I was slightly disappointed in the romantic ghost drama Lovely Horribly. I loved Park Si-Hoo in Neighborhood Hero and Song Ji-Hyo was great in Emergency Couple so the two starring opposite each other sounded promising. But, although they were both good they weren’t able to make up for the just-okay storyline.
According to shaman Kim Ok-Hee, her son Yoo Eul-Chook and a girl named Oh Eul-Soon shared the same destiny so when she is asked to perform a special ceremony for Eul-Soon she decides to take advantage of the opportunity by stealing the young girl’s “life force” to give to her son. While growing up the children went through periods of good fortune followed by misfortune. Phillip tells Eul-Soon, “We are completely opposite. During my golden times, you were at your worst. When I was at my worst, it was you’re golden time.”
When Yoo Eul-Chook was a young boy his mother left him with his father, telling him to think of her as dead, which resulted in him having a fear of being abandoned. As a teenager things were so bad at one point that he actually tried to steal food to survive. But as a young man things changed drastically and he became a member of a singing group know as Jump Five. From there he went into acting and is now a much celebrated, award-winning, worldwide star known as Phillip Yoo.
Oh Eul-Soon also knows what it feels like to be a child whose mother left but, unlike Phillip, she emotionally adopted the kind woman who lived next to her as a second mom and doesn’t share the same empty feeling Phillip has. As a little girl, white paper was the only toy she had so she would draw and write because “writing didn’t require money and anything was possible.” As a result, she became a scriptwriter who happens to have failed more times than she’s succeeded. Eul-Soon’s friend, who is famous for writing hit dramas, just stole her recent script idea and Eul-Soon’s not about to let her get away with it.
There are other characters in the story who play an important part…
Lee Sung-Joon is a handsome, young producer from a rich family who is currently working on the drama Eul-Soon is writing. He has a crush on Eul-Soon and only has her best interests in mind. Oh, Sung-Joon has been able to see ghosts since he was a small boy.
Ki Eun-Young is a popular scriptwriter. She’s been friends with Eul-Soon for many years and they were even roommates in the past. She is jealous of how easily writing comes to Eul-Soon.
Shin Yoon-A was a trainee when Phillip was in the group Jump Five and has had an obsessive crush on him ever since then. Although Phillip doesn’t love her he hasn’t pushed her away because he feels grateful to her for saving him from a fire years earlier.
Kim Ra-Yeon was Phillip’s girlfriend when he was part of Jump Five. She died in the fire they were both in eight years ago.
Kim Yong-Man is Phillip’s manager. He looks out for Phillip not just because it’s his job but because he sincerely likes him.
Park Si-Hoo (born Park Pyeong-Ho), who plays actor Phillip Yoo, began his entertainment career in the theater, handing out flyers, hanging posters, and playing bit parts on stage. Patience and time found him finally debuting as an actor in the stage play The Twelve Nyanja Life. He also worked as an underwear model. Then, in 2005 he was given a tiny part in the drama Delightful Girl Choong-Hyang. Soon he was given supporting roles and in 2007 he gained recognition by winning the New Star Award for his role in How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor. But his big breakthrough came from his role in the 2010 drama Prosecutor Princess and the term “Seo Byun syndrome” was coined for his growing fan base. When he was in Queen of Reversals he was becoming so popular that the writer rewrote the script so that his character would end up with the heroine. His performance in that show won him the Excellence Award. His first big screen role was as a serial killer turned bestselling author in Confession of Murder. Because of a highly publicized sexual assault case he was involved in (which was finally settled out of court) his career in South Korea was put on hold and he began focusing on his career in Japan and China. After two years he again began taking roles in South Korean productions once again with his comeback role being the hero in the Kdrama Neighborhood Hero. He was also part of the cast in last year’s mega-hit drama My Golden Life. Some fun information – his father was a fashion and commercial model and his younger brother, Park Wu-Ho is a former baseball player for the Hyundai Unicorns.
