Full House


Reviewed by: il_mare

March 10, 2005

Rating: five


Pul Hawooseu aka Full House

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KBS miniseries (2004) - 16 episodes total
For KBS homepages for this drama, go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/full/index.html/
Aired on KBS2 in Korea: July 14, 2004 to September 2, 2004 Wednesday & Thursday nights at 9:50.

Cast:
Han Ji-eun: Song Hae Gyo (All In/Guardian Angel/Autumn Story)
Lee Young-jae : Bi (Sang-doo)
Kang Hye-won : Han Eun Jung (Scent of a Man)
Yoo Min-hyuk: Kim Sung Soo (Say you love me)
Mr. Lee (Young-jae's dad): Jang Yong (Yellow Handkerchief/This Is Love)
Ms. Kim (Young-jae's mom): Sun Woo Eun Sook (Autumn Story)
Young-jae's grandmother: Kim Ji Young (Running After Dream/Loneliness)
Dong-wook: Do Han
Hee-jin: Lee Young Eun
Dae-pyo: Im Hye Jin

For more info on the cast (in Korean), go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/full/about/cast/cast.html.

Learn Korean:
pul = full (loan word). The Korean language does not have the "f" sound, so the "p" sound is used instead.
hawooseu (ha-woo-seu) = house (loan word)

Variations of drama name: Full House

Staff:
Screenwriter: Min Hyo Jung (Attic Cat)
Producer: Pyo Min Soo

For KBS Videos on Demand (VODs) in Korean, go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/full/view/vod/vod.html/.

For KBS photos from this drama, go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/full/art/photo/photo.html.

For KBS wallpaper, go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/full/art/paper/paper.html.

Synopsis:

Han Ji Eun (JE) is an internet novelist living alone in Full House, which her father had built, after her parents' death in a car accident. Lee Young Jae (YJ) is a top actor. He appears aloof and arrogant, but concealed within is a man who is hopelessly in love with his childhood friend Kang Hye Won (HW), a fashion designer who is also YJ's stylist. He does not have the courage to admit his feelings to Hye Won as he knows her heart is pining for Yoo Min Hyuk (MH), a mutual childhood friend of YJ and HW.

JE is swindled of her Full House by her two bosom friends. The house is in turn sold to YJ. Both are stuck in an unresolved situation. At the same time, YJ is plagued by rumors about his relationships, which have damaged his image. In a pitch to salvage his reputation, YJ strikes a deal with JE. They have a 'contractual' marriage, both agreeing to divorce in 6 months' time. JE will repay for the house by working as a housemaid for YJ and YJ will return JE her house when the contract is completed.

Despite their initial dislike for each other, JE and YJ learn to live together under the same roof. But the situation gets complicated when JE finds herself falling for YJ. When she sees YJ chasing for HW's unrequited love, she finds it difficult to continue with the contract. Meanwhile, MH, who becomes JE's publisher, finds himself falling for the wife of his childhood friend.

Review:

I resisted "Full House" for a while because I had this impression that it was silly and childish. After I overcame my initial bias, and managed to convince myself to finish the entire k-drama, I am totally bought over by "Full House"! The theme is fun, fun, fun all the way. Coupled with the electrifying chemistry of Bi and Song Hae Gyo (SHG), and the excellent packaging, it all made "Full House" one of the most polished and enjoyable k-dramas I have seen from KBS to date.

I think KBS have truly learned from their competitors SBS. They build a house on the sea front, costing a whopping US$1 million just for this k-drama! And no expense was spared for the production, from the set, casts down to the wardrobe. Outstanding job!

My usual complaint about k-comedies is that everything is usually too overdone, e.g. over-the-top acting, exaggerated body language, shouting matches, etc. And after a while you actually forgive the actors for throwing in such performances because you just accept that that is how it is. "Full House" is no exception, but despite that, this k-drama never made me yawn with their common punts because the chemistry of the leads was just so incredible!

The story is fairly simple. It is a straight-forward tale of how two people inch their way into each other's heart as they try to lead their lives under the same roof. At 16 episodes, the show is fairly fast-paced. Well maybe except for the last few episodes where you wonder why Bi and SHG are dragging their feet when the end is so near.

