THE SHORT VERDICT:
Beauty Inside basically takes Dramaland’s recent-ish penchant for rom-coms with a distinct fantasy twist, deftly mashes it with a well-rounded, well-executed collection of classic rom-com tropes, casts two very capable and very attractive actors as our leads, and then scores it all with a very enjoyable OST sprinkled with everything from cheery-breezy tracks, to wistful-plaintive ballads, to big love anthems.
When Show is cute, it’s very cute, and when it’s angsty, happily, the angst doesn’t actually last very long. Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Min Ki are very good separately and together, and they bring enough goodies to the table that I feel content not to be too nitpicky about Show’s flaws.
Just know that Show doesn’t try to be something deeper, and also, sometimes logic is a bit of a.. stretch. But hey, fantasy romance after all, right?
A good pick for when you’re in the mood to switch off the ol’ brain and sink into a good ol’ kdrama rom-com.
THE LONG VERDICT:
Perhaps because my gateway drama was a rom-com (Goong, which I will always have a soft spot for), I tend to think of a good rom-com as drama comfort food.
When I’m too tired to think straight, or when real life’s been particularly draining, or when no other dramas seem to be doing it for me, a rom-com done right almost always hits the spot.
The thing is, well done rom-coms are actually harder to find than one might think. With the general popularity of rom-coms in the history of Hallyu, Dramaland seems to be churning them out faster than ever before, these days.
But – and that’s a big But – more often than not, these rom-coms feel more like halfhearted, hastily put together attempts to capture part of the ratings pie, than a sincere effort to make a heartfelt story that possesses a touch of romance magic.
Which is why I appreciate Beauty Inside, for what it is: a well-done rom-com that doesn’t aim to be deeper or more profound, and is content to be a very good ball of heartfelt fluff, sprinkled with bits of poignance.
Back when I was first starting this drama, I happened to be in the midst of a bit of a drama rut. Nothing appealed to me. Yet, I was charmed by this show’s first episode.
Given that most people give a show about 4 episodes before they decide whether they like it, I consider it a big early win, that I felt like I could really like this one – and decided that, long before I reached the end of its first episode.
For a frustrated drama fan in a drama rut, that’s a Pretty Big Deal.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it as you read the review.
STUFF I LIKED
Generally speaking, I really liked the overall execution in this show. Yes, there’re lots of romance tropes being served up, but Show does it with a nice amount of style and narrative cohesion, so I found that I didn’t mind the tropey-ness one bit.
Another thing I really liked was the music in this show, from the songs themselves, to the instrumentals playing in the background, which I thought sounded modern and breezy, with a touch of jazzy pizzazz. My ears likey.
Here’s the rundown on the other things that I really enjoyed during my watch.
Seo Hyun Jin as Se Gye
I generally have a lot of love for Seo Hyun Jin (see The Three Musketeers, Let’s Eat 2, and Another Oh Hae Young), but I did feel that love falter a touch, when I found myself dropping Temperature of Love.
That was the time when I first felt a bit of Seo Hyun Jin fatigue, and wondered if I was finally over my Seo Hyun Jin love.
I’m happy to say that Seo Hyun Jin is quite delightful as Se Gye, and I enjoyed her very much in this show.
After seeing Seo Hyun Jin consistently playing the everygirl who is spoken of as plain and unpretty, it was refreshing to me, to see her playing a glamorous, beautiful top star for once.
She looks gorgeous, and when allowed to play to her top star billing, she’s wonderfully elegant. Of course, Se Gye is a little bit of an everygirl on the inside, and when the relatable klutziness and related secondhand embarrassment kicks in, I found it quite the amusing, delicious juxtaposition.
I liked that Se Gye is presented in a very sympathetic manner, despite her at times huffy-puffy celebrity airs and her general outspokenness, she is ultimately very relatable.
[VAGUE MINOR SPOILER]
When the doors are closed and no one else is in the room, all the bluster and bravado melts away and she cries so bitterly from the depths of her heart, that she hates this, and feels wronged to have to live this way.
