I just got back from a wonderful trip traveling throughout France, seeing breathtaking scenery, amazing old architecture, and learning a bit about France’s culture and history. I was part of a group of eight people who were total strangers at first but quickly grew to be family by the time the trip was over. My fantastic experience was all thanks to The Package.`
Three couples and one lone man head from South Korea to France for a package tour. The trip is a priceless experience that teaches them so much more than just a little French history.
The group’s tour guide is a congenial young woman named Yoon So-So. She left her family in South Korea to follow the guy she liked to France. When their relationship fell apart, he went back to South Korea while she stayed there. So-So is in the process of getting a Ph.D.
San Ma-Roo planned to go on vacation with his girlfriend but ended up alone. Before he left, he discovered the company he works for is doing something illegal and when his girlfriend, who is his senior at work, stays there and sides with the company, Ma-Roo realizes their relationship is over.
Han So-Ran and Kim Gyung-Jae have been a couple for just shy of seven years and, unfortunately, things are looking a bit rocky. There’s a man So-Ran works with who is interested in her and intends to begin dating her when she gets back from France. Hyung-Jae isn’t happy working for other people and is in the process of trying to start his own business. Although he’d like to marry So-Ran he wants to wait and propose after he secures an investor for his idea.
The mystery couple of the group is Jung Yeon-Sung and his companion Na-Hyun. No one knows what their relationship is but So-Ran is convinced Na-Hyun is Yeon-Sung’s mistress.
The patriarch of the little band of travelers is Oh Gab-Soo, a bossy, short-tempered, picky elder who is a master at complaining. He and his wife, Han Book-Ja own and operate a small restaurant back in South Korea. Book-Ja is a quiet, reserved woman who often finds herself apologizing for her husband’s behavior. So-Ran feels Book-Ja shows signs of depression.
There’s also a young mystery man who is not part of the group. He’s fresh out of jail and desperately looking for So-So, determined to find her even if he has to roam all over France to do it. So-So does her best to keep away from him and not let her troubles ruin her customers’ tour.
Lee Yeon-Hee signed with SM Entertainment in 2002 and became known as “The SM music video girl,” staring in eight music videos in the short span of two years. During that time she had steady work modeling and being in commercials. Then, at the end of 2004 she made her acting debut in the drama Emperor of the Sea. Yeon-Hee starred opposite Hyun Bin in the motion picture A Millionaire’s First Love and her innocent character in the film earned her the title “Nation’s First Love.” I thought it was interesting that in 2012 she and actor So Ji-Sub were named promotional ambassadors for cyber crime prevention by the National Police Agency for their roles in the crime drama Phantom. I first became aware of her while watching the Kdrama Miss Korea (Lee Sun-Gyun is in it so of course I’d see it) in which she received rave reviews for her excellent acting. She is great as the tour guide Yoon So-So.
Jung Yong-Hwa, who plays San Ma-Roo, began his entertainment career as part of the rock group CNBlue, of which I am a huge fan. The man is an amazing musician playing several different instruments as well as writing and composing songs, several of which have topped music charts. He is extremely popular in Japan and China and just recently began a solo career. His acting debut was in the romantic comedy You’re Beautiful where he played the part of a shy young man who is a member of a very popular band. I’ve seen him in Heartstrings and Marry Him if You Dare. I loved watching him in the reality variety show We Got Married in which he played the virtual husband of Seohyun, who is a member of Girl’s Generation. Together they wrote and sang a song called Banmal Song which debuted in the number 12 spot on the charts but quickly flew to number one, staying there for two weeks. If you’re interested, you can see them singing the song together on YouTube. They were a darling couple, Yong-Hwa winning the Popularity Award at the MBC Entertainment Awards for his time on the show as Seohyun’s “husband.” After We Got Married was over and they parted ways, Yong-Hwa was cast in the drama Heartstrings where (in real life) he wrote and sang a song called Because I Miss You, for the show. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who wonders if he wrote that song while thinking of his ex-virtual wife Seohyun. Oh, by the way, if you heard rumors about Yong-Hwa being investigated for insider trading, rest assured he was cleared of all charges.
Just a quick shout out to the supporting actors and actresses in The Package…
Kim Gyung-Jae is played by Choi Woo-Sik, Han So-Ran is played by Ha Shi-Eun, Jung Yeon-Sung is played by Ryu Seung-Soo, Na Hyun is played by Park Yoo-Na, Oh Gab-Soo is played by Jeong Gyu-Su, and Han Boo-Ja is played by Lee Ji-Hyun.
The personalities of the characters are varied and, oh, so real. I saw sincerity and honesty in the writing which is one of the reasons I loved this drama so much. How these people act and react is authentic and true. The best part is what they learn about themselves, others, and the world around them, and how that newfound knowledge helps them grow emotionally – every single one of them.
The love feels genuine and is familiar with real life. The older couple that has been married for over thirty years is tired of what they deem the other person’s shortcomings but find comfort in the familiarity of one another – he still thinks she’s pretty and hates the thought of her not being there. The mystery couple argues frequently – her being aloof and finding fault in much of what he says and does, and him calling another woman on the phone and whispering “I love you,” while he’s trying to buy the affection of his traveling companion – but they hold hands and laugh together. The young couple sit closely and whisper, flirt with each other, and buy one another gifts, but also fight and keep their distance. And the new couple secretly smile, wave, give longing glances, talk, kiss, and experience misunderstandings. Doesn’t that all sound like real love and life?
I really resented when my life got in the way of seeing what would happen to the lovable people I had grown to care for. I have to go to the store, it’s time for bed, I’ve got to leave for work, the phone’s ringing, someone’s at the door… anything that made me put the show on hold was frowned upon. I liked being with these travelers. I was curious about their lives, sincerely concerned about their happiness, and wondered what choices they’d make. I enjoyed the beautiful unfamiliar scenery, the comforting French music, and the interesting history lessons. Every single second I spent watching this show was pure pleasure.
The music is varied and enjoyable with songs being sung in Korean, French, and English. B1A4 sing and rap a song with a very happy sound called You Are My Baby. John Park performs Fateful Love, a powerful love song that showcases his amazingly high voice (he’s either a very high tenor or he falsettos a good portion of that song). U & I is performed by JB and Jackson, from GOT7. I love the music and rhythm of the song but the “U & I” words are way too repetitive. The song Imagine was the one I liked the least. Its haunting, melancholy sound just didn’t appeal to me, personally, but it’s not a bad song.
The drama was filmed almost entirely on location in France, with just a bit of it being shot in South Korea. My roommate was very confused when they walked by and glanced at my iPad over my shoulder. “That’s not Korea!” they said with a surprised tone. We get to see so many different beautiful places as the tour takes us to Paris, Saint-Malo, and Mont Saint Michel – the ocean, shopping districts, the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night… and being a huge Van Gogh fan, I was touched when the tour group made a stop at his gravesite! Wow! We also get to visit spots made famous in French films, like the beach in the movie A Man and a Woman. The scenery and backgrounds in this show are exquisite.
You definitely should not miss this production. I would happily recommend it, without hesitation, to someone who has never even see a Kdrama before. It’s that good. This 12 episode/hour show stands at the top of my “wonderful dramas of 2017” list, right along side My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week and Goblin. In fact, with very careful consideration I bumped W – Two Worlds off my “Favorite Top 20 Kdramas” list and added The Package because – it’s wonderful.
Very realistic characters
Acting that appears effortless
Breathtaking scenery filmed in France
Wonderfully uplifting lessons for a happy life
No bad guys
*everything about this show is enjoyable
Not a single thing