Drama Recaps
Coffee House: Page 1
by | May 18, 2010 | 156 Comments

I rarely have such a positive reaction to a drama after just one hour, but I’ll say it: I loved the first episode of Coffee House. More than I was expecting, in fact. I’d been keeping my expectations down — didn’t want to be disappointed again — which I was pretty successful in doing, mostly by trying not to think about it too much. So this was a happy surprise.

The characters — and actors — are all adorable (and interesting), the tone is feel-good, and there’s a refreshing quality to this drama. The story is pretty straightforward so far, but there’s a stylish flair to the directing — not too much, but a hint — that makes it FEEL like a newish, different style of drama (even if it may not be breaking any ground narratively). The atmosphere and general feel are what I was hoping of Personal Taste, actually. I have a good feeling about this one.


10cm – “오늘밤은 어둠이 무서워요” (The dark is frightening tonight) [ Download ]

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This is KANG SEUNG-YEON (played by member of pop group T-ara Ham Eun-jung). She is 25 and only barely employed working at her family’s shabby coffee shop. (So, effectively unemployed.) As the place doesn’t have very many customers, she spends her days sitting around reading manhwa books, and the episode starts off with one of her musings about what her life would be like if it were like those manhwa stories.

Alas, she’s not exactly what you’d call blessed with good luck — she has a habit of running into embarrassing situations. I wouldn’t describe her as overly plucky or bubbly, but despite a lack of promising prospects on the horizon, she doesn’t succumb to depression or self-pity, either.

This is her family, who are adorable. Seung-yeon’s father (Ahn Gil-kang — SO different here than he was in Chuno and Queen Seon-deok!) runs the cafe, while younger brother SEUNG-CHUL (Kim Min-sang of La Dolce Vita) is in high school. They live with Grandma, while Mom passed away of cancer.

Similar to Seung-yeon, they aren’t terribly ambitious or prosperous, but they’re not really unhappy with their circumstances. They are okay with things, even if life could be better. Hey, it could also be worse.

Now for LEE JIN-SOO (Kang Ji-hwan), who at 32 is already a famous novelist. Although he is quite charming and makes a great first impression, upon closer look he’s got quite the unpredictable personality. For instance, even when he’s annoyed with something, he’s able to slap on his trademark friendly grin and smoothly solve the problem without letting his dissatisfaction show. At least not until he’s alone.

Jin-soo’s not outright rude, but his eccentricities make him an intriguing mix of contradictions: he’s generous but picky about his preferences, has a warm smile but cool logic, is capable of putting on a professional persona but behaves incredibly irresponsibly with business commitments, is frank but also glib…

SEO EUN-YOUNG (Park Shi-yeon), 31, is a savvy businesswoman and the head of her own publishing company. According to her profile, she got some help gaining a foothold in the industry because her grandfather was famous in cultural circles and her father was also a publisher, but with her skills Eun-young has propelled her company to great success and also launched a successful franchise of book cafes.

Personality-wise, she’s expressive of her emotions, one minute taking out her frustrations violently on inanimate objects, then toasting in glee shortly thereafter. Jin-soo is one of her star authors, but also a grand source of headaches. From the way they talk to each other, it appears they’ve known each other very well for many years. In fact, Eun-young sighs that she’s the only one who sees through the charming facade to Jin-soo’s true personality.


(The drama uses the page motif to denote episode numbers.)

Sitting in her family’s empty cafe, Seung-yeon fantasizes about the type of story typical to the manhwa books she likes to read. You know, the kind that starts off with a successful, handsome guy deciding to depart from his usual routine and ending up in an unexpected scenario.

Kind of like this one:

Jin-soo sits in traffic with his two handlers — publishing company employees who are escorting him to a book signing. They assure him that they’re almost there, and that these things never start on time anyway. But Jin-soo decides that he’d rather ditch this shindig, and he quickly grabs his things to dash out of the car.

The two employees don’t know how to react, unable to desert their car and also unable to chase after him through traffic, and call after him pleadingly. But Jin-soo dodges cars and walks off in the other direction, though he pauses to look back at them and flash a grin their way.

That smile? You’ll get familiar with it, real fast.

A sudden spring shower hinders the employees’ efforts to track down Jin-soo, and they miss seeing him in the nearby cafe, into which he ducks to escape the downpour. Looking up from her book, Seung-yeon shuffles over to take his order, and he requests a cappuccino.

She sees that a piece of tissue that he has been using to mop up the rain has stuck to his face, and she picks it off for him. That touch startles her into awareness, and she recalls that this is just the type of guy she’d been fantasizing about in her manhwa books! In fact, now she looks at him anew, in a different, glimmering light.

