I LOVE Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. I’ve been dying for a good trendy romcom, and this might be The One (I hear bells ringing, you guys). The drama checks a lot of boxes: a former gangster heroine, hot dudes, food, quick pacing, and lots of plot potential. Also, two episodes in, and we still haven’t met the second male lead or moved into the ramyun shop. Which makes me hopeful that the drama will be able to keep a steady pace till the end, without flagging or artificial tensions in the second half.
Also good: Dramafever already has episode 1 up and subbed. Both javabeans & girlfriday at Dramabeans love the drama, so recaps are also available at super-speed. The only thing lacking at the moment is the drama’s fanbase: I haven’t found many other blogs talking about it, and even the Soompi forums seem quiet for this kind of trendy drama.
So I plan to write about it here. Since Dramabeans is recapping it (and since I’m the slowest recapper on earth), I’m going to post just screencaps and commentary each week. I hope you’ll watch and love the drama too, and then we can party in the comments.
Question: in the opening scene: where is his luggage? Do the rich not need luggage?
Okay, so Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (FBRS) is blatantly derivative. Since it’s borrowing from dramas I enjoyed, however, that’s a good thing. So far it’s borrowed from Biscuit Teacher Star Candy/Hello My Teacher (e.g., the opening scene, the high school punk & former gangster teacher relationship),…
…from Boys Before Flowers (FBRS boasts its own, less hot version of F4),…
…and I’m also getting Coffee Prince vibes (mostly from the promo material, but also from Chi-soo’s & Eun-bi’s character dynamics).
Romantic lead Jung Il-Woo is more baby-faced than I usually go for, and reminds me of a cute-but-doofy former coworker (down to the long, skinny limbs and the Justin Bieber hair). His character, Cha Chi-soo, is a silly rich brat. And yet…there’s something magnetic about him, no? Especially when he’s being intense (see above) rather than cheeky.
Magnetism aside, though, Chi-soo has been an unequivocal jerk so far. Thank goodness our heroine has secret gangster tendencies, because she’s clearly going to have to beat the brat out of him. I also hope he will fall for Eun-bi first, and suffer because of it (don’t let me down, drama! I need to see Chi-soo suffer!).
I’m also happy with the heroine, Eun-bi. The actress has an interesting face (she reminds me a little of Joan Cusack), and the character’s sympathetic: I like her superstitious streak and that she’s both a tough girl and an old-fashioned romantic. Even her awkwardness is endearing, although I’d like her to be less dorky going forward. Like, stop falling for Chi-soo’s come-ons already.
They do have amazing chemistry, though, so I can’t blame the girl too much for getting tricked (again and again and again). Also, I’m surprised at how much skinship we’re getting early on, even if it is mostly a put-on. Yay for cable?
Of course, a drama doesn’t succeed by its main couple alone. So I’m happy to say that FBRS has two side characters I like as much as the leads. First, Dong-joo, Eun-bi’s man-eater roommate, is just fun. Unlike Eun-bi, she’s good at girly stuff (like dressing & dating), but she’s not airheaded, or jealous, or fake. Instead, she’s smart and mouthy, and seems like a genuinely good friend. I also like her clothes.
My favorite character, though, is Crazy Chicken, the high school gangster with the teddy bear heart. He’s adorable by himself, he’s adorable with “Eun-bi noona,” he’s even adorable mooning over that dull ballerina. His big sister/little brother-type interactions with Eun-bi are the best:
Finally, the drama’s done a good job of building intriguing plot points outside the main romance. For instance, I’m curious about aspects of Eun-bi’s past (like her relationship with her dad, and her volleyball connection). And while Chi-soo seems like a pampered weasel, there’s clearly more to him. Where’s his mom, for instance? And why do we keep getting hints of a darker persona behind that smiling, winking playboy veneer? I’m also curious about his relationship with Crazy Chicken and his mysteriously good fighting skills.
What Could Be Better
There is a lot of overacting/mugging for the camera. It’s typical for romcoms, and any regular drama watcher should be used to it by now, but it can be irritating. I’m also indifferent to Chi-soo’s friends (aka F5), and find the secondary female lead boring. It’s early, though, and those things could definitely improve.
Future Episode Speculation
- Something’s going to happen to Eun-bi’s dad (so she can run the ramyun shop), but what? Spoiler (highlight to read): There are pics of Eun-bi in funeral garb on Soompi (link). I really hope that’s a misdirect.
- Also, why do you think Chi-soo ends up working at the ramyun shop? His dad’s too much of pushover to force him (I’m guessing), and I can’t see him doing it voluntarily. I also don’t think he’s going to fall for Eun-bi that quickly. Maybe his motivation is guilt over what happens to Eun-bi’s dad? Again, I really hope not.
- How do you think Lee Ki-woo’s character will get involved? Do you think he has a history with Eun-bi or not? EDIT (after seeing translated preview): Umm, why does he refer to Eun-bi as “my wife”?
Can’t wait to hear what you guys think!