Drama Recaps
Gold Rainbow: An Introduction
by | January 11, 2014 | 101 Comments

I’ve been watching weekend series Gold Rainbow since it first premiered in November, mostly because I was excited about UEE and Jung Il-woo doing a drama together. I wasn’t excited about the 50-episode length or the storyline though, so I decided I’d watch casually for a while and get through the 11-episode childhood segment before weighing in on the show. I did intend to do an introduction sooner, but December just has a way of getting away from me.

This introduction covers Episodes 1-19, though I’m mostly going to talk about character setups and the central romance. If you’re anything like me that’s all you’re really watching the show for anyway, and the rest is pretty much paint-by-numbers family melodrama stuff. On the upside, the leads are adorable together and there’s enough cute rom-com fodder in their storyline to keep me watching. (The show knows its strengths and doles out a helping of cute in every episode, and isn’t too stingy about developing the romance.)

On the downside, there is a LOT of other crap to wade through, and it’s not a drama that I would call evenly balanced in quality. It ranges at times from laughably simple to just plain obvious, and the tears-to-cute ratio is often tipped the wrong way. But there’s a lot I’ll suffer through for a good rom-com pairing, even if it’s shoved into the middle of a melo sandwich. My advice if you’re thinking of picking this up now: you can read the intro and skip the childhood segment (unless you’re a fan of the child actors, who are great), and watch the rest starting at Episode 12 onwards with the fast-forward button at the ready.

 
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THE CHARACTERS

The story revolves around our heroine, KIM BAEK-WON (“hundred won” like the coin), played by Kim Yoo-jung and later UEE. It’s your classic birth secret story, where she’s really the granddaughter of the big fishing giant Gold Fisheries, aka our Chaebol Family, and gets separated from them at a young age and suffers from traumatic amnesia leaving her with no memory of who she was.

She ends up being raised by KIM HAN-JOO (Kim Sang-joong), and becomes the heart of the Orphan Family that gets trampled on constantly by the Chaebol Family. I wish the conflict weren’t so simple that I could boil it down to that, but that’s basically what it is. I couldn’t care less about the birth secret, but thankfully Baek-won is a good character with backbone and heart, and doesn’t end up just a poor damsel with a tragic backstory. She’s feisty and outspoken, and instead of just suffering injustices, she sets out to right wrongs and ends up becoming a cop.

I enjoy that she’s not really that great at her job (when we meet her as an adult she’s so overzealous about an undercover case that she gets demoted to traffic duty), but throws herself into her work when it triggers her sense of justice. Her real talent is in fish, having been raised by a fisherman in Busan where she grew up learning everything there is to know about different kinds of fish and how to catch, farm, and cook them. I’m sure that’ll be a necessary part of her character later, but right now I prefer her as a ball-busting cop who’s more brawn than brains.

Our hero SEO DO-YOUNG (played by Oh Jae-mu and later Jung Il-woo) is the outsider of the Chaebol Family—he’s the son that SEO JIN-KI (Jo Min-ki) had before marrying into wealth, and after being raised by his mother alone, he gets brought into Dad’s new family as a teenager when Mom dies. He’s a fascinating character, in that even at a young age his father teaches him to hide his talents so as not to appear a threat to his stepbrother the heir. Do-young adopts this attitude at school and at home, where he plays the part of the dumb punk brother who will never amount to anything, and enjoys being underestimated—it’s part strategy, part survival.

Dad’s idea is to mold him into a shark to one day help him take over the chaebol conglomerate (his whole reason for marrying into the family in the first place), but Do-young is actually a good kid and refuses to bend to Evil Dad’s plans for world domination. He ends up a prosecutor instead, though he hilariously hasn’t given up the habit of making himself look like the class dunce, which in the workplace he uses to underplay everyone’s expectations while secretly being quite smart and quite capable. He’s also lazy, so it works to his benefit to appear as useless as possible.

I like that he’s a sunny character, and I especially enjoyed the consistency from Oh Jae-mu to Jung Il-woo in portraying his cheeky nature. There wasn’t as much quirk to latch onto for the heroine, so while Kim Yoo-jung and UEE are both lovable as Baek-won, she’s played rather straight and the two actresses are so different that they often feel like two characters. I remember watching Oh Jae-mu and thinking he’d watched Jung Il-woo’s other dramas, because he sort of took on this bravado that was adorably spot-on.

The Orphan Family is born when Baek-won gets discovered by Oppa KIM MAN-WON (Lee Jae-yoon) with no memory of who she is. Oppa takes to her and raises her as his little sister, which she just accepts as truth. They’re orphaned again when his grandmother dies, and Dad Han-joo takes them in, eventually taking in seven orphans who all get money-related names because of Man-won (“ten thousand won”). Oppa is the protective bear who makes bad decisions in order to feed his siblings, and later he ends up a mob boss, which he has to keep secret from his cop sister. He harbors a crush on her but she refuses to think of him as anything but her blood brother, and when he finally tells her that they aren’t really related, she just tells him she’s going to pretend she never learned the truth.

Dad is a local fisherman who struggles to make ends meet, and Baek-won cooks and runs the household all while going to school. But they’re happy and bustling, and Dad and Baek-won have an especially sweet relationship. Dad is an orphan himself, and was once the leader of his own brood of orphans as a kid, which explains his bleeding heart for stray kids and his inability to turn them away even as he struggles to feed them all. Their bond as a family is the heart of the show, and why the birth secret hardly matters—these people make it clear that family is just the people you choose to share your life with, and once you do, you go to the ends of the earth for each other.

Dad’s Achilles’ heel is first love YOON YOUNG-HYE (Do Ji-won), who was one of the orphans he grew up with. She married into the Chaebol Family and had Baek-won (whose real name is Ha-bin), only to lose her husband and then her daughter (assumed dead), and gets thrown out of the house by her mother-in-law, aka Boss Grandma of Chaebol Family. She goes crazy with revenge and decides to dedicate her shell of a life to taking everything that’s Grandma’s, and joins forces with Do-young’s Evil Dad to take over the family company.

The problem is that Good Dad Han-joo gets sucked into this revenge drama in trying to protect her, and goes to jail repeatedly because he’s stupidly noble like that. It’s pretty infuriating how many times he goes to jail because of her, but suffice it to say, he spends most of the childhood segment behind bars. Obviously Baek-won and Young-hye have no idea that they’re mother and daughter, and at first they bond because Baek-won sees how much Dad loves her. But when she discovers that Young-hye is the reason Dad takes sole blame for a fish-smuggling operation that goes south, she grows to hate her.

