Coffee Prince

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Name: 커피프린스 1호점, Coffee Prince, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: MBC television, Lee Sun Mi (Novelist)
Date(s): 2007
Medium: television
Country of Origin: South Korea
External Links: official website, MBC website in Englilsh, Wikipedia (English), DramaWiki
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Coffee Prince was originally a novel by Lee Sun Mi, although most people are more familiar with the wildly popular[1] 2007 kdrama staring Yoon Eun Hye (윤은혜) as Go Eun Chan and Gong Yoo (공유) as Choi Han Kyul.
Cover of the Coffee Prince novel

"A girl frequently mistaken as a boy is hired to play a man's gay lover in order to get his matchmaking grandma off his back. Sexy, romantic, funny, and heartbreaking by turns. One of THE big kdramas."[2]

The series touches on issues of trans and gay characters without ever truly depicting either. There are scenes of Eun Chan binding to appear more masculine and she makes an effort to speak and move like a man, but she is never represented as a transman. Similarly, even though Han Kyul believes Eun Chan is a man while clearly falling in love with her, the relationship is always understood by the audience and Eun Chan to be heterosexual. These themes of sexuality and gender identity make Coffee Prince a perfect fit for a lot of Western media fans and the series has had a lot of crossover interest. The series is often the first suggestion by kdrama fans when a newbie asks where to start watching

Promotional image for the Coffee Prince drama

In her review of the series, thefourthvine recounts a discussion she had about Eun Chan's gender identity:

I said the actress who played Eun Chan did a fantastic job showing discomfort with femininity, using masculine body language, all of that.
She agreed, and said, "Watching that, I didn't think - I didn't think she was a girl, exactly. I know she was a girl, but I thought - you have to be one, of course, a boy or a girl, but I thought if you could be not a boy or a girl but a third thing, then that is what I would call her."
In short, even people who don't know the word genderqueer and affirmatively state that you have to be either a boy or a girl look at Eun Chan and decide she's not a girl pretending to be a boy, but rather a person being who she is. (I say she, by the way, because it's what she says. Or at least what the subtitles say she says.) [3]

English-language Fandom

The series generated a lot of dicussion in journal-based fandom, [4] but produced very little fanworks outside of icons and picspams. However, a Google search for Coffee Prince MV gets a lot of hits for MVs made by fans from all over the world. (There was probably a lot of activity at Soompi - anyone want to investigate?) Coffee Prince has been a Yuletide fandom, and had several fanworks, including fanart and icons, posted to the AO3 for Dark Agenda's Kaleidoscope Fanwork Exchange.

A block of kdrama fans banded together to bid on popular reccer thefourthvine in the help_japan auction. Most contributors to the kdrama review fund were interested in seeing TFV review an episode of Coffee Prince.[5][6] Thefourthvine posted her review of the first episode, and viewed the series positively overall.[3]

Korean-language Fandom

(info, anyone?)

English Subtitled Sources

Promo and Picspam Posts

Discussion Posts

Fanworks

References

  1. List of top rated Korean Dramas at Wikipedia (Accessed Nov. 7, 2009)
  2. comment in a pimping post thread by anenko on the Yuletide community, dated October 20, 2009. Accessed November 1, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 [Review] Coffee Prince, Episode One July 6, 2011. (Accessed July 7, 2011)
  4. See, for instance posts by vonnie-k, posts by greensilver, and posts by oyceter.
  5. I am up for auction! Okay, my work is. (Accessed March 31, 2011)
  6. TFV K-Drama Organizational Post (Accessed March 31, 2011)