The Korean television drama My Girl, produced by the Seoul Broadcasting System, ran from late 2005 to early 2006. The show consists of sixteen episodes and feels very similar to other romantic K-dramas. However, My Girl sets itself apart from the common over-the-top, melodrama by including a fine level of comedy. The series, as a whole, proves to be a fun ride. Those looking for a romantic comedy should be more than pleased with it. The main concept behind My Girl is the typical love story with several individuals caught in a love triangle of sorts (what I like to call complex love geometry; there are multiple intersecting love triangles). The individuals caught up in the mess include Joo Yu-rin (Lee Da-hae), Seol Gong-chan (Lee Dong-wook), Seo Jung-woo (Lee Jun-ki), and Kim Seo-hyun (Park Si-yeon).
Yu-rin is the main character and center of everyone's attention. She is a perky, beautiful girl who has lived in Korea, China, and Japan. As such, she speaks all three languages. She works as a travel agent. However, she is also a bit of a con-artist/swindler. Yu-rin is notorious for her willingness to lie to get out of tight situations and make a quick buck. Her father has a gambling problem and has been known to rack up debt with shady characters. His problem is the primary reason Yu-rin moved around so much. In the beginning of the series, Yu-rin is working with her friend on Jeju Island. Things get dicey when her father's latest gambling debt comes after her. This is when she accidentally runs into the front of Gong-chan's car. When she finds out he is the managing director of the Avenue L Hotel, she goes after his money.
Once Yu-rin and Gong-chan go through a variety of situations together (mostly Yu-rin trying to cash in), they start to develop an odd working relationship. Gong-chan has been searching for his long-lost cousin. His grandfather Seol Woong had abandoned her in a time of need. Now on his deathbed, Woong wants to find his long-lost granddaughter to fix the past and welcome her into his family. Gong-chan, determined to make his last wish come try, hires Yu-rin (whose life resembles his cousin's) to pretend to be his cousin! From here, Yu-rin is thrust into pretending she is someone she is not.
The charade becomes increasingly difficult when Woong's health recovers after learning of his granddaughter's return. Yu-rin's one time appearance turns out to be a much longer stay. To make matters worse, Gong-chan's cousin Jung-woo learns about their arrangement. Jung-woo means no harm at first, but he falls for Yu-rin and becomes jealous of the relationship developing between his cousin and the woman he cares for. Pushing the envelope is Seo-hyun. She is a professional tennis player who was in a serious relationship with Gong-chan. She left him when he lost his parents to work on her career. After winning an international title, she returns to be with Gong-chan, who is reluctant to welcome her back into his life.
The drama starts to unfold when Gong-chan and Yu-rin realize how much they care for each other. Both Jung-woo and Seo-hyun fall into a jealous fit, which leads to the truth coming out about Yu-rin faking her role as the cousin. When family finds out, she is banished and sent away. But even so, Gong-chan's love does not fade and the story continues with more drama about their relationship, the long-lost cousin, and all of the key players.
What works for the story is Lee Da-hae. Da-hee is remarkable in her role in regards to both the comical and dramatic aspects. Specifically, she gives her character Yu-rin a very likeable personality. She acts over-the-top and handles physical comedy well. She does it in a manner that is not lackluster or out of character; it works really well. Honestly, if it had not been for her, I am not sure I would have enjoyed the series nearly as much. For the dramatic portions, she also fits in well with the rest of the cast. She has the ability to act serious and her adorableness makes her the perfect target for everyone's affection.
Jung-woo, who is played by Lee Jun-ki, is another strong character. Jun-ki looks and fits his character with perfection. He provides an overconfident personality with charm. He is a guy you just have to like. He makes for a great addition to the drama. The other characters offer decent performances. They are convincing in their roles, but they do not shine with the same magnitude as Da-hee and Jun-ki.
Another aspect that makes My Girl a strong series is the music. The musical score uses a trendy, poppy sounding soundtrack, as well as somber background music as necessary. The musical score fits well and helps bring out the emotional portions of a scene. I point this out because a couple K-dramas I have seen use the same music over and over again. Variety is good.
Overall, I enjoyed My Girl, but it was the early parts I enjoyed the most. When I first started watching My Girl, I had a blast. The initial episodes were hilarious! But as the series progressed, the content shifted into the melodramatic, which significantly slowed downed the show's pace. I was personally a lot happier with the beginning episodes because of all the hilarity that came from Yu-rin trying to find her way out of one sticky situation or another. As the focus shifted into the more melodramatic tone my interest started to fade, although it was far from gone. I still enjoyed the over-the-top drama, but I felt the over-the-top comedy gave the show distinct personality. In the end, I think this series is great for anyone who enjoys K-dramas and/or romantic comedies.
This release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is very good, providing a clear and clean picture with minor color distortions and compression artifacts. Both dark and bright colors are generally represented well.
The audio track supplied is in Korean 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The dialogue comes off a little flat and some of the soft spoken actors/actresses are a bit hard to hear. But the track is generally audible for most characters. The music sounds great; it is dynamic and vibrant.
For non-spoken language options, there are subtitles in English provided. There are a few grammatical errors and odd word usage, but for the most part the subtitles provided dialogue that was very easy to follow.
For extras, twenty minute clips are included from Sandglass and Shoot for the Stars, which are both SBS series. I think this is a good idea on YA Entertainment's part because the high price tag that comes with the K-dramas, some buyers might be reserved about investing in such a costly set. These twenty minute clips give viewers a nice opportunity to get to know these series better. However, I would prefer a separate disc that comes with clips from a bunch of different shows.
My Girl is a Korean television drama with personality. Like most K-dramas, the series is filled with over-the-top melodrama that can only be characterized as soapy. My Girl sets itself apart by including a fine level of humor with a goofy performance from leading actress Lee Da-hee. The story starts off very comical and progresses into a more traditional K-drama with a dominate love story. As an overall production, My Girl fares well and should please anyone who enjoys soapy melodrama with a splash of comedy.