As I look back from the halfway point in the show, I remembered that my biggest concern at the beginning was that I would get on the Melodrama roller-coaster with this show, and then be emotionally demolished when it derailed into some kind of makjang swamp. Nothing like that has even remotely occurred; instead this has been one of the most enjoyable and downright fun (and funny) Kdramas I’ve seen to date. Here are a few of my favorite scenes from this week.
***all screencaps from newasiantv.me***
Woo Hyuk–communicator extraordinaire:
One of the more refreshing things about this show is the straightforward way WH communicates, whether he is being a Prick (like the first 30+ episodes) or a Gentleman. WH and Bang Wool meet up after work. BW sprays a little bit of the perfume on as WH walks in. He’s pleased as punch–even if he’s surprised. He teases her gently:
Then he sniffs all around her! Omo….that’s kinda cute and sexy all in one move! He says since she put the perfume on for him, he should enjoy it! I like how the writer knows that scents have a big role in how attractive one person finds another–like when WK sniffed the toy dog WW gave to her. In SLA, Seon Jae was very attracted to HW’s perfume; a concept I made sure I kept when I wrote the FF stories!
BW and WH have some tea in front of a (fake) fireplace with pretty but mismatched china cups…nice irony there Prop-guy!
BW is mesmerized by the fireplace; in fact this is the first RL one she’s seen. WH kids around that she’s a country bumpkin, and she lets him know in an equally kidding way it must be nice to be so well traveled and educated! The new and improved Gentleman WH is even ready for a little self reflection, as they rehash the past where he offered to pay $50,000 to settle the pickpocket case:
He promises her a fireplace in their future home, and she chides him for making her a promise:
WH is getting smarter. This time he says he understands:
…and he will be there for her. He wants to help her get over that fear and trust him. Wow. That’s some serious character growth. WH’s come a long way from the Prick I watched in the first 30+ episodes!
After CR sees BW and WH kissing:
you can bet that she has a meltdown–including a death threat:
and another one for good measure! Screencapped for documentation purposes:
I’m gonna skip the rest of her tirade to look for a moment at the books in CR’s bedroom–at least the ones I can make out the title!
Hmmm. There’s a Better Homes and Garden Cookbook–probably a souvenir from going to school and living in the US. I can’t think of a more representative middle class American cookbook. My mom had one. I think I had one too, although I have no idea where it is since I barely cook anymore–unless I am trying some new Korean dish! For someone who develops recipes, that’s probably a basic starter manual–or CR has literally no creativity and gets her limited inspiration from it. I couldn’t find “Made with Love” where the cover and title matched, but I will go with the ‘title as irony’ concept in that CR has probably never made anything with love in her adult lifetime, while BW makes every thing she cooks with love and care. Next to that one is a Korean book…and the title (순소 상하기) translates as “Pure Annihilation” on my translator app! If that’s correct…Yikes! Wonder if that’s a hint of what will happen to CR?! I can’t make out the other Korean titled book, but “Big Ben”? Yep, time is running out for CR and her crimes will be catching up to her! WW has plenty of Union Jacks painted around his home, so we know the writer/PD-nim love their British symbols.
The white book is the best, because it’s Charles Darwin’s book “The Descent of Man”. Note how that book is upside down–unlike all the other books. Now that’s a statement! I’d bet dollars to donuts that is a full blown “Hawaiian Good Luck Sign” by the writer/PD-nim/Prop guys that they are not in agreement with the content of that book. How I wish I could check out the Daum/Naver boards to see if anyone else sees the things I see! So much awesomeness…
The next morning, CR decides to make sure WH starts his day off on the wrong foot. She lays in wait for him outside his house early in the morning. WH wonders why she’s hanging out in front of his home, and she says she has something to ask him that she can’t say at work:
WH is never one to waste syllables with CR:
I gotta love this statement–there’s nothing like using your own MO as a base reference:
WH refutes this ridiculous idea:
CR whines as WH goes on the offense:
Nice jab there, WH! CR tries this dumb idea…BW is a horrible person because she had the misfortune to outlive her husband! /sarc
Ha! No deception, only facts:
CR can’t believe WH is dating a widow. This blows my Western Culture-Locked mind. Why on earth is that so bad? It’s not like BW had control over the situation, or is unlucky or cursed because DJ passed away at a young age. Who believes that kind of junk? BW is not even tainted with the stigma of divorce–as if that’s hardly even a Thing these days, unless you’ve been divorced more than a half dozen times. Is WH some kind of royalty where his future wife should be an untouched virgin? **snort** Get real…I don’t even think the Brits buy into that anymore!
CR gives WH a heads-up on what is gonna happen very soon in the first part of this statement:
And then WH makes what I believe is a critical mistake:
CR says No Way!