On the plane, Eun-young is recognized by her seatmate, who is reading a magazine that has a feature on her. She enjoys the flattery he heaps upon her, as he marvels at all her professional achievements.

She uses the in-flight phone to check in on the book signing, and blows a gasket to hear that Jin-soo ran off. She had warned her employees to stick close to him, knowing his tendency to thwart them. Stewing at her impotence, Eun-young goes to the lavatory to vent her frustration on Jin-soo’s book — the next user finds Jin-soo’s shredded photo in the toilet — then emerges after collecting herself and psychs herself up to deal with this.

Seung-yeon is making Jin-soo’s cappuccino when her ex-boyfriend storms in angrily to pick a fight over being dumped via text. The fight escalates, and Seung-yeon locks herself in the bathroom while continuing to yell. After the ex storms out, Jin-soo quietly knocks on the door to ask about the cappuccino. Recollecting the customer, Seung-yeon jumps up to get back to work…

…only the door is stuck. The lock is malfunctioning, and she can’t get out. He calls her family members on her cell phone, but nobody picks up, so he offers to call for a repairman.

While Seung-yeon waits, a wave of ajumma customers comes in and makes their orders with Jin-soo, assuming he’s a worker. As it turns out, he’s actually really good at this and perfectly competent at making their drinks.

His friend DO-SANG arrives at the cafe, and it turns out that they’d arranged to meet here. Do-sang suggested the place because he knows Seung-yeon, who is a hoobae (younger schoolmate) from college.

When the repairman arrives, Seung-yeon is on the toilet dealing with some unfortunate tummy troubles, and, well, we all know where this is going, right? (Sigh, Korean dramas and their love of toilet humor!)

She’s caught with her pants down (literally), and comes out shamefaced as the two men are leaving. Do-sang greets her cheerily (we can tell that he’s got a thing for her, though she doesn’t see it), and Jin-soo tells her he left the ajummas’ money on the counter for her. At this generous gesture in the face of her humiliation, she is completely awed.

She also finally realizes where she recognizes him — he’s the famous author!

At home, the family gathers for Seung-yeon’s mother’s memorial rites. Seung-yeon is dismayed when her family brings home food that’s clearly in bad shape — the jelly’s all mushed, the dried fish battered, the watermelon cracked. Grandma hastily says that it’s all the same when it’s cut up and served, but Seung-yeon finds out the truth when her angry ex calls.

Apparently her family had been walking home from the store with their food purchases when they’d seen the ex making out with another girl in the street. And here’s where I fall in love with these bumbling three, because they had proceeded to attack the cheater (or so they thought him) with their food items, mashing his face into the jelly and so on.

Seung-yeon explains to her family that she’d been the one to dump the guy, so there’s no need to feel sorry for her.

Eun-young returns to work to hear that her office has still been unable to track down Jin-soo. He called once from Ulleungdo — an island way off in the sea to the east — and that was it.

When Jin-soo comes back home, he has a voicemail message from Eun-young, which states in clipped professional tones that he will be sued for breach of contract. She has sent over legal paperwork detailing every single interview he’s blown off, every event he has not attended, and every violation of his contract of the past year.

At first Jin-soo’s surprised at her move, and as he listens, Eun-young’s cool speech turns into gleeful laughter, as she exults that he ain’t gonna win, no way — and by the way, how long did he think she’d put up with his crazy behavior? Rather than being offended to be called rotten trash, Jin-soo lets out a little laugh, as though grudgingly respecting her bold move.

At the office, Eun-young pops a bottle of champagne and toasts. Her employees stammer uneasily that losing Jin-soo as an author isn’t something to be celebrating, but she’s practically giddy at the idea of washing her hands of him.

Jin-soo arrives just as they raise a toast, and we can see that there’s a complicated dynamic between these two — there’s a lot of half-affectionate, half-antagonistic history there. Jin-soo calls her bluff — surely it’s a bluff, and she can’t end their business relationship this way — and says that he wrote a synopsis while he was away, and it’s really great. Producing a piece of paper, folded in the shape of an airplane, he sends it flying over. It lands in a cake.

Everyone freezes — gauntlet has been thrown! Surely they’ll read it, right? After a moment of surprise, Eun-young puts on her bravado face and tells him to take it to his next publisher. After all, it’ll take him, oh, three years of hard work before anything comes of it, and who knows, a single idea might not amount to anything.

But he dangles it in front of her, saying that this one’s a really good idea — and it’s even great for a movie. This gives her pause, but she sticks to her guns, twisting up the paper without opening it, and dropping it into her champagne flute.

