Drama Recaps
Secret Garden: Episode 1
by | November 13, 2010 | 185 Comments

I’d been wary of getting excited about Secret Garden, because it’s so easy for hyped dramas to let you down, even when you love the cast. So it was with relief that I found the first episode light and funny, with a bustling pace and solid comic acting from the cast.

In addition to A-list leads Hyun Bin and Ha Ji-won, who are great, the drama is produced by a “hitmaker” team, the duo behind City Hall, On Air, Lovers in Paris, and Lovers in Prague. Despite the creds, I was cautious of writer Kim Eun-sook, because I have found her writing a little too glib and soulless for my liking in the past. Secret Garden is full of her trademark super-speed banter, but this time I was swept up in the zippiness because the characters are so engaging. She also drops in a number of pop-culture references, some of which involve the stars of her own previous dramas, which are fun to spot.

Secret Garden is off to a promising start with a strong 17.2% premiere. Granted, its competition wasn’t the strongest (MBC aired the news and KBS’s King Geunchogo is just getting started on its 70-episode run. They recorded 12.2% and 10.3%.). But perhaps it’s tapping in to an overlooked audience; it’s been a while since a romantic-comedy miniseries aired on the weekend, which I’ve always found curious — the viewership is there! Not everyone wants to see a million episodes of sageuk or family dramas, just sayin’…

SONG OF THE DAY

Secret Garden OST – “바라본다” (Looking at you) by Yoon Sang-hyun. This song is sung by Yoon Sang-hyun’s character and gets a fair bit of play in this episode.
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CHARACTERS

For the first half of the episode, KIM JOO-WON (Hyun Bin) pretty much ticks off all the boxes on the checklist of the Cold K-drama Hero: rich, arrogant, brusque, little tolerance for incompetence, fashionable, etc. He runs the LOEL department store, where employees grumble behind his back at his schedule; he only comes to the office two days a week. But they can’t really complain because he’s successful, and an exacting employer; he demands perfection from his executive team.

The stereotypical hero is enough to make you sigh, “Another one? Oh well, I’ll watch ’cause it’s Hyun Bin…” But halfway through the episode we get to see the other side of Joo-won, and it makes him suddenly a LOT more interesting. But we’ll address that when we get there.

GIL RA-IM (Ha Ji-won) — name pronounced like a cross between “lime” and “rhyme” — likewise has a very interesting dichotomy to her personality, which I’ll talk about more later. Ra-im is a hard-working stuntwoman for action movies, and since most of her colleagues at the action school are men, most of the time she acts like one of the guys.

She’s assertive and strong-willed in her personal life, but at work she is curiously quiet; she often holds her head down and accepts abuse (from the spoiled actress she stunts for) or harsh rebuke (from the director) even when such treatment is undeserved. I suspect that she’s worked so hard to get where she is that she fears that she’d lose it by pushing back, and also feels that as a woman in her field, she has to work extra-hard to prove herself.

Thankfully, she’s got her hot boss on her side, IM JONG-SOO (Philip Lee), the director of the action school who sees her for her worth. The fact that he’s in lurve with her is no doubt a big factor.

Then there’s Joo-won’s cousin and hyung, whose name is apparently OSKA and not Oscar — although what the heck kind of name is Oska? — played by Yoon Sang-hyun. He’s a famous singer with a particularly strong fanbase in Japan.

The two cousins have a competitive relationship, though I think it’s more on the side of Joo-won, who always has to one-up his hyung. Oska’s real name is CHOI WOO-YOUNG, and as part of his petty rivalry, Joo-won chooses to call him by that name rather than Oska.

YOON SEUL (Kim Sa-rang) takes her place as second lead with gusto; already I can feel that it’s gonna be a lot of fun to hate her. She’s a well-educated CF director, armed with a prestigious family background and the snobby, entitled attitude to match. I can’t wait to watch her downfall. Seul will have relationships with both Oska and Joo-won, but for the details I’ll turn to the recap:

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We start out with a lush, extravagant landscape straight out of an Austen novel, zooming across the well-kept grounds to the enormous mansion where our hero, Kim Joo-won, resides.

His rich, successful celebrity cousin Oska lives in the same environs, and as he heads into the city that morning, Joo-won can’t escape witnessing Oska making out with his actress girlfriend at the side of the road. Sigh. Typical Oska behavior.

Also typical is how Oska sends off his dim girlfriend, breaking up with her in his cavalier fashion, saying basically, “It’s been nice, see ya!” She does not take this well.

