Tag Archives: jung il woo

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??

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!!

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

What’s it about? Pretty boys. Ramyun shop. Pretty boys. Oh god, I don’t even know what this thing is about. Pretty boys, yes, that’s it.

Expectation? Not much, as long as it’s fun and generally coherent.

Why watch? Lee Kiwoo who had gotten real hot after army, and not in the nerdy kind of way, he used to strike me as. The adorable Lee Chungah. Jung Fucking Ilwoo, enough said.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think about this sudden sprout of cable dramas airing in the second part of 2011. I mean, more dramas are always great, but the timing is just crazy. One drama after another is being announced, boasting names as high profile as Jung Woosung, Song Ilgook, and possibly Hwang Jungmin. Seriously, there are so many of them. How is one supposed to keep up with all these????

Anyways, Flower Boy will air at the end of the month. Many more will soon follow. If this cable drama shindig is going to be groundbreaking, as in pulling in lots of viewers, the drama landscape will be so much more interesting. The big networks didn’t really have anyone to compete with, other than each other. But now that cable television is entering the game, with such a bang, I might add, the competition will be even more stiff. I’m looking forward to improved quality (hopefully) from every players!

Lee Kiwoo’s saranghae is getting me all hot and bothered.

49 Days, 2nd To Last

49 Days will officially be ending tomorrow. And I’m devastated.

It’s not often to come by a drama so good it hurts. Even among those dramas you recognize as good, some just echoes more than others. You tend to grow emotionally attached with whatever you’re watching, but you know you’re just more attached to some than others. 49 Days is one of the rare dramas that is really good but is also touching me on a more personal level.

In the grand scheme of things, 49 Days may not be breaking any new grounds. Ratings do not soar to forty-something percent. It doesn’t give birth to pop culture mania such as Goo Junpyo’s curly hairdo, Kim Joowon’s sparkly tracksuit, or Sungkyunkwan Scandal’s Guhro Ahree. 49 Days, in the end, will just be one of the dramas with stellar quality but enjoy none of the perks of creating a big buzz.

Those dramas keep you reminded of a small specific thing about them, that’s true. But dramas like 49 Days, you will always remember with a little bit of ache in your heart and what you remember from it, 5 years from now even if you don’t watch it again, is that it’s so fucking good.

Overall good dramas you don’t meet very often. But dramas that keep you on the edge of your seat till the last episode is even harder to see. A lot of dramas, even good ones, usually suffer toward the end. Usually, quality is on a downward trend around the time when 80% of dramas have been broadcast. Either it’s the viewer’s fatigue, or simply that the drama is getting reckless especially with so little time of production, it’s really hard to make a perfect ending. But 49 Days have proven to me that dramas CAN get better as each episode closes. Dramas CAN keep us guessing till the end. Dramas CAN be so well written, so well acted, so consistently good. Dramas CAN keep its steam till the finish line.

Like I said, I really like that 49 Days is never about romance. Romance is just shrewdly thrown in the mix and becomes a major theme of the drama, but it doesn’t steal the focus away about it being about two girls finding their own self. Jihyun discovers things she, not the brightest bulb, would never notice before. Yikyung turns to find closure to her own issues and is urged to move on. Likewise, Yisoo and Kang are the ones behind them, watching them and supporting them, helping the girls solve the math.

We haven’t seen the last episode, but I have complete faith in the production people that it will continue to be amazing. The only way you can ruin tomorrow, for me, is if the ending is SO out of character and brimming with fan service. And so far, Writer So, has been very pragmatic with unnecessary fluff, proportioning the right amount of plot point with the cushion of fluff and I’m enjoying so much.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

49 Days: Prove Your Sincerity

Well, hello, World! It’s weird to be blogging again after so long. But a new sprout of dramas going on air has propelled me to talk about them, despite in short, vague, not helping, sentences.

I haven’t really talked about this, but my current obsession is 49 Days. It’s pretty much a repeat of Brilliant Legacy-like obsession. It makes my Wednesdays and Thursdays at the office feel like 8 hours of warranted and paid slow death. It makes my semi quiet twitter feed like a frenzy of incoherent spastic blabs. It makes me go to bed on Thursdays with a “EFFING HELL, HOW CAN I WAIT ANOTHER WEEK??????”

That, my friend, is 49 Days. If by this point, your reaction is: Huh, what day? Then you are sorely missing out.

Coincidentally, 49 Days comes from the same writer of Brilliant Legacy, a drama that spurred me into (I believe) writing this blog in the first place???. Much like Legacy, 49 Days is peppered with dramatic tensions and delicious character developments. So Hyunkyung, the writer, has her share of dramatic ropes, and sometimes they turn you off, but she’s so skillful in how she releases those ropes and in how she actually solves them. Which is exactly what makes 49 Days a tightly interwoven drama. I love how she justifies her characters as well. There are palpable and realistic conflicts, not just with each other but also within one self.

The runaway of the drama is none other than Jung Ilwoo, one of the Princes of My Pretty Boy Loving Heart! I don’t think he’s the best actor in this project, but I do think he’s the one with the most impact. The Scheduler is a volatile hoot, yet he’s also a melancholic lonely heart. Jung takes to both sides of his character fully. He seems to throw himself into this character, making every lines, every expressions, count. He’s got a long way to go before he could be called Good, but he’s certainly on the right track.

Then there’s Bae Soobin, who seems to relish in playing antagonists these days, huh? I haven’t seen his homme fatale role in the Angel’s Temptation, but I kinda dig him playing evil characters just because he looks so sweet and GOOD that just him playing an evil role, doing evil glare and evil sneer, already has a shock value on its own. Plus, I LOVE how in this drama, his character who’s supposed to do awful things kinda gets tangled in his own private demons, his attraction and obsession for a woman.

The pairing will get confusing as we get close to the end. Nam Gyuri, fiancee of Bae Soobin and the object of Jo Hyunjae’s affection is borrowing Lee Yowon’s body, who is Jung Ilwoo’s love in his old life. So, while it is TECHNICALLY Nam Gyuri hitting it off with Jo Hyunjae, it looks to the eyes as Lee Yowon. So will you root for Nam/Jo or Lee/Jo? But the real Lee Yowon is a whole other person, whose personality is a contrast from Nam. Do you still want Lee with Jo? What about the evil couple, Bae Soobin and Seo Jihye? What about Lee Yowon and Jung Ilwoo? Are you confused? Because my head hurts already.

49 Days is ending, next week, if I’m not mistaken. A lot of dramas runs off its steam towards the home stretch. Hopefully this is not one of them!