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Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food: Episodes 1-6

JTBC’s current Friday-Saturday romance Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food is so everything right now that Laica and I just couldn’t let this one go by. Unfortunately, the international release schedule has left some of you unable to join the party yet, but I get the feeling this party is going to go on for a while, so hang in there!

Arm yourself with all your squees, I solemnly swear you’ll need every one…

 
EPISODES 1-6

Laica: Our heroine is YOON JIN-AH (Sohn Ye-jin) is one of the most competent managers working at a coffee franchise headquarters (where she has pretty terrible co-workers). She runs into her best friend’s younger brother, SEO JOON-HEE (Jung Hae-in), after he returns from a sojourn abroad. They instantly grin at each other, and I am already so here for this.

Saya: Not gonna lie, we fought over who was going to take this show (and who gets to own puppy Jung Hae-in). The great thing is, there’s very little beating around the bush with their attraction, and they slip very easily from their old relationship into a rapturous new one. Since their respective company offices are in the same building, they cross paths a lot.

Laica: Meanwhile, things are complicated by Jin-ah’s recently ended relationship with her ex-boyfriend, who not only dumped her with zero explanation, but whom she soon discovers has been cheating on her with another woman. (The revenge she gets on him is momentary, but delicious.) And yet this fetid piece of human refuse is nowhere near being done causing her grief.

Saya: The ex is such a sleazy vomitous scumbag, I cheer every time he gets beaten up (which, for our collective satisfaction, is more than once). But even though Jin-ah breaks it off in no uncertain terms, he keeps crawling back like the putrid maggot he is, begging her to take him back. Horribly, it culminates in a sexual assault that was probably the hardest thing to watch in this show so far.

Laica: Yeah, that was really tough. I was impressed with how unflinchingly ugly and disturbing they made it, but it was horrifying exactly because of that realism. I also really appreciate how this drama deals with workplace harassment, which Jin-ah and her female co-workers face daily from their male superiors; it’s rare to find a drama that deals with both sexual assault and sexual harassment, and shows that they are two different kinds of violence that affect women in really insidious and difficult ways.

Saya: We’ve just left off Episode 6 with the company president calling up a meeting of female employees to hear their accounts of workplace abuses (which has the pigs appropriately worried). When we first meet Jin-ah, she’s constantly at the beck and call of her male superiors. She appears to be the one upholding the sexist system, but then, rather splendidly (as of Episode 4), she’s also the one to break it by refusing to play along any longer.

Laica: Jin-ah’s also facing pressure at home, especially from her mother, who is obsessed with the idea of a Seoul University-educated, lawyer son-in-law, and is even willing to overlook the cheating ex’s cheating if there’s hope for Jin-ah to make a “good” marriage before she gets even more ancient than her 35 years.

So when Jin-ah does get together with Joon-hee after a lot of heated glances and tense silences, where a lot goes unsaid but both are clearly dying for each other—it’s not surprising that they keep it a secret from everyone they know.

Saya: It’s tough when you know exactly how Jin-ah’s mom is going to receive it—and that’s not a woman you want to pick a battle with unless you’re going to win. But though she tells the parentless Seo siblings that she sees them as her own kids, she’s always looking down on them behind their backs. But I do love that Jin-ah’s dad quietly has her corner, and I wonder if he’s cottoned on to their relationship already.

Laica: I confess, I have high hopes for her dad being the only sane and supportive one once the news breaks. Her younger brother thinks only about his own comfort most of the time, and everyone is clearly going to have a fit when they find out two people they all considered as close as siblings are actually dating and (gasp) going on overnight trips together.

And I’m cringing in anticipation of how hurt and angry Jin-ah’s best friend and Joon-hee’s sister KYUNG-SUN (Jang So-yeon) is going to be when she finds out that the two people she loves most in the world have been lying to her in such a significant way.

Saya: I feel like in her heart, she’d love their relationship itself, but the real-world considerations are so intrusive that it’s never allowed to be as simple as that. But it’s pretty great how the couple has been able to come out to Joon-hee’s friends already during their camping trip in episode 6.

Laica: That camping trip warmed my heart! I loved how at first Joon-hee’s friends’ girlfriends were super deferential and very awkward, and after a night of hanging out and talking about life, they were hugging her and calling her a girl-crush. Jin-ah is awesome.

Saya: Yesss. I was afraid they’d be mean to her, but I howled with laughter when she was asked her age and replied dryly that she was on the verge of 40 years old—well played, Jin-ah, well played!

Laica: But the spectre of the abusive ex-boyfriend hasn’t completely receded; he sends an extravagant bouquet to Jin-ah’s work, which a furious Joon-hee intercepts and shows to Jin-ah’s brother, SEUNG-HO (who is also his best friend).

Saya: It’s so creepy that her ex encloses an intimate selfie of the two of them in the card he sent with it. Ugh. SO UGH.

Laica: I KNOW. They go to the ex-boyfriend stalker’s apartment and find his computer full of similar photos. Joon-hee smashes all of the worm’s electronics, and Seung-ho beats him to within an inch of his life when he finds out about the sexual assault. Seung-ho wants to report it to the police, but Joon-hee insists that he’ll take care of it. Okay, dude, not smart and not a good strategy to keep your relationship on the down-low.

Saya: When Jin-ah finds out about the photos, she pretty much has the same reaction as the boys and ends up at the police station, where Seung-ho and Joon-hee come for her. Joon-hee immediately launches himself at Stalker-ex and is thrown out. Jin-ah tries to block him when he pushes his way back in… but he wraps his arms around her instead.

