Kim Sam Soon is a baker who has a talent in making pastries and cakes. On Christmas Eve, she caught her boyfriend, Min Hyun Woo, cheating on her and breaks up. On that same night, she accidentally went into the men's restroom and met Hyun Jin Hun. By sheer coincidence, Jin Hun needs a baker for his restaurant Bon Appetit and Sam Soon is unemployed. Sam Soon is hired as the restaurant's chief baker and the two fight like cat and dog.
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Kim Sam Soon is the driving force behind my love for this drama. While the other characters are also well portrayed, Kim Sun Ah essentially steals the show with her sassy and pugnacious, yet thoughtful, talented and sensitive portrayal of a broken-hearted patissier.
Although she can be fierce and unrelenting, at her core, Sam Soon is simply a woman who yearns for true love--as most people do. Does it really exist? And if we find it, can it stand the test of time? Where does the love go when we fall out of it? These doubts and questions are the driving force of this drama, and the characters of Kim Sam Soon boldly charge forward looking for the answers--despite knowing there might be consequences and pain along the way. Sam Soon in particular is truly someone who loves while leaving no room for regret. Something I find refreshing and admirable in a drama heroine.
The storyline of this drama isn’t particularly original, but what makes it sparkle are the subtleties in the writing and acting. Hyun Bin holds his own as the leading man against Sun Ah (not an easy task), and they often go toe-to-toe during heated arguments. Some of my favorite scenes involve the two of them going back and forth with killer timing. Hyun Bin also has a knack in this drama for saying much without saying anything at all.
I have a pet peeve for female antagonists in Korean dramas, as I feel they are usually the exact same girl, only played by different actresses. In this drama, however, she’s quite different... I’m not sure I can even label her “the antagonist.” Like Sam Soon, Hee Jin is also bold and unrelenting, stopping at nothing for love. Her approach is very different from Sam Soon’s and I personally don’t respect her rationale. But she’s an interesting character analysis, nonetheless.
Last point, the soundtrack to this drama is stellar! Clazziquai provides the two main themes, alternating between with the sultry "She Is" and quirky, upbeat "Be My Love." As if that's not awesome enough, the series flirts with fun French pop tunes and other melodic grooves to set various moods.
Bottom line, this drama is so well acted, mature, funny, thoughtful and witty that you’ll potentially see the same old drama clichés as something new and fresh! Each episode always left me hungry for more... and sometimes for a piece of cake or cookie, too! :)
Kim Sun Ah made Kim Sam Soon one of my favorite K-Drama leads ever! Sam Soon is loud, stubborn, charming, emotional, unfiltered, and absolutely hilarious. She was equal parts frustrating, & inspiring to watch. She's not the usual passive female lead, and I loved watching her take charge of a situation. She is matched up with Hyun Bin as Hyun Jin Hun, who walks the line between arrogance & charm so expertly well. At first I didn't recognize him, because he looks so different in this compared to Secret Garden, but his performance in this reminded me of all the things I loved about him in that drama. Together, their chemistry made them a rom-com dream team. The fact that they didn't fit seamlessly together, and that they were not always good to each other, made their relationship feel more honest. I think they were the perfect blend between discord, and harmony. I could literally watch them go at it all day... in fact, that's exactly what i did. lol.
The lead performances were a clear 10 for me, and every minor character in the supporting cast was also really great, but I feel like I have to deduct at least 1 point for the 2 supporting leads. It's clear that Daniel Henney's purpose in this drama was to be eye candy. Most of his scenes involve him smiling at people while they teach him Korean language & culture. His acting was decent enough, but far from good. Jung Ryeo Won's performance was also underwhelming. As much as I loved to hate her character, there were also quite a few moments when I cringed through some of her acting scenes (in both languages). It was initially jarring to hear so much english spoken in scenes, with actual fluent speakers, but it made their acting inexperience much more obvious to me. The only moments of boredom I felt during this drama was when these two were the focus.
I admit that the plot wasn't exactly original, but it wasn't typical either. The love stories in this drama are far less innocent than the k-drama norm, which was nice to see. There were many great rewatchable rom-com moments between Hyun Bin & Kim Sun Ah, and they share one of the best kiss scenes that I've seen in a drama.
Music also plays a key element in the story, which I liked, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the soundtrack.
Overall, It's lol hilarious, yet emotionally realistic. Even when the tone of the drama began to change, It never lost it's momentum. I continued to be excited about watching each episode, and I enjoyed every one till the very end. This drama could have easily ended with a pleasingly cheesy conclusion, but instead the ending was simple, and inspiring.
I think all rom-com fans should have this on their "to watch" list. Forgive the old school phones, and the ugly clothes, and I think this stands up against any current drama. I agree that "My Name is Kim Sam Soon" is one of the best dramas that I've seen, classic or not. I can see myself easily watching this drama again, & again... while eating a lot of pastries, of course : )