Famous Princesses


Reviewed by: sukting

June 03, 2008

Rating: three-point-five

Also Known As: The Infamous Chill Sisters

Foreword
This is a story on the four sisters regarding their love lives. They are notoriously known as the seven princesses. Are they happy after many setbacks?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Luo De Qi (oldest daughter, 35): Kim Hye Sun (Dae Jang-geum)
She is the eldest daughter of the family but being unwilling to marry a soldier, she marries Shui Han even they only meet for 3 times. They have a son and a daughter. But soon, she feels bored as she hasn't gone through the actual dating process. So she has an affair with his best friend!

Shui Han gives her a chance to repent but she doesn't treasure it. So they head for divorce. Being well sheltered, she doesn't know what to do when Yang Ba disallows her to stay with them. She moves out and gets cheated of her money and is nearly molested when she plans to buy a shop to open for business. What a coward to trouble her parents to get the money back!

She finds a co-partner, Xuan Zhe. Despite the fact that he is penniless and is divorced with two daughters, she insists of remarrying him! Her parents oppose but she turns a deaf ear. Soon, she discovers that they have lots of conflicts because of his ex-wife. Xuan Zhe doesn't let her handle the family finances. Xuan Zhe's elder daughter also gives her hell for not accepting her.

She finds a pang of regret when Shui Han informs her that he has actually considered reconciling with her but she is too fast to remarry soon. I find her reasoning stupid and is definitely spineless – she claims that she is dependent on a man all along and also pities the girls for having an irresponsible mother. Why hurry into another marriage without settling their differences first? Luckily, she becomes strong this time to solve all the problems. She is lucky that her second marriage works this time.

This woman isn't dumb – she is beyond cure. With no aim in life, she is like a parasite depending on others for survival. Her life is too smooth sailing as she is too sheltered. Luckily, her encounters help her to grow strong and face problems on her own.

2. Luo Xue Qi (older twin daughter, 28): Lee Tae Ran (Yellow Handkerchief)
She is the ‘son' of the family – the only one who can make it to military school to become a lieutenant. She is actually more interested in fashion designing but doesn't wish to disappoint her parents. She is mature and plans well. Mei Qi's beauty hurts her while her good academic results also cause Yang Ba to dote on her as his favourite child. But she is also a stubborn person who makes silly decisions.

She likes Yi Han and is overjoyed when he dates her to become his partner for a party. She even buys a new dress for the event. But alas, Mei Qi wears it to attend the date. I dislike her for ignoring You Nan at times just to be with Yi Han. This hurts him constantly.

After knowing that Yi Han likes Mei Qi, she is heartbroken and gets engaged to Zheng Zhi. Although Yang Ba arranges this, this is actually her biological father's wish. This is to lie to Mei Qi that she has gotten over Yi Han. However, she doesn't love Zheng Zhi and You Nan knows that. Her real parentage shocks her so she suspects Yang Ba's motive for adopting her. They have a strained relationship but they reconcile after he has a brush with death over a heart attack.

Her father is killed in the Vietnam war accidentally by Yang Ba. Her natural mother, Hui Nu deserts her at the Luos' doorstep after getting the pension to remarry another man. Hui Nu is dying of cancer and longs to see her again but she rejects her. She only regrets after her death upon knowing that Hui Nu helps to persuade You Nan's mother to accept her as her daughter-in-law.

You Nan fights against all odds to win her heart. They have the age difference barrier and his mother doesn't like him to marry a soldier. Xue Qi finally marries him in a military wedding, gets him to study overseas and gives birth to a pair of twins – a son and a daughter.

Tae Ran's performance is consistent throughout.

3. Luo Mei Qi (younger twin daughter, 28): Choi Jung Won
She is a spendthrift and is totally different from her elder twin sister. She is wilful and rebellious. She becomes a nurse, following Yang Ba's wish to serve the country. But she also moonlights for a social agency to become lovers for men paid by the hour. She owes the loansharks too much money for overspending and after giving her repeated help, Xue Qi decides to leave this bottomless pit alone.

