Likeable Or Not


Reviewed by: sukting

September 01, 2009

Rating: three

Foreword

This is a story that involves 3 families. They are related by marriage or ex-marriages. Somehow, things turn sour in the process. Are they able to iron out their differences?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Jiang Bai Hu - Kim Ji Suk
He is once a good for nothing who hardly stays long on a job after high school. He mends his ways after taking his mother’s tontine to put into the wrong investments. He becomes a valet and causes damages to Dan Feng’s car. He is reluctant to know that his mother is getting remarried but puts up a forced front to stay alone. Knowing that Xiu Ya is hostile to Dong Zhi, he can’t help worrying for her.

He is injured in an accident and she gets anxious. Wan Xiu then decides to let him stay with them and gets him to work in Bonjour Company. Bai Hu also decides to stay to correct Xiu Ya’s bad manners as her ‘elder brother’ and also to win over Mrs Cui. In order not to let success rule his head, Dong Zhi hopes that he starts from the basics. He sulks upon finding that he is working as a temporary staff under Dan Feng, who is younger than him instead of a permanent staff.

His weakness is drinking. When he gets drunk, he will say ‘I love you’ to anyone. The first instance, he even hugs Dan Feng. The second time he gets drunk at his welcoming party – he returns home hugging Mdm Cui and running after Xiu Ya! This is such a disgraceful act so he vows not to do it again.

Dan Feng is mistaken that Can is his son and reprimands him for not taking good care of him. When Da Xian is detained at the police station, Bai Hu has no choice but to bring his little cousin to work. All his colleagues treat him well. His next challenge is how to settle Chan’s lodging. He sneaks him home and is discovered. Luckily, the Cui family is willing to let them settle down temporary.

Bai Hu slowly shows his talents in sketching and comes up with good ideas. He helps his team to win awards. He is also chosen to be the poster spokesman to be paired with Dan Feng as a couple to promote the food items. He is also a good chef, spicing up with nice food that his team enjoys.

However, he is upset when knowing that he slowly likes Dan Feng but she is his ex-classmate, Xuan You’s girlfriend. He can’t reveal his feelings so he transfers to another department. He happens to save Dan Feng from freezing to death in the freezing room. He gets disturbed when he is transferred back to Dan Feng’s department again but decides to take things at his own stride.

He plucks up his courage to woo her after knowing that she is unattached. But his low self-esteem stops him when Dan Feng rejects him. He saves her again when a falling paper poster plank nearly knocks her out. This is when Dan Feng finally reveals her true feelings and they finally get married.

He finds out Shan Zai’s unlawful doing and quarrels with him. Determined to work out with the residents to persuade them to move away from the factory site amiably, he uses his free time to visit the residents. Thus, they are grateful to him and give in to him. They even send him food to express their gratitude. Suspecting Shan Zai to cause Wan Xiu to go into a coma, he checks out with the accounts manager.

Even though he discovers the truth, he doesn’t reveal it to the others as he hopes that Shan Zai will own up to it but he doesn’t. He has no choice but to attend the directors’ meeting with Wan Xiu to dispose Shan Zai off his position. He knows that Shan Zai doesn’t wish to see him when he is locked up in the cell so he refrains from being so.

Two years later, he takes over Shan Zai’s job as the planning director. He is overjoyed that Dan Feng is pregnant and he is going to be a father soon. The Luo women do not accept him as part of their family but later get close to him. Ji Suk’s acting is just passable but he improves towards the end. I can’t stand the way he smiles – it looks irritating, gruesome and forced.

2. Mdm. Cui: Kim Young Ok
She is Wan Xiu’s mother who opposes to him to be with Dong Zhi when both are young. Why? Because Dong Zhi’s mother works as a waitress in a bar and she looks down on her. She is worked up when Wan Xiu is adamant to marry Dong Zhi. She still treats her badly after her marriage, getting her to do the housework after firing the maid. Even more so when her family members move into their home. She makes sure Dong Zhi signs a divorce agreement not to take anything if her marriage fails.

