Drama Recaps
Playful Kiss: Episode 1
by | September 3, 2010 | 263 Comments

I had mixed feelings about this premiere: It wasn’t as good as I was hoping, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

I can see where some viewers had issues with it, and I share those concerns. But I think it started to find its groove later on — almost too late, really — and will hold onto that hope going into Episode 2.


G.NA – “키스해줄래” (Will you kiss me?) from the Playful Kiss OST. [ Download ]

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Our heroine is OH HA-NI (Jung So-min), a not-so-bright student in her last year of high school, who’s in the last-place class (seventh of seven) of her year. She grew up with a loving father who runs a noodle restaurant (her mother died when she was a child), and the two have an affectionate relationship. Prone to daydreaming, Ha-ni’s fantasies center around Seung-jo, a boy at school on whom she harbors a pretty strong crush.

Ha-ni’s best friends, also in the last-place class, are DOKKO MIN-AH (Yoon Seung-ah) and JUNG JU-RI (Hong Yoon-hwa). Together, the trio is a little bumbling, but good-hearted and loyal to one another.

BAEK SEUNG-JO (Kim Hyun-joong), on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He’s in the No. 1 class and isn’t merely the best student, but positively perfect. In fact, in the most recent exams, he scored a 500 out of 500. Alas, that intellectual perfection doesn’t come with a gracious personality. He’s not just the cold, logical type a la Mr. Darcy but quite condescending to boot, looking down his nose at everyone, not bothering to hide that he finds them inferior. Whatta prince.

His parents are perfectly friendly people, though, and his mother (GEUM-HEE, played by Jung Hye-young) will figure largely in our plot. For now, all we know is that she’s a welcoming, cheerful mother with a lively sense of curiosity about her son’s life.

The guy with the retro flipped-up hair is BONG JOON-GU (Lee Tae-sung), a Busan boy with the thick accent to prove it. He can usually be seen traveling en masse with his posse, the foursome played by rock band Bye Bye Sea who are identified simply as “Bong Joon-gu’s Boys.”

Joon-gu and the boys are also residents of Class 7. While the boys can often be found jamming on musical instruments in between classes, Joon-gu spends a lot of his energies following Ha-ni around, trying to win her affections. She remains firmly fixated on Seung-jo, however, and doesn’t spare Joon-gu much thought.


We open on a fantasy sequence, set in what looks like an enchanted meadow in a fairy tale. The CG is exaggerated, but it has that overtly whimsical sensibility of Pushing Daisies or Big Fish — dreamy, romantic, and girlish.

In the daydream, a handsome young man dressed all in white comes upon a sleeping girl, kisses her lightly, then walks away. When the girl wakes, she sees a white horse and follows it through the forest to another meadow, where the horse turns back into her mystery man.

He approaches her and leans in. This time, she anticipates the kiss and purses her lips in readiness…

Which is when she wakes up. At school. Late for class. Oh Ha-ni, waking from her latest crush-induced fantasy, races off as the bell rings.

The dream sequence is admittedly very pretty to look at, but since we know it’s a fantasy from the very get-go, it does go on and on. My feelings on the opening went from “This is lovely” to “Hm, I wonder where they’re going with this” to “GRAHH, WHY ARE YOU SO SLOW.”

In class, Ha-ni’s teacher attempts to exert some authority over her sluggish pupils, but this ain’t the last-place class without a reason. Students nap, zone out, and generally slack off. Ha-ni and her friends aren’t worried about their latest grades, though — they’re always at the bottom, so what else is new?

While Ha-ni, Ju-ri, and Min-ah hang out in the lounge, a student comes by and loses a coin in the soda machine. She’s HONG JANG-MI (Jang Ah-young), who’s basically a Mean Girl, despite being younger than Ha-ni.

With a flourish, Ha-ni steps in and kicks the machine to get the soda to pop out, and enjoys basking in the moment. Particularly since it momentarily puts a cork in Jang-mi’s superior act.

Ha-ni moons all over Seung-jo, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence. Her friends are used to it, and only shake their heads when Ha-ni shares her daydream and calls him a spirit of the forest. She goes into raptures over his perfection, saying that now she understands how vampires feel — such is his beauty that it makes her want to bite right into him.

Speak of the devil: Seung-jo makes his appearance, calm and cool as you please, blithely ignoring the squealing of girls who ooh over his entrance.

Ha-ni freezes as Seung-jo approaches, victim to the vicissitudes of adolescent infatuation, and her heart thumps wildly. Jang-mi flutters over to him offers her soda instead, chattering on as though they’re close friends. Apparently their mothers are friends, and Seung-mi tries to use this to ingratiate herself, fawning all over him.

Seung-jo ignores her, but when his coin also gets stuck in the machine, Jang-mi calls out to Ha-ni to employ her fix again. She particularly enjoys putting Ha-ni on the spot, making the latter reluctant to comply but also reluctant to refuse.

So Ha-ni goes up to the machine, studiously avoiding his gaze, and delivers a kick. Afterward she cringes in embarrassment, not wanting this to be his impression of her, but I say there’s something satisfying in the way Seung-jo gapes; he’s not exactly impressed, but eliciting any reaction at all from his stone-faced demeanor is probably an accomplishment.

Seung-jo turns to leave, and Ju-ri, trying to help her friend, calls out her name loudly so that he’ll hear it. Seung-jo turns and starts walking back toward them, and Ha-ni readies herself in anticipation — surely he’ll thank her, or say something? But no, he retrieves his change from the machine.

Her friends urge Ha-ni to confess her feelings, since they’ll graduate soon enough. Despite her earlier embarrassment, Ha-ni bounces right back and clings to the new hope that perhaps Seung-jo isn’t expressing his feelings for her because he doesn’t know hers, and decides a confession is just the thing. But how?

To prove her utter lack of common sense, Ha-ni likes Ju-ri’s joke suggestion about dressing as Gollum and addressing Seung-jo as “My precious.” Min-ah’s suggestion is better, but not by much: a mating dance, like animals.

This leads us into another fantasy, wherein Ha-ni dances in Swan Lake, joined by Seung-jo. Again this goes longer than necessary, but at least the punchline saves it (sort of): Seung-jo partners Ha-ni, lifts her in the air, and then tosses her aside.

Poor girl. Even in her own daydreams she can’t catch a break.

Next up is drawing class, and Joon-gu (whom I’ve taken to calling Duckie in my head) is tapped as figure model. Anyone with half a brain would be totally onto how very much he’s in love with Ha-ni (or at least in grand infatuation), but I suppose half her brain is perpetually fixated on Seung-jo, so she brushes his attentions aside.

That means all his efforts to look cool are wasted, although he doesn’t know it. As the pose becomes harder and harder to maintain, sweat beads drip from his forehead but Joon-gu vows to stick with it, since Ha-ni is looking at him.

Ha-ni does draw, but in a mechanical way as she doodles the words “Confess… mating dance… Gollum…”

Adding salt to the wound is when Joon-gu peers at the drawing at the end of class — to see that she has drawn his body with Seung-jo’s face.

We don’t see much of the teachers in Episode 1, but I suspect they’ll have their own storyline, so let’s introduce ’em: At left is SONG KANG-YI (Hwang Hyo-eun), and Kang Doo plays the Class 1 teacher SONG JI-OH. Both are “Teacher Song,” but are polar opposites — kind of like Ha-ni and Seung-jo, in fact.

I wonder if their storyline will mimic our main one, since it appears Kang-yi may have a crush on Ji-oh, who is just as cool and superior as his star student.

