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Lee Yeon-hee courted to become Miss Korea

Well I guess I can’t say I’m surprised at the casting, though it certainly isn’t an interesting choice. Upcoming it-takes-a-village-to-make-a-beauty-queen romantic comedy Miss Korea is reportedly courting Lee Yeon-hee (Gu Family Book) to headline as the small town girl who gets groomed to be the next Miss Korea. Right, because she’s so homely? I mean, I guess it makes sense, since SM is producing the drama. It’s just… where’s the twist if you cast someone who looks like a beauty queen as a beauty queen? It’ll be a sham of a makeover montage, people!

The new MBC Wednesday-Thursday drama comes from the writer-director team behind Pasta, and is about a group of neighborhood ajusshis who fight tooth and nail to turn a young lady from their town into the next Miss Korea. Why? I don’t know. But the idea of a bunch of gruff middle-aged ajusshis grooming a girl for a beauty contest does sound delightfully ridiculous. So far Lee Sung-min, who worked with the director on Golden Time, My Princess, and Pasta, is the only name officially attached.

Lee Yeon-hee just isn’t my first choice for a leading lady in any genre, though I do expect that she’ll be more likable in a rom-com than as the sad wilty flower type that she so often plays. Or is that just the image I have stuck in my head? On the upside, she did improve in her extended guest role in Gu Family Book, so there’s that. See, I’m trying. The script is still being written, so casting will take a while to be finalized. Lee Yeon-hee is “considering favorably” for now.

Miss Korea follows Medical Top Team and premieres in December on MBC.

Via TV Report

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*sigh*

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Double *sigh*

I give her props for improving in Gu, but my god SM is terrible and should really rethink their approach in drama production. Not every single one of your productions should have your own actors/actresses playing leads!

And with Yunho still rumored for Star, I have exasperated my eye-rolling quota for today.

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Yunho shouldn't act/star in anything. Ever.

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I'll help you with sighing and eye-rolling. My quota has not end (yet).

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The idea sounds very off-putting to me. A bunch of older guys controlling a young woman's life, diet, body in general can go very wrong and very sexist. It is already very uncomfortable without it being handled badly and I don't think a Korean series will go all feminist on us and show why the gender roles in Korea are still problematic.

So no thanks. Also, this is a kdrama, so I did not expect them to actually cast a less-than-gorgeous woman. How many "ugly" female leads do we see who are really super-models with a bad perm and some badly combed eyebrows? I hope this could be funny and have some heart, but I don't believe it will. :(

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On the other hand you would prefer your drama to have a less-than-handsome man as lead, I'm sure? I mean, we are all exited about Heirs because Lee Min Ho is such an average looking guy, right?

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Exactly. Both sides of the same coin.

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You being sure about a person's motives you know nothing about and using those imaginary conclusions does not weaken their argument. I realize you don't like what I said, but keep your argument solid.

I like a minimal amount of realism in my entertainment. If they give me a clearly beautiful woman and keep calling her ugly, I can't tell my eyes to see her as such.

As for the premise, which is what I really mind here, if it were a series about a handsome young man being groomed as an idol by older women treating him like meat for gain, I'd be just as put off by it.

Also, I am not watching 'Heirs'. So I agree with you there. If someone who watches dramas for hot men said they mind only hot women (I'm sure there's plenty of those too), I'd give them the definition of denial.

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We'd all be lying if we said that we don't prefer attractive leads in our dramas. But I think op's point was just that it's a shame that attractiveness is such a definitive factor in Korea/K-dramas.

Also, for the record, I don't actually find Lee Min Ho that attractive so there, subjectivity as well.

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Omo, me too. I'm not into him at all. I really like a lot of the other male actors in that show, though, so I fast-forward LMH to the others. #Woobie

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Your argument kind of plays to hjw's point - people (obviously most drama watchers are female) tend to only lament attractiveness being a definitive factor for female characters (i.e. why can't we see more average looking female leads) but they are pretty up front about supporting hot actors or watching for 'eye candy'

But Orion's point is about the discrepancy between perception and fact - there's something deeply dishonest about writing an average looking character and getting an incredibly beautiful woman to play her.

tl;dr I think both Orion and hjw are right on the money and they're not actually disagreeing with each other.

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I agree. What I did not like was hjw assuming I am such a person to discredit my point. Which was the same point they make, as you say, so I found it somehow counterproductive.

And it is a problem with males too. Look at how many flower boys get cast all the time. But are any of them called ugly and take on ugly duckling roles while being gorgeous? No.

Women already have body image issues in Korea. Calling even beautiful young girls ugly does not help that.

Why is it a crime to be an average looking woman and get cast as one then?

Probably because the main audience for dramas is women. But the very fact they assume all every woman wants is to see is pretty people is offending to that target audience. And perpetuates the problem.

There have been very rare series (That Fool, Salaryman) casting average looking guys and those worked very well. I feel they should try it with women too.

Generally speaking now, I have left this specific series in that talk. It's not the first series doing this or the last, so there's no point focusing on this specific choice.

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@ orion, imo the practice of hiring beautiful swans to masquerade as ugly ducklings is an unconscious admission that the fairy tales of plain Jane winning the alpha male are not realistic. Women are the worst culprits in terms of reinforcing the assertion that a woman's beauty somehow enhances or detracts from her worth as a person.

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@Annie, exactly. Gorgeous women do date average men and good looking men average women, but all of these "perfection-promoting" industries deny that.

And the reason why the reverse (not good looking or older man + young and pretty woman) has happened, is because men are given, by society, the right to have a hottie, while unattractive women are not.

But anyway, I've veered off the topic of this series, so I'll close the chat on my end and leave room for discussion on the actual work. ;) Thanks for the talk!

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Lee Min Ho is a nice looking man, not a very good actor and there are frankly way better. As you say, it's not bad being attracted to people and it's natural, but for that to be the criterion for casting rather than talent and skills and for them to label a character ugly, but not be willing to cast anyone not looking like a model, that is what is sad, yes.

At this point, what this looks like (it's the only thing I can talk about, since I don't know what it will actually be) is a series about a young woman being marketed for someone else's gain. Made by a company which markets young people for their gain. Starring a girl being marketed for their gain. I just find that very messed up somehow...

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As if attractiveness is not a ruling factor in American television (the only difference is that obvious plastic surgery is a bit taboo across the pond).....I'm no fan of this concept or Lee Yeon-hee, but let's not behave as if it's only kdramas that have warped beauty ideals/limited female roles/asshole heroes/etc etc.

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Yep. Korean trends are just easier to generalize because content output is much lower overall and international fans are exposed to just a sliver of that output.

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False equivalency.

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Those in this kind of industries don't care about this sexual manipulative things, and some girls love it to be manipulated. Beauty pageant is a not a respected show anymore.

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That is a good thing. It's a kind of progress, I guess. But dramas are still quite a popular medium, so this is a topic that can go very wrong and give some very bad messages if not done well.

I do think dramas should tackle society's problems, but will a drama produced by a company promoting the very use of people's appearance and sexuality for money really judge the problems of industries such as its own?

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Maybe instead of ugly the drama will go with 'she's got the looks, is desperate for the money, but has totally the wrong personality'.

She's All That crossed with Miss Congeniality.

I'm not enthused by the plot but with the right flourishes it could work.

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How many contestants of beauty contests are ugly or average? They are all beautiful. I'm not sure why you would want an average looking or ugly looking woman to play that part. That would even be more insulting and humiliating. I can see the call cast, only ugly or average looking women audition!

We audiences are brutal, definitely us women. We complain if an actress is ugly. We complain if she's pretty, definitely if she's pretty. I see people post things like they want to punch an actress in the face or call them horrible/stupid names like "plastic" all because of her looks.

I assumed it's about a pretty girl who just lives a normal life. She hangs out with friends, sleeps in late on weekends, goes to work or school. She hasn't trained or worked to be in a beauty pageant. The girl might not think or be aware that she's pretty. She for whatever reason goes along with the scheme.

