Kang Mi Rae has a problem. Her looks have never been ideal and she tried desperately to fix what she though was the problem. Sadly, having a pretty face doesn’t change how she responds to the people around her. Mi Rae still looks at the world from the eyes of a bullied child, not the confident beauty her classmates expect. Can she learn to navigate the new minefield she finds herself in? Join OhSoEnthusiastic and I, Wendilynn, as we discuss these opening episodes of My ID is Gangnam Beauty.

Wendilynn: I have to say, this is an interesting premise. I was initially worried the writers would ignore that she spent all that time being bullied now that she was pretty. They instead kept her grounded. I like that who she is didn’t change just because her face did.

OhSoEnthusiastic: When I watched the trailers to see if I would want to watch this drama, I was immediately drawn in. The story was presented in a way that was thoughtful rather than over-the-top. Two episodes in, and I’m pleased to say the story is delivering on the promise those trailers made. I love makeover stories, and I probably still would have checked the drama out even if it weren’t taking the approach it is to the subject matter. But when you pair makeovers with honest, heartfelt themes, that really gets me. This isn’t going to be a makeover story, not really. This is going to be a story about knowing who you really are and being unafraid to accept that person, warts, beauty marks, and all.

Wendilynn: I’m excited by that idea. I especially love that we can see who the characters are that are around her. From our reserved stoic hero to the jealous beauty. Even the abusive senior has a grounded feel. I have to admit, I was taken by surprise that they showed her being preyed upon from the get go. Sure, she doesn’t have boys throwing sticks at her, but an attempted rape shows that pretty or ugly, people have real problems on both ends of the spectrum.

OhSoEnthusiastic: They all feel like real people that you would meet in real life. The older I get and the more seasoned of a drama viewer I become, the more interested I am in stories that are grounded in reality over the crazy, makjangy dramas they used to be popular. Like you, I appreciate the writers exploring the very real reality that being ‘beautiful’ doesn’t make life easier. You still have to deal with cruel, judgmental people. You still have to face your own demons. Plastic surgery isn’t a cure-all. It might not even cure anything.

Wendilynn: Well, you don’t get makjang with this one. Although, I had to laugh a little when Woo Jin tried to have a drinking contest with Kyung Seok. Testosterone… seriously. Kyung Seok wasn’t impressed with it, either. Lol

OhSoEnthusiastic: The male characters of this drama are such teenagers, lol. They see a girl they like and can’t help but go overboard in trying to get her attention. It’s both endearing and hilarious. I am Not having abusive senior’s behavior though, and I’m genuinely concerned for the safety of any girl who finds herself in his presence. While the other guys are just young and inexperienced, he’s downright predatory. I think I’m particularly concerned for our jealous beauty. While I can’t say that I like her as a person, and I do hope she learns a few hard lessons over the series of the drama, I am very worried about something happening to her. You go around breaking hearts and leading people on too much, and you’ll eventually find one or two people who will Not respond in a harmless way. She’s playing with fire.

Wendilynn: Predatory senior is definitely not a harmless person. My youngest son and I talked about his behavior. Once he was willing to pick up a chair, I told my son this was the sort of guy who’d end up in jail from beating up his girlfriend. I’m loving Kyung Seok not letting him get away with being an asshole.

OhSoEnthusiastic: So one of my favorite cliche’s/tropes in Asian dramas is when the guy falls first, and when the guy likes the girl even when she’s an ‘ugly duckling.’ Just melts my heart. And Kyung Seok is the perfect embodiment of this character trope. He’s already this incredibly upstanding person who’s not going to tolerate other people doing wrong if he can stop it. Then on top of that, he liked our lead when no one wanted to like her! Ah, be still my beating heart.

Wendilynn: Kyung Seok is a true knight. I can see Astro getting some new fans as we all melt for him. Lol

OhSoEnthusiastic: I have no idea who/what Astro is, lol. Did your heart totally break into a million pieces when Mi Rae’s father came to campus and discovered his daughter had had plastic surgery though? It was so upsetting, partly because I totally understood why he was so upset. He was so proud of his daughter and would talk her up to anyone sitting still long enough to listen. It must have felt like such a betrayal.

Wendilynn: Oh girl, you’re on the hit list now. Lol Astro is Cha Eun Woo’s boyband. Lol However, as you love him as much as the rest of us, we’ll let it slide. *wink* As for Dad, I loved how proud he was of his daughter, but it also hurt for him to reject her the way he did. He had to know how difficult a time she was having.

