Monday, September 24, 2007

Coffee Prince Shop No 1- My Chan

For those who keep up-to-date with the current dramas showing in Korea, the common question amongst us was: "Are/ Have you watched Coffee Prince?"

And if you spot someone with the tagline in her msn (and there were at least a couple): "My Chan....", you know she's watched the drama. ^^

Gong Yoo- Chae Han Gyul (최한결)
Yoon Eun Hye- Go Eun Chan (고은찬)
Lee Seon Gyun- Chae Han Seong (최한성)
Chae Jung Ahn- Han Yoo Joo (한유주)
Kim Dong Wook- Chin Ha Rim (진하림)
Kim Jae Wook- No Son Gi (노선기)
Lee Eon- Hwang Min Yeop (황민엽)

MBC official English site
soompi thread
MV 1- White Love Story
MV 2- Lalala, It's love
NG 1
NG 2
NG special

'Coffee Prince Shop No 1' was a surprise hit for MBC and indeed for many of us. Based on a manhwa (comic), it wasn't even supposed to air till September. But because BYJ's drama, 'Legend' had to be postphoned, this drama was selected to fill up the time slot.

Yoon Eun Hye was not the first choice for the lead. The role was actually offered to Kim Ah Jung (of the '200 Pounds Beauty' fame). But when she found out that she has to cut off her lovely long hair for the character's role, she had to decline. As a spokesperson for a shampoo brand, she was under contract to keep her long hair. And hence Yoon Eun Hye took on the role...and she did a very good job of it.

It didn't draw much interest initially as the storyline of a tomboyish girl falling in love didn't sound very exciting. And indeed, the storyline is nothing to speak of.

But the simple storyline was more than made up for by the excellent cast and it quickly captured the audience' interest, with a high ratings of about 30% for the 2nd half of the drama.

Eun Chan is a very tomboyish girl. As the 'man' of the house after her father passed away, she has to take care of her mother and younger sister. She takes on various jobs at the same time, teaching taekwondo, delivering pizza and milk. She is cheerful, strong and bright, with a keen sense of smell and is always hungry.

Han Gyul's family owns a big food and beverage company and is the only son. He is recalled back from US by his grandmother (who basically still rules the company) to go for match-making sessions.

Through a misunderstanding (it's always misunderstanding, isn't it?), Han Gyul got to know Eun Chan and thinking she is man, employed her to be his 'boyfriend' to get out of the match-making sessions.

Han Gyul is then thrown an ultimatum- run the cafe (owned by the family and managed by the very sloppy Manager Hong) and turn it around in 3 months' time or risk forfeiting his inheritance.

He goes about recruiting his staff, with the condition that they must be men. Eun Chan, having lost her job at delivering pizza as well as a taekwondo instructor, decided to hide the truth that she's a woman to get the job. Only Manager Hong knew the truth.

What followed were lots of funny and interesting moments as Han Gul slowly finds himself falling for this little 'guy', who always makes him smile. Eun Chan also faces difficulty as she too falls in love with this Sa Jang nim and debated whether whether to tell him that she is really a woman.

To add to the complication, Han Gul has been nursing a secret love for Yoo Joo for 10 years. Yoo Joo, an artist, is the girlfriend of Han Sung, Han Gyul's cousin, Han Sung.

And Han Sung? Having loved Yoo Joo for 10 years, found himself wavering when Eun Chan came into the picture and aroused a kind of feeling he hasn't had for a long time. If it sounds melodramatic, don't worry, it isn't. Thank goodness.

Slowly, starting with Min Yeop, who is in love with Eun Sae, Eun Chan's younger sister, the rest of the staff at Prince Cafe, came to know about Eun Chan's true identity.

What's the ending? Well, most of the people realised their dreams, in particular, Eun Chan. A drama that left me with a smile on my face at the end of the show. ^^




'Coffee Prince Shop No 1' was originally supposed to air in September, after 'Tae Wang sa Shin Gi/ Legend'. But TWSSG got delayed and so Coffee Prince became it's replacement. Frankly, I wasn't really interested in it in the beginning....none of the male leads interest me and Yoon Eun Hye seems to be playing another light hearted role again.

The drama is based on a comic and you can read the translations of the comic on Xanga's blog. It followed some parts of the comic but not entirely.

What makes the drama interesting (at least to me) was not so much the storyline (which is basically very simple) but more so the chemistry between all the cast. And in a very rare case, the side characters were just as interesting as the lead characters. And although there were some usual stereotypical K drama plots- terminal illness, adoption, 4 way relationships, thankfully, they did not focus on them and sink it into a melodrama, sobbing story. Also, thank goodness they only extend it by one more episode as any more would have ruin it did for 'Goong' or 'Princess Hours'. In fact, as far as the writer is concerned, the drama finished at Episode 12 after Han Gyul discovered that Eun Chan is really a girl. Of course, this isn't any earth shattering, heart-tugging drama but it was just sweet without overly saccharine. My cousin said that '9 Ends 2 Out' is funnier but errr... I really cannot tahan that hair leh... (see my post about Lee Jun Jin in Bad Hair Day).

And this is also one of the unusual drama where the men were more keen to get married or establish a relationship than the women...from Yoo Joo to Eun Chan to Eun Sae, Eun Chan's mother and even Byul (Ha Rim's girlfriend). Hehe! Makes a nice change.

