It’s been a while since I’ve written a first impressions post and because I really need to get my mind off a certain book written by one of the best writers in the fictional world, I decided that this post needed to be written, or else I’d spend the rest of the week brooding over what I have just read. (In case any of you are wondering, I just finished a book by Jodi Picoult and it is seriously mind-boggling fantastic! And a tad depressing.) But all that aside, the start of My Princess (episodes 1-4) was delightfully breezy and is worth briefly talking about.
Some of my friends think I’m a total drama freak, that I’m so obsessed about dramas I probably don’t do anything else but watch ’em. While that’s not completely true–but also not entirely false–one of the biggest mistakes I made last year was to finish almost all the dramas I picked up, disregarding whether the drama itself was worth watching. The few dramas I dropped ended up as gems whereas the dramas I continued to follow became total crap. Hence, once 2011 began, I vowed not to watch too much fluffy stuff or else my brain would rot from overindulgence.
So what did I expect before watching My Princess? When I first heard that Song Seung Heon and Kim Tae Hee were going to star as the main couple in a rom-com, I chuckled gleefully to myself and looked forward to hearing about the online diatribes on the poor acting. It was expected, alright? I was presumptuous after years of watching these two act poorly on screen. To be honest with you, I wasn’t planning on watching this at all, seeing as how I despised the two in their previous roles. (See: East of Eden, Autumn Tales, IRIS, Love in Harvard, etc.) I didn’t even bother to check out the promotional news about the drama because I was so sure that this drama would suck big boba balls.
I was basing my predictions off of pure intuition and past experience. Over the years, there wasn’t a single moment where I could honestly say that I felt anything for Kim Tae Hee or Song Seung Heon’s characters and I just assumed that My Princess was going to turn out just as I had predicted; that they would fall flat on their faces. Or so I had thought. After the first two episodes premiered, I was surprised, almost flabbergasted to hear that my drama friends were raving about My Princess (MP). Blame it on my natural curiosity, but I finally gave into temptation and hesitantly downloaded the episodes.
From the get-go, there was something particularly attractive about My Princess. The drama centers around a female protagonist that is downright adorable and a man who obviously thinks way too highly of himself. One’s just a regular college schoolgirl; the other a rich diplomat and a chaebol heir. Hearing that, you probably wonder if this isn’t the same scenario that’s been hashed and rehashed innumerable times. What’s sets My Princess apart is its bubbly cuteness, which is also its biggest appeal. The OTP makes you smile instinctively because their bickering interactions are hilarious and fun. I could care less about the princess business since my eyes are soaking up the chemistry between the OTP.
Objectively speaking, MP isn’t going to be a groundbreaking rom-com. However, the drama’s own execution was beyond my expectations, which makes it such an easy watch. The drama’s tone is light and sweet. It’s also ridiculously charming with likable characters to boot. Even with teeny bits of angst sprinkled throughout the first four episodes, MP uses its strength of cuteness to counter it, so that the angst doesn’t overpower the comedy factor. It’s too early to say that there won’t be any heavy angst in MP but I’ll continue to savor the lightness of the drama right now. In a lot of ways, MP reminds me a lot of cotton candy–the kind that melts quickly as you put it in your mouth, but the kind that also leaves a memorable taste behind, which has you begging for more. If you know me, then you’ll know that nothing will stand between me and all that sugary sweetness.
Never mind the fact that Kim Tae Hee and Song Seung Heon have major limitations as actors, although I admit I’m anticipating to see how the two will step up to the plate when they’re called to act in emotional scenes. Kim Tae Hee is almost perfect as Lee Seol. I say “almost” since she’s still got a long way to go in the acting department. Methinks some intensive acting courses will improve her range. Sigh. If only, if only. Nevertheless, she has great chemistry with Song Seung Heon and for the first time ever since I’ve watched her in Stairway to He(ll)aven, I’m enjoying her portrayal of her character AND I like her.
Song Seung Heon, on the other hand, is SO pretty yet still such a stiff actor. I will concede, however, that he’s also very likable in MP and seems to be totally working on those facial muscles, which I thought had atrophied from lack of use over the years. He plays his Hae Young character with confidence, timing those smirks to perfection. If I were to be nitpicky, that’s perhaps the biggest criticism I have with SSH: his unnatural acting. It’s apparent that every move, every word he says is pre-planned and probably written on the freaking script. Still, I do like his character, SSH’s acting notwithstanding. He’s hot, albeit cocky at times. I love his comedic dialogues with Seol–and it just makes me happy when I see them together. I still wouldn’t call myself a Song Seung Heon fan but let’s just say my anti-SSH feelings are dissipating quite rapidly.
Echoing the sentiments of other drama lovers, I wish that Kim Tae Hee — and Song Seung Heon — would act in romantic comedies more. In scenes where the two aren’t featured together, my hands start itching towards the fast forward button, or I tend to zone out.
I can’t write this first impressions post without mentioning our second lead characters played by Ryu Soo Young and Park Ye Jin. I like both stars individually but I’d say that after four episodes of My Princess, I find the latter’s character a little unappealing, even verging on downright annoying. Perhaps it’s because I usually have a thing against second female leads, but I feel like scratching something whenever I see Yoon Ju. I’ve got a premonition that she’s going to turn into a mean little witch in the future episodes, upping the angst and tension between the OTP. She puts on this facade of a nice, understanding woman but I can’t wait for her mask to fall off to show the devious self. We’ve already seen her true self, the part of her that longs for power and prestige. It’s too bad because I wish I liked her. Yoon Ju has been leading on Professor Nam Jung Woo, whom I love, although it seems that she used to really love him. However, now she’s set on marrying Hae Young, ignoring her past with Jung Woo.
Jung Woo is such a sweet person and it’s no wonder most of his female students are half in love with him. I’m tempted to ship second lead myself but it’s still a little too early for me to do any kind of shipping. Jung Woo’s charismatic, smart, and sexy. There’s no doubt the camera loves him too. I think he’ll be a winning rival and I can’t wait for the love triangle between Seol and Hae Young to develop. It’s also interesting that he has a long history with Yoon Ju and it’s evident he still has a lot of lingering feelings for her. Once the love triangles heat up, I’m sure he’ll reach some sort of an epiphany and pit himself as the love rival against Hae Young. It’ll be fun to watch and I’m looking forward to it.
So what’s my verdict? Me likey this drama! In fact, it could almost become my new drama crack for 2011, considering the number of times I’ve laughed and squealed during all Kim Tae Hee-Song Seung Heon scenes. Just maybes. We shall see. After all, I don’t particularly care for anything besides The Cute so once we head towards the Unnecessary Angst Territory, or if the plot takes a wild turn, I will be upset. And I will hate Show for filling my head with fluffy goodness for weeks and turning me into a delusional K-drama watcher.