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Switching Bodies: Thoughts on Secret Garden

(Via Wikipedia)

Secret Garden (2010-2011)

Directed By: Shin Woo-chul & Kwon Hyuk-chan

Right before I went to Yosemite with some friends, my sister and I completed Secret Garden. I watched it before while in college with some friends, and I thought that my sister would be interested in watching it as well. So here we are—another “drama review.”

Secret Garden is a Cinderella story between a stuntwoman Gil Ra-im (Ha Ji-Won) and the CEO of a high-end department store, Kim Joo-won (Hyun Bin). After a misunderstanding, Joo-won is smitten by Gil Ra-im’s sassy, cool attitude. Joo-won is confused about his feelings towards Ra-im but pursues her anyway, and eventually, she feels the same way towards him.

While watching this for the second time, I realized why I wasn’t easily sucked into it like other Korean dramas. The first couple episodes are pretty slow. They are just setting up the storyline and developing the characters’ relationships to each other—”who likes who.” It isn’t until the two main characters, Ra-im and Joo-won, switch bodies is when the real fun starts to happen. So if you just started this drama, stick to it. It gets better and more entertaining.

One of the reasons why I enjoy this drama is the switching of gender roles, literally and figuratively. From the beginning, we see that Joo-won and Ra-im do not live up to the typical masculine and feminine types. Although Joo-won shows his leadership capabilities as the CEO for a department store, he’s a bit dainty and clumsy. As for Ra-im, she shows her tomboyish nature as a stuntwoman. However, when they trade bodies, they begin to truly understand each other and their different lifestyles. In addition, I enjoyed the feminity of Oska (Yoon Sang-hyun): he totally acts like a diva. In fact, I enjoyed the subtle “boy’s love dilemma” Oska has with Han Tae-sun (Lee Jong-suk). Oska becomes Han Tae-sun’s musical muse, but Oska is unaware of it.

It isn’t until around episode five-ish, where we are able to figure out what the “secret garden” is. I won’t give any spoilers about the place, but it is an essential part towards the romance development between Ra-im and Joo-won and it transforms their love from a random encounter into a fated one. There wasn’t an overbearingness of fantasy, but just enough to get the plot moving along. While watching this drama, you will begin to question how they will break the switching body spell and why they were chosen.

Secret Garden has its humorous and dramatic moments, but it is indeed a good one to watch if you want a little magic in your life. :p If you feel bored with it, don’t give up. It took me a while to get interested in this drama, but it is worth the wait. Continue watching it!



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