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Heart to Heart: Episode 1

The show is off to a bit of a slow start, and I’ll admit that Heart to Heart is nothing like what I expected. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and once I got used to the relaxed pace I found that I actually like the characters very much. They all seem to be interesting and complex, with lots of layers to their reasons behind their actions, making me look forward to learning more about them. (Warning: Some of the images in this recap may be disturbing to some readers.)

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

The show opens with side-by-side home videos of two young children — an adorable confident little girl, and a nerdy, awkward, bespectacled young boy. As they age in the videos, the girl starts to hide her red face and is always alone, while the boy works out, loses the glasses, and gains confidence and friends. By the time we get to their high school graduation photos, the girl is hiding her constantly-blushing face under a mop of frizzy hair, while the boy has transformed into a handsome, popular young man.

In the present, a man breaks past police tape into an office, chooses a nice tie, then steps onto a chair to hang himself with it.

Earlier that same day.

Police set up a perimeter around a tall building, as a young woman stands on the edge of the roof singing softly to herself. A man goes to the roof and gets a briefing on the situation — this is our hero (and the same man who will soon attempt suicide) GO YI-SEOK (Chun Jung-myung).

Yi-seok borrows a cup of coffee from one of the officers and approaches the young woman, ignoring her pleas to go away, and steps up onto the ledge with her. He accidentally-on-purpose stumbles and she grabs his hand to steady him (and we see recent cutting wounds on her wrists), so he sits and compliments the view from here.

He makes small talk about how tired she must be standing here, and chides her on her self-harm, still ignoring her as she begs him to leave. He wishes out loud that he could think of reasons for her to live, but admits he can’t think of any big reason, just little things like the pleasure of a hot cup of coffee.

The woman wails at him for trying to save her, but Yi-seok says he wants to grab her hand like she grabbed his when he nearly fell. He asks why she’s here and the woman cries and says something happened when she was drinking with her boss, but that nobody believes her, and they even blamed her for being too flirtatious.

Yi-seok turns serious and tells her that it’s not her fault, and pulls her in for a hug. He motions to the police to come closer, and carries the woman to them amid a smattering of applause.

Elsewhere in a large home, a head housekeeper prepares three women for a job audition, informing them that this is the household of Go Sang-gyu, the owner of the oldest bicycle-manufacturing company in Korea. In the background are family photos on a wall, including one of Yi-seok, so this must be his family home.

The housekeeper focuses on one elderly woman who seems to have a good reputation among housekeepers, though we know it’s really our heroine CHA HONG-DO (Choi Kang-hee) in disguise. The three ladies are instructed to make a dish, are told that the one the chairman likes best will be chosen for the job, and they get to work. The other two ladies are speedy, but Hong-do confidently takes her time.

In another room in the house, the chairman dictates his memoirs to a young man at a typewriter (yes, an actual typewriter!). The young man shows him what he’s written, telling him that he’s typed Xs in place of words he doesn’t know and HAHA, the page has Xs for nearly every other word.

Back downstairs the butler tastes each of the cooks’ dishes, his eyes widening at Hong-do’s dish. He declares them all delicious but the housekeeper shoos him away, griping that he’ll eat anything. She nitpicks two of the ladies’ cooking and they flounce out huffing that they didn’t want the job anyway, and the housekeeper tastes and praises Hong-do’s dish.

But she declines to hire Hong-do on the grounds that she doesn’t want someone older than herself working under her. Butler Ahn sticks up for Hong-do and her cooking, but they’re interrupted by the chairman chasing his assistant down the stairs, and the two argue while the others watch.

Facing losing his job, the assistant argues that nobody would understand the old-fashioned words the chairman uses, but Hong-do pipes up since she does understand. The chairman hires her as his new assistant on the spot.

Yi-seok makes an appearance on a television talk show to promote his bestselling book, Heart to Heart, which is also the name of his psychiatric practice. The show’s host mentions the incident where he saved the woman from jumping off the building, but he humbly brushes it aside as all in a day’s work.

Elsewhere in the city, Hong-do (now free of her disguise) nervously creeps out of her apartment wearing a large motorcycle helmet to hide her perpetually red-cheeked face, and runs through town avoiding contact with anyone. She hurriedly delivers a thermos of porridge and a note into a satchel hung on a door, but quickly ducks in the bushes when the home’s occupant pulls up in his car.

This handsome man is JANG DOO-SOO (Lee Jae-yoon), and he sees Hong-do hide and smiles. Apparently this happens often, and he’s friendly as he greets her and tries to coax her from her hiding place. He mentions that she’s been bringing him food for seven years and says he’d like to meet her, but she only shrinks further into hiding.

Hong-do takes advantage of Doo-soo’s distraction when he gets a phone call from his aunt telling him of another blind date she’s arranged for him, and she makes a run for it. He calls after her by name, but she’s already gone.

Hong-do finally speaks as she walks home — in fact she talks a blue streak to herself, citing marriage and divorce statistics and wondering why Doo-soo goes on so many blind dates since divorce rates are so high anyway. It’s cute and a little sad how she says everything she wanted to say to him, but can only say them to herself after the fact.

Yi-seok meets his girlfriend WOO YEON-WOO (Hwang Seung-eun) in a fancy restaurant, and she congratulates him on his TV appearance, but again he brushes it aside as no big deal. They share a bottle of champagne and she half-complains that every time he orders champagne, she feels like she’s obligated to go home with him. He jokes that they could go to her place instead, and she gently chides him for not taking their relationship seriously.

As answer, Yi-seok hands her a set of nesting dolls, and inside the smallest is a necklace. She accepts it as proof of his feelings, but he just asks whose house she wants to go to.