Joo-won meets his mat-seon date at a museum, and Seul does her best to impress him with her looks, smarts, background. Only, he’s not very impressionable and shows little interest. You’d think she’d be offended at his rudeness, but his words are just veiled enough that she’s not sure if he’s being insulting or saying something she doesn’t understand.

As they walk through the museum and have coffee, Seul notes his detachment and remarks that he’s free to leave. She’s not interested in an arranged marriage with a reluctant partner, either.

I’m sure she means to sound liberated and free-thinking, but to her surprise Joo-won takes the opposite tack, scoffing at the idea that love is worth throwing away everything else for, especially if you ultimately end up with someone “beneath” your level whom you can’t even talk to. What, does he think marrying below social class is like cross-species mating? I begin to see why he’s single.

Seul is used to being fawned over, so she finds Joo-won’s cold rejection intriguing. Chatting in the fancy VIP lounge of his department store with one of her spineless toadies, she’s hardly set down by his dismissal at all. Seul is a snob of the worst order, already fancying herself his wife, and casts a derisive eye around her at all the other social-climbing wannabes in the lounge. She has already mentally taken her place as the First Lady of LOEN department store. They say something about counting eggs and chickens and spilled milk, don’t they?

She also had a past relationship with Oska, which she intends to keep a secret from Joo-won.

The ritzy ladies of the VIP lounge burst into a chorus of murmurs and dirty looks when a woman enters, and you can practically see the signs lighting up above the well-coifed heads that are smoking with indignation: SHE IS NOT ONE OF US.

Seul stands up for all the oppressed rich ladies forced to endure this affront to their delicate sensibilities and confronts Ra-im, who dares to inflict her off-the-rack clothing and tough-girl looks upon them. Seul berates the waitress for being lax with their strict VIP policy and snatches her nametag to have her reported.

Contrary to my expectation, Ra-im doesn’t fight or talk back, but quickly offers to leave. She’s a friend of the waitress and, as a former employee, was let through to the lounge. Ra-im even tries to approach Seul afterward to plead for her friend’s nametag back, but before she has a chance, Seul’s friend is mugged.

Ra-im isn’t particularly inclined to go after the thief, but the girl launches into a bout of hysterics, and Ra-im sees that this might help her case. She takes off on bike after the mugger (who jumped into a car), going through a series of BMX-style stunts like jumping stairs and rails.

She fights off the gang of thieves, retrieves the stolen handbag, and returns it. She doesn’t even get a grudging thanks in response; rather, Seul snatches it and tells her friend to make sure nothing was taken. How nice of the drama to make it extra-stunningly clear that we are meant to hate her, just in case the previous scenes were keeping you on the fence.

Ra-im asks for her friend’s nametag back, which Seul says she threw into the trash. Fed up with Seul’s attitude, Ra-im orders HER to go through the trash to get it, since she’s the one who put it there.

Seul was lying, and rather than rifling through the garbage, she gives up the pin from her purse and declares that they’re square. Ra-im has a pretty fantastic response: She grabs a used tissue from the friend and throws it into Seul’s handbag, saying that she’s putting the garbage into the real trash can.

Given her assertiveness above, it’s interesting to see how reserved Ra-im is at work, accepting the insults of the movie’s star, CHAE-RIN, whom she stunt-doubles for. Who happens to be the girl Oska just dumped.

Ra-im listens to Oska’s music to console herself, and the attentive action director Jong-soo knows both that Chae-rin was being bitchy and that it upsets Ra-im, even though Ra-im insists that she’s fine. The stuntmen assure her that it’s just because Chae-rin’s jealous that she’s prettier, which is, I’ll admit, pretty sweet of them (even though part of me balks at the belittling nature of that statement — as though the only reason women are mean is because someone else is prettier. We’re such bitches that way).

Ra-im doesn’t like being pitied, and cutely responds in a way designed to ward off sympathy: by joking that this is the burden of being born so pretty, sigh, but what can she do about it?

Interestingly, it seems that Ra-im does have an inner girly side, but she keeps it covered up with her tomboyish attitude. For instance, someone compliments her on a job well done, and she accepts it with pleasure, one foot tucked behind the other in a little-girl pose of aw-shucks bashfulness. Also interesting is how Jong-soo clearly sees her very much as a woman and treats her as such, although she’s oblivious. (Also: Philip Lee is so hot.)

Oh no, I can feel it already — Second Lead Syndrome — because Jong-soo is already showing himself to be the kind of guy who’ll never get the girl although he deserves her more than anyone else. Example: He thinks of Ra-im’s feelings first, even when that makes his own invisible. Swoon.

