First Impressions of “She Was Pretty”

New drama time! As I’ve said several times, I love comedies so this one is right up my alley.

I didn’t read much about this drama before watching the pilot so I guess you can say I went in blindly. Well, not entirely because I knew that the characters’ looks reversed. Anyway, does my lack of expectations explain why I enjoyed it or were these two episodes objectively good?

I haven’t seen “Kill Me, Heal Me” yet so there’s no nostalgia here for me but I think it’s cute that this drama is a reunion of sorts for Hwang Jung Eum. In addition to reuniting with Park Seo Joon from the aforementioned “Kill Me, Heal Me,” her costar from “Can You Hear My Heart?” Go Joon Hee, plays her best friend and the crazy Editor-in-Chief is played by Hwang Seok Jeong, a costar from “Secrets.” I am sure there are others but I think these are the most significant. Isn’t that cute?

Speaking of cute, the friendship in this drama is to die for. I feel like girlmance doesn’t  generally get explored as much as bromance in fiction so I’m really loving the chemistry, camaraderie and pure love between Hye Jin and Ha Ri.

These two awesome women have been best friends since childhood. They started off as neighbors and now live together. So it’s fair to say that they’ve been stuck together forever, except for the time Ha Ri’s family relocated to Japan.

Which brings us to Sung Joon. But let me back up a bit. “She Was Pretty” is an MBC drama about a woman, Kim Hye Jin who grew out of her pretty looks and Ji Sung Joon, who grew into his in adulthood. He was a bullied, chubby, insecure kid who found a friend when his family moved into the house Ha Ri’s previously occupied. Despite being the queenka of the school, Hye Jin not only noticed him but protected and took care of him. They became best friends and eventually first loves.

OMG, Ding Dong (of “Greatest Love”) kissed a girl!

Hye Jin’s popularity went with her looks and in the present, she struggles to find a job. She’s got an unacceptable frizzy bob and permanent sunburn. No, but seriously, there’s no excuse for her appearance. It would be one thing if she didn’t care but since it makes her feel insecure, I don’t see why she doesn’t moisturize her hair (or tie it) and apply some BB cream or foundation.

But in true kdrama fashion, she’s still cute in her own way.

She’s a very smart hard worker and loyal friend and when Sung Joon contacts her to inform her of his arrival from New York and requests that they meet, she’s excited till he mistakes her for a beautiful woman and her insecurities take control of her brain.

She doesn’t want to sully his memory of their precious first love so she asks her beautiful friend to pretend to be her in what is simultaneously a beautiful, sad and hilarious scene. The switcheroo is funny; Sung Joon’s reaction and behavior are beautiful; and the fact that Hye Jin resorted to hiding herself is sad.

“Hye Jin” telling a guy who obviously met his childhood friend with romantic expectations that she was leaving for England the next day was hilarious. I recall blowing off a guy in a similar fashion only to be introduced to him the following week for an unrelated reason. LOL. My life isn’t a rom-com so we didn’t fall in love after a series of hijinks but we know this drama will have a different ending.

Anyway, other than the great girlmance, I really like the flashbacks of our future couple. They are so sweet and heartwarming and I can’t wait till the grownup versions evoke the same emotions in me. But will that take some time?

For starters, Sung Joon is pretty darn awful. He breezes into town as the new editor of “Most,” the magazine Hye Jin works at, and proceeds to make everyone feel like crap. He doesn’t hesitate to aggressively reprimand her even when he’s told that she’s a newbie from a different department and lets everyone know that their work is shit.

But we also learn that unbeknownst to them, their magazine will get shut down if they don’t turn things around in three months. Which is why he’s hard on them as he needs to get them to work at their full potential ASAP. But does that mean that his jerkish behavior is all an act? And that calling them lazy workers was just his excuse to buy them lunch without looking like a softie? I hope this is the case so that I can root for him. Because that cute, little boy who only survived elementary school due to the kindness of another has no right to grow up to become this man.

How dare you publicly humiliate her like that you mofo?!?!

