dangermousie: (Coffee Prince hug by alexandral)
[personal profile] dangermousie
I was thinking about the delicious Coffee Prince, which I never really metaed properly much as I loved it, and I wanted to talk about something in it that I especially adore: the attitude to love, the sort of ‘however odd, and untraditional it is, whether it works out or not, you are better off for having it.’

If you look about it, each of the couples is untraditional.

We have the main OTP, Han Kyul and Eun Chae. HK falls for her even when he thinks Eun Chae is a guy. And he struggles with it and struggles with such a major redefinition of everything about himself (it's a hell of a thing to discover at 30 you are gay or bi instead of straight) but ultimately he gives in, and his love confession to Eun Chae starts with his telling her he doesn't care if EC is a guy, a girl, or an alien. Because really, if you think about it, what matters is he loves EC, whoever she happens to be. And even later, once he finds out she is a girl, there isn't an automatic relief, but instead anger because of being lied to, because what matters are not labels but the parameters of a relationship. In a good relationship you don't lie to each other, not 'dating a girl is automatically better than dating a boy.' And even once it all is straightened out, they are hardly a traditional couple. EC still looks and acts like a boy, she is not interested in marriage, she is definitely untraditional. And yet however weird they are compared to a 'normal' couple, they clearly work together and are happy together. It works for them, which is all that matters.

But they are not the only couple in the drama which is like this. In fact, all couples in the drama are either untraditional or proof that it's better to have loved, no matter what, no matter how useless.

The secondary OTP, Han Sung and Yoo Ju, are also like that: they have an untraditional relationship, they break up and get back together, they are both excited and terrified by an upcoming baby, they are flawed together and they can't live without each other. Their problems don't magically disappear by the end but it's clear that they are happier together, that they love each other, that this is the most important relationship in their lives, that they will keep working on it, and being together until they die.

Or Waffle Sunki, who spent all these years loving the older, married, abused woman. It was never going to work out, but the grace is in trying, isn't it? I love the bit where he tells the story of how when she was hiding in his house, her abusive husband came looking for her and tried to start a fight with him. And his listeners expect to him to tell how he totalled the other guy, but he says he just let the husband beat him because he knew if he redecorated the husband's face, it would be the worse for the woman. And yet, you know, it doesn't work out. She doesn't decide to leave her husband or family and be with him. Sometimes it just won't work out, but that isn't the point, the point is in being able to love. And love again. That is why the ending with Sunki and the new waffle girl, and the hopefulness of it, the new beginning, his having a new and happy love story, is one of my favorite things about the ending.

In a way, it's like the story with Manager Hong, and that woman he loved who lied and stole from him. He is still better off for having felt that, and has no bitterness over it. Or Eun Chae's widowed mother finding new love with the neighbor, or even Eun Chae's high-maintenance sister and her dopey, sweet boyfriend. Or Harim and his playboy ways being bowled over by that girl he ends up dating.

But that is the thing, it's all about being open to new love or untraditional love. And yet the people are 'modified' by it, but they don't redo their entire natures for it. They are bettered, not made over. Han Sung still shuts off periodically, Yoo-Ju gets too absorbed in her work, Eun Chae's sister is flighty, Eun Chae is prosaic and dresses as a boy, Harim has an eye for girls, Han Kyul is hot-tempered, Sunki has a 'don't get too close' demeanor etc etc, but they are all more caring, happier, better people.

I have no idea if what I am saying even makes sense. Ah well...

Date: 2008-02-02 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fenrir-khan.livejournal.com
Okay. I love you for this.

What touched me about CP is the fact that the relationships depicted are neither over the top in the angst department nor smooth sailing.
The hero and the heroine finding each other doesn't coincide with a miraculous resolution of all their problems. Rather, it's the beginning of their troubles: finding out that the things that matter most do not come easily. CP took an assertion that is so very commonplace ('if you want it --and you know you do--, you have to work for it) and turned into a refreshing voyage of self-discovery.

Dramas often go on and on about defining relationships and loves that make you who you are, some sort of revised paragon. Coffee Prince is about finding someone with whom you can be who you are and who you can be.

Date: 2008-02-03 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com

And I really loved your take on it: how being in love allows you to reach your potential, not to change who you are entirely.

Date: 2008-02-03 12:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shinystory.livejournal.com
Yes, actually. They are always who they are, and it's one of the things that I really love about it.

Date: 2008-02-03 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
I really liked how realistic it was, in that way.

Date: 2008-02-03 04:24 am (UTC)
ext_21353: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kittykatz.livejournal.com
Actually you made plenty of sense. I think Coffee Prince did an excellent, realistic view on relationships which people were more able to relate to, which is why everyone loves it so..

Date: 2008-02-04 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
Yup, exactly. It felt real.

Date: 2008-02-03 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joonni.livejournal.com
You make perfect sense! Ah,yes, really, there were some interesting relationships. They weren't all nice, but they all were wonderful to watch because you saw people grow and change within them.

Thanks for putting this together!

Date: 2008-02-04 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangermousie.livejournal.com
I really loved how everyone changed but was still believable as the people they started out as.


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