He gives her tickets to an Oska concert, knowing she’s a huge fan, and puts the tickets into her locker. So I totally awwed when Ra-im ends up bringing Jong-soo with the extra ticket, even though he told her to bring a friend. While she looks up admiringly up at the stage, Jong-soo looks admiringly at her.

Joo-won’s here too, though bored out of his mind. He goes on about how Oska is a sucky singer, but his sister (who dragged him here) warns that if he doesn’t behave, she’s going to tell Oska oppa not to renew his contract with their department store.

Seul is also here, looking wistful, which I suppose supports the idea that she does, technically, have a heart. I remain skeptical, however.

In addition to his lax work schedule, another reason Joo-won’s employees complain is his pretentious insistence on taking the escalators. (Employees are supposed to bow respectfully to the CEO whenever they come across his path. If he took the elevator, they could cut out the obsequious fanfare that welcomes his arrivals, but he opts for the grand entrances.)

One matter of business: renewal of Oska’s contract as their main model. Joo-won doesn’t like doing it, but he knows that for the company’s sake, he’s gotta suck it up and appeal to his cousin.

Part of the problem, aside from the rivalry issue, is that Oska has gotten conceited ever since ascending to the “Hallyu star” ranks. Currently, he’s trying to find a director for his new music video, but nobody will work with him because of his diva reputation.

The other part of the problem is the contract fee, which the men discuss over drinks. Joo-won points out that it’s not a matter of money, but pride. He won’t give Oska a pay increase, while Oska refuses to lower his rate. Ego, meet impasse.

Oska’s attention is seized by a singer taking the stage, whose performance of Clazziquai’s “Dance” has him mesmerized. (The profile gives the singer’s name as Sun, a 23-year-old genius musician — gah, what’s with all the geniuses in Korean dramas? Can’t a guy simply be skilled without being a prodigy all the frickin’ time?)

Chae-rin’s still peeved about being dumped so shabbily — how dare Oska refuse her calls when he answers those by After Cool Cool’s Unee? LOL. Pop-culture jokes, you always make me laugh. Chae-rin threatens to reveal their relationship to the reporters who are here to cover the film.

This puts Chae-rin in a foul mood, so when she reluctantly practices for the upcoming action scene, she makes an angry swipe in the air with her sword — straight at Ra-im. They’re thrown off-balance, and Ra-im lurches forward to grab her, but they both crash into a pile of props.

Chae-rin shrieks over a teeny scratch on her thumb while Ra-im has suffered the brunt of impact, landing on glass and cutting her arm. But rather than cause trouble, she covers up with a jacket and apologizes for the accident.

The director yells at Ra-im for injuring the actress, while Jong-soo gets indignant on her behalf. When the director threatens to fire them, Jong-soo declares that he’ll withdraw his team from the movie — he can’t keep his crew safe on a set like this.

Spurred by Chae-rin’s threat to release photos as proof of their relationship, Oska calls Joo-won to beg a favor — find Chae-rin on set and stall her for a few hours. He can’t go because he’s about to record an appearance on Chocolate (SBS call-out! The talk show is hosted by a two-time star in writer Kim’s dramas, Kim Jung-eun).

Joo-won doesn’t want to do it, but Oska’s so desperate that he agrees to sign the contract renewal — and is coerced into signing for free, ha!

This cuts Joo-won’s session short with his psychiatrist, and we learn that he’s currently taking pills to deal with a debilitating fear. Sounds like an acute case of claustrophobia, as merely riding an elevator renders him unable to breathe — which is when we start to see that Joo-won’s outer shell is just that, a mask put on to cover up his soft emotional underbelly. He insists on taking the escalator because he’d rather be called haughty than the truth of his fear being known.

Can you see where this plan is going to go awry? Joo-won gets to the set and asks for the actress Chae-rin, and is directed toward Ra-im instead, since they’re dressed the same.

Joo-won opens with, “You know Oska, right?” He drives them to the hotel where they first met, and Joo-won assumes it’s clear that they’re going to a hotel used for the lovers’ rendezvous. On the other hand, Ra-im thinks to the first time she actually DID meet Oska, in a hotel for a press junket.

Upon hearing the suite number, Joo-won curses up a storm. We don’t understand why until they get there and he eyes the elevator warily, and makes up the excuse that he’s not the “kind of guy” who wants to be seen riding the elevator with a woman going up to the hotel room. Basically it’s hooey and he sounds like a square, but it’s all to avoid riding up in that box o’ death, and instead he takes to the stairs.

