I’m now on episode 9 of the SBS drama Rooftop Prince (옥탑방 왕세자). The plot is possibly the most contrived one I’ve ever come across in a Korean drama, but I’m overlooking that because the show is hilarious. Plus most of the cast is great. I say most, because the actors playing the two villains seem to be trying to impersonate a couple of cardboard cutouts of people wearing expressions. To be fair, they’re not really given much to do other than look surprised whenever someone walks into a room. Or whenever they walk into a room. Seriously, you could make a drinking game out of it: you’ll finish a bottle of soju by episode three.
I usually check out Korean and Japanese dramas if my favorites are in them, so a search for Micky Yoochun (Park Yoochun) brought me to Rooftop. I may have issues with the story, but it’s still infinitely more watchable than that train wreck that was Miss Ripley. I don’t actually listen to Micky’s albums (he’s in the idol group JYJ, formerly of DBSK/TVXQ) but I will watch (or at least attempt to watch — I think I weathered three episodes of Miss Ripley before I gave up) anything he’s in. The guy’s a natural — check out Sungkyunkwan Scandal.
Like Sungkyunkwan, this one follows the “reverse harem” trope: one girl and four hot boys — one of whom will be her boyfriend eventually. It’s a favorite trope, one that’s used in some of my other favorite K-dramas: You’re Beautiful and Boys Over Flowers. It’s usually used in conjunction with the “plain girl* with a good heart” trope. Yes, it’s a wish-fulfillment thing: we may not look like movie stars, but we’d like to think that if we’re good and plucky, we’ll snag ourselves hot rich guys who are sweet and will give up their family inheritance for us. Also we like hanging around cute boys who will make us a three-tiered cake for our birthday. Rooftop also has the time-travel trope thrown in. Fun.
The story has slowed down at episodes 6-7, but it’s slowly building up momentum again. I hope that ep 10 to 20 won’t disappoint.
* Or the alternate “the girl whom they think is a guy” trope.