This drama makes me happy. It’s adorable and hilarious, but even better, it has thematic cohesiveness.
In fact, I can’t believe that a show was marketed, promoted, positively hyped to be empty fluffery, and was harboring all this heart inside it. Why o why would you try to hide the best part of you? Do you really think we’re that shallow?
*Contemplates Lee Ki-woo’s glistening abs.* Okay, so maybe we’re shallow. But we’re also thrilled to embrace some genuinely poignant, hysterically funny storytelling too.
SONG OF THE DAY
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop OST – “Loving Loving” [ Download ]
EPISODE 5: “If It’s Eun-bi”
Morning. Omg, Eun-bi has a Shinhwa alarm clock, but the best thing is that it’s not current-day Shinhwa, but late-’90s teenage Shinhwa. Ha, well a girl never forgets her first idol crush.
She heads to the kitchen, where Kang-hyuk finds her, wearing nothing more than a towel, glistening from his recent shower. Humunah humunah. God bless army duty.
Eun-bi does a spit-take and asks him who he is. Kang-hyuk replies that that’s no way to refer to the man who’s spent the last three nights with you, and when she demands explanation, he laughs girlishly into his towel, pretending bashfulness: “Talking about our first night together first thing in the morning…gets me feeling hot.”
After belatedly recognizing him as the guy from school, Eun-bi brandishes a ladle and a whisk at Kang-hyuk and calls him a stalker.
And…we cut to commercial. I get that Korea’s trying to branch into the American style of mid-show commercials (sadness), but they have yet to master the art of the act break. I don’t think they understand the concept, actually, and are just sticking the commercials in whenever they feel like it. Get it together, Korea!
Kang-hyuk tells her that on that first night, they’d drunk together and done love shots: “This kind of ohayo makes me sad.”
Finally, he obliges her curiosity and starts explaining: “The way we came to be linked as spouses is…hey, this towel is really warm.” Distracted, he feels himself up with it and oohs over the scent, which he identifies as his own.
He gets lost in the pleasure of smelling his own self, sighing, “I love my smell. My smell is so awesome.” HAHA. Then he lies down on the wood floor and rolls around blissfully. This guy is a hoot. A hot hoot.
This kind of hot deserves to be appreciated, so here, have a few more:
Ahem. Fans self. Anyway…
Incredulously, Eun-bi reads a document written by her father, in crayon, giving over his rights to the store to his friend’s son, Kang-hyuk. Plus, there’s an addendum reading, “Have my daughter, too! Live happily, with understanding for each other!”
Eun-bi wonders at the onion lying on the ground, and Kang-hyuk tells her that “Kim Chi-soo” dropped by. Hee, is this gonna be his thing? To purposely misremember Chi-soo’s name every time?
A flashback shows us the end of the conversation from the previous night, when Kang-hyuk called him by the wrong name.
Kang-hyuk wonders if there’s such a difference between one last name and another. Chi-soo retorts, “Of course it’s important. Kim Chi-soo and Park Chi-soo are names, but Cha Chi-soo isn’t.” He spouts off names of locations like Seoul, Namdaemun, Han River, ending on Cha Sung, finally sparking some recognition with Kang-hyuk. He declares, “Cha Chi-soo is a proper noun.” Cha stands before all those brand names, so it should be treated as such.
Kang-hyuk returns, “You must not have learned grammar. All names are proper nouns.” HA! (Chi-soo briefly looks flustered, before regaining composure.) Switching to Japanese, Kang-hyuk says, regarding that lofty Cha brand, “Seems to me it’s a knockoff.”
Chi-soo fires back, “My name is like Dokdo. The moment you mistake one of its characters, you’re forever kicked out from Korea.” Pfft, like the island? Chi-soo throws an onion at Kang-hyuk and stalks to the door…which he briefly pushes before realizing it’s the kind you pull. Omg, that detail cracks me up.
In a pool, Chi-soo wards off unpleasant reminders of being called “Kim Chi-soo” and “Park Chi-soo,” finally coming back to the present with someone’s loud call, “CHA CHI-SOO!” He resurfaces just in time to pop up in the middle of a swimming lane, mid-race, HA! His friend can’t even complain about having his race ruined since this is the almighty Chi-soo, though his friends gripe amongst themselves, wondering what his deal is.
