(Happy Birthday to Lee Jang Woo with Kim Sun Ah, on the set of I Do I Do.)
Hwang Ji Ahn (Kim Sun Ah) is in her mid-30s and is the director of design at a shoe company. Ji Ahn is one of those women who is a workaholic to the point that she misses out on everything else, like dating and family functions. A trip to the doctor’s office reveals that Ji Ahn is n the brink of early menopause. Something finally has to give when she misses her father’s birthday party, which she planned and paid for due to a problem at a fashion show. Ji Ahn arrives at her father’s party, after it ends. Her father is really upset to the point that he cast her off. He is furious, because Ji Ahn no longer seems to value what is important in life, family. Therefore, what else is there to do when one faces the perils of the world other than get extremely drunk.
Earlier that day, Ji Ahn almost got ran over by a man in his mid-20s on a bike, Park Tae Kang (Lee Jang Woo). If there is a statement that would sum up Tae Kang’s character, he named his bike Beyonce (apparently Betty in A Gentleman’s Dignity is a name used by older bachelors). Fortunately, this meeting was an opportunity for Ji Ahn to convince Tae Kang to give her ride to the fashion show.
As K-drama fate would have it, the two meet later that day. By the time, Tae Kang had also been cast off by his father. Since “abandoned children need to stick together,” they both decided to drown in their perils together.
Then, something happens, that often happens to people who get extremely intoxicated; Ji Ahn and Tae Kang sleep together. When they wake up, they are surprisingly calm about the situation. Tae Kang is actually pretending to be calm, because he just lost his virginity to Ji Ahn. Tae Kang was trying to save it for someone who was worth it, but I guess that didn’t work out in the way he wanted it to.
Tae Kang and Ji Ahn move on with their lives, but they begin to have some hiccups as a result of their encounter. In another chance meeting, Ji Ahn finds Tae Kang with counterfeit shoes and calls the police. Ji Ahn feels personally harmed, because shoes are her life and a one night stand is not going to prevent Ji Ahn from having Tae Kang arrested. Tae Kang accepts the charge, because he is covering for his father. Tae Kang’s father used to design shoes and had a store, but all of that fell apart once his wife, Tae Kang’s mother, left him and a fire burned down his shop. During the same period, Ji Ahn attempts to reconcile with her parents by going on a blind date with the son of one her parent’s friends. Of course, this guy happens to be a gynecologist. The doctor, Jo Eun Sung (Park Geon-hyeong), is the perfect man for Ji Ahn. Eun Sung is not the type that wants to get married and Ji Ahn is not the type to let a man get in the way of her career.
Eun Sung and Ji Ahn begin to believe that love may have a place in their lives, and marriage could be a possibility. However, Ji Ahn begins to feel sick. After, another quick trip to the doctor, Ji Ahn discovers that she is pregnant with Tae Kang’s child. Just when Ji Ahn started to believe that she could have it all, her heart breaks. Ji Ahn struggles to tell Eun Sung and her parents, who are all very much in love with the possibilities. When Ji Ahn tells Eun Sung, he also becomes distressed, because Eun Sung does not feel he can become the father of another man’s child. However, Eun Sung is also against an abortion. Eun Sun, not wanting to lose the connection with Ji Ahn, and knowing the strife she has to deal with, offers to be her doctor. Although, to clarify, this is after all the other doctors are “unavailable,” due to the fact Ji Ahn has the type of personality that even doctors don’t want to deal with.
Not only does the baby provide Ji Ahn problems in her love life, the baby is also detrimental to her career. Ji Ahn’s company is seeking a new president and Ji Ahn is currently number one in the running, because she has the backing of the current president’s wife, Madame Jang. Madame Jang has enough shares to control the appointment. However, the daughter of her husband mistress, Yeom Na Ri, just came back to town and also wants the appointment. Yeom Na Ri just graduated from graduate school, and believes that her attitude qualifies her to be president. Yeom Na Ri idolized Ji Ahn in the past, but does not believe Ji Ahn’s experience trumps her family connection. In addition, Na Ri is pursuing the position so that Madame Jang will treat her like a daughter, instead of being treated with contempt.
