Thursday, March 7, 2013

K-Drama Review: Birdy Buddy

Picture Credit:

Birdie Buddy / 버디버디


Lee Da Hee as Min Hae Ryung
Uee as Sung Mi Soo
Jin Ji Hee as the younger Mi Soo
Lee Yong Woo as John Lee
Yoon Yoo Sun as Jo Kyung Suk, Mi Soo’s mother
Lee Byung Joon as Sung Kyung Hwan, Mi Soo’s father
Oh Hyun Kyung as Min Se Hwa, Hae Ryung’s mother
Park Sun Woong as Choi Dong Kwan (Danny), executive assistant
Kim Jong Jin as Woo Joon Mo (Stephan), green keeper, suspected to be Hae Ryung’s father
Robert Holley as Yoon Kwan Baek
Choi il Hwa as Jay Park, our illegal gambling villain
Yoo In Na as Lee Gong Sook, Mi Soo’s friend
Gina  as younger Gong Sook
Park Han Bi as Sung Tae Gab, Mi Soo’s brother
Ahn Do Gyu  as younger Tae Gab
Yang Hee Kyung as Uhm Jung Ran, Caddy director
Han Seung Hyun as Ahn Joong Ki, Mi Soo’s childhood friend who eventually has a crush on her

Year: 2011
Episodes: 24
Network: tvN
Genre: Sports, Drama


Two amateur-turned-pro golfers, rivals Min Hae Ryung (Lee Da Hee) and Sung Mi Soo (Uee) compete on the golf-course as well as for John Lee (Lee Yong Woo), their golf coach. Sung Mi Soo grew up in a poor family with her family giving up everything they could to support Mi Soo’s golf career, straining their resources, due to Mi Soo’s enthusiasm and passion for golf, an expensive sport, at a young age. Struggling to make ends meet, Mi Soo tries every path possible to ensure her path towards a golfer career and had the good fortune to meet John Lee, who eventually leads her to train with a legendary golfer and coach, Yoon Kwan Baek (Robert Holley). Mi Soo was known as a golfer with a power shot, but could not concentrate her power towards a target.  While steadily improving her golf skills, Mi Soo eventually gets caught up with Jay Park, an illegal-gambling ring leader and in between Hae Ryung and John Lee’s relationship.

Meanwhile, Hae Ryung has always trained under the best conditions due to her mother, Min Se Hwa (Oh Hyun Kyung), being the president of a prominent golf club. Hae Ryung’s precise and accurate shots are what makes her a winner and she actual sees the golf ball path before she takes a shot. She could have been a clear winner in any competition, yet she refuses to unleash her full potential due to the stressful relationship she has with her mother. Hae Ryung longed to find her real father much to Se Hwa’s dismay. After  Hae Ryung found who she believed is her father, a renowned green keeper, Woo Joon Mo (Kim Jong Jin), his eventual departure drove the mother and daughter pair even further apart. Eventually, in a moment of rage, Hae Ryung left her mother for good and aligns herself with the dangerous Jay Park and loses her love, John Lee, in the process.

Reasons to watch it:

The story is inspirational with a strong family bond. I love inspirational stories. We get to see Mi Soo’s long and difficult progress throughout the entire drama from her very first golf swing to her perfection of the famous “Fabian” shot that was once famous by her coach and teacher, Yoon Kwan Baek. Moreover, the sacrifice Mi Soo’s family made for Mi Soo is also endearing. Mi Soo’s mother, Jo Kyung Suk (Yoon Yoo Sun) supported Mi Soo by working many part time jobs, driving Mi Soo to her next practice or even her golf tournament after being sprayed with mud since the wheel of her van was stuck in the mud. No matter what the reason and in whatever condition she is in, Kyung Suk is there cheering Mi Soo on. Kyung Suk’s visible efforts for her daughter causes Min Se Hwa to be jealous since she has a cold relationship with Hae Ryung. Mi Soo’s father, Sung Kyung Hwan (Lee Byung Joon) ends up becoming a sailor to earn a bit of money for the family. His tearful letter before he left was so touching since he mentioned that he can not provide for both his children. Mi Soo’s brother, Sung Tae Gab (Park Han Bi), wanted to become a clarinetist, but was denied the dream due to financial circumstances. Even when Tae Gab was jail, he wanted the very best for Mi Soo. Tae Gab would never hesitate to scold Mi Soo during the times Mi Soo contemplated giving up golf. With such a strong family bond, how can Mi Soo not achieve her dream?

