It’s been a while since I wrote an Asian drama series review. I am so addicted to these shows that I watch 6 to 7 different shows simultaneously (In case you are curious I am currently watching City Hunter, My Love From Another Star, Bromance, Fall In Love With Me, Just You, Doctor Crush, and Uncontrollably Fond). It has become very difficult for me to sincerely stick to one show and finish it without starting another show in between. Anyway, I somehow managed to complete Goong or Princess Hours and here is my two cents.
Shin Chae Kyung (Yoon Eun Hye) is an average school girl who comes from a lower middle-class family. She loves her small group of friends and enjoys her art classes a lot (Yes. She is an arts student but not the ‘Arts’ that we have in India. Here it is literally arts that involve artistic stuff like drawing and painting). She is leading a normal life when suddenly her family informs her of a marriage proposal they received from the Royal Family of Korea. Her grandfather had once helped the King of Korea who in return promised to have his grandson, the future heir to the throne, marry his granddaughter. The Kings’ grandson Crown Prince Lee Shin (Joo Ji Hoon) and Chae Kyung attend the same school. Just a few days ago Chae Kyun had overheard the prince propose his girlfriend Min Hyo Rin (Song Ji Hyo) who rejected him to pursue a career in ballet, leaving the prince no choice but to marry the one his family chooses for him. He isn’t very fond of Chae Kyun as she witnessed him getting rejected by his girlfriend. Chae Kyun initially refuses to marry the prince but her family’s poor financial condition forces her to say yes to the arranged marriage. Chae Kyun and Lee Shin can’t stand each other but comply only to please their families.
The royal house and their rules do not suit Chae Kyung who feels lonely and depressed. She finds support in Lee Shin’s cousin, Lee Yool (Kim Jung Hoon) who lends an ear to her woes. He, however, starts falling for her and makes no attempts to hide his feelings. On the other hand, Hyo Rin realizes her mistake of rejecting Lee Shin and returns to Korea giving up the scholarship she received to study abroad. She is now determined to go to any length to have him back in her life.
Let’s weigh Goong/Princess Hours on our show beam balance and see what is good about the show and what is not so good about it.
Love Story: The general plot of the show was interesting. It seemed like ‘this’ was what happens to Cinderella after her marriage to the rich prince, with a twist of course. Here the prince is not really interested in Cinderella at first but starts developing feelings only as they get to know each other. Not every fairy tale has a ‘happily ever after’. Some princesses feel suffocated in the royal household owing to the types of restrictions imposed on them. And since Chae Kyung is still a teenager she hates the constrained environment and misses her old life terribly. But the only motivation that keeps her going is her love for Lee Shin. The way their relationship develops is really what works for the show.
Couple Chemistry: Chae Kyung and Lee Shin look so cute together. He is the polished and refined prince while she is the messy and immature commoner. He does not resent her for her humble upbringing or foolish behavior but rather loves her for the efforts she puts to fit in. He may be in love with another woman but he also cares for his wife and feels jealous when his cousin dotes on her. They may not be completely in-sync but they look out for each other like any other couple. He is not a very expressive lover and manages to show his love only through subtle gestures. By the end of the show they look like a couple totally in love.
Adorable Moments: The show is more about moments than the overall picture. From disliking each other to being inseparable, the couple shares several cute moments that melt your heart. Watch out for episode 13 where both of them are forced to spend the night together by the elders in the hope of having a royal baby (In case you are wondering why they are FORCED to share a room despite being married then let me tell you that the two of them are teenagers and the princes’ mother doesn’t find it appropriate to let them have physical relationship at such a young age. Moreover, they are complete strangers so it is better that they know each other well before sharing a single bed) (In case you are wondering why did they get the two teenagers married in the first place, then let me add here that there is a valid reason for that too but I am not going to be the one to tell you that :P). The whole sequence is extremely funny and cute. I actually started liking them even more as a couple after that episode. In fact, there are three instances when they are forced to share a room and all three are simply hilarious.
Lee Yool: Let me first mention here that I personally love the second lead Lee Yool. He is kind, helpful, charming, and good looking. He is a good son to his mother and a true friend to Chae Kyung. The reason I have added him as a bad weight is because of the pained expression stuck on his face throughout the show. He is helplessly in love with his cousin’s wife and is unable to do much to break their marriage which is why he always looks so sullen. Chae Kyung doesn’t really see him as more than a friend but he refuses to budge and continues chasing after her. She’s married so why doesn’t he take her rejection to heart and move on? It’s annoying to see such a good looking guy pining over someone else’s wife.
Ugh! That expression!
Pakao (Boring) Politics: On several occasions, I would simply jump the video to where I could find the lead actors because I was least interested in the politics part of the storyline. It was important for the show since it deals with the royal family and the disharmony amongst the members. But I didn’t find it interesting enough to see what actually happens. My only focus was on the main couple. Nothing else interested me that much.
Dragged On: The show went on till 24 freaking episodes when it could have easily wrapped up within 16 or 17 episodes. The first few episodes were so boring that I skimmed through them just to get to the main story. The show could easily have been cut down by editing the unnecessary family drama and politics.
The show isn’t bad but it isn’t that great either. Despite the equal number of good and bad weights, I am still slightly bent towards the good aspects because I really enjoyed the sweet moments on the show.
I give the show 3 out of 5 rating. Goong/ Princess Hours is not the best romantic drama but it surely is enjoyable in parts. If you like ‘love-hate’ relationships then go for this one. It isn’t disappointing.