The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rooftop Prince / 옥탑방 왕세자 / Oktabbang Wangseja

Attic Prince

2012 KDo labeled as Fantasy, comedy, romance, time travel

This interesting, somewhat straying from the ubiquitous formula period/mod romantic comedy drama starred Micky Yoochun (Park Yoochun) as Lee Gak / Yong Tae yong, Han Ji min as Park Ha / Bu Yong, Lee Tae sung as Yong Tae moo, and Jung Yoo mi as Hong Se na / Hwa Yong.

One reason I liked this one was because Micky reminded me of a young, handsome, and very talented actor - Chen Siu chun or Jordan Chan.

The second reason I enjoyed watching Rooftop Prince and gave it 4 out of 5 was because of the supporting cast that included Lee Min ho as Song Man bo (Lee Gak's retainer - Crown Prince's tutor), Choi Woo shik as Do Chi san (Lee Gak's retainer - palace eunuch), and Jung Suk won as Woo Yong sul (Lee Gak's retainer - Crown Prince's personal bodyguard).

The story begins over 300 years ago, during the ever-popular Joseon Dynasty era in Korea.

The crown prince and his crown princess are enjoying their pre-wedding days together (as together as is possible back at that time) and her donsaeng is their escort a majority of the time.

The younger princess (Bu yong) has to wear embroidered masks because of a burn scar induced by the crown princess in an act of jealous rage at the ripe old age of twelve or ten or something weird, scary ridiculous like that.

The younger daughter was supposed to be the crown princess (for whatever reason) and when the older sister found out, well ... that was her response.

So, with the younger sister out of the way, she is crown princess and promised to the prince.

And, we all know you can't have a period drama without a lot of palace intrigue, cut-throat dealings, and down-right hate thrown in the mix. Which is precisely what occurs at the very start. The crown prince has this older, just-as-vindictive half-brother who wants the throne. We all know, too, that the only way to obtain this greedy desire is through devious, deadly means.

The crown princess' father instructs his daughter to lace the prince' persimmon treats with arsenic, and the dongsaeng princess learns of this dastardly scheme, so she bursts in on the two betrothed's (whatever) and begs the prince to let her have her wish to consume all of the persimmon treats since she finally figured out the answer to his latest riddle.

The prince liked talking with second princess and always made up a riddle for her to solve in an allotted amount of time, with the winner being granted a wish.

The prince encourages second princess to do as she pleases, and while the older crown princess looks on in mild horror, her little sister consumes all of the treats.

Later, the crown princess finds her little sister, and the dying princess encourages her older sister to switch outfits and hide until the whole mess blows over, at which time she can return and marry the prince.

Unfortunately, the ousted prince who wants the throne finds out that the prince didn't die, so he sets out to slay everyone involved, including the two girls and the prince.

Second princess dies, first princess hides, prince is beside himself with grief, ousted prince orders his enemy guards on a rampage, and the prince is forced to flee with his three, faithful retainers.

They end up under a tree in the woods, and suddenly ...

they find themselves inside the rooftop apartment of modern-day second-in-line princess Park ha (Bu yong).

She screams, they panic, and then they settle down long enough to explain their unusual predicament to the girl with cute eyes.

She leaves to go downstairs and talk to her neighbors when the four newcomers proceed to destroy the tiny apartment.

Park ha is upset, obviously, and in complete control despite our confused Prince' adamant refusal to accept the newness of his reality or the fact that he isn't as in charge as he once was over 300 years ago.

He insists that she take them back to the palace, so Park ha tosses them inside her delivery truck and drives to the palace, dumping them off at the curb and driving away.

A funny romp with the cops ensues.

The palace tutor, Lee Min ho's Song Man bo remembers the license plate of the truck, and they end up back in Park ha's custody. She takes them shopping and is quite deliberate with the humorous Power Ranger's garb that she dresses them in.

In the meantime, there is a modern-day Prince by the name of Lee gak - Yong Tae yong's wealthy relative of sorts - since this is supposed to imply that reincarnation is real, in which case there can be no counterparts, offspring, or relatives if that is the case. You give birth to phantoms, I think.

Lee gak is in a coma in the states because his modern-day counterpart to the evil prince wants the Home (&) Shopping company that Lee gak is heir to.

For 18 of the 20 episodes, the prince has to figure out riddles about the past by learning from the present. Park ha's older sister is a secretary at the Home (&) Shopping company, and when Lee gak's grandmother sees the prince, she thinks it is her long, lost grandson returned from Migu.

