"I curse this series also because I was so emotionally involved with this series that as at the posting of this review, I am still suffering from serious withdrawal symptoms and I don't think I can ever let go until I got my hands on the box set. I am obsessed to the point that I watched this series twice in a row and my work desktop's wallpaper is plastered with screencaps. I am cursed because I have got to take screencaps! I curse it! Damn this series!."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
I will update my comments about this series later on when I have the chance of watching the Korean version.
Deciphering The Title
If I tell you I know the Korean language I would be lying to you. The Chinese title is somewhere along the line of "Falling In Love With A Female Broadcaster" but I think I have read Chinese title where the title is "The Seduction Of Eve" and I suspect this is the direct translation of the Korean title. Don't take my word for it. You won't go wrong with All About Eve though as this is the official title on all set boxes.
Korean obviously. But the version I watched is Mandarin version. There are Korean/Mandarin or Korean/Cantonese with Malay/Chinese/English subtitled version out there but most review I have read said that the English version is very poorly translated. Maybe the Malay version is better. There is a US version for this one, considered a collector's item where you can buy from yesasia.com but it is only shipped to America and Central America. I guess we Asians all know Mandarin or Korean or knows how to read Chinese subtitles very well eh?
Yes I am very bitter. But I also read names like Kenneth for Xiang Zher and Nicole for Shan Mei. Scary isn't it? Imagine the whole show we hear Shan Mei! Shan Mei! in Korean and then you will see Nicole! Nicole! in the subtitle. You might be very confused who the heck Nicole is! I always believe names must be left untouched.
No. of episodes
The version I watched is 20 episodes, meaning 20 VCDs. Some versions are 23 VCDs which may or may not be 20 episodes. DVD versions ranges from 8 to 10 DVDs. Popular version is 20 episodes though again some scenes may have been edited but I don't think that is the case with the version I watched.
MBC, probably Korea's TVB.
For the purpose of this review, I am using the Chinese names. My mandarin is not so good so please pardon me for the inaccurate words used if any.
Jang Dong Gun - Ying Xiang Zher
Han Jae Suk-Jin You Zhen
Chae Rim - Zhen Shan Mei
Kim So Yeon - Xu Ying Mei
Kim Jung Eun - Liu Yung Xi
And many more people I do not know their names since I had a hard time recognising their names.
Like I wrote above, I realised with dread by watching this series my Mandarin is really not that good. Some lines which I have translated may not be wholly accurate but is correct in the spirit of the said line uttered. Names and spelling are all according to what I heard which again may not be accurate.
Basically rivalry between two women in a broadcasting powerhouse called MBS to become the top news anchorwoman for the 9 o'clock news and how love changed or fuelled that rivalry.
Since this series is already 5 years old and since everybody that watches Korean drama series must have either seen this or heard about this one, I might as well tell you the whole story from what I could understand.
The story began with Xiang Zher interestingly and ended with him as well. But I might as well just tell this story the way I perceived it.
Shan Mei was born into a very loving family. Her mother is not featured in this series and I suspect she ran away or died. But Shan Mei was very much pampered and loved by her father, a businessman owning a construction business. Her life is comfortable, filled with laughter and happiness. And which was why she grew into a cute, happy, positive and very naive girl whose heart is essentially kind hearted and pure. She is in love with her family friend's only son, You Zhen, also an essentially good man who is a talented cameraman.
Ying Mei on the other hand possess the good looks and the intelligence to succeed in her chose career but her downfall is her dark past (which means pedigree is important I guess) which is also a very sad past. Her life was bliss,until her mother ran away when she was 6 and that changes everything. Her father grew bitter and angry and over the years he became a drunkard and very abusive towards Ying Mei. Ying Mei's only escape was in her books and in a gangster boyfriend who will prove to be her downfall later in this series. Her father worked for Shan Mei's father but these two girls never met before her father's death. One day her father was seriously injured at the construction site and although she was conflicted with how she felt, she was glad that he was dead and she could have enough money to continue with her university education. Shan Mei's father brought her into his home and that at the age of 20 years these two girls met for the first time.
The first time Ying Mei met Shan Mei, she harboured a jealousy so deep it turned into hatred that almost destroyed them both. She was angry that she and Shan Mei shared so many similarities and ambition as both wanted to become broadcaster and yet was so vastly different. Shan Mei herself n her naiveness did not like Ying Mei who was bossy and took the attention of the people she loved from her and thus she and You Zhen's mom weren't so kind to Ying Mei. But Shan Mei knew her behaviour was wrong and she suppressed her jealousy when You Zhen seemed to like Ying Mei more and even offered her a job at the broadcasting company, MBS. But Shan Mei found her way in anyway and although Shan Mei hoped that You Zhen will love her, she suspected with Ying Mei constantly throwing herself at You Zhen, she realised perhaps she may be the loser.
Ying Mei on the other hand seduced You Zhen to spite Shan Mei and You Zhen's mom. She thought she won the battle with Shan Mei by getting You Zhen but like Shan Mei said to her; "I never wanted to start a war with you, I only hope you will treat You Zhen well". In front of You Zhen, Ying Mei could be both an angel and a devil whilst she was very honest in front of Shan Mei. Shan Mei saw her true self earlier on and that rivalry quickly turned into all out brawl. It hurt Shan Mei when You Zhen questioned her jealous rage and tearfully Shan Mei walked away but she never inteneded to give up You Zhen even when You Zhen told her he was falling for Ying Mei. She thought it was only a phase.
But one day Ying Mei and Shan Mei were both attacked by gangster and in one selfless moment, Ying Mei protected Shan Mei. Shan Mei felt guilty as she ran away and so she left Korea for London to study English, thus giving Ying Mei the opportunity to start a relationship with You Zhen to the displeasure of You Zhen's mom.
In London, a heartbroken Shan Mei was almost knocked down by Xiang Zher. That was how they met and out of guilt Xiang Zher went to see Shan Mei often and that quickly became friendship. In Xiang Zher Shan Mei could forget her broken heart and grew emotionally stronger whilst in Shan Mei Xiang Zher found solace in the fact that he need not be so lonely anymore. Shan Mei did not know who Xiang Zher was or where he was from except he was her senior at the university and he was always alone.
Xiang Zher is the eldest son of the chairman of MBS, therefore his successor. But Xiang Zher shared a very volatile relationship with his father as he blamed him for causing his mother's unending grief, which went on until the day she died. His father left his mother when he was a young boy for another woman and in Xiang Zher's mind, his father never loved his mother and married her for money, as MBS belonged to his mother's father. But his father tried to explain he did loved her but not in the way she wanted him to and their relationship was destroyed by her family's disapproval. But Xiang Zher could hear no more of those things which was why very early in life he went to study abroad and rarely came home, except for his mother's funeral. In London he lived an essentially lonely existence, shunning his friends (one a co-anchorman at MBS and I think also Shan Mei's uncle if I am not mistaken, the other his former fiancee or maybe girlfriend but definitely a family friend's daughter, now MBS top anchorwoman Yung Xi who still harbours a feeling for him) and shunning love. He confessed to Yung Xi that "I do not want to be like my father who is so callous with love, and I do not wish to be like my mother who loved too deep". But that all changed when he met Shan Mei who literally brought sunshine to his lightless life, in a way.
