Single in Seoul (2023) Ending Explained – why does Young Ho avoid relationships?

Single in Seoul (2023) Plot Summary

Streaming in parts of Asia, Lee Dong-wook starrer, Single in Seoul (Bilibili), extols singlehood a little more than it should. Paired with Lim Soo-jung and featuring Esom, with a message about today’s romance culture, you’d think it’d be a winner. But unfortunately, it falls a little flat.

Lim plays Joo Hyun Jin, a chief editor who’s pulling together a pairing of writers extolling their fabulous single lives in sparkling cities, Seoul and Barcelona. She loses her local writer to pregnancy (less single than she’d thought) and must quickly find someone else. Conveniently, her boss knows a fresh, new writer.

Enter Lee Dong-wook as Park Young Ho, a single professor and aspiring author who’s not terribly malleable, a perfect candidate for singlehood. He’s literally only got one mug in his apartment. Young Ho is more than happy to share his perfect methods of enjoying the largess of Seoul without a plus one. Initially exalting his lifestyle over social media, he’s now ready to convert his wisdom into book form, a desired feather in his cap. As the storyline progresses, it becomes not-so-shockingly clear that his current ‘man is an island’ style philosophy has been ingrained thanks to a previous heartbreak.

Why are Editor Joo and Writer Young Ho so awkward with each other?

The plotline is that both characters are long-term singles, so becoming close feels uncomfortable.  Additionally, Editor Joo isn’t great at reading the signs and doesn’t quite catch on when someone is or is not flirting with her.

Why is Young Ho dedicated to remaining single?

He couldn’t understand the break-up with his girlfriend so decided he was better off on his own.

Why does Young Ho avoid other relationships, such as with colleagues?

He convinces himself that it’s a waste of time to do anything he doesn’t want or have to do, excusing himself from all societal obligations.

Why is Author Hong Mi Na in Barcelona?

An established writer, she says she’s travelled around and ended up there. In an interview, she quotes Jane Austen, “Good girls go to heaven but bad girls go everywhere,” claiming to be a bit of a bad girl.

Why does Young Ho want to back out of writing the book?

Without giving away too much, he believes it was his ex who suggested him as the second writer and feeling humiliated for not earning the opportunity himself, doesn’t want to have earned a book that way. Additionally, he feels a bit exposed by the content of both books.

What makes him change his mind about relationships?

Young Ho discovers his version of the past is not as close to reality as his ex-girlfriend’s version, which leads him to a change of heart.

Why don’t the Single in the City books succeed?

Online comments note there’s too much content about first love and not enough information about living single happily. However, when one fan spots Young Ho, she says the book gave her comfort.

How does it end?

Young Ho waits for Editor Joo at a bookstore in hopes of running into her. He shows her his manuscript for a new novel and asks her out for a drink.


READ MORE: Single in Seoul (2023) movie review

Check out our review which includes a quote from Lee Dong-wook about living single.

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