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.

1 Comment

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