If you are hoping this drama is a remake of the 2001 film My Sassy Girl, starring Jun Ji-Hyun and Cha Tae-Hyun, only set in ancient times, you’re in for a sorry awakening. I saw the movie they claim the drama is based on and, to me, other than the title, there are no similarities whatsoever. This is a brand new drama with an original plot.
The story begins with Scholar Gyun-Woo coming home from a stay in China and running into a headstrong young woman named Hey-Myung. When she ends up drunk and he rescues her by taking her to a hotel, she accuses him of being a thief and a pervert. No matter how hard he tries, Gyun-Woo isn’t able to avoid this sassy girl, she even harasses him in his daydreams! Sparks fly whenever the two are together, however, they quickly change from that of frustration to ones of romance. What will happen when Gyun-Woo discovers this cheeky, impertinent girl is really Her Highness, Princess Hye-Myung of Joseon?
Gyun-Woo’s father is the Minister of Education so he grew up to be one of Joseon’s most revered scholars. While he was in China he earned the favor of the Emperor. When Gyun-Woo arrives back home he is assigned to be the private teacher of the young Prince, who will someday be King of Joseon. Gyun-Woo’s mother is hopeful he’ll hook up with the Minister of the Left’s daughter, Jung Dae-Yeon, who hides well the fact she is a self-centered, cruel, young woman. She wants Gyun-Woo and will stop at nothing to secure a place at his side. Bang Se-Ho and Maeng Gwang-Soo, are Gyun-Woo’s best friends who author and illustrate erotic novels. Here are the titles of a few books they’ve written – Lovers From the Stars, Men Over Flowers, Decendants of the Sun, and The 50 Shades of the Lady. (Anything sound vaguely familiar?)
Outspoken, feisty, and determined – Princess Hye-Myung doesn’t go with the flow, she creates it. She has no problem standing up for what she believes, even if the odds are stacked against her. She knows what she wants and goes after it, allowing nothing to block her way. She’ll stand toe to toe with anyone, never backing down. She is intelligent, witty, and even charming when she wants to be. She is a loving sister who cares deeply for, and watches over, her little brother. She has compassion for her fellowmen and desires to help ease their suffering. Hye-Myung is one beautiful, sassy girl.
Although Joo Won was born Moon Jun-Won, he was given his stage name by his father (because the Hangul sounds in it are the same as “God-willing”). He attended Kaywon High School of Arts and went on to major in Theater and Arts at Sungkyunkwan University. He began his entertainment career as part of a co-ed TV performing group for a children’s program in 2006 but Joo Won didn’t stay with it for long. He headed for the stage with a role in the musical Alter Boyz and went on to be in several other musical theater productions over the years. His performance in Spring Awakening is what caught the attention of someone at a talent agency and he was off to TV and then film. His first television role was in the mega-hit drama King of Baking, Kim Takgu (a great show with ratings over 50%) where he soared to fame playing the bad guy. The only drama he’s been in that I have yet to see is Bridal Mask. Although my favorite Joo Won Kdrama is Tomorrow’s Cantabile, I think his best, most memorable acting was in Good Doctor where he played an autistic savant who is a pediatrician. If you haven’t seen him in that show, you’re really missing out on one of the best Kdrama performances out there. Joo Won has been dating singer/actress BoA since 2016. Scholar Gyun-Woo was Joo Won’s last role before he began his mandatory military assignment on May 16, 2017, where he will be an assistant instructor for the 3rd Infantry Division.
While still in middle school, Oh Yeon-Seo, who plays the part of sassy Princess Hye-Myung, accompanied some friends to a SM Entertainment audition. Although she failed that audition, she caught the eye of another agency and in just four short months she debuted with the girl group LUV at the young age of 15. However, because of their lack of popularity, the group disbanded after only six months so she entered Anyang Arts High School and went into acting. It was then she changed her birth name of Oh Haet-Nim to Oh Yeon-Seo, after she and her mother consulted with a shaman. It wasn’t until her role in the drama My Husband’s Got a Family that she garnered much attention. In 2016 she was lucky enough to act alongside super star Rain in the drama Please Come Back, Mister where she played the part of a deceased man whose spirit comes back in a woman’s body. She was recently cast in the film adaptation of the drama/webtoon Cheese in the Trap. Yeon-Seo has earned nine of the 12 awards she’s been nominated for.
