A note before we begin, when I’ve first watched “My lovely Sam-soon”, many years ago, I thought that Sam-soon was really pretty and thin. I didn’t understand what the whole fuss was about the actress gaining weight to play the part.
Watching Kim Sun-a in “I do I do”, made me realize that she is very thin and so although I don’t think of Sam-soon as chubby, I refer to her as chubby because Ji-ahn is so skinny.
A few thoughts about “I do I do” and “My lovely Sam-soon”.
The truth is (and why would I lie anyway?) that the main reason why I’ve chosen to watch “I do I do”, was curiosity.
I’ve watched “My lovely Sam-soon” years ago. I’ve heard back then that
Kim Sun-a has gained a few kilos in order to play the role, and I was curious to see how she looks without them.
In a miraculous way, in both series, Sun-a plays women who were her age. In 2005 she has played the role of Thirty year old Sam-soon and in 2012, the role of Thirty seven year old Ji-ahn and not surprisingly, she looks very young as Sam-soon and a bit old and tired as Ji-ahn.
Perhaps it’s the weight that makes her look more crispy and full of pointy bones. I prefer her in her chubby version but I can’t deny that she is a good and interesting actress.
The most striking thing at first glance, is the lead character’s age.
Sam-soon is Thirty years old, she is chubby and kind of a slob (walking around wearing flip-flops, wearing over sized clothes, her hair in tied in a messy ponytail).
Ji-ahn, on the other hand is almost Forty and on the verge of menopause.
She is a freak of fashion, is very thin, she’s always wearing stylish clothes and high heel shoes, which are her greatest love.
Sam-soon is a simple, uncomplicated person, she is loud and frank but also lacks self confidence.
On the one hand, she is a person that people tend to open up to to but on the other hand, they look down on her, perhaps it’s because they think that the fact that she falls head over heels in love and trusts people, is a sign of stupidity?
Her cheating boyfriend treats her with contempt, ending their relationship in a public place so that she will not make a scene and then tries to come back to her, as if nothing had happened .
Jin-heon disparages her at first because he witnessed the ugly parting scene between her and her boyfriend and because of her low social status.
He was not attracted to her t first sight, which makes sense. This might happen when you watch someone puke and then have to carry her on your back, while she hits you over the head, with a giant pig doll all the way home.
Ji-ahn is a more complex character, who doesn’t talk about her feelings and tends to hide them, in order to look stronger and tougher, as required in the ruthless business world.
While Sam-soon’s family is a comfort in her life and she appreciates her mother and sister because she had lost her father, Ji-ahn is not close to her parents at the beginning of the series.
So much so, that she doesn’t come to her father’s birthday celebration because she has to work and he is so angry with her that he does not want to see her anymore.
She prefers her freedom to marriage and sees the sudden pregnancy as a threat to her life of liberty and to her career .
Sam-Soon has a dream, to open her own patisserie but although she is sure of her skills as a pastry chef, she is searching for work in restaurants.
Her aspirations for an independent career, develops only after she leaves Jin-heon’s restaurant.
Ji-ahn is an engaged career woman.
She is very meticulous about her looks and is groomed but somewhat emaciated, in fact, compared to Sam-soon who is chubby and cute as a doughnut, Ji-ahn looks dehydrated and bony.
She doesn’t know how to cook and it’s hinted that she is not too worried about taking care of herself and at times, she does not have time to eat, because of the workload.
Strangely enough, Sam-Soon who grew up without her father, with a tough mother, and had to fight all her life to get what she wanted, is the softer of the two while
Ji-ahn who grew up in a house with two parents who sent her to college, who found a good job in a successful company at a young age, is more cautious and cynical.
I loved Sam-soon because of her overactive imagination, clumsiness and the fact that she does not hide what she feels even when it makes her look ridiculous. She’s just a very touching character.
Ji-ahn, however, is more calculated person, probably because she is older and her career is the most important thing for her, until she discovers she is pregnant.
Ji-ahn hides her feelings, perhaps it’s in order to seem strong and tough in the business world which doesn’t accept women in key positions with sympathy, and even less so, those who have chosen to be single mothers.
The problem is that Ji-ahn hides her feelings even from the man that she loves and who loves her, so much so that she is tormenting him and it doesn’t make much sense to me.
relationships wise, it’s clear that Ji-ahn is the one who’s more secure in herself. She decides who she wants or doesn’t, while poor Sam-soon has to deal with a treacherous boyfriend who dumps her in front of everyone and then with Jin-heon’s cold heart who is still in love with his ex-girlfriend but takes advantage of Sam-soon to deceive his mother and make her think that he was going out with someone, to stop her from sending him on a arranged dates, and nag him to get married.
Surprisingly, the two women choose to fall in love with a guy who is nothing like them: Jin-heon is a cool, cynical and tortured man, while Sam -soon is a very simple and uncomplicated, affectionate woman (as she herself said to him:”I’m the most uncomplicated person in this world”) who is not ashamed to love with all of her heart.
In contrast, Ji-ahn is reserved, stylist who has chosen a mischievous little boy who didn’t bother with going to university, instead of going for a well established, handsome doctor, her own age.
The Two guys are younger than their women, but the age gap between Sam-Son and
Ji-heon is smaller and it’s clear that Ji-ahn’s choice of a man, much younger than herself is not ordinary and in the conservative Korean society, such a choice could involve her in scandal that could possibly jeopardize her career.
Sam-soon falls in love with a man, whose thoughts and feelings are impossible to guess.
Ji-ahn has a guy who is so in love with her that he continues to support her even though she is ashamed of him and treats him badly.
The ending is also different – It looks like Sam-soon has a problem to conceive and so, even though she and Jin-heon hope a child will soften his mother’s heart and make her accept the relationship, when the series ends, it is unclear whether this will happen or not. It leaves us wanting more .
At the end of “I do I do” there’s the birth scene and while the proud father is holding his baby, his father and Ji-ahn’s parents are standing by the bed and it’s obvious that anyone has approved this relationship and are pleased with it, it’s not clear whether the ending is real or if Ji-ahn is dreaming it.
My bet is that the scene begins as a dream in which Ji-ahn walks barefoot in a path paved with the shoes designed by her, then she comes to a place where the baby shoes are, and as she picks them , she sees the girl and Tae-kang on the grass, and ends in reality, when the trio walks the path as a family and the shoes are no longer there.
There is no doubt that Sam-soon and Ji-ahn are brave and unconventional but if I had to choose my favorite, I would have to go with Sam-Soon, with no hesitation.
She makes me laugh and touches my heart.
Here is Ji-ahn’s song that reveals what’s in her heart
Here is the wonderful song which represents Sam-soon in the series