Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review on Korean Drama: What's Up Fox? (2006)

Title: What’s up Fox?
Genre:  comedy, romance

Duration:  16 episodes
Cast:
Ko Hyung Jung as Ko Byung Hee
Chun Jung Myung as Park Chul Soo
Jo Yun Woo as Bae Hae Myung
Kim Eun Joo as Ko Joon Hee
Ahn Sun Young as Park Seung Hye

Synopsis:
The story is about a 33-year old woman, Ko Byung Hee(Ko Hyung Jung) who works at an adult magazine and everyone believes her to be an expert on sex.  However, she only has a string of failed relationships and has even maintained her virginity.  At her age, she is still very much naive though and still waiting to fall hopelessly in love.  She was dealt with a big shock though when she was told that she has a cyst in her womb that must be removed.  The news disturbed her so much thinking she hasn’t even had the chance to have her first time and now they want to operate on her.  Believing she may die, she drinks herself senselessly that she could not go home herself.  She calls her bestfriend, Syeung Hee to pick her up but her friend sends her brother, Chul Soo(Chun Jung Myung), instead.  Byung Hee being too drunk threw his car keys to the ocean which forces them to spend the night together.  Feeling desperately miserable and too drunk, Byung Hee seduces Chul Soo and had their first time together.
Byung Hee could not believe she had given her first time to Chul Soo, a guy she considered as a younger brother for the longest time.  She wanted to blame him for the incident until she learns it was also his first time which left her astounded.  She would rather put the whole incident behind them specially that she has begun to a serious relationship with a doctor who is perfect in every way.  However, due perhaps to the shock of the night they spent together, Chul Soo begun acting strange towards Byung Hee and started acting jealous whenever he sees the two dating.
Byung Hee tried her best to discourage Chul Soo specially knowing that the gap of nine years is just impossible to overcome.  She wanted to focus on her developing relationship with Dr Bae but thoughts about the kid keeps disturbing her consciousness.  She knew that to even entertain the thought of having a relationship with Chul Soo means dying in the hands of her friend.
Yet,  Chul Soo persisted in pursuing her believing that Byung Hee is just denying her true feelings.  Everything seemed normal that is until Byung Hee had to have the operation to remove the cyst.  Waking up from the operation, her first thoughts were to see Chul Soo. She realized that the kid had been right all along and that she should just bravely follow her heart.  Then all her broke loose.  Suddenly, it’s became you-and-me against the world with the future seemed glum but the couple were happy. 
Both their families could not accept their relationship and schemed ways to keep them apart including locking-up Byung Hee in her room and not even allowing her to go to the bathroom.  In desperation, Chul Soo’s sister enlists him to serve time for the army which meant he has to be away for two years. 
These proved to be the toughest challenge the couple had to undergo.  Byung Hee believed that a heart could still change so she’s not confident that Chul Soo would stay the same after his time with the army.  Chul Soo knew that Byung Hee might not be able to wait for him since she would be thirty-five by the time he is released.
This ordeal forced both to re-evaluate their relationship and just how strong their love can be.  It may prove to be too much specially that they can’t receive support from anyone around them.  Can love really survive the test of time?

