Secret Garden Week 2: Joo Won Is A Douchebag

(They are cute, aren’t they?)

I wish I could claim that I was saying it with love but I really am not. This week, especially in episode 4, Joo Won proved himself to be a complete and utter douchebag. The kind of douchebag that once ripped, doesn’t deserve to be put back together with safety pins.

Episode 3 started off with Joo Won saving our heroine from the screaming director then treating the entire cast and crew to lunch. Then he swooped in and “borrowed” Ra Im by grabbing her by the wrist Flintstones-style and dragging her away for their private lunch on the 9th floor.

Then he surprised her with a candle lit dinner. Except there was enough food for a soccer team laid out for just the two of them. I must admit that for a split second, that food kinda made me wish I was her. Or at least, one of the staff who’d have to clean it up afterwards.

So here’s my problem with this. Does Joo Won think that he’s in some romantic movie?  Okay, okay, I know I’m watching a romantic drama and Joo Won is one of the main characters but does the character know this? Why I ask is because he seems to think that Ra Im should be impressed by his grand gestures.

Now, if they were in a relationship, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what he did, but seeing as they aren’t in a relationship, wasn’t he being a bit too much?  He didn’t seem to understand that which was why he couldn’t understand why Ra Im wasn’t impressed by his antics. And as Ra Im pointed out, what he did only put an unwelcome spotlight on her. I think this incident pretty much summarized last weekend’s episodes as: Ra Im and Joo Won are not in a relationship although Joo Won is painfully unaware of this fact.

Remember our typical second lead, Jong Soo? Having heard of Joo Won’s Knight In Shining Armor moves at the department store, he decided to go and have a manly lead actor – second lead actor chat where he told him to back off. What I liked about this is that Joo Won is a douche and talks down to everyone but Jong Soo can hold his own. Too bad he’s still going to lose this battle in the long run. Well, not really “too bad” since I don’t want him with Ra Im. He comes off as the type of man who’ll always make all her decisions for her because he “knows what’s best.” No thanks.

Since Joo Won doesn’t care about what anybody else thinks but him, even though Ra Im warned him to stay out of her life, he still goes to see her at her workplace where they proceed to do this cute sit up thing which consists of him shoving his face close to hers countless times. This was before Joo Won had become the King of Douches so I must admit to enjoying it. Even though I felt it was a tad contrived, it was still cute.  Then they go up to the rooftop where Joo Won then spits out Mr. Darcy’s first confession from Pride and Prejudice almost verbatim. This sums up to: “I love you despite myself.”

When they first met, she hadn’t really thought that much of him. But he refused to stay away and has expressed an interest in her. I think most women can relate to considering a man like him. Sure, she might not have been interested at first but it wouldn’t hurt to hang out with him a little, right? And this was exactly how Ra Im felt when she met up with him. Yes, he’d done his  Jin Heon of My Lovely Sam Soon’s thing of using money as an excuse to see her but I’m sure she realized that it might be more than that. Which was why she wore that scarf around her neck and instead of just returning the 2000 Won, indicated that she’d stick around and buy him a beer.

But see, Joo Won is an idiot. He’s this condescending person and seeing her bag stitched up with safety pins brought him back to reality. His problem is two fold: He’s disgusted that he’s fallen for someone he shouldn’t have and pissed that she’s not even making an effort to be different. As a completely selfish person, he isn’t thinking about her. Which is why I wonder if he even knows what “love” is especially as he once implied that he had no real use for it. Love isn’t simply about thinking about someone and doing things to impress him or her  but actually thinking about his or her feelings and trying to understand that person. Sure, he didn’t like that she had to keep apologizing all the time but when he spewed all that vitriol at her at the dinner table, yelling at her for not dressing up for him (why should she? He’s not her boyfriend), upset that she’s not rich enough to buy herself a new bag or different clothes, he didn’t think about what it would feel like to be at the receiving end of that tirade.

Now, the side of me that’s not so hard on him, perhaps that side that has been taken in by his cute face thinks that there might be a third problem. Perhaps he wants her to be different because that would mean that she wouldn’t have to be ridiculed while being with him. In episode 4, we got to hear how Director Park described her, not to speak of his mother’s comments. Plus Oska himself alluded to Ra Im not being marriageable. So perhaps if she made an effort to be different and be more like the women everyone (including himself) feels is best suited for him, she wouldn’t have to go through some B.S.. It might be a bit of a stretch but as I said, this is the side of me that’s under the spell of Hyun Bin’s cute face.

