Virtual Bride/Eccentric Daughter In-Law [Drama Review]

It sucks to hear old people -especially women- say, “What’s the benefits you’re gonna get from chasing after your dream career. You’ll follow your husband and end up cooking at the kitchen.” And what makes me even angrier is when they say, “No need to be ambitious. It’s all useless. You’re a woman after all.” Like…. what?

That’s the irony of being a woman in most Asian countries. Old people and even young women (even around my age, I’m early 20 btw) think that women are gonna end up in the kitchen, stay at home, and take care of the kids so no need to work hard and get high education.

The reason why I pick up this sensitive topic is, because I just finished Virtual Bride aka Eccentric Daughter In-Law and I think this topic kinda relates to this drama. This proper housewife concept the drama tried to push in the first half of the show is a real thing that’s going on in many traditional household. Your in-laws will ask you to stay at home and focus on your family instead of going to work. That’s what I hear from most of married women around me. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Virtual Bride is a drama that tells about ”In-Young (Dasom) is a former idol. She belonged to a popular 4 member girl group, but, now, she isn’t very popular anymore. To regain her popularity, In-Young appears on the TV show “Experience of Daughter-in-Law From The Eldest Son’s Family.” While filming for the TV show, she meets her scripted mother-in-law Yang Choon-Ja.” – quoted from asianwiki.com

While filming the TV show, In Young fell in love with the family’s eldest son, her on-screen husband, Cha Myung Seok (played by Ryu Soo Young). The drama isn’t only about In Young and Myung Seok’s love story but also about headdesking mother in-laws and other family matters.

CAST + ACTING + IMPRESSION
I was very very skeptical when the acting news first released. Dasom was not a good actress at all judging from so many negative comments about her from her previous work. And on top of it, lead role? But the first ep aired and Dasom got positive reviews and it continued until the last episode. The drama as a whole also got many positive reviews from local and international viewers. It did make me think twice about giving Virtual Bride a chance and I am glad I decided to watch Show. Dasom did an excellent job in Show. She was natural and lovely.

Ryu Soo Young did look like a nerd in early episodes and them both surprisingly made a good pairing.

Cha Myung Seok’s mother, Choon Ja (played by Go Doo Shim) got to be one of the very best actors in this drama. The way she yelled sounds really like your mother when she yells at you. Ki Tae Young is another one that surprised me. Virtual Bride is the first acting project of his that I watch. I was prepared to see the worst of him but he surprised me. Few times he really shone among others (Dasom, Lee Yong Joo, Son Eun Seo, and Kim Bo Yeon –they’re people around him the most). One of the very remarkable scenes of his is his angry acting in ep 9.

Go Doo Shim as Yang Choon Ja

DIRECTING + EDITING
The last few episodes felt a little bit awkward. The transition from one scene to another was messily done. The cinematography was definitely many steps behind other dramas but that what made Show more down to earth and more humble. The image quality was dull just like daily dramas but I’m not complaining about it. The directing make up for it. The not-so-great image quality turned many people off. It gave off cheap feeling but I don’t care about it. Let me assure you, don’t look at this aspect only. The drama is great and heartwarming.

PLOT/STORYLINE
This going to be long because I want to rant too.

Also, CONTAINS SPOILER I’VE WARNED YOU

The producer and writer wanted to portrayed the real thing/situation about our society and I gotta admit they nailed it. Show is very relatable to Asian culture. But I wouldn’t want my in-laws to tell me what I should do and what I should not do, especially about my career. I know I’m still at my early 20s and marriage is not even in my things I want to do or have list for the next 5 years. But I’m leaving this here for my future husband and family to read LOL.

The mother in-laws were downright evil to their daughter in-laws especially Jang Mi Hee (played by Kim Bo Yeon). She was such a shameless, manipulative person. It surprised me that her character took the whole 12 episodes to come to realization that she was an ignorant person to her son’s wife, Cha Young Ah (played by Son Eun Seo). Yang Choon Ja was better than Jang Mi Hee because Choon Ja at least she knew how to open up her heart to her daughter in-laws and changed her attitude slowly as the story progressed. I was okay with Mi Hee at first because the drama was really fresh to me but even after hitting ¾ mark she didn’t even try to be a better person. She became more thick-skin even after all those sacrifices Young Ah made for her and it annoyed the hell out of me.

Why did the mother in-laws treated their sons so preciously but acted all cold to their daughter in-laws. Your daughter in-laws were precious to their family, didn’t you know that.

