I would consider two themes evident for this year in kdramaland… friendship-turned-romance and redeeming-a-woman’s-old-glow. These two were present in the recently concluded love tale of childhood friends turned sweethearts who lost contact for a long while and met again at different expectations and fears more than 20 years after.
During their childhood, pretty Kim Hye Jin has been chubby Ji Sung Joon’s bestfriend but they were separated when Sung Joon moved to a different location. It was a freak coincidence that Hye Jin inherited her father’s flushed cheeks and her crazy curls have become unmanageable making her swan-like childhood features vanished. Things didn’t turn out well in their family business so Hye Jin grew up being frugal and relying on her endless part-time jobs. Despite the reversal of their fortune, she was content with her loving family and bestfriend Oh Ha Ri’s support system. Her persevering nature and optimism finally paid off and she landed a job in a magazine company and to top the sudden positive surge in her life, she was contacted by her childhood friend Sung Joon who will be coming back to the country indefinitely.
They agreed to meet but before their scheduled meeting Hye Jin got cold feet when her chubby friend emerged to be a dashing debonair after 20 years and was doing well in his career. She arranged for her stunning and rich best friend Ha Ri to assume her identity as she doesn’t have the confidence to meet him. But fate led them two together when Hye Jin was transferred to the Creative team as an assistant to the flagship magazine “The Most”. Ha Ri went on Hye Jin’s back by continuing to pretend that she was Hye Jin as she fell in love with Sung Joon’s sweet and kind personality but Hye Jin and Sung Joon are continuously being tangled with one another.
Hye Jin earned Sung Joon’s ire when she claimed responsibility to an error in their on-site photo-shoot. She was fired right there and then and when Sung Joon calmed down he tried to appease her and offered her job again. Hye Jin initially declined the offer but after witnessing her father’s hardship in having old printing equipment, she summoned her filial love, did a make-over of herself and surprised everyone in the office with the upgraded pretty version of herself. Sung Joon got caught in the realization that he is also falling for Hye Jin but was already tied up with Ha Ri. To complete the love square Hye Jin also grew fond in the eyes of a celebrated writer disguising himself as a feature editor in the magazine Kim Shin Hyuk.
When Sung Joon thought Hye Jin got caught up in a car accident, he rushed to her aid and made her numb with his loving embrace. Confused at her situation, Hye Jin decided to return Sung Joon’s love but just as she was about to accept him, she learned about Ha Ri’s pretension. Unable to place herself between her love for Sung Joon and for her bestfriend, Hye Jin decided to wait for Ha Ri to reveal everything to her on her own and just when Ha Ri planned to tell the truth to Sung Joon, he was one step earlier and realized her lies on his own.
He rushed to see Hye Jin and made up for the lost times. Shin Hyuk revealed to Ha Ri how Hye Jin already knew her lies but was still kind enough to wait for her correct her mistakes. Hye Jin saw her bestfriend cried big time and it dawned on her that she must have really loved Sung Joon. She tried to push Sung Joon away and after never-ending I-should-love-him-I-should-love-him-not pondering, and after a heart-to-heart talk with Ha Ri, she decided to go for her dream love.
“She Was Pretty” was your typical rom-com drama tailored to make you feel giddy and warm. It will excite you while the story unfolds but it’s not something that you will keep dearly in your heart like the romcom classics.
The characters were all amusing in their own right, but I gave Choi Si Won, the biggest applause among the cast for his perfect rendering of the quirky second male lead character. While Park Seo Joon is beautiful and Hwang Jung Eum is at her usual best although with slight hyperactivity, they were able to present a love couple you will root for.
The conflict’s lightness was an affirmative note in the story as it worked on the characters’ connection and sticking on their rational thinking come what may. I felt a bit of annoyance toward Ha Ri, but she beautifully redeemed herself by confronting Hye Jin to stop shielding her from the pain and accept the happiness that she deserved.
Neatly narrated, the always encouraging vibe of the heroine carried on sincere lessons about how much pain and understanding you can give to salvage a friendship that is more than a family and how much we have to give it to ourselves the limitless opportunities and love that fate won’t give us right away. Hye Jin just like our usual rom-com lead girls pursued love and dreams the best way she can by not sacrificing the happiness that she can create on her own. With her perfect hero who wanted to support her all the way with her personal bucket list, I witnessed a romance that is soon fading in our generation that is being supportive to our lover’s personal goals while maintaining a relationship dependent to a genuine love and unwavering commitment.
Next to chocolates, honeyed and heart-warming kdrama romcoms can help you survive melancholia and routine weekends. Uncomplicated with its romantic approach, Hye Jin and Sung Joon’s love story will surely hit your love veins. -jediprincess♥