Ha-ni becomes engrossed in thought, trying to figure out how to confess her feelings to Seung-jo. Dad picks up on it, and understands that she’s got a crush on a boy even though she describes it as the situation of “a friend,” and shares how he made his confession to her mother. (Stealing, by the way, a famous line from I’m Sorry, I Love You.)

So that launches Ha-ni into another reverie — really, drama? Number 3 already? — wherein she corners Seung-jo with her motorcycle gang, looking like a bad girl out of Grease while a pale imitation of “Beat It” serves as background music.

(Gah, these extended fantasies that never end! I love you, director Hwang, but you could really do to watch some episodes of Scrubs. ‘s all I’m sayin’.)

Badass Ha-ni confronts Seung-jo, who backs away meekly, and she recites her line, which offers him the choice to either be with her or die.

And even in her fantasy, Seung-jo picks the coffin. Aw! There’s something really endearing about Ha-ni in this.

Thankfully Dad has more practical advice than her friends, and suggests that a sincere love letter might just work best. Ha-ni decides he’s right, and delivers a letter to his locker, then waits nervously for his response.

When he walks by the lounge and shows Ha-ni no recognition at all, Ju-ri shouts her name loudly, determined to make her friend known. Min-ah joins her, and this time, they have a reaction.

Seung-jo asks, “Are you Oh Ha-ni?” He makes his way back to them, and holds out a letter to her. Students gather round curiously, and Ha-ni barely contains her excitement as she opens it, telling him she hadn’t dared hope for a reply.

Yet as soon as she starts to read, her excitement fades, replaced by crushing disappointment.

Jang-mi has to live up to her designation as Mean Girl, so she swipes the letter from Ha-ni’s grasp, then crows about its contents. Seung-jo hadn’t written her a reply — he’d graded hers! The letter has been marked up in red pen, and he’d given her a D-.

(For what it’s worth, I think this moment would have been better had I not seen it done more cutely in Will It Snow For Christmas.)

Jang-mi positively exults and talks about it loudly for all to hear, while Ha-ni can only stand there, humiliated. Meanwhile, Seung-jo just stands there and tells her, “I’m sorry to say this, but I hate dumb girls.”

Joon-gu — bless him — comes late to the party but has sized up the situation, and confronts Seung-jo for his rudeness. He demands that Seung-jo apologize, to which Seung-jo smirks, “For what, correcting her mistakes?”

Joon-gu retorts, “Do you only see the mistakes? Don’t look at the letters, look at the contents!” (Aw. You’ve officially won me over, ridiculous hair-boy!)

He challenges Seung-jo to fight and takes a swing, but the latter swiftly evades the punch — cool as you please, his hands not even moving from his pockets.

The vice principal interrupts, and as Seung-jo is the golden child, he is dismissed while Joon-gu is called in for disciplining.

Finally, Seung-jo deigns to speak and levels a finger at the board that has been posted of the recent test results — Ha-ni and her friends occupy the lowest status of the school. He points to a second sign, which marks the 50 top students who are admitted to a special study hall each month.

Turning his scorn to Ha-ni, he calls her thoughtless for choosing to waste her time rather than caring about more important things: “I hate thoughtless, impudent girls.”

Ha-ni is devastated. Worst of all is probably the fact that he’s not wrong — she IS the lowest scoring student. Still, she hardly deserves such a drubbing from him.

She takes out her frustration by running around the school, exhausted and stumbling by the time she reaches lap 34. Her friends urge her to stop, but she insists on running two more laps. In a lovely moment of solidarity, they stand up to give her a hand (literally) and support her through her last lap.

Word of Ha-ni’s encounter with Seung-jo spreads through the school, making her the laughingstock. Is it worse to be mocked by your peers, or pitied by the cafeteria and cleaning ladies? Thankfully we’ll probably never have to know, but Ha-ni has to endure.

As she and Dad settle into their newly remodeled house, unpacking their things, he notices her glumness and guesses that the confessing didn’t go so well. He tries to cheer her up, and in the unpacking process he finds an old plaque that had been made when she was a baby — it bears the handprint of her parents, as well as her baby hand and footprint.

Ju-ri, Min-ah, and Joon-gu come over and marvel at the spacious digs and the newly built second floor. They sit down for a delicious meal prepared by Dad, who sighs that Ha-ni didn’t take after him in the cooking-skills department. Joon-gu takes that as his cue to assure Dad not to worry, since he’ll take care of the both of them.

The others laugh at Joon-gu’s over-the-top declaration and tease him, which makes him cry out in an exaggerated gesture and bang his head into the wall. Which sets of a series of creaks… and rumbles…

…and leads to the house crumbling down.

It’s not Joon-gu’s head-butt that causes the damage, but a small earthquake that shakes up the neighborhood. However, where all the other houses experience no more than mild rocking, Ha-ni’s house has inexplicably caved in on itself.

That’s one more reason for Ha-ni to become the focus of unwanted attention at school, and as she walks with her friends the next morning, they catch sight of a strange woman snapping photos of her. And for some reason, passing students keep looking at her and whispering.

The reason becomes clear moments later as they hear Joon-gu on a megaphone, who has taken up a spot at the school’s entrance calling for donations for a needy student. He means well, but one hardly wants to be called pathetic and a charity case in front of her peers, so the girls slink away in mortification.

Alas, Joon-gu spies Ha-in and drags her into the circle, continuing his appeals for donations — just as Seung-jo walks by. She’d like to ignore him, but misguided chivalry drives Joon-gu to engage, and he blames Seung-jo for being the cause of all of Ha-ni’s troubles.

Seung-jo points out that it was the earthquake that felled her house, and Joon-gu sputters in reply, saying that while that’s true, Seung-jo’s guilty of an “earthquake of the heart,” and for hurting Ha-ni.

Seung-jo shrugs and offers to contribute, then, and pulls out his wallet. He starts to put in 20,000 won (about $15), which is when Ha-ni finally speaks up. Indignantly, she tells him to put his money away — she wouldn’t accept his help even if she were a beggar under a bridge.

That affects him not at all, and he starts to leave. But now Ha-ni’s really worked up and she bursts out again:

Ha-ni: “Who are you to look down on people like that? I bet to you, all the kids here just look like idiots, huh? You think you can just mock us. Are you so great? So you have a high IQ? You’re a good student? So you have a good-looking face and you’re tall!”

Uh, that statement took a turn, and Ha-ni realizes she’s started to lose ground here. So she fumbles for a suitable retort, and insists that she CAN study. It’s just that she hasn’t bothered to!

Seung-jo tells her to prove it. What does she propose, and how will she show it?

Gulp. Ha-ni can’t back down now, so she says she’ll score high enough in the next exam to score one of those seats in special study hall. Clearly not believing she can do it, Seung-jo agrees to carry her piggyback for one lap around school if she succeeds.

Internally, Ha-ni does a little giddy dance at the prospect of being carried on his back, then tamps that down to coolly agree.

Thanks to the news broadcast about the earthquake wrecking their house, Dad’s old friend had seen him on TV and called him to offer his house while the Ohs figure out what to do. Dad is thrilled to be reuniting with his old best friend, with whom he’d lost contact after they’d moved to Seoul.

When they arrive, Ha-ni marvels at the grand house; his friend must be a rich man.

Dad (Ki-dong)’s friend is Su-chang, who is married to Geum-hee, both of whom are very friendly and give Ha-ni a warm welcome. When Su-chang notes that she’s “even prettier in person,” Geum-hee has to fess up that she was so curious about her that she couldn’t wait and sought her out at school this morning. Ha-ni recognizes her as the mysterious photographer outside the school.

Geum-hee offers the services of her son to bring their luggage in, and sends him outside to the car where Ha-ni is gathering her things.

And really, it’s no surprise at all when the two kiddos discover just who they’re about to spend the next days, weeks, months, living with.


