Have you ever eaten anything that tasted sweet and then the more you bit into it, it became bitter and tangy? I just described my emotions for Love and Fortune. Love and marriage are happy endings for most women. But some are just unlucky–meeting the wrong guy at the right time, and meeting the right guy at the wrong time. The maternal clock is always ticking. Women have one shot at finding “happiness” and sadly some may never achieve it at all. Oh, the pain of having a period in life! Sometimes, it hurts so much that we need to take painkillers.
If this show sounds all doom and gloom, far from it. It’s a sweet little show that made me laugh more than cry. All thanks to the great cinematography shots, my eyes were glued to the screen. It’s a show about a woman in her 30s who is conflicted with societal expectations (i.e., getting married, having children, being successful) and who happens to fall in love with a 15-year-old boy. Yes, I said it, a 15-year-old boy. Now, I know what you are thinking–she is pedophile. She is gross, but let’s look at her situation with a magnifying glass–the detail.
Wako Taira, the protagonist, is aware of her age. Like any normal woman, she wants to get married, but her relationship with her boyfriend of three years is in limbo. The romance is not there. He looks down on her, constantly nagging her to quit her part-time job at the cinema and find a real job. She does all the housework. He comes home late drunk wanting to have sex–but never returning the favor when she wants it. So, what happens to a neglected woman? She finds love and hope elsewhere, and that’s where Yumeaki Iko (the high-school boy) comes into the picture. She strikes gold when she learns that he shares the same love for cinema as her. Finally, she found someone who understood her and her passion! But unfortunately, he is literally half her age! This series really do question patriarchal society and gender inequality with seriousness and humor. If men can fall in love with younger women, why can’t women fall in love with younger men?
Don’t be fooled though by my light approach to this review, even though it may seem as if I’m endorsing the female protagonist’s behavior as female empowering, I don’t think the relationship between a high school boy and a woman twice his age would work out (the same can be said vice versa). For one, there’s no equality in that sort of relationship. The woman becomes someone like a mom to her young lover, and that’s not fair and romantic at all! I’m speaking from a feminist standpoint here. Despite my beliefs, I appreciate how this series prompted me to ask those big societal questions: Why is it more acceptable for a high school girl to fall in love with a man twice her age and not the other way around? Why do women have to sacrifice their creative pursuits because their maternity clock is ticking? Why is a woman’s worth measured by her childbearing capability and not her talents? And the most important question, which coincides with age, is why is a woman’s worth determined by her beauty. If she doesn’t reach all of her dreams within her prime, she becomes less valuable in society. Think about why the terms old hags, old maids, and old witches are so offensive. Well, that’s because most likely they can’t conceive, and therefore, they are “bad apples”.
Love and Fortune is an interesting show if you are looking for something intelligent, well-crafted, and horrifyingly comical but very real to the problems that some women have to go through. The show makes me wonder, why is life so bittersweet. If you ask me, I kind of like biting into bad apples. They sure make a good story.
Note: Originally posted July 31, 2020; Revised and edited June 13, 2022.