Kdrama Review: Taste Sweet Love

Lee Wan, Kim Jung Hwa백설공주 / Baek Seol Gong Ju

  • English title: Taste Sweet Love / Snow White
  • Broadcast network: KBS2
  • Broadcast date: 15 March to 4 May 2004
  • Episodes: 16
  • Starring Kim Jung Hwa, Lee Wan, Oh Seung Hyun, Yeon Jung Hoon, Jo Yoon Hee
  • Synopsis: Ma Young Hee and Han Jin Woo have been the best of friends since high school, but what Jin Woo doesn’t know is that ugly duckling Young Hee has been in love with him all of this time. With the entrance of Jin Woo’s little brother and a female broadcaster, what will the two friends’ fate be?

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Kim Jung HwaMa Young Hee (Kim Jung Hwa) met Han Jin Woo by chance one day in high school. After helping him out of a rough situation, they became good friends. However, Young Hee fell for Jin Woo. The day when she was going to confess, Jin Woo introduced his girlfriend and from then on, Young Hee has never been able to confess her feelings. And, like almost all kdrama men, Jin Woo never realizes his best friend’s feelings.

Fast forward to the present. Young Hee works at a modeling agency in hopes of becoming a beautiful model and winning Jin Woo’s heart. She is plain and frumpy, but also strong and energetic. Jin Woo is now a news anchor and seems to be completely self-absorbed, never staying with any one woman for too long.

Young Hee goes on a business trip to Japan and manages to get fired. She gets drunk and runs into a young man who takes her back to his place. When she wakes up the next morning she accuses him of taking advantage of her. Of course, she won’t listen to him as he tries to explain he did nothing to her. His denial is interrupted by the arrival of immigration officers. He tries to escape when, but Young Hee catches him and won’t let him go. Thus he gets exported back to Korea.

Lee WanIt turns out that the young man from Japan is Jin Woo’s little brother, Han Sun Woo (Lee Wan). Sun Woo doesn’t want to go back home so Jin Woo takes him to Young Hee’s place and thus the plot is set in motion. And boy, what a plot. Enter in Minako, a Japanese girl who is in love with Sun Woo, and Jang Hee Won a fellow news anchor who basically stalks Jin Woo and who is an artificial beauty (meaning she had plastic surgery) and things manage to get even more complicated.

Hee Won undergoes plastic surgery to make herself beautiful. Whether or not she did this just for herself or to snare a guy, you are not totally sure, but it doesn’t really matter. Young Hee transforms naturally. To get over Jin Woo and start fresh, her hair changes, her make-up changes, and her wardrobe changes, too. She becomes more feminine and the beautiful girl shines through. (Although, even in frumpy form, Young Hee was still good-looking).

Highlights:

  • Sun Woo calling Young Hee “ahjumma” which is considered an insult as the term refers to a middle-aged woman. He should call her “noona” (older sister). Why is this a highlight? Because it’s funny to watch Young Hee’s reaction when he calls her this, that’s why.
  • Jin Woo’s private movie show for Young Hee (really sweet even though he seems like a shallow jerk)
  • Young Hee’s attempt at plastic surgery to win Jin Woo over
  • Sun Woo changing his clothes and hair to try and impress Young Hee’s mother
  • Jang Hee Won and Han Jin Woo getting rejected. Can’t say they didn’t deserve it.
  • Sun Woo’s declaration of love for Young Hee in front of all is friends (took him long enough)

Oh No! moments:

  • Jin Woo hooking up with Hee Won when he was supposed to be with Young Hee
  • Minako proposing to Sun Woo
  • Young Hee’s mom yelling at her for dating a guy younger than Young Hee’s own brother.

Random Trivia:

  • In the drama, Young Hee’s character is 6-7 years older than Sun Woo’s; however, in real life, Kim Jung Hwa is only a year older than Lee Wan.
  • Also, Jin Woo and Young Hee are supposed to be the same age in the drama, but in real life Yeon Jung Hoon is five years older than Kim Jung Hwa.

