…And drop all other dramas. Actually – you don’t have to, since nothing major is going up against Secret Garden. (OK, OK – there’s Gloria and King Geunchogo, but still…) This post will be an attempt to convince thee to start watching this drama, if you haven’t already.
I will make it very simple, short and sweet. As much as possible.
1. It’s Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won. And their chemistry.
Two actors whom I’ve never thought of putting together, nor imagined watching onscreen even separately, are actually the draw of this drama. Hyun Bin was interesting in My Lovely Sam Soon, and a tad boring in The World They Live In, but I never imagined he could do better, like he is doing right now in Secret Garden. Same goes for Ha Ji Won, whom I remember most as a movie actress rather than a drama actress. She seems to be shedding the sweet image of the past and going for a more spunky, hard-core type of female roles, which I am totally for. They are both showing another facet to their acting abilities, and they play their respective roles all the way. They aren’t afraid to go to extremes, especially Hyun Bin, since his character is such an arrogant ass. But he’s got my pity, and my laughs – ’cause no matter how much of an asshole he is, I know he’ll get his comeuppance, and it amuses me how he thinks he’s so great, but he’s not. He even smiles when Ha Ji Won calls, and yet acts like he hates her.
Best scene ever? Episode 3, when Hyun Bin comes to her stunt gym/studio to train, and she yells at him to do proper sit ups. He does – and makes direct eye contact with her, his face in uncomfortable proximity to hers. HOTNESS! Still makes my heart flutter every time I watch that scene.
2. Then there’s Yoon Sang Hyun…
Yoon Sang Hyun – oh my God, Take Care of the Young Lady totally wasted him. He’s a riot – and once again, he’s an actor that’s not afraid to go to extremes. I love how he reacts to the “new” Joo Won in episode 6 – how he is so freaked out by a nice Joo Won for once. He’s also the third leg of the typical guy-girl-guy triangle, and yet he’s not involved in a romantic way whatsoever. I think that’s actually nice for once. Though Ha Ji Won’s character Ra Im nurses a little crush on him, it’s not going to become romantic because…
3. It’s about a body-swap
Well hello there plot twist! Like My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, it creates a fantasy world that allows the writers to make up whatever rules they want. Because of the body swap, there’s an added level of comedy that is inherent to the drama. The drama writers better not waste it, and at this point so far, they haven’t. Plus, the body swap happens by episode 5-6, so that allows plenty of time for hijinks and fiascoes to occur.
4. Cliches and non-cliches abound.
Hyun Bin is the cliched chaebol son. His mother is the cliched evil mother-in-law. Yoon Sang Hyun is the cliched playboy third wheel. Philip Lee is the cliched generous second male lead. Kim Sa Rang is the cliched bitch (excuse my language). Ha Ji Won is the cliched strong, independent female lead, except…
Ha Ji Won is also the strong female lead who just has inner insecurities; she wants to be a normal girl who’s praised and gets to gush about clothing, but she can’t because of her work and her image. Kim Sa Rang is practical and hence a bitch, because she’s been hurt by love before (wait – she’s still a cliche… and so is Philip Lee – I can’t defend either of them yet. *SKIP*). Yoon Sang Hyun is a has-been who has to be a playboy and act out there, otherwise he’ll be forgotten, and he can’t have that happen. (*SKIP* the mother as well because I don’t know her well enough.) And Hyun Bin is crazy – literally. I mean, mentally unsound – and that’s what makes him compelling.
I feel that everyone has an image to uphold – and that image is cliche. Their real selves are far more complex, but they can’t be like that in public.
5. Comedic timing.
Extended jokes and comedy are AWESOME. The Sparkly Tracksuit. Director Park constantly getting called out by Hyun Bin for taking lots of vacations, and then him trying to regain even ground with Hyun Bin, only to lose it again. For example, in episode 4, he manages to embarrass Hyun Bin at a family meal, but then embarrasses himself by calling himself “Uncle” rather than “Grand Uncle” (of which he is the latter through marriage). Oska saying, “I’m the Hallyu Star Oska!” Hyun Bin’s constant hallucinations of Ha Ji Won… And then once they have the body swap, the two actors really take on the mannerisms of the other – and who doesn’t want to see Hyun Bin act like a girl? (Like when he has his foot tap behind him when Yoon Sang Hyun touches his face. Even the action stunt team notice that it’s a very “Ra Im thing” to do.)
Plus, him teaching Ha Ji Won how to put on a bra is epic. I mean, it’s too good. TOO GOOD. I love that the writers are taking advantage of all the possible awkward things that will happen – and I hope they go all the way.
I leave you with this – because this photo cheered up my day and I hope it cheers up yours. It’s the infamous track suit that Hyun Bin insists is a designer brand. Everyone else thinks it’s tacky, including Ha Ji Won. And yet, once the body swap happens, Hyun Bin can’t seem to let go of the damn track suit…
Good enough reasons? Yes? No? If you are a fan and have some, sound off below! Until then – this is all I can think of, save for grabbing you by the shoulders and forcing you to sit through an episode.