Foreign drama remakes are becoming increasingly popular nowadays with GMA7 starting the trend with the Mexican telenovela Marimar. ABS-CBN followed suit with the Korean drama My Girl and now, GMA once again created its own version of another Korean drama My Name is Kim Sam Soon which is directly translated to Ako si Kim Sam Soon. Another remake to look forward to is Betty La Fea, which already has versions in different countries and will be done by ABS-CBN.

But the problem with remakes is that it always has the original version that the audiences can’t help but compare it with

Take for example My Name is Kim Sam Soon (MNKSS) which is a very popular drama when it was aired here in the Philippines two years ago. It is the story of an ordinary and not-so-thin baker Sam Soon who hates her old fashioned name and Hyun Jin Hyun who is the owner of the restaurant where Sam Soon works. Even though they fought like cats and dogs, they still ended up together.

Why GMA7 decided to remake a Korean drama much more choose MNKSS still evades me because I don’t think Korean dramas can be remade exactly here in the Philippines. There are so many elements in a Korean drama that is entirely Korean in context and if ever they decided to rewrite some parts to have some Filipino flavor, which is usually the case, then why claim that it is a remake of the original?

One of the issues discussed in MNKSS is her name, thus the title. Sam Soon wants to have it changed because it is old fashioned by Korea’s standards. All throughout the series, she attempts to have her name changed legally. She hates her name so much that in the restaurant, she introduces herself as Hee Jin which is the name of Jin Hyun’s ex-girlfriend. This sets the ball rolling for another key issue in MNKSS — Jin Hyun’s ex girlfriend Hee Jin who left him during the time when he needs her most. He just came from an accident and without any word, Hee Jin went abroad to study, or so she claims. The accident leaves Hyun Jin psychologically traumatized that prevents him from driving

As I was watching Ako si Kim Sam Soon (ASKSS), I kept on thinking how the original one was better. First point — the name. Kim Sam Soon is a Korean name; you will not find any Filipinos having that name ever, except of course if she is half Korean, which in that case, if the parents love the child, they will not name her that. Kim is the surname while Sam Soon is the given name. So how did they explain a Kim Sam Soon in the Philippines? Simple, it was a combination of the names of Sam Soon’s grandmother, father and mother which is a typical Filipino trait.  The first child of the family is named, most of the time, after an older member of the family. Kim is from Kimberly, the name of her grandmother, Sam from Samuel which is the name of her father and Soon from Sonia which is the name of the mother. Wait! Shouldn’t it be Kim Sam Son instead of Soon? The explanation is acceptable but it is obviously forced

Sure, Regine Velasquez, the actress playing KSS, is funny…in a slapstick comedy sort of way. Why wouldn’t you laugh if she looks like a clown wearing a very red lipstick, green eyeshadow and mascara running all over her face? Add that to her exaggerated way of acting and irritating mouth twitching movement that I don’t understand why she has to do while speaking.Don’t get me wrong. I love all Regine Velasquez’s movies, they made me feel all warm inside but this is different.They also made Regine fat by making her a fat suit. Kim Sun Ah, the original Sam Soon, gained weight for this drama but she is not nearing the obese level as KSS is now. Regine’s size now, without the suit, is perfect for the role, not too thin and not too fat.

Another thing that turned me off in this version was the relationship between Harvey and KSS.Would you cry and kill yourself over a guy whom you just met and then proposed marriage within two weeks? Come on! Anyone knows that this is impossible. Either the guy is playing with you or he is a complete lunatic.Who would fall in love seriously in that short span of time?

In the original version, Sam Soon is crying over Harvey because he caught him cheating on Christmas Eve. They’ve been together for two years and not two weeks! Sam Soon already had an emotional investment with the guy so it really hurt her when they broke up. With the remake, it seemed as if it was KSS’s pride that was hurt more than her heart.

One of the key elements in the original is Jin Hyun’s (Cyrus’s character in the remake) fear and refusal to drive. For those who watched the Korean version, it is caused by the road accident which killed his brother and sister-in-law and traumatized his niece. Jin Hyun blames himself because he was the one holding the wheel when the accident occurred. He disclosed these facts to Sam Soon while he rested his head against her tummy in a hotel in Jeju Island. What happened next was a series of disclosure between the characters when Sam Soon admits that he likes Jin Hyun and Jin Hyun discovering that Hee Jin left him to get treatment for stomach cancer. The episode containing these scenes is the turning point for this drama because after this, Jin Hyun and Hee Jin got back together and Jin Hyun has began driving.

So, what’s my point? In the first episode, Cyrus is already driving. So, if Cyrus is already driving, did he encounter an accident which is one of the premises in the story? We are yet to determine that. Jin Hyun became what he is because of the accident and that is his character. I loved Jin Hyun because he is a deep man. Despite the cold demeanor, he has a warm heart that was just scarred by the painful events that happened in his life. I don’t know what twist the writers will be doing to reconstruct this side of Cyrus but I do hope it’s acceptable and not mediocre.

Hannah (Hee Jin), Cyrus’ ex-girlfriend still has not made an appearance but I heard they made her a b**ch. Did they want to have a stereotypical villain? But a villain need not be bad. The original Hee Jin was lovable. Even though you want to hate her for taking Jin Hyun away from Sam Soon, you can’t help but pity her. She truly loved Jin Hyun but she has no choice because she wanted to live for him. She is a good person and even when she is trying to get him back, she did not act to the point that you want to slap and hurt her.

Some people may not agree but this is a bias for a person who watched the original and Tagalized version, which is ironically, shown by the same network. I am not saying that we should not do remakes because some remakes are actually good like Marimar (though it flailed from the original plot in the middle but that is another story). There’s also the advantage of bearing the popularity of the original one which makes the viewers watch the remake.But as what I mentioned earlier, people will keep on comparing whether they like it or not. The remake should at least be as good as the original or it’s even better if they exceeded the expectation of the viewers. I am not eradicating the possibility that I might like this drama later on and you bet that I’m going to make a review once the whole series is finished.

But for now, I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ako si Kim Sam Soon will get better and not become an insult to the writers of the original drama. 

Hannah is a lover of anything Korean— may it be their dramas, music, or food. She has been to South Korea for n number of times, but she still can’t get enough of it.Seoul has become her second...

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1 Comment

  1. Honestly, what’s up with the mentality of Filipinos “sana like the original”? Major inferiority complex. Why are Filipinos not complaining how far the US version of Ugly Betty with Betty La Fea?

    Of course, just like Ugly Betty, a lot of Filipino twist will be added. In the first place the target market are Filipinos, not the Koreans.

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