Showing posts with label You are the Best Lee Soon Shin! (Kdrama) 4.4 || 4.3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label You are the Best Lee Soon Shin! (Kdrama) 4.4 || 4.3. Show all posts

10 August 2021

K Drama Review: You are the Best, Lee Soon Shin! (2013) 4.4 || 4.3

I never doubted Oppa's love for IU / Lee Ji Eun. He got a lot of her albums. He wears IU shirts every single day. IU's concerts and songs are on loop in our house. We've seen almost all of IU's movie and dramas (Persona, Hotel Del Luna, My Mister, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, The Producers, and Dream High). 

I admit, however, that I doubted if Oppa loved IU that much that he could endure 50 episodes of a relatively old drama. But he actually did it and now, we are just one drama away from watching all of IU's shows. I can't believe that Oppa really finished watching all 50 episodes of You are the Best. :D


You are the Best tells the story of Soon Shin, the youngest daughter out of three in the Lee family. Life was pretty normal, with occasional bickering between Soon Shin and her second sister, Yoo Shin (Yoo In Na). That is until their father (Jeong Dong Hwan as Lee Chang Hoon, who had a cameo in Hotel Del Luna) passed away in a hit-and-run accident. Unfortunate events begin to unfold with Soon Shin discovering that she was adopted and her real mother was a popular actress. All the chaotic stuff are compounded by Soon Shin's debut as an actress. You are the Best takes us through Soon Shin's self-discovery and acceptance of who she really is. 

The Good Stuff

IU as Soon Shin

I know I've always had high praises for IU. She is just so good in whatever she does. But it was nice to see a more raw version of her here. Yes, she was still good, considering that this was one of her drama debuts. She was able to match the acting skills of the veterans. Although she was not perfect here the way she was in her more recent dramas, we loved her nonetheless. 

IU looked so young and innocent in this drama. She was perfect as a naive, foolish, and borderline pathetic girl who just took all the punches people threw at her. When the truth about her identity was revealed, I loved the emotions IU showed us. I could not help but feel bad for Soon Shin because no one seemed to care about how she felt and people didn't seem to understand that she was overwhelmed and she needed time to process things. It was unfortunate that only her boss in the restaurant, Kim Young Hoon (Lee Jee Hoon), understood her, and he could not even do much for her. 

And that seriously scary and crazy transformation she showed us when she agreed to live with her biological mom, Song Mi Ryung (Lee Mi Sook), and do whatever Mi Ryung asks her to do. Her eyes were so full of anger that I'm not sure why Mi Ryung was ecstatic with her decision. I felt so bad for Soon Shin's willingness to sacrifice her own happiness and comfort to protect her adoptive family. 

We saw some great heavy drama moments from IU as well when she found out the truth about her adoptive dad's accident. Her pain and grief radiated throughout the scene. I wish she could have shown the same restrained intensity during her final confrontation scene with Mi Ryung. It was unfortunate that it was supposed to be the finale but the scene did not move me the way her other dramatic scenes in the show did. Her tears and rage did not feel so natural. Or probably it had the misfortune of being shown alongside other more tender dramatic scenes like Woo Joo (Kim Hwan Hee of Reply 1997 as Soon Shin's niece) and her dad's or Yoo Shin and her mother-in-law's moments. 

Just a side note on Mi Ryung. Lee Mi Sook was perfect as an elegant woman who put people in their proper places with her brutally frank admonitions. I admit, however, that she stooped so low when she ditched Soon Shin and blocked the breaks she was getting. And what made things worse was her lack of remorse for her past transgressions and her greed and desire to get whatever she wanted at all costs - not telling Soon Shin about Kim Jung Ae's (Ko Du Shim of Exit,  My Mister, High Society, and The Snow Queen as Soon Shin's adoptive mom) dinner invitation and showing off to Jung Ae that she can throw a more lavish party, putting her career over Soon Shin's feelings, telling Chang Hoon's family that Soon Shin was not his daughter while the family was still grieving from finding out the truth behind his death, etc. As Soon Shin put it, Mi Ryung wasted/missed a lot of opportunities to tell the truth. She could have done it when she told Soon Shin about her real father. She should have taken advantage of how understanding Soon Shin was of the situation. And it didn't help that after everything that's happened, Mi Ryung chose to run away again. In hindsight, however, that was probably best for everyone. She kept her distance to allow Soon Shin to flourish. Their final scene together where Soon Shin called her mom gives us hope that some day, things will probably get better between the two of them. 

