Drama Recaps
Delightful Girl Chun-hyang: Episode 1
by | December 17, 2010 | 194 Comments

New feature: First Episode series!

Time constraints keep us from being able to write “classic recaps” for older dramas, but I thought it would be a fun idea to revisit old dramas to recap just the first episodes. It’ll give us a chance to reminisce on old favorites while also providing an introduction to the shows.

To aid in navigation, I’ve created a new tag (use this: first episodes) so you can sort through all the Episode 1 recaps on this site. (Also, if you’ve missed it, we do have a Tag Index on the site, linked on the bottom of the page.)

For the inaugural post in this series, I’ve decided on a drama I’ve often referenced as one of my emotional favorites, 2005’s Delightful Girl Chun-hyang. We all have those dramas that occupy a special place in our hearts — whether it’s because of a particular character, storyline, or where we were in our lives when we first saw it. This one’s mine.

In case you’re unfamiliar, this is the first series written by the Hong sisters (Hong Mi-ran, Hong Jung-eun), who would go on to reteam with this director in My Girl. They followed that with 2007’s Fantasy Couple, 2008’s Hong Gil Dong, 2009’s You’re Beautiful, and 2010’s My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho. Yeah, they’re busy.

Delightful Girl Chun-hyang (also called Sassy Girl Chun-hyang, which has nothing to do with the movie My Sassy Girl), aired on KBS from January through March 2005. It actually remains the highest-rated of the Hong sisters dramas, enjoying ratings starting in the high teens and culminating at 30%.

SONG OF THE DAY

Delightful Girl Chun-hyang OST – “자유로와” (Come free) by Jiny. I think this song gets across right from the get-go how energetic and fun this drama is. [ Download ]

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STORY & PREMISE

Fusion sageuks are all the rage now, but when Chun-hyang first aired, the fusion concept was, if not completely novel, much fresher. The story is a loose modern reinterpretation of the folk tale of Chun-hyang, which has been made into several movies (notably 2000’s Chunhyang) and was parodied in the goofy Story of Hyang Dan.

In the original story, Chun-hyang and Mong-ryong are young lovers in Joseon times who undergo lots of trials and tribulations before ending up happily ever after. Among the problems that besiege the young couple: class differences (he’s a magistrate’s son, she’s the daughter of a gisaeng entertainer, and therefore they Cannot Be), a secret marriage (which includes a separation as he goes off to study in the capital and leaves her behind), and an evil magistrate (who, in hubby’s absence, tries to win her over and punishes her for remaining faithful to her husband).

When Mong-ryong returns to his hometown, he hears of his wife’s straits. He is by now a state official, dressed undercover as a beggar to investigate corruption in the government, and finds the magistrate guilty of many misdeeds. The couple is reunited and Chun-hyang is honored for her virtuousness.

(In the aforelinked Hyang Dan minidrama, the writer plays with the question of Mong-ryong falling in love with Chun-hyang’s servant girl instead of Chun-hyang herself in a hilarious spoof.)

To this end, DGCH incorporates parody sageuk segments at the end of each episode — the series is modern otherwise — which poke fun at the themes of the current episode. The parodies don’t affect the main plotline, but are cute skits that riff off the main events.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We start off in a scene from the Chun-hyang folktale: the virtuous SUNG CHUN-HYANG (Han Chae-young) has resisted the advances of the evil Magistrate BYUN HAK-DO (Uhm Tae-woong), to that man’s ire. Pressed into a fit of jealous rage, Magistrate Byun vows, “If I can’t have you, no one will!” as he holds Chun-hyang prisoner.

Chun-hyang clings to her faith that her loyal husband, LEE MONG-RYONG (Jae Hee), will come for her. He is the young son of a nobleman who has gone off to Seoul, leaving his wife vulnerable to the whims of the magistrate while he studies for the civil service exam.

Mong-ryong lives up to his wife’s faith in him and returns as a government official, and hears of Chun-hyang’s predicament. He gathers his men to storm Byun’s quarters and save her, and an elaborate fight sequence ensues…

…and when he enters to rescue her, he finds her doing just fine on her own, thankyoumuchly. She’s got her captors subdued and shamed, on their knees with their hands raised in the air like errant schoolboys.

And right away we know this isn’t going to be your standard damsel-in-distress-y kdrama. Chun-hyang turns to her bewildered “saviors” and says nonchalantly, “Oh, husband. You’re back?”

With the tone established, we zip forward to “real life”:

Now in modern times, Sung Chun-hyang is a plucky, smart high school student who works multiple side jobs to help support herself and her mother. (Mom’s a well-meaning but flighty cabaret singer, and Chun-hyang is really the mother in this relationship. Mom was a gisaeng in the original tale, and nightclub singing is their way of modernizing her lowly status.)

