How to Get a Divorce for the Whole Family is a tale of people marrying in haste and repenting at leisure, but it’s more than that. They are two very different people, coming from different lifestyles, without any real problem-solving skills. How do you think that works out?
Different but Similar
Koichi is a member of an air rescue squad in the military. He’s tough and practical and means well, but overdoes the military strictness. He keeps his feelings to himself and barks his words out like he is giving orders, to the extent that you expect him to get a sore throat! His family is the same, very traditional and stoic to the point of never sharing any problems.
Saki is much more likable; she’s an editor for a fashion magazine and comes from a progressive family who all kind of live parallel but separate lives. In a way, they are like Koichi’s family, because none of them ever talk anything out. When Saki’s boyfriend admits he isn’t interested in marriage, it never occurs to her to discuss it. She shocks him by breaking up immediately.
Koichi and Saki meet when she goes hiking and gets lost in the mountains and his team is called in. He swings down from a helicopter to rescue her, and she is smitten. “As long as I’m here, you’ll be ok,” he assures her. “I’ve waited for you for so long!” she exclaims.
They marry within a few months without really knowing each other, and at the wedding we see cracks appearing in the relationships of their parents and of her sister. Mind you, none of them have ever tried to work out their problems. This becomes a theme of the whole show as the new couple is surprised by a cascade of family members who announce divorces.
The day after the wedding Koichi wakes up at 4 am to exercise and expects Saki to cook breakfast. He is horrified at the microwaved food she comes up with. She is horrified at the jeans and white tee shirt he wears every day. They argue about chores and the many false assumptions they had made.
Frustration is high at the start of episode two when Koichi sides with his Dad in ordering Saki to make dinner. I nearly dropped the show because of his voice and his dad’s narrow-mindedness. Koichi completely forgets their previous confrontation, but Saki is awesome in the way she keeps her temper and just announces, “Dinner will be Ubered!” Fortunately, by the end of the episode he is seeing her point of view and I gave the show another chance.
Saki and Koichi keep arguing and decide to divorce but hold back on telling anyone until their parents resolve their own problems. After that we start to appreciate Koichi more, with his funny reactions and hilarious little side remarks. He’s also pretty swoony when he protects Saki from getting hurt and tells her, “I am still your husband.” She starts to rethink the divorce.
Koichi’s mom gets a job at an inn at a hot spring to prove she can be self-sufficient. He tries hard to understand her and to get his dad to accept her wishes. Soon he realizes that Saki’s parents are making her unhappy and longs to protect her, but there are new obstacles.
Saki’s mom and sister keep getting together to discuss their husbands’ cheating or taking them for granted. The sister brings her daughter, Azusa, and there always comes a point when someone sends Azusa out of the room. It becomes a standing joke, especially when Koichi starts picking up on it and sending her out too. She always goes, but she always listens in!
I loved it when the two dads got together to commiserate about their wives’ attitudes because they surprised me a little. Saki’s dad sees divorce papers on the table, and Koichi’s dad denies he’s getting divorced. “My wife just left that there,” he says. The characters all progress in making decisions and change their minds a few times. Some have redemption arcs, and most of them learn to let people in on what they are feeling and not keep everything to themselves.
There are two second male leads. One is the lawyer Koichi meets at the gym. At first, you think he is an annoyance, but there is a really good scene where he gets Saki to rethink her assumptions and decide what she really wants. Then there is an author who Saki works with who is also annoying but later becomes more understandable, so I guess he’s worth watching. As for the second female lead, she is a major pain and you can safely skip her scenes.
It took me a while to get through the first two episodes. But once I got into the story I really liked it, and binged the rest one Saturday evening. I wanted to see if Koichi and Saki ended up together. The macho man and the elegant woman really have a lot of chemistry, and trying to cohabitate without their family finding out they were breaking up was pretty funny. But they improved their problem-solving skills! I must admit I didn’t really care what the other couples did, but I think that Azusa may get her wish and be able to see more of her dad. The ending employs a few tropes I don’t particularly like, but things turn out all right.
I loved Saki and Koichi, so I hope you give them a chance and watch this drama. She is easy to identify with, and he grows on you! How to Get a Divorce for the Whole Family has ten episodes and is found on Viki. I hope you enjoy it!
Until the next binge-worthy drama,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi