Boys Over Flowers: Episodes 8-12 – And Now, It’s Serious.

Hello everybody!

So, I’ve been slacking off on getting my part of the BOF episode reviews out there, partly because I need to get used to the new format of reviewing a few episodes at a time. You know me, I love being really, really detailed! Anyway, let’s see if I can do this right:

Is this an awkward picture? 😉

In this section of the drama, things get really serious, really quickly. At this point, even though the evil Madam Kang has done some pretty underhanded plotting, nothing really drastic and dramatic has happened to try and keep Jan Di and Jun Pyo apart. But in these 5 episodes, there seems to be 2 themes: Ordinary, everyday happiness and super dramatic, malicious danger.

SO EVIL!

At this point, Jan Di is pretty set on being with Jun Pyo (leaving poor Ji Hoo out in the cold… AGAIN) and so there are a lot of cute moments when Jun Pyo experiences what an unprivileged, normal life is. My favorite part of this is when Jun Pyo forces Jan Di and her family to let him stay the night at their house. This is an important sequence because Jun Pyo is not only taking in the way that ‘common’ people live, but he’s also really enjoying his experience – it’s the first time he’s ever been around an actual family, and he loves it.

Madam Kang comes back into the picture, though, and really brings about a lot of serious, and scary, trouble. She uses her more devious connections to put Jan Di (and therefore Jun Pyo) into some really deep trouble. Kang runs Jan Di’s family out of their dry cleaning business, and then hires thugs to go and destroy their makeshift roadside snacks stand. Jun Pyo proves that, reputable business or no, he’s still in love with Jan Di and will forsake his family’s reputation to be with his love.

So, Madam Kang tries a more complicated – and more dangerous – approach. She arranges for Jan Di to meet an unknown freshman at Shinhwa High – Jae Ha – who is secretly a popular model.

It's a shame that he's so evil, but so cute...

At one point, Jan Di gets trapped in a chemistry lab at school and is almost suffocated by poisonous gasses that are leaked into the room, which has been completely locked and sealed. Jae Ha comes in the nick of time to save her, but that’s all part of the plot to get her to trust him (because you know she has a thing for people who come to her rescue – in fact, she calls him her black knight! Gee, I wonder who her white knight would be…) Jae Ha, however, is not only Madam Kang’s lackey, but is also the brother of the man Jan Di saves WAY back in Episode 1.

Because she saved his brother, he tries to keep Jan Di out of real danger, and even tries to kiss her at one point (she rejects him). But because she refuses to leave Jun Pyo, Jae Ha has to go forward with Madam Kang’s plan. Combined with Madam Kang’s orders to break them up and his own desire for revenge on Jun Pyo, Jae Ha eventually kidnaps Jan Di (after she resists his advances, of course) and forces Jun Pyo to come ‘rescue her’ in an abandoned warehouse.

Here’s the serious part: aside from all the beatings that Jan Di endured in the first episodes, no one has gotten seriously injured at this point. All that is about to change. This whole episode with the kidnapping and the warehouse is just the beginning of the more serious danger.  Jun Pyo allows himself to be beaten to a pulp by Jae Ha and his fellow Jun Pyo-haters, so that Jan Di will stay safe. Jan Di, though, throws herself on top of Jun Pyo just before one of the guys brings a chair down on him – instead, Jan Di receives the blow on her shoulder, and passes out.

The serious violence doesn’t stop there – later on, Jan Di puts her own life in danger by going out in a blizzard during a school-sponsored ski trip in order to look for a special necklace that Jun Pyo gave her. The necklace – which is gorgeous, by the way – was actually stolen by one of the three main Plastics, who then tell Jan Di that she must have lost it at the top of the mountain earlier that day.

The necklace

Jan Di almost freezes in the blizzard, alone, trying to look for the necklace because she knows that Jun Pyo will be furious with her. Jun Pyo comes and saves her, though (although Ji Hoo would have done so, had Woo Bin and Yi Jung not stopped him for his own safety) and they wait out the rest of the blizzard together in the ski patrol’s lodge at the top of the mountain.

Episode 12 ends with Jun Pyo on a plane to China, where his father has had a heart attack and collapsed, so he and Madam Kang are going over there to be with him and to help run the company. Ji Hoo has tried to get Jan Di to the airport to see him and say goodbye, but they’re too late. So she cries about how she didn’t get to tell him that she liked him while Ji Hoo comforts her. And you know what that means – the love triangle is still going strong!

By the end of these episodes, we’re fairly certain that Jan Di has decided on Jun Pyo, despite the serious danger that his mother has put her through again and again, but this new development about his father  collapsing and his sudden trip to China jeopardizes their relationship and offers Ji Hoo yet another chance to try and win her heart completely. Will Jan Di and Jun Pyo be able to have a long-distance relationship? Will Madam Kang finally get her wish and separate the two of them forever? Will Ji Hoo actually win Jan Di over? Find out in the next review!

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 6, Part 2

Part 2! Time to get to the second half of the episode, and no, this half of the episode doesn’t get any better from the first half as far as liking Jan Di goes. To quote the great Antoine Dodson, “You are so dumb, you are really dumb.”

“For real.”

It’s post-vacation, and Ji Hoo and Jan Di meet at their usual spot – an outside stairwell. Here’e where something good actually happens: they both apologize to each other! THANK YOU! This is when you realize that character development is real in this series! Jan Di apologizes for going to look for Ji Hoo on the beach that night. YAY! She’s admitted her error! Ji Hoo turns around and says that he is the one who should be apologizing because he was the one who kissed her, which you know is true if you’ve seen that part of the episode, since she just kind of stands there while he goes for the kiss.

