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153

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds: Episode 1

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds is basically cuteness overload. It’s not your grandpa’s sageuk, or even your mother’s sageuk, and makes no claims to historical realism. If anything, this is your little sister’s sageuk, full of puppies and rainbows and an effervescent bright spirit, and I mean that in all of the good ways—it’s youthful but not juvenile, sweet but not saccharine. That makes it a solid successor to Sungkyunkwan Scandal, just with less seriousness and more cheek. I could really use a show like this about now.

 

 
EPISODE 1: “Moonlight Fate”

In the palace, a young crown prince is attended to by his dignified staff and dressed in his regal blue dragon robes. He sits reading a book with stately poise… and then his mouth quirks up in a grin and he shoots a surreptitious look around. Ha, are you reading something naughty?

This is YI YEONG, also known as Crown Prince HYOMYEONG (Park Bo-gum); he’s the son of King Sunjo and grandson of King Jeongjo, which puts us in late-1820s Joseon. When Yeong tosses the book aside, we see the title—”The Unknown Love Life of Joseon”—written by author Hong Sam-nom.

That author is also a famed love counselor whose real name is HONG RA-ON (Kim Yoo-jung), who happens to be a woman passing herself off as a man. She’s currently dressed in her male guise as she receives a nervous visitor asking advice “for a friend.” Aw, it’s Cha Tae-hyun!

Ra-on immediately recognizes the “friend’s” symptoms as lovesickness, and in his excitement, Lonelyhearts accidentally grabs onto a box and turns on a red light. Ra-on guesses correctly that Lonelyhearts’ friends have all been warning him against his impossible love, but she turns on the green light (heh!) and advises him to have courage and confess. Lonelyhearts brightens at the encouragement.

Ra-on later observes as Lonelyhearts attempts to speak to the object of his affections—ah, he’s a slave and she’s a high-born young lady (cameo by Jo Yeo-jung), and she won’t give him a second glance. So Ra-on advises Lonelyhearts to stay away for ten days to make her wonder, and he dutifully obeys.

After the tenth day, Lonelyhearts appears and silently crosses paths with his lady in the road. A falling tree branch crashes down toward her, and he dashes forward to rescue her. She betrays a flicker of emotion when seeing that he’s injured, but coldly instructs him not to do anything like this again. He grabs her and insists that he will continue to save her from all harm in the future.

Smack! She slaps him, to his shock. But then she gets teary-eyed and asks plaintively, “Where did you disappear to for ten days?” She lifts her hand to touch his injured face, and then he hugs her joyously. And as Lonelyhearts looks over his lady’s shoulder, Ra-on waves at him from up in the tree, axe in hand.

Ha, a look at the other titles written by Ra-on (as Hong Sam-nom) reveals “Scholar From Mars, Woman from Venus” before we land on “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds.” Today we’re in Chapter 1: “Moonlight Fate.”

At the palace, a huddle of attendants gather around Yeong’s door, and it seems they’re used to constantly worrying about their prince, who has them at wits’ end.

A short while later, the king makes his way toward a pavilion, ignoring the prince’s attendant, Eunuch Jang, and pausing to greet the prime minister. Both men and their retinues stop to observe prince Yeong, who’s busy at a lesson with his teacher.

The king smiles proudly to watch Yeong answering his teacher knowledgeably, fluent in the classics that teach self-restraint, moderation, learning, and self-cultivation. The prime minister looks taken aback, and forces a smile.

Then, a gust of wind carries off sheets of papers sitting on the table, and a minister catches it. As he reads aloud, smiles turn to frowns while the prince and his teacher exchange uneasy glances. HAHA, instead of proper lesson material, the prince has written out his lines (including his teacher’s conversational replies) as a script.

Yeong makes one last-ditch attempt to keep up the act before giving up the ruse. He and his nervous teacher jump to their feet to face the king, which only makes matters worse when Yeong’s hastily donned robes flap around and his topknot bobbles unsteadily.

The king crumples up the script and fumes at “that fool” before storming off. The prime minister smirks and walks off.

Yeong sighs after they’re gone, chiding his teacher for leading him astray, saying forlornly that it was the teacher’s fault for pretending to teach him rather than teach him properly. The teacher drops to his knees in abject apology, and then Yeong grins, saying he was just teasing.

Folding his paper into an airplane, he says it was the wind’s fault. His teacher gapes at the strange flying paper, and Yeong coins its name then and there: airplane.

On to the city streets, where Ra-on/Sam-nom makes her way through the streets, full of confidence—until she sees a trio of thugs headed her way. She freezes, then quickly ducks out of sight, managing to evade notice.

When she looks up, she notices the posted sign recruiting eunuchs, and notes their generous pay—enough to repay her debt and have money left over.

Her debt is at least in part due to her ailing father, who grumpily reminds Ra-on that they barely have money for food, much less his medicine. Moreover, he’s not her blood father, and he reminds her of her goal to earn money to find her lost mother and then leave.

They clearly care about each other, but her father seems intent on her leaving him and continuing her life. He gruffly tells her that if one day she disappears, he’ll be happy about it.

Ra-on gets called away to consult with another client, the dorky-looking Young Master Jung, who’s been exchanging love letters with a woman for a while. Ra-on prods him to consider meeting his lady, rather than just writing letters back and forth.

