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Oh My Venus: Episode 1

It’s a promising start for Oh My Venus, the weight-loss-challenge rom-com that premiered today on KBS. I admit that I still have some niggling reservations about the premise, but I like the tone, the leads (in particular the sympathetic heroine), and find promise in the side characters.

But really, we’re all watching this for the Shin MinaSo Ji-sub match-up, aren’t we? And just to see these two together, whether bickering or crackling with chemistry, I’m pretty sure I’d accept even the flimsiest plot, doing the bare minimum as romance-delivery device. If we’re lucky, we’ll get something better than that—I’m hoping for it, but not sure yet—but for now, I’m content with just having them together on my screen, hinting at the flirtation to come.

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EPISODE 1 RECAP

1999. Daegu.

A busload of high school students listen to a radio show as the DJ reads a letter submitted by a lovestruck teenage boy who, along with all the boys in town, is infatuated with a girl named Kang Joo-eun. That’s the girl who’s featured in a magazine article naming her the winner of a “prettiest face contest,” and in her profile she has listed “using Seoul speech” as her goal for the future.

Then the bus pulls up to the next stop, and all the boys go wild in anticipation as that very girl steps onto the bus. She’s KANG JOO-EUN (Shin Mina), nicknamed the Venus of Daegu, and she inspires adoration and envy in equal measure.

At school, during gym class weigh-in, the girls exclaim at Joo-eun’s unrealistically perfect proportions. What’s the point of studying when life is so unfair?

Joo-eun is called out of class to clean up the graffiti left by her admirers, proclaiming their love for her. Then on her way home after school, she sees a group of boys sneaking cigarettes in a side street and warns them to cut it out. They aren’t intimidated by her, but a third student joins them wearing a Korea Swimming tracksuit (Jung Kyeo-woon) and leads the others off, telling Joo-eun not to get too hot-headed and melt her ice cream.

As the boys walk away, Joo-eun’s approached by a beauty salon owner who gives her the pitch to let her turn Joo-eun into Miss Korea. She’s not at all interested, turning the offer down flat—she’s got other plans in mind for her future.

Her goal is to become a lawyer, and she heads to the library to study—and where a whole other set of adoring admirers is on hand to offer up all sorts of study help. They’re interrupted by someone reminding them of the silence rule—it’s the swimmer again, and he motions Joo-eun to meet him on the roof.

The swimmer is IM WOO-SHIK, and he exudes confidence as he tells her who he is and waits for her to recognize him. She doesn’t, and his bravado takes a hit as he tells her he’s totally famous, he’s in the newspapers, he’s a national athlete and he just competed in the junior world championships! Joo-eun apologizes sarcastically, asking if she should have brought him flowers.

His confidence shaken, Woo-shik blurts that he’s from Seoul, and her goal was to learn Seoul speech, and he can teach her. He says her dimples are pretty, which makes her touch her cheek shyly, and then he draws near and takes his newly won gold medal and hangs it around her neck. He says a little nervously that he can only say this once, because a man only has one first love.

“From today on, you’re my first love,” he tells her. Joo-eun smiles bashfully, and when he says Seoul speech is tough to learn, she counters that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. They smile adorably at each other, and then, the years zoom by, landing us in…

2014, Seoul.

We meet Joo-eun as an attorney in a big corporate law firm, taking a meeting with a new client who turns heads as she struts into the office. The client’s skintight dress and sexy appearance makes Joo-eun fidget self-consciously—because Joo-eun is now much heavier than she once was, and she tugs at her own clothes uncomfortably.

It’s a blow to her ego to have the sexy client see the couple photos of her old self with Woo-shik and ask who that (pretty) woman is. Joo-eun tells us that Woo-shik was her first love and has been her boyfriend for the past fifteen years.

As for the case in question, the client has been entangled in an adultery case—she’s the Other Woman, and the wife is suing her. So she plans to countersue, shamelessly proclaiming her innocence (she’s not innocent) and ordering Joo-eun to go after the wife for slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, whatever she can.

Joo-eun finds the case distasteful and unfair, but is ordered by her boss (who’s friends with the cheating husband) to do her job and serve the client. She apparently has a history of arguing for justice and fairness, to no avail. She can’t quit either, as her secretary reminds her she still has 14 months of school loan repayments to make.

Her temperament has gotten her in trouble before, and a flashback shows us that only a couple years ago, she’d had her desk moved into an open corridor in retaliation, her boss adding smugly that she’s welcome to leave and set up her own practice.

Still in 2014, we move to Los Angeles, where the newest Hollywood gossip involves a troublemaker star, Anna Sue, who’s embroiled in a scandal with famous star trainer John Kim. Despite nobody knowing what John Kim looks like, he was the star of a The Stella Show, one of those dramatic transformation shows akin to The Swan or Extreme Makeover.

The woman featured was described as in a dark place before John Kim turned her life around, and somehow her dramatic beautification is touted as “sen[ding] a hopeful message to women all over the world.” (Uh, that people love you when you’re pretty again?)

In any case, the latest scandal pairs John Kim with Anna Sue. And as this news plays on TV, we see him (So Ji-sub) working out solo in a state-of-the-art gym.

