Published on June 21st, 2014 | by myownmonsters0
Why ‘Roommate’ deserves more love
First things first: if you’re still sitting on the fence as to whether or not to pick Roommate up (me right before watching the first episode), or have been swayed by the less than ideal ratings (unfortunately) it’s been receiving in Korea, let’s just say I’m here to help you make that decision a little easier.
I wasn’t banking on much when I thought “hey, let’s watch Roommate“, and I guess my intuition was proven right upon finishing the first episode. Why? Mainly because it was an hour-ish of watching the cast move in one by one, with hardly any interaction that would incite the slightest bit of significant emotion in me at all. Thankfully though, things picked up from the second episode and look where I am now. Clearly, I was too quick to judge because I find myself checking once (or maybe at least, like, five times) on Mondays for episodes to be subbed (Roommate airs on Sundays in Korea).
The name Roommate pretty much tells you what to expect: a bunch of celebrities living together under one roof. Comprised of idols, comedians, models, actors/actresses and a professional MMA fighter, the cast of 11 include Lee So Ra, 2NE1‘s Park Bom, Song Ga Yeon, Jo Se Ho, Lee Dong Wook, After School/Orange Caramel‘s Nana, Hong Soo Hyun, EXO‘s Chanyeol, Shin Sung Woo, Park Min Woo and 5urprise‘s Seo Kang Joon. Despite the difference in professions, they all have one thing in common: the lack of exposure to variety and reality programmes. The significant age differences between some of the cast also make for an interesting watch to see how certain relationships will be developed. On top of that, if a couple comes together during the filming of the show they will be sent jet setting on a holiday as a reward. Keep your eyes peeled for that.
Introducing the roommates
Room 1: Lee So Ra, Park Bom and Song Ga Yeon
Between the two rooms of ladies, I’d say Room 1 has bonded together more like sisters as compared to Room 3 for the fact that we see them constantly looking out for one another. Perhaps it’s due to the presence of model Lee So Ra who is the mother figure of the house – we see her whipping up healthy meals for the cast, giving advice to her juniors and always available when someone needs a little HTHT (abbreviation for heart-to-heart talk) that are tear-jerking at times. I like the chemistry she has with Park Bom because they hit it off really well, which results in pretty interesting conversations taking place. MMA fighter and maknae of the house Song Ga Yeon was a tad awkward in the first few episodes but we see her gradually warming up to her roommates and everyone else so it’s nice to see her coming out of her shell.
Room 2: Jo Se Ho and Lee Dong Wook
Whenever I think of this pair, ‘Love Is An Open Door’ from Disney’s Frozen OST immediately plays in my head. It’s all thanks to comedian Jo Se Ho for suggesting to do a lip dub of the song after being inspired by a video of a couple doing so in their car during roommate bonding day on episode 3 and a clueless Lee Dong Wook (Hotel King) could only hesitantly agree to play along. After much struggle to get the lyrics right, the duo managed to film their lip dub after several takes. It was only right that their endeavour was well-received by the others because it was hi-la-rious! That episode was even named after the song.
Room 3: Nana and Hong Soo Hyun
I must say that these two ladies are pretty wild and random when together – talking to the camera while carrying out their nightly facial routine as if hosting their own show, dancing around the room to loud music or playing Go-Stop (a Korean card game) while Hong Soo Hyun (Jang Ok Jung, Lives in Love) sips on her one true love that is champagne, with a straw (gotta give it to her, really). How much more random can they get?
Room 4: Chanyeol and Shin Sung Woo
Like Chanyeol, I was uneasy about the amount of awkwardness that would hang over these two. Luckily though, that worry was unfounded as they both realised they had things in common such as composing music and wait for it… carpentry. The friendship they have cultivated over the episodes is certainly heartwarming as seen through Chanyeol’s thoughtful gesture when he bought a celebratory cake and champagne and headed over to congratulate Shin Sung Woo on completing his musical, The Three Musketeers, and Sung Woo’s reciprocation of the favour by making a surprise visit to Inkigayo to support his dongsaeng for EXO-K‘s ‘Overdose’ promotions.
Room 5: Park Min Woo and Seo Kang Joon
If you ever wondered how an awkward bromance plays out, this duo is your answer. Also dubbed the ‘flower boys room’, Park Min Woo (Flower Boy Ramen Shop) and Seo Kang Joon (Cunning Single Lady) have so far been in situations that have raised my eyebrows – cute, for sure, but just too awkward that they were a tad, for lack of a better word, cringe-worthy. Their “romantic” roommate bonding session over samgyupsal – a dish they both were deprived of prior to the show – at the balcony coupled with a drizzle to complete the ambience gave us a first glimpse of their relationship, but what deserves the award for ‘Most Awkward Moment on Roommate‘ is that one scene in episode 6 where they had to praise the other without smiling. I’m feeling slightly squirmy just thinking about it. You’ll have to watch it for yourself.
Not only were they caught up in these awkward moments but also in a love triangle with Hong Soo Hyun on the first episode. My thoughts on that? “Whoa, things escalated quickly.” Considering how we barely got to know the cast yet, the fact that they were already competing for Soo Hyun’s affections on the get-go took me by surprise.
Reasons to love ‘Roommate’
Commentary done by cast
Kudos to the production team for allowing the roommates to lend their voices as commentators rather than getting someone else to do so. It effectively seals the intimate touch the show is going for.
No airs and graces
A huge reason why Roommate has been such a pleasant watch for me is due to how no airs and graces have been given by the cast. Everyone genuinely cares for and supports one another as seen by how they make surprise visits to their fellow roommates’ work locations, carry out sincere conversations and fool around together.
There’s always room for another eomma (mother in Korean) in the house. Mama Shin is an affectionate moniker given to Shin Sung Woo by his roommates all thanks to his MasterChef skills. No kidding, your appetite will be whet just by looking at his dishes. Proving that he truly deserves this title, Mama Shin always ensures that there isn’t a starving tummy in the house, even past midnight. Aww.
Need I say more? This lady here was a hidden gem of variety (I use ‘was’ because her talent has now been acknowledged through the show). The producers made a superb choice by including her in the cast. I love every moment with Park Bom because she never fails to deliver the laughters. Be it fangirling over a certain roommate, having dorky interactions with the cameras or salivating over seafood (see episode 6) she’s downright loveable! I can only imagine why YG took this long to push her into variety programmes (excluding 2NE1 TV).
If you’re curious as to who Park Bom has been fangirling about, here’s your answer: BoDong is none other than the couple name for Park Bom and Lee Dong Wook. Park Bom has already expressed her interest in the charming actor more than once and a tarot card reading she went with her two roommates revealed that he’s a compatible companion for her. Fans in the Philippines showed their support for this pairing through the BoDong banners they held up during 2NE1’s fan meet and concert, much to Park Bom’s surprise. Although we’ve yet to see plenty of interaction between these two, it’s safe to say that this pair has the highest possibility of snagging that vacation reward. Who’s with me?
You may be seven episodes late to the party, but it’s such an easy watch, you’ll comfortably breeze through them in no time. So, why not give Roommate a chance and join me in this episode-by-episode adventure of nurturing friendships through all the laughters and tears with this entertaining cast of 11?