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Page Turner: Episode 1

KBS’s new youth drama Page Turner turned out to be a pleasant surprise—I went into it ready for full-on teen angst, and got a clever twist instead. There’s angst to be sure, but there’s also a cutting sense of humor in the tone that cracks me up and makes the drama far more interesting than it seems on the page.

If you’re anything like me, you were planning to check out the first episode anyway because the drama comes from a team of writers that includes I Hear Your Voice’s Park Hye-ryun, and stars Kim So-hyun and Ji-soo. Not that that guarantees a single thing in dramaland. But I liked it right away and laughed out loud multiple times during the first episode, so I’m definitely here to stay.

Sadly, the mini-drama is only 3 episodes; it’ll air on Saturday nights for two more weeks.

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Rachmaninoff – Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5 [Download]

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EPISODE 1: “Those who have been gifted by great heaven”

As an intro montage flashes by with three different students, the captions tell us that this is the story of three warm youths, who like page turners, assist in a performance as the person standing closest, always letting the star shine more than themselves. A page turner, we’re told, is “the perfect partner.”

The tone is ironic, since the images we get are the very opposite of that description: youths in angsty moments of turmoil, and page turners looking like they’d rather eat their own hands than help someone else be the star.

We get a parade of angry outbursts, and the captions insist repeatedly that this is a heartwarming story of three youths. You can practically hear the writer shouting, It is goddamn heartwarming, I swear!

The episode opens on our heroine, YOON YOO-SEUL (Kim So-hyun), a high school student who listens to dance music and puts on makeup… that is, until her mother comes out to the car. She switches right away to the classical music station and swears she was practicing for her test.

A group of boys ride by on bicycles led by their leader, jokey jock JUNG CHA-SHIK (Ji-soo). He doesn’t seem like the brightest bulb—he stops at an upright piano that’s been set up in a tunnel and calls it a keyboard because it doesn’t have its top open—but his friends aren’t any better since they take his word as fact.

Yoo-seul’s mom is a piano teacher, which explains her car covered in advertisements for the business. One of the stickers says, “National treasure pianist on board.” Oy, Mooooom. She’s super militant about Yoo-seul’s piano-playing too, while Yoo-seul looks bored and apathetic.

Mom wants her to win first place in the test because she was amazing, not just happen to win first place without trying like she did the last time, and brings up a classmate of hers, SEO JIN-MOK (Shin Jae-ha). Yoo-seul: “That psychopath?”

The test begins, and when it’s Jin-mok’s turn, Yoo-seul raises her hand and volunteers to be his page turner. The other students gasp and wonder what’s gotten into her, since Yoo-seul and Jin-mok are famously bitter rivals.

In flashback, Mom orders Yoo-seul to be his page turner for the test, because she could sabotage his performance by being slightly off in timing. Yoo-seul balks and wonders why she can’t just beat him by playing better (Yes, Mom, why can’t she do that?), but Mom insists that if she doesn’t get caught, this is part of the skill of winning. Great life lesson.

Jin-mok picks from one of the sealed envelopes for his blind test, and chooses Chopin’s Waltz in E minor, which makes Yoo-seul smirk. He plays it well, and everyone waits with bated breath for the moment when Yoo-seul has to turn his first page…

She stands up and flips the page right on cue, much to everyone’s surprise, and Mom actually exclaims her frustration from the audience.

A flashback shows us that Mom was Jin-mok’s piano teacher when he was young, and she tried to teach him to play less robotically with more feeling. He didn’t understand the difference, and Mom blurted that he was a psychopath. Little Jin-mok simply told his father that he wasn’t at the level to be taught by some lowly neighborhood piano teacher who brings her daughter to lessons, and demanded she be fired.

In the present, Jin-mok finishes the piece perfectly and is satisfied, though other students in the audience comment that it’s too perfect, like a computer played it. As Jin-mok stands up to bow, he murmurs to Yoo-seul that he expected her to try and trip him up. She says she was thinking about it, but realized as soon as he started playing that she didn’t need to. Ouch.

In case we couldn’t tell, we’re introduced to Yoo-seul as Han Joo Arts High School’s first-place piano student. When it’s Yoo-seul’s turn for the test, Jin-mok raises his hand to be her page turner. Yoo-seul doesn’t look pleased about that, or the piece she has to play: Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23 No. 5 (posted above).

As Yoo-seul begins to play, we return to the flashback where Little Jin-mok wanted Yoo-seul’s mom fired. Mom pleaded on her knees to keep her job, obviously dependent on the income, but Jin-mok’s father had fired her anyway, and Little Jin-mok was pleased since she was the only teacher who didn’t think he was a genius.

Mom had swallowed her pride and said she was wrong, when suddenly Yoo-seul began to play the waltz perfectly, despite never having been taught a day in her life. Mom gasped and discovered that her child was the genius, which made Little Jin-mok ragey. He slammed the piano cover down on Yoo-seul’s hands, and Mom reached in to save them just in time, while injuring her own. Geez, maybe he is a psychopath.

We return to Yoo-seul’s test, and everyone is anxious as Jin-mok stands up to turn her page. He flips it in time… but yanks so hard that the whole booklet falls to the ground, and everything comes to a screeching halt.

Jin-mok apologizes and says he must’ve been nervous, and reaches down to pick up the sheet music, but Yoo-seul knocks his hand away, making the whole auditorium tense up. She says she must be nervous too, and the other students wonder if they’ll come to blows.

But Yoo-seul closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, and then resumes the piece without sheet music. (Isn’t that… kind of normal at her level?) The other students are amazed and the teachers are impressed, and in any case, Jin-mok ends up inadvertently making her look even better.