 
COMMENTS

Laica: Eeeeeeee! I am so ready for everyone to find out, even though I understand why Jin-ah is reluctant to weather the coming storm (and let’s be real, it’s always the woman who gets the worst of it in these situations, so it’s much easier for him to say he wants to shout it from the rooftops). But how delicious was Jin-ah’s colleague Geum Bo-ri’s reaction to finding out about these two? I can’t wait until the angst blows over and Kyung-sun is watching them just as fondly, as they metaphorically rot the teeth of everyone in a thousand-meter radius with their sweetness.

Saya: I was so surprised when I looked up the characters to find that Joon-hee is 31. Thirty-one!!! I mean, yes, Jung Hae-in is fifteen (he is!!), but… 31!! It’s a four-year difference between people in their thirties! In other words: meaningless.

Laica: Okay I looked it up, and no, he’s actually 30 in real life. You scared me, woman.

Saya: Get away! What unicorn blood is he drinking and where can I get it?

Laica: Tell me about it. But to your point, yes, all that ado over four years is ridiculous, and I hope somebody brings that up once everyone starts wailing and gnashing their teeth about The Scandal of it all. In the meantime, where can this noona get a Joon-hee of her very own?

Saya: If I find one, I’m not telling you.

Laica: Likewise. It’s every woman for herself out here.

Saya: May the best noona win.

RELATED POSTS

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It's here!! It's here, it's really here! Thank you so much, @saya and @laica!

I don't even have much to say about it (I could write essays, but. I won't. I'll just wrap my feelings up in my pocket and smile at them every so often), just. *SWOON*

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I feel like you. I could write a story from the first episode alone but I won't.
I'm just going to fake sickness and smile at this thread for the rest of the day lol.

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Me too, me too. :)

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You’ve said it all! So I just linked it below!

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Omg! It’s finally here and such an amazing interview with each other! Thanks @saya and @laica! I’ll be back when I’m done celebrating and can put two coherent thoughts together!

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Also, just wanted to mention that several Beanies have already been discussing ep. 1-6 here, for anyone interested. Lots of good stuff about the music, director, Asian women in the workforce, pervasive misogyny, the big deal that is dating someone seen as your sibling and younger, and probably some other really enlighting things! And who knew there were so many Beanie noonas in real life! Lol! @kiara and @kethysk 😜http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/01/jung-hae-in-up-to-romance-sohn-ye-jin-in-pretty-noona-who-buys-me-food/comment-page-2/#comment-3229717

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Whoa. That's a solid discussion thread. Thanks for the link!

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Oh! That's where everybody is at. I always wonder where I can find the beanies squealing, I mean discussing this show.

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Well, now you can just discuss it here! I needed an outlet before this though--because I'm that obsessed.

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I loved reading this great discussion! Thanks for sharing. (And sorry you all had to wait so long!)

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Better late than never; we really appreciate you all recapping this. One small request, could you explain some of the Korean things they say next time (like the significance of Konjak)? Thanks!

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Konjac is an edible root that's kind of spongy and pretty much tasteless on its own - when Stalker Ex describes her that way, he basically means she's bland and boring. There's no particular cultural significance to it (that I'm aware of, someone correct me if I'm wrong) except that it's something contextually familiar. A western equivalent might be calling someone 'milk toast'? (for the dish, not the character)

re: explaining stuff, we might not be able to address fine points in our posts since they don't have the scope for fine detail, but you can ask whatever you want in the comments, someone will be able to help you even if we can't!

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So, I would say “tofu” is the equivalent. You’re as bland as tofu. What I don’t get is why Joon-hee uses the exact same term when he has lunch with her that first time. Was that just a coincidence? And then again after she’s taken her revenge on the ex and is drinking with her friend and he comes into the booth. Apparently, it’s a no-so-common thing to be called, but the show made it a sticking point, so I thought I was missing something.

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@ally-le I assumed that was more because he'd heard the story from Kyung-sun and thus knew it was what stalker ex had called her, and also how upset she was about it. I imagine Jin-ah, Kyung-sun and Joon-hee all talk about each other in each other's absence the way siblings or the sisterhood of the travelling pants do - with love and a motive to share, rather than gossip.

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hahahahahahahahahaha @ally-le
I AM a proud Noona in Love :-)

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As you should be! 😝

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Jung Hae In hit a jackpot with this one. Out of all break out actors last year, he has the best follow up. And the best partner that anyone wishes to have.

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In his interviews he said he was immensely nervous around Son Ye-jin because of how pretty she is. XD

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I'd be more self-conscious in front of him. LOL!

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I only saw pics and stills of his previous dramas, so this is the first drama of his that I've watched. TBH, I think he looked much cuter in those pics and stills than he does in video. Having said that, I find personality much sexier than looks, and this guy is anything but one dimensional--as are many of these other characters. So when he emotes, he becomes this incredibly sexy, impish, nervous, concerned, protective, hot-blooded guy. So basically, when she starts acting, I'd become self-conscious and nervous.

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Exactly this. He's so believable, and goodness, when he looks at her the way he does, it's too real for me. Like, I know he's acting, because I'm not 5 years old, but still, that would be hard to act across. Nothing against Sohn Ye-jin, she's amazing in her own right, but he's carrying the relationship vibes right now. I don't know anyone that would argue this (watch someone come out and argue this).

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Son Ye-jin keeps it grounded in reality. At work, at home and their relationship which I really appreciate.

