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Woori the Virgin: Episodes 1-2

A remake of an American show inspired by a Venezuelan telenovela, Woori the Virgin has the outlandish plot twists of a makjang K-drama, but they’re sugar coated in tongue-and-cheek humor that feels more in line with its inspiration. Our leading lady is as pure and innocent as they come, but after a medical mishap results in the most unplanned of pregnancies, she finds herself struggling to make a life-altering decision.

 
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP

Once again I’m weecapping a drama with zero context of its source material. I like to think this allows me to watch Woori the Virgin with completely fresh and unbiased eyes, but honestly, I do not need to have watched Jane the Virgin or Juana la virgen to pick up on the telenovela influences. I mean, we all love K-dramas because they can be a bit tropey and overdramatic — something they share with Latin telenovelas — but Woori has a brand of comedy and delivery that is slightly atypical of the average Korean drama, and I can only suspect that’s largely due to Western influences.

For instance, right out the gate there is an excessive amount of sex talk and virginity jokes. Now, I’m no prude, but I am used to my K-dramas being about as racey as a Disney Pixar movie that occasionally slips in some you’re-too-young-to-understand-this-kiddo innuendos for the adults chaperoning their children to the movie theater. Once I moved past my initial shock, though, I got into the tone and humor of the story.

The drama opens with a scene of teenage OH WOORI (Lim Soo-hyang), our leading lady, pledging a vow of chastity at a Catholic church with her mother and grandmother looking on with polar opposite reactions to the ceremony. We then transition to a wedding, where a bunch of women begin ribbing an adult Woori about her virginity after she catches the bride’s bouquet. Woori just sits there, smiling awkwardly while they speculate and offer their unsolicited opinions about her sex life — or lack thereof.

The conversation feels even more uncomfortable in hindsight when we discover that these particular women are not a part of Woori’s inner circle. Surely they would have known about LEE GANG-JAE (Shin Dong-wook), Woori’s boyfriend of two years if they’d been close — or followed her on social media — right?

Gang-jae picks Woori up at the wedding, and he spots the flowers in her hand. Rather than admitting it’s the wedding bouquet that she caught, she lies that guests were told to take the centerpieces. This is the first hint we get that Woori is skirting around the topic of marriage, but is she doing it because she doesn’t want to marry him or because she doesn’t want to be the kind of woman who pressures her man into proposing?

Gang-jae believes her fib, which is extra amusing because it turns out he’s a cop and should have more deductive reasoning! But apparently, his coworkers are used to explaining the ways of dating and women-folk to him, so they tell him, “Dude, you’ve been dating her two years. She’s thinking about marriage but doesn’t want to be the one to bring it up first.”

Aside from being a little clueless, Gang-jae proves himself to be a very gentle and kind boyfriend, a man who supposedly has the patience of a proverbial saint for his ability to restrain himself when it comes to his sexual urges. We see just how great his self control is after an almost-kiss with Woori sends him running for the confessional to be absolved of his sinful and impure thoughts. This whole bit is kind of eye roll inducing, but the joke pays off when the priest tells Gang-jae to chill out. Both he and God are too busy to hear him confess every time he imagines something naughty!

Gang-jae isn’t the only one having trouble containing his sexual urges, though. Woori is an assistant drama writer for Mask of Desire (getting some Be Strong Geum-hee vibes here), and during a meeting she gets a little too… heated… when proposing a romantic scene to the director.

Her boss, head writer YOO YE-RI (Lee Do-yeon) advises her to just marry Gang-jae. He’s a rare — exceedingly patient — unicorn that needs to be caught and “ridden” (oh my!). There’s also the added romanticism that he would be her first everything.

Except…he wouldn’t be. Because back in college, Woori gave her first kiss to a man she never saw again.

Cue: RAPHAEL (Sung Hoon) driving a (tacky) purple convertible. He’s the wealthy son of Chairman KIM DUK-BAE (Joo Jin-mo) of the Diamond Medical Foundation, a facility that specializes in plastic surgeries. Raphael, who is now in remission after a battle with stomach cancer, intends to grow the company’s cosmetics division — much to his father’s annoyance.

