#3 in the FIVE-STAR category
August to September of 2010 Korean drama that starred Lee Seung gi as Cha Dae woong, a hapless college student determined to become the next Bruce Lee action star (he's even got Bruce Lee posters on his wall).
His Harabeoji owns a string of beauty salons (which means they're rich), and because Dae woong lost his parents when he was little, Harabeoji raised him along with his own, older daughter - Dae woong's aunt.
At the start of this sixteen-episode laugh-riot we learn as much about Dae woong as we need to, and that he's a bit on the selfish side while also using his money & influence to impress so-called friends who turn their back on him the minute he needs their help.
Harabeoji knows this and tries what he can to make the boy grow up; threatening to yank his fool ass out of the action school if he doesn't, stop using his tuition money for things other than tuition, and letting all his 'friends' get free hair styles, perms, etc. at the salon.
Dae woong is in line for a big part in an action flick put on by a producer who emulates none other than Chow Yun Fat (and yes, he even has posters of the guy on his office wall and constant, running images of the many gangster flicks the guy starred in, too).
The producer's daughter has the hots for Dae woong, but Dae woong is too caught up in the moment of his budding career to notice or care - plus the fact that he carries a torch for a snooty Sunbae with the nastiest bitch attitude of any female Korean character I've seen so far.
Like his other friends, Sunbae also uses and strings along our poor Dae woong, leading him to think she is interested when all she really wants is a huge part in the same movie Dae woong is guaranteed to star in.
Harabeoji has had enough and attempts to kidnap Dae woong, but the crafty dude slips away, ducks inside the back of a vegetable truck, and away he goes - miles and miles away from Seoul and everything familiar to him.
He ends up at this monastery with a crooked monk who collects money from ajumma's who go there to pray that their children find suitable marriage partners, and the monk explains the story about the 3-Gods who created a nine-tail fox (kumiyo) from natural elements, and that the 3-Gods decided one day to let gumiho have a wish granted to take human form and look for true love.
Story goes that she was far, too beautiful for her own good, and that all the women were jealous, so they began to spread nasty rumors about her so that no man would want anything to do with her (namely, that she eats the liver of her lover).
Beautiful kumiyo waited for a year for her lover to come for her, and when he never showed, 3-Gods returned her to the portrait that now hangs in the monastery.
800 years have passed since that time, and kumiyo is anxious to try again, so late at night, when Dae woong slips away to make a phone call, she entices him to enter the temple and draw nine tails on the ancient portrait.
Once the deed is done, the ground begins to shake, the sky opens up, and the heavens begin to roar, terrifying Dae woong so that he runs screaming from the temple and into the forest.
It's night time, so naturally, he slips and tumbles over the edge of a low cliff, landing on his back near a beautiful waterfall, where he lay unconscious.
Beautiful kumiyo likes him and thinks that he'll be a big help to her in the human world, so she secretly entrusts him with her 'bead' - which is actually a lovely, glowing blue stream of health, strength, and longevity that has powerful benefits for the human body.
Dae woong awakens the next morning feeling refreshed and not the least, bit affected by the terrible fall when he sees the beautiful woman smiling up at him, and for a few seconds he is dazed by her charms before realizing that she's slumped him over the branch of a tree to keep the wild hogs from getting to him.
Of course, he doesn't believe she is a nine-tail fox, but when he realizes that it might be true, he recalls the fables he heard about kumiyo and what she does to humans, so he makes a mad dash into the forest, hoping to be rid of the bewitching creature.
One hilarious thing leads to another until both Dae woong and the fox end up together in Seoul, and after seeing her lovely, nine tails in the moonlight, Dae woong has no, other choice but to do whatever it is she wants so that he can keep his liver and his life.
He knows about the bead, and that she craves beef, but for a majority of this drama, he is intent on shaking off the legendary creature so that he can go back to being a normal, unaffected college student.
As their relationship slowly begins to form, Dae woong transforms and matures while the beautiful kumiyo continues to yearn for her freedom from the portrait and a chance to turn into a real human who finds love.
There is this totally gorgeous 'vampire' like dude who works at an animal hospital, but his real goal is to capture and kill the gumiho - and when he knows she's escaped from the portrait, he spends much of the drama luring her to him so that he can drive an ancient dagger through her heart.
His reason for being in the show wasn't, quite clear to me, and it was never explained to the viewer why he was half-human, why he had to kill the gumiho, or even what his reasons for knowing her in the past had to do with his emotions in the present, but I was perfectly content to ignore all that just for the chance to gaze at him whenever he was on screen.
Mi yo (Shin Min ah) as Dae woong refers to gumiho, has super-human strength along with the ability to see and hear at great distances as well as to run really fast, so she becomes helpful to Dae woong in his efforts to do the best at his movie debut.
As long as he remains with the bead inside him he cannot get hurt and possesses a tad of the nine-tails strength as well, which does him a lot of good on the set of the movie.
Dae woong is jealous of Park Dong ju (the animal doctor), but for a long time he isn't ready to accept the fact that his heart is heading in Mi yo's direction.
He clings to the bitch who doesn't like him, hurting Mi yo in the process, but because she isn't, quite human yet, the jealous emotions don't register the same way they would for you & I - at least not until the dastardly Dong ju convinces her that to become human is a good idea - failing to add that if she does so, that she will surely die without the bead, and that if Dae woong returns the bead, that he will definitely die.
Mi yo slowly transforms, losing a tail a week until she is down to just one, and by then she and Dae woong are head-over-heels in love.
She must make the horribly sad decision to die for his sake since she can't ask for the bead back.
Dae woong finds out the truth and even though he still believes that if he gives in and has sex with Mi yo that she will cut out his liver, he does something so totally and excitingly romantic that it brought tears to my eyes.
The ending actually made me cry - buckets - but believe it or not, there is a happy ending to this terrific drama!
It was hilarious, fast-paced, and didn't stray from the original storyline by going off in the direction of some, other character - nor did it spend too much time with the lingering pauses that cause Korean dramas to go for sixteen or twenty episodes when nine or eleven would suffice.
I will admit, though, that about 3/4 of the way through things did start to drag, but by then I was so emotionally involved that I had no choice but to wade through the lull in an effort to discover how things would turn out for our two, likable leads.
Shin Min ah did an outstanding job in this one, and they couldn't have picked a more perfect actress to portray someone who is supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous, too.
I wasn't able to clearly capture the scene in the mall with the school children walking by blowing bubbles, but it was a reference to The Little Mermaid and Mi yo's desire to become human - another tear jerking moment for me and that left a lasting impression.
I'm not, too certain about the OST for this one, either - though I know Seung gi sang some of them (not sure he can actually sing~sounded a tad off-key to me, but who knows) there were tunes that were memorable, though.
Seung gisshi came to me by way of ill bak ee ill and while everyone else seems to think he is all that, I am more inclined to favor Lee Su geun and Kim Jong min - heck, even PD Na! But then I watched Gumiho and now I have a new-found appreciation for and kinda-sorta crush on our daffy Seung gi.
To me, he's the goofy boy next door with teeth too big for his face, a lean, gangly frame, and a mop-top to go with his Beaver Cleaver wardrobe (although he did sport a nifty lego watch in Gumiho!)
Let's just say that when this guy finally DOES have sex, it'll be on his wedding night and leave it at that, shall we?
HOWEVER ~ and this is a biggie ~ his approach to kissing, I must admit, is somewhat on the heady romantic c'mon baby! side. (It's all about the eye contact, ladies - the EYES).
Just watch Gumiho and you'll know what I mean.
gumi ****************** ho