A random trivia bit:

Playful Kiss is airing against My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, having started about a month behind it. One of director Hwang In-roi’s previous dramas, as I am sure many of you know, was Goong, which started in January 2006 — a month behind My Girl, which is one of the Gumiho writers’ previous dramas. (I’d always thought My Girl and Goong should have gotten higher ratings, but they were up against each other and no doubt shared much of the same audience.)

On to this drama:

There’s good and bad. When I was first watching it, I thought it was rather ho-hum. The more I watched, and toward the end in particular, I started to like it more and more. I don’t feel that emotional connection yet and the story isn’t as compelling as I’d like, but I am actually pretty hopeful about the show.

One huge detractor is that the first episode seemed like a collection of vignettes describing Ha-ni’s world — it wasn’t driven by a central plotline. I don’t think it’s a bad tactic in theory, but in a competitive television market you really need to establish your premise strongly and quickly, rather than lingering in the mundane moments. The drama doesn’t have to be high-concept like Gumiho, but it would benefit from higher-concept. (I know Playful Kiss is based on a manhwa/drama, which dictates the storyline. However, there are always ways to inject a hook or a catchy plot without dishonoring its source material.)

The problems appear to be both a writing and a directing thing. On the writing front, this episode is very thin on action. What actually happened in Episode 1? SO VERY LITTLE. We spent nearly 45 minutes on a schoolgirl crush. The writer could have condensed a bunch of scenes and would have been better served getting right to the point instead of dawdling.

There were no surprises. We know how this is going to end up — we know she’s going to move in with Seung-jo. So just get there already.

On the directing front, the pacing was sluggish and I don’t blame viewers for checking out quickly. FIVE MINUTES were spent on that intro fantasy when the entire thing could have been just as effective in thirty seconds. Long fantasies would be forgivable if they’re needed to tell a story or flesh out an idea — but as we get the point immediately, there’s no need to drag it out. The drama could have easily shaved 10 to 15 minutes without changing plot.

As for Goong:

The Goong comparisons will probably haunt this show for a good long while, and I suspect that will grow tiresome. So I’ll just say this here and (try to) refrain from belaboring the point in the future.

On the downside, wow there are a lot of tonal similarities between the two dramas. The stories are pretty different, but the execution is, in spots, perplexingly similar. Jung So-min’s styling, the school cliques, the teddy-bear ending frame.

On the other hand, Goong hardly spent any time at the school after the initial setup (which was one thing I missed after the royal stuff got going in earnest), whereas Playful Kiss will be primarily at school. So I don’t mind that similarity so much.

I did enjoy the whimsical feel of Playful Kiss, when it wasn’t veering on overly contemplative. Trendies need more energy than this, and I suspect that PD Hwang’s forte isn’t sassy comedy. Bright side: He has a deft touch with poignant moments, so there’s that.

Goong was elevated by its fusion-fantasy palace concept, and Return of Iljimae as a fusion-sageuk-comic book adaptation, so on paper Hwang should have been the perfect director for fusion manhwa adaptations like this. But I want more zazz, because this has no Big Concept to buoy the mundane school and home scenes. (Mundane isn’t bad — I like this mundane aspect, actually — but it requires more… oomph.)

Goong had pomp and elegance, and therefore it filled that space with its grandeur. Without that, Playful Kiss just has… space. It needs to tap into its energy, and I believe it’s entirely possible. I just hope it comes soon.


Jung So-min is ADORABLE. She’s gonna run away with this drama, hands down.

Many of you have noted previously that Jung is very expressive, and that really comes across in the show. That doesn’t just mean she makes exaggerated facial expressions, but that she has a range of them and conveys a lot of subtleties within her various expressions. I’d heard a lot about how this original manga character is super-annoying and was bracing myself for that, but I find Ha-ni quite likable. She’s not smart and she’s a little clumsy, but in an endearing way.

Actually, what I loved most about her character is the way Ha-ni’s infatuation with Seung-jo is depicted. On paper it could be an aggravating premise — a dumb girl chases around a guy who’s out of her league and who dislikes her, wearing him down with her doggedness. However, there’s something very lovely in the way we see her adolescent crush — the heart thumping, the freezing in nervous anticipation, the deluded daydreams that he might like her, the giddy little moments when she thinks he’s about to talk to her. I mean, haven’t we all been there? It totally brought back some memories, and tugged my heartstrings. Boy, I wouldn’t want to be her, but then again, I HAVE been her.

Then there’s Kim Hyun-joong. You know, he doesn’t bother me so much here. I don’t think he was good, but he wasn’t awful, either. He sorta skated by in the middle, not really doing much but doing it in an inoffensive way.

I wonder if it’ll help him to play a guy with a bit of meanness to him, because that’s what makes Seung-jo interesting to me. We’ve seen SO MANY of those misunderstood, cold-on-the-outside, warm-n-fuzzy-on-the-inside heroes that I’m excited just to get something different. Seung-jo isn’t misunderstood — he just doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than himself. I don’t like that on a personal level, but I like that he’s a little different.

ANYWAY. That’s my long-winded way of saying that I had misgivings about the first episode, but I find enough things to like about it to be hopeful for the future, low ratings or not.


263 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. jons

    goodness. i thought it was okay, until i saw the last scene with the teddy bears. it lost me there. it needs originality.

    • 1.1 Yeng

      i know! i was like goong style? why cant it develop its only style…but the bears are cute

      • 1.1.1 jang

        the bears were dumb just like the actress ……….what the hell she is plain…….ahh not ata all captivating……tch …………shes actually annoying….i dunno how JB likes her with all her overacting!

        • Balletbabe

          I don’t think the actress is dumb!! She is actually doing her best with the character they gave her. I mean did you see the Taiwanese version ” It Started With A Kiss” that character was annoying!!!! (but she was a good actress too hehe) Beside that is how the character is suppose to be in the manga!

          • zorro

            Dude the gil looks retarded change her pls

        • fryit

          get YEH please

          • javabeans

            Dude, you just posted twenty times under multiple names. Cut it out.

          • samoa

            YEH’s fans, please show some brain OK.Please respect your actress OK.

        • Ella

          can’t agree with you more. and, err… JB is somewhat boring

          • Cara

            Or maybe you’re just close minded.

            I agree with JB in this recap.

            You guys need to stop being so offensive. I had a friend who looked like this girl but she passed away from cancer almost 3 years ago so it’s really upsetting when you say she looks retarded and stuff. Please, act human.

          • Angela

            bite the hand that feeds you, much?

          • YM

            If JB is boring, then please, go to popseoul cause they sure aren’t boring.

            Though I don’t always agree with her (and I agree with her 90% of the time), she always gives everyone a fighting chance. Before I discovered javabeans I always checked on popseoul and I can’t believe that site is still up. They aren’t very clever, funny or honest.

        • beggar1015

          I know the actress only from Bad Guy, and she wasn’t so terrible in that. But then, in that show she at least had something to do. Therefore, I’m going to blame the writers (yet again) for the reason that her character in PK is – so far – dull.

          • Nujume

            I think Jung So Min really fits that role. She isn’t supposed to be a cute, barbie-like kind of girl. Besides she looks really charistmatic in real life! That’s to that…
            Regarding the first episode: I wasn’t very impressed by it but i totally agree with JB. It will most propably pick up with time and the second ep. was already muuuuuch better 🙂

    • 1.2 gala

      ugh, same here. bears were cute but just so goong-esque. i was thinking they should’ve done it anime-style, instead of bears since they’ve been putting cartoons here and there. i mean, recapping a funny scene in stick-figures wouldn’t be so bad. just not bad. unfortch, i think it would stay – the bears i mean. le sigh.

