Friday, April 20, 2012

K-Drama Review: Rooftop Prince, Episodes 7-8

Read Episode reviews for:

Rooftop Prince--Episodes 1-2
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 3-4
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 5-6
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 9-10
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 11-12
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 13-14
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 15-16
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 17-18
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 19-20, Finale

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 7-8

We've got hurt feelings goin' round as Park Ha regains her lost childhood memories and knows that her stepsister Sena was the reason Park Ha lost her family and was raised as an orphan. On top of that, Park Ha is hurt because when her friend (the time-travelling prince Yi Gak) saw her admiring a bracelet in a store, he then bought the bracelet for Sena.

Oh, You Clueless, Clueless Man.

In other subplots, we learn that Rich Lady Seonjoo is Sena's birth mother who gave her up 29 years ago, so Sena's dreams of having a glamorous mother are actually true. Um, and it turns out that Rich Lady Seonjoo is Park Ha's real mother, as well? Doggone it, show. You're so twisty. We're really going to go with a serial-abandoner mom as a way to make Park Ha and Sena true sisters in this life, just like Hwayoung and Booyoung were sisters in the Joseon past? Double birth secrets. Oy.

Park Ha returns home, but she's not in the mood for the boy-foolishness which her historical dudes supply in abundance. Soon, her stepmom gets Park Ha a job working for Taemu, which will daily throw her into the path of the Joseon guys, Yi Gak, AND Sena all at once. Rawsome.

Our villain Taemu knows that Yi Gak isn't Taeyong and he maybe tries to kill him by intentionally feeding Yi Gak crabmeat, which he's allergic to. Taemu is afraid that if he loses power within the family company, he'll lose his girlfriend Sena, so now we have this awkward villain motivation where Taemu has more incentive to murder Yi Gak because if Yi Gak is out of the way, Taemu will have enough power to marry Sena! Eeevy-skeevy. But luckily, Yi Gak now knows that Taemu is an enemy.

Park Ha's stepmom comes by the rooftop apartment to set up Park Ha on a blind date, and the Joseon guys sit around listening, upset at this development. They're her family! Why should she need anyone else? The sidekick guys tag along and observe her date, texting home to Yi Gak with a play-by-play of the whole date, which infuriates him. Later, Park Ha gets accused of somehow trying to blackmail Taeyong, even though Yi Gak isn't really Taeyong. So more conflict, yay!

Things I Loved:

1. Yi Gak. Initially, I just loved Yoochun, the actor, because I knew he was primarily a singer who'd been in a couple of K-dramas, and I was impressed with his ability to actually act. But by now, I'm not seeing the actor anymore, just the character, and he's marvelous. He has so many neat personality quirks, like his love for sugary treats and his desire to acquire new modern-world skills like driving an SUV. I also love how Yi Gak always wanders around with his hands clasped behind his back, like a benevolent lord overseeing his domain.

Our King and Patron, Enjoying His Strawberry-Banana Milk.

2. The comedy. It's what this show does best! Oh, the hilarity, the gut-busting hilarity of Park Ha and dignified, in-control Yi Gak ringing neighborhood doorbells and then running away, like a pair of giddy schoolkids. And the comedy often segues cutely into the budding romance.

How Can You See That and Not Root for This Couple?

3. The Kiss. Park Ha saves Yi Gak from an allergy-related breathing accident by giving him CPR. I'm pretty sure that mouth-to-mouth is not the proper way to rescue someone in the throes of a crabmeat allergy attack, but hey, it got us this:

Does This Count as the First Kiss? I'm Going With "Maybe".

4. The Sidekicks. Every funny thing is that much funnier when Yongsul, Chisan, and Manbo are all lurking in the background, offering their exquisite facial expressions and commentary on the main action.
Best Reaction Shots, Ever.

1. Shopping Spree. I hate the Rich-Guy-Buys-New-Wardrobe-For-the-Heroine trope. K-dramas gotta have their leading ladies looking good, but what do you do when your main girl is impoverished and can't afford the classy designer outfits you want her to wear? Have her wealthy love interest pay for everything, of course.  I've never liked this move--it smacks too much of ownership, though when Yi Gak does it for Park Ha, it seems less icky.


