Friday, May 25, 2012

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 7-8

Read Episode reviews for:

Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 1-2
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 3-4
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 5-6
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 7-8
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 9-10
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 11-12
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 13-14
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 15-16
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 17-18
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 19-20
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 21-22
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 23-24

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 7-8

The Queen Mother, Shin's Grandma, is worried about how few children there are in the imperial household (there are precisely three, all of them in their late teens). Queen Mother suggests that Shin and Chaekyung should go ahead and produce an heir. Like, right now. Grandma's very frank about these sorts of things.

 Shin's Mama, However, Is Horrified.

But the idea is quickly dropped. I expect it to make another appearance in later episodes, though.

In an unexpectedly nice move, Shin offers to take Chaekyung to visit with her family for a few days. Shin even fishes for affirmation from Chaekyung, coolly saying that he'll make a lot of trouble for her family, so wouldn't she just prefer to leave him behind? But when Chaekyung seems inclined to leave him, Shin is quick to assert that he has to go on this trip, or else the adults will never let Chaekyung go. Ooh, he was just trying to see if she really wanted him to come along.

In the car on the way over, Shin can't help but grin at Chaekyung's irrepressible happiness. The home visit is uncomfortable, as Chaekyung's family tries to figure out how to treat the Crown Prince, but Shin kinda likes it. What's even better is when Chaekyung's family staggers out of the livingroom as one, panting from the exertion of talking to the prince for so long. After dinner, since there aren't enough rooms for everyone, Shin takes Chaekyung's hand and suggests that they share a room. *gulp*

Mere Words Cannot Describe the Awkward.

Chaekyung gets upset when Shin stays in her room, and she asks: "Did you come to my house just to annoy me like this?" The answer? "Yes." And he looks so happy about it. A mostly one-sided kickfight for bedspace ensues. Chaekyung eventually loses and gets the floor.

Elsewhere, Hyorin feels tense, so she goes to Yul's Mom's yoga studio to chill out. Hyorin already sees Yul's Mom as a mentor and source of relief, which is really bad since Mom's a deceptive and seasoned plotter. Her plans are gaining momentum, and now Yul's Mom outright promises her son to get the kingdom back for him.

Hush Little Baby, Don't Say a Word. Mama's Gonna Buy You a Constitutional Monarchy.

Ah, and it's back to the funny hijinks at Casa de Chaekyung. Shin grins widely while watching Chaekyung's parents doing cute things, and he even smiles when Chaekyung fusses at him for leaving the roots on lettuce they pick for a meal. I am not just enjoying these scenes--I am heartwarmed by them. The cold, distant prince is enjoying a friendly, chaotic home at last.

Shin reports back to the Queen and Queen Mother that everyone at Chaekyung' s house hangs out together and splits the chores evenly. They're like friends! Queen Mother marvels over whether family can really be chingu. Later, Shin tries to apply the warmth he's learned at Chaekyung's house and call his mom eomma, or "Mom" instead of "Your Majesty," but she shuts him down immediately, appalled that he's letting his manners slip. In a flashback we see that the Queen pounded it into Shin's head from an early age that he was special and had to act dignified because he was the next king. Now we see where he gets the coldness from. If only Chaekyung understood some of this, she might know how to handle Shin's bouts of random distancing.

Chaekyung Is Blissfully Unaware of Shin's Hang-Ups.

Back in Hyorin's subplot, Yul's Mom tells Hyorin a story about Prince Charles and Camilla; how although Charles married Diana, his marriage grew rocky and he fell for Camilla. Then after years of struggling, the brave Camilla finally got to marry her prince! Um. I don't think most people view the Charles/Diana/Camilla situation in such a glowing light.

Hyorin follows Yul's Mom's advice and says that she'll use Camilla's example and stay close to the royal family, even helping Chaekyung out, so that she can get her man in the end. Hyorin, before you were somewhat pitiable, but now you've become someone to despise. Ick. It's noteworthy that only Hyorin is supposed to see stealing Shin as a noble thing--Yul's Mom is actually trying to get Hyorin to ruin Shin's reputation, so that Yul can become the beloved William to Shin's disgraced Charles.

Everyone Seems to Be Plotting Shin's Downfall.

