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Weekend Binge: "My Demon" and "My Man Is Cupid"

How many times can a woman fall in love with a magical being? Infinitely, if k-dramas had their way. Released within a week of each other Netflix's My Demon starring, Song Kang and Kim Yoo-jung and Amazon Prime's My Man Is Cupid starring Jang Dong-yoon and Nana, see two women fall in love with a demon and cupid. This article reviews both dramas. 

My Demon: The Plot

Do Do-hee (Kim Yoo-jung), a ward of a chaebol family who runs Future group, meets Jeong Gu-won (Song Kang) when an unfortunate incident causes them to have a near-death experience. Gu-won is demon who was once human and now lives his life offering deals to desperate humans for wishes with a 10-year expiration date.  Circumstances force them to enter into a contract marriage as they fight off company takeovers, murders, and memories of their past lives and fall in love along the way. 

My Demon: The Review

Drawn by its star power, many audiences tuned in to My Demon in its first few episodes. The domestic ratings gradually declined after a few episodes even if it became an international hit on Netflix. I understand completely why the domestic audience lost interest. 

Song Kang and Kim Yoo-jung have wonderful chemistry and are everything a young Hallyu couple should be in their roles as reluctant spouses. However, both of them lack the gravitas it takes to make a fate-defying, death-risking, all-consuming love that makes fantasy romance a classic. It is one thing to believe that demons make deals with humans, but it is ever so hard to believe that fresh-faced Song Kang would have suffered through centuries of relishing the downfall of humans. Innocent-looking and a very young Kim Yoo-jung is supposed to be in a power grab for the title of CEO in a highly successful company. Never mind about the magical elements; the earthly ones don’t make sense either. 

Written by Choi Ah-il, the show builds an unconvincing world based loosely on Catholic beliefs, sprinkled with Buddhist themes, and a Faustian conflict. The lack of coherence makes it difficult to understand how the characters are supposed to react to the world and makes some plot points feel like random resolutions. 

My Demon fails in its attempt to be a great fantasy rom-com but can still work as a mildly entertaining drama that you will not have to think about too much. 

My Man Is Cupid: The Plot

Cheon Sang-hyuk (Jang Dong-yoon) is a cupid/fairy whose slip-up 500 years ago cursed him to centuries of making people fall in love. He’s about to get his final reassignment when he meets Oh Baek-ryeon (Nana), a veterinarian involved in a murder. She, too, is dealing with the curse of having those who fall in love with her get hurt. Now, that they’ve met, things get even more complicated because it seems their past lives are finally catching up with them. 

My Man Is Cupid: The Review 

Touted as a “light fantasy romantic comedy,” My Man Is Cupid surprises the audience with a serial killer mystery early on in the story, in true K-drama fashion of mixed genres.

Nana (Confession, Into the Ring) is perfectly cast as a beauty that men fall over themselves for. Who wouldn’t fall for the flawless actress who barely breaks a sweat as she climbs mountains? (I’m not kidding. She hikes mountains several times in the show without a hair out of place.) And she’s got enough chemistry with Jang Dong-yoon to make you want them to get together despite his obvious reluctance. 

Why is he reluctant, you might ask? Because it’s all part of the whole Graeco-Roman (bow-and-arrow wielding god of love), European (winged creatures with magical powers), and Chinese (reincarnation and red threads of fate) amalgamation of his character. It’s a fairy/angel world and we all just live in it. 

Who did it better? 

The world in My Man Is Cupid is only slightly better crafted than My Demon. Another thing it does better is amping up the stakes of the love between the two main leads. Even if we don’t necessarily understand how the world works, we still agree that Sang-hyuk and Baek-ryeon should be together. And so we wait with bated breath whether K-dramaland will let us end with a heartache or a happily-ever-after. The final thing the show does well is creating characters in a supporting cast that we care about. The show left me with a serious case of second lead syndrome as Park Ki-woong plays an ill-fated cop who vies for Baek-ryeon’s affection. 

Watch both shows if you have the time, but if you must pick one, my money is on My Man Is Cupid

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