She accuses Da Xian of stealing his ring when it is missing. She later finds it in her room and looks for him to come back. Ever since Xiu Ya gets married, she can’t stop worrying for her. She even arranges home helpers to assist her. Da Xian and Bai Hu find her to be so unfair. She admires Shan Zai’s talents but her impression of him dips upon knowing that he has an ex-girlfriend. But she has no choice but to accept him as Xiu Ya is persistent to marry him.

She has hoped that Shan Zai will stay with them for a year after marriage. It will be even better if they continue after that. If not, she is prepared to buy them an apartment. She is upset that Xiu Ya has to put up with a small room in Luo’s flat after visiting it.

Mdm Cui hopes that Dong Zhi can still get pregnant at her age. She gets her Chinese herbs and also rehires the maid. But upon knowing that she isn’t pregnant although she shows the symptoms, it is back to square one again. As nasty as she may be, she later regards Da Xian and Can as one of them. She feels lonely when they move out. Her nasty remarks still stays for Bai Hu, harping that he isn’t a Luo.

Annoyed with Ji Tai for being insistent to make Xiu Ya to stay with the Luos for a year, she is adamant that Dan Feng must stay with them for a year too. To her surprise and Zhong Shun’s dismay, Dan Feng agrees to it. Mdm Cui is later glad that she makes the decision as she feels very lonely.

Mdm Cui’s younger sister comes to visit her. She is puzzled why Mdm Cui hasn’t noticed that Bai Hu resembles Wan Xiu in looks. She doesn’t understand why Mdm Cui is so hostile to him and Dong Zhi who are filial to her. Bai Hu consoles Mdm Cui over Xiu Ya’s divorce and also places a mat in the bathroom after Mdm Cui slips down there. She starts to appreciate Bai Hu’s efforts when he settles the factory issue by winning over the residents and providing them jobs.

Mdm Cui ponders over her words and tears the letter. Are they father and son? Mdm Cui’s younger sister immediately steals their toothbrushes to make a DNA test. She knows that Mdm Cui is contemplating of doing it but has no courage to face the result. When reading the result, she bursts into tears. They are indeed father and son so she regrets her action.

3. Feng Wan Xiu: Lee Jung Gil
He is the owner of Bonjour Company. Although he is rich, he has been an unhappy widower for 14 years. He has been missing his first love, Dong Zhi since the day they part. He meets her a year ago and is determined not to let his happiness slip away from him again. Mdm Cui still opposes to this relationship fiercely and Dong Zhi rejects him so he gets drunk. He goes to Dong Zhi’s salon to hug her and pleads with her to reconsider again. Seeing how miserable Wan Xiu is, Dong Zhi allows him to rest his head on his lap.

Although he is a prominent figure in the business world, he is equally helpless when the woman he loves avoids him. See how nervous he is when Dong Zhi asks him out – he doesn’t know what her final answer is. He is delighted when she finally says yes to him. Knowing that Mdm Cui will make Dong Zhi’s life difficult, he warns her not to give in to disappear again or he will hunt for her till the end of the earth.

He admires Shan Zai’s talents and gives him a high post once he marries Xiu Ya. He also hopes that Shan Zai can work well with Bai Hu. The two men act close in front of him but Shan Zai is hostile to Bai Hu. Shan Zai is very wary when Wan Xiu keeps praising Bai Hu. Although he is the son-in-law, his position is still not as stable as the step-son as he doesn’t stay with them.

After marriage, he is very open-minded to get Bai Hu to stay with him as he wants to foster better family ties. He treats him no different from his own son. He also has no regrets taking in Da Xian and Can in when they face a law suit. He even gets a lawyer to settle the matter for them. He admires Bai Hu’s persistence to be a permanent staff of the company and passes him. Bai Hu takes good care of him when he is in a coma. Knowing that Bai Hu has good ties with the residents, he passes the project to him.

Only when Xiu Ya decides to leave for Paris again then he realises how much hurt he has brought her for firing Shan Zai. But he has to consider for his company’s benefits as he can never approve unlawful doings to get the interests.

4. Wu Dong Zhi: Kim Hae Sook
She is Bai Hu’s mother who owns a hair salon to raise him up after her husband’s death. She finds it hard to discipline Bai Hu and is determined not to spoil him further. She never expects to meet Wan Xiu again. She is initially unable to accept him because of their children. Wan Xiu manages to win her over with his earnest personality. It is touching to see how he kisses her cheek before he goes to work and massage her shoulders when she works hard!

