First Impression: Queen Cheorin

Drama Profile

Title: Queen Cheorin (Literal Title) / Mr. Queen (English Title
Main Cast: Shin Hye-sun, Kim Jung-hyun
Writer: Park Gye-ok (Doctor Prisoner), Cho Ah-il
PD: Yoon Seong-sik (Babel / Hwarang)
Timeslot: Saturday and Sunday / 21:00H
Network: tvN
Episodes: 20
Genre: Fantasy comedy

Plot Synopsis:

Blue House chef Jang Bong-hwan suddenly found himself trapped inside the body of a Joseon Queen consort, Queen Cheo-rin. As he tries to figure out how to go back to the present time, he has to pretend as Cheo-rin from the time being. But in the process, he will get entangled with politicking in the palace and the affairs of Cheo-rin’s betrothed-turned-consort, King Cheol-jong.

Major trope: Body swap, Time slip

Maknae’s Impression:

I’ve been anticipating the premiere of this drama ever since I’ve watched its hilarious teasers. Also, who wouldn’t be intrigued by its plot? Arrogant Blue House chef trapped in a Joseon Queen’s body. That’s just really right up to my alley. Fortunately, Queen Cheorin made good on its promise to bring laughter from its hilarious sequences and intrigue me with its reeling story introduction.

Shin Hye-sun is superb in her role as Kim So-yong/Queen Cheo-rin. Her big body movements look natural and it perfectly match Choi Jin-hyuk’s voice over for Jang Bong-hwan. Aside from the initial hilarity brought upon by the body-swapping introduction, I’m also quite interested in knowing more about Kim So-yong’s story. Most of the scenes in the premiere week uses Jang Bong-hwan’s point of view, who is an outsider to what was really happening in Joseon. His knowledge is based solely on what he read in history books. And surely, those history books were written by the victors.

As seen, King Cheol-jong (Kim Jung-hyun) is not the simpleton King depicted in the history books. It appears that he’s pretending to be a puppet king to rage a war against the corrupt and power-greed clans. But his motives and plans are still unknown. Actually, few things baffles me about King Choel-jong. First, his nightmares. What is that tragic scene that’s been bothering him in his dreams? Second is this line from episode two: “don’t let your personal feelings get in the way.” This happened before he chases Cheo-rin to “kill/silence” her. It totally threw me off. His feelings will get in the way??? I thought he despises Cheo-rin because she’s from the Andong Kim Clan. The night of Cheo-rin’s lake accident probably holds the answer to that question.

Despite it being a comedy first and foremost, there were still some scenes that felt like a presage to some dramatic secret reveals. Hopefully, the politicking wouldn’t get too serious that it’ll dampen the humor of this series. It has been a long time since I got a good genuine laugh during a series’ premiere week. Also, one wouldn’t cast Shin Hye-sun and Kim Jung-hyun as leads if they don’t need actors who can do both comedy and tear-jerking scenes.

Another thing I fret about is how they’ll wrap this all up. I got some heartaches from fusion series I’ve watched in the past because of their not-so-happy endings. Case in point: Splash Splash Love and Rooftop Prince. All of the leads in those series never ended up together. Sure, they met the reincarnation of their beloveds from Joseon but it’s not the same as getting a straightforward ‘and-they-live-happily-ever-after.’ In this series, I’m guessing the real Cheo-rin and Cheol-gong will end up together. But I wonder how they will go with that route, knowing it is Jang Bong-hwan and not Cheo-rin herself that spends important interactions with Cheol-jong.  I wonder if her consciousness will take over Jang Bong-hwan from time to time? Just like when he gets some heartburn after remembering bits of Cheo-rin’s memories.

But overall, it was an impressive debut for Queen Cheo-rin. My curiosity was piqued and I’m itching to know more about their story.

Afterthoughts:

-Their scenes are mostly funny more than romantic but they have chemistry!!!!

-Cheo-rin, a “freedom” fighter since the Joseon era.

-Choi Jin-hyuk has been doing a lot of things lately.

-I wonder if I should use their real names? Yi Weon-beom or Kim So-young?

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