KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stars Falling from the Sky (2010)

Stars Falling from the Sky
별을 따다 줘 / Pick the Stars
(Jan – Mar 2010)

who’s in it
Choi JungWon
Park JiBin (Boys Over Flowers)
Kim JiHoon
Shin DongWook (Soulmate)

what’s it about
Choi JungWon plays an irresponsible and inept life insurance broker that finds herself saddled with five very young siblings after their parents unexpectedly die in a car accident. Forced to hang up her laziness in order to feed and house the kids, she wheedles her way into the home of three men as their housekeeper - one man is childish, another is a ‘nice guy’ and the eldest is an arrogant lawyer, a man she has harbored a not-so-secret crush on for five freakin’ years. You see, the latter two are not only colleagues at her company, but bigwigs there. There’s an adjacent storyline regarding the inheritance of the aforementioned insurance company and Choi JungWon and the leading men are likewise involved in that bit of plotting.

20 episodes


wildcard factor
How irritating was Choi JungWon? Very.

after the first episode
The first episode was...not that great and, I won’t lie, at times our heroine’s antics were fidget-inducing. I was, however, curious enough to tune in for the next installment. I didn’t completely fall for any of the characters but by the second episode, I could vaguely see where this drama intended to go and I liked the direction the railroad tracks were pointing. There were even a few scenes that made tears well up in my eyes—what’s that all about!? I’m a hard-bitten city girl, I don’t cry over some sad sack story in a Korean drama! (Ok, I lied, I do, but not often) So, I reasoned, if this could tug at my heartstrings after only a couple of hours, it could prove to be a really rewarding drama in the long haul. Even though patience is not my strongest suit, I decided to stick like glue and see what shenanigans flourished and hoped it became the first awesome drama of 2010.

gave up
My decision to stick was short-lived. While I could definitely see why some would find Stars enjoyable, I turned out to be the exception.  I will concede, the drama could still blossom into a well-developed series by the end of its run, but I personally couldn’t muster the endurance to water this plant, not in this case, not for her.

My biggest obstacle was Choi JungWon. Or rather, I should clarify, I couldn’t decide if it was the character or the actress that was so damn annoying to me. Either I’d turned an unfairly biased eye against Choi JungWon or she just wasn’t able to portray a heroine worth supporting. Whichever one, I just couldn’t feel much pity for her. For the little kids, yes—for her, nada, zilch, nothing.

In a 20-episoder, I suppose I expected more progress in terms of character maturity as the series started nearing the halfway mark, but her behavior continued to be frustrating, annoying and, if possible, escalating. When I started to see Kim JiHoon (the rude lawyer) as the real victim in all of this, I knew I had a problem. I started to get upset on his behalf, thinking he was being unfairly pegged as a cold-hearted bastard simply because he couldn’t quite see how this stranger’s problems were his problems. That’s not really a cold-hearted reaction so much as a normal one, isn’t it? This dislikable and obsessive woman had had a crush on him for five years and because of this fact, his brother believed that Kim JiHoon was somehow responsible for her welfare. REALLY? I’m sure to a savvy legal mind that sounded like a complete load of bull. It sounded like a complete load of bull to me, too! In the real world, you see, when an unwelcomed person follows someone around in a single-minded obsessive manner, it’s normal to think it’s annoying as hell and does not constitute as a form of relationship. It’s uncomfortable and awkward and even considered restraining-order behavior. Fantasizing over someone for that long when they don’t even know your name—that’s not admirable, that’s just the actions of a nutcase stalker!

Back to the main point: Kim JiHoon ended up housing six people who so far had 1) lied to get under his roof, 2) deliberately tried to make his cousin out to be mentally unstable to kick him out of the house, 3) invaded his privacy, his daily routine, and even his bed, 4) invited frequent police attention, 5) last but not least, actually set fire to his home! And those were just a few of the infractions. This may have been a kdrama world where antics of characters are meant to be exaggerated, but there should be some rhyme and reason, some logical flow—is that too much to ask? Does it have to be this ridiculous? 

