Beautiful Gong Shim (also known as Dear Fair Lady Gong Shim) is a romantic comedy that tells the story of Ahn Dan Tae, a human rights lawyer who doesn’t know he is actually a chaebol heir, who gets involved with a down on her luck woman named Gong Shim. The story then follows the relationships of them, Dan Tae’s cousin, and Gong Shim’s sister.
Well, talk about being surprised that Beautiful Gong Shim was absolutely wonderful! I think I underestimated just how much fun this drama would be. I had such a good time, and I laughed so much! I also loved the tension that developed later in the drama as misunderstandings and life changing secrets complicated everyone’s lives.
I’m already a big fan of the writer whose works include Girl Who Sees Smells and Rooftop Prince. And I can definitely see the similarities in style when it comes to Beautiful Gong Shim. In the beginning, it is heavy on the silly comedy and humorous character interactions. Melodramatic tendencies then build as the drama goes along and the main story is played out more in depth. I always love this combination.
First, let’s look at Minah as Gong Shim. This girl was so funny! Her expressions and reactions to those around her were great. And the production team did really good at making her look “plain”. Of course, I never thought she looked bad, she just looked simple and frumpy while sporting a wig for the entire drama. But her charm just shines right through despite that, and she always put a smile on my face.
Then we have Nam Goong Min as Ahn Dan Tae. After having a couple amazing successes playing villainous characters in Remember: War of the Son and Girl Who Sees Smells, Nam Goong Min took on a much more lighthearted role in this.
I will admit that it took me a long while to fully get over the fact that he wasn’t some psycho killer in Beautiful Gong Shim. Which is strange because he is night and day different in this. He has such a fun and playful personality with a heart of gold.
But he is just so animated and intense that sometimes I think I just saw that “crazy” side of him. And especially when he would get angry, I felt like I was waiting for him to explode! And there’s even one time in episode 9 where the production decided to insert the creepy killer music from Girl Who Sees Smells with Dan Tae being a bit creepy. Haha, too fun!
But he was really never like that. He was a barrel of laughs as he falls hard for Gong Shim. He follows her around and does what he can to help her out while acting like a complete goof ball.
His personality does get a bit more serious as he deals with some difficult truths about himself. Then we just get a moving and nuanced performance from him. It was nice to actually get to sympathize with Nam Goong Min’s character for a change.
Dan Tae and Gong Shim as a couple were such a treat. They both have such bold personalities, and they don’t hold back with each other. I laughed so much because of their playful bickering and the crazy situations these two always seemed to be getting into. Plus, they are pretty darn cute when they actually get to be a couple
Suk Joon Soo (Ohn Joo Wan) was the perfect second lead. He’s handsome, rich, and has a heart of gold. He was about as sweet of a guy as any girl would ever want. I really enjoyed how he was able to get along with everyone in such a comfortable way. And because he is such a sweet guy, it is sad to watch all that he has to deal with later in the drama because of family secrets.
Joon Soo also takes a liking to Gong Shim, and she likes him too. They had such a sweet relationship that I found quite adorable. It made for a really nice playful rivalry between Joon Soo and Dan Tae in the first half of the drama.
Gong Mi (Seo Hyo Rim) is Gong Shim’s beautiful older sister who always overshadows her. Because she supports the family, their parents tend to take her side on everything. Some tension develops when the sisters start working at the same company. Then Gong Mi is less than thrilled when she takes a liking to Joon Soo, but finds out he is interested in Gong Shim.
Then we have our sweet Grandma (Jung Hye Sun) who has been devastated since her grandson was kidnapped so many years ago. She has been faithfully looking for him all this time and ends up teamed up with Dan Tae for the search. She was such a great character.
Our resident bad guy is Yeom Tae Chul (Kim Byung Ok). It seems like 99% of the time that this guy pops up on screen, you know he’s trouble (one exception to this would be his hilarious role in the comedy Modern Farmer). He set things in motion many years ago and continues to cause trouble for his family and the company. He’s one of my favorite bad guys because he looks the part as well as makes me laugh with his expressions.
There’s also several side stories following Gong Shim’s parents as well as Joon Soo’s. They create conflict for their children, but there are plenty of fun scenarios that we get to see play out too. They were a lot of laughs.
The relationship between Dan Tae and Joon Soo was particularly wonderful to see. I loved their goofy interactions as well as their caring and respect for each other. And you pretty much get to jump right into their relationship which is something I appreciated.
So we have lots of comedy in the first half of the drama. Our back story slowly builds during this time as our character’s get established in their relationships and everyone is in position for things to get serious.
Just a little over halfway through the drama, things really get cooking as Dan Tae seeks to uncover the truth behind his kidnapping when he was a child. This mission ends up pitting him directly against his friend and cousin Joon Soo. There are a lot of misunderstandings between the two that leave them each suspicious of the other one. Their relationship suddenly becomes very strained. I really loved the tension during this period.
Joon Soo then reluctantly finds himself caught in the middle when he learns his uncle and mother were involved in the kidnapping. In order to protect his mother from the truth coming out, he is forced to keep the secret. At first, he doesn’t realize just how big of a secret he is keeping. Then things begin to snowball as he uncovers more unsavory truths that turn his world upside down.
I felt so terrible for this poor guy as he had to cope with these awful secrets. And every time he attempts to tell Dan Tae the truth, a worse secret prevents him from doing so. It all really takes a toll on him. Poor thing 😦
But Joon Soo’s heart was always in the right place, and when things become too much, he does the right thing by telling Dan Tae the truth. Luckily, Dan Tae has a big heart, and he was more than understanding of what Joon Soo had to go through and give up in order to come to him. Their friendship is able to be restored, and my heart leapt a little when Joon Soo first called Dan Tae hyung now they he knew they were cousins.
There were only two things I would have liked to have seen more of in the drama. I felt like Gong Mi’s character had a much stronger presence in the first half of the drama. But once the main story really kicks up, she kind of fades into the background. I wish she could have been fleshed out a bit more.
I also wish Gong Shim could have been more in on everything that was happening. She is basically left in the dark about the kidnapping, Dan Tae’s mission, and the developing tensions between him and Joon Soo for the entire drama. It’s not until the last few episodes that she finally gets clued in on everything. But those were minor issues since everything else was pretty much perfect for me.
Dan Tae and Gong Shim are able to get their happy ending. Dan Tae takes down the bad guy, recovers his identity, and settles in with his family. Gong Shim is able to find confidence in herself and pursue her dreams (and finally take off the wig!). Our couple can then really begin their lives together.
I was completely in love with Beautiful Gong Shim. It had everything I like in drama. It made me laugh so much with all the crazy scenarios and lovable characters. And then the tension rose as they all had to deal with some difficult truths.
I was so invested in everyone and just wanted them to be able to get back to a place of happiness. Drama perfection on so many levels. I sure do love this writer! I’m certainly going to miss all of these wonderful people as well as the drama and smiles they all had to share with me.
My Rating: 10/10
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