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Birth of a Beauty: Episodes 1-2

SBS is taking a lighter, funnier approach to its weekend programs right now, with the newly premiered rom-com Birth of a Beauty joining the ridiculously goofball Modern Farmer on Saturdays and Sundays. When this drama was first announced, I wondered how they’d take this makeover premise and make it fresh, since I felt like no matter how it played out, I would kinda know what was going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I like makeover and underdog and comic revenge stories; I just wasn’t sure how Birth of a Beauty would set itself apart.

So I was pleasantly surprised when the first two episodes managed to keep me guessing—the fun is in execution of this familiar story, with fun twists to keep us on our toes and counter expectation. The clippy pace and the constant bag of tricks work to the show’s benefit, as well as a great lead pairing with a solid sense of comic timing. Joo Sang-wook being cocky and dorky, bickering with Han Ye-seul as a sweet doormat with killer looks? It works.

Fyi: I won’t be continuing recaps for this show, although I wish I had the time to cover it. But it was a fun enough first week that I wanted to at least give you guys an introduction.

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Sweet Sorrow – “Beautiful”Download ]

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EPISODE 1

It’s a grand entrance for a gorgeous woman, whom we’ll come to know as SA-RA (Han Ye-seul), who walks down a street and turns heads left and right with her stunning appearance. Everywhere she goes she attracts admiring glances and drops jaws; she explains that she’s an actress who’s just come back to Korea after working in the U.S. This makes sense to everyone who sees her, and she gets the royal treatment.

She gets her fortune told by a face reader, who is awed by the interesting combination of fates she holds in her hands (er, face): Not only is she an uncommon beauty, she also has the fortune of a military general and might even save the nation. That is, if she steers clear of her two pitfalls: the need to get involved in matters, and bad guys.

Sa-ra starts to clue into the uneasy feeling that she’s being followed, and this is how we get our introduction to HAN TAE-HEE (Joo Sang-wook, whose combination of dorky and heo-dang antics I have really missed, and love to see back in action here). She catches him peeping in on her while she’s in a lingerie shop and freaks out, in the process tapping into some latent self-defense instincts to take him down. He’s hauled off by officers, and Sa-ra sighs in relief.

It’s safe to say that anyone watching the show probably knows that Tae-hee’s going to be more than a mere stalker, and it makes us wonder why Sa-ra wouldn’t know him in this situation. But this is an example of one of the premiere’s strengths, in that it plays on our expectations and keeps us guessing. We know the gist of the story, but it’s the how that piques our interest.

Sa-ra catches a glimpse of an extreme-makeover television program titled Change, and gets hooked to the story of one woman in the running to be gifted with a full makeover. Her name is SA GEUM-RAN (Ha Jae-sook) and she’s a good-hearted woman with frankly a lot of assholes in her life, though she endures with a smiling face to hide the tears.

From here, the episode flips back and forth between Geum-ran’s story (which takes place in the recent past) and Sa-ra’s reactions to the woman she feels a strong pull toward. She watches with sympathy as Geum-ran gets disdained—and worse, pitied—for her bulk, which makes accidents like tripping in public or falling into a tub of fish doubly humiliating when nobody helps.

At home, it’s even worse. Geum-ran has married into a well-to-do family, but her husband has spent the past seven years in the States for his business. Her place in the household is more of a maid than daughter-in-law, with snobs for a mother- and sisters-in-law, who think nothing of saying in front of her face, “We should stop eating, we don’t want to end up like her.” The senile grandmother that Geum-ran cares for is a source of comfort, but the only one.

The sisters-in-law snicker behind Geum-ran’s back when she films a hello video to her busy husband, who hasn’t been able to take her calls lately. It’s because they know something she’s about to find out, which is that her handsome husband is lying cheater—and not only is he completely unrepentant about having an affair, he has even introduced the girlfriend to his family. Who all love her more than Geum-ran.

Sa-ra’s completely absorbed in the show, and beside herself when Geum-ran loses the extreme makeover opportunity to the other contender. She’s so moved that she decides she has to help her, but when she calls the TV station to ask about her, she hears that Geum-ran withdrew from the process.

Meanwhile, Past Geum-ran discovers her husband’s infidelity when she hears he’s back in Seoul and goes to his hotel room. That’s where she sees him (named LEE KANG-JOON, played by Jung Kyeo-woon) cozying up with his girlfriend on the side, the sophisticated broadcast announcer GYO CHAE-YEON (Wang Ji-hye, playing yet another in a streak of adulterous Other Women).

Even despite the betrayal, Geum-ran meets with Chae-yeon to ask her to step aside. Chae-yeon is initially quite polite, apologizing for the hurt she caused and expressing her regrets contritely, but she must have expected the wronged wife to simply back away. So when Geum-ran continues to sob and beg, Chae-yeon’s words get blunt: Kang-joon may have been ordinary when they married and it’s true that Geum-ran supported him through his career, but he is now far out of her league. She asks plainly, “Do you never look in the mirror?”

