Drama Recaps
I Love Lee Tae-ri: Episode 1
by | July 31, 2012 | 94 Comments

Woah, I’m shocked too. An extremely cute opening for I Love Lee Tae-ri who under the guise of some silly hijinks asks us some poignant questions. What if the little boy who we dismiss as a child is very much a man already? And what if that woman who desperately faces the world with an adult bravado is just a young girl at heart?

FYI: This is a one-off recap so there are no plans to continue; it’s just to give y’all a taste!


I Love Lee Tae-ri OST – “Do It” by Sunny Hill [ Download ]

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On a crowded street, a group of friends gape at the mass of university ladies before them. Meet our hero GEUM EUN-DONG (Baek Seung-hwan) who traverses his way through to help his buddy confess his adorable noona love via Love Actually style.

He flips the cards, his face hidden under the window about how he wants to call her Bora-sshi instead of noona (since he wants to be seen as a man instead of a little boy). And then one of final cards reads, “But I can’t transfer here. Because this is a woman’s university.” Puppy love!

The boys pop out with a huge heart over their heads and she sweetly sends one in return. Eun-dong’s thoughts drift towards his own noona crush.

The friends head back with a huge smile on their faces when Eun-dong spots a poster of his noona idol crush. Then he notices another woman dressed in black who looks somberly out the window. We’ll come to know her as LEE TAE-RI (Park Ye-jin).

She meets his gaze for a tiny moment when Eun-dong’s friends appear again. A car passes by and she disappears.

Eun-dong is a champion in his own right as he wins the finals of the 2012 Swimming Freestyle, even setting a record. He and his coach HWANG MIN-GOOK (Jang Seo-won) thumbs ups as he receives his gold medal.

At school, one of his buddies hands them boxes of waterproof condoms as a symbol of their friendship. Stuffing a box in Eun-dong’s pocket, his buddy teases that he should stop ogling his noona idol, promising to turn him into a man.

He pops out of the locker room, telling his friends to enjoy what’s left of their innocence.

Eun-dong balks at the flimsy thin ring he bought with his gold medal as the jeweler says that she did her best to stretch it out. He (literally) blows out his dreams to buy a shiny diamond ring while she asks what it’s for: to commemorate 100 days? An anniversary?

He laughs at her childish guesses and when Eun-dong tells her that his years of swimming training have bought him this very ring, it’s her turn to let out a little laugh.

Unfortunately for him, he runs into a group of school bullies as soon as he steps outside. The ring slips out of his hands and in an effort to make sure that they don’t get it, Eun-dong swallows it whole.

At home, we meet Eun-dong’s parents and it’s apparent that Mom wears the pants in the relationship while Dad happily eats off of her cooking.

It weighs on her heart that her young 14 year-old son will be engaged tomorrow and it annoys her that Dad is as blissful as one can be about it. But the arrangement is a longstanding one between both families so she has no choice but to comply.

Eun-dong is clearly adored by his parents as he looks for food that will facilitate his digestive process. When his parents ask where his gold medal is, a cartoonish lightbulb pops up and he covers that he donated it to the school much to his parents’ continual praises.

Back in his room, Eun-dong contemplates over the waterproof condoms and hides them when Mom comes a’ knockin’. Then we pan back to see that he’s sitting on the chamber pot. HA – are you waiting for the ring to come out the other end?

Mom asks if he still likes his fiancee-to-be who’s 7 years older than him. His stomach grumbles and he hurriedly tells her to leave. It’s telling that he calls her ‘Mother’ until he finally cries out in frustration, “Mom!”

And then cha-ching!, it pops out. Eww.

Our fiancee-to-be is none other than HA SOON-SHIM (JUB) who is in the middle of dance practice with her other girl idol group members. Grandma barges in, fuming that they have plans today and she’s all, I’m too famous to make time for Granny!

Grandma doesn’t take anything as an excuse and resorts to physically dragging her out by her shorts.

The little weather animations clue us in how each party views the ceremony (Eun-dong: Sunny, Soon-shim: Stormy). As Grandpa presides over the traditional engagement, Eun-dong excitedly asks when he’ll be able to drink the wine that will commemorate them as a betrothed couple.

Soon-shim checks her watch impatiently even flubbing her bow in her haste. She gives a silent protest as Eun-dong sips the wine. She puts it up to her lips… and then keels over in feigned pain as the cup flies out her hands and cracks into pieces.

She keeps up the act until she and Eun-dong are alone and then starts for the door. His unsurprised reaction tells us that this must be a common occurrence between them as she pleads for him to help her. In exchange, she offers to give him a kiss on the lips.

Naive little Eun-dong agrees readily.

Meanwhile, we’re formally introduced to Lee Tae-ri as the successor of CLS Group whose president and her grandfather has recently passed away. She’s making headlines not only for her prestigious education in Italy but also for recovering a 200 year-old cultural relic – an antique clock.

Tae-ri heads for Daedong Museum where Eun-dong has just dropped off Soon-shim just minutes before. But when she’s unexpectedly swarmed by a group of fangirls, the silver pendant falls from her neck and gets picked up by Eun-dong.

She’s displeased to hear that her opening speech has already been prepared. There’s a mixed look of shock and familiarity on her face when the manager, CHOI SEUNG-JAE (Yang Jin-woo), walks in.

