Drama Reactions & Reviews
Dal Ja’s Spring
by | January 29, 2007 | 22 Comments

Lately I’m watching a new kdrama that’s currently airing in Korea, called Dal Ja’s Spring, starring Chae Rim and Lee Minki. At first, I wasn’t planning on watching the show, because it sounded fun but forgettable. But I heard good things about it, and as its timeslot competitor Goong S hasn’t been as captivating as hoped, I gave it a shot — and I’m very glad I did.

Dal Ja is proving to be very, very winning.

Its closest comparison is probably the “Korean Bridget Jones” series, My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, but I don’t think it’s all that similar, although the thought did flash across my mind in the first episode. Since then, though, Dal Ja has managed to take the potential for cliched and overused plots, and cleverly twisted them. If you’ve seen a lot of kdramas, you’ll notice certain similarities — one might call them conventions if we’re being nice, or overused tired plot elements if you’re not. In any case, both series share similarities to Bridget Jones, but while Sam Soon was more a literal adaptation of the character, my one-liner description for Dal Ja’s Spring is more Bridget Jones in an existential crisis.

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Although there’s a substantial focus on romance (what would a kdrama be without that?) there’s also a refreshing additional focus on themes of pride, self-worth, respect… It’s almost certain that Dal Ja will end up happily coupled with Tae Bong, but as the series has explored Dal Ja’s own development into an adult, you’re left with the sense that this is a series that could possibly have a happy resolution with the female lead being single (imagine that!). There are a few episodes that have focused on Dal Ja learning to respect herself and finally realize that she is a person of value, rather than allowing herself to be pushed onto the sidelines all the time.

Of course, there IS the requisite love geometry at play (sometimes triangles, sometimes more amply-sided), but given that there are other themes at work, Dal Ja’s Spring seems more meaningful and resonant than most other dramas. Maybe it’s since I fall into the prime demographic (20- and 30-something single females), given that it’s particularly relevant thematically. Or maybe it’s because the show is just very well-written, well-shot, and well-acted. And just as entertaining and hysterical as the best of ‘em.

Plus, it manages to be all of those things while working in some pretty timely pop-culture references. And while some of them are predictably Hollywood-related, it’s the home-grown, Korean pop-culture references that are the sharpest and amusing: Viewers familiar with typical Korean news programming will recognize the telltale theme music when Dal Ja lapses into fantasy mode as an anchorwoman narrating the developments of her own love life, Greek chorus-style. And the parody of the hit drama Hwang Jini was cheeky and sly, playing on the sexual innuendo (Hwang Jini = famous historical gisaeng) and twisting it comedically instead.

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22 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Vikki

    Dal Ja Spring is such an awesome drama. gots to love it.

  2. ovette1

    DalJa’s Spring is definitely a drama worthy of being obsessed about!

  3. Anonymous

    When I started watching DJS it took a few days before I was able to finish the first episode but when I finally did, my sleepless nights or rather days (since I work at night) began. :)

  4. Veronica

    I fell in love with this drama. Personally, I thought the plot was more refreshing than a lot of other dramas. In the initial episode, I was annoyed at the obvious set up: Dal Ja would compete to win over Sae Do yet fall for Tae Bong, leaving the infamous exagerated love rival role for Seon Joo. I was so surprised that every character initially set up as an antagonist against Dal Ja in a conflict ended up being her friend. I thought this drama was masterfully composed and well performed with an excellent sense of maturity.

  5. Shazou

    Hi,
    i’ve just read your review of 2007 year and was curious to read your critic of Dal Ja…. I agree with you, she can remind of Bridget Jones but only as the girl who doesn’t know how to handle relationships, Dal Ja is obviously beautiful – as for me – so the matter of her body (though it is suggested with the hilarious hospital scene) isn’t the most important ! I love the OSt and the anime sketches ! Definitely one of my fav !

  6. charming_khalela

    she is the reason why I got curly hair last year :)

  7. leanie

    wow does chae rim look different from her all about eve days… her nose looks so strange for some reason o.O; oh no not another plastic? >

  8. Elizabeth

    Mexico Loves CHAE RIM, and i wait to see DAL JA .

    Saludos

  9. Michael J

    I soooo love this Drama DAL JA’s SPRING!!!!.. THE BEST DRAMA I’VE EVER WATCHED!!! I agree with all the comments the writer has stated above! It was well acted, well written and all that! Loved the soundtracks too!… LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!

