All hail hallyu wave drama princess Kim Tae Hee and prince Song Seung Hoon set to conquer people’s hearts and maintain their royal status in a hyped up, big production romantic comedy.
Okay, that metaphoric intro about royalty is really cheesy lol. Anyways, I’m excited about how Kdrama producers keep pairing up one famous actor/ actress after another in hopes of finding in them chemistry and compatibility on screen. They hit it off big time with the recently wrapped Secret Garden (which I’m hoping to finish and review soon) with big hot stars like Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won. So imagine my surprise and delight when I first heard that dream boy Song Seung Hoon will be starring in a rom-com with Korea’s dream girl, Kim Tae Hee no less! Pairings like these should come with a warning. Prettiness overload. And a warning that it could either work to their advantage—or not.
Brief synopsis: Some political interest groups want to reinstate the Korean monarchy (or its remaining descendants for that matter) to “correct history” and to bring back what rightfully was supposed to be in power in the first place. Here comes Lee Seol (Tae Hee), an ordinary college student who does odd part time jobs acting as a “princess” for festivals or events (of course). Seung Hoon plays the ultra-dashing Park Hae Young, a diplomat for foreign affairs, who is tasked to find the princess, at the risk of him losing all his inheritance. Apparently he had to give it all up since the money used to build their big company belongs to the royal family. Then there’s Park Ye Jin who plays a museum curator slash finance officer, and Professor Nam Joo, Lee Seol’s professor who’s dedicated to protect history. They discover that Lee Seol is the princess, and she then undergoes “princess lessons” until the nation votes for the official reinstatement of her “reign.”
Okay, I didn’t delve much into the political aspect of the drama even though much of its bulk is supposed to be composed of it. It’s just freaking confusing! I’m not even sure if I explained the synopsis right lol. They try to explain the politics away and much of it doesn’t really make sense in the real world. I mean, they brought an unknown girl into the palace without checking her background, DNA or what have you, and say that she is indeed the princess by relying on what she remembers of her father. Really now. With a weak foundation like that, I had a feeling this one’s gonna rely on its casts’ star power more than the story itself.
Kim Tae Hee portrays a perky (she even sings and dances SNSD’s Hoot for crying out loud) , outgoing girl and she’s quite adorable—in the beginning. She really brightens the screen with her beauty, but somehow her acting’s not really stellar. You can tell that she tries to please everyone with her cute personality, which she does quite effectively. But when it comes to scenes where she’s required to bring it, she just falls a bit flat. And trust me, you won’t be able to count with your fingers how many crying scenes she had! Not the restrained, tears-are-gonna-fall-but-not-gonna-let-it crying, but the hysteric, overdramatic wailing. And even then you can’t feel that she’s really hurt, neither would you feel sympathetic towards her. Sorry to compare, but when Ha Ji Won cried her heart out in one SG scene where the bitch rich mom trampled her pride and insulted her—you can almost feel Gil Ra Im’s (HJW) pain, as though she’s about to hurl that bitch into the ground. Or when Gil Ra Im called Joo Won on his cell phone and was trying real hard not to let him hear her crying. That was really heartbreaking. But Tae Hee’s crying feels a bit shallow, like she’s not drawing deep into her character enough. With her being a princess, I think the story was eager to show the “fun stuff” of her princess lessons more rather than showing her as someone worthy of being the princess. Lee Seol was kind-hearted, that’s a plus, but she was a bit flaky and indecisive. Sure, she was hesitant to grab the throne, wanted to still be a part of her adoptive family and really wanted to clear her father’s reputation—but that’s all about herself. You won’t see in her the drive to make a difference and make a change for the people of Korea. They showed that in haste at the end but it was all too late. Her outfits look really gorgeous though! I mean, can’t deny there’s a reason why she’s called the nation’s ideal woman. And I do think the cute/cheery character suits her really well. And there are parts where she’s actually pretty funny.
As for Mr. Dreamboat, I’m quite disappointed to say that he has no connection or rapport whatsoever with Tae Hee. I was always distracted at how he looked dapper in his well-tailored suits, or how he looked real fresh—but that’s about it. His character is just about as flaky as Lee Seol’s. As for their onscreen partnership, there were a lot of cute moments, but most of that were shown at the end. Like when he was teaching her how to drive, or their playful, witty banters. Those were like gems you can find in a drama full of fluff. They looked and acted cute together but it wasn’t enough for me to actually want to root for them. I was, however, rooting for more scenes of him wearing ONLY a bath towel lol!
Dead face is dead.
Don’t even get me started on Park Ye Jin the resident evil bitch every drama has to have. She’s just as stoic as her perfectly coifed hair that never moves. Her motivations were quite confusing and lacking sense for someone who’s supposed to be a smart, empowered woman. Granted she felt betrayed and unappreciated with all that’s been going on, but that doesn’t give her enough reason to want to have two guys pine for her while she plots ways to destroy the princess. I’m not gonna elaborate on the professor because well, he’s the perfect second fiddle character and kinda serves no real purpose other than being Tae Hee’s shoulder to cry on and PYJ’s pushover go-to guy. Another cringe worthy antagonist was Lee Dan, Lee Seol’s half-sister who’s always been jealous and bitter, more so when Seol became princess. There was a scene where she was in Seol’s room and she threw a fit by screaming and tearing the room. Can I say awkwerrrrd. Hmmmmkaaay. We get it. You’re mad. Next!
I liked Ki Kwang (of Beast) in here though. He’s charming and real adorkable lol. Oh, and the OST is amazing! Better than the drama itself sadly! Watch this for the cute and funny moments between the leads (which you have to press fast forward to find lol) and if you’re a fan of the pretty stars, fabulous designer outfits and pretty nice “palace” set. I mean, there are a lot of memorable squee inducing scenes that will make you want to hang on and keep waiting for what’s gonna happen next—but that’s where the problem is. You keep waiting but end up with just that—cuteness overload. And the whole part about Lee Seol’s father who was always “on the run” because he was being threatened by Hae Young’s father, was too contrived and it was not convincing at all. It’s a light drama, though sometimes it “tries” to be serious, but otherwise, if you’re looking for substance plus connection with the two leads, it might do you good to skip on this one. Too bad, because it did look really promising.
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