[Review] Flower Boy Next Door – 이웃집 꽃미남

QUE GEUM SERA SERA

The drama’s heroine loosely based on the story of Rapunzel.  Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye) is a shy, freelance editor who shuts herself away in the safety of her home.  She dislikes venturing outside unless absolutely necessary.  She also avoids interacting with her neighbors opting to spy on a good-looking guy in the neighboring building instead.

That is, until she is caught by his cousin, Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon).

Que Geum is outgoing, silly and always willing to look on the bright side of things.  Meanwhile, Webtoon artist Oh Jin Rak (Kim Ji Hoon) secretly pines after Dok Mi only showing his affection by leaving encouraging notes and drawings on her carton of milk every morning.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of the overly absurd tone of the drama.  I was actually a little put off by it but then I grew impressed at the depth as the drama began to peel back all the layers in this character-driven story.

The light tone contracts with Dok Mi’s dark backstory.  A traumatizing scandal that leads to her agoraphobia and antisocial tendencies.  The drama doesn’t delve too deep into the circumstances only highlighting the important aspects but I could easily see how she’d feel so betrayed that she lost faith in humanity.

I almost sympathized with her and didn’t want her to be forced to integrate back into the world too suddenly.  She seemed satisfied in her happy little corner and only see the world from a safe distance.

Enter Que Geum who is the exact opposite of Dok Mi.  Despite their differences, he seems to be the only person who is capable of reading her thoughts.  It was an interesting plot device as Dok Mi’s personality prevents her from speaking her mind so it would have hindered the plot progression.  In this way, Que Geum is able to show her another perspective.

Through Que Geum’s rose-colored glasses, he sees Jin Rak’s dislike for him and his antifans and tries to wear down that negativity with positive energy.  He puts in a lot of effort and energy to get people to be on his side so how could you resist being swayed by him?

Yoon Shi Yoon – 사귀고 싶어 (I Want to Date You)

윤시윤 – 사귀고 싶어

On the other hand, I also loved Jin Rak too because he’s so relatable.  He’s the every man.  He admires Dok Mi from afar and keeps it to himself because she’s so skittish.  Now we all know from our drama watching that the admirer from afar never gets the girl but I couldn’t help be touched by the fact that he’s so steadfast in his love and just happy to be near her. Plus, he’s so similar to Dok Mi in that they both never want to stir up anything or disturb anyone. In that way, he was not what Dok Mi needed.

When not pining after Dok Mi, he dedicates his time to creating Webtoons.  While he’s passionate, he’s not a natural talent.  When it comes to artistic talent, it comes easily to people like Que Geum and his roommate and Webtoon collaborator, Yoo Dong Hoon (Go Kyung Pyo).  They are just born with it while Jin Rak needs to put in the effort.

Not that Dong Hoon has it easy.  His dream may be drawing Webtoons but it certainly doesn’t make enough money.  So he moonlights to make extra cash in order to pay off his family’s debts except he tries to make it appear as if he’s living a fun and carefree life.

Then there’s the tenacious, workaholic Webtoon editor (Kim Seul Gi).  She’s so wrapped up in her career that she doesn’t see what else life can offer her until Dong Hoon shows it to her.

I loved seeing these two SNL castmates together here because they are clearly in sync when it comes to comedy.

Finally, there’s food connoisseur Watanabe Ryu (Mizuta Kouki).  Lover of learning all things food related, he brings our cast of characters together.  He’s a little like Que Geum in that he’s interested in meeting new people, trying new things and going to new places.  The residents of the Ocean Village apartment complex may have believed they don’t really have anything in common, Watanabe helps to bring a sense of camaraderie by having them share meals together.

Out of all the characters, I sorely disliked Cha Do Hwi (Park Soo Jin).  Partly because she’s the antagonist but also because she’s so one-dimensional.  She is a necessary evil as she brings Dok Mi’s issues out into the open but the drama tries to leave her character off on a good note.

It doesn’t condone what she’s done but I felt as if the drama didn’t want to depict her solely as the bad guy.  The problem is that her character doesn’t go anywhere.  She’s the same character in the beginning as she is at the end.

What looked like merely another fun romcom, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the many layers of this character-driven drama.  It’s about being young and reexamining our dreams, overcoming fears, finding love, being independent and figuring out this thing called life.

The security guard sums things up in an interesting way at the end.  The apartment complex with its cheap rent was a place to help make things possible for the young professionals who were trying to find a home in a big, expensive and often uncaring city.  Here is a place that could house them just as long as they are responsible to pay the rent on time.

Rating

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One thought on “[Review] Flower Boy Next Door – 이웃집 꽃미남

  1. Pingback: Flower Boy Next Door | K-Bunny

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