He doesn’t show much reaction to the report, but ignores repeated calls from Anna Sue. On the upside, he does bathe, which we all get to enjoy for a nice minute.

Back to Joo-eun, who addresses the obvious question head-on: Why hasn’t she tried dieting?

As she explains, she’s tried every diet under the sun, from cabbage to tofu to trendy celebrity secret tips. She yo-yo’d constantly, and the frequent overworking didn’t help.

Tonight, Joo-eun finally wraps up her work after a long night and heads out to meet Woo-shik for their fifteenth-year anniversary. She thinks back to their high school days, when he’d presented her with roses and couple rings on the same library rooftop where he’d first confessed, and they’d counted that as their first day as a couple.

Joo-eun still wears that ring (albeit on her pinky finger now) and heads over with an excited heart, happily anticipating his proposal. Her best friend HYUN-WOO (Jo Eun-ji) expects it too, grumbling that he’d better have prepared a monster diamond after making her wait so long.

Joo-eun primps in the restaurant bathroom, but drops her lipstick down a crevice in the sink. A tall, sophisticated woman (Yoo In-young) offers her lipstick to Joo-eun, and Joo-eun accepts while casting an envious look at the woman’s figure. “Black is a color that makes you look slimmer,” Joo-eun thinks. “But it’s not a color that makes you slimmer. Dammit.”

She finds Woo-shik at a table, and he gives her an offhand hello when she arrives. But he knows the importance of the event and has prepared a whole lavish spread, with wine and cake and candles. He toasts, saying, “Fifteen years… I was thankful.” Somehow that doesn’t sound promising.

Woo-shik drives her home afterward, and she looks in anticipation at the small box he hands her… which contains his half of the couple rings he’d bought all those years ago. “That is my heart,” he says. “Please take it.”

She doesn’t understand, and all he can do is apologize. She asks what the flowers are for, and he says he felt like too much of a jerk otherwise, which doesn’t alleviate her hurt. He says he just wanted to give her the anniversary and starts to break up, but she cuts him off and says she understands what he means by returning the ring. But she’s too tired to do this tonight, to which he tries to argue, wanting to get it out and over with.

But Joo-eun says they’ve been through too much over the past fifteen years as first loves to end it with a one-sided announcement from him. She leaves the flowers and the ring in the car, and tosses another gift box on top of it—hers to him—and leaves with an angry “Congratulations” (for their anniversary).

She goes home hurting, wondering if there’s something in those massive law books that’ll help her understand this situation. “Everybody may be equal before the law,” she thinks, “but not in front of the mirror.”

Joo-eun sleeps in front of her TV that night as it plays a broadcast of The Stella Show, featuring the amazing transformation of its star, all thanks to the trainer John Kim. The show wonders who this mysterious John could be…

Just to ensure we get the hint, we cut over to the boxing ring where John directs the fighter, then engages directly in a sparring round.

In the morning, Joo-eun is jolted awake by a call from her friend, which reminds her that she’s got a flight to catch. She hurries to the airport for her business trip to the U.S.

Meanwhile, John Kim—or, as we’ll get to know him, KIM YOUNG-HO—wakes up in some sort of pod/capsule/tank in his state-of-the-art bachelor pad, full of every sort of fancy fitness machinery in the world. He watches a fight with one friend, JANG JOON-SUNG (Sung Hoon), while a third friend, KIM JI-WOONG (Henry), cooks for them—er, struggles to cook.

Turns out Joon-sung is the fighter Young-ho was training earlier. Young-ho had sponsored him and made him a champion fighter (who goes by the fight name “Korean Snake”), while Ji-woong acts as his manager.

It’s Ji-woong who reads about the scandal, and how Anna Sue has neither confirmed nor denied the rumors, which fans the gossip flames further. Young-ho and Joon-sung seem perturbed by the news—particularly if it reaches certain ears in Korea—and Young-hoon says he’ll have to figure out how to handle the scandal.

But he gets a call from a certain Manager Min that makes him uneasy—could it be they’ve already heard?

Joo-eun wraps up business and readies to make her trip back, tamping down persistent stomach pains. Best friend Hyun-woo calls it a good way to lose weight, but Joo-eun seems to be in increasing pain.

Hyun-woo, meanwhile, sees the John Kim reports on Korean television, though she scoffs at the shoddy reporting. Probably doesn’t help that the correspondent giving the report is her ex-husband, who drops by to hand off a child support payment.

Joo-eun boards her plane to Korea and ends up sitting next to Ji-woong, who’s given up his first-class seat to a pregnant lady. He introduces himself in his irrepressibly cheerful way, showing her the fight he’s watching and bragging that he’s Korean Snake’s manager and trainer, and that he’s kinda famous. He is incredibly dorky but it’s so cute.

Mid-flight, an announcement comes on requesting the help of any doctor onboard with an emergency patient. Suddenly Young-ho gets up and flashes his EMT badge, ready to take charge of the situation. Ha, are you kidding me? Is he a secret chaebol and a doctor, and also maybe a diplomat?

