My Golden Life Half Way Overview:
Growing up in a family full of love, our heroine Seo Ji An has everything she needs except money and station. Trapped by the heavy debt that overshadows her family ever since Daddy Seo’s business failed, Ji An had to throw away her self respect as she works as a lowly intern in the marketing department of Haesung group. All her hard work and dream of becoming a full time employee shattered when her nemesis waltzes in with her rich father’s connection to take the position that should’ve been hers, Ji An finally reaches her limit of living a life at the mercy of the rich.
Utterly stunned when her mother calmly introduces Haesung group’s CEOs as her real biological parents, our heroine eventually realizes this is her one chance of living a completely different life. Suppressing her sadness of leaving the only family she ever knew, Ji An begins her life as the long lost daughter of the Choi family of Haesung group. Surprised and dismayed to find out that the rich chaebol man, Choi Do Kyung, she had a few unfortunate run ins with is actually Choi family’s oldest son..making him her brother now, Ji An soon comes to appreciate Do Kyung’s guidance as she tries with much difficulties to adjust to the many expectations placed upon her by Madam Choi.
Missing her family terribly but thanks to Do Kyung’s mentoring and her sharp business sense, Ji An quickly earns scary Madam Choi’s approval. Accidentally finding out that she is NOT Choi family’s long lost daughter after all, Ji An is horrified to realize that her mother had lied out of greed. Ashamed of what her parents did and feeling guilty towards her little sister who is Choi family’s real daughter, Ji An confesses her identity to Do Kyung. Furious to find out that his parents had been deceived, Do Kyung eventually calms down enough to strike a deal with Ji An where she agrees to stay put until the big project she is responsible for at the company is wrapped up successfully and in return he will try to keep his parents from throwing her parents in jail.
Feeling responsible to repay the terrible wrong her parents had committed, Ji An labors night and day in hopes that a wildly successful marketing project could somehow lessen Madam Choi and her husband’s anger. As the only one in his family who knows Ji An’s true identity, Do Kyung finds himself constantly covering for our heroine…and falling in love with her in the process. Both rather preoccupied with the crisis at hand to even notice their own developing feelings for one another, Ji An and Do Kyung are both shaken to the core when their overflowing emotions finally make it impossible to deny what has been brewing between the two of them. As the eldest and only son of his family, Do Kyung has always been keenly aware of the heavy responsibility on his shoulder. Unable to stop his eyes from following Ji An’s every move but knowing full well he would not and could not allow his feelings to change the path he was born to follow, Do Kyung tells a teary Ji An that he has nothing to offer her since he will go through with the marriage his family has chosen for him.
Despite all the effort Ji An has been trying to appear normal, President Choi (Do Kyung’s father) starts to figure out something is amiss and eventually conducts his own DNA test to prove that Ji An is not his long lost daughter. Walking into the Choi mansion with the full intention of confessing everything that night, Ji An fall to her knees trembling when President Choi confronts her with the DNA test result. Unable to convince Do Kyung’s furious parents to give her a chance to explain, Ji An is tossed out of the Choi mansion.
Stumbling towards home, Ji An experiences another shock when she first sees her father kneeling on the ground pleading for President Choi’s forgiveness then finds out the next day from her very bitter little sister Ji Soo that Mama Seo had accepted a restaurant as a token of thanks from the Choi family without her knowledge. Overwhelmed with everything she experienced, our heroine runs off in a fit of despair and chugs down a whole bottle of sleeping pills.
Trying hard to assure himself that Ji An must be back in the arms of her loving family, Do Kyung is instantly filled with nagging worry the moment he finds out Ji An has disappeared. Telling himself that Ji An just needs some time alone, Do Kyung divides his time between 1. working in the office and seeing signs of Ji An everywhere. 2. trying to keep his promise to Ji An by convincing his parents to not throw Mama and Daddy Seo in jail. 3. running around attempting to figure out where Ji An would be. 4. welcoming the still very angry Ji Soo into his house…and be reminded of Ji An some more.
Episode 21-24 are a bit draggy but in summary, Ji An disappears but is eventually found by our male second lead in a small seaside village while poor Do Kyung is still going crazy trying to find her. The hero did find our heroine at the very last second before ep. 24 ended so I am assuming the plot will start to pick up again.
Ninja’s Half Way Thoughts:
Heavens, color me completely surprised by what a winner My Golden Life had turned out to be. Yes, the plot employs almost every makjang device there is but I love it! I had mentioned before of my somewhat shaky confidence of Park Si Hoo’s return to dramaland but other than some stiffness in the very first couple episodes, I am glad to report that I found Park Si Hoo’s hero quite endearing. I have never found Park Si Hoo to be the eye candy oppa sort but his talent lies in the fact that he has this mysterious ability to make his character shine.
For those who follow My Golden Life, it will be very obvious that I skipped all the secondary characters’ storylines in my overview. I did that out of the sheer impossibility of covering so much material but I actually do like almost all of the secondary characters’ storylines. The one I love the most is Ji Soo’s boss’ romance with the male second lead’s sister but I am also starting to get more interested in the heroine’s youngest brother’s story as well. I was mildly disappointed that Ji Soo’s romance with the male second lead has been a bit on the bland side (thus making their characters also kind of boring) but I think this couple still has plenty of time to develop so I am crossing my fingers hoping for the best.
The family squabble part of the plot obviously doesn’t capture my interest nearly as much as the romance part but I do find them intriguing and even heart wrenching. Ji An’s parents are not evil human beings who sold off their own daughter for money. Instead, Mama and Daddy Seo were loving parents who loved their adoptive daughter with their whole heart but allowed themselves to commit a terrible wrong when they gave in to greed. The writer has been very skillful in crafting very flawed characters that makes you want to yell at them for the follies but as you watch them suffer the natural consequences of their mistakes, as a viewer I find myself crying along while wondering if I myself could do any better under the same circumstances.
For example, I really like Park Si Hoo’s portrayal of the hero quite a bit. Here is a third generation chaebol who is not spoiled and understands perfectly the cost that comes with living as an elite. Unlike your typical chaebol heroes that promptly rebels the moment he finds “true love”, Do Kyung refuses to let his heart overrule his many years of hard work and the heavy responsibility he was born to carry. Of course, our hero is going to pay dearly for his refusal to follow his heart but I can respect a man who struggles to hold onto his long held beliefs…and still enjoy watching him suffer.
All in all, some minor flaws aside (such as the slight drag in the last few episodes) I am enjoying My Golden Life immensely. The writer has done an impressive job at making the makjang plot feel refreshing and addicting which in my book is always a super human feat.
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