Tuesday, February 26, 2013

KDrama Review: Goong (Princess Hours)

Picture credit:dramacrazy.net
The Gist: Shin Chae Kyung (Yoon Eun Hye) is an ordinary college girl, hanging at art school with her friends and enjoying time with a close knit but impoverished family. She accidentally overhears South Korea’s Crown Prince Lee Shin (Joo Ji Hoon) propose to his ballerina girlfriend Min Hyo Rin (Song Ji Hyo) and is shocked when she turns him down to pursue her dancing. Leaving him without a prospective wife, his family sets him up with the girl the late king chose – his friend’s granddaughter, Chae Kyung. Not super enthused about entering in to a forced marriage to a guy who barely tolerates her, Chae Kyung only accepts to help her parent’s financial situation. It quickly becomes apparent that Chae Kyung is not accustomed to palace life and struggles to learn everything she needs to in order to be a good princess. As she spends more time with Shin, she starts to soften towards him, but only then does Min Hyo Rin realize she’s made a mistake giving up Shin for ballet and refuses to let him go, married or not. Chae Kyung, not sure how to handle them, relies on a new friend, outcast prince Lee Yul (Kim Jung Hoon) to adapt to her new place as royalty, but finds herself more and more preoccupied with Lee Shin.

1.The Romance
Picture credit: dramacrazy.net
Though a bit slow moving, the romance between Chae Kyung and Lee Shin is engaging and interesting. Lee Shin is kind of like a life line for Chae Kyung in the palace and at first he leaves her out alone in the water for quite some time. The real defining moment comes when Min Hyo Rin confronts Chae Kyung and basically admits to being the “other woman.” Chae Kyung passes out and Lee Shin carries her out from the school, totally ignoring Hyo Rin. He starts to show real concern for her, but knows her misery at being trapped in the palace away from her family is his fault. They have difficulty getting their timing right – often one likes the other when he or she isn’t interested, but when you get to the end of it, it’s perfect.
2.The Palace
Picture credit: fanpop.com
The drama is named Goong, which is Korean for palace, so the royal home is a major setting. It’s grand and beautiful, a unique setting for a contemporary drama (for those of you living under a rock, South Korea definitely does not have a monarchy anymore). It had a smart tension of being so beautiful while being totally suffocating at the same time.
3.Big Mama
 Picture credit: koreanmovie.com
That’s what I call Lee Shin’s grandmother because his mother is technically the queen. I love how she is not only concerned with public appearances, but also about the happiness of her family members. She is a great resource for Chae Kyung and is just generally awesome.
1.Min Hyo Rin
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Who the hell gets proposed to by the prince, says no, and then promptly gives up the whole reason she said no? Her idiocy just bugs the hell out of me. If Lee Shin was more important than ballet, then she should have said yes. Since she said no, she should have just done the ballet thing! Also, having an affair with him is pretty much just totally selfish, since it can only tarnish his reputation. She dug her own grave, so I don’t feel bad for her. Still, the scandal between them is a major milestone for Lee Shin and Chae Kyung, so I’ll accept her as a necessary evil.
2.Lee Yul
Picture credit: dramacrazy.net
I feel worse for Lee Yul than I do for Min Hyo Rin because his situation is not his fault. His father died, leaving Lee Shin next in succession and Chae Kyung his bride instead of Lee Yul’s. Still, that doesn’t make revenge OK nor does it make going after a married woman OK. I just wanted to smack all these people, it’s not some high school fling – THEY’RE MARRIED!! Back off! On the other hand, Lee Yul is a good support for Chae Kyung when Lee Shin is being a prat, so we still like him.  
3.Chae Kyung’s Friends
 The girl with the glasses and Rapunzel long hair is OK, but the moron twins drive me totally insane. I appreciate that Chae Kyung needs to have some people on her side, but their shallow ways and obnoxious tones can get a little grating.
1.Lee Yul’s Mother

 Picture credit: tigresallconsumingbooks.blogspot.com
I cannot even express how much Lee Yul’s mother slows down the show. Every episode has some long cut to her complaining about how she’s been wronged or monologuing her revenge plans. I understand her as an antagonist, but her scenes should have been cut down to the bare bones because I just fall asleep. The first time through is ok, but this makes it difficult to watch a second time.
2.The Politics
Picture credit: dramacrazy.net
I’ve expressed before how difficult it is to make politics interesting in a romantic drama and Goong is only so/so at it. Things that directly affect what’s happening are interesting, but the conversations between the elder royals slow down the show almost as much as Lee Yul’s mother. The scenes end up a little dry and drawn out.
So… I liked this show, but the drawn out scheming scenes really made me feel the length of it. The scenes with Lee Shin and Chae Kyung shine, though, as Eun Hye and Ji Hoon have a strong natural chemistry. The end is worth the long wait, but it’s really in no hurry to get you there.
Final Grade: B-
Picture credit: dramacrazy.net

1 comment:

  1. I remember loving this drama a lot. But I also feel I won't rewatch even though I do like it a lot. Only because I've moved on from the obvious "love but conflict comes in between them" kind of drama. JUST LET THEM LOVE. IS THAT SO HARD.