KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Impressions: My Princess (2011)

My Princess
16 Episodes
Jan - Feb 2011

Background: ROK (Republic of Korea) wants to become CMOK (Constitutional Monarchy of Korea, or something like that) and reinstate the crown by heralding forth a long hidden blood descendant of Emperor Sunjong, the last monarch of the Korean empire. Emperor Sunjong apparently has one of his true bloodline living strong in contemporary times due to a heir he kept secret back in the day, this fact validated by a document long thought lost but now found and presented to the baffled public. This push to give rebirth to the royal heritage of Korea’s past is the result of diligent efforts by varying people with varying motives.

A student and a part-time historical reenactment photo-op princess (whoa, mouthful), Kim TaeHee, doesn’t know it when she first meets the rich Daehan Group heir Song SeungHun, but she’s a real princess that Song’s own ailing grandfather has been longing to enthrone all his life. As far as Kim TaeHee’s aware, she’s little more than an orphan-turned-innkeeper’s daughter…and Song SeungHun’s the kind of rich kid that has a friggin’ museum named after him…so the two have very little in common when their universes initially collide. Well, little in common but for their mutually ridiculous cuteness. When his dry and condescending type of charm mingles against her loud, in-yo-face brand of all-encompassing vortex type of charm, there is surprisingly good synergy.

The darling prince of the Daehan Group, Song SeungHun is actually a pretty nice non-stuffy guy who is working against a one-sided crush on the curator of his namesake museum, played by the fab Park YeJin. She’s just adorable, this woman. She should have been the lead gal. Hahaha, I joke, I joke, I’m just teasing you Kim TaeHee fans. Anyhow, YeJin’s already got her love triangle going when we meet the characters. Her first love, played with professorial dignity by Ryu SooYoung, is still madly in love with her, incidentally, this is to the chagrin of our princess-in-secret Kim TaeHee, who is crushing hard on this intellectual sweater-vest type of gentleman. By the by, Kim TaeHee is also a nice gal, who despite her financial instability and slightly lonely life, doesn’t struggle with an inferiority complex (thank goodness!). She’s got a healthy helping of pride, and this next thing is pretty rare, she’s got a nose for self-preservation. This is a young woman who looks out for number one (but not in a nasty way) and she doesn’t seem the sort to be sacrificed on the alter of Kdrama “pitiable girl” syndrome. Or maybe I’m just hoping. We’ll see.

First impressions
Oh, the handsomeness.
The Handsomeness. The Handsomeness.
Be still, my beating heart. ^^ To say I’m somewhat partial to Mr. Song SeungHun’s brand of yummy would be like understating my love for fried foods. Doesn’t he totally look like a real life prince, or what?! Seriously now, let’s all have a moment to revel, didn’t Mr. Autumn Fairytale guy grow up oh so very dreamy? Drooool.

Basically this beginning felt like the drama I was waiting for all last year, the kind of casual romantic comedy that takes great advantage of a really snappy chemistry between two main leads. Zip is hard to predict when casting the main couple, obviously, otherwise every show would be a hit. Here, however, it seems we have a real win. Pretty A-listers who don’t negate one another’s charms, fangirl-tastic Cinderella fairytale, lots of twinkling rapier wit and physical comedy; I especially like the duo’s friendly gravitational reaction to one another, their immediate touchy feely coziness due to their innate meddling personalities (they resort to banmal - casual language - pretty quickly with one other, Kim TaeHee often calling him “dummy” in affectionate teasing).

Helmed by the director of Pasta (a 2010 winner in my book) and the screenplay writer who scribbled On Air (another winner), I have some rather high hopes. The best part of this drama was that despite its type of humor, when it turned serious, it didn’t feel out of context and managed to be fairly real (well, minus the whole reinstatement of the monarchy bit, that’s quite a leap of faith, but I’ll bite). Considering the director and screenwriters involved, things bode well for Kim TaeHee and Song SeungHun’s fate. I’m definitely not minding a visit with this “adult” Goong…and obviously when I say adult, I’m not implying a pole dancing princess, but a more grown up interpretation of everyone’s favorite fantasy: orphan girl learning she’s really a princess. My Princess has managed to find the appropriate tone in blending fairytale and reality.

Kim TaeHee is taking a page out of the Shin MinAh’s acting textbook and trying her spin on bubbly comedy (Shin rocked last year’s My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox). Kim appears a natural for this kind of comedy (versus, imo, her more creative ventures...like 2006 movie The Restless, cringe cringe cringe! Or her mediocrity in the drama IRIS, snore, snore, snore! But that’s neither here nor there). As the Gumiho role did for Shin MinAh, this earthy and vivacious part suits Kim and shows fans her more approachable side.

One small concern from me: for now, while Kim TaeHee is the cuter of the two, it’s Song SeungHun who delivers more for me when the plot twists become more serious. There are small moments when it feels Kim is trying a smidge too hard to please, when she feels just slightly off key, but it’s not a distraction, and she’s quite charming enough to make the misses inconsequential. I’m sure she’ll settle into her role once this really gets going. I’m looking forward to seeing her shine.

How much do I love this drama’s introductory steps? A LOT. My energy was sapped by the end of 2010 by holiday and cold, and it took all my last reserves to post my year end review but this drama has sent new energy coursing through me. What a pleasant way to kick off 2011. As of now, our lovable princess is trying to help the dashing prince win another girl’s heart…I wonder which of the two will fall for the other first?



  1. From the sound of it, I can't wait to catch this drama!! Song SeungHun - drool-worthy! ;)

  2. missironic, definitely you may need to have a bib ready while you watch this one! I sit in a puddle of my own saliva during this show!!

  3. My Princess = one of the quickest and most natural skinship ever!

    And btw, your acronyms made me laugh because rok and cmok mean year and kiss in my language xp


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