Review:  What’s up fox deals with the sensitive topic of age gap in a relationship and it attacks the issue head on without making excuses or making light of the issue. 
The relationship between Byung Hee and Chul Soo with an age gap of 9 years showed how society, and not just Korean society, often puts the blame on the woman especially if the guy is her junior.  The unique relationship Byung Hee’s younger sister had with the much older guy, even though they have 19 years gap seemed more plausible specially that he’s so successful in his field.  The mother with her assistant although I’m not quite sure if there was really romance there specially that it was mentioned how deeply in love he was with his wife.
Among all the shows I’ve seen that deals with this issue, this show I believe is the best.  It does not shy away from the real issue like other dramas do and plunges into the issue head on.  It dealt with the doubts that this kind of relationship may have like changing of hearts, how long a love could actually last, and how to deal with a lot of criticisms and objections from the people close to them and from mere observers.  It’s definitely a long and arduous path they have chosen to thread. 
The drama not only dealt with the unique relationships but also about a woman’s career when she’s in her 30’s, a young woman’s doubts with her capabilities even though she loves what she’s doing, and a young man’s passion although it does not conform to how society views success. 
Although Chul Soo’s sister was really mean in the end when she enlisted him, I understood how she felt and the frustration she was going through.  I can’t imagine my best friend and my younger brother going out and doing “all stuffs”. 
What I like most about this show is seeing Chul Soo’s grinning like a fool and looking so adorable.  I wonder if growing-up, he was able to get everything he wanted.  I’m sure I could not have said no to the guy specially if he was grinning at me like an angel.  Just thinking about it is making me smile.  He looks so carefree about his life yet you get the feeling that he would be successful in the end.  He looks so young and full of life yet when he acts serious, he really pulls it off.  Of course, it does not hurt that he has an IQ of 150.  I love the way he took care of Byung Hee and how  
One of my favourite scenes is when he gave a girl a ride on his bike and Byung Hee finding the chance to escape his sister’s interrogation, told her that the girl he was with is actually his secret girlfriend and that he also brought her to Oijo.  Chul Soo didn’t have a clue and was watching the girl walk away thinking the world is a beautiful place when his sister hits him hard at the back of his head making him dumbfounded.  Then there was this scene when I thought I would die with laughter.  They decided to meet with Chul Soo’s old friends and Byung Hee made a toast and the reception was lukewarm.  Chul Soo prodded his friends saying “Is that the best you can do? My baby is making a toast...” and I was cringing and hiding behind my pillow with embarrassment.  Imagine calling someone 9 years your senior my baby. I’m still getting Goosebumps just thinking about it.
The only thing I didn’t like about this show is how they dressed Byung Hee.  Why does she always have to dress so horribly then showing contrast to how Joon Hee is dressed fabulously in the nines.  I just wished that there were also times when she was still dating the doctor that they have dressed her more femininely. 
This show has a solid story, solid directing and excellent performance by the cast.  I give this show a 9.5 out of 10 stars and should be included in your must watch list. It would definitely be worth your while.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review on Korean Drama: City Hall (2009)

Title: City Hall (2009)
Genre:  comedy, romance, drama
Duration:  20 episodes
Cast:
Kim Sun Ah as Shin Mi Rae
Chao Seung Won as Jo Gook
Choo Sang Mi as Min Joo Hwa
Lee Hyung Chul as Na Jung Do
Yoon Se Ah as Go Go Hae
Choi Il Hwa as BB
Lee Joon Hyuk as Ha Soo In

