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Series / Best Love

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최고의 사랑 (Best Love / The Greatest Love) is a 2011 Korean comedy series, written by The Hong Sisters.

The romantic comedy stars Gong Hyo-jin as Gu Ae Jung, a former member of an idol group National Treasure Girls, who is still clutching to the last shreds of her notoriety 10 years later. Her fortune changes when she is cast on a dating variety show, Couple Making Season 3, where the main lead is non-celeb doctor, Yoon Pil Joo. The show's host is Ae Jung's former groupmate, Kang Se Ri, who happens to be in a contract relationship with movie star Dokko Jin (played by Cha Seung-won). Hilarity Ensues when Jin falls for Ae Jung.

Coupled with the Hong sisters' penchant for meta awareness, the show also pokes fun at Korean idol culture.

This drama provides examples of:

  • Acting Unnatural: Dokko Jin and Seung Gi when they realize there are fangirls watching their spat.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Dokko Jin and Gu Ae Jung outside the Seoul Movie Theater.
  • Blatant Item Placement/Character Celebrity Endorsement/Product Placement
    • Vitamin Water, which Jin endorses
    • Droid phone in episode 10. President Moon even lists the features as if she's in a commercial.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Jin uses Ae Jung's "shut your butthole (mouth)."
  • Brutal Honesty: Jin admits to Ae Jung that he's ashamed for liking her because they're not on the same level.
  • Call-Back: In episode 9, Jin discovers Ae Jung's drunk habit of repeating people around her. When Ae Jung gets drunk again in episode 14, Jin uses the opportunity to say "I love you."
  • The Cameo: Lee Seung Gi playing ... Lee Seung Gi!
  • Casting Gag: Jenny is a former member of the Girl Group National Treasure Girls. The actress who portrays her, Lee Hee-jin, is a former member of the Girl Group Baby VOX.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • The characters see the movie Pungsang Dog, which stars Yoon Kye Sang (who plays Pil Joo).
    • Dokko Jin brags that he is better looking than Cha Seung-Won. Guess which actor is playing Dokko Jin.
  • Character Development: Jin
  • Cherry Blossoms: Dokko Jin takes Ae Jung to a park festooned with blooming cherry trees overlooking a river and a Disney-like amusment park on the ten anniversary of her Music Idol debut.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Discussed. Jae Suk (Jin's manager) was a big fan of National Treasure Girls, his favorite member Jenny. He sent her a marriage certificate to autograph, which he jokingly vows to file.
  • Companion Cube: Dokko Jin's potato
  • Constantly Curious: Ding Dong, whose questions can be armor piercing.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Pil Joo punishes his mother by only eating ramyeon noodles.
  • Cool Shades: Dokko Jin
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Yoon Pil Joo, who has no idea that most of his patients, including Se Ri, have the hots for him.
    • In his first scene, Pil Joo's date confronts him on staring at Se Ri's butt as she walks by. He then dives into a rant about the negative effects of wearing heels, having no clue why his date would be upset that he was checking out someone else.
  • Crying Wolf: Pil Joo knows that Se Ri is mean-spirited, so when she reports to him that Jin likes Ae Jung in order for him to let go, he assumes that she is just being mean.
  • Docu Soap: When the Reality Show devolves into following Ae Jung and Pil Joo around
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ae Hwan and Jae Suk talking about how they both "drank wine" with Jenny.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Yoon Pil Joo
  • Drowning My Sorrows
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Episode 5 has the ubiquitous Namsan Tower in the background while Jin explains the folk tale "Camellias" to Ae Jung.
  • Engrish
  • Epunymous Title: The drama was previously called The Discovery of Affection. The main character's name is Ae Jung (affection).
  • Flaw Exploitation: Dokko Jin looking for Ae Jung's "chicken". Also Manager Jang's search for Mi Na, the fourth (and hidden) National Treasure Girl.
  • Flower Motifs
    • Dokko Jin uses the azalea to represent his heart:
    "Are you able to step on my azalea and leave?"
    • Camellias
    • Potato Blossoms
  • Girl Group: National Treasure Girls - Ae Jung, Se Ri, Jenny, and Mi Na
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Jin has a good excuse for showing off his chest.
  • Gratuitous English: Invoked and Played With.
  • Hand Signals: Dokko Jin uses a hand gesture with Ding Dong so the kid would leave him and Ae Jung together alone.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity/Malicious Slander: Gu Ae Jung
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: When Dokko Jin's chest pain overcomes his need to look cool.
  • Hospital Hottie: Yoon Pil Joo. especially with those glasses.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms/Hurricane of Puns:
    • There is frequent mention of the heart (heart break, heartbeats, heart surgery, etc.).
      • Jin wants to stay in his safe zone (60 - 90 beats per minute), but since meeting Ae Jung, his heart has been racing.
      • Jin also says that he once wanted to be Iron Man, because of the artificial heart.
    • Ae Jung calls Jin "Butthole Jin" (Ddong Ko), a pun on his name Dokko Jin and the fact that he's an ass. She also says things like "shut your butthole" to mean shut up.
    • After Ae Jung refuses his affections, Jin repeatedly tells Ae Jung that he will find her chicken, or the thing that is most important to her. He's referring to the folk tale of the camellias, in which a rich boy who loved a poor loser but got rejected. The loser had one chicken and the rich boy tormented it in revenge. Finally, the loser ended up crying under the camellias.
    • Battery/recharging
    • Jae Suk mentions that anyone looking for Jin's porno online will find Pororo instead.
