OH MY VENUS (EPISODE 1)
So Ji Sub as Kim Young-ho/John Kim
Shin Min Ah as Kang Joo-eun
Jung Gyu Woon as Im Woo-shik
Sung Hoon as Jang Joon-sung
Henry Lau as Kim Ji Woong
Jo Eun Ji as Lee Hyun-woo
The episode starts off in the year 1999 in Daegu. As a bus full of school students appears a radio announcement is heard declaring a boy’s crush on a girl name Kang Joo Eun who is also known as Daegu Venus . She was shown featured in the CeCe magazine as the winner of a pretty face contest. Her goal is to be able to speak in Seoul dialect. She’s is adored and envied in equal measure. As she boards the bus all the boys get flustered and it’s none other than the glorious Shin Min Ah (oh, my heart!).
The scene then shifts to a gym class where it is revealed that Joo Eun has perfect body measurements. The other girls are outraged by these wondering what she eats. She is then suddenly called out to clean up the mess someone had created by spray painting her name on a wall near the front gate. There she confronts two boys who are smoking asking them to quit. One asks her if she thinks she can do as she pleases just cause everyone is mesmerised by her, but she stands her ground. A third man (Jung Gyu Woon) wearing a jacket that reads Korea Swimming team asked her to not be so hot headed it will melt her ice cream and walks off with the two boys. She wonders what his problem was when he wasn’t even the one smoking.
Suddenly a lady appears and hands her card to Joo Eun. It’s a Scout agent lady whose screechy friend declares how perfect Joo Eun is and how she was born to be Miss Korea. Joo Eun denies the lady’s continue advances saying she has more serious goals in life for instance, her aim in life is to become a successful lawyer . Joo Eun is studying in a library as a trio of male seniors fawn over her. The man in the Korea swimming jacket from earlier walks in reminding them that there’s meant to be absolute silence. He then motions for her to meet him out on the roof.
The man waits for her to recognize him. When she responds blankly asking if she’s supposed to know him he rattles off exasperatedly that he’s featured in newspapers. He’s on the National swimming team (duh!) and has competed in international championships! Joo Eun apologizes sarcastically saying she should’ve gotten some flowers. He then says he has come from Seoul to scout her. She laughs at him for reading the supposedly-only-for-girls CeCe magazine. He breaks into a smile and admires her pretty dimples as she blushes. He puts a medal around her neck saying he’s sure this won’t happen again because for a guy there is only one first love. He warns her about how difficult it is to learn a Seoul dialect but she firmly says she can do whatever she puts her mind to!
Fast forward to 2014, Seoul. A gorgeous woman steps off the elevator and walks into an office with a name plaque “Kang Joo Eun”. The woman in black turns around…. except it’s not Kang Joo Eun. She is now a lawyer at a firm with ‘slightly’ bigger body proportions than before. She glances at the beautiful woman and fidgets with her own clothes trying to look slimmer and better in some way. She glares at her client as she looks at Joo Eun’s older couple pictures and asks who the pretty lady is. She announces to the audience that it was her and the “swimmer” who has been her boyfriend for the past 15 years!Turns out her client is caught in an adultery case except she’s the woman the man cheated with on his wife. She asks Joo Eun to slap the wife with anything; reputational damage, insults, human rights violation but she is never settling with them. Joo Eun feels it’s an absolute injustice fighting a case for such a woman but she’s pressurized by her boss to do so. Joo Eun has a very clear concept about morality and justice and has had quite a few tiffs over it in the past.
Still in 2014 the scene shifts to Los Angeles where a TV displays news of a Hollywood starlet Anna Sue, who is in the midst of a scandal. A man (So Ji Sub) wearing a hoodie is seen exercising in a fully equipped room as yet another show called The Stella Show plays in the background. The show is covering the story of a former nobody Jennifer Anderson who turned into a star with the help of a trainer called John Kim. They talk about how it sends a hopeful message to women all over the world. Very less is actually known about the mysterious John Kim who is now caught in the scandal with Anna Sue. While the hoodied man shows no reaction to this, he avoids picking up Anna’s calls. Not that anybody minds looking at Ji Sub bathing for a full minute….
