16 October 2012 | cremea
About what you'd expect. Pretty good overall.
Wi-poong-dang-dang Geu-nyeo (Country Princess/Funny Wild Girl) is a Korean TV drama from back in 2003. It stars Bae Doona and I watch everything she's in, and my girlfriend loves Korean melodramas, so there you have it.
I'm a little surprised nobody has reviewed this yet after 9 years, but that's probably because it was submitted to IMDb under its original Korean title, and the fact that many Asian drama shows are sorely lacking reviews here anyway. I personally don't have a problem with someone listing it this way, but it does make it more difficult to spread the word about Asian media to the west (which is what I think most users that review Asian cinema here on IMDb are trying to accomplish). I've always known it by one of it English titles, "Country Princess". it's also commonly known as "The Funny Wild Girl", and I see it's also referred to as "Majestic Girl" as well, etc... This can all be very confusing, and I wish there was a better way to universally recognize a show/movie by as few titles as possible, but, it is what it is. Anyway, here's my review of this series below:
I'm trying to recall the details of this show as best I can, as it's been a long time since I've seen it. The first couple of episodes focus on the young high school life of our main protagonist and her similarly aged sister. The sisters' parents are poor country farmers just trying to get by, and provide a better future for their kids. One of the daughters is smart and ambitious, the other daughter (Bae Doona), not so much. Also, one of the sisters is adopted or comes from an orphanage or something (can't remember exactly), and is actually the secret granddaughter of a wealthy patriarch. Eventually, the wealthy grandfather shows up looking for his granddaughter with checkbook in hand, and mother agrees to send her off to him. The mother does this primarily to give at least one of her daughters a brighter future, but the catch is that (SUPER SPOILERS) she gives away the wrong daughter; she sends her own "prized & preferred" hard working daughter off to the wealthy man so she can have a better life, and keeps his actual granddaughter (Bae Doona) instead.
I'm not really sure if I can even blame the mother for her decision in all honesty. After all, what mother wouldn't want a better life for her own daughter when there are little to no options to provide one otherwise. This is her big chance to get her daughter out of poverty and she jumps at it. She further justifies her decision somewhat out of spite by the fact that she has spent her life raising the "adopted" daughter. She knows she's not being honest, but the result is her true daughter now can live in a life of luxury going forward, while the actual "princess" is left behind to continue living a low class life of misery that would be difficult to escape from.
This show then flashes forward a bit to when the 2 daughters/sisters are young adults, and, the rest of the show takes place in this time line. The two daughters/sisters have now progressed in life as the story intended (one is now "rich and entitled", and the other is "scrambling to makes ends meet"). The newly rich daughter soon gets more entwined in the dealings of the grandfather's offspring who are all angling for inheritance position within the family's prominent food business. The poor daughter is now an unwed & unemployed mother with no job skills plus 2 younger brothers plus and an ailing mother to take care.
Bae Doona is the primary star & character here. She does what she always does (i.e. she's a terrific actress). The 3 other main characters are the other daughter/sister, the handsome young doctor the sisters had a crush on when they were younger, and the son of a businessmen who comes back from America to take over a struggling small rice factory. Everybody does a fine enough job in their roles, although there is a god bit of exaggerated characterization involved. That's just the way it often goes with many of these shows though.
This is pretty much Korean melodrama 101. Every character and plot arc is intertwined in a seemingly endless circular pattern; people drift apart then come together or vice versa, love quadrangles are explored until brought to completion, life & work issues are tested and eventually resolved, everybody is somehow involved with or related to someone else, secrets are revealed, comedy & romance & intrigue & (especially) drama ensues, etc.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to who will be with whom, whether the sisters & varying family members can reconcile over time, which businesses & characters will succeed or fail, and ultimately, whether our poor put upon main young protagonist can eventually win the day with her relentless approach to life no matter what is thrown at her.
Bottom Line: This show is pretty good overall. It's your typical Korean "emotional journey" melodrama, but it does hit its marks when and where it tries to for the most part. It's production values are most likely showing their age at this point, but I would still recommend it as a worthwhile watch even today (that is, if you're into this sort of thing).
So, 8 out of 10 stars!...it's probably closer to a 7 in all honesty, but I'll give it an extra star cause it's still "sticks with me" after all these years.