Hi! It’s Annie!
A while ago I made a post about ‘Boys Over Flowers’ and there are so many things I want to talk about in more detail. Mostly because I hadn’t recently watched the show when I last wrote about it and I just finished with a rewatch. I stand by most of what I said in my original review of the series, but watching this series again has been so frustrating mostly because of my feelings on the Ji-Hoo-Jan-Di-Jun-Pyo love triangle. So, instead of the small sections I dedicated to this love triangle from last time, I figured that it really was (and still is) something so debated that it deserves its own post. There are SPOILERS ahead. So if you haven’t watched this show yet, I recommend you do that. It’s definitely not my favorite show I’ve ever seen, it frustrated me a lot, but it’s cute and it is also quite possibly the most popular K-Drama of all time. I would recommend watching it purely for that reason alone, especially if you’re starting to get more into Korean media. Let’s get into it!
I think it’s best if we actually start out with the center of the triangle and the main character of the series herself. Jan-Di starts out as a very strong character in the first couple episodes, but the show really really wants her to be saved by one of the love interests at least once per episode. This results in her character becoming weaker as the series goes on and her standing up for herself less and less. But this isn’t the only way her character becomes less likable because of the show’s several twists and turns. As is normal with most love triangles in the series, Jan-Di can’t decide between Ji-Hoo and Jun-Pyo, but this often manifests itself in a way that seems very selfish for her character. She continuously leads them both on because of her indecision. She is constantly going between both of them to the point where she ends up dating both of them at one point or another. And the show makes it clear that, even as she’s dating one of them, she isn’t actually certain about her decision. This despite the fact that she agreed to date one of them. This goes on until the very end of the show. There’s a point in this show where she’s dating Ji-Hoo and doesn’t inform him that she moved into a new apartment or that Jun-Pyo (who is her ex boyfriend at this point) moved in next to her. He is incredibly kind when he finds out this information by accident (because she certainly wasn’t going to tell him), but you almost wish he would do something to show that he’s hurt. She’s also a terrible communicator. When she makes a decision about the relationship she’s in, she barely ever tells her partner about it. She doesn’t tell Ji-Hoo when she’s decided finally that she loved Jun-Pyo even though they were technically dating at the time. She doesn’t tell Ji-Hoo when she makes various decisions to interfere with his past relationships throughout the show. And she also doesn’t tell Jun-Pyo when his Mother is messing with her. She consistently doesn’t take into account anyone’s feelings in her relationships but her own, she makes several unwarranted assumptions, and she’s an awful communicator. I’m so sorry, but the more I watched of this series the more I wasn’t sure I could like her.
If it is even possible, Jun-Pyo is even worse at relationships than Jan-Di. Jun-Pyo begins this relationship in such a toxic manner that I was shocked it kept going at all. Jun-Pyo goes after Jan-Di the minute he has feelings for her, regardless of what her feelings for him are. He knows that she has feelings for Ji-Hoo and, to put it simply, he really doesn’t care. He even tries to forcibly kiss her, knowing that she doesn’t want it. She fights against him the entire time. This situation of her not liking him results in him deciding to try to bribe her. In order to do this he has his staff kidnap her and take her to his house. Not only that, but when they first start dating it’s because Jun-Pyo announces to the school that she’s his girlfriend without asking her about it first. This part is really odd because Jan-Di is fighting him up to that point, but she doesn’t dispute the fact that they’re dating. Even though she and Ji-Hoo have started having feelings for each other. Throughout their relationship they fight often and often look like they don’t enjoy being around each other. He is prone to throwing childlike tantrums and throwing things when he doesn’t get his way and he often crosses boundaries in a way that makes her visibly uncomfortable. Before they really start dating, he often invades her personal space and he continues to do things like this throughout their relationship. It just feels like they don’t have respect for each other. And he doesn’t have respect for Ji-Hoo either. He is determined to make Jan-Di fall in love with him again after she’s dating Ji-Hoo. It is very clear that, just like Jan-Di, most of the decisions he makes in his relationship are for him and not necessarily for them as a couple. But I do have to say, Jan-Di often views Jun-Pyo as his position rather than as himself, so it’s not like he deserves all the blame for what happens in their relationship. He always seems more sincere about the relationship and she always looks disgusted when she’s with him. But he is a walking red flag. Seriously, he ticks off so many of the toxic boyfriend boxes.
This poor man. I can’t tell you how many times I said that throughout this series. Ji-Hoo deserves so much better when it comes to literally everything. Half of the series he was carrying the relationship between Jan-Di and Jun-Pyo on his back despite his feelings for Jan-Di. He has a massive dedication for wanting the people he loves to be happy, and he received some pretty untrustworthy friends as a result. Except for the other other two members of the F4. Half the time we see F4 bonding, such as the hide and seek game in Macau, Jun-Pyo isn’t there. Just like he’s not there for his friend and constantly ignores the fact that Ji-Hoo obviously has feelings for Jan-Di on, not one, but multiple occasions. For example, when Ji-Hoo and Jan-Di obviously have feelings for each other before he claims that she’s his girlfriend. Or later in the series when he moves in next to her to try and win her back even though she’s actively dating Ji-Hoo. But Ji-Hoo is constantly supportive of the two of them no matter what they do to him. Whenever Jun-Pyo makes a mess and breaks Jan-Di’s heart, he’s always there to put the pieces back together. Sure, Jun-Pyo saved her in several dramatic situations, but I don’t think he was ever there for her when she truly needed emotional support. That was all Ji-Hoo. And neither of them ever consider his feelings no matter what he does for them. When Jan-Di first actually goes on a date with him, she still has feelings for Jun-Pyo. She justifies her feelings to herself by constantly bringing up Ji-Hoo’s ex throughout the date, absolutely convinced that he must still be in love with her despite him telling her that he’d rather not talk about his ex girlfriend. She also manipulates him into taking in his estranged Grandfather by making him think that he’ll be offering her a place to stay instead. Ji-Hoo has been abandoned all his life and those he loves most do nothing but abandon him this entire series. For Jan-Di he’s the fall back boy that she likes when she can’t have Jun-Pyo. This poor boy deserves so much better. He is one of the best characters in this show and definitely the kindest. This show does nothing but break him down and make you wish he had people in his life who cared about him more.
So, all this is to say that I don’t like either couple. Jun-Pyo and Jan-Di don’t work because she’s constantly thinking about Ji-Hoo when she’s with him and doesn’t seem interested. He’s always breaking her boundaries and acting like a brat. But a relationship with Ji-Hoo wouldn’t work either, even though he’s the obviously superior choice. Just like with Jun-Pyo, she can’t stop thinking about the other love interest when she’s with him as well. She also doesn’t respect him or his privacy and breaks personal barriers with him that she shouldn’t have. Not to mention all of the times she led him on just to reject him because Jun-Pyo suddenly wants her back now. I think that it’s pretty obvious that I ended the show not liking Jan-Di or Jun-Pyo much, but actually really liking the character of Ji-Hoo. This doesn’t mean that I completely disliked the show though. There were several cute moments with every character and a specific couple that I really really like, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for my next post.
See you across the pond!