I don’t konw if it’s better or worse that the cheating husband seems kind of like a nice guy—I mean, yes, he’s a lying jackass for cheating, but fundamentally he doesn’t seem mean-spirited. But when Geum-ran asks Kang-joon for another chance so she can treat him even better, he merely returns his wedding ring and says that their marriage is over, and that he just wants to love.

Adding insult to injury are her terrible in-laws, who practically gloat at Geum-ran for being so naive to think her husband ought to be faithful to her looking like that. Senile Grandma sweetly offers to make her look nice, but paints her face in a grotesque parody of beauty.

Watching this all is a distraught Sa-ra, who thus jumps at the chance when she gets a mysterious note telling her where she can go to find out about Geum-ran. She meets Geum-ran’s friend, who is outraged at her friend’s shabby treatment and shares the truth, which brings yet more terrible news: Geum-ran committed suicide, and today is her 49th day memorial. (The 49th day is observed as the day when a departed soul moves on to the afterlife.) Her in-laws didn’t even bother to observe rites for her.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Geum-ran saw Chae-yeon being welcomed to the family behind her back, and Geum-ran couldn’t bear to return to that house. But she had nowhere to go, and ended up driving her car into the sea.

As Sa-ra leaves Geum-ran’s memorial, she’s knocked out by her stalker-man, aka our hero, Tae-hee. (Joo Sang-wook really does get some surprise beats of silly comedy, which is great.)

Sa-ra wakes up in Tae-hee’s car as he’s listening to a news report about serial killers who kidnap and murder women, and takes the first opportunity to run out. He chases her in exasperation as they run down the beach, but ends up getting his ass handed to him when Sa-ra’s dormant judo skills pop back up and send him sprawling. She only relents when he bellows at her, “You’re Sa Geum-ran!”

She’s understandably skeptical, but Tae-hee explains that she’s missed her meds and is suffering a spell of delusion—a side effect of all the anesthesia from her head-to-toe plastic surgery. (HAHA.) He’s been chasing her to give her the pills, only she’s so locked in her fantasy of being an actress that she didn’t recognize him and took him for a killer.

It’s from Tae-hee that Sa-ra gets the rest of the story, showing us how Geum-ran’s drive off a cliff wasn’t intentional, but accidental. She mustered all her strength to pull herself out—she was so wronged she couldn’t bear to die—and when she’d returned to the city, everyone already believed her dead. So Geum-ran watched as her husband and in-laws dutifully attended her funeral and shed exactly zero tears.

So she appeared at the good doctor’s doorstep, having tracked him down as the surgeon who works on all the Change show’s participants. She’d begged him to help her become beautiful and exact her revenge on the people who did her wrong, whom she couldn’t bear to let go unscathed while she’d supposedly died. Tae-hee reluctantly agreed, thus beginning her transformation, down to even a vocal cord operation that changed her voice. And the spiffy apartment she’d assumed was hers is actually his, which she’s been living in ever since.

With her head back on straight, Sa-ra/Geum-ran apologizes to Tae-hee, who now insists on a contract outlining their agreement. To his shock, Sa-ra bites down on her thumb and stamps the thing down in her own blood, ready to do everything he tells her to do.

However, Sa-ra doesn’t actually have a plan for revenge other than “I look pretty, so it should be easy now,” and Tae-hee has to impress upon her the necessity of working a carefully thought-out strategy. He tells her very gravely how very little her husband cared for her, how she doesn’t even register on his radar as anything worth a thought, and pumps her up to go after her mission properly. She can’t just look like a new person; she has to become one. He challenges her to leave behind Geum-ran completely, and after witnessing her husband being cozy with his girlfriend, she musters up the resolve to do just that.

 
EPISODE 2

Now that they’re on the same page about their goals, Tae-hee becomes something of an all-around life coach for Sa-ra as he directs her workouts and shapes her (sometimes literally) into an irresistible woman. She doesn’t lose her love of food (or her herculean strength), but she follows his directions faithfully, as best she can (with sometimes amusing results).

Their vague plan to get revenge is given a swift kick in the pants when the announcement is made public of wedding plans for the cheating couple. With three weeks till the wedding, this both speeds up their deadline and gives them a specific goal to shoot for: stop the wedding.

Tae-hee has a curiously strong interest in helping Sa-ra ruin the wedding, and things make more sense when Sa-ra finds out that he has a past with Chae-yeon. He’s touchy about it and refuses to talk, but we can see that they go back to childhood and he’s clearly not over her.

We don’t know much about Tae-hee’s past, which is played purposely vaguely, partly for suspense reasons and partly for comedy. I laughed out loud when he admits he’s not a real doctor (casting all of Episode 1 into an entirely different light) until he clarifies that his brother was the Change doctor, and he just orchestrated the surgery instead of performing them. Later he also admits that the apartment they’re living in isn’t his but his brother’s, necessitating a hasty flight in the night. So generally speaking we’re in the dark as to what he does or who he is, though an offhand comment about him being a chaebol seems like it might be true. (Sa-ra just laughs in his face, thinking it absurd.)

The chaebol hint explains a few things, from the amount of free time he seems to have on his hands to the way he can afford to help Sa-ra with these expensive plans—and I don’t mean just the surgeries. For instance, they decide to make their first approach to the target at a charity function hosted by Kang-joon’s company (he’s president of a broadcast station), where Sa-ra can dazzle him with her looks and pique his interest.

