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Shopping King Louis

(aka Shopping King Louie, Shopaholic Louis)



      Director: Lee Sang Yeob
      Writer: Oh Ji Young


      Main Cast:
      Seo In Guk - Louis / Kang Ji Sung
      Nam Ji Hyun - Ko Bok Shil
      Yoon Sang Hyun - Cha Joong Won
      In Se Mi - Baek Ma Ri





Writer Oh Ji Young’s script for Shopping King Louis had won an Excellence Prize at the 7th “Finding a Shooting Star in the Desert” Drama Scenario Contest in 2015 hosted by the Broadcasting Contents Promotion Foundation before then being picked up by MBC for development. It was filmed and aired in 2016, and was the first of her three dramas to date. Her second drama was the So Ji Sub drama 'My Secret Terrius' in 2018, also airing on MBC. Her third drama is 'Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol' airing in 2020 on KBS.


Her dramas are known for being fun and quirky, exploring well known tropes and having some over the top elements, but still managing to feel fresh and likable.

Shopping King Louis is a romantic comedy about a wealthy young man who is the only grandson of a conglomerate who has no sense of normal life even before he gets amnesia and a smart, pure-hearted young woman from the countryside who comes to the big city to find her lost younger brother.


Louis aka Ji Sung (Seo In Guk) lost his parents at a young age to a car accident. His grandmother, the chairwoman of Goldline Group, fearing a premonition that Louis would come to harm in South Korea has him sent away to live at a chalet in Paris by himself served by a Korean family retainer as his bodyguard, guardian, companion and assistant plus the chalet servants. There Louis leads a pampered, sheltered life, though he is also lonely. Being so protected, prevented from doing a number of activities, and shadowed by his manservant meant that Louis was unable to make friends. Instead, Louis becomes a discerning if extravagant shopper, where the beauty and quality of the merchandise speak to his soul.


He is called back to South Korea because of his grandmother’s failing health, and there he wakes ups as a beggar with amnesia. One of the mysteries of this drama is figuring out how Louis had gone from his privileged to being a beggar on the streets of Seoul. His family and manservant have no idea what happened to him and eventually is led to think that he has died.


In the meantime, Bok Shil (Nam Ji Hyun) is the breadwinner of her small family consisting of a younger brother Bok Nam and her grandmother who live in rural surroundings, supporting them by foraging for roots and herbs to sell. Their parents had died when they were both young, just after Bok Nam had been born due to a traffic accident in a storm, and the children had subsequently been raised by their grandmother.


Bok Nam rebels at their rural lifestyle and runs away from home to Seoul. Bok Shil and their grandmother wait for him to return, but the grandmother passes away. Bok Shil decides that it’s time to bring Bok Nam home then, and goes to the city to find him.


In Seoul, BS is unable to find her brother, but does come across Louis who is an amnesiac but wearing BN’s clothing. BS decides that until they find BN, that she’ll take care of Louis since he is the only connection she has to her missing brother. They end up calling Louis ‘Louis’ because he is wearing underwear that is embroidered ‘Louis’, thus assuming that is his name.


BS finds a place for herself and Louis to live and gets a job as a cleaner at Goldline. There she runs across Cha Joong Won, Director of Marketing for Goldline and Goldline.com. They had previously met when BS had tried to sell him some valuable wild mountain ginseng. He had taken it from her to have it check out at BS’ insistence, but had not paid her yet. Not hearing back from him, BS had though that he was a ginseng thief, only to find out that he is a senior person at the company she now works for.


Cha Joong Won becomes intrigued by BS because she is so different from anyone else she has known, and soon develops both a personal crush on BS as well as a professional interest in helping BS develop since she is so diligent at everything that she tackles with a streak of creativity. BS soon moves from the cleaning staff to join the marketing staff.


The final leg of the love square is Baek Ma Ri who is the daughter of the Executive Director of Goldline. She has grown up wanting to own Goldline, and thus thinking that she will marry Louis so that she can become owner of Goldline. The only problem is that Louis doesn’t like her, though he tolerates her as a friend of the family and someone he’s grown up with. MR eventually develops a crush on CJW.


Louis ends up meeting a neighbor by the name of Jo In Sung (not the actor) who is still studying to try to get a job. Louis and BS both get taken under the wing of JIS’ mother who is also the head cleaner at Goldline. Louis focuses on trying to find BN and recovering his memories, as well as learning to do the chores that BS sets him on. Louis and JIS together try to find BN, while Louis learns about living as a poor person in a big city.  


Ultimately, the mysteries surrounding how Louis became a beggarly amnesiac and BN’s disappearance are shown to be linked mysteries. And, in the midst of all that, BS and Louis depend on each other for their emotional support and draw ever closer together.

This drama is very quirky and funny. At the same time, it does a good job of giving emotional beats that create real sympathy for the characters, not just the OTP but for most of the supporting characters as well. The drama is able to give insights, albeit briefly for some, into its cast of characters, making them memorable and watchable.


The story does contain a lot of tropes that are familiar to K-Drama watchers, including a main character having amnesia and having all the main characters go on an MT (member training) weekend. Not to mention the second male lead blatantly calls himself Daddy Long Legs at one point in the drama, though BS is too competent and too practical to be any kind of Candy.  As a viewer, I appreciated those elements, but didn’t dwell on that. The drama moved swiftly enough that I was just able to enjoy it. It also has a number of parody elements, and the fact that each episode is named for a pop song, most of them English-language, gives blatant notice that this is a pop culture love affair. It’s not the most provocative or deep drama, but it does deliver emotions, feel good moments, and a satisfactory explanation for almost everything that happens.


The production is good without being spectacular, though there are some scenes set in Busan that are beautifully framed and shot. For the most part, the camera work is up close and personal, befitting the intimate character driven drama that this is.


There are elements that are a bit cartoonish and over the top, and it turns out that the villains aren’t that villainous really. And, as always with a romantic drama, whether comedy or melodramatic, it requires serious chemistry between the OTP in order to make the drama work. Seo In Guk and Nam Ji Hyun effortlessly turn in likable characters who may be superficially different, but are complementary people underneath, and their steadfast bond which continues to grow throughout the drama is one of the reasons why it’s so compelling to watch.


I recommend this drama to people to watch, especially for people who want a light watch without a lot of melodramatic angst. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, especially because of the over the top comic elements as well as the relative lack of depth, but I have found myself re-watching and enjoying in the re-watch without feeling a need to skip scenes or episodes.

Story/Plot                8
Cast/Acting             9
Production Value    7
Re-Watch Value      8


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