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Surplus Princess: Series review

Fantasy rom-com cable drama Surplus Princess just wrapped up its ten-episode run a few days ago, and I found myself quite looking forward to the finale. Not only because I needed to know who the end pairing would be—the show really kept that question alive right up to the finale—but because the drama ended up being much more enjoyable than I’d expected it to be. I knew to expect screwball antics and eccentric characters, but Surplus Princess surprised me by having heart, thanks to the affecting friendships that grounded its zaniness.

Despite dealing with a sudden episode cutdown, the show managed to wrap up the key point of interest (that is to say, the romance) with a degree of closure. I suspect that how you feel about the ending depends on where you fell on the shipping divide, although that may not be the only grievance that fans voice. I’ve got some myself, but stepping back to consider the show on the whole, I’m left with an overall sense of satisfaction about Surplus Princess, and I’ll miss its silly charm.

Beware: There will be spoilers! I’ve separated out commentary about the ending to keep the top section as spoiler-free as possible, but there will inevitably be some spoilers throughout.

SONG OF THE DAY

Loveholic – “인어, 세상을 걷다” (Mermaid walks the earth)Download ]

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THE PLOT (SPOILER-FREE)

Surplus Princess is based on a familiar premise with a twist: It’s The Little Mermaid, with a pun-inspired tweak that makes the concept of employment a central conceit of the show. (I’ll explain the pun in more detail the next section.) If the classic Little Mermaid was driven by a need to find a love that would allow her to remain human, this Little Mermaid has the added burden of looking for gainful employment. As our story’s witch notes, “Did you think being human was easy?”

Our mermaid heroine is Aileen (played by Jo Boa), although we can just call her Ha-ni, the name she adopts as a human. Spurred by a love of smartphones and the internet, Ha-ni frequently pops up to the surface to get a glimpse of human life, and of one human life in particular—the object of her affections, chef Shi-kyung (Song Jae-rim).

One day, Ha-ni is busy stalking Shi-kyung from the Han River, ogling him (specifically, his ass—this is no meek wilting heroine, but one boasting a full set of hormones) while he films a cooking segment nearby. When he slips and falls into the river, she’s right there to rescue him… after first stealing a kiss, that is. Why waste precious skinship opportunity? Breathing is incidental!

A half-conscious Shi-kyung reciprocates the kiss, but the encounter is all too brief, leaving him with only a vague memory that he’s not certain is real. He drops his cell phone in the water during the fall, which gives Ha-ni another peek into his life. Feeling confident that he’s her true love, she goes off in search of a way to become human and crash a particular party that he’ll be attending.

Ha-ni has heard vague tales of other mermaids making the sea-to-land leap, and gets pointed toward the grim-faced (but marshmallow-hearted) Witch Ahn (Ahn Gil-kang), armed with bribes and sneaky tricks. When he refuses to comply, impetuous Ha-ni swipes the magic potion and drinks up, ignoring his protests.

What she doesn’t know is that new legs come with a caveat, and if she doesn’t find true love within a hundred days, she’ll disappear into bubbles. She’ll learn this later, but for the moment, newly-two-legged Ha-ni trots off to the party to dance with her Prince Charming.

But this ain’t Cinderella, and instead of her epic fantasies of a time-stopping You From Another Star-inspired rendezvous, she gets a rude awakening when Shi-kyung doesn’t recognize her and has her kicked out. Talk about coming down to earth.

Shi-kyung is known for being an aloof perfectionist, starting out cold enough that I found myself nonplussed when I didn’t love him as I was prepared to do. Thankfully that changes, and later explanations give context to his standoffishness.

Ha-ni intends to win Shi-kyung over, but her most pressing concern is being stranded here for the next hundred days, and she turns to the gruff Witch Ahn for help. While he initially helps only grudgingly, he eventually becomes something like family—a grumpy uncle, perhaps.

He’s also a former merman, although Ha-ni points out that his fish half was the upper portion. I’ll give you a moment to picture that. Savor that image. He managed to find a human love but lost his wife; with his adored daughter studying in the States, Witch Ahn spends every waking moment working to scrape together money. It’s a little sad, and a lot heart-tugging.

Witch Ahn happens to be longtime buddies with the owner of a “share house” (one of the many current pop-culture trends that the drama taps into), and with a borrowed name and an introduction as Witch Ahn’s niece, Ha-ni is welcomed as the newest roommate. The inhabitants of the house are quirky and endearing in their own way, each with a bit of growing up to do. We’ve got (from left to right, above):

  • Ji-yong (Kim Min-kyo), a 34-year-old graduate of an elite university who has nevertheless spent the last ten years failing to pass the bar exam;
  • “Big” (Nam Joo-hyuk), a sweet 24-year-old kid who doesn’t really know what he wants, who grew up comfortably but has been now been cut off by his parents;
  • laconic share house owner Seon-kyu (Lee Seon-kyu), who seems like your classic aging slacker but turns out to be more than meets the eye; and
  • Hye-young (Kim Seul-gi), she of the sharp tongue, ready retort, and live webcast wherein she eats massive amounts of food for her viewers’ pleasure. And I suppose also hers.

But we can’t leave out Hyun-myung (Ohn Joo-wan), the other leg of the central love triangle. Hyun-myung is a talented artist, although I almost think he’d have been better off with less talent—quitting feels like a waste of his abilities, so he clings to it for a long while because it’s the only thing he’s good at. But he struggles to make headway, until his frustrated girlfriend urges him to give up his artistic ambitions and aim for a stable job at a large corporation; with Hyun-myung’s smarts, he should be able to work his way into the salaryman ranks.

Hyun-myung has therefore spends endless hours fine-tuning his resumé and applying to every job opening under the sun, to no avail. When he finally scores a first-round interview, he finds himself sneered at for his art background and the lack of elite “specs”—things like study abroad experience, foreign language fluency, and all the flashy credentials that make you look great on paper.

Hyun-myung is a sweet guy with a good heart, but his continued unemployment casts him in a loser light, and finally his girlfriend has enough and dumps him. He’s devastated. She’s got her eye on a bigger prize—chef Shi-kyung.

As much as I’d dearly love to ignore that manipulative ex-girlfriend entirely, I suppose she has a sizable amount of screentime (sadly), so I may as well acknowledge her existence. Just this once and only fleetingly, I promise.

She’s Jin-ah (Park Ji-soo), and she’s enviably employed at JH Food, where she’s poised to climb her way up the corporate ladder. I won’t say that her feelings for Shi-kyung are entirely mercenary, since I can see some sort of real human emotion emerging as the series progresses (jealousy is an emotion, right?), but it’s safe to say that her interest is less in the man himself and more in what he represents. She moves out of the share house and into a fancy high-rise apartment, purposely choosing Shi-kyung’s building so she can orchestrate “accidental” run-ins with him.

She’s hostile toward Ha-ni right off the bat, and Ha-ni, recognizing competition when she sees it, is hilariously petty in her scorn of “that sly fox.” You can almost envision steam coming out of Jin-ah’s ears whenever Shi-kyung pays Ha-ni attention, as though wanting to stamp her feet, “But I’m so much better, with a better job and a better resumé than her! How could anyone not prefer me?” (…which would be its own answer right there.)

The plot kicks in once Ha-ni’s a member of the household and JH Food announces an internship opportunity. This dovetails with Ha-ni’s goal of getting close to Shi-kyung so he can fall in love with her; armed with a childlike exuberance that belies common sense (but is cute all the same), she’s confident that Shi-kyung would love her, if only she could give him a chance to. As he is a workaholic who spends most of his time at the office, she decides to join in the hunt for the position and win her man. Nothing to it, right?

What ensues is a series of challenges and setbacks as Ha-ni and her housemates work together on projects to bolster their creds, and along the way grow into a tight group of genuine friends. Ha-ni and Hye-young form a friendship that turns into a show highlight (more on that below), and side romances spring up to keep things interesting.

Their team faces direct competition from an elite study group, against whom they go head-to-head in a contest hosted by JH Food that would lead to an employment opportunity for the winners. That group is full of haughty candidates boasting personal connections who assume they’re shoo-ins, and Ha-ni’s crew looks pitiful by comparison. But once the housemates actually put their heads together and start working in earnest, they manage to produce some good ideas and surprises. (Through it all, there’s She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, doing her best to keep ’em down. Booooo.)