      • 1.2.1 SaisMY

        i agree. the bears were cute, but it’s too “goong”, people are already comparing it with goong, so the obvious last scene makes it worse.

        aha but i like your idea. =D. sounds fun ^^

      • 1.2.2 disappointedme

        the bears were a total rip off! No offense, but such inoriginality of concepts is a turn off for viewers like me. :l

    • 1.3 dannaluk

      i agree the bears need to go…bt i dont think it will…maybe when we get to the ep where they are no longer in high school??

    • 1.4 melanie

      agree! actually, i didnt like the drama at all but then to add the goong scene just bothered me. at least they could have used another stuff animal like a hippo

      • 1.4.1 Dara

        You mean a big fat hippo likes in Madagascar, I’d rather take bears. LOL.

    • 1.5 gumiho

      I totally agree i mean why those teddy bears….shh anyway…
      The heroine should be able to show her admiration for Baek sung jo but her eyes cant seem to emote its coming out quite mechanical.I personally dont like the girl they should have gotten someone better.Oh well they are stuck with her.I think KHJ was better than before.But i dont think i have the patience to watch the girl her expressions are just meh!!.
      I have to agree with Javabeans on the Directing and goong part
      Also they have to please pep up the ost .i mean the gumiho ost simplr rocks…its gives drama some punch….MK ost is just blah.
      Overall i think its not that bad ……….it deserves better ratings than these ….i will watch it ….lets see if they change………………
      Ah my problem is the actress just not charismatic enough……..i mean she should carry the whole drama…..she is …….disappointing

      • 1.5.1 hurray

        I could actulally see KHJ as BSJ but i agree the girl is TT

        • doodo

          Is KHJ married ?

          • yenny

            what ? i know he was on WGM but married?really?

          • noramyun

            yes he is married to a singer it hink she is older or ahh just google it

          • keul

            married? is this a joke

          • Reina

            yes my kpop friend told me he was married to hwangbo

          • Kiara

            KHJ isnt married yet! Lol.. That just rumor spread by wgm fans couple.. Gaaah wgm fans really annoying.. If he is really true married, the hell would already broke..

          • last_thread

            um, no. at least not as far as anyone knows. he was on a reality show called “we got married” where celebrities are in a fake marriage… and because of that show some people think that he’s married to his we got married wife in real life… but if he is, he’s done a hell of a job keeping it on the down low…

          • SM

            No he is not married. He was in a TV show called “we got married”.. He got married with HwangBo, singer in that show.. But it was fake. And they stopped that show a long time ago already.

        • ollie

          KHJ MARRIED?who?

          • frappuccino

            Nah, he’s not… “legally”…. just… yet. hahaha.. just kidding. =P Try to watch “we got married — lettuce couple” – best on my list of “dramas” so far. Award-worthy, so-called “acting.” 😉 LOL. To smile was irresistible. Hating the girl would only mean plain jealousy. 😉

      • 1.5.2 Yuri

        Yes he is married to Hwangbo ……….everyone knows it………….he was married before BOF i think …………..look it up

        • Anonymous

          i heard that in the other thread too ……….so he is really married ………..wowo………..didn’t expect that..

          • Liz

            He’s NOT married. He did a variety show where he pretends to be married with another celebrity. But he is not. Lol.

        • dblue

          He was just on WGM with Hwangbo.

          • gyny

            yes ………thats true his first break she is his lucky charm……..they say

        • frappuccino

          Hello! c’mon, fellas who loved that show, let’s not confuse others here. hehe. let’s avoid conflicts. 😉 again, KHJ IS NOT married. He was just once part of the program – “We Got Married” season 1. If interested, you may search for it – google & youtube. 😉 I stumbled upon it while wandering on YT… I guarantee at least an episode of fun. 😉

        • Anonymous

          KHJ is NOT MARRIED! Fans of the WGM couple are so weirdly delusional. It’s been two years and they still keep spreading rumors that they’re married. It was just a show. What’s wrong with people? Why so oddly obsessed?
          /shakes head in disbelief.

          • frappuccino

            hahaha! take it easy! ;)) no offense but how even sure are you they’re the true fans of the wgm couple? hehe. they were probably just lost in translation. whatevs, it’s enough clarification that neither KHJ nor HBHJ are married! 🙂

      • 1.5.3 Liz

        I think you just don’t like the actress.. I like her.. and is her character that is annoying not the actress herself. I get amazed how you talk bad about the girl who will have a great future and don’t talk bad about the main Guy, Really he doesn’t improvised too much, is old, don’t interpret his character right. He doesn’t have the air of ”i’m genious, i’m superior’ and plus he is like a statue.. and then When I read the comments you talk bad about the girl? lol this is just funny, I laugh at it..
        Dont critice a acting if you don’t even know what good or bad acting is. She can’t be perfect or super good, but still this is her second role that she is doing she is new in this field, compared to the main guy she is way better, yeah she do too much expressions, but this is how her character is, plus the main guy had time and means to improve himself, but he is still the same as always, what is disappointing is he…
        Thank god he doesn’t have so mant scenes, or I couldn’t take it.. the girl just because she isn’t famous, because she is new, because she isn’t the normal ‘pretty’ like and because somehow people compare her with YEH they are disliking her, this is just so stupid. Why are you comparing her with YEH? Leave the actress alone, stop comparing her.

        • Liliumlied

          Omg I agree with the whole comment, that’s exactly what I was thinking ! You’ve just said the things that needed to be said !

        • noi

          y know, i love khj and all but his acting is… not my cup of tea. i mean, he didn’t look cool and mean or all, but he did look awkward. sorry… =.=’ the actress’s good. i love her. she’s the one keeping my eyes glued to screen. <3

        • Tsuu

          But this is Also Hyun Joong’s second role too. Aren’t you just being as bad as everyone else?
          They both have their weaknesses. Everyone just needs to chill out and enjoy it.

    • 1.6 SadieStarr

      lol..the teddy bears are cute &all…but damn its so..random :p

    • 1.7 brookeeve

      Lawd have mercy, if I had known this was going to be a public lynching I woulda brought my own rope! Livin’ in the South, we do got us a lynchin’ tree, so we could use that, too!!!

      Seriously, I like this series. I like it even more ’cause y’all hate it.

      • 1.7.1 Cim

        @brookeeve-I agree with you. I’m from the US and I’ve watched both the animation and Taiwanese, so for me to watch this is very interesting. I actually think Jung So Min the actress for Oh Ha Ni is very cute and does a better job acting then Aeril Lin in ISWK.
        As for Kim Hyun Joong, he’s doing a GREAT job acting. That’s what he’s suppose to do. His acting is just like the animation. Way to go Kim Hyun Joong and Jung So Min! Fighting!

  2. Oranges

    thx for the recap! :/ i dunno, i like mgiag much better…i felt deflated after first episode. >__<;; i was actually reallyyy excited about this show.

    oh well. :] i reallyyy hope the show gets better and more exciting. it is problematic that i know the whole plot already. :[ no surprises for me…

    • 2.1 Angela

      I felt the exact same way!

      I’m actually surprised JB was so forgiving of it… I thought it was awful and that she was going to tear it apart. Now I’m really interested to see what girlfriday thought.

      • 2.1.1 flo

        I am actually surprised too about JB forgiveness and it is really the first time i disagree with some commentary of hers.

        hmmm….now it make me curious to read her along the show. surely I won t probably follow the show like a crazy girl wanting more but just as a curious viewer.

        now i m thinking about this I wasn t really interested in goong either till the half of the show

      • 2.1.2 alert

        At first I thought the same too, JB is being so forgiving of it. LOL! But again, I have seen the other versions multiple of times that I already know the story by heart (but still hoping for some little twists that’d surprise me). And I think JB had mentioned before that she didn’t watch the other versions (pls correct me if I’m wrong). So in a way, her recap is something I look forward to, since I know it won’t be a bias one.