Body and image issues aren't just in kdrama. They're in every show across country. I can't even really think of an average or ugly leading actress. I

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I agree. As a guy I do not understand it at all. What on earth would be the purpose of an ugly/average looking female lead? To make some women feel better about themselves? Are there really women out there who are really so insecure that they need to see someone uglier than themselves so that they have someone to laugh at?

This isn't the first time I have heard someone ask for an ugly/average female lead over a pretty one and I am still struggling to get my head around it. Do many people secretly want an Ugly Duckling story or something?

I never see any calls for an ugly/average male lead(s), I wonder why ^^

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Because women are all hypocrites who've created a world where men are judged by their handsomeness and women get to go around without make up and without shaving and are judged by their intelligence and work--oh wait, no that doesn't sound right.

You know what I want? I want a drama about a monster girl who destroys everyone and everything, and who doesn't aspire to beauty, but to magnificence.

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I want to watch that kind of drama too actually. ^^

However, one drama that comes pretty close is the "Queen's Classroom" (watch the Japanese version, it is absolutely wonderful), it's about a female teacher who strives to do what is right, even if her methods look cruel. She seems like a monster and she doesn't seem to care about anything else but her career. You should give this drama a try~ it might be exactly what you're looking for.

Actually, thinking on it more "The Tragedy of W" fits also, but be warned that the girl that fits your specification is extremely hard to like. She's more of a villain than the woman of the previous drama.

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There are no calls for average or ugly male leads because it's a fairly common trope, at least in American media, for a nerdy, unpopular, average guy to get the girl.

Personally, I will like to see more female characters who don't conform to just one type of beauty (as in thin, looks like a model). When girls complain about having female characters who are too beautiful, what they really mean is that they want female characters of all body type sizes and all types of looks. Part of what of what makes "My Lovely Kim Sam Soon" so great is not only that the female lead looks like an ordinary woman, but she also feels like a real person. She's not some caricature on what a female should be, she just is, with human flaws and all. I want to see more of that. Stories of real women. Females with all kinds of personalities, not just the "Candy", cute, hard-working types of K-Dramas and not just unpopular yet kind-hearted, good-looking heroines in U.S. media.

And flipping the other side of the feminism coin, I will like to see male characters who have emotional and nurturing personality types. Something like the anime "Natsume Yuuyinchou". Or just having a character arc that revolves around cooperation, tolerance, and being more involved in the caring for someone (in a platonic way). I think that the movie Thor was trying to go somewhere in these lines, where his fall from grace is supposed to teach him the values of humility and consideration for others, but I feel that his character change was a bit rushed and I wish they had taken more time to show him slowly changing. They get props for attempting it, I guess.

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It would be insulting and humiliating to have an average looking woman trying to become a beauty queen? It would be insulting and humiliating to consider someone slightly divergent from beauty standards to be beautiful?

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Okay. I just see anothee trainwreck coming...

Yes. I judge early... SMs producing it. HAHA

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Remember Lee Jong Seok's scene in I Hear Your Voice... that face he pulls when the teacher is talking about the poem about first love and he's totally disgusted? Yeah, that one.

That's totally the same face LYH had for 89.4% of Paradise Ranch (right? RIGHT??), and I think that's just about stained my view of her performance range. I just don't really see this going very well. I think she's totally gorgeous, and made some forward progress in Gu Family Book, but still... she isn't engaging or relatable (or emotive) enough to carry the protagonist role... especially one with this kind of premise.

The premise, the premise, the premise... I'm hoping that SM's not trying for international appeal with this one. Sigh. I think that this has the potential for a lot of older male actors to show off a softer side, and some parental charms, so I'm sure that they'll attract some great talent. Still, I usually dislike SM-produced dramas for the same reason as Heechul, apparently... they push their own stars into roles that they aren't right or ready for, and it doesn't turn out to be the star vehicle they were hoping for- even with the fancy Matrix-y camera work.

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OMG. Your first paragraph... What has been seen can't be unseen. I need to bleach my brain now.

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Oh yeah, she doesn't look like she needs help in that department... Maybe give her buck teeth or something

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And Mi-rae's hair.
Truth be told any woman can play gorgeous or average looking, but for the incredibility it takes mostly the acting ability and that's perhaps what LYh is missing the most.

