Note: This review was originally posted on my other (now closed) blog. I’ve decided to post some of those old entries over here.
Korean dramas are one of my favorite things to watch on Netflix. Most of the ones I’ve watched are only a season or two long, so you know ahead of time how much time you’ll need to invest to complete the series. To date, my favorite series is “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.” The show is currently available on both DVD and Netflix instant streaming and is an entertaining and funny series about a gumiho, a mystical creature from Korean folklore.
The series opens with our lead, Cha Dae-woong (Lee Seung Gi), trying to escape his clingy girlfriend, Miho (Shin Min Ah). Through their discussion, we learned that Miho is a gumiho, a mythical nine-tailed fox from ancient legends. The series then jumps back to Dae-woong’s life before he met the pleasant and happy Miho. After a string of disasters, Dae-woong ends up at a temple where Miho is trapped inside of a painting. Miho has been waiting to leave for 500 years and finally gets her chance with a little bit of trickery. After Dae-woong frees her, Miho begins to follow him and must quickly learn how to adapt to the human world.
Miho and Dae-woong’s relationship grows, although it’s hardly without obstacles. Some of the other minor characters provide a few challenges, including the snotty Eun Hae In (Park Soo Jin) and the enigmatic Park Dong Ju (No Min-woo). In addition, Dae-woong must balance his dreams of becoming an action star and maintain harmony in the home of his grandfather and aunt.
After not having watched a Korean drama for years, I was eager to try a new one. The title of “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” drew me in initially, but I didn’t read anything beyond the summary before starting the show. For me, this show didn’t require a few episodes to draw me in; during the initial scene of Miho causing young men to fall over as they watch her run by, I was hooked. The humor and the charm of those first scenes only improved from there.
The Main Characters
It’s true that the fish out of water plotline isn’t very new. However, I think the show gave a fresh spin on it due to Miho just being so likable. It’s fun to watch her experience new things, from eating meat to going on a real date. From the beginning, I was less sure of Cha Dae-woong. He starts off the series acting rather selfish and hurtful to those around him. Some of his early interactions with Miho were less than positive, though somewhat understandable. Over time, his character certainly grows and becomes more likeable.
“My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” does feature a few other characters, but several of their characters get very limited screen time. Dae-woong’s friends are charming, but unfortunately we don’t get to see that much of them beyond their influence on escalating some of the drama. The main subplot of the series occurs between a movie director and Dae-woong’s aunt. The movie director has a bit of an obsession with the real world actor, Chow Yun Fat. The budding romance between the director and Dae-woong’s aunt has a tendency to reach absurd levels, but it’s enjoyable and often provides the only happy moments during some of the main story’s more sad plots.
The show relies on a solid collection of a few musical tracks. Fortunately, you won’t hear these songs enough that you get sick of them. A couple of the minor characters even have their own songs that match their personalities quite well. Park Dong Ju, for example, has ownership of the emotional “Trap.” Unfortunately, the only soundtrack I’ve located online is missing the best of the show’s songs, including the beautiful “Fox Rain.” This song isn’t Miho’s and Dae-woong’s “official” song, but it’s the most memorable song in the entire show. Months after finishing the show, I still listen to it regularly!
This show may not seem like your cup of tea if you don’t think you’re into happy and overly sweet shows. I watched this show with my husband, and he enjoyed it just as much as I did. Rest assured, there is plenty of drama and a full serving of humor in each episode. I think even a young audience could enjoy the show. As for me, I look forward to rewatching it again sometime soon.
You Should Watch “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” If:
– You’ve never seen a Korean drama before. “Gumiho” is an excellent introduction to the genre and will likely encourage you to seek more shows like it.
– You prefer a romance that focuses on characters who grow to genuinely like each other instead of arguing all the time.
– You’re not a big fan of ensemble shows with endless lists of characters. You don’t mind a few subplots, but you’d still prefer to focus on the overall story of the show.
– You’re not afraid to weep a little here and there while you watch a TV show.