Review. My Lovable Girl is a 16 episode 2014 Korea Drama about a man avoiding life after the death of his girlfriend. He meets her sister and decides to help her become a successful song writer. They fall in love but there are bumps along the way.
1. Rain as the leading man Hyun Wook. The extent of success of this series is owed to Rain’s portrayal.
2. Our couple, Hyun Wook and Se Na, had a charm that either drew you in or did zero for you. I was drawn in. This couple worked for me.
3. I enjoyed the music and subsequent Original Sound Track (OST).
1. Limited range of acting ability in our leading lady and second leading man. Krystal portrayed leading lady Se Na with a small repertoire of emotions. L played second leading man, Shi Woo, with a compact series of skills.
2. The writer torpedoed this series with dismal plot choices. No Ji Sul (wrote Scent of a Woman) started with a simple story then dumbed it down further dropping plot points to concentrate on the couple. The couple’s obstacle was not substantial enough.
You might think that I did not enjoy this series…but nothing could be further from the truth.
* Yes, this series was hamstrung by a simple story with poor plot choices that could not be ignored. Yes, the thespian skills were limited.
* But…I enjoyed most episodes. I liked Rain, I liked the dog, I liked the couple, I liked OST. It was sufficient to keep me watching.
What I liked about My Lovable Girl:
1. Rain as leading man Hyun Wook. I watched this series for Rain. I enjoyed him in his first kdrama Full House (2004) (see review) and had not seen him in any other production since. Rain’s acting skills have improved considerably since 2004. He effectively portrayed Hyun Wook making him likable even when the writing made his character unlikable.
* Rain did what he could to make this series work. Rain found himself in a subpar series just as Ji Hyun Woo was with 2014’s Trot Lovers (see review). How much information do actors have about a series before they committ? As with anything, a promising concept can be poorly executed.
* I think Rain was patience and kind to the inexperienced Krystal and L.
* I love Rain’s smile. He is stingy with a full smile but did offer a couple in the series.
* I grew to loath the stylist’s choice of scarves versus ties for this character. Finally in episode 13, the scarves were banished and ties became the norm.
* Rain had a wonderfully tender way of hugging Krystal. He would cradle the back of her head during the hug, making her appear more precious to him.
2. Main Couple. Against many odds (bad story and limited acting) they had a sweetness that resonated with me. I can forgive a lot if the main couple clicks. The banter scenes between Krystal and Rain were cute. She pursued him more than he pursued her, granting her an edge in their initial relationship. Emotional scenes where he felt and she supported resonated. Their first kiss was lovely and well produced. Their mutual love for the dog was their initial connection and effectively threaded throughout the series.
3. Dal Bong the dog. I have never had the animal as the number #3 positive in a show but Dal Bong was a primary plot driver and facilitator to the romance. I enjoyed that Dal Bong instantly loved Se Na to the astonishment of Hyun Wook. Dal Bong was darling and a charming on screen presence. Who knew that an ambulance would take a dog to the vet in a kdrama? Dal Bong’s death was forecast from the first episode but it was still hard to watch and well done.
What was okay about My Lovable Girl:
1. Krystal as leading lady Se Na. I had seen Krystal in 2013’s kdrama Heirs where her character Lee Bo Na was cute but one note. As Se Na, Krystal’s sweet spot was being softly sassy, consistently drawn to Hyun Wook (there was never any doubt which man had her heart), and playful with Hyun Wook. Rain and Krystal had an easy vibe. She delivered enough of a performance to make this couple click for me. Krystal’s strength does not lie in emoting pain, suffering or anger visually. I do not believe she was ready as an actor for a leading lady role.
2. L as second lead Shi Woo. I had enjoyed L’s performance as cocky and cute Hyun Soo in the 2012 kdrama Shut Up Flower Boy Band. For this series, L’s sweet spot was being cocky, smirky, or joking. He had plenty of opportunities to be in that sweet spot throughout the series. Emoting through his face is not L’s strength. I do not believe he was ready as an actor for a second leading male role.
What I did not like about My Lovable Girl:
Writing. Without a doubt, the writer is a primary culprit of this series being subpar. The story line was too simple. The writer, No Ji Sul, produced a story that was not worthy of a 16 episode series. The examples of lazy story telling abound in this series.
a. The writer eliminated details from an already basic story throughout the series. Examples:
** Hyun Wook’s ringing ear was dropped and never mentioned again. The crippling condition that made it so he could not listen to music vanished overnight.