We got to learn a lot about Hye Jin this first week so I hope Sung Joon gets similar focus in the upcoming episodes and his world is opened up to us so that we can fully understand him.

Episode two was largely about Hye Jin finally getting a job only to find Sung Joon there. She freaks out and goes around like a headless chicken worried that he’d recognize her and learn of the switcheroo but he’s too busy being a bastard to her. She goes from wanting to quit to being antagonized into staying. Kicking her out of the meeting was uncalled for and it wasn’t like she was slacking off. She was only there to take minutes and hadn’t been in that department long enough to contribute to the meeting constructively but now that he’s got her engine revved up, she should start proving herself.

Make him eat his words, girlfriend!

My favorite scenes were the childhood flashbacks and the physical comedic scenes like when she thought she lost her tooth and when Sung Joon hit the glass door. I hope he also has a wacky side. The “out” scene was also funny especially when the maknae got an”out” after only saying “uhm.” A lot of the crazy chief’s scenes are also hilarious.

The story is an old one and is reminiscent of “Cyrano de Bergerac” and other works like “The Truth About Cats & Dogs,” “A Cinderella Story,” “Mujhse Dosti Karoge” and heck, even I wrote a story called “The Honeymoon,” and other variations like in “Healer” where one doesn’t realize that the person next to them is the one they long for as another persona.

When they sent him Ha Ri’s vacation photo, I wondered if the OTP would embark on an online relationship and this would devolve into an episode of “Catfish” but it looks like Sung Joon catching Ha Ri at the hotel has nipped that in the bud.

I don’t know if I’m happy about that because I would have loved to see him push her away in real life while fawning over her online.

I really like the peeping girl puzzle being important in their childhood and tying in to their adult love story. It’s so kdrama and very contrived and convenient but I really like the symbolism of it all. I am sure that the missing puzzle piece will be pivotal but I wonder how. Will it help him recognize her or will she throw it at him in a fit of rage? Or will it be a quiet scene at the end after they find their happy ending?

It’s cliche but execution is key and I like what we’ve gotten so far. What I don’t want is for Ha Ri to fall for Sung Joon for real. Her friendship with Hye Jin should take priority and no matter how much she is affected by how wonderfully Sung Joon treats her, I hope she remembers that those feelings are really directed at someone else. Don’t threaten your friendship, Ha Ri!

What I want is for Sung Joon to soon recognize Hye Jin but not tell her then for a while, both keep this secret from each other which could lead to some really romantic scenes.

One thing I like about this set-up is that there’s room for their adult feelings to build independently of their nostalgic ones. Hye Jin’s insistence on maintaining Sung Joon’s memory of their past caused her to be less professional and not present herself to him in the best light. And as a result, his rude behavior has forced her to view him with different eyes and any romantic feelings she now develops will not be connected to their past.

Depending on how long Sung Joon stays in the dark, he might begin to fall for this Hye Jin, thus, his feelings will not be based on her past behavior. It’s crazy because my desires are contradictory. I want him to quickly discover her true identity and I also don’t want him to so that he can fall for her while ignorant of who he is. What’s even crazier is that while I’m absolutely opposed to romance between Ha Ri and Sung Joon, I like their chemistry. LOL

I haven’t said much about Si Won’s Shin Hyuk because we didn’t get to see much of him. He’s eccentric and appears to be a sweetheart. If this drama follows the usual trope, he will turn out to be the chaebol son. He kinda fits that role, though, because he’s the most easy going character in the department, kinda like he’s not worried about getting fired. LOL

Is he supposed to end up with Ha Ri? If so, his family might approve as she’s rich, right?

Anyway, I really enjoyed these two episodes and can’t wait for more. Wednesday, where are you?

1 Comment

  • leila108 says:

    Clock, I also have a feeling that Choi Si Won is the EIC’s nephew. Among the cast, I love him the most. He makes me laugh, he’s so adorable 🙂 I never knew I’d miss Ding Dong not until I saw him again. Time flies, but he’s still cute.

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