If I could, I would include His Man Season 2 (남의연애 시즌2) on my year-end list of favorite Korean dramas. But this series actually isn’t a Korean drama, even if it very much feels like it. Actually, His Man is a Korean reality dating show featuring eight men living together in a house for one week with the hopes of finding a love connection.
His Man first premiered last year on Wavve, a streamer co-owned by the three major Korean broadcast networks. Having a series centered around eight gay men finding love is certainly not what you would expect to see from the major broadcast networks of South Korea. But His Man not only exists, it returned for a second season this year and is already preparing for a third.
I decided to check out the first season at the beginning of this year when I was feeling a bit underwhelmed with the second season of Single’s Inferno. And I really enjoyed it. I felt like it was a refreshing series in many ways. But probably the biggest appeal for me was how, like Single’s Inferno, it took the typical reality dating format and added a palpable K-drama touch in its execution and presentation. Especially when compared to the popular dating shows of the west.
But while I really enjoyed season one, I think I definitely enjoyed this second season a lot more.
Season two featured a much more diverse group of characters and personalities. And thus, that brought about a lot of new dynamics that weren’t present or even possible in the first season. These eight singles had no problem delivering enough drama and sweet romance to fill 14 episodes. And honestly, there even could’ve been a few more episodes and all would still be as engaging.
Having a group of individuals, each very distinct personalities, really powered this season to be as enjoyable and exciting as it could be.
His Man‘s format is quite simple. Eight singles move into a nice house near Incheon for eight days and seven nights. Each day, they get opportunities for one-on-one dates in order to find who they may be attracted to and then hopefully forge a connection with.
His Man‘s unique feature is its evening phone call. The men are called one by one to a phonebooth outside the home where they can make a 30 second phone call to anyone they want to speak with. Sometimes the men just want to call someone who helped them a lot that day. But most of the time, the men use the call as a way to express feelings they might not be able to face-to-face.
This season added a few opportunities for the men to leave voice messages or participate in an anonymous group chat as well.
It sounds so simple, yet these calls and messages are able to drive a lot of interesting drama (for us voyeuristic viewers) and also play a big part in how these men sort out their feelings.
What makes season two a stronger season for me is that it fixes a lot of the stumbles from the first season. Of course with any first season, there’s a bit of trial and error to see what works. And while season one was enjoyable and fine overall, season two is able to make necessary tweaks that only makes the show better. Whether it’s little things like how the eventual pairings are revealed or how they nudge the singles toward opportunities.
What I would have liked though is maybe have one or two more group dates. Have the entire group of eight men going out and having fun together. The one time the men went out together in a large group, it spurred a bit of drama. So you can’t help but think about what other possibilities could have arisen if there were more opportunities like that.
Perhaps have a group date in the beginning once all the eight men have arrived, probably on Day 3. Then have a few days of one-on-one dates, maybe keep some men at home, then go on another group date.
But what’s great about His Man is that even without the dates, the men are free to talk to each other, hang out and get to know each other. They’re basically free to do whatever they want, even if they are still able to remain confined within the show’s format. The show does not hold them back from making genuine connections. And sometimes, it even feels like we’re just watching a documentary instead of a competitive dating show.
The show also didn’t restrict the men as much as they did in the first season. Most especially the idea that they couldn’t contact each other after the show unless they matched in the end. Like, why even include such a thing? Especially since it’s not like the production is going to keep track of the men after they’ve left the show.
So I think that freedom allowed the men to be able to form better relationships this time around. And it appears that they have indeed become good friends post-show. Which makes the series even more fun and interesting to watch.
There is a lot of honesty and sincerity flowing through the His Man house. The singles this year were more honest with their feelings, both to themselves and each other. They were a bit more proactive and also understanding of each other’s feelings. But the series was still able to maintain a sense of mystery. Even when you think you knew where the men stand, you still could never be too sure. And not because you were being led on. But because the relationships formed and the feelings developed during the show come across as very sincere and relatable.
Sometimes you want to think that this really is just a scripted Korean drama. But honestly, you can’t script the kinds of conversations and moments and feelings these singles have and express. There are raw emotions that can only come from very real situations. And honestly, this series can be more affecting and almost more picture-perfect than even scripted romantic dramas. But nope, this is actually real life.
And the way the series able to have this dreamy, wistful and storybook-like aura while depicting very real and sincere emotions is a major accomplishment. And again, that and its cinematic look are among the series’ major appeals. Especially for someone like me who prefers a more innocent and potentially deeper story rather than other western shows that tend to focus on sexuality. Which is perfectly fine for those shows. But that’s what also makes a show like His Man (and Single’s Inferno and Love Alarm, which I have also watched) so refreshing and more my speed.
Overall, this is the most romantic, dramatic, and warm K-drama that isn’t. The honesty and sincerity of this diverse group of singles is as engaging as any scripted drama. And that really makes His Man Season 2 such a fun and enjoyable series.