Hong-do arrives home to a note from her landlord informing her of a rent increase, and she lets herself in. Her place is cluttered but looks very comfortable and homey. She makes herself some ramyun and checks her bank account, hoping that her new job for the chairman works out.

Hong-do’s home is absolutely filled with books, and by chance she uses a copy of Yi-seok’s book as a hot plate for her ramyun. She talks to a photo of her deceased grandmother, wondering what she’ll do if her longtime crush Doo-soo gets married.

Yi-seok gets dressed in the middle of the night, waking Yeon-woo who gets upset and accuses him of making her feel like she sold her body for a bottle of champagne. He says the sofa at his clinic is just more comfortable, but she doesn’t buy it and accuses him of being the sick one, since he can’t sleep in the same bed with a woman.

Hong-do gasps when she washes her ramyun pot and sees Yi-seok’s face burned onto the bottom of it, hee. She picks up the burned book and apologizes to it, but the subject has grabbed her attention and she sits to read.

Yi-seok calls his younger sister GO SE-RO (Ahn So-hee) from his car, and she fusses at him for not calling her since she’s been home from school. Se-ro informs Yi-seok of all the goings-on at home, and they discuss their mother’s bipolar disorder and the fact that she’s been flipping between mood extremes again. Se-ro also tells him that she’s been cast in a movie, which she sees as good news since she’s quit school to be an actress.

Hong-do ends up staying awake all night reading Yi-seok’s entire book cover-to-cover, and by morning she’s feeling positive and optimistic. In his book, Yi-seok says that people with her issues can be helped with therapy, and Hong-do determines to trust him.

Yi-seok wakes in his office and begins a day of treating patients, but he spends more time sighing, rolling his eyes, and twitching than actually helping them. He seems like a completely different man than the calm, caring doctor who talked the suicidal woman off the roof. His patients seem pretty looney-tunes, and he’s clearly over all of them. He even blows off a young woman who sobs to him that she feels like dying, and fishes a bottle of liquor from his desk to drink on the job.

Late in the day Yi-seok is listening to a man talk about his problems at home in this annoyingly low, slow, monotonous voice, and his twitching gets worse and his vision starts to blur. The patient starts getting curiously defensive at the mention of his daughter, which rings some alarm bells. But Yi-seok is too distracted to pay attention — a ringing begins in his ears and he grimaces while holding his head. Finally Yi-seok snaps and lunges at the man.

Hong-do arrives at Yi-seok’s office building, where she literally hugs the walls as she tries to get up the nerve to enter his office. Still wearing her protective helmet, she creeps towards his office, but suddenly hears a man’s voice screaming to kill him because he deserves to die.

She rushes to open the door and falls to the floor when she’s greeted by the sight of Yi-seok on top of his patient, both men holding a pen which has been stabbed into the man’s neck. Ack! There’s blood everywhere and the patient is screaming over and over, “Kill me! Kill me!”

Yi-seok seems to be in a daze, but when his patient passes out, he snaps out of it. He sees Hong-do and yells at her to call an ambulance, but she can barely speak from shock and she slides him her phone so he can give directions. She notices the empty pen holder on his desk, and looks at Yi-seok accusingly as he orders her to get a towel.

Later at the police station, Doo-soo’s partner complains that he can’t get a word out of Hong-do about what happened, and he thinks Yi-seok is flat-out lying when he says he doesn’t remember anything. He thinks it’s suspicious that Yi-seok called the ambulance, when the evidence looks like he was the one who stabbed the man (who is unconscious but stable).

Doo-soo is surprised to see Hong-do, who’s in the interrogation room still wearing her helmet, but he goes in to speak to Yi-seok first. Yi-seok swears he wouldn’t hurt a patient but still insists he doesn’t remember anything, and he paces agitatedly and yells that it’s making him crazy that he can’t remember.

Doo-soo asks Yi-seok, as a doctor, if it’s normal for a person to lose his memory out of shock after stabbing someone. Yi-seok doesn’t answer, more concerned about his hospital’s reputation if this should get out. He returns to pacing and Doo-soo shifts his attention to Hong-do.

Knowing what he knows about her shyness, he takes some paper, a pen, and a stack of paper cups into her interrogation room. He greets her warmly but his attention only makes her blush even more furiously, so he asks her to write down what she saw at the hospital and passes her the paper and pen.

Adorably, he also slides her two pieces of candy and tells her to write or draw or whatever, that he won’t watch because he’s busy. He stacks the paper cups until they form a wall between them, and soon Hong-do feels safe that he can’t see her and she starts to draw.

It’s so cute how seriously Doo-soo takes his wall-building, and the thing is huge by the time Hong-do rolls up her drawing and pokes it through the wall towards him. Doo-soo thanks her and leaves the room, and Hong-do immediately sneezes the paper cup wall down. SO CUTE.

Doo-soo takes the paper to Yi-seok and shows him the damning (and surprisingly detailed) drawing of him looming over his patient, holding a pen in his neck. But Yi-seok points out that the patient is also holding the pen, and he leaves the room and marches into Hong-do’s interrogation room.

Yi-seok barricades the door with the table and starts chasing Hong-do around the room, trying to snatch her helmet off her head and screaming that she didn’t actually see him stab the patient. She head-butts him but he manages to get the helmet off, and she takes refuge under the table.

Hong-do finds her voice and wails at him that she knows what she saw, and the position of their hands proves that he did stab the man. Yi-seok only laughs at her, but she goes on and says that the angle of the pen and the smell of alcohol on him are more proof that he was the one who did the stabbing. Doo-soo finally shoves the door open and punches Yi-seok.