Jin-soo’s legitimately shocked, and utters that that’s his only copy. Yikes! But Eun-young’s pot-committed now and can’t afford to back down, so she continues to swirl her glass around carelessly. She tells him airily that that’s just too bad.

The instant he leaves, everyone scrambles to save the document. Unfolding the paper, Eun-young starts to read it, and slowly her reaction grows excited — he was right. It’s AWESOME.

Later that night, Jin-soo finds his rescued document taped to his door, with a Post-It note from Eun-young telling him to finish the manuscript in six months. The first Post-It says in dire tones that he’d better finish within the allotted time… but the second adds cheerily, “You can do it. I believe in you. Writer Lee, fighting!”

Seung-yeon gets word from her sunbae Do-sang about a possible job opening, which gets her entire family excited. It turns out to be a secretary position for Jin-soo, and of course she leaps at the chance but also finds it puzzling that he’d hire her, with her lack of experience. Everyone wonders about it for a moment, but they’re too excited to give it much thought. A job is a job, manseh!

Seung-yeon nervously shows up at Jin-soo’s apartment the next morning, ready to work. He starts by outlining the details — since he has six months to produce his manuscript, her job will last about that long, and he can pay her daily. He’s so charming and generous that she is wowed yet again and finds him perfect — he’s smart, good-looking, kind, modest, and well-mannered. Maybe her luck is turning, to be blessed with such a great job and boss.

Next, Seung-yeon talks to the publishing house’s employees to acquaint herself with Jin-soo’s quirks. For instance, he doesn’t have a car — he gets around on bike and Segway. Nor does he have a cell phone, which makes it difficult to get in touch with him. And when he writes a manuscript, there are two things she needs to prepare: ten sharpened pencils, and drip coffee.

She approaches those two tasks with gusto, making coffee and sharpening pencils. He takes a sip and lies that her coffee is great, but it clearly sucks. The pencils she has prepared bother him. And her typing is distracting.

To keep her occupied and out of his hair, he sends her off to summarize a book for “research” purposes, which she can do at the book cafe downstairs. He tells her to work there, but rather than saying that it’s because he finds her distracting, he smiles charmingly and says it’s because the book has to stay at the cafe.

Happily, Seung-yeon heads out, excited to be given her first big task. But when she turns back to retrieve something she’d forgotten, she sees Jin-soo dumping her freshly sharpened pencils in the trash and sharpening a new batch himself with a knife. He throws her coffee out and brews his own batch.

Downstairs, Seung-yeon finds to her dismay that the book he asked her to read is a huge reference tome on fossils, and because it’s in English, progress is extremely slow.

This turns out to be Eun-young’s book cafe, and she greets Seung-yeon warmly. The instant she hears about Seung-yeon’s task, she knows what Jin-soo’s up to and laughs to herself. But it’s not her place to disillusion the poor girl, so she just sympathizes that it’ll take a long while.

Seung-yeon stays there all day long until Jin-soo finally calls her back, having lost track of time while working. She says apologetically that she barely got through five pages, but he smiles (again, that dazzling big grin) and says that’s fine. She can continue tomorrow. He pays her the day’s wages and sends her home.

With her first paycheck, Seung-yeon buys her family dinner that night, reveling in her new, cushy job, hoping it extends years and years.

And yet… as the week goes on, she finds herself growing more dissatisfied (and confused). She approaches her two very simple tasks with determination, but still, every day Jin-soo pours out the coffee and tosses away her pencils. And every day he pays her with that maddeningly cheery smile despite the fact that he has not asked her to do any work and thrown out the only things she has actually done for him.

This bothers her, so Seung-yeon calls her sunbae to ask what the deal is. What kind of secretary is she to get paid for doing nothing? Do-sang just laughs, not seeing the problem, and says that Jin-soo actually has a totally nutty personality as though that explains everything.

That doesn’t satisfy her, so during the taxi home, she shares her discontent with her driver. The driver first speculates that the guy must like her, but she dismisses that as ridiculous. So then, the driver advises her to simply ask the guy directly.

Fortified with courage, both from the driver’s comments and the soju variety, Seung-yeon decides that is a fabulous idea. Turn around — back to the apartment!

She bangs on Jin-soo’s door, then bursts in all flustered, demanding to know why he doesn’t make her do anything. If he doesn’t like her coffee, he could just say so. Or he could tell her to quit. Why is he making a fool of her?

Jin-soo laughs. Isn’t her job pleasant and easy? She retorts that no, it’s not! Why does she have to read that huge book? And then she thinks of the driver’s comments, and thinks… maybe… then… IS he interested in her? Haltingly she asks, “Do you… like me?” Did he perhaps fall in love at first sight at the cafe?