Jin-mok mutters, “Dammit,” under his breath as he stalks offstage, and we’re introduced to him as the second-place student in the piano department.

It’s a whole other world at the athletes’ high school, where our jokester jock Cha-shik is being given a pep talk before his pole vault meet. Cha-shik is a loud, surly hothead, and one thing’s for sure—he loves his mommy. He catches sight of another ajumma knocking into his mother in the bleachers, and he gets all fumey about it, wanting an apology from the other ajumma’s kid.

Coach has to reel him in and point out that the other kid is a national athlete who jumps 17cm higher than him, and Cha-shik asks if that’s why he’s looking down on his mother. Coach decides to roll with that (because Cha-shik isn’t so bright, teehee), and uses his anger to motivate him.

Of course Cha-shik goes overboard, raising the bar (literally, the bar he has to jump over) by 40cm, until Coach has to bargain with him to do just enough to beat the other guy. Up in the bleachers, Mom asks the national athlete’s parents if they want to make a bet with her over whether her son will clear the jump, and says that if she loses they can have her laptop, and if she wins they have to take her business card.

Cha-shik becomes very quiet and focused for those few seconds before his jump, which must be the only time his mouth isn’t running off. He chalks up his hands, steadies his pole, and takes off in a full sprint, flying into the air and clearing the bar with ease.

He lands with a thud on the mat and doesn’t even register what happened until he looks up and sees that the bar is still there, and then breaks out in the biggest wide-eyed walloping cheer. He’s introduced to us as Woojung Athletics High School’s pole-vaulter and now, a “national athlete.” Woohoo!

Cha-shik is super hammy about the win, flexing his muscles in celebration like a big cheeseball. It’s very embarrassing and very cute. Mom happily hands out her card to the other kid’s parents, and says she’s a freelance writer available for anything from biographies to apology letters. Cha-shik, meanwhile, is so amped up from his jump that he wants to break the national record next.

Yoo-seul comes out from her test and finds Mom waiting for her. Mom is angry about Yoo-seul defying her instructions when Jin-mok quite obviously sabotaged her performance, though she’s sugary sweet to Jin-mok’s face and asks if he needs a ride and how his parents are doing.

Jin-mok is as condescending to Mom as ever, and that irks Yoo-seul enough for her to walk up and challenge him right there: “You dropped it on purpose, didn’t you?” She says with a smirk that it didn’t matter since she’d memorized the piece, and Jin-mok asks if she’s showing off that she’s a genius.

Yoo-seul steps right up to his face and says, “How many times do I have to say it? I’m not a genius. You’re just not much of anything.” That leaves Jin-mok shaking in rage, and when Yoo-seul asks Mom if that was enough to squash him, Mom says it’s not even close. Yikes.

Jin-mok channels his rage by marching into a church and praying for God to smite his enemy, lol.

As Jin-mok prays, Cha-shik readies for his second jump. He runs and leaps over the bar, but on his way down he lands nuts-first right into his pole. Owwwwwwwwwww. Oh, of all the injuries! Is it wrong that I’m dying of laughter?

At the same time, Yoo-seul and Mom are driving down the street, and Yoo-seul turns and sees it first in slow motion: a truck headed straight for them. The screen goes white as they collide, and as Jin-mok ends his prayer in church. A second later, he gets the call that Yoo-seul was just in a car accident, and he looks up at the altar in shock. He thinks he caused it? Okay, that’s funny.

Mom is unscathed, but Yoo-seul is near blind from the accident. She can tell when light is being flashed in her eyes but can’t see anything beyond that, and Mom freaks out when the doctor says it’s inoperable, asking how she’ll play piano then.

Both Yoo-seul and the doctor are a little appalled, and the doc says that her daughter’s health is more important, but Mom screams, “Piano is my daughter, and my daughter is piano! Piano is everything to her!” Agh, seriously?

Mom drags her out of there and says they’re checking out to go find a better doctor and that they’ll catch up on all the piano practice they missed while in the hospital, entirely missing the detached look on Yoo-seul’s face.

Mom waits till she’s in the bathroom down the hall to break down in wailing sobs, though she pretends like nothing happened when she comes back out.

Down the hall, Cha-shik is consulting with his doctor, who gives his family jewels a clean bill of health and says there won’t be any problem with Cha-shik getting married or having kids. Well that’s a relief. The doc discovered a problem elsewhere though—it’s his spine, and he’ll need surgery to realign his vertebrae.

Cha-shik asks what that means for him as an athlete, and swears that he’s totally capable of putting all his effort into rehabilitation training. But the doctor says he’ll have to give up on being an athlete, and recommends surgery right away.

Cha-shik is stricken, but he puts on a smile for Mom and says the news would’ve been way worse in the reverse, if his back had been fine and his nuts broken. Pfft. You gotta love the kid for staying positive. Mom can tell he’s just smiling for her benefit though.

Jin-mok, meanwhile, has become so riddled with guilt that every religious symbol in his room turns into an oppressive reminder of his horrible prayer that came true. He plays the piano like he’s going to break it, and then finally decides to face his fear.

He walks into a flower shop and asks for the florist to just pick whatever flowers and wrap them carelessly, swearing that they’re for his enemy. He stops her when she says the flowers he picked mean “forever love,” and asks if she doesn’t have anything that means “forgive me.” Aw.

At the hospital, Yoo-seul walks into Cha-shik on the stairwell when she pokes him by accident with her walking stick. She asks if this is the stairwell that leads to the roof, and Cha-shik says it’s the other set of stairs, offering to lead her there. Ack, don’t help her get up there! She refuses to let him hold her hand, so he tells her to hold his arm then.

