It seems that I am very late to this party. I’ve been watching the 2007 South Korean drama, Coffee Prince, on Hulu. It’s the story of about a dozen people — from three generations — in a Seoul neighborhood who come together to renew a failing cafe and who actually renew each other.
As with the several other Korean dramas I’ve watched, the pilot is somewhat silly by sophisticated Hollywood standards, but the series grows with depth and insight over the first few hours. (Incidentally, the MBS-sponsored subtitles can be pretty interesting, too, like “tomboy,” for a female who isn’t obsessed with marriage, and “shaken,” meaning the moment of being attracted to someone new.)
Over a quarter million people have watched this fan-produced video, which combines the song “Across the Ocean” by American duo Azure Ray — used twice in the series — with scenes of cafe owner Han Kyul and “tomboy” Eun Chan from the middle episodes.
I am, again, fascinated by the way this series integrates universal emotions — captured with quite a bit of subtlety — with the resistance to South Korean cultural expectations about men and women, parental respect, and class distinctions.