I find that my interest in this drama fluctuates wildly, not from one episode to the next, but within each hour. Overall it’s cute and it has a benign sort of charm to it. The conflicts work for this style of drama, but we all know they’re pretty lightweight and the stakes and angst factor aren’t too high. What carries it is the developing friendship of Chae Rim and Choi Siwon — while there are romantic hints, it’s too early to call the relationship romantic, and I’m okay with that — and the way we get to see the spoiled star developing feelings outside of the realm of selfish. On the downside, I feel there isn’t much to discuss, if you’re hankering for substantial themes and emotions, which I am.
SONG OF THE DAY
Urban Zakapa – “Crush” [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
After the kiss, Kae-hwa and Min-woo retreat to separate rooms, where they berate themselves for their rash behavior. What were they thinking? I’d say the clear answer is that they weren’t.
Min-woo decides that the kiss happened purely because he’s been single for so long, and is dismayed to recall that his last kiss was from a drama. If you’re one of the hottest hotties of your generation, I suppose it IS a little sad to have your last kiss be one that was bought and paid for. They both sigh: Now what?
At breakfast they try to act casual, as though nothing happened. Kae-hwa keeps her eyes averted, but despite their attempts to avoid each other, they end up at the refrigerator in a position reminiscent of the moment that led to the kiss. They freeze, and a thudding sound — heartbeats racing — echoes in their ears.
The moment is interrupted by Ye-eun, who tugs at Kae-hwa’s clothing to get her attention. A letter from her daycare/pre-school indicates that parents are invited to an open school day this morning, but unfortunately Kae-hwa can’t make it. Ye-eun hangs her head in disappointment.
They’re running late that morning, so Kae-hwa doesn’t have time to dump the soup that has soured. I smell a plot point!
At home, Shi-joon apologizes to his wife for having her followed. Jung-ah asks what that apology means, frustrated that he never explains himself. He’s always like this, and she’s growing weary of being unable to talk to him.
There were comments in the previous recap that perhaps Jung-ah isn’t really cheating, and that it’s all a misunderstanding. Judging from her reaction I think the affair is real. However, if there is a twist, I don’t think it’s that Shi-joon misinterpreted the cheating, but that Jung-ah may have done this purposely to get his attention. Just as a child will act out when a parent is negligent, she’s pushing him to a point where he can no longer ignore her. Only, he’s still half-ignoring her, and that drives her nuts.
On their way into work, Kae-hwa apologizes to Shi-joon for causing a scene the night before. She’s mortified over the events, but Shi-joon offers supportive words — it’s the person who said those things (her ex) who is at fault, not the person he was talking about.
Buoyed by his kindness, Kae-hwa thanks Shi-joon and vows to do her best to become someone who won’t merit those words. She’s further encouraged when Shi-joon gives her a guide book on musicals to help her along.
Dance rehearsal is particularly important today, as Shi-joon wants the practice taped so they can produce a behind-the-scenes “making of” video. While Min-woo tapes his intro statement, he loses his train of thought and has to tell Kae-hwa to step aside. We can tell that he’s still distracted by thoughts of the kiss, but everyone else interprets this to mean that the ajumma is annoying him, and they shoot her looks.
It’s a bad day for filming, however, as Min-woo has a fashion show scheduled later where he’ll model Yura’s clothing line. He’s fasting all day to preserve his choco abs, and is therefore listless and cranky.
Kae-hwa thinks that’s dumb (’cause it IS!) and tells him not to do things like that. She reaches to towel off some sweat from his forehead, but he flinches at her proximity in a nervous outburst. Naturally, that draws everyone’s attention and they again assume she’s harassing the big star.
That feels unfair, so she pulls Min-woo aside to the locker room to ask what’s with him. Funny how the experienced hotshot is having difficulty moving on from the kiss while the ajumma has put it behind her, isn’t it? She tells him that she’s already forgotten yesterday’s business, so they ought to move on and handle it like cool adults.
Min-woo has to make sure — lest she think otherwise — that the kiss had nothing to do with his real feelings, not at all, y’hear? We know what they say about people who protest too much. Thankfully, Kae-hwa tells him she’s not some young little thing who’d make that assumption.
In any case, he thinks she ought to feel lucky to have gotten the chance to kiss a top star like himself. To which she mutters that she doesn’t know why he was voted best kisser when his actual kissing is so mediocre. Whether she means it or is just saying it to deflate that ego a bit, it’s exactly the way to cut to his pride. Really, if the dowdy ajumma with limited romantic experience is calling him out as a bad kisser — when she ought to be his biggest, and most enthusiastic, demographic — it’s got to be a blow, right?
Because of his lack of energy, Min-woo just goes through the motions at rehearsal, doing such a lackluster job that Jung-ah comments on it. Min-woo declares that practicing today won’t work for him, and leaves rehearsal. Dude could use a lesson in diplomacy, frankly. Here’s a case of Min-woo’s diva ‘tude coming out — it’s not that he lacks a reason for his bad performance, but that he acts as though he’s above explanation. Surprisingly, Jung-ah’s gracious about the whole matter, saying that if he’s not feeling it, he won’t have a productive time of it.
Kae-hwa steps in to smooth over possible ruffled feathers, and explains to the others that he hasn’t eaten all day because of his fashion show.
Because rehearsal ends early, Kae-hwa sees that she can squeeze in some time to drop by Ye-eun’s class. The girl, who had been feeling down to have nobody come see her, perks up when Kae-hwa arrives and starts to participate in the dance. Aw. Little girls tug at heartstrings better than anything, except maybe frolicking kittens.
Seeing that all the mothers have their cameras out, Kae-hwa takes out the professional camera — which she is taking back to the company — and starts to record Ye-eun’s performance, and UH-OH who else thinks this cannot end well?
Due to the classtime detour, Kae-hwa returns to the office late that afternoon, but her tardiness takes a backseat to Jung-ah’s unannounced arrival. She confronts Shi-joon about the firing of one of her dancers from the musical, sticking up for the guy she has helped cultivate for the past three years.
Shi-joon has news for her — the guy went on an audition with a different company today, and another one the other day. He already had one foot out the door when Shi-joon fired him.
The team reviews the sample footage from rehearsal, and it’s pretty underwhelming, what with Min-woo’s half-assed performance. Shi-joon decides a reshoot is in order, just as the images switch from the studio to a different setting. Kae-hwa has forgotten the additional footage she shot until they all look up to see Ye-eun and her classmates performing their song and dance routine.
Aside from being plain embarrassing, this indicates that Kae-hwa took time in the workday for personal reasons, which reflects poorly on her work ethic. Especially since she vowed so vehemently to do well, Shi-joon’s disappointed in her — he thought she was sincerely passionate about the work. Sternly, he reminds her that she’s still an intern (message: Keep it up and you’re fired).
After spending the afternoon working out and starving, Min-woo makes his way to the fashion show, where Yura once again takes advantage of the moment to sidle up to Min-woo. (Ugh. That does seem to be my default reaction with this character.) This gives her the chance to pose with him, looking rather cozy as they’re photographed together.
Never one to let a Min-woo event escape his watchful eye, Reporter Han, tenacious as ever, sneaks into the venue as a staff member.
He gains entree into the waiting room, where he accosts Min-woo and presses for a story. Min-woo has nothing for him — although the man’s insistence has him a bit nervous — but is doing a pretty wussy job of getting rid of the man. (This is played for comic effect, but it’s also interesting that the Bigtime Star who has been shown to be rude to his colleagues can’t stand up to one little reporter who’s out of line. Character inconsistency or a chink in the armor?)
Lucky for him, Yura comes in and takes care of the situation. She recognizes the reporter, and as he is not allowed to be backstage, she has no qualms about kicking him out.
Following her video gaffe, Kae-hwa is eager to improve her standing with her officemates. If only they would give her the chance; Jae-hee and Jin-ho eye her with disdain (more so Jae-hee, who is both unimpressed by and threatened by Kae-hwa). When Shi-joon gives her a project, she leaps into action.
However, it’s not long before she has to slip out again, because Min-woo has an emergency. He had been so hungry earlier that he’d sneaked a few bites of the soup she’d left in the apartment — which she was intending to throw away — and now his face has broken out in spots.
This show can’t go on without its main draw, so Min-woo heads to the hospital to treat his allergic reaction to the spoiled food. Yura hangs her head and informs the grumbling press of the cancellation. Reporter Han, still smarting from her dismissive treatment of him, relishes the opportunity to get back at her, calling her irresponsible and rude.
Furthermore, Yura is chewed out by her boss, and this has shown her in an unflattering light among her colleagues. They had considered her a nepotism hire (it’s her aunt’s company), and it was only with this fashion show that she was able to earn their approval.
At this discovery that she has caused even more problems today, the guilt weighs on Kae-hwa’s already troubled conscience. She confesses to Yura that it’s her fault for letting the soup spoil, and apologizes for causing the situation.
Rather ungraciously, Yura blows her top — how dare she be so careless? Doesn’t she know that Min-woo’s a star? (As though anyone would let her forget that!) As a celebrity, his body and health are a crucial part of his job. Yura speaks harshly, telling Kae-hwa that she won’t accept the apology — it’s too selfish to merely say she’s sorry to make herself feel better. Snidely, Yura adds, “You’re still an intern, aren’t you? I wonder how long you’ll last at The Show Company.”
She doesn’t know that Min-woo has overheard. If she’d been aware, no doubt she would have plastered a fake-sweet smile for his benefit, and he would have been all too eager to fall for her act. I’m a little disappointed in him for seeing Yura’s mean side come out and not display more concern over it, but that goes to show how much a pretty face and a youthful crush can distract from an unattractive character.
Min-woo has answered Kae-hwa’s phone and brought it out to her, since Min-ji has called to wish her mother a happy birthday. After witnessing this scene, however, he tells the girl he’ll convey the message rather than intruding on Kae-hwa’s moment.
Kae-hwa cries in the bathroom over her miserable day. It seems the comparison must be intentional because Jung-ah is also shown in a similar light, working out her husband-related frustrations in the dance studio. (I don’t actually think the juxtaposition works, because we feel for Kae-hwa’s setback but not so much Jung-ah’s; even though the latter isn’t an outright villain, she has yet to really connect with the audience.)
Min-woo apologizes to Yura for ruining her day, and naturally she is much nicer with him (ugh, that phony), agreeing to let him buy her dinner to make up for it.
Both Min-woo and Yura are interested in taking the relationship to the next level (*suggestive eye waggle*), so she makes the excuse to have dinner at home instead of out at a restaurant. Min-woo reads the innuendo in this (night in = door is open for physical contact?) and is happy to agree. He texts Kae-hwa to order her to not return home tonight until he calls.
Min-woo tries to ease into this seduction naturally, and Yura is amenable to the idea. That is, until she heads to the kitchen and sees the leftover soup that Kae-hwa had cooked. She’s put out to realize that this means she cooked it here, in Min-woo’s apartment, and her attitude cools toward Min-woo.
Yura asks about Kae-hwa, trying to figure out how close they are. As far as she knows, Kae-hwa is merely an employee of The Show Company, so there’s no reason for her to be dropping by all the time. She advises Min-woo, “You shouldn’t be close to just anyone,” insinuating that Kae-hwa might be hanging around to take advantage of him or blackmail him.
With that, Yura gets up to leave, cutting the night short with the excuse that she’s tired. Min-woo is surprised and disappointed — so soon?
Without anywhere else to go, Kae-hwa heads to the office to get some work done, where she wonders despondently whether she’s even needed at this company. Shi-joon also returns to the office late that night following a business meeting, and sees that Kae-hwa is still working.
It’s his turn to overhear a private moment when she answers a call from her daughter, and from Kae-hwa’s side of the conversation he can infer the gist of their situation and how they’re not currently living together. Min-ji has called to wish her mother a happy birthday, and Kae-hwa assures her that of course she ate birthday cake. Why, her friendly officemates even threw her a party.
Min-woo’s night has unexpectedly been cut short, leaving him bored. When he sees a guy walk by with a cake, Min-woo remembers that it’s Kae-hwa’s birthday. He calls her to ask grumpily why she’s not home yet, since he texted the “all clear” to return. He complains that she has housework to do, and wants her to cut fruit for him.
(Now, normally this is such an exasperating, thoroughly Annoying Korean Guy Thing To Do — you know how to eat your own damn fruit, don’t you? — but Min-woo gets a pass because this is just an excuse to get Kae-hwa home so he can surprise her with the birthday cake he’s bought. Aw.)
Unbeknownst to him, Shi-joon has had the same idea, and drops by a bakery on his way home, too. He returns to the office in time to catch Kae-hwa as she’s leaving, and offers her the cake so she can celebrate with her daughter.
This is such an unexpectedly generous gesture, especially today of all days when she’s messed up repeatedly, and she feels too unworthy to accept. Shi-joon tells her she can think of it as motivation to do well in the future, and offers her a ride to see her daughter.
Kae-hwa accepts gratefully, just as Min-woo pulls up to the office in time to see her leaving in Shi-joon’s car.
As I mentioned above, I am enjoying this drama — I wouldn’t be watching if I weren’t continually entertained — and it’s sweet fun. And when I call the conflicts lightweight, I don’t mean that the themes intrinsically are trivial — we have marital infidelity, irresponsible and negligent parenting, shady business practices, divorce, a heroine who struggles to make something of herself, and a hero who wants to be more than a pretty face.
What keeps the drama moving is the way it breezes along, not really delving too deeply into any one of these things, which is both an asset and a liability. We don’t get bogged down by melodrama, but it also means that everything remains at a superficial emotional level. It entertains me, but doesn’t move me. It doesn’t have to have Will It Snow For Christmas levels of angst to be moving; just a little more heartfelt storytelling would be nice. This sort of reminds me of the Wish Upon a Star ending, SPOILER: whose last episode included an implied suicide amidst the happy ending, and wasn’t even weighed down by it. [END SPOILER]
Where this drama doesn’t work for me is all the extraneous side plots. I don’t particularly care about Shi-joon’s and Jung-ah’s marital problems, or Shi-joon’s possible romantic interest in Kae-hwa. Or producer Eom’s ongoing rivalry with The Show Company, or his business dealings with Kae-hwa’s ex-husband. Or anything with Yura.
The only time the drama sparks for me is when Kae-hwa and Min-woo interact, and when the story involves the two little girls. That leaves a pretty big chunk of the drama that I don’t care for, and hence my wildly fluctuating interest levels within each episode.