Ha-ni’s relationship with Hyun-myung is characterized mostly by bickering, but despite their inauspicious beginnings (her antics get him mistaken for sexual assaulter), they bond as they each undergo emotional setbacks and find comfort in each other’s friendship. It takes a while for the romantic undertones to come to the surface for this pair, but when Hyun-myung gets the wrong idea about Ha-ni’s “remaining time on earth” meaning terminal illness (heh), he treats her especially nicely and the emotional lines grow more blurred.

Shi-kyung also warms up to Ha-ni, who is so bubbly and unpredictable that he finds her a welcome breath of fresh air. His earlier coldness—which is frankly off-putting—gets cleared up when we see that he’s concealing a condition that he’s sensitive about; what’s interpreted as hauteur is really his face blindness, which makes him struggle to recognize people. He improves the more he interacts with people and when he’s at ease, and Ha-ni has a way of putting him at ease.

Furthermore, Shi-kyung and Ha-ni get more occasions to bond when he recognizes her talents in identifying tastes and describing food (all that eating sure helps!), and enlists her aid in testing recipes. So when she’s not with Hyun-myung and her teammates working on the contest project, she’s often with Shi-kyung, and these two lovelines develop alongside each other, which has the effect of keeping us guessing till the very last about the endgame. I’ll argue that has its upsides but also some key detractors, which I’ll talk about more below.

Even so, almost as key a question as Ha-ni’s love life is her success in the job realm, as she works her way toward that holy grail of the unemployed: that coveted access badge, marking one as a full-time member of the corporate workforce.

 

THE SURPLUS HOUSE

“Surplus” in the context of this show is used in a generally negative sense, indicating leftover people who aren’t particularly useful or needed. The housemates, who are unemployed and broke, acknowledge their lowly standing in society and refer to themselves self-deprecatingly as surplus humans.

Ha-ni’s quest for personhood isn’t strictly dependent upon her finding a job, but to her mind the issue becomes inextricably entangled with her quest for love. And despite sounding like the drama’s premise was conceived as the product of a throwaway joke (“mermaid” = in-uh, “surplus” = ing-yuh), the job-seeking motif does make for story turns that are meant to resonate with the young generation that the drama depicts and sees as its target audience. In more wordplay, the housemates have revised the name of their home, Fate House (“fate” = in-yeon), to Surplus House.

What I appreciate about the show is that the plight of the unemployed is treated with some sensitivity, but not mawkishly so. To the contrary, the drama mostly pokes light fun at the topic; it has fun depicting the gimmickry and desperate measures to which people resort, like exploiting connections and attempting to go viral to parlay insta-fame into employment opportunities. Shame takes a backseat to efficacy, because the job offer is paramount.

The characters aren’t treated as mere victims of the brutal corporate system, either—that would be too heavy-handed. So we see them goofing off and having fun and trying to live their daily lives to some extent, while remaining painfully aware that life doesn’t “really” begin until they land that job.

Because the tone of the show skews primarily wacky, the occasional flashes of insight into the characters’ vulnerabilities pack an extra punch in the brief moments when they crop up. Hyun-myung displays a chink in the armor when he overhears himself described as a lost cause who’ll never amount to anything, and struggles to put up a cheerful front. You feel a similar pang when his thrill over being interviewed gets trampled by his interviewers, who say condescendingly that he should just stick to art. Gee, I wonder why he didn’t think of that. Maybe all the starving clouded his logic.

Ji-yong’s another example, as the Seoul University law school graduate who somehow fell off the fast track to success. He’d assumed that his credentials would open the door to his future, but that never happened, and now he’s facing a dead end: “I’m just a game-addicted crap-making machine.” Normally a goofy source of comic relief, he’s surprisingly self-aware: “When I wake up in the morning, I feel bleak. I wonder, How will I spend today? Do you know why I play games? There, I can be first place. There, time passes quickly. And now, they’re the only thing I’m good at.”

It’s meant to ring true for a certain (not unsizable) segment of the population, but thankfully this doesn’t feel like pandering. Its matter-of-factness and humor undercut any moment that threatens to grow self-important.

Fortunately for our crew, they have each other to jump in to support each other, and it’s this camaraderie that really forms the emotional backbone of Surplus Princess. I was pleasantly surprised when I found these friend dynamics more of an emotional center than the love triangle or the bubbly princess’s journey to humanhood. Written out, perhaps this stuff sounds schmaltzy. But the show’s ability to skirt the maudlin is more proof that its charm is in its tonal touch. It doesn’t trot out platitudes to trumpet Important Messages; the messages are a byproduct of the comedy.

For instance, in one scene the housemates engage in a cringe-off, uttering a string of cheesy banalities like “There’s nothing more precious than the present.” They shudder at each progressively drippy cliché, while understanding that the words they’re mocking are totally the truth, which they appreciate and acknowledge… by mocking as corny, of course. We can be earnest, but only if we allow ourselves to poke fun at ourselves for it.

It’s the same self-awareness that drives the parade of parodies—seriously, so many parodies!—running through the drama, with references to a whole bevy of pop-culture properties. Those include: Heirs, You From Another Star, Fatal Encounter, Frozen, Rude Miss Young-ae, Secret Love Affair, SNL, music videos (G-Dragon), and even commercials.

It also puts the meokbang element front and center, using it in outright parody and as running motif. Meokbang refers to eating on television, and has exploded in popularity in recent years; the definition is fairly broad, and covers anything from gourmet foodie shows to merely showing food being eaten, often with extreme gusto. Ha-ni’s character is pretty much a personification of meokbang; being a mermaid curious about human food gives Ha-ni the excuse to eat (and eat and eat). Hye-young’s webcast, meanwhile, is described as a meokbang parody, in that she’s making fun of the meokbang trend by taking it to an extreme, eating outrageous quantities of food on-air. It creates a funny meta feedback loop—she’s mocking the trend, while simultaneously contributing to it in an unironic way.

But speaking of the two ladies, they make up another of my favorite aspects of the show, which is the portrayal of a female friendship that’s positive, encouraging, and adorable. Hye-young finds out about Ha-ni’s mermaid status early on (the tail comes back when her legs get wet), and after a moment of surprise, just accepts her completely as is. Saying that mermaid Ha-ni reminds her of her recently departed pet fish, she takes to calling her “carp” affectionately—particularly when Ha-ni does something bubble-brained—until Ha-ni becomes “our carp” to the rest of the crew.

Hye-young also gets another highlight—maybe she’s lucky, or maybe it’s really just Kim Seul-gi demonstrating that she’s awesome in everything—in a side romance with Big that develops gradually over the course of the show. They start out with Hye-young coaching Big on how to win over his crush, only to have the feelings creeping up on them unexpectedly. In a show where the main romance was ambiguous (…in that it wasn’t even clear which pairing was the main romance), it was nice to have these two keeping us gratified. And who could resist an adorable youngun’ making earnest, puppy-dog-eyed pleas to date his noona?

 

WHAT IS LOVE? (THE ROMANCE, THAT ENDING)

Oh boy, here we go: the romance. I’ll venture a guess this is the point that’ll raise the most comments and complaints, and I’ll join you on that front in just another minute. I have a love-hate thing for dramas that work the love triangle effectively, because it’s enjoyable and painful at the same time. I give the drama a lot of credit for giving us two strong romantic rivals, both portrayed as decent people; their mutual viability for Ha-ni’s affections spurred the narrative tension and kept me invested in both. In that, it accomplished what it set out to.

But on the other hand, how could we feel satisfied when an ending shows no signs of resolving all the emotions satisfactorily until the eleventh hour? Fine, technically it was the tenth, but only by a few minutes, really. The resolution made sense to my head, but felt too rushed, and I while the characters were shown to be at peace with the ending, I certainly wasn’t. I was too sad for the other one! But before we get to the specifics of the ending, let’s back up to take a look at the romance as a whole…

The question of love is explicit in Ha-ni’s problem: In order to become human, she needs to find true love. But rather than assuming that a kiss or a declaration is sufficient to meet the criteria, she’s faced with the challenge of first figuring out what true love even means. How can she find it if she doesn’t understand what the parameters are?

So Ha-ni goes around asking people what they think true love is, and in some of her more misguided moments, asks if someone will be it for her, like it’s something you can decide to do. In the midst of her quest to define love, she realizes that love takes different forms, demonstrated in the various situations our cast encounters.