While waiting in the suite, Ra-im thinks back to that first meeting, when she was playing the double for Kim Sun-ah (another call-out! Kim, you will recall, was in writer Kim’s City Hall). Alas, no cameo.

The following conversation is a silly mix of double entendres and miscontrued meanings as Joo-won and Ra-im have two entirely different conversations with each other.

For instance, Joo-won asks how long she has been “meeting” (dating) Oska. Ra-im takes it at face value and says it’s been a while. Joo-won asks how much money she usually takes, meaning as payoff, because Chae-rin is demanding money as settlement.

When Joo-won asks about the photos she shot (he means Chae-rin’s sexy photos), Ra-im thinks he’s asking for her “appearance fee” as a stunt double. He smirks because it sounds like a flowery euphemism, and his eyes widen at her answer: She gets paid extra for outdoor and rural appearances, since rooftops and forests are all the rage right now. My inner twelve-year-old is howling with laughter, I’ll have you know.

It gets even better: Ra-im offers that car scenes pay the most, because they’re the most difficult. He nods, “Sure, those are hard. It’s uncomfortable and cramped. But the men like it.” (SNERK.) He’s amazed at her boldness and lack of shame as she agrees readily, “Yes, men like things that are speedy and stimulating.”

Ra-im finally catches on that he thinks she’s Chae-rin, then calls him a country bumpkin for making such a silly mistake.

She gets a call from the AD about their afternoon shoot, so she offers to bring Joo-won to Chae-rin. But if they wanna make it in time, he’d better let her drive.

Really, this scene is worth it just for Hyun Bin’s girlish screams.

They make it back in time for Joo-won to get to the press conference before Chae-rin confirms anything. He’s able to urge her into silence by threatening further scandal, and that takes care of that.

On his way out, Joo-won catches a glimpse of Ra-im in the thick of a fighting scene, and the sight of her awesome skills has him impressed, and even a bit smitten.

He waits around to catch her after she’s done filming, and talks to her in his blunt, inquisitive way. He isn’t being purposely rude when he asks why she’s doing physical work, but his lack of tact comes out rudely as he wonders if that’s because she’s not smart. (She kicks him in response.)

He’s like a little boy, saying random stuff to keep the conversation going, and he thinks she’s faking her arm injury — until he sees that she’s trailing blood.

She’s trying to hide it from the crew and hushes him, but he’s appalled that she’s taking such poor care of herself. She’s feverish and weak, and he insists on checking her in to the hospital.

On their way in, Joo-won makes it clear it’s not that he’s interested in her, and that he’s just acting out of basic ethics and blah blah blah, which just sounds like a bunch of excuses to me. He even calls his own doctor to tend to her, which amazes Dr. Lee because it’s so unlike him. Plus, she’s a psychiatrist.

When Ra-im’s phone rings (it’s from “My boss”), Joo-won answers, and Jong-soo rushes over after hearing what happened to her. Meanwhile, Joo-won notices that Ra-im is wearing, of all things, Oska socks. Affronted, he pulls them off her feet and tosses them in the trash.

Jong-soo arrives just as Ra-im wakes up, furious at her for ignoring her injury — he’s seen too many people hurt themselves this way — but also peeved that another guy is here. And when she sways in dizziness, he’s too slow to catch her because Joo-won gets to her first. Jong-soo rectifies this by shoving Joo-won aside to carry Ra-im out.

Joo-won follows them outside and watches as Ra-im maintains strict formality with her boss, saying she’s fine and doesn’t need him to take her home. Jong-soo relents and tells her to take a taxi home, but she walks instead.

Joo-won drives slowly, keeping his gaze fixed on Ra-im trudging along, and finally pulls over.

In his blunt way, he asks if she was hoping the director would come back for her. Or maybe she has no money. If that’s the case, he’ll take her home. He even offers to put up the convertible top, which he’d refused to do earlier.

Just then, a van screeches up and out pops Oska, who’s dying to know what happened with Chae-rin. He starts in on his usual bickering with Joo-won, until he takes notice of the pretty woman standing with him and reverts to glib words, saying that he recognizes her eyes.

Joo-won sighs that he’s in playboy mode again, but it seems Oska really does remember her. It was on the film Welcome to Dongjakgoo (LOL) where she was the double for Kim Sun-ah’s level 10 civil servant (which was the rank of Kim’s City Hall character). He even remembers her name, and declares, “Gil Ra-im!”