One of Chun-hyang’s jobs is delivering newspapers; another is a side gig at the famed Gwanghallu Garden in her hometown, the southern city of Namwon. She and her friends take gimmicky tourist photos with visitors, but that’s technically prohibited, so she gets chased out of the gardens by a guard.

A few hours north in Seoul, a troublemaking Lee Mong-ryong gets into one last fight to cap off his Seoul experience. He may be decent at the core, but he always manages to attract trouble, and he’s been kicked out of numerous schools.

His fighting skills and laid-back James Dean attitude probably account for why guys like to pick fights with him — they want to wipe the smirk from his face, but he’s too good a fighter and usually ends up winning. For this reason, his family is moving to Namwon.

Mong-ryong tries to avoid the inevitable fight, but he can only hold back for so long, and he gets caught up in the fight. Mong-ryong’s father is particularly disappointed in his son’s constant imbroglios, not least because he happens to be a police chief. Understandably, he does not take this latest fight well.

Mong-ryong is rich, spoiled, too cool for school, fashionable, and a bit conceited. To a spoiled Seoulite like him, moving to Namwon is the same thing as being exiled to a remote backwater.

He’s most bummed about leaving behind HONG CHAE-RIN (Park Shi-eun), who is his neighbor, family friend, and first love. Pretty and rich, she’s a year or two older than him, and Mong-ryong tries to make his move and confess his feelings. Alas, he arrives at her place just as she’s being dropped off by her boyfriend, and he loses heart.

Off to Namwon it is. Mong-ryong tours the dumpy town with derision. At Gwanghallu, he starts shooting a video with his phone to send to Chae-rin.

Just then, a figure shoots up over the wall and into the air… and crashes down on him. It’s Chun-hyang, here at the gardens to resume her side job (she’s climbed over the wall to avoid paying an entrance fee).

She lands on top of him, and as they both catch their breaths, she hears a clicking sound. It’s Mong-ryong’s cell phone, and he’s inadvertently taken upskirt photos. Oopsie.

Chun-hyang grabs his phone to see the damage, calling Mong-ryong a pervert. He defends himself, but when she sees how bad the shots are, she stomps on his phone in retaliation. Infuriated, he demands recompense for the damage, to which she snorts that he’s got no grounds for complaint given his perverted behavior.

Both kids have done questionable things and would rather not take this to the police, so Mong-ryong resigns himself to a broken phone. He demands the use of hers so he can at least call home; she owes him that much. Distrustfully, Chun-hyang hands it over, and Mong-ryong calls his mother… while inching closer and closer to the curb.

At the last minute, he hops into a taxi. Chun-hyang chases after him but has to give up and calls from a pay phone (remember those?). He tells her smugly to call him once she’s gotten his cell phone fixed — till then, he’s holding her phone hostage.

Thing is, Namwon’s a pretty small town, so it’s not long before Chun-hyang locates him. She sees him first, and calls him with her friend’s cell phone. Mong-ryong, feeling smug, taunts her some more, not realizing that she’s walking just a few paces behind him.

A chase ensues, and Mong-ryong barely makes it home before being caught. Fuming, Chun-hyang has no option but to take his phone in for repair.

Once it’s fixed, she calls Mong-ryong to meet at Gwanghallu. Over the phone, Chun-hyang strokes his vanity by telling him that his gadget is pretty neat — it’s got all these extra features, and she didn’t even have to pay to get it fixed because it was covered by his plan.

Mong-ryong’s smug smile disappears when Chun-hyang informs him that he can keep her cheap phone. She’ll use his.

Instantly, tables are turned, and it’s Chun-hyang’s turn to gloat. She makes taunting faces at him, safe from the busy highway that separates them, and boards a bus to escape. Ha!


Mong-ryong’s first impulse is to get even; he starts making long phone calls to rack up her phone bill. Then he hears from a friend that Chae-rin tried calling him — only to get some strange girl on the line — and Mong-ryong is suddenly upset. Not his Chae-rin noona!

This. Will. Not. Do. Immediately, he calls Chun-hyang’s friends to track her down. Her best friend Dan-hee is appropriately suspicious and gives away nothing, but the good-natured and slightly dense Ji-hyuk tells him they’ll be at a nightclub that night, celebrating Dan-hee’s birthday.

Mong-ryong arrives at the club, disdainful of the rural bumpkins’ idea of partying, sneering at Dan-hee and Ji-hyuk’s moves as they compete in a dance contest. The sight of a pretty girl on the dance floor has him momentarily intrigued — until he recognizes that it’s Chun-hyang, that shrew. (Note: The dancing is awful, but supposed to be good. Some suspension of disbelief necessary.)

