Drama Recaps
Alice in Cheongdam-dong: Episode 2
by | December 4, 2012 | 128 Comments

We are given a few more details in this episode as the Revenge Merry-Go-Round takes off! A little more insight into Se-kyung’s motivations, and a little more insight into the world we’re plunging into. It’s a strange feeling to be watching a drama that’s so aware the shallow-ness of Cheongdam-dong and so serious about it. Strange, but not a bad feeling.


“Shower” – by Every Single Day for Alice in Cheongdam-dong OST  [download]

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After the initial shock of seeing Se-kyung in the company, Yoon-joo greets her like an old friend. So fake. So now of course they have to have a little chit-chat. Yoon-joo is embarrassed that she never realized Se-kyung was her assistant, having thought the name belonged to someone else. She’ll smooth things over with the jewelry brand Eclaire over the warranty issue then.

Se-kyung admits that it’s all her fault, so she will be quitting anyway. Yoon-joo knows that In-hwa can be a difficult boss because her standards are so high, but she also has a lot of connections in the fashion industry. If Se-kyung were to quit over this matter, word will spread quickly.

Yoon-joo may be giving her advice, but her ulterior motive is most likely that she doesn’t want Se-kyung to leave when she hasn’t had her fill of fun just yet.

Se-kyung heads to In-hwa’s office, who’s already heard that the warranty issue will be resolved on its own. She notices Se-kyung’s resignation letter and comments that most girls before her have done the same thing: Once told that they’ll never make it in the fashion industry, they hang their heads and resign. “If you don’t have ‘the eye,'” In-hwa says, “shouldn’t you at least have a spine?” So true. I am starting to like In-hwa.

In-hwa leaves Se-kyung with some food for thought, and spots Yoon-joo in the office. She casually wonders over the state of preparation for the Artemis dinner, and Yoon-joo assures her that there is nothing to worry about. “I don’t want to have to worry,” In-hwa replies. Zing! And I really like In-hwa.

Se-kyung meets up with Ah-jung at a cafe and spills about her morning’s events. Ah-jung is flabbergasted that a cheater like Yoon-joo managed to become the wife of GN Fashion’s president. She wonders if the president is also the man Yoon-joo dated in France; a couple years ago, Ah-jung had dug around for information on fellow classmates and stumbled upon the juicy tidbit that Yoon-joo had lived with a man abroad.

Ah-jung offers to find out more salacious gossip, but that’s not enough to cheer up Se-kyung. Se-kyung’s pride is wounded, but she has to buck up and keep working. She can’t be unemployed forever.

After her coffee break, Se-kyung receives a text from Yoon-joo to meet her at a gallery, as she will be assisting Yoon-joo with preparing for the dinner. Se-kyung addresses Yoon-joo formally, as she finds it more comfortable to greet her superior as one rather than as a friend. It’s also her only way of coping with her current situation. Yoon-joo is highly amused by this; her revenge of making Se-kyung feel pitiful is on full-force.

Se-kyung helps pick out some more luxury items for Yoon-joo and arrives at the apartment to find it bustling with movers. Furniture is being moved around and paintings are being replaced. Se-kyung finds all these preparations quite excessive for just one dinner with a man no one knows much about. Yoon-joo turns on her: “This is not just a dinner with any person. Jean Thierry Cha is the youngest CEO of Artemis and last year brought in millions for the company in sales.”

Before Yoon-joo can bark at Se-kyung for her ignorance again, Se-kyung receives a text from Ah-jung; she’s just found an information gold mine!

Ah-jung discovered that Yoon-joo had lived in France under the name “Cha Yoon-joo.” A photo was posted on a classmate’s home page of Yoon-joo standing in front of a church with a white dress. It looks like an unofficial wedding photo, but Yoon-joo had taken on her husband’s last name.

Se-kyung pauses – isn’t the president’s last name Shin? That’s the twist, Ah-jung exclaims. Yoon-joo lived with and married a man named Cha in France, but then left him for the wealthier Shin Min-hyuk. Since the wedding wasn’t official, it was easier to leave. As cold-hearted as Yoon-joo was, Se-kyung can’t help but admire that Yoon-joo managed to do what others couldn’t do. Her skill was in using men, and she’s used that skill most effectively.

Ah-jung adds that In-chan had not reported to work that day, which makes Se-kyung worried over his whereabouts. He still does not pick up her calls, so Se-kyung rushes to the Artemis store to see if the refund can be issued more quickly. She thinks that he’s still avoiding her because of the bills he needs to pay.

The saleslady at Artemis apologizes to her, but frankly states that they may not be able to refund her at all. There is a defective stitching in the bag that would have rendered it unsaleable. However way Se-kyung got it, the bag is actually not meant to be sold by the brand. Se-kyung is sure that her bag is not a counterfeit, or illegally distributed, but she hopes that the saleslady can give her the refund soon.

As she leaves, she knocks into a snooty lady with an Artemis bag as well. This lady is also throwing a fit, wanting a refund because her bag is defective. The saleslady repeats that they do not fix or refund illegally distributed merchandise, which makes the customer even more angry.

Seung-jo is called out in the middle of his work to resolve the issue. (He was only posting little tidbits such as “Artemis raising prices soon!” as a random user on forums to encourage people to buy Artemis bags now.) When the customer sees Seung-jo, she takes the bag and throws it right at him. He coolly catches it right in front of his face, and even smirks at his own awesomeness. Heh.

The customer claims that the company is conning them, selling defective merchandise but then saying that they didn’t officially sell it. She admits to not having bought it at an official store, but she still wants to be compensated. Seung-jo acquiesces on her request for an exchange, and she chooses an even more expensive bag. Even though the prices are not equal, Seung-jo has Secretary Moon hand it over to the customer right away to make her happy.

They have a bigger problem at hand: Someone is illegally selling their merchandise.

Seung-jo has his secretary call for a meeting, and then he receives a video message from none other than his father. Il-nam: “I heard you had your bags illegally distributed!” He laughs derisively over Seung-jo’s misfortune and points out that his son’s habit of holding grudges comes from him. That annoys Seung-jo even more.

At the meeting, he asks the department heads if they know anything about products being illegally distributed. Seung-jo finds out that Marketing Assistant So In-chan hasn’t been in the past couple of days, so he is most likely the culprit. He orders them to find In-chan. They cannot afford to have someone selling their products at half the price.

Ah-jung later calls Se-kyung to inform her that In-chan is in trouble, and she meets Secretary Moon (though she doesn’t know that this is the real one) about it. She can’t believe that In-chan would do something like this, but realizes that he could if he’s in so much debt. She tries calling him numerous times and visits his home to see if he is there. He’s not, and she finds all his bills instead.

Seung-jo is likewise curious about In-chan, who basically is robbing him. He discovers that In-chan has a lot of personal debt.

Ah-jung doesn’t want Se-kyung associating herself with In-chan or even go looking for him, as it can reflect negatively on her. Se-kyung isn’t going to try and be responsible for his debt, but she also can’t imagine leaving him alone at this moment. She’ll find him, but she’ll pretend that she doesn’t know about his illegal actions. Se-kyung adamantly believes that debt is something that can be paid off with enough hard work; it’s just money, not a disease. Ah-jung: “Nowadays, poverty is like a disease.”

Se-kyung leaves to search for In-chan, but first, she must run some errands for Yoon-joo.

Yoon-joo is cutting some flower arrangements when Se-kyung arrives with some clothing. Yoon-joo has already heard of In-chan’s predicament, and knows that he’s Se-kyung’s boyfriend. She too advises Se-kyung to stay away from him, and then has her drop off her clothing in her dressing room. That’s just an excuse to have Se-kyung see her spacious dressing room with all its expensive brands of clothing and bags.

Se-kyung realizes just how unattainable her dreams might be, and she takes her leave. As she’s about to get on the elevator, she bumps into Min-hyuk, who’s returning home. Min-hyuk recognizes her and kindly asks her to take care of him and his wife. He also admired her motto – “L’effort est ma force.” Se-kyung is confused as to how he would know her motto if he wasn’t at the interview. He reveals that he watches videos of all the interviews with his wife.

With his wife?! So that means Yoon-joo knew she had interviewed for the company! That means Se-kyung was accepted because Yoon-joo had pulled some strings!

At that moment, Yoon-joo comes out to the foyer to see what was taking her husband so long to enter the house. She sees Se-kyung glaring at her, and glares right back. Min-hyuk takes his leave, and Yoon-joo confronts Se-kyung. So, did she hear the truth?

Se-kyung feigns ignorance and says that she’ll just be taking her leave. Yoon-joo scornfully says that Se-kyung’s reaction to all this is no fun; perhaps because Se-kyoung’s currently in a lower status she can’t really do much against Yoon-joo? Se-kyung then smiles. Does Yoon-joo think she just won? Because in her book, Yoon-joo is not a winner.