When mere attempts at flirting (and clumsily, at that) aren’t enough, they have to resort to Plan B, which requires them to buy something at the charity auction to secure Kang-joon’s attention. A hundred million won is hardly anything the average person has lying around, but somehow Tae-hee just waves it off as a necessary expense.

Ultimately the charity function ends with less progress made than they’d like since Chae-yeon’s on hand to whisk Kang-joon away. Kang-joon doesn’t seem to have a roving eye, and he seems quite in love with Chae-yeon, so Sa-ra’s looks enough aren’t enough to attract his attention.

So Tae-hee concocts a second encounter to put Sa-ra in Kang-joon’s path sans the fiancee, and off they go to bump into him while fishing. (Tae-hee dons a series of disguises in each of these missions that makes him look increasingly like a homeless person. It’s pretty great.)

Kang-joon politely helps Sa-ra cast a line, but it isn’t until she slips up and lets her inner Geum-ran out that he takes notice of her beyond that. For instance, she recognizes his bracelet as belonging to his grandmother, whom she’d taken care of for the past seven years. Hearing that Grandma recently died, Sa-ra wells up with tears—and when she accidentally sends the bracelet flying into the water, she dashes into the lake without thinking and dives in to retrieve it.

Tae-hee watches in chagrin, trying to telepathically instruct her to stop flailing and adhere to her feminine goddess image, but to his surprise the effect isn’t negative. These surprising and conflicting sides of Sa-ra make Kang-joon wonder who she is, as he can’t make sense of her. He does find one thing in common with them all, though, which is warmth. And that warmth intrigues him enough that he asks to meet her again. Success!

Sa-ra and Tae-hee are thrilled to have gotten exactly what they wanted, and Tae-hee sees their goal in sight. All they have to do now is catch him red-handed in the act of two-timing his fiancee (with Sa-ra) and exposing his cheating past, ruining his reputation and bringing disgrace on his head. That wedding will be as good as toast.

They celebrate to themselves, but this has two unintended side effects: (1) Tae-hee starts to feel a surprise attraction to Sa-ra (I know, that’s quick!), and (2) Sa-ra starts to think she might not want revenge after all (I know, that’s quick too) (not a complaint). Ever a softy at heart, Sa-ra thinks of the way Kang-joon looked at her at the lake (…because you’re pretty) and decides she wants to win him back, rather than destroy him. She insists that she’d sworn to love one man forever, and could swear he still thinks of her (as Geum-ran). She even wants to be accepted back into his (hateful) family as daughter-in-law, and decides that she’d like to marry him again.

Tae-hee is understandably aghast, but since ultimately the end result is the same for him, he goes along with the revised plan, Operation: Marry Kang-joon. Tae-hee secures them a new house in the same neighborhood as Kang-joon’s family (again, nice to be a chaebol), giving her easy access to the in-laws as she introduces herself as the new neighbor.

Thus they manufacture a fresh new round of run-ins with Kang-joon’s family members, winning them over one by one. (This is depressingly easy to do, as everyone is happy to give the friendly gorgeous girl the benefit of the doubt and the best treatment.)

And wouldn’t you know it, with the multiple encounters with Sa-ra fresh on his mind and his family newly in love with her, Kang-joon finds himself starting to ignore the fiancée. One night he calls Sa-ra and asks to meet outside, just as Chae-yeon arrives to witness their suspiciously friendly encounter. Her intuition sets off warning bells, while her fiancé grins dopily at the new girl, not knowing it’s his wife. Serves you all right.

 
COMMENTS

I went into Birth of a Beauty expecting something that’d be light and fizzy, and if we got lucky, funny and good-natured on top of that. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot more since the story seemed pretty obvious, so color me surprised that the drama’s execution elevates the story a notch by making it a little screwball and quirky, without losing its emotional center.

That emotional center is, of course, the character of Geum-ran, who is played with a lovely groundedness by Ha Jae-sook, which is critical. I want to feel sorry for Geum-ran, but not frustrated with her for being too pitiful. She has to walk the fine line between being wronged (which spurs our sympathies) and being a sad sack who lets people walk over her (which gets frustrating really quickly). What’s key is the sweetness of her nature that believes the positive rather than the negative, or at least makes a concerted effort to accept things in the most positive light.

But it’s not just the “before” version who needs to stir our sympathies, since that goodwill has to carry through to our present-day heroine as well. I give Han Ye-seul due credit for retaining Geum-ran’s kind nature in Sa-ra, because while I’m still getting used to the part where they’re the same person, I can follow the emotional throughlines from Geum-ran to Sa-ra. And when Sa-ra reacts to hurt, the show does a credible job of connecting her pain to Geum-ran, both through technical tools (like dissolves and cuts overlapping the two ladies) and through the acting (I really like Han Ye-seul in this).

It’s both endearing and believable to have Sa-ra fully appreciate how good she looks now without being vain about it; it’s almost like she’s seeing Sa-ra through an outsider’s eyes, and giddy at the idea of this being her. That sweetness of spirit was a crucial trait in Kim Ah-joong’s character in 200 Pound Beauty, and it’s why I feel invested in Sa-ra here. Without that, or played with the slightest trace of vanity, I’d be done with the show from Day 1.

