Secret Garden


Reviewed by: sukting

October 07, 2012

Rating: three-point-five

Foreword
Their accidental meeting starts their quarreling relationship. He tries to hide his affections for her. That confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies. This drama is an idol drama version of ‘Please come back Soon Ae’.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Hyun Bin as Kim Zu Yuan
He is an arrogant and eccentric CEO who maintains the image of perfection. He can’t stand dirt or poverty. He is from a wealthy family, smart and good looking. He runs the luxurious Roel Department store, which his grandfather owns. He has the talent for business and manages it well. He dislikes staying with his mother so he stays with his cousin. On a request by Oska, Zu Yuan goes to pick up actress Cai Lin from a shooting set.

Zu Yuan mistakes stunt woman Luo Lin for Cai Lin and takes her to a hotel. Oska made the request to have the meeting there in an attempt to prevent Cai Lin from revealing their relationship to the press. At the hotel, he discovers that the woman he picked is not actress Cai Lin but a stuntswoman.

During this time, Zu Yuan starts to experience strong feelings for the feisty Luo Lin, even though she isn't his type. Seeing her arm hurt by a scene, he can’t reset his mind and sends her to hospital. Zu Yuan tries getting Cai Lin out of his mind for she does not own a high status life nor is even rich. Nevertheless, he can't stop thinking about her. Seeing her staying in a run-down room makes him want to do more for her but she rejects him as she has her pride.

Zu Yuan sneaks into an action school to watch Luo Lin, pretending to sign up to be a stuntsman. You will laugh upon seeing him in a glittering blue tracksuit which is expensive to get from overseas but she has thought of it to be bought from a roadside stall. His sports skills are lousy as he struggles to keep up with the rest. He woos her with all his might and even uses his authority to let the movie she is involved to be shot at the Department store. He openly declares that he is her fan, shocking all. This includes her as she has not known of this too.

When he is in her, he tries hard to wear a bra and does the stunts for her. He doesn’t understand why she has to work so hard and buys furniture for her. She returns everything to him. That makes him like her even more. Despite facing opposition, he marries her and leaves the company to move out of home. They have 2 boys and 1 girl to live happily together.

2. Ha Ji Won as Ji Luo Lin
She is a poor and humble stuntwoman whose beauty and body are the objects of envy amongst top actresses. She works for Zhong Xiu after knowing him. Meanwhile, Luo Lin tries her best to ignore Zu Yuan because she knows he belongs to a high class family. Nevertheless, she can't help her controlling her feelings towards him even though she finds him irritating as a spoil brat.

She is a fan of Oska's music and wins a contest to go to Jeju Island with Oska himself. Luo Lin also wanted to take part in Oska's music video. Zu Yuan learns that she wins the contest to spend time with Oska and decides to follow them to Jeju Island. (He nearly bursts for this as Oska even lives in his hotel room!)

On Jeju Island, they go mountain biking – for the guys, the prize is Luo Lin. For her, she wants to be part of the MV shoot. She gets separated from the guys on the way. Zu Yuan searched frantically to find her and are trapped in a mysterious restaurant in the middle of the woods called 'Secret Garden'.

Even more mysteriously, the owner of 'Secret Garden' seems to know both of them very well. The owner presents two bottles of homemade floral wine to them. They manage to find their way back. At night, they can’t sleep and drink their wine. A twist of intrigue takes place when both wake up in the morning to find that their souls have switched to the other's body!

They find each other’s difficulty at work. She signs on contracts without thinking and he has to fix the problems. She is definitely not amused when Zu Yuan uses the body figure of his dream girl to be the password to open his house door. At first, she disallows him to bathe as she doesn’t want him to look at her body. But how is he going to do that for a week? Soon, he discovers why – she has too many scars on her body.

He jumps when she turns the password into Oska’s birthday. Still, she is happy to stay with Oska and cooks for him. Oska feels that this cousin is weird indeed not to let the maid to do the cooking but finds his cooking acceptable. This cousin also seems to know all his songs well although he cites that he hates his music.