A client happens to be Yi Han when Xue Qi fails to turn up for his party. She toys with him after knowing that Xue Qi is interested in him to spite back at her. Xue Qi has caused her to lose her job as the loansharks harass her at the hospital. She prefers to do free lance to support herself. She gets the finance from Da Jiu.

Upon knowing that Xue Qi likes Yi Han, she finds all ways to seduce him. When Yi Han breaks up with her because of Xue Qi, she cries hard and realises that she truly likes Yi Han. She demands to have the best for her wedding but Yi Han can hardly afford. Xue Qi teaches Yi Han to be firm with Mei Qi and she finally gives in to her.

She knows that Xue Qi isn't her natural sister from young. But she chooses to keep from the rest to avoid making them unhappy. Still, she is jealous that Xue Qi gets the most attention and often goes against her although they share the same bedroom. All must thank her for persuading Xue Qi to reaccept her adopted family again. Both finally become real sisters this time.

She gets into quarrels with Yi Han after marriage. She doesn't like being a housewife and still goes to dance clubs at night. She doesn't treat Zhi Piao with respect too so there isn't harmony. She moves back home and discovers that she is pregnant. Before she breaks the news to him, Yi Han suggests that they part. She deliberately keeps from him and becomes a nurse in a remote town.

Mei Qi becomes mature now when she is often bullied by her nurse colleague and roommate, Mei Li. She is very stubborn to reject him repeatedly. They only come together again on her parents' wedding day. Both have a son and a daughter so she is a dutiful housewife now. Jung Won is pretty and acts very well. She steals the show from the other actresses with her consistent acting.

4. Luo Zhong Qi (youngest daughter, 20): Shin Ji Soo
Yang Ba has hoped that he will get a son as his last child. After knowing that he gets a daughter again, he is so mad that he decides not to have any more children to name her as ‘Ting Qi' – means stop at 7. But his family advises him against doing this and thus gives her another name. (But it makes no difference to us since it has the same meaning.)

She has wished to be a soldier like Xue Qi but her dream changes after knowing Tai Zi. She is too playful and often skips classes. He is her tutor and she loves him. She is pregnant out of wedlock. Being young, she doesn't know many rules and offends Cai Shun repeatedly. Knowing that Tai Zi's grades dip, she obeys Cai Shun to lock him out of their room to study hard. This gives Cai Shun a good impression and both are on better terms.

She becomes a successful housewife and her life is in danger when she nearly dies when giving birth. Luckily Tai Zi donates his blood to save her. The producer makes a terrible mistake – how can none of her family not belonging to the same blood group as her and ONLY Tai Zi can save her?

They give their son the nickname ‘Ting Zi' – which makes a character of each of their names. This time round it is Cai Shun who is childish to wake up her son to play with him to deprive her of sleep. She gets ill-treated every now and then as Cai Shun looks down on her but both become close after Tai Zi gets into the army.

5. Luo Yang Ba (dad, 60): Park In Hwan (Say You Love Me)
He is a retired soldier and has high hopes on his daughters, treating them like his subordinates. He sets a curfew to demand them to be home by 10pm and also line them up at the basketball court. His usual phrase is ‘Don't fire shots at tranquil waters'. He is sad when Zhong Qi gets pregnant suddenly and he doesn't treasure the time with her. He faints upon knowing that De Qi has a divorce.

Yang Ba often believes that soldiers should get married. That is why he tries getting Xue Qi the best match. He also looks down on You Nan initially – not just because he is younger than Xue Qi but also he will be a fashion designer – which he deems as an inappropriate job.

But upon knowing that Xue Qi doesn't forgive him over her biological father's death, he has a heart attack. The poor father is so upset that all his daughters turn out to be like this despite his strict upbringing. He is equally disturbed over Mei Qi's divorce but is glad that she is mature now. Being a traditional man, he confides that he will marry Ming Zi in an official wedding ceremony. He is touched when Da Jiu arranges it to give him a surprise.

6. Kong Ming Zi (mom, 54): Kim Hae Sook (Bizarre Bunch)
She has no choice but to follow her husband's military style at home. She is often bitter over Da Jiu for not giving her a formal wedding and remarrying the wrong man. Da Jiu only gives her a used blanket on her wedding day.