I just want to put in a quick thumbs up for CNBlue member Lee Jung-Shin, who plays Officer Kang Joon-Young, and Choi Ro-Won, whose character is the young Prince. Both need to be praised for their acting skills. And a quick F.Y.I. – this is not the first time Choi Ro-Won and Joo Won have acted together. Ro-Won played the child part of Joo Won’s character in the drama Good Doctor.
I almost turned it off. In 2015 I read Joo Won had been cast in a drama entitled My Sassy Girl so I put it on my “dramas I want to see” list and awaited the announcement of a release date. I waited and waited and finally there was a date to begin broadcasting – May 29th 2017. I was determined to start it when the whole thing was out in its entirety (at the end of July) but then discovered it was 32 episodes long and reluctantly put it on hold. That was a big time commitment for a historical drama and I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into it just yet. Then, happily, I found out the 32 episodes were a half hour each, making it only the length of a 16 episode drama, so I was off to Dramafever to begin what I had waited over a year for. However, as I watched the beginning of the show it made me think of Playful Kiss in that it wasn’t serious enough for me to want to continue on with another episode. But just before I gave up and turned it off, I remembered once I got past the first hour of Playful Kiss I had loved it, so I kept going with My Sassy Girl and am so glad I persevered.
I had a problem with a great big inconsistency concerning some flowers Gyun-Woo gives Princess Hye-Myung. One day he shows up at the medical clinic where she is volunteering and, while presenting them to her, he explains, “I picked them on my way here.” No problem. It’s totally believable that a guy might spy some flowers on the side of the road and pick a few to bring to his girlfriend. However, there’s bits of snow scattered all over, trees are bare, the sky is grayish, and it’s obviously late fall. He hands her bright pink flowers, freshly picked in the dead of autumn. Nope, that’s impossible. Now, remember the show’s seasonal background while I tell you about some magical spot within the palace walls, Princess Hye-Myung and Gyun-Woo frequent, that is a beautiful, lush, tropical garden. It’s late fall, people. There’s even a scene towards the end of the show where it’s snowing – real snow! (It’s not the obviously-fake-giant-flakes-that-never-melt kind of snow.) As far as I know, they didnt possess the kind of technology necessary to have tremendously huge greenhouses during the Joseon dynasty. So the lack of background consistency conducive to the weather in this drama really bothered me.
My Sassy Girl’s opening credits has a butterfly fluttering around things. I kept thinking, “That’s familiar. Where have I seen butterflies in the opening credits before?” And then I remembered, it’s in one of the best Kdramas ever – Secret Garden! Check it out yourself and see if I’m not correct.
As he has done in several other dramas he’s been in, Joo Won sings on the show’s soundtrack. The song he performs is entitled I Believe, a beautiful ballad made even more lovely because of Joo Won’s wonderful voice. Gummy sings Because I Love You which is probably featured in the show more than any other song. Permeate, sung by Se O from Jelly Cookie, is my favorite song. It’s more upbeat than many of the others.
The scenery is very pretty. Even though the story takes place during the gray and brown tones of late autumn, it doesn’t really matter to our eyes because the costumes and palace are awash with vibrant colors. They did a great job offsetting the dullness of the season.
I wasn’t thrilled at first with My Sassy Girl but holding out proved to be the best thing to do. It gets much more entertaining as it goes along and you’ll cheer for Gyun-Woo and Hey-Myung as their sparing develops into sincere love. It’s worth the Kdrama time you’ll put into it. And don’t forget to watch the original 2001 My Sassy Girl movie and compare the two, then let me know if you think this was a remake or not.
Hyun-Woo and Hey-Myung’s relationship
Good character growth
Beautiful sets and costumes
The mystery carries the storyline a long way
Not serious enough in the beginning
Having a lush, tropical garden in autumn/winter