My 175th completed Korean drama, Me Too, Flower (2011) confused me at first because I couldn't get an immediate handle on the characters. It seemed that every single one of them had some form of mental illness, and all had suffered some family traumas, which they were coping with rather badly, except for the character of the psychiatrist who saw several of them in his office separately and tried to help them. I'm not sure how much of this was planned by the writer ahead of time, or simply haphazardly written to complete a schedule, but it wasn't until about episode eight that I started to understand the characters better and feel intimately involved with their lives; that's just too long for the typical audience, and every K-drama writer should know this; audience members today tend to become impatient if mysteries are dragged out too long in their shows.
To be sure, there ended up being many charming, funny, and even romantic moments in this unique K-drama (with some VERY nice passionate kissing scenes too -- I just mention that because K-dramas are often awkward at depicting those scenes, as any true fan will tell you - but NOT here!), but if you want a more coherent study of people with mental illness then It's Okay, That's Love (2014) is the far better show, in fact, it's a masterpiece and a not to be missed drama that earned my top rating, A+. Me Too, Flower, on the other hand, earns a B because of the confusing writing which took too long to explain its characters fully. I am here to help you sort some of that out ahead of time so you, as opposed to most people who watch it, will understand what's really going on much earlier. Sometimes spoilers are good!
I loved the actors, they were fabulous in their roles, in particular Yoon Si Yoon (The Prime Minister and I, Flower Boys Next Door), who I thought gave his best performance so far in this drama. As of this writing he is presently in the military and I miss him. He's a sensitive actor and I hope his career rebounds immediately once he fulfills his service. He actually was second choice for this role, the first actor selected had an accident and needed to be replaced right before shooting began. Yoon stepped in, and I'm glad he did; he alone kept me watching this drama in the beginning when all the other characters were annoying me, even the lead female character, played by Lee Ji Ah (Beethoven Virus, The Legend). Once she started to mellow out, however, I started to warm to her, but it took several episodes.
This is the most adorable poster of a
K-drama cast that I have ever seen!
The Story: Police woman Bong Sun Cha (Lee Ji Ah) is very dissatisfied with her job because she keeps being overlooked for promotions in an office filled with male cops as co-workers. She even takes to demonstrating her unhappiness with signs of protest outside the police building. However, she doesn't want to admit that part of her problems stem from her own depression and possible mental illness. She is dragged away by her fellow police officers and ordered to undergo mental counseling. After having her first counseling session with a friendly, compassionate psychiatrist named Tae Hwa Park (Min Gi Jo from Two Weeks) she walks home deep in thought, not paying attention to traffic around her, and is gently hit by a young man on a scooter named Jae Hee Seo (Yoon Si Yoon). It's obvious she isn't hurt so he teases her that she was in his way and not paying attention; he drives away smiling and she walks home the rest of the way steaming angry with this young "jerk" who had gotten the best of her in their encounter.
Jae Hee may look like a jerk but he is actually a millionaire, due to his own talents and hard work over the years, despite never even graduating high school; however, he has had past troubles with the law (for reasons that are explained later) and has been on probation: as a front to lay low he had began an entry level job at his own high end clothing and shoe manufacturing company, as a parking attendant of all things. He has complete confidence in his co-partner to run the company as CEO, his former sister-in-law, a widow named Hwa Young Park (Go Eun Han from Jung Yi, Goddess Of Fire), who unknown to him has had the secret hots for him for quite some time. She keeps him tied to her through their combined efforts at the company, as well as their past family connections, including her seven year old son, Jae Hee's nephew, named Ah In Han (Hong Hyun Taek), whom Jae Hee is quite fond of, and through his guilt for inadvertently having something to do with the death of his own older brother who had been married to Hwa Young. For years Jae Hee has been suppressing negative emotions due to this situation but they are about to be uncovered in a difficult way for him, due to his growing relationship with a certain female cop.
What does a man do when three mentally
disturbed women are obsessed with him?
The police are called to the department store when a shopper causes a disturbance. Arriving are Bong Sun and new recruit Ma Roo Jo (Lee Gi Kwang) who has been made her partner. A crowd of people are surrounding the hysterical woman who is screaming on the floor, accusing an employee at the store of cheating on her. Bong Sun then notices Jae Hee standing among the crowd and recognizes him as the guy who hit her on the scooter. Bong Sun tries to reason with the woman, but it doesn't work.