They only get to switch their bodies back when it rains. By staying at his place, she learns of how lonely he is. Luo Lin goes into a coma when she has an accident while shooting a car scene. Zu Yuan braces himself to switch their souls. She bursts into tears when he wakes to find out that his memory stays at 21 years old. She fights hard to nurse him back to health.

3. Yoon Sang Hyun as Chui You Ying / Oska
He is Zu Yuan’s elder cousin and is a singer. His grandfather leaves his business brain to Zu Yuan but his charms to Oska. He conquers all women around the world except his mother. Even though he breaks up with women, he will send a farewell kiss to make sure that they will not treat him with hostility. His relationship with Zu Yuan seems strained but he gives in to him all the time due to an accident that happens to Zu Yuan many years ago. He is amused that Zu Yuan insists to buy the same on what he has bought.

He is a popular around Asia, but he doesn't have musical talent. The two are also cousins and highly competitive towards each other. Oska hates the fact that he has to count on Zu Yuan to renew his contract. He has the ability to tame several women but he is scared of one woman – Se. He jumps when Se shows interest in Zu Yuan and starts getting jealous.

His career is nearly ruined due to the song copying incident. He has written a song but it proves that Tai Xun is the original composer. He is very guilty towards her. Upon recalling his mistake, he tries to make up to her. He proposes to her after his career is stable. As Zu Yuan’s elder cousin, he seeks to protect him. Seeing that Luo Lin suits Zu Yuan, he helps her out.

4. Kim Sa Rang as Yin Se
She and Oska are ex-lovers, but they can't seem to forget each other. When they are younger, she is already unhappy with the fact that he likes attention through singing. She has a high-living status so she is arranged to attend a blind date with Zu Yuan. Even though he makes it clear that he doesn't have interest in her, she keeps pursuing him.

She knows Zu Yuan is Oska's cousin and wants to use him to get under Oska's skin. She then manages to become the director for Oska's next music video, which is scheduled to be shot on Jeju Island. Her plan fails when he escapes back to Seoul.

She is hurt by him in the past as he brags of how successful he is and how she can’t match him. Since then, she bears a grudge and leaves Seoul with ex-buddy whom Oska detests most. This man actually creates discord between the two. However, nothing happens between them as they go to different parts of the U.S. upon reaching the airport. She doesn’t think highly of Luo Lin but still gives her a chance to work with her.

The two are amused to see how Luo Lin scolds this man for them during a party. In return, Se forbids Zu Yuan’s prospective partner to let Zu Yuan have a talk with Luo Lin. She starts creating chances for them to be together.

5. Lee Philip as Lin Zhong Xiu
He owns the stuntsman school within 3 years and sets to groom talents. He is educated in the US and tries to find opportunities for them to act in local as well as western movies with his fluent English. He carries a torch for Luo Lin and wishes her not to work too hard. He doesn’t envy the rich although he doesn’t have his own house. He likes freedom and takes up many challenges.

Zu Yuan sees through his intentions and belittles him when he is in Luo Lin’s body. Thus, he tries keeping a distance from her even though he translates the English lines to Korean for her to get her prepared for an important movie role.

Seeing that Luo Lin’s handbag is damaged, Zhong Xiu gets a new one for her in Zu Yuan’s office. He is afraid that he is toying with Luo Lin’s feelings, just like other rich guys. Before this, Zu Yuan is peeved to see her damaged handbag – life is tough for her but yet she still wants to return money to him for a meal.

Zhong Xiu is confused when she is nice to him again after she wants to reject the role(that is Zu Yuan who says no). Later with Oska at the same time, both discover the secret. It is so hilarious. Zhong Xiu notices that Luo Lin can’t remember her father’s death anniversary day and that their senior has died. Oska also finds Zu Yuan strange for forgetting who Zhi Xian is as they meet face to face but yet Zu Yuan still asks him for her number.