Neither betray their professionalism though he suggests he wanted to do something for her whether if it was at CLS Group or not. She gets up, calling him a dung fly for talking big when he’s a nobody and calls to cancel the opening ceremony.

Seung-jae switches to banmal and reminds her that she’s the guest of honor today and she’ll need to show them that Lee Tae-ri has returned with a big stick as the curator of the museum.

She scoffs at his sudden concern – wasn’t he the one who disappeared last time? Is it different now that she’s become the successor to the company? Ripping up his prepared speech, she cites that this is her way of getting rid of him first and that she’ll write her own speech thankyouverymuch.

Lastly she tells him that he should go hunt for better prey outside of CLS Group.

Tae-ri walks down the hall, looking at the antique clock as her mind wanders back to happier times with Seung-jae.

Her hand reaches for her silver pendant and in that moment, she realizes that it’s missing.

Seung-jae informs the girl group that the order has been shifted and they’ll need to sing for the opening ceremony. Soon-shim steps out to talk with him 1:1 about the matter, pressing her foot down as the leader of the group.

Meanwhile, Eun-dong practices his kissing skills in the mirror and drops toothpaste onto his clothes. To make matters worse, another person spills coffee onto his clothes on his way out. He catches the tail end of the conversation as Soon-shim aegyoifies herself to Seung-jae and then she pulls him in for a surprise kiss. Heart.break. for Eun-dong.

Seung-jae is wary of their surroundings and scolds her for her reckless behavior. No matter how she feels, there’s a time and place for them. She threatens that she’ll retire then because she wants to live a normal life with him.

Everything became different after she met him. Shouldn’t he be moved that she’d give up her singing career for him?

He counters that they should stop seeing each other. Did she expect him to be moved by her words like the tens of thousands of fans who do? He finds it ridiculous that she would give up everything she worked for because of a man she dated for 100 days.

He turns to leave when Soon-shim calls out, “Even if I die?” Eun-dong’s eyes flashes towards her. She pulls the teenage desperation if he still wouldn’t choose if she died on stage and Seung-jae coolly replies, “Wasn’t it your dream to do so?”

She leaves crying and Eun-dong follows after her. He wanders into the room with the antique clock, a blurred figure in the distance.

He runs to wrap a surprised Tae-ri in a backhug. Without looking at her, he says, “Don’t cry, I’ll protect you. Because you’re my woman.”

Tae-ri turns back and both of them look back at each other in bewilderment. Eun-dong apologizes that he didn’t know that it was a restricted area and balks at her remark that he’s a disobedient child.

She calls him a youth given his clothes and asks if he’s cried, finding it strange since a museum isn’t necessarily a place that makes one said. Eun-dong clarifies that he’s heartbroken. Because the person he likes most in the world doesn’t return his love, he feels like the saddest person in the world.

Tae-ri scoffs when she hears his age of 14 and remarks that he’s too young to be so distressed over unrequited love. He should concern himself with other things that are more age-appropriate like what he learned in school or the weather.

Raising his voice, Eun-dong defends, “A fourteen year-old’s heart beats too! It feels sadness, anger, and hurt. Whenever I think about that person, it feels like a cricket has entered my heart and it keeps crying. How can you expect me to ignore that?”

And then there are actual cricket sounds. Pffft.

Eun-dong turns to leave when Tae-ri gives him a final word of advice. “Just enjoy it then. In any case, life is a continuation of regrets.”

The light on the clock comes to life and the sky darkens as the cosmos shift. The power goes out and Tae-ri starts to panic since she’s afraid of the dark. Eun-dong comforts her and offers his hand.

Tae-ri pulls Eun-dong towards her as the room enters an automatic security system lockdown, trapping them inside. The clock glows as Eun-dong watches and the cosmos shift again and the power comes back on just as Soon-shim rejoins her members moments before their opening song.

Tae-ri lets go as soon as the lights flicker back on. Seung-jae discovers them and orders the staff to open the bars. Eun-dong glares at him with a hardened expression as Seung-jae orders him to be taken away, scolding his staff for letting ‘anyone’ in.

However, Tae-ri jumps in to stop him, saying that this museum is there to nurture a child’s hopes and dreams – how can he call this child just ‘anyone’? This child protected her. Giving him her business card, she explains that her name is Lee Tae-ri because she was born in Italy. Tae-ri gives Eun-dong permission to contact her whenever he needs help.

Since she doesn’t hand out her business card to just anyone, she’ll remember who he is. Finally she advises him, “Life is an adventure. Love is a promise.” With these words, he’ll grow up to become a good man who doesn’t hurt a woman but protects her. Eun-dong beams.

Tae-ri’s sideways glance towards Seung-jae tells us that the latter part of the barb was intended for him. Hmm.

Back at home, Mom chases after him with a broom demanding where he and Soon-shim disappeared off to. Dad jumps to his defense but Mom sees it as a clear sign that Eun-dong doesn’t want to get married and to someone like Soon-shim.

Eun-dong interjects that he doesn’t like how Mom is insulting his fiancee and Mom emotionally collapses in response. A little while later, Dad laughs at Eun-dong’s dramatic confession towards Mom. Eun-dong is genuinely sorry for talking back to Mom and Dad hands him money and a batch of kimchi to give to Coach.