They go outside and switch phones. Chun-hyang is horrified to see how many phone calls he’s made — she didn’t make a single call on his — but Mong-ryong is fixated on Chae-rin. He calls her right away to assure her that the girl who answered the phone is a nobody, just someone who found his phone. It’s immediately clear, even to Chun-hyang, that he’s in love with Chae-rin, but that she isn’t in love back.

They go their separate ways, intent on never seeing each other again. But of course that’s a silly thought; don’t they know they’re in a kdrama?

Morning roll-call at school. A new kid zooms in late on his motorcycle, eliciting lots of whispers from the students (admiration from the girls, jealousy from the guys). Chun-hyang realizes to her shock that she recognizes the punk — Mong-ryong.

Both Chun-hyang and Mong-ryong are called into the admin office — she to help the teachers, he to be scolded on the rules prohibiting motorcycles at school. Used to getting into trouble, Mong-ryong is indifferent to the lecture. He is, however, surprised at how sweet and dutiful Chun-hyang is to the teachers. She smirks to hear that his class ranking is #280 — out of 300. She, on the other hand, is used to being #1.

Ji-hyuk recognizes Mong-ryong as the guy who harassed Chun-hyang at the club, and sticks up in defense of his friend. Ji-hyuk challenges the newcomer, but as we’ve seen, Mong-ryong certainly isn’t one to back down from a challenge. News spreads quickly of the impending brawl.


The fight commences, both sides doing a pretty good job of holding their own, until Chun-hyang arrives to break up the scene.

She shouts at Ji-hyuk not to fight at school… but trips on her mop and goes down. Taking Ji-hyuk’s pants with her.

The sight of a de-pantsed Ji-hyuk stuns everyone into silence. The humiliation is made worse by the fact that Ji-hyuk is in love with Dan-hee, and she saw the whole thing. (It’s a one-sided thing; Dan-hee merely sees Ji-hyuk as an adoring puppy.)

Mong-ryong feels so bad for his opponent that he finds himself, ironically, being the guy who comforts Ji-hyuk in the aftermath, and the way he awkwardly consoles Ji-hyuk is one of my favorite things ever. There’s something about abject humiliation in front of a girl that evokes a sense of male solidarity.

Inadvertently, the fight has become a bonding experience for the boys. Therefore, while Mong-ryong is not met with a warm welcome by his new classmates (new alpha male in their midst!), Ji-hyuk invites him to sit next to him. Friendship sealed!

In the girls’ class, Dan-hee (and all the girls, save Chun-hyang) is impressed with the new guy and eager to learn more about him.

That night, Chun-hyang is off to collect Mom from her job at a local nightclub. A gang of roughnecks intercepts her in the parking lot and starts to make leering passes. Chun-hyang holds her own, but she’s outnumbered and the situation looks like it will escalate… which is when Mong-ryong sees the scene and pulls up on his motorcycle.

He pulls Chun-hyang away and tries to avoid confrontation, but the guys don’t take kindly to their fun being interrupted. They escalate the fight, and Mong-ryong lashes back in self-defense.

It’s this brawl that greets Mong-ryong’s father and Chun-hyang’s mom as they come outside. (Dad is inspecting the club as the new police chief.) Both are embarrassed to see that their kids are involved.

Immediately, Chief Lee assumes his son has caused more trouble and yells at him. Indignant at being unjustly accused, Mong-ryong storms off, while Chun-hyang speaks up and tells Dad that Mong-ryong was helping her. Dad is mollified by her earnest defense that Mong-ryong was blameless, and a bit impressed with her mature response, too.

At school the next day, Chun-hyang thanks Mong-ryong for helping her, and they strike a truce of sorts. Mong-ryong unknowingly makes a barb about her father, then finds out that he’s dead, which makes him feel guilty. But she waves it off easily, and this exchange shows the first sign of thawing on both their parts.

Now for Byun Hak-do. Although Byun is an outright villain in the folktale, this real-world version is slightly more complex as the president of an entertainment company, which makes him rich and powerful. He’s cool and smart, and very good at his job.

He’s also working on a new film project that will take him to Namwon. Cue the coincidence-o-meter…

Having worked out their differences, Mong-ryong visits Gwanghallu again, where Chun-hyang is working another job fishing leaves out of the pond. In his boyish, pestering way, he shakes leaves into the pond, enjoying annoying her to get her attention.

On the other hand, Chun-hyang doesn’t take kindly to him having fun at her expense. She stands up in anger as though to come after him, only to remember she’s in a boat. Splash! She topples into the pond.

This time Mong-ryong feels really bad (he meant to poke, not actually cause trouble), particularly when she informs him, teeth chattering, that while he came here to goof off, she came to earn money. He defends himself lamely, but gives her his jacket.