There are a lot of villains in this drama, but I think the scariest of them is KIM CHUN-WON (Cha Ye-ryun), who is the last addition to the brood of orphans and becomes Baek-won’s unni. She has a tragic past with an abusive father, and it’s clear she developed a frightening survival instinct, as we watch her manipulate people’s emotions with cold detachment. Even as a teenager she’s shrewd and calculating, and manipulates Dad’s sympathy so that he takes her in. And then once she sees that Dad won’t be around to take care of them anymore, she switches sides to Young-hye and attempts suicide so that she’ll adopt her, and she takes on Young-hye’s daughter’s name, Ha-bin.

Chun-won was always first in her class and grows up to be a lawyer, namely to help Mom in her revenge scheme to take over Chaebol Family. She’s crazy enough to seduce Do-young’s stepbrother SEO TAE-YOUNG (Jae Shin), Chaebol Family’s idiot heir, even though as a teenager he attacked her in an attempted rape. He’s dumb enough to get fleeced and hands over his stocks in the company as collateral for a loan to finance a large fish-smuggling operation, which is exactly the opportunity Team Takeover needs. Chun-won has always had eyes for Do-young, who’s only ever loved Baek-won.

 
THE STORY

We start out in Busan, where despite the melodramatic ways in which baby Baek-won gets separated from her birth mother and her wealthy grandmother, life with the Orphan Family is happy and warm. Although he has a past as a petty criminal, Dad is a salt-of-the-earth hardworking type who spends every penny on giving his kids the things they want.

And though Baek-won often faces the bottom of the rice stash and worries over what her family will eat the next day, she never complains and is always her father’s pillar. It’s only in front of Oppa that she sometimes shows how hard life is for her when she’d rather run out and be a normal teenager.

But to her and to Dad, family is everything, and she’s the peacemaker and caretaker who sacrifices her time willingly for her siblings. Among her responsibilities is taking care of the youngest, Young-won (“zero won,” also “forever”), who is still too young to go to school.

It’s because of Young-won that Do-young and Baek-won bond, because he often plays with the little boy who has nothing to do all day but wait in the school field until noona gets out of class. Do-young plays games with him and shares his lunch, and though Baek-won thinks Do-young is the class idiot (because he purposely tests in last place every time), she warms to him because he’s nice to her little brother.

Do-young likes her right away, and one of my favorite things about their loveline is that there’s no hedging. He’s a bold kid who tells her that he likes her, and their friendship is adorable with none of the melodramatic first-loves-torn-away-by-tragedy stuff. There’s plenty of melodrama in the rest of the drama, but I like that their love story remains drama-free and just sweet.

The central conflict in the childhood segment is a fish-smuggling operation run by Do-young’s Evil Dad Jin-ki, which turns out to really be gold smuggled inside fish. Good Dad Han-joo goes to Jin-ki as a hyung (they grew up together as orphans) to put a stop to big business trying to muscle out the little mom and pop fishermen, not knowing how evil and greedy Jin-ki has become, and how large his illegal operation has already grown.

But when Young-hye gets caught up in the scheme because she wants revenge on Chaebol Family, Dad jumps into the line of fire to protect her like the noble idiot he is, and not only handles the deal, but takes the fall for the entire illegal operation. Part of the reason he shoulders all the blame is that Baek-won’s oppa Man-won gets caught up in the smuggling deal after being recruited by a local thug to be a gangster. Dad makes Man-won promise to live right and prepares to go to prison alone.

Among Dad’s many tragic choices (there are so many to choose from really) is his decision to torch the evidence, during which the second youngest of his kids gets trapped in the fire and eventually dies. Burdened with the horrible guilt of having accidentally caused the death of one of his beloved kids, he decides to cut ties from everyone while in prison, thinking they’re better off without a father like him. Like I said, noble idiot.

This is hardest on Baek-won, who loves Dad like no one else in the world and has unwavering faith that Dad is not the kind of person who would run a smuggling operation. She devotes all her energy into finding out the truth, and Do-young helps her. He’s smart enough to get close to the truth, but Evil Dad is one step ahead of him and when push comes to shove, he’s still just a kid on a bicycle without any real power.

Being by her side through all this earns him Baek-won’s trust though, and they become each other’s confidants when things are hardest for both of them. He was always the first to flirt, but she returns his feelings with a kiss on the cheek, which she declares is payment for giving her a ride home on the back of his bike. It’s so adorable.

But while Dad is in prison, their family friend (uncle Ahn Nae-sang, who’s a ridiculous character played for comic relief) reneges on his deal to take care of the kids, egged on by Evil Dad Jin-ki who doesn’t want Baek-won and Do-young digging for the truth. So when faced with being separated and sent to different orphanages, the kids hurriedly decide to make a run for it in the middle of the night.

Man-won thinks it’s a good idea to steal the stash of gold that the local gang boss got as his cut in the smuggling deal, and meets his siblings at the train station trailed by a horde of scary gangsters. And in the scuffle, they get separated from maknae Young-won.

Fast-forward to fourteen years later in Seoul. The large bustling family is now down to four kids—Man-won, Baek-won, and the two fraternal twins Ship-won and Yeol-won (both meaning “ten won”). Baek-won has worked tirelessly to become a detective, and has one of those crazy boards filled with her life’s mission—to clear her father’s name and get justice for all the wrongs done to her family.

Her biggest regret is being separated from maknae Young-won, and part of the reason she became a cop is to increase her chances of finding him. Dad finally gets released from prison and comes home, while Young-hye and Chun-won return to the country after living in Japan.

Do-young is now a prosecutor and though he sometimes takes out the old locket that he still carries with Baek-won’s picture inside and thinks of her wistfully, it’s not an epic tragic first love, for which I am epically grateful. They re-meet-cute when she catches a criminal that he’s after, and he takes credit for singlehandedly taking the guy off the streets on national television.

She fumes, especially since she’s been demoted to traffic duty, and they begin this cute competitive bickering that I wish lasted longer. It can’t because her name is weird enough that he jolts up as soon as he hears it, though in a similar moment she recognizes his name on TV but shakes off the ridiculous notion that the class moron could’ve become a prosecutor, ha.

