Drama recap of My Princess by dramabeans

174 January 5, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 1

by javabeans

Oh, so cute. WAAAAY better than I was fearing, and Kim Tae-hee is seriously adorable. So if you don’t mind, I’d just like to take a moment to address Madam Girlfriday:

MUAHAHA! I WIN! Neener neener, in your face!

Okay, I’d better stop now, just in case things take a turn for the worse later and I’m forced to eat my words. Because even worse than having that rubbed in my face later on is deserving it.


Acoustic Collabo – “My One and Only Love” [ Download ]

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We open on LEE SEOL (Kim Tae-hee) walking through palace grounds, dressed in full princess regalia. She is attended by a retinue of court ladies, and heads toward a courtyard that is decorated in finery; traditional dancers and musicians sit poised, ready to begin their performance.

As Seol makes her way across the pavilion and seats herself, a man in a suit (Song Seung-heon, playing PARK HAE-YOUNG), reports into his earpiece, “The princess has arrived,” signaling the beginning of the show.

Drummers drum, dancers dance, and Seol watches smilingly… and then lets out a big yawn. We’re meant to think this is a subtle Roman Holiday moment that will soon pass, but no, she follows that with a neck stretch, kicks up her feet, and taps them like a child on the ground. She even stands up and massages her tired back — and it’s then that we see that she’s not, in fact, presiding over the fancy court event.

Instead, she’s sitting alone at the front of the palace grounds, dressed as a princess for tourist photos, a la Goofy at Disneyland. The real princess is inside, a Westerner who watches the events that have been prepared for her visit.

As soon as her shift winds down, Seol bounds off to change, just as the diplomat comes up to the photographer with a request: Princess Stella wants a commemorative photo with the Korean “princess.”

Since Seol has left, Hae-young hurries to look for her and barges into the women’s changing room, thereby fulfilling more than one viewer’s fantasies, I’m sure. The ladies squeal and throw clothes at him, but he ignores them and locates Seol, dragging her out.

He asks her to remain for the photo session, but she flatly declines, as she’s got another part-time job lined up. Until he offers her a hefty 100,000 won ($90 USD) for an hour’s work.

Suddenly all smiles, Seol accepts. While she poses with the princess, Hae-young hears of the latest brouhaha in the Blue House, as the president has issued a conference regarding the restoration of the monarchy, which will be put to a vote. Not surprisingly, he faces strong opposition from other politicians, who vow to do everything to counter the president’s move.

As the event winds down, Seol tracks Hae-young down to ask for her pay, growing affronted when he tells her he doesn’t have the cash on him — all he has is a note for 1 million won, not the 100,000 he promised. She tries to protest, but he’s called away and hurriedly gives her his business card, asking her to text him her bank account info so he can transfer the funds.

Hae-young has been called by his grandfather, the elderly chairman to Daehan Group, who is making yet another visit to a particular gravesite. Hae-young has dutifully accompanied his grandfather here over the years, but he’s growing impatient with the pointless exercise, not understanding the old man’s dedication. Frustrated with his grandfather’s constant answer that things will become clear in time, he retorts that he won’t ask anymore.

Taking a few moments alone at the gravesite, Chairman Park addresses the deceased: “Your Highness, we have waited a very long time. Now all of the preparations are complete.”

Seol bikes to school and slips into the department office where she works, knowing that she’s late again. She tries to smooth over the ruffled feathers of her supervisor, who’s used to this and calls Seol on her “princess” behavior, wryly referring to her as “Your Highness.”

The three women — the third being Seol’s friend and classmate — all snap to attention when NAM JUNG-WOO (Ryu Soo-young) enters, as he is clearly a favorite professor, as well as being witty, smart, and handsome to boot.

How convenient that the topic upon which Jung-woo lectures today happens to be Korea’s monarchy and the conditions of its possible restoration — such as a hidden child, for instance. Seol drools over the hot prof and tells her friend that she’ll seal the deal when she goes to Egypt — the art professors will surely head to the pyramids, where a few nights in close quarters will be on her side.

She daydreams about this fateful meeting, and I love that in her fantasy she’s dressed up like a frivolous city girl as she wheels her luggage through the pyramids, ready to surprise her lover, Mr. Hot Prof. Alas, her own dream fails her, and Dream Jung-woo shuts her in the mummy cask, leaving Seol to cry out after him, “Professor!”

Which is, of course, when she wakes up and realizes she’s just shouted in the middle of lecture. Embarrassed, she mumbles her apology — she was thinking of something else. He teases, “You were thinking about something else, and I was involved? Wow.”

As students file out of the classroom, Seol notices the slide onscreen, the hanja characters catching her attention. She’d missed the explanation in her dozing, so her friend fills her in: It’s from a letter written by the Emperor Sunjong (the last Joseon emperor). The original artifact is lost and only photos remain, but this was the first discovery indicating the existence of Lee Young, Sunjong’s lost child (who, we will later discover, is Seol’s ancestor).

There’s something familiar about those letters… but Seol’s attention is immediately distracted when her friend tells her to give up on her crush; Hot Prof Jung-woo has a girlfriend. She’s reputed to be beautiful and rich, and a director of an art museum.

Seol accompanies her friend to her job at a department store, which is just another excuse for her to lovingly take photos of a coveted piece of luggage — the perfect bag to take with her to Egypt. She’s had her eye on one in particular, and has almost scraped together enough to buy it. But the saleslady tells her that there’s only one bag left, and the model has been discontinued. Seol frets — and after she spent the past two years saving! (That comment earns her a polite-but-incredulous, “It took you two years to save 300,000 won?” ($280) Lol.)

On her way out, Seol is attracted by the shiny baubles in the jewelry display, and oohs over the pretty pieces of jewelry. A customer buys the ring she’s looking at, and Seol recognizes him as the guy from before. The guy who owes her money.

He again offers to transfer the money into her account, but she’d rather be paid now. Rather than allowing herself to be dismissed, Seol follows Hae-young into a crowded elevator, though she doesn’t press her point or say anything.

Instead, they stand side by side and play a round of I’m-not-looking-at-you-I-swear-well-maybe-just-a-peek-oops!-nope-not-looking! It’s pretty adorable.

Following him into the parking garage, she remains a few steps behind until he finally faces her. He smirks to himself, half-exasperated, half-puffed up with self-satisfaction, thinking, “She’s totally fallen for me.” Pride — it comes before something, they say. What was that again?

Seol loses her nerve and turns away, and he stops her from leaving, which I find hilarious — she can’t just go without professing her crush on him! Nope, he’s gotta hear it, vain pretty man that he is, lol. He prompts her to just out with it already.

To his utter bewilderment, it’s not an advance or a confession she makes, but a request for his receipt, since he hadn’t cared to receive one in the first place. Purchases of over 300,000 won will earn a special gift.

The conversation is interrupted by a call from OH YOON-JU (Park Ye-jin), who’s friendly enough with Hae-young to call him oppa and talk flirtatiously. Her big exhibit opens tomorrow, to which Hae-young promises to come. She adds that she’s currently cleaning her employees’ desks as a thank-you gesture for all their hard work, and declines his offer to help with that. (She’s totally lying, as she’s actually picking out wine in a fancy restaurant, but hey, it makes her sound good.)

Hae-young offers Seol a part-time job cleaning some desks, offering that receipt and 30,000 won. Seol ain’t no fool, and she immediately sizes up the situation: He’s harboring a one-sided crush for that woman. Brightly, she tells him to wait a minute, promising to turn that unrequited love into a spouse.

Running off, she comes back with rubber work gloves — for him. After all, she can tell he’s rich, and figures the woman is too. Would she really be impressed that he hired someone to do the cleaning? No, people are moved when you give them something they never thought you would.

Wishing him luck, she takes the receipt and bounces off gaily.

Hae-young gets a text from Yoon-ju asking if he’s on his way over bearing gloves, intending to do the cleaning himself. Just in case, she’s leaving work early, to prevent him from all that work. And Hae-young has to smile in wonderment — so Seol WAS right.

Yoon-ju has dinner with Jung-woo, who has recalled that today is the ten-year anniversary of their first meeting. It’s clear that he has feelings for her — they were each other’s first loves — but they’re not in a dating relationship, not exactly. It seems complicated.

For instance, when she gives him a preview to her new exhibit regarding the old monarchy, he envelops her in a warm hug, and she stiffens. He understands that she’s not reciprocating, but that’s not the intent of his hug, and he keeps his arms around her.

He’s proud of her efforts, and tomorrow will be a big day, with the president slated for a visit. He assures her that tomorrow, her talent and effort will be proven to the world.

Seol makes her way home, where, to her surprise, her passcode is rejected. Her (adopted) sister — both girls were adopted from the same orphanage — LEE DAN, answers the door in a surly mood, and flatly turns Seol away for the night, saying that she wants to spend some time alone.

Without anywhere else to turn, Seol sneaks into school to crash at the office — only she runs into Jung-woo on her way in. He’s quick to size up the situation but doesn’t comment on it, and they share some cup ramyun as they chat.

Seol casually asks about his supposed girlfriend, wondering if she’s as pretty as rumored, her heart sinking when he confirms it. She makes up an excuse to stay behind when he heads home, so she can settle on the couch for the night.

But first, she takes the opportunity to look around Jung-woo’s office, noting the book he is currently reading — it’s the one he wrote, which deals with the last Crown Prince. Curiously, she notices that a co-author is listed, someone named Yoon-ju.

Immediately, she heads online to find out more about the woman, and realizes that this is the museum director, hence also his girlfriend (and, in her mind, her rival). Her hunch is confirmed when she sees that his computer wallpaper is a photo of Yoon-ju.

The next question she asks the internet: “How do I get rid of my man’s woman?” Haha.

Having identified her competition, Seol heads to the Museum of Haeyoung tomorrow for Yoon-ju’s exhibit opening, where she catches a glimpse of Hae-young in the crowd. Whirling around, she ducks to keep out of sight and hurries along, accidently stumbling right into Yoon-ju’s mini-photo shoot with a photographer.

Too bad Hae-young has already spotted her, and comes up right behind to ask if she followed him here (O, vanity). Seol denies it, having been surprised to see him in the first place, and again ducks for cover when Yoon-ju looks in her direction.

Noting his curiosity over her reaction, Seol refers to the offender and sniffs that Yoon-ju’s not so impressive, really. She must be dating someone in the Daehan Group family to have advanced this far in her career at such a young age.

So naturally Seol is startled when Yoon-ju heads straight for them and greets Hae-young warmly. She tries to sneak away, but Hae-young grabs her back and doesn’t let her off the hook, introducing her to Yoon-ju as someone “with a lot of interest in you.”

After Yoon-ju is called away, Hae-yoon assures Seol that her assumptions are off-base, and identifies Yoon-ju as the recipient of the ring. He calls her the woman who’s going to marry into Daehan Group, effectively putting an end to her protests and declaring his intentions. Or rather, he would be declaring his intentions if Seol had picked up on the fact that we already know — that he’s the Daehan Group heir.

But no matter, because Seol’s just thrilled that this means Jung-woo is free for her. In a chipper mood, she asks how it went last night with the rubber gloves, and gives him more advice about how to win her over, saying jealousy is the next tool. The sign of success? When Yoon-ju betrays her suspicions by looking over at his lady companion and asking, “Who is she?”

As if on cue, Yoon-ju approaches with a big smile but asks hesitantly, “Who… is she?” Hae-young is surprised (and gratified that this means she IS jealous), so Seol ups the ante by cozying up to him and introducing himself as “oppa’s girlfriend,” using a false name for good measure.

This isn’t exactly Hae-young’s style to lie, but Seol has so far been right on all counts, so when Yoon-ju asks if it’s true, he stutters, “U-uh… uh? Must be true.”

Throughout the subsequent coffee break, Hae-young surrenders the lead to Seol, though not wholly eagerly. Mostly he focuses on his coffee while Seol gushes that oppa is soooo attentive, and calls her his little Thumbelina who he’d like to carry around everywhere. And that Hae-young told Seol that there’s a lot of talk about Yoon-ju looking like a fox and having a complicated love life (HA, she had to get her dig in)… but that in reality she’s quite sweet.

Yoon-ju picks up on an oddity in Seol’s endless litany praising Hae-young — about him making his own fortune in the world — and Hae-young covers for that by telling her that he hasn’t told her the truth of his background yet.

The coffee date seems to get under Yoon-ju’s skin a teeny bit, but not to the level that Seol intended, so she figures they’ll have to call out the heavy guns.

Seol spots Jung-woo in the crowd, and rather than have to explain why she’s here at his girlfriend’s exhibit, she ducks away and pulls Hae-young with her. She relocates them to the second floor, where they watch the opening officially get under way.

As Yoon-ju addresses the crowd, she unveils her pièce de résistance — the thing she’d vaguely alluded to with Jung-woo as her “secret” — which is Emperor Sunjong’s lost letter.

This is the artifact that Jung-woo had been studying, and given that he had written an entire book with Yoon-ju about the topic, it’s a pretty sneaky thing she has accomplished, keeping him out of the loop, basking in the glory of her solo discovery. I’m sure you could argue that what she did wasn’t exactly unethical, but to a good friend and colleague, it sure smacks of betrayal. Jung-woo realizes this and stalks out, fuming.

Watching from above, Seol is once again transfixed by the hanja letters on the letter — she recognizes them from tapestry hangings at home.

She prods Hae-young into buying her dinner (in exchange for her girlfriend-wooing advice), and her enthusiastic exclamations have him bowing his head apologetically for the disturbance. He’s going about his courtship all wrong, she decrees, especially as he bought the ring to propose with. No, no, no — he can’t propose until she’s absolutely dying to be proposed to!

It’s cute how he doesn’t know how to handle her — she both amuses and embarrasses him — while Seol is blithely unconcerned and continues dispensing her advice.

She orders Hae-young not to buy Yoon-ju anything further, even on her birthday; he is to call her instead, and give her the gift a week later saying, “I didn’t want my gift mixing with the others.” Swoon practically guaranteed.

Seol gets a call from Mom, who’s off to Mt. Jiri for the weekend to pray that sister Dan passes her upcoming exam. Seol balks at the request to feed the dogs at Mom’s rural bed-and-breakfast, but then she realizes that an empty house is just another opportunity for her to make some extra cash. HOW exactly she intends this we don’t know, but Seol’s flights of fancy are hardly rooted in realistic expectations, and she just sees this as a quick way to rustle up plane fare for her trip to Egypt.

Hae-young doesn’t approve — he’s showing himself to be a rather strait-laced, conservative type, isn’t it? — and even threatens to call her mother to warn her what her daughter’s been up to.

He’s called away with an emergency, and hurries to his grandfather’s bedside. The chairman has had a heart episode, triggered by overexcitement wrought by good news. Hae-young tries to speak to Grandpa, but the only words that the old man ekes out are “Lee…Seol…”

A conversation with the secretary clarifies that Lee Seol is a girl to whom Grandpa owes a debt. Hae-young’s frustration bubbles over yet again, because the grandfather he knows would never be indebted to anyone, or feel sorry about it. With one exception, that is: the man whose grave he periodically visits.

Hae-young guesses that this Seol character has something to do with the dead man, and while the secretary concedes that he’s right, it’s not his place to tell him the full story. That, he’ll have to get from his grandfather. But first, Hae-young must go and bring the girl here.

We know (from promos and basic drama premise info) what their relationship is, but Hae-young does not, and his cynical thoughts have taken him in the other direction. He asks one last question: Is this Seol person his grandfather’s (secret) child? Or his father’s?

Yoon-ju arrives to catch the end of this conversation, and we realize that she is the secretary’s daughter. She considers herself part of the family and wheedles her father for the story, but he won’t divulge information that is not her concern.

That night, as Hae-young looks at a photo of his father with tears in his eyes, we are given a few pieces of information: That his father is dead, that he has lingering father/grandfather issues, and that he seems like a lonely person.

In the morning, Hae-young arrives at Seol’s doorstep, though it’s her sister Dan who answers. He hasn’t been able to get a hold of her via phone, so he leaves his card and asks for Dan to let him know when she’s back.

Dan eyes him with interest, and offers the information of Seol’s current whereabouts, adding, “If I tell you now, can I still call you later?” He’s taken aback at the advance, which is hilarious. Oh, Hae-young and your awkwardness around forthright ladies. Bless his heart.

He drives down to the out-of-the-way bed-and-breakfast, where he sees a woman feeding the dogs in the yard. It takes a few moments for him to recognize her, but when he does, he’s utterly stunned.

She still hasn’t noticed him, and he pulls out his phone to call her number. She answers readily with her name, confirming that she is Seol, and that seems to make him even angrier, for whatever reason, and he hangs up.

Seol rings him back, and when he answers, she finally looks up and spots him across the yard. Not registering his grim face, she breaks out into a wide grin and greets him warmly, only to have him accuse her of lying.

Unruffled, she explains that she’d used a false name with Yoon-ju because jealous women often look up the offending party online; she was just protecting herself. However, Hae-young charges her with knowing who he was from the beginning, and asks accusingly if she’d approached him intentionally.

I suspect that the strength of his reaction points to some past incidents with this exact scenario, because he’s awfully sensitive — but that’s probably something learned over the course of one’s life when one is one of the richest heirs in the nation.

Seol just laughs it off, as she has no idea what he’s talking about, or even who he really is. He heads for the house, announcing that he’ll stay the night. That reminds Seol that she’s about to make some money, so she throws open her arms and welcomes him to her abode.


Cute, cute, cute. Kim Tae-hee is utterly winning, and I smile whenever she bounces around with her effervescent, good-natured cheer. This brand of overacting works in the rom-com genre, whereas the subtler acting required by her more serious drama and movie roles has often betrayed her weaknesses. It’s too bad she hasn’t been doing more dramas like this all this time, although I respect that she has tried very hard to stretch her acting abilities.

Same with Song Seung-heon — while I can’t call him good, he’s totally par for the course as far as rom-com leads goes, and I’m enjoying the little bits of humor he brings to the character. For instance, the way he reacts with confusion, amusement, and exasperation whenever Seol the Bubbly Whirlwind whooshes by him in a maelstrom of energy and emotion. I like that he’s not cold-hearted, and he’s not the snooty type, because I’m Darcy’d out. (Seriously, I love Pride and Prejudice and have read it dozens of times — but really, not everything has to be about it.)

It’s a little ridiculous to think of Song Seung-heon being stuck in an unrequited love, and that may have been even harder for me to believe than this whole monarchy-restoration business, but I’m trying to believe it. And while I’m not that enamored of the whole chaebol rich-boy thing (yawn), as long as the chemistry continues to spark and the laughs roll on, I’m happy. Their rapport isn’t the rawr-sizzling-sexual-tension kind of, say, Secret Garden, but it’s very cute to see them reacting to each other.

I did wonder how the restoration of the monarchy would come about, because it seems too complex an issue to introduce and establish in an episode or two, so it makes sense that they established that this has been an ongoing thing. And that people have known for ages that the lost Lee Young prince existed — it’s just not till now that they have been able to locate his descendants. This is reinforced by the fact that she was adopted, making it that much harder to track her down.

So far, a solid ride, and one I’m excited to continue.


245 January 6, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 2

by girlfriday

Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched, but I will concede that My Princess is definitely faster out of the gate. It’s breezy, it’s charming, and…it’s So Purty. But also, I’m surprised by how cute they are. I mean, who knew—stick a Hand Towel in a comedy, and voila…personality!


Seol is elated to have Hae-young as a guest at the pension, and happily shows him the rooms. She calls one of the humble rooms the Royal Executive Grand Presidential Suite, which just makes him scoff because he actually IS someone who would stay at a suite with such an unwieldy name.

He wanders about the place, looking at photos of Seol with her mother, deciding that she really isn’t Grandpa’s type. Over the phone with Grandpa’s secretary, he says that he’ll be staying a few days to make up his mind whether or not to bring her, and that she approached him first knowing who he was. He adds with a note of bitterness that he didn’t know that Grandpa was so devoted to his children. Ew, so you’re going into this thinking she’s your aunt? That’s going to make the naked run-ins a little less sexy. Just sayin’.

The next morning, Seol wakes him up by wafting the smell of bacon throughout the house. (Can I just say, best way to wake up, ever? Add coffee and I’m yours.) He comes down hungry, asking where the nearest restaurant is. She tells him that it’s an hour an a half away, right next to the nearest grocery store too. She then offers him a place at the table, for a small fee of course. She up-charges for the bacon. I love how shameless she is about earning every little penny.

Yoon-ju gives another interview at the museum, and the reporter asks how she got started on this lost monarchy project in the first place. She answers wistfully that it was her first love. She means that literally of course, as we see in flashback Yoon-ju and Jung-woo researching the project, and her pouting that this is his idea of a date. He swears that he’ll uncover the truth (the lost desdendant), and she goes along with him as he does all the legwork and research, growing invested in it. She adds that in the end, it was only after she became the museum’s curator that she found the missing link.

Jung-woo walks up as she finishes her interview, and over coffee he basically gives her a chance to apologize…which she doesn’t do. When he asks her why, she says that it’s because the President (of Daehan) wanted it, and she and her father can’t deny the President’s wishes. Jung-woo, hurt but trying to reason that she had a hard time with the decision, wants her to say something to appease his wounded heart. But she decides she can’t handle the guilt, and walks out, asking him to call her when he’s feeling better about it. What, now? Wouldn’t step one be you apologizing? Gah.

In case the magnitude of her betrayal is lost in translation (I mean life-to-drama, not Korean-to-English), an academic can spend an entire career on one line of inquiry, looking for one artifact/discovery/missing link, and though he may have done 99% of the work, she swooped in and did that last 1% that gave HER all the credit. She stole his baby, his life’s work, right out from under him. And that’s not even factoring in the love angle.

Grandpa goes to see the President (of Korea) and they discuss how the plan to restore the monarchy is going. It seems weird to me that the President would be in on a plan to restore a monarchy and thereby decrease the weight of his position as top dog, but maybe I’m just thinking of it too one-dimensionally. Or too logically? Sigh.

Later that night, Hae-young comes running into the kitchen in nothing but a towel (sadly, not a Hand Towel), screaming that the water is freezing cold. Seol whirls around to avert her eyes (lest she take in too much of The Pretty) and tells him that hot water is also an up-charge. Ha.

She turns around with veggies as blinders and adds that she’s going to the store to pick up some stuff, and that he really shouldn’t be so stingy about the hot water. Hehe. Hae-young stands there shocked, although it’s hard to say what shocks him more: her veggie-eyes, or her unparalleled cheapness.

He can’t sleep, so he tosses and turns, and then heads outside when he hears some noise. He comes out to find Seol sitting outside with the dogs, watching Roman Holiday projected on the side of the house. Aw, I love watching movies outside.

He smiles and joins her, saying that he never gets tired of this movie. As they watch, one of the shutters swings open, and Seol runs up to put it back, so that she stands there for a second, with Audrey Hepburn’s face superimposed on her own. Oh, symbolism. You are not subtle, Show, but this was just one reference that was not going to go untouched, if I know k-dramas.

Hae-young takes the opportunity to ask if this is the house she grew up in, and she says that it pretty much is, since she’s lived here since she was six. He asks tentatively where she lived before then, and she says here and there…and the orphanage.

He wonders if she remembers anything about her birth parents, and she teases if he’s going to find them if she does. He says that he can, but she just laughs it off. She doesn’t know if it’s memory, or fantasy, or just what she imagined, but there’s only bits and pieces that she remembers.

The one thing she does remember: that Daddy dropped her off at the orphanage, saying, “I’ll be right back.” She smiles wistfully, as she adds that “right back” has taken a a really long time. Hae-young sighs that she must’ve harbored a lot of resentment. She counters cheerily that everyone does at some point with their parents—didn’t he, even once when he was little? He can’t help but smile at her sunny disposition.

Hae-young asks what she’d do if she found her birth parents tomorrow. Why, found out how much she’d inherit, of course. And after that? Find out if she has any siblings…to see how much her share would be. Ha. Even Hae-young laughs to himself, wondering how such a little thing (he calls her “pea-sized”) could be so single-mindedly obsessed with money.

She gets a call from her research supervisor, frantic that she was supposed to book a room for Professor Nam to stay, and so she asks for Seol to put him up at the pension and pretend that it was all a coincidence. Seol jumps at the chance to have a fateful run-in with her Professor Dreamy, and wakes up the next morning to decorate the whole place with loving care. Even the dogs get all dressed up.

Seol asks Hae-young to switch rooms so that she can put Jung-woo in the room opposite hers (for the oh-so-casual late-night run-in, of course) but he refuses, getting more irritated by the minute as she spouts on and on about how wonderful this other guy is. Heh. I love that he’s not outright romantically interested in her, but the very act of putting some other guy above him insults his vanity. Nothing like jealousy to stir up feelings.

They hear Jung-woo arrive, and Seol rushes up to her room to change, asking Hae-young to go stall him for a few minutes. He balks at first, but then realizes it’s his chance to size up the guy, so he heads out. Jung-woo arrives and Hae-young literally looks him up and down, greeting him coldly (Song Seun-heon does one thing really well—and it’s this, the I’m-so-awesome-so-who-are-you-thinking-that-you’re-awesomer-than-me thing.)

Seol comes out, feigning surprise over the coincidence (but…you put up a welcome sign with his name on it…) and Hae-young scoffs at her sudden 180, dressed up for her professor and fawning over him.

Jung-woo asks who Hae-young is, and she starts to describe him…but Hae-young cuts in by putting his arm around her. “I’m the person she’s going to be sharing a roof with, very soon.” He kisses her on the cheek for good measure. HA. Love it.

Jung-woo is surprised, but happy for her, and she tries to protest but Hae-young railroads the situation, telling Jung-woo that he’s to stay in the Royal Grand Executive Suite, which is just across the way from THEIR room, so he can knock if he needs anything. Keh. He drags her inside as she flails about, trying to say that this isn’t what it looks like…

Inside, she lays into Hae-young for messing things up, but he’s quick to remind her of her over-acting to “help” him with Yoon-ju. She fesses up to harboring some resentment towards Yoon-ju that’s personal, which he thinks is just jealousy over Yoon-ju’s popularity. (What are we, in high school?)

She wonders why he’s so determined with a woman who’s got another guy she’s going to marry, and besides, she seems the type that feigns innocence in front of men. Hae-young defends Yoon-ju’s honor, and even Seol is impressed with how much he seems to like her. She says fine, they’re even now, and orders him to behave, or there’s no dinner. He grumbles to himself that she’s always threatening him with food.

He gets a call from Grandpa asking him about Seol. He answers that she’s grown up well, but he hasn’t had a chance to bring up the reason why he’s here. He doesn’t know how to get her to come along, when he doesn’t really know why himself. Grandpa just says that he’s waiting, and to bring her soon.

Outside, he stands back as Seol flirts with Jung-woo, noticing yet another artifact in his book that she thinks she’s seen in her house…but is quickly corrected by Jung-woo’s colleague that that would be ridiculous. Oh yeah? We’ll see just how ridiculous it’s gonna get.

He asks Jung-woo how he feels about Yoon-ju stealing his thunder. Hae-young’s ears perk up. He adds that he ought to hurry up and marry her; dating too long is a bad thing. Hae-young glares, realizing the connection now, and Seol tries to diffuse the situation. She rushes into the house with Hae-young in tow.

He demands to know if the Yoon-ju they’re talking about is his Yoon-ju. She pretends not to know what he’s talking about, but he can tell she’s known all along. She finally spills the beans that yes, they’re the same person, and that Yoon-ju and Jung-woo are first loves at that. He fumes, as Seol asks if he has the confidence to beat Jung-woo.

That just raises his ire, as he insists that he’s not someone who loses to anyone. She points out that he’s already lost to Daehan’s heir…and then apologizes for poking at a sore spot. She tells him that they can help each other—he gets Yoon-ju, and she gets her dear professor. He’s like, what now?

She starts laying out the master plan, as he drags her inside. He tells her to pack her bags—they’re going to Seoul. She doesn’t see why, especially with guests here, but he just blurts out: “I think you’re my aunt.”

Uh…. She thinks it’s as ridiculous as it sounds, making him repeat it over and over. She’s younger than him, he has no proof, and she doesn’t understand why her parents aren’t the ones here, if it’s really true. He tells her that his grandfather is sick, and that he’s only known for two days, so he’s as floored as she is by the whole situation.

She freezes up, wondering if he’s here to ask her for an organ or something to save Grandpa, which he disabuses her of right away, and then she wonders if she’s just going to end up tied down to a starving family. He’s like, you’ve seen me, and you don’t know the answer to that? She counters that she’s only ever seen him swipe his credit card everywhere, so she doesn’t know, does she? Heh.

He takes her down and tells Jung-woo that something’s come up that’s going to turn Seol’s life upside-down, so he asks them to excuse her for leaving. He does it in the rudest way possible, of course, so she tells him that it’s her life and her business, and tells Jung-woo calmly that something’s come up. Hae-young rushes her away and she stops him, insisting on bowing a proper goodbye to Jung-woo, and Hae-young just spits out that from now on, he’s going to be the one bowing to her. Ha, you don’t even know the half of it, buddy.

On the drive back to Seoul, she asks what his grandpa does for a living. He answers vaguely, and then decides he ought to tell her since she’s clearly not getting the full picture. He asks if she threw away his business card. She says she has it, and takes it out. Hae-young: “What’s my name?” Seol: “Park Hae-young.” Hae-young: “What’s the name of the museum you were at yesterday?” Seol: “Hae-young Museum….” It finally dawns on her that HE’s the Daehan Group heir.

They pull up to the giant mansion, where Grandpa and the entire staff are lined up outside to greet them. They get out and Grandpa is helped up out of his wheelchair, and proceeds to get down on his knees in front of Seol. He greets her, head bowed, as “Your Highness…”

They’re like, what the…? As Grandpa takes her hands with a smile on his face, calling her Princess.

Inside, Hae-young argues with Grandpa’s secretary to let him in the room, but he’s not allowed. Secretary Oh tells him that he wished that Seol wasn’t found either, but it’s something they can’t help now.

Inside the glorious library that I would give my left arm to own, Grandpa shows Seol a picture. She recognizes it as Emperor Sunjong. He begins to tell her the story of how Emperor Sunjong entrusted his son to a loyal man, to take him into hiding and bring him back when the country was re-stabilized.

She clears it up thusly: she is Emperor Sunjong’s great-granddaughter. She takes it all rather well, saying that her dream when she was little was to be a princess. Ha. He takes out a picture of another man, but she doesn’t recognize him. He asks her to remember, but she tells him that she has no memory before the age of five.

He begs her to remember something, and she can only recall bits and pieces, like crying in an alley, a strawberry hair-tie, a helicopter…

He takes something else out of the box and hands it to her. She opens the pouch, and inside is a little girl’s strawberry hair-tie. She looks at it in wonder, as it finally starts to sink in that she’s really the one Grandpa is talking about. She looks at the man in the photo as she realizes what this means—is that her father? Where is he now? Can she meet him?