It’s also that trait that I expect will carry her through everything she’s about to go through, despite the directive that she has to leave Geum-ran behind her. And I’m intrigued at the idea that it’s her personality that may win her her husband’s heart. I’m curious to know how they married in the first place even if he used to be quite ordinary, because Kang-joon seems to regard Geum-ran with polite pity, without any indication of once having loved her. Was he motivated by guilt because she supported him through his early career-building days? Did her appearance turn him off so much that he never saw her for her heart, or was it just that he forgot what he once saw in her? Did he ever love her or was she completely fooled?

Sa-ra’s new appearance levels the playing field in a way for Geum-ran to shine—even if, ironically, nobody sees Geum-ran anymore. I wonder if that causes problematic rhetorical arguments down the line for what that says about beauty and value in society, and I suspect that if I pursued this line of thinking down further I’d end up with a big ol’ headache. But it’s worth thinking about anyway (in little bites, maybe), because what makes Sa-ra special is her warmth and goodness, and those aren’t new things. Her appearance rendered them invisible to most of the world, just as her beauty now exaggerates their virtues.

In any case, I like this idea that Geum-ran will win over Kang-joon as herself, even though I understand that you can’t expect anybody to fully divorce a person’s identity from their looks; it’s too much a part of being human. Is a person exactly the same in one body as she is in another? Well, that’s an unanswerable (and perhaps futile) question to ask, but I think it’s naive to suppose that we’re unaffected by our exteriors, if only because our exteriors affect how others treat us, and that affects how we feel in turn.

Heavier (hur hur) questions of beauty and identity aside, this drama is feel-good and funny, with a touch of wacky, and these first two episodes zipped right by. The leads have a very cute odd-couple chemistry, with Sa-ra’s agreeableness playing off of Tae-hee’s sharper temper and quicker wits (admittedly Sa-ra is a little dim, but in an endearing way). I was surprised to have his attraction spark so soon, but it’s certainly not a bad thing to get the romantic juices flowing asap. That’s one of the show’s strengths, in keeping things moving quickly so that things happen before we have a chance to expect them. That makes all the difference, because it doesn’t even give us a moment to think “I know how this goes” because it’s already gone off in a different direction. The show as a whole probably falls within fairly predictable lines, but there are unpredictable moments sprinkled in that add energy to the proceedings.

Furthermore, with Sly and Single Again and now Birth of a Beauty, I’ve decided that I only ever want to see Joo Sang-wook in goofy rom-coms, where he shakes off the serious mien and chiseled-and-perfect type of professionals he’s played before, in favor of embracing his inner dork. I love that Tae-hee thinks he’s this smooth operator genius tactician, while the reality is more like he’s half a charming strategist and half a total sham. Kind of like your quintessential Owen Wilson character—I cracked up to hear that he wasn’t a doctor, and then again when they get kicked out of the apartment, and now expect that every episode will have a hilarious new revelation about his background. In fact, I will be actively disappointed if that doesn’t happen. Can we have a whole parade of hysterical secrets? Pretty please? Even just little ones will do?

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I enjoyed this drama so far! Happy to see Han Ye Seul again

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Same here!. Fantasy Couple is so far one of my all time favorite K-dramas.

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The lady played 'fat' version of Sara has much better acting than Han Ye Seul. I enjoyed watching her and feel much sympathy for her than after she got work done. Ye Seul should try another challenging role. The story is predictable, not so good but also not that bad.

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Thank you! She is awesome! I wish they would give us this actresses name. She should have been on Running Man too (if she wanted to be).

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she have been on running man.... on ep. when beak ji young and 'miss a' girl appear as guest...

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No dearie, they are not the same person. Actress for Sa Geum Ran's role is Ha Jae Sook; the commedienne who guested in Running Man was Lee Gook Joo.

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I checked out this drama out of boredom, when I heard the storyline I was ready to hate this show but its not as bad as I thought it would be so far. Han Ye Seul is awesome, and Sang Wook is delightful in this.

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Are you kidding me? This drama looks like it has tied all the ends. With 3 plots going on at the same time, I'd say KUDOS to the writers! It is well written so far (not like Fated to Love you, which I do not know if I had already decided that I liked it or not). JSW is really goofy but debonair. He will be stupid if he does not fall heads over heels with HYS. HYS is very caring, great cook, tender- hearted and very beautiful.

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so far the show is just so so for me....

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I agree, out of all the others. this one is my least fav so far...I may come back to it when I'm in a drama slump thou!

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The plot so predictable and there were some scenes that supposed to be funny but I couldn't laugh and getting bored. I don't know why. Maybe just because it's not my taste.

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This drama definitely sounds fun and easy to watch without us having to analyze and do too much thinking(Liar Game...)

Seems to have heart in this show too, really liking Han Ye Seul in here.

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The premise of that show is nuts & not really politically correct either but I don't care: I'm here for the pure comedy & to see the leads making fun of themselves: The sexy smart guy who's not that smart & the beauty goddess (strutting slow mo included) falling on her face.

