Gender-bender tropes are extremely popular in K-drama world, and even though this week’s Grumpy Flashback is not as smooth as Yoon Eun-hye’s Go Eun-chan in Coffee Prince, it’s still considered as one of the classic Hong Sisters masterpieces.
You’re Beautiful was a 2009 SBS drama starring Jang Geun-suk, Park Shin-hye, Jung Yong-hwa of CN Blue and Lee Hong-ki of F.T. Island. It revolved around the relationship of a famous K-pop idol band A.N.Jell and how they started to form a bond when an apprentice nun posing as her twin brother joined the group. All three members fell for her.
Go Mi-nyeo (Park Shin-hye) was about to be a nun, but her twin brother Go Mi-nam suffered a serious car accident just as he was about to debut as the newest member of A.N.Jell. While her brother was recovering from surgery, Mi-nyeo was forced to disguise as Mi-nam and take up his place. This secret did not last long as A.N.Jell’s leader Hwang Tae-kyung (Jang Geun-seuk) accidentally found out that Mi-nyeo is actually a girl.
Grumpy tidbit: Did you know that a young Yoo Seung-ho had a cameo in Episode 9? Check out this clip. Credit to Yooseungho ThaiTH on YouTube.
Even though I am a fan of Park Shin-hye, I hate to say I didn’t like her portrayal of both Go Mi-nam and Go Mi-nyeo. I don’t know if it’s just the character profiles of the twins (Mi-nyeo was so innocent borderline klutz, the kind of heroine that annoys me so much) or cross-dressing Shin-hye was just so obvious of being a girl.
One step too late
Ahhh, every single second lead in dramas suffered from one problem: timing. It’s like they are written to witness every single sweet moment between the main couple, or become the spare tire whenever the heroine is crying. Shin-woo (Jung Yong-hwa) was perennially famous in this drama and in fact, Shin-hye and Yong-hwa even got their chance to topbill their own drama because of the strong clamor from fans.
Shin-woo knew the secret of Mi-nyeo’s real identity way before Tae-kyung did. Actually he was always one step ahead of others when it comes to Mi-nyeo, but again, his very own problem was the way he handled the situation. He treated Mi-nyeo as one of the boys, and became a dependable hyung who protects her. He was her shoulder to cry on, even carried heavy equipment for her. But then, K-dramaverse has a different criteria for Mr. Right.
The only Shin-woo moment I loved was the Myeongdong date with Mi-nyeo, which was technically not even a date because he pulled off this discreet act of talking to her via phone when all the time he was just behind her. They went to spots together, ate ice cream together, but Mi-nyeo never saw him there. And just when Mi-nyeo was about to turn around and see him, she immediately fled the scene with just one phone call from Tae-kyung. And that my friends was the perfect depiction of how important timing is in dramaland (and in real life, too).
Unpopular opinion: Jeremy over Shin-woo
I know Shin-woo is the notorious second lead in this drama, but if I had to rank A.N.Jell according to whom I wanted Mi-nyeo to end up with, I’d choose Tae-kyung, then Jeremy (Lee Hong-ki), and lastly, Shin-woo. Forgive me but Jeremy almost had my heart during his confession. When he sang his composition inside that bus after getting rejected, my heart sank. He was just so innocent and sweet, and he can easily handle defeat. I loved how he did not cling onto Mi-nyeo the way Shin-woo did. He had no problem with timing; it’s just that Mi-nyeo never saw him as a love interest from the very start. And he was the only one who was ready to love Mi-nyeo even though he knew she was a man. Remember, both Tae-kyung and Shin-woo knew Mi-nyeo was a girl from the start.
Mi-nyeo’s secret was also discovered by top star “Nation’s Fairy” Yu He-yi (Uee) by chance. When the media speculated that He-yi and Tae-kyung were dating, she used Mi-nyeo’s secret to her advantage and made Tae-kyung act like they’re really dating in public. Tae-kyung agreed to this absurd agreement to protect Mi-nyeo, and the annoying presence of He-yi started to bless their lives.
Tae-kyung all the way
I was glad I did not suffer from second lead syndrome in this drama. Except from some moments with Jeremy, I was so supportive for Tae-kyung as Mi-nyeo’s love interest all the way. Jang Geun-seuk was so perfect in this role, too. He was able to portray the Tae-kyung as the charismatic idol-leader with a deep wound waiting to be healed. Tae-kyung may seem to be cold-hearted towards Mi-nyeo, but he cares a lot for her. The moment he announced that he won’t get involved in Mi-nyeo’s act, all he did was to protect her. He says one thing, and does the exact opposite. And his singing was A+ 😍
You’re Beautiful was far from being the perfect drama, as it had so many dragging parts, especially on the storyline of Tae-kyung and Mi-nyeo’s respective parents’ secrets. But overall, this Hong Sisters drama was still a fun watch – a good blend of heartfelt characters and cute moments.
[All photos and GIFs used in this blog belong to SBS’ You’re Beautiful]