This is a story about a woman who was once popular and is still single in her 30s. The ugly frog prince has transformed to a prince charming. He is Korea's version of Tiger Woods and has money and status. It is about this former couple who are finding their way back to each other.
Story/Introduction on characters
1. Gao Man Xiu/Dao Gao – Oh Ji Ho
He was once fat and clumsy. Despite Shui Jing always dating other men, he bore with her nonsense. Can you believe that she even stepped over his stomach to attend a date?! April 1, 1999 was the day of his wedding and also the very same day when he'd hear the results of the last screening process of the bar exam. His bride is his high school sweetheart, Shui Jing, who he relentlessly pursued for many years, indulging every whim of hers.
In high school, Man Xiu was on the varsity golf team but when Shui Jing told him that she'd go out with him only if he got into Seoul National University Law School, he gave up his golfing dreams and studied hard to get admitted to SNU. He finally gained admittance to SNU and dated her... But his relationship with her was more like a master-servant relationship with him being the servant. 5 years later, she agreed to marry him.
But alas, he can't clear the last hurdle. Shui Jing despises him and runs away at the altar. She also insults him, saying that he has no value without a pedigree certificate. Man Xiu is heartbroken and vows to be the best breed among the moguls. 8 years later, he returns as Dao Gao and is a famous golfer. He chooses this name as they are the losers in love for most movies.
He is now rich with 5 billion savings and is no longer the fat person that all know. He is now slim and charming looking with dimples. Why does he perform well in every match? That is because he imagines Shui Jing's face in front of him to crack it into pieces whenever he hits the call with his cub.
He harbours some hope that Shui Jing will change but she is still a snob. Seeing how she scoops to please her prospective matchmaking partner makes him shatter all hopes. (Surprise, surprise – the actor is Cui Cheng Shui from 'All About Eve' and he is no longer thin!). Thus he decides to test her.
He lies about being a bankrupt now due to gambling and then gets Yu Da to pretend to be a rich man to woo her. Both date her on the same day. Thinking that she will come since she hasn't turned up for the act that Yu Da invites her too, Man Xiu does well. But upon knowing that she goes to Yu Da, his performance dips drastically and Shun Ji lies to the public that he is ill.
Shui Jing comes to the hospital to visit Man Xiu. She begs him for Yu Da's contact. To his dismay, she has never changed all along and flies to Yu Da to ignore him. He vows to seek revenge the second time. This time round, he plays very high stakes. He wants Yu Da to make her truly love him and finally ditch her at the altar. He will give him the house in return for his success.
Man Xiu gives Yu Da's contact number but wants Shui Jing to be his maid 3 times a week to dust his home. She is to take care of his dog, Jundo. It is named after her dog which she claims to lack the pedigree certificate. Shui Jing is dismayed when Man Xiu tells her that Jundo has a certificate. She grumbles as she scrubs the toilet and gets wet when Jundo runs around. Man Xiu derives pleasure watching this as he recalls how he is bullied to wash the female toilets on her behalf in their school days. Still, he isn't happy that she keeps dating Yu Da and decides to marry him.
When Shui Jing runs away from the altar again to be truthful to love, he is touched that she doesn't mind him to be a bankrupt but hesitates of telling her the truth. Knowing that she runs into financial difficulties, he buys over the jewel shop to help her draw a salary. On the day he decides to propose to her, Da Shun reveals the truth to Shui Jing. His plan fails as she refuses to forgive him and goes overseas. Since then, his career sinks rock bottom as he keeps losing tournaments. He can't concentrate on golf. He returns to Korea a year later.
He appears on sales channels (it is a nightmare for him to meet Da Shun and Shui Jing there on the same day.) for advertising to make ends meet. Despite running short of money, he still refuses to sell the jewel shop or the house. He still loves Shui Jing but they can't stop hurting each other.
To spur him on, Shui Jing agrees to marry him if he wins the next tournament. But alas, he doesn't win but he is pleasantly surprised when she proposes to him instead. Both get married but be amused when he is so scared that she will run away from the altar again to get Shun Ji to guard all the exits! Of course, they get happily married after all.
I find him acting better in here than in 'Fantasy Couple'. He displays his charm but more can be worked on his crying scenes. I just find them not touching enough.
2. Zheng Yu Da – Jiang Cheng Zhen
He is Shun Ji's younger cousin who absconds with Man Xiu's earnings for 2 assignments by claiming to be Shun Ji. He leads a vagrant's life as Shun Ji's family runs away with his family's money. The money is meant to send him to college so he still hates Shun Ji.