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Ooh thanks for this so happy that you're watching this show too! Are recaps really not possible! Pretty please!!!!

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Loving this drama especially because of JSW! Too bad there'll be no regular recaps of this drama. Any takers?:)

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the first 2 eps were quite enjoyable..

i like dorky Joo Sang Wook, I missed Han Ye Seul too.. I still remember Ha Jae Sook as cousin Mi Ran in SoSP.

Honestly I don't like WJH in this kind of role, again.. my first impression of the FIL was not good but I'm glad that he seems a lot more human than the wife & daughters..

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Good to see Han Ye Seul back. She still has the chops after a 3 year break. JSW is better here than in Single Cunning Woman. All four leads can act which does makes a difference.

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Done watching the first two episodes and I'm ready to invest my time, emotions and patience with this show. I am loving the pair. I am also currently watching Running Man 219 and the cast are the guests. If I had watched RM earlier, I wouldn't hate the other woman so much. She's really nice!

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Wow.. SBS is really sticking with their makjang free policy. I seldom watch weekend dramas since most of them are melo and runs way too long for my taste but their new wacky weekend dramas has peaked my interest. Plus, I am sucker for makeover comedies so I am definitely keeping an eye on this drama.

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I checked this show out cause I was bored and I think Joo Sang Wook is the bomb diggity looks wise and was not disappointed. You were so right the 2 eps zipped by and I'm excited to find out more with the story.

I think what I like most is that whilst it is a rom-com with lightness and wackiness to it, it's got this undercurrent of darkness and moodiness to it that permeates the story and the world. I love it because it shows that the makers thought a lot more beyond the plastic surgery plotline. Their thought processes weren't just, oh we'll give the main girl plastic surgery and her life will be the bestest ever. I also think there's way more to the husband under that exterior (especially after seeing the ep 3 preview) especially with the whole motto thing they kept repeating, "there's more to see beyond the surface."

If they keep this darkness juxtaposed with the ironic lightness of the drama, it'll be a keeper. Added with the hilarious moments between Tae-Hee and Sa-ra, like when she told him to touch her chest cause she heard something pop made me laugh so hard, I'm excited to watch more! :)

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Iaaaa I think he's laying some sort of trap for Sara I don't think he's in love with her but actually really suspicious of her.

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Guess I'm just in the mood for something goofy because I was unexpectedly charmed by this show. Doesn't hurt that the two male leads are expert at shifting back and forth between sexy and silly.

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This drama was a pleasant surprise! I thought it would be shallow and dull but I'm happily eating my words.

Sa Geum Ran slayed me, got me right in the feels, so much respect and admiration for Ha Jae Sook.

Hopefully momentum keeps up!

Anyone know how many eps this drama will have?

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It's 20

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Noooo....I hope there is not unnecessary dragging in the future..

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The show is definitely an easy watch and I like the off-kilter screwball quality. Han Ye Seul is doing better than I was expecting and you're right about Geu-ram, I feel sympathy for her without her being a pathetic sadsack. I'm not fully sold (I divide my attention when her evil in-laws are on screen, and at the other woman), but Joo Sang-wook might definitely keep me coming back. His parade of silly costumes and surprise secrets are hilarious. However I think its only this great BECAUSE we've all seen him as the devastatingly dashing debonair dandy that this loon is so endearing. I love it cause I sit there thinking "How am I gonna take him seriously enough to watch Ten?! " *giggle fit* The pace is awesome too, dragging with this kind of plot leaves too much time for thinking about the more sordid implications.

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Seriously! I just finished Ten and Ten2, then watching this drama makes me wonder how he can pull off two totally different personalities in the dramas so perfectly. But I get a feeling that real JSW seems more like this guy than the detective in TEN.

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After seeing Joo Sang Wook killing it in "Sly and Single Again", I knew he'd be great here too.

Honestly, I feel like rom-coms are where he really shines.

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I was really looking forward to this and the 1st episode didn't disappoint. Unfortunately, her character took a dive when she said she wanted to marry her assy husband again and be a family again with her in-laws. WTF.

Grow a spine woman.

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Joo sang wook be happily dorky forever!!

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I was going to watch this drama anyway Since Han Ye Seul is my "waifu," but I am really enjoying this series so far. The pacing and quirkiness have won me over.

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I'm impressed with the actress portrayed the fat version, so much so that I couldn't connect with her pretty version. They should use the same actress. I loved the scene where the pretty one looked at her hubby longingly and they switched to the fat one, like she's underneath that beauty, or rather, it's the same person the same soul no matter how you look.

I felt annoyed why she wanted the same man again when she invested in having a new look cuz that would mean the guy abandoned his wife, his fiancée for her. Huh? Well, hello....

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well... i guess if you internalized that it was "your fault" your husband left you because you just weren't good enough for him by being too fat and ugly... to the point that you would get radical surgeries to change yourself... and make yourself better... then it does make sense.

If she thinks she was the problem and now she's "fixed"... it's now possible to have what she always long for - his regard, love, and respect.

What I'm hoping is that she will come to realize that he's not all that great... and find someone better!