  10. 10 Michael J

    I love Chae Rim and Lee Min Ki! Great tandem!

  11. 11 anon

    I will always love Chae Rim ssi!!! Great, great drama! Kudos! And superb acting from Chae Rim! Saranghae Dal Ja!

  12. 12 müge

    I’ve just started to watch that drama and I love it! chae rim is really successful and also lee minki is so cute^_^

  13. 13 Yoorie

    Awesome drama. So far i havents skipped an episode–even the embarassing ones lol. Its awesome. Shes so totally pretty too, and lee min ki is so different. he gets cuter and cuter episode.

  14. 14 schatzi

    the chemnistry between chae rim and minki is so great!
    i love them so much!and hope someday they’ll play role together again in different movie!
    LOVE THEM VERY MUCH !!

  15. 15 Avaa

    I’m really not that into K-drama. So far I’ve watched only 5 dramas, which I didn’t even finish watching them.
    Hey, I fall asleep every time I watch Winter Sonata.
    No matter how good the drama people say it is, I just won’t be bothered.
    But one drama really got me in, hook, line and sinker; Dal Ja’s Spring.
    I chanced upon DJS when there was nothing on TV one evening and I can’t be on my PC.
    KBS was showing an encore drama, and DJS happened to be on air.
    The next thing I know I was hooked on DJS, and too bad I missed the first 2 episodes.
    By end of the week I owned a DJS DVD, my first K-drama DVD ever.
    I’ve been watching DJS for the nth time now.
    I must say I love every characters in it and of coz particularly Dal Ja and Tae Bong.
    I’m gonna miss them so much.

    Hmm…I wonder If there’s gonna be Dal Ja’s Spring 2…
    Hehehe.. just a wishful thinking….

  16. 16 sajor

    great great great drama..the best i have ever seen! the story is good, the issues it raised are relevant, and its deliverance is sooooo perfect…plus: dal ja -she just puts this drama on yet another level! too bad the leading man is not at par, but then dal ja alone more than atones for it…

  17. 17 jeanie65jh

    I started watching this drama purely on Javabeans recommendation and am LOVING IT!!! There is only one thing that’s bugging me and it’s REALLY bugging me. Why oh why isn’t President Eom stepping up and taking more responsibility for his wife’s crazy behavior? (I’m yelling to my computer screen) ~ Why is Dal Ja suffering a punishment for events that were pretty much out of her control? She did nothing wrong and he should have cleared that up already. Step up and be a MAN President Eom!!! Is this a writer’s plot devise? I’m on episode 7 …Will this be resolved? Is this a cultural thing? For the woman to be solely blamed and treated so harshly for a situation that was out of her hands. I liked how Dal Ja voiced this right to Crazy Wife’s face in the hospital but that wasn’t enough! President Eom needs to get control of his personal business and clear this up. (see how much this is bugging me? I ranted way too long)

  18. 18 Ashlyn

    I loved this drama! That is all. :’D

    • 18.1 Ashlyn

      OH, except the end. She shouldn’t have left at all. That pissed me off so much. It was exactly like the ending to The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, and that ending took me FOREVER to watch, because I was cringing so much. GOD, I hate them.

  19. 19 chum

    dalja part 2 please!! love it so much!!!

  20. 20 jomo

    I love going to see what the contemporary audience thought of what is now an “old” drama.
    Wow! 5 years old!
    What took me so long?
    It really was a wonderful story told wonderfully.
    Yes, it had the typical drama set-ups throughout, but smartly hung a lantern on each one by throwing in snippets of THAT drama’s OST.
    My favorite LOL was the Autumn Concerto song. It makes me so sad to hear it, because, you know, the TRAGEDY the SORROW! but when LMK tells CR, “You watch too many dramas” I had to giggle.

    BEST part – skinship between the dating couple.
    YES! They ARE allowed to touch. YES, they actually talk about having (whispering) sex.

    EVERYONE GO WATCH IT NOW!

  21. 21 AnotherFan

    I am watching this drama now and loooove it! It does not get old at all – it’s funny, witty, touching in parts and the theme/genre definitely strikes a chord with me too. Damn, I wish the more recent drama productions can do it this well.

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