The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

시크릿 가든 / Secret Garden



Secret Garden
 


#5 (last five-star review)

November 13, 2010 to January 16, 2011 KDorama that starred Hyun Bin and Ha Ji won as (here it comes again) star-crossed lovers who met years earlier but had no idea this was the case (at least she didn't, anyway).

She is a stunt actor working on a period drama and he (Kim Joo won) is a spoiled rich guy who wanders onto the set looking for a woman and mistakenly (or so it would seem) believes that Ji won's character (Kil Ra lim) is that actress.

Natch, the pretty actress is also a snotty bitch with low self-esteem who picks fights with girls 'beneath' her as a way to combat this affliction of a personal character flaw.

Ra lim is the target.

Joo won lives in this totally rad glass house on oodles of acres of land owned by his bitch halmeoni who insists everyone do everything her way or suffer the dire consequences (have you heard this one before, cause if you have, I can stop now).

Yes, Ra lim is poor but cool in an unaffected sort of way, and at the start she wants nothing to do with snot-nosed Joo won or his ilk, but that FATE thing keeps popping up to put the kybosh on her desire to be as far away from rich folk as is humanly possible.

She works at a 'combat' or action school of sorts, where people of her caliber study hard to make the action dramas we adore so much seem all the more real, and the leader of this troupe is one HELLA hot guy (Lee Philip as Im Jong soo).

Jong soo played the suave, silent loner type no lady in her right mind could resist falling head over heels for, but our Ra lim is too serious about becoming successful in her career to take the time to stop and sniff them damn, fine roses!

That is until our bumbling but determined Joo won butts his way into her life one, too many times and forces her to have to think about things other than swinging from cables, beating the crap out of opponents, and what to order for dinner that night.

EVERYONE loves Ra lim! but, she's a tad on the clueless side when it comes to such things as that, and maybe because her late, firefighter abeoji is about the only man she remembers or wants to remember that has her so fickle, who knows.

Joo won is stupid but cool, and despite his acerbic nature, he always tends to come out smelling like roses in this one - a glaring flaw in my opinion, but by the end of this ab-fab drama, I didn't care anymore.

Another show-stealer (imho) was his older and much hipper cousin, Yun Sang hyun as Oska - an aging but not yet fading pop star who glides in and out of the story for all, twenty episodes to delight, dazzle, and mesmerize.

Oska was madly in love with the girl Joo won is currently entangled with until his burgeoning career and the demands of his gay-ass fans get in the way, spoiling it for them for about ... oh, what was it? sixteen or six years? something absurd like that, but what the hell - it's a drama and not real.

The Korean authorities are determined to force the 'NO MARRIAGE UNTIL YOU'RE TOO OLD TO ENJOY ANYTHING ABOUT IT' mentality.

Regardless of the ploy to brainwash their people, that aspect of the show was actually believable, and in the most unexpected and MATURE fashion I've seen yet with one from that part of the world.

Later in the show, ANOTHER dude appears to dazzle the senses in the form of a brooding and smart-ass, young punk with singing as a way to make a living on his mind.

It wasn't, quite clear, either, but I believe Lee Jong suk as Ssun was supposed to be gay and had a mad-on for our oblivious and looks-more-like-a-gay-than-Ssun Oska.

Someone keeps spreading rumors about Oska that actually work in his favor at the start, but then no - and then he's almost forced to have to high-tail it for parts unknown (at least until the fury dies down), and in-between all this mayhem, he continues to try and remember why it was he and the chick had to part ways to begin with.

Meanwhile, we start to learn a tad more about Joo won's past and how it's tied with Ra lim.

The title has to do with their wandering into a strange and unfamiliar forest, happening upon this snarky, old woman who feeds them and offers them a drink of some really, pretty potion, which they both consume.

From there, every time there is an electrical storm, the two switch mind, body, and soul and are forced to have to cope with each others opposed lifestyles until the next storm arrives to break the spell.



It was during these switch-overs that I found the drama most entertaining.

In her body, he was the biggest bitch! Not even the most seasoned Korean actress bitch had anything on this guy!

HYUN BIN is the sharpest, most believable actor from Korea that I've seen (with Jang Hyuk being a super-tight second and Rain a distant third).

When he's on the screen, it's nearly impossible for me to believe he's acting out a character but more that he's being himself but under varying circumstances.

Funnier still, I don't, particularly care for the guy - and, there are only two dramas so far that he's starred in that have captivated me - this one, and My Lovely Samsoon.

The ratings for this one were actually high over there in Korea, which surprises me considering their taste in storylines is nothing like mine.

I'm having trouble trying to decide if I liked this one more than, as much as, or perhaps a bit less than Gumiho ...................... jury in my mind is still deliberating on that one.

If anyone else got the odd sense of Wizard of Oz meets Grimm's Fairy Tales while watching this drama, let me know and that way I won't feel so isolated.

The soundtrack was good, the acting was superb, and the storyline just this side of believable, so all in all, I give this the coveted 5-heart rating, and if you haven't yet, I urge you to watch this drama WITHOUT the preconceived notions floating around inside your head to distract you from what you should do as opposed to what you think you need to do.

(yea, I liked this one so much, I didn't find the time to screen capture anything, I was that mesmerized for the duration).

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