Speaking of whom, Coach is busy eating ramyun and watching the girl group perform on TV, quickly shutting it off when Eun-dong enters. Eun-dong puts on a brave face and hands over his training fees which Coach accepts with a heavy heart since he has to pay the bills.

They toast by the pool and Eun-dong crushes the empty pint of milk in his hand at the thought of the kiss earlier today. Looking to Coach for advice, he asks:

Eun-dong: “If I see my woman kiss another man, what should I do?”
Coach: “You have to kill them.”
Eun-dong: “Who?”
Coach: “Both of them.”

Eun-dong casts his woes to Coach about how he just stood by when he saw them kiss. He tells Coach that he wants to disappear – why doesn’t she understand his heart? Coach replies that there are two things in life that don’t go your way: swimming and women.

Suddenly, Eun-dong gets up into a handstand, convinced that it will hold back his tears. Coach tells him that people were meant to let it out – if they want to vent or cry, they should.

He points Eun-dong towards an app on his phone and tells him to make a wish on it before he gets up to go to the bathroom. Eun-dong comes down from his handstand and speaks into the phone to make his wish: “Please let me protect my love.”

The app dings and it tells him that his wish will come true the moment when the Moon Embraces the Sun aka a solar eclipse. Annoyed that he didn’t get his instant gratification, he drops the phone to the ground.

What he doesn’t notice of course is the warning message that says that if he tells anyone of his wish, he’ll lose the most cherished thing in his life. Elsewhere, the antique clock clicks.

Tae-ri stands in front of Grandpa’s resting place and apologizes that she came so late. She came to pay her respects as soon as she arrived in Korea since she couldn’t make it to the funeral but there were too many visitors.

Her memories in Korea stopped when she was 14 and she felt lost and the future seemed bleak. She went to go get ice cream to remind herself of when they ate ice cream together and considered that as the sweetest goodbye she could think of.

Her voice cracking, she asks if he can grant her a wish, “I wish I had a friend. A real friend… who is warm and will take my hand.”

Her thoughts flashback to when she was trapped in the clock room with Eun-dong. Holding back her tears, she wonders, “Why did it have to be a child?” Saying goodbye for now, she gives a small kiss to Grandpa’s urn.

Early in the morning, Eun-dong wakes and takes a bow in front of his house before he heads out. Wait, are you running away?

He stops by to see Soon-shim at her salon, telling her that he’s going to Australia for a swimming meet as his school’s representative and train there. Unsurprisingly, she’s indifferent to the news.

Hurt, Eun-dong asks, “How can you do this to me?” Soon-shim thinks it’s about the kiss and she pinches his cheeks. Refusing to be treated like a kid, he grabs her by her arms, standing her up against the wall.

Soon-shim protests and he lets go. Angry, he asks why she agreed to go ahead with the engagement if she was just going to ignore him.

She tells him to stop kidding around and promises to buy him some sneakers when he comes back like the awesome noona she is.

Eun-dong counters that he’ll make it big so she should grab a hold of him now, a statement that Soon-shim easily dismisses. He tells her, “Get a hold of yourself. Do you think all the men in the world are like me? How nice you are, how fervent you are… do you think they’ll understand that?!” He entreats her not to look at anyone else but at him.

And yet, his heartfelt declaration is just dismissed as desperation from a child and Soon-shim gives him money to buy himself something yummy to eat. He crushes the bill in his hand.

Coach finds Eun-dong at the pool who says that he wants a shot to break his own record before he leaves. He dives in before Coach can give him any more words of advice.

We cut back to see the wheels of the antique clock turning once more and now the moon symbol embraces the glowing sun. Eun-dong comes up for another breath of air…

A much older Eun-dong (Kim Ki-bum) exits the pool and shakes the water from his hair as Coach freaks out and collapses to the ground. Confused, Eun-dong looks back to see his swimming trunks floating in the pool (ha).

He whips his head back to stare at his reflection and screams in horror at what’s staring back at him. He looks at himself and then at the mirror, touching his face to confirm if it’s real.

Eun-dong starts to slap himself as if it will wake him from this strange fantasy. He grabs the towel to cover himself and rushes to wake Coach who just freaks out again.

He pleads with Coach that he’s Eun-dong – he saw him swimming in the pool! But Coach continues to wail in disbelief and Eun-dong’s towel drops. Coach runs away in horror.

Wide-eyed, Eun-dong asks. “Coach, what am I going to do?”



Well, I can easily say that I am pleasantly intrigued. TvN definitely offered us another zippy romantic comedy with a drop of fantasy which is exactly what we got. The boy to man transformation here is played out in the subtlest of moments unbeknownst to everyone and especially our hero. His reaction of disbelief, horror, and shock was what we would expect from a 14 year-old teenage boy who just age jumped 9 years to look like he’s 25.

I really have to give a hand to Baek Seung-hwan who plays the younger teenage version of Eun-dong. I remember I saw him in The Crucible and saw the bright potential of his acting career. We got to see a nice range in his acting chops and Eun-dong is an interesting character to pick apart. What teen didn’t want to be treated like a child anymore and desperately wants to be like an adult? Puppy love consumed our world and our values are idealistic and hopeful. And with that mindset, he asks mature and telling questions which are easily dismissed as being dramatic. He still is because he’s young but it makes me wonder how those same questions will be treated now that he’s grown into himself.