Back to Joo Eun, as she ponders on her previous dieting adventures. She’s tried everything from banana, cabbage to tofu but always ended up in yo-yo dieting. She’s pulled back into
the present as her eyes fall on the reminder of her 15th anniversary with Woo Shik. She leaves her office thinking about how he had proposed her with couple rings 15 years ago. She’s expecting a proposal and so is her friend Hyun Woo. Hyun Woo thinks she deserves at least 30 carats for all those years.
As she primps herself in the bathroom Joo Eun drops her lipstick down the sink. A fetching, sophisticated woman offers her her own lipstick. Joo Eun looks at her figure enviously thinking to herself, “Black is slimming, however, it doesn’t make you slimmer. Damn it!” You don’t say?
Woo Shik greets her in an off-handed manner. But realizing the importance of the occasion he has a lavish evening planned. However, he has a droopy demeanor as he says, “Thanks for the last fifteen years together.” Is this some sort of foreshadowing?
As he drops her home he hands her a tiny box. In it isn’t a 30 carat ring though; it’s his couple ring. He says it’s the “embodiment of his feelings” and asks her to take it. She tells him to stop joking and give her the real engagement ring not ready to accept the truth. As he keeps talking she finally asks him to shut up that she got it but she’s too tired for this. He presses on further and she finally explodes saying she’s his first love, he can’t just break up at a moment’s notice. She throws the flowers and a ribbon tied box at him and leaves with an angry “Congratulations.”
She goes home wondering which law can protect her from this situation and how everyone is equal in the eyes of the law but not in front of a mirror. As she sleeps that night the same Stella show featuring Jennifer Anderson’s transformation story plays in the background, singing John Kim’s praises. To emphasize on the character of John Kim, Ji Sub is shown directing a fighter in a wrestling match which he then participates in himself.
In Seoul Joo Eun is woken up by Hyun Woo’s call reminding her that she has to leave for the United States for a business trip. In LA Young Ho ( Ji Sub), is watching a wrestling match with the man he was training earlier Jang Joon Sung (Sung Hoon), while a third man Kim Ji Woong (Henry) cooks- failing repeatedly- for them. Joon Sung is a renowned fighter who goes by the name “Korean Snake”, he was trained and financially supported by Young Ho all these years and Ji Woong is his manager. They all tensely discuss the Anna Sue scandal mentioning how someone in Korea shouldn’t get a wind of this. Young Ho asks Joon Sung if he’s all packed for his flight as Joon Sung worriedly asks him to take care of himself in such a difficult time. Young Ho receives a call from a Manager Min and the conversation leaves him deflated.
Joo Eun preparing to leave from the US complaints about uneasiness in her stomach. Hyun Woo only sees it as an opportunity to lose weight. She receives a message from Woo Shik to call him once she’s back but chooses to ignore it. In Korea Hyun Woo rants about how shoddily the John Kim scandal was reported especially since the reporter is her ex-husband who has come by to drop off money for child care.
Joo Eun boards the plane and is seated next to Ji Woong who has given up his first-class seat to a pregnant lady. He introduces himself in a dorky but cute way and talks a mile a minute! He ‘humbly’ confides that he is “sort of famous” introducing himself as Joon Sung’s manager and trainer. Joo Eun once again receives texts from Woo Shik saying he wants to see her and once again chooses to ignore them (you go girl!).
As the plane goes through turbulence, a medical expert is called for an emergency patient. Young Ho regretting over his ruined surprise for Joon Sung takes off his blanket and flashes his medical badge. Is there anything the man can’t do?! He gets a small amount of satisfaction when he sees Joon Sung’s surprised face at seeing his hyung there. When he asks him why he’s going to Korea he shortly replies it’s the only place “they” won’t bother to look for him.
