Korean Drama Review: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is available on DramaFever.

Credit as labeled via Soompi

SYNOPSIS:

Yang Eun Bi (Lee Chung Ah) is a 25 year old college student studying for her civil service exam to become a teacher. Eun Bi is in complete study mode from her clothes to her disdain of people who publicly exhibit affection in her study area. Nevertheless, Eun Bi is still on the look out for a potential boyfriend with the economic stability of a 30 year old and who drives a cool car to work while wearing a suit. Instead of a 30 year old, she is stuck with 19 year old Cha Chi Soo (Jung Il Woo).

Eun Bi first meets Chi Soo under peculiar circumstances; he follows her into a bathroom stall and unbeknownst to him seduces her. Eun Bi mistakes him for a stalker that has been attacking girls on campus, but Chi Soo is just trying to hide. After the initial moment of flirtation is over, Eun Bi mistakes him for the man of her dreams, since he is wearing a suit, looks older, and drives a nice car. When Eun Bi follows him to her workplace, a his high school, and realizes that he is  actually wearing a uniform.

After bumping into Chi Soo several times, Chi soo starts to become attracted to Eun Bi. Chi Soo is a spoiled son of a food conglomerate, who hates girls who cry. Suprisingly, Chi Soo overlooks Eun Bi’s faults, including the fact that she cried over her ex-boyfriend in front of him, and starts hitting on Eun Bi when she becomes his teacher. Since Eun Bi realized that Chi Soo is not as old as she thought, Eun Bi no longer likes Chi Soo. However, Chi Soo’s persistence and comforting spirit change her mind.

Chi Soo and Eun Bi stay together after the death of Eun Bi’s father whose Ramyun Shop she has to help takeover, after they discover Eun Bi is promised to her father’s cute narcoleptic apprentice and ramyun shop successor Choi Kang Hyuk (Lee Ki Woo), and after Chi Soo’s family disapproves of his relationship with Eun Bi. Chi Soo is dedicated to winning Eun Bi and even accepts a job at the Ramyun shop under Kang Hyuk to remain in her presence. Although, no matter how great Chi Soo’s actions are, they cannot avoid the fact that Eun Bi is 24, 25, or 26 and Chi Soo is 19.

There is also another adorable love line in the form of Ba Wool (Park Min Woo) and So Yi. So Yi is Chi Soo’s ex-girlfriend who he is literally using as a place holder until Eun Bi will agree to be with him. So Yi uses Chi Soo to make Ba Wool jealous, so she doen’t mind the fact Chi Soo is not as interested in her. Ba Wool is one of the runaways that Eun Bi’s father took care of at the Ramyun Shop. Eun Bi’s father’s ramyun shop is located outside the high school that Eun Bi and Ba Wool attend, however most of its customers are underpriviledged kids who need free meals and guidance. Thus, Ba Wool is like a younger brother to Eun Bi and he agrees to help at the Ramyun shop after the death of Eun Bi’s father. Ba Wool is over protective of Eun Bi and is unhappy about Eun Bi and Chi Soo’s relationship. Ba Wool’s unhappiness is aggregated by the fact that So Yi is still dating Chi Soo, while he and So Yi are dating.

REVIEW:

This drama is like a beach book; it is light, airy, quick, happy, and satisfying. For instance, as good as Scent of Woman was, it was really draining. At the same time, this would mean that it is not groundbreaking and lacks depth. By lacks depth, Boys over Flowers had more depth.  3 stars for this unoriginally satisfying drama redux. Sidenote: Yes, I am very behind in my Korean Drama reviews, but I will try my best to dish them out over the next few days.

Easy Watching:  Perfect zone out weekend drama. If you just want to feel good, it makes you feel good. Moreover, the viewer is not really given any new interesting storylines. This drama is actually a combination of scenes from Boys Over Flowers, My Lovely Sam Soon, Love Actually, and Personal Taste, which makes me happy because I like all of those pieces. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy. There are some sad parts, but hopefully you are like me and don’t feel them. The characters never could make me cry, and in some parts they even made me laugh when I knew I shouldn’t. The only thing that would have made me cry was her father’s death, but it happened too early for me to have an attachment.

Funny Moments: The writers know how to be funny. From the description of Eun Bi’s ideal man, they had me hooked. Bathroom stalker scene was one of the most hilarious meet-cute’s I’ve seen. They followed that up with Chi Soo’s car being put up on blocks. Then on top of that Eun Bi decided not to come home over a slap from her Dad over cigarettes. I am not sure if that was supposed to be funny or serious, but I found it funny.

