Dramabeans Podcast #20: Miss Korea edition
by | February 27, 2014 | 96 Comments

Ahoy, Miss Korea fans! The drama just ended its 20-episode run last night, and while we were unable to cover the show, we wanted to weigh in on the show and give you all a space to talk about its ending. Podcast, go!

Podcast #20

Running time: 39:55

In which we:

  • Talk about Miss Korea, compare it to Pasta in terms of structure and pacing and style, the small everyday crises that afflicted the characters, what we liked and didn’t like about their characters, the setting and ambiance of the 1997 setup, and more.

Names mentioned: Lee Min-ho, Lee Seon-kyun, Lee Mi-sook, Ji-young, Hyung-joon, Jung-saem (Teacher Jung), Yoon, Director Ma (Ma won-jang), Chun-ja

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Songs Used in Podcast (In order of use)

Every Single Day – “Take My Hands” from the Miss Korea OST
Every Single Day – “New World” from the Miss Korea OST


96 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Marami Salami

    Oh no! I stopped watching Miss Korea. But now there is a podcast…
    *runs to marathon last 6 episodes*

    • 1.1 SuspiciousCommentor

      You really need to marathon the last 6 episodes. Episode 15 is the best episode to me. You can feel the pain while feeling the happiness telling us that there’s a thing called “HOPE”. Love Miss Korea <3 One of the BEST of 2014. A truly gem.

      • 1.1.1 Malory

        Yeah, episode 15 is one of my favorites, too. I think I cried the whole time. It was hard to celebrate her win knowing he is at the bottom of the pit. I applaud the show’s guts to sabotage the viewers’ joy this way.

    • 1.2 tata

      It’s really good. Too bad it didn’t get much attention it should have.

  2. birdscout

    Wow! An enexpected pleasure 🙂 Thank you!

  3. Malory

    I am not able to listen yet, but a thousand thanks for putting this up. I love this show to pieces and have been feeling a bit alone and left out in liking it.

  4. lemondoodle

    Love Miss Korea! It really deserved more attention than it got. One of the best dramas I’ve watched in quite a while.

    Loved the main OTP (and Madam Ma and Madam Jang together :D), but Teacher Jung (Lee Sung Min is freaking amazing) and Dr. Ko are my favorites. I nearly cried when they both got their happy ending together. I really didn’t expect it to happen.

    Thanks for the podcast. Off to listen.

    • 4.1 Whatsthescenario

      I agree. It was such a well written script. Realistic characters. Adorale OTP, heinous villains, funny moments, satisfying conclusion, believable tension and plot development.

      My fav couple was Teacher Jeong and Dr. Go. They had chemistry and tension from the get go. And as much as they wanted to fight each other, that attraction that gravitated them to each other was insurmountable. So you try to nitpick and fight but the heart won’t let you give up.

      I’ve said it in other posts, but I also like that the President Ma and Madam Jang were not the villains. They were truly looking out for the interest of their contestants. Some very heartwarming moments when it would have been easier to make that money or reach another level, but at the expense of these young girls. Instead, they looked to uplift and empower the girls.

      I also loved the OST and how it was incorporated in the film. I still say, I got the sense of a Brit drama than kdrama at times.

      Glad I watched it. Top 3 for 2014 (so far). Top 10 favorite of all time

      • 4.1.1 John

        My fav couple was Teacher Jeong and Dr. Go.

        Yes ! Early on in the drama I thought that they were going to pair up Teacher Jeong with Director Ma. Glad that they didn’t.

        • lemondoodle

          lol I thought so too. They actually had amusing chemistry, though despite having a son I don’t think President Ma is all that into men and relationships.

        • dfwkimchi

          Me too!

          Enjoyed the drama series. Oh Ji Young’s family of 4 guys were funny, President Ma was great – talked about slaying a person with a look!; the company guys n gal were daebak along with Teacher Jeong.

  5. Tara

    You couldn’t have said it better…like you took the words out of my mouth! ;P

    Thank you for the podcast, Javabeans…can’t wait to listen to it once I get home…

    • 5.1 Tara

      Oops, I was replying to lemondoodle…but it got posted as its own post…

  6. pogo


    YESSSSSSSSSS, I love YFAS but that is mainly for Jeon Ji-hyun, while Miss Korea is the show that had my heart. I loved that it treated all its characters like they were human and real people (except for Yoon, whom I still want to drop off a cliff and set on fire). And an especial yay for having more than one awesome female character, we got some true standouts here and not just the heroine (Madame Ma <333)

    (and the Jung So-min cameo! I've missed her so much, finally SM got off their asses and put her in something even if they should work harder on her)

    • 6.1 tata

      If Miss Korea will have an installment and Jung So Min will be the lead? I’d totally watch it!

  7. kat

    I like this short (or shorter) podcast format per completed drama. Hope you do one for Age of Feeling (which is finally getting interesting again) and You From Another Star.

    I liked the filter. It gave a retro vibe which was cool.

  8. evergreen

    Thank you for posting a podcast for us Miss Korea fans! 🙂 Just out of interest, what did you think of Lee Yeon Hee’s performance?

  9. kopytko

    I loved this drama.

