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Ah yes, the Crown Prince. I know there is a protocol to being royalty: no sass to the king, no calling people out in court. But really? We didn’t see this coming? These. People. Are. Out. To. Get. You. One of the more annoying things about the Good Guy royalty in this Kdrama is that the Crown Prince and those around them just can’t seem to fathom the lengths to which the enemies will go to get rid of him. So yes, they set you up. Big time. These fights that include the Crown Prince bring up an interesting, recurrent issue: the fact that there is royalty, and then you suckers who aren’t royalty. Hence the importance of the royal body: don’t touch it, don’t harm it, you better not even look at it too long.
|Debut||August 19, 2001|
|Label||SM Entertainment (2001-present)|
|Origin of Fan Name||N/A|
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|Title||Warrior Baek Dong Soo|
|Main Cast||Ji Chang Wook as Baek Dong SooYoo Seung Ho as Yeo WoonYoon So Yi as Hwang Jin JuShin Hyun Bin as Ji Sun
Choi Min Soo as Chun
Jun Kwang Ryul as Kim Gwang Taek
Park Joon Gyu as Huk Sa Mo
Park Wong Sang as Jang Dae Pyo
Lee Jin Ah as Jang Mi
Oh Man Suk as Crown Prince Sado
Yoon Ji Min as Ga Ok
Lee Won Jong as Hong Dae Joo
Jung Ho Bin as Im Soo Woong
|Screenwriter||Kwon Soo Gyu|
|Official Website(s)||SBS-baekdongsoo (Korean)|
|Low-Down||As a lone prince struggles to free Chosun from China’s grip with the help of his loyal buddies, two childhood friends must choose between their destinies and two chicks and two martial arts masters have to resolve a decades-long personal conflict. Can you say multiple story lines?|
So like many a historical drama, they just drop you right in the middle of the action. This time, we come across the Crown Prince behaving badly, which wouldn’t be so bad, except everyone else around him seems to pay the price for his nationalism. If you’ve spent some time with Korean royalty in Kdramas, you know how they roll. At least he seems to feel bad that he’s getting his top men whacked for his foolishness, but everything he stands up for his principles, somebody else ends up paying the price. One might come away with the idea that it doesn’t pay to be loyal.
One thing that Warrior Baek Dong Soo has going for it is the political intrigue, and who is in the middle of it? Hong Dae Joo. He is working the court officials, the Chinese representative, the ninjas, EVERYONE. He’s got spies everywhere. You now he’s hardcore: he’s willing to make baby soup! One thing you NEED for a successful historical drama is a good villain. Someone willing to go the extra mile. Not some dopey person, but someone who is not only smart, shrewd, but also evil to the core. Otherwise, what’s the point?
One of my favorite loyal guys is Samo. You wouldn’t peg him for a parental unit, but he takes his responsibilities toward Dong Soo seriously. Plus, dude is handy with a blade. He’s a little rough (not nearly as rough as Chun), but in the end, kinda like a teddy bear.
Chun is another matter altogether. He is off the chain. I mean, you must be one heck of a swordsman when you can have a duel while not spilling your hooch! I thought they make him look scruffy for the part, but turns out that’s how Choi Min Soo rolls on the regular! Like all good characters, he’s complex. One minute, he’s your drunk uncle. The next minute, he’s whacking whole villages of potential good guys. Or making you do some crazy final ninja test. Or dropping by the palace to threaten the Crown Prince. But you kinda like him because he’s interesting, and we still haven’t found out his whole backstory yet. I want him to be caught in a moral crises. I’ll be disappointed if he’s just a crazy bad guy.
This drama also has some brothership going for it, at least that’s what it seems to be. Gwang Taek and Chun are a pair, and it’s one of the things I really love about some historical dramas: the interaction between the guys. I was nervous at first because I thought they were really going to go at it but they seem to be good friends. I also was wondering: “Um, aren’t you supposed to be on your way to save someone, Gwang Taek? Do you have time for this?” Clearly their relationship is more than meets the eye.
Of course that would be a woman making it complicated, because there has to be a romantic triangle, rectangle, octagon or something going on. At least Ji isn’t the insipid type. But she doesn’t say much. She seems trapped although it is not really clear why as of yet. On the topic of the ladies in the series, I’m pleased. There are several, and they have skills. While there doesn’t seem to be some Mishil-level shenanigans going on, the Queen is kinda gangster in her own right.
I’m rooting for Jin, because I think she is best with Dong Soo. Under no circumstances should he end up with Ji Sun. She is just cold. I mean I know you have this responsibility and all, but you’ve been stuck up since the beginning. Plus there’s the whole Crown Prince, “You’re my woman” thing. Puts a damper on having a boyfriend. I just hope Dong Soo learns how to let go.
