Smile Again, Dong Hae

Reviewed by: sukting

August 25, 2013

Rating: two-point-five

How long
159 episodes

A man comes to Korea to search for his father – is he able to cope with the big surprise in store for him? He has a rocky path for his happiness, finding his father and his roots.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Ji Chang Wook as Dong Hai / Carl Laker Carl Laker, whose Korean name is 'Dong Hai', visits Korea to participate in the short track speed skating competition as a representative on the American team. Dong Hai was raised in America by his beautiful but unmarried and mentally deficient mother, Anna. He brings his mother along in secret. His trip to Korea is also to see his girlfriend, Shi Hua, whom he dated for 6 years and promised to marry.

However, Shi Hua has a change of heart. She tells him that she cannot be with him as long as he is with Anna. Later, he saves Shi Hua from being struck by a truck in a traffic accident. The accident injured Dong Hai and ends his skating carer as he cannot skate anymore. He also parts with Shi Hua after knowing that she is running after a rich guy, Dao Zhen.

Meanwhile, Anna sees Dong Hai's father by chance and doesn't want to leave Korea. He decides to stay in Korea and search for his father. He is far too protective towards Anna. He wants to ask James the reason why he leaves them. He befriends Feng Yi, an aspiring chef who wants to be the first female head chef.
Feng Yi and her family take DongHae and Anna in to treat them as family. Dong Hai later falls in love with her and pursues a career as a chef in Camilia Hotel. He has worked in his foster grandparents' café before so he is an experienced chef. Even Jin likes his cooking as his style is similar to Anna's. Hui Shu also asks Shi Hua to learn from Dong Hai so both of them are ill at ease over this.

He wins a TV cooking contest when representing the hotel. After knowing Dao Zhen's evil schemes, he leaves the hotel and helps out in Kang Cai's factory. The two half-brothers become rivals in career. Dong Hai also gets to know his new family. Jin Yong appoints him as a director to help in the hotel. Now he becomes Dao Zhen's superior and Dao Zhen finds it hard to stomach that.

Dao Zhen refuses to assist him so he learns from scratch. To foster better ties with this younger brother, he even refuses to work in Jin Yong's office but to have his table in Dao Zhen's office. His acting is satisfactory although not fantastic. His crying scenes can be managed better.

2. Do Ji Won as Anna Laker / Zhao Dong Bo She is Dong Hai's mother who is a Korean-American adoptee. She had an accident during a severe storm and almost drowned at a young age, which led her to have a mental age of about nine. She fell in love with a Korean man who used the English name 'James' who was studying abroad in New York. He left promising to come back but never did, without knowing that she was pregnant with Dong Hai.

He leaves her his harmonica with his name engraved on it. She names their son, Dong Hai as this is James's hometown. She returns to Korea with Dong Hai, hoping to find James. Dong Hai becomes a chef while Anna becomes a chambermaid in the hotel. She also becomes Jun's home domestic helper. Her foster parents open a café so she is good in setting up tables napkins. She is allergic to peanuts and later she finds her long-lost parents to be reunited and enjoys a rich life-style.

3. Im Chae Moo as Lee Kang Cai He is Feng Yi's father whose kimchi factory goes bust due to Jun's incorrect news report. He takes some time to make a comeback but is jeopardize by Dong Hai who ruins his kimchi, thinking that he is his biological father. Feeling bad, he stays to help Kang Cai out. He is a kind person to accept Dong Hai for what he is. Tai Xun also helps Kang Cai to make his wish come true.

4. Lee Bo Hee as Gui Shan Yu She is Feng Yi's mother who hopes the best for her children. She eats the humble pie by working at Su Nu's hair salon. She doesn't want Feng Yi to take care of Anna so she seeks to break the couple up. However, she changes her mind after knowing that she is Dong Bo.

5. Alex as Lee Tai Xun He is Shan Yu's elder son who fails his law exams repeatedly. Yet, he still has time to make Shi Ying pregnant with twins. The boy, Shan Er and the girl, Jiang Er are born. He can't get into the exam hall as the undergarment she prepares for him using the temple's cloth can't fit him. The supposed good luck gives him back luck instead. He misses the exam and has to retake it the next year. That dashes his family's hopes so he works hard to meet ends meet.

He is peeved when Su Nu keeps comparing him to Dao Zhen and looks down on him. He eats the humble pie to stay with Su Nu as Dong Hai stays at his home. He later makes Shi Ying pregnant again with their third child. He passes the exam the next time to become a judge.

6. Oh Ji Eun as Lee Feng Yi She works in Camellia hotel as an assistant chef. Dong Hai arranges for Anna to be picked up at the airport by his girlfriend, Shi Hua. Shi Hua isn't free and gets Feng Yi to do it. She notices that Dong Hai is kind and can't bring to tell him the harsh truth. Also filled with distain over Shi Hua throwing money at Dong Hai for saving her, both briends fall out. She introduces Dong Hai to work with her.