Synopsis:  Shin Mi Rae (Kim Sun Ah) is an ungainly, simple-minded, naive, and unenthusiastic about the political settings or making a stand on issues.  She is a low-level civil servant who would rather make coffee for all the people in the city hall and/or photocopy books which she has been doing for the last seven years than take a stand on political issues.  Her world is disturbed when she meets a tall, handsome, calculative and a formidable genius in the political arena, Jo Gook (Chao Seung Won).
Jo Gook is a manipulative, ambitious with strong political connections, and strikingly good looks.  He was sent to Inju City, his birth place, to become the Deputy Mayor.  At first, he could not understand why he was sent to such an indigent place when he should have been preparing for the next election.  He believed he was abandoned once again by BB (Choi Il Hwa), a strong political leader who was believed to have put the current President in the office. As such, he was prepared to do everything possible to impress BB and also to prepare his path to becoming the next President.  In order to impress the old man, he was willing to do anything and everything possible, without regard to consequences or his conscience.  Everything is for his ambition including choosing his fiancée, Go Go Hae (Yoon Se Ah), who is the daughter of a big conglomerate firm. 
When he was assigned to handle the Ms Baendaengi beauty contest as the new Deputy Mayor, Shin Mi Rae pursued him relentlessly to allow her to join the contest thinking the prize money would definitely help her pay for her ex-bf’s debts.  She even had her friends crash the government’s website just to pressure the committee to remove the age restriction and to not focus on looks alone.  Jo Gook hated her guts, the way she carried herself without reservation, how she believes she’s the fantasy of all men and shamelessly doing all sorts of work including painting houses, doing wallpapers, etc. But her never-say-die attitude convinced him to let her join the contest.  Against all odds, she won the contest with a little help from him when they did the tango dance.
However, all was not well as the beauty contest was a mere set-up to allow the Mayor to allocate funds for the campaign of the current congressman.  When Shin Mi Rae was told the truth, she had to make a decision to either let the issue go or to be the brave witness and fight until the bitter end.  When she decides to confront the mayor about her missing prize money, she was dismissed and was forcibly dragged out of city hall.  She then decides to mount a one-man protest, to stand firm even when people threw eggs at her and to not budge even when her dress was ripped when men were pushing her away.  At first, she was fighting for the prize money but threats kept coming in to stop her from protesting and she realized then, she was already fighting against all the injustices she has suffered including for her friends and neighbours. 
Jo Gook didn’t understand it then but he was suddenly arrested with a desire to protect this naive girl.  Whether it was for his own ambition or earnest desire to help Shin Mi Rae, he hands her the information of all the illegal activities of the mayor which ultimately forces the mayor to resign and she finally receives her prize money.  Jo Gook in the meantime discovers that his personal secretary has been spying on him and reporting to BB.  He decides to break ties with BB and ultimately prove what he is capable of.
Jo Gook then invites Shin Mi Rae to go on an overnight trip with him and they suddenly realize their growing feelings for each other.  Jo Gook, being a man who puts his ambition before his emotions, strived hard to put a cap to his feelings.  It was later revealed that his goal was to persuade Shin Mi Rae to run for the upcoming mayoralty election.  It was his turn to then to pester her and badger her to convince her to run for office.  Shin Mi Rae believed the idea too absurd and absolutely turned him down.  She was only forced to run for office when her best friend, who was dismissed from office because of her, submitted her candidacy and paid for the registration fee. 
At first, her goal was just to garner enough votes to get the registration fee back.  In the midst of her campaign, she was suddenly assaulted with awful rumours that she considered dropping out from the race.  However, Jo Gook would not allow her to give-up insisting she should fight until the end for the people who worked hard for her because they believed in her.  Shin Mi Rae makes another miracle and she wins the election.
Staying by her side, Jo Gook made a few realizations about his beliefs, his ambitions and his methods.  As he spend more time with Shin Mi Rae, the growing contrast to their ways and beliefs becomes more apparent to him, him having no qualms about the methods he use and Shin Mi Rae believing that sincerity and honesty should be used in dealing with politics.  Even when he realized they were complete opposites, he could not seem to stop himself from wanting to be with her more. 
In the end, could he abandon his ambition? Can Shin Mi Rae survive in the chaotic environment of politics?  Just how far can a relationship go when both of them come from opposing beliefs?

Review:
Kim Sun Ah played her character so well that there were moments when I cringed and hid behind my pillow in shame for her.  There were just too many antics that would have killed me from shame if it was in real life.

Chao Seung Won played the dashing and handsome guy only too well that I could not help my heart fluttering in some of their romantic scenes.  It also helped that they did a lot of HOT kissing scenes and he is one really, really good kisser. This drama has a lot of good kissing scenes and has the hottest kiss I've ever seen on a Korean drama.

One of my favourite scenes was when Mi Rae was convincing Jo Gook to let her compete and showed up wearing her swimsuit.  I thought I would just die from shame.  Also, when Mi Rae bumped into a guy selling water and the guy freaked.  Ji Sook rushes over and offers to pay the guy but the he refuses and continues to make ruckus.  Ji Sook then trying to control himself from hitting the guy out of frustration tells him he loves the woman so much it’s killing him but he is standing at the edge of the cliff and behind him the mountain. If he holds on to her, she dies and if he lets her go, he dies.  There was just too much passion and hurt in his statement, just too beautiful and romantic.  Also, after she won as Mayor, Jo Sook took her to the hill and showed her the whole Inju City and there, she pictured her dream for her city.  I found it really sweet and inspiring.  I also felt this was the beginning of the real change for Jo Sook.
In the process of the two leads falling in love, there were really sweet moments that made me understand how they feel so strongly about each other.  But there was a nagging thought I had while watching the love between them happen and that would be, he has a fiancée.  She may have been portrayed as someone bad but the thought of him having a fiancée and pursuing another woman kept disturbing my peace in watching the whole thing.  It bothered me so much that it sometimes prevented me from enjoying the show fully and that Shin Mi Rae would accept a man who has already promised another woman to marry.  I felt it just wasn’t right. I understand he’s hot and all that (tee hee!) but I just wish she had held back a little. But i forgive her though since Jo Gook looks really hot and dashing...just dreamy!
Also, how come she’s always going against women who are really beautiful? (In kim sam soon, she was against Jung Ryu Won who I also found very beautiful).
Also may be worth mentioning, I found his secretary very dashing.  It's a shame he wasn't given a lot of break on this drama.  I thought they would play the love triangle with him.  He has a lot of potentials and I hope I would be able to see him as a male lead in another drama soon.
Although I found the drama entertaining, it seemed to be lacking something.  I still have not figured it out yet though so I may be making amends to this entry soon.  I give this show 8 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review on Korean Drama: I’m Sorry, I Love You or Misa (Mianghada, Saranghada) (2005)