Conversely, there’s Tae-ri who has been scorned by her first love, Seung-jae. We aren’t told the details of what led to the demise of their relationship but I found that her perspective towards love are remarkably solid herself. I find it interesting that she left Korea when she was 14 and one can’t help but wonder if her emotional growth stunted at that age as well. Park Ye-jin played a striking moment when Tae-ri was speaking to grandfather about how bleak her future seemed and how lost she felt now that he was gone.

Right off the bat, we’re given a simple set of rules and limits to our metamorphosis which contains our world in rules where we can keep our hero in check. For now the rules are simple: you squeak and you lose what you cherish the most. At present, that love is Soon-shim but I can already see how that will transcend and disperse to different types of love, be it friendship, family or romantic love. So he may be trapped in an adult body now but who knows what his journey towards understanding the depth to which his wish will take him will be like.


94 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ivoire

    Thank you for the recap!

  2. redwhite

    fantasy drama? hm, i think the woman is too old, sorry to say

  3. xiaoSxin

    OMO! This is a surprise!

    Been holding on to the eps (not watching them yet) just because of Kim Ki Bum. I am still holding on to the torch that he will wake up and come back to rapping for SuJu.

    • 3.1 Ashley

      Agreed! Everywhere I have looked it says he is just on a “hiatus,” and I am trying to hold on to that hope even though I know its very naive fan girl of me. He says he is very happy acting, and I am happy he is happy, but suju is just not the same without him.

      • 3.1.1 xiaoSxin

        I firmly believe that he’ll always have a place in SuJu for both the members and fans alke. At least for now, happy to see him get better in acting. Although he is still …. lacking in so many ways but there is improvement. Which is a good sign.

    • 3.2 Dambi

      ‘Wake up’? Seriously?

  4. cattleyae

    Wow, finally someone recaps this! The first episodes are so cute and I haven’t been able to keep up, so thank you so much for this! I LOVE Jang Seo-won as the coach, he’s hilarious πŸ˜€

    • 4.1 helimy

      Dramatalk has been recapping this series all along. She has recapped up to episode 14 so far.

  5. LK

    Holy cow, Park Ye-jin looks sooooooooo old. I mean, she looks like she’s in her 40’s…

    • 5.1 Mystisith

      I know. She’s only 31 on paper! I had to check.

      • 5.1.1 Lisa

        What! I thought she was like 45 in the screencaps! Oh dear, poor girl.

  6. annie

    hi gummimochi,

    thanks for the recap! i know u said u had no plans to continue recapping this, but if u change your mind, know that i’d be sooo looking forward to it πŸ™‚

    regardless, u have changed my mind on this series, and i m gonna be watching it πŸ˜€


    • 6.1 YChase007

      I second that motion… It was such a great story and so much better than BIG – I think this depicted that story line alot better than the same titled version. Please Please Please… Do keep re-capping, I do love your take on these fabulous Dramas =)

  7. Cynthia

    Thanks for the one-time recap, Gummimochi!

    This was airing right along with ‘Big’ (they both finished up at the same time). Frankly, I found that everything that irritated me about ‘Big’s storyline was done much better in ILLTR, maybe because ILLTR was closer to the original premise of Tom Hank’s ‘Big’. No soul-swapping, just the fantasy of a young boy finding himself in his future body.
    I can’t recall watching Kim Ki-bum in any other drama, but here, as a 25 year old, he was absolutely adorable, sweet, charming and awkward. Up till then, Park Ye-jin always left me kinda cold, but here I wound up just loving her sensitive portrayal of Lee Tae Ri. There was probably a 5 year or so difference in age between the two. Once their interactions began, it wasn’t significant.

    The romantic development of the OTP was handled wonderfully well. It made sense (as much as a fantasy can make sense) and the plot really held onto the humorous aspects of the story. The ending (no spoilers) was everything that ‘Big’ wasn’t – that in itself should encourage viewers to watch this one. The ending of ‘Big’ really was meh for me. The ending of ILLTR had me crying and laughing, and isn’t that what most of us want while watching this type of rom/com? It was delightful and Viki did an excellent subbing job!

    • 7.1 Shapi

      Can’t agree more. Thought it was a perverse pairing (14 vs 30+) bordering on paedophilic of the two leads when I read the synopsis, and did not watch it until 4 eps had been aired. Could not stop watching since I started. This show also made it hard to divide my limited time as there were 4 good shows airing every Wed and Thu then. And I actually watch it second after I do I do cause it’s light and easily digestable.

      Kudos to TvN, the script, editing, casting beat “Big” Hands down. Both child and adult version of the male lead GEUM EUN-DONG (which literally means “Gold Silver and Bronze” Ha! He has no option of being a loser!) are convincing in their acting and very likeable. KKB did well as compared to his previous fogetable appearances – second lead in Snow Flake, young Go Soo in Marrying a millionaire etc. Do watch it if you want a good laught!

      • 7.1.1 YChase007

        Couldnt agree more with you, the story was well written and produced. I went through all shades of emotions just watching it… Took the words right out of my mouth.

    • 7.2 Hafy

      Me too… I was surprise to find myself laughing and crying at the last few minutes before it ends… And then when it ends, I found myself smiling and satisfied. I love how she handled everything when she found out about him. It was much much better and mature than you know whom. LoL

    • 7.3 Katherine

      Exactly the same feelings as well. BIG left me hollow and frustrated whilst ILLTR had me satisfied with the over-all story, acting, OST etc. I’m happy that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way in regards to this drama, they handled everything really well that we the audience couldn’t help but come to adore these characters.
      As for Kim KiBum and Park Ye Jin, I actually like the pairing and felt they had some chemistry but I guess to each their own on whether people will dig it or not.

