Would I Date Him? Uncontrollably Fond – Guest Commentator Jane Tilly

I’ve been enjoying sharing this blog with other articulate and passionate drama fans. For the first time, a guest commentator, Jane Tilly, is asking the question – Would I Date Him – about the second leading man from the series Uncontrollably Fond.
Jane Tilly
, take it away…

First of all, thank you kjtamuser for giving me the opportunity to write this post about a character who I grew to love as the series of Uncontrollably Fond progressed…

Our candidate: Choi Ji Tae portrayed by Lim Ju Hwan from the series Uncontrollably Fond.

His Background: Our candidate was introduced as a bespectacled poor, but generous friend of No Eul (our leading lady) and her brother No Jik.  Unaware Ji Tae was using an alias; Eul and Jik were cognizant of him acting as a “Daddy Longlegs” helping out them with food and clothing.  Eul and Ji Tae’s alter ego developed feelings for each other.  Ji Tae’s story is a bildungsroman (a story about the moral and psychological growth of a main character) as he evolved throughout the series…by golly; I’m going to use those new words I’m learning!

Unbeknownst to Eul, Choi Ji Tae’s true identity was being a high-powered chaebol lawyer working for his mother’s family’s conglomerate.  Ji Tae lost the parent lottery; his was the stepson of Choi Hyun Joo, Eul’s arch nemeses who covered-up her father’s hit and run fatal accident.  Lee Eun Soo, Ji Tae’s mother, was an evil witch who sued and threatened Eul and Jik; Eul harangued her husband about the hit and run cover-up.  The hit and run culprit was Yoon Jung Eun, Ji Tae’s ‘merger and acquisition’ arranged fiancée. Ha Roo was Ji Tae’s sassy half-sister, the daughter of his mother and stepfather.  Hallyu Star, Shin Joon Young (our leading man), was his stepfather’s biological son from an affair, who discovered his paternity as an adult, has a terminal brain tumor, and was Ji Tae’s romantic rival for Eul.

Ji Tae was attracted to Eul, but didn’t feel worthy of her due to his cowardice of withholding vital information in Eul’s quest for truth and justice in her father’s death.  Ji Tae kept his identity clandestine so Eul would not discover he was the son of her enemies.  He also provided cover for his fiancée’s culpability without any remorse in Mr. No’s death and his stepfather for his complicity in the cover-up and exposure that may result from background information in another accident 5 years earlier, that nearly killed Eul.  Ji Tae jealously toiled to keep Eul away from his stepbrother, who was a catalyst in Eul’s near fatal accident, as he felt his brother did not deserve her.

After the cat was out of the bag, Ji Tae started to pursue Eul to the chagrin of Ji Tae’s jealous fiancée, who was furious from being jilted at their engagement party.  Ji Tae offered to help Eul by suggesting they date to rankle his parents.  In retaliation to Ji Tae’s declaration of war against his parents, his mother stripped him of his high-powered work responsibilities.  Unfortunately for Ji Tae, Eul eventually decided she no longer wished to use him for revenge as she wanted no further association with his parents.

Ji Tae initially antagonized is stepbrother about his impending death and undermined his stepbrother’s efforts to aide Eul’s quest, instead of working together.  Ji Tae’s mother was so fixated on keeping her claws in her husband, she foiled Ji Tae’s plan to depose her from the company, setup a car accident to stop her son from ruining her husband’s reputation and then had Ji Tae indicted for embezzlement.  Ji Tae finally realized both of his parents were monsters; his mother being the worst!  After Ji Tae’s turning point, he began to genuinely care about his dying stepbrother.  In the end Ji Tae and Joon Young acknowledged their antipathy for each other and allow the bonds of brotherhood to prevail.

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Pluses:
 

  • Ji Tae is a competent at business and strategizing, who doesn’t hesitate to tell the unvarnished truth, regardless of the fallout, and is smart, check out his gigantic alien brain in the pic with his parents!
  • Ji Tae took on the responsibility of his parents’ wrong doings to the No siblings by being a “Daddy Longlegs” and then when his true identity was revealed, he changed his approach in assisting Eul’s quest for truth and justice.
  • Ji Tae evolved from being a cowardly man who kept his mouth shut to keep Eul in his life and protect his family into being a forthright man seeking justice for the woman he loved, even though he knew his love would likely be unrequited.
  • Ji Tae cajoled his parents to do the right thing for Eul. His stepfather eventually complied, his mother never did.
  • Ji Tae’s stepfather took responsibility for his wife and released Ji Tae from being responsible for his mother the rest of his life.
  • Ji Tae progressed from being jealous of his stepbrother’s relationship Eul into having to genuinely caring for his stepbrother and having some bromance moments.

