All About Eve is still one of my all-time favourite dramas. For classic rivalry this drama is still hard to beat. It was a romantic drama that aired in 2000 on MBC and starred Jang Dong-geon and Chae Rim (Oh My Lady) with Kim So-yeon (Iris, Prosecutor Princess) playing the jealous villain. Two young women from very different backgrounds end up on the same course at the same university. They both want to become newsreaders. One of the girls, Sun Mi, (Chae Rim) is sweet and kind and has led a sheltered and happy life with her father who runs a construction company. She has a good friend Woo Jin (Han Jae-suk) who she has a crush on. Young Mi (Kim So-Yeon) on the other hand has had a hard life growing up in poverty with an alcoholic father. She has had to be tough to survive and envies Sun Mi’s nice life. But from the beginning Young Mi decides that she wants to take away everything that Sun Mi has. The rivalry between the two young women begins.This was the last drama Jang Dong-geon did before concentrating on films. (Too bad!) Here’s a summary of episode 1.
The rivals Sun Mi (Chae Rim) and Young Mi (Kim So-yeon) in the MBC drama All About Eve 2000
Yoon Hyung Chul is studying in the UK. He comes back to his flat from the shops and there are a couple of messages on his phone. The first is from someone called Joo Hee wondering why he hasn’t been in touch and telling him his mum is not doing well. The second message is from his dad. Hyung Chul is just about to delete the message when he hears that his mum has died. (I think the inside of the flat was filmed in Korea though and the voice on the answer phone is not a native English speaker!)Hyung Chul (Jang Dong-geon) in the UK (All About Eve, MBC, 2000, episode 1)
In the countryside of Korea Young Mi rushes to the hospital. Her father has been in an accident at a construction site where he works. She is hysterical and shouts at her father’s boss, Mr. Jin, blaming him for the accident. He says her father will get compensation because he has insurance but he won’t be able to get any pay. She is devastated and we learn that she is now alone as her mum left when she was six years old.
Now we get a glimpse of Sun Mi (Chae Rim) shopping in the supermarket. She looks happy and calm and the every day task of shopping contrasts dramatically with the terrible situation that Young Mi is going through.
Although she seemed to be sad when she first saw her father in the hospital, Young Mi now tells him while he is unconscious that life with him has been rough and she doesn’t want to see him again. She cries but she has fight in her eyes and seems more angry and frustrated than sad.
Sun Mi goes to see her friend Woo Jin’s mum, Mrs. Song, who works in a shop. Sun Mi tells her that she is going to cook dinner tonight. Sun Mi looks innocent and sweet in her duffle coat, sucking a lollipop. Mrs. Song and Sun Mi chat casually and the two families are obviously very close and Mrs. Song acts like a mother to Sun Mi. (Her father is a widower) Sun Mi goes to find Woo Jin who is in the dark room of his workshop developing pictures. They go home and he helps her cook. Sun Mi mentions that his mum does not think it appropriate to leave the two of them alone together but he replies that there’s no need to worry since nothing would ever happen between them. Sun Mi looks disappointed at his remark. She likes him but he just seems to see her as his little sister. While they are preparing dinner Sun Mi’s dad calls to say there has been an accident at the construction site and someone has died so he can’t come home for dinner. Sun Mi is a daddy’s girl and knowing he is not coming home upsets her. Woo Jin tries to cheer her up.
Young Mi is at her father’s funeral. She looks upset but when an adjumma that she knows comes to mourn Young Mi asks her to do her a favor. We don’t know what it is but it seems suspicious. Young Mi obviously hangs out with some dodgy types because there’s an unsavory looking character hanging around wanting to see her. He’s not dressed for a funeral and Young Mi looks shocked to see him. They have a past together and we discover that she asked him to do ‘something about’ her father a few years ago and he also helped her when she got beat up by her father. But now she tells him she wants nothing more to do with him. She has studied hard and now wants to get away from all this. She plans to start a new life in Seoul.
She burns everything – photos and clothes and things her father gave her as a child. She really means to start over. We see flashbacks of her as a school girl trying to study while her father was violent and drunk. He must have started drinking after her mother left.
Hyung Chul is back in Korea at his mother’s funeral. A Christian burial. He has flashbacks to his childhood too of his father leaving his mother pushing her away when she tried to stop him. His father must have left his mother for a younger woman and back at the house Hyung Chul is cold towards her and goes to his room to pack. His dad tries to talk to him but Hyung Chul is angry. He tells his dad that he and his mum waited for him all those years to come back but he never did. Hyung Chul says he will not live like his father. He won’t marry someone he doesn’t love. He suggests that his father married his mum for money and says he won’t do that. His dad replies that he didn’t love Hyung Chul’s mum but he left because he couldn’t stand the way her parents treated him and looked down on him. Hyung Chul storms out past his dad’s new wife and son.