But on a side note, this is why only hot, sexy men are cast as jerks. Because how many women would sympathize with a cold, mean, fugly dude?

Now, we’ve all met a bunch of douchebags in our lifetimes and there’s no special day like the last day you ever have to see their faces again. But see, Joo Won isn’t the kind of douchebag who makes you feel like crap then disappears out of your life. No. He’s the kind that has to keep appearing in front of you and making you miserable all over again.

So Ra Im won a prize for a contest she hadn’t even entered. She knew it was fishy but decided to pick it up anyway. She runs into him at this store then they go to his office. I personally don’t even know why she had to go to his office in the first place. Do prize winners have to see the president? Or was he the one who asked her to his office for a private chat? I assume the latter and while they were there, he then proceeds to insult her for not considering his image because a woman the president is interested in shouldn’t be coming into the store to pick up sweepstakes prizes.

Now, here’s my thing: THEY ARE NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP. Ra Im didn’t ask him to broadcast to everyone within a five mile radius that he was interested in her. She didn’t ask him to come out and proclaim she was like Kim Tae Hee to him, didn’t say that he should treat everyone to lunch nor did she asked to be dragged by him to a private room. These were things he chose to do on his own accord and things she explicitly said she didn’t want. But because of these unwanted things, he now expects her to consider him, his feelings and his image.

When I was a teenager, I read a few historical romance novels and most of them were about this roguish, devilish rich guy and some innocent, pure virgin. Rogue would try all his moves on Virgin and when he got frustrated with her resistance, would carry her over his shoulder kicking and screaming, toss her into a dungeon and declare that he wouldn’t release her till she fell in love with him.

Well, I kinda made that synopsis up but it could have been the plot of a historical novel, which is my point. This drama almost feels like a 1800s British romance novel on crack.

So after he insults her, she responds with a “Yes, m’lord. You’re right, Sir. I is a po’ girl” routine and this only serves to further aggravate him. One thing I noticed about him is that while he doesn’t mind spewing venom at her, he hates when others – including herself – do it. Perhaps in a different frame of mind, I might find this romantic, but in this one, it shows that he knows better. He knows that the things he says and the way he tries to make her feel ashamed of who she is is wrong. But he does it anyway. So he drags her like a rag doll, throws a bunch of branded items on the floor, tosses her into the dressing room and humiliates her. Wow, what a sexy hero we have here.

Now, as for Ra Im, I guess it’s because this is a drama but could she give me a damn break? I guess I’m supposed to swoon because the fact that she can’t leave it alone is supposedly romantic but can someone please explain to me why a normal-thinking woman would start to like this kind of vitriolic stalker? Is it Stockholm Syndrome or is she just a masochist? I wonder this because after receiving the vacuum cleaner he’d refused her at the store through her friend, why did she have to mount it on her bike and make the journey to his place?  If she didn’t want it, she could have simply asked her friend to return it, taken it to the store herself (he didn’t have to be present), or better still, just tossed it in the trash.

But we needed her to go there to receive more abuse from him. Once again, Joo Won was upset that she wasn’t reacting the way he’d expected. Perhaps this occurs when you “fall in love” with someone even though you know absolutely nothing about them. I’m not just talking about her background or her life history. But what about who she is? Her values, her beliefs, her personality? If he knew that, maybe he wouldn’t be surprised about her walking into the pond to fish out the vacuum cleaner he’d tossed in there.

On a side note: I’m not going to lie – there’s nothing like a screaming match between a couple to get me all swoony. And since Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin are good actors with good chemistry, their screaming matches are intense. But isn’t this just episode 4? LOL. You guys don’t know each other well enough to be fighting this way.

Speaking of that vacuum cleaner, did they think that placing blue tape on the “Ph” in “Philips” would camouflage the brand adequately? I realize that scene was supposed to be angtsy but I cracked up every time I saw the blue tape. LOL.

One thing that really ticked me off was that he had the guts to toss her keys into the water then mention that he can get another one. ARGH! Dude, you just don’t get it. ARGH! ARGH!

Anyway, all this drama led to Ra Im and her future mother-in-law meeting for the first time. And we got to see as I previously mentioned, that while he doesn’t have a problem inflicting abuse on her, he can’t stand to see his mother do the same. How sweet. NOT.