Ra-on prepares to transcribe as Young Master Jung recites poetic lines extolling her beauty…

…and over in the palace, Yeong reads the same lines with incredulity, having intercepted the letter before it got to his sister, Princess MYEONGEUN (Jung Hye-sung, who’s wearing a fat suit of some kind). She looks a bit simple, smiling blankly and eating away happily. He eyes the letter with suspicion, calling it lies meant to seduce Myeongeun.

Yeong scolds the princess’ ladies in waiting for their part in passing along the messages, and decides it clearly won’t do for his sister to meet her suitor, as the letter requests. The head court lady agrees to pretend the letter never came.

Over in the eunuchs’ quarters, the staff has a meal break while a couple of eunuchs gripe about the prince and why the Palace of the Crown Prince has taken on the nickname Palace of the Crown Poop. Heh. Even loyal Eunuch Jang sighs that the prince went too far this time and hopes for a bright new recruit to add to their ranks.

Then, he gets another gray hair when a court lady rushes in with more trouble: The crown prince has disappeared again. Eunuch Jang wails in frustration.

Yeong has dressed himself in scholar’s clothing and makes his way through the city streets alone. He comes to a gathering in the square, where a crowd watches a performing troupe put on a comical show, with Ra-on and her father portraying the king and the crown prince as buffoonish characters. Yeong clenches his jaw.

He raises his voice and starts to rail indignantly against their disgraceful display, but quickly notices that he’s the only one outraged. He makes a half-hearted jab at Ra-on’s lack of drumming skill and hurries away grimacing.

Ra-on returns to her shop, where her dorky client, Young Master Jung, insists that she take his place in meeting his sweetheart. Realizing that his love is impossible, he instructs Ra-on to end it for him. Ra-on angles for a higher payday before agreeing, then heads out dressed in the young master’s clothes.

Ra-on arrives at the meeting spot, and starts in on a flowery speech of how (s)he’s longed to see his beloved. But it’s a manly voice that cuts in, and Ra-on gapes in surprise.

Her mind connects the dots in the wrong way, assuming that Young Master Jung’s “love that cannot be” must be because he was in love with a man. And since she took his money, she sighs and bucks up the nerve to complete her task, turning to face the man—Yeong, of course, not that she knows who he is.

Yeong makes a sarcastic display of being moved at Young Master Jung’s love letters, but Ra-on interprets everything through the lens of her misunderstanding and lays on the earnest talk of deeply felt emotions. She suggests that they throw the world’s prejudices aside for one day and motions him to follow, while Yeong stares at her in confusion.

She takes him to a tavern for soup, laughing at the raucous jokes and the tavern grandma’s foul mouth. Yeong grimaces disapprovingly at everything, but Ra-on informs him that this granny used to work in the royal kitchens. He sniffs at that, acting so uppity that Ra-on laughs that he’s a hothouse flower, growing up sheltered and privileged.

Yeong gets huffy at being called a Flower Scholar, then glares at the swearing grandma. But when the grandma looks closer at Yeong, she notes that he seems familiar… and with a gasp, she places him, stuttering, “Pr-pr… your hi…”

Yeong dismisses Grandma with a glance, then tells Ra-on to follow him this time.

They walk a bit, until suddenly Yeong shoves Ra-on against a tree with a knife to her neck. He says he came alone today in the hopes that Young Master Jung would be a decent fellow. But now he’s seen enough to figure that he’s just a phony aristocrat-impersonator.

Ra-on blusters that (s)he’s a bona fide aristocrat, and that the letters were sincere. Yeong orders her to march home so he can confirm his identity for himself, and Ra-on has no choice but to walk on.

Meanwhile, there’s another blueblood out for Ra-on’s neck: a nobleman who blames Ra-on for his daughter-in-law running away. Ah, Ra-on’s first customer is now boarding a boat with his sweetheart, having run off together.

The couple crosses paths with a young nobleman’s son, KIM YOON-SUNG (Jinyoung), who briefly notices them. Then he spots the guards stationed at the pier to greet his return, which he finds embarrassing.

He thinks of an out by swooping in with an umbrella next to a young lady, telling her smoothly that she’s too beautiful to suffer the sun’s glare. She’s won over, and allows him to escort her off the dock, right past his guards.

The lady comments on Yoon-sung’s consideration, at which point he informs her that the “beautiful face” he was talking about was his own. HA.

Yeong keeps pressing Ra-on onward, and when they arrive at a particular tree by the roadside, she thinks fast for a solution. She recalls having been strung up by her loan sharks at this tree, below which they’d dug a pit, warning that they’d drop her in it if she didn’t pay them back.

The pit is loosely covered by grass at the moment, and Ra-on pauses there for a pee break. Yeong turns away in distaste, and that’s when she kicks him into the pit—although as he lurches forward, he makes a mad grab and catches her ankle, dragging her down with him. Muahaha. Well, it’s not like she didn’t deserve that.

They crash to the bottom of the pit, where a fuming mad Yeong demands to know why she pushed him. Before Ra-on is forced to answer that, a snake slithers up on his shoulder and has him screaming.

It’s Ra-on who flings the snake away, and then Yeong bellows at her to get on her hands and knees so he can climb up first. They bicker back and forth about who’ll lift whom, and finally she grudgingly complies, although she crumples immediately under his weight anyway.

There’s nothing for them to do but wait for someone to come by and help them, but time passes and nobody does. So Yeong grabs Ra-on close and holds her right up to himself, catching her off-guard. He offers to lift her up first this time and grabs her around the middle to raise her up.

As he struggles to lift her higher, he mutters to himself that he’ll make her regret it once they’re out of the hole, though when she asks what he said, he glosses over that comment.