Later Doo-soo’s partner walks Yi-seok out of the station, telling him to turn himself in when he remembers what happened, but figures that when the patient wakes up he’ll remember everything anyway. Yi-seok is greeted by a flock of reporters who pepper him with questions about attempted murder, but he pushes through them to his car.

Doo-soo tries to walk Hong-do home, but she hilariously hangs back and crab-walks sideways to avoid facing him. He tries to charm her by asking about her helmet and how she keeps it clean if she wears it all the time, and thanks her for all the side dishes she leaves him. She finally speaks when he asks if she got his phone number that he left her once, and he’s flattered that she remembers it by heart. He’s so sweet to her, it makes my heart ache.

Doo-soo tries to approach closer but it panics Hong-do, who ducks and runs from him. Optimistically, he calls after her that it was nice seeing her, and to call him.

Yi-seok’s home is also being camped by reporters, so he hangs out in his girlfriend’s parking lot and waits for her. But when she comes home she’s not alone, and Yi-seok’s eyes widen when the man she’s with hugs her and kisses her forehead. He runs at the man and tries to tackle him, but it just takes one quick move by the man and Yi-seok is on the ground. That is so embarrassing.

Back in his car, Yi-seok pounds his steering wheel in frustration, and takes a bottle of booze out of the glove compartment. Oh honey, that is such a bad idea right now.

Hong-do runs all the way home, not stopping until she dives under her covers, and berates herself for having messy hair and a face like a cooked sweet potato. She wails that she’s too embarrassed to live, but then wonders if Doo-soo is worried whether she got home. She looks for her cell phone, and only now remembers that Yi-seok reflexively put it in his jacket pocket after calling the police.

Yi-seok makes it to his office parking garage, but he’s pretty drunk by now and manages to smack his car into a wall. It sobers him up a bit, and he wonders to himself if he’s really a murderer. He busts through the police tape on his office door, only to find his phone ringing off the hook.

His voicemail reveals that all the calls are from more reporters so he ignores the ringing phones, and when he checks his text messages they’re all from Yeon-woo, who’s angry again that he just left without talking to her and that she feels like he only sees her as a sex partner. In her final text, she breaks up with him.

Yi-seok throws his cell against the wall and rips the office phone off his desk, and when he sits down he sees the blood on the rug. He calmly chooses a tie from a drawer, and sets up a chair with a stack of books under the sprinkler system. At the same time, an angry Hong-do arrives outside his office, intent on getting her cell phone back.

Calmly, Yi-seok fashions the tie into a noose and steps up onto the stack of books, fitting the noose around his own neck. Another phone call comes in and Yi-seok half-listens as the voicemail answers, and it’s Doo-soo calling to tell him that his patient woke up and admitted that he stabbed himself with the pen.

Startled by this news, Yi-seok accidentally slips on the stack of books and kicks them out from under himself. Nooo! He swings from the ceiling, struggling against the noose that’s choking off his air, and uses his last breath to yell, “Save me!” Just then, Hong-do opens the door and takes in the second shocking sight of her day.

 
COMMENTS

Well, that’s one hell of a cliffhanger. Tie-hanger? Lucky for Yi-seok, Hong-do is there to save him yet again, though I’m guessing he’s not going to be any more grateful to her the second time around.

While I didn’t immediately take to the show, I did find myself appreciating it more on second viewing. The story is simple and the pacing is leisurely — but as I mentioned, I do find the characters fascinating, and well-conceived characters are what drive my interest in a drama more than anything else. I’m surprised to find the show diving so heartily into such serious subjects as mental illness, possible murder, and suicide, but there were enough lighter moments to balance things out and I definitely look forward to learning more about these people and their issues.

Hong-do is pretty adorable, with her intensely painful shyness caused by her uncontrollable blushing condition, but I loved how her basic personality is actually very chatty and opinionated. It’s not that she has nothing to say, she just has a hard time saying it, and it’s cute how she lets it all out once she’s alone. She’s obviously intelligent with all those books she keeps around, and talented in the kitchen as proved by the dish she made for her job interview. I can’t wait to see her come out of her shell and blossom into the strong smart woman that the home videos of her as a child proved she can be, once she learns to overcome her social issues.

I found Doo-soo more interesting than I initially expected, and he seems to be a very caring and sweet person. He’s not put off by Hong-do’s seemingly stalkerish behavior, and recognizes her gifts of food as her way of reaching out to someone in the only language that she can. He comes off as very genuine when he does things like ask Hong-do to call him sometime, and he probably knows her better than anyone, regardless of the fact that she tries her best to hide from him. I especially loved how Doo-soo built that paper cup wall to make Hong-do feel safe, proving that he understands her and her needs, though I fear that what she really needs is someone to push her out of her comfort zone rather than cushion her in it. Ah well, such is the lot of the second lead.

But it’s Yi-seok who really concerns me, because this guy is a loose cannon if ever there was one. He’s such a bundle of contradictions, it’s hard to know where to look with him, and none of his facets seem to be entirely healthy. It’s fascinating how he seeks the limelight (writing a book, going on talk shows) while simultaneously shying away from it by downplaying all of his accomplishments. And that tendency seems to be strongly ingrained and not just a fake-humble act, because he even did it with Yeon-woo at dinner, choosing to give her a gift rather than speak his feelings in words. But most confusing is how caring and insightful and warm he was with the suicidal woman on the roof, yet in his office with his regular patients, he appeared to have zero patience or tolerance for, or even any interest in, their needs. Who is the real Yi-seok, and what’s going on with him? Is he just burned out, or is he actually seriously mentally ill?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t initially think I was going to like this show, but the more I think about it and consider the characters with all their foibles and quirks, the more I find myself looking forward to finding out more. I have a feeling we’ve only barely touched the surface of what’s going on with these people, and I can’t wait to dive in and see what’s underneath.