Shan Mei's friendship with Xiang Zher grew so strong that when she left London, she still wrote to him and often Xiang Zher was her confessional booth, in a way.
Shan Mei and Ying Mei then began their stint at MBS and that was when Xiang Zher returned to take over the company when his father became sick. He had to fight off the uncle (stepmom's brother actually) influence in the board and he faced the pressure of raising the ratings which was falling. During such hard times, he kept in contact with Shan Mei who was facing very bad days with Ying Mei scheming to hurt her credentials. At this point Ying Mei's relationship with You Zhen became more intimate and she told You Zhen and his mom she aborted his child for career sake. Feeling immensely guilty, You Zhen's mom resolved to treat her well, since You Zhen was very much in love with Ying Mei, who advised You Zhen to keep their relationship a secret as they are colleagues at MBS.
Shan Mei meanwhile was suffering at the workplace. She was never as talented as Ying Mei but she worked hard and still she was often criticised by the very harsh Yung Xi who saw in Ying Mei her successor for the 9 o'clock news. But what Shan Mei didn't know was she was often comforted by a stranger's messages, from food to cards to flowers, and that was Xiang Zher who did not want her to know he was running MBS. They kept in constant contact until one day Ying Mei found out Xiang Zher was the boss of MBS. In anger and in thinking Shan Mei used special relationship to gain recognition at MBS when never once did Xiang Zher helped her in this sense, Ying Mei told Shan Mei the truth. In anger Shan Mei thought she was made a fool but Xiang Zher then confessed his love for her and Ying Mei deliberately brought Yung Xi to the scene and Yung Xi, naturally heartbroken was perhaps quite insulted that he chosethis young girl over the more sophisticated her. Shan Mei told Xiang Zher she needed time to think about it and he promised to wait for her, and wait he did.
When Ying Mei realised she wanted it all, she broke up with You Zhen and ran after Xiang Zher. You Zhen became very bitter and started drinking heavily and Shan Mei who didn't have the heart to see him in such a state kinda broke up with Xiang Zher to comfort You Zhen. Xiang Zher thought she did what she did because she still loved You Zhen but what he didn't realise was she was already deeply in love with him and her reason for helping You Zhen was like a sister to a brother. But she was prepared to marry You Zhen if that will help him because You Zhen's mom begged her to save her son. Xiang Zher decided to let go finally and Shan Mei was heartbroken but did not show her feelings.
Ying Mei meanwhile became uncontrollable. She became very arrogant and disrecpectful to Yung Xi and Yung Xi finally realised the goodness of Shan Mei and the evilness in a way of Ying Mei and so Yung Xi decided to teach Shan Mei broadcasting and shunned Ying Mei. Ying Mei was so angry she did something to Yung Xi's car and so she met with an accident and suffered a broken foot. But Yung Xi refused to allow Ying Mei to sit in the 9 o'clock news position and limped back to work. She didn't know Ying Mei was the culprit though. Meanwhile, You Zhen began to see the ugly side of Ying Mei and he found a security tape with Ying Mei doing something to Yung Xi's car. He used it to threaten her in a way, and in Ying Mei's mind, she thought he wanted to torture her and so she pretended to return back to him but in You Zhen's mind, he wanted to reform Ying Mei and to use this opportunity to make her realise what she was doing was wrong. But Ying Mei became worse and worse to the point that You Zhen knew perhaps it may be hopeless. He erased the tape and when Ying Mei found out, she showed him no mercy. Again he was dumped, even when he begged her to fly away with him, she flatly refused. And yet at night she cried looking at his pictures and his clothes but her jealous rage at Shan Mei's good fortune drove her heart deeper into anger and unreasonable rage.
You Zhen meanwhile decided to set things straight. He went to see Shan Mei, apologising to her for his behaviour. He met with his mom but his mom refused to talk to him when he said he wanted to marry Ying Mei. He saw Xiang Zher and told him Shan Mei was deeply in love with him and with this, Xiang Zher ran to Shan Mei and this time her refused to let her go anymore. And their relationship was sealed with a walk in the park.
Then Ying Mei's ex boyfriend came back into her life. He was angry when he found out she called the police to arrest him for operating a prostitute den at the karaoke lounge where she worked there before. She was reporting a news and You Zhen was the camera man and when he came with a knife threatening to kill her Ying Mei was so scared she walked right into the street. You Zhen managed to push her away and he was struck by a lorry and he died from his injuries. Ying Mei was shocked but composed herself quickly and went back to work, she did not even turn up for his funeral. Everybody criticised her, and when Shan Mei's relationship with Xiang Zher was exposed in the papers, Shan Mei thought it was Ying Mei and Ying Mei silently took all insults. It was in fact Shan Mei's best friend who accidentalky revealed it to a journalist. Shan Mei was confused why Ying Mei took all blame which was unlike her and she suspected something was wrong.
Indeed there was something wrong. Ying Mei planned to take revenge on behalf of You Zhen, she planned to kill her gangster ex boyfriend who caused his death and then kill herself as she blamed herself too. And then she saw in the erased tape a message left by You Zhen who hoped that she will forgive herself for whatever that happened in her bad past (in a way she may have blamed herself for her mom leaving the family) and marry him so that he can give her happiness. Ying Mei tearfully realised the one man who she had wronged truly loved her and she did not kill the gangster. She reported to the police and then she went to beg forgiveness from You Zhen's mom who forgave her. Then she met with Shan Mei and in one split secondthey recognised each other as equal and all the past was forgiven. She placed her resignation letter as well as confession letter of what she did on Xiang Zher's table and the last scene of her was she tearfully but blankly walking into the river.
Shan Mei panicked and blamed herself for not noticing something was wrong. For months she searched for her but in vain. Meanwhile Yung Xi gave Shan Mei an opportunity to become I think a news correspondent in England and also to further her studies and Yung Xi decided to marry her co-partner (Xiang Zher's good friend). Shan Mei felt like going but was waiting how Xiang Zher would react. Xiang Zher didn't know and he wanted to proposed to her when she said she will go to England. The next day whilst they were all hosting this news magazine show, Shan Mei saw Ying Mei in one of the clips. Xiang Zher and Shan Mei quickly went to the orphanage and saw a very serene looking Ying Mei who forgot her past and only recalled right up to the age of 6. When Shan Mei asked Ying Mei has she forgotten You Zhen, Ying Mei took out a photo of You Zhen and said "Was this You Zhen?" and then she asked "He is dead isn't he? I know because everytime I looked at this photo I felt this pain in my heart, did I love him?" and Shan Mei said "Yes" and Ying Mei smiled shyly, saying "I have lost my memories but I have this photo to accompany me". Before leaving Ying Mei asked Shan Mei "Was I a good person?" and Shan Mei tearfully said "Yes" and they left with Ying Mei preferring to stay behind.
On the journey back where Shan Mei was to leave for London tomorrow, she said her final goodbyes to Xiang Zher. She left the car tearfully crossing the street when Xiang Zher shouted her name, ran to her and confessed he did not want to let her go. He proposed and asked her to stay with a tearful Shan Mei quietly nodding. He said "Shan Mei, I love you" and then they kissed and then THE END.
Just so you know there are many more I didn't reveal but these are the essentials.