Zhong Shun always finds excuses to visit Mdm Cui to humiliate Dong Zhi, citing that she hasn’t been accepted into the family. Xiu Ya also never regards her as her stepmother although she tries hard to understand her. She often demands Dong Zhi to cook for her whenever she comes. Xiu Ya only calls her ‘mother’ after her divorce to discover that she has been supportive of her this while.

You will get fed up with her when she often tells Da Xian and Bai Hu to endure like her as well! Why? Because they should be thankful to have a roof on top of their heads! The two men do not entirely agree with her but try as far as possible to avoid conflicts with the Luo women.

She overworks till ill and Wan Xiu offers to help her out to get reprimanded by Mdm Cui. Wan Xiu speaks up for her but she suffers even more. She can bear with all kinds of insults but not when Mdm Cui criticizes Bai Hu for having poor upbringing or being unappreciative as Mdm Cui tries to get him a prospective match to make him move out. She is glad when Mdm Cui finally regards her as her daughter-in-law. She is embarrassed when she is pregnant at the same time with Dan Feng but the others congratulate her on it.

This is the part that bothers me – why is she so scared of her mother-in-law to give in to her all the time? And isn’t she unfair not to tell Wan Xiu that Bai Hu is his son? The poor man suffers in silence without a good reason – being wronged by his half-sister and grandmother for being an outsider but is a parasite to live in their home. Even when drunk in front of Mdm Cui’s sister, she will not reveal a word.

Is this to stay loyal to her benefactor – who rescues her from drowning after she is forced to leave Wan Xiu when pregnant with Bai Hu? She doesn’t want Bai Hu to be arrogant and will be lazy to work hard if he knows it? Or to fear that Mdm Cui to reprimand her for having Bai Hu out of wedlock? (If this is the case, she is an idiot as we are very sure that Mdm Cui will welcome them with open arms.)

Or she wants to use her sincerity to win her over so as to prove how tough and sincere she is. Sorry but this drama provides no answers to all these questions and I am kept in suspense to the end.

5. Luo Dan Feng: Han Ji Hye
Dan Feng is promoted to the supervisor of Bonjour survey team after a short time. Bai Hu is her nemesis as unlucky events often happen when both meet. Her car breaks down and he uses her stockings to prevent it from suffering from further damage. She also wrongs him when he returns her car at her office but she doesn’t see it as he parks it far away.

When all guess if Bai Hu is Wan Xiu’s stepson, Dan Feng is the only one to doubt the possibility as he has a son while the person is known to be single. Even though he is Wan Xiu’s son, it makes no difference to her as she treats him as his subordinate. She is being wooed by Xuan You but she hardly finds any chemistry with him. That is why she keeps delaying her engagement with him, either saying that she is busy or she is not prepared for it.

She later discovers that she loves Bai Hu but keeps dismissing it. She suppresses all her feelings but can’t when he goes for a matchmaking session. She is so daring to stop the bus with her car to drag him off the bus. (This reminds me of what happens in ‘Lovers in Paris’). They have to hide their romance in secret as her whole family opposes to it.

Zhong Shun is very firm so Bai Hu decides to back out despite all he has done. She finally gives in when Dan Feng goes on a hunger strike. She is happily married to Bai Hu. She never looks down on him and speaks up for him at home. She insists that Xiu Ya address Bai Hu as ‘elder brother’ instead of his name. Although she isn’t a good cook, she learns hard to please her in-laws. She also takes leave when Wan Xiu is in a coma so that she can take care of her family. Bai Hu is grateful to her for doing that.

No doubt Ji Hye has improved in her acting but her signature shocked expressions still stay the same throughout the years. She needs to work harder in that.

6. Luo Ji Tai: Kang In Duk
He is the siblings’ father who is a civil servant. He is the vice-head of the transit unit. He is law-bidding who hates accepting bribes. He also discourages overspending so he is angry when Zhong Shun buys expensive things to pamper herself. He only accepts gifts which are of suitable value to his status.