He feels even guiltier as he’s hanging out with Ji-hyuk later, and hears that Chun-hyang is now bedridden with a cold.

Mong-ryong prods Ji-hyuk into visiting Chun-hyang so he can tag along, and sheepishly checks on her. She’s laid up in bed with a fever, and Dan-hee is spending the night because Mom is off to a gig that’ll keep her away till tomorrow.

The kids wind up playing Go Stop while Chun-hyang sleeps, and get caught up in their card game. Thirsty, Mong-ryong rummages in the fridge for a drink, finding an unmarked bottle and drinking the whole thing, not realizing it’s homemade wine. While Dan-hee and Ji-hyuk continue playing games, Mong-ryong starts feeling sick; he curls up outside and falls asleep.

The others make so much noise that Chun-hyang kicks them out, telling them to go home. Not seeing Mong-ryong, they assume he already left.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Mong-ryong half-awakens from the cold, and stumbles inside groggily.

Meanwhile, the nightclub roughnecks find Mong-ryong’s spiffy motorcycle parked outside Chun-hyang’s house, and decide to take it for a joyride. They tear through town, spying an easy mark outside a hotel, and snatch his bag — President Byun’s.

When Chief Lee hears that the thieves were on Mong-ryong’s bike, he practically has an aneurysm. Mong-ryong’s parents attempt to contact him all night, but as he is knocked out from the wine, they get no response.

In the morning, Chun-hyang’s mom arrives home and checks upon Chun-hyang… and starts screaming when she sees the boy lying next to her, half-naked.

In the confusion, Mong-ryong is chased outside, grabbing his clothes on the way, trying to avoid being hit by Mom’s broom of fury while Chun-hyang shouts, “Nothing happened, I swear!”

It’s this scene that greets Mong-ryong’s parents, Ji-hyuk, and a schoolteacher when they arrive at Chun-hyang’s house to trace Mong-ryong’s whereabouts.

 
END PARODY

The lovely maiden Chun-hyang enjoys being pushed on a swing by her servant girl Hyang-dan (Dan-hee in modern times). From a distance, the young nobleman’s son, Lee Mong-ryong, catches a glimpse and is intrigued; he instructs his servant Bang-ja (modern-day Ji-hyuk) to fetch the girl.

Despite her demure appearance, Chun-hyang is fully aware of the young lord’s presence and is doing this deliberately to gain his attention. Spying Bang-ja approaching, she smiles in satisfaction: “Lee Mong-ryong, I’ve got you now!”

 
COMMENTS

Before this drama, Han Chae-young had a few secondary roles (Autumn Fairy Tale, Beijing My Love), but this is the vehicle that shot her to mainstream appeal. The director went against type and chose to strip Han of her trademark “sexy” image, reinventing her as a resilient, plucky, cheerful character instead. (He was successful in this, because Chun-hyang’s character, while very pretty, never strikes me as overtly sexy, unlike almost all of Han’s other roles.) Jae Hee had a number of films in his bag (notably Kim Ki-duk’s 3 Iron); here he demonstrated not only his awesome angst-emoting skills, but also his gift for comedic timing and a whole catalog of hilarious facial expressions. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s been as good since, which I blame on bad project choices.

I used to credit PD Jeon Ki-sang for giving this drama a lively energy with its directing and editing, but after the atrociousness of Witch Amusement and Boys Before Flowers, I have since revised my opinion; perhaps Chun-hyang owes its visual appeal to his co-director or a skilled AD.

Plus, the Hong sisters do romantic comedy like nobody’s business. This drama remains my favorite of theirs; with DGCH, they struck the right tone of young-love sweetness undercut with a constant stream of comedy, which keeps it from getting too sugary-sweet.

I’m not sure what it would feel like to watch this drama for the first time now, because the context is different. Some plot points that have become common cliches were less familiar back in good ol’ 2005; when I watched DGCH, I wasn’t bothered by some points that might elicit different reactions today.

But more than anything, I find myself being forgiving of DGCH because of the very premise — a modernized retelling of a famous story (and I’m a sucker for updated folk and fairy tales). Being an adaptation doesn’t excuse poor storytelling (e.g., Boys Before Flowers), but it does make me more understanding of a few stretches once I realize that they’re built into the premise. For example:

Some SPOILERY bits for future episodes (though no big ones):

The entire drama is predicated on the fact that these two kiddos marry young, which is a key point in the folktale. And forcing high schoolers to marry requires a lot more plot maneuvering than the original story had. Knowing this, I’m satisfied with how the drama brings about this result, and willingly accepted that as a basis for the drama.

