Sassy Girl Chun-hyang


Reviewed by: il_mare

March 29, 2005

Rating: four

Kwaegeol Chun-hyang aka Sassy Girl Chun-hyang

Credit www.koreanwiz.org

KBS miniseries (2005) - 17 episodes total
For KBS homepages for this drama, go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/qgirl/index.html/ (in Korean).
Aired on KBS2 in Korea: Jan. 3, 2005 to March 1, 2005 Monday & Tuesday nights at 9:55 (replaced I'm Sorry, I Love You).

Cast:
Sung Chun-hyang: Han Chae Young (Beijing My Love/Autumn Story)
Lee Mong-ryong: Jae Hee (3-Iron)
Byun Hak-do: Eom Tae Woong (Nine-tail Fox - A Supplementary Tale)
Hong Chae-rin: Park Shi Eun (Match Made in Heaven/Gift)
Han Dan-hee: Lee In Hye
Pang Ji-hyuk: Moon Ji Yoon
Kong Wol-mae: Kim Chung
Mong-ryong's dad: Ahn Suk Hwan
Mong-ryong's mom: Choi Ran (Tropical Nights in December/Pearl Necklace)
For more info on the cast (in Korean), go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/qgirl/about/cast/index.html.

For the storyline and cast info from the KBS Global Marketing website (in English), go to: contents.kbs.co.kr/program/programdview.php?contentsUid=51&category=0&isBroadcast=Y.

Learn Korean:
geol = girl (loan word)
Chun-hyang = given name of the female character in this drama; name of main female character in a famous Korean legend (The Legend of Chunhyang).

Variations of drama name:
Sassy Girl Chun-hyang (title used by KBS Global)
Heroine Chun-hyang (title used by YesAsia)
Delightful Girl Chun-hyang

Staff:
Screenwriter: Hong Jung Eun/Hong Mi Ran
Producer: Jun Ki Sang (Papa/RNA)/Ji Byung Hyun

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

For KBS photos from this drama, go to:
www.kbs.co.kr/drama/qgirl/media/photo/index.html.

For KBS wallpaper, go to: www.kbs.co.kr/drama/qgirl/plus/paper/index.html.

Synopsis:

Credit http://contents.kbs.co.kr

"Sassy Girl, Chun-hyang" is the 2005 interpretation of the "Legend of Chun-hyang". The story begins when Lee Mong-ryong is transferred from Seoul to a high school in Namwon, North Jeolla Province. Chun-hyang does her best to help Mong-ryong, her first love and the son of the Namwon Police Station chief, to enter a prestigious university. However, after meeting with Mong-ryong's first love, Chae-rin, Mong-ryong's love toward Chun-hyang is shattered, although Chun-hyang's love remains unwavering.

One day, Byeon Hak-do, CEO of a famous entertainment company, appears in her life. He exudes confidence that he can make any woman fall for him. But as Chun-hyang shows no interest in him, his self-esteem is damaged profoundly. Byeon Hak-do is determined to make her love him.

The production team of this drama says they wanted to present a whole new image of Chun-hyang in line with modern times as she is an attractive female character who showed courage in choosing her love in the Chosun period, when Confucianism was a dominant value.

This fusion-style drama makes various new attempts in terms of genre, such as mixing rap with Pansori music.

Il_mare's add-on:

Chun-hyang is the top student in her school. Despite her poor family background, she is resilient, cheerful and bright. She makes her own money and excels in whatever she does. She is the idol of all her peers.

Lee Mong-ryong is the trouble making son of a Police chief. He is constantly getting into trouble and has the grades to match them. MR transfers to Namwon when his father was moved to head the Police Force in that area. Although CH and MY did not get off on a good start but due to an unexpected twist of fate, they had to get married to restore CH's honor. Both agreed to stay married until after high school and then decide how they should take their lives from there.

However, their married life is constantly marred by MR's unrequited affection to his first love CR. CH helped MR pass his university entrance exams but choose to end their relationship when she found out that CR wishes to accept MY's affection.

MR is upset by CH's decision and goes in search of CH. He feels confused about his feelings for CH. The situation is complicated with the introduction of a charismatic and charming CEO of an entertainment company, Byung Hak-do who is vying for CH's heart too.

But the young couple overcame all their insecurities and misunderstanding for each other and learned to love and cherish each other wholeheartedly. They decided to hold their wedding ceremony to formalize their marriage. But their plans are thwarted by HD who became obsessed with CH.

HD manages to set MR up with a crime he did not commit and used evidence of the "crime" to force CH to leave MR. In her effort to protect MR, CH divorces MR and left with HD. MR is heart-broken, but HD does not get CH either as she runs away from HD as well.

Many years later, MR graduate from law school and is a famous prosecutor with the government. CH hides from both HD and MR in Pusan, running her own accessory business. HD tries to locate CH all these years while hiding the fact from the rest that CH is actually not with him. How will they meet? Will MR end up with CH? Will HD harm MR still? Will this story have the same happy ending as the original tale?

