This was actually my very first Kdrama (2011) and it introduced me to the wonderful world of Korean drama, therefore it is a little difficult for me to be objective in this case. I do understand it is not the best drama out there, nor the most exciting, but for me at least, it really couldn’t be more perfect!
Back in the beginning of my kdrama addiction when I had a lot more trouble getting my hands on dramas, I often had to rely on some very dodgy subtitles and none more so than for this drama. After episode 5 the subs completely gave out but it did not deter me at all and I struggled through nonetheless.
Even though I hardly had a clue what was happening, I could not rest until I found out who Go Hye-mi would choose out of the two boys, Jin-gook and Song Sam-dong, and although there were a few terrifying moments when I thought maybe I had invested in the wrong couple, it all worked out in the end (for me anyway, maybe not so much for Jin-gook).
I have since gone back and re-watched this one again with real subtitles and I must say I loved it even more. I am not trying to deny the level of cheese that exists within this drama, but I feel it was more squeal inducing fantastic cheese, rather than ‘I can’t watch another second of this, its too embarrassing’ cheese. In other words, this drama is filled with the good kind of cheese. And also heart.
A hell of a lot of heart.
This drama really does have everything, a healthy dose of comedy, fun musical numbers, a lot of coming of age drama and pursuing of dreams, as well as a fair bit of heartbreak. Mainly all courtesy of Song Sam-dong and his unrequited love followed by his amazing disappearing hearing.
The scene where he believes Hye-mi is leaving with her family for America and so goes chasing after the bus is a real heartbreaker and favourite of mine. It is such a sweet moment when she finally catches up to him and speaks, followed by his reply: an uncertain, ‘I can’t hear you’. So she takes his face in her hands and slowly mouths out that she isn’t leaving anymore, which just makes him cry all the harder.
I also love Sam-dong’s line, ‘I know you better than you know yourself’. When he first says this in the drama, it definitely isn’t true at all, but maybe by the time the end rolls around it actually might be.
Probably my all time favorite scene though is the point when Hye-mi has gone off into the country to force Sam-dong to come to the Kirin High School and, due to missing the late bus, she is forced to stay with Sam-dong and his mother in their tiny country house. Needing to go the toilet, Sam-dong accompanies her out through the snow to a little outhouse. It’s obviously quite embarrassing for her to be doing her business whilst he stands right outside guarding the door, so to stop him from listening Hey-mi begins to sing.
Snow begins to fall softly onto Sam-dong and he stares in absolute joy and wonderment up into the night sky as he listens, lost in the sound of her voice. It’s such a beautiful heart tugging moment, filled with a feeling of hope for a future they are not yet aware of. Surprisingly emotional, especially considering that only a moment before the whole scene was basically a toilet joke.
As they walk back to the house, Hye-mi slips and Sam-dong holds her up, offering his arm and telling her to be more careful. She tells him grudgingly he can laugh if he wants to but he replies very quickly that it isn’t funny at all. His seriousness and obvious sincerity is what makes the statement so sweet.
This was the moment I realised the amazing capacity Korean dramas have for giving you huge emotional feels, completely out of the blue, changing a scene that is lightly amusing and funny into something completely different, something actually emotionally stirring.
It was so unexpected for me and was the point that I realised this drama was not just enjoyable, but actually incredible, and also possibly is the pinpoint moment when my Korean drama addiction truly began.
And now I am obsessed. And my life will never be the same.
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LEE EVIE is a podcaster, blogger and author of dark historical fiction set in old Korea. Discover Lee Evie’s historical fiction novels by clicking on the images below!