Review: My Sassy Girl Korean Drama Review, Review: My Sassy Girl

Years ago I begged my mother lớn let me play a Korean movie (“My Sassy Girl”) on the big television in the living-room. She begrudgingly agreed and joined me out of sheer boredom. A week later, my mother crossed the threshold of my bedroom và said, “Can we watch that movie again?” Fast-forward three months later, và she was choosing dramas on her own, playing K-pop in the car, và debating which male actor was the hottest. So the moment “My Sassy Girl” was announced as being in pre-production, I knew I wanted to watch it.

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“My Sassy Girl” is a new Monday-Tuesday drama on SBS loosely based off the 2001 movie by the same title, but with a twist: it’s mix in historical times. The drama follows the latest trend of thirty-minute episodes, & stars Joo Won và Oh Yeon Seo. After watching the first two episodes, I have to admit, this was not at all what I was expecting. Is that bad? Nope.

The story

“My Sassy Girl” is about a doted-upon and beloved scholar, Gyun Woo (Joo Won), who returns from studying in China, aspiring to serve his country. He has a chance meeting with Princess Hyemyung (Oh Yeon Seo), who is about as eccentric and prone-to-violence as a Joseon princess can be — và so their story begins.

Gyun Woo, played by Joo Won, becomes a tutor for the young prince, promising plenty of run-ins with the princess and ensuing shenanigans after she first suspects the genius scholar of being a pervert who attempted lớn sexually assault her.

The original movie focuses on the relationship between an “ordinary” man and his “eccentric” girlfriend. Any fans of the movie will be pleasantly surprised khổng lồ recognize a few scenes that make their way into the drama (obviously with a few changes). However, don’t expect a carbon copy! Not only is the nature of Joo Won’s character different, but our characters are guaranteed lớn get thrown into a strenuous political situation in Joseon. One of the king’s ministers (played by Jung Woong In) has his own conquest for power, putting him at odds with the royal family, even getting the previous queen kicked out of the palace. He’s got a few well-placed pawns.

The palace is about khổng lồ become a lot more interesting.

The cast và characters

Joo Won’s character, Gyun Woo, is established in his first few scenes as a gifted scholar and celebrity in China. If you think you’ve seen some impressive idol merchandise, this guy his face painted on an umbrella. He can’t even walk down the street without getting chased by girls. He makes his triumphant return lớn Joseon with the hope of putting his learning khổng lồ work for the king. But things can never be that easy in a drama.

He has to learn lớn navigate palace politics and the peculiar behavior of Princess Hyemyung. She strong-willed, unmarried, schedules playtime with her younger brother, and jumps the palace wall lớn wander the town. She’s actually completely drunk the first time they meet. While their characters clash immediately, there’s no denying the chemistry. I can’t wait lớn see how their relationship unfolds, especially once Gyun Woo starts looking after the prince và is constantly in the palace.

Lee Jung Shin’s character also shows up in the first two episodes, but only briefly. Kwak Hee Sung’s character actually stood out more. While Gyun Woo is all brains, Kwak Hee Sung’s character is the brawn, a second-lieutenant (albeit thanks to his powerful father). Viewers have got a rivalry — I would be okay if this also developed into a bromance — & another soldier (Lee Jung Shin) who has a mysterious past with the princess, as mentioned when he returns her fallen shoe (returning a fallen shoe? that’s never happened in a story…).

The female secondary-lead, played by Kim Yoon Hye, was absent from these two episodes (at least I didn’t notice her, but I could’ve missed it). From what I’ve seen of the rest of the cast, it’s well put-together and fulfills all the tropes. Every character is their own, composed of delicious stereotypes for your viewing-pleasure. Và that was exactly what the drama creators intended.

An ode lớn slapstick comedy

“My Sassy Girl” is a romantic-comedy, or, to be more specific, it’s SLAPSTICK. I was not expecting this! The entire time I watched the first episode, I was cringing & wondering if this was real. điện thoại tư vấn me slow, but by the time I started the second episode, it became clear — the drama is supposed khổng lồ be unabashedly & unapologetically cheesy. If you watch this drama by peeking between fingers because you’re so embarrassed by every line và character… you’re not the only one.

Not even the “serious” scenes take themselves “seriously.” The over-used K-drama tropes are almost surreal. Even the first few minutes consists of a dramatic back-story with royalty screaming melodramatically, sad music, heavy rain, a child left crying in the street, and a framed man promising the smirking villain that he’ll get his.

