Jan Di: Why We Love To Hate Her

15 Aug

The world is still reeling from the global phenomenon known as Boys Over Flowers (also called Boys Before Flowers). In this 2009 KDrama, we experienced love at first sight (thank you, Gu Jun Pyo), adorable bromance (thank you F4), and of course, and awe-stricken disgust (and that would be you Geum Jan Di).

Looking at it realistically, I’ve come to realize that there really is no actress worthy of the world’s favorite flower boy also known as Lee Min Ho. Although Son Ye Jin was adorable and amazing in Personal Taste, and Park Min Young gave a spectacular performance in City Hunter, I spent half the drama cursing them for having bodily contact with Lee Min Ho, and the other half drooling over him. Now, I can respect the fact that these lovely ladies are merely making a living as actresses. They’re not the ones writing the script, they are just acting in a notably realistic manner. I am very sorry to say, that this does not apply to Gu Hye Sung, the actress behind the train wreck of Geum Jan Di.

Boys Over Flowers was the first KDrama I ever watched. Because of that, it will forever hold a special place in my heart. A couple weeks ago, I thought it would be pleasant to revisit the memory so I started again from the first episode. 10 minutes in, I had to stop and ask myself, “Did I really enjoy this show?  How the hell did I put up with this ridiculous character for three months?” Right off the bat, Jan Di’s absurd facial expressions, ludicrous responses, and overall nonsensical demeanor had my left eye twitching in disbelief. Three questions: How did Gu Hye Sung even get casted for this role? Why did YG choose to employ her? Why in this world did I spend approximately 25 hours of my life watching her sucky acting?? (Of course the answer to the last question is LEE MIN HO)


I have the understanding that the character of Jan Di was supposed to be a gutsy, moral, and determined high school student, but was it really necessary for her to act like a comedian on a gag show? I don’t see how scrunching up your face like a 2-year-old forced to eat lima beans, or pouting like a tweenage who isn’t allowed to go to Justin Beiber’s concert is supposed to have the effect of making viewers admire Jan Di’s good qualities.

She was supposed to be the traditionally relatable  character that we all love to see; coming from humble backgrounds, Jan Di defies social norms at a school for the elite, stands her ground, and doesn’t allow anything to faze her. But how am I as a viewer supposed to focus on that if she’s running around the screen like a clown?

What amazed me even more was that the instant Jan Di “grew up” and began to face reality, her sole facial expression for the rest of the drama looked something like this:

or this

Where’s the consistency people? I know that she was forced to bear a lot of mental baggage due to Mama McEvil, but are we supposed to be convinced that such occurrences would change the demeanor of our protagonist in such a drastic way?

Honestly, I don’t think Gu Hye Sung is really that bad of an actress. I think she just misinterpreted her character. In the scenes with her best friend Ga Eul, we got to see a softer, more natural side to Jan Di. Such scenes were acted wonderfully on both sides.  Unfortunately for Gu Hye Sung, she was surrounded by swarm of outstanding actors. Lee Min Ho killed it as the emotionally confused Jun Pyo, Kim So Eun acted wonderfully as the loyal best friend, Chu Ga Eul, and Lee Min Jung outshone most others through her role as Ha Jae Kyung, the “monkey” and fiancée of Jun Pyo.


It was a shame that Gu Hye Sung kinda sorta ruined Boys Over Flowers for me. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t watch it again. For Lee Min Ho, I will watch it over and over and over…



19 Responses to “Jan Di: Why We Love To Hate Her”

  1. berry August 18, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    i have to agree with what you said. BOF was sooo long and gu hye sung nearly made me quit so many times. it was my first k-drama as well, i watched it after my friend started spazzing about it (i had never even heard of kdramas or kpop at the time – unbelievable now). i remember thinking how do people watch stuff like this towards the end but at the same time OMG Lee Minho is HOT!!! and i HAVE to finish this.
    so glad i watched it though and continued to watch kdramas 😀

    • dramapop August 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      Thanks for commenting! My friends basically forced me to start watching BOF, but after a couple episodes, I was hooked (on both the drama and Lee Min Ho)


    • Julia Luong July 31, 2014 at 5:20 am #

      I like how Jan Di acts. I feel she’s strong and funny, a little exhuberant and rambunctious, but a joy to watch. I feel that women should be able to act strong and even a little odd, that’s what makes them quirky, rather than reserved and calm such as others have been taught.

  2. Alice August 24, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    LOL! I saw one episode and had to quit. Luckily, Lee MinHOT starred in other, better dramas afterward. City Hunter was my crack all summer haha.