Then she turns around and says “But I’m the one who hurt Jun Pyo.” They both did, honestly, but I’m so glad that they’re both admitting that they’ve done something wrong. Sometimes in a series like this you’ll get the excuse of “We just couldn’t help ourselves, we didn’t do anything wrong, why are you making such a big deal out of this?” which always leaves me with a sour disposition towards those kind of characters (and those kind of people)!

But what I’m really, really excited about in this episode is how much responsibility Ji Hoo takes for his actions and the extent to which he engages with the world around him to fix the problem! Ji Hoo “has autistic tendencies,” which they only said once a few episodes back, and they explain where he got them from in future episodes. Right now, all you need to know is that Ji Hoo usually prefers to stay out of things and let life pass by him while he sleeps and looks pretty in white. But this incident, he’s stepping up and taking control of the situation that he admits he caused. And so I start to like and respect him, which is a HUGE improvement on my half, since I’m usually an All-Jun-Pyo-All-The-Time kind of girl.

Also, we see more evidence that Jan Di actually, you know, cares for Jun Pyo, since she and Ji Hoo draw a caricature of Jun Pyo in chalk in the stairwell, and while it’s funny at first, she has to fight back tears because she’s more upset than she’s letting on. Oh, don’t worry, this sympathy I have going for Jan Di doesn’t last long. Just wait.

Meanwhile, Jun Pyo decides to throw gasoline on the fire and announces to the entire school that Ji Hoo is no longer a part of F4, and that he’ll expel Jan Di and Ji Hoo from Shinhwa High by the end of the week. Woo Bin and Yi Jung are taken aback by the news, since Jun Pyo didn’t bother to consult them, and neither of them are really okay with this form of punishment. At the same time, they admit that Ji Hoo (and Jan Di) did wrong, but Jun Pyo isn’t making anything better.

Now, here’s something that will really surprise you: the plastics say something useful! I know, shocking, right? But seriously, I hate the plastics (the fake-y overly popular and vicious group of 3 high school girls, who’s leader is a girl named Ginger), but they really do say something that everyone is thinking at this point: they marvel (disgustedly) at the fact that Jan Di is so fickle and can’t pick and stay loyal! They’re mad at her for being disloyal to her boyfriend Jun Pyo, and mad that she dragged Ji Hoo into the situation. They look at her like panthers about to jump on their prey and ask who will take responsibility for her actions?

Then Ji Hoo comes up behind them and says “I will.” I’m starting to love him. He goes one step further and says that he’ll figure out a way out of this situation, because “now I have a reason not to sit back and concede quietly.” Okay, now I’m really starting to love him, and hate Jan Di more. Basically, Ji Hoo just told her that she’s his reason for engaging with life more actively. SHE is the one who has pulled him out of his slightly autistic state (which is normally Seo Hyun‘s job), and on top of all that, he’s also trying to tell her that he likes her. But she’s dumb, because she assumes that he’s talking about wanting to stay with the F4.

Get ready for some Yi Jung! Ji Hoo and Yi Jung start talking, and Yi Jung reveals that he’s really angry about the fact that Ji Hoo consciously and willfully kissed Jan Di, knowing that Jun Pyo liked her, and he actually says to Ji Hoo that he “can’t tolerate you messing with a friend’s girl.” YI JUNG!!!!!!! Yi Jung is the group’s playboy, always going out with several girls at the same time (often on the same date), and more of his backstory will be revealed later, but on the whole he tends to be really open about his playboy-ness so the girls he messes with know he’s like that and he’s never seriously attached, unlike this situation. So he’s pissed. Ji Hoo says that he’s trying to think of something to stop getting Jan Di kicked out of school (not mentioning himself, by the way, it’s all about her) and Yi Jung says that no one’s going to help Ji Hoo out this time. 😦 That part makes me kind of sad, but everyone’s mad at everyone, so it makes sense, and Ji Hoo proves his worth and really works to set things right, which I love.

Woo Bin goes to try and talk sense into Jun Pyo, which is a smart move: send the mafia-affiliated kid to handle the tough jobs! I love Woo Bin. You will too, just wait. 🙂 So he goes to Jun Pyo to try and make him stop all this “expelling” nonsense, and Jun Pyo *sigh* my wonderful man, says that he’s doing all this to Ji Hoo because Ji Hoo used Jan Di: “That jerk didn’t do that because he really likes Jan-di. He was just using her because of Seo-hyun. That’s more unforgivable.” DO YOU SEE HOW IT’S ALL ABOUT HER!? Both Ji Hoo and Jun Pyo are going to try and get their way because they both want to ‘avenge’ Jan Di in some way! Woo Bin is forced to back off of Jun Pyo, so the situation is starting to hit its critical point.

Aaaaaaaand scene. Yep! That’s the end of this episode! Which still kind of makes me mad, because there are still a lot more incidents in the next episode that essentially involve Jan Di continuously swaying between Ji Hoo and Jun Pyo. So I’ll give a little preview: Ji Hoo and Jun Pyo do a couple of “face-offs” (I’m not going to tell you how or why) and Ji Hoo wins one of them. Ga Eul is all excited, then looks to Jan Di and see her being…..meh. That’s the best adjective I can think of for it, her reaction is just “meh.” Ga Eul looks confused and asks Jan Di, “Isn’t this what we wanted to happen?”

