Korean Title: "Eoneu Meotjin Nal" (direct translation)
# of episodes: 16
Produced by: MBC
Gong Yoo as So Gun
Sung Yoo-ri as So Ha-neul/Park Hae-won
Lee Yeon Hee as Goo Hyo-joo
Nam Koong Min as Kang Dong-ha
Yoo Ha Joon as Park Tae-won
I remember the first two Korean series I ever watched: All About Eve and Endless Love. The former pioneered my love for Korean series, where the latter very nearly destroyed it. And though the acting in One Fine Day is excellent, the plot is borderline disturbing, just like Endless Love. I'm going to try to forget this plot ever happened.
Gun and Ha-neul were siblings separated as children when their parents died. Fifteen years later, Gun now lives in Australia, where he works menial jobs and steals money from gangs to fund a critical heart surgery that Hyo-joo (his dad's friend's daughter) desperately needs. Hyo-joo is in love with Gun, but he only sees her as a sister. Ha-neul has been adopted into a wealthy family and is doted upon by her adopted mother, though she hides a deep secret: the biological son of her adopted parents, Tae Won, has molested her since she was adopted into the family.
When it is revealed that Ha-neul is Gun's younger sister, Ha-neul leaves her adopted family to live with Gun and his girlfriend-in-name, Hyo-joo. Though Ha-neul begins to date Seung-kyung, she starts to realize that her love for her older brother is more than that of a sibling, while Gun tries to hide his love for her as well. They eventually express their love for each other, and are united at the end of the series.
There is one Korean series that seriously disturbs me when it comes to its storyline, and that is the series that pioneered the melancholy K-drama genre, Endless Love. In that plot, a brother and sister are torn apart when the family discovers that the girl, Eun-he, is not actually their biological family. The girl leaves, and when the two meet again 10 years later, they fall in love. Purists can say that the reality is they are not blood related, so it shouldn't be a problem that they fall in love. They also point to recent series like Taiwan's Devil Beside You, where the two main characters fall in love though they are family by name (their parents got married). But that wasn't my problem with Endless Love. My problem is not that they were family in name, my problem is that the protagonists in grew up believing they were biological siblings! And 10 years later, they can forget their childhood and fall in love with each other? Disgusting and disturbing.
I have the same issue with One Fine Day. Though Gun's love can be justified as he always knew Ha-neul wasn't his biological sister, the love on Ha-neul's part is beyond disturbing... especially considering that she keeps calling him oppa. I am not Korean, so I don't quite understand why girls can use oppa to refer to their older brothers, boyfriends, AND older male friends. Make it one. When the word is used in dysfunctional story lines like this one, I am seriously confused and disturbed. Repeat after me, disturbed.
It's even more disturbing that Ha-neul's adopted mother continues to beg her to return to the family, even knowing what Tae-won has done to her. What the hell is her problem!? Gun should have slapped some sense into this woman. Her adopted father is even worse, defending Tae-won even when his disgusting behavior was revealed, and let's not forget that he always suspected what Tae-won was doing. Father and son should have been kicked and dragged through the streets.
If you can overlook the creepy storyline, there is one good thing about this series: The acting is excellent. Sung Yoo-ri is photogenic and convincing as the damsel-in-distress, and Gong Yoo is masculine even when he's bawling. Lee Yeon-hee is good as the love/physically sick Hyo-joo, as is Yoo Ha Joon as the bastard Tae-won. The actors who played Ha-neul's adopted parents were exceptional.
My favourite character, though, was none other than the one comic relief in this uber-tragic series, Seung-kyung. Why is the funny gentleman in Korean series always the loser in love? Poor guy.
When Ha-neul tearfully realizes that Gun is her older brother. Excellent performances by both actors in this scene.
To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question
Unless you want to start thinking of your siblings as potential romantic interests, pass on this one.