Hi there! I’m Stephanie’s friend Jami, and I recently completed my first ever Kdrama. Obviously, I have been hearing wonderful things from Stephanie about these shows for years. I have been slowly making my way through Pasta, and enjoying it, but still have four episodes to go before it’s complete. The first 16 episodes took my husband and I over a year to watch, mostly because our streaming capabilities were very limited for a long time. I also tried watching It’s Okay, That’s Love but didn’t make it to the second episode, so my Kdrama experience has been limited at best.
Anyhow, I’ve had a little extra time at work lately and enjoy watching Netflix while taking care of busy work. And what should Netflix suggest to me a few weeks back? Boys Over Flowers — one of the early shows I remembered Stephanie talking about, so I figured “what the heck” I’ll give it a try.
I was instantly aware of the crack-tastic nature of the show. They really do a good job of pulling you in and getting you invested in the characters quickly. I found it to be very Pride and Prejudice-y at the beginning, which was a big plus: Arrogant, wealthy man taken under the spell of a poor, spitfire. Older female relation wants to block the match. He has a sweet best friend who our heroine gets along with much better than our hero. As a BBC drama lover, this was hitting all the right notes for me, however, I do think that they went a little too far making F4 unlikable at the beginning. Seriously — these guys happily drove at least one person to attempted suicide. Are we supposed to forget that just because Goo Jun Pyo’s mother never loved him?
However, they do get the romance and infatuation in the first half very right. Much of the credit of this goes to Lee Min Ho, who is more than up to the challenge of playing arrogant as well as lovesick. Koo Hye Sun has a lovely, warm presence and more than sells her character, but seems to have a bit of trouble selling me on the fact that she really was in love. This is made more evident in the second half of the show when they are separated and she is the one who is lovesick. Maybe it’s a Kdrama-thing? I know not to expect Sex and the City-ish passion from a Korean teen drama, but it would be nice if she didn’t look… uncomfortable… whenever they were alone. Even when she realizes that she likes him, she just never seems like she wants him to touch her in any way. Is this level of modesty consistent with all females in Kdramas or is it unique to this show?
Other stray observations:
There is no way these people are in high school. Unless they go to Rydell with Rizzo and Kenickie.
Isn’t Kpop a massive industry? Why do they only have the rights to four songs? Using the same love song for Goo Jun Pyo and Jandi as you do for Ji Hoo and his Grandfather is… odd.
No one cares about Wo Bin. Don’t half-heartedly try to give him a story at the last minute.
For that matter, we care less about Ji Hoo’s grandfather and Ji Yung’s pottery crush than the writers seem to think. They would have been better served to make these themes right from the beginning to get people invested.
I love the flyaway hairs and not-blindingly-white teeth on some actors. Very un-American TV. These are just “normal” beautiful people. Not beautiful people with teams of stylists to keep them looking beyond-perfect every second. It’s comforting.
While we’re at it, I also loved the blurred out brand names in the supermarket scenes. Seriously? Can you not either fill the screen with product placement or just slap pretend labels over things like we do in America? I expect blurring out in reality shows since they can’t control their environment as much as a scripted show. Strange, but oddly comforting.
I think Ji Hoo looked way cuter with his long, lighter hair.
These people never attend work. Or school. And there never seem to be any adults or authority figures on campus.
Characters, plotlines, and people’s motivations seem to shift with the breeze. I think that’s why the second half drags a bit because, while more focused, it’s not quite the roller coaster of activity we’ve been experiencing thus far.
All-in-all, it was definitely enjoyable, but it seemed to lose its way halfway through and forgot a bit what kind of show it was. I would have been happier if it trimmed out a few episodes and stretched out a few of the near-death experiences they crammed into the first half over more episodes. There is a lot of filler in this series, for one that moved so quickly for the first 10 episodes. So. Many. Montages. And flashbacks. By the last few episodes, we were flashing back to scenes that happened 10 minutes prior. Uhhh… I think we remember that. IT JUST HAPPENED. I’m certainly open to watching more Kdramas, though there is so much fantastic television right now that I doubt it will ever take over a significant portion of my viewing. I just hope the next one has a bit more diversity in its soundtrack.