Knowing that You Zhen holds shares in the hotel, she actually thinks of giving up Dong Hai to her in order to win her vote in the directors meeting. Their first wedding is ruined when Jin Yong has a heart attack. Dong Hai demands her to make the best cake for the best bride and she sulks when she has to redo the decorations on the cake. She is pleasantly surprised when he proposes to her.

Shi Hua keeps saying that she isn't suitable to marry the heir of the hotel like her. Things might not turn out this way if Shi Hua stays with Dong Hai. Yet, Feng Yi is the one who stands beside Dong Hai all the time and marries him in the end. I find her trying too hard to play cute and young – her mature image in 'Three Brothers' still stays in my mind and I take some time to accept her new role here.

7. Kim Yoo Suk as Lee Bi Cai He is a widower policeman and rents out his apartment to help Kang Cai pay off his debts. He then stays with Kang Cai. Su Nu likes him but he likes Anna instead. He is shattered when Dong Hai is going to marry Feng Yi. That means that he can't marry Anna even if he wishes to. Seeing how sad Anna is over Jun's choice to choose Hui Shu over her, he promises to stay beside her for the rest of his life.

8. Lee Joon Ha as Lee Song Yi She is Bi Cai's daughter who likes Anna. She is very mature for her age and finds ways to bring them together. She shakes her head when all efforts go in vain.

9. Kang Suk Woo as Jin Jun He is the father of the men who doesn't like people to pull strings for success. But he is involved with an arranged marriage with Hui Shu. That is why he despises Shi Hua for doing so. I don't see how handsome he is to be popular with female viewers who mopped him everywhere he goes. He is cold to Hui Shu all these years. He does voluntary work just because Anna is adopted – what an excuse!

He also dislikes Dong Hai for being Shi Hua's ex-boyfriend. Yet, he himself doesn't set a good example to get involved with Anna in his youner days. He is a true coward who only knows how to hide after knowing Dong Hai's identity. He just can't bring himself to acknowledge him. He can only help him secretly when he doesn't work in the hotel. But when Dong Hai is doing better, he wants to get him registered under the family name. Dong Hai rejects him upright as he doesn't want to hurt Hui Shu and Dao Zhen.

Tired over his indecisiveness, Hui Shu asks for a divorce but he wants her to change her mind. Funny man, when he initiates this in the beginning, it is like a matte rof fact for him. He can be so fickleminded. Jun risks getting blind as he has not recovered from a car accident caused by Shi Hua. He delays the operation as both brothes have not patched up. Dao Zhen surrenders himself to the police after knowing this. Jun realizes that he loves Hui Shu all along and tells Anna to forget their past. After he recovers from the operation, he does volunteer work with Hui Shu.

10. Jung Ae Ri as Hong Hui Shu She loses her parents in her teens. She is once President Zhao's secretary and now is the CEO. She knows of Jun's relationship with another woman so she attempts suicide to keep him back when he is about to fly to the US to meet her. Whatever she does will not please Jun. She gives up on him and raises her son. She fights hard to retain her position, fearing that Chairman Zhao will remove her if his daughter is found. So she is not keen to look for her and keeps lying to Mo Shan that she can't find her.

She is nice to Dong Hai and Anna to offer them jobs in the hotel. Upon knowing about their real identities, she wants to get rid of them. But no one can hide the truth for long. Her conscience pricks her when Dao Zhen wants to damage the hotel's reputation so she tries to save it.

11. Lee Jang Woo as Jin Dao Zhen He is the assistant CEO of the hotel. There are many examples of the mother's boy but in this case, Dao Zhen is the parents' boy as the spoilt brat. He actually pleads with Jun not to break up with Hui Shu as he has overheard their disputes when he is young. Thus, he wants to be blissful in love at first strike. His wife must be too – how can this be possible? When at work and even for marriage, he listens to Hui Shu. He looks down on the employees. He often has disputes with Dong Hai to get injured by him in fights. He acts childishly till I think his mentality is low.

He thinks that he hides his identity from Shi Hua well when he tries to date her. In reality, Shi Hua already knows of this and even his family. She plays along with him and pretends to be shocked. After knowing that Dong Hai is Shi Hua's ex-boyfriend, Dao Zhen doesn't trust her or Dong Hai anymore. His parents also get mad with Shi Hua for toying them with her fingers.

Their marriage is on the rocks and she keeps lying to him till the extent that he doesn't even believe that she is pregnant with their son after their divorce. He cooks up flase information to lie that the hotel evades tax so as to gain control of the hotel. When this fails, he wants to drown himself at sea. Luckily, DongHai saves him on time and both brothers reconcile. He is touched when Shi Hua waits for his release after jail. I don't find him outstanding in acting too as his facial expressions are the same.

