Drama Recaps
Witch Yoo Hee (Witch Amusement)
by | March 21, 2007 | 62 Comments

As I’ve said before, there are a few directors whom I’ll follow from project to project based on the strength of their prior work. Jeon Ki Sang is definitely one of them. I fell in love with his work — his direction, artistic styling, comedic timing, editing — in 2005′s Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, and only loved him more with last year’s My Girl.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Witch Yoo Hee (aka Witch Amusement) ever since I heard it announced, first because of the director behind it, and then as each successive cast member was added. This series has got quite the all-star cast. I thoroughly expected to enjoy this drama, and as far as first episodes go, I thoroughly did.

SONG OF THE DAY

The Classic – “Magic Castle” (마법의 성): Classic late-’90s ballad from side project of balladeer Lee Seung Hwan (former Mr. Chae Rim), and ultimate karaoke song choice. If you saw Bad Family, Heechul (of boy band Super Junior) sings this song while playing the piano for Choi Hana’s character. [ Download ]

BACKGROUND

I get a kick out of wordplay in titles. This one (in Korean, “ma nyeo yoo hee“) plays with words three different ways: First, Han Ga In’s character is named Ma Yoo Hee. Second, the word “ma nyeo” means witch, and by all indications Yoo Hee’s pretty bitchy, so it’s Yoo Hee The Witch. Third, “yoo hee” also means amusement or game, so it’s “Witch’s Amusement.”

I love titles that work on multiple levels, like Hana Yori Dango and Hello! Miss.

Plus, did anyone notice that the upbeat song that incorporates an electronica version of Beethoven’s Fifth sounds an awful like the theme song “Never Say Goodbye” by Mario & Nesty from My Girl? I’m willing to bet it’s the same group.

Anyway. You can probably attribute most of the buzz about this show on the cast. There are a lot of young, hot actors, that’s for sure.

First, Han Ga In‘s acted a bit and made a name for herself doing series like Super Rookie with Eric, as well as a lot of CF advertisements, but this may be her definitive role. I’m not too familiar with her work, but she’s a gorgeous woman and I’ve heard good things about her.

Then, you have Jae Hee of the Many Facial Expressions, whom I have an inordinate amount of affection for as Mong-ryong in Delightful Girl Choon Hyang. This marks his second series with this director, or third if you count his very brief cameo in My Girl. Jae Hee stole the show (or was it already his to steal?) in DGCH and proved himself funny and endearing with a knack for comedic timing and physical comedy, but he really proved his versatility (in my humble opinion) in Kim Ki-duk’s quiet (almost wordless) film 3 Iron (aka Bin Jip). You might almost not recognize him, having played such silent intensity there. My love for him is so vast that I can overlook his weirdly elfin haircut here and just pray that the next eight weeks allow him to grow out his bangs. And when I feel my faith in the miracles of hair growth faltering, I reach for handy pictures like this one to tide me over.

Kim Jung Hoon is someone who made watching the original Goong a lot more interesting for me, since I couldn’t for the life of me sympathize with Shin. This is his first big gig after Goong, so a lot of his fans are eager to see him back onscreen. Fans lamented that he’d be playing second lead again (therefore doomed to not get the girl, and possibly turn into an evil or manipulative bastard, per the mandates of kdrama convention), but if Goong taught me anything, it’s that if ever there were an actor who could make the second lead male sympathetic, it’s Kim Jung Hoon.

Dennis O (or O’Neil) is another example whereby I’d invoke the Kim Samsoon Curse (pretty + male + half-Western = painful acting), but it could be that having seen Professor Alex’s awkwardly wooden performance in Goong S may have numbed me to bad acting forever. Dennis surprised me by speaking Korean pretty well and, for the moment, not noticeably sucking.

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EPISODE 1 SUMMARY

We open with a beautiful but ultimately irrelevant animated segment about how a handsome prince goes to save the beautiful princess from the witch’s castle, only to be captured himself when the princess turns into the witch. She cackles in glee.

And we meet MA YOO HEE. She works in (what seems to be) advertising, only wears black, no makeup, severe glasses with a severe hairstyle, seems to enjoy nothing and finds only the fault in things. She’s the boss at her company, so the others are simultaneously afraid of her and whisper behind her back. She’s quite aptly called ‘witch’ by everyone when she’s not around.

Not surprisingly, she’s not doing so well in the romance department. She goes on tons of blind dates, but never manages to get to a second date. To us, it’s more than patently obvious why — she criticizes everything, laughs at nothing — but she has no idea what’s wrong.

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She finally manages to meet a guy who requests a second date, and she’s surprised and happy — not because she likes the guy, of course, but because she succeeded in getting to a previously unattainable level. Unfortunately, just at that moment, she sees another customer harassing a female server, and her ass-kicking feminist emerges in time for her date to freak out and book it the hell out of there.


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Meanwhile, CHOI MU-RYONG is an aspiring chef of French cuisine whose good taste literally gets him into trouble. He’s more interested in perfecting a dish than half-assing it and getting it done quickly, and has a keen ability to know what’s wrong, or off, with various foods. This innate ability insults the head chef, who can’t believe a subordinate dares to criticize his cooking, and fires him on the spot. This probably isn’t the first time that’s happened, either.

His parents (which include the actor who played his awesome father in Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, yay!) aren’t happy, and demand he return to medical school. He’s taken some time off to pursue his dream, but now they want him to go back. Mu-ryong goes to re-enroll… but can’t go through with it, and instead withdraws entirely.

He tells his best friend about it, who wonders what he’s going to do now. His friend cajoles him into going on a blind date in place of someone who backed out at the last minute. Mu-ryong already has a girlfriend (played by Jeon Hye Bin), but his friend’s in a bind and offers to pay him for his trouble. All he has to do is fake being the date for one night, and be warned that the woman’s a little… particular.

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So Mu-ryong meets Yoo Hee. Normally, she’d bite his head off the instant he arrives, but after her last failed attempt, she’s been trying harder to succeed at dating, reading how-to and self-help books. Plus, the guy’s pretty cute and he’s (supposedly) a 28-year-old doctor.

With that in mind, she forces herself to try to be pleasant (which is an arduous task for her impatient and unyielding personality). But she’s not as good at pretending as she thinks she is; Mu-ryong can tell she’s practically a ticking bomb.

Yoo Hee refers to some tips she’d recorded in her cell phone to help her through her date, but in her myopic and misguided fashion, she makes a muck of it (unknowingly).


(Try to act cute. Have a good appetite. Act interested in the other person. Try to find things in common.)

Finally, she loses patience when Mu-ryong dozes off for a moment, being very tired, and throws water in his face, calling him rude. He gives as good as he gets, and tells Yoo Hee that she should take some care into her appearance if she’s going on a blind date. They leave each other on mutually annoyed terms.

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Mu-ryong is now working part-time as a deliverer for his father’s Chinese restaurant, as his parents believe he’s enrolled back in school. While out on a delivery run, he gets into an accident, and happens to crash into Yoo Hee’s car. (It’s pretty much his fault.)

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Seeing his insurance information, Yoo Hee is none too happy to realize Mu-ryong lied to her on her date, and he’s not who he said he was. First off, he’s younger than her — he’s 26, she’s 27. He’s not a doctor, and he only met her because his friend begged him to. He’s very apologetic, even kneeling in supplication, but she’s hard as nails. Yoo Hee tells him she won’t report him to the police as long as he pays her back for her car repairs — a whopping 4,000 manwon (or 40 million won, approx $40,000, which is ridiculous, because why don’t you just buy a new car already?). She wants it in one week.

Mu-ryong doesn’t have that kind of money, but Yoo Hee’s uncompromising. If he can’t pay, then he can work it out with the law. So Mu-ryong does the only thing he can do, which is use his school tuition, now that he’s withdrawn. But as luck would have it, he gets mugged on his way out of the bank. With nothing else left, he prepares to beg his parents… but can’t bring himself to ask for 4,000 when his younger brother asks for 1,000 and gets a sound scolding.

Mu-ryong also can’t tell his family that he dropped out of school, but they find out when his friend accidentally lets it slip. The only way out of the situation is to lie that the reason he withdrew from school is because he’s going abroad to study in New York. That news, at least, is acceptable, and stops his mother short of having a major tantrum.

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Mu-ryong hears from his friend that he got fired from his job… and he stalks over to Yoo Hee’s office, full of resolve, accusing her of not playing fair. Even if she was pissed that the guy misrepresented her blind date, she shouldn’t go this far. Yoo Hee just cares about her money. Mu-ryong doesn’t have it, and tells her he’s sorry, but he can’t come up with it so quickly. But he’ll be willing to work it off, whatever she wants him to do. She scoffs, but then remembers that she’s been having a hard time finding a housekeeper — she keeps firing them, so no new ones are willing to work for her.

