Category Archives: Dramas

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop ends

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You know, diving into this drama, I wasn’t thinking and expecting much. I just wanted to see Jung Ilwoo and I was interested in Lee Chungah and Lee Kiwoo. Watching the preview told me not to expect to be blown away because I was expecting a harmless little bubble gum candy of a romcom.

I did not expect to get addicted to Flower Boy or like it as much or actually think this drama is GOOD. Romantic comedies are tricky dramas. I watch a gajillion of them and they’re usually easy to watch. BUT, they’re also really easy to collapse upon the first blow of harsh wind. Meaning, the moment they get sucky, it’s really easy to judge them and leave. About 98% of Rom Com dramas start out zippy and strong and ends lumpy and weak. So, it’s really rare to find one that not only stays watchable, but actually stays good till the very last second.

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop managed to achieve the almost miracle, really. I remember watching the first 2 episodes and while I was largely entertained, I was actually unimpressed. It steadily got better and ended up being such a crack. Not content with that, the drama pushes up and ended up being one of my favourites this year.

We know romcom can be cheesy. It comes with territory, really. But I LOVE how Flower Boy has this innate ability to undercut the cheese with the perfect amount of wit and humour and at the right timing. Just a small little comment here, a facial expression there,  can be enough to to season the drama just right. So, what would’ve been a total gag party ended up making you laugh unexpectedly.

I wasn’t sold on the half brother trope they used earlier, but I’m glad that while it became somewhat of a game changer, it never became a deal breaker and things didn’t start revolving around that one revelation. I still think that’s kind of a blunder, but I’m ever so glad they weren’t pushing that angle too much. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if they’re brothers, it matters that they trust each other.

Gah, I will miss this drama so much!

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Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Ep 4-10

Damn, this drama is friggin savoury and addictive. I think they put lots of MSG in it!! Heh.

10 Episodes in, I can say there are things that disappointed me, but there are a lot more things that ended up being pleasant surprises. But let’s start with the Meh.

I find the drama falling into the conventional romcom trap, in that it focuses WAY too much on it. It being the romance itself. I’m a firm believer that while a drama should rightly delves into a great romance story, it should NEVER be consumed by it. A lot of dramas start out solid on all fronts but ended up being possesed by the romance and forgot about everything else. Case in point: Sungkyunkwan Scandal. I feel like Flower Boy is giving me a warning light, it might head into that direction.

But I can’t begrudge the drama too much. The thing is that Flower Boy never really built a hype on itself about being something else. It never said it was going to be an underdog story, developing a Ramyun Shop into success. In fact, its promotional tag was something along the lines of “Hot Ramyun, Hot Love” so I guess the show has a right to exactly be consumed by its romance, just like its hero is being completely possesed by a newfound love/lust and the likes.

But I do wish to see more of the other things. How the Ramyun Shop is doing, how the Ramyun creations are cooked (I know it’s not Gourmet, but can’t we have some food porn???) But most of all, I’d like to see the other characters. Kanghyuk, who began with such a bang, is faltering because he’s becoming such a cardboard cutout of a character. We know none about his existence before the shop; we don’t even know how exactly he knew Eunbi’s dad. If this is such a secret, fine. But can we at least get to know him on a deeper level?

On the other hand, I’m having SO MUCH fun watching the show that I almost didn’t care about its shortcomings. It continues to be snappy, cute, and hilarious to boot. I said this before but I’m saying it again now and will definitely say it again in the future. The drama is packed with great people and great chemistry. There’s the chaebol dad who is perpetually clothed in his bathrobe and instead of intimidating his son, he is intimidated by him. There’s the nice kid with an unhealthy love for knitting. There’s the ‘other’ girl with a curious outlook on love and two/three timing. And then there’s this dude:

Crazy Chicken may not be the show’s hero, but he’s totally MY hero. He’s crazy adorkable and he’s so friggin cute with Eunbi, whom he treats like his own sister. Park Minwoo must (should) be getting a lot of attention for this role. He’s knocking it out!

Oh, then, there’s also the…..Sexy. With capital S.

All I can say is, damn Lee Chungah must’ve been a Korean war hero in her previous live. How can she possibly have this much luck??

Ojakgyo Brothers, Ep 33-34

Happier episodes, FTW!!!

This is what I’m saying about the writer’s prowess with pace. The change of tide came not a moment too soon. Another week spent in hazy gloom would have me drag my feet yet if Jaeun followed through too soon, the impact of Mama Hwang stealing her land deed would be diminished and as Jaeun mentioned, would be a total disrespect for her dad who’s still MIA.