12. Park Hae Mi as Xu Su Nu She is a widow and San Yu's who brings up her daughers by managing her hair salon. She is initially interested in Bi Cai when both go to the cementry to pin over their late spouses. She tries to throw herself at him but he simply ignores her.

Like all mothers, she hopes her daughters will marry well. She is sore that Shi Ying has kids while Shi Hua is childless. Knowing that Shi Hua wants to retain her daughter-in-law position, she helps her to steal Anna's childhood dress from Anna so that Mo Shan will not discover it. But Shi Hua is so stupid to hang it in her closet so the truth is uncovered.

She doesn't find Ji Nan a good catch at first till his university students show interest in him. She marries him but they can't go for their honeymoon as they need to take care of Shi Ying's children. Shi Ying's second son is born so the whole flat smells of milk powder.

13. Park Jung Ah as Yin Shi Hua She is an ambitious TV announcer who harbours a secret disdain for Anna's disability. She wants the best for herself-wealth and fame as she struggles when young. To her, it helps as Dao Zhen is going to inherit the hotel while Jun can help her in he career. After Shi Hua later betrays him, Dong Hai gives up on her.

She tries to force Dong Hai out by deporting Dong Hai and Anna back to the US. But Hui Shu pities them to get them back to work in the hotel. She wants to hide the fact that she stays in Dong Hai's home during her study years in the US. She denies her past but later insists that both stay in different rooms.

Still, Dao Zhen's classmate manages to show Dao Zhen the photos of her with Dong Hai. The couple has no trust anymore. She keeps framing Dong Hai at work and wants him to lie with her. Dong Hai will neither give in to her or leave the hotel so she nearly tears her hair. When that doesn't work, she then threatens Anna and the poor woman gets terrified whenever she sees her.

She uses all sorts of ways to try to kick him out of the TV cooking contest but he overcomes all barriers. Knowing that Dao Zhen's family dislikes her, she flies to the US to establish ties with Jin Yong and Mo Shan so that they will not kick her out of the house.

Later, she bribes people to buy kimchi from Kang Cai's company and then they panick when the buyers disappear. Dong Hai is not so foolish this time to keep the records. Jin Yong is appalled that Shi Hua can resort to cheating. Shi Hua has to stop work for 3 months due to this.

She is the first to discover that the men are brothers. She is also the first to know that Anna has the same photo as Mo Shan. So she knows that she has to protect Dao Zhen and Hui Shu. She convinces Hui Shu in keeping this from Jin Yong. But Jun still advertises the search in the newspapers to let Anna read it and reunited with her parents.

Shi Hua files for divorce when Dao Zhen doesn't care for her anymore when she is involved in a car accident. She decides to bring up their child alone but she also waits for his return. Her acting is quite natural – you will definitely dislike her when she appears. But I don't see how she likes Dao Zhen – it is more like she only adores his rich status.

13. Lee Joo Yeon as Yin Shi Ying She is Shi Hua's insensible younger sister. She has to put her studies on hold upon knowing that she is pregnant with twins. She can't keep secrets and all have to remind her. She dreams of becoming a top model so the poor elders have to take care of her babies when she is not at home. It is funny when some male models approach her for dates but are appalled to know that she is married with children.

14. Kim Sung Won as Zhao Jin Yong He is Anna's birth father who is the hotel chairman. He trusts Hui Shu to make her the CEO and treats her like a daughter. That is why he reprimands Anna for breaking up Jun's family, not knowing her identity. Even after knowing, he also hopes that Jun will not approach Anna anymore. He has wanted to include Dong Hai in his family registar but Jun opposes. Finally, it is up to Dong Hai to decide and he chooses to be in Jun's family registar.

He is puzzled when the hotel runs into problems of evading tax and he has to be questioned by the authorities. He is heartbrokened to know what Dao Zhen has done and before he can entrust Dong Hai with his safe key, he has a stroke and Shi Hua has it. He is wise not to get Dao Zhen, Hui Shu or Mo Shan to be the witness for the bank deposit box. Who will guess that he actually wants Jun to do this?
Shi Hua manages to use Jun to demand the key back from Dao Zhen when she drops this in his car. Dong Hai and Jun have a shock when they open the safe. It contains gold bars in case of crisis. This old man has good foresight indeed. He recovers and forgives Hui Shu for her mistake.

15. Jung Young Sook as Jin Mo Shan She is Anna's birth mother who insists that Dong Bo isn't dead. Thus, she wants Hui Shu to search for Dong Bo during her absence to seek treatment for her heart problem in the US. She is furious when Hui Shu defies her. She feels close to Anna after knowing her allergy and they often meet.