What these two episodes did was make me long for the switch. I think Ra Im is okay as she is, even though she needs to toughen up and gain some self esteem. But Joo Won really needs to be kicked out of the little bubble he lives in – the one that makes him feel that he’s above everyone else. Oska is his hyung but he doesn’t treat him with respect. Sure, Oska doesn’t necessarily act like a hyung so maybe he doesn’t deserve it but  if you think about it, everyone around him is comfortable with him. His manager, his employees, all his entourage are not scared of him and can openly laugh at him without repercussion.

I know he and Joo Won have their love-hate relationship thing going on but I hate how Joo Won roped him into the Jeju trip without informing him. And when Oska came to protest, he shooed him away like a fly. Perhaps I could have found it cute last week but now that he’s on my shit list, I don’t.

Plus even though Joo Won acts like he doesn’t think much of his cousin, he’s always barging into his home for advice. And why did he then have to ruin his date with his woman-of-the-evening by mentioning another lady that Oska had spent the night with? Because he’s mean. It might be funny but when you think about it, it’s also unnecessarily mean.

Okay, okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little hard on him because they are funny together and he does love his cousin and we saw him agree to change the schedule plus Oska did call him when he was at the police station and he helped him out – even though it looks like he’s going to make him pay. Come to think of it, as a Hallyu star, shouldn’t Oska have his own lawyer? But this is a drama so I should ignore that.

Anyway, my point was, instead of just needing to treat Ra Im better, Joo Won needs to treat everyone better. Sure, Director Park is gunning for his job but Joo Won brought it on himself. That guy needs a lesson in humility and the drama has made a very good case for why a body swap is necessary. My only regret is that their personalities won’t be swapped as well which means that Joo Won (in Ra Im’s body) will never be at the receiving end of his bullshit. I think that truly seeing himself through someone else’s eyes is something he desperately needs.

I’d planned on saying something about Seul but I really can’t be bothered anymore. She’s truly a boring character although something tells me that there must be another layer to her. Or at least, that’s what I hope.

All in all, even though I think Joo Won is a douchebag, I enjoyed these episodes. I do wonder why they had to spend so much time on the “Oska wants a mentee” storyline. Simply to inject some comedy or will it weave itself into a more important plot later on? Remains to be seen.


  • goodange says:

    “This drama almost feels like a 1800s British romance novel on crack.”

    I cackled reading this part. Yeah, Joo Won’s an a-hole, much more so than Jin Soo. On the one hand, Hyun Bin looks good in that three-piece suit.

    I just have to say that Ha Ji Won has a resemblance to Kim Sun Ah. I think it’s the nose.

    • msclockwatcher msclockwatcher says:

      Yes, he’s much worse than Jin Soo. Sheesh. Hyun Bin looks good but he needs some food. I haven’t really notice a resemblance to KSA, I must say.

      As for ILIPS,, I cracked up when I saw like four pieces of blue tape around the box. hahaha.

  • goodange says:

    Oh, and good catch on the Philips box. WTF??? Haha. Who would name their company ILIPS? Or is that supposed to be iLips?

  • Khin Nwe Aye says:

    msclockwatcher, you’re my soulmate who sees things as they are. No matter how childishly charming and naive JW is, I can’t stand him dishing out his verbal abuses at RI who has never asked him to chase her, nor she ever pretends that she’s well-to-do and is of the same class as him. She seems to be finding satisfaction as a stuntwoman and she has confidence in her top physical shape to do her work well, whereas JW is a total nutcase who can go to work only two days a week though his suggestions do have good results. What I don’t understand him what good would it do for RI or to JW just because he keeps on listing her shortcomings and continued put-downs on her poverty and “shabbiness”. As I read someone suggests maybe JW’s family are nouveau riche: maybe that’s the reason he doesn’t have real class inspite of his wealth and so-called education (I always think a truly educated man is humble and only empty vessels make the most sound). As I don’t know any Korean I don’t understand what’s been spoken at the family dining table, but looking at their body language, the atmosphere is not congenial at all; maybe they are busy backstabbing each other. So the only thing I can say in JW’s favour is as his family turn out to be so unsympathetic (except for the younger sister who seems the only one normal) and his mother so snooty and mean, no wonder JW never learns from his mother how to be a good person, who thinks of others’ feelings first before spouting off whatever comes into his head. He’s also so clueless or maybe he can’t accept that RI finds him not much attractive when they first met in spite of him in a covertible and the sparkly tracksuit which he claims is handsewn by an Italian tailor. He’s so used to rich, beautiful and “highly educated” women fawning on him that he can’t believe a woman of such lower social status like RI doesn’t fall for him at first sight. Maybe this fact drives him to his insane behaviour towards the woman he’s irresistibly attracted to. I can understand his bewilderment at his first stirrings of physical attraction or “love” for a woman (remember he doesn’t think love is necessary in a marriage) but still why should he spew out his tirade against the equally bewildered RI, who’s never come across such a person before? He shouldn’t blame RI for his inability to deal with his feelings and with her, someone who’s oblivious to his “charms”. I just hope the forthcoming episodes will portray JW in a better light, or depict that he is on his first step towards becoming a real warm human being who is aware of other people’s sensitivities and weaknesses and finally learns to overcome his neuroses with the help of a perfectly down-to-earth and sane RI. But I just can’t imagine a union between two persons of such different background and values. To have a happy ending, JW must learn to appreciate values held by RI and to come to cherish her existant personality, no more no less.

