Korean Drama Review: The Greatest Love/Best Love

Marriage License_The Greatest Love

Image by Petirrojo via Flickr

The Greatest Love/Best Love is available on HULU.

SYNOPSIS:

Ten years ago Gu Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin) was the most famous member of the pop group Treasure Girls.  At one point, camera’s caught Ae Jung hitting a fellow member of Treasure Girls, Kang Se Ri (Yoo In Na), and her image was lost. Ae Jung is now hated by the media, because she was mistakingly blamed for the group’s split. Since the group’s split, Ae Jung has been struggling to get back into the entertainment industry and takes even the smallest jobs. The welfare of her family is dependent on her success.

Meanwhile, Kang Se Ri is now extremely famous; every girl wants to be her and every guy wants to date her. Kang Se Ri is excelling in her career and is the host of the reality show Couple Making. Couple Making makes famous celebrities compete to win the heart  of a well to do relatively unknown male. Outside of her career, Kang Se Ri is dating the most famous actor and the heart of Korea, Dokko Jin (Cha Seung Won).

Well Dokko Jin and Kang Se Ri were once dating, they no longer like each other and are now just using their relationship to benefit their careers.  Dokko Jin will not let anything sway him from staying on top. Therefore, he stays free from scandal to maintain his status as the heart of Korea; he appears in Korea’s best movies and dramas and has the most endorsement deals. Dokko Jin’s drive is in response to his weakness, an “artificial heart,” which forces him to wear a heart monitor at all times. Sidenote: since, I don’t know Korean I assume that this either means a pacemaker or valve replacement. Dokko Jin has had to endure years of inpatient treatment as a child and several surgeries to become a top star. Now that he has made it, nothing can stop him, right?

No. Dokko Jin and Ae Jung fatefully meet at a gas station. Ae Jung stands next to an infamous celebrity carrying van to see who is inside. While Ae Jung is trying to find out who the celebrity is, onlookers believe that she is the celebrity. Ae Jung goes along with the act by posing outside. As Ae Jung is posing on the outside, Dokko Jin is inside the van behind the tinted glass. Dokko Jin, outraged by Ae Jung’s audacity, proceeds to lambaste Ae Jung from inside the van and also gets in an arm fight with her through the window. Ae Jung and Dokko Jin never see each other, but Dokko Jin does leave his signature with Ae Jung as a clue.

The next day Ae Jung goes to a broadcasting company building for a radio interview wearing the latest scarf. Dokko Jin happens to be wearing the same scarf. When Dokko Jin passes by Ae Jung, he is appalled that a nobody is wearing the same scarf as he is. Due to unforeseen circumstances Ae Jung’s scarf gets wet. Ae Jung notices that Dokko Jin is no longer using his scarf, because he is no longer wearing it when he passes back by. Thus, Ae Jung decides to trade scarves with Dokko Jin by sneaking into his dressing room. However, Dokko Jin comes back in and Ae Jung overhears Dokko Jin talking about his injury and losing out on a role in America. Eventually, Dokko Jin catches Ae Jung and signs her scarf as a “goodbye” present. Ae Jung is upset because her scarf is ruined, but can’t really complain since she is on the bottom of the totem pole and has to rush to make her radio interview.

When she arrives at the interview, her interviewer notices Dokko Jin’s signature on her scarf. Then, the interviewer asks Ae Jung questions about Dokko Jin. In order to boosts her status, Ae Jung inflates her relationship with Dokko Jin and talks about him using information she overheard while hiding in his dressing room. After the interview, Ae Jung is back in the spotlight because of her relationship with Korea’s star Dokko Jin. Ae Jung continues to use Dokko Jin’s name to increase her popularity and in a series of situations pulls Dokko Jin into her scheme. Dokko Jin can’t do anything about Ae Jung, because she knows his secrets after she hid in his dressing room. In response, Dokko Jin offers Ae Jung a deal with his management company, so that she can boost her career and keep her silent.

Eventually, this deal lands her a spot on Couple Making. Couple Making reunites her with her misguided nemesis Kang Se Ri. Ae Jung’s star begins to shine even brighter when Yoon Pil-Jo (Yoon Kye Sang), the reluctant oriental medicine doctor bachelor on Couple Making, falls for her on the show.

After all the meetings with Ae Jung, Dokko Jin may have fallen for Ae Jung or it could just be his heart. Unfortunately for Dokko Jin, his heart loves Treasure Girl’s tunes. 10 years ago, during  Dokko Jin’s surgery, his doctor played Treasure Girls tunes while operating. Therefore, whenever Dokko Jin hears Treasure Girl’s, his heart skips a beat and his heart monitor goes off.

Seeing Dokko Jin show something for Ae Jung that actually resembles feelings makes Kang Se Ri jealous. Kang Sa Ri is even more overwhelmed by the fact that the bachelor on her show, which she now has her eye on, is also smitten with her former bandmate. The jealously stems from fact that she used to be the least popular of Treasure Girls. Even though she now overshadows the rest of the band, she is still unsettled because the guys still prefer Ae Jung.