From the length of my plot summary above and my attention to details, I am sure you will know how attentive I was when watching this series. I tried not to write too much about my favourite character and it was very hard to ignore the fact that this series started with him and ended with him because in my opinion, this series is about the 2 main female leads and I dare to say, more on the character of Ying Mei. Ying Mei is a standalone character whilst Shan Mei depended on the characters that surround her.
Let me first begin by saying, this is the 3rd Korean drama series I have watched and it is one of those that affects me emotionally, in a good and in a bad way. Good in the sense that this is an immensely enjoyable, entertaining and well acted series and bad in the sense that (and I am sure I speak on behalf of most women out there who watched this series) makes me wonder whether there is such a guy like the lead character in here? Sadly, I came to the ultimate conclusion; if there is one, I haven't met him yet. This is the success of this series I guess that one would hope that whatever transpired in this series would be my own wish that it could have happened to anyone, even my ownself. Alas, all are but a dream that exists only in print and in reel.
My first Korean series was Hotelier and it was an enjoyable experience. I am totally into Jewel In The Palace right now and in my opinion, my most favourite thus far is this fairly old series that was first broadcast in 2000. I believe this was one of the pioneering few that garnered a huge following outside of Korea and deservingly so.
If you ask me is there anything so new with this series, I will confess no. Bits and pieces of it can be seen in other series, mainly TVB series. If you ask me is there any new characters in here doing new stuff that I have never seen before, I will again say no, and I will add perhaps the difference is in the degree or the extremity of the actions but essentialy you must have seen this plot somewhere before. Either because other series newly released follow the plot of this series or this series followed some older ones. Like Hotelier, some parts of this series tend to be draggy, some parts tend to be over the top, some unnecessary and some very inappropriate. But what drives this series, like most Korean drama series I have seen (thus far I repeat, only 3 plus some movies) is the way the story is told, the performances and the one truly memorable character.
Every series must have one truly memorable character. Some character's memorability may sometimes depend on how unmemorable the others may be but I am glad to say in a Korean drama series, how memorable a character is is truly because the character is worthy of being memorable for whatever reason.
This series has perhaps 4 max. Some may say the conniving and scheming Ying Mei, for she is truly memorable because this is one character one can write a thesis on. Why she did what she did despite she knew she felt otherwise? Did she love You Zhen? If yes why she hurt him so?
Perhaps Shan Mei and the argument will rage on whether she was that good, whether she was that pure.
Perhaps You Zhen and why despite all of Ying Mei's weaknesses he still loved her so?
But for me it was Ying Xiang Zher, the loneliest character in here, apart from Ying Mei. I saw in Ying Mei a bit of Xiang Zher actually, and curiously. These two characters are the driving force of this series in my opinion and without either one of them or if they were poorly written, this series will fall flat.
Lucky for us, the characters in here, as in the main 4 were very well written, special attention to Xiang Zher, Shan Mei and Ying Mei.
Anyway, if you ask me is this a love story, I would say probably. Is it a story about rivalry and jealousy and ambition and the consequences of pushing certain matters too far to no end? I would say most probably yes, but the heavy theme of this series is often covered or rather white washed by the notion of love. There is no doubt you'll see very ugly human behaviour in here, and even sometimes the most innocent one may even fall for such temptation of anger and hatred. I would say this series is a series about choices that people make, often to their detriment, sometimes leading to regret, sometimes leading to a good end and preseverence on the optimistic side, that someone is capable of being good, that love can heal all wounds, that sacrifice may be the only way to make people who care about this person to wake up and see what's good before them and what roads to take and what priorities should come before all other priorities. I would say Shan Mei and Ying Mei are the ones needing to wake up and You Zhen and Xiang Zher the ones who pushed for such awakening.
An analysis of the characters
I will not hide my love for the character of Xiang Zher. I was quite shocked at Jang Donggun's appearance at first, but when he took over MBS, I will confess, I was so keen on this series because I was so keen on Xiang Zher. He was essentially the man all women would hope to marry one day. He was attentive, he was a gentleman, he was polite and he was loving and affectionate to Shan Mei. He may be overly polite to others, or cold and distant towards his father and Yung Xi. He may be even tough on his uncle and in his business. But when it comes to Shan Mei, he is supportive and very gentle. He is also prone to jealous bouts but if he did he didn't show it but he did confessed to Shan Mei how he felt. He is honest in this sense. There was no doubt why he fell for Shan Mei despite the fact that Shan Mei throughout this series didn't do anything for him. I mean not that she can help him with his business and rivalry with his uncle in law. But what she did was filled an empty void in his lonely existence. He did not dare to love but Shan Mei whose bubbly personality and also her frequent tears attracted him. He admired Shan Mei's goodness and steadfast loyalty to You Zhen and he thought he loved her more than she loved him. So when he knew she loved him as much, he ran to her and gently but firmly said "From now on I will decide how this will be..not you, I will never follow your plan anymore, you will follow mine". Really I am in love with this man, which sadly is not real. He is too good to be real.
That is not to say he was always that great or perfect. I am very surprised to read that everybody thought he was perfect, and I think this has got to do with the fact that he waited for Shan Mei very patiently, bidding his time to win over her heart and all the lovly things he did. I however find him emotional flawed, at first and very human. The way he ran away to London, in a way abandoning his mother as I suspect he couldn't stand her constant grief over the fact that his father left her for another woman was in a way very careless behaviour. His mother must have been all alone. The way he stared at his very much younger half brother, the way he spoke to his stepmother, without much regard for her existence. And the way he cried at the funeral, which was the only time he displayed his emotion so freely and the way he looked at his father showed he felt contempt for his father and perhaps himself for abandoning his mom. This series didn't show all that but I read into it. The way he rudely talked to his father who was begging for his understanding in Episode 1 was classic. The way he rudely told off Yung Xi who was trying to advise him was in a way a tell tale sign this man has a temper and he won't stand nonsense. He has mood swings but all that was shown in the first 3 episodes and rarely seen after. Even when we supposedly thought he treated Shan Mei the best without any temper, well he did show his temper when he was fed up with the waiting game; he was frustrated and harsh on her and like he confessed, there was a short period of time he didn't want to care about her but he couldn't because he was far too deeply in love with her. Above all else, above all the anger with his father, contempt for his step mother and the way he handled his business which is quite a lot of pressure but still steady in his own calm way, you will find this character a very closed character, someone who keeps to himself and above all else, a loner, that is until he met Shan Mei where he became more emotional opened and involved. He was not afraid to be hurt and he was not afraid to express them anymore. He was not even afraid to be a giddy boy in love. As he took over MBS and gained power and with a much immature Shan Mei, he became more mature, steady and steadfast in his resolution. Like how he did business later on as how he loved Shan Mei, he was on a single tracked mind. I admire his dedication and I will say Jang Donggun gave this man so much charm you can't help but feel for his pain and his inability to know for sure if Shan Mei really loved him.
Everything uttered by this man, which is very few as he is the silent type is classic. Most of his best lines were the ones he did not say anything; silently sitting in his bathtub with his glass of wine, standing in front of the shower feeling rather depressed with Shan Mei and work (I know what you think, why I am so attentive with these moments and why most of them involved semi nakedness but believe me, these moments are his most emotionally quietand vulnerable moments), sitting by the lamp with a glass of whatever he was holding, smoking (quite a lot), a lot more during driving. But if I must choose one, I will choose one where Shan Mei thought perhaps he must have fell for the charm of Ying Mei and he smiled and seriously said "You see me, only me, and you run to me, just run to me..". How romantic.