She assumes he’s corrupt because he lets a suspect go after she spent months to catch him, so she starts following Do-young everywhere he goes, determined to catch the dirty prosecutor taking bribes. But meanwhile he’s figured out who she is, and so he hilariously chooses date places that she’d like, knowing that she’s tailing him.

She thinks she’s being super stealthy while he snickers at her the whole time. It’s great. He purposely leaves the trail of breadcrumbs so that she can recapture the suspect she so desperately wanted, and that’s when he reveals who he is with one quick drop of the locket he once gave her.

She’s still not convinced he’s a good guy until he fesses up that he arranged this whole scenario so that she could catch the bad guy, and then she finds out that he requested her to join the investigation so that she could get out of traffic duty and get back to being a detective. So then they start working together, and it’s just like old times except now they have badges.

They’re a really funny couple, because he’s really prissy and she’s really tough (he flinches every time she raises her fist and even in his fantasies she seduces him only to cuff him to a chair and arrest him, lol), but then they balance each other out because she’s not that bright while he’s all brains.

He thinks their cases are just a chance to flirt, and in every episode he spends all his energy to find devious ways to do coupley things. They’re hilariously elaborate schemes just to go eat dinner or wear couple jackets without her knowing until it’s too late, but it makes their relationship seem more like a continuation of their childhood one, and it peppers the episodes with light fun moments.

I like that they’re friends first, and that he’s always made it crystal clear that he likes her. In fact there’s a recent turn in the story where ex-unni Chun-won is starting to do nefarious things just to get close to Do-young, but he’s never once shown an interest in her, and I find Baek-won’s worry to be unfounded (I mean, you’d have to be seriously obtuse not to know that he looooooves you). I don’t expect the misunderstanding to last too long, but it’s annoying.

In one of my favorite bits early on, they get attacked by one of the thugs they’re after, and when it counts, Do-young isn’t such a scaredy after all and runs to take a pipe to the back of the head to protect Baek-won. He’s perfectly fine, but he milks it for every ounce of sympathy he can get from her like a whiny manchild, feigning head trauma and amnesia for excuses to see her. She spends a lot of the drama rolling her eyes at him, and then secretly smiling to herself when he’s not looking.

In the rest of the drama, the world’s slowest corporate takeover plot finally gets somewhere when Bio-mom Young-hye reunites with Dad and gives up her revenge for love, leading Chun-won to ditch Mom for a new alliance with Do-young’s Evil Dad.

The new plan: she’s going to assume the real Ha-bin’s identity, which is easy since she’s already taken on her name. She plans to fool Grandma and become an heiress, and the only thing standing in her way is Do-young, who knows her true identity (and everyone in Orphan Family, though they have less direct access to Chaebol Family). It’s a crazy plan, but she’s crazy. At least we’re supposed to hate her?

On the other hand, Oppa’s life is about to take a turn for the worse. He’s been hiding his gangster life from his family all this time, and has this elaborate cover life as a fisherman, complete with fresh catch of the day brought to him on a daily basis by a gang minion when it’s time for him to go home. The lies pile up with Baek-won, but it never once occurs to her that Oppa would lie.

Once Dad comes home and starts helping out at the family’s seafood restaurant, he catches Man-won in suspicious slips—fish that can’t be caught in the area he claims to have been, weather that should’ve kept him ashore that he doesn’t know about—and eventually follows him and finds out the truth.

It breaks Dad’s heart that he became a criminal when he expressly went to jail to keep him out, but Man-won cries that he was just a kid back then and they were going to starve. Feeling responsible, Dad decides to help Man-won finish this one last job in order to repay all his debts and get out of the life once and for all. And OF COURSE, because this is a drama and Fate sucks, this is the smuggling case that Baek-won and Do-young are working. By the end of Episode 19, they’ve caught up to the suspects and Baek-won pulls out her gun… and Dad and Oppa turn around to face her.

 
COMMENTS

Often Gold Rainbow is so by-the-book that I’m bored as I watch it, because so much of the family melodrama is written and played so predictably. But then every time the leads come back on I’m instantly happy again like I have short-term memory loss. Obviously if I had my choice I’d cut out all their scenes and make a 16-episode romantic comedy out of it, because they’re so cute together and I could watch them bicker-flirt all day.

They’re not exactly being stretched as actors but they’re great in the roles, and I love friends-first romances. (There’s a really cute line in the drama when Baek-won swears to her captain that the prosecutor is just an old classmate and not a boyfriend, and he counters: “Yeah, but classmate becomes jagi, and jagi becomes yeobo, and yeobo becomes your sworn enemy! Just look at me and my wife!”)

My head hurts a little when I try to organize the family tree. I think her birth secret makes them step-cousins by marriage? I think? Thankfully they share no blood so there’s no fauxcest fork down the road, and Do-young is always one step away from being disowned by Evil Dad so here’s hoping he follows through on that. In general all of the Chaebol Family stuff bores me to tears (though I do enjoy Do-young’s comical relationship with his stepmom who is harmlessly dumb). I think the show’s saving grace is really the angst-free romance at the center of it, which I say with crossed fingers because the latest turn has Baek-won taking a step away from Do-young. That had better not stick, ya hear me? *shakes fist*

We often talk about weekend family shows as drama comfort food, and Gold Rainbow is a classic case that delivers the expected beats—tears and laughs and heartwarming moments—like clockwork, with very little originality. But a winning couple and a fun romance that you can root for is nothing to scoff at, and depending on your angst tolerance level for the surrounding storylines, you might find it an easy watch. I find that I’m rarely hard-pressed to like a heroine who chases the baddies down with fists of fury, and when you give her an adoring Jung Il-woo to make puppy eyes at her, there’s really not much I won’t sit through for that.

 
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101 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Aaron

    Yes! Been waiting for DB to cover this.

    • 1.1 BaileyOtaku

      You and me both!

  2. harukogirl

    I was just debating picking this up, my extreme love for the mains warring with my fear of another “100 year inheritance” or similar drama disaster.

    thanks for making my choice easy. If the romance is good, I can put up with a lot ;)

    • 2.1 Windsun33

      I watched the first 6 or 7 episodes, but just gave up on it – way too much makjang, really stupid people making really stupid decisions, etc. I was going to pick it up again at ep12, but never got around to it.