At the broadcasting station MBS, the newsreaders are getting ready. Joo Hee is nervous and stutters through her part. Afterwards she goes to see Hyung Chul in a bar although he didn’t ask her to meet him. He is going back to the UK tomorrow. He is still in a bad mood and he drinks and tells her that he argued with his dad. She tries to suggest that he should get along with his dad but this annoys him. It seems that they were once romantically involved and she still likes him. The other newsreader Sun Dal arrives. Hyung Chul asks Joo Hee why she doesn’t go out with Sun Dal but she says she has set her sights higher than him. (I think we can assume she means Hyung Chul)
Mr. Jin goes to see Young Mi at her house. He wants to help her get a place when she goes to university in Seoul since she is the same age as his daughter Sun Mi and they are going to the same school with the same major – Mass Media. They both want to be news anchors. He compliments Young Mi saying she is pretty and that his daughter is not beautiful but she is cute and kind. For once it seems as though Young Mi’s luck is finally changing as someone genuinely kind is offering to her help. (oh dear, if Mr. Jin only knew what he is getting his family into…)
Woo Jin and his friend Jun Mo are looking at Woo Jin’s photographs in his workshop. His friend is interested in Sun Mi but Woo Jin is protective of her and won’t allow it as he knows his friend flirts with all the girls. Mr. Jin drives Young Mi to Seoul and asks Woo Jin to let her stay at the workshop until she can get a place of her own.
Woo Jin, his mum, Sun Mi and her dad join Sun Dal the news anchor in Sun Mi’s garden and they eat fruit. They are all happy and relaxed. But this is the happiness before the storm, before Young Mi comes into their lives. Both Woo Jin and Sun Mi ask Sun Dal to get them part time jobs at the broadcasting station.
Young Mi is alone in the workshop. She starts to clean up and sees a picture of Sun Mi with her dad and another picture of Sun Mi with Woo Jin. She looks at the pictures with envy. But again we see the contrast of Young Mi’s life with Sun Mi’s nice life. Sun Mi even has contacts at the broadcasting station. Young Mi on the other hand knows no one in Seoul. She is alone and will have to rely entirely on her own skills to get where she wants to be.
Sun Mi is ready to go to university for the opening ceremony. In a cute pink suit. Young Mi turns up too in a grey suit. Woo Jin’s friend Jun Mo (who has taken a liking to her) gives her flower and takes her to the university and there they bump into Sun Mi and her family and they all take pictures outside the university together. Sun Mi’s dad has told Woo Jin and his friend not to tell anyone that Young Mi is staying in the workshop so Jun Mo pretends that Young Mi is his cousin.
On the first day the students have to choose a class president. One of the students Cho Jeh obviously wants to be the president and asks the class to vote for someone hoping that they will vote for her. But to everyone’s surprise, Young Mi nominates herself! Cho Jeh looks upset but later Young Mi tells her that she knew she wanted to be the president and so if she supports her now, Young Mi will support her to be president next time. Young Mi then starts lying about her family suggesting she comes from a family of high flyers which is why she always feels the need to be the leader…
Woo Jin and Jun Mo turn up to take the girls to City Hall where Joo Hee is presenting the news. The girls want to watch and afterwards they are introduced to Joo Hee. At this point Young Mi jumps forward and says she knows all about Joo Hee, even her birthday etc. She wants to show that she has been following her career and she wants to stand out from the crowd. Sun Mi looks on bemused. Later they are shown around the news studio and Young Mi leaps behind the news desk and asks Woo Jin to look at her through the camera. He does this and she begins to pretend to present the news – she has memorized the news script and everyone is impressed. She is clearly very competitive and Sun Mi just stares at her in amazement. It seems as though she has never met anyone like Young Mi in her safe world. Afterwards they go out to a games hall. Young Mi has noticed that Sun Mi likes Woo Jin so she turns her attention to him grabbing his arm when they play on the machines. Sun Mi notices this too and tries not to look concerned.
At the end of the evening, Woo Jin walks Sun Mi home and she links arms with him. But she is rattled by Young Mi and casually asks Woo Jin what he thinks of her. Woo Jin’s reply suggests that he is not interested in Young Mi and Sun Mi seems satisfied. At the end of episode 1 the rivals Sun Mi and Young Mi stand in front of their mirrors at home practicing reading the news. Sun Mi’s nice life has already been invaded. But she has no idea how bad things are going to get. Here we go…