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Upbeat rom-com vs. court romance


Tonight signals the end of a "High Kick Through the Roof" era and the start of a new MBC sitcom, "Bolsurok Aegyo Manjeom."
It also heralds the start of "Jewel in the Palace" and "Yi San" director Lee Byung-hoon`s latest project, MBC`s "Dongyi."
While "Dongyi" looks set to repeat the success of its blockbuster predecessors, it is SBS` new Monday and Tuesday night series "Oh! My Lady" that promises to be a sleeper hit.
Featuring "Dalja`s Spring" actress Chae Rim and boy band Super Junior member Choi Si-won, the lighthearted rom-com looks set to reel in audiences with the bickering and sparring that arises when a spunky heroine goes head-to-head with a "bad boy" celebrity.
Gratuitous displays of Choi`s abs -- the result of a chicken breast heavy-diet and exercise -- coupled with Chae Rim`s knack for being adorable and feisty make for eye candy-laden comedy. Add to that Choi`s ability to pull off the role of a star who is a party-loving, abysmal actor, and it seems like this series will have a strong run.
"My character gets matured, manufactured and changed," the 23-year old K-pop star said at a press conference last week.
Actress Chae Rim`s character, obviously, will be giving Choi`s character his makeover as his unlikely manager. Though this is Choi`s first stint as the lead in a 16-episode TV series, co-star Chae Rim revealed that Choi "has a strong passion for acting."
What really clenches the charm of "Oh! My Lady," however, is the fact that "Cat on the Roof" scriptwriter Gu Sun-kyung is on board. Gu, who co-wrote "Cat on the Roof" with Min Hyo-jung, showcased an ability to whip out cute and romantic repartee in the hit MBC series in 2003. Now Gu is ready to repeat history once again.
If SBS` "Oh! My Lady" promises to win audiences over with its upbeat comedy, then MBC`s "Dongyi" promises to grab viewers with its melodramatic court romance.
Based on the life of the mother of Joseon`s 21st monarch, "Dongyi" charts the heroine`s rise from her position as a maid to that of the royal concubine of King Sukjong (played by "Jewel in the Palace" actor Ji Jin-hee) and then as King Youngjo`s mother.
"Brilliant Legacy" actress Han Hyo-ju will be playing the lead, a task she admitted she found daunting.
"At first I hesitated a bit," Han said in an interview from an MBC press release. "I felt that taking on a historical drama would not be easy and I questioned my ability to play someone from their teens into their 50s. But I grew ambitious and felt that I should not miss out on the opportunity to play such a broad role."
Though a child actress will be playing the young heroine Dongyi, Han faces the challenge of portraying Dongyi`s long journey from teenager to woman to mother. Co-star Ji Jin-hee, however, thinks that actress Han is a perfect fit.
"When I first saw Han Hyo-ju I really thought she was just right for the role," actor Ji said in an interview from an MBC press release. "Dongyi is a character who goes through a lot of ups and downs in her life. It is rare to find an actress who can play both a low-class servant and a royal concubine."
For his character, Ji revealed that he wanted to show a monarch who had "weak spots that show through his charismatic exterior."
"Rather than being a dignified king, he is an outgoing and adventurous character," said the 38-year old actor.
No drama is complete without a love triangle. "Brilliant Legacy" actor Bae Soo-bin is set to reprise his role as a devoted suitor to Han Hyo-ju`s heroine. Actress Lee So-yeon who starred opposite Bae Soo-bin in SBS` "Angel`s Temptation" is playing yet another villainess in the upcoming series.
MBC is also revamping its Monday night line-up with the new sitcom "Bolsurok Aegyo Manjeom." Following on the heels of the highly successful "High Kick Through the Roof," this family-friendly series will chart the lives of a single mother, her three daughters and the men in their lives.
"Old Miss Diary" actress Ye Ji-won will be playing the eldest daughter of the family. "Full House" actor Kim Sung-su will be playing her love interest. "Tamra, the Island" actor Lee Seon-ho will also be starring in the upcoming series as a doctor.
"Oh! My Lady" starts tonight at 8:50 p.m. on SBS.
"Dongyi" starts tonight at 9:55 p.m. on MBC.
"Bolsurok Aegyo Manjeom" starts tonight at 7:45 p.m. on MBC and airs from Mondays to Fridays.


By Jean Oh

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