Yoon-joo can’t believe she’s getting lectured, so she fires back on her own. “Do you know why you were selected for the job?” Yoon-joo says nastily. “It’s because you were trembling. It was obvious you were trying so hard to look good.” She points out that even if Se-kyung is angry over getting the job not by her own merit, she tells her that what’s important is she has a job. And, no matter what, she emphasizes that she got to her married position through her own “talents” too.

Revenge for Yoon-joo is sweet. Se-kyung can’t do anything but wallow in self-pity and search for In-chan again. She is so frustrated by his absence that she throws her bag while knocking on his front gate. Some of her belongings fall out, and she picks them up to find an old photo from last year. Se-kyung and In-chan had a part-time job where they wore mascot outfits and took pictures with children. It was exhausting for the both of them, but they took a cute picture to commemorate their work. In-chan even promised that he wouldn’t make her work so hard the following year.

Se-kyung puts the photo in an envelope, and then adds it to the mailbox. Finally her cellphone rings – it’s In-chan. Except he’s calling from a pay phone and can’t find the words to speak when she picks up. He just listens to her say she misses him, and breaks down into tears while on the phone. Another sobfest ensues.

Meanwhile for the rich, Seung-jo is having a blast as he prepares for the dinner meeting. His revenge is imminent, but first – he sees Se-kyung at the lobby begging the receptionist to let her see “Secretary Moon.” Seung-jo is initially ready to ignore her, but overhears that she wants to talk about In-chan. That piques his interest, and he goes to talk to her in a private office.

Se-kyung is initially reluctant to talk to him despite his insistence that he is the secretary, but she simply wants him to know that In-chan will return and pay back the money. Seung-jo is skeptical – did In-chan say himself that he was going to return, and did she see him? Seung-jo sighs: “That’s how they’re all like. They send a woman to say it rather than coming on their own.”

Se-kyung insists that he did not send her, that she came on her own because she has faith In-chan will return. She knows that he has a strong sense of responsibility. Seung-jo wonders if Se-kyung knows about his long-standing debt and poor credit score.

Seung-jo: Think about this very carefully. Then you will realize, “Oh no, I must have been sooo crazy! I need to face reality and get away from him (In-chan) as soon as possible!” That’s what you’ll end up thinking.

How does he know this is how Se-kyung will judge In-chan? It’s because he understands the female psyche. Se-kyung scoffs. He may claim to know women very well, but it’s obvious that he has never loved someone, or been loved – right? She turns to leave, but stops to say one last thing: “Are you even the CEO? You act like you are, but you’re most likely not. So stop pretending like you are one and relay my message to him!”

Danggit – I thought she really did figure him out. Who does she think the real Secretary Moon is then?

Seung-jo sputters that he has  loved someone before, but of course Se-kyung is barely listening to him as she leaves.

Seung-jo goes down to his car to head to the dinner, and finds Dong-wook there with a gift for him. It’s a recorder disguised as a pen. Dong-wook assures that it works, as he uses it on his patients as well. Hmm – seems like Dong-wook is not just a friend, but also Seung-jo’s doctor. He pushes Dong-wook out of the car and turns on the recorder: “Just wait, Seo Yoon-joo. Here comes Edmond Dantes…” Great – this drama is “Count of Monte Cristo” and “Alice in Wonderland” in one.

Seung-jo arrives at the Shin household, and as he goes up the elevator, Min-hyuk, In-hwa, and Yoon-joo wait in the foyer for him. The elevator doors open… and Seung-jo smiles.

Yoon-joo can barely cover up her horror as she sees her former “husband” and love of her life standing at her front door.

Instead of hosting the dinner in triumph, it becomes a reserved affair for Yoon-joo. In-hwa does all the work in complimenting Seung-jo for his marketing strategies that brought success to the Artemis brand in Korea. Seung-jo smiles; he had a lot of personal experience that allowed him to think deeply into the Korean woman’s psyche and developed his marketing strategy around that. It just seems like they just want more and more. Advantage Seung-jo.

In-hwa notices that Seung-jo keeps speaking at Yoon-joo, but that she doesn’t really respond satisfactorily as the wife of Min-hyuk, thus increasing her disappointment in her sister-in-law. Min-hyuk is curious as to what “experience” Seung-jo had that was significant enough to make him come up with the “higher prices” marketing strategy. Thank goodness Seung-jo says that story is for another time.

Yoon-joo goes into the wine cabinet to pick up some more wine, and there Seung-jo meets her privately. She outright calls him a loser, but Seung-jo smirks. Guess what? She and her husband have to suck up to that “loser.” Yoon-joo amazingly has the gall to ask Seung-jo to protect her – to not reveal anything about their past relationship. Seung-jo is not surprised at her selfishness, but assures her that he’s just here to return something to her.

Back at the dinner table, he tells everyone he’s also the new CEO of Eclaire Korea, so he brought a small gift for Yoon-joo. Inside is a slim silver bangle – and Seung-jo has a matching pair. Yoon-joo recognizes it and glares at him, which only makes him happier on the inside.

On the ride back home, Seung-jo rewinds the recording and continuously giggles over the part where Yoon-joo calls him a loser. Listening to Yoon-joo sound defeated has never made him feel better.

Se-kyung is back at In-chan’s place, and this time she finds that his front gate is unlocked. She starts pounding at his door, and he appears behind her. What is she doing here? Se-kyung cries tearfully, “Where have you been!?” hitting him first, and then finally embracing him because she missed him so much.

They head to a nearby playground to talk about In-chan’s future. He’ll most likely be fired, but he’ll find a way to survive. He takes out the envelope she left at his place, which is also full of little love notes he had written to her during their relationship. And then he pulls out a lighter, and sets fire to it. Ack!

Se-kyung tries to stop him but In-chan forces her to take a hard look at reality. The whole “Efforts make a difference” credo is all bullshit to him, because no matter how hard he tried and how hard he worked, he couldn’t change a thing. He wanted to show her that he could succeed, and then marry her and start a family. But no matter how much he tried, he just sunk deeper into debt. He never wanted her or their future children to have to live in poverty because of him.

Of all things, his mother’s life could easily be saved by just a few of those Artemis bags, so that’s why he stole them. He was then able to pay off the medical bill and his mother was able to get surgery. But even though his mother’s surgery was successful, In-chan could not be happy. Now he needs to pay another medical bill, and they don’t know when her rare cancer will strike again. He hates himself for even wishing that his mother could have died, because that would have solved all of his problems.

He doesn’t want Se-kyung by his side anymore, because he doesn’t want her to see him like this. I’m actually even more scared because all this depressive talk makes me fear that he just might commit suicide and run away from his problems… Se-kyung apologizes for continually telling him that ideally, things will work out if they work hard. Sometimes things don’t work out that way, even though she really believed it. In-chan really doesn’t want her to be around to see him as such a failure. They embrace, sobbing all the way through.

Dude – can’t In-chan catch a break? I have yet to see him smile once in the present-time.

Back at home, Seung-jo looks at his silver bangle, which is engraved with “S.J. Cha” on the inside. Likewise, Yoon-joo’s bangle is engraved with “Y.J. Cha,” and both think about what had been between the two of them. Meanwhile Se-kyung also returns home wondering what could have been for both her and In-chan. Her father thinks that Se-kyung is worried over their home and promises that their house won’t be foreclosed. He and her mother will simply work hard to come up with the money. “Some things will never change even if you try,” he mournfully says. “But if you believe that, you can’t live. You have to believe that it will change.”

It’s more despairing food for thought, but now Se-kyung takes new meaning to her own credo. Her effort is her strength? Alright then.

A maid informs Yoon-joo that she has a visitor, and initially Yoon-joo is apprehensive because she thinks it might be Seung-jo. She lets out a sigh of relief when she finds out it’s just Se-kyung.

Se-kyung just wanted to ask Yoon-joo a couple of things: Yoon-joo had studied abroad in France right? As Cha Yoon-joo? Yoon-joo’s eyes widen – how did Se-kyung know that?! Se-kyung shows her the wedding photo on her phone, and dares Yoon-joo to delete it. Clearly she has other copies. Se-kyung just wants to know if Yoon-joo really worked hard to earn her current status in life.

Yes – Se-kyung is threatening Yoon-joo’s current position with that wedding photo, as she can bring her rival down in one instant. But she doesn’t plan to destroy Yoon-joo. Rather, she wants to know what Yoon-joo did to get to where she is now. “Let me know your secret as well,” she says. And with that, we no longer have our innocent Candy girl.


