K-Pop and K-Dramas: F4

Promotional image of (from left) Kim Joon, Kim Bum, Lee Minho, and Kim Hyunjoong from ‘Boys Over Flowers’. Copyright goes to KBS and Group 8.

Hi! It’s Annie!

My opinion of ‘Boys Over Flowers’ has changed exponentially since I watched it the first time. When I first watched it, it was much more difficult for me to get through it. The campiness was jarring for me at first and it took me such a long time to get used to the main characters specifically. And now this has to be one of my favorite shows of all time. I think it took my second watch of the entire series for me to fully appreciate it. One of my favorite things about this show is how lighthearted and fun it is. And it’s really hard to find another show with relationships between the characters like this. It’s shows like this that really make you want to be friends with all the characters and go to all the places that they’re going to as well. But, of course, there’s no better friend group in this show than the F4. This is the quintessential friend group in the show and one of the most notable friend groups on television in general. They are part of the intrigue of the show, and one of the major functions within it that keeps everything afloat. I would definitely argue that F4 is the best part of BOF. So, I figured I would make an entire post about why they are all so great.

JunPyo:

The leader of the group and also the most prone to dramatics. It took me by far the longest to get used to him and even longer to like him. And though I still can’t stand him towards the beginning of the show, he has won me over over time. Though not as much as some of the other characters. The good thing about him is how much character development he got throughout the series. Watching him at the very beginning of the show is worlds different than watching him at the very end. Though I do have to say, on my third rewatch that I’m currently doing he does try to forcibly kiss Jandi more than I remembered he did. And though it is difficult to overlook all of that, he does become a much better person. JunPyo is shown actively working on himself to become more responsible. By the end of the show, he’s almost an entirely different person. He’s also super fun to watch and can be really cute sometimes. Over-all, he’s not as bad as I thought he was.

JiHoo:

One of my favorite characters in the series and one of the characters that marked the beginning of my second lead syndrome. JiHoo is by all accounts the nice guy to the bad boy of JunPyo. But the best part is neither fall very well into these tropes at all. JunPyo is more of an insecure brat who has to learn to be more courteous than a typical “bad boy” character. JiHoo, in the same vein, isn’t always nice in the way you would think. JiHoo is consistently sarcastic and very introverted. While the typical “nice guy” is generally seen as very sweet and extroverted, most would argue that JiHoo is definitely more introverted than JunPyo. He spends much of his days sleeping and often likes to be alone. Though he is, admittedly, very kind and sweet. JiHoo also gets his own character development in the form of backstory about his family and a specific friend from his past. Through this he learns to come out of his shell and be more confident in himself. And he’s definitely the most trustworthy and supportive character in the entire show.

WooBin:

The often forgotten member of the F4 for absolutely no reason because he’s absolutely amazing. I’ve seen people say that the F4 would function the same without him, but I really can’t agree with that. WooBin serves some very important purposes within the group and he has some of the most surprising character development in the entire show. WooBin is probably JunPyo’s biggest sounding board of the F4. When JunPyo is having a rough time, a lot of the time it’s WooBin who’s there helping him. He’s also part of a duo with Yi Jung which would not be half as funny without him in it. On top of all of that, we find out that WooBin’s family is actually involved in what is essentially mafia practices. And this includes a vast knowledge of martial arts. Much of the time when a character needs saving, it’s WooBin that kicks the most ass. He’s one of the most nonchalant members of the F4 and he takes no shit. This group would not be even close to the same without him.

YiJung:

He is one of my favorite characters in the entire show, and I have already talked at length about him. I love his backstory and his romance with GaEul. While JunPyo goes through the most obvious change of everyone in the show, YiJung almost changes just as much. Or maybe he doesn’t at all and he just learns to be more honest with himself. Either way, YiJung starts out as the most womanizing character in the show and then realizes his actions are him trying to rebel against his father. It takes him a long time to learn to trust himself, never mind other people. His arc also includes one of the best character arcs I’ve ever seen for explaining depression. Still, he’s generally the member who’s the most willing to pull the group back together after fights and is probably also the most laid back. His sweetness is more understated than the others, but still undeniably there.

F4:

Not many friend groups are named and even less are that immediately recognizable. The F4 have a reputation, but they aren’t held together by it. It’s important to note that they’ve been friends for almost their entire lives and still remain close. Even when they do argue. JiHoo even backs off of JanDi because he knows JunPyo has a crush on her and they view each other like brothers. Even though JunPyo does not extend him the same courtesy. The four members of the group are equally close to each other and are very aware of each other’s change of moods and attitudes. In a way, they are one of the healthiest friend groups I’ve seen portrayed in media. At least, besides all the fighting over JanDi.

My main friend group actually consists of four people and we have now taken to jokingly calling ourselves the F4 after we noticed the similarities. I feel like this is one of the biggest successes of the F4 and even ‘Boys Over Flowers’ in general. The F4 have transcended the show because of how fun they are within the world of the show. It makes you want to have a friendship like that of your own. And all of the characters have something to relate to. My friend group talking about the F4 in conjunction with our own friend group is one of my favorite things to come out of watching ‘Boys Over Flowers’. The connections this show has allowed me to make within my own life is why it’s one of my favorite shows of all time now. And most of that is thanks to the F4.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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