    • msclockwatcher msclockwatcher says:

      lol, Hello, Soulmate 😀 Thanks for your comment.

      I really think Joo Won is past the age of blaming his parents for his behavior. There are a lot of rich people who don’t interact with people of other backgrounds but they at least have enough sense to not be so disrespectful to every single person they meet.

      Even though there are certain stereotypes about the nouveau riche, wealth whether newly acquired or not doesn’t determine one’s ability to be classy. Ra Im, her friend, Secretary Kim, pretty much everyone is classier than Joo Won. And even Oska and his mother, Joo Won’s sister etc appear to be more personable as well. So I think Joo Won’ personality just sucks.

      As for upcoming episodes, I’m sure he will change, after all, it’s a kdrama. But I think it does send a bad message when a woman falls for someone who’s treated her like such rubbish. In reality, a guy who talks down to you like this will probably not be much better even after you’ve begun dating. A lot of women who are victims of emotional abuse can attest to this. But it’s a drama, so we’re not supposed to think of these things.

      But the funny thing is Joo Won doesn’t even love Ra Im. He’s just obsessed with her and can’t forget her. If he loved her, why would very single thing she did and everything she is tick him off so much? This is not love. He doesn’t know her at all. He doesn’t understand her at all. He doesn’t want her to have her own personality. It’s not love but obsession. I hope the drama does show him falling in love for real.

      • eatnsnooze says:

        At this point in the story, it acutally makes more sense that Joo Won doesn’t actually “love” Ra Im (yet) but rather just an obession/attraction…so him being a dickface is probably more realistic.

        I actually think the Secret Garden plotline is quite unlike most traditional K-drama “Darcy” set-ups where the guy comes across as a complete asshole first and then once he shows the slightest, most insignificant trace of “kindness”–suddenly our girl has fallen for him. And then somehow, by the end of the show, he seems like some sort of angel. Here we almost has the opposite. He starts off seeming as if he is somewhat of a nice person inside even though he appears pretty tactless and spoilt (checking on the wound, declaring to be her fan, strange confession, etc), so it’s reasonable that Ra Im is at least somewhat touched by his actions. But as the plot progresses, he’s suddenly turned into Lord Voldemort.

      • Khin Nwe Aye says:

        You really hit the nail on the head with your keen observation that “JW doesn’t even love RI”. This is just a case of obsession with a “strange species” he’s never come across before. JW is, in fact, fascinated, as well as repelled, at the same time by RI. Though he thinks RI is “cool” (or “awesome”, don’t know which is the correct translation as I read both in so many websites), he never once lists any of her good points. To love a person, he must have at least a smidgeon of sympaty or empathy for the erson concerned. As I don’t believe a person can really change his values and attitudes, especially when he is already over 30 years old and his mindset being pretty well established, only “body- or sould-swapping” may lead to some transformation of JW’s character. As anything is possible in drama, let’s hope our handsome, childish, arrogant, plain-speaking lead actor will see the error of his ways and RI won’t have to face a lifetime of verbal abuse and putdowns by JW!

  • Precious says:

    I haven’t watched the episodes, though I’ve read the recaps because I just KNOW this is a setup leading to the switch that will make him realize the error of his ways (it better be show or else i will quit you emotionally). I think why it’s so jarring is that we’re used to the girl playing the rich bitch who only thinks of herself , even when the guys are the rich privileged ones they are more cool, distant and coldhearted as opposed to being horrid. I don’t remember a guy being this bad since Jun Pyo in BBF. A lot of times dramas make a characters hit rock bottom so that at the end they can show us how far they’ve come however in this case I don’t think they needed to make my Hyunnie this bad, he was already bad enough in the first two episodes. There’s a fine line of jerkiness that if crossed even if he becomes prince charming at the end of the series the audience still won’t fully embrace him, from the recaps it seems they’re teetering dangerously close. There better be a reason for making him like this or else the writers should get ready to receive a lot of hate mail.

