Thoughts on SBS Weekend Drama “Beautiful Gong Shim”: It’s Great!

Who else is watching this lovely gem? Eight episodes in and I’m fully on board.

Written and directed by the team behind “The Girl Who Sees Smells”, “Beautiful Gong Shim” is about the girl who wears wigs and steals our hearts.

In a rather cliché set up, we have the usual average, script-ugly girl who works hard but gets nowhere in life. And her biggest adversary is her script-beautiful sister who has everything; great job, great looks and love from everyone. And I call them “script-ugly” and “script-beautiful” because my eyes don’t see what all the characters on the show do. This isn’t like “She Was Pretty” where I could definitely see how the best friend stole the show but here, Gong Shim wears an okay wig so I’m not getting it. But yeah, let’s pretend she’s not pretty.

Her sister is also selfish and turned her room into her closet so Gong Shim moved to the rooftop apartment upstairs. Strapped for cash, she needed to rent it out and in came Ahn Dan Tae, a brilliant lawyer who prefers to use his skills to help the little man instead of raking in cash at a top law firm.

Working with the little man means he often gets paid in things like wigs and food so he moonlights as a designated driver for extra cash and that’s how he meets Seok Joon Soo, a chaebol son (every drama needs one) whose grandma treats him like trash because she hasn’t gotten over the loss of her grandchild who disappeared twenty-six years ago.

Oh, but isn’t Joon Soo her grandchild too? From what I gather, he’s her husband’s grandchild via affair i.e. her husband’s mistress’s kid got registered as her child so while he’s legally her grandchild, he isn’t biologically. And to make matters worse, her grandchild – Joon Pyo – got kidnapped at Joon Soo’s birthday party and she somehow blames him for it. It’s irrational and extremely frustrating because if anyone is innocent, it’s the little kid who was too young to plan his own party, talk less of kidnap her beloved Joon Pyo. All he wants is her acknowledgement but she doesn’t bother to hide her disdain.

What I like about this show is that while there’s a pseudo birth secret storyline, they haven’t bothered to hide it. There’s no mystery about who Joon Pyo is because we already know it’s Dan Tae. However, they still manage to keep it interesting as we wait for the characters to get up to speed.

From what we’ve seen so far, Joon Soo’s father isn’t involved in his disappearance. I actually liked his parents at first – his mom for being direct with her mother-in-law and dad for being kind of fun – but now I only like his dad. I really hope he’s as clueless as he appears to be.

We got a flashback to when Joon Pyo disappeared. Basically, his mother got hit by a white truck of doom as she chased after him while his cousin’s uncle took him away. At first, I saw Joon Soo’s mom watch her brother and thought she only saw him take him away (and didn’t say anything) but it looks like she was in on it. Drats. Why did you turn out to be so awful? And I was rooting for you!

So while we wait for the truth to be revealed, we get to watch Mean Grandma and her biological grandson develop a bond. She quickly takes to him when she hires him as a driver and afterwards, hires him as a lawyer to look into his own disappearance. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when he learns that he’s been searching for himself. Haha. Why does this make me laugh?

But Joon Soo’s relatives aren’t the only guilty party.

Dan Tae’s father is also an accomplice… sort of. Twenty-six years ago, Joon Soo’s uncle asked him to take care of a random kid for one day. They are friends and all but that is certainly not normal and he should have immediately known that something dodgy was taking place. A day later, he eavesdropped on his conversation and learned that he intended to harm the child so Dan Tae’s dad lied that he’d lost the kid and didn’t return him. Instead, he turned him into his son who’d died.

And now that he’s sick with a few months to live, he’s chosen to reveal the truth… well, in that drama way that allows obstacles to prevent him from doing so because we still have several episodes to go. Another person who’s aware is Dan Tae’s aunt who wants her brother-in-law to take it to the grave and I really hate such selfish people. She places the effect it will have on her family over letting the person she grew to love as a nephew learn the truth about his life. Is this what we’re calling love these days?

While this is going on, we have a wonderful friendship blossoming between Dan Tae and Gong Shim. And Joon Soo! I call it friendship because I value it way more than the brewing love triangle. These three are absolutely lovely. We’ve got no-nonsense Gong Shim who’s sweet and kind despite being raised by her selfish family. There’s weird but loyal and just Dan Tae who always protects the downtrodden – especially Gong Shim. And rich and sensitive mama’s boy Joon Soo who is heartbroken – and not bitter – from Granny’s treatment. All three are adorable together and while I’ve enjoyed Gong Shim’s crush on Joon Soo, we all know who she’ll end up with.

I was initially put off by the age difference between the actors playing Gong Shim and Dan Tae but it somehow works. I think it’s because the chemistry between the characters has been well-written. They complement each other and Gong Shim is no pushover so at no point does it feel like an older man taking advantage of a younger girl. Plus he doesn’t look like an ahjusshi next to her.

