Sassy Girl Choon Hyang (17 Episodes)
((summary taken from dramawiki))
"Sassy Girl, Choon-hyang" is the 2005 interpretation of the "Legend of Choon-hyang". The story begins when Lee Mong-ryong is transferred from Seoul to a high school in Namwon, North Jeolla Province. Chun-hyang does her best to help Mong-ryong, her first love and the son of the Namwon Police Station chief, to enter a prestigious university. However, after meeting with Mong-ryong’s first love, Chae-rin, Mong-ryong’s love toward Chun-hyang is shattered, although Chun-hyang’s love remains unwavering. One day, Byeon Hak-do, CEO of a famous entertainment company, appears in her life. He exudes confidence that he can make any woman fall for him. But as Chun-hyang shows no interest in him, his self-esteem is damaged profoundly. Byeon Hak-do is determined to make her love him.
Here's a small secret: I am in love with Jae Hee. Or maybe it's just the character he plays in the drama... I'm not really sure. Either way, the only motivation I needed to re-watch this Korean drama, was the chance to see Jae Hee's acting again. And even the second time around, it didn't disappoint.
For those of you unfamiliar with the legend, DGCH is based on a popular Korean folktale--the legend of Choon Hyang. (Here's a small summary I ripped directly off wikipedia, for those interested).
The Chun-hyangga [folktale] tells the story of love between Chun-hyang, the daughter of a kisaeng entertainer, and Yi Mong-ryong, the son of a magistrate. After the two are illegally married, Mong-ryong goes to Seoul and a corrupt local magistrate attempts to force Chun-hyang to be his concubine. She refuses and is faced with death, but is rescued at the last minute by Mong-ryong returning in his new role as a secret royal inspector.Although this is where the drama begins, we are quickly fast-forwarded to present day Korea, where we're introduced to the reincarnated versions of Choon-Hyang and Mong-Ryong. From there, we follow their love story as the two suddenly find themselves trapped into a marriage neither can refuse, only to find themselves slowly falling in love anyway. To make matters worse, the same corrupt magistrate is back (this time as the CEO of a powerful entertainment company) and still determined to win over Choon-Hyang. Add to the mix, Mong-Ryong's first love who is finally starting to see him as a man... and there's more than enough drama to make up its 17 episodes!
Jae Hee is hilarious as Mong-Ryong! I never get tired of seeing the wide variety of expressions he can pull off, and he can handle comedy and angst equally well. If I'm being honest, though, I think they could have chosen a better actress for Choon-Hyang. Han Chae Young is really pretty (despite the strange hairstyle they have her wear) but I've never been overly impressed with her acting skills. Not in this series, at least... or, come to think of it, the other dramas and one movie I've seen her in. (I'm probably the only one who thinks that though, so don't put too much faith in my opinion). She does grow on you after awhile... but I still think there were other actresses out there who could have pulled off this role just as well, if not better. And seriously, she's not good at kiss scenes, which is one of my main pet-peeves when it comes to romantic comedies. Of course, I'm learning a lot of actresses aren't, so maybe my expectations are too high...
The story and directing is top-notch; though I will admit, the direction the story takes towards the end of the series is a little cliche. And Choon-Hyang's mother just vanishes at the end of the series without any kind of explanation.
But despite it's faults (and there are some) I still love it...
Above all, though, my favorite thing about this drama is its ending. I am a sucker for romances as it is... add reincarnation to the mix (and one that ends happily), and I'm in heaven! Then combine the present day with the past... even better! This is probably my favorite drama ending of all time. Whenever I watch a new series, I have a bad habit of measuring their ending against DGCH.
So if you love angst, romance, past lives, and happy endings... then don't miss Delightful Girl Choon Hyang. Even if you don't like all those things, watch it for Jae Hee. He's more than worth it. ^_^