She treats all daughters equally. When Xue Qi is brought home, she is fed on her milk while Mei Qi gets less attention. She fights fiercely with Hui Nu over Xue Qi as she is afraid that she wants to take Xue Qi away. She is glad that Xue Qi reaccepts her again. She often worries over her daughters.

7. Nan Da Jiu (maternal grandmother, 72): Na Moon Hee (My Lovely Sam-soon)
She is the women's grandmother who often jeers at Xue Qi for occupying the nest and not flying away. That is to hint that she isn't part of the family. She moves in to stay with the Luos and refuses to leave. Yang Ba hates her for absconding with his army mates' money.

She loves the song 'you must treat me well when alive' and dances frequently. She is close to the granddaughters although she can be harsh and calculative.

8. Gao Shui Han (42): Lee Dae Young
He is De Qi's ex-husband. He is busy with work as he is a successful businessman. He takes his wife for granted. He thinks that he has a happy family with a son and a daughter. His confidence is crushed knowing her affair with his best friend. He pretends not to know it to give her a chance but she throws it away by still contacting him!

He can't forgive her and they sign the divorce papers. He also prevents the children from visiting her. Initially, he has thought of giving her another chance but stops the thought upon seeing her working happily with Xuan Zhe. So he remarries a divorcee who can take good care of his children.

9. Wang Xuan Zhe (38): Ahn Sang
Although he is divorced from his ex-wife and gets his daughters' custody, he still offers to pay his ex-wife's debts. This woman keeps harassing him at the shop – not just demanding for money but also wanting to meet their daughters. He is very indecisive to be unable to stop her from creating trouble on his wedding day. His second marriage is nearly on the rocks – not just on how to discipline the children but also De Qi gets them to stay with his in-laws!

Ming Zi always pinpoints at his demerits and compares him with You Nan. How can De Qi come up with such a silly idea to extend their business and he can actually agree to it! Doesn't he have parents? Under De Qi's advice, he finally keeps a distance from his ex-wife and his strained relationship with Ming Zi is improved when he gets her a gift for her wedding.

10. Nian You Nam (24): Park Hae Jin
He is four years younger than Xue Qi but he knows that he loves her. He is very annoyed that she only treats him as a younger brother and sulks when she gets his advice on how to get Yi Han. Still, he wishes her happiness and tries to help her. But upon seeing her with Zheng Zhi, he challenges him to back off. I really laugh when both men get drunk because of her.

After his basic training, he is back in university to study fashion designing. Xue Qi is amused when he designs mini-skirts for her. He stays in a polished apartment but he lies that he is penniless to get her concern. He comes from a family of doctors – even his 3 elder brothers are doctors as his father.

He is the only rebel who goes against the tradition. They are a reputable family in Xi San. He volunteers to get into the army because he discovers that his present mother is the cause of his natural parents' breakup. She is too nice to him and doesn't have her own children to treat him as her own son. That is why he tries to avoid her as he doesn't know how to face her. Xue Qi helps him to overcome the hatred so he loves her.

Hui Nu is his father's patient and he keeps the truth from Xue Qi till their wedding day. He shares her sorrow when she scatters Hui Nu's ashes with her half-siblings at the lake. He still continues his studies and stays with the Luos after marriage. He is welcomed by the Luos because he knows how to please them. Knowing that Xuan Zhe isn't as good as him, he also tries to help him out.

11. Liu Yi Han (28): Go Joo Won (Bizarre Bunch)
He is a blockhead who doesn't know how to come up with a white lie. He is constantly manipulated by Xue Qi to hurt Xue Qi repeatedly. He treats Xue Qi as a friend and goes to her constantly for advice to woo Mei Qi. Little does he know that they are sisters. Upon knowing Xue Qi's feelings for him, he decides to call off the wedding to prevent hurting Xue Qi but by doing this, he upsets Mei Qi.

They finally get married but he gives in too much to Mei Qi to the extent of going against Zhi Piao. Slowly, they can't resolve their conflicts although they love each other very much. It is strange that he doesn't change his mind this time. He is repentant after their divorce and finally wins her back.

This man resembles Han Jae Sek in looks and acts fairly well. His role is similar to You Zhen in ‘All About Eve' – always believing in what Mei Qi tells him.

