Review: A Gentleman’s Dignity – The Characters

I normally write about music on Thursdays but I want to take this opportunity to talk about the new K-drama I’m watching. Now, if you’ve been reading for a while you probably know about my obsession… err, I mean love… for Coffee Prince (커피프린스 1호점) and Gong Yoo (공유). You see, I have Coffee Prince to thank for my Korean listening skills and vocabulary. Turns out if you watch a show three or four times in a row, you pick up some words! 

But this post isn’t about Coffee Prince! Recently, I started watching A Gentleman’s Dignity (신사의 품격) which stars Jang Dong Gun (장동건) and Kim Ha Neul (김하늘) among others. I’ve been looking forward to this K-drama for ages as I’ve long been a fan of Jang Dong Gun. I think I first saw him in Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War (태극기 휘날리며) and have been a fan ever since. I’m also a fan of the female lead Kim Ha Neul from when she was in my favourite Korean movie, My Tutor Friend (동갑내기 과외하기). So I knew I had to watch A Gentleman’s Dignity with such a great cast.

I watch all my K-dramas on DramaFever now that I’m back in Canada for a variety of reasons but mainly because as a subscriber I can watch them commercial-free and the subtitles are great so it’s a great way to practice my Korean listening skills. What? You thought I watched K-dramas for the eye candy and great stories? Nah, that’s only part of it… I mainly watch them to study Korean! ^^ Seriously though, there are some fabulous K-dramas and DramaFever is my go-to place to catch them all!

If you’ve never watched a K-drama, they are longer than the normal North American shows. Most K-dramas are just over an hour an episode while most North American shows are about 45 minutes if you take out the commercials. So two episodes in a row – which is how I’ve been watching A Gentleman’s Dignity – is like watching a movie each week.

But wow, I loved the first two episodes of A Gentleman’s Dignity! They totally sold me on the show. It was cute, funny and I absolutely loved that the four main male characters were all OLDER than me! But they aren’t too old of course, just old enough that I can call them “oppa” (오빠).  They are all 40 and have been friends since they were 18. Love, love, love how they interact together. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they are all attractive.

I’ve now watched episodes 1-6 and I’m hooked. I can’t wait until next week so I can see the next episode… especially after seeing the preview at the end of episode 6. But wait, you haven’t seen it yet? Let me tell you why I love the characters (without any spoilers so you can watch it yourself). 

Okay, apparently it’s being billed as the Korean (and male) version of Sex & the City. I don’t get that from it but… there are four male leads. There are also four female leads and two young guys (19-20ish) that you’ll get to know. Because the characters in this rom-com drama are the reason you should be watching it.

Who are they? First the main guys…

Jang Dong Gun (장동건) as Kim Do Jin – I love this character! And I’m not just saying that because Jang Dong Gun plays him. Do Jin is like someone took the classic Korean rich, bad boy and made him human. Oh, he’s still cold and an ass at times. But he’s also romantic, sweet and his friends can make him look like an idiot/ass too. I love how multi-faceted Do Jin is, it makes him seem real. And sexy (the bathroom scene)! Except for the maroon suit… what was up with that? Oh yeah, he is an architect and owns a huge construction company with Im Tae San.

Kim Min Jong (김민종) as Choi Yoon – This is my second favourite character. He’s just so sweet, caring, responsible and smart. The perfect husband material… I keep falling more for him each episode. He’s a widower and a lawyer who at times seems so sad that I just want to give him a hug. Because he’s the quietest of the four, I wondered if he was a pushover but it’s just the sadness that makes him quiet. I can’t decide who I like best – Yoon or Do Jin?

Kim Soo Ro (김수로) as Im Tae San – Tae San is the other half of Do Jin. They share a company and Tae San is warm, friendly but tough (basically the opposite of Do Jin). He’s nice but clueless at times. For me, his character hasn’t yet been fully fleshed out – he’s nice but not really memorable. Oh yeah, he’s dating Hong Se Ra.

Lee Jong Hyuk (이종혁) as Lee Jung Rok – Jung Rok is the only married one of the four but he’s married to an older woman. It’s an obviously unhappy marriage as he’s constantly flirting/cheating but it also appears that he truly has feelings for his wife (who doesn’t really appear that much older). A very one-dimensional character at the moment but there are hints there might be more to him. We’ll see. Right now he’s the least likable male character by far.

Then the main girls…

Kim Ha Neul (김하늘) as Seo Yi Soo – Yi Soo is really the main female lead (although you see the others lots) and her character is quite developed. I love how she’s quite in charge while in teacher-mode (she’s a high school ethics teacher) but just a little awkward in social situations. It makes me feel like I have a kindred spirit. The baseball punishment scene was killer!

Yoon Jin Yi (윤진이) as Im Mea Ri – She’s the youngest of the female characters and is the (much) younger sister of Tae San. She is also in love with Yoon. Personally, I think she’s perfect for Yoon, despite the major age difference, because she balances out his seriousness. She’s cute, peppy and full of confidence in her love for Yoon.