    I am sure I will smile every time I hear Waikiki or Hawaii.

    • 9.1 Mel

      My family loves to take pictures, so Waikiki it is now, though I can still feel the heartache from the drama when I recall our elevator girl using that word to lift her spirit…

  10. 10 Anon

    How do I express with words how much I loved this drama? No words can express the sheer gratitude and enjoyment I got from watching it. I loved the otp there were so many reasons why I was afraid of lyh and lsk being paired up (namely the age gap and lack of experience and acting finesse on lyh’s part) but WOW did she shock me with how good she was in this! Her character was so admirable and the coupling was ADORABLE. Literally can’t even count how much I squealed during their moments/flashbacks. I know people may have been distracted by ywcfas (totally understandable) but I cannot emphasize enough on how much you’re missing out on by not watching MK. There were faults but to say that they deterred me from tuning in every week would be a lie.

  11. 11 Stuart

    I think I’m one of the few people who totally hated Pasta but worship this Drama. This is easily the best K Drama I’ve seen, very nearly flawless. The total absence of anything remotely makjang and the real credibility of the way the characters behaved and reacted made this outstanding.

    I don’t get the fixation on how “ugly” the aesthetics were, since for me the colour palate was tonally appropriate for the drama. The story was low-key and not bright, so flatter colours and lighting made perfect sense to me.

    Like several others here, I very much like the “Teacher/Doctor” OTP and loved their happy ending.

    • 11.1 kopytko

      I dropped Pasta right at the beginning for a trivial reason – I couldn’t stand nitpicking whether noodles taste “right” or not and how terrible it is if they don’t (which meant tons of food thrown away). To cut the long story short I disliked it for being so dramatic over, well, nothing. In Miss Korea the characters do something meaningful and we understand why, their motivations are valid and actions make sense. Contrary to what I had feared it wasn’t a drama about just wanting to look pretty out of vanity.

    • 11.2 pogo

      yeah the ‘ugly’ colour palette actually fit the tone of the drama very well. Sometimes things need to not be too pretty, and I think Miss Korea had a very era-appropriate aesthetic in many ways.

      And I hated Pasta too. I love it for my queen Gong Hyo-jin, but good god did it manage to annoy me a lot…

      • 11.2.1 June

        I’m glad I’m not the only person who feels this is similar in some sense to Pasta! 🙂

        I watched Pasta in 2x mode, else wouldn’t have made it to the end, lol.

        I like this drama a lot. Agree with the others that this show really shines from episode 15 onwards 🙂

    • 11.3 rearwindow

      So glad to see this gem of a show get recognized! And I totally agree with everything you wrote. I couldn’t handle the misogyny of the main character in Pasta but WORSHIP Miss Korea (though I haven’t finished it yet because of life things). This show is light-years ahead of Pasta in terms of social context, delicacy of relationships, pacing and complexity of plot, treatment of women, critique of injustice, etc.

      I’m also 100% with you on the aesthetics fitting the tone of the show. Miss Korea is depicting a very realistic story about poor, struggling people trying to better their lives during a financial crisis in Korea. Not only that, it’s also trying to show the dark side of “beauty” on a number of levels–the corruption of the Miss Korea contest, the brutal pursuit of physical perfection in an image-obsessed culture, the deeply entrenched misogyny in the culture (epitomized by the show’s depiction of the struggles of the “elevator girls”), the difficulty of social mobility when one is not born into privilege, the true cost of pursuing a dream, etc. It would not have been fitting, IMO, to put a glossy shine over everything. I appreciated that the look of the show was very “real.” I viewed that as a very clear (and wise) directing choice.

    • 11.4 sam

      Total agree with you…i didn’t like pasta at all!! This one, I am sure to marathon tonight.

  12. 12 Briabbot

    What is the name of the song at the beginning?

  13. 13 azkiya

    thx a lot for this, JB! i haven’t finished watching it, but love love it so far, v.much an adorable drama to my liking. i’ve been always an LSK’s fans, but his character and the way he potrayed it here in this drama has made me think he deserves my fondness of him ^^

    love the story and the characters, and excited that some beanies feel the same way too so it has ‘forced’ JB to post this special space for the fans, haha..


  14. 14 mishlee

    i enjoyed this drama.. first few episodes were a bit dragging but overall this drama is well made..

  15. 15 D's handphone

    thank you. i finished Miss Korea today and was a little sad to see them go, each & everyone of them so dear to me. i still a bit miffed with Yoon tho…

  16. 16 DB

    i would love it if you guys did a podcast for ”I need romance 3” cuz that drama is awesome.

    but a nice idea, these podcasts.
    keep up the good work. love this site. it was fun to hear the creators of it.

  17. 17 Sophia

    I’m just now starting ep 20, and this was definitely one of my favorite K-dramas. It’s different than most others that I have watched. Not as bright and bubbly as regular rom-coms, and definitely not makjang either. My favorite is probably Director Ma Hye Ri or Teacher Jang. Great moments between most of our characters.

  18. 18 John

    JB & GF, thanks for the podcast.

    I enjoyed the show.

    Things I liked:

    It was an easy watch. No really over wrought “drama”.

