(Otherwise Known As "Pig Slop")

유혹 SBS (2014) 20 Dire Episodes, Grade: D

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

They can't all be good, folks! Most Korean dramas are excellent and entertaining while also being inspiring in many ways. There's often good moral messages to them about true love and redemption, family love, or faith in humanity, even nobility at times. 

However, down in the cesspool of the 3 worst Korean dramas ever made you will find 2014's Temptation which was supposed to be an admirable re-union, after 11 years, of two of Korea's most respected thespians, actress Choi Ji Woo and actor Kwon Sang Woo, who had starred together in the well-loved earlier classic drama Stairway to Heaven (2003). However, I really don't know what possessed these two highly regarded actors to sign on to this little piggy, for this show was written by a man named
Han Ji-hoon who has not had one solid rating's success in Korea in his entire career of writing television drama. He didn't break his losing track record with this show either. Temptation only averaged about 8% ratings throughout Korea. Many viewers on the drama web sites were actually wondering if the man was high on drugs or alcohol when he wrote this bomb. It seemed to me to be a whacked out perversion of the Chinese film Comrades: Almost A Love Story combined with the American film Indecent Proposal. Little moments from both films were copied directly and twisted around to fit this monstrosity. For instance, in both Comrades and Temptation there is a moment when the temptress lead female character is distraught and bangs her head on a steering wheel in a car and makes her horn blast, which attracts her forbidden lover to her side. Really, Ahjussi Han, couldn't you come up with ANY original moments for YOUR show? You had to steal from other writers?

Temptation seemed to start out promising and stylish, but quickly fell apart at the seams with implausible situations, like
having every single female lead in the story suffer something wrong with her reproductive organs! I could see one female character having a problem, but all three? Ridiculous!

If you want to watch a Korean drama where the family-wrecking liars and cheaters win, and the one good person and victim is depicted as the lonely loser, to disappear into some bushes all by her little lonesome while the adulterers and fornicators celebrate at a banquet in luxury, then by all means check this "drama" out! (Just bring along a barf bag if you happen to be a moral person with standards of right and wrong). As for me, I'd rather face a root canal than to EVER watch this pile of yucky pig slop ever again!

No real love is depicted,
no real sacrifices, no redemption at all, except for one character: the cheated on wife named Hong Joo Na (played with quiet dignity by the lovely actress Ha Sun Park, who took the role when another more recognized actress Eun Hye Yoon of Coffee Prince turned it down). If it wasn't for Ha Sun I would have baled on this drama much earlier. I wanted her to have a happy ending, but alas! it was not to be (I don't think this writer particularly cares for women, at least good women).

"Want to sell your soul to the devil and destroy your marriage for filthy lucre?"

The story, in brief: a bankrupt (in more ways than one) husband named Seok Hoon Cha (Kwon Sang Woo) is essentially bought for a purchase price of 1 million dollars by a rich female CEO of a big company
. He plans to use this money to pay off his debts for a business he ran into the ground, causing suffering to investors and to his innocent nurse wife. Se Young Yoo (Choi Ji Woo) is a cold, calculating and lonely filthy rich woman who right from the very beginning seems insanely jealous of the young pretty wife of the handsome man she desires. Seok Hoon mentally cheats on his wife and lies to her repeatedly, being secretive about the fact that he has become fascinated by the rich woman who bought his "services" for a princely sum while they were all in Hong Kong on business. Husband Seok Hoon was willing to commit adultery for that money, and even though the CEO suddenly gave him computer work to do instead of getting under the sheets with her, what could he say to his wife after that which would sound reassuring? "Hey, honey, it wasn't for sex after all, it was only computer work!" Um, yeah. Hooray. Not. Actually, the CEO even made a rule that he couldn't call his distraught wife for three days while in Hong Kong! How's that for a supposedly innocent offer to help a financially strapped young couple? Raspberries! Then when the 3 days of work was over, instead of rushing back to his grieving wife who had sadly left by herself for Korea after waiting for him at the airport alone for hours, hubbie stays extra time with the seductress and rides a bike with her along the harbor in Hong Kong (more shades of Comrades: Almost A Love Story), casually eating with her by a fountain and enjoying her company. All this served was to imprint more desire for the seductress on the empty suit, morally bankrupt character of Seok Hoon. 