The patient is Joo-eun, who has collapsed in the aisle, moaning in pain and clutching her stomach. Young-ho assesses the situation and decides she needs to be moved, and with some difficulty transfers her into the first class cabin and prepares the emergency kit. He unbuttons her blouse and cuts through her support garment, then begins treating her with an IV and massaging her cold limbs.

She awakens a while later, sleeping in Young-ho’s first class seat, and has a minor panic to see herself in a strange place with a needle in her arm. She’s appalled that he went through her things and ripped her clothing, while he notes her lack of gratitude for helping her in an emergency. (Mortified, she wonders if she could just open the plane door and fling herself out of it.)

Young-ho asks why she “did that” to herself, which makes her furrow her brow—do what?

So he explains all the terrible things she’s just done to herself, drinking coffee and wine on an empty stomach, paired with diet pills and a restrictive girdle. If she wants to lose weight, he suggests she sweat it off instead.

Joo-eun isn’t ungrateful that he helped, but says stiffly that she’d like to keep her privacy. Young-ho leans waaaaay in and says drily, “You’re the first woman I’ve undressed within five minutes of meeting. I must have been too familiar.”

She snaps that she’ll refrain from suing him since she’s sooooo grateful, and says she’d love to repay the favor if only she could do it without having to see his face again. She buries her face under her blanket to make the point.

But her words give Young-ho a bright idea, and he tells her there is one way she can repay the favor…

In Seoul, a stern-faced man, attended by a couple men in sharp suits, reports to a chairman that “he” ought to be on this flight. Ha, Young-ho is totally a chaebol, isn’t he? In the background, Young-ho’s two buddies slip by while the team of corporate minions looks around for him, though he’s nowhere in sight.

That’s because Young-ho’s riding in an ambulance alongside Joo-eun, using her as his escape route. She mutters to herself, “I should have opened that plane door and escaped earlier.”

As she sits in the emergency room, Joo-eun reads the two latest text messages from Woo-shik, which she has yet to reply to. He asks her to call as soon as she’s back, wanting to talk, and she hears his voice say the words brusquely at first, then more gently. She thinks of his first-love confession from their teenage years, and makes a decision, putting on her shoes and running out of the hospital.

Young-ho meets up with his buddies outside, who drop off his car, and is about to leave when he sees Joo-eun running outside into the rain. He drives on, passing her as she tries to hail a cab unsucessfully… but can’t quite shake the feeling. He pulls over and tells her to get in, which she does with great reluctance, eyeing him suspiciously.

As he drives, she sighs, “I’d thought that a few nights ago was the worst day of my life, but I was wrong. It’s today.” He advises her to return to the hospital later because she was very cold, and drops her off at her place. She thanks him for his help, saying it’ll be the last they see of each other, and runs into the rain toward the building.

And then she stops in her tracks to see Woo-shik embracing a woman, smiling happily. Numbly, she turns around and walks the other way, pausing in front of a storefront, thinking, “I was Kang Joo-eun, who could do anything she set out to do.”

And then, an ominous figure appears behind her, wearing a mask and dark clothes. He follows her down the street, calling out to her, and Joo-eun hurries away in fear. He persists, and when an arm grabs her, she cowers and begs, “Please save me!”

It’s Young-ho’s sardonic voice that cuts in, however: “You ask me to save you every time you see me.” She looks up at him in astonishment as he crouches with her, holding an umbrella over her head, adding, “And you’re not even going to be grateful about it.”

 
COMMENTS

It occurred to me after it was over that the meet-cute (or meet-bicker, as is so often the case in dramaland) was pretty standard stuff, and I wasn’t necessarily excited/moved/intrigued by the plot… but as I was watching the episode, did I care? Not even a little.

I’m not one to love a show purely for a romantic pairing, because there’s only so much a great couple can carry, and it’s not an entire show’s worth of plot, or interest. And I doubt I’d be swayed by the romance if, for instance, the plot were nonexistent or a total mess. I’m not convinced there’s going to be a lot of plot here (especially plot that doesn’t feel like a retread of a bunch of other dramas and movies—Birth of a Beauty and 200 Pound Beauty are the first two that come to mind), but I did like the characterization of the heroine and found Joo-eun cute and endearing.

For being formerly the hottest girl in town, Joo-eun didn’t act the part of a vain beauty queen; I like that she was outspoken and determined, placing her hopes on a career first and foremost. So the transformation seems purely physical, while the core character has retained her personality. I like that she’s snippy (in her own head when she can’t be snippy aloud), that she tries to stand up for things that are right, and that her struggle to do the right thing feels realistic—I don’t blame her for dropping the fight at a certain point because she can’t be a one-woman crusader, not if she wants to keep her job and take care of herself.

I do intensely dislike the tendency to oversimplify beauty’s relationship to worth, and every time a character made a comment about weight or looks, I grit my teeth in annoyance. But we do have to recognize that the world, and Korean society specifically, can be ruthless when it comes to judging people’s appearances, so while it’s hardly pleasant to see reflected in a drama, it’s not exactly inaccurate. Sigh. I just hope that whatever message comes out of the show—and it doesn’t have to have a particular agenda, it’s just that a message will emerge via narrative, whether intentional or not—is more progressive and body-positive than not.