    Given the subject matter, it easily could have been a mess.

    Lee Yeon-Hee, this was the first role I recall seeing her in. (She was in Gu Family? I dropped that show. It did have pretty blue faery lights though). I hope to see her in something else soon.

    Lee Mi-Sook: Yay, after the disaster that was YTBLSS, she rebounded.

    Lee Sung-Min & Song Seon-Mi: Cute Couple, Gangster and his PhD girlfriend

    Cameo: Jung So-min Smooches for her.

    Things I didn’t so much care for:

    Way too much gangster storyline. Are gangsters really that prevalent‎ in everyday life in Korea? I see them in so many shows.

    Lee Ki-Woo, Jo Sang-Ki & Jang Won-Young: Way to screw over your pal, your brother and your employee. Each of these guys needed a gangster beat down. I would have enjoyed that.

    Ko Sung-Hee: Politician’s love child didn’t interest me too much.

    Oh, and just say no to breast implants . I’m glad her character decided against that.

    • 18.1 liz

      I don’t know why you make it seems is a bad thing who decides to put breast implants.

      You know sometimes the person puts it because she wants to feel good about herself, not because of others.
      If the person feels better about it, why not? Better than being forever unhappy about your body.

      Btw, yup, ex-or actual gansters do make part of entertaiment industry, many ceos from idols companies are gangsters or were one. There is pretty shady things going on …

      • 18.1.1 Peeps

        Agree with you but in this case, female lead was not comfortable with them and so she rejected, which, props to her for doing so because others would have caved in to the peer pressure. In this case, breast implants are not just breast implants. Her saying no them is her standing up for herself and what she believes. It’s personal empowerment.

  19. 19 John

    JB & GF, thanks for the podcast.

    I enjoyed the show.

    Things I liked:

    It was an easy watch. No really over wrought “drama”.

    Given the subject matter, it easily could have been a mess.

    Lee Yeon-Hee, this was the first role I recall seeing her in. (She was in Gu Family Book ? I dropped that show. It did have pretty blue faery lights though). I hope to see her in something else soon.

    Lee Mi-Sook: Yay, after the disaster that was YTBLSS, she rebounded.

    Lee Sung-Min & Song Seon-Mi: Cute Couple, Gangster and his PhD girlfriend

    Cameo: Jung So-min Smooches for her.

    Things I didn’t so much care for:

    Way too much gangster storyline. Are gangsters really that prevalent‎ in everyday life in Korea? I see them in so many shows.

    Lee Ki-Woo, Jo Sang-Ki & Jang Won-Young: Way to screw over your pal, your brother and your employee. Each of these guys needed a gangster beat down. I would have enjoyed that.

    Ko Sung-Hee: Politician’s love child didn’t interest me too much.

    Oh, and just say no to breast implants . I’m glad her character decided against that.

    • 19.1 John

      That’s weird, the post wasn’t there, now it’s there twice. Ah, well. Thanks JB & GF .

  20. 20 Sadie

    SO WEIRD. i was just watching a ost video for this drama [haven’t watched the drama though] and I thought to come to dramabeans to see if they had at least a first episode cap on here…but OH MY! the first thing I see is this podcast…that’s scary coincidence 0_o

    • 20.1 Aigoooo

      I think (like everyone else) Dramabeans just got caught up on the “You From Another Star” mania. Unfortunately, this was the competing show.

      • 20.1.1 Malory

        I must have been the only one not watching that yet. Plan to do it soon though just to get my mind out of Miss Korea as I already know from reading recaps it will just be a casual, entertaining watch for me.

  21. 21 Purplerrr

    This drama could have been better with 16 episodes. I stuck it out only because of Lee Seon-kyun but felt he didn’t match the Miss Korea contestant age-wise. I almost quit after 6 episodes but kept it up because of LSK. It got stronger as it went on and really could have used more Dr & Thug scenes. Those were great. I loved their character arcs the most.

  22. 22 LizJ

    Loved this show, but was underwhelmed by the ending. Not extremely disappointed (like Prime Minister and I) and not hating it (like Fashion King).

    But still…couldn’t we at least have gotten a kiss from the OTP? They’re all for stating their commitment to family, but it’s like the relationship itself ran out of steam.

    It’s a minor quibble, I know. But drama plotting is all about engaging the viewer, and I just think the ending needed a little more “oomph.”

    • 22.1 Malory

      I was majorly disappointed, too. I kept waiting and hoping and felt sure that we’d get another kiss at the finale. I guess with the decrease in tension, the heat of their relationship got replaced with warm understanding instead. And with HJ’s insistence in keeping their relationship under the radar, I guess it is fitting that a kiss would be out of place. But still!!!

