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Birth of the Rich

This is one of those series that I put watching on hold after the first few episodes. I suppose it didn't capture  my interest so much back then. If I remember correctly, I started it for Lee Si Young (Boys before Flowers), but the first few scenes of hers made me think "terrible acting", I wonder why because it turns out that she's a gem throughout.

Birth of the Rich follows the quest of Choi Suk Bong, played by Ji Hyun Woo (Invincible Lee Pyung Kang) to find his biological father whom he believes is a rich man, despite never having met him once in his life. Since a small kid, he always tells people that his father is a chaebol, based on the story told by his mother about their fateful encounter and he's been holding to a special necklace given by his father to the mother before they got separated. In order to find the father, he always sneaks into the events attended by the riches and takes every chance he gets to show them the necklace, thinking that one of them is bound to recognize it. 

Along the way he meets a real chaebol heir Lee Shin Mi (Lee Bo Young of Mr. Goodbye) of Oh Sung Group who is frugal and really is such a pain that all her workers find her hard to tolerate. 

Her character is pretty much the opposite of another rich girl, Bu Tae Hee (Lee Si Young), who is describe as the Paris Hilton of Korea. Bu Tae Hee is a spoilt girl who always gets what she wants and spare no thought at all in spending large sum of money. One look at her and she seems like your typical rich bimbo. She is heavily infatuated with Choo Woon Suk, played by Nam Gung Min (One Fine Day, Can You Hear My Heart), who is a cheabol heir to Frontier Group, who unfortunately for her, is interested in Lee Shin Mi.

Choi Suk Bong who truly believes himself as the heir of a chaebol has prepared himself with lessons and practices to act like one, from his demeanor to the way he eats. All he needs now is for his rich father to show up so he can claim his rights to a large company and successful business conglomerate. His character manages to become such a dear to us viewers, but due to circumstances always being misunderstood as a money-grubbing fella, especially by Lee Shin Mi. Their first impression of each other is obviously poor, but over time the affection grows and Lee Shin Mi, who once vowed to remain single all her life, begins to care for Choi Suk Bong and is opening up to the prospect of being in a relationship with him, only to receive strong opposition from her father for reasons unknown. At the same time Bu Tae Hee, who was initially all supportive of Choi Suk Bong-Lee Shin Mi pairing (in order to separate Choo Won Suk from Lee Shin Mi) finds herself constantly caring for Choi Suk Bong and is in despair thinking she has betrayed Choo Won Suk in her heart.

What I like about this drama is how the journey of Choi Suk Bong to find his father is not all that straight-forward. There are a number of twists and turns that surprise me. Just when I begin to believe something, the drama changes direction and completely alters the situation that my previous thoughts are rendered invalid.  I still find Ji Hyun Woo rather weak at scenes that require heavy emotions, but he's good at funny. Lee Shin Mi's character is hard to warm up to, but Lee Bo Young herself is good in carrying that role. Nam Gung Min is OK, in fact I think is better in expressing inner turmoil than Ji Hyun Woo. But my favorite of all is Lee Si Young as Bu Tae Hee. She does seem like an airhead but the portrayal is so hysterical it was so much fun to watch, so unlike many other spoilt rich girls in other kdramas that I've watched. Now I understood why she received an acting award for this role. The side stories and relationships of supporting characters are also well-written. Despite them not being the main focus, the writer manages to make them interesting and again, not that straight-forward and keep us guessing about their own endings. 


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