Title: 시크릿 가든
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Fantasy, Melodrama
Rating: This drama started off at 16%, which is considered pretty good for a first episode. As the drama went on, the ratings rose until it hit its peak with the last episode. Secret Garden ended strong with 31% nationwide and 38% in Seoul. Not bad at all. The average rating for this drama was 24.4% nationwide and 26.8% in Seoul.
Main Cast: The main cast of this drama was very strong, especially the two leads. They are both already very famous in Korea and their acting in other drama has been praised. Because of such well-known and talented leads, my curiosity in this drama was further provoked.
Hyun Bin as Kim JooWon:
I first saw Hyun Bin in My Name is Kim Sam Soon and then later The World That They Live In, so Secret Garden makes this the third drama that I’ve seen him in. Hyun Bin is certainly, without a doubt, one of my favorite actors.
Kim JooWon is a rich and arrogant man who is the president of his grandfather’s department store. He doesn’t give things up easily and sees it as foolish to give up everything for a girl. He believes in marrying someone of equal status so that he can expand his business and wealth. He hardly goes to work, but when he does, he yells at those below him and thinks of better ideas than they do.His favorite story is The Little Mermaid (with the sad ending). He suffers from claustrophobia and takes medicine for it.
Ha Ji Won as Gil RaIm:
Ha Ji Won is quite an accomplished actress herself. I’ve seen her in the movies 100 Days With Mr. Arrogant, Love So Divine, and Daddy Long Legs. As for the dramas I’ve seen her in, the only one was What Happened in Bali. However, she has also been praised for her role in Damo. Ha Ji Won has also been mentioned in Wonder Girls‘ So Hot for her beautiful legs.
Gil RaIm is a poor stunt woman who isn’t afraid of anything. Her mom passed away when she was in middle school and her dad passed away when she was in high school. She has no siblings and lives in a small apartment with her best friend. She doesn’t let people get away when they do something wrong, even if they’re rich. She’s very strong and defiant, but also has manners and treats people respectively. Her only weak point is Oska, the famous Hallyu singer that she’s been a fan of for many years.
Yoon SangHyun as Oska (AKA Choi WooYoung):
The only drama that I’ve seen Yoon Sanghyun in is Take Care of The Young Lady with Yoon EunHye. I didn’t particularly like that drama or his character in it so it didn’t really leave an impact on me.
Oska is a famous Hallyu singer. He doesn’t really have talent and often gets criticized for his lack of it, but he still manages to have a solid fan following. In the entertainment world, Oska is quite infamous for his scandals. He likes playing around and making jokes all the time. However, behind his facade, he bears a scar from his relationship with Yoon Seul. He believes that she left him for another man and still after many years, she remains in his heart.
Kim SaRang as Yoon Seul:
This is the first drama that I’ve seen of Kim SaRang, so I decided to do some background research on her. She was Miss Korea in 2000, and even represented Korea in 2001 at the Miss Universe pageant. She has been in quite a few movies and dramas throughout the past decade.
Yoon Seul is a movie director from an affluent family. At first, it appears that she pursues Kim JooWon because of his wealth and a slight interest in him, but her real motive is to get revenge on Oska and make him suffer.
Director + Screenwriter: One of the directors of this drama is Shin WooChul, who directed the very famous Lovers in Paris and a number of other dramas. The screenwriter is Kim EunSook, who wrote for all three dramas in the Lovers trilogy. In addition, she’s currently writing for My Princess.
Synopsis (from Dramawiki):
The drama tells the story of Kim JooWon, an arrogant and eccentric CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil RaIm, a poor and humble stunt woman whose beauty and body are the object of envy amongst top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when JooWon mistakes RaIm for actress Park ChaeRin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which JooWon tries to hide a growing attraction to RaIm that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies.
First Few Episodes:
The first few episodes lured me in. Only four had come out when I started watching Secret Garden. The first episode wasn’t particularly interesting or anything, but it was cute. However, after the first episode, everything became much better and things started going at a faster pace. The chemistry between the two leads was off to a good start; I love how Kim JooWon almost immediately started liking Gil RaIm.
The spontaneous action in this drama kept me hooked along with the great amount of skinship in this drama. From the beginning of this drama, there was already so much chemistry and skinship. And this only increased in the next episodes. By the end of this drama, there were so much cute skinship, hugs, and kisses that I was going berserk! If you’ve been following our blog, I went pretty crazy with this drama. I posted a number of blog posts about the cute lead couple because I was so obsessed with them and their love story! And in every drama, chemistry is key. Hyun Bin and Ha JiWon nailed that chemistry spot on. It was perfect.
Why did I start watching this drama? The plot hooked me. After reading about the body switch, I knew that I HAD to start Secret Garden. I saw this plot as different from other dramas; honestly, how often do we get something so out of the ordinary like this?! Plus, after watching Freaky Friday a few years back (and absolutely loving it), I knew that I had to give this drama a try. Although the beginning was kind of slow (but luckily not too slow), once Kim JooWon and Gil RaIm’s souls switched, I was laughing nonstop and the whole plot seemed to speed up a bit. The actor and actress were able to flawlessly portray the other person’s character. Hyun bin was able to act like Gil RaIm and Ha JiWon did her part well too. Because of the superb acting, it seemed as if the two really did switch bodies. The body switching didn’t just happen once in the drama either – it happened three times. And each of those three times, Hyun Bin and Ha JiWon showed off their amazing acting abilities. I was astonished. I never really realized why they were so famous, but I think I do now.