 
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The second lead (who JoAnne fondly called "Thighs" in the Cruel City recap) is already breaking my heart.

He is too sweet to Choi Kang-hee. (Who is also adorable.)

Thanks for the recap, LP!

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He is super sweet. I'm so going to have SLS because, well, he's too good to really exist. He's so sweet and understanding towards her yet he's so handsome and goes on a hundred dates but never end up with a girlfriend? Not very realistic, but still loving it.

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I liked him too but what always puzzles me is the mop hair, do koreans really wear this? :)
Thar paper cup scene was so sweet.

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HAHAHAHA he had the same god-awful hair in CC. But damn that guy can be sweeeeeeeeet. Who knew?

(Well, thousands of others probably knew. But he was a bit of a stick-up-le-ass person in CC, so I didn't know he can be like this.)

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With "Thighs" and Safari it's almost like a mini Cruel City reunion.

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I've been calling him Sad Face for years. :) The first time I saw him was in a weekend drama (which I seriously need to finish) where he actually was the male lead. Every other time I've seen him he's been the second lead or a criminal (I haven't seen Heartless City yet, but it's on my list because of him). I've been following his career so long that it's kind of sad that I'm just now learning his name.

He's adorable. :) Probably no one is going to beat Park Ki-Woong in my heart, but I really like this guy.

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Yi-seok turned out to be more complex than I thought.

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These characters...I think I am going to love them! Thanks for the recap, I hoop you'll continue.
I am always wary of the use of mental illness in fiction, but this show is so wacky, it's just my cup of tea.

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I think Yi-seok has a split personality (bi polar) which just started showing its symptoms and even he does not know it yet.

Can't wait to see how the two leads will help each other.

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I don't know. I hope that's not what they're going for but since their mom has it then it may be. But...well, if it is, I don't think they really have a good grasp on bipolarity.

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bi-polar or "split personality" (DID), pick one. They are nowhere near the same thing. Except in Dramaland, of course.

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hopefully that's not the case. it's going to make the "it's ok it's love" fans even more annoying with their copy accusations. and on top of that we already have 2 other dramas with the premise of split personality.. i just think he has issues, but not mental ones. i think he is tires of his job and has a fear of commitment. the whole thing in the office was basically him being drunk.. so there is no indication for anything more serious..

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Yeah, you know, I found watching this drama to be a curious experience. And I think I like it. I'm tuning in for next week for now :)

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I really liked this first episode too. Definitely a quirky show, I love the casting. Can't wait to see what it's all about, the doctor is certainly interesting. I'll just enjoy looking at Doo-so, they must have given him goofy hair to detract from his smexiness. I think it's not working. Wish I didn't have to work, there just isn't enough time for drama-crack!!

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I've been battling social anxiety for years and for that reason I absolutely cannot stand antisocial hermits like Cha Hong-Do. Choi Kang Hee's grandma impersonation was amazing, but other than that I thought that both leads are very unlikable (characters, not actors). I don't think I will continue watching.

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oddly, it's the opposite for me - I was a shut-in for a while but I liked seeing people with the condition acknowledged in fiction/tv. (and she will overcome her condition, that is a given). I might not come back, but that's more to do with the slow pace than anything else.

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It's quite amazing how people dealing with the same problem can have such different experiences. For me becoming a shut-in is the ultimate form of escapism. Looking at Hong-Do is like facing my worst nightmare, she is someone who could be me if I ever gave up fighting my anxiety. Same with Park Shin Hye's character in Flower Boy Next Door, she was just so incredibly pathetic, I wanted to smash my laptop from frustration. I guess I prefer my heroines to be someone I can look up to rather than girls who just sit and wait for a guy to save them.

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I don't think that Hong Do is a girl who just sits and waits for a guy to save her. What I found interesting about her character is that she's clearly developed a number of (unconventional) mechanisms to try to help her to function as best she can, including the grandma disguise (which helps her to avoid being a shut-in) and the helmet. Given her constraints, she's even been quite proactive about reaching out to the guy she likes (leaving him notes and food for 7 years). And when she read Yi Seok's book, she took the initiative to go to his office and seek treatment because she wants to get better.

You can tell from all the talking to herself that she's quite sharp and opinionated beneath her timid exterior; I found her more resourceful and vibrant as a character than I expected from the description. I think there was a clear sense that the kind of life Hong Do has is involuntary, it isn't what she would ideally choose for herself, and so when she realizes that it may be possible to change it with help, she takes action to try to get the help that she needs, which I think is quite brave.

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Again we have similar ideas about characters. :) I found her very proactive too and almost overly talented, I mean she cooks great, she has great powers of observation and she even draws well? :)

Usually I dislike when people talk to themselves though I do it myself, but it's natural when I do it, when actors do it it's fake most times, not here, she was good at this.

I am so optimistic about this show I'll watch episode 2 right now so I don't fool myself. Apart from a few hiccups in the directing I loved so much about it, I shouldn't expect too much so soon. :)

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Yes. it is surprising, I have some social anxiety issues and I always feel sympathetic towards characters with this trait. Eventually I hated FBND but it was because of the writing which made a joke of her condition and PSH's acting style which I thought was horrible, not because of her being afraid to go outside.

However in Heart to Heart I'm almost in love with heroine already, I find her very realistic and optimistic given the situation, I even like the grandma disguise which I thought was absurd at first. I liked all the other characters too, I'm very surprised!

