Review of Korean Drama “A Gentleman’s Dignity”

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Genre:  Romantic Comedy

Number of Episodes:  20

Story Premise:  Four 40-year-old “Playboys” experience love and friendship in modern day Seoul.


Synopsis:
  While there are four stories happening at once, the main story line centers around the hero, Kim Do Jin, and his romantic interest, Seo Yi Soo.  Do Jin considers himself a “Bachelor Playboy” who can pretty much get any woman he wants.  He is a successful architect who neither wants love nor is looking for it and he is content with his life the way it is.

Enter Seo Yi Soo.  Yi Soo is a high school teacher at an all-boys school during the week and an umpire on the weekends.  She has a crush on Do Jin’s business partner, who also happens to be dating her roommate.  She is also content with her life and is fine with having a “one-sided love” that will never go anywhere.

From the moment that Do Jin first sees Yi Soo, he is infatuated with her.  When he quickly discovers that she has a crush on his friend, he uses the information against her as only a true stinker can do.  From confessions of love to buying him dinner, Do Jin acts very much like a high school boy with his first crush – keeping her off guard so her attention stays focused on him.

Yi Soo, on the other hand, is used to dealing with high school boys and she is not impressed by Do Jin one little bit.  She is more than willing to give into Do Jin’s childish extortion in order to keep her crush a secret.  But with each joke and prank that Do Jin pulls, she finds herself becoming more and more intrigued by the man that just doesn’t seem to want to grow up.

So basically, you have the “Naughty Man” hero and the “Tomboy Teacher” heroine having a battle of the wits as they fall in love.  Add to the mix three more men who keep reverting to their 18-year-old personas, one wife who is determined to catch her husband cheating on her, the 24-year-old girl who is determined to win one of the gentleman, and the roommate and business partner who have just as much fun fighting as loving, and you have a story that is hysterically funny.

What I like about this K-Drama:  This is without a doubt one of my new favorite K-Dramas and if I could give it more than 5 stars, I definitely would.  Every single episode has something that will make you laugh until your sides hurt.  I loved loved loved the hero because he was such a stinker, and yet also incredibly clever.  The way he kept trying to win the heroine’s heart was truly touching.  I also really liked the heroine because she was “without wiles” and honestly had no idea what to make of the hero.  She also had no intention of gaining her one-sided crush by destroying her friend’s relationship, which made her seem honorable in my opinion.  Plus, whenever she was in a scene with the hero, the sparks really seemed to fly.

What I did NOT like about this K-Drama (SPOILER ALERT):  There were two things I didn’t like about this Drama.  One was when the hero found out he had a kid.  Suddenly, both he and the heroine acted as if his life were over.  Now, I don’t know if that is how it really is in Korea or not, but their view of how an unknown child could destroy love was unrealistic to me…but then again, I’m an American and the culture here is different.

The other thing that bothered me was the way the heroine would occasionally wiggle her body and whine when she was frustrated.  Most of the time it was funny, but when she was truly upset, she would even flop down on the bed and cry and whine.  I just found that really irritating in some scenes.

But other than those two things, I still loved this show.

Favorite Scene(s): There are so many scenes to choose from it is hard to pick just one.  Literally, there was something that would make me laugh hysterically in every episode.  However, I will pick out two – one between the four male friends and one between the hero and the heroine.

  1. Between the four friends, there is a flashback scene where they are supposed to be back in high school and about 18 years old.  They got into trouble together and they start the scene by making a mutual decision to take the blame and get a beating instead of having their parents called in.  However, when they finally stand before the teacher together, three of the friends cleverly set up the fourth to take the beating since throughout their friendship, he is always the one getting them in trouble.  (This is the first five minutes of Episode 4 and is SO FUNNY to watch.)
  2. Between the hero and heroine, I liked pretty much all of Episode 3, but especially the scene where the heroine steals the hero’s car.  As usual, he is being a stinker and he has finagled their situation so that the heroine was forced to ride in the car with the hero to get to a baseball game she is supposed to umpire for.  He then decides to take a side trip when she falls asleep, and he does so without giving her notice.  When he gets out of the car despite her protests, gives his keys to the valet, and goes into a hotel to meet a friend, she then takes the car and leaves him behind.  When he catches up to her, he gets his revenge (also in true stinker fashion) and blackmails her into behaving in a way that makes him look like hot stuff.  From the moment he picks her up for their road trip to the moment where he returns her to Seoul is absolutely hysterical.  (Episode 3 – From the 23-minute mark to the 51-minute mark.)