    • 7.4 Raitei

      Couldn’t have said it better.

      I have to admit that I didn’t actually have plans to watch this drama. The couple just doesn’t look that great to me. Kibummie looks so young, and Tae Ri (can’t remember the actress’ name) kinda looks old. However, once I started watching, I got hooked. My sister who doesn’t really like watching other Asian dramas that much got hooked as well, and she would always ask me if the new eps. are up already.

      The premise is simple, but the characters are warm and highly engaging. I don’t feel much passion between the leads, but their interactions are cute and heartfelt.

      Also, the coach is such a fun, fun character. I loved the guy since “Secret Garden,” and I’m happy he had a lot of exposure in this drama, unlike in “Heartstrings/You’ve Fallen for Me.” He and Hong Shil’s cute moments are among scenes I looked forward to.

      The ending of drama was nothing extravagant, but it certainly made me satisfied and happy, somehow lulled by the thought that those who are meant to be will always end up with each other, no matter what trials they face.

      Overall, I’d recommend this drama to anyone who wants to watch a cute and lighthearted series. πŸ™‚

    • 7.5 Lang

      After the failure that was BIG, I saw someone mentioned in the thread that I love Italy is like Big, but done way better, I just watched 4 episodes and I’m hooked.

      Everything is so much better, the story is moving a long, and the characters make sense!

      The main female lead is adorable, and so cute, yet she is also refined and smart. Unlike Gil Da Ran, she seems to have a head on her shoulders, and this drama seems to have substance!!

      I’m lovin it so far…

    • 7.6 Red

      Kim Ki-bum was one of the cute scholars in Tree with Deep Roots.

    • 7.7 colors

      I agree with you all. I lliked that drama.
      I thought it weird that the main character should be only 14, but even in the plot it made sense that he’d be attracted to older women.
      Everything seemed natural, each problems that arose were handled rather quickly in one or two episodes, and there was no dragging for ten episodes for nothing. It was fast-paced but it had cute moments.
      I liked that the evil guys weren’t evil but just stupid. For once I could actually relate to what they should be feeling.
      I felt that that kind of story may have happened because of the interaction between the characters. It didn’t feel like a whole bunch of nonsense.

      small SPOILER
      I loved that the most common kdrama clichΓ© was the whole secret-behind-your-parents’-death and that it occured before the drama and didn’t take forever to be resolved emotionally and in the plot.

    • 7.8 crizzyville

      i knew this was were i heard of the kdrama ILLTR… dunno but initially after looking for this recap using the search engine and the keyword i love lee tae ri, couldn’t find it here… thank goodness, mr google brought me here.. i was watching tvN earlier and got no plans of really watching anything, i’m just trying to doze off to sleep (or should i say lull myself to sleep :D) and it so happened the next show is this starting with episode 1… it was cute and recognized the young boy from the movie The Crucible who despite his role there, i find him cute… his character in this drama piqued my interest… plus the storyline and the mystery of the wish and everything about it kept me awake for the whole 2 episodes (nah… i admit i blinked a few during the last 20mins… i’ve been up for at least 20hrs already, can you blame me? hehe) i think i will continue watching this due to your positive reviews especially with the ending… so, Big i’m sorry i will skip you despite my love for Gong Yoo cos you failed many people with your story (and you, Hong ladies too)… this is definitely gonna kill my time my waiting for Arang to wrap up… i’ll marathon watch the show and i’m happy everyone is enjoying it

  8. gracie

    Please, oh please oh please oh please continue recapping this!!! Thank you infinitely for recalling this dirt episode and introducing me and others to an intriguing, fun drama:) please continue the recaps please!!!

    I will bribe you with a waffle. (>^^)>#

  9. Requiem

    Ok, this is just weird.

    The boys are just 14 and they have crushes on university women and women who are 30?

    If the genders were reversed, what would this be considered?

    And to top it off, boys as teenagers usually aren’t the most mature. Girls tend to mature earlier than boys, and even then, it still would seem wrong even if she age-changed to 24.

    This is a weird, weird premise if it’s a romantic comedy. I guess if it’s like Big (US film not kdrama), then, maybe it would be acceptable, but is that really what they’re aiming for here?

    • 9.1 MsB

      It’s just like the American movie Big, even had the oversized piano. Yes, I was also thrown by the age difference but as stated, it was well done!

      • 9.1.1 Maya

        I’m also a bit thrown off by the age difference at first, but once their interactions start, the chemistry is just sweet and adorable that I’m not that bothered anymore.

    • 9.2 colors

      In this drama, every character is a kid. It’s awful that no one is actually a grown up, except perhaps the old “master” or whatever who can repair the clock, but it workds because the main character is only 14 after all.

      The mom and dad are childish, the first love interest remains a brat, the main lead character says over and over again that she’s feels like a kid, etc. The three 14 years old act as mature as the adults, and the adults act as childish as the 14 years old.
      In the drama, it really works. And you don’t have the teacher/student relationship like in the drama Big, so it’s fine.

  10. 10 kaitenryuu

    Audible gasp when I saw this recap pop up on dramabeans? Heck yeah and a fist pump!