Kang Hyuk: Kang Hyuk’s character kind of disappears at the end of this drama, but at the beginning of the drama his storyline is brilliant. He has a picture of Eun Bi that he dreams of his whole life à la City Hunter. Kang Hyuk hugs Eun Bi after her father dies and she thinks it is a dream. Then Kang Hyuk starts living with Eun Bi and she is unaware that he is there. Finally, when Eun Bi and Kang Hyuk start communicating, Kang Hyuk  automatically assumes the role of husband. I almost died when Kang Hyuk took the door off of Eun Bi’s room to ensure that Chi Soo would not try to steal his girl. In addition, there is his random sleeping habits.

Chi Soo’s father: Again these characters are really well written, Chi Soo father is all about work. Chi Soo and his father live in a penthouse on top of the corporation. I think this is too much, but there must be some real benefits since Diane Von Furstenberg does it too. See it here. Side Note: I love that this article is labeled apartment porn. That is a perfect segway to Chi Soo’s father’s obssession with the hot tub. I mean one out of every two scenes he is in the hot tub. If he is not in the hot tub, he is angry. If he is not angry, he is in the hot tub. However, there are a few moments where he is angry and in the hot tub —> ahhh! Anyways, drama fail when the person with their shirt off the most is someone’s older out of shape dad.

Eun Bi and Chi Soo: Regardless about how I felt about their acting, which didn’t lead me anywhere emotionally other than to laugh. I thought that they were a cute couple who had good chemistry. This is in spite of all the awkwardness I felt about the student-teacher relationship. I really never even thought about Eun Bi and Kang Hyuk together and I never thought Chi Soo would go back to So Yi. Viewers are rooting forthe main couple in light of the unimaginable plot, because of the strong dialogue. The characters and writers really expressed the feelings that the main characters had for each other well.

Highlights:

  • Knitting flower boy
  • Porsche to Infiniti downgrade ( I am sorry to the Infiniti drivers out there, it is just a fact.  Note: Vanquish to 911 Turbo is also a downgrade, even if the numbers are similar.)
  • Karaoke with toilet paper headbands
  • Fight scenes using high school desks
  • “I didn’t work here, because I missed her. I work here, because I had to see her.”
  • Good scenes only happen in bathrooms.
  • Gong Hyo-jin cameo
  • I just started playing Pandora in my car and the song that came on is expressing how I feel
  • Chi Soo is on a motorcycle and Ba Wool catches up with him on his bike
  • Chi Soo’s F5 versus Ba Wool’s Jets
  • The art of getting a leg cramps while watching a movie
  • The art of love. Lesson one: interrupt a kiss to tell the person you are kissing I am not done kissing yet. Lesson two: “Always stand beside me until I can get my sanity back.” Lesson three: lick the kimchi off your significant other’s fingers and then kiss her —> unsanitary in the Ramyun Shop. Lesson Four: saying “I’m your older brother and that woman is my wife, so she only sleeps with me” does not always work.
  • Naming cars Marie Antoinette, Paris Hilton, and Louis XVI
  • Ba Wool and So Yi’s confessions

Ugh:

  • I am always uncomfortable when there is a more than five year age gap and one of the people is still in college. See The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry. See also My Girlfriend is a Gumiho I am kind of tired of these Noona relationships. At least, let boys graduate from college, this was even worse, because he was in high school. I was throughly grossed out with the forehead kiss by Chi Soo in the high school gym. I know he is 18, but anything student-teacher is way awkward. When you thought one student teacher relationship was not enough, what was going on with Eun Bi’s high school volleyball coach and her best friend? Did their relationship also start when she was in high school, so much murkiness.
  • First kiss by father’s grave
  • “Can I stop acting like your guardian?” Yes, Kang Hyuk you can and you should have stopped earlier.
  • Insulting a woman’s bust size —> not cool. Guys its akin to judging you below the waist.
  • Was I supposed to get emotional while you are introducing each other’s ramyun dishes?
  • The “I didn’t write, because I would miss you too much” theory, hated it in My Lovely Sam Soon hated it here even more. You two live in the same country.

Again 3 stars, because of the deadpan humor. I am not sure, if this drama is supposed to be as funny as it is. There may be something lost in translation that makes this funnier to someone who identifies with western culture. If they weren’t trying to be a funny, then 2.5 stars.

Up Next: The illusive Secret Garden, Coffee Prince, or The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry.

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7 comments

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  4. Nyx

    I strongly disagree on so many points that I won’t even begin listing them.