However, since I couldn’t find either of those scenes on YouTube, here is a video clip someone made up took three really great romantically-tense scenes from the show and put them together.  I especially loved the second scene.  In that clip, Yi Soo ends up at the hotel with Do Jin when the guy she likes shows up at the hotel.  (Basically, Do Jin and his partner rent the hotel room all year long for guests or when they want a night away.)  Yi Soo ends up running into the bathroom to hide from the guy she likes (because she doesn’t want him to know that she went to a hotel with Do Jin) and Do Jin was already in there.  Since he’s a stinker, he obviously has to take full advantage of the situation.  It’s an awesome scene…

Unfortunately, this video tends to clip the tops of their heads a bit, but it was the best I could find.

 

And here’s one more great scene between Yi Soo and Do Jin.  Basically, Do Jin has a pen recorder that records everything about his day.  Yi Soo ends up taking it home without knowing it right after Do Jin kissed her, and she ended up saying things to herself that she never would have wanted Do Jin to know.  However, Do Jin gets it back and listens to everything.  When Yi Soo finds out, she runs over to Do Jin’s house to get the recorder back.  It’s another great romantic scene between the two.

 

Overall Opinion:  I loved this show so much, I watched many of the scenes several times before I actually ever finished the show.  I then had to watch it again immediately because I couldn’t believe how funny and clever the show was.  This show is a definite “must watch” and then a “must watch it again” show.

Where to Watch: 

Review of Korean Drama “SungKyunKwan Scandal”

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 Genre:  Romantic Comedy, Historical

Number of Episodes:  20

 

Story Premise:  A young woman in the Joseon period disguises herself as a young man and attends the prestigious all-male Sungkyunkwan University at the risk of her own life.   


Synopsis:
Kim Yoon Hee first disguised herself as her brother (Kim Yoon Shik) when she was 12 years old in order to support her mother and sick brother.  To make ends meet, she takes a job copying books and making cheat sheets for the local college students.  When she creates a cheat sheet and ends up giving it to the wrong person, she draws the attention of Lee Seon Joon, the super smart and uptight son of one of the country’s most powerful ministers.  Believing Yoon Hee is a boy, Lee Seon Joon tricks her into applying to the prestigious male-only university, then ensures that she has no choice but to attend (thanks to the King’s Command).  Yoon Hee is horrified at having to attend the university because she knows that if she is caught, she will be executed for breaking the laws that treat women differently than men.  On the flip side, attending the university means free room and board, that the school will pay for her family’s medical bills, and that she will receive a monthly stipend which she can give to her family.  With all those benefits, Yoon Hee decides to stick it out at college for as long as she can.

Lee Seon Joon is on the fast track to a getting a high-ranking government position thanks to his father and the fact that he has always been the smartest student wherever he attended school. All he really wants, however, is to learn how to make friends, to learn, and to live an upstanding life.  When Yoon Hee is assigned to be his roommate, Lee Seon Joon believes he may have made his first friend ever and he becomes determined to nurture that friendship at any cost.  But when he starts finding himself attracted to Yoon Hee, he is horrified and begins to question everything that he knows about himself.

Add to the mix the fact that the university is in political upheaval.  There are two main dorms – one for Northerners and one for Southerners (Norons vs. Sorons) – and the students from each dorm are constantly trying to prove which side is the best.  While Lee Seon Joon is a Noron and Yoon Hee is “Neutral” (since she comes from the town where the university is), there third roommate (Moon Jae Shin aka Goel Oh or “Crazy Horse”) is a hardcore Soron who is furious to find out his roommate is a Noron.  Moonlighting as the “Red Bandit,” Goel Oh’s goal in life is to get people to rise up against the Norons and force them to stop their corrupting ways.  Also add to the mix Gu Yong Ha, the playful son of a wealthy family who thrives on fashion on loose women.  When he meets Yoon Hee, he is convinced she is a girl and he makes it his goal to “out” her in any way he can…preferably “out” of her clothes.