Yoon Se Ah (윤세아) as Hong Se Ra – I dislike this character, I really do. She’s a pro-golfer who really doesn’t seem to do much of anything except dress sexy, flirt and hit golf balls in a driving range. She treats Tae San like crap and is probably only dating him because of his money. Basically, she’s the typical gold-digging female character who’s using her beauty and body to get what she wants. Personally, I think Yi Soo is prettier. 

Kim Jung Nan (김정난) as Park Min Sook – This is older, rich wife of Jung Rok. It’s unclear just how much older she is supposed to be but she doesn’t look that old (somewhere in her 40s). Her character is pretty one-dimensional so far. I would love to know exactly what went wrong in their marriage as it kinda looks like they both love each other even as they treat the other like crap but maybe that’s just the romantic in me?

 And the two young guys…

Lee Jong Hyun (이종현) as Colin – K-pop fans may recognize him from CN Blue… I knew he looked familiar. Colin is young (20 perhaps) and has popped up in several scenes looking mysterious and adorable. He is from the US (hence the English name which is my brother’s by the way), although there was some reference to Japan too, and has a picture of the four main guys with a mystery lady in the middle. I’m guessing he’s looking for his father???

 Kim Woo Bin (김우빈) as Kim Dong Hyub – Dong Hyub is one of Yi Soo’s senior high school students and a born troublemaker. He’s also good-looking enough to charm his way out of most situations and the class “leader”. Love the cute crush he has on Yi Soo.

I’m a people-person and LOVE character-driven shows. A Gentleman’s Dignity has some great characters (and some that still need some more fleshing out) to watch and fall in love with. Plus, as a romantic, how can I not watch a show with so many interesting love plots, one-sided loves, crushes, and kisses??? Because you know there will be kisses. Oh yeah, episode 6 rocks!

Have you seen A Gentleman’s Dignity? What did you think? Who do you like best?

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

28 thoughts on “Review: A Gentleman’s Dignity – The Characters

  • June 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm
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    Hey Cindy! Thanks for the review!!!
    I’m currently watching rooftop prince, and it is really good too. It makes my heart wrench and I worry about the characters, which is a sign to me that I like the show.
    I also really enjoyed Coffee Prince. It was one of the first K-dramas I watched along side Boys Over Flowers! 😛 Although, I first started watching Korean movies! For example, I started with, don’t laugh too hard, “Please Teach Me English” with the gorgeous and talented Jang Hyuk and Lee Na Young!!! *mwah* Also, I recommend “Seducing Mr. Perfect” Daniel Henney and Uhm Jung Wha. Oh wow, I can ramble on and on.
    OH and guess what?!? You’ve inspired me to salvage my blog that I started some time ago and revive it with my own interested in Koreana! 😀 THANK YOUuuu!!! 😀 – A.H.

    Reply
    • June 17, 2012 at 11:51 am
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      You’re welcome 🙂

      I can’t wait to read your blog! I love reading other blogs so once you get it up and running, please leave the link in one of your comments!

      I’ve never seen “Please Teach Me English” but have seen “Seducing Mr. Perfect” as I’ve watched pretty much all of Daniel Henney’s movies… it’s not my favourite of his (that would be “My Father”) but it’s a fun movie.

      Reply
  • June 30, 2012 at 12:30 am
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    Haha I think the “maroon suit” on JDG is a tribute to Secret Garden (which is another, in my opinion, fabulous drama by the same producers/directors/screenwriters), the main character in that drama.. uh.. made a name for himself with his.. haute couture track suits. Made stitch by stitch.

    I’m quite looking forward to this series after it finishes airing, unfortunately that will take a while. Sad that I can’t watch a series when it’s airing.. waiting a week kind of just drives me nuts.

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    • June 30, 2012 at 11:22 am
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      I agree, chasing dramas is hard. I’m waiting for Big to finish for the same reason!

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  • July 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm
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    A Gentleman Dignity is awesome, funny and the whole family can enjoy watching this comedy/romance/drama. I salute the writer of this kdrama. Congrats !!!

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  • August 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm
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    i watch this drama too and i LOVE it. . . it’s fun and it projects some delimmas that people @ 40’s are really experiencing right now although not everyone as financially successful as them. . . .

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    • August 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm
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      It is nice watching a drama with ‘older’ people in it 🙂 I can’t wait for the final two episodes!!

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  • August 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm
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    The 2 first episodes made me cringe. The woman is too proud to acknowledge the guy she met on the street, and he uses that to drag the issue about the high schoolers…you would think that she would be more mature for her age and he would go straight to point instead of “playing games” with her. Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll go back to it (it’s been 2 months or so), but I’m feeling a bit bored so why not giving it another try until Thursday when I can watch my next Bridal mask episode.

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    • August 13, 2012 at 9:24 am
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      Interesting, I didn’t get the impression that she was too proud but rather she was too embarrassed from the red dress unraveling to acknowledge him. I know I’d be embarrassed if that happened to me! I’ve found the drama to be funny, sad, cute and I really, really can’t wait until the last two episodes are on DramaFever!