Grandpa hangs his head, asking forgiveness…her father is no longer living. She gets up and storms out, angry at being handed a family and then having it yanked away once she let herself believe.

She runs out, past Hae-young, saying that his Grandpa must be ill (in the head), right? He said that her father is dead and that she’s some princess—that’s just crazy. She tells him not to stop her, and walks off.

He decides to follow her, and chases in his car, stopping in the road to at least take her where she’s going. But he sees that she’s crying. She can’t stop as the tears keep coming, and she yells angrily that it can’t be true—her dad can’t be dead. “My daddy, he promised. He said he’d be right back!”

She cries and cries, “I waited so long! He can’t die like this!” Hae-young pulls her close and holds her as she cries.

He takes her home, but she realizes once she’s there that her sister changed the lock code on her. He wonders that she doesn’t even have a key to her own house, and she tells him that it’s her sister’s house, and that sisters often fight. He asks if they’re related by blood, which they aren’t—she isn’t even actually older, as they’re the same age and got adopted together, and Mom decided that even twins have an unni and a younger sister, so they should play rock-paper-scissors….and Seol lost. Ha. That’s the cruelest way to decide a family hierarchy if I ever heard of one. If I had been that kid, I’d resent rock-paper-scissors my whole life.

She tells him to leave since she’s got plenty of places to go, but he can’t very well do that and still be prince charming, can he? He takes her to his place, and shows her to the guest room, quoting the same rate that she did at her pension, and joking that hot water is extra.

She washes up in the bathroom, and says to herself in the mirror that it’s not her; it can’t be her, and her father isn’t dead.

Elsewhere, Seol’s mom takes her sister Dan out shopping for a new outfit, the only point of which is to set her up as the Cinderella-unni type, bad-mouthing Seol when she has the opportunity. It looks like she’ll be the thorn in our heroine’s side for the duration.

Seol comes out to find that Hae-young has defied the space-time continuum to make her a steak dinner. She’s surprised that he can cook, and he just replies that he can do everything…he’s perfect that way, and it’s quite a burden. HA. This guy cracks me up.

She refuses to toast to his pompous vanity, but does praise his cooking as she eats her steak on her fork like a lollipop. Hae-young gets a call in the middle of dinner from Yoon-ju, who’s just outside his door. She rings the doorbell and he panics, rushing Seol into the guest room with her plate, telling her to stay put.

He sits down with Yoon-ju while Seol eats up the rest of her dinner crouched down on the bed, but then she starts to get an uncomfortable look on her face…

Her stomach starts to make noises as she does the bathroom dance, trying to hold it in, and finally she calls Hae-young to tell her that it’s an emergency. He hilariously tells her that she’s an adult now, so she can take care of it herself, and hangs up.

They end up texting back and forth, with Seol threatening to just go in one of his designer bags (Ha) until he finally ushers Yoon-ju out awkwardly. She senses that something’s up, and then on her way out, she looks down and sees a woman’s shoes. He starts to try and explain, letting the door close again behind him…

…which is right when Seol runs out thinking that she’s gone, and makes a mad dash to the bathroom.


So far I like it much better than I had expected, because it’s breezy and funny, and less lost-daughter-princess-drama, which is, minus the fluffy princess part, a very makjang-esque setup. But the show is sticking to a delightfully comic tone, which makes the birth secret stuff go by fairly well. I just hope that the plot continues to move along this briskly, and that we don’t get too entrenched in the birth secret back-and-forth that’s bound to happen.

Regardless, I do really like Kim Tae-hee and Song Seung-heon in these roles. They really should have done comedy sooner, because they are SO much more believable as these types of characters. She’s fantastic as a sunny character, and he’s hilarious as the vain Mr. Awesome…who totally doesn’t get how someone couldn’t see just how awesome he is. It cracks me up. When he puts the intense face on and starts to over-emote, we’re back in Hand Towel territory, but there’s enough hilarity and princely charm that carries him past that.

Cute. Cute. Cute.


231 January 12, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 3

by javabeans

My Princess puts a smile on my face. This drama is a ball of fluffy cute humor, buoyed by an often hilarious rapport between Kim Tae-hee and Song Seung-heon. It’s in the bickering vein, but not characterized by constant fighting or shrillness, which is often a danger in bickering romances. Sometimes the mood is friendly, sometimes sweet, and sometimes irritated, and I like that we’re always traveling between those, lest we linger too long in one mode.

With this episode, My Princess beat Sign — after trailing it by a mere 0.1% last Thursday — and scored a 20.0% rating (versus Sign’s 16.2%). Things are looking promising.


My Princess OST – “Falling” [ Download ]

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Hae-young tries to think up an excuse for the presence of a woman’s boots at the door while Yoon-ju looks at him skeptically, immediately sizing up the situation. Then Seol dashes out from the guest room to hurry to the bathroom in time. The look of chagrin on his face is priceless.

Moments later, Seol pops out of the bathroom, relieved and relaxed — until she sees the other two still standing there at the doorway. Hae-young tries to ask Yoon-ju not to misunderstand, but she takes the cool approach and just says she didn’t know he had this “side” to him, and calls him cute. For… hiding a girl while she came over? I don’t follow her logic.

In any case, after she leaves, Seol says cheerfully that Yoon-ju’s reaction sure was cool. And so she was, until she leaves — once outside, Yoon-ju looks much more bothered than she lets on.

She heads straight for the arms of Jung-woo, because this drama really wants us to hate her. She rebuffs the guy’s affection and backstabs him professionally, then seeks consolation in his arms? Urrrghhh. Sadly (imo), Jung-woo’s too much of a nice guy and holds her comfortingly.

In the morning, she gets some startling news and hurries to tell Hae-young to stop his grandfather from making a mistake. Chairman Park is, at the moment, holding a press conference throwing his full support behind the restoration of the monarchy. In fact, he’s chosen a truly shocking (but likely effective) way to gain support for the move — the day that the vote goes through for the restoration, he will donate his entire wealth to society. I guess that oughtta shut up naysayers who wouldn’t want to pay extra taxes to keep Seol in her princess finery.

Hae-young tries to get in contact with Seol, finally locating her at the school cafeteria. Before they can leave, a crowd of reporters appears and fires a barrage of questions their way.

Their attention is directed at Hae-young (asking for comment about his grandfather’s announcement), but he covers Seol’s face with his jacket to shield her identity from the horde. She’s confused, but he warns her that if they’re photographed together right now, things’ll get complicated.

Hae-young leads her out, and then they run in earnest from the rabid mob, while curious bystanders include Seol’s friend Sun-ah and Jung-woo. Hae-young manages to shove her into his car before being accosted and smilingly tries to fob off the reporters with jokes and smooth words. He almost succeeds in making his getaway, except for the untimely appearance of a smug, confident reporter who asks directly if the woman is a princess, and that increases the furor.

To put a swift end to speculation, Hae-young declares that she’s his girlfriend. Describing her as a sweet, ordinary student, he asks for them to back off, since they’re freaking her out.

With that, he drives to his hotel and hurries Seol inside — or at least tries to. She resists, saying that as a “business competitor,” she’ll be barred from entry — equating her teeny home operation to this luxury hotel, ha! I love her.

Now safe on home turf, the staff keeps the wall of reporters out of the building. Hae-young ushers her to his suite, which she initially balks at, eyeing him with suspicion. She whacks him in the face out of reflex, then apologizes for acting before thinking. Hilariously, he flinches automatically when she raises her fist, then realizes she was joking and tries to cover up his flinch. It’s adorable.

Hae-young explains that having his photos snapped and his private life exposed can be horrible, which he knows from personal experience. When she asks about his family, he admits Dad has been out of the picture for 20 years. Not dead, as I’d presumed, just gone.

That comment strikes a chord with Seol, who knows how it feels to be fatherless. Seeing her reaction, he offers up a “funny” tidbit, but it’s more sardonic than amusing — that as an 11-year-old boy, he was only one death away from being the head of Daehan Group. As a result, he’s been hounded by reporters since a young age, as well as potential kidnappers and ill-intentioned opportunists. But after enduring all that in the name of being the heir, now that his grandfather says he won’t leave him a dime, isn’t it understandable that it would make him angry?

Seol pats him on the head sympathetically, since to her 11-year-old self, Mom giving her sister an extra bit of sausage would have counted as a grave injustice. Her chipper attitude wrings a smile out of him.

They turn their attention to the TV, where the newest report is all about Hae-young’s girlfriend. Making the report is that smug Reporter Yoo; Hae-young’s statement at the school has now been twisted as Seol is called his fiancee.

Seol presses Hae-young to remove all their photos and videos from the internet — surely Grandpa has enough clout for that? — and even agrees to claim the role of princess if he does. But surely he won’t want her to do that and usurp his inheritance. In any case, she doesn’t believe she’s a princess, because “My father… is going to come back soon.” Aw, sad.

Chairman Park understands that Hae-young did this to protect the princess, but he’s upset that the move may undermine his own objectives.

Yoon-ju politely tries to suggest that Grandpa was hasty in making his announcement about his exercise in noblesse oblige, but he says he’s relieved that his old dream is finally realized. They’ve found the princess and the stage is set.

When she’s alone with her father, Yoon-ju vents her hurt and displeasure about this whole princess business. All her life she has lived suppressing resentment of her father’s dedication to the chairman, who always came first. She put up with it, thinking her day would come when it would all be worth it, but that hasn’t happened.

Dad considers her an important person in swaying Hae-young to the chairman’s side, but she declares that she cannot live like her father. She then turns to Reporter Yoo for reasons unknown, but knowing that the reporter is a sleazeball, this just solidifies her status as the Bitch of the drama. You know, in case you weren’t sure.

Yoon-ju then heads to Hae-young’s suite, and once again awkward timing intervenes as Seol emerges from the bedroom.

At first Yoon-ju is upset with Hae-young, believing the obvious. She still thinks Seol’s name is Eun-byul (from that encounter at the museum) and points out that although she and Hae-young haven’t exactly had a passionate relationship, it’s understood (by themselves and their families) that she and Hae-young would marry.

So to get everything into the open, Hae-young makes the official introductions, defining the relationships clearly to both parties. Yoon-ju is the woman he will marry, and Seol is the princess his grandfather has located. Immediately Yoon-ju’s disgruntlement fades, and she joins in with Hae-young’s offer to help.

Seol continues to deny being the princess, and Hae-young interprets that this means she’s holding out for more from him. In exchange for agreeing to go abroad, what will she ask of him? He anticipates that this matter will take three years to settle in its entirety, and offers to send her anywhere she wants, and to take care of her family in the meantime. Yes, hide the problem, Hae-young, and it’ll just go away! Like herpes.

I’m not sure if she’s merely stunned or if she’s perhaps a bit insulted by his high-handedness, but Seol accepts his offer with a challenging tone — she’ll go away if he gives her all his wealth. He warns her not to joke or piss him off, because he can be quite unpleasant when angered.

He has been instructed to bring Seol somewhere, but she is in no mood to oblige him — not until he says he’ll take her to meet her father.

He takes her in a helicopter to avoid running into the press, and as Seol looks at her fancy ride, she recalls a memory of another day when she’d seen a similar helicopter in the sky. She’d been a young girl, who’d accompanied her father to his construction job. The memory of her doting father has her in tears, though she smiles them away.

Oh, this isn’t going to end happily for her, is it? The look on Hae-young’s face is a dead giveaway; he observes Seol’s nervous anticipation with a regretful expression.

Upon their arrival, they join the chairman and Secretary Oh. But her face takes on a confused expression when she’s led to a gravesite — and the chairman addresses the deceased as “Your Highness.”

As though anticipating her pain, Hae-young looks away when Seol looks at him, trying to absorb what this all means. In denial, she bursts out, “I told you my father wasn’t dead! Where is he?”

Hae-young advises her to hear the truth, which he has been waiting so long to hear, but she doesn’t want to know any more, thinking that the truth means her father abandoned her.

Chairman Park explains that he was responsible for her father’s death, and relates the story.

It turns out that Seol’s father had known of his highborn origins, but he’d voluntarily left that identity behind, and was surprised to be tracked down. He’d told him that the “bad fate” between the chairman and his own grandfather (the last emperor) was all in the past, and that he wanted to leave it buried.

The chairman hadn’t been willing to do that, so Dad had slipped away in the night with Seol. The chairman had followed with his men, so Dad had hidden Seol in a side street, promising to come back right away, and turned back to deal with his pursuers. But in the process, he’d been hit by a car — the one carrying the chairman, who’d been speeding off to find him. Oh, this is so sad, and made even more so by the music.

After hearing the story, Seol kneels by the grave dully, sapped of her energy. She turns to go, and the chairman urges her to give her formal bow to her father. He adds that she doesn’t have to forgive him, and with a hard look his way, Seol agrees that she probably won’t — she won’t ever do anything to make him happy. Even if that includes bowing at her father’s grave.

Hae-young finds her sitting at the bus depot, where she bitterly vows to do things expressly to antagonize his family in the future. He calmly reasons that that’s only going to hurt her, and that her father would be saddened by it.

He offers her the one way to get her revenge upon his grandfather: Destroy the monarchy. But she knows that he’s not saying that to help her — he’s saying it out of his own wish to protect his inheritance. He calls it a win-win for both of them, and so she agrees to go along with his plan, on a condition. She wants a photo of her father, which he retrieves from Secretary Oh.

At school, news of Seol’s chaebol fiancé has spread, and her two officemates are eager to hear the details, particularly since she’s taking a leave from school.

Yoon-ju meets with her to give her study abroad documents, and now that she’s been assured that she hasn’t been replaced in Hae-young’s affections, she takes on that friendly-but-ever–so-smug attitude, telling Seol that she need not pester herself with meeting Hae-young again. She’ll handle all the arrangements, and besides, she and Hae-young are practically married anyway.

Seol pointedly says that Yoon-ju sure has a lot of men she’s practically marrying, since everyone knows she’s also in that kind of relationship with Jung-woo. Yoon-ju waves it off, saying that she tends to attract these kinds of rumors (since she’s, like, sooooo popular). But when Seol replies that it’s a good thing Hae-young didn’t believe that rumor, Yoon-ju looks a little worried. Serves ya right.

Seol is lost in thought as Jung-woo walks by, though her face lights up when he calls her. She assures him that all the stuff about her marrying the diplomat are untrue, adding that there’s someone else she likes, which he immediately understands to mean himself.

He says that she must really be a princess, to which she answers, “How did you know?” She realizes she’s slipped when he admits he was just fishing around, and she asks him to keep it a secret.

He gives her a ride home, just as Hae-young pulls up behind them. Immediately the dick-off resumes, and I love that even though nobody’s pretending to be anybody’s lover this time, the guys still macho it up with each other. Old habits die hard. An example: Hae-young asks pointedly why a professor is taking a female student home in broad daylight, to which Jung-woo responds that he must only give women rides in the dead of night.

Hae-young retorts, “And what do you know about me?” Jung-woo replies that it’s public knowledge that he, the famous chaebol heir, is in an uproar about the potential loss of his inheritance, and adds that he and Seol aren’t even really engaged. Plus, she likes somebody else, a pointed reference to himself.

Hae-young shoots a disgruntled look Seol’s way before catching sight of a reporter down the street, talking to her sister Dan. Hae-young quickly pulls her toward his car, and she urges Jung-woo to hurry away as well.

Oblivious to them, the reporter asks Dan for information about the engagement, to which Dan says that she’s not Seol’s family. Ouch. Why so bitchy, favored daughter?

Arriving at her mother’s house, Seol looks around and confirms that no shifty types are around. Hae-young takes this opportunity to warn Seol against the dangers of riding in the cars of men like her professor, not that he cares, of course, or is jealous or anything. (I love how transparent Hae-young is.)

To which Mom pops up to say that the same goes for him. She’s intensely curious about this strange man with her daughter, and Seol asks if Mom has seen the news lately. Hilariously, Hae-young puffs up a bit, expecting some fawning coming his way. But Mom reminds her that she always shuts off the TV after her daily drama, and he deflates in disappointment. HAHA. Inadvertent ego setdown.

Seol tries to lie about not knowing Hae-young, but Mom isn’t having it and guesses they’ve just been on a date. Hae-young trades exasperated looks with Seol as Mom continues her interrogation.

Mom gets half the truth and fills in the rest with her own imagination, assuming that Hae-young had fallen for Seol after staying as a guest at this house.

He tries to answer her questions honestly (but vaguely), but Mom jumps to all the wrong conclusions, saying a few things that make Seol grimace (like how he must have a hard time working for Daehan, which he defends by saying the company isn’t that bad).

Mom also asks intrusive questions about his family, financial status, and assets in that way that Korean moms do — thinking she’s being all smooth and subtle while her kid cringes in shame. Yeah, subtle like a bulldozer.

She shoves the two kiddos into Seol’s room to relax until dinner, where Hae-young immediately locates her photo album. Seol tries to wrest it from his grasp, thinking he’s going to mock her, and ends up landing on top of him — just as Mom comes back in.

All flustered, the kids jump up and try to look calm while hilariously failing, and Seol covers up her embarrassment by yelling at both of them.

But it turns out he took her album to add a snapshot to it — the sole existing photograph of her father. Now that he’s fulfilled Seol’s condition for agreeing to his plan, she asks when she ought to plan on leaving the country. He answers that sooner is better.

In the ensuing days, Seol prepares for her departure, though she doesn’t tell anybody of her plans. It’s easier to leave first without all the questioning, so she packs and writes her mother a farewell letter, explaining that she’s heading to Egypt for a three-year trip, financially enabled by a lottery win.

On departure day, Hae-young finds her waiting for her flight, writing a list of things to buy her mother and sister. He offers to take care of the list for her then walks her toward her boarding gate.

She’s still a little uncertain about this trip, but Hae-young gives her the nod to encourage her onward, and she presents her boarding ticket.

Yet to their surprise, upon checking her passport, the gate agent asks her to step aside, as she has been barred from leaving the country.


So very cute. The charm of this show is really in the interactions between Seol and Hae-young, not necessarily the plot or even the romance angle. I can definitely see how the attraction is building and will flare up at a later date, but for now I like that they’re buddies and co-conspirators — comfortable enough to bicker and speak their mind, but still with enough of a distance that they’re making new discoveries about each other. Like bonding over their longing for their absentee fathers.

I don’t even really care that the whole monarchy business is a total macguffin, and frankly I have no need to see the politicians yammering out their differences over it. I mean, it’s such an obvious contrivance that you either accept it or you don’t, and in that case I’m gonna just suspend my disbelief anyway.

I have no interest in Yoon-ju’s character (heh, could you tell?), because in addition to not caring much about Park Ye-jin’s portrayal either way, she’s just a boring (but necessary character). But I’m consoled by the knowledge that at least the love triangle with Jung-woo ought to be good, because I just love these two boys when they’re trying to get the better of each other. Sometimes I don’t even think it has anything to do with Seol (cue the fanfic?) but that these two men just rub each other the wrong way (snerk) and bring out that antagonism within each other. I could be very, very happy watching how this threeway conflict shapes up.


237 January 14, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 4

by girlfriday

Is it possible for two guys to fight over two girls at the same time? Truthfully, then it really becomes more about THEM, and not at all about the girls, right? There’s fanfic just itching to be written out there somewhere. I’m having so much fun in this Rhombus of Jealousy and the early stages of Seol’s not-a-relationship with Hae-young that I’m loathe to leave it behind. I hope that we don’t speed through the courtship in this drama, because there’s something very winning about this couple…when they’re not a couple.


Seol gets stopped from boarding the plane, so she and Hae-young try to suss out some reasons why she might be blocked from leaving the country: has she committed any crimes of late?

It turns out as suspected, and Grandpa is the culprit behind the sneaky move. Hae-young decides that it’s time to go to war, while Seol scoffs that he’s trying to go up against his grandfather when he couldn’t even get a couple of news stories pulled down the other day.

She thinks they have bigger worries, since Mom’s about to open that letter she left, and Seol’s faux boyfriend is the first person she’s going to hunt down with the proverbial rolling pin. He agrees that Mom is no joke and they head to the pension to intercept the letter.

They arrive to find Mom gone, along with the Bible where Seol stuck the letter…but they realize it’s Sunday, and she’s at church. So they rush off to the chapel where they sneak in behind her, and Seol convinces Hae-young to reach for the envelope in her Bible while she prays…

…but Mom catches him mid-swipe, so he freezes and bows his head to pray. HA. They tell Mom that they’re just here to pick her up, and Hae-young goes to start the car, asking suavely for Mom’s purse so she doesn’t have to carry it.

But when he digs around for the letter in Mom’s Bible, all he can find are envelopes with money…

Meanwhile, the pastor starts to read people’s prayer requests, and both Mom and daughter look up when he begins to read Seol’s letter out loud. Mortified, both she and Mom realize what’s happened, and as Mom gets singled out in the congregation, Seol and Hae-young make a dash for the door.

They’re followed by the entire congregation, as Mom chases Seol in circles around Hae-young for trying to run away from home. He gets involved to try and stop her, but Mom is too irate, and warns him not to get involved unless he wants to get hit in her place.

At that, he comes out with an apology, saying that it’s all his fault, so she can go ahead and hit him. Of course, Mom takes that the wrong way entirely, as she gasps, “Were you two going to run away together? Are you…pregnant?”

Pffft. Their reactions to the accusation are priceless, and it goes about as well as any denial that you are having an illegitimate child, you swear, can go. To top it off, the pastor recognizes Hae-young as the Daehan Group heir, and publicly outs him. Mom beams quietly, while the pastor shushes everyone to secrecy in the Lord’s name. Heh.

Back at the pension, Mom watches the footage of Hae-young and Seol online over and over, and Hae-young nudges Seol to say that she must be impressed, quite pleased with himself. Oh, Ego. You do find the silliest times to be pleased with yourself.

Mom takes a deep breath, and they close their eyes in anticipation of the barrage that’s about to come their way…only it doesn’t, and Mom swoons that it’s all very romantic. Ha. Seol tries to insist that it’s really not what she thinks, but Hae-young jumps in to confirm that they’re in love.

Seol’s like, we’re what in the what, now? as he tells her that “oppa” will take care of it (LOL) and tells Mom that while it’s true that they’re in love, his family opposes the union.

Then he gets down on his knees to ask Mom for permission for them to run away to Egypt together, and to Seol’s utter surprise, Mom gives her blessings wholeheartedly. Excepting of course that they abide by one condition…

…they ARE going to register their marriage before they go, right? Buh…

Are we getting a marriage contract ON TOP of the princess-meets-a-chaebol thing? Because that’s just awesome. Listen, I know that piling on the kdrama clichés has led us astray once or twice or twenty times before, but I’m nothing if not stupidly, morbidly, hopeful that each new time will not be like the last. It’s not called an addiction for nothing, yeah?

They get interrupted by a team of Grandpa’s henchmen, sent to retrieve Hae-young. He says his goodbyes and promises to return soon. Seol responds with a pointed “how soon is soon,” eliciting an oh-you-lovebirds sigh from Mom.

Hae-young pinches her cheeks, calling her his little Thumbelina, and busts out his best “Do you miss oppa already?” as Seol gags to the side. Will you look at that pout below? I could watch this for hours.

Exasperated, Seol repeats, “Oppa? Oppa? Really, with the oppa?!” But it gets interpreted more like: “OPPaaaaaaaaaaaa” HA. If there ever was a word that had so MANY meanings

Yoon-ju aligns herself with the leader of the opposition (to the restoration of the monarchy, that is), and they discuss the best time to leak Seol’s humble, thoroughly un-princess-like background to the press.

Hae-young comes home only to get yelled at by Grandpa for trying to send Seol away right under his nose, and Hae-young fights back, saying it’d be crazy for him NOT to make a fuss, when Grandpa’s about to throw away his entire fortune.

Grandpa makes it clear that it doesn’t belong to them, since it was a fortune that was built with the last emperor’s treasury, but that isn’t enough to appease Hae-young who thinks it should be sufficient to return the original amount, plus interest.

In his frustration, Grandpa lets it slip that he’s being just like his father. Hae-young’s face darkens at that, as he asks angrily if this is the reason that Grandpa basically disowned Dad. He yells that he’s thought a million terrible things about his own father, trying to understand what he could have done to make Grandpa exile him like that, but to find out that it was over THIS?

He blurts out hurtfully that there’s no way he’ll abide by Grandpa’s wishes now, knowing that this is the thing that made him grow up without a father. Well, damn, can’t argue there, Pops.

Yoon-ju catches up to Hae-young as he leaves, and tries to get him to calm down a little before driving off. But he turns to her and says that if the monarchy is restored, and he’s left penniless, he won’t marry her. Ouch. She knows it’s out of a protective and caring love, but it’s still gotta hurt, because real love wouldn’t be held back by that.

Hae-young goes home to shower-brood (rawr) and decides to suit up and meet with the opposition leader to ask for a favor—to lift the no-fly ban on Seol. He answers that there’s a better way to take care of the princess, since he’s heard that she’s grown up without much ado: they splash the headlines with her identity, and let public opinion do the rest. Hae-young may have been willing to cross some lines, but I don’t think he’s going to cross this one. I hope.

At home, Seol wakes up to find Mom cooking a year’s worth of side dishes for them to take to Egypt (oh, mothers). She reminds Seol to say a proper goodbye to her professor (meaning in a professional sense) but it makes Seol realize that she had also written him a letter, covered in hearts and sprayed with perfume no less.

She calls him in a panic, and Jung-woo confirms that he got the letter, but hasn’t opened it yet. He smiles sweetly at the hearts and looks rather pleased, but Seol insists that he not read it, and rushes over to campus to stop him.

When she arrives he ends up rescuing her from a couple of reporters, and she gushes at how cool he is…until he kills it with heaps of praise on himself. Seol notes rather dryly that he’s quite the ego-maniac. (I don’t know what I love more—that both the guys are this type, or that Seol is the type to call this behavior out each time.)

She tries to get the letter back, but Jung-woo is all too happy to taunt her with it, saying that he’s SO popular that he gets letters from his students. She lies that it’s a chain letter, but he just laughs at that, and she lets it slip that it’s a really embarrassing love letter and she can’t bear to look at his face anymore if he reads it.

He just smiles knowingly, asking how she planned on going to Egypt then, if she was so worried about what he thought of her. Mortified that he read it already, she hangs her head, as he tells her that he was especially moved by the part where she tells him not to get a girlfriend while she’s gone, and to spend his nights alone, eating ramen, thinking of her. Ha. He’s adorable. Too bad there’s no alterna-verse where the cute nerdy professor gets the girl.

He asks why she doesn’t want to be a princess, and she says simply that she likes her life now the way it is. She doesn’t want all her secrets laid out, or to have antis. She adds that her sister Dan would be the president of her anti-fan club. The sad part is, that’s not a joke.

They get interrupted by a phone call from the office, where the phone is ringing off the hook in search of Seol. She runs out to find that the press is all over campus, having found out her identity. Damnit, Hae-young.

The story is all over the news, and Hae-young comes across a TV in the office, his face going white when he sees the story. Oh, whew. I was scared for a minute that you had betrayed her identity. He runs off to find her.

But when she answers her phone, she’s busy running like mad away from the reporters, and only manages to tell Hae-young that she’s at school. He hears her scream as she runs away, and then she hangs up.

He speeds over there and steels himself to walk past the wall of reporters in the hallway to get to Seol. Jung-woo opens the door and the guys have a stare-off because, well, it’s been twelve hours since their last face-off.

Hae-young stares dramatically, and pushes Jung-woo out of the way to get to Seol. There’s absolutely no reason for him to do so, which Seol goes ahead and points out (heh), but he just has an outburst and wrist-grabs her into the other room.

Yelling at the top of his lungs, he asks what the hell she’s doing there, when he told her to stay put at the pension. She doesn’t see why he’s so mad about it, until he adds, “Because I was worried!” Oh, swoon. Goddamnit, gets me every time.

Jung-woo decides he won’t be outdone this time and tries to stop them from leaving. Hae-young tells him that HE’ll deal with it since it concerns his fiancée, to which Jung-woo just says that he has no way of confirming whether Hae-young is her fiancé or her kidnapper, so unless they’ve got a flight to catch to Egypt, there’s no sense in trying to wade through all the reporters now.

Seol totally swoons at her professor, while Hae-young rolls his eyes in disbelief that she told yet another person about their super-secret Egypt plan. Whoops. Seol: “Um, the letter got here faster than I thought…” Hae-young can’t believe she wrote yet another letter. Heh. His exasperated looks at her expense crack me up.

He asks what on earth she wrote in this one, but Jung-woo steps in to defend her, not missing the opportunity to posture: “Don’t worry about the contents. It was just a cute love letter.” Oh, snap. One point for the professor.

But Hae-young gets to be the knight in shining armor after all, as his team of henchmen arrives, parting the sea of reporters for them to make an exit. Yoon-ju shows up with them as a Daehan representative, and tells them that Grandpa is expecting them.

Hae-young entrusts her to stay behind and do damage control here, adding for Jung-woo’s benefit that she knows him better than he knows himself (okay, it’s getting a little ridiculous for you two to be fighting over two girls AT THE SAME TIME, but whatever). Jung-woo reels at seeing her in this capacity, although I would think it shouldn’t surprise him.

Hae-young and Seol drive off, venting their frustrations out on each other. He thinks they just have to wait until the no-fly ban is lifted, but she tells him that the circumstances have changed—now the whole country knows that she’s the princess, so how’s she supposed to run away to Egypt now?

They stop at a gas station, and Seol covers her face in the least stealthy way possible, and Hae-young tells her that she’s just drawing more attention to herself. Seol: “Even if I hide my face, am I still pretty? [enough to recognize]” Pfft.

They get mobbed again, and are forced to really run away, so Hae-young drives them all the way to the ocean. Seol starts to fall asleep, so he stops the car to rest a while. She wakes up with his jacket on top of her, and Hae-young asleep.

She puts his jacket over him, and stares at his sleeping face, fascinated by his long lashes. She can’t help herself, so she touches them lightly, comparing them to her own, and then the other eye, playing with them and saying out loud how long they are.

She makes a move to get out of the car, when Hae-young grabs her hand, startling her. Seol: “How long have you been awake? Pervert!” He points out matter-of-factly that she’s the one touching him while he’s sleeping. She asks why her seat is reclined then, and he says it was to stop her from snoring. Ha.

What I love is that when her stomach growls, he smiles at her sweetly, asking if she’s hungry, like a real oppa would. They go to a seaside restaurant out of the way and are happy to see that no one recognizes them out there.

The waiter (Gun, or Gunnie, played by Lee Ki-kwang) gives them a bottle of soda on the house because Seol is pretty, just giving her another tick in the See, I’m Pretty, Everyone Says So column. Hae-young doesn’t miss the chance to scoff.

The news comes on and the waiter announces to the neighborhood patrons that they should all vote pro-monarchy, since he’s got a job at the new palace, if it goes through. The day’s events are followed by a story on Seol’s father, who is reported to have spent his days jobless, penniless, and a petty criminal. Hae-young realizes that this is the mode of attack that was implied when he met with sour-faced opposition man.

