Young Lady and Gentleman is a South Korean television series starring Ji Hyun-woo, Lee Se-hee and Cha Hwa-yeon. Directed by Shin Chang-seok, the weekend drama revolves around Lee Yong-gook, a widower with three children and a live-in tutor for his kids, Park Dan-dan, to whom he becomes attracted to. It premiered on KBS2 on September 25, 2021, and aired on every Saturday and Sunday at 19:55 (KST) for 52 episodes till March 27, 2022.
The series won 7 awards at 2021 KBS Drama Awards including Grand Prize (Daesang) by Ji Hyun-woo and the best couple award by him and Lee Se-hee. As per Nielsen Korea, the 48th episode aired on March 13, 2022, logged a national average viewership of 38.2% with 6.9 million viewers watching the episode. As of March 28, 2022, the series was at 3rd place among ‘Top 50 series per nationwide viewers in Korea’. Viewing the popularity of the series it was extended for 2 more episodes, making it 52 episodes in total.
Dan Dan (Lee Se-hee) lives with her father, her stepbrother, Dae Bum, the ever-failing businessman, and her stepmom. Tired of putting up with them, she leaves home. Feeling down on her luck, she climbs up a mountain. There, Dan Dan runs into Young Guk (Ji Hyun-woo), who is hiking while dressed in a suit. Young Guk is the capable chairman of a corporation, as well as a widower with three kids. By chance, Dan Dan becomes a live-in tutor at Young Guk’s house. As they start to live together and look after Young Guk’s kids, they find themselves in situations of conflict, both small and large. Despite their 14-year age difference, they start to grow fond of one another. With the help of Dan Dan, will Young Guk be able to overcome his grief and grow closer to his kids?
The characters of “Young Lady and Gentleman”
O veterano Ji Hyun Woo
Actor and musician Ji Hyun Woo has nearly twenty years of career, has starred in several hits and won awards for excellence, radio and popularity. But her first Daesang (Grand Prize) , the most significant honor on Korean TV, arrived with “Young Lady and Gentleman” at the “2021 KBS Drama Awards” . His moving performance as a widowed businessman trying to overcome the grief of losing a wife so early and at the same time getting along with his young children and teenagers, gave the actor an intense, unique character and never before seen on his resume.
In addition to playing the serious side of this CEO, we even saw a more jovial and fun version when Lee Young Guk loses his memory and goes back to behaving like a 22-year-old boy. Undoubtedly, a complete and unforgettable character, worthy of much recognition and love from the public.
Lee Se Hee
In Ji Hyun Woo’s own words, nothing would be possible without talented newcomer Lee Se Hee! “I know a lot of people think it’s harder for me to be working with a newbie. But I would like to thank Lee Se Hee who plays the character Dan Dan. I think I managed to win such an important award because of Se Hee,” the actor said during his victory speech at the “2021 KBS Drama Awards” .
Lee Se Hee is a 29-year-old actress who has been showing a rapid rise. Her first works were between 2017 and 2018, with small roles in movies and as a maid in the drama “Let Me Introduce Her” . The climb continued step by step in 2019 with appearances in “Different Dreams” and “Everybody Say Kungdari,” to more memorable appearances between 2020 and 2021 in characters such as the schoolgirl villain “Live On” and the determined doctor from “Hospital Playlist 2.” ”. Among my favorites is her performance in “SF8: White Crow” , an episode part of “SF8” , an excellent science fiction anthology released in 2020.
Smaller works, but Se Hee presented performances very different from what we saw in “Young Lady and Gentleman” and proved her skills to be the protagonist of our beloved soap opera!
The child cast of “Young Lady and Gentleman” is one of the main reasons the family drama is so loved! Jae Ni (Choi Myung Bin), Se Chan (Yu Jun Seo) and Se Jong (Seo Woo Jin) stole our hearts and became just as much protagonists of the story as Hyun Woo and Se Hee.
By the way, promising talents that are well-known faces of the dorameiras! Myung Bin, 14, has also garnered attention on recent hits like “Twenty Five, Twenty One” and “The King’s Affection”; Jun Seo, 11, is in the soap opera “Fatal Promise” ; 6-year-old Woo Jin is famous in K-dramaland, having starred in “Hi Bye, Mama!” (A Second Chance) and much more, he has a more extensive resume than Lee Se Hee, amazing!
The success formula
A “Cinderella”, a CEO heir, amnesia, birth secrets, a bitch housekeeper, shacks worthy of juice in the face and hair pulling… Want more? It was the complete classic package of soap operas! For fans of Brazilian and Mexican feuilletons, don’t miss out.
“Young Lady and Gentleman” still has more modern “spices”, when talking about topics such as adolescence and bullying ; there is an inspiration from the movie Parasite when Dan Dan’s mother is living hidden in her boss’s house and her father has to pretend he’s not her father; and for having a very fast and daring secondary couple like the brothers of the protagonists. How can you forget the hilarious scene of Lee Se Ryeon (Yoon Jin Yi) and Park Dae Beom (Ahn Woo Yeon) making out in the dressing room of a store?!
To close with a flourish, we also have something very important to Korean dramas: a passionate soundtrack ! The beautiful “Love Always Run Away” , by the famous trot singer Lim Young Woong, has been among the most performed songs in the country on the South Korean charts for months. Lim Young Woong might not be a household name around here, but in Korea he’s one of the few singers as popular as idols like IU and BTS on the music charts. A heavy OST for our main couple!
These were some of the reasons we were able to identify. But what about you? What do you think best explains the success of “Young Lady and Gentleman” ?