I waited for the series to end in GMA 7 before making this review. I watched the original Korean series with English subtitle but I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t know if it was the actor’s or actress’ voice or the subtitle but I really didn’t find the series appealing. So when I saw the teaser from GMA 7 (a local channel in the PH) a few months back, I decided to give it another try. I watched Hyun Bin from the series My Name is Kim Sam Soon and I love him ever since. That’s why watching it twice was not a bad idea.
I wasn’t disappointed. I liked the way Filipinos dubbed the series. The “kalye” language they used was very appropriate for our culture and made the series more natural. I definitely love the “saltik” term Jamie used to call Owen. It became an endearment.
시크릿 가든 / Secret Garden
SBS, 20 Episodes
Broadcast Period 10/13/10 – 01/16/11
Romance, Comedy, Fantasy
Watched in November, 2011
Secret Garden was one of the most popular drama series to hit mainstream Korea. It has high ratings and continued to be on top till the last episode. I won’t argue with that. It was really funny. I understood why the Koreans loved it because after watching the tagalized version, I fell in love with it too. The series has some similarities with the Hollywood movie It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006). The concept might have been derived from this movie. The Koreans just expanded the concept and made the story suitable for Asian audiences.
Hyun Bin’s portrayal of Owen’s character was very smooth but I was more amazed with Hyun Bin’s acting when the swapping of bodies occurred. He has to act as Jamie and that basically requires him to act like a girl—he was very effective. The change in characters was drastic but Hyun Bin pulled it off. It was not awkward. The acting was very natural. And as a viewer, I believed that Jamie’s soul was in Owen’s body.
On the other hand, Hai Ji Won’s acting is not that impressive but she improved very well since she started in the business. I first had a glimpse of her acting prowess in the movie 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant and she was not good. I found her acting in that movie very novice but that would be in another review. I don’t think there’s much difference from her Jamie-self and Owen-acting when the switched occurred. She already has as strong, tomboyish character at the beginning of the series, so I didn’t find it exceptional.
The series in general was slow-paced. I understand that they want to build the characters in the first ten episodes to make the viewers acquainted with their attitudes so by the time the swap happens, the viewers will easily see the changes. However, I was bored to death waiting for the swap to happen. This was supposedly the core of the series. Why haven’t they shown it yet? When it finally happened, instead of feeling ecstatic, I was relieved. At long last, the moment I’ve been waiting for took place.
Hey, wait up! It’s not all negative. There are a couple of things I love from the series.
First, Owen’s trademark track suit. That sequenced blue track suit was probably the most popular item ever copied and mass-produced in Korea. It looks funny in Owen but it looks adorable in Hyun Bin. (The analogy is difficult to explain. Ha-ha)
Second, the unexpected kiss between Owen (with Jamie’s soul) and his cousin Oska (Yoon Sang Hyun). I find that scene remarkable! I can’t forget it. I know Hyun Bin was acting Jamie’s character but still in reality he is who he is and Oksa is Yoon Sang Hyun and they shared a kiss?! I can’t take that off my mind for a few days.
And last of all, Owen’s attitude with love. If there’s a guy out there like him, pwede akin ka na lang? (Can you please be mine?) He fought for what he wanted. He didn’t give up on love. Even if Jamie threw him out, physically and emotionally hurt him—he stayed. He showed the cold, afraid and aloof Jamie what it means to love and be loved.
4 Kiss Marks
4 Drama Awards