Ra-im all but melts into a fan-worshippy puddle at his feet, touched to be remembered by her star crush. Oska smiles at her in full charm mode, while Joo-won gapes as though to grumble, You have gotta be kidding me.

 
COMMENTS

The goofy fantasy premise — of body-swapping — was enough to get me interested in this drama, but it’s the characters who are keeping me invested. They’re even more winning than I’d been expecting — although, to be fair, I was telling myself to keep my expectations down for fear of being disappointed.

What I dig the most is the abundant sense of humor, and how the actors are really going for it. Not that I doubted Hyun Bin and Ha Ji-won were up to the task, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen them both being so full-on comedic; they’ve both done a lot of dramatic, serious stuff in recent years.

One great recurring bit: Joo-won’s sparkly tracksuit, which I’d snarked on previously without expecting the drama to do so as well. It’s a running gag that it makes him look like a tacky ajusshi, and each time he defends himself, saying, “This jacket isn’t what you think it is!” (It’s basically a sparkly Members Only jacket, aka cool only in the ’80s, and even then that’s a matter of debate.) He even pulls out the label and goes on about how it was hand-stitched in Italy, but nobody cares, which makes it all the funnier because of how very much HE cares.

But what I love most about these characters is how both leads have these contradictory sides. Joo-won initially seems cold and uppity and stereotypical, but when we look closer it becomes clear that it’s all an act — a big attempt to overcompensate for his insecurities. He doesn’t want rumors to spread about his deathly fear of the elevator, because that would be the worst thing ever — even though I bet everyone would like him a lot more if they knew. In fact, his whole persona has been crafted to cover up his weaknesses, like his refusal to come to the office more.

I also like that he’s not the beat-around-the-bush type. He doesn’t try to be slick or cool when he tells Ra-im he wants to drive her home. It’s tantamount to a frank admission of interest. And when she balks, he responds that he doesn’t need a reason to take her home other than wanting to do it. And he wants to do it.

Then there’s Ra-im, who becomes shy and bashful when she’s complimented. At first I thought Ha Ji-won was purposely deepening her voice for the role, but now I think it’s Ra-im who’s purposely deepening it to act like one of the boys. She dresses casually and doesn’t put an effort into looking feminine, but she does seem wistful when she overhears the director telling Chae-rin that all she has to do is look pretty. It’s not much of a compliment, but it’s like she’d like a chance to be pretty herself, too.

So: He’s unexpectedly boyish, she’s unexpectedly girlish. It’s very cute.

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185 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Bun

    Thanks JB!

    • 1.1 pabo ceo reom

      Woot woot. Must get home so I can watch it! :)

  2. deanaz

    wow really cant wait to watch….for hyun bin an ha ji won my fav actor and actrees

    • 2.1 ilikehim

      Funny ,I was NEVER a fan of Hyun Bin (or Ha Ji Won) but he totally won me over by episode 2.
      He’s so blunt and adorable.

      And I am usually not interested in fantasy-ish stuff. Yet, I loving this drama already because of Joo Won.

      • 2.1.1 Serious

        seriously. i only thought hyunbin was good looking… i never really thought he was that excellent at acting or anything. i love his character. so. much.

  3. Anonymous

    Hyun bin face is too skinny, I like him better when he’s a bit fluffy and Yong Sang Hyun looking more like Yoon Eun Hye.

    • 3.1 dit

      LOL. Awesome comment is awesome.

      I do think Hyun Bin is really too skinny here.

      • 3.1.1 Sukispop

        I agree; Hyun Bin looks too skinny. He looked much better in his other works. This isn’t a trend in Korea, is it? I’ve noticed that Jung Joon Ho, currently in Queen of Reversals, has also lost quite a bit of weight. He looked a lot better(and healthier) in Iris.

      • 3.1.2 Carinne

        It’s about time, SHG comes home to Seoul to take care of her bf; all HB needs is his gf’s TLC to re-beef himself.

      • 3.1.3 Sean

        oh my god , I noticed that too!
        I’m actually quite distressed, he looks so much better not all skeletal :/

    • 3.2 jeezvive

      Yoon Sang Hyun looking like Yoon Eun Hye? heehee :D

      • 3.2.1 guest

        Yoon sang also looks like he’s had a make-over turned bad? i liked him in queen of housewives where he was looking more cute & handsome even at that time he was also skinny i guess it’s his hairstyle?

    • 3.3 rayray

      yahh i knooow! His face is looking all hollow like! I like it full:P

    • 3.4 Anonymous

      YSH does look like YEH! or is it the other way around – YEH is starting to look like YSH!