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That's on you, then - personally, I don't judge those people (or those heroines) quite as harshly, and so when they do turn up in fiction, it's one step towards demystifying the problem.

I like my cool aspirational heroines too, but I'm more interested in seeing heroines who are imperfect (you know, like actual human beings) and whose characters make some progress over the course of a story. And the "PSH in Flower Boy Next Door was saved by a boy" interpretation is a really lazy way of reading the story imo. Because if I remember correctly, she faced down her past trauma herself and that's what got her out of her house on the regular, at last.

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+100

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I also like imperfect characters, but when their 'human' traits is not related to my medical condition and portrayed in a cartoonish way.
And I will keep respectfully disagree about PSH in FBND, she made zero attemps to change her life prior to Enrique's appearance.

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Sour Grapes - he might have given her the initial impetus, but the final no-longer-housebound move? That was pretty clearly her facing down her ex-bff, and that she did by herself, Enrique didn't do it for her. I feel like you're projecting your feelings about your own condition onto the story and that colours your judgement of what another person in that situation might do.

(and most shut-ins don't just wake up one fine day and decide to go out. Can't see what's wrong with having an initial impetus for it, and anyway the first time we see her leave her house with a purpose is to try to save the dog in the neighbour's flat - a thing that had nothing to do with Enrique)

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I personally dropped it after this episode because I didn't like how they portrayed social anxiety disorder and conflated it with agoraphobia and general shyness.

Overall, they infantilized her behavior in a way that made me really uncomfortable :/ Everything about her condition is dumbed down and normalized for the audience to understand, especially when her shyness mostly comes out whenever she's around someone she likes (which is pretty damn normal). The disorder is just being used conditionally - mainly for aegyo and to create conflict and tension for the lovelines. At least FBND didn't focus too much on the medical aspect of SA, so it mostly avoided being the ableist mess that this drama seems to be turning into.

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Ah, this is interesting. It really does get tricky when the show clearly wants something like a psychological condition to be a storytelling device, but also seems to want to try to treat it somewhat realistically as a medical condition too. Hmm, I'm going to keep that perspective in mind as I watch it.

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Overall, they infantilized her behavior in a way that made me really uncomfortable :/

Yeah, I felt more uncomfortable about this than about the fact of the portrayal itself - I don't mind having a heroine with problems, but I hope it's not solely for comedic effect/aegyo.

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What was it about her behavior that felt infantilized for you? What was normal about it? I felt she was shy around everyone but mostly around the guy he has a crush on which wasn't strange for me. Where is the aegyo?

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If it were truly handled with sensitivity I don't think it would be inherently problematic as it is with this depiction. It's just a vehicle for the damsel-in-distress trope, to put it simply.

The problem is that the disorder itself is being written as a costume for this character. They're taking a typical virginal Candy-like character and giving her a fake, sanitized version of this disorder to wear. In true Kdrama fashion, It's not meant to be realistic - it's meant to be enjoyable and relateable to as many female viewers as possible. Just like in FBND, they're giving the heroine traits that appeal to a wide audience of women - even just those who are at times a little shy, introverted, and enjoy being at home. Not the ones who are debilitated by anxiety so severe, they are trapped both psychologically in their heads and physically in their homes.

It's also pretty tactless and sexist to glamorize this condition solely for those symptoms that are perceived as traditionally ideal for women - i.e. being submissive and child-like in behavior. Blushing profusely and hiding in corners would definitely count as examples of that.

The inconsistency is also an issue, as it was in FBND too. Donning a Mrs. Doubtfire costume won't magically turn a person who can't make eye contact or even look in another person's direction into a social butterfly, allegedly.

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I think maybe you didn't like because it has all these serious elements but sometimes they are treated as romcom material, in that sense I understand. I won't complain if it goes more in a direction that you wanted.:)

I'm not sure I'd call her a Candy. She didn't seem overly cheerful, very hardworking or naive. I don't really know how to define Candiness, she didn't fit the role for me, however if someone here knows the definition, please share. :)

Maybe I didn't consider her a damsel in distress because she saved the lead in the end of first ep and he seems even more troubled than her. I understand what you said about the granny costume that was the part that seemed more unrealistic for me but I still liked it, I can imagine pretending to be this other person could make her able to be more social but I hope they don't over do it.

I'm not sure they glamorized it, I didn't find her submissive or childlike. In fact, it sort of makes me angry when people confuse shyness with those things so I should have picked up on this if it happened. Blushing for instance is something I do, like I wrote below, it's quite strange sometimes, but I never thought it was related to submissiveness or childishness in any way.

I undesrtand if you dropped it but I think I would have liked to read your take about a few more eps even if we disagreed. :)

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This. I am glad I am not the only one who gets 'Candy' vibe from the set up.

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I also found Cha Hong Do to be "icky" rather than "cute."

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It's my first time commenting here hehe I love reading through comments for dramas I'm watching so I'm really glad that this drama will be recapped on dramabeans. Thanks LollyPip!

It's an interesting episode but I must agree that the leads are not very likeable for now, especially Yi-Seok. I have not watched the 2nd episode so my view is probably quite shallow, but I'm hoping that the writer will be able to flesh out the characters nicely so we can grow to understand and like them by the end of the drama. Can't wait to watch the 2nd episode!! :)

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I'm not sure how a one-hour episode with two attempted suicides and a stabbing can be characterized as "slow", but it does have the same kind of moody/ dreamy atmosphere as Coffee Prince. I am intrigued by the setup and quirky details, but I kind of hate the male lead. The scene where he chases her around the interrogation room is really awful. I'm sure he will redeem himself somehow, but it will take a lot for him to win me over.

