Boys Before Friends Episode One Recap/Review

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Claude Racine who plays the main actress in the first episode


     As you may or may not know, I love Asian dramas. My poison of choice is mainly of the Korean kind but I throw in some spicy Japanese and Chinese shows in ever so often. I've seen every adaptation of Boys Over Flowers except for the Hong Kong version. I enjoyed them all except for the Korean version (you're free to hate me all you'd like but I'm sorry, it is light years away from the Japanese version). I know you're likely thinking, um, so what does this have to do with your beauty and fashion website? and my response is absolutely nothing but it's my site so I get to choose what I post. :)

I decided to recap and review the show. I may not do it right after each episode, or for the whole thing but I'm going to start it. My mission is going to try and look at this with an unbiased mindset, after-all Meteor Garden was the first Asian drama I ever watched so I do have a soft spot for this story.

Here we go!

You can watch Boys Before Friends on Viki or their youtube channel.



Episode One:

The episode starts by introducing our characters. Note that the lead actress in the actual show is different than the one in the stills and promo pics. Thank you to whoever made that decision because I do have a girl crush on her. And I'm straight. Oh, spoke too soon. Apparently they recasted the main female lead. boo


This is a low budget adventure. I'm cool with that, hell I work on indie films so I know what it's like but there are some things that should just not be kept or changed to make it not so obvious. I would like to know who thought this hair piece was a good idea. I imagine it's for some scene that involves him cutting his hair on camera but, if you're going to do that you have to invest in a good wig. That or scrap the scene.

Our first scene is to a sleepyhead Zoey (which for whatever reason gave me flashbacks to the American adaptation of Sailor Moon. I'm happy to say this was better executed.. at least from memory) with her friend/roomie waking her up. IT'S AUDITION TIME!!!! I forgot this was set at a dance school!



I don't know if the lead actress always had her hair like that BUT I AM IN LOVE. The hairstylist on this set is rockin' (minus the hair pieces. I can forgive you for styling this girls hair awesomely though). Zoey rushes to do her hair and makeup (though she already has makeup on) and heads to Ellison University, an elite school where enrollment is usually invitation only but one day out of the year an audition is held for those need a full scholarship.


After some time jumps we get these two guys just hanging out until they get slapped with the white card!! (American version of the F4's once red). Look out guys, you're in for a world of bullying. With the Mean Girls on the prowl I have no doubt some serious damage will be done. We find out that he bumped into one of the F4 when best friend goes to try and talk the F4 into stopping the bullying. Subsequently he now gets the white card, new target alert! Say bye-bye guys.


Pink sweater girl warns Zoey not to be so helpful to the kid getting bullied, brings her to the library to explain who the F4 are. Zoey isn't too impressed. Girl, I got you. I wouldn't be either.


Liam (Domyouji) is a fighter, "UFC or something" ha! Guess that's why he's so ripped and shirtless during his intro. Gorgeous, rich, star basketball player, owner of all the female hearts in the schools...etc Noam (Soujiro), ties to the mafia, sounds like a fun guy. Hi Chase/Oliver (Rui - Wait, who's who? I'm actually really confused which one he is because we don't get to see all four flower boys during her explanation. Can someone clarify this for me?). I can tell we're going to be friends. Oh, he has an album out? We're definitely going to be hearing him belt out some tunes during this series. I will be highly disappointed otherwise.


Zoey dares to ask what the F4 stands for and Mean Girls come to explain. HI MEAN GIRLS. I FEEL LIKE I'LL LIKE YOU! "They're so lucky fortune follows them wherever they go... duh" yeah, I thought Flower Boy would be hard to translate too.


F4 interrupts their chat to cut this guys wig. I'm not sure whether to be thankful or not. Mean Girls make the perfect peanut gallery, cheering and clapping for the little hair snip. I don't know why I like them BUT I DO.