    Know this, while I agree with you that people underestimate Lie To Me, if you thought THAT show was 4.5 how then, prey tell me, do you rate this as 3? This is a Catch 22 – if you say this is dead pan humour only westerners apparently get (as understanding Asian humour is clearly beyond our capabilities) how then did you appreciate the humour in Lie To Me.
    That’s just it. I despise those late 90s/early 21st Kdramas with numerous episodes and family/incest/tragic love stories that make “cheesy” and “cliché” sound as compliments, so this light take on a lovestory that actually brings up realistic every day issues one can relate to as a student oneself could suit ones taste or not depending on your preferences.
    However, if you liked Lie To Me??? Which is really a story about a 27 year old civil servant attracting the attention of a 34 year old OCD chabol through ridiculous female rivalry … It is beyond me how you don’t appreciate FBRS?
    (I too had problems with accepting 6 years age range)

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      1. I rated it as a three because it was the story line was too unoriginal and there was nothing outstanding as far as the acting, character development, chemistry, music, or showing a topic in a different way. Can’t really remember anything about everyday occurrences that students struggle with while in relationship in college, none of that seemed to have stuck with me, so I guess I did not relate. I do remember being upset about the petulant reason why she stopped talking to her father. The one thing I liked about this drama was that it was funny and I think that Western audiences (Asian westerners included) may appreciate the bathroom scene, hot tub scenes, and kimchi lick more. Those scenes are just some of the reasons why Flower Boy probably would not be broadcast on a public channel, but a cable one. I am not saying this is the Hangover, but I am saying this humor is more risque than what would normally come on a public channel.

      2. I think the reason why Lie to Me was good was because it had better acting, the script was about the same, better music, better chemistry. The best thing about lie to me is it is a good portrayal of how hard it is to hurt someone you once loved and how hard it is to be in a relationship, when you feel that you haven’t found yourself. I think the drama broke down the realities of relationships in a new way, even if the chaebol- civil servant match was unlikely. However, Ah Gong was the daughter of a law professor and it is extremely to pass the civil service exam, so the only real difference was money. Unlike other dramas (including Coffee Prince) Ah Gong had money, a pretty good family background, and a good career. I actually did not find Lie to Me that funny it was more romantic than comedy. Truthfully, I would say that Lie to Me was may move down to a 4, but since I hadn’t ever watched a whole Korean drama, the fact that it got me addicted was a high point. I still want to watch it over and over again, for Flower Boy, I just want to watch scenes again.

      3. I think 27 and 34 is totally different than 24/25 and 18. When they met while she was a teacher at his high school. I think it was a totally inappropriate starting point, he could have at least bit in college. Then the gym scenes was really just too much. The eww for me may have been worse because I am near her age and I will not step a foot near a high school, moreover a senior in high school (makes me feel pedo). So it really wasn’t just the 6 year age gap.

      4. To each his own. I am sure that you have your own reasons why you believe Flower Boy is better than I believe it too be. I think I just had less of connection with the way Flower boy presented everyday problems of being a student in a relationship, maybe because I am older (One of Reasons why I can’t finish Dream High) or because we had different experiences. Relationships wise, Lie to Me spoke more to me. However, please do not think 3 is a bad rating, there are tons of dramas I watch that never get a rating/review, because I don’t like them enough to review them at all. Thus, me writing something about it, means that I did truly appreciate it.

  5. Sabrina

    This drama was cute and light but not something ill remember after a couple of months… Anyway, the ending was terrible! So… they all separate, Chi soo’s father takes away Eun Bi’s restaurant, the other dude fails to protect the restaurant, Eun Bi runs and runs and runs with a clog remover (GROSS!), Chi Soo apparently never ever sees his father again… I could keep going on, but the list is too long, the ending sucked and it felt quite rushed. Anyway, i agree, there were a lot of awekward moments, like the student-teacher romance thing, it was weird and made me so unconffortable! Also, some cheesy dialogues, especially in the last two episodes, plus all the dragging around Eun Bi and violent (not rommantic) hugs made me feel really awekward. Unlike you, i was pissed when the onion guy took down the door… i overall hated how the dudes ordered Eun Bi around, like if she was their property, i know it’s something you see on doramas, but this made me sick, because it was made in a way, that made the supposedly good and caring guy be so rommantic…. BULLSHIT! that’s violence and abuse! stop grabbing her arm and applying strength to make her come with you, don’t take down her door! and don’t treat her like she belongs to you!

    So that’s it, i agree with your rating, id probably give it a little less though, just because i was enjoying it until the last two episodes, which seemes so rushed and corny, it kinda made me hate it…

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