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Written by Bridget Au


"If you can ignore the melodramatic storyline, you can probably find something to appreciate in here...somewhere."

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!


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Alternate English Titles
"What Is Your Star", "What Planet Are You From"

Korean Title
"Neon Eoneu Byeoleseo Wassni" (translates to which star do you come from)

Year
2005

No. of episodes
16

Produced by
MBC

Producer
Kim Jong Hak

Director
Pyo Min Su

Cast
Kim Rae Won as Choi Seung Hui
Jung Ryeo Won as Kim Bok Sil (born Lee Hye Rim)
Park Si Hu as Han Jeong Hun
Park Ji Yoon as Yun Mi Hyeon
Lee Bo Hee as Ahn Jin Hee (mother to Hye Rim/Hye Su)
Im Ye Jin as Kim Soon Ok (adoptive mother to Bok Sil)
Lee Young Ha as Choi Seung Il (father to Seung Hi)
Ok Ji Young as Jung Sun Jung (friend to Bok Sil)
Jung Ryeo Won as Lee Hye Su (older twin sister to Hye Rim)

Note
As Jung Ryeo Won portrays two characters (a set of twin sisters, the younger sister with two names - adoptive name Bok Sil and birth name Hye Rim, and the older sister named Hye Su), to avoid confusion I will refer to her as Bok Sil in my summary/review, unless otherwise stated.


Quick Summary
The series begins by showing how young, promising film director Seung Hui meets Hye Su, a university student majoring in music. The two fall in love, to the vehement opposition of Hye Su's wealthy family, whose mother believes that Seung Hi is too selfish and cocky. As the two young lovers prepare to face Hye Su's family, Seung Hui proposes to Hye Su while driving. Tragedy strikes when Hye Su dies instantly following the car accident that results. Traumatized and racked with guilt, Seung Hui retreats into his own little bubble, becoming rude, depressed, introverted and scared to love again...

Flash forward three years. Seung Hui is still living in depression and guilt, but decides to return to the film-making industry. He decides to visit a rural village in the outskirts of Korea to gain some inspiration for his film-making. There he meets Bok Sil, a 'country bumpkin' who bears a remarkable resemblance to Hye Su, his dead love. They spend a few days together, only to part and meet again when Bok Sil comes to Seoul to pursue her screenwriting ambition, under the mentorship of Seung Hui himself.

The two begin to grow feelings for one another, but when it is revealed that Bok Sil is actually Hye Rim, younger sister to Hye Su, Seung Hui distances himself from her. Bok Sil is hurt, especially when (in one of the memorable scenes of the series) Seung Hui says "Leave. If your sister were still alive I would be your brother-in-law". The problem exacerbates when Bok Sil's birth mother discovers that her long-lost youngest daughter is in love with the man who was responsible for her other daughter's death and is furious, forbidding the two from seeing each other. She attempts to send Bok Sil to the US to study, to no avail. When she finally realizes that the two are deeply in love and that Seung Hui has redeemed his selfish, inconsiderate ways, she gives their relationship blessings.

Evaluation of Cast and Characters
Kim Rae Won / Choi Seung Hui
It is no secret that I love this actor. At the young age of 25, he already has a resume that is impressive in the sometimes narrow-minded world of Korean entertainment. He has portrayed the innocent, pure, untouched boy (Say You Love Me), the seemingly heartless, rude and rebellious jerk with a one-track mind when it comes to love (Wuri's Family), the optomistic, friendly guy (My Love Patzzi), the first juvenile-then-mature intelligent professional (Love Story in Harvard) and the inconsiderate and immature fellow (Attic Cat). This guy has done a lot, and done it well. Here he adds yet another complex character to his acting repertoire. Seung Hui is first a rather dark character; he is egotistical, determined, but somewhat selfish without any regard for others around him. However, when his one love dies, he is plunged into depression and darkness, and most of all loneliness in the absence of family or friends. Kim did well portraying the different facets of his character, and his transition from a juvenile, ambitious, cocky fellow to a more respectful, considerate, and mature man is very convincing. There is one flaw in Kim's work here, and that is the scenes in which he professes his love to Bok Sil, and yells. I had to turn down my volume in that scene - "Bok Sil, YOU ARE THE ONE I LOVE! DON'T LEAVE!" There is nothing romantic about yelling your confession of love, especially when that person is standing two feet away. This isn't only Kim's problem, plenty of actors and actresses in Korean series screech and shout love confessions (including Jung here). Another Kim flaw? His English. Dear God, please stop giving this guy roles in which he has to speak English until he takes some lessons. At least I only had to endure one English-speaking scene in here (compared to Love Story in Harvard where I just gave up and began to read the captions). Overall a good performance but I still think he was at his best in Wuri's Family.

