All the regular readers of Hallyudorama must have known by now that I am a big TVXQ/DBSK/Tohoshinki fan, which therefore, is the main reason why I started watching the sageuk fusion drama, Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Park Yoochun, who is now member of the trio JYJ, played the male lead role, scholar Lee Seon Joon who is probably the most good-looking nerd ever. However, as the drama progressed, I was surprised at how good it was in terms of plot and character development. I initially thought that it will be an F4 meets You’re Beautiful or Hana Kimi kind of drama because they said that it will be story of a girl who pretended to be a boy to be able enter a university during the time when women were not allowed to study. However, this drama turned out to be much more complicated and exciting. I fell for it, hook, line and sinker and I want other drama watchers to give this drama a chance. It may not be the highest rater in its timeslot because it went against the other historical drama Dong Yi but definitely Sungkyunkwan Scandal is a gem of its own. Here are the reasons why you should watch Sungkyunkwan Scandal.
1. They have good looking actors.
Okay, no need to deny, I want eye candies when I watch my dramas. I already said that I love Park Yoochun but Yoo Ah In who played the rebel Moon Jae Shin and Song Joong Ki, the flamboyant Gu Yong Ha, definitely caught my attention as well. I didn’t even realize that Yoo Ah In was the young boxer in the movie Antique Bakery (starring Joo Ji Hoon) until a friend pointed it out. The scenes where he showed how much he cares for Kim Yoon Shik even though he’s hiding behind a tough façade were so adorable. Yeah, some women like bad guys and I think he’s a perfect example. On the other hand, Song Joong Ki was so funny being the scheming Gu Yong Ha. I initially thought of him as being one of the troublemakers because he wanted to dig and reveal Kim Yoon Shik’s secret but as the story moved forward, his intelligence and loyalty proved to be one of a kind and it save them from a lot of trouble.
Park Min Young as Kim Yoon Shik/Kim Yoon Hee was not really convincing as a guy because she was so small. However, she was dubbed as the pretty boy so I guess that made up for her less than satisfactory pretense to be of the opposite gender. But if she looked very masculine, do you think Lee Seon Joon will fall for her? Hmmm…I don’t think so.
2. It depicted the Joseon society as it was.
This drama had no fear in showing the negative aspects of the Korean society. Usually, Korean dramas tend to show the glossy and oh-so-beautiful side of Korea as part of their strategy to market their country and attract tourists. It was obviously effective seeing the sheer number of tourists, which visit their country every year just to tour the drama filming sites. However, Sungkyunkwan Scandal was an exception because it tackled the issues that still persist in the modern Korean society such as the unequal status of men and women, corruption and poverty. In short, it is a social commentary infused in a drama full of cute guys (and a pretty girl).
3. It gave free Confucian lessons.
We all know how confusing Confucian teachings could be especially if you did not grow learning about him and just heard about him in high school. However, this drama was able to explain the teachings in a manner that would make you easily understand what he was talking about through the different scenarios presented in each episode. I especially loved the way Kim Yoon Shik and Lee Seon Joon quoted different Confucian phrases and used it to explain their point during arguments. Sometimes I just have to press “pause” to digest every sentence but in the end, it was mentally satisfying.
4. It shows that fathers only want the best for their children.
If I have to choose what are my favorite scenes from the drama aside from the Lee Seon Joon and Kim Yoon Shik interaction, I would have to say that I love it when Lee Seon Joon talks to his father, the Left Prime Minister. Their relationship was so precious and you can clearly see that Seon Joon holds his father with high regard. He would not grow up as a man of principle if it were not for him. Their relationship was not perfect, there were misunderstandings and there was one point when Seon Joon turned against his father. Everything worked out in the end though and I was happy that things are not always what they seem to be.
Another scene that really tugged my heartstrings was when Kim Yoon Shik learned that her father was reading and teaching her all along while she was on the other side of the door. Women were not allowed to study during their time but her father recognized her intelligence. He pretended that he was teaching her brother by reciting the Confucian analects out loud and listening to her repeat them after him.
5. The Lee Seon Joon-Kim Yoon Shik pairing is the perfect OTP.
When it was still showing, there was a debate going on as to whom Kim Yoon Shik should end up with. Some fans rooted for Moon Jae Shin with his oh-so-rogue attitude but with a kind heart. Who wouldn’t swoon over the times he protected Yoon Shik? However this time, I rooted for the nerdy Seon Joon who is perfect for the intelligent Yoon Shik. Their intellectual exchange of words never ceases to amaze me. Plus, only Yoon Shik would be able to appreciate Seon Joon’s love letters that were inserted in their books at the library (how nerdy could you get? that scene really drove me crazy…) Besides, I believe that the Jae Shin and Yong Ha bromance is better. Hahaha!
So there, I enumerated some of the reasons why you shouldn’t miss out this drama. There’s a lot more that I can say but I’m afraid I will spill out more details and will ruin the story for you. Some people had issues with the ending and even I felt that it was a little bit too rushed. However, watching this drama is an adventure in itself and a not-so-satisfying ending (according to some people) should not stop you from discovering the real potential of this drama.