    • dramapop August 24, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      Haha Yes I mean we did like him BoF but not as much as we loved him in City Hunter and Personal Preference/Taste. 🙂

      • Alice September 1, 2011 at 3:53 am #

        Should I watch Personal Taste? I saw up until maybe ep 10? It was hilarious at first, but then it got kind of boring and angsty. Is the ending worth it?

  3. Bông-chan August 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    LOL can’t agree more. I didn’t think i can find sb who thinks like me ab this drama, BOF, esp Go Hye Sun. She’s the reason why i quit BOF *yet i’m a fangirl and F4 are handsome, but i can’t bear that girl* But, I must THANK her, because thanks to her, I knew Hana Yori Dango (Japanese ver) and started my love for Jdrama. (I think you can try HYD, it’s a good drama with awesome actors, and Jandi (Tsukushi) is the character I love most in it. :”))
    Seriously, I can’t understand why they love Jan Di? I’m sure if sb else (maybe Kim So Eun or Lee Min Jung) had played JanDi I wouldnt have to quit BOF.

    “Honestly, I don’t think Gu Hye Sung is really that bad of an actress. I think she just misinterpreted her character. In the scenes with her best friend Ga Eul, we got to see a softer, more natural side to Jan Di.”
    Same for me. xD I found she’s so beautiful and cute (esp her smile) in real life but whenever I see her as Jan Di……. :-<

  4. LEEMINJUNGROCKS July 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    me too, me too.. i thought it was just me ’cause u know.., she tries too be hard to get to lee min ho which i find really annoying.. and i always find myself cursing her every single freaking time she hurts jun pyo/lee min ho… after finishing the whole series, i just thought that my hate on her was just because of lee min ho.. however, after watching personal taste, i just found myself loving son ye jin, the main lead actress in the series. and i’ve been like rooting for her to be with minho in real life ever since.. i dont really like park min young.. i dnt know why….

    • dramapop August 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

      I totally agree. I thought it was just in my nature to hate every actress who films with Lee Min Ho, but I loved Son Ye Jin in Personal Taste as well. I’m still trying to figure out why I dislike Park Min Young so much…maybe I’ll write a post about it!

  5. jean lopez June 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    for me goo hye sun is a good actress..i like she act in bof thats her role u know..bof is a great korean teledrama..dont say that shes like a clown there..its amazing..dont insulted her..being the role of goo hye sun was perfect…look at lee min ho he really love the act of jandi..soo go go goo hye u jandi and jun pyo.

  6. Lina g September 1, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    I completely agree with you. Geum jandi almost made me top eatching. I hayed her at some parts so much and it really bothers me. I didnt like the character at all

  7. Sneha Reddy November 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    i couldn’t agree more. her facial expressions are over the top and annoying, she is prude as hell. I agree that the actress completely misunderstood the character and behaves like a retarded person instead of dim witted person. Towards the end it made me question why would anyone in the world get attracted to this person? i really loved the drama and this is my first k-drama series, but i couldn’t stand jan di character, her acting is so irritating i have to forward certain scenes.

  8. Jess December 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    It took all my power to not punch the screen, or your face for that matter. It seems you’re a little jealous of her, and disn’t read the script or dig in to the show a bit more. SHE WAS ASKED TO DO THOSE THINGS. If you watch behind the scenes of boys over flowers you would know THE DIRECTORS TOOK TIME OUT OF FILIMING TO TELL HER “HEY THIS IS WHAT WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO DO!” Please do your research before you spew hate on a girl that not only got to act whith attractive men, but flawlessly accomplished what her directors asked of her. Honestly she must be very very special and significant to you, if you took time out of your day to bash her and her character all in one post.
    Have a lovely day/ night 🙂

  9. Rajan tamang June 19, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    i was allready see f4 grups acting so i like it and every seen was beuti ful place.

  10. balafama December 5, 2016 at 4:05 am #

    really couldnt stand her character in bof .not sure what the writers and director was trying to accomplish . left me with a sour taste

  11. syikin fisol December 29, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    I am watching this drama again in 2016 & get super annoyed with jan di.. her expression was super unnatural and sometimes overreacted!

  12. Deu N. July 18, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

    Finally someone said it! I hate that I have to watch her act just for the sake of my love for romantic series. She is making me cringe every time! I am on episode 6 and hopefully her acting will improve as the series progresses.

    • Rhoda June 5, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

      Nope. Remains the same till the end. Even when [SPOILER ALERT] Gun Jun Pyo and her reunited on the boat, she still kept her poker face.

  13. Rhoda June 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

    I totally agree with this statemement, thanks! I thought I was the only one no really liking her acting. There’s no connection btw LMH and her . I She just has no emotion. I more than 10 times was about to give up but because of Gun Ju Pho…
    Well written paper

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