BY HanCinema | Dec 18, 2016 04:37 AM EST
The romantic comedy genre is a place of comfort for audiences. It is a place where a couple can be happy and with few problems, but also one where life is easier for everyone. Romantic comedy has had its ups and downs in Korean drama, and the industry's love for the melodramatic has been an issue. "Shopping King Louis" is a series which aims for genre purity.
Louis/Kang Ji-seong (Seo In-guk) is a shoppaholic "prince in a tower". When his grandmother, who sent him abroad to protect him from her perceived bad luck throws a party for him back in Korea, Louis has an accident and loses his memory. When Go Bok-sil (Nam Ji-hyeon), a country girl who has come to Seoul looking for her lost brother discovers Louis in her brother's clothing, she decides to stay with him until he gets his memory back.
When I started watching "Shopping King Louis", I did not expect a lot. Having witnessed the decay of the romantic comedy genre in Korean drama over the last few years, I had little hope that the upbeat tone and endearing story would remain untainted throughout. The drama has proven me wrong, however and this is one of its greatest strengths. It stays within its genre and even enriches it.
In fact, I could write volumes about all the lovely ways in which the series subverts tropes and defies expectations, despite its seemingly cliche premise and often predictable outcomes. There is just a human, warm touch about the story that sucks you in and gives you something good, rather than something solely designed to keep your attention. The series has some lovely relationships and characters beyond the romantic pairing, providing great world building and meaningful messages.
If there is one thing to complain about regarding the great ensemble cast, it would be that not every character and subplot is handled with the same care. We have a standard mean-spirited second female lead who could have been developed and used well. Some of the side characters' stories lose their purpose at times and are given a hasty resolution, which is a shame to witness after having fallen for them.
This is something which could have been handled better, especially given the drama's length, which is my second issue. The plot tends to get repetitive and dawdle at times, especially near the end of the series. The story does rely on the everyday life of its characters a lot, which makes some of its less fast-paced parts enjoyable, but its story is clearly fit for a shorter duration.
Whatever grievances I personally have with "Shopping King Louis" are small and the series owes that to its wonderful atmosphere, lovely cast and lovable characters. It sneaks in social commentary, thoughts on love and life and it does all of this with apparent respect for its audience. It is a sweet little story that will stay with me for a long time.
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