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If you close your eyes and think, you can see everything. If you cover your ears and think, you can hear everything.
Can You Hear My Heart, also known as Listen To My Heart, is a Korean Drama that aired April to July 2011. The story focuses on a cheerful, hardworking girl named Bong Woo Ri, who has a sweet and gentle stepfather with the mental age of 7 and a deceased deaf mother. She is looking for her stepbrother, ambitious Bong Ma Roo, who disappeared sixteen years ago.
Little does she know that he has been taken into Tae Hyun Sook’s family as Jang Joon Ha to become a brother for Cha Dong Joo, the grandson of a successful company owner. Dong Joo has become deaf after an accident and must pretend he can hear so that he can take back the company from his own stepfather.
Woo Ri and Dong Joo have some history, too – they know each other from their childhood, when Woo Ri, then known as “Little Mi Sook” (because she had no name yet), begged Dong Joo to teach her the piano. They both remember, but to approach his stepfather without suspicion Dong Joo has to pretend he has lost his memory.
You can see how all of this makes things complicated, but despite complex plotlines and character relationships, ‘’Can You Hear My Heart’’ is, at the risk of sounding cheesy, a warm family drama about overcoming disabilities and learning to love.
The series contains examples of:
- Age Cut: Dong Joo spends 16 years, playing with his beanbag.
- Betty and Veronica: For Woo Ri, Seung Chul is the Betty and Dong Joo is the Veronica. For Dong Joo, it's Woo Ri's Betty to Min Soo's Veronica.
- Big Brother Instinct: Joon Ha, for both Dong Joo and Woo Ri.
- Big Brother Worship: Both Cha Dong Joo and Bong Woo Ri for Jang Joon Ha / Bong Ma Roo, at least at first.
- Cain and Abel: Dong Joo and Joon Ha, later in the series
- Cherry Blossoms: Cha Dong Joo stood beneath the falling petals and used spoken imagery to test the voice-recognition software that will enable him to begin a new adult life hiding his deafness from a hearing public.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: CEO Choi Jin Chul, who allowed the previous president, his father-in-law, to die so he could take over the company. Choi Jin Chul also used his influence to force other businesses to fail.
- Dark Secret: Dong Joo doesn't let anyone know he's deaf.
- Dramatic Shattering/Drop What You Are Doing: Ah, that poor poor beanbag.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Woo Ri and Min Soo while man-bashing, Joon Ha right before he almost tells Woo Ri he's the Long Lost Sibling, and the whole family doing a drunken sing-a-long around the phone to get Grandma to come back.
- Eiffel Tower Effect: The cable cars to Namsam Tower are mentioned several times.
- Hair Decorations: Min Soo
- Face Heel Turn: Joon Ha, after Hyun Sook -- the person he thought of as a mother for sixteen years -- turns on him and abandons him in jail.
- Hand Signals: Woo Ri and her dad obviously know Korean Sign Language; she also uses it for emphasis, especially the sign for 'idiot'.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: Cha Dong Joo, who learned this trick from Bong Ma Roo.
- Heroic BSOD: Joon Ha hits the pavement, first with his knees, then his hands, after finding out that his biological father wanted him aborted, his mother didn't want him at all, and Young Gyu wasn't his father. Oh, and his grandmother knew all along.
- Hospital Gurney Scene: Twice
- Ho Yay: Dong Joo and Joon Ha. So much bromance, so little time. Lampshaded by Min Soo, who calls them "lovers".
- Identical Stranger: Na Mi Sook, a sales agent, who is played by the actress who played Woo Ri's mother earlier in the drama. The two characters even have the same (first) name! However, there's no connection between the two yet, and their personalities are radically different. Woo Ri and her family notices the similar appearance, though.
- Jaw Drop: Both Dong Joo and Seung Chul, when they see Woo Ri in a little black dress with high-heel pumps.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Everyone thinks Dong Joo lost his memory of his life before his injury.
- Long Lost Sibling: Joon Ha to Woo Ri
- Love Triangle: Seung Chul and Dong Joo are both attracted to Woo Ri.
- It evolves into a Love Dodecahedron when Joon Ha confesses to Woo Ri. Also, Min Soo, the cosmetist, has interest in both Dong Joo and Joon Ha.
- MacGuffin: A red beanbag used by Little Mi Sook to catch her deaf mother's attention became a comfort toy for the deaf Dong Joo while he was growing up.
- Meaningful Echo: Woo Ri and Dong Joo have this exchange once when they are kids, and once after Dong Joo reveals his deafness to the world.
Woo Ri: I thought you weren't going to come.
Dong Joo: I keep my promises.
- Missing Mom: Woo Ri's mother was killed in a factory fire when she was nine, leaving her to be raised by her stepfather and grandmother.
- Mistaken Identity: Woo Ri confuses Dong Joo for her stepbrother for a while, based on his mannerisms and some of the phrases he used. The same mannerisms and phrases he got from living with said stepbrother for sixteen years.
- The Nicknamer: Dong Joo does this to Woo Ri: "The Person I Liked As A Child", "The Person Who Kissed Seung Chul", mostly to tease her.
- Open Secret: All the main characters know that Dong Joo is deaf by the series' midpoint.
- Also everybody knows that CEO Choi has been having an affair with Shin Ae
- Orbital Shot: When Dong Joo makes the decision to out his deafness.
- Parental Abandonment: Ma Roo (Joon Ha) was left in the care of his uncle by his mother and didn't know his biological dad.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Dong Joo's pale skin is often commented on by the characters.
- Playing Nice for Now: Dong Joo. Hyun Sook. Choi.
- Piggyback Cute: Joon Ha carried Woo Ri home when she had too much to drink.
- Police Are Useless: They accused the deceased victim of a factory fire of arson, based on a phone call from the CEO. Haven't they heard of proper investigative procedure?
- Punny Name: Woo Ri means 'our' in Korean, as characters are quick to point out.
- Ramen Slurp: Woo Ri and Joon Ha with instant noodles in the park.
- Relationship Reveal: Dong Joo becomes more involved in Woo Ri's life after their Test Kiss.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: When Woo Ri calls up Joon Ha to repay her for the lunches she's bought him. Dong Joo is awfully surprised at how she looks in a dress, especially since her wardrobe seems to consist of only a few shirts.
- Shirtless Scene: Seung Chul after he falls into a river.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Woo Ri plants one on Seung Chul just before jumping off a bridge.
- Single Tear: This happens an awful lot of the time with a lot of the characters.
- Sir Swearsalot: Grandma
- Standard Female Grab Area: It's a wonder Woo Ri doesn't constantly have bruises on her arms.
- Start of Darkness: Hyun Sook. When she finds out her husband killed her father and hurt her son, it started a 16-year plan for revenge. Never underestimate the power of a Mama Bear!
- Too Dumb to Fool: Young Gyu is the first person to realize Dong Joo is deaf, mostly by recognizing certain traits that his late wife had.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Seung Chul, who grew up with her, and Dong Joo, her childhood friend, are both attracted to Woo Ri.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Seung Chul, who's been by her side since childhood.