In just episode 1, we see her cry this way twice; once on the hospital rooftop, and once in the hotel room. My heart couldn’t help but go out to her.
Like many of Seo Hyun Jin’s other characters, Se Gye is presented as a flawed heroine, and while I rooted for her until the very end, there were moments when I found myself disliking her, just a little bit.
I like to think of that as deliberate on the part of writer-nim, and the fact that I came out of this still firmly liking Se Gye as a character, and Seo Hyun Jin as an actress, credit to Seo Hyun Jin’s ability to bring her characters to life.
Here are some of Se Gye’s moments that stood out extra, to me.
E3. Se Gye’s way of turning the situation around when Sa Ra (Lee Da Hee) tries to put both of them on the spot, is so great.
It’s so disarming, the way she just laughs heartily in Sa Ra’s face, then smoothly remarks to Do Jae (Lee Min Ki) that he and his sister mustn’t be close, if Dear Sis doesn’t even know whether his girlfriend is real or fake. Nice one. I cheered on the inside, seeing Sa Ra seethe in response.
E3. That moment, when Se Gye goes to the photo studio in her house and muses quietly that it’s been a while, and it’s nice to see herself again, feels so poignant. I can feel her pathos, even in the midst of her savoring her silver lining.
E6. The flashbacks to Se Gye having to miss important moments because of her transformations are so poignant.
Even though she couldn’t show that she was there, she made it a point to be at her friend’s wedding, and at the hospital for her mom (Kim Hee Jung). That says a lot about the kind of person Se Gye is; she’s not there for the credit, she’s there out of loyalty.
E13. Seo Hyun Jin is always so good at bringing her characters to life. As Se Gye drives home in shock, gutted and crying shivering sobs over the realization that Do Jae became face blind because of her, her raw, pulsating pain hits me like a wave.
While Se Gye’s decision to break up with Do Jae can be seen as idiocy, noble or otherwise, I can see where she’s coming from. She’s too paralyzed with guilt to think straight, and that guilt is crushing her so much that she feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy.
In this state, the only thing that feels like the right thing to do, to her, is to punish herself. It’s not logical, but it’s understandable.
E14. To me, Seo Hyun Jin really is the queen of dig-deep crying. The way Se Gye sobs as she tells Do Jae everything on the phone, is so guttural and gaspy, it feels visceral and raw and real.
It feels like she’s clawing at the very corners of her soul, and breathing it all out in deep, ragged breaths.
And then the way we see later, how Se Gye braces herself to open the door, I can see – and feel – that this person on my screen has cried many many tears, until she’d thought there were no more tears to cry.
And yet, now, as she braces herself to face Do Jae, the tears continue to leak out, like her pain has found new depth.
E14. In general, I like Se Gye, but sometimes I find myself disliking Se Gye, because there are flashes of selfishness throughout the show, I feel like.
In this episode, her unhappiness and her inability to forgive herself reigns higher than her regard for Do Jae’s happiness. She breaks up with him, self-proclaimed shamelessly, because she just can’t bear it, because she doesn’t deserve to be happy.
But, she didn’t once acknowledge that Do Jae would be heartbroken – destroyed twice over – by her leaving him. This bothered me.
Lee Min Ki as Do Jae
I love me some Lee Min Ki, and this was a great opportunity to indulge, since Lee Min Ki in a drama is a rare thing, and Lee Min Ki in a rom-com, even rarer.
At first, I found Lee Min Ki’s deadpan delivery of Do Jae amusing and also, somewhat reminiscent of his last drama role in Because This Is My First Life, where he also played a deadpan sort of character.
But I also found him very swoony in his chaebol sharp suit, and Show soon fleshed Do Jae out enough, that I found him easy to identify as his own character.
Overall, I felt that Show gave more of the spotlight to Se Gye than to Do Jae, thereby missing out on opportunities to explore Do Jae more deeply as a character, as well as his character trajectory.
I thought this was a pity, as I really enjoyed Do Jae, and wanted to understand him better.