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Interesting he said that. Does it imply he is confident facing her as an actor but not as a man meaning he might really fall for her for real

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He wasn't even the first choice but I CAN NOT see anyone else playing Joon Hee. He embodied? (not sure if it's the right word) that character and make it his own.

Sometimes the perfect fit is not always the first choice. I read that that there were a couple actors who passed on it and I would like to thank them.

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Cases in point:
- Ji Sung in Kill Me, Heal Me
- Yoo Seung-ho in I'm Not a Robot (@vivanesca imagine if that were Dong-ha! Would you love it as much? Could you?)

There's probably more, can't think of them right now, too sleepy!

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Wasn't Kim Yoo-jung originally up for Eun-ji's part in Sassy Go Go?

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Gosh I wanna live in the alternate universe where YSH and CSB had other plans for the end of 2017 than ruining my life and sanity
When it comes to perfect castings:
+ Hyeri in Reply1988
+ Lee Sung Kyung in CIIT
+ both female leads in Oh My Ghostess
+ YAI in Chicago Typewriter

I can't imagine anyone else being half as fitting in their roles.

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Re: Hae-In’s embodiment of Joon-hee. Yes that’s the correct term! He isJoon-hee. Who would’ve thought that the baseball kid from Goblin, Eun Tak’s crush, had this in him? SWOON.

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Kim Shin obviously knew and that’s why he sent him away.

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man, was that him? Okay Ally, I know you're the best person to ask: which episodes will I find him in?

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I thought it was 7-8, so I checked and it is!

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@ally-le what have you done to me, I just spent the last hour getting sucked in by Goblin again. How did I forget how much I loved this, and that gorgeous piano instrumental (the one you made a video of !).

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IKR! Whenever I’m watching a show that I think is good, I go back and watch Goblin to compare, and there’s no comparison. There is no soundrack that I’ve loved more than this one. People have been talking about Pretty Noona’s soundtrack and I’ve really been mute the issue. It’s too repetitive and doesn’t hold a candle to Goblin. (See what I did there? Lol.)

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I will not go down the Goblin hole tonight. I will not go down the Goblin hole tonight. I will not.

I'm actually beginning to find the Noona soundtrack intrusive.

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"Baseball oppa." That's his Goblin name.

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Hey @ally-le have you watched Secret Love Affair?

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Also @ally-le whenever you talk about the wonder of the Goblin OST, I think "maybe I should rewatch Goblin and really listen to the mu... oh hell, no. Not even for that".

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@leetennant, Re: Secret Love Affair... No I haven’t, but I think I might after knowing this director and also the plot. I have the same issue watching shows about musicians as I do watching medical dramas, I’m too distracted by what they’re getting right and wrong in real life. It’s better for me to not have any frame of reference about what the characters’ livelihoods are. I’ve not seen any kdramas about musicians.

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Ok, I take that back, I saw liar and his lover, but somehow I don’t think that counts!

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@leetennant Re: getting you to watch Goblin. I’m still trying....😜

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@ally-le
I can't say for sure you'll love Secret Love Affair but I'm sure you'll find its use of music interesting. There's a scene in one of the later episodes where she's having this dinner with her husband leading up to the finale. And the soundtrack is relentless: this uncomfortable minimalist dinner with sparse dialogue being given this driving sense of inevitable impending doom by the tense music of the score. It's excruciating and 80% of it is music.

Nothing could get me to rewatch Goblin but I will listen to the OST on YouTube. You've gotten me curious.

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@leetennant all you need is @ally-le's own video for the best of the Goblin OST: https://youtu.be/qfwqJYJVMHc

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Thank you @Ally sabu!

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Off Topic.
Did you notice that Park Bo-gum's mom from "Moonlight" is playing lady boss Jung Young-in here?
This is her 4th drama with PD Ahn.

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OH! I knew she looked familiar. She must be a muse or something. She's really good. She has a regality even in this.

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i looked her up further. she’s also one of the doctors who worked with song hye gyo’s character in DOTS. she’s great!

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@kiara May I know who was the first choice to play the part of Joon Hee?

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His agency didn't say who they were. They just said that several other actors rejected the role.
https://www.soompi.com/2018/04/18/jung-hae-ins-agency-reveals-almost-passed-role-pretty-noona-buys-food/

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Oh I see. Tnx.

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Who is the first choice to play the role of Joon Hee?

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Click on the blue link above you.

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He's really getting a lot of attention rn. Even my girls from TWICE mentioned him on vlive and they don't talk about dramas much.

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For me, this drama is a rarity. I adore both leads, they have a talented writer and directors, and there's a pretty decent supporting cast. He really did hit the jackpot with this one by comparison.

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*SQUEEEEEEEE* IT'S HERE!! Thank you @saya and @laica! These to give me the warm and fuzzies. I don't think I'll be able to handle the angst when it finally gets here - especially the best friend angst because let's be real, these two women know each other better than themselves. It's going to be hard to watch a (hopefully temporary) dent in their relationship. I love Dad - he's awesome. The younger brother seems self involved but I don't think he would mind it too much after the initial shock. I don't give a rat's behind about what Mom thinks. She needs a reality check.

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**two - clearly the need to post something is greater than the need to check for errors.

