What K-drama features face and finger licking, post-shower narcolepsy, and sexy volleyball fantasies? Probably none other than “Flower Boy Ramen Shop”.
Wink to the hand, Cha Chi Soo.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★.5
Only 만: ★★★
Yang Eun Bi’s (Lee Chung Ah) attempt to become a teacher is thwarted by chaebol student, Cha Chi Soo (Jung Il Woo). Eun Bi made a pass at Chi Soo when she mistook him for an age appropriate option, but the joke is on Chi Soo when he ends up falling hard for Eun Bi. After the death of her father, Eun Bi finds herself with a ramen restaurant and a prospective husband, Choi Kang Hyuk (Lee Ki Woo), as arranged by her late father. Chi Soo and a host of other pretty boys join the restaurant crew, and camp out in Eun Bi’s home. Wackiness ensues.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: I believe that “Flower Boy Ramen Shop” was the second K-drama I ever watched, the first being “49 Days”. I really enjoyed Jung Il Woo as a supporting character in “49 Days”, and this prompted me to give “Flower Boy Ramen Shop” a try.
Only 만: I can’t remember why I started watching. But, it was so easy to watch that I finished it before I even realized how far I’d gotten.
중국어 캐나다: True, the show is as fluffy as cotton candy. Though, now with more K-dramas under my belt, I realize that “Flower Boy Ramen Shop” is quite the anomaly. Few other dramas feature such over-the-top acting, and I don’t remember any other with finger and face licking, and a harem of teenage boys living with an older woman. It was surprisingly naughty, but the blue streak was forgivable, because everything was framed in such a ridiculous manner.
만: True. No other show could have pulled off a scene where a guy licks kimchi sauce off a woman’s face. Not to mention the narcoleptic second lead, the ballerina who thinks open relationships are okay, the sweaty volleyball hallucinations, the weird attraction between the coach and the best friend, the monstrously strong lead female with constant bowel troubles… I could go on.
중국어 캐나다: Clearly, now that we are older and wiser (in K-dramas), we have gained an appreciation for “Flower Boy Ramen Shop”.
만: For me, the weak point was the character of Yang Eun Bi. I found her a little too over-the-top, to the point where it was hard to care about her. Part of the problem was the way the character was written. In most dramas, the heroine inevitably spends the first few episodes humiliating herself, before somehow straightening up and becoming relatable. In this one, the self-humiliation was too extreme. Add to this, Lee Chung Ah’s overly broad performance, and it was hard to imagine Eun Bi as the strong person every one said she was.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, unfortunately, Lee Chung Ah played it too broad, and I don’t think her character ever gained any dignity. Eun Bi didn’t even live up her reputation as someone that the neighbourhood delinquents respected and feared. Meanwhile, there’s Jung Il Woo winking at every woman, getting in everyone’s face, and over exaggerating every facial expression. Yet, I think he managed to be both ridiculous and convincingly impassioned as teenage chaebol, Cha Chi Soo.
만: Agreed. He was surprisingly intense in this role. The kimchi licking scene was oddly sexy.
중국어 캐나다: Speaking of sexy, we were both big fans of second lead, Lee Ki Woo’s post-shower narcolepsy scene, though clearly not for the acting. Did you find his wooden performance a good counter to the overacting of Lee Chung Ah and Jung Il Woo?
만: I couldn’t see what attracted his character to Eun Bi. Otherwise, he was a nice break from their frenetic pace. That said, when he inexplicably stopped falling asleep, I kind of lost interest in him.
중국어 캐나다: He was really nice to look at though; just a hulking, warm presence, and a nice respite from the crazy that Jung Il Woo and Lee Chung Ah generated between them.
만: He really was. Like a big, handsome, sleepy teddy bear.
중국어 캐나다: The show featured another stiff performance that I found much more grating. It was painfully obvious that Ho Soo, who played the ballerina, could not act, and unlike Lee Ki Woo’s character, she was not supposed to be understated and reserved. In fact, her character was pretty terrible in the way she played with Ba Wool’s feelings, and a more dynamic actor could have made the ballerina character entertaining.
만: I seem to have put her out of my mind, so I guess she didn’t make too much of an impact. All I remember was her “creative” approach to relationships, and how it drove Ba Wool crazy. For some reason, I have a clearer memory of Ba Wool and Hyun Woo.
중국어 캐나다: For me, it is the exact opposite. Ba Wool and Hyun Woo barely registered with me, because neither was as attractive as Jung Il Woo nor Lee Ki Woo. And, they were not interesting enough to overcome the physical handicap.
만: I did enjoy Ba Wool’s magnificent head of hair.
중국어 캐나다: Did you enjoy the way the series ended?
만: No, it was total crap. After all the hijinks, it seemed like a really flat ending. The only thing I liked was the coach and the best friend getting together.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, the series started out bubbly like champagne, and by the end, it felt like a hangover. Well, we will always have Chi Soo’s finger licking and eye winking seduction.
만: And let us not forget, Lee Ki Woo in a towel.
중국어 캐나다: We won’t let anyone forget (see below).