Then there’s Byun Hak-do (Uhm Tae-woong), whose character in DGCH is more sympathetic than the wicked magistrate of the original story. In the first half of the drama, Byun is charming and dashing and totally won me over — I rooted for him for a while, preferring him to Mong-ryong’s immaturity. Some people find the age difference creepy — he’s around 30, she’s 20 through most of the drama — but you can imagine how that gap wasn’t such an issue several hundred years ago.

As the romance progresses, the story requires Byun to cling to Chun-hyang, and that’s where things get exaggerated. Even knowing he had to be that way, there are points when he gets way too possessive; I chalk it up to him being a faulty adaptation more than anything.

What I love about this drama is its bright sense of humor, zippy pacing, and endearing characters. A particular favorite story thread is the relationship that develops between Chun-hyang and Mong-ryong’s stern father; he’s at his wits’ end about his wayward son, but sees the goodness in her and senses that she can straighten Mong-ryong out.

Mong-ryong and Chun-hyang’s romance is more of the bickering kind than the lovey-dovey kind, but it’s also one of the better examples of bickering courtship that I’ve seen, peppered with wonderful chemistry and a healthy dose of humor. The problem with this kind of dynamic comes when the couple fights excessively and ends up yelling at each other all the time (Full House), or when they don’t fight or engage enough so you have periods of coldness separating them (Playful Kiss). Here, there’s always a reason for the bickering, and that thread of emotion — whether it be concern, jealousy, embarrassment, guilt — keeps it grounded and enjoyable.

I don’t think it’s spoiling things to say that DGCH has one of my favorite endings for a rom-com drama. It’s got enough happiness to give you the warm fuzzies, but isn’t so fanservicey that it feels out of step with logic (ahem, Sungkyunkwan Scandal).

On top of that, this is probably the Hong sisters drama with the least slapstick comedy — I find that the Hongs (as much as I love them) overdo broad comedy in their later dramas, but here they’re more restrained. It’s a big plus in my book. There’s no romance between an older couple, which is a relationship featured in almost every other Hong sisters drama (minus Hong Gil Dong), and while I appreciate the sentiment that romance doesn’t stop at 40, their handling of the secondary couple tends to take that extra step into ridiculous. Leaving that out here streamlines the narrative and focuses on the couple we really care about.

Caveat: If you’ve seen other Hong sisters dramas, you’ll probably recognize a few of their favorite tropes in this one, which may affect how you feel about this. For instance, My Girl will always come in after DGCH in my books because they did that drama after this one, so the elements they chose to recycle feel… well, recycled. I suspect that you’d feel that way about whichever one you saw later.

But no matter; Delightful Girl Chun-hyang remains in my list of favorites, and is always a go-to for a rewatch. In fact, I think I’ll go watch more of it now.

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194 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. 51 guizy

    wahhh~ this is soo awesome
    i absolutely love this drama :]
    man what good memories

  2. 52 starlight

    ps. i know you hate to be pestered, but ANYTIME youre up for another recap of DGCH
    PLEASE do.
    But no pressure :)

  3. 53 maria

    this is so crazyawesome, i’m totally on board this new thing!
    it’s weird reading it, trying to be “objective”, and i’m remembering so vividly how much i liked this series! rewatch! rewatch! just in time for my holiday bum-week, wheee!!!!!!!!!!
    i wonder what the next one will be? i remember you mentioning wanting to do something like that, and i was so excited at the prospect– i’m glad something came of it!!! yaaaay!

    may we make suggestions? …my girl? attic cat? fashion 70’s? devil? ….the “season” love stories? LOL… lovers in paris? ..full house?? OMG i’m getting giddy!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)
    good lawrd, i watch too many dramas. O_O

  4. 54 Jasmin

    OMG! I am buggin out right now. This drama is in my TOP 5 Fave KDramas. SOOOOO HAPPY! Thank You!!!!!

  5. 55 theasianstalker

    I’ve seen this drama twice :D

  6. 56 xiaoSxin

    this drama is my first love in all Kdrama. That does not mean it is my FIRST Kdrama that I have watched because the answer is NO. But this is THE drama that sealed the deal for me in my never ending love for KDramas come hell or water.

    DGCH also remains to have my favorite ending story and sequence ever. Especially that last shot with the candle.. beautiful. PERFECTly done to end a rom-com with a smile.

  7. 57 JD

    Haha, I was hoping you’d go into more description with the scene where Mong Ryung saves Chun Hyang from those thugs. The slowing down of him taking off his helmet in such a handsome way, and not to mention the awesome music cue; and, of course, the fight scene was just well done with all the fly kicks happening everywhere! Yeah…that scene was just perfect and that’s probably what made every girl swoon for charismatic Jae Hee~!

  8. 58 Jenn

    I can’t even imagine that this will happen.
    Delightful Girl Chun-hyang is one of the best korean dramas.