Jin-soo looks at her incredulously, which brings Seung-yeon back to her senses, arguing that it’s only because his behavior is so ridiculous that she’d even entertain such a crazy possibility. So what is his deal?

Jin-soo tells that he was going to pay Do-sang approximately 10 million won ($8,000) for doing some work for him, but Do-sang had told him to give it to Seung-yeon instead. The job was created as an excuse, as a favor to Do-sang.

Perplexed, Seung-yeon wonders why, and Jin-soo smiles and replies, “You should know why.” When it finally connects that Do-sang has a crush on her, Jin-soo ushers her out and tells her to take it up with her sunbae, as he has a lot of work to do.

She starts to head out, but another thought occurs to her, and she turns back, banging on the door as second time. Bursting into his apartment again, Seung-yeon tells Jin-soo that he still didn’t answer her question. If he hired her as a secretary, why does he not give her any work? Isn’t it a waste?

Jin-soo replies that she can’t match his tastes — he’s quite picky, you see, more than you’d guess. Seung-yeon protests that she could try to match his tastes, but he answers with certainty, “You can’t.”

She presses the matter, asking why not. So Jin-soo says with a little laugh — not meaning to be condescending but being condescending nonetheless — “What could I expect of an amateur?” He doesn’t say this to be hurtful, and takes a matter-of-fact approach to his answer, which is no less hurtful because it’s true.

Jin-soo relates the first day he met her at the cafe, and now that we see it from his point of view, it’s clear that he’s hardly the smooth, gentle, sparkly prince-type manhwa hero that she’d pictured. There was so much wrong with the cafe that he knew right away that she was an amateur — not in a career sense, but mentally. Does she understand now?

Ouch. Seung-yeon claps her hands over her ears, assuring him that she did indeed get his message, loud and clear. She apologizes, but Jin-soo says with his friendly smile that there’s no need for apologies — since the money is going to her through Do-sang anyway, they can continue their arrangement. And if she doesn’t like the book, she can pick a different one to read. You almost get the sense that it would be kinder to be cruel, because his nonchalance is almost more embarrassing to her.

Seeing that she’s still flustered and a little bit drunk, he offers to make her a cup of coffee before she goes. But now when she looks at him through her disillusioned eyes, he neither sparkles nor impresses with that damned infuriating smile.


Despite the title and the media’s attempt to associate this drama as part of a “House” series, Coffee House has nothing at all to do with Full House. Not in the setup, the plot, the characters, or even directorial style. While I thought the directing in Full House was standard stuff — neither good nor bad — PD Pyo Min-soo has been evolving through subsequent dramas. He did What Star Are You From (which was meh), took on a weightier and introspective tone in Insoon Is Pretty (which dealt with a woman re-entering society after serving time for committing an accidental manslaughter in her teens), and the entertainment-industry-centric The World They Live In (which is my favorite of his dramas, style-wise). This drama takes the flair of the latter and applies it to the romantic-comedy genre, and the result is a breath of fresh air. Not quite Coffee Prince, maybe, but with that kind of light, deft touch.

What had me smiling was the characters, from each of the leads down to the minor characters like Seung-yeon’s family, particularly Dad and Little Bro. As you probably know, despite Eun-jung‘s pop-star creds, she’s actually got a bit of acting experience in her earlier years and brings an engaging charm to Seung-yeon. She plays a familiar archetype in this bumbling type of heroine, but for once she’s not a slapstick klutz who bubbles with forced energy like a hummingbird on crack. She has a natural air, and her acting actually reminds me of the late Jung Da-bin (RIP), which I mean in a good way. Down-to-earth rather than over-the-top.

As you all know, I love me some Kang Ji-hwan. However, I think I’d have the same reaction to this drama if his role were played by someone else, and that’s saying something — I was drawn in right away, and smiled throughout the entire first episode. That isn’t to say he doesn’t add to the role, because it’s Kang Ji-hwan and I just know he’s got all sorts of comedic and dramatic talents just waiting to be tapped into (they haven’t been used that much yet), but the character is intriguing enough that I’d even be interested if he were played by a lesser actor. (Of course, Kang Ji-hwan DOES make it better.)

Jin-soo is a character I don’t know that I’ve seen before, or at least not in recent years. I don’t know about you all, but I’m a little tired of the whole Mr. Darcy craze, despite loving practically every incarnation of the uptight, irritable and misunderstood hero that comes my way. It’s just that it’s time we moved away from that type, because you can only sit through so many Grumpy Heroes With A Heart Of Gold before you tire of it. And I love that Jin-soo is a difficult guy, but that he’s entirely capable of pouring on the charm. When he cares to. What’s the source of his erratic behavior? It’s not self-destructive, so we’re not dealing with a damaged Gu Jun-pyo here. Is he just quirky? Or is there a greater reason for it? I want to know!

