Korean Drama: Secret Garden

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Secret Garden Review


English Title: Secret Garden
Korean Title
: 시크릿 가든
Number of Episodes
: 20

First off let me say – this is my favorite drama so far. This was a different type of story line and I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters (yes, even Joo Won’s mother). I think the actors did a really good job in portraying the characters and besides the switching bodies part, it was a believable story.

Cast List/Character Overview (not full list):
Hyun Bin as Kim Joo Won – hero of the story
Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im – heroine of the story
Yoon Sang Hyun as Oska (Choi Woo Young) – pop star and cousin of Joo Won
Kim Sa Rang as Yoon Seul – CF director and love interest of Oska
Lee Phillip as In Jong Soo – director of action school Ra Im is under
Lee Jong Suk as Han Tae Sun – musician
Yoo In Na as Im Ah Young – Ra Im’s best friend and roommate
Kim Ji Sook as Moon Yeon Hong – Oska’s mother
Park Joon Geum as Moon Boon Hong –Joo Won’s mother
Kim Sung Oh as Kim Sung Woo – Joo Won’s secretary)

So here’s a quick synopsis: The hero of this drama, Kim Joo Won is the CEO of this super fancy and super awesome department store. You find out early in the drama that he cannot ride elevators as he has claustrophobia. His cousin/best friend/arch nemesis is a famous singer named Oska. Oska has his very own side-story (which I’ll talk more about later). One day Oska asks Joo Won to set up a meeting between him and actress Park Chae Rin (one of Oska’s many ex-girlfriends). Through some bickering Joo Won agrees. Park Chae Rin is currently filming an action movie, it’s there we meet our heroin Gil Ra Im. She’s the stunt double for Chae Rin and because of some miscommunication, Joo Won ends up taking Ra Im to the meeting instead of Chae Rin and thus beginning a funny yet heart wrenching relationship between the two characters. And through some uh, strange events (that include a sauna and weird alcohol) the two characters switch bodies and add even more drama to this amazing show!

The Good: this drama is pretty funny and I think Joo Won is a really loveable character. He’s kinda you’re stereotypical hero but it’s something about him that makes him different (maybe all the tracksuits from Italy). However, he does give the feel of Cha Ji Heon from Protect the Boss. This drama does a really good job of intertwining different story lines without making it confusing. They tie up all the loose ends and you know that everything is resolved. I especially loved Oska’s story that happened throughout the drama. It tied in great and kinda held on its own without having to rely too much on the drama’s story to continue. Oska’s story could have almost been a drama by itself. I did love Ra Im, too! She’s the tough girl that loves her job and pretty much does what she wants yet she has this soft side for Joo Won that I just love. She’s capable of handling herself and I love seeing that in k-dramas. And not only were the main characters loveable and people you could grow with, the secondary characters were amazing, too. I recently watched You Are Beautiful, and I didn’t feel that much of a connection with some of the secondary characters. In Secret Garden, I loved Ah Young and Kim Sung Woo. I felt really connected to them and I liked that a lot. And there was a gay character which was really different and interesting to see given Korea’s views on homosexuality.

The Bad: I think all K-dramas move slow, and that’s something I’ll have to get over… but this one just did it for me. They don’t switch bodies until like episode 6. This K-drama is 20 episodes. They switch back and forth between their own bodies but I didn’t like the amount of time spent in each other bodies. That’s just me. I also didn’t like the way Ra Im handled Joo Won’s mother. It felt really out of character for her. She kinda just accepted everything saying she has her pride to protect, which is true, but I felt like she was giving in. There’s not a lot of bad for this drama, not many plot holes or anything.

This is Episode 6, after they switched bodies. This photo really captures that moment, and makes me love the actors even more for being able to portray it so well. Especially Hyun Bin!

The Fangirl: I cried like a baby on episode 17. Like there were tears streaming down my face. I’ve never cried so much in a K-drama and I think that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. There is this one episode where Joo Won is doing a sit-up test and Ra Im has to hold his legs. At first Joo Won doesn’t do correct sit-ups and Ra Im criticizes him and then he’s all like, “If I do, you’ll regret it” and then he does and I squeal because it’s perfect and their lips are like kissing distance. And who could forget the “coffee kiss” when the crème was on Ra Im’s lips and Joo Won kissed it off. Yeah, I enjoyed that. Also who can forget the parody Big Bang did of this drama, when TOP and G-Dragon shared the same kiss. Ah, my fangirl feels.


This is the “coffee kiss” from Episode 10. *fangirling*

Overall: I give this drama 5 out of 5. For me, it’s like a perfect K-drama. I felt all of the emotions through the characters. I was pleased with the ending, and it didn’t seem that rushed to me like in other K-dramas. There is so much more to this drama that I’m not putting in this review. The plot is really good, and I didn’t want to review it because it’s so intricate and detailed I feel like I’ll giveaway spoilers. I highly recommend watching it, just make sure you have a box of tissues handy around episode 17.

What did you think of Secret Garden? Love it? Hate it? Leave comments below and tell me what you think!

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Jazmine (5 Posts)

Hi! My name is Jazmine! I’m currently a junior in college (or I will be starting in August). I love Korean culture, music, and lifestyle and plan to study abroad in Seoul very soon! My favorite K-POP band is Big Bang! I’m also teaching myself Korean, so please feel free to talk to me (in English or Korean. It’s good practice)!

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