Unlike Oska who turns into a nervous wreck, he actually becomes calm and pulls Oska back from hitting Zu Yuan when his poison tongue still throws sarcastic remarks. He is afraid that Oska might hurt Luo Lin’s body. Knowing that it is not their first time, he assures Oska that they can only wait. He continues to pursue his dream when big stars start to look for him to film movies.

6. Lee Jong Suk as Han Tai Xun
He is a musician whom Oska tries to groom but he doesn’t give it a damn. He doesn’t like cars, houses or women. It is hard to bribe him. The poor man has to go all over the place to get him to give his consent. Tai Xun often travels overseas to get ideas in song writing. His father leaves home when his mother cheats with another man. Tai Xun also leaves home after knowing this.

Due to his mother, he no longer believes in loving women. His only support is music. He is offended when Se helps him only for Oska’s sake to want to sign a contract with him. He finally helps Oska out. Oska doesn’t know that he is gay and he leaves after Oska’s successful concert. He knows that he doesn’t stand a chance with Se around.

7. Yoo In Na as Min Ya Ying
She is Luo Lin’s roommate and works in Zu Yuan’s department store. She is puzzled when Zu Yuan warns her not to undress in front of Luo Lin or to sleep with her. She is also told to wash her undergarments separately. True indeed, Zu Yuan fights hard to curb his temptation when she is beside him. She is enraged on how much Luo Lin changes – is it because she knows a rich guy? Luo Lin has to spend a lot of time appeasing her again.

8. Kim Ji Sook as Wen Yan Hong
She is Fen Hong’s half elder sister and Oska’s mother. It is funny that Se recognizes Fen Hong but not Yan Hong. She looks younger as she has undergone plastic surgery. She wants Oska’s share in the company and fights for it. However, she is angered when he shows no interest in business and prefers Zu Yuan to take over everything.

9. Park Joon Geum as Wen Fen Hong
She is Zu Yuan’s mother who is snobbish. Knowing his past, she tries her best to protect him and wants the best for him. Thus, she keeps tabs on him frequently. He is angered over her treatment towards Luo Lin and she threatens to kick him out of the company.

Upon knowing that Luo Lin’s father has saved Zu Yuan in the past when both women visited Yi Shan’s tablet during his death anniversary, she agrees to give her everything so that she will leave her son. Luo Lin agrees to break up, citing that she can’t face Zu Yuan because of this. But both get together again. She accepts her grandchildren but not her. She will lead children into the home but leave the married couple out of the gate.

10. Kim Sung Oh as Kim Xian Wu
He is Xu Yuan’s secretary who looks into his affairs carefully. He is puzzled over the slight change in Zu Yuan but doesn’t voice it. When helping Zu Yuan to cheer Ya Ying on her 5th year working for the company, he starts to date her.

11. Choi Yoon So as Kim Xi Yuan
She is Zu Yuan’s younger sister who knows of the rivalry between the cousins. She knows that Zu Yuan isn’t easy to get along and urges Luo Lin to give him more time. She comes to the stuntsman school to look for Luo Lin and gets to know Zhong Xiu. Unlike other romantic guys, he actually presses her head down to avoid a sword from hitting her. She chides him for being roug but this is first instinct. Still, she falls for him from then on.

12. Kim Sung Kyum as Wen Chang Xiu
He is the cousins’ grandfather. He fathers the sisters and now has a third wife. Unlike his daughters who prefer to be widows, he can’t live without a woman. He gives Zu Yuan all the power to manage the business. Bu Lin keeps stressing on the mistakes Zu Yuan makes so he returns time to time to check on him. Still, he knows his ability and trusts him.

13. Lee Byung Joon as Piao Bu Lin
He is Bu Xi’s elder brother. He is the department store director and dreams of to be in Zu Yuan’s position. He keeps practicing his signatures, finds fault with him and steals credit in front of Chang Xiu. He loses his position when he betrays the company. However, Zu Yuan gets him back when he is kicked out. He sees through how Yan Hong makes use of him to help Oska and is now a better man.

14. Sung Byung Sook as Piao Bu Xi
She is Chang Xiu’s wife and is contented with her position. She is careful not to offend the sisters but tries hard to give Bu Lin more power at work.