As I mentioned, the side characters became very popular, if not as popular as the main leads. Indeed, the 3 'Princes'- Min Yeop, Sun Gi and Ha Rim became so popular that they have appeared in at least 3 magazines this month.

Ha Rim, as the rather cute, social butterfly, is always after one girl or another. He was the one who stated calling Eun Chan, 'My Chan'- an enduring term that really stuck with the characters in the drama as well as viewers like us. Inquisitive and rather perverted, telling Eun Chan how the men have to 'do it' many times a day. He is the funniest of all the 3 Princes.

Kim Dong Wook in S Magazine (September)

Sun Gi, the cool waffle guy, is a Japanese, who came to Korea to look for the girl he loved. He is probably one of the few men who can have black nail polish, pony tail and still look sexily manly. No wonder all the girls are raving over him. Kim Jae Wook is model turned actor.

Kim Jae Wook in AnAn magazine (September)

Min Yeop, the rather 'slow' but strong guy has only one love in his life- Eun Sae. He played the dopey character really well...especially his expressions and the way he walks. You can't help but love this guy. It seems he was very nervous when he went for the audition. ^^ Lee Eon is also a model (well, you can tell really from his physique). He looks really different when strutting down the catwalk.

Lee Eon in Junior (September)

Besides all above 3 main side characters, the rest of the cast provided a strong interesting watch too..

<--- the no nonsense, smart grandmother of Han Gul and Han Sung. I like her alot.

<--- the really sweet, ever supportive mother of Han Gyul.

<--- the quiet, long suffering father, who was hiding a secret for the Han Gyul.

<--- the slightly ditzy but doting mother of Eun Chan & Eun Sae, with a penchant for pink shoes.

<--- the smart, pretty younger sister, Eun Sae, who harbours thoughts of being a singer. She can twist Min Yeop around her little finger with no problem

<--- the greesy, sloppy, nose-picking Manager Hong, with a soft spot for Eun Chan.

<--- the slightly nerdy stingy, local butcher, who has the hots for Eun Chan's mother.

I'm glad there weren't too many complications amongst the 4 leads...just enough to set up the tension a little. Han Yoo Joo wasn't evil, just a little to self centered and confident. It is probably this self-confidence that made her take advantage of both the cousins. But it was also this self confidence that made her nearly lost Han Sung to Eun Chan. On the whole, as a successful artist, I rather like her. Chae Jung Ahn was a singer first (nowadays, almost all singers are actors and vice versa).


I was more interested in Han Sung than Han Gyul..and not just because of his amazing, mersmerising voice (he's a stage actor) but also because of his slightly goofy look. And I love to hear him's a nice, deep infectious laugh. As for his singing, gosh....I could really melt in it. Here's a link to watch/ hear him sing to Yoo Joo. I know Shirley is over the moon with his voice...and so am I. I'm so glad that the ost contains his song.


Surprisingly, I am still not enamoured with Gong Yoo, despite the fact that he has done rather well in his role as Han Gyul and with a rather good chemistry with Yoon Eun Hye, I must say. But zap... This should be his last drama before reporting for his compulsary army service this year.


But I really do think the star of the show belongs to Yoon Eun Hye, for daring to do a role that is so unfeminine and so unflattering. I think she has been trying very hard since her Princess Hours's days. Congratulations to her!


And last but not least, Ursula's favourite cast in the drama.....Terri ^^

Isn't he adorable?

And this is the video that appeared in the drama, which made the Princes in the shop popular. It was done and uploaded by Eun Sae. I really, really like this- hehe! Check it out ----> here

Btw, there are 2 osts out for this. The original one and the extra one. The extra 2nd one contains alot of the extra songs used (which was quite a lot) plus dialogues. But doesn't have the one I like....Once in a While by Soundre Lerche (thanks to someone in soompi.... sorry, can't remember whom. *^)

Credits for photos as listed on the photos.


amanda han said...

Hi, Tiff.
I really enjoy your posting all the time. ^^
I didn't watch Coffee prince shop yet but I like the song when Han sung sang for yoo joo.
It's quite common to sing for girl friend over the phone in Korea, he has the best mersmerising voice to melt girls in it.
I have his song in my MP3.

tiffany said...

Hi Amanda...'re not the same Han that pops by soemtime, are you?

Really, Korean guys sing over the phone to their girlfriends? So romantic! What about husbands? Do they do that too? If so, must convince my husband to so it. ^^

amanda han said...

Haha, It's same Han.
amanda is my English name I've used it for 10 yrs.
Yes, Korean guys sing over the phone right before going to bed, quite common. Well, husband, not everyday though, sometimes like wedding anniversary or birthday they make a phone call to sing a song over the phone before they meet for dinner.

tiffany said...

Hi Amanda....

Oh, I'm so glad. I thought you've gone back to Korea. I sent you an email sometime back. Did you get it? If not, can you drop me an email at

Hmm...yeah....boyfriends normally more romantic than husbands. Though mine never sang to me over the phone...whether as a boyfriend or as a husband. hahaha!

movall said...

Hi Tiffany,

I must say thank to you again, for all of your excellent review. For The Legend, of course. And esp. Coffee Prince Shop. At first I'm afraid Coffe Prince Shop is kind of over-rated, I don't have much time to watch drama now. After reading your review, well, let's have a chance. Simply love it, so much fun. You're right, " A drama that left me with a smile on my face at the end of the show". Thanks

tiffany said...

Hi Movall....

gald to see you here. Yes, Coffee Prince is a rather light hearted drama that is totally enjoyable. ^6