A man so serious and yet when he was told by Shan Mei it was going to be her birthday, he was laughing himself silly at the way he behaved in trying to choose a gift or the way he was trying to find a romantic way to propose to her...love..they make you do silly things and in here lies the charm of this series. But I like the way he quite suddenly pulled Shan Mei towards him, dragging her along quite gently. There is a sense of playfulness in this character and the way he treated Shan Mei, the flirtatious glances, the way he teased her and the way she received his teases, his intense but gentle stares. A very real type of relationship and believably affectionate.
Most Favourite Moment
When Shan Mei bumped into him at the elevator and she remarked "You're very early today" and he replied seriously, whilst didn't quite look at her that "As you get older, you sleep lesser" and then of course he smiled. Really very funny moment and my reenactment by words did no justice to that very short scene.
Also one more I must mention. She informed him I think it was already 1 year since they met and she wanted to see him before 12 midnight. He didn't hesitate one bit and quickly ran, jumped, drove and ran some more to meet her at her house (outside gate only, not inside mind you) and he said he was wondering what to do when he sees her, and since he still had 5 minutes left, he spent the time really hugging her. I literally melted. It was a very affectionate and loving moment.
The Best Thing Xiang Zher Did...
for Shan Mei was... too many to list down. From the smallest detail like placing a coat on her shivering body to hugging her to buying her food to placing a single rose on the gates of her house to..well to just having waited for this nitwit to realise the only person who can help You Zhen is You Zhen himself.
Must Ask Question
Did Xiang Zher ever, even once slightly tempted by Ying Mei or did he see through her right away?
Xiang Zher knew all about Ying Mei through Shan Mei and later when he met her, I would think he was far too polite to tell her to get lost. One scene he was gently but firmly telling her to leave his room as it was way too late into the night and it was inappropriate. He never noticed nor care for her existence nor was he intriqued by her. She simply threw herself at him and there wasn't much he could do than to catch her but gently reject her, many many times. He is a mature man who probably knows of such trick since he faced that everyday in the company boardroom. So no, he was never tempted, at all but probably slightly confused and bemused by Ying Mei's overeagerness.
The Actor : Jang Donggun
I now know why he is so well loved amongst female audiences. Anyone who has seen this series will definitely fall for his character and since it is hard to draw a line between him and the character, everybody will fall for Jang Donggun because he personifies this character.
I will say this much about his peformance; it was perfection. Him being good looking of course helped but I won't say he is good looking or handsome. I find him simply beautiful. But his performance, at first seemed restrained to many is actually a very subtle kind. I have seen him only once before in 2009 Lost Memories and I was full of praise of him, if I remembered correctly. I am aware of this actor, I am also very aware he is very famous but I am also more aware there is a rivalry between two sections of fans; one Bae Yong Jun (the undisputed king of Korean TV) and Jang Dong Gun himself. Many felt Bae had more class, more educated, coming from a better background but I always thought there is a certain gentleness with Mr Jang, and a certain level of sensitivity and loneliness. I kinda see him as a soft kinda man, almost effiminate but you don't see the effiminate quality in his works. But you do sense the loneliness part. I was right to think this man is the silent type and his website wrote that he himself confessed he is prone to melancholy, which I suspect is something akin to Xiang Zher himself earlier on. Which is why I feel his performance was perfection. You can't find fault in his performance; his every stare, his every smile and etc. However I will say that I did not have the benefit of watching the Korean version so I did not hear his voice. But his singing was not dubbed and I will say; he is a very good singer and he looks like an accomplished piano player. He sounds like he has a good deep baritone but don't quite me on that.
That being said; this series truly belongs to him and no other. It takes the Koreans to show to the world how a gentleman should be depicted, which you can see in every one of the Korean series as I could find one in each one I saw. For me Ying Xiang Zher is the one truly memorable character in this series.
A too good to be true good girl but if you look carefully she is really not perfect. She is prone to jealousy, she was quite mean to Ying Mei at first but she quickly controlled herself. She was also very judgmental and spoke without thinking. Shan Mei reminds of one poem, where the main protaganist was walking by one day and saw a field of dancing daffodils and paid no attention to it until he went home, quite alone sat down and when worries came to him, he thought of the daffodils and he was happy and contented. Shan Mei was that man, having gone along her life focusing on You Zhen who never loved her the way she wanted him to love her and yet when Xiang Zher came along, she almost didn't notice him, until she went through some bad times and she thought of him and that was when she began to appreciate him.
In this series she probably cried the most but not very emotional outbursts but still those who can't stand tears may not like this aspect of this series. She is also a very lucky person; having been sheltered all her life. Like Ying Mei, one may hate Shan Mei for simply having the luck, the good fortune of good parent and good friends. But what Ying Mei didn't see was Shan Mei was well liked and well received by the viewers because she gave people this positive output; she is really as nice as one would think of her and she is very forgiving. This is the quality in Shan Mei that I suspect Ying Mei saw and yet jealously refused to admit it was inborn perhaps. Whilst I did say she did literally nothing fort Xiang Zher, but then just being there and showing up for him is still something. But really she did nothing for him. She did not even show up to go with him to visit his dead mother's grave, though she didn't know. You can't really blame her. She even wanted to give up on her love for Xiang Zher for You Zhen's sake. One senses that the man loves her more than she loves him but at the end she gave up a chance at furthering her studies when she met again with Ying Mei and realised priorities changed. How often can you meet that someone who loves you whole heartedly and one you can depend on for the rest of your life? Ying Mei met that man but she carelessly pushed him away and so in a way her acceptance of his proposal was a sign that she will not meet the same fate as Ying Mei. It must be noted when she wanted to go to London, she was saying "I am sure Ying Mei will not let go of this opportunity". But when she saw Ying Mei again, she made a choice only she can make. She can't forever think in the shoes of Ying Mei. And she was never really that ambitious anyway.
Earlier on when You Zhen told Shan Mei, Ying Mei said she wanted everything, that Ying Mei envied Shan Mei and Shan Mei looking very confused and angry said "Envy me? What is there to envy? She has everything ("I ever wanted" which is something I added-cue she wanted You Zhen and Ying Mei got You Zhen) and what else she wants? She wants to come grab everything from me?". I think she nailed Ying Mei's personality then. You Zhen knew too but he said nothing.
Every moment she spent with Xiang Zher, good or bad.
One good mention was when after the Most Favourite Moment as described below, she ran out and You Zhen followed and she tearfully said "You don't believe me don't you? How can you not believe me? I am Shan Mei, I am your Shan Mei you have known all your life, how can you not believe me?"
Most Favourite Moment
Her rivalry with Ying Mei which culminated in one girl fight with both of them tearing each other's hair out. Truly shocking and so unlady like but if I was Shan Mei, I would have done the same.