      Reply
  • August 14, 2012 at 7:08 am
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    It’s the same in the end, being very embarrassed makes her want to stick to her pride by not acknowledging him instead of facing her emotions over a silly thing that she could laugh off after a couple of days. I would be embarrassed too but come on, you get over it after some time, especially if you have a favour to ask to the said person, a person that she keeps meeting. That’s common sense. I would have bit my tongue and acknowledge him asap and then ask him for a favour for my students.They could have ended the problem much earlier in a “let’s laugh it off” way. You know, what’s bugging me in kdramas is the emphasis on pride and non communication, and how it is so central in plots and story.
    Overall, I’ll give it a second chance, I found it cool to confront ahjussis to tough teenagers who beat them up. It’s reality, I’ve seen news about it. It’s not cool to be beaten up but it is to bring the topic on the table.

    Reply
    • August 14, 2012 at 9:39 am
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      Some of it is definitely cultural – the whole concept of “face” – that doesn’t really exist in Western culture. But for me, the differences in how people react is part of the allure of K-dramas. That’s not to say I agree with everything in them or how the characters act (you should see some later posts, I do get annoyed and even angry) but I love becoming emotionally invested in dramas and this one sucked me in more than others.

      Reply
  • October 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm
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    You watched coffee prince 4 times? I don’t know why I was looking forward to finish this drama I mean it was the second worst drama I ever watched that I regret every second in watching it…
    anyway this is not about coffee prince so I am looking forward for this new drama I will watch it soon

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    • October 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm
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      Actually, I’ve probably watched Coffee Prince more than 4 times 🙂 Wow, you didn’t like it? What is your favourite drama then? And which is the worst?

      Reply
  • November 21, 2012 at 4:15 am
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    It was airing in the Philippines now. I love the story especially the characters.

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  • December 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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    i like this drama super i love denis & irene

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      • December 27, 2012 at 4:10 am
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        Actually, AGD is currently shown here in the Philippines. Do Jin’s name was changed to Dennis, and Yi Soo’s to Irene.

      • December 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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        Good to know! I didn’t know that they changed the names of the characters in the Philippines. Is it common for names to be changed?

  • December 27, 2012 at 4:07 am
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    Thank you so much for this review! I also agree with your insights.

    I’ve actually finished AGD during our semestral break…and I LOVE IT! I like watching the rom-com genre, and I could say that AGD satisfied my rom-com drama craving.

    Honestly, the reason why I decided to watch this drama is because of Lee Jong Hyun (and he’s my bias in CNBLUE) and Kim Min Jong (I first saw him in Athena: Goddess of War), but after watching the first episode, I got hooked and I found the story great!

    And yeah, not to mention their OSTs. I also love their OSTs, esp “My Love”, “My Heartsore”, and “Only Tears”.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2014 at 4:52 am
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    I just finished watching Gentlemen’s dignity and I LOVED it… gosh the chemistry tugs the heart. PLEASE PLEASE do any of you know any other good shows like this? I have seen Heirs, BOF, My girl Secret Garden., Playful kiss.

    Reply
    • October 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm
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      I’m glad you loved it as much as I did! While not quite the same, there is one other Korean drama that I’ve liked as much and that’s Coffee Prince. That being said, there are lots of other decent dramas like Dating Agency: Cyrano, Personal Taste, and Rooftop Prince.

      Reply
  • December 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm
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    this show destroyed me! i love it so much that i am now finding it difficult to move and watch another show. i watched it again immediately after finishing. i think it is such a deservice to this show as it is way underrated. it is written with such wit.. that my heart flutters in all the scene… any other similar show that u would recommend that is in the same league as this apart from those commonly mention shows?

    Reply
    • December 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm
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      I can’t think of any show that’s as good with similar characters and writing but then, I’m not a drama expert. Like you, I would love to find another similar drama as I loved A Gentleman’s Dignity too.

      Reply
  • December 19, 2016 at 9:17 pm
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    Hi Cindy

    I just watched AGD drama. and I think I have watched it dozens of times for some favorit scenes. in the begining, I thought I love kim do jin & seo yi soo love story, because it made me tears. But, after completely watched all episodes, I love Choi yoon & Im Meari Love Story! Why? because yoon’ hidden feeling of meary really touched my heart. In the beginning, I did not realize that yoon have jealousy towards Colin. But after watching yoon’s scenes many times, I found myself laugh out loud. His jealousy is very sweet… I do not know… I always like that kind of love story. Especially the scenes when yoon confess his feelings to Meary…. oooh, I am very touched when he embraces her. Im Meari character is also awsome. I think they are the great couple.

    Btw, can you translate korean language? I found this youtube link : https://youtu.be/iXC_UDL9-0w – it’s about interview of the AGD four main male characters in We Love K TV Shows. No english subtitle 🙁
    I just want to know their opinion about their characters.
    If you don’t mind, please translate it.

    Reply
    • December 21, 2016 at 11:24 am
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      Hi Leonita, thanks for your message. I’m always happy to hear from others that enjoyed AGD as much as I did. Unfortunately, I can’t translate Korean as my Korean skills are only low intermediate otherwise, I would love to help.

      Reply

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