Drama| My ID is Gangnam Beauty – First Impressions (Ep. 1-2)

Drama| My ID is Gangnam Beauty – First Impressions (Ep. 1-2)

Hello loves~~~~ I’m back with a Real People Stuffs post! I’ve previously talked about a webtoon I liked called My ID is Gangnam Beauty. In that post I had mentioned how there would be a live action drama based on the series. Truthfully, I wasn’t interested from the trailers. However, I thought I’d give a go anyway since I liked the webtoon. I also gave it a go since Astro’s Cha Eun Woo was starring in it. Don’t really know him, but I thought he was funny in 최고의 한방/The Best Hit. I’ll try not to go into too much detail about My ID is Gangnam Beauty since I already did that in the webtoon post. I watched 1-2 episodes and thought I’d give my first impressions on it.


Again, this drama is based on the webtoon of the same name. As I stated in my webtoon post, I enjoyed the webtoon. It hasn’t had an official English publication just yet though.
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PLOT
Kang Mi Rae has a timid personality and complex regarding her appearance. This is all due to being constantly teased and bullied for as long she can remember. Even after working hard to lose weight, nothing changed. She just wanted to live and have the same experiences as any normal person. Not being wanting to continue living like this, Mi Rae decides to undergo a complete transformation through plastic surgery before entering university. She’s become beautiful and gains a bit more confidence. However, she’s still bullied and called a “Gangnam Beauty”; A beautiful looking person who had a lot of obvious cosmetic procedures done. To make matters worse, she seems to run into someone from her middle school who knew her old face. Enter Do Kyung Seok. The chic, cool, and handsome looking freshmen who is in the same Chemistry department as Mi Rae. Unlike the others, Kyung Seok doesn’t care or judge people based on their appearance. He only cares about the inside and starts to develop feelings for Mi Rae. Will Mi Rae finally get to experience a genuine love? Most importantly, will Mi Rae learn to love herself?

 

Usually I talk about character and story comparisons first. Let’s switch it up though. Let’s talk about the over production and music first. Honestly, the drama gave me a Cheese in the Trap vibes. Which I’m not sure if that’s really a good or bad thing… We all know how I was a fan of that webtoon, and how I ultimately felt about the Cheese in the Trap drama. One of the teasers for the serious was hella Cheese in the Trap vibes [HERE]. On a side note, I noticed alot of similar filming locations this drama had with Cheese in the Trap. The style and production also seemed a bit similar. Anyway, the webtoons and dramas for both series had some similar premises. They’re both slice of life and human drama stories that take place in a college setting. Although, I felt like there was something a bit off with My ID Is Gangnam Beauty. I’m not really sure what it was, but something felt like it all didn’t totally mesh? I suppose it might’ve been the song choices. They’re not bad songs. I may be a bit biased from being a fan of the webtoon, but I felt like it didn’t really fit the kind of feel I had for the series. Though, I felt like it also just felt a bit off and not totally meshing with the drama’s feel either. Alot of the music just seemed very K-Pop idol-esque kind of music. I love my K-Pop (I’ve been stuck here since like 2001…so yeah, I’m old school). I felt like the fresh and indie kind of music fit the Cheese in the Trap drama and the college setting. The music for Gangnam Beauty just kind of made it feel like one of those teen dramas for me. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old *shrug*. I will say that I appreciated hearing “위잉위잉(Wi Ing Wi Ing)” by 혁오 (HyukOh) in one of the scenes though~ I fuckin’ love that song. Again, I don’t think the music from the drama was terrible. I just felt like it was a bit off of the feel that the drama and story had. I will say that I did really like one of the OST songs though. “Something in Your Eyes” by 죠지 & 강혜인 (George & Kang Hye In) is such a chill and laid back kind love track. I love listening to this kind of genre of music. It’s got a nice, sweet, and gentle groove to it.

[Some Spoilers Ahead]

As expected, there seemed to be quite a few changes from the original webtoon. Some I appreciated, some I felt kind of cheapened it a bit. We’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s talk about the characters first. Before I do get into that, let’s go over a brief explanation again if you haven’t read my previous post. Society has alot of expectations and pressure on one’s appearance. This is especially true in South Korea. We should know this just from the popularity of Korean make up, fashion, and K-Beauty. 11-13 step skin care routines. Koreans don’t play. They invest alot of time and effort into their appearances. Cosmetic procedures are very common. However, that isn’t to say that it is always looked at positively. Gangnam is an incredibly wealthy district in Seoul. Think of it like Beverly Hills. It’s also known for having a shit ton of cosmetic surgery clinics. This is where you get the term, “Gangnam Beauty”. It’s kind of an insult. You can equate it to calling someone a “Plastic Beauty”. Basically the term means you got your looks from alot of very obvious plastic surgery procedures.

