes through a klutzy and hilarious learning curve – from figuring out how to take damning photo evidence to learning how to do a proper stakeout – before they finally hone their investigatory skills. They quickly learn to blackmail all sorts of couples, from cheating elders to hot and horny young co-workers. Soon, they realize that all this amateur and risky sleuthing has another payoff: it gives Woo Jin and Samuel the elusive thrills that their own sexless and bland marriage has been devoid of all these years. 

But all good things must come to an end. One night, our main couple gets into a dire accident, which forces Samuel to reconsider his career in blackmailing. Woo Jin also begins to feel that Samuel is hiding something from her. Somehow, the tables (and cameras) have inconveniently turned. Could it be that Woo Jin and Samuel – along with their numerous secrets and resentments – were just like all the cheating couples they judged?

Or were they actually so much worse?


Our Review

Don’t let the raunchy and rowdy R-18 scenes in the first part of the show fool you – "Long Time No Sex" (LTNS) does live up to its name. The show really has “no sex,” and simply titillates every so often, mostly with frank and shocking dialogue. But while it falls short of the sex-fest that the show’s marketing may have sold us, it does quite succeed in realistically confronting a topic that’s usually exaggerated in K-drama: the loveless, sexless, and painfully lonely marriage.  

Increasingly realistic portrayals of marriages – happy and otherwise – have been quite the lucrative trend in K-drama these days. LTNS takes the juicy parts of this trend but instead of being melodramatic or campy, it leans heavily into noir and dark comedy. To its credit, the show never takes its eye off the emotional heft that drives people to enter affairs in the first place. While it certainly enters some risque territory, LTNS still treads carefully when it comes to confronting the emotional weight and toll of cheating.

Through the stalking lens of Woo Jin and Samuel, we see horny young co-workers who can’t help themselves, elderly couples who have fallen in love for the first time, women who are treated better by their extramarital partner than their spouse, and even the fulfillment of their own gay identities. The show makes no judgment of these affairs and is the furthest from a morality play. Interestingly enough for the couples in LTNS, an affair may just be the most honest thing they have going on in their lives, and well worth the thousand-dollar payout to Woo Jin and Samuel.

Esom is in her usual habitat, once again taking on the character of a  woman who knows what she wants, both in life and in sex. As Woo Jin, Esom seethes with dissatisfaction and unhappiness and is not shy about escaping her dire life. Her performance is wonderfully complimented by the unusually calm and loving demeanor of Ahn Jae-hong playing her husband Samuel. Ahn’s career is certainly gaining much traction, and rightfully so. Ever since his career-defining turn as a creepy online stalker in Netflix’s Mask Girl, he’s finally gotten his well-deserved limelight and churning out banger performances like this one. As a couple, they are believably sparkless and quietly embittered. From beginning to end, Esom and Ahn are a fascinating pair to watch and are the resentful, beating heart of the entire show.  

Though a majority of K-dramas still end with a shot of a happy couple in their white wedding, more and more dramas are daring to look at what happens after the happily-ever-after. While discomforting for some and a tad too honest for others, LTNS takes an honest (and darkly funny) look into the realities of the modern Asian marriage and dares to ask if infidelity is the dealbreaker many purport it is. Esther Perel, the celebrated couple’s therapist, once asked couples who were struggling with the aftermath of infidelity: “ Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?” 

The final shot of LTNS might just hold the answer we are looking for. 

Steam if... You're looking for something sexier and more risque than the usual chaste Kdrama.

Skip if... Your parents are in the room. 😬

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