I was hoping this drama would go for a more whimsical take on Cheongdam-dong, and instead we are hit with melodrama over the travails of the poor. The problems of the rich and their little revenge merry-go-round seem so petty when juxtaposed with Se-kyung and In-chan’s difficulty in finding a way just to make money. But perhaps that’s how we’re supposed to feel, that the rich in Cheongdam-dong are so idly rich that they use their money and companies to get what they want.

At one point I felt this drama become slightly similar to Queen of Housewives, except instead of it being a popularity contest, it’s more about the smart one not being savvy enough to step over others to get to the top. But I was more impressed that this drama just breaks down the Candy-girl imagery that we’re so used to seeing in this kind of drama. Don’t we want to see that girl work her way to the top? Don’t we want to see her prove that hard work is all you need?

All those cliches we were used to regarding our heroine is being broken down further with this drama, and I am very curious to see how Se-kyung will remain sympathetic if she’s going to learn how to be more like Yoon-joo and find a man as a means to her end. (Ha – this drama is just sexist all around.) I already feel that Se-kyung is more shallow than she acts, as she knows the prices to all the goods, but doesn’t display any uniqueness to her fashion style; it’s as if she wanted to be a fashion designer for the glamour and the money, not for the art. That already is not what a typical “Candy girl” in the fashion industry should be acting like, I feel.

Note that it’s mere curiosity that’s driving my interest in this series right now, because I want to see Yoon-joo sort of be like a mentor to Se-kyung, even though they’re rivals. I want to see how Min-hyuk will treat Se-kyung as an employee because it looks like he might be a sympathetic character to her plight. I want to see how Seung-jo will deal with Se-kyung as she changes from a hard-working girl to a more cunning one willing to marry just to succeed. On top of that, this drama is supposed to have an Alice in Wonderland theme (visible in some of the promotional pictures and teaser) with Se-kyung as Alice, Seung-jo as the Mad Hatter, Yoon-joo as the Queen of Hearts, and Kim Ji-suk’s character Tommy Hong as the Cheshire Cat (most likely). Man, I’m curious how all of this will come together.


128 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Winsome


  2. rainbow

    Thanks 🙂

    • 2.1 cg

      so i watched the episode and i’m finding the drama quite interesting..

  3. SH

    Thanks Kaedejun. No screenshot of the abs? 😛

  4. Carole McDonnell

    Deep deep deep in my (admittedly quite shallow) heart, I want our heroine to end up with her beloved neighborhood Oppa. Jean Thierry Sscha aka “innocent lover turned bitter Edmond Dantes against woman-kind” is fun AND rich, but we can’t altogether drop the premise of “good effort,” integrity, a loyal heart, and a “dream” are all the salt of the earth folk have for themselves in this shallow world. And if Alice doesn’t come out of this horrible wormhole of shallowness somewhat in love with her poor oppa, I’ll be majorly disappointed. What will be the difference between her and Jae Hee in Nice Guy? Of course a rich fun-loving lover is everyone’s dream, but heck she fell in love with a kind-hearted noble poor one..and I’m kinda torn between normal life with normal guy and poor guy. Heck, maybe they’ll turn out to be brothers and all will be well. One never knows in k-drama wonderland.

    That said, “I’m wondering if Jean Thierry’s medication is for some kind of ADD or love-caused-Depression? It doesn’t seem to be a physical problem…and the manic joy in the back of the car could be signs of some mental sorrow? Am saying this cause Ooh la la spouses pulled out the old ADHD thing and I’m wondering if ADHD and Ciba Geigy (ADD’s discoverer and the maker of ADD’s only cure) needed product placement. Yeah, I am that cynical.

    Am liking all the main leads…and yeah, nursing some serious Second lead syndrome right now, which will remain with me throughout the drama unless neighborhood commits suicide or some such thing.

    Thanks for the recap.

    • 4.1 Carole McDonnell

      dang…i should proof-read before I hit submit, shouldn’t I?
      First correction: A) Between normal guy and rich guy
      Second correction: B) neighborhood oppa committing suicide. (not the entire neighborhood committing suicide. That would be entirely too gruesome.) Sorry about the non-proofing.

    • 4.2 Bu Young

      I also thought of Jae Hee when I was was watching this episode! It’s like Alice in Cheongdam-dong is Jae Hee’s side of the story, lol

    • 4.3 Mystisith

      My severe cases of second male lead syndrome lately have left me defeated. All those poor oppas mistreated… But since in Dramaland the girl always chooses the “right” man despite the fact than he is a complete ass, I give up. NGM, you broke our collective little hearts.

      • 4.3.1 Carole McDonnell

        It DOES leave one feeling defeated, doesn’t it? It’s like…”What is wrong with me that I’m on this perfect guy’s side and everyone else — or at least these scriptwriters– are shipping some other love combination? Am I totally out of sync with the women of my generation or what? Or is it the screenwriter who is out of sync?”

        I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER forgive you, Ooh la la Spouses! Not even on my death bed.

      • 4.3.2 katiamon

        that ending was totally wrong! Ohlala Spouses, you sucked! ¬¬.
        how on earth would you get back with that monster of ex husband? why? why??? Oppa was awesome, why would you ditch him?! I think YO got her transplant and a lobotomy that turned her into a total moron.

        • Odet

          Yap. her surgery affected her head. stupid stupid ending for oohlalala.. i didn’t get to finish it coz it felt like having a heart attack.. Everyone must haved cussed the writer and director as I did. Worst ending ever!

      • 4.3.3 alua

        Yep… I’m rooting for the poor oppa too but k-dramaland never takes that sort of risk. Sadly.

        Even if Park Shi-hoo’s character is intriguing and good fun so far (in his total lunacy) BUT that’s still not a reason for the poor oppa and Se-kyung to miss out on their love (because they very obviously love each other).


        • kakashi

          but …. PSH always gets the girls. That’s a KDramaland rule. Ok, almost always. But still.

          • Fafa

            Agree 🙂

          • jєѕѕα™ 주원사랑 (@jung_kYro)

            I agree. PSH will never be left alone in the end. He’s the one who snatches the girl even if he’s the second lead. 😀

          • Lovebug

            Ha This is in fact a law of Nature!

      • 4.3.4 sally_b

        …yes…Nam Goong Min has the most amazing *watery eyes*. It’s like he’s perpetually on the verge of tears — makes me want to hug and snuggle him. (there, there, let me kiss it and make it better) 😉

        • SoWon

          and the way he speaks,… i can feel the tears in his voice even….
          **oh a new bias is near… i sense it!!!!!

    • 4.4 asianromance

      I almost never have second lead syndrome even when the main guy is a jerk…but damn, I really want Se-kyung to stick with In-chan. I’m sure the lesson at the end of the drama is supposed to be that the shallow world of Cheongdam-dong is not worth it. And without Se-kyung, who else would In-chan have? I hope they don’t end up making him an obsessive jerk to “justify” Se-kyung going for Seung-jo. I want all the poor people in this drama to win.

      I love Seung-jo, but I really want Se-klyung and In-chan to be together!

      (Thanks Kaedejun for recapping this!)

      • 4.4.1 asianromance

        I just remembered that Nam Goong min’s In-chan character is just a cameo. Going to miss him! Maybe he can come back in episode 16 and sweep Se-kyung off her feet.

      • 4.4.2 Lovebug

        Ok as a tried and true Park Shi-hoo fan girl i am feeling a little perplexed as right now I am also totally shipping Se-kyung and In-Chan. I will give it up to those two actors really making me believe they love each other. And the heartbreak they are both experiencing was palpable.

        On the otherhand I am loving Park Shi-hoo’s character (and am seeing the Mad hatter connection). I am hoping the show can really adequately build and develop a believable love connection between the two. (I wonder if there is going to be anytime kind of time jump, its really hard to get over a 6yr relationship like that!)

        I really think PSH’s character has mental problems, but enjoying his shennanigans already!

        • Carole McDonnell

          i felt the mental problems thingey as well. Don’t know why though.

        • YY

          Yes, me too…he’s so manic and it kind of worries me. I thought this was supposed to be a light rom-com but I guess it’s not. It veers between light comedy and darkness and I am kind of reeling from the swift changes in mood.

    • 4.5 ladida

      I don’t know. I love Nam Goong Min, but his character insisted on breaking up with Se Kyung. He no longer wants to be with her. And I don’t think it’s a case of “noble idiocy” because he wants to break up as much for her as for his own emotional well being and sense of self worth. There are some strains that are put on a relationship that just irrevocably damage it, and I think that’s what’s happened with these two. It’s just too much history. So…no second lead syndrome for me. At least not yet, lol.

  5. Laurita

    As I’ve just written in the comments of the first ep. recap, the end just killed my fragile rooting for the main heroine. I get that she’s disappointed, but that’s all what there was in her “beliefs”? … … …

    My life sucks? Ok, let’s go to the person who’ve just made fun of me and the one whose “values” I used to hate, and let’s ask her to teach me how to become like her. That’s the best solution ever.

