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102

Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 2

Things are starting to look up for our leading lady as she lands a job. But contract employment can’t solve all of Dan-yi’s problems right away, and soon our aloof editor has a mouse in his house-a pretty cute one though, and one that I doubt he minds as a roommate. Memories surface to propel Dan-yi towards the future that she wants, and to remind Eun-ho why he adores his first love more than he would ever admit to anyone else.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

The job candidates file in for their interview at Gyeoroo, Dan-yi included, as Eun-ho and colleagues sit across from them. Dan-yi has promoted herself as someone who loves to read, even if she hasn’t worked in the industry, and knows the meaning of the company’s name when asked (thanks to her insider knowledge). When she’s asked what makes her special, her answer is that she knows that she’s not, and that is what will make her a hard worker.

As Dan-yi’s group leaves their interview, Eun-ho makes an excuse to dart out, certain that something really bad has happened to Dan-yi. Eun-ho catches up to her and orders her into his car, though he takes care to buckle her in, and soon he’s on the road driving towards her old home.

There’s not much to see when they arrive at Dan-yi’s nearly demolished home, so Eun-ho takes her to a cafe to talk. Dan-yi refuses to say a word about her circumstances or Dong-min’s betrayals, until Eun-ho calls Dong-min a bastard. He may be a colossal jerk, but Dan-yi still sees him as the father of her daughter and hushes Eun-ho. “I did love him,” she says.

At the mention of “love,” Eun-ho recalls the first time that he met Dong-min. Young Eun-ho watched in surprise as a guy interrupted his lunch with Dan-yi, a guy whom she calls “Oppa.”

Eun-ho is not impressed as Dong-min brags about himself, but it’s the way that Dong-min treats Dan-yi that really solidifies his disdain. While Eun-ho encourages Dan-yi to eat her favorite meat, Dong-min whines until she turns the meat over to him instead.

In the present, Eun-ho thinks to himself, “If that was what love was, I didn’t want to fall in love. I didn’t want to be an idiot who can’t see what the other person needs… I wanted to be there for the person I loved until the end.”

Dan-yi finally breaks her silence and admits that Dong-min fled the country with another woman, and that now she has to earn her own living. Eun-ho can’t understand why she wouldn’t want a better job, so she explains to him the cruel reality that is trying to return to the workforce after taking a break to raise a child. She tells him that if she’ll live until she’s eighty, that means she’s only half-way through life, and she doesn’t want to live the way she’s been living for the rest of it.

Eun-ho’s protests are interrupted by a phone call. He’s forgotten about an interview, and Dan-yi slips away while he’s distracted.

It’s time to check in on the Cinderella Prince Seo-joon, who has a golden retriever (because of course he does). He’s got the green onion plant Dan-yi gave him in exchange for returning her shoes, and he winces and apologizes to the plant as he cuts a piece for his ramyun.

Meanwhile, Eun-ho poses for a quick photoshoot before his interview, his mind is on Dan-yi and her housing situation. The reporter’s first question is about Eun-ho’s first story, a web series he wrote in high school called The Bloody Contract. Eun-ho points out that he only agreed to the interview because they promised not to bring this story up. The reporter quickly segues into Eun-ho’s meeting and eventual partnership with Jae-min.

Cut to ten years ago, and the footage is grainy. Eun-ho is in college, and a classmate warns him that a man that looks like Chow Yun Fat has been asking about him. Cue Jae-min’s arrival, dressed in a trench coat and wearing dark sunglasses. Eun-ho denies being the author of The Bloody Contract, but Jae-min knows better and follows Eun-ho to the basketball court.

As they play, Jae-min offers Eun-ho permanent job security as the youngest editor at his publishing company. Eun-ho’s impressed with the deal, until he arrives and discovers that the company is currently composed of just Jae-min in a tiny, run-down office.

Back to the interview, the reporter suggests that it was this meeting with Jae-min that changed Eun-ho’s writing style to a more literary bent. Eun-ho says that it was his interest in literature in college, not Jae-min, that influenced his style. The reporter further suggests that it was the Human book series that really launched Gyeoroo.