Jin-mok arrives with a flower bouquet just as Yoo-seul and Cha-shik pass by in the lobby, and he gasps to see that she’s really gone blind. Cha-shik leads Yoo-seul all the way up to the roof, where she asks if anyone else is around and thanks him.

She waits till he leaves and then reaches out to the railing, and then with trembling hands, she starts to climb over the top. She’s hanging precariously over the edge when Jin-mok arrives and calls out her name, asking what she’s about to do.

Yoo-seul tells him not to come any closer, and at that, Cha-shik turns back to look at her. Jin-mok asks if she really can’t see him, and she confirms it, guessing that it makes him happy. He says he was worried about her, but she asks why he’d be worried for her sake. She says bitterly that she’s happy her eyes turned out this way: “Now I don’t have to see your face that makes me want to vomit, or sheet music that looks like cockroaches have been spilled onto it. It feels great!”

She says she was actually happy to go blind, but then she starts to cry as she says, “But she said to play. My mom said to play anyway. Even though my eyes are like this, she told me to play piano, twice, three times as hard! What kind of mother does that? What kind of mother does that?!”

Yoo-seul screams that this is all Jin-mok’s fault—that her mother changed that day ten years ago when he belittled her and squashed her pride. She throws down the little finger exerciser her mother always makes her use, and says, “I’m tired of it all now—pretending to like piano, hating you. You hate a world with me in it, don’t you? I do too. So I’m going to stop now.”

Jin-mok asks, “Stop what?” but doesn’t realize what she’s about to do before it’s too late. Yoo-seul shuts her eyes and lets go, falling back in slow motion…

Jin-mok screams her name and runs to the railing… where she drops about five feet right into Cha-shik’s arms below. Hahahahahaha. That is priceless.

Yoo-seul flails and screams and then realizes she didn’t die, and Cha-shik puts her down and says this is the parking lot, not the roof. He took one look at her and knew she’d try something stupid, so he brought her here. Lol.

Yoo-seul gets mad at him for tricking her, but Cha-shik points out that she tricked her mom by acting nice and pretending to like piano: “Don’t blame your mom. And don’t blame that guy either.” He sighs and apologizes for interfering with her suicide, deciding that maybe she should go through with it after all.

Jin-mok yells at him for that remark, asking if he can’t read the situation properly, and Cha-shik scoffs that Jin-mok must have a good handle on it if he brought a blind girl flowers. Ha. Jin-mok deflates as he looks down at his bouquet.

Cha-shik picks up the finger exerciser that Yoo-seul threw away before walking off, and then on the way home, he tells his mom all about his eventful day. Mom says he saved that girl’s life, and he says he doesn’t really get why someone who’s got it all would want to kill herself.

Mom asks what he was doing on the roof to begin with, and Cha-shik gets curiously evasive as he blurts that he just wanted some fresh air. Mom looks worried and doesn’t really believe his lame answer, but he gets past the moment by insisting that he didn’t go up there to smoke, if that’s what she’s thinking. I don’t think that’s what she’s worried about, buddy. But I think you know that.

It’s raining when they come up out of the subway so Mom takes out an umbrella, which is busted and shoots out like a rocket instead of opening. Cha-shik busts out laughing, but it’s not a genuine laugh—it’s an overcompensating, awkward laugh, and he starts laughing so hard he starts to cry.

Mom sees right through it and tells him it’s going to be okay, and Cha-shik starts to cry for real, though he still forces a jokey tone: “I am, it’s okay! It’s just funny is why. Because that umbrella is just like me. It’s just so funny!”

His words are light but he can’t hide his tears, and it’s only when Mom hugs him that he finally lets go of the façade and asks what he’s supposed to do now, when he’s got nothing left without sports. He shouts into the universe, “I have that one thing, and you take it away?!” Mom echoes his complaint, and he sobs into her shoulder.

The ensuing days are rough on Cha-shik. He drops out of school and falls into depression, never once leaving his room or doing anything. Mom worries, remembering what he said that night when he cried: “Give me a reason, Mom. Without sports, what am I supposed to live for?” Mom takes a photo out from an album and wonders now if this could become a reason.

Yoo-seul has adjusted somewhat to her new life, and has begun to learn braille. Her mother has found a piano teacher who works with blind students, and Yoo-seul looks dejected as she agrees to lessons.

As Mom chatters on, Yoo-seul thinks back to all the times she’d tried to pursue other interests or defied Mom’s orders, and how she’d always just caved in the end and told Mom what she wanted to hear. She remembers Cha-shik pointing out that she’s the one who tricked her mom into believing she loved piano, and she finally gathers the courage to speak up. She tells Mom that she has something to say…

Cha-shik’s mom tries to coax him out to eat dinner, and it’s not until she mentions his father that he perks up and comes out of his room. This is apparently the first time that Mom is telling him about Dad, who is a world-famous pianist. Cha-shik doesn’t believe it at first, until Mom points out his long delicate fingers, and the fact that “Für Elise” is his ringtone, heh.

Cha-shik gets all excited like that’s proof of something, remembering how he cried for no reason while watching that Park Shin-yang drama where he played piano, and decides: “I must’ve cried because the music moved me!” Okay, I love this character.

Mom’s whole point is that he can’t go around calling himself trash anymore, which totally works on him. Cha-shik asks if Dad knows about him, and Mom admits no, they had already broken up when she found out she was pregnant, and she was too ashamed of where she was at that point in her life to go back to him.

Cha-shik guesses that now, she’s too ashamed of her son to show him to his father, chastising himself for hiding in his room. Mom just lifts his chin with her finger and declares that he’s better looking than Dad. She says he just doesn’t know himself very well yet, but she knows how great he is because he takes after his father.

