Exploring Korean Dramas: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

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There is a moment in the eighth episode of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho that plastered a wide, stretching smile on my face.  People, including myself, say “that made me smile,” or “I lol’d,” all of the time, but they only mean it metaphorically.

predator and preyWhen I say that I smiled so hard my face hurt for this scene in Gumiho I truly mean it: it happened.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a big smile, or one that lasted so long, for a cute romantic moment in something I’ve watched before, but Gumiho achieved it.

Countless romantic comedies populate kdrama land.  I’ve seen many of them and, though Flower Boy Ramyun Shop follows close, I have to say that My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is my favorite.  I just don’t think I’ve seen a cuter or sweeter relationship between any other kdrama romantic pairing.  Looking for a fluff fix?  You’ve found it.

Cha Dae Woong’s just a college student trying to break into showbiz as an action/stunt star.  He doesn’t mean to release a Gumiho, it just happens.  He doesn’t even believe she is one.  After all, Gumihos are just myths, nine-tailed fox-women who literally prey on men by seducing them with their supernatural charms.

At least, Dae Woong doesn’t believe her at first, not until after he has a nasty accident and she reveals her true nature to save his life.  In doing so, she’s tied him inextricably to herself, so he’s stuck with a Gumiho for the time being.  Now that he believes she is what she says she is, he’s terrified that she will try to eat him.  All of the other guys are jealous of his gorgeous new girlfriend, Gu Mi Ho.  Little do they know that if Mi Ho doesn’t actually consume him she’s going to eat him out of house and home, with her monstrous appetite for expensive beef.

Real-life sibling writing duo The Hong Sisters have churned out a new television series nearly every year since they first hit the scene in 2005, and more often than not the shows are excellent.  Their dramas contain notable hallmarks, and one of them is the always adorable chemistry between the two leads.  In my opinion Mi Ho and Dae Woong are the cutest of them all.

adjustingPart of it has to do with both of their characters: unlike most kdrama leading men Dae Woong, although a bit spoiled, isn’t a snob.  He might take a while to admit his feelings for Mi Ho, but he has a good reason for it; he’s not emotionally constipated like most of his brethren.  Gumihos are fearsome creatures in Korean myth, so it’s not hard to believe that a normal person would need time to process the idea that 1) a Gumiho doesn’t want to kill him, and 2) he is starting to grow attached to said boogie monster.

Dae Woong is, in fact, a most irregular kdrama leading man.  Most leading men are cool, sophisticated, conceited, and are entirely incapable of expressing or even acknowledging any emotion that isn’t detached annoyance.  Dae Woong, in contrast, is a giant dork.  In one adorable scene as Dae Woong tries to flee from Mi Ho he imagines an action-hero version of himself performing complicated stunts in order to escape.  His imaginary self then gives him a thumbs up in encouragement before disappearing.  Real Dae Woong utterly fails when attempting even the first step of his plans.  I just want to pinch his cheeks.

But not as much as I want to pinch Mi Ho’s.  She is seriously the cutest ever.  The whole fish-out-of-water scenario is always a ton of fun, so it’s a blast watching Mi Ho try to interact with the modern world.  Beaming, she eats every hygiene product Dae Woong tries to teach her to use, smacking her lips and declaring them delicious.  She eats meat bones out of the trash, because she doesn’t understand why she shouldn’t.

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