Coffee Prince

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Starring: Yoo Gong, Yoon Eun Hye, Lee Sun Gyun, Chae Jung Ahn

Sometimes, when dramas get a lot of hype, I go and look them up. Coffee Prince was one such drama. It was the beginning of my love for Gong Yoo, and my affection for YEH’s acting.

It’s about a young woman named Go Eun Chan (YEH), who is less than the Korean idea of feminine. In fact, because of her “unladylike” behaviour and appearance, she’s more androgynous than anything else. She works several jobs to pay off debts, and lives with her spoiled sister, Eun Sae, and money-squandering mother. She meets the rich and handsome Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo), and is mistaken for a boy. His grandmother wants him to get married, and sets him up on dates. Han Kyul hires Eun Chan as his “gay” lover. Han Kyul’s grandmother also puts into his care a filthy coffee shop, and gives him an ultimatum: make it successful. Eun Chan begs to work there, and the two fall in love, but Han Kyul still thinks that Eun Chan is a boy.

I really liked Han Sung (Lee Sun Gyun). He is Han Kyul’s cousin, and the musician slighted by his long-time love, Han Yoo Joo (Chae Jung Ahn). Eun Chan delivers milk to his house, and has given his dog the nickname “Ssulja” or “sweeper.” Ironically, Eun Chan also mistakes the dog for a girl; when she befriends Han Sung later on, she discovers that it’s a boy, and his name is Terry.

HAN SUNG’S VOICE IS ASDGHJKL GORGEOUS. GUH. Both of the leading men serenade their loves over the phone, but Sun Gyun’s voice is just gorgeous. The moment I heard him speak, I think my heart stopped. He is the original object of Eun Chan’s affections. He knows that she’s a girl because he overhears her talking with his dog, and referring to herself as a girl. By the time Han Sung thinks he may be in love with her, Eun Chan has already fallen for Han Kyul.

Yoo Joo apparently won the award for most hated Other Girl. Viewers complained a lot about her, but the producers just said that some women really are like her. Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for her to act the way that she does. And thus ends my ranting on her.

Han Kyul. Oh, Gong Yoo…you are so handsome! It is mentioned that he is the type of man that, once he decides to love someone, continues to do so. This is evident in his secret feelings for Yoo Joo, despite being his cousin’s girlfriend for upwards of 8 years. So he struggles a lot to come to terms with his “homosexuality,” and to get to the point where he can say, “Let’s just see how far we can take this.”

That’s one of the things I loved about this show: it basically took the stance of, “Who cares about gender, as long as you’re in love?” And that is AWESOME SAUCE, because I completely agree. Love blurs all lines. Whether or not this includes gender is up to the individual to define for his or herself.

Another reason I loved the drama was Eun Chan’s fearlessness when it came to her love. She’s not feminine, but still cries when upset by Han Kyul. She doesn’t seem to like talking about marriage, and is awkward when saying “I love you,” but her actions speak louder than her words. The one scene that best displays this is just before she leaves for France to study: Han Kyul warns her that if she comes in to his flat, he won’t let her leave. He is basically giving her a warning: “I am a man, and I do see you as a woman. If you come in, we are alone, and it will be hard to control my desire.” She sticks her foot in the door, and squeezes in, anyway. Her silent gaze seems to say, “I love you. I belong to you. Belong to me, too.” And then they make out/have sex.

Hyo Joo gets somewhat better at the end, when she finally decides to settle on the only man in the world that truly understands her, as well as the only one I think could ever handle her as a wife. They’ve lived together for so long, that they know each other’s habits and flaws intimately. AND HOLY CRAP, does Hyo Joo have a lot of flaws. But Han Sung loves her unconditionally, even when his heart is swayed by Eun Chan. It was the cutest thing ever when Han Sung calls Han Kyul to brag about getting married first, and how excited he is. What’s even better is how jealous Han Kyul is. LOL, men getting excited about getting married. It was so adorable.

Hyo Joo might be hard to stomach, but I highly recommend this series because of YEH & Gong Yoo’s performances. Also, you get to see the delicious Kim Jae Wook acting as the Japanese guy that’s all, “WTF. WHY IS BEING GAY SUCH A BIG DEAL IN THIS COUNTRY.” Plus, it’s a good way to remember Lee Eon. He died not too long after I finished this drama.

Rating: 4/5

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