My Girlfriend is Gumiho, episodes 1 to 3

My sixth Hong Sister drama. Round of applause, please.

I’m not immediately hooked yet, but I’ve almost never disliked anything the Hong Sisters have put out, so I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this drama. I think I keep expecting this to be as funny as “You’re Beautiful” (which I personally think is their most hilarious drama to date) and it’s not quite there yet but there are definitely upsides to this drama.

One huge bone I have to pick is that the Hong Sisters are absolute crap at writing female characters. I can sense it’s going to be the same in this. All Hong Sister second female leads are psychotic bitches who are incredibly manipulative and deceitful. What the hell :\

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I love this song. It works so well with certain scenes, and the humming in the song is beautiful.

Summary of episodes 1 to 3

Lee Seung-gi plays our lead, Cha Dae-woong. He comes from a rich family and we learn that his parents died when they were young, so he was raised by his grandfather and aunt. He’s kind of a slacker, doesn’t go to school, and has a high (and fruitless) ambition of becoming an action star. His family objects, but he’s not one who will really listen, so one day when he’s going to get his hair did for an upcoming audition, he meets with dissent from his grandfather.

Instead of yielding, he maintains that this audition is going to be it, and he won’t just give it up. So he runs away.

He ends up hitching a ride with a monk, who brings him to the temple where he resides. In a hilarious turn of events, Dae-woong scutters farther away from the temple than intended in order to get good reception on his phone since they’re in a rather isolated location (or maybe he’s just using an iPhone with AT&T). He’s trying to call his aunt — who’s far more lenient with him than his gramps is — but the phone dies mid-conversation without him noticing. What Dae-woong doesn’t know is that there is somebody within the little temple he’s outside of, listening to his conversation.

That someone is our titular Gumiho, played by Shin Min-ah. The gumiho is a fox in human form, and whose Korean mythology you can read over here. (I guess the nuances of the gumiho really depends on whichever country’s version you’re learning about, because the stories are all different. Though funnily enough, the name of this creature used today across all cultures is to connotate that a woman is a cunning, deceitful bitch. Nice.)

The gumiho — which henceforth I will write as Gu Mi-ho — has been trapped inside the little house for many, many years and would like to be freed. So, taking her chances with this imbecile human, she asks him to go up to a portrait and draw nine tails onto the fox that’s standing next to a woman in the painting. He does. She is freed. And thus his life of horror begins.

In running away from the outer house, Dae-woong trips and falls by the bank of a river. The newly released Gu Mi-ho finds him lying there in pain, and unconscious. She also finds him to be highly interesting, but being locked up for hundreds of years does that to you — everything is interesting. Gu Mi-ho gives Dae-woong her life bead in order to revive him, since she’s pretty sure that if she doesn’t, he would die.

Once Dae-woong wakes up, he has no recollection whatsoever of what happened. He does, however, find it strange that this weird girl in the white dress keeps following him. She lets him know quite quickly that he was responsible for setting her free, which he feels awful about. But after realizing that he’s not going to just be able to tell her to apologize to the monks and then go, he agitatedly tells Gu Mi-ho not to follow him.

But, the problem is, she gave him her life bead, which means that she’s weak without it (or, as weak as supernatural creatures go anyway) and thus by that rationale, she has to be around him all the time. She lets him know that she’s Gu Mi-ho, but he doesn’t take her seriously at first. Once she proves to him that she really is Gu Mi-ho, Dae-woong almost pees in his pants. She proves to be nothing but harmless, but Dae-woong being the chicken that he is, misconstrues this to mean that she’ll be around forever, taking in the right moment to strike, take his liver, and eat him for dinner. Gu Mi-ho cutely and repeatedly insists that she doesn’t eat humans and that she doesn’t mean him any harm, but he has his firm beliefs and will not listen otherwise.

Unfortunately, Gu Mi-ho has a huuuuuge appetite for meat. All kinds of meat. She eats so much. in fact, that her continued presence is a burden on his wallet. Not only is she a pesky fox woman, she also must be fed constantly, lest she be angered and eat him. You can see why this could be cause for a strained relationship, heh.

There’s also the existence of Eun Hye-in, played by Park Soo-jin. She’s a sunbae in the school that Dae-woong goes to, as well as being an aspiring actress and generally annoying human being. Dae-woong has the hots for her, and this certainly poses a problem because Mi-ho’s constant hovering causes misunderstandings between the three of them.

Hye-in thinks that Mi-ho is a pesk and doesn’t know her place by constantly following Dae-woong, but this doesn’t faze Mi-ho. Mi-ho’s not technically human, so she doesn’t understand things like jealousy and attraction, and doesn’t see why Hye-in feels threatened or acts hostile. She does, however, suspect that Dae-woong wants to “mate” with Hye-in, which is just adorable because she thinks in animal terms and “mating” is what you do if two things of the opposite sex like each other.

On the second male lead front, there’s Park Dong-joo, played by Noh Min-woo. He’s not human either, though we’re not certain yet what he is. He does, however, have intentions of trapping the gumiho and bringing her back to where she belongs. In various flashbacks, it seems that in a past life, he may have been romantically involved with the gumiho, though we’re not sure if that was gumiho, or another mythical creature. To be honest, this part of the plotline is still a bunch of question marks to me, so we’ll see where that goes.

