Thursday, March 8, 2012

K-Drama Review: Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 11-12

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 7-8
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 9-10
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 13-14
Shut Up, Flower Boy Band, Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 11-12

It's time for Eye Candy's professional TV debut with their lead single! They're a great band, so they're going to do an awesome job! Right? Right? *sigh* Actually, things turn out okay. Eye Candy flubs their live show, but with the help of Teacher Kim and some guitar-related theatrics from Hyunsoo, they go along like it's no thing. The mistakes endear them to their audience and further solidify that these guys are a raw, messy, real band and not a factory creation.

Now that the band has officially debuted, Hyunsoo's been promoting constantly. Hyunsoo's the face of the group and he appears on all sorts of variety shows, but Ji-hyuk thinks it's kind of fake that Hyunsoo can always paste on smile and act like a celebrity. The friction between these two hasn't really gone away, but they do patch things up later.

Next thing you know, it's keyboardist Kyung-jong's birthday, but everyone's so wrapped up in their own schedules, they forget it (How could you forget the precious baby's birthday? That's unforgiveable!). Ji-hyuk has to ditch Suah in order to throw Kyung-jong a last minute surprise party (why not bring Suah along? Kyung-jong's always been the friendliest member of the band toward her anyway). The party represents an ongoing theme of loyalty, and shows that these guys will always eventually rally together to support each other.

On the relationship front, Ji-hyuk still hasn't told the guys he's dating Suah, which is a big issue. Also, while Ji-hyuk's busy with press conferences and all-night rehearsals, he inadvertently ignores his girl. Ji-hyuk doesn't quite realize that while Suah's not clingy or needy, she also doesn't have a backup support system of friends like he does. He always has his boys, but she has no one to reply upon...except Seung-hoon. And now Eye Candy's record label drops the bomb on them that Seung-hoon is their new producer for the next album! Oh, this rivalry is so on.

Things I Loved:

1. The Songs. The soundtrack to the show is so good that I don't get tired of hearing them sing "Jaywalking" for the jillionth time. It's a fun, fun song, and yet I think the new track "Wake Up" might be even better. They must have gotten some good songwriter/composers for this show, because the music is super catchy. Even the actors seem to be getting into the music more.

Hyunsoo, Rocking Out More Than Usual.

2. Suah. Really, she's the perfect "rock girlfriend" because she likes Ji-hyuk regardless of his level of success or fame, yet she's not jealous of his accomplishments. I have to give kudos to her actress, Jo Boa, for always seeming so angelic even under pressure. Suah hasn't always had the best character development, but I can't help but like her completely. And I sympathize with her more than Ji-hyuk in these two episodes because she's being the best girlfriend she can be while Ji-hyuk is kind of failing in the boyfriend department.

Precious, Precious, Precious.

3. Teacher Kim Shil Ba. This guy always does what's best for his band. In the beginning of the show, I wondered why he was featured so much, but now I know how much the show needed him. He was a onetime enemy that was converted into a friend and ally for Eye Candy, and it gives me hope that Seung-hoon might one day make a turnaround and support them, too. Teacher Kim is an example of a good (but imperfect) adult role model, which is rarely seen in TV shows.

Best Mentor/Manager Ever.

3. Hyunsoo. My favorite gets a character redemption in these episodes. Hyunsoo has gone from seeming like he was going to leave the band to outright refusing a solo venture. He has always been interested in making it big, but though he gets more attention than his bandmates, he's adamant that everything he does is in support of his friends. That's loyalty at work! He still retains a little of his trademark iciness, but it's mostly softened. That is, until we hit even MORE conflict with Ji-hyuk.

Is Still Somewhat the Problem Child of the Band.

1. The guys' painful success-to-failure ratio.  It's like even when they're succeeding, they're failing. They get their record deal, only to have inter-group tensions, then they have their official televised debut, only to suffer not one but two major instrument malfunctions. They work like crazy to write their own second single, and then get saddled with Seung-hoon, an unpleasable producer who hates them. They make it big, only to be hit by a scandal about Do-Il's gangster father. Ah, it's annoying, but it makes for good television, so I can't whine too much.

Looks Polished, but is Prone to Sudden, Dramatic Failures.

2. Ji-hyuk ignoring Suah. I think everyone in the viewing audience is upset with him right now. He thinks he can just not call or text or meet with Suah for a whole week and that everything will be just fine and dandy when he sees her again. To Suah's credit, she doesn't blow up over his callous behavior, but she finally tells him that he needs to change his ways. That's right, Suah, tell it like it is.


Surprising Character Traits: Hajin reveals that he can actually care for someone--he's genuine in his adoration of Yerim, whereas he previously seemed like a silly flirt who wouldn't be able to stick with one person. Then there's Hyunsoo, who shows that he's more thoughtful than he once seemed, by being the only one to remember Kyung-jong's birthday. Do-Il, the quiet and pensive one, has a shocking change of character when stands up and gets angry when Wookyung is insulted. And of course there's Kyung-jong, who adorably cooks breakfast for his whole crew because he's actually an accomplished cook. This was the week for hidden personality traits and hidden talents.

Just Visible in the Shot: Yellow Apron Straps.

Turning Mistakes into Positives: Eye Candy makes mistakes, but no one cares because of how they view their own errors. Ji-hyuk says that even if a live performance gets messed up, it's still valuable because it's accurately representing that one moment in time. Do-Il says that a band who's afraid to play live (aka, afraid to risk messing up) shouldn't be playing at all. Even mistakes can have a certain beauty to them.

Rivalry: The Ji-hyuk/Seung-hoon rivalry is a little more complicated than it looks. It seems like a simple 2-guys-fighting-over-1-girl showdown, but that's not really it. Suah's not conflicted about who she likes, so there's no competition, there. And Sueng-hoon's no longer in a band, so he and Ji-hyuk aren't competing musically anymore, but they've each decided that the other guy is a person who must be beaten, regardless of the circumstances.

Destined to Loathe Each Other.

Cultural Observances:

New words: "Hwaiting/fighting!" roughly translated means "Let's do this!" It took me awhile to get used to hearing K-drama characters happily saying the English word "Fighting!" while smiling.

Noraebang: When Kyung-jong gets sad, he goes and sings beautiful karaoke ballads. By himself. *sniffle*

Seaweed soup: Kyung-jong lies to his mom and says his friends brought him seaweed soup for his birthday, because it's a traditional birthday food.

Celebrity Ads: Suah keeps walking past Minho from SHINee's advertisement for Etude House. This episode marks the third time I've seen her in frame with this particular advertisement, which is a lifesize cutout of Choi Minho holding a pink heart. This advertisement must be ubiquitous in Korea right now because I've seen it on EatYourKimchi and in other current dramas.

Minho is Watching You. Always.

Watch the English-subtitled Episode 11 at DramaFever

Episode Evaluations:

Shut Up, Flower Boy Band is so emotionally pitch-perfect. Just when I think the show is going to start recycling plot points, they move on to something better.  It'll have you smiling happily one minute, then clenching your fists the next, because you want a happy ending for every single person in the cast and negotiating 12 different sets of hopes and dreams isn't an easy task.

Audio Bonus: Here's that awesome song, "Wake Up'!

1 comment:

  1. I've got to stop watching K-Dramas! My bloggy friend KM at blogs about them as well and I love reading her reviews!
    Truly Bookish