Chi-soo sinks back into the water, fixated on Eun-bi’s comments that he stinks. He relives the moment of getting hit in the head with a volleyball, and the gasp makes him choke on water. He flails until his friends spot him and pull him out.
Eun-bi contemplates the keys Chi-soo dropped off and wonders why, firmly rejecting Kang-hyuk’s suggestion that it’s simply the right thing to do. Sure it is, but Eun-bi scoffs that Chi-soo hasn’t learned that, calling him Dog Chi-soo. Or, in this context, perhaps Sonofabitch Chi-soo is more apropros.
Meanwhile, Chi-soo gasps for air and clutches at his throat, asking Hyun-woo to “take this thing off.” Hyun-woo points out that he’s not wearing anything, and Chi-soo asks, “Then why do I feel so suffocated?” Aw, is he just now learning that emotions make you feel stuff? He says it must be “that woman’s arm” still having its effect on his chest.
Eun-bi takes the crayon contract with her to verify, telling Kang-hyuk to stay put until she can figure this out. He hands her the school badge she’d dropped, adding, “But I think it’d be more fun being my wife than doing that.” Duh statement of the year, pretty boy.
She makes sure that “nothing” really happened between them, and he replies that actually, he doesn’t really enjoy that “thing” so much. Please tell me we’re not thinking of the same “thing.” He adds that it’s enough of a bother taking off his own clothes, but taking off someone else’s? Omg, too lazy for sex, really? What are you, a panda? That’s it, I’m back on Chi-soo’s ship.
Except then he adds, “But with you, I would. Even if it’s a bother, I could do it with you. If it’s Yang Eun-bi.” (That phrase is the same one etched into the table — “Eun-bi Ramyun” also means “If it’s Eun-bi,” as in, “If it’s Eun-bi, she can do it.” Or in this case, “If it’s Eun-bi, I could do it.” Snerk.)
Arg! Now I want back on the S.S. Kang-hyuk. Ship loyalties at war! Especially since Chi-soo is currently being ever-so-heroically gassed with oxygen by a paramedic from his recent brush with emotion. His friends wonder if that teacher drove him crazy, while Chi-soo sputters about how they can’t know how it feels since they haven’t been hit by her fierce arm.
Dong-joo’s lawyer boyfriend confirms that the contract is valid, which drives Eun-bi nuts. How could Dad leave her nothing, and hand over his entire store to some dude he’s not even related to? You can’t trust anybody in this world, can you?
Oh well, she may be deprived of Dad’s house to live in, but she can return to living at Dong-joo’s place. Except that makes Dong-joo fidget, and Coach guesses there’s a problem with this. Is Dong-joo… entertaining marriage plans?
Yup. The trio heads out to celebrate at a noraebang, and while sitting on the toilet wearing a headband made of toilet paper, Eun-bi blames Chi-soo for everything.
Deciding she’ll flush him out of her life, she storms to the school, tambourine still in hand, and confronts Chi-soo. She says it feels like taking a crap that’s interrupted (ew, and ha), so now she’s gonna end this: “Present your butt!” Which, sadly, is not nearly as saucy as it sounds in English; she means to spank him with a stick, like a misbehaving grade schooler.
He’s incredulous, but she grabs him and shoves him against the blackboard (rawr), then slaps his ass with the stick for ruining years of her hard work to become a teacher.
…and then Chi-soo twitches in his sleep, hooked up to an IV, dreaming of being spanked. And not in a good way. Bummer, it was just a dream? He wakes up sweating and gasping (again, not in a good way) and storms out, determined to end this.
Daddy Cha hears the diagnosis from his secretary: Chi-soo is suffering from… anger stress. (It’s the stress you accumulate from repressing your anger.) He tells Chi-soo to stay in bed and rest, but Chi-woo says this is not a matter the doctor can fix. Clutching his chest, he insists that Eun-bi’s arm is to blame, like it’s there blocking up his insides.
Daddy Cha orders his men to put Chi-soo to bed and tuck him in. He’s dragged off protesting, “I have to go see that woman!”
Kang-hyuk surprises Eun-bi with a delicious-looking breakfast, which takes some of the wind out of her angry sails. She starts to argue about her claim on her father’s house, but he effectively cuts her off by pushing the food on her.