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She was in GuFB? I've been sitting here thinking and I just can't pull up any scenes with her. Way to make an impression. Maybe she should have sported that bottlebrush hairdo she had on that horrific Ranch drama w/Changmin - it certainly made her memorable.
:-)

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Lol. She guest starred in the first and second episode of Gu Family Book and then here and there in the last couple of episodes. She played the young version of Kangchi's mother.

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Wait - I take that back. It just dawned on me that she was in what I called the Prequel to Gu - and did an excellent job playing opposite HotDaddyGumiho. I do recall being taken aback that she was actually good in the part, and I remember not being alone with that reaction with my fellow Beaners.

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lol if it follows Medical Top Team and will premiere at December then they will fight against 'Man From The Stars' who is staring Kim Soo Hyun & Jeon Ji Hyun.. Since the drama will follow Heirs and will also be premiering on December.. Is SM crazy? They are going to go up against giants in both movies & dramas like Jeon Ji Hyun & Kim Soo Hyun?! Who is making their comeback to the small screen after dominating the big screen's box office..

The drama is already highly anticipated in Korea, they will lose big time in ratings and even JJH & KSH is bigger than Lee Yeon Hee overseas..

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I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Man from the Stars will be an epic hit. The plot sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen.

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Ratings can surprise sometimes. There are times where underrated drama takes over highly anticipated drama in ratings.

It`s the story that makes or breaks the drama tbh.

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that's true.. so far on Wed-Thu slot, KBS's Secret Love is currently dominating the slot with higher rating than SBS's Heirs (with bunch of idols & Lee Minho hotness) though Heirs just premiering last week, people nowadays are following the storyline more than the actors or actress popularity..

but if it comes to show.. LOL, I don't mind the ratings as long as I enjoyed the show..

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A big name never actually guarantees ratings. Mirae's choice and heirs are huge huge examples of that. I do think man from another star has a bigger potential of ratings hit but that's because it's the only one that sounds moderately good atm - a lot better than beautiful man *shudders* and now this.

Korean TV audience have different tastes. GFB, GD, Horse Doctor, master's sun, Yawang - some are huge online while others no one heard of and the rest went under the radar.

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Right?! If popularity guaranteed ratings, there would be very few failures in drama land. Let's give the Korean public some credit, guys.

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Delightfully ridiculous, agreed. Next?

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She was the Mom / lady who married the Gumiho.

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I must be the only one looking forward to this. The storyline sounds refreshing. Although I would have preferred this as a movie instead of a tv drama.

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LYH? SM is trying so hard to sell this so called 'soulless' actress! like duhhhhhh

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I think they finally realized what a bad investment they got themselves into, and is trying desperately to get what they can! Personally I don't find her attractive despite having all the "right" features. Maybe it's the lack of soul...

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I think she has the the face/body to be "miss korea" she is not the best actress but i'm ok with her, at least she is supposed to be pretty( have you ever seen a ugly miss korea?) not like in white christmas where Eun Seung? was supposed to be the most gorgeous at school but the actress was...
I think nam bora or jung somin are good choices but they are too short.

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OMO, I don't want to be mean but it's true that the actress playing Eun Seung in White Christmas didn't really portray rightfully the most gorgeous girl in the school. I thought I was the only one thinking like that and that maybe, with korean beauty standard, she was seen as really really pretty but it felt odd. Plus, she is a model too (if I remember, all the actors playing the high schoolers in the drama are models, right ?)

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I thought the Eun Seung was really interesting to play but she was WORST than lee yeon hee and did not have chemistry with the others guys.

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*worse

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SPOILER SPOILER FOR ANYONE NOT HAVING WATCHED WHITE CHRISTMAS !!!

Yeah, it was an interesting character. At first, I didn't get what's the matter with her. I just thought she was the rightful kind like how the other guy kept picking on another student, she made fun of him to stop him or whatever.
Or when at the end, when the murderer wanted the mother to confess in exchange to her daughter's life and that she didn't say anything. It was quite sad ...
But the actress didn't express it that well. I thought she was quite wooden and didn't show any feelings. Maybe that's the point to be emotionless but you can be cold and have some facial expressions lol.
But anyway, it was a good drama overall so some bad performances don't really matter.

