I watched this series on Starhub Demand, and finished all 24 episodes last week although the show is still being telecast every weekend.
The beginning was promising. Teenagers Han Tae Yang and Jin Jin Shim are sweethearts in a farming village. Jin Shim lives in a church orphanage while Tae Yang lives with his ailing grandmother and younger sister Tae In. One day, they meet Mok Ga On, a little rich girl and Tae Yang becomes jealous of Jin Shim and Ga On’s friendship. Ga On’s single mother also frowns on their friendship, as Ga On is the illegitimate daughter of a chairman of a large company and she doesn’t want her to be mixing with orphans.
One day, Tae Yang deliberately did not pass Ga On’s message to Jin Shim, which led Ga On to meet with a group of thugs and subsequently died in an accident. Tae Yang was guilt-ridden. Ga On’s mother was devastated at her daughter’s death but learned at the same time that Ga On’s father was searching for them. Seeing a bright future ahead, she asked Jin Shim to pretend to be Ga On and they went away from the village to live with the Chairman. Ga on has always envied Jin Shim’s relationship with her mother and relish to take over that role. This serves as a lesson to her and to viewers – the grass is not always greener over the other side. Once Jin Shim becomes Ga On, she loses to the freedom to do as she wishes, becoming essentially a prisoner to her mother’s whims.
Twelve years later, Ga On (Jin Shim) meets Tae Yang again in a wholesale market where they both work, Ga On as a vegetable auctioneer and Tae Yang hopes to start his own vegetable business. They fall in love without knowing each other at first but Ga On’s mother finds out and makes trouble for Tae Yang to force him out of the market. She is afraid that her secret will be exposed. Tae Yang is a determined young man, and he is assisted by new friends comprising of a farmer, a top university geek, a pop-star wannabe and a thug.
The 24 episodes trace the up and down of these young men’s venture into the vegetable market, who call themselves Freshmen.
Ji Jang Wook, now seen in Ch U’s 7pm Smile, Dong Hae, reprises a similar character, stubborn and at times exasperating just watching him. His co-star, Wang Ji Hae appears much older than her character Jim Shim. It’s unfortunate her character Jim Shim is so unlikeable to me, as although she is portrayed to be kind, she tells lies easily with a straight face and one wonders, even if she has good reasons to lie, just how trustworthy is her character. The two just don’t seem a good match, with one always speaking his mind, and the other lying through her teeth.
I find the series draggy, with the only suspense coming from the deceit of the chairman (a matter of time before he finds out his real daughter is dead), with sub-stories of the other young men filling up the gaps.
Coincidentally, another series with almost the same starting plot – of a teenage girl meeting a teenager boy and his younger sister showing at KBS premiered at around the same time. Don’t Look Back, The Legend of Orpheus, provides a tighter grip of story line and more suspense in a 20-episode drama. This series ends tomorrow, so look out for my review soon.