Raphael may have the outward aura of a clubbing playboy, but at heart he’s a sweet, family-oriented man who has fond memories of watching dramas with his mother. Those same dramas — and the urge to find out what happens next — are what motivated him to fight for his life. Dawww, I’m liking this inner marshmallow side of him.

Raphael also celebrates his extended life by serving his cheating, gold digging wife LEE MA-RI (Hong Ji-yoon) with divorce papers, which goes over about as well as one would expect from someone who initially faked a pregnancy to trick him into marriage. She immediately runs to her mother BYUN MI-JA (Nam Mi-jung), who has an uncanny ability to sneak around and appear unexpectedly from the shadows. Together the two women plot to have Ma-ri artificially inseminated with the sperm Raphael had frozen before he became sterile from his cancer treatment.

While Ma-ri plots to stay hitched to her money train, Woori goes to her first OB-GYN visit, and this is where everything comes together. And by everything, I mean Woori’s egg and Raphael’s sperm. See, there was a little mixup, and the doctor YEO JIN-HEE (Hwang Woo-seul-hye) — who’s having her own relationship drama — accidentally misread her patient charts and artificially inseminated Woori instead of Ma-ri. Whoopsie?

Jin-hee’s ex-boyfriend, who also works at the OB-GYN clinic, advises her to keep quiet about the mix-up and wait to see if Woori gets pregnant. If she doesn’t, then no one will ever have to know. But, of course, this is Telenovelaland — I mean, Dramaland — and under these circumstances, Woori can’t not get pregnant.

But it takes a few weeks to confirm conception, so while Jin-hee waits anxiously, the chaos in Woori’s life slowly builds. Her mother OH EUN-RAN (Hong Eun-hee) is crushed when her latest boyfriend runs off after taking out an expensive loan in her name. The incident triggers Woori’s longtime guilt…for being born. It all stems from a memory of Woori overhearing her mother complain that no music producer wants a single mother as an idol singer. Since then Woori has always wondered why Eun-ran would follow through with the pregnancy when an abortion would have allowed her follow her dreams.

At the same time, Gang-jae plans to propose to Woori, completely oblivious that she’s harboring doubts. He gets a little sidetracked, though, by his hunt for Chairman Kim, his arch nemesis who killed his partner. (Dun, dun, dun!) His pursuit leads him to a potential informant: Ma-ri’s secret lover and an employee at Diamond Medical Foundation, which brings us to the day when everything goes spectacularly wrong.

The setting: Diamond Medical Foundation. Our cast: Woori, who’s there for work; Raphael, who is hosting a PR event featuring actor CHOI SUNG-IL (Kim Su-ro); Eun-ran, who is at the PR event to see Sung-il because he’s Woori’s father (Woori doesn’t know, btw); and Gang-jae, who’s there to arrest his bad guy.

So what happens? Well, first Sung-il spots Eun-ran in the audience and is so dumbstruck he forgets how to form words during his interview. Raphael does his best to cover for the floundering actor, but then Gang-jae comes crashing through the audience and tackles his perp to the ground. All the excitement causes a very confused Woori to faint, and when she wakes up in the ER, the doctor explains that she’s — surprise! — pregnant.

The news immediately makes everyone laugh… everyone but Rapael, who awkwardly pauses mid-congratulatory clap, confused by the weird vibe in the room. When a second pregnancy test comes back positive, Eun-ran begins praying, believing Woori to be the next virgin Mary. Except it’s not divine intervention, and when Jin-hee confesses to her mistake, Eun-ran proceeds to beat her while Woori processes the shock of her pregnancy.

Woori, intending to get an abortion, doesn’t initially plan on telling Gang-jae the truth, but then he proposes. He went all out, too, with a choir flash mob and a drone that delivers the ring to his hand. And in that moment — after first dodging the drone like it was a bird aiming to poop on her head — Woori confesses that she’s pregnant.

While the onlookers — composed mostly of their church’s congregation — make a hasty exit, I can’t help but wonder if her confession was said out of a secret desire to scare him off so she wouldn’t have to answer and face her doubts. If that was her intention, though, it backfired. Gang-jae is completely supportive after hearing the cause of her unexpected pregnancy.