Yeon Jung HoonMy thoughts: I really enjoyed watching this drama, especially the parts with interactions between Sun Woo and Young Hee. Lee Wan and Kim Jung Hwa had some great chemistry in this drama. Truthfully, the drama was at its best when these two characters are together. Their fighting and playing were some of the best parts. Although, I must say that their romance kind of dragged. In each episode after they were technically together (but not officially together), they had to fight and “break up.” And what did they usually fight over? Jin Woo and Minako and age. All the misunderstandings get to be a bit too much and you get sick of them by the end.

Truthfully, I don’t understand the age hangup that is present in this drama (and in life in general). Why is it okay for an older man to date a younger woman, but not vice-versa? I thought it was really stupid when they talked about how bringing a younger guy to a reunion got a woman ridiculed and how Young Hee’s mom yelled at her about dating Sun Woo because he was so much younger. Love shouldn’t have anything to do with age, but it was a major factor in some of the lover’s quarrels the two leads had.Oh Seung Hyun

I couldn’t really understand just what Young Hee saw in Jin Woo. He always seemed callous and self-centered. As much as he doted on and took care of Young Hee at the beginning, he was oblivious and totally insensitive to her feelings for him. If you asked me, he wasn’t worth all those years of unrequited love. This is not to say he was a bad person. Jin Woo has some very good redeeming qualities, but I still didn’t like the character all that much.

Having both Minako and Hee Won as road blocks to love seemed a bit much. Hee Won was hilariously devious and you are never sure if she actually likes Jin Woo by the end of the drama or if she just sees him as her most compatible match. Minako’s character seems innocent and child-like, but then she comes off at the end as being devious and slightly vindictive because Sun Woo doesn’t choose her. The parts when he has to deal with her and the aftermath got to be ridiculous and honestly made me wish there was no Minako.

Kim Jung HwaOverall this was a great drama. Lighthearted at times, morose at others. The fact that Jin Woo actually realized that Young Hee was the woman for him was a great light bulb moment (coming too late, of course); however, it makes you wonder. Did he love Young Hee for who she really was (like Sun Woo loves Young Hee) or did he love her just because she was always the one by his side who understood him the most? How do you differentiate those kinds of love?

Also, I liked how Young Hee discovered her own dream. Too many years she lived for a dream that was never really hers (becoming a model to obtain Jin Woo) and it was great to have her fall in love with cakes. I especially liked how she told Sun Woo she wasn’t ready for “love” because it was time for her to pursue her own desires for once. This is partly the strength that Sun Woo gave her and that is why he could leave for his dream too (to study music in Japan with his idol).

It is always good to sacrifice, but I like how in this drama neither one gives up what they want the most. They pursue their dreams and maintain their love. I always find it annoying when one has to give up everything for the other. Young Hee knew love along wasn’t enough at the end and after they had both established themselves, then they were ready for love and to be together.

A definite must see romantic comedy even with all the laggy, repetitious parts and the somewhat annoying transformation of Young Hee into a woman who did lack a bit of spark and confidence towards the end.

3 comments

  • great..I already understood the whole story now..thanks..

  • I watched this show over spring break, and I loved it. I also liked the things you pointed out. The other plot point that I loved was the relationship between the brothers. I like how they did not feel the need to make Jin Woo into some evil person once he found out that Young Hee was now in love with his brother instead of him. I also am soooo glad that they did not have him go back to Hee Won who deserved to be alone after all her crazy. An extra treat? The bakery boss is the same guy who played Lawyer Kim in Let’s Eat!

    • Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed this drama. You’re right! Generally brothers or sisters or cousins or friends become enemies, but the hyung stepped back and supported their relationship and didn’t do evil things to step in between. He had seriously LOTS of time to realize his princess was the one for him and I really did like he didn’t get back with plastic girl, too.

      Now I want to rewatch this to see the bakery boss is really the same actor, lol. Lawyer Kim in Let’s Eat…such a sad character. He was like a little kid. He convinced himself it was just revenge when it was love all along. I’m a little over halfway and need to finish that series.

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