      I don’t really seem to be missing much except a lot of fast forwarding.

      • 2.1.1 Stephanie

        I remember Uee’s previous long drama had fans taking out her portion only. And I had the privilege of enjoying an extremely short romcom every week. Do you think there’ll be enough fans for this couple to have the same treatment? Cus I really cannot stand makjang. The heirs kind is fine but the kind of trope where the mother gains half a million dollars worth of debt because she trusted a wrong person is stupid and argh, I can’t stand it.

        • 2.1.1.1 harukogirl

          I’ve now watched from 11- 21, and IMO it’s worth it. The sibling relationship is cute, and Uee and Ijw are the cutest thing ever. and the end of episode 21…. OMG. Let’s just say it’s usually not that good at the END of a drama XD

          • 2.1.1.1.1 Enz

            Squeeeeeeee i cant wait!!

          • 2.1.1.1.2 Mary

            +1

            Can’t say how many times I rewatched the ending of Ep. 21. Won’t say more than that, but that was HOT!!!!

            (Fan self!)

  3. mary

    Wow. It sounds like a very complicated drama with lots of annoying plot threads.

    BUT! Jung Il Woo! ♥

    Going by this intro alone, he looks adorable and his character sounds great.

    Do you think we should watch this or are we better off re-watching Flower Boy Ramyun Shop for a JIW fix?

    • 3.1 KDaddict

      I tried to watch this for JIL.
      The 1st 5 mins. had a teary DIL crying, clawing at the gates of the mansion for a look at her baby daughter, while her evil MIL the chaebol sabonim chased her away with much hatred, bcos she blamed the young woman for the death of her son. They just kept going back and forth, one begging, the other kicking. It just seemed to go on and on and on, forever. Goodness Gracious Me!

      I think you have the right idea: For a JIW fix, re-watching FBRS is way better.

      • 3.1.1 mary

        Well noted. :)

        Thank you for the tip!

  4. enywidiya

    Thanks GF for covering it.

    I’ll watch just for Jung Il-Woo and UEE :)

  5. bjharm

    hmmm yet another K-drama where one wonders whatever happened to child protection law in korea, or are childern really left homeless to freeze or stave to death on the streets in modern korea?
    It has always struck me as so strange that TV shows where the government has rules to make sure that the Korean way of life is alway shown in the best light, that productions get fined for open mouth kissing but lets them show child abuse as part of ‘normal’ accpeted way of life in Korea.

    • 5.1 Dongsaeng killer

      +1

    • 5.2 Quiet Thought

      Really.

    • 5.3 megumi

      child abuse and abandonment does happen in korea like every other country, i for one think it’s good to show people in Korea how much the child suffers when they are abandoned by their family. The sad truth is in Korea adoption is not normal. The people there don’t want to adopt because they value blood relation too much. That is why you see lot of Korean children put to adoption for abroad especially America. Child abuse does happen everywhere not only in Korea so I think people around the world should be educated more on how to stop this.

  6. Honeymylovesosweet

    I’m watching this drama too! Okay I have to admit that I did because of my Il-woo-oppa. But then the romance is sooo satisfying that I’m rooting for them. So so much :) Jung Il woo and UEE fits together perfectly.

  7. 143512

    Wow, perfect timing. Thanks! I just finished ep.12 (having skipped the childhood story) and was looking around for a plot recap of the earlier episodes. This is great. Much appreciated. I cant tell if I’ll like it yet, but the fists of fury uee + jung il woo seem like a pretty cute couple.

  8. Tammy

    I started watching it for UEE and to see how I’d feel about Jung Il-Woo. I loved him as Scheduler in 49 Days, hated him in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. Then again, the only thing I liked about Ramyum was the Crazy Chicken. So far, loving him in Rainbow, but enough with the idiot takeover plot already! Make with the romance and find the youngest brother for Pete’s sake! I agree. They should’ve whacked it down to a 16 episode rom com.

  9. jyyjc

    Yea I’ve been casually watching this too and fast forwarding all the boring stuff. My question is, will they ever find Youngwon or is he written out of the story already? I looked up the drama info and there’s no older actor playing Youngwon? I mean…if they never find yw, that is so sad T____T

  10. 10 zakin89

    I swear I have no freakin idea why I am still watching the episodes from beginning to end^^ I guess I love the pain all the aggravating stuff gives me :P The clock is ticking though and it won’t take long for me to start skipping certain parts.

    I LOVE Uee and JIW and they’re such a cute couple =)

    The child actors were great and I was kind of sad to see them leave. (I belatedly realised that the kid who played Man Won was in Kim Ki Duk’s Moebius)

  11. 11 Fiercediva

    I’ve enjoyed how Jung Il Woo has been able to work in elements of all his previous characters into this drama – he rides a motorcycle; he’s impeccably dressed and the office girls squee over his style like Cha Chi Soo; he pretends to be a dunce while being smart as did Prince Yang Myung, he gets exasperated like Scheduler and even had a fight scene like Iljimae (with a slightly less spectacular outcome, as girlfriday’s noted!)

    The two parts that puzzle me:

    – Baek Won went to university and became a cop, but she is still being called a rookie and inexperienced by her Chief at age 29. How long does it take to go through Police Academy in the ROK?

    – The orphan family and the chaebol family were in Busan (I think), then the orphans ran away and now live in Incheon. How come the chaebol family appear to have the same house they had in Busan in the present?

    • 11.1 dfwkimchi

      I am so glad that I am not the only one that is befuddled my the locations in the episodes as I got the map of korea out to check ou the distance between the cities and found the location jumps hard to figure out.

  12. 12 milkmustache

    I’m suffering through watching every episode for UEE and Jung Il-woo, lol. I can’t stand over half of the characters and, I pretty much hate the crazy plot with the birth secret and all, but I’ll keep watching for my otp. Their cuteness is the only thing that keeps me sane while watching this.

  13. 13 Barbra Jean

    Thanks so much for writing this! I had done what you said- skipped the childhood parts and started at episode 12 when they are adults but had trouble understanding how the characters fit together. Your introduction helped so much! I really do like the two leads together and find them fun to watch.

  14. 14 Midori

    After watching Jung Il Woo as Iljimae, I fell in love. I wonder why he’s not only getting better roles? He’s amazing & versatile. He was always the guy who captured my attention in High Kick and I watched for his scenes in the Moon Sun thing that drove me nuts.