The romance isn’t any less slapstick, but that’s part of the charm of the original. The story is based on a series of blog-posts written by man dating an eccentric girl that went viral in Korea. There are supposed lớn be lots of crazy antics in this relationship, & I’ll be disappointed in the drama if there aren’t. The start is promising — Gyun Woo and the princess first cross paths on a bridge và the princess falls in dramatic fashion over the railing, which leads to the scholar saving her from a tumble.

Other relationships are similar: the scholar & brawny-soldier rivalry, the new queen getting wily with the king, a sheltered và lonely prince, a bad guy making the king’s political life difficult. One thing I will suggest is lớn make a trò chơi (this is more fun if you watch a lot of dramas): Name That Character Trope và Their Other Versions! I played this game while watching. There are several characters who appear in this drama whom you will immediately recall from other dramas.

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Final thoughts

Protect your sanity — don’t take this drama seriously. It takes the fun out of watching. Also, try not lớn get hung-up if you’re a fan of the movie. During the opening with Joo Won’s character, I was a little disappointed because another part of the charm of the movie is that the male lead is just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill guy — he’s average in smarts, job, & looks. While watching Joo Won enjoy his popularity is amusing, it still feels lượt thích the drama lost something by highlighting his looks và intelligence, making him so popular that he gets alcohol money from the king.

My favorite things about “My Sassy Girl” (so far) are the chemistry between Joo Won and Oh Yeon Seo và the modern details that were slipped into the story. The princess gets into trouble disrupting a pallet/taxi service, Joo Won’s character displays an impressive knowledge of mixed drinks, và there’s an underground tabloid that prints shameful stories & rumors about the royal family. While the humor thus-far has been pretty cringe-worthy, even with acknowledging it as slapstick, it was these two things that kept me interested.

Usually I watch a historical drama for the political intrigue & great cast, but I intend lớn keep watching “My Sassy Girl” to see how the love-story unfolds và to see what else the drama team can throw into a Joseon-era drama.

If anything, you can make a second game: how long can you watch without cringing at some overdone trope that the drama mocks?

heytoto currently teaches ELL in Seoul và can usually be found sipping a latte while preparing to lớn miss Joo Won’s amazing acting for two years.

Bits và pieces Just a random corner where I can chia sẻ stuff I come across that I lượt thích and content of my own.
From left lớn right: Kim Yoon-Hye as Lady Da-Yeon; Joo Won as Master Gyeon Woo; Oh Yeon-Seo as Princess Hye-Myung; & Lee Jung-Shin as Lieutenant Kang.

Release Date: May 29 - July 18, 2017

Episodes: 16 hour-long (Netflix), 32 half-hour-long (Viki)

Available on: Netflix, Viki

I’ll try khổng lồ make this quick và painless. This should have been a ‘Dropped’ review. However, for some inexplicable reason, I managed lớn complete it when it was clear 5 episodes in that this show was not gonna live up khổng lồ my expectations. The remaining 11 episodes changed the tone somewhat, but confirmed my initial impressions overall. The show focuses on a Joseon scholar, named Master Gyeon Woo, who returns from đài loan trung quốc to instruct the crown prince, & his encounters with a rude và ill-mannered woman, by name of Hye-Myung, who later turns out to be the Princess. At the same time, there is a plot to overthrow the King which our protagonists naturally have to expose (and survive).

There are many reasons why this show didn’t click for me. The first và foremost happens right at the very beginning when a false accusation of rape leveled at the main protagonist is played for laughs (that incidentally never goes anywhere). Expect him to lớn be called a pervert for several episodes as the writers secretly hope that’ll draw a few laughs. It drew none. Second, the Princess is not at all likable in these first few episodes. She’s rude, prone lớn violence, quick to cấp độ false accusations without looking into the circumstances (what makes her a hypocrite), and utterly irresponsible, never thinking about how her actions will affect the people around her, often with serious consequences. There is one scene where the Princess has an exchange with Lady Da-Yeon in which she basically accuses her of abusing her power lớn get her own way. Pot, meet kettle, as that’s exactly what the Princess keeps doing throughout the show, with the King punishing anyone else he can get his hands on but her. If that’s not abuse of power, I don’t know what is.