The people in the restaurant badmouth Seol’s father as a thief, making her stand up and insist that they’ve got it wrong, angry tears brimming in her eyes. They look up in surprise, and Hae-young drags her out of there before she draws any more attention.

Outside, Seol cries as she remembers being at the ocean with her dad in the winter, making a snowman and falling asleep while he carried her piggyback. She turns around and declares to Hae-young that she’s going to Seoul to meet with his grandfather, since he’s the most powerful man she knows.

She plans to ask for Grandpa’s help in clearing her father’s name. Hae-young asks what she’s going to do if it turns out that everything they’re saying is true. Her father was on the run and abandoned his little girl—what wouldn’t he do?

Seol reminds him that her father never abandoned her. She turns to walk away, when Gun runs up, apologizing for not recognizing her earlier. He tells her brightly that he doesn’t believe all those rumors on tv, and tells her that they’re here to pick her up.

Grandpa and his army pull up, and he tells Seol that it’s time now for her to greet the nation as the princess. She wonders if she has the right, when all fingers are pointed at her. He reminds her that she already IS the princess; she just has to decide to come with him.

She pauses to glance at Hae-young, but her look says it all: I’m sorry. And she gets in the car with Grandpa, leaving him standing on the bridge.

When they arrive, Seol gets out of the car to discover that home is now a winter wonderland palace, complete with guards in feathered hats. Her jaw drops, as Grandpa asks like a proper fairy godfather, “Do you like it?”


Yeah, I think it’ll do. Jealous that the entire next episode will probably be spent in palace-discovering hijinks, complete with twirling in full princess garb.

What I like is that the couple gets along for the most part—their bickering is more flirty, less vitriolic—but the main conflict is their opposition over the monarchy. And not in some lofty idealistic way, but in a very practical sense, as there is only one position of power, prestige, and wealth, and the two of them will be fighting for one crown, so to speak.

But in general, I really hope that we don’t spend any more time than we already have in establishing all the pro-/anti-monarchy business, as it takes the comprehension of a kindergartener to know who’s on what side. What we need more of is Hae-young vs. Jung-woo, and Seol embracing her inner princess (which doesn’t seem so hard based on her high opinion of herself, which seems to be the general rule of thumb with EVERYONE in this drama, heh).

The misunderstandings with Mom, the various letter-chasing, the many different ways “oppa” can be read—these are the highlights, whereas the backstory is pretty one-dimensional, and the reporters-chasing-wreaking-havoc is gonna get old, really really fast. I certainly hope they can come up with a bigger baddie than the paparazzi as we go along.

So far I really like Kim Tae-hee and Song Seung-heon in their roles. They’re a little hammy, but it works with a comedy because it’s a convention of the genre to overact with glee. It’s a nice change of pace to see them so funny and sweet, and downright pleasant, even if there’s no subtlety to be had in the performances or the writing. They’re just charming, and so delightfully cute together.


215 January 19, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 5

by javabeans

The lulz, they keep coming. Between My Princess and Dream High, my weeks are looking bright and fluffy. The two dramas appeal to me in very different ways, but both also make me laugh out loud and aww for the characters, and that’s enough to make me happy.


Ibadi – “산책” (Stroll) [ Download ]

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Seol is taken to her new home, a modern palace that Chairman Park had secretly built just for her. It’s beautiful in a grand, stately way that befits a modern princess, and a butterfly even lands softly on her shoulder like she’s Cinderella, I kid you not. They take it as a good omen.

The chairman tells her to stay here for now, and in a week, they’ll hold a press conference to reveal her official entry into the palace.

Seol clarifies that she’s still confused about this whole princess thing; she only came because she couldn’t abide her father being subject to unjust accusations, and he’s the only person she knows who can fix that.

Now that the news is out, Mom has been brought to see her and Seol rushes to hug her. Unsure how to act to her newly royal daughter, Mom nervously calls her “Highness” and stammers at first, until she she gets the chairman’s permission to hug her back and treat Seol as normal.

The chairman explains the details to Mom, who brags about always knowing that Seol was quite unique as a child. She exaggerates just a wee bit with the praise of her scholastic prowess, which might be annoying if Mom weren’t sincere. We know it’s not how she actually thought of Seol, but her memory seems pretty malleable, and Seol takes just after her, happy to soak in the praise as though it were always true.

Seol requests a trip back home to collect her things, to which Grandpa asks if she’s sure she’ll be able to come back. The only person with the power to block attacks against her father is herself, as the princess — a reminder of a solid reason for her to return to the palace.

When Hae-young shows up to work at the foreign ministry, he finds he has been issued a warning for violating rules, and reassigned to standby duty. On top of that, the media is clamoring for a piece of him, having gobbled up the story of the chaebol in love with the princess, as the shifty reporter reminds him.

Yoon-ju drops by to inform Dan that in the wake of this news, bodyguards have been assigned to assure her safety. Never one to accept something gracefully, Dan retorts that if they’re not going to be assigned to her indefinitely, she’d rather not have them, because it’s an insulting feeling to have someone give you something, then take it back later.

But Yoon-ju’s not offended and just smiles, giving Dan her card. I wonder if she sees a bit of herself in Dan; I suppose we’ll have to anticipate a team-up with these two manipulators. Wonder Bitch Powers, Activate!

In her room, Dan takes out an embroidered pouch and gives it a meaningful look. The scheming begins…

The chairman offers Yoon-ju any gift of her choosing in thanks for all her help, which he’ll buy before handing over his assets to the monarchy. He’d thought of giving her the museum, but she says that’s not necessary. Instead, she asks to be put in charge of the Royal Foundation, saying that she’ll run it per the chairman’s wishes, which will in turn prevent Hae-young from interfering with the princess.

The chairman likes this idea and thanks her for the offer, but her father looks alarmed and asks her in private why she’d make the request. He wants her to rescind it, but she won’t.

Seol’s palace attendants introduce themselves and show her to her lavish quarters. (The term for their position is sanggung, which translates to court lady.)

Seol’s a pretty girl who likes pretty things, and looks in awe at the mini-department store installed in her room. Picking out one party dress, she tries it on and adds a pair of sparkly heels. They trip her up (literally), and she sighs, “They don’t fit.” Symbolism!

Yoon-ju has recommended Jung-woo to be a director in the royal foundation, and it’s like she has no understanding of her actions hurting people, because he’s hardly in the mood to accept a position working with her and tells her he’s doing fine for himself.

Unfazed, she urges him to consider the position seriously.

Grandpa begins the process of turning over his assets, beginning with Hae-young, and sends a team of men to claim all the stuff in his apartment. Hae-young argues that he bought all the stuff inside the apartment, but apparently stuff tied to his credit is also up for grabs. The men go around sticking red claim stickers on all of his belongings — down to his coffee mug and shoes — which begs the question, Wouldn’t it be easier just to tag the stuff they WON’T be taking?

The lead agent doesn’t like this any better than Hae-young does, and asks plaintively, “Are you not going to leave? Will I have to use force?” Heh. Ah, I do enjoy this rags-to-riches, riches-to-rags juxtaposition of Hae-young and Seol’s circumstances, especially since he was rather smug about being so filthy rich.

So Hae-young leaves with one suitcase, annoyed but not TOO upset because he has plenty of other places he can crash. Or so he thinks, until Yoon-ju gives him a list of all the assets to be reclaimed — all his secondary apartments, vacation homes, and the like. Including the resort he was given as a birthday present when he turned eight.

Hae-young heads to his department store to buy some essentials, and during his perusal of a pair of tighty-whities (I would’ve pegged him for a boxers man, myself), he spots Seol’s entourage rounding the corner.

She’s on a shopping spree for gifts for Mom and Ungrateful Sis, and Hae-young’s not about to admit to his embarrassing new homeless state, so he ducks behind a mannequin.

It’s too late, though, and Seol has seen him, and now it’s worse because it’s clear he’s trying to hide. He plays it off, not noticing that his hand has landed on a questionable area of the lingerie mannequin… or that he’s still holding up a pair of underwear to his crotchal region. Oh lord, this is so funny. Can we rob Song Seung-heon of his dignity in every episode? Pretty please?

Amused, Seol tells him he and the mannequin “look good together,” which is doubly hilarious given Song Seung-heon’s own reputation for characteristics associated with the like. Ha.

She gets the last word and heads out, leaving Hae-young to face more humiliation when he finds that all his cards have been deactivated. No underwear for you!

Grumbling, Hae-young takes off after Seol and forces his way into her elevator. It’s almost like he’s intending to ask her for some help, but the air in the elevator is awkward and the two of them engage in another round of looksie.

But she doesn’t engage him in conversation and he doesn’t have an opening, so when she sails out ahead of him, he’s left behind frustrated.

He gets called in to meet with the president (of the country), and asks why he approves this monarchy restoration. Even if the people like the idea, Hae-young can’t wrap his head around such an immature young girl like Seol being turned into a princess, and calls his grandfather irresponsible for initiating this whole mess. He adds that for all the interest in the restoration, it’ll undoubtedly prove difficult to manage.

Surprisingly, the president agrees with him — but he can’t cancel the vote. He asks for Hae-young’s opinion on how to handle it.

The president takes a meeting with the assemblyman who leads the opposition of the restoration, which they use as a PR opportunity as they both donate blood.

Once the photo ops are done, the president levels with the assemblyman about the princess, and chides him for creating that scandal about her father. He warns him to stop messing with the princess, as the people will have the last word in the restoration matter.

Hearing the welcome news of a guest at the palace, Seol tears out of her room to greet Jung-woo, though she pauses for a moment to primp. She’s so touched when he says he missed her that she has to stop him momentarily to soak it in, saying she can’t quite handle it.

Jung-woo advises her that her whole life is about to become full of things she can’t handle, so she’d best come to him to vent rather than shouting into the bamboo forest, “The King has donkey ears!” (That comes from a Korean folktale; a man was entrusted with a secret, which grew more and more burdensome until he couldn’t take it and had to shout it out to the forest.)

Reluctantly, she takes a call from Hae-young and tries to cut it short by saying vague but discouraging things like, “We shouldn’t do this anymore” and “I told myself I’d forget you.” Lol at her dramatics, which make the others assume that she’s speaking to a spurned ex-lover.

She doesn’t want to let him know where she is, so Hae-young warns that he’ll “cause an accident” if she doesn’t, and that makes her blurt, “What more accidents are there left to cause?” This one raises Jung-woo’s eyebrows, since “causing an accident” is also a euphemism for getting knocked up. Hae-young answers that there are a lot of possibilities to choose from, like marriage.

Seol gasps, “Marriage?!” and hangs up. Freaking out, she excuses herself to call him back in privacy, and he threatens that he’s about to hold a press conference announcing their marriage plans. He tells her that the bigger the scandals grow, the more helpful they are to him.

This is a blatant lie — he’s at a convenience store — but she buys it and panics. Frantically, Seol grabs Jung-woo — to the bamboo forest!

That’s just a euphemism for spilling the secret, and once they’re in private she tells Jung-woo of Hae-young’s threat, and begs for his help.

They’ll have to go find Hae-young to intercede, so they sneak their way out of the palace, managing to make it to the car unseen. At the last moment, the new royal kitchen boy Gun spies the princess ducking into Jung-woo’s car, where Jung-woo furtively wraps Seol’s head to hide her face. Not too bright but full of heart, Gun reads a lot more into the scene and jumps to conclusions — is the princess being kidnapped?

He goes tearing after them on his scooter and pulls up alongside them, honking to get their attention. Gun yells for his noona to get out of the car — like I said, not the brightest bulb. (I suppose the moving bike will just break her fall?)

Seol and Jung-woo wave him aside, but in their distraction they don’t see that they’re heading straight into a construction zone until it’s too late. To the hospital!

Seol moans and groans excessively and insists on being checked in despite the doctor’s confirmation that there’s nothing wrong with her. Granted, she has a reason — it brings Hae-young running immediately, which means he’s most certainly NOT giving a press conference.

Oh man, I just love when these two men are in the same scene together, because it means hilarity is just around the corner. My reaction is practically Pavlovian; Hae-young and Jung-woo face off, and I get all excited. Wait, not in that way. (At least, not only.)

Naturally the men eye each other in their macho-posturing way. Noting that the accident occurred in Jung-woo’s car, Hae-young gives her the ol’ I-told-you-so lecture about not taking rides from Jung-woo, and grabs her arm intending to check her out, since he knows she’s putting on an act. That earns him a glare from both Seol and Jung-woo as she cries out in pain and clutches her shoulder.

Hae-young hadn’t realized she was really hurt, and Jung-woo leans down to speak soothingly to Seol (no doubt going a little overboard to rub it in Hae-young’s face).

The two men head to reception to deal with paperwork, but as Hae-young tries to sign the forms, his pen won’t work. Jung-woo whips his out (LOL) and takes over, prompting Hae-young to retaliate by swiping the pen from him: “I’ll do it, since she got into an accident on the way to meet ME.”

Jung-woo grabs the pen back, Hae-young does as well, and this goes on a while. OH YOU TWO.

Jung-woo challenges Hae-young’s authority in matters pertaining to Seol, since he’s got no claim to sign for her. Hae-young replies that he does as a fiancé.

He drops the act briefly to level with Jung-woo, saying that he has a “knot to tie” with Seol today, but if Jung-woo steps aside, he’ll be able to end “this damned fiancé act” today. Taking the pen, Hae-young signs the form.

In the room, Seol (and her perfectly normal shoulder) asks Gun for a favor, replete with puppy-dog eyes and a “Do it for noona” plea. Innocent little Gun is no match for a pro like her, and he caves. Like he ever had a shot.

The “favor” entails helping Seol cover up her hospital stay by taking her place at the palace. Yep, you read that right. I know you’re an idol boy, but you’re not that pretty, LOL. He huddles nervously in bed while her lady in waiting chatters on about how handsome her professor is, clutching the bedcovers like they’re a lifeline (to his dignity).

At the hospital, Hae-young keeps watch at Seol’s bedside that night; she has insisted on staying overnight, no doubt trying to keep tabs on Hae-young. He looks at her worriedly when she starts to mumble in her sleep, her face crinkling in pain, and he makes out her tearful words, “Dad…”

He looks at her in sympathy… until she then adds, “I’m hungry.” HA.

When she wakes, she resumes the patient-in-pain act, wincing about her hurt shoulder and making it a point to ask him to help her drink, since she can’t move her hand. He guesses that she’s faking since she seems so chipper, and she replies that he can believe as he likes.

He accompanies her to the restroom, and on their way back, they see that a mother with a crying child is being turned away at the front desk due to a lack of space. The mother is frantic, so Seol offers her bed to the girl, assuring them that she’s fine to check out.

But she wasn’t entirely faking, because she has a dizzy spell outside, and falls to the ground. Hae-young wants to go back inside, but Seol mumbles that there are no beds available and won’t let him check her back in.

With nowhere else to go, a worried Hae-young drives her to his apartment, where he tends to her fever through the night. He wraps her in a robe and tucks her into bed, and in the process he spots the bruises that have shown up belatedly.

Realizing she wasn’t faking her injuries after all, he feels a bit guilty for doubting her and spends the next hours at her bedside, finally sighing in relief when the fever breaks.

In the morning, Seol awakens, and finds Hae-young cooking up some porridge in the kitchen. She eats slowly while awkwardly propping up her sore arm. Hae-young takes the spoon from her and holds it up to feed her, overriding her protests.

It’s only now that she realizes she’s in a bathrobe, so before she can freak out about him taking liberties, he assures her that he didn’t see anything. (And can’t resist the muttered dig, “There’s nothing to see anyway.”)

All this kindness is making her uneasy, and Seol suspects that all his excessive attentiveness means he wants something from her. She’s not wrong, so he starts by asking her to believe him. Warily, she asks, “Believe in what?”

He replies, “My apology. You don’t have to accept it, but I hope you can believe it.” He says he shouldn’t have let her father be slurred like that, which he means as a reference to his part in the bad press, though she remains unaware of those specifics.

Not for long, though: While changing her clothing, Seol spots the stack of newspapers in the bedroom, all with front-page stories about the possibility of restoring the monarchy.

She flips through the papers and finds an envelope at the bottom of the stack, which contains documents about her father, Lee Han. Included are transcripts of news reports about her father and his supposed criminality (burglary, con artistry). She recognizes some of the details from the report at the restaurant where she had lost her temper with the other patrons, and as she reads through, Seol starts to register more familiar words… because the words she is reading match the words that are coming from the television outside.

Shocked, she starts putting the pieces together and understands what Hae-young meant by his apology. Angrily, she confronts him with the documents, demanding to know what’s going on.

Knowing the jig is up, Hae-young sighs and asks if she thinks he’s behind the news reports about her father. He doesn’t deny her accusation that he has the most to gain from it, and takes it a step further by telling her frankly that he’s got lots more where that came from. Hae-young lays out his threat, that she can’t ever be a princess as long as he continues, and therefore she should give it up.

Seol wonders if everything was a lie to make her give up being a princess. That’s a pretty loaded question, and he takes a moment to sigh and think it over before telling her to listen up:

Hae-young: “When you were hurt, my concern was real, and my apology regarding your father was, too. But even more than all that, what I’m most sincere about is wanting you to give up being a princess. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Turning without a word, Seol stalks out of the apartment. Hae-young chases her out, but just then, his grandfather arrives, having heard that Seol spent the night here. He tells Seol that the president awaits a meeting with her, and with one last glare at Hae-young, she gets into the car.

She takes her meeting with the president, in which he advises her that attention will increase in the coming days and that the support of the people brings with it responsibility on her part.

Afterwards, Chairman Park tells her that it’s time for her to decide where to head next. She makes her decision, and arrives at the palace. She walks through the halls in a silent, dark mood, and goes to bed in heavy spirits.

When she looks up, though, she sees Hae-young sitting at her side, smiling down gently on her. He reaches down to brush her hair and check her forehead for fever. With that, she falls asleep.

I’m inclined to believe that not only is this Seol’s imagination, she’s fully aware that she’s conjured him up out of thin air. (For one, he’s wearing the clothing he’d worn while tending her fever, and for another, her next reaction supports it.)

In the morning, Seol awakens from sleep to see Hae-young waiting at the foot of her bed. She dismisses him, as though assuming he’s yet another fantasy conjured by her mind, and doesn’t react. Until he opens his mouth and introduces himself, sending her jerking upright in shock.


Aw, Seol’s fantasized Hae-young is sweet, and theirs is a conflict that I can really buy for a couple. They both like each other, have great rapport together, and care for each other on a personal level. But he’s a chaebol and she’s a princess, and both of those are about as symbolic a presence as exists in this day and age, even more so than celebrities and other public figures. They’re bound to this status by their birth, not by choice, so the conflict becomes something deep-rooted and difficult to untangle. Plus, both stand in each other’s paths — he has to destroy her birthright to protect his, while if she accepts her position, she’s literally stealing from him.

There have been so many k-dramas where the big bad separating the couple is a mere “My mama doesn’t like you” or “You’re poor” or whatnot, and while those are very real conflicts and effective on some level, I can’t help but feel that they wear pretty thin pretty quickly. I like my romantic angst to have some meat, and this one’s got some.

While the most immediate reference/allusion wrought by this drama has been Roman Holiday, I actually think that Anastasia is a much more apt parallel (I highly recommend the Ingrid Bergman movie, although I find the true story plenty fascinating on its own). Both are about reluctant princesses, but the setups are different; Audrey Hepburn’s character has always been a princess and longs to be out of her gilded cage. In the case of Anastasia, you have the lost princess reappearing out of the dark and claiming her position, being accepted into the fold, and falling in love with someone she cannot be with as the princess. So her dilemma becomes a matter of choosing between her duty — one thrust upon her late in adulthood, not one she has grown into — and her heart, with a healthy dose of confusion about her responsibilities to the royalty mixed therewith.


282 January 20, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 6

by girlfriday

Kim Tae-hee is kinda rockin’ it, which I really didn’t expect myself to say…ever. Her character’s kind of an airhead, but in an endearing and sweet way. She’s rather naïve, but the fact that she wants to trust Hae-young despite the fact that she knows better, is really cute. The comedy continues to be light and fun, and while the machinations to get everyone to the palace are less than airtight, the results are worth it.


Seol falls asleep to her apparition of Hae-young, petting her head. She wakes up with him at the foot of her bed, so she assumes, like any other girl would, Apparition the Morning After. As it turns out, fantasy and reality are quite blurry when you’re a princess.

Hae-young smirks at her non-reaction, and introduces himself as her new language tutor. Her eyes pop open as she realizes that he’s not as imaginary as she’d thought, and she sits up, hiding behind the covers.

He wonders if that’s all the reaction he’s going to get, and asks why she’s not screaming for dear life. He perches next to her on the bed and leans in—is she commonly greeted by strange men in the morning, or is she just taken with how handsome he is? Hahaha. The stuff this guy manages to say about himself with a straight face.

He lays it on thick, saying she looked at him like a sleeping beauty greeting her prince, and tells her she shouldn’t wonder how he got here, so much as why. Seol: “It’s a given why. Threats, kidnapping, terror…” Hae-young: “Then why aren’t you screaming?” Uh…because you’re pretty?

He gets on the phone and tells her court ladies that they’re done talking, and they can get her ready now. She freaks out—he’s not here in secret? Nope, no need for secrecy, since he’s now responsible for her.

It turns out that he’s here by the President’s order, as a diplomat, to be in charge of her education and such. If there’s anything I learned from Goong, it’s that there’s a whole lot of studying involved to be a good princess. He introduces himself formally to her in front of the President and Grandpa, and adds that he’s entered the palace as well. As a knee-jerk reaction, Seol shouts way too loudly, “NO!”

Aw, yeah! Palace roommate hijinks? Bring it.

She uses their scandal as an excuse that he can’t possibly live here, but he says that it’s the best way to clear up the scandal—to announce that he’s always been her advisor, and that his declaration that they were engaged was just to protect her from public scrutiny. She fumes at his clever answers for everything.

Clearly this is a maneuver by Hae-young and the President to sabotage the monarchy, but Grandpa can’t really argue with the President. Seol tries to interject, but gets tripped up because she can’t say what’s really got her worried: “He’s too dangerous… …ly handsome. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate while studying.” Heh. It’s not enough to dissuade them, so she’s assigned as his charge.

Later Grandpa asks Hae-young what he’s scheming, and the two butt heads again over this being the cause of Dad’s exile. Hae-young lies that he’s doing what Grandpa wants because he doesn’t want to end up like Dad, but Grandpa sees right through his façade.

She chases Hae-young around the palace asking what on earth he could possibly teach her, and he answers that he’s the only one who could really educate her on being royalty, since he was raised as such himself. She scoffs, but though it’s massively egomaniacal, it’s also not untrue. Korea is a society where chaebol families DO live as royalty of sorts.

He shows up bright and early the next morning to wake her up for her first day of lessons. He greets her with an alarm clock thrown under the covers and a healthy dose of get-your-ass-out-of-bed-princess, prompting her to nitpick that he’s using banmal with her. Though they’ve always mixed jondae and banmal since the beginning, she’s making a point of it now that she’s got the upper hand (higher station means he has to use jondae with her).

He realizes that she’s right, but breaks into a cheeky smile, “But…we’re alone.” Heh. What’s funny is that she doesn’t argue with him, because the only thing that could make him stick to jondae is outward formality (perceived by others); thus, when they’re alone, he wins.

She tries to worm her way out of the situation any way she can, but he basically bullies her into going along with it. She takes her first test and manages to fail every single question, and Hae-young marvels, “So it IS possible to fail this badly. I had only heard of such things.” Hahaha.

She asks for the test back, embarrassed by the zero score, but he holds onto it, with the threat that he has to report on her progress directly to the President. She chases him all over the palace to try and steal it back.

In front of her court ladies, Hae-young tells her to please leave him alone when they’re not studying, and she drags him into his room with her trademark warning: don’t come in for whatever reason, no matter what sounds you hear. Heh.

She jumps up and down trying to pry the test out of his hands, and he totally pulls that oppa move of holding it above her head and laughing his ass off as she wastes all her energy trying to reach it.

When he refuses to hand it over, she plops down on his bed, determined not to leave until he gives it back. He doesn’t think it’s a very good tactic…he warns her not to regret it, and plops down right next to her with a smile.

She screams at first, but then rolls right back over, facing him with determination. Not the reaction he was expecting. She tries to kick him away and hold her ground, only she’s much lighter, so it sends her veering off the bed.

She’s about to fall head-first, so he jumps up to catch her, landing right on top, of course. Heh. They linger in the sexual tension for just long enough for it to get awkward, and they both get off the bed in that oh-it’s-cool-I’m-totally-cool-not-at-all-thinking-about-you-nekkid-nope-not-me way.

He offers to return the test if she wakes up on time for tomorrow’s lesson. Determined to wake up on time, she sets multiple alarms…only she can’t fall asleep from her pounding heart. She ends up in the kitchen and Gunnie bounds up to her happily, scaring her and getting a face full of spit water for his trouble.

He makes her steamed milk with honey “with love” and tells her to come to the kitchen if she ever wants anything, or just wants to see him. Aw, I’m gonna adore this friendship to pieces, I can tell. Also, jealous! I could do without the palace and the ladies in waiting, and even the closet full of shoes and dresses, but a personal chef? I die of envy.

The next morning Hae-young is disappointed by Seol’s tardiness, and freaks out all the court ladies by barging into her room unattended. He hovers above her to wake her up, only she answers, “Professor?” in her sleepy daze. She puckers her lips at Dream-Jung-woo, raising Hae-young’s ire past the point of reason.

He picks her up and slings her over his shoulder, blanket and all, like a Seol burrito, and stomps out to the main courtyard. He dangles her above the fountain and Seol shrieks, announcing that she’s up now. He doesn’t care; he says smugly, “Oh, you should’ve said so sooner!” …as he plops her into the fountain and walks away. Keh.

What’s even funnier is the staff’s reaction, like the princess just got shot at or something. One of them yells, “CALL 119!”

She gets cleaned up and stomps into the library, asking Hae-young if he sent the test to the President already. He hands it to her and tells her to shape up and take their lessons seriously from now on, and adds a jogging regimen to her daily schedule. She eyes him warily, asking if he’s really given up his quest to overthrow the monarchy: is he really going to make her into a princess? He sort of lies, but can’t quite lie fully—he asks rhetorically if she really believes he’d give up.

They get called to a meeting with Secretary Oh, who gives her the profiles of the main press members who will be at her upcoming press conference. She looks it over eagerly, looking forward to the chance to speak up about her father and clear his name.

Secretary Oh tells her that her father won’t be discussed at this press conference, and she looks at him confused. Hae-young sighs that this is his grandfather’s way of doing things, and walks out.

Yoon-ju gets a send-off from the museum as she prepares to transition into working for the monarchy. One of Seol’s two main court ladies (the older one) shows up to meet with her, and Yoon-ju gets a status report on Seol. Sneaky. The woman seems to be one of Yoon-ju’s employees, who’s also doubly indebted to her for funding her daughter’s surgery.

Yoon-ju tells her not to come see her anymore, and to pretend not to know her at the palace. She does get news that surprises her: Hae-young has entered the palace, unbeknownst to her.

Hae-young meets with the opposition leader, and chastises him for leaking the rumors about Seol’s dad when he expressly told him to hold off. He gives a stern warning about acting on his own.

Yoon-ju texts Jung-woo that she’s getting ready to enter the palace, and that she’d really like it if he came with her. Wait, are they all going to live there too? Palace roommate FOUR-square? Hahaha. Drama, I like your style—if I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go ALL OUT.

Seol requests a trip, and shows up at Jung-woo’s office, where she’s met with smiles. I like that he likes her too, and is aware of her undying crush. It’s a much more compelling triangle that way, since these two, without interference from Hae-young, would probably end up together.

She consults him, her bamboo forest, on what to do about the press conference, and especially about Hae-young—where his loyalties lie and what he’s really around for. Jung-woo tells her that the answer is right in front of her, and to go ahead with lessons and such, to figure out what Hae-young’s true motives are. Besides, he’s the real expert in how to deal with the press, so he’ll have the answer to the press conference question too.

Back at the palace, Seol tells Hae-young that she went out to meet Jung-woo, and Hae-young stops her right there. “Don’t talk about that guy in front of me.” Oh, you.

Meanwhile, he heads back to his apartment to triumph over the reclaiming of all his stuff, in exchange for his entering the palace. Yoon-ju comes by with wine to tell him that she’s going to be entering the palace as well, and learns that Hae-young asked to be assigned there, wanting to keep Seol close.

While she’s there she gets a call from Jung-woo (which Hae-young answers) and runs off to meet him. He accepts her offer for the job, saying that it’s a rare opportunity for research, and that he would’ve said yes right away if it hadn’t been for her.

She wonders why he bothered to tell her that, if he’s going to take the job anyway, wondering how he’s going to face her tomorrow. He laughs bitterly that it’s nothing compared to the pain she’s caused him over ten years. He calls her utterly selfish, to the point that she’s probably never once considered his feelings in ten years. Well, I’d say that’s about right.

He tells her that he’ll be fine facing her at work, because she’s nothing to him now. He walks out, his words stinging as she sits alone. On their own they betray much more emotion, as Yoon-ju cries, and Jung-woo turns over a picture of them as he broods. Hae-young joins in on the broodfest, knowing that she left to go meet Jung-woo, and it IS kind of funny that he keeps getting left behind by women who are entangled with Jung-woo. It makes the rivalry deliciously layered.

Seol stays up all night trying to prepare for the press conference, but just ends up doodling in her notebook, trying to figure out Hae-young, drawing hearts all over Jung-woo’s name, and then writing a letter to Mom saying that she misses home and Mom’s cooking.

But Mom and even her sister Dan show up the next day, and she runs up to hug them. Mom sees Hae-young and takes him aside, still calling him “Park suh-bang,” meaning son-in-law. She catches herself, but he sweetly apologizes for all the lies before, and tells her that his nickname is Park suh-bang anyway, so she can just keep calling him that. Aw.

She asks him to look after Seol, and he hesitates out of guilt, so Mom grabs all the cash in her wallet—what looks like thirty or forty dollars’ worth—and puts it in his hand, asking him to look after her. Aw, Mom is so cute and quaint.

Yoon-ju The Destroyer walks in and introduces herself to Mom. It turns out that she’s called Seol’s family here, for her first order of business—to remove Seol from their family registry. Mom stares in shock, and Hae-young sighs.

Seol finds out from Dan, who just sneers at Seol’s whimpering, telling her to get it together and do a good job, otherwise people will point fingers at their family, saying that Seol was raised badly. She adds with disdain that she’s had to work so hard to earn what she has, while everything comes so easily to Seol. Ugh. There are always these people in the world. Wah, wah, wah. You are the only one who suffers, wah. Let me build you a cross, oh righteous martyr. Blech.

