Mr. Queen, the ninth highest-rated cable drama in Korean historic previous, couldn’t present further delights if it tried (and oh, does it try). Consuming any piece of in type media consists of the burden of expectation: might this presumably be as superb as its reputation claims? Does it really must be a excessive 10 Okay-Drama? With regards to Mr. Queen, set these worries aside and bask in all of the issues a fan might ask for along with all of the belongings you didn’t know you needed: a historic setting replete with palace intrigue, a reluctant romance, body-swapping time journey, and a romance someplace on the queer spectrum. Created by Studio Dragon, one in all Korea’s most prestigious manufacturing companies, all 20 episodes of Mr. Queen may be discovered on Netflix, and the place has this drama been all of our lives? (To be trustworthy, the sequence aired in Korea from December 2020 until February 2021. Nonetheless for an experience this elegant, two years was an unfairly very very long time to attend.)
What Is ‘Mr. Queen’ About?
Meet Jang Bong-hwan (Choi Jin-hyuk): a Twenty first-century cooking prodigy with an ego as boundless as a result of the ocean and a womanizing reputation to match. He’s the affluent head chef for the South Korean president, so his suave conceitedness, although eyeroll-inducing, is just not with out benefit. Nonetheless, Bong-hwan’s hubris will get him in, ahem, scorching water politically, and he almost drowns in his residence swimming pool whereas working from the police. When Bong-hwan wakes up from the accident, he’s in a definite physique and a definite time interval: a woman’s physique by the 1800s Joseon dynasty, to be precise. To make points way more refined, the physique he inhabits belongs to the controversial queen of Joseon, Kim So-yong (Shin Hye-sun). To survive the cutthroat world of palace politics, Bong-hwan ought to resolve the supernatural thriller behind this physique swap and deal with King Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun), his utterly irritating husband who has secrets and techniques and strategies of his private.
To be trustworthy, neither historic romances nor the physique/soul-swap is new creative flooring. Nonetheless Mr. Queen’s thought could be very ineffable. For one, it’s provided by the use of the lens of Studio Dragon’s extreme manufacturing price and executed with an expertly comedic contact that maximizes its potential. The scripts steadiness the tone as effortlessly as Bong-hwan chops greens, shifting between outrageous comedy (one has to marvel how the actors managed to movie with straight faces) and easily the proper amount of severity.
The Performances Take ‘Mr. Queen’ to One different Stage
Mr. Queen stays a comedy at coronary coronary heart, though, and triumphantly so, on account of actress Shin Hye-sun collaborating in Bong-hwan in So-yong’s physique. To call her a revelation is an understatement incarnate. Shin was nominated for Best Television Actress on the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards, and it’s easy to see why inside just one episode. Choi Jin-hyuk is just not onscreen as Bong-hwan for prolonged, nevertheless his effectivity sufficiently and memorably conveyed his character quirks. Shin wouldn’t merely mimic Choi’s mannerisms nevertheless inhabits them. Her copy of Choi’s extravagant alpha male physique language, smug little smirks, impossibly expressive eyebrows, and customary demeanor is solely uncanny. Consider the two actors side-by-side, and the transition from Choi to Shin might almost be invisible.
On account of he’s such a privileged modern man, Bong-hwan refusing to appease the sexist expectations of the Joseon courtroom is hysterical and satisfying multi operate. Obeying such pointers wouldn’t even occur to him. An precise queen would have been deposed, executed, or tucked out of sight for Bong-hwan-as-So-yong’s habits, however it absolutely’s fiercely gratifying to look at a woman’s persona soar by the use of Korea’s strongest patriarchal hierarchy with no care on the earth. Bong-hwan-as-So-yong can flirt with ladies, insult her husband, melodramatically hog the spotlight, cuss in public, steal the palace chef’s job (there’s a McDonald’s advert placement that locations all totally different advert placements to shame), and man-spread like there is no tomorrow. Between Shin’s outward effectivity and Choi’s interior monologue, it’s inconceivable to dislike Bong-hwan — although finding out how restrictive Joseon life was for women helps his set off. His lessening conceitedness in tandem alongside together with his rising empathy displays itself by the use of quieter moments as a substitute of flashing neon indicators, even when Bong-hwan’s adequate of a dummy that it takes swapping our our bodies with a cis woman for him to achieve that character development. (Hey, irrespective of works.)
Reward for Shin aside, her co-lead is way from a slouch. After stealing scenes and breaking hearts as Gu Seung-jun, the second romantic lead of Crash Landing on You, Kim Jung-hyun landed the primary man place he deserved in Cheoljong along with one which develops his current strengths. His precise comedic timing proves a match for Shin (clearly no easy course of). And as quickly as Cheoljong’s secret intentions are revealed as honorable and liberating, what further may one ask for of their romantic hero? Proper right here is the nation’s strongest man in title, nevertheless in actuality a puppet king who’s battling in direction of his private sociopolitical and ideological confines. He has frequent nightmares; he falls in sudden love with the queen he despised; he’s tender, and stuffed with adequate craving to burst (with a healthful dash of harmless sexual frustration that merely makes him further endearing).
The Romance Isn’t Fully Queer, nevertheless It’s Moreover a Step Forward
Whether or not or not Mr. Queen counts as a queer romance is debatable. Ultimately, whereas imperfect, it’s further of a “positive and no” than an “each/or.” Shin and Kim’s chemistry make for one in all Okay-Drama’s most interesting romantic pairings, undoubtedly. So-yong’s recollections and love for Cheoljong overlap with Bong-hwan’s private feelings and type a mesh that’s not cleanly separated into “heterosexual love” and “unintended queer love that could be a byproduct of a physique swap.” Bong-hwan demonstrates adequate of his private curiosity in Cheoljong that it’ll most likely undoubtedly be study as a bisexual awakening, significantly since Bong-hwan’s consciousness is the one throughout the driver’s seat 99% of the time. Cheoljong, within the meantime, falls for the woman he believes to be So-yong, however the character belongs to an individual.
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