Wednesday, January 29, 2014

KDrama Review: Ma Boy

The Gist: Recovering cancer patient Jan Geu Rim (Kim So Hyun) gets a chance to realize her dream of becoming a singer when she is accepted to an arts school, the same as her idol Tae Joon (Min Hoo). Things get a little odd when she ends up rooming with the school’s mystery girl Irene (Sun Woong). Geu Rim quickly figures out Irene’s mysterious secret – she’s actually a very pretty boy, taking modeling jobs as a girl until he can make his debut as a dancer. Geu Rim swears to keep his secret, which is no easy task considering Tae Joon is obliviously in love with him, which upsets his fan club, and Irene’s fan club. Soon, Geu Rim finds herself a little less preoccupied with Tae Joon and a little more interested in the boy hiding in plain sight.


1.Bite Size

 This miniseries is like a little drama snack. At just three episodes, there’s no extra fluff as each episode hits every plot point deliberately and there’s no dragging out of lies and intrigue. It was an adorable story and I could have stood if it was a shorter full length series, say 11 episodes or so, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to sit down and finish a story in one sitting. In this sense, it felt more like a fleshed out movie than a show.

2.Geu Rim and Hyun Woo

Kim So Hyun is an actress I’m already impressed with, showing off serious talent at such a young age (She’s 14!!! OMG. She’s ten years younger than I am.). I loved her in The Moon that Embraces the Sun and while I didn’t finish I Miss You, her role left and early impression. Sun Woong is a new face for me, which is not surprising as he’s only been in 2 shows including this one and he’s 22 (aka WAY TOO OLD FOR So Hyun, but you won’t think so just watching the show). Either way, he is a talented dancer and actually shockingly pretty for a guy. The two were well cast and well matched, playing off each other easily.

3. A New Kind of Swap

Even if it didn’t work perfectly, I still liked the new twist on the gender bending usual. The cross dressing girl to boy is played out (see You’re Beautiful, Hana Kimi, Nail Shop Paris, etc.), but this is the first time I’ve seen a show playing up the other side. As uncomfortable as it was for his character, Sun Woong really embraced it and did it well. Still, seeing him in his Irene getup for the first time really had me zeroed in on all the reasons I could see he was a guy. Even though his face is pretty enough for a girl, the broad shoulders were a dead giveaway, he’s really tall, no hint of an hourglass, Adam’s apple, and let’s not forget good ole man hands. All that said, not all girl’s fit one type, so if I didn’t know ahead of time, I’m not sure what I’d think. Either way, it’s a bold choice and I like it.


1.Side Characters

Ok. How overly ridiculous was Tae Joon? It successfully paints our Hyun Woo in a much better light, but I think it was just a spoonful over the top. That’s not even talking about the fan clubs, whose obsessions were downright stereotypical, without much character building. I’d say the only bright spot allowed was the leader of TJ’s fan club, when she gets the chance to swoop in and help Geu Rim, even after making her life a little bit miserable.

2. Ok. Let’s think about this for a moment…

Some of the premise of this story you have to take with a grain of salt. As in, even in the extreme situation that Irene gets Hyun Woo much needed work, there’s really no reason for him to go to school as her. I mean, couldn’t he just go as himself and then change into his garb when he gets to the studio? I’m not sure whose bright idea that was, but it only served to make it harder for him to come out as himself when the time came. Also - *spoilers ahead* - why on Earth would he wait a whole year to tell Geu Rim what was going on? She already knows the secret, so why not pick up the phone, say I’ve been found out, I’m taking a break from school, but hey want to catch a movie sometime? It just didn’t make sense. I’m glad they fixed it up quickly, but it was certainly surprising.


1.Lip Syncing!

If this show had one major flaw, it was how poorly Geu Rim was lip syncing when she was supposed to be singing. Her voice was obviously auto-tuned into next year. I’m willing to forgive this egregious error, since the actress is so good.


So… if you’re looking for a quick watch of a light romance, this one is perfect. It’s not overly cheesy, while still being sweet. Something I was still in the mood for after my Love in Tokyo excursion. It’s a slightly original twist on a usual storyline that’s just pleasant and fast to watch.

Final Grade: B+

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