Hangul: 꽃보다 남자
English: Boys Over Flowers (or) Boys Before Flowers
Romanized: Kkotboda Namja
Synopsis: First daughter of a dry cleaner, Jan Di, earns the chance to attend Shin Wa High School; a prestigious school for only the enormously rich and privileged. The school is ruled by “F4,” a group of four powerful young men with little to do but bully anyone they deem beneath them. Jan Di stands up to the leader, Goo Joon Pyo, and becomes the main target of his–and the rest of the school’s–cruelty.
My Rating: PG-13 for language, violence, suggestive scenes, and heavy emotional turmoil. This is not for the faint of heart. If you want a lighthearted frolic, I suggest You’re Beautiful or Full House. If you feel less than emotionally stable, walk away now. You have been warned.
Inferior English Counterpart: Romeo and Juliet
Yes, I know. I hate Romeo and Juliet. But I hate it because the characters are stupid and I hate the ending. But take the iconic tale of love against all odds, enhance the drama by a million, and you sort of have the beginnings of Boys Over Flowers. I have never cried so much. It is so. beautiful.
Guem Jan Di – My new hero. This girl is amazing. Every time I thought, “Oh, heeeeyll no, I would slap that guy,” she would slap–or punch–that guy. It was very rare that she made a decision I did not wholly approve of.
In the very first episode, she saves someone’s life, and through the rest of the drama, she’s standing up for what’s right, making people better themselves, and not taking crap from anyone. Nearish the end, she upset me. I think she could have validated someone’s feelings a little more… but I guess it served him right for past grievances.
Ji Hoo – Nicknames: The Violinist. The Sweetheart. The Guy Who Was Nice From the Beginning. I didn’t like him much at first, but he turned out to be the sweetest, best man-friend ever. Very lovable. The things he does for love without any hope of being on the receiving end are incredibly sweet, and he never manages to make himself annoyingly persistent.
Yi Jung – The Potter. Known as the Casanova of F4, and the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Definitely a player, but he gains a heart over time. Stays more in the background with Woo Bin and quietly disapproves while Joon Pyo does his misdeeds. Did I mention he’s delicious?
Woo Bin – Mafia Son. Prone to making wonderful exclamations in English and showing up to bust people out of bad situations. Excellent in a fist-fight and never does anything to be mad at him for in the whole drama. He’s amazing. You’re allowed to like him from start to finish, which is quite a feat for being a member of F4!
Gauel – Jan Di’s best friend and coworker at the porridge shop. Starts out a little weak, but learns to do what is necessary and I love her for it.
Goo Joon Pyo – Egotistical jerk-face doesn’t even begin to cover it. I cannot even believe such a person could exist, except… I do know guys who can be like this. But to this extreme… it will screw with your mind. Yet the drama gives us rare moments where we truly feel he has a conscience and it’s sweet and heartbreaking. And then it all falls apart a moment later and you’re back to wanting to punch his lights out.
“All of it. I hate all of it. Your greasy mouth, the way you talk, your curly hair. It’s all very annoying. I hate the way you guys walk around the school and you don’t wear the school uniforms like everyone else. In short, I hate everything about you!” – Guem Jan Di
Just to show you what an absolute gem Joon Pyo is, I’ve compiled a list of dating strategies that he frequently puts into practice. You can see for yourself why the girls at Shin Hwa are all fawning over him.
♥ Goo Joon Pyo’s Rules of Dating ♥
1. Persecute the girl both directly and indirectly by way of your goons until she gives you a well-earned kick to the face in order to initiate physical contact.
2. If the girl says no, she means yes. Definitely you should kidnap her whenever you want to spend time together. But don’t fetch her yourself! Send three to five men in suits to get her for you.
3. Force a makeover to show how beautiful a girl “could” be if only she dated you.
4. Never explain your intentions or reasons for erratic behavior. She should trust you without question. Especially after following rules 1-3.
5. Whenever she’s proven wrong, rub it in. Don’t accept a simple apology.
6. If you’re doubting her feelings for you, fake a fatal illness or injury to manipulate her emotions to your favor. This will earn more of her trust, obviously.
You’re probably laughing at this, but I swear, he does all of that. And more. I just… words cannot… you have to watch it. Have to. Because as unbelievably horrible as he is, there’s something… sometimes… you almost forget you’re refusing to forgive him for the last scene of anguish he put Jan Di through. And then your head implodes with conflict. It’s fun.
The actors are incredible, both alone and collectively. Joon Pyo’s sister deserves a shout out for being a wonderful person from her introduction until the end of the drama. The Witch mother is thus far the most frightening villain I’ve yet to encounter in a drama. Jan Di’s parents and brother are insane, adorable, and hilarious. There’s a whole cast of students, without whom the drama would lessen considerably. All of the characters are complex, interesting, and realistic.
Hilarity Per Episode: ♥♥♥
There are funny moments here and there, but most of it gets overshadowed by heartache, betrayal, separation and loss. Like I said, it’s not a picnic in the park. A good 90% of it makes you mad. I yelled a lot at the screen. And I cried a lot.
Angst levels as well as tear drama rank extremely high. I know I cry a lot during Korean dramas. I cry at the end of Return of the King. I cry at that Oreo commercial where the little girl tells the milk not to cry because she misses the cookies, too–and I don’t even like Oreos! But I’m pretty sure Boys Over Flowers holds the record for reasons, frequency, and strength of tear flow. If you can make it through Boys Over Flowers without choking up and at least some moisture developing in your eyes… I won’t believe you. Or you’re a robot. Or you’re a space alien who shows emotional distress by making baboon-like screeches. It is so good.
Being that the drama isn’t musical-based, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of good tunes to come from it. Once again, it surprised me. I added 13 new tracks to my mp3, all from Boys Over Flowers! There are plenty of upbeat songs, but my top two are the melancholy tear-jerking ones.
What Should I Do
The inflections of Jisun’s singing and the heartbreaking melody was enough to make me tearful before I even heard it in the drama. But then you get it in context and you read the English lyrics and… *bawls in crumpled heap on the floor* IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
Fight The Bad Feeling
I cannot stop listening to this. I cannot.
Love is Fire
And here is an upbeat one! :) Also an ear drug, and very hard to stop listening to.
Sleep Deprivation: ♥♥♥♥♥
If you have vacation days saved up from work, use them to watch this drama. I had five episodes left and watched them all in one afternoon before my night shift. I had barely five minutes to spare when I got to work. It was pretty incredible, but not recommended. I was on a happy high the rest of the day and it made my shift go by super fast, though. :D
Eye Candy: ♥♥♥♥♥
Two words (or one, depending): YiJung.
And that’s just one person. There are many beautiful looking Koreans in this drama. At first, it doesn’t matter because you’re so mad at F4 for being the scummiest scum of the earth, but as soon as they start showing that they possess consciences, it’s okay to drool.
I also found the Korean version of Emmy Rossum!
And this room is worth swooning over as well!
This is where my manager and I differ the most. I thought it was so good that I was bouncing up and down and grinning and giggling like a fool sporadically throughout my shift right after finishing it. She thought it was a let-down after all the trauma and heartache it put us through. You will have to watch it yourself and give your input.