And Jan Di continues to be “meh” in response. DO NOT LIKE. But I’ll go ahead and relinquish my dictator-like grip on BOF to CeeFu, who will do the next episode more justice than I would. So, look forward to the posts for Episode 7!

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 6, Part 1

Okay, so unfortunately I (Michelle, aka Nabi) binge-watched the entirety of Boys Over Flowers after Episode 5, so I’ll be going back, reading episode summaries, and writing about the important things that linger in my memory about each episode. Or at least the ones I write about. I think CeeFu and I are still alternating entries…mayhaps…

But THIS episode… this episode is MINE. It is MINE because it lies at the heart of the problem I have with Jan Di. This episode gets at exactly why I loathe her. Loathe means to extremely hate something, and I. Hate. Jan. Di. That. Whore. (That’s her epithet: Jan Di That Whore, or JDTW)

Okay, she’s not totally a whore, and I know there are a lot of people who like her, and there are a lot of people who would defend her, and there are even some moments when I like her. But it’s not enough for me. I’m very harsh when it comes to female protagonists who have more than one Prince Charming-like suitor that they don’t deserve, but I think that as a disillusioned American woman I’m entitled to a little bit of hate towards fickle, lukewarm girls who can’t just freaking choose. There’s no wrong answer, so why doesn’t she just CHOOSE?!

*deep breath* Okay. Sorry about that. Anyway, let’s start off with a picture from the episode. How about Jan Di’s “main course” from the last episode?

Delicious.

*ahem* Okay, so right now we’re on vacation on a tropical island that is totally owned by the Shinhwa Group (aka Jun Pyo) and everything is going really well. Jan Di is staying more or less with Ga Eul – her best friend who got kidnapped along with Jan Di for the vacation – and everyone seems to keep more or less to themselves.

I’m not really going to talk about Jun Pyo ‘undressing’ (to reveal swim trunks, everyone. Calm down) or about Ji Hoo saving Jan Di from ‘drowning’ (in about 3 feet of water….lame…) because those aren’t the important parts of the episode. I will mention one thing: in the last episode, Jan Di has a dream that she and Ga Eul visit a native fortune teller who predicts that Jan Di “will loose something very important …as a woman…” Jan Di and Ga Eul look at each other, contemplating what that could mean, and then suddenly realize that the fortune teller is saying that she’ll loose her virginity, so they both wrap their arms over their chests and scream. I thought that was hilarious!

So Jun Pyo goes to extraordinary lengths to have a beautiful meal prepared for all 8 guests: Jan Di, Ga Eul, Ji Hoo, Woo Bin (Frack, half of the Thuglife duo – yes, I know their names now!),  Yi Jung (Frick, the other half of Thuglife), himself, and two random white chicks who never speak. Why they’re there is anyone’s guess. At some point in the dinner, Yi Jung and Ga Eul are talking, and she lets slip that there’s someone else that Jan Di likes.

Let’s back up for a second.

Jun Pyo has stood in front of the entire Shinhwa school and declared Jan Di to be his girlfriend. And she never refuses him! She’s not exactly thrilled about it, but she doesn’t turn to him and say “I’m not your girlfriend!” or any other form of “no.” Instead, she acts like his girlfriend (in a way that fits with their dysfunctional relationship) the entire time. But she still has a thing for Ji Hoo, who is, by the way, Jun Pyo’s best friend. Is it bad for a girl to like another guy while she’s dating someone else? I know that there are circumstances that create these situations, but usually the girl has agreed to be the original guy’s girlfriend, and in my own opinion, if she was going to make everything right and be with the other guy, she’d break up with the original guy first and then go out with the other guy. Does Jan Di do that?

No. And that’s why I don’t like her. Let’s continue on, shall we?

Jun Pyo sets off some beautiful fireworks, then goes to Jan Di’s room after dinner. No, not to make what the fortune teller said come true. He goes to her room to give her a “cheap trinket”: a turquoise anklet with a shark’s tooth. He tells her not to loose it, then leaves her alone. She decides to get dressed and find Ga Eul, but when that fails she goes for a midnight stroll around the resort.

Jan Di, who is Jun Pyo’s girlfriend, ends up finding Ji Hoo on the beach. Alone. At night. Looking really sad. Do you see where I’m going with this? So she goes down and sits with him on the beach. Ji Hoo’s only just gotten back from France, where he was essentially his first love Seo Hyun‘s pet. He came back to Korea because he felt pathetic waiting around her apartment all day, and so now he’s truly feeling like he’s pathetic and worthless.

Poor Ji Hoo!!!! That makes me so sad 😦 So what does he do? He hugs on to Jan Di and tells her “I’m so cold, I can’t take take it.” And what does she say? What does she do? NOTHING. She doesn’t even offer comforting words, or tell him to back off because she’s Jun Pyo’s girlfriend, or anything. She just lets herself be hugged by a super attractive Korean man in need of some lovin’. Then she traipses back to her room, leaving her anklet on the beach with Ji Hoo, who has no idea that the anklet means anything. He just picks it up, planning to give it to her later.

Oh, and Jun Pyo is waiting at her room again when she comes back. He wanted to check on her and instead found her missing. He asked her what she was doing, and she says nothing. So he tells her not to wander around alone at night and leaves.