Ha-ni notes, “Everyone has their own definition of love. For someone, love is something you let go, even if it’s painful. Someone else gives up on love in order to get a love with better qualifications. Sometimes it begins with a misunderstanding, and to someone else it’s the reason to keep living. And to someone else, it becomes a puzzle that needs to be solved. But for anyone, love is a feel-good fluttering feeling, and hope. And love brings a shining smile to anybody.” As for herself, Ha-ni calls love a bomb set to go off in a hundred days—it determines whether she lives or dies. I appreciate pointing out the conundrum in the Little Mermaid tale where the whole concept of finding one true love is ambiguous to begin with.

Now back to the love triangle. Going into the final week, I was so convinced (so convinced!) that we were going to get an OTP flip, that the shortened run indicated a deviation from original plans, and that we would have to anoint Song Jae-rim dramaland’s resident OTP-killer. There was so much development given to his cute budding romance with Ha-ni that it was enough to make me think they might contradict all the narrative signs. Would they flout their setup? Would they go with the guy she spent most of the drama being crazy about, rather than the one who was poised to take over in her heart but hadn’t quite managed it yet?

Because here’s the thing: Shi-kyung wasn’t set up to be the ultimate pairing, not from a structural standpoint. It’s particularly clear if you go back to the beginning of the show and take note of the introductions and setups: Hyun-myung is in the traditional hero’s role, from his underdog position to his antagonist meet-cute with Ha-ni to their bickering relationship. He’s the guy who’s there to soothe her when she’s crying, who doesn’t get credit for the quietly helpful things he does for her. Tellingly, he’s also the guy who finds out about her mermaid secret; he sees all her flaws, knows she’s in love with another guy, and accepts the whole package.

Shi-kyung, on the other hand, is the man of fantasy. He’s the embodiment of Ha-ni’s misguided Operation: Human plan, which she rushed into without thinking over. He’s quite literally objectified in her eyes with her recurring (and hilarious) apple-butt visions; when it’s in sight, she barely even notices his face or the rest of him. That doesn’t have any of the hallmarks of twoo wuv, so for dramatic integrity’s sake I prefer the ending they gave us. (Emotionally, I’m more torn because I loved Song Jae-rim in this role.) But the drama’s message would be, and is, stronger for not validating her misbegotten motivations in pursuing Shi-kyung.

But there’s a problem in the follow-through of this premise, and it’s not just that Song Jae-rim is too damned charismatic to stay put in his second lead corner of thwarted love and tears. I mean, yes, he’s compelling, but there are more significant hiccups than a mere case of liking one actor more. (Especially since Ohn Joo-wan is also quite sweet and endearing.)

What got me confused was that the developments with Shi-kyung felt miscalibrated—too much, extending too far, curtailed too late. And while some blame can be attributed to the episode cutdown, not all of it can—I still hold the drama responsible for miscalculating the pacing. Hyun-myung walks the classic hero path for a while, but while he’s off falling for Ha-ni, it’s like she was off filming a different love story with the other guy. Yes, it does make sense for her to realize her feelings for Hyun-myung belatedly, because she needs to see on her own that Shi-kyung isn’t the man she wants. But belatedly should have come sooner; we needed more balance of Ha-ni feeling both ways in order to buy that she made the choice to be with Hyun-myung in the end. It’s not enough to give us a finale-episode epiphany and just tell us everyone was okay with that. It may have been enough time for the drama to show us that this happened, but I’m still a few steps behind in believing it.

As a character in his own right, I did like the progression of Shi-kyung’s arc, transforming from the polished stiff professional to warm and smiling softie. I didn’t much like Shi-kyung at first, and thought less of Ha-ni for being so obsessed with him. Okay, never blame a girl for going gaga for a hot guy—no judgy there. It’s more the extremeness of risking your life on the basis of a hot bod and apple butt that makes me shake my head for her.

Still, this is a case where the warming of character’s cold exterior via the heroine’s pluckiness happens in a credible, satisfying way. She’s legitimately so weird (from a human standpoint) that it catches Shi-kyung off-guard, intrigues him, and then reacquaints himself with a happier, fuzzier side of life he’s been ignoring for years. And because this is dramaland where hair means so much, we only need to look as far as his increasingly relaxed hairstyles to see where he is in his emotional growth. The closer she comes to humanhood, the more he looks like one too.

It almost starts to seem like Shi-kyung usurps the hero’s place by claiming the cold-Darcy-meets-his-Candy narrative, which messes with my head. Plus Shi-kyung starts out as an obvious Mr. Wrong, then turns gradually more right, which is why it hurts when doesn’t win the girl’s heart. So close, but so far away. Then he takes the loss with a tearful smile and wishes her well like a totally upstanding dude, and it hurts even more. Maybe our consolation prize is in hearing him recognize that through Ha-ni, he rediscovered his lost smile. Now if only someone could do something about that broken heart.

So with half an episode left, Ha-ni and Hyun-myung get to enjoy a blissful but fleeting spell of coupledom, until the fateful hundredth day comes. Unsure of the magical spell’s criteria for true love, they wait with bated breath and try to rest assured in the knowledge that they couldn’t possibly love each other more.

It’s a poignant moment as Ha-ni faces her fate with hope, only to disappear into bubbles anyway. A sad but salvageable turn, since there’s still time left in the episode—surely she’ll find a cosmic loophole to return, right? The twist is reminiscent of My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, but I won’t quibble about that so long as we turn this ship around.

Ha-ni does return, one year later, in a flash of light just like the first time she arrived on land. She rejoins her elated friends and flashes an enigmatic smile at the camera, while the caption tells us, “I’ll be back…” And fin.

Which, WHAT.

I mean, seriously, WHAT?

That’s the end, and we’re done. Ha-ni disappeared into bubbles (how was the love not true?), but unlike the other mermaid princesses before her, she wasn’t gone-gone (why not?). She managed to stay alive (how?), and then finagled another trip back to earth (how?). And we’ll never know why (WHY NOT?).

I’m of two minds about the ending. One is that it sucks and answers nothing and in fact contradicts the drama itself. The other is a more meta response and wonders whether the producers were reacting to the abrupt cutting of their show, and if that’s the case then I have to figure that I understand that impulse.

If I consider the ending on its own, as a resolution to this story—and this is my inclination, because I want to judge a drama on what it did, not what it meant to do—then it fails to fulfill the basic bullet points of “satisfactory finale.” Merely producing a happy result accomplishes little when you don’t explain any of it. It’s almost worse than not having Ha-ni return, because you returned her but didn’t explain why or how—we got the trappings of a happy ending but none of the satisfaction, yet it feels churlish to gripe since at least she lived. We had all these questions, but turns out the answer is: shrug. So from a structural standpoint the ending fails.

To consider it from another angle, the ending so flagrantly flouts the conventions of finale-dom that I’m reminded of Vampire Idol, which did a similar thing in response to being cut down. Since it was a show based on paranormal/sci-fi premises, we had to give our trust to the show to build its world and explain its internal logic. The ending, however, merely opened the door to a whole slew of questions (for instance, hinting that one of the vampire idols would split from the others, for reasons unknown) and answered none. It felt like the producers were throwing up a big middle finger at their station, as it to show that it had a whole bunch of interesting storylines in the works that would never get to see the light of day.

Surplus Princess feels like a similar case. I can’t believe that this was their intended ending from the start—and if it was, my estimation drops another notch. The “I’ll be back…” caption in particular smacks of a rebellious gesture, because in fact she won’t be back—there’s been no indication that Surplus Princess is getting any sort of continuation. (Ratings were low and a show that’s cut never gets another season.) It feels defiant, and you know, for that I’ll give them a point for chutzpah.

But only one, because ultimately a drama serves its viewers, and meta knowledge should enhance your fun of a show but not drive understanding of it. So taken on its own merits, that ending? Yeah, I’m sad about it. And confused. And left wondering at the meaning of it all.

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i loved this drama, so cute! i was rooting for shi kyung, but hyun myung was also so cute with his beady little eyes... we've been calling him "mini ji sung"...
; )

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I loved the drama but that final.........I can't get over it, I wanted her with Si Kyung, instead of being sad I was laughing when she appeared again like terminator hahaha
I feel scamed in the sense that in the 1 chapter we saw her in the beach and in the end it was like jk, no beach at all...

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You are not kidding: We were scammed alright! It was "bait and switch", which sucked canal water! Not that there was anything wrong with the other guy, just that the story wasn't set up for him to be the main guy.