We’ve seen a lot less of the mysterious John Kim/Young-ho so I have fewer opinions of him—so far he feels a lot like the last So Ji-sub character we saw, in Master’s Sun, which is at least a character I loved so the repetition isn’t wholly unwelcome. (But a little change would be nice, just sayin’.) In the very brief exchanges he’s had with Joo-eun, at least his perspective has been more about health and self-respect than looks, which helps in overlooking the introduction to his character—I found the background story for his fame ridiculous, and problematic that the world calls him the hero for making that woman beautiful. First, for the obvious reason of beauty being aligned with worth, but also because it disempowers the woman, who should be the one driving her own change. Let’s cut that shit out right now, okay?

But if that is going to be a throwaway point, I can close my eyes this once and let it go as a moment of thoughtlessness. (Any more of that and I’m out, but it’s possible it was just a one-time moment of stupidity.) And as with any dramas that incorporate any parts of American pop culture or society, I just do my best to close my eyes and push through the embarrassment until we’ve moved past it. ‘Cause there’s a lot more interesting, compelling places we can take this story, and I’m in a hurry to get there.

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Woaaaaaaaaaaaah.

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Oh My Venusssss!!!!

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yes! thank you, i've been waiting for this!

i thought it was a good start, but let's be real, all i could think about while watching this episode was how great it is to see so ji sub back on the small screen again! <3

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It wasn't bad, but it felt so like a wash-rinse-repeat of so many old tropes and Jung Gyu-Woon more than anything is like repeating his Birth of a Beauty role to the beat. Uncanny and uncomfortable in a way

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I agree, I end up feeling indifferent on episode one. Maybe the drama will have it's own charm later one but right now, everything has been done so many times before in Kdramaland. Nothing is new.

Successful and genius male lead
Both leads meet in a embarrassing situation
Male lead saves female lead
Female lead's first love breaks her heart
Female leads find first love cheating
Male lead happens to be there and help her

and JGW's repeating roles. I wonder why he doesn't pick a different role instead of being typecast.

Also, female lead isn't even that 'fat' for the male lead and his friend to struggle carrying her while on the plane.

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I know, considering the crazy pull-ups he did while in the US, too.

Yeah, the pull-ups. Nuff said. *.*

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Ah I thought he looked familiar. So it's the same guy who played the cheating husband in birth of a beauty! He seems to enjoy these roles lol

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And because of that, every time I see him in my monitor, I just wanna throw something at him. *sigh* he should so pick other roles...

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Looks promising! Kudos for the recap, can't wait for this to pick up pace!!

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Yay! Finally!

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I really had to roll my eyes every time the foreign media talked about John, especially when that one guy said something like 'He's such a good guy, shame on whats-her-face'
Other than that, I loved everything else <3
I can't wait to see how this one turns out. I know a lot of people are turning away from this one just because its dealing with weightloss but I think kdramas have gotten better with handling these sorts of things.

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Same. That Stella Show was... interesting

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Yeah - felt like it was a very Korean take on scandals reported as if on American tv when American gossip tv wouldn't report it that way because we don't care so much about scandals (gossip, yes, but not so judgy about who's dating who - we just want to gossip about it).

I also found the constant attention to her weight unrealistic and annoying - she doesn't look that heavy - maybe 160 with I'll fitting clothes? But apparently it's so outside of the norm that everyone has to make a comment, they have the sports guys who regularly lift hundreds of pounds making comical straining faces when they try to lift her and the flight attendants are tittering (which I found both unprofessional and unrealistic - they'd judge but they'd keep their faces impassive). The way the show handles the weight as comedy gives me a very icky feeling.

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True, John should've been able to lift her by himself so it shouldn't have been as hard as he made it out to be to lift her with some help.

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Yes! The lifting her scene was terrible. He's fit and a weight lifter.

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Yeah, the American use of the word "scandal" differs from the Korean interpretation. An actress involved with her trainer is gossip, not a scandal. An actress caught with her married trainer. Scandal!

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Agreed! That scene made me roll my eyes SO HARD. You're telling me two UFC champions can't lift one moderately overweight woman?

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My main hope that this drama isn't going to be a plot-less bit of fluff solely banking on its leads' good looks, is exactly that - the fact that the leads are So Ji-sub and Shin Mina, who (based on their past dramas, and the frequency 0 or lack thereof - of signing them) don't sign up to dramas just for the sake of it.

I haven't started this drama yet (subs) but I do hope it's successful and good because I really do like the leads.

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The point about the woman not getting credit for her own transformation reminds me of My Fair Lady, with Henry Higgens singing "I did it" while Eliza is looking around like "Um, don't I deserve some credit too?" I wonder if this is going to have any nods to My Fair Lady/Pygmalion? Actually, I hope not, because in the movie I totally wanted her to marry Freddy.

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I'm not sure... I got the feeling that John Kim is a very conscious person because he used to be overweight himself... (throwin my own imagination plot)

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I hope this drama turns out to be decent or they are gonna need a whole lot of So Ji-sub hot tub scenes to make it bearable

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yes, indeed ...who should we send flowers and a thank you note too for that bath tub scene? and can we request one more?

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I also hope it turns out to be decent.