Seeing that Zhong Shun keeps so much money from the tontine, he destroys her chance of getting a big car by hiding it. He doesn’t want to help Shan Zai out when his investment funds run into trouble. Thus Shan Zai decides to get the money from Wan Xiu and ditches Zhi Ying to marry Xiu Ya. Ji Tai also disapproves accepting expensive gifts and wants to return them. One example is Xiu Ya’s engagement gifts – which offends Wan Xiu and Mdm Cui who find him too rigid.

He dislikes Xuan You for being too direct and it takes him some time to get used to it. Neither can he stand Xiu Ya’s liberal ways. He is only looking forward to meet Zhi Ying and doesn’t like Zhong Shun to be so materialistic to suck up to the rich. He accepts Bai Hu after knowing that he is a reliable man. He doesn’t help in cooking or housework but starts to change when Xiu Ya insists that men and women are equal.

Ji Tai doesn’t want to help Shan Zai to get the land for the building of the factory. Thus Shan Zai bribes his subordinate to get the approval. When Shan Zai’s deed is discovered, he bravely resigns to take up the responsibility and often goes trekking after that. This wakes Shan Zai up to surrender himself to the police. The strong man cries for the first time when visiting him in cell. He has been upright all along and never expects him to take shortcuts. Dan Feng resembles him more in this aspect.

7. Li Zhong Shun : Kim Hye Ok
She is the siblings’ materialistic mother. She feels a pang of jealousy upon knowing that Dong Zhi becomes Wan Xiu’s wife. This woman is incorrigible – she enters her room to try out her wedding ring. She even bites on it to confirm that it is a diamond and is annoyed that the carot is heavier than hers. Zhong Shun hopes that Xuan You will become her son-in-law so she finds all sorts of ways to get close to Mdm Cui. This will also help Dan Feng to get promoted if this works.

But she doesn’t expect Dong Zhi to get married into the family. She also desires Xiu Ya to become her daughter-in-law. She finds chances to get close to Mdm Cui. Her greedy nature causes her to accept an expensive painting from Xiu Ya and also a pair of ear rings from Xuan You. She has no backbone at all – she accepts Mdm Cui’s request to allow Shan Zai to stay with the Luos but Ji Tai will never allow this.

Zhong Shun keeps gunning Zhi Ying down to make her leave Shan Zai. She is overjoyed when Shan Zai finally marries Xiu Ya to become the planning director of Bonjour. She keeps bragging about his capabilities and wants Bai Hu to work well under him and Dan Feng, much to Dong Zhi’s annoyance. I also feel that Shan Zai inherits her nature to look down on people and being materialistic too.

She grumbles about Xiu Ya not doing housework and her room is messy. Still, she can’t stop herself cleaning for her when she buys her expensive stuff. Dan Feng complains when she spoils Xiu Ya rotten. But Zhong Shun wants her to win over Shan Zai so she forces Xiu Ya to learn cooking.

She looks down on Bai Hu’s low education and not being good enough for Dan Feng. She nearly wants to skip their wedding. Even after their return, she requests Bai Hu not to register their marriage and keep this from Dan Feng. Poor Bai Hu really suffers at her hands.

Seeing what happens to her son and husband makes her wonder if her greed causes them to be so. Wan Xiu arranges Dan Feng and Bai Hu to stay with Ji Tai and Zhong Shun when Shan Zai is jailed. She is touched and finally accepts Bai Hu as her son-in-law after seeing how caring he is.

8. Luo Shan Zai: Jo Dong Hyuk
He is Zhong Shun’s son who is the invest consultant of a company. He knows Xiu Ya through an art company. Xiu Ya’s friend opens it and both fight over a painting. Shan Zai knows that she is just trying to spite him and will not appreciate art as well as his customer. Both cross swords a few times. Xiu Ya later falls for him but he isn’t interested in her. He is still faithful towards Zhi Ying and rejects all her dates.