When I heard about the ep cut, I thought: OK, now they won't have time to build up the alternate ship properly, so I'm happy to give up 4 eps in exchange for Hani to be w SJR.
I looked around for Spoilers b4 watching ep 14. When I found out SJR didn't get the girl, I quit! And boy, am I glad I did!!!

Makes you wonder how these ppl get work as writers. Really now.

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Exactly! I was really looking forward to it! Like seriously, no beach and the HAIR, Ha Ni's hair is short at the first ep. UGH.

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I loved the characters and Shi Kyung's progression into smiley and daydreaming (Song Jae Rim is out to kill us all) and the dynamics of the share house. I really don't know about the ending, though. I felt here nor there about it. I kind of just x-ed out the window like, "Ah...OK..." Lol. Still, it didn't end as wildly as I thought and I thought it was a really funny drama.

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i agree that song jae rim is out to kill us all.

especially the we got married song jae rim. kim so eun is one lucky girl.

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LOL at your description of the Deadly SJR!

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I'm so disappointed.

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I loved this series -- it was cute, campy and hilarious. I was rooting for Shi Kyung and was hoping Jin-A and Hyun Myung to get back together instead. I loved the whole supporting cast, esp. the surplus roomies.

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That ending killed me

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Ohn Joo-wan was so cute in this, I couldn't help but cheer for him. I'm not one to get too disappointed at an ending where my OTP loses, so i didn't care who it was gonna be at the end, as long as Ohn Joo-wan would keep showing of those adorable smiles. It would've made more sense with Song Jae Rim's character though, since they were closer to romantic feelings.

Everything was rushed, but I'm assuming that was because of the cut so I won't fault them. Overall, I had a lot of fun watching this. I'm really upset its over..

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wow, thanks for this review, Ms. Javabeans! We all know it was rushed but I was really hoping it would be Shi Kyung and Ha ni, tho I know that'll never be. It's like Ha Ni chose the dark knight over Prince Charming. / and shi kyung never did know that it was Ha Ni who saved him from drowning, what would have happened if he did find out that she is a mermaid, coz of time constraints, he will forever be ignorant of that fact. Sad.

So,Jin Ah will get Shi Kyung in the end, or in New York, to be exact, oh, whatever, I don't care anymore.

Good thing, Kim Seul Gi's side romance made the epic fail ending a little bit bearable. She did the same thing for Discovery of Romance, though her paring with Yoon Hyun Min has more chemistry and that makes them truly an adorkable couple.

I would still count this as one of the best from TVN, a real fun watch.maybe if it aired twice a week , maybe it would have been better for the ratings. I stopped watching Hi School love on coz of that one show per week policy, "patience" is not my virtue.

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Hehe... Actually the drama did showed that The Chef remembered Ha Ni as the one who saved him...their kiss & the fact he opened his eye as he was surfacing and saw her face. He told her in the hospital and regretted not recognizing her earlier...the bad timing.

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omgggg yessss so glad we're getting this post. Ia with everything said here. I have a lottttt of things to say so forgive this probably very long rambling comment. I totally agree that Shi Kyung started to look like a more viable lead and the episode cut had so little to do with that, at the original episode length his character being shafted for Hyung Myung would have been a big squeeze and then the cut added to this squeeze. I wonder what was suppose to happen in the original episode count that could have turned his character completely on it's head so that we would believe that Hyung Myung was the true lead worthy of Hani's love. Hani herself needed a lot more development especially in her love line with Hyung Myung, there were a lot of hints that her and Hyung Myung were better suited but they remained hints right until the end even when she was suddenly admitting her feelings for Hyung Myung it didn't seem natural at all. Their one moment at the end of episode 9 was obviously suppose to give way to more conflict but timing did effect that.

I was happy though that they stayed true to their original concepts as I would have felt really bad for Hyung Myung, I felt bad for Shi Kyung but I never let myself like him too much because I knew he was going to lose and so I rooted for Hyung Myung like the writer wanted me too. So I was happy about that, but then to take away their happy ending and cause more questions was really aggravating. I also wanted more scenes of Hani and Hyung Myung happy, not that short montage of their dating. If that was all they were going to give us I would have preferred that the episode be more about which guy was going to go to the beach and save Hani like in the first episodes scene (that never got joined up with). Instead we got tbh a kind of selfish f- you ending which isn't fair to the few loyal viewers the show had.

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I haven't watch the ending yet, but I love Song Jae Rim. He's like super hot guy. Why I only notice him noooow? LOL

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Yeah, I totally watched that god-awful Nail Shop Paris for him. He needs a decent show...

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haha. same here. THe show was so awful, but he was so cute!

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OMG KEIIIIII

I blame Kei for my kokoro-fever.

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Omg I heard how bad nail shop was..but ever since I found out that SJR is in there I'm SOO tempted to watch! What to dooo? I need more of Lethal SJR ;;;

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"Why I only notice him nooow?"

I ask myself the same question. My answer is "Mary". I saw him in MoonES but didn't notice his charm. Mary started fangirling over him here, which got me curious. I started liking him in this series, so much so that I even watched him in WeGM. Mary does an effective job of promoting SJR. LOL.

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Are you kidding? It's impossible not to notice him!

He was super brooding & hot in Moon that the king has to send him to take a bath.... :))

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Me 2 xD Mary is the best

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Yayyy, a Surplus Princess recap.

This was a zany, wacky, FUN show that i thoroughly enjoyed. It never claimed to be serious, was down right hilarious and had surprising moments that were poignant and emotional. One of such scenes was where HM was crying wordlessly at his Granny,s funeral. I just loved that scene.
Why i disliked the last ep was because it felt so rushed. And "I ll be back" what does that mean Baek PD????? LOL

I loved both guys (well forced myself to love HN because i knew he was the main lead :)) so that didn't count.

I also can't believe "that fox" gets TO GO to NY with SK!!!!! Like urgh

And can i just say how much i love(d) Big? I want one of my own :)

In spite of my moaning, i really enjoyed this show. I hope the characters get big and better things soon.

P.S. someone get Kim Seul Gi her own show!!!

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I agree with you with EVERYTHING! Especially on "that fox", WTH? She needs to get shafted, be poor on the street and be a surplus human in search for her next job, that's what shoulda happen to her. Grrrr….

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hehehehe. Exactly.
I had loads of ideas on how to make her suffer but instead she got to go to NY!!! Pitiful

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P.P.S I so wish that it had been recapped weekly on here.
If you are interested in weekly recaps, the fab people at http://dr-myri-blog.blogspot.com/ have the most hilarious ones.

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We love it. The pop culture reference are brilliant, GD's mv parody is the best.

I hope there will be a 2nd season or even an SP like some jdorama....

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Hmm. The drama was cut because of catastrophic ratings & you wish for a second season... Doesn't compute.

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At the end they made it seem like there was going to be a another season

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At the end they made it seem like there was going to be a two

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Possibly wrong person as lead. Liked Ha Ni with Shi Kyung better.
Also, didn't like the ending. The Bi... Ji Ah gets Shi Kyung after all the nasty crap she tried to pull on Ha Ni? Didn't buy she doesn't her comeuppance!!! Also, Ha Ni's inexplicable absence for a year... Like she landed back like an alien from another world?

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oops, doesn't get her comeuppance

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yeah, I could even deal with the follow-the-first-lead formula for Hani, but That Witch Jin Ah not getting her comeuppance AND getting to maybe have Shi-kyung?

NOPE. (I'm sure Mary would join me in that NOPE)

Ah, well, he has a much nicer imaginary wife in We Got Married, which I am properly watching for the first time now thanks to him and Kim So-eun.

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I think Mary is too upset to be doing normal things like come here. She might be too busy sticking needles into somebody's figurine while burning talismans. ;)

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I'm here now!

Don't worry I've finished burying the bod--- errr... I was just back from Han River.

It was nice strolling amidst nature and dealing with "some fox problem".

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Maybe she was in a wormhole.

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Wish I could like this comment a thousand times because that was my biggest problem at the end of the show. I can deal with the WTF ending because the whole series was just one big ball of crazy, but Shi Kyung recommending Jin Ah for what seems like a promotion?? And her putting on makeup like she had a chance with him. (Yes, I know it was last minute PPL) He saw her smash a cake in the face of the girl he likes!!! Did he conveniently forget that too?

