Half-time Report: Rooftop Prince Eps 5-9

In my earlier post, I said I’d give Rooftop Prince a few more episodes to see whether there was any improvement in the story or writing.

Short answer: No.

While this drama has its entertaining moments, the aggravating portions far outweigh the funny ones. And because I am no longer a masochist, I am going to drop it before I grind my teeth down to stubs and punch something.

Three reasons why Rooftop Prince isn’t doing it for me 

1. I can’t watch this drama abuse its heroine any longer: I don’t dislike Park Ha as a character but what wears my patience thin is how this writer keeps manufacturing various FML obstacles and coincidences so she’s forced to continue enduring one ridiculous injustice after another. I’m assuming that this is to reinforce the idea that she is a plucky heroine with an unassailable spirit — no matter how many curve balls you keep throwing at her, she’ll keep bouncing back up just like one of those inflatable bop bags. Whoopee!

To be sure, the ability to keep one’s chin up during trying times is an admirable trait but the abuse that Park Ha has been getting at the hands of Se-na and Tae-yong’s grandmother is just plain ridiculous. Sure, the heroine has to overcome a series of obstacles before she triumphs over the bad guys but there are less over-the-top and melodramatic ways of testing her mettle. Really, how many times does she have to get slapped? It sucks that Rooftop Prince isn’t interested in creating a legitimate rivalry based on the women’s abilities. All it’s interested in is making broad generalisations and hammering home the point that Se-na is a toxic bitch while Park Ha is the filial and long-suffering maiden of virtue. Urgh.

As I mentioned earlier, the writing for this drama isn’t top-notch and this is painfully evident in the development of Park Ha’s character. She seems like a sensible woman who’s had a decent education and yet, she appears to have only one goal in life — selling vegetables. ETA: I wouldn’t have an issue with this if the drama had portrayed her as someone who wanted to be her own boss but this simply isn’t the case. When we first see her, she’s selling fruit from a street cart and working as a part-time waitress in New York. After returning to Korea, she takes up a job at her stepmother’s fish stall and then makes plans to open her own vegetable shop. When that falls through, she basically just spends her time babysitting J4 till her stepmom guilts Tae-moo into giving her a job. Does Park Ha really like selling vegetables all that much or is the writer trying to tell us that apart from performing domestic and miscellaneous chores, she has no other employable skills or aspirations? Or maybe she won’t be as convincing a plucky heroine if she isn’t poor and downtrodden? Attention K-dramas: you need to update this trope. STAT.

In addition, I have to wonder if the writer has ever seen what happens when two women hate each other’s guts. No sane woman is just going to keep quiet and put up with Se-na’s crap especially when she knows that the latter is Evil Incarnate and out to ruin her life. But I guess this is just the writer’s ham-fisted way of showing that Park Ha is morally superior to her stepsister. All I will say is that after putting her through so much rubbish, Se-na had better get her comeuppance.

2. I can’t watch Se-na get away with bloody murder any longer: Every time I see her, I want to stab her with Park Ha’s chopsticks — and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. It doesn’t help that I’m not particularly fond of Jung Yu-mi’s style of acting (just in case you were wondering, I didn’t like her character in A Thousand Days’ Promise either.)

[via Donnapie]

3. Lee-Gak ordering Park Ha around drives me nuts: Yes, I know he’s a Crown Prince from the Joseon era and has rather archaic notions of gender relations. Yes, I know that beneath that haughty veneer, he’s actually a sweet and caring person. However it still does’t change the fact that I want to punch him every time he yells at Park Ha. I was willing to cut him some slack in the earlier episodes and allow him time to acclimatise to his surroundings but when the drama is nearing its halfway mark and he’s still ordering her around and treating her like his maid, especially in front of Se-na, it’s time someone’s fist connected with his face.

I was hoping that his sojourn in the modern world would make him realise just how much relationships between men and women have changed but it looks like wishful thinking on my part. I’m not expecting him to return to his kingdom and pass a law declaring that women have the same rights as men but what I would like is for him to acknowledge that there’s so much more women can do apart from the chores traditionally assigned to them. But I don’t think Rooftop Prince is interested in delivering any message of this sort. God forbid Lee Gak ever has a moment of introspection and starts questioning his divine right to rule.

In sum: Sorry, Rooftop Prince. I wanted to like you but my dentist tells me that I have to make a choice between you and my molars, so my teeth it is then.

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10 comments

  1. For me, RTP was kind of disappointing from the beginning. Guess I was not the target audience since I expected something more than a few laughs as the Prince tumbled into the 21st century. I really thought the Prince was going to learn more than just the superficial things like driving or other 21st century skills. It would have been great if he had to live the life of a commoner and learn something about what it meant to be one. Not to be! Having a millionaire look-alike meant Lee Gak did not have to undergo any travails of life as a commoner.

