[Korean Drama Review] Twelve Men in a Year, 일년에 열두 남자 (2012)
Director: Oh Jong-Rok
Writer: Hwang Jo-Yoon
Main Cast: Yoon Jin Seo, Go Jun Hui, On Joo Wan
Our protagonist Na Mi Roo, writer and editor of a women’s magazine, is forced to take on a sex column in order to keep her job when the original writer whom she is responsible for goes rogue. Fresh from her breakup from her only boyfriend Cha Jin Oh, Mi Roo uses this new opportunity to meet men and in the process learn about her own sexuality, much to the dismay of Jin Oh. Guided by best friend Park Tanya, Mi Roo dates men according to their zodiac signs in order to write the column each month while keeping her identity a secret for the column under the pseudonym Sophia.
What started off as a smart and sexy drama veered off into familiar kdrama territory when jealous girlfriends and violent ex-girlfriends were thrown into the mix. When the ex-girlfriend of the Aries man threatens to and nearly assaults Mi Roo in order to keep her away from him, she later claims that she did it in order to protect Mi Roo from the sleazeball’s ways which made no sense and was thrown into the plot to create tension where it wasn’t needed as Mi Roo was already uncomfortable with Aries’ advances and was working her way up to a confrontation with him on her own.
I also had an issue with the way the series ended with the main characters ending up with people they didn’t really care about, with our protagonist ending up with a man who she could not stand in the first half of the last episode. Had they explored this pairing throughout the series, it would have made more sense, but the series focused her feelings for her ex-boyfriend and so seeing that story arc end abruptly in the last episode made no sense. The only thing that seemed to be rooted in any logic in this drama were Jin Oh’s lingering feelings for Mi Roo and his confusion between holding on to a past that may have a future, or a future prospect that involved more than love. On Joo Wan portrays Jin Oh in a way that caused me to empathize with him, even when he seemed to choose his best interests over the feelings of the women in his life.
A redeeming factor was the friendship between Mi Roo and Tanya who teach each other to examine their misconceptions about love, romance and sexuality. We see some great moments between the two, as Tanya manages to have Mi Roo’s back, and call shenanigans when needed.
What attracted me to this drama initially besides the premise was that the main actress had a look that was unconventional as producers seem to love the long-haired, doe-eyed look. I did enjoy watching this drama, loved it in the beginning, but with Jin Oh’s new love interest added to the mix it all went downhill from there. Twelve Men in a Year, I lament at the thought of what you could have been.
TtoT Rating: 6 / 10
Writer Hwang Jo Yoon must be a MBLAQ fan boy: two main characters are named after the boys!