I’m back with reviewing a slightly old drama, and I keep wondering how come I never saw it until now. It’s the 2004 Korean drama “Full House” which is based on a Korean manhwa of the same name by Woon Soo Yoon. I have read the manhwa first once I decided to watch the drama to compare them, and though most of the plot parts are changed, but they both are great in their own different way.
- General info:
Title: 풀하우스 / Pool Ha-woo-seu / Full House
Han Ji-eun, an aspiring script writer, and lives in a house called “Full House” built by her late father. One day, her two best friends trick her into believing she has won a free vacation. While she is away, they sell her house. On the plane, she meets a famous actor named Lee Young-jae. Through comedic events, they get acquainted during her vacation and when she returns, she discovers her house has been sold to him.
Though they don’t get along with each other as she is messy and he has a bad temper and likes cleanliness, they agreed to live with each other. At first, Ji-eun works as his maid in order to buy her house back, but because of Young-jae’s wish to make the love of his life and Kang Hye-won jealous, they get married. They set up a contract for the marriage to last six months. During that time, complications arise and Ji-Eun and Young-Jae become attracted to each other.
Lee Young Jae/Ryder (played by Rain): Young Jae (his name in the manhwa is Ryder) is the famous, handsome, sweet actor, he’s in the manhwa British but in the drama they make him Korean. He’s funny, sensitive, gets jealous easily, and has a complicated relationship with his family due to his acting aspirations. He has this crush on his childhood friend Hye Won, but later on falls in love with Ji Eun. He’s crazy about cleanliness, and I love the names he keeps calling Ji Eun with “Bird/Chicken/KoKo…etc”, he also turns into the sweetest guy ever when he’s in love with Ji Eun. Though he’s a bit proud and stubborn, he has a good heart, the heart of a baby. I loved him, though he was somehow slow and I didn’t understand his need to help Hye Won even when he realized his love for Ji Eun, I mean he could keep promises he made at 9 years old Hye Won, but can’t keep the promises he made with an adult Ji Eun, it got on my nerves. I loved the manhwa Ryder a little bit more, but Rain is amazing too especially in the last episodes.
Han Ji Eun/Ellie (played by Song Hye Kyo): Ji Eun (her name in the manhwa is Ellie) is the cheerful, loving, somehow naïve, aspiring writer, who ends up losing her house to the famous actor Young Jae. She has a dream of becoming a great writer, however due to a trick by her friends she loses her house to Young Jae, and ends up working for him as a maid in her own house, and getting into a contract marriage, all to get her house back. She’s a really sweet character, who makes anyone around her happy just by being around her; I loved her a lot, maybe a little more than the manhwa Ellie. She tries hard even when Young Jae was still in love with Hye Won, she was satisfied if that made him happy. I liked her a lot with Min Hyuk actually, but you gotta say that she and Young Jae look like they were made for each other.
Kang Hye Won (played by Han Eun Jeong): (according to manhwa’s characters, she’s a mix of Miranda and Jasmine), she’s Young Jae and Min Hyuk’s childhood friend, who loves Min Hyuk but at the same time clings to Young Jae and wants him to stay by her side after Min Hyuk rejects her. She’s a fashion designer (with apparently no sense of fashion seeing what they made her wear through the drama), she eventually lets go of Young Jae when she sees that he really loves Ji Eun.
Yoo Min Hyuk (played by Kim Sung Soo): (according to manhwa’s characters, he’s a mix of Felix and Damon), he’s Young Jae childhood friend, and a rich and handsome businessman, who doesn’t pay much attention to women because of his busy life, but he falls for Ji Eun. He tries to win Ji Eun over; he even proposes to her, he later gives up when he realizes that she only loves Young Jae.
It’s the first drama to see for almost all the cast, except for Eun Jeong, I’ve seen her in “Cinderella Man” and hated her there too. Rain is cute and he really can act, though stiff at some times, as for Hye Kyo she’s an amazing actress, I absolutely loved her. Sung Soo did a great job too.
- Is it Funny?
Yes, the way Young Jae makes Ji Eun work for him, and the nicknames he calls her (Chicken, Bird, Koko … etc) are hilarious. Their relationship is funny, even when the situation is supposed to be serious. Also the “Three Bears” song that none could possibly forget! 😀
- Is it Romantic/Tear-Jerking?
So-so, the love story is a cute one, not an epic one, which is sad. In the manhwa it was much more epic. There are many sad scenes too like when they decided on divorce (I still don’t get that), and when Young Jae would leave poor Ji Eun to hurry over to Hye Won, Ugh.
The soundtrack is really pretty, I have two personal favorite songs, “I Think I” by by Byul, and “Destiny” by WHY. These two songs fit the drama perfectly, they’re perfect.
- Hotness Level/Style:
The style in this drama isn’t very good; maybe the most acceptable one in terms of Style is Min Hyuk and some of Ji Eun’s outfits. I hated most of Rain’s outfits, and I hated Hye Won completely. Seriously, what’s with her and her bra that has to be shown in every single outfit she wears in every single scene! But they make up for it with the beautiful cast, like Rain and Hye Kyo.
- Manhwa vs. Drama:
Plot: it’s changed drastically, in the manhwa Ellie loses her house because of a mysterious man “Henry” who sells it to Ryder. While in the drama, her friends betray her and set up a fake trip for her so that they could sell it and use the money to repay their debts, and guess what? After what happens, she still treats them as friends!
Love story: I loved manhwa Ryder over drama Young Jae, he was more passionate and committed to that marriage even when wasn’t in love with Ellie/Ji Eun yet. They’ve also gone through some epic events, which the drama didn’t show; it only made their love deeper!
Missing Characters and Events: Where are Felix and Christine? Where are Miranda and Ozwick? A lot of good manhwa characters weren’t there in the drama, which is a pity. Also, where’s Henry’s kidnapping Ellie? Hollywood part? The Island part? A lot of great events were missing too. The only thing I like is that though the full House isn’t the same as the manhwa, it’s still very pretty. Also Ryder was British, I understand that you had to use Korean actor, but couldn’t you at least have shoot it in London as the manhwa shows? It would’ve been great.
- Did it end well?
They confessed to each other their love, and he proposed again, this time for real, and they lived happily ever after at Full House.
- Rating: 4.5/5, I wanted more events from the manhwa, that’s why I was a bit disappointed.