Thursday, 28 February 2013

K-Drama: Boys Over Flowers 꽃보다 남자

THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Name of the show: Boys Over Flowers
Genre: Romantic Comedy, High School Romance
Lead Actors: Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon and Gu Hye Sun


Listen, so I had sort of made a deal with myself that this year I won;t be lazy and I will blog more often. And that every month, among other things, there will be at least one K-Drama review and film review. I have have a backlog with the K-Drama reviews so today I am going to start with one of the most famous K-dramas. I anyway end up referring to it on pretty much all my other posts of K-drama. So here goes, my post on Boys Over Flowers. Before that, a few notes... I had watched this show quite a while ago so bear with my back & forth trips down the memory lane and also, I do NOT own any of the pictures I have posted on this post.

Boys Over Flowers is known by various names including 꽃보다 남자, Boys Before Flowers. And this show is ridiculously famous in the whole K-wave scene. Anyone that I know who is remotely aware of K-wave and watches K-dramas is aware of Boys Over Flowers, no matter what their reaction to this show is. Many, especially high school girls, are gaga about this show and at the same time many argue that this a sissy show. I agree with both. Is Boys Over Flowers a good drama? No. Is Boys Over Flowers an entertaining drama? Yes. I must admit that even though half the time I was pulling my hair off after watching the plot cliches and all, and the so-called (and agreed with) sissy-ness of the show, I still couldn't get enough of it. I watched Boys Over Flowers with a compulsive madness. And I admit that a lot of it had to do with Lee Min Ho being on the lead. But that's not the only reason. The plot might have its fair share of cliches, there might be many times when you do not understand the characters' reactions and you might even think "that's not how I'd react in real life", the acting (for most of the cast) is actually good. And the show unfolds in a very easy, fun manner. This show is fun to watch if you're into romantic-comedies or high school romances. Or you know, into anyone from F4. 

I won't go into the story line of the show because it has a total of 25 episodes (so a total of 250 hours worth of running time) and the plot changes so many times. I'll just let Wikipedia and other sites do that bit just for this post and jump straight to the characters.

First and foremost, let's talk about the Boys, the F4:

Goo Jun Pyo 


Ah, Goo Jun Pyo!! Sigh. And even more so, Lee Min Ho who plays this character!The character of Goo Jun Pyo is the kinds that will have a certain age group of women swooning and have the men wondering what's so great about a rich, snobbish, arrogant teenager. The answer to that is this--hello, it is played by Lee Min Ho and he is HOT. Then his character turns out to be this really intense, caring, passionate guy who ends up falling in love and going to any lengths to make his ONE true love happy. So yes, he is hot, caring, faithful, not a player, rich (it helps), and can apparently sing.

The character in itself is very simple... like I said, filthy rich boy who is lonely inside with a messed up family life, whose only comfort in life are F4 and his older sister until Jan Di steps in. He is super mean to people in general but once he loves you, boy does he love you!! Woot woot. He also is kind of proud, and a tinsy bit confident...and I like the fact somehow that he isn't the brightest bulb there was.

I really liked the way Lee Min Ho played out this character. Goo Jun Pyo is an extremely imporatnt character---he is the male lead of the story, the leader of F4, the heir of the Shinhwa Group (a fictional company that is Korea's leading company). And I am not just saying this because I am such a Minoz (hehe...wanted to use that term). Lee Min Ho really did act this part out. Oh dear, I can go on and on about how awesome I think LMH is but I don't anyone wants to read so we move on to....


Yoon Ji Hoo
See, I like Kim Hyun Joong (the actor who plays Ji Hoo), I do. I love his songs (I admit it, yes) and I loved him in his other show Playful Kiss. But here, as Ji Hoo, he disappoints me. Ji Hoo is a part of F4, Jun Pyo's group of friends.. (F4 stand I think for "Flower 4" is a group of 4 super rich best friends who go to high school together, lead by Shinhwa heir, Goo Jun Pyo). And that makes him Jun Pyo's best friend. But he is also at a level a rivalry of Jun Pyo, fighting for his share of attention from Jan Di. So that makes Ji Hoo an important character too...he is good looking, intense, rich, brooding (he is an orphan, lives alone and his grandpa used to be the President of Korea), is really sweet and kind (he helps Jan Di when Jun Pyo unleashes his mean boy-ness on her), a musical prodigy. And then Kim Hyun Joong does such a rotten job of him. I suppose we shouldn't be too mean to him since Boys Over Flowers was his first acting venture but come on! Act!! He is oddly frozen in a lot of the scenes throughout the series. I was pleasantly surprised to see him actually act in Playful Kiss.

So Yi-Jung
We have to hand this much to the casting team of Boys Over Flowers that they teamed together a very good F4. Kim Bum plays the third F4 member, the pottery genius (who is again, filthy rich) who is also a playboy. His playboy image is a little hard to imagine considering Kim Bum's baby face but who cares... it's Kim Bum!! :D

His love story gets a side story of his own with Jan Di's best friend, Ga Eul.

Song Woo Bin
Played by T-Max member Kim Joon, Woo Bin is the last member of the F4. He doesn't really have that big a role in the series (a pity, I thought) except that he is an F4. I am not even sure what his family does, just that I think his family has some sort of a mafia or something.

That's the end of F4 and now over to the other characters.