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Because show is awesome! Ofcourse rating is important but the story needs a proper ending, that's all. However with 10 eps, it will be easier to marathon esp when i alr know when & where to ffwd that witch's scene, lol.. ah well..

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That GD's mv parody was the best moment in the show!!! The beginning of the drama was so wacky, fun and simple to watch but because of the episode cuts, things were rushed and the drama lost its charm. It was the only drama I looked forward to since none of the other dramas were interesting. The end totally sucked though. I wonder why it got such low ratings? The story? The cast?

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That fish market scene was brilliantly done! Ji-yong's best scenes were when he was doing those parodies, like at the beginning, when they were explaining House Rules like a game.

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I'm still soo confused with the ending so was it true love or wasn't it ????? But again they made it seem like there was going to be a sequel to the show. Please be a 2

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Well here is the way I look at it. It was true love because even after a year, he was still missing her. So I guess that proved it and she came back.

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OMG my heart is broken, a crying SJR is the saddest thing ever. Awwww. Very disappointing ending, I am probably gonna skip that whole episode. :S

Sending happy vibes to Mary.

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*snatching all the happy vibes she can get*

*runs away*

*comes back awkwardly*

Uhm.... Thanks Fab!

*runs away again*

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So was it True love or wasn't it ????? Maybe they'll explain it in the Sequel if they have one

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Love that this review was posted! I personally fell in love with the show from the first episode, so I needed a fix of thoughts on the show regularly. I sorely missed DB being one of the places commenting on it through frequent recaps, so I became excited when I saw your tweet about making a post with your thoughts.

It would be impossible for me to sum up all my thoughts in here, but I have been wondering something among all the discussion over the ending. I've seen a lot of people reference the show's low ratings making a second season highly unlikely; however, to me, it doesn't seem that unlikely if it were presented in a more accessible way since it seems like the show's targeted audience never really had access to view the live airings.

I can't say it in a completely unbiased perspective because I loved the show and it certainly wasn't/can't be everyone's cup of tea; but its time slot (including the day and month), amount of episodes per week, and its being on a cable channel seemed to work against it from the start. Of course, the pacing can also be accounted for since it's not the type of show that many people would /need/ to tune in for since it had a more laid back style and so probably watched when it was possible to relax. Yet the others definitely had some kind of significant role in the show's low ratings, and that makes me extremely curious over the online viewing figures since the targeted audience would have more access (and prefer on their own time) to watch shows online.

I recall a few articles, and I think even the PD had blogged or retweeted something, mentioning the show's popularity in China. It also definitely gained popularity throughout other countries too (based on a quick glance, it seems to have ranked in the top 10 most viewed kdramas on Viki during its airing, and there are plenty of other streaming sites that have gone unaccounted for too).

I know the show receives its funding through advertisers that the show's domestic audience can become interested in, but there's still tons of potential through international audiences, and I wonder if that (and the popularity online) was only reviewed after the cut was announced. If it was, maybe the reasoning for "I'll be back..." and the potential for a second season is related to convincing the network or some kind of place to make another season of the show that is exclusive to the web in order to properly bring in the ratings they want with the confirmed numbers and fulfilled advertising potential.

Maybe it seems unlikely because one can wonder why other shows don't follow that pattern, but since tvN is a cable network, and the show was different in its own way including a possibly younger (more adaptive?) production crew, they could jump onto the trend of giving a TV show a full-length, additional season that is web-exclusive yet very accessible to international audiences, but capable of the benefits possible from a popular show that...

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(Oops, got cut off. Sorry!)
...but capable of the benefits possible from a popular show that would normally first air on TV. At least that's what I would try to do if I were them & the online number of viewers (if it's truly high enough) would support that being a successful venture.

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Right! I was totally surprised when I heard the ratings were low because people were super excited on viki. There's double the amount of people who add the show to their favorites compared to Discovery of Romance.
I wish those producers read your comment :)

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What would Anthony do? Get some overseas funding from some underworld figures ...

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Love love the show; it's extremely hilarious.
I didn't give it a thought of the ending, thinking they just wanna make it sound like "The terminator", since just like the main actor, she is from "out of the world".
but now that you pointed out, maybe, just maybe it is a reply to the cutbacks. hahahaha

I am one of the Shi-kyung/Ha-ni shippers. They are just so adorably cute together.
I wanted to see the original ending, if we have the actual 14 (or 16?) episodes. Give me the script!!

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After I finished the first episode of this show I was just like, "ok. This show is on crack and its offing incredible." Thoroughly and shamelessly enjoyed this show, and Jo Boa was SO. MUCH. FUN to watch. I remember her in Shut Up! Flower Boy Band but I thought she was kind of boring there tbh (like, my overall impression of Su-ah was 'she has pretty hair') but Ha-ni was awesome.

My thoughts on the ending... I was surprised. And more than a little confused. I figured that Song Jae-rim was meant to be the second lead, and I liked that he so obviously liked Ha-ni and she really liked him, but I never expected him to be endgame. When they announced the episode cut, though, I thought that that might change, though, because I felt that for most of the show Ha-ni had a one-track-mind where he was concerned. I had wondered if they'd change the ending to make him the lead just because I thought having her end up with Ohn Joo-wan would seem too sudden (which it kind of did), but they did it anyway and I went with it. But that ending.... I know some people who thought that she'd disappear into bubbles because that's how the show started, but this is a case where I would've preferred the cold open to be a fake out. I just... I don't understand why she turned into bubbles. It doesn't make sense, and it kind of taints the show for me, which is unfortunate because until those last few minutes Surplus Princess was an underrated gem of a show.

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I seriously hope SJR gets a leading role soon, even if his dramas were flops he's had some memorable characters in each one of them, the guy is seriously charismatic not to mention very handsome with a sexy body to boot, I seriously loved him in Nail Shop Paris even though the drama was shit, he played the badboy character to a tilt, same goes to Inspiring Generation, his character was the most memorable, I thought Surplus Princess was a good opportunity for him to get a lead because most if the cast members were similar to him, no big names but still he was pegged back to second lead role, anyway I hope his luck changes from here on, WGM seem to be his lottery ticket as he's getting massive popularity among the WGM fans, he's so naughty and horny but in a charming way, I didn't expect SJR to be like that in real life, I'm totally enjoying his skinship antics and cheesy lines, never seen a couple like him and KSE before in WGM, even though I was disappointed with Surplus Princess ending I'm totally enjoying him in WGM.

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there's a possible explanation to the weirdness of the ending of vampire idol here, if anyone is interested:
http://wtheol.tumblr.com/post/58297066731/for-those-who-are-frustrated-with-the-ending-of

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I am so annoyed about the Vampire Idol cutdown, because it
SPOILER

meant we never got to see Woobin and Yubi kiss! (I almost died during the cupboard scene though, the way they were looking at each other and about to go for it). One of the most adorable romances I've ever seen on tv, and in kdrama, where couples rarely reunite, this is likely all I will ever get of them as an OTP :(

(I know Lee Yubi is in Woobin's next movie, Twenty, but from what I heard she's someone else's love interest - which, boooooo! Yubi is Woobin's! and so is Jong-seok!)

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First things first: no matter what the OTP turned out to be, I will never be sorry for having watched this show - not only for the epic dork-in-a-suit that was SOng Jae Rim, but mainly for the friendship between Hani and Hye-young. Kim Seul-gi killed it as always, she and Jo Boa made a perfect pair. The matter-of-fact way Hye-young accepts Ha-ni is absolute perfection, from the offer to dry her tail so she can give her a pedicure, to the covering for her when Hyun-myung sees the tail the first time around.

And I kept saying it on the OT, but HUGE props to Jo Boa for her performance as Ha-ni. She really went all in to the role, butt-grabbing and all, and held nothing back for the sake of her image *coughparkshinhyeiloveyoubutlearnfromherpls* - it would be so easy to make a character who is kind of naive and not super bright look like a dimwit, but she just brings so much charm and life to the role......it's amazing to think she made her acting debut just two years ago! She was very green in Shut Up Flower Boy Band but still good enough to not embarrass herself, even though the writing helped her a lot. And she's fantastic here.