Yoon-ju presents Mom with the document that will put Seol in the royal family registry, and therefore out of theirs. Seol cries holding onto Mom’s arm, as Mom asks what happens to the insurance that she took out for her daughters to live on if something should happen to her. Aw. She begins to cry at the thought of leaving Seol here all alone, with the feeling that she’s sending her daughter out into the world with nothing.

Mom signs the registry and leaves, asking Hae-young once more to look after Seol. He tells her not to worry, but then as he watches her leave, he whispers an apology.

Seol weeps in her room like a little girl, crying, “Mom, Mom,” over and over. Hae-young listens from the hallway, unable to go in and comfort her.

He comes in the next morning, and she’s clearly been up all night crying. He tells her that he’s sorry for his part in duping her mother initially, and tells her it’s time to study. She looks utterly defeated and close to calling it quits, but she finally gets up for her lesson.

Study montage time! Are these two going to fall in love in the library too? They prepare for her press conference in front of a camera, and he has her practice her introduction about a hundred times, at one point critiquing, “You’re not trying to seduce the camera.” Ha.

In trying to find out more about her father, Hae-young comes across a new dilemma for Seol—there’s a record that her adopted father tried to sell a royal artifact, replacing it with a fake. Basically, it boils down to one of her fathers, either her biological father or her adoptive one, is a fraud, and it’s her choice which line of investigation to pursue.

They get called to a dress shop to get fitted for her press conference outfit, and Yoon-ju is there waiting. She takes the opportunity to escort Seol downstairs, and while they’re alone, the claws come out.

She tells Seol to enjoy it all (the good life) while she can. Seol innocently asks what she means. Yoon-ju, cutting down to banmal with a blood-curdling mean-girl tone, tells her that whether she walks out of her own accord, or they have to drag her out of there, she won’t be living in the palace much longer.



Well, I suppose no one’s meant to like Yoon-ju, so they’re going full-force with the Wicked Bitch of the West routine. I just sort of wish she had more spunk, if they were going to make her evil, more like Personal Taste‘s In-hee Bot, rather than the subdued and emotion-repressing version here. I mean, sure, she’s going to out-scheme Seol, but are we really supposed to believe that both men are going to wrestle with the decision: Yoon-ju vs. Seol? I think not.

Perhaps that warning to Seol was the first glimmer of personality, although I pretty much think she’s going to stay her boring self. They should have combined the sister with Yoon-ju; both are wet blankets, but Dan’s not burdened by silly things like conscience or love.

When it’s all fun and games, this drama is at its best. I sort of lose patience with the downturn in tone when people get all broody, but thankfully, there’s so much awesome in the comedy that it keeps me engaged. I can’t WAIT till Jung-woo and Hae-young are living under the same roof. I hope they have to share a bathroom.


233 January 26, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 7

by javabeans

Cute cute cute. We’ve got the beginnings of relationship angst, which is tricky minefield to navigate (particularly when it’s loaded on in shovelfuls) but can be so satisfying when done in just the right amounts. And the guilty-conscience-fighting-growing-attraction internal conflict? Oh, count me in.


My Princess OST – “Kasio” by Taru [ Download ]

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Yoon-ju delivers her spiteful warning to Seol with a calm voice and pleasant smile, which frankly makes her even more hateable, not that she needs the help.

The team settles down for a “concept meeting” to plan out Seol’s public image. The assistants toss out ideas, all of which Yoon-ju rejects, citing reasons that backhandedly take a dig at Seol — such as avoiding the “commoner’s princess” tack because that’ll remind people she’s an orphan and adoptee, and likewise shying away from traditional princess garb lest that remind people of her low-rent part-time job.

As this goes on, Hae-young sees Seol growing dispirited and looks bothered himself, but Yoon-ju presses on — aware of her effect but not bothered by it. Yoon-ju gives a little speech about the necessity of representing the monarchy in all its glory, how they must exceed people’s expectations. That they must take care not to appear bumbling. That this task would have been easier with a prince, but alas, a princess is their reality. Oh, poor you and your heavy burden, scorpion queen.

Seol walks out of the meeting in low spirits, and Hae-young talks to her in a consoling way, understanding how she feels. He advises her to prepare herself for even worse attacks in the future, and that compared to what might happen, this was child’s play. Sheesh, pretty man-bot, you may wanna work on your pep-talkery skills.

She tells him she’s used to not being looked after, as though declining his oh-so-generous offer of help. She points out, as Yoon-ju so graciously did, that she’s an orphan. Touché. And sure enough, Hae-young continues to be bothered with Yoon-ju’s strategy. Well, if this is what it takes for him to realize that she’s a snake, then so be it.

A lady in waiting comes to Hae-young’s room in a panic — the princess has disappeared. Hae-young tells her not to breathe a word of this, and rushes out to look for Seol.

A cursory walkthrough of the palace turns up nothing, until finally he arrives at the gallery, where he hears her voice. Not noticing his presence, Seol sits in a car on display, repeating the words “It’s all your fault” in various intonations.

As he approaches cautiously, we see that Seol is actually watching something on her phone — an episode of Queen Seon-deok! — and mimicking Go Hyun-jung’s delivery, trying to be as commanding and regal. She adds names just as Hae-young comes within earshot: “Park Hae-young, it’s because of you! Oh Yoon-ju, it’s all because of you!” while shaking a finger indignantly. Omg, too funny.

Hae-young joins her in the car, using her own words to answer the question of why he’s here, as he shakes a finger back at her and retorts, “It’s because of you.”

She tells him she’s studying, now that she’s found her role model. He asks dryly if she intends to learn how to assassinate (Mi-shil’s specialty), and she answers in all seriousness that she has to learn, since she’s surrounding by enemies.

He’s amused and asks, “Really? Then your most good-looking enemy must be me.” I just love the egos on these characters. They’re matter-of-fact without being (too) snooty, which is so refreshing. It’s just, Shrug. I’m hot. So what?

He supposes that he’s also the enemy she dislikes the most, and the enemy who gives her the hardest time. She just replies that he’s wrong about one of them, and with his curiosity thus piqued, Hae-young refuses to let her out until she answers which one he was wrong about. She refuses, so he pretends he’s ready to spend the night sitting here, sighing that he won’t be able to sleep well.

They’re interrupted by Seol’s two court ladies, who burst into the room, relieved and worried. To cover up, Hae-young explains that he’s giving her a driving lesson (in the stationary car), and she plays along. Either these court ladies are dumb as bricks, or they’re really afraid of offending the boss. I’d say it’s even money.

Afterward, Seol appears at Hae-young’s door bearing warm milk, since he’d said he might have trouble sleeping. She offers the mug while speaking in formal royal language, which is adorable; I love Seol trying to channel Mi-shil’s authoritativeness. Hae-young advises, “You should stop watching sageuks.” Still, he drinks her milk with a smile.

But his conscience is starting to ping, because he can’t forget that he’s really got an ulterior motive despite pretending to be helping Seol. When meets the president for a princess update, he’s asked pointedly, “Aren’t you putting a lot of effort into your fake teacher act? What if you end up losing your entire inheritance?”

Hae-young assures the president that he’ll just watch over her till the press conference, as though that’ll take care of everything.

Yoon-ju introduces herself formally to the staff and continues with the princess grooming, finding amusement in the painful massage she puts Seol through. Seol rightfully accuses her of enjoying this and doing it on purpose out of revenge, though Spiteful Helmet-Haired Bitch replies sweetly that this skincare treatment is for Seol’s benefit.

Yoon-ju assures Seol that there’s no misunderstanding or revenge at work here — and then puts Seol in a short hairstyle meant to make her look elegant. It does NOT make Seol happy.

Yoon-ju dismisses the attendants before dropping the nice facade and the polite speech. Seol asks why she took this position if she dislikes her so, to which Yoon-ju answers that she’s only doing this because the chairman pressured her into doing it, and adds that if he were to die tomorrow, everything would go away. At Seol’s bewildered expression, Yoon-ju accuses her of being either naive or stupid, or acting.

Seol can’t believe Yoon-ju’s so forthright in her maliciousness, but Yoon-ju speaks as though she fears no one, like there’s no way for her behavior to come around to bite her in the ass. Seol wonders how she can speak of her future husband’s grandfather this way, and Yoon-ju replies, “He can’t hear — not unless you tell him.”

Seol works up her courage to declare that she’s going to live it up at the palace from now on. She’d felt sympathetic for Hae-young (and Yoon-ju by extension) for usurping his inheritance, but now? “I’m going to be a princess — and I won’t feel sorry at all!”

Seol receives another visit from her mother and sister and showers them with gifts. Even the normally frosty Dan thaws a bit as she tries on the pretty things Seol bought her, and the reunion is lively.

But Mom and Dan have come at Hae-young’s request, to go over the matter of Seol’s adopted father. The mood is killed when Hae-young asks her mother to confirm that Dad had once been arrested for selling a forged version of Emperor Sunjong’s letter, which angers Seol (and Dan, for that matter). But Hae-young insists that with the press conference approaching, Mom is better off telling the truth.

Mom sadly confirms it, saying that she’d tried to stop her husband because Seol might need the document later to search out her birth parents. Hae-young tells them that they’ll have to reveal this truth at the press conference.

Dan turns her anger on Seol, accusing her of plying them with gifts to soften the blow of selling out her adopted father to save her biological one. Seol may no longer be a part of her family, but if this information is released, Dan’s career and her future are ruined — nobody will ever hire her.

So Seol confronts Hae-young, asking why he was so nice to her when he was just going to do this. He counters that he’s still treating her well — this is all to clear her bio-dad’s name. But Seol can’t sacrifice one family for another, refusing to clear dad in this way.

Exasperated, Hae-young calls her greedy: “I’m about lose everything because of you, but you don’t want to lose anything at all.” Well, put that way I suppose Man-Bot’s got a point, albeit a flawed one since what he wants is money and what she wants is to not cause people pain. But yunno, potayto, potahto.

Furiously, she declares that she’ll take care of this on her own, and warns him not to interfere at the press conference. Ooh, a threat. Too bad Seol woulda been more effective if she hadn’t announced her intention to her adversary. You’ve got to work on your poker face, girl!

Gun finds Seol staring off into a tomato plant, cheering her with his usual friendliness and jokingly referring to himself as an uljjang. Seol responds to his display of ego by saying he’s suffering from a “prince complex.” Said the girl with the princess complex, which was figuratively true long before it was literal.

Sensing her mood, Gun tells her to feel free to come to him to vent her worries, lending her his shoulder to cry on (or yell at).

Deciding that perhaps she might benefit from sharing her worries after all, she calls Jung-woo. Her plan: To locate any and all people who knew her bio-dad to vouch for his integrity. If she can show the world that he’s a decent man, she may be able to avoid giving up her adopted dad as a sacrificial lamb.

Jung-woo promises to do his best. He asks if she still has the pouch that once belonged to the empress, which was left with her years ago. While she has a vague memory of it, she has no idea what happened to it, although we do — ten to one it’s the pouch Dan had in her desk.

Seol invites Jung-woo to eat with her, and who should they find in the dining room but the Hae-young and Yoon-ju. Hae-young pointedly says that the princess shouldn’t be hanging around random other men, and keeps glancing over at Seol throughout the meal. Yoon-ju does as well, while the other two ignore them and smile winningly at each other.

Hae-young criticizes the way Seol cuts her steak, which is so petty that I love it. Especially since Jung-woo understands perfectly what’s going on, and takes Seol’s plate to cut her meat up for her while the other people pretend they don’t care.

So Hae-young slides his plate over and requests the same service, since it appears the good professor is particularly skilled in this arena. He even references the bathroom incident that transpired the last time Seol had steak, and has the nerve to add that his toilet got stopped up that day. Oh man. You’ve really got it bad when your version of pulling a girl’s pigtails equals humiliating her with talk of her bathroom habits.

Then Yoon-ju jumps in to criticize Seol’s conversational skills, which prompts Jung-woo to defend Seol by saying Yoon-ju’s conversation is much worse, and then Hae-young criticizes Jung-woo, which brings Seol to his defense. This four-way snipe-o-go-round is enough to make your head spin. I LOVE IT.

Jung-woo surprises them all, however, by explaining that he’s actually here for a meeting… with Chairman Park.

The old man hears from Jung-woo that Seol doesn’t have the embroidered pouch, and explains that he is asking Jung-woo because he can’t trust Seol’s answers, as she doesn’t trust him either. He tells Jung-woo to search for the pouch while working at the palace, which is a fairly flimsy excuse to bring him into the palace — but if it gets our quarreling quartet all up in each other’s living spaces, I’m all for it.

They both agree to keep this meeting a secret, Jung-woo specifically requesting that the chairman not tell Yoon-ju about it.

Seol is thrilled to hear that Jung-woo will be reporting to the palace every day — and naturally, that makes Hae-young pissy, and he gives Jung-woo a particularly rude dismissal.

Jung-woo declines Yoon-ju’s request to speak with him, and leaves her hanging by saying he’s quite at ease these days. (Read: I am SO over you.) Oh, I’m liking him more and more.

Seol calls to check in on her mother that night while sitting in her new hideaway, the antique car on display. Hearing Hae-young enter with Yoon-ju, she ducks down out of sight.

Yoon-ju makes a reference to the car being entered without permission, and Hae-young covers for Seol by admitting that he’d done it. Surprising both women, Hae-young responds to Yoon-ju’s comment that Seol is a troublemaker by saying sympathetically that she’s probably acting out of self-preservation. He reminds her what it was like after Yoon-ju’s mother died when they were kids and they’d leaned on each other. By contrast, Seol is alone in the palace.

But Yoon-ju long traded her heart in and replies that pity is for those who deserve it, and tells Hae-young what Seol had said earlier about intending to live it up in the palace without guilt. Contrary to her intention, though, Hae-young isn’t upset; that means he can feel less sorry to Seol as well.

Outside, Hae-young catches a glimpse of Seol burning some papers — the stories about her adopted father’s crime — which indicates her decision not to choose between her fathers. He doesn’t interrupt, and instead opts to brood alone, as he so often does.

Mom and Dan are relieved at Seol’s decision not to discuss Dad at the press conference, and Mom sends Dan to the palace with a large box of homemade rice cakes. Dan ditches the food at the bus stop — such a pill, that one — and heads to the palace empty-handed, where Yoon-ju greets her.

Given that it would seem these two have the most cause to gang up against Seol, it’s sorta gratifying that they haven’t, and that it’s Dan who is holding out. She doesn’t like Yoon-ju — or, more to the point, doesn’t trust her — and has no reason to go along with her. Seeing that Dan won’t be cooperating, Yoon-ju turns cold(er) and tells her to quit loitering at the palace without a reason.

Dan challenges, “And if I have a reason?” and brings up the issue of the empress’s pouch.

Hae-young receives a call from somebody who knew Seol’s father, who had made several attempts to contact him. It turns out that the matter was covered up by Secretary Oh, who thought it best that he remain in the dark.

Secretary Oh means this in a protective way, because the discovery of a witness would cause Hae-young to lose his own father — because his dear dad wasn’t perhaps as noble as Hae-young remembers.

A flashback shows us a man in a suit — Hae-young’s father, we presume — with young Seol, as her father came rushing in to claim her. Seol’s father had reminded him that he wasn’t to mess with his daughter, while the rich man had warned him to stay out of his sight — and especially his father’s — or risk death.

Then, complicating matters, young Hae-young had entered just as Seol had been leaving. Gah, is there no drama storyline untouched by Fate?

Hearing the story, Hae-young shakes his head in denial, angry at the implication and refusing to believe that his father would have tormented the emperor’s heir. He asks if the secretary is making this story up to turn Seol into the princess, clinging to the fact that he doesn’t remember any of this. But clearly he’s rocked by the possibility that it’s true and breaks down, just as his image of his beloved father starts to crumble.

Seol is excited that this witness has surfaced, and asks to meet him right away. Hae-young drives her, keeping his own feelings under wraps, and they arrive at a harbor some distance from home.

As they approach the man’s home, Seol has a memory of being a child and living her with her father.

It turns out that this man had fished with Seol’s father back in the day, and produces a photo to support it. Even without the concrete proof, Seol is starting to recall more memories, which are stirred by this location.

She and Hae-young have dinner at a local seafood restaurant, where Seol indulges her good mood with a bottle of soju, ignoring Hae-young’s caution to lay off the sauce. Despite her insistence that she’s got a strong head for liquor, she slurs a bit as she asks Hae-young if he’d still be upset with her being a princess if his inheritance had nothing to do with it. He recites all of her outlandish behavior (dancing in the street, asking a stranger to hand over his receipt, and so on) to point out how very un-princessy she is.

After asserting that he’s merely her teacher and she’s the princess, Seol flops over, dead drunk. She staggers her way out in the snow, and falls over. Deciding that the expedient thing to do is to carry her off on piggyback, Hae-young warns that if she vomits on him, he’ll throw her into the ocean.

Seol teases and prods at him, covering his eyes playfully and talking in a flirtatious baby voice about how his eyelashes are the best. She asks him to give them to her (lol), which earns her a dry look from him, though he answers grudgingly, “Yours are pretty too.” Aw.

Seol is basically the most adorable pain in the ass ever as she sing-songs, wags her feet, and makes cute demands of him to tie her shoelaces in that sageuk royalspeak. Finally, he sets her down and grumbles that she’s pretty fearless to get drunk in a strange neighborhood. She gaily replies that she trusts her protector — what could happen to her with him here?

That unwarranted faith in his character pings his guilty conscience, and Hae-young looks at her intently. He sighs, “You really drive me crazy,” not knowing what to do with her; things would be easier if they hated each other.

But she replies — answering his question from before — that of the three choices he’d given her, it’s the disliking him one that’s false. (Which also means that she finds him her most handsome enemy, as well as the one who gives her the most difficulty.)

Pulling him to her, Seol gives him a kiss on the cheek. After she pulls away, he stares at her for a few long moments, then looks away, unsettled.

When he looks at her again, he prefaces his next move by instructing her, “Forget this.”

With that, he moves in for a kiss.


If we’re going to have a villainess mucking up the works, at least she’s the kind who’s very easy to hate — not much depth from a story point of view, but at least it’s satisfying to watch her fall victim to her own bitterness and, ultimately, failing to undermine our heroine. Yoon-ju’s the kind of person who has to convince herself that she’s happy, when really, she courts misery with her overwhelming desire to make something of herself and prove that she’s better. In contrast, Seol’s a much happier person, even when she’s down in the dumps, so Yoon-ju will always be foiled by her own insecurity and manipulation. I can live with that, and in fact wouldn’t mind her going even more over-the-top — all the easier to have fun anticipating her demise.

Yeah, the plot can be a little flimsy, particularly with the overwhelming importance attributed to one measly press conference. Or should I say, The! Press! Conference! The one, singular, make-it-or-break-it event upon which the future of the entire monarchy rests… NOT. For now, it gives us a handy deadline by which certain conflicts must play out so I’m content to let that slide, although I find myself laughing a little bit more with every mention.

My Princess does share the low-key plot and focus on relationship-building of the director’s previous drama, Pasta, and you can feel the similarities in directing choices as well. The upside of that for this drama is that even at its least developed, a monarchy/conspiracy/princessy drama has a lot more going on than one that focuses the weight of its conflict on how to make linguine.

Plus, Kim Tae-hee and Song Seung-heon? Just adorable together.


465 January 27, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 8

by girlfriday

There’s lots of drama in this episode, but very little fun, which doesn’t really serve this show well. Some shows can run the gamut from comedy to melodrama with equal effectiveness and sometimes much more emotional gain, but this one buckles a little under the pressure, because it’s not equipped for weighty stuff. When we do find the cute moments, we’re golden, but it’s a bit of a wild goose chase in this episode, to find the nuggets hidden amongst all the soulful staring. Jung-woo saves this episode with some much-needed levity and a helpful dose of common sense, making him Prince of the Castle for the week.


Hae-young tells her to “forget this,” and then kisses her. Next thing we know, she’s asleep and he tucks her in for the night. Wait, is this the anti-Sleeping Beauty? Isn’t the prince’s kiss supposed to wake the princess from a deep sleep, not put her in one?

He broods for a while, and then leaves her behind, because he’s tortured like that.

It turns out that ditching her is more than your average guilt-by-kissage, as today is the day of The! Press! Conference! Well thank ye drama gods, because I was not going to tolerate this stupid plotline for one episode longer.

Seol wakes up to find that she’s alone, and goes looking for Hae-young out by the sea. She gets carried away by Hae-young’s henchmen (which are, strangely, Grandpa’s henchmen—what, you couldn’t get your own?).

Once locked in the car, she tells them that Hae-young will come to take her back, so there’s no need for this, as it’s not like they’re kidnapping her in an act of terrorism. Hearing those words come out of her mouth just reminds me that I insanely watched an entire drama relying on her to save the world. Hur hur.

Seol’s faith in Hae-young is so sad, especially since it’s about to bite her in the ass in…three…two…one…

The henchman’s phone rings, and it’s Hae-young. He passes the phone to Seol, who naively asks him to come get her. Hae-young sighs as he tells her in plain language: “I threw you away.” He tells her that he’s not coming back, and that she won’t be attending the press conference today, no matter how hard she tries. Cue bells of “I Geddit, I Geddit…Oh Crap.”

Meanwhile, preparation for the press conference gets underway, as Yoon-ju and Grandpa both get word that the princess has disappeared. It seems that Yoon-ju isn’t in on this plan, which makes me feel a little better that Hae-young isn’t plotting against Seol with the wicked witch.

Time for The! Press! Conference! Finally! Everyone gathers and flutters over the missing princess. Hae-young makes them wait in order to make a grand entrance (oh, you drama queen), and tells them that the princess will not be attending today’s press conference.

He then announces the palace’s official position on Seol’s father and his past, essentially clearing his name of the crimes. But in so doing, he names her adoptive father as the culprit, and even adds that Seol wanted to use this press conference to clear her father’s name. While that’s not untrue, it certainly leaves out that whole part where she didn’t want to throw her other father to the wolves to do it.

Jung-woo sneaks out to call Seol, who finally answers after begging for her phone back. She asks Jung-woo to prolong the press conference for as long as he can, and that she’s on her way to explain everything. He wonders if this is all Hae-young’s doing. Well, it certainly looks that way, doesn’t it?

Hae-young walks out, leaving the press clamoring with questions. Jung-woo stops him in the courtyard to ask if he kept Seol from coming here by force, and if he understands the magnitude of what he’s done. He takes the betrayal personally, saying that despite not liking him, he did think that Hae-young’s concern for Seol was real, and that he was in the very least, a trustworthy man.

Hae-young: “Well you thought wrong.” He can’t help himself though, and tells Jung-woo to back off from Seol, since his concern for her seems to overstep the normal professor-student relationship.

Jung-woo is quick to answer that it DOES go beyond: “Seol is more than a student to me. Lee Seol is living history, and she’s a dream that I’ve been chasing my whole life.” Well, it’s not the most romantic thing a girl wants to hear, but I’ll forgive you since you’re wearing your spiffy Indiana-Jones-in-the-city look today.

Hae-young glares as he muses bitterly, “It must be nice, being able to take sides so definitively.” Jung-woo: “It IS nice, and I plan to do so from now on.” Yee-to-the-haw. Bring on the dogfights.

Seol watches news footage of the press conference from the car, and realizes what Hae-young meant. Back at the palace Yoon-ju asks him if he was with Seol last night. He says he was and wanted to be, but stops at that and doesn’t give excuses. She says she doesn’t care, since she trusts him, but adds that his plan will hardly induce Seol to give up the throne.

Yoon-ju points out that what he did was, in the end, a choice to protect Seol. Grandpa agrees, though he’s angry about where he’s stashed the princess in the meantime. Hae-young: “She’s somewhere…crying.”

Sure enough, Seol requests the car to turn around, and she heads straight to Mom’s house. Mom and Dan see the press conference on the news, and reel at the shock of Seol’s direct betrayal.

Seol runs to the door, crying and screaming for Mom to let her in so she can explain. She heartbreakingly cries out to Mom over and over, saying that she’s sorry, that she was wrong, that this isn’t how it was supposed to be.

Mom listens from inside, her heart breaking as she holds herself back, wanting so much to let her in, but unable to. She says aloud to herself that it’s okay, that as long as she lives a good life at the palace, there’s nothing else she could ask for. She says that she knows in her head that Seol isn’t to blame, but her heart isn’t letting her face Seol right now.

Jung-woo appears behind her, and gets her to stop crying. He presents her with a simple choice—to stay here with Mom and Dan, or to return to the palace. She doesn’t know how to answer, and he points out that what should be a simple answer isn’t one, for her.

He tells her that he guessed that after what went down at the press conference, he’d find her here, and so he came…but he had hoped he wouldn’t find her here. Because this is where his student Lee Seol would be, sure, but the princess—she should have appeared at the press conference, no matter how late.

He points out that she’s not acting like the princess because she doesn’t consider herself as one. He adds that other than being spun in circles by Hae-young and Yoon-ju, she’s not doing anything.

Jung-woo: Before you are your parents’ daughter, you are Korea’s history. A history that needs to be put right again, and a history that is yet to be written. [This is what you are] To me, and to Korea.

Back at the palace, Hae-young takes out the picture of his father, the glass now broken in the frame. Symbolism! Secretary Oh tells him that he made the right decision (to clear Lee Ahn’s name) but Hae-young is quick to make it clear that it’s hardly going to be difficult for him to bully one little girl out of the palace, and makes his position against Grandpa known.

Yoon-ju looks at Dan’s profile, and wonders if the royal satchel that she claims to have is the real deal or not.

Grandpa gets word that the princess has returned, and in getting a report from his henchmen, finds out that she and Hae-young shared a room last night. He flips his lid, at which the henchman stutters that there was only the one room, and it’s not like a man and a woman sharing a room necessarily means they… But Grandpa goes ahead and has a fit anyway.

Seol and Jung-woo arrive and she heads straight for Hae-young. She runs into Yoon-ju first, in front of the staff, and Yoon-ju ices her with, “You’re late…very.” This time, not to be outdone, Seol ices her right back: “Yes. You must have been happy…very.” Niiiice.

After they clear the room, Yoon-ju remains with Jung-woo, and makes a dig that his student is so unpredictable. He just wheels around to say that it’s what makes her likable—that no matter how unpredictable it is where she might pop up next, it’s guaranteed that wherever it is, it’ll be bright because of her. Aw. He turns to add that Yoon-ju was like that…once. Burn.

Seol runs to Hae-young’s room, banging on the door and shouting for him to come out. She’s doing a lot of crying outside people’s doors this episode. After a while of brooding and avoiding, he finally comes out to face her.

She lays into him for leaving her there, hitting him in a fit of anger and tears. She cries that her family won’t see her because of what he’s done, and he coldly tells her that she herself said that she’s used to being an orphan.

He tells her that she should have expected as much, if she’s going to be a princess, and that she should have known that people would do this to her.

Seol: I did know. I expected this from other people. But not Park Hae-young. A reason? I don’t know. Proof? I don’t have any. But I just believed…that Park Hae-young would protect me.
Hae-young: What are you? What are you to me? Why did you think I’d protect you? Without any reason or proof, why are you putting me beside you at your whim and blaming me? …. Do you want forgiveness? Do you want your family back? Then give up being a princess. If you give it all up, you can return…to your family…and to me.

Whoa. Now THAT I wasn’t expecting. It’s both tragic (because he means it) and down and dirty (because he’s now dangling himself as a reason for her to give up the throne).

He leaves her crying alone in the hallway.

The next morning, Yoon-ju assembles the court ladies to ask if anyone knew about Seol’s disappearing act the night before last. She makes it clear that she must be told every single thing about the princess, from her footsteps down to her sneezes. Okay, creepy stalker. She adds that if Seol manages to escape again, someone here will pay the price with her job.

Seol spends the whole day calling Mom and Dan over and over, with no answer from either. Dan finally gets sick of it, and spitefully texts Seol from Mom’s phone, telling her not to call anymore. Worst sister ever.

Seol makes a move to head out the door, but gets stopped with a desperate plea from her court lady that without Yoon-ju’s approval, Seol stepping one foot out of the palace means that she loses her job. Seol remains trapped in the palace, stewing all day, until Yoon-ju arrives to start a new catfight.

She tells Seol that there’s rampant speculation in the press about whether the princess is sick, or dead, and blames her irresponsible behavior. Seol states plainly that she’s alive and well, so they can dispute the rumors, can’t they? Yoon-ju shoot back that other than being alive, Seol isn’t really good for anything. Yeesh.

She tells her, commands her, really, to get dressed to go to the hospital and play sick for the public. She basically calls her a third-rate celebrity, and for her to do at least that much.

It finally pushes Seol into action, and she tells Yoon-ju to assemble her entire staff. She has something to say to all of them, as the princess.

She comes out where the staff including Hae-young, Yoon-ju, and Jung-woo are assembled, and gets ready to address them. She stands on her tiptoes trying to look at everyone in the room, but finds that her highest heels aren’t doing the job. So she gets up on the couch to address the room with authority. It’s both adorable and regal—in other words, the perfectly princessy thing to do.

She apologizes for missing the press conference and for all the rumors milling about, which she plans to start correcting.

Seol: I didn’t know who I was, or what I was supposed to do. This circumstance that I came up against…scared me, you see. The reason I entered the palace was to clear my father’s name. But now I know—that my father is not just my father, but the monarchy’s history.

She announces that she’s calling for a re-do on the press conference. Oh dear lord, are we doing another press conference? But! We just got rid of the last one!

Yoon-ju confronts Hae-young about what on earth happened between him and Seol that night to make her act like this. He just brushes it aside, but Yoon-ju says that she thought they were on the same path…is that not the case anymore?

He asks what path she means, and she spells it out: M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E. Duh. He reminds her that he said he wouldn’t marry her if he became penniless. He says it’s the last thing he can do for her. With tears in her eyes, she asks why he thinks that’s what she’d want; if he wants to make her out to be that kind of woman.

He answers that it’s true he was never impassioned towards her (ouch) but that he’s always wanted to take care of her, and to honor her father’s loyalty to their family. Oooohhhh…double ouch. That is the WORST possible thing you could say to the woman who loves you. Geez, I’m shuddering.

Instead of rejecting the man who clearly thinks of her as an obligation, she stupidly asks him to marry her now then. She calls his bluff, noting that he can’t do it, because it leave him no out…and because he’s feeling something for Seol. He denies that he’ll do anything with Seol, but Yoon-ju sees right through him: “You already have.”

Jung-woo presents Seol with a history of her family, and they have a good flirt over whether he’s giving it to her, or just showing off that he does super important research. She catches him smiling at her, and actually calls him on it: “You’re totally looking at me like I’m so cute right now!” OMG, she cracks me up.

She wonders if she can pull it off, being the princess, and he encourages her, with the reminder that all her days from here on out will be recorded as history, just like her ancestors. He tells her to be careful, and especially not to write love letters to just anyone. Ha.

Seol realizes that if she’s going to be recorded in history, there’s a few things from her past history that needs to be erased. She starts making a list of all the things that need to be erased, starting with her comments in online forums. Hahaha. Future princesses be warned: your life online can haunt your reign. Discretion advised.