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Really? I thought Lee Som was gorgeous, in a very striking way - and I usually find Korea's 'national beauties' (Yoona, Kim Tae-hee, Han Ga-in) quite bland. That girl, on the other hand, was definitely not bland.

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But she's so stiff!
I didn't know her when I started watching Ghost and it surprised me a LOT that someone so bad at acting got the lead female role.

Sigh, I was looking forward to this too...

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I imagine it will follow the 'my fair lady' type of story and she will change everything about herself and then realize she hates it. Oh and she'll fall for one of the guys who helps with her makeover

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Darn, I was actually excited about the drama because it sounded fun and rather 'Miss Congeniality' like. But well, now?

Also the fact that SM is producing this drama is just...

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Hjw:you got a point but I think people have reservations regarding her acting ability. Although I absolutely lived her in Gu family. She wasn't awkward and had fantastic chemistry with Papa Gu. I am l am looking forward to her works because I liked her portrayal of Soe Hwa.

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@Sososo. What's up with people calling others 'ugly'. I mean come on! It makes me cringe everytime I see people being judged for their appearance by an other human.like ReaLly? Kindly think over this. And don't do this. It is not nice

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I think Lee Yeon-hee is the perfect cast for this role. I'm not sure where all the negativity is coming from. Her acting skills have greatly improved ever since Gu Family Book. If you need someone to play a naive small town girl and become a convincing Miss Korea (model), casting Lee Yeon-hee is a no-brainer.

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I like LYH. Maybe because I've only seen her in her recent works Ghost and Gu Family Book, but I think she has effortless leading lady charisma and charm. Something about her just draws me in. Really, in Gu Family Book, I wanted to see the prequel be the whole drama. I was hoping to see her in as the lead in a romance next time, but this sounds a good vehicle as well.

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Will the village ahjussi's potential for hi junks is promising, I think I will pass on this simply due to the beauty pageant thing.

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Yes she should do plastic surgery like the gazillion others. Not.

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I thought she already did? :P

Nah, I'm joking. Unless she actually has done plastic surgery, in which case, I don't really mind.

I do find it funny though that whenever I type the name of a Korean actor/singer/whatever in Google, one of the suggested searches is always "Insert name of Korean actor/singer here" plastic surgery, e.g. "Park Min Young plastic surgery"

It's bloody hilarious.

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LOL too true! I always find that funny or its INSERT NAME scandal!

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" since SM is producing the drama "
OK then ... PASS !

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MTE. Call me back once it's over and if a miracle happened, making this watchable.

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actually i'd predicted this casting since first time i heard this drama will be produced by SM LOL
since yoona already (highly considering) in other drama, so must be lee yeon hee in this drama.
BTW, what about the rumour about this drama is also courting Gong Yoo as one of the ahjussis?

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I actually think Yoona is better actress than Lee Yeon Hee. I was never as irritated by Yoona as i was with Yeon Hees `acting` in Paradise Ranch. That was atrocious!

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GDI Yeonhee always gets paired up with all the hotties. Lucky girl.

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I literally craked up when I read the part "Why? I don't know." :'D

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oh gee! The effect of the Wang Family:

I can't see this without thinking: "I was in the Miss Korea pagent."

(second only to "It's worse than the Korean war.")

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Lol, if her agency is producing it, how is it even legit that she's "considering favorably" when they're most likely the ones to decide for her anyway??

I really don't like LYH. She's pretty and all, but I get so irritated with the way she acts, particularly when she bares her teeth. It's actually so annoying. I've seen her GFB and although I agree she did improve, she'd still not be an actress I'd readily watch a show for - or even consider. I hope she proves though - because if they get a leading actor I like - I may give it a shot. Not too many other winter dramas sound winning to me atm.

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SM C&C has Kim Ha-Neul in their roster. Why not cast her for the main lead.

