Friday, February 24, 2012

K-Drama Review: Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 7-8

Read episode reviews for:
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 1-2
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 3-4
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 5-6
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 7-8

Seung-hoon and his rich-kid group Strawberry Fields won the battle of the bands competition, and now they're back in school bragging about thier win over Eye Candy, the poor-boys-with-heart band. Eye Candy lost by forfeit because one of their members was injured, so they're floored by the unfair loss.

In the previous episode, Ji-hyuk and Suah had their first kiss, which naturally complicates everything instead of clearing the air. Suah gets superhumanly awkward around him, but when Ji-hyuk opens up and says she can stop avoiding him, Suah turns him down. But though Suah's not sure where she stands with Ji-hyuk, she does finally tell her best guy friend Seung-hoon to stop waiting for her to fall for him. I feel like she's being a little cowardly in her reactions to Ji-hyuk, but being very brave about telling Seung-hoon that they're never going to be more than friends--it's a tough admission to make.

With life going so lousy for Eye Candy, Ji-hyuk writes a letter of withdrawal from school. But unbeknowst to the downtrodden band members, a video of their performance has gone viral on the internet, catching the attention of a media group run by Seung-hoon's big sister. The video is popular because the boys are really rocking out and having fun, but it hits viral status because Ji-hyuk stops the performance at the end to save Hyunsoo, who was bleeding from his guitar-playing hand. Girls everywhere are falling for Eye Candy because of that video, ironically making them more popular than they would have been if they'd won the contest outright.

Before they know they've achieved fame, the guys decide on their own to be happy and to just play for fun again. But soon they hear that a big company wants to recruit them! And yet...the company only wants to sign Ji-hyuk and Hyunsoo. Awk-ward.

Things I Loved:

1. Ji-hyuk/Suah: Oh. My. Gosh. Just when I give up on them, they go into Cute Mode again. Suah admits that she's frantic to find her MP3 player not because it contains Seung-hoon's song, but because it has Ji-hyuk's voice on it. (Mixed signals, sugar! But moody Ji-hyuk is just as bad with the mixed signals.) Ji-hyuk calls Suah to sing her favorite song to her because he's too embarassed to do it face to face, but then it turns out that he's sitting outside his apartment, and all she has to do is walk out of her apartment to hear him. Gyahh, so cute.  

So Awkward, Suah Tries to Hide in the Wall.

2. Hyunsoo. This melancholy guy is my second-favorite in the band. In episode 7, the poor thing starts skipping school again because he's depressed after his onstage meltdown. In a major character-revealing scene, Hyunsoo sits at a playground with his baby sisteer, feeding her and telling her about how he and Ji-hyuk used to be best buddies. Hyunsoo smiles and reminisces about their childhood when they were inseparable until Ji-Hyuk disappeared into the music scene and started playing guitar with Byunghee. Hyunsoo's jealousy prompted him to take up guitar, so he's always had a chip on his shoulder and had something to prove. While music comes naturally for Ji-hyuk, Hyunsooo has to practice hard just to keep up. But after all this gut-spilling, Baby Sister comforts and hugs her oppa to let him know he'll be okay. Awww. 

 Baby Sister Shows Her Support for Hyunsoo.

3. Mr. Kim: This teacher seemed like a jerk in the early episodes, but it was all just build-up to his greatness in these eps. He tells the Eye Candy guys that life hasn't ended just because they lost the competition. It's honestly so great to have a little adult pragmatism intrude on the teen angst. One musical setback does not equal the end of all your hopes and dreams, boys! Teacher Kim says he's disappointed in how quickly they started sulking and giving up, because they can do so much better. You go, awesome teacher. He even smiles happily when he sees a video of the guys playing, like he's terribly proud of them.

World-Weary Mentor Expects More From You, Son.

4. Suah:  I had begun losing interest in Suah and I thought the writers needed to do something particular with her, something related to her own goals instead of just having her respond or not respond to the guys' attentions. We still don't have much in the way of private interests for Suah, but she has gotten so strong. She returns Seung-hoon's gifts and says she won't accept anything from him in the future because she realizes that she's been letting Seung-hoon take over an almost-boyfriend role. She says point blank that she can't accept his feelings. It's so painful to hear the truth, but it's good she has matured enough to make the tough decisions. Later, when Ji-hyuk and Seung-hoon are both acting like jerks, Suah righteously announces that she doesn't need either of them! Right on. I love both fellows, but they need to grow up, too.

Atta Girl, Show That Backbone!

5. Do-Il: I thought Do-Il was just some dull, quiet guy in the early episdoes--I'm rarely interested in silent brooders. But now he feels like a real person, and he's often more observant than the others in the band. It's sweet and sad how he quietly supports the resident forceful girl Wookyung, because he has probably liked her as long as she's liked Ji-hyuk. But they'll end up together for sure--that's the way the plot is pointing. I also love Do-Il for stopping Seung-hoon's noona to ask if she genuinely thinks that the band has musical skill, because he doesn't want success handed to him.


Moping. The guys whine too much in episode 7. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when they got over themselves. They do have legitimate troubles, but they're too quick to view one big setback as a permanent ruin.

Paper-tearing. When one person rips up an important piece of paper, it's significant and dramatic. When three different documents get ripped up in one episode (the demerits list, Ji-hyuk's school withdrawal, the HR Entertainment contract), it has less of an impact every time.


Leadership: When they run into trouble, Ji-hyuk wonders what Byunghee would have done and how he would have dealt with the guys falling apart the way they are. Some scenes remind viewers that despite being the pseudo-adult leader of Eye Candy, Ji-hyuk is still a kid in a lot of ways. He throws minor fits and threatens to quit school when things don't go his way, but more often he makes smart choices. Ji-hyuk's at his absolute best when he's making tough decisions, not when he's chilling and letting things happen however they will. No one can take care of the other guys or Suah like he can when he commits himself to it.

Snobby Authority: The school principal is really a jerk. He praises Strawberry Fields to the high heavens just for winning a musical competition, then says Eye Candy has brought shame on their school for failing to place in said competition. Yanno, at some schools they actually try to teach the kids, or maybe possibly encourage them to achieve their goals.

Remembering the Dead: The reason Ji-hyuk is so distraught at losing the battle of the bands is that now no one will ever hear Byunghee's music on a large scale. At this point, his whole musical career is a tribute to his lost friend.

Loyalty/Disloyalty:  Unlike leader Ji-hyuk who will take a personal loss rather than play without his friends, Seung-hoon is dropping his band Strawberrry Fields and debuting alone because he doesn't need them anymore. I'm glad to see him pursuing his talent and passion, and I even like that he's leaving behind his sidekicks, The Bully and The Snob, but I don't like the idea that he's tossing people aside and treating others like they're disposable.

Strawberry Fields (is not) Forever.

Cultural Observances:

Samgyupsal: At Hyunsoo's house, they have a barbeque party where everyone's sitting at a low table and taking food off of a grill right in front of them. The meat is samgyupsal, a type of grilled pork similar to bacon slices.

New words: Jincha="really?" Pi="blood" (mentioned while discussing Hyunsoo's bleeding hand). Nado="Me, too".

You can watch episode 7 HERE at DramaFever.

Episode Evaluations:

Everyone, even the secondary characters, gets their development nudged forward, which makes me happy. Even though Shut Up, Flower Boy Band is supposedly just a high school drama about a rock band, it always feels fresh and exciting and the plot moves along at a nice pace.

No comments:

Post a Comment