Korean Drama Premiere Review: The Crowned Clown

Having watched Yeo Jin Goo act since he was a young boy, I have a soft spot for him and hence definitely keen to see him in his new drama The Crowned Clown.

I have never watched “Masquerade”, the Korean movie in which this drama is based on, however I think the premise of The Crowned Clown reminds me a lot of the classic story The Prince and The Pauper where the prince found his lookalike and got his doppelgänger to replace him in the palace.

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In short, The Crowned Clown’s main plot is about a young King (Yeo Jin Goo) who is afraid of being assassinated. As such he appoints a lookalike (who works as a clown on the streets) to act as him on the throne. In the process, the fake King fell in love with the Queen (Lee Se Young).

Intense Palace Politics

The Crowned Clown is more of an intense serious drama and is not for someone who is into light watches.

Just in episode 1, we witnessed how the young King ordered the killing of his younger brother to cement his position as King, and the attempted assassination of the King by don’t-know-which-official as well as numerous scenes of the King acting violent and crazy and terrorising the subordinates around him.

I am still trying to get my head around the faces of the different officials, and making sense of who is good and who is bad, but generally and expectedly, we have the typical antagonist in the form of a power-hungry high-ranking official Shin Chi Soo who holds influence in court and manipulates the King. We also see good officials who are trying to get rid of Shin Chi Woo, only to be outwitted and have the plan backfire on them instead.

I am definitely interested to see more of such palace politics which I believe should intensify as the drama goes on.

Intriguing characterisation of the King: Is he a bad or good person?

I personally find the characterisation of the King very interesting, perhaps cos I can’t quite tell if he is supposed to be a bad or good person?

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We see that he appears to hold deep resentment against his father, the late King though we do not know why yet.

We see him going berserk easily and prone to violent actions, such as killing the assassinator carelessly just cos he cannot control his emotions.

A conniving official Shin Chi Soo wields great power in court, seeming to insinuate that the King is one who is easily manipulated. Yet we witness telling scenes where the King actually seems to be aware of the manipulation but choose to go along with it, for reasons that have not been revealed yet.

As such, I am interested to know the back story of the King and understand what made him hold this much baggage to become this moody angsty person even though it was shared that he used to have a lot of potential to become a great King when he was young. I will also like to know just what exactly is his personality and if there is any room for redemption.

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Contrary to the characterisation of the King, the Clown(which is also acted by Yeo Jin Goo) is a decidedly less complex character. The “fun” should start when the Clown is placed on the throne and we get to see him struggle with the responsibilities of a King without having his cover blown.

Great Ingredients for a Great Drama

A bumbling clown on the throne, a love story between a fake King and a Queen, a potential wrestling of throne between the fake King and the real King, palace politics with the King caught in the middle, all these potential plotlines which I am expecting are great ingredients for a conflict-ridden and intense drama.

yeo jin goo and lee se young

It helps that Yeo Jin Goo is a good and versatile actor, as I think one key to this drama is the ability of the main lead to juggle the two roles with ease and believability.

With the ratings already breaking the record for tvN’s Mon-Tue slot in Korea, I am expecting great things from The Crowned Clown, and I will definitely stay on for the full ride.

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