Title: I’m Sorry, I Love You or Misa (Mianghada, Saranghada) (2005)
Genre:  drama, romance
Duration:  16 episodes
Cast:
So Ji Sup as Choo Mo Hyuk
Lim So Jeong as Song Eun Chae
Jung Kyung Ho as Choi Yoon
Lee Hye Young as Oh Deul Lee
Yoon Soo Kyung as Jun Hye Jin
Park Gun Tae as Kim Galchi
“We will meet again in the next life.  And when I see you again, I will hold you tight and not let you go.”

Synopsis:  How do you comfort the love of your life, knowing you only have a short time left? This will be one of the longer ones because making it shorter would give injustice to the drama. 
Choo Mo Hyuk (So Ji Sup) was an orphan who was adopted and brought to Australia.Unfortunate circumstances led him to flee from his adoptive parents and forced him to learn the ways of the street to survive. Wandering on the streets and dealing with all kinds of difficulties, he never harboured ill feelings for his parents believing they abandoned him due to poverty and so swore to go back to Korea and give his mother a wonderful life.  Before he could do so though, his girlfriend decided to marry a rich mafia confessing though that she loves him but being practical, she needed the money.  Beset by frustration, he attends the wedding and was shot in the head in shielding his ex-girlfriend from the assassin.  The doctor was not able to remove all the bullets since the last one’s position is too delicate that could bring him instant death.  He only has a few months to live.  The girlfriend beset with guilt gives him a lot of money and persuades him to return to Korea to die.

Song Eunchae (Lim So Jeong) is a naive, simple-minded coordinator for the popular singer Choi Yoon (Jung Kyung Ho) who she’s secretly loved for the last 20 years of her life.  Everything she does is for him so even when he asks her to help him with his love life, she does his bidding regardless of how much pain it brought her.  Her every waking moment is filled with thoughts of him and in her eyes, she can only see him.  She is at his beck and is prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure his happiness.

Yoon takes her devotion for granted though, believing she would always stay by his side and support him like his security blanket.  Because she is there to support him, he can do anything and pursue his great love who is known to be a player Min Joo.  Though he sometimes come across as a self-absorbed brat, it is apparent though that Yoon loves his mother very much and is devoted to her.  In the latter part, it was also because of this devotion between mother and son that pains Mo Hyuk deeply and fuels his desire for revenge.
They were in Australia filming a commercial thus; Yoon can’t be more excited to have the opportunity to actively pursue Min Joo.  Thinking she should give them more time together, Eunchae planned to come back to Korea ahead of them but in the process, she was conned and all her things were stolen including her passport.  Wandering on the street, Mo Hyuk found her sobbing in one corner and initially thought of taking advantage of her by selling her as a prostitute.  Eunchae not realizing this was just too happy to find another Korean and went with him.  He got her drunk because she believed that he would not take advantage of her.  After getting the money, Mo Hyuk was beset with his conscience and decided to go back and save her thus a chase follows and one of my favourite moments when he realized they were holding each other’s hand tightly which he awkwardly removes his hand.  They sleep on the street and in the morning, he returns all her things including her money which allowed her to get the ticket for her flight back to Korea.  Yoon and Min Joo has already become a couple by then.

Mi Hyuk arrives in Korea fully expecting to find a poverty-stricken mother of his waiting for salvation.  Instead, he found that his mother is a famous actress who also has a son who’s popular who she can’t seem to love more.  This fills him with anger and fury specially after discovering that he actually has a twin sister who became deranged due to a car accident when she was five years old.  Taking care of her is her son who seems to be very smart and caring who seems a lot older for his age.

