After reviewing two consecutive dramas with heavy underlying messages, I wanted to write about a lighter one this week. It’s honestly a tough pick because my list of K-drama favorites are endless, but this show is definitely a standout! Not to mention it starred two of my lovable oppas, Lee Dong-wook and Lee Joon-gi. Let us start off this throwback Thursday on a happy note by remembering the classic romantic comedy, My Girl.
Most of you in this millennial generation already know Lee Dong-wook and Lee Joon-gi as Hallyu stars in their own rights, both of whom have viral videos dancing to TWICE’s TT. Whether you are on Team Dong-wook or Team Joon-gi, I bet you cannot resist the charms of both our male leads in this funny romance sequence while trying to claim the heart of our heroine, Lee Da-hae. This drama also launched Dong-wook, Da-hae and Joon-gi as household names in the Korean wave.
I admit I am on the Dong-wook and Da-hae ship since 2005, but I cannot forget how Joon-gi started the second lead syndrome virus for me. His second lead game was so strong that if not for Dong-wook, our hearts would have been ripped to pieces while watching his character fail to win the girl’s heart.
My Girl is a classic love story written by the Hong Sisters. In case you are not familiar with this ever famous duo, they are the scriptwriters behind the hits Sassy Girl Choon-Hyang, Hong Gil-dong, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, and Master’s Sun. If their resume does not appeal to you yet, I don’t know what will.
Well, this charming story introduced us to heroine Joo Yoo-rin (Lee Da-hae), a quirky tour guide from Jeju Island who was always on the run because of her gambler dad. Due to her father’s unpaid debts, loan sharks are on the lookout for their whereabouts. Because of their constant move from one place to another, she was able to learn different languages, which made her fluent in Japanese and Chinese, and this skill helps her in making a living out of lying or deceiving other people.
Our hero Seol Gong-chan (Lee Dong-wook) is the sole heir to the L’Avenue Hotel chain. He is audacious and arrogant, but deeply loves his ailing grandfather. Gong-chan eventually hired Yoo-rin to pretend as his long lost cousin in a bid to fulfill his grandfather’s deathbed wish, with the promise of paying off Yoo-rin’s unpaid debts plus salary.
The meet-cute airport scene of our main couple was one of the best encounters in K-dramaland for me. Yoo-rin’s hilarity while acting as a fake brokenhearted girlfriend of Gong-chan to prevent his plane from taking off is still as funny today as it was in 2005. The comedy game of this series has always been strong. I even read a blog once that this classic drama should be watched by rookie K-Drama fans as a right of passage. I could not agree with the writer on that!
And in true Hong sisters fashion, this drama followed a formula that the followers of the dynamic duo are familiar with. Starting off the script masquerading as a lighthearted series, but eventually digging deep into your bones as a melancholic adventure. The lies told in the first half reaped its consequences in the second half. As the closeness between our faux cousins develop, their effort to ignore their growing love is inescapable.
Our second lead Seo Jung-woo (Lee Joon-gi), also a chaebol son of one of the major shareholders of L’Avenuel Hotel, and Gong-chan’s best friend. He is famous for being a flirt, but finally met his match with Yoo-rin. Joon-gi may not be the first to popularize the Second Lead Syndrome, but it certainly gained its rightful spot as one of the most unforgettable doomed ships in the first Hallyu wave. I was on his ship for a brief moment, but I eventually stayed loyal to our OTP. Also, who would forget that anime-looking, long haired Joon-gi oppa?
And as promised, I would end this segment on a light note without venturing into more complicated aspects of the story. This gem remains to be one of my favorite rom-coms despite having all the K-drama cliches (which exist until this day). The poor girl-meets-rich-guy-with-bestfriend premise has been overused in the drama world, but it feels good to look back at shows like this which still makes us feel giddy.
Photo credits: SBS My Girl, myonetvasia.com (featured image)