As for the OTP, I get the point that Hyun-myung was supposed to be the one for her from the "structural standpoint", as you say, but if that was the structure, the show just did not build it well enough. Like you said, all the time spent with Shi-kyung on the verge of rumbling Ha-ni's secret, intrigued by the scale he got off her tail, starting to half-remember stuff and asking her about pearl necklaces and mermaids, getting more and more face time with her despite the efforts of jealous office witch.....it all felt like a total Song Jae Rim/Jo Boa romance drama, and the sudden about-face for Hyun-myung was, well, sudden. I mean, when your show is cut down, do you try to sort of end it with something that feels natural to what you've been doing for 9 out of 10 episodes, or do you just cram 5 episodes' storylines into one for your original OTP as a 'because he is the first lead!' thing? Looks like the SP writers chose the latter.

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Also, can anyone who caught them list out the pop culture references/parodies in the show?

I only caught the G-Dragon MV one for Ji-yong, and the game one when the share house rules were being explained, plus of course Ha-ni watching YFAS/Heirs while still in mermaid form (explains a lot why she has no clue about love, if she uses Heirs as a guide) but can someone help with the others?

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We try to catch them in our squeecaps ^^. Off the top of my head:

- There's the terminator one combined with sailormoon transformation
- Ahn Ma-nyeo's "tayoyaki" truck
- Hyun-myung's Secret Love Affair parody (that one was pointed out by Jomo)
- Steve Jobs

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Oh, and of course the namja ramyun parody. ^^

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Thank you show (and your squeecap) for introducing me to NAMJA RAMYUN! *slurp* It's now my fav Korean ramyun, haha.

Loved the whole grand theft auto house rules in ep 2, that was hilarious.

Also, I think that Hyun-myung's workout in ep 3 was a parody of Hyun Bin's workout in the Fatal Encounter. Not 100% sure though.

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oh god i JUST got the "I'll be back"/terminator thing. geeeze.

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Hye-young confession dialogue was straight from Heirs, even the background song was the Heirs theme.

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oh yeah I caught that one! (hard not to, lol)

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the "maria maria" made it obvious, i chuckle aloud at that one!

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hahahah that mariya song brings back (not so) fond memories

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witch ahn and the jh ceo on a motorcycle in the last episode (the do you believe in fate thing) was from you're the best, lee sooshin, i think

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I loved Jo Bo Ah in this drama. She has really good comedic timing and her facial expressions were awesome. As for the drama itself, it was such an easy watch that you can enjoy an episode without even knowing what's going on because of all the antics and meta. All in all, I like the drama even with the rushed open ending.

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yeah, Jo Boa was perfectly cast here. Despite the hotness of the two boys, Surplus Princess would not have been watchable if Ha-ni had been cast wrong.

I really hope she gets a successful project soon, there are way too many talented young actresses out here who deserve their big break and by the look of it she has been really branching out with her role choices since her debut.

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OMG YOU POSTED A REVIEW... Thanks, jb! :')

Even now, I have a hard time writing down my thoughts on the finale. I must've deleted eight blog post drafts because every time I start writing, I end up crying from frustration. T___________T

What depresses me most about the drama's ending is the attitude from some Hyun-myung-Hani shippers which go: "You kyaagirls are so stupid, you should've known it wouldn't be Shi-kyung. Hyun-myung represents true love."

(And I'm like, "Go away and let us bury our dead in peace!!!")

Which is why I'm so thankful someone like you (javabeans) weighed in on the finale. Because you're much more rational and you write things really well. And yeah, no one will accuse you of being Rim's kyaagirl. ^____^

------------

You see, I liked the finale. I liked it a surprising lot more than what you'd expect from a crazy Song Jae-rim fan. My emo-ness comes from trying to give a really fair assessment about the show (I had to tie down my kokoro and lock it in the basement) YET STILL having my opinion be dismissed as a kyaagirl.

Anyway, here is what I think of the finale:

I see Hyun-myung, but I can't buy it.

Hyun-myung is cute and swoon-worthy in his meager screentime with Mermaid. It's really thanks to Jo Boa and Ohn Joo-wan that they can sell the OTP so much with so little to work with.

You can say that their interactions represent "true love". But what I want to say is: TRUE LOVE TAKES TIME.

If Shi-kyung was a shallow obsessive love, then what does that make Hyun-myung?

Taking note that Hani's feelings turned around in less than 50 days, and Hyun-myung came from a bad break-up with a girl he loved for years, can you really argue that Hyun-myung and Hani's was a true love? Enough to break a deathly spell?

Of course you can fill in the blanks: they lived together, they must've had daily interactions, etc. But if you HAVE to convince yourself of what happened "behind the scenes" because the writers/director didn't manage to tell that story, then it's not a good story to begin with.

If we had 14 episodes, we might've seen more substantial interaction between the OTP (Hyun-Han). But the fact is, WE DID NOT SEE THE FULL STORY. Because the producers chickened out from telling it and cut the episodes down when the ratings weren't going well.

*sigh*

Mostly I'm just pissed that they wasted a lot of time trying to be clever about the OTP like the ReplyXXXX series, instead of just telling Hyun-Han's story (if that was what they were planning all along). And now they shot themselves (and us!) in the foot and left us with a non-satisfying finale.

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That being said, this is a good show to marathon. (I'm doing it right now. Hush!)

It's short. Full of fun, makeshift family hi-jinks. And now that it's over, you're spared of the weekly torture-fest of ambiguous trailers from tvN.

I haven't rewatched the finale so I'm not sure if I'll still make the same "WTF?!" face. But so far, rewatching the first few eps had me giggling and re-enjoying the other, better aspects of this show, of which there are lots.

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I see Hyun-myung, but I can’t buy it.

Exactly, it's being sold really hard right at the end, but it's a desperate kind of sale, like "this is 80 percent off the price! No, 90 percent off! Take it noowwww!" and you still can't buy the thing because it doesn't fit quite right.

I wouldn't have even hoped for a Hani/Shi-kyung ending if they hadn't started to Answer Me 1994 around with the OTP question, and waste time on other things.

(but we'll always have the underwater Romeo+Juliet-style kiss!)

And now, onward to We Got Married! (where Kim So-eun continues the Joa Boa-led trend of Rim's leading ladies being perverts...fitting that they worked together in Horse Doctor, ha!)

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*giggling at Horse Doctor ladies*

I promise not to make horse jokes.

Oups.

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I make no such promises. Giddy-up!

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Seriously, that kiss (+ the amazing ass grab haha) was so freaking hot. I compared it to Ha-Ni and Hyun-Myung's kiss and I was like -____- lool

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I had to write my own ending to it (see the last open thread) because I couldn't stomach the U-turn of an ending.

Honestly, no matter what the showrunners thought they were doing, they showed us that Si Kyeong and Ha Ni were falling in love. They showed us that Hyun Myeong was developing a crush on Ha Ni, but they did not show us that his feelings were in any way reciprocated.

The finale just makes me cry tears of hate, because the rest of this show was so funny and so much fun to watch, and that mess of an ending was...UGH.

All along, I've been dragging people over to watch this ("No, really, it's hilarious!!"), and I feel like an idiot now, because I have to tell them "Please stop after episode 9 and make up your own ending in your head. You remember how I told you stop watching Twin Peaks after S2, ep 2, and you ignored me and regretted it? It's just like that."

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Man, I wish we could have been able to see the full potential of the show with more episodes because I lovedddd the beginning so much and episode 10 was just a big HUH!?

Like what is the meaning of that ending? If Hyun Myung was her true love then how'd she disappear!?!?!?!?!! Am I missing something vital here?

Aside from the ending, the show provided me with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, and for me the Big/Noona romance took the cake - it came out of nowhere and really warmed my heart...le sigh. Seulgi needs her own drama!

And the parodies - so freakin hilarious. They did humor so well in this show, it could go on forever!

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freaking what the ending. what. waht. and yeah, was totally shipping shi kyung more. I mean, I need more time to get used to the sudden love change.

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Ugh! i wish the network had not cut down the episodes for this show. It had so much promise for being a quirky, funny, and heartfelt drama. The interactions between the surplus house occupants were the highlight for me. What it could have been...sigh. It still is an enjoyable watch, frustrating because I know it could have been so much better.

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I think I'm most disappointed that such a cute, funny show wasn't a hit in Korea. I loved it, laughed my head off, fell in love with Rim (way back in the line that starts with Mary) and just feel like they were flipping the bird to the network who cancelled the 2 eps. Every time I think about that ending I keep picturing Cinderella's evil stepsister cutting off her toes trying to fit into the glass slipper. I want to believe that they sacrificed a lot to just close the show up. But, nine episodes were glorious :)

Or

She said "I'm back" because it is NOT true love with HM so she turned to bubbles. Then negotiated her way back (does the Grim Reaper accept pearls?) in order to stay with her real TRUE LOVE, SHI KYUNG!
I think I may just go with that.

