Drunk princesses, pretty-boy scholars, and assassins in SBS’s My Sassy Girl
We are exactly one month away from the premiere of My Sassy Girl, which means we can probably expect the promo wheel to start a-turnin’. The first teaser and character stills of our four leads are out for the sageuk version of the classic 2001 rom-com, starring Joo-won (Yong-pal) and Oh Yeon-seo (Come Back, Ajusshi) in the roles that propelled Jeon Ji-hyun and Cha Tae-hyun to stardom.
This is one drama that’s personally elicited some pretty polarizing reactions, and not only because of the whole lead actress switcheroo fiasco: The original film is one of my all-time favorites, so if they were to mess this up, there’s a real chance I might lose some of my love for Joo-won. I know, it’s scary. On the other hand, I love the two leads, and I’m rooting for the show to successfully take a fresh spin on the classic boy-meets-(crazy-)girl story.
Some extended character descriptions have been released alongside the pretty, pretty character stills, and I’m starting to infer that while the drama might share the same name and some of the most memorable scenes with the original, the tone and most of the plot will diverge from its source material. Which I am completely fine with, as long as it contributes to a quality show. As mentioned in previous articles, Joo-won will star as Gyun Woo, the star geeenius scholar with pretty-boy looks who is happily aware of the effect he has on women. (Side note: While the original character’s name was Gyun-woo, the drama has chosen to use Gyun as his family name and Woo as his first name.)
Upon his triumphant return to Joseon from his studies abroad in the Qing empire, he comes across a very drunk Princess Hyemyung, played by Oh Yeon-seo, who promptly vomits all over him in lieu of thanks for saving her from a dangerous situation. He takes her to an inn when she passes out, gets taken for a pervert, and receives a fist in the face for all his trouble. It does sound like the princess is no stranger to altercations: She regularly lets kicks fly and mouths off to noblemen abusing their positions in the marketplace, where she likes to sneak off to for some chicken feet. Her rough exterior hides a strong protectiveness for her younger brother, the crown prince, and also a painful memory in the form of a jade ring given to her by Min Yoo-hwan, who disappeared 3 years ago. He’s the reason she gets rip-roaring drunk so often, and it’s during one such episode she meets Gyun Woo.
While the meet-cute (meet-barf?) between our two leads is taken straight out of the film, our second leads are new additions to the story. Lee Jung-shin’s (Cinderella and the Four Knights) character Kang Jun-young is that stoic bodyguard type that’s in every sageuk ever but I can’t help but fall for. Every. Single. Time. The highest ranked official in Joseon’s investigative branch of the royal court, his looks, smarts, and martial arts skills have made him universally loved in the palace, and the king considers him his most loyal subject. He secretly loves the princess and knows that her abrasive, eccentric behavior masks her pain, so he chooses to protect her from afar. Sure, it’s a widely used trope, but I lap it up, so bring on the angsty stares, Lee Jung-shin!
And then, we have the meddlesome second female lead Jung Da-yeon played by Kim Yoon-hye (Vampire Detective), which * le sighhh*. The daughter of the most powerful minister in court, Jung Da-yeon is described as wily and manipulative with a mean, queen bee mentality. She decides she wants Gyun Woo because of his promising future and reputation, and when she sees his growing interest in the princess, she’s not above using fake tears or her father’s power to try to pry them apart. Her character sounds decidedly one-dimensional, and frankly boring, on paper. Here’s to hoping she’ll at least be one of those love-to-hate characters.
The first 30-second teaser isn’t very long and doesn’t cover much ground that hasn’t already been covered, but it does look quite beautifully shot. We start with Gyun Woo’s return to Joseon and a voice offscreen narrates his new duty to oversee the crown prince’s studies. We get glimpses of Gyun Woo and the princess’s first meeting and subsequent hijinks, with the former saying disbelievingly, “That flower-snake (a colloquialism akin to “gold-digger”) is the princess?”
The latter half of the teaser takes a decidedly darker tone with assassins attacking the king’s entourage and the princess running away from somebody in the rain. It looks like Gyun Woo also has some martial arts tricks up his sleeve and he handily takes down a group of thugs while chastising the princess offscreen for her carelessness: “While I do not know what they seek, they will come for you again, your highness.”
Hmm, and will you be there to take them down with your mid-air swivel kicks,
Yong-pal-ah, err, Gyun Woo-ya? Cause I’m sure the princess wouldn’t mind too much if so. My Sassy Girl will air in the Monday-Tuesday slot after Whisper finishes its run, starting May 29.
- It’s here! The teaser poster for My Sassy Girl
- SBS’s My Sassy Girl lands on the spring schedule
- Sassy princess meets smartypants scholar in SBS’s My Sassy Girl
- Lee Shi-un joins My Sassy Girl as Joo-won’s pal
- Kim Yoon-hye up for second lead role in My Sassy Girl, no casting confirmations yet
- My Sassy Girl’s original leading actress rumored to quit, role still not cast
- My Sassy Girl swaps out lead actress, courts Oh Yeon-seo to star