I really like that the road to getting the farm back and forgiving the Hwang family is NOT merely about the land deed being stolen and the betrayal and so on. Jaeun needs to overcome that, first and foremost. But it’s also chock full with intricate family dynamic and Taehee’s long lost half family. This is incorporated into the farm plot and tied back neatly with Jaeun coming through for the family. The fact is that she loves Taehee and the family, she just can’t sit back and let them get hurt and it’s what finally allowed Jaeun to start forgiving them. She can put her victim status, second still, to the people she loves.

The beginning of forgiveness is also aptly illustrated, as the farm is not a done deal yet.  Jaeun needs to come up with $50,000 of farm revenue in six months in order for Kim Jaeha to forfeit the purchase, no external help whatsoever. I dig this condition so much, because this gives a valid foundation for Jaeun to a)seek help from The Hwangs and thus forgiving them and b)cultivate herself as the true farm owner. This also gives a great time frame of the show’s future.

As the farm plot was settling down, Taebum and Sooyoung’s storyline is getting a spark of conflicts. Taebum’s ex girlfriend, Hyeryung is divorced, back to work, and the new writer for Taebum’s new show. In short, the bitch is IN! Writer is such a genius, really. To be honest, while I was gunning for Ryu Sooyoung and Choi Jungyoon at the beginning of the series, the teen episodes made me more invested in Jaeun/Taehee. But it’s to the writer’s credit and of course the actors’ chemistry, that Taebum/Sooyoung became just as compelling, and definitely better acted on top of it.

Also, I’m so rooting for Yeowool and Taepil. They may be 9-10 years apart, but they communicate well and they complete each other. I hate to say it, but Yeowool is a damsel in distress, in a sense. She may be in her 30s, but her mindset and naivete sets her way back. She needs to learn to stand up for herself and not be bossed around by her sister. Whereas dealing with Yeowool forces Taepil to mature up and gives him someone he can protect. Being the youngest brother, everyone did that to him. So now he has to learn to pay it forward.

I’m so in drama heaven right now. I don’t particularly follow a lot of dramas right now, but the two (this and Flower Boy Ramyun Shop) that I’m following at the moment are going so so SO well that I’m just over the fucking moon.

Ojakgyo Brothers, Ep 23-32

In these 10 episodes, all hell broke loose. And then some.

The inevitable happened when Jaeun found out that it was really Mom Hwang all along who hid the land deed and made her suffer through nights in sleeping bag living in a tent. All the awful treatments she received her way started coming back to her, and while she was furious, she was more heartbroken at the fact that she’s betrayed yet again by someone she loved. She ordered the Hwangs to sell the farm right away.

Entering the picture, was Kim Jaeha, who expressed interests in working with Taehee. He owns a movie company and hired Jaeun to adopt her animation . This is pure coincidence. But the guy had an ulterior motive in getting to know Taehee. As predicted by a lot of people, he turned out to be Taehee’s stepbrother, the son of the man Taehee’s mom married after she fled. To put us further on the edge of our seats, Kim Jaeha relayed a message that Taehee would no longer be able to reconcile with his mother as she had passed away recently.

Rounding up this merry go round of confusion and coincidences, Kim Jaeha purchased the Ojakgyo farm per his father’s instruction. And when the Hwang family found out who ended up buying their farm, the family Taehee’s mom left them for, Grandma went berserk.

In terms of plot progress, this is pretty much the main big conflict that we’re dealing right now. The other brothers have their minor storylines too. Taeshik and his newfound son are still at an impasse, especially since Yejin finally found out about Gooksoo. The good thing is that I think Taeshik and Gooksoo have started to get along better, with the help of the awesome, awesome Misook.

Whereas Taepil and Yeowool started getting closer. I’m not sure if theirs is intended for a romantic pathway, because it would be breaking SO MANY rules. They’re supposed to be at least 10 years apart and not only she’s an inlaw, but she’s the inlaw’s aunt, which means one generation above Taepil, which would just blow all social rules out of the water. It doesn’t help that they’ve got quite a crackling chemistry together.

Last, but not least, Taebum and Sooyoung. With the appearance of Sooyoung’s senior who became their new boss, Taebum was spurred on by the new alpha male competition, especially since the new boss was so not shy from professing his undying love for Sooyoung. Taebum was pushed to jealousy and forced to face his growing attraction for Sooyoung. Finally, after all this time, Taebum began to reciprocate Sooyoung’s feelings. And now, JUST when things had gotten good, his ex just had to make a friggin comeback, geez.