That is why he is so dismayed when the two elders set up their meeting without his knowledge. The others are the only ones happy over it. He wavers upon knowing her rich status and Wan Xiu invests in his company. He later ditches Zhi Ying in order to marry Xiu Ya. He treats Xiu Ya coldly and even keeps the things that Zhi Ying has given him in his closet.
Yet he can’t forget Zhi Ying. He gets jealous whenever he gets to see him with Yu Zhen together. He doesn’t want them to be together. He even suggests her to be his kept woman – to get rejected of course. Thus, he focuses his concentration on work. He sets up an illegal trust fund, bribes officials to get the land lease and also gets gangsters to drive away the residents so as to build a factory. That is done without Wan Xiu’s knowledge. Wan Xiu gets so mad and demands him to resign but he refuses.

When Wan Xiu is in a coma due to this, he seizes his position to become the temporary chairman. He throws his weight around and nearly dismisses Bai Hu for opposing to him over the factory issue. Wan Xiu wakes up but he still refuses to resign. Thus Wan Xiu holds a board meeting to throw him out. Afraid of implicating Xiu Ya, he divorces Xiu Ya before surrendering himself to the police station. He has thought to own everything but ends up losing everything.

2 years later, he works on a farm and delivers tomatoes to supermarkets. He meets Zhi Ying to see that she is happily married to Yu Zhen and pregnant. Xiu Yah has never forgotten him and urges him to accept her again. She is willing to throw away her expensive belongings away. Touched, both are back again to celebrate Mdm Cui’s birthday with her.

9. Huang Da Li: Suh Seung Hyun

She is the eldest sister who treats her younger siblings well. Her children move overseas so she comes to stay with Zai Fu. She is concerned over Zhi Ying’s coming wedding with Shan Zai and prepares everything for her. She gets overly anxious to irritate Zhong Shun instead. She cares for Zhi Ying when she struggles to get over her breakup. She also helps Jin Zi to be together with Zai Fu as she doesn’t want them to be as lonely as her.

10. Huang Zai Fu: Kim Sung Hwan
He is Zhi Ying’s father who is also a vet and running the clinic with Zhi Ying. He brings up Zhi Ying single-handedly after his wife’s death. He has never thought of remarrying. When Shan Zai breaks up with her, he can kneel to him to plead with him to return to Zhi Ying. He is silly to vouch for his friend who is in debt and nearly loses his house to put it on sale. Luckily, Yu Zhen and Shan Zai help him out. He is relieved when Zhi Ying finally marries Yu Zhen.

11. Feng Xiu Ya: Yoo In Young
She is Wan Xiu’s only daughter who loses her mother at the age of 12. Thus she is very rebellious by nature. Although Wan Xiu sends her to Paris to further her studies, she quits midway and returns to Korea. She is bitter that Wan Xiu is no longer a widower to get married and this affects Mdm Cui’s health. Thus she is hostile to Dong Zhi. She also never treats Bai Hu as her elder brother. But she tries very hard to curry favour with Zhong Shun.

After marriage and knowing nothing about housework, she dumps everything to Zhong Shun and wants Mdm Cui to find help for her. This is discovered by Ji Tai and Ji Tai wants her to learn. She finds Ji Tai too strict on her and even her dressing as she loves wearing short skirts. She also loves handing out late with her friends. If not for Zhong Shun threatening to reveal her secret to Ji Tai about her staying out snow skiing with male friends, she will never take up cooking.

She never feels secure after marrying Shan Zai as he never forgets Zhi Ying so she keeps harassing Zhi Ying. Probably, she is never cleared of her guilt. She and Shan Zai are really a perfect match. He keeps returning to Zhi Ying while she keeps returning home. Disillusioned over her divorce, she returns to Paris to continue her studies. But she can never forget Shan Zai and returns to him when she is back.

12. Sonia: Eva Popeil
She is a thrifty Russian and comes to work in Korea. Although she rents a room at Zai fu’s home, his family treats her as one of them. She dislikes Mei Ai’s wasteful attitude and digs at her. She is very responsible and slowly wins Mei Ai over. Da Xian works at her workplace and she helps him to adapt to the new environment. Can also grows attached to her when she looks after him.

She works part-time in a discotheque in order to earn more money. Da Xian feels sorry for her and also works part-time to help her out. Her decision to marry Da Xian causes an earthquake as he is much older than her and has a son. She still stays with the Huangs after marriage as they don’t have enough money to buy a house. They later move out but to a house nearby so that they can visit them often.