    • msclockwatcher msclockwatcher says:

      Hiya P!

      Well they should be switching bodies soon so I hope that means the jerkiness will come to a close. I couldn’t stomach Jun Pyo so I had to drop BOF but he was worse because he was physically abusing his classmates and causing some of them to contemplate suicide, right? I can’t remember but I don’t know if he berated his love interest to the extent Joo Won does. And Joo Won is older and should know better.

      But some people have already begun to make excuses for his behavior (even though the drama really hasn’t explained why he’s this vile) so the writers will probably be okay. lol.

      I was okay with his jerkiness up till ep 3 but episode 4 was too much. I don’t know why he thinks it’s okay to drag this woman like that. Not cute at all.

  • leila8mae says:

    clock, you are making me WATCH this drama!! i think it’s a good sign that M3 delayed Episode 6.. I have time to catch up..

    Regarding Jun Pyo, well he’s the epitome of a spoiled brat who thinks money is everything that even life can be paid.. hence the violence.. I don’t approve of it.. Jan Di turned his world around coz he can’t use money on her..

    I have to watch Hyun Bin’s take on the character.. I think it’s intriguing..

    • msclockwatcher msclockwatcher says:

      lol, you should give it a shot. The drama might end up going to hell in a hand basket but so far, so good.

      The Hana Yori Dango plot is too much. Sheesh. I only managed to watch the Japanese one after skipping to episode 4 cos the premise is so ridiculous to me. i also skipped like 5 episodes of BOF but even by like ep 12, Jun Pyo was still a major dickhead so I stopped watching. lol.

      Hyun Bin is doing a good job so far. Mean SOB. lol. It’s so funny cos he’s so upset that she’s not playing the “love game” with him that all he can do is yell. HAHAHAHA. Idiot.

  • msclockwatcher msclockwatcher says:

    lol. I don’t know if he’s quite Lord Voldermort yet @eat. Since the drama tries to show that he feels a little bad about his actions afterwards. But it’s not enough for me.

    Hahaha… but I’m almost certain that Joo Won will become some kind, loving man by the end of the show. Maybe not to everyone, but at least to Ra Im.

  • leila8mae says:

    clock I just finished watching this.. and i personally think Joo won is NOT in love.. he’s more on the curious side because I think for him he couldn’t fathom anyone like Ra Im.. I guess because he’s well off and all and Ra Im is so far from the other end of his spectrum.. so he’s intrigued and we get the dynamics that will lead him to think he’s in love already.. though I’m not liking this idea of having to like someone and ridicule him(her).. though its kinda typical that female leads fall for guys who really hurt them BIG TIME! right? that’s why we always have perfect second lead guys to fall for who are the exact opposite of the male lead!!

    On the other hand, I’m loving the visuals in this drama and honestly I like the leads’ chemistry.. hehe.. so I’m looking forward to the switch and getting a better picture of Joo Won’s change of heart and his quest of knowing what LOVE is.. not just by reading to understand but to experience it..

    BTW, I like the titles of the book Joo Won was reading!!: “A sunny day meaning nothing..”; “Someone is walking into my heart”; “You flew here by mistake”..

  • Khin Nwe Aye says:

    msclockwatcher, this may not be a forum for writing outside the “Secret Garden” frame of reference. But I must tell you how amazed I was last night to find your fanfic “Honeymoon” and stayed up till 8:30 a.m. to read it at one go! never thought I would find such nice fiction in cyberspace. Have you written anything new lately Please tell me where I can go and read your earlier/later works. Thank you.

    • msclockwatcher msclockwatcher says:

      Hello Khin Nwe Aye!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story and hope you didn’t lose too much sleep 🙂 I really appreciate your comments and kind words. If you’re on soompi, you can use this link: .If you want something long like Honeymoon, you read Wrong Foot First and then it’s sequel, With One Foot In. The others are fanfics based on shows like My Lovely Sam Soon, Coffee House and We Got Married.

      For links outside of soompi, you can use this one:

      Thanks again for checking out the story!

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