Back to Eun-ho’s flashback, the company grows bit by bit, until a triumphant team has assembled. As Eun-ho returns to the present, the reporter has one last question: does Eun-ho have any comments regarding the rumors about Kang Byeong-jun, one of Gyeoroo’s top authors, and his purported retirement and disappearance?

Eun-ho promptly pretends to receive a phone call and ends the interview before answering the question. As he walks away, he receives a text from Dan-yi, asking him to change his house passcode back to the one that she knows, so that she can resume as his housekeeper until she finds a job. In the meanwhile, Dan-yi sleeps at the jimjilbang for the night.

The next morning, the Gyeoroo employees compete in a game to decide who will call the new hires and give them the good news. Ji-hong officially wins the game, but his victory is short-lived, as Jae-min decides that it’s his duty, as company president, to call the new hires himself.

Eun-ho follows Jae-min into his office and pulls Dan-yi’s application out of the stack of selected candidates. Jae-min tells Eun-ho that he insisted on hiring this particular candidate after reading her answers to the company questionnaire.

The first question asks the candidates to write what they’d like to tell themselves, and Dan-yi’s response is a heartfelt apology for being hard on herself. As her response reads in voiceover, Dan-yi’s life experiences play out, from the recent moments of homelessness, to times that her daughter threw a tantrum in public, or when Dan-yi had to deal with difficult customers at the supermarket where she worked. “I’m sorry I didn’t value you enough, I’m sorry I mistreated you, I’m sorry I let you feel small.” She encourages herself to take care of herself and work towards being happy.

Jae-min comments that she must have lived a hard life, and those types of people often make the best workers. The only thing that Eun-ho can offer up as praise is that there are no grammatical errors, and he leaves Jae-min to make his calls.

First up on his call list is Oh Ji-yul. When the call comes in, Ji-yul is on a group date, leaning in to kiss the guy next to her. Instead of the joy Jae-min was anticipating, Ji-yul doesn’t seem to care much about getting the job. She asks if she can delay her start date to accommodate her upcoming travel plans with her mom, and Jae-min tells her to report to work the next day.

Next up on the list is Park Hoon. As the young man crosses the street, he bumps into an old girlfriend. She notes the resumes he drops and asks if he’s still job hunting. Park Hoon lies and says that he’s found one at a public corporation, and she congratulates him, and even suggests that she should get in touch with him again.

Of course, Park Hoon actually works at a beauty store, and his ex shows up to witness him in his frilly pink uniform. Shortly after she leaves the store, Park Hoon receives Jae-min’s call. He’s excited at first, but then he can’t help but complain that Jae-min called him just a minute too late.

Jae-min’s last chance to get a genuinely grateful response is with Dan-yi, who is working at the jjimjilbang when the call arrives. Dan-yi gasps in shock and then thanks him profusely. But then the sauna ajummas surround Dan-yi and a raucous celebration breaks out. Dan-yi shouts, “Power pose!” and Jae-min is skeptical of her bizarre behavior as well.

Back at Gyeoroo, Hae-rin asks Eun-ho if he’s had a chance to check her work. He reassures her that she doesn’t need him to check before she turns it in anymore, and then he mentions to her that she left her clothes at his apartment. She gasps that she left her things in the dryer, and Eun-ho teases her about leaving behind her bra (I see, so she’s Miss Red Bra…)

At Eun-ho’s home, Dan-yi’s able to enter Eun-ho’s house again and finds more money for her housekeeping services. When she hears Eun-ho at the door, she darts upstairs to the spare room. She shoots Eun-ho a text about her job-related good news, and she watches from above as Eun-ho responds gruffly that he won’t give her any help at work. He also tells her to find him a new housekeeper.

As Dan-yi snuggles into her blankets on the floor though, Eun-ho sends another text, congratulating her on the job. She smiles and texts that she made his favorite stew, and Eun-ho smiles as well.

It’s the next morning, and guess who lives in the neighborhood? It’s Cinderella Prince Seo-joon, out for a walk with his dog. Dan-yi takes her moment while Eun-ho showers and sneaks out the door, but not before stealing Eun-ho’s slice of toast. She’s excited to start work, and Seo-joon recognizes her as she dances past.

