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The Greatest Love (2011) Drama Review
Title: The Greatest Love (최고의 사랑/Choegoui Sarang)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
PD: Kim Jin Man
Airing: May 04 to June 23, 2011 at 21:55
A love story that came out from whirlwind events that led former idol Goo Ae Jeong (Gong Hyo Jin) tangled with the nation’s superstar Dokko Jin (Cha Seung Won).
Hong Jeong Eun and Hong Mi Ran
(My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, 2010)
Lee Dong Yoon (Hero, 2009)
Park Hong Gyoon (Queen Soon-deok, 2009)
CAST and CHARACTERS
Cha Seung Won as Dokko Jin
Gong Hyo Jin as Goo Ae Jeong
Yoon Kye Sang as Yoon Pil Joo
Yoo In Na as Kang Se Ri
Han Jin Hee as Ae Jeong’s Father
Park Won Sook as Pil Joo’s Mother
Choi Hwa Jeong as Representative Moon
Lim Ji Gyoo as Kim Jae Seuk
Jeong Joon Ha as Goo Ae Hwan
Yang Han Yeol as Goo Hyeong Gyoo (Ding Dong)
Lee Hee Jin as Jenny
Bae Seul Ki as Han Mi Na
When it comes to books, I know it is a good read when each page comes to life. The same goes with a good drama series. Characters come to life as each episode progress. Their demeanor, words and stories take you into their worlds, capturing you. This is the birth of the National Treasure couple.
It all began with an announcement last fall 2010. The famous scriptwriting duo, namely, the “Hong Sisters” green lit their upcoming project, The Greatest Love. When further news releases were made I got concerned upon learning that the characters and drama itself are meant for more mature audience. In years of following them I found that their audience is mostly young adults. It was something out of the usual for a Hong Sisters drama series. I thought it was a bad comeback after a well received drama series from the previous year.
I was sure glad that my initial reaction was wrong. The Hong Sister sure did charm me all over again with their wit and humor. By far this is the best written screenplay the Hong Sisters have completed. The title spoke for it; more episodes you watch the further you get to appreciate the drama. The Hong Sisters clearly had outdone their 2010 hit My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. They used contrasting storylines to marvel key points of the plot.
At the beginning is the shimmering world of showbiz. Ae Jeong’s career as an idol reaches great highlights. Then the glittery world came crashing down caused by a scandal. On the other side of table (literary) Dokko Jin is undergoing a surgery in order to live. Time goes by, now, Dokko Jin is the biggest celebrity in the country. While in the stardom hierarchy, Ae Jeong only has bad publicity in her records together with a career surviving in random appearance to extreme-challenge variety shows.
Both the fantastic and harsh reality of showbiz in Korea was revealed. There’s a huge visible difference between the ways Dokko Jin and Ae Jeong were living and treated. Dokko Jin can just take any clothing he fancies from a sponsor’s boutique while Ae Jeong had to beg a friend to lend her a one-of-a-kind scarf.
The drama steps forward on being simply wonderful and enjoyable. Many thanks to the ways each character was given life. In some drama series I got into, I experienced wanting to change or totally delete a character from it. Worst scenario, I was looking for ways to contact the Producer to ask him/her to please change the actor. This drama however had the perfect blend of script, actors, performance and cinematography. Actors as the face of the drama series carry most of the weigh to make it successful. In that regard the Greatest Love has a stellar cast and characters.
So, let’s take a peek at world of the three main leads.
Kye Sang is a charmer. The way he smiles, laughs and talks, you got to have him as Pil Joo. The Hong Sisters brought in an unlikely second male lead. Usually the second male lead is at par when it comes to status quo with the male lead. This drama thought of something exciting. Why not bring in a delightful guy next door. He is a regular guy who handles himself so well that he even bought a pen to replace the one Ae Jeong lost. Not to mention that it was his pen on the first place. The only thing that I cannot figure about Pil Joo’s character was his being extremely understanding and forgiving. It gave me doubts on how to take such in—was he being mature or just way too perfect for a regular guy. Then maybe he treasured being in good terms with Ae Jeong more than having her fall for him. Anyhow, Kye Sang was just right actor for Pil Joo. Pil Joo also got to look good in both a suit and doctor’s coat.
This is the first drama I’ve seen Hyo Jin act and what a performance she gave. She made me see through Ae Jeong in and out. Modern heroine Ae Jeong is a fighter. Therefore it is a tough role. Hyo Jin’s acting was so natural and sincere. I cannot resist her magic that I always caught myself smiling every time I remember Ae Jeong delivering water to Dokko Jin’s place and trying to get out without having Dokko Jin notice. Ah, it was good one. No actress could have pulled off the Ae Jeong allure other than Hyo Jin.
Seung Won’s charisma and brilliance became the lifeline for Dokko Jin. You might wonder why I keep referring to him as Dokko Jin instead of Jin or Dokko. Well, in the series Dokko Jin kept on and on about “I am Dokko Jin… Because I am Dokko Jin…” So we will give him the credit of using his character’s full name. Seung Won just raced the bar for male lead acting. It was truly remarkable on how an egoistic, eccentric and I’m the king character can turn into somebody chival(rous)-hilarious. I often tend to hate such male leads and find them dim. But the way Dokko Jin approves of himself with a smile, his obsession with his mustache and the accent for saying “Ding Dong”, it was all uniquely Dokko Jin. There were memorable Dokko Jin moments. A great example was the time wherein he discovers his growing emotion towards Ae Jeong at a production studio. The hallway was decorated with framed posters from aired drama series. It was a feat to see Dokko Jin trying to make sense of everything from the series title he came across with—what priceless deductions and expressions. Many scene sequences would have not worked if Seung Won was not Dokko Jin.
The drama series continued on a steady chain of events without redundant and complicated sub-stories. It also maintained its essence as a (true) romantic comedy. For in each episode there’s something to laugh or funny to share about. Some romantic comedies are funny during the first four episodes. Then things start to go down hill with the succeeding episodes due to dragging and cry-a-bucket scenes on every quarter of the episode.
Each episode also guaranteed to depict different sides of the characters. The Co-directors did a marvelous job of capturing their worlds through moving pictures. Scenes were designed to show the rich development of the plot. I like the way they transformed the script. A great example was Se Ri’s character makeover. Her childish character existed in a confined bubble—filming studio, lavish places and prolific people. I witnessed her grow to a promising woman out in the open. She later on exposes herself to public places and gathering—a wedding and to the mountains she went. I like it when a spoilt character learns the value of hard work and true friends. The Co-directors were also very keen in giving extra depth to the Hong Sisters characters.
Weeks had passed and before I know it, it was the last episode. I saw a happy couple saying farewell. Dokko Jin and Ae Jeong talked to the audience from their living room, breaking the fourth wall. They received so much love and support. It was no surprise when the series got many parodies from variety and radio shows after its airing.
Several months passed after being off the air the couple to whom I also bid adieu from my own living room did a photo shoot for a magazine ad. Dokko Jin and Ae Jeong truly has become a national treasure couple.
In the meantime, as we wait for the Hong Sisters new project and if you haven’t seen the drama please do check it out. It is certain that you’ll find many reasons why this series is the Greatest Love and the Jin’s as the National Treasure couple. Same goes in the event that you would like to know what in the world Se Ri was doing on the mountains.
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