Queen of Reversals (2010)
반전의 여왕 31 episodes | MBC
Romantic Comedy, Grade: C

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA


I have to be honest: the only reason I kept watching Queen of Reversals (2010) was for actor Park Shi Hoo. I'd watch him read the phone book in a dark tunnel and find something interesting about it! That's how much of a die-hard fan I am of the man, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous what happened to his career because of spurious charges. This same year, 2010, I vastly preferred him in Prosecutor Princess with Kim So Yeon, he had a lot more chemistry with her than he had in this drama with the lead actress.

However this show had some nice merits: a storyline that would appeal to women who have experienced both being a career woman AND a stay at home Mom for awhile, good character development, and many recognizable veteran actors and actresses who always improve a drama just by their very presence. One of my big bones of contention in this drama is that I really think this could have been 20 episodes and told the same story. 31 episodes dragged the pretty simple storyline out far too long for my taste. Queen of Reversals is hardly my favorite Park Shi Hoo title ... that honor will probably always go to Cheongdam-dong Alice, followed by Princess' Man. This show was actually a semi-sequel to a drama called Queen of Housewives (2009) featuring the same lead actress Kim Nam Joo, but the story lines in both are completely separate, as are the characters. That one was only sixteen episodes, so far easier to breeze through.

The story: female executive at a big cosmetics company Tae Hee Hwang (Kim Nam Joo who was 38 when she played this role, and looked it!) has had it easy all her life and quickly rose to a high paying executive job. However, something in her soul must have been missing all those years devoted only to career because when a handsome new male hire is brought into her department to work for her, named Joon Soo Bong (Jung Joon Ho from IRIS), she chooses to pursue him romantically, even though other women in the office seem interested in him too, especially her lead assistant Yeo Jin Baek (Chae Jung Ahn from Coffee Prince and The Prime Minister and I, and When A Man Loves). Turns out Yeo Jin had been in love with Joon Soo from college on, they had broken up but she still loves him secretly, and she is thrown for a loop when she sees her boss and Joon Soo getting closer and closer. Tae Hee has no idea he had been in a relationship with her assistant before he came to the company as a new hire. Jealousy rears its ugly head in Yeo Jin's soul and she vows to get even with her boss, especially after they end up getting married! Someone else is angry and made jealous when the marriage happens and that is the chief female executive at the cosmetics company who had been grooming Tae Hee to be just like her: cold, calculating, unloving, doing without marriage and children, in other words, a bloodless feminist. When she sees Tae Hee rejecting career for domesticity she plans her revenge on her, too.

Actor Jung Joon Ho and actress Kim Nam Joo as husband and wife --
hastily married, hastily divorced

When the honeymoon is over, Tae Hee finds that her assistant Yeo Jin has taken over her job, which had been given to her by the jealous, cold feminist exec, and that she, Tae Hee, has been demoted. As she struggles with her lesser job and new marriage, Tae Hee must also cope with the strange attentions of her new arrogant, immature male boss, Yong Shik Goo (Park Shi Hoo who was 31 when he played the role), who slowly falls for her as her life falls to pieces. He knows she is married so isn't too overt in his attentions to her, but they do bother her a lot. Tae Hee ends up resigning and for five years devotes herself to being a wife and mother of a little daughter. However, her husband is a dolt at work and is eventually fired, so now they are both out of work and looking for new employment. The friction ends up having a devastating effect on their marriage. It also doesn't help when Tae Hee discovers that her husband had had a romantic relationship with the woman who had taken over her job at the cosmetics company. She tells him she can no longer trust him because he hides too many things from her. Joon Soo is frustrated and even though he protests he still loves his wife he agrees to a divorce.

Tae Hee conquers her fears and applies again to the cosmetics company where she once had an enviable position that made good money. At the last minute she runs away from the interview but is stopped by Yong Shik her old boss. He yells at her, "I wouldn't hire you back. You have no guts! I don't want people without courage on my team." She contemplates his words seriously and then returns for the interview. She is hired again but at the bottom level with a group of other previously fired people she had worked with before. They all have a second chance at the company, but they feel the cards are stacked against them. One good thing comes out of this however, Tae Hee is finally able to make friends with the people she had once coldly ordered around as her assistants. Now they are all in the same boat and motivated to succeed.

Park Shi Hoo and Kim Nam Joo as co-workers and ... maybe something more?
You'll wait a long time to find out!

Yong Shik, who has never really gotten over his interest in Tae Hee, tries to become her friend, and then something even more. She resists his attentions, calls him "pretty boy", and even though he states "You're not my type but I want you anyway", she puts him off again and again, still fighting off lingering feelings for her ex-husband, who has also been re-hired at the cosmetics company and given a second chance to succeed. He ends up getting closer to his ex-girlfriend, Tae Hee's rival Yeo Jin, but he too still has lingering feelings for his ex-wife. What a mess! Yet another tiresome quadrangle.

Queen of Reversals may be seen by many as an empowering tale of a woman who manages to regain everything she's lost through sheer willpower and determination, but the bumpy pot holes along the way might start to drive you completely crazy, as they did me.
I confess I never really liked the leading lady or her character. She insists on a divorce from her husband with whom she has had a little girl, telling him she can't trust him because he didn't tell her he dated her rival at work before they met. Hello? Who cares, it was years ago. Does everyone list all the people they have dated before they get married? She accuses him of cheating on her when he never did any such thing, he simply went to the woman's mom's funeral out of respect. So here she basically unfairly divorces the husband who loves her, then she yanks the chain of Park Shi Hoo's character for episode after episode when he's obviously become seriously in love with her, and I never could understand what his character saw in her anyway. She was seven years older than him, and I don't even consider the actress that pretty. With that strange personality of hers I went through the whole show talking back to the screen: "WHAT DO THEY SEE IN YOU? YOU'RE REALLY A BITCH!"

I was so glad when it finally ended. Poor Park Shi Hoo. You could see he was trying really hard to create chemistry with this older woman in yet another "Noona Romance" that the Koreans seem to love so much, but it never really flew with me. Now this actress is 43 and I guess her career is over so I hope I never see her pop up in anything again.As for Park Shi Hoo, I would watch him in anything, even a predictable show like this one, but even he couldn't really save this over-stuffed melodramatic turkey.