I was very apprehensive in beginning this Kdrama. The synopsis made it sound like a show that was emphasizing how important being skinny is but I decided to give it a go anyway. I mean, I could always turn it off if that was the message the show was trying to promote. But I’m happy to say Oh, My Venus is a delightful drama that teaches us, “What matters is your inside, not your outside, okay?” – Kim Young-Ho
As a teenager, Kang Joo-Eun was known and loved for being the best looking girl in town. But things don’t always stay the same. Time passes and Joo-Eun becomes a lawyer, puts on a few pounds, and is dumped by Im Woo-Shik, her boyfriend of 15 years. After accidentally finding out who John Kim, the secret physical fitness trainer to the Hollywood stars, is she solicits his help in getting her lovely “Venus” self back, and a grueling battle of fitness begins. But as he’s healing her body, she’s healing his heart.
As a child Kim Young-Ho suffered years of agonizing surgeries and physical pain as he struggled, virtually alone, to overcome his handicap. As a result, his physical well-being became the most important thing in his life and he chose a career as a personal trainer because of it. Only a small handful of very close friends know John Kim is really Kim Young-Ho.
Jung Gyu-Woon portrays Im Woo-Shik. He had plans to be a professional swimmer but injuries kept him from seeing that dream become a reality. He now works for a huge company owned by his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend’s family.
Yoo In-Young plays Oh Soo-Jin, Joo-Eun’s superior at work. When she and Joo-Eun first became friends she was a shy, heavy, young lady. But, 15 years later she’s a skinny, total head-turner and she happens to be the woman Woo-Shik left Joo-Eun for.
Sung Hoon plays the part of the quiet, well-mannered, professional boxer Jang Joon-Sung who is being trained to be a champion by John Kim/Kim Young-Ho.
Henry Lau is Kim Ji-Woong, Joon-Sung’s happy-go-lucky and always positive manager who oozes energy everywhere he goes. Both Joon-Sung and Ji-Woong live with Young-Ho and refer to him as their older brother. Ji-Woong calls Young-Ho his “hero”.
Jo Eun-Ji plays Joon-Eun’s best friend, Lee Hyun-Woo. She’s a cook and the divorced mother of a cute kindergartener.
Young-Ho’s right-hand man is Min Byung-Wook played by Choi Jin-Ho. He’s a loyal employee that has been with the Kim family since Young-Ho was a kid. He’s watched Young-Ho grow up and has great respect and love for his boss.
So Ji-Sub does a wonderful job in making us love his character, Kim Young-Ho. For 11 years he trained to become a professional swimmer and actually won the bronze medal at the Korean National Games. Then, in order to meet his hip hop idol Kim Sung-Jae, who was the celebrity face of a clothing brand, Ji-Sub decided to be a model. From there he went into acting. Over the years he’s been nominated for 41 different awards and has won 33 of them! He’s also a rap artist and has authored three books. Impressive!
Shin Min-A, who plays lovable Kang Joo-Eun, also began her entertainment career as a model and then went on to become an actress. She is one of the most sought after and highest paid commercial endorsers in South Korea. She’s the face of the skin care products and make-up (O HUI) that was slipped into Oh, My Venus several times.
When Shin Min-A shot the scenes where she was overweight she sat for three hours at a time as the make-up artists performed their magic, adding pounds to her face, and they did a wonderful job. Her extra weight doesn’t look even the tiniest bit fake. (However, I am much more impressed that Kim Sun-A actually gained weight for her role in My Lovely Kim Sam-Soon. That’s very commendable, in my book.)
I was wondering, is it just me or does anyone else think Shin Min-A looks like she could be Han Ye-Seul’s (the star of Birth of a Beauty) little sister?
I also thought it was funny that Joo-Eun asked Young-Ho if he was a “Yong Pal”. I checked to see if the dramas were on the same channel or written or directed by the same people but it looks like they don’t have a single thing to do with each other. No advertising going on, just a really cute reference to another drama.
I loved the “dimple kiss” Joo-Eun would throw to Young-Ho. Once he mentioned how much he liked her dimples that “kiss” became an affectionate thing between the two of them. It’s a lot like how you blow someone a kiss but it begins at a dimple and makes a popping sound as it’s thrown to the other person. You’ve got to see it to know exactly how cute it is.
I enjoyed the fact that the writer had the heroine be an emotionally strong-willed woman. She embraced the idea that, if she believed she could do it, she could do it, and even though something may be incredibly difficult, if she was still going she hadn’t reached her limit. What wonderful words to live by!
Aside from being a fun romantic romp, Oh, My Venus offers us a wonderful life lesson. As Joo-Eun and Young-Ho are sitting in a car talking she’s happily enjoying every sip of a drink that is full of sugar and cream. He remarks about how bad it is for her body and she replies, “You’re missing out on a lot of life’s pleasures. People will say you have a knockout body and all… In a way, it’s sad. Among basic human rights, there is the right to pursue happiness. Whoever you are. I know it’s not good for my body but to me, this is like the right to pursue happiness.” Oh, yippee! Thank you screenwriter Kim Eun-Ji. I’ve been saying that same thing, less eloquently, for years. If eating something fattening makes you happy, is it really all that bad for you?
I liked that the writers had Young-Ho begin to fall for Joo-Eun before she had lost all her weight. And once she was thin he even commented that he missed seeing her wider face. He said it wasn’t a skinny woman that he went for but that a healthy woman is what he, personally, thought was sexy. Three cheers for Young-Ho. And again, thank you screenwriter Kim Eun-Ji.
Oh, My Venus has a decent soundtrack but there’s nothing really spectacular enough to mention on its own. I was hoping Henry, from Super Junior M, would be allowed to show off some of his multi-musical talents but, unfortunately, we only get to hear him play the violin for about 45 seconds. Darn.
The scenery is nice. They had to have shot in the same area as Producer and Sensory Couple because all three of those shows have a nighttime scene where there are millions of tiny colored lights everywhere. Is there a spot in Korea that is always lit like that or do they do that especially for shooting a drama? There’s also a romantic hug on a lit-up bridge at night. And Young-Ho’s house is pretty cool – some walls are glass!
Oh, My Venus is more than just 16 hours of great Kdrama entertainment. It carries with its romantic storyline the desperately needed message that happiness and health is the true meaning of the word beauty!
Two morals – beauty is health and happiness, not being skinny and
I can do it if I believe I can do it
Enjoyable love story
Chemistry between So Ji-Sub and Shin Min-A
The fun, enthusiastic character Kim Ji-Woong
Fantastic make-up artistry
Obvious product placement