Whimsical and winning. Remind me again why I've put off watching this charmer for so long? Oh. That's right...12 Mountain Dew commercials per episode at Daily Motion. Dear DramaFever: Please carry more older shows!
I originally sought out this show because Dramabeans ranked it above Coffee Prince in their 2007 year-end recap. I thought: Better than Coffee Prince? Surely you jest? Ultimately, Dal Ja’s Spring doesn’t quite live up to that billing for me (what could, after all?), but it’s nonetheless my favorite straight-up Kdrama romantic comedy. Wonderful in all its particulars, this is the humane, effervescent story of not only the female lead, but also the people whose lives intertwine with hers. Never throughout the drama’s 22 episodes does the plot fail to please, and it treats every delightfully quirky character with respect, from no-nonesense bosses to romantic rivals to crazy mother-in-laws. At the heart of Dal Ja’s Spring are a smart-but-flawed female lead that it’s impossible not to love, a hero who’s just the right mix of strong and silent and cuddly, and a number of lighthearted contrasting side narratives. Sweet, funny, and indomitably whimsical, Dal Ja’s Spring is part romance, part workplace comedy, part family drama, and part grown-up coming-of-age story. With a distinctively fabulous signature look and some of the most infectious theme music ever, this light-as-air confection manages to satisfy on almost every level.
• Dal Ja has done the unthinkable: It has made me care as much about the office politics as I care about the romance. Who knew such a thing was possible?
• I love that this show features so much illustration (see above). I’m not sure how I feel about the sullen (but admittedly elegant) corpse girls hanging at Dal Ja's office, but it’s a lovely touch that each episode ends with a tease: the following episode’s opening illustration, which sums up its theme.
• Out of all the dramas I’ve seen, Dal Ja’s glamorous ragamuffin wardrobe is probably my favorite. I’d wear any of it....if it could be magically enlarged to approximately three times its current size. (Engorio!)
• I hereby declare that all future Kdramas are required to include at least one sageuk interlude, like the delightfully silly ones seen throughout Dal Ja.
• In America, we have an entire relationship phase that never appears in Kdramas: Making out. They always go from first kiss right to full sex, which seems unfortunate—especially for innocents like Dal Ja, who (charmingly) needs to be coached on her first kiss at 33.
• Episode 2: That scream you just heard? Why yes, it was me recognizing waffle Sun Ki from Coffee Prince as the shop boy. Along with Choi Han Gyul’s grandmother, that makes two Coffee Prince actors in the space of two episodes. Clearly, this is the show for me.
• Episode 9: Way to make the most of a gratuitous shower scene—put it at the very end of an episode so you can replay it at the start of the next one. Well played, Dal Ja!