Fictional characters they were but it wasn’t as if the story took place in an alternate universe where bad was good and good was bad. “Oh shucks, isn’t she soooo adorably hopeless? Of course he’ll fall in love with this talentless woman with five kids who lied, yelled and almost burned down his home. After all, she had charmingly made him (really bad) japchae and miyukguk on his birthday. Who wouldn't love her?” Pshaw! He could easily buy his own noodles and seaweed soup, or even find himself a nice girlfriend who knew how to cook. If Choi JungWon’s character had redeeming qualities, I didn’t see them and my magnifying glass got tired of waiting for her to shine. At one point, when the eldest of her siblings begged her to drop them off at an orphanage and come back for them later when she became more financially stable, she responded that the reason why she couldn’t do that was not because she loved them too much, no-no, but because once they were gone, she was afraid she’d never go back to get them because life would be too damn good with them gone. Ooookay. The fact that she had tears running down her face and felt guilty for thinking such thoughts did not make it any less an ugly thing to say. I realized that I was supposed to be moved by this scene, moved by how hard her life had become...instead, I thought, “What a selfish snot. You can’t say that to little kids who just lost their parents, lost their whole life!” What kind of cold person could think that they’d be happier dumping siblings off at an orphanage forever? Think it or not, certainly such words should never be spoken aloud to faces of little children. It was at this point I realized, this drama was not for me.

In the end, I couldn’t get on board with the idea that Kim JiHoon was the one that had to adapt to her. I couldn’t quite agree with this idea that he was the one with the faulty personality just because he found her a lacking human being. Frankly, he was right! She was dislikable! It seemed like the man was way better off before she invaded his life. He was a smart guy with a good heart, he’d probably meet a really nice, capable (and less insane) woman somewhere in his future if he just continued forward on the same course he was already travelling – this is what I started to theorize.

Here’s another example of a scene that grated: Choi JungWon is tearfully begging Kim JiHoon to let them stay at his place for just one month, and when he refuses, she snaps that he should leave his home for a month if he can’t stand the idea of living with them for that duration. His disbelief mirrored my disbelief.

Am I being cold-hearted? Is my reasoning unfair? Possibly. I mean, alright, I understand this woman was being asked to do a complete turnabout of personality after a devastating tragedy and I further understood that her laziness and incompetence couldn’t be cured overnight, but turns out, I don’t care. That’s all it boiled down to in the end. I DIDN’T CARE. It was not only her slow development, it was my utter lack of interest in seeing her improve or watching her gain that happy ending I wasn't even sure she deserved.

Besides, I didn’t feel like she had much onscreen chemistry with any of her leading men either. Even their bickering wasn’t very fun to watch. The kids were amusing, but nobody else. And looky, as far as I was concerned, the plot can be unrealistic and nutty and still make for a good kdrama but enjoying the characters, well, that’s a necessary ingredient, one might even argue the most critical component to enjoying any show. And not only did I not sympathize with this woman, I couldn’t stand her! Therefore I had to let this one go on without me. In my book, this was the first shilpae of 2010, a true disappointment because I really had high hopes for it when it started.


  1. U seems to give a long meticulous review though u claim that the heroine especially does not fulfill your standard. Anyway, thanks for sharing

  2. Agree with this review on almost all points. Thought I was in the minority. I didn't care for the lead actress at all. Couldn't stand her actually. And that alone pretty much ruined the entire show.

  3. I agree to a certain extent what you have said but I think you are missing somethings .Remember in the beginning when she cut her hair off saying she is no longer a woman but a mom I think this is why they alloelwed her character to become like this . I didn't think she was that unbearable. Its tough being responsible for one but five that's serious stress.I felt varying degrees of sorrow for all of them.She just yielded to him because she didn't have a choice, ultimately they came first


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