So the speculation was confirmed, and Micky Yoochun (Sungkyunkwan Scandal) and Lee Da-hae (East of Eden) have been cast in upcoming MBC drama Goodbye Miss Ripley. But the more interesting question is, what on earth is this drama about?? The answer may surprise you. Unless you’re psychic. In which case, why are you even reading this, because you already know what I’m going to say?
Reportedly, the drama’s key motif is a national scandal that rocked the media in 2007: the story of Shin Jeong-ah, a university professor and art curator at Dongguk University, who forged her credentials to get hired, and then embezzled funds from the art gallery’s corporate sponsorships. She got hired in 2005 under the belief that she had earned a BFA and MBA from the University of Kansas and a PhD from Yale, when in fact she was only a high school graduate. Her boyfriend Byeon Yang-kyoon, 19 years her senior, was a presidential secretary at the time, and helped her forge the paperwork and get hired.
The scandal lit a fire in the media and started a wave of background searches and scandals, where everybody’s schooling credentials went under extreme scrutiny at the time. She was particularly a focus of attention because (before the scandal) hers was considered a Cinderella story, a woman who had gone from nothing to becoming a society A-lister. As it turns out, all you really need to be Cinderella is an influential boyfriend and a fax machine.
They both served time and became infamous, not only for their crimes, but for setting off the media trend that fed off their story. You can see why it took Korea by storm too. They weren’t Bonnie and Clyde; they were supposed to be Cinderella and Prince Charming, only their white-collar crime rattled the social hierarchy.
The drama isn’t a direct true crime story, but apparently is inspired by the scandal. How closely it resembles Shin Jeong-ah’s story remains to be seen, but so far it’s a good hint as to where the main character, played by Lee Da-hae, will go. Her character loses her family when she’s young, and gets adopted into an unhappy home, which is just the beginning of her unfortunate destiny. It probably speaks to the character’s motivation for the ensuing schemes.
And NOW it makes sense why Kim Seung-woo (IRIS, Athena) and Kang Hye-jung (Flowers for My Life, Oldboy) are attached. The ajusshi angle is making more sense, although who knows how faithfully they’ll recreate the actual relationship between Shin and Byeon. And apparently Kang Hye-jung really WILL get all-about-eve’d by Lee Da-hae. Now it’s like I’M PSYCHIC.
I don’t know how Micky Yoochun fits into all this, but I’ll bet he’s the “real” love that gets caught in the middle of it all. That’d be my guess, because I don’t foresee him being the Clyde to her Bonnie. Or am I just under the impression that he’s his Sungkyunkwan character, and that he’s a righteous stick-in-the-mud? (Albeit a cute one, but you know, a rule follower.) Either he’s the first-love moral center that keeps trying to bring her back from the brink, or he’s the mark, as in the chaebol-prince-charming-diplomat-genius who gets duped into falling for her, and nearly marries her without a pre-nup, ’cause he’s all trusting like that.
Either way, the idea of using Lee Da-hae’s unlikeable public image to turn her into an anti-heroine(?) is kind of BRILLIANT.
Goodbye Miss Ripley follows The Duo and premieres in May on MBC.