And, surprise of all surprises, I find Park Shi-yeon quite endearing and very cute in this. Who knew? As I’ve said lots of times before, I like to base my judgment of an actor’s performance on the work itself rather than making excuses for subpar work like “Come on, it was just a first role” or “At least s/he tried.” So I don’t feel bad about disliking her for a legitimately bad performance in My Girl — but I sorta feel bad for Park, because I feel like she had a few things stacked against her that made fans decide to dislike her from the start, regardless of performance. For starters, the Miss Korea contestant tag is often slung around with some condescension, and it didn’t help that around the time she made her acting debut, she was dating one of the hottest kpop stars around (Eric) and was known as The (Hated) Girlfriend more than anything else. Girl never had a chance.

But she’s steadily improved, and while I didn’t love her performance in Story of a Man, it was much better. And now, as the vivacious Eun-young, she positively radiates. She sparks onscreen, and I really want to like her. I do like her.

Can’t wait to see how this one turns out.


156 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. disaster

    i don’t know why korea insists on putting singers in dramas. THEY CANNOT ACT (granted they can’t sing either). the girl with the short hair (don’t know her name) is a really REALLY really bad actress – overacts and tries to act cutesy. barf. there is no drama worth watching these days. even dong yi is awful. i feel like i’m watching dae jang geum all over again but with a really bad lead actress who (again) overacts. i miss coffee prince days… sigh… come back to dramas gong yoo!!!

    • 1.1 noctifa


  2. FasirisFay

    haven’t seen it yet but can’t wait!

  3. Amg1

    Dear JB, Thank you for your hard work!!!!!! After 2 episodes I think am on board of the “Coffee House” Ship, hope you continue with this series. The young girl kinda reminds me of GO-Mi-nam.
    Thank you again!!!!!! :O}

  4. uhmm ...

    Uhm , hey you up there .
    you’re right , singers these days can’t
    act to save their lives heck they have
    enough on their hands at attempting to
    sing …
    but coffee prince, really ?
    yoon eun hye ? she is for sure
    in the list of singers turned actors who
    just can’t act . Gong yoo yes , but this drama has
    kang ji hwan & park shi yeon who are fair actors as well .
    i’d rather waste my time on this drama than watch
    coffee prince which is overly predictable .

  5. AT

    Yet another great recaps. I am going to watch this, based on what you have written. Thank you so much !!!

  6. charisnova

    woah, I totally agree with your comments javabean. I watched this for Kang Ji Hwan, not knowing the storyline at all, I actually have little expectations for the first episode. After watching, drats, the first episode blew my mind. Every character, big or small role crackles me. Seung-yeon and her family.. especially the part when the family of three beat up Seung-yeon’s ex with watermelon, cuttlefish.. and slow motion. Jin-soo and his well, exceptional character.. Even Park Si-yeon, I don’t like her prior watching. But now I think I’ve got to change my opinion of her.. hahas she can play sassy. look forward to watching 2nd episode tonight.

  7. langdon813

    Oh, I’ve been looking forward to this recap so much! I haven’t watched Ep 1 yet but I confess to a little bit of trepidation about it (it’s Kang ji-hwan! It HAS to be wonderful)! To read such a positive review makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief.

    Off to watch! Thanks JB! 🙂

  8. kaedejun

    wow – i never saw so many screen caps of Park Shi Yeon smiling brightly

    hm – Kang Ji Hwan’s character slightly reminds me of Lee Seon Kyun’s “Chep!” in Pasta in the sense that they’re both condescending because they know they’re good. and they both have this smile/smirk that is not meant to be charming only – except from the looks of it, Kang Ji Hwan’s bigger smile is that much more devilish.

    slightly reminds me… this guy is just more manipulative than Lee Seon Kyun…

    maybe i will check this out! thanks!

  9. mimi

    Sounds interesting. I recognize an actor from Queen Seon Duk – It’s strange to see them go from a very serious role to a comedic one. Maybe I’ll give this one a try.

  10. 10 LAWL

    (@first poster)
    isn’t that a bit contradictory? and a bit too GENERAL?
    contrary to popular belief, i think there are a lot of decent singers turned actors.
    yoon eun hye? (although from a long time ago, but nevertheless, still a singer)
    from COFFEE PRINCE? ring a bell? LOL
    there a plenty of singers who originally were supposed to become actors, not their fault their company forces them to become singers first.

    nowadays, i think taecyeon is doing really well 😀 (and seulongg<3)
    and before him, (off the top of my head) YOON KYE SANG, T.O.P, Eric, Danny Ahn, Sung Yuri, Jung Ryeo Won, etc etc etc…

    :/ im not one to judge someone before meeting/seeing them, so i have no comment on eunjung's acting… but i don't believe her to be overacting or acting "cutesy" — that could just be her role in the drama. -_-

  11. 11 Ace

    I’ll try to watch this sometime this weekend. I was actually waiting for your recap first before doing the plunge. =) Need some fun watch since OML has ended and PT will end this week as well.

