Mary Stayed Out All Night was an absolute waste of its young and talented leads comprising of Jang Geon Seok, Kim Jae Wook, and Moon Geun Young. Being an adaptation, there probably was a bare minimum the producers had to follow, but from a one hundred plus episodes manhwa they could’ve and should’ve been able to reap better scenarios and sewn them into a cohesive mural of beauty instead of a dishevel quilt of patches.
There wasn’t anything fresh about the titular character Mary (played by MGY), but more unfortunate was she wasn’t root-worthy. She came off bland, not having fatal cons, but neither having strong nor endearing pros which made it difficult to buy that both the male leads fell in love with her so quickly and completely. The massive mob of unflattering curls overpowering MGY’s small face and frame didn’t help her character’s case either. Even though she had a killer wardrobe of eclectic bohemian pieces, it wasn’t necessarily, for the most part, combined and matched well nor fitted in the right size on her. In fact, her wardrobe and hair were very distracting throughout the whole duration of the drama.
Moving on, JGS’s character Mu-gul was simply a messy character to witness and endure. He had the unfortunate mixture of mopiness, insecurity, attachment isssues, rashness, and bringing it all to its disagreeable rim a lack of sufficient noogans between the ears to connect a row of vision impaired friendly numbered dots even with a How-To-Connect-the-Dots-for-Dummies besides him for reference. In terms of the character’s style, it has nothing on JGS’s real life style. In fact, Mu-gul’s style was rather tame compared to the usual ensembles JGS shows up in public in, but it does make one wonder if the stylist did his/her research or instead slacked off and just decided to pile on all the style stereotypes and prejudices of what he/she believes a young alternative bohemian rocker looks like and dresses in on Mu-gul.
Last in this trio is KJW’s Jung-in, styled from head to toe reminiscent of Jude Law’s futuristic artificial intelligent robot character in Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence(2001). His hair was too slick and high, his face too shiny and structured, his suits too stiff and manufactured that one can almost smell the starch in the collar and hear the last snip from the tailor’s scissors before the garments were draped over his lean almost mannequin-like frame. The character’s traits were the usual stuff of second male leads- overflowing family wealth, unreasonably good looks, daddy issues, self-sacrificing (for the female lead) inclination, touch of vulnerability, and perfected I’m-rejected–but-I-sincerely-wish-them-the best-even-though-I-still-love-her martyr expression. Again, nothing fresh about his character, but at least in KJW’s ownership, the character emoted naturally.
Mary’s storyline was a joke. It had an unlikely and confusing premise to begin with, but winnable in more capable scripting hands. (Case done oh so very right: soul switching fantastical romantic comedy Secret Garden.) Like déjà vu, the same sequence of events and emotions kept playing over and over again so that even if one missed two or three episodes, unavoidably or purposely, one really wouldn’t miss much of the storyline at all- only difference is change of clothes and setting. The sequence of Mary agreeing to marry then breaking it off with the rich alpha Jung-in because she’s really in love with the poor boho Mu-gyul, was repeated several times even to the last predictable episode. The only unpredictable, creative even, though this is not meant to be a compliment, was what kind of manufactured wacky obstacles and hijinks would nonsensically turn up to instigate and try to move the not very romantic, not very comedic story that, if logical is slightly forgivable, but in the case of Mary is nowhere to be sensed. The characters’ reactions and decisions were so frustrating to watch… that it’s better to just not.