I really don't like what this drama is saying at this point about "fatness" being a reason not to love someone and be faithful to them... have to see how it goes

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Dara, you felt annoyed because she didn't instantly snap out of being in love with the guy she adored for 7 years? Have you EVER been in love?

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after watching Wang Jin He in Running Man, i love her, she's have 4d personality xddddddddd

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I'm very wary of the premise, but I really enjoyed this. It doesn't hurt that one of my favorite things ever is watching Joo Sang Wook's hilarious facial expressions when he does comedy~ especially when he's being a dork. It's hard to believe he was so boring and wooden in all those stoic Ken Doll roles when he's so animated and entertaining in rom-coms.

I agree with all the comments about Ha Jae Sook striking just the right balance~ I'm so glad they didn't go the fat-suit route. Sa-ra learning to love her inner self is the love story I'm most invested in seeing.

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I also checked this out thinking it would be some what meh, but was curious, what a pleasant suprise, it was cute, plot does zip by, liking it so far, thanks for the intro recap JB!

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This show had me feeling too many emotions. First, I completely agree about Joo Sang wook. He was golden in Sly and Single again, and I grinned so wide when he came in screen, being as quirky here as he was there. Perfect. He's so much better goofy. Love his character.
Honestly, the scenes with Original Geum Ran had me wanting to cry and rage. Her sisters-in-law are a nightmare for any bride. Her sweetness is paramount. I pray that she doesnt sweep their meanness under the rug. The dazzled look on the youngest sister-in-law when SaRa came by with the cake pissed me off. She was practically drooling from all things pretty about SaRa, unlike the scornful and mocking attitude she had with Geum Ran. Despicable... I can't wait for them to see her upcoming wrath. Please let it happen soon.
There is something extremely off about Geum Ran's husband. It cannot be just apathy for his "dead" wife that had him already seeking marriage with his girlfriend so soon. His poker face during her 49 days speaks of something sinister. I don't trust him one bit.

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Freakin' LOVE the leads in this. To the point where it's impossible not to keep watching. It moved so quickly and with such gusto that I can't help but love it already.

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I totally agree this drama has exceeded my expectations, I love that everything I thought was going to happen hasn't it's taken so many unpredictable routes. I'm also liking the mystery elements that this drama has going on as I wasn't expecting that at all!

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Maybe I'm just not in the mood for a rom com? The first episode of this left me "meh," even though it was well done. Whereas I count the minutes till new episodes of Blade Man and Pride and Prejudice. I must be going through a wry, understated sense of humor phase. Or is it also that the first episode meanders a lot? I haven't watched the second episode--does the pacing get better?

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Hmmm, I actually think that rather than meandering, the first episode is a bit messy, but makes up for that by actually jumping right in to it's story and being relatively fast-paced.

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Hmmm, maybe it was my attention that was meandering! Whenever the in-laws were on the screen, I kinda dozed off. But I sometimes really enjoy Evil In-laws, so I don't know what's different here.

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The first episode fails to grab my heart. But the second episode has totally won me over.

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I thought the first episode was fun (minus the abysmal treatment of Sa Geum-ran).

The second episode went more zany and off-whack than fun. I'm not sure I like its tone as much as I liked the first episode but overall it's watchable and I look forward to seeing how the series progresses.

I like both Han Ye-seul and Joo Sang-wook so yay!

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Why Wang Ji-Hye? WHHHHYYYYYYYY? Why must you be yet another scuzzy mistress? You are so very lovable and, thanks to Protect The Boss, my girl-crush on you will be eternal. I just want to love in. Why don't you let me?

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Totally agreed! I just watched Running Man where she (and other casts from Birth of A Beauty) was the guest, and she was super fun and witty. She's a good actress cos she made me hate her so much on all her villain roles, but love her in Protect the Boss. Hoping she'll get a main role one of these days...

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Just 2 episodes and Im totally in! Ok, I admit, I am gonna watch this whatever happens for Han Ye Seul unnie. I missed her so much in Kdramaland but seriously, the 2 episodes are so funny and light to watch. With a little bit of sad emotions on the side (past parts). It's just balanced. Not to mention both the leads are such eye candies. Both HYS and JSW are royalties of rom-coms. And I'm amazed of their effortless chemistry!

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This is freaking crack, guilty pleasure.

Warning: Turn off that moral side of your brain.

You will enjoy this show immensely once you don't buy into what the writer's trying to say, but rather watch for our goofy leads, great chemistry, and the hilariously endearing Ye Seul who is equal parts cute and still retaining some of that charm from Geum Ran. The only reason Sara works is because she's now a gorgeous babe with a fighting (and somewhat naive) spirit. She's still awkward in her hot body, which makes for ALOT of hijinks.
Actress who played geum ran was great, and I think ye-seul might end up putting in her best performance of her career in this character (too soon? maybe i'm just really excited).

Joo Sang Wook is doing great here. I actually love him here more than I do in Cunning, for obvious reasons. His char is better here (much less frustrating) and definitely a guy you can pluck off the street in the real world albeit tweaked for entertainment (So. goofy).

