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Coffee Prince

27 Feb

I was looking through past posts recently to write my updates, and I realized I reviewed City Hunter, but never talked about TV or kdramas again. What was I thinking?! If there are two things I know about, it’s beauty products and television. I write about lots of cosmetics, but I’ve been delinquent in writing about TV. I’m going to fix that. I declare this week What You Need Kdrama Week. And I’m going to start with what I’d argue is the best kdrama of all time: Coffee Prince.

You may be thinking to yourself, “I thought she said City Hunter was the best kdrama of all time?” And you’d be right. I did say that. But City Hunter and Coffee Prince are like two halves of my heart: Take one of them away and I’ll drop dead. Plus, they’re completely different in tone, style, and genre. They’re different puzzle pieces that fit together to make up The Best of The Best.

Coffee Prince is about a girl, Eun Chan, who pretends to be a man in order to get a job. After a misunderstanding, Eun Chan is hired by Han Gyul to pose as his boyfriend so he can get out of going on blind dates. Han Gyul believes that Eun Chan is a man, and Eun Chan is in desperate need of cash, so she goes along with it and becomes Han Gyul’s “boyfriend.” This plan works well, and Eun Chan and Han Gyul become unlikely friends. When Han Gyul becomes the manager of a coffee shop his grandma owns, he decides to hire Eun Chan as one of the waiters, still thinking she’s a he. The shop is called Coffee Prince, and is staffed entirely by “princes,” AKA hot guys.

So Eun Chan keeps pretending to be a man. First because she wants to keep her job at Coffee Prince, and later because she has a crush on Han Gyul and wants to be close to him. Poor Han Gyul also develops feelings for Eun Chan, but he is still under the impression that Eun Chan is a man. Han Gyul has to deal with a lot of confusing, conflicting feelings. Is he gay? Is he just gay for Eun Chan? Can he be with Eun Chan? Meanwhile Eun Chan is wondering if she should tell Han Gyul the truth, or just keep her secret and be happy just being friends.

Coffee Prince is great because it’s a buddy comedy that turns into a romance. At first Han Gyul and Eun Chan are best friends. They’re literally bros – Han Gyul asks Eun Chan to become his sworn brother. Han Gyul confides in Eun Chan, and the two support each other like true BFFs. Then their feelings start to deepen, and love blossoms between them. You know how your best friend feels like your soulmate, and sometimes you think, “Man, I just want to find another version of my bestie and marry them.” That’s what happens in Coffee Prince! And it’s so fucking great it will make even the most cynical person believe in true love.

My absolute favorite moment in Coffee Prince (I guess this is kind of spoilery, but not really) is when, after agonizing for what seems like forever, Han Gyul tells Eun Chan that he doesn’t care if she’s a man – he likes her and wants to be with her. At this point he still thinks Eun Chan is a man, but he’s realized that love is love, no matter who is the object of that love. It’s one of the sweetest, most romantic love confessions of all time. Especially after seeing Han Gyul go completely nuts over his feelings for Eun Chan, and how hard it was for him to realize his love for Eun Chan went beyond him being a man. My heart’s Grinching just thinking about it.

There’s also a B storyline featuring Han Gyul’s cousin Han Sung and his longtime, on-again-off-again girlfriend Yoo Joo. Their story is interesting in that it’s one of the most realistic relationships I’ve seen on TV. They fight, cheat, make up, and relate to each other just like a real couple. The show also kind of implies that Yoo Joo might have a drinking problem (or at least a dependence on alcohol), which, can I just say, means that every character in every kdrama is a raging alcoholic. Anyway, she’s a terrible girlfriend and she doesn’t deserve Han Sung. It’s like he’s Adele, and she’s Adele’s shitty ex-boyfriend. And I’m the woman that will make Han Sung believe in love again. Except they end up together, but whatever.

If you’re in the mood for an entertaining, romantic, comedic, all around excellent kdrama, look no further than Coffee Prince. It’s the only kdrama I’ve watched more than once. It was so nice I had to watch it twice! And it was just as magnificent the second time around.

Footnote: When I watch kdramas I refer to characters as “Korean X.” Like Korean Danny Zuko (Playful Kiss) or Korean Hector Elizondo (My Girl). I also pronounce the titles… interestingly. I’ll include a pronunciation guide for each show, just so we can all be on the same page. So, Coffee Prince is Caaaaw-fee Prince (obviously, right?).

Coffee Prince: Free to stream on Hulu or DramaFever

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