My Roommate is Gumiho (2021) Angst

I can’t exactly pin down what it is but this show makes me feel all kinds of things. When we come right down to it, it’s a simple tale of love between an immortal and a human — not the first and probably not the last at that but the angst is making my heart weep for both Woo-yeon and Lee Dam as they navigate the bumpy road of true love trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel. She knows her heart but he doesn’t quite know his and it’s causing all kinds of unnecessary confusion because neither will say what they really want to say because they think the other doesn’t want them anymore. They think and overthink a lot and we’re privy to that but it’s frustrating and heartbreaking because all the angst could be resolved if Fox knew exactly what he wanted or what his heart is telling him. In his defence he himself seems stunned that he may have fallen for a young human woman when his goal is within reach.

The removal of the marble should have been the end of it but of course, we had an inkling it wouldn’t. Otherwise there would be no story to tell. I am thankful that they didn’t go the amnesia route — that’s an overdone trope. The fact that he can’t erase her memories the same way his magic doesn’t work on her mother suggests that something else is going on. Something about Dam herself and her family that we don’t yet know. To be human however he will need a marble that is fully charged. He’s so close and yet his priorities have so obviously changed. He can’t let go. He doesn’t want to. Even Hye-sun can see that he has man pangs even while he’s not supposed to be human.

I’ve gradually come respect for Hye Sun, former fox turned human. Kang Ha-na is reliably awesome in the role. Despite all appearances and her lack of academic smarts, she has a different kind of savvy that Woo-yeon lacks. What she lacks in book learning she has obtained through interactions with humans over the millenia. Her practical knowledge of humans trumps his book learning in that regard. She’s a much better friend and human being that I originally gave her credit for. She genuinely cares about her Pox (hahaha — erroneous pronunciation leading to erroneous spelling) friend and is even showing concern for the small circle of acquaintances that are destined to be more than that.

Although young and inexperience in matters of the heart, Lee Dam’s straightforward maturity shines through even with the lack of knowledge about what’s going on. It’s a bit unfair in some ways that she should be burdened with falling for a supernatural being who is cagey about his intentions and then backflips because he sees her in different light.

Dam’s besties especially Jae-jin are becoming characters to care about. It was heart wrenching watching him get led by the ex’s noose and then with Hye Sun’s help find the strength to walk away from her. From those few short moments that we saw why it’s obvious Dam and Soo-kyung disapproves of Jae-jin’s history with women. Aside from the fact that he resorts to drink to drown his sorrows. He’s a nice enough fellow but he allows unscrupulous types to take advantage of his good nature.

The show remains consistently charming and no one is more surprised than I that I am completely immersed in that world and invested in the outcome of the romance. The simplicity seems to be a strength rather than a weakness. Again the show does nothing new and yet each episode feels fresh. Despite the supernatural fantasy tag, the people in it feel more real than many other dramas that are supposedly grounded in everyday life. Even Seon-woo doesn’t come across as a caricature of the needy, clingy second male lead of a love triangle.