My Liberation Notes (2022) is a beautiful narrative about three siblings and Mr. Gu, the stranger in their quest for life’s meaning and purpose. It stars Lee Min-ki, Kim Ji-won, Son Sukku, and Lee El.
The drama is drawing much attention from viewers for its relatable characters and relevant message of seeking freedom from the mundane and how it beautifully utters the unspoken words of humanity about yearning for love and wholeness.
Here are 12 meaningful dialogues about love, dating, and relationships from the drama:
1. Love as a grading system.
Hyeon-a: You can only date someone who scores a hundred points only when you can date someone who’s a zero. You always look for someone on your level. Maybe 64.238? Somewhere around that.
Gi-jeong: Honestly, I score 78 at the least.
Hyeon-a: That’s what you think.
Gi-jeong: No, I really would.
Hyeon-a: Just forget about the grading system. My point is, don’t limit yourself. You have the whole world trying to limit you. So why would you want to do that to yourself?
2. Men’s feelings of humiliation and rejection during break-ups.
Du-hwan: Have you ever felt an unbearable kind of humiliation? As soon as we said goodbye after the blind date, she started sending a bunch of texts. She said I was an abandoned dog. She said that if she took me home and cleaned me up, I’d just go back outside and get covered in poop again… Deleting it won’t make me forget what happened. I just have to bear it.
Chang-hee: Yerin told me that I was unbearably old-fashioned.
Du-hwan: The abandoned dog wins.
Chang-hee: She knows exactly what words to use to hurt my feelings.
Du-hwan: As an abandoned dog, I don’t think being called old-fashioned is that bad.
Chang-hee: That’s because you just are an old-fashioned person. And I’m a person who may or may not be, and that’s why it hurts.
3. Love in the form of worship.
Mr. Gu: Are you sure? That you and I will have become different people when spring comes?
Mi-jeong: I’m positive.
Mr. Gu: How do you worship someone?
Mi-jeong: You cheer them on. You tell them they can do anything and that everything is possible. You cheer them on.
4. On finding mate in winter.
Gi-jeong: They say that if the crickets are chirping, it’s 24 degrees Celsius out. Apparently, they know that winter’s on its way. That’s why they’re working so hard to find a mate so they didn’t have to spend the winter alone. Even those tiny little creatures find love, you know? But as humans, shouldn’t we be able to find love too? Even they know what it’s like to have no partner in winter. They’re chirping away so desperately, crying, “winter’s coming, it’ll be cold, don’t leave me all alone.” We should do that, too.
Chang-hee: What are you going on about? Do humans have to do it just because bugs and even cats do it? Do we have to poop on the street like dogs do?
Gi-jeong: I’m going to do it. I’m going to love just anyone.
Mi-jeong: Anyone? Really?
Gi-jeong: Yes, anyone. Why can’t I just love anyone? I was picky and ended up like this. I was so careful not to pick a loser, I have no one. I’m allowed to just love anyone. I’m going to love just anyone.
5. Love that makes your heart beat fast or slower.
Chang-hee: You know already, right? It’s not going to work.
Du-hwan: I know. But when I heard that she broke up with her boyfriend, my heart started beating fast again.
Mi-jeong: My heart never beats fast because I liked someone. When I really like someone, I think the opposite happens. My heart beats even slower. Like I’ve been freed from something. Like I feel peace in my heart for the first time.
6. Men’s taste and dating experience.
Mr. Park: The type of woman a man likes never changes. Whenever my friends introduce me to their new girlfriends, I find that they date people who are just like their exes. Men’s tastes don’t change… It’s whether you prefer someone who makes you laugh or someone who makes your heart flutter. I prefer the latter.
Gi-jeong: I prefer the latter, too.
Mr. Park: People who have a lot of dating experience know what they want. But those who don’t, don’t know what they want or what type of person they are. They just want passionate romance because that’s what they hear people want. But when they finally have it, many find it too embarassing and can’t stand it.
Gi-jeong: It can be embarassing but I like it.
Mr. Park: When you’re embarassed about something, it means you find it uncomfortable.