The character Oh Eul-Soon is played by Chen Soo-Yeon, better known by her stage name Song Ji-Hyo (which she said she chose because she was inspired by the main protagonists in the Kdrama Autumn in My Heart). In high school she began dreaming of becoming an actress after watching Park Shin-Yang in the 1998 film Promise. She has a degree in tax accounting from Kyungmoon University (now Kookje College). Interestingly enough, she was awarded the Model Taxpayer Award in 2017. Before her acting debut she was a model for Kiki Magazine, appeared in music videos, and made a cameo appearance in the TV series Age of Innocence. Her big screen debut was in 2003 with the movie Wishing Stairs in which she beat out 3,000 other actors for the part and earned the Best New Actress award. Her TV debut was in 2006 with the hit drama Princess Hours. She has been a regular member of the cast of Running Man since 2010 which is where six of her ten awards have come from. She has also co-hosted two beauty programs. Here’s a bit of trivia – her younger brother, Cheon Seong-Moon is an actor and her mom was a South Korean national swimmer representative.
The thing about this drama that impressed me the most is the fact that Song Ji-Hyo played her character, Eul-Soon, with a totally bare face – no lipstick, no eyeliner, no mascara, nothing but clean skin. It’s pretty remarkable for a woman who relies on her beauty for a living to wipe off the stuff that the world says enhances a female’s beauty. Kudos to an actress with such high self-esteem! I’m just disappointed the writer had her put on make-up and go more “worldly” for the last two episodes.
Is Lovely Horribly a ghost story or is it a crime mystery? I kept wondering that. Are the ghosts real or have bad guys made up the ghosts as a way to help them get away with their crime? At the risk of giving something away I’m letting you know they are real. However, they’re not nearly as scary as they are in Master’s Sun. I was really frightened watching that show.
I’ll be honest, although there’s not really anything bad bout the show it just didn’t have that special something that made me want to engage in an all night Lovely Horribly marathon. I had no trouble turning it off (even in the middle of an episode) to cook dinner, go to bed, or do whatever needed to be done. We aren’t given enough in-depth background on the main people to care about them like we should. And their chemistry isn’t electrifying like the main characters in Secret Garden, Which Star Are You From?, Lie to Me, Queen In-Hyun’s Man, or Fated to Love You.
I just have to share this quote from Lovely Horribly because it’s so clever, cynical but clever none the less. “Love is like being conned. You just fall in deep without any plan or strategy. After coming to your senses, you realize that you weren’t yourself. Whoever comes to their senses first wins this game.”
When Phillip first kisses Eul-Soon I wasn’t just disappointed, I didn’t believe it. It’s one of those “lips touch” kisses and all I could think of was, “There’s no way an international actor who has done tons of kissing scenes would kiss like that.” But he redeemed himself during the elevator kiss! That one gets a thumbs up.
There are a few “oops” here and there throughout the show. Watch for when red paint comes crashing down on Eul-Soon. It’s all over her face and hair when it happens at the studio but once she’s talking to Phillip at home, although it’s still all over her clothes, there’s nothing in her hair and just a few spots on her very clean face. The next one I caught was when Sung-Joon goes to put a bandage on Eul-Soon’s finger. She holds out just her finger to him but then the next shot shows her whole hand towards him. And I had a hard time with Phillip being unconscious and all hooked up to medical stuff and then, suddenly, he’s standing completely unhooked. Nope, didn’t go for that one.
Just how well did this 32 half hour episode drama do in the ratings? Well, it seems South Korean audiences agree with me since its best rated episode, the tenth, came in at just 6.6% nationwide. That’s not too good for a drama shown on KBS2, a free-to-air channel.
As far as the soundtrack goes it’s a lot like the show itself – nothing is wow but nothing is yuck, either. Collectively I give it a C+. I think the best one is a song entitled In Your Light performed by Lee Chang-Sub, the lead vocalist of the boy group BtoB. The number two spot on my list goes to Love One sung by the rapper Kwon Ki-Bum, better known as Bumkey, who is a part of the hip hop and R&B quartet Troy. And my pick for third place goes to My All, Sung by Eun Ga-Eun. Honorable mention is given to the cutsy song So in Love sung by Eunha from Gfriend. Unfortunately, the song Here I Am just wasn’t all that fantastic enough to be played as much as it was so it just became irritating to me. Too bad.
The scenery isn’t fantastic, and although Phillip’s huge house is they, unfortunately, don’t show more of it than just a couple rooms. There’s no jaw-droppingly beautiful nature spots either. They do a decent job on the fire scenes, though.
Lovely Horribly was a fun drama to watch over the week of Halloween . However, it’s really only slightly better than so-so in my opinion. Don’t scratch it off your list, but don’t feel bad if you don’t get around to it for a long time, either.
Excellent elevator kiss
Ghost effects are decent
Fun show to watch during Halloween
Nothing bad but nothing really good, either