Korean Drama Review: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop vs Big

Are these secretly the same show? Let’s compare. Here are two fan made trailers to start.

The Characters:
Both feature a heroine who is studying for her civil service exam to become a teacher. She is (as most drama heroines are) very innocent and also quite “tough”.
This teacher encounters a student at the high school where she is doing her student teacher training. They meet before she realizes he is a student. In both of these dramas this student is returning from a period of time abroad in States. He is cocky, flirtatious, and drives her “crazy” in the classroom and out.
The other romantic character to fill the need for a classic love triangle, is an older, more mature man with more direction in his life. In Ramyun Shop, it is a half Japanese chef, in Big it is a doctor.
Spoilers: in both dramas these two romantic rivals also turn out to be half brothers.
There is also a younger brother character in both these dramas who is quite dumb and immature. I suppose he is supposed to be a foil for the “mature” high schooler presented by the male lead. This brother character also comes in to scoop up the teenage girl who is our heroine’s romantic rival. In Ramyun Shop, he’s more of a childhood friend, in Big, he is a literal younger brother.

Setting: both involve a high school where our heroine and romantic hero meet and clash. They also. Are set around a restaurant owned by the heroine’s father. Ramyun Shop uses this setting more fully, as a major plot involves the heroine and second male lead running the shop. Both settings also involve a “chaste opposite gender roommates” situation.

Plot: ultimately, both shows mainly revolve their plot around the heroine choosing between these two romantic rivals. Ultimately, she makes the worst decision in both shows. The second male lead who is (always) the best choice becomes passive for the majority of the show. In Ramyun Shop it’s because he’s a nice guy who doesn’t want to put pressure on the heroine and also fears hurting the male lead for spoiler related reasons. In Big, he’s in a convenient coma.

Both also involve a romantic subplot between a teacher friend of the heroine and the gym teacher. I guess guys in track suits also need love?

Plot twist- Big is romantic/fantasy involving a body swapping plot. I think this was necessary because as an audience no one could believe that the heroine would be falling in love with anyone else if Gong Yoo is around. Back me up ladies.

Ultimately, neither show had a particularly satisfying ending. I suppose Ramyun Shop gives us some hope fore the future regarding the jerk face male lead. Big is also hopeful, but leaves many loose ends.

The tone is what makes these shows different. Ramyun Shop is more broadly comic, with little references to other dramas. Big is comedic at times, but more earnest and it’s a show that believes in miracles and romance.

the Results:

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop:

Throat punch factor: 7 (see lines like “How could I love a girl who isn’t as pretty as I am?” From the male lead).

Feminist Factor: 5

Overall enjoyment: 6.5


Throat punch Factor: 4 (our male lead has really experienced severe trauma, so he is much more sympathetic, but  still has some little teen tantrums.)

Feminist Factor: 6 (our heroine has a more active role, and in a roundabout way, the show brings up issues about the Korean stigmas of singleness and divorce for women, but doesn’t seriously challenge them).

Overall enjoyment: 8

You’ll just have to watch for yourself and see which show you think wears it better. I personally favored Big, but let me know what you thought in the comments.


The Trouble with Co-Teaching

I like my coteacher, but the co system at my hagwon is deeply flawed. The Korean teacher is often help responsible for the actions of the foreign teacher’s actions. However, the foreign teacher is often left out of communication with parents and administrative staff, so they are not aware that there is a problem until it has escalated.
Today, without me knowing anything was happening, two of my class mothers came to see our director for a lengthy discussion that involved watching cctv footage from my class as well as from playtime. My coteacher was in the room with them, but I didn’t even know there was going to be a meeting.
Imagine my panic when another foreign teacher says, “Hey, why are they watching the cctv from your class in the office?” I didn’t know which parents were there or what the issue was. Even as a teacher who is generally adored by my students and has seen their test scores have measured improvement, I was extremely worried. Especially because some of my parents are extremely nit picking.
I was later told that they were investigating an accusation two students made that the problem student in my class had been hitting them at playtime. The teacher who told me this was not my coteacher. It information from another Korean teacher. The whole problem is that she knew more about my class than I did.
Later when I mentioned this to our education director who was a part of this meeting, she brushed me off.
“It was nothing about you. The mothers aren’t complaining about you, ” she told me.
“But they’re my class. I just spent the entire day worrying. I didn’t know if it was about me or not. I didn’t know anything,” I told her.
“Everything is being taken care of, so you don’t have to worry. ”
I constantly feel talked around when it comes to my students, as if information is constantly being withheld or even hidden from me. When the director, my ,and I meet about something, they constantly break off and discuss things with each other in Korean. They know my Korean is basic. I politely try to remind them that I am still there by picking out things that I understand from their conversation and bringing it up in English. “Oh, you’re talking about the homework, well…”
It is as if my coteacher is the primary instructor. I spend 90% of the day with those kids. She spends maybe 15-20% of hers with them. She is the co for more than one class. She spends most of her day fending off phone calls from parents and filling out paperwork. She makes schedules and book orders, for which I am deeply grateful. But I am the homeroom teacher. I should not be left out of any conversation about them.
I have less than two months left in my contract. It’s issues like this that led me to decline extending my contract. If I were staying with this school longer, I would probably fight harder about this too. At this point, it’s not really worth the fight, but I will mention it to our head teacher, because in spite of the fact that I don’t love kindergarten, I do care about these kids.