So I’ve now watched two episodes of tvN’s newest drama Valid Love. If you read my First Impression, you’d know that I’ve been feeling quite hesitant about this show because of what’s to come. That being said, the first two episodes were quite entertaining and even though it’s a bit unethical, I did find the relationship between Hee Tae (played by Uhm Tae Woong) and Il Ri (played by Lee Si Young) to be really cute and endearing.
When I searched for fan comments on the show so far, I’ve noticed a really troubling trend. Instead of talking about the actual story, some fans said things like, “I want Il Ri to be with Kim Joon so bad!” Or “Can’t wait to see Il Ri and Kim Joon to act together, she should be with him.”
Kim Joon is played by Lee Soo Hyuk and apparently he’s a pretty big deal in terms of looks. Tae Woong is better looking to me, but I can see the appeal there. The thing is Kim Joon is the other man. The mistress if you will. If the comments said things like, “She should be with Kim Joon, because she doesn’t deserve Hee Tae” then I would understand, but it hasn’t been like that.
All of the comments that deal with the two characters want them together because he’s good looking and they want to see him on their screen. Again, it’s understandable since he is a popular actor, but I still find it odd when I read something like this, because it could also read as cheating is okay as long as the guy is attractive.
Wait! Before you say that this is fiction and that suspending disbelief is okay, because it’s all fantasy, just hold ya horses. I get that this is fiction. I get that this is fantasy. I just don’t think cheating really helps either of these two characters nor does it make me want to root for their relationship.
The thing that puzzled me about the comments is that it’s such a stark contrast to how a cheating man was perceived in another kdrama. When Ooh La La came out, the main male MC was cheating on his wife and there were no comments saying, “I want him to be with his mistress because she’s hot.” Or, “He should be with his mistress because they’re such a cute couple.”
Al of the comments said, “That jerk! Cheating is horrible! I hope the wife divorces him and finds herself a good man!” Even when the show tried to show why he cheated, fans were adamant in saying that there’s no excuse and that cheating is always wrong.
Everyone was on the side of the wife, while that isn’t really happening here and there’s a clear split in views. Teams have been formed and it’s mostly based on looks from one side and what happened in the last two episodes for the other.
The thing is, is it okay to root for the other guy just because he’s hot?
Even though this is fiction, I don’t think it’s an acceptable reason to root for the relationship. It’s not even because of the cheating. It’s just that love triangles where the female loves both males is always a hard sell to me. Unless the story is done well, a story like this just makes me hate all of the characters. So, it will make Hee Tae look pathetic for trying to stay with a woman like Il Ri. It will make Joon look bad for going after and continuing a relationship with a married woman. And it will make Il Ri unrootable since she’ll be leading on both men while struggling with her feelings.
A cheating character can still be someone you root for and love, but when their entire story is about their cheating then that’s hard to do. I’m not sure if Valid Love will show the consequences of Il Ri’s actions or show it in a bad light, but I do hope that they’re able to make the relationship between Il Ri and Joon convincing enough so that people are able to root for it without making me shake my head and wonder if it’s only because of looks.