The drama I am most looking forward to this new year is My Flower Boy Neighbor, and so I’ve decided to compile all the stuff I’ve been obsessively pouring over for the past two months. I even started a countdown the very first day I heard this show was going to be made–but let’s not get into that. It premieres January 7th, on tvN, and is the third installment of their Oh! Boy series, the two previous ones being Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and Shut Up! Flower Boy Band. Whoever does the marketing for this show has been doing an A++ job. So here we go, it’s blitz!
Anata ni my MONGOL800 (opening theme song of Osozaki no Himawari)
Title: My Flower Boy Neighbor/Flower Boy Next Door/이웃집 꽃미남
Genre: Romcom, tvN’s Oh! Boy Series
Starring: Park Shin Hye (You’re Beautiful), Yoon Shi Yoon (Me Too Flower, Baker King), Kim Ji hoon (Love Marriage, Joseon X-Files)
Written by: Kim Eun Jung (Gabi), based on the webtoon I Watch Him Every Day by Yoo Hyun Sook
Directed by: Jung Jung Hwa (Flower Boy Ramyun Shop)
Airing: Mondays and Tuesdays at 11:00 pm (Seoul Time)
Watch it on: Viki, Dramafever, Dramacrazy
Synopsis: A romcom in which Go Dok Mi, a recluse who creeps on her next-door-neighbor by spying on him (with binoculars!), gets caught by said neighbor’s cousin, Enrique Geum, who’s just moved in with him. He’s a hot, stylish, genius creative director bohemian from Spain who loves soccer (of course). Dok Mi and Enrique get together, oh yeah.
What I Hope We Get: I want this drama to be funny, like laugh out loud, have to pause the video because I’m laughing too hard, funny. I also want it to be cute, with real, touching moments between the characters. I want it to create a whole world of it’s own, with it’s own look and sounds, it’s own atmosphere. The costume and set design is going to be fabulous, judging from the trailers. You get the sense that those departments really understand the characters they’re creating: Dok Mi’s baggy eyes and layers make her look like an insomiac hoarder, Yoon Shi Yoon is appropriately bright and shiny, sucking on a lollipop, and Kim Ji Hoon has this adorable scruff going on, which makes me think of Nick Miller from New Girl. I want to like all the characters, even Dok Mi’s romantic rivals, (maybe they could even become friends!), and I want each of them to have their own stories, their own reasons for being in the narrative. I’m particularly interested in why Dok Mi is a recluse, and I want to see how she’ll be drawn out of her self-imposed seclusion. I want to be more than just a premise from which to launch the story, but an actual aspect of her life that’s fully explored.
What I want most of all, however, what I’m hoping against hope for, is to see a sophisticated use of her being an artist worked into the narrative. I don’t mean that I want a storyline about her job, I mean I want something kind of meta in which her imagination is central to her understanding of the world and to the resolution of her story. I have this theory about Queen In Hyun’s Man: Hee Jin, our heroine, is someone who has a deep understanding of fiction because of her job as an actress, and this gives her a lot of power in the narrative because it’s one that acknowledges the power of fiction and recognizes the ways we perform in our lives; and so Hee Jin essentially creates/is in control of her own story. When she first meets Boong do he asks her if he’s dead or dreaming, and when she calls him to her in the last episode she tells him, “You’re real. You’re alive.” And, of course, there’s the whole part where she asks Boong Do how he came back and he answers, “Because you called me.” I want that same kind of power for Dok Mi, that same ability to be able to control her world, especially since she is someone who retreats from the world, which I’m guessing is because she feels she has very little power in it.
I have a feeling the drama is going to explore fantasy or imagination versus reality, which is something that fascinates me. Here is a description of the webtoon vs the drama:
It became a hobby of hers to watch the guy … and she develops an admiration for his actions. Since she doesn’t know much about him she simply refers to him as “He.” In the Webtoon, “He” is named as Han Tae Jun and it is later revealed that he is a doctor that has just started working in a hospital. He has all that every woman desires, and the looks charm and to top it all off! Now this is where it’s different: in the drama this character is replaced by Oh Jin Rak (Kim Ji Hoon), a manhwa writer who is good looking but haggard and blunt. This is definitely a different direction for the drama because in the webtoon, where the guy Go Dok Mi peeped at was “the perfect guy.”
It looks like in the drama Dok Mi is going to have this image of Jin Rak in her mind that she’s built up as she’s been spying on him, an image which is totally different from how he is in real life, which is made up of her own desires and fantasies. Enrique is probably going to be the one to force her out of those fantasies and make her confront the real world. I’m also encouraged by some of the trailers. One shows her in this idealized world where she’s all dolled up and choosing from a closet of hot guys a la Cher from Clueless, only to have it vanish when the doorbell rings and it’s those very guys who ruined her dream. Another has her imagining she’s spending Christmas with all her flower boy neighbors; her dream dissipates, but then they pop up again.
There’s some other media I’m thinking of in terms of what I’m trying to get at: the first is this cartoon/anime I remember once I once watched on Cartoon Network about a boy who had these monsters literally grow out of his head and he had to run around fighting them. The second is the one I always think of, Austen’s Northanger Abbey, in which our heroine Catherine Morland uses her knowledge of gothic novels to navigate her world, to her detriment. And the third is Ruby Sparks (which I’ve yet to watch), which comes to mind primarily because it’s about a writer whose work literally comes to life, and which had a bit of press surrounding it about the term “manic pixie dream girl.” I’m getting some definite manic pixie dream boy vibes from Yoon Shi Yoon, but we’ll see how that goes. Anyway, I just really want something that addresses women’s imaginations and stories and their place in the world and the power they carry.
Trailers for the show in general + 7 minute preview
Trailers for Episode 1:
Trailers for the characters:
The Cast on Strong Heart (with my baby Lee Dong Wook!)
For More FBND Goodies