Compared to Soon Shin's chaotic relationship with Mi Ryung,  I absolutely loved Soon Shin's moments with Jung Ae. They were filled with so much love and sincerity, even when Jung Ae resented Soon Shin's background. 

As expected, we got superb acting from Ko Du Shim. Although she got a bit annoying when she was keeping Soon Shin's adoption story and problem with Mi Ryung to herself, she totally redeemed herself once she let Soon Shin go. I loved their relaxed and more open relationship especially when she told Soon Shin that she did not mind at all that she was not Chang Hoon's daughter and how she comforted Soon Shin when she was confused about Mi Ryung. I also loved Jung Ae's narration during the finale where she was telling Chang Hoon about how well all of their daughters were doing. 

I would have to say, however, that IU was at her best during her scenes with CEO Shin Joon Ho (Jo Jung Suk of Exit and Hospital Playlist). I super loved their tender moments because they brought out the best in each other acting-wise. My favorite would probably be the one in the park where Soon Shin was pretending to deliver an acceptance speech after winning an award and she was paying homage to Joon Ho. That felt so raw and real and I totally sensed that they wanted to help each other succeed.

I also loved that moment when Joon Ho drove Soon Shin home after the latter found out why the CEO signed her up as an actress for his agency. I loved how Soon Shin sweetly said that she saw good things in Joon Ho and she knew that he didn't take her in simply because of the bet. Or that cute and giddy moment when Soon Shin asked for Joon Ho's autograph in an old record he released years ago. Or their first kiss!!! Or whenever Joon Ho dragged Soon Shin to go out on a date with him. Or all those make up moments after a fight where Joon Ho would swoop Soon Shin into his arms. 

I super loved IU and Jo Jung Suk's chemistry. They looked so naturally good together. Despite the huge age difference, they managed to dish out a really convincing team up. I felt giddy whenever they were together on the screen. 

While this may not be IU's best, she was still way better than other debuting actors. It was great to see where she started and how far she's gone. 

Jo Jung Suk as CEO Shin Joon Ho

One reason why I indulge Oppa's obsession with IU's dramas is because I get to meet interesting oppas along the way - Kim Soo Hyun of Dream High, The Producers and Secretly, Greatly, Lee Sun Kyun of My Mister,  Parasite, and Coffee Prince, Yeo Jin Goo of Hotel Del Luna, House on Wheels, and 1987: When the Day Comes, and Lee Joon Gi of Moon Lovers. Most of IU's male leads are part of my list. And this show seems to be no exception. 

I super love Jo Jung Suk in Hospital Playlist. And I love him even more after watching him here. Whatever he lacks in other departments, he totally makes up (or probably even overcompensates!) for it with his charm that you can't help but fall for him. The next time I update my list, he will definitely be there. 

Jo Jung Suk is perfect as Joon Ho, a silly, funny, overconfident, and seemingly obnoxious guy. And while he might appear cocky to others, I love how Joon Ho is actually a gentle and caring guy deep inside. I was really rooting for him to succeed with Soon Shin because there were so many negative people around them like Mi Ryung and Yeon Ah (Kim Yoon Seo as an actress and Joon Ho's obsessed ex-girlfriend). 

And while he might have had his flaws, one can never doubt how Joon Ho genuinely cared for Soon Shin. He requested Jung Ae to allow Soon Shin to act even if she goes to another agency because he knew she really loved acting. I loved how he would always remind Soon Shin to do whatever makes her happy and never allow others to pressure her, unlike what he did when he was starting out. And how how he always watched out for her like when he asked her to consult him before she decides on her next moves in the industry. And just being there for her whenever she's down like when she found out Chang Hoon was not her real father and Mi Ryung knew the circumstances behind Chang Hoon's death. 

However, I totally hated it when Joon Ho did not immediately deny the article linking him to Yeon Ah. She was obviously not going to do it. Why did he allow Soon Shin to be placed in a difficult spot? 