She takes a sip of soup, and her eyes nearly cross. Kang-hyuk: “You wanna live with me, don’t you?” She downs breakfast, then resumes her argument about having a right to live here. Kang-hyuk tells her to go ahead, “Although it’s not a great habit to start off the honeymoon using separate rooms…” Hee.
Eun-bi declares that he can have the shop and she’ll take the house. He surprises her by asking why she’s just letting him have the shop so readily, contract or no. Doesn’t it mean anything to her?
Sure it does, but instead she replies coolly, “It means nothing to me.” She says that Dad gave it to him because she would’ve sold off “this miserable shop” at the first opportunity.
Neither of them believes she means it, and Kang-hyuk replies, “Fine, then take the house. I’ll sell off this miserable shop.” Bluff, called.
So-yi chases after a peevish Ba-wool, who’s miffed at being second choice again because Chi-soo’s sick. So-yi takes his hands in hers and smiles, “That’s why I’m here with you. Let’s go eat.” He’s still lovelorn enough that he’ll take what he can get, and huffs, “What do you want to eat?!”
They head to Eun-bi’s shop, only to find it closed. So-yi tells him she has to go, reminding him that she doesn’t eat stuff like ramyun. Ba-wool wonders why she said she wanted it then, and So-yi replies, “So I could spend more time with you.” Okay, that’s kind of sweet. She kisses him on the cheek, leaving him speechless and giddy.
I love his little happy dance, which gets cut short by Eun-bi slapping him upside the head, but even better is her imitation of his lame shuffle. Hee.
As she packs a bag in her room (where Ba-wool teases her about her old Shinhwa poster), he wonders why she’s being so mean to him today. She retorts that he’s just letting So-yi toy with him: “Why are you getting hit with the stones she’s throwing?” Ba-wool replies, “If it’s Yoon So-yi, I’m fine being hit by her stones.”
Ba-wool digs out Eun-bi’s old volleyball jersey and marvels at it. He admits that he was shocked when she announced her intention to teach, wearing a suit like all the other normal people in the world. She’s hurt by this, wondering why she can’t live like everyone else does — for her, ordinary is something she wants to be a part of, rather than something to cast off.
But Ba-wool contradicts her, saying that she can’t live just like an ordinary person:
“Because you’re Yang Eun-bi! If you’re Yang Eun-bi, you should live a little differently from everyone else. Even if you don’t have money, you should keep your pride and self-respect, getting angry, being impressive! If you’re Yang Eun-bi!”
Aw, Ba-wool, you’re the best dongseng ever. He declares that she was a zillion times cooler wearing that jersey than when she was in her suit trying to appease Chi-soo. “If Yoon So-yi is my goddess, then noona, you’re my hero!”
Driven to subterfuge to escape his bodyguards, Chi-soo disguises himself as a janitor, with the help of a moony-eyed Cha Sung employee. He arrives at Eun-bi’s door and knocks (er, kicks), then calls her on his phone, where she’s labeled “Poop.” No answer, which prompts a hilarious whiny screech out of him.
A call alerts him to an Eun-bi sighting, though, and he perks up.
Eun-bi enters the high school gym with Coach, who eyes the familiar rubber band in her hair with a fond sigh: “Your dad used to collect rubber bands instead of throwing them away, saying you needed them for practice.”
Coach gives her the keys and the okay to use the gym. Chi-soo strolls up to the gym all puffed up with bravado, but the minute he steps inside he drops to a scared crouch at the loud smack of a ball. He gapes to see Eun-bi practicing her spike, lost in thought.
A flashback shows us in Eun-bi’s heydey, when she was the star player on her high school team (alongside Dong-joo). In the middle of the finals in the national high school championships, she’d gone up for a spike and purposely mishit it. Everyone had wondered at the miss, but Eun-bi had aimed for Dad, sitting in the balcony section, glaring with resentment.
Chi-soo watches Eun-bi from a distance, suddenly captivated at the sight of her, her breathing sounding loudly in his head. After one final spike, she turns to him and says, “Let’s go, Cha Chi-soo.”
Startled, he chases her outside, wondering whether she knew he was there the whole time. How could she know and still do that? She asks what he means, and he accuses her of purposely tying up her hair all weird and panting and sparkling in front of him. Ha.
He asks incredulously, “Do you still not get it? Do you really not know why I came to find you?”
He accuses her of causing his anger stress, then motions to his chest and says her arm has gotten stuck there. “My chest feels so suffocated it’s driving me crazy, and I can’t sleep at night. Doctors, medicine, counseling — it’s all useless!” I know, buddy, there really isn’t a cure for being human.