        • Angela

          I’m very familiar with the story too, having read the manga and watched the Taiwanese version as well. But even so, that just makes me want to judge it all the more harshly. I mean, the plot and characters were *handed* to them on a silver platter… with a build-in fanbase and everything. And *this* was the best they could do with it?

          JB nailed most of my complaints, minus the outrage, lol. Change, I have no problem with. But slow, lazy writing, coupled with cheap throw-backs to past successes (of which I wasn’t even a fan), and an abundance of unnecessary dream-sequences, I can not. When all was said and done, I couldn’t help but compare it to the first couple episodes of all the *other* dramas currently airing… and its deficiencies became exceedingly obvious. It’s missing that spark; that hook; which managed to captivate me with SS, MGIAG, IAL, BKKTG, and JXF.

          Of course, like others have said, our knowledge is also our curse, lol. We have something to compare it against, so whether we like it or not, we’re going to be measuring it against what we know. And even disregarding my dislike for Ariel Lin, the TW version is so superior, it just makes me more sad and more angry at how terribly they dropped the ball on this. *shakes fists* It could have been a contender!!

          So in any case, I don’t plan to watch more of Playful Kiss. Two episodes were bad enough, and there are too many other good series out there that deserve my attention. But I AM going to keep reading JB and GF’s recaps because I enjoy their comments, and I’m curious to see if it improves any… though really, I’m not holding my breath.

          • alert

            Yes! The Goong throwbacks really, really bothers me as well, especially the bears. Oh! The bears! That, I thought was totally unoriginal and lazy. And disappoint me a lot, given that I like the director. There’re so many other ways to leave your signature without being plain copycat – of even your own work! 🙁

            My sole reason of watching PK in the first place was because of the director. I loved ROI so very, very much that I dared hoped a bit for PK. I hated the very first episode of ROI, got sucked into the next few but in the end, I fell head over heals with the drama. I approach PK with the same hope, but with much more caution since both are in different genres. Even though I know I was disappointed with the first episode, a part of me still wanted to believe PK will pick itself up in time.

            I have a feeling that PK will be a much toned-down drama compared to ISWAK or INK (Japan), but it is bound to be compared a lot to ISWAK, since I think both are following the original manga very closely. I don’t think it will be as sassy and spunky as ISWAK, but I’m kinda looking forward for its own moments as well. 2 episodes in, I’m in love with Ha ni, but approaching Seung Jo and the rest with a lot of cautions.

            But I know I’ll finish the drama anyhow. 😀

  3. ron

    I definitely agree about everything said above, especially about the overly exaggerated intro and Ha-ni’s day dreams. It felt like it went on and on. Personally, I feel like they should’ve stuck to the original ISWAK intro where it just got straight to the confession instead of the dragging it out far too long but there were parts but then again I like that they strayed a bit from the original and did something original in its own. And yeah despite the low ratings I too find somethings to be hopeful about. I wasn’t impressed but just enough for me to watch the next few episodes and see where it goes.

    • 3.1 saetbyul

      my sentiments exactly!!!

  4. saetbyul

    i agree. the beginning was overly long and unnecessary, but the episode did begin to pick up momentum as it progressed. episode 2 was much better than episode 1 in my opinion, and i just hope that the show will continue to get better over the next few episodes.

    • 4.1 jeane654

      totally agree with you that ep 2 is sooo much than ep 1..

    • 4.2 Julianna

      Agreed! The only scene I like out of the entire 45 min long episode 1 is the daydream sequence with the badass Ha Ni. I feel like episode 2 is when things start to happen and get more exciting.

  5. Kathy

    “Alas, Seung-jo spies Ha-in and drags her into the circle, continuing his appeals for donations — just as Seung-jo walks by. She’d like to ignore him, but misguided chivalry drives Joon-gu to engage, and he blames Seung-jo for being the cause of all of Ha-ni’s troubles.”

    Shouldn’t it be Joon-gu spies Ha-in and drags her into the circle…?

  6. Yeng

    Yep there were too much daydreams and imaginations going on….i really wish the story can move faster. Jung So min is really good as a new actress so i am cheering for her. Kim Hyun Joong…hm…he is improving but there is still something missing. They are cute together so hope there will be more chemistry going on in later episode.

  7. bjharm

    have to agree on the Goong bit..I mean the lead girl somehow does looks very much like Yoon Eun Hye from time to time, and then there was the track pants under her skirt and of course the teddy bears.
    On the show it self..I think they going for the much shorter Japanese version rather then the TW one, though in many ways with all those fantasy scene and those 60′ music band guys it played out more a Taiwanese drama than the real thing! I can not see this going on for a time period of five years like the TW one did. So that should make the lead males..thawing out..much quicker and the story move that much faster like the Japanese version.
    As a show it was ok..it helps that i seen both the other versions so i did not need to get to know the characters, I knew them all so well already. So it was like re-reading a book you already read before..very easy to get into.
    I am happy with both the leads, as they using the Japanese version, so less drama less ‘acting’ needed on their parts. it should be fun to watch.

  8. Mythili

    episode 2 is far better than the first since there is a lot of interaction between the leads…but i still doubt about their chemistry…anyway thanks jb…

  9. Varietyqueen24

    Thanks for the recap!! I watched episode 1 and cringed until the last 30minutes. Episode 2 on the other hand was a lot better. Looks like I will be watching episode 3.

  10. 10 anon

    i was waiting for this all day
    my javabeans recap radar was tingling so i kept refreshing
    THANK YOU <3

  11. 11 danni

    The daydreams were a little much and the first time I tried watching the episode, I stopped halfway through the first fantasy sequence because it was SO long. I do think this episode was a MAJOR drag because nothing happens, but it defintiely picks up after this.

    As I expected, the really good thing about this drama is Jung So Min. Somehow, her portrayal of Oh Ha Ni has not gotten on my nerves, in this or the second episode, which I see as a very good thing since the main reason I can never get through Itazura na Kiss or its adaptations is because Kotoko is so darn annoying. As long as that doesn’t change (and the Goong references don’t drive me crazy), I think I can maintain watching this drama.

    Thanks for the recap!

  12. 12 Ella

    I love Jung So Min!! She’s much more endearing than Ariel Lin, in my opinion.

    • 12.1 SaisMY

      yea i totally agree with you. she has something extra to her that Ariel didn’t have, so Ariel came out as annoying at times, where as i didn’t quite mind Jung So Min. =D

      • 12.1.1 nfiorr

        i know… ariel was just reallly reaaally stupid xD i dont know why but in every drama she has a “im stupid” on her forehead

  13. 13 dannaluk

    nice! and i agree….it was draggy at a lot of parts in the first ep but got better towards the end and if it steps up the pace more which it does in the second ep it will get better…all in all it wasnt as bad as i had expected…thank you JB your insights are always wonderful to here!…cnt wait for GF’s reaction

    • 13.1 dannaluk

      also kidos to Jung So Min!…she has done the best portrayal of thus character that i have ever seen in a live adaptation

      • 13.1.1 dannaluk


      • 13.1.2 Cara

        I second this! I really liked her portrayal too!! The Japanese girl was the most annoying and Ariel came a close second, whereas I don’t find Ha Ni the least bit annoying. She seems real.

  14. 14 LolliDoAlittle

    Thanks for the recap javabeans.

    The first episode was kind of draggy, and I had mixed feelings after watching the first episode. It wasn’t bad or good. So I moved on to the second episode, which is actually better.