Mom says he can go back to his normal braggy self now, and assures Cha-shik that pole-vaulting was just one of a gazillion talents that his father passed on to him. Cha-shik asks eagerly if he picks a different path and becomes someone great, is it okay if he finds Dad? Mom says of course, and Cha-shik beams.

Meanwhile, Yoo-seul finally speaks up for herself and declares that she’ll go to school by herself and doesn’t need Mom’s help. Mom argues, but Yoo-seul says she can’t have Mom living her entire life for her just because she can’t see. She says she’s voicing what she wants for the first time in her life, and asks Mom to respect her wishes.

Yoo-seul declares that she’ll go to school and study and get good grades and graduate… but she’s going to quit piano. Mom flips out, but Yoo-seul says she can’t go as far as Mom wants with her eyes like this, and that Mom knows it too. She says she doesn’t want to start a fight that she knows she’ll lose.

Cha-shik runs through the streets, over the moon about his new purpose in life, and runs all the way to a concert hall where there are posters of his famous pianist father. Cha-shik compares their hands and decides that they are alike, and tells his father to wait just a little while and he’ll come to see him. He places his hands over his father’s in the poster and greets the piano excitedly.

At the same time, Yoo-seul firmly declares to her mother: “I’m going to quit piano.” Just as Cha-shik says, “Your son Jung Cha-shik is going to start piano!”

 
COMMENTS

I did not expect to laugh as much as I did in a drama about such serious, earnest themes. But the drama has a playful tone to it, where characters in the world are very serious, but we’re able to see the irony and the humor in the moments, and what could be over-the-top melodrama is undercut with wit. I just about died laughing when Yoo-seul jumped off the roof and landed five feet below, after her whole dramatic speech. It doesn’t negate what’s sincere about her problems, but I love that it takes the steam out of her pity party, and I especially love that Cha-shik gets her to stop blaming others and consider that she’s part of the problem by doing whatever Mom wants of her.

I like that they took a risk with Yoo-seul by making her unlikable at the start, though I wouldn’t say she’s entirely unlikable; she’s sympathetic, but by and large she’s prickly and mean and not at all modest about being a geeeenius. (Though really, how glad am I that the girl gets to be the genius this time!) Kim So-hyun just makes me root for her anyway though, because she’s just damn good like that. She makes me believe that Yoo-seul’s talent feels like an oppressive curse to her right now, and that she’s more than just bratty and acting out—she’s deeply unhappy. I’m sure that Cha-shik will be a good influence on her and rub some of his sunniness onto her, which is going to be a very entertaining process to watch.

Man, Cha-shik is such a great character. I mean, they’re all good characters with lots of potential, but Cha-shik is so lovable right away. He’s delightfully dim, but I like that it doesn’t necessarily preclude depth in his character. He just keeps that stuff under the surface, and I really liked how his reaction to losing his dream was delayed so that we could watch his denial break down. That was a great moment, and I loved the reversal, how Yoo-seul’s moment of angst was undercut with surprising humor, while his laughter turned into an emotional breakdown. Even narratively they’re opposites in every way. I kind of like the randomness of a surly jock becoming a classical pianist, but I worry about him putting too much stock in the Dad story—it could be true, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mom invented the whole thing just to get him out of his funk. Maybe the point is that he just needed a purpose in life regardless of the motivation, and I won’t argue, especially because I’m pretty sure he went up to that roof with thoughts of suicide, but it smells of heartbreak, I tell ya.

I was most surprised to like Jin-mok, because I thought he’d just be the classic Salieri archetype of these kinds of dramas, the jealous second-best student who tries twice as hard and can never beat the naturally gifted heroine. He may very well remain an antagonist for Yoo-seul, but he showed a softer, sincere side that promises something even better. I know that right now it’s motivated by guilt, however misplaced (and hilariously at that, since he actually believes God struck down his enemy because he asked), but there are signs of adorable haplessness in there, and genuine regret, and I believe he meant it when he said he was worried about Yoo-seul. He might even like her like the florist teased, which will only make Cha-shik’s arrival at school more exciting since it’ll propel more change in Jin-mok. In any case, I’m looking forward to the rest of the short series. If I laughed this much in the episode with all the heartbreaking setup, it bodes well for the rest to come.

 
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It was too cute. The acting is on point and I need more.
About time Ji Soo got his lead role

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Jisoo is love. He is so good with emotional scenes...I always end up crying. It was good to see him joking around and smiling.....very different from his last 2 roles. Off to read.

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he has become my weakness now... the one who can lift the mood and break it down within second.

...and that he become the heartthrob because all his characters and the way he presents it. it's just addicting to have a high-schooler like that!

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Jisoo does not disappoint! And since School 2015 I've became a fan of kim So Hyun too. Looking forward to next weeks ep!

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omg I loved the first episode. I kind of wish that they made this like a full length 12 ep drama, because based on the 1st episode it looks like it could be made into a longer drama. I really liked all 3 leads chemistry and I was laughing so hard when he caught her lol. I don't like yoon seul unlikeable at all! maybe because kim so hyun is playing her wonderfully? anyways, someone please cast sohyun and jisoo for a different drama!

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This sounds interesting.
Too bad it has only 3 episodes!

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Yay! You're recapping. I like that basically for the first episode Ji Soo's character is almost a Candy - cheerful, hardworking, and poor. Now, unlike a typically Candy he will be saved by his own talents as opposed to exclusively someone else realizing his sunny and bright nature. Which, come to think of it, might be a a nice evolution of the Candy character (and maybe happening already, She Was Pretty for example).

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I didn't think this would be so much FUN! Love the nice mashup of melodrama and comedy.