Meanwhile, Raphael is 100% done with Ma-ri, especially after he finds out that some other woman was impregnated with his sperm, but neither she — nor her mother — are the type to give up easily. Ma-ri blackmails Jin-hee into revealing Woori’s identity so she can try and persuade her into carrying the baby to full term.

She meets with Woori privately, and Woori is both shocked by the offer and that Ma-ri is Raphael’s wife. When Woori is not persuaded, Ma-ri wonders if she should tell Duk-bae and have him bankroll her surrogacy plan, but Raphael stops her from speaking with his father. That’s when Ma-ri reveals that the woman carrying his child is Woori.

When Raphael and Woori cross paths at work, he apologizes for Ma-ri’s behavior and advises Woori to do what’s best for her, even if that means an abortion. Woori — who still vividly remembers her first kiss and the way he encouraged her to be a writer — appears a little hesitant. After their conversation, she continues to weigh the religious, ethical, and personal implications of her choice.

While Woori considers her options, Sung-il seeks out Eun-ran to find out why she came to see him at the PR event. He’s surprised to discover that she didn’t get an abortion thirty years ago and that his daughter is none other than the assistant writer he’d been treating like a lower lifeform. He immediately tries to make up for his behavior by bringing Woori some sweets, but his attempt at paternal behavior gives off a distinct creepy-older-man-trying-to-hit-on-the-significantly-younger-assistant-writer vibe.

Woori tried to prevent her grandmother (Yun Woon-kyung) from finding out about the pregnancy, but it’s a bit hard to keep something secret when half the church congregation witnessed Woori admitting she’s pregnant. Without knowing the circumstances of Woori’s pregnancy, Grandma immediately seeks out Gang-jae and drop-kicks his butt to the ground for defiling her sweet Woori.

The truth, however, is even more unsettling for Grandma, whose own religious convictions leave her feeling conflicted. On the one hand, she believes abortion is a sin, but on the other, Woori’s pregnancy is not the result of her own actions.

Everyone accompanies Woori to her surgical appointment, but at the OB-GYN, they are confronted by Ma-ri and Duk-bae, who is meeting her for the second time. His first attempt to bribe her was rejected, but this time, he thinks he can persuade her family with the same offer of two billion won.

Much to Woori’s surprise, though, Eun-ran is not tempted by the money that would help kick start her music career. Instead, she passionately defends Woori’s freedom to make her own choice, an opinion echoed by Raphael.

He shows up, outraged by his father and wife’s complete lack of boundaries. He apologies to Woori and her family, and when Woori is taken to the surgical room for her procedure, Raphael waits alongside Eun-ran, Grandma, and Gang-jae.

Before she’s put under anesthesia, though, Woori has a last minute change of heart and choses to keep the baby. Her decision prompts her to finally have a long overdue conversation with her mother, and Woori learns that Eun-ran never resented or blamed Woori for her failed singing career. Instead, Eun-ran desperately wanted to become a successful idol so that Woori could proudly call her mom.

The heartfelt conversation with her mom is followed by a separate one with Gang-jae, and Woori apologizes for unilaterally making a decision that impacted their relationship. Gang-jae, however, wins a Boyfriend of the Year award when he responds that it isn’t his place to make the decision for her. He does offer her some advice, though: take things slow and meet with Raphael and Ma-ri before making any more decisions.

And it’s pretty solid advice because Ma-ri and her mother are even shadier than presumed. Ma-ri’s criminal side-piece (a.k.a. Chairman Kim’s lacky) doesn’t want to leave Ma-ri alone, not even after she dumped him upon Raphael’s return from being almost dead. Ma-ri has a very cryptic conversation with her mother, and the next day when Woori and Gang-jae arrive at Diamond Medical Foundation to meet with Raphael and Ma-ri, they find Ma-ri’s ex-lover on the elevator.

With a scalpel protruding from his neck.

Welp, he’s dead, but Gang-jae goes into cop mode and rushes to check the (probably dead) man’s pulse anyway. As Woori stares at the body, she faints dramatically and lands in Raphael’s arms. And now the question has changed from “Who’s the daddy?” to “Who’s the killer?”

 
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I went into this series cold and was thoroughly delighted to see so many of my favorite faces in the cast. Halfway through episode 1 I screamed aloud (something I don't normally do) when I realized they were about to pull a 'Jane the Virgin' on us.