Hae-young walks into the gallery, and she hurriedly crumples up the paper and sticks it in her mouth. What are you, a goat? He pulls it out and starts to read it, wondering what the titles are: “What is this? Do you watch porn?” Seol: “NO! I only watched the trailers!” LOL.

He gets on the phone and has someone just sweep the online history, stopping to ask: “Do you watch porn on foreign sites too?” Ha. She wonders why he’s being nice to her again, and what backhanded move he’s got planned next. He asks how she plans to pull it off, with her limited skills.

She reminds him that even in her part-time job, she played a princess. Hae-young: “That’s right. Because of you, every foreigner who visits Korea thinks princesses are pretty.” She’s about to spit back another retort, until she realizes what he just said.

Seol: “What…what did you say?” Hae-young: “That you’re pretty.”

She starts to stammer and he follows it up with: “Are you being swayed right now?” She glares at him, trying to figure out if he’s doing this just to mess with her. Seol: “Are you testing me?” Hae-young: “I’m testing ME.”

They get called to dinner by Grandpa, who makes the announcement that Hae-young needs to do something to make it clear to the public that Daehan Group no longer has any ties to the monarchy…marry Yoon-ju.

Everyone sits with bated breath, and then Hae-young answers that he will, not for Daehan or the monarchy, but because he wants to. Seol and Jung-woo both stare agape. And then, Yoon-ju one-ups him with her answer: That SHE won’t marry him.


Wah, where did all the fluffy fun go? We barely recovered some of it in the last five minutes, but it was sorely missing all episode long. I really only like this show for one reason, and that’s silly, frothy, evaporate-into-fluffy-clouds fun, and well…this episode had none of that. **princess pout** It’s not like I hate the drama when it’s all angsty, but its weaknesses really start to show at the seams when the whole episode is spent in Serious Stuff, because…well… I hate to point out that the emperor has no clothes on, but this show doesn’t exactly hold its water in the Serious Plot Department.

I get that the characters are all taking the angst seriously, but I’m not, so there’s a gap that gets widened when I’m not pulled in by much more compelling things like romance and funny hijinks. Seol’s angst is a little more raw (and better performed, truth be told) so I connect a little more with what she’s going through, but now that she’s got all that crying out of the way, I’d really like to see her do more of what she does towards the end of the episode, and stand up to Yoon-ju and Hae-young instead of whining that the universe is messing with her.

But mostly, please, bring back The Cute. Bring it baaaaaaaack.


225 February 2, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 9

by javabeans

I’m still fully onboard My Princess, although people are starting to jump ship, as evidenced by this week’s drop in the ratings (it conceded the lead to Sign and only recorded a 12.1%, down from its high of more than 20%).

I can sort of understand why, given that there’s not as much comedy as there was in the first few episodes, as always happens in rom-coms around this point. If the romance were stagnant on top of that, I’d probably be growing bored, too, but I like the way the relationships keep shifting, never quite the same in one episode as they were in the one previous. For that alone, I’m happy.


Every Single Day – “노을” (Sunset) from the My Princess OST. My favorite song from the soundtrack. [ Download ]

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While Hae-young agrees to marry Yoon-ju — insisting it’s his will, not anyone else’s — Yoon-ju surprises everyone by saying she won’t. Grandpa sits down the errant couple to find out what the matter is, and Yoon-ju explains that she and her father have never disobeyed the chairman’s wishes — but in marriage, she, like all women, wanted to be proposed to rather than ordered.

Grandpa backs down enough to see that she has a point. Or she would, if she weren’t such a big fat LIAR. There’s no way in hell that someone as ruthlessly ambitious would reject a marriage out of pique.

Once they’re alone, Hae-young asks Yoon-ju about her response, and she asks the same of him — when did he change his mind? He answers that the situation dictated that he say yes, which she assumes has something to do with Seol. He corrects her: It was because he knew that the one she loved was sitting right there, and he didn’t want to embarrass her by rejecting her in front of everyone.

Yoon-ju hadn’t realized he’d known about her relationship with Jung-woo all this while, and Hae-young explains that he understood how she felt, bound to each other by duty. But after feeling something for Seol, he realized that he was wronging Yoon-ju.

He apologizes for that now, and Yoon-ju is incredulous. She’s the one who was dating behind his back, but he apologizes to her? It must be a foreign concept to somebody who couldn’t muster an apology or a sincere word without a gun to the head.

Hae-young adds that he doesn’t resent her for it: “But you can’t come back to me now, Yoon-ju. This isn’t because you have another man, or that you don’t love me, or even because you want Daehan Group. That means nothing to me now. The reason you can’t return to me is purely because… I’m going to protect her now.”


Seol makes her milk nightcap (topped with a chocolate-sauce sad face tonight) as she thinks back to the kiss. Angrily, she vows to forget that kiss, all right — not because HE said to, but because she wants to! Take that, stupid chocolate crying face! And her milk turns into a puddle of choco goo.

…which is, of course, when Hae-young joins her at the make-your-own-nightcap bar, which is, by the way, perhaps the best idea EVER. Startled, she asks if he heard her, and when he wearily asks what she means, she replies, “Me saying, You jerk— oops.” Heh.

He’s too tired to have it out with her, so Seol grumbles, “Are you that angry that she won’t marry you? Jerk.” He looks at her at that, and she asks, “Did you hear that too? Sorry, I’ll say it internally from now on.” Then she says to herself, deliberately loudly, that he must be sooo humiliated to be dumped like that publicly and driven to drink. She’s too cute.

He wonders, “Why, in this large palace, are you everywhere I turn?” She replies that it’s because they’re feeling the same, since “I was dumped today too, non-publicly.” He looks at her intently as he registers the meaning — that she was rejected by him — and says seriously, “You weren’t dumped.” (Awwww! If only she’d connect the dots…) She doesn’t understand his almost-confession, but he leaves it at that.

The next order of business, Hae-young decrees, is for Seol to make public her personal assets, in the name of transparency and such. Also, people have to know who she is in order to vote for the restoration.

Seol asks for some time to take care of her affairs, heading to the bank to withdraw the whole of her personal account. It’s not much — about $150 — but she turns it over to the state, since it’ll look intriguing to the capitalistic public that she gave up her “entire wealth” to the nation. Heh. I love that Seol isn’t a goody-two-shoes about things like this; she’s not unethical, but has a certain media savvy.

On their way out, Seol crosses paths with an old friend, Hyun-woo oppa (Joo Sang-wook, in a cameo), and greets him brightly. She moves to give him a hug, but Hae-young drags her back and chides her for her familiarity with a stranger. I love that he again waits expectantly for her to introduce him as the Very Important Person that he is, only to be dismissed as a mere bodyguard.

So Hae-young corrects her and calls himself “the person responsible for her, in a lot of ways” — which, of course, sounds just a little bit odd and rather possessive.

Back at the palace, Hae-young sits her down with a piece of paper and tells her to tidy up her past as well, meaning old boyfriends. She explains that Hyun-woo oppa is just a “warm childhood memory” to her, but Hae-young persists — when did she have her first love? When was her last kiss? I love it — Hae-young is at his best when he’s being insecure and motivated by jealousy, though he covers it up with the flimsy excuse about needing to know her history. Yeahhhh, right. For good of king and country?

She muses that it’s been three years since her last kiss, but he tells her to think again, prodding for mention of that night. You know, that one. Seol takes issue with his third degree and turns the questions around on him, but he pronounces himself completely aboveboard and forthright… well, except for one particular night.

Seol finally catches his drift, but it’s then that they’re called away for a meeting about the upcoming (urg!) press conference. (It’s a fanciful world indeed when you can be ruined, and then rebuilt, with the power of one maaaagical press conference.)

Yoon-ju smirks to read Seol’s prepared statement (as do the other court ladies, who find her flowery metaphors amusing), but Hae-young calmly declares it suitable, with some editing.

Seol hears that Dan has come to visit and perks up immediately, dashing out to meet her sister. She’s hopeful that this is a sign of peace and hugs her warmly, but Dan is really just here to scream at her for selling out her family to become princess.

Unable to contain with her anger, Dan shrieks at Seol while flinging clothes from the closet and raises a hand to hit Seol.

Hae-young steps forward to block her arm and comments caustically that this is what it must be like having siblings, and that Dan is welcome to come back anytime and ruin more clothes. Seol accuses Hae-young of wanting this result anyway — hence his press conference machinations — to which he agrees. “But I can’t watch any more of it.”

He follows Dan out to warn her not to come by again, and to stay away from Mom’s inn as well, for that matter. Reason being that he’s headed there next, to explain to Mom that Seol had nothing to do with the announcement of her adopted father’s crime, and that it was all his doing.

Just as he’s asking Mom to keep her distance from Seol from the moment (since that’ll only weaken her), a banging on the door interrupts. It’s Seol, here to try to talk to her mother again, determined to come by until she’s ready to see her. She promises not to cry anymore, though, noting that someone (Evil Bitch Sister) takes offense to it.

Though she gets no response, Seol settles down for a conversational chat with Mom as the two inside look stricken, not knowing how to react. Seol confides that oddly enough, among the people at the palace “who enjoy watching me struggle,” she has developed feelings for one of them. Omo omo! First an almost-confession from him, and now her? Episode, you’re making me happy.

She goes on to say that he sure confuses her a lot, always bickering with her and even ditching her, “But then suddenly… he’s as tender as Dad.”

Seol adds that her heart races whenever she’s around him… but he’s marrying another woman. And yet, she can’t stop liking him, either.

Inside the house, Hae-young looks grim to hear her repeat all the wrongs he’d committed against her, and Mom looks at him in shock, guessing he’s the one. Mom rises, wanting to open the door, but Hae-young holds her back.

On the drive back to the palace, Seol’s driver notices that Hae-young’s car is following behind, and that it had been parked at Mom’s place earlier. Seol’s eyes widen at the idea that he might have heard her embarrassing confession, and she orders the car to drop her off at the side of the road so she can ride with Hae-young… who just zooms right by her.

Shocked that he’d just ditch her (“Don’t you watch movies?!”) she flags down a truck and begs the man to follow Hae-young’s car, and he does so more out of amusement that she might be crazy than because he believes she really is the princess. Eager to latch onto any reason to get him to drive faster, Seol agrees that she is indeed a nutjob and holds up a finger gun, threatening to “shoot” him if he doesn’t comply.

She then turns on the truck’s loudspeaker and orders Hae-young to pull over — speaking in her Mishil voice, of course — and adding for good measure that “Whatever you heard at the pension was a mistake!”

When he stops to collect her, Seol hastens to assure him that whatever he heard was misunderstood, and that he’s not the guy she was talking about, she really meant some dude, Mr. P! Hae-young (who, by the way, happens to be a Mr. P) smiles, knowing she’s doing a horrible job of covering up for her slip.

Press conference day. While Seol prepares to make her statement, she gets a flower delivery from her mother. On the petals of three roses, Mom has written words of affirmation: “Princess before flowers,” “Lee Seol before flowers,” and “My daughter before flowers.” It’s a way of saying that Seol is more than, beyond, and better than the most beautiful flowers, using a common saying (which was around before Boys Before Flowers but may be a reference to that drama, given Mom’s connection).

Seol makes her way to the press conference — but her nerves take a hit the moment she registers that in contrast to the last time, this event is practically empty. Only three reporters sit at the tables.

Yoon-ju feigns concern and tells the chairman that something must have gone wrong (was its name Yoon-ju?), though she looks rather pleased with herself.

Despite this disappointment, Seol gathers her courage and takes her place, greeting the room warmly as she begins her statement.

Hae-young receives word that there’s a situation at the parking lot — reporters without a press badge have been barred from entry. He immediately guesses that this is Yoon-ju’s doing, and dashes off a note to be delivered to Seol.

Seol reads the note while mid-speech, startled at the message: “How about having the press conference in the parking lot, Princess?” (A pretty shrewd move, seeing as how she was so effective at delivering her impromptu speech to the staff in the last episode.)

Seol thinks so too — smiling to herself, she finishes the sentence she is reading and adds, “I will continue the rest of this address in the parking lot.” Without giving anyone time to register her words, Seol dashes outside — pulling off her heels for better speed — and runs in her stocking feet.

At the edge of the parking lot, she finds the crowd of reporters being held back from entry, who eagerly fire a barrage of questions at her. Thinking quickly, she grabs a chair and climbs on top of it, then grabs a bullhorn from a parking attendant when the reporters complain that they can’t hear her.

Arriving in the background, Hae-young smiles at her moxie — as do the reporters, who appreciate that she is moving the press conference here — while Yoon-ju looks grim. Well, grimmer. (Seriously, what gives, Sourpuss lady?)

Seol admits that she left behind her speech in her haste, so she will merely speak her mind — which is, really, what she does best anyway. She apologizes for not being the princess that people deserve, and says that her speech contained a line about resuming the succession and being a pivotal moment in Korea’s history. She’d like that as well, but she’s not sure how to do that, and asks them all to tell her what she should do, and what they want to do. She may not be the smartest, but her aides in the palace are incredibly smart, and they’ll think of answers together.

The reporters ask how, exactly, they are to let her know, so she directs them to a website and invites them to write in suggestions that she promises to read.

The reporters are so charmed that they cheer for her as she wraps up, making everyone — minus the soulless Yoon-ju, who therefore doesn’t really qualify as a person — proud. Particularly Hae-young and Jung-woo.

Afterward, Seol asks her assistants who wrote the memo, guessing that it’s Hae-young. His aide swears that it wasn’t, so she prods, “Did he perhaps tell you not to tell me?” The aide blurts, “Not perhaps, he said to absolutely not tell—” Oops.

Sitting down at the fountain to rest her feet, Seol sees that her soles are dirty, not to mention scraped from the asphalt. At Hae-young’s sudden appearance, she straightens hurriedly and tucks her feet away. Hae-young grabs for her feet anyway, wanting to assess her injury, which makes her panic. Instead, she jumps into the fountain — haha — and pretends that the coolness is just what her feet need.

Hae-young offers her a reward for her successful day, and picks her right up from out of the fountain, complaining teasingly about her weight. And do I feel sorry that Yoon-ju sees this from the shadows? Ha! I only doubt that it stirs any emotions in her, seeing as how I’m sure they all shriveled up and died years ago.

As a result of Seol’s impromptu press conference, her public stock is rising, and fast — the terms red megaphone, barefoot princess, and parking lot press conference are all buzzwords (and search terms) of the day. In addition, both her online fan cafes and anti-fan cafes are growing by the minute. Not to worry, though — Seol’s awesome lady in waiting is on the job and has sussed out the anti’s. No way they’re getting away with causing any trouble on her watch.

Alas, the news isn’t so good for Gun, who fears that his bright light has turned into a faraway star. Sob.

Mr. President isn’t loving the fact that the princess is growing increasingly popular on Hae-young’s watch, as he was supposed to be working against the monarchy restoration. Hae-young apologizes, but the president just waves that aside, saying ominously that they’ll have to turn a disadvantageous situation into an opportunity. Since the princess is so good with speaking to the public, he’s thinking to make her the speaker for the Blue House. Hm, keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

The next day, Hae-young finds Seol in the antique car again, cackling to herself over her newfound popularity in another Mishil-inspired moment. He’s here to inform her that he’s heading out today, and she blusters about not caring one way or the other. It’s sorta cute how confident he is in her feelings now that he’s heard her confession, and he says he’s just letting her know, so she won’t wander around looking for him.

She tries to set specific times for them to use this car with the explanation that they should avoid each other when possible — a suggestion he flatly declines. When she insists she’ll be using the car from 9 to 10, for instance, he wonders, “Are you telling me so I’ll come find you?” Hee.

Hae-young’s errand takes him to Seol’s father’s grave, where he stands with head bowed and says nothing other than “I’m sorry.” Um, I’m not sure I like the sound of that, since he can only be sorry if he’s going to be hurting Seol… Gah! How ’bout you just not do the thing that’ll make you have to be sorry? What do you mean, it doesn’t work like that? That’s exactly how it should work!

Annnnyway, Seol has traced back her memories of the empress’s pouch and thinks the orphanage is a good place to start. She and Jung-woo head over together, not realizing they’re one step behind Yoon-ju, who has already gotten there to ask the nun about it.

The nun remembers Seol fondly, and recalls how the adoptive parents insisted on Seol despite the orphanage recommending another girl the same age — Go Eun-byul (the name Seol initially called herself when first meeting Yoon-ju). At the time, Seol had recalled nothing of her past, and when she was adopted together with Eun-byul, the latter’s name was changed to Dan.

Seol and Jung-woo interrupt this meeting, surprised to see Yoon-ju here, and the latter sits tensely while Seol asks about the pouch. She wanted to scoop it from under their noses, so there’s no way she’s happy to have the others interfere.

But the nun’s answer shocks everyone, because she recalls quite clearly that the pouch actually belonged to Dan, not Seol. At that, Yoon-ju’s hard look turns into one of satisfaction — it suggests that Seol may not be the princess after all.

Seol distinctly remembers the pouch, but the nun confirms that the girls cried over it a lot, with Dan bragging that her mother had given it to her. The nun wonders if Seol’s memory has altered the truth.

As they leave, Jung-woo says assuringly that there may be a simple explanation — that perhaps Dan remembered wrong, or lied. Well, I’m glad they’re leaving that option on the table right from the start, since it drives me nutty when characters overlook that very distinct possibility and run around on narrative wild goose chases on the basis of a simple lie.

Yoon-ju proposes stopping for tea with Seol on the way home, who cheerily accepts and upgrades that to liquor.

There’s a lengthy bit of soju-pouring and -drinking that could be a case study in Korean drinking habits: pouring for each other no matter how much you hate each other, and having a superstitious belief that drinking out of turn means that the other person will be unlucky in love for three years. (Yoon-ju takes two shots and smirks, “That’s six years.”)

Both ladies toss ’em back freely, though Yoon-ju’s got a leveler head with the drinking, until finally, Seol gets to the point: Which man does Yoon-ju like better, Jung-woo or Mr. P — er, Hae-young?

Seol says that she knows Jung-woo was Yoon-ju’s first love, only to be corrected — her first love was Hae-young. Yoon-ju answers, “I liked both. But the person I want to see more right now is Professor Nam.” Asked why, she answers — in typical Yoon-ju fashion, by which I mean in the way most designed to get us to hate her (even more) — “Because I received more love from him.”

Seol says frankly, “You’re quite selfish.” Yoon-ju says simply, “I know.”

But Seol still wants to know the answer to her question and repeats it. Yoon-ju beckons her closer, and asks, “Why? So that if I answer, you can like Park Hae-young freely? That won’t happen — because I won’t let either man go.”

Holding up her cell phone, Yoon-ju offers to prove it.

In the palace, Jung-woo worries about Seol’s absence, since he expected her back hours ago. Hae-young asks where she went, to which Jung-woo replies pointedly, “She’s with the woman you’re marrying.”

Just then, both men get the same text message from Yoon-ju, asking them to come pick her up because she can’t drive. Hae-young suggests going together, “Because there’ll be someone there worrying over whether I’ll go.”

He’s right on that score: Both ladies wait outside for their designated driver, one expectantly and the other one worriedly. Seol says that the men aren’t coming, while Yoon-ju asserts confidently that they will.

Yoon-ju asks if Seol would like Hae-young not to come, and Seol answers, “Yes. I hope he doesn’t come.” Alas, Yoon-ju’s smile broadens just then, because off in the distance is Hae-young, with Jung-woo right behind him.

While Seol looks on, Yoon-ju runs and throws her arms around Hae-young.


I’m pretty sure this scene isn’t going to end the way it appears, so I’m looking forward to a Yoon-ju smackdown come tomorrow. (It had better come. After all, who claims one guy as her preference, and then claims the other one just to keep him away from her rival? Agh, whatever, Yoon-ju sucks.)

I guess I’ll go against the grain by saying that I was perfectly satisfied with last week’s Episode 8, which it seems is not an opinion shared by all. I do think the episodes are settling down, and perhaps they’re not as cracktastically addictive as they were in the beginning, when the episodes were chock-full of cute, from end to end. And I’m not saying I don’t miss that, ’cause this show is built on cute.

But given that we must have angst in some form — so saith K-Drama Law — at least we have new developments in the characters’ relationships coming at a constant flow. Cute with no movement can be enjoyable (I dug the romance in Pasta, which was so crackling with chemistry despite a lack of actual plot), but with constant growth, it’s ever so much better.

I’ve read enough comments finding fault with the chemistry and romance that I guess this may fall under the category of personal taste (the concept, not the drama), because I’m actually pretty invested in Seol and Hae-young. Her side is pretty straightforward — she likes him but thinks he’s taken — but I really love the way he’s conflicted about his feelings. For him, it’s not a mere case of thinking he shouldn’t like her, but a test of his personal beliefs, his ideology and political stance warring with his emotions and attraction. And the fact that he is obviously torn makes me feel sorry for him even when he’s intending to do something that’ll hurt her (as I suspect the trip to the grave foreshadows), even though internally he has decided to let his feelings for her stand.

Okay, and also: They’re really (really, really) pretty.


412 February 3, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 10

by girlfriday

Finally, a conflict I can get behind, that isn’t motivated by press conferences and public opinion. Hae-young spends the episode in a frustrated snit, but it leads him to finally make a choice, and forces Seol to face some harsh facts of her own. Is it Love or Country? Kisses or Kings? And why’s a girl gotta sell out her country to get some smooches up in here?


It’s the Love-Square-Face-Off, as Yoon-ju calls both men to pick her up, and then goes running to Hae-young in a hug. That puts Hae-young face to face with Seol, and Yoon-ju facing Jung-woo, as they hug and talk, but not really to each other.

Hae-young, eyeing Seol the whole time, tells her that he’ll always come if she calls, no matter what, and that she should have waited inside. Yoon-ju, looking right at Jung-woo, says that she just wanted to see him that much sooner. Dude, you people have ISSUES.

Hae-young tells Yoon-ju quietly that he’s not the one she waited for, but he’s going to take her hand and leave with her anyway. Yoon-ju catches on right away that this display is for Seol’s benefit, and tells Hae-young that he owes her one.

They start to walk away, but Seol bursts out, “Don’t go! Mr. P, don’t go!” Oh, you’re breaking my heart. I love that she’s not too proud to just tell him not to go. But alas, Mr. P must stand for Mr. Poopyhead, because he goes anyway.

Back at Dumpsville, Seol and Jung-woo sit dejected, until the professor offers to buy her something sweet, because that’s what people eat when they get rejected. I adore that you’re being nice to Seol, even though you’ve also taken a beating.

Hae-young drops Yoon-ju off and then returns to the palace, only to find that Seol still hasn’t returned and isn’t answering her phone. Neither is Jung-woo, which worries him as he paces around looking for her.

He finally finds her in the palace making ramen, on a portable stove no less. What happened to Gunnie the personal chef? He’d probably make you a ramen with smiley face chives or something.

The second he walks into the room, Seol tries to make a run for it, but she keeps getting tripped up over what to do with the half-cooked ramen, and he uses it as an excuse to keep her there. He starts out lecturing her as always, but then ends up asking worriedly why she didn’t pick up her phone. Seol: “To make your insides stew a little!” Ha. I do love her forthrightness. He realizes that he set himself up for that in leaving her there, but then to hide his feelings, he tells her, “Men’s insides don’t burn over women they formally rejected…Also, I don’t like milk.” Aaaargh.

Jung-woo returns home only to find Yoon-ju standing in his doorway. He watches silently as she hesitates, and then tries the old lock code on the door. It works. Satisfied with that, she turns to walk away and runs into Jung-woo.

She asks why he never changed the code, and he makes the excuse that it’s just a hassle. She says, eyes getting teary, that it’s a comfort to her. Gah, I feel the worst for Jung-woo because he has the utter misfortune of loving (or even having loved) such a stone-cold former human.

The next morning Seol wakes up to a giant mound of fan mail. Hae-young wakes up and checks the news, and finds Seol’s popularity on the rise. She’s even updated her website with a selca of her opening her fan mail. He laughs, and so do I, at the thought that this is what a 21st-century princess does to gain public favor. It’s not unlike being an idol star or an actress, and the meta in that is quite apt.

She calls him asking for advice on how to respond to her numerous letters of the I’m-in-love-with-you variety, and he jumps up to tell her to ignore them. She decides that she’s going to respond to every single comment and letter (yeah, good luck with that) and thinks that he’s best to advise, since he’s not one to “burn his insides” over her. Heh. Way to throw his own words back at him.

He tells her the internet is off-limits for a while, and tells her not to respond to anything, about anything. She wonders what difference it makes, if she answers questions honestly (about everything except her weight, heh).

He explains that every little question—whether she likes taxis or buses, red or blue—can be twisted to have political implications, which is why she shouldn’t answer. Well the red or blue question would certainly be a biggie in the States. She catches his drift, and then can’t help but ask if she shouldn’t answer this question then: Does she like Mr. P?

Getting in her face, he tells her not to answer that one, ever. She asks if even THAT is a political matter, and he tells her it’s the most political of them all. Oooh. True, but you’re the one who’s making it so, Mr. Diplomat. He also keeps her palace-bound unless she has his permission.

Hae-young gets called away to meet the President, who thinks it’s time he enter the palace in a formal capacity. Hae-young says that the princess isn’t ready for that, and tries to buy some more time. The President decides that he’ll have to bring her out of the palace then, and decides that an event at an orphanage should do the trick.

Yoon-ju meets with her father to discuss marriage plans, and she tells him that she’s going through with the wedding, and that Hae-young won’t be losing his fortune to the monarchy.

Secretary Oh tells Yoon-ju a critical piece of news—that Hae-young has found out about his father’s involvement in the death of Seol’s father. He says that no one knows the truth about how he really died, except for Hae-young’s dad, and he’s been MIA ever since.

Seol tries to get in touch with Dan, but Evil Sister is still fuming and doesn’t respond. Seol gets a call from her friend and promises to go see her, but Hae-young reminds her that she’s not going anywhere today.

She starts in on an excuse that her friend’s father’s father’s father died…but she’s clearly not so good at math since that puts us somewhere in the last century. He points it out (in the tone of do-you-think-I’m-an-idiot) and gives her homework on top of it.

At home, Dan stews and then finds a receipt on Mom’s phone for the flowers she sent to Seol. She throws another tantrum at Mom, upset that she’s always worked so hard to be the best, but Mom’s always loved Seol more. Oy, with your six-year-old woes, grown woman.

Mom cries and insists that she’s always loved her two daughters equally, but Dan remains frigid, even at Mom’s deluge of tears. I’m thinking, sociopath from an early age? I mean, what’s with you, robot girl? Or is it bad acting? I kind of can’t tell.

While Yoon-ju plots Seol’s demise with the opposition leader, Seol takes out yesterday’s note from Hae-young and swoons over it. How cute. But then she discovers that the note is written on a piece of an airline ticket, so she storms over to Hae-young to ask what it’s about.

She asks him in this hilarious mix of jondae and banmal, which he takes offense at, insisting that he’s her teacher, but she reminds him that she’s the royalty around here. She demands to know where he’s planning on sending her this time, but he tells her that it’s his ticket, and not to worry about it.

In their lesson today, he teaches her not to answer questions off the cuff, and throws a few out there about her favorite color: blue, and favorite singer: John Park, until he asks her favorite book. Seol: “The (female) Professor’s Evil Desire” He whirls around: “You read erotica?” Hahaha.

Seol: “…is NOT what I was going to say…It’s Tolstoy’s What Do People Live For?” Hae-young: “They live for erotica, apparently.” HA. He adds, “You’re not Lee Seol. You’re Ero-Seol.” (Which is a better pun in Korean.)

He tells her that the best way to deflect unanswerable questions is with a timely joke. She scoffs that her well-honed sense of humor is totally up to the task, so he tests her.

Hae-young: Do you like Park Hae-young, or Professor Nam?
Seol: … … I like all men.
Hae-young: Wanna die?

LOL. You told her to deflect with a joke. That’s what you get. She now starts deflecting his questions with her Mishil-speak, as he throws question after question. He casually tosses out, “When did you start liking Mr. P?”

She stammers, then realizes that he’s the one asking all the questions, so she starts tossing out ones of her own, following him out of the room. She asks if he still doesn’t want her to be the princess, but he doesn’t answer.

Jung-woo meets with Dan to ask about the royal satchel, but she refuses to answer, pretending that she wants to protect her sister from being kicked out of the palace. My ass. Even Jung-woo suspects that there’s something shady about the sister and the satchel, but can’t get anything else out of her.

Yoon-ju gives Seol the news that she’s been requested to do some charity work at the orphanage where she grew up, alongside the President. Yoon-ju scoffs at Seol’s bright attitude at being summoned to be the President’s cheerleader, but Seol just hilariously tells her that it’s a good deed, and she can get that “President ajusshi” to do some good work. Ha! Who calls the President “ajusshi”? She cracks me up.

She meets with Jung-woo, who tells her that Dan might have the satchel, but she’s not being very forthcoming, on top of which she’s wary because someone else has approached her about the very same thing. Jung-woo, ever the smart one (and thank god for that, really), tells her that Dan is likely someone who does NOT want her to be a princess.

He tells her that their biggest worry is that satchel. Seol: “Because it might be fake?” Jung-woo: “Because it might be real. Because then, we have no way of proving that it’s yours.” Well who didn’t smell that plot hole from a mile away? I’m just glad someone’s pointing it out to her before her sister knocks her upside the head with it.

Seol gets to work making some soup to take to the orphanage, and this time she enlists Gunnie’s help. He adorably teaches her how to cook with love (as in putting her love into what she makes), and Hae-young walks in on their cozy little scene.

He’s got jealous-exasperated-face, so Gunnie scoots out with a wink. Seol wonders what the big deal is, but Hae-young lays into her for agreeing to go to the orphanage without consulting him. She doesn’t see it as a big deal, which just makes him start yelling, that this is why he can’t let her out in the world, since she’s so clueless about everything. Well you can’t yell cynicism into her. She’s just that trusting. You should know, Mr.-tried-to-be-her-enemy-but-she-trusted-you-so-much-it’s-killing-you.

She cuts the tension with her Mishil act, and that calms him down as he tells her to stop watching sageuks. But he tells her to stop cooking, since she’s not going to that orphanage, ever! Once he leaves, she shouts back that SHE’s going to decide where she goes, without his permission! Then why are you shouting it when he’s gone?

Seol marches in to tell Yoon-ju that she’s going, and that’s that, no matter what Hae-young says. Yoon-ju’s like, yeah I’m the one who told you to go. She adds condescendingly that the princess ought to wear something pretty and go.

All of a sudden, Seol changes her mind. She realizes that Yoon-ju’s insistence that she go is the one indicator she can trust—that she shouldn’t go. Heh. At least you’re not that trusting a fool.

She decides to change the plan, and invites the children from the orphanage to the palace. She watches with happy tears in her eyes, as they run around and play, especially touched at the sight of two little girls running together hand-in-hand.