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Minuses:

  • Ji Tae protected his stepfather and unstable women, namely his mother and ex-fiancée.
  • Unethical actions were taken by Ji Tae to please and protect his parents, especially his stepfather, whose continued acceptance Ji Tae craved. Although Ji Tae atoned for his actions.
  • Eventually Ji Tae declared war on his evil mother and slimy politician stepfather with stone-cold aloofness. His enemies, such as ex-fiancée and stepbrother, were recipients of this icy demeanor as well.  His ability to be stone-cold was a bit scary.
  • Being a filial son, Ji Tae couldn’t completely abandon his parents, even after his mother had him falsely charged with embezzlement and attempted to injure/kill him in a car accident to stop him from exposing his parents. While loyalty is a great characteristic, it a double-edged sword and dealing with those parents, this could be a deal breaker.

1Would I date him? I was excited to propose Ji Tae as a candidate for “Would I Date Him” as I ❤ the way his character evolved during this series. While reviewing kjtamuser’s recaps for information and viewing portions of episodes, I was reminded of more minuses than I remembered by the time the series ended…it did dampen my enthusiasm, slightly.

That being said, as Ji Tae developed his sense of justice, he overcame his need to provide cover for his parent’s evil deeds.  Our candidate protected his loved ones and took responsibility for his and his families actions; in the final episode, his stepfather absolved him of taking responsibility for his parents.  During the progress of the series Ji Tae developed into a justice driven, thoughtful and caring man.

So the answer to the question is yes, I would definitely go out with an evolved Ji Tae. 

Would it last?  The longevity of the relationship would depend on how much his mother influenced his life; the lesser the influence, the longer for this relationship would last.  Yet, I don’t think I would be interested in someone who would completely abandon their family.  Aisssh, that double-edged sword of loyalty!

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Posted in Articles, Date Him?
7 comments on “Would I Date Him? Uncontrollably Fond – Guest Commentator Jane Tilly
  1. mhryu says:

    Very well written Jane Tilly. Detailed write up about the character and his pros and cons. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep up the great review!

    • Review leaver says:

      It is interesting your points…
      Being Asian myself – I agree with you that the MIL / mother of the guy – effect is a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation for the men you eye to date/ marry. I also would not find a man who completely abandons his parents ok, and yet there are many parents whose ways will make you miserable and lease to contention. Even those not as toxic as this mother – who are trouble in ways that are not so illegal but equally not ok, that I would not want in my life.
      As I watched this drama, I was very attracted to this character despite his flaws and wound have dared him otherwise. I actually liked him more than the lead man. However his mother was a deal breaker for me. Given how I know she would hold some influence as a mother to the man I involve myself with, she is someone I would not have been ok with having any control in my life. It would be solely because of that that I would have turned this great guy down. But I would have had a hard time to do it….. No doubt on that.

      • Jane Tilly says:

        @RL, I also found myself liking Ji Tae, flaws and all, more than the first lead – I know Woo Bin rocks when it comes to looks, but Ji Tae was consistently kind and experienced the wonderful character growth.

        “Toxic” is the perfect term to describe Ji Tae’s mother. Admittedly, this potential mother-in-law could likely be the deal breaker for a long term relationship.

        @RL, I can see where you are coming from – being around toxic people can be draining and I would not want my life controlled by toxicity. ☠

        Am I being too optimistically hopeful about Ji Tae’s character growth or his stepfather’s promise?

      • kjtamuser says:

        What I enjoyed about Ji Tae was that he didn’t fall into the typical second lead trap. He mattered from start to finish. He didn’t have all the answers, he was not pure evil or good, he was a man that struggled with loyalty to the family he loved but also repelled him by their actions. I couldn’t cope with his mother…no way.

    • Jane Tilly says:

      Thank you @mhryu for your kind words! 😊

      I had fun writing this “Would I Date Him” column and appreciate the opportunity to express my thoughts.

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