He has been a cheat of all trades. He will learn all information before setting out to kill. He is eloquent and acts well. His dream is to commit a big crime so as to earn enough money to settle down. Man Xiu sees that he is a professional and decides to make use of him to test Shui Jing's sincerity.
Thus he has a new identity and undergoes Shui Ji's training to become a refined man. He is acting as Man Xiu's sponsor who has $500billion in fortune as he starts his own business. His task is to lure Shui Jing into the trap but he finds himself loving her. He insists of continuing the plan even though Man Xiu wants to stop it. He wants to see if she loves him although he keeps the truth from her to prevent her from getting hurt. Her running away from the altar disappoints him but he is a strong man.
After Man Xiu leaves, he sets up his own online company to sell clothes. He even becomes a good friend of Shui Jing, which is unbelievable. It becomes a success and he even offers to sell her jewels too. Knowing that Da Shun hinders the two, he makes Man Xiu see her true colours.
He is actually quite normal looking but there is an air of gentleman likeness that no woman can resist. That is why Shui Jing falls into his trap conveniently.
3. Zheng Shun Ji - Sung Dong Il
He is Man Xiu's manager and close friend. Unlike Yu Da, he is very normal looking. That is why the housewives can't believe that he can cheat money with his looks. He controls Man Xiu's diet fiercely and shakes head upon seeing how badly affected Man Xiu is over Shui Jing. He goes through thick and thin, going without a salary for months. He likes Ying Ai and feels for her when she gets bullied by Dong Huan. He calls himself her policeman and she calls him whenever she needs help. He finally wins her heart in the end.
4. Wu Bi Jiu – Kim Gap Soo
He is Shui Jing's father who still hopes that his wife will return although she has run away with his money and has divorced with him. He is so magnanimous to look after his wife's son whom she had with another man. Thus they are on very good terms. When she is back, he is overjoyed and works very hard to pay off her debts. She is getting senile but he takes good care of her.
5. Jiang Zai Yong – Lee Hyun
He gets involved in the contest with Man Xiu to get Shui Jing's love. He doesn't understand why Shui Jing can choose to be with Man Xiu who looks inferior than him. Even though he knows that they are getting married, he doesn't give up and passes her an air ticket to go with him to the U.S. When he is successful, he is annoyed to know that she is still in love with the plump Man Xiu. She is with him as he is rich. But since he doesn't intend to provide for her, they go separate ways.
That is why he is so spiteful to her when back to publish past photos of Man Xiu to announce to the public how fat he is in the past. He is now the editor of a newspaper. Shui Jing hates him for slandering and badmouths him over the internet. Her act is discovered but she prefers to get detained than to apologise to him. Upon knowing the damages that she has to pay him, she has to eat the humble pie.
Zai Yong is magnanimous to let off and also to tell Man Xiu about this when he wins a tournament. This guy isn't that bad after all although he is very haughty.
6. Mr Gao – Suh Hee Seung
He is Man Xiu's father who finds his son stupid to admit to the examiners that he takes the law exam because of Shui Jing. But he still wants him to tell her the truth to prevent her from getting a big shock. This decision proves disastrous as she runs away at the altar. That is why he can't believe that his son is so stupid to look for her again. He returns to Korea to drag him back to the U.S. with him.
7. Wu Shui Jing – Eom Jing Hwa
She is the most snobbish and materialistic woman that all have ever seen. She bullies classmates who are plain looking. On the day of his wedding, Man Xiu learned that he failed to pass the bar exam but he consoled himself that it wasn't a big deal because he'd be marrying the girl of his dreams. But when she heard from him that he didn't pass the bar exam, she ran out of the wedding hall.
8 years later, she is still unhappily single at the age of 34 and works as a manager at the same jewellery store where she began her career. She is a boss who makes outrageous demands on her employees. She is especially upset about her circumstances because her two friends who weren't as pretty as her, married rich professionals and live in the lap of luxury.
But what makes matters worse is that Ying Ai, who used to be a part of her entourage, is now a big client of the jewellery store. Her friends advise her to marry any decent guy she can find, but her pride will not let her settle for anything less than Mr. Right. She dreams of being whisked off her feet by a man like Han Qi Zhu, a character that appears in “Lovers in Paris,” and unless she meets a guy as rich as him, she'll never get married.
She believes that she still has the charm but her classmates know that she has accumulated a 'float' around her waist now. One day, she is reunited with Man Xiu, who is now a top-ranked professional golfer on the U.S. PGA Tour. Upon knowing that Man Xiu is her ex, she tries hard to impress him – to the extent of taking slimming pills, wearing a slimming belt and starving herself. All will see how she has changed from a haughty princess into a desperate creep.