While playing a form of polo, Yul's horse runs into Shin's horse and they both fall off. Twenty people run to help Shin, and only Chaekyung runs to help Yul. She doesn't even go see Shin afterward, and this hurts his feelings terribly. But Shin's been hanging out with Hyorin, so Chaekyung thinks he doesn't want to see her. Shin keeps Chaekyung from going on a ceremonial visit to Thailand with him, but his reasons aren't clear. And the episode ends on this down note just as we'd made so much progress! Yargh.

Things I Loved:

1. Shin at Chaekyung's House. Royalty enjoying themselves in the messy common world is one of my favorite monarchical tropes. It's even cute how the prince's table manners have been completely eroded after staying with Chaekyung's family--he's slurping and scarfing his ramyun like a regular guy. Shin even gets into the communal spirit and offers to do the dishes! "You don't think I can do it?" He asks Chaekyung. "I can wash dishes! I used to be in the Boy Scouts!" Gotta love his logic.

Looking Like Average Teenagers, For Once.

2. Shin Talking! It's hard to like a character who never says anything, so Shin gets a lot more likable in these episodes because he's discussing things, for once. Why, in episode 7 alone he probably says more words than in the previous 6 episodes worth of silent moping combined. It's really fun to watch.

He's Capable of Speech! Who Knew?


1. Yul...Good or Bad? I'm leaning heavily toward "bad" at this point, but the storyline isn't making it quite clear how we're supposed to see him. Yul has a monologue with himself in the mirror, saying that he's disappointed in himself...but in what way? Yul is still illusive, even when we get a closer look at him.

Though He's Definitely Angsting Over Something.

2. Hyorin. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for Hyorin, who is being forced to go to school with the guy she loves, but I feel no sympathy. She came back of her own free will and inserted herself into the situation. Plus, I don't think it's been established that she loves Shin; they just have history together and Hyorin hasn't met a guy that she likes better.

In Hyorin's mind, Shin will gladly give up his position as Crown Prince and drop Chaekyung to be with her. Ladies, if your plans for future happiness require the guy you like to dump his current girl and quit his current job just to be with you, you might want to rethink your gameplan.


Flawed Hero: There's no hiding the fact that Shin can be a real jerk. He insults Chaekyung or ignores her or pushes her away about 75% of the time. And yet, I think he's on his way to something good. He's rude to her face, but Shin always seems to go behind Chaekyung's back to do nice things, like arranging the visit to her parents' house or taking over dish-washing duties or figuring a way to let her keep riding her forbidden bike on the palace grounds. He's far, far, far from perfect, but I think he has great potential.

When He's Not Being Snooty, That Is.

Character Avatars: We already know about the teddy bear (named Alfred!) representing Shin, but Chaekyung also sews together a big doll of Shin (which is less weird than it sounds). She wants to give it to him, but instead she ends up using it as a punching bag in frustration. Shin sees her doing this and reconsiders his behavior.

The Door Was Open; Did You Think No one Would See?

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: At school, all the girls are all wearing ugly pink arm-warmers and sweatpants under their skirts, like Chaekyung always has. Her sloppiness has become chic! 

Cultural Observances:
Kai Bai Bo: Chaekyung and Shin play Kai Bai Bo (Korean rock paper scissors) for who gets the bed and who gets the floor at her parents' house. Chaekyung keeps losing despite the fact the Shin never produces any sign other than rock.

New words:

Kansamnida, Mama is "Thank you, Your Majesty"
Ya! Gachi-ga! is "Hey, let's go together!"
Yeobo is "honey" or "darling"
Eegon mwoyeyo is "What is this?"
Cheonyo is "Not at all".
Naga is "Get out!"

Episode Evaluations: Best. Episodes. Ever. This drama is finally hitting the good parts--it's like we have gone past the crumbly graham cracker crust and have reached the delicious chocolate filling of the pie! Horrible analogy, but anyhoo, we've grown into funnier antics and deeper conflicts, which are always wonderful.


  1. Well if he's going to wear a hot pink turtle neck snooty is probably the only attitude that will work in that outfit o.O

    1. Ha! So true. When he's not wearing "manly" clothes, I suppose he should stick with the standoffishness, because cuteness would be weird with this fashion combo.

  2. I really felt an active dislike for Yul at this point... he seemed to be quite sincere and cute, but now he has become involved in Hyorin's malevolent subplot, telling Chaekyung Shin doesn't like her. For me, he's now more on the "bad side".

    1. Oh, good point! The lying ought to have been my first clue about him--if he's willing to deceive Chaekyung and hurt her feelings in order to manipulate the situation to his advantage, that's a giant warning flag.