Several years ago while watching Which Star Are You From? I fell in love with Kim Rae-Won which, frankly, wasn’t hard to do. After the show was over I immediately began looking for other things he had been in and came across My Love Patzzi. In need of a light romance, and with none of the ones I’m anxious to watch out in their entirety yet, I decided to go back and watch My Love Patzzi once again. So here’s my take on a 16 year old show the second time around.
This drama is loosely based on the Korean folktale Kongji and Patzzi which is somewhat like Cinderella. In the original story Kongji is the sweet girl who ends up with the handsome prince and Patzzi is the ill-tempered one that everybody dislikes. Screenwriter Kim Yi-Young decided to keep Patzzi (who is Yang Song-Yee) as the sassy girl that others find disagreeable and make Kongji (or in this case Eun Hee-Won) into a seemingly kind girl that successfully hides her nastiness while trying her best to make poor Patzzi miserable.
In grade school Yang Song-Yee liked Kim Hyun-Sung and desperately wanted to be his seating partner. Her classmate, Eun Hee-Won, seemed sympathetic to Song-Yee’s wishes, backing her up verbally, but when the time came to choose a seat mate Hee-Won walked right up beside Song-Yee and offered Hyun-Sung another option – herself. With two girls to choose from Hyun-Sung went with the second choice. Song-Yee was furious at the lying, backstabbing Hee-Won and attacked her.
After years of going their own way, the three classmates find themselves together once again and working at the same humongous theme park – Song-Yee is a character that roams around taking pictures with kids and adults, Hyun-Sung works at the aquarium part of the park training seals for performances, and Hee-Won is a big-wig in the planning department. While trying to get back at Hee-Won for her jerkish behavior Song-Yee decides to sabotage a float Hee-Won is in charge of. But something goes wrong and the float catches on fire. Luckily Song-Yee is around to pull out the guy (Kang Seung-Joon, the park owner’s son) trapped inside and she ends up saving his life. He eventually recalls his savior as the feisty teacher at his nephew’s kindergarten, whom he liked right away, and decides to pursue her. Song-Yee is amazed a handsome, rich guy would even pay any attention to her, let alone want to date her. But while she’s trying to make a go of a relationship with Seung-Joon, she’s getting closer and closer to the old classmate she once had a crush on, Hyun-Sung. And Hee-Won is determined to do everything in her power to make sure Son-Yee doesn’t turn into a real life Cinderella.
Although she comes across as being an unpleasant, offensive, young woman Yang Song-Yee isn’t all bad. She has a good moral sense of right and wrong and knows she has faults which she tries to change, unsuccessfully. Her feisty hotheadedness and explosive temper serves as a way for Hyun-Sung to get close to her, through his teasing. She had been a kindergarten teacher at one time but with the help of her childhood nemesis, Eun Hee-Won, lands a job working as a character at a huge theme park.
Kim Hyun-Sung may seem like a joker to most people but he is a sincere, sympathetic person down deep. He has worked at the aquarium for the last three years, mainly training the seals for performance shows, although he also has access to the other animals there. Although Hyun-Sung looks like a strong, healthy young man he has a bad heart for which he takes medication but what he really needs is an operation before his heart fails completely.
Soft spoken Kang Seung-Joon just so happens to be the son of the theme park owner and comes to work in the planning division along side Eun Hee-Won. He likes Song-Yee’s spunky attitude the minute he meets her and falls for her almost immediately. He is a bit wary of the fact that Song-Yee and Hyun-Sung were classmates in grade school and wonders if their relationship may be more than just friends. He keeps his relationship with Hee-Won strictly professional even though she tries to win him over with her feminine charms.
From a distance Eun Hee-Won seems affable and friendly. She is good at her job and everyone likes her. Song-Yee refers to her as a fox and upon closer inspection we see it’s a pretty accurate description. Hee-Won is mean just for the sake of being mean. It’s not so much that she wants what Song-Yee has, she just doesn’t want Song-Yee to have anything good. Her main goal is to make Song-Yee miserable.