Whaaaat? A conscience! CR doesn’t own a conscience! She couldn’t even rent one! If she found one on the street, she wouldn’t know what to do with it! What a breathtaking statement from a woman guilty of a hit-and-run DUI fatality. She gets in the car and leaves WH with a morning migraine headache:
WH, I sure hope that plan you said you had earlier is a darn good one! He continues the discussion at the office later that morning in order to do more damage control. CR gives WH an important piece of info I am sure he will file away:
Awesome way to show your cards there CR! And it’s good to know there’s a mole in the Yoon house! Knowing JY’s big mouth and lack of discretion, this should be a 4 alarm wake up call for BW to be extra-extra careful. CR gives WH some unsolicited ‘heartfelt’ advice straight from her jet-black heart:
Heh, with friends like CR, who needs enemies? WH gives CR the scoop. He tried to deny his feelings for BW, but he couldn’t–and he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life regretting it.
This is a critical statement by WH. He knows he’s got to hold on to BW. She could give him up….but that’s not gonna go the other way around. WH is gonna hang onto the woman who makes his heart race with everything he’s got. Good thing he’s got DJ’s heart to help him overcome Maternal Objections to Potential Marriage Partners!
He lets CR know that BW wanted to turn him down over the entire social class situation, but now they are finally together. Mistakenly believing that CR is actually a decent human being, WH asks:
WH then goes out and lets BW know everything that just happened–good job! Total communication FTW! BW knows that CR and WH’s mom are close, but WH’s not too worried…yet!
Crossing the line:
Here’s a situation practically guaranteed to backfire. BW says she’s gonna meet up with WH’s family, and her MiL says she’s got to look her best:
When BW says she doesn’t have one, I feel sad for her. They are not terribly expensive. Even the name brand masks are usually only $2-3 USD each. Is she that broke or does she simply never treat herself to the least little thing without a truckload of guilt? **sniffle**
MiL says not a problem….JY’s got plenty! She then goes into JY and DM’s room as BW objects strenuously:
and rummages through her dresser drawers until she finds JY’s stash:
I find it very disappointing that Byeol sees that his grandma totally violates JY’s privacy and shows no respect for her personal items. What a bad example she is. There are many times when the MiL is whining and begging for money from her husband and Byeol is whining and begging because his grandma asked him to do it. Is it any wonder why this kid is so annoying and whiny himself? Sheesh! BW is gonna have a little brat on her hands real soon, and WH will have a crash course in disciplining his new stepson.
Side Note: Honestly, I thought the MiL was gonna find the birth control pills I believe JY is surreptitiously taking so she can have her baby in the US. She’s said more than once that she will only have the baby in the US. This finding the ‘secret birth control pills’ deal happened in “My Daughter Seo Young” where the husband found the pills and flipped out. (Episode 32 in case you are interested.) I never did finish that show; I got too burned out by the Daddy issues and even the exceptional hawwtness of Lee Sang Yoon couldn’t fix it. I was struggling with the cultural issues in that show as a newbie Kdrama viewer too. I would text my buddy Kaciemom and vent: “WTH! Why is he so mad about that? Why don’t they talk it out–she obviously isn’t ready to have a baby. FCOL she’s a judge! What about her work?” Thankfully, my friend calmed me down and taught me an important lesson–Don’t apply Western cultural logic to Kdramas. It will only drive you crazy!
BW tries her best to warn her MiL, but she insists:
…and compares it to taking a bucket of water from the Han River!
JY is no dummy. She figures it out right away:
Nice PPL for The Face Shop too! DM tries to blow it off–he doesn’t think she’s smart either!
JY has a hunch…and confronts her MiL:
At least Mom admits it:
And JY asks the question I already know the answer to!
Answer: Because Mom believes the old adage: “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine too!” I’d wager that if Mom had asked JY for the face masks, she would’ve probably given them to her. Mom could’ve also been honest by offering to reimburse the cost of the masks. That would be the least she could do. But no…
Dong Min goes for the Peacemaker option:
JY sees the bigger problem…and as much as I dislike this character, I’m on her side!
Mom says that JY is overreacting….she opens her dresser to put the clean laundry away all the time. Why quibble over a few facial masks? JY correctly discerns that those are two different matters. Mom is not the most intelligent person either–she still doesn’t get it:
JY gets testy with Mom as she asks her again to not take things out of her drawer without her permission, and now Dad gets PO’d:
But he’s quick to point out to his wife that she is not sinless in this matter:
He advises his wife to not go in their room anymore, and I think that’s a good plan. Family members need to respect each other and their belongings. Still, I wonder how long it will take for the birth control pills to surface?
Woo Kyung and her CS (Common Sense) degree:
Now that Woo Wan has proposed to WK, she’s decided to quit being the understudy for his musical theater production and be a supportive wife-to-be. The best way to do that? Make some moola so the show can go on stage! She takes some of the designer clothes from her shop to the upscale hair salon that YS runs:
That’s a pretty good idea…the rich ladies who hang out there getting their hair done will see all the stylish outfits, buy them, and make some money for WK. Indeed, that idea works out splendidly, as YS gave her an envelope full of cash a few days later because all the clothes sold–although YS looked less than thrilled to have WK bring in more clothes. Gosh, I hope YS didn’t just buy them herself. I’m gonna go with the other ladies bought the clothes until otherwise informed.
