On a lark I checked out the first episode of Surplus Princess, and boy did it surprised me. I went in with absolutely no expectation since I didn't even watch the trailer to prepare myself. It was a pleasant surprise that the show has a small amount of fairy tale feel to it. I am a sucker for fairy tales, especially the retelling of them.
The story first introduces us to the 18th mermaid princess, princess Eileen who is surprisingly well connected to the modern world with her tablets and internet access. We find Eileen by the Han river following her latest crush, Si Kyung who is a popular celebrity chef.
Si Kyung is all smiles shooting his cooking show, but quickly become stern and cold when he realized the table setting is missing. Halting the shooting, Si Kyung is about to walk off the shot when a female employee quickly tears the hem of her lace skirt and offer it to Si Kyung as a substitute table setting.
Pacified, Si Kyung takes a break by the river as his team regroup to set up the shoot again. Overhearing the female staff discussing how cool he is, Si Kyung smiles to himself.
Eileen happily watches Si Kyung from the river, but was too slow to hide herself when he sees her out of the corner of his eyes. Shocked, Si Kyung fumbled for his phone to take a picture of the huge "sword fish", only to trip, hit his head and falls into the river.
Eileen of course quickly comes to her prince's rescue. Although I am not sure how kissing the prince and groping him qualifies as rescuing.
The story turns to Lee Hyun Myong, an artist who has given up his paint brush to face the reality of submitting countless job application in order to get a job.
Hyun Myong lives with three other guys and his girlfriend Gin Ah who incidentally is the female employee whose quick thinking saved Si Kyung's shoot. Hyun Myong and his roommates throws a party for Gin Ah who is moving to a much better apartment now that she has a good job at a large corporate company.
Back to Eileen, who after a few tries unlocks Si Kyung's phone (she
picked it up on her way to rescue him) and is over the moon when she sees a message from Si Kyung trying to find her. Eileen's desire to become human takes a firm hold when she sees an invitation to a party on Si Kyung's phone. Eileen goes to the 17th princess to ask her to help her find out how to become human. The 17th princess directes her to a witch... who is a rather dubious looking man.
The man refuse to give the magic potion to the princess citing reasons such as the human world being dangerous and men is not to be trusted. However, the princess is undaunted from finding her true love and forcefully takes the portion from the man and drinks it.
What a wacky show! It certainly has a different vibe and it had me snorting with laughter a few times. Interestingly, Princess Eileen seems to be the most flat character out of the whole show. As of now, Eileen's character is just a naive teen who is chasing after her idol with no thoughts of consequences. But then when one thinks about the fairy tale of the Mermaid Princess that seems to be an accurate portrayal.
Si Kyung is an enigma to me. He seems to be a cold and arrogant man, but then you see him smiling to himself when he overhears the female staff gushing about him. Just when you think he might be human after all, the show puts a scene in the elevator where he meets Gin Ah and after she leaves he looks at the mirror eerily with the psycho killer music playing in the background.
Hyun Myong also has a lot of potential as we already see him giving up his dream of being an artist, trying to be hopeful about his job interview (after keep getting turn down he finally gets a chance for a job interview by the end of this episode), and his struggle with the knowledge that the gap between him and his white collar girlfriend is getting wider. It's pretty obvious from this episode that Hyun Myong's girlfriend Gin Ah will probably break up with him soon, since she moved into Si Kyung's apartment complex to be closer to him, and tries hard to be noticed by him.
Surplus Princess is obviously going for a wacky vibe and it does a pretty good job keeping that up through out the episode. The very serious psycho killer music did throw me off though. It is certainly worth it to check out just for some of the funny scene.