Questions Remaining:

  • Does Dokko Jin really prefer Ae Jung or is it the effect of his heart palpitations?
  • Can Yoon Pil-Joo overcome his shy geeky nature to win Ae Jung’s heart?
  • Will Kang Se Ri convince Yoon Pil-Joo to seek her out instead and look past the fact that she is conceited, obtuse, and shallow?
  • What was it that sunk the Ae Jung’s career and will the truth about the break-up of Treasure Girls finally be let out?

REVIEW

Top 5 Reasons to Watch

Ding Dong: Ae Jung’s nephew, who Dokko Jin refers to as Ding Dong, is one of the cutest kids on screen. He is the only one in her family that is continuously rooting for Dokko Jin and Ae Jung. The scene where he is reluctant to eat some of Yoon Pil-Joo’s treats, because he senses it is betrayal is classic. Basically, his manner is endearing and adds to some heartwarming moments on screen.

Dokko Jin: Some people were not sure if Cha Seung Won could play the funny, charismatic, inexperienced in love, arrogant, chastising, and charming character that is Dokko Jin. After watching Cha Seung Won, I was left to wonder who else other than Cha Seung Won could make this character believable. His questioning of the reliability of the heart monitor was hilarious. Dokko Jin’s love for the last potato standing was admirable. His magnanimous ambition to protect Ae Jung from her manager was worthy of knighthood. Even Dokko Jin’s ability to trap Ae Jung and keep her all for himself was charming.

Writing (the Hong Sisters): Have you ever watched a drama where everything was not tied up at the end? Well this is not that. From the beginning to the end several questions are asked, but all of them are answered eventually. There is wedding, there is a baby, there is a happy ending for the secondary leads, and there is a clear future for Ae Jung’s career. The only thing that was not answered was the relationship between Ae Jung’s brother and her best friend. But did I really care about that? NO.

Secondary Characters Chemistry: The writing must have been good when, because I began to sympathize with Kang Se Ri after witnessing her transition from bad to good. Side note: Loved Yoo In Na in Secret Garden, so maybe that’s why it was easier for me to like her here too. I was actually starting to become annoyed with Yoon Pil Joo for deflecting her advances. The storyline of Yoon Pil Joo and Kang Se Ri  blossomed, once the audience was shown that they were both experiencing the same type of rejection from the male and female leads. The bickering between Yoo Pil Joo’s Mom and Ae Jung’s Dad was hot and made you wish that they would also make fireworks. The dynamic between the threesome that was Ae Jung’s brother/manager, Ae Jung’s best friend, and Dokko Jin’s manager was pure comedy. Dokko Jin’s manager and Ae Jung’s brother would be at each other’s throats one minute and consoling each other’s pain the next.

Portrayal of a Fallen Star: Ae Jung’s moral compass is what kept her afloat, but is also the reason why she is on the b-list. At a certain point, I felt that Ae Jung’s character was too nice, because she wouldn’t tell the media the reason why she slapped Kang Se Ri.  Then as time went on, I understood that nothing really good could would come out by telling the truth and if she did tell the truth the benefit would only be temporary. Moreover, if Ae Jung’s goal was to reunite the group and maintain relationships with her friends, she made the right choice. The love and loyalty of a friend is better than the love of a fan.

Extras:

  • Yoon Pil Joo offered some notes on pressure points to calm yourself down. I tried them, but I am not sure if they worked. It may be that I am just focusing on something else, which forces me to not think about what is stressing me out.
  • Ae Jung has a lot of cool jumpers or overalls. I am not sure what to call them, but they look cute.
  • Whoever is doing Cha Seung Won’s hair, including facial, is doing a great job.
  • Cha Seung Won is in great shape. Yes, I will take a vitamin water with his face on it.
  • I want to try the new dance move that Ae Jung created while trying to get the gum off her shoe at karaoke.
  • All four characters are cute on the inside and out.
  • Nice House Dokko Jin.
  • Four leaf clover ring!

Subtle Annoyances:

  • Not sure I actually know what song is Pitapat.
  • Ugly bridesmaid dresses.
  • Ae Jung’s appearance in episode 1, furthermore her weird hair length in the beginning episodes.
  • Conversion Van’s are not that cool?
  • Gong Hyo Jin stop dead fish kissing, I know Cha Seung Won is married, but still.

4 stars. I really enjoyed this drama and would watch the whole thing again. Great couple acting wise, but not enough romantic chemistry between the two leads.

Up Next: My Lovely Sam Soon, then Spy Myung Wol.

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6 comments

  1. Pingback: Korean Drama Review: Personal Taste/Preference « Public Investigation
  2. Pingback: Korean Drama Review: Boys Over Flowers « Public Investigation
  3. Becoming Bitter

    Loved this drama! You’re right – the kid, the leading male, and the writing. Sometimes I care about the secondary leading characters’ chemistry and sometimes I don’t. I didn’t for this drama because the leading ones were too awesome. I agree that the bridesmaid dresses were ugly and on the vitamin water. I’ll take one with his face on it too. Once again great job reviewing MG. You write really well.

  4. Pingback: Korean Drama Review: Secret Garden « Public Investigation

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