Heartstrings is a 2011 South Korean television series starring Park Shin-hye and Jung Yong-hwa. It aired on MBC from June 29 to August 19, 2011, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 (KST) for 15 episodes.
Heartstrings is a youth melodrama about love, friendship and dreams, set against the backdrop of a performing arts college. The drama reunited Jung Yong-hwa and Park Shin-hye who both starred in the TV series You’re Beautiful (2009).
A series of misunderstandings causes Lee Shin (Jung Yong-hwa), the cocky leader of “The Stupid” and Lee Gyu-won (Park Shin-hye), a college student majoring in Traditional Korean Music to start on the wrong foot. Gyu-won does not understand why Lee Shin is so popular, until one day she is forced to go the band’s concert with her friends, who are fans of “The Stupid”. There, she sees Lee Shin performing live, and is immediately captivated by him.
When Gyu-won decides to join the performance group for the upcoming 100th anniversary performance for the university, everyone sees her potential and talent, particularly Kim Suk-hyun (Song Chang-eui), a Broadway composer-turned-music director. She competes with Han Hee-joo (Kim Yoon-hye), the spoiled daughter of the Chairman, for the role of the leading actress (but lost to her, as Hee-joo had previously bribed the judges). Lee Shin also decides to join the musical due to his crush on the dance professor, Jung Yoon-soo (So Yi-hyun), who is also the choreographer and muse of the musical. As Gyu-won and Lee Shin spend more time together, they began to fall for each other.
Fearing that Gyu-won might outshine her daughter, Hee-joo’s mother schemes with Im Tae-joon (Lee Jung-heon), one of the school’s administrators; and they plot to destroy Gyu-won’s image to force her to quit the performance. Lee Shin works with Suk-hyun in order to clear Gyu-won’s name. Meanwhile, Joon-hee (Kang Min-hyuk) struggles between his ever-growing feelings for Hee-joo and helping his friends as she threatens their university lives.
When Hee-joo is found to be suffering from vocal chord infection, Gyu-won is given the chance to replace her and go on stage. However, the kind-hearted Gyu-won chooses to let Hee-joo stand on stage instead, while she sings for her backstage. When the media found out that Gyu-won was the actual singer, she was offered a chance to go overseas to record an album. A new conflict occurs as Gyu-won is made to choose between her dreams and love. At the same time, Lee Shin was suffering from a broken wrist caused by a fall he suffered with Gyu-won earlier. Worried that she might forfeit her dream to stay with him, he lies to her and insists that he is fine, even after crouching in pain during a performance with The Stupid. Gyu-won eventually decides to go to the United Kingdom to fulfill her dream, while Lee Shin undergoes surgery to fix his broken wrist.
Review : by lovelifelivelife (Link)
The good thing about rewatching shows is you get to skip points which you dislike and get right to the good parts. So I went ahead and breezed through those ‘evil plotting’ scenes and also the starting few episodes with the weird Shin liking the teacher and being a stalker moments.
Once the two leads got together though, the story starts getting much better. I had a few issues with the borderline stalker, sexual harassment bits as well as the director being a bit too touchy with Gyu Won. Just felt like people of authority should have some distance for professionalism’s sake though they seem to be good friends. I know early 2010 dramas are like that but it’s still a bit disturbing to see. I constantly think if I was in Gyu Won’s shoes how uncomfortable I’ll be if a person of authority acts this way around me.
I did not think the writer justified Gyu Won liking Shin because of how he behaved towards her. He was basically a dick in the first 10 episodes towards her. It seemed like she started liking him because he started being a normal human being as opposed to being an ass, and his good looks (so typical of kdramas lol). Well, I decided not to read much into that, I know it be like that sometimes.
I did enjoy the eventual relationship between the dance professor and the director. Though they did make it seem like the female is always sacrificing in this case which was again, a bit infuriating. However, they kept that relationship relatively drama and miscommunication free which I really appreciated.
If you’re really watching this for the Jung Yong Hwa – Park Shin Hye pairing (which was totally me back then after You’re Beautiful), then episode 9 onwards is a real treat. Shin really became way more mature then, and less of an ass. There’s a scene in episode 10 where Shin is a swoon-worthy sweet boy who sang a song to comfort Gyu Won over the school PA which was so frigging cute. Also, there’s fun little bits of Moon Ga Young being Shin’s annoying younger sister.
Watch out for the makjang drama moments where shit really do start happening for the sake of more drama (in my opinion). But it was early 2010s, so they were probably stuck in the “I need to innovate but also incorporate things that worked” phase.
Finally, the bit that really got me to rewatch this drama, the music. The traditional music mashed with modern music worked so well in this case, it’ll be super cool if Yong Hwa had a hand in arranging those pieces because that’ll be a fun little parallel. Also, all the songs with that classic early CN Blue vibes were so damn nostalgic. I also can’t believe how well all the songs worked in each scene and juncture of the show. The songwriters did such a good job matching the vibes. It reminded me of those 2000-something Disney musical movies. (maybe that was their inspiration then haha)
Pushing aside all the stupid little issues prevalent in 2010 dramas, I did enjoy this rewatch a lot. It was a fun little trip down memory lane with many a nostalgic soundtrack added into my Spotify playlist. I also have a much greater appreciation for how much things have changed such as consent being represented a lot more in k-dramas and bullying is no longer seen as a glamourous thing.