Mi Rae learns the hard truth that being beautiful is no guarantee that you won't be bullied or deceived, but she also learns that she has genuine friends who will stand up for her and protect her. Join Wendilynn, OhSoEnthusiastic, and me, Cici, as we discuss the unfolding backstories and developing relationships in episodes 3-4 of My ID is Gangnam Beauty.

Cici: Finally, someone puts a stop to the famous wrist-grab. I was so proud of Mi Rae for defending her own space and person, no matter how insanely attractive the guy is who’s grabbing her, lol. And please note: she didn’t say, “Don’t grab me!” Just not without her permission!

Wendilynn: I have to admit, I get irritated with these guys thinking that they can drag women around whenever they are irritated or mad as if she’s some object. When TA Yeon told him to stop, I cheered. Of course, TA Yeon is a hero for not putting up with that abuser’s crap and threatened to ruin his life if he kept it up.

OhSoEnthusiastic: I wasn’t really angry at the wrist grabs, because you can tell they are both just trying to look out for her well-being, especially considering she might be inebriated. I don’t think it was necessary for Kyung Seok to be forceful about it, of course. He should have just asked if she needed someone to walk her home. But it didn’t make me upset either. There are plenty of other characters in this drama that already make me fume, lol.

Cici: I understand your point of view, but Mi Rae is coming from a place where she can never tell when someone is going to bully or take advantage of her. Especially considering what had just happened with Chan Woo, coupled with her state of semi-drunkenness, it is understandable that she wouldn’t want anyone grabbing her or telling her what to do. I have to admit, at that stage of the drama, I wasn’t sure whether TA Yeon was going to be a decent sort, or if he was just another guy trying to get close to a pretty girl.

Wendilynn: I never took him for the shallow one because like Kyung Seok, he was ignoring the other beauty in the group. If he was just out for a pretty girl, he’d have noticed the other one that all the other boys are salivating over.

OhSoEnthusiastic: I didn’t really know what direction they were going to go with his character, so I’m happy to see what they are doing with him. I think he provides a bit of a mature voice for the rest of the characters to be guided by. He’s a very good leader. Mi Rae herself has been a very interesting, maybe surprising, character so far. She’s so shy and self-conscious that you don’t expect her to defend herself, but every time she’s been in a situation where she clearly needed to say or do something, she’s said and/or done it. I like that she’s a little more complex than I initially assumed she would be.

Cici: Mi Rae is sometimes a contradiction. She allowed Chan Woo to bully her initially, but finally stood up to him and called him out on it. She’s cautious in making new friends, yet she fell for Soo Ah’s deceitful charm right away, calling her an angel. I get it. When you’ve been bullied your whole life because of your looks, it’s hard to transition into being one of the popular kids. She’s never had the opportunity to make good judgement calls when it comes to offered friendship, so I worry that she’ll be really hurt when she finds out just how evil Soo Ah really is.

Wendilynn: She’s never been in a position where people wanted to be her friend, so excuse her for not seeing the fakeness of Soo Ah. She’ll learn now. I like when her spunk shows up. We need to see more of that. We learned that she used to beat up the neighborhood boys when she was a kid, so she knows how to defend herself, she just has to stop wanting people to like her so desperately first. I like that she repented when it was brought to her attention how shallow she was being by judging everyone’s faces. She didn’t deny it or pretend to be offended, she recognized it and worked to correct it. She’s a solid character.

OhSoEnthusiastic: Yeah, but things change once you start going through puberty. No matter how willing your Elementary school self is to stand up for yourself, things are just different in middle school and high school. The bullying stops being just playground taunts and insults and becomes a lot more subtle. Now it’s happening sneakily, behind your back, as well. And that’s not always as easy to stand up to. I was happy to see Kyung Seok scold her for how judgmental she is about other people’s looks, although I didn’t expect the writers to go there so soon. But she took it really well and acknowledged that she really is very judgmental of what other people look like and that that is something she really needs to work on about herself.