The next day? Jan Di isn’t wearing her anklet. Ji Hoo has her anklet wrapped around his wrist. Jun Pyo tries asking her where the anklet is, and Jan Di replies that she left it in the room so she wouldn’t lose it. Then Jun Pyo asks Ji Hoo where he got the ‘bracelet,’ and he tells him that it’s Jan Di’s, she must have lost it last night, could you give it back to her? Jun Pyo gets so upset that he goes out of commission for a while , so while he’s asleep, Ji Hoo wants to go fishing on a sailboat, and asks Jan Di if she wants to go.

And she does.

The Jun Pyo recovers, without saying anything to anyone, and takes Jan Di on a helicopter ride to show her a heart-shaped field, which he actually calls his heart, and tells her that once he found a girl he liked he’d show her his heart. And she’s uncomfortable about it. That’s probably because she’s passively standing between two really attractive and well-off but emotionally vulnerable and closed-off men, and just can’t seem to find the time or the words to say “Sorry Jun Pyo, I actually don’t feel the same way about you” or “Ji Hoo, please back off, I’m Jun Pyo’s girlfriend.”

Then, that night, they find out that Seo Hyun is actually engaged to some French diplomat or something, and Ji Hoo walks away, clearly upset. Jan Di sits in her room, worrying over Ji Hoo, when Jun Pyo walks in and asks if she’s accepted his feelings.

She. Says. NOTHING!!!!!!! She had an ‘out’ if she really didn’t want to date Jun Pyo, but she just sits there, passive and silent. So he tries to kiss her, and she cringes away. Yes, literally she cringes. But that’s not a “no,” so he walks away, telling her not to make him wait too long. I’m assuming that means, don’t make me wait too long before you tell me whether or not you like me back. So after he leaves, she decides that Ji Hoo must be super upset, and walks down to find him on the beach. Alone. At night. Crying.

Stupid, stupid girl.

So she gets to Ji Hoo, and she starts crying because she feels guilty for encouraging him to go to France to run after Seo Hyun, and he’s already been crying because her engagement is real. But Jan Di, maybe in some attempt to comfort him, and with tears in her eyes, says: “Please be happy… Because if you’re unhappy, I am too.”

Stupid, stupid girl.

So Ji Hoo kisses her. Well, DUH, what did you THINK would happen? That he’d dry his eyes, say “Aw, thanks, that’s just what I needed to hear,” and then walk away? REALLY?!

Right after the kiss, there’s Jun Pyo. With them. On the beach. FURIOUS. He wanted to believe Jan Di when she said she left the anklet in her room, when she said she didn’t meet anyone the other night. He asked her if she had accepted his feelings, and she didn’t exactly refuse him. And on top of all that, his best friend is kissing his girlfriend. He’s incredibly hurt, especially since he showed her his heart, so he assumes that ‘this’ is the answer to his question earlier about whether or not she had accepted his feelings, and storms away, warning both of them to stay away.

Jun Pyo leaves the entire vacation that night, and everyone asks Jan Di why he left. She says nothing, of course! Just sits there, looking all uncomfortable and guilty. I can let her by on that one, because it’s just awkward at that point, but that’s one of the only concessions that I’ll give her. On their return trip, we find out (through Ga Eul) that the anklet Jun Pyo gave Jan Di is a local tradition, and you’re supposed to give it to someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Later that night, alone in her room, with memories of Jun Pyo filling her head, she starts crying and says out loud “I’m sorry, Gu Jun Pyo.”

Yeah, you should be sorry. You done goofed.

This is super long, and we’ve only gotten through half of the episode, so it’s on to Part 2.! And yes, there’s more, much more, to prove why I don’t like Jan Di.

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 1

Originally published on High Yellow February 4, 2011, Written by CeeFu


You know, some things never get old. Like pimptastic, overindulged Korean privileged boys entering their high school backlight with a halo of light, as they stroll in in suits and ascots.  Oh, yeah, I guess I should say something about Jan Di first.

Yes, she’s plucky (kinda), I know as the audience we are supposed to side with her and her “positive” attitude.  But her habit of being ambivalent isn’t attractive.  F4 treats her badly, like they treat everyone badly in the beginning, but somehow that doesn’t make me like  her more. She’s all for the underdog, but do you see the way she screams at her parents? You know THAT ain’t going down in the average Korean household.

One thing I forgot is that Jan Di also declares war on F4, this is after she finds out they are affluent, and before the real abuse from Jun Pyo really starts. She’s no innocent. And I also forgot how the rest of F4 laughs at Jun Pyo. I think they know he’s got issues, and secretly want Jan Di to beat him down. I also remember thinking, “Jan Di is too trusting of people she shouldn’t trust, and can’t bring herself to trust the people she should.” She calls herself a loner, and so this must explain her utter inability to deal with people in a sane way.  Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nolan Nabi, what you got?

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 2

Originally published on High Yellow February 9, 2011, Written by Nabi


SUCH a good episode! I noticed that they played SHINee’s musical contribution to the soundtrack a lot during this one (which I thoroughly approve of!), so much so that I may have to go and get it. “Whether I’m making you smile…”

Alright, let’s get to business. There’s a LOT in this episode that I liked, and believe it or not I think that this was a very “good” episode for Jun Pyo! Here’s why: the first thing that needs to be addressed is the issue of whether or not he told the “Locker Room Punks” to rape Jan Di, because that’s definitely what they were going for. To me, and my interpretation of his reprimand to them, he did NOT tell them to rape her specifically, but he absolutely wanted them to scare her very, very badly. Um, so since I’ve called them the Locker Room Punks….which locker room are they in, exactly? If it’s a women’s locker room, then what the heck is Ji Hoo doing in there? If it’s a men’s locker room, what’s Jan Di doing there? And I definitely don’t think that “co-ed” locker rooms exist in this high school (or any high school, for that matter).

