The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract: Episodes 3-4

The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract isn’t a groundbreaking drama — not that it pretended to be. In fact, the first episode contains enough K-drama tropes to fill up a bingo card, and yet, I found the premiere utterly charming. (So far) The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract has managed to do what many dramas before it have failed to do: Frankenstein a bunch of plot devices stolen from past iconic K-dramas into something that feels fresh despite its unoriginality.

Our amalgamation begins with the introduction of our leading lady, PARK YEON-WOO (Lee Se-young), who moonlights as the mysterious and highly sought after hanbok and undergarment designer. Yeon-woo is the daughter of a noble family, and although her wealth and loving parents have granted her more freedoms than the average woman of her time, she desires complete independence. She’s simultaneously keenly aware of the unfairness of her circumstances, and utterly naive in thinking that the solution to her problems is a fresh start in either Qing or the Americas, where — let’s be real — we all know an unmarried Joseon woman isn’t going to fare much better.

The Story of Park's Marriage Contract: Episodes 1-2

Yeon-woo’s dreams first take a hit after her male business partner betrays her and starts producing clothing copied from her designs. Her brand has lost its value, but Yeon-woo is a woman with a plan. She decides that the way to rebuild her reputation is to have the eldest son of the Kang family — a man so ugly that he remains unwed at the ripe old age of twenty-eight — married while wearing her designs. Yeon-woo theorizes that then people will attribute the end of his bachelorhood to her clothing designs. And just like that, Yeon-woo’s brand will rebound.

To put her plan in motion, Yeon-woo sneaks into the Kang household, intent on making her marriage proposition to the ugliest man she can find. Instead, she meets KANG TAE-HA (Bae In-hyuk), and he’s so handsome that his meet-cute with Yeon-woo is worthy of not one — but two! — swoony moments full of prolonged eye contact and falling cherry blossoms. Before Tae-ha can introduce himself as the “ugly” bachelor Yeon-woo’s seeking, she has to make a hasty exit because she spots her mother among the guests arriving for the youngest Kang son’s birthday party.



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