My Love Patzzi
내 사랑 팥쥐 MBC (2002) 10 Episodes
Romantic Comedy, Folk Tale Allegory

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
Disclaimer: Just so you'll know, I laughed
the whole time while writing this review


My Love Patzzi (2002) is one of the strangest Korean dramas I've ever watched, and the primary reason was because the second male lead actor, Jae Won Kim, looked like actor Bae Yong Joon's identical twin or at least his younger brother. Bae had starred in the classic Winter Sonata the same year, and I suppose his incredible popularity that year made other drama producers try to find actors who looked like him! Not only did Jae Won look like him, he sounded just like him, he had the same mannerisms, the same style of acting, the same smile, and of course was wearing glasses like Bae does. It was so uncanny the resemblance between them that I found it almost impossible to concentrate on this rather silly script. Thank God it was only ten episodes! On the other hand HE captivated me completely, so I award this drama a B- instead of a C just because he was in it to keep me fascinated by him. In fact, I would suggest that the only real reason to watch this show is if you are a big Bae Yong Joon fan, like me, just so you can be amazed by his doppelganger!

All the other characters were grown ups who acted like they were ten years old, pouting, fighting, whining, unintelligent, antagonistic toward one another, and I found it difficult to believe that anyone would hire them for any job, much less at an amusement park (the setting of this drama) where families gathered daily to have a good time. Not a single character behaved like a grown up, EXCEPT Jae Won's character, who was as kind, gentlemanly, decent, and smooth talking as a well-meaning diplomat. He was so far above the other characters in the ways of maturity and intelligence that it was rather laughable that he would have anything to do with any of them except to pay them a salary as the CEO of the amusement park, so I didn't buy for one minute that he would be attracted to the bad tempered, juvenile leading lady character, played by Jang Nara (Old Goodbye). She didn't suit him at all. Just her typical facial contortions alone would have turned off a normal man like him in real life!

The story is a twist on an old Korean folk tale called "Kongji and Patzzi" - somewhat like a Korean version of Cinderella, where Kongji is the nice girl who in the end wins the Prince, and Patzzi is the hot-tempered and nasty girl whom everyone dislikes (like an evil stepsister). In this take on the story, Patzzi, though still hot-tempered, is a kind and caring girl underneath her brusque ways, and Kongji, though she appears to be nice and caring on the outside, is actually nasty and jealous inside, constantly plotting to make Patzzi look bad to the two men who take a fancy to her.

From their youth, friends Song Yi ("Patzzi - Jang Nara) and Hee-won Eun ("Kongji" - Hong Eun-hee) like the same boy, Seung-joon Kang, a boy from a rich home, and at first it seems Hee-won will just back off and let Song Yi sit next to him in class, but Hee-won causes a disturbance and she gets to sit next to him instead of Song Yi, showing her true nature to Song Yi for the first time. Time passes, they grow up, and the same rivalry exists - Hee-won has the better job while Song Yi struggles. Trying to look magnanimous, Hee-won asks Song Yi if she wants a job at the local amusement park, where she will gain access to a lot of cute guys; Song Yi takes the bait -- but ends up having to don a male clown costume in the park, sweating and having to put up with the indignities of little children hitting her costume. Whatta friend, that Hee-won!

Left to right: Kim Rae Won, Hong Eun-hee, Jang Nara, Kim Jae Won

Song Yi inadvertently causes an accident with a kiddie train at the park and the CEO, who just happens to be Seung-joon from her youth ("The Prince" - Jae Won Kim) now all grown up, almost dies. Song Yi saves him while he's half-conscious, and all he sees of her is her back running away to get help. He wants to know who his "Savior" is, and all he has is her coat left at the site, so he uses that to track her down to thank her. When he does, who should walk up and see them but the seal trainer at the water park section, Hyun-sung Kim (Kim Rae-won, in a most thankless early role), who has a secret crush on the feisty clown, Song Yi. Uh oh, now, who will end up being the "Prince"? The rich CEO or the seal trainer with a secret heart condition, with his "aw shucks!" Gomer Pyle routine? (Do you care?).

Everyone is constantly fighting in this show, even all the boring side characters, except for the CEO character, who is really above it all. When he learns that his rival for Song Yi's affections needs heart surgery he offers to pay for it as his employer, "Let's each of us have an equal chance to win her heart", he says nobly, while Hyun-sung at first laughs and stupidly refuses to take his money.

Meanwhile, the pretty on the outside but a vixen on the inside Hee-won tries hard to convince both men Song Yi isn't worthy of them. I liked the scene where the CEO sees right through her and challenges her, "Oh, I thought you were her friend, why are you talking this way about her behind her back?" Those keen eyes of his never miss a trick! He truly IS a "Prince". Then of course, you, the audience, just assume Song Yi will choose the most admirable person from the two men, right? (You shouldn't bet your house on it!).

If you wish to try out this deathless love story of the ages -- or if you need a cure for insomnia! -- you should run, not walk, to watch My Love Patzzi. These actors do go on to better things, so all is not hopeless! Sometimes it's actually fun to see where they all started out in their careers.



Picture Gallery for My Love Patzzi

Who got me into this mess?
I don't even like seals!

I guess I shouldn't worry ...
in just a few years I'll be
working with Jang Hyuk.