Hi! It’s Annie!
I promised another post about my recent re-watch of ‘Boys Over Flowers’ and here it is! I wasn’t originally planning to separate the two posts, but this one had to be pushed back because of a previous ongoing series of posts. Sorry! Trust me, I would have rather posted about this. In my previous post about ‘Boys Over Flowers’, I talked about the main love triangle and what I though of each romance plus each character individually. But my favorite romance from this show had nothing to do with the love triangle. The sub-plot romance surpassed it by a long shot. Seriously, it was so much better and so insanely cute. This was possibly my favorite part of the entire series. But, once again, I have a lot of thoughts about why this couple worked and the main couple didn’t, so let’s get into it!
Ever the voice of reason. When Jan Di is freaking out or blaming people that she shouldn’t, Ga Eul is right there to give her advice. I loved her character right from the start because of her ability to stand up for herself and others as well as how intelligent she was, especially compared to a few other characters in the show. In one of the first scenes with Ga Eul and Yi Jung, he basically tells her to warn Jan Di not to get involved with Jun Pyo. Ga Eul is having none of this, tells him off, and then leaves. It was such a cathartic scene. In situations where Jan Di won’t stand up for herself, Ga Eul always will. When Yi Jung takes Ga Eul on a “date” during a time where he is very emotionally unstable, she throws a drink in his face when he’s a jerk to her. Ga Eul felt like one of the only characters in the show who was never willing to compromise her morals. Several people called her a “good girl” throughout this series, and she never disputed it or changed herself even though this is always used with a negative connotation against her. While Jan Di was constantly getting saved throughout the show, it was nice to see a female character who could take care of herself. (Jun-Pyo’s sister was pretty great too though.) I do wish we would have seen more of her family life and gotten some more character development that focused completely on her. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much of that. The series is, understandably, more focused on Jan Di and the F4.
Yi Jung was a character that I wasn’t sure I was going to like at the beginning. Towards the beginning of the show it was very clear that the narrative was doing a lot for the two members of F4 who were a part of the main love triangle and pretty much nothing at all for the other two members. Then Yi Jung started getting more stuff, like his one on one talks with Ji-Hoo when he and Jan-Di were competing against Jun-Pyo to see if they would have to leave the school. Slowly we got more character development from him. Such as him visiting his father at work and warning a woman his father was seeing that his father had no plans to commit to her. His quiet acts of kindness made him one of the most intriguing characters in the show. On my first watch of this I was pretty scared that they were going to leave it at that, but then they did a fully developed character arc for him that involved exploring his depression due to his past, his parents, and his responsibilities. It almost felt like this is what they were trying to do with Jun-Pyo, but on a smaller scale and this time it actually worked. Unlike Jun-Pyo, we saw Yi Jung’s softer more respectful side come out throughout the series and Yi Jung actually showed remorse for his actions. There are a couple things that Yi Jung did that were absolutely horrible during his character arc. Such as treating Ga Eul in the way that he did at the dinner with his father and harassing a woman at the bar when he was absolutely wasted. But, all things considered, they made his actions understandable and eventually redeemable. (I will admit, there are several things about this show that didn’t necessarily age well.) But he really did feel like what Jun-Pyo’s character could have been if the writing had been better.
It’s really interesting when this romance first starts out because you can tell that both characters are interested in each other, but are very wary of each other at the same time. Yi Jung has a reputation among women, which is never a good thing at all. Ga Eul is understandably skeptical of him because of this. But he’s equally afraid of her because the failure of his parents marriage, the nature of his father, and his past experiences have made him afraid of commitment. There’s an interesting moment with his father where their conversation reveals to the audience that Yi Jung’s playboy persona came about because of his frustration with his father and his hope that his father might see what he was encouraging his son to become and feel remorse. Of course, his father couldn’t care less. This paired with the fact that his former girlfriend, that he still isn’t over, decided to start a relationship with his brother behind his back, makes him extremely skeptical of anything involving relationships. He rejects Ga Eul because she believes in a soulmate and he doesn’t want to disappoint her because he’s past believing in romance at all. The best part of this? Ga Eul isn’t there to fix him. Sure, she helps him back on his feet, but she also makes sure that he knows that changing is something he’ll have to do himself. She can’t do that for him. By the end of the series he still isn’t quite ready for a relationship, but this is something the show acknowledges. Instead of asking Ga Eul out, he informs her that he’ll be leaving for four years and that he will look for her when he comes back, but he isn’t expecting her to wait for him. Of course, Ga Eul believes in soulmates and waits for him, but I think it was a really responsible thing for the writers to make sure the characters waited until they both were ready. Not only is this couple both responsible and supportive of each other, they’re also so cute. She learns pottery for him and he gets back at a cheating boyfriend for her. It’s just so cute seeing this relationship grow without either character sacrificing parts of themselves for the other person.
I think I’ve gushed about this couple enough for now, but I still can’t get over them. Every time they came on screen I started smiling like an idiot. I’ve heard that a lot of people prefer this couple to the main one and I have no questions as to why that is. Right now I’m watching the 2018 ‘Meteor Garden’, which is a Chinese drama based on the same source material as ‘Boys Over Flowers’ so this will not be my last post about this show. As soon as I’m finished with that series I’ll at least have one post comparing the two. I think I might already know which show I prefer, but I’m not finished yet so I guess I’ll have to wait and see!
See you across the pond!