    Jung SoMin is a great actress! She’s a hoot to watch. She will definitely make it big after her role here.

    I’m looking forward to more of your recaps [if you so choose to continue] and more episodes. I’m hoping that it won’t be like Personal Taste where it started out good, but you start to notice all the faults[music at the wrong time, bad writing etc], minus the actors. I gave it a chance, but I ended up wasting 10 hours of my life on something that I should have stopped watching after five.

  15. 15 missthiri

    dominating ladies of the shows. Shin Min Ah and Jung So Min. You both rock.

    • 15.1 sajor

      can’t agree more!

      looking at them, i actually think korean actresses are the most beautiful.. can’t say that to their counterparts.

  16. 16 alert

    Wow. You’re fast! I was expecting PK recap to be done sometime later, but this is fast! Thanks JB!

    The Goong similarities reaaaally bothers me. Especially the last teddy bear parts. In Goong, I kinda look forward to it, but in PK, the trick doesn’t work anymore.

    But I’m keeping my hopes still. I skipped some everybody-knows-where parts in Episode 1 but it has such strong enough premise (and my love towards the manga & previous adaptations), that I know I’m sticking with it till the end! 😀

    And I also believe of all the three adaptations (Tw, Jp & Kr) Jung So Min is the best portrayal of Kotoko, hands down! She had crush that’s known by the whole school, feeling foolish about it, but without looking foolish or dumb at all. As for KHJ, his acting was.. decent enough, so I could live with it.

    Onto episode 2!

  17. 17 anon

    why is this under drama casting and not recaps?

  18. 18 cee

    i stuck on only because some parts were different from ISWAK. there’s still hope!

  19. 19 Diadda

    You called him “Duckie”. I called him Bowser. Pretty in Pink vs. Sha Na Na. Age is funny that way. 🙂

  20. 20 sally

    i know that the flashbacks were too much but i read the manga and watched it started with a kiss and let me tell you she is GOING to have a lot of flashbacks. and yes i find jung so min so much more likable than how she is supposed to act. on the book she was so annoying, and on the taiwanese drama i just seriously wanted to punch her. this first episode i thought was kind of eh, i know that this is the first episode but dang the taiwanese one got me hooked right with their pilot. this was so boring and slow and found myself wanting to fast forward it but i didn’t because i wanted to suck everything in. i just watched the 2nd episode and let let me tell you i’m in love with this drama now. it was 95 times better than the first one and it it getting right to it’s point. when i also heard that kim hyun joong was going to play this i was so mad. i was like gurl did you see him act in BOF??? but when i watched him here, i was like dang, the boy improved. he was so much better in here and totally was not bland as he was in BOF! this show will improve slowly but surely….i hope!! oh and seriously it’s getting better and better and cuter and cuter….i found myself squealing the whole time in the 2nd episode!! definitely fun to watch

  21. 21 Kim

    I enjoyed the first episode due mostly to Jung So Min. In the Taiwanese adaptation, I liked the drama as a whole but I found Ariel Lin’s portrayal of the female lead incredibly annoying. Yet, Jung So Min takes the same annoying character and makes her lovable. I find the character identical but definitely likeable. As for, KHJ I personally don’t think he has improved. Since his character has a cold demeanor, he doesn’t need to exhibit much facial expressions but the parts where a little emotion seemed necessary, I thought he fell short. Although I was very fond of Goong and the bear theme, I thought this drama should have taken a more original route. I always wondered how this drama would end. The manga was technically never completed, the anime ended with the happily ever after (with career and marriage), and the dramas wrapped up after they got married.

  22. 22 sally

    oh and i forgot to say the taiwanese one is seriously the same exact thing as the manga. i watched the show first 3 or 2 years ago and just read the manga 3 months ago. while reading it i was just in awe how similar it was in the book, it was seriously the same exact thing. however on this one they changed so much, and i’m liking the whole transformation!

  23. 23 ShazDidi

    It was pretty bad for an opening. i skipped the first 15 mins! but after dat it picked up. i have faith in the drama so i will stick with it a while more and see if it grows on me! 😀 episode 2 really gto a lot better! but maybe bcos of mgiag im not full of anticipaton for the next episode. like i can wait. but i wanna watch that kind of feeling. im rooting for both dramas! i m biased towards seunggi! 😀

    • 23.1 Marie

      I agree that during the first half of the first episode, I thought “what the H*** is that drama?” But since I like Kim Hyun Joong, I went on watching and it finally got better by the end of the episode. It was as if there had been a whole mixture of different drama genres during the first half and then, this drama found its own pace and genre only at the end. And I really liked episode 2! I hope the next episodes will be as funny as this one or even better.
      But they should have made a different and better opening and the dream sequences are too weird for my taste.

  24. 24 müge

    just minutes ago, I’ve written my thoughts about PK in soompi, and it’ll be nearly the same.
    before beginning the show, I expressed my suprise, because it was obvious the expctation was high from the fans, so I thought it will reflect to the ratings.
    I really don’t understand exact reason but I’ve some guesses. as a foreigner, I guess many Korean watchers are middle/old aged and they like historical or some other kind dramas more. PK is more for the young group. there are many many KHJ fans and I think they are also from overseas and they watch the drama from other sources not on TV (like me). also, the long previews may have decreased the excitement. there are some small details, too. the director’s using Goong bears (repeating something old), the pace of drama, long long dreamy scenes, etc.
    however, I didn’t find the drama bad as a whole. as I’ve watched the anime, I loved it and I was sure about the drama also.
    about KHJ; I couldn’t stand to watch BOF as a whole not just because his lack of acting ability. and we can’t say he’s too bad in PK. ok, I admit that he is not a perfect actor, and he should use more facial expresses but he has an advantage about his character who is a cold and mean guy.
    about the lead actress; I’ve watched her in Bad Guy. and in PK she is OK! according to her character I find her cute enough. and I don’t understand the people who say no chemistry between them :S :S
    I hope the ratings will be higher and the actors won’t be disturbed about low ratings…
    apart from that; as always JB expressed many thigns perfectly, so:
    aja-aja PK!!!

    • 24.1 rumba lumba

      actually, Korean watchers are just like us. like American teens going ‘Yoona (from SNSD) is sooo pretty’ on sites and yet they despise Miley Cyrus. if you think of it, Hyun Joong is just an idol, who hasn’t done anything substantial in his career. the same Korean teens who go gaga over idols are the same types of American teens who go gaga over Justin Bieber(sp?). believe it or not, there are alot of Koreans who despise idols and their music.

      same thing for Koreans. they probably think KE$HA is sooo cool and would think Americans do not listen to bands like Kings of Leon.

      • 24.1.1 Carinne

        Kings of Leon…. ^ , ^ ……………… <3

  25. 25 Natalie

    Glad to see your staying optimistic about the show JB, I agree with everyone who said the second episode was an improvment. It was still a little quicker paced. I’m going to continue to watch next week! Looking forward to more PK and MGIAG recaps ! 🙂

  26. 26 cheanne

    Thank you. Been waiting for this. I love Goong, I hope I will love this too.

  27. 27 Li~~

    I can’t watch drams without subtitles because my knowledge of Korean consists of broken phrases and the alphabet. Unfortunately not enough for a television program. Therefore, I skimmed this episode without much comprehension. (However, I have seen the Taiwanese version and I know how this story will play out, unless they make drastic changes).

    I was immediately struck by two things.

    One, Kim Hyun-joong didn’t suck nearly as much as I thought he would. Actual line delivery and the small emotional range his character is required to show was actually carried out quite well and not nearly as horrendous as I was fearing. He seemed to have a bit more trouble when it came to expressing something facially, something his costar, Jung So-min seemed to excel in. However, the difference wasn’t so offputting as to unbalance the great energy those two seem to have together, so I’m not complaining. Yet.

