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KBS` bachelor battles MBC`s queen


Starting with the blockbuster series "My Wife is A Superwoman" in March, MBC reigned supreme on Monday and Tuesday nights, with "Queen Seon-deok" inheriting the throne in late May and carrying on MBC`s winning streak.
MBC`s dynasty may fall tonight.
KBS` new Monday and Tuesday night series, "The Man Who Can`t Get Hitched," has what it takes to edge out "Queen Seon-deok." Viewers will be hard-pressed to settle on a channel when the two series - one a historical saga, the other a romantic comedy - go head to head tonight.
"Queen Seon-deok" actress Ko Hyun-jeong, who is compelling as femme fatale Mi Shil, has met her match in Uhm Jung-hwa, who will be reeling in female viewers as a Bridget Jones-type with a medical degree in the new KBS series. But as the title suggests, Ko`s greatest threat isn`t singer-and-actress Uhm, it is "Jewel in the Palace" heartthrob Ji Jin-hee.
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In the preview, Ji drew laughs as a stubborn, know-it-all 40-year old bachelor with a pathetic lack of social skills, a penchant for blasting classical music in his apartment and the pitiful ability to feel guilt-free about hogging a table for six at a restaurant.
Despite his various flaws, Ji`s bachelor manages to come off as a lovable buffoon, an amazing feat considering that his first encounter with Uhm`s character involves excessive flatulence, the humiliating experience of having his pants pulled off and of being submitted to a rectal exam.
"I closed my eyes like this," said Uhm, who is playing doctor Jang Moon-jung, in explaining how they filmed the hospital scene during a press conference Tuesday. She recreated the situation, scrunching her eyes shut while simulating whipping off a pair of pants.
Audiences will ponder whether or not Ji`s character suffers from masochistic tendencies, when, after undergoing such intense demoralization, he goes back to the bewitching doctor who examined him.
Thanks to the hit series "Jewel in the Palace," Ji has made a name for himself as the mysterious and handsome type, the knight in shining armor, but he upends all that as loner architect Cho Jae-hee. A breath of fresh air as a clueless but cute loser, Ji may prove a born comedian.
At the press conference, Ji exhibited his comedic flair, correcting the MC when he called the drama a series about 40-something year-olds.
"(The drama is about) those in their late 30s and those going into their 40s."
When asked if his friends told him to fix certain habits before he got married, Ji, who got hitched in 2004, didn`t even stop to think before answering: "No."
"Ah, there is something," Ji snapped his fingers while pinpointing his pre-marital drinking habits as something that he changed.
Uhm, who has already proved her comedic mettle in flicks like "Singles" (2003) and "Seducing Mr. Perfect" (2006), bantered with the press when they asked her about competing with her brother and fellow thespian Uhm Tae-woong, who is starring in the rival series "Queen Seon-deok."
"I would like to do a wee bit better," she answered coyly. "Because I`m his older sis, and because I`m still single."
But when pressed about plans for marriage, she offered no hint that she would be walking down the aisle anytime soon. "I am so accustomed to my life right now, like my character ..." she said.
Co-star Yang Jung-ah - SBS "Good Sunday" fans will recognize her from the hit reality-variety segment "Go Gold Miss" - was also asked questions about marriage.
"I would personally like to get married," she stated before fielding questions about the recent public announcement "Go Gold Miss" co-stars Jang Yoon-jeong and Noh Hong-chul made about their romance.
"I really didn`t know," she said, referring to the lovebirds as "a couple that one could not have dreamed up."
"Boys Over Flowers" actress Kim So-eun and "Antique" cutie Yoo Ah-in will also be starring in the romantic comedy.
A spin-off of a popular Japanese series which aired on Fuji TV in 2006, "The Man Who Can`t Get Hitched" will air its first episode tonight on KBS 2 TV at 9:55 p.m.

By Jean Oh

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