  15. 15 Rowanmdm

    I really liked this at first, but now I’m starting to fast forward through the evil corporate take-over scenes. The Do Young/Baek Won relationship was (both as children and adults) has been my favorite part of the show, so I REALLY hope this whole freeze-out thing doesn’t last for very long. Is it just me, or is anyone else rooting for Man Won and the Polar Bear’s daughter to hook up?

    • 15.1 oscyani

      hahas! same here! fast forward all the nonsensical parts.. and keep rooting for the main couple romance.. and MORE romances.. hahahas.. i’m rooting for man won and the polar bear daughter too! she seems harmless.. so farrr… well i hope.. hahas (:

  16. 16 kooriyuki

    oh man this sounds totally makjang, but I’m glad the center romance sounds really cute.

  17. 17 HannahP

    I stop watching already. Love the little kids part. But then it got so boring (except the romance part). Too much annoying character too. My love for Il-woo, UEE and Ji-Hoon coud not overcome the annoyingness.

    • 17.1 Laura

      Me too. I think child actors made the best of the story and after that it just went meehhh… I so wanted to believe in UEE as BW, but she just wasn’t for me. She might be great but wasn’t a continuation, because her character seems totally different. Il-woo’s role on the other hand really transformed well. Yet, with him alone, it’s not enough to dedicate oneself to these series. I might go to see the final, though…. someday.

      • 17.1.1 the other kay

        i totally agree. it felt jarring watching uee playing baekwon bc she felt like a completely different character. and while girlfriday found her incompetence at work endearing, i was rather annoyed. she devotes her life to catching this guy to clear her father’s name but she loses her temper, gets violent and gets demoted in a matter of minutes. sigh, i really wanted the rest of the drama to be bearable bc the leads are cute together.

      • 17.1.2 Soup

        LOL. I had the same notion, and that is why I dropped the drama. I watched the child portion (mind you, i did skip a lot of the crying scenes because it drove me mad how the director wanted to show the face of every crying child!!!) I love KYJ’s portrayal of Baek Won, but the moment UEE became Baek Won, I just couldn’t stand it and dropped, even though Il-woo is very handsome. Nothing against UEE, it’s just that either the writer forgot what child Baek Won’s character is like, or she turned into a hot blooded, angry and idiotic person who couldn’t forgive her brother man won. Where did the patient, loving, hard working and family centered Baek Won go? :( *sigh. With the last show this writer did (May Queen), the characters transitioned nicely, but with this show, i’m wondering wth is happening. -_-

  18. 18 Xxvxx

    I saw bits and pieces of it. Like what girlfriday recommended, I raped the fast forward button just for Uee and Il-woo’s scenes. They are great. They’re a joy to watch and gives me all the fuzzies inside.

    Is it just me or is the actress playing Chun Won resembles Lim Ju Eun????

  19. 19 crazedlu

    Kim Yoo-jung is great, but most times, her portrayal of the younger counterparts differ so greatly from the older, I’m always left thinking, “This is NOT the same character.” *coughmayqueencough*

    It’s not so much her fault though. I think writers tend to make her young characters so darn sweet and good hearted because she seems so darn sweet and good hearted in reality. Then they go bonkers when it comes to the older counterparts and the effect is jarring, going from Kim Yoo-jung to the older actresses. Can’t wait for when she becomes the lead of her own drama. Ugh, I’m so old.

    I like that just by looking at the images, I can tell the consistency is there between Oh Jae-mu and Jung Il-woo though. Very nice.

    This drama is too long and the premise too boring and lame for me to follow, but hope the rest of you are enjoying it.

    • 19.1 pogo

      Kim Yoo-jung is great, but most times, her portrayal of the younger counterparts differ so greatly from the older, I’m always left thinking, “This is NOT the same character.”

      **coughthemoonthatembracesthesuncough**

      It really doesn’t help that in she often does a better job of playing the character, than the headlining adult actress – and it’s not even her fault, when she’s the one who originates the role. But this differs from Moon/Sun in that at least Uee can act to some extent and has decent chemistry with JIW, which makes it bearable.

    • 19.2 akikisetsu

      Kim Yoo-jung is great, but most times, her portrayal of the younger counterparts differ so greatly from the older, I’m always left thinking, “This is NOT the same character.”

      I was also taken aback by how different her character became. It made me think if they “learned” their lessons from Yoo Jung’s past 2 dramas (Moon and May Queen), where the older actresses were heavily compared and fell short to Yoo Jung’s portrayal. I’ve always found Yoo Jung to be very effective especially with emotional scenes, as her eyes are really expressive, and the 2 past actresses where unable to capture that. That is why this time around they deliberately tried to make UEE’s character a bit more comedic, hence acting comparison wouldn’t really matter that much. I don’t know if that’s the case, but feels like it.

      Anyways, JIW is really so good in portraying a man-child with a hidden angst. And its good that UEE and him have solid chemistry, its just to bad that the rest of the plot is boring and predictable.

    • 19.3 Soup

      Agreed. I blame the writers for not creating a consistent character. I’m a big fan of KYJ, and watched this show mainly for her, but thought I’ll stick around for JIW, but couldn’t bare the difference in characters. The boys’ characters transitioned nicely, though. That cheeky young Do-Young is still around, and quiet protective man-won is still there. :D

      akikisetsu, I actually thought the actress who played the older counter part of hae joo from may queen did a pretty decent job. I was pleasantly surprised that the character remained the same. Actually, now that I think about it, this show is very much like May Queen. Same plots, same schemes, similar characters, just different masks. -_- JIW’s character is very similar to the character in May Queen, Kang San. Made me miss this character greatly. I think I’m going to go re-watch the lovey dovey scenes. LOL

  20. 20 maldita

    Hhhmmmm. You Who Rolled In Unexpectedly is the only weekend family drama I’ve seen. How does this compare? Will I like it after loving that first one I saw? :)

    • 20.1 Requiem

      For family dramas, I’d highly recommend UEE’s other one with Joo Won, Ojakkyo Family.

      I don’t normally have the patience to sit through 50+ episodes, but Ojakkyo Family was done so well and so believably that I was willing to sit through all of it and enjoyed a significant portion.

      I was thinking of maybe trying Gold Rainbow, but I like dramas with decent plots and non-stupid characters doing stupid things and most of this sounds too off-the-wall crazy to try.