Zoey rants to her friend on the phone about the F4 cutting off the kids hair and just acting all high and mighty. She's not going to be able to just sit and watch, nope, she's going to do something about it. Chase/Oliver is relaxing on the stairway and overhears our little heroine. She calls Liam Lamen and HE SMIRKS then laughs.

Cut to the next scene where she's still ranting but this time at their workplace, some clothing shop. I love her girlfriends. They all work pretty well together and I'm glad best friend #2 (red streaks) was cast because I think she may be the best actor in the series. Okay, too soon to tell but within the first 15 minutes she is. They convince her to keep a low profile because Ellison is the perfect place to help her career and messing with the F4 will likely mess with this opportunity.


Zoey finds an unused filthy room and takes it upon herself to clean the mess up so she can use it to practice dancing.


Next we find some girl gifting Liam with a nice looking cake she made herself as a token of her love. Girl, you in trouble. Her shoves it in her face and precedes to walk away. Zoey see's this and with a heavy sigh keeps her mouth shut and complains to her roomie instead who is APPALLED at him wasting a cake. A CAKE. She's upset for wasting a beautiful baked good.

"Whose side are you on anyway?
"That poor cake obviously... That cake did nothing wrong and someone should have had at least eaten it."
I like her.


Friend again explains that it's really none of her business and she should leave well enough alone. And now it's time for cake. Friend (seriously, what's her name??)Aubrey and Zoey are walking around at school and Aubrey accidentally slips and spills coffee on Liam.  uh-oh (best part is the guy who bumped into her just casually walks away like nothing happen. ha!) This means trouble. Liam is pissed and lets her know sorry aint cuttin' it, enter Zoey The Savoir. She gets some touching in there while telling him how much of a jerk he's being. haha sneaky girl! Liam is willing to forgive... for a lap dance that is. He'll even pay! What a gent.


Zoey doesn't exactly take kindly to that little suggestion and pours some water on him. Tells him off again and then tucks a dollar into his shirt collar, A DOLLAR! HAHAHAHA Yep. It's on! The rest of the fortunate bunch talk about how this is the first girl to ever not fall for Liam instantly. Okay make note guys, this is where the obsession starts!


Zoey, friend and some dude are in a cafe chatting. Zoey brings up how they'd make a cute couple, especially since they've known each other for so long when Mean Girls come and hand Zoey her white card. (AUBREY! Friends name is Aubrey! Okay, one mystery down, I don't know where I missed her name but I did.. or maybe I just couldn't hear it). Zoey heads to clothing shop to dish to her besties the events that happened. Zoey thinks maybe since she's a girl and they haven't messed with one before she'll be okay, or they'll be soft on her. Best friend #2 reminds me, "never put boys before friends". Cute little way to put the title in the script but it felt kind of out of place.


AND THE BULLYING STARTS! Some garbage a.k.a paper is dumped on her leading her to shout in the hallway of her hatred towards Lamen to which Oliver/Chase corrects her. His name is LIAM. Aubrey gets a message from Zoey and she ignores her. Boyfriend-but-not-boyfriend digs in on her poor treatment towards Zoey but she has her excuses.


The F4 are in their little room hanging out, doing guy stuff when Oliver/Chase plays around with Liam now calling him Lamen. ha! Some girl angrily stomps in and complains to Noam about his playa ways by giving him the lamest, softest slap in the face I've ever witnessed. He laughs it off because the more they say they hate you, the more they actually love you. Well especially if that's what she considers a slap.

 

We then see Zoey in the locker room where she finds one of her shirts shredded in her locker, gets laxatives put in her coffee, has her name written on the bathroom stall -for a good time call...-, tripped, has a concoction of nasty stuff poured on her and dye placed in her body wash.

"Okay what did you try and get it off with?"
I used half-and-half, motor oil, I used cat litter I used, um dog food. I used honey. I used mustard. None of- oh and olive oil. None of it worked.

I feel like this was ad libbed. I liked it. Best Friend #2 and Zoey play off each other trying to come up with ways to revert her from she-hulk back to normal Zoey. They're cute together.