    Marathoned the first few episodes, and I got a full ab workout from all the transformed Eun-dong hijinks plus Coach interactions. They are a solid anchor for the giggles, snorts, and laughter-tears, definitely.

    And I love this manchild, in the sense that he thinks maturely, yet has that innocent viewpoint and doesn’t become jaded. Soon-shim I just want to stuff in a sack somewhere, not because she’s just that good of a villain but simply because she’s got that spoiled, annoying teenager (yet she’s 21) down pat. Maybe she contributed her mental years to Eun-dong. (Then again, if so that’d actually subtract from his mental maturity. hahahaha)

    I am a tiny bit kicked-puppy-faced, as I was totally rooting for the transformed Eun-dong/Tae-ri ship, yet…that 14 year gap is a bit squicky. I’m squinting and trying to extrapolate it out, but I can’t really see how. ‘Big’ definitely did NOT wrap their ends nicely, so I’m putting super-analytical brain on hold and crossing my fingers that ILLTR can tie a prettier bow on their finale, whether they keep Eun-dong transformed, pair up, or have some kind of amazing friendship.

    and Kim Ki-bum’s abs? dripping water? adorably sweet smile? and amazing arms? and shoulders? and everything? UM, YUM. *o*

    • 10.1 MsB

      They did an excellent job with the ending!

  11. 11 cilla

    one time recap? mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmzz =/

    … if you were to… oh idkk.. continue this? i’d be readingggggg steadly!!

  12. 12 DB5K

    Baek Seung Hwan was amazing!! I loved him to pieces in his role as Eun Dong. I was also pleasantly surprised by how adorable Kim Ki Bum was here, though I suspect that’s because my love for Baek Seung Hwan transferred over ^^~~ Either way, I just want to know how it ends, lol. There are too many idiosyncrasies/eccentricities and flaws in the script to keep me watching. Seung Jae and Soon Shim’s side stories and don’t really interest me. Plus, they both can’t act. And Park Ye Jin’s acting just felt off to me as well. She was cool and collected, and yet managed to portray vulnerability and difficulties with social interaction, but sometimes it felt too affected, which made it awkward to watch her.

  13. 13 embermiya

    This already seems more promising than BIG. I hope you continue recapping.

  14. 14 danny

    i finish this drama, it’s nice, am just pained to see the leading lady really old for Ki Bum, park Ye Jin is an amazing actress, I saw her in Mr. Idol movie , in reality she’s just 30 years old, but in the drama she just look like the same age with the boy’s mother. Also the acting cannot qualify in any other giving acting awards.
    That’s all!

  15. 15 cv

    Thanks for the one time recap! ^^

    For those who haven’t seen this one, give it a try. You’ll like it. heheh

  16. 16 katkat

    Love this drama but Park Ye Jin looks too old here when she’s suppose to be just in her late 20s at the start of the drama.

  17. 17 Sisi

    I really wish u cld continue with the recap,plz reconsider coz its so interesting,the whole boy to man:D

  18. 18 zhill

    ILLTR recaps? woah, I’m shocked too. so maybe there’s hope that you will also do one or two recaps for “Beloved” *fingers crossed*

    I watched ILLTR for ki-bum, but to me there was no chemistry between ki-bum and Ye-jin. She looks like she’s in her 40’s compared to her 28 y.o character. The storyline were much better than kdrama BIG … no need for a feelings/brains convo while watching it, but acting-wise and cuteness, BIG surely is the winner.

    • 18.1 Lang

      I disagree.

      To me she doesn’t look like she’s 30 at all. IF anything, she looks like she’s 25 . And also, just the way she acts when she’s totally her self is so cute and young.

    • 18.2 colors

      I found that Geum Eung Dong was like the Kim Tak Goo character: always bright no matter what, with a nice smile (that’s why I thought the two actors looked alike in a way). It’s apparently a lot more easier to be 25 all of sudden rather than trying to become a baker when you have an amazing sense of smell.

      His silent happy gazes were fine by me, but you’re right that there isn’t much cuteness in I love Lee Tae Ri. I think the drama is more about growing up and overcoming difficulties than showing a deep romance. More like, you have feelings for someone and they’re by your side so you can do it. I liked the simplicity of the main characters’ exchanges.

  19. 19 DarknessEyes

    omg this show is too cute! Although the leading lady is just really too old. She almost looks old enough to be his mom. But yeah, after Big I’m a little wary of body-switching age-changing stuff. Please consider recapping this!!! πŸ˜€

  20. 20 haihaihai

    so…this the change of body thing reminds me of Big…or maybe how the body change was supposed to be?

    Still an interesting story I’ve been considering it for a while.

  21. 21 Hafy

    Thanks for recaping this… I had just finish watching this drama and I have to say it is pleasantly good and I love love love it….

    and the ending of this drama is AWESOME! I mean compare to the BIG flop this is excellent. xDDD It is more realistic.. ^^

  22. 22 topper

    This drama was bad, I dropped it after 4.

    • 22.1 m92

      i agree too first…but then i still keep watching n then i find the plot become better until the end…what i very like this drama than big because we can see geum eun dong become more mature as he alive in adult body n of course for the ending i really like it! Its not epic but accepted ending compared to big that make feel so regret to watch it to the end. Park Ye Jin acting is good, but i think they should find another younger actress for the role to make geum eun dong n lee tae ri look compatible. After all, this drama are good as i expected from TvN!