  12. 12 mandy

    i love your wording. “humming bird on crack,” had me LMAO

  13. 13 saintpolar

    Hmm. I’m kind of surprised at your reaction to this! Not in a bad way at all, though. I guess it’s because mine was different.
    It was kind of refreshing, but it also made me… 오글오글 (for lack of a better english phrase) at some parts. I dunno. It was a bit squeamish for me in a few scenes, but I guess overall, I did enjoy it. It was a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, those iffy parts will decrease for me lol.

  14. 14 hpn88

    the set-up and feel sort of remind me of the man who can’t get married from last year (which is actually not a bad thing for me because i really liked that series)
    anyone else think that too?

    also since they keep mentioning manhwa, i get that feel to from especially the bit with the slo-mo beating up of the ex-boyfriend.

    however, the pacing was actually a bit off for me and i’m not totally on board the
    eun jung train but i’m willing to try it because the story seems unique

    episode 2 here i come 🙂

    thanks for the recap JB

  15. 15 jiyeon

    Park Shi Yeon is soo pretty!
    haha it’s funny. After “My Girl” everyone hated her, but I became her fan.
    She looks absolutely adorable in that poster!! She looks even younger than EunJung!

    Oh, and Kang Ji Hwan is a hottie 😉

  16. 16 Noypi

    I still don’t know what to expect from this drama… if there will ever be a clear love interest on the leads.. of course its only been the first week, and i did like the first 2 eps… it feels FRESH… definitely different!! i guess i’ll have to keep watching.. im glad its another Upbeat drama replacing OML, cause srsly, i need all the happy dramas i can get right now so i can smile after watching Cinderella’s Sister. and esp when the angst is about to come upon Personal Taste. LOL.. im definitely interested in this drama, hope it gets much better..

  17. 17 gala

    im afraid i’m gonna hate KANG SEUNG-YEON because of her fans, i’m sorry to say. and it doesnt help that i’m a PSY fan. so before the drama even aired, and everyone gushing that she’s the better female lead than PSY, really grated my nerve. but im gonna give this a try since PSY is doing a fresh role than what she’s used to. [just to add: my favourite PSY role is from Fox Family. ]

    from the stills/caps, she looks like she had some chemistry with KJH. but i’ll wait it out for this series to finish before i plunge myself into this. i’m too preoccupied with Personal taste and Cinderella unni, esp the latter!

  18. 18 T

    Hmmm….Thanks for the recap!! I wasn’t interested in this show at all but, now I’m thinking I’ll give it try. Don’t really care for Kang Ji Hwan nor the bubbly/plucky heroine characature, but it sounds like a fun show. I’ll give it a try:)

  19. 19 ajaja^^

    i originally thought this drama would be boring, but… as usual… i want to watch it now because of your amazing recap ! xD
    plus… i am in dire need of a new drama since PT is ending this week (*sob*)

  20. 20 uhmm

    @17) I’m pretty sure Kang Sueng Yeon will be a similar character as Jung Yoo Jin from The Man Who Can’t Get Married. Both seem to have that “cute and lovable girl next door” vibe.

  21. 21 jiyeon

    @17 gala:
    YES YES YES! 😉

    And from what I’ve seen of Eunjung, I truthfully don’t like her; which is weird, since T-Ara has been my favorite girlgroup since their debut. [that’s why my username is jiyeon, my favorite member x) ]

    And yeah, me too, about CS. After I’m done with CS I’m probably going to have a Coffee House marathon! 🙂

  22. 22 wlst

    @ javabeans

    i agree with you completely on PSY’s improvement in this drama 🙂

    I was rather surprised too by her as i expected a dull and uninspiring performance from her (after the very tasteless and stiff performance in My Girl).

    Apart from PSY, the first ep was only borderline for me. Still have to look out for ep 2 to decide whether or not to follow the series.

  23. 23 anonymous

    I found myself enjoying this first episode much more than I expected as well. I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by the dynamic between KJH and PSY. It was different from what I expected and certainly a new side to PSY. The one thing that I do have a problem with is the choice of music. Some parts of the background theme that they use resembles Full House WAY too much. In fact, it was like the same melody rearranged and on a different tempo. Maybe others do not find that distracting in the least, but every time it is on it pulls me out from the drama.