CHARACTERS

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Kang Mi Rae. She’s portrayed by actress Lim Soo Hyang. Apparently she was in Iris 2 and the Korean adaptation of Criminal Minds. Mi Rae is our main character. She’s got incredibly low self esteem and is hella timid due to the teasing and bullying she faced. She thought dieting would help solve some of her problems. It unfortunately did not. She was made to feel that her efforts was not enough and that being beautiful was the only answer. So she basically under goes several procedures to completely change herself. Unfortunately for her, it is kind of obvious that she had plastic surgery. She gets called a plastic surgery monster and people still talk shit about her. At first Mi Rae seemed happy with her new appearance. However, she clearly is traumatized from her past. She improved a bit, but she still has self-esteem and confidence issues. Lim Soo Hyang is pretty, but I wouldn’t say that she really fit the image I had for Mi Rae. I wouldn’t say that Lim Soo Hyang looks like someone who had a ton of plastic surgery done. Also in the webtoon, Mi Rae’s new looks caused alot of misunderstandings. Her new appearance made her seem something more like a vixen and who played around a bit, despite Mi Rae being the complete opposite. I don’t hate the drama version though. I just find it hard seeing her being called “Plastic monster’. On a side note, I’m surprised to learn that she’s the same age as I am. A bit weird though considering how she’s playing a college freshman. She’s also older than both the male leads by like 7 years.

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Do Kyung Seok. He’s portrayed by actor and K-Pop idol Cha Eun Woo. He’s in the group Astro. Kyung Seok is supposed to be cool, handsome, anti-social, and a bit intimidating and cold. Cha Eun Woo is definitely known as a popular pretty boy. Cool and handsome, check. I wouldn’t say he looks intimidating and hard to approach though. I wouldn’t put the blame on Eun Woo though. I feel like it’s also just how the drama version was written. The drama version, though stand off-ish and not caring about social etiquette, doesn’t seem to mind socializing. In the webtoon Kyung Seok quickly drinks at the orientation gathering just to get it over with as soon as possible. The drama version seemed to enjoy the orientation a bit, even though he blew off all attempts the girls had of trying to get closer to him. The fact that Kyung Seok seemed quite intimidating was a bit important in regards to him and Mirae’s relationship at the beginning of the webtoon. However, the drama looks like it’s steering more towards the whole “Hard to approach mostly because dude is hella handsome and from a different level” kind of thing. I think it would have been cool to make him seem a bit more intimidating though.

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Hyun Soo Ah
. She’s portrayed by actress Jo Woo Ri. She’s been in Descendants of the Sun. She also didn’t quite fit the image I had of Soo Ah. Soo Ah is known as a natural beauty. She also supposedly seems to have a beautiful personality to match her beautiful appearance. In the webtoon, she comes off as seeming like a small, young, cute, and naive child. Mi Rae sees her like a little thing or sister that she’d want to take care of. The whole tiny, naive, and innocent image kind of plays a big role. Woo Ri is pretty and all, but I didn’t really get that kind of image with her. It’s a shame because it played a great contrast to Soo Ah’s true personality.
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Now one of the biggest changes is Mi Rae’s parents. Granted I’ve only read like the 60+ available chapters that had been fan translated. However, Mi Rae’s parents weren’t very involved in the webtoon. In fact the only thing was how they, specifically her dad, admitted to Mi Rae that she wasn’t a looker. In the drama, her parents play a bigger and more involved role. Mi Rae gets the plastic surgery behind her dad’s back. He was totally against the idea of her getting plastic surgery.
2.pngHer mom was completely supportive. It showed that despite how hesitant she was, she completely supported her daughter. She knew how unhappy and hurt her daughter was, and all she wanted was for her daughter to love herself and be happy. I think this was such a beautiful and important thing to show. I also appreciate how they actually showed Mi Rae going through the procedures to change herself. It shows her being human and actually showing her willingness to completely give herself up in order to become someone she can love. This was not in the webtoon at all. So I appreciated this kind of backstory and how it also showed the relationship between Mi Rae and her mother. Like that was some deep shit.