13. Wu Da Xian : Kim Chan Woo (Four Sisters)
Sometimes, you will wonder why Ba Hu resembles his uncle. Unlike his sister, he doesn’t have a steady job. That is why Mei Ai leaves him. He has no money to pay the rent so he has to bring Can to seek refuge elsewhere. He has treated Bai Hu’s flat and also the sauna lounge as his home. When staying in the Luos, he bears with Mrs Luo’s sarcasm but later finds her to be a nice person.

His boss cheats his money but both men and Sonia later try hard to keep the shop going. He later moves out from the Luos’ home to stay in the shop and falls for Sonia. He never expects Sonia to be Zai Fu’s room tenant as Mei Ai keeps from him. Despite all odds, he decides to get married to Sonia. They hold their wedding in Russia and both concentrate on making their shop earn money when back.

14. Wu Can: Park Joon Mok
He is Da Xian’s obedient son. Although he has a tough life being with him, he doesn’t grumble about it. He stays with him in the sauna when both are homeless. Mdm Cui regards him like a grandson during their short stay and they get along well. He initially opposes to Sonia marrying Da Xian but later gives in when she sends him to hospital when he hurts his forehead.

15. Huang Mei Ai: Lee Ja Young
She has been a television extra for a long time. Even after marriage, she has not stopped dreaming to become a famous actress and seizes any chance that comes along. She divorces Da Xian and returns home, leaving Can with him. Not knowing how to disclose it to her family, she lies that she is taking time to get immersed into a role. Even after her lie is exposed, she is persistent not to change her mind, even if Can misses her. However, she wishes to reconcile with Da Xian upon seeing how hardworking he becomes.

But it is too late for her as he is now in love with Sonia. She has no choice after breaking them up in vain so she gives them her congratulations. Her breakthrough comes when she acts in a sitcom. Zhong Shun finds her match as she is very sharp in words and cruel in action. She sends Shan Zai all Zhi Ying’s belongings, reminding him of his guilt and also pulls Xiu Ya’s hair whenever she sees her as she is the third party to cause them to break up.

16. Huang Zhi Ying: Lee Young Eun
She is Shan Zai’s girlfriend who is a vet. She is upset when he lies to Dan Feng that she is only his junior. Shan Zai has not wanted to reveal their relationship to his family as yet because he concentrates on his career and the time isn’t right. She is very sweet to bring food to him during lunch time. But all changes when Shan Zai decides to marry Xiu Ya.

Constant begging doesn’t make him return to her and she keeps wallowing in self-pity. She worries her whole family by keeping to herself. She makes the wrong move of always agreeing to meet Shan Zai continuously. Even though Yu Zhen is beside her, she can’t forget Shan Zai. She only discovers how important he is to her when he manages to change his mother’s impression of her.

She finally decides to go with him to the U.S. when he is engaged to work there. She meets Xiu Ya at the airport and Xiu Ya apologises to her for her misgivings in the past. She also finds fault with herself and says sorry to her too.

17. Zhang Xuan You: Lee Joong Moon
Xuan You is Bai Hu’s former classmate and is a successful plastic surgeon. He knows Dan Feng through his senior. His family stays in the U.S. and He knows how to drive a car and is also a motorcyclist. It is hard to resist his charm as Dan Feng’s colleagues totally neglect Bai Hu at his welcoming party to ask him questions instead.

But surprisingly, Dan Feng has not accepted him and he has to put in a lot of effort to woo her. Upon knowing that her car breaks down, he comes to fetch her and also decorates her new car. He is usually a gentleman but loses his cool whenever Dan Feng is with Bai Hu. Although both men know each other well, they become love rivals later. Some instances can be described as below.

Dan Feng sends a drunk Bai Hu to a hotel and he mistakens both to spend the night together. Upon knowing that Dan Feng is trapped in a lift earlier, he gets her calming pills but all will be amused to know that Bai Hu is actually the one who is scared of the dark and clings to her for comfort.

Still, he is nice to Can, who is a ‘light bulb’ when Dan Feng had to drag him along when Bai Hu isn’t around. When knowing that she has to work overtime, he brings food for her. But his efforts do pay off when she doesn’t want to get engaged. He realizes that she likes Bai Hu so he doesn’t reveal to her that Bai Hu is the one to rescue her from the freezing room.