Second thing to address is Jan Di’s Super Totally Awesome Roundhouse Kick TO THE FACE! Yes, I LOVED this part, both because it’s a definite wake-up call to Jun Pyo but it also means that Jan Di has some fire in her blood! I love that she PHYSICALLY fought back this time! Of course, this is in the beginning stages with the whole discourse of Jun Pyo thinking that, since women say the opposite of what they mean, she is totally in love with him. What that means, in Jun Pyo-speak, is that he’s finally realized that he likes her in some way, shape, or form, but since he can’t consciously realize this he’s letting his “affections” out in other ways. Like kidnapping her and dressing her up. Honestly, that’d really freak me out, too, as soon as I was awake from my chloroform-sleep I’d be running, fancy house be damned!

At first, I was unsure about the “bee attack” that followed Jan Di leaving his house, but I think I have it figured out: I think that little scene is showing what his actions and speech are like after he’s been embarrassed – he both hides his embarrassment behind arrogance and takes it out on the people around him who have “embarrassed” him. I think this is supposed to explain his more violent tendencies, and it’s echoed by Min (I can’t remember the rest of her name!!) at the end of this episode when she says it’s also because he’s lonely. Moving on, another moment of his that I loved was just before the bee attack, when he’s upset and throwing the clothes and shoes on the ground. As Almighty Key has shown us in SHINee’s Hello Baby, bribing people for love with gifts does. not. work. But Jun Pyo is SO UPSET that it didn’t work, that he decides to take his anger out on Jan Di’s shoes. It’s such a beautiful, awkward love moment – you show that shirt who’s boss! The last moment that really caught me for him was his attempt to comfort Jan Di after she gets smacked in the face with the volleyball. Really, I loved that entire scene, but specifically when he says “Don’t cry, it doesn’t suit you.” He LIKES her fiery attitude! He wants her to keep being feisty and spirited! Then she says “I would rather die in blood than be indebted to you” and the look on his face just about killed me. That’s really all I could hear in my thoughts during that moment: “Awwww, BUT LOOK AT THAT FACE! Jan Di, why are you so mean?!” I know why she’s so “mean” at this point, but, as you can tell, Jun Pyo is my man in this show.

Which brings us to Ji Hoo. Of course Ji Hoo would ride around on a cool motorbike and give Jan Di his HUMONGOUS sports shoes to wear, which she would then thoroughly scrub down. Of course. Um, remember back in episode 1 how I was saying that I couldn’t forget what Ji Hoo is like in the manga? I would like to quote, since it happens in this episode, emphasis added: “THEN HE RETREATED INTO AUTISM.” Yes, Ji Hoo is autistic. Or, since he’s so high functioning, has Asperger’s Sydrome. Which I think he still exhibits. Which is why he drives me CRAZY. But apparently he went even deeper into a more extreme autism when his parents died, and somehow Min was able to pull him out of it. Which I don’t think works, because autism definitely is NOT temporary, but then again who’s really taking the time to look into the medical details of Ji Hoo’s past? “She’s his first love, girlfriend, and mother.” Weird.

The last thing I’ll put on here is my Random Question/Observation of the Day: Why……..why is there a mirror directly beneath the showerhead while Jun Pyo is taking a shower after Rugby Practice (a.k.a. Anger Releasing Time)? It’s so weird, I think that’s the third time I’ve seen some show have a mirror in the shower, underneath the showerhead. Is this common in East Asia? Note that I’m totally not mad that it showed him showering. I can appreciate that.

Okay CeeFu, how’s that for my first official post?

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 3

Originally published on High Yellow on February 19, 2011, Written by CeeFu


Oh my! I think this episode does a lot for character development and interaction.

So, I love the interplay between Jun Pyo and Jan Di (I’m not totally against her….yet…she still has her moments). You can tell that when he calls her a punk and a gangster that it is done from a place of LOVE. He’s so cheeky, that Jun Pyo. He was completely enjoying getting his life saved!  Jan Di has a positive effect on him, he smiles much more, even if he still hasn’t gotten down the correct way to share his feelings of affection. Did you see how tickled he was when he put the ducks in the swimming pool? I thought he was going to fall out of his chair from cackling so much.  He clearly cares about her, but he also relates to her in a completely different way than Ji Hoo. He’s kinda real with his. He insults her, and she gives it right back to him. For some reason, I enjoy this back and forth. Whereas Jan Di’s interaction with Ji Hoo is weird (girl, get off your knees! you could have totally bandaged his finger standing up!)

Ji Hoo and his emotional state, now that’s a different story. I know you think I’m always on Ji Hoo’s side because of his fabulous wardrobe choices, but this time I think that while Ji Hoo is a man responsible for his own choices, I wonder if his association with Min isn’t entirely healthy. I know we briefly mentioned this last time, but I’m with Ji Hoo, “Exactly who are you to him?” Are you the motherly figure, are you a potential girlfriend? Have you been playing Ji Hoo all these years, feeding your own narcissism to have an incredibly rich and attractive man at your beck and call? Min can’t be all, I’m a little jealous of Jan Di, but then continue to STRING JI HOO ALONG!!!! Ji Hoo is a MAN, with MAN feelings, you gotta treat him like a man. So her own kind of vagueness doesn’t help. Is she dumping Ji Hoo on Jan Di? Is she now supposed to fulfill this mother/girlfriend freaky role for him? I’m not really buying that Min is all that torn up about leaving Ji Hoo. C’mon! You know how emotionally fragile that man is!

