Kim Do Woo, the writer of Me Too, Flower, also penned My Lovely Sam Soon and What’s Up Fox?, the latter of which is one of my faaaavvvvorite dramas. I love Byung Hee. I adore Chul Soo. And I fiercely love them together. They may be my one and only true Ultimate OTP, even over Eun Chan and Han Geul (Coffee Prince) and Pil Suk and Jason (Dream High). And that’s saying a lot. While watching Me Too Flower, I realized that Jae Hee rides a scooter, which Chul Soo from What’s Up Fox? does as well. And that just got me itching to compare all of Kim’s works. I want to see if she has any overarching themes within her works, if she’s changed or grown as a writer, to see if she has a particular form she adheres to, or any quirks she always imbues her characters and stories with. Here are some things right off the top of my head:
- Her heroines always choose love, even in the face of an uncertain future, in the face of the possibility of that love ending, and in the face of certain parental disapproval.
- All her heroines are misfits or social outcasts of some sort: Sam Soon is “fat” (hahahaha, I still laugh whenever I see Kim Sun Ah in that role and am supposed to think of her as fat; Sam Soon is thin by my standards) and violent and vulgar and socially awkward; Byung Hee is a 30 year old virgin who has a (supposedly) embarrassing job and is socially awkward, though in a complete different way from Sam Soon; and Bong Sun is blunt and cranky and antisocial.
- Her female leads all have these fantastic internal monologues. My favorite from Sam Soon and Byung Hee come at the end of their respective stories, with each looking towards the future with the choices they’ve made, (which reminds me of one of my favorite novels, Mrs. Dalloway. I love endings that have to do with the future, that have to do with coming to terms with one’s life decisions, with re-affirming your life even while realizing that it—life—isn’t at all this great, grand thing, but is actually full of trials and can often be pretty shitty).
- Sisters. Every drama.
- She has excellent mother characters: In Kim Sam Soon the mother was hilarious, what with vetting her potential son-in-law by getting him drunk; in What’s Up Fox? the mother isn’t simply a background character but one whose story is integral to the overall narrative arch of the series; and here in Me Too, Flower we have a mother who left her husband and daughter to find some sense of freedom and happiness.
- Her heroines never outright hate or dislike their rivals for the lead male’s affection. Kim Sam Soon certainly wasn’t friends with Hee Jin, but she respected her and was always truthful with her. Byung Hee didn’t really have a rival (‘cause Chul Soo was all about her; ugh, I love him) but she was nice to that one girl who wanted to date him. And inMTF Bong Sun actually admires Hwa Young. It’s Hwa Young who dislikes her, and she clarifies that she doesn’t hate her, but simply treats her with malice because she views her as a threat. (Uuummm, ok, I guess? But I have to say that I love that Bong Sun and Jae Hee are already dating; like in WUF?, there isn’t really a rival for Jae Hee’s affections and he openly and unashamedly cares for her—like Chul Soo! )
- All three of her dramas have older women with younger men, although in Me Too Flower it is not done on purpose (Jae Hee’s supposed to be in his thirties) because Jae Hee was supposed to be played by Kim Jae Won, but he suffered an accident while filming, so Yoon Shi Yoon came in to replace him. So, not a noona romance—but it is in my head!
- She has this great ability to balance out comedy and drama; all three of her dramas so far have these hilarious moments and then soul crushing moments, and they’re evened out with a melancholy tone that pervades all the episodes and is enhanced through the narration of our female leads.
- She has frank depictions of sex: in KSS Sam Soon is not a “pure virgin,” but an adult woman who has had sex and is in control of her sex life; in WUF? Byung Hee is a virgin (in her 30s) and it’s a major part of the story, but she also writes about sex, and another major part of the story is her coming to terms with the fact that she enjoys her job as a writer of articles that deal with sex, (although how she loses her virginity is problematic because she ends up having sex with Chul Soo while she’s drunk—and he’s not); I’ve yet to see this addressed in MTF, but there’s still time!
- Food. This woman has food in all her dramas (although, most dramas have lots of food in them.) In KSS Sam Soon was a fabulous baker who loved to eat, in WUF Byung Hee was a fabulous cook and Chul Soo loved her cooking, and inMTF? Bong Sun overeats when she’s in a funky mood, and shares food with those she loves. (Notice she eats her mother’s cooking only after her mother has left, alone, imagining Jae Hee is there with her.)
*gifset used with permission from nanowires*
- And, most importantly for my romance obsessed mind, she has entire episodes devoted to her main couple going on a date and being ridiculously adorable and cute, with no angst whatsoever. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched episode 13 of WUF?, where Byung Hee and Chul Soo go to a theme park and ride around being silly and kiss! And inepisode 14 of KSS the Sam Soon and Sam Shik go around fulfilling Sam Soon’s list of seven things she wants to do with her boyfriend. I think we may have already gotten our date episode for MTF with episode 8, where Bong Sun and Jae Hee hug and hold hands and play footsies and eat together and hug and touch each other’s faces and hug! I love how she isn’t afraid to write physical intimacy into the relationships of her characters.
- Now, I think Chul Soo may have been an exception, but she writes agressive alpha males. Urgh. I never liked Sam Shik very much, but I love Sam Soon so much, and he’s who she chose, so I go along with it. And then he’s so sweet in the very last episode that I focus on that instead of the previous 15 when he’s an ass. Chul Soo forces a kiss onto Byung Hee once, but she calls him out on it (although that doesn’t make it ok) and he’s open about how he feels about her, which I love. And Jae Hee is also an ass a lot of the time, but he also recognizes Bong Sun’s caring side, which other’s don’t, and he’s very charming—although that might just be my own perception, considering that Yoon Shi Yoon is terrible, face-wise. (So are G-Dragon and Song Joong Ki. Seeing a trend in my tastes, are you?)
- Her males always have deaths weighing on them, although in WUF? it isn’t in manpain proportions, and it isn’t weighing on Chul Soo’s consciousness.