I must be honest, I tend not to watch Korean dramas about beauty/weight issues. I watched 100 pounds Beauty and I was disappointed that they didn't deliver in the end a positive message.
I hope this drama can deliver a good and positive message: Be happy with yourself and be healthy, not overweight but not skinny looking either. Balance is the key for a healthy and fulfilling life. Don't give yourself up to the standards and propaganda of the world. Be independt and have a strong mind, so you can find happiness within your own skin.

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I will detract myself from making any judgments for now -I'm just thrilled So Ji sub is back.

Thank you for the recap.

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Lead actors make me curious about this drama . Thanks for recap.

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After watching it I realized, I am watching it FOR the actors, not for the story. I CARE about the actors, not the characters they are playing. I'm going to keep watching it, but I'm not invested yet.

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LOL didn't that swimmer guy play the cheating dude in Birth of a Beauty too??? Cheating role is gonna stick to him now

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Yep, same dude that was in Birth of a Beauty, Dr. Champ, History of a Salaryman, Romance Town, etc.

He was the overweight one in Romance Town, who went to the U.S., dieted and returned to Korea tall and handsome.

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I swear If he does any other one plot where his character will dump a girl just because she is fat ,I'll hunt him down (that was a ridiculous character in birth of beauty) . He is 50% responsible for me thinking that it is similar to birth of beauty.. I was like didn't you learn your lesson from that drama don't give me that shit again... (I know its not reasonable but still this is too repetitive)

P.S Not from a mile he looks like a student that's lame....

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All I kept thinking while watching this is how much I miss Sassy Go Go. I found this show didn't have the "it" factor. The directing and editing is off.

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Why did you have to say that?? I had just managed to forget (for about a minute) about my love for that show and was trying really hard to focus on another drama (because I love the leads so much) but then you have to go and drop names! Now I have to go and watch a highlight reel of all my favorite moments!

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Lol there's only one episode. I didn't quite connect with Sassy Go Go in the first couple episodes, but it grew on me and became one of my favorites. I think a lot of us are coming into this expecting something perfect because we're on a high from Sassy Go Go and this show fills its time slot.

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I did watch this with high expectations because of the leads. The first few episodes just felt like it was missing something or the timing was off. It's hard to put a finger on it but some shows just grabs your attention right from the start, you feel excited even when the actors are doing very mundane things. This show seems to have all the right ingredients, but somehow feels flat.

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Not having watched Birth of a Beauty, this is looking a lot like My Name is Kim Sam Soon without the central message of inner beauty (especially touched on with the fact that she maintained her weight throughout). What especially reminded me of it was the preview where Young-ho protects Joo-eun from jerk ex-boyfriend. Just a thought.

I just wanna see where this goes cause frankly I only started watching it for the pairing. Give me hope show!

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In regards of Kim Sam Soon, she never really tried hard in the drama to lose weight. So we never saw the big changes, in that healthy woman size of Sam Soonie. I like that drama to bits, and watching the first eps of Oh My Venus, did not give me good feeling. I don't like the idea that you have to be skinny to be worth defined beautiful. A woman with self worth, good job, good education, still thinking the need to put her self worth on how much she weight is sad.

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Well said. That's why I loved Kim Sam Soon and its message. I just had some things that reminded me of it. But yes, being skinny should not define self-worth.

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My Name is Kim Sam Soon was so good! But I don't think they dressed Minah in a fat suit to address inner beauty, saaadly.

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tbh i don't think this show is going to be as negative as y'all are predicting. maybe it's because i have faith in so ji sub's and shin min ah's choices, but i think this might be about more than looking beautiful to be happy. i might be very wrong and disappointed in the end, but i'll still watch it for them lmao.

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Hmm... Just watched it. Not sure where the show is going and I felt that the direction was a little choppy.

I'm not sucked into it yet but I'll give it a few more episodes.
(Not related but as a relative of a diabetic, I keep side-eyeing those sugar cubes on JooEun's table.)

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As much as I seriously hate the amount of body-shaming thrown the main character's way (she should ditch her "friend" immediately, or drown her in eye cream), at least JJS's character doesn't deliver his lines about her weight in a tone dripping with disdain. He's not particularly tactful or kind, but at least he comes off as somewhat clinical in his assessments and curiosity about what she's ingesting.

At the moment, he's the saving grace of the show for me.

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I'm already liking Shin Mina's character. I like her personality. I like that she wants to be a good, righteous lawyer.

Excited to see her chemistry with So Ji Sub... Their bickering was cute. I like So Ji Sub's sardonic lines too. And this drama is gonna be the first time I've seen So Ji Sub act. *___*

I hope the show moves on from the American gossipy bits because that part was ugh terrible.

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Idk, have you seen American gossip magazines and talk shows? They're pretty awful and can be extremely antagonistic. The acting in those bits was cringeworthy, though. I guess they can't hire decent American actors. I wonder if they just pick up random Americans and ask them if they want to be on TV.

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I don't even understand what the scandal is. It's like the scriptwriter got halfway there and understood that drugs would be something that get you on Access Hollywood, but then couldn't shake the Korean conviction that the real story is that she's dating someone. It's like they stopped one step short; if they'd just written it as John Kim being suspected of supplying the drugs to a starlet he was dating, THAT would be an American scandal.