The conflict she has with her father over this is also a great addition. I feel like it shows more of Mi Rae’s struggles to be accepted and makes her seem more human. It added alot more emotional depth to the story, and I can appreciate that. It understandable the dad is upset because this is his daughter. He loves her. It’s like he’s lost his daughter. However, we have to remember how painful everything had been for Mi Rae. That’s the point. She was pushed to a point where she was unable to love herself and it felt painful to live the way she was. I’m sure it was incredibly painful to feel rejection from your own father.

3Another change was the addition of Oh Hyun Jung, Mi Rae’s best friend from middle school. This character did not exist in the webtoon. Mi Rae didn’t really have any friends at all. So it was great to see that Mi Rae had someone who understood and supported her through everything. She’s clearly going to be the best friend/confidante character. Side note: Hyun Jung is played by actress Min Do Hee, former member of the disbanded group Tiny-G. Anyways, I’m glad to think that the drama version of Mi Rae didn’t have to go through her struggles completely alone.

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I am kind of sad about Mi Rae’s development and friendship with the other kids from her department. The webtoon version had more of an interaction with Yoo Eun and Choi Jung Boon. They ended up being one of Mi Rae’s closer friends. Especially Eun.  Eun was something like Mi Rae’s closest friend and confidante. She always tried to help Mi Rae when she could and was basically all for the Mi Rae x Kyung Seok ship. I would’ve loved to see a bit more of that in the drama. Although I suppose they got rid of that since they added Hyun Jung into the story.

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gangnam10Also there were some slight changes in regards to Kim Chan Woo, the creepy asshole sunbae. He’s a douche in both the drama and webtoon. He was hella sleazy in the webtoon. In the original webtoon, he tried to forcibly lead a drunk Mi Rae to a hotel. Basically he’s probably one of those date rapey dudes. Dude feels like he’s a hot shot when he’s not. He feels entitled to women and their attentions. He’s an asshole. Drama version was basically the same, although they made it a bit more TV and age friendly. Mi Rae wasn’t that drunk and he didn’t try to lead her into a hotel. However, he did basically try to keep her locked in a room with him. While the webtoon is basically a supposedly average and decent looking dude, I wouldn’t say the same for the drama version. I wouldn’t say he’s incredibly good looking. He honestly looks more like an unpopular nerd to me. Which makes the whole situation a bit funny to me. Like why do you think  you are that you’ll win a girl’s attention and affection that way? Also he comes off slightly more creepy in the drama. Like showing up to a class you aren’t even in and basically finished last year, just to hit on this girl who doesn’t seem to be interested in you? A lesson to the dudes, don’t be like this dude. If a girl seems uncomfortable around you, stop it. You just met? Don’t invade her personal space and make her uncomfortable. Don’t keep disregarding how she feels despite her obvious discomfort. You didn’t get her attention or affection despite shooting your shot? Then stop it. She’s just not that into you bruh. Like dude makes me cringe and I want to kick him in the face. Stop that shit. A kind of similar thing happened to one of my close friends. An upperclassman we knew was relentlessly hitting on her despite her rejections and my constant cock-blocking. If a mutual friend is hella cock-blocking, it’s a red light for you bruh.  Being that annoying dude isn’t going to make the girl like you. It’s the opposite. You’re going to come off as creepy and annoying as fuck. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be upset if you’re not liked for being a creeper. Respect is key dudes.

[No Spoilers Ahead]

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I’ll admit that while I don’t hate the drama, I’m not really in love with it either. It’s just like alright for me. It didn’t really instantly capture my attention or make me feel like I was dying to watch what happens next. To be honest, I only got through less than half of the second episode. It’s more of a drama I’d probably just keep watching to kill some time. However, it has been only 2 episodes so far. The guys do 3 episode tests for their anime series. I do a similar thing. I try to watch like 3-6 episodes (I know 6 is almost half of a whole drama series). We all know the first few episodes are a bit slow and the good stuff starts in the middle. So I’ll probably keep watching it before deciding whether I want to drop the drama or not. It’s not a terrible drama. It has some great moments. It’s just that it didn’t really click with me with yet. Perhaps I expected too much and am a bit too biased as a fan of the original work. There were quite a few drastic and minor changes some changes. Some I was a bit disappointed in as I felt that it kind of cheapened the drama. It made it feel like a typical teen drama. However, there were some changes that I really liked. I felt like it expanded the characters a bit more, as well as address some issues we have with society. I like how it’s touching issues like self-esteem, societal pressures on appearances, and how hard it can be to love yourself. Are you a fan of the webtoon too? Did you watch the drama? What are your thoughts?~

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