Jung Ryeo Won / Bok Sil, Hye Rim, Hye Su
I had never heard of this actress before watching this series but I will keep an eye out for her from now on. The brilliance in her performance lies in her ability to play two totally different characters. So convincing is her performance as the loud, 'country bumpkin' Bok Sil vs. her performance as the classy, elegant Hye Su that one forgets that the two are portrayed by only one actress! There is only one performance-as-twins work that I can think of that tops Jung's here, and that is Esther Kwan's performance as Chow Yuet and Chow Heung in TVB's The Legendary Four Aces. Jung is feminine and mature as Hye Su but it is her breathlessly hilarious performance as Bok Sil that I fell in love with. There are moments where she overacts but she is so loveable as Bok Sil that I forgave them. She also has excellent chemistry with Kim Rae Won. Granted, Kim usually has fantastic chemistry with all his female co-stars. As for Jung: great performance. This actress speaks fluent English, by the way. Watch for the scene where she is ordering at a restaurant in Australia.

Other Characters and Performances
The Wooden Performance Award goes to Park Si Hu, who is boring as good fellow Jeong Hun. Lee Bo Hee is very good as the livid mother; she is perhaps the most pitiful character of the series. Park Ji Yoon is ok as My Hyeon, and Im Ye Jin and Lee Young Ha are funny as the awkward parents to Seung Hui and Bok Sil.

To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question
Mediocre plot, but some seriously funny scenes and dialogue and you will fall in love with Jung's Bok Sil. If you can ignore the melodramatic storyline, you can probably find something to appreciate in here...somewhere.

Rating


Korean Life
There are some interesting aspects to Korean life and society that I've noticed through watching Korean series over the years. Rank, for example, is extremely important in Korean society and dictates much of the language and behavior of people.

1. Much of social class is dictated by age, especially in the family. Younger children in the family must address their older siblings by their relationship (for example, a girl calls her older brother oppa and her older sister unnie - Bok Sil, for example, refers to Hye Su as unnie) while older children can address their younger siblings by name. *Note: In WSAYF, Bok Sil is encouraged to address both Jeong Hun and Seung Hui as oppa - sometimes Korean girls call their boyfriends or older male friends oppa. Even when two people are lovers, these social rules apply. Bok Sil, for example, continues to call Seung Hui 'Director' (kam dong-im) even after they start dating while Seung Hui calls her by name.

2. Rank also plays a huge role in dictating behavior. Younger Koreans are expected to bow upon greeting older Koreans, especially when greeting those whose social status is higher or when respect is of the utmost importance (usually greeting in-laws or future in-laws). Seung Hui does this numerous times with Bok Sil's birth mother. Direct eye contact is also frowned upon. You will notice that Seung Hui almost never looks directly at Bok Sil's birth mother when speaking to her.

3. There are also a few different language/speech forms that indicate rank. I'm not sure how many there are exactly but I'm led to believe that there are at least three and probably four in total. One that is the most formal (the way Seung Hui speaks to Bok Sil's birth mother and grandfather), one that is informal but polite (between people who know each other and more or less the same social status/age - the way Seung Hui speaks to Jeong Hun, for example), one which is intimate (between family members) and one which is the lowest form of speech. Bok Sil is reprimanded by Seung Hui, for example, when she speaks to him in the lowest form of speech - "How dare you speak to me like that? Do you know by how many years I'm older than you?"



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