Finally, Yeong lifts Ra-on high enough to make it out of the pit, then calls for her to help him out… and a sly grin crosses her face that makes him ask nervously what she’s thinking.

She swears to send people to help him and starts to run off. Yeong blurts that he’ll let her go without asking any further questions, and she reminds him of the “I’ll make you regret it” statement earlier, which he sweaaars was just a joke.

Then he turns thunderous and warns her to get him out of the pit, or else. She just chirps that if they meet in the future, she’ll do whatever he says then.

“Sorry!” she yells, and scampers off while he rages impotently in his dirt hole.

Ra-on arrives back in the city by nightfall, and comes upon freshly posted wanted notices: one each for the runaway lovers, and one for Ra-on (her male persona). Newcomer Yoon-sung pauses to read the posters and asks a bystander why they’re wanted, and the answer startles Ra-on; she’d thought the slave was in love with his owner’s daughter, but she’s actually his daughter-in-law. Whoopsie!

Yoon-sung notices Ra-on standing next to her own wanted poster, and clocks her nervousness at seeing patrolling soldiers nearby. Ra-on surreptitiously affixes a fake mole to her face, while Yoon-sung looks pointedly at Ra-on as he calls to the soldiers, asking what happens to the criminal when he’s caught. They reply that he’ll die at the nobleman’s hands before he’s even handed over to the authorities. Gulp.

Ra-on says defensively that the runaway woman had suffered a lot in that household, and that the slave was her only comfort. The soldier asks how she knows so much and angles for a closer look at her face, while she shrinks back—just as Yoon-sung swoops in to block her from sight.

Yoon-sung talks to her familiarly as he leads them away, successfully sparing her from scrutiny.

The king meets with Prime Minister Kim, who happens to also be his father-in-law. Immediately, their conflicting political views are apparent: The prime minister has punished thieving citizens with the death penalty, arguing that leniency will spur them to take more. The king finds death an overly harsh punishment for stealing food. So: king good, prime minster bad. Got it.

But the prime minister is the more commanding of the two, and one mention of “ten years ago” sends the king into a traumatic memory: riots at the palace, mayhem, murders. Prime Minister Kim guesses that the king still suffers insomnia and advises that he trust his judgment.

Outside the door, a disheveled Yeong is back from his pit adventure and overhears the conversation, which seems to anger him. He walks off without waiting to speak to his father.

As Ra-on walks through town with Yoon-sung, he asks if she thought “that” would be enough to disguise her identity. He looks her up and down, indicating her men’s clothing. Sharp eyes, this one.

Ra-on admits that since he’s caught on, she won’t lie about it, and thanks him for helping her. Yoon-sung figures her crime didn’t seem that terrible, but wonders if she’ll be able to handle being recognized by others. She doesn’t answer, and just bids him farewell as she heads off in the other direction.

As soon as she turns, she’s seized from behind and dragged off. When Yoon-sung turns back to say one last thing, he finds her gone.

Ra-on is taken by the three loan sharks, who succeed in forcing her thumbprint signature on a contract of some sort. The ringleader assures her that where she’s going is better than where she could be going, which is no consolation at all.

They deliver her to a building and shut her inside with a beady-eyed, red-nosed man sharpening his many knives. She asks where she is, and he informs her in a drunken slur that this is where men get turned into eunuchs. Eek! I mean, she’s in no danger on that score, but I’m not sure that exposing her true gender does much for her survival odds right about now.

The man approaches with his blade in hand, and Ra-on backs away in horror, insisting that she absolutely cannot be made a eunuch. She drops to the floor to beg for mercy: “Milord! No, Teacher! Your Highness!”

Then the man cackles, “Did I say I was doing it now?” He informs her that she’ll need to fast for three days before the procedure, and Ra-on mutters to herself that there’s no point when she doesn’t even have “it.”

The knife-wielder overhears and wonders, “What don’t you have?”

At the palace, Princess Myeongeun deflates to hear that another day has passed with no message from her sweetheart. Yeong watches his sister fall down in dismay, feeling pity for her.

Tied up and about to be unmanned (…sort of), Ra-on blubbers in fear, while the knife-master advises her to buck up—it’s either become a eunuch or face death anyway. Ra-on supposes that at least she had the good fortune to be at the hands of the best technician in the land, and a glint in her eye lets us know she’s Up To Something.

The knife-master puffs up at the praise and pours himself another drink as he brags about how good he is at this job. Ra-on pours on the flattery and prods for more stories of his prowess, and he doesn’t even notice when she works free of the ropes, since she’s busy plying him with drinks.

It’s late into the night when he picks up his knife to finally get down to business. Slice! Ra-on screams.

In the morning, the knife-master wakes up to find bloody rags everywhere, and he freaks out, thinking he’s accidentally killed her.

He’s therefore relieved to find her sleeping in the next room, and nervously pretends he remembers everything from last night. Ra-on looks genuinely pained and her clothes are soaked in blood, but she praises the man for doing a neat job of it.

Meanwhile, her father waits for her to return to the traveling performers’ troupe. Despite insisting he wanted her gone, he has to be prodded to leave. Aww.

Once alone, Ra-on tends to her wounds—it turns out the blood was all her own, the wound inflicted upon her leg. She bandages up the bloody gash, and thinks back to an instance in her childhood when she’d dressed in a fine hanbok and used her mother’s cosmetics. Her mother had been alarmed and reminded her that she was to live as a boy, slapping her across the face and ordering her to take off the dress.

