The Kdramas of 2016: Q4 Roundup

Shopping King Louis

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The gist:
Rich heir Kang Ji-sung is also known in the world of retail as Shopping King Louis, due to his extravagant shopping habits and eye for good finds. He’s been sheltered all his life – surrounded by servants, living in luxury, and spoiled by a doting and overprotective grandmother. An accident causes him to lose his memory, and he meets Ko Bok-shil – a bright and kindhearted country bumpkin who helps him survive in the real world.

The good:

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It’s refreshingly cute and feel-good. I’ve never seen a drama in recent years that is *this* lighthearted. The story itself is simple and light, the characters are quirky and funny, and the so-called antagonists of the show pose no grave threat to anyone. Beyond the script, it’s apparent that the cast had fun filming this production with their light aura and occasional adlibs.

The main couple. Seo In-guk and Nam Ji-hyun were adorable together. Everything about them is cute, cute, and oh-so cute. They’re one of the strongest Kdrama couples of 2016 for me, with their chemistry naturally carrying the easygoing and cute romance. Seo In-guk was lovable as a pure yet clingy amnesiac, and I don’t think many actors would be able to carry that role without the cringe factor. (It’s a shame though that I didn’t get to see Yook Sungjae play the role of Louis. But having Seo In-guk next in line was an awesome casting decision). I had a good first impression of Nam Ji-hyun in this drama, as she had a natural charm befitting the character of Ko Bok-shil.

The bad:

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The plot that ran in circles. Maybe the story was a little *too* simple? The basic premise sounds interesting and outlandish enough, but there wasn’t much backstories and developments to move the plot forward. The characters seemed to face the same set of dilemmas each time, and it took the whole drama to resolve its conflicts (which turned out to be really silly). As everyone was completely harmless, the twists and cliffhangers didn’t really shake the drama out of its steady pace.

The age gaps. Huge age gaps are nothing new in kdramaland (or in Hollywood, or in the entertainment world in general), and this drama is no exception. Nam Ji-hyun is 21 years old in real life, making her eight years younger than Seo In-guk. He’s by no means considered an ahjussi yet, but the second lead Yoon Sang-hyun (who will always be Oska to me) is, at 43 years old. It may have been intentional to cast him so that he’s less of a “threat” to the otp, but attempting to pair a young woman with someone double her age made me uncomfortable.

The verdict:
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Shopping King Louis was a weekly happy pill with its breezy episodes and fun characters. There’s nothing to drag your mood down in this drama, especially when you see Louis that much in love. It’s also funny to see the cast of crime drama 38 Task Force reunited not long after its run, and in a totally different genre at that. Everything in this drama was outlandish and fairytale-like, but it had some real heartwarming moments as well. Quite frankly this show was a hit or miss for me, especially with its humor, storyline, and execution. Fortunately the main couple was able to carry the show, as I was convinced to continue watching the moment they finally met. Everything else just clicked after that.

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