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lol we're all in this together, spelling mistakes and squealing alike.
don't sweat it, @tspmasala SPICY KIMCHI

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OMG!!!! Thank you so much you guys, @saya and @laica !!!!
Looking forward to all the discussions ^^
(And have someone agree with me that it's beautifully shot hehe :-P )

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You don’t have to convince me of this! This is how you do cinematography and mood lighting! I talked about it here: http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/01/jung-hae-in-up-to-romance-sohn-ye-jin-in-pretty-noona-who-buys-me-food/comment-page-2/#comment-3230669

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What my fav think about PD Ahn director style is he is often let the actor act and breath in the same frame and let them play it out the scene. It create more chemistry and intimate athmosphere between actor. It's allow actor to breath. He is also pay attention to detail with his visual. I'm just feels bless watching it.

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That's why the chemistry is so natural and you can hear him (on some of the behind the scene videos telling them to just be natural, don't act or force it, something like that.)

Also according Son Ye-jin, PD Ahn doesn't do rehearsal shot. It's one take and one go.
It think it's because chemistry is not something that needs to be rehearsed. They either have it or they don't.

This is so different from the way "White Tower" was shot. It took up to 20 hrs to shoot one scene in the hospital with all the medical procedures etc.

Interesting to see perfection achieved in different ways.

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@kiara? Just one take? That's crazy. they are all look natural in just one take shoot! Not only our leads.

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Yes! Exactly what you have written in that thread. You've explained it perfectly, that's why it feels so good to watch the scenes, they are so well made. And it feels like watching their lives rather than watching a drama.

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It's absolutely stunning!

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"What unicorn blood is he drinking and where can I get it?"
I'm not watching this show but I might pick it up soon to jus see Jung hae in and I'm also so curious about this unicorn blood 😂
And yay fore more shows getting recapped , Thank you @saya and @laica

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In case you need your unicorn blood fix, this is where JHI gets his. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhgu61wgPhl/?taken-by=dewytree_official

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the problem is, I will never look like him even if I use every single darned thing he uses! Some people are just born with it, even if they were born only last week 😂

(I would've sworn he wasn't a day over 25!)

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Haha! Another such case is Song Joon Ki! That skin... but I digress.. Just thought @aliaa and you could use an extra dose of eye-brightening JHI candy while not watching/ waiting for the next ep of PNWBMF. My eyes feel so refreshed already!

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Woot! I was waiting for this to go up! Thanks for the weecap you two. And what?! Just four years? That's nothing! That's less than nothing! We need to properly complain about this in our Deep Dive. But hey, now it makes sense why they have a second thread of disapproval ready with the prejudiced Mum.
Anyway, waiting impatiently for next week's 'cap! Keep the banter on! =D

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It's become painful to not be able to watch it here in the U.S. Your post has made my heart hurt (in a good way).

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There are places it is subbed up to episode 6, if you like I can give you the site.

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Yes, please.

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Dramafire.info has the first 6 episodes. They usually post at the end of the week, so it's a full week behind.

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dear @kafiyah-bello : you get an Awesome Beanie sticker for being kind enough to share with @linda-palapala, so that we can ALL squeal together !
lol

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i watched it on 'the internet'... the website that offers it for free. Are are you able to access dramaload.se from the U.S.? it is a website with subscription where you can download episodes in HD. I have downloaded and stored most of my favorite dramas from them .

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Thank you for the recap.

Jin-ah and Joon-hee are super cute together are are fun to watch. My favorite part is when she puts her hand on his knee while his friends were questioning his dating life.

I am super annoyed by her mom and stalker ex-boyfriend. They need a restraining order.

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That scene where she surreptitiously put her hand on top of his (that was resting on his knee), and then took a "what the hell, I'm going for it"" swig of beer is one of my favorites, too. It made me squee so hard!

Mom makes me super mad, but I think her attitude is a relatively common one, and I like that the drama is showing it in a negative light. And thank goodness for Dad!

As for stalker ex-boyfriend, I hope we get to see him served some delicious just desserts.

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That moment gave me LEGIT BUTTERFLIES!

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I hadn’t gif’d anything in ages and that scene was motivating—right, butterflies, that’s what it was.

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That scene is my favorite scene. The look on Joon Hees face 😍😍😍

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They look so nervous, they hiccups together , which everyone questioning them afterwards, is "hiccups contagious?" lmao...

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The mom irritates me SO much. Whenever she opens her mouth, it's always nagging and yelling. She's a pretty crappy mom and so desperate to marry her daughter to a "nice family" that she doesn't care that the guy is a scumbag. All she cares about is fame and fortune, not to mention her saying that her son is the only kid she's proud of? UM WTF. GTFO. I was also annoyed at the mom for always yelling at the dad and giving him shit for retiring early when she has probably just been a homemaker her whole life (maybe not by choice, but...)? Maybe he didn't like his job and that's why he wanted to retire early? And yes, maybe he should have thought about how retiring early could affect his family, but does she have to bring it up so often and talk about it in such a negative manner? Geez.

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I really really hate the mom. But unfortunately, its actually a common thing in an Asian household. The dad is so amazing, being able to patiently put up with that horrible woman. And stupid mom didn't even cared if the ex-boyfriend cheated on her own daughter just because he's from a "prestigious" background. And my god, what a two faced bitch she is. Talking shit about Joon Hee and Kyung Sun but acting so nice and family-like in front of them. My forward button is already ready to skip all the endless nagging she's going to give Jin Ah once she finds out about her and Joon Hee. UGH i just HATE the mom SO MUCH

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I love love ❤️ this show. 'Rapturous' is this word used and that's the perfect way to describe them. The writers and the actors have done such a get job of showing how they quietly just fell in love. I love it!! I mean that's what real love is right. Meeting often, Revelling in each other's company, subtly dropping and picking up cues and squeeing to yourself!! The quiet contemplative narrative is just lovely

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I completely agree - it's what love in real life is. :) And this is the one reason why this show is so extreamly realistic - even the conflicts seem so believable.