Outside Gyeoroo, Dan-yi runs into Park Hoon. He’s excited to get to work, and dazes Dan-yi with a barrage of unfamiliar slang. Once inside, other recruit Ji-yul scurries into the elevator after them. Before the elevator doors close, Hae-rin joins them as well, but everyone assumes she’s also a new recruit.

Park Hoon does his best to introduce himself to everyone, but Hae-rin remains aloof. At orientation, Dan-yi and the others join the rest of the new hires, and Park Hoon leans in to dish some dirt. He’s heard that the orientation trainer, Hae-rin, is known as the “second witch” of Gyeoroo, and that she’s a cranky workaholic with the nickname “Ice Queen.” Oh boy.

When asked who the first witch of Gyeoroo is, Hae-rin finally chimes in that it’s Yoo-sun. At first, Park Hoon assumes that she’s also done her homework, but when Hae-rin hands out everyone’s business cards and drops the employee manual on the table in front of them, he finally realizes that the ice queen has been present for all the gossip, ha.

Hae-rin deadpans that she is indeed a workaholic, and she reminds them that they are all colleagues and competitors, all trying to outlast one another as they prove that they are qualified for the job.

Eun-ho arrives at the office in time to watch the orientation, and he smiles as a junior staff member gushes over how cute the newbies are. But then she points out Dan-yi and calls her dowdy, which Eun-ho will not stand. He says that she’s just his type, classy, and sends the staff member scurrying to follow-up with an unresponsive author.

It’s tour time, and the new recruits receive a warm welcome from Jae-min, and an equally cold one from witch number one, Yoo-sun. During a brief break, Park Hoon gushes about wanting to meet Eun-ho, and then asks Dan-yi how old she is. He cuts her off at just “30,” eager to note they are only three years apart, and then averts his eyes when she finishes “37.” Both of the young hires want to believe that she’s been working this entire time, or in school, but Dan-yi sticks to her story about only having a high school diploma.

As the office tour continues, the group is stopped by the arrival of a large floral arrangement. It’s for new recruit Ji-yul, from her mother, and she proceeds to take a bunch of selfies with it. The Gyeoroo staff take in the scene, eyebrows raised at the mommy’s girl. Hae-rin promises to work hard to mentor her, ha.

At the end of the day, Dan-yi smiles down at her new business cards. She thinks back to moments in her life when she was excluded from things or felt ashamed when she didn’t have a business card to exchange.

Eun-ho spots Dan-yi on the sidewalk as he drives home, ruining her plan of sneaking into his house undetected. He offers to drive her home, which she tries to evade by distracting Eun-ho with her business card and running. But Eun-ho has the dowdy comments on his mind, and he catches up with Dan-yi and tells her to get in his car.

He takes her to his ex-girlfriend’s clothing shop for a little shopping makeover. Dan-yi wonders if the two are back together, but ex-girlfriend Na-gyeong hints that they can’t get back together since someone cheated. Dan-yi automatically assumes it was Eun-ho, but Eun-ho reveals that it was actually Na-gyeong who cheated on him.

Dan-yi tries on a series of outfits until they find a style that suits her, Eun-ho seeming to ignore the entire process. Up next, Na-gyeong offers to take care of a haircut for Dan-yi. Dan-yi protests that the salon will be closed, but Na-gyeong is dating the salon owner, the very same person she cheated on Eun-ho with.

Dan-yi is surprised to meet Joo-yeon, Na-gyeong’s girlfriend, and Eun-ho shrugs that it’s obvious he never had a chance in this relationship, ha. After the haircut, Dan-yi teases him that he let another woman steal his girlfriend, and Eun-ho deals it right back that Dan-yi let a woman do the exact same thing to her. Eun-ho wants to drive Dan-yi to her home, but she makes an excuse that she isn’t allowed to have men over and darts away.

Eun-ho snuggles up at home with some work, and he can’t help but think of Dan-yi and how pretty she is when she smiles. Under his work papers, Eun-ho still has Dan-yi’s application questionnaire, and he moves on to question two: what are you most proud of? He smiles when he reads her answer, that she saved a boy’s life when she was in middle school.

