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"I’ll say this just once, so listen to me. I like you. Whether you’re a man, or an alien...I don’t care anymore. I tried getting rid of my feelings, but I couldn't. So let’s go, as far as we can go."
Based on a novel of the same name, The First Shop of Coffee Prince is a Korean drama that aired in 2007. Go Eun Chan is a tomboyish girl working multiple jobs to support her mother and sister. Choi Han Kyul is the charming son of a wealthy family, and has never held a job in his life. The two meet by chance and Han Kyul assumes Eun Chan is a boy (and a thief). He ends up hiring her to pose as his "gay lover" when he goes on blind dates set up by his mother and grandmother. His grandmother decides to take a different approach - he has to take over management of a failing coffee house the family owns. If he can triple her investment in three months, she will leave him alone to live his life as he chooses. Otherwise, he will have to submit to the blind dates and eventually settle down.
Han Kyul decides the shop needs a gimmick, so he renames it "Coffee Prince" and hires four "princes" -- including Eun Chan -- to work there and attract female customers. Han Kyul finds himself falling for Eun Chan, which is all well and good except for the fact he still thinks she's a guy, and he's straight. For her part Eun Chan is afraid that a) she'll lose the job at Coffee Prince if Han Kyul finds out she's a girl, and later b) he'll be upset if he finds out she's been lying, even as their connection deepens. Which adds up to fighting, misplaced emotions, longing looks, and misunderstandings. Add the secondary couple, who both characters dabble with emotionally, and you have everything kdramas are known for.
It's not without it's cheesy or clunky moments, but almost everything - the performances, the writing, the music - make this drama more entertaining, more endearing, and more satisfying than most.
The First Shop of Coffee Prince provides examples of:
- Beautiful Dreamer: Subverted when Eun Chan sees Han Kyul sleeping at the coffee shop in the morning. At first, she admires him a moment, but then starts blowing on his face for no adequately explained reason.
- But played straight when Han Kyul sees Eun Chan sleeping, whereby him stroking her face and whatnot. He snaps out of it before it goes farther than that.
- It happens again, after they've become "sworn brothers", and Han Kyul, like a repeat offender, gets more detailed in his touching... Like aligning his body with hers and stroking her hand.
- The Beard: Han Kyul hires Eun Chan to pretend to be his gay lover, so his mother will stop setting him up on dates with women.
- Bifauxnen: Eun Chan
- Big Eater: Also Eun Chan
- Bokukko: Eun Chan. Even before she pretends to be a guy, she's already too boyish.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Eun Chan just can't spit it out to Han Kyul that she's a girl, but seems perfectly fine with confessing her love for him, which results with him tormenting himself over his own feelings.
- The Casanova: Ha Rim
- Disappeared Dad: Eun Chan's father
- Dub Name Change
- Eiffel Tower Effect: Namsam Tower can easily be seen from Han Kyul's home.
- Mr. Fanservice: The Coffee Princes, especially "Hottie" Han Kyul and "Waffle" Sun Ki, become this in universe after Eun Sae makes a sexy music video of them.
- Five-Man Band: The coffee shop personnel all fit.
- Gayngst: Han Kyul. There's nearly a whole episode dedicated to him losing his mind over his feelings for Eun Chan. Of course, him coming to terms with his homosexuality is not needed because, well, she's a girl, but he doesn't know that...
- Happily Adopted: Han Kyul
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is called a cup, starting with First Cup and ending with Seventeenth Cup.
- If It's You It's Okay: Han Kyul tells Eun Chan, "I like you. Whether you're a man, or an alien... I don't care anymore."
- Intertwined Fingers: Between Eun Chan and Han Kyul
- LEGO: Han Kyul recieves an offer to design lego-like toys for Bloc Land.
- Love Triangle: Almost a Love Dodecahedron with the two cousins crunching on the same two girls.
- Could also be Triang Relations # 9.
- Makeover Montage: Eun Chan gets one when Han Seong helps her get ready for Yoo Joo's art exhibit.
- Meet Cute: Eun Chan and Han Kyul first meet when she delivers food to his apartment, just as he gets out of the shower. Since he assumes she's a boy, he doesn't bother covering up. She spends quite a bit of time gawking as he sits down and dries his feet, until he notices her gawking. She's so flustered she runs out without getting payment for the food.
- Never Mess with Granny: Especially Han Kyul's!
- Nobody Poops: Averted, big time, seeing as there's a lot of peeing in Eun Chan's presence, much to her horror.
- Also, in the very first episode her little sister is sitting on the toilet with the door open. And Han Kyul suffers from constipation in the fifth one.
- Parental Marriage Veto: As the Apron Matron, Grandma Choi tries to do this to Han Kyul and Eun Chan. She is outvoted, however, by every other member of her family.
- Piggyback Cute: Eun Chan carries Han Kyul after he drinks too much soju.
- Later, reciprocated.
- Promotion to Parent: Eun Chan's dad died, so she helps to support her mom and sister by working several jobs. She's also rather protective of her sister.
- Ramen Slurp: Just watch Eun Chan eat...
- She Cleans Up Nicely: YMMV, but arguably Eun Chan looks worse when she dresses up. Although it's played straight, staircase and all, with her makeover for Yoo Joo's art show.
- Slap Slap Kiss: Considering how often Eun Chan and Han Kyul bicker and hit each other before they kiss, it's practically their form of foreplay.
- Sorry, I'm Gay: Han Kyul hires Eun Chan to pretend to be his gay lover and show up during the dates his mother has set him up on.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Well, Eun Chan isn't really male, but Han Kyul doesn't know that, so the effect on him is the same.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver
- Sweet Polly Oliver
- Together Umbrella: Eun Chan and Han Seong during a rainstorm. Also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as Eun Chan both confesses her attraction and tells him she's letting him go.
- Tsundere: Han Kyul.