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Makjang! Makjang! Makjang! The birth secrets, the crime, the evil mom in a wheelchair?, the vindictive ex-wife, the dead ex-lover, the perfect boyfriend who doesn't have sex...oh, wait, is that makjang? 😅 I'm enjoying all the silliness right now, but really love Shin Dong Wook in this. He's just so squishy and love that he's a crime detective. I hope that his heart isn't broken too badly, because I already have ex-first lead-second-lead syndrome. 😭🤣

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@Ally - A loaded Qn: Do you watch legally or otherwise? Just curious. Feel free not to respond😉

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Legally, until I just can’t find it anywhere! It’s on VIKI though and I do have a subscription, although my mom uses it too. Lol. Disney is more difficult. But I have VPN for watching things that come out before the US. I’m worried about Doojoon’s new drama. I hope VIKI picks it up. Otherwise, my rebellious side might have to come out. 😂

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Thanks fir responding Ally!. Viki doesn’t have it in my region. So annoying!
Let your rebellious side come out!😊

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VPN’s will help you get it in your region. (And you probably know that.)

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While I lament the lack of openly queer characters and an all-knowing sassy narrator, I still found the opening episodes to be sufficiently enjoyable. The directing and editing needed some polishing, but I liked the BGM - especially during the scene where everything converged. There’s this distinct Latin-ness to the beats that, objectively, slaps (idk how else to describe it, my apologies if I’m wrong or culturally ignorant).

If this show becomes popular, I can already imagine the Kang-jae vs. Raphael fan wars. For me, Shin Dong-wook is delightful and perfect as the Korean Michael, but unfortunately, Raphael is played by my ultimate guilty pleasure actor - Sung Hoon. He’s rarely in shows I can watch without wanting to shoot myself or, well, an actual good actor. But my god, that face. I’m screwed. Sorry guys, I’m not joining the SLS train.

I wonder how much of the original show is going to be covered. I can’t imagine 14 episodes being anywhere near enough to cover the entirety of the original. Or will this also have multiple seasons?

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I suspect that the original show will be covered until halfway through the second season, but with adjustments to the plot.

Which probably means we won't see Raphael's mother-in-law with eye patch and pirate hook :-(

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Speaking as a man- Sung Hoon is so ridiculously good looking that it is completely unfair to the rest of us.

I like Sung Hoon as a comic actor- That is where his actual talents lie. He is the male equivalent of the late great Lucille Ball. He should avoid non-comedic roles like LOVE ft MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE.

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Wait.

Joo Jin Mo is playing someone’s FATHER???

🤦🏼‍♀️ omg I’m just too old.

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Your comment shook me to the core, until I realized it is the other Joo Jin Mo! 😂😭😂

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hey why is episode 1 and 2 are same episodes ?? i dont get it 2 episodes are out and both of them are 1st episode??

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Haha imagine my shock (and relief!) when I watched the show and figured out there is another JJM 😂
Whew that was a close one 🤣

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😂😂

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Nope! This is a drop for me. I do not see the chemistry between Woo Ri/Kang Jae or Woo Ri/Raphael and the jokes passed right over my head because I failed to see which scene was supposedly to be funny. Also, for a guy who was so swoony in "My secret Romance", Sung Hoon's character, his hair or his acting over here is doing nothing for him that the second lead is easily winning points for his sweetness and considerations.

Whoever gelled back Sung Hoon's hair is making him look more of a thug boss than a hero in a rom-com or they are secretly trying to get him a non-rom-com role.

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The 3 leads are pretty normal but surrounded by crazy people who want to decide for them...

The part of the insemination was weird. I mean if it was his last shot, his wife should have been more tested and had a ovarian stimulation to be sure. But she went to Ob-Gyn like in a shop to get what she wanted.

I like both guys but I'm already on Raphael's side, Sung Hoon is perfect for this kind of role. I was rooting for Shin Dong-Wook in Live, he's good as a nice cop!

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Speaking of "excessive amount of sex talk", was it just me who felt reminded of a giant phallus when I saw the orange (or was it red?) lighthouse? Or are these just my dirty minds?