      • 20.1.1 eve

        Yeah.. Same here. Ojakgyo brothers is the best family drama I’ve ever watched. I do love all couples there. Really recommend it. That’s why I was so excited with uee’s another family drama.
        This one can’t be compared of course , but going to try.

        • 20.1.1.1 harukogirl

          Agree. Loved it so much, I’ve actually watched it twice! Yup…that is a LOT of time, but the cute in that drama is just.so.adorable!

  21. 21 canxi

    I’ve been planning on watching it but I’m not looking forward to the 11 episode child segment. I kinda wish they would find some way to work these things into the story instead of weighing down the beginning with it. The actors for these segments, however, I do like seeing them. But, I just think an 11 episode Prologue is a bit much haha. Even 8 episodes is much.

    But I do like relaxing watching the longer dramas sometimes. Planning on watching Scandal soon to get my dose of Melo Kim Jae Won, ahaha.

    • 21.1 Fiercediva

      FYI – there is a flashback/recap of the plot to date at the start of Episode 20, so combined with the above summary, that might be enough for you without suffering through the child episodes.

  22. 22 apple

    Oh Jae-mu to Jung Il-woo was a flawless transition. The nuances both actors displayed made me believed they were the same character from teenager to adult.

    On the other hand, Kim Yoo-jung ‘s teenage Baek Won had my heart. I felt I was watching two different characters when UEE took over.

    Adult oppa is good eye candy. Prison shower scenes, please.

    • 22.1 Lindy12

      **Adult oppa is good eye candy. Prison shower scenes, please.**

      Yes, please, please, please!

  23. 23 Peeps

    After reading the recap, the series looked interesting enough that I went to watch one of it’s episodes randomly and just 5 minutes into episode 15, Jun IlWoo has already started talking back to his chief, going:

    JIW: “Chief, your wife tells you not to come home if it’s possible, doesn’t she?”

    Chief: “How did you know?”

    JIW: “She hates you because you talk too much. Just stay here. Shh! [In English from here on] Shut the mouth, be quiet! [Back to Korean] Silence is golden!

    PWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!

    • 23.1 redfox

      yeah that was great. I am amazed at how such a great character can dwell in the midsts of the Blah blah Land. I am somehow almost sure it is not the way it was written, but Il Woo takes and runs so far with this little.

  24. 24 Tara

    I had eagerly anticipated this when it first began airing. Like the comment from Kdaddict, the first episode turned me off badly. I literally rolled my eyes and said seriouslyyy?!? It gave me flashbacks to previous craptastic weekenders A Hundred Years’ Inheritance and May Queen–which I think is written by this drama’s writer, if I’m not mistaken..??–so I stopped watching, even with the amazing kid actors in tow. Tuned back in recently because MBC America started airing it…it’s halfway through the childhood segment, and I’m liking it now. The kid actors are too precious (some Goid Doctor alums I see).

    I’m fast-forwarding through the chaebol takeover plot line, adoptive Dad’s noble idiocy and Baek-won’s birth secret (ugh, another drama trope yet again) because I honestly could care to watch those aspects…I’m way more into the story of Baek-won+Do-young and the collective adoptee family instead.

    Of course, now I gotta catch up more quickly, now that lovable Jung Il-woo is on!! ;) I’m really glad and appreciate greatly that Girlfriday decided to do this recap because now I think I can fully invest time into watching this, even if it’s only for the cute moments/Jung Il-woo+Uee parts! I just hope it won’t end in the similar fashion of the shipwreck that was May Queen…

    • 24.1 mary

      Hmm ok. I think I’m changing my previous comment.

      Maybe it’s possible to check this out by starting on ep12 and just fast-forwarding the Evil Family scenes?

      • 24.1.1 atz

        Yes, you can… that is what I do basically. Fast forward the scenes of crazy family plot and enjoy JIW.

      • 24.1.2 Mohammed

        I started watching ep 12 after reading this intro because i wasnt interested in childhood melodrama things early on. Adult story with UEE,JIW, their cute romance, their work together was first the only thing worth watching. I fast forwarded the evil villains part of the story, the revenge thing by fake Ha Bin.

        But after a while i stopped fast forwarding i enjoy Baek Won family part of the story, the fake Ha Bin is a good villain. Do Young is funny, smart. The company, revenge story is predictable but there is warm story, good character other wise.

  25. 25 redfox

    the drama is so simplistic. the chaebol stuffis boooooring. but Jung Il Woo´s character …I think it wasn´t written as good as it is, but he turns it into more. there is such bravado it should be illegal. can they assign community service just for acting too good? Say, like, assign him to hug as many people as he can? *wink wink*

    what I feel is he makes life so difficult for other actors. their face is twitching in the funnier scenes. ah they won´t be able to hold it. I bet the Behind Scenes pictures would show them rolling on the ground laughing.

    and the Dad. I know I wanted to erase the chill I felt every time I saw the actor, but now I am feeling a chill for him being too nice. it feels….wrong? how come. but he makes the dad strong, dependable and warm. too friggin perfect.

    the middle siblings, they are friggin hilarious! that´s another strongpoint of the drama.

    and I really want to try Dad´s food. they should have a franchise Golden Rainbow Lunchboxes. I want. (not sure how my coworkers would feel seeing me eat something fishy, literally)

  26. 26 varms

    I really really love the sound of all UEE’s and Jung Il Woo’s bits but not sure if it’s enough for me to put up with the rest of the madness. King’s Family is already driving me up the wall (but it’s getting better). I might try watching from ep12 as suggested. For the cute. May it last!!

  27. 27 Noelle

    Agree, this would be an awesome 16 episode romcom. I could watch these two, or any of my favs, in a show with a brute cop and a brainy prosecutor flirting and chasing down bad guys all week. Sounds amazing! Why isn’t that show happening? Can we some how make that happen?

  28. 28 koreandramalover / kay

    Thank you so much for this intro JB!

    Anybody finds Jung Il-woo and Uee look so alike? I think they do, from the way their eyes crinkle up the same way when they smile, their slim nose-bridges and luscious lips…

    Hmmm…I wonder if we are seeing the birth of ANOTHER star couple?