    Thanks JAVABEANS for the beautiful gift.Hehehe.

    The First Episode tag index will sure hit for the users of this site.

  9. 59 Jules

    Delightful Girl was one of my first dramas too! I loved it so much that it kick-started my dvd collection!… Reading this post has made me want to go and re-watch it :)
    Thanks for the nostalgia!

  10. 60 moley

    This was such a GREAT drama!!!! Funny and most of all… JAE HEE’S FACIAL EXPRESSIONS <3

  11. 61 bbm

    oww… this means there will be more to come??!! yay!!!
    DGCH also had a special place in my heart, i really like the storyline at the first part of the drama, and as you say at the second part, Byun Sajang’s clinginess to CH were getting too much, that’s why i only replayed the first part of the series and the end part (4 latest episodes)…
    and DCGH is the first time i ever notice Uhm Tae Woong, me and my sister always refer to him as Ahjusshi (like CH called him) even until now :P

  12. 62 anagoshiki

    I was curious about your thoughts on this drama but figured you wouldn’t want to recap this since its old.

    But OH MY GOD!!! I must have died and gone to heaven. I’ve been looking for a DVD copy of this because I wanted to relive all the Jae-Hee fun, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

    Thank you, JAVABEANS, for this wonderful Christmas gift.

  13. 63 bobo

    aww, i love jae hee to pieces, and their school uniforms i think were wonderful. ten times better than those ugly tan ones in playful kiss.

  14. 64 bia423

    Thanks for this!! DGCH was my first k-drama and I wasn’t the same ever-since.

    It will always have a special meaning to me. It was so refreshing that I was hooked!!! This makes me want to do a re-watch .

  15. 65 Sobia

    Thank you, JB! This is one of my favorites, too! I think one of the things that really sets this show apart is the awesomeness of the heroine. I know that Han is often criticized for her limited acting abilities, but I would never know it by watching her in this show (maybe watching in subtitles makes a difference on this front?). She did a great job portraying Chun-hyang. Chun-hyang is really an inspiring character for me – so strong and resilient, but in a very realistic and modern sort of way. The things this character go through would defeat most people, but Chun-hyang is anything but a victim – there is a steeliness to her that Han tempers with a lot of personal charm, and makes into such a memorable character. Her miserly streak just makes her even more loveable, for some reason. You know she is falling for Mong-ryong when she passes over her money to him without giving him any gruff for it and with the faintest glimpse of puppy dog adoration in her eyes. Hilarious. The couples’ slow burn of a love story is very well done and believable, and quite moving.

    And yes, Jae Hee is totally adorable in this. I will love him forever and ever because of Mong-ryong. His fight scenes are terrific; his physical comedy is amazing; his emoting is spot-on; the boy can do anything and should be an even bigger star than he is. I hope he gets a good drama project soon.

  16. 66 jac

    wish someone can recap the entire series *wistful sigh*

  17. 67 sleeplessinwgtn

    Thanks, I love this k-drama; a rom-com with some drama; just my kind of series.

    Not to impose but hoping a 1st episode recap of MNIKSS is in the offing. That, along with Coffee Prince, are my all-time favourites.

  18. 68 Noor

    hahah

    Delightful Girl Chun-hyang !!

    i like the idea of ep 1

    keep it up

  19. 69 Htagged

    Gosh this was one the first few k-dramas I watched marathoning one after another. It is also one of the few dramas I’ve watched multiple times.

    This is so awesome!! Thanks loads:)

  20. 70 Hannah

    I think it holds up pretty well even now. I only watched it this year or last, and behind My Girl, but it was still very sweet.

  21. 71 Angela

    I really love this “first episode” idea!!

    As for DGCH, I adore this series. There’s only two Korean dramas I’ve actually liked enough to watch a second time… and this was one of them.

    Perhaps it’s because my main obsession are the characters Ranma and Akane from Ranma 1/2 (a childhood favorite, and the springboard to all things Asian), and Chun-hyang and Mong-ryong are the epitome of those characters. The pettiness, the fighting, the humor, the forced engagement, the jealousy. It’s like watching my favorite characters come to life.

    And of course, getting to stare at Jae Hee was an added bonus.

    Actually, I think that’s why I love the Hong Sisters dramas so much. There’s something very Rumiko Takahashi-ish about the way they tell stories (and who can forget their awesome Ranma allusion in You’re Beautiful)!

    And like you said: Best ending ever. I have a tendency to compare all endings to CH, and still, few ever manage to measure up.

    • 71.1 gailT

      Gahhh, I *love* your Ranma 1/2 reference. My exact feelings about Ranma and Akane. thanks!

  22. 72 Jane

    WOW….seriously a blast from the past…reading your recap makes me want to watch this drama again! I’ve forgotten how korean dramas can do cheesy romantic comedies well….When I think about all the Hong Sisters projects I think this is their best one ….