I stan Jisoo's character so much. Lol... bubble wrap! - now that's depressing.

Can't wait for the next episode :)

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I though the bubble wrap was a genius idea... shame my bed is nowhere near the window... haha...

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but bubble wrap popping is seriously addictive, even in real life. I love popping mine when I get a delivery wrapped in it.

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you too? :D

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just a quick Q- why did he have bubble wrap on his windows? is this common practice?

hi-5 on the addiction to bubble wrap popping lol

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Some people put bubble wrap on windows to raise the temperature in a room. This is good to save on heating costs especially on winters.

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The air pockets in the bubble wrap act as a good insulator. Good insulating windows also have two glass panes with air between them.

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I love it - love story or no, this was a fun, heartfelt watch and a good reminder of just why Park Hae-ryun is such a good writer.

Kim So-hyun really is a gift. I actually think it's great that Yoo-seul is "unlikable" at first, because the way Kim So-hyun plays her makes her feel so real - prickly and prideful, but also lost and vulnerable. And anyway, give me a cagey, proud or ~unlikable~ character (whether it's Kim So-hyun here, Gong Hyo-jin and IU in The Producers, Chae Soo-bin in Sassy Go Go, Kim Ji-won in Heirs) over the standard Candy any day, it makes for a much more engaging watch when girls are allowed to behave like people with actual personalities and not walking tropes of niceness.

I love Ji-soo here. I'm A-ok with it if this drama involves no romance and just focuses on friendship, because I am that happy with Cha-shik actually being so different from Bokdongie and Seo Ha-joon - this time he's the big overexcited loyal puppy, instead of the hurt and withdrawn/distrustful abused puppy. But he still does a champion job of communicating hurt right under the surface, only this time there's humour to go with it. (that scene at the 'rooftop', I almost died laughing when Yoo-seul turned out to be falling all of five feet).

Also Shin Jae-ha is a total chameleon, I can hardly believe this is the same kid from Pinocchio and SGG! I love his antagonism towards Yoo-seul and how it crumbled into serious remorse (I mean, logic says of COURSE the accident wasn't his fault but going by the number of religious items in the house and the fervency and apparent frequency of his prayers to God to teach Yoo-seul a lesson, I think he sincerely believes his prayers led to the ultimate 'be careful what you wish for' scenario.

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+1

Page Turner, as expected from Park Hye-ryun, didn't disappoint. It's great when you see a talented bunch of people on your screen with a very good material to work on.

KSH is a delight to watch. At such a young age, she's able to express a certain sense of vulnerability that older actors/actresses are not able to. Jisoo, as always, brings a lot of heart to the character that he portrays. I love that Cha-shik is not your usual bad boy with the usual daddy/mommy issues. I LOL'd so hard when he injured his family jewel and teared up when he was laughing and crying in one scene. Loved SJH as well. I really want to hug him the whole time that he's on screen.

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Yes yes kim so hyun is too good.Her acting is better than some of the popular actresses these days,[yes I'm looking at you SHK]and she carries emotions like no others .The monologue when she was getting down for suicide was perfect,her frustration showed.And also ji soo..the boy is so much better than his age groups,and the humor suits him too.Most of all,the story is great and the guy getting all jealous of ksh's character is promising.I am sad that all the minidramas have more essence than the regular dramas these days,and maybe this is going to be a trend in coming years.The story is different and clever..and the dialogues are meaningful.Would be waiting for these young actors to grow up fast and amaze us with more strong roles.

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I loved this so much it hurt! I can't wait for next week!

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Same here. I thought it'll be a tearfest left and right. But there was a good balance of humor and angst. I just really love these three's portrayal of their characters. They are all soooo good, I swear. Jisoo is adorably funny in his comedic moments, Kim So-hyun and Shin Hae-ja manage being as funny despite their seriousness. To be honest, it is an on-point casting for the three of them.

My favorite moment was Cha-sik breaking down outside the hospital. I mean I've seen a lot of those kinds of scene, but it just really moved me. Of course I was expecting for Jisoo to make me cry here (like he always does), but in that moment, it just really felt like Cha-sik is someone I know and I can't help but share his pain. I love his momma's boy angle, too. So adorable. Adorable is now synonymous to Jisoo.

As expected of Park Hye-ryun, there was some kind of magical or unexplainable moment again with Jin-mok's prayer and how it was so timely with Yoo-seul (and also Cha-sik's) accident. I found it to be a nice addition to the entire story because it sets a curiousity among us whether some things happen randomly or were they a plan of a higher force. Do we meet people randomly, or was it planned all along?

I am really excited for the next one. It is the start for the three to come together, and based on the preview, for romance to take place. Already, I'm feeling the same zing! Yoo-seul feels when hers and Cha-sik's hand make contact.

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from what I've seen of Ji-soo, he's a natural at emoting, and that laugh-crying breakdown just felt so genuine, I wasn't even thinking well played there, just that poor Cha-shik must be devastated but was trying so hard to hold it in for his ma's sake.

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Actually, same thoughts with you. I was just watching the entire show thinking about each and everyone of the characters as they are, not Jisoo or Kim So-hyun or Shin Hae-ja. It was only after the episode that I realized how well they played their characters. In that moment too with Cha-sik's mom, I was just so into the moment, it became my total fave from the episode.

(also idk if it's relevant, but i'm a jisoo stan hehehe)

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* SHIN JAE-HA

I'm sorry :(

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This drama really reminds me of why I like this writer. She's not afraid to make her heroine's proud, accomplished and gutsy, unlike the usual kdrama candy's.

Jisoo and Kim Soo hyun were awesome, as I expected. Ji soo always makes crying scenes look good (I wish I could look half as good crying).