  23. 23 Shiku

    This drama totally owned my heart and soul. And cured my k-drama drought. And it helped me as it came at the perfect time in my life. I have been looking for a job for months and it was very disheartening getting rejected left, right and center. So there I was, depressed and watching the show, seeing Vivi finally succeed inspite of all their struggles. They never gave up and didn’t let their bankruptcy define them. Then it hit me that I have been letting my rejections define me and get me down but I won’t let it anymore. So I’m actually going to look for plan b and go from there.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the show. I love how spunky Jiyoung was. I loved how she knew who she wanted to be with and shut down the other guy at the beginning. I loved how she never stopped holding Hyung Joon’s hand even when he wanted to be a noble idiot. I loved how Hyung Joon looked at Jiyoung and you could clearly see he loved her. I loved Dr. Ko and and Teacher Jung and how they compliment each other even though she has a PhD and he dropped out of middle school. She can’t cook but he can. I loved Madam Ma and how she is so devoted to her girls and always looks out for them. I loved Grandpa, mom, uncle dad and brother. They were hilarious and even though we left them as they were still struggling financially, I’m fully convinced that they were able to survive it.

    I liked all the characters apart from Kang-sik, who I wish I could throw down a creek.

    • 23.1 bakedshrimp

      I get you about Kang-sik.

      But I really liked how understated his villainness was. His is just a smart, calculative, and shrewd businessman that exists in almost every industrial society. So in that way, his character feels very relatable.

      But yes, he deserves to be thrown down a creek.

      And more than anything, I wish that Department Store Manager be thrown down first. Ugh.

      • 23.1.1 Shiku

        Come to think of it, he is a shrewd businessman. I just think he went overboard at times like the Miss Korea mall signing. He didn’t need to do that especially to his brother.

        Yes that manager needs to be pushed down the creek. He had no excuse to sexually harass his employees and still their money. He is such a scumbag.

    • 23.2 rearwindow

      I’ve been searching for a job as well. It’s totally demoralizing but I am really inspired by your words. I wish you luck in your search and hope that we both have (create?) something to celebrate soon!

      • 23.2.1 Shiku

        Don’t give up hang in there even though its hard. I just got a tentative job offer (they have to check my background and my references) and its part-time even though i wanted full-time. I’m still planning to go back to school and change my career so never give up.

        • rearwindow

          Thanks, Shiku! And major congrats on the job offer…that is awesome!

  24. 24 August

    Thank you for devoting a Podcast #20 solely to Miss Korea.

    Miss Korea is an underrated and emotionally fulfilling hidden gem. It definitely has secured a spot on my list of the top Kdramas of 2014.

    The music selected and used throughout this drama was really befitting and in keeping with the scenes, characters, and dialogue.

    Miss Korea reminds me of the “Little Engine That Could.” The well-loved classic tale of the determined little engine that, despite its size, triumphantly pulls a train to the other side of a mountain. The Little Blue Engine wasn’t afraid to try. It had the will to continue which was inspiring and entertaining.

    The value of optimism and hard work was one of the main themes of the children’s book. “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” Refusing to give up and let go of the mindset “I thought I could, I thought I could.” These two quotes are perfect as mottos for Oh Ji-Young and the ViVi Cosmetics group. It’s important when doing something challenging to think that one can – the Can-Do Factor or self-efficacy attitude.

    Overcoming seemingly impossible hurdles:
    (1) Surviving and succeeding during the IMF crisis.
    (2) Job/Skills becoming obselete and facing unemployment.
    (3) Winning Miss Korea.
    (4) Hardships and Successes encountered in entrepreneurship/business ventures.

    The characters (Kim Hyung-Joon, Oh Ji-Young, Ko Hwa-Jung, Kim Heung-Sam, Kim Kang-Woo, and Teacher Jung)
    constantly faced real-life situations. Whether it was their business ViVi Cosmetics always on the verge of bankruptcy; Oh Ji-Young and the group challenged by industry competitors and the pageant; borrowing money from loan sharks and selling personal possessions; and others belaboring the point that they were underdogs and needed to stop (e.g. desperate and not good at making/earning profits and competing in the Miss Korea pagent).

    Know when to ask for help…Yang Choon-Ja imparted this heartfelt advice to the contestant she sponsored and had to learn for herself.

    You could always trust and count on Ma Ae-Ri to come up with an answer when you encountering a problem.

    Dad, Brother, Uncle, and Grandpa balanced each other out as characters and added to the lightheartedness of the drama.

    Kudos to the writer Seo Sook-Hyang for avoiding the expected (having the drama end with Oh Ji-Young winning the Miss Korea title) and instead focusing on life beyond the 1997 Miss Korea title and what happened to the group and ViVi’s products.

    Countless kdramas have ended with questions of WHY and stirring up feelings of rage. I really thought the finale episode was well done and a fitting conclusion.

    I end with…

    Every Single Day – New World (Miss Korea OST)

    Hey, wait tonight Look at the light
    After following my fantasy, when I arrived, nothing was there
    In this place that changes too fast, only ruins remain
    Bruised deeply are your scarred eyes
    Your heart is turned away and shut, quietly hiding behind your sighs
    Wait tonight (Wait tonight) Wait tonight (Wait tonight)
    Look at the light (Look at the light) Look at the light

    • 24.1 SuspiciousCommentor

      You nailed it! Jjang!

  25. 25 August

    I am reposting the following comments:

    Friday, January 17th, 2014 Open Thread #326 (25.3)

    Although some of the beanies have remarked that Miss Korea has a dark side, I appreciate some of the topics/subject matter that it has touched upon.