Almost all men in Show were irritating and useless to their wives. Cha Dong Seok (played by Kwak Hee Sung) was jobless. Young Ah’s husband, Kang Joon Soo had great job but always sided with his mother all the time. Both were horrible. Joon Soo was almost hopeless for me. What a lonely life Young Ah had. Dong Seok was at least tried to hang onto Se Mi (played by Kim Yoon Seo) and fought for her and tried to be a responsible husband. Joon Soo just downright sided with his scheming mother and didn’t even try to defend his wife, didn’t even try to view things from Young Ah’s perspective.

I found Se Mi to be a very admirable woman. She hung on for years living in her in-law’s house and treated like a maid. Her husband wasn’t any help too. I would just leave the house with the kid if I were in her shoes lol. I would not trade my career and MYSELF to being mistreated by my in-laws. Girls, you’re queens. Don’t let anybody treat you not like one.

There were a lot of annoying characters in this drama that REALLY got on my nerves. For instance, Ha Ji (played by Baek Ok Dam). Such an ungrateful human being *shakes head*. Her schemes hurt my head.

Ha Ji played by Baek Ok Dam

The last 2 episodes felt a little bit out of order. Like I said earlier, the transition from one to another scene was messily done. It distracted my focus. I didn’t quite like that 2 hours I spent on watching Show, it was messy, it was awkward, and sloppy. The last scene was cheesy as hell but I quite liked it. But again, the editing was messy. It took away the thrill of the scene.

Now, the bright notes, everyone. I rant a lot but I praise a lot too.

The story was fun! I actually laughed a lot while watching especially in early episodes when In Young tried to fit the family but she just couldn’t. Her innocent remarks left me laughing hard. If you take out Jang Mi Hee, the story as a whole was so much fun.

The comedy was not forced. It’s actually better when the comedy is not being forced and placed in wrong place. It becomes funnier just like in this drama. One of the scenes that I remember the most is in episode 2 when In Young wore fancy clothes and high heels to harvest peanuts in the field. Choon Ja’s response to her outfits was priceless! Don’t forget that In Young ran for her life when she spotted a rat on her foot. It was like Dasom really ran to save her life from a monster LOL.

Se Mi got a chance to revive her old self as a career woman and nothing more beautiful than seeing a lost soul finally found her old self and reclaimed it. Her struggle to break though was beautifully retold. She became independent but life wasn’t as sweet as she thought. She faced a crisis and her husband came in the right time. They both then grew as a much stronger couple and finally Se Mi got what she deserved. It’s also nice to see Dong Seok tried his best to be a responsible husband to Se Mi.

Choon Ja also changed for the better her slowly but surely. Her heart to heart talk with her daughter in-laws hit me hard, especially with Se Mi. She talked to Se Mi about her true reason behind her mean actions and welcomed her back to the household. Don’t forget that Choon Ja also accepted Ha Ji back after all that Ha Ji did to the household.

From middle up to ep 10 it’s so heartwarming. I shed tears and had motherly smile plastered on my face few times. A good drama teaches moral lessons behind its flashy plot and love/revenge/horror story. Virtual Bride is a perfect example of a drama that teaches moral lessons to us. Show is definitely not great, but it’s close to it. It did get sloppy towards the end, but there were a lot to talk about other than that.

OST
Support on Genie -> http://www.genie.co.kr/detail/albumInfo?axnm=80729111
Support on melOn -> http://www.melon.com/album/detail.htm?albumId=2647218

In contrast with its dull image quality, the OST album is filled with great songs and VA tracks. One track that cought my attention while watching is track no.3 “Taste Of Korea”. It’s played almost throughout the show and everytime it’s played it gave off warm, family-like kinda feel to the scene. Track no.4 “곡 정보 별난 며느리” is a fun track and reminds me of every comical actions of In Young. You can set track no.6 “Open Your HEART” as your sleeping song because it’s nce and subtle.

The OST really surpised me. I thought it would be crappy but actually each OST is very nice. The BGM was wisely used.

As a whole, the drama may be depressing for most of you because of the dull image quality and selfish self-centered mother in-laws but the plot got better. It did get sloppy near the end but still worth your time. Give it a shot and it’ll give you lots of laughter and warms your heart.

Overall rating : 7.5 out of 10
Will I Watch it Again? It was nice but I don’t think I would re-watch this in the future.

 

 

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