As Ra-on binds her chest, her thoughts turn to her troupe father who’d said he’d be happy if she never returned, and how he’d asked, “You know what that means, don’t you?” Hm, does that mean he wanted her to live as herself? Ra-on cries, saying that her father must be glad at the thought that she’d finally run off.

At the palace, a heartbroken Princess Myeongeun refuses food and vows bloodthirsty revenge one moment, then worries that her sweetheart might have fallen ill the next. With a sigh, Yeong enters and tosses a book down, its pages full of drawings of faces. He tells Myeongeun that he’ll explain what it is if she eats, and she complies out of curiosity.

Yeong explains that it’s a facebook of all the young, well-to-do men in the city, and that if she picks one that she wants, he’ll do whatever it takes to bring him to her. Aw, you’re a good oppa. I mean, your means are a little crude but you mean well.

He gives her the ol’ “plenty of fish” speech while tsk-tsking to himself that she had to fall for that scrawny guy, thinking of Ra-on.

Ra-on is led along with all the other eunuch recruits toward the palace. On the way, a swordsman in black bumps into her (Kwak Dong-yeon), and he stares intently before walking on ahead. Ra-on notices the bloody cut in his upper arm, then catches up to the rest of her recruit class.

They’re housed together in tight quarters, and Ra-on has difficulty sleeping that night. She replays the knife-master’s last words of warning on her way into the palace: that boot camp would start in the morning… just as soon as physical examinations are complete.

It’s that thought that keeps her up at night, and she grabs her belongings and slips outside, quietly making her way toward the main gate. She’s al…most…. there, working her way to the exit, when she plows headfirst into a chest.

She freezes. The man demands to know who she is, and Ra-on cautiously looks up.

His face is shrouded in shadows, but then the clouds clear away from the moon, illuminating his face slowly.

“Flower… Scholar?” she asks in shock. “Young Master Jung?” he asks back, equally shocked.

And then, at the same moment, they recall her last words to him—that the next time they met, she’d do everything he asked. Ra-on cringes, and Yeong tips her face up to his.

“Nice to see you again, Mung-mung [bow-wow],” he says. Ha, is she your puppy now?

 
COMMENTS

It’s an adorable premiere, chock-full of endearing characters, and I’m very relieved to have Moonlight Drawn By Clouds turn out to be a bubbly, fun rom-com—tone is always tricky on these wacky romances and fusion sageuks, but this one hits the right balance of cheekiness and self-referential humor. I appreciate that it doesn’t go too far on that score, either, because the show is allowing the characters to be serious as the matter calls for it—say, Ra-on’s resignation when binding herself (certainly symbolism) and giving up her identity to survive. I don’t know yet why, but I believe that to the characters, this is a dire matter, and that’s what I need from a show like this: not outright realism, just credibility within the world it’s created.

To be honest, I’m not even sure how much of the show’s charm is purely the work of Park Bo-gum and Kim Yoo-jung, both separately and together. I’m also not sure I care about that distinction, because they are so freaking adorable it’s hard to even even about that. But it’s also not something you can purely attribute to cuteness, because cuteness without context (ha, I said context) is, ultimately, empty.

Park Bo-gum has been climbing the ranks and making a name for himself as an acting talent that goes much farther than a pretty face—I actually think that where he’s concerned, his talent, presence, charm, and real-life persona are all so winsome that I kind of forget about his looks. Obviously I don’t forget he’s beautiful, but it does stop mattering at a certain point. (The reverse is also true, when no amount of beauty will compensate for a lack of those other things, but I much prefer this version of that dynamic.)

So I’m thrilled to have him in this role, able to give it some kind of depth beyond the charming rascal we see on the surface. I’m curious to know what is lurking underneath his rapscallion ways, and to delve into that hint of darkness we saw where his father is concerned.

I don’t expect this drama to remain heavy, and I’m looking forward to a lot of its lighthearted jokiness, but I do at least appreciate that there is some underlying meat to the characters. It helps the meta humor and the pop-culture-like jokes land when there’s a real story connecting the gags, and this drama reminds me fondly of self-referential shows like The Story of Hyang Dan. It’s as much sageuk as Shrek is fairy tale—inspired by, tinged with, but not solidly in the genre of.

The setup itself is pretty familiar and we’ve seen many iterations of this story in dramas before, even if we haven’t seen this exact arrangement of tropes—I don’t look to Moonlight Drawn By Clouds to reinvent the crossdressing heroine genre, or the lonely prince genre, or the plucky Candy genre, or any of the subcategories in play. So it’s extra crucial for the relationships and chemistry to carry the day in shows like this, and I’m therefore pleased with what we’ve seen in this premiere. I’m looking forward to what tomorrow has in store.

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Thank you for the recaps! I am so in love with this show. The ratings were pretty good for first episode too :D

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Yay, not bad Moonlight! My face actually hurt from smiling from ear to ear. So cute and funny but that scene with Hong Ra-on binding herself and Prime minister Kim's conversation with King Sunjo had the opposite effect. There is more than just cute and funny in the future.

The rating is not bad at all considering that they picked up from 3.2% with the last drama. I'd be happy if it gets to 10%.

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Thank you for the recap JB!!!

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Speaking of cuteness, that crown prince is like my little tamagotchi that I just want to look after, fatten and play with.

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Thanks for the recap, Javabeans!

I'm not so sure how I feel about this one yet. Some bits I liked, some bits I didn't, but then, look at all the pretty!! Will give the second episode a watch before deciding whether or not to stick with it.

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Lol, so that dude in the beginning really was Cha Tae-hyun!! I thought he looked familiar, but couldn't quite put my finger on it!

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I didn't expect his cameo to be at the very beginning lol. Jo Yeo-jung is gorgeous. Reminds me of Hye-won in Chuno.

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No one expected him and Jo Yeo Jung as cameo., LOL. I even paused and thinking, are they part of the casts that I missed.

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Their cameo was listed for the 1st eps. We were just busy talking about the young leads.

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I was planning to watch this after the 4th ep but knowing CTH will have his cameo this early....whoosh...off to watch! byeeee

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Same here. I didn't outright love it or dislike it. So i'm going to do the standard 4 episode test to figure out if i want to add this to my already choked viewing calender

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I like the first ep, but I'm holding off commitment until a substantial chunk is done airing - at least with W, I sort of anticipate the plot going off a cliff because that's built into the premise to some extent, but I might not have as much patience if this does the same.

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I'm so sorry to say that I really don't like this show. At all. Could only make it through about 20 minutes before losing interest.

Love the actors, and it's obvious they're giving it their all, but the show is way too full of itself. They were spending so much time trying to be cheeky and clever and boundary-breaking that they forgot to make us care about the characters. Such an unfortunate waste.

And I think that a low level of hell is surely reserved for entertainment companies that candy coat harmful behavior and serve it up to kiddos; who don't know any better than to swallow it whole.

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Well you really only went 20 minutes in so you're really judging a book by its first two pages.

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It's so weird that you don't like the show and only can bear 20 mins of it but came all the way here to read the recap and post a comment......sigh.

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Sometimes that's all it takes for some and like JB said, this is your little sister's sageuk.

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I on the other hand, loved every moment of it. But kudos to your taste. Everyone has different opinions after all.
They are all so cute and such a breeze to watch on the screen together :)

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To each their own. I care about the characters.

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I understand where you are coming from 20min in. The first episode does come off a little too overly-trying-to-be-cheeky. It doesn't help that they keep inserting those sound effects that make me cringe. The bodyguard and 2nd lead acting chops are not quite there too, just keep feeling them trying to sound and look cool only. I was on the fence even after the first 2 episodes. Ep 3 just caught a little seems much smoother and less cringey cheesy-cheekiness.

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Ditto!

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Hahaha..it's fun to come back and read the first impressions!😂😂

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Yeah!! Now thats like something new rather than serious saeguks. Thank you javabeans for the recap.

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Just finished watching ep 1 for the second time and now reading the recap. I think I like it. I like it alot. :)

Also PARK BO-GUM. <3

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+1. I throughly enjoyed the entire drama! I mainly watched it because of Park bogum, but I am really satisfied with the rest of the cast, including of course KYJ!

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Thank you for your recap!! I will stick till the end for park bogum-shi. Hope it will getting better and better.

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Yoo jung in open hair look so pretty. Pausing that moment and watching it again again

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I was going to pass on this show, but I am glad I decided to checkout the first episode, as it seems we might have a winner with this drama! I didn't expect the first episode to be this charming, but at the same time beneath the comedic antics (which were funny), I sense darker tones lurking beneath the light and romantic. Anyways, so far I am interested to watch more and see where this show goes.

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I felt the same way. There is more beneath the charm.

I'm usually invested more on the history but I hope it'll follow the novel and keep it's charm.

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such a cute show.. I'm not a fan of saeguk, but I will definitely watch this one, not just because jinyoung is in it.. but the overall story is quite interesting.. ah.. I already fslling in love with jinyoung's character.. OTL

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that ending hahaha i read this with a big cheeky smile. adorable cast is on point.

well, i still think jinyoung really looks like park shi hoo. there are many dopplegangers in k drama lately.

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I was really trying not to get my hopes up too much with this show, but as of about 5 minutes in, I think I already fell for it. It's funny and charming and cute and colorful, and I can only pray it lives up to the standard it just set itself. Bogummie is adorable as always, but I'm also happy to see him as a new character. I loved Taek and all, but for some reason I was afraid he would repeat the same character in this one. Glad to see that's not the case. I'll be curious to see what has our crown prince rebelling against his education and jaunting around town in disguise. It'll also be fun to see our heroine teach him to loosen up a bit, heh.

Speaking of whom, usually I'm a sucker for the gorgeous guys in dramas, but I think Kim Yoo Jung may be what I love most about this show so far. She's hilarious and sympathetic and totally charismatic on screen. I'm so glad to finally see her in a grown up leading lady role. She's earned it, and I'm happy that the drama she chose for it is turning out to be so good.

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Oops, my bad, meant to reply to the general thread 🙊

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Kim Yoo Jung is very natural and comfortable in sageuks. I can't wait till she is in her 20s because I don't consider this an adult role.

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Second that. I think this is also probably the first time that I love the girl character even more than the guy lead. KYJ is gorgeous and talented and that pairing with PBG is ace.

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Already love it!!!

God, Yoo Jung is soooo beautiful!!! I cry

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And omg, Jinyoung looks sooo good, he looks foxy.
Both male leads are very pretty but Park Bo Gum is boyish pretty

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Actually, I can't decide who's prettier...Kim Yoo Jung or Park Bogum!

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Kim Yoo Jung is too pretty to be believable as a guy. Anyway, I'll ride along. :)

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Riding along with you cause I love her to pieces.