    [I hope, they will turn everything to the good comedic elements and won’t let the lead guy fall in love in the dark (without knowing her true intentions).]

    Probably the only thing I liked was the revenge of Seung-jo. When he was driving home, listening to her voice, and giggling through tears. I want to believe there was something sad mixed in that laugh.

  6. Bu Young

    I really really like In-Chan….like a lot :/ too bad that story ended. Aigoooo.
    The problem with In-Chan’s character is that it reminds me too much of Bong Ma Roo. They’re really both pitiful man and when Nam Goon Min was crying all I can think about was Can You Hear My Heart but maybe it’s because I just finished watching it last week.

    Her Relationship with In-Chan would have been a great drama that I’d watch.

  7. LizJ

    Are any of the big sites (like DramaFever and Viki) going to pick this one up?

  8. passerby

    Hmmm, still not sold on the premise, I’ll follow this one via your recaps, k!

    Thanks for your hard work <3

    PS: I hate to be *that* girl, but the song is Shower and the band is Every Single Day d^_^b

  9. DeeDee Wakabayashi

    They are going to have to do A LOT to make me forget that two good, hard working people who have loved each other for 6 years are just going to break up and then convince me she’s gonna fall in love with the rich guy.

    This is a totally new twist for me in a drama. I mean, they genuinely care and love each other and they are breaking up over money? I understand what he is feeling and all…but how is she gonna fall out of love that fast when there isn’t even hurt or a fact about him being a jerk or something that she didn’t see before?
    I just don’t know how they are gonna make me forget In Chan and their relationship and buy into her loving this new guy. I mean, seriously, I hate to say this, but they would have to have him die somehow in order for me to believe she could forget him and move on.

    • 9.1 katiamon

      i don’t know what are you gonna say … I liked In chan a lot but he stopped been the kind-hearted good oppa when he stole and sold the bags. we know he needed the money but in the end he ended been a bad boy. It’s not like in Ohlala spouses, that oppa was awesome and YO was just a total idiot for ditching him ¬¬.
      This doesn’t mean i’m sold with the future relationship between SK and SJ, i just hope the writers justify why should they end up together…

      • 9.1.1 Carole McDonnell

        I could forgive him cause his mom was sick and in bed and he needed to get money for her operation. I’ll forgive most any crime for a dying mom.

        I just hope they don’t make him turn into a person “worthy of being tossed to the curb.” I hate when they do that. Like if he is the first to marry someone for her money and all.

        • SoWon

          although i will even accept his marrying someone for the money, given his current far too wretched condition, it will probably deprive the drama of any sense! like what? you hit rock bottom, try hard and nothing changes,…. then go find someone rich to marry??? one might be okay, but having two people and make them both take this path sounds like nothing near sensible!! :(( my poor InChan… i already have a crush!

    • 9.2 Carole McDonnell

      My thoughts, exactly! He better die or something.

      Rich guy seems fun enough..in that richly way those rich guys have. (Although the sight of him in those cute scholarly noble glasses, when he was married to Baddie-now-expert tutor in scheming.

      BtW —
      So…bigamy is okay in Korea because the marriage was unregistered in Korea and took place in Europe? Dang! If that’s true, I could find a nice rich oppa to run off with and hubby will have no power over it. Isn’t a divorce kinda necessary? Won’t that pop up sometime in the future if he wants to get married? Just asking.

      • 9.2.1 (permanent) visitor

        Carole, I’m with you…since when are there “grey areas” in marriage? Where I’m from, you either are or you ain’t, whether it was “only a church wedding” or not.

        So yeah, I was wondering whether the deep dark secret is that she was married before (horrors!) or that she was a bigamist. Because the latter seems like a bigger deal to me. Or is it that her (former?) husband could easily reveal that got married (again?) all for the money?

        • Arawn

          It’s possible that they had an unofficial wedding without actually registering themselves as a married couple. In that case there’s no bigamy on official level because officially she was never married. However emotionally speaking her previous marriage naturally counts and I could very well understand her husband being very disappointed if he found out about it. Personally I don’t think being married before is a big thing but hiding it makes it instantly a much bigger issue.

          • Carole McDonnell

            I’ve learned from k-drama that there is the marriage and then there is the registering of the marriage. And recently there was some big deal about some actor being secretly married because he hadn’t registered the marriage yet. But wouldn’t being married, even without the registering of the marriage be still a marriage? Or am I being too western about it? I know in the US if you have a church wedding, the priest registers the marriage within a day or two and so the paperwork is left up to him but even if he delays getting the paperwork in…the marriage still exists in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the family and guests.

            It seems this marriage took place with no family and no guests…not sure who took the photo of the bride. And am not sure if the marriage was registered in France by the French priest. (or whoever does the registering in France.) But still, I’m thinking they’re married. I could be wrong though.

      • 9.2.2 katiamon

        it’s not that bigamy is OK, the problem is that you need to file the marriage certificate in your embassy to make it official in your country… if not, it’s like you never got married at all. Also, in some countries (like mine) the religious marriage is not legally valid, you have to get a civilian married (in the town hall)…

        • Arawn

          This is how it is in France, too. I just checked. So if YJ and SJ married ONLY in church, their marriage is not official and so there cannot be any discussion of legal bigamy nor divorce. And this is what Ah-Jung says, that their marriage was unofficial. Of course, if you do bring god in the equation then yes, in the yes of god they are still married IF the marriage was not annulled which I doubt it was (religious Catholics cannot divorce, their marriages are annulled if the reason is good enough and so it’s like their marriage never existed in the first place). It’s just that I don’t get the vibe of these people being very religious… Church thing was probably just a nice ceremony to make a promise of a life together and for the two of them. But you don’t need God here as even unofficial marriage shows a pretty serious intent and does mean that YJ did take an oath to love and cherish SJ till the death does them part. And then she broke her promise to marry a rich guy.

    • 9.3 SoWon

      oh i couldn’t possibly agree with you more!! i just can’t come up with ANY imaginary plot twist or whatever to justify her ditching him… unless they make him turn into a bady two-shoes (well i made it up!) overnight! and have my dinner thrown at the my laptop as a consequence…
      and if they make him die,…. and the girl marry the richest guy around… well, it just won’t leave good impressions in the end… i mean, when you’re pointing out a critical issue like poverty in a drama, you just can’t leave it midway and go all fluff! after bashing the motto of a lot people out there, saying hardwork alone will not take you anywhere, you just can’t end things with a happily-ever-after marriage!

      • 9.3.1 Carole McDonnell

        I think they’ll put him in jail or have him die in some way so she can “move on” as they say.

    • 9.4 ladida

      I’m ok with their breaking up over money, because it isn’t really “just money.” He’s over 60 thousand dollars in debt, and that has completely destroyed (in his eyes) his chances of marriage, a family, and a home. He pretty much feels that he has no future. It’s not just about the money, but the psychological effect not having money and being so deeply mired in debt causes. In Chan in this episode was full of despair and rage and regret and shame (which I think is one of the most powerful human emotions). It’s likely that he’s depressed. I’m glad the show isn’t giving us a romantic view of poverty and indebtedness. Those things *are* destructive. It’s a constant, ever-growing burden that would over shadow their lives, and they’re both so scared about it, and that’s why they break up. They don’t break up over money, but what money has done to their relationship.

  10. 10 katiamon

    I’m interested in how are they gonna develope Se-kyung’s character because she might get tips and lessons from YJ but it doesn’t mean she would necessarily turn into her and be evil/bitchy.
    what i hope is that they turn the candy character into someone with a back bone, because that’s what SK is lacking. You don’t have to be naive or innocent to be good because it’s true that other people will take advantage, you have to be smart enough to recognize the opportunities you are given and work hard without using or stepping on people.
    In the final comments is mentioned that SK might be more shallow but i think is too soon to come to that conclusion because the drama hasn’t shown her skills as a fashion designer and considering her situation she might had lost her north while worrying about been unemployed for 3 years, money problems at home and a troubled BF.
    finally, i just want this drama to be good, i hope for a good development of the plot.
    Thanks for the recap 🙂

    • 10.1 Carole McDonnell

      I’m kinda thinking if she comes up with a great design that her old nemesis/new tutor in evil is just gonna steal it. After all, that’s the great ability that has gotten Big Schemer to where she is. I just feel some design theft is on the horizon…especially if Jean Thierry falls in love with our heroine.

      • 10.1.1 katiamon

        I didn’t think about it, but please no! that plot would be a bummer! I already watched it long ago in “Star in my heart” hehehe…
        I also thought that maybe SK will try to fish Tommy Hong? that would be interesting, she won’t go after the male lead but somehow (who knows how) she ends up with SJ???

