Hangul Title: 내 이름은 김삼순
English: My Name is Kim Sam-Soon/My Lovely Sam Soon
Romanized Korean: Nae I-reum-eun Kim Sam-soon
Synopsis: Bearing an unfashionable name and excess weight, Kim Sam-Soon is thirty, unmarried, jobless, and fiercely outspoken. Jin Heon is a successful hotel owner forced on many a blind date by a mother insistent on his marriage to someone. After losing the patisserie chef for his restaurant, Jin Heon persuades Sam Soon to take the job in a moment of desperation. Faced with the prospect of losing the house her father worked all his life for, Sam Soon also accepts $50,000 to pretend to date Jin Heon; a cover intended to keep his mother off his back. Sam Soon asks why he chooses her for his ruse when so many other women would gladly swim an ocean of thumbtacks to date him, real or fake. He replies that it’s because there’s no chance of him ever falling for her. We as an audience share a knowing snicker.
My Rating: PG-13 for mild, but semi-frequent swearing, full-on kissing (a rarity in K-dramas) and the discussion and happening of “skinship.” Also, Jin Heon is a big-time canoodler. Like, for serious.
Inferior American Counterpart: Pretty Woman – Minus the prostitution.
Characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Instead of having a diverse collection of lovable characters like “You’re Beautiful,” “My Lovely Sam Soon” had a rare few that I really rooted for. Aside from the main characters, I didn’t care much about what happened to anyone, except in the hopes that whatever choices they made resulted in making Sam Soon happier. However, she is such a fantastic character I’d give her five hearts just to herself. Unlike a lot of female protagonists in Korean dramas, she’s very direct about what bothers her and why. You won’t see her suffering in silence when Jin Heon makes a mistake. She’d rather smack his head and call him out on being a jerk. Her actions are realistically flawed, but not to the point of disliking her. She’s an honest character, and one I loved watching through this drama.
Plus, oh yeah, she’s totally adorable.
I did not like Hee Jin. I’ve an inkling they want us to feel compassion for her with her sickness plight, but I cannot. To me, she’s the villain of the entire story. In one scene, for a brief moment, I thought she was a character I could sympathize with, or at least forgive. Then she went back to being a presumptuous twit. I’m sorry, but you don’t disappear for three years without a word and then expect everyone to fall right back in love with you the second you return. She irritated me. The only times I could stand her was when she was with Henry. But then she’d push him away and say she felt nothing when she was with him and the hatred returned. You feel nothing!? Are your eyes open!? You’d have to be sick not to feel anything for Henry. Sick in the head. Um, Daniel Henney! Hellooooow!
Hilarity Per Episode: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
There is a lot more adult humour in this one. It can be crude. Don’t watch it with young children around who understand Korean or can read English subtitles. :P It also has a more serious tone, so the funny things that happen are awkward and terribly lifelike. This makes them more funny than the outlandish fantasy humour, but equally more embarrassing. Towards the end, the funny parts are not as frequent and the tear-jerkers come in, but there’s never a dull moment.
Tear-Drama: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
THE TEARS!!! OH, THE TEARS!!!!
There’s a particular scene in Episode 6 in which Jin Heon and Sam Soon share a late night at the piano. Sam Soon sings ‘My Beautiful Person’ while Jin Heon plays the melody and shortly after… well, no spoilers, but it makes me teary and my heart fluttery every time. There’s something special about that scene. The way for the first time he smiles rather fondly at her through side glances while he plays; how she starts out in a soft hum and then sings louder as she feels more comfortable, showing both to be content to be in each other’s company for once. The end of the song, when she apologizes for not singing as well as he played, and his first ever real compliment to her… It’s full of lovely emotions.
There’s also one piano piece that starts up the waterworks by being played anytime something mushy or tragic is about to happen. It’s called, “Bonbons au Chocolat” and you can listen to it below, in the Soundtrack section of this review. It was playing during Episode 16, at a time when I was infuriated with Jin Heon and rashly thought him no better than Hee Jin. But then a messenger came, explaining the misunderstanding and anger away and just as relief poured over me that I need not hate such an attractive person, Sam Soon opens the box and inside it are…
And the music starts just then, and…
I cried so. much.
Soundtrack: ♥ ♥ ♥
The great thing about Korean dramas is that the songs used are forever identifiable with a certain scene or mood in the series. Three musical pieces stand out to me from “Sam Soon.”
1. Ah Reun Da Oon Sa Ram/My Beautiful Person
This is the song Sam Soon sings during my favorite part in the whole drama. I did find the original, but instead of a bittersweet ballad it’s an interesting bluesy country type song. I wanted Kim Sun Ah’s charming rendition and would settle for nothing less, so I ripped the audio off of the video clip from that episode, cut the track, and now I have it! *sniffles* It’s so wonderful.
2. BonBons au Chocolat II
When Jin Heon reveals his traumatic past, in the saddest flashback ever and subsequent tears (both from Jin Heon and my sensitive soul) this song turns the ‘sad alert’ into ‘why are you manipulating my emotions this way, you cruel, beautiful soundtrack!?’
3. Be My Love – Opening
For the start of each episode we get this cheerful, funky groove. It’s the essential Sam Soon.
Sleep Deprivation: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I has no sleep. I has no sleep ever now because I must find out how drama is resolved. At first I watched as many episodes in a row because they were so engrossing and hilarious, then I watched them because I wasn’t willing to go to sleep without Jin Heon doing something to make me forgive him for his most recent error(s).
Eye-Candy: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
As the opening song states, “It’s so fine!” The pastries Sam Soon makes are pretty, but even prettier are the main men in this drama. Between the food and the men, my keyboard is lucky not to be bathed in drool.
Jin Heon. I’m like Sam Soon’s mother who stoops over Jin Heon while he’s sleeping to admire his eyelashes. Anytime I thought this drama dragged was not a scene where he was anywhere in the shot, I assure you.
Pictures do not show the full essence of his good looks. It’s in the way he moves, or doesn’t move at times. The way he blinks in surprise or grimaces in frustration. There’s something in his jaw… and his eyes… and his lips. Bella can compare Edward to Adonis all she likes; I will not be satisfied until I can compare my man to Jin Heon. I do use the character name because I looked up the actor (Hyun Bin) and whether it’s his hair or his… facial slenderness? It’s not the same as his role in Sam Soon! It’s just not the same! *weeps* But I have around 16 hours of him in this drama, so I suppose all is fair.
Doctor Henry is pretty, too.
Ending: ♥ ♥
With such a gorgeous cast and the perfect setup for a happy ending, I felt this drama fell short. Shorter than The Imp in a ditch. I’m not saying things weren’t resolved, and it could have ended worse; it could have ended tragically, but I was still disappointed. There was even a dream sequence that would have made a better ending. They should have kept that as “reality” and used the dream sequence as a scare tactic. “This is how things could have ended up… But psych! We’re actually married with triplets!”
Besides, I will never buy into the “love yourself” idea. Loving oneself is what made Hee Jin act selfishly and hurt others. Loving oneself depletes the love that could be better spent on another. Absolutely you should shape up your life, but as Tae Kyung (YB) realized just before it was too late, self love is a dangerous thing and useless to finding happiness.
The ending gets two faint hearts because it does leave a lot to be desired.
“There are two kinds of dough.
Dough made with yeast and one without.
Dough made with yeast rises right away,
But one without yeast takes its time to rise.
I think that’s so cute.
I want to be a person without yeast.”
-Kim Sam Soon