First Impression: Da-li and Cocky Prince

Drama Profile

Title: Dali and Cocky Prince (English title) / Dal-ri and Gamjatang (literal title)
Main Cast: Kim Min-jae, Park Gyu-young, Kwon Yul, Hwang Hee, Yeonwoo
Writer: Son Eun-hye, Park Se-eun
PD: Lee Jung-sub (Angel’s Last Mission: Love, Queen For Seven Days, Healer)
Timeslot: Wednesday and Thursday 21:30H
Network: KBS2TV
Episodes: 16
Genre: Romantic comedy

Plot Synopsis:

A strong-willed rags-to-riches restaurant owner’s son meets the only daughter of an upper-class family who is faced with bankruptcy due to her father’s sudden death. And they begin a relationship as a creditor and debtor over an art gallery.

Major Trope: Opposites Attract, Whodunit

Grumpy’s First Impression

This fall is teeming with great dramas, many of which are airing back-to-back. Da-li and Cocky Prince is one of the most recent addition to the long list of K-dramas which premiered just last month. If you’re a fan of light romantic comedies with no emotional investments, this KBS drama will steal your heart from the start. The drama began with an unusual premise and remained entertaining throughout the first two episodes.

The pilot week introduced the “cocky prince” Jin Moo-hak (Kim Min-jae) and the heroine Kim Da-li (Park Gyu-young) in a hilarious setting. We get to know Moo-hak as the business titan disciplining non-other than Chef Hong Seok-cheon (!!!!) following a gamtajang (spicy Korean pork bone stew) tasting session. This guy appears to be obsessed with gamtajang, even calculating everything with bowls of gamtajang. And even though he may come off as a typical nouveau riche cheapskate, Moo-hak deserves credit for his perseverance. I’m a bit worried about his poor character judgment though, as he only debates about money against those who are under him – but he easily caves into someone when it involves emotion. He is a skilled money-maker who was on his way to the Netherlands to secure an investment contract, but because loaned 2-million dollars to an art gallery owner (later revealed as Da-li’s father) endorsed by his shady half-brother Jin Ki-cheol (Lee Je-yeon), he is now caught off-guard and on the brink of his father’s wrath. Of course, there’s the cliche setup of a father canceling all of his credit cards, leaving a penniless Moo-hak stranded in a foreign country.

On the other side of the world, Kim Da-li is a researcher at a Dutch art center. An art nerd herself, she appears to be a workaholic who frequently skips meals. And because she was overworked, her boss literally threw her out of the gallery. LOL. What an awesome boss! Da-li is everything that Moo-hak is not – and the show didn’t even blink in portraying the stark contrast of the life they live. Da-li is the old money princess who received the best education and privilege of a lifetime. Her father is a well-known philanthropist and owns the prestigious Cheongseong Museum of Art. And despite all these, she grew up into a fine, reserved young woman whose life revolves around art.

And even though this drama is as tropey as it gets, I had fun watching the mistaken identity chaos unfold. Moo-hak arrives at the airport and is picked up by Da-li, who was tasked to fetch a famous art critic Jin Hitonari. She chooses the wrong Mr. Jin, and the two of them end up at an extravagant art appreciation party – which, of course, means chaos.

It was opposites attract through and through, with the drama hitting the right timing in its comedic parts. I didn’t expect, however, that there’s a bit of mystery in the plot. The gallery employees of Da-li’s father are also suspicious, specially Gong-joo (Song Ji-won). Almost all of the main characters have been established in the second episode. Moo-hak’s stepbrother brother knew Da-li’s father and was even present when he died. This bothered me the most – why on earth nobody knew he was with Chairman Kim during his last moments? Was it really a natural death or was he killed? He was clearly talking to another person when he fell on the floor. Ah, dramas and their intentional vague execution.

The world-building was decent enough and now, I can’t wait to get to know our major players. Moo-hak was made to believe that he was duped by Da-li and is now obsessed with locating Da-li. Not just that – he also faces the immense pressure of getting the money he loaned to Da-li’s dead father! Together with his secretary and some allied gangsters, he storms up to Cheongseong Museum of Art to collect the debt from Chairman Kim’s daughter. The real story begins with Moo-hak needing to recover his investment sum from Da-li.

G’s Alley

🎨 Grumpy tidbit: The drama used the Netherlands as a significant setting for Da-li and Cocky Prince, but in reality, it’s just shot locally! Some of the beautiful sceneries and locations used in the drama were Mimesis Art Museum, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Imsil Cheese Theme Park, and Gyeonggi English Village – Paju, among others!

🎨 This drama isn’t earphone-friendly! Moo-tak is a loud voice machine that shouts every chance he gets. Also, his secretary is so extra!

🎨 Hmmmm, are we getting three male leads for Da-li here? First love (and almost hubby) Jang Tae-jin (Kwon Yul) and childhood friend Joo Won-tak (Hwang-hee)??? Moo-hak’s got some serious competition!

🎨 The set design and costume styling for this drama deserves a raise! Park Gyu-young is also really pretty as Da-li!

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