15. Yoon Gi Won as Chui Dong Kui
He is the CEO of Oska entertainment. He relies solely on Oska to keep things going. He puts up with his temperament frequently. He is like an elder brother to him. When Oska’s career sinks, he seeks to revive it. Oska learns his mistake when he causes Dong Kui to lose a lot of money by cancelling concerts or promotions. Luckily, he helps him to recuperate his losses in the end.

16. Yoo Seo Jin as Lee Zhi Xian
She is Zhi Yuan’s doctor who knows his past. He confides with her all his secrets. She is puzzled that he recovers well with Luo Lin’s help to be able to skip his medication now and seals his secrets even though Fen Hong threatens her. She is professional and helps Zu Yuan to understand women better as a friend.

17. Kim Gun as Yin Zhong Xian
He is Oska manager and gets weary to follow him around. However, he stands by him all the time as Oska treats him like a buddy.

18. Baek Seung Hee as Piao Cai Lin
She is a film star who is romantically linked to Oska. She wants to marry him but Oska shuns her. thus, she threatens to tell the press about them. She often picks on Luo Lin to make her do dangerous stunts for her. This offends Zu Yuan and he tells her off.

19. Jang Seo Won as Huang Chong Huan
He is also a stuntsman who is in love with Luo Lin. Zu Yuan doesn’t like him and keeps chasing him away. You will laugh when he does the love declaration in front of him, thinking that he is Luo Lin.

20. Jeong In-Gi as Ji Yi Shan
He is Luo Lin’s fireman father who rescues Zu Yuan from a burning lift and loses his life. Since then, his memory is erased of the incident and is scared of taking the lift. That is why the department store staff is puzzled to see him taking the lift when Luo Lin is in his body and becomes more polite.

When Zu Yuan looks at the photo of him with Luo Lin, he frowns when Zu Yuan comments that she looks more like her mother. It seems that he can hear that. He is the one who gives them the magical portion to switch their souls. Upon seeing how they love each other, he breaks the curse and both are normal again. When Zu Yuan remembers everything, he conveys Yi Shan’s last words to her, promising to take care of her all his life.

Interesting facts – details from Wikipedia and magazines
Jay Park and Jang Hyuk were dropped from the list of potential casts, and Hyun Bin was finally chosen to play the main male lead. Hyun Bin perfectly portrayed the role, quieting many critics who questioned about his acting skills. The production crew of “Secret Garden” planned on casting Jang Hyuk for Zu Yuan’s character until his management agency declined the offer, and many fans have been wondering if there were any hard feelings about missing out on a grand opportunity for Jang Hyuk.

However, he said that he was glad that’Secret Garden’ was such a great show and Hyun Bin’s became a better quality actor through this drama. But instead of thinking about ‘missed opportunities,’ he was more focused on fully playing his character in ‘Midas.’

Many were thrilled by the choice but were dismayed when Hyun Bin went to the army right after this drama. He also opted to work in the marines to achieve his dream. Many praised him as he was different from some who tried to evade national service.

He had wanted to go to Taiwan after learning how nice it was after knowing from his female counterparts from ‘My Name is Kim Sam Soon’. But he had to postpone his plan after being enlisted. He thanked all overseas fans for their support. He was puzzled why he was often paired with older actresses but he enjoyed working with them as they gave him a lot of advice and he enjoyed being their younger brother.

Although Ji Won was among the A list actresses, she was easy-going and managed most fighting scenes herself. When she was hurt, she reminded herself not to make the same mistakes again. She also applied very little make-up for the role. Wasn’t she afraid of showing wrinkles or eye bags? She answered that she hoped her beauty was built on health. She valued acting more – she is an actress and has to give in her best.

Many would normally shun fiddle roles but many praised Sa Rang for doing well. Se has the brain and beauty but she managed to convey her warmth beneath her cold exterior. She accepted this role as she thought of Se to be independent and different from the normal rich girls. She also respected the director and scriptwriter to wish to work with them for a long time.

