Photo: Courtesy of Coffee Prince.
Full disclosure: We love TV. So much so that sometimes we'd rather spend a whole weekend in front of the tube than dancing at da club until 3 a.m. The lack of any kind of television service holding you back from feeling our joy? No problem! You can get by just fine on Netflix, Hulu, and myriad other streaming services rapidly taking over the home-entertainment industry (thank you, Internet!).
Some shows are just better when binge-watched. Whether it's the latest BBC comedy, a PBS miniseries from the '70s, or just that cultish show prematurely scrubbed from a network — we're hooked on the stream. So, we're unrolling Staying In(stant), a new feature highlighting the best of streaming content. Each week, we bring you a show we're obsessed with and think you should be, too.
This week? The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince — the Korean version of "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)."
Where To Watch: Hulu
How I Got Hooked: My relationship with Korean dramas is a rocky and dysfunctional one. Typically, I start one when I'm feeling lousy (whether due to a bout of swine flu — that's when I started Boys Over Flowers — or afflicted with SAD, which was how I started Shut Up Flower Boy Band), and The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince happened when I was going through a particularly soul-crushing breakup. Korean dramas are my version of Alanis Morissette or Ben & Jerry's. They totally indulge any melancholy or dramatic feelings I might have, and this one really takes the cake. There's lots of drawn-out confessions of love, a cross-dressing tomboy, a really great makeover montage, and k.i.s.s.i.n.g. (and for anyone who's a fan of K-dramas or Victorian romances, you know how satisfying any encounter more intimate than an across-the-room eye lock can be). With some pretty strong-handed themes of filial responsibility and romantic deception, it's total emotional candy that I eat up like it's my job. Can't stop. Won't stop.
Best Episode: Episode 11. Beginning with a kiss and ending with one, too, this episode basically goes through the entire roller-coaster ride that is an unstable relationship — I think I watched the entire episode with a Kleenex in one hand and my other raised up in a "I feel you
girl boy girl" pose. Lovers leaving lovers. An emotional gun-down by a deceived coworker. A brave moment between two guys in bowl cuts. Face punching. Sad people sitting on the ground. This episode has got it all.
Why You'll Love It: You might not. If you can't stand rom-coms, if you're easily annoyed with sweeping violin interludes and wobbly lower lips, this will not be your cup of tea (or coffee). But, if this kind of emotional manipulation sounds like a good time for you, Coffee Prince has all the hallmarks of an excellent Korean drama while also pushing certain boundaries (the acceptance of homosexuality in this series was a really powerful moment in Korean pop culture). It's pure entertainment, served with extra foam.