Hae-young goes to see Grandpa in a scene lit so drastically dark that it’s actually kind of funny. He asks about his father, wanting to believe that it’s some sort of misunderstanding, and that he couldn’t be responsible for the death of Seol’s father. Grandpa tells him that it’s what he might want to believe, but he’s certain that Hae-young’s dad is responsible.

Well at least that’s much more compelling as a reason for Hae-young to keep his distance from Seol, though it’s not a new plot, by any means. I’d like for once, to have a k-drama couple dig into their past and find out that their fathers were fishing buddies or something.

Yoon-ju, meanwhile, meets with Dan about the satchel. Yoon-ju out-bitches her in a round of you-show-me-yours, and overdoes it to the point that Dan storms out, with the declaration that Yoon-ju’s not the only one she can go to. Once she’s gone, Yoon-ju has her followed to figure out why she’s not the only game in town anymore.

Sure enough, Dan goes straight to Jung-woo, to tell him that she’s got the satchel. She presents it, and he nearly has an orgasm at the sight of it. He’s a little embarrassed at his er, love of history, but that’s the proof she needs to trust him with it, to at least find out the truth. She entrusts him with it to find out if it’s the real deal, adding for good measure that it’s hers. Like a little girl never stole something of her sisters and claimed it as her own? I really hope this isn’t going to be as obvious as it seems.

Seol reads Snow White to the kids, and Hae-young comes upon the scene and asks what’s going on. She says that since he told her not to go to the orphanage, she brought the kids here. He doesn’t really complain, until he finds out that she invited the President here too. Okay, maybe you ARE an idiot.

The second the President arrives, the so-called photo-op turns into an impromptu press conference, and Seol walks into it with trepidation, only NOW realizing what Hae-young was talking about. Gah.

They get fired with questions, and the President sits with ease, while Seol panics. Hae-young hesitates for a moment, and then steps in front of them to tell the reporters that there’s no political implication in the meeting, and extracts her before they can ask her any questions. Or at least before she can answer any.

Once out of earshot, she asks why he’s making such a fuss. Wait, so you STILL don’t understand what’s going on? Hae-young can’t believe it either, that she’s really so thoughtless that she doesn’t get the score. He spells it out for her: she’s being used.

He literally has to spell it out for her piece by piece, that the President is using her, at her expense and the orphanage. She finally gets it and stammers that she didn’t know, which he says is true, but she can’t get by not knowing these things anymore. Seriously. Well maybe since you know that she’s this naïve, you should do a better job of spelling these things out BEFORE she’s facing a firing squad of reporters.

He also has to spell out the implications of what he’s done, as a diplomat, in stepping in to save her. He tells her that she doesn’t realize what’s he’s put on the line for her. She gasps (it’s actually laughable that she has to be told every little thing before she gets it). She runs after him, but can’t bring herself to knock on his door.

Jung-woo gets word that the satchel is the real deal. Now comes the hard part of proving ownership.

Seol returns to her room, crying, and Hae-young broods. He finally makes a decision, and as the music swells, he walks down the hall towards Seol. Yoon-ju stops to ask if he’s crazy, doing that to the President, but he just brushes past her.

He knocks on Seol’s door, and when she answers, he comes out with it.

Hae-young: Let me ask you just one thing. Can’t you not be the princess? Is it really something you’d rather die than give up? Can’t you just not be a princess…and live as my woman instead?



Finally, a relationship gauntlet thrown! I was scared we were going to go yet another round of press conferences and Noble Idiocy. It’s high time the heroine get a dose of reality (even if it has to be spelled out for her like she’s a grade-schooler) and be given a real fork in the road—to choose between Hae-young and the throne.

Thankfully, there’s probably a bunch of different ways out than just those two roads, but it’s important for her to be given the dilemma, for the drama’s sake. At least now she’s got something real to choose between and fight for, if she knows how Hae-young feels, and what’s really at stake. Much, much better. Whew.

It’s admittedly a little frustrating that Seol is such a blockhead about the implications of every little thing she says and does, but I suppose that’s the point of her character, that’s she’s so naïve while everyone around her is so smart and tied to his/her own motivations.

But couldn’t she be like, a hair smarter, a teensy bit more aware, a tad quicker on the uptake? I like her unwavering trust and simplistic nature, but the stupidity is a little annoying. Especially since her character was made out to be so street-savvy in the beginning. Where’d all that resourcefulness go?

I’m happy with the direction we’re headed in, as long as Hae-young doesn’t pull an I’m-kidding-I-take-it-back or something, and as long as Seol begins to factor in all the pieces of the puzzle as she faces the big decisions. And would it hurt if you gave her another kiss to help sway her? ‘s all I’m sayin’.


299 February 9, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 11

by javabeans

There’s something that just really works about this couple, for me. She’s a little dense and he’s got a pretty large noble streak — though he hasn’t crossed over to the dark side of idiocy, yet — but together, they’re just so cute. The why-we-Should-Not-Be conflict is credible (and harks back to that inescapable point of comparison, Roman Holiday), and because that roadblock is so substantial, the story allows for the two of them to be honest with each other about their feelings. (A pet peeve: When both sides like each other but stupidly keep everything to themselves, leading to Big Misunderstandings galore that aggravate me to no end.)

And when they both know how they feel — though they can’t act on it — there’s a sweetness to the way their feelings permeate their everyday (though veiled) interactions.


Fanny Fink – “가장 아픈 사랑” (The most painful love) [ Download ]

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Hae-young asks his question, but Seol says she won’t answer: “I know what you gave up for me, I know who you made an enemy of because of me, but how can I answer? If I do, I know things will get even harder, and I don’t know how you’ll be able to protect me. So how can I answer? I won’t.” He gives her a rueful half-smile, saying that he taught her well, seeing how she gives a good answer to a bad question.

(But…we like bad questions! Don’t just let it die here! Ask all the bad questions you want, for the love of fangirls and plot development!)

He pulls her into a hug and says, “Don’t forget this.” Walking by, Yoon-ju the Heartless Android sees the hug. And she’s not only heartless but shameless, since she next lets herself into Jung-woo’s place using his code, preferring to bypass that whole pesky knocking thing. Social niceties are SO passé.

She guesses that Jung-woo has Empress Myung-sung’s sachet, but he refuses to give her the satisfaction of confirming that it’s real. He tells her he’d like for it to be real, but he knows there are those who seek to use history for their own means (*ahem*), which is not so good. Alas, she knows him well enough to read in his reaction that it’s real.

They’ve both considered the possibility that Dan might be supposed to be the princess, but Jung-woo affirms that it won’t happen, while Yoon-ju is more willing to think along those lines.

True to Hae-young’s warning, the president has twisted the orphans’ visit for his own gain, and Seol declares that she’s going to have to study her butt off to make sure that she’s “able to answer bad questions with good answers.”

Hae-young has to deal with the fallout of his behavior in front of the press, which comes in the form of an angry president, who reminds him that he entered the palace to block the restoration. He orders Hae-young to quit the palace, threatening to do some major damage if he doesn’t.

Dan and Yoon-ju have another meeting to discuss their options, now that the sachet is real. Dan declares, “I want what you want,” and Yoon-ju agrees: Starting tonight, Dan will assume the princess role. But when Dan asks about the restoration vote, Yoon-ju laughs — it would be difficult enough to install a real princess, so a fake one’s out of the question. Dan would merely be playing the part, to ensure that the vote never happens. After that, she’ll leave the country.

Dan drops by to scope out her soon-to-be room, though Seol thinks her sister’s here for a friendly visit. Well, maybe just a plain visit, since I’m pretty sure Dan only has two modes: bitch and bitchier. She reads through Seol’s fan mail and makes a snide remark about the orphan who sent it, saying that her own orphan past is something she’d like to hide, though Seol uses hers as a weapon.

Dan leaves her with the cryptic words, “Next time I come to this room, you’d better not be in it.”

Seol spots Hae-young waiting for her and tries to sneak by unseen, as inconspicuous as an elephant in a tutu. Hae-young stops her for a word, which she doesn’t want to hear, thinking he’s going to tell her to forget yesterday. She asks for just one day of reprieve, wanting to spend today away from him to allow herself to come to grips with things.

But no, Hae-young declares that that won’t be possible, as she’s going to be stuck within a 1-meter radius of him all day, and that every time she rebels, he’s going to reduce that space by 50 centimeters. Well, now I know what I’M gonna be hoping for today.

Seol supposes that the reason for his odd (and warm) behavior is that he wants to spend one day with her as herself, rather than as the princess. Too nervous and jumpy to join him, she makes the excuse that Jung-woo is calling her away.

Visiting Sun-ah at the department store, Seol confides her romantic predicament to her friend, who sees that she’s got it bad this time. Seol says that her usual forthrightness won’t work with Mr. P — just as Sun-ah spots him heading their way.

Panicking, Seol insists that he can’t find her here and climbs into a suitcase, urging Sun-ah to cover for her. But Hae-young’s not fooled in the least and politely insists on buying that suitcase, and rolls away with it.

She pokes her head out when he stops, and he sighs that she’s embarrassing. She figures, “Let’s be embarrassed together!” (love her) and reminds him of their 1-meter rule. I do love how shameless she can be.

Again she doesn’t want to hear what he has to say, assuming (wrongly) that it’s something she doesn’t want to hear. Again he forces her to listen, and gives her five instructions: (1) Don’t let anyone hold her hands (he says while holding her hands), (2) Don’t get in anyone’s car, (3) Don’t accept a piggyback ride from anyone, (4) Don’t get drunk with anyone, and (5) Don’t accept anyone’s confession of affection.

That’s as good as a confession itself, and brings a smile to her face. He happens to be talking like a man about to leave for good, but Seol doesn’t pick up on the little hints (and isn’t connecting his behavior or his statements to that plane ticket she’d seen earlier…).

He takes her to the traditional palace where they’d first met, where a new woman sits dressed in traditional princess garb to greet tourists. Seol wants a photo with her, so Hae-young offers to act as the official diplomat for her, “for the first and last time.” He doesn’t realize his slip until she picks up on it, but he glosses the moment over by joking it away.

Seol quickly attracts a crowd, who recognize her and gather round to snap cell phone pics. Seol gives the fake princess a break and offers to take photos with everyone as though it’s a fansigning, and like the budding celebrity she is, the fans quickly line up for their turn. Including Hae-young.

Later, they look over the snapshots from the impromptu event, Hae-young with a wistful expression that Seol doesn’t notice. Growing serious, he tells her in an earnest tone to remember to face her problems head-on in the future and work them out, like a teacher giving his last lesson.

Seol asks why he’s so grave today, to which he answers that he just feels grave today. She senses that something’s up and asks what’s the matter, which he deflects by saying Jung-woo needs to see her, and sends her off.

Clearly that’s not the whole of it, and he grabs hold of her hand for a long, charged moment, trying to hide his emotion, and takes one of the photos for himself.

Jung-woo confers with Seol about her sister and the validity of the sachet. Granted, it won’t be enough to delegitimize Seol’s birth or anything that severe, but he worries that it may cast doubts on her identity, and suggests another trip to the orphanage.

There, the nun clarifies that while Dan said her mother gave her the sachet, it’s not clear whether she meant a biological mother or an imaginary mother, as many of the kids have a tendency to talk of their parents in imaginary terms (e.g., “My mom and dad are really rich”). Dan often spoke of a mother, while Seol spoke of a father and ajusshi — Young Seol had said that if she stayed with ajusshi, Dad would come for her.

This is news to them — who could the other man be? — and they puzzle over the possibilities.

It’s likely she means Hae-young’s father, a photo of whom Hae-young contemplates while packing his bags. He lingers over Seol’s photo, thinking of how quickl the day passed for him, and leaves behind an envelope for Seol to find later.

Upon Seol’s return to the palace, Yoon-ju storms up and confronts her angrily — oh look, the android can simulate emotion — for causing Hae-young to be kicked out of the palace. Hae-young had crossed the president to protect her, and this is his reward.

Shocked, Seol dashes off in search of him. Yoon-ju warns Jung-woo not to hold her back, saying that even if everyone else takes Seol’s side, he shouldn’t — and that everything she’d given Jung-woo up to have is now Seol’s. Well, honey, that’s not her fault, is it? I like to call this little lesson Bad Decisions Have Consequences, Not All Of Which Can Be Blamed On Royalty.

Seol finds Hae-young’s room emptied of his belongings and tries to call him, but his phone goes unanswered. In her room, she finds the envelope containing a document and a note from Hae-young regarding the completion of her first royal decree: He has donated all of her funds (all $140 of it), as instructed.

Now she gives in to her tears, sobbing alone in her room just as Hae-young sends her a text message: “There are two presents.”

Curious, she looks around for the second, not finding anything until her mother calls her name. Hae-young had told her to go comfort her daughter, who’s hurting.

Now it’s time for the men to meet. Hae-young asks Jung-woo to take good care of Seol, which surprises Jung-woo a bit in that it’s something you ask when you have a clear claim on the person in question. In other words: Hae-young is claiming a connection with Seol that he’d previously denied.

With that, Hae-young prepares to head to New York, where he has tracked down his father — who, by the way, has been barred from returning to Korea. Harsh, Grandpa.

Seol is introduced to her new teacher/diplomat, Seung-hyun, and this spurs her into action. Well, she’s not the brightest bulb, but at least she has finally figured things out, and she requests Hae-young’s whereabouts, perhaps guessing that he is, at this moment, awaiting his boarding call at the airport.

She races to the airport, and catches Hae-young as he’s in the line to board his plane. Angry and hurt, she tears into him for trying to leave without telling her properly. She asks hopefully if he’ll return soon, but he’s not sure.

Yoon-ju calls to tell him he owes her another one, because she’d grabbed him in time for him to protect the princess again. An important matter has popped up, requiring Seol and Hae-young to report to the palace. Girl may be counting all the times she’s owed, but why do I suspect that this is not a two-way street with her?

This latest matter relates to the empress’s sachet, and the relevant parties are called for the unveiling. Chairman Park immediately recognizes the artifact, but Seol can’t recall it specifically. Yoon-ju puts on a front of false concern, explaining that she’d been searching for it because its absence could become detrimental to Seol, and now finds herself “thrown into confusion” upon learning who had it.

With that, she introduces the owner and Dan walks in, declaring that it was left to her, the sole remaining possession of her parents. Seol realizes (as do the others) that the implication is that she’s not the princess, and the chairman states that that’s not possible, since he’d left the sachet with Lee Han, Seol’s father.

Assuming a dignified air, Dan says that she had intended to remain quiet to allow Seol to become the princess (so generous!), but now finds she must speak up (and so honorable!).

Thus begins the false story undoubtedly provided by Yoon-ju: That Dan had been left at the orphanage at age 5 because someone had been following her father. One night, he had died, after which point she met Seol at the orphanage — where she told her story to Seol.

Seol bursts out in confusion, knowing this is a lie, but Dan says in her patronizing way that the truth will come out. Oh, we’re counting on it.

Yoon-ju explains that it’ll be problematic to present Seol as the princess without investigation of the matter. The chairman eschews the necessity for further confirmation, but Yoon-ju pulls rank, saying that she considers it her job to investigate all matters thoroughly. And perhaps occasionally invent some?

The chairman asks Dan if she remembers him, and she answers in the affirmative, adding that he’d ridden in on a helicopter the day she’d met him. That’s Seol’s own memory, but slyly, Dan is prepared for this: She asks Seol if she knows why she was at the construction site that day, which Seol doesn’t remember. And since Dan has been coached, naturally she can pass off the truth as her “memory,” saying that the man chasing her father had threatened Dad to never appear in front of the chairman again.

And this, sadly enough, is a memory that even Hae-young can confirm, having been there himself. It’s also enough to introduce substantial doubt that Hae-young avoids looking at Seol. Dan even insinuates that the man chasing her father is Hae-young’s father, which is something Seol doesn’t know.

At this ever-so-convenient juncture, the meeting is interrupted with the announcement of a special news report — handily supplied by Yoon-ju to the pesky Reporter Yoon, of course. Proving that the media is entirely capable of creating news as it is of reporting it, the story states that there is currently heated debate over the true owner of the empress’s sachet, and that Seol’s validity is being investigated.

I’m vastly relieved that Chairman Park is immediately suspicious of this development; he rails to his secretary that there are only a handful of people in the world who know about Hae-young’s father. Secretary Oh cowers nervously, perhaps fearing that the chairman will put two and two together and realize that Yoon-ju might be the one. But the characters in this drama aren’t very good at math, so it’s Hae-young he yells for.

Hae-young confronts Dan, asking how she knows the story. She says firmly that she experienced it firsthand. When asked why she waited to speak, Dan answers that she opposes the restoration. She has no intention of being the princess — she damn well won’t do it for the very people who chased her and her father out into the streets.

Grandpa accuses his grandson of being behind this whole mess, which is a charge that shocks — and hurts. To be sure, it’s not like Grandpa’s SO off the mark since Hae-young had been plotting to derail this princess project from the start, and even tried to whisk Seol abroad, but he’s stunned now.

Grandpa tells him disgustedly that he’s just like his father, and warns that he won’t get his way. Hae-young says bitterly that he’s right, and storms out.

A few more hard words, this time from Yoon-ju to Jung-woo: “I’m hoping for a miracle — that before the people vote on the restoration, Chairman Park collapses.”

Perhaps understanding the emotions driving Yoon-ju, the hurt and fear that exist way, way, way down inside the heartspace in her chest cavity, Jung-woo gathers her into a hug, countering her bitterness with care: “Don’t do it, Yoon-ju. You can stop now.”

She says that she knows, “But I don’t want to.”

Seol stops her sister, who taunts, “Are you scared? Worried? Why? If you’re the real princess, prove it.”

But that’s not her main concern right now, and Seol yells that that’s not the issue — what about what she’s doing to Hae-young?

Yoon-ju steps in to take over this showdown, and mocks Seol by calling hers a tragic Romeo & Juliet situation — just as Hae-young enters.


One thing I worry about in every episode is that the conflict will get dragged out forever, but so far I’ve been pleased with the way the story is advancing at a brisk clip. Case in point: When Dan is brought in as the possibly-real princess, I groaned as doubt was introduced and it seemed as though everyone was starting to suspect she might be telling the truth.

I was on the verge of blowing up into a full-fledged rant — that these very smart people could suspect Dan, independently, of lying about her identity, and of Yoon-ju of lying about things to thwart Seol, but were seemingly oblivious to the fact that these two could lie, together? — but that fear was relieved when it became clear that nobody was taken in by Dan’s story. Of course, they can’t dismiss her claim either, no matter how much they doubt her, because it’s enough to threaten Seol’s position. But at least they weren’t so stupid as to be taken in by such a pat story told by someone with everything to gain by interference.

I actually enjoyed Hae-young’s bout with angst in this episode, although to be sure there’s nothing all that original about it. He gives up his position to protect Seol, and bears his punishment in silence. Normally this self-sacrificing type of character tends to irritate me, but I appreciate the turmoil it puts Hae-young in because for a substantial stretch there, he wasn’t noble, not at all. He was purposely attempting to undermine her and working against her, and no amount of guilty conscience negates the fact that he was prepared to strip her of her birthright to protect his inheritance. (I’m under no illusions that he was operating under any ideological impulses or political beliefs — it was purely in self-preservation.) So he deserves to stew a bit (as Seol herself put it), and his pain is surprisingly gratifying (to me — does that make me a sadist?), because he sorta earned it.

But he’s still sympathetic enough that I feel for him when he’s hurt, as he is with his grandfather’s callous dismissal of him at the end. Seriously, dude — I know patriotism is a virtue and all, but at the expense of all human feeling and compassion? Who d’you think you are, the Yoon-ju Bot?


318 February 10, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 12

by girlfriday

Our couple gets backed into a corner, and everyone comes over with a bad case of Noble Idiocy. Well, everyone who has a heart. But thankfully Hae-young’s got it bad enough to go princess hunting. Which of course sends everyone else on the hunt as well. Who needs wabbits when it’s open season on princesses?


We backtrack a bit to catch up with Yoon-ju’s conversation with Jung-woo, where she lays it out for the naïve and trusting professor. He asks if she’s claiming that Dan is the real princess, but she tells him that it doesn’t matter, since what she’s aiming for is the downfall of the monarchy, complete with the Chairman’s collapse.

He’s shocked, as if he’s somehow surprised to find that she’s a heartless bitch. He hugs her, asking her to stop before it goes too far, but she refuses. I sort of hate this reasoning in dramas (always for the second lead) when they admit that they have nothing left to gain, but since they’ve “gone this far,” they have to keep going. I mean, what’s that about? Real people don’t do that. They cut their losses and save themselves.

Seol grabs Dan into her room to ask what she was talking about—not the princess stuff, but about Hae-young’s father. Yoon-ju comes in and tells Dan to go to the apartment she’s prepared, and volunteers to tell Seol everything.

With a condescending air, (not that she has any others, mind you) she tells Seol about Hae-young’s father chasing her own father down, and asks how it feels to be Romeo and Juliet. Seol trembles, tears forming, but Yoon-ju tells her she hasn’t even begun.

She tells her that today’s news was about the satchel, but tomorrow’s news will be about Hae-young’s father. She puts it all out there in a bald-faced threat: drop the princess act and disappear, or else Hae-young never gets to lift his head in Korea again.

Dayum. At least she’s smarter than I thought. For a while Yoon-ju was both bitchy AND ineffectual, but she’s stepping up her game, I’ll give her that much.

Hae-young walks in and clocks the tension between the two women, and asks Yoon-ju what they were talking about. Yoon-ju lies that she was offering words of comfort (pffft), but then Hae-young hilariously doesn’t believe her for even a nanosecond.

He turns to Seol and tells her to trust him: “Just trust me, and tell me what she said to you.” He pleads with her to tell him so that he can protect her, and Seol wavers for a charged minute, while I scream: TELL HIM! TELL HIM!

But she doesn’t, of course. Because Noble Idiocy is the name of the game.

Hae-young decides he has to tell her about his father, but before he can start, Seol stops him: “I already know.” He reels, thinking that she’s already been told about their dads’ past, but then she covers it up by saying that she doesn’t believe anything her sister says, so he shouldn’t either.

She puts on a smile and asks to rest, so he walks out. But the second he’s outside the door, she starts sobbing. Problem is, Hae-young’s still within earshot. Oh no. Here we go with the Big Misunderstanding. Now he thinks she knows about their fathers and is lying because she thinks they really ARE Romeo and Juliet, and can’t face him.

In the morning, Seol comes to confront Yoon-ju, who’s pleased as punch and smug enough not to hide it. Seol calls her out for being evil enough to make her choose between the two most important people in her life, and agrees to leave the palace.

But she adds that this doesn’t mean she’s running away, or giving up the throne. Seol: “I will return. And when I do…you’re dead.” What’s funny is she says it in the schoolyard way, like “you’re totally dead,” which just makes me want to see them in an actual schoolyard brawl. My money’s on scrappy princess.

Yoon-ju just comes back at her with more threats—there’s no way for her to ever come back, because the second she steps foot back in this palace, the whole world will know about Hae-young’s father. She twists the knife further, blaming her for messing up so many people’s lives, including her beloved Hae-young. The only way to make things right is to disappear forever.

Hae-young hesitates, and then decides to call his father in New York. He leaves a message, awkwardly thanking him for the baseball he sent when he was a kid, and asks him to call. He’s heartbreakingly hopeful when he calls his dad.

He goes to see Seol to ask her for the picture of her with her father, so they can go to the press with their side of the story. She worries about what it’ll do to Dan, and tells him that it won’t be enough anyway; that it’ll eventually lead to DNA tests and the exhumation of bodies. Must be the show acknowledging all the “Go CSI on their asses” comments to the royal satchel hullabaloo.

He tells her that they’ll take it all the way then, and gets her to agree to think about it. She asks for the day to rest (or run away forever, what have you) and he gets up to leave. She stops him to ask if he really believes that she’s the princess.

Hae-young: Yes, I believe. Even if the whole world says you aren’t. Until the day I die, to me you’re the bad princess who stole my entire inheritance.

Aw. How cute that he can say “you stole my inheritance” like it’s a term of endearment now.

He tells her to entrust everything to him and leaves, not realizing that this was her goodbye. Seol packs her bag with a heavy heart, ties her hair into a ponytail with her strawberry hairtie, and heads out.

Hae-young heads for Dan, who’s on the phone complaining to Yoon-ju about how bored she is. Oh, is conspiracy boring you, princess? She freaks out when Hae-young comes knocking at her super-secret hideout, and Yoon-ju tells her not to answer the door or the phone, from anyone but her.

Hae-young knocks and finally just talks to her through the door. He tells her that Seol has evidence to prove that she’s the princess, but she refuses to use it, fearing what’ll happen to her sister if she does. Hae-young tells her that Seol is going to shoulder this on her own, and even as Dan scoffs to herself that Seol is playing the good girl, she does appear to be shaken.

He leaves for now, asking her one last question: who is behind this plot? Really, you don’t know? You’re starting to lose my confidence as the fixer here. He asks her to contact him if she changes her mind.

He then heads for Secretary Oh, and asks for proof that Seol is the princess, since he remembers that Grandfather was so sure of her identity, enough to kneel in front of her at first sight. He doesn’t respond, so Hae-young asks if there’s more to his father’s involvement than just pursuing Seol’s father.

Again, no answer, but Secretary Oh implies that Hae-young’s dad is connected deeper than he’d like for Hae-young to know. He decides he’s had enough of other people telling him about his father, and vows to find out straight from the horse’s mouth.

He turns to ask one last thing…does Yoon-ju know all this too? Secretary Oh can’t believe that Hae-young is accusing Yoon-ju of being behind the conspiracy, when they’re family. Hae-young apologizes, but tells him that he can’t trust anyone right now.

He returns to the palace and finds out that Seol took off, so he heads to Mom’s house to look for her there. Well if she went there it wouldn’t really be running away, now, would it? He promises her mother that he’ll take care of Seol.

Meanwhile, Seol is at the police station inquiring after the accident that killed her father. They tell her that incident reports aren’t kept that long (What?) and she hits another dead end. But she remembers something, and heads to her father’s friend the fisherman.

She asks if they remember anything about her and her father being chased, and he does recall that they did leave suddenly in the middle of the night, without a word. Soon after, a well-dressed man in an expensive car came to inquire after them. They add that they called the number in the newspaper ad looking for information on her father a million times, but always got the runaround. It was only through Park Hae-young that they had eventually gotten through to her.

Seol stays the night in Jung-woo’s office, scared and alone. The next day she calls the number herself, and asks the Daehan Group secretary for the list of everyone who called this number with information. She says that almost all of it was useless and refuses to hand it over, but Seol threatens to go straight to the Chairman, which does the job. She spends all day calling everyone on the list, to no avail.

Hae-young broods in his apartment, and decides to call Seol’s friend Sun-ah. She tips him off that it looks like Seol spent the night in the office, but thinks she won’t be back. She promises to call if she returns.

Hae-young makes another call to his father, and this time he pleads with Dad to call him back. He ends up asking if he killed Lee Ahn, and begs for an answer. God, what a question to get on your voicemail.

Seol plods through her list, and finally comes upon a call from the States, from a James Park. She frets over having to use her limited English, then decides that he’s a Park, so he’s probably Korean. She calls, and it’s the same voicemail greeting that Hae-young’s been getting the last two times he’s called his dad. She leaves a message asking for information on her father.

Hae-young calls Yoon-ju over and asks if she knows where Seol is. He says that he’s sorry, but he hasn’t been able to do anything all day, and then it occurred to him that Yoon-ju might have put a tail on Seol, and before he knew it, he was calling her. He tells her he doesn’t care why she had her followed, but to just tell him where she is.

Yoon-ju agrees to tell him, but says that Seol can’t return to the palace, no matter what. Hae-young: “I can’t hear a word you’re saying right now. Where is Seol?” Ooh, I love the urgency. Hot.

He finds her at the coffee shop where she’s just been discovered by a crowd of people, and when he finds her stuck in an altercation over spilt coffee, he just yells at her for being such a mess without him for one day. Oh, all about YOU, is it?

In the car, he asks if she’s going to run away again, and she says that until she can find out about her father’s past, she’s not going back. Hae-young: “Do you really think that my father and your father…” She doesn’t answer, but asks him if he believes in his dad.

He says it’s his only hope right now, and tells her that they’ll find out the truth together from now on. Well thank goodness for that. Not much more broody separation I can take.

And then he takes her to…Jung-woo’s house? Well that’s a surprise. Or are they staying there…together? Oh, hells yeah. Why didn’t this happen sooner?

Yoon-ju gets word that the threesome is shacking up at Jung-woo’s house, but she doesn’t have the same reaction as me. Hm. She then gets yelled at by Grandpa for letting Seol disappear under her watch, and her father realizes that she’s more involved than he thought.

At the palace, Team Seol hunkers down for an afternoon of internet damage control. Cute.

Back at Three’s Company Bungalow, Hae-young starts opening refrigerator doors like he owns the place, and drags Jung-woo out to let Seol wash up in privacy. At the store, he buys steaks for dinner, adding for Jung-woo’s benefit that it’s the cut that Seol likes, and he likes what the princess likes.

Jung-woo actually rolls his eyes at Hae-young’s childishness, but that doesn’t mean he’s above it all, and picks an expensive cut for himself, since Hae-young is buying. They return home to find Seol asleep on the couch, and Hae-young snipes that Jung-woo should own a larger couch so she didn’t have to scrunch like that.

He starts to ask for a blanket but Jung-woo’s on top of it, and when he tenderly covers her with the blanket, Hae-young tells him to just place the blanket, minus all that unnecessary touching. HA.

Jung-woo asks why on earth he came here, and Hae-young says it’s because he didn’t think Yoon-ju would come here, even if she knew where they were. Jung-woo tells him that he doesn’t know Yoon-ju very well, and the way he sees it, she’ll just end up getting hurt one more time because of Hae-young.

He then tells Seol she can get up now, since they’re done talking. Seol opens her eyes sheepishly, and asks how he knew. Jung-woo’s familiar with what she looks like when she’s really dozing off, and tells her that he brought home dinner. Hae-young: “I’m the one who paid for it, and you’re taking all the credit.”

The doorbell rings, and Jung-woo guesses that it’s Yoon-ju. Sure enough, she comes in and asks to speak to Seol alone.

Yoon-ju scoffs, “This is where you ran off to?” Seol: “It must make you jealous, that I’m with both the men you refused to let go of.” Nice. Yoon-ju tells her to shut up, but Seol doesn’t back down: “This must be your true face. Let’s be friendlier. So I can see all your sides.”

Yoon-ju tells her to go see Grandpa and tell him that she won’t be the princess anymore. Seol asks what her proof is that Hae-young’s father killed her own. She tells Seol to go see the Chairman, who will give her the proof she needs, since he knows how it all went down.

Hae-young interrupts them and takes Seol by the hand. Yoon-ju tells him to let go, by the Chairman’s orders, but Hae-young tells her to blame it on him—that he took Seol away, and then he does.