Another highlight of the drama: Kim JooWon. I love arrogant rich boy characters because throughout the course of the drama, the haughty guy ends up falling in love with the girl. He changes and learns to really love someone. Kim JooWon fills such criteria in this drama. He falls in love with the girl, but unlike other dramas, it’s not like he instantly loves her. Secret Garden is different – Kim JooWon starts to grow an interest in Gil RaIm and he wants to date her. However, as he tells his mom, he doesn’t love Gil RaIm – he just likes her. He says that he’s not gonna marry her – just date her. And in the end, Kim JooWon will break up with her because he prides his company above all else. He’ll play with Gil RaIm and her heart but in the end, Kim JooWon believes that he’ll marry someone of equal status as him, someone who can help make his company prosper even more. Because of such a mean and rude character, I disliked Kim JooWon for a while. But then, Kim JooWon started to really like Gil RaIm. He began to learn about love and about sacrificing yourself for someone else. This was the most beautiful part of the drama – seeing such a mean character turning into someone who cared for the well-being of those he loved rather than himself. Kim JooWon’s character really turned 180 degrees and by the end of the drama, he loved Gil RaIm. Loved her so much that he would give up anything just to have her. So I forgive his insolent and intolerable behavior.
So going aside from the main leads and their love story, I found Secretary Kim and AhYoung’s side relationship as a cute one that added to the drama. Secretary Kim’s hilarious actions and AhYoung’s adorable and naive character helped me find this drama even more enjoyable. Even though this couple didn’t have that many scenes in the drama, the scenes that featured them were nice light ones that gave some more spice to Secret Garden.
Oska’s funny moments and Gil Raim’s devoted fandom to him was something else that I enjoyed in this drama. Their playful brother-sister relationship made me laugh a lot and the jealousy that Kim Joowon had definitely added to the adorable relationship between the singer and stuntwoman. Also, Gil RaIm would always turn from tough to goo-goo eyed when she saw Oska, and her girl-like actions like calling him “oppa” cutely was very funny to watch.
Unlike many other dramas, Secret Garden did not have the other guy and other girl. Well, I guess it did – Oska and Yoon Seul. But then we later find out that Oska and Yoon Seul were previously in a relationship. Oska never starts to like Gil RaIm as a woman and Yoon Seul never starts to like Kim JooWon as a man – she just uses him for her personal revenge against Oska. Korean dramas have a tendency to put in another man and another woman to make things more complicated, but I love how this drama didn’t make it like that. It saved me from quite a bit of heartache.
Amazing and purely addicting OST songs – I think that this drama is going to become the first drama that I buy more than five OST songs for. Baek Jiyoung’s That Woman and Hyun Bin’s rendition of That Man are still stuck in my head. 4Men added their lovely voices to the mix of songs along with Kim Bumsoo. All in all, this drama’s OST was daebak (awesome). Yoon Sanghyun also contributed to the OST with a song under his name and two songs under the name Oska; Here I Am is a notable song that I could easily recognize.
I thought that after their first soul/body switch, Kim JooWon would change a little and become less arrogant, but he didn’t. That was disappointing for me. I also felt that the episodes after the two switched back into their body (the first time) were a bit draggy and boring since it seemed like we returned to square one. Nothing seemed to change and it was as if we started watching the drama from the beginning. I thought something would change and yet nothing did – the first disappointment.
So luckily, as I already mentioned, Oska and Yoon Seul aren’t really obstacles that block the growing love between Kim JooWon and Gil RaIm. However, there is an obstacle, and that is Kim JooWon’s mom. The mom is quite a stubborn being and she’s mean from start to finish. She dislikes Gil RaIm so she makes her suffer – okay, I can see that happening. But then, even when we get to the last episode, she’s still against the relationship. Okay, so she said something about how she didn’t want Kim JooWon to suffer like she did with his dad (perhaps there was a clashing of classes there too?) so that’s why she would never approve of the relationship. Even five years later, when Kim JooWon and Gil RaIm are married and they have three boys, she is still disapproving of the marriage. Up until the end, the couple does not receive mom’s blessing, which is sad because they would never get married (like with a wedding ceremony) unless they received mom’s blessings. So in the end, we see that Gil RaIm never gets to wear a wedding dress and the couple doesn’t have a wedding picture. It’s kind of sad.
Oska and Yoon Seul finally get back together in the end. It’s nice and sweet and everything, but I was looking for more action between this couple. This couple was surely the most dramatic one in the drama, and even though Secret Garden doesn’t exactly center on them, they were a pretty important pair in the drama. I was also hoping for more of a better ending for them instead of just “live with me” after five years. And no kiss? Tsk tsk.
As much as I loved this drama and every (well not every, but most) minute of it, it had its flaws. The draggy parts of the drama caused me to give it a lower rating; however, I still love this drama and in the future, I may even re-watch it (which I hardly do). Also, this drama received a lower rating from me because although it kept me on my toes each week and made me yearn for more after each episode, I didn’t feel very sad when I finished this drama. I just moved on easily. Maybe it’s because I’m watching three other dramas right now, so I’m not completely focused on Secret Garden, but this drama didn’t leave a huge impact on me. Okay, well I bought the calendar from G-market because I couldn’t resist..Anyways, I’m sure that this drama will leave good memories in my heart; just thinking about Secret Garden makes me jump for joy and this drama is definitely one that I would recommend to my friends and relatives. In fact, I’ve already recommended this drama to just about everyone I know that watches Korean dramas, so why don’t you give it a try too? (And I’m sorry for spilling out so many spoilers here..)