You know what was even weirder to me, though? HENRY! Child, you are NORTH AMERICAN! You know better than to say "I'm coming!" when entering an apartment, even if it is the near-literal English translation of the Korean equivalent!

If Henry wasn't able to take a script featuring off-key English to a director and say "this doesn't sound right, I would yell 'Hyung, I'm here'" then maybe I'm going to have to stop ragging on all of the other foreigners who turn up on Korean TV and say things that they must know sound insane. I don't know if it's the hierarchical structure or what, but this is like poor Stephanie Lee having to grit through a completely absurd letter from a supposed hospital in Yong Pal.

Korea is full of English teachers. They looooove to edit. Throw one fifty dollars and tweak the few lines of English!

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I had the same thoughts while watching. There was another line where he said something along the lines of 'yes, Korean snake manager I am'. I actually feel bad for Henry being a native speaker. I know if I were asked to say that I would probably end up arguing and throwing a fit. (Which I know wouldn't fly in Korea but I wouldn't care). I would refuse to sound like an idiot. My only guess is that the director might know it's incorrect but either prefers it for its Korean cadence or thinks it will be easier for Koreans to understand like that. Either way it miffs me.

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I replayed that "Korean Snake Manager [incoherent mumble]" and eventually decided he might be saying "에요" or something, because otherwise... Ha, how funny would it be if he garbled it on purpose? The English was so bad he would rather mushmouth than say "Yes, Korean Snake Manager I am"? Though you could get creative with that one using phrasing - just say "Yes... Korean Snake Manager.[pause] I am...[walk away]"

Someday there'll be a tipping point where Kdramas get enough exposure in English-speaking nations and the directors/producers go that extra mile. Maybe part of it is because even with someone like Henry, he's definitely lost some of his ability to structure English. Nichkhun too - Korean is structured in a very different way, it's not like slipping between French and English. So maybe they DO have people looking over the script who have a lot of American exposure, but who are jumbled enough to miss things.

....this still doesn't remotely explain why American TV would care about a weight-loss coach dating a starlet.

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It was what the first hour of the show! It is like people who complain about a bood because it starts out slow and then they cannot put it down! Especially, romance and comedies! They kind of have to build up to the plot!

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So Jisub and Shin Mina both have the genuine "puzzles fit" vibe. The way they project themselves looks like they have been working for 5 drama projects already. It is soooo fit. I really have the dejavu vibe for their loveteam as I am watching them. I swear!! It's like 5 dramas before, and this is a reunion -- that kind of "puzzles fit" vibe.

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Thanks for the recap.

I think Joo-eun is cute chubby.

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This first episode watched like a movie to me. I'm sure they'll explain everything later, but the scene transitions were hard to follow. Didn't Joo Eun just meet Woo Shik the same day he confessed his love to her? I liked her you've-got-to-be-kidding-me reaction to his breakup and how it was revealed they had broken up and gotten back together over and over for the past fifteen years. Very true to life. Joo Eun and Young Ho's airplane encounter was my favorite scene. I love perceptive heroes who can read people really well.

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I LOVED her you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me reaction. I was screaming the same here. lol

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The card that SJS showed to the stewardess when he responded to the medical emergency call was probably one that certifies him to do first aid and more. In his line of work as trainer, he needs that so it came quite handy.
Yes, i do fear where the story thread can go. The second lead actress was shown in one story trailer as being in a fat suit, too. Well, too early to say, let's hope that the OTP sparks will see us through wherever this new drama takes us.

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The first episode was OK for me. Do not feel the excitement yet. But looking forward to...

Joo Eun is not that fat and heavy in my opinion. She just have a chubbier face, but the chubby version looks cuter and younger for her. :D

and.... I was screaming when I saw Sung Hoon!

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and... so did I! I have a soft spot for sunghoon ever since I watched faith.

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So ji sub turning my heart...chubby shin min-a is so cute...love the cherry plot

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what I am most astonished about is koreans are supposed to have a high IQ but the beauty-obsession totally nullifies that assumption. It just makes them look stupid

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lol that is a very bizarre generalisation you're making.

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lol IQ =/= EQ. What does a score derived from standarized tests have to do with the subjective perception of beauty? The incorrect use of IQ for instances such as this is such an abused concept.

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I just feel like people with an actual high intelligence wouldnt be so obsessed with sucha marginal thing, thats all

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this comment is really stupid and kind of prejudiced. first, get outta here with the assumption that koreans all have high IQs. it's just an extension of the "all asians are naturally smart" stereotype.

also, why do you feel the need to generalize an entire group of people? do you think other cultures don't have their own beauty standards? do you really think americans don't have strict beauty standards? last time i checked, the media is constantly hounding us with the message that slim and light-skinned = pretty. it happens everywhere.

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well, thank you, but I dont care for your barking.

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Well considering IQ can be improved with practice, as opposed to real brilliance and talent, I don't think there's causation between having high IQ and looking past the surface in terms of beauty.

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Cute alert ..so cute

And I got my minute of drooling ..shirtless so ji sup....

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And how many times did you replay sjs's shirtless scene? (Why is @TurkishRose not in this thread?):D

Chubby Joo-eun is still pretty & cute. And she is not that fat either.~The premiere episode was okay for me but not as okay as I expected it to be. Hopefully epi 2 will be better.

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@giegie well I pretty much enjoyed the bath tub scene I just wish that the camera was pointing a little lower ?

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HA! Yeah, uhm, what a tease. I'm also wondering in what sate TurkishRose is in now...you think she fainted somewhere, and now waiting for SJS to flash his medical badge to save her?

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Well she would be probably hyperventilating for sure

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Once again your recaps gave me a laugh-out-loud moment. Thanks javabeans!

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So Ji Sub in the bath....if only the shot was panned a tad lower. lol

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Me too!

I was screaming when I saw Sung Hoon! Looking forward to his bromance with So Ji Sub!

OMV will be my current crack right now.

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i don't think this episode's anything special, and the story's definitely pretty standard so far, but lbr i'm watching this because i want to see how shin mina and so ji sub are together (which, yunno, aren't we all HAHA) so i never had particularly high expectations for it. hopefully it turns out to be a nice, mindless watch at the very least, because they seem like they'd make a cute potential couple. :D

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i agree. i just want to watch them together and i already love them as a pair. do i expect deep plots from a rom-com? no. it's not like people usually watch comedy movies and sitcoms to learn lessons and think deeply.

i honestly don't even think the insults against joo eun will be conveyed as something that shouldn't be criticized. maybe i'm slightly getting my hopes up for a real exploration of body image, but again, i'm not expecting it. i just hope it's done sensibly and that so ji sub's character falls for her while she's still fat.

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Haha jung kyeo-woon is always trashing any fat girls in the drama and those girls will always turn into goddess. This drama has birth of a beauty feeling

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He is drawn to these shows. He also donned a fat suit for Romance Town.

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Is it good? Worth watching? So far from the feedback that I get, all said that this drama is hella boring

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I watched it, but still do not get the feels yet. Should wait for some more episodes to know whether I will keep in track or not.

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Thank you very much for this recap. I was dying to know what was in that episode, so now i can 'rest in peace' waiting for the next ep)))). Love you guys, you're the best

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Not exactly sure I am invested in this drama yet, but I will still give it a try since it is ShinMinah! It's not like she'd fail us right? Right? Please tell me this will be good.. Will be my first time watching So Ji Sub, so my judgment of him will be from here.. ~hides away from the torches and fangirls~ I hope it is just me, but it seems like the dramas he is famous in, he is always a serious character?...I don't know it could just me, but the pics I've seen from Master's Sun, he is always serious..
And now here too.. Even in his pictorials!!
Anyways, go show!! And thanks for the recap, JB!

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SJS's old dramas have him as a funny/loud character like a thousand years of love, glass slippers, we are dating nowadays he never portrays comedic, loud characters

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First off, nice name. ;)
Oh, now that I didn't know... So I'm guessing he has been around for a while...I just now can't imagine him as a funny/loud character, but I guess if before he was, it means he does know how to act.. That's good, then I have high hopes of this pairing! :D

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hehe thanks :) tbh I liked his older roles better before he got typecasted for serious roles

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ever since MISA he's played a lot of heavy drama oriented characters. he kind of got type cast a bit.
i agree though, i'd love to seem be careless and feckless in something instead of so serious all the time.

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sunghoonie oppa♡♡♡ really miss him after cool kiz on the block...finally i can watch him again... jisub oppa too... finally we can see rom com from jisub oppa after master's sun drama;)

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At least the "fat suit" looks realistic. She doesn't look outrageously big like some other dramas/movies have done.

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The thing that I liked was a current state. I mean in other dramas it's just ridiculous. For example the red cheeks and curly hair in She was pretty. But this was so realistic I even thougt for a second that maybe she really did go all in for this Drama :)

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My expectations were so low that I am gushing. It is so much better than I anticipated. I did not watch any preview and see any publicity about it so everything is new.

I like the heroine and the hero is not as much as a jerk as I thought. Better still I really like her fat suit it looks so natural. The ex is a jerk and I can't wait for his comuppance.

By the way, the manager guy has such a slang, I couldn't even catch his sentences.

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Neat so far but am sure we soon gone' be sad coz I Know Korean Dramas

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pfffttt. Haven't watched this yet. Thanks for the recap!

Lol at Jung Kyeo-Woon. He's a bastard in Birth of a Beauty too. Hahahaha

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Love the first episode especially the subtle humor in it. I have high hopes for this drama because So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah chose it after so long. They're my dream pairing and it didn't disappoint me.

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um? Maybe that's just me, but our chubby heroine looks right pretty to me. A real cutey. *sigh* I don't get Korean "beauty" standards. ... On the other hand, Japanese seem to even like their men skinny and w/o a hint of muscle, so yeah. Not that I'm all for Western ideas of what it means to be pretty/ a jock.

Unfortnately, this sort of drama is actually pretty realistic. Gals n guys who don't feel pretty/jock enough for their society will loose confidence and feel ugly. And once you feel ugly, all is lost. :/

What's worst is that because of these stereotypes we might also lose the confidence to choose a partner we like as opposed to what looks good in the eyes of society. *sigh*

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beauty standards everywhere are awful, tbh. even in the US, despite the new fat acceptance wave, there is still a certain body type and image that is put on a pedestal. honestly i don't think we'll ever get rid of beauty standards. they might change over time, but they'll always be there trying to control how we see ourselves.