Eun-bi puts a hand on his chest to feel it, and it pounds. Not cluing in to the real source, she tells him she didn’t realize that she’d caused him that much grief: “I must really have no right to be a teacher.”
The touch sparks something in Chi-soo, who looks stunned at his own realization, like he finally gets it. She apologizes for hurting him, hands him something, and advises him to continue living like the whole world is his. She assures him that they won’t be seeing each other anymore and walks away.
Chi-soo glances down at the teacher’s tag she’d left in his hand, looking completely gobsmacked.
Eun-bi boards a train to take a trip, stopping at a pharmacy at the station beforehand to pick up a laxative for her constipation. She’s embarrassed about it, and looks around to make sure she’s alone before taking it… but hastily hides it when she’s joined by another passenger. Kang-hyuk.
She asks why he’s taking this train, and he replies that he has to make his last greeting to his boss before leaving — looks like they’re heading to the same place.
Kang-hyuk: “I have to apologize, too, for not keeping my promise. For not keeping the shop. For not being able to be with his only daughter. For not being able to persuade that only daughter in the end. That daughter who insisted she’d be fine on her own, selling off her father’s last legacy, that ungrateful daughter…”
Pffft! He totally knows how to lay it on thick and push her buttons, all while acting unconcerned.
Eun-bi asks about his injured hand, and he replies that he scratched it while carrying her father at the hospital when he’d collapsed. Eun-bi asks what his relationship was with her father, not buying the simple “our parents were friends” explanation.
Kang-hyuk takes her hand and presses it to his heart, answering, “This kind of relationship. The little kid whose mother left and dad died, who spent all day sleeping, ate your father’s ramyun and lived. He said that simmering ramyun also simmered people’s hearts.”
Thinking of Ba-wool’s words and her father’s encouragement to live freely, Eun-bi changes her mind and tells Kang-hyuk not to sell the shop: “Let’s make ramyun together.” He smiles widely and pats her head. Oh my god, that’s so cute.
Eun-bi’s stomach is still bothering her, so she takes out her laxative and readies to take it — only to have Chi-soo come flying at her from the next train car yelling her name, knocking the packet out of her hands.
Taking her head in his hands, he asks, “Are you crazy?!” Um, is that a real question or are you projecting your issues?
Kang-hyuk pokes his head back and recognizes “Park Chi-soo.” Chi-soo flies at him and punches him on the jaw, knocking him over. Eun-bi hurries to tend to his bloodied lip, and yells, “Sonofabitch Chi-soo! Are you crazy?!” He shouts back, “You’re the crazy one!”
Aw man, why is this episode over???
Aw, I love today’s theme/title. It’s such a cute way of tying in the ramyun motif with Eun-bi’s character, but not in a hit-you-over-the-head way. I enjoy how “Eun-bi Ramyun” is a simple pun on her name, but thematically packs a solid punch: If Eun-bi’s on the case, she’ll do it. If it’s Eun-bi, she can change people. She can make a difference.
I love that Eun-bi aspires to normalcy because she’s always been a little different. To her, life would be grand if she could get a standard job with standard office hours that required her to wear a standard suit. That’s why she wants to be a teacher, rather than a deep desire to educate, as So-yi so annoyingly pointed out to her. It’s stable and comfortable.
Eun-bi seems to harbor insecurities about her differences, feeling as though the trappings of ordinariness will compensate for her flaws. But those are what her father and Ba-wool and even Kang-hyuk value about her, the reason they don’t want her to be a teacher. They don’t want her to lose her Eun-bi-ness, while she seems determined to get rid of it because that’s what’s holding her back. It’s also the stuff Chi-soo derides at first — he of so much style but so little taste — thinking she’s dumb, unappealing, common. Yet that’s why she gets to him and won’t let him loose of her hold.
So it’s tear-inducingly sweet that she decides to accept her father’s shop after all, because it’s not just an acceptance of his love but also an acceptance of self. I love that. “If it’s Eun-bi,” then it’s all good. She’s an ordinary girl, but she’s also a hero.
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 4
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 3
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop scores high ratings
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 2
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 1
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop’s press conference
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop posters
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop releases teasers
- Jung Il-woo on the set of Flower Boy Ramyun Shop