How do you like your Gukkie? Stoic, but smokin’ hot bodyguard? Swoony high schooler with his first crush? Suave, self-sacrificing conman?
Seo In Guk’s past roles swing back and forth from comic to drama. But has he ever swung this far? This actor just chucked his pride out the French estate window. His new character is a hapless, pathetic, unhygienic moocher. In short, he’s amazing.
Shopping King Louie gives the viewer just what you never knew you wanted. Sure it has romance and comedy. (And a hot, leading man.) But it somehow wraps these familiar standards in a new, delightfully quirky package. Please allow me to highlight a few of its selling points.
If emoticons looked like Gukkie
Though I haven’t seen all of Seo In Guk’s dramas, I’ve seen enough to know that I’ve never seen the faces he’s making. Some actors can brood, and cry, and kiss scene with the best of them. (Cough, Lee Min Ho, Cough) But they have a set list of ingredients. Their various dramas mix them around a bit, but you never see anything new. I present the following pictures as testimonials to SIG’s hilarious broadening of his comedic horizons as the clingy, flower boy beggar.
Buy one, get one cuteness
I’m digging the sweet, semi-dysfunctional relationship between Louie and Bok Sil. It’s not overtly romantic . . . yet. Right now he reminds me of a kindergartner. “I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. Are we there, yet?” As he flops around on the ground if he doesn’t get his way. But we have to remember that this guy never actually went to Kindergarten. He never experienced the he-pushed-me-I’m-telling-teacher-the-wheels-on-the-bus-go-round-and-round rituals like everyone else. He’s basically brand new. It’s like softhearted Bok Sil senses this, though she’s definitely got problems of her own. The way she takes care of him, and he clings to her is so adorable. How many felt a tug at their heartstrings when he gingerly grabbed the cuff of her sleeve as he insists on staying together?
And they even invented some new skinship as he pinky swears with her at the sauna and refuses to let go of her finger. Did anyone else catch that little spark of electricity as he tugged her ever-so-slightly closer? Bok Sil even defies the K-drama heroine playbook, by not trying to pull away. Sigh. It’s a good sign of things to come.
Quirk it, Show
Who expected “Chariots of Fire” to play while watching a grandma leap through a playground like an Olympian? Yeah, me neither. And suddenly we hear Aladdin and Jasmine singing “A Whole New World” as Louie gets his first sweet taste of a jimjilbang. You never know what you’ll get from this show, be it pictures coming to life, cartoon drawings, or schoolgirl bullies inter-cut with shots of the Serengeti. Whether it be the actors, the director, or the music editors, everyone seems to have a healthy sense of humor.
There’s evil behind that smirk
You’re not fooling me doting ahjussi. I don’t know what you did to Louie, but I recognize a K-villain when I see one.
The show gave the audience a taste of our hero’s own confusion by throwing us into his amnesia arc without showing us how he got there. We’ve seen him speeding away in a car, being roughed up by hoodlums, and waking up a hobo. Not much to go on. Bok Sil’s brother must be in on it since Louie is wearing his knockoff tracksuit. (Was I the only one who didn’t realize that this wasn’t his designer #1 original until the end of Episode 2?) And the school girl psychos outside the convenience store seemed to already know the missing dongsaeng. Looks like Bok Nam’s taste in friends is just as bad as his taste in clothes.
Since no one is questioning Louie’s death, does that mean there was a body in that burned out car? Who was it? So many questions. Whenever they give us the answers, I hope those mean girls with the glitterfied hammer get their just desserts, because they may be the scariest thing on this show.
I like Seo In Guk, but I’m not a big enough fan to watch everything he’s in. (Saeguks are not my cup of chai.) But he is selling this drama like a 90s infomercial for the George Foreman grill. I appreciate when actors don’t seem to care about their cool factor.
Not that I’m discounting the other likable characters in this drama. And one major drawback of the amnesia ploy is that we won’t have any more scenes with Louie and Butler Kim for awhile. The giant marshmallow of a bestie/servant/mother hen cracks me up. Bok Sil also wins points for her kindness, sincerity, humor, and a hint of tragedy in one sheltered backwoods package.
But right now, I think I could stick around for a whole episode of just watching SIG shovel egg toast in his mouth. The funny is hitting a sweet spot for me. Once the romance kicks into second gear, I’ll really be a goner.
Disclaimer: I wanted to introduce myself, but figured I would put it at the end. I’m not delusional enough to think the new girl ranks above Seo In Guk in reader appeal.
Hi, everyone. I’m Dramarookie. I guest blogged for The Crazy Ahjummas a few years ago and Kmuse was kind enough to let me jump in again. Thanks for taking the time to read my opinions. It’s okay if they differ from your own. There’s more than enough K-love to go around : )