If you’d like to read a bit about Jang Na-Ra, the actress who plays Yang Song-Yee, you can go to my Go Back Couple review.
Check out my Black Knight: The Man Who Guards Me review for information about Kim Rae-Won, the actor who plays Kim Hyun-Sung.
The handsome guy who plays Kang Seung-Joon happens to be Kim Jaewon. I’ve seen him in My Nineteen Year Old Sister-in-Law and I remember falling in love with his character in the Kdrama Can You Hear My Heart. What I didn’t know was that it was the first role he took after returning from his mandatory military assignment. Anyone who has seen Me Too, Flower! knows Kim Jaewon is not in it, but I’ll bet you were unaware he was originally that drama’s leading man. He was injured (severely enough that he canceled all his other entertainment activities and underwent rehabilitation for ten months) on the first day of filming and Yoon Shi-Yoon ended up taking over that part. I really liked that show. I wonder what it would have been like with Kim Jaewon as Seo Jae-Hee. There’s no disputing Jaewon has a huge, endearing smile and it is because of that beaming smile (and his fair skin) that his fans endowed him with the nickname “smiling angel.” In 2013 Jaewon married a childhood friend, Park Seo-Yeon, and together they have a five year old son, nicknamed “Heaven.”
The actress that plays the scheming Eun Hee-Won is 28 year old Hong Eun-Hee. I’m surprised that with as many Kdramas and Korean movies I’ve seen I have no idea who she is. Other than My Love Patzzi I haven’t seen anything else she’s been a part of. She began her career in 1999 with the drama You’re One of a Kind. She’s appeared in movies, on TV, and on the stage. Her last project was the movie Less Than Evil which came out this year.
I’m not really a fan of outspoken, quick tempered characters but for some reason Song-Yee didn’t bother me as much as the usual Kdrama “sassy” girl. Maybe it’s because she has a kind heart, or that Hyun-Sung uses her “sassiness” to flirt with her, or it could just be that she’s Jang Na-Ra, and I love Jang Na-Ra!
My Love Patzzi was aired during the summer of 2002. Aside from the fashion and hair the thing that dates this movie the most is the flip phones. I didn’t realize how far cell phones have come until I saw these characters pull out their flip phones.
I was surprised at all the tilted shots there are in this show. Because I was curious, I checked to see if the director was the same guy who directed My Nineteen Year Old Sister-in-Law (that drama drove me nuts with all of its crooked shots) but the directors were different. The only thing I can think of is that maybe that was a cool thing to do at the beginning of the 2000s. The show’s are only two years apart (My Love Patzzi is older) so if directors were shooting scenes like that back then for the sake of being artistic it would make sense to see things off kilter in these shows – but it doesn’t make me like it.
I just have one tiny complaint (not about the show). I don’t recall where I saw My Love Patzzi the first time but this second go around was on Viki.com. The last part of the nineth episode and the first part of the tenth had no subtitles. As irritating as that is, non-Korean speakers are still able to get the main idea of what’s going on. Just letting you know before you start to see it by way of Viki.com.
There’s tons of music in this show. It’s always playing at the theme park and lots are old American songs, though not always sung by the original artists. The drama’s darling theme song, Sweet Dream, is sung by Patzzi herself – Jang Na-Ra – and just happens to be on her album entitled Sweet Dream. There are a couple other original songs in the show but, other than telling you they’re nice, I have no information about the titles or the artists that perform them. Sorry. I guess the available information on a 16 year old drama is pretty limited.
Can you think of a more playful setting for a drama than a giant amusement park with the main theme being FUN? Colorful fireworks, floats decorated with hundreds of lights, an aquarium with performing seals, darling baby tigers, exciting rides… you name it and they’ve got it.
Every Jang Na-Ra, Kim Rae-Won, and/or Kim Jaewon fan should see My Love Patzzi. It may be old but it’s still a very entertaining 10 hours.
Decent romance (only one kiss, though)
Quick – only 10 episodes
Loss of subtitles near the end (on Viki.com) but that has nothing to do with the drama in general