WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
I am proud to say that my motivation behind watching Dalja’s Spring was not due to the fact that the irresistible Lee Min Ki is in it as a main character. This drama has been on my Plan To Watch list for AGES but I finally got the chance to marathon it this Spring Break. It’s an older drama that was released in early 2007, and yet, this series is so refreshing and wonderful. I can’t believe I put it off for so long!!
Dalja is a 33 year old woman that has never dated. She has focused all her energy in succeeding in her job at a home shopping network, and becoming a modern, independent woman. Despite her hard work and advancements, she is still an innocent soul who is, in some ways, naive while still suffering from occasional clumsy moments. Fed up with living such a romance-lacking life, Dalja spontaneously asks out her co-worker who has always been there for her when things go wrong. This opens up even more options for Dalja as she suddenly finds herself tangled in a love-square between a co-worker, a business man, and a hired boyfriend.
My Impression of Dalja’s Spring:
This is an oldie, but definitely a goodie. I don’t know what it is about older dramas, but they have this magic that pulls me into their story, hurts me in the deepest way possible, yet excites me so much that watching it is a joy from start to finish. I can’t even remember when was the last time I marathoned a K-Drama but watching Dalja’s Spring only took about 3 days to complete as I could not put it down. Every episode ended with cliffhangers that made it impossible to just find a descent stopping point but as soon as I started an episode just to ‘see what happens next’, I was entranced. Before I knew it, THAT episode was ending and I’d have no other choice but to start the next one. It was that kind of a cycle, every day I’d be sleeping around 5 AM.
Dalja’s Spring is a little on the mature side. Since the main character is an adult career woman, subjects such as affairs with a married man, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and casual sex are discussed (not always pertaining to the main character, but they are still addressed). I don’t think I’ve grown out of the cute high school romances, yet this drama about serious grown-up problems was absolutely captivating. Sometimes when I watch K-Dramas that take place in the workplace, I can get a little bored with the politics but Dalja’s Spring is exactly what a workplace drama should be like. It was neither draggy nor dull, but instead is quirky and charming with it’s lovable characters and hilarious situations.
I don’t think 2007 is so far back that it should be considered ancient times, but some of the background sound effects and soundtracks felt like they could have been borrowed from a 90’s sitcom. I have no problem with that, but I remember an instance in episode 16 where Dalja’s about to get the dickens beaten out of her with a broom. All of a sudden, Whitney Houston breaks in with ‘AND AAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYE WILL ALWAY LUV UUUUUUUUUU~’ as Tae Bong(Lee Min Ki) runs forward to block the attack…I’m not sure what kind of reaction the sound director intended for this scene…was I supposed to be touched to tears or is it okay that I was gasping for air from laughing so hard?
The romance in this drama is adorable and moving but I want to highlight my other favorite thing about the series: the friendship that developed between Oh Dalja, Shin Sae Do and Wee Seon Joo. Dalja’s problems started when she asked out her closest male co-worker Sae Do out on a date. They misunderstood each other’s definition of ‘going out’ which to Sae Do, translated into ‘hooking up’. As there was no process between him and Dalja, he seeked pleasure elsewhere (with Seon Joo). Now, it might seem like he’s a player…and he is…but he didn’t see it that way. While Dalja thought of him as her boyfriend, Sae Do just thought of it as innocent dates that didn’t mean much since he didn’t get what he wanted from them. On the other hand, Seon Joo was a little like Dalja’s enemy in her workplace. As a confident and charismatic host of the home shopping network, she and Dalja often clashed with each other. When Dalja found out that the one that Sae Do had cheated with was Seon Joo, Dalja’s pride was very hurt. Although they did nip at each other a few times afterwards, these three were so similar that they eventually started to depend on each other. While Dalja and Sae Do shared similarities in character, as they often related and confided in each other, Dalja and Seon Joo developed a professional respect for each other that eventually became an official-unofficial friendship.
The artwork that is used for the episode titles is so cool, I love it! They’re watercolor-ink like drawings of the characters, everyone looks great! I’ve looked long and hard for the name of the artist, I really like their stylish way of drawing so I wanted to take a look at his/her other works. Unfortunately, I haven’t found out who it is that drew those delightful drawings, but respect to the artist.
Characters and Acting:
Oh Dalja is our lovable protagonist that may be cool and composed, yet silly and naive. At first I was really worried that this could easily be transformed into a sissy cry-baby main lead that can’t do anything for herself if her man isn’t there to protect her, but boy was I wrong. Dalja may be a romantic at heart, yet she’s quite level-headed and reasonable. I’ve only seen Chae Rim in one other drama before this one, Oh! My Lady but I think her acting is just marvelous. She’s a cute lady that really brings out the character’s innocence…Listen to me, I sound like I’m doting on her. ^-^
Lee Min Ki…..His smile…Oh, his smile that can light up the whole world will be the death of me. I should have counted how many times I had to push pause just so I could stare at his smiling face, it’s a dangerous tool he has there. Aside from his killer good looks, I really like Lee Min Ki’s acting style. I truly believe he’s highly aware of all of his actions, and he puts those expressive eyes of his to good use. Sometimes he doesn’t have to say a single word, but it’s clear what he’s trying to say with his gaze. The character of Kang Tae Bong’s personality is a little complex. He’s playful and clever, yet mysterious and careful. Sometimes I feel like he’s mulling over a lot of things in his head that it’s not hard to figure out what he’s thinking, yet other times it’s like he crates a wall that not even the audience can figure out what his intentions are. LMK was awesome and I’ve grown to appreciate this actor.
The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the role of Eom Ki Joong(the business man candidate) and his psycho wife. It felt like the only times they would pop up was to cause trouble, then they’d be temporarily discarded until the next time the writers wanted to make the story frustrating. In these typess of dramas, I think it’s appropriate to have these kind of ‘in-the-way’ characters because it’s expected. However, it was only for 1 or 2 episodes where Rep. Eom and Dalja were even a possibility, then it almost appeared like he was forcing himself onto Dalja but it didn’t seem like he was all that smitten with her. Lee Hyun Woo‘s character was too similar to his character from Oh! My Lady, only far less relevant. I know, I know, this came out first, but…I couldn’t help think it’s the same person in a parallel universe. Poor guy, he can’t ever get Chae Rin TT_TT.
This OST was pretty good, I think all the songs are so appropriate. My favorite was Na Bbuen Sarang by MRJ.
I know I usually post a link to download the songs for free, but I’m so sorry, this time I could not find a trustworthy site for it TT_TT (If you find one, let me know, I’ll love you forever!)
My Name Is Kim Sam Soon – Noona romance; love contract.
Full House – Love contract.
Lie To Me – Career woman; love contract
My Girl – Contract (My Girl has a fake brother-sister contract; Dalja’s Spring has a love contract)
…moral of the stories: lying will get you a man.