There are very few countries that can write, produce, and perform a romantic comedy drama like Korea. I’ve watched Japanese dramas, Chinese dramas, Taiwanese dramas, but none can compare to the heart wrenching, tear-jerking, and dreamy-eye staring like those that can be had (and guaranteed) in Korean dramas. I speak of, of course, the romantic comedies geared towards teenage girls, not that I’m a teenage girl. I’m just a teenage girl at heart — still!
I’d like to share some of my favourites, the ones I’ve spent countless, sleepless nights watching, eyes wide and in my pyjamas. Even now, I still squeal at the thought of them.
Secret Garden starring Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin
First of all, no one kicks more @$$ than Gil Ra Im (played by Ha Ji Won). In the tried-and-true formula of “Pride and Prejudice,” Secret Garden consists of: rich, handsome, mean boy falling in love with poor, plain, kind girl — who happens to be a stuntwoman. Even better, said poor, plain, kind girl doesn’t even spare the boy a glance. In fact, she would rather he just GO AWAY — FOREVER! Add a little body switching (which doesn’t kick into the story line until several episodes in), and you got yourself a hit. Hyun Bin in his role of Kim Joo Won is hilarious and perfect! (By the way, I cried for 15 minutes straight near the end, because it got incredibly sad and romantic. Nicholas Sparks got nothing on Secret Garden.)
Heartstrings starring Park Shin-hye and Jung Yong Hwa
If you’re a firm supporter of Go Mi Nam (Male)/Go Mi Nyu (Female) and Kang Shin Woo in You’re Beautiful, then Heartstrings is for you! It, too, is about music, but Jung Yong Hwa’s role as Lee Shin is absolutely breath-taking! And I have never seen Park Shin-hye as beautiful as she is in her character as Lee Gyu Won. Heartstrings is like “Romeo and Juliet,” except instead of battles with swords and shields, it’s battles between the traditonal East Asian instrument the gayageum and the crazy Western instrument the (electic) guitar. Nothing makes your heart warmer then seeing them together, because Jun Yong Hwa is perfect as the sensitive, caring and romantic Lee Shin.
Personal Taste starring Soon Ye Jin and Lee Min Ho
The aspect that drew me to Personal Taste is that it’s focused on (besides the romance) furniture and architecture. Soon Ye Jin’s role as Park Kae In is an aspiring home décor designer and Lee Min Ho’s character, Jeon Jin Ho, is an architect. The fact that they end up living together is hilarious because, of course, she thinks he’s gay just because he wears pink dress shirts… Yeah, she’s not the brightest character in the whole drama, but they make it work incredibly well. For those who love beautiful designs and bright colours, Personal Taste is for you.
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