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LollyPip, you're one of my favourite DB recappers, so I get so excited to see that you're recapping a show that I think I'm going to really like! I was sceptical of the premise of this one, but I found that I enjoyed the first episode, and the three main characters. I'm having serious second lead feels for Doo Soo already, because he seems like such a sweetheart. I'm very hopeful about how this show is going to unfold.

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I'm so glad DB is recapping this drama! Hopefully you will continue please please please... Thanks so much!!

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I am looking where I can watch this. I have liked Chun Jung-myung ever since The Duo and his guest on RunningMan with JYP. If I can't find a place to watch it--or even if/when I do I will continue to read your recaps. Thanks.

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hey give MapleStage a try. there're ads but not too many :)

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Thanks for recapping! I'm curious about this one because it's part of the January Wave of Mental Illness Dramas. Not sure if I'll be able to see it myself because haven't found a place subtitling it.

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I watched the first 2 episodes on Viki.

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This show is kind of weird for me to watch because I have rosacea (a skin condition that make you skin red) on my face and thin skin that shows my blood vessels meaning that my cheeks are also perpetually red/pink and I used to be slightly embarrassed but now I don't care. This show make it seem like since I am the same, that I should be hiding my face under long fizzy hair and avoiding conversation, when in fact I just recently cut of all my hair into a pixie cut and am a very sociable person.
That said, I know this is a drama so it's kind of an exaggeration, but before making the show, they should have considered other possibilities of dealing with something like this.

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The way I interpreted it is that her red face isn't the reason Hong Do hides her face and avoids conversation. She hides her face and hides in bushes and avoids conversation (and turns red) because of her severe social anxiety. So the redness is just a symptom of that deeper problem; it's not the fundamental cause of her embarrassment. Although maybe it was her chronic blushing as a teenager that contributed to her social anxiety in the first place? We'll find out eventually, I'm sure.

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From the way I understand it, the social anxiety is a symptom of the blushing. The little intro of pics from when they were kids shows her face become more and more red and her becoming more and more withdrawn as that happened. Guess we'll have to wait and see which is which.

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This has nothing to do with rosacea. She has problems being around people and one of the consequences is the intense blushing. I do this myself and I feel ashamed not because of the blush itself but because it is very sudden and very red so people know I'm feeling awkward or embarrassed and this is usually looked down upon on our society. It's absolutely NOT because of the colors of my cheeks but because people laugh about the sudden change of color. Nobody laughs about rosacea, or they shouldn't and if they do, they are morons, you have nothing to feel ashamed about and shouldn't find any similarity here.

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Does anyone when or if this will be available on drama fever?

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Doubtful, they don't usually get TVN shows. It's a bummer though that it's only on Viki - not because I dislike the site but it takes a while for the subs to be 100% so I always feel like I'm missing something.

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You're almost always missing something even when dramafever's subs are 100% complete.

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I'm not saying they're the best subs but on the sites where it's not 100% I always end up with a scene where there's no subs at all.

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Lol, so true. DF really need to improve their subtitle quality. It can be pretty awful at times.

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I tried to let them know my complaints on the complete lack of subtitles for any written words on screen.
The Jerks, and I mean that, replied that they only translate what is needed.

All I could think was how much longer, and how much more labor would it take to sub the freaking words? Give me a break, DF. Always just doing only enough, but god forbid they go the extra mile. Everything about that site pisses me off, but they have the exclusive on so many shows, I have to keep subscribing.

UGH Rant over

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It's odd that it's not on Soompi TV; they've licensed all of tvN's other recent dramas.

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Hmmmmmm. I'm really not sure about my feelings at the end of this. I am concerned by there being more Psych issues since I think overall I haven't really seen them accurately shown in any of the shows this year. I wish they could mostly avoid it.

I will definitely have SLS judging by this episode though. He's definitely more of an ideal than a realistic character at the moment but I'm ok with that. Oh the pretty.

And I'm not that bothered by not having "likable" leads although I don't find the actress unlikeable. I usually don't dislike a character just because I find their actions frustrating but instead I dislike them when they actively hurt others. So I'm fine with her. I actually wish we'd seen more of her in granny gear...I'm not l all sure where the chairman storyline will go so I'm interested in that.

As for our main lead. Yeah, he's not so likable right now. And he also does seem a bundle of contradictions. I perfectly agree with the recap that it's tough right now to see how he could be so empathetic with one patient and then seem to just dislike and be annoyed by all his regular patients. It seems to be an intentional choice by the show but I'm a bit concerned by what they're going for.

I will keep watching though since I think this show hasn't gained it's footing just yet and I can't judge it just on this. I do like some parts though so I hope those are emphasized in the future.

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If the Old Lady makeup covers up the blushing, why not just use the makeup to cover the blushing and continue to live as a young person? I know that we wouldn't have a show, then but I just can't get past that.

Cute, cute cute though! I don't usually get Second Lead Syndrome but the Doo Soo is the sweetest most adorable thing that ever happened. I'll at least watch until his heart starts breaking. Don't know if I'll be able to take that, though.

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I'll try to offer a theory. The huge amount of make up she would have to use to cover this heavy blushing would just call attention which is something she doesn't want to do. The disguise on the other hand already needs a lot of make up on the whole face to work so it doesn't stand out plus even if she blushes she must think people would not pay much attention to the granny anyway.

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Am watching this and liking it. And now am having econd lead syndrome. Hero is just a bit too unpleasant. It'll be good to see him grow, i guess.

I like the "grannie" character. A lot you can do with that. People are generally respectful of grannies and maybe grannies can get away with a lot more. And grannies can challenge folks if they want to. But as Lixie said..maybe it's abuot covering up the blushing.