They really are playing two opposite characters. I loved healer ajuma's supportive mother. And agree with her, her son's young. How often do teenagers know what they'll do for life? And that's okay.

The only part of this that gave me pause was Kim Soo Hyun's genius piano playing. To me, it's not very realistic for her to play like that without touching a piano.

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yeah, no Park Hae-ryun heroine has ever been a helpless Candy sort. It's really refreshing, because characters tend to feel more real when they're not 100 percent perfect and the narrative actually acknowledges it (as opposed to Candy stories where people literally act like they're too stupid to live but we're somehow supposed to buy that they're so amazing that everyone in the vicinity falls in love with them)

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aigooooo JiSoo yahhhhhh!!! I haven't actually watched the ep because i'll wait until all 3 of them are out, but it makes me soooo happyyy that JiSoo's character is so adorable here too!!!! Like seriously he's just so cute i can't even djkfnksdhivhlui he's like the contrary of Kim So Hyun, I've loved every single character JS has played and disliked all of hers (starting w/ her hateful character in TMETS) LOL but TBH, I came here for beloved JiSoo and I'm staying because of him

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I love KSH because she doesn't play it safe and doesn't just play candy roles like many of other actresses. she can play innocent to totally evil characters and I love that contrast.

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yeah i think her acting is ok so while i don't have any problem w/ KSH's acting skills I simply can't unsee her previous characters, namely the young 2nd lead in TMETS, the young lead in I miss You and her school 2015 characters. it's really not her fault tho, it's the writers' because the characters were just so unappealing (to me), like I could not connect w/them at all.

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I agree with you that her character in TMETS is unappealing (I hate her so much in that drama, guess that's what the writer wanted lol), but I LOVExn times Go Eun Byul in School 2015, such a badass :)) you can watch We all cry differently too, it's a short movie with a good plot, her character is flawed yet I can totally connect with her T.T And Sohyun's character in I hear your voice is exactly what I want to see in Kdramaland :3

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I found the recap much funnier than the episode itself, since I laughed out loud reading it.

One additional thing I found funny in the drama. That moment when ex-athlete guy was brooding in his room squishing… bubble foil. Now, I am not sure how bubble foil fits into depression states, but it was kinda hilarious to see him do that.

Anyhow the whole drama was so refreshingly funny, I could do with a whole cour instead of just 3 eps, but I am going to take what's given and be happy with that. So far there's plenty that makes me happy when it comes to Page Turner!

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Ji Soo as a happy kid is simply the best thing to happen in kdramaland. I know he had his sadness moments, but this whole hopeful feel we have for his character is amazing, it's so great to see him without all the angst. Don't get me wrong, his angsty acting is also amazing but I'm so happy, so happy to see him showing a new side of his acting.

Ok, now to other two main characters: Kim So Hyun is always great. I loved the whole conflicted/religious aura of Shin Jae Ha's character. I've watched less than 30 dramas, so I have never seen anything like this before.

Although this is a sort of high school drama, it has an entirely new feeling. And Ji Soo can show teenage feelings so well for some who will be 23 in like three days! I'm incredibly surprised by this episode and, although initially I felt sad with the length of the drama, I think it's perfect to keep it the way it is. Longer stories tend to do not be that good lately.

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Great first episode. And I actually like all three characters. Can't wait for next Saturday to know more about them and how they will influence each other...
And thank you for recapping, I have just finished watching the episode and wondered whether Dramabeans would recap it...and voila, here it is :--)

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Ahhhhhh! Where can I find a Jung Cha Shik!? He is the most lovable thing ever and I'm already mourning the fact that I only get 2 more episodes of him. You guys can keep Angry Mom' Ji Soo, just let me have this one please.

Love it so far. It would have been great if it could have been a 12 episode drama like Sassy Go Go.

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ok im like the only one who was underwhelmed. im hoping i will love it more by the next episode. ill stick with it because i love the leads

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After just one episode, I already like this about a 100 times more than DOTS, probably because there is an actual plot that doesn't just involve pretty people flirting/having long drawn out conversations that lead to nothing with random fight scenes interspersed.

I also prefer the acting of the leads in Page Turner, than the leads in DOTS. oop. Probably because the script gives them more to work with as opposed to what SJK and SHG are given.

Anyway, Park Hye Ryun continues to deliver on creative, smart, though-provoking scripts, she deserves a lot more credit then she gets as opposed to the kind of scripts/dramas that get praised these days.

Also, Kim So Hyun was beyond impressive, I think I prefer her acting to some actresses decades older than her. She, with Kim Yoo Jung are going to be snatching every important drama/film role within the next 5-10 years methinks.

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What is the need to compare this with dots??? I know many people don't like dots but why do you guys keep on digging it ??? These two are certainly two different dramas with no relation or whatsoever

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On the other hand, I don't see any problems comparing Page Turner to DOTS. Comparing to the much-hyped, big-budgetted DOTS, Page Turner has a much more solid plot.

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+1

DOTS plot is lame. Don't see how it gets such high ratings.

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Agreed. I see how it gets high ratings, but people are deluding themselves if they think this is quality LMAO.

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Because I can.

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I can't believe I'm saying this but I was a bit underwhelmed by the first episode. Not saying I didn't like it because I did, I don't know my expectations were too high or something... I definitely still felt a lot of Park Hyeryun's unique elements in it, but maybe it's because she co-wrote it with someone else that it felt a bit disingenuous in some areas too. For example, that piano exam in the beginning where these two random students sat there explaining what we were supposed see and think about the scene. I mean, I get that this mechanism is used a lot in kdrama, but usually she manages to make it feel organic and casual while this felt particularly obvious and jarring. The production was choppy to me, that probably has a lot to do with it. I'm not usually this harsh when it comes to first episodes, but considering how we only have 3...