      Why are the men in this drama look like they’ve lost weight? Esp HB and YSH, their cheeks used to be full, but now …. surgery?

    • 3.5 guest

      i agree with you plus yoon sang hyun didn’t seem as charming as he was as taebong in queen of h. Yoon sang also seems to have a shallow face, i cldn’t recognize him either. but yesh HB doesn’t look good in this drama compared to Snow Queen where oh he was really handsome!

  4. Nana

    wow .. I loved the first episode .. o no I’m hooked now

    Thankx JB

  5. rayray

    what?? its out already! ayayaya I totally forgot this show as I was suffering from SKKS withdrawal haha!

    phew now i m relived that I have something new to focus on.

    • 5.1 rayray

      btw what is exactly is the genre of this show? I mean I remember they were selling it as a melodramatic fantasy(which is one of the reasons why I didnt think much about the show haha) but reading the recaps it seems to be more of a romantic comedy(with future fantasy elements).

      Oh boy! I seriously cant wait until subbed videos are out!

  6. Nabby

    I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

    This show seems awesome! Thanks for the recap! Now, off to watch!

    Also, how awesome is Hyun Bin’s face in the very last picture?

  7. Mushi

    I cannot wait for English subs to come out so I can watch :). Seems like I’m going to have something to look forward to after Dr. Champ ends.

    Thanks for the recap (made me anticipate the series even more)!

    • 7.1 Mushi

      Btw…is Ha Ji Won wearing latex…cause that’s hot.

      >_>
      <_<
      *hides*

  8. fiey

    OMG, screams!!!

    thanks you sooo much Javabeans!
    i’ve been hoping you like the first episode or at least feel like doing a recap.

    i didnt understand what they’re talking at all and this episode seriously had lot of talks which at the beginning kinda bored me a lilttle. but i do like the pace, the acting, the editing. HJW is sooo cool and badass. however only when the lead couple met, i enjoyed myself tremendously. they have great chemistry. i love their bickering! and their character dynamic are interesting. Hyun Bin is sooo funny and tomorrow’s episode will surely be even funnier based from the montage at the end. seriously cant wait.

    also i really really like Baek Ji Young’s song. and the scenes it accompanied, love them so much!! cant stop replaying them.

    again, thank u Javabeans. i hope this drama will just get better because i have no other new dramas to watch after Girlfriend Gumiho.

    *off to read*

  9. Fan

    Ha! Nice on JB- thanks a million! :)

    (On that last line “He’s so unexpectedly boyish and she’s so unexpectedly girlish it’s cute.” I actually think he too is unexpectedly girlish! ;) Which would make it even more funny when they swap souls!)

    I’m sold!

  10. 10 Fan

    Ha! Nice one JB- thanks a million! :)

    (On that last line “He’s so unexpectedly boyish and she’s so unexpectedly girlish it’s cute.” I actually think he too is unexpectedly girlish! ;) Which would make it even more funny when they swap souls!)

    I’m sold!

  11. 11 kay

    i so want to watch this. sounds hilarious. thanks JB!

  12. 12 saranga

    i was so surprised by this drama! because it was a weekend drama, and because of the title, i thought it would be quite serious and so i was surprised when i began watching. didn’t realize till right before i downloaded it that it was a kim eun sook work either… huh…

    body swapping?? i think i need to go back and reread all your posts on secret garden, pay a bit more attention to this now kkkk

  13. 13 Kaedejun

    Wow that is fast! Sounds like a funnier drama than initially appeared to be! Cool!

    I am now curious to see how comedic Hyun Bin is, since i’ve never seen him as someone very comedic. Even in Kim Sam Soon there was a level of gravitas to him while Kim Sun Ah was all comedy.

  14. 14 purexorange

    Thank you so much for the recap! I was watching with chinese subs, but even with those they talked really fast and I didn’t really get some parts, but your recap totally cleared things up! I didn’t have much interest after not being able to understand some of it, but after this, I totally want to watch tomorrows episode.

  15. 15 tildy

    I too was surprised at how much I enjoyed this episode!

    Also, every time I hear dGil Ra Im’s name, I thought Key Lime! which made me happy.

  16. 16 kerii

    ooh a new Hyun Bin drama!!! I can’t wait to watch! It sounds interesting!

  17. 17 jen

    darn i want to see this sooooo much now after i read your recap. this drama has already interest me from the beginning and i had already liked the story line and the actors and actresses esp hyunbin and jiwon.

    will definitely catch up on this drama when i have time

  18. 18 rainey

    Thanks for the recap! I’m really excited to dig into this story.