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this looks adorable !!!!!
I'm sensing a birth secret about our cute eunuch, probably related to what happened ten years ago.
I hope the prime minister wont be textbook villain, I tend to skip those parts, they become boring after the 5th drama it's been done

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I can live with the PM being villain - I just hope that when the second female lead shows up, they don't make her into the bad guy. Getting tired of that trope now.

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ugh god please no despicable 2nd lead

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Also, YES. She has a birth secret, I'll bet money on it. Probably the missing mum will have something to do with that too (I assume she's missing, not dead).

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There were a couple of rebellions during Sunjo's reign. Minister Kim is probably talking about The "Rebellion of Hong Gyeong-Nae" (1812).

Although Hong Ra-on is a fictional character she is probably related to rebel leader Hong Gyeong-Nae in the novel. Maybe he is her grandfather?
In the end, the rebels committed suicide and those who were captured were executed.

Kim Ui-gyo is probably Ra-on's foster father. Her parents were probably killed during the rebellion.

This was the era of the Andong Kim clan and the prime minister is one of them. As shown in this episode, they wield more power than the king.

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Great context! Thanks for posting it.

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I bet she's also of noble heritage considering how educated she is, probably from the opposing faction.

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This show has more cliches than Cinderella and the 4 Tropes.

cross-dressing
prince running around in civilian clothes
slick father
loan sharks
secret author
evil father-in-law / prime minister / grand vizier
have fallen (into pit) and can't get up
birth secret

I'm sure I've missed a few.

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Well at least our truck of doom gets to sit this one out. Heh

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t´ll be a Donkey of Doom or something.

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Thanks JB for the ultra speedy recap! Just finished watching and *poof!* recap! Awesome.

(Between you and GF my tues-fri are going to be busy busy busy because I'm rushing to watch the shows and read recaps!)

Really really liked it! Was cheeky and fun, with bits of seriousness that were never too serious, but had hints of emotional moments that I expect to tug at my heart strings later on. I'm on board for this ride!

And dear darling Park Bo Gum, it's almost not human how perfect you are. Between him and Kim You Jung, the prettiness is blinding, not to mention they can also act! 👍 thank you drama Gods- hope the show does well!

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Exactly what I expected - pure fluff but cute as hell.

though lol @the slave's lady love turning out to be the daughter-in-law and not the daughter, we should have suspected something was up given that she was wearing the bun hairstyle, which is strictly reserved for married ladies in sageuk.

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Oh that's interesting. It's my first Saeguk so thanks for the info! I was actually confused by the scene at first because I was half watching half cooking (to save time!) and not paying full attention. Normally what kind of hairstyles do the unmarried ladies have then?

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Unmarried ladies usually have their hair in a single long braid :)

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Thanks! Never realised that hairstyles were intentionally different based on marital status. Very interesting!

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Honestly, I didn't notice at first either, just registered something as 'off' - it wasn't till after the notice got posted that I realised the hairstyle=married woman. And then came here and realised her suitor was Cha Tae-hyun!

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Flashback to Boon Yi and her married woman hairstyle. T_T

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please don't remind me of that :((
I'm still bleeding whenever I think about her fate in that drama :((

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It was a very entertaining episode. I was laughing and smiling while streaming the drama even if I don't know anything of their convos.

Yoojung and Bogum looking good together. They are so cute. Waiting for more heart-fluttering scenes for the both of them.

Shoutout for Yoojung's great acting as a man. The way she speaks and act it was really great. Kudos to my baby girl.

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They are all awesome

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So funny! Its kinda refreshing seeing Park Bogum in comedic role. I laughed when they were trapped in that pit hole. But this drama going head to head with Scarlet Heart next week, so... I am anticipating Scarlet Heart too and I want it to have high ratings but but but what is this complicated feeling?

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Yes, I'm thankful that they're both pre produced, so at least if the ratings competition is high, the writing quality won't deviate to try to pull better numbers. If both shows manage to be good, it's just an all-around win for us viewers!

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Moonlight isn't pre-produced.

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It is a pre-produced drama... don't know if it is 100% like SHR.

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By pre-produced, I mean 100% pre-produced. "Moonlight" isn't 100% pre-produced. Principal photography started in June 2016.

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How many times have dramas used that Temptation of Wolves bit? Hahahaha!

Also, that cold look Bo Gummie threw the gukbap ahjumma was pure Min. XD

Hmmm. I don't love this yet. I like it a lot, and I agree that the characters are pretty likeable. I like Kim Yoo Jung's man portrayal than I do Lee Yu Bi's in that nghtwalker scholar drama, that's for sure.

Bogummy's totally shown us cold, detached Min and sheepish Taek getting caught watching porn with the guys. LOL! I'm so looking forward to the spectrum of emotions he'll be showing us next!

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Also, the music at the beginning (I thought it was his investiture as Seija) reminded me of Goong's score. O.o

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Also, that naughty smile at the beginning while reading Sam Nom's book. Sigh. Park Bo Gum, you noona-slayer, you...

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Yup. Consider me slayed.

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Also,

Bogum the noona slayer

really does have a nice ring to it. Lol.

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Honestly, for the most part if you've seen one crossdressing girl in a sageuk drama, you've seen them all. Kim Yoo-jung's character is quite similar to Lee Yubi's, down to the very unboyish aegyo - I just hope this drama does not follow the path of that one in making its heroine a complete clueless idiot. That doesn't look like it's happening here.

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For some reason, the aegyo's different. Of course the voice can't be helpep. I think Yoo Jung is less cutesy than Yu Bi in the boy role.