Geum Jan Di

 She is the female lead in Boys Over Flowers and is played by the actor Gu Hye Sun. Jan Di is poor, and gets into the very prestigious Shinhwa High to make her keep shut about a near-death suicide of a student of the school who was being harassed by the F4. Her dad's a dry cleaner so you can imagine the social and economic disparity between her and Jun Pyo.

Jan Di has a lot of guts, stands up for her right and fights back. She is supposed to be the only one ever to stand up to the injustices of the F4 (speaking of which, man they are cruel! The first few episodes of Boys Over Flowers may just convince you that your own high school experience was a walk in the park in comparison). And she doesn't immedietly fall for Jun Pyo even though he is THE Gu Jun Pyo.

Of course, there are have been times when I have left that Jan Di has pretty much switched off her brains (as I will explain later on) and I go all wtf woman. And in the initial episodes, she shouts a LOT. All that apart, a likeable character (not that we have much of a choice with her being the protagonist and all).

Chu Ga Eul
She is played by pretty Kim So Eun. She is Jan Di's best friend who also works with her part time in a noodles shop and later on becomes Kim Bum's character, Yi Jung's love interest. When all the Jun Pyo- Jan Di- Ji Hoo intense love triangle was getting on to me (you guys are in high school...come ON!), I really enjoyed the side story of Ga Eul and Yi Jung (Kim Bum's good looks helped).

There are a lot many other characters who have importance in this show that went for 25 episodes (one hour each) like Jun Pyo's sister, Ji Hoo's grandpa and so on BUT I wont go on about all of them. Instead I would like to write about four people who really made an impact in this show and helped make it what it is. 

President Kang

My God, an evil mom if there ever was! Remember how I just said about the characters who made a huge positive difference to this show? This character tops that list! President Kang aka Kang Hee Soo aka Gu Jun Pyo's mom is played amazingly well by actor Lee Hye Young. She is an outright evil character and I loved how the director, script and Lee Hye Young herself have dealt with it. She is ruthless, proud and doesn't care a hoot about her own son's love and happiness. Classic. Hers has got to be one of the evilest portrayals of evil mom on TV. I liked how her character more or less remains constant in terms of she doesn't suddenly have a change of heart or anything which makes her all the more real, loathsome and scary. In the second last episode when her son has an accident, even then she doesn't let go of her hard shell tough guy exterior that is in a way her trademark. But we do see a momentary glimpse of a warmer person who is somewhere deep down worried for her son.

Jan Di's Family
Can I slap these people, please? I am not sure why they are supposed to be any better than President Kang in the sense that they don't really care about her but are more interested in uplifting their own social status through her. At least we saw glimpses of genuine care and love for Jan Di by her dad and brother, her mom doesn't bother at all. In that sense, Jan Di's mom isn't all that different from Jun Pyo's mom. 
***
On the whole, Boys Over Flowers is a very enjoyable series and the fact that LMH is in the lead had me hooked on the show. Here are my favorite scenes/parts from the show:

1.

In the very last episode of Boys Over Flowers, when Gu Jun Pyo gets a partial amnesia and forgets the love of his life Jan Di (yeah, that happens...but don't worry, only for a little while), he starts seeing a very irritating girl in the hospital (let's not even talk about that little vermin). Basically in this scene, there is a "surprise" pool party (I use quotation marks because formal invitation cards were being sent out for this so-called surprise party) where Gu Jun Pyo and his new irritating girlfriend are announcing that they will go abroad together to study. Jan Di is there with F4 for support and is crushed. Then she meets Jun Pyo (who still cant remember her), holds out her Moon Star necklace and prompts him to say her name. When he insists that he has no idea who she is...she jumps into the pool and doesn't surface. This shock, of course, jolts his memory and remembering who she is, he jumps in to save her.

I love how this scene is shot. I love the way Jan Di hits the pool, I love the background song. The only flaw there is that I don't understand how the rest of F4 just stood around the pool, not saving her, waiting for Jun Pyo's memory to come back. But the rest---wow!

2. The scene where Jun Pyo gives Jan Di the necklace.

3. I love the scene at the little cable car on Jan Di and Jun Pyo's first date. 

4. The awwww Gu Jun Pyo rice and chocolates.... ADORABLE!

See, there are a lot of sweet scene in this show. But then there are its fair share of really stupid parts as well. Like I still cannot figure out WHY in episode 11 Jan Di's usually nice reasoning decides to go on a holiday? WHO on earth randomly walks into an empty room, and on seeing a lonely pot of ramyun boiling over decides to eat it?

Why does Woo Bin speak like "yo yo yo wassup man?", why does Kim Hyun Joong not act in the show? Why don't they make Kim Hyun Joong sing in this show (there was a scene in Macau where he sang like one line and then they cut to a pre recorded song of KHJ's band...I understand that though since while shooting the scene, KHJ was suddenly asked to sing and wasn't mentally prepared and all that). 

Boys Over Flowers might not be the best show around and it certainly isn't a brain stimulant...anything but! However, it is entertaining especially if you like corny stuff, F4 and such things.

My ratings for Boys Over Flowers: 7/10 Ah...this show would've gotten a 6 but the presence of Lee Min Ho, Kim Bum and Kim Hyun Joong together was worth that extra point!

For more reviews on Korean Dramas by me have a look at:

3 comments:

A N D Y S T Y L E said...

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Anya said...

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