The last time I was super duper excited to write a drama review was while writing for Scarlet Heart Ryeo. SHR was my most favourite drama of 2016. She Was Pretty came out in 2015 but for me, it has been the best drama for this year because the drama scene has been very disappointing this year as compared to the year 2016. She Was Pretty is a typical romantic comedy that you watch when you are looking for something sweet and funny to unwind and relax. I had not binged on a Korean drama series in a while so last weekend I decided to catch a fun show and finish it in two days. And I could have finished this drama on Saturday itself had my mother not scolded me for staying up late to watch a drama. This drama was funny and highly engaging. I could not wait to reach the show finale. Had I to have my way I would not have left it without finishing all 16 episodes in one sitting.
She Was Pretty (2015) (16 Episodes)
Kim Hye Jin is desperate for a corporate job and finally lands one after a lot of difficulties. When she joins the company she comes to know that she will have to work under her childhood love Ji Seong Joon, who she is avoiding for a while. Ji Seong Joon and Kim Hye Jin were best friends and childhood sweethearts. Ji Seong Joon then relocated to the US and eventually lost contact with Hye Jin. When he returns to Korea, the first person he looks for is Hye Jin. Hye Jin too likes him and happily goes to meet him. But when he comes before her he fails to recognize her and walks up to a pretty woman mistaking her for Hye Jin. Hye Jin then realises that she is no longer the pretty girl Seong Joon fell in love with. Seong Joon does not know that after he left for the States, Hye Jin’s family lost their wealth and the hardships took a toll on her beauty. Hye Jin now has a freckled face and frizzy curly hair that makes her feel ugly. She decides to send her beautiful friend, Ha Ri to meet Seong Joon as her. Seong Joon believes Ha Ri to be Hye Jin and has no clue that the clumsy and annoying Hye Jin he despises working within his company is actually the girl he once loved.
Let’s weigh She Was Pretty on our show beam balance and see what is ‘pretty’ and what is ‘ugly’ about this drama.
Hwang Jung Eum: Kim Hye Jin, the goofball, is the reason why this show is hilarious. Actress Hwang Jung Eum’s comic timing and natural acting are laudable.
I loved her weird expressions that flit from excited to bewildered to bemused to annoyed to God knows what not in nanoseconds. Hye Jin is crazy and I mean it. She has no inhibitions whatsoever and often ends up making a fool of herself.
This is the reason why I found it difficult to relate to the younger Hye Jin who looks sorted and sophisticated, unlike Hye Jin who is completely cracked in the head. Her tiffs with Seong Joon are funny while her weird encounters with Shin Hyeok are hysterical. Yes, she does tend to overact in certain comical scenes, but she does it effortlessly which is what I like the most about her.
Park Seo Joon: I have seen Park Seo Joon in Hwarang and I wondered why he was the main lead in the drama because I wasn’t very impressed with him. In fact, I liked everybody on the show except him. However, She Was Pretty changed my opinion about him as I loved his portrayal of Seong Joon.
Seong Joon is a perfectionist who believes in pushing his employees hard to get the best out of them. I felt that Park Seo Joon does not have that ‘boss’ look and he was not very convincing with the stern boss look. But he was not horrible because I genuinely liked his character and Park Seo Joon has evidently played the character with a lot of sincerity. I probably still feel that Aaron Yan is the best ‘boss’ out there and maybe in comparison to him Park Seo Joon seems to fall short.
Park Seo Joon does play the ‘lover boy’ well and looks as lovable as a male lead should in a romantic drama. His chemistry with Hwang Jung Eum is good and I loved the couple’s love scenes.
Choi Si Won: If you are not aware of my love for second leads then click here and here to know of my adoration for them. Choi Si Won’s wacky character Kim Shin Hyeok made me laugh and cry. His crazy antics at pulling Hye Jin’s leg used to crack me up.