    We get a glimpse of why they Kim Hyung-Joon {Lee Sun-Kyun } and Oh Ji-Young {Lee Yeon-Hee} broke up with each other in Episode 10. I was impressed. Why, because it was different from the normal kdrama trope!


    In college Hyung-Joon was focused on continuing his education in order to live and succeed as an adult in the real world/life. Ji-Young was still in high school and could only think about partying and having fun. Hyung-Joon wanted Ji-Young to study and have options in life – his thought process was long-term. He was mindful of the fact that beauty/attention could be fleeting and that life can be hard without something to fall back on.

  26. 26 anastassia

    LOOOOVE MISS KOREA to the heart, to the bits and everything in between. Gonna catch later after watch the final!!


  27. 27 bakedshrimp

    Being a huge fan of your blog, I was a little disappointed that you guys chose not to recap this drama.

    But having heard your reason now that this is a drama more suited to watching than recapping, I get what you mean. It would be very difficult to discuss it on an episode-by-episode basis. The whole plot arch is so consistent with rarely any bombastic or makjang-ness that it could be a headache to critique it.

    I’m still very glad that you guys devoted a special podcast for this drama. Thanks, I loved hearing your thoughts on this wonderful drama.

    • 27.1 ilikemangos

      don’t feel the need to be disappointed. you gotta understand they’re humans too and swamped with loads of emails from beanies themselves all the while recapping their own shows, doing meet ups, regulating the blog (this doesn’t even include their own real lives outside of this blog). every now and then a really good show does not manage to get recapped, but it does not mean DB does not recognize a good show when they see it.

    • 27.2 anastassia

      Koalasplayground has recapped it. 🙂

  28. 28 nathaniel

    Usually i feel so completely out of step with drama fandom, so it’s heartening to see the love for it here amongst commenters. And i feel compelled to join in with my own usually dumb words. You From Another Star was great and all and deserved its ratings, but it didn’t move me anywhere as close Miss Korea. This was something truly special. My favourite drama in quite some time and certainly my running drama of the year candidate.

    Near perfect (or absolutely perfect if i can let emotion sway me for once). So much joy and humanity from start to finish. Miserable, tenuously holding on, but above all real people pushing through social and personal blocks and mire to happiness and a place in the world. At once campy, dark, incredibly moving both in the soul crushing and uplifting sense, socially critical and yet respectful – it was everything to me.

    I loved every character, hating only a few in the boo hiss way you’re meant to. I may not be the best judge of acting, but Lee Yeon-hee felt like a revelation, and the rest of the cast was uniformly excellent. Not a single moment or character felt wasted, even over twenty episodes, with a perfect final episode that was just one elating scene after another, wrapping everything up so satisfyingly and without a nonsense last minute dramatic turn. A happy ending that was just small victories and hearts finding each other.

    The body image stuff, which is what a lot of the commentary i came across the show centred on, seemed secondary to me. It was requisite and super cool thing to see but it never felt like the scathing satire it was reported to be (and honestly wasn’t scathing enough if it was). It just seemed a further reality the show evinced perfectly, done critically yet respectfully – the realty of the contest, of the cosmetics industry, and of the women in their sights who aren’t dupes or enemies of feminism or whatever, but are just agent people going about their lives, deciding for themselves. Limited, controlled decisions, yes, but that was the show’s strength to me: Showing the mobility, or lack of, under it. Making do.

    What else? To echo things: it looked fine and totally appropriate, i don’t get why this is an issue. Also i’ve been watching a lot of Hong Sang-soo movies recently and any drama with Lee Sun-Kyun or Song Sun-mi in it is just going to have this whole other layer of joy to it for me.

    In my (usually wrong, at least by drama fandom standards) opinion, this was among the best of all dramas. It’s a pity it got lost in the shuffle, but hopefully the podcast and the praise some of us a laying on it will get others to check it out.

  29. 29 Aigoooo

    I’m finding it difficult to make a comment about his show. It was such a casual drama. I never found myself anxiously waiting for the next episode (unlike YFAS or INR3) but I did enjoy watching them. It’s the drama equivalent of Jazz.

  30. 30 tokkioncrack

    I can’t listen to the podcast right now. Can some generous soul tell me what did JB and GF talk about LMH.

    And no I’m not a crazed fan just have a little soft spot for him coz all my initial dramas had him in it 🙂

  31. 31 helloharu

    There are seriously no words to express the love I have for Miss Korea. It was perfect from start to finish – the strong acting by the cast, the writing, the directing and the beautiful soundtrack. It seriously had me so invested in the story and it took my heart and wrenched it (in a good way). I loved how all the characters were just so real. You could really relate to them and feel their struggle, something that is greatly attributed to the cast. Lee Yeon Hee really showed what she was capable of and I’m so glad she’s getting recognition for it. Also, how perfect was the ending? Nothing was glossed over and everything was tied up so beautifully. Overall, for anyone hesitating to watch this, please please give it a chance! It is definitely one of my favourite dramas of all time. It’s a real shame that this drama was overlooked by YFAS and received poor ratings though 🙁

  32. 32 Mashimomo

    I’m only thru episode 13 right now, but can I say that this has to be one of the well-thought, well-written kdrama that I have seen to date? i nearly would not have cared to watch, fortunately I follow awesome people on tumblr and they raved great things about this.