  23. 73 UJ

    OMG this is just such a splendid surprise!!!
    i love delightful girl…
    chummal kumapta JB <3

  24. 74 Francesca

    Omo! I hope you’ll recap My Name is Kim Samsoon too, JB! It’s so classic! I also do want to know your opinion about Princess Hours.

  25. 75 Janice

    This is the exact throwback drama that i really wanted to read recaps for. But not just any recaps- javabeans style. i happy for the first episode recap thanks!

  26. 76 gailT

    I love this new feature!!! Even if it’s only first eps, or first two eps if you’d like, they can whet people’s appetites.
    DGCH is also special to me because of the circumstances during the time(s) I watched it earlier in my kdrama watching life.

    i still listen to the OST in the car, and I remember all those fun times… and I thank God for korean dramas and fansubbers.

  27. 77 Anonymous

    wow! i love you :-)

    DGCH is one of my favorites!! maybe THE favorite too.

    i can watch it over nd over again!

  28. 78 anon

    I simply love this drama, one of my faves and Choon Hyang is definitely one of my favourite female leads.
    Thank you, Javabeans!

  29. 79 i3rasaila

    you don’t know how many times I rewatch this drama~~~
    I love this drama. chun yang and mong ryong is so enjoyable to watch. XD
    thank you for recap JB. ^^

  30. 80 wulan

    thanks JB for giving your insight to this drama.

    it’s not my first Kdrama but it’s my #1 all time favorite Kdrama ever, couldn’t count how many times I’ve rewatching DGCH.

    Back then when all Kdramas mostly have sappy stories, DGCH was very refreshing. It has all the elements that will keep you glued to the end not to mention the JAE HEE factor.

    Really wish if you’d recap the entire episodes :)

  31. 81 rhea

    OMG, thanks!

    DGCH was one of my earliest introduction to Kdrama. I watched this after Fullhouse and as they say, the rest is history. I love Jaehee here and yes, I love him still. I miss seeing him in a drama. I cannot tolerate Witch Yoohee so I had to drop it after 2or3 episodes. But DGCH was so awesome when I watched it 10 years ago. This drama remains as one of my best 5 kdramas!

    Trip down memory lane, hehe. Very nice indeed!

    • 81.1 rhea

      *I meant 5years ago. Where did that 10years came from? Haha.

  32. 82 adney

    omg, my favorite drama! I watched this drama countless time at that time. Nowadays, it’s amazing thing if I could spend my time watching a drama twice, haha. Jae Hee is really really good at face expression and I never found Chae Young is sexy in this drama. I also love the fact that the heroin never depends on the male lead for anything in her life.This drama was also the drama that watched by many of my classmates because two of our friends have similar face with Chun Hyang and Mun Ryong ;p

  33. 83 reglest

    Gosh…I almost hold my breath reading these words!

    Thank you JB, True this one is the one contain the least slap stick, but I find the plot’s story is kind of..rough? Anyway, I put it in my 2nd list of Hong Sister after MGIG

  34. 84 charmie

    I loved this drama then. still do now! thanks jb!

  35. 85 NikkAii

    I feel like rewatching it now tooooooooo!!!one of ny favourites~its the first kdrama i really fell in love with!in fact, one could say..it all started with this!ahahhaaa

  36. 86 ginger05

    I love this drama! My favorite K-drama ever!
    Thanks javabeans for the recaps! :]
    I also love the OST from As One, Lim Hyung Joo, Kim Hyung Sup, and IZI! OMG, IZI where are you now?
    And, I miss Jae Hee so bad. :'(
    He is so low profile since being discharged. It’s been 6 months.
    I wish I can find him in a new (great) project next year.

  37. 87 Joebs

    I shrieked the moment I saw the DGCH picture when I visited your site. I thought you were recapping everything! (Better than nothing, though, and I’ve been itching to read some of your thoughts about this drama) XD

  38. 88 samsam

    ahhh this was great bought back so manny memories ^^ thanxs soo much!
    i vote for you doing a recap of story of a man next! such an epic drama sooo underrated for me! one of the best ive seen :):)

    ps i miss how philip lee looked in that especially with the way he looks in secret garden! TT_TT

    • 88.1 Anonymous

      javabeans has already recapped Story of a Man/The Slingshot it its entirety:)

      • 88.1.1 Anonymous

        *in its entirety*

  39. 89 anon2

    Thank you so much for this! I think it’s such a brilliant idea. Can’t wait to see what other series you’ll recap.

    DGCH is definitely my favorite kdrama ever and I’ve watched so many dramas to count but as you said this one has a special place in my heart. This was my first Hong sisters drama so maybe that’s why I love it the most compared to the other dramas they’ve done.