    • 10.2 ladida

      I originally thought the drama didn’t show her design talents, but if you look at her room she has two mannequins with dresses on them. So we do get to see some of her designs, it’s just that they haven’t been highlighted (yet).

  11. 11 Pam

    Thanks for the recap, Kaedejun.

    I hope SK grows a backbone but also doesn’t sell out her principles by backstabbing and marrying rich to get to the top. I hope she doesn’t become as cold-hearted as YJ.

    As far as SJ is concerned, you can tell he’s a broken man. He laughs out loud but he’s crying inside. He’s a mess because YJ was a gold digger and divorced him to be with a rich man while SJ gave up his inheritance to marry her.

    That scene between SK and IC broke my heart. Sometimes working hard and playing by the rules doesn’t get you anywhere because the odds are in favor of the rich who has connections and can buy their way to the top. I hope the writers don’t lose track of these themes of classism, excessive consumerism and the demise of the middle class. It be tragic if the writers choose to normalized instead of criticize these themes.

  12. 12 (permanent) visitor

    I’m with you, Kaedejun – staying with this one (for the moment) out of curiosity. I just really want to know if either the comedic or romantic aspects of this supposed “rom-com” will ever appear – because we seem to be set up pretty well for melodrama right now.

    It seems like a lot of people are disappointed with Se-Kyung, but I think the episodes have set up pretty well that in the world she’s living in, there aren’t a lot of options. She basically hears from every side, from every person in her life that not only would money fix their problems and save their lives, but that it’s impossible to get through hard work. And not only that, but she CAN’T pursue her dreams of being a designer from her current position.
    So I’m a bit more sympathetic b/c, realistic or not, in the world portrayed in the drama, her clearest path to help the people she loves seems to be the one she’s chosen – to beat them at their own game.

    I don’t see how the writers are going to make her forget In-chan though – seems like much of her motivation right now is to get the $ to help him, because he does seem like he’s lost all hope.

    • 12.1 Arawn

      I’m one of those who are not disappointed at all. On the contrary, her taking this very unconventional route for a heroine makes her much more interesting in my eyes. From what I see drama has established that she has had to fight to survive for her whole life, at least economically speaking, and also everybody around her have been doing the same and what’s worst, they are failing. So if you see how people around you get absolutely nowhere living by the same principles as you do, why wouldn’t you reconsider them? I think that is very human and realistic thing to do. Why keep banging your head against the wall if you are desperate AND there’s a way around it.

      I’m in pretty dire situation myself financially at the moment and so I’m the last person to judge SK for her choices. In her situation I might do the same.

      • 12.1.1 Carole McDonnell

        I agree. I just want her to be faithful to oppa…like maybe marry rich guy but give helping hand to true love oppa.

        • SoWon

          well yeah… she just HAS to do that… but it’s kdramaland after all… and if someone marries the other in the end, it means they ARE in love!! and if they are, it means they have forgotten their ex!! (which i will never forgive in case of InChan!) and even if they give him any kind of help as a good position in the company or stuff, it will just be toooo burdensome for the poor guy! ’cause we DO know that he loves her despite all his attempts to distance himself by now! and even if he can come into terms with his beloved ending up with sb else, and accept the help… then the drama will be totally SENSELESS!
          i mean, really… we introduce a couple of miserable characters with all their miseries and shattered dreams who seem totally hopeless as to how they might be able to make their ends meet,… and what’s the drama’s solution? if you’re a girl, go marry a rich guy! if you’re a boy, marry your girlfriend off to a rich guy and get help from them!… that’s just like… CRAZY!!!!

          • (permanent) visitor

            “… that’s just like… CRAZY!!!!”
            You hit the nail on the head. How are they going to write this so that we’re sympathetic to the main leads being together??

          • Betsy Hp

            It is crazy, so I doubt that’ll be the end-game. I’m curious about how they’ll swing InChan out and Seung-jo in… but I doubt it’ll be all about the money. (Unless they’re going for a gritty, “life sucks and then you die” kind of thing. Which, bad advertising if that’s the case.)

            But to me, it looks like Seung-jo needs to have his faith in love and women (or humanity more like) restored. I suspect Se-kyung will be the one to do it. So her motives can’t go all sour like that. (Or can’t remain that way anyway.) I’m curious to see how they do it.

            Or to quote Alice, “Curiouser and curiouser.”

          • Arawn

            I don’t see why she has to. After all he HAS broken up with her and while I sympathize with him, I don’t see why she should spend rest of her life loving a guy who left her no matter what was the reason for the break up. For my THAT is a self sacrifice I have no particular respect for. I mean sure, I have nothing against a person doing so but he/she will not earn any cookie points for it at least from me.

            Sometimes life just doesn’t conquer it all. That’s how real life rolls. I am sorry for In-Chan but he has made his choice and he has to live with his choices as well as Se-Kyung will have to make her choices and live with them. In-Chan’s situation is really dire and I can totally understand him not wanting to mix a girlfriend into that mess. It’s not only that he’s financially ruined but ALL of his energy goes to keep him from drowning. He has nothing to offer for Se-Kyung except for his love but that is not enough. Relationships are not based only on love, there’s also companionship, emotional support etc. and In-Chan is probably so buried within his own problems that he cannot be there for Se-Kyung in any possible sense of the word. So, because he loves her, he does the only possible thing he can and lets her go. I don’t even consider this as a noble idiocy as I folly understand why he’s doing it.

          • SoWon

            well this is a reply to “Arawn” actually! not to myself 😀

            y’know… nobody ever HAS to do anything indeed if you look at it from THAT side! since we are all to live on our own free will…

            but in this case, the obligation (the self-inflicted one i mean) comes from the fact that the girl loves the guy back! he’s telling her to go… yes, we can see! actually pushing her away… we can that as well! but the thing which makes it all different is that it’s for HER sake, not HIS! and she god damned KNOWS it!

            i think that in InChan’s POV the breakup is his last gift! (not the stolen bag) and you always have the right to return a gift if you see it as… MORE than needed… more than enough! that’s why she is being all clingy and not letting go! ’cause the guy is making a sacrifice right there and then! and she doesn’t wanna let him do so!

            and then, EVEN if her feelings change in the course of time (which is probably awaiting us as we have another guy as the male lead) she will not possibly forget what he had to go through! and what he tried to do for her however much foolish it might have sounded! so well… in my opinion it is just pure logic for her to try and do sth for him afterwards!

            i mean yeah… people fall for each other, spend time together, and break up! but it’s not like when you’ve ended a relationship after six whole years, you can easily turn a blind eye on an ex who’s practically suffering! ESPECIALLY when the reason behind the breakup was some kind of self-sacrifice for the greater good! AND when both parties are well aware!

            just my 2 cents! ;D

          • ladida

            Well, I don’t really see it as the dramas solution because Se Kyung makes the decision herself. She doesn’t simply end up with a rich guy, she decides to pursue him of her own free will. Agency and all that. Also, it’s only the second episode. Pretty sure they’re gonna fall in love, he’s gonna discover she originally pursued him for money and be totally hurt, she’s gonna convince him she’s really truly in love, and then happily ever after! I think.

          • ladida

            @ SoWon (the second post): In Chan breaks up with Se Kyung for his own sake as well as her’s. He feels shame at having to be with her and being so poor. Their break up is as much for his mental and emotional well being as for her being “free” of him.

      • 12.1.2 Lilly

        Yes, and it is not just her since her family is going into home foreclosure. What she does will affect what happens to them also.
        It was like her boyfriend said, it is reality and reality makes its own terms you have to deal with.

        • Carole McDonnell

          I dunno…as a woman who has been in love with a poor guy and married to him for almost 30 years, the heart is the heart. If you’re in love with someone it takes a lot to unlove them, even if they’re poor.

          That said, I’m thinking Rich guy has enough of a likable personality and flakiness to work well with our heroine. Not sure if he’s still in love with his ex, but we’ll have to see. From the previews, it looks as if he’ll be “helping” her become a rich shallow gold-digger-user. So he’ll be apparently aware of her machinations, which will be fun to watch.

  13. 13 kakashi

    I like this show! That’s all I have to say. 🙂

    Well, almost.
    There might be some surprises awaiting us along the road … that’s the feeling I’m getting from the premise, from them not telling us anything about the story, really, and from PSH picking this drama. Give it some time, people!

    Too bad if I’m wrong, but I could be right.

    • 13.1 Lilly

      I like the Mad Hatter. Crazy can be so funny like with Shunji and I am a hard core Song Kang-ho fan also.
      I hope they have written some more scenes that will make me laugh on his healing process.

  14. 14 Biscuit

    Well, this is what we get when we complain about heroines being too much of the Candy-type!

    Not that I’m complaining, it makes the drama more entertaining.

