“My Girl” (Korean Drama) Review
Welcome to week nine of our ‘Korean Drama Throwback’ series, featuring reviews for dramas that aired 10 years ago. We look forward to sharing some of the great dramas of the past and it’s protagonists with you. Being in love with Korean dramas for well over a decade now, it is time for some official reminiscing. Fasten your seat belts and join us on this journey down Korean drama memory lane. The romantic comedy hit ‘My Girl’ is today’s star.
The main cast:
- Lee Dong Wook as Seol Gong Chan
- Lee Da Hae as Joo Yoo Rin
- Lee Joon Gi as Seo Jung Woo
- Park Si Yeon as Kim Se Hyun
Original Release Date: December 14, 2005 to February 2, 2006
Joo Yoo Rin (Lee Da Hae) lives on Jeju Island with her Dad. Together with a friend, she freelances as a tour guide.
Having lived in Japan and Hong Kong growing up, Yoo Rin speaks Japanese and Chinese as well as Korean. Her multilingual skills often come in handy when trying to attract clients visiting the island.
Because her Dad is a habitual gambler, Yoo Rin constantly ends up responsible for earning their living expenses. And paying his gambling debts.
Because of their constant financial woes, the hardworking and smart Yoo Rin became highly resourceful on how to get by.
With her quick wit and great imagination, she often put on a show to manoeuvre her way around trouble. Bending the truth became part of her life.
Regardless of the trouble he repeatedly puts her through, our heroine has a close relationship with her father. They both care for each other in their own way.
Although at times it may seem otherwise, Yoo Rin possesses a moral conscience. In spite of her blurred lines between lie and truth, she has managed to stay out of any legal troubles.
Seol Gong Chan (Lee Dong Wook) comes across as a rather serious character unwilling to put up with any nonsense.
However, despite appearing at times haughty, he is kind, just, and always ready to acknowledge a honest, hardworking person.
Insisting on always being truthful himself, he easily sees through people who tell lies or make up stories.
Gong Chan feels a heavy sense of responsibility towards running the family’s hotel chain.
In addition to this he is also trying to find his long lost cousin as soon as possible. It is his sick Grandfather’s last wish to meet his granddaughter before he dies.
About 20 years ago, Gong Chan’s aunt married without her father’s approval and became estranged from the family. She later moved to Japan and gave birth to a daughter. Both his aunt and her husband became victims of an earthquake only a few years later. Nothing has been known of their daughter since.
Seo Jung Woo (Lee Joon Gi) is a typical rich playboy living the good life without concern about anything. With his handsome looks and charm to spare, making conquests is easy. With money to spare, life is easy.
Although his mother is constantly after him to settle down and be more responsible, she has yet to succeed.
Jung Woo and Gong Chan have been close friends since a young age, despite their different personalities.
Even throughout their different lifestyles in recent years, they managed to stay as close as ever.
Having forged a brotherly bond, they can always count on each others support.
Jung Woo’s world and what he though to want in life starts changing from the moment he first meets Yoo Rin.
How will the player react when suddenly faced with the serious side of life?
Due to Yoo Rin’s spontaneous and unorganized personality, her and her friends tours often end up in time conflicting situations.
It is during one of these situations that Yoo Rin and Gong Chan ‘meet’ for the first time.
Yoo Rin is trying to keep a plane to Seoul from leaving until her tour guests can get to the airport. She feigns being a sick girl, trying to see her boyfriend one more time, who has boarded the plane.
Seol Gong Chan is sitting on a plane waiting for takeoff when a girl gets on and causes a commotion. While airport personnel and flight attendants seem concerned about the distressed girl, Gong Chan is not fooled by her acting.
When she ‘collapses’ next to his seat but firmly holds on to his seats armrest, he pries her fingers loose so the staff can carry her off the airplane.
Their second encounter happens when Yoo Rin jumps right in front of Gong Chan’s car, while running away from her father’s newest creditors.
With her pursuers still close by, Yoo Rin pretends to be unconscious and Gong Chan takes her to the hospital.
Having to leave because of a previous engagement, he leaves his business card so she may contact him afterwards.
Yoo Rin finds out through the business card that he is a director at the L’Avenuel Hotel, one of the top hotels on Jeju Island.
Needing money and with her father’s creditors even following her to the hospital, she decides to approach Gong Chan for compensation.