  19. 19 ockoala

    Love your recap! Like very much episode 1 of SG! Win and win!

    (honestly, this was a completely unexpected treat, I know you always keep an open mind, but I never thought a KES drama would hook you regardless because her style is so very set in her ways).

    Thank you, JB. I don’t say it enough, but you are a truly amazingly facile and gifted writer. :-D

  20. 20 brookeeve

    This was an unexpected Saturday night treat, JB! Thank you for this!

    I can’t wait to see what Binnie does next!

  21. 21 fiey

    ‘He’s unexpectedly boyish, she’s unexpectedly girlish. It’s very cute. ‘

    i like this change soooo much too!

    the 2nd half makes this episode soooo much more enjoyable than i expected.

    love the characters and now i just hope the writing will just get better!

    like you, i’ve been trying to put low expectation too but cant help hoping it will turn out good because the casts are just sooo promising, it’ll be a pity.

    Hyun Bin’s girlish acting is just epic win funny. i laughed so hard when he scream while HJW was driving his car. i know i’ll have so much fun watching their body soul swapping after this. but i do love HB’s concern stares at HJW too, with BJY’s ost in the background.

  22. 22 kitkatx

    Oooh! Sounds fun! Hyun Bin’s face is so sharp, and wow, Ha Ji Won and her brother from SKKS really do look alike. Yay, siblings. :P

  23. 23 misa

    and now im thinking that i might have just found the cure to my SKKS addiction.. thank you JB!

  24. 24 sunshine

    Thanks for the recap! When I first heard the premise, I was like “meh,” but I saw the trailer for it and I just couldn’t get enough. I think it’s going to be a fun one. My favorite part from the episode: when RaIn was furrowing her eyebrows while sleeping in the hospital and JW places a finger on her forehead to unfurrow them. So cute.

  25. 25 annieee

    sounds very cute indeed! thanks so much jb!
    i miss binnie and his funny antics ala MNIKSS. im glad he’s back on the comedy bandwagon. i initially wasn’t too excited for this one either, but because it’s binnie, it looks like i’ll have to check it out :D
    they had so many sun ah references! i wish they’d get her to cameo, and then we’d have sam shik and sam soon reunited on screen again!! that would’ve been spazz-tastic material!
    and ha ji won looks friggin awesome.

  26. 26 sora

    Thanks Javabeans. Now i just might watch this drama

  27. 27 diarylara

    is there any posting on youtube for this drama?i really hope to see as soon as possible

  28. 28 xiaoSxin

    thanks for the recap!!!

    and you are right JAVABEANS..I have a good feeling there’s another strong second lead syndrome brewing.

    Man the minute Philip Lee was on screen.. I sat up straight and say HAWT..

    is it just me or Philip Lee’s Jong Soo has a striking resemblance to Yoo Ah In’s Jae Shin.

    1. Looks – they both look gruff, long hair, with stubles and facial hair (HOT and SEXY)

    2. attitude – both very manly, and tough

    3. in lurve with the girl – oh man, I KNEW he loves her the moment he looked at HJW!!! That gaze at the concert? PRICELESS and HEARTBRAKING.. you can see the adoration in his eyes for this one girl..

    Man oh man.. SG.. may be THE crack drama of the year for me. We just have to wait and see.

    • 28.1 rayray

      He does! Even though i m already loving the lead(well its hyun bin after all kekeke) my heart is aching for Philip leee!

  29. 29 Ojou_Belle

    Yay! THE recap I’ve been waiting for…thanks JB!

    I’m definitely going to watch this drama….

    it’s so unexpectedly fresh and swoony.

  30. 30 rockee

    Hahaha I already love this drama. Thanks for the recap!

  31. 31 Htagged

    I love your recap! Seems like I have to add Secret Garden to my long list of dramas to watch. But excited!

  32. 32 epyc

    JB, thanks for the superfast recap!

    This first episode does live up to the hype, crispy dialogues, very interesting characters and fast-paced plots that keep us hooked. It’s funny how the horrible blue sparklie is a plot in itself despite our earlier snarking. And, wish you had covered the scene when HB smoothed out HJW’s frowning brow on the hospital bed – so boyishly adorable.

    I think HJW’s girlish foot tucking would be something that HB does after the body-swap happens.

  33. 33 asianromance

    thank you for the recap!

    this drama is so incredibly and i agree that the characters are lovable!

    I love that she’s an Oska fan!! The Oska socks crack me up!