Jae Hee then comes forward and tells the woman bluntly, "Simply put, the love you had is gone. Don't think about what you might have done wrong, just go home, lie down and sleep. Wait for another love to come to you." His words have a strangely comforting effect on her; she finally calms down and leaves the store. All this is watched in amazement by Bong Sun: Jae Hee had succeeded where she, a supposedly qualified police woman, had failed. 2 to 0 in favor of Jae Hee!
Later, In the parking lot at the clothing store, the police car driven by Bong Sun collides with a customer's car, driven by Jae Hee. Jae Hee begins to panic, memories come back to him about the day his older brother had died; he had been responsible for the accident that killed his own brother, in his haste to drive his pregnant sister-in-law to the hospital when she was in labor with his nephew. The memories shaken him but he manages to calm himself down; however, he is fired from his job as parking attendant nevertheless.
What will he do now? Every time he fails at something he has a cushion in his sister-in-law, who has forgiven him for the accident several years ago, but who has her own mental issues going on with her secret lust for him. She tries to distract him by taking him to dinner, playing tennis with him, and hinting that he should come back to the department store as CEO, but Jae Hee rejects the idea. He tells her he wants nothing but a peaceful and quiet life from now on. Jae Hee does ask Hwa Young to have him rehired as the parking attendant, because he wants to keep tabs on what goes on at their store from a distance.
Out of spite, Jae Hee then goes to the police station where Bong Sun works and complains that he was fired from his job because of Bong Sun. Bong Sun mischievously handcuffs him to a desk chair and he makes some unthinking comment, "Handcuffs have become much lighter since the old days", which alerts Bong Sun to the fact he might have a prior arrest record.
These two people are already fighting an unspoken attraction to one another through their mutual antagonism -- a K-drama cliche of the first order -- this is practically the foundation for 99% of K-drama romances! It becomes worse when Hwa Young comes up with a scheme to publicize their store by announcing that a million dollar handbag studded with diamonds has disappeared from the store, possibly stolen. Bong Sun inadvertently finds the purse in the side bag of Jae Hee's scooter -- but he pleads with her to believe him that he was not the one who put it there, it was planted there by someone else! (Spoiler: The jealous sister-in-law had had it placed there, for she wants his growing romance with this cop stopped at all costs). Bong Sun is going to arrest him when he grabs her and kisses her passionately. There's just something about him that makes her believe in him and trust his words -- it's the turning point in their relationship, but there are still many challenges to come.
In a side story, we have Bong Sun's family history which is a sad one, parents divorced, she grew up without feeling love from either of them. Her father had been a cop too and had been told to retire early because of a transgression. He had remarried and Bong Sun has a flighty step-sister who lives with her in her apartment, named Dal Kim (super Seo Hyo Rim from That Winter The Wind Blows, Scent Of A Woman, Master's Sun) and she also has a crush on Jae Hee! (well, he IS handsome!). Eventually, when she realizes Jae Hee has no feelings for her she sees nothing wrong with making a bee-line for the psychiatrist they are all privately seeing, who is much older than herself. Her character kept me laughing quite a bit. (This actress is always fun to watch, she can play any character and make it her own).
The former sister-in-law Hwa Young becomes more and more desperate to rid this interfering police woman from Jae Hee's influence and she concocts a scheme to use Dal Kim against her sister, and another scheme against Bong Sun directly, to make her risk losing her job on the force.
During all this time Jae Hee had seemed to be oblivious to Hwa Young's schemes and her jealousy, but little by little his eyes are finally opened and he tells her bluntly there will never be anything between them and that he will give his shares in the company to his young nephew, clear out, and start his own company independently from her. Hwa Young is also confronted by Bong Sun who tells her no man will ever love her since her "love" is more obsession than anything else. Will the woman ever receive the help and intercession she needs before she destroys all their lives?
Despite its writing flaws in the beginning, I think, in the majority, this show has more pluses than negatives to it, and it's certainly worth your while to tune in, especially if you love these actors. Beautiful Yoon Si Yoon is the main reason to watch this, in my opinion. He's a doll. Secondly, the romance between the leads seems natural, not forced, and there's no silly open-eyed kissing cliches. There's a certain kiss in a cafe which I think must be the longest K-drama kiss in history! They never seemed to come up for air! I also like their conversations together and how they try to protect the other person once they fall in love. Their relationship helps both of them mature. There aren't any loose ends in this story and there is a Happy Ending, so there are many merits to this drama, when all is said and done. Enjoy!