i said i wouldn’t watch another k-drama. i’m also the type of person who abhors all kinds of hype—if it gets too popular/commercialized i drop it like a hot potato. contrarian, if you will.
BUT this weekend i thought of looking for another drama to kill the boredom (boy, with cfa done there’s nothing to do with all that spare time) so i decided to visit javabeans’ site and take a look at which shows she recapped. i figured if she thought the show was worth a recap, then it should be good. (as a bit of background, i totally loved her recaps of boys over flowers episodes. i would watch the episode on mysoju then go over to her site after each one to see any “nuances” i had missed. great stuff.)
anyway, i thought i’d give “the first shop of coffee prince” (or coffee prince, for short) a try. i remember the show premiering in the philippines couple of years back. my best friend and even the Boyfriend liked the show, but like i said, i stayed away. at the time i also found the plotline weird and “unsustainable.”
this time around though i thought why not. and boy, was i very very (very!) glad i did.
the more one watches k-dramas, shouldn’t one be more desensitized? i was bracing myself for more of the usual (but strangely addictive) stuff similar to lovers in paris and boys over flowers, but coffee prince just had this way of making a tired old plotline come alive with tiny humorous touches here and there. contrary to what i usually do, i didn’t speed-watch the show. when i found out coffee prince only had 17 episodes, in the middle of watching it i decided to stretch it out as much i could. took me 4 nights to finish the series.
of course, there were some weak spots: the premise wears thin at times, because some of the problems could’ve been solved had eun chan come out and told han kyul she was female in the first place. yoo ju’s character i also had a bit of trouble understanding at first, initially in my opinion she was just plain bi-atchy. but you realize in the end where she comes from, and her reasons for acting the way she did. the reasons why i love the show faar outnumber my gripes. here goes:
first off: casting was great. the supports all had their own little stories, which made the series so much more fun to watch. i confess, i usually skip these story “by-products” when i’m watching online, usually coz i don’t find the supporting characters all that interesting in the first place. (so yes, i totally missed the SoEul-mates love angle in BOF. hahaha.) but in coffee prince, i found the by-stories thoroughly enjoyable: watching hang seung and yoo ju’s bizarre love story unfold, each of the princes’ dramas, even eun chan’s mama develop feelings for the neighborhood butcher.
i stuck it out through the strange family angle of han kyul (i wonder what the point of that was, in terms of story development. i mean, it’s not like the true dad’s claiming han kyul right? but then i figured, this gave eun chan the opportunity to show han kyul how she’d stick by him whatever the weather. if not for this angle, we would not have the arts-&-crafts display of affection eun chan hung on han kyul’s door. energy-boosting milk! ha. where do these writers get their ideas. :p)
secondly: the locations were super. admittedly i didn’t notice this until dramabeans pointed it out, but the show’s producers matched each character’s living space to his/her personality. han kyul’s pad is typically bachelor and no-nonsense—modern and minimalist. eun chan’s apartment reflects the life she lives—cozy-cramped and hectic, with stuffed dolls and chestnuts in the sala. hang seung’s house i like best—its airy breezy easy-going mountain-view feel is so him. even the coffee prince cafe is a cute focal point in the story.
next: ah, the humor. i’ve lost count of the times i’ve giggled in my pillow over the course of the show. i loved ha rim’s frequent references to bodily functions/desires (winky). he reminded me of some of my male kabarkadas (friends) in grade school when i went to co-ed. han kyul is also funny even without meaning to. for instance, i was laughing all throughout the scene where granny choi was proposing a study program in italy to eun chan—han kyul was countering her at every turn and getting more frantic by the second. hahaha. and—this i never expected to see in a k-drama—i love han kyul’s attempts to mask his desire (*cough cough*) for eun chan at the latter part of the show. he daydreams about cuddling together with eun chan while at the wheel (with eun chan wearing just a man’s polo to boot, ha!) at some point he even drops a folder he’s carrying coz he was so turned on by eun chan’s touch-teasing. coffee prince isn’t stingy with the laughs. love this series, woot.
and finally, something i totally appreciated because of its abundance in the drama: the LOVE. (pardon me for the over-use of the word, but i can’t seem to find anything else to describe how i feel about the series.) for one thing, the “man-love” between the two choi cousins is amazing—they really do watch out for each other. i like the scene where they huddle together after eun chan says no to han kyul’s proposal, and after yoo ju drinks/works till dawn. also, the acting for han kyul and eun chan is totally believable. they have so much screen chemistry i’m surprised they weren’t an actual item. the scene on the beach was waaay over-the-top GREAT. i felt like i was being allowed to take a peek at something extremely private; it was borderline intrusive. :P this was back in the time han kyul had no idea eun chan was a girl. he was trying to come to terms with the possibility he was homosexual. the slow easing in to eun chan’s back while she was asleep, breathing her in, and soft hand-cupping was too much. gah! just had a craving to watch that ep again.
contrast the frustration he felt then with his subsequent rushing in to the cafe to say, “i don’t care if you’re a man, or an alien. let’s go as far as we can go” and you can see how much it took for him to say that. beautiful beautiful scenes.
the trail of chestnuts! wahh… so brilliant. (btw, if you’re looking for an overload of the SWEET and the CUTE without going overboard, it’s safe to say you’ll have fun with this show. wait for the good stuff in the latter half)
their kisses are surprisingly steamy (within context) for an asian drama. not fake too! they actually part their lips.
as a special note, i love the prelude to their love scene. the writers really stretched the plot out so that by around this time, you’re most probably going “sh*t sh*t just PLEEEASE get it on already!” you’ll laugh at han kyul’s frustrated attempts to distance himself from eun chan and bar any kind of contact. and you’ll realize how serious he is when, after throwing eun chan out coz he couldn’t take it anymore and eun chan pleads to come back in for her shoes, he says “if you come in, you know you’re not going home tonight.” after which eun chan firmly plants both her be-socked feet in the door. gah-ness and lurv-ness.
i’m not wishing for a coffee prince season 2. i think the show ended perfectly: quiet, with a glimpse of what eun chan/han kyul’s future would be ( i mean hey, we already saw what she would look like in a wedding dress) and a neat wrap-up of the princes’ love-lives (i felt Waffle Guy’s was a bit forced though) along with the rest of the characters. hm…on second thought i could use a mini-scene where han kyul sees eun chan with long hair/makeup like in the gallery premiere. i thought it a waste that han kyul didn’t even get to see how much prettier she could be (or at least, that we viewers wouldn’t get to see his character’s reaction. ha!)
first drama i’ve watched end to end, and won’t hesitate watching again. definitely top spot of the three k-dramas i’ve watched in full so far.
P.S. hats off to shinfedrica for uploading the series on youtube. it was so difficult finding a complete set online. here’s the link to the 1st cup:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_deQTox6dM&feature=PlayList&p=B19346A58BEA28BD&index=0 mwah dearie!
and another hats off and THANK YOU to javabeans for her 2-year old coffee prince recap and super screenshots. :) if you love k-dramas, i highly recommend dropping by her site: http://www.dramabeans.com/tag/coffee-prince/