    One of the main reasons I loved this drama is because the heroine wasn’t one of those who acted cute and relied on the male lead. To me she was smart,funny and just stood her ground unlike most female characters that we see these days. Jae Hee was an added bonus. I also remember loving the soundtrack too and how annoyed I would get when they started playing the same song when Uhm Tae-woong’s character was brooding/stalking chun hyang lol.

    My favorite scene from this drama was when Mong Ryong places his hand on the bus window while Chun hyang falls asleep so she doesn’t hit her head. That is probably one of the most sweetest thing I’ve ever seen happen on a show. I can’t wait to go rewatch it now lol. Thanks again for the recaps.

  40. 90 yen_nguyen

    I LOL when Lee Dae Hae’s parents (My girl) came from My sassy girl.
    So much fun to watch this drama, this is one of my very first and favourite dramas.

  41. 91 jeri

    this drama was really good. it was one of my first kdramas which made me fall in massive LOVE with kdramas. I didnt really know this was Hong sisters drama but now i know, i definitely have t say this was one of their better stories. The actors fit well too and the humor is on a good level. I love Han in here more than any other role. Someone was just smart enough to see her potential in this drama.

  42. 92 punch

    woah the other day i had trodden your article about dramas which you recommended as YAB-like.

    http://www.dramabeans.com/2009/11/romantic-comedy-drama-recommendations/

    Delightful Girl Chun-Hyang is no.1. ah i remember i followed this drama when i was still in high school. weee thanks so much JB!

  43. 93 lovesHONG

    One of the best romantic comedy K-dramas of all time.

    For me, I don’t think it’s a downfall for a writer to have recycled parts to his/her succeeding stories. It’s natural and reasonable–coz it was written by the same writer. It doesn’t always mean scarcity of idea.

    Sometimes, I hate others that they’re watching other dramas and kept on comparing it to what they like the most–of course, despite the fact that you’ve watched a lot of dramas, you will still choose your favorite, coz that’s your choice, remained the mind closed.

    Anyway, I’m grateful that Hong sisters created Choon Hyang, Hong Gil Dong and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. :)

  44. 94 Anonymous

    One of the best romantic comedy K-dramas of all time.

    For me, I don’t think it’s a downfall for a writer to have recycled parts to his/her succeeding stories. It’s natural and reasonable–coz it was written by the same writer. It doesn’t always mean scarcity of idea.

    Sometimes, I hate others that they’re watching other dramas and kept on comparing it to what they like the most–of course, despite the fact that you’ve watched a lot of dramas, you will still choose your favorite, coz that’s your choice, remained the mind closed.

    Anyway, I’m grateful that Hong sisters created Choon Hyang, Hong Gil Dong and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. :)

  45. 95 jen

    “I’m not sure what it would feel like to watch this drama for the first time now, because the context is different. Some plot points that have become common cliches were less familiar back in good ol’ 2005; when I watched DGCH, I wasn’t bothered by some points that might elicit different reactions today.”

    I watched this drama for the first time last year (actually it was after You’re Beautiful when I was just starting my drama watching. I watched it after that post of romcom recommendations you made after YB finished) and I absolutely loved it. On the flip side, my friend also watched it and she absolutely hated it. So, I guess– as with most things– it depends on the individual as to whether they can enjoy an almost 6 year old drama (what 2005 was that long ago?!?) today.

    Totally looking forward to more First Episode posts (hoping and praying you do My Girl because, despite watching it right after Chun Hyang and thus easily seeing the recycled elements, it was and still is– even after watching WAY more shows that are arguably better– my #1 love forever)

  46. 96 riin

    if this site had a ‘like’ button, I would totally click on it :)

  47. 97 Lemon

    OH MY GOD THIS TTLY MADE MY DAY. it’s like an early Xmas gift!! I love this show, brings back so many memories. It may not be the best, but it was heartfelt and warm and funny (and jae hee’s hot).

    Thank you Javabeans, I love you!

  48. 98 Ariel

    I like the songs of this series can’t wait for you to post the other songs. Thank you for recapping DGCH, you are really way way awesome and I’m glad I found your site. My friends and I are watching it’s rerun and we always have fun watching Jae-hee’s antics. I was sold on Uhm Tae-woong for the first part but found him creepy in the later parts together with his sidekick.

  49. 99 kirikhin. [:

    LOL. i remember this drama. it was so adorable. her famous line was like “mind your own business.” i think. :p
    i have the pirated copy of this. HAHHAA. ;D
    i’m gonna go watch it again now. [:

  50. 100 Moon

    This is one of my favorites. I remember hugging my pillow and crying like a baby when the angst started kicking in near the end!

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