Blind Dates Lead to Jealousy: Sena is crushed when she hears that Taemu has been set up with another girl. Yi Gak gets jealous when Park Ha is set up on a blind date, and she adds fuel to the fire by saying that some blind dates can lead to marriage within a month.

The Joseon Sidekicks Disapprove of Your Date.

Even Villains Need Love: Taemu and Sena meet for a special date, which is his way of proving to her that he really wants to marry her despite his father's opposition. These two genuinely love each other and their hearts break when they can't be together...and yet they're both borderline psychopaths. Huh. Sena asks what Taemu will do if she betrays him, and he delivers this "I won't let you go" line with just a hint of a threat.

Watch Your Back, Sena.

It's Not as Easy As it Looks: Yi Gak is so mad at Park Ha for bossing him around while he learns to drive a car, he takes her out horseback riding just to show her what it's like to be a total noob at something difficult. They each have at lot to learn about the difficulties of walking in someone else's shoes.

Park Ha, Reluctant Equestrienne.

Cultural Observances:

Exercise Parks: Park Ha and Yi Gak go out at night to get some exercise at one of Seoul's many, many, many tiny parks devoted to public exercise equipment.

New words: "Kure" is like "okay," "moosun" is "speaking," and "Yoboseyo?" is "Hello?" but only when answering the phone, sort of like "Moshi moshi" in Japanese--it's not the hello you use when greeting others. "Hamke" is "together," spoken when Yi Gak dreams of being together with his princess. "Shillyehamnida" is "Excuse me," if you're about to do something impolite. "Joseon-eseo?" is "You cam here from Joseon?".

Watch Rooftop Prince on DramaFever

Episode Evaluations:  I heart this show and its sweet hilarity. I don't even care that we're dealing with time-travel, real amnesia, fake amnesia, doppelgangers/reincarnation, double whammy birth secrets, corporate takeovers and murder plots. Rooftop Prince is so cute. It takes wild, makjang plot points and makes you genuinely care about the people who inhabit the story. *smileyface*


  1. Oh dearie, the serial abandoning mother bit was perplexing to say the least. At one point I thought the show might go in that direction but then said to myself it was too much only to be proven wrong. So president lady becomes a single mother and dumps the baby with a friend; so far so good. Then a few years later she gets married, has a child and then disappears off to Hong Kong leaving the baby behind? Wait, what? That is unlikely as it is but that the two siblings later become a family of sorts is just mind boggling even by K-drama standards.

    I can understand wanting to keep the parallel between the past/present sibling situation but it still does not make much sense, in Joseon Park Ha and Se Na are sisters and in the present they are half sisters. Next thing we know Tae Mu is also president lady's child and suddenly we have an incest taboo thrown into the mix.

    I agree that the cute moments are adorable and they flow very nicely into the dramatic parts. Tae Mu is surprising me, he really does seem to love Se Na a lot and I cannot help but hope these two never have kids or the world as we know it may just end.

    I too sensed something rather creepy in Tae Mu's attitude regarding Se Na. I expected this show to follow the old pattern of everyone falls for the main girl but so far our dear Tae Mu is smitten by Se Na. I actually like the idea of an evil couple, it's not something we see too often.

    And I felt sorry for the poor guy on the blind date. He seemed so nice. The three Joseon guys are starting to pick up traits of their own and it is beyond hilarious.

    1. I still shake my head at the mom with her two abandoned kids. ALSO, this means that Sena's adoptive mom got Seonjoo's castoffs twice--first she got her unwanted daughter, then she married her unwanted husband. Yikes!

      I adore the idea of a villain couple. We should have more of these because it's not a very common trope. Normally the villain has an unrequited love, or maybe he/she is faking being in love so they can get money or revenge. I like to see them actually caring for someone, yet still being fundamentally bad.

      I'm never too happy when everyone's in love with the main girl. There should be 2 love interests maximum! And even that is pushing it.

      The Joseon guys are delightful. They used to seem nearly identical, but by this point their strengths and attitudes are really obvious. It's too cute!