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>She said “I’m back” because it is NOT true love with HM so she turned to bubbles. Then negotiated her way back (does the Grim Reaper accept pearls?)

Oooh~ this makes the most sense. I wouldn't put it past our Pervy Mermaid to aegyo her way through death. :D

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and while jumping up and down "juseyo, juseyo, juseyo!!" I can picture it all in my head, NOW I get it! Thank you!

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Ha! I like this idea :) "Wait, I made a mistake! I want apple butt after all!"

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I just wanted to comment and applaud you for your comment. The drama started off with potential (don't they all) but it had no real connections and honestly, none of the characters were really that likeable until towards the end. But at that point, I already stopped caring... the ending though.

With your version of the ending, I'm all for it!!!

...she disappeared afterall, maybe HE WASN'T TRUE love. BRAVO!!!

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"(does the Grim Reaper accept pearls?) "

lmao I could so picture Ha-Ni bribing the higher power with pearls. And also I i like your ending A LOT better too.

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I actually love the ending. I found it to be cynical, just like most of the humor in the series. I have read some people disliking the series, but for me, the humors clicked very well, and I laughed a lot of time aloud. So bad it got cut, I think it had a lot of potential.
Thanks for the post java beans, it was a great analysis, as always !

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I think I blacked out half the show while I was watching it or something. Granted I only watched the first 8 episodes but I swear Shi-kyung had a total of 5 minutes of screen time that whole time and no character at all let alone development making it impossible to root for him especially when Hyun-myung was so awesome.

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I thought I had so much to say but everyone's said it better lol. I am glad that we least we legitamately had two awesome guys set up for our lady, so it wasn't a choice of "cold, haughty asshole" (even if Shikyung started out dangerously close to that trope) vs "sweet but super stalkerish". Of course, that did make it even harder on my heart when she made her choice. That smiling through tears thing always gets to me, auuugh.

The only way I can make sense of the ending in a narrative fashion is maybe "true love" also has to stand distance and the test of time--Hyunmyung waiting that year for Hani, wearing that ring around his neck and obviously thinking about her and missing her was the sign that she was his true love (and I suppose vice versa, though that part was definitely rushed).

Though I also like bbstl's idea a lot. ;) Go get your princess, Hani!

My one real beef with the ending was Jinah going off to NY with Shikyung and the implications there. I was fine with Jinah's (admittedly super quick) 'redemption'; it was nice to see the woman that Hyunmyung had originally fallen in love with and that had lived in the share house with everyone instead of someone who was so full of petty jealousy and meanness. That said, she spent the entire series lying to people, particularly Shikyung (I was sooo waiting for her to get her comeuppance for that; it seemed like he was starting to get suspicious when she showed up with his granny), and I have a hard time being happy about a possible romance blooming there when she spent so much time before manipulating him. She can have a happy romance ending, just with some other guy off-screen.

You'll still be missed, Surplus Princess. :( The cast did a stellar job all around and I loved the friendships even more than the romances.

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*Go get your PRINCE, Hani lol Got my wires crossed!

Though a drama about a meremaid wanting her princess would be wonderfully fun too :)

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I interpreted the ending as he wasn't her true love, but that is to be expected because new love is not true love. As mentioned above, true love takes time and essentially they ran out of time. The part where they bring her back is what makes no sense! Unless they mean to imply not finding your true love isn't a show stopper unless you treat it as such. :)

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But if new love isn't true love, then the whole concept of finding your true love in 100 days is impossible. You would never have enough time because the odds are stacked against you.

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Hani didn't even finish her top 10 list food to eat which was fun to see & I feel scammed because in the beginning they were showing the beach scene and yet there was none in the end. I actually fell in love with Song Jae Rim here because I was actually rooting for him to get the girl & his character progress really nice. I was just baffled and had a wtf mom t after watching the last episode. This drama would've been great if it wasn't cut down

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I blame the episode cut, that was not the ending we were supposed to have, I shipped her with Hyun mung but it was still unsatisfying to see their happy times for like a couple of seconds near the end. Then she just dissappeared? WTH?

She had a way different hairstyle in the prologue when she was about to be turned into bubbles then we got the 100 days flash back of her human life but in the last ep, she still had the same hairstyle when she was a mermaid.

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it is a good show to marathon.

i watched it in 2 days. (ended up staying up way too late on one night) but i have to say, i was soooo rooting for Shi Kyung that i just skimmed the final episode cuz i didn't want to see Hai Ni with Hyun Myung

also i prefer to think she came back for her real true love Shi Kyung.

lalalalala

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I believed that was the process of turning from a mermaid to a human. That it would take time (in her case a year) and she'll return a full human. That was my theory

But it's a shame the last half hour of the show was so rushed, there were so many adorable storylines that could've been used but they had to squish that into a 3 minute montage. I think they tried to wrap up as much of the show as possible without it feeling TOO rushed, and for that I think they did quite well. If it were cutdown by only 2 episodes maybe then we would've had a better ending.

The first episode showed us a scene of her at the beach with her "true love". There was no beach in the last episode, so that was def not the ending they had in mind. Sigh... I said it once and Ill say it again: they should've culled Secret Hotel n filled in the remaining episodes with Surplus. Would've been worth it

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Thanks for the review, jb!

Wholeheartedly agree this series had some really unique things going for it, and some really strong messages.

Thought the unemployment problem was very naturally woven into the quest for self-discovery/love/self-worth, since they're inextricably linked in reality. Just look at all the cliches that go around in circles: all you need is love, but you're nobody til somebody loves you, but no-one will look at you unless you've got a proper job that pays megabucks, but no-one will hire you unless you've got a good background and you've had plastic surgery, etc etc ...

That's why I liked that they also had Hye Young's food porn channel, and Seon Kyu's secret identity, and even Ahn Manyeo the jack of all trades.

All the meta jokes and parodies were great. It was serious and whacky all at the same time ("You're the reincarnation of Julie, my pet goldfish!". Of course.) Loved this show's humour, for sure!

The Pervy Mermaid lasciviously drooling over Apple Butt was a truly refreshing change in a lead girl (yes, I'm now one of Rim’s kyaagirls, and proud of it). Come to think of it, all the girls in this show were real go-getters (even ... grudgingly ... Jin Ah).

I'll remember this show fondly, even though I wanted Shi Kyung to get the girl (if purely because his name is Shi Kyung!), and hope to see more crazy ice cream flavours from these writers in future!

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Even though I understood why it was cut, I love the drama nonetheless. It was funny and silly. It was a lot of fun. I looked forward to it every week!

Hated the ending. It didn't explain anything. It went down the cliched trope of disappearing for a year for what? She shouldnt have disappeared. Her mermaid friends could have come up to the surface and say their love yous and good wishes. I for one prefer her with the chef. Just the chemistry is just right.

At thr first few episodes, i really believed her journey for understnding love. I thought maybe, she wont get any guy to ove her truly but ahn ma nyeo or her house friends will save her. Ahn ma nyeo amd jo bo ah are the best for me. Seul gi's food porn channel cracks me up.

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I think the reason that she returns a year later is a way to test the true love. A year apart and he still loved her the same, i.e. their love was true therefore she was able to come back as a human.

Maybe not the best explanation but it is plausible.

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Yay, thank you for the series review! It's nice to see this show get coverage here. Hopefully it will spur people to check it out even with the episode cutdown.

I agree with so much of what you said, especially that the emotional center of the show was the friendships. I loved that we got to see a positive female friendship without any undercurrents of resentment or jealousy - that's so, SO rare in most forms of media these days. And the rest of the share house crew + Witch Ahn were fabulous too. They all seemed like fully fleshed out characters in their own right.

Honestly, this show was so fun and silly. I loved all of the characters (EXCEPT JIN-AH. NEVER HER.) I'm not going to lie, it did feel like they were going off on largely unrelated to the plot tangents every week before the announcement of the episode change but I was okay with that. I just really enjoyed seeing these characters interact and getting a chance to live in their world with them for awhile and I really liked that even though it's a show that deals with a really serious, pressing problem in most societies, it wasn't depressing or sad and it was hopeful without seeming trite or cheesy. Like HaNi, it was a show that ultimately found its own way even though it had a few stumbles. I'll be honest and say that it wasn't as consistently funny as I expected it to be - at first it seemed like every other episode was really funny but towards the middle, they really hit their stride in terms of balancing the emotion with levity.