Even though Dan Feng keeps delaying their engagement, he is insistent to make the engagement gown to force her to go ahead with it. Fed up with his attitude, she breaks up with him. Knowing that he doesn’t stand a chance, he returns to the U.S. He is not that wicked after all – he sends Bai Hu an email on what has happened between them to give them a chance.

18. Liu Zhu Qing – Suh Yoon Jae
She is Dan Feng’s colleague who is interested in Bai Hu after knowing that he is Wan Xiu’s stepson. She goes all out to woo him but this scares him instead. Upon knowing that Dan Feng is attached to Bai Hu, she demands her to leave him. She is later transferred to work in Sunchon.

19. Wu Yu Zhen – Lee Sang Yoon
He is Zhi Ying’s senior and works as a researcher in Bonjour after his graduation in the U.S. He is interested in her all along and decides to woo her after knowing that she has broken up with her boyfriend. He never expects the man to be Shan Zai. Seeing Shan Zai coming to him repeatedly makes him frustrated. He warns him not to see her again since he is already married.

He is like Bai Hu’s buddy to help him to do the food tests and surveys. His family owns a family resort in Sunchon but he keeps his identity a secret as he doesn’t wish to be dependent on his family. Shan Zai has once abused his authority to dismiss him but Wan Xiu knows that he is a talent to hire him back.

Knowing that Shan Zai is still in Zhi Ying’s heart, he accommodates her by giving her more time. His mother opposes to them together after learning her past. He fights hard for their happiness. Touched, Zhi Ying finally accepts him. He gets to work in the U.S. and she accompanies him there. They get married and return to Korea when she is pregnant.

20. Lin Jin Zi
She is interested in Zai Fu all along and often finds excuses to come to his home. She owns an eatery and can whip up delicious dishes. Zai Fu keeps a distance from her initially but later learns to accept her when he discovers how worried he is when she is ill.

21. Liu Yun Shou
He is the assistant vet in the animal clinic. He treats Zhi Ying like an elder sister and is nasty to Shan Zai after they break off. He helps Yu Zhen to woo Zhi Ying.

22. Assistant Gao – Choi Seung Kyung
She is middle-aged among the team but she is Dan Feng’s love advisor. She always goes to her when she has trouble with Xuan You. Thanks to her, Dan Feng finally knows what love is.

Favourite character
None, no one pleases me in any way.

Most hated character
Top of my list is Dong Zhi. She can go ahead to endure on her own but why make the rest suffer with her? Being happily married doesn’t imply that she should deprive others’ happiness. She opposes for the sake of opposing. First, she opposes to Da Xian marrying Sonia as she is a foreigner. Later, she objects to Bai Hu to marry Dan Feng is she is her in-law. Luckily, the men do not listen to her or she will ruin two marriages and prevent them from taking place.

The second is Zhong Shun. She wants to plan the best for her children to make herself happy. Shan Zai is ruined by her so Dan Feng is determined not to follow his footsteps.

The third is Zhi Ying. It is very annoying as she keeps frowning and whining almost every episode. She should be a daring person like her aunt, Mei Ai. I keep wondering when she will stop! The part of her accepting Yu Zhen is too fast. She seems so restless when with him but after knowing that he helps her, her attitude changes – as if relieved that someone is finally willing to take her at last!

Song
No idea who sang the song but sounds too cutie for me. It is tormenting for me to hear it daily when watching this drama.

Interesting facts

Everyone thought of Bai Hu whenever seeing Ji Suk. He regarded it as he representative work and he liked it. Many middle-aged women supported the drama. They crowded around him for his autograph when he appeared in restaurants. His friends teased him to be the fake Bae Yong Jun.

He had benefited from this drama in his acting. Kim Hae Sook was ‘the drama mother’ and he supported this title after acting as her son. Initially, both were not familiar with each other. She told him not to address her as senior but as mother. This broke the barrier between them. They really turned out well as a mother and son pair as he still kept contact with her.