Sang Hyun was curious on how singers looked perfect on television. Thus, he was attracted by Oska when he read the script. He added many body gestures and lines, hoping that the audience would like them. He worked hard at the gym to build up with his physique. He also took up dancing and singing training. He enjoyed the fun instead of feeling tired. The lead song he sang topped the chart which made him happy.

Many felt that the popularity was higher than the ratings which were from 16% to 31%. Sang Hyun agreed with that. Whenever they shot scenes outside the studio, many including aunties would call him Oska. That showed the support that the viewers gave them. He sang the ost for Japanese promotions. Many felt that the popularity was higher than the ratings which were from 16% to 31%.

Sang Hyun agreed with that. Whenever they shot scenes outside the studio, many including aunties would call him Oska. That showed the support that the viewers gave them. It seized the viewership from ‘Laugh, Dong Hae’ to break through 30%.

Many started to imitate their dressing. However, most thought the final episode was not as significant as the 2 d episodes before it. When watching, many felt that the atmosphere was ruined on the part where Oska was having a concert. They could hear the crew shouting to get the next scene ready. Still, that was acceptable.

But the last past of Zu Yuan sent lots of confusion. He was seen looking at the already asleep Luo Lin at her father’s wake 13 years ago. What does that mean? Was that to say that all is only a dream like ‘Lovers in Paris’ that the scriptwriter wrote in the past? But many interpreted it as the first time they met together.

The real stuntswoman for Luo Lin was Yoo Mi-jun. Yoo Mi-jin carried out extreme action scenes instead of Ha Ji-won in the drama "Secret Garden". Yoo Mi-jin took part as someone with a problem. As a stuntwoman, she did more than she could to not lose to the men".

The action director told her that she had to lose weight and make her waist 26 cm so she lost 8kg in 2 weeks and thought she shouldn't miss this chance. Many went to the shopping complex to shop and also visited the glass house after this drama was out.

There was a Chinese movie version coming up in 2012. This time round, Kangta would be cast as the lead. I wonder how it will be then.

Below are the awards that this drama has won :
SBS Drama Awards – 2010
Top Excellence Actor - (Drama Special) - Hyun Bin
Top Excellence Actress (Drama Special) - Ha Ji-won
Netizen Popularity Award (Drama)
Netizen Popularity Award - Ha Ji-won and Hyun Bin
Best Couple - Ha Ji-won and Hyun Bin
Top 10 Stars - Ha Ji-won and Hyun Bin
47th Paeksang Arts Awards - Television categories 2011
Daesang Award - Hyun Bin
Best TV Drama
Best New Actress - Yoo In-na
Best Screenplay - (Kim Eun-Suk)
6th Seoul International Drama Awards - Representative Korean Drama Category - 2011
Best Drama Director: Shin Woo-chul
Best Drama Writer: Kim Eun-sook
Best Drama Soundtrack: Baek Ji-young for "That Woman"

Most favourite character
Zu Yuan, he is spoilt and fussy. Actually, he doesn’t know how to express himself. From Luo Lin, he learns how to love and not to fawn on his wealth. A close second is the caring and strict Zhong Xiu who doesn’t reveal his thoughts easily.

Most hated character
The sisters, even though they want the best for their sons, they harm others instead. Both are at par.

Song
The song ‘ That woman’ by Baek Ji Young was a direct hit. Many liked it. So do I.

Conclusion
This drama is funny! It also offers a top-notch cast and splendid acting. The twist in the plot is fantastic. I really enjoyed myself very much while watching it. Hyun Bin and Ji Won look matching as a pair. They must have done a lot of hard work before immersing into their roles to act as in the opposite sex. The supporting cast also provides comic relief at the right time. Philip is brilliant as the cool Zhong Xiu while Sang Hyun is a born clown for jokes. A definite must for those who love comedies.

Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : **** (Scale of 5)
On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On song : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


Add your own review and become a featured critic on spcnet.tv!

Or, add your comments below:





Advertise on SPCNET.TV


Buy DVDs
Secret Garden (English Subtitled)

DVD


Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle