Drama Recaps
SBS’s Bad Couple / 불량커플
by | June 5, 2007 | 43 Comments

This past weekend, another weekend drama premiered, SBS’s BAD COUPLE (불량커플), the third in its “bad / 불량” series after Bad Housewife and Bad Family. (Note that “bad” doesn’t mean necessarily evil or malicious, but more in the vein of “unsuitable” or “inferior”.) I don’t believe the same people are involved in the three different series, so the connection is loose at best, but I did really enjoy Bad Family, so if anything it sets a good precedent.

I wasn’t sure how I’d like the series ever since super-Hallyu star Lee Dong Wook dropped out of the project, citing dissatisfaction with the script and story — not exactly a vote of confidence. But I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the first two episodes of Bad Couple, and will definitely be sticking around, at least in the near future, to see how things pan out.


Park Jiyoon – “여자가 남자에게 바라는 11 가지” (11 Things a Girl Hopes for in a Man) (In case you’re curious, the rather high-maintenance list includes: only be with me; only look at my eyes when you talk to me; don’t get mad even if I’m 20 minutes late; take me home even though you’re tired; take my picture out of your wallet from time to time to kiss it; call me three times a day; trust me; tell me what your day was like; always take my side; when I’m hurt, hurt with me; only call my name although other girls may try to approach you) [ zShare download ]

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Director Lee Myung Woo 이명우 :: “올인” (All In), “발리에서 생긴 일” (What Happened in Bali), “돌아와요 순애씨” (Come Back, Soon Ae)
Scriptwriter Choi Soon Shik 최순식 :: “돌아와요 순애씨” (Come Back, Soon Ae)

Official site: http://tv.sbs.co.kr/badcouple/index.html

Part of my surprise came in the lead actress, Shin Eun Kyung, whom I actually recognized from one of her very first series, the 1994 basketball drama starring Jang Dong Gun, The Last Match (마지막 승부), which has been on my mind recently since I started rewatching the 1994 trendy drama Feelings (both dramas starred Son Ji Chang). I haven’t seen The Last Match since it originally aired in 1994, but I do remember that Shin Eun Kyung was one of my favorite characters, despite being a minor supporting character, and I thought she was an ever so much better actress than the then-inexperienced newbie Shim Eun Ha.


Shin Eun Kyung 신은경 stars as Kim Dang Ja, 31, single, fashion magazine editor
Ryu Soo Young 류수영 is Choi Gi Chan, 33, a serious, workaholic botany professor

Park Sang Min 박상민 is philandering plastic surgeon Shim Yoon Seok, 35
Choi Jung Yoon 최정윤 plays his doting, naïve housewife Han Young

Byun Jung Soo 변정수 is Na Dol Soon, cool housewife and mother to the cutest girl ever:
Kim Hyanggi 김향기 (pretty name, meaning “fragrance”) plays 8-year-old Jo Yeon Doo
Kim Sa Kyun 김사균 rounds out the family as the husband and father, Jo Yong Gu, 35

Yoo Gun 유건 (at right), aka the second coming of Won Bin, has barely been seen so far, but plays fashion model Seo Joon Soo
Chae Min Seo 채민서 is “other woman” Kim Sae Yeon


The story is simple, but interesting:

Dang Ja (Shin Eun Kyung), a young thirtysomething fashion editor and happy single, starts to feel the desire to raise her own child, but doesn’t want to have to get married first. We see gradually that Dang Ja has an ingrained distrust of the institution of marriage, since her father left her and her mother for another woman when she was young, and as he was leaving, told her apologetically not to grow up and marry a bad man like himself.

Dang Ja’s two close friends include the naive and somewhat conservative Han Young, who’s married to a cheating plastic surgeon and is just about to find out (about the cheating, that is). She’s a stay-at-home wife and mother to a young boy, and lives in cushy comfort. Their third friend, Dol Soon, is also a housewife but the cool kind, still fun and sassy, raising an 8-year-old daughter Yeon Doo.


Dang Ja’s biological clock comes ticking in full force when she babysits Yeon Doo and imagines it would be nice having a daughter to raise. Here’s one of my favorite scenes from episode 1, where she fights over pizza with the little girl:

[In this scene, Yeon Doo starts out protesting, saying that Dang Ja should act like the grown-up and let her have the pizza. If she were her mom, she would’ve let her eat it. Then the little girl resorts to flattery, calling Dang Ja “unni” (older sister) rather than “ajumma” (ma’am), and saying, “Okay, I’ll be honest. You’re a little prettier than my mother.” After the waiter comes by, Dang Ja tells her that she heard from her mother that Yeon Doo likes pizza so much she eats a whole pie by herself.]

Dang Ja realizes her life is lonely when she falls sick and calls various people, all of whom make excuses — an ex-boyfriend is on another date, another one’s engaged, Han Young’s at the zoo with her son. But when she calls her friend Dol Soon, little Yeon Doo answers the phone. Hearing that Dang Ja is sick, the little girl actually goes out and buys her porridge with her allowance money and brings it to her, bringing Dang Ja to tears at the gesture.

Working on a new issue for their magazine, Dang Ja’s co-workers mention the concept of “Miss Mom,” the hip young woman who’s a single mother by choice. The idea starts sounding attractive, and Dang Ja looks into going to a fertility clinic — only to be told that, in Korea, single women cannot be eligible for sperm donors. Only married women.

So she thinks, what if she has a one-night stand with a decent guy? All she has to do is find the right guy, seduce him, then cut off all contact. She doesn’t need his involvement or money, just the sperm will do!


She fixes her sights on botany professor Choi Gi Chan (Ryu Soo Young) — she’s already bumped into him once, he’s from a great family, good genes, good looks, good brain… And what ensues is her (many, repeated, numerous) hilarious attempts to seduce the competely work-absorbed Gi Chan. Let’s just say she’s very creative and has a high tolerance for self-embarrassment.

That setup is already interesting enough for me to be onboard, but there’s a twist, which we’ll probably be seeing in Episode 3 — which is, after their one-night stand, Dang Ja’s plans hit a snag when the conservative Gi Chan feels “responsible” for his actions and is determined to “do right” by her…. when all she wants is to get rid of him!


[The music is another plus, in particular this one song called “달콤한 당신” (sweet you) by someone named Song Hee Ran (송희란), which unfortunately isn’t available yet because the OST has yet to be released. But I made a clip of a scene where you can hear the song relatively clearly:]

43 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Suz07

    Thanks Sarah…now you’ve convinced me…I’ve changed my mind. I am going watch this drama. I loved Ryu Soo Young in 18:29.

  2. Anonymous

    The pizza scene was so cute and little girl is adorable. This series sounds interesting, but I’m not really a big fan of Ryu Soo Young. I’ll continue to read your posts religiously.

  3. ginnie

    oh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sarah….I am so wonderfully surprised that you are watching this series too and now you’ve even summarized the first two episodes!!!! Where do you have time to summarize these series plus all of your translating work for Feelings and other series?!?!?

    You are so awesome!

    I hope the series will continue to be good. I love the song you posted….It gives me a really happy feeling. I don’t know why…At first the song sounds so childish but after listening to it the second time, I thought it reminded me of festivities…odd huh? I just get this giddy feel when the song plays…so playful!

    I love love love Shin Eun Kyung. She’s so subtley funny with her exaggerated plots to woo Mr. Perfect. I like during the first episode when she subtlely did a “YES!” gesture behind Mr. Botany who was looking at some plants after they changed into dry clothing. I chuckled when I see her silly moments.

    Hope that this will turn out be nice. I like what I saw so far. Love the style…

    Thank you again!!!

  4. M

    I love the little girl, she’s the same one from Magolpy’s mv and the movie Heart Is… right? Can’t wait to watch this series 🙂 thanks for the awesome recap as usual!

  5. chel

    hey sarah!

    will definitely be keeping an eye out on this one – for now i’m going to keep up with Flowers for My Life [as per your recommendation] and use my limited net quota for that! thanks for the summaries, as always.

  6. juliesean

    Thanks for your summary. It certainly looks interesting. Hope the sub version is released soon. I like the female lead, she was awesome in My Wife is a Gangsta! Surprised that she looks kinda attractive even cos she looked really “mannish” in that role. In this drama, she actually looks feminine

    By the way, love the new pix on top. Love Shin Dong Wook on the right. The one in the middle I am guessing is Rain?

  7. javabeans

    you’re right, it’s kim. haha. i must’ve mistaken 심 and 김. and really? i know PSM has a lot of fans, but i really don’t care for his character here. it’s not only that he’s a cheater, but i guess i don’t respond to any of the actors in his storyline. i hope they do more with the cool friend’s family instead of getting stuck on the affair.

    yep, i love how Dang Ja doesn’t care about embarrassing herself — or at least, it’s more important to get the job done since she has no intention of seeing him afterward. hehe.

  8. ay_link

    Hee. Yippee.. you made an entry for this freshly new, third-installment of the “Bad..” series.. ^^ I watched both Bad Housewife and Bad Family, and personally I think they’ve done a great job with this one too.
    Absolutely adore Dang Ja’s “high tolerance for self-embarrassment.” LOL… oh boy, how she really doesn’t care what Gi Chan thinks of her hee hee..

    Btw Sarah, for Park Sang Min’s character name, I think it’s Kim Yoon Seok? (or they put it up in their site as “Kim Yoon Suck” lol!) ^^ this ahjussi really can still carry the word “hot”, a cheating doctor and a lame husband, but still,.. that charisma.. oooz~~ hehe.. the third-wheel girl is not bad either. Very pretty and has that seductive, naughty look. Good casting =)

  9. Eve

    Awww this may be a drama that I want to watch~! The pizza scene is awfully cute.

  10. 10 dayangdayang

    This sounds verrrry interesting. I will definitely check this one out. Thanks, Javabeans!

  11. 11 JooJinMoLovesMe

    Thanks so much for the summary! The pizza clip is so adorable! I loved Ryu Soo Young from 18 vs. 29. I’ve been dying to see him play a good guy again.

  12. 12 Tuttie


    Love your blog, i think i already told you that!!
    Sarah, if i may call you Sarah, saw your name up there, i need you to tell me, if you happen to know, OR ANYONE AROND HERE, please, the name of the song that plays on aegassi (Hello Miss) cellphone, that one that goes, ula la la and the song Rain/Bi sings in the Pantech comercial. Is that to much to ask? 🙂 , It just ocurred to me that you may have at least a hint.

    Thanks in advance, and let me tell you that i have gone to the cooking sites you have links of and discovered Jang jang myun, and after seeing witch yoo hee manager eating it everyday i just wanted to try it, i am visiting Michigan these days and my sister knows of a Korean Supermarket, we found it, the exact one on the site, and let me tell you, Its so yummy!! i love it!! Sad i dont have it back home… Love your header!!!

    Bye, and thanks again…

  13. 13 wandergirl

    The little girl is adorable! She reminds me of Im Soo Jung (did I spell that right?), the lead actress in I’m Sorry, I Love You.

  14. 14 Marzy

    reading this made me wanna watch the eps now. i was so depressed when LDW pulled out of this. but on the other hand, RSY isnt bad too. i think he fits the role better i think. i just couldnt imagine LDW playing this character, hahaha despite the fact i like him lots and all that. this character didnt seem to suit. ^^ thanks thanks for this! love ur banners! i should get me one. lol.

  15. 15 Samantha

    Haha, excellent summary. Like Marzy above mentioned, reading it makes one want to watch the episode itself.

    Stumbled upon this website by accident, and it’s a rare find. Fantastic blog. 🙂

  16. 16 ginnie

    I was backtracking Bad Couple thread at soompi and read that Lee Dong Wook dropped out of the cast, citing dissatisfaction with the script because it was more focused on SEK’s character…So I think it is not that the script is problematic, LDW wants more screen time and focus in this show. When he didn’t get it, I guess he opted not to be apart of it at the very last minute, which thank goodness didn’t affect the show much.

  17. 17 waegugsaram

    Cute pizza scene. BTW, javabeans, what is with that little “15” in the yellow circle in the video, and why does it ALWAYS appear in SBS TV dramas? Just curious.

  18. 18 ay_link

    waegugsaram, to my knowledge, I think the circled-15 means that the program is intended for viewers above 15 yrs old of age 🙂 sorta like PG-13 , and this one is PG-15 hehe..

  19. 19 waegugsaram

    ay_link, ??? 😉

  20. 20 Anonymous

    lol… I love how in movies/dramas, people always expect to get pregnant after just one night of unprotected sex. I mean, yeah, once is enough but it rarely ever is.

  21. 21 ai*

    love your writings but for this drama i only read them after i’ve watched the episode cuz the element of surprise in the plot is worth savouring on my own and more impactful…..but i still read cuz your views on it is so refreshing and entertaining!

    got a question….end of ep1, how did GC guess that DJ took his bag at the supermarket? i still dunno what she said that was a giveaway. was it her mentioning about the trees living 1000yrs & dying 1000yrs too….so she read his research papers?

  22. 22 javabeans

    ai, i haven’t rewatched the episode yet, but didn’t GC already know that DJ took his bag because he saw her on the security cameras? when he realized there was a mistake, he had them replay the tapes and he saw that she accidentally took his bag in her shopping cart in the checkout line, so when he recognized her, he made the connection… that’s just what i remember off the top of my head.

  23. 23 tsunamiblues

    Show sounds like fun, not to serious but not too…the little girl is so cute!!

  24. 24 ai*

    i didnt think he’d remember her from that small security screen. his first sight of her after the supermarket was when she went to the botanical gardens to stalk him right? i was wondering why he showed no sign of recognizing her and kept ignoring her till they both fell into the water! haha!

    actually deep inside i’m wishing that he’s smarter than he really shows himself to be ie. he recognizes her, knows she’s trying to seduce him but maybe he just lets her only cuz he wants to find out what she’s up to. otherwise he does seem to be a mighty blur bloke! but a cute and good-looking one hehe!