This is also the episode where I get more interested in the interplay among the boys. Jun Pyo clearly knows that Ji Hoo has a thing for Jan Di, even if Ji Ho doesn’t, so he’s taking every opportunity to throw his ‘relationship’ in his face.  Look, I’ve got my arm around Jan Di!  Look, Jan Di’s in my room!  Yet, they all rush over when there is an emergency, and that emergency is JUN PYO’S WITCH OF A MOTHER!!! You need to prepare yourself, there is a reason why they are all afraid of her. You know it’s bad when Yi Jung can barely pull of his charming wiles. SHE. IS. BAD. Although it tickles me that Jun Pyo refers to her as “the hag,” you notice he doesn’t do it to her face.  She is a piece of work. Even when things are rocky, they rally to each other’s side, and this is why the Boys become more interesting to me than Jan Di.

I also find the class dynamics getting more pronounced: Jan Di is a dry cleaner’s daughter with a ‘commoner’s pride.’ They talk about her like she’s an alien. And yet Jun Pyo is cool with crossing that class barrier.  Interesting.  I wonder if Jan Di’s inability to be feminine is supposed to be yet another marker of her class origins. Do you notice just how uncomfortable she is when they dress her up (and yes, I realize that it is problematic that she is getting dressed, Pygmalion-style, by these boys who try to transform her)? You would think Jan Di never wore a dress in her entire life. What, working-class girls have no femininity? In her drunken state, we do get some insight into her low self-esteem. She really doesn’t think she is smart, pretty or has any redeeming qualities whatsoever.  But I also think that she can be stubborn when it comes to her pride.

Jun Pyo, working on getting into Jan Di’s heart. Did you notice how closely she held those goggles? She just doesn’t know it yet….the problem is, even when she knows it, she will act the same way!

Thoughts?

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 4

Originally published on High Yellow on March 20, 2011, Written by Nabi


I have so much love for this episode! It’s packed full of treats and SO much happens. A lot happens in every episode, but I guess that’s what you get when you have episodes that are over an hour long.

Let’s talk about Frick and Frack first: THEY ARE SO THUGLIFE. I love that they ‘tried’ to protect Jan Di (via her friend, who I also loved because she didn’t fall for Frick’s overwhelmingly cute smile!) and then they went about trying to find who was reallyresponsible for the scandal pictures! I know that this was more for Jun Pyo’s sake, but still. At first I was confused as to why Frick was suddenly playing the saxophone and Frack was dancing with the ladies, but then when the scene flashed to a back alley where the club owner (?) was getting beat up, it all made sense – why dirty their hands punching him themselves? They’ll provide the distraction while their minions take care of the dirty work. This was a really great episode for them because they got some more face time!

SS501…I completely forgot that they were supposed to make a cameo in this series, and I’m so glad it was THIS episode! Of course it’d be Baby Joon who would point to Jan Di out of the crowd. I’m kind of sad that Jung Min couldn’t be a part of it (what was he doing at this time? I know it was something…) but I’m glad our other three boys were able to showcase ‘UR Man’ and look so darn good while doing it!

Jun Pyo: I love him. Is there really anything else I need to say about him? Well, yes, because I love talking about him. I felt SO BAD for him when he waited the entire time out in the cold for her, and I really felt sad for him when he came to school, looking great with straight hair (although the man may be the only Korean idol I’ve seen so far who can pull of really curly hair) and a nice school uniform, all dolled up for her, and then he sees the photos and jumps to conclusions – who wouldn’t? – and is just so angry and insulted. Can we also talk about how he went Edo Japan on us with the random demonstration of swordpractice? I’m thinking this episode may have been trying to appeal to a lot of different people: the Green Peas (for SS501), girls who love Edo period anything, and those who want the more musical side to come through (for Frick and Frack). He ended up throwing stuff again. Which I loved. Is that bad? He also looked. so. fine. Just about everything looked amazing on him. Oh no…am I turning into one of the F4′s fangirls?! But I don’t want to wear super short skirts and white knee highs and high heels!!!!

Jun Pyo: there were also a few moments that I did NOT love about him this episode. Mostly one recurring one – why do you always have to grab for the girls’ throats when you want to talk to them? ‘Cornering’ Jan Di against a car is one thing, at least that’ssexy, but grabbing at her tie to make her tell you the truth? Throwing her Fake Friend to the ground after grabbing HER throat? Do not like. This second part I don’t like mostly because he did have a lot of reasons to be upset with her, and he’s not one to hold himself back, but I think it could have hurt her a lot more if he had just straight up ignored her.

Fake Friend: I will say that at least in the TV series she made more sense. In the manga, she’s almost bipolar – at school she’s ridiculously sweet and ‘naive’ (like a unicorn threw up a rainbow kind of sweet), but at the club, which by the way is supposed to be one of those ‘practically a stripper club but anyone can come on stage and shake their stuff’ kind of clubs, she’s overly sexualizing herself while being a complete flirt to the guys and a venomous snake to the girls. At least in the series they toned that down a little bit, and I think future episodes should reveal more things about her. I did believe her when she was asking Jun Pyo “Why is Jan Di okay but not me?”, but we’ll get to that in later episodes.