Sharing the same writer, many will compare "Full House" to "Attic Cat". While as both stories are about a bickering cohabiting relationship, "Full House" is more of a wacky, fun-loving tale versus "Attic Cat", which poked at the pressures of cohabition in modern day South Korea.

Another key difference is that "Full House" also makes up for what "Attic Cat" lacked, in terms of having a comparable competitor as the other man fighting for the leading lady's heart (okay, this is totally a personal plus because I could not stop drooling for Kim Sung Soo in "Full House"). Kim Sung Soo is one hunk of a competitor to baby-face Bi. Some could not understand why JE didn't pick the mature and eligible MH. Yet despite the strong competition, my heart was pining for Bi all the way.

YJ may be a rude and arrogant loudmouth on the surface, but within is a sensitive and loyal person whose bark is louder than its bite. He is so protective of the one he loves that he does so at the expense of hurting himself. His love is unconditional and irrational, which is what makes it so desirable, well at least for me. For a man like MH, he can go on if he does not win JE's heart, but you know YJ is a wreck if he loses her.

Another thing that I love about this show is how the leading lady, HJE, is not afraid to express how she feels. She is strong, cheerful and stands up for herself. She does not let anyone step over her, yet she has a heart to see what she wants and is willing to sacrifice herself to make the one she loves happy. SHG is delightful as HJE. She is honest about her feelings and she works hard to make her living. She is not perfect as she is a slob and is sometimes ditzy (or even thick-skinned), but that is what makes her so lovable. SHG is completely in her element. Though she was going through a bad break-up then, it totally did not show in her performance. She had some quirky wardrobe and poor girl, she had to don such high heels because of her tall leading men. I was never impressed with her as an actress, but "Full House" completely changed my assessment.

Bi is really irritating initially as YJ. But his kindness and sensitivity only surface as the k-drama progresses. The innocence he shows in adhering to the contract of flower-giving is such a sweet gesture. And his love for JE must have been so overwhelming that he is able to say what he could not utter to HW for 15 years - 'Sarang hye yo'.

This is Bi's second k-drama. Even though I did not feel that he did the unrequited love for HW part very well, he was charming with his boyish smile and cute facial expressions. It is funny how he can't stop grumbling and yakking when he is with JE, yet with HW he is always silent. My only complaint about YJ - I could not stand his wardrobe. I know he is supposed to be a top actor but he looks more like a pop star versus an actor.

Kim Sung Soo (KSS) was stiff, but had screen presence in "Say You Love Me". I sat up and took notice of another k-hunk making his way into my closet. KSS looks so good in "Full House" (despite the odd color suits he had to wear) and I can see improvement in his acting. He projects the right image for the character: confident, mature, and sensitive. The perfect New Age Man! Unlike the chauvinistic and rude YJ. I particularly liked the scenes when he had to display his internal struggle about falling for a married woman. I see lots of potential from this guy!

Han Eun Jung (HEJ) is a total fox in "Full House". You will get to see her cleaveage in almost every episode as the skimpily clad and stylishly ahead designer, KHW. With her 175cm height and slender frame, she always looks good (oozing with sex appeal) in her outfits portraying YJ's princess, the girl of his dreams. She throws in a very good performance as well, playing a woman suffering from the "unrequited love" syndrome. YJ likes her, but she chases after MH. But when YJ marries JE she begins to like YJ. Don't get me wrong, she is not a detestable character, but rather a very real person, a very real woman, a well-written character. And HEJ did a great job as HW, and I felt realy sorry for her.

What made "Full House" so easy to and fun to watch as there was no unrealistic jealous third party, or psychotic ex-boyfriends, or terminal disease! How can you not fall in love with it!

The other characters added the necessary spice to the show. JE's useless friends add comic catalyst to the entire story with their fumbling tactics. And YJ's family are good sub-characters to the story. An extremely balanced story told in a fun and light-hearted way. I totally recommend this!

My favourites
=============

EVERY MOMENT (except episode 1)!!! I wanted to make a list, but it just got too long. I actually took a break after episode 1 because I found the bickering totally unbearable. But after I started on episode 2, there was no looking back. The happy times and the sad times! The laughter and the tears!


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