The Best Thing Shan Mei Did...
for Xiang Zher was by getting knocked down by his car. If not we all can't see his handsome face when he returned to MBS looking like a billion dollars. No no no, the best thing is really by telling him "I really like you, I really do" when he was in doubt whether he ever had a place in her heart apart from You Zhen. In fact very admirable because look at it this way; Xiang Zher took on Shan Mei knowing that she had this emotional baggage for You Zhen and he was ready to overlook that and overcome it. How wonderful.
Must Ask Question
Exactly when did Shan Mei fell for Xiang Zher?
Hard to tell since there are so many reasons to fall for him. I am confused too, because she seemed too friendly and affectionate with him when they were in London and they were just friends. Once he confessed he really liked her, she was standing 3 feet away from him. Suddenly there was this ackwardness when previously she wasn't so. And yet she didn't mind troubling hum by calling him to cry about her misery and he would always respond by running to her, literally. But if you ask me, my opinion is when he made that tape to encourage her. She already liked him but maybe then she loved him. I must stress though how little she did for that guy and how much he did for her but love can't be equated by me doing 5 things for you and you do 10.
The Actress : Chae Rim
Was told she is Park Chae Rim. Also one of the few actresses who openly admitted she did something to her nose, and obviously so. She is not pretty if you ask me. But she is naturally cute due to her girly looks that is almost cartoonish. The girl who dubbed her voice showcased that quality (which high pitched voice akin to Charmaine Sheh- in fact if HK were to remake this series some 5 years ago, Charmaine would have been my choice of Shan Mei when she was still chubby and cute) so I wonder how Chae Rim sounds like in real life? I did notice though that her hands was very rough, almost male like which was shocking to me. But that aside, I like the fact that there were occasional spots on her face which showed she was not physically perfect but still could nab a heavenly creature like Xiang Zher.
I must admit though, she has the sincerest and happiest smile seen on TV that highlights her cuteness. I think this was why she was cast in this role since she doesn't look a bit like a news broadcaster. Maybe a TV show host, those kiddie shows.
Performance wise, she did very well in the later parts. Her crying is very convincing and she doesn't go crying like the Taiwanese counterpart. But I did get very irritated when she closes her mouth when crying. I mean show it all girl! Her unconvincing moments were the earlier parts. I have something against women sitting cross legged. More so when this girl is immature, naive and girly. For me sitting cross legged is a very concious act of a very concious woman. Professionals, adults, mature women, conniving women, etc will sit cross legged but not a young, immature naive girly girl. She should just sit but no cross legged. Which was why I find her performance lacking in earlier parts. In later parts you seldom see her cross legged when she should be since she matured a bit and much wiser.
Anyway this is just my personal observation. I really do not like young girls sitting cross legged. I find that such a calculative and pretentious act.
By the way she has great chemistry with her male co-stars, which is great.
A very curiously multi layered character who is also single minded in hating and defeating Shan Mei. I said multi layered because there are many reasons for why she became the way she was but yet all these reasons may feel superficial after a while. She always used her poor background, which she was very ashamed of to gain sympathy from You Zhen and most men in her life. She used emotional blackmail to put it simply. She had very little regard for the feelings of others and it was this quality that Shan Mei saw right through her in their 2nd meeting. Shan Mei did liked her at first but her possessiveness and her very in your face attitude made Shan Mei realise very early on that Ying Mei is selfish. It was her hatred for Shan Mei that drove her to excel and in a way she drove Shan Mei to do better as well. It was an unspoken rivalry which started on basically bad reasons; she was insanely jealous of Shan Mei for no good reasons. And so she seduced You Zhen, she deliberately did many things to hurt Shan Mei whether love, career or everything else because of her one desire to win and somehow she saw Shan Mei as a competitor. I must add that Shan Mei was nowhere as talented or as smart as Ying Mei and Ying Mei would have reached the top without any dirty tricks or even seducing Xiang Zher. The only reason she seduced Xiang Zher is to beat Shan Mei as she believed by winning Shan Mei she could prove she is better and in doing so she looked like a fool to me. But I also find this character very conflicted.
For one, she did not have to save Shan Mei from the thugs, but she did. She didn't know the thugs were sent by her ex-gangster boyfriend and yet in that one selfless act, one can sense this girl was essentially good but due to circumstances, became poison. I do see Ying Mei as poison, another facet of Eve as the conniving one whilst Shan Mei is the innocent uncorrupted Eve. But in this competition and battle of wills, Ying Mei in the end lost because for one thing, Xiang Zher was exceptionally loyal to Shan Mei and she didn't understand true human nature, that love conquers all. You Zhen thought love can conquer Ying Mei's hatred and contempt for her past and everything else and her need to destroy and win at all cost but You Zhen lost because Ying Mei was far too deep into feeling sorry for her past. But when You Zhen died, Ying Mei woke up and maybe it was far too late for her since the man who truly loved her was dead and so the only solution to her problems is to give her memory loss.
I believe the writer wanted very much to redeem this character which was for 19 episodes unredeemable. Even till the end, I always thought she brought all the bad things to herself, and she caused You Zhen's death, however whiny You Zhen may have been. If you think she was badly treated by Shan Mei and You Zhen's mom, you must understand, Shan Mei, You Zhen and his mom is one very close group. They do not like invasion and intrusion like Ying Mei. And Ying Mei was very naive in thinking she can insult the mother, lie to the son and yet expect the mother to accept her when things didn't go her way. The way she so rudely and arrogantly treated Yung Xi was the same, that she never realised that by pushing someone too far, that someone may at last decide not to come back to you, except for You Zhen of course. Maybe in the happier times You Zhen saw in her the real her but frankly I didn't see it because even when she was happy with You Zhen, she was conniving and scheming but then you can't fake happiness. You Zhen's tape given to her showed some of their past happy moments and she looked truly happy and I think that was when she realised she had been wrong all these while.
If there is any reason to feel sorry for this character, it is because everything was far too late as in to right the wrong but there is also a reason to celebrate the ending for Ying Mei; she truly repented and she forgotten her sad past and even You Zhen. In her own undoing by walking into the lake (she was committing suicide by the way as she could not forgive herself), she emerged as someone who destroyed the hatred and discontent in her and became someone much content and happier. Her past was perhaps too painful to remember, even with You Zhen in it.
I will confess that I viewed her as poison from the start, and I never really liked her because she was very easy to hate with all her constant scheming. She is arrogant only to mask the fact that she is very insecure. She thought she did all things right, which may not be the right things when in actual fact her over confidence in her ability to win was really her downfall in not seeing what's in front of her.
After a while I got tired with her antics and I began to wonder wouldn't someone like Ying Mei get tired too with all the games to no end? But when I finished this series and looking at it retrospectively, I do feel sorry for her. I could understand her hatred for Shan Mei, who never really tried or suffered and yet had a great father, confortable life, good ratings and best of all, the devotion of boss himself. In a way Ying Mei envies Shan Mei because she is in awe of her in a sense, likewise Shan Mei despises Ying Mei because of what she did and for the fact that Ying Mei was so much more talented than her. There is a grudging respect between the two, hard to see but it exists.
One thing you can't pin the blame on her was You Zhen falling for her. Shan Mei and mom were both angry at her but then Shan Mei never had a chance at all with You Zhen, he always treated her like a sister.
