Romance galore with a touch of mystery – hugs, kisses, flirting, an illness, a murder… Devilish Joy (aka Devilish Charm) has it all. This is a wonderful 16 hour Kdrama that will have you hooked before the first episode is over. I really, really enjoyed it.
While on business in Hainan, China, actress/singer Joo Gi-Bbeum and Doctor Gong Ma-Seong run into one another. The situation leads him to misidentify her as the woman he is waiting to sign a business contract with but instead of dropping the whole thing when he finds out she’s not who he imagined her to be, she captures his attention enough for him to follow her when she leaves. Ma-Seong witnesses her being harassed by some guys on the street so he quickly comes to her rescue and the two strangers end up spending the whole day together (he even saves her from drowning). Sparks are definitely in the air and the magic of the day quickly turns into love. As they part, they agree to meet later that evening but Ma-Seong never shows up. When they next meet in South Korea he seems like an entirely different man, treating Gi-Bbeum like a total stranger, and she can’t help but wonder if she should confront him and ask why he never followed through on their meeting that night in Hainan.
Gong Ma-Seong has been described as smart, considerate, and romantic. As a small boy, on his school entrance day, he and his parents were in a car accident and he alone survived. His aunts became his guardians and they sent him to the U.S. to study when he was eight years old. He is the director of the neuroscience center at Sunwoo Hospital and is the heir to Sunwoo Group. Because of an accident he suffers from “Cinderella amnesia” – short term memory loss. Each night he writes a detailed journal about what went on that day and when he awakens the next morning he reads and memorizes it. After his accident he was bedridden for a year, stopped practicing medicine, and began working on the business side of the medical profession. His grandfather told him, “Money should be spent on worthy causes. Do not seize money with greed, as that’s not what it’s for.” As a result of that teaching Ma-Seong believes, “Money is important, but what’s more important than money is humanity. The most valuable use of money is giving it back to society.” And so he’s currently in the process of building a place he calls Healing Village which is a retirement community for people with dementia.
Thirty year old Joo Gi-Bbeum comes from a humble financial background and is the oldest of three kids. Although her father is a poetry-writing alcoholic, his children love and support him. She is spunky and resilient and Ma-Seong claims she’s “joyful and splendid.” Three years ago she was a top star but her acting/singing career came to a screeching halt when she became the suspect in a murder case. The charges were dropped but by then she had amassed so many anti-fans that she lost everything and now works in the industry as a wardrobe lady. Since her father doesn’t work and her two younger siblings are still in school she is the breadwinner of the family. She accidentally signs on with a new start-up entertainment company and then decides to give a comeback a real chance.
Some other characters are…
Sung Ki-Joon is Ma-Seong’s younger cousin. He wants to be a Hallyu Star and has a huge crush on Gi-Bbeum.
Lee Ha-Im is a popular actress with a prima donna attitude and an overly high opinion of herself. She likes Ki-Joon.
Gong Jin-Yang is Ki-Jon’s mother and the CEO of Sunwoo Group. She is one of the aunts that raised Ma-Seong.
Doctor Yoon works in the neuroscience center at Sunwoo Hospital under Ma-Seong.
Yang Woo-Jin is Ma-Seong’s faithful friend and personal secretary.
Kim Beom-Soo is the head of the entertainment company Gi-Bbeum was under three years ago. He’s an awful person.
For information about Choi Jin-Hyuk, the actor who plays the part of Doctor Gong Ma-Seong, you can go to my Tunnel review.
I kept wondering why Joo Gi-Bbeum seemed so familiar to me. I couldn’t place Song Ha-Yoon (the actress who plays Gi-Bbeum) in anything I’d seen but then, when I looked up her filmography and saw Dream Knight and Touching You, I thought, “Oh yeah! That is her.” She won Best Actress at the 2nd KWeb Fest Awards for her role in Touching You and she also got an Excellence Award, Actress for her portrayal of darling Baek Seol-Hee in Fight My Way. She was born Kim Mi-Sun, debuted as Kim Byul, and then ended up with the name we know her as – Song Ha-Yoon.
I thought Healing Village was an amazing idea. Ma-Seong describes it as a village-style rehabilitation center where “patients suffering from dementia will be able to wander around freely and spend their days doing what they want to do. And because of that, the need for medication will decrease and they will be able to live longer lives.” In the show, he claims there are other countries that have the same kind of place and those facilities really help the patients. I don’t know if that’s true but it sounds awesome.