12. Kong Zhi Piao (50): No Joo Hyun (Ode to Han River)
If you pronounce name wrongly, it will mean blank cheque. His sister only has Yi Han and is busy with his brother-in-law to manage a small motel business. Being a bachelor, he sets hopes on Yi Han by bringing him up as his own. Yi Han looks upon him as his father and he is dismayed to see how his nephew disobeys him because of Mei Qi. Both often quarrel when staying together but he is touched when Mei Qi still remembers his birthday.

It is strange that he can't get a job all this time despite having a law degree from Seoul University. He works as an assistant in Cai Shun's eatery shop. Cai Shun's despise turns to respect and later love upon knowing his high qualifications. All will be amused that he is so shy even after their wedding to cook up excuses to bring Ting Zi into their bedroom to avoid being with Cai Shun. Both finally have their own children and also takes care of Tai Zi's children.

13. Huang Tai Zi (21): Lee Seung Ki
He is born out of wedlock as his grandparents dislike their servant, Cai Shun to run away with his father. His father is caught home and dies in a car accident while looking for them. Cai Shun is afraid that they will take Tai Zi away so both go into hiding. She pins high hopes on him but he becomes a young father that disappoints her.

He is very irresponsible and doesn't want to bear the responsibility initially. He only gives in after Xue Qi threatens him. And to think that he gets drunk before their wedding! To save up his honeymoon expenses, he stays at Qi Jiu's home in the countryside.

Even after marriage, he still fools around by going for dates. This angers Ting Zi with his theories. He becomes mature after bringing her to the gynae to see how his future son looks like through the ultrascan. He is thankful that he manages to save his wife and son with his blood donation. He is so frightened that he might lose them. He protests weakly in vain when Cai Shun gets Zhi Piao to name his son as ‘Huang Di'. He is named as prince so how can his son be called the emperor to surpass him?

Initially, he dislikes Cai Shun to like Zhi Piao. But he straightens his mind to bring them together before he goes for national service. Zhi Piao is overjoyed to have him as his son. He leaves for the army after knowing that his family is in Zhi Piao's safe hands in taking care of them.

14. Ban Cai Shun : Yoon Mi Ra
She goes through a lot of hardship after giving birth to Tai Zi. She hopes that he will become a judge one day. She often brags about her son. But she spoils him rotten and her attitude towards the Luos offends them. She ill-treats Zhong Qi to demand her to overwork at home. But she treats her better as Da Jiu knows her past. She is illiterate and thus engages Zhi Piao to teach her English.

She bursts into tears when he gives her a bag as she has never received formal education. Zhong Qi realises how hard it is to bring up Ting Zi and understands her more. Thus both of them get along better. Upon knowing that Tai Zi is going to get enlisted, she volunteers to go on his behalf to prevent him from suffering. She only feels rest assured after Xue Qi arranges her on a camp visit.

Cai Shun wants to fulfil her promise to Tai Zi's father – so she doesn't don the western wedding gown and ask for an elaborate wedding dinner on her big day. Do have a good laugh when she is the one to make the approach on the wedding night!

15. The ex-Mrs Wang - Gao Ya Luo
She is a horrible pest. She gets married to Xuan Zhe after knowing him in university. Despite having a degree, she gets involved in gambling and neglects her daughters. They often go hungry without food. Xuan Zhe also can't accept her infidelity and they divorce. Still, she harbours hope that they can be together again so she tries to create discord between Xuan Zhe and De Qi.

She also brainwashes her daughters to badmouth her. Mei La learns the truth of how the loansharks threaten them and detests her. This wakes her up from her mistake and she finally looks for a job to lift her head high in front of her daughters again.

16. Commander Fang Zheng Zhi
He is meant to be Xue Qi's partner and he likes her at first sight. However, it isn't easy to get along with him as he not only talks fast but he also likes his wife-to-be to wear the military uniform when they date! He is very proud to be a soldier. Knowing that Xue Qi's parentage affects her, he allows her time to cool off. But his facing with You Nan makes him realise that he doesn't love Xue Qi as deeply as he presumes so he lets her go.