Nonetheless, I found a nice amount of Do Jae to enjoy, and here’s a quick list of my favorite highlights.
E7. I really liked Do Jae this episode, particularly in how he stands up for Sa Ra in her absence. Even though Sa Ra and he have been long-time business competitors, and she revels in taking him down, he won’t allow other people on the board to speak disrespectfully of her.
I love how he corrects Director Kim that he’s not speaking respectfully enough of Sa Ra, and then proceeds to gatecrash the men’s private dinner with more deadpan swag than they’ve ever seen.
And how cute, that he follows that with a visit to Sa Ra’s house, to inform her of what he’s done, fully expecting that she will throw a fit at him for interfering. He seems to fully see himself as her Oppa, and it’s quite the darndest thing. I love.
E11. I do love how Do Jae just commits himself wholly to spending time with Se Gye, and comforting her, and just holding her, once he figures out that it’s ok for him to do so.
All the warm and cozy between him and Se Gye is heartwarming to watch, and Do Jae’s shy smiles are just wonderful. Every time he flashes a shy smile, I feel like my heart is about to explode.
E12. Do Jae’s happy shy smile is the cutest thing, while he sits and drinks with Se Gye, Woo Mi (Moon Ji In) and Eun Ho (Ahn Jae Hyun). It’s so poignant that he finds having friends – friends who accept him for who he is, face blindness and all – such a novelty.
I’m happy that he’s happy. <3
Se Gye and Do Jae as our OTP
From reading Show’s synopsis, I was already very taken with the idea of the OTP built into this premise.
A woman who struggles with monthly transformations, during which no one can recognize her, and a man who suffers from face blindness, and therefore can only recognize people from studying their micro-behavior?
This spelled possible romance gold to my eyes, and I wasn’t far wrong (more on that later).
On top of that, I found that I really enjoy Lee Min Ki and Seo Hyun Jin together.
They have a good combined onscreen energy. It never feels like one is overshadowing the other; they are equally matched in screen presence, and their delivery feels matched as well.
It feels like equals working together to make magic, each one fully showing up and giving the other a lot to work with. Likey muchey.
Whenever our OTP shared the screen, there were always sparks.
Whether they were antagonistic and suspicious of each other, or bickering, or whispering sweet nothings, or goofing around, or getting up close and personal and kissy, there were always sparks, and I counted that as a Very Good Thing indeed.
Best of all, those sparks always felt natural and effortless.
Even though there were times when I needed to suspend disbelief, I enjoyed watching this OTP find each other, and fall in love, and find a way to make it all work.
Here’s a breakdown of all my favorite OTP moments, as they went through that journey together.
E2. I love the suspense built into this part of the story, where she’s trying to test him, and he keeps managing to recognize her.
I keep wondering whether his powers of observation will be enough to clue him in, especially when she deliberately throws red herrings into the mix. The opposite suspense is also in play, with Do Jae trying to figure Se Gye out.
Throw in the hyper-proximity – from smell-testing her breath for alcohol, for instance – and it’s all just one heady mix.
E2. Do Jae’s got a swoony way with words. And I think his deadpan delivery somehow makes it more swoony, because it implies that to him, it’s simply fact. “It makes no sense, and I don’t have a reason, but in my eyes, you were always you.” Egad. Flail.
E2. That repeated motif of him covering her up, and holding her by the shoulders, and telling her to trust him as he walks her to safety, has a reverberating sort of effect. It’s very melty.
E4. I love how these two are just so naturally sparky when they’re in each other’s orbit.
The snide remarks and sarcastic jibes are now all said in good-natured teasing, and I love seeing the softness in Do Jae’s gaze, especially when he can’t help the smile that plays at his lips, when Se Gye is cute and adorable in spite of her bickery words.
Steps to growing closer
E5. It’s interesting that the fake relationship isn’t actually the thing that’s under contract, between our OTP, so I can’t actually call it a contract relationship.
The contract is about sharing and protecting their secrets, and this fake relationship just came about as a response to the turn of events.