    I have watched Pasta and it took all of my energy to even attempt finishing it. I believe there was a couple of weeks between episodes since I didn’t understand what Gong Hyo-jins character motivation was (and I love her and Lee Seon kyun). While I am not marathoning Miss Korea since it has the same slice of life approach as Pasta and could be draggy at times, overall I understand the motivations of each character and how it just fits in the entire storyline. What keeps me hooked, I feel, is how layered these characters are written while keeping the plot pretty realistic and definitively the stakes are much much higher than Pasta! I do love the OSTs of both dramas, and I got to hear Linger and Barbie Girl again like im back in high school 🙂

    So thank you JB and GF for devoting a whole podcast to this seriously underrated drama!

  33. 33 madqueen

    Thanks… I love Miss Korea. It was easily one of the best, if not the best, drama in terms of quality amongst current and recently concluded dramas.

  34. 34 Malory

    This show reminds me again why I love LSK. His acting is so well suited to this kind of story, understated and nuanced, showing vulnerability and strength at the same time. And he seems to be able to have outstanding chemistry with whoever he is paired with.

    • 34.1 anon

      I completely agree with you. He never disappoints.

  35. 35 Suzi Q

    I enjoyed this drama, but I thought the ending was abrupt. I had to check and see that there were only 20 episodes. What happen to her in the Miss Universe contest? I wasn’t sure she had a goal after her reign was completed.

    I wished they ended with them fast forward another 10 years with a photo of their family instead of ending with the recaps of the drama.So disappointing we didn’t know what happened to the other people and their cosmetic company? The ending felt incomplete… Like there should be more to the rest of the story…

  36. 36 Ayan

    Thank you Girlfriday and javabeans for making a podcast about Miss Korea!

    I really enjoyed this drama because it was slightly more realistic and it focused more on the characters. I wish they could have done something with Yoon – I think his redemption from Bad guy to good guy was a little sloppy. In the beginning I admired his professionalism and from his point of view, investing in the Vivi team wouldn’t be beneficial. Somehow his business instinct got mixed up with his crush on Ji-young, a little disappointing.

    The rest of the characters were great, and I enjoyed seeing the relationship between President Ma and Choon-ja. I’m glad we got to know the true reason behind the rift between them and that they are now reunited. I have to say I liked this drama more than Pasta, there were higher stakes and everything seemed more polished.
    Most of all, the soundtrack, writing, direction everything about this drama was perfect and I’m glad I watched it.

  37. 37 laraffinee

    I loved this drama! This was so well done on so many levels!
    Kudos to the writer and the director! …and the cast was perfect!

    I highly recommend this if you haven’t seen it!

    The dialogs between the characters are meaningful and how they respond to challenges – really well done!

  38. 38 Y.W

    Can someone talk about this dramas OST? It is probably the best drama OST ever!!

    • 38.1 Mashimomo

      Yes! I’m actually on the hunt for Every Single Day songs now. I remember loving the OST so much for Pasta when I watched but could not find who the artist was and now I know that they did that as well.

    • 38.2 BbopkiBbopki

      UM. They are AWESOME! I have all the songs on repeat and in rotation at the moment!

    • 38.3 Malory

      Yes, not only Hero and the other major songs by Every Single Day, but the instrumentals used throughout have been stirring and glorious. And I also love the English oldies used to give us hints about the situation being shown.

    • 38.4 pigtookie

      YES I loved just about every song on this show. Fantastic choices and fantastic use of them in the show.

  39. 39 BbopkiBbopki

    I actually dropped the last 4 episodes of YWCFS for Miss Korea. Despite the seemingly bland setup, the ease with which Miss Korea unfolds multifaceted and balanced characters (lead or not) to control the tension of the plot is surprising and impressive; in k-drama land, a place where only the hero is allowed the luxury of character complexity while everyone else clings to 1D personality for simplicity and sensationalism, Miss Korea is truly a rarity.

    And aside from the usual harvest of entertainment value as a viewer, I found myself led through strenuous exercises of empathy and forgiveness taught by Ji-Young, Hyung-Joon, President Ma and others. More than once, I discover that my own boundaries of generosity, previously thought to be adequately sized but shaved down by experience, is laughably small compared to the kind spirits of aforementioned characters, who remind me what it means to endure, wait, fight, and most of all, forgive.

    Inspiring to say the least, the show renewed my sense of wellbeing and gifted me with outstanding OSTs. 😀 Bravo Miss Korea!

    • 39.1 Malory

      Good point about lesson in generosity. Someone on another thread pointed out how Hyung Joon has zero resentful bone in his body. He holds no grudges towards Yoon, continues to respect Madam Ma who constantly looks down him, and became friend to the thug who was sent to beat him up. Even to his biggest competitor, he is asking to survive together. Same can be said about Madam Ma taking Madam Yang back.

