If you’re a kdrama fan then you’ve probably heard of JTBC massive hit, “The World Of The Married.”
“The World Of The Married” is based on a British series called “Dr. Foster,” and tells the story of a woman who finds out her husband is cheating on her and the issues and controversies that unravel after that. It’s an intense experience that’ll often leave you shocked and speechless.
I’ve decided to publish two articles about “The World of the Married” after it ended, one is spoiler and the other is spoiler-free, you’re now reading the spoiler-free review. If you want to read my thoughts on the ending, you can do so from here.
I will not go over major plot points in this article but will discuss why I think “The World Of The Married” is one of the craziest kdramas I’ve ever seen and why its definitely worth the success and praise.
Note: I haven’t seen the original “Dr. Foster,” so I am judging this drama as a standalone project not an adaptation.
“The World Of The Married” is wild ride that it’s not easy to get off and will often leave you furious. It was one of hell of an experience and I was so into it.
The good thing about “The World Of The Married” is the fact that it’s based on a finished series. Usually, kdramas are written as they’re filmed. This is why you often find kdramas lose momentum towards half its run then pick up on episode 12 and sometimes offer very rushed endings. I think this approach to writing is flawed at best and my favorite kdramas in recent years have been ones that were either based on completed work or filmed pre-production.
The beauty of “The World Of The Married” is that its wild, unpredictable and infuriating. The script is crazy, there is almost no dull moment in this entire drama and throughout the first half, you will never get a chance to breathe because so many things are happening all at once.
But don’t worry, it’s not done in a sloppy manner, not at all, but done in a sophisticated manner. The editing, production, OST, and actors’ performances are all 110% if not more. It’s a drama you can’t really criticize for its acting, casting, editing, or OST.
The drama shocked me for a couple of reasons, it’s also 19+ (throughout the majority of its run), and it doesn’t skim on 19+ scenes, that doesn’t take away from the plot but rather enriches it. The production team has decided to go with this rating for the most part because they didn’t want to compromise the drama plot and I agree with that decision.
This could’ve easily become a watered down version but thankfully, it didn’t.
“Dr. Foster” ran for 10 episodes and there are currently no plans of return for the series, so I assume it’s a done project which gets me to my next point which is the second part of the Korean adaptation, it was slightly less climatic and shocking in comparison to the first half.
I assume it’s because the writer ran out from the original material and had to dilute the plot a little, but it doesn’t end up compromising the plot too much. It is still pretty engaging and fun to watch. The writer did introduce some odd over-the-top scenarios towards the second half but it was always true to the characters motivation and feelings.
There are also certain plot points that were kinda there but never fully explored, I think the writer wanted to leave space open to explore if needed, but eventually decided otherwise.
“The World Of The Married” seriously shook me to my core and at times, was a very intense experience that didn’t provide joy but anger. Still, it’s a train wreck you can’t look away from. So if you decide to watch this drama, you’ll probably end up swearing a couple of times each episode.
However, if you generally don’t like watching dramas about cheating husbands and divorce, you’ll probably not like this one.
But for the most part, I think the majority of kdrama fans would really enjoy this drama.
“The World Of The Married” is also better understood the older you are, this is why many older kdrama fans fell for it. It represents dilemmas all couples go through and you can’t help but relate and sometimes understand what and why it happens. A young kdrama fan who is… let’s say… 14, might not be able to understand it or appreciate it as much, especially if they hadn’t been in a similar situation.
Also, I would like to clarify that I’ve never personally thought “The World Of The Married” presented reality during its entire run time. It does feature a lot of emotions and happenings that couples go through when one of them is cheating, but it was magnified and exaggerated. I wouldn’t say it’s a full-fledged actual representation of a couple fall out, and I hope no one takes it as such.
It’d be stupid to consider that this is how actual couples in real life handle such things, “The World Of The Married” is dramatic and sometimes over the top but still has a lot of things that ring true to those who either experienced divorce as a husband/wife or children.
Another strength point for “The World Of The Married” is that the characters are fucking crazy and I mean all of them.
There are no moral characters or mean spirited characters just for the sake of it. They’re complex and fleshed out so damn well even the supporting characters. There are a lot of things that happens to the supporting cast and they’re equally engaging and important.
A lot of work went into crafting those characters and they’re full of surprises. It was so nice when I couldn’t guess the next move, I just stopped trying to guess who’s gonna do what because I was so bewildered.
In kdramas, there are patterns that almost every writer follows. And this means that if you watch enough kdramas, you begin to get accustomed to those patterns and accept them for what they are.
Usually, kdrama characters have very distinctive qualities, good or bad, nice or awful. You’ll have the devil CEO or what not and you’ll have the hardworking characters who aren’t corrupt or swayed by their feelings or their surroundings. While this isn’t entirely wrong, humans in real life are a lot more complicated, and “The World Of The Married” clearly shows that.
I could never imagine any other actors or actresses playing any of the characters in “The World Of The Married.” everyone is just excellent, everyone does the best they can and everyone gets their chance to shine.
Kim Hee Ae is… Kim Hee Ae, a veteran actress that is one of the best Korean actresses ever and her performance here is damn perfect, she better be winning all awards this year. She makes you feel for her character even when at times, she does things that are downright stupid or wrong.
Park Hae Joon is also just amazing. The entire cast doesn’t fall behind Kim Hee Ae which is important to point out. This means that every actor is equally as good as her. Even the child actors are fucking amazing, everyone is amazing here.
Han So hee shot to stardom because of this and she’s marvelous here, Kim Hee Ae praised her in interviews and she doesn’t often do that, I could definitely tell she’s here to stay, especially during the second half of this drama, I felt that she truly shined.
Shout out to Kim Young Min who became my fav ahjussi actor after I saw “Crash Landing on You,” he really shines here and despite his actions, he’s just so damn cute and pitiful. I couldn’t hate him.
Jeon Jin Seo, who plays the couple’s son, is a great actor who has a bright future ahead of him. He’s only 13 years old but so damn good at what he does. I was surprised they were able to find such an amazing teenage actor.
Should I Watch This Drama?
“The World of the Married” is in my opinion, one of the best kdramas I’ve seen in 2020 and in recent memory. It has its ups and downs but for the most part, it’s a masterpiece that’s well-crafted and well thought out.
“The World Of The Married” is the type of kdrama that will infuriate you and at times, provide a very annoying experience. Rather than being always fun to watch, at times, it can feel taxing but it’s still damn amazing. You become so invested in the drama that it clouds your judgment and you become overly emotional and attached to the characters.
However “The World Of The Married” is not for everyone. If you’re a young kdrama fan, then you probably might find this drama over the top and too dramatic at times. Also, if you’re not fond of dramas that discuss cheating husbands, this might not be the one for you.
But for most kdrama fans, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy it. But it’ll set the bar too high for the next kdrama you watch, it kinda spoils you and everything in comparison this year fails, except for “Hospital Playlist.”
JTBC is really setting the bar too high for the rest of 2020. “The World Of The Married” deserves the ratings it got which is not something I can say about any other kdrama that aired this year.
“The World Of The Married” will become a classic that will always be recommended to new kdrama fans, it’s that good.