More additions to upcoming Hong sisters drama
The Hong sisters drama formerly titled Discovery of Affection has a title change, and is now called Best Love. Meh. Neither title is very good — they sound so generic, and lack the wit and humor of the Hong sisters’ style — but who knows, maybe the change was prompted by those pesky plagiarism accusations that also may have led to character changes when their hero went from a young Lee Seung-gi type to the older, badder Cha Seung-won.
(By the way, the old title is — in true Hong sisters fashion — a pun involving a character name. Just like You’re Beautiful included a pun on the name “Mi-nam,” Discovery of Affection included one on the heroine’s name, Gu Ae-jung, where ae-jung means affection. Oh, Hong sisters. You never met a pun (the cornier the better!) you didn’t love. And then beat into the ground. And I say that with ae-jung.)
The drama has also cast its second leads, and they are two actors who’ve done well with comic material in the past: Yoon Kye-sang and Yoo Inna.
Yoon’s character is a doctor of Oriental medicine, a clean-cut, warm character with a single-minded focus on his work. In fact, his foremost hobby is traveling around the countryside on weekends to gather medicinal plants and supplies. He’s got no interest in the entertainment industry, so it’s purely by chance that he meets a has-been actress (Gong Hyo-jin), beginning their romantic storyline.
Yoon said, “I consider it an honor to be able to work with such an outstanding director and writers, as well as actors. I’ll show another side to myself in playing the gentle, intellectual doctor Yoon Pil-joo, so I hope you’ll enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, Yoo Inna plays another actress, and shares a manager with Gong’s Ae-jung character. That manager, who’s also Ae-jung’s older brother, will be played by comedian Jung Jun-ha (Unstoppable High Kick’s dad). Who wants to place bets now that he gets his own bumbling, slapsticky romance?
I think Yoo is a fantastic addition, and she’s the type of sidekick who can steal a scene with a hilarious quip or her well-timed comic delivery, as she did in Secret Garden and High Kick Through the Roof.
In contrast, Yoon Kye-sang has been opting for heavier, more serious fare these days (Road No. 1, Executioners) so I wouldn’t have expected him in another trendy so soon, but I did love him in Who Are You, where he got to show some hilarious physical comedy as well as some of the deadpan variety. But to be honest, despite how much I’ve loved him in the past (minus Triple, but that was really the fault of the writing that turned him into a creepy lovelorn stalker), I have to admit that I’m disappointed to hear this news, if only because it means he’s stuck in second lead territory. He’s been playing the leading man for a few years now, so I’m actually surprised at this casting.
Many a second lead has stolen my affection so this doesn’t mean he’s automatically going to be wasted here…but let’s be real, the Hong sisters aren’t exactly great with their second leads. You might call them downright clumsy, since they seem to pour all their energies into creating a sizzling, entertaining, rock-solid main couple that all second-lead developments feel like afterthoughts.
Such secondary characters have in past dramas ranged from merely irritating (Fantasy Couple, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho) to downright aggravatingly evil (Delightful Girl Chun-hyang). In their later dramas, they’ve been rather toothless as well (You’re Beautiful, Gumiho), more limp rags than strong opposition. So, methinks the wise thing to do is brace myself for the worst; I’m preparing for disappointment already.
On the upside, rarely has a Hong sisters drama actually cast actors I like in those second lead roles. Often, they’re played by rookies and/or lightweights — Park Han-byul, Park Su-jin, Noh Min-woo, Jung Yong-hwa — so maybe it’s a promising sign that you have solid comic actors in this drama. I can hope.
Best Love begins filming on April 1, and broadcasts in early May, following Royal Family.