Thursday, November 15, 2012

Next, Please: Alice in Cheongdam-dong Preview

(I guess this show will be filmed in 12 Grimmauld Place?)

Alice in Cheongdam-dong
Romantic comedy
16 episodes
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.)

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  1. I have to give this one a try because I love Moon Geun Young so much.

    1. And I'll give this one a try because I'm so promiscuous when it comes to Kdrama rom-coms ;)

      Somehow, though, I have no desire to watch that Ohlala Spouses that's airing now. Once people are married they're just less interesting, whatever body they're in.

    2. Haha!! I can attest to that!! :P I'm pretty boring myself...

  2. I (for no good reason, mind you) hated Moon Geun Young in Mary Stayed Out All Night, but I do want to try this drama because of Park Shi Hoo, he's adorbs. I haven't been in the mood for cutesy romcoms lately, but Bridal Mask (even though it's great) is driving me toward lighter fare. It's just so bloody.

    1. I still haven't seen Mary Stayed Out All Night, but I have a weird feeling I'll actually like it in spite of its flaws =X To me, the ultimate Moon Geun Young role is Painter of the Wind, a gender-bendy sageuk I totally recommend if you haven't seen it yet. She's no great favorite of mine, but I do like that Park Shi Hoo.

      And with all the melodramas I've been watching lately, I'm definitely going to be in the market for something like and fluffy by the time this hits the airwaves.

    2. I haven't watched Painter of the Wind yet. I almost started watching it recently, but decided to watch Bridal Mask instead. Also, I saw Que Sera, Sera on your Top 10, and I am intrigued by it as well. I probably won't get around to it for a few weeks, though. I don't know how I will be able to watch all of the Korean dramas that I want to watch and manage to show up to work every day ;)

  3. Just watched this series, I mean, the episode 10 and I didn't expect that this drama is a ... DAEBAK! I thought is it was another Cinderella story but it's not. It's really amazing :)

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