OhSoEnthusiastic: While I totally sympathize with Mi Rae and her reasons for getting the surgery done, I also get why her dad was so upset. If I had a child who got plastic surgery even though I didn’t want them to, because I was already proud of them exactly as they were, it would be really upsetting to me. It would feel like I had been rejected. After all, their face came from me. I was part creator of that face, and I would want to my child to be able to look in the mirror and see themselves for the beautiful person they already are. Of course, I know that’s not always easy to do, and many people feel like the only way for them to be able to do that is through plastic surgery. I personally have a hard time agreeing with plastic surgery, as I think you lose part of what makes you You in the process, but I definitely get why people choose to get it done.

Wendilynn: Well, the promise is that she will learn that it’s who she is that will matter in the long run. And I have to say, if she doesn’t start getting a backbone, people will think she’s being fake. Beauty is so celebrated in Korea that even kids get ridiculous about it in elementary school, as we’ve seen mentioned in many dramas. And the abusive senior and jealous beauty are certainly going to make her life difficult now that they know she’s had work done. They put all this stress on beauty and then trash people who get work done. Hypocritical much? Your picture gets put on your resume...looks are seriously emphasized.

OhSoEnthusiastic: Actually, something I hope the drama addresses at some point is how insecure people are often extremely judgemental of others, because they’re projecting their own insecurity onto them. Right now, I don't get the impression that Mi Rae is a very judgemental person. She seems to genuinely like most everyone, so I imagine the lesson will come from someone else (maybe jealous beauty), but I feel like that would be a really worthwhile and relevant thing to bring up in this story. As someone who personally struggles with standing up for myself and ‘growing a backbone,’ I don’t understand the idea of people thinking you’re fake because of timidity or an inability to speak up when you need to. I get why it’s so hard for her. The longer you are pushed down, especially during your formative years, the fewer tools you have in your toolbox to do something about it.

Wendilynn: Nothing wrong with being shy. I made the comment I did because the students expect confidence from someone who is a beauty and they assume gets whatever they want. So when their expectations aren’t met, they think the worst. But, all this is conjecture since they are going to see her school photo next week. What a low thing to do.

OhSoEnthusiastic: Ah, I see what you’re saying. That would honestly make another interesting thing to dissect in this story. Why do we assume ‘pretty’ people are confident? Why does pretty translate to confidence to us? Honestly, there are so many layers this drama could, and hopefully will, delve deeper into. And I totally forgot about the school photo. Man, that’s gonna suck. I was actually kind of confused by how jealous beauty and predatory senior found out about her plastic surgery. Was it from that game they were playing when jealous beauty was like ‘Mi Rae’s never had plastic surgery either?’ I mean, I assume that was it, but real life me looks at that and thinks ‘That doesn’t mean anything. How would they know from that one moment?’

Wendilynn: Yup, that’s when they found out. I think that they are more sensitive to such comments since so many do get plastic surgery in their country. The number of people getting rid of their monolid is crazy. They really believe certain looks get you better jobs. And unfortunately, the stats sort of bear it up, so a lot of people go under. As we saw by Mi Rae judging the girls she saw on the way to the doctor by what beauty score they got by the work they’ve had done.

OhSoEnthusiastic: That’s true. I guess I can understand how jealous beauty might have figured it out, because she’s conniving like that. But predatory senior is an idiot who probably couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag, so I feel like he was just using it against her in case it actually Was true. I forgot for a moment about Mi Rae rating the girls on the subway. Maybe the lesson about insecure people judging others will come from her. Back to Kyung Seok for a minute, him being the son of a senator (or whatever the heck his father is) adds a very interesting layer to the story. Sounds like he knows from firsthand experience what it’s like to be judged based on your looks and social status and to be put up above other people in a way you don’t deserve.

Wendilynn: He doesn’t tolerate BS for sure. I loved how he chased off his friend’s girlfriend. He didn’t buy her act for a second. It was pretty cheesy.

OhSoEnthusiastic: To be honest, the only thing I found suspicious about her response was her immediately ending the relationship instead of talking it out. I think it’s totally fair for someone to be shocked, and maybe even upset, when their significant other takes a serious financial risk without even telling them about it beforehand. It was her ending the relationship entirely that made me go ‘Wait. Are you actually, genuinely concerned about him, or is that just an act?’

Wendilynn: There’s only so much saccharin I can take and all that “let me blow on it, Oppa” was too much. Lol

What was your impression of these first two episodes? Tell us in the comments below.

For more from your My ID is Gangnam Beauty Dramaclub check out:

Wendilynn: As the Kimchi Turns | Past Drama Clubs | Instagram | Kdrama Nightmare novel

OhSoEnthusiastic: Twitter | Strongest Deliveryman | My Mister


My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Starring Cha Eun Woo and Im Soo Hyang

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