Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goong (Princess Hours); Thoughts

“If I’m not more careful I might let a pigeon poke at a falcons heart.” – Hose Bag Mom of Royal Prince Yul.

That was just a great line.

princesshours This series seemed wildly popular (you don’t get 2000 pages on a soompi forum that easily), and I’ve considered watching it for a while.  Since I stopped watching Terroir and I’m waiting for additional episodes of When it’s at Night to become available, I decided to give this a try.  It’s popularity recommended itself to me.

goong1 Princess Hours is an 21st century alternate reality story of a Korean monarchy (there hasn’t been one since the Japanese took over back in the earlier part of the 20th century and it never came back)  and Shin Chae Gyeong (played sweetly by Yoon Eun Hye) – commoner.  Poor Girl.  SCG is a high school girl (she’s 19 – high school must last longer in Korea) attending a private institution.  She wants to be a fashion designer and has the clichéd k-drama young poor girl spunk.  Against her will, she is betrothed to…

Crown Prince Yi Shin (Joo Ji Hoon).  The Crown Prince isn’t too happy goong02 about all this.  See, Dad the King is ill, more than likely dying, and it is decided that the prince should marry, perpetuate the species, all that good stuff.  Kicker is, Crown Prince is in love with Yesoya (Song Ji Hyo).  Sorry, she has another name, but she played Yesoya in Jumong, so she is Forever Yesoya in my mind.  Yesoya is a ballerina with a toe shoe and a dream who doesn’t want to be smothered inside the castle, so she rejects the Prince. 

After the marriage, it is decided that since CG and Prince are under age, (yes, much stricter laws) that they should not engage in the conjugal act.  This suits our couple since they, in another cliché, can’t stand each other.

goong3 Enter Yi Yul (Kim Jeong Hoon).  Yul is Crown Prince Shin’s cousin.  He was originally the Crown Prince, but he and his mother were banished from the castle.  See, her husband, the first crown prince died and the second in line assumed the title.  Apparently, Yul and his Mom were banished because by 21st Century Alternative Reality Law, only one Crown Prince could live in the castle at a time.  Personally, I think it’s because Yul’s Mom was bangin’ her brother in law (the current King).  Yeah, like any good kdrama with a palace backdrop, it gets pretty complex, but anyway, they get booted out.

As coincidence would have it (every polite self-respecting k-drama always has the karma of evil coincidence) EVERYONE is going to the same high school.  And they are all 19. 

The Prince and the Poor Girl get married.  Poor girl eventually falls in love with her husband the prince.  Prince still has feelings for Yesoya
Ballerina.  Yesoya Ballerina regrets her decision not to marry the Prince and wants him back.  Yul falls in love with Poor Girl, wants her, wants his god-given position as Crown Prince back and wants to bring back Korean Cultural treasures back to their homeland. 

On the side, we got Queen Gramma, who is just as sweet as can be – she loves everyone in her family and mourns the fact that they aren’t all in the same castle.  The King, is a rigid, pedantic son of a b*tch who is all holier than thou, which we realize is a cover for his lurid affair with the hose bag of a sister in law, Yul’s Mom.  Yul’s Mom is a psychotic freak show who wants her son to sit on the throne and wants back in the castle and doesn’t care how she gets it.  We have the uber-b*tchy frigid queen (couldn’t stand her) who only wants her son Yi Shin to sit on the throne (it’s always the mothers who want their boys to be king.  The boys never seem to care a whole lot until their mom’s twist their little bellies up).  Then there is Prince’s older sister, sweet and gentle, the only voice of reason in that castle of The Karma of Evil Coincidence. 

It’s pretty busy.

The series was too young for me.  I’ve come to prefer characters that are a little more adult, since I am a little more adult.  But for all the immaturity in the characters I enjoyed the series overall.  The character development was rather slow, but the scenes with Poor Girl and the Prince getting to know each other, the palace attempt to “make a baby crown prince”, and their burgeoning attraction was sweet.  I really liked Yul for a while and felt badly that he suffered so for his unrequited love. 

I loved the Queen Gramma.  Asian cultures treasure the older members of their family and she was a delight.  She just loved everyone and her family came first.  She was always doling out good advice: “You have to go through everything you should at your age in order to get old properly.  The most important thing is not the fact that you made a mistake, but that you realize your mistakes and gain courage to fix your mistakes.” She was lovely.

I did not like Crown Prince’s Mom.  I couldn’t stand the obsessive love of Yesoya Ballerina toward Crown Prince Shin.  Move on already.  I up loathing Mr. “If I hadn’t been kicked out of the palace wrongly, I would have been the one to marry poor girl” Yul.  Shuuuut up.  Geeeeet over your bad self.  I really couldn’t stand the hose bag Yul Mom – Queen of Palace Machinations. But I reserve all my bitterness toward that Faithless Ass Hat King who favored the son of the hose bag, simply because she was the hose bag.  That rigid, condescending nasty waste of a man constantly placed the blame where it didn’t belong, railing all the while about shaming the monarchy and the family and blah blah blah blah blah.  Just stroke out already.

I think the eventual moral of the piece was that The Karma of Evil Coincidence persists until someone has the courage to break it.  The Hose bag and King Fling-with-the-in-laws set the bad karma in motion creating the the desperate unrequited love that Hose Bag’s son Yul felt for in law.  So Yul was punished for the disordered affection that occurred 14 years before.  He could have continued on the path, but then he decided to do the right thing and break the cycle of the evil karma.  He walked away and let our protagonists be happy and so he could start his life clean.  “Sins should be written in sand.  Forgiveness should be written in stone.”

The Prince and The Poor Girl.  It seems that k-drama writers think the more emotionally abusive they can make the guy, the more touching it is when he melts with love.  And the more perky they can make the girl, she will have a Cinderella ending. The Prince was nasty.  Even after he declared his love for The Poor Girl, he was cold and shut her out.  To be fair, Poor Girl didn’t manage the relationship with Yul as she ought to have done, causing a whole lot of confused feelings and pain. 

The message there for our youth – Girls: Persist in submitting to your abusive F-Stick of a boyfriend, he’ll change.  Boys: Treat your women like sh*t.  They aren’t going anywhere.

I enjoyed the angsty moments that Crown Prince Shin exhibited as he began to fall in love with Chae Gyeong.  My yardstick of achy begins with “Full House” – an emotionally abusive young man and perky girl format, at the end of the yardstick – annoying me with it’s immaturity.  The yardstick ends with Coffee Prince – another rich boy perky girl with a lot of angst but the performances were so much better and so the series was more moving. 

This was not a great drama by any means.  Full of cliché.  A typical kdrama cookie cutter series.  But overall, I was entertained.  In that,it was successful.  Oh.  And the bears were cute.

Goong5 goong6


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