Turns out the patient is Joo Eun who is in immense pain. Young Ho asks Ji Woong about what she ate and she’s transferred to the first class as he starts treating her. He cuts through her shirt and corset and attaches an I.V to her arm trying to get her temperature back to normal.
Joo Eun awakens and is startled to see herself in strange surroundings with a strange man. She’s mortified by the fact that he’d taken off her clothes and gone through her bag. He asks her curiously “Why did you do that?” When she asks him confusedly what he means he retorts that she got onto the plane intoxicated, had caffeine, took sleeping pills and shady diet pills on top of that she wore a tight corset. She raves about how it’s an invasion of privacy but he silences her by pointing out how ungrateful she is. He tells her to sweat it out instead of taking weird diet pills to which she asked him to stay out of her personal life. Then he leans waaaaaay in and whispers ”You’re the first woman whose clothes I took off five minutes after meeting.” (HOW DO I CONTROL THESE HEART PALPITATIONS?). She haughtily replies back that if there was a way to thank him without seeing his face she’d do it! His brain seems to light up as he says cockily that there is a way.
Men in suits are seen at the arrival of an airport who’re waiting for Young Ho. Joon Sung and Ji Woong sneak off towards the exit while the men still keep looking. Young Ho, on the other hand has already escaped in an ambulance with Joo Eun using her as the scapegoat. In the hospital Joo Eun once again reads Woo Shik’s messages then makes up her mind and runs out into the rain. Young Ho, who is driving away, sees her waiting for a taxi, drives past, but reverses back and stops in front of her. At first she refuses his offer to drive her, but finally gets in the car. He tries to explain to her his situation but she simply cuts him off saying she’s sure he had his reasons just like her. She gets out of the car and tells him it’s the last time they’ll be seeing each other. She runs happily but stops dead in her tracks when she sees Woo Shik embracing another woman (who very much looks like the beautiful lady from the bathroom in my opinion). Crestfallen she starts walking away only to notice a man is following her. She hurriedly walks away even as the man calls out to her. He finally grabs her shoulder and she crouches down and begs him not to kill her. “You always ask me to save you every time you see me.” It’s Young Ho!
Personally, I am a sucker for romantic comedies! They’re light hearted and enjoyable. However, just romance will take the drama nowhere even with a star cast. Till now, Oh my Venus seems to be progressing in a more fun direction. The possible plot points are the Korean people Young Ho is wary of, Woo Shik’s new lady and why was Young Ho following Joo Eun. Admit it, you all thought the scene is cute even though it was predictable. Did he actually follow her or just happened to see her as he was driving away? I guess we’ll get to know soon enough.
I love the witty banter among the leads it’s kind of a given. How their love story actually progresses is what I am curious about. I have a few obvious theories, like he will somehow end up training her, or use her as a cover to deflect the Anna Sue scandal, but we can save those until the next few episodes.
One thing that upsets me however, and a lot of you will agree, is the body image they’re promoting. Before, she was thin and gorgeous, so she was popular and had a man who loved her. Now, she is heavier and has only one friend and gets dumped. Like in the Stella Show, I find it ridiculous that Jennifer Anderson is considered a queen and beauty now just because John Kim transformed her. How is that a hopeful message at all? Apart from the obvious points, little dialogues and digs in the drama all nod towards the idea that physical beauty matters the most. While those may not be on purpose it is a serious issue to consider. Hopefully in the next few episodes this mindlessness will reduce.
As for the characters, I absolutely love Joo Eun and not only because I am unhealthily biased towards Shin Min Ah (who isn’t?). She might have changed physically but her morals, ideals and determination is still present. She obviously proved that she is smart and hard working enough to get into law school. Young Ho’s character is somewhat of a question mark. He obviously cares a lot for Joon Sung. Until now his idea of beauty is staying fit and not just being physically attractive which is a positive point. His background is still unknown so it’s too soon to gauge him.
I would definitely watch the next episode to find out which path this story takes. It’s not enthralling but captivating enough to make you interested about the future story line! To be honest though, I would watch it just for the Shin MIin Ah- So Ji Sub pairing and you’re lying if you disagree!