That boy is, of course, young Eun-ho, a grade schooler with a love, though maybe not a talent, for soccer. After a disappointing game, little Eun-ho drops his soccer ball in the road. He tries to retrieve it, and a speeding sports car heads straight for him. From the sidelines, middle schooler Dan-yi throws him to safety, while she herself is tossed into the air as the car hits her.

Eun-ho stands over Dan-yi in the hospital. Thanks to her full body cast, Dan-yi won’t be attending school for a whole year, and she is delighted by this. She commands that Eun-ho work as her errand boy, which involves picking up stacks of books for her to read.

Their friendship grows as they sit and read more and more together, laughing over the same stories. And thus, the two forged their friendship and secured Eun-ho’s new passion in literature.

Now late in the evening, Dan-yi sneaks into Eun-ho’s house in hopes of making it to the spare room undetected. As Eun-ho locks up for the night, Dan-yi shuffles from corner to corner to avoid discovery.

She seems to have made it, until Eun-ho hears a glass break in the kitchen in the middle of the night. He finds nothing in the kitchen, as Dan-yi hides on the other side of the counter, a big bowl of food clutched in her arms. Once Eun-ho retreats, she crouches down to clean up the broken glass. But Eun-ho’s no fool, and she looks up to find him standing over her. “Have you been living in my house?” he asks her, eyes wide.

 
COMMENTS

I’m going to do my best not to gush too hard about this show, but it’s going to be a struggle, because I am really enamored so far.

There’s something about Lee Jong-seok that brings out the best in an ensemble cast. It’s not just that he’s a great actor, though he certainly is, but he adds this ease to any scene that he’s in that immediately elevates the performances of those around him as well. Everyone, from the leading lady to the smallest role at the publishing company, seems to shine as characters.

There’s just so much to each character, but especially to our two leads. Eun-ho is a sports bro turned genre writer, while Dan-yi is a quirky lover of stories and accomplished marketing pro turned mother turned newbie. There is such nuance to their performances because they aren’t defined by just one thing. Eun-ho isn’t just a prickly childhood friend, and Dan-yi isn’t only a worn down housewife. These two have already lived half their lifetimes, as Dan-yi has pointed out, and so they have so much to take forward with them into the future, and to the story that will unfold in our future episodes.

I love that while their pasts are intertwined, no one is in the dark about it. No lurking secret run-ins or shared relatives. These are just two people who have a shared history with one another, a long and meaningful one. How often do we see a younger version of our usual drama protagonists saved by a stranger, and never find them until much later? But here, it’s how their friendship is forged. Their connection is not used as fate’s hand to bring two destined souls together, but rather it’s the reason they know each other in the first place.

And this meaningful friendship makes Dan-yi’s need to keep secrets from Eun-ho all the more poignant. They don’t need to be estranged former friends to keep secrets from one another, and instead this conflict is driven by complex emotions. Dan-yi and Eun-ho have been in what seems like daily contact for a while, but she still managed to keep her circumstances secret from him.

It shines a lens on the idea that we can think we know someone so entirely, and still have no clue what they are going through. Eun-ho focuses on his love for Dan-yi so much that he doesn’t notice when things seem to be going downhill for her. He’s been so busy mooning over his one-sided lost love and his sad attempts to push other women away, his real love has managed to get divorced and lose her home. It’s not all Eun-ho’s fault though. Dan-yi’s pride and shame have been keeping her tight-lipped about things. It seems that Dan-yi has always had a hard time expressing difficult emotions, from the moment she tried to flee her wedding day, to her attempts to hide in her friend’s spare room rather than admit she needs a place to stay.

But Dan-yi is no pushover either. Dan-yi isn’t a hapless heroine. She’s lived a whole damn life already, and she’s done feeling like things are out of her control. Dan-yi’s letter to herself was the best bit of self-care reminder for all of us. To forgive ourselves, and not be so hard on ourselves, and to not let others take advantage of what we give them.