Let’s talk about our hero, shall we? Our titular hero isn’t even born yet in the first couple of episodes, but what is kinda interesting is that when he is born, he is not the perfect hero. He has disabilities, and I find it interesting how the drama handles this. We see him struggle for quite a few episodes. For the most part, he’s a fool and a half. Silly. And he has an (unwarranted) inflated sense of self. Really, that’s not cute. This is called Warrior Baek Dong Soo, right? I find his pining over Ji Sun annoying.
Because of this, Yeo Woon steals your spotlight. I love him! He’s all moody, and silent and conflicted. I want him to be good, but…….Talk about having issues! Can we please start having parenting classes for swordsmen who have families? Yeo Woon is doomed from the start. I know I shouldn’t have hope (I accidentally watched Episode 11–sadness!), but maybe his friendship with Dong Soo will help him? Maybe? I know, it’s long odds, especially when Yeo Woon is a secret ninja. Sigh.
Yes, it was at this point when I decided that Boys Over Flowers was about….well, the boys. I reached my wit’s end with Jan Di (I know, there is more frustration to come!), but just as I was going to throw in the towel, SHE showed up. Oh, you heard whispers about her in earlier episodes, but she just busts on the scene in Episode 7. I’m talking about none other than Jun Pyo’s sister, Jun Hee. You can tell she’s Jun Pyo’s sister too: she gets out that car with her cool shades and her pimptastic fur. Clearly, the pimp aesthetic is strong with this family! I’m not joking, I was absolutely giddy to see her get out of her white car and hit Jun Pyo with her wooden sword (who keeps a wooden sword in their car? not that I know ANYTHING about that….). Jan Di is lucky she shows up; otherwise, we would have to depend on HER to fix the situation between Ji Hoo and Jun Pyo, and that’s highly unlikely to happen.
Jun Hee treats Jun Pyo like Jan Di used to: completely not caring about his feelings but in a sweet way, roughing him up for fun. But I like the relationship between Jun Hee and Jun Pyo (violence aside), because it shows that there is hope that Jun Pyo can develop into a decent human being despite being warped by his evil mother. Jun Hee is strong, and when she tells Jan Di to fight, she doesn’t actually mean draw blood. I think she’s trying to give Jan Di the confidence to assert herself. As usual, Jan Di is all non-committal about the whole Jun Pyo-Ji Hoo situation (really, can’t lose with that). And it’s because of her that we have to endure a mini-triathlon between Jun Pyo and Ji Hoo. What good is it that you feel sorry NOW?!
So we see the horse race, the car race and finally the swimming test. During the horse race, you do see that really aggressive side of Jun Pyo, but these bouts are becoming fewer and fewer, which means that he’s GROWING. Every time he has to encounter some situation that Jan Di finds herself in, he does grow and change as a character. She, however, does NOT! Completely unrelated note: I’m digging Ji Hoo’s equestrian wear! Are we supposed to draw some conclusions from the fact that he’s wearing white and Jun Pyo shows up in Johnny Cash black?
I’m not trying to make light of Ji Hoo’s post traumatic stress syndrome resulting from his early childhood car accident, but don’t let “poor Ji Hoo” fool you. Dude did kiss his friend’s kinda-sorta girlfriend. At this point, I know a lot of people are feeling for Ji Hoo, the sensitive soul, who has only looked out for Jan Di, as opposed to Jun Pyo who has “terrorized” her. But Ji Hoo has allowed some stuff to happen to Jan Di, especially when she first starts at the school. And let’s not forget that he is a member of the same F4 that pushed dude to try to jump off the building in the first episode in the first place. He’s no innocent angel over there. I think part of him wants to beat Jun Pyo just because of years of resentment. He wants to get back at him, just a little. If so, once again, it’s all about the boys.
I’m with Yi Jung on this one. Ji Hoo broke the rule of brothership, so he needs some kind of punishment, but probably not being kicked out of the group, banned from school, or, if Jun Pyo could make it happen, exiled from the planet. I think Woo Bin just wants everyone to get along so that he can get back to wooing the ladies.
So at the end of the episode, Jun Pyo is still, in his awkward kind of way, trying to get Jan Di to understand how she messed up. Does she take this opportunity to make a grand apology? No. Explain what she was thinking. Uh-uh. Declare her undying love for Ji Hoo? Nope. She just stands there, like she always does. She has no idea that she not only kissed some random guy on a beach (making this viewer seriously wonder about her protests of innocence), but she kissed the ONE person in the world that she shouldn’t have. How in the world can she have hung around F4 and not understand that in their crazy rich world, they only have each other?