  24. 24 shu

    park shi yeon is soo cute here. revert my impression of her. since my girl. the evil girl who took gong chan away from yoo rin. anyway. kang ji hwan rocks!!!. aha. i like him as a weird and imperfect character.

  25. 25 jons

    i started this drama the day it aired, and i lost intrest 🙁
    but after reading your recap, i think i’ll give it another try.
    the cast seems good, but Ham Eun-jung is annoying me. i feel like she’s not a good actress, but it’s her first acting role, right?
    she’s just close to obnixious, but that might just be the role…i don’t know
    and i’m already disliking how the lead guy is tangled up in Ham Eun-jung, if she’s not the main lead. it’s a lot of loops and tangles for me, but i’ll give it another try. 🙂
    awesome recap.

  26. 26 Snikki

    I’m definitely watching this! I need a break from all the angst in CS.

    And, and… I’ve always liked Park Shi Yeon; I wanna see her in a totes different role. 🙂

  27. 27 J

    AHHHHHHH!!! Finally!! KJH!!!! totally drool worthy!!!

    I thought the first episode was pretty good, so it’s on my must watch list now!!!

  28. 28 Lisa

    I’m still iffy about this drama but I do like the characters and the acting. KJH is charming as always. PSY is interesting to watch for once. Eunjung is doing a great job at keeping her character loveable and cute – I especially hate characters who are too obnoxiously cute.

  29. 29 Constance

    To be honest, the first episode does not have any effect on me. It was decent, above mediocre but I will keep an eye on this to see how it progresses

  30. 30 Flygirl

    Is Park Shi Yeon the lead actress or is it the other girl?

  31. 31 rach

    I’m totally biased for PSY and I hope she’ll be KJH’s leading lady. I loved her in La Dolce Vita and I actually like the idea of smart & successful career woman finding love and romance!

  32. 32 It'sMayAlready?

    This show had me at Bonamana ringtone LOL!!!

    I loved it too, and everybody was just charming! I’m curious, though: who exactly is the first female lead? I’m confused. I thought PSY was, but the episode opened with EJ’s character’s narration, so that made me even more lost. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  33. 33 Valentina

    As a new comer, EunJung’s acting not bad, i like it. Hope this drama will impress more audience

  34. 34 nycgrl

    JB how the hell do you do it? I’m actually in awe.

    You’ve spit out like 100s of recaps in the last 48 hrs. You’ve either managed to clone yourself or you’ve branded yourself as Javabeans but have in fact outsourced the recapping to 10 other people with very specific instructions and a tight writing styleguide.

  35. 35 cingdoc

    I have yet to watch this drama,but I already liked the recap…Thanks JB, I think I will add this one to my “to watch” list (the ever GROWING one,too) =P
    Besides,how can I NOT watch a KJH’s project…

  36. 36 deeta

    I can’t share the same sentiment. I don’t love Ham Eunjung. I’m not familiar with T-ara at all so I’m neutral but I found her character to be more annoying than anything. I end up skipping a lot of her scenes. Episode 2 did nothing to dispel my negative sentiment either.

    Good thing the rest of the cast are hilarious tho! Park Siyeon so far my favourite. So lovable and charming. And Jung Woongin, OMG, dude is a hoot!

  37. 37 ieyzan

    i love park shi yeon and this drama!!!!! i love the realtionship between her and kang ji hwan. episode 2 is funnier with the presence of the other guy.

    Kjh: Two people will unite to fight for their enemies
    The oher guy: who are you against to? North Korea, ahhhh, alqaeda


  38. 38 theedie

    So I take it that since the drama starts off from Seung-young’s POV that she’s actually the main girl who’ll end up with Jin-soo and not Eun-young? Shame, cuz I was really looking forward to Eun-young/Jin-soo.

  39. 39 Julie

    Park shi yeon was definitely a surprise for me as well. I couldn’t see her pulling it off, but she did! so that was nice.

    Is it me or is it hard to tell who’s the female lead at this point? I feel like seung yeon who is the main character….

  40. 40 anonymous 2

    it is really good .. i think im crazy for this drama ..

  41. 41 ieyzan

    i stiil think that park si yeon is the female lead and eunjung as the narator doesn’t mean that she is going to end up with kjh. her presence maybe will make the other two realised that they like each other. at the beginning of episode 1, seungyeon said that the story is like a manga. i think that there will be a twist, so that the storyline is differnet form manga where the lead guy fall in love with innocent girl

  42. 42 hapacalgirl

    So far I am loving this drama and love your recap javabeans. I was surprised with PSY portrayal of her character, I never knew she had comedy in her.

