Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Viewers found an interesting connection in the popular drama Crash Landing on You. The two actors, Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin, who led the drama, also appeared on Secret Garden a decade ago. Back in 2010, Secret Garden, which recorded a high viewer ratings of 35 percent at the time, is the work that brought Hyun Bin to where he is now. Son Ye Jin made a special appearance in the final episode, and the fact that the two both appeared in the same work was belatedly recognized, making headlines. Let’s take a look at the popular factors of Secret Garden, which is still remembered by many even after 10 years.
Dynamic Fun from Obvious Topics
Secret Garden is a romance fantasy about what happens when the bodies of Kim Joo Won, an arrogant and eccentric CEO, and Gil Ra Im, a poor and humble stuntwoman, are swapped. At the beginning of the show, there were many negative reviews saying that it uses over-used Cinderella story and swapping-body story. However, even such topics became more gripping with Kim Eun Sook’s unique storytelling, which showed much success in romance dramas such as Lovers in Paris and Descendants of the Sun. In particular, more positive reviews poured out as the two lead characters swapped bodies, understood each other and developed love, criticism about being sick of “over-used topics” completely disappeared.
Hyun Bin Syndrome
As the drama started a “Secret Garden craze,” actor Hyun Bin, who played the role of Kim Joo Won, an arrogant man who gradually transforms into a positive and loving person, also gained popularity close to syndrome. It’s safe to say that all trends that dominated South Korea at the time “started with Hyun Bin and ended with Hyun Bin.” Clothes and fashion items Hyun Bin wore in the drama were sold out everywhere, and his signature line “Is this the best? Are you sure?” became a buzzword that everyone knows. Hyun Bin was scheduled to serve in the military after Secret Garden, and with his fame, even his minor activities were broadcast in real-time before joining the army. In 2011, the Baeksang Arts Awards awarded Hyun Bin the grand prize in the TV category for his performance in Secret Garden. It was unusual to grant such a big prize to an actor serving in the military.
Stars Discovered through “Secret Garden”
Secret Garden was not just a turning point for Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won. Many other actors who appeared in the drama gained new opportunities. Yoo Sang Hyun, who played Kim Joo Won’s cousin and top star OSKA in the drama, rose to stardom, while Kim Sung Oh, who played Kim Joo Won’s secretary, drew attention with his comic acting. Most of all, the rookie days of Lee Jong Seok, who is now one of the most famous Korean top stars, can be seen. He played the role of Sseon, a talented composer who helps OSKA for his new album.
Memorable OST and Love Scenes
Many famous singers of the time participated in Secret Garden‘s OST. Kim Bum Soo sang the main theme song “Appear” to open the door to the story, while Baek Ji Young sang two songs, “That Woman” and “That Woman,” which had the same melody but separately written lyrics that represent Kim Joo Won and Gil Ra Im’s hearts. In the latter part of the drama, Sung Shi Kyung sang “You Are My Spring” and topped various music charts, gaining as much popularity as Secret Garden.
Secret Garden also had many heart-throbbing love scenes. The scene in which Kim Joo Won confesses his love while doing sit-ups at an action school where Gil Ra Im works is full of excitement. Another best scene is the Cappuccino kiss scene. The scene shows Kim Joo Won kissing the cappuccino foam on Gill Ra Im’s lips. It gained huge popularity at the time, giving many couples a chance to imitate the scene at cafes.