Deals with demon kings and rascal monkeys in tvN’s Hwayugi
Only six days left to go!! I’ve been trying to keep my expectations down for this, but with this cast and the fantasy action premise, I have to admit that I’ve been counting down the days until Hwayugi’s premiere. I’ve been wanting a good rom-com to sink my teeth into as well, so hopefully leads Lee Seung-gi (You’re All Surrounded) and Oh Yeon-seo (My Sassy Girl) will give us a pairing to root for. By the looks of the extended teaser, they have the bickering chemistry down pat, which is always a good start.
The highlight teaser tvN has released for Hwayugi gives us some more background on how the leads first meet. Oh Yeon-seo’s character Jin Sun-mi (aka the monk character from Journey to the West), is a child when she encounters Sun Wukong (or Sohn Oh-gong, Koreanized), played by Lee Seung-gi, and Cha Seung-won’s (Hwajeong) Bull Demon King. Sohn Oh-gong doesn’t look any different from the present with his fur coat and haircut, but Cha Seung-won vaguely reminds me of Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka as he approaches baby Sun-mi for a “favor.” This favor seems to involve a certain fan that only Sun-mi can retrieve from inside a mountain, and
Willy Wonka the Bull Demon King cautions her that whatever she sees inside, she must act like she can’t.
The Bull Demon King isn’t the only demon she makes a trade with, though, and we can see her making a contract with Sohn Oh-gong, so that he will protect her from the ghosts she sees. He is supposed to come to her aid whenever she calls his name, but of course, wily rascal that he is, he finds a way around it by removing the memory of his name from her head. I love that he introduces himself to her as a “totally bad guy!” Hm, I do wonder, though, whether he has anything to do with the talisman-ed yellow umbrella she carries around with her. I also like how grown-up Sun-mi talks back at him when Oh-gong reappears in her life and offers another contract. She might’ve been a helpless, scared girl before, but she’s adjusted to her abilities, or curse, as we see her throwing red beans at a ghost, which hilariously works.
Yay, I’ve been dying to see Lee Hong-ki (Modern Farmer) and Lee El (Black) in character, as a top star (also the pig demon) and Cha Seung-won’s secretary, respectively. They’re both seen in the teaser accompanying the Bull Demon King to a clothes fitting, for the outfit he’ll wear to an important deal. Lee Hong-ki’s character has a bit of a mischievous side to him as well, though his boss has him on a tight leash, warning him to not covet what’s not his.
I’m glad that it looks like there’ll be plenty of comedy involved, since that’s really where the Hong sisters shine, from pop-culture parodies like the Superstar K-esque auditions where the Bull Demon King re-meets Sun-mi, to gags like where he tries to convince himself that the worn slippers he’s holding to his face smells like lotuses, since the monk is said to smell like the flower. I have a feeling the main couple is going to provide some good comedic fodder as well, even when the romance starts picking up steam. Sun-mi misinterprets Oh-gong’s order to “close your eyes” as a death sentence (lol), when what he really meant was for her to actually keep her eyes closed so he could appear in front of her with a bang.
This teaser has done nothing to help me tamp down my expectations, but I don’t think I even care anymore. With Lee Seung-gi back playing a bad-boy monkey demon, and Cha Seung-won in his suave suits and his Best Love‘s Dokko Jin-like demeanor, I’m totally raring to explore the world the Hong sisters have created this time. Hwayugi will premiere on tvN this Saturday, December 23.
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