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Yeah, the editing is bit choppy at times. But since the story is good and the characters are so endearing, I can overlook that. Maybe it's because they are busy setting up the background story..
Let's just see whether it'll fare better in the next 2 eps.

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@soapbox

Me too. I found the first episode to be bland, although Kim So Hyun nailed the feisty teenager bits. I was significantly underwhelmed by Ji Soo's performance of innocent wide-eyed teenager who couldn't figure out what to do with himself until mom clued him in. Idk, maybe the drama will grow on me with the next two episodes, but I'm not holding my breath.

One question that puzzled me, how in the world were they able to film the accident that Ji Soo had? I watched that scene twice and cringed each time I saw it. Excellent filming of that scene, I must say!

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Yesss! Thanks for recapping, GF! Was really hoping to see recaps for this show here. ^^

Looove the characters and the plot so far. Was seriously anticipating this drama special ever since I found out about the leads last year. I'm watching all things Jisoo, and KSH has always been amazing. And I think SJH is really talented in the diverse characters I've seen of him in Pinocchio, Sassy Go Go, and now here. So happy it's finally airing!

The characters are wonderfully layered and the plot is refreshing. I too like that the heroine is the genius and the male lead is more of the candy role. Jisoo as Chashik is so on point and totally adorable!! Love the fact he's playing a sunny, positive, optimistic dude who is a little dense, but also very straightforward and has a good sense. Like telling Yooseul how she's been misleading her mom into thinking she loves piano and leading her to the parking lot instead of the roof. I also love his relationship with his mommy and the scene of him breaking down really hit the spot. Love Jisoo's emotional range. And so happy that he can play an athlete and a pianist. I love the bubble wrap popping, too. LOL

KSH is perfect as Yooseul and SJH is great as Jinmok. It's really good to see that these two actually go back all the way as kids and it was what happened to Yooseul's mom that started this whole battle. The whole prayer leading to accident scene was well portrayed. Yooseul obviously needed something to bring down her pride a notch and perhaps having this setback will help her grow and stand up to mom while discovering something that genuinely makes her happy. Jinmok doesn't seem beyond help and actually cares for Yooseul's well being.

I really like the irony intertwined with humour sprinkled throughout the hour. The serious scenes punctuated with something the audience didn't anticipate make the show more interesting, whether it's the parking lot scene or Chashik's doc consultation. Can't wait to dig further into this story and see how the three characters will develop. ^^V

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Like it!

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with kim so hyun and the actor in this drama, I just hope that there's enough good script out there cause here's the actress/actor and they need something to make them shines more . . .

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Sometimes Kim So-hyun acts unnaturally stiff, like sitting extra-straight and super still in her chair and such, but this time it suits her role. I find the story cute and, like Girlfriday said, love how parallel the breakdowns were between the two stars. Kim So-Hyun as a bratty genius pianist is just cute to watch lol, and so is Ji Soo, whose devotion to his mom juxtaposing his showing-off attitude is great. This could seriously be longer than 3 episodes; maybe not a full 16, but at least more than 3. I want moreeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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I think it's because she's super proper and reserved in real life? lol she always has good posture.

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I know exactly what you feel Julzevias, I also want mooooooooooooreeeeee.......

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loved loved loved it!!! can't wait for the next two episodes.

btw, is it just me or does the man in the photo look like that piano teacher/ pianist from drama "the time I've loved you"?

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It is the same actor... I looked him up to see if he was a real pianist since it seemed coincidental that he plays one in both dramas.

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*too coincidental

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Great first episode! I love all the characters - yeseol, cha sik and jin mok. I like that the writer didnt make jin mok a stock character and i adored the moment he bought her flowers to say sorry (for praying to god and thinking its his fault she went blind LOL this will forever be funny hehehe) even tho like cha sik, i questioned his idea of buying flowers for someone who cant see.

I love all the funny moments peppered thought out the episode along with the teenage angst scenes...i truly love all this writer's dramas and have faith that she will deliver in the next 2 episodes......also why only 3 episodes??? This could have made a nice 16 episode show as it will mean more ji soo (why has no one mentioned the purple hightlights in his hair?? LOOOOL) and kim soo hyun.

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What a great first episode. Love the setup, love the tone, and especially love all those three wonderful characters. I foresee a much more sizzling chemistry in the next episode when those 3 finally share a scene. I like their individual shot with their family, but that hospital scene is just sooo great. Looking forward for the friendship and blossoming romance.

Sigh... It's a pity it's only a 3-eps mini drama. I think it has many potential to be explored for a full 8/10 eps drama. Well, I'll take what I can get..

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I love love love page turner!!!

It's only the first episode and already I am pulled into this world, I feel connected with the characters.

This is one of the reasons why I am a fan of this writer,
the story manages to keep it balanced with just the right amount of humor, angst and drama.

Cha Shik may appear dim but don't be fooled because he has already seen past Yoo Seul's Prickly wall to cut right to the heart of the matter without hesitation.

He is already affecting Yoo Seul from one meeting so what will happen when he is around all of the time.

It is going to be fun to see the changes Cha Shik is going to bring into Yoo Seul and Jin Mook lives and I am here for it.

Why is it only three episodes though? Why?

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Amazing acting and writing together, it's a shame the drama isn't longer. I'm in love with the humor that presents the young people's problems seriously but still in a way that doesn't have me angsting for the main characters the entire time. Does anyone have suggestions for good youth dramas, like Sassy or Who Are You? Three episodes just isn't enough to satisfy my taste for a good youth drama!

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Shut Up Flower Boy Band is an amaaaaaazing youth drama.