I rather like that the fake relationship gives our OTP time to spend together, and that in the time they spend together, they do end up talking, and quite deeply too.
That moment when Do Jae tells Se Gye how he used to sit at the street they’re at, just working on trying to recognize people, is so poignant.
I also enjoy the fact that these two are using their fake relationship as a cover for perhaps doing the things they really want to do with the other person.
At this moment, we know that Se Gye’s heart is racing for Do Jae, against her will, so when she runs into his arms, it’s totally a case of a lie providing cover for a truth. I like the irony in that.
Se Gye inviting Do Jae into her house and showing him her photos of her various faces, and telling him what she plans to do with her own picture, before she dies, feels like such an intimate reveal. She’s really opening up, and it feels honest and no-holds-barred.
Do Jae’s taking to teasing Se Gye, and it’s super cute, because she gets all riled up – “You’re ugly” – and then he’ll chuckle to himself out of her line of sight.
Tee hee. It does make me feel that he’s growing affectionate of her. Which, aw.
E6. I love the idea of the transformation giving Do Jae and Se Gye the cover and the freedom to just be, around each other, and be comfortable and relaxed, and just hang out. Again, this feels like a non-truth providing a cover for the truth.
E6. Se Gye calling Do Jae, and reaching for excuses to extend their conversation, is such a clear sign that she likes him and misses him. Given her impulsive nature, and how clear her feelings for him are, I can believe that she’d reach out and kiss him first.
His feelings have been more veiled, even though it’s clear that he’s fascinated by her. But that question about being turned on by a man’s body does indicate that he’s attracted to Se Gye, so it’s completely believable that he’d reach for her to kiss her right back.
E7. I really liked this episode. Yes, it was angsty because Se Gye’s all up in a twist at how Do Jae’s backed off after kissing her back.
But, the angst feels justified, and is rooted in insecurities and anxieties that feel very real, and so the emotional payoff, when Do Jae finally gives words to the raging emotions in his heart, feels rich and deep and wonderfully raw. I love it.
Se Gye’s prickliness in response to Do Jae’s apparent withdrawal feels very relatable.
She’s embarrassed – humiliated, even – and she’s torn between allowing herself further embarrassment, to give the feelings in her heart a sliver of a chance, and allowing herself some dignity, by cutting those feelings off, right here, right now.
Her tears feel so natural, like she’s just basically had it up to here with the situation, and has run out of strength to hold them in, and they’re just leaking out against her will.
Do Jae’s eye softening – giving us a glimpse of the affectionate amusement her feels – when Se Gye drunk-calls him, is like a drop of water in a parched desert.
He does care, and it must’ve driven him crazy with worry, to see Se Gye basically whipped away from her video call, by some unknown assailant.
I love how he shows up at the hospital later, and just hones in on her, with urgency, and with relief.
Her upset, hot-teared, pushing-away response feels so true, but so does his matter-of-fact explanation of how he really feels; he doesn’t want to apologize for kissing her, but he is too much of a mess and he hates himself too much, to allow himself to give her the other possible answer after a kiss.
He is worried for her, warning her that they might be getting in too deep than they can handle. She tells him she’s a mess too, and states that she wouldn’t forget him ever anyway, since he’s the one who recognized her.
You can see Do Jae’s defenses crumbling, as he asks her if she’s really ok with him, and she pushes him back with her words, telling him she can’t believe that he’s being sincere. She dares him to prove it – and he hones in for the kiss; hungry, searching, ardent, lingering. Flail.
E8. I find the OTP scenes delightful. Now that they’ve moved into dating proper with all their feelings on the table, they can’t help but be the cutest couple.
Him flashing the softened gazes and the soft smile, and her, blushing and blooming in response to his attentive – albeit deadpan – brand of sweetness.
Their secret meeting in their cars is a perfect example. His whole manner is tinged with softness now, as he speaks with Se Gye alone, even though his words are still pretty deadpan on the surface.
Her eagerness to test whether he notices that she’s wearing the earrings he gave her is also adorable, and her delight when he notices right away is super cute. How gleeful is she, that he’s different from other men?