Unlike so many dramas that begin airing before the show has been completely shot, or even written, filming for Devilish Joy started in May of 2018 and was fully pre-produced before its premiere on September 5th of the same year.
Sadly, there has been controversy having to do with some of the actors and staff members pay. As of December of 2018 it was reported that not all of the cast members had been paid yet. The production company promised to pay everyone by December 31st, 2018 but on January 2nd, 2019 actress Song Ha-Yoon’s agency said they planned on “… taking all possible legal action… against the parties affiliated with the unpaid wages for Devilish Charm, as they have yet to receive their full payments.”
Just a quick but interesting F.Y.I. – the Korean title of the show is Maseongui Gippeum which literally translates as Ma-Seong’s Happiness. They should have gone with that. It’s much more charming and romantic.
Devilish Joy had only been in my DramaFever queue for a short while before the website closed down and I began thinking I might never get a chance to see it. However, thumbs up to Vicki for snatching it up and making it available to us so quickly.
Now, for my ranting paragraph. The first episode of Encounter copied so much of the first episode of Devilish Joy. If I had been the latter’s writer I would have wanted to make a formal plagiarizing complaint. Get ready for this list – both sets of lovers…
Meet in a foreign country
Spend the day/evening together
Her shoes don’t work so he lets her wear his tennis shoes and then buys her new shoes
He saves her from dying
He buys her food
In Encounter they dance together in a club – in Devilish Joy she sings and they dance in the street
In comparing that big copycat list, I don’t mind telling you I enjoyed Devilish Joy’s version of it so much better than Encounter’s. Was the couple’s meeting in Encounter completely written before Devilish Joy’s first episode was aired? I don’t know. Could it be Joo Gi-Bbeum and Doctor Gong Ma-Seong’s chance meeting was so romantic that Encounter’s writer decided to use that same idea and give it a slightly different twist? Another, I don’t know. But what I do know is the two dramas’ romantic chance meetings just seem too similar to be a coincidence. And, by the way, as a whole Devilish Joy is a more enoyable show than Encounter. Just my opinion.
I wasn’t overly thrilled with Devilish Joy’s ending. I thought the writer was going to take it in a different direction and I liked what my brain came up with a lot better than the real thing. If your curious about how I thought it would wrap up, send me an email and I’ll tell you. I don’t want to mention it in this review because if I write what had been going through my mind, and you know that’s not how it ends, it narrows the ideas you may come up with for an ending.
Devilish Joy’s music is very nice but the song I want to comment on is Forget to Love. I was playing it and a guy friend of mine said, “I don’t usually like male singers but this is a great song.” Guess who the artist is… Doctor Gong Ma-Seong himself, Choi Jin-Hyuk! I had no idea he could sing but his baritone voice just nails this song perfectly. There’s even a key change in it, bringing about a more intense, dramatic feel. It’s beautiful and his voice is full of emotion. Maybe there’s so much feeling in it because the guy singing Forget to Love plays the part of a man who looses his memories of his love. I hope it gets nominated for some kind of drama music award. You ought to go to YouTube and give the whole soundtrack a try. It’s really good.
There’s lots of pretty outdoors scenery in this show. The Hainan scenes are beautiful, and were really shot in Hainan, China. The grounds at Healing Village are gorgeous, a wooden walkway on a pond surrounded by tall plants with humongous leaves are the backdrop for a romantic kiss, and the giant fountain there has a magical fictitious story behind it… everything is so pretty. Ma-Seong’s house is quite fancy while Gi-Bbeum’s is humble. The one aesthetic thing in this show that stood out to me the most was the color of clothing Ma-Seong and Gi-Bbeum wore. Most of their clothes were white with some light yellow, pink, blue, and green splashed in here and there. The show takes place during the summer months so it makes sense to have pastel colors but the amount of clothes in this drama that are white seemed to be an overwhelming majority, at least to me. There’s nothing wrong with that choice, it’s just something I noticed.
If, like me, you were waiting patiently to watch this on DramaFever because it said “only on DramaFever” beside the title, and then your heart sank when that site closed down, cry no more. Hurry on over to Viki, grab a bowl of your favorite ice cream, and start watching Devilish Joy tonight. You’ll be so glad you did.
A very likable couple
Good story flow
Some scenes shot in Hainan, China
Nothing bad in my book