I especially loved to hear him call Hye Jin ‘Jackson’. The most painful moment on the show for me was when Hye Jin talks to Shin Hyeok and receives a call from Seong Joon asking her to meet him as he now knows the truth about her. Shin Hyeok begs her not to go but she cannot help it as she has answers to give Seong Joon. He repeats ‘gajima’ (don’t go) so helplessly it pained to see him like that. It was the most heartbreaking scene I have seen of a second-lead.
Actor Choi Si Won is absolutely adorable in his eccentric role. He looks the part with his dimples adding to his character. I hope I do not have to see a character like him as a second-lead ever again because I don’t think I can bear this kind of pain once more.
Friendship: Hye Jin and Ha Ri are best friends and inseparable. They trust each other blindly which is why Hye Jin sends Ha Ri to meet her love Seong Joon without feeling any kind of insecurity. Ha Ri becomes a little selfish and tries to keep Seong Joon by her side despite knowing what Hye Jin feels for him. When Hye Jin discovers Ha Ri’s truth, she does not attack her with accusations but instead gives her a benefit of doubt. Ha Ri too feels guilty of her wrong actions and makes it up to Hye Jin. I liked the fact that the writers did not turn Ha Ri into an evil friend just to make her a villain.
Ha Ri is a good character who loses her way but then regains the lost love with her repentance. I like Ha Ri and Hye Jin’s friendship and the fact that they really are loyal supporters of each other. There are several dramas celebrating bromance but seldom do they promote sisterhood and I am glad that this drama did it in a way that is relatable.
Sweet Moments: This drama is high on comedy and does not have a lot of hard-core romantic moments. However, there are enough of saccharine moments that make the drama endearing. The drama has several of those lovey-dovey moments that romance lovers savour the most. For instance, Seong Joon and Hye Jin find themselves alone on an overnight outing. On their way, they happen to eat at a restaurant but are unable to pay for the food so the restaurant owner makes them do some labour work to recover the money. Now, Seong Joon is a rich guy who probably has never even seen cow dung, unlike Hye Jin who has faced a tough life. He cribs about touching manure and cries when he accidentally touches fresh cow dung with his gloves on. So, he basically strongly detests manure. While working in the cowshed, Hye Jin loses her employee ID card which she treasures a lot considering she landed her dream job. She returns to retrieve her ID card but is unable to find it. Seong Joon knows how important the ID card is for to her so he searches through the manure for her ID card and hands it over to her lying that he found it fallen on the ground. Seong Joon cringes at manure but for her sake, he does something that he dislikes the most. Similarly, there are back-hugs, piggy-back rides, soft kisses, forehead kisses and a lot of love that you would want to see in a K-drama.
Faulty Details: The script has loopholes that are way too glaring to be ignored. For instance, Shin Hyeok chances upon Seong Joon’s house access card when he helps to drop an unconscious Seong Joon home. After that Seong Joon never asks him for his access card. Shin Hyeok thereafter enters Seong Joon’s house as and when he likes and Seong Joong, who strongly objects the intrusion, does absolutely nothing about it. Also, I found it difficult connect with the young Hye Jin who is calm, civilised and nerdy which is very different than the restless, hyperactive and effervescent older Hye Jin. Yes, people do change with time but when they showed flashback scenes of Hye Jin with Seong Joon, I found it difficult to believe that it is the same girl because nothing about young Hye Jin gave a vibe of the older Hye Jin. It is quite possible that the difference in personality was deliberate so Seong Joon does not identify her easily but still, isn’t he supposed to be conflicted with what he believes and what Hye Jin wants him to believe? Also, the supposed ‘suspense’ factors in the drama were too easy to predict. I couldn’t help rolling my eyes when the suspense was finally revealed as I could bet my life on my guesswork.
She Was Pretty has more of good weights than bad weights which means that it is a treat to watch. Despite its gaping plot holes it never ceases to entertain so do not miss it for anything. It ends on a sugary sweet, positive note that will make you miss the drama terribly after it has concluded.
I give She Was Pretty 4 out of 5 rating. This drama has a good start and a smooth ending which left me with sweet memories of the show. If rom-com is your genre, then go for this one without thinking too much. It is highly entertaining and worth your time.
Image Courtesy: Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation