Sunday, April 22, 2012

K-Drama Review: Rooftop Prince, Episodes 9-10

Read Episode reviews for:

Rooftop Prince--Episodes 1-2
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 3-4
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 5-6
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 7-8
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 9-10

Things open with a bang as Park Ha gets slapped by CEO Grandma for...hiding Taeyong, who is really Yi Gak, for two years? I dunno, CEO Grandma's just mad and needs someone to blame. The awful thing about Yi Gak using CEO Grandma's money is that it behooves him to obey CEO Grandma's iron will, and her will is for Park Ha to get away from Yi Gak. But after Yi Gak kneels all night outside his grandmother's house, she agrees to let Park Ha keep her job at the home shopping company, so long as Yi Gak is sure he's not going to start a romance with her. Because there's no way that's gonna happen, right?

Park Ha's stepsister (who's secretly her real sister) Sena is as backstabby and emotionally manipulative as ever. She takes every opportunity to harm and belittle Park Ha, even stooping as low as to flirt with Yi Gak when she knows Park Ha cares for him. Unfortunately, Yi Gak thinks he's fated to marry Sena in this modern world, since she's the double of his deceased wife from the historical Joseon era. Yi Gak thinks that in order to solve the mystery of his time travelling, he has to stick close to Sena.

But the One You Need is Right In Front of You!

But on the brighter (and best) side of the show, we've got the three Joseon sidekicks being their wonderful selves, scaring away Park Ha's potential love interest and then making her a multiple-tiered birthday cake decorated with ostentatious flowers. I'm so glad they're here to balance out Teh Evilz. Whether it's playing pick up basketball, going to sticker booths, or buying Park Ha weird gifts that they don't know are weird, the sidekicks are endearing and funny.

There's some emphatic flouncing on Yi Gak's part when Park Ha's loses a significant, and possibly magical, handkerchief of his. But after all the bluster, he forgives her and takes care of her when she makes herself sick trying to find his special butterfly-embroidered hankie. I like how they each make grand, sweeping gestures that show their dedication to each other (kneeling outdoors through the night, searching through a laundry warehouse through the night), and yet they haven't even admitted they like each other.

Sadly, many wires are crossed and connections are missed between Park Ha and Yi Gak, and in the snarl of confused emotions he starts dating Sena (who is still engaged to Taemu!). Sena is also the reason Yi Gak breaks a date with Park Ha on Park's Ha's birthday. But after a lot of confusion, Park Ha does manage to confess her feelings to Yi Gak in a text message: "I like you. I love you."

And now he knows! Ahhhh! Drat these cliffhangers.

Things I Loved:

1. Depth. We get loads of character development for the three Joseon sidekicks in these episodes. They have genuine arguments with each other and their personalities get more three-dimensional. Yongsul was basically an action figure: no emotions, no independent will, just a lot of impressive warrior moves. Now he's speaking more and making some decisions for himself. Chisan reveals more of his gentle, adorable side, and smartypants Manbo shows his temper and his leadership skills. Their stories about their families back home in Joseon bring Park Ha to tears, because it turns out that our hilarious support cast are all real people with real losses and emotions.

Must Follow Up All Deep Conversations With Something Childlike.

2. Yi Gak's skills. It would be easy to let him be just the guy with the demanding nature and the unlimited credit card, but he has lots of other strengths. He's very logical, even if he doesn't always come to the right conclusion. Also, he has a good knowledge of herbs and medicine, and can write beautiful Chinese hanja calligraphy. It makes sense that a prince with all the scholarly advantages of his time would know a few things instead of just bumbling around all the time.

His Penmanship is Daebak.

3. The Punch. When she wins a basketball match, Park Ha gets to have one wish granted by Yi Gak. And her wish is to punch him in the stomach for being so callous. It's an awesome moment because it humbles him a little after he has messed with her feelings, although the truth is, he didn't mean to hurt her and the missed date was all Sena's fault. So maybe we can punch Sena in the next episode?

Brawn Over Brains: Satisfying at Times.


1. Sena. It says a lot that I dislike her more than Taemu, when Taemu is the would-be murderer of the pair. Sena represents almost everything that I don't want to see a woman be like: complainy, vindictive, and only out for herself. Every scene she's in feels like one scene too many, so I applaud her actress as well as the writing team for making such a convincing villain.

Teeth-Grittingly Evil.

2. Taeyong's Family. I'm angry at CEO Grandma, annoyed at Nervous Auntie, and creeped out by Creepy Uncle. In short, any subplot involving Taeyong(Yi Gak)'s family has me cringing away from the screen. Do we gotta involve these people in our lovely, lovely drama?

When You See Them Coming, Run.


Loyalty Under Pressure: When Park Ha could have saved herself a lot of trouble by outing Yi Gak as a pretender, she doesn't. Then when Yi Gak sees what she has suffered emotionally to help him out, he suffers physically by kneeling all night on the hard ground. In Rooftop Prince, good people are loyal when it hurts, and bad people are only loyal until a better offer comes along.

The Prince, Proving He's Good People.

Cultural Observances:

Supplication: That kneeling-in-order-to-be-forgiven thing? I'm not sure if contemporary Koreans do this (I've seen it happen in modern K-dramas, which does not mean that it happens in real life), but when Yi Gak kneels outside CEO Grandma's window to get her to see his side of things, it seems like a distinctly non-Western thing to do. And it's probably also a historical thing.

"Make Your Own Cake" cake decoration cafes: This is where the Joseon sidekicks go to make Park Ha's birthday cake. I guess we must have these in America as well, and I'm just in the wrong region for it, but I had never heard of a cake-assembly shop until I heard of them in conjunction with Korea in this Eat Your Kimchi Valentine's Day video.

The Shop Even Provides Complimentary Aprons.

New words: "Anida" is a negative response, like "no, that's not the case". "Apeu" is "hurt," when Park Ha asks Yi Gak if he's hurt after the long night of repentance. "Bbali" is "Hurry!"

Watch Rooftop Prince on DramaFever

Episode Evaluations: Everything involving gold digger Sena is more frustrating than ever, but anything with Yi Gak/Park Ha or the Joseon sidekicks is better than ever, so Rooftop Prince just got way more emotional all around in these episodes. Looking forward to the aftermath of that love confession next week!


  1. of course u need taeyongs's family.. its a comedy/romance and the aunt and uncle do a superb job at portraying this certain aspect of the script. and remember, they are actors-its their job to play a certain role

    1. *sigh* I know, I know. We've got to have them or the modern plot doesn't function--I just miss Yi Gak, Park Ha, and the Joseon guys so much when they're not onscreen!

  2. I agree with everything you've said. I too cannot stand the CEO family. Grandmother is about the only person who is bearable of the lot and not by much to be honest. Speaking of which, one thing bothers me: Tae Mu's father goes nuts over his son dating Se Na because of the gap in status between them (even before finding out about her fishmonger mother) and yet grandmother, who we know is very savvy about such things, is trying to push her on her own grandson. It strikes me as strange.

    Loved the growth of the three Joseon fellows, they could even have spin-off a series of their own and I'd watch it. The part of the gifts was adorable.

    I think our prince should have gone all out and bowed with forehead to the ground in pure traditional stance.

    The thing with the president lady (Se Na and Park Ha's mother) leaving her shares to her long lost daughter is a tad silly. Considering she has two of those wouldn't she be inclined to share the shares between them?

    1. True, the approval/disapproval of Sena doesn't really make sense. The girls at Dramabeans seemed to think that Uncle disapproves of Sena because Taemu needs to marry "up" on the financial ladder, while Yi Gak is already top dog and can't marry up anyway, so Grandma thinks it's good for him to marry someone who's merely sweet and pretty. That works OK as an explanation, not that this show ever really tries to explain motivations too well...

      The Joseon Sidekicks are exquisite! They cast them so well, because these guys are never anything but great to watch.

      The Rich Lady's actions nevah evah make sense to me, though I like her actress.