A few back tvN started rolling out with some of their new dramas like, The Three Musketeers, which I’ve been liking, and Surplus Princess. Both dramas air single episodes weekly unlike the double episodes per week which is the K-Drama norm. I have to say that I don’t think Surplus Princess will be everyone’s cup of tea but for me, there’s a lot to like about this drama.
Based on the tale of The Little Mermaid, Surplus Princess is about a mermaid who decides to become human in order to find true love. The title itself has double meaning in that 잉여공주 (Ing Yeo Gong Joo) literally translates as Surplus Princess but it’s also a play on 인어공주 (In Uh Gong Joo) which is mermaid.
Our mermaid is Kim Ha Ni (Jo Bo Ah), who saves a “prince”, namely Celebrity Chef Kwon Shi Kyung (Song Jae Rim), from drowning. She gives him “mouth to mouth” under the water. She decides to become a human to be with him. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize that becoming human comes with consequences. If she doesn’t find true love in a 100 days, she fizzles away and disappears. She comes to live at the Surplus House filled with various jobless characters who are trying to find a job.
One of her housemates is Lee Hyun Myung (Ohn Joo Wan) who has been dating his girlfriend, Yoon Jin Ah (Park Ji Soo). After getting a staff job, she onto greener pastures. She’s set her eyes on Chef Kwon.
Jin Ah discovers that the “prince” has his own problems. He’s not able to make out faces anymore due to some kind of stress. So she set herself us as being the sympathetic ally in hopes of winning him over. However, I don’t quite believe her feelings for him are real. Sure, she wants Chef Kwon as her arm candy to make a statement about her status but I feel like she never really let Hyun Myung go.
Brought to us by the director and writers of SNL Korea, the drama is witty and quirky. I can’t say that I love all the elements about the drama but it’s interesting to see how the drama incorporates skit-like elements into their story. Such as Do Ji Yong (SNL Korea cast member Kim Min Kyo) doing a parody of G-Dragon’s “삐딱하게 (Crooked)” when he finds out that his crush, Ha Ni, likes the gorgeous Chef Kwon.
Jo Bo Ah is plucky and adorable as the drama’s lead. I love the random moments in which she ogles (and objectifies) Chef Kwon. Because why not?
Adding to the unique cast, catch a sighting of Lee Sun Kyu who is Jaurim’s lead guitarist. I don’t know why the acting bug bit him but his character in the drama, also named Lee Sun Kyu, is pretty odd. I’ll buy it for now. There’s also the ever-lovable Kim Seul Gi. How does she split her time from doing this drama and Discovery of Love? And is she still also on SNL Korea? There’s also Nam Joo Hyuk better known as that guy in the Ackdong Musician “200%” music video.
I love this moment between the two in this week’s episode. Ahn Hye Young (Kim Seul Gi) decides to help Big (Nam Joo Hyuk) confess his feelings to his long-time crush before she leaves to live abroad with her boyfriend. Except they end up hugging each other at the exact moment the couple arrives. Oops. But there’s no denying that Hye Young, who is obvious about her crush on Lee Sun Kyu, felt something. Later, she cheers him up and even calls Big by his real name. No one in the house knows much about Big other than the fact that he’s from Busan. His real name is Park Dae Bak which he changed to Big because well… it’s Dae Bak. Ha!
The problem with this drama is at times the story feels disjointed and it doesn’t feel like the story is progressing very slowly. I think it’s partly due to the skit-like elements that take up screen time and attention away from the overall story. The part could be that it only gets one installment of the story from week to week but The Three Musketeers has the same once a week format and I don’t feel the same way about that drama. However, there’s enough whimsy and cuteness that makes the show charming in it’s own light.
Ha Ni just walked into a scene where she believes that her beloved Chef Kwon is secretly in dating Jin Ah.
She’s heartbroken but goes home to find a note saying that Hyun Myung’s grandmother has died. Putting her feelings aside, she goes to Hyun Myung to comfort him. Hoping this new development will make things complicated enough to boost the pacing of the main storyline.