Review:

This kdrama was really popular with the youngsters when it was aired during the Winter break. And perhaps because it followed the terrible heartbreaking "I'm Sorry, I Love You", the audience could do with a good dose of comic relief. It combined the charms of the up and coming Jae Hee with the Barbie Doll of South Korea, Han Chae Young. I was really bothered by HCY's perfectly constructed face. There is something about HCY's face that reminds me of a mouse, especially when she curls her lips. She really looked like a doll. Maybe it is just me, can't live with manipulated perfection. And she had a figure that did not match with her cute face (let's just say that she is a little too top-heavy). But yet somehow it did not stop me from enjoying this kdrama. Chun-hyang is such a strong spirited girl, nothing gets her down. As a matter of fact, she is always saving herself from dire straits. She is totally smart and bright! I think in that way HCY fitted the character very well.

In many ways the story of this kdrama is pretty flat with conventional kdrama elements. I kept asking myself why am I motivated to finish this (I have recently been crowned by a fellow addict to be Ms Incomplete i.e. not completing a lot of the kdramas which I started on, so that shows it takes some kind of draw to keep me going), and the only reason I concluded is because of the chase!

Yes, the chase for the wonderful heroine. Her brains saves her from every terrible situation and she is the one doing the rescuing instead of the men. I was chasing for Chun-hyang with the men! "Sassy Girl Chun-hyang's" attraction is that it celebrate unwavering love. And the modern interpretation brings a fresh and cute twist to an age old love story.

Although this story is a modern interpretation of an ancient tale, I was glad that the writers did not give totally black and white characters to the story. There were many times where you may find the acting and expressions exaggerated and comic like e.g. Matrix type of fighting scenes. But all these should be taken in as good fun as this is typical of kdrama comedies. The pace was also wonderful, just when I worry whether it was going to drag, it steps up and before I know it, I have completed a some more episodes.

Jae Hee gained a lot of attention when he won the Best Newcomer in the recent Blue Dragon awards for his role in director Kim Ki-duk's "3-Iron" a.k.a. "Empty House". So I believe a big reason for the popularity of this kdrama is due to the attraction of this up and coming youngster. Jae Hee has pretty good comic talent! I can't help laughing every time he is running e.g. running from his father, running to CH, running for his life! And the big grin he gives every time he gives his smirk remarks to CH, and disappointed expressions when CH ignores him were really funny. Such a sweetie, you will be charmed! Jae Hee's problem arises when he had to deliver the sob scenes. They were just not as heartbreaking as I would have expected it to be, kind of below my expectations. And I could not stand his image when he was a prosecutor. Those glasses and shiny suits, and that hair just made Jae Hee looked like a cheap second hand car salesman.

The writers made the modern Chun-hyang strong, warm, smart, hardworking and pretty. There were no scenes of Chun-hyang sobbing quietly over her sad predicament. She strives and succeed during trying moments, and even had spare time to tutor the trouble-making MR, that he makes it to the most difficult course in the most prestigious university in South Korea. It seemed that anything she touches turn for the better (except for maybe, HD). What a wonderful woman!

HCY is totally cute too in her role. She got this high pitch voice (which I did not enjoy) that matched her likable character and she made a compatible and lovable pairing with Jae Hee. Something about this couple, when they stand together, you just want them to end up with each other. Her acting was ok, but I think the character was so likeable that it was not really difficult to deliver. I found HCY had difficulty executing the sad scenes too. Especially the ones when she had to kick MR out of her life because of her pact with HD. She just did not seem devastated enough when required, and not cruel enough when needed.

The draw of Eom Tae Woong in this kdrama surprised many. HD is a selfish and calculated man. A level-headed and shrewd business man. He has a cold exterior with strong resolve in getting what he wants. Unfortunately, that resolve translated into something vindictive because of his unrequitted feelings for CH. There is this mysterious and dangerous aura that surrounds ETW. Any girl will wish for to be rescued by such a cool strong man. I wished for HD to be the moody brooding macho man, who never smiles and just stay silent by CH. ETW definitely needs to work on his happy expressions.

Park Shi Eun as Hong Chae-rin, MR's first love threw in a credible effort. Nothing really to shout about but a complementary performance to the story. My only complain is that I did not hate her as much as I would like to.

My personal favourite in this kdrama is MR's father. He is one wise old man. The writers peppered this strict father image with multiple comic moments e.g. slicing of the apple, crying over the grandchildren hoax were really hilarious. In my honest opinion, the dad put in the best acting!

Overall I would give an above average rating for the acting. But the attraction is in the story and the nice pace which breezes you through from beginning to the end. Sometimes it is nice not to get too complicated and confused characters in a kdrama. For once I shan't complain about one-dimensional characters!

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

-The high school drama production of "Romeo and Juliet" where MR was the nanny!! That part was really funny!
-MR's father practising his sword and the apple slicing practise
-At the ski resort when CH caught CR kissing MR and HD holds her from the scene. Later when CH cries alone and HD leaves her alone to her sorrow
-MR father chasing MR and promise not to hit him after MR sold the sword
-HD proposing to CH
-CH tells MR to go to CR and to come back
-The hug at the bus-stop
-The pregnancy incident
-CH sits next to a drunk MR and cries
-CH leaves HD with her plan
-CH and MR in weddding clothes(both of them)

My dislikes
===========

- CH's repetitive "If you do this you die" expressions
- When HD smiles


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