Love Affairs in the Afternoon: Love or Affair?
Love Affairs in the Afternoon is Channel A’s recent drama starring Park Hasun, Ye Jiwon, Lee Sangyeob, and Jo Donghyuk. The drama is a remake of the Japanese Hirugao series from 2014. It follows the story of two women who find love outside their respective marriages. The show poses difficult but necessary questions about love, infidelity, and marriage.
Love Affairs in the Afternoon: Synopsis
Son Jieun (Park Hasun) is a young woman married to Ji Changgook (Jung Sanghoon). The couple does not have children and instead raises two parrots, Love and Faith. Jieun works part time at a supermarket and has a lonely life with nothing going for her. She becomes friends with Choi Sooah (Ye Jiwon), a sophisticated woman who moves into the neighborhood with her family.
Sooah is married to Lee Youngjae (Choi Byungmo), a rich man who owns a publishing company. Sooah, however, is not content with the high-end life that her husband provides. She therefore meets with other men in the afternoon when her kids are in school.
Sooah befriends Jieun and is not ashamed to tell her about her afternoon rendezvous with other men, even though she is married. She sees this as a way to fulfil her own needs, ones that she cannot find within her own marriage. She urges Jieun to do the same by planning “accidental” meetings between her and Yoon Jungwoo (Lee Sangyeob), a teacher at a neighboring school that Jieun seems to like. Jieun starts to meet with Jungwoo without realizing that he is the husband of her former schoolmate and friend Noh Minyoung (Abel Ryu).
Meanwhile, Sooah falls in love with Do Hayoon (Jo Donghyuk), a painter who also works as an illustrator for her husband’s publishing company. However, things get complicated when her husband finds out what is going on between them.
Love Affairs in the Afternoon is an enlightening story that provides insight into the institution of marriage and the difficulties that come with it. It also raises questions about love and whether the decisions we choose to make, either right or wrong, are justifiable simply because we are in love. The main characters are able to find the love that makes them feel happy and fulfilled, but the decisions they make provide a moral dilemma of sorts, even though the audience wants to root for them and their happiness.
Through Jieun, we are able to see a woman who has lost her own identity in becoming someone else’s spouse. She is unfulfilled in her duties as a wife and simply goes through her life without any motivation or purpose. When she falls in love with Jungwoo, we are able to see her blossom as she finds someone who values her presence, her thoughts, and her feelings. Nevertheless, Jieun is torn between the love she feels for Jungwoo and being faithful to her husband. With the relationship between her and Changgook worsening, it is not surprising that she is able to find refuge in the arms of Jungwoo. Nevertheless, is this reason enough for her to cheat on her husband? The show presents the viewers with a confusing situation whereby we too are torn between supporting Jieun in her newfound love and condemning her for cheating on her significant other.
On the other hand, Sooah seems to have everything figured out as is often demonstrated through her confidence and elegance. She is a good mother, wife, and host, but her need to seek other men without her husband’s knowledge is telling of the fact that there is something lacking in her life as well. When she meets Hayoon, she throws caution to the wind and fully immerses herself in the relationship to the point where she leaves her family to be with him. While we can understand her reasoning for leaving her husband, it is a different story with the children. The children suffer the most with Sooah’s decision to go with Hayoon, and they constantly try to look for a way to get her to come back home. This presents us with yet another predicament: the choices that a woman is allowed to make for the sake of her own happiness. To what extent should a woman go in the name of love? Is it right to forsake your own children in search of love and happiness?
In the end, the drama resolves its conflicts quite well and it is a befitting conclusion for the characters. Nonetheless, the issue of whether finding love outside marriage should be described as love or simply an affair takes precedence and the drama makes a good argument in justifying its characters’ decisions. It affords the viewers a conflicting situation whereby we are unable to pick sides or easily judge the characters, which is probably the highlight of the story.