Also known as: 아기씨를 부탁해 (Korean title), Lady Castle, My Fair Lady
Kang Hye Na (YEH) is the rich young heiress of the Kangsan Group and beloved granddaughter of President Kang. She’s known for being spoiled, ill-tempered, and for constantly firing the butlers that her grandfather hires to watch over her. Seo Dong Chan (Yoon Sang Hyun) used to work at a host club and struggles both with debt and trying to outrun the bad rep chasing him. He lives with his mother’s friend and her daughter, Yeo Eui Joo (Moon Chae Won). He treasures them as though they were related to him by blood, but Eui Joo has a one-sided crush on him. While hiding from gangsters who want their loan back, he accidentally meets President Kang. Dong Chan suddenly finds himself hired as Hye Na’s new butler. She tries everything she can to get rid of him, but Dong Chan isn’t moved at all. After knocking down every suitor, Hye Na finds herself knocked down by the suave Attorney Lee Tae Yoon (Jung Il Woo), who hates the spoiled princess type of woman the most. Dong Chan gives her lessons on how to win Tae Yoon’s heart while finding that he himself is being won over by Hye Na.
Acting: After seeing her in various roles, I’m still amazed how well YEH can pull off any kind of role you give her, be it androgynous like in Coffee Prince, innocent schoolgirl like in Goong, or the brazen heiress Kang Hye Na. She was able to pull off a woman who presented herself as a diamond: the symbol of beauty and wealth, yet unable to be cracked. The character herself has as many facets as a diamond too, and YEH was also able to show us all those different sides of Hye Na while still maintaining that strength that Hye Na is known for. And I love her catch phrase! “After all, I’m Kang Hye Na.” Much like Song Joongki’s catch phrase in SKK Scandal (“I’m Goo Yong Ha!”), it shows just how much confidence she puts in her public image.
What I liked about Dong Chan was that he wants to protect his family so much that he’s willing to do anything to help them. Unfortunately, he deals with the ghost of his past haunting him all the time. But he still remains positive, which I find to be incredible strength of character. Since he has his unbiological “aunt” and Eui Joo is like his sister, he has a reason to live, despite the heavy burden it places on him. He, too, turns down all marriage offers, thinking that it’d be impossible to find a woman that would love and trust him even after finding out about his past. So in that way, he’s similar to Hye Na. Yoon Sang Hyun brings his trademark humour to the story, while keeping it a bit more serious than in Secret Garden. But only a little!
Tae Yoon is like Hye Na’s polar opposite: he could have all the money, but he doesn’t want to. He pays close attention to the needs and wants of others, and has a strained relationship with his family due to boycotting their business practices. Basically, he’s a prince dreaming of being a country boy. This is actually my first encounter with Jung Il Woo, but I’m more than familiar with his face. He was able to pull off the princely lawyer without seeming too “goody-goody”. I thought that I would love him forever and be sad when I had to choose which one I wanted Hye Na to choose, but there is a critical difference in the men that made that decision for me. (see Script for more detail).
Moon Chae Won’s character, Yeo Eui Joo, was the most confusing woman I’ve ever seen. Though she’s obnoxious and clingy, I didn’t hate her. Rather, I think I felt sorry for her. The actress herself is pretty and cute on a different level than YEH or Jang Ah Young (who played Kang Soo Ah, Hye Na’s cousin). I think it was her ordinary face that made won me over. You wanted to smack her, but then you realize that you’d be frustrated too if the one you’ve loved for many years suddenly became interested in someone else! She was kinda 1-dimensional before she confessed; the only thing that Eui Joo had going for her character was that she had an unrequited love for Dong Chan. After telling Dong Chan, she was able to become this typhoon of a woman who always just blows into the room and when she’s gone, everything’s a mess.
Music: Overall, not particularly extraordinary, but the songs are catchy. I did, however, love how the actors sang most of the songs! It’s pretty rare in an OST to do that, unless one of the stars is also an idol.
Like our main character, Davichi’s Hot Stuff is one saucy lady. It is impossible to not want to get up and karaoke this song. It’s hip and captures both energetic youth and the feeling of confidence and sexiness that a woman has on her best day. The lyrics dare the listener, “Hot stuff, come and melt my frozen heart,” which is 100% Kang Hye Na. She experienced heartbreak, but she wants to love again. She just wants somebody who won’t try to make her submissive, but rather, someone who cherishes all sides of her personality.
Dash Girl, Hye Na’s theme, is sung by YEH. It has a very trendy and charismatic feel, just like the character.
Helpless Love is sung by Yoon Sang Hyun, so there’s a bit of playfulness mixed in with the longing. It’s adds a special quality to see the character fret over his love for a woman not of the same class, and be able to hear the actor singing the feelings he’s conveying.
Narsha and Miryo of BEG sing I Love You, the annoyingly overplayed song that indicates, “Look! It’s a couple moment between Dong Chan and Hye Na!” The song is simple and very “girly”, so it’s not the best song to hear over and over and over again.
I would have to say that it’s the instrumentals that really shine in the OST. Most interesting is how the music that plays whenever there’s foul play, they play a tango named after the series. It makes sense if you think about it: the tango is a fast-paced dance that involves the male part leading the female part and a lot of spinning. Those who oppose Hye Na becoming the next president of Kangsan Group are basically leading her in circles in hopes that she’ll get dizzy and make herself look foolish and unqualified.
Script: I mentioned before that I thought I’d love Tae Yoon for the entire drama. But here’s where I realized that I couldn’t support him anymore. While Dong Chan encourages Hye Na to remain herself at the core but learn to be a better woman, Tae Yoon blames Hye Na for the way she makes him act. “I’m like this because of you.” He is the type of man who wants to be followed and depended upon, which is damaging to Hye Na’s pride. In order to be well-matched, both Tae Yoon and Hye Na have to become the opposite of what they are. Dong Chan’s job is to follow Hye Na’s orders, so he knows when to stroke her ego and when to take the reigns in their relationship. Because they accept each other wholly, it creates equality in their relationship where there is a larger gap in their status. With Tae Yoon, though they would be otherwise perfectly matched, the gap is created by his wish for her to be someone who only follows, and not leads.
I was hoping that due to the “trendy” nature of the drama, there wouldn’t be anybody outright saying that Hye Na has no right to act like she does because she’s not a man. As we know, Korea is a very male-dominated society. This came out in Tae Yoon’s behaviour toward Hye Na. He was always making her feel bad and apologize because she’s the woman. In fact, Hye Na is a character who takes pride in her image as an infallible woman, yet has weaknesses like all humans. I also had problems with the grandfather’s opposition to the match. It makes sense that he wouldn’t want someone not within their own sphere of wealth and power to date Hye Na, but he also expresses his desire to make Hye Na into a better woman, and he knows that Dong Chan has that effect on his granddaughter.
Ending: I was very very disappointed with the ending. Instead of wrapping things up, it only really removed obstacles and put the characters in limbo. When Hye Na is at the airport and Dong Chan comes to take her back, I felt like instead of doing what he did in the beginning, he should have proposed to her. In my mind, Hye Na had no reason to stay in Korea if she intended to learn more before becoming the new president. Instead of giving progress to the main characters, it was instead shifted to Tae Yoon and Eui Joo. As I hoped, they finally started leaning more towards a couple relationship. Once I realized what he was trying to make Hye Na become, I couldn’t help but think that Eui Joo was better suited because she was an ordinary person that didn’t come with this life of wealth and mindless spending of money, but because she was more of a woman who followed her man, albeit not quietly. Overall, not horrifying and OH GOD YOU RUINED EVERYTHING, but still a bit disappointing after all that build-up.