    Seeing as one of JIW’s best buddy, Kim Bum, is one-half of the star coupling with Moon Geun Young, perhaps its about time JIW gets on the band wagon…

    and we all Lee Min Ho is both JIW’s and Kim Bum’s best buddy and he was the first in this trio-best-buddy-ring to be one-half of a star coupling with Park Min Young after City Hunter…but then that fizzled out…

    Seriously! Jung Il-woo and Uee look SO alike! And who has not heard that when a couple look alike they are a perfect match?

    • 28.1 atz

      Yes, they do look very similar. With so many romances publicly revealed, it could happen to them as well. But i thought many couples do not share similar features. Often they seek for their partners who have different features. My husband’s siblings have big noses and eyes, all their girlfriends and wives have small noses( very small for the European origin) and they do not care for big eyes. I do not think they are exceptions.

  29. 29 eve

    Thank you GF. I keep asking my self, should I give this one a change? I miss uee in family drama, I do love her in ojakgyo brothers. Also, she and JIW look sooo cute together. But since it’s a drama with 50 episodes, I don’t think I can watch till the end if it’s kinda boring. Now I know where to start.

  30. 30 Yasmin

    Yay actually watching this drama but I started at ep 12 because I am here for jung ll woo hehe…He is so cute and their romance is cute! I especially enjoyed the faked head trauma/amnesia ha! Yh, cant wait for the misunderstanding to be resolved and judging by previews and spoilers it should be this weekend.

  31. 31 Gaeina Lee

    I confess: FF button is my best friend when I watch this series.. ^^

    Can’t get enough watching the cute and touching scenes between JIW – UEE and UEE – LJY.

  32. 32 Suzi Q

    This drama is so boring about fish and conglomerate takeover, etc. I don’t like any of the characters either. I only watch for the bits with JIW in it. The horrible conniving uncle’s family is so irritating that they make me want to punch them out.

  33. 33 ebay

    Just watching because of jung il woo (point).

  34. 34 Lindy12

    Over the top cliches, cardboard characters, endless floods of tears and bizarrely incomprehensible plot twists be dammed, I am completely in love with Golden Rainbow! Textbook melodrama at its best. Everybody involved looks like they are having so much fun on set. All the actors, but especially Kim Sang-joong as the saintly yet borderline passive-aggressive father, seem like they are barely able keep a smile off their faces in every scene.

    I’m not a huge fan of Jung Il-woo but here his smarmy, “look at me, I’m acting” quality is put to very good effect. He and UEE have great chemistry. The fantasy handcuff and arrest scene seems to indicate these two characters will have an absolutely dynamite sex life once they finally get together.

    The writing has a sly, snarky quality to it I really appreciate. Poor abandoned little Young-won running after the train carrying his siblings, his little red backpack with his worldly possessions jiggling up and down as he clutches the ashes of his dead brother! Just wow! What’s not to love? And the photograph the minion gangster uses to blackmail Man-won into smuggling radioactive fish from Japan… hilarious!

  35. 35 malta

    The kid years had a lot of soap-opera drama (typical if you’re use to 30+ episode family dramas), but all the kid actors were so gosh darn cute and good. I could have just watched them and never had them grow up. I still struggling to get into the adult years though. I find that it’s best to watch with a liberal use of the fast forward button especially anytime the grandmother comes on and starts verbally and/or emotionally abusing somebody.

    I like that the show promotes families as being more than bloodlines. People put too much importance on that and I’m a big supporter of adoptions. :D

    • 35.1 ladida

      Some beautiful soul should make youtube cuts of the romcom parts of this show.

    • 35.2 Lindy12

      I agree; the family Han-joo adopts stays together during the long years he is imprisoned. They survive the loss of Young-won. They remain close, supportive and an intact family though all their hardships. Man-won accepts his responsibility for keeping them together as the head of the household by secretly turning to the dark side, Baek-won gives up her lifelong love of fish and all things aquatic to become a cop so she can clear her father’s name and search for Young-do and so on. Family isn’t just about blood ties.

      • 35.2.1 Lindy12

        Young-Do!?! I obviously still have Kim Woo-bin on the brain! Duh, it’s Young-won.

  36. 36 Jessy

    Good and just in time..I was making my mind to watch it and was looking for a recap for the first episodes..hope you write about Empress Ki (of course in case you watch it)..wanna know your thoughts about it

  37. 37 howforwardsale

    I guess I’m the only one that enjoys any and all Gangster Oppa scenes. I need more Lee Jae Yoon on my screen.

    • 37.1 mary

      I remember JoAnne loving him for the whole run of Cruel City. :)

      Wish I could tag her for you.

    • 37.2 Enz

      I like him too. He is doing a good job eith the character. He is the most pitiful one, caught in a situation and being hated by baek won because of it etc

    • 37.3 no name

      I have to say that I like Man Won’s character the best. When he and the prosecutor, Do-young were talking over a drink I noticed how much more handsome and manly looking Man-won is. I guess I prefer the strong manly type! When Baek-won told her father that she wanted a man just like her father I could not help thinking that man is her brother. They both have gone through hell to keep their families afloat.

      I have watched this from the beginning and have always been sympathetic for Man-won’s love for Baek-won. How is this going to be resolved? He has always protected her and saved her life.

      Does anyone wonder who Do-young’s mother is? The locket he kept of her before it was shattered is just like the one Baek-won had. Also, whenever they (cinematographers) showed his locket with the mother’s picture it was for too short a time.The scene where his father tells his wife there has only been one woman in his life is telling. Who does he love? There are some unsolved mysteries for me.

  38. 38 atz

    Many thanks, Girlfriday. As usual, great recap. You expressed my thought !:Often Gold Rainbow is so by-the-book that I’m bored as I watch it, because so much of the family melodrama is written and played so predictably. But then every time the leads come back on I’m instantly happy again like I have short-term memory loss.

  39. 39 Toto

    Great recap. As a UEE fan, I don’t think her character is lacking in brains. After all, there’s her entry scene where she had meticulously planned ensnare the drug suspect; her seductive pole dance that got an invite for a night of passion that of course would start with a little cocaine…UEE the pole-ice officer, slapping on the cuffs.

    Her problem, is more that her emotions in her quest for revenge overcome her reasoning. KHJ has always been on the right side of justice: setting things right. Agree the plot here is not much: from here on, the characters one by one giving up on revenge and just trying to heal their family.

