Sassy Girl or Yupki Girl is back. And I mean Jun Ji-hyun.

Is it safe to assume that if you’re a fan of Asian pop culture, you must have seen MY SASSY GIRL (2001)? I really loved that movie that until now, I still use yupkigirl as pseudonym. Jun Ji-hyun gained international fame through MSG and 12 years later, she looks like time has not passed her by in her new drama YOU WHO CAME FROM THE STARS. (And I say, it is so unfair!)




This also marks her return to TV in 14 years since HAPPY TOGETHER, which interestingly starred who would later become big stars in Korea: Lee Byung-hun, Song Seung-hyun, Kim Ha-neul and Cha Tae-hyun (sassy girl’s battered movie boyfriend).

It was hard to believe at first that JJH will be doing a TV drama. She’s been doing mostly films (one of the latest being the megahit THE THIEVES, where she played a tad shade of sassy girl), not to mention that she got married to a businessman last year.

But after watching the first two episodes of YOU WHO CAME FROM THE STARS, I don’t doubt anymore why she chose this project. It’s not going to give her any drama award (though who knows), but the plot is interesting no wonder she came out of her semi-hiatus to do this. The project also reunites her with Kim Soo-hyun, her hoobae in THE THIEVES who had his share of battery.



The Thieves

JJH plays Cheon Song-yi, Korea’s top actress while KSH is Do Min-joon, an “alien” who landed on Earth 400 years ago. Their characters have met back then when he saved her from death during the Joseon era.

Do Min-joon remained on Earth but never grows old so he has to change his identity every 10 years or so. He can freeze time, move things and hear them from the distance. But… he couldn’t get away from military service and this really cracked me up.

“There isn’t a place I haven’t been in for the armed forces. I changed my identity every 10 years and every time, I had to be drafted. They seem to go on and on about how Psy had to go to the military twice. But starting from the Joseon Dynasty, all together I’ve been to the military 24 times. That’s 49 years and 7 months all in all.”

Cheon Song-yi on the other hand debuted at 15 and will be turning 30 soon though she is still in university trying to finish her degree (why, no one knows yet). She’s on top of her game but she also has a tortured personal life: her mother sold her off as an actress and married her father for the money, she has a few friends one of who is her long-time thick-headed suitor-chaebol heir and the other another actress who is always in her shadow. But what makes her not only the talk of the town but the national joke as well are her slips on social networking sites. She’s an airhead. Her management always has to clean after the mess that she creates because of her being a “bonehead” as they call her. The stupidity is not played like the slapstick kind so it becomes even more realistic and I couldn’t help wondering if the character is based on real actresses (just like how Choi Siwon’s airhead actor character in KING OF DRAMAS was supposed to be based on real actors).

JJH’s character is actually like sassy girl (she can’t really get away from the stereotype, can she?). She drinks, curses and talks in a pedestrian manner. She’s also on perennial diet emphasizing one time how she’d only had an apple and half of a beansprout (LOL at this) for the entire day and so can her neighbor Do Min-joo overlook the fact that she’s singing to release her stress (and is it her fault that he has a sharp sense of hearing when she moved to that building because the walls were sound proof?). Cheon Song-yi does not have the sophistication that she shows onscreen and yet she has a soft heart that always hurt when she realizes not everyone who tells her they like her up front are as nice to her behind her back. It’s lonely at the top indeed but for those watching, it’s fun how she struggles to keep up appearances despite the flaws in her character.

“Oh damn HDTV. It’s a world where even the sebum on your nose can be seen.”




I thought it was going to be another time travel drama but I was surprised to find the plot interesting. When they met in Cheon Song-yi’s recent reincarnation and he saved her yet again from death, she fell in love but she couldn’t remember the man’s face. Of course now that she’s actually face-to-face with her “first love”, she doesn’t recognize him even if he still looks the same from years ago. On the other hand, he does not recognize her because she has grown up and does not look like the girl from his memory. He only remembers the teenage girl he has saved twice in several life spans already, not the grown-up version. So apparently, his alien powers do not cover guess work.

Like I say time and time again, I like my dramas light-hearted. It’s fun and nostalgic to watch JJH reincarnate (sort of) her sassy girl character and all KSH needs to do is just stand there and frown and I’m done.

Oh and the premiere episode rated 15.5% nationwide. Only #5 but still high. I suppose Korea still loves its national sweetheart and I’m happy to see that Jun Ji-hyun is still as sassy as ever.

© Yasminka Lee (blogging since 2001). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the contents in Orange Jasmine Purple Yam without permission from the author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Yasminka Lee/Orange Jasmine Purple Yam with appropriate link to the original content.

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