Meet the Joseon F4: A Sungkyunkwan Scandal Review ♥

3:49 PM

Wait… what? Scandal? Don’t get the wrong idea please. Sungkyunkwan Scandal is not porn or anything lewd. It’s one of the famous Korean dramas in 2010, and after four years, I have finally finished watching it. I started watching it two years ago, but my copy only has the first 16 episodes.

When Nadja and I went to one of our fellow ELF (and ka-towtie Doodles)’s place to cook Bacon Cheese Kimchi Fried Rice, I finally got the remaining four episodes of this drama. Thus, the marathon began once again. Of course I had to re-watch the first 16 episodes since I already forgot how the story goes. And I had to swoon over Yoo Ah-In once again. Ow my gas.

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 Plot. Uhmm, yeah, it’s another gender-bender drama. But what makes it unique is that the story is set during the Joseon dynasty. During that time, women are not given equal rights as men. That’s why it was really difficult on the side of Kim Yoon-hee. She might would definitely face death once her real identity is revealed. Besides, she entered Sungkyunkwan which is considered as a “sanctuary” for scholars studying Confucianism. So the education and knowledge that she seek, also has death as its shadow.

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Uhmm, yeah, it also has another F4-thinggy. BUT, the diversity of Joseon F4 is what makes it unique. Unlike the modern F4 that we know today (which is primarily composed of gorgeous-looking and super duper rich flower boys), the Jalgeum Quartet is composed of a Noron, a Soron, a Namin, and a merchant's son pretending to be an elite [I forgot the term, sareeh.] And what I also like most about this quartet is that they never really liked each other in the beginning (except, of course, with Moon Jae-shin and Gu Yong-ha which are childhood friends). 

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Oh well. Despite the plenty of things I like about the plot, I have to say that I’m not satisfied with the ending.***SPOILER ALERT*** Okay, Kim Yoon-hee and Lee Sun-joon both became professors in SKK. However, it seems that they were married. How is that possible? I mean, it wasn’t clear if the whole of SKK knew that the famous daemul Kim Yoon-shik is actually a girl, OR if they knew and decided to keep it a secret, OR if the king finally achieved his long-time dream of establishing a new Joseon OR what?? What in the world happened? Pwedeng paki-explain? Lab yu! (kindly comment below what you think happened J

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Also, I would’ve appreciated it if we were given the idea of what happened with the Minister of War. Was justice served? I would also love to know what happened to the other characters as well. Like for example, Cheo Sun and Ha In-soo? Hmmm… ***END OF SPOILER*** [I’m not even sure if these can be considered as spoilers since what really happened was somehow unclear. Tsk.] 

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Setting.  I personally like the setting of the story. To be honest, I like love watching historical dramas, for it makes me wonder what it feels like living a much simpler and somehow satisfying life. And as to what I have mentioned earlier, what makes SKKS unique from other gender-bender dramas is the setting. There’s one thing I’m curious though. How did Kim Yoon-shik handled her monthly period? Haha.

Cast and Characters.

Kim Yoon-hee, a.k.a. daemul, Kim Yoon-shik. I L O V E Kim Yoon-hee’s character. She’s smart, fun, a dedicated daughter and sister, and very hard-working. No offense to Go “Mi-nam”’s character in You’re Beautiful, but compared to this clumsy and dim-witted gender-bending twin sister, I find Kim Yoon-hee much better. Yeah, Mi-nam’s cute, but Yoon-shik’s coooooooooool.

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Park Min-young’s portrayal of Kim Yoon-hee is close to perfect; it just somehow lacks during crying scenes. I have to say that she still has to improve on that. Her crying scenes are not the type to get the audience carried away or feel her pain.   

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Lee Soon-joon, a.k.a. Garang. Uhm… I also have to admit that I didn’t like Lee Sun-joon’s personality at all. It somehow changed during the kilig moments with Yoon-hee (when he’s slipping love notes on the books at the Library, and trying to kiss but their hats got in the way, teehee~), but still not to the extent of totally liking him. 

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He’s too righteous (although it’s a good thing) and full of composure and has a very cold demeanor, ugh. But I had to say that he’s truly remarkable. He’s very trustworthy because you can be sure that he will always do the right thing, even if it means forsaking his own father. He even isolated himself because he thought he’s gay. Tsktsktsk.

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I think Park Yoochun’s portrayal of Lee Sun-joon is perfect. Here’s the evidence: I like Yoochun. But even if I do like him, that didn’t affect my views on Lee Sun-joon’s character. For example, you have a favorite actor, let’s say Kim Soo-hyun. Even if Kim Soo-hyun got a very detestable role/character in a drama, you will still like him because he’s Kim Soo-hyun. Kim Soo-hyun is Kim Soo-hyun, right? But in this case, no matter how much I like Yoochun, I still didn’t manage to like Lee Sun-joon. MEANING, he portrayed the character perfectly since my personal bias towards the actor didn’t affect my views on the character he’s playing. To make it simple, I like Yoochun but I don’t like Lee Sun-joon.          

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Moon Jae-shin, a.k.a. Geol Oh. HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHI~~~~~ Maybe another culprit on why I didn’t like the Yoon-hee—Sun-joon OTP was because of this crazy horse. He’s so cute. Behind that I-don’t-care-about-life and drunkard disguise, he’s actually very smart and also good with martial arts. Haaay sooo macho *drools*.  He also gets hiccups whenever there’s a girl around, which is soooooo soooo cuuuttteee, especially when he smiles. He’s good in shooting arrows as the Hong Byuk Seo, but I never imagined that he could also shoot my heart with his killer smile. OMOOOO.

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So this is the famous Yoo Ah-In. I always hear him being mentioned in Showbiz Korea or other entertainment news, but this is actually his first drama that I’ve seen. I can’t think of any other actor that may play the role of Moon Jae-shin except him. He’s got the perfect combination of that dirty-and-bearded-crazy-drunkard slash the-masked-fast-shooting Hong Byuk Seo slash the neat-looking-SKK scholar. OMOOO. I just realized how biased I am. Did I already mention that he’s cute? Well, Moon Jae-shin’s cute. And. Hot. *Faints*

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Gu Yong-ha, a.k.a. Yeorim. The playboy. At first I wondered why he befriended Yoon-shik and Soon-joon considering the fact that he already belongs to the President’s circle. At first I find him annoying and think of him as a troublemaker. But then, during the initiation rights, he already seemed like the only person who’s got sense in their circle. Oh well. 


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***SPOILER ALERT*** I also never imagined that he wasn’t from a noble family. I like how his character developed in the story. From being a fashionable pretentious-money-wasting “elite,” he finally learned how to unveil his mask and finally embrace who he truly is. In the end, he was able to use that learning when he needed to stop the scholars from attending the meeting held by the king (the scene with his uncle, lol.)***END SPOILER***

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I think Song Joong-ki is also perfect for the role of Gu Yong Ha. He has this "womanizer" charisma that perfectly fits the nickname yeorim. His portrayal of the character is also effortless. Clap clap clap. 

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Overall Production.  SKKS is another evidence of how rich Korea’s culture is. I like the overall cinematography, and I also have to commend the outstanding action scenes. The whole production team did a very great job in this drama. 

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Final verdict: ♥♥♥ [3/5]  


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