I had never watched a Korean drama before in my life. I had zero experience with Korean pop music. Basically, I only had the basic knowledge of anything Korea in 2007.
Then came Lovers in Paris.
For many Filipino families abroad, The Filipino Channel brings original programs from the Philippines to audiences worldwide. Many other national broadcasters do the same, from the UK to France to Japan and yes, even Korea.
But it was on The Filipino Channel (TFC) that we first discovered Lovers in Pars. Tagalog-dubbed foreign dramas from Latin America (telenovelas) and from the rest of Asia (Asianovelas) are hugely popular in the Philippines, sometimes even surpassing local productions.
Just some of those series include Marimar, Rubi, and the biggest hit, Taiwan’s Meteor Garden. But also a huge success in the Philippines was Lovers in Paris. The Tagalized version of the Korean drama starring Kim Jung Eun and Park Shin Yang ruled Philippine primetime on ABS-CBN.
Having a hole in their international TFC schedule, they decided to slot Lovers in Paris, the first time a non-Philippine produced program was broadcast on the worldwide channel.
The response abroad mimicked the response in the Philippines. Everyone loved the series. And so did I.
At first, I thought, How strange for a Korean drama to be Tagalized and aired on The Filipino Channel. But we had decided to check it out anyway.
First episode, we were hooked. A big part of that was Kim Jung Eun’s performance as Vivian Kang/Kang Tae-young a feisty, independent romantic. There is no question why Kim is the fan favorite she is today. It is roles like this one that endeared her to the viewing public. She can cry on cue but she can make you laugh as well. A sincere dramatic actress but also with great comedic timing.
The series itself had a nice helping of melodrama and angst, but even more was the cute and charming lighthearted moments that really set it apart.
I enjoyed the series so much, in part because it was so different from anything certainly on The Filipino Channel back then. It was a romantic comedy-drama, fresh and with loads of charm. A completely enjoyable and fun watch all the way through.
It made me a Kim Jung Eun fan and it helped jump start my newfound appreciation of Korean television.