And how sweet is that sentiment, when you really stop to think about it? These two seem so very grateful for each other, and that hits me right in the heart.
She’s grateful that he can recognize her no matter what she transforms into, and that he likes her anyway, and he’s grateful that she likes him, just as he is, with his Prosopagnosia and its complications and limitations. I love. <3
I also love how smitten they are, individually, as they tend to their phones at inappropriate times, purely because they want to text each other. Cute.
The secret date in Se Gye’s house reminds me of all the dating news by Dispatch, where celeb couples are outed while visiting each other’s homes. Ha. But, the time they spend together is so sweet.
The chemistry between them is so strong and so palpable through my screen that I expect them to start making out. But instead, they look at each other properly, and they talk. Swoon.
And, how dorky-adorable is it, that Se Gye openly fangirls over the various manly gestures that Do Jae makes? Tee hee. His dorky grin in response is just too cute as well.
The cycle of them driving each other home is funny too; it’s like the rich version of couples walking one more time around the block, because they can’t bear to say goodbye. Heh.
E9. Augh, the kisses. Drowning in feels. It feels like they’re just drowning in each other’s essence. I do love that Do Jae precedes this with sardonic teasing, insisting that she spilled wine on him on purpose, so that she’d get to touch him.
The only thing missing from this scene is Do Jae insisting that she spilled the wine to get him to take off that shirt. And then we’d have a shirtless kiss scene. Guh.
Do Jae’s soft gaze
E10. Do Jae’s soft affectionate gaze at, around and about Se Gye, is just precious. So, so lovely, and completely melty. It truly comes across as him just not being able to help it; it’s just spilling out of his eyes, even in the subtle moments.
Do Jae is wearing the soft gaze all the time now, around Se Gye, and it’s especially heart-wobbly to see him with the soft gaze even when he’s teasing her. He’s affectionately amused by her, and it just makes me melt.
The day of date activities, topped off with Se Gye returning the favor and shaving Do Jae’s face for him, was very sweet. But the way Do Jae asked for another kiss, and then reached up to kiss Se Gye, again, and then again, was unhurried and hungry, and I flail. Augh.
A promise to love, no matter what
E13. It’s very swoony that Do Jae decides that he wants to be with Se Gye even if she’s stuck in the body of an old man forever.
In principle, I just like it every time he’s able to recognize her when she’s in a different body.
So the fact that Do Jae picks Se Gye out of a random group of strangers at a crosswalk, when she’s in a different body that’s shorter, stockier and just all-around different from a lot of the things he’s memorized, makes me melt.
Se Gye and her friends
I love Se Gye’s friendship with Woo Mi and Eun Ho. They are all so different, yet so very accepting of one another. The girls don’t really get Eun Ho’s desire to be a priest, but they accept him anyway.
And the other two know Se Gye’s secret and always bend over backwards to help her keep that secret, secret.
And when Se Gye’s entire world comes crumbling down in episode 10 when her mother passes away, they are there, for her.
They huddle in a three-way hug and cry with her, they mourn with her, they’re there for her. And I feel it, so much.
As a general rule, I loved the cameos that we got, with different actors stepping in for Se Gye’s various transformations.
I thought each of the cameos was really well done, with the actors managing to bring out facets of Se Gye that made me believe that it really was Se Gye on the inside, each time.
Here’re my top 3:
E6. Kim Min Suk is outstanding as Se Gye. He totally nails her speech patterns, and I can totally believe that it’s Seo Hyun Jin controlling him from the inside. Really good.
E9. Dang. Moon Woo Jin can really act. I really feel like this is Se Gye in little boy form, especially from the way he speaks. The speech pattern and tone of voice is exactly Se Gye.
As a side note, I rather liked the treatment of this transformation.
Most of the time is spent with Mom rather than Do Jae, and even when Se Gye is with Do Jae, he is adorably amused at how she looks as a little boy, and there’s nothing weird or squicky about the visual of them being together.