I tend to like those self-searching questions, ‘Am I really that loathsome?’ and ‘Why is she okay but not me?’ mostly because they are such honest and realistic questions. It’s as if I’ve stumbled onto some recorded diary entry of these characters, and these questions make them suddenly very human. I mean, these are questions that any person who has had a crush can relate to, but they were said so realistically (yep! I’m claiming that they were NOT melodramatic, which is usually the case for TV shows) that for a second I almost feel like they’re real people, too. You know, not just amazingly attractive models who are acting these specific roles in a staged television series.

Jan Di: Believe it or not, although most of the time I really, REALLY do not like her, in this episode she redeemed herself (to me) because of her interactions with, you guessed it, Jun Pyo. They actually have a real tete-a-tete going on in this episode! I love that she took care of him while he was sick and they were stranded in the cable car (?), maybe this time their interactions are more significant though because she wasn’t drunk and could actually call him ‘stupid’ or ‘punk’ back!

Fun Observation (although there’s a lot more in this episode to unpack, I need to leave something for my unni to write about!): Just how did they set the bicycle on fire sofast?!

Boys Over Flowers: Episode 5

Originally published on High Yellow on June 4, 2011, Written by Nabi


I. Love. This. Episode.

I feel like I need to confess something first, before I start talking about the episode itself. For those of you who don’t know me (Nabi), there are two things that I like my male Korean idols to do: have pyrotechnics (read “fire”) in their K-Pop performances, and hit and/or throw things in their videos and dramas. My best explanation for why I love it when these things happen is that I consider them to be very manly things. If a dude gets angry, I expect him to hit or throw something. Hitting or throwing something at another person is a totally different thing, and is only approved of on a case-by-case basis. For example, punching a best friend who snuck around with your girlfriend behind your back is totally cool by me, but punching an old lady on the street for no good reason…not so much. And the fire thing, well, trust me I am NOT a pyro! I do not like to set things on fire, I just really enjoy when fire is present as a special effect.

Why is that important? Because my MAN Jun Pyo kicks some serious butt in this episode, and I LOVE IT. Jan Di is getting torn up by the school kids – some are throwing waterballoons, she’s already been jacked up from the bicycle accident they cause (oh, and her bike is still on fire), and some psycho with a fire extinguisher is using it on HER, instead of on the FIRE. They’re doing this because they think Jan Di went and cheated on Jun Pyo with some dude and now he must hate her, right?

NOPE!

You hear someone yell “SCREW OFF!” and in comes Jun Pyo. He starts throwing punches! He takes one kid’s waterballoon and smacks him in the head with it! He pushes a lot of people! AND HE HITS PSYCHO KID IN THE STOMACH WITH THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER!!!

It gets better.

He goes up to Jan Di, who at this point is semi-conscious on the ground, bleeding everywhere, feeling hopeless because her white knight (Ji Hoo) wasn’t there to save her this time and she certianly didn’t think that Jun Pyo would come back for her. He hugs her to him, tells her that he’s sorry, and lifts her up to carry her to safety. He tells her that he believes her when she says she’s innocent, and she starts to cry. He takes her to his house and helps clean her up, gives her some pajamas and a comfy bed, tends to her wounds some more, and gives her a kiss on the head as a “goodnight.”

I love Jun Pyo. But you already knew this, right? ^^;

So, on to the episode! This one really had two parts to it. Part One is all about the Frenemy, Min Ji. Min Ji is Jan Di’s “best friend” at Shinhwa Academy, and WAY back in Episode 1, she was the girl who accidentally dropped her ice cream on Jun Pyo’s shoe. In the last episode, she proved that she was a frenemy by setting Jan Di up with that Ji Hoo look-alike in the nightclub. In this episode, we get the background story forwhy she did what she did.

As it so happens, Min Ji went to kindergarten with the F4, and she had a huge, adorable, little-girl crush on Jun Pyo. In the flashback, you see her drawing in her sketchbook with crayons, and it’s a picture of her and Jun Pyo, holding hands. Little Jun Pyo decides to walk to the other side of the playground, and is suddenly stopped by his old nemesis: a bug. He starts ducking and jerking around saying “Go away!” and Little Min Ji runs over to him and uses her sketchbook to shoo the fiend away. She is SO EXCITED to be near him at this point because they are “alone” and she has her drawing clearly held up for him to see. His reaction? He throws the sketchbook on the ground, stomps on it (effectively stomping on her heart), pushes her so that she falls on the ground, and tells her that she’s dumb for thinking she could be with him (Remember, this is Rich Kid Kindergarten, so they are more than aware of their status and their duty to marry someone of equal status). IT’S JUN PYO. HE DOESN’T DO “FEELINGS”! His response to both his and others’ feelings is to squash them and run away. So, that’s what he does.

Little Min Ji cries and cries and cries. But there’s something I haven’t told you yet: she was “ugly” as a child. Here’s a picture of Lee Minho (aka Jun Pyo) with the girl who plays Little Min Ji: 

I LOVE THIS PICTURE! Doesn’t it make you sad to think that this is what “ugly” means in K Drama Land?! So now it gets personal. It’s not just that Little Jun Pyo rejects Little Min Ji, but he tells her to her face that the reason why he doesn’t like her is because she is ugly. He even calls her an “ugly pumpkin.” Remember: Little boy with terrible communication skills.

Min Ji is a little girl with a tender heart that’s easily broken and thus becomes a breeding ground for bitterness and obsession. Which is exactly what happens. A few years later, she and her family move to Germany, and she begins a series of plastic surgery procedures, a few every 2 years, in order to become “beautiful” for Jun Pyo. As a girl from a rich family, her parents are often absent and her servants could probably care less about her. On top of that, she is in a foreign country surrounded by people she doesn’t know, and who don’t know her. AND, she’s undergoing slow transformation from plastic surgery, which means that she needs a LOT of recovery time. So what does she do while she’s in Germany? She sits in her room and thinks about that day when Jun Pyo crushed her heart. She sits and thinks about how she is “ugly” but soon she will be “beautiful” and then Jun Pyo will tell her that he likes her and everything will be perfect.

