Joyful Girl's Success Story

Reviewed by: Lin

September 19, 2003

Rating: four

Main Cast:

Jang Hyuk as Han Ki-tae
Jang Na-ra as Cha Yang-soon
Ryu Su-young as Han Joon-tae
Han Eun-jung as Yoon Na-hee


Faced with the responsibility of repaying her parent’s financial debts, village girl Cha Yang-soon (Jang Na-ra) finds work as a house-keeper in the home of Han Ki-tae (Jang Hyuk), owner of a cosmetics company. Sparks fly as the headstrong Yang-soon soon clashes with her arrogant boss over the trivialities of juggling school and household chores. Soon, Ki-tae develops a soft touch for his feisty house-keeper without her knowledge. However, his betrothed, Yoon Na-hee (Han Eun-jung) senses his sentiments and announces an engagement to formalize their relationship, unaware that Ki-tae had no intention of attending the ceremony.

Na-hee’s anger over Ki-tae’s absence soon gives way to fear when a jealous Han Joon-tae (Ryu Su-young), Ki-tae’s cousin, threatens to reveal an earlier driving accident whereby she caused the death of Yang-soon’s grandmother. In return for Joon-tae’s silence, Na-hee agrees to leave Seoul immediately. Unaware to all, Joon-tae has been plotting a conspiracy against Ki-tae with an intention to usurp his company and marry Na-hee. When Ki-tae finally realises the folly of his trust in Joon-tae, he has been reduced to poverty.

Yang-soon is shocked by Ki-tae’s plight and helps him to overcome the transition despite his un-cooperativeness. Touched by her sincerity and encouragement, Ki-tae plans to reclaim his company with the help of some loyalists……

Will Ki-tae succeed and will his romance with Yang-soon materialise ?


The first 15 minutes of any drama is usually a good measure of what the audiences should be ready for – nail-biting intrigue, sloppy romances or heart-warming familial bondings. In the instance of “Joyful Girl’s Successful Story”, you know that it will be a fairy-tale sprinkled with loads of laughs, though you are just not sure if it will divert to cheap slapstick fare or emerge tops with a light-hearted aftertaste.

Singer Jang Na-ra takes on the role of a mature 19-year-old schoolgirl, Cha Yang-soon, who heads her family with much zest and optimism despite the frequent absence of her debt-ridden parents who prefer careers as con-artists rather than managing a family. In order to repay her parent’s financial debts, she agrees to work in Seoul. The moment she affixes her thumbprint on a work agreement, you are pretty sure it is going to be a stay-in night with a big bowl of popcorn as you wait for her to meet the gorgeous guy that you notice during the opening credits of the drama.

Jang Na-ra is cute and one would expect this cuteness to interfere with the role as a determined village girl but amazingly and thankfully, it did not prove to be a hindrance. Instead, she demonstrates the character’s strength and crudeness with a natural flair: she engages in verbal wars with co-star Jang Hyuk, splashes water on him, creates a din in the kitchen to wake him up, amongst others. Cha Yang-soon much deserves two stars for standing up to her egoistical boss without cowering to his harmless threats.

Paradoxically, it is also this strength and feistiness that conceals any romantic aspects with Jang Hyuk. Despite the un-synchronized assertion from fans of the drama, agreeing that Jang Hyuk and Jang Na-ra are the perfect screen couple, I beg to ddiffer. Together, they invoked a stronger feeling of friendship rather than the portrait of a budding romance.

Jang Hyuk is brilliant in moulding his character, Han Ki-tae -- an immature poor-little-rich-boy. Having lost his parents to a drowning incident, Han Ki-tae is really a loner beneath the armour of arrogance. It is easy to dislike him when he starts throwing his weight around and thinks the world owes him his happiness but when you catches him flashing an impish grin, even for a second, it changes your opinion almost immediately. Jang Hyuk moves through the character switch with an easy nature and he does not slip into the shoes of Mr. Goodie overnight. Even when Han Ki-tae’s perspective of life changes and starts coming to grips with reality, he retains the air of a spoilt kid who is so used to having his way.

This drama has a refreshing feel from the usual Korean dramas, making a difference by taking a burdensome load off the mind of viewers. The plot is evident from the start and viewers are spared the task of second-guessing the intentions of every character in the show and wondering if there is a happy-lovers ending. Although the script calls for a vengeance plot, it retains the shine of light-heartedness and warmth which makes it a pleasurable source of entertainment.


Add your own review and become a featured critic on!

Or, add your comments below:

Advertise on SPCNET.TV

Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle