Drama Recaps
My Sweet Seoul: Episode 10
by | July 17, 2008 | 28 Comments

Let this be a lesson to me: A drama featuring someone with whom I have fundamental character issues, no matter how well-done the series, will be as much disappointment as enjoyment. It’s turned my initial admiration for a well-crafted series into a love-hate relationship. (Well, more like-dislike.)

I imagine the series is sweet and wonderful if you’re not bothered by Eun-soo or Choi Kang-hee, but let me pose a question to the rest of y’all: If you’re having issues with Eun-soo, does that affect how you feel about the series as a whole? Are you still enjoying My Sweet Seoul? Or are you like me, wanting to give up the series at those frequent flashes of disgust but convincing yourself to stay when those flashes fade?

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EPISODE 10 RECAP

Episode 10 starts with Jane at Eun-soo’s door, somber and serious. She tells Eun-soo it’s urgent and pulls her along, barely giving time for Eun-soo to put on shoes as she goes.

But it turns out to be a fake-out, because Jane and Yoo-hee have just come to spirit Eun-soo away for a much-needed girls’ day trip. Jane’s realized she can’t make her marriage work and is getting a divorce — to which her husband coolly responded that at least things would be simple legally since they hadn’t registered their marriage yet. Yoo-hee has hit a rough patch with her boyfriend, while Eun-soo is getting over her breakup. She’s also missing work and has left her phone at home, but having had a crappy few days, she opts not to worry about it.

At the beach, the three friends take turns shouting out names of people they hate and things that irritate them. After venting a while, Jane steps up and gets a little more honest, shouting out her own name and cursing herself for her mistakes and failures.

Yoo-hee steps up and shouts out her reply, “Jane! I love you!” She then shouts out her own name and lists all the reasons she hates herself. So Eun-soo steps up shouts that she loves Yoo-hee. Last but not least, Eun-soo shouts out her own name and how she hates herself for being a stupid coward. The others chime in, “Eun-soo, we love you!” And they all end in a chorus of “I love you! I love you! I love you!”

It is so embarrassingly lame. I’m sorry, My Sweet Seoul is usually nicely subtle, but this scene was clunky and artificial and made me cringe all through it. It was so precious.

Eun-soo gets back that night to find a long list of missed calls, mostly from her office. She stares indecisively for a long while at the phone before writing a quick text message to Tae-oh, which simply reads, “Tae-oh… Tae-oh…” He responds with an un-angry but simple message: “You never loved me.” He cries alone, while Eun-soo reads his message and realizes that this break-up is final, and that the Tae-oh whom she’d always expected to come running at her beck and call has decided to leave for good.

Deciding she needs a change and feeling fed up with the current state of things, Eun-soo submits her resignation. She takes a few days to hand off her projects to her co-worker (the nosy but well-meaning one), which includes the Fresh Cat account.

After her last day, Eun-soo wanders past a storefront and is drawn to something in the window. She buys herself a compass — looking for direction in her life? — and treats herself out to a solo steak dinner in a nice restaurant.

Timing-wise, Eun-soo’s career move crosses paths with Yoo-joon, who’s just taken up a job after a long stretch of unemployment. (I wonder if the fact that she and Yoo-joon happen to make the opposite career move at the same time is an indicator of how they’re always missing their timing. I’d wondered why they’d never gotten together if they’re supposedly such “soulmates,” but perhaps they’ve always just missed their chance.)

While she celebrates her impending life of leisure, he’s taking a job as a cram school (hakwon) teacher. He tells Eun-soo that after being without work for so long, he feels like he’s lived a hundred years.

It’s a feeling Eun-soo soon grows used to; old habits are hard to break, and on her first jobless morning she tries to force herself to sleep in, to no avail. She spends her time lying around watching television, but admits it didn’t take very long for her to feel that sensation of having lived a hundred years.

Eun-soo and her older brother meet their mother to talk her out of her intention to divorce their father. (I suspect this is more the brother’s intention, as Eun-soo remains silent until he leaves in frustration, saying he just doesn’t understand.)

Eun-soo tells her mother she understands how she feels… but can’t she put up with it? Can’t she let this go and stay with her husband? Eun-soo’s mother (perhaps feeling there’s nothing she can say to make someone understand her who doesn’t) can only look at her with tears in her eyes.

Relationships are falling apart all around us, as Yoo-hee and Chan-seok have an argument. Apparently she’d been trying to reach him for days, but he’d been unresponsive and kept his phone off. Now he’s here at her training academy, and Yoo-hee’s angry at him for once more running away instead of facing their relationship.

He tells her, “I’m sorry,” but she hates the sound of that and asks bitterly, “How much longer do I have to hear those words? You run away, say sorry, run away, say sorry. Why do you always have to be sorry to me? Let’s call it quits.”

Yoo-hee’s goofy classmate happens to arrive to hear most of the argument, and although he doesn’t know the particulars, he gets the gist, and tries to be (misguidedly) helpful. He suggests she let the boyfriend off the hook, and that “all men are like that” (as if to say, apologetically, that men are stupid and please forgive him). Yoo-hee’s in no mood to humor him, and tells him darkly, “Don’t kid around.”

Jane packs up her belongings from her apartment, and I LOVE HER for what she does to her husband’s CDs. He’d yelled at her previously for throwing away the plastic shrink wrap on a new CD and for placing a CD in the wrong case, blowing a small thing out of proportion. She now gets his CD collection out and swaps the discs and cases of ALL of his albums, then replaces the cases on the shelf, looking untouched. She giggles to herself for this one little bit of satisfaction.

Eun-soo’s helping Jane pack, and in the process of wrapping dishes with newspapers, Jane sees an article featuring Young-soo and the Fresh Cat company. She marvels at how handsome he is and prods Eun-soo to get him back, particularly when she senses that Eun-soo still likes him. Seeing that Eun-soo won’t make the first move to bridge that relationship, Jane grabs her cell phone to text Young-soo.

Eun-soo freaks out, but Jane’s already put a message through, which reads, in a cutesy tone, “I miss you… ♥ ♥” When no response is forthcoming, Eun-soo is mortified and Jane apologizes meekly for adding the heart, which she’d automatically entered without thinking, “out of habit.”

Young-soo gets the message while he’s in a (frustrating) meeting with Eun-soo’s co-worker, who is on a totally different wavelength — she doesn’t get the company’s purpose or spirit at all. Her suggestions comprise all those flashy, empty topics Young-soo had said early on that he wanted to avoid, like promoting “diets” and “beauty” rather than health and well-being.

To Eun-soo’s surprise, he calls back after getting the text message and asks if she can meet him tomorrow.

Eun-soo arrives at the café the next day with nervous anticipation, looking forward to seeing Young-soo but unsure how to act. When they first sit down together, conversation goes in fits and starts and is mostly awkward pauses. He’s heard that she quit work, and very briefly worried that it was because he’d made her uncomfortable. She assures him that it wasn’t that at all.

Young-soo asks if she’d written the text message herself, because he’d thought perhaps that somebody else had written it as a joke. Eun-soo laughs nervously at his correct guess, but answers that she was the one who wrote it.

Eun-soo seems to be working towards mentioning the elephant in the room, starting by asking if he’s “forgotten everything” as he said he would do. Young-soo answers thoughtfully: “I think I’m waiting for the time when I can forget. Feelings of pain, or angry, or yearning… One day you find the time has come that you can live as though you’ve forgotten even the things you tell yourself you can’t forget.”

That’s probably not the opening Eun-soo was hoping for, and she doesn’t pursue the topic. Therefore their date ends on an awkward, quiet note as they part ways in the parking lot. He drives off, and she walks along, thinking, “I know this. The moment love starts, so does loneliness. That boundless sweet and bitter taste, hidden like a black hole inside that rosy fever. However…”

Eun-soo summons her courage and calls him. There’s a moment, a really lovely sort of pause, when Young-soo looks at his phone and registers who’s calling with a mix of surprise, alarm, hope. He pulls over and answers. Eun-soo completes her thought (“…we end up calling someone’s name once more”) before asking him, “If… if perhaps… If meeting you wouldn’t hurt somebody else… in that case… could we meet again?”

Young-soo answers simply, “Yes.”

 
COMMENTS

Two things. First, I really liked this ending. It’s sweet and touching and Lee Seon-kyun is such an understated, nuanced actor. It’s lovely.

Second, unfortunately this great ending is spoiled by the rest of the episode for me.

I was SUPREMELY annoyed with Eun-soo for telling her mother she’d like her to stay with her father. I think Eun-soo is just like her father — uncommunicative, selfish — and perhaps she’s projecting onto her mother a desire not to be abandoned (without making any changes to herself). I was starting to think (hope) that Eun-soo would now begin phase 2 of her road to self-actualization by learning from her mistakes, and I was preparing to give her a clean slate when that happened. But it didn’t, because even after she saw how miserable her best friend was, even after she drove away someone she cared for with her self-absorbed behavior, she STILL advises her mother to do something she knows would make her miserable.

I no longer want Young-soo to end up with Eun-soo, because I think he’s too good for her and deserves better. As a result, the moments that should have made me happy (his call after her text message, her phone call at the end) filled me with foreboding. When she told him that she’d written the text message, I know it was supposed to be a sweet moment because she’s openly admitting she missed him. Instead, I cringed because it was another lie, and that way badness lies. This means Eun-soo’s romantic life holds no more interest for me, so I am now watching purely for Yoo-hee.

Sorry for the downer, folks. It’s a shame. If anyone would like to rebut and express how much you like this drama, please go to town.

 
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28 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. raahmose

    i guess everyone agrees with your assessment of this episode. No objections so far! I admit i’ven’t seen a single episode of this drama. But, i’ve read every single summary of the series you’ve posted. Sometimes i find the summaries more exciting and intelligent then the actual dramas. I wasn’t planning on watching this drama to begin with and i prefer to read about it and read your interpretation of it. So thank you!

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  2. choram

    No rebuttal here!

    I actually pulled the trigger and dropped the drama precisely because of Eun Soo. Call me impatient, mean, stupid or whatever, I just really really despise her character and couldn’t bear it in the end.

    Congrats on finding a way to sidestep that javabeans! It’s an amazing feat in my eyes :(

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  3. thunderbolt

    “If you’re having issues with Eun-soo, does that affect how you feel about the series as a whole? Are you still enjoying My Sweet Seoul?”

    Not reading the rest of the recap for fear of spoilers (^^), but I’ve disliked Eun Soo (and Choi Kang Hee’s portrayal of her) from the beginning. Have ranted about it at my forum and on twitter so I won’t rehash my comments here, but she’s the main reason why it took me seven episodes to really enjoy the drama. I’m fully on board now, though. I’ll keep watching this for Lee Seon Kyun (he makes everything bearable) and Moon Jung Hee. The realism and relationship dynamics are very compelling to watch, and it’s just an extremely well-directed drama. Reminds me of Alone In Love.

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  4. bluelime

    thanks for the recap. : )
    i truly enjoy your recaps on my sweet seoul episodes because your analysis and interpretations are very in-depth and meaningful.

     (0)


  5. Nea

    No rebuttal at all!
    I read the summaries as soon as they come out and although I know what is going to occur, there is nothing like actually feeling the anger and disgust for a character gurgle in your stomach, clog your throat and pertrude, rather profusely, out of your mouth.
    To be frank, I hate Eun Soo! But to be fair, I do want to see how the show ends. I need to know that somehow, someway, someone will tell Eun Soo to her face that she’s an idiot. Whether its the wind, a talking dog, a random child on the street, or a metaphoric moment, I don’t care, I’m not picky (believe me). I just NEED it to happen. Am I being too hopeful?
    Reading this ep., I’m glad somebody loves her because she’d be pitful if it was left up to me. No wonder she’s on that stinkin’ island alone! I couldn’t even bear to watch the show because of her initially but now I watch to get angry with her while anticipating the next scene with Lee Seon Kyun.

    Disappointedly, I will continue to the end…And for all those that feel the same: We’re all in this together!

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  6. merriwether

    I, too, found Eun-soo annoying right from the beginning. That’s part of the reason why I’ve found it so hard to get into this drama (still having trouble now).

    Thunderbolt, I think of Alone in Love when I thear those insightful voice overs. Shame about Choi Kang Hee. Don’t like her acting much. Perhaps it’s the hair… I have been known to be a hair discriminator before…

    Eun-soo has a hella lot of growing up to do by the end of this show.

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  7. RSzeto

    I’m always checking for your My Sweet Seoul recaps! Although I don’t have the chance to watch it yet, your recaps are neverthess making the drama very alive for me. I agree Eun Soo really gets on my nerves very gratingly! Other than her character, she has a really bad hair-do man!!! Nothing likeable about her. However, I hope you won’t give up on this drama just yet. I’m following this for Lee Seon Kyun! He portrays so much ‘feel’ effortlessly, something about his charisma.

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  8. sami

    I stopped watching My Sweet Seoul after Epi. 7 because I hated Eun Soo so much. Now I only read your summary. Eun Soo’s character has ruined the whole entire series. It’s funny of how Eun Soo pointing out other people fault, but she never has the gut to tell it straight to people, for example, her co-worker borrowing money for the coffee machine and her boyfriend not having a real job.

    I hated seeing how Eun Soo has the privilege to move out away from the suffocating environment her father created, yet, she doesn’t want her mother to get a divorce. I don’t think her father will ever change. He’s unhappy because he made himself that way. Just like Eun Soo, he pointing out others fault to prevent himself from seeing his mistake in life.

    Overall, the only part I like it about this drama are the interior of her apartment.

    Eun Soo personality and her face is exactly like my ex-boss, especially the big double eye-lids and the short hair. If only I have the picture to prove!

    and thank you for the wonderful summary.

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  9. wandergirl

    I’m still watching despite finding Eun-soo really annoying. I like how the drama as a whole — how it’s shot, the music, etc.

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  10. 10 michi

    i am only watching this drama bec of Mr Deep Voice…

    other than that…I find it boring…

     (0)


  11. 11 haezi

    i kinda stopped watching, too, (though I may go back to the last few epi’s if i find a few hours of free time) because i completely agree with you about eun soo, though everyone else is so wonderful…even jane’s growing on me. on the outside, i have no problem with eunsoo–she has a cute, artsy vibe (i point this out, because she isn’t pretty in the traditional sense but attractive just the same) and she has these unique mannerisms. however, her moral compass is really unstable and she lets her emotions (insecurities and fears) determine her course of action, which, in her mind, absolves her from any huge blame in the repercussions that follow and, boo hoo, eunsoo mopes and whines cuz relationships are so hard for this wishy washy girl who happens to have two awesome guys pining for her and a mother who dedicated a majority of her prime to raising her. it makes me wonder if the guys are too in love with the idea of eunsoo to see that she doesn’t even understand true convictions and sacrifice; even anti-heroes have some morals and can turn their backs on useless societal norms. as you pointed out before, she can say really insightful, “pretty” things about other people or her feelings but that’s as far as her empathy goes…pretty until it becomes uncomfortable.

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  12. 12 amy

    I totally agree with you and I felt exactly the same way you did when Eunsoo told her mom to stay with her dad. I was like, How Dare You!!! I mean, didn’t she see how her dad’s been treating her own mother like dirt all her life while she’s growing up? That just made me despise her and how dare she ask out Youngsoo. Gah she just has no respect for other human beings other than for herself.

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  13. 13 haj

    i gave up on it a while ago. and then i got bored and watched 2 more eps, but i was reminded of y i had given up before :P

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  14. 14 julier

    Haha I was wondering if you would give up this drama! I’ve only watched thru Ep7 so far, so I don’t know how will feel after that, but up until that point, I have no problem with Eun Soo. Not saying she’s perfect, just saying I understand her, and I like the actress. In fact, I had read your summaries on eps 4-6 before watching them. I was working on subs for 7 and needed a quick way to catch up, thank you javabeans! However, I did go back and watch and noticed that I saw the drama in a different light than you did. While I avoided the spoilers, I did read your last Eun Soo rant and was thinking, if you hate the main character, I don’t think it would be very enjoyable to watch. I’ll keep watching for sure and thanks javabeans for your summaries this far!

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  15. 15 anne

    wow i am still surprised you’re still watching after how much Eunsoo never changes and niether does your hate for her.
    i’ve just been reading your summeries (great job!)
    she just seems like a really insecure weak girl, nothing i havent seen before.
    she doesnt really know what she wants, just wanders
    did they just throw in young joo in the story? as her soulmate? is nothing gonna happen with him?
    kinda weird
    i like how you put that young soo is “an understated, nuanced character” i feel that too!
    let’s just wait and see if she, or anything changes!
    yay

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  16. 16 Amyable

    I’m not annoyed with Eun Soo’s character at all. I do not think she’s supposed to be that likable. I don’t think she’s a strong actress but I really like the writing. If my mother would tell me after having lived with my insufferable father (he is, very much so) all these year that she wanted to divorce him, I may also suggest that she think about staying. Yes, selfish – not denying that – but it may be the first words that pops out of my mouth. Who knows, it’s not happened and my mother would probably never suggest it.

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  17. 17 MelodicMidget

    “It’s turned my initial admiration for a well-crafted series into a love-hate relationship. (Well, more like-dislike.)” LOL

    I think I feel the same way about the drama as well but also feel that I have been too into it (waiting for something to change, that is) to give up now.

    Certain moments in the drama are awe-strickingly realistic in a quirky way and it is, in my opinion, a very beautifully written script (they really bring up some deep moments of real thought). These moments are my moments of love. However, then I am struck by these hateful moments of hypocrisy, going back-and-forths, lies and tasteless behavior from Eun Soo’s character. These moments are unfortunately my moments of hate towards the drama. However, because of those little moments where I see optimistically (and perhaps idealistically) potential for change from Eun Soo’s part, I can’t seem to completely give up on her despite the many disapointments.

    Honestly, I think part of my dislike of Eun Soo’s character is linked to the way the actress plays her. Dramas that I have watched have had some flawed characters, but I could still love these characters because despite their flaws, they always had an endearing side to them that would always outshine any disapointment. Unfortunately, Choi Kang Hee seems so unbelievably fake in moments when her quirkiness is supposed to overcome everything else, making it almost impossible for me to not stay angry at her character’s mistakes. In certain moments, I think to myself that if another actress was playing her role, I would have completely different feelings towards the drama. I guess the amazingly real and endearing play of some characters by some of the actors in contrast to the unbelievably frustrating play of Eun Soo by Choi Kang Hee is just too much for me at times…

    I have to add, however, that I am not surprised with Eun Soo’s behavior towards her mom’s confession because just as towards Jane, when she was rethinking the whole marriage concept, Eun Soo pushed her towards moving forward quickly instead of taking some time to think through why she would be feeling that way. I guess that is how Eun Soo deals with her problems and therefore expects others to behave accordingly.

    On another note, her lie to Young Soo is not really a lie in my eyes because what she told him was basically that the words he saw was what she was actually feeling at the time (even if she didn’t have the courage to actually write them) which really is a minor detail because I would have been more annoyed if the feelings weren’t true and she would still be leading him on.

    Anyways, I am most probably going to continue to watch this drama (hoping it will pick up) because like they say in most love-hate relationships, you can’t hate what you don’t love…

    Looking forward to more discussions, criticism and debates,

    MM

    P.S. Sorry for my amazingly long commentary, I really can go on forever….

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  18. 18 Sue

    i’m not watching this series….

    but lee jung! i love him!

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  19. 19 hjkomo

    I’m still loving this drama. Eun Soo character never bothered me. In fact, I find her character refreshing. Her (many) flaws make the show that much more interesting (although Yoo Hee and Young Soo are still my favorites :D). This is definitely a drama that is better watched in full detail. I love the writing! It was so cute that Young Soo and Eun Soo met at the Corner cafe.

    Thanks for the recaps! I hope you will continue with this series. :D

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  20. 20 nixxochick

    another episode and my dislike for the Eun Soo character keeps growing….like i said in my last post she doesnt deserve to end up with either guy, they are just too good for her…..

    but at the same time i can kind of see where she’s coming from….especially with the whole situation with her mom. i think i would say the same thing to my mom…yeah it might be selfish or whatever you want to call it but it’s only natural to want your parents to stay together even if it makes either party unhappy

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  21. 21 mooray

    While I don’t hate her character to the extent that you do I still ‘dislike’ her.

    The writers are trying to make her too realistic, that is with (a hell of a lot of) flaws and while I do like characters with flaws, the thing is when I watch a drama I do expect to see a likeable character and when I don’t like a dramas main character a lot of the appeal disappears.

    Still, I like the majority of the cast and the drama itself remains enjoyable so I hope you continue these recaps but here’s hoping to an ending where Eun Soo ends up lonely.

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  22. 22 Cherry

    phew. I finally watched the 10th episode (1박 2일 seems more appealing). The series does have that rare sense of realism, but sadly, is affected by the main character, who runs away from her problems, and leaves the audience in frustration.