What I do, however, is that he is one of those second male leads that the Hong Sisters like to torture us so much with. I’ve even given that breed a name; I call them “watchers.” Every single time a second male lead in a Hong Sister drama does this:


or this:

You know we’ve got a watcher on our hands. The tragic will-always-watch-what-you’re-doing-watch-you-slowly-fall-in-love-with-main-lead-as-I-tragically-talk-to-myself-about-my-love-for-you-but-not-doing-anything-to-prove-myself-while-the-main-lead-repeatedly-proves-himself second lead. GAHHHHHHH.

Rounding out the drama is a bunch of secondary characters I don’t care about:

– Kim Byung-soo and Ban Seon-nyun, who are Dae-woong’s friends. Seon-nyun has a crush on Dae-woong, but he doesn’t reciprocate. Byung-soo has a crush on Seon-nyun and she doesn’t reciprocate. And the sky is blue and the water is wet and this is a Kdrama with one too many unrequited crushes.

– Dae-woong’s aunt Mi-sook, who falls for Seon-nyun’s single dad, Ban Doo-hong. Doo-hong is the director at the action school that Dae-woong goes to, and lets Dae-woong stay there when he runs away from his gramps’ place.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Things I like about this drama:

1. Lee Seung-gi is very good. I’ve written before that I liked him, and that he was good in his first project, but I attributed that mostly to his character being a fairly easy one to play. This drama is definitely going to prove that he’s good at expressing a range of emotions. He’s a surprisingly good comedic actor, and then he transitions very easily into playing a good dramatic one. It helps that the Hong Sisters are very, very, very good at writing first male leads who are both so funny and so heartwarming that it’s hard not to like any actor who’s picked to take the lead.

2. “Being human.” There’s a catch phrase/hook symbol in every Hong Sister drama, and I’m pretty sure “being human” is going to be that in this one, and it’s quite nice if it’s not overdone (though I fear it will be). Dae-woong’s grandfather constantly gives him shit for not manning up, taking responsibility, or being a decent human being. I’m sure this is not important to Dae-woong now, but it will be in the overall scheme of things. On the flip side, Mi-ho is also not a human being, though that’s a more literal use of “being human.” She’s not human because she can’t be one, but Dae-woong’s not human because he doesn’t have the decency to. I’m sure that she will work on making him “more” human, and ditto with him for her, though it will be in different senses of the word.

3. The way the gumiho is interlaced into the story. It feels very organic and while there are definitely fantastical elements of the story just by mere existence of the gumiho, the way she’s been written is cute and refreshing. She finds everything in her surroundings very interesting, new, refreshing, and reacts towards all the things as such — like how she’s fascinated with bubbly soda, how she’s suspicious of Dae-woong wanting to “mate,” etc etc. And once Shin Min-ah flashes dem dimples, game’s over. So cute!

Things I don’t like about this drama:

1. It’s a little slower than I’m used to with a Hong Sister drama. There is a lot of stuff with the secondary characters that I really don’t care about. It doesn’t help that the plotlines with the secondary characters go on forever, but hopefully once we go into next week, things start picking up a little more speed and various storylines will tighten up and condense a little.

2. Shin Min-ah. I love Shin Min-ah to death but I have a feeling she might be a leeeeeeettle weak for this role. She does cute in a really ridiculously good way, but once the more dramatic and heart-tugging stuff comes along, I think she might be a bit weak. Funnily enough, all while watching the initial episodes, I thought that Son Yeh-jin could work really well with the character. I think she could’ve worked her brand of cute to suit gumiho, and at times, I felt Shin Min-ah’s cuteness was a little too bubbly and a little too saccharine. But I’m also allergic to aegyo, so maybe I’m just oversensitive :P

  • xiodao

    I’m sorry to bother you, but do you know who the artist and the title of the track is in English? It’s so addicting! And completely beautiful. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Amy

      Should’ve put it into the post, my bad!

      It’s 여우비 (Rhythm Ver.) by 이선희.

      And translated into English it’s “Fox Rain” by Lee Seon Hui/Lee Sun Hee.

      • xiodao

        ah! Thank you so much!

  • pengork

    i’m really digging this show. i’ve only seen the first 2 yet but it’s like YAB, a total high. i think all hong sisters dramas start relatively slow so the fact that it doesn’t match YAB’s high yet doesn’t mean it won’t ever to me, but it’s just so much FUN. shin mina is seriously fucking beautiful, all that bewitched every man she saw stuff is kinda totally believable. i don’t find her cute too much and i probably won’t (omg i’m sorry if you’re allergic to aegyo how do you stand yoseob >:||||| i just can’t take that kid) because she’s fresh and natural with it. what i’m looking out for is whether the romance will be believable and something i go crazy over. my girl and hong gil dong are my fave hong sisters dramas, and while YAB was HUGE, obsessive fun and i spazzed out over it, it didn’t strike nearly as much of an emotional beat with me, because the stakes weren’t that high.

  • Pingback: Lee Seung Gi, The Triple Threat Entertainer, Returns! | KDrama Fandom()