The moment Lotte Duty Free announced this little web series for the festive season, I knew I’d be tuning in, no matter what.
I mean, to have Lee Jun Ki, Park Hae Jin, Ji Chang Wook, Kai, Taecyeon, Lee Jong Suk and Lee Min Ho in the leading men line-up? Even the most big-budget blockbuster movie production would have trouble pulling that off.
So tune in I did; which wasn’t hard to do, really, with each episode topping out at a very compact 7-8 minutes. And y’know what, for what it is (an unabashed, extended CF for Lotte Duty Free, in case you were wondering), this show’s a fun little ride.
STUFF THAT WORKED FOR ME
The premise is as fantastical as it is cheeky: Soo Jin (Lee Cho Hee) helps Choi Ji Woo’s angelic otherworldly character by returning her heavenly passport, and in return, receives the chance to meet a parade of handsome suitors.
She gets to spend time with each potential boyfriend – up until the moment before she gets to kiss him. That’s when the fantasy gets broken (boo), and the next suitor is lined up for more dating and almost-kissing (yay?).
Besides the concept, which I found cute and rather intriguing, here’s a quick list of the other stuff that I liked about this itty-bitty little web series.
1. Lee Cho Hee is cute
I’ve had affection for Lee Cho Hee for a while now, and most recently found her amusing and quite adorable in Lucky Romance as our leading lady’s bestie.
I was happy to see Lee Cho Hee get a break from being someone’s bestie, and get the chance to be in the spotlight as this story’s leading lady.
I found her likable and cute in the role, and her earthy charm definitely helped to take the edge off some of the more cringe-worthy secondhand-embarrassing moments that Soo Jin experiences over the course of our story.
2. The Parade of Pretty
Show unabashedly serves up the Pretty, and I unabashedly signed up for the Pretty as well, heh.
Except for Kai, with whom I’m unfamiliar thanks to my being a perennial kpop noob, I have varying levels of affection for all the other leading men, and was happy to see them on my screen, even if each of them only got the spotlight for a quick episode each.
The good thing about this particular parade of Pretty, is that even if you’re a little sorry to say goodbye to one leading man, another one is always at the ready, to take the edge off any lingering disappointment. Now that’s what I call efficient. Ha.
3. A little something for everyone
Whether you’re more into dramas or kpop, and whether you prefer a typical rom-com, an action spy-flick, or a Dramatic Makjang-fest, there is literally a little something for everyone in this little web series.
The episodes span a good number of genres, with Taecyeon’s Makjang-fest of an episode standing out with its tongue-in-cheek nod to (almost) all the tropes we’ve come to associate with classic makjang.
I think perhaps the only obvious pillar that was missing in this entire story, is the sageuk genre. Ha. That would’ve been a hoot, wouldn’t it, to have sageuk-robed characters swishing around Lotte Duty Free with their manes of glory? Gah.
Now I really want that to have been Lee Jun Ki’s episode. To have him appear as Wang So, all masked and smoldery, time-slipped into the present, and ready to sweep the Lotte Duty Free information counter girl off her feet. I would be so down for that!
Clearly, managing expectations is key in order to enjoy this little web series. I mean, if you harbored serious hopes for a robust narrative &/or well-developed characters and relationships, you’d be quickly and quite thoroughly disappointed.
But, if you switch off the ol’ brain and keep your fun, irreverent lens on, all the onscreen absurdities, along with the ever-present PPL, become part of this show’s charm.
MY FAVORITE ALMOST-BOYFRIEND
Of course, the inevitable question is, who’s my pick for favorite almost-boyfriend?
While I do have fresh and lingering affection for Lee Jun Ki after his amazing turn in Moon Lovers, I’m gonna hafta say that it was Ji Chang Wook’s episode that I liked best.
I mean, not only does he get to be all badass and Healer-esque (Healer-yaaa~!), Soo Jin gets to kick ass right along with him. I like a strong heroine any hour of the day, so seeing them fight side by side was a big win for me.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [MINOR SPOILERS]
Basically, there are no major surprises with this show, in that we know from all the promotional material – posters included – the exact order in which the boys appear. Therefore, it’s obvious that Lee Min Ho, being the last leading man scheduled, is going to be Soo Jin’s real shot at romance.
While I found Soo Jin’s initial reaction to Lee Min Ho extra cringe-worthy and secondhand-embarrassing, I liked that by the time she interacts with him properly outside the department store, her feet are much more firmly on the ground.