  25. 25 sari

    woahhh… ilove this ..drama…kekekeke…its remindme of holywood movie lover boy…..any 1 have THE MQ OF EPISODE 2???

  26. 26 meriwether

    I am beginning to wonder how Gi Chan can be so naive and innocent about it all. But then again there is that lack of history with women. A virgin at that age though? Eh…

    I love Dang Ja’s character. She makes me laugh so much yet I want to wear a paper bag over her head for her. The woman is just hilarious.

    I really like how the script’s going and what ginnie pointed out about the LDW thing seems to be true. I wonder if he could have played the role as well as Ryu SooYoung… I’m not a big fan of LDW.

  27. 27 julier

    The pizza conversation totally cracked me up because my friends and I recently had the exact conversation! Oh yeah, I’m an ajumma for sure (kids, married), but my 30-something friend and my early 40s friend, both who is so beautiful, but not married, refuse to respond to ajumma. My one friend is hilarious. She insists on being unni or emo, which is what my kids call her. Sooo funny! LOL So glad you are doing summaries. Now I can watch ahead of the subtitles.

  28. 28 Anonymous

    This drama is GREAT!~
    I started to watch the first 2 episodes, and I was hooked!~
    I watched episodes 3 and 4 without subtitles eventhough I can’t understand a thing!~ haha…
    Things I like about this drama are:
    I like how the actors imagination are acted out in a funny cartoonish way
    I like how there are different subplots in the drama (ie. cheating husband)

  29. 29 Philippa

    I watched the first episode yesterday! And I love this drama!!!! The little kid is just sooo cute! Thanks a lot for writing the summary!

  30. 30 its_trish

    First of all – thanks for the summary!
    Now.. in order for me to jump on the bandwagon and watch it.. I would like to request this drama’s Chinese title (streaming off of Chinese sites but do not read it fluently yet)
    Thanks ^^

  31. 31 blah

    i really like this drama =) the lead actress is soo good i love her! thank you for your wonderful summaries =D

  32. 32 michi

    this sounds like a good drama…and i can quite identify with the lead…hehehe…let’s see how it goes… 🙂

    thanks for your summaries, javabeans!!

  33. 33 amareally

    I love this drama already by the 1st episode…she’s hilarious !!! Thanks for the summary Javabeans

  34. 34 alfa113

    yeah that pizza scene was adorable!! I’m sold 🙂
    Parts of this drama were actually filmed at my aunt’s house and cafe in Choong Ju! Y’all should take a visit! It’s Gorgeous! It’s called Solvang 🙂 Go check it out if you’re in the neighborhood 🙂

  35. 35 koalabear

    I’ve been hearing a lot about his drama so I started lurking around the Bad Couple Soompi thread and I find myself lured little by little by this drama…after I finish watching The Devil and I’m currently watching Flowers for my Life, I’m still looking for a good K-drama, and I will try watching this one but for now, I’ll read your summaries about it, I enjoyed reading it, this is a promising drama

  36. 36 javabeans

    alfa113, how cool! lucky for your aunt and uncle 😉

  37. 37 catinmyfridge

    What a moron,
    How could Lee Dong Wook turn this down? Oh, and that girl, seriously cute!

  38. 38 chanqua

    is it just me or that little girl yeon doo looks remarkable similar to the main actress in witch’s amusement. are they related?

  39. 39 happyfan

    Happy 28th Birthday Ryu Soo Young ! You did good in Bad Couple. You’re just so lovable ! I just realize today, that was you in the ‘successful story of the bright girl’ …… I just love the movies you’re in… Keep up the good work !

  40. 40 wawa

    did yoo gun staring in dis drama?i haven’t watch dis drama yet,i’ll hope it is interesting…

  41. 41 rose

    I love ryu soo young a lot whether in bad couple, 18vs 29, save the last dance for me, soeul1945 or his latest drama , lawyer of Korea. I think he did well in BAD COUPLE .. He suits the character well…

  42. 42 naa_rie

    i love ryu soo young in this drama and also 18 vs 29… i think he looks well and this character suits him well maybe more than lee dong wook.. sorry to say. i really enjoy this story especially the collaboration between ryu and shin

  43. 43 adi

    hi, this was one of my favorite dramas that made me fall in love with both lead actors. i say one of my favorite instead of absolute favorite because of the subplot (the cheated wife story) that needed more screen time towards the end and made the main plot feel draggy and a little secondary. nevertheless the ending was fabulous even if i never heard of photodynamic treatment being used like that (maybe in the future). thanks for writing about it… more people need to know about this drama, it’s absolutely worth it.

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