When they are all back in Korea lousy Seok Hoon ends up putting his wife second on multiple occasions, favoring texting the seductress, secretly working for the seductress, missing an appointment with his wife and lying to her about it so he could help out the seductress instead. "His heart left me before his body did," Hong Joo finally admits and promptly and sadly files for divorce. Although hubbie makes some fake superficial protestations about the divorce, he ultimately doesn't fight it, and only a couple of weeks after the divorce goes through he's already committing fornication with the seductress whom he had really wanted all along. Se Young's "Wanna come up for coffee?" to Seok Hoon vs. Hong Joo receiving a "Will you marry me?" proposal first before she moves on sexually: which one is more ethical?

Still grieving and feeling the completely understandable urge to take some measure of revenge against the two cruel family wreckers who destroyed her marriage, Hong Joo prematurely agrees to a marry a rich CEO named Min Woo Kang, a competitor of Se Young (played by handsome Jung Jin Lee, who does a good job playing his rascal character, bringing the only occasional levity to this drama) who has found her attractive from the beginning of the show after she took care of his little son Roy. He gives her a beautiful proposal and the writer clearly wants us to believe that Min Woo truly loves Hong Joo, but it's all smoke and mirrors. As soon as they get back from their honeymoon (which we never see, by the way) the writer twists the plot yet again, and immediately starts to make Min Woo the bad guy, and Seok Hoon the ex-husband the good guy, seemingly still concerned with Hong Joo's happiness and unable to throw out his wedding ring. He even slugs Min Woo when he seems unconcerned about Hong Joo's happiness. Calgon, take me away!!!

The indecisiveness of this writer takes the cake! Min Woo is able to take some small business revenge against lady CEO on behalf of Hong Joo, but it doesn't last long; Min Woo himself starts cheating on Hong Joo with his own ex-wife and mother of his children, Ji Sun Han (Ah Jung Yoon) and gets her pregnant again, even though the dumb woman has been told by her doctor that it could risk her life for her to get preggers again! Then Hong Joo, who just happens to be infertile herself, has to decide how she will react to Min Woo's ex-wife's duplicity: will she turn vindictive or will she forgive? The answer becomes a little clearer when eventually Ji Sun miscarries, but Hong Joo decides that her second marriage is also done -- but the difference is she is able to forgive her enemies this time and even say kind words to them in face of all their treachery, the only Christ-like response of any character in this show. She even ultimately forgives the CEO woman who had stolen her first husband's heart away from her for money. Hong Joo is the only character who seems to grow in maturity during the story. She is the only character with any real sense of self-awareness, therefore the only character to really admire in this unholy mess of a drama. And what is her reward for her goodness, for instance, when she brings Min Woo's ex-wife to the hospital when she starts miscarrying? Her fat mother-in-law from hell HITS HONG JOO WITH HER PURSE and screams at her, "You killed my grandson!" I wanted to shoot that obnoxious woman at that moment!


Then the seductress Se Young is told she has cancer (probably from popping hormone pills like candy during the duration of the story) and that she needs a total hysterectomy, a fact she attempts to keep from her lover, constantly trying to break it off with Seok Hoon, until Hong Joo actually intervenes in kindness and tells her ex about Se Young's true condition. Seok Hoon pledges all his attention and devotion to her but Se Young is still in a whiny "why me?" mode, which quickly made me lose even MORE patience with her bizarre character. Why NOT you, sweetheart? Why should you be above millions of other people who struggle from cancer? What makes you so special, you home-wrecker! Se Young ignores her doctor's advice to get timely chemo, and she actually has the GALL to bring Hong Joo to her mansion and ask her to NURSE HER! Hong Joo, floored, of course says "no".

Seok Hoon stares in shock at the discovery of Se Young's hormone pills.
Maybe they should have called this drama, The Biggest Loser!

The biggest loser of all in this drama? Seok Hoon, who gave up a gorgeous ethical 26 year old wife for a conniving immoral 40 year old menopausal woman with cancer! "Stupid is as stupid does!" 

Then, completely unrealistically, Se Young manages to go back to Hong Kong again with Seok Hoon and makes a grand entrance at a fancy hotel wearing a white (WHITE???) ball gown, when just a few days earlier she was doubled up in pain from the hysterectomy, barely able to walk, and asking Hong Joo to take care of her!!! (If you've ever known anyone who has had a total hysterectomy you know they are in no condition to go flying thousands of miles away to hobnob it with the jet set. Yikes!). Talk about being clueless regarding women's health issues, writer Ahjussi Han takes the cake! 

In short, Temptation has a great cast but absolutely the worst writing, so it essentially failed the actors as well as the audience. And without controversy Temptation boasts the WORST ENDING EVER IN ANY K-DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Skip it.