Ying Mei was perpetually in disbelief that Shan Mei could be concerned of her welfare even after all she have done, and she was particularly bitchy to Shan Mei. So her best line was probably "Shan Mei, are you for real?". Repeated a few times throughout this series and I too asked this question.
When Shan Mei was sitting with Xiang Zher at the company dinner surrounded by the big guns of the industry. Ying Mei was sitting at her colleague's table full of envy, feeling like a pariah. The way she stared at Shan Mei, feeling very angry that this girl, having done nothing exceptional was sitting at a place she would commit murder to sit at.
Most Favourite Moment
Most probably the most realistic moment in TV history, rarely seen it being shown without any reservation. When You Zhen disappeared in London after she dumped him for the 2nd time again (Shan Mei asked Xiang Zher to send these two to London with the hope for reconciliation and Xiang Zher who was already stepping out of line agreed and as a result Ying Mei poured a cup of water on Shan Mei's face), You Zhen's mom went directly to see Ying Mei and once she opened the door, the mother quickly grabbed Ying Mei's hair and really really pulled, shaked, pushed etc. Ohhh very great moment in fact, and nothing beats two women fighting one another.
The Best Thing Ying Mei Did...
for You Zhen was by breaking up with him. He however did not see the wisdom in her actions even when she didn't really mean to break up with him to save him so to speak. She wanted to go after Xiang Zher.
Must Ask Question
Seriously, when did Ying Mei fell for You Zhen?
Seriously probably when she realised he was dead. I mean when he was alive she treated him like trash but when he was dead she was so overcome by guilt and regret, I think she thought in restrospect, she loved him. Those scenes of her hugging his pictures, clothings, toothbrush earlier on really are quite distracting because next scene she would be insulting him, and when looking away at him, sometimes she had this look of deep sadness and yet at most times, she looked rather bitchy and had this self satisfying smile. I find that very inconsistent on the part of the actress.
Why did she hate Shan Mei even before she met her?
Because Shan Mei had all that she ever wanted and later on got all that she ever wanted without trying half as much as she herself did. That was her point of view of course. I guess she depended on Shan Mei to survive, by feeding her own jealousy she seems to have a purpose in life.
The Actress : Kim So Yeon
I was informed that she is actually a chinese descendant who had to make her name sound a bit more Korean to act in this series. I wonder if really?
She is the prettiest in this series and yet she managed to make her Ying Mei really really ugly. I find her performance as the poisonous Ying Mei very good. She was very shaky at first, and at times her self smiling like congratulating herself over a scheming well done was way over the top. But overall this actress had the guts to play a character that sometimes audience may not be able to disassociate from the real person, since this is the society where the director of Jewel In The Palace had to go on TV to explain why Madam Han had to die. Imagine how the audiences must have viewed her?
Anyway, I have seen the Making Of of this series many years ago and I realised how much pressure was on her to get Ying Mei right. The director was very fierce and seemed to say quite often she was not good enough in that particular scene. Frankly I thought she was quite good even when they were filming whatever they were filming. But again some scenes she didn't do so well, but maybe that was deliberate to show in actual fact how shallow Ying Mei could be. Her worst scene though was the seduction scene with her dancing sensually to a watching Xiang Zher. She wasn't sensual at all and the blank look on Jang's face, almost like "Hmmmm how am I ever going to tell her to back off?" expression was classic.
But I do pity this actress. Never have I seen so much torture on one actress. She was slapped, kicked, punched, hair pulled several times, slapped several times some more, pushed, insulted, ignored, etc etc etc. She is almost an action star in here for the stunts she had to perform which I suspect were all real. The slaps looked real, the way her hair was pulled looked real. I really pity this actress.
Overall a very good performance.
I think I have mentioned in bits and pieces about this man in all my comments above and to repeat them will be like how I feel about this character as the series progressess; useless and after a while the story about him not moving into a new direction other than the "I want to marry her" direction with him looking like half dead, I was bored with his character, however much I pitied him. I mean the story of Xiang Zher is also one direction but at least he didn't look like he was half dead although Xiang Zher looked like he had constant headache. My point is, You Zhen became rather redundant towards the end and it was either he lives and marry Ying Mei or he dies. There was no tell tale sign that this man was ever going to give up on Ying Mei and no sign of Ying Mei giving up ambition (or rather hating Shan Mei).
Actually those scenes combined where he looked really dejected when he was dumped by Ying Mei. This man really looked like the world was going to end. But I also hated these scenes actually because he was particularly useless then and he was the wall between Xiang Zher and Shan Mei because Shan Mei felt it was her duty to help him back on his feet, which in my opinion is really what she should do.
Most Favourite Moment
When he died. Shocking and the end of all the misery I had to endure with his constant begging and belief in Ying Mei's goodness and the fact that for once the series was finally moving somewhere. Of course that also meant the series was going to end and I didn't want it to end so on second thought, this wasn't my most favourite moment.
Maybe that scene at the hospital, where Ying Mei was hospitalised after she complaint of severe pain due to appendicitis. But Ying Mei refused to relinquish her 7 o'clock news because she knew Shan Mei would sit there. Once at the hospital and she saw Shan Mei reading the news, she was so angry she threw her pillow and stuff at You Zhen and shouted abuse at him. He turned to walk away when Ying Mei cried "Are you leaving me?" and she cried under the blanket whilst he stopped, having lost his will to leave her and squatted to pick the things ups silently. Her colleagues with Shan Mei arrived happily to visit her and once they saw a very embarassed looking You Zhen and a crying Ying Mei, everybody kinda knew what triggered that. You Zhen's facial expression then was really classic.
Must Ask Question
Did You Zhen ever doubted that maybe Ying Mei never loved him and all that he did for her was really useless at the end of the day?
Maybe just once, right after she dumped him at London and when he came back and he thought about the past he began to realise Ying Mei was not as simple as she pretended to me. He almost gave up but then he didn't. Because if he did give up, this series will never ever end.
The Actor : Han Jae Suk
Never seen him before but I plan to buy the series Model and I guess I will see him as the tragic character who will love until his death as some review noted. I must say, his best scenes are those "Ying Mei you can't leave me if not I will drink myself to death and never ever shave, comb my hair or even bath again!" moments. He looked truly dumped you know.
Anyway great chemistry with the actors and the actresses and why not eh? Good friends with Jang Donggun in real life, their scenes together were probably the only moments where he didn't cry or looked like he was going to die if Ying Mei will ignore him for another second.
A competent and at times good performance but I want to hear his voice, then I can truly say it was a truly brilliant performance of a fool of a man. Oh yes, I see You Zhen as a fool. He should have fell for Shan Mei.
Special mention to the lady who plays You Zhen's mom. Excellent performance.
I think this series must have had many famous guest stars with the special focus on several characters who appeared one time off in this series at the end of the last episode's end song. All were useful, although I must add the two redundant characters were the two who played lovers and one of them Shan Mei's best friend. Silly and redundant. And very inappropriate since one moment it was You Zhen's funeral and everybody was crying like nobody's business and next there they were these two jokers as comic relief. BUT I will admit, they were funny sometimes.
The actress who played Yung Xi became prettier and prettier as the series went on. Her performance was very good actually. Not much I can say.
And I saw Madam Choi from Jewel In The Palace for like 3 scenes max. She looked lovely.
