Sang-doo, Let’s Go to School!

Are first impressions important? Definitely. If I had watched Bi (a.k.a. Jung Ji-hoon) in either Full House or A Love to Kill first, I would have fled from his subsequent work. But my first look at Bi was in Sang-doo, Let’s Go to School! (2003).

His Cha Sang-doo role (student, single dad, gigolo, security guard, conman) was lovable and well-acted, and I felt so entertained watching him. Sang-doo’s indomitable “I’m not afraid of being hurt” spirit also left a deep impression.

No matter the kind of trials that life threw at him, he remained positive and cheerful, especially with the two people who meant the world to him: his daughter, Bori, and his first and only love, Chae Eun-hwan (Gong Hyo-jin). The moment he approached Bori’s hospital room, he would put away all his sadness so that she saw only his happy face. He invented many stories to tell her, games to play with her, and songs to sing to her. He didn’t mind making a complete fool of himself just to see and hear her laugh. She was everything to him.

Bi’s portrayal of Sang-doo and Sang-doo’s relationship with Bori were the two main reasons why I loved this drama. He seemed to be really enjoying himself in his role and as a viewer I found his enthusiasm catching. The way Sang-doo interacted with Bori also made me think that Bi would be a terrific father in real life. He was just so natural with her. I missed seeing that ease and exuberance in his next two dramas. He just seemed overly self-conscious afterwards.

Another favorite part of the drama was Sang-doo’s relationship with Kang Min-suk (Lee Dong-gun). Because of Eun-hwan, the two men hated each other at first but grew to become good albeit reluctant friends. Their scenes with each other were hilarious and their love rivalry so much fun to watch. They had the best chemistry!

On the other hand, I had some difficulty relating to Gong Hyo-jin’s character. I loved her in Ruler of Your Own World because she was so noisy and feisty. Her acting in Sang-doo was comparatively more subdued and her Eun-Hwan character just didn’t tug at my heart. In her serious moments, Gong Hyo-jin often looked like she was scowling. It also didn’t help that she looked older than Bi. But the two had good chemistry, although I wished they shared more romantic moments. I wanted to see them talk more, and do more things together.

Still, I really loved the story of their first love. The flashbacks portrayed beautifully the depth of their love for each other and I especially loved the songs that played in those scenes. There was no question about the sacrifices they would later make for each other. After all, they had gone through so much together.


5 thoughts on “Sang-doo, Let’s Go to School!

  1. My first look at Bi was when he was on stage, in concert and he was totally awesome.

    After that, i had to check out what other things he was up to so i watched Full House. It was all right. I watched Sang-doo next and i must admit that he acted much better in Sang-doo. The character had more depth and Bi portrayed Sang-doo’s emotions well. I remember the part where Sang-doo had to shave Bori’s hair off and that was a powerful scene.

    I don’t quite like the ending though.

    Oh yeah i like the soundtrack for Sangdoo so much that i bought the CD. 🙂

    • Hi Orchid

      I love the OST too; I think it came with my set, if I remember correctly.

      About the ending… Trust the writer to pull that out of her hat. *sigh*

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi Thundie,

    Like Orchid, I watched Full House 1st and it was ok for me. As for Sang Do, I just love Bi & thought that his acting improved by leaps & bounds.

    @Orchid : Agree with u bout the shaving scene. I cried an oceon!!!!

    Hey guys, about the ending, so Bi died?

  3. … like almost everybody else, i have watched full house first… it really made an impact to me, since i love lighthearted dramas… watching bi in full house made me curious about him, so i started searching for his other projects… and yes, i watched sangdoo… and im completely sold out to bi… now i’m a certified rain fanatic………..

  4. I was going thru the recommendations of what Thundie/website thought about dramas (ratings/thoughts/first impressions). At first I thought this drama looked like a fluffy, good fun drama but oh boy, I was completely wrong. I was in mood for lighthearted drama but it left me in a depressed state. I liked the story overall but the ending was completely unexpected, a little bit disappointed because the couple deserved a better ending than this one after what they went through. (scowls)… off to search a happy. fluffy drama to pull me out of this funk. :D.

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