What I really enjoy about Dan-yi is that she doesn’t get caught up in her own pride. I can imagine the frustration of knowing how much job experience you have and not being able to talk about it, but she is just so grateful to be working again that those feelings don’t touch her. Yet. There’s still plenty of time for her to get upset about the politics of bureaucracy in the workplace, though I wonder if it’s more likely that Eun-ho will be getting upset on her behalf.

The two characters both have a long way to go, and I’m glad for that. I don’t need perfect protagonists, or a lop-sided relationship with one person trying to be as good as the other human. They both need to grow, which means they get to grow together.

I really want Eun-ho’s first series, The Bloody Contract to be super meaningful to the plot/romance. I so want it to be his giant love letter to his first love and all of the genre fiction that brought them together, and also perhaps Dan-yi’s rejection serving as the reason why he abandoned genre for more “respectable” writing.

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awww, i'm suffering from Second Lead Syndrome already...

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why do most writers make most all second lead to be so swoony and nice? to just potentially break our hearts? LoL

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Second leads are not always so nice- in 2009's 'Accidental Couple' we had a second lead who used to be nice but now is simply a detestable manipulator.

But the really nice second leads have to be very special- or the female lead's choice of the first lead simply becomes a no drama exercise in common sense.

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Im guess Dan-Yi is the author they can't get a hold of? I hope so, because she seems like she would be an amazing author. she just so happened to have disappeared from them around the same time she got a divorce.... it all adds up.

Also, I do agree about LJS. He does add this ease to an ensemble cast. I guess he's a charming, likeable man. The kind that makes every one want to work hard. I'm kinda disappointed he found out this early on about her living in his house. I need more co-habitation hijinks!

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Oh, I get the feeling we're just beginning in this regard. No way he's gonna kick out his first and truest love.

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I think the author is Seo joon.

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Me, too.

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I think Lee Jong-seok has this "manly child-like" the way he plays his characters. I noticed this since "I Can Hear Your Voice." With LBY's character, he'd look like a boy sometimes, but he's matured beyond his age.... I have the same vive with his character in "Romance as a Bonus Book."

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Consider yourself lucky because you’re in for a feast. Just don’t expect too much because I don’t think pd-nim going for in-your-face-slapstick-hijinks.

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This has to be the cutest childhood trope ever, mini Dani is so cute and with her being bossy and bonding with Eunho over comics, is really relatable how these two turns into best of friends.

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I laughed that she was the bully at school and cheered at not having to go to school for a whole year. That's why it was so sad to see her like a doormat with the sleazy ex.

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A clever twist for that overused Truck of Doom trope that made me when from “not again” to 🤣.

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I'm not enamored with the Show (yet) but I did enjoy episode 2 more than the first one.

I didn't find some scenes funny, and I'm not sure if they were meant to be:
- the one about cutting the green onion. Or was it supposed to portray the second male lead as someone caring and gentle ?
- the story on how the publishing company came about.

I was disappointed on the portrayal of Dan-yi's new co-workers. Oh well.

Too bad EH figured out that DY was staying at his place now. I hope he'll let her stay! I wonder how he'd feel once he realizes that his long time crush has been doing his laundry!

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So I really really like Dan-Yi. I think she is fabulous. Eun-Ho is not my favorite, honestly, he is a bit of an asshole. I am not sure whether I like Seo-Joon or not. He creeped me out initially, but I read the beanies takes and I think second lead syndrome is coming,(it's rare for me), but the rude lead male is so played to me. I am actually enjoying the show, although it's not actually funny. I hope Dan-Yi continues to be the character shown the most, (no offense to Lee jong-seok), but after Alhambra, I am wanting a female centric drama. This is looking like it.

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I pointed this out about Eun ho in the episode 1 recap and I got a ton of excuses as to why he was not.

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I don't really think he's an asshole. He's pretty caring, albeit not the most expressive person.

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He is an asshole, no doubt about that. And he is no friend, what kind of friend is one to whom you can't just ask to stay over for a few days?

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Exactly, I hated this scene where he take her back to her house, instead of talk to her.

