I feel like I’m always late to the party and it’s no exception when it comes to finally getting around to watching all the really HOT Kdrama sensations. Boys Over Flowers basically ruled the world for a couple years and launched one of my favorite actors (Lee Min-ho! Lee Min-ho!) into the stratosphere. It’s still hot and it’s a go-to reference when talking about young adult dramas in Korea.
Series Name: Boys Before Flowers
Run date: The series ran from January 5 to March 31, 2009 on Mondays and Tuesdays on KBS2 for a total of 25 episodes.
I watched a subtitled version via Hulu. See the Faith series page here.
Stars: Ku Hye-sun as headstrong school girl Geum Jan-di and Lee Min-ho as Gu Jun-pyo
Basics: Hardworking Geum Jan Di attends the exclusive Shinhwa High School by a scholarship she gets because of an incident. She finds her shallow, privileged classmates unbearable, especially the notorious F4. Rich, handsome, and arrogant, Gu Jun Pyo (Lee Min-ho), Yoon Ji Hoo (Kim Hyun-joong), So Yi Jung (Kim Bum), and Song Woo Bin (Kim Joon) are the kings of the school and no one, not even the teachers, dare challenge them. No one, that is, except Jan Di. Angry at their rudeness, Jan Di tells off F4’s leader Jun Pyo, bringing a world of trouble upon herself. The proud and persistent Jun Pyo falls hard for feisty Jan Di, but she shares a connection with the quiet, sensitive Ji Hoo.
So, like I said, I totally am YEARS behind the curve in watching this, but that’s okay. To me, most of these Kdramas are pretty timeless and I’d rather watch an episode way after everyone else than never get to see it at all.
This was my first time watching Lee Min-ho and I’m pretty sure that I hated him 18 out of 25 episodes. Seriously! The guy was such a jerk to our heroine that the scene in which she basically ninja kicked the snot out of him because he pushed her too far will go down as my FAVORITE SCENE EVER IN THE HISTORY OF FAVORITE SCENES EVER.
These four, hyper handsome, super rich FLOWER boys rule the school and Jun-pyo basically makes or breaks anybody he chooses. He’s a big ol’ jerk and nobody challenges him..except for scholarship student Jan Di!
The story was great and pretty engrossing right away. It didn’t lag in the middle and kept the tension of the love triangle (eventual quad-drangle? Square?) pretty taut the whole time. But unlike a lot of other reviewers, I wasn’t necessarily rooting for the sweet, sensitive Ji Hoo…you know, the handsome guy in white who serenades with his violin out in the middle of the woods. That guy.
He’s wonderful and a great friend to Jan Di, but at the end of the day, there’s just something about the chemistry between Jan Di and Jun-pyo that you can’t deny. Thankfully, the story writers didn’t deny it, either.
A cultural note: Okay, this is the third of five Kdramas I have watched now that features the male lead getting amnesia. What is that all about? Is there a rampant outbreak of amnesia in Korea? I don’t think there’s any sort of equivalent in American dramas…except maybe that male leads are allowed more room to “breakup/makeup” with the heroine just because he can. Another feature here is the long gap between the end of the current story and their happy ending. This is new to me as a foreign watcher (though it’s the second out of five that it’s happened in) and I wonder if it’s an attempt to show impressionable watchers that maybe it’s a good idea to get your own life in order and see the world for yourself before settling down?
If it is, I dig it!
Would I recommend it? Yes! But be warned that the writers didn’t really handle Ji Hoo’s story so well at the end. I felt that, as such an important character, he sort of got short changed. I still struggle with that one!