WK then creates a special bank account for the musical:
I think that’s also a great idea. Keep the money separated, and WW can know what funds he has for the musical without bankrupting WK or himself . WK is a disciplined saver too:
I swear WW can’t be happy for a minute:
Ha! WK says Too Bad–it’s already happened!
|Then he throws a fit when he finds out his sister in law YS sold the clothes that WK brought over, and refuses to use the money:
WK’s feelings are hurt, and I understand why. She’s trying to make this musical a success. It will make him look much better in her mom’s eyes, and in his brother’s too.
Then a crack appears in the brick wall around WW’s heart:
Heh…even WK can’t believe it!
He denies it, but too late! I like seeing this softer side of WW, and that he’s starting (barely) to be appreciative of all the work WK is doing on his behalf. It’s been mentioned more than once in the drama that WW is a super smart guy. He’s a member of Mensa after all! However, he is lacking in Common Sense–and WK has the edge on him in that department. WW would rather sit around whining how he has no money, and no one understands him and his musical theater production, blah, blah, blah. WK doesn’t waste time like that; she goes out and makes things happen! I like that. She doesn’t sit still for a minute–and people like that who are focused and motivated are the ones who get stuff done!
Catty is as Kitty does:
I wondered during my last blog post if I was reading too much into some of the background props, especially the books. Were the PD-nim, writer and Prop-guy conspiring together to make little details in the show a way to get a bigger point across? Or to give me something to ponder during each episode? Were they geniuses or beneficiaries of coincidence?
I invite readers to go back with a HD monitor or HDTV and check this scene out. CR has ‘volunteered’ to help with the food preparation during the family wedding meeting between WW’s family (Dr. Dad, YS and niece CR) and WK’s family (WK, WH and OHW) She knows BW will be in the food lab working, so she calls her up and asks for some Galbi sauce/marinade.
Side note: I had always heard that LA Galbi was called that because Korean immigrants to Los Angeles bought short ribs (which were cut laterally) from the Mexican meat cutters that lived nearby. The cut allows the marinade to seep in quickly and infuse the meat with flavor. Friends and family then imported the recipe back over to Korea. No wonder Korean-Mexican fusion food is so popular here in SoCal. 🙂
BW agrees without a problem:
CR’s plan is to mess with BW between her two ears, and intimidate her into giving up WH when she sees the mansion, and perhaps more importantly, the formidable OHW having a family meeting where CR is included. CR really plays this up, even wearing a super-cute black and white apron that matches her outfit. She fake-apologizes for having BW bring over the marinade:
…and says she’d invite her in, except:
CR goes for maximum intimidation, making sure BW knows that this is where WH lives too, and BW is merely an outsider:
and drops that she knows about their relationship:
As CR turns to go back inside at the 1:17 mark of Episode 60….do you see the black and white kitty? Right by the driver’s side front wheel of the white car? I can see it on my TV and monitor easily in full screen mode; you may need to magnify the pic to about 250%–
OMG. That’s amazing. The cat is only there for two seconds, but there’s no doubt about it. That is an amazing coincidence. How did some random neighborhood cat happen to cruise by where they were filming at that very moment? If that was set up on purpose by anyone involved with the production of this drama–Utter Genius. How funny is it that after CR is so ‘catty’ to BW, a cat walks by–and the cat is black and white, just like CR’s outfit. I am going with the benefit of the doubt here and say this is Mensa-level use of props and staging in a Kdrama. I wonder if the PD-nim took a class from Director Ahn of HITTG and Secret Love Affair fame about effective and subtle use of props and staging in a Kdrama. If he did, he passed that class with flying colors! I’m blown away…
Then CR makes a goof. After feeling quite smug:
She drops the marinade, jar and all–into the trash. Geez! How wasteful…both of that yummy marinade and the glass jar! WK happens to see this, and immediately calls out her soon to be niece in law:
(Is that the right family term designation? I have such a small family; this stuff boggles my mind.)
CR lies like the lying liar we all know her to be:
Chae Rin gets taken down a notch:
Ah yes, nothing like meeting the future in-laws while the family feuds around you! WH brings WW over to their house for lunch. WW brings over some fancy ice cream for OHW (great idea) and he has to wonder why his GF has an apron on with her hair tied back. WK thought CR’s apron outfit was super-cute, so she copied her! It’s all kinds of adorable–she probably wants to look like a storybook wife to WW. Mom asks her what the deal is, and she downplays it :
That apron is a crackup: “I love cake and cake loves me right back”. A perfect apron for WK to wear while dating a dentist. (Dentists have the worst ‘sweet tooth’ problems I’ve ever seen. They even give each other candy as gifts.) WH has a more pressing concern:
OHW explains that Cheon Ja the housekeeper had to leave, and CR offered to help. WH is not pleased at all:
He calls out his mom out–she is a huge part of the problem here, and she should know why:
OHW thinks her son is being too sensitive. WH says she may be okay with it:
WH, it makes us viewers uncomfortable too! We’re on your side!
WK tries to break up the disagreement while CR puts on a perfect pouty face:
Here’s the part I like–WW chides his niece:
Bam! CR takes off the apron and mumbles a lame apology. I am so thrilled that her uncle said that. His disapproval of her actions seems to have some effect on her. In a RL situation, he could be voice of reason. Too bad she won’t listen–but then we wouldn’t have a show!
More coming soon!