KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Queen of Housewives (2009)

Queen of Housewives
내조의 여왕
(Mar – May 2009)

who’s in it
Kim NamJoo (Her House)
Oh JiHo (Couple or Trouble, Chuno)
Lee HyeYoung (Dal Ja’s Spring)
Sun WooSun (Will It Snow at Christmas?)
Choi ChulHo (Woman Who Still Wants to Marry)
Yoon SangHyun (Take Care of My Lady)

what’s it about
Back in high school, Kim NamJoo had been the prettiest and most popular girl in school...but also the nastiest. No one liked her, although everyone pretended they did. She was that girl; such a mean spirited little thing that she even pursued a relationship with a guy (Choi ChulHo) out of a spiteful effort to teach her “ugly” friend Lee HyeYoung a lesson. But little did she realize, even the mousiest mouse will bite when cornered and when Kim NamJoo declared war on Lee HyeYoung by stealing that one guy, this pretty girl was really tempting cosmic comeuppance.

Much later, all those young girls have grown up and become settled women. Kim NamJoo is now married to Oh JiHo, a smart guy caught in a bad economy and struggling to find a job. His wife, once the queen bee of the high school hive, is quickly losing face with her rich circle of friends. Unable to take the embarrassment any longer, she takes matters into her own hands. She decides to actively manipulate efforts to get her man situated in a swank job at a powerhouse corporation called Queen Food. This ends up becoming more than a mere status elevating opportunity, however, when Kim NamJoo finds herself confronted with her past as she gets more involved in the behind-the-scenes social affairs of the Queen Food condo community and the housewives who rule there. The vengeful cast of her childhood comes back to haunt her and teach her some tough lessons in humility.

20 episodes


first impressions
It was full of salacious venom from the very start, quickly establishing all the snarky main adversaries in this bitch fest. We get to know who’s who fairly easily—as they are all recognizable characters from our own immature youth, I imagine. With a title like Queen of Housewives it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to make the association with the ABC primetime soap Desperate Housewives, and this kdrama does not disappoint in the comparison.

The production and the overall delivery of the show was pleasantly surprising, impressive in the acting and all-around snappy vibe. The protagonist was a stuck-up princess, yet we followed her story from the days of popularity to her fall from grace, instead of the more popular kdrama trend to follow the pitiful best friend’s inspiring struggle for success. We’ve seen Kim NamJoo’s character profile in many a kdrama, the villainous vixen who is petty, conniving, and vain...but rarely do we get to follow that vixen and see the fall out that we all know eventually comes for these types of characters. 

This oft not travelled angle brought some new crispness to the story. It held the same kind of topsy turvy appeal as perhaps Gregory McGuire’s Wicked, the Wizard of Oz revision that re-casted the Wicked Witch of the West as the sympathetic heroine. Like Wicked, we were taking a look at the same old [kdrama] story through the eyes of a different character. Sympathy has often been afforded for the “good witch” but now we’re exploring what makes the “bad witch” tick. A look at the greener more envious side of the coin, if you will.

This was wildly successful when it aired. The mature cast really delivered and it rejuvenated a few careers, notably Yoon SangHyun’s, who was definitely a standout. And without a doubt, there was quite a bit of worthy eye candy, both female and male.

gave up
The character dynamic that immediately stirred my interest was the miserably married power couple played by Sun WooSon and Yoon SangHyun. They were stuck in a loveless marriage and spent most of their time engaged in a power struggle. They were major players in a story that was branched with Kim NamJoo’s tale. Both actors were fascinating to watch as they delivered the passive aggressive dance of bitterness between a couple that was bound by ring, but not by heart—the pain that can exist between people even if there’s no love to provide salt for the wound. Charisma cannot be taught, it just is, and that’s what came flowing out from these two stars. They were simply magnetic on screen. I could have watched an entire drama about them alone. But alas, this drama was not only about them but more about the warlike networking intrigues between the wives of corporate moneymakers.

All in all, I think I would definitely recommend this one to other drama fans if they are the sort that is at all moved by bitter pill stories full of acrobatic backstabbing between beautiful women. The few hours I did watch of this drama, I thought it managed some fairly inventive storytelling and was done well. Definitely well-acted.

Why didn’t I finish it when I have such nice words for it?

I could only watch so much cattiness before my head felt like it was going to explode. These women were way too good at their roles! To be honest, I was never a part of the whole Desperate Housewives craze, but more than that, this show was a tad too cynical for me. Female backstabbing and politicking really didn’t interest me all that much and in the long run, even sort of depressed me. So for a purely personal disinterest in the story matter, not so much because of the quality of the show, I gave up on this one.


  1. i wasnt enjoying this drama as much as other people(maybe cuz im not the target audience) but i still enjoyed it quite a bit. i think it has a lot going for it. i dont know if i should say that i gave it up since i only had 2 ep left to watch... but still hasnt have found the time to watch it... and maybe never will.
    anyways, i love how u said almost everything i wanted to say about it! ^^
    as for jihoo's character. yeah, he's not the best out there, altho he had a potential which kjh didnt fully use. anyways, i KNOW that kjh himself is not boring. actually, he's one of the most weirdly funny guys ive seen but he appears bland on screen. oh well. i still trust playful to deliver somehow. i like a drama to be pretty AND exciting. it got the pretty down so now, it "only" has to work on the exciting part.
    and yeah, ive just finished ep 3 and 4 of scandal.. OMG, yoo ah in is HOT. and i think i can say that i really like this drama. i love all the characters (or how they are portrayed). XD. it has room for improvement but who cares, as long as it gets to me.

  2. HOT is right! Or maybe even hotter than hot--VOLCANIC! I'm a dork ^^

  3. lol. volcanic works too. dorker>>supernova XD

    and YES!!! playful has MAJOR improvement. it's still not enough but definitely better. i wonder what they have in store for ep 4...
    as for gumiho..it's really good. the hong sisters are consistently awesome it's quite amazing!
    and i guess i'll join the club for scandal fandom as well! and better late than never right?

  4. Hahah, I like supernova!

    And I heartily welcome you to the Scandal fandom, it's a happy place to be!


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