Ojakgyo Brothers is flowing really really nicely. It has a whole bunch of mini storylines between a set of characters. Each brother has their own issues to worry about, under which they generally stand. But then we get nice little moments of these characters interacting outside their specified frame. Like Taepil showing care and concern for Taehee, usually the brother he refuses to acknowledge. Taepil’s storyline is considerably less, but he’s given extra depth to round of his role in the drama. Plus, Yeon Woojin is a pretty capable actor and hopefully would graduate into leads soon.

I really like the fact that we’re more than halfway through and no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The writer picks great timing to introduce new people to the show to not only spice things up but also pick up the pace. With the long awaited arrival of Taebum’s ex girlfriend, Taebum and Sooyoung’s line will officially go into full swing. And now that Jaeun has made up her mind to NOT sell the farm to Kim Jaeha, we will reset the score and Taehee/Jaeun will have to rebuild their almost relationship.

Not only that, Jaeun and Mom Hwang can finally start fresh. Nothing will be forgotten, but their formed bond cannot be dimissed either. I miss this dynamic duo the most. Hopefully they will patch things up soon.

I’m in love

….with Crazy Chicken.

Seriously, how awesome is he?? Anyone who’s watching Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and NOT liking Kim Bawool aka Crazy Chicken must be, well, crazy. He’s the most adorable puppy kid ever. He’s kind of a reminiscence of Matsumoto Jun in two different projects: Gokusen and You’re My Pet. Plus, the fact that Bawool has an actual chicken hair, just tickles me so much.

This is his reaction to the general Kang Hyuk-ness of Kang Hyuk

I like Bawool a lot because inherently he’s just a big ol’ softie. He was all tough on the onset, what with all the fighting, the school skipping, etc. But whenever he’s on screen, you just can’t help going all ‘Awwwww’. In these 6 episodes of Flower Boy Ramyun Shop that have aired, Bawool consistently ranks as my favourite character.

And the thing is, I actually like the way all these characters are written. There’s the Diva Chaebol Asshole who’s getting his ass served on a silver platter on account of his newfound rush of feelings for the Constipated Intern. The aforementioned Constipated Intern is a girl in the midst of finding herself, and accepting who she is. Also, girl has an enviable Shinhwa T-Shirt. Then there’s the Sleepy Sleeperson who’s the laziest 2nd lead, but also the most adorable one in the history of drama watching (mine, at least).

I’ve got the worst case of 2nd Lead Syndrome with Lee Kiwoo’s Kang Hyuk. And god knows, I never really have one of those. And to think that having one while my own Flower Boy Jung Ilwoo is playing the friggin 1st lead, is a testament to how giggle inducing Sleepy Sleeperson is. I hope he doesn’t continue to be perfect, but continues to be awesome nonetheless.

And in the middle of all this cuteness, Kim Bawool actually emerges as the winner. He’s got such a high likability factor that I think partly comes from the actor himself. I have no idea who Park Minwoo is, but I’m already anticipating his future roles.

Crazy Chicken’s reaction to the possibility of endless ramyun at his disposal

So, how can he not be UP there in your books?? He’s such a cutie, this chicken.

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Ep 1-3

It’s exactly what I expected, and more.

What makes this drama so winning, so far, is how likable the heroine, Eunbi, is. Lee Chungah is generally an adorable, cute actress. But she’s got this ability to be really animated without going too much into the overacting zone. There are perfectly good actresses who you can tell is straining to play cute, bubbly type. Then there are actresses, who may not be as good, but whose vivacity just comes naturally. I think Lee Chungah falls in the second category. Not saying that she’s a crap actress, but I’m just highlighting how this role just seems right up her ally. I don’t really follow her career, but looking at her hancinema page, I just realized that I’ve seen like half of her projects. I remember how hilarious she was in My Tutor Friend 2 (chemistry was off the chart with cutie Park Kiwoong) and of course, she was such a ball of crazy as Hwang Jungmin’s sassy little sis in That Fool.

The drama follows heroine Eunbi navigating through life of being a intern teacher at a highschool. In the first couple of episodes, I thought it was going the Hardtack Teacher and Star Candy/Gokusen-territory and was promptly confused as to how a Ramyun Shop would be borne out of it. But with 3 episodes in the bag, the idea of a ramyun shop is coming together nicely. I like that they don’t set up the premise right on the first episode but instead allow the background story to gain a strong footing so we do get more attached to this shop in the future.

