Hello, hello loves~ I’m back and resuming my Live Action Sunday posts~
Today I talk about one of my favorite Korean dramas, 이웃집 꽃미남, or Flower Boy Next Door (also known as Flower Boys Next Door and My Cute Guys). The drama aired back in 2013. While it isn’t the best drama, it holds a special place in my heart.
The drama is based on the 2011 webtoon “나는 매일 그를 훔쳐본다”, or “I Steal Peeks at Him Everyday”, by Yu Hyunsuk. The original was published under Daum’s Webtoons. The official English version of the webtoon can be read on Spottoon [HERE]. I actually had seen the drama first and tried starting the webtoon afterwards. However, I just wasn’t too into it. The main reason was that the art style was kind of rough, and it just wasn’t for me.
Go Dok Mi is a shut in. She prefers holing herself in her apartment and tries to only go out if it’s necessary. She’s frugal, seemingly shy and quiet, and she tries to avoid interacting with others as much as possible. However, she’s smitten with her neighbor, Tae Joon, who lives in the apartment building across from her’s. She been quietly crushing and looking at him from afar. Secretly peeping at him has become part of her daily routine. Dok Mi’s seemingly peaceful and quiet life suddenly gets disturbed and starts to change when she has some new handsome neighbors. The biggest instigator of this change is a young video game designer named Geum Enrique. He also happens to be Tae Joon’s younger brother (?). He’s the complete opposite of Dok Mi and tries to get her to step out of her comfort zone. Oh Jin Rak is Dok Mi’s neighbor who lives on the same floor. He’s a webtoon artist and lives with his assistant Yoo Dong Hoon. Jin Rak has been secretly crushing and watching Dok Mi from afar. He feels that he needs to protect Dok Mi’s peaceful life, which seems to be threatened by Enrique. A Japanese man named Watanabe also lives on the same floor as well. Amidst the crazy change from these good looking guys, Dok Mi also runs into a former classmate who left quite the emotional scar on her.
The Flower Boys neighbor squad.
A “Flower Boy” is generally a dude who is really good looking. He basically has a hella pretty face.
I know the description doesn’t seem all that exciting. However, this series is one that I really enjoyed. This was a good series that just felt very relateable for me, and if you enjoy stories that are centered on character growth. It’s quite cute and funny at times. The love story here is very sweet and innocent, but not the overly cringey and saccharine variety. What I liked most though, was that I could really relate to characters and their stories. Specifically Dok Mi. I’ll get to that later though.
I found the opening sequence to be really bright, cute, and fun. Definitely a very interesting opening for a drama. It highlighted a bit of each character’s personality.
Go Dok Mi is played by actress Park Shin Hye. I absolutely love Shin Hye. She’s definitely one of my favorite actresses. She was a notable child actress who has built an incredibly solid acting career. I remember seeing her from her first roles in series like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Tree of Heaven”. And then seeing her grow in her more recent and most famous roles in titles like “You’re Beautiful”, “Heartstrings”, “Pinocchio”, “The Heirs”, and “Doctors”. Dok Mi is a shut in who does all that she can to avoid interacting with others. This is due to some emotional trauma she went through when she was younger. The trauma left her wanting to stay locked in her room where she felt comfortable and safe. She’s a sweet, but melancholic and reserved girl. This is due to the trauma she’s faced in the past. However, she’s also quite stubborn in keeping her heart walled off and is trying desperately to continue living her peaceful and quiet life. Thanks to her good looking neighbors, specifically Enrique, Dok Mi’s life starts to change and she starts to step out of her apartment and faces her problems.
Geum Enrique is played by actor Yoon Si Yoon. Yoon Si Yoon is another one of my favorite Korean actors. I’ve been a fan of him since Baking King Kim Tak Goo, so I was pretty excited to see that he was working on a drama with Park Shin Hye. Enrique, also known as Kkae-Geum, is an incredibly young video game designer. He’s seen as a prodigy in the gaming world, and he’s also known as a popular and good looking celebrity. He has a bright, upbeat, and positive personality. However, Enrique is also incredibly childish. He’s lived in Spain since he was 9 years old, and moves into Tae Joon’s apartment after returning to Korea. He’s quite dense and stubborn as well. Despite Dok Mi’s (and Oh Jin Rak’s) protests, Enrique stubbornly tries to get Dok Mi to change and step out of her comfort zone. Initialy, Enrique is in love with his childhood friend Seo Young. His character is a ball of high energy. He was quite annoying at first, but he grew on me. Despite that bubbly and childish personality, there’s alot more to Enrique.