As for the love triangle, I was totally on board the HyunMyung train, especially because I didn't like ShiKyung at first but I wasn't satisfied with the ending either. I didn't think of it before you said so, jb, but I think it's true that the show spent too much time building up HaNi's relationship with Shi-Kyung and his budding feelings for her and how that helped him open up and neglected to do the same for HM. I remember around episode 6, actually thinking, that it seemed as though they had forgotten that HM needed to be a viable love interest because his character was so busy dealing with Jin-Ah and trying to get a job (both of which are realistic but still). While both guys were great (which was so refreshing!), I definitely think the writers did themselves and the story a bit of a disservice by not balancing the love triangle a little better. If they had changed the ending for HaNi to end up with SK, I would have been okay with that because it would have made sense at the point that we found ourselves by episode 9. And it was even more disappointing because you could see that they were trying to sell the HM angle SO hard in the finale but if they had developed it better beforehand, they wouldn't have needed to work so hard to sell us on them as endgame then.

I also found the ending baffling and I'm upset that they didn't AT LEAST explain what happened to HaNi. If HM was the one for her, why did she disappear? How did she come...

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cont'd:

I also found the ending baffling and I'm upset that they didn't AT LEAST explain what happened to HaNi. If HM was the one for her, why did she disappear? How did she come back? Why did she come back? So everyone just knows she's a mermaid now and is cool with that? SO MANY QUESTIONS! But no answers! How do you end a show like that?

Also why does Jin-Ah get a happy ending AND get to be with Shi-Kyung after she was such a witch for so long? She literally took it to the furthest extreme possible - she got a job at SK's company, she moved into his apartment building, she stalked when he went running, she ingratiated herself to his grandmother by pretending to be from Jeju and she tried to thwart HaNi every chance she could get. I'm not saying don't redeem her but you can't tell she did a 180 just cause HM told her to be herself again and even if she did change, she shouldn't get a chance to be with SK. That's so unfair. She did not deserve that! He deserves someone better than her too.

But anyway, despite the WTF ending, I really enjoyed this quirky, weird, funny show and I will miss it and its characters so much. Especially HaNi and HyeYoung.

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I'm too disappointed with the ending that it kind of made me dislike the drama as a whole. Shi Kyung aaaaaah my love come to me!!! that's all I have to say about the drama right now!! maybe after the disappointment winds down I might talk more about the great things the drama had (which it had and that's why I loved most of it) but for now I'll just keep fangirling over Song Jae Rim and his super hot apple butt!!!

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I loved the show from the beginning and I truly hope that this is the last time TVN is shutting down a project so abruptly with no consideration for the audience.

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Seriously their decision was beyond inconsiterate to everyone involved in this drama and especially the fans. Would it really have killed them to let the run its course? Or at least cut less eps? I'm actually so mad because I loved this show and it was just turned into an unfinished drama at the end. I wanted more and a better resolution to everything TT. So all in all, they should think of others next time. *hmph* :(

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I LOVE this show to pieces! Thank you javabeans for the review!
I actually don't mind the ending too much. For some reason, I was not surprised that Ha Ni ended up with Hyun Myung and not Shi Kyung. And, I am totally a Song Jae Rim fan after watching Age of Feelings. That said, I do also think that the romance between Ha Ni and Hyun Myung was too rushed. They obviously did set the stage for it since the scene where Hyun Myung's grandmother died and Ha Ni was there to comfort him. He was also the first (except for Hye Young) to find out about Ha Ni's true identity and from then on deliberately protected her. It was a quite some bonding experience between Ha Ni and Hyun Myung. I agree, it was not enough to weigh against what has been happening romantically between Ha Ni and Shi Kyung. But then, I totally saw where the show was getting: Shi Kyung was Ha Ni's infatuation and he started out as the guy that she always thought was the one, but then time pasts in the human world and Ha Ni finds herself developing true love for Hyun Myung as she gets to know both guys better. I feel like the ending was planned, but for the 14th episodes. What we miss was ep 11, 12 and 13 where Hyun Myung and Ha Ni build up their relationship. They were cut and we were rushed to jump from episode 10 to episode 14 and that was it was a bit weird. But as I said, I was not surprised.

In any case, I did not really have a preference regarding the romance because the camaraderie between the side characters and YES the female friendship between Hye Young and Ha Ni made me totally hooked on this show already. Love Kim Seul Gi!

I want to like what javabeans say about the cringe-off scene 100 times! That was awesome!

Jo Boa did a great job with this show. After watching Shut Up Flower Boy Band (and falling in love with her) I had always wished she would get to appear more often and get lead roles. (By the way I thought her character in Shut Up had such admirable moderation and gentleness. She was strong-headed but not annoying, independent but not detached. She was not underwhelming at all. Ji Hyuk and Su Ah were one of my fav couples of all time.)

And finally, this show was crazily hilarious. Kudos to all the parodies! My most fav was the GTA reference. I laughed so much my belly hurt for the entire evening.

Show, I'm missing you. Please do come back in some way!

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I ADORED this drama. Wanted Ha-ni with Shi-kyung so badly since they were SHO CUTE TOGETHER -- but that might be because I'm completely and irrevocably in love with Song Jae-rim. I was a huge Hye-young and Big/Daebak shipper too; I was squealing so much when he kissed her and finally confessed!!!!

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Thanks for the series review Javabeans. Surplus Princess [aka The Idle Mermaid] was awesomely quirky, eccentric, campy, zany, and fun. Bummer that the episode count was cut down from 14 to 10.

Initially Lee Hyun-Myung’s unemployment plight is what hooked me in addition to the cast of characters boarding at the Surplus House. For the most part, all of them had heart, a spirit of determination, the willpower to continue job hunting, and the fortitude to smile even though they were struggling with unemployment.

At first, I was annoyed by the privileged antics of Kim Ha-Ni / Aileen (the eighteenth princess) and her utter cluelessness at the impact her actions had on others. Fortunately, acting wise Jo Bo-Ah did a great job immersing herself into the role of Kim Ha-Ni. Gradually her character grew on me.

Yeah, it was a bit disappointing to have a rushed ending and so many open ended questions. Apparently all of the answers were left buried under the sea.

Why does Yoon Jin-Ah get a happy ending? :(
I really was looking forward to seeing Jin-Ah get her comeuppance in the end. Definitely disappointed that it didn't happen. Despite all of her attempts to sabotage Ha-Ni & Shi-Kyung's relationship and the job hunting efforts of the other Housemates: she receives a promotion with the opportunity to work in New York alongside Shik-Kyung. She should not have been rewarded.

Positives:
Female friendship between Hye-Young & Ha-Ni
Nice ending for An Hye-Young & Big.
The Share House
Parody Scenes & Meta References
Both Leading Men: Lee Hyun-Myung (played by Ohn Joo-Wan) & Kwon Shi-Kyung (played by Song Jae-Rim)
The Friendships

Leave it to Surplus Princess leave us hanging in left field with: “I’ll Be Back!” à la the Terminator.

Surplus Princess - amusingly unconventional - I would expect nothing less.

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Does anybody know the name of the song at the end of episode 9?

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can anyone tell me what OTP means?

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OTP = One True Pairing

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Ahhh, I really enjoyed this, and I'm really bummed it didn't get to finish. Come on, cable networks! Give these shows a chance.

I pretty much agree on the finale- ambiguous endings are my least favorite. I also don't think Jin-ah deserves Shi-kyung. Sure, she can change, but you don't get to be manipulative and awful, injure someone, be really sorry, and get the guy. Just. No.

This second lead hurt me more than most. I was relatively reconciled to it, but Ha Ni and Shi Kyung were just so cute that I kind of wish it had been him. I agree that it would have been a bad message if she'd gone after him for his butt (that will never not be hilarious) and gotten him anyway, but I think they could have shown her getting to know him and liking him for more than that. I mean, he was just so adorkable! His loopy grins were the best. I did think it was a bit unrealistic that she switched her feelings so late.

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the ending killed me im soo sadddd ;___; jae rim became my bias through wgm, noticed him before on moon&sun but he looks better with short hair :3 i expected him to be the main lead :p such a fucked up way of ending, even if its rushed, shouldve made him stay with the girl, the whole purpose of the drama is end.

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