So many possibilities for heroine to fall in love with: three young guys and grandpa. But yeah... male lead's gonna get her. Healer as true love trope strikes again.

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Three? Who is the third? Grandpa is so obviously going to have a crush on the granny version. :)
This hero is so messed up I'm loving it, I just hope he doesn't become her doctor, he's not fit to be anyone's doc right now anyway.

>Healer as true love trope strikes again.
Took me long 10 seconds to find out Healer had not leaped to a different show for a short mission. This show is making me stupid. :)

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I've now watched the first two episodes and am really like it.
The show has a real anime feel to it. Perhaps this is where people are getting the child-like vibe from - you can almost see that it should be done in cartoon.
The characters (especially once you give episode two a watch) are complex and nicely written.

Hong Do is such a relatable character (to me). She has her social issues and she knows they are holding her back but she is also very aware of them and goes to lengths to work around them. I love the grandma persona. It isn't just make-up and a wig, but she also takes on the mannerisims and speach of a senior. It's a true escapism for her and allows to be someone else so she can work.
Her painful shyness is heartbreaking. But her drive to find a way to get over it is inspiring.
She is not weak. And she is not waiting for her knight in shining armour. She is desperate to work through her issues so she can face her first love. A child-like aspiration, maybe.

Doo-soo has certainly won SLS for me. He is just so sweet, and caring, and understanding, and beautiful. Sadly I think he sees Hong Do as a stray and feral puppy who needs saving. His approach to her is one I am familiar with in working with dog rescue especially with puppy-mill dogs. Hong Do's actions are much like a puppy-mill dog.
I loved Doo Soo'sbuilding the wall of paper cups that block her view from him, but also the view from the two-way glass.

Yi Seok is still a bit of a mystery. For most part I want to yell "Jerk!" every time he's on the screen. He's just soooo self-centred. But the weird episodes of his ears ringing, dizzy spells and blanking out. There has to be more to that.

Overall, even though the show is dealing with some pretty ugly subjects, it still comes off as really cute and almost whimsicle. I'm looking forward to see where the writer takes it.

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I hadn't thought of the puppy thing, but now I totally see it. Which is kind of sad...but I still love that he wants to help her, even though she is already striving towards saving herself. Which, HELLO, awesome! Anxiety is not an easy thing to beat and just wanting to do it is really inspiring to me.

And I loved the wall too, but I hadn't even thought about it being a way to shield her from the two way mirror (and this is why I'm so glad this drama is being recapped - so I can see the things that others saw) which just makes the whole scene more lovely and adorable to me.

I agree, there had to be so much more to those dizzy spells and blanking out ever *ever* rings major alarm bells for me. I'm enjoying this a lot, even with the ugly subjects...maybe because of them. No one goes to KDramas for reality, but I must admit that I have been missing some kind of reality in these dramas. Not everyone is happy and beautiful all the time, sometimes there is a lot of darkness in the world. Honestly, just hinting at such a thing makes me trust the world the story is set in all that much more.

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Thanks for the recap and your thoughts.

I wasn't going to even take a peek at this until I saw the halmoni get up. She really is nailing that disguise with the body movements and voice. I am looking forward to her interacting with YS in that persona.

PIE looks good, and I am glad he has a complex character to develop through this. CKH can be wonderful or annoying. I find her very appealing in this character. And, yes, THIGHS is perfect here, too.

Anyone else see the homage to Castaway on the Moon?

That film with Jung Ryu-won was good at depicting a person overcomes anxiety over going out.

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YES! As soon as I saw her stealthily navigating the back alleys, scurrying along in her helmet I immediately thought of Castaway on the Moon. If it keeps up that vibe I think we could be in for something good.

Anyone who hasn't seen Castaway, put it in your must-see list.

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I knew I remembered that from somewhere! It was Castaway, good film. :)

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Oh yes. The alleys, the helmet. Well, if there is any piece of work worthy of using as inspiration for this, it's that brilliant movie. It felt so warm and human and cartoonish, but not ridiculous. If they go for the same type of feel, it will be lovely.

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Oh wow, now that you pointed it out I see it! I saw that movie a long time ago - so good! Although the director himself said that it was a flop and panned by critics in Korea so I don't know if they would actually consciously do an homage to it.

Although maybe it's become a cult hit sense then? I'm always surprised when I mention it that a lot of people have seen it (then again it streamed on Netflix off and on so it gained more international viewers).

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i loved it. i have an anxiety disorder, too and to me it didn't seem terrible but i can't fault people who didn't like it. we all have diff preferences? or thresholds, not sure. it wasn't outrageous tho.

i was so excited bc i love CKH and am a huge sohee fan. they both have great comedic typing. it's a lot darker than i thought it would be, actually but i love that. tvn gets wacky and heartwarming pretty correct. so i'm hoping it'll stay to be something i really enjoy.

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I have anxiety disorder too, so I could totally relate with her in this. In fact, it kind of made me laugh to have a drama character actually listen to me when I yelled "Time to run away!" at my screen. :) Usually that's when people stop and actually deal with the problems they have, which...is not my first reaction.

I have a huge soft spot for CKH because of "Protect the Boss" - which is actually the first KDrama that I shelled out the major dollars to own as a boxed set. ...And I just realized that the main lead there basically had anxiety disorder; they were calling it practically everything else, but maybe that's why I could relate to him. Even if he was kind of off-the-wall crazy at times.

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I don't normally bother commenting at DB, but "The show is off to a bit of a slow start," was just too WTF to let pass. The show OPENS with a suicide attempt, and this is "off to a slow start"? What do you call a quick start, a mass murder in the opening frames?

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Hahaha!