    Initially, I found Park Ha better than what I expected. She knew how to take care of herself and ordered around Lee Gak as much as he tried the same with her. But Lee Gak impersonating the millionaire guy brought us to the same old rich male lead-bossing poor female lead-who has to put up with it all coz she is poor-and his bossiness bring them closer. Arggh! I too left the drama at the same point as you did coz it was getting on my nerves.

    From the recaps though, it looks like Sena is getting her comeuppance and Park Ha is getting bolder at least with regard to Sena though there is still a lot of Batmanish saving the damsel in distress thing going on with the leads.

    Love Yoochun, but RTP was just not my cup of tea. Your recap was hilarious though. Laughed a lot over Park Ha’s obsession with selling vegetables.

    1. Novkid, you’re alive!!!! Hellooooo! ^^;;;

      OMG *highfive* Recaps are the way to go with this drama. I think I’m a pretty forgiving viewer (hell, I sat through HanaKimi 2011 and Yaoh) but I cannot bear to watch RP’s brand of URGH unfold on screen any longer.

      I really thought the Prince was going to learn more than just the superficial things like driving or other 21st century skills.

      MTE. I know this is a fluff drama but still, you’d expect him to take stock of his surroundings and make slightly more profound observations about how Korean society has changed over the course of 300 years.

      It would have been great if he had to live the life of a commoner and learn something about what it meant to be one.

      I say he should have been reincarnated as a farmer, maybe one of those treehugger, everything organic types. Then he and Park Ha could have run their own organic vegetable stand together and taken on Tae-moo’s big bad corporation.

      Lee Gak impersonating the millionaire guy brought us to the same old rich male lead-bossing poor female lead-who has to put up with it all coz she is poor-and his bossiness bring them closer.

      Give me Lee Seon-joon over Lee Gak any day. I don’t care that Micky’s acting has improved here. I just can’t watch male characters who are immature and entitled. It irritates me to no end whenever Lee Gak shouts at Park Ha. A wrist grab I can actually deal with. A woman can make it clear that she does not want a man grabbing her wrist (and I think this has happened in a few dramas) but being immature and bratty is something else — it’s basically a 24/7 thing that the woman has to endure.

      From the recaps though, it looks like Sena is getting her comeuppance

      This is the only reason why I’m still following this drama (albeit via recaps.) I need to know what happens to Se-na and whatshername back in Joseon.

      1. Hehe. I often come and read your posts though I don’t get time to comment on them. But this one, I just had to comment since we seem to be quite the minority with regard to RTP. I too think the writing is not quite up to the mark. It is very superficial for me when I expected it to dig a bit deeper.

        Like you said, it is fluff n all, but still as the first k-drama on time travel after a long while, I expected a bit more from the execution of the concept. Now Lee Gak as a treehugger. Pwahaha. Only you could have thought up something like that. But yes, I mean, at least someone other than a millionaire.

        I know some people will say this one aims at a lot of laughs and is more on the lighter side, but I feel they have under-utilised the premise even there. Slapstick is fine, but time travel can be so unsettling and funny in different ways. They took the easy way out and that is my major grouse with this drama.

        This whole concept of irritating a girl by making her run errands is very irritating for me. If both of them give each other tit for tat, it is okay. But Lee Gak ordering around Park Ha who has been kindness personified just because his look-alike has a black card is just Arggh! Similarly, I wish they had done something more with the change in hierarchy amongst the prince and his servants. Now that would have been educative for Lee Gak to realize his status means nothing in the modern era.
        Me too. LSJ over LG any day! With LSJ, you could have had an intelligent conversation after a while even if you were a 21st century woman. But Lee Gak is too immature at times. Now LSJ time-travelling would have been interesting.I think if he can survive the first week without offending anyone, especially the high and the mighty, venting out his moral outrage at the state of his beloved Joseon today and keep his head intact for better things, the man can accomplish something. Better still, Gu Yong Ha time-travelling. That is one specimen who would have fitted in perfectly with this world.

        Anyway, based on the recaps, Lee Gak is becoming more and more intelligent and seems to have mellowed down a bit. I am happy the drama is improving, that people are using their brains and figuring out things, but I haven’t felt much interest to follow it other than through recaps.

        Now how long do I need to wait to watch ‘The Tree-hugging Prince and the Bachelorette’s Organic Vegetable Store’? Hehe. That one seems to be right up my alley. ;)

      2. I know some people will say this one aims at a lot of laughs and is more on the lighter side, but I feel they have under-utilised the premise even there. Slapstick is fine, but time travel can be so unsettling and funny in different ways. They took the easy way out and that is my major grouse with this drama.

        THIS x 1000. Btw, have you watched JIN? Not sure if you watch J-dramas but it blows RP into outer space. It’s an intelligent, well-crafted story that’s supported by fascinating characters who grow and change as the show progresses. I think my brain cried tears of joy when I watched it after sitting through the snore fest that is 37-sai de Isha ni Natta Boku.

        Anyway, based on the recaps, Lee Gak is becoming more and more intelligent and seems to have mellowed down a bit. I am happy the drama is improving, that people are using their brains and figuring out things, but I haven’t felt much interest to follow it other than through recaps.

