You know all those Kdramas that have girls pretending to be guys?… Coffee Prince, You’re Beautiful, To The Beautiful You, Nail Shop Paris, The Scholar That Walks The Night just to name a few. Have you ever wondered what a drama would be like if a guy tried to pass himself off as a girl? Well, wonder no more. You can see the outcome of just such an idea with the 2012, three episode drama Ma Boy.
Hang Geu-Rim is a 17 year old girl who’s dream is to become a singer. She transfers to the prestigious music school where her favorite Kpop singer, Tae-Joon, studies and finds herself the roommate of the most popular girl in school, Irene. Even though Irene is a beautiful (definitely a matter of opinion) model who is loved by pretty much everyone, she’s extremely aloof, in fact, no one at school has even heard her speak. Friendly Geu-Rim is determined to become buddies with her new roommate but Irene wants nothing to do with her. Meanwhile, Geu-Rim has made some enemies. The three guys that formed “The Irene Club” hate her because until Geu-Rim came along Irene always had her own room and they think sharing a room might be bothersome to Irene. And the three girls who make up “The Tae-Joon Club” despise Geu-Rim because they know she has a crush on “their” idol, and the last thing they need is more female competition for his attention. But Tae-Joon only has eyes for Irene who, won’t even give him the time of day. One night, Geu-Rim accidentally discovers why her roommate is so standoffish. Lovely Irene is really a boy in disguise!
As you can probably guess by now, Ma Boy isn’t really all that great. The selling point of the drama is in seeing how well a guy can pass for a girl. In the show, everyone is enamored with Irene’s beauty. However, if I didn’t know what the show was about I would have thought Irene was an awkward, plain girl. The long brown wig they gave Sun Woong (the actor who plays Irene) says “girly” but nothing else about him is feminine at all. He kind of reminded me of Park Gyulee in Nail Shop Paris. Aside from her short hair there was absolutely nothing boyish about her. There’s only so much a make-up artist and costume designer can do for any character. Most of it comes down to the person, themself. Casting directors need to be a bit more mindful when they’re trying to find someone who might be able to pass for the opposite sex. But with this drama we really don’t tune in because of the casting. It’s the awkward situation that intrigues us – a fish out of water idea. And it was fun to see the guy pose as a girl this time around.
Hang Geu-Rim is portrayed by Kim So-Hyun. Born in 1999, she’s acted in feature films and dramas since 2006! I’ve seen her in several things. She’s played the poor, abused kidnapped and raped victim in Missing You, the angry daughter in The Suspicious Housekeeper, and many, many others. Two of my favorite roles were when she co-starred with Chung Jung-Myung in the 2014 thriller drama Reset, and her latest, duel roles in Who Are You: School 2015.
Irene/Hyun Woo is played by Sun Woong. He’s a member of the Kpop boy group TOUCH which explains why his character could dance so well, even though in the show they said he wasn’t dancing well enough to debut with some other guys. He’s been in three other dramas, two of which I’ve seen – Blade Man and, one of my top 20 favorite Kdramas, Fated To Love You.
Jang Min-Hoo, the actor who played Kpop idol Tae-Joon, is a member of the boy group EXCITE. Ma Boy is the only thing Min-Hoo has been in. I thought his character was fun and he did a fine job playing the love-struck, egotistical idol. He can do comedy fairly well and the tiny bit of singing he did on the show was nice.
Sadly, there wasn’t much to the music. With Sun Woong being in TOUCH and Kim So-Hyun singing on the original soundtrack of four dramas, I would have thought they would have had them singing together in this, but they passed on that opportunity. Too bad. So-Hyun did sing, or at least her character sang, three times in the show. Once was at a hospital when she sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, another was a class assignment, and the last was when she sang for a school talent show kind of thing.
As for scenery, we mostly see the characters at school or at the place where Hyun-Woo practices his dancing.
If you’re interested in a guy posing as a girl show, I suggest the 1982 American Hollywood movie Tootsie. It’s old, but Dustin Hoffman pulls off being a girl quite well.
Ma Boy isn’t a great Kdrama. It isn’t even a really good Kdrama. However, it’s a fun twist on the usual gender mix-up stories. If it were any longer than what it is I’d suggest you skip it, but the reverse gender masquerade is worth three hours of your time if you’re really curious.
A guy trying to pose as a girl, for a change
Darling Kim So-Hyun
Not really that interesting