Soo Jin’s no longer got her head in the clouds from all the fantasy-dating, and is even able to connect meaningfully with him on a topic that’s important to him.
I felt that was a nice, down-to-earth note to end on, which is not bad at all, for a featherweight fantasy web series.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Light, harmless fun, if you can keep your lens dialed firmly to fluffy, mindless fluff.
FINAL GRADE: B
All the episodes are available, subbed and in HD, on YouTube. Here’s episode 1, if you feel like dipping your toes in right away.
i love the episode with taecyeon and his ending the most.. it’s just makjang at its most.. and its seems from making film cho hee and taecyeon has real chemistry, maybe because they acted together before?
Hahaha! Yes, Taec’s episode really was makjang to the max, I found it very amusing indeed. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Cho Hee and Taec were more comfortable with each other, from having worked together before. 🙂
I don’t know why I was expecting kisses, LOL. The figurative bubble popping was maddening 🙂
Ha. I know, right?? If this was a Western take on the same set-up, I’m sure each episode would end with an actual kiss. But, since this is kdrama, and that’s why they had to avoid any actual lip-locking, coz as we all know, actual kisses have to be earned in dramaland, lol.
chincha This is amazing! omo
It’s amazing that they got so many high profile male leads in this, but honestly, it’s just a glorified CF for Lotte Duty Free, so don’t expect TOO much in the way of plot development! 😉
OMG oh my gawd – what you said about a sageuk episode – gosh that would’ve been the most amazing and epicest thing EVA! haha i’m just trying to imagine Wang So strutting in on his horse or something and removing that mask to some Lotte Duty Free BB cream or something LOL haha.. this is just too good .. maybe i should try and make a fun video for this LOL..
Thank u for the review. I was totally excited when I read that Lee Jun Ki (my fave actor) got to star in this web drama. Actually i’m a lil bit disappointed in Lee Jong Suk episode. It seems like I can’t get enough of him. He doesn’t talk much (from my observation).
Aw. All the episodes were super short, so I guess that feeling of not getting enough is to be expected. Did you check out all the alterna-endings? That might help a little, since you get about 1-2 minutes more of each potential boyfriend. 😉
Yeah. I watched all alterna-endings too. In fact, I also watched all behind-the-scenes…..hehehehehe I know this also like a promotional thingy for Lotte but actually projects like this made us fans get to see our fave actors n actresses more. Plus its fun. Your review is good. I also review some but its really straightforward n boring to read. Keep up the good job 😊
Yes, little web dramas like this can be fun, when they’re done well. This was a harmless, quick spot of fun, and I’d never turn down the chance to see so many actors that I like in one show! 😉 Thanks for the encouragement – all the best with your writing too!
I actually tried watching this bc of the lineup, but my expectation was too high because I didn’t know this is more of a promotional web drama. I ended up dropping it after the first episode (before the real fun even started) but I think I should give this 1 more shot. After all I actually really like mindless fluff if the execution is good.
Oh yes, expectations can do a lot to mess with our watch experience! I think with your expectations newly adjusted, this could be a nice spot of mindless fluff. I liked the super short episodes; they were so easy to make time for. 😊
There was a lot of second hand embarrassment watching this web drama. The funniest for me was the one you mention with all the makjang tropes, but I thought the sweetest and the one she should pick was Kai. It didn’t seem as cheesy as the rest, and I just barely know who the guy is. Hope to see the actress again soon.
Oh yes, I do enjoy Lee Cho Hee very well, I hope she gets to take on meatier roles soon. She’s mostly always the best friend of the female lead or something similar, and I found her likable here as the female lead. It was indeed very secondhand embarrassing to watch her fumble through her dates sometimes, but gotta give her props for being so gung ho about it. And yes, that makjang episode was hilarious! 😆
can i handle the pretty?
Ha. Actually, the Pretty is basically the main reason to tune in. And at just 7-8 minutes per episode, I think your fangirl fortitude will hold up quite well! 😉
Lee Cho Hee got a chance to lead in the hysterical drama, Grandpa’s over Flowers. Though the main focus wasn’t really on a romance or her character.
Too much pretty in one drama. I can’t! I can’t!!!
Oh, I didn’t watch the Grandpa show, so I didn’t realize she was lead in that. That’s cool, that she’s gotten to be lead!
And YES, it’s a lot of Pretty indeed. But at such short episodes, I’m sure you can handle it! 😉