Special Mention of Best Line For Other Characters
One stuck in my mind where Yung Xi opposses that Shan Mei be given a slot I think in the 7 o'clock news when Ying Mei was in hospital. Yung Xi was very critical of Shan Mei and the senior who is best friend with Xiang Zher and also her mentor took her aside and asked her "You oppose to Shan Mei because she is really as bad as you described her to be or because Xiang Zher is in love with her?". I doubted Yung Xi a bit then but she is a fair and just woman. She is critical of Shan Mei because she is really not good enough. If you must know, at the end the 9 o'clock news was given to another girl the series did not instroduce because really, Shan Mei isn't good enough for 9 o'clock news.
Most Favourite Of All Favourite Scenes
Although I hated the fact that this series ended because I wanted it to go on, I loved the ending kiss between Xiang Zher and Shan Mei. They were affectionate to one another, and kissed cheeks (twice), on forehead (once), held hands (a few times), hugged (a few times), walked together (many times), drink coffee together (countless of times) and sitting in a moving car (all the time) BUT never ever a kissing scene which was saved for the last when finally he proposed, she said yes and they kissed. How proper was that? Very proper! Very The Rules if you ask me. Anyway loveliest kiss, both looked shy and yet looked happy. Love that scene.
A compilation of several scenes, which is actually my total disbelief that Shan Mei could be so nice, Xiang Zher could be so patient, Yung Xi could actually be so good to Shan Mei (her rival in love later became her student so to speak), Ying Mei so conniving and You Zhen so useless.
Most Favourite Character
Obviously Xiang Zher. But between Shan Mei and Ying Mei, I will choose Shan Mei. One scene illustrated their differences and I think you can download it from Downloads.
Major Unimportant Complaint
The timeline of this series is confusing and it bugs me.
At the beginning of this series Shan Mei and Ying Mei just started University and that course I think will take 3 years? Ok, maybe minus the training of 1 year, so it should be at least 2 years? Then we know Shan Mei and Xiang Zher from the day they met to a few days before You Zhen died was exactly 1 year, or so I heard with my poor grasp of Mandarin. Then of course plus a few months to account for Ying Mei's disappearance. So that would mean Ying Mei would have been with You Zhen for more than 1 year? Probably 2 years? Because Yung Xi when she started out she was a rookie and by the university of these 2 characters and to the day she married, she was top news broadcaster and a senior. So actually how long was it from the day Ying Mei/Shan Mei met to the kissing scene? 4 years? And in London Xiang Zher was supposed to study 3 more years, probably 2nd degree, probably masters but was cut short by probably 2 years plus a few months which makes the actual courtship and all the mess happened in a mere 6 months perhaps?
What I am sure though is Shan Mei and Ying Mei started off as 20 years old, and Xiang Zher is supposed to be much older than Shan Mei, maybe like 6 years? 4 years? Which on 2nd thought is not much older. In fact how old is Xiang Zher? I read somewhere 30 so by the end of this series he would be ... 31 or 34?
Really ah? Why ah? So like that one ah?
Some minor important complaints or some observations.
MBS? I was like isn't it MBC? Yes, I think MBS is based on MBC and I suspect the big board rooms where all the meetings took place was in MBC's company. But for a series about the war on ratings, I am very surprised the focus is only on news and news magazine shows. I do think dramas should be featured as well since drama is also counted in the ratings war? And who is MBS in ratings war with? No sign of the competitor in this series.
The whole of MBS has only 2 news broadcaster? When Ying Mei was out of action for a week, the only other alternative was Shan Mei. Aren't there a 3rd alternative? Shan Mei is such a poor news broadcaster you know, too emotional but popular with the viewers. Sometimes you kinda empathise with Ying Mei and understand her jealousy and frustration.
What happened to the half brother of Xiang Zher? Is he going to ignore that poor boy forever?
What happened to the war between Xiang Zher and uncle in law? Who won?
What happened to the cold stares of Xiang Zher with his step mother? I was hoping to see more actually.
Why was the woman at the registration counter at the unnamed university (I didn't catch the name but I suspect King's College as they were in London) so rude? Like telling a very confused Shan Mei "SPEAK ENGLISH!".
There is a seniority ranking very obviously seen in this series which can only exist in Asia. If in the western country, if the senior were to ask Yung Xi to make coffee and Yung Xi is number 1 in the company, I doubt Yung Xi would have done it. Interesting aspect. Which explains why Xiang Zher couldn't do much to counter his uncle in law but he did it in other ways with a firm hand of course.
What's with the ultra red lipstick on Ying Mei and Yung Xi's lips? So red it was so unkissable!
What's with Ying Mei intending to seduce Xiang Zher at his house and she was dressed like an auntie? I mean Korea is really one conservative nation from what I could observe from their women's clothing. Even Shan Mei's supposed dinner wear for the big event was more like office wear. Nice colours but fashion very aunty.
How come Shan Mei was so worried whether Xiang Zher could find a job or not at the beginning of this series when she didn't know he was boss of MBS? I mean isn't it obvious that someone driving a rather flashy looking convertible BMW (in London) and a rather good looking BMW (in Korea) may be someone who isn't in desperate need of a job? When she offered him a job at her father's construction company, I was in total disbelief at her blindness of what was in front of her (namely, THE CAR) but it just shows how nice she really is, even to an unbelievably stupid extent if you ask me.
Most Curious Observation
Like I mentioned in Most Favourite Of All Favourite Scenes, there are many things all characters did which was much repeated but still very funny to see. For one...
Every Single Episode
Driving, most scenes happened when driving. In fact I could recognise Xiang Zher's BMW from a mile away because it was like the most over exposed car. And I have never seen so much driving in a series and that would include even a series on F1 car racing because major characters are always driving in this series.
Walking or strolling, a lot of them. These characters hardly sit down when major things happen.
Sitting down in a cafe for some serious heart to heart talk.
Drinking coffee. No tea, just coffee. And vending machine coffee by the way.
Crying, every other scene actually. But still this series didn't have as much crying scene as some Taiwanese series.
Every Other Episode
You will see Jang Donggun smoking in moments of loneliness, detachment, wonder, worry. Very well done scenes actually and he actually puffed away like nobody's business.
A gentle hug between Shan Mei and Xiang Zher.
A foreful hug between Xiang Zher and Ying Mei
Drinking in a pub.
Once In A While
Shower/ bathing, like probably 3 to 4 of such scenes. Mostly to reflect moments of pondering of what to do and not actually bathing or showering.
Very Very Rare
Kissing, even those on the cheek.
How can I not recommend a series which features some very gorgeous people, a man every woman hopes to marry and two women men may be very interested in (depending on your level of self multilation-Shan Mei is good for you, Ying Mei is like poison for you) and some really all out fights not between men but between women! All ingrediants for success, especially the entire storyline is based on rivalry of two women in a broadcasting company and you can expect a lot of behind the scenes, however simplified they may be. Anyway, I will wholeheartedly recommend you to watch and BUY this series because ...
1. It is actually a very addictive series, these Korean drama series. Never start at episode 1, because if you do, you can never ever let go until you finish it. It is a testament how engaging this series and the 2 others I have seen could be. I will confess at times I felt like quitting this series because that whole Shan Mei-Ying Mei saga was going nowhere but I had ONE main driving force and that is...
