TYPE OF REVIEW : FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
Minor/basic spoilers up to episode 4. For the Hindsight Review, click on over here.
tvN’s Flower Boy Next Door is charming and fun. A romantic comedy with plenty of laughs, but also a lot of depth and heart all brought to life by a great cast.
Flower Boy Next Door first introduces us to Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye), an introverted young woman who likes to creep on her hot neighbor in the building across from her. She watches him through the window every day, a guy she fell in love with at first sight and who just so happened to live across from her. And in excellent view from her apartment.
That all ends when the hot guy’s brother, Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon), sees her, think she’s peeping on him and confronts her. But the hot shot creative director from Spain realizes it’s not him she’s interested in and sees they might have one big thing in common, unrequited love.
After realizing their similar sad situations, Enrique sets out to befriend Dok Mi, but a seemingly painful past prevents her from being comfortable outside of her small apartment, let alone with other people.
Meanwhile, Dok Mi’s neighbor, webtoon artist Oh Jin Rak (Kim Ji Hoon) has been silently crushing on her for years now and Enrique becomes a rival not only in work, but now for the girl he has feelings for.
That’s more than a solid set-up for the series, but it seems like there are a lot of different threads that could pop up in the future and that makes everything a lot more interesting.
Flower Boy Next Door is a sweet and charming romantic comedy. Something you’d expect from tvN and most of Korean cable actually, a different and more youthful style and vibe from the romantic comedies of the three major broadcast networks.
The series is lighthearted and fun with touches of poignant and heartwarming drama.
Now this is my first Flower Boy/Oh Boy! drama (the others being Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and Shut Up Flower Boy Band). While I’ve heard good things about the first two, I originally tuned in to Flower Boy Next Door mainly for Yoon Shi Yoon. Seeing fellow Baker King alum Joo Won doing so well and not having followed his last drama Me Too, Flower past the first two episodes, I was looking forward to seeing Takgu himself in something fresh.
Yoon Shi Yoon undoubtedly handled the very dramatic Baker King, Kim Tak Goo very well and was duly recognized for it. But from what I’ve seen of Me Too, Flower and now here, it seems his element is definitely the lighter, more comedic side of Korean drama. Here he plays Enrique, a bubbly, precocious, maybe childish, but talented young man. But while it might seem like it at first, he is also wise and reflective. Yoon Shi Yoon’s talents allow him to do both believably and effectively.
Bubbly and precocious; those are usually words you’d use to describe the typical Korean drama heroine. But here, Park Shin Hye has the arduous task of taking Dok Mi from being pretty much a stalker the first time we meet her to someone who is vulnerable and maybe a little broken from whatever’s happened in her past. The way Dok Mi opens herself up to Enrique in the first four episodes, whether she wants to or not or whether she realizes it or not, helps make you start to understand her, thus making her more likeable and rootable.
Park Shin Hye and Yoon Shi Yoon have shown great, fun chemistry so far and episode 4 allowed them to show a softer and more emotional side that bodes well for the rest of the series.
But it’s not all about them. The other flower boys aren’t getting left behind. Kim Ji Hoon as Oh Jin Rak seemed like a typical third wheel, but it now seems like there’s a lot more we have yet to learn about him and his past. The talented (and very funny; see SNL Korea) Go Kyung Pyo and Japanese actor Mizuta Kouki round out the group of flower boys as sort of like our representative spectators to the drama and comedy around them.
And it’s all been enjoyable so far. Flower Boy Next Door seems to definitely be on the right track and after four episodes in, I’m definitely on the train. A sweet and very charming romantic comedy with a very likeable and talented cast; that’s an excellent recipe.
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This is the third in the channel’s “flower boy” dramas, after Flower Boy Ramen Shop (2011) and Shut Up Flower Boy Band (2012).