Ji Ahn is now in fierce competition with Na Ri, and Na Ri attempts to sabotage Ji Ahn at ever corner. This includes agreeing to hire Tae King, after he surprisingly wins a shoe design competition sponsored by the company. Tae King is high on talent, but low on skills. Nevertheless, things only get worse for Ji Ahn, when the company finds out that she is pregnant. Madame Jang insists that Ji Ahn get married immediately to the Eun Sung, who she mistakingly deduces is the father of her child. Accordingly, Tae King also doesn’t that he is th father, and begins to get jealous of Eun Sung, because Eun Sung spends so much time with Ji Ahn. This misconception is bolstered by the fact that Ji Ahn has persuaded Eun Sung to keep up the facade for a short period.
As a result of the their deepening connection, and against Eun Sung’s wishes, Eun Sung has now fallen head over heels for Ji Ahn. When Eun Sung starts to put the pieces of the puzzle together, he realizes that Tae Kang is the father. Eun Sung watches as Tae Kang becomes closer and closer with Ji Ahn in their working relationship. Ji Ahn becomes Tae Kang’s mentor, and he grows as a designer by leaps and bounds. Tae Kang’s father is extremely proud of his son, but is unhappy with the growing relationship between Tae Kang and an older pregnant woman. Na Ri is also watching Tae Kang blossom, and thinks that maybe they should strike up a romance. However, Na Ri quickly realizes that Tae Kang only has eyes for Ji Ahn, as a result, the race for president intensifies.
As much as it pains me to give a Kim Sun Ah drama 3 stars, the drama was watchable and enjoyable, but my personal allegiance Kim Sun Ah is the only thing that kept me on board. I will re-watch Scent of A Woman as soon as possible, so I can get all of my satisfied feelings back.
Reasons to Watch:
Kim Sun Ah as Ji Ahn: Really is there anything more to be said. Well there is. Here, Kim Sun Ah plays a woman that is stuck with the problems of living in a man’s world; if Ji Ahn’s girlfriend was pregnant things would be perfect. The fact that Ji Ahn struggled in deciding whether to keep the baby, may offend some viewers. However, I always give gratitude to a writers and actors who know how to tackle difficult issues without them coming off as taboo or otherwise abhorrent. Kim Sun Ah drew me into her character’s world, Ji Ahn was contemplating whether: she would ruin Tae Kang’s life by telling him he is the father; she missed out on her last opportunity to be happy with perfect man, Eun Sung; her parents would ever forgive her; she is fit to have a baby; and whether all her hopes and dreams will go up in smoke because she got pregnant.
Father and Son: This is one of the best father-son story-lines I have seen to date. Park Yeong-gyu played Tae Kang’s father, he also played the male lead’s father in Protect the Boss. It was intriguing to see a Dad not want his son to fall in the trap of being in love with an older pregnant woman, due to Tae Kang’s one-sided love.Tae Kang’s father was afraid that his son’s future would be ruined , and that eventually Ji Ahn would leave his Tae Kang, like his mother. Tae Kang’s father always wants the best for his son, and makes the ultimate sacrifice, when he says he won’t copy any of Ji Ahn’s shoes. On the other hand, Tae Kang knows his father’s hopes and fears, but still decides to pursue love. Tae Kang has no fear, and that is what Tae Kang’s father fears the most. As the drama evolves, viewers get to see Tae Kang enter adulthood and take more responsibility for Ji Ahn and his father. When Tae Kang’s father observes a more mature Tae Kang, and he releases some of the grip he has on his sheltered son.
What Could Have Been: Ji Ahn and Eun Sung were really perfect for each other. Their demise rested on the fact that they were so clos, yet so far from what they wanted. (Note: If you want to watch a drama with longing, where a perfect pair actually get together, you should watch In Time With You.) Along with Kim Sun Ah, Park Geon-hyeong, who played Eun Sung, does a well executed portrayal of what happens when a man gets a glimmer of a life that he never knew he wanted, and then, in a split second, it all goes away. Since Eun Sung couldn’t get what he wanted, he decides to settle for something that is as close to his goal as possible, so he asks Ji Ahn to marry him. So much angst here. I have never felt like I wanted a 3 person marriage, or, at least if things didn’t work out with Tae Kang, then a second marriage with Eun Sung was okay by me. (This is the preeminent reason why I had to stop watching Take of the Young Lady, yes I do feel that Yoon Eun Hye and Jung Ill Woo owe me a drama).