2. Jang Donggun alone is worth the VCD set box. If you're a male, I hope you will learn from this character. I know you will say "he doesn't exist!" and true because that is only because we women say man like Xiang Zher does not exist as we have given up hope of finding a gentleman who makes chivalry his mantra of his life so why don't someone, anyone learn to be one? And women of course would love him because he is hot, he is handsome, he is beautiful and he is gorgeous. I think you got my meaning.
3. All gave above average performance, with the main 4 giving very good performance, out of the 4, 1 gave excellent performance and I need not repeat who. A very rare feat these days and considering this series was way back in 2000, still considered a good effort back then. Generally Korean stars CAN act, a few CAN act very well but I will admit, those who CAN act, CAN act phenomenally well and sometimes the superstar has the looks, if not looks, the height, if not height, the aura of a superstar. However they're almost always boring when it comes to interviews, for one language barrier and because the female stars are too reserved and the male stars some too arrogant looking but most too aloof.
4. The focus is narrower than most TVB series but not as depressing or as narrow as the other Korean drama series you may have seen, so there are room for other characters and yet not so distracting that in the end, you will feel like you have known these characters for years. The characterisation for some major characters are superb and rarely seen in TVB series if you ask me.
5. It is not a stylish piece of film making I admit, but since I am so sick of style, I'd rather have substance. And I admit the substance is not always logical as I have stated this in my Hotelier review, but it is almost always consistent in its content and continuity. Overall what I mean is this series is an example of character study giving us memorable potrayal of some aspects (ugly and beautiful) that matters to us without going way off in its contents although it has distracting aspects like unnecessary cute moments by characters I hardly care about. But that's only 4 at most. Some TVB series I dare to say is distracting even when it is portraying the leading characters because the story is almost always way off with these characters from the original mark and that somehow the writer does not know what to do with these characters or the plot. For that I must praise this series for keeping on track, however single tracked that may be.
6. It's only 20 VCDs. Compared to some useless series that look like a lifetime to watch, 20 VCDs won't take much of your time. I am ready to bet you will chase this series and finish it in max 5 days because it is really that addictive. I am not going to say it's that good since some of you might disagree but I will be the first to admit, despite the draggy parts, despite the crying and the wailing and the beating and some very frustrating moments plus the all too chaste relationship(s), I enjoyed it all.
At the end of the day I could look at this series in 2 ways, both opposites but both compliment this series to no end on my part where...
a. I count myself lucky having the guts to ask my friend's mom to borrow the box set and endure the sometimes hard to understand mandarin (and not having watched the original which is not something I agree on as I rather read subtitles, a valuable lessons I learned from watching Jewel In The Palace where the original version was simply wonderful compared to the dubbed voices) because I got to watch one of the best series I have seen in years. I will count this series as my 2nd most favourite, a tie with Looking Back In Anger but still Journey To The West is still my all time favourite but I reserve the 2nd place for more Korean drama series after I finish Winter Sonata and Jewel In The Palace. I rarely compliment a series to no end but I am ready to lavish my praises on this series because it have been half a decade or so since I have felt the need to chase a series and this series was the first for me after so many years.
b. I curse the day I got this box set because I realise Ying Xiang Zher is not real and I am cursing that I watched this series and he was so truly memorable his face and his every action was forever etched in my heart and mind and from now on I shall view all men in the same standards of Ying Xiang Zher and you know what? I am crying. I curse this series also because I was so emotionally involved with this series that as at the posting of this review, I am still suffering from serious withdrawal symptoms and I don't think I can ever let go until I got my hands on the box set. I am obsessed to the point that I watched this series twice in a row and my work desktop's wallpaper is plastered with screencaps. I am cursed because I have got to take screencaps! I curse it! Damn this series!
In conclusion, BUY this box set in whatever language you want though I do recommend the Korean one which I have yet to see.
What's In A Name
How on Earth do you pronounce Jang Dong Gun? I always thought Zhang Doong Goon or Gun but apparently it is kinda spelt like Geon so I think it may be more like Jang Doong Gin and not Gee-On! Very confused. But almost Cantonese like.
What about Chae Rim? Is it Cheh Rim? Or I suspect, Chai Rim or Choi Rim?
What about So Yeon? Is it So Ye Oon? Or So Yewn? Or maybe I suspect So Yoon?
Enlighten me please!
I was informed this series was Jang Dong Gun's last TV series as he went on to become a movie actor, quite successfully if I may add. I wonder is this true since I always had this impression that he wasn't that successful earlier on when acting in TV series until this series and he went on to become a movie actor. Anyway I wonder did anyone asked him this and if not and if I ever had a chance to meet him and if I have an interpreter next to me I would definitely ask him (as I am tempted to ask Bae Yong Jung as well) which he preferred? Movie or TV series if not for the money? Wouldn't you get more acquainted with your character in a TV series or could be the other way around?
Anyway I must note this down; I read in his fansite he has never really set out to become an actor, that he failed entry to university like what? 3 times and then chance came a knocking and he was discovered (I mean who wouldn't eh? Even as a child he looked quite ok but as he got older he looked like his father who is more handsome than him in the picture I saw). That he was always very quiet as a person, rarely talks and that he is not exceedingly friendly and therefore very shy. Isn't this the trait of ALL successful movie actors even in Hollywood? Shy? Loner? Quiet? Intense? But from what I read, his fans have nothing but good words for his PR skills when dealing with foreign fans, that he is modest and self depreciating and he himself said he will put love before his career if he found THE ONE (if you can believe it, he has yet to find THE ONE). Read some translated interviews and from what I gather, I think his modesty does shine through without being an insufferably pretentious bore. Good for him. And since he is all but 34 (ONLY) he still has many years to go. Anyway I look forward to his performance in The Promise.
Anyone interested in reading his fan's perception of him in his many aspects of his personality, try HERE. A good read. By the way his fans wrote his nickname was Cow because of his big and somewhat protruding eyes BUT I was thinking more along of Goldfish. Same eyes, but Goldfish prettier I guess.
One more. Thanks to Sammie, I know now Chae Rim is married, like 2 years ago. Which means that was how long before the K-Drama bug got to me. But it doesn't mean I will run out and buy K-dramas because I like very specific types.
One more! Kim So Yeon, now can be seen in 7 Swords isn't married yet and she declared, in a newspaper I saw that she doesn't have marriage in her mind for the next 10 years! How old is she?
Just found this amazing All About Eve fansite. Very nice with loads of info and I finally know some actors' name.
Fans of Jang Dong Gun will also find a very good fansite in the above link. In fact many links for various actors from the same series.Also loads of screencaps.
Goodies For You
I uploaded some of my favourite moments in Downloads > Media > TV Series. All definitely worth downloading but take note, they may not be the best scenes though.
Do buy the album. Sample clips taken from the series can be downloaded as well from Downloads where you can hear Jang Donggun sing, the themesong, sub song and some nifty piano playing. But the slow song often heard in this series was a bit overplayed and therefore overkilled towards the end of this series.
One funny translation. I thought I heard the singer sang "TRUE Love" and "TRUE Heart" but apparently is it "TO Love" and "TO Heart" as translated by the Chinese subtitles. You can download this end clip. Don't ask what comes after because I really do not know Korean. I can hum it though. Wanna hear?