Douchebag TA tells Zoey to sit down -but there are no seat for her! Her options? Sit on the floor with the rest of the trash or get an F. She chooses the floor. Mean Girls giggle while tossing crumpled up paper at her.


Bestfriends 1+2 meet Zoey in some black get ups (impressing half of the F4) while carrying out war in the form of playing the tricks that were played on her, on them. Oh but first Zoey plants a big old white card on each and every one of them. ATTA GIRL! The whole gang sans one gets their faces dyed. What? He hadn't showered yet. hahaha


The girls go back home and celebrate their successful revenge. Bestfriend #1 says she even had more fun than baking. BAKING. Girl means business. Zoey leaves to practice dancing some more while the other two celebrate with some baking of course. I seriously enjoy the scenes with the best friends. Zoey gets to her little dance room to find the floor has been waxed! Woops! She has to basically crawl out of the room now much to our entertainment.


She goes back to change in the locker room and is met with some jackasses who attempt to rape her. She fights and screams for them to let her go and -END OF EPISODE.


Thoughts:
First, let me start off by saying that I hate how they ended this episode. That scene was pretty damn realistic and really well done which is why I think is was distasteful to pick that as the cliffhanger. I don't know, rape scenes are always touchy and I would rather the viewers find out what happen now than have to witness everything but until next week.

Also to my disappointment Claude Racine (Zoey) is replaced in the second episode. WHAT? WHY? I'm highly disappointed because I think she acts pretty well, has chemistry with the cast and I love her with her girlfriends. Also, changing the characters after airing is never a good thing in my books. sigh sorry Claude, I'll miss you and your beautiful hair.

Now during the earlier scenes, around the 4:30 mark we get some really random clip with Oliver/Chase. I don't understand it's purpose, I'm assuming it served as some foreshadowing but it was too out of place for it to make any sense. And why was Zoey wearing the same outfit six months after her audition? Uh, continuity, where you at?? There are little things I noticed like her clothing being different in some scenes but maybe that was just me... The time jumps could have been done a little better and I was confused at first but things start to make a bit more sense afterwards.

Sound: I know a lot of people will be complaining about this. The music playing tends to be louder than the actual conversation (please, if you guys are still editing fix this!!). I like the music, so kudos to whoever is in charge of that but the sound guy...  something should have been done because the quality is very poor. Not only are there times where the audio was barely audible but raising the volume only led to my ear drums blown out when the music started again.

The story and writing isn't as tight as it should be (and I think especially considering how many eyes would be on this project, they really should have worked harder on the script). The actors are okay, some better than others but I'm not really blown away by any of them except for bestfriend #2. I hope we get a chance to see Liam improve because right now... not really being impressed here. Zoey (#1 I should write now), bestfriend #2, dad and Oliver/Chase are probably the better ones.


I love the hair stylist. Zoey always has bangin hair. Such a cool style.

I think the best way to watch BBF is not to compare it with its Asian counterparts. It is a low budget adaptation so it's not going to be comparable however that doesn't excuse some of the mishaps mentioned above. Hair pieces aside, the sound, unfocused frames and transitions (I think the reason why I was so confused as to who Chase/Oliver is was because during the explanation scene, we're shown only three of the four guys while she's explaining and then on their tumblr page they say Trenton plays the role of Oliver even though he's shown during Chase's intro) were very off putting for me. I found some of the scenes to be too warm (namely the scenes where Zoey is in her house/hallway of the school) and some of the shots aren't at the best angles.

Overall I'm not that impressed but I'm willing to see where they take this, I do see potential with some of the scenes. Namely the ones that involve Zoey and her girlfriends, they play off each other quite well. I also love how diverse the cast is! I do understand tackling a project like this is tricky but they would have as well and I think a tighter production was really needed. I am open for the next episode and hope to see improvements.

Edit/ wow how did I get so many cast members confused?? ummm http://vimeo.com/82944931

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