Meanwhile, Gong Chan calls the hospital to check up on the unconscious accident victim he brought in earlier. To his surprise, he finds out the girl appears to have disappeared, leaving her bag behind.
Gong Chan has her bag brought over to the hotel and looking inside, discovers the girls name and occupation through her business card. Her card, besides offering her services as tour guide, also lists her multilingual skills.
When Yoo Rin comes to find him shortly afterwards, he finds her feeble attempts to obtain financial compensation amusing and easily deflects them.
Yoo Rin, quickly realizing her plan is a fail, retrieves her bag and proceeds to leave the hotel.
But she has barely made it to the elevator when Gong Chan catches up with her…in order to hire her as a interpreter for the evening.
Unexpected circumstances have left him without a interpreter for an important dinner meeting that evening with Chinese guests. He rushed after Yoo Rin upon remembering at the last minute that her card stated she speaks Chinese.
She agrees and the evening events go off as planned.
Gong Chan has arranged for the dinner to be at the family’s beautiful out of town mansion, that usually sits empty. The evening is a success and everyone goes their way pleased with the outcome.
When life gives you
Since the loan sharks minions already know where she lives, Yoo Rin had planned to stay at local bath houses and computer rooms until she can pay them back.
To her dismay, her friend informs her that her pursuers are on to her plan, and suggests she stay away from town for a while.
It is at this moment that Yoo Rin remembers Gong Chan saying earlier that evening, that his family’s mansion is usually not occupied. So she decides to take up residence inside the mansion.
Not wanting to be accused ever of staying there for free, she makes sure to look after thr house and keeping it clean.
Never one to sit still for long and with no job to do, Yoo Rin starts exploring the house’s surrounding area.
This is when she discovers a tangerine orchard.
Ever the resourceful, she decides to sell tangerines to passersby on a nearby mayor road.
When Gong Chan discovers what Yoo Rin has been up to, he is not impressed.
However, since she returns all the money she made from the tangerine sales and begs him not to call the police, he agrees to let it go.
Life goes on and even though Gong Chan and Yoo Rin’s paths cross several more times, it does nothing to improve what they think of each other.
He increasingly mistrusts her character after catching her lying and making up stories multiple times.
She feels offended by his mistrust. After all, what does he know about having a though life.
A twisted fate
In order to evade the loan sharks still after her father and herself, Yoo Rin has managed to get them both away from Jeju Island. She now stays with a friend of hers in Seoul and works hard to start a new life.
As his grandfather’s deteriorates, and he is still unsuccessful in locating his cousin, Gong Chan makes the fateful decision to hire a stand-in. A substitute granddaughter who will grant the forgiveness that his grandfather has been seeking for.
For Gong Chan there is no one better to be the stand-in than Yoo Rin. He has already witnessed her ability to act on multiply occasions and is confident she can pull it off.
Convincing her takes more effort than he anticipated but he finally get’s her to agree, citing his grandfather’s frail health and desperate wish to meet his granddaughter.
Together, Gong Chan and Yoo Rin set his plan in motion and she moves into their family home and is presented as the long lost granddaughter.
But fate has a twist in store for everyone involved beyond what they could have imagined and things start to unravel and spin out of control.
Although I was initially unsure whether to include ‘My Girl’ into this Throwback series, I am so glad I did. I felt myself falling for the story, certain characters and even part of the OST all over again.
Because I love Lee Joon Gi [especially in bad boy roles], here is a picture of him as Jung Woo.
Still handsome even with that questionable haircut in style during the mid 2000’s [you know, the one that made it look like hairdressers did not own proper sharp scissors].
As a reminder that product placement within K-dramas is nothing new, and to randomly celebrate how far technology has come along, I bring you this little gem:
‘My Girl’ is one of the first Korean dramas written by the Hong sisters. To this day they remain my favourite drama writers. Their most recent project is the already much talked about ‘Hotel Del Luna’ starring IU and Yeo Jin Go.
Until we drama again,
Have a Korean Drama that you would like to feature? Leave us a comment below.
More ‘Throwback’ drama reviews:
- Boys Over Flowers
- Brilliant Legacy/Shining Inheritance
- My Lovely Sam Soon
- When it’s at Night
- You’re Beautiful
- Goong/Princess Hours
- Heading to the Ground (No Limit)
- Coffee Prince
- City Hall