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Girls, your comments about this show are hilarious!!!!! 😂😂
Thank you, @laica and @saya for the thread. Finally here! Good job!!!
And as a noona myself, I cannot say anything else more coherent than Pink's words: let's get this party started!!! 🎉🎊🎇🎆😍

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Yes, indeed! Let the squealing begin. In an early reference to the show, Javabeans had described the PD as 'aggressively high-brow' and I get what she means. But, I really liked the direction (if not parts of the story) in Temperature of Love, and I do like how this show is moving as well.

On the one hand, their relationship has moved quickly. I, for one, love that they can't keep their hands off each other! That's quite common off(Kdrama)screen. But, on the other hand, the pace is gentle and beautiful. Their watching a movie together, playing in the snow and, well, getting lots of food together!

I am keenly following the office dynamics as well. And, have a crush on Jin-Ah's female sunbae. She's such an excellent role model for the team, and I look forward to seeing more of her. I can see why Jin-Ah was not popular among the other girls. She was upholding sexist rituals! Now that she's turned the corner, everyone is happy. How adorable was Geum-Bori! It was kinda mean of her to ask Joon-Hee out for lunch in front of the second lead (?), but then neither of the ones hankering after our OTP are worth much.

Generally, the show is very realistic (also something JB had pointed out), and I think Joon-Hee's infatuation/love is realistically portrayed as well. He is obviously attracted to Jin-Ah and cares for her, but is also a little bit insecure and prone to violence against her ex. So, there are all the squeals but also an underlying worry about how this would play out eventually.

Most of all, I must say, I am waiting for Kyung-Sun to find out. I get why these two are hesitant to tell her, but she's going to be so heartbroken about having been kept out of the loop by the two people she loves the most. I am pretty confident that her response is going to be different from that of the sister in What's up Fox (who was just straight up mean to both her brother and her best friend when she found out). But, I still worry for her...

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Wondering as well what her reaction will be. She does not care about society rules but she will probably be hurt because they felt they had to keep it from her too.

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It'd be ok if she hears from them, but there's no doubt that she's going to find out from the scheming second lead or some such. Gah! I wish these two had devised a plan of action to tell their best friend/sister.

It's already too late, because Kyun Sun is going to feel like a fool when she thinks back to their overnight trips or the loaded meals together.

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Yay! So happy to join the party here!!
Ditto on worried for Kyung-Sun... she's already so damaged from her dad. Also I think she might oppose for the fact that once she really knows how Jin-Ah's mom is, as a caring big sis would not let someone put her precious brother down like that! Really hope actually at the end of the show they give us a hint of her finding some happiness/ healing (not saying that she can't be happy single, but she seems to be so lonely and closed up with Jin Ah as her only close friend).

I don't think he was excessively violent toward the crazy ex, in fact Jin Ah would probably have reacted the same way and I find it completely reasonable. (won't continue to say more in fear of spoilers beyond 6)

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You guys are awesome! So, what do Saya and Laica really think of the ex?
- fetid piece of human refuse
- sleazy vomitous scumbag
- putrid maggot
😂

I think the whole 'scandal' thing is not so much in the age difference, which, as you mentioned, is negligible, but more in the pseudo-sibling relationship they had growing up. Thus the outside friends are OK with it, but who knows how the families are going to take it? Probably not well, considering it's a drama.

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Hahaha! We don't believe in holding back when it comes to men who turn out to be trash.

(We also called him a worm :P)

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I actually felt bad calling him 'worm' because I like worms. Nice good little worms who help your plants grow. It demeaned the worm to label a snivelling ingan sseuregi that way. The worm is a noble creature. And worms can become dragons. Human trash has reached the end of its evolution.

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True. I suppose I was only thinking of the "crawling on its belly through dirt" aspect. But yes, worms are lovely and good.

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Though I know where they are coming from. I always wary about their sneaking behaviour Will eventually hurting people around them more than the problem they are together because of family issue. Especially towards Joon Hee' sister. She might be so heartbroken when she found out they hide their relationship to that extent.

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Well said. I've been thinking the same. On the other hand, one could also say they know the families best and are right in guessing their relationship won't be easily accepted? Regardless, when it does come out - I'm sure both factors will weigh in.

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I think because they kept it quiet initially their relationship could develop sweetly and naturally. That's necessary for them to get to a place where they're strong enough that their family's disapproval won't break them up. If they had been open about this at a stage when they had just confessed, it would have been almost easier to step back from each other than to fight again Screachy Mum and Bro's constant harping about shaming the family and whatnot.

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I get what you mean. But I'm afraid the sister wouldn't see it that way. It seems like a betrayal. Especially if she found out some stranger is knowing their relationship better than her. Though it's her fault for being judgemental of their relationship as impossible from the start it makes them even less open to her.

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Joon-hee's sister is the one person I am angry at them for not telling. It's no one at works' business and her Mum will respond badly. But Joon-hee's sister needs to know.

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"Though she tells the parentless Seo siblings that she sees them as her own kids, she’s always looking down on them behind their backs." I mean, it checks out, she treats her own kids as tools for climbing the social ladder and curing her feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. She's like the last boss of sexism in this socially savvy drama.
There are many dramas about Joseon Hell, and yeah the job market looks terrible for all millenials but I appreciate that we get to see how utterly screwed by the system the women are in Korea. But there's also a sense of sisterhood and cameraderie between the female characters and I hope the writers focuses on their fight even more cause it makes me feel proud as a woman.