** Yoo Ra Eum, a female singer and love interest for Shi Woo, only appeared in episodes 1 – 6 and was never heard from again. The character is mentioned briefly in episodes 8 and 10. She is prominently displayed on the series poster (upper left hand corner).
** Shi Woo’s former band, Infinite Power, and rival Rae Hoon (Hoya) is featured in episodes 1 – 6 then never heard from again (briefly mentioned later).
b. The writer wrote the characters into terrible positions that made them look like idiots. Examples:
** Hyun Wook cannot get over his girlfriend’s (So Eun) death after 3 years. You had the feeling they dated for less time than he anguished and hid from living due to her death. I was astonished that he still had So Eun’s cell phone CHARGED in a box and Se Na would call the cell to talk to her sister.
** Hyun Wook hides the truth from Se Na about dating her sister. It was simply ridiculous that he did not come out with this. It amazed me that dating the sister was taboo. Why?
** Hyun Wook succumbs to noble idiocy when he cuts himself from Se Na in episode 10. At least the noble idiocy period was brief.
** Se Na falls prey to noble idiocy when she cuts herself from Hyun Wook in episode 16. This was made even more egregious when she declared her love for Hyun Wook the night before dumping him with a note and leaving the city.
** Shi Woo does not get that Se Na is not romantically interested in him…ever. I never saw any romantic chemistry between these two. They were much better buddies. Too bad the writer did not allow Shi Woo to see the obvious, Se Na loved Hyun Wook and he never had a chance.
** Hyun Wook’s Father logic for opposing Se Na was ridiculous. He tells Se Na he started the rumor that Hyun Wook cheated on her sister years ago. Father states he cannot move on from his painful past with Hyun Wook if he has to see Se Na daily. In other words, seeing her makes him uncomfortable about when he was a total jerk to his son. The logic of his argument was so pitiful I was gob smacked.
Production. Some of the production values were subpar. Back lighting galore in this series. How many scenes in the sponsored coffee shop? It was a relief when some outdoor scenes were utilized. The camera work was not creative. Too many times I wished they had shot a scene with more camera angles so I could see both sides of a scene.
* Many saw this series as a train wreck. I understand if you do. My initial impression after episode 1 was not positive. This series improved given the constraints of subpar writing and acting, then in the latter third of the series it sank down. So many kdramas I watch are the weakest in the latter third of the series. Do writer(s) only have vague idea of where they are going instead of a complete road map? If you are interested Koala’s Playground provides a well written and scathing review (see “Thoughts of Mine” at the bottom of the page).
* Strawberries34 (soompi forum), explains the cryptic second to last line from Hyun Wook, “I know I’m late” followed by “I missed you”. In a nutshell, in episode 12 Hyun Wook promised Se Na that he would search for her should they ever be separated. During their year separation he never looked for her. Finally at the train station, he fulfilled that promise.
My Lovable Girl / She’s So Lovable OST was first released as a 7 part OST with 17 songs. The 2 disc compilation has 27 songs (1st disc 13 songs, 2nd disc 14 songs). Drama Wiki has all the details. The music for this show struck a chord with me.
* For the first time I created youtube videos (dubbed Episode Tracks) with extracted snippets of songs from the episodes. These episode tracks were loads of fun (link to youtube episode tracks). Most of the songs turned out to be included in the OST (no surprise) but it was fun to have a sample snippet. Two examples:
1. “Humming Song” Episode 7 track (song did not make the OST)
2. “Only You” Episode 9 track, this version is sung by Krystal, the OST version was sung by Kim Tae Woo
* Kim Tae Woo, a famous pop singer, contributed “Only You” OST. He was featured in episodes 9 and 10 recording the song. That was a good tie in.
* Rain did not contribute to the OST. He seems to have the stance when he is an actor, he does not tap into his musical talents. If there ever was a character that this would have flowed logically, this was it.
* Sometimes episodes had different a version of a song versus the official OST version.
1. “Rewind” Ep 3, “Rewind” OST
2. “Calling Out” Ep 11, “Calling Out” OST
My current favorite three songs from the OST:
1. “All of a Sudden“ Krystal’s contribution is one of my favorite songs of the OST, Disc 1 Track 1.
2. “I Want to Love You” She’s So Lovable OST Part 3. Alex Chu (portrayed Sung Jin) and singer in Clazziquai sings this lovely song.
3. “Kiss Me” She’s So Lovable / My Lovable Girl, OST Disc 2 Track 6, sung by Hani of EXID and Baek Jong Yoon.
Playlist which contains the songs from the 7 part OST and my 12 Episode Tracks is available via this link or embedded below:
Last pics as we fade to black: