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The good luck of marrying someone who turns out not to be a psychopath

Samseng Zhabor
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Apologies for the long silence! It has been an overwhelming and exhausting time. Suffice to say, 2021 has not been a gentle year. 😫

Jennifer Lopez plays a pop star who’s about to marry her collaborator and fellow performer at an epic stadium gig. Unfortunately, she discovers right before she goes on stage that her fiancé has been cheating on her. Heartbroken, she decides “what the hell”, picks a maths teacher played by Owen Wilson out of the crowd of adoring fans, and marries him on the spot. Hijinks and romance ensue.
That’s the premise of the upcoming rom-com Marry Me, based on a webcomic of the same name.
Pop Crave
Watch the trailer for #MarryMeMovie starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, and Maluma.

In theaters Valentine’s Day.
I came across the trailer on Twitter recently. My first thought was, “Wow, what rom-com trash.” (I don’t mean that in an offensive way, because Rom-Com Trash is actually my jam. I’ve watched a lot of shit in my time, including a rom-com that we later used to teach teenagers about highly problematic sexist stereotypes. I’m not proud of it but it’s true.)
My second thought was, “Haven’t I seen something like this before?”
If you’re an Asian rom-com drama watcher, the premise of Marry Me will probably be familiar to you. Accidental/forced marriage/cohabitation is a common trope in Asian dramas. Like most rom-com tropes, everyone can predict what the ending is going to be (no one watches romantic comedies for the suspense), but the important part is that it can be mined for laughs and drama along the way.
This trope can be found across a variety of Asian dramas. There’s 《拜托,请你爱我 Please Love Me, a Chinese drama in which a nail artist ends up having to move in with an A-list celebrity after he pretends that they’re engaged so as to divert rumours of an affair with his married manager. Then there’s 《醉后决定爱上你 Love You, an old Taiwanese hit in which two people recently jilted by their respective lovers marry each other while drunk. Or So I Married An Anti-Fan, where a mediocre journalist with a grudge is thrown together with her pop star nemesis — originally a Korean web-toon, this was adapted into a Chinese film and a Korean drama. Also cute is In-House Marriage Honey, a Japanese series in which a woman who has given up on love impulsively decides to marry a stranger advertising for a wife, only to discover after marriage that they actually work in the same company. And these are only some of the ones that I’ve watched this year that employed this trope in some shape or form!
The convenience of this trope is that you have an immediate reason for your One True Pair to be spending lots of time together even though they might be strangers. Bonus points if they come from very different walks of life, because then there’s plenty of opportunity for conflict (and then making up, thus progressing the pairing) over different living habits, perspectives, etc.
As an experienced drama watcher 😎, I know whenever I encounter such a premise that it’s time to just kick back and let the ride wash over you. They’re going to turn out to be the luckiest people in the world for not inadvertently marrying a maniac, but their actual soulmates; this is not something you’re going to want to try at home. Honestly, it’s only in the drama universe that you’d answer an anonymous ad posted by a man looking for a woman to marry him instantly, and find yourself hitched to a sweetheart who cooks, cleans, is considerate of the unfair way in which women’s careers are often sacrificed when a couple has children, and oh yes, also looks like this:
Itagaki Mizuki as the male lead in In-House Marriage Honey.
Itagaki Mizuki as the male lead in In-House Marriage Honey.
Seriously, the great good fortune of the female lead in In-House Marriage Honey actually started to piss me off a bit… Seriously tio Toto sia.
Of course, this set-up can contain really problematic elements, requiring you to turn off your brain and overlook a ton of bad behaviour (or at least trust that they will redeem themselves somewhat by the end). 《命中注定我愛你 Fated To Love You》is a classic Taiwanese rom-com series that has been adapted into Korean, Japanese, and Chinese versions, but my God does the female lead have to put up with some abusive shouty shit from the male lead in the early part of the series (at least in the Taiwanese version, which is the only one I’ve seen). It might not have been as satisfying for shippers, but I would have understood if she’d just dumped his ass for good. Or in Mischievous Kiss (of which I’ve watched the newer Japanese version, two Taiwanese drama adaptations and one film adaptation, and also read the webcomic — I know it’s terrible) where it’s actually really quite annoying and terrible that all of the female lead’s life goals just revolve around that boy, who barely even registers her presence in the beginning. 😡
Drama writers and producers are probably going to get a lot more mileage from this trope for years to come. I don’t know if it’s been used in Singaporean dramas, but if not, surely it’s time for a series where two people get married and move in together just for the BTO?
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Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor
Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor @kixes

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