K-Drama: ‘My Girl’ Series Review

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During the past nine months of k-drama bliss, I’ve managed to rack up a pretty impressive amount of watched dramas. With that being said, My Girl was such a delightful departure from many of the dramas I’ve seen. Sure, the show itself managed to showcase some k-drama trope staples we’ve already seen, but don’t let that stop you from watching My Girl. Even though it originally aired back in 2005 and some of the fashion choices were questionable, this is one drama that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy afterwards. That is, if you enjoy the warm and fuzzy, thing. For the record, I totally do.

I’ve heard of the Hong Sisters quite a few times since I’ve been involved in the k-drama community, and I must say that I understand why they are so talked about. While I wasn’t too keen on some of the weird camera angles where inanimate objects and structures were partially blocking the people on the screen, there were many more positives to report than negatives.

The music, the characters, and the story writing was pretty solid. I love, love, loved the music, and there are still times that I find myself humming along to the songs long after I’ve finished watching.

The characters were so wonderful to watch on screen. Sure, I wanted to bash Sae Hyun over the head with something heavy many of times, but she was really my only annoyance apart from Jung Woo’s desperation in the second half of this drama. Without a doubt, in terms of characterization, Ju Yoo Rin shined. I loved all of the little quirks of her personality — from the genius declaration that her birthday is whenever it snows (she doesn’t know her true birth date) or her classic saying of, “You’ll be blessed!” Everything was memorable about her, but her random lies to Gong Chang were some of my favorite moments, especially because he knew she was lying, and it sort of became a little thing between them.

And Gong Chang… boy, he was pretty straight-and-arrow. Not that it was a bad thing of course. I just loved how genuine and thoughtful his character was. He hated the idea of having to lie, but he did it for his grandfather to live. And trust me, family or not, Gong Chang’s grandfather is infuriatingly stubborn at times — especially in the last four or so episodes of this drama.

My Girl tells the story of Seol Gong Chan, a wealthy hotel heir. He’s a pretty stiff and serious guy, but he has oodles of family values. One, when his grandfather falls ill and Gong Chan fears for the worst, he knows he must speed up the process in finding his long lost cousin. Thanks to a chance meeting at Jeju Island with Yoo Rin and then again when he’s back in Seoul, he decides that he can’t put it off any longer. Knowing that Yoo Rin is quite thick-skinned and skilled at lying (thanks to her father’s gambling addiction and unpaid debts), Gong Chan hires her to pretend to be his long lost cousin to help save his grandfather.

I know, I know. It sounds crazy, but Yoo Rin is really such a fun, bright, delightful person. Sure, it begins as a money scheme to help pay her father’s gambling debt, but in no time at all, her time at the Seol household transforms into something so much more. They become a real family. And the more that Yoo Rin and Gong Chan hang out, the more that they develop romantic feelings for each other.

And let’s not forget to mention how adorable Gong Chan was whenever he’d ask Secretary Yoon for an update on the weather. He was wishing and hoping that it would snow so that he could celebrate her birthday with her. And then there’s the perfect snow globe that has a star inside of it that he gives her on one of the many occasions that it snows. Seriously, his efforts to make Yoo Rin happy just melted my heart. Gong Chan remembered the small things — proving that he paid attention to Yoo Rin despite always being so frustrated and confused by her behavior.

snow globe

There is also the story line of the real cousin.

In a really clever twist of fate, it turns out that Yoo Rin was largely responsible for the real cousin surviving the earthquake in Japan when they were children. How? While walking through the rubble with her father, she saw a little girl trapped under debris, and her father rescued her. It was a nice, touching addition to the story.

But once the time jump occurred, I just sighed and closed my eyes. Really? Of all the k-drama tropes, “the time jump” is one of my least favorites. The only good thing is that we got to see Gong Chan look totally adorable in glasses. Also, he collects snow globes as his way of staying connected to Yoo Rin — that’s how much he’s missed her after two years. Seriously, could he be any more adorable?

By the end of this drama, you might find yourself saying things like “you’ll be blessed.” Joo Yoo Rin will leave that much of an impact. Or you’ll just remember this little moment (from the beginning) as well as I do:

Now, here are a few things I didn’t particularly care about when it came to My Girl.

Negatives: 

really, really, really don’t care for time jumps — especially ones that happen mid-episode. They always feel so awkward and disjointed. I noted it above, but I just hated it as it served no real purpose but to say that these people have been separated for two years, but they’re still madly in love. I’m not a professional writer, but I do write on occasion in my free time, and I keep feeling like there could have been a much better way to wrap up the drama with Yoo Jin’s true identity and Gong Chan’s deceit to his family, especially his grandfather.

Sometimes the pacing seemed to stall, especially when it came to the love square. Sorry, Jung Woo and Sae Hyun, but I’ve had enough of the both of you for a lifetime. Try as I might, there was just something about Jung Woo that I didn’t like. Period. Sure, he helped out our female lead on a few occasions, but most of the time, I just wanted him to go away. Sorry, Jung Woo. And as far as Sae Hyun, her jealousy and scheming was just embarrassing. She broke up with Gong Chan, and even without Yoo Rin, things wouldn’t have been able to go back to the way they were. Of course Sae Hyun managed to end the series on a high note, but it didn’t make up for an entire drama worth of eye rolls and sighs.

I really adored Secretary Yoon and Yoo Jin’s cousin, but there was not enough of them. I felt bittersweet about the lack of follow up when it came to them.

Also, I do have to note that the real cousin story line felt really crammed in at the end. I mean, we don’t even see the real cousin until the last five or so minutes of the drama. That’s just depressing to me. The whole story circled around the real cousin, and the ending felt so abrupt and disappointing. I, personally, would have liked to see more of the cousin, and more of Gong Chan’s aunt and uncle and their adorable baby.

That said, this was a really charming drama. I would definitely put it in my top ten dramas. Once you start watching this one, you won’t be able to stop.

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