Acting in a long sitcom can immerse longer in the role but is also a challenge. Whatever cannot be done in a short drama can be done here. He was not used to this at first but the seniors encouraged and taught him to assist him. When asked if he really fell in love with Ji Hye during the process, he replied that she already had her ex, Lee Dong Gan then. Thus nothing happened between them.

He regarded her as an actress and not a woman. She was already popular when shooting this drama while he was an unknown. He joked that he had hoped to stir up rumours but there was none. In the midst of shooting, they broke up and the acting scenes required them to be intimate. Thus the media thought he had something to do with it.

Ji Hye was upset to hear that but he took it in his stride, joking that he would turn famous soon. Both of them were good friends and could communicate well. Many loved their couple image and asked him if she suited his criteria of his dream girl. He replied that the direct Dan Feng was his type but he did not wish his future wife to be so professional as she would be too tired after work. He wished her to become a housewife but he would not object her to work.

If he got to love a woman who was more successful than him, would he accept her like Bai Hu or would he work harder to reduce the gap? He recalled that his first love was 4 years older than him. He worked part-time in a café while still in university. She was a customer – so regardless of looks, people would develop feelings easily if they keep seeing each other.

Who got along best with him? He got along well with all of them and took turns to celebrate each other’s birthdays. Chan Woo was closest to him as they were together almost daily during shooting. The most unforgettable moment for him was the kissing scene with Ji Hye. They acted as lovers for long till the honeymoon scene to share the kiss. They looked forward to it and finished it in a take.

The toughest thing was to remember the lines. Sometimes, he only got the script in the morning and he had to memorize lines for 5 episodes. As Bai Hu was a nosey parker, he had lots to say. The other seniors were worried for him. He could sleep if he felt tired but there was no short cut for remembering lines. This was his most satisfying drama as it was his first time to be the lead and it was the most watched drama in 2008.
Many viewers had thought that he would be as cheerful as Bai Hu but his moods would change after each different drama. Did his mother arrange many matchmaking sessions for him and was she proud of him? He had never heard of the nickname ‘good son’ or ‘son-in-law’ for him till now. This showed that this drama was a success.

He regarded family ties important. If his family opposed to his girlfriend, he would consider. However, he had little time for dating as he was studying for his forum information masters programme at Ching Hee University. He was happy that Singapore fans knew him through this drama and hoped to visit soon.

Ji Hye liked this mature role as it was different from the childish roles she got in the past. She found herself too attached to her role and was very unwilling when the shooting ended.

It was the top of 2008 most watched drama in 2007 to 2008 at 39.7% average. New heart was eighth at 26.1%. The second was ‘The Golden Era of the daughter-in-laws’.

Conclusion

When I saw the story line, I moaned – not again! Yes – it’s a story on in-laws again. I have enough from ‘The Golden Era of the daughter-in-laws’ and have to take another ride in this drama. What is wrong marrying in-laws and keep harping on it? I simply don’t understand it. I don’t really enjoy the drama as it has plenty of flaws in its plot. It is definitely overrated as the most watched drama in 2008.

I am weary of seeing Shan Zai keep going to Zhi Ying and Xiu Ya keep running home when she quarrels with Shan Zai or his family. Don’t they feel tired doing the same thing repeatedly? It can be funny to see how Zhong Shun grumbles or complains but she still puts up with Xiu Ya’s attitude as she comes from a rich family. This is what most snobs will normally do.

Another minus is there are too many characters. Too many cooks spoil the broth which can be seen from here. Many characters’ stories are not fully exploited as they only serve as moving images through the drama. Their acting is half-baked as their stunned expressions are the same. Either they come from the same acting school or a photocopying machine.

If Koreans are considered to be traditional, there is a part which I can’t decipher the meaning behind it. Is it shameful for a woman to like someone else after she breaks up with a boyfriend and nearly gets married? Why are they only registering their marriage after their wedding? Shouldn’t they do this before it? For a Chinese, the wedding is considered invalid in the eyes of the law and elders can never agree to it. But yet the Koreans do it the reverse.

Does it make any difference if this couple does not register their marriage? They still consummate their wedding vows and make no difference from an actual divorce, isn’t it? That is why I still don’t see what the fuss is about. I guess I need to stop watching Korean dramas for some time before picking it up again as the plots are quite uninteresting and lately.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On song : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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