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#helped

Lol. But then, Park Min Young did attempt to tone down her voice in SKKS

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TBH I found LYB tried a little too hard to be cuter than she is (she already too cute anyway),]. YJ. for the first episode boyish but with less cutesy. I don't like the idea of cross dressing drama, but if the female with more boyish style and less cutesy, I probably will like it.

So far the only cross dressing sageuk that I like was Ha Ji Won in Empress Ki. Again that drama was heavier, so it explains why Ha Ji Won did not play the role with cutesy.

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Mine will always be Moon Geun-young in Painter of the Wind.

I feel like that crossdressing based on webtoon/web novel are supposed to be all cutesy and less emphasis on looking manly because of its fantasy elements.
The illustrations doesn't even try to hide it lol. We are looking at a gorgeous girl wearing a gat and male overcoat.

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Lol pure Min ;) i see what u did there

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Thanks for the recap! Really loved this first episode. Park Bo-gum is simply adorable, all his facial expressions killed me. Kim Yoo-jung is sparkling as well. I haven't stuck with a sageuk yet but I'm pretty certain this'll be the one to hook me on the genre (even if it is a fusion). It's light, it's funny, it's pretty to look at. Can't wait to see what Park Bo-gum's got in store to hilariously torture our cute little "eunuch"!

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I try not to get too excited at a premiere episode but this show hit all of the marks! So far anyway. I loved it. I laughed throughout almost the whole episode! I can't wait for tomorrow!

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I found my new crack! I didn't have anything to tide me through the weeks till W aired and im so glad this is airing. This is perfect genre to distract me from the current heartbreak brewing in W. Can i just say that Park Bogums little smirk at the end scene almost stopped my heart? Oh what I wouldn't do to get him to call me meongmeong-ie like that. *-*

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Haish... Why it has to be Prince Hyomyeong? He died young and his reign was short...

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I don't think they're aiming for total historical accuracy, anyway. :)

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They based on the web novel which only wrote the story based on the historical figure becos the author was touched by his life story. This is definitely not historical and we sure hope it doesn't end accurately lol

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They are using a couple of well known historical figures but their roles are a bit different in the drama.

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Funny you mention Shrek at the end--on the post about the dance teaser, I mentioned wanting a sageuk along the lines of Shrek!

I haven't watches this yet, but I adore the cast and it sounds like a blast. Definitely checking it out!

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I like it! Whew. Bogummie is naughty in this one. 😜

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It's just light and funny. It's not trying or pretending to be this grand production. It delivered what KBS has been trying to sell us for a month. It's a great watch at the start of the week as it just puts you in a good mood. Plus, an 8.3% rating at a very competitive slot and after Beautiful Mind's 3.2% finale? A solid start!

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Yeah, considering everything, 8.3 percent is a really solid start, everything considered - Uncontrollably Fond is doing similar numbers halfway through its run, and KBS gave that one loads more publicity.

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whoops, I repeated myself in that first line. But yeah, they could be within striking distance of double digits - that would be solidly a success, for this drama.

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Such a cute first episode! This is the first drama I've seen with Kim Yoo Jung - she's precious! And paired with Park Bo Gum?! The chemistry is strong with this one...

On a side note, I just completed I Remember You and was amazed at Park Bo Gum's ability to go all steely-eyed. Then the final scene here, where he gets in KYJ's face and calls her puppy - he does that steely-eyed thing again. His face is so pretty but he can look scary in an instant. What a great actor he is.

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I also just finished watching I remember you recently. Its really kinda interesting how a cute faced guy can look scary as a serial killer in seconds. Such a great actor. :)

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Aughghhh, Bogummy stealing my heart yet again. This show is just the perfect mix of refreshing, cute and hilarious. Looking forward to tonight's episode!

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All I can say is, this drama was worth the half year wait!! I usually avoid sageuk because they tend to be heavy and slow, but this is really living up to the youthful fast paced drama that the PD has promised. Seldom has a first Ep setup be so entertaining! I really can't wait for tonight!

The characters are fleshed out well with interesting flashes of depth and back story. No weak acting from leads to the supporting so far. 💕💕💕

Thank you for the fast detailed recap javabeans!

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Cha Tae-hyun and Jo Yeo-jung's love story! LOL! The granny/ex court lady cursing and KBS even blurring her gestures, the eunuchs talking shit, the princess being heartbroken are hilarious! Very cute.

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It was such a cute first episode! I was giggling like a teenager while watching this. Cuteness overload! :)

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The writter previous project was School 2015. I exactly remember how people blame the writter after the drama ended and said they will not watched her/his next project. But now, DDANG! seems that everybody love her/his next project.

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Well, if I'm being honest, it probably has a lot to do with the difference between Park Bo-gum and Nam Joo-hyuk. And the difference between Jinyoung and Yook Sungjae. There's absolutely no danger of second lead syndrome with this one!

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I agree with you about the actor's abilities, in this one there is no danger of the second lead outshining the first male lead. On this note, I didn't know that the writer of this drama was the writer of "School 2015", anyways it is my understanding that this drama is based on a book or webtoon? So I hope that the writer will follow the source material and not ruin the potential. I also hope that we will get some good kisses between the H/h.

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Yoo jung is so pretty!!

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I can´t watch this *flaps around for heart massage apparatus*

Oh my god, those smirks!!!! Bogummy is just too cute for this world. I dont know how people can maintain their composure around him. I am falling apart completely.

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I was wondering if anyone else was gonna mention those smirks!!! He is is the king of smirky smiles. That boy can smirk at me alllll day...

