I didn’t expect anything from this drama to start with, and I guess that’s the reason why even with the cliche plot, I still like the cute friends-turned-lovers bickerings and antics of Gong Shim and Ahn Dan Tae.
A typical neighborhood love that bloomed from pure trust and understanding between unexpected friends and their journey to acknowledge that they were built so perfectly for each other because it is their destiny to fall in love eventually. Crossing the line between friends and romance requires a courageous stance that you know what you are doing and you are prepared to take a leap of faith. Love is not romance until it is reciprocated. The impeccable sassy and cheesy chemistry of Dan Tae and Gong Shim has had me on laughing fits most of the time. Their comic characters were drawn so well and so compatible to each other that they compensated to the predictable plot of the series. KDramas are known for the weird-looking kisses but the delightful love couple made sure to redefine the awkward kiss scenes and made me giggle a lot with the enchanting build up of their love story.
Lawyer Ahn Dan Tae in his jogger pants and Tom Sawyer attitude appeared to be not a practicioner of law, but he is. He met Gong Shim when he rented out the rooftop place of her family. Gong Shim has always been shunned by the success and physical beauty of her older lawyer sister. She studied horticulture but struggled in securing a regular job. Her good nature poked Dan Tae’s protective instinct, and little by little he found himself helping out Gong Shim whenever she is on a predicament and pushing her to follow her dreams.
Their friendship became trio after Seok Joon Soo from a chaebol family joined their circle. Joon Soo who also noticed the kindred spirit and warm heart of Gong Shim started liking her secretly. Gong Shim was able to enter Star Group owned by Joon Soo’s family as his father’s secretary, but when his mother found out that her son likes Gong Shim, she was fired immediately.
Ahn Dan Tae became close to Joon Soo’s grandmother as he takes on a part-time driver job for her. She asked for his help to find her long lost grandson who was kidnapped on Joon Soo’s first birthday. It turned out that Joon Soo’s uncle was the culprit and he was given to his adopted father who lost his child and was left no choice but to keep him to appease his grieving wife. Also upon learning that Joon pyo was in danger of being killed, he fled with his family and made Joon Pyo assumed his dead son’s identity. Dan Tae eventually stumbled on the truth his father kept him from and revealed to his grandmother that he is her long lost Joon Pyo who lost his memory after witnessing his mother’s death when he was being kidnapped.
Gong Shim and Dan Tae acknowledged their feelings to each other but the latter still hasn’t revealed his true identity. Eventually Dan Tae and Joon Soo pinned down evil uncle and sent him to prison. Dan Tae had to leave for US for his adopted father’s surgery and business management education. Unfortunately he bid goodbye through a phonecall to Gong Shim as their flight was pushed earlier and she was not able to arrive early in the airport.
A year after, Gong Shim no longer wears a wig and is doing great designing covers on Joon Soo’s company, Dan Tae returned and jumped on a conclusion that his cousin and Gong Shim were dating. He was cold on a business meeting but after Joon Soo cleared his weird thoughts, he claimed back Gong Shim’s heart once again.
STORY & SCREENPLAY
I mentioned how “Beautiful Gong Shim” played on trite scenarios but even if it did, it didn’t wear me out because the cast especially the main love couple were so endearing to watch in their comic takes and cutesy moments. It was the kind of love story that I rooted for because the romance built up so genuinely from friendship and dismissed the usual uncalled for love complications present in traditional kdrama romcoms. Gong Shim and Dan Tae left me feeling good after closing the book of their story and in the near future if I looked back on their story, at least there will be something for me to remember because of the refreshing take of the narrative.
There’s nothing fancy in the drama, it followed the basic ingredients of a romcom but leaned on the main leads’ personal struggles while discovering their romance. The quirky vibe of the love couple on their romantic moments were the generator of zest and appeal from the onset till the finale episodes. I was used to seeing Nam Goong Min in his evil roles so his laid back approach here mixed with Gong Shim’s free spirited portrayal compensated to the threadbare setting. Sure, the conflict dragged up until the closing episodes but it did not annoy me much because the series refused to dig on so much negativity. True that the last minute break up plot was not needed but as usual the charming heroine threw her grudges and trust the man he loved right away after learning the reason why he never contacted her. They always talk to each other in quirky and honest kind of way all the time. Their dorky love just make me overlook the technical points and just happily engage on the bright side they always offer.
It was the no dull moment frames captured that made me really like the drama a lot. The comedic notes were always present to Gong Shim and Dan Tae’s interaction as well as the rest of the cast members that you will just find yourself laughing together with them.
CAST & CONFLICT
The strong connection of the main leads and the friendship circle slight love triangle at some point square because of Gong Shim’s sister propelled the hook factor of the story. Nothing much new was presented but the keen commitment to bring out the characters fully on how the writer pictured it was a feat that was successfully notched by the people moving in the story. The story’s goal is for the hero to retrieve his life and memory that was altered by the villain and for the lead girl to pursue a quest in making her dreams come true and making a mark for herself. There was a sad conflict when the truth about Joon Soo’s uncle being the perpetrator of Joon Pyo’s abduction was revealed and thank God Joon Soo was written to be a smart character and didn’t succumb to settling for the worst out of filial love.
That’s what I like about this drama as a whole, it gave me only one villain to despise and there was no redemption for him either which realistically speaking was drawn justly given the crime he committed. I liked that at the end of it all Dan Tae and his family forgave and forgot and remained living in one roof as again. Gong Shim who recognized her weaknesses went through moments of wallowing on her self worth, but never stayed long and went on focusing on things she still have. She walked on the screen in such positive energy that you can’t help but cheer for her optimism. Dan Tae defied the lead man protype by presenting an appealing hero who was amusing and reliable at the same time. He might not framed those sweet moments in classic kdrama romcom trend but his wacky spirit complemented by Gong Shim’s vibrant character was a refreshing spectacle all throughout.
Joon Soo as a second lead crawled slightly in my heart because of his kind demeanor, and I’m happy that when the realization of his one sided love hit him, he didn’t go crazy trying to force the issue. Gong Mi was a character left in the corner after her greedy streak. Not that her character mattered but I think she was placed there to make the heroine stronger by overcoming hurdles like her. *chuckles
Over all this light romcom tackled the main discord and personal conflicts heads on with sure steps and engrossing ways. They went less is more with inserting the conflict and pushed to heartfelt rendition of the characters.
RATING & RECOMMENDATION
“Beautiful Gong Shim” had this unique sense of drawing you and before you realize it, you look forward to the story. It might not be smartly written with out of this world plot or sweetly created with perfect romantic premise, but it was a moving story with engaging characters that worked harmoniously to present a pure, relatable and charming story telling.
How much I enjoyed it: 8/10
How much I recommend it: 8/10