Mo Hyuk schemes to get the best revenge especially since he only has a few months to live.  He starts his plan by befriending Choi Yoon and becomes his manager.  In his way to revenge, Eunchae seemed to unconsciously disturb his thoughts enough to even entertain the notion of giving up the revenge.  Against his will, he started to slowly and hopelessly fall in love with her that before his mind can even comprehend, his body is already moving out to help her in all circumstances disregarding his disposition.  She however only has eyes for Choi Yoon and treats Mo Hyuk no more than a nuisance. 
Would he ever feel the gratification of his plans coming true or would he give it all up for love?  Would he die never knowing the truth behind his birth and abandonment?   

Review: How can u not love him when he loves you with a burning passion? When he loves you with utmost devotion?

There are only a couple of actors who are able to portray a wide range of emotions without even trying to do so.  So Ji Sup is definitely one of those elite actors who are able to reflect grief and misery in their eyes, and cry beautifully.  He was so intense in his character you forget that it’s just a drama and he sucks you right into the story.  His character is so scary, so pitiful, wrought with raw emotions, beset with conflicting emotions for his mother, and how he abandons himself to the one he loves.  He definitely is an exceptional actor, a one-of-a-kind.  After raving about what I love about him, I can tell you what I hate about him.  His hair when it’s growing long and fuzzy it becomes too distracting.  But his eyes have the intense, haunted gaze that I quickly and completely forget about his hair and lose myself in them.

I love that the development of the love story of Mo Hyuk and Eunchae was very subtle that it gave me a chance to fall in love with the characters first and to cheer them on.  The character of Choi Yoon although childish was never mean.  He has the cute and adorable character that one can’t help but like him too.
If there was anything I didn’t like about this drama would have been the mother.  I felt there were moments between her and Yoon that it felt unreal, no chemistry and just showing off.  I was kind of hoping for some warmth since her character is the kind that would have given her life for her son, I was hoping for some more.  I do admit though that when she shed tears after feeding Mo Hyuk without understanding the reason why she is crying, she also moved me to tears. 
My favourite scene is when they were at the bar and right before he kissed her, a tear glistened and was silently shed.  It was so poignant, so moving and so heartfelt.  That moment, I think I can watch it over and over and can never get tired of it.  Also, when they were in the subway and Eunchae was telling him I love you over and over again till she has no strength left, I felt she has never looked more beautiful and sadder. There were also a lot of moments in the drama that there were no need for words.  So many moments when Mo Hyuk and Eunchae sat beside each other and never spoke a word yet able to say so much.

I also would like to commend the little boy portraying Galchi because he brought me to tears when they were in the kimbap store and  Mo Hyuk was telling his sister he’ll buy the store, Galchi started weeping telling him they didn’t need the store so if he can just not die.
I’m a little confused with the ending though because I think Eunchae also died but was it because of a broken heart or was it suicide?
The biggest suspense for me was not the conflict between the two lovers but the question whether he would tell his mother about his birth thus giving her the pain he believes she deserves for abandoning her two children.  Until the last episode, it kept me guessing.
Anyhow, I definitely found this drama beautiful, poignant and moving.  I give this 9.5 stars out of 10 just and definitely one that will become classic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review on Japanese Drama: Buzzer Beat (2009)


Title: Buzzer Beat
Genre: Action, Romance, Drama
Duration:  11 episodes
Cast:
Yamashita Tomohisa as Kamiya Naoki
Kitagawa Keiko as Shikawa Riko
Aibu Saki as Nanami Natsuki
Kanjiya Shihori as Ebina Mai
Mizobata Junpei as Hatano Shuji
Ito Hideaki as Kawasaki Tomoya