Cici: I have been so impressed with how perceptive Kyung Seok is, even if his response can be a bit harsh. Nothing gets by him. He saw through Soo Ah right away, and called her out for the underhanded way she tried to humiliate Mi Rae. He also saw how Soo Ah deliberately hurt herself in the lab, and let Mi Rae take the blame for it. He’s on to her, and if she thinks her tricks will make him like her more than Mi Rae, she’s got another think coming!

Wendilynn: Soo Ah is dumb in that way. I don’t know why she hasn’t clued into the fact that he sees her for what she is. I get that her little girl act has worked with everyone else, but she’s intelligent enough to know when its working or not. You’d think she’d avoid the men she can’t schmooze because that will blow her “sweet sexy girl” image. If all those boys knew what a witch she truly was, they wouldn’t drool over her as much.

OhSoEnthusiastic: It’s the insecurity driving her to be beloved by everyone around her that makes her keep trying with him even though it’s clearly not working. As underhanded as she has been, it’s clearly her trying to compensate for where she thinks she lacks. In that way, she’s a lot like Mi Rae, and I personally look forward to both of them being a sort of...catalyst maybe towards recognizing that and doing something productive about it instead of hiding behind manipulation or plastic surgery to fix a problem that’s much deeper than that.

Cici: The writer has brought out the fact that everyone has struggles, regardless of how perfect their lives may appear. It is true that Soo Ah pretends to live in a rich neighborhood when in fact she is from the poorer part of town. At first I thought she was just a spoiled girl who was used to always being number one, but perhaps she has been bullied in the past for her family or financial background. I even wondered if Chan Woo doesn’t come from a background of being bullied, and that’s why he singles out the prettiest, most popular girls to hit on.

Wendilynn: You may have a point. The writer seems like she wants everyone to look beyond the surface and the facade that everyone lives their life by. Nobody is who they seem to be deep down.

OhSoEnthusiastic: I think we also have to remember that, if Soo Ah is as smart as she seems to be, then she’s aware that Kyung Seok’s good opinion of you is one of the most important good opinions to have, because he doesn’t give it out to just anyone. If he thinks you are good people, then you are good people. If I were Soo Ah trying to ensure that everyone around me adores me, I would want Kyung Seok on my side. His opinion holds weight.

Cici: I’m trying not to be too hard on Soo Ah, but ugh, the girl bothers me. She lies at the drop of a hat, not just behind her back, but to her face. And she makes it seem so plausible. She’s totally trying to dig up something from Mi Rae’s past that she can use against her.

Cici: Do I think she’ll end up with a redemption arc? Probably. Does she have a compelling backstory that justifies, at least in part, her wicked ways? Probably. But I still don’t have to like or trust the person she is right now. Kyung Seok, on the other hand...He’s kind of like a guardian angel with a wicked kick and a thorough sense of justice. You are right when you say he’s the one everyone should want on their side. Lucky for Mi Rae, he’s on hers! I loved the way he took down Chan Woo when he was claiming the right to punish Mi Rae.

Wendilynn: Oh my gosh, when he walked into that bathroom and kicked Master Dog down, I cheered. Then taking him into the stall and knocking him out was just priceless. I haven’t been so happy to see a kickdown since Jan Di put Jun Pyo on the floor.

OhSoEnthusiastic: In a genre of television that has so heavily relied over the years on the evil second female lead trope for no reason other than there can’t be more than one nice girl in a drama at a time, I will gratefully take a character like Soo Ah, lol. She’s manipulative, but she’s also very human, and I’m glad to see second female leads getting that treatment. As for the showdown with Master Dog, I’m most happy that his nickname is now Mop. That’s not a nickname you live down. People are gonna be bringing that up at future reunions, lol.

Cici: We may or may not have heard the last from Chan Woo. But I was happy that Mi Rae tried to explain her point of view to Kyung Seok. He really doesn’t understand what it’s like to be bullied because of your appearance. I was even happier that he had the good sense to recognize that fact and apologize.

