K-Drama Rewind: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

We end our November scare on a good note by featuring one of the most treasured K-dramas of all time. This is a fan favorite, and a very good gateway drama for those friends of yours whom you want to hop onto the Hallyu train. (I know this drama does not fall in the “scary” category and I’m actually cheating right now because I don’t really watch horror shows except for the really nice romcom-infused ones.). So without further adieu, Grumpy Flashback welcomes you to this Hong Sisters classic, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho!

My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox (also known as My Girlfriend is a Gumiho) was a 2010 romantic comedy starring Lee Seung-gi and Shin Min-ah, written by the famous Hong Sisters which aired for 16 episodes. It centered around an aspiring action star Cha Dae-woong who accidentally releases a troublesome Gumiho, a legendary fox with nine tails, which was sealed inside a painting.  As the story progressed, the Gumiho pursued to become a human, withstanding all the consequences that they had to face.

I’d like to make this week’s segment short and sweet, as this is the best description that I can think of when I reflect about this drama. I kept on wondering until the last minute how would I write about this gem in a way that both fans and non-fans would be encouraged to binge-watch it again. Before I describe the plot, let me just say this: If you plan to watch it in 2017, or 2018 as we are only a month a way from a brand new year, chances are you won’t feel the same as everyone did when it aired in 2010. Back then, this genre was still in its experimental stage, with only a few dramas taking the big leap of merging rom-com with fantasy element. But you know what, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho will always remain as the cream of the crop because it utilized a perfect balance of heartfelt comedy. It makes you laugh as hard as it makes you cry. It’s one of those dramas sugarcoating themselves as lighthearted but in the end you will end up ugly crying. And most of us are suckers for this kind of ploy.

The love story starts when a wimpy aspiring actor Dae-woong (Lee Seung-gi) runs away from home and ends up at a remote temple. There, he accidentally freed a nine-tailed fox who was locked up inside a painting for 500 years. Fearing that she would eat him, he appeases her by buying her beef, and helped her hide her identity as the legendary gumiho. Mi-ho (Shin Min-ah), who has dreamed of becoming a real human for centuries, stayed with him and ended up giving him her fox bead (which houses her life energy).

The comedic parts of the drama mostly came from Mi-ho’s daily antics in the human world. She spent every day trying to learn new things about humans while hiding her supernatural strength. As the story deepened, we all get to see how her desire of becoming a human only led her and Dae-woong to suffer severe sadness and misery. Mi-ho was a refreshing take on a K-drama heroine. She was a supernatural being, eats tons of meat in a gulp, and wears her heart on her sleeve. She will make you believe that love is not an illusion, and it can defy the universe as long as you are willing to sacrifice for it.

Although the drama’s resolution in the finale was a bit off for me, I still love it. I spent 16 hours of my life joining Dae-woong in his journey to save Mi-ho from dying, so of course, I was happy to see him happy in the end. And I think the drama’s best quality was Dae-woong’s ultimate confession of love… he does not care whether Mi-ho was a supernatural creature or a human – he just loved her so much as the Mi-ho he always knew. What could be more sincere than that?

[All photos and GIFs used in this blog belong to SBS’ My Girlfriend is a Gumiho]

<< K-Lookbook: Most Stylish Unearthly K-Drama Characters
<< Lee Seung-gi finally seals comeback with fantasy romcom Hwayugi
<< K-Lookbook: Shin Min-ah (Tomorrow with You)
<< K-Culture: Lesson 4 – Folklore

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