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"But there's also a sense of sisterhood and cameraderie between the female characters and I hope the writers focuses on their fight even more cause it makes me feel proud as a woman."

This is especially true in episode 6. Both with the younger girlfriends who ended up loving Jin-ah and with her colleague at work whose only gripe against Jin-ah was her passive acceptance of the bosses' lechery. Also Ms Jung! I love that woman to peaces. Every girl needs a higher up like her. Both to have her back and to teach her proper dignified sass. Hot damn.

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^pieces. XD

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YES! I agree so much. I love the relationships between women in this drama.

Except Mom and Jin-ah, but as much as I hate Mom, I know that she's very realistic, so I have to give the show props for that.

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YES to Lady Boss Jung. I love her so much (and her outfits too, but thats just really a bonus.)

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I have been wondering from the promos. This is a noona romance, and yet, according to what Saya said, Joon her is 31 years old!
I was very much expecting him to play a 28-year-old guy, even 25... (I knew she would be kind of 35), so yeah, a ten years difference would definitively make an impact in everybody's eyes and create antagonism like in the drama the woman who still wants to marry, but then again... 31! Which makes 4 years difference between the two of them? Totally meaningless, like you guys said.
So I keep on wondering, will age be a problem whatsoever? Would their relatives complain for those 4 years difference?? I hope no, because it would make it obtuse thinking.
On the other hand, with so insignificant age difference I feel this is no noona romance at all.
We will see where does the problems come from...

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The main issue is that they are seen as siblings, growing up together from a young age, so she’s ALWAYS been his Noona, in an older, more respected capacity, since childhood. That’s the issue, that she’s like his older sister.

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I see. Makes totally sense. Thanks for clarifying for me, Ally. I may be vain (a little bit) but I love this show because they look both so cute! 😍
Nevertheless, of course, I hope the writing will bring more substance into everything that will happen now that the romance has sailed.

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I agree. It's going to be more about their close 'sibling' type relationship and his family background more than the age difference.

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This. The age gap in this, like a lot of things, is designed specifically for us as the audience to go, "What is the problem here?"

Like the optics of her sneaking in and out of her own house like a rebellious teenager just because she's dating a boy her parents might not like. Or her getting into trouble at work because she didn't "entertain" the clients on her trip.

Her saying "what exactly what did I do wrong?" to her boss and him being unable to give her an answer is like the entire drama right there.

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I actually think (and we didn't make this clear ^) that age is the least of their obstacles. It's a very small part of their dynamic but I think the biggest obstacles will end up proving to be their family members, one way or another. Her mum, for sure, but it's going to really hurt Kyung-sun on two fronts, with both Jin-ah *and* her brother. I don't even want to call what Kyung-sun and Jin-ah have plain friendship, because it's so much deeper than that, and that's the bond that will be shaken.

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All of this.

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Age maybe meaningless in some culture but I believe it's important in Korea. There is level of respect based on age. Oppa,noona,ajumma etc all based on age.
Call me ajumma and I'll kick your butt 😜.

This 4 yr age gap is perfect.
A huge age gap feels more like an ajumma romance.

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This is not a noona romance (older woman) -- this is a noona romance (older sister). In everybody's eyes, she is his older sister, so while their relationship is not incestuous, it's morally wrong.

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I think it does make a bit more of a difference, because it seems like men tend to date a woman a few years younger than them. While she might not be a whole lot older than JH, She'll probably be substantially older than his friends' girlfriends/wives. Of course she handled that beautifully...

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Sorry, wonder which write up says Joon hee is 31? I've always thought he's about 29 or 30, since during the 10th year anniversary of his mom's death, his sister said to Jin-a that at that time, Joon-hee was busy with college entrance exams. Don't Koreans do that when they're like, 19?

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I've seen K-drama 'wink-and-nod' at he audience over a character's age. Often playing a character as a teenager but claiming they're 21. In 'Misty', in one of the last episodes, they claimed the heroine was only 37 though she had been played as a seasoned professional obviously in her 40s. I think we're supposed to read the character as a somewhat younger boy-toy (who learned his way with women in decadent America) but they can't come out and say it and keep their age 15 rating.

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I really love this drama. Very real and it deals with such serious topics but is still fluffy when it needs to be. This couple is amazing and I really hope they will cross the storm and come out of it even stronger.
Watching it on Netflix so will wait for episodes 7 and 8 that will be released next week.

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Thank you so SO much! I'm grateful to get another drama added to the recap roster, and very glad it was this one. An intoxicating romance with such a squeeworthy OTP (with Sohn Ye-jin! and Jung Hae-in!) + focusing on sexual harassment and assault through a rather feminist lens + the cozy intimacy and other magic created by Ahn PD = a desperate need for a DB recap.

And what a treat to have both @Saya and @Laica onboard-- double the pleasure, double the fun!

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Thank you @laica and @saya for covering this - my favourite drama at the moment. 💖

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*Must not look, must not look!!* Just popping by to say thank you to @saya & @laica for creating a space for Pretty Noona - I'm still playing catch up, but I'm relishing every moment. Currently on Ep4, and the *swoons* are no joke!

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I'm so glad you will be enjoying episode five unadulterated soon. It's my favorite so far.

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I've just finished watching episode 4, and it was great! Cannot wait to tune into ep5 - I'm looking forward to it since yourself and other beanies have praised it so much.

