Monday, February 13, 2012

K-Drama Review: Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 3-4

Read episode reviews for:
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 1-2
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 5-6
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 7-8
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 9-10
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 11-12
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 13-14
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 3-4

The five remaining members of the band Eye Candy are barely coping with the loss of their leader, Byunghee, who was hit by a bus shortly after being beaten up by some rich kids from school. Now Byunghee's best friend Ji-hyuk has to step up as the new leader of their group of friends, and he also ends up protecting Byunghee's songwriting muse, Suah.

Early on in episode three, we get a flashback in black-and-white to Byunghee at his awesomest, being his usual adorkable, wacky self. There are shots of him hiding his face after saying something cute to Suah, then him hanging out with Ji-hyuk, then brainstorming some more of his "genius" schemes, and it really shows you just how much the guys in Eye Candy are losing when this silly, vibrant personality exits their lives. The rest of episode three is a blame-go-round about Byunghee's death. Eye Candy blames the rich-kid band Strawberry Fields for beating up Byunghee before he stumbled into traffic. Ji-hyuk blames Suah for distracting him when Byunghee called for help. Everyone blames themselves, as well.

It would have been easy for the show to fall into a malaise of crying montages, with everyone angsting nonstop, but it moves forward surprisingly well. All the characters are getting gradual development, and Suah's getting a decent emotional arc too, which is good. With such a guy-focused story, the main girl could end up being just a placeholder, but the actress (Jo Boa) brings vulnerability and friendliness to Suah's scenes.

On the musical front, Eye Candy has cut a demo tape in preparation for the huge battle of the bands Byunghee singed them up for. Their demo sounds good, but they still have to compete for a decent practice space, and their school is all abuzz about the showdown of Eye Candy vs. Strawberry Fields.

Things I Loved:

1. The guys' love for their lost friend. Their grief is very real, and they deal with it in normal, human ways. There are sweet moments like when little Kyung-jong wraps up Byunghee's picture in a coat because he hated being cold. Then there are almost celebratory moments when the guys set off all the fireworks in Byunghee's sparkler stash. But there's an attempt to push down the sadness, too, because Kyung-jong, the baby of the group, breaks down sobbing at one point and Ji-hyuk has to run away before he cracks, too.

Taking Care of Byunghee's Picture.

2. Ji-hyuk. I barely noticed this guy in the first two episodes because of Byunghee, but he's a great hero in the making. He's learning how to take care of his bandmates and there's a nice moment of tension-panic for Ji-hyuk as he realizes that it's up to him to keep his guys from taking revenge and getting expelled from school. He's like the dad of the crew (or at least the hyung, the older brother). Ji-hyuk may be downright scary in a fight, but he has a kind side and always looks out for the other guys by buying them food with the extra cash he makes.

Our Angry, Illustrious Leader.

3. Hyunsoo. Ji-hyuk's supposed to be the craziest guy in the band now that their leader is gone, but a few lines indicate that lead guitarist Hyunsoo is a potential loose cannon, too. In a fight scene, the icy-cool Hyunsoo goes a little crazy, like maybe he's less chill than previously believed. Hyunsoo also hints that wants to be the new vocalist of Eye Candy, but the role suits Ji-hyuk better. I wonder where his character development is heading. Trivia: Hyunsoo is played by "L," one of the members of the K-pop band Infinite.

May Go Slightly Mental in the Near Future.

4. Suah/Ji-hyuk. This potential couple is so darling. I like watching the tiny moments of awkwardness between them, and there are plenty. Ji-hyuk does finally get past his blamestorming and he forgives Suah for talking to him the night Byunghee died, distracting him from an important phone call. When Ji-hyuk sees thugs outside Suah's apartment, he invites her over and makes her food, but then grumps that she shouldn't expect him to make ramyun for her all the time! When she starts to look potentially sad and sniffly over a reminder of Byunghee, he gives her more food and changes the subject.

Almost Painfully Precious When Combined.


None. These episodes are legit, and they avoid a lot of the storyline pitfalls I was expecting.


Family Issues: Byunghee's drunk dad is extra-drunk at his son's funeral. Do-Il's dad is revealed to be a famous gangster. Suah's dad unwittingly puts her in a position to be hounded by loansharks.

Conflicted Feelings: Seung-hoon's guilty conscience is bothering him over Byunghee, though he's only partly to blame for the accident. Seung-hoon has some cold impulses, but he's never outright cruel and oddly enough, he's enjoying the competition and difficulty of having Eye Candy around all the time. You know, I don't even consider him to be a villain anymore. He has earned his place as one of our leads; he's just a lead who is in opposition to most of our other leads.

Seriously, He's Not a Bad Guy.

Probably Unrequited Love: Seung-hoon keeps hoping that Suah will confess her feelings to him, and he's always wearing that "Did you have something special you wanted to say to me? Please?" expression. Seung-hoon is deeply worried over Suah's financial predicament. When she won't accept an expensive present from him, he gives her a small present of a warm scarf when he notices she's been walking home in the cold. It's almost heartbreaking, because you can tell he loves her, but while Suah lets him hold her hand for awhile, she eventually pulls away.

Someone's Heart Is Going To Get Broken, Quite Soon.

Cultural Observances:

Funeral pictures with black ribbons: At Byunghee's funeral, there's a picture of him with black ribbons tied over it. This isn't just a Korean practice--they do it in Ireland I believe, and they used to do it in America too, but this is not something I see done in the States any more.

Kneeling: Ji-hyuk kneels in front of Seung-hoon, begging him to let the guys stay in school. Seung-hoon really shouldn't hold the power of expulsion over another student, but that's how the power system ends up working. Ji-hyuk has to humble himself before his enemy in order to protect his bros, and it works.

Taking off shoes when you enter a house: Even in Ji-hyuk's apartment, he and Suah take off their shoes at the door. And it's not like the shoes are muddy or dirty, it's just the standard move to take them off.

Episode Evaluations: I'm still stunned that this show killed off my favorite character and somehow got even better in the aftermath. Can't wait for more!

You can watch an English subtitled version of episode three HERE at Dramafever.

1 comment:

  1. Awww. This sounds like a really sweet show. I have to go catch up on all your postings now....