    To be honest 2 episodes in I am still not sure who is the main female is but I am leaning more toward Seung Yun (EunJung) just based on my experience with the first couple episodes of dramas in the past. The first two episodes seems to be focused on Ji Soo’s and Seung Yun’s bickering friendship and less on JiSoo and Eun Young , but its still too early to tell what will happen.

  43. 43 poo

    @4 uhmm: i think YEH has done excellent job in coffee prince…dun call her acting bad…her coffee prince character was really difficult…and she took lots of effort to get it right…itz true that gong yoo is too good…but coffee prince worked bcoz of the chemistry between BOTH the lead actors and not just coz of gong yoo.
    Eun jung’s acting is not bad…am sure she ll get better.

  44. 44 dunlop

    This drama is really unique. I noticed from episode 2 that it uses a lot of word humor as well as physical humor (if that makes sense…)
    Also the characters themselves are very unique. I think Jiwon is a very unique character. Very hateable and hated by the characters… but so very clueless and funny that you can’t just hate him. Thanks for the recap

  45. 45 A.

    Interesting… I can’t believe I forgot this was airing. Damn.

    The leading actress issue, though, is nagging on me a little bit. Although I’m all for surprises, I don’t want to feel jipped out in the end when the guy ends up with someone (if he DOES end up with anybody) that I don’t want to. At least knowing who the leading actress gives me a sense of, well, security as to how the story will pan out, maybe?

    Don’t know about Eunjung’s acting just yet, but I like Park Siyeon since La Dolce Vita… (Secretly crossing fingers and hoping PSY is the main lead here, hahaha…) But yeah, need to watch this. !!!

    Kang Jihwan, oh how charming you are… I wish he could smile at me like that all the time. ROFL.

  46. 46 a

    second episode sealed the deal for me.
    will be watching. i haven’t been interested about a drama in awhile.
    the only thing that irks me is eunjung’s subpar acting. I love how they wrote her character, and though i think her “looks” fit, the role feels like it’s been wasted. there could definitely be some more energy in the deliverance of her lines, everything seems so flat…
    jihwan’s character is indeed unique and refreshing, but i feel like he’s an updated version of the asshole/jerk male characters so well-used&loved in kdramas, (oh my lady’s minwoo was one of the first to be slightly different in that he knew how to be polite, and wasn’t a total (rude) jerkface) because he’s still mean, lol. But he is interesting…he seems almost sadistic (i’m referring to ep2, where they start to delve in on his character and possible reasons for his cold indifferent condescending air, and the way he treats his secretary). He’s a perfectionist, and sees himself (or wants to) above others. He states as fact that eunjung’s character will never improve,that there’s no hope for her. and by never expecting anyone to reach his standards (eg ep2 reference to how no coffee shop can match his tastebuds, so he makes his own coffee) he’s still got that arrogant air used time and time again. anyway there are lots of layers to his character here and i love his interaxns with eunyoung. can’t wait for ep3, where eunyoung helps seungyeon out. i hope romance blossoms with seungyeon actually however

  47. 47 a

    oh and i liked park shi yeon best in La Dolce Vita. she was really pretty in that drama and i wish she’d stopped with the surgeries there….

  48. 48 vere

    Am I the only one who thought PSY seemed like she was trying way too hard to be this “kooky” character? It’s like I can read the effort in her face and I see the hesitations before she does actions, like stomping or throwing stuff. It felt very forced and I found it weird to watch her scenes in both the first and second episode. Maybe it will become less awkward over time. I understand the level of exaggeration used when a character is introduced, and that establishing her odd personality is their aim.

    KJH was KJH. He seems to do the same thing he did back in Hong Gil Dong, where he sort of moves his head like a bird and pauses. The obsessive compulsive tendencies he has are amusing, and I’m wondering how they’ll develop his character. One thing I’m worried about is the plot. I hope this doesn’t fall into the same limbo Triple did, because I really want this to move swiftly and not mire. We’ll see what happens.

  49. 49 aX

    You’ve done it again dramabeans, you’ve got me interested into adding this into my “WATCH LIST” and honestly speaking, the list isn’t that long. What can I say, I’m picky! 😉 Got no extra time to spare for dramas that has no substance.

    This one looks like it’s heading in the right direction but then again, don’t most Kdramas start of intriguing and interesting at first. Just like when you first go out with someone… it’s exciting at first until the 2nd or 3rd date (if he or she is lucky enough to get that far). 😉

  50. 50 reluctantbutaddicted

    Thanks for the recap… you make this sound quite enticing and I will certainly try it out. I am very thankful on your behalf that it’s a K!J!W! vehicle and starting off strong–when you’re happy, we’re happy! I’ll look forward to these recaps!

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