This is a pure-hearted drama you never knew you needed.
I totally had no idea what Shopaholic Louis was all about when I started watching it. All I knew then was it was the Seon In-guk/Nam Ji-hyun drama I skipped over for no apparent reason. Fast forward to 2020 and I found myself cackling over its humorous sequences and ridiculous characters.
Shopaholic Louis’ plot was simple: rich guy meets poor girl in a classic K-drama fashion filled with cliché tropes like amnesia, innocent co-habitation, love triangles, and hidden past. Sounds like melodramatic K-drama with kimchi slap and water dousing moments, right? But no, Shopaholic Louis didn’t take itself too seriously. They mashed all those tropes and created 16-episode of lighthearted fun.
I knew Seo In-guk could throw some comic lines here and there but he transformed into his silliest persona through Louis/Kang Ji-sung. He’s so cute playing the role of this sheltered heir. His facial expressions and the way he talked were so innocent and done in an almost juvenile way. I think Seo In-guk studied this character well since the way he portrayed Louis was so different from his previous characters’ images.
A romantic pairing wouldn’t be effective without an equally interesting female lead. Ko Bok-sil was that poor but bubbly optimist character you can’t help but cheer for. Nam Ji-hyun has a lot of experience at this point so it wasn’t surprising at all that she looked so natural playing this type of character.
What shocked me though was her adorable chemistry with Seo In-guk. It wasn’t just their romance but with their other non-romantic scenes as well. I laughed with them when they got themselves in absurdly funny situations. I sympathize with them when family and adulting woes got in the way of their young love. They transformed those puerile and very much unlikely plots into convincing scenarios. They were good acting partners.
Another thing that put Shopaholic Louis in my good book was their filler subplots. Cha Joong-won (Yoon Sang-hyun) was supposed to be the second lead in the series but I never felt any threats from him. I couldn’t imagine him stealing Bok-sil away from Ji-sung for real. He felt more like a godfather than the second option. I also enjoyed watching his time with his family. His mother Shin Young-ae (Kim Bo-yeon), in particular, made me laugh quite a few times in this series. She and the other moms: Hong Jae-sook (Yun Yoo-sun) and Hwang Geum-ja (Hwang Young-hee) were just so entertaining to watch. Too bad, this trio only got a few scenes.
Aside from the main pair, this drama also has two other pairings. Baek Ma-ri (Lee Se-mi) and Jo In-sung (Oh Dae-hwan) was just okay for me to be honest. Heo Jung-ran and Kim Ho-joon, on the other hand, were funny. Maybe because it was played by Kim Sun-young and Eom Hye-seop; two veteran actors I’ve seen in almost every K-dramas out there. I really love Kim Sun-young she could be funny, annoying, and endearing. All of these side characters helped take the entertainment level of Ji-sung and Bok-sil’s higher.
This was certainly a case of watching the right K-drama at the right moment. I started this one after watching two borderline-makjang old dramas and its lighthearted humorous plot was a very much welcome change. I suddenly missed innocent K-dramas like this; a series that didn’t take itself seriously. Even its main conflict was tackled in jest. It offered escapism through it naïve plots and narrative clichés.
-Halmeoni Kim Young-ok is here! But her character’s death was so unnecessary
-Kim Hye-yoon is here too!
-Kang Ji-sub’s an eye-candy sangnamja throughout the series
-Kim Byung-chul is also here but he’s not scary at all. Can you believe?!
[Image Credit: MBC]