Also, Show is smart to switch out the little boy visual for Se Gye as herself, as seen through Do Jae’s eyes, when the conversation turns more towards relationship related stuff. Nicely done.
E10. Ra Mi Ran is wonderful as Se Gye. She totally felt like Se Gye, even in the tough emotional moments, and that’s hard to do.
Kudos all around. *wild applause*
When Show hit me in the heart – hard [SPOILERS]
Episode 10 was a heart-whammy of an episode, and I couldn’t help crying big, real tears as I watched Se Gye struggle to say goodbye to her mom, even while wearing a different face.
It was hard to watch Mom grow weaker and less vibrant with each passing day, and it was hard to watch Se Gye try to be strong for Mom’s sake.
All the “I love you’s” felt so pregnant with emotion; regret for not saying it sooner, desire to make up for lost time, stifling of the rising fear that there wouldn’t be a chance to say it again tomorrow. My heart.
I love that Mom is able to recognize Se Gye without Se Gye having to say anything. That’s just a mother’s instinct. A mom knows her daughter, and I appreciate that Show turned that moment into a healing moment for them as well.
Do Jae being able to recognize Se Gye instantly, and then walking over to her and enveloping her in a hug. That’s the most perfect thing he could have done, and I know that Se Gye needed that, so much. He’s wonderful.
And then there’s the video that Mom records for Se Gye, which we see after the funeral is over. It’s something she can watch everyday, and feel like her mom is just there with there, like nothing’s changed. How thoughtful and sweet is that? Aw.. Mommm. <3 Tear.
STUFF THAT WORKED OUT TO NEUTRAL
Eun Ho’s loveline with Sa Ra
From early on in our story, Show introduces a side arc involving Sa Ra and Eun Ho, and hints that things might eventually turn romantic.
To be honest, I wasn’t super taken with this loveline, even though it’s supposed to be amusing. I found Sa Ra bratty and entitled, and I found the connection between her and Eun Ho forced and unnatural.
In fact, there was even a moment when I actively wanted this loveline to crash and burn, because I felt that Sa Ra didn’t deserve him.
Specifically, it’s the moment in episode 11 when she tells Eun Ho to leave, coz her fiance (Kim Young Hoon) shows up, and then tells him to come back when she calls. This was the moment I decided I wanted Eun Ho to just leave Sa Ra forever.
I mean, he’d just articulated the first hint that he thought he might like her back, and she proceeds to ignore him in favor of her slimey fiance? Ugh. Did not like.
Still, Show persisted in showing Sa Ra in an increasingly sympathetic light, and I couldn’t help softening towards her.
While I am still uncertain about how I feel towards the development of this loveline, I must concede that I found the two rather cute, once they actually became a couple. Who woulda thunk?
Which is why I guess this one all works out to neutral, for me, after everything is said and done.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
The thing with Yu Ri [SPOILER]
Yu Ri (Ryu Hwa Young) is set up to be Se Gye’s up-and-coming rival, which is all fine and good. I think it started going downhill for me, when Yu Ri basically starts stalking Se Gye to find out her secret.
I mean, Yu Ri being able to link up the various clues that she’s been exposed to, and figuring out that Se Gye must actually change into other people, is a serious stretch, considering Se Gye’s very unique and fantastical situation.
That wasn’t very believable at all to me. But I think the thing that disturbs me the most, is how Yu Ri ends up – which I’ll elaborate on in the final section of this review.
General stretches in logic [SPOILERS]
Given that this is a show based on a fantastical premise, there are more than several occasions when suspension of disbelief is required. I thought I’d mention a few, just for the record.
E1. It’s quite a stretch that someone battling a condition that would make them prone to running off from filming, and disappearing for days at a time, would actually make it as a top star, in k-ent, no less.
E2. Suspension of disbelief is needed again: how did Se Gye get through immigration looking like a completely different person? They’d have to check her passport, right?
E8. I’m a little confused at how nice and kind the director is to Se Gye now, given how cold he’d been to her when she’d first asked to work with him.
