(I guess this show will be filmed in 12 Grimmauld Place?)
Alice in Cheongdam-dong
December 1, SBS
I’m willing to bet that by the time this drama makes it to mainstream English-language sources like Netflix, its title will have changed: Alice in Gangnam has a different sort of ring to it these days, doesn’t it? Cheongdam-dong is indeed part of that famous neighborhood, where it’s renowned as an upscale shopping hub that provides the real housewives of Gangnam with their luxury goods.
Purportedly, Alice in Cheongdam-dong is based on a novel. According to the show’s Soompi forum, its source material is part brand forgery shenanigans (ala I Do, I Do) and part hardworking girl struggling to support her family (like Coffee Prince, one can only hope). In a shocking twist, there also seems to be a little bit of Indecent Proposal thrown in for good measure. (Seriously. Read the article.)
I’m getting mixed signals on this one: it’s a fish-out-of-water romantic comedy (good), focusing on the relationship between an “endlessly positive girl” (well, duh) and the president of a luxury brand (excellent, especially as Park Shi Hoo of Family’s Honor is playing this role, hopefully at his most sarcastic and bitchy). On the other hand, said hardworking girl wants to be a clothing designer (again?), or failing that, the wife of rich man (sigh). And while I like this show’s lead actors, I’m finding it difficult to imagine Park Shi Hoo and Moon Geun Young in a romance. On top of being awkwardly pocket sized in comparison to him, she’s almost ten years younger.
Korean television has always loved exploring how the richer one percent live, but in the wake of Psy’s omnipresent novelty hit “Gangnam Style,” pop culture seems especially primed for a new drama trend: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I’m hoping there will be some genuine exploration of what wealth and privilege really mean in modern Korean society. But in the meanwhile, I can certainly make do with the kind of sparkly, whimsical rom-com promised by Alice in Cheongdam-dong’s new teaser trailer. (If its creators were going for a mad hatter vibe with Park Shi Hoo, I have some bad news: between the Colonel Sanders neckwear and the prominent ears and teeth, all I see is the white rabbit.)
(A weird footnote: Although most bloggers covering this drama say it really is based on the novel Cheongdam-dong Audrey, the book’s publisher apparently sued SBS this summer, at which point the station was claiming the show and book were unrelated.)