The Quintessential Drama: Boys Over Flowers
Warning: Spoilers Ahead.
I recently re-watched this drama, for research purposes, obviously.
I've been trying to figure out exactly what it was about this drama that made it so crack-tastic.
BOF tends to be people's gateway drug into K-dramas. And the stories I've heard are hilarious! I have a friend who used to sneak out of work to watch this show. I missed classes, meals and sleep to gaze at Gu Jun Pyo's curls. And looking back now, all I can ask is... WHY?
One thing I did realize is BOF HAS to be one of your first dramas.
If you're an avid Kdrama watcher, who somehow missed out on all the F4 craze, and then decide to watch it... it's going to suck. Part of the appeal is that you don't know any better. So all the cliches, and frustrating tropes, and stupid, annoying decisions the characters make, and THE AMNESIA (rolling my eyes till I see the back of my skull), you don't have prior experience with any of that.
Now, I think we can all agree that this show is extremely less than perfect. We're not even going to address the extremely misogynistic themes. The unnecessary violence. The slut-shaming. The appalling glorified bullying. The numerous sexual violations. Because who got the time?
We're also not going to address how the female character was selectively 'strong'. One minute, she's saving boys from jumping off the roof, and delivering well deserved high kicks to Gu Jun Pyo's face. The next minute, she's falling to her knees and fainting... because it's snowing?
We also do not have the time to talk about the annoying way Ku Hye Sun chose to portray this character. Since the actress was much older than the character, she exaggerated her actions to make the character seem younger... but instead, she came off as almost stupid.
Even when I watched this drama the first time, I thought Guem Jan Di was supposed to be a little unwell mentally, for like the first 10 episodes.
However, can I ask if anyone knows how and why Gu Jun Pyo fell in love with Guem Jan Di? Was it the kick? Did he fall in love with her because she kicked him in the face? I feel like that's a sign of a much deeper issue (and maybe a sexual kink). One minute he was actively trying to get rid of her, and the next he was whisking her away in his private jet. And I fear that my neck never recovered from that whiplash.
Actually there's a whole lot of romantic whiplash in this drama:
Jun Pyo hates Jan Di, but now he loves her and can't imagine his life without her.
Jan Di hates Jun Pyo, and loves Ji Hoo, but now she loves Jun Pyo and puts Ji Hoo in the 'soul mate friend zone'.
Ji Hoo loves Seo Hyun noona, but now he's in love with Jan Di (#JusticeForJiHoo! This boy deserved better, okay? He lost his parents, he lost his noona, and now this bowl cut girl has put him in the soul mate zone)
And all of these switching happened because... how the fuck should I know?
And we're definitely not going to talk the horrible parents in this show, who had no business raising children. The best parents in the show were Ji Hoo's parents. Yes, those dead ones. Exactly my point.
And the hair and fashion choices? Pandora's box. We're not touching it.
So we've agreed. This was far from a perfect show. And yet, most of us LOVED it when we saw it. It's the reason we sought out other kdramas. So what was it that made this show so addictive?
I really hate to admit it, but the character and their dynamics will always be crack. That's the core strength of this entire show.
No matter how many times I hate-watch this show, Jun Pyo waiting in the rain for Jan Di will always make my heart skip a bit.
His absolute devotion to his love for her (even though I still don't know why) will always be swoon worthy.
I have always been a sucker for bromances, so the friendship and forged brotherhood between the F4 boys will always, always, be adorable.
And the rich boy, poor girl trope is tried and tested. Something about this narrative will always be addictive.
I should hate Gu Jun Pyo. We should all hate Gu Jun Pyo. On paper, he's the worst of the worst. A spoiled, narcissistic, arrogant, self centered, bull headed, elitist, misogynistic, stupid bully. But there's something about the way Lee Min Ho plays him, that you actually spend most of this drama pitying him and wanting him to be happy, rather than hating him. He becomes this adorable, lovable dork who has simply been damaged by his environment and upbringing. And you actually feel for him. Seriously, don't you think it's wild that we thought he deserved love more than an actual orphan who watched his parents die in a car accident?
I could sincerely care less for Geum Jan Di, especially because her 'strength' and 'spunk' always disappeared when it actually mattered. So having all these guys fall in love with (FOR NO REASON AT ALL) was tiring.
Also, I believe the second couple, Ga Eul and Yi Jung don't get praised enough. They were honestly a better couple than Jun Pyo and Jan Di, and we don't talk about that enough. They were mature, and level-headed, and realistic, and they came together and resolved their issues in non-toxic ways. Give them their accolades.
So is BOF a good show? Nah. Especially as the years have gone by.
But it's still a good watch for nostalgia's sake. Or if you're like me, and like to hate-watch shows, this is definitely a good candidate. And there's still enough crack left over to make your heart skip a bit, even when you don't want it to.
#BoysOverFlowers #LeeMinHo #KimHyunJoong #KuHyeSun #KimBum #KimJoon #KimSoEun