Monday, February 18, 2013

Kdrama Review: Shut Up Flower Boy Band

*Now Available on US Netflix Streaming under the name Shut Up Let's Go*

The Gist: Six member band, Eye Candy, plays the underground scene as they deal with family/money problems. Things seem to be on the up and up for them when they get transferred to a ritzy new high school, where they are both shunned and idolized. Rival band Strawberry Fields, led by the quiet and mature Seung Hoon (Jung Ui Chul), challenges Eye Candy. Eye Candy's leader Byung Hee (Lee Min Ki) picks out Seung Hoon's Girl, Su Ah as his muse, which only serves to strengthen the animosity between the two bands. Good things never seem to last for Eye Candy, though, as tragedy strikes, leaving them only to depend on each other to make it through.


1. The Boys

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Rarely do I find a cast so well developed as this one. Initially, Byung Hee absorbs all the attention as one of the most interesting characters on any drama I've watched. His free spirit and clear attachment to music and his friends makes him enigmatic. Seeing as how their interaction is the heart of their show, each of the boys gets a clear development. Second in command and singer/guitarist, Ji Hyuk (Sung Hoon), lives on his own, cast out by his family and a real connecting point of the group. Hyun Soo, guitarist, (L) has an icy temper, but is fiercely loyal towards his friends and family, constantly looking after his sister. Do II (Lee Hyun Jae), drummer, is the mellow kind hearted and soft spoken member of the crew - despite being a mob boss' son. Ha Jin (Yoo Min Kyu), playboy and bassist, and Kyung Jun (Kim Min Suk), baby brother of the crew and keyboardist, have a sub friendship of strong dependency, constantly looking out for each other. Their protective nature and tight bond is the glue that holds this show together, as you just want them to succeed together.

2. Seung Hoon

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No matter how you feel about him as a character, I love that he isn't a traditional bad guy, but is rather a sympathetic antagonist. Initially Seung Hoon is just trying to stay out of other people's messes, but Eye Candy's reckless ways and his unrequited love of long time friend Su Ah start to drive him crazy. Still, Seung Hoon has a way of making you feel bad for him. His friendship with the Strawberry Fields guys is obviously shallower than the boys of Eye Candy and no matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to get the girl, though there's nothing really wrong with him. Even though you have to root against him often to root for our main cast, I really found myself wanting Seung Hoon to succeed also. His maturity is a stark contrast to most of the kids on the show who are just living hard and young.

3. Su Ah

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Initially, I wasn't sure how to feel about Su Ah. She seemed a bit like a brainless rich girl, but just like Seung Hoon broke stereotype, Su Ah develops into a much more complicated character. In the show's intro, her father is headed to jail and she's stuck on her own, living in the rooftop room next to Ji Hyuk. She shows herself capable though, not spoiled and complaining, but taking on several jobs and keeping a smile on her face. There's one scene after something terrible happens, that her class is laughing and going about business as normal, and she just says "you're all terrible." That's when I knew I'd love her for the rest of the series.

4. The Music

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Eye Candy's two songs, Jaywalking and Wake Up, are well composed, but still sound like they could have been written by a high school band. I didn't realize at first that the cliffhanger music at the end of the episodes were actually parts of Wake Up until the end of the show, but I loved it even in those small pieces. I personally found the music better and more memorable than Dream High. Thumbs up music!

5. The Pacing

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Shut Up Flower Boy Band moves at a pretty quick clip. There's never a moment watching the show, where I felt like it was moving too slow. In fact, I ended up forcing myself to stop watching at certain points to draw out the experience.

6. The Romances

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I really wasn't expecting this show to be romance heavy when I started watching it, but what high school boys don't care about girls? The show really ends up having three major romances and I loved them all equally. They played with how the boys' friendship reacts when a competitive factor comes in and shows the tension of being loyal to each other and the girls they like.


1. Su Ah's Friend 

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This girl is about as annoying as can be. She does show herself to be a good friend to Su Ah at times, but is mostly stuck up, thinking she's better than Eye Candy, only admitting it when they become popular themselves. Still, we need a character like her to put pressure on Su Ah, to complicate her relationship with Eye Candy and her current economic state. She's one of the most least likeable characters on the show anyway.


1. Whoever Named This Show

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Seriously, Shut Up Flower Boy Band is just the dumbest name of any show I've ever seen. I want to smack whoever named this show. I honestly put off watching it just because the name was so god awful. Secondly - Strawberry Fields??? Eye Candy I get, but what high schoolers are going to name themselves Strawberry Fields? Really. It's such a good show with such a bad name.

2. The Tragedy

So our dear Byung Hee dies at the end of episode two, just after you've gotten attached to him. I've forgiven the show because it handles it so well and it seems so necessary to what happens next, but Byung Hee is the most fascinating character I've seen in a drama. This was actually spoiled for me by reading a review and even knowing he dies, I still got attached to him. I wish we had gotten to see more of him. I cannot overstate how awesome his character is.

So... I loved loved loved this show. I wasn't expecting it to be as perfect as it turned out to be. The plot is clean and fast moving and the characters are well developed. The emotions run high in this show - it will have you laughing and crying in quick succession. The boys are cute, but it's the real depth of their characters that has me very impressed with this show. I expect to watch the whole thing through again very soon.

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Final Grade: A+

1 comment:

  1. I just finished watching it, following your recommendation (as you talked about that show in many comments). Of course I didn't read your review beforehand, as I didn't want to spoil anything- and I was right to do it, because nothing could have prepared me for the end of episode 2. OMG so unexpected!! I cried my eyes out throughout episode 3 and beyond...

    I totally agree with you, Byung Hee is such an interesting character, the kind that we don't see often on dramas, so I was really looking forward to see his development, his history, his craziness. He has such a presence, I only had eyes for him at first. But something was a little off, there were some hints that made me wonder if he really was the protagonist -but still, I didn't expect THAT). That was a bold choice from the writers, so kudos for making it heartbreaking and acceptable at the same time, as the rest of the show just built on it beautifully. The rest of the cast had what it takes to overcome the loss.

    Your review is on point, as usual. I liked how they tried to depict a band debut realistically (even though there's a lot of drama surrounding Eye Candy)- life is not all pink and shiny just after you sign a contract, it's hard and painful, and sometimes it just doesn't work out. I'm grateful for that last scene though, it really was necessary in my opinion, for us to end it with a smile :)
    Lovely message about firendship. Loved the music too!