  40. 40 hummie

    I still like Pasta better than Miss Korea. Pasta’s heroine was more believable and easier to sympathize with. Also, I found that the day-to-day obstacles found in Pasta were more interesting because they were metaphors for larger issues, e.g. pickles vs no pickles = domestic values vs foreign values.

    Anyway, Miss Korea was all right… The only redeeming factors of the drama were the relationships between Dr. Ko and Thug Teacher and Madame and Miss Cherry Salon lady.

    I didn’t feel the chemistry between the OTP until episode 17. I think Miss Korea would have been better with Joon. Will Pillar ever get the girl?!

    I love Lee Seon-kyun, but he was just bleh in Miss Korea. I’d rather rewatch him in Coffee Prince with his relatively minor role than rewatch him in Miss Korea.

  41. 41 FK

    I’m a big fan of Miss Korea. I love how the finale ties everything neatly together, and the leads end up living happily ever after! It’s such a unique K-drama, where tears, smiles, and love all exist harmoniously, and it draws you into the plot. I felt the character’s pain as they went through their trials and tribulations, and their joy when things picked up, even if it was just for a second. Lots of love and lots of heart <3

  42. 42 Mia

    geez now I want to watch it too, I was trying so hard

  43. 43 Tanya

    Miss Korea was the drama I continued to watch from the first till the last episode in that Wed/Thur timeslot.

    We see ordinary people struggle through the difficulties of the `IMF time’, bouncing back when they face setbacks in day to day living. Awesome chemistry between Ji Young and Hyun Joon and Dr Go and Teacher Jang. Well-paced with lovely/appropriate osts and humour in all the right places!

    A very different Korean drama – Did anyone remember the scene where Hyun Joon’s mother wanted her son away from Ji Young and JY told her that he was now her man not his mother’s. LOL. You don’t find this in any other Kdrama female lead.

    • 43.1 Malory

      Yeah, totally different from many female leads who shrink before the future mother in law. Maybe because he is not the son of a chaebol. LOL. I do resent that Hyung Joon did not accept her challenge to show her how much he liked her. How difficult would that have been really, HJ? We viewers were deprived!

  44. 44 Mel

    I loved this drama! Soo realistic! Loved LSG and LYH, the cast ensemble just great… I’m so glad I watched this as I did Reply 1994… Both down to earth with realistic characters… I can’t get yo the podcast, I hope to hear nice things, yeah I know there will be bad too, but I really enjoyed this drama to the point that watching it raw was common… I couldn’t wait for the subs, guessing is soo annoying but that’s common for dramas I enjoyed.. Thanks ladies, I’m still a fan!

  45. 45 kk123

    so people did watch it, I wondered about it, as it was so good and to its bad luck was running at the same time as YFAS. Thanks for the podcast, will listen to it. “Miss Korea” will probably be one of those dramas that people will watch years on and still think of as very good, because there really were almost no flaws.

  46. 46 newgirl

    Thank you JB and GF for this podcast. Due to other pressing concerns (mainly watching YFAS, INR3, and Biscuit Teacher Star Candy – lol) I am only on ep.5 of MK. I found the first 3 episodes a little slow, and even confusing, but that seems to be working itself out. I really do miss the recaps on this one, as there seem to be a lot of things that are unsaid, especially between men and women, in this show that the subs just cannot do justice to. It seems very complex and finely drawn in that respect, but I feel as though I’m missing a lot. I’ve rewatched a number of scenes for that reason. Since I hate spoilers, I’ll listen to the podcast when I’m done watching. So thanks in advance!

  47. 47 crazykel

    I LOVED Miss Korea very much!

    I do agree with your assessment of Yoon and Bada, and I did find the shift in Yoon’s character extremely awkward because just two episodes before, he was being a right asshole to everyone and suddenly, he’s nice. Bada, too, had some issues. I wanted there to be a reason he hated his little brother (the guy in ViVi), and thus, an impetus to hate ViVi. I thought, “There must be some story there other than that lil’ bro was friends with Hyung Joon.”

    I actually like the filter; like the other commenters have said, the filter enhances the mood of the drama. I felt it accurately displayed those hints (both subtle and obvious) of sadness behind the characters.

    I love both OTPs. I’m actually a bigger fan of HJ and JY, though (that doesn’t mean I didn’t adore JSS and Dr. Ko). The reason that I love them was precisely as you indicated in the podcast; they wanted to do everything for each other; they reveled in each other’s happiness and shared in each other’s sadness. Most of all, I loved Ji Young’s answer to HJ in episode 20 (I won’t post it here to be fair to those who haven’t watched or aren’t there yet); it moved me to hear a kdrama heroine (or any heroine, for that matter) answer concretely and directly and with that kind of authority.

    This drama, for me, was exciting and addicting. As much as I anticipated YWCFTS, I anticipated the next episode of Miss Korea. I was drawn by its characters and its heart and of course, its chemistry. I just hope that more people watch it; it really is a gem.

    • 47.1 Malory

      Which question?

      Spoiler ahead!!!

      Do you mean whether she belongs to him? I actually think it’s not fair for her to answer that way. I do love that he says she has the upper hand now, but watch out, come may he will start calling all the shots.