The most interesting bit that came out of this episode for me was how it seems her husband is starting to fall for her through her "warm" personality despite Tae-Hee trying his darndest to make her an "intelligent sexy woman" (of course her physical appearance would be a factor) but it's somewhat of a twist to see quite the opposite work on Kang Joon. I saw glimpses of satire in that -- these are two of the same people, although with different faces and different bodies, but dude, you're falling for her! I wouldn't be surprised if this writer decided to push for something more, but i'm really loving this show for entertainment value.

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I'm torn. I like the actors, and very glad to see Han Ye-Seul back. She was fantastic in Penny Pinchers. (For those who don't know, it's a wonderful movie! One of my favs.) I've been hoping to see her again.

I loved Ha Jae-Suk as the original Sa Geum-Ran, and I wish we couldn't have seen more of her. Yes, I guess good that we moved the plot ahead... but I found this first version and her performance so compelling I wish we'd had her for a little more time.

Despite the surprises, I'm guessing we are still in for a fairly predictable ride. I don't know. I'll probably give it another shot this weekend, but I'm trying to weed out the so-sos.

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Thanks for posting Ha Jae-Suk's name. I think she is doing phenomenal and hope she gets more to do on the show. I like her better than the "pretty" version.

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I like Han Ye-Seul as an talented actress who can look beautiful and act funny at same time.

Think her *comic acting* outshines her looks in this drama.

Just think how many leading actress would like being called "ahjumma" (auntie) at first few episodes?

Her arm twisting and judo throwing Joo Sang Wook at the beach chasing scene was *HILARIOUS*

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Can't wait for your next Running Man episode guest starring BoaB cast. Sooooo funny!

SPECIAL REQUEST: Please list all the songs during the train game.

Has anyone else seen it already? LOL!! I've watched it three times already.

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I've watched the RM twice, and I'm not an avid watcher of RM. I do enjoy RM a lot, but it's a show I have to tune in for guests I like. I watched every episode the first year, but stopped after that.

Originally I went in watching it for Ye Seul, but Wang Ji Hye was amazing in this episode. I'm surprised it was her first time doing variety.

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Am I the only one not feeling this drama? First of all, I think the storyline seems predictable and cliche written all over it. Even with good acting, I can't overlook the idea of ridicule, disrespect and superficial emphasis of outer beauty. Maybe that is the point of this drama but I couldn't really find it compelling, funny or make sense. It seems so far fetched. I was not drawn to any of the characters. Most of them are lack of characters. I need something better to watch.

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No, you're not alone. My comment is a few posts above. I would have liked if we could have seen the 1st actress more. I found her acting and the original character far more compelling. I too think that, even with some surprises, it's going to be predictable. Plus so far I didn't find those "surprises" all that surprising. I, at best, on the fence.

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I'm trying to figure out why I'm not feeling it. Sometimes I love goofy rom com. I can even laugh at superficial people. So why did the first episode of this show bore me?

I think it's because I could predict what the characters were going to say before they said it. I enjoy plots that are predictable, if the characters and their dialogue are original and unpredictable. But I agree with JKP, the characters didn't feel 3D. I'll set this one aside, even though I haven't finished the first two episodes.

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It's a bit of a madcap comedy, the overuse of tropes and the utter ignorance of realism (or even moral correctness) is mandatory for the genre.

Of course, madcap is difficult to balance out, but I thought so far they did a really good job.

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Off topic. Has anyone seen the DramaFever exclusive Love Cells yet? It's a small investment of time -- 15 daily episodes, 10 mins each (though the first 2 episodes are approx 6 mins). Mon-Fri, Nov 3 -21. Cute in sort of a Surplus Princess way. Jang Hyuk and Kim Woo Bin have small roles. Curious if anyone else is watching.

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I admit I'm curious. May check it out. As you say, not a big time investment! I wonder how much they can do with such short installments? But any excuse for a little Kim Woo Bin.

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I am planning on watching, but since they are such short episodes I am waiting until a few more are uploaded before getting into it.

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love this drama.watched 2 eps with excitement.will watch this
until the end. Joo Sang Wook forever!

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I really hate the subtext that a good decent man woud naturally fall out of love with a good but fat wife...and that fat wife loooooooooooves food and wasn't using her brain except to memorize celebrity names.

I like all the actors involved but wow. Am glad it's turning into a murder mystery.. From what i saw with the previews anyway.

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Loved this. Just loved it. Joo Sang-wook is hilarious, and Han Ye-seul does an excellent job at bringing the human equation of wanting to love and be loved in return to the show.

Going to watch this now.

Thanks for the recap, JB!

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Besides looking smoking hot at episode 1 opening scene, Han Ye-Seul is VERY FUNNY and COMIC!

How many K actresses can dare boast that they can look beautiful and act so funny at same time? I think very very few

Think Han Ye-Seul is a rarity

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I wasn't going to watch this but i decided to check it out anyway and the first two episodes were fun, apart from the abysmal treatment of Sa Geum-ran by her in-laws and others of course. What is especially refreshing is that, although the externals have changed, Sara is still the same person inside. She's warm, maternal, loving and has a sweetness to her character that transcends her miserable treatment. She remains Geum-ran but now she's in the smoking hot package that is Sara.