7. Love in various genres.
Mr. Park: Melodrama isn’t the only genre of relationships, right? There’s comedy, surrealism, thriller. Yes, that’s a good one. What else, slice-of-life? Suspense? There are so many. In which genre among those do you think you’d be most effective? What are your strengths?
Gi-jeong: I’m like a Jindo dog. I stand by my man and never betray him. I protect him. And my man must be a real man. But I don’t mean he has to be all big and burly. Yes, I have my own idea of masculinity. A man, yes.
Mr. Park: Slice-of-life it is. Yes. It almost veered toward thriller, but you’re the slice-of-life type. Many are not really interested in surprise events or grand gestures. The most important thing to them is their attitude toward life. They look at a person’s core.
Gi-jeong: The core. Attitude.
8. On love confession with hesitation.
Du-hwan: Why is it so difficult to tell someone you like them? It’s not like you’re telling them you hate them.
Chang-hee: Because your soul knows you’re going to get rejected for sure. If you hesitate to say something but then actually say it, you’re guaranteed to regret it. You hesitate because you know you shouldn’t say it. But you still end up saying it and making yourself miserable. Humans are really nonsensical animals, you know?
9. Love as a source of joy or misery?
Mrs. Yeom: When the time is right, you’re supposed to meet your life partner, get married, have kids, and watch them grow up. How come so many kids these days refuse to do that and just grow old all alone? Shouldn’t something have changed since back when you used to play house? My goodness. You must be sick of it, too, right? Even I can tell. Try having a kid. You’ll feel full without eating. Everyday will be amazing. You’ll be invincible. No one can beat you. No one can beat parents. But you don’t know anything about that. Goodness gracious.
Chang-hee: Mother, after you had us, you enjoyed two or three short years of joy and delight, then your life got miserable. Do you really want to pass that kind of life onto us? And if we want to feel joyful at all times, should we keep having kids until we’re 80? Until we die?
10. The attractive person inside.
Officemate 1: What do you like about that guy?
Officemate 2: What makes him charming? What attracted you?
Mi-jeong: He has no shell. You know, there are people who are very polite, but it feels like it’s just their shell. A shell so hard that it feels like you’ll never be able to reach the person inside. But this guy has no shell.
11. Women playing hard-to-get and men getting anxious.
Lady boss: Today is too sudden. Put if off for a few days. He’s had you waiting this long.
Mr. Park: Contacting a woman and asking to meet on the same day isn’t polite. Play hard to get. It’s not interesting if you say yes at once. A guy gets anxious the most when a girl plays hard to get. That’s when guys go crazy. Just relax and put it off. It’ll be fine. Let’s make him anxious. Try making a man wait for once. Why do you always have to be the one who waits?
Lady boss: So when is it going to be?
Lady boss: Some delay that is.
Mr. Park: That’s the charm of Ms. Yeom.
Gi-jeong: But is it a good thing to make him anxious? Why is it a good thing? He’s anxious. You get anxious and it drives you crazy. Isn’t that a bad thing? It’s uncomfortable, isn’t it? When a man and woman like each other, shouldn’t you give each other the fullest? Why would you string it out in small portions? So why do I have to give out my affection like that? What’s good about not getting enough? Shouldn’t you give as much as you can? Getting anxious and playing hard-to-get, aren’t they all bad things? Rather than good?
Lady boss: It may not be good but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Mr. Park: It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. It’s just dissatisfying. Or insufficient, you could say.
12. Love reunion.
Mr. Gu: How have you been? Have you managed to liberate yourself?
Mi-jeong: Of course not.
Mr. Gu: Have you met someone who worships you?
Mi-jeong: Of course not.
Mr. Gu: Let’s meet up.
Mi-jeong: I can’t.
Mr. Gu: Why?
Mi-jeong: I’ve gained weight. I need to lose some weight.
Mr. Gu: Lose some weight in an hour and meet me.
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Synopsis: It tells the story of three siblings and a secretive stranger who want to escape from their dead-end life.
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Lee Min-ki, Kim Ji-won, Son Seok-koo, and Lee El
Written by: Park Hae-young
Directed by: Kim Seok-yoon
Original network: JTBC, Netflix
Date: April 9 to May 29, 2022
Netflix subtitle translation by: Yoon-jung Song, Elodie Lieberman
Photos: JTBC Drama