Hello, My Precioussss: Shut Up Flower Boy Band

As some of you may recall, I did not like Flower Boy Ramyun Shop (and that’s putting it mildly.) So when I read that tvN was coming up with yet another flower boy drama — this time with an even more ridiculous name — I wrote it off immediately.

I was prepared to mock it endlessly, especially when I found out that one of the bands in the drama was called Strawberry Fields. If it was a new brand of yoghurt or a new line of air fresheners I’d understand but a rock band? Really? (ETA: I just found out that there’s actually a Korean rock band by this name. So this just goes to show you how much I know.)

So anyway, I was planning to come up with at least 20 different ways to describe the stupidity of this drama.

And then I watched the first episode.

Okay, just pass me the damn crow so that I can get it over and done with. (Spoilers for episodes 1 and 2) 

This is Su-ah. I have no idea what she did in her previous life but it probably had something to do with saving a country and healing a colony of lepers.

Not only does she have hair to die for, she also lands herself her very own harem when she’s handpicked by rocker Joo Byung-hee (Lee Min-ki) to be his personal muse. Remember what I said about Nodame winning the grand prize in the Lottery of Life? This is six times better.

Yes, I know she doesn’t look too thrilled right now but that’s only because she doesn’t yet realise the power that she has over six hot guys. Forget superhuman strength or invisibility. My ideal superhero power is to be the mistress of my very own harem.

Introducing the Band

This is Byung-hee, the 4-D type. He’s the leader of the Noona Killers Eye Candy and I guarantee you that even if you don’t find him attractive in these screencaps, you will fall under the spell of his eyeliner when you finally get around to watching this drama. That’s how much Lee Min-ki OWNS these two episodes.

Byung-hee is an artist. This means he has lots of feelings. Feelings that often cannot be expressed in words.

It also means that he has an immense propensity for BS. Byung-hee has some of the best lines in these first two episodes and I suspect that a fair bit of them were ad-libbed. This is one of my favourite scenes:

[via asiandramagifs]

Oh Byung-hee, you’e so full of shit but that’s why I love you ;p

Since all the great artists had muses, Byung-hee decides he needs one too and of course, his muse has to be pretty as well. Long story short, he finally finds her in Su-ah, except that none of his boys are entirely sure what purpose she’s supposed to serve. I love Kyung-jong’s line of reasoning: “A muse is to bands what SNSD are to army cadets.” Oh Kyung-jong, if music doesn’t work out for you, you have a bright future as a stand-up comic.

Moving on, this is Ji-hyuk, the gruff one who’s actually a walking marshmallow.

He’s the lead vocalist who plays the Voice of Reason to Byung-hee’s impulsive free spirit.

Byung-hee: Chingus, let’s quit school.
Ji-hyuk: Byunghee-ah, let’s think about it again after eating lunch. You’ll just change your mind when you’re full.

I can’t remember when they had this exchange but I like how it showcases the dynamics of their relationship and the way they complement each other. I LOVE them ♥

And did I mention that Ji-hyuk is also one tall drink of water?

Okay, you boys have got to stop with those lopsided smiles and side glances. This noona’s heart can’t take all the cardiac stimulation…

…especially not when there’s still Lee Hyun-soo, the sex kitty Cool (actually, make that Ice Cold) type to consider.

When he’s not jamming on his guitar, he’s slinking around teasing you with his come-hither smirks.

[via K-drama Obsession]

And if you haven’t noticed from the posters, he has this very bad habit of distracting you with his tongue…

DramaWiki tells me that Kim Myung-soo is a 92-er, which means that he’s just a toddler. Right. Going straight to hell…and I don’t even care.

This is Kim Ha-jin, the playboy. No idol group is complete without a player to call their own. It would be like a K-drama without the obligatory shower scene (speaking of which, I am totally expecting a swimming pool scene sometime later in this series.)

Ha-jin plays the bass and is in the band because chicks dig it. Well, at least you can’t fault him for being dishonest.

As long as there’s something in it for him, Ha-jin is quite the equal-opportunity Casanova but despite having an eye for the ladies, I think that if you’ve been watching this drama, it’s pretty obvious where his real affections lie…XDDDDD

This is Seo Kyung-jong, who I like to call the baby of the group because just look at him! Don’t you just want to pinch his cheeks and put him in your pocket?

Kyung-jong looks like a younger Yoon Kye-sang, except smooshier and cuddlier. He hails from Busan, plays the keyboard and is a bit of a wise ass. Like a puppy, he is also very affectionate, especially with Ha-jin.

[via wooyoung]

Maybe people from Busan are just friendlier?

I see what you’re looking at, Ha-jin…XD

I can just about see the kind of music videos that are going to flood YouTube in the weeks to come. It’s going to be awesome :D

And finally, this is Jang Do-il, the drummer whose hair could launch a thousand L’Oreal ads.

Do-il is the Mori of the group silent, stoic type. You know the kind whose hair is always falling into their eyes as they play their instruments. God, this brings back so many memories of being in high school and listening to Belinda Carlisle on the radio. *sigh* Those were the days.

Not much is known about Do-il right now but that’s okay. He can just play his drums and look hot. I’m pretty undemanding like that :D

I had no idea these boys even existed prior to watching this drama and I suspect that my days ahead will be filled with plenty of research. *ahem*

***

Seriously though, I wasn’t expecting Shut Up to reel me in from the very first episode. It normally takes a K-drama a while to set up its story and introduce its characters but this one took off like a rocket from the word ‘go’. One of the reasons for this is the chemistry the boys share with one another. They’re not just six hot young idols coming together to posture their way through a drama. You can feel the bond that they share through the interactions within the group. This isn’t something that you can just attribute to the boys’ acting abilities alone (to be honest, some of them are really raw but they’re so tight as a unit that it really goes a long way in covering up a multitude of flaws.) It’s one of those intangible things that happen when the entire cast connects on an emotional level. This doesn’t happen all the time and it isn’t something you can force but these boys have it. I believe that they are friends and that they belong to this band called Eye Candy and it’s this element of believability that’s making me root for them, not so much the fact that they’re underdogs in a posh school.

And who can talk about the first two episodes without mentioning Lee Min-ki? I had never seen him in anything prior to Shut Up so to say I was unprepared for how much I wanted to be his groupie is an understatement. (Something tells me I’ll be watching Dal Ja’s Spring in the near future.) As a character, Byung-hee was like one of those old school rock musicians — he was flamboyant and eccentric but he also had the authority expected of a leader. No doubt about it. His was a charismatic performance of the first order. Period. <spoiler> Having said that, I know a lot of people are saying the writers shouldn’t have killed him off but personally I think it was a necessary move. We live in an age of technology. I can’t really think of how they could have sent him away without the others trying to get in touch with him. Also, had he been a permanent character, I’m not sure I would have wanted to see him and Ji-hyuk having a falling out over Su-ah. However I will say that I wish they hadn’t killed him off in such an abrupt manner but that’s just a slight niggle on my part. </spoiler>

Other things I like about this drama:

    • Its tone and muted palette: I was expecting a drama with the glossy varnish of Boys Over Flowers, not one with such a gritty, melancholy air. What I like about it is that it feels authentic — it’s an organic extension of the boys’ circumstances, not some contrivance for the sake of being hip. Some people have compared Shut Up to Gokusen but I think it’s more like What’s Up in this respect.
    • Su-ah: I’ve only watched the first two episodes but I think Jo Boa is doing a pretty decent job in her first role. Her character is obviously a girl’s girl and that’s fine with me as long as she remembers she has a spine. This does not seem to be a problem so far. If anything, the scene she has with Ji-hyuk in episode 2 where she insists he apologise to her properly is a pretty good indication that she isn’t a pushover.

As Javabeans and a few others have mentioned, I wish tvN hadn’t pushed the Flower Boy label so aggressively because it gives the impression that this drama is nothing but mindless fluff, which is not the case at all. It has a good story to tell and a cast of compelling characters with fantastic camaraderie. So if you haven’t watched Shut Up yet, don’t let its name dissuade you from giving it a go. It might be a little premature for me to say this but I have a feeling it’s going to be one helluva crack drama.

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16 comments

    1. Hi there, thanks so much for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed what you read :D

      Good nothing. This is A+ crack. I just inhaled episodes 3 and 4…and what do you mean I have to wait till Monday for the next episode?! *wails and scratches at walls*

  1. I really think you nailed why this drama is so enticing–I love the chemistry in the group and the gritty feel. I’m gonna pass this post along to try and entice others to watch :)

    1. Thanks Heather and by all means, please pass it along! This drama needs more love :D

      The boys in Eye Candy are so precious — I love every single one of them!

  2. Another crow eater here *raises hand*. I too ended up disliking Flower Boy Ramyun Shop intensely, and when I heard tvn was doing another drama like that one I was not interested. Then I heard about Lee Minki’s cameo, and thought that I’ll just watch for him.

    And okay, it was great. He was the best thing in it, of course, but the whole mood is totally different from Ramyun Shop, thankfully: it’s gritty, muted, and just so cool. I already love the music and the feel of the drama. After the disappointment of Moon that Embraces the Sun, this was such a happy surprise. :)

    1. And because one post isn’t enough, I’m going to have to tell you how much I love those boys when they’re together. The whole “muse” conversation, plus ByungHee’s “Van Gogh painted by Picasso” comment had me cracking up all over the place. “I licked her so she’s mine”, God I miss him already.

      Speaking of ByungHee, can I tempt you with Lee Minki in Taereung National Village and Mixed-Up Investigative Agency? Awesome guy (MINE!!).