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She installs Mu-ryong as her housekeeper, cleaning up her messy apartment and stocking her fridge. At the end of his first day, she curtly dismisses him (appearing as a witch to his tired mind).

Still, she’s pleased to see that he’s cleaned up nicely, and even cooked a delicious meal for her:

.

Meanwhile, Mu-ryong’s girlfriend SEUNG MI works for her father, who runs a fancy restaurant, and greets their new hire, famous hotshot American chef JOHNNY CROOGER (I almost can’t bring myself to type his last name. I’m sure they meant “Kruger,” but those Koreans, man… do your fact-checking, please!) Although personally I don’t get the appeal with Dennis O, everyone else is ready to swoon at his feet, particularly when he speaks in Korean. Seriously, you can almost see the guys wishing they were women so they could have his babies.

Interestingly, though, Johnny seems to be on familiar terms with Yoo Hee, as he tells her (in Korean), to everyone’s envy, “I’ve missed you.”

While Yoo Hee is out meeting Johnny, Mu-ryong is killing time in her apartment, and accidentally falls asleep. His younger brother (whom you may recognize as Yoo Rin’s friend’s brother in My Girl — although it’s amazing what difference a haircut makes!) has announced that he’s intending to marry his bimbo-tastic girlfriend because he got her pregnant. As the family believes Mu-ryong’s going to New York in two weeks, Mu-ryong gets kicked out of his room, so instead of going back home, he hides out in a spare room in Yoo Hee’s apartment, without her knowing.

Yoo Hee hears a noise and goes to investigate, obligatory kitchen-utensil weapon in hand, when she suddenly feels a pain in her side, and collapses to the ground.


Mu-ryong debates for a moment whether to reveal himself, but ends up rushing to see if Yoo Hee’s okay… and he comes face to face with her answer…

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62 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Bwitched

    Hahahaha..Looks promising. Gonna catch up with it soon…

  2. Luv

    Wow…Thank you so much javabeans…Luv you :)

    I like Jae Hee…happy to see him again.

  3. thunderbolt

    Omo, do I see Mong-ryong’s dad from DGCH here?

    Was not planning to watch this (Mawang and Thank You have priority) but now you’re tempting me.^^ I liked Jae-hee lots in DGCH and 3-Iron.

  4. Fuschia Pink

    Looks like a nice Kdrama. I loved My Girl so much and knowing that this series is directed by the same director, I am so looking forward to catch this series. Would you know when it would be shown in KBS World?

  5. javabeans

    yes, it’s mong-ryong’s dad! I love him. And I keep wanting to call Jae Hee Mong-Ryong instead of Mu-Ryong. I suspect that’s going to be a common problem.

    There are soooo many good dramas out, it’s hard to choose. I’m having a hard time keeping up… :(

    @ Fuschia Pink, you should definitely give this series a try if you loved My Girl, I can feel the similarities (in style, not in story). Since this is SBS, I guess it won’t be available on KBS World though…

  6. aceyyy

    Wow I was wondering if I should try to get hold of this but now you’ve definitely tempted me! DGCH and My Girl are definitely my favourite kdramas (I never knew they were written and directed by the same people! wow), ever (now joined by Dalja’s Spring though possibly). I

  7. doozy

    javabeans, great job on the summary! thanks to it, I understand the story alot more. Am looking forward to your summary for ep.2!

  8. mily2

    your # 1 fan is here.. just stopping by to say.. sarah rocks.. hehe.. what would we do without you dearest? lol.. will be back with a longer message soon. Many many hugs :)

  9. Bamidele

    Thanks for the summary, by the way Javabeans I’ve been meaning to tell you I like your name but I kept on forgetting… I think that MR will break up with his girlfriend for YH, wonder how that will go…I don’t think Dennis Oh is good looking (don’t bash me). First thing that popped into my head when he got onto the scene was a horse, he reminds me of a horse. Looked better in his other drama, although I didn’t watch that one. Daniel is way better looking so how do people think they look like twins. This show looks promising.

  10. 10 Lovewls

    Wow.. Thanks for the fantastic summary javabeans! I enjoyed reading it so much, like the one you posted for Dalja.

