After the first episode aired on Monday, I had to wait for it to be subbed. During that unbearably long waiting period, I avoided reviews and recaps to keep my opinion unbiased. Whilst haunting dramabeans (and desperately avoiding spoilers), I did see that my fellow OT members dubbed the drama “Flower Boy RAWRyum Shop.” Ha! Quite a fitting alteration to the title that was already a strange amalgamation of words. In any case, the edible cast was reason enough for me to watch. So I waited patiently and was soon rewarded by dramafever.com and its excellent subbers.
“Happy” – Yuria (from the Flower Boy Ramyun Shop OST)
episode 1 – first impressions
The teaser photos and trailers certainly had me hyped for this first episode. (Unfortunately, my lack of Korean-speaking skills has me waiting for the subs to the second episode.) Lee Chung-ah looked adorable in the photos and trailers and has an obvious talent for everything comedy.
Jung Il-woo(f) has that charming boy-next-door vibe and when he smiles, even the camera is enamored while Lee Ki-woo is just plain ol’ pretty (and TALL).
With all that hype, I expected greatness. Ramyun (yum!). Check. RAWRyum eye candy (HELL YES!). Check. Adorable female lead. Check.
So when the first episode reminded me of a Japanese high-school dorama, I deflated. There was a clueless female lead struggling to fulfill her dream. There was a hot, free-floating, chaebol student winning over all women within a half-mile radius with a wink and a smile. He was fighting against a disappointed parental unit and had just come from studying in America…like every other rich kid on the drama block.
Now don’t get me wrong. When Jung Il-woo appeared on screen as Cha Chi-soo, I felt bliss. He was charming, sexy, funny and the highlight of every shot he was in – the power of the “Jung Il-woo Effect” as javabeans would say. His three beautiful cronies – er, friends – definitely had me munching on eye candy.
Lee Chung-ah was wonderful in her role as Yang Eun-bi. She didn’t overact. I found myself comparing her to Lee Da-hae in the 2005 Hong sister’s drama My Girl. Lee Chung-ah definitely had that bumbling idiot down pat from the get-go, whereas Lee Da-hae took a few episodes to warm-up. Even so, I wasn’t immediately drawn to the character. Only when she asserted her sunbae authority did I sit up in my chair and say, “That’s right! You tell ’em girl!” It meant that the character wasn’t just an air-headed lead who stumbles her way into her man’s heart.
The chemistry between Jung Il-woo and Lee Chung-ah was fantastic. Together, they make a powerhouse comedic pair.
And yet, I had difficulty finishing the episode. I actually paused several times to do a few chores or have a cup of water. Maybe it was the fact that I could predict what would happen in every scene: a roommate who advises our hopeless lead about her love life. Jung Il-woo’s character being a total jerk with daddy issues. Our heroine being unceremoniously dumped by her traitorous (lecherous) boyfriend.
There were a few surprises, most notably Jung Il-woo’s comedic scene with his father and Lee Chung-ah’s moments of authority. Those were highlights for me and renewed my ability to sit through the episode.
Despite my disappointment, I’m holding out for the rest of the drama. The casting is fantastic and the actors did well. The scenes were visually stimulating. (Did you notice the anime-style cinematography? Rock on Jung Jung-hwa PD.)
Don’t do this to me again, RAWRyum. Please don’t make me hope in vain.
(Thank you MadDino for the awesome screencaps.)