      1. I haven’t touched Moon/Sun but now that it’s coming to an end, I’m hearing all kinds of mixed reviews about the show. Hmm…

        I’m going to have to tell you how much I love those boys when they’re together.

        I want to kidnap all six of them and hide them away in my attic. Seriously, if they were a real band, I’d also be asking the ticket lady to give me a seat where I can touch the er…what’s the opposite of oppa in this case? Hoobae? Dongseng? How do you say ‘my babies’ in Korean?

        My favourite, favourite scene was when they were waiting for Byung-hee’s muse to cross the street. I think it would have been PRICELESS had the ahjumma reached them before Su-ah. It might be a little early to say this but Lee Min-ki — cameo performance of the year?

        can I tempt you with Lee Minki in Taereung National Village and Mixed-Up Investigative Agency? Awesome guy (MINE!!)

        I read the synopsis for Mixed-Up Investigative Agency and was instantly sold when it said: “This drama does not have any romance in it.”

        Ahahahahaha! I see Lee Min-ki is quite the popular guy with the ladies but the one I really want after watching SUFBB is Sung Joon — his jawline, his VOICE (it’s like a mix of cigarettes, sex and 70% single origin chocolate) *_____*

  3. Happy Hearts Day chingu. Was laughing my ass off at your comments and review. Gaads joins you and diorama in eating crow. There’s no delete button or I would have erased my arrogant hate this drama its so choreographed post in this blog and elsewhere. Yup didn’t like Flower Boy Ramyun Shop at all so like you I was gonna scratch Shut Up Flower Boy Band from my to watch list. Watched Ep 1 & 2 in hate this drama mode and wrote about it too and then kaboom Ep 3 & 4 just pulled me into its black hole of love. Its the bad ass boys attraction I presume, but then the genuine friendships of the boys totally got me hooked. I’ve watched Lee Min Ki in I Really Really Like You, Dalja’s Spring, part of Evasive Inquiry Agency (bailed out after a couple of episodes & Romantic Island but it was in Oiishi Man where he also sings the OST that this remarkable man totally rocked my socks off. Guess I’ll flail with you on twitter.
    And I’m flailin alone over The Moon that embraces the Sun though I lurked on soompi. I really loved the teen cast and yes I’m on perv mode with Yeo Jin Goo the 15 year old who portrayed the 15 year old Crown Prince. Omg yeah I’m going straight to hell too and I don’t give a shit. Its still my drama crack despite the mixed reviews.

    1. Happy V Day to you too! I hope you had a hot date with your Significant Other!

      Watched Ep 1 & 2 in hate this drama mode and wrote about it too and then kaboom Ep 3 & 4 just pulled me into its black hole of love.

      *Gasp* You didn’t like the first two episodes? WHY?!

      but then the genuine friendships of the boys totally got me hooked.

      IKR? Have you watched ep 6 yet? I don’t want to spoil you but the bromance in that episode is EPIC.

  4. You.crack.me.up. ahhahaah

    “DramaWiki tells me that Kim Myung-soo is a 92-er, which means that he’s just a toddler.”
    Wah!! Say it isn’t so… He’s my favorite.
    Okay, well I guess I’ll see you over on the dark side. ;)

    1. Wah!! Say it isn’t so… He’s my favorite.

      I’m afraid it is. I want to take Myung-soo aside and ask him if his parents know what he’s doing to the poor noonas of the world. He really should come with a warning label: Hazardous to your conscience. Perv at your own risk.

      Well, at least I know I have company ;D

  5. I was prepared to mock it endlessly, especially when I found out that one of the bands in the drama was called Strawberry Fields. If it was a new brand of yoghurt or a new line of air fresheners I’d understand but a rock band? Really? (ETA: I just found out that there’s actually a Korean rock band by this name. So this just goes to show you how much I know.)

    *FACEPALM* Okay, I understand not everyone was raised on the sound of George’s guitar, Paul’s melodies, John’s lyrics and Ringo’s drumbeat like I was. So allow me to educate:
    Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles

    This drama has been on my to-watch list for ages now. Ah, that ever-growing list…

    1. LMAO! Thanks for the music lesson…though I still think Pink Floyd and Deep Purple make for cooler rock band names ;p

      I’d love to know what you think of SUFBB when you get around to watching it :D

  6. I’ve only finished episode 2 and paused it right after that to try and figure out if he’s really not going to be in the show anymore. I’m getting the feeling that he isn’t, so now I’m upset because he was my favorite. I was wondering though, was there a real life reason for killing off his character?

    1. Well, let’s just put it this way: I don’t think anyone could have survived the impact of that on-coming Truck O’ Doom unless they had on some kind of reality-defying armour. On another note, I think the Truck Drivers Union of S. Korea (if there is such a thing) should hire a PR professional to salvage their reputation. K-dramas are really giving them a bad name.

      Real-life reason: er, he was only contracted for a two-episode cameo?

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