Thursday, December 22, 2011

K-Drama Review: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Ep 5-6

Read episode reviews for:
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 1-2
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 3-4
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 7-8
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 9-10
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 11-12
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 13-14
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for episodes 5-6

Eun-Bi's world is turning upside down yet again. She has lost her student-teaching job and is staying at her father's house, wondering what to do with his run-down ramyun shop. Turns out, the shop isn't hers to deal with because her father has willed it to Kang-Hyuk (in a notarized document written in crayon!). And dear old dad also seems to have arranged a marriage for Kang-Hyuk and Eun-Bi, as evidenced by the fact that Eun-Bi is already being called "wife" by this sweet yet clueless guy.

Meanwhile, Chi-Soo is in serious emotional trouble, but he misinterprets his heartsickness over Eun-Bi as medical distress. The guy actually develops a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms that can't be traced to any source, but he knows that his breathing constricts and his head hurts when he thinks of Eun-Bi. He also has stomach pain, nightmares, and hallucinations. Aww. Chi-Soo's overreactions to his feelings, plus the fact that he doesn't understand that he has feelings, are incredibly funny. He gets very inventive and creative with his attempts to find Eun-Bi, but when he sees her practicing volleyball, he falls even harder for her--but still thinks he's got some weird disease. *headdesk*

Eun-Bi resents the ramyun shop and says she'd like to sell it, but Kang-Hyuk wants her to care about what happens to the shop because it represents everything her father worked for and believed in. Eun-Bi finally makes peace with the memory of her father, so she is getting calmer and more grown-up in some ways, just as Chi-Soo seems to be on the verge of a psychotic break, poor guy.

Kang-Hyuk decides to hire part-time workers for the ramyun shop, so Ba-Wool and Woohyun are drafted into working and living at the restaurant. Chi-Soo decides to take the job as well, so that he can cure his obsession with Eun-Bi by being around her all the time. (Yeah, we'll see how that works out for you, buddy.) Finally, finally, finally, the show's title makes sense and we have a ramyun shop that will be run by flower boys!

As for the side characters, Ba-Wool is still in love with So-Yi, and So-Yi is still seeing other people. I don't really know what this girl's problem is. Does she really not know or care when she's hurting Ba-Wool's feelings? Grr. I'm also hoping that Coach and Dongjoo get together because he certainly didn't seem happy to hear her engagement announcement.

Things I Loved:

1. Eun-Bi somehow not noticing that she's been sharing a house with Kang-Hyuk for four days. It is hilarious. She's suffering from grief, but seriously now. I real life, she would notice.

How could you not see this guy, Eun-Bi?

2. Re-visiting old scenes. I love how this show replays a scene from the previous episode, but then gives you more dialogue and more info than you had before. It's not as boring as a simple recap, and it refreshes your memory of what has happened before while shedding new light on people's attitudes because now you know the whole story, like with Chi-Soo and Kang-Hyuk's argument in the ramyun shop.

Chi-Soo humbly requests to be called by his full name!

3. Chi-Soo comparing Eun-Bi to a mermaid and saying her hair is like a unicorn's. Yes, a unicorn.

Likes mythical creatures and Eun-Bi. Sometimes confuses the two.


1. The confusing order of the scenes. I thought Chi-Soo was in a coma because you see him react to bright lights on the highway like he's going to crash, then the next thing you see is him underwater in a pool, looking like he's drowning. I thought waking up underwater was art-film code for "in the hospital, about to die". No, we've just skipped from a driving scene to a scene where he's at a pool, struggling to stay afloat.

2. The big shift between drama and comedy. Most of the time, I enjoy the broad humor and then the serious scenes, but sometimes there's a whiplash effect where the mood will be incredibly serious and then something goofy will happen.


Importance of Food: Eun-Bi's dad used to talk about how people basically need to eat hot, nourishing food in order to grow into better human beings. Ramyun was the equivalent of soul food for him, and it's the same situation with Kang-Hyuk. He loves to cook for people, and his argument with Eun-Bi is ended after she eats the ramyun he makes. Kang-Hyuk is happy while watching Ba-Wol eat his cooking, too.