    Two, the feel of the drama. The similarities to Goong didn’t bother me so much because in Goong, I was always aware of the fact that the world they had constructed wasn’t entirely real. Even in the school scenes, there was a wisp of fantasy floating about. However, in Playful Kiss that same feeling of fantasy translated into wistfulness for me and maybe a bit of nostalgia. Like this happened a long time ago and now a mother is telling this story to her child. This slight air of poignancy makes this a much more interesting drama to me especially considering the source material, which frankly, didn’t translate well at all into the Taiwanese version.

    Which brings me to…the Taiwanese version. There’s bound to be plenty of comparisons, and I really think this one has the edge. “It Started with a Kiss” was a very immature drama–it’s characters were petty and overacted, it’s writing was childish and cliche ridden, and the directing was earnestly straightforward–almost so straightforward in fact that it played out like a really bad documentary of clumsy girl attempts to woo snobby boy. It’s really amazing how two different teams can take the same source material and come up with such different results. I think that’s why I might be so partial to this as opposed to other (better) dramas: It took an already overdone story and turned it into something new. Something equally as impressive considering the obvious similarities between this and the other versions.

    Overall? It’s not perfect. Far from it. But tonally, this drama fits my mood exactly. Hope the ratings pick up~!

    • 27.1 aya

      i agree, this drama definitely has that wistful and nostalgic tone that tugs at your heartstrings. and jung so min’s oh ha ni is so endearing that you can’t help but root for her. definitely brought back those awkward high school crush memories…like what JB said, “haven’t we all been there?”

    • 27.2 Wae

      Are you guys serious? I can’t believe this. I’m sure people are just bias against Taiwanese dramas in general. They may not have a fanatic fan following like K-dramas or J-dramas, but there are some decent stuff in there, albeit not many.

      I might not like ISWAK’s storyline but I wouldn’t let anyone say anything about the directing. It was definetely much more than Hwang In Roi’s directing here, who’s just can’t seem to free himself from the box. I thought I was a fan, but I am no longer so.

  28. 28 miss_procrastination

    I found the first episode slow, oh so slow. As the episode progressed though, I found it a lot more enjoyable.

    Kim Hyun Joong isn’t cardboard like he was as Jihoo. I think this role suits him a lot better. I adore Jung So-Min. I loved the Taiwanese version but I always had an issue with Ariel Lin’s portrayal. I thought she played her extremely dimwitted that it became a fault and not an endearing characteristic. Jung So-Min’s Ha-ni has a innocent charm and her lack of wit doesn’t diminish her character; it just enhances it.

    The second episode was decidedly easier to watch and drew me in a lot faster.

    Hopefully the Goong comparisons will add to the drama and not detract from it and I hope they get better ratings.

  29. 29 Balletbabe

    Oh this episode almost killed me from the boredom!!! And the comparison with Goong was not impressing. AT ALL!! She even wears pants under her uniform like the lead female character in Goong!! But I didn’t give up hope cause I love the storyline and I’m happy to say episode 2 is a step up, not by a whole lot but it was still better than the first I hope the writers make the storyline their own like they did with BBF!!

    Thanks for for your hard work JB

  30. 30 Hannah

    I actually like where this drama is going, and I think episode two is even stronger than the first (less daydream sequences, maybe? More funny?).

    Also, it’s such a pretty drama! At least on that front it held up. Thanks for the recap!

  31. 31 gisselle

    i really like the episode 2! omg can’t wait for your recaps!!!!
    i like jung o min she’s so pretty!!!
    allthough i didn’t like kim hyun joong i think i might like him for this show
    to those who will bash me for not liking KHJ at first, I will say everyone has her own preferences, and for me it’s not just KHJ.

    Thanks for your recaps!
    btw, i also like MGIAG’s recaps (I just commented here)

  32. 32 hunterbear

    Episode 1 was disappointing but I think ep 2 made up for it. I have to say I love the female lead. She’s adorable and has pretty good chemistry with KHJ. I’m not yet impressed with KHJ’s acting but I did notice that his shoulders have gotten broader since BOF. Woot woot! I think I’m in as long as they have of plenty of real kisses not that pressing his lips to her chin deal.

  33. 33 aya

    thanks for the recap, JB! i was actually holding my breath for this, feeling dazed as i am *trying* to defend this show and KHJ from all the bashing going on.

    your commentary is spot on. like you, i feel like there are a lot of unnecessary scenes and long-winded daydreams, but i found enough good things about this drama (especially after episode 2) to keep watching it. plus, its exactly what i need right now: a lighthearted drama about young love and all the giddiness that goes with it.

    looking forward to your next PK installment. arigatou! 🙂

  34. 34 chessy03

    Now that I think about it, u-know yunho’s drama heading to the ground even got better rating than this, its lowest is only at 4.3…

  35. 35 saranga

    i have to say, i was quite charmed with both episodes. no worries, i won’t talk about the second episode! but the first episode, i agree. the flashback with hani intimidating seungjo was uber long, and kim hyunjoong had very little to do in this episode.

    jung hyeyoung is possibly my favorite!! i have never seen the original so i have no idea what the character should be like, but i think she’s absolutely lovely as kim hyun joong’s mother. and the father is so cute haha

    i did like jung so-min, but i couldn’t help thinking that i still would have preferred park bo-young. only because (maybe) i keep seeing her spoiled character from bad guy on her face… she was very good in bad guy! just saying that i think park bo young has more of a natural sweet appeal. but i was really impressed with jung so-min’s acting. very natural, quite delicate and natural

  36. 36 Liesel

    Thanks for the recap (I was half-expecting you not to write one given all the negativity surrounding the first episode)! Personally, I ff-ed most of the fantasy sequences; they’re cute but they’re just too long-winded for my taste. And the bears at the end… Gaaah.. Goong much??

    But I’m still onboard. I don’t care about the ratings (but really, it’s just sad), and episode 2 does pick up the pace, so I’m going to keep on watching. I’m guessing most of the people following this avidly online, and continuing to like it despite all the bad news, are those who have originally watched the other versions and would like to see a different, more kdrama take on the story.

    IS it riding on the popularity of the manga and the Taiwanese version? Maybe. But we fans do expect more; expecting to be surprised and fall in love all over again.

    First impression: PK is cute, fluffy, with a dream-like vibe; and JSM is adorable. But at this point, PK could be more, honestly.

  37. 37 asianromance

    Thank you for the recap!!! And I loved how you mentioned Scrubs! I love Scrubs!!!

    I didn’t understand why the show felt the need to put all those fantasy sequences in.

    I sort of wish Ha-Ni displayed a bit more dumbness. Ha-Ni is a definite improvement on the Kotoko character (which is getting a bit dated for 2010) and I am enjoying JSM’s portrayal of her, but I don’t feel like the level between her and Seung-jo is that far apart right now since they seemed to make it a point in this episode of showing off Ha-Ni as being quite talented but just doesn’t do well in school. She could draw very well. She knows exactly where a stuck can is in the machine and knows where exactly to tap-kick the machine. She also has enough stamina to run 30+ laps. The only negative thing we saw about her is the D that Seung-jo gives her. 3 talents versus 1 fault. I think the writer is overcompensating for the Kotoko-dumbness that this Kotoko (Ha-Ni) doesn’t feel much like an underdog to me anymore. And I think we need that underdog aspect to make the drama more exciting.

    Other comments. Love the Bye Bye Sea band and the potential teacher story. Actually I’m more excited for the teacher couple than for our lead couple at the moment. Disliked Ha Ni’s friends. Enjoyed Joon-Gu. Neutral-ish on the KHJ acting.

