Cinderella and Four Knights is quite a fluffy mess but it’s so cheesy, it’s addictive. It’s like a palate cleanser in between watching episodes of an exciting and twist-filled series like W- Two Worlds or a placid slice of life Jdorama like Hibana. CA4K embraces all the romcom cliches that we have seen through the years but not to the point of being exasperating because it is totally unpretentious. It says Cinderella and that’s what you get. Setting expectations can either work for or against a show and in this case, I have expected at least this much level of cheese and I watched it to enjoy and not to nitpick over the ridiculousness of the story.
The show doesn’t try too hard to make sense because everything isn’t supposed to make sense to begin with. Like the fact that Chairman Kang simply allowed a young girl they barely even know into a mansion full of complicated chaebol family secrets; or how the Kang cousins all just started caring for Ha Won too much too soon; or why Ha Won needs a luggage when she wears the same tracksuit all the time. Is this a homage to Hyun Bin’s famous character since the director directed Secret Garden?
This is a fairytale with a bunch of tropes thrown in here and there just so lead girl gets to have cute moments with every knight and finally live her happily-ever-after with the obvious endgame. But hopefully, amidst the twirling and sparkly scenes with mushy background music, we’d get to see each character’s layers get peeled. The intricacies of their relationships with their families are what connect these characters with each other after all.
At this point, we begin to understand why the boys are all acting coldly towards their fathers. Good thing at least one of them has a good relationship with his mom which explains why Kang Seo Woo is the “nicest” out of the three. While Seo Woo’s the nicest, I think Secretary Lee Yoon Sung is actually the best. He’s the man! Literally. The rest are still boys who need some growing up to do. It would be such an awesome plot twist if Ha Won ends up marrying this hot and caring ‘ahjussi’ instead. If I were her, I’d totally choose the level-headed guy who’d cook a whole fried chicken for me! Choi Min missed a chance to an instant shot to stardom when Park Hae Jin replaced him as Lee Hwi Kyung in My Love from the Star due to an injury. I’m glad people are paying him more attention now.
I just feel sad for Jung Il Woo’s character, though. After Kang Ji Woon’s declaration to steal Kang Hyun Min’s fiancee, Episode 5 gave us more interactions between him and Ha Won proving my initial thoughts that no one could beat Il Woo in this genre. But just when I thought that we’re finally getting to have a turnaround on the shipping, Ahn Jae Hyun’s character continues to steal the spotlight. Kang Hyun Min is just so adorable at being cool and easy-going, seemingly self-absorbed but actually quite thoughtful and straightforward at expressing his interest in Ha Won. Ahn Jae Hyun finally found a role that looks naturally comfortable and fun for him to work with.
What I love about Park So Dam’s Eun Ha Won is that she’s not the typical persistent klutz kind of heroine that has the tendency to get annoying. She knows her boundaries and backed off a little when she found out about the guys’ complicated relationship with their fathers. But what I feared about her character development finally happened as we see her getting bullied in this episode.
All of a sudden, she was reduced to this helpless girl when she could’ve kicked those bitches’ @$$ the way she did with the disrespectful customers the night Kang Hyun Min first saw her in the club. The script is making her look weak so Jung Il Woo’s character would appear stronger.
But the weakest character has to be Na Eun’s Hye Ji. The girl can’t act so the least the show could do is give her a character worth liking and sympathizing with. But if she’s going to be the stereotypical backstabbing bitch, then go for it.
Hating an actress for a villainous character she plays is better than not caring about her at all. She was genuinely happy to find out the truth about Ha Won and Hyun Min but her smile still looks so feigned. Make her meaner if that’s what it takes to squeeze more facial expressions out of her.
Kang Hyun Min’s very public confession is definitely a game changer. Seeing how Hye Ji’s world seems to revolve around Hyun Min, this scene has obviously affected the potential friendship between the girls. But then it could also make Ji Woon realize that his ‘steal the fiancee’ idea has backfired on him and now that he found out that the two aren’t really engaged but Hyun Min has decided to confess his real feelings, then it’s about time Ji Woon begins to contemplate his own emerging feelings for Ha Won too, and maybe, just maybe, he could stop trying so hard to be a tsundere and finally be the usual,dreamy, romcom specialist that we know. Second lead syndrome is strong but Jung Il Woo’s the lead for a reason. Time to prove it.