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It was so contrived, he is like only I can mistreat her, how can anyone else do that? It my in-love-with-her-forever-right that I will shout at her, wrist grab her and then not listen to her and drive her everywhere without her knowing and scream that she lost her house and then take her to shop clothes so that my love will not look shabby in the eyes of some random office employee?
And I supposed to find him cute and ship them, I would rather tell her to find a woman shelter and live. It may not be best option but its better than living with a duplicate of your ex-husband.

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I think when your best friend is married, and they come to you running away from home because of a trouble with their spouse, first thing to ask is "Have you talked to your spouse about it?", because before anything else, as an adult you should talk first with the person you have problems with. Eun ho bringing her back to her house is reasonable, as he didn't know the gravity of the problem. You go back home, have a talk with your husband, if it fails, you can always come to me. Which exactly what Dan yi does in the end. Eun ho buying her clothes in the pretense that the clothes are gifts from the ex-girlfriend is also a way to take care of Dan yi who is obviously broke and in need of presentable clothings for work. She only has one set of (old) suit and if she was my best friend, I would also drag her and get her some new clothes, as a new job present. Most importantly, girl is happy with her new clothes! Lastly, if someone badmouths your best friend, even if you secretly agree with them, you pretend that you don't, stand up for your best friend instead, and then go and help your bestfriend to improve themselves. That's what I'd also do.

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@lou
Maybe I missed it, when did this guy talk?
He just called her husband without even asking? And drove her back to her home.
HAha, maybe because I have seen too much shit in life, I will never ever do that to my best friends. We have all lived through huge amount of shit in our life. I will just offer them a cup of coffee and switch on TV bring a warm blanket and wait till they explain, if they want to. We will cook food together, go to job and when she is ready to move she can go and fight with her husband or not. This is not for me to decide and not for me to ask, not for me to comment on. Though I will tell her that I will listen if she has something to say and will her if she needs my help.

Especially in countries where emotional torture and domestic violence is so widespread, I would never ever drive her back to her house. Its like she was screaming for help and I drove her straight back to hell.

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@Lou that's crappy thing for best friend to do, if asked for help. It's treating your friend like petulant child, who run away to spite it's parents not an adult.

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@shach he did that because for him it doesn't make sense. Everything in Eunho's world is perfect he never notice that the world is so harsh to Dani. That is why he said sorry after knowing the truth. He wasn't trying to pay back his mistakes by buying her new clothes he was doing his best to help a friend who is need for him at the moment. We all know Dani's only family living abroad let alone a minor. Her only companion and someone she knows is Eunho and Eunho knows that. We want all the best to our friends without asking anything in return.

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When you know you are her only friend and you don't even offer her a cup of coffee and ask anything politely without a condescending tone, before jumping to your own conclusions because your world is perfect and you are a supposed to be writer, says a lot about how self centered you are!
I hope she finds better friends in her life than these losers.

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Sometimes it is disheartening for me to comment on an internet forum that should serve as relaxing and entertaining, even as a woman in her mid-30s who runs her own business and a #girlboss in real life. The amount of passionate hatred emitted over a trivial thing like a fictional character is, well, huge. Why dont you take a deep breath and sit down. Your life and morality is not a standard that everyone should follow.

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Also "I have seen too much shit in life" sounds like a generic line from an angry teenager that it is difficult to take you seriously.

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@Lou, people disagreeing with your opinion is not hate, though.
I read the comments in this thread and no one personally attacking you, just commenting on situation from drama, and presenting their opinions and feelings.

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Nope, I'm with you, I think I liked your comment, haha. Hopefully he changes, and he probably will, but it is not necessary for him to be an asshole in the first place.

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The President cracks me up. He is so quirky and wholesome, and that scene where he tries to woo Eun Ho to join the company was one of my favorite parts of the episode.

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Totally agree about Dan-Yi. I've loved Dan Yi from the beginning. She feels like a real person, who has wonderful strengths and just as disastrous weaknesses. I admire her determination and her fight to believe in and champion herself. Having a life changing moment like a divorce is usually the impetus for a lot of self-reflection and change. It's refreshing to see this type of female lead.

LJS only gets better with age, but while he's engaging, his character is pretty much only important for how he relates to Dan Yi. Which, to be honest, is also refreshing, cause it's usually the opposite.