Synopsis:  It about dreaming and seriously pursuing that dream and in the process made stronger by love. 
Kamiya Naoki (Yamashita Tomohisa) is a professional basketball player who was once a lead star during his varsity years in the university.  However, since playing for the ARCS, he has long lost his drive and keeps telling himself that he is pursuing his dream of becoming a star in basketball and finally marrying the girl he has been with for two years, Nanami Natsuki.  He keeps telling himself that he is strong and gets shaky under pressure missing the shot that could have led the team to play in the finals. The truth however is that, he has already lost his confidence that he would be able to make his dream realized and all he’s harbouring are frustrations specially when his contract was renewed and his annual salary was lower.  He then promised to himself that he would definitely make a big difference in the league or he might actually be forced to resign so reluctantly deferred his plans for marriage until he is confident he can support his family.
Shikawa Riko (Kitagawa Keiko) is an aspiring musician who has a keen ear for sounds.  She has been struggling to pursue her dream of becoming a violinist but has failed to make significant progress in the two years that she has been actively pursuing her dream.
One night, the two of them meet at the court just below Riko’s apartment while she was playing the violin.  Naoki was haunted by the sound of her instrument and stayed until she finished her piece.  Riko was startled by his presence and was surprised to find that the sound she was looking for was actually Naoki playing basketball on court.  While watching him play, he told him that he has a beautiful form and beautiful rhythm so she believes he’s a really strong player. Naoki told her that he is really not good, that he doesn’t even have a single fan to which she retorts, “I’ll be your #1 fan!”  Naoki was pleased and was pleasantly uplifted by her encouragement that he promised to definitely become better.
In the meantime, Nanami Natsuki (Aibu Saki) has been wavering in her belief in Naoki.  She has seen how he has deteriorated in his performance and all she is hearing is about him pursuing his dream which she seriously doubts he can achieve.  It doesn’t help that one of the newest player seems to have set his eyes on her and in moments of weakness, she gives in to him.  It was not long before Naoki caught the two of them kissing in the locker room which led him to break-up with Natsuki.  It was too late when she realizes that she actually feels strongly about Naoki but he doesn’t want to have anything to do with her then.
In this whole process, Naoki and Riko have been constantly meeting on the basketball court and cheering each other on.  On one time however, Riko saw one of Naoki’s game and shouted at him for his worst performance, telling him he is stronger than what he’s showing and he can definitely make it.  Hearing this, Naoki’s game definitely improved and they were able to win the game.  Both of them has been telling themselves that they are only friends specially that Kawasaki Tomoya (Ito Hideaki), team’s captain, has been seriously pursuing Riko.  Naoki thought he could forsake his love in lieu of his camaraderie with the coach and his trust on him.  In the end however, both realized that they have become powerless to stop their feelings and it has become torture not to see each other.
Their love is put to test though when Riko received an offer to be part of an orchestra but she had to leave for atleast half a year and Naoki had to be on rehab after his ankle operation.  Riko is hesitant to leave knowing Natsuki is actively pursuing Naoki to come back to her side but Naoki felt that Riko has always been supporting him to pursue his dream that it’s time for him to support hers.  He encourages her to take the offer while she doubts if she can keep his heart even while she is away to go after her dreams.
The story goes on about the struggles and difficulties they have to face including inferiority complexes, confidence, trust issues and the pursuit of their dreams.  Would they be able to make it till the end or would they have to give up each other to realize their dreams?
Review: Kitagawa Keiko has a really beautiful face and figure that one can’t help but keep staring at the screen.  It helps that she is not too conscious on screen however, during the emotional scenes, I still felt her emotions lacking.
I liked the chemistry they had on screen and the story was so good that it was fun, light, lovely and very inspiring.  The story was not so tragic but felt more realistic.  It’s good that they were able to sacrifice their feelings in their pursuit for their dreams but I’m quite confused with the ending though.  Also, because he said he won’t let her go now which leads me to believe she has abandoned her dreams for him.  Though the story is fictional, I sincerely hope that this was not the case and that they continued to actively pursue their dreams, cheering each other in the process and becoming each other’s wings to fly.  That would have made it a beautiful love story...
I give this show 9 out of 10 stars because it has surprisingly and pleasantly exceeded my expectations.   

