I don’t often rewatch dramas simply because there are so many other shows out there that I haven’t seen. I have watched bits of Boys Over Flowers more than once, and I seem to need to rewatch You’re Beautiful every couple of years. My Princess is a show I’ve been meaning to write about for some time, and I planned to only watch the first episode, but promptly got addicted to the series all over again.
My Princess has one of the better opening scenes that I’ve seen in any drama to date. There’s a dramatic procession and ritual going on in a historic building. A traditionally attired princess sits in a throne to watch the festivities. Soon some details start appearing that make the scene look a little bit off. The princess is fidgety and bored in a most unprincess-like way. An alarmingly handsome man in a modern suit is talking in an earpiece about ensuring the safety of a “Princess Stella.” Soon we realize that the whole scene is taking place in the modern world, in a very lavish historical tourist trap. The girl playing the fake princess is Lee Seol, a flighty student who has far too many part-time jobs. The alarmingly handsome man is Park Hae Young, a diplomat and third generation heir to a giant Korean corporate conglomerate.
Hae Young induces Seol to work overtime, but doesn’t carry small enough bills to pay her which causes her much consternation. Seol is like an extremely charming steamroller, somewhat relentlessly relying on being cute to sail through life, but she carries on in such an amusing manner it is hard not to be captivated by her. Her main focus is her obsession with her archeology professor Nam Jung Woo, as she entertains elaborate Indiana Jones style fantasies of how their romance will kindle when they meet in Egypt. When Seol realizes that Hae Young intends to marry her professor’s first love, museum director Oh Yoon Joo, she decides that she has to help the young man with romance by making Yoon Joo jealous. Seol claims to be Hae Young’s girlfriend. Seol treats Hae Young like a slightly dimwitted older brother, but she doesn’t yet realize how their lives are about to be intertwined. In the meantime, things between the professor and Yoon Joo are tense, because evidently museum directors lack basic academic integrity and she has poached on her knowledge of the professor’s research to create professional triumphs for herself.
Love rectangle firmly established, My Princess moves into thought experiment territory as it explores what would happen if modern day Korea tried to bring back the Monarchy. Hae Young’s grandfather established his fortune with funds from the royal family, and as he is nearing the end of his life he has decided to give all his money and the royal family back to the country. It turns out that fake princess Seol is actually the last living member of the Royal family! She was abandoned when she was five years old and adopted. Seol’s early childhood memories are fragmented, but she does confirm a few details that show her to be the true princess. Despite her tendencies towards materialism, Seol isn’t actually that interested in becoming Princess, only agreeing to accept the position when she sees false press reports about her dead father. Hae Young is decidedly unhappy about his anticipated inheritance being taken away from him and tries a number of strategies to prevent Seol from entering the palace. Yoon Joo maneuvers herself into a position of Executive Director of the Royal Foundation.
Seol should be Hae Young’s enemy, because if she’s voted in as Princess his life will be taken away from him. With his background in diplomacy, he manages to get himself assigned as her etiquette instructor and goes to live in the palace too. Seol’s only ally in the palace is a young chef who keeps looking out for her. Yoon Joo is a master at passive aggression and goes out of her way to make Seol feel uncomfortable when they are in front of other people, only to come out and calmly discuss her hatred when they are alone. Hae Young isn’t without compassion, and Seol can be terribly charming.
There are so many cute touches in this drama. Seol and Hae Young are falsely linked romantically before the truth comes out, and Seol’s mother is almost giddy with excitement over the idea of a chaebol son-in-law. Seol’s dogged pursuit of her Professor is hilarious, but she spends more time on the run with Hae Young, watching the movie Roman Holiday in an open air theater and charging him a fortune to say in her family’s bed and breakfast. My Princess manages to balance the frothy aspects of a modern day fairy tale with plenty of realism as Seol deals with her tough past and the politicians conspire to derail the efforts to restore the royal family. As a couple, Seol and Hae Young are one of my favorite pairings in drama. The actors have an undeniable chemistry that makes watching them so much fun. I highly recommend that you check out My Princess if you are looking for a fun romantic comedy drama to enjoy with Valentine’s Day coming up!
Watch now at DramaFever!