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Saya: 'I was so surprised when I looked up the characters to find that Joon-hee is 31. Thirty-one!!! I mean, yes, Jung Hae-in is fifteen (he is!!), but… 31!! It’s a four-year difference between people in their thirties! In other words: meaningless.'

AGREED!! Their character's age difference is the same age difference the Song-Song Couple have in real life, and look how beautiful that has turned out. Not to mention the Rain-Kim Tae Hee Couple who have a 3-year age diff., Baek Ji Young & Jung Suk Won have a 9-year age difference, etc., etc ... So WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL WITH A 4 YEAR AGE DIFFERENCE!?!???!

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This show gives me so many FEELINGS. I'm crushing hard on these two. And JHI is definitely going to be the next big thing in dramaland. His facial expressions in this show are EVERYTHING. This show is wrecking me!

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On the soundtrack: I really enjoyed it at first. The songs remind me of movies like Sleepless in Seattle - soft, 90s (because that's when I watched them), and warm. But after six episodes, I'm starting to think the soundtrack is a bit overused - it no longer entices the same happy feeling it did in the early eps, despite the romantic scenes it accompanies. Particularly 'Stand by your man' - these words have come to mean a whole new thing to me now. I may be the only one feeling this way.

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Omg, my friend And I watched it together, and we hate the soundtrack. It's the worst, it takes me out of some scenes. A better soundtrack would enhance this drama exponentially.

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A like-minded soul. Its the only negative for me in this Show - the sound track. They really need to up their game and add some variety or move on altogether.

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I liked it at first too, but now it's really getting on my nerves. I actually muted the frolicking in the snow scene because it was the third frickin' time they'd played SBYM in that ep. Did they spend an arm and a leg on the royalties to that song and want to get their money's worth? More variety, please!

My frustration is exacerbated by my misgivings about the the use of SBYM in this drama (see below).

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Yup - I muted that scene as well. Agreed completely re the use if SBYM. You said everything I'd been thinking about that song.

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I mute the video every time a song plays. I know I'm not missing anything since there's never talking during the songs. The soundtrack is a huge turnoff. Please stick to Korean songs only.

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@panshel - It may be that they've gone with this non-Korean soundtrack because they want to appeal to an international audience because Netflix got involved with the show.

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Mute the song every time now.

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I've started fantasising about somebody re-cutting this show with a better OST.

It's so bad, I thought it must have been a Netflix thing. I even tracked down a raw version convinced that Netflix was using the song in place of another song with copyright issues. Because they couldn't have actually intended for it to be this way, right? But no it's there on the raw version as well.

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Yeah me too! At first I kept thinking 'is it because they don't have budget for new songs?" obv it wasn't the case haha -_-" Don't hate it, but I'm sure there's a lot good old Korean songs that could give that soft 'healing' mood that they are trying to convey and it would have been a good opportunity to introduce them to the younger /global audience!

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Its one of the biggest reason why this show is sitting on my to watch list after ep 4 and I cannot bring myself to push the play button. I am bored of this track. I think I am missing the whole point of this in the show! Why is it there anyways? Maybe the coming episodes will tells us but till there has been no such situation where she (JA) had to stand for joon-hee. It was more the other way around.

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I can’t believe I’m complaining about the music in an Ahn Pan-seok drama, but I think Stand By Your Man was a very poor choice of theme songs for this drama for a few reasons:

1) It’s not an appropriate song for a drama that features a storyline about women learning to stand up to male oppression. It’s been a controversial song from the get-go. It could be interpreted in a couple of different ways, but as it was originally marketed as “Tammy Wynette’s Answer to Women’s Lib”, it’s often perceived as having a disempowering message for women. If Pretty Noona were a musical, Jin-ah’s mom could’ve sung SBYM when she was telling Jin-ah to get back together with her ex despite his cheating ways.

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2) It’s not an appropriate song for a budding romance. The context of the song is an established relationship, and it’s about not abandoning your man, physically or emotionally, when things are difficult. The lyrics are incongruous with the heady romance of Pretty Noona. And like you said, she doesn't have anything to forgive Joon-hee for.

3) “Stand by your man” is an idiom. Many non-native English speakers think it means the same as “stand next to your man” (which it sometimes does, but not in this song). Why choose a theme song that few in your audience will understand? (I’m also not too sure that country-western is a genre that translates well to a Korean audience.)

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Yes I agree it has all the feels of being sung by her mother:
"You'll have bad times
And he'll have good times,
Doin' things that you don't understand
But if you love him you'll forgive him,
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him oh be proud of him,"

Exactly what her mother said.

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I totally agree on all the ways this is a problematic song. And it would have been fine (and clearly a stand-in for her mother's voice) if it was used in scenes related to Jin-ah's mother, but so far it's always been used in scenes where she and Joon-hee are alone together. And it feels especially icky to me after the Stalker assaulted her in the coffee shop, and Joon-hee berated her multiple times for not being "clear enough" with the ex, and all the ways Jin-ah gets blamed by her mother. I don't know. I expected better from this director.

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I'm hoping they'll address that in the upcoming eps. I was really actually shocked when Joon-hee said that to her. Like, how much clearer does she need to be? Murder?

(Nothing says "Yes I really didn't want to be with you" like a knife in the gut XD Though I hasten to add: murder is not the answer, friends. Don't do it!)

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@saya Lol! at your murder remark!
But it goes the opposite way usually I thought, when psycho ex-boyfriends murder their girlfriends or throw acid at them, so that if she is not mine, she should be nobody else either.
(Though I need to say that I am completely against any kind of violence in a relationship or not in a relationship.)