  11. 11 Lotteworld

    Thanks Javabean! I love your blog… :)

    Thanks for the summary~*

  12. 12 kodoque

    Thanks for the summary javabeans! I never left a comment before. But I’ve been reading your posts for awhile now. Great job on the summary. They’re a lifesaver!! There’s so many shows coming up so don’t get too tired! hahahah.

  13. 13 peach

    thanks for summary…the perfect summary just like Dalja Spring…tq again…

  14. 14 ay_link

    This drama surely is a big eye-candy show, hehe! Handsome cast indeed. And like you said, even though I know it’s plastic, but HGI is really very gorgeous. And it’s interesting to see Ma Yoo Hee’s wardrobe has gotten gothic! haha.. all black, even the shoes are all black oh, but those undies, tee hee hee.. did I see Mickey in there? ;) Hm, like QSS, after reading your summary for ep1, I think I might like Witch Yoo Hee more than I anticipated lolx. And on the CROOGER thing, LOL. They even spelled him “JHONNY” on that big banner thinggie. Sheesh~ =D

  15. 15 wandergirl

    Oh wow this looks really good. I wasn’t able to watch as it aired bec. I prioritized The Devil/Mawang, but I just downloaded the first 2 episodes from CB.

    Your summaries are really helpful! These will tide me over until English subtitles are released. I’m a huge fan of DGCH and My Girl, as well as Jae Hee (he won me over in DGCH!), so it’s kind of a relief to hear that the first few episodes didn’t suck.

  16. 16 ovette

    thanks so much javabeans! im following this drama, so your summary really helps me understand it thanks!!

  17. 17 trendypencil

    I actually just finished watching this and I’m so happy I found your summary. Thank you so much. It helps clarify a few details I missed. I’m glad I’m not the only one utterly disturbed with the Caesar haircut. It’s really bad for Jae Hee -_-.

    Early on, I already feel bad for Jeon Hye Bin especially for being as perfect as she is and quite beautiful. It’s only the first ep, but we all know essentially what will happen. I can’t see myself rooting for Jae Hee and HGI to come together. Nevertheless I shall continue to watch and squirm as the plot thickens :)

  18. 18 crybaby

    thanks for the summary.really love the drama alot!!

  19. 19 mina

    wah…good summary..i love this drama…

  20. 20 totalhead

    Thanks javabeans I can’t wait to watch this with subs…and i loove mu-ryong

  21. 21 Bumbim

    Beautiful Location I like Korea Drama I have one Drama (The Sweet Spy)

  22. 22 0102

    For people who’ve seen the first few epiosdes… doesn’t one of the songs from My Girl sound like the one on Witch Amusement?

  23. 23 Keyti

    FUNNY! :D
    Jae Hee is soooo cute!

  24. 24 Aimee

    hmm…nice ep actually saw it…jung hoon is definitely a good second lead considering hos work in Goong, Dennis O is just eye candy and I couldn’t even understand his role clearly hopefully it will pan out soon and i must say that jae hee…i dont really find him good looking especially since he looks exactly like my Philosophy groupmate…scary resemblance!!

  25. 25 jenny

    i am so into this drama . i love and i am a drama fan . i can stop watching them . are you into drama

  26. 26 mysglady

    Thanks! Although I’ve watched it with chinese subtitles, it’s a refreshing recap to read your write-up (with pics). Can’t help myself when reading the part about her being a ticking bomb. LOL!

  27. 27 caroline

    do u know where i can watch these dramas
    like Hey! Miss adn with amusement..

    someone body used to post these up on youtuve, but her videos got suspeneded

    .. yea

  28. 28 javabeans

    if you rely on streaming sites, you’re always running the risk of having your drama supply cut off at any moment because of all the deletions and suspensions… but you can try veoh or crunchyroll. otherwise, i recommend downloading, although i know that’s not a viable option for a lot of people.

  29. 29 Jayvee

    Javabeans, I have to say, I absolutely LOVE your writing style. Definitely a great read. Thanks! :)

  30. 30 DanieliansPiper aka Yieng

    Annyung haseyo?
    Javabeans,good job!Kamsa Hamida!
    I watched till episode 4~
    I love Dennis Oh much and this series is pretty well!
    Ma nyeo yoo hee~
    My dennis oppa(i used to call him this way)surprised me when he speaks korean,kinda hilarious character hooking up yoo hee and mu ryong.I miss his character in sweet spy~a spy holiding a gun but now holding a pan!i’d say Dennis really plays hard and he’s good in acting as well..don’t u guys think so??Dennis Oppa made a lot of hard works on this drama such like his personality and gorgeous image!i can c the way he walks in witch also like a chef!what a big different in spy!!!!like haha..just can’t wait to see next episode!i don’t really like his outfit in witch(but i always support dennis oppa)he’s handsome than daniel instead!no offence~=p
    Johnny Crooper?or crooger?i think it’s CROOPER not crooger.