      • 47.1.1 crazykel

        Yes. I think it brave of her to answer that way. I don’t think it’s a disservice to him that she ultimately recognizes that she controls her self-being. She loves him, yes, but I think that if she claims his ownership of her, she displays no true growth from the rest of the series, where, despite her resistance to it, Ji Young has always “belonged” to the whims of someone else. For her to answer him in this way is her expression that yes, she loves him, but no, she is not at his whim and her self-being is not tied exclusively to him and their relationship. I think that it was important that she told him that because it puts agency in her hands, not his. He will not control her; she values him, but is not controlled by him. For me, her answer was the reason I gave the drama a 10 instead of a 9. That scene moved me so much, and it made Ji Young my favorite character in the series.

        • Malory

          Aaahhh, that is very well put and makes perfect sense. Yes, absolutely she has to answer that way or otherwise she’d have gone through the whole journey for nothing. Thank you for taking the time to elaborate that. I can’t believe the little things I keep discovering about this drama even after my repeat viewings.

  48. 48 bd

    About halfway thru “Miss Korea” and have to say, it’s a better romcom/drama than either INR3 or YFAS – primarily due to its writing, tho one can also make an argument that Lee Yeon-hee gives the most winning performance, as well as the most emotional, out of the 3 leading ladies (and that’s saying a lot due to JJH being one of my favorites).

    It’s just too bad that MK couldn’t break out of the single digits for most of its run whereas YFAS approached the 30% mark.

    Aside from the bigger names for the leads, I guess the Korean audience just prefers the more formulaic and somewhat cheesy (romance) that YFAS brought (my goodness, that theme song for YFAS was soooo cheesy).

    The situations and plot twists in MK had nice twists and turns and was not nearly as predictable as in YFAS and the characters were much more fleshed out and weren’t caricatures (YFAS wasn’t as bad in this dept. as dramas such as “Secret Garden” and “Rooftop Prince”), but the too many of the emotional scenes felt like they were paint by nos. and that one knew that one was supposed to feel something as to actually really feeling it.

    I kinda had my doubts about the whole premise of “Miss Korea” but the writers actually made all the machinations and backstabbing entertaining – even more so than a storyline about an alien with supernatural powers.

    What I didn’t have doubt was about Lee Yeon-hee’s acting as she was shown bringing something to the table in her brief role in “Gu Family Book.”

    While I’m only halfway thru MK – I think it’s fair to say that any doubts about LYH being able to carry the lead role as an actress should now be laid to rest.

    Not only has her charm/personality shown thru, but she has done a better job with the emotional/crying scenes than many other actresses in recent romcoms/dramas (tho, I think she should stick to romcoms than go for pure melo).

  49. 49 pigtookie

    Thanks for the podcast unnis!

    I adored this drama for the past few months, and am really glad I watched this. (YFAS just came at a time when I had enough with fantasy dramas, but I can’t wait to catch up on Chun Song Yi later!) I wasn’t up for a pageant show, but it was a good hearty drama that had a good plot and explored a range of interesting problems. It wasn’t without its own logic weaknesses either, as you girls have pointed out some of them, and if it had been condensed to fewer episodes and delivered more on its themes, it would have been a strong beast of a show. I also didn’t realize it may be a bit repetitive to viewers of Pasta. For me, I loved its characters, adorable pairings, and individual storylines. One of my favorite moments off the top of my head is when Ji Young’s heels break during a local pageant, and she grits her teeth, continues smiling (Waikiki!), and dances on because she’s faced issues in the past that were far worse.

  50. 50 bd

    Really liked that I cared about so many of the relationships in this drama – not just btwn the leads, Ji-young and Hyung-joon, but btwn JY and her family (as I like to refer to them as the “4 dwarves” w/ grandpa being “Grumpy”), HJ and his ViVi cohorts, HJ and Teacher Jung, JY and Madame Ma, Teacher Jung and Hwa Jung, etc.

    All these relationships felt REAL, even the seemingly unlikely romance btwn Teacher Jung and Hwa Jung (says something when this romance is better done than the lead romance in most dramas).

    And not only did the relationships feel real, so did the travails and individual sufferings of each character.

    I esp. liked that the writers did not make Madame Ma the stereotypical evil antagonist and that while mostly a rival to the hero and heroine (tho at times, an ally), she was a woman of her own convictions.

    Even the Madame of Cherry Salon, while sometimes played a bit broad by the actress (due to it being more of a comedic relief role) – was not totally devoid of ethics/morality.

    The one really repulsive character (Ji-young former supervisor at Dream Dept. Store), aside from maybe the brother/exec from the rival cosmetic firm, was, however, just perfect – a combination of “Squiggy” from “Laverne and Shirley” (Squiggy despite his greasiness and bravado was actually had a sweet heart so it’s more in the looks dept.) and Louie De Palma from “Taxi” played by Danny DeVito who has absolutely no scruples and would sell out his ma for $$).

    Didn’t think the daughter of the politician and main rival to Ji-young was that pretty (didn’t have good facial structure and her cheekbones/cheeks had an odd look – much like Yoo In-na), but the original winner of Miss Seoul who had to give up her crown had a pretty face.

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