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Don't confuse "beauty" (face) and having a fit/tone body.

Not that the "fat" SMA/Joo-eun is really that fat (more chubby) and SMA's beauty still shines thru (still a lot prettier than that homewrecker client and her rival).

While the pressure to be thin/fit is greater in Korea (in part due to hyper-competition), studies have shown that overweight women in the US earn less and have a tougher time climbing the corporate ladder (kinda like how taller men have it easier than shorter men in the corporate world).

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Is he a secret chaebol and a doctor, and also maybe a diplomat?

Not a diplomat. We've already had uri alien professor, and Young Ho probably is an alien trainer.

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actually, it does kind of make sense for a personal trainer and athlethe coach to know how to respond in emergency's and do the basics like administer an iv drip or give first aid. After all it sort of goes with the job right? I think you need to do an EMT course before you get your licence , as a requirement

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Is the price of seeing So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah together this weak show?
I think that price is too high and I'll pass, thanks.

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SJS character reminds me of his character in Master's Sun. since Shin Mina really picky about her project, I wonder why she chose this drama.

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javabeans ~

Thanks for the recap. Only watched the first half 'cause Dramafever locked the hell up. LOL. Couldn't get it to do anything. **Shakes fist at DF **

The rest of the interwebs worked fine but DF just plain locked up.

Will give it another go and give Episode 2 a chance.

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i think the so ji sub-shin min ah pairing is what gives ppl hope in this drama, so hopefully it gets better. the first episode wasn't bad, it was actually quite entertaining.

but and some, i am a bit disturb by how the drama tries to incorporate shin minah 'weight's issue' into the story so far. like how 2 well-build guys can't seem to easily carry her, and how she had a hard time putting on her belt. I found exaggeration as such is a bit too much...or maybe it was just me. from the looks of it, she doesn't even seem to be that overweight, esp with her height. i know that it is after all just a drama, but still.

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I like it so far. I always try to give a drama at least 2-4 episodes to really hook me, especially since the first two episodes are like a chapter to me, and episode 1 is only half of the story, and especially if it is a rom-com that is less plot- and more character-driven.

Joo-Eun seems like a great heroine already. She's smart, successful, and a kind person, but she's also found herself in a tough spot in life. The weight gain is relatable because it's not some sort of extreme, and they how that she's tried to work toward losing it, though it's not an obsession at the same time. Her discomfort with the changes in her body seem to less be with her being "fat" and more with her feeling like she's lost something of her old self, the Joo-Eun who "could do anything." (Since this Joo-Eun has struggled to lose weight, per the yo-yo dieting and This is also reflected in her career--she's achieved her dream of being a lawyer, but she's working for a firm that doesn't stand up to her ideals, and it's one where they send her on weekend business trips across the ocean.

It also doesn't seem to be saying that Joo-Eun is by any means ugly. Ji-Woong seemed smitten by her on the plane; her dirt bag boyfriend has gotten back with her multiple times over the course of 15 years; the only character so far that has rubbed me the wrong way is her best friend who can't stop obsessing about Joo-Eun's weight. Why not more of a Ha-Ri/Wifey friendshp like in She Was Pretty.

I do feel like we have very little sense of Young-Ho so far, and minimal time between him and Joo-Eun. I think episode 2 should fix that, or hope that it will. I've seen a number of comments already comparing Young-Ho to Joo Joong-Won from The Master's Sun, but I don't think we have enough yet to make that judgment other than they are both played by SJS--but even if they are similar characters, I'd rather have that wonderful blend of arrogant, kind, weird, and thoughtful than some wrist-grabbing, wishy-washy noble idiot man who also has anger management issues. Or, the kind of rom-com lead who you don't even remember after the show is over because while he's handsome, he's bland as can be.

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+1. I saw things almost exactly the way you did.

Except for the cringe-worthy depictions of U.S. gossip TV and makeover reality shows, I saw the groundwork for what could be a more positive direction than some may have thought. In it, Joo-Eun would to come to the decision that she wanted to regain her former sense of self and being able to do anything, that part of it will be living a more healthy lifestyle in all respects (physical and emotional), that Young-Ho will play a role in it, and on that journey is where a relationship begins. Plus, SMA and SJS have the depth to pull off that kind of story.

I'm cautiously optimistic about how the tone of the drama will go, and I think we'll have a better perspective on it with the next episode if the preview was anything to go on.

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Apparently K-netizens found the drama boring, but I might give it a go.

Onto more important things....DB banner omg.. Ji Chang Wook <3 still trying to get over Healer *sob*

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Think someone commented that the air stewardesses were cringing about JE's weight which is not the case. They were clearly uncomfortable because SJS had to cut off JE's clothing to treat her and they looked away more out of respect then anything which is the right thing to do. Cringing would have been shown as them looking on in disgust.

Anyways this is only the first episode, nothing mind blowing yet. Hope the writer doesn't get lazy and handle the rather sensitive subject matter well.

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