There is a foreign actor in this drama who seems to speak Korean well. I loved Yoon Kwan Baek (Robert Holley)’s character. Some viewers didn’t like his fake hair, but I loved it. I thought he did a great job as an actor, portraying a gruff, old-looking golf master. It would have helped if he explained the benefits to his training methods to Mi Soo during her strenuous training. In the end, I loved his softened heart after he decided to leave his lonely mountainous residence in order to buy Mi Soo some cosmetics.

The tournaments were fun and exciting to watch. We get to see how Mi Soo and Hae Ryung own the golf course with their amazing skills. I enjoyed every single challenge Mi Soo endured, not to mention the Fabian shot Mi Soo perfected. There’s a bit of fantasy in this drama with golf balls having wings, the Fabian shot, hitting a golf ball in mid-air with another golf ball, and Hae Ryung being able to see the golf ball path before she takes a shot, but it was all in good fun. This drama didn’t need to be too serious.

Reasons not to watch it:

Oh, I have so many reasons why not to watch this show.

Like the many reviewers out there, I did not like Hae Ryung’s character. She had princess syndrome throughout the entire series. She wanted her father. She hated her mother. She didn’t win golf tournaments when she didn’t feel like it. She embarrasses her mother in public. Hae Ryung can run away if she felt like it. She aligned herself with Jay Park. She took John Lee for granted. She wanted John Lee back when she felt like it. When she finally had John Lee back, she wanted to force the relationship further by wanting him to marry her. Finally, her numerous accusations towards John Lee and Mi Soo having some kind of affair drove me nuts. She always seemed to get what she wanted and even then, she wasn't happy.

The love story fell flat. I have a hard time believing John Lee would ever have feelings for Hae Ryung. Hae Ryung was so controlling and even after John Lee found out her other schemes including her schemes to hurt Mi Soo’s career, he’s still in love with her, but conflicted. Some people might be disappointed with the ending even though it was a happy ending. Hae Ryung was not a bad person by nature, but she was just too spoiled. The storyline gave us hope that perhaps John Lee would date Mi Soo, but that storyline was a tease.

The evil storyline was weak. We have the bad guy, Jay Park, but Jay Park was pretty weak to be a the main antagonist. Three-quarters into the storyline, Jay Park was arrested and went to jail. For the last quarter of the story, we’re left with Hae Ryung’s need and trust issues.

I didn’t care about Hae Ryung’s messed up family one bit. Yes, Hae Ryung grew up with a single parent. She had a lot of teen angst. Many temper tantrums later, I endured everything up until the point Se Hwa realized what she was doing to her daughter and tried to make it up to Hae Ryung by enduring Hae Ryung’s nasty comments and actually cooking a homemade meal for Hae Ryung. The ungrateful Hae Ryung left Se Hwa and continued to run away. I gave up on this family soon after. There’s too much drama going on with Hae Ryung’s family when this show should be about Mi Soo.

There were a lot of shallow side-storylines. When Mi Soo’s father, Sung Kyung Hwan, left to be a sailor, he came back with amnesia. That was so random and unnecessary in my opinion.  Sung Tae Gab never pursued his musician career afterwards, but instead, in an almost random moment with no emotional buildup, started pursuing Mi Soo’s best friend, Lee Gong Sook (Yoo In Na). Yoo In Na had such a great role in the drama, Secret Garden, but for her to become a minor side character in this show was a waste of her talent. Basically, Lee Gong Sook is needed to give Mi Soo emotional support. Uhm Jung Ran (Yang Hee Kyung), the special caddy director, had no special importance other than to bring the mothers, Jo Kyung Suk and Min Se Hwa together. I was also disappointed with Min Se Hwa and her executive assistant and boyfriend, Choi Dong Kwan (Park Sun Woong) otherwise known as "Danny" in that they never had any sweet moments and an incredibly weak relationship since Dong Kwan thought about leaving as soon as he thought Hae Ryung's family is complete. Lastly, what was the point in having the character, Ahn Joong Ki (Han Seung Hyun), Mi Soo’s childhood friend in the storyline? Joong Ki develops a crush on Mi Soo later on in his adult life, but his love is understandably unrequited as long as John Lee is around Mi Soo. I can perhaps do some wishful thinking to believe that Mi Soo and Joong Ki might like each other later on, but then, if Mi Soo liked Joong Ki, she would have done something about it already. Mi Soo is a strong character who wasn’t afraid to pursue John Lee. Let’s talk about John Lee’s hair for a minute. His hair was not necessary for this drama and it created a serious distraction. The storyline made a big fuss about his hair when he casually cut his hair without thinking twice to look like an ordinary man. All that drama happened for nothing.

