Although it’s not rare, it’s not a common feat either for a show, may it be movie or drama, to spawn a double swirl and bevy of new colloquial slangs and mannerism into the cultural lexicon and physio-mechanic.
Trending in Korea and anywhere else in the world that has watched My Girlfriend is a Gumiho over the last couple of months and still going strong are such speech imitations like ‘mating’, ‘bubbly water’, and ‘cow’ to mean ‘having sex’, ‘soda’, and ‘beef’ respectively.
In the physical realm, old and young are imitating moves to show compliment, love connection, love confession, and synchronization. Instead of just complimenting your beau, act it out instead: while cocking one’s head to the side, smile with the cutest, exaggerated, and most innocent expression and raise one hand with the thumbs up motion to the side of the cocked downward cheek saying anything complimentary like ‘mashita!’ (delicious!) or ‘fashionista’ (fashionista). Of course, doesn’t hurt if one is endowed with crater deep dimples.
Potential or current lovers can show how in tune they are with each other in a secure wave frequency through a love antenna: do air quotes besides each temple. I get you!
If you’re already in a relationship, greet your partner with a E.T originated finger kiss: swirl your forefinger and say ‘hoi’, then your partner does the same, then ‘kiss’ each other with your forefingers.
Confession of love has never been so cutely expressed until this gumiho showed it to us: Say “I really really really really really really really really really like you” then do some love finger gun shots at your love target. Winking is optional but highly recommended.
It’s an old catchphrase that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if this is true, Gumiho is certainly feeling the flattery even post broadcast. Shin Min A’s portrayal of the mythical gumiho was epically cute. It’s save to say her Mi Ho is cuteness deitified with a fuzzy white tail. This may be her best and most memorable performance so far in her career. Ms. Shin has always been popular, but never for any particular role or acting prowess. She just happens to be at the right place at the right time, star with the ‘’it’ actor in the right month and been able to remain popular through her style, many commercials and endorsements. Finally, she has an acting project under her belt that she can really brag and be proud of.
Lee Seung Gi, who stars opposite Shin Min A, had great chemistry with her which added to the audience’s huge support for this Hoi Couple besides LSG’s already sizeable fanbase and reputation as an eom-chin-a (a shortened slang for the perfect boy to bring home to mom) to k-drama ratings’ bread and butter- housewife ajummas. The biggest critique watching LSG is the annoying head twitch every time he starts his lines. Is this how he really speaks carried over to his character or is this a conscious character mannerism choice? Either way, it makes his performance appear extremely overacted. He is the male lead so imagine how many scenes, how many lines, and ensuing head twitches that had to be endured.
Another critique about the storyline is the underdevelopment and under utilization of the initially interesting second lead character played by Noh Min Woo. His backstory as a smoldering mystical blue-glow sword wielding, thousand years old, porcelain skinned, half-human half-spirit, more smoldering, demon vanquisher just hits a dead end in episode 2 after he saw Mi Ho look like his long dead love. Nothing as interesting came out of his character anymore and anything he subsequently did was ineffectual or just lame. No more action, no more mystique, no more real expectation and no more anticipation. O’Asian Druid Warrior, you had so much potential!
Overall, the Hong Sister did a fantastic job with this drama on two major points dear to my attention span and patience- low angst level and short angst period. Additionally, the angst involved was narratively necessary, not just some device to separate the couples just to separate them. The mystical powers that be ordained that love had to be proven through a long unspecified time of separation with unguaranteed reunion. Thus the couple had to choose whether to wait or not, knowing they’re separated by different dimensions and space. Will their love fade as time goes by? That makes the ubiquitous angst in a Hong sister drama bearable for this drama. They are certainly improving with their storytelling and development of narrative drives. Hurray for them and for all fans of their work.