His explanation later in the show – that he’d been influenced by the rumors surrounding her – doesn’t cut it, for me. To me, this is just whiplashy writing.
E15. Why would Do Jae leave a note outside the countryside house, when he’s been told specifically that Se Gye hasn’t been leaving the house?
Also, does the wind never blow in that area? That would’ve blown away in minutes, if Kingkang hadn’t actually gotten Se Gye to look outside. Slipping that note under the door would’ve made more sense.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Because Show puts all the angst and important resolutions in its penultimate episodes, there’s really nothing much for Show to do this final hour but let its cast loose to fill our screens with cuteness and fluff.
To my eyes, this final episode felt a bit like the cast had become good friends while filming the drama, and were then given the freedom to sit around brainstorming – while slightly tipsy – what kind of final episode they wanted to make, and then were given the chance to actually make it.
On the cute side, we get everyday jealousy, frustration and cuteness from our main and secondary couples, career progress for most of our key characters, a housewarming from Secretary Jung (Lee Tae Ri) with all of our friends in attendance, a random (real!) wedding announcement from Woo Mi, a formal proposal of marriage by Sa Ra, to Eun Ho’s parents, and a rehearsal wedding with Do Jae and Se Gye.
On the downside, I didn’t quite like seeing Yu Ri actually suffering from anxiety and losing her career as a result of Se Gye’s prank-threat. That wasn’t cool.
Also, I was disappointed that we didn’t ever get to see Woo Mi’s mysterious faceless boyfriend-turned-fiance.
I thought we were going to get some kind of cool cameo out of that reveal. I mean, we even get a cameo from Huh Jung Min this final hour, as one of Se Gye’s transformations. Why couldn’t he have been cast as Woo Mi’s boyfriend instead?
That could’ve been a cute cameo, no? Boo that Show didn’t think so.
Still, I appreciate the sentiment that Se Gye’s come to terms with her transformations, and appreciates that her transformations have enabled her to help others.
I also like the scene of Se Gye walking towards Do Jae, after he tells her that he loves her, and we see a bunch of her previous transformations trailing after her, as she tells him that she loves him too.
That encapsulates effectively, how Do Jae loves and accepts her no matter what face she’s wearing, and how their love is big enough to encompass all of this too.
Overall, I was a little disappointed that Show didn’t take its opportunity on our screens to say something deeper about self-acceptance, or love in the face of physical limitations like Prosopagnosia, or forgiveness and healing in the face of life-altering transgressions.
But, I can’t blame Show for choosing to be on a simpler, more superficial spot, on the Drama Continuum (that’s a total Thing, in my head).
Not bad at all, for what it chose to be.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Generally predictable, but polished, pretty and pleasant overall. Good K-rom-com comfort food.
FINAL GRADE: B+
March 2023. my 1st watch. I needed a rom-com palette cleanser and this fit the bill! Love your analysis, KFG! Here for the afterglow… This one is worth the watch….
I was really scared that this drama would break my heart by ending like the “Because This Is My First Life” but I was pleasantly surprised. I hated the noble idiocracy trope and the time skip trope but thankfully they were short. I loved the absence of a love triangle; allowing the OTP remained solid throughout. LOVED the KMS cameo–he nailed it!
I thought there could have been more plot and character development in several areas, as it seemed choppy in a few spots. The soft approach on the message worked well, but this show had lots of potential to be great. The approach to Christianity in Kdramas is always interesting….
PS–I was really hoping that Kang Ha-Neul was going to show up in an cameo role, ha!
When I’m too tired to think straight, or when real life’s been particularly draining, or when no other dramas seem to be doing it for me, a rom-com done right almost always hits the spot.
Excatly!! I am just starting this one..
Please please publish a list of rom-coms which fall under your ‘rom-com-done-right’ category!
I just started watching this (because Seo Hyun Jin) and I am pleasantly surprised! I’ve never seen her glammed up like this before. But they still give her comedic chops room to breathe. It feels tropey but also well done.