And it was really odd for him to break up with Soon Shin after he made her promise a lot of times that she should not run away, waver, etc. Why didn't he push Mi Ryung to tell the truth right away? It will come out eventually anyway. I know this a relatively older drama so it's probably a victim of this crazy kind of storyline. But I just don't get stuff like this where the solution to avoid making someone extremely upset or unhappy also involves hurting or upsetting that person for some other reason. I don't understand why they choose to go the circuitous way where they can potentially hurt that person twice as opposed to just telling the truth straight away so that person only gets hurt once. They might even get brownie points for being honest. Soon Shin said it perfectly - she never asked Joon Ho to take care of her so why could he not just stay by her side during those tough times??

But having said all of that, I still love Jo Jung Suk and I was glad that Joon Ho and Soon Shin had their happy ending. 

Jung Woo as Seo Jin Wook 

I loved Jung Woo (Reply 1988 and Spin Kick) as Trash in Reply 1994. He's on my list too. And he did not disappoint me here either as the baker tenant of Soon Shin's family who ends up with her older sister Hye Shin (Son Tae Young). 

Most of his scenes made me laugh so hard even if they tend to be on the slapstick side - spitting food on Yoo Shin and Woo Joo (Hye Shin's daughter) or that scene where he dropped Yoo Shin's underwear hanging on the clothesline or dropping oranges in the grocery because he was too nervous to see Hye Shin or accidentally baking a heart-shaped bread for Hye Shin or his English competitions with Woo Joo. 

But as the show progressed, I loved Jin Wook even more because of how genuinely caring and protective he was especially with Hye Shin and Woo Joo. He shooed away Hye Shin's abusive mother-in-law when he sensed that she was looking down on Hye Shin. He always comforted Hye Shin when she was down and he kept on telling her to express how she felt. He carried Woo Joo to the hospital even if the kid hated him. He endured the humiliation from Hye Shin's ex-husband. He never gave up on Woo Joo - he comforted her when she felt bad about her dad's mistress, he helped her understand and accept her parents' separation, and he even brought her to the airport to send off her dad. And of course, that heartfelt confession he made in front of Hye Shin's family. Jin Wook's path in finally winning over Hye Shin and her family was a tough one but he remained patient and he never gave up. 

I admit that I was not so fond of Woo Joo initially. She came across as someone so rude that her elders could not even control her. But when she matured a bit, I grew fond of her. After all, she was just a kid who was desperate for her parents' attention. Her plea to her father at the airport was heartbreaking - it was simple really, she just wanted him to still keep in touch with her. 

My love for Jin Wook and Woo Joo, unfortunately, did not translate to a love for Hye Shin. Yes, Son Tae Young is absolutely beautiful. However, she needs improvement in the acting department. Her expressions were almost the same the entire time - regardless of whether she was angry at Woo Joo or her mother-in-law, shy around Jin Wook, worried about her family, etc.

Yoo In Na as Yoo Shin

I initially disliked Yoo Shin. She was yelling and bullying Soon Shin all the time and it was exhausting listening to her. But when her love story flourished, she slowly grew on me. 

I loved how Chan Woo (Ko Joo Won as Yoo Shin's neighbor, childhood friend, and partner) broke down Yoo Shin's walls and melted her icy personality. 

And while I hated how she kept on bickering with Chan Woo's mom (Kim Dong Joo as Gil Ja), I loved how Yoo Shin respectfully told Gil Ja that she was a precious daughter to her family too and Chan Woo was not the only precious child in the world. And how she never gave up on Gil Ja by lavishing her with attention that her own husband and kids could not give her. And I loved these two women's tender moment during the end of the show where Gil Ja acknowledged that she knew how tough it is to work and take care of a family at the same time. 

My take away from Yoo Shin's storyline is that we should all strive to find someone like Chan Woo - one who sees beyond your flaws and toughness and appreciates the good in you and stands up for you against his family. 

I loved the unconventional way that Yoo Shin accepted Chan Woo's proposal - she told him that she won't cook breakfast for him and she won't be a good doctor's wife. Yey to girl power, especially when compared to Chan Woo's very traditional mother who wants a subservient wife for her son. 

I enjoyed watching Yoo Shin's character develop, especially when she hugged Soon Shin when she found out Mi Ryung's connection to their dad's death. No judgments at all. She simply comforted her sister who was having a hard time. 