  15. 15 Perevell

    I like the show (mostly because of Park ShiHoo heh) but I wished there was a leeeeeeetle more something fantasy-like linking it to the real Alice in Wonderland. I can see a lovely plot forming up and everything by the previews for next week, but they could add more elements of AinW in here somewhere,com’on. Like, random scenes where they’re really in the costumes, Mad Hatter, Red Queen and all, that’ll be awesome. You kno, like another metphorical dimension on what it looks like fantasy wise, I think that’ll be great 😀

    But ofcourse, I’m no scriptwriter/directer/PD sadly,hum. But seeing these small little things makes me happier watching a drama like this,like adding some zest into it, woosh!

    • 15.1 Carole McDonnell

      I hear you.

      But if it’s gonna be all symbolic….I wonder if the scriptwriter is saying that the dream of marrying a CEO is drama-fantasy and he’s gonna skewer it? (Although Madame’s hubby did seem very sweet and down-to-earth. Still, having a rich sister-in-law does mess up the whole wonderland thing.)

      Maybe Alice will go down the rabbit hole then come back out again. I mean…do we really really really want to be married to some rich chaebol prince? And to have friends and in-laws who judge our every manners and move? And do we really want paparazzi judging our clothing and friends we don’t trust because they might be sucking up to us? Might be the end of this drama will be about slapping some sense into our wishfulfillment drama-warped brains and showing us that normal life is wonderful…even with moms dying in hospitals?

      • 15.1.1 Perevell

        I wasn’t saying this storyline wise, I just meant adding little bits of scenes where it LOOKS like Wonderland would have made it more fun to watch, like icing on top of the cake kind of thing. Being symbolic does pop out all the questions you said above, but hey this is dramaland, they could twist it anyway they want.

        I’m just saying I wouldn’t mind watching Park Shihoo in a snazy Hatter suit 😉

        I have no idea how this drama is gonna end up, though I do have the same questions you brought up. Alice coming out of the rabbit hole in the end,doesn’t mean she has to come out empty handed. An experience in Wonderland may leave you with a more different mindset, perhaps her saying of ‘my effort is what makes me’ will be interpretated in a much more fullfilling way.

        Hopefully snuggling out the Mad Hatter in the process eh?

        • Carole McDonnell

          Another drama-blogger (forgot who) said it was one of her four favorites along with QIHM and a coupla others…so I’m believing in this thing… and hoping it asks some super-deep questions about the shallow fashionable lifestyle. I’m hoping heroine turns down wealth and shallowness in the long run. ….and stays with neighborhood true love oppa

      • 15.1.2 Fab

        Do we really want to marry a rich chaebol that comes with all that? It reminded me of the first I need romance, the girl asked her self those questioned when she met the rich chaebols family. And she made the wise decision not to end up with hem, because that would simply mean that she should become someone that she is not…

        • Perevell

          You see now that’s the question; whether that rich chaebol will be willing to give up everything in the end(again) if ‘Alice’ decides to come up the rabbit hole. Will he follow her?

          I like any drama with substance, especially a main lady character who has a backbone, but we’ll have to see with this drama. For the moment her developing backbone seems to have some claws in addition, and not sure if it’ll stay there.

          • Carole McDonnell

            ooooooh, great thought! Hadn’t thought of it! Maybe Rich guy will leave that shallow life of wealth!

          • Fab

            Actually there is something special about Alice’ chaebol; he totally went against his dads wishes, instead he build himself an empire(Artemis). At least that’s what I am getting from the first half of the first episode(I am in the middle of watching…). And frankly if my bf of SIX years broke up with me in a whim because of poverty, I don’t know what I’d become and probably grab the first chaebol that crashed into me. LOL. Go Alice…

    • 15.2 asianromance

      That would be a great idea! It’s strange that we didn’t much of that in the episodes since the promos had such an airy feel. What we ended up getting is a straight up story. It could use some of the whimsical feel that was in Secret Garden and Me Too Flower.

      • 15.2.1 Perevell

        I know! I was expecting some whimsical-ness to this, even a little would have made this drama all the more quirky and enjoyable. Totally know what you mean, the fantasy like feeling in SG and Me Too Flower made it a pleasure to watch. AinCDD for now is getting very,um conflicting at the moment. As all dramas need, but a balance would be nice 😉

        • ladida

          Me Too Flower shout out! ❤ ❤ ❤ (Sorry, I have nothing of substance to add. I just love that show so much!)

  16. 16 liz

    Isn’t it funny? People not liking SK for wanting to get a rich guy? Mind you it is not like she didn’t study or worked hard to get what she wants, she did, but everything/everyone is against her and steps on her, even thought she has the skilss (they didn’t show it to us yet, but if she won a lot of contests I think it means she is great, no?) and still in the fashion world she without any connection gets there.

    For once the hard working girl got tired of it and gave up.

    I find it interesting than seeing the poor main girl working hard, and working hard getting nowhere, until Ta da! One CEO appears on her life, falls in love and realizes she has talents and helps her get up there, he opens all ther closed doors for her….

    Lets be honest, most of them have no education and nobody recognized them before the CEO giving them a chance and a job to show how talented they are.

    In the end of the day, they got there not because they are talented, but because they have the CEO behind their backs.

    It is just in this situation SK isn’t waiting for one charming prince come in her life but going after one. lol

    I find it very refreshing to tell the truth.

    I mean, say any main lead girl who got in the top without being from a rich family having rich friend or CEO that love them and help them?

    For once, not the naive poor girl who suffers her entire life and must be stepped on many times before getting some happiness – thanks of course a rich male lead that appears on their lifes.

    People complain about these kind of main girls all the time, yet when there is one who is different and have flaws they don’t like it and complain once again lol

    • 16.1 liz

      I meant ”and still in the fashion world, she without any connection won’t get there.”

      What I mean is, no matter how talented some hard working poor girls are, they never get there without the help of a rich ceo that appears on their life…..

      They never get there by themselves without any conection.

    • 16.2 Arawn

      This actually reminds me of Lorelei Lee from Gentlemen Prefer Blonds and especially of her speech to her future father-in-law:

      “Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help? ”

      Also, in Pride & Prejudice Lizzie says to her sister Jane that because Jane is the prettiest one, she’ll have to marry very well to take care of the rest of the family. When Jane voices her wish to marry for love, Lizzie answers: “And you will! Just remember to fall in love with a rich guy.” (Not a literal quote.)

      • 16.2.1 Carole McDonnell

        I’m all for marrying rich but the drama kinda made life complicated for the viewer and the MC by making her have a honorable beloved of six years. That’s where the problem for me comes from. When weepie boyfriend was cold to her I thought, “oh, okay…she needs a guy since weepie boyfriend is dumping her.” BUT THEN….. the waterworks of despair broke loose and it was like…DANG!!!! He was pretending to be cold to spare her –and to spare himself– his shame! And dang! if i wasn’t reduced to a floppy little SecondLead-lover flopping around in his existentialist poverty-stricken tears!

        • ladida

          I don’t know how honorable he was; he’s tried to dump her several times before and he disappeared for days without telling her where he went. I’m not trying to destroy his character or anything, but they had problems in their relationship.

  17. 17 lenrasoon

    I’m watching this drama out of curiosity too…and Park Shi Hoo of course lol. My problem is with the tone of this drama, like when with Ssha’s scenes things are always funny/crazy but with Se-kyung the mood is so depressing (although i really like their scenes together.).

    Will Ssha use Se-Kyung for his revenge and will fall for her?, will Se-Kyung turn into a gold digger? so many questions.

    Alice in Cheongdam-dong doesn’t have any heart yet, i don’t really care about the characters but they’re so odd that i can’t stop watching.

    thanks for the recap kaedejun!

  18. 18 colors

    I have to admit that there was one thing I loved about Fashion King: the girl had supposedly talent or whatever, but at least she wore the clothers she designed even when she was poor.

    In this drama, fashion is about having an eye for fashion WHICH MAKES NO SENSE! Fashion is supposed to evolve (although we often end up getting back at what was tailored before with the marine jackets or the somehow classic black dress, etc). Was all the famous first fashion designers all rich? Did they have an eye for “fashion”? No, they just wanted to make new clothes they liked (and improved women’s life in a way, yay!) and earn money, so they created what fashion was.
    It’s the same now, some become famous without being wealthy, and it’s ridiculous considering that most young rich people in kdramas are sons or grandsons of nouveaux riches. It’s not like they’re aristocrats with family pride over centuries.
    L’effort est ma force could’ve been Chanel’s motto for all we know.

    In the drama, the girl has talent because she won prizes and went to a top school, but we don’t see her loving designing or clothes so I’m assuming it’s not really about fashion in the first place.

    And I’m sorry, but the staff taking care of the clothes aren’t that good to me. Like, wearing a really expensive diamond necklace on a white lace dress where you can’t see the necklace in the first place, it’s a complete waste!