She has torn an invitation ticket to a high school function. Upon knowing that Man Xiu is attending, she ransacks the dustbin to retrieve it. Man Xiu gets anxious when she faints at the function. But Yu Da picks her first to send her to hospital. Both guys are amused upon seeing the slimming belt around her waist. Man Xiu arranges Yu Da to appear at his sponsor function.
Shui Jing borrows the company jewels to attend and Yu Da helps her to remove her shoe which is stuck between the lift gaps. She is torn between both men who seem to be interested in her. Upon knowing that Man Xiu is in debt and is an empty shell, her crest-fallen expression is exactly the same one Man Xiu sees 8 years ago upon knowing that he fails the law entrance exam.
He then decides to teach her a lesson. He buys Yu Da over to date her as he wants to see how she will react when she gets ditched. After getting Yu Da's contact, she wants to back off her promise to be Man Xiu's maid but he threatens her with her past of deserting him at the altar. But she soon discovers that she is jealous upon seeing him with Da Shun. She actually keeps Man Xiu's ring all these years although she pretends to throw it away because of its' traditional design.
On her second wedding day, she listens to her father's words of being truthful to herself and runs away. She is already paying for her family's debts and doesn't mind Man Xiu being poor. But upon finding him deceiving her, she can't forgive him – even though she knows that she also hurts him in the past. She doesn't cry easily but upon seeing Man Xiu down and out, she cries for him. She takes the initiative to propose to him as she is sure that she can't let him go now.
Who made Jing Hwa look like an auntie? My goodness – she looks plump and uncultured in her dressing – it doesn't help when her hair is tied untidily. She is more suitable as a conceited peacock than a person who has mellowed down.
8. Li Ying Ai – Ahn Sun Young
As Shui Jing's friend, she is often ridiculed by Shui Jing since young. She is big-sized and is often ridiculed because of her name. Shui Jing always makes fun of her but she endures to be her best friend so as to meet guys to give herself a chance. She can never forget her humiliation – Shui Jing has made her go to many shops with her but in the end, they return to the first shop as it is the best choice.
8 years later, Ying Ai's fate is changed. After her marriage to Lawyer Yin, she treats her the same way to insult her, giving her a taste of her own medicine in choosing the tie clips. Shui Jing bears with her. Secretly, she is miserably married to money as she has to put up with Dong Huan's insults and philandering ways. Although she always cuts Shui Jing with her unkind words, both still share a close bond. Shui Jing offers a roof over her head after her divorce. She even works in her shop.
9. Lu Da Shun – Park Da Ahn
She works in Shui Jing's shop and also rents a room in her home. She is always smiling even though Shui Jing often picks on her. Even though she wears dark rimmed glasses and ties her hair, it doesn't hide her beauty. She looks kind but she is also ambitious. All advise her to quit but she doesn't want to give up. She wants to get her trust. She is bespectacled and once she lets her hair down, wearing contact lenses to work. Being threatened by her beauty, Shui Jing orders her to tie up her hair.
Man Xiu breaks her glasses accidentally and gets her a new pair. A customer is dissatisfied over a ring which is designed wrongly. Man Xiu buys the ring and puts on her finger. She then decides that Man Xiu is the man she wants. She goes for a makeover and is pretty now. She becomes despicable to break them up and even to steal Shui Jing's designs to get into sales channel to work. She wears branded clothes and is very scheming now.
Shui Jing has to give in to her unreasonable demands. Upon knowing that Shui Jing has applied for exclusive rights for her designs, she resigns quickly. It is strange that she stays in a small and old apartment despite earning a lot of money. She even gets letters of eviction to move out. I can't accept this arrangement – how can all these happen in one day?
This actress's acting is so fake. Although Xi Jun claims her to look like Jeon Ji Hyun, I find her nose so fake looking. Is it due to failed cosmetic surgery?
10. Jin Bi Shu - Yoo Hye Jung ( as He Jun's elder sister in 'Bride at 18')
She opens a dating agency and tries her best to find Shui Jing a marriage partner. But Shui Jing's high demands often put her in trouble and she has to clear her mess. She also has headaches finding another partner for Bi Shu after her divorce. Still, the three women are the best of friends.