Towards the end of the storyline, everything became melodramatic. I don’t want to ruin the ending for anybody who hasn't seen it yet. The entire ending, to me, was unnecessary. I could not believe what happened to John Lee in the end. Furthermore, I could not believe the change in Mi Soo and Hae Ryung’s relationship in the absence of John Lee.  I was also mad when I found out what happened to the golf ball marker present that Mi Soo gave to John Lee.

It was a pity that John Lee did not get to play golf in the drama due to a wrist injury that ended his career when he pursued the Fabian shot.

Favorite Couple and Chemistry Factor:

My favorite couple would have to be Mi Soo and John Lee.
Honestly, I have no idea why the writers didn't pursue the Mi Soo/John Lee love line. I felt that the storyline was perfectly setting them up to be together. John Lee and Mi Soo did not meet under the best circumstances, which caused Mi Soo to loath seeing John Park. Later on, when Mi Soo accepted John Park as her coach, she began to respect him. They were always playful around each other and John Lee affectionately called Mi Soo a “steamed bun” since her face reminded him of a steamed bun, but John Lee was always stressed when he was with Hae Ryung and many times, it was all business between them. John Lee was the perfect partner for Mi Soo. In golf, he set the stage and Mi Soo is the one who performs. I want to say that even though Mi Soo perfected the Fabian shot, she could have never done it without John Lee. John Lee was too much of a rebel around Hae Ryung. When John Lee rushed to the airport to stop Mi Soo from leaving, I was cheering him on. We never did see a kiss between the two of them, but the chemistry was definitely there.

Favorite Scenes:

The many sacrifices Kyung Suk made for Mi Soo selling vegetables, a janitor, working as a cook, driving Mi Soo to the golf competition after the wheels got stuck in the mud, believing in Mi Soo all the way, and ripping into Mi Soo when Mi Soo was thinking about quitting.

The young Mi Soo angrily yelled that people at the golf school were making fun of the fact her mother is a janitor. Kyung Suk calmly explained to Mi Soo, “I am a janitor. What else would you call a janitor's daughter?” Being a janitor did not sound respectable, but it was a fact.

When Mi Soo was thinking about quitting golf, she went to the coal mining place where her father worked and used it as her personal driving range. While she was swinging at the golf balls, tears streamed down her face as she was letting her dream go. Worst of all, her father heard her bawling.

When Kyung Hwan realized her son, Tae Gab was working at a night club to pursue his musical passion. The hurt in Kyung Hwan’s eyes could not be explained as he tried to beat some sense out of his son, thinking his son had been swindling women out of their money.

When Mi Soo trains with Yoon Kwan Baek (Fabian) and Yoon Kwan Baek develops a soft spot for her.

Mi Soo perfecting the Fabian shot.

John Lee rushes to the airport to stop Mi Soo from leaving.

Least Favorite Scenes:

I hated every scene where Hae Ryung throws a tandrum.

I hated every scene where Hae Ryung cast doubt on her relationship with John Lee. I especially hated every scene Hae Ryung tried to kiss John Lee. These scenes make my blood boil.

I hated the scene where we find out that Hae Ryung and Mi Soo became friends. Mi Soo sacrifices her relationships with John Lee and Hae Ryung in order to give John Lee and Hae Ryung and opportunity to be together.

I didn’t like the ending.

The Lesson:

Anything is possible with perseverance.

Theme songs:

Dream On - Joo Eun Ji (Pink Toniq)

Watch it on DramaFever for free!

Wehaiyo’s Dramafever Recommendations:

If you liked this drama, then consider watching these Korean dramas:

Jewel In The Palace: If you like shows about perseverance, Jewel In The Palace is about the ultimate perseverance of a palatial cook who constantly puts her life on the line and surprisingly becomes the first female royal physician for the King.

Baker Kim Tak Gu: Well, I did not watch this drama yet, but I believe the storyline is as inspirational as Birdy Buddy. It follows the story about a young baker who goes through many trials to become the best baker in Korea.

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