She Was Pretty: A Review

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This was quite the enjoyable, mindless drama that one needs every so often. It helps that it had a winning cast and great chemistry between the main four leads. The writing was nothing spectacular, except for a few nuggets of witticisms, and had seriously devolved by the end of the series. But it didn’t take away from the series being fun. Spoilers ahead.

Since my last watching of She Was Pretty (before I decided to marathon it over the Thanksgiving weekend), I was pretty frustrated with Ha Ri’s character and how I felt she was getting the easy way out. Granted, people could say it was obvious she wasn’t going to leave the country, but She Was Pretty didn’t shy away from breaking K-drama tropes or making fun of it. So for me, I was prepared to expect the worst.

Thankfully Ha Ri doesn’t leave the country; instead she’s there for the perfectly rational reason of seeing her mother off at the airport. Even better, she and Hye Jin manage to really work through the awkward-phase of their relationship that Sung Joon had unintentionally messed up. I like that Ha Ri decides that she needs to fix herself, and encourages Hye Jin to live her life instead of being held back by guilt. It’s a very mature approach, and one that I had hoped to see.

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As for Siwon’s character Shin Hyuk, I was honestly sad he didn’t get the girl. I was also sad when he was sad, and brightened up when he decided to get over Hye Jin. It’s amusing to see him try to compete for her affections when I think deep down he knew it’d never work. The revelation that he was the mysterious writer Ten was also no surprise to me because I had been spoiled by that fact earlier, sadly. However, his maneuvers to save The Most from closing down was quite obvious; I knew he’d use his position as Ten to save the magazine and give it the exclusive interview no one else could get.

At the very end when he says goodbye to Hye Jin and whispers in her ear, it reminded me a lot of the last scene in the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation. I was hoping we’d never find out what he whispered in her ear, because it would keep some of the magic alive of Shin Hyuk and his mysterious but charming ways. But as it was a K-drama, it was obvious they were going to reveal his words: “Think of me when you eat pickled radish.” That line, though touching and cute, will never compare to what my vast imagination could have come up with. So it kind of ruined it for me. She could have easily thought of him while eating pickled radish anyways because of their many moments eating it together.

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On to the OTP…

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Park Seo Joon and Hwang Jung Eum really have chemistry here, and while at first it’s quite obvious that they’re really good friends, by the last episode I feel like they could have feelings for each other. I know it is all the director’s doing, but when Sung Joon kisses Hye Jin on the forehead as they relax together it feels real. Not every kiss has to be on the lips, you know? It reminds me of the chemistry Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin had in It’s Okay That’s Love – and we all know how that went. They were pretty much perfect for each other.

Their relationship started off on a dangerous path though. Sung Joon initially dismissed Hye Jin at work because she was such a klutz and most likely judged her for her looks. She did not fit in with the rest of The Most staff, and it was perhaps her very frazzled and frenetic way of working that threw him off completely. It seemed as if he was going to only love her once he knew the truth about her being his childhood friend. However, thankfully, the drama inserted enough “forced proximity” situations for him to appreciate her for who she was before she even did the transformation. So we could understand his growing attraction to Hye Jin, even though he managed to still seem very close with Ha Ri.

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Once they knew they liked each other for sure, and had no reason not to be together, the drama started to drag. It happens when the OTP gets together so early and there isn’t much left to tell in the drama. Sure there was the case of The Most shutting down, but Shin Hyuk solved that problem quite handily. They had so much time on their hands that they gave Hye Jin a new career path, jumped ahead one year, and even jumped about three to four more years later to reveal her daughter – who has Sung Joon’s hair and Hye Jin’s rosy cheeks. Granted the last couple of episodes gave us moments to savor Sung Joon and Hye Jin being together, or Hye Jin and Ha Ri together, but by then I personally wanted it to be over. The drama gave us a fairy tale-like ending where she marries her prince and has a daughter, but I don’t think it was necessary at all to the drama after all they had went through. We can’t just enjoy them as two people who love each other and their work? No? We need to go into the fact that they have a family too? Okay…

Now the other OTP…

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Ha Ri and Hye Jin. Who else could it be?!

Ha Ri and Hye Jin are the best example of a “womance” (if you will) in a drama. I have never seen two women love and care for each other as these two do, and the fact that they refer to each other as husband and wife just kills me. From the very first episode where Ha Ri genuinely cares for Hye Jin despite her looks, I was won over by her character. That’s why even though Ha Ri selfishly covets Sung Joon, I can’t completely hate her. She knows that her friendship outweighs any man; it’s just that sometimes the man can give you something more you can’t get from a woman. (And no, it’s not just about doing the deed.)

So I’m glad that they work things out, that they remain roomies while Ha Ri must actively tamp down her sadness, that Ha Ri fully supports Hye Jin dating Sung Joon, and that Hye Jin continues to look out and cheer Ha Ri on. I thought it was a bit useless to have Ha Ri quit her job, study for business school, and then find another hotelier job. But if this is the only way to keep a strong “Ha Ri presence” in Hye Jin’s life while tying loose ends up, then so be it.

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There’s really not much else to say on this series because it doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It’s a straight up romantic comedy, where you can see the twists a mile away and appreciate the in-jokes as they come. I call it the perfect “holiday drama” – similar to those cheesy TV Hallmark Channel Christmas movies (where you know the ending in the first ten minutes), it is something that is completely fun and entertaining without causing too much angst and thought. Best served in marathon form though.

Verdict: 6/10. Just good enough to entertain for hours.

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One thought on “She Was Pretty: A Review

  1. A little late, but I just watched the series out of interest after watching the whole Pretty Li Hui Zhen series for Mandarin practice. Great review! As a straight white American guy, I, too, was touched by the “womance” between the 2 friends – definitely great chemistry. Most of the cast was great, and great together, too. I think both Hwang Jung Eum and Go Jun Hee put in stellar performances. Jung-Eum could hold her own with the great Hollywood “screwball comedy” actresses from the mid-20th Century.

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