    • 39.1 Quiet Thought

      Okay, now that you’ve mentioned UEE doing a pole dance, I have to at least LOOK at this series. Where is it?

      • 39.1.1 Soup

        LOL, quiet thought, I believe it’s in the first episode when the adults appear. Maybe 12?

        • 39.1.1.1 Quiet Thought

          Wow, she is awesome on that pole. I always thought Sunny from SNSD had the right attitude to play a female cop undercover as a pole dancer, but UEE definitely has the legs for it.

  40. 40 Sadie

    i really want to watch for these two….but all the drama is keeping me away…for now…should just search up clips of the couple on youtube for now :D

  41. 41 owl

    What a great way to watch a 50 episode drama, thanks girlfriday! I did watch the first 11 episodes (which, believe me, can be skipped) and ff to catch IW and UE. Your recap fills in the gaps I’ve glossed over in the bigger story. Your romcom filling in between two slices of melo is such an apt description – haha, love it. The longer dramas are not my thing, but GR and Potato Star have caught my fancy, so I do them for light fare with a big dose of ff. It can work if you’re into the main couple and can watch without too much invested.

    I really like the multi episode in the middle of the drama review – nice, girlfriday, thanks!

    • 41.1 Enz

      Owl, off topic here but if youre watching miss korea, did you like the quote ‘all breasts are beautiful and make the heart flutter. no breasts are embarrassing’ ? I thought of you then! Haha only coz of how you love good quotes

      • 41.1.1 owl

        Hi enz ~ yes, I did take note of that well-delivered line. thanks for thinking of me :)

  42. 42 adal

    Yay! Finally Dramabeans the is recapping Golden Rainbow! It was worth the wait.

  43. 43 Peanutcandy

    I had a horrible nostalgic feeling after the childhood story was over. They were so adorable together. The Do young- Baekwon- Man won love triangle was adorable. Just looking at the children without all the makjang was touching. Il won and Youngwon were so cute and it broke my heart to see those two cry.

    Girlfriday mentioned this in the recap but I felt their was a big character transition from the child to adult actors but I guess it does make sense since characters do grow up and develop, it just doesn’t really click for me.

  44. 44 Enz

    I was one of those who watched right from the beginning because i just didnt think i would care for the characters if i just started from the adult bit.

    I had to suffer through lots of eye rolling exercises and annoying coincidences but am finding the adult bits much better and much more watchable.

    I loved the OTP from the beginning. Like GF, i loved that he liked her from the start and she was beginning to like him too when STUFF happened. He was and is good to her even though as an adult, he relishes in teasing and playfully tormenting her. I love how dim and gullible she is on that front too :).

    Best of all, ii love his reason for loving her – that family is important to her and that she will always protect her family. He is so sharp. He saw that in her staright away as he also saw in an instant the kind of person chun won is.

    So, i def will watch this show to the end, mainly for the OTP. They really care for each other and its sweet and cute.

  45. 45 Quiet Thought

    After skipping through Episodes six through thirteen in about a half hour, I find I don’t believe a word of anything that goes on in this drama, but Kim Yoo-jung and UEE are always eye-catching on screen, so it was a fun trip.

    I wish ‘Empress Ki’ would show up on Dramafever or Vikii so I could do the same with them. EK hasn’t had an original moment in any of the half dozen episodes I flipped through, but Ha Ji Won and the guy playing the Goruyo king make their cliches convincing.

    In ‘Golden Rainbow,’ the script, directing, and acting aren’t much better than that in a variety show comedy sketch, but I get the impression that neither the PD or the audience care. They’re just enjoying the ride.

  46. 46 royal

    Thank you for the introduction!!!!

    I started to watch at episode 12 and I don’t know what the hell was going on except for the fact that Jung Il Woo’s winks could kill. I figured since this is a really long drama, there will be lots of flashbacks going to happen and I’ll figure it out eventually hahaha.

  47. 47 Beng

    GF, you are heaven sent! a true GirlFriday =) you don’t know how thankful i am for this introduction. I’ve been wanting to know how i can skip the kids set-up. I am forever indebted to you =)

  48. 48 AdAl

    Question: Dramafever has Golden Rainbow listed at 30 episodes. Also, some other sites indicate that Golden Rainbow has only 30 episodes while Dramabeans has it listed at 50 episodes.

    So what are the actual number of episodes for this show – 30 or 50?

    • 48.1 bjharm

      maybe it is 30 but will seem like 50? :-)
      Just kidding, though I can not see no matter how cute the main pairing is, that anyone could last 50 episodes, well anyone outside of korea i guess as these dramas do seem the stable of weekend TV in korea.

  49. 49 AdAl

    My personal opinion was that the episodes featuring the kids were one of the best part of the show. Since I usually don’t watch much Korean family dramas – I found it interesting. I’m a sucker for cute kids and the kids were darn cute.

    I wish I could skip over all the scenes of the corporate takeover, though, as they are really boring. The only time the screen lights up for me is when I see Jung Il Woo and UEE in it. They certainly light up the screen, the affection between them and constant teasing is fun to watch. I find myself rewinding and watching them over and over. Especially Jung Il Woo… he’s brilliant in this role and completely steals the show!

  50. 50 Jackeline

    For all of you that gave up on this drama in its earlier stages, if nothing else, watch the end of episode 20 and give yourself a moment to squeal. xD Too bad gf only covered up to episode 19 haha.

    I find Do Young (Jung Il Woo, really) to be hilariously adorable, with his dumb pretense and random English. (Seriously, the best line of ep 20 was his “Oh. My. Gawd.” at the dinner table.) His romance with Baek Won makes it all worth it… I just skip over the rest.

    Sometimes I get frustrated at how the twins seem to always side with their brother and never their sister, especially since Baek Won invested so much into the family, but family moments (when played right) are really warm and squee-worthy as well.

    Right now I’m kind of watching in a non-committing manner, skipping episodes or sections here and there, but I find that working really well since I just tune in to keep updated on the romance and funny. Hopefully that’ll continue as the episodes go on.

    • 50.1 Mohammed

      I saw ep 17-21 yesterday just because Do Young is so hilarious, awesome character. Him being smart and playing dumb and being such a flirty,tease to Baek Won. He is one of the most interesting male leads i have seen. He doesnt try to be cool, heroic or hide his feelings.

      He is so refreshingly bubbly, funny. Usually the female lead is like that and the male lead is not like this.

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