Spend your evening up to your eyeballs in high school mellow drama with the Korean drama “Boys over Flowers”. The “Boys Over Flowers” Korean drama is a wildly popular night time soap opera based on the Japanese manga of the same name. Like 90210 and the dozens of high school dramas that came before it “Boys Over Flowers” follows a formula that will be very familiar to fans on teenage soap operas, as it details the story Jan-di a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks and her romantic entanglements with the most popular guys in school, the F4. Jan-di is high spirited girl from a poor but happy family. She works for her family’s laundromat,is smart, gets good grades and a spot on the swim team–even though her school doesn't have a pool. One afternoon her parents ask her to deliver laundry to Shin-hwa high school, a school that educates to richest kids in South Korea.
On her laundry delivery trip Jan-di accidentally rescues a Shin-hwa student from a suicide attempt. After the rescue at Shin-hwa high school Jan-di is awarded a scholarship and begins her new life at the most exclusive school in South Korea. On her first days at her new school, Jan-di finds herself confronted by Jun-pyo, the leader of the F4. Jun-pyo and the rest of F4 get their kicks by picking on the other kids. Being the new girl from a less than prosperous family makes Jan-di an easy target for F4's hijinks's. Not one to bow to harrassment Jan-di stands up to the F4 garnering herself one of the F4’s infamous red card. Anyone who is given a red card by the F4 is singled out by the F4 and the rest of the school for bullying for the rest of the school year. While shes initially picked singled out to be an F4 victim, something about Jan-di’s ferocity fascinates Jun-pyo and he begins to pursue her romantically.
While the main story line in “Boys Over Flowers” focuses in on the ups and downs of the relationship between Jan-do and Jun-pyo, the romantic entanglements of the rest of the F4 crew all get there chance at center stage. First there is the unrequited love between Ji-hoo and Seo-hyeon. With a little encouragement from Jan-do, Ji-hoo pursues a relationship with Seo-hyeon only to find that their love isn’t meant to be. Then there is Yi-jung a talented artist with an inferiority complex. He’s the lothario of the group and while his various dalliances cause some annoyance, hes a good guy who is really searching for his one true love. Jan-di and the rest of F4 suffer through all of the typical slings and arrows that come along with teenage romance; there are betrayals, break-ups and more than enough growing pains to go around as the kids try to navigate the angst of youth on their path to adulthood.
What makes “Boys Over Flowers” a little bit more interesting then the teenage soap operas is being able to take a look at some of the cultural differences between American and Korean society. In all of these kinds of shows the rich parents never want their kids to date the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks. But in American shows the poor kid usually wins the parents over with her no nonsense attitude or her aw schucks sweetness. In “Boys Over Flowers” Jun-pyo’s mother takes a much more active role in trying to keep Jan-di away from her son because having him associated with Jan-di can bring shame on the entire family. Some of the more interesting episodes of “Boys Over Flowers” happen when Jun-pyo’s mother attempts to force the boy into an arranged marriage to save the family’s honor from the working class Jan-di. Since having an arranged marriage is such a forigen concept to most Americans, this small look into the honor code of Korean society is fascinating. But once you strip away the cultural differences between Korea and America,all you’re left with is an over wrought, over blown teenage mellow drama that goes no where fast, but will defiantly add some drama to your late night line up.