The Not So Good Ones

Since this is a 50-episode drama, it's understandable that there would be a lot of characters and you're bound to dislike some of them. Here are some of mine: 

Joon Ho's mom (Lee Eung Kyung), who never knew her boundaries and felt that being close friends with someone gave her the license to be rude, meddle, and give unsolicited advice, and sister (Bae Geu Rin) who was always annoyingly over the top. 

But the one I disliked the most was Yeon Ah who was greedy and devious. It was annoying how she thought she could get away with dirty tricks like sending Soon Shin to the wrong location or asking her to leave in the middle of a shoot or using the media to manipulate people around her. Her threats were pathetic because they showed how desperate she was to get something she could never have. 


When you're constantly watching 16-episode dramas, you're expected to initially feel uncomfortable with 50-episode ones. You'll miss the tightness of the stories of shorter dramas. With a long one, the show has more leeway to waste time. 

Like doing slapstick or predictable stuff such as when Joon Ho would keep on bumping into things or tripping. And he miraculously got healed of that problem even before halfway into the show. Or how Joon Ho's sister predictably dropped her phone in Chan Woo's car even if she was only there for probably less than a minute to give Yoo Shin a reason to be jealous. Or how couples should stay together even if the other party is cheating. Or how rich guys only belong to rich girls, never to poor ones, and especially not to illegitimate ones. 

And of course, there's a lot of time for overextended dramatic moments too. Like Mi Ryung always staring into space contemplating about her life. Or Jung Ae worrying about Mi Ryung. Or Soon Shin's grandma always lamenting about her son and her life in general. Or Yoo Shin resenting Soon Shin. Or Mi Ryung and Jung Ae meeting up a number of times but they always end up in yelling matches. Or Soon Shin telling Mi Ryung to stop bothering her family. Or Joon Ho's mom pestering Mi Ryung. Or Mi Ryung pestering Soon Shin to go into acting. Or Chan Woo's mom annoying Yoo Shin. Or grandma pestering Hye Shin to get back with her cheating husband. Yes, it can be quite exhausting and time spent repeating these stories could have been used to have more Joon Ho and Soon Shin dates. 

And yes, there would be overly illogical stuff too. Like how Soon Shin's scammer would go back to the same cafe where he scammed Soon Shin such that the latter can find him. Or when Joon Ho sent "secret spies" to take photos of Soon Shin but they brought such huge cameras that Soon Shin would obviously see them. Or how nobody really reported how Yeon Ah was sabotaging Soon Shin in their drama. 

But don't get me wrong. Although there were a lot of the traditional stuff you see in older dramas, this show had its good moments too. Number one of course would be Joon Ho and Soon Shin's love storyline. 

I also liked how the show strived to present different kinds of families that some people would judge as dysfunctional. I liked how Soon Shin was an adopted girl who was well-loved and who thrived in a family that was not her own. I loved how the drama showed us the struggles of single parents like Hye Shin, who apart from being in pain from the heartbreak her husband caused her, had to raise Woo Joo on her own. And I liked how the show tried to "normalize" divorce. While we had old folks like grandma and Hye Shin's mother-in-law who wanted the couple to get back together even if they obviously did not love each other anymore, I loved how Jung Ae supported Hye Shin's decision not to get back together with her husband. In general, I loved how Jung Ae always got her daughters' backs even if they lived unconventional lives. Like how Yoo Shin was a working wife who did not want to be tied down as a traditional stay-at-home spouse. 

I also enjoyed Jin Wook's storyline that teaches us that we all deserve a second chance in life regardless of our dark past.

And probably the great thing about a 50-episode drama is that the show has a lot of time to prepare for a decent ending. I found this show's ending very satisfying. Soon Shin's play was a way to gather together all the supporting cast. 

I absolutely loved that family dinner with all of the girls' partners present. And how Jin Wook was now accepted by grandma and Woo Joo. 

Joon Ho's family seems to be on its way to being whole again. 

I also appreciated how the show did not force Yeon Ah to be an angel all of a sudden. She was tamer and she was at least civil with Joon Ho and Soon Shin but she was still ostracized for the mistakes she committed. 

And I loved how Mi Ryung and Soon Shin seemed to have found their peace separately without totally closing their doors on each other. 

Since this is a relatively old drama, you can still see traces of themes and flaws prevalent from that "era."   Over all, however, You are the Best was still so much better and more progressive than other shows released around the same time. 

Oppa says...4.4.

Noona's a 4.3.