Oh Jin Rak is portrayed by actor Kim Ji Hoon. He is Dok Mi’s neighbor who lives in an apartment right next door to Dok Mi. He lives with his assistant, Yoo Dong Hoon. He’s a romantic at heart, and quite the opposite of Enrique. Jin Rak’s been smitten with Dok Mi for ever since he moved into the apartment building 3 years ago. Jin Rak knows the little things that Dok Mi does, such as quietly sorting out and throwing out the trash when no one is looking. He’s been quietly and carefully watching her from afar. Jin Rak hasn’t been too successful with his webtoon, until he uses Dok Mi as inspiration. His new webtoon is based on Dok Mi. Jin Rak has some personal issues with Enrique and sees him as a threat to Dok Mi’s peaceful and quiet life. His peaceful life is also disrupted by Dok Mi’s former classmate, Do Hwi. He has no interest in Do Hwi, but she continues to get close to him. He’s more mature than Enrique, but he’s innocent and child-like in regards to his crush on Dok Mi. I will say that I don’t completely agree with Jin Rak’s views, but really did appreciate the little things he did for Dok Mi. The things he did were pretty cute, and it was sweet that he’d try to help Dok Mi out of uncomfortable situations.
Jin Rak’s drawing of Dok Mi.
Yoo Dong Hoon is played by actor Go Kyung Pyo. He’s also known for his roles in titles like the Korean remake of the Japanese series Tomorrow’s Cantabile, Replay 1988, Jealousy Incarnate, and Chicago Typewriter. Dong Hoon is Jin Rak’s assistant. The two have been struggling with their webseries and financially as well. Dong Hoon is basically your main comic relief character.
Cha Do Hwi is played by actress Park Soo Jin. Soo Jin was also a singer and former member of the girl group, Sugar. She’s also married to famous actor Bae Yong Joon, who played a huge role in the Hallyu/Korean wave. Do Hwi is Dok Mi’s former classmate and friend. Do Hwi is rather flashy. She runs an online shopping mall, is rather calculating, and is full of herself. She’s incredibly jealous of Dok Mi, but tries to get closer to Dok Mi in order to win over Jin Rak. You know how every drama has that one really annoying bitch character that you really want to bitch slap or punch? Yeah, that’s Do Hwi. I hate her.
Watanabe Ryu is played by Japanese actor Mizuta Kouki. Apparently he was in the live action drama for Scum’s Wish? Watanabe is Dok Mi’s new Japanese neighbor who lives across the hall. He’s a nice dude who cooks well. Honestly though, he’s not that important. He’s just a pretty face that’s just kind of there.
Me when I binge watch a fun drama.
One of my favorite side characters is Jin Rak and Dong Hoon’s Editor. I honestly don’t remember her name (don’t think they gave her one), but she’s played by actress Kim Seul Gi. Kim Seul Gi’s known for titles like Oh My Ghostess and Miss Granny. She also used to be on SNL Korea. The manager is really funny and is your other source of comic relief. Not to mention that she’s basically every fan girl and drama addict.
Also me when I watch a drama.
Han Tae Joon is Enrique’s brother (?) and is played by actor Kim Jung San. The subtitles refer to Enrique as Tae Joon’s younger brother, but I’m pretty sure they mean cousin. It’s just that in most Asian cultures, your cousins are considered like your older/younger brothers and sisters. Dude’s a doctor who lives in the apartment building across from Dok Mi. Her apartment is basically right across from his. She initially has a crush on him, and secretly steals peeks at him from her window.
Yoon Seo Young is played by actress Kim Yoon Hye (formerly known as Woori). Funny enough, Yoon Hye also starred along Park Shin Hye in Heartstrings. She’s Enrique and Tae Joon’s childhood friend. Apparently she’s Enrique’s next door neighbor in Spain, and his first love. Dude was crushing hard on her for 10 years. That’s some dedication. However, her first love is Tae Joon. She too is a bit childish and admits that she’s a bit of a brat.