  23. 23 Stardust

    Thanks for the recap!! I have been waiting and waiting for Gaksitaaaaal… which is tonight!!YAAAAY

    I thought the name of this drama was silly and didn’t want to start… but now after your recap I will go watch it I think =D YAY! It helps to know its from TVN heheheh They have been churning out good stuff!

    • 23.1 Stardust

      I finally found links which are still alive… watching the first ep… the first 5 mins already brought silly smiles to my face… SO. ADORABLE! aaaaaah…

      I know why some viewers are saying Son Ye Jin is rather old… but she has this way of carrying herself, that I believe she is really, say, that rich woman she is portraying…

      Did anyone notice the logo on the truck is actually TvN’s logo? kekekekke…

      • 23.1.1 Arwen

        It’s actually Park Ye Jin.

  24. 24 Suzi Q

    Finished the whole drama and found it very funny and charming.
    Hadn’t seem any dramas with Kim Ki Bum, but he did a wonderful job as Eun Dong as well as Baek Seung Hwan who played the 14 year old counter part who was adorable. Park Ye Jin usually grates on my nerves and I thought she was a little old for this role, but later I like her portrayal of of Lee Tae Ri as a very childlike, innocent,and vulnerable person.
    Didn’t expect much of this drama since all of the BIG hype drama was playing at the same time. Totally agree, ILLTR is SO MUCH BETTER than BIG’s ending which was a major disappointment.Love the ILLTR’s wonderful ending which leaves you with a smile on your face.
    Please continue to recap this drama

    • 24.1 MsB

      Not many dramas leave you with a smile or a wonderful taste in your mouth like you did not waste your time; this one did and I was so dang gone pleased!

  25. 25 JD

    Aw, I’m glad Ki Bum is finally becoming the actor he originally dreamed to be, and not the singing path SM had wanted for him. As much as I love him with the Suju boys, he is a fine example of someone who doesn’t give up on his dreams!!!

  26. 26 Carole McDonnell

    Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Thanks for getting the word out on this drama! It was just the best. I totally totally loved it and everyone should see it. The folks who did BIG should have looked at this to see how a good age-jump romance should work. Oh, i wanna see it all again. I loved this so much. Very touching…and the plot made sense. Very organic, without any silly unimportant subplots.

    • 26.1 MsB

      I loved the fact they did not interject stupid subplots! You knew from the first couple of episodes everything that was going to to be talked about or resolved!

  27. 27 rheina07

    omo, i was surprise when see that there is a recap for love italy !!!

    I have been wondering to watch it, because of kibum !

    though i agree that park yejin seems to old for him, but well, because i like her in family outing, it gives here plus point.

    Guess i will try to watch this since i’ve dropped Big from my watch list.

    thank you for the recappp and hope you’ll continue to recap this series !! πŸ˜€

  28. 28 MsB

    I can contest with others who did watch this, this did do what Big failed to do. I innocently switched to this when Big became unwatchable to me. I love GY but not enough to continue watching that drama! As others, I was momentarily turned off by the premise of a 14 yr and a late 20’s woman (yes, she did look older) but that changes as you watch it. ILLTR truly was the Korean version of Big! It defintely did everything that Big did not and the ending, unbelievably good and well thought out! I had never heard of Kim Ki Bum but he was precious in this. the coach, I affectionately remember from Secret Garden. All the cast did an excellent job. Even though they were overshadowed by Big, this really turned out to be a whole lot better and consistent! Dramafever has added it to the coming list and it’s on Viki. I highly recommend it! Thanks even for the one cap now if you could cap the ending, maybe others will see what we who did watch were so pleased by.

  29. 29 IBELIS

    I agree with what most have already stated and you can’t help but compare it to Big. The two lead actors in both did great jobs but the male lead here is not as seasoned as the one in big, but that is the only good thing to be said for Big. I watched them both and I would choose this one over Big any day

    Not only was the ending of this one way, way better than the one in Big, but I also enjoyed watching this one more.

    So if you can’t continue to recap it will be a shame.

  30. 30 Anao

    I just started watching this last week. I’m at ep 2 and so far it’s cute and funny. I took a peek at the ending and it seemed like a nice wrap up. I’m not sold yet on the main couple, but I’ll continue watching.

  31. 31 JoAnne

    Thank you for this. You helped me sleep last night. I had (literally) just closed the webpage after watching Crucible on Netflix and knew that I would need something else as my final memory of the night or I would never sleep. That movie is well done and I feel it’s important we don’t shy away from these stories…but holy God, it was hard to watch.

    This popped up on my twitter feed so I clicked over, having heard really good things. Imagine my suprise to find that young Eun-dong and Min-Su from the Crucible are the same young actor. He’s very, very talented – and rather than think of his portrayal of that short , hopeless, brutal life, I could fall asleep with cute images of him instead. Thank you again!

    • 31.1 Cynthia

      Thanks for the heads up on ‘Crucible’ – I was considering watching it, but not now. I just can’t watch movies with children being tormented, no matter who’s starring in them.

      • 31.1.1 JoAnne

        It’s very graphic. I felt like turning it off would dishonor those kids that it happened to, so I watched it, alternately raging and sobbing.