    • Ae Jung is periodically mentioned as a "national treasure."
  • Imagined Innuendo: Jin invites Ae Jung home to see his potato. She naturally is confused.
  • Imagine Spot: Happens frequently to most of the main characters.
  • In-Series Nickname: Jin calls Hyung Kyu "Ding Dong."
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Jin and Ding Dong, Ae Jung's nephew, who Jin repeatedly kidnaps from school.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Ae Jung and Pil Joo. And later, Ae Jung and Dokko Jin.
  • Intimate Healing: Rechaaaarrrrggggeeee.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dokko Jin
  • Karaoke Box: The gang goes to a noraebang to celebrate Ae Jung's record deal, only to have Dokko Jin show up and sing BigBang's "Heartbreaker" to her.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Ae Jung wants to protect the secrets of everyone, even at her own expense.
  • K-Pop
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    Ae Jung: This is not some romantic comedy where love prevails!
    • Singer/Actor Lee Seung Gi makes a cameo when he plays Lee Seung Gi, a not-so-nice actor with good publicity - just like the character Jin. (In real life, Lee Seung Gi is known to be a nice guy.)
  • Leg Cling: Jae Suk when he's totally drunk and upset at Dokko Jin's upcoming surgery.
  • Love at First Splash: The first time they meet, Ae Jung angrily splashes water in Pil Joo's face because she thought he was trying to buy her for the night. He's immediately taken with her.
  • Love Triangle
    • Pil Joo - Ae Jung - Jin.
    • Ae Jung - Pil Joo - Se Ri.
    • To a lesser extent Ae Jung - Jin - Se Ri, as Jin/Se Ri's relationship is purely for show.
    • Ae Hwan (Ae Jung's older brother/Ding Dong's father) - Jenny - Jae Suk
  • Media Scrum: It gets so bad that Ae Jung loses her shoe while being hounded by reporters.
  • Meta Guy: Jin
    "Melo(drama), ero(tica), or rom(antic)-com(edy)!"
  • Mistaken for Gay: Drunk!Jae Suk is "so upset that he can't tell anyone," as he tells Jin to never leave his side. Ae Jung, of course, mistakes him for gay. He's actually upset about Jin's upcoming heart surgery.
  • The Nicknamer: Ae Jung constantly changes Dokko Jin's name on her cell phone, "Butthole", "Lump of Annoyance", "Recharge", to name a few.
  • Nerd Glasses: But on Pil Joo, they're hot!
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently Ae Hwan has reason to believe that Jenny is genuinely interested in him, based on a drunken incident. She denies it.
    "That day, when we were together, drinking red wine, the sudden power loss, the rain, the kiss..."
  • Oblivious to Love
    • Played With. Jin is ironically oblivious to his feelings for Ae Jung, even though his heart beats faster around her, he feels pity when he sees her hurt, he's jealous when he sees her around other guys, etc.
    • Se Ri repeatedly hints to Pil Joo, who assumes she's just joking.
    • Subverted by Jenny, who plays against both Ae Hwan and Jae Suk, leading both several times to speak in unison, "What a terrible girl."
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Ae Jung and the potato ahjumma. Ae Jung's talking about Jin; potato ahjumma is just talking about potatoes.
  • Paparazzi
  • Publicity Stunt Relationship: Actor Dokko Jin and singer/host Kang Se-ri broke up a year ago, but their teams have them pretend they're still together because it's good for their images. Jin developing feelings for Se-ri's rival/former groupmate Ae-jung makes that a little more complicated.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Dokko Jin uses a seven year old for romantic advice. No wonder he doesn't get it.
  • Sarcastic Confession/Suspiciously Specific Denial: Jin to Ae Jung (paraphrase): "Do you think I would kidnap Ding Dong from school just to get your attention?"
    • When Ae Jung assumes he's joking, Jin then lists things that he's 'joking' about, including, "If I say I want to marry (you), think of it as a joke."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Jin tries to spin a 15,000 dollar of wine into a Hollywood contract, buys out a night club so Ae Jung didn't have to sing there, and manages to have an amusement park light up as a backdrop to a confession.
  • Secret Relationship: Jin/Ae Jung
  • Shower Scene: Dokko Jin. Impressive pecs and about the only time you see his forehead.
  • Show Within a Show: The plot revolves around a reality show.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silly Love Songs: National Treasure Girls' "Du-gun Du-gun" (Heartbeat)
  • Slave to PR: As all our main characters are in the limelight, this trope is Played Straight, Played With, and Discussed.
  • Something about a Rose: Dokko Jin holds a rose in his mouth to surprise his girlfriend on the one-year anniversary of their fake relationship. It doesn't end well.
  • Spirited Competitor: Jin
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Jin
    • When Jin first realizes what his feelings for Ae Jung, he's in a broadcasting studio. As he questions his feelings, he is repeatedly answered by the titles of various drama posters on the wall: Really Really Like You, A Prince‚Äôs First Love, Man in Crisis, You Are So Beautiful.
    • Jin also talks to his fish. And his potato.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Dokko Jin, in spades.
  • Test Kiss: Dokko Jin kisses Ae Jung just before she goes onstage to accept or reject Pil Joo.
  • Time Skip
  • Title Drop: When Dokko Jin announces his love.
  • Unknown Rival: Doubles as a Running Gag. Actor Kim Nam Gil, who's constantly taking acting roles that Jin wants. (Even taking over as Vitamin Water's celebrity endorser!) note 
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Jerkass Jin is not as nice as the public believes him to be.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Dokko Jin, with a big red bow and a diamond flower ring on his little finger.
    "Gu Ae Jung, take responsibility for me!"
  • Wink "Ding!"