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So there was quite huge gap between the rating of previous Beautiful Mind and this one, solid start for this considering a very tough competitor. I am actually looking forward to watch Scarlet more but forgot that Doctors yet to end,. sigh. Anyway for this I'm reserving judgment until some more episodes. I'm looking forward to see Chae Soo Bin, I hope she will not take several more episodes to appear. As for first episode, not really caught my attention except it was charming and adorable episode.

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It's nice to have this show recapped and summarised by none other than you javabeans. I truly love all aspects of quality about this show and was dying to hear echoes of it. And you just said all of ot right....

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Was I going crazy or did I hear the DOTS instrumentals in the drama?

I loved the pilot! More cheeky PBG please

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It was! and then the nobleman was show off-ing his military camouflage shirt, I was laughing at that, not sure if it was an intended reference!

The kicker was seeing Park Bo Gum teacher, our funny colonel!!

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aaah so that's who he is haahahaha was trying to place that familiar face. thank you for that lol

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I am so in love with the show right now even though I couldn't understand quite a fair bit of it yesterday when I was livestreaming!!! So much of pretty and I will say stellar performance from the actors!! I just finished the first novel of the same title and currently reading the second one, and I must say, even though both the novel and drama are very different in their own ways, they are really good in their own ways too. Can't wait for tonight's episode!!

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Thanks for the recap, JB!!

This show is just what I need as well. Love PBG and KYJ so much, and their cuteness is just part of it. So many parts made me smile/laugh and I knew that it will no doubt be a fun watch. Loved the cameos!

I love the side characters already and it's definitely well-balanced between the humour and seriousness. The eunuch's exasperation! LOL Can't wait for Prince YY to spend time to play with his puppy! LOL

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Oh my, this looks like a pretty fun drama to watch! I usually don't watch any saeguks since they tend to get really dark (at least at the scenes I pass by) but this one seems like a feel-good type of saeguk, which is really needed.

Welp, I need to take a look at this one.

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The nod to Witch Hunt cracked me up so bad! Hope the show keeps the fun and irreverent vibe to the end.

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i honestly can't believe it was only a year ago since the drama i remember you. it was the first time i'd ever clapped eyes on park bo-gum; had never even HEARD of him. but his performance was stunning. he was so good that i actually consciously told myself that this kid was going to be big. then soon after the series ended, i heard he was cast in the reply series.

at which point i thought: the series is saved. cause at that point, i either didn't know or like any of the other confirmed cast members, and though i liked hyeri, she was a bit of a gamble acting wise. but i knew that if park bo-gum was in it, he at least would be amazing.

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Park Bo-gum was so cute in the drama. And Kim Yoo Jung is only my age yet she killed it with her acting. Though I am curious about her character. What circumstances made it so that her mom forced her to dress as a guy even at a young age?

Anyhow, I feel like major second lead syndrome is hurdling my way....

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Also, for the beginning scene with Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Yoo Jung, did anyone get Dating Agency Cyrano feels? XD

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My guess is her mother was in hiding and was known to have a daughter that age, so making the daughter a 'son' hides the kid more effectively.

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Her family are probably known traitors therefore she needs to hide her real identity. In order for her to earn money she had to disguise as a man to get work. Women weren't allowed to work outside of the home in that era.

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Oh that makes sense, and would be a good explanation as to why she had to dress as a boy.

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Sometimes Park Bo Gum comes out prettier than Kim Yoo Jung. That's big considering i find KYJ very pretty. It's a lucky thing he has a nice tall frame to counter the pretty. Giving me a SS vibe but i also like that it's a more youtful and not so serious. wonder how tonight's ratings will go, pitted against Doctor's finale and the series still maintaining a mammoth-fist hold of 20.0 ratings.

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Look like KBS need to wait for Scarlet Heart airing,then the ratted battle begin,for this two saeguk drama.😈

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Was I the only one who found the first episode rather dark as opposed to light and fluffly?
I mean sure there was tons of comedy but the laughs all had a biting edge to it coming after scenes of shocking violence (castration chamber of death being prime example) and casual power play. It's got a wacky sense of humour but you can't laugh at the hijinks without noting the strictly hierarchical society and exploitative systems (and gangsta pits) that spawned it.
It's a show that laughs at a flawed past without the doom and gloom of weightier saeguks, and in that way reveals its petty violences as opposed to grand power struggles (though I see the grand power struggle already making an appearance)

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This drama (and bogummy) has the same effect as facelift! I was smiling the whole hour, my face felt tighter LOL

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looks fun! he's so pretty and looks like such a rascal, i'm in...

and i

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love jinyoung, too...

spazzed out and sent it off too soon...

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Thanks for the recaps n love love ep 1...so so much!! I watched it raw..subbed & now reading the recaps....Love their chemistry too...so awesome ^_*:))

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Solid premiere! PBG and KYJ are magical together. Can't wait to see more!! KYJ took my breath away in the early episodes of Moon Embracing the Sun. I love watching her more serious moments, even though she's super cute in the lighthearted moments too. I can't believe she's so good at pulling out so much emotional heft and is able to bring so much depth to her characters at just 16/17 years of age. Such a rare beauty and talent.

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Bogummy is like the perfect guy.

He's perfect here and perfect in 1 Night 2 Days. I loved recapping the recent episode of 1N2D. He was just so game for everything and so gentle.

I didn't know that this was airing on Monday. Guess I have a new drama to catch!

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Loved,loved it sooooooooo much!!!!Laughed so much!!!

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