And this is why I had to put Jan Di down. She never changes. She’s all self-righteous at the beginning, lecturing Jun Pyo about love, and friendship, and here she is messing with the one halfway normal relationship Jun Pyo has. She is clueless! What happened, Jan Di? So there she is, standing there, letting Jun Pyo hug her, playing the limp rag doll. Shoot. Me. Now.
|Main Cast||Lee Yo Won as Deok Man/Queen SeondeokKo Kyun Jun as Mishil
Uhm Tae Woong as Kim Yushin
Park Ye Jin as Chunmyung
Yoo Seung Ho and Chunchu
Kim Nam Gil as Bidam
Lee Seung Hyo as Alcheon
|Director||Park Hong Kyun and Kim Geun Hong|
|Screenwriter||Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yun|
|Official Website(s)||MBC Seondeok (Korean)|
|Fan Website(s)||soompi.com: seondeok|
|Description||Forget the men…it’s all about the ladies as a queen and her nemesis struggle to lead the Silla kingdom|
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- 2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards: Daesang (Grand Prize) (Ko Hyun Jung)
- 2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards: Best New Actor Award (Kim Nam Gil)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Daesang (Grand Prize) (Ko Hyun Jung)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Top Excellence Award – Actress (Lee Yo Won)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Top Excellence Award – Actor (Uhm Tae Woong)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Excellence Award – Actor (Kim Nam Gil)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Best New Actor Award (Yoo Seung Ho and Lee Seung Hyo)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Drama of the Year Award
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Best Couple Award (Kim Nam Gil and Lee Yo Won)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: PD Award (Shin Goo)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Special Child Actor Award (Nam Ji Hyun)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Golden Acting Award (Ahn Kil Kang)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Golden Acting Award (Seo Young Hee)
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards: Writer of the Year Award (Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yun)
|Title||I Am Legend|
|Main Cast||Kim Jung Eun as Jun Seol HeeLee Joon Hyuk as Jang Tae HyunKim Seung Soo as Cha Ji WookJang Young Nam as Oh Seung HyeJang Shin Young as Kang Soo InHong Ji Min as Lee Hwa Ja
Hyun Jyu Ni as Yang Ah Reum
Go Eun Mi as Kang Ran Hee
Cha Hwa Yun as Ms. Hong (Ji Wook’s mother)
|Director||Kim Hyung Sik|
|Screenwriter||Im Hyun Kyung, Ma Jin Won|
|Official Website(s)||SBS Madonna Band (Korean)|
|Low-Down||Rock and roll chick grows up and grapples with a controlling husband and mother-and-law, finds solace with her fellow female rockers and tests the waters of love with her own rock and roll idol.|
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- 2010 SBS Drama Awards: Top Excellence Award, Special Planning Drama – Actress (Kim Jung Eun)
- 2010 SBS Drama Awards: Top Excellence Award, Special Planning Drama – Supporting Actress (Hong Ji Min)
|Title||Boys Over Flowers/Boys Before Flowers|
|Main Cast||Lee Min Ho as Gu Jun PyoKim Hyun Joon as Yoon Ji HooKim Bum as So Yi Jung
Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin
Koo Hye Sun as Geum Jan Di
Kim So Eun as Chu Ga Eul
Lee Hye Young as Kang Hee Soo (Jun Pyo’s mother)
|Director||Jun Ki Sang|
|Screenwriter||Yoon Ji Ryun|
|Official Website(s)||KBS BOF Website (Korean)|
|The Low-Down||One working-class girl, four rich guys and their antics as they fumble their way through love|
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- 2009 KBS Drama Awards: Excellence Award, Novella Drama – Actress (Koo Hye Sun)
- 2009 KBS Drama Awards: Best New Actor Award (Lee Min Ho)
- 2009 KBS Drama Awards: Best New Actress Award (Kim So Eun)
- 2009 KBS Drama Awards: Best Couple Award (Lee Min Ho and Koo Hye Sun)
- 2009 KBS Drama Awards: Netizen Award (Koo Hye Sun)
- 2009 14th Asian Television Awards: Nominated for Best Drama Series, Best Drama Performance by an Actor (Lee Min Ho), Best Drama Performance by an Actress (Koo Hye Sun)
- 2009 Seoul International Drama Awards: Most Popular Actor Award (Kim Hyun Joong)
- 2009 45th Baeksang Arts Awards: Best New Actor Award (Lee Min Ho)
- 2009 45th Baeksang Arts Awards: Popularity Award (Kim Hyun Joong)
So now I’m going to tackle Sun Jung’s analysis of fan reaction to Chan-wook Park’s film, Oldboy. Basically, Sun Jung argues that, well, I’ll let her explain it:
Chapter 4 focuses on Western cult fandom of the Korean genre film, Oldboy, and discusses how postmodern South Korean masculinitiy is reconstructed through the ambivalent desires of Western spectators based on the mixed practice of mugukjeok, and neo-Orientalism. This chapter explains how the Western desire for the Other is expressed, transformed, and redefined by consuming hybrid South Korean masculinity, as exemplified by the “savage but cool” Dae-Soo, and how this transformed desire, “with a distinctly postmodern slant,” is different from earlier Orientalist desires towards the primitive Other. . . . Hence, Western audiences of Oldboy experience hybrid “time between dog and wolf,” which refers to the time when they cannot identify whether Dae-Soo is a “cool” friend or a savage stranger. (31-2)