    I just don’t understand why the focus is on the main character not being a real designer. Sure, she should wear better clothes but not expensive ones, just something more “fashionable” or suited to her.
    And you don’t have to drive an expensive car to sell or make or fix expensive cars… It sort of comes with the job to show off, having prestige and everything, but it says nothing about your ability to sell or make or fix them. (Nor do you have to be healthy to be a doctor, whichever example seems more appropriate.)

    But I do like the idea that she thinks she isn’t giving up, she’s just going to work hard at something else like becoming rich wife material. I like her for now but she lacks good judgement.
    I do like that she’s not the one struggling the most with her life, she’s just helpless in front of her boyfriend’s life and that what makes up her mind in the end. (I mean, I think so.)

    And the main male character is just so hilarious. Such a kid trying to act like a grown up (thought he did suceed without dad’s help) and always enjoying what he said and what he did. So self-centered and arrogant, bragging to himself! I wonder if he was like that before his break up. As we just had a short flash back, I can’t really tell.

    I enjoyed Kaedejun’s references to the Wonderland’s characters. I hadn’t really thought of it except for the Mad Hatter.

  19. 19 icednoodles

    I hope a little more of the ‘Wonderland’ aspect will come into play when our Alice delves deeper into the world, not just seeking glances in from her place at the edge of the rabbit hole.

    Our Mad-Hatter… Is completely insane. He’s taking meds, he’s childish (in an adorable manner) and to an extent, egotistical and admittedly wise when it comes to the women of the world that care more about fashion, money and arm-candy than they do actual love or passion for their job or even their husbands. I say this because I found myself humming in understanding when I finally made sense of his “everything needs to be more expensive” business plan thingy.

    You could have a Pucci dress (let’s all pretend that’s a real thing), bought from one of the brand’s stores, on sale, and yet you’ll be nothing compared to a woman who bought one of the brand’s newer dresses from the same store at its original (and sinfully exorbitant) price.

    And he got that from the love of his life (I’m assuming) ditching him, a man with a sincere heart that had fallen for her charms and loved her to bits, for another man with a (I am again assuming) sincere heart that had fallen for her charms, loved her, and had tons of money to his name.

    It’s brilliant.

    And so is In-hwa. That girl is epic.

  20. 20 Fafa

    Thanks for the recap!

  21. 21 sulii90

    Iam having a headache about this psycho lead actor seriously Iam really not enjoying these yet but bec. of Miss Moon i will stick with it give it couple more weeks but kinda dissapointed the story is all over…

  22. 22 Steph

    I really liked ep 2. Moon’s acting was great. The scenes with her and her oppa were so good and a great way to show viewers why she decides to go to extremes and find a rich husband. Park Shi Hoo is hilarious. Is his character really on meds because I can believe it. He’s so manic with his revenge at times, but still so funny. I enjoyed the scenes between PSH and MGY’s characters and can’t wait for more interaction. I loved the office scenes and him callign her a crybaby!

  23. 23 Lilly

    Yes, someone asked where over the top fashion is coming from. Kelly Osbourne got a $208,000 black diamond manicure to wear to a music awards show. Too much money piled up in the hands of too few people causes this craziness.

    This drama is so tied together to the current times.

  24. 24 LV

    And In-hwa is our white queen? hahaha I found interesting their fusion of stories, I really want her to become bolder and make a unite revenge with Seung-Jo but I still want her to stay with In-Chan.
    Thank you for the recap!

  25. 25 jєѕѕα™ 주원사랑 (@jung_kYro)

    It’s so nice to read long discussions like these for Alice. 🙂

  26. 26 IBELIS

    I do find this amusing but so far don’t see the Alice theme. Should be titled How To Marry A Millionaire.

    • 26.1 ladida

      Hmm, the book by Lewis Carrol is all about Victorian class structures and money and manners and social standing and making a satire out of all of that, so the themes of Alice in Wonderland are being addressed in the show.

  27. 27 Jess

    I initially watched this drama because I’m a huge fan of both Park Shi Hoo and Moon Geun Young. But now I’m thinking it would be a much more interesting storyline if Kim Yoori (In-Hwa) had a bigger role….maybe the second lead actress….or even the lead. Yes, I said it. Her character is just so interesting!

    Well, I hope this drama continues to keep me interested!

  28. 28 SoWon

    Now that I’ve seen Se Kyung’s (*handsome!*) boyfriend enough, i just can’t ship her and the crazy “SHA” anymore!!!!
    come on! the boy is a total wreck! and he has pretty good reasons to be so….how can there be any justification if she simply moves onto the other guy for her own sake and live happily ever after while my poor In Chan is crying his eyes out over the miseries of life….. that boy needs much more than a warm wet hug…
    and really… honestly… i just won’t stand still if they make him commit suicide or some other crap!! there MUST be a way out for him as well… and i DON’T want them to make him a bad guy to deserve being pushed aside in the end! because this drama seems as if it tends to be some kind of hope to all the miserable ones out there thus far… so they HAVE to keep the guy ALIVE and WELL!! (or i might do sth bad…)

  29. 29 Sajen

    so I love crazy people therefore I find myself loving Park Shi Hoo’s crazy CEO Cha whatever his name is.

    Also am I the only one that thinks In-hwa noticed something was going on between CEo Cha and her sister-in-law at the dinner?

    • 29.1 Cat

      Surprised there isn’t much talk about In-hwa, she’s quite the intriguing character.

      I’m hoping she’s on board with Yoon Joo 🙂 On the plus side we know she doesn’t like Se Kyung – and yes she noticed something 😉

  30. 30 Minayuki

    I’m loving this drama.

    It is the most down-to-earth, realistic storyline I’ve come across in a very long time. The hero’s flaws are what makes this drama so charming.

    I LOVE IT!

  31. 31 Jae

    Park Shi Hoo looks too much like my oppa Kang Ji Hwan in Lie to Me. Ahhh this is killing me! I wish Yoon Eun Hye picked up this drama instead of IMY. Fashionista/Alice character fits her very well! MGY still looks too young for me. 🙁

  32. 32 Abbie

    Really interesting and intriguing episode. I’m not sure I love it, but I do like it. Still, my favorite character is Seung-jo. He’s hilarious.

    Thanks for the recap, Kaedejun!

  33. 33 christine


  34. 34 christine

    some people are asking why SK couldn’t dress better (even if the clothes aren’t brand name) because she is/wants to be a fashion designer? – BECAUSE SHE IS POOR! remember, SK is unemployed and her parents are already arguing over the possible foreclosure of their home, so where the heck is she going to get the money to buy fashionable cheap clothes? even in-hwa was making fun of her cheap clothes – it really doesn’t matter at this point because she’s already on the losing end. I wonder if any of you have been poor before, i mean really poor (i’ve been dirt poor) – you’ve got to experience poor before you can know and can feel what SK and in chan is going thru.

    • 34.1 Betsy Hp

      Thank you! I was eyebrow raising at that too. Plus, she’s been scrambling for work so she doesn’t have time to sew up her own fabulous creations out of curtains and whatnot. That’s part of what’s getting both her and her boyfriend down. They’re both exhausted from doing the hard work thing and seeing no return — just more debt.

      • 34.1.1 Arawn

        This. And also, someone was wondering why Se-Kyung doesn’t wear something she has designed herself. Well, I’m not sure about Korea but if I were dirt poor in my country, I wouldn’t have money to make my own clothes. Fabric costs more than buying clothes from a thrift store not to mention the sewing machine and all the small stuff you need like buttons, thread and zippers.

        Second, not all designers are good at sewing and making their own clothes. It does seem strange but so it is. In many art schools people are taught to DESIGN, not to sew. So in theory it’s possible that Se-Kyung’s designs are awesome but she’s not able to turn them in to real life clothes herself.

        • M

          This I have to agree with you.

          My dad used to be a tailor and whenever I buy clothes with good deals he always look at me and say that the cost won’t make up for the labor and cost of the cloth itself. I always have to say that they probably receive enough returns before they put the clothes on sales.

          I don’t think one has to be able to make clothes to be a good designer, no matter how odd that sounds. Although, I do think that in order to succeed one must be able to do both.

          I haven’t watched this yet since I’m waiting for it to fill up to 6 or 8 episodes before I hit the play button. I think that this drama so far is a bit on the heavy side.

          When one is so busy with earning money and live, it’s so easy to forget what is it that makes one happy. I love to write but I’ve been so busy with life that writing has been pushed to the very bottom of my priority list.

          Through times, I find that thinking of something to write becomes hard. I re-read what I wrote before and often felt, “How in the world did I ever write this?”