The prince refuses her offer to stay at her home because he feels that if he is going to return to Joseon, then he needs to remain at that rooftop apartment. Halmeoni agrees and gives him credit cards and a design firm to remake the apartment to his specifications. Park ha eventually ends up on the street and with the prince and his faithful cohorts taking over the place.

There is a plot twist new from old in that the two sisters still hate each other and the older is still vindictive, hateful, and greedy while the younger is Polly pure-heart and C.I.N.D.E.R.E.L.L.A.

The oldest's mother took the youngest in after she married the youngest daughter's father.

The older sister lets the younger sister get carted off in the back of a truck, which overturns on a highway miles from home, and then she is adopted by Americans.

She returns to Seoul to find her father and learns that he is dead. She moves back in with her stepmother. The older sister finds out and warns Park ha not to get in her way or destroy the beautiful lie of a life she has weaved for herself.

But, then the stubborn prince lays eyes on his gongju and a hot, one-sided pursuit ensues.

Wow ... I so feel like taking a red tulip away now.

Okay, guys, I'll leave it at 4.

I think they would have to agree with me, though, that there were quite a few inconsistencies throughout this good/bad drama.

Examples include the part where Park ha takes their Joseon costumes to the cleaners and asks the man to hold on to them for her. Toward the end, though, when the guys start to realize their time in modern-day society isn't going to last much longer, they suddenly have said garments at the ready.

The two neighbor girls were a huge part of the action for the first, few episodes, and then they became sporadic, and then they just 'poof' and disappeared.

Lee gak was in NYC when he got hurt, but he was in a Chicago hospital.

When the lads return to Joseon, they are able to walk around in modern clothing that consists of things like nylon, Dacron, polyester, synthetic wool blends, etc. instead of being in tatters, if not just naked. And, the eunuch managed to hang on to a ketchup packet made of PLASTIC while the two others kept their nylon backpacks AND a few c.a.n.s. (aluminum) of beer.

The woman who ended up being the real mother of the girls had been to their stepmother's house numerous times, and yet it suddenly became imperative that Se na (the evil princess) go there and remove all of the pictures so that the real mother wouldn't figure out who Park ha actually was to her.

I could go on, but it is depressing me even more.

Yes,  - gwaenchanh-ayo, gamsa

I still liked the story enough to watch it clean through ... twice. Once when it first aired, and again for this blog.

Despite everything I just said, too.

It had its moments, but good outweighed the bad I think.

Maybe as a writer I could see potential and misstep that can be easily rectified if anyone is interested in a re-make, but that doesn't happen that often.

Wiping the slate clean and making a second run sounds awesome in some cases, doesn't it?

Let's give this one another chance, shall we?

Different writers, same cast, different plot, same intrigue, different modes/methods, same angst/drama etc.

So, we can agree that this was yet, another story that had über potential but sadly went astray in the writing department.

Another thing that seems glaringly apparent to me and not to anyone else is the simple fact that if anyone from one-hundred and fifty years ago or more EVER set foot on modern-day soil, anywhere in the world, the first thing that would hit them (like a ton of bricks) would be the air.

Just because we take the foul, rotten egg pollution smell for granted, don't think that anyone from a pre-industrialized era would not notice as well.

Fried foods, for gosh sake! Sorry, but that would give an ancient the trots quicker than drinking water. Their drinking water had better potential to kill than ours does, but not our food. Theirs was hazardous, yes, but it wasn't deep batter fried in chemical oil.

Then there is the noise factor.

Sure, if they were plunked down in a remote area of Alaska or Siberia, then they could get acclimated to their new surroundings as they slowly trekked their way to civilization and slowly had their ears adjusted to louder, more active areas of the planet. But, to go from birdsong, chirping crickets, and the occasional loud mouth at the pub to ... a major metropolitan area in a matter of seconds would definitely be a shock to ones system. When they returned to their original time, they would be like our modern thirty-somethings and SHOUTING at everyone because they are already deaf and don't know it yet.

Heck, who DOESN'T want to time travel, eh? Until we could perfect the obvious, though, it would be best to have it done in a dream, or in a protective, invisible bubble.

So, anyway, this show is 20 episodes of good stuff, and with a bit of nonsense thrown in the mix to confound people like me, who don't get it and yet watch because it's fun to watch - no, other reason. It's fun, it's cheap thrills, and the guys are a major draw.

Which is why I'm big on the pictures and not the story line in most of my blogs.

If you haven't and are planning to watch Rooftop Prince, don't let the deceiving cover or anyone's personal opinion sway you. Just watch a to z and then decide for yourself if they hit it or missed the mark.

Jury is obviously still out deliberating in my mind.




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