KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Smile You (2009/2010)

Smile You
그대, 웃어요

(Sept 2009 – Mar 2010)

who’s in it
Lee MinJung (Boys Over Flowers)
Jung KyungHo (Time Between Wolf and Dog)
Choi JungYoon (Bad Couple, Attic Cat)
Lee ChunHee (Family Outing S.1 – member)
Lee KyuHan (My Lovely SamSoon, Que Sera Sera)

what’s it about
When new bride Lee MinJung’s family goes unexpectedly bankrupt, she literally gets ditched on the side of the road in her wedding dress by her rich husband Lee KyuHan. Needless to say, the soon-to-be-annulled couple never make it to their honeymoon. Her useless and now impoverished family find themselves moving into their longtime chauffeur’s home, a strict patriarch who is determined to make good people out of the spoiled family of four. Well, actually, they are a family of five as Lee MinJung calls Choi JungYoon her older sister, a beautiful doctor who is everything opposite in regards to her family members. For one, she is responsible and steadily employed. Lee MinJung, however, thinks her big sis is a major stuck-up brat, but the rest of the world thinks the female doctor is the epitome of conservative class.

Speaking of beautiful big sis Choi JungYoon, there is this super nice and awesome guy who has been madly in love with her since his college days. Mechanical engineer Jung KyungHo comes back from his studies abroad to find the entirety of Lee MinJung’s family cramped into his grandfather’s house…one of these new tenants being his loooongtime crush Choi JungYoon! He can’t believe his good fortune! But instead of quality time with his dream girl, he finds himself distracted, occupied and all around annoyed by the troublesome and meddlesome Lee MinJung.

At a hefty 45 episodes, there is a lot of plot movement, including issues within the family. Notable mention, Lee ChunHee and Jun Hye Jin have a charming side story.

Lee TaeGon

Moon HeeJung

45 episodes


first impressions
I don’t have very much to say as far as initial thoughts go…except that I LOVE IT! There is nothing earth shattering about this cute family drama, and I can already tell I’ll be woefully tired of some of the characters in this extended cast, but TRULY the cutest couple award goes to Lee MinJung and Jung KyungHo. I would be hard pressed to name [off the top of my head] actors that are as lovable as these two, as individuals or as a matching set. This one is going to charm the hell out of me, I just know it. It is just one of those rare dramas that gets a body smiling right out of the gate.

(first impressions originally posted Jan 15, 2010)

1) The astounding natural beauty and pluck of Lee MinJung
2) The “will you marry me, oppa!” appeal of Jung KyungHo

gave up
I tried soooooo hard to finish this one, for half a year, in fact. I’ve been attempting to catch up episode by episode when time allowed, but I have not been able to find my initial passion and commitment to the series. Lots of factors contributed to my eventual failure to reach the final episode including but not limited to the lag in momentum when the main couple realized their love for one another, which caused the story to plateau a bit. It’s a common pitfall for tv, when that electric friction between the main couple gets satisfied, the side effect is the loss of that very zing that hooked viewers in the first place. But I wanted to finish this one, only I found my heart wasn’t in it. I’ve watched approximately half…enough to know that I loved the characters, but perhaps not the drama in its entirety. Maybe one day I will finish it, but not for this review.

There were many positives about Smile, most especially the wonderful characters, and at a generous 45 episodes, it had plenty of time to develop those personalities in detail. Everyone felt fully realized and despite the tendency for the parents to become a source of exasperating background noise, the main couple grounded the show in a way that kept heart.

Also, there were plenty of squeal worthy scenes that I would even rank on my list of favorite kdrama moments of all time, including Lee MinJung and Jung KyungHo’s first kiss while painting the attic wall. I could make a long shopping list of favorite moments between the two, but not to worry, I won’t.

Thinking on it, the main reason why the story lost my interest was the all too common nature of the central problem, which was essentially the ongoing feud between the adults. Eventually, when that aspect of the drama became the focal point and the story centered more heavily on the parents’ disapproval of Lee MinJung and Jung KyungHo’s true love, the initial energy of the drama faltered some. Not that the parents didn’t have a legitimate reason to oppose the couple (from their point of view), but really, they didn’t have a legitimate reason! Or rather, the overblown hatred between the families became a difficult investment for me. 

The story would have benefited from some fresh injection of new conflict. I would have enjoyed seeing the secondary leads given a more competitive storyline and I wanted more perception into their characters, as I liked both Choi JungYoon and Lee KyuHan’s portrayals. I needed more plot mayhem alongside all the cuteness.

But you know, it was a weekend drama and a really good one. Even though I did not finish it, I highly recommend it. One thing I’ve learned about myself these many years watching kdramas is the sad truth that being a good drama isn’t always enough to have me cross that finish line. I’d watched about 30 episodes of Smile, which I consider a successfor me. Turns out, I really don’t have a good track record with the long ones.


  1. hehe.. i'm determined to finish it... ive watched the final episode but the in-between yet... i WILL finish it one day, i will. i think?

    about runaway... honestly, u won't miss much if u don't catch up.. it's like missing a james bond movie (well, except for the really good ones).. it's entertaining while it last but that's it. it's not like ur missing a must-watch.

  2. That's what I'm telling myself, too, one day, I'll revisit this one...one day...

  3. hehe... congratulations Shin Min Ah!!! cutest gumiho ever... one of the most awesome heroine in kdrama history..

    *now off to the hard-to-forget kdramas characters*

    *scratch head* where should i start searching it... it's been a while.. oh well, i'll manage. XD

  4. hehe.. never mind.. it was easy to find.. and then i saw the humongous comment i made it seems not so long ago.. -_-" i'm embarrassed... i guess it takes time to look objectively at what you did.
    shin min ah no.10!! wow.
    and daesung banner daebak! (although it took me an extra second to recognize him.)

  5. wow... i'm SO stupid... ive only realized just now that your banners were rotating.. -_-"
    i'm definitely not the brightest...


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