      • 31.1.2 gummimochi

        It’s a fantastic yet horrifying film all in one. I literally shook coming out of the theatre.

        JoAnne, I’m glad I was able to put some positive images in your brain! Yes, think of the cute!

        Cynthia, I recommend watching it, but definitely don’t watch it alone or at night.

  32. 32 Eun

    I watched this series in its entirety. XD. ( I want to type something but I don’t want to spoil.) But I swear there are so good looking together. πŸ™‚

  33. 33 Daisy

    The coachs reaction was hilarious! This drama is so underrated

  34. 34 Lovebug

    Hmmm, was really curious about this drama as haven’t heard much about it on Dramabeans, but now will officially watch as it is coming to Dramafever. Thanks for the Recap!

  35. 35 MilzMom

    Thanks so much! Came across the series by accident but really grew on me. the ending was well-written and there were many earnest moments. Kim Bum was really charmingly boyish – you could really believe he was 14 turning 25. Beyond the romance factor, the series dealt with other relationships – between father/ mother and son, first loves, and the unspoken trust between buddies. It was very feelgood despite being low-key. Looking forward to more Kim Bum on screen in future. Yup, kudos to tvN – this completes a hattrick started by Shut Up Flower Boy Band and What’s Up!

  36. 36 Cap Rice

    Hopefully this ends better than “Big”.

    • 36.1 lil

      it does end better….. waaaaaayyyyyy betttterrr… kkkk

    • 36.2 MsB


  37. 37 Christopher

    Oh, I watched this show. It begins as a light-hearted comedy. It’s really fun and goofy and I loved the moments between the kid and the coach.

    However, after the first several episodes it begins the innocent romance which is cute and breezy, but that really was where I started to lose interest in the show.

    The first several episodes were great though.

  38. 38 Laura

    I love this drama~ On episode 8 now, and I started it a few days ago. So glad you chose to recap this. πŸ™‚ Kim KiBum does a really great job acting in this.

  39. 39 ilikemangos

    Oh wow. kim tak gu’s momma is just in all the dramas these days, aint she?

  40. 40 su

    those of you that have not seen this show…u will b pleasantly surprise that its an adorable love story between the older woman n the boy….eun dong
    i liked it more than the drama big, which i did not bother to finish…..

  41. 41 ahjummabunny

    hmm it already sounds better than big. unlike my princess fans I like park ye jin ( I rooted for her in hateful but once again) so this show was already on my list. thank you for the recap gummi!

  42. 42 dramacafe

    Mwah! Thanks for the cap! I’m so happy you decided to do this one! I’m loving this drama. It’s not really that addictive and yet it’s so relaxing to watch ’cause I didn’t expect too much from it and it really surprised me that I’m enjoying the show!
    And, yes I have to agree with some people who say that this is more appealing and fun to watch.
    Finally another lead role for Park Ye Jin that I love her aside from that horrid drama Hateful But Once Again.

  43. 43 Sunshine

    i wasnt sure if i wanna see this but the first ep looks promising…what to do!!!

  44. 44 Mary

    This is actually “big” tom hanks version while big (or big flop as I like to call it) with gong yoo was actually freaky Friday/49 days …. This story was super cuters please continue to recap I love your comments

    • 44.1 Msb

      More importantly, The Gong Show (that is Gong Yoo)

  45. 45 Kris

    wow i would never thought somebody would actually recap this drama here since there are tons of park ye jin haters that visit this site….(i’m seriously getting sick and tired of reading comments about how old she looked and blah blah blah!)

    but anyways, thanks for posting this recap! I hope you continue to do so! I love this drama to pieces!

    • 45.1 Florentine Lily

      I thought she looked lovely and played the character perfectly. She protrayed the character beautifully with grace and dignity and was able to subtly convey Tae-Ri’s strengths and weaknesses and fun personality. I love the fact that her character is smart and strong yet vulnerable but does not leave you hitting your head at her world-ending stupidity.

      • 45.1.1 Kris

        I completely agree with you! I thought she was adorable in this drama as well.

    • 45.2 Lemon

      Oh, WORD! It’s about time someone said something right! I personally think Park Ye Jin looks gorgeous in ILLTR, and while she might look a bit more mature than her age in the drama because of her carriage as well as the fact that she’s paired up with super baby-faced Kibum, she’s hardly old-looking. Saying she looks like a 40-year-old is ridiculous, and you’d think people could find more to say about the drama than attacking the female lead’s looks.

  46. 46 Florentine Lily

    I was so happy…then I saw the “one time” note. Awww…but ILLTR is sooooo good and addicting. But I understand, everyone is resting in time for the influx of dramas in August.

  47. 47 malta

    This drama is super cute. tvN makes the best dramas. πŸ™‚

  48. 48 mina

    Yay… i love this rom-com, it was surprisingly good, and in my opinion much better than Big. We can all argue about the age difference and how it might offend some people but I think it was handled beautifully and I’m happy that the writers were brave enought to touch those boundaries but never crossing it.

  49. 49 Sophia

    yay yay! thanks for recapping this! Honestly, this drama was so much better than big, which was kind of similar to this drama in concept. Just finished it yesterday!

  50. 50 DangCinDee

    The big age gap throws me off. A 14 year old falling in love with a 28 year old. Uhhh….

    But there are cute scenes in the drama though. Lots of thing. I just don’t know if I can get pass the big age gap though.

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