Also, it’s nice that an episode clocks in only for about 50 minutes, not like network TV that goes for as long as 1 hour 10 minutes, sometimes more. This makes for a more brisk pace each episode and less chance of fatigue. The downside is that when the drama is such a fun watch, those minutes just go by really quickly. I was watching episode 3 and somewhere along the way, I just realized there was only 5 more minutes.

I’m liking everyone so far. Jung Ilwoo alternates between being an assface and an assface with depth. This role has flashes of Highkick’s Yunho and the recent 49 Days’ Scheduler. In general, I think Jung is better suited for mellow, low profile characters rather than a bright, charming romeo. He has a tendency to overdo the yelling and the whining, but then knocks it out with a great reflective scene. As for Lee Kiwoo, he’s only been in one episode but I’m in love with his character already. He’s just tres adorable.

By the way, the one that really stands out for me is Crazy Chicken. He’s SUCH a dork!!

Ojakgyo Brothers, Ep 1-22

I had zero interest in Ojakgyo Brothers. One, because idol/actor UEE was in it. Two, it’s a long ass drama. Three, UEE’s role was reportedly prominent. Basically, it boiled down to WTF is UEE doing in this drama???

And then I saw the trailers. Immediately I took a liking. UEE and Joowon had great chemistry. Jung Woongin was wonderful. But most of all, Ryu Sooyoung and Choi Jungyoon just looked perfect with each other. I figured it looked harmless enough and trailers at least warranted a first episode look. I never expected it to be my current favourite drama.

Brief Overview

Ojakgyo Brothers is a family fare, revolving around the Hwang family. The Hwang family has 4 sons. Hwang Taeshik is the oldest son, carrying a heavy ‘bachelor’ tag on his shoulder. His constant pressure is to get married. His weakness is a pretty girl. Taebum is the second son, irresponsible and immature, and works as a reporter in a TV station where he frequently butts head with his boss, hot headed Cha Sooyoung. Taehee, is the adoptive third son, originally the son of Papa Hwang’s brother. He works as a cop, where he meets college student Baek Jaeun, while investigating her father. Taepil is the youngest son, a much cause of desperation and/or trouble in the family. He’s a part time model and full time skirt chaser.

Hwang family owns a pear/duck farm which they work and live from for about 10 years. Only one day, a weird dude comes to the house asking Papa Hwang to return the farm. So yes, apparently the farm had only been on a long term loan, one which only Papa Hwang and Grandma Hwang know about. Consequently the rest of the house explodes upon this newfound knowledge, particularly Mom Hwang, who works herself to the bone cultivating the farm. Weird dude turns out to be Baek Inho, a prominent witness on a case that Taehee is working on. When Baek Inho goes missing on a flight to China, the family temporarily heaves a sigh of relief. But only for long, because Baek Inho’s daughter Baek Jaeun drops by to demand her dad’s farm back.

This is basically the setup of the drama. The farm has always been owned by the Baek family, but was loaned to the Hwang family, who built it from ground zero into a fruit producing, profitably farm it is today. So right away, we are hit across the face with this conflict of interest. Whose farm is it supposed to be? Who are we supposed to root for? The Baek’s side of argument is clear and simple. The farm is legally theirs. But what about the Hwang? They were the one who turned a block of soil and land into a lush pear orchard and duck farm.

That’s the big picture. But let me break down the story of each brother so far, up to episode 22.

Taeshik finally went on a blind date with the woman of his dreams, Yejin. Yejin is sweet and nice. She’s also gorgeous, which immediately won her a gajillion points in Taeshik’s books. The Hwang family rented a suit to a lady and her daughter, Misook and Hana. Misook turned out to be Taeshik’s old old friend from school and she has feelings for Taeshik, one that goes completely ignored by Taeshik because he’s too preoccupied with purrty girl Yejin. One day, Taeshik’s old girlfriend in the Philippines started contacting him again. No, not to get back together or anything. But to tell him that they had a 9 year old son together, and he’s coming to Korea! Dum dum dum!

