By Kwon Mee-yoo
Viewers were invited to a secret garden where a magical, soul-switching love story of a rich but arrogant president of a department store Kim Ju-won (Hyun Bin) and a brave stunt woman Gil Ra-im (Ha Ji-won) was told through SBS drama "Secret Garden".
Viewers were glued to the small screen for two months as they fell in love, exchanging souls whenever it rained. Though its last episode was aired last week with Kim and Gil living happily with three children, the impressions the drama instilled seems to linger in the viewers' minds.
Magician with words
Scriptwriter Kim Eun-sook created the modern version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".
She created many hit phrases in popular dramas such as the "Lovers" series - "Lovers in Paris" (2004), "Lovers in Prague" (2005) and "Lovers" (2007) - and "On Air" (2008). She is the winner of the 41st Baek Sang Arts Awards in 2005.
The most famous line of "Secret Garden" might be Kim's "Is this the best? Are you sure?" As he was the CEO of a department store, Kim often asked his junior employees if what they were doing was the best and the phrase soon became popular.
Kim wore training gear sparkling with spangles or in leopard-print and that clothing also became a big hit. In the drama, Kim says they were "sewed on stitch by stitch by Italian masters" and the line produced many copies.
A good script was not all "Secret Garden" offered. In addition to the excellent acting of Hyeon and Ha, the supporting characters played important roles.
Hallyu or Korean wave star Oscar played by actor Yoon Sang-hyun, was one of them.
Lee Sang-mi, 27, an office worker, said she became addicted to the comic lines and situations of "Secret Garden".
"My favorite character in the drama is Oscar the singer. Though he is set up as a celebrated singer dominating Korea, Japan and other Asian countries, he is somewhat careless, but unchanging", Lee said.
"He constantly says he is a competent singer, but in his personal life, he breaks up with his lover, Yun Seul, played by actress Kim Sa-rang, because of minor misunderstandings. Such episodes made Oscar's character more human".
Books in "Secret Garden"
The drama also created a craze for the books that appeared in the drama.
"Not a line was meaningless. At first, I did not pay attention to the books, but when I later understood what they meant, I was impressed", she said.
Five collections of poems on Kim's bookshelf are zoomed in on. It read "An indifferently clear day", "Someone walking in my mind", "Once I depended on coincidence", "My melancholy, precious person", and "You flew over wrong". When read together, the titles create a poem by themselves.
"Secret Garden" was a big success financially. It is estimated to have an economic effect worth 20 billion won.
All slots for commercials of the 20 episodes were completely sold out, making some 8.2 billion won.
Its soundtrack was also popular. Singer Baek Ji-young's "That Woman" and 4Men's "Here I Am" gained popularity. The hottest song would be "That Man", a version of "That Woman", sung by Hyeon himself.
Various merchandise based on "Secret Garden" has also been produced including comic books based on the story and a calendar with scenes from the drama
It even released applications for smartphones, available both at Apple's App Store and Android Market. The application featured previews and full clips of the drama and has been downloaded more than 60,000 times.
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