He tells her not to meet Yoon-ju anymore, especially alone. Yes, thank you. She asks where they’re going, and he says where doesn’t matter, as long as nobody knows…since they’re going somewhere alone, just the two of them. Rawr?

Hae-young: I wasn’t going to do this because your heart is in hell and I didn’t want to just make myself happy, but…I’m just going to be the bad guy.

As in: Being alone with you makes me inappropriately happy in your time of crisis, but to hell with it, I’m gonna drag you away to a secluded spot and just be happy. As in: Swoon.

They pull up to a house in the countryside, and when Seol walks up, she has a memory of Hae-young’s father, coming to greet her at the door.


I have no doubt that Hae-young’s father is as misunderstood a Noble Idiot as his son, so there’s bound to be some good that comes out of finding her memories in that house. But in the end, we’re just going to be waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for Mr. P Senior to show his face and clear it all up, for the love of all that is holy.

And until that time, I’m with Hae-young. Let’s just wait it out with some happy times, yeah? If you had to leave Jung-woo’s house (which by the way was sorely underutilized, despite the stirrings of jealous awesome) then let’s at least take the romance up a notch, eh?

Perhaps by some miracle that house is deceptively small inside, and has only one bed and one shower. And one blanket.

What I like about this drama is that the couple is always sweet and funny together, and that characters catch on to each other’s motivations rather quickly. What drives me kinda bonkers is that they’re less perceptive when it comes to the big-picture stuff, which is frankly a little hard to believe, as well as frustrating. (I was frankly bored to tears by yesterday’s episode, which was just dramatic pause after dramatic pause, and I was like, “Spit it out already! We knew this plot was coming since Day One!”)

I can see every play in this drama’s playbook forty miles away, which leaves me going “Yeah, check. Next?” a lot more often than I’d like. If this drama had more surprises and played a little more loose and free (like showing up at Jung-woo’s House of Mine’s Bigger Than Yours) then I’d be a much happier camper. Less broody, more kissy. Chop, chop!


256 February 16, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 13

by javabeans

We’re playing with some of the same plot points in this one, but at least we get some snuggle-bunny times for our princess and her bodyguard. Not a whole lot, but hey, I’ll take what I can get, since this couple’s cuteness is more than half of the drama’s sustaining life force. The remainder (for me, at least) is probably in the fun of hating the troublemakers, who are operating on a different plane of logic than the rest of us mortals and therefore require us to waste no time finding reasons to explain or justify their behavior. We can just hate ’em.


Park Hyo Shin – “눈물날려 그래” (Tears are falling) [ Download ]

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Hae-young and Seol arrive at his family’s vacation house, where Seol has a flashback of seeing a man (his father) at the door. Hae-young explains that this is “a place with lots of memories.” Oh, I’ll bet you don’t even know the half of it.

Seol takes a look around, settling at the piano to tap out a few notes. She opens Hae-young’s old piano books and finds stickers of Disney princesses, har har. Hm, I think you should let Dream High handle the meta jokes.

Hae-young reminds her of their deal: While they’re in this house, she’s only allowed to think of him and listen to him.

They spend a cozy night in by the fire (with some bickering thrown in, naturally), and Seol falls asleep in his arms. He sets her down to sleep (on the wood floor? For the princess?) and traces the lines in her face. She wakes groggily and wants to stay awake with him, but he tells her to go back to sleep, adding to himself, “If I see your eyes today, I don’t think I could sleep.”

In the morning, Hae-young insists on tending to Seol, from wiping her face with a towel to tying her hair for her (using her hairtie in the wrong way, I might add, which kinda makes it cuter).

This triggers another memory of her “father’s friend” — the man she recalled seeing at this house — and it’s a good sign that her lost memories are starting to return to her.

Seol steps outside to take a call from one of the people on her call list, who turns out to be Park Tae-joon, Hae-young’s father, requesting a meeting with her. Aw, how much is it gonna hurt when Hae-young realizes his dad ignored his calls, but returned one to his girlfriend?

Since Park Tae-joon is barred from entering the country, he asks Seol to speak to Chairman Park about lifting the ban, since she’s the only person who can sway him. Seol just wants to know if he had anything to do with her father’s death, and he answers no, that it was a mere accident, and that’s why he took her in after her father died. But he declines to elaborate, saying he’ll tell her the rest in person.

He hangs up on her, and when Seol turns back to the house, a few more memories trickle back, like how he had brought her here as a child (with her imperial sachet in hand) and told her that her father was dead.

Jung-woo tells the chairman that the pouch/sachet/reticule/oh-who-cares-it’s-just-a-plot-point that Dan produced is NOT, in fact, genuine. He had anticipated that it would be used to mess with the restoration, and lied to throw Yoon-ju off…which is weirdly convoluted but partly awesome just because I enjoy whenever Yoon-ju is thwarted. He has the real one in his possession.

Jung-woo asks to be entrusted in the handling of this situation — he’ll clear out the troublemaker and bring Seol back to the palace.

Hae-young finds the house empty; Seol, after calling Secretary Oh, has left the house. He calls her, and she informs him that she’s abandoned him, and that it turns out all the stuff her sister had said about their fathers is true.

He reminds her that they’d decided to go after the truth together, but she replies that she can’t see him anymore, as it makes her feel too sorry to her father. She hangs up on him, ignoring his pleas to tell her where she is, and is picked up soon afterward on the road by Secretary Oh.

Jung-woo tells Yoon-ju that he has just come from meeting with the chairman, and that he’d swapped out the imperial sachet with a fake. Yoon-ju contains her reaction and says that she won’t fall for his lie, and that he’s not that kind of guy, and that he’d always been understanding of her. He replies that he’s reached his limit with that, and that she’s free to have the sachet examined.

He tells her to step down from her position, and in return he’ll keep quiet about her using Dan to attack the monarchy. That’s the only way he can help her, and he won’t wait long for her decision.

Seol meets with the chairman and asks if Park Tae-joon killed her father, because she was taken to his vacation house on the day her father died. How would that have happened if he had nothing to do with it?

The chairman swears that his son didn’t kill him — not literally. He has come to consider it the same thing, since Park Tae-joon chased Dad around and threatened him, but the death was an accident. Seol answers that this means the chairman killed her father, and he agrees readily, bowing his head in regret.

Seol says that the chairman’s plan for restoring the monarchy has sacrificed the lives of her father, Hae-young’s father, Hae-young himself, and Dan. And now he expects her to play the princess for the very people who were responsible for her father’s death? The chairman protests, saying that the restoration is 500 years in the making, a part of history. He describes this work as his fate, insisting that it’s not for personal reasons, but Seol asserts that it seems to her that he’s really acting out of a guilty conscience. She won’t be a pawn in his Wipe My Slate Clean project, and asks him to give up the restoration.

Secretary Oh and Yoon-ju enter as the chairman begs Seol not to go, kneeling before her…and then he collapses.

ARGH!$&*#o*&$*(#)(rFAJKSDAJF;DLSAJFD. Et tu, My Princess???

The president gets word of the chairman’s condition and immediately leaps into strategy mode: The moment Chairman Park dies, quarrels will break out over his money, which was to be relinquished to the monarchy. He wants to bring Seol under his purview by making her the Blue House representative. He is firm in his belief that Seol is the real princess, but even if she weren’t, from a political standpoint it’s to his benefit to insist she is anyway.

The opposition politician happens to “coincidentally” run into the president, and sidles up to smugly comment on Chairman Park’s collapse, since his death clears the way for both of them, politically.

Hae-young arrives at the hospital to see the chairman, drawing short to see Seol standing with Yoon-ju. The latter he ignores, and he warns Seol not to go anywhere while he checks on his grandfather.

Yoon-ju snidely congratulates Seol for her ability to send the chairman into collapse and figures she must be scared, since this puts her princess standing in jeopardy. Seol can’t believe Yoon-ju’s cold-heartedness, and calls her a bitch, almost in wonder at how apt that word is. ‘Cause she’s much nicer than me, considering I’ve been using that word since Day 1.

Secretary Oh tells Hae-young that he thinks Seol has found out more information, based on the chairman begging for her forgiveness. He makes the educated guess that the list of callers responding to the ad about Lee Han included Hae-young’s father.

Combined with the fact that Seol had asked for the list a few days ago, ahh, well now things start to make sense for Hae-young. He realizes that she knows everything now.

Jung-woo arrives at the hospital, and Yoon-ju takes him aside to ask for the sachet back. Buoyed by her “miracle” (the chairman’s ill health), she has gained extra time and has no intention of stepping aside, per Jung-woo’s warning. She tells him to step aside himself, but likewise, he isn’t going to quit now.

She tells him not to do this, because if he does, “I have nobody to lean on anymore.” Oh really, evil bitch-bot? That’s your argument? If you don’t help me wreak havoc, then I won’t have anyone to support me while I wreak havoc! Boo frickin’ hoo.

Jung-woo agrees with me, although perhaps not in so many words, and tells her that he’s regretting having sided with her previously and letting things get to this point.

Yoon-ju calls Dan out to tell her that her part is over. For an evil accomplice, Dan sure is whiny, which Yoon-ju points out when Dan complains of being bored in her hotel room and annoyed that she can’t answer her mother’s calls. Yoon-ju smirks as she enlightens Dan on the part of this scheme that Dan was either too naive or foolish to realize: That gaining something means losing something, and that she’ll never have her life back. She’s being given a large sum of money to flee the country for good, and she’s free to do so now.

Dan asks suspiciously how she knows it’s safe to go — what if Yoon-ju backstabs her the moment she’s gone, blaming this all on her? Yoon-ju’s amused, because that’s exactly what she’s going to do, and for a smartie, Dan sure took a while to come to that realization. Dan counters that she’ll stick around and tell everyone that Yoon-ju put her up to it, but Yoon-ju doesn’t care, and will proceed with her plan anyway.

Hae-young finds Seol outside, and guesses that she’d talked to his father today. He tells her that no matter what she remembers, no matter what the truth is — even if that means he can’t be with her — he’s always on her side.

Seol says that the chairman had told her that Hae-young’s father didn’t kill her father: “If you’re on my side, then help me to not be the princess.” But she doesn’t mean this out of a generous spirit, but rather as a way to keep the Park men from ever being able to relieve their consciences of her father’s death. “Whether it’s causing his death, or threatening and frightening him and causing him to wander all his life — it’s all the same to me. Because in the end, my father died.”

And really, what can he say to that? In her frame of mind, pretty much the only way to make things right is to bring her father back. Being neither God nor vampire, he’s SOL on that one.

Yoon-ju watches while her father tends to the chairman, her fury growing as her eyes fixate on the loose button on her father’s sleeve. The chairman stirs, and her father rushes out to get the doctor, leaving her alone in the room. Now, I hardly believe Yoon-ju so far gone as to kill, but this hardly seems the smartest idea, amirite…?

Yoon-ju approaches his bedside as the chairman mumbles for the princess. She tells him that Seol left, and forces herself to say that she’s happy that he woke up. And lookit, there’s no bolt of lightning to smite her on the spot or anything. Must be her lucky day.

Jung-woo finds Seol as she’s leaving, and tells her the good news about the chairman waking up, to her relief. She tells him that she’s had a memory of the sachet — not enough to serve as proof, but enough to confirm that it was hers, and that she had it before living at the orphanage.

Jung-woo asks what she’d like done about Dan. While Seol is still peeved and would love to stick it to her sister, ultimately she’s sighs that she’s still family. Backstabbing, petulant, deceitful family.

Seol returns to her mother’s house for a happy reunion, although Mom gets a little shifty when Seol asks after her sister. It’s a touchy subject, so Mom hedges and says that Dan left the house for a few days because she felt bad about “the mistaken news report” and is getting some time to herself.

Mom’s on her way out to meet somebody, she says a little nervously. Seol sees that Mom has prepared a bag of clothing — obviously for Dan — and plays it off, telling her cheerily to go.

Mom chides Dan for setting off this scandal, and asks what her motivation could possibly be. Dan says she’s merely interested in the truth, since there’s a possibility that she could be the princess, but Mom’s not buying that excuse for a second. After all, she knows that Dan is in contact with her biological parents, so clearly she has no claim to royalty.

Mom sighs that Dan wasn’t this kind of person, that she was always so proud of her. Dan says yes, she was, the opposite of trouble-causing Seol — and that’s why she’s got such a bug up her butt. “You know what was the most horrible part of everything? That you loved us both equally.”

Oh, GOOD LORD. First you’re gonna whine that Mommy loved Seol more, and now you’re going to complain that despite equal affection, you deserved more of that love? You might want to check your math on that. Well, I suppose a girl who has no idea how to love would have a few misguided notions about the principle.

Dan tells her mother that just as she could never earn more love than Seol through her actions, Mom can’t love her less because of this. GEEZ. Are you sure you’re not the real princess? You sure have the complex.

Mom assures Dan that she loves her and apologizes, but urges her to stop, because this is taking things too far.

Yoon-ju is shaken from the chairman’s recovery, and tells Jung-woo that the hoped-for miracle didn’t occur after all. Are we really going to turn this whole wishing-for-death scenario into an argument to feel sorry for you, Evil Bot? What’s with the skewed self-pity today, ladies?

Jung-woo tells her firmly that such a thing is hardly a miracle, and she wonders, “Is that so?” Yes it is, Yoon-ju, who understands not the meaning of words. It makes sense you’d pair up with Dan, who understands not the workings of math.

Before Yoon-ju is ready to give Jung-woo her answer, she has somewhere to take him. Let’s just hope it’s not a dark pit with a shovel.

She asks him to help her pick out an outfit, though it’s not for her. She describes something for a man with broad shoulders — “Shoulders that will be feeling heavy, because of me.” Something lightweight for the burdened shoulders of her father.

She orders it for delivery, because going in person will just make him thank her, and she doesn’t want her father feeling indebted to anyone. Jung-woo points out the inconsistency of her logic, because if she dislikes him thanking people, how does she feel about making him apologize to people? That’s what her actions will cause.

Yoon-ju says that’ll never happen, declaring that her secret will be kept forever, and tells him to bring her the real sachet. Jung-woo’s disappointed, having hoped for better: “You’ve just thrown away your last chance.”

With the princess gone, Gunnie and Seol’s main lady in waiting thumb through a cookbook and sigh over all of Seol’s favorite dishes. The court lady has been growing increasingly flirty with him, and today she instructs Gun to meet her in the garden later for a “creative” night. Ooh la la.

Hae-young arrives at Dan’s hideaway just as she’s leaving, packed bag and all, and sets her straight: Don’t bother going to the airport, because she’s been put on the no-fly list. Oh also? Imma make you pay for everything you have coming to you.

Dan sputters, saying that she ain’t scared of his threats and that she’ll never regret her actions. Her indignation holds for just about three more seconds, because Hae-young informs her that her big payoff isn’t coming, since her funds have been frozen. So if she has plans to live it up abroad with her boatloads of cash, she can cancel them ’cause that boat has sunk. She can forget about her earlier hopes of becoming a lawyer or a judge in Korea, too, because that’s not bloody likely either. And she can say goodbye to ever seeing her mother or Seol again. Nor is she to be in contact with Yoon-ju again.

That does the trick, and Dan is visibly scared. Never, ever cross a diplomat-chaebol-rich-man-angry-boyfriend. You’re just never gonna win.

Hae-young arrives at Mom’s pension as Seol is feeding the dogs, like she’d done on his first visit here. She turns down his request to talk and hurries inside, leaving him to pound on the door, which remains closed.

He speaks through the door anyway, knowing that she’s standing on the other side listening, and says he’s going to be patient, “So let’s not get discouraged.” She doesn’t open up, but she does sit just inside all day long. Hae-young waits outside on the porch all the while, and late that night, he speaks up again:

Hae-young: “When I consider what my father did, and the pain that caused you, I shouldn’t come here. I shouldn’t have come back. I know that’s the only courtesy I can show you, but I’m sorry. I couldn’t do that today. The fun of always finding something to nitpick and bicker with you about — I can’t give that up. And I can’t give up making you feel breathless and making your heart race. I was pampered as a child so I’m not that patient. I’ve never given anything up before. Yes, as you said, I’m a real jerk. You’re right…but…what can I do about missing you?”

His voice breaks at that and he stars to tear up, as does Seol inside. He continues, “What can I do about missing you 24 hours a day? I miss you right now. I miss you to death! What should I do? Lee Seol…I love you. I said, this Mr. P loves you.”

Well, that does the trick.

Seol opens the door and starts to say, “I also…” but he doesn’t give her the chance.


I agree with girlfriday’s comments in the previous recap about not being surprised by My Princess, and it does dim the experience when things happen and you think, “Well, duh, of course that would happen.” Or worse yet, you wonder, “Wait, didn’t they already know that?” When the plot treads water for as long as it has been doing, you start getting confused as to what has happened, what was implied, and what you thought was implied but must have just been your own suspicions putting you ahead of the curve. At least that’s my experience with this episode.

Honestly, I think I probably have more patience with the drama than most — at least that’s what it seems from reading comments. I don’t know what it is, My Princess is just so inoffensive and at times cute that I’m not bothered by the slowness of the plot (much). Maybe I’m getting mellow. Or maybe it’s because it’s got just enough satisfying couple moments, interspersed with love-to-hate villains, that I’m okay going along with it. Yoon-ju’s totally screwy at this point, but at least I don’t feel the need to understand her or attempt to cut her slack. She’s hateful and I gleefully hate. If the drama attempts a redemption for her, I’ll be disappointed, and would actually enjoy if they took her further. C’mon, you’re never going to win viewers over now, so you may as well go for broke.

Plus, the drama has already exceeded my expectations in regards to the acting. I wonder what would’ve happened to Kim Tae-hee’s and Song Seung-heon’s reputations (as bad actors) had they both done a rom-com like this earlier in their careers. They’ve both avoided the genre, and seemed to gravitate toward roles that highlight their weaknesses — I mean, Kim Tae-hee as a badass secret agent? Ha. But rom-com is a forgiving genre if only you have some personal charm, and they’ve got that — plus the gorgeous faces, of course.


232 February 17, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 14

by girlfriday

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! The Cute has returned! All hail the return of The Cute! Someone please, throw us a royal ball in The Cute’s honor. It’s the least you could do for dragging us through such nonsense and boredom. I mean, what’s a princess gotta do for a royal party up in this house?


Aaaand, we have contact! They kiss, and Hae-young tells her that they can’t run away from each other now: “I couldn’t possibly know how hard it is for you, how you’re feeling right now. But that’s how I can keep you by my side.”

He asks if his room is empty, the Royal Grand Executive Presidential Suite, and tells her to go ahead and up-charge him for the hot water, since he’ll be staying. She protests, but he says he’s coming down with a cold since she made him wait outside all day in the freezing cold.

She calls him out on faking it just to stay, and he makes her feel his forehead and puts on his best poor puppy face. He insists he’s really really cold, and tells her to turn up the heat…”Or if you’re going to stay with me all night, a cold room’s fine.” Rawr.

That earns him a glare and a huffy exit from the princess. He laughs, quite pleased with himself.

Yoon-ju gets called to a meeting in the palace, and she finds herself entering quite the official board meeting…that she knew nothing about. Jung-woo tells her to sit down, and then speaks for the group, announcing their position on the fake royal doohickey incident: They believe Yoon-ju should take responsibility, as in resign.

Afterwards Yoon-ju speaks to Jung-woo alone, trembling in anger at how he “could do this to her” like he’s the bad guy here. She asks if he’s doing this for Seol, or the monarchy, or that goddamned history he loves so much.

He tells her that he can do more than just make her resign if he needs to, and responds that its “because of a woman that I once loved to death.” Aw, sad. I don’t think that girl exists anymore, buddy. He tells her that he’s emptying everything she has, so that she can start over. Which would maybe be a better sentiment if she had a soul or something.

Back at the pension, Seol eats while Hae-young just stares at her. She reminds him that he was dying of hunger just a few minutes ago, but he refuses to eat, wanting desperately to get sick. Ha.

He muses that if he falls really ill, then she’ll stay up all night with him, tending to his fever, and momentarily forgetting all of her pain. He tells her that he wants to get so sick that she can’t help but stay by his side, despite all the reasons why they can’t be together.

She tells him that Mom will be back soon, but he’s got that covered—she’s not returning for the night, and also, she’d be on his side anyway. “Your mom loves Park suh-bang.”

Seol looks up at him and says, “I like him too. I like Park Hae-young a lot, and I missed him too.” But she adds that she needs time before she can come to grips with their families’ past, and come to laugh about it. Right now what she needs is someone to be mad at…and the only one around is Hae-young.

Well that’s a silly argument if I’ve ever heard one. Either you’re mad at him or you’re not. Anger is not transferred from one party—his father—to the son, like inheritance or debt. This is inorganic conflict in action: Drama needs them to stay apart, so she’s gonna be mad at him. He’s like the anger patsy.

He tells her to be mad at him as much as she wants, so long as she doesn’t push him away too far. He says to watch him be happy because of her, and be as mad as she wants, because he wants to do at least that much for her. Heh. He means it sincerely, but it reads like a challenge, ’cause how long could she possibly endure if he’s going to be all lovey dovey?

They’re interrupted by a man at the door—it’s Hae-young’s replacement at the palace, here to bring the princess back. His presence immediately spikes Hae-young’s competitive streak, and after Seol refuses to return to the palace, he cuts the guy down to size. He sends a message to the President not to mess with the monarchy anymore.

Upstairs, Hae-young triumphantly tells her this is why she needs a man in the house, and reports the guy gone. Seol: “Well if that guy’s gone, maybe this guy can go too.” (They use the word nom which technically means “guy,” but connotes something more like “ass.”)

Hae-young: “What? Nom? You know, you sometimes call me nom every once in a while…” as he shuffles his feet. Hahaha. I love Wounded Pride Hae-young.

He refuses to leave, since there’s more people bound to show up. Just then, the doorbell rings, and Seol’s friends from school show up, invited by Hae-young. Next Gunnie and her court lady enter, followed by the bodyguard/minion who apparently switched sides from Gramps to Hae-young.

Seol lights up, jumping around like a little girl at the sight of her friends, and smiles at Hae-young when she realizes that he did all this for her. The doorbell rings again, and Hae-young wonders who it might be since this is everyone he invited…

And he walks back in with heavy steps, followed by a smiling Jung-woo. Yay! He joins the party, despite Hae-young’s grumbling that he wasn’t even invited.

They toast and have a good time, and Hae-young goes to the kitchen to replenish snacks, dragging Jung-woo along with him. Probably discontent to leave him alone with Seol for even a second.

In the kitchen, Hae-young watches Seol having a good time with affection, and makes a point of calling her “Our Seol,” a Koreanism that really means “My Seol.” Jung-woo notes it not without the trademark exasperation that accompanies all things Hae-young, but he’s not here to fight over Seol, much to my sadness.

He says that they look good together and he’s jealous—not so much of him, but of their situation. He then tells Hae-young about firing Yoon-ju, and asks him to help him out and go easy on her. Hae-young says he can’t do that, and that he’d only cause her more pain anyway.

There’s some fighting over Gunnie’s attention, and Seol’s friend cries out for Mr. P to bring more beer. He deflects the serving duties to Mr. N, and Jung-woo says that they should go with whoever has more money. Hae-young counters with age, and Jung-woo is finally reduced to rock-paper-scissors. Ha.

Gunnie rifles through Hae-young’s cell phone and finds a video labeled “Ero-Seol,” and both Hae-young and Seol jump at the mention of his nickname for her. Hae-young jumps up to pry it out of his hands, but everyone holds them back as Gunnie connects it to the tv for everyone to watch.

It’s the practice video of Seol doing test runs before the press conference, and everyone squeals that he’s carrying that around in his phone, while he and Seol just die of embarrassment. So cute.

Jung-woo scoffs that it’s not racy at all, despite the moniker, and then muses that this might BE racy…to Hae-young. Cue a big Woooooooooo~~ from the crowd, and Hae-young pretty much admits defeat with a “but she’s pretty in it, right?”

Seol wakes up the next morning to the comforting smell of Gunnie’s cooking, but her face falls when Jung-woo tells her that Hae-young left early in the morning. So much for wanting to be mad at him, yeah?

But then everyone gets up and scurries to the tv in a hurry, and Seol joins them to find Hae-young giving a press conference. Oy, this show and the deus ex press conference.

Hae-young basically outs his family’s backstory in relation to the monarchy—specifically how his grandfather’s fortune was built on what was once the royal treasury, and how he’s felt guilty about it all these years, hence Grandpa’s grand gesture of giving all his wealth to the restoration.

He tells them all about how the three generations of his family have caused the monarchy strife, and adds a plea for the public to take care of the princess. It all amounts to a giant public apology, for the sins of his family.

Seol watches all of this as Jung-woo drives her back to the city, and she mutters with tears in her eyes that Hae-young must be crazy. Jung-woo says that it’s probably the best that he could possibly do for her.

She finds him outside his grandfather’s hospital room, bracing for impact. She looks up at him with tears brimming in her eyes, asking why he’d do such a thing. He tells her that it was the best he could think of, and he didn’t tell her because she would’ve stopped him.

Seol: “How could you do that? I can’t do anything for you. What am I supposed to do now?” How ’bout love him freely? No? Still need more dramatic tension? Okay then.

Hae-young goes in to see his grandfather, preparing for an onslaught of epic proportions. But he’s startled to find Grandpa smiling back at him, countering his apology with a stamp of approval for telling the truth…which is something he couldn’t ever bring himself to do.

He thanks Hae-young for letting him finally lay his burdens down, and adds an apology of his own, for being the one to cause Lee Ahn’s death, and for causing such a rift with Hae-young’s father. He tells him not to hate his father because of the things that Grandpa has done.

Outside, Seol waits anxiously, as Yoon-ju walks up, full of self-righteous indignation. She blames Seol for driving Hae-young to this point. She lays into her for being so selfish, adding that she’s not the only one who’s suffered—Hae-young may appear to have grown up with a silver spoon, but he had a lonely and difficult life.

Yoon-ju accuses her of planning all of this from the beginning, which just cracks me up. A) She’s not you. B) Seol, she’s sweet, but she’s no mastermind. Basic reasoning is a strain on her.

Yoon-ju railroads her with a guilt trip about making Hae-young confess these things himself, and finishes off with how everything that’s happened is Seol’s fault. Oh, so you’re the one who hatched an evil plan wherein your goal was to make Gramps fall into a coma, but it’s all Seol’s fault? Oh. Got it. I was confused, but I see now how it’s not your fault at all.

Grandpa thanks Hae-young, and tells him that he trusts him completely. He asks him to take care of the princess, and with his burden finally lifted, he closes his eyes…and passes away.

Everyone rushes in as Hae-young cries for Grandpa to wake up, and even Yoon-ju Bot cries. Seol stands back, no doubt crippled by the guilt trip that Yoon-ju just laid on her, and cries.

As Hae-young spreads his grandfather’s ashes, he tearfully asks for forgiveness. Everyone but Seol leaves, and Yoon-ju looks back at them standing there. She makes a call to Hae-young’s father, and tells him that she’ll find a way to get him back in the country, and not to worry—Hae-young will be happy to see him. Are you literally scheming over Grandpa’s ashes? My god, woman.

Yoon-ju goes to try and lift the ban on Hae-young’s father, only to be caught red-handed by Hae-young. He tells her not to do anything, even if it’s for him, and if it’s for her…well then that’s a delusion. Ha. Awesome.

Jung-woo comes to see Seol with an “I’m just here to see you,” and laughs that her reaction isn’t what it used to be. He hands over the real royal satchel, because nothing says royalty like embroidery. He tells her that he promised the chairman that he’d put it back in the real princess’ hands, and asks her to return to the palace, because whether or not she’s there, she’s the princess.

She goes to meet Hae-young, who tells her vaguely that he’s got something he has to take care of, so he’ll be out of touch for a while. He presents her with a flowerpot, and says that it’s supposed to grow into flowers. She asks what kind but he doesn’t know. “Grow them, and I’ll be back, and you can tell me what kind of flowers I gave you.” She jokes that it sure is a weird present, but is touched at the sentiment.

He makes one request: that she return to the palace. No matter which way he looks at it, he thinks that’s where she belongs. He starts looking into the whole inheritance matter, and his lawyer tells him that his father, the rightful heir, must relinquish his claim before Grandpa’s money goes to the monarchy.

Seol ponders what to do as she puts the following comment online:

Seol: I’m growing a plant, without knowing what kind of flowers will bloom. He’s given me frustration and excitement all at once. Does Mr. P know?

Gotta love a princess who spills her heart online. She goes to visit Grandpa’s ashes, and apologizes for always blaming him, and never thanking him for helping her find her family. She promises not to run away anymore, and then re-enters the palace.

Her first order of business is to search out Yoon-ju. Showdown time? Aw, yeah. She finds her back at her old job in the museum, and calls her by her title for one last time…and then starts calling her by name, asserting her authority.

Seol reminds her of her words when she was leaving that palace: that when she returned, Yoon-ju would be dead. Ha. She follows through with her promise, the first of which is to fire her from this job too. Awesome.

Yoon-ju throws a hissy fit that this museum was put under her care directly by the chairman, but Seol gives her a wake up call. “That may have been the case yesterday, but today things have changed. The Hae-young Museum is now under the purview of the palace, and I choose the staff. So get out of my palace.” Kick. Ass.

Yoon-ju complains to her father that the museum was her entire life and she deserves it, wah, wah, wah. Even her dad is sick of hearing her entitled rants, and tells her that she’s been given a cut of the inheritance and a position at Daehan Construction. So, you’re getting a new position handed to you, and you’re still complaining? Gah.

Seol takes to her princess duties with zest, and starts strategizing for the best ways to spread Korean culture. Imma go with…dramas. She keeps getting no answer when she calls Hae-young, and when she asks her bodyguard, he tells her that Hae-young left the country. She flips her lid that they should’ve put him on the no-fly list (What is with this show and the no-fly list?) and pouts at his prolonged absence.

She begins her lessons with Hae-young’s replacement, and when he presents her with her new study schedule, she decides she doesn’t like it. She writes up one of her own, which includes: “History: Nam Jung-woo. Economics: Steve Jobs. English: John Park. Music: Beast, Rain. Fashion: Shinee. Horseback Riding: Bidam.”

LOL. This girl cracks me up. Her teacher stares slack-jawed, and she tells him that she trusts in his capabilities, and asks him to round ’em up in a week. Hahaha.

As time passes and the flowers grow, Seol studies hard. In voiceover we hear the texts that she sends him, asking why he’s taking so long. “What are you taking care of? Are you cleaning up after all the women in your life? Are there that many? Don’t just take care of one a day. Go breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Heh.

Another one: “Today I’m wearing a really short skirt! If you don’t hurry back, I’m gonna wear a low-cut dress!” And: “Did you find somebody else? Is it a foreign princess? Is she prettier than me? But isn’t it possible that I’m prettier?!”

