Popular K-pop drama to start showing on MBC4 in the UAE
On top of Gangnam Style, kimchi and bulgogi barbecue, be prepared to add the musical romantic comedy You’re Beautiful to the list of things you love about South Korea – one of the country’s most successful TV series is making its UAE premiere on MBC4.
With a mighty tug to the heartstrings, You’re Beautiful made instant stars of its youthful cast – Jang Keun-suk, Park Shin-hye, Jung Yong-hwa and Lee Hong-gi – when it showed on South Korea television in 2009.
But the buzz didn’t end there – this cultural benchmark went on to inspire a cult following, as well as remakes in Japan (Ikemen desu ne, 2011) and Taiwan (Fabulous Boys, 2013).
The notion that girls will be boys is as timeless and engaging as Shakespeare, who wrote cross-dressing females into several of his plays to do his heavy plot lifting with the lightest of touches.
In this tried and tested comic vein, You’re Beautiful revolves around Go Mi-nyeo, a young woman who grew up in an orphanage with her twin brother Go Mi-nam (with both roles played by Shin-hye).
While he longs to become a K-pop (Korean pop music) idol, she dreams of becoming a nun.
Her hushed convent lifestyle gets kicked up a hundred decibels or so when her twin wins a place in the hit band A.N JELL – but then an accident forces him to lay low while he recovers after corrective plastic surgery, which threatens to end his musical career before it has even begun.
Enter his manager, who begs the singer’s sister to impersonate her twin in the band, to keep his dream alive while he heals overseas.
Like any worthy hero, at first Go Mi-nyeo is reluctant but finally decides to help out – in the hope that this new-found fame will help the siblings realise their common dream of finding their long-lost mother.
And there you have it – a very powerful hook. Better yet, the real drama hits the fans, as well as the hearts and the tear ducts, when she and her unsuspecting bandmates start having “feelings” for each other – as she desperately tries to keep her gender-bending secret while Cupid’s arrows start flying.
“At first, there were comments that I was too feminine for a girl dressing as a boy,” Park told dramabeans, a South Korean entertainment website. “But the way I see it … Go Mi-nyeo is originally very girlish, so if she were to become too boyish when dressing as a male, her character would disappear.
“I consulted with the director and the writers, and we decided to keep Go Mi-nyeo’s personality as it was.”
This month, Park became the first South Korean to reach more than seven million followers on Weibo, China’s popular social networking site.
The 24-year-old actress (The Heirs, Heartstrings) can also currently be seen in Pinocchio, about a woman who cannot lie, which has already garnered 170 million video-clip views in China alone.
Music is a big part of You’re Beautiful and one of the show-stopping tunes is the haunting ballad, What Should I Do, performed with searing emotion by Keun-suk before a live audience of screaming female fans in Seoul.
While not as heavy on the glam in appearance, his plaintive voice stirs the soul in much the same way as Adam Lambert did so brilliantly on American Idol a few seasons ago.
This is a fun, soapy series the whole family can enjoy together. It’s also a fascinating peek behind the curtain at the star- making machinery of K-pop – and we would expect no less from such an intriguing nation, where playing StarCraft can prove a lucrative celebrity career.
• Ante Jamelah (You’re Beautiful) is shown at 4am and 6pm from Sunday to Thursday on MBC4
Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM