Saturday, August 24, 2013

Secret Garden

Secret Garden
Will Contain Spoilers...

By far my favorite Kdrama...I'll tell you why!

This wasn't the first Kdrama I ever watched but it is definitely the one that I always refer to first whenever suggesting Kdramas. To give a synopsis of the series; the story follows Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin) and Gil La Im (Ha Ji Won) and their tumble into love. 

Gil La Im is a tough-as-nails stuntwoman who has no time for arrogant, second-generation (a.k.a. chaebol) rich boys who care only about themselves but unfortunately for her, that's just the type of person Kim Joo Won is. Kim Joo Won has always lived his life following the footsteps of his family by maintaining and continuing the success of the Roel Department Store. By chance, he happens to meet the thick-skinned Gil La Im and is instantly and inexplicably drawn to her. At first he denies it and when that doesn't work, he tries to enter into a cold-as-ice, friends-with-benefits type of relationship with Gil La Im, to which she adamantly dodges. Eventually she admits that there may actually be something between them. Seems like a reasonably plausible story line, maybe a little overused in today's cinema but that is when the proverbial plot thickens! While on a business trip--which "coincidentally" takes both the lead characters to the same destination, they are tricked into drinking a special wine that leaves them in each other's body. Omo! They are helped along the way by Gil La Im's reluctant boss, Im Jong Soo, and Kim Joo Won's famous singer of a cousin, Oska, and these two are able to figure out their gender-bender problems just in time to fall deeply and madly in love with each other.  

I can't even begin to explain how hilarious that next morning is when they discover what has happened! Watching the ultra-sexy Hyun Bin acting as a woman in a man's body is beyond funny. 
Despite the gender difficulties, Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin pull off their counter-parts spectacularly! 

This Kdrama instantaneously rocketed Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won into my top five favorite actors for their respective genders (and yes, I keep two separately lists) and they have maintained their spots even 40+ Kdramas later! The relationship that Gil La Im and Kim Joo Won develop after the craziness of a body swap is heart warming to say the least. 

Kim Joo Won's character is particularly appealing because he is the fairy tale, picture-perfect poster of the dashing "Knight-In-Armor" character he plays. He's charming, confident, and has an unconsciously sweet side. His stuck-up mannerisms are constantly grating on Gil La Im's nerves but you can't help but see the adorableness in his actions. The constant battle against his jealously of Oska, who happens to have a #1 fan inside Gil La Im, is just one of the minor details that makes this character so lovable. There is also a famous scene that sprouted from this drama that has caused many a-reenactment which involves awkward sit-ups & some serious eye contact between Kim Joo Won & Gil La Im which forces her to acknowledge her growing fondness for this male lead. Of course there is also the random heart-stopping scenes where Kim Joo Won expresses his need for Gil La Im despite their differences & eventual problems that inhabit their path towards "happily-ever-after". Hyun Bin gave a memorable performance that will forever cause woman to swoon at his name!!
*Heart Melts*

My praising of Hyun Bin's portrayal of Kim Joo Won doesn't detract from Ha Ji Won's amazing portrayal of Secret Garden's leading lady! Quite the opposite, in fact! Their joint performances was so good that...despite all evidence to the contrary...I feel that Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin should just give up their pretenses of finding respective mates and just marry each other because these two are a match made in heaven! I mean look at these two, what could potentially be benign chemistry between the two actors looks like it could become much more! 
I will keep hoping this will cute...

Ha Ji Won's character, Gil La Im, became memorable to me at first because she is an amazing cryer. Because of her, I judge every crying scene in a Kdrama. Sounds pretty silly, but unfortunately, that's how my twisted mind works. But her fake-crying abilities aside, Gil La Im is endearing because although she has a very strong personality, she's incredibly soft and vulnerable on the inside. She's had to endure many hardships, not only in her personal life but also her professional life which has made her cynical and unforgiving. However, Kim Joo Won's persistence in his pursuing of her starts to crack her hard, outer shell piece by piece until we are left with the confidently cool finished product that is our Gil La Im. Kim Joo Won isn't the only one who has their annoyingly endearing qualities either! Gil La Im is constantly testing Kim Joo Won's patience with her continuous "Munjawassyong" announcement of every text message she receives and her unending defiance against Kim Joo Won's personal preferences...especially while inhabiting his body! I enjoyed Ha Ji Won's portrayal of the female leading lady, Gil La Im, from start to finish which is rare for any Kdrama I watch.
Like cupid's arrow to his heart...

There are simply too many things about this drama that make it amazing that I can't possible mention all of them here without spoiling the whole drama so with that having been said, here a few honorable mentions.

Kim Joo Won's cousin, Oksa, is played by Yoon Sang Hyun, who despite being a bit of a sleazeball in the beginning, ends up being one of the most steadfast characters of the entire drama. He is lacking in many aspects of his life but the familial love and duty he has towards his brother-like cousin is tear-worthy. 

Gil La Im's boss, Im Jong Soo, is played by the handsome Phillip Lee. Given the fact that his character is like a balm to the otherwise tumultuous characters, his character's Death-Valley-Like-Dry humor can't help but bring a smile to your face and make him memorable. The utter respect and appreciation he has for his hubaes (work underlings) only makes you respect his character more.  

These two characters--who happen to be dating in the drama--are the perfect little side-kickers to the each of the main leads. The man, Kim Sung Oh, is the overly-eager yet handy secretary to the stern and sometimes frightening President Kim Joo Won. His character is startlingly pathetic  but compassionate and forgiving and although he spends 50% of the Kdrama being terrified of his boss, he's not afraid to make his point when sh*t get's real--observe: 

The woman, Yoo In Ah, plays the sly yet innocent roommate to Gil La Im. There is no doubt that she is a great friend to Gil La Im even if she tends to confuse the issue with her own cluelessness. Watching these two actors singularly in their roles is funny enough but watching them together, the Kdrama gets an added bit of comedic relief to this on-and-off again serious story line. 

Hopefully I've been able to illustrate why this Kdrama is my number one favorite but if you are still not convinced that it may actually be worth watching...well...I suggest you just give it a shot! Whether it is the characters, story line or innate hilarity, you are bound to find something likable about this Kdrama. 

Just remember, with any Kdrama you watch, keep an open mind and give it a try. 
Feel free to leave comments in the comment section below and let me know you felt about the Kdrama! Kamsahamnida! (Thank you!)


  1. This has got to be my favorite all around Kdrama, just because it is sooooo funny. The character of Oska though was my favorite. He made the show worth watching.

    1. Hands down, whenever somebody ask s me what my favorite KDrama is, it's always Secret Garden.

  2. i love this Kdrama.supercute,and funny.Secret Garden The best