11. Cui Shui He – Ahn Yong Joon
He is Shui Jing's younger brother – or rather half brother. He is very filial to Mr Wu and still remembers that Man Xiu treats him very well. Although Shi Jing doesn't seem to treat him well, she still saves up money to let him go to university. Thus he is concerned about her and protects her well. Unlike Shui Jing who hates her mother, he yearns for motherly love since young and treasures her return. That is why he is so sad that she is no longer remembering him.
12. Na Xian Mei – Hwang Hyo Eun
Another employee in the jewel shop. She works hard but likes to gossip about Shui Jing when she isn't around because she suffers in her hands.
13. Yin Dong Huan – Kim Dong Kyoon (He is the man who teaches Qi Zhu how to say 'babe' in 'Lovers in Paris')
He is Ying Ai's husband and knowing the cause of his wife's feelings, he is also nasty towards Shui Jing. That is because he is also ditched by Shui Jing when he can't get into the law faculty. Feeling dejected, he goes to bed with Ying Ai on her wedding day. He marries her but always puts her down in public. He even has affairs but he never expects Ying Ai to divorce him. Although he hopes for reconciliation, she rejects him the chance as she is independent now.
14. Shen Mei Duo – Yoo Ji In
She is Shui Jing's mother. She is very irresponsible – that is why Shui Jing lies to Man Xiu that she has died. She appears on Shui Jing's wedding day to persuade her to run away because she doesn't want her to have a tough life like her. She has given up her acting career to be with Bi Jiu. However, married life bores her so she runs away with another man to have Shui He.
She is a spendthrift and returns to her family when she runs into debts. The men welcome her but Shui Jing is hostile towards her. Mei Duo tries to get into Man Xiu's good books when she is in need of money to ask her daughter to return to him! After knowing that he is a 'bankrupt', she tells her to go to Yu Da. Shui Jing is touched upon knowing that she actually prepares dowry for her and regrets not telling her that she loves her. All forgive her after she is getting senile.
15. Liu Xi Jun
He is the only male employee in the shop. He has once sided with Da Shun. Upon seeing how arrogant she has become, he stands up for them.
Most favourite character
None, as none are special.
Most hated character
Mei Duo, she screws up Shui Jing's life more than once. It is not just ruining her marriage plans but also by giving her loads of debts to clear.
Most special guest stars
One is Cui Yong Jun (Cheng Shui from 'All About Eve'). He acts as Ying Ai's and Shui Jing's prospective match as an arrogant doctor. He harps on their ages and how this will endanger their chances to have children. Shui Jing can't take it and gets him to pay an expensive bottle of red wine as revenge. He is relieved as she seems to want to use the bottle to break his head!
He is nastier to Ying Ai as she is divorced. After he says the same speech to Ying Ai, he becomes fearful when Shui Jing appears and tries to slip away. But Shui Jing manages to force him to pay their lunch meal as sweet revenge.
Another guest star will be the actor as Man Xiu's friend who pretends to buy over the jewel shop. This charming-looking man speaks with an American accent. Have a good laugh when he can't stop looking at Shui Jing because he is curious why Man Xiu likes her. Shui Jing is mistaken that he likes her when he wants her to choose a ring for him. She quickly flashes the ring given to her by Man Xiu, to claim her attached status. He also shows her his ring on his index finger – he is married with a son and the ring is for his wife! I simply crack up when Shui Jing doesn't know where to hide her face.
Many praised Jing Hwa for acting a single lady well. Her fans even celebrated her birthday with her. They had supported her for 10 over years. They were so thoughtful to prepare food for the whole crew too. She hugged all of them to express her gratitude.
It was the first time Ji Ho acted as a 150kg guy. It was so much hard work for him to have so much added rubber to his face and fitting into the big clothes. It was an unforgettable experience for him.
This was Jing Hwa's comeback after 3 years away from the small screen. Although it was slightly affected by the Asian soccer event, it still scored 13% and went up to 15%. It was regrettable that it didn't go higher than 15% for the ending. It was 14.7%.
I have been partial to second-chance stories. The set up is contrived on a poor fat man being cast off by his hard-headed fiancée after failing his bar exam and he sails back into her life – richer and thinner. The characters feel rather real. But somehow, the story falters towards the end as the change becomes so inconsistent. I find it hard to believe that the money-digger, Shui Jing actually likes Man Xiu when he is plump as she enjoys torturing him so much!
It is a consolation drama for all singles and for those who are overweight. All have the right to pursue their own happiness despite of looks. The plain looking women here marry professionals earlier than Shui Jing and they have a happy family. Isn't this supposed to be in real life? If only the cast can offer better acting, this will make this story more enjoyable.
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)