Perhaps one of the best scenes of the show.

Another thing that bothered me from the first episode was how, well, modern the show felt. Everything from the humor, through how (some) characters spoke & behaved, to lớn the way some rooms were decorated felt odd, out of place. I’ll readily admit I am ignorant about this (or any) period of Korean history, but I just couldn’t shake that feeling (which may turn out to be justified seeing as the show was based on a movie mix in the present).

While I could further dissect this show và complain about things lượt thích how they handled the Qing Prince plotline, I am considerably more irked about the twist the show pulls as it draws near the end. During the second half, Gyeon Woo is starting to have nightmares repeatedly, leaving the viewer to lớn guess whether these are visions or something else entirely. It would’ve been extremely odd if they had decided lớn introduce supernatural elements in the show at this point, but It turns out it’s the latter, as Gyeon Woo is remembering past events he had completely forgotten about and which over up playing a crucial role in exposing the conspirators who plan to lớn overthrow the King.

BUT! & here comes the twist, Gyeon Woo ends up recalling that he was the one who started the rumor about the previous Queen having an affair, ultimately leading khổng lồ her dethronement. You can imagine this does nothing lớn improve his relationship with the King & the Princess, and they both immediately shun him and blame him for all their troubles. I’m surprised he didn’t get the death penalty then & there. How very hypocritical of them, for let us recall that the document that misled a ten-year old (I’m just guessing here) into believing this was a forgery was meant khổng lồ fool the King himself, và did indeed. Should he have turned the evidence to the police? Probably, và he did try, but we’re still talking about a kid who had just witnessed the murder of an entire family. Furthermore, once he realizes this was all a setup, he tries khổng lồ make amends, although a little too late. So when you tell me that the King, who has been little more than a puppet throughout the show, has the gall to lớn accuse Gyeon Woo, who was a kid at the time, of groundlessly spreading rumors when he himself, an adult và the supposed leader of the country, didn’t even try to lớn investigate the matter further… it just confirms my initial impressions that the King is as useless as they come. The issue is exacerbated when the King once more falls into the trap of believing false accusations leveled against Gyeon Woo and his father, but by this point I no longer cared. Heck, I may have even been half hoping the conspirators would replace him with someone more competent (fat chance of that).


To drama or not lớn drama, that is the question!

I can level a dose of hypocrisy at the Princess as well, but I’d rather dispatch against Gyeon Woo a little bit because he clearly has some communications problems. When he confesses to lớn the King he was the one who started the rumors long ago, that’s all he does. He provides absolutely no context for his actions, instead begging, “Punish me, punish me!” Then, when the Princess asks him if the rumors are true, he replies with a succinct, “Yes.” For a supposed scholar, he is suddenly very economical with the truth. I realize this is a kdrama, và having the protagonists suffer from a sudden lack of communication is a surefire way of creating drama, but this was borderline ridiculous.

What else? Ah, yes, the ending. I suppose I can say this show is at least consistent because the ending was just as disappointing. Gyeon Woo decides he wants lớn propose lớn the Princess and does so… lớn be rejected. The reason? The Princess wants to lớn become a physician & travel to Qing in order to vì so. Remember how I said this show felt too modern? Anyway, what bothered me about this scene is that only 10 minutes ago (and 13 before the episode ends) the Princess was begging Gyeon Woo not to leave (admittedly, his departure was of a more permanent nature). Then 4 minutes before the episode ends, the Princess leaves for Qing, and 3 minutes before the end she returns. Repeat after me: Pacing. Is. Important. Hasty and sloppy execution is a cardinal sin, I’ll get Meliodas khổng lồ vouch for me. & we didn’t need khổng lồ have any of it. We didn’t need to lớn have a proposal, we didn’t need lớn have the Princess wanting khổng lồ leave và become a physician. It added nothing khổng lồ the show và only served to lớn dilute the ending to lớn the point of being unsatisfying.

Verdict: This is not a bad show, but it’s certainly an average one, and I’m putting the blame squarely on the script. Despite disliking the character of the Princess initially, I feel Oh Yeon-Seo does a pretty good job as does Joo Won. I’d lượt thích to see what these two could pull off with a tighter script. The supporting cast is mostly underwhelming, save perhaps for Gyeon Woo’s xinh đẹp kid sister who’s trying khổng lồ play matchmaker.

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