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Too old

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Ok, rephrase, lol ... too old in the sense that the character should be around the age when girls compete in Miss Korea (late teens - early 20s) and Kim Ha Neul can't really pass for someone that young.

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To be fair, the woman does look like a two day hangover in that particular photo.

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If Go Ara can shed her image for Reply 1994, I don't see why Yeon Hee can't do the same. I just hope SM wont be pushing any more of their idols in this drama cos the writers seems quite promising.

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....
well then...
there goes my interest, lol

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this is a lovely casting imho.

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humm... wat?? SM drama?

/sign deeply

*shaking head*

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*sigh* any SM produced drama tend to use their own actor but I just hope it wont suck like To The Beautiful You that might have better if SM didn't produce it

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Well. It could be worse. And Go Ara managed to make herself look less attractive for Reply 1994 so who knows.

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On the bright side their heavily courting on of my favorite K-Actors for main male role!!!!!!!! GONG YOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

It would make my Christmas if that happened! I miss him on my computer screen! I know I can't be the only one! As for Lee Yeon Hee I am kinda meh, but you can only go up from there so here's hoping if she accepts she brings her A-Game. Fingers crossed cause this sounds like it could be so epic and delicious!!!!

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Shame. I WAS interested.

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Damn. I was hoping it would have the flavor of the other Mirae from City Hall. I forgot the name of the pageant in that show, but it was hilarious (of course it's Kim Sun Ah) when she went out for Miss "Go-Deung-Uh" or whatever before she ran for Mayor.

This whole idea of doing a drama around Miss Korea intrigues me because I think there may be some room for social commentary, i.e. standard of beauty in S. Korea, especially in light of how all Miss Korea contestants look alike nowadays b/c of plastic surgery and whether plastic beauties should even be allowed to compete in a traditional beauty contest. Something about allowing that seems off to me.

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This is SM produced drama? LOL. I can't help but remembered about what Kim Gura and Kim Heechul said: SM produced dramas are always failed. Not only in rating, but also in story, acting, etc. Let's see how this works out.

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LOL !! there goes Kim Heechul & Kim Gura are observing this kind of reality within SM's dramas. even Heechul's himself said he will not act in it if the dramas produce by SM..

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I hope she does well in this! She hasn't taken on much role where she's supposedly a glamorous, beautiful woman. But I guess in the start of the drama, she'll be playing a character that's the opposite of glamorous.

I first saw her in Paradise Ranch and didn't like her one bit. But when I saw her in Hello Schoolgirl, my opinion changed. She's actually pretty good as a nonchalant schoolgirl and surprisingly acts pretty well next to Yoo JiTae. But that's just probably me.

The story looks promising (even though it's SM produced!) so I'll watch out for this. :)

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Lee yoen hee is quit okay for me since she's not idol-turned-actress. The story line is promising. I will watch this drama for sure

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If SM wants to succeed in the drama industry, they have to stop casting their own actors as the leads.

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What is there to "consider favourably" when her own company is producing it hahaha

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i'll buy it if she shows the level of dedication her friend Go Ara is showing in her Answer Me stint heeeee

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I don't mind her because I've only seen her in a millionaire's first love and GU Family Book. I wasn't aware that there were issues with her other roles. Pasta was a good drama. Maybe she isn't an ugly duckling, but she could be shy or socially awkward. I might give this s chance. I haven't seem the other SM production because the premise never interested.

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Then who would you have wanted, girl Friday? I mean, what celebrity straddles both ground of homely and glamorous???

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She looks so pretty in the picture!

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She looks so pretty in the picture! I love her hair!

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my choice would be either son ye jin, song hye go, or ?? there's so many but i can't think of them right now :)

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must. keep. eyes. from. rolling. back. into. my. head.

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SM producing this drama? No wonder~ They always use their own artists. Anticipation for this drama has dropped down to 0%.

Lee Yeon Hee never really impressed me. She's just too forgettable. It's easy to forget about her. Though seeing some of the comments about some improvements from her in Gu Family, maybe she's finally started to improve. Somewhat.

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i luv lee yeon hee, glad to hear she back as main role.. I'm in !!!

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