17. Si Ba and Qi Jiu (Tai Zi's friends)
They are Tai Zi's classmates who lead him astray. They even encourage him to go on dates after his cedarriage! It is Xue Qi to warn them to stop their nonsense and they concentrate on their studies. However, they are close to Tai Zi as brothers so they join the army together.

18. Private Yu Shan Xian and Private Qiu
Both are considered to be Xue Qi and You Nan's matchmakers. Shan Xian takes care of You Nan when he is out from the army and enjoys calling Xue Qi as his sister. You Nan allows him to stay over at his home when he is late after work and he is a good listener to for his woes.

Oiu is You Nan's spy to keep tabs on Xue Qi. He will update You Nan on what Xue Qi needs or sees. In return, You Nan will bribe him with food. Both men are close to the two so they are also in the old Luos' wedding photo as they attend the dinner.

19. Wang Bao La and Wang Mei La – Xuan Zhe's daughters
Bao La is sweet and endearing while Mei La, the elder daughter is very spiteful towards De Qi. She doesn't accept De Qi as her new mother. Later, she discovers that her mother's impulsive gambling puts their lives in danger as she can't repay her debt. De Qi is worried and disallows them from meeting their mother. She also waits for them out in the cold after school to make sure that they are safe. De Qi never lets them go hungry so she finally calls her mother.

20. Yi Han's colleagues
Although they are close to Yi Han, they do not get to see Mei Qi after they are confirmed to be lovers. They love to tease him by imitating his actions whenever he listens to her calls. I can't stop laughing whenever the three quarrel. One will bet that they will break up while another will bet that they will reconcile. Their group leader is most cunning – he will bet that both will break up and reconcile later!

Most favourite character
You Nan – he is so persistent to get his love. Although young, he is mature and he is the one who gives Yi Han advice! He knows what he wants and is very confident in getting success.

Most hated character
Cai Shun – she always gets into the way of everyone.

Interesting facts
It was followed by "Famous Princess" of KBS2 with ratings of 30.2%, Gao Ya Luo and Park Hae Jin won the best newcomers award at Baksung awards in 2007. It was nominated for 14 awards. Park In Hwan was nominated as best actor. Kim Hae Sook, Lee Tae Ran and Na Moon Hee were nominated for best actress awards.

As for best acting awards, Go Joo Won and Choi Jung Woon got in. The supporting cast included No Joo Hyun, Yoon Mi Ra and Park Hae Jin got in. The best newcomer award nominee was Park Hae Jin too. The popularity award nominees were Go Joo Won, Choi Jung Woon and Lee Seung Ki. The youngster awards were Zhao Xiu Min and Han Yi Lin.

All cried after filming ended. The viewership went up to 44.9% at its' highest. The love entanglement between the recruit with the 2nd lieutenant was well-loved by many and Park Hae Jin was famous. He was only in this circle for 5 months. Still, many complained that it kept adding on irrelevant episodes.


Conclusion

It is a warm hearted drama. No wonder it was nominated for so many awards. The cast placed in their best in every episode. I only dislike the pace – it drags too long but it is understandable as a sitcom. It makes parents realise that it isn't easy to bring up their children. They have to undergo a lot of hardship. From the children's point of view, home is the place that will forever welcome them with open arms. No matter how many faults they have done, their parents will still forgive them and take them in.

It also shows the problems surfaced when staying with in-laws. Both sides have to give and take as they are totally strangers with different habits and mannerism. Kinship still surpasses everything in the end. And how will a person feel after he/she discovers the truth? This drama provides good insight into this.

The love relationships are well-done. The long and painful process of You Nan wooing his superior is well depicted. They face many barriers – their family status is also another besides their age difference. He is daring while she is an introvert. Despite being rejected repeatedly, he still strives to win over her. It is hard not to like him as he is so likeable.

As for Yi Han and Mei Qi, I think that both are simply not mature enough to trash things out before marriage. Mei Qi's act of working alone is willful and undesirable. How can she hide the fact from Yi Han that she is pregnant with his child and yet lies that she doesn't love him anymore although she still likes him? Some people are just lying with their eyes open to save their pride.

I strongly recommend this drama to those who love family-centred dramas. With a good storyline and acting, you will not be disappointed.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

Overall : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


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