Taebum goes on about as usual, creating havoc and fighting with his superior, Cha Sooyoung. Their relationship is complicated. She’s his senior, but she’s younger than him. The switch of power does not bode well with them. Sooyoung is a shy, clumsy girl at heart, but is known as a dragon lady at work. She’s been crushing on Taebum but never had the guts to tell him because hell, she’s his boss. Until one day where they both get drunk and done the dirty work in bed. But all was still fine until Sooyoung found out she got pregnant, wanted to keep the baby, and asked Taebum to marry her. After much prodding, Taebum agreed to do a one year trial marriage. And there begins Sooyoung and Taebum’s uber awkward married life, complete with meddlesome mother in law, unconventional sleeping arrangement, and a sign of old feelings for old flame.

Taehee started investigating a case that seemed simple enough, until it snowballed into giant bribery and collusion mayhem, involving his own boss. Keeping in mind that he’s a cop, that situation’s a murky water altogether. When Baek Jaeun was at odds with his family, his integrity sided with her, yet he couldn’t betray his family. He started helping her little by little, time and time again touched by her sincerity. Taehee’s story is slowly getting off the ground as we see a little more about the case, and his interaction with Jaeun. They’re getting there.

Much like Taehee’s, Taepil’s story hasn’t been in the center stage. Taepil bumped into Sooyoung’s young aunt Yeowool by chance. Yeowool just got back from US to open her business but got conned by her friend instead. And it seems like he will be helping her “getting her groove back”. Not sure if a supposed romance is in the horizon for them, but in the meantime, Taepil is sparking some jealousy on Taehee’s part as Taepil started treating Jaeun nicer.

Baek Jaeun was the queen of the campus, a small celebrity of her own. When dad went missing, her world crumbled along with dad’s company and wealth. It didn’t help matters that her stepmom is a sneaky, lying bitch, and took flight the first chance she got.  Jaeun knew her dad had an asset nobody knew and when she came to claim her dad’s farm to the Hwang, they turned her off coldly. The cherry on top was when the land deed went missing and she was embroiled in a bribery scandal with the school, courtesy of Taebum. So she had no money and nowhere to go. After the scandal was cleared, she resolved to camp out on the Hwang’s front yard to get to know the family and the farm. She began learning about farming and helping Mom Hwang and struck an unlikely friendship with her. What she doesn’t know, however, is that Mom Hwang is the one who hid the land deed and basically landed her broke and kicked her out on the street. But she doesn’t know that yet. Dum dum dum….

Comments

I have a weakness for family drama. I tend to love them. But I remember hating at least the first 8 episodes of this drama. I hated Papa Hwang for hiding about the farm and consequently not being able to stand up for who’s right. I hated Mom Hwang for being such a stubborn and insensible lady. I hated how Jaeun walks around like she owns the damn farm right from the get go. I hated how the family treated Jaeun because despite everything, the farm IS hers. I think it was when things started to calm down that I began to enjoy the drama.

Jaeun got her act together and dealt with Mom Hwang the right way. Vice versa, Mom Hwang grudgingly started to accept her and took Jaeun under her wing. More than the romance, the bond between Mom Hwang and Jaeun is what I like the most. She’s taken to defend Mom and stick to her like a daughter and Mom started confiding in Jaeun when she has a problem with her sons. They started with such animosity to each other and have come a long way now. I’m so dreading the moment Jaeun finds out the land deed was hidden by Mom Hwang all this time. Wonder if their newfound rapport can be healed when this goes to the shitter.

I already expressed how much I love UEE in this drama. She’s still stumbling a little here and there, but I love how natural Jaeun’s vivacity is. Sometimes, you can tell an actress is trying to be all sunny and bright, but UEE really gets into her character and her acting feels so sincere. Plus, she’s got amazing chemistry with Joowon. Their scenes continue to be little cookie highlights of each episode. I appreciate that they’re taking their time with Jaeun and Taehee, after all, it’s a 50 episode drama, but I’m glad the ball is rolling slowly.

Out of all brothers, Taebum is the hardest to like. I’m looking forward to Taebum/Sooyoung scenes every episode, but I find myself trying hard to root for them. It feels like he’s throwing silent tantrums all the time now because he feels wronged that the marriage is forced on him. I hate seeing Sooyoung tiptoeing around him, trying to gain little favours out of him here and there. True, the marriage was shoved on him, but he did get his one year trial condition. So why isn’t he trying?

Taeshik’s son finally appeared. And they really scored with the child actor. He’s such a cute little kid, with amazing expressive eyes, and this perchance to make you on his side from the start. I think I’m going to love Taeshik’s storyline a lot.

Ojakgyo Brothers airs every Saturday and Sunday and is available on Viki. Go watch it!