Drama Review: She Was Pretty

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It’s over. It really is over. *Slap self* — Ouch! Okay fine that hurts, it’s true then — the show has officially ended. *Sob* Can’t believe another enjoyable drama ended yet again. I don’t quite remember how I decided to watch this drama; it most definitely stemmed from boredom, since I remember this isn’t on my Must-Watch List. However once I got to episode 2, I was hooked. By the time I realised, I had marathoned all aired episodes, and is caught up with the current air time. She Was Pretty was really something.

Writer Jo Sung Hee did a  fantastic job writing romance comedy, especially the comedy part. I hadn’t cracked a LOL (and I mean literally) in any dramas or movies until this one came along. The show is hilarious, fun and you’ll walk away feeling happy.

Hwang Jung Eum as Kim Hye Jin

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Hwang Jung Eum‘s portrayal of Kim Hye Jin in the beginning of the show had me ROFL. I am so glad I decided to watch this show, or else my impression of her will forever be that woman with the worse luck from Secret. She should do more rom-com, and stir clear from melo, forever.

Even though she was the female lead in Kill Me Heal Me, but really, the central character in the story is Ji Sung. I had enjoyed and loved all her sibling interactions with Seo Joon’s character in that show, but Oh Ri Jin on its own is actually not as challenging to portray, or interestingly writtern as compared to Kim Hye Jin. In She Was Pretty, Hwang Jung Eum is the star — the main character — the one with the spotlight. She also proves she can be that main character in real life; the one that is capable of carrying the whole show through with her stellar and stable performance.

My favourite scene from Hwang Jun Eum? — The elevator scene with Sung Joon (1) (2). Too funny.

Park Seo Joon as Ji Sung Joon

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From tvN’s Witch Romance to MBC’s Kill Me Heal Me and now She Was Pretty, Park Seo Joon has proven himself to be a male lead material. Having only debuted 4 years ago, he has shown an immense improvement in acting. He was impressive as Oh Ri On in Kill Me Heal Me, but he is simply awesome in this one. There is definitely more room for improvement, but none the less, bravo to his well-balanced performance as Ji Sung Joon. He plays this role really well and is super charming throughout: be it when he is prickly; being an asshole yelling at people, or a puppy deep in love. It is especially challenging to be able to balance between the ‘bad‘ and the ‘good‘ of Sung Joon. I also like that he starts off being a ssagaji (rude) and misunderstood character, then gradually with the influence of Hye Jin, softens up; as well as learns to open up and trust others. Another interesting and funny aspect of Sung Joon is his flaws that occasionally surface above that perfect-looking physical (LOL); along with Hye Jin’s, makes the show extremely amusing to watch.

There is just one thing Park Seo Joon should not attempt any further: singing. He isn’t tone deaf like Sung Joon, but he has no technique. Until he masters the techniques, it would be best to let the Pro contribute to the OST. I’m sorry Seo Joon-ah, I love your acting, but not blind enough to love everything about you, LOL.

My favourite scene from Park Seo Joon? — Too many to name, but to name a couple: the trauma returns + sick scenes (1) and Panty couple’s Bromance (1) (2). Heh.

Choi Siwon as Kim Shin Hyuk

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Quirky. Witty. Interesting.

These are the 3 impressions I have for Siwon‘s portrayal of Kim Shin Hyuk. I hadn’t seen many of Siwon’s work, and he isn’t one where (I read) critics rave about in regard to idols with good acting. However, he has definitely out-done himself in this show — I am now having the illusion that Siwon is Kim Shin Hyuk. SuJu’s fans please enlighten me: Is the man like this is real life? Is he playing himself?

Although I did not love Shin Hyuk more than I love Sung Joon, but I totally love his twisted communication with Hye Jin. It is always hilarious to watch him fool Hye Jin around. Hahaha. But then there’s also times where I wish he would grow up, because it can be really frustrating to talk to someone like him.

Sadly, Siwon will be entering the Military Service any time now, thus it will only be 2 years later that we will see him on the screen again.

My favourite scene from Siwon? — Him scaring the bejesus out of Sung Joon each time (1)

Go Joon Hee as Min Ha Ri

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Go Joon Hee plays Hye Jin’s best friend, Min Ha Ri. In the beginning, I had found her character likable. She has the potential to be a female lead in near future — with her looks and height — it will light up the screen and match well with many tall, young actors. She doesn’t suck in acting too, although there’s definitely more room to improve, but she’s already better than certain well-established actresses. I look forward to see a breakthrough performance from her in future.