I find the quirky moments of the show enjoyable but also somewhat jarring, though they haven't seemed to figure out just what the feel of it should be. But I'm hoping as time goes on they'll settle into the right flow. I didn't expect to like it this much, and I'm in it for now.

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Damn you netflix.
First you bring the season concept via Kingdom. And now I have to wait to watch episode 1/2.

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This is on netflix?

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Yes, it's on Netflix and it will launch from February 2.

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Yes it is on NETFLIX starting Feb. 2

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I approve of Eun-ho's interior design in his house. It really represents a successful single professor editor in chief.

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Right? I was overly pleased when I saw him and several other employees wearing the exact style of glasses I wear when I do my own writing work. And I want his desk and his clipboard portfolio!

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I love DanYi. She is practical and real and refreshing. I have never seen Lee Na Young in anything before, but I am really enjoying her performance. She can do funny and silly all the way down to heartbroken.

I would not react well to someone yelling at me like Cha Eun Ho, but since it's a drama and I can see his side, I can see that he's actually worried on her behalf, and not mad at *her.* Plus I think he's held in his unrequited crush for so long that he doesn't even think it could ever work out in reality.

I had to smile, noting that this isn't the first time LJS has played a character buying new clothes for a girl, nor the first time he caught a girl sneaking into a house to find food. FEED THEM! They are hungry! Lol.

That said, my favorite two scenes in this episode are the flashback of the editing team, gloriously flipping their coattails, and when the boss called DanYi to tell her she got the job. Aw. I was cheering along with all the ladies in the sauna.

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If you have time you should watch her other works! She's super good at subtleties. She has done a lot of movies, and she has a different taste for a top actress but she tackles any character brilliantly.

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I'm not glad to see Wi Ha Joon played as noona-crushing second lead after his similar performance I've seen on Matrimonial Chaos.
I'm confident that I would not get an SLS here. *evil laughs*

"There’s something about Lee Jong-seok that brings out the best in an ensemble cast. It’s not just that he’s a great actor, though he certainly is, but he adds this ease to any scene that he’s in that immediately elevates the performances of those around him as well. Everyone, from the leading lady to the smallest role at the publishing company, seems to shine as characters."

I second this!

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This drama is unexpectedly cute and sweet. I thought it will be a train wreck.

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I loved the 2nd episode more than 1st..And I am loving both the leads..Like you said they have their flaws & that's what make them relatable..

I am not liking 2nd male lead much like others coz he seems bland. I found cutting spring onion seen irrelevant..

My favourite scene was Dan-Yi letter to herself & Eun-ho realising how hard the world was for his Noona...

I am looking forward to the next episode..I hope we get to see more layers of our leads..

Frankly speaking, I understood Dan-Yi as a character..What she feels & what she is going through but Eun-ho is still an enigma for me..Like in the 1st episode I thought he is having meaning less sex life but in the 2nd, we realised it was not like this...He shows one thing but feels another..I would like to know what is he thinking or feeling..

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*scene irrelevant
*it was not like that

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"Also, I do agree about LJS. He does add this ease to an ensemble cast. I guess he's a charming, likeable man. The kind that makes every one want to work"
totally agree!

Another thing that I really like about the dramas of LJS is that the female protagonist always has a lot of relevance in the story. They are pleasant, intelligent and with personality. Women always play a vital role in history.
In my opinion, the protagonism is divided equally between the main tracks (ahem, although I think the only exception was in DS).

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LJS himself has a high regard for talented, competent women. So it makes sense that he would choose dramas that showcase that.

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Cut to ten years ago, and the footage is grainy.

I really appreciate this. Sometimes I have trouble keeping track.

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Watch enough kdramas and cdramas and it's incredibly easy to follow flashbacks. I love non linear storytelling.
Comments here are varied so I'm unsure if this is the kind of drama I'd like. But then contrary to popular opinion, I loved Memories of Alhambra and am bored with Kingdom. Story of my life.

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I agree- it was a nice and useful touch. Plus the way that they showed the start and progress of the publishing company was hilarious.

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I like the quirky touch. We have a quirky publishing boss, quirky ahjummas and Dan-i doing power poses and a quirky 2nd male