She finally sends a text insisting that she’s going to be cool about it, but then follows up with a request that he just reply ONCE, with a period, just so that she knows he’s there. She gets impatient, but then one day he replies, with just one period.

She leaps up for joy, jumping up and down with so much excitement that she slips off the fountain…

And who’s there to catch her, but her knight in shining designer suit?


A much better episode, back to a lot of the lightness that made this show so breezy and fun in the beginning. I certainly hope we stay in this tone for the final stretch, as the monarchy conflict is so overly simplistic, for the drama that they’re trying to milk out of it. What’s nice is that this episode’s drama came from a much more grounded place—losing Grandpa, stepping in to fulfill his dreams, taking responsibility for one’s position, be it Princess or Grandson and Heir.

Thankfully, his death serves to wash the slate clean, so that Seol can’t hide her feelings behind her anger anymore, flimsy reasoning that it was. It’s nice to see our couple being openly expressive and caring, even if they have to spend time apart.

When I think about all that plot spinning that went on over that goddamned royally embroidered pain in my ass, when it was just going to be returned to her like, “Oops, no biggie!” it makes me shake my fists of fury.

But this episode brought a much-needed touch of humor, warmth, and cuteness that brought a big smile to my face. That, and…I love me some Tough Princess, kickin’ ass and takin’ names.


183 February 23, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 15

by javabeans

SO MUCH CUTENESS in this episode. It’s like the good ol’ days, which I wasn’t expecting so late in the game with all the monarchy stuff nearing resolution, but which I found refreshingly welcome. True, it’s a little low on story movement, but when you pit story movement against some majorly adorable Kim Tae-hee/Song Seung-heon couple antics, it’s no contest.


Humming Urban Stereo – “넌그날” (You on that day) with actress Yoo Inna
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After their temporary separation, Hae-young shows up at the palace, catching Seol just as she’s engaged in her victory dance over his text message.

He tells her he missed her, but she’s miffed over his two-month silence. He’s been in New York, and she asks if he’s left behind his perception — in moments like these, he’s supposed to take some kind of action. He replies that in New York, they react like this — this being a kiss on the lips, which he follows up with a few more.

Well, that’s a pretty effective way to get her back on your side. Seol is adequately appeased and jumps into his arms, and he twirls her around.

He explains that he was in New York to “take care of something,” and while that term can apply to anything, both business affairs and personal, it’s also used to refer to ending a romantic relationship (as in, tying up loose ends). Seol assumes the latter and asks how many women he had that he took so long to break up with them all, and tells him to put them in the past now.

The plant he gave her has sprouted, and the meaning behind their flowers is “Be happy.” She pouts a little that his flower message was unromantic, but he corrects her: “How can you be happy without me? It means that I’ll stick by your side every day.” She holds him to it, and wants him to make up for lost time by sticking within 50 centimeters of her, starting tomorrow. And what’s wrong with today?

Hae-young has brought back his father’s written statement that he won’t claim his legal portion of the inheritance, making Hae-young the primary heir to his grandfather’s fortune, of which he is entitled to half. The next step is to give up his portion to the monarchy…only he doesn’t intend to do that anymore. Say wut?

Hae-young meets with Yoon-ju, who is still bitter over her fate, not that she earned it or anything, of course, according to the story in her mind. She’d been given a job after being fired from the museum, but quit on her first day.

He tells her that his father was happy to see him, but also that he’d asked after Yoon-ju — a reference to the fact that she’d contacted him trying to thwart the monarchy. Even here she has been outmaneuvered, because his father has decided not to return to Korea. He’d rather accept his father’s punishment than to circumvent it (as Yoon-ju offered).

Hae-young adds that he’s not going to see her anymore, either. She calls him “extremely cruel, sometimes,” which is like the pot calling the kettle a little bit dirty.

Yoon-ju meets her father for lunch, only to find herself ambushed by a blind date. She sits uncomfortably while the man chats with her about her work, though that gets cut short by the appearance of Jung-woo (arrrgh), here to rescue her from this embarrassing date. He pulls her out of the restaurant, and says he missed her (double arrrrgh). She tells him stiffly that she’s the woman who dumped him, then got dumped by her fiancé, but he still wants to start over with her. (ARRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHH.)

She tells him he’s crazy (for once, no disagreement here), but he just smiles and says she’s at her coolest when she’s with him.

Seol meets with Secretary Oh to offer him the job Yoon-ju just vacated, to his great shock. He protests that his daughter’s misconduct got her fired, but Seol says that he served the chairman his whole life and will be of great help to her.

The news breaks that Hae-young’s father has given up his claim to the chairman’s inheritance, and now all eyes turn to Hae-young, speculating over whether he will keep it for himself or turn it over. Seol overhears the court ladies gossiping, and is alarmed by the story.

This means Hae-young is now courted by the opposition assemblyman, who is thrilled at the development. Considering Hae-young’s past comments about blocking the princess’ progress, he assumes Hae-young will be on his side now and urges him to trust in him.

Jung-woo makes the opposing assumption, that Hae-young will naturally turn over the wealth, and asks what he’s going to do to quell the speculation. Hae-young replies that he’s human, that the decision isn’t an easy one, and that he’s currently thinking it over. He adds, “Why are people more interested in other people’s inheritances than their own?” Touché.

But then he assures Jung-woo that he has no intention of keeping the money — this is his strategy to get the citizenry worked up. The knowledge that they’re taking money away from a chaebol will stir them to vote — much more than, say, if he eagerly handed it over without a fight. “All things need villains.” Ooh, crafty. Jung-woo is rather impressed and laughs to himself.

He works this angle in the interview he gives to a reporter, who asks if he’s thinking to support or oppose the restoration vote. He gives noncommittal answers (“Perhaps” and “I suppose you could say so”) designed to make it look like he’s diminishing the importance of the vote, casually saying that he doesn’t suppose the vote will amount to much. At the key question of whether he’d hand over his inheritance were the restoration plans cancelled, he asks, “Would you hand it over easily?”

The reporter is even hesitant to publish the story, acknowledging that it may cause public scorn for Hae-young. But Hae-young encourages him to publish whatever he feels is right, as it doesn’t matter to him.

Seol, unaware of his master plan, reads the articles to great dismay. Jung-woo isn’t about to blab, so he takes in Seol’s reaction with amusement, particularly when she orders Hae-young’s bodyguard/aide to put him on the no-fly list, given his odd behavior of late. The aide mumbles that he’s not authorized to do that so she orders him to keep tabs on him, report back about his doings, and even tape him.

When she confronts Hae-young, he enjoys teasing her, saying that she’d better start sucking up to him now, since he’s vacillating on the inheritance issue.

She can’t believe his inexplicable change of heart, not amused at his suggestion that they take his riches and live abroad together. He tells her it’s in her best interest to keep him happy — and then tells her to start by wearing that scandalously short skirt she’d threatened him with in a previous text message. Hee.

Then he takes issue with the way she addresses him (“Park Hae-young-sshi”) and she retorts, “What should I call you, then, Hae-young-ah?” He angles for an oppa, which she refuses. So he feigns being annoyed and stalks out in a huff, so Seol chases after him and concedes, “Fine, I’ll do it. Oppa — happy?” He pretends he didn’t hear, so she yells it in his ear.

He grabs her phone to reprogram her Mr. P label to “our oppa,” which he erases for “our honey,” and then finally: “Warm and youthful Hae-young oppa.” (The “warm and youthful” part refers to her description of her other oppa — Joo Sang-wook’s cameo — in a prior episode.)

He looks so proud of himself, it’s hilarious. She grumbles that it’s so smarmy, and again he feigns feeling insulted, sending Seol after him apologizing. That settled, he instructs her that until he signs the papers, he wants her to wink at him every time they meet eyes. Puahaha. Seol obliges reluctantly, only she’s unable to wink with one eye, so she blinks at him instead. So cute.

She calls him stingy and childish for withholding his inheritance to order her around, and he agrees that it is, “But it’s so fun.”

She finally gets him back a little by telling him that she’s had numerous offers for marriage blind dates, and goes off to prepare for one. Two can play this game, Mister P.

Seol introduces Secretary Oh to the staff as the new boss, and announces her intention to remain in this position even if the vote doesn’t go through. She’s dedicated to her role, though the problem then becomes their lack of funding. So she asks her staff to look into ways of maintaining a foundation without money, and offers to ride her current popularity into landing CFs for princess-related wares.

Hae-young video-calls her, trying to contain his worry that she’s actually out on a date like she threatened. She hangs up on him, and he calls back to instruct her to meet him. The meeting place turns out to be a car dealership, where he grills her on her date and prods for details — what does the guy do for a living? Did she smile at him? Look into his eyes? Seol tells him that she’s thinking of going out on another date with the guy.

He’s here to buy a car, her and their promised driving lessons. Only, the lesson goes about as well as you might expect, which totally takes me back to those teenage years when I thought I’d never be able to drive without fear. She’s plastered to the wheel like an old lady, going all of 20 kmh (which she calls speedy), while Hae-young beats his chest in frustration at her inability to drive straight.

Finally he orders her out and calls her a dummy in frustration, which especially peeves her and makes her retort that maybe he didn’t consider that the car was the problem, or his awful teaching. He contritely takes back the “dummy” and offers to accept his punishment — and leans in for a kiss.

Seol hardly thinks that’s a suitable punishment, so he says he’ll “take that back” — and leans in to “rescind” his kiss (with another one). Ha! That’s pretty smooth, actually. *Files away for future use.*

Hae-young then goes to the president to ask for his help, and though the latter is surprised, he agrees to let the vote decide the monarchy’s fate. He comments on Hae-young’s “foolishness and courage” at putting up his enormous inheritance, which makes him wish he were on his side. In fact, the president makes the offer for Hae-young to come work for him in the Blue House.

The days go by and two days before the vote, Seol gives an interview with Reporter Yoon. Asked what she’d like to do first if the vote passes, she answers that she’d like “somebody’s” congratulations, skillfully evading his prodding for a name.

Afterward, she’s ushered into the conference room, where Hae-young signs the papers giving up his inheritance to the monarchy. It’s not until afterward that Seol clues into his motivation, as he asks Jung-woo not to make this public until after the vote, because if it were to become news now, people would not be motivated to cast their ballots.

She thanks him, and he says there’s nothing to thank — the money was never his to begin with, and he’d just been greedy for it before. To assure her that he’ll be fine, he reminds her that his diplomat’s pay is pretty good, and he’s got property in his name, “So don’t go running away saying I’m poor now.”

He asks for a prize to reward his nice gesture, and they go out walking the streets together. Seol comments that it’s a pretty weak request — an ordinary streetside date — and he quips, “And what sweeter prize were you thinking to give me, Your Highness Ero-Seol?” HAHA. If only we could see inside her mind…

She asks if he’ll still stick with her if the vote fails, and he teases, “Nope. That princess of Monaco’s really pretty.” Put out, Seol suggests he sets his sights on Princess Fiona instead, green skin and all, who is at least pretty by day. He says he’d rather have Seol, then, since she’s pretty at night too.

Seol corrects him: She’s even prettier at night. He retorts that she’s prettiest when she’s not talking, and Seol tags along after him like a muppet, chirping, “Talk. Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk…” So cute.

They walk along, eating street food, browsing the stands, and playing games. They have to make a break for it when a few bystanders recognize Seol and chase them, clamoring for photos, and manage to escape safely.

However, news footage on a large outdoor screen catches their eye, with the caption indicating that one last scandal has broken out about Seol. This one was spurred by her evasive comments at her recent interview, and has dredged up old footage of Hae-young and Seol together, linking them romantically. The reporter has taken her rather innocent comments and twisted it into a Big Story, on the eve of the vote.

Hae-young’s plan is to use a televised denial of the rumors to do some damage control, but Jung-woo warns that that could have unforeseen detrimental effects. Seol says that she’ll take care of it herself, and films a video message.

Seol: “Hello, citizens, this is Lee Seol. You must have been surprised at the news. To start with the conclusion, I love Park Hae-young. Regarding the doubt about the monarchy, there will be people who believe me and those who do not. However, the truth that does not change is that I love Park Hae-young.”

The video is released, and voting day comes. Some mock it, like the assemblyman and the president, who pose for the cameras as they cast their votes and scoff at her love declaration. An indifferent Yoon-ju sits at home, while her father tells her that he trusts she will make it out to the polls.

At the palace, everyone gathers to watch the news report once the counting begins. Seol sits worriedly, so Hae-young pries her away from the TV and takes to her room, where he leads her in breathing exercises to relax. She catches him sneaking a look at the news on his phone, and eagerly asks for the restuls. With a grim face, he tells her, “It’s over.”

Before she can press him on what that means, Jung-woo enters with the staff on his heels, facing her with an equally solemn face, and tells her to confirm the truth for herself by watching the broadcast. It’s clearly not good news.

We fade out, and then we come back…


At a school campus, Seol rides by on her bike, dressed like a normal girl, and mobbed by a group of excited students.


Huh, so the vote didn’t go through? That’s actually a surprise to me, since I thought it was definitely going to pass. In that regard I welcome the surprise, just because it’s one of very few in the story that has been, on the whole, rather predictable.

That predictability is why the uber-cuteness of this episode totally makes this episode for me. We all know that we weren’t watching My Princess for the politics, and when we say “I could watch these two bicker and flirt for the whole series,” it’s not really such a hyperbole since those are the best parts of the drama. So to have an episode chock-full of their teasing, arguing, and making up is as close to perfect an episode of My Princess as you could hope for. The actual plot stuff could’ve fit into five minutes of airtime, but I’m not complaining that they didn’t highlight those more. The only thing to have made it even better would’ve been to give us more Hae-young/Jung-woo male posturing.

As for Yoon-ju and Jung-woo…. (ARGH!) I get the impulse to redeem the baddie, I do. You don’t want to end a rom-com on a downer. But Yoon-ju hasn’t even BEEN redeemed. She learned nothing. It’s not like she stepped down from her job because she realized she was being an evil bitch-bot, or backed off gracefully. She doesn’t deserve her happy ending. If she gets her second chance with Jung-woo, I’m going to be mighty unhappy, although I suppose I can’t feel sympathy for him since he went into it with his eyes wide open.

329 February 24, 2011January 24, 2016

My Princess: Episode 16 (Final)

by girlfriday

So I never would’ve put my money on this, but this finale rocks. It’s not only adorable and as cute as always, but there’s actual conflict, and it’s good. (I KNOW!) So weird. What the hell were you doing for all those episodes, Show? Saving your wad for the big finale?

What’s nice is that it’s actually a solid episode with a singular arc, which SO many finales aren’t—most are cobbled-together, resolution bow-tying heaps of dung—but this one actually nailed the tone of the show in a great hour-long plot that made me wish we had gotten to this conflict sooner. Also, never thought I’d say this, but how much do I love Kim Tae-hee right now?


So at the end of the last episode, I expected it to be a fakeout, and it was—Seol rides her bike to school two years after the vote, but then is immediately followed by her security team, running to keep up with her. When her main bodyguard catches up to her, he huffs and puffs that she still can’t manage to get her driver’s license in two years. Well, perhaps you could at least get bikes for your security team, to ride alongside you?

A crowd gathers to take photos of the princess, but this seems to be a common sighting, as Seol rides to school every day, intent on finishing grad school. It’s good to be a princess with goals.

She heads to class, where she’s met with her professor of archaeology for her final term: Yoon-ju? Aw, geez, really? Would it have killed you to take a class with Jung-woo, for our sakes? Or is he too busy being your cultural ambassador and whatnot?

Thankfully they’re still antagonistic towards each other, Yoon-ju making a point of announcing to the class that she doesn’t abide people who think they can get away with not coming to class. She smugly addresses Seol that she’ll just get another F if she thinks she’s exempt.

Seol chases Yoon-ju after class to ask if she’s going to fail her again out of personal ill will, but Yoon-ju just claims that Seol’s F last semester wasn’t due to her absences, but her performance. Seol tries to play nice because this is the last class she needs to pass before getting her degree, and even acknowledges that though she doesn’t like it, Yoon-ju is the one who knows the Hae-young Museum best.

She explains that she’d like to do a good job maintaining the museum, for its namesake. That just raises Yoon-ju’s ire, as she notes that Seol must be trying to appease her guilty conscience, since she’s chased Hae-young out of the country and made him live just like his father.

Seol disagrees—he’s choosing a life of purpose as a diplomat, and that’s admirable. So, one thing’s clear: Hae-young has spent the last two years abroad, probably in an effort to stabilize the monarchy and let Seol begin her reign without scandal, in regards to both Daehan’s money and their romantic relationship.

One of the things Seol has done as the princess is open the palace to the public, and we see groups of tourists snapping away photos, and in the main hall, they’re greeted by a cardboard cutout of Seol. HAHAHA.

As Seol gets ready in a traditional hanbok, her aides come to her with birthday phone calls from princes: one from Prince Harry, and another from Prince…Nichkhun. Ha. Her face falls, really wanting a call from a diplomat rather than a prince.

She goes in front of the cameras on a stage, in what seems to be a regular gig. She presents different parts of Korean culture, like traditional foods, and even plays a gayageum. So pretty.

The lights go out in the middle of the shoot, and the staff presents her with a birthday cake. Darn. I seriously had my hopes up for a romantic gesture by Hae-young. Too soon?

On her way out, reporters surround her, but she’s now become a pro at the press-walk-and-talk, ignoring and answering the right questions. She’s thrown by one comment asking if Hae-young has cut ties with the monarchy, and then when asked about recovering her grandfather’s lost journal (recently found abroad), she says she’s working on it.

Back at the palace, she’s greeted with a mountain of presents from her fans, and she lights up, as she asks, “Which of these do you think it is?” … “The one from Park Hae-young?”

Um…awkward…none of them are from him. She doesn’t believe it at first, thinking he’s prepared some extra special surprise then, but this time, it’s the truth. No present from Hae-young.

She stews for a while, staring at her phone, and then finally announces that she’s going to call him, “Because I’m cool!!” Hahaha. The way she shouts that is hilariously unconvincing.

She calls, totally put out by the fact that she has to call HIM on HER birthday…only he doesn’t answer. Cue princess outburst. “Is he…cheating? Aaaaargh! He’s cheating with some busty leggy blonde, I know it!” LOL.

The next day she takes her driving test again for the millionth time, and fails like always. I do love that she’s so flawed, and consistently so. She goes to visit Grandpa’s ashes, and finds that someone else has left flowers already. One guess who.

She tells Grandpa that Hae-young is abroad, and she knows he must miss his grandson; she does too. She says that he’s always away, and sometimes it even confuses her—is it for his job, or because of her?

Seol: So that’s why I’m asking. I know you always give me everything, without holding anything back, and I know it’s shameless of me to ask for more…but…couldn’t you give me Park Hae-young?

AW. I love that she’s the one asking for HIS hand. God, I LOVE that.

She gets an update from Jung-woo on her grandfather’s journal, and they vow to keep trying to get it back. Meanwhile, she goes driving again to practice, determined to beat that test.

She drives along like a little grandma, fine until somebody drives up behind her, honking. Yay! Reunion on the racetrack! She gestures at the driver to go around her (in the totally empty driving course, mind you) and she doesn’t put two and two together, so he goes around her and races to a stop up ahead.

Seol grumbles at the crazy driver to herself, ready to give him a piece of her mind…until she sees him get out of the car. It’s Hae-young, in all his shining glory, doing his best imitation of a car CF.

Her jaw drops open as she realizes that it’s him, and he just smiles at her, shaking his head. She inches closer, so slowly it nearly kills me, and manages to get so close to his car that she sandwiches him in.

I love the pairing of her little pink car and his manly black car, parked side by side when they reunite. It’s adorable, and probably a car commercial’s subliminal advertising, but I’m totally buying into it. Gah.

She’s parked so damn close that she can’t actually manage to get out of the car to meet him, and he doesn’t help matters by slamming the door in her face like a little kid. He totally neeener-neeners at her, though they’re technically both trapped.

She finally puts her window down and asks if he’s back for good, and she yells that she was worried. He says ditto—he read an article saying she failed her driving test yet another time. He reminds her that he said if she was going to drive like this, not to drive at all. Heh. Am in agreement there.

She decides she’s had enough…and leaps out of the window into his arms. So. Cute. Even Hae-young dies of cuteness, and hugs her with the biggest smile. Seol: “You can’t go anywhere anymore! Got it?”

He laughs and agrees to stay put, and they hug like a basket of kittens under a rainbow.

She makes him dinner at his apartment, and he basks in the happiness. Not one to skip over the important things, Seol asks why he didn’t send her a birthday present. Hae-young throws her the line that she taught him when they first met: “I didn’t want mine mixing in with everyone else’s.” Cheeky.

He’s impressed with her improved cooking skills, and she boasts that everyone’s calling her Lee-Jang-Geum now. She adds the not-so-subtle hint that it makes her ripe for marrying, and he just muses that someone would have to take her.

She goes to the bathroom in a huff, and he takes the opportunity to take out her birthday present—big fat diamond the size of Mars. He smiles at it, quite pleased with himself (what’s new) and gets interrupted by a phone call.

While he’s on the phone, Seol comes out of the bathroom, and sees the giant ring sitting out in front of him. Her reaction is priceless.

When she comes out, he puts it away hastily, and says he has to go meet the President. She just smiles to herself, pleased to know what’s in store. Oh, honey. Any writer will tell you—if you’ve seen the ring but he hasn’t given it to you, that means you’ve got a bout of angst up ahead before you can call it yours.

Sure enough, Hae-young goes to meet the President, who basically tells him not to marry the princess. He says that the country has barely found a way to harmoniously live with the monarchy, and Hae-young’s move to marry her will put the entire monarchy (and all those who supported it) into scandal.

Anyone else think that this would’ve made a much better conflict than the preceding fifteen episodes? That could’ve been cut short and the conflicts after establishing the monarchy would’ve been SO much more interesting. Whatevs. Too late now.

The President offers up a position in Washington, with the added push that Hae-young should pursue his ambition, rather than have his title become “the princess’ husband.” At home, he takes out the ring and weighs the big decision.

Over the phone, he tells her that he has something important to tell her, and they make plans for the day after. Seol squeals in delight knowing what the important thing is, and swoons wondering how he’ll propose.

But the following days are met with a big round of phone tag, as both their packed schedules keep pushing their date further and further. Seol’s finally had enough of the runaround, and storms over to Hae-young’s office like an angry girlfriend.

…Except she doesn’t really have the luxury of being the angry girlfriend when their relationship is so public, which he tries to get into her head, but she’s too upset to hear him. See, this is what happens when you see the ring first, and your expectations make your head go all haywire.

She lays into him for not making the time because he doesn’t want to see her, reminding him that he told her to be the princess, and basically railroads him into a breakup, just because he won’t leave his meeting RIGHT NOW. Hahaha. She very dramatically breaks up with him, but the whole thing’s hilarious because we know she’s just acting out.

He comes to the palace later to try and coax her back, but he’s met with a locked door and sounds of Seol wailing in heartbreak. Only it’s all an act, to set him straight. HA. He sighs and tries to get her to open the door, but she stands her ground, quite pleased with her own performance.

He waits it out, and tells her lady in waiting to give her the message that he’s really sorry. She says that it’s unlikely Seol will see him (since she’s coaching her to stay firm), and tells him that she must be doubly stressed because of trying to recover her grandfather’s journal.

Hae-young makes a phone call to a contact in England and gets a plan in motion to recover it, and then comes to see Seol with the news. She runs and hides under the covers, making crying noises and insisting that she doesn’t want to see him anymore.

He tells her that he’s here on official business, not as her boyfriend, and tells her that he might be able to get the journal back. She immediately throws the covers off and beams, clearly, not having cried AT ALL today. Hahaha.

She’s caught red-handed, but breezes past it in her princessy way, with a hair toss and a smile. Hae-young can’t help but just roll his eyes and smile back. He tells her that if he can recover the journal, then she has to take back the breakup. She says casually that people who break up can get back together. He muses that he’s got to make diplomatic phone calls to see his girlfriend’s face, and she just says, yeah duh—I’m a princess. Touché.

But there’s just one hiccup: the British Museum only wants to deal with Yoon-ju, since they have a long-standing relationship and they can trust her. So Seol goes to see her, putting aside her distaste to ask Yoon-ju for the favor. Yoon-ju is as icy as ever, scoffing that she must really think little of her, to assume that she’d help Seol do anything.

Seol admits truthfully that she’ll never forget what Yoon-ju said and did to her, nor will she ever forgive her, but she acknowledges Yoon-ju’s unparalleled skills career-wise. “I know that even if you hate me, you love history, just like Nam Jung-woo.”

Back at the palace, Seol tells Jung-woo that she thinks she failed, despite being pretty sure that her cool I-acknowledge-your-awesomeness approach would work. Jung-woo thinks it might have worked, and sure enough, in comes Yoon-ju.

Some time later, they get a letter announcing the return of the journal, and Seol jumps up and down in excitement, while Jung-woo smiles to himself, proud of Yoon-ju. (Grumble, grumble. Bitter grumble.)

Hae-young comes to congratulate her, and when the staff leaves them alone (throwing hearts, no less) Seol thanks “Hae-young-ee…oppa,” and plants a kiss on his cheek. He calls out to the staff that Seol is taking advantage of him, and she covers his mouth in a panic.

He teases her for being Ero-Seol and wonders what she’ll do to him if he does shut up. OH, you two. She finally just asks when he’s going to say his “very important thing,” and tired of going in circles, she just sticks her hand out and asks for the ring. Ha.

He’s taken aback, not only because he’s surprised she knows, but because he’s clearly still weighing the decision. She picks up on his hesitance, and worry starts to cloud her face. “Is it not mine? Is it for someone else?” Haha. I love this running gag of her always assuming he’s got other girls, when he’s never given any indication of being that guy. Not that I wouldn’t make the same assumption, with a boyfriend who looks like THAT. Just sayin’.

She tells him if it’s for someone else, to at least hand over the receipt…so she can get a rebate. Heh. Nice callback. He finally answers, “So what if it is?” She actually does start to worry, asking, “Did you stop liking me?!” Ha. What are you even supposed to do in the face of that kind of sincerity?

He sighs that he wished that were the case. “Then my heart would hurt less.” But before he can explain (not that he was going to, knowing him), they’re interrupted with news that her sister Dan’s been found.

Seol heads over to find her sister living in a tiny studio, with nothing to her name. She shouts that if she was going to do all that to betray her sister, she should be living it up. The shouting match turns into throwing things, and eventually they’re hitting and screaming, which is actually strangely touching, since they’re fighting like real sisters.

They get it all out of their systems, finally sitting side by side calmly. Seol tells her to come back home, and Dan says she can’t…not like this. She swears that she’ll get her life together and succeed—even more than Seol—and only then will she return. Seol: “Fine! You’d better succeed! Just you try and come back without succeeding!” Aw, it’s the only way she can show her love, and once she leaves, Dan cries.

I don’t like Dan or wish her well, but because she’s Seol’s sister, I do like her resolution. She’s family, so she can’t just be left dangling, but their resolution is both realistic and in character. Now Yoon-ju, I’d rather see scrubbing porta-potties for a day job, but Show doesn’t seem to want to do that.

Seol goes to see Mom to lie for Dan (for Mom’s benefit mostly), and tells her that Dan’s doing well, and will come see her once she’s settled into her new job. Mom asks if Hae-young is back and why he hasn’t come to the house, and when she says he’s busy, Mom just tells her wisely not to waste her youth, and to date other men.

In the same token, Seol’s right-hand-maiden makes her peace with Gunnie, content to break it off with the kid to play with men her own age, who don’t, say, spend two years circling first base, for instance.

Gunnie’s shocked at this turn from his noona, and in an outburst, cries, “YA! …I mean…noona…” Aw, he lurves her! He admits to not being a total idiot about things, and tells her that she’s of the age where if he takes things further, he’s got to be in the position to take responsibility for her (ie. marriage). So he waited. So she’d better not go anywhere! Cute. Adorably old-fashioned and totally unrealistic, Show, but cute.

Yoon-ju gets ready to leave for Egypt, and goes to see Jung-woo for one last date. He wonders what he’ll do if he wants to see her, and she tells him that he can come visit. Jung-woo: “If I do, will you greet me with a smile?” and she does, and they grin at each other like idiots. Gah, I’m annoyed that she gets Jung-woo, but the moment is kind of cute, which is also annoying.

Hae-young packs a bag, and then takes out the ring again for more pondering. He finally takes it and heads to the palace. He finds Seol out by the fountain, and tells her that he has to leave again…tomorrow.

Her face falls, and she asks where, how long. He looks at her intently, and then asks her to marry him. Right now.

Taken aback, she asks if it has to be right this second. She starts murmuring to herself about all her engagements scheduled for tomorrow, and wonders if they can’t do it later. He gets mad that she’s pushing it off, which is totally unfair when you’re the one springing ultimatums, mister, and Seol calls him out on it.

Hae-young: If you knew how much I want you right now, you can’t say that to me.
Seol: Are you the only one who wants this? What about me? For two years, I have to wonder if I’m going to even see you once a year, and then all of a sudden you want to run away, so I’m supposed quit being a princess and go with you? Why is it always what you want?
Hae-young: Even when you weren’t a princess, we were never easy.
Seol: Looks like we’re going to have to be a little more difficult.

She walks off, and he leaves the ring there, and goes.

They each mull over their choices that night, with heavy hearts. The next morning Hae-young goes to the airport, and looks around about a million times before dragging himself to the gate.

He gets on the plane and takes a glass of wine, but when he goes to drink it, a blinged-out hand stops him. It’s Seol, chastising him in her sageuk speak for not relinquishing a glass of wine to her highness.

He asks how she came, and she just says with a smile, “Because Park Hae-young wanted it. And because I wanted it.” She clasps his arm and declares that he can’t go anywhere—she’ll chase him to the ends of the earth.

She practically squeals at the thought that they’ll have thirteen straight hours of nonstop date time, and asks what he wants to do.

Um, one guess.


Okay, so I totally didn’t expect this, but I loved the finale. It was infinitely better than the rest of the series. For one, the conflict was actually tense and believable, and not cobbled together with six legos, much like the main plot has been, for the past fifteen episodes. What the hell, Show? If you had been this good before, I’d have been on your train since Day One.

If they had passed the vote and made her the princess around Episode 8, then this awesome push-and-pull, ambition vs. love, duty and honor and all that jazz could’ve carried half the series, or more. Showing me what you could’ve been is almost making me angrier than if you’d gone out on a cute whimper, like I kind of expected.

Once the will-she-be-a-princess plot was resolved, their relationship (and the realistic conflict of maintaining such a precarious public affair) became a much more interesting focus, and one I really could have stood to watch for another few episodes. Can we go back in time and cut that Press Conference crap, and ditch the royal satchel, and replace it with this? Sigh.

Overall the series was as cute and fluffy as the string of princess outfits that Seol sported, and made me laugh and smile. And despite the fact that most of it was frosting on a hollow cake, it sure was delicious, pretty, lovable frosting. Who needs all those empty calories anyway?