    There are a few reasons why I think the drama would still be worthwhile to watch: the directing, and the other characters: Young Soo, Yoo Hee, Tae Oh (I do wonder if he’s still going to be in the rest of the drama) and even Jane, who at first lacks maturity. Heh…maybe the series would have been more “enjoyable” had it focused on Yoo Hee.

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  23. 23 Kiongna

    Poor Poor Eun Soo…so many people think the worst of you…

    *runs and Hugs Dahee* I’m all for Eun Soo with THE VOICE aka Young Soo…and I’m now going to venture to read your rebuttals to dear Javabean’s #%^$&&%*(# on Eun Soo shi – AJA AJA Hoitin’

    I like Choi Kang Hee from the 1st Episode and I STILL like Choi Kang Hee…sure she has her faults but I simply cannot find her selfish…..wanting her mum to stay with her dad… is a yearning of most children… as parents treat their children like they are somewhere about 10 years all the time regardless of their current age (in a couple of years i will be 40) and children treat their parents like they are still 10 years… it cannot be totally selfish, that’s how I feel anyway.

    Eun Soo has seen her mum accepting/staying with her dad for what 30 years?, a long explaination would have helped her understand better…if I were to catch my mum out on a date lovey dovey with a stranger, I don’t know what I’ll do!!!! I do know however I would feel my mum was wrong as she is still married.

    With Tae Soo – I think her mind cannot accept Tae Soo while her heart can – but the constant clashes of her mind and heart exhaust her – most girls know what they DON’T want in life or in their life long partner, Tae Soo has many great attributes but doesn’t give her that key factor where most women want – stability for the future…with Tae Soo, life would be iffy with Young Soo – more chances for concrete marriage where the husband’s status, intelligence, maturity, reliability could help make “till death do us part” an absolute reality….THAT folks is what the majority of women in this world want…I have read some survey and this is so true…

    ok my 2 cents are up…

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  24. 24 sleeplessinwgtn

    Eun Soo’s character is not perfect, but who is? This drama is portraying what happens in real life. Sometimes one gets torn between two loves and this shows the struggles of a woman in such a situation. It’s delightfully peppered with the struggles of her 2 friends. Modern day drama for single and married women, that’s the show’s appeal to me.

    That’s my take on the drama.

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  25. 25 LoonyLizard

    What you fail to understand is that My Sweet Seoul is a character portrait of the one character you’re griping about – Eun-Soo. From beginning to end, the series is a visual extrapolation of the proverb, “Who you are is known by the company you keep.” Every single person in the series represents a facet of Eun-Soo’s personality. Obviously, having been raised in that house, she would have picked up some bad habits from observing such a dysfunctional marriage. She is a bit like her father, but that is not the sum total of who she is. Toward the end, Eun-Soo starts to show us another side of herself, namely, her mother’s courage. Rather than foreboding, it should have inspired you, and would have, had your analysis not been so shallow.

    This tip is important for truly understanding “My Sweet Seoul”: The series is brain candy that views like a deep novel reads. If you can look past the surface, you’ll love it. If you can’t, you’ll likely hate it.

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    • 25.1 LoonyLizard

      Addendum: I think one of the reasons why Eun-Soo rubs so many people the wrong way is because Choi Gang-Hee’s portrayal, as well as the scripting of the character herself, is so much more honest (to the audience, at least) about how flawed and weak she is as a person. I’ve known many people far weaker and more messed up than Eun-Soo, so I have both understanding of her and pity for her. Watching her, I can see that she’s trying, but with everybody in her life seemingly focused on their own stuff, who can she turn to for help with these faults? To whom can she even admit them? And so the cycle continues, with Eun-Soo trying to figure out on her own how to do better. Quite frankly, I don’t think another actress could have possibly pulled this role off half as well. Gang-Hee’s eyes are simply too expressive for anyone else to be in her league.

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      • 25.1.1 aqf0624

        I completely agree with Loonylizard on this one. I won’t continue reading the recaps, I usually enjoy Javabeans’ recaps (even though there are several I’ve disagreed with), but reading this recap is like watching a movie you like with an overbearingly negative friend.

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      • 25.1.2 ladida

        One year later, lol, but I’m loving Eun Soo, too. And I think Choi Kang Hee does a great job, too.

         (0)


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