        Er…dunno if you’ve read the recap of ep 18 over at Dramabeans but apparently the show has sunk to new levels of stupidity, which is an achievement in itself because I didn’t think it could get any worse.

      3. No, I haven’t watched Jin. I have heard lots of great things about that drama though. I should watch it. Queen In Hyun’s man has been quite good till now. The script writers have been till now imaginative dealing with the time travel theme. But can’t say anything until it ends. Have you watched Bu Bu Jing Xin? I thought it was quite well done.
        RTP is again back in the good books of the recappers with episode 19, I think this is a drama that calls for the viewers to leave their logic behind. As long as that is done, they can enjoy it, I guess. Nothing surprises me in that drama any longer. RTP has its hordes of admirers, so, careerwise, it seems to be a good move for Yoochun and Han Ji Min though personally I don’t think it has challenged Ji Min’s acting skills.

      4. RTP is again back in the good books of the recappers with episode 19, I think this is a drama that calls for the viewers to leave their logic behind.

        I have given up on this drama. The only reason I even bothered skimming through the recaps was to find out how Se-na would get her comeuppance and of course, RP had to cop out on this in the lamest way possible. Seriously, after being Evil Incarnate for a full 18 episodes she suddenly grows a conscience and turns over a new leaf?! But given the quality of the script, why am I even surprised?

        Despite all the stans gushing about the OTP, I never cared for Yoochun’s or Han Ji-min’s characters (as you already know) so I wasn’t bothered by the ending of the drama in the slightest.

        No, I’ve never watched BBJX. Chinese dramas aren’t really my thing these days and the thought of having to sit through 35 episodes just makes my brain shut down. But I will take your word for it that it’s better than RP :)

        And I really need to get started on Queen In-hyun’s Man.

  2. Waaah chingu, I have to admit you made some spot on points there. Sena & Tae Mu are evil and I can’t wait for their comeuppance and it better be good writer nim. The chaebol heir intrigues can just be cut out and it will not be missed. Yi Gak doesn’t really show Prince & kingly attributes at all. Poor Park Ha, so abused, its so unfair & she really has no ambitions. The writing of the drama is kinda shallow. But I’m in for the aegyo of J 4 & my OTP of choice Yi Gak & Park Ha. Taeyong’s return just muddles up everything they should have just killed him off.I’m just curious as to how the mysteries will be solved but I am getting bored. I’m sticking to my ending that Yi Gak & the J3 ducklings are going back to Joseon and Park Ha will go back with them. No logic in the ending, I just like it just because.And I love Yoochun so I’m watching and spazzing like a good little fangurl.

    Now, Queen Inhyun’s Man that drama has got me hooked and dreaming of a scholar like Kim Boong do showing up in my room!

    Not exactly my best comment, but you get the drift. Sigh!

    I’m changing my name to Gingerella.

    1. Chingu, I’d like to know what you think of ep 18. The consensus (according to most of the readers over at DB) is that it’s a stinker.

      Well, let’s hope Yoochun picks a better project next time. How do these people choose their dramas anyway? Do their managers just hand them a script and tell them that they’re going to be acting in that drama or do they actually have a choice? But I guess with the live-shoot system, you can’t really tell how ridiculous a drama is going to get (though I maintain that right from the start, RP’s writing has never been solid.)

      I’ll probably give Queen IH’s Man a go after JIN. I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews about it so consider my curiosity piqued!

  3. I’m so glad I’m not alone in finding RP disappointing. I really *did* want to like it (done right, this could have joined my crack-drama list) but nothing about this ever really came together for me. If one were to look past Yoochun, arguably the main reason people tuned in to begin with (and continued to wax poetic about it), there was more to dislike than there was to like. I was baffled as to why so many people were raving about how funny this drama was, how awesome the OTP were, how great the story was…cause, no matter how hard I tried, I just wasn’t feeling any of it. And as you and the fellow commenters have said, RP could have delved into much deeper (and interesting) territory, with revelations and, y’know, a little thing called substance… oh well. Next time Yoochun, next time.

    1. [Cue: Michael Jackson’s You Are Not Alone]

      I really *did* want to like it (done right, this could have joined my crack-drama list) but nothing about this ever really came together for me.

      This had a lot of crack potential but the writer mucked it up with the pointless corporate shenanigans, laughable script and one-note characters. I never got why everyone was gushing about the J4. I was expecting more from them but they never went beyond being stock characters. It was as if some studio exec said, “Flower boys are hot right now. We need to include a bunch of them in the drama.” They were cute, I’ll grant you that, but when all’s said and done they were woefully underutilised as characters.

      Anyway, I’ve said all that I need to say about this drama so I’ll stop here lest I start resembling a broken tape recorder. That said, if you’re looking for a drama that makes much better (and more intelligent) use of the time slip premise, may I recommend JIN? I didn’t think I’d actually like it but it had me hooked within the first half hour.

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