Faced with the prospect of going back to work, I was tinkering with this laptop last night, looking for a new korean drama that I can watch. After all, it’s been a long time following the last K-drama I watched. Let me see: I never got to finish Boys Over Flowers, I also started watching “City Hunter” in the beginning because I was impressed with the espionage stuff at the Blue House but pretty much drifted away when the drama became too focused on Lee Min Ho and the girl’s love story….and thaaat’s pretty much it.
So, I wanted to watch anything fun and light and without too much baggage. While searching over the internet and with various Korean entertainment websites, I noticed this new drama called “Full House Take 2”, described as a loose sequel to the acclaimed KDrama, Full House, starring Rain and Song Hye-kyo.
Full House 2 is a romantic comedy about Take One, an idol group consists of Lee Tae Ik and Wong Kang Hwi and their stylist Jang Man Ok (Man Ok means “full house” in Korean) and the succeeding love triangle between the three characters.
In spite the success of Take One, the leader Tae Ik, with the temperament of Dao MingSi, Domyoji Tsukasa and Gu Jun Pyo rolled into one plus the complexion of Edward Cullen, is a perfectionist, sullen, stingy jerk who has the reputation of always firing the group stylist on account of his many allergies. Based from the current episodes, it seems that he is also beholden to his talent agency, the pathetically-named UEnterLJ, and its president. In fact, most of his salary as an idol goes to the payment of the charming French Chateau built by his parents and currently owned by the agency chairman, Lee Joon. This is also the reason why he doesn’t earn anything from his endorsements, his album sales and basically all the earnings usually received by a top idol.
The other member of the group is the adorable and kind-hearted Won Kang Hwi, the exact opposite of Lee Tae Ik. Kang Hwi is goofy, a fashion-savant and happy-go-lucky. He loves shopping and usually sneaks out of the resort (the French chateau) in order to visit his favorite shops. It is during one of his shopping expeditions where he met the female lead, Jang Man Ok (also known as Jang Michelle), a stylish girl who also dabbles as an taekwondo master.
Due to a series of unfortunate and exasperating events, Take One will end up hiring Jang Man Ok, with Kang Hwi being the sweet and lovable member always looking out for her and Tae Ik, the idol from hell who always made sure to make life miserable for Man Ok.
..and so the story unfolds. (I am still currently on the eight episode)
Here is a trailer released to the Japanese audience (FHT2 is a Korean, Japanese and Chinese co-production)
Lee Tae Ik (played byu Noh Min Woo) looks like a strong lead but he can be pretty annoying. As mentioned, he seems to be chanelling the male leads from all three Hana Yori Dango series at all times, while looking like a distant cousin of the Cullens with his ashen complexion. And ugh, what’s with the hair? He currently sports a curly blond hair that looks totally unmanly when he is not doing idol duties. Mercifully, Take One’s hair dresser usually straightens his hair during appearances. I suspect that there will be a good back story why he is such a jerk at all times. Maybe because he used to be one of the chaebols (heir) and was driven to poverty. In spite his idol status, he is penniless. In fact, he usually relies on samples and sponsorships for his skin care and wardrobe needs.
Jang Man Ok (played by Hwang Jung Eum) is a stylish girl that was raised by her grand father who is a taekwondo master. She was originally named Jang Michelle but when the old man took her in, he changed her name to Man Ok, meaning Full House (there’s your title alert!!!). She was raised to be athletic and a certified taekwondo master. In spite this, she is also a fashionable girl who has a knack for styling and putting clothes together. When her grandfather went on a three month trip and left the dojo to her, she took it as an opportunity to sell her clothes through her online business, Manokine. She is spunky, brave and speaks her mind. Save for her utterly ridiculous hair that makes her look like an ahjumma, Man Ok is cute and sassy. Maybe the reason why the two members of Take One will go after her.
Won Kang Hwi (played by Park Ki Woong) is the other member of Take One, usually relegated to the rapping parts and obviously the inferior vocalist compared to Tae Ik. But what he lacks in voice, he more than makes up in charm and fashion sensibilities. He is very fashion forward and has a kind heart. He also loves shopping. Kang Hwi is instrumental in bringing Man Ok in as stylist for Take One. He is also the more lovable character and I find myself rooting for him most of the times. Unfortunately, he seemed to be sick. Though, I really wish it’s not cancer of the brain or any form of cancer, which is the default sickness in all Korean dramas.
What’s up with second leads and them being lovable characters? Case in point? All Hanazawa Ruis from three versions, Kang Shin Woo (from You’re Beautiful) and Daniel Henney from Kim Sam Soon. All the time, I always end up rooting for the guy who’ll have his heart trampled on countless times. I am still hung up on the sad ending for Shin Woo and I think this will be the same case with Kang Hwi.
I am still on the first eight episodes, but I think I might stick around to finish this series. Of course, there are holes in the story line and acting, at times, can be over-the-top…but know what? It’s funny and entertaining. Two things I think that are pretty much important in a Korean romcom. There are characters in the story that are seriously annoying, like Man Ok’s frenemy who also happens to be Take One’s fan from the seventh pit of hell. But they add spice to the story.
I am curious why the chateau ended up in the hands of the talent agency chairman and the intricacies of Tae Ik’s contract to the company. What also drove his family to bankruptcy and where are his parents (are they dead)? Hopefully, Take One will also improve their performance, since they are obviously lip synching most of the time. Man, I’ve seen Korean idols perform and they are polished to the T. If, according to parallel universe, Take One is the hottest group in Korea, then I think they should also exhibit the same kind of tight performances usually seen from groups like Big Bang (ahem!), Super Junior and even 2PM.
The series are only 30 minutes long per episode so the story aren’t dragging, which I really appreciate. Hopefully, I’ll catch new episodes next weekend. I have a feeling that Tae Ik will be a lot kinder to Man Ok.