KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Lovely Samsoon (2005)

My Lovely Samsoon
내 이름은 김삼순
(Jun – Jul 2005)

who’s in it
Kim SunAh (City Hall, She’s On Duty - film)
Hyun Bin (World Within, Friend Our Legend)
Jung RyuWon (Ja Myung Go)
Daniel Henney (Spring Waltz, Seducing Mr. Robin – film)

what’s it about
Kim SunAh is a chubby (by tv standards), unemployed patisserie chef who gets dumped by her cheating dog of a boyfriend. After this crushing setback, she goes on a mission to land a better job and a better man, a better life. A better name, too. She believes that her cursed name has tainted her entire existence and all will be straightened out once she changes it from “SamSoon” to “HeeJin.” She lands a gig at a fancy-schmancy restaurant owned by the arrogant but handsome Hyun Bin, a man who has some ex-issues of his own. Although Hyun Bin’s new pastry chef makes some pretty awesome desserts…she is everything that he doesn’t find attractive in a woman: loud, opinionated and unsophisticated. But when the two start a fake relationship in order to thwart Hyun Bin’s mother from her matchmaking schemes (Kim SunAh borrows money from him in exchange), the couple’s real feelings start to get in the way of their contract. Yep, I said contract. It’s a contract romance one!

16 episodes


wildcard factor
Kim SunAh’s acting feels tremendously raw and honest in this role. She played a real human being that had flaws, yes, including a complex about her weight. It shouldn’t be considered ‘brave’ to play a normal woman, but let’s face it, this is the entertainment industry and her role as an “overweight” spinster was pretty courageous as she exists in a celebrity land of stick-skinny anorexics, including her co-star Jung RyuWon, who was so skinny in the drama that she could have made a spaghetti strand ashamed of its weight.

Kim SunAh was awkward, uncomfortable and completely charming as the brassy Kim SamSoon.

Hyun Bin became huge after this aired. What else is there to say? He’s a handsome guy who looked good in a nicely cut suit and perfectly coifed hair. Oh yeah, and as a nice side benefit, he could act.

after the first episode
There was something about this one that didn’t feel the same as the other kdramas [I had seen prior to it]. It was intelligent. It felt classy. It was heartwarming. The female lead was instantly recognizable as one of our own, a normal person and not just a kdrama cliché. Her flaws, her worries, and her fears felt real. As for Hyun Bin, my initial thought on his character was that he was interesting and complicated…you definitely felt there were onion skins to his character that would be peeled layer by layer as the show progressed.
And all this plus the show was FUNNY!

gave up

snoozer moments
Jung RyuWon was a bit of a snore.

More like binging on sweets.

what didn’t work

what did
Kim SunAh and Hyun Bin

what made me want to gouge my eyes out
Jung RyuWon was soooooooo skinny in here that it sometimes literally hurt to look at her.

what kept me going

Oh, you know, the fact that I was watching a quality drama

Other factors:
predictability Yes
engrish Not really…Daniel Henney obviously spoke fluent English being as he is American and Jung RyuWon is from Australia so she also spoke it well.
originality Yes
eye-candy Yes. Daniel Henney is a good-looking feller and well, Hyun Bin is nothing to sniff at, you know.
hair and fashion Hyun Bin can really rawk the pink.

is it worth trying to find?
Yes, a must watch for any kdrama fan.

total enjoyment factor 

total disdain factor

why this review is completely biased
It’s not. This was one damn good drama.

could a non-kdrama fan like this

A game-changer in 2005. I do believe many longtime kdrama fans may consider this THE kdrama, the one that broke down the walls and set a new tone for heroines, and not merely because Kim SunAh gained weight to play a full-figured woman, but because it proved that audiences were ready and willing to embrace a modern type of leading lady. A real type found in the real world. And I only keep bringing up the weight factor because it was sort of a talking point when this aired. Chubby, ‘old,’ and imperfect heroines were not usually done in Korea and the gorgeous Kim SunAh drastically changed her usual appearance for this one. Now, I want to clarify that at no point did she actually seem chubby or old, only that was how we were supposed to perceive her.

Simply one of the best.


  1. I think all praise must go to Kim Sun Ah, who made My Lovely Sam Soon into an experience to had to be lived, and not just watched. The slapstick comedy was light and often hilarious. I smiled, I laughed, I had a wonderful time watching this drama (lol, just recently for the first time). I also enjoyed its lighthearted questioning of certain [Korean] values concerning women, marriage and family.

    I'm excited about Hyun Bin's upcoming movie LATE AUTUMN, an English dialogue role with Tang Wei.

    Thank you.

  2. No argument here, I LOVE Kim SunAh! And this is a drama I've rewatched multiple times myself! It has that kind of timeless charm, so true, it is a wonderful watch.

  3. Yeah, I can see it happening to me too...I will revisit My Lovely Sam Soon like an "old friend" for years to come. I'm currently watching CITY HALL and I'm having a great time...really getting into it.

    I'm a Kim Sun Ah fan!


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