I think the main reason why I had trouble buying into this drama, even though Ji Ahn and Tae Kang were exceptionally cute, was that their emotional relationship was far from being promising. Ji Ahn said truly awful things to Tae Kang and about him behind his back. Ji Ahn did not think Tae Kang was worthy to be a father. Tae Kang consistently took her criticism with rare push-back. I think Ji Ahn’s critiques had little to do with Tae Kang’s age, and more to do with his station in life. Ji Ahn’s treatment of Tae Kang was never really resolved. Throughout the drama Ji Ahn made all the decisions in their relationship, including the decision to let Tae Kang start taking care of her. Tae Kang followed her like a puppy, even after his realization that he should not to go to America. Thus, I never really felt like Tae Kang grew all the way up, because Ji Ahn was too overbearing. This was in contrast to Eun Sung, Eun Sung seemed to be able to easily maneuver Ji Ahn in an unassuming manner, because Ji Ahn had greater respect for him. (But I guess he still did not get her down the aisle?)
- A 50-year-old uterus in a 36-year-old woman
- Dad wrestling Tae Kang in an attempt to give him some common sense
- Doctor Eun Sung’s eyeshadow (and then the girl that thought nothing of it)
- The harmonica playing of Tae Kang’s best friend at work
- Pregnant Ji Ahn’s need for pigs feet
- Lee Jang Woo’s dimples
- Drunk love confessions
- Ji Ahn’s Dad’s consistent face of displeasure, except when Eun Sun is around
- Tae Kang pulling Ji Ahn in a cart, so that she could make it to the bathroom
- Eun Sung’s self-massage lessons at a restaurant
- Ji Ahn’s reaction, when Tae Kang picks up Ji Ahn in his friend’s late 80s, early 90s, Nissan
- Tae Kang’s line of pregnant women and baby shoes
- Tae Kang’s father’s wig
- Tae Kang said, “Skinship and kissing is good for the baby.”
- Ji Ahn’s best friend tells it like she sees it (that’s what best friend’s should do)
- Tae Kang’s best friend support Tae Kang no matter what, but also makes fun of him in the process (that is also what best friends should do)
- Kiss in episode 13
- I can’t say I love Lee Jang Woo after this drama, but he held his own and look forward to more dramas from him
- Jake, irrelevant and annoying, but eye-candy
- Na Ri’s character also seemed to have lost its way towards the end of the drama
- Eun Sung’s proposal through stethoscope
- Eun Sung’s lack of latex gloves
- Translator who is speaking during the shoe presentation
- The fashion, seriously someone consult the stylists from Still, Marry Me or Lie to Me
- Where do Ji Ahn’s clothes go, same issue I had with Gong Yoo’s slide out closet in Coffee Prince
- Had to wait forever for a kiss, you guys are not spring chickens, like in Skip Beat. (Same problem in A Gentleman’s Dignity). However, note episode 13.
- Baby saying something about shoes, what? no
- Grandma licking lollipop
- Na Ri “I am not stupid Mother” (really it was only bad, because that storyline wasn’t written well)
- Worst couple outfits ever
- The guy from the other shoe company, even if what you are saying is a real reflection of others opinions, I am sure you could deliver the message in a nice manner
- Tae Kang’s acting like a 12-year-old girl after a kiss and other tender moments.At first there is giggle, because Tae Kang is cute, but at a certain point I reverted to ceiling eyes. (Same feeling during Playful Kiss, because some of the kiss scenes were not great or otherwise really awkward, in spite of the cuteness of the Jung So Min and Kim Hyun Joong. I guess I could blame in on the fact that they were supposed to be young, but then I remembered Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin in It Started with a Kiss…. So maybe there is a difference in the way Korea wants to portray kids in highschool? Hmm, maybe I will try to get past episode 1 of Dream High….)
That’s 3 stars, because while I think that Ji Ahn and Tae Kang would date, but I think they need therapy prior to marriage.
- I do, I do staring Kim Sun Ah and Lee Jang Woo 5 Stars (kdramajournal.com)
- baby drama is the best kind of drama, amirite? (pottedlid.wordpress.com)