    I heard episode 2 was better. I haven’t watched it yet, but i really hope they will get rid of the bears. If they MUST have two stuffed animals renacting the scene- why not rabbits? or chipmunks? or stuffed kitty cats? I think it would have been fun for this show to sneak in a goong parody- but now that it seems like it’s reusing some of the goong stuff for serious- not sure if a parody would work.

    • 37.1 Laica

      I agree, although the original Kotoko was so dumb that she was annoying at times – and had zero talents – I feel like Ha Ni is almost too talented to be the underdog, as you’ve said. It lessens the contrast between them, and blurs the edges of what should be the main conflict in this drama. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

    • 37.2 Autumn

      Kotoko may be majorly flawed, but she’s not completely so that she has no redeeming qualities. Kotoko, XianQin and HaNi maybe academically incompetent, but they all have great endurance, physically and mentally (hence the 30+lap).
      But yes, i agree, it does seem like this show is over-compensating for the Kotoko-dumbness, but i don’t think it makes her less of an underdog. Honestly, if they make her any more dumber, i don’t think i’d have to patience to continue it. but yeh, that’s just my opinion

  38. 38 akiyuki89

    ok, what to say, this show was interesting, but to me it was like watching the it started with a kiss show, but with korean dialogue. They need to somehow make this show more of their own, if anyone knows what i mean.

  39. 39 PK

    Perhaps it’s just because I have seen Jung So-min, the main actress, before (in Bad Guy), but I think she’s great! I really don’t understand all the “ugly” and “untalented” comments, because truthfully, I find her really adorable, and I think she was a fantastic choice for this drama.

    • 39.1 Nanci

      I don’t understand why anyone has to bring in ‘ugly’ to any actors or actresses. It’s petty and immature.

      But I like her character, i can relate to her character. And that should have always been the point, that even though she is not smart and in love with a snobby boy (which is a bad idea), you can see your faults in hers.

  40. 40 Niki

    I had trouble with this drama. I made it to the second fantasy and couldn’t really take much more. The pacing is a bit off and it definitely seems as if they drag certain parts out unnecessarily (her fantasies).

    I’ll go back and finish the first episode. I want to at least watch a couple before I completely drop it, just to say I at least tried to give PK a chance. At this point I can’t tell if KHJ’s character is written as cold and wooden or if he’s just playing him that way. I’ll try to reserve judgement on the rest of his acting.

  41. 41 ednacutie

    hmmm..this reminds me of the time after i watched twilight (book 1)..i kept my expectations low ‘coz lets face it, its pretty hard/tricky to translate something that was meant to be read to a live adaptation, i.e. movie/drama….soooo i was pleasantly surprised that i like PK more than what i expected..it aint perfect but it has its charm..and im looking forward to ep 3..oh how i wish we have more korean channels on cable..hehehe! thanx for the recap JB!

  42. 42 Purpleclouds

    I watched ep 1 & 2 raw, relied only upon expressions/body language = pleasant enough, i smiled alot. Later saw it with chinese sub but the words were so fast I caught half of it but I liked it even more, knowing what was going on basically. The girl plays a very spirited average girl, not beautiful, but I think lovable. KHJ did better than in BOF, I’d prefer him to add in more mean sharp devilish glares, but over all I really enjoyed watching his part of scenes.
    The rest of the cast are pretty fun. I wish they’d use other stuff animals or dolls to be original. The flash intermission-like song is kind of cute. I will watch this drama definitely.

  43. 43 jen

    i don’t like that little dream, fantasy she had in the beginning of the show

    reminds me of the ridiculous, ji-hoo playing the awkward violin in BOYS OVER FLOWER

    we’ll see how it goes though
    it’s not enough to catch my interest
    so i’ll stick with your recaps

    IF it starts getting my interest
    I might tune in, but for now, MY GIRLFRIEND IS A GUMIHO is taking my time

  44. 44 rainerust

    Great recap JB. Yeah, I agree that the episode wasn’t as bad as I feared (and I feared a fair bit based on comments and ratings) although there are lots of things that could have been improved. Pacing, directing, acting…although JSM is totally running away with her role. I LOVE her. The more I watch her in this though, the more reminded I am of YEH in Goong, except I think YEH didn’t have JSM’s range at that age.

    I’m still going to watch this, with hope, unless it starts to falter and fail me. JB, will you be stopping recaps on this series too? Or getting a guest recapper?

  45. 45 christy

    thanks for the recap! cant wait for episode 2 recap cos that episode is much better than the 1st one.
    I agree Jung So Min is sooo adorable here. Her facial expressions are perfect and she’s not too annoying like the girls in the other versions.
    and KHJ, although I didnt really like his acting in BOF but I like his acting here, he really improved. I guess it suits him more to become a meanie?
    I actually dont really mind the bears. They’re cute ^^
    anyway, cant wait for the 3rd episode.

  46. 46 ohsnapxitsmeh

    I just finished watching episode 1 and episode 2 and then came to your blog to see you posted the recap! Honestly, the beginning was a bit too much too. I was like, “What is going on?” But overall, besides the over exaggerated fantasies, I enjoyed it. I think you might like episode 2 a little bit better. Despite the low ratings and the fact that I know what’s going to happen next, I’m still going to watch it. It’s very intriguing. I love Jung Somin’s expression. They are so hilarious. HAHA. But Kim Hyun Joong isn’t all that bad. I mean, that is his everyday serious, cold look. I can’t wait for episodes 3 and 4. =)

  47. 47 Anonymous

    I just finished watching Eps 1 and 2 at viikii and was pleasantly surprised to find your Ep 1 recap. Yes, a bit too much use of daydreaming sequences, but I will bear with it. Apparently, that’s in keeping with the manga and maybe this adaptation is trying to keep with the manga.

    I fell in love with Prosecutor Princess only after Ep 4 and fell in love hard so I will give PK the benefit of being a late bloomer.

    The trouble with being the 4th adaptation, if we include the anime, is there’ll be lots of comparisons. Each adapatation will have its own pluses and minuses; it’s up to us to find the gems.

    Having watched several adaptations of the same jame Austen novel, I’ve learned to sort out the gems from the plain rocks.

    Thanks, javabeans, for the recap.

    • 47.1 deannadsc

      I too, am giving PK the benefit of the doubt!!! KDramas usually drag it out in the 1sy few episodes in their intent to establish the storyline, set the show’s pace & each characters’ backgrounds, etc.

      JB, thanks for a FAIR analysis…I agree with ALL your comments & some…

      Of course, I’m solely watching PK for KHJ eye candy & all….I”M SO HAPPY THAT HE HAS IMPROVED ON HIS ACTING + JSM is quite entertaining & a natural..very much suited for her Oh Ha NI role!!!

      I watched ISWAK only partially because I couldn’t, for the life of me STAND Ariel Lin’s OVER the TOP acting!!!
      And since I’ve already watched episode 2..I’m poised to LOVE this show, cuz as of now..it’s much, much better than ISWAK!!!

  48. 48 sunshine

    Yeah, the only thing I liked about the drama is how endearing JSM is with her teenage love.

  49. 49 jyyjc

    i agree with the whole long fantasy intro thing. it’s like..we know right away she’s either fantasizing or dreaming and we’re waiting for it to end soon and cut to the reality but it keeps dragging and dragging. and i think jung so min is perfect for this role and she portrays it so much better than ariel lin did in the taiwanese version. i never read the manga so i don’t know how annoying the character is suppose to be but jung so min doesn’t do it to an extent where she just plain annoys me that i want to punch her in the face sometimes.

  50. 50 crazedlu

    on my meh list.

    and ditto on the watching scrubs point.

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