    Can you imagine this- after the body swap, she’ll be in Joo Won’s body, fawning over Oska! the horror!!

  34. 34 Anonymous

    Ookay…Now I have to see it! SG and MSOAN to my list.

  35. 35 Lemon

    Oh my gosh! This sounds really good! Might just be better than Mary Stayed Out All Night, which was a little cliched and slow for me even though I love Jang Geun Suk and Moon Geun Young.

    And I loled at the name OSKA.

    I was hesitating on watching this at first, but your recap made me convinced that I’d probably love this show.
    Thanks Javabeans (:

  36. 36 Jana2010

    Two of my fave star in a show is enough… but this show just keeps on going..
    -funny scenes
    -solid-based characters
    -interesting plot and storyline

    LOVE it period!!! :)

    Thanks a LOT JB!

  37. 37 tori

    yoon sanghyun’s hairdo is disturbing. he looks gay-ish and not really attractive. sorry. he looks awkward compared to the lead stars.

    • 37.1 kitkatx

      Well, we all know how metrosexual many Korean guys are haha, but yeah, I don’t think it suits him.

    • 37.2 Sukispop

      Yoon Sang-hyun’s hair style was better in My Fair Lady.

      But he sure knows how to sing.

  38. 38 lina

    I was wondering for a while now if you’re gonna recap this cause it’s been on my to-watch-when-it-airs list for a while now after PK ended; so I’m so happy now that it’s here. I rarely read your recap before watching the ep first but I was looking forward to this a lot and just couldn’t help but read it and it certainly didn’t let my expectations down.

  39. 39 snow

    this sounds so cute, can’t wait to watch it. thanks jb for the lovely recap, i was giggling throughout. loved the screencap of hyun bin’s screams.

  40. 40 Sammi510

    Awesome recap. Simply perfect. I’ve seen the 1st ep. multiple times now cuz it is so good. I had low hopes too as I didn’t want to get disappointed. I only really wanted to watch it b/c of my HUGE girl crush on HJW. She’s never let me down. Hope the greatness of the 1st episode continues on until the end. Thanks again.

  41. 41 byeol

    At first it didn’t interest me much but now it SOUNDS and LOOKS promising! TQ JB for the recap =)

  42. 42 Maggie Y

    This drama was totally different than I expected. I skimmed through the recap and the story line got me hooked. Watched it and was pleasantly surprised! This is a drama I am def going to keep watching!

  43. 43 nine

    i was gonna skim but ended up reading the whole thing. haha great recap as usual. subs are almost done and i can’t wait to watch tomorrow!

  44. 44 Annie

    I am going to watch it, sounds so fun

  45. 45 akiyuk89

    martial arts action, comedy, romance, my god, i love this drama already!

  46. 46 ais

    It looks so much fun! Will definitely check this out.. The thought of Hyun Bin acting all girlish is promising :)
    Ha Ji Won is simply fierce and sexy here!

  47. 47 Amg1

    JB, thank you Lots!!!!!!!!

    I had no real expectation about this drama but after the first episode I am “hook”. the previews for episode look pretty funny, I also like the pace of the drama and I can see the chemistry of the 2 leads from the beginning, thank you again for your hard work!!!!!!!!
    : O }

  48. 48 müge

    I knew that I’d like the drama but not guess that I would fall in love with the first ep.
    everything is awesome, even action scenes- which I don’t like generally.
    especially, I was looking forward to see HB-HJW together and I was right, perfect chemistry, melting…
    I’m really happy and excited. now, my weekends will be brighter^^

  49. 49 im_eve

    “Can’t a guy simply be skilled without being a prodigy all the frickin’ time?”

    haha so kdrama true!!!

    i’m on this…if i’ll have the leisure time nyehe

  50. 50 dramacafe

    Thanks JB!

    I’ve been looking forward for the 1st episode and I’m glad I was not disappointed.

    It was funny, cute and endearing!

    What bothers me is Yoon Sang Hyun’s do, I wish they’d style it differently than that horrendous hair style he’s sporting now in the drama. Come on he’s supposed to be playing a Hallyu star…stars have stylists and that’s the best the stylist can do? Watching him don that style makes me cringe in my seat. Hahaha!

    Other than that I find Hyun Bin, oh so funny and adorkable and Ha Ji Won cute and charming. It’s just so engaging to watch them both on screen together!

    I’m waiting how their lives will change with the body swap and how they will learn from each other through that process. Perhaps RI will learn to be more assertive from JW and JW will be more accepting of his fears.

    Can’t wait for tonight’s episode!

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