When it was first announced that the hit 2001 film My Sassy Girl was being adapted into a drama, a few pressing questions came to mind. Firstly, how were they going to stretch out the movie's events into 16 episodes (or 32 30-minute episodes) in a way that didn't bore us, secondly, how were they planning to put the story into a historical setting, and thirdly, could anything really match the original movie?
My Sassy Girl aired its first two episodes last week, and one thing stands out – this drama is definitely not the same as the movie. This drama feels like its own separate story with little cheeky references to the movie speckled through.
It’d be difficult to talk about My Sassy Girl without discussing at length how the story has been transformed for the historical setting of the drama. Don’t be mistaken, amidst all the gorgeous silken hanboks and other various historical attire, elements of the original story and little hints of modernity peek through. In terms of the story, things are on a different level now they’re in Joseon times – our ‘sassy girl’ is the princess of Joseon and actually has a name, a departure from the movie.
The main male lead is not the very ordinary guy from the film, but turns out to be a top scholar who, not only studied in China, but also grew a massive fanbase while there, got chummy with the Emperor of China and was so favoured by the King of Joseon that he was given money to drink. Very far from the bloke in the original who bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t get a girlfriend.
However, the drama is hinting at similar plot elements, such as a potentially deceased lover and the sentimental significance of the tree that the main characters passed out under. One thing they’ve kept consistent with the original movie is what brings the two leads into contact for the first time – alcohol.
They managed to squeeze a crazy number of K-Drama tropes into the first two episodes, firmly establishing My Sassy Girl as a slapstick rom-com.
When Princess Hye Myung gave Gyun Woo a whole lot of trouble.
Also, Princess Hye Myung being a total boss and pointing out the flaws in royal court rule books.
The cheeky references to modern society are a funny way the show has demonstrated that this is not a serious drama. Taxi-style ranks for a pallet service and Gyun Woo’s wealth of knowledge about hectic sounding cocktails are just a taste of the little references the drama writers have managed to slip into the show so far. Also, Gyun Woo’s brief mention about a ‘Joseon wave’ sweeping through China is probably a funny reference to the ‘Hallyu Wave,’ but hey you’ll have to see it for yourself and be the judge of that.
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