 

What I like about this K-Drama:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this drama.  From the first episode, you can’t help but laugh at all the sticky situations that Yoon Hee gets herself into.  They are natural disasters and not something that seems or feels forced.  While it seems ludicrous that she would be “tricked” into going the school, the writers actually made it happen in a way where you couldn’t help but think, “Oh crap… if she doesn’t go, she could die.  If she is found out, she could die.  If she runs and hides, her family could die…what’s a girl to do?”

Add to the fact her awkwardness when she finds herself sharing a room with two men, and not just the room but the blankets.  Even better, Goel Oh refuses to sleep next to Seon Joon, so Yoon Hee ends up becoming the buffer that has to sleep between them.  The sleeping arrangements become a sticky and hysterical situation several times throughout the show, especially when Goel Oh and then Seon Joon finds out she is a girl.

What I also love about this show is  Gu Yong Ha.  He is one of the best characters I have ever seen because he is such a stinker.  He acts like he’s bored all the time and he prefers to go wherever entertaining things are happening – like the Gisaeng House (i.e. Brothel).  Watching him try to get Yoon Hee naked again and again is also really funny because he is just such a stinker about it.

In actuality, I love ALL of the characters in the show.  You can’t help but cheer for the hero and heroine as they find their footing around each other and eventually fall in love.  I love how Goel Oh and Gu Yong Ha are best friends and protect each other and eventually Seon Joon and Yoon Hee.  I also love the University feeling to the movie, which starts with a Hazing and continues on to old-fashioned sporting competitions.  This is SO a “Must-Watch” Series if you ever watch Korean Dramas.

What I did NOT like about this K-Drama:

Honestly…nothing.  I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about this show.  Everything was easy to believe and highly amusing.

Favorite Scene(s):

There are too many to count, but if I had to choose, I would narrow it down to three:

1)      The scene where Yoon Hee passes the Hazing to get accepted into the college.  Each of the “freshmen” is given a difficult task to accomplish in order to be accepted into the University.  If a student fails, they must strip naked and jump into the nearby river with everyone watching.  Gu Yong Ha, who is one of the upperclassman and who has already decided Yoon Hee is a woman, is determined to see her strip naked so he assigns her the most difficult task of all – to bring back the underwear of the most coveted Gisaeng in the country.  To make her mission even more impossible, Gu Yong Ha promises a monetary reward to whichever Gisaeng can strip Yoon Hee down and give her a hickey on her chest.  Believing she would fail, everyone is astonished when Yoon Hee returns – hickey free and wildly successful – and thus she ends up earning the nickname Taemul, i.e. “Big Shot”.  (End of Episode 2 to Beginning of Episode 3)

2)      For a “You Can Conquer the World” type of scene, I would choose the Archery Competition, where Yoon Hee has to compete against the class president. The most coveted Gisaeng in the country gives her a little strategic help which is hysterical to watch, and Seon Joon gives her some advice which shows just how special their friendship really is.  (Episode 7 – 35 minutes to 46 minutes)

 3)      Finally, for romantic scenes, I love all of them but I especially love when Lee Seon Joon finds out that Yoon Hee is a girl.  He brings her back to his house to make her explain and his too-pushy servant locks them into Lee Seon Joon’s bedroom for the night.  Both try to go to sleep, but neither can so they both decide to read.  While Lee Seon Joon studies his school books, Yoon Hee searches his bookshelves and finds a “dirty” book that Gu Yong Ha had given to Seon Joon.  What ensues is a feisty little wrestling match that is both funny and “awkward.”  (Episode 16 – 12 minutes to 15 minutes)

Watch This On My Favorite K-Drama Site:

AllAboutKoreanDramas.com