          Maybe that’s what happens to SK. Over the course of time, all she thinks about is trying to succeed and forget why she wants to be a designer in the first place. She tries to fight to make a living but forget to hone her skills in the process.

          >_> I’ll just wait and see.

  35. 35 Betsy Hp

    Thanks for the recap! I’d forgotten this was on until I saw your recaps up. 🙂

    I’ll color myself intrigued at the moment. I like the setup and the way it smashes the usual Candy-trope. It could easily tip into epic-fail, but if it manages to pull it off… I shall watch.

    (And yes, Park Shi-hoo is a big, big draw. Especially MadHatter Park Shi-hoo — sexy and he knows it? I’ll take it. ;))

  36. 36 Arawn

    Ok, I just watched the episode myself and here are my five cents…

    First of all the dinner. SJ is HILARIOUS. He’s most definitely little bit insane but I like him. If he’s on meds it must be because of his mental state. The exact moment when the lift door opens and YJ actually sees him was very well done, his smile, her shock. And to add was the music – Mission Impossible! Haha.

    Did anybody else notice In-Hwa’s shoes? Those were one pair of crazy shoes!

    Then comes the break up… I usually dislike noble idiocy but this is different. I completely understand why In-Chan wants to break up. He can barely hold himself together, he has nothing to give to a girlfriend and even though one could argue that in the relationship there are times when one has to support another, it cannot go on forever. To be honest, best thing that Se-Kyung could do for In-Chan would be to marry a rich guy and pay off all of his debts and his mother’s operations. I know it’s politically incorrect to say this or think like this but no can do, this is what I think. I’m not suggesting here for Se-Kyung to prostitute herself for In-Chan, I’m just saying that no matter how much Se-Kyung loves him her love cannot save him. But money could.

    Especially heart breaking was when he confessed that he had wished the operation to fail because supporting the mother is too much of a burden. That is so very human thing to feel and he must be feeling immense guilt for such thoughts. Poor guy. I hope he’ll get money somewhere so that he can have a decent future instead of a pitch black whole in the place of it.

    • 36.1 Geeme Koon

      The song being played was from Kill Bill Vol 1 when the main character is about to see her rival for first contact. The song builds the suspense and the build up for that interaction, only the main characters know of their roles and the other folks in the scene are unaware of what is happening.

      BTW .. even though this drama has a bit of a social commentary , it has potential with the CHA crazy CEO guy.

  37. 37 Lovebug

    Hmm its very interesting reading the comments regarding this drama. I find it interesting that people are critizing SeKyung’s decision to basically become a gold digger episode 2 as if that will ultimatley be the dramas message or final character arc. Last time I checked this was a rom com and in those true love always wins out!! I think some character growth is on the horizon for sure.

    Look for once we don’t have a morally perfect lead girl. In countless dramas I have watched the girl who is the moral compass despite everything bad that comes her way for everyone around her including the male lead who learns, grows and becomes a better person because of her. I think the set up here is two people who need to grow, hopefully will help each other do so.

    I think the potential issue I have with this drama is the compelling portrayal of the love story between Sekyung and Inchan. (Can he get a lead role some time soon please!) Right now they seem like they are the OTP with money as the thing keeping them apart. I am wondering if the writers will be able to effectively address that relationship so that viewers can move on and develop a even more compelling love line with Seung Jo.

    I have already said how much I like Park Shi hoo in this role which is different than I have ever seen him. It seems like he is enjoying it to say the least. (How cute was his ASAA momement in episode 1).
    Also the director must really like his face, holy number of close up shots. (Not that I am complaining). All I can say is I can’t wait till he turns on the charm (its what he is known for) as so far he has been arrogant, petty, manic, childlike, and even slightly creepy. but not charming. I am guessing SeKyung won’t have a chance.

    After all is said and done, so far I am thorougly entertained by this drama, so definetley In!!

    Also Thanks you, I WiLL take a Park Shi hoo in glasses!

  38. 38 cinthy

    Can’t wait for the next one!!
    can anybody tell me where do you get this pictures?

  39. 39 SoWon

    is it just me or has anybody else found similarities between Cheondamdong Alice’s “SHA” and Flower Boy Ramyun Shop’s “CHA”?!!!! i mean, seriously…. everytime this Park Shihoo goes on emphasizing that SHA thing, i just can’t help remembering Jung Ilwoo doing the same with CHA!
    and that “SHA-SHI” part…. E.P.I.C!!!! (that one’s really a… not-so-good word in my language!) lol

  40. 40 Bravehart

    I loveee her from Cold hearted in Cinderella Sister At first Iam totally dizzy I thought is this Devils wear prada korean vers. Then it all twists into poor and very rich people. Seriously I feel that money rules the world lets just be honest here I totally agree with the writers that theres alot of people who is smart talented but stuck and cannot get ahead even if they work 24/7 and theres this people Chaebol rich who seems getting richer and richer I hated life I like how the writers say it flat and kinda dissapointed that really love does not makes the world go round saddd Iam kicking my pillow to death

  41. 41 Bravehart

    The lead guy is totally a wacko however I think he really doesnt know what real love is his feelings to the other girl is I think a shallow one I think in the process Moon will show him real love..however what is she going to do about her poor bf his totally cute ahhh he loves his mother so much they say that you will see a real man indeed on how he treats his mom. Iam totally crying when theres two hard working full of dreams couple get crushed by stupid misfortune and lack if money yaaaahhhhhhh why is the world like these Sucks

  42. 42 YY

    I just marathoned two episodes and was literally gripped by the raw emotions. One of the saddest things in the world must be hearing a grown man cry. In Chan broke my heart. The pain and frustration, the unfairness of being the victims of a harsh materialistic society – I empathised with all those. I think along the way, the two girls are going to come to a grudging understanding of each other, and may even become friends in the end. No one is evil here, everyone is just human. I should have guessed that with PSH and Moon at the helm, this wouldn’t be candy fluff. A huge dose of hard reality is what I got in these two episodes, and what can I say – I am riveted.

  43. 43 canxi

    I think Park Shi Hoo is supposed to be the White Rabbit. I saw gifs of the poster shoot and he’s all White Rabbit props, lol. So that may be telling…

    In all honesty, everyone in Wonderland was a little cuckoo, though…so maybe they just mixed up some characters.

  44. 44 Fab

    Aaaaaaaaargh I wish In-Hwa was the second lead instead of her sister in-law, that woman has no appeal whatsoever…

    My gosh In Chan’s situation is so frustrating. Why is he merely a cameo??

    I love how our main doesn’t take himself too serious and yes he reminds me so much of CHA from FBRS too, SoWon.

    • 44.1 Fab

      main lead guy…

  45. 45 merryday

    I know people dislike SeKyung’s decision to marry for money, but I think it brings a level of realism to the drama. As earlier posters have pointed out, when you are poor, you don’t have a lot of options. And I think the drama makes pretty clear from the segments leading up to her decision, that SeKyung isn’t just thinking about herself, but also her family and InChan. When she is sitting in her bedroom you can almost see coming to the realization that she is going to have to find a way to drag not just herself, but everyone else out of this pit.

    Also,you have to remember, marrying for romantic love is a pretty modern idea. Throughout most of history, “love” was an indulgence, whereas a well thought out marriage was the key to a successful future for you and your children. When you are young, you think love can conquer anything, but the daily grind of poverty for you and your children can smother that emotion. So, in that respect, I sort of find the turn this drama has taken has made it more realistic to me. LOL, I know realsitic and drama don’t exactly go together.

    Anyway, I am rooting for SeKyung. If she happens to find love on her way to a successful marriage, nothing wrong with that!

  46. 46 Jayj

    Been through 3 jobs each one I work hard. I get recognized for it but never could move up. Instead always the lazy brown nosers. The dishonest and manipulating ones always rises to the top. Being honest hard working person is a bummer but I guess having my pride means more. This is what the drama brings to my mind. Hope Se-Kyung don’t disappoint me. I’d never change myself to get to the top.

  47. 47 Lilian

    I think the ending for this drama is less predictable. As of now, the second male lead has not appeared yet. So will “Alice” end up with Cha Seung Jo? With the 2nd lead? or go back to the oppa of 6 years who she stuck with through the pain? and the ending was nicely done.

  48. 48 Natalie

    Thanks for the recap! I’m loving this show 🙂

  49. 49 Jane

    Anyone know the name of the music that’s playing during the “Edmond Dantes” scene when Seung Jo is heading over to Yoon Joo’s to take his revenge? Not the Kill Bill theme – it’s the instrumental song that begins when SJ is holding the recording pen in his hand in the car. Thanks!

  50. 50 Lenysa

    Ada yg tau gak backsound lagu mellow di episode 2 ini pas adegan yon joo dan seung joo sama2 memandangi gelang mereka,,mungkin ada yg tau backsound nya,,bisa share?.thnks..

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