Avoidance of proper names: Kang-Hyuk is often referred to by nouns that describe his height, like "the post" or "the column". I'm assuming that's somewhat rude in Korean, because they place such significance on what one person calls another. Chi-Soo sometimes calls him "Onion". I think Eun-Bi avoids Kang-Hyuk's name because she sees him as an annoyance, and Chi-Soo avoids his name because he sees him as a threat. Oddly enough, his actual name is used so rarely, I had to look it up on a drama website. In my head, I called him "Lee Ki Woo", the actor's name, because the character's name is spoken so rarely.

Kang-Hyuk also refuses to call Chi-Soo by his correct full name. It's Cha Chi-Soo, with "Cha" being the last name, but we hear him called Park Chi-Soo and Kim Chi-Soo, two common Korean surnames. It becomes almost a game to see which incorrect name Kang-Hyuk is going to assign to Chi-Soo next!

Moral responsibility: Eun-Bi keeps saying that Chi-Soo has no conscience and no concept of right and wrong. At one point that seemed to be accurate, but it's gradually becoming less true.

Female athleticism represents independence: Ba-Wool discovers Eun-Bi's old volleyball jersey and says that she was so much cooler back when she ruled on the volleyball court. He essentially says that her killer instincts and brave spirit were more apparent when she was playing sports and that being a proper career woman does not suit her. When Eun-Bi finally practices volleyball again, she remembers an important part of her past that she tried to leave behind. Also related to this topic, Chi-Soo may think that he prefers Eun-Bi when she's cowering, but he clearly likes her better when she's doing the athletic thing and not caring what anyone thinks of her. Women+athletics=awesomeness.

Yang Eun-Bi: Athlete. Noona. Hero.

Mirrored scenes: Kang-Hyuk entertains a little girl on the train, and makes funny faces to get her to smile. Later, the same little girl takes care of Chi-Soo by giving him her Pororo blanket and some candy.

Chi-Soo tries to create a mirror scene by getting So-Yi to put her hair in a ponytail like Eun-Bi's, but it doesn't work.

Ba-Wool and Chi-Soo have a fight in the ramyun shop that is identical to the fight they had at school, right down to the yelling and Ba-Wool getting trapped behind sliding tables.

Cultural Observances:

New words: "Chingu" is "friend". It's used when Eun-Bi discovers that Kang-Hyuk is the son of her father's friend. "Wae" is "why", and Eun-Bi says it all the time but draws the word out like wehhhyy? "Arasso" is like "I've got it" or "fine!" or "gotcha"--it seems to imply that you get the other person's conversational point.

Noraebang: Yay, I love seeing the activity! It's Korean karaoke, and it's apparently featured in every K-drama ever produced. When Dongjoo announces that she's getting married, Eun-Bi and Coach go to noraebang with her. Coach's hoarse bellowing of his song is brilliant.

Boy bands: Eun-Bi has an alarm clock with a piture of the 90's kpop boy band Shinhwa. In ep. 5, Ba-Wool finds an actual poster of Shinhwa in Eun-Bi's closet and announces that these guys were "the SHINee of their generation". I'm guessing that SHINee fans loved that reference.

English Bonus:

1. American songs. At the rather underpopulated club Chi-Soo visits with his friends, "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO plays.

The marquee at the theater Chi-Soo leaves advertises in English: "Romantic Moment at Sweetbox Premium" and "Sound Really Matters--Beats by Dr. Dre". Huh? Are these films that are playing, or advertisements of the theater sound system?

2. Random words. Eun-Bi accused Kang-Hyuk of being a "stalker" and says the English word. Chi-Soo still pronounces Manhattan as "Manhat". Eun-Bi says "bingo" when Kang-Hyuk figures something out. Chi-Soo yells at his friend Woohyun to come help him "right now"!

Episode Evaluations: It's getting good. Eun-Bi is fierce. Chi-Soo is crazy. Kang-Hyuk is...tall.


  1. love reading your review. takes me back to the beginning. great , great, great! (by the way , im one of the moderators of fbrs_fb.^^ ~)

  2. I'm watching this too. Agh it's starting to get a bit boring in my humble opinion, but that's not stopping me though.

  3. @karen You are going to /love/ this stuff.

    @lyra Thanks so very much! I don't have facebook, but I did check out your page. This show definitely deserves a big fanbase.

    @TV & Book Addict I'm just on Episode 10, but I'm purely riveted. We'll see how it ends!