  31. 31 formula17

    “Jae Hee of the Many Facial Expressions” That’s what i thought when i first watched Delightful Girl ChunYang.. And that’s what make me so fond of him! He still carries that magic in this Witch Yoo Hee drama as well :) You and I have some common opinions regarding this entire series and casting :D

  32. 32 hiaona

    your so cool mong ryong iiiiii llllooooovvvvvveeee
    yyyyyooooouuuuu

  33. 33 Nana

    It’s cool summary & good looking.. I’m very enjoy reading this blog..
    Can’t wait to watch this drama..

  34. 34 Diego

    Hi,
    Do you guys know where I can download this drama with chinese sub in AVI format. I need it for my mom, she can’t understand english. Or if you guys have the srt file, it would be helful. Thank you

    Please email to capmanor@yahoo.com

  35. 35 din

    i read your intro and background and.. wow.. we have a lot of similarities in our opinions.. i was really surprised. ehehe. i liked DGCH & my girl, that’s why i really waited for this drama to come out. XD
    and i love jae hee’s acting too! and the part with kim jung hun’s role in goong, i was really sympathetic for him and was rooting for him. i really don’t know why i didn’t like shin’s character. i also agree on the “kim samsoon curse” you were talking about. lol.

    anyway, i have a question.
    do you know what yoo hee’s hand phone in the drama is called? ;p

    please and thank you ^_^

  36. 36 Hye Ee

    help….. someone going back to korea…. and i’m trying to get the cell that yoo hee held, the white one…. any idea wat model is tat….. i wanted one of those badly.
    the model name will do. Can someone pls advise…. thank you so much

  37. 37 Proper_conciete

    very great detailed summery of the first episode! it was great. i recalled everything that happened wen i first saw it. lol

  38. 38 carmen

    I love this Korean drama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Currently I am watching on veoh.com but so far I have watch episode 10 because they have not translate in english the following episodes. Can’t wait to watch it.
    Just to let you know is worth watching it, it really makes me laugh
    This Show is really k??ol.
    kep watching

  39. 39 bunny

    thanks…I’ve been watching it in http://www.veoh.com with english subs…and it is really really great!

  40. 40 fumie

    i love jae hee and han ga in together !!!!! too bad, she’s already married . =(

  41. 41 anna

    i fell in love with this series.. I like all the cast… I liked kim jeong hoon when i saw him at princess hours. I am impressed w/ Jae Hee (he’s cute!!)

  42. 42 reyna

    I so love dz show. i just started watching it todae for 2 episode and i
    enjoyed it!! awesome!!

  43. 43 life is peachy

    its only been recently that i caught on the k-pop fever and i have been obsessing. i love your site. browsed through your site because i wanted to confirm if the guy in witch is the same as the one in bin jip. he is definitely on top of my list of great actors. i loved the intensity and passion of his performance in bin jip. it really really moved me.. but i was not at all disappointed with his performance in witch. such a pleasure to watch him.

  44. 44 zyra

    i QSS is much better than witch yoo hee…..i hope ERIC is the leading man of han ga in….LOL

  45. 45 zmah

    cant wait to download this drama and watch it.goshh.

  46. 46 Nilly

    Haha, I love this movie I saw it. It rocks. But It’s sad to me cause the exlover is so mean! I think he’s the best though!

  47. 47 legally_mye

    I’ve been looking for any latest series starred by Jae-Hee and I’m very thrilled to find out about this one. Is the dvd out yet? I’m working in Singapore and the only way i can watch korean dramas is by buying DVDs. I’ve never loved any actor as Jae-Hee since I met him as Lee Mong-Ryong in Sassy Girl Chun Hyang. I’ll definitely watch this series.

  48. 48 guapita

    I love this drama but the end is a little different. That anybody knows if there is a secon part.

  49. 49 tea

    i really in love woth this drama

  50. 50 Anonymous

    Does anyone know what happened to Jae Hee? He looks like he lost a lot of weight since DGCH and he has this strange elf look to him now. I hope he gains a bit more weight again as he’s much cuter with some cheeks to squeeze.

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