Tag Archives: MBC drama

My Princess’s Edict

When casting news of a new drama called My Princess 마이 프린세스 (2011) came out, it could not be helped that a most sarcastic reaction and laughing bout duked it out trying to burst out from me. But seriously, are the producers insane to let two of the most infamously bad actors anchor the same project? Who else can it be but Song Seung Heon and Kim Tae Hee, well known for their lack of acting skills despite years in the industry with innumerable opportunities to hone and improve upon them. At the same time, because they are also just as well known for their blessed physicality which has garnered them a much more positive response, they have been able to coast by on them. In the past, they were each fortunately paired with good to exceptionally talented co-stars, thereby minimizing the collateral damage they leave behind in their earnest efforts to emote any believable, uncringe worthy emotions. But now, on their own, it waits to be seen if their looks can save them.   

This harsh statement is made after having endured hours of their latest spectacular performance failures- East of Eden 에덴의 동쪽 (2008) for Song Seung Heon and IRIS 아이리스 (2009) for Kim Tae Hee.  Even Song himself was embarrassed and apologetic for having won the end of year Daesang award in acting as evidenced from his subsequent public posts on his webpage and other outlets. Why he won would beg a separate post on the behind-the-scene industry politiking and drama of self-promoting awards shows.

As if the casting match is not befuddling enough, the character descriptions ought to slam dunk one to the ground in hysterical fits- Song will play a chaebol bred career diplomat while Kim will play an ordinary late-entry college student. Really? Song who’s known for his lack of and short range for conveying facial expressions and intent and  Kim who’s known as the smart Seoul National University graduate student?

The premise is almost your typical romantic-comedy pinwheel set up: the two leads are mutually attracted, while there are one-sided second leads whirling around them scheming to break them up and/or pining away at them. Park Ye Jin who played Princess Cheonmyeong  in 2009’s Queen Seon Deok 선덕여왕 is said manipulator out to re-steal Song’s character for herself out of jealousy at her former boyfriend’s new relationship. Ryu Soo Young from 2008’s Lawyers of Korea 대한민국 변호사 takes on his first project after being discharged from his military service will be an archeology and art history professor crushed on by his female students but who secretly crushes on Kim’s character. Neither second leads are compellingly strong actors either judging from their filmography, which only adds to the disenchantment and lukewarm anticipation for this project. The only factor in this production that may save, if not miraculously turn it into a winner is the confirmed fact that Kim Eun Sook will be the writer, whose current work on Secret Garden 시크릿 가든 (2010) is romping fun to behold.

My Princess will tell how Kim’s character literally becomes a princess. This will certainly add an additional layer to the mounting demands of suspension of disbelief the producers are requiring as Korea does not have a monarchy last checked. Will there be another caveat at the beginning similar to Goong’s 궁 (2006)? I’m frightened to watch this, but simultaneously compelled to see how it pains out.

My Princess is slated for a January release on MBC Wednesday-Thursday evenings taking over Home Sweet Home‘s 즐거운 나의 집 timeslot.

Enjoying Pasta

I had happily first met actor Lee Sun Gyun as the music producer, Choi Han Sung, in The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. At the time, he was pining away for his ex‐girlfriend Han Yoo Joo played by Chae Jung Ahn and I was swooning over his deep, rich voice. My love for him led me into the basement kitchen of the restaurant La Sfera where I watched him play the hot tempered chef, Choi Hyun Wook, chased after by his pasta line cook, Seo Yoo Kyung played by Gong Hyo Jin, in the drama Pasta. Like its namesake, Pasta looked simple, was delicious, and turned out, surprisingly, to be quite complex. Though it had the typical ingredients found in a Korean drama, (i.e. love square, unrequited love, and a very determined heroine who despite all odds gets her man and fulfills her dreams), director Kwan Seok Jang did a great job freshening up the typical grab bag of Korean story plots.

In Pasta, Seo Yoo Kyung is an aspiring pasta chef. After enduring three years of being a kitchen assistant at LaSfera, her hard work finally grants her the opportunity to cook on the pasta line. This acknowledgement is shattered as the head chef is replaced by Choi Hyun Wook, who declares (very loudly) that he will not have any female cooks in his kitchen. So begins Seo Yoo Kyung’s tangled journey to not only have her pasta dishes acknowledged by Choi Hyun Wook but also her love.

Compared to a lot of other current dramas, Pasta is short with only 20 episodes and there are no sequences of dramatic events. The main character is not hit by a car and has amensia; please look elsewhere for that story plot.  So what is there? Well, there is a group of very talented actors who are provided characters with understandable motivations and personalities honed from their distinct backstories. So well developed that after setting the stage in Episode 1, director Kwan seems to simply allow the characters to take over the drama and have the events unfold as they may.

If you plan to start on Pasta, stock your pantry full with linguine and kiss that no-carb diet good-bye. About 70+% of this drama is filmed in the kitchen or around food and you will unwittingly find your lips coated in tomato sauce, slurping up linguine as you watch the charming cast toss about pasta, insults and themselves at one another.

Overall rating, yum.