Double dose of Seo In-gook this year! Yippie! And versatile him switches from suave con artist to helpless doofus, Louis (or Ji-sung).
- Seo In-gook (from 38 Task Force) as Louis, Kang Ji-sung. Sole (over protected and over doted) grandson of Chairman Choi, Louis lives in the lap of luxury. His only past time being to…shop. He loses his memory in an accident whilst on his return trip to Seoul and latches on to Bok-sil for survival.
- Nam Ji-hyun as Ko Bok-sil. Country bumpkin from Gangwon-do, she travels to Seoul (and promptly loses her entire savings to an acrobatic granny) to search for her errant younger brother (Bok-nam). She sees Louis wearing her brother’s sports jacket, and thinks he muz know Bok-nam’s whereabouts. Problem is, Louis is having temporary amnesia.
- Yoon Sang-hyun (from Miss Temper and Nam Jung-gi) as Cha Joong-won. Managing Director of Goldline (owned by Chairman Choi, and which produced the sports jacket favoured by Koreans), he is a no-nonsense, hard hitting type of boss.
Full recap, Dramabeans.
Louis lives away from his only kin, Chairman Choi (his paternal granny), in France (?) cos his granny believes she is cursed and will only bring misfortune to her family (her only son and daughter-in-law died in an accident). Louis spends his life doing nothing much…other than shopping (cos he has tons of cash to burn). His only companion is his trusty butler, Butler Kim.
Chairman Choi has a fainting spell one day (she survived), and Louis rushes back to Korea to see her. However, on his way to the hospital (his first time travelling ALONE, since he is ALWAYS with Butler Kim), he apparently meets with an accident…and died.
Only thing is: Louis didn’t die in the crash (someone else did). He loses his memories though, and the only belongings he have is a common sports jacket on his back. A jacket that belongs to Bok-nam — Bok-sil’s younger brother.
Bok-sil’s life is the opposite from Louis. She is a 300% country bumpkin, having lived all her life with her granny in Gangwon-do. When Bok-nam runs away to Seoul, Bok-sil’s granny died of heart ache. Desperate to search for her brother, Bok-sil travels to Seoul with all her possessions (including a 500k won wild ginseng). Sadly, she loses everything (except the ginseng) to a scheming granny on the train.
Left with little choice, Bok-sil approaches the first person (Joong-won) she thinks would be interested in her ginseng for help (i.e. she means to sell her ginseng to him). Unfortunately, Joong-won only thinks she is a fraud, and brushes her off with 50k won. Until his parents verify the authenticity of the ginseng.
Already poor and at wits end, Bok-sil decides to work as a cleaner in Joong-won’s company…Goldline, which is ironically owned by the amnesiac Louis. And she is saddled with the (very whiny and very needy) Louis, who literally depends on her like a baby. Thankfully, Bok-sil and Joong-won meet by chance in the office’s lobby (Joong-won by this time is all ready to pay Bok-sil the difference for the ginseng’s sale).
Initially, when I read the blurb for Shopping, I immediately thought of a similar Taiwanese drama — The Frog Prince. Where the male protagonist is also a shopping mall chaebol who lost his memories and was taken in by a country girl (whom he fell in love with). Well, Shopping‘s narrative isn’t that. Thankfully. (else it’d be plagiarism)
I kinda like the debut — it is fun, campy and slightly slap sticky. Enhanced by cute cartoons on screen (like the puppy ears and a waggy tail on Louis when he manages to finagle an extra 2000 won for lunch from Bok-sil), and there’s the ridiculously funny A Whole New World soundtrack — which is used more on Louis (the supposedly city bred chaebol) rather than the country bumpkin, Bok-sil. It is kinda appropriate though, as Louis discovers the pleasure of “low class”, “mass produced” goods (he’s previously those who only buys and uses “limited editions” stuff). Funny that he now loves the cheapo instant coffee when he previously only drinks the high end (whatever) blends.
The mystery of Louis’ amnesia probably is going to be linked to Bok-nam. After all, he IS wearing his jacket (it has Bok-nam’s name stitched on it), and in a rare moment of flashback, he saw Bok-nam and his motorcycle gang rounding on him to rob him. Tying these clues together, it isn’t hard to figure out that Bok-nam is likely the one who died in Louis’ place. However, the Truck of Doom (an orange one this time) could be more than a mere accident. CEO Baek (Chairman Choi’s right hand man) has been eying the chairman seat for very long, and is super unhappy that Chairman Choi has decided to pass it all to “useless Louis”. I’m betting the Orange Truck was hired by CEO Baek.
So while Louis may be unlucky to meet with Bok-nam who robbed him of everything including his memories, he should count himself lucky as Bok-nam had saved his life.