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Actually this opening episode has two suicide attempts if you count the lady on the ledge - LOL that's a slow start!

Anyone else notice that the bottom of the ramen pot wouldn't have had the picture of the face pointing out?... It's little mistakes like that which make me crazy!

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Can't believe I forgot about the guy with a pen stuck in his neck - make that 3 suicide attempts in one episode!

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Curious if anyone knows who the writer is for this drama?

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As far as I know, it's the original creator and fellow writer of 'Coffee Prince' and 'Triple', Lee Jeong Ah. This is also directed by Lee Yoon Jeong, the PD in the two series I mentioned.

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That's what I thought, but no place seems to be crediting the writer, so I wondered if it had changed?

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Her name is on Korean news articles. She is credited there as the writer. But Daum and Naver and such have not added her on the series profile, so many sites don't have her in the credits. Dramawiki and HanCinema do.

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Thanks!

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is it me or do korean tv station copy themes from each other resulting in a number of stations releasing similar dramas in turn. There are time traveling spells, sejong spells, genius surgeon spells, and just now the old-young transformation theme. Just wondering how this does not turn into a legal mess since you can hardly call the timing a coincidence

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I was about to give up on Kdramas again – I take a break every couple of years for a couple years at a time – because absolutely nothing was grabbing my attention. Then I caught a few episodes of What Happens to My Family and decided to at least give weekend dramas another chance. My problem is that I'm not really into trendy stuff – I try, but I'm over it less than halfway through every time. When I heard about this show I pretty much wrote if off because...dating your psychiatrist is just...not healthy. But I decided to give it a go because it looked so beautiful in the teasers and I'm so glad I gave this a chance. It's not fast paced, it's slow and I really like the feel of the world: both beautiful and melancholy. That's just so true to life. And I'm really loving the main character because I can relate to her so well (if it weren't for my sometimes intruding family, I'd be a hermit by now) and I have serious apartment envy already. I'm also loving the characters that are being presented to us: they aren't caricatures and they feel real because we are only seeing layers at a time. Which is wonderful!

I'm so glad you are recapping purplecow, because I was seriously hoping for a place to talk about this show. I am so excited to learn more about these characters. While I was watching Doo-Soo build that wall of cups I was hit with SLS so hard – I don't think it's ever happened so quickly before. I loved how he knew exactly how to approach her to make her feel safe, and yes, she most likely needs someone to force her out of her comfort zone, but... As someone that stays in her comfort zone, the idea of someone learning how to gently find a way to enter that comfort zone was just beautiful. A part of me is hoping that Yi-Seok's job is to heal and be healed by her in order to help her fall in love with her longtime crush.

Awh, the SLS is forever strong in me.

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So I'm taking screenshots of her apartment. Weird? Whatever, I'm going with it.

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No, I get it. Cool lil' cozy hideaway. I'd go for it.

I'm glad you mentioned "What Happens to My Family". Tonight's episode was so good. I'm glad I gave it a chance, as well as an earlier not-so-trendy Kdrama "My Spring Days".

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I'm seriously going to have to check out "My Spring Days", whenever someone talks about it they always seem to have loved it. I'm playing catch up with "What Happens to My Family" and absolutely loving it - I don't think I've laughed so much with a KDrama in years. I'm still in the thirties range and just hoping that the middle child gets better from here on out - I love everyone's stories (especially Dal-Bong and Seo-Wool's) but his. I'm really hoping I get to watch him fall in love with his wife. She's not the easiest character to love, but she seems mostly harmless. And I just want everyone to be happy and for the dad to live for years to come. But...I'm not sure if that'll happen.

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Yes, “My Spring Days” was wonderful. Like many people here, it caught me off-guard. From the premise I thought, "Eh... I'll watch an episode or two." with little expectation I'd continue. I was hooked from the get-go. Really moving. I find both MSD and "What Happens to My Family" heartfelt, in different ways.

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quirkywhit: If you'd given up on Kdramas, and only now getting back in because of WHTMF -- if you haven't yet, by all means you MUST see Misaeng! Have you? It is so good.

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Whoops! Sorry LollyPip! I started off reading two recaps at once (on my phone and on my slllooow computer and got the recappers mixed up. Thank you, thank you for taking on this show!

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Thanks for recap LollyPip!

I watched this for Lee jae Yoon whom i have been swooning for since Golden Rainbow that weekend drama where he had nicer hair.

But the 3 characters so far are interesting n u wnt to root for them. Doo Soo is so sweet with Hong Do.

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Slow start but I'm enjoying it. Second lead is lovingly sweet; hero is a jerk and unprofessional--I still root for hero because healing love trope just gets me every single time. Plus, more action when hero and heroine interact even if I thought the paper cup tower was awesome.

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I was looking forward to this show, thinking it was going to be a light, fluffy rom-com, but I was even more pleasantly surprised with the first episode because it seems like so far the characters have a lot more depth and nuance than I initially expected.

And I'm with you all who already have second-lead syndrome. I usually am all-canon/all-first lead, but this might turn me. But a good growth-arc for the hero can totally convince me otherwise, because depth will win me over almost every time.

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how do you go from giving a warning about disturbing imagery to making a bad joke about the suicide attempt from said imagery? tie-hanger? really??

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The way they show a scene then show flashbacks reminds me of Marrige Not Dating. I really like this show.

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does anyone know the song being played during the growing up process?

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I'm still on ep 1 and the way Yi-seok screaming and angry creeps me out..
It's really scary, his voice, his expression just like a real violent
I hope he gets MUCH better in next ep

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Do any of you know the song that plays during the first few minutes of the episode? I've searched and couldn't find anything. Please and thank you in advance!

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