[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]
Like I said before, this drama holds a very special place in my heart. It’s not the best drama in the world, but it has some very solid actors. Though, I did really want to punch Do Hwi whenever I saw her. Not the actress, just the character gets on my nerves. Anyway, I’ve mentioned it before…I really like human dramas. The dramas where you see people’s struggles, psychology, and growth. I like these kind of dramas where you can really feel all of that and connect with the characters. For me, I could really connect and understand Dok Mi.
One of the times I could really feel and understand Dok Mi.
I come off as rather bubbly and sweet, however, I’m rather shy and often keep to myself. In other words, I’m hellaaaaaa introverted. I’ve often been filled with alot self-loathing. I’ve been through few traumatizing things and felt depression and anxiety as well. I tend to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. I had times where I also preferred locking myself in my room or apartment, and just didn’t want to deal with the outside world. These were the things that made feel like I really could relate to Dok Mi. Though I think anyone can relate to wanting to be alone and free from your problems and things that weigh you down. In the series, Dok Mi would write things in her diary that I really could relate to and just resonated with me.
“She is happiest when she is alone in her room by herself.”
“To that woman, a scar was like falling into the deep water. All the onlookers who don’t know the depth of the scars keep asking why she can’t just pull herself out of the water. There are too many people who are oblivious and belittle the stranger’s scars.”
“How many meanings could the word ‘sorry’ have? Sadness and wounds, misunderstanding and reflection, regret and reconciliation. There are countless of emotions inside.”
“Her mouth is like a broken faucet in a mountain village. When it’s needed, not one drop comes out, and in the middle of a silent night it flows on it’s on. In that moment, all the words she couldn’t speak come pouring out belatedly. She vows, ‘Next time, I should answer like this. I should make this retort.’ That woman speaks the most impressive lines when she’s alone.”
“‘What is your truth? Tell me honestly.’ Whenever someone asked her that…she would always keep her mouth shut. When unwrapped from it’s wrapping paper of lies, the truth is not a sweet candy or chocolate that appears with a flourish. In the way that skin is needed to protect blood and flesh, she needed lies to cover her truth. More than being honest and exposing her scars, pasting a bright smile on her face and lying…felt safer for her..”
“That woman…always gets nervous when she finds herself to be too happy. To that woman, happiness is like the bubbles we used to play with when we were little. The moment when she touches the bubbles carrying the lights of the rainbow around her…they burst. In front of happiness…that woman gives up before even reaching out her hand.
The drama isn’t overly dark and heavy. It’s actually very bright, fluffy, funny, and cute…yet it is quite sentimental and manages to address some issues that many people can relate to. I know Flower Boy Next Door isn’t for everyone, but I found it quite enjoyable. I found it interesting how both male leads had different views in regards to Dok Mi, how to approach her, and how they affected her life. True, there wasn’t much to the secondary characters. Still, characters like the Editor and Dong Hoon were quite endearing. I also would’ve actually liked to see some actual development for Do Hwi so that I wouldn’t want to punch her so much. And perhaps a bit more for Jin Rak too. Flower Boy Next Door was a series full of bright, cute and funny moments. Again, what I loved most was to see the characters come to terms and grow from their struggles. Especially with Dok Mi. I felt like I could really connect and understand her. What I loved most about this series was Dok Mi’s journey to loving and accepting herself. I think what was endearing about this series, is that there’s a bit of something that everyone can relate to; Be it depression, anxiety, self-loathing, misunderstandings, or unrequited love. It’s not about self-wallowing and indulging your negative emotions, but feeling comfort in that someone can understand your emotions and what you’ve been through.
Park Shin Hye is so good at those emotional crying scenes… I feel your pain, girl…
Have you seen Flower Boy Next Door? What are your thoughts and opinions?
Have any series or movies you’d like to recommend to me? Just drop a comment or a message!~ I know I got a bit personal in this review, but I just wanted to be a bit honest in why this drama was endearing to me. Perhaps you can relate to it as well. Also a message from me (considering the topic and all): You’ve done well and love yourself friends~ Sending you all love~ Until next time!~
I’m low-key BTS trash…. („ಡωಡ„)