So, she comes back, enters into Shinhwa high school, and prepares for the day when she will see Jun Pyo and he will fall madly in love with her beauty. Except that her new (and only) friend, Jan Di, is being pursued by Jun Pyo! HOW UNFAIR! Min Ji stewed in hurt and insecurity for so many years, endured so much pain with plastic surgery, and had such strong dreams of a perfect fariytale ending for her Ugly Duckling story, that Jan Di suddenly became a roadblock in her otherwise perfect plan. Thus, she had to be removed from Jun Pyo’s life. All those years of bitterness and pain made Min Ji a bitter and scheming sort of girl, so that’s why she arranged such an elaborate attack on Jan Di’s integrity, instead of just, you know, TALKING TO HER FRIEND AND TELLING HER WHAT’S GOING ON! Jeez.

I really wanted to explain all of that because, at least to me, this is a complex, incredibly human situation. Personal story time! I was a dumpy kid for most of my childhood, and I was always the tallest and often one of the heaviest kid in my class until about 9th grade (that part was not my fault, boys grow so slowly and I LOVED to brag about how I was taller than they were). So there’s that issue that I can personally relate to. On top of that, though, MY heart was stomped on by a kid in my 2nd grade class. Bottom line: if you have a tender heart, do not give a 2nd grade boy a love letter, because he will read it out loud to the class, and everyone will laugh at you. Yes, this actually happened to me. And people wonder why I don’t date…

Back to the episode. Min Ji gets to confront Jun Pyo when Thuglife (Frick and Frack) take her to his house to explain why she faked the photos of Jan Di. Min Ji asks Jun Pyo, “Am I beautiful, now?” Again, another human question! She starts to cry and scream “Say that you like me! Say you like Min Ji! Say it!” That’s all she’s wanted her entire life. Everything has been filled with pain and bitterness since that day, and she’s become obsessed with getting closure on it by finally getting some sort of acknowledgment from Jun Pyo! Now, Jun Pyo is MY MAN, and I love him a lot, but his reaction to her is simply cruel. He tells her that he doesn’t remember that incident, but that he’s sorry it caused her so much pain that she felt like she had to change so dramatically. He does one final slap in the face by saying that at least when she was little she had a beautiful heart and soul, and leaves her crying on his expensive marble floor, empty, broken, and alone.

The next day, Thuglife have put up Min Ji’s before and after photos and spread the story around school (I think they did that, at least, I’m not totally sure because you know that Thuglife doesn’t leave traces of their handiwork). All the students become Jan Di’s best friend…again…and show her the pictures flashing on the plasma screen in the cafeteria. They start to make snide comments about Min Ji and how ugly she was and how mean she was to poor Jan Di. Uh, hello? Wasn’t it just YESTERDAY that you torched her bike and sent her crashing? Min Ji walks into the cafeteria just as one of the girls says “If I was that ugly, I would have committed suicide a long time ago!”

And this is when I love Jan Di. Jan Di doesn’t know that Min Ji is there, so this is completely on her own. Jan Di steps in front of the plasma screen and blocks the pictures. Then she says that everyone in that room has probably had plastic surgery, and that they had plastic surgery when they didn’t need it simply because they wanted to become even MORE beautiful than they already were. “So,” Jan Di asks them, “is it really so horrible that an ugly person uses plastic surgery to become beautiful, too?” LOVE THIS. Jan Di has just defended Min Ji from all of the Plastics when she would have been well within her rights to let her be slandered. Jan Di starts to walk away from the cafeteria and sees Min Ji. Get ready for some more Jan Di love. This is how the scene goes:

Min Ji: I won’t beg you for forgiveness…

Jan Di: *SLAPS HER IN THE FACE, not too hard, though.*

Min Ji: *recovers* and I won’t apologize to you.

Jan Di: *SLAPS HER IN THE FACE, HARD.* I will never forgive you for what you have done.

I LOVED THIS MOMENT! I loved it because while she defended Min Ji from the Plastics, she also didn’t go all love-and-peace-and-sparkles-and-butterflies and completely forgive her for everything she’s done. Min Ji has ruined their friendship, and Jan Di will not ignore that fact. Everything ends with Min Ji leaving a stuffed lamb on Jan Di’s desk, with a message in it about how she was thankful to have her as a friend, that she really liked her, and sings a child-like friendship song. You can tell in Min Ji’s recording that she’s crying, and Jan Di begins to cry too. What this means to me is that their friendship was real and important for both of them, and both of them are going to mourn what they have lost. Hasn’t everyone experienced this kind of sadness?! So many of the moments are just so real in this K Drama! That part, at least, I prefer over the manga – this stuff is believable because it is done in a real way. Mostly.

I know, I know, this post is super long and I haven’t even gotten to PART TWO. Calm down. I’m going to leave Part Two to CeeFu. While I have many, many, MANY things in Part Two that I love (LIKE THE ENDING! Yes, I’d like some of THAT for MY main course, thank you very much!!!!) I wanted to write about Part One because it was so personal for me to watch. So far, I’m totally digging this K Drama! It’s my first one, by the way, and I just may become addicted if there are more out there like this one! :D