But while the chemistry and storyline work for this OTP, the one thing that stops me from fully shipping them is Joon Soo! I love how his world has been opened by both Gong Shim and Dan Tae and don’t want to see him heartbroken :(.  Not only will Dan Tae get the girl he likes, he will also get his grandma’s love. Dramas like this make me wish Korean dramas were more like Japanese dramas and this show would end with all of them staying platonic friends.

Having said that, I still like the potential couple and look forward to their romance unfolding. Episode 8 ended with Gong Shim deciding to move to Jeju for two years to work and find herself. Dan Tae also learned that his father was involved in Joon Pyo’s disappearance and he watched in horror as he unearthed a box of what I bet are the remains of a young boy. We know it’s the real Dan Tae but our Dan Tae thinks it’s Joon Pyo.

After Joon Soo’s mother fired Gong Shim (whom she’d hired as her husband’s secretary) for fraternizing with her son, Joon Soo decided to throw caution to the wind and follow his heart, which meant confessing his feelings to Gong Shim. Gong Shim rejected him (in a very good “it’s not you, it’s me” speech) where she told him that she needs to learn to love herself before she can love someone else.

And after revealing her plans to Dan Tae, he too, confessed in his own way by saying that he doesn’t want her to go because he’d miss her too much. He’s adorable.

So I was looking forward to a time skip where Gong Shim would have ditched her wig (which I would miss) because she’d grown up, gained confidence and lost the stress-induced bald spot and returned to paint Seoul red. But now I’m not sure. Will she stay behind to console Dan Tae who must be a mess because he thinks his father is a murderer? I hope not.

I’ve saved the worst for last. Who might that be? Gong Mi a.k.a. Gong Shim’s sister. So apparently, she has everything but is still not satisfied and selfishly wants what Gong Shim has and will not hesitate to throw her under the bus to get it. She didn’t think twice about stepping on her sister to advance her career when her boss’s wife maltreated her. She lied and manipulated her way into getting her to drop the lawsuit and it was Dan Tae who came through and got her an apology. She wants Joon Soo and gladly lies to and steals (furniture class spots) from her sister to get to him. And instead of being sad when her sister lost her job at his company, she was glad that it meant that they wouldn’t run into each other (now that she’s gotten a job there) and her cover wouldn’t be blown because the poor guy still doesn’t know of their connection. Basically, too much screen time is spent on her and I wish she would disappear already. The worst thing that could happen in this drama is for Joon Soo to end up with her. Please, Writer, don’t do this to us.

I don’t know how this predictable drama has done it but it slowly developed into something quite wonderful. I think the key is in the writing and adorable characters. Who else cheered when Gong Shim told Joon Soo’s uncle off? Then a few episodes later, did the same to his mother? Or the wonderful costume-wearing date where Joon Soo loosened up and learned to “rebel?” Or Gong Shim’s father slapping Dan Tae when he scared him thinking he was his daughter? Haha. Or when Joon Soo rejected Gong Mi? That was great! Or when Gong Shim watched Dan Tae stand up for her to those pathetic secretaries? In another drama, she would be unaware of the things he did for her.

This ended up being longer than I planned which I think it a testament to how much I’ve come to enjoy this drama. I can’t wait to see what else happens.



  • martha says:

    It has been so fun watching this drama. I’m a little nervous about the direction it’s taking at the moment but I hold out hope that it remains a fun and interesting watch.

  • thatsmei says:

    welcome to this crazy and fun ride couch-kimchi! this drama is love ♥ ♥♥ Ahn Dan Tae is puppy cute and Gong shim is so adorable as well.

  • omiki says:

    Enjoying this drama. Hope Gong Shim returns from Jeju with her own hairstyle. The bob is cute, but somehow too harsh on her. When Dan Tae reveals that he is Jung Pyo, will Grandma think that he is impersonating her grandson to get her riches?

  • dira says:

    Ahhhh this recap is more fun than amo recap that you wrote (i know its obvious^^”)
    thank you so much >< i can feel the light now that make me smile while just reading it haha
    Btw her sister is like se na…character from swnim previous project rooftop prince (cmiiw), the bad sister

  • bmore says:

    Really enjoying this show and love all your comments. They are spot on. I too kinda hope for a time skip, but it doesn’t seem to be set up well for that. It would work fine for Gong Shim, but there is too much going on with Dan Tae to let that drop for 2 years. Of course she could come back to him as the new chaebol? I too also hope she ditches the wigs asap. They are cute, but, for me, have served their purpose (that”s so unhealthy for her scalp too–counter productive to her hair problem I think) Perhaps at the end, as Dan Tae is closing the door to their newlywed bedroom, he will be holding out his favorite wig to her??? my bad.

  • len says:

    its fun to watch i saw different side of Nam Goong, Min usually we see him so neat ,proper and regal while Minah is doing great she is giving a very nice portrayal of her character..I ‘m looking forward for the next episodes …pls give it a wonderful ending … fighting

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