A problem I have always had with "revenge" scenarios in which a person makes drastic changes like extreme plastic surgery or by becoming mega-wealthy, is that most often the person seeking revenge for wrongs becomes just insanely one track minded. But if you have been a good person capable of forgiveness pre-revenge, why should that change? BoaB seems quite subversive in that respect. Whenever Sara tries to act seductive and to use her physical attractiveness, she fails. When she's the person she always was as opposed to the package, she succeeds.

I find the husband very puzzling as well. On the one hand, he's a complete adulterous slime ball for using Geum-ran the way he has by allowing her to put him through school and to fulfill his own family obligations while having no intentions of remaining married to her. But on the other hand, he gets her out of a jam with the police, freely admits she is is wife and calmly tells her this is the last time he will act as her husband. He doesn't abuse her by calling her names or by insinuating it's somehow her fault he's strayed. And the death of the grandmother is also suspicious to me. Who benefits from her death? The most obvious people, if the death wasn't natural, are the mother-in-law, the sisters-in-law and the new wife. They are the ones who will now have to take on Geum-ram's duties.

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I'm kind of skeptical and i feel like things are trying to be moved too quickly, especially with 18 but I'll keep watching because I love ROM COM joo sang wook too much and i still see reminants of Cha Jung Woo in him and CJW is probs my fave male character.

Love him and Han Ye Seul together and she is indeed very beautiful. this is the first time i've seen all the main leads and have liked them to the point of being biased towards them. So happy about the cast so I will continue to watch:), mostly for Joo Sang Wook

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Ha Jae-Suk, is the actress who plays Geum-ram. She was in Pasta and Protect the Boss, Im glad she is in this program as well. I imagine in general its harder to be a plus sized actress and in Korea even harder. Ha Jae-Suk is really talented and seems to be one of the few curvy/thick Korean actresses working. I hope she is in more dramas and films.

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I enjoyed the beginning and it may end up being a good show. However, is pushes the ridiculous pretty far, with a whole, full body surgery including vocal cords in 49 DAYS!?!
Seriously - the writers must have no idea about anything medical and should have at least called and gotten some advice about it. That's beyond ridiculous. That all would take a minimum of a year and more likely several years. I know this is a Rom-Com and not a documentary, but still the story line has to be believable and that is just a glaring medical error.

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I wish that the main actress was Ha Jae-Suk. I would have preferred a story following her journey to happiness. I think it would have been more heartfelt than the "easy" solution being plastic surgery. Maybe she could of have lost weight on her own or not, maybe she could find a new love or not; however, loving herself would be the top priority. I just think a story showing a woman who society thinks is not conventionally attractive would have held more appeal.

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Dear JJ, hello and please remember that this drama modeled closely after the Count of Montecristo by Dumas (up to this point, comedy aside), where Ms. Ha Jae-Suk is Edmond Dantés (before) and Han Ye Seul as the Count (after). Faría Abbot should be then Mr. Joo Sang Wook.

An interesting aspect is that there are interesting parallels between power by being rich for men and power by being beautiful for women, so I hope the writer can give the proper tone, smartness and taste to deliver the story.

To be honest I am hoping for a layered script.

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Thank you....thank you....thank you....for doing the recaps for this drama. You are the BEST!

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So happy that we have good actors/actress for this. no idol (Surprised that no idols. I'm not saying that Idols can't Act, but it's something rare that I find no idols in a drama that I watch ). Ha Jae-Suk as the old Sara is awesome to bring good emotions on screen. Love her. Hope to see her as the main lead next time. WJH-JGW are good bring out the evil character and ofcourse, JSW-HYS are delicious :* Welcome back HYS. As a Na Shang-sil fan, I hope your Sara will be memorable as well for me. JSW, I'm so happy to find you in K-Drama. As A villain, dorky , goofy, whatever your role is ..YOU CAN DO IT PERFECTLY!! Maybe it just me, but I hope he will win an deama award this year for his Cha Jung-Woo or Han Tae-Hee.
This drama story might be not perfect in this 2eps, but enough to entertain me. Waiting for the next eps!

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i just watched the first episode of this drama and i don't feel the connection between the old guem ran before surgery and the new geum ran played by han ye seul. they feel like two different people to me. i hope it's not han ye seul not so bright acting skills. maybe i should watch more to see the connection?

that actress who played old geum ran did a great job

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Ha Jae Sook reminds me of Kim Sun Ah so much especially when they both show sadness and despair on screen. Just wonderfully heartbreaking.

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I am really curious as to why they got married in the first place. That bit intrigues me.

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I agree with most of the other comments. The drama doesn't appeal to me that much because the plot is very common, and yes, the next scenes are indeed predictable.. I really like how they did the flashback thingy though. I honestly thought those events were really happening at the present. That made me a bit confused and I was wondering how could she be geum ran if you know, those things were happening?

Joo Sang Wook was awesome by the way. He's the one who got me to laugh. lol.

I hope they make the drama more interesting.

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This drama seems dorky but not giddy. I like it so far.
I hope someone will pick it up for recap!

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Agree. Hoping that somebody will do the recap for BoaB. Please!!! Please!!! Please!!!

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