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review on Korean Drama: Princess Hours or Goong (2006)



Title: Princess Hours aka Goong
Genre:  Romance, Comedy
Duration:  24 episodes
Cast:
Yoon Eun Hye as Shin Chae-Kyeong
Joo Ji Hoon as Prince Lee Shin
Kim Jeong Hoon as Prince Lee Yul
Song Ji-Hyo as Min Hyo-rin



Synopsis: The series started with the King being seriously ill.  Preparing for the worst, the royal family hurries to have the crowned Prince Shin (Joo Ji Hoon) married so he could take over the throne at any time. Prince Shin initially proposes to Min Hyo-rin (Song Ji-Hyo) but she rejects him thinking she would not be able to fulfil her dreams of being an excellent ballerina if she is confined in the palace.  Prince Shin then accepts to marry a commoner Shin Chae-Kyeong (Yoon Eun Hye) to whom he was betrothed by his late grandfather in an old agreement with the girl’s grandfather.  Chae-Kyeong, an awkward, clumsy high school girl, hesitantly accepts the agreement since her family were hounded by loan sharks.  Thus, even though she knew the Prince is in love with another girl, she accepts the marriage in order to give her family a better life.
The marriage to the royal family instantly turns her life upside down as she has always led a carefree life, she now realizes that being a Princess means everyone is watching her every move.  Being a Princess means she can’t just go home to her parents anytime she wants or be with her friends without her bodyguards or Prince Shin.  Against her will, she starts to fall for her husband but the crowned Prince seemed to find it hard to let go of his feeling for Min Hyo-rin. 

To complicate matters further, Prince Shin’s cousin, Prince Lee Yul (Kim Jeong Hoon) and his mother, Lady Hwa-Young, who was once the Crown Princess before the death of her husband who is the older brother of the present King.  There was a scandal that led them being chased out of the palace with Prince Lee Yul growing-up in Britain.  Lady Hwa-Young returns specifically with grand plans to restore her son back to the throne to the point of creating havoc in the palace to achieve her goal. 
Meanwhile, Min Hyo-Rin realizes her mistake, declines her dream offer of studying ballet abroad and goes back to pursue Prince Shin even though he is already married now.  Chae-Kyoung knowing of their past history, watches helplessly as Hyo-Rin entices the Prince Shin back to her.  Prince Lee Yul seeing the hurt in her eyes, tries his best to console and comfort her but in the process, falls in love with her as well while Prince Shin is struggling to deny his growing feelings for Chae-Kyeong.
It is a beautiful story of love, sacrifice, and politics.

Review:  At first, I was doubtful about the series since they used high school students as the main protagonist.  Chae-Kyoung was so awkward and unrefined that even I felt she did not deserve to be a Princess.  However, the transformation of her character was very subtle that before I realized it, she has transformed herself to become someone deserving the crown and Shin.  Shin was so rude and awful to her but when he realized his feelings for her; he realized it was pure love.

I never for one moment sympathized with Min Hyo-Rin primarily because I felt her character was so wooden and dull.  I guess I have never been really fond of Song Ji-Hyo even in Jumong or in Frozen Flower.   The characters she portrays seem so unreal, wooden and dull in whatever role she does.  So even if she has such a beautiful face, I can’t feel any sympathy for her.
Even though he portrayed the bad guy, I still felt bad for Lee Yul and still found him hot.  If not for him, Chae-Kyoung would have had a worse life in the palace specially that Prince Shin constantly reminds her that he has no feelings for her.  Shin can really be a bad bully sometimes but I guess that’s because he wants to make sure he does not fall in love with Chae-Kyoung and feel guilty for keeping her in the palace beside him.  To the end, I still sincerely wished for him to be happy.  I guess if he’s guilty of anything, it would have been to fall in love with the wrong woman and I can’t seem to hate his character.

The two main protagonists acted so well that I can’t help but get immersed in the drama and cry my heart out when they’re in pain.  I believe the series did so well mainly because of the two actors and I can’t help but love both of them.  Yoon Eun Hye was so beautiful when she cries and Joo Ji Hoon looked so hot even when he was being bad and took my heart when he kissed her goodbye...so sad.  One of my favorite episodes was episode 13 when the sharing of room happened and forced Shin to take the tonic and he was fighting with himself not to touch her and started doing aerobics.CG was clueless with what's happening to him.It made me laugh till there were tears.
The plot was not so complicated but the execution was so beautiful that when the series ended, I fervently wished that there would be a sequel but I was bound for disappointment.

The show was funny, witty, romantic and sad.  I give this show 9 out of 10 stars and belong to the list of my all-time favourite dramas.