Cici: I was also relieved to learn more of Kyung Seok’s story. One small detail had bothered me (and Mi Rae) about his behavior in middle school--when he asked her so abruptly if she was wearing perfume. She took it to mean that he thought that she shouldn’t even be allowed that form of beauty, when he was actually reacting to the fact that his mother was in the business of making perfume, and had deserted his family. So even though he is rich, strong, and good-looking, his life has had its share of trouble as well. I’m glad to see him as a little more human.

Wendilynn: I don’t think when Kyung Seok recognized the perfume in middle school he was being sarcastic or mean. I honestly think he was interested that there was something he could talk to her about. He probably knows quite a bit about perfume, but then she bit his head off so he couldn’t say anything else. Nobody in this drama seems one-dimensional.

OhSoEnthusiastic: Yeah, I too got the impression that it was just him attempting to try and start a conversation with her, but he was a teenage boy, so he had no idea how talking to girls worked (or humans in general, it appears, seeing as every time we’ve seen his young self, he’s just staring out windows, lol). The perfume was probably the only thing he could think of to bring up in conversation. I was going to say did his mom even make perfume at that point, but then I remembered she did, lol. Did we learn exactly when she left them though? Because I thought it was before that point, in which case, he might not have really known much about her business then.

Cici: You both have a point. It’s a little foggy still, but the scene where his mom is fighting with his dad took place when he and his sister were quite young. Was she trying to commit suicide, or just leave? And then when she saved Mi Rae from jumping off the bridge, I wondered if she was still with her family then. I need to go rewatch that scene! But I have to say, from what I’ve seen of his mom so far, I like her. She’s a sharp business woman, but she is the one who used Mi Rae’s thoughts about fragrance being a source of beauty that goes beyond the visual. That kind of binds them. We’ll have to see how long it takes Kyung Seok to forgive his mom and come to appreciate her.

Wendilynn: All we know about her past is that she tried to escape her marriage by committing suicide and that she later helped Mi Rae not commit suicide. What that means for her perfume business is unclear. We know that she studied chemistry in college as she is the chemistry department’s senior. So I’m thinking she’s been doing it all her life. I had to chuckle at the kids talking about which religion they belong to. Very insightful when you have a politician for a father. I can only imagine how much fakery they’ve had to deal with as they’ve watched people kiss up to their dad. I imagine that’s why Kyung Seok doesn’t put up with anyone’s BS at school.

OhSoEnthusiastic: Yeah, it was a suicide attempt. I don’t know that it’s certain whether she did it to try and escape the marriage though. I think there are still some other possible reasons. Her stopping Mi Rae from jumping was a bit of writing I really appreciated. She’d survived her own attempt and wanted to save someone from theirs. My feelings on her as a character are mixed though. Outside of motherhood, she seems quite nice and like a smart businesswoman. As a mother though, I kinda want to punch her in the face for leaving her children. We don’t know what happened in their family that prompted her to leave though, if it was her decision or one forced on her, so I’m holding off any further judgement until we do. Wouldn’t be a bit surprised if their dad divorced her and took the kids away, to be honest. Speaking of the dad, blegh. Basically buying votes. That pastor made me the most mad though. Wanted to be all up in that place like Jesus and flip some tables like ‘Nope. Nope. Nope.’

Cici: I suspect that we’ll find out that the dad who strives so hard to appear hard-working, humble, and a good father is the real villain in the story. Like Wendilynn said, Kyung Seok has learned to recognize fakery at an early age, and he despises it. With his good looks, he has probably had tons of girls throw themselves at him without actually knowing anything about him. (Oh, the life of an idol!) Now it remains to be seen if he can look beyond the rumors that surround his mom and open up enough to get to know her.


Will our very human cast of young people finally learn that a person’s worth really can’t be determined by their appearance, and that rumors that hurt one person hurt the listener as well as the subject? Have we seen the end of bullying for Mi Rae, or is it just about to take a different form? Will Mi Rae be able to take Kyung Seok’s advice, and have the courage to just be herself? Share your thoughts 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

Cici: @cicikdrama | The Bride of the Water God | Temperature of Love | Miss Hammurabi|

For previous episode reviews:

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My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Starring Cha Eun Woo and Im Soo Hyang

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