When I was in high school, I discovered Boys Over Flowers when Netflix suggested it to me as a show with a “Strong Female Lead.” I thought it looked really good, so I started watching it and soon convinced my sister to watch it with me. We were absolutely hooked. We even promised that neither one of us would watch ahead, even though we weren’t able to keep it. I still remember the scene where Jan-Di speaks to a fortune teller and discovers that she is on the island with her soul-mate and her future husband because I was shipping her with the best friend so hard.
A few years later, during my early college years, I felt nostalgic and decided to rewatch it. I enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first time. However, a few months ago, I started watching the first episode of Meteor Man on Netflix and I turned it off after the main female character dropped a cake on the dude. You see, prior to this, I hadn’t known that Meteor Man was an adaptation of the Hana Yori Dango story, just like Boys Over Flowers, and it was a little disappointing. Truth be told, I’ve read the original Japanese manga, the Korean adaptation of the manga, and seen the Korean drama twice, so I know the story pretty well, and the problems I have with it are pretty consistent across the brand.
If you have seen my post about the Five Drama Tropes that I dislike the most, then you know that most of those tropes are present in Boys Over Flowers. The manipulative love interest, the nice guy who ultimately doesn’t get the girl, the disapproving mother, etc.
So what happened?
How did I go from loving this series and looking forward to getting to the next episode to hating the very thought of rewatching the series? Honestly, I think it’s just that I got older. My tastes evolved. I realized that the leader of the F4 wasn’t romantic, he was abusive. I realized that Jan-di (and equivalents) have their authority taken away from them, but are still framed as “strong female characters.” I realized that the central relationship was unequal and alarming. I realized that this isn’t isolated to just Boys Over Flowers! It is a prevalent trope in the dramas that I watch, and I don’t have fun with it anymore.
If you still love BOF, then that is fine, I understand why and I’m not going to try and tell you-you’re wrong. I just wanted to make my personal stance known.