My favourite scene from Go Joon Hee? — All nervous getting caught by Sung Joon at the hotel (1).

OVERALL IMPRESSION

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Two words: Thoroughly enjoyable.

The comedy was really the prevailing reason in the beginning why the show attracts, and it could not have done so well without the instrumental music from the OST. There were at least 2 instrumental which I find really give a kick to the comedic scenes. However, as the show progresses, the comedy decline to give way for more serious story development. By that time, the characters have grown on me, and I wanted more than just comedy. I love the part when Sung Joon is drawn to Hye Jin without knowing she is his Hye Jin, on the contrary, I hated seeing Ha Ri falling for Sung Joon — because I know it will just lead to unnecessary heart break. Nonetheless, Hwang Jung Eum along with her co-stars Park Seo Joon and Choi Siwon kept the show extremely entertaining.

I like that Writer Jo added the mysteries behind Kim Rara’s nephew and TEN to spice up the show. The mystery keeps viewers guessing throughout the show, and I was so sure it was Shin Hyuk until I realised TEN is being mentioned a little way too often in the latter episode. That’s when I change my vote. It’s quite funny now that I look back, the nephew shares some resemblance to Kim Rara. LOL. I was blinded by the fact that they are ‘played’ by two unrelated actors, so I did not expect them to look alike physically. By the way, Siwon looks so hot in that MOST magazine. Now where can I obtain HD scans of that? It would be nice if I could use the images for this post.

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Aside from that, even though I thoroughly enjoy the show, I am unhappy with the lack of narration for Shin Hyuk and Ha Ri. Ha Ri clearly has family issue and painful past she needs to work on, and I anticipated seeing her character grow. However somewhere in the middle of the show, she became boring and annoying; and it feels like Go Joon Hee’s screen time was cut short abruptly. Her issue with step-mother is never resolved; her issue with her mother is resolved too quickly — the viewers are not told what happened in the past that resulted her to lose faith in love. Having said that, I’m glad she didn’t walk the path of the third wheel for too long, although I still dislike how Writer Jo just left it as that between her involvement with Sung Joon and Hye Jin. As close as she is with Hye Jin, I’d love to see she and Sung Joon become friends again, since they both are practically family to Hye Jin.

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Like Ha Ri, I anticipated getting to know Shin Hyuk’s back story. I understand the need for Writer Jo to keep him secretive for the mystery part, but then it strips him the chance to connect with viewers on an emotional level. I find myself incapable of empathising with him throughout his love for Hye Jin, or his reasons to hide his identity. It would have been nice through his jokes or conversations with Hye Jin that viewers eventually find out there is some truth behind the façade he puts up.

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Luckily the above shortcomings are mitigated by: (1) Hye Jin and Sung Joon’s adorable, lovey-dovey interactions. Seo Joon and Jung Eum aren’t exactly the couple to date with the best chemistry, but they are moderately convincing as a matching on-screen couple, and extremely cute to watch. I don’t want to get into details about the Onion couple because there will be nothing left to watch for those who hasn’t seen it. Let’s just say they do not disappoint.

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(2) Hwang Suk Jung as Kim Rara. Oh my god, this actress is just absolute stupendo. Magnifico. She steals the spotlight from everyone when she appears. I love the most about her character is that even though she acts clueless about making a magazine, she can swoop in all of the sudden to provide very wise advice at crucial moment. She’s a unique character, and a tough one to play because she’s so comical and exaggerated with every move she makes. I think Hwang Suk Jung did an excellent job portraying the exaggeratedness without viewers feeling she has overdone it.

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One of the main themes of this drama emphasizes that a person is beautiful not based on looks. Viewers have expressed their disappointment that ‘looks is still important to secure love and happiness’ when Hye Jin dolled up midway through the show — I am thrilled to say: “Let’s not judge until we reach the finale.” — because in the end, Hye Jin was most beautiful being herself, and most importantly, Sung Joon and Shin Hyuk love her for who she is, not what she looks like. Writer Jo shows us that through Hye Jin’s journey of self-discovery: we, too, are in charge of our own story, that we are the main character of our life if we let ourselves be, and don’t give up on our dreams.

This show adapts a fairy tale-like story, and ends perfectly like a fairy tale with a satisfying happy ending. It may not be realistic, but once in awhile, it’s no harm to let our inner child immerse in the fantasies of fairy tales and happiness.

— 8.5/10

Source: She Was Pretty Official Site | Official MBC Playlist

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