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Loved it! The thing I like about Park Hye-ryun's dramas is the strong characterization. No character feels two-dimensional, even the moms. I'm already really invested in all three leads (plus the young actors playing them are just brimming with talent!).

Cha-sik is such a bumble head in that adorable, endearing way. I could relate to him absentmindedly fiddling with bubble wrap whenever depressed so much, hahahaha.

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So sad this is only a few episodes. I loveeeee Jisoo in this (the other two are good too, obviously, but JISOO OMG). I'm glad this character is different from previous ones, he gets to show some range in his acting AND we get to be happy for him. I almost said I'm glad he doesn't get hurt, but...well. Doesn't get abused? Gets the girl? Not that he doesn't do "angsty teen puppy" fabulously, but still. His big smile is SO CUTE. *rewinds episode*

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meh. some solid acting, but also some piss poor stiff acting.

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Just when I was having a hard time..This drama's Episode lifted my spirits up. I don't know but what I like about dramas is that they can accidentally change your mood and give you courage during times you need them the most..I find this episode very comforting :)

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Love the cast. Love the characters. Love park hye ryun. Love this drama!

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Jisoo is playing an adorable and happy kid. OMG. I love his character.

Kom Sohyun is great as always!

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it reminds me drama dojoon oppa n seulgi. it just 2 eps.. why it just 3 eps...page turner is really great drama.. i just read recaps of 1 ep... i cried a lot and touch my heart... kim sohyun and jisoo is really good actress and actor.. and shin jaeha too.. i hope we can see more drama from jisoo♡ as a lead actor again^^

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okay, when i saw this article, i was very happy that you're recapping it. so i was reading it carefully per paragraph (i'd like to savor the story). then we went into that part where YS tries to commit suicide and by golly i just couldn't stop laughing so hard when CS got her. unexpectedly i also liked JM. this trio will bring us 2 more great episodes. uhmmm, can they make it six hahahah :) thanks so much GF for recapping this. you're the best.

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The first section was a sort of sight reading right? Which means that they won't know what piece would be chosen, and could only read and play note by note. It's pretty damn hard because you need to process the rhythm, the notes, the dynamic etc at the same time, with a random piece of music. Which is why it was so impressive for her to continue playing because it implies that she practiced and practiced all of those possible pieces to the point she's got them all memorized. Completely prompted me to practice my pieces again!!

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Thank goodness we will have 35 episodes of Ji Soo (some time) after this ends, we all know 3 episodes won't be enough!

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"Oh, of all the injuries! Is it wrong that I’m dying of laughter?"
Well, yes.
Sadly, it seems to me that half the humor is lost on those of us who don't know Korean and have to depend on subtitles.
Or maybe I just watched wrong version (Dramafire). Are other versions any better? Sometimes subtitles really botch great lines, as I've discovered only by watching 2 or more versions of some of my favorite shows.

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'Dream High' made me a fan of Park Hye Ryun and I have anticipated everything she's done since. When 'Dream High 2' was announced and she wasn't on board, I knew it would be a disaster before it even aired. And when 'I Hear Your Voice' was announced, I was more excited that she was writing it than I was that Lee Jong Suk was in it. 'Page Turner' was highly anticipated and with Kim So Hyun and Jisoo as leads even more so. I wish it could have at least received the 'White Christmas' treatment and be 8 episodes long instead of 3.

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Where did this drama that I've never heard about come out of nowhere with Jisoo and Kim So Hyun (and Shin Jae Ha!) to be awesome and epic and all synonyms thereof. I usually wait for dramas to air for a while before I start watching, but I was so startled and taken aback by this title on the Dramabeans page, especially since I had no idea anything like this was in the works, that I immediately checked it out and OH MY GOD, IT WAS SO GREAT? How could it possibly be only 3 episodes!! Kim So Hyun's character is giving me Eun Byul vibes, which means she's A++ in my book, because Eun Byul was my actual favorite character in School 2015. AND JI SOO BEING HAPPY AND LOVED (and dumb!) IS THE BEST THING OF ALL TIMES. He's been my favorite since so long. Every movement of his adds to the character, he does angst gorgeously and when he's happy, he's the happiest thing in existence. Now I need more of this in Scarlet Heart. But it was Shin Jae Ha who surprised me the most; I died at the part where he thought he caused Yoo-Seul's accident. And in general, he's doing a great job. I checked out his filmography and it listed Sassy Go Go, which baffled me, till I remembered that he was probably the guy with the glasses, and that's amazing, because they're nothing alike, but he did a fantastic job with both characters. I loved how he had no idea how to deal with potentially-blind-Yoo Seul, and the scene at the florist was aww-inducing.

Also, I love pianos in general so yay for a centric drama. Whyyy is it only three episodes? Time to start praying, Jin Mok.

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A bit late to the party as I just saw the first ep and I am soooo on board! Loved the first episode and can't wait to watch the next one. I wonder why they decided to make this a mini drama though? So much potential for this one and as expected with this writer, she always delivers!!

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Really love this show!
Why it only has 3 episodes?
whhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyy????

i have this feeling that ji soo's mom was lying to him bout the father just to raise up his spirit, it's just my 2 cents...

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IloveitIloveitIloveit!!!

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This first episode was great! I came into it knowing barely anything about it. It had good emotional and humorous scenes.

First time ever seeing Ji Soo. He is super cute! ^^ The scenes with Cha Shik and his mother were so sweet!

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I'm loving Ji-soo's purple bangs -- that is a such a good look!

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Could anyone tell me the name of the piece Jin Mok was told not to play that emotionless? (When he was a child) Thanks ♡♡

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I want to watch it, but i can't.

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