I was hoping JuHwan and YooMi get together like Sara and EunHo, kinda disappointed it didnt happen :/… been looking for this kind of blog for kdrama reviews and found yours , just remembered i came across it too a few years back, gonna bookmark so i wont forget ! Thanks for the reviews ! Love yourss a lott, u hot a new fan here 😁🙋♀️
Thanks again for the rec on Thirty but Seventeen. We loved it.
I’m so glad you all loved it, Sambosox! 😀 It really is such a sweet and cozy show. <3
Any tips on where to watch this show in the US? Can’t find it on Netflix or Viki.
Thanks for the review!
Ah, bummer that it’s not available on Netflix or Viki! You can also watch the show here. I hope you enjoy your watch! 🙂
Thanks! We need something light to follow Misaeng.
Thirty But Seventeen is nice and light as well, if you need more back-up! 😉
Thanks. We’ll add that to our list too!
What do you think of She Was Pretty and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? I just want something that can make me laugh, nothing too deep or serious or sad.
I personally enjoyed She Was Pretty more, but both shows are generally quite light, with some lashings of angst thrown in. Neither is very serious or sad, though, so I’d say give them both a look. For something frothy and ridiculous, you might want to try a bit of retro, like You’re Beautiful. I hope that helps! ❤️
Yes, love now 😊 I really related to Se Gye’s arc with her mum and found it very moving. When my own dad passed away, I was in the hospital all week. The doctor and nurses let me sleep there too. On his last morning I had my guitar with me and played all his favourite Beatles numbers including All You Need Is Love (Yes, he was a hippie at one point). It was the least I could do and the nurses thought it fabulous. When my wife and I saw Paul McCartney in concert earlier this year play Something on the uekele as a tribute to George, I went yep, that’s fabulous. So, I do that too now and think of Dad, because George was his favourite Beatle.
So, today I am wearing my Hairy Christmas tee shirt which depicts a collection of different moustaches and I am taking our youngest off to see Bohemian Rhapsody.
Have yourself a very Merry Christmas Kfangurl 🎅🏻🎄☃️
Aw. <3 You sent your dad off in such a lovely, caring, personal way, Sean. I love it, even as I feel for your loss. ❤💔❤
On a tangent, I love your very varied and colorful wardrobe, and I love that in spite of your work commitments, you find time to love dramas, spend time with your family, and do such interesting things! Thanks for being part of our drama community Sean! Merry Christmas to you and yours, and a very happy 2019! 😀
Seo Hyun Jin is one of the few actors who can light up the screen all on her own. Glamorous, elegant and talented and I seriously doubt if anyone else could play Se Gye the way she did. Yes, I’m a fan (as mentioned elsewhere though, we won’t mention Temperature of Love any further 😱).
The middle episodes of TBI were wonderful and I was totally blown away by the performances of some of the other actors who played the transformed Se Gye.
The thought I’m left with is this – never hide away, just because you are not yourself today 😊
So, what did I manage to do on the weekend (well apart from I made it home)? I pulled out one of my daughter’s ukuleles (I couldn’t find a guitar anywhere and mine is where I left it far from home) and played a range of Christmas carols and songs including my all time favourite – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, which is in the right key for me and from one of my all time favourite movies Meet Me in St Louis. Judy Garland was fabulous 🤩
Oh, that’s a spot-on way of putting it, Sean! Seo Hyun Jin really does light up the screen. I first set eyes on her in The Three Musketeers, and even though hers was a bit of a supporting role, every time she appeared on my screen, I literally could not take my eyes off her. 😍😍😍 She’s just really good. <3
I like your take-away thought! Especially that tongue-in-cheek bit about not being yourself, ha. 😆 Another thought I'm left with is, "Love, now." Never mind the past, and don't be afraid of the future. Not just because of the OTP, but also, Se Gye's arc with her mom. That one really had me crying ugly tears in front of my screen – in the best way.
Music at Christmas is a must, so way to go, on starting the music early! 😉 Also, you never cease to surprise me. You are a man with many talents!