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In this case, we're talking about one of the early episodes (maybe 2 or 3?) where Jin-ah keeps trying to shake stalker ex off - oh, when he came to her house for dinner with her family - and Joon-hee criticises her later saying she needs to be clearer with him. This after she has already VERY CLEARLY told him it's over and she doesn't want to see him again, turned her temper and her back on him, and just in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS said she was done with him.

How is the fact that *he's* a clingy asshole loser her responsibility? It's not her fault he's stalking her. At least Joon-hee finally understood this later with the bouquet debacle. But I do want the show itself to point out that that's a really problematic attitude, and the hero definitely should not showcase it, at least not without it being deliberate, for later redemption.

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Yes, exactly. Me too.

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@lacia @saya - yes and yes. Thank you for addressing Joon Hee's problematic way of viewing this. Since you've spoken about Joon Hee, I'd just like to add that Jin Ah's brother is even worse about this. He's constantly blaming her for Ex's terrible behaviour - very much the, "She was wearing provocative clothes so she asked for it." kind of mentality.

Even though Joon Hee shuts him up in one scene, Joon Hee, the male lead, himself expresses these views as you point out. And Jin Ah has not yet spoken back on this point - she stands and listens, as if signalling her agreement.

The message being sent across to the audience here is terrible.

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@laica* :)

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@greenfields Agreed on how terrible Jin-ah's brother is on this as well. I really hope they're setting this up to address it later on, as they've done with other things.

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"Give him two arms to cling to,"

That's what the ex-boyfriend does! Why do we have such a song in this drama?

The lyrics are so 14th century! what's with
the woman having bad time and guy having good time? Uh! I guess I will watch the series in mute. I can't stand by your song!

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I cannot agree with you more. I did not like, not dislike this particular song, but now I hate it. I would (and will) gladly mute the computer/tablet every time this song comes in the next episode. What a shame! I hope this is the only way in which they will ruin this drama 😂😂😂😂😂

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Yup - I had no feelings towards this song/didn't really know it until this drama. But suddenly I dislike it intensely. It does take away from the enjoyment of the drama.

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My reaction to the OST:

1. I can't wait for this show. I particularly love PD Ahn's use of music!

2. Stand By Your Man is so ironic for a woman who should definitely not Stand By Her Man. Her Man is horrible. Not sure what Save the Last Dance for Me is trying to say.

3. Wait, are they using Stand By Your Man again? I... don't get it. Now it's over the romance scenes with her and Joon-hee? Is this their song?

4. OMFG!! Stand By Your Man is playing again. It's so jarring and I don't get what it means. Doesn't this song directly contradict the point of the drama?

5. If I hear Stand By Your Man one more time...

6. *Presses mute during romantic scenes*

So here I am, muting the soundtrack in a PD Ahn drama. If you'd told me this a week ago, I would not have believed you.

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HAHAHAHAHA This is so ironic considering PD Ahn also worked on Secret Love Affair - a drama where the love of music is what brought the OTP together; and where a the piano was practically a character all on its own.

Here I am, muting romantic scenes together with you. :/

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Lol! 😂😂😂😂😂
Maybe PD Ahn doesn't know English, let alone English ambiguities in lyrics...
Man, you should have stayed with your language comfort zone, and use Korean oldies instead. Learn from my Ajusshi using One million flowers! (I think it was in episode 9). 😬
If you didn't know English, and didn't want to ruin your drama with Korean oldies, at least you could have used instrumental music.. That doesn't hurt anybody.
So, yeah mute will be all along 😑

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@greenfields
I know, right? Secret Love Affair was a work of art and the OST was so perfect. So many scenes in that where the music set the emotional tone of a scene, even with sparse dialogue and action.

@javinne Maybe??? I'd like to hear why he chose the songs. They're so random. I mean, Save the Last Dance implies she's a flirt who's always paying attention to other men. That couldn't be further from her character either.

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DP Ahn doesn't know English. Is my only conclusion. Stupid songs that don't match with anything in the story! 😒😒😒

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@ChinguMode
My reaction to the OST took pretty much the same trajectory as yours.

@javinne
Actually, Ahn PD got his degree in English Language and Literature (but I understand why you would conclude that). However, that doesn't necessarily mean that he fully understands what "stand by" means in this song, since "stand by" has multiple meanings. (It's almost impossible to learn all the phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions in English. For example, I noticed that Lollypip included the idiom "a bee in her bonnet" in a recap recently, and it occurred to me that most of the non-native English speakers were probably wondering what that meant.)

My guess is that he chose these songs not for the lyrics, but for the mood that they create. A lot of Beanies have commented on how the OST makes Pretty Noona feel like an 80s or 90s Hollywood romance, which is probably what he was going for. He is a master at creating mood-- I think choosing SBYM was an unfortunate misstep.

I doubt Ahn PD was aware of the historical controversy surrounding the song SBYM-- I don't think he would've chosen it had he known.

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@javinne

PD Ahn graduated from Sejong University with a degree in in English Language and Literature.

That's probably why there is more English songs in the drama and references to classic romance films like "Casablanca."

The songs are timeless love songs. It's more about the feels than the lyrics.

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Some of the lyrics is relatable to her, especially the first line.
"Sometimes it's hard to be a woman..." which is the part they played the most.

Tammy Wynette was married 5 times so I don't know what inspired her to write such a song.

I think it's up to our own interpretation?