Probably it's an advantage if you don't know the American show, because WOORI THE VIRGIN unfortunately doesn't stand up to the comparison and seems rather lame.
Especially Woori I found very pale and boring, no comparison to Jane.

Nevertheless, I will give the next episodes a chance.

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Well that makes two dirty minds so! It wasn't subtle!

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I didn't see it at first, but now that you mention it, I can't unsee it. Haha.

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Hahaha I just thought, wow they found a really ugly lighthouse!
Now I won’t be able to unsee it either 😲

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I'm not 100% sold on this yet, a bit too makjang for me - I bailed on the original for the same reason. I am interested to see what is squeezed into 16 episodes as opposed to the multiple seasons of the original though.

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I quite enjoyed the first two episodes. I'm not too familiar with the source material so when I found out that Raphael was actually a nice CEO I was pleasantly surprised and delighted. I'm more used to Sung Hoon playing arrogant rich characters so this will make me see him in a more favourable light. Lim soo Hyang is also adorable. That hospital scene with everyone and everything coming in full circle was really hilarious. I hope to see more makjangness, hilarity and heartfelt moments from this drama which will make me a very happy watcher.

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This was fine. I thought it was weird they kept infantilizing Woori. Initially, I wasn't sure how old she was, but she is fully grown, so that was weird. I also kept being annoyed that everyone around her kept acting like the baby wasn't hers, it was her egg. (We will completely ignore how that type of insemination could never happen, lol) I kept yelling at the screen, it is her baby. That being said I have no objection to this so far and will continue to watch.

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Agree about the infantilization - that seems pretty common in older kdramas, though, and makes this feel like a throwback as well as an adaptation.

I'm trying to rationalize everyone acting like the baby belongs only to Raphael (and Ma-ri? Whut?) as a product of Korean belief in the importance of bloodlines, but it's a stretch. Of course, everything in this show is a stretch. The success of the insemination procedure definitely falls into the "assume a can opener" category.

So far, this is just funny enough for me to keep going. I hope Woori's character develops a little more spark or I'll lose interest.

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As always, excellent recap, @daebakgrits. You have a gift!
I have never watched the original show nor the American remake, but I can see the Latin influence. I’m just surprised there have not previously been adaptations of telenovelas into dramas and vice versa. As a Hispanic woman, I have always found a striking similarity between Hispanic and Korean culture. IMO, both cultures have a flair for the dramatic. Emphasis on dramatic. I say all this just to say, I liked the first two episodes.
I’m not one who normally suffers from second-lead syndrome, but I can tell it’s going to punch me in the gut here. Gang-Jae is so kind, and I’m sad that he’s going to get his heart broken. Someone, can’t remember who, already said that Woori’s fate was tied to Raphael’s. And that’s okay too because Raphael is also a good guy! Choices, choices.
Evil person in a wheelchair orchestrating everything in the shadows is so typical of a telenovela.
And will someone please revoke that OBGYN’s medical license?! I have never seen such a terrible breach of medical ethics. But then again it is a telenovela, I mean makjang.

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The same as a few people here, I didn't realise this was a Jane the Virgin adaptation! I realised at the half way point of ep 1 when things started to sound familiar - and honestly a pleasant surprised given I never committed to JtV bc I couldn't be bothered getting through all the seasons, so a compressed kdrama remake is perfect. Many laugh out loud moments but the highlight has to be when everyone ends up at the fancafe meeting - it reminded me of that scene from Shrek 2 at the dinner table where it's two minutes of 'Donkey? Shrek? Fiona? Dad? Mum?' round and round in circles.

I'm very much torn between the two leads - I really, really love the detective but Raphael's vibe has me swooning, sorry Gangjae! The addition of a crime element is interesting too (was that in the US or OG versions??) and I'm so here for the makjang nature of it all, especially since it kind of seems to be a self aware makjang for the kicks.

It seems like I've just added another drama to my on air roster, god save my sleep cycle.

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We really enjoyed the first two episodes. We are certainly looking forward to the next ones.

Some people were underwhelmed by these episodes, and I wonder if this may be because, as Daebakgrits points out, this drama retains much of the flavor of a Latin American telenovella. These even extends to the costuming of Raphael's scheming and cheating wife and his evil Mother In Law.

I never saw the American re-make but I do know that it was popular.

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