After she acknowledges DongBo and Dong Hai, she wants to give them the best. She reprimands Dao Zhen when he cites that Dong Hai can only cook and does nothing else. In reality, she actually buys 3 rings – for herself, Hui Shu and Anna, hoping that they will wear them one day. She is delighted when they make her wish come true.

16. Choi Yoon So as Bai You Zhen She is the assistant chef in the hotel and is pleased when Dong Hai manages to explain to her well as she finds fault with the food as a customer. Feng Yi often quarrels with her as she keeps getting close to Dong Hai even though he is attached. While the couple becomes a team, You Zhen wants to replace Feng Yi for the tv contest. However, it fails so she teams up with Da San to come in second.

When Dong Hai loses his job at Camilla, she offers him to work in her family restaurant while she jobhops to another hotel. As Dong Hai returns to the hotel as a chef again, she appears on tv to compete with him to get the second position again.

You Zhen claims that she can help him with his career while she can't as she can get relatives to buy the hotel's shares to help Dong Hai through the reputation crisis. She gives up after seeing them so much in love. She is on a trip to US and meets Shan You who is just released from prison. Both keep company to each other in the plane – they might become a couple in future.

17. Lee Jung Ho as Li Da San He is an assistant chef who conspires with Dao Zhen in order to save his job. He gets nervous easily and nearly does more harm than good when becoming You Zhen's helper. He wants to steal information from Feng Yi to find out why Kang Cai's family can make better kimchi than Camilia.

18. Jung Eun Woo as Jin Shan Yu
Shan Yu views him as her prospective son-in-law instead of Dong Hai. He is Feng Yi's neighbor and childhood friend who just returns from the US. He works in Camilia as the finance analyst and he has liked Feng Yi all along. He is dismayed that Feng Yi prefers Dong Hai even though he is only a chef. He loses out more to Dong Hai when Dong Hai is later the director of the hotel.

His doctor father is burdened with debts after making a wrong judgment in an operation. Thus, he tries hard to repay the debt. So when Dao Zhen gets him to work for him, he agrees but later repents under Bi Cai's and Tai Xuns' advice.

19. Kim Jin Soo as Fang Ji Nan He is the chief chef who is strict with everyone in the kitchen. He shows Dong Hai and Feng Yi the ropes upon spotting their talents. He holds some shares in the hotel and roots for Dong Hai. He falls for Su Nu at first sight and tries his best to woo her with Shi Ying's help. He also assists Dong Hai in his career and also wins his love.

20. Kim Yoon Hee as Zhang Shun Ai She is Feng Yi's colleague who is jealous of her talents. She throws her food away but luckily, Dong Hai discovers that. Shi Hua bribes her to give her Dong Hai's menu for the TV cooking contest. She nearly loses her job over this and complains to Dao Zhen when she mistakens that Shi Hua spills the beans. She changes for the better after seeing how Feng Yi and Dong Hai forgive her as she has a poor family.

Interesting facts from Wikipedia
2011 KBS Drama Awards[1] Excellence Award for Actor (Daily series): Ji Chang-wook Excellence Award for Actress (Daily series): Do Ji-won Supporting Actress : Park Jeong-ah Best Newcomer Actor: Lee Jang-woo

Most favourite character
Dong Hai, he is forgiving and accommodating to all. Even though he is rich now, he is still down-to-earth to be nice to Feng Yi's family.

Most hated character
The top is Jun - he is a stupid idiot who doesn't even know who Anna and Dong Hai is even though he is a newsreader. Shi Hua is always a step ahead of him to hide the truth. He doesn't even know that Anna is pregnant withDong Hai – he has lived his life in vain.

The second is Shi Hua – she tries hiding so man ythings and keeps sabotaging till everything backfires and she has to face the music. She irritates me when she keeps claiming that Dong Hai ruins her lifewhen it is the opposite. Shi Hua is indeed Dong Hai's nemesis.

The third is Anna – she often faints at the wrong time and says the wrong words. We often see her being carried to the hospital either by Bi Cai or Dong Hai. Even though she suffers from side-effects, does it account to her always creating trouble? She wants Jun to be present at Dong Hai's wedding. Doesn't she know that this will hurt Hui Shu?!

The people here are only capable of carrying out empty threats. They keep saying that they will not let their nemesis off but yet the culprit is often left scot-free. Shi Hua is fortunate so many times and continues framing others repeatedly. How can she not get caught?

This drama is overly dramatic and over the top. I hardly see Dong Hai smile – he either frowns or he cries. The title is misleading and scenes are too repetitive. Jun totally ignorant, Dong Hai forever eating the dead cat and Anna playing her innocence...

All of us know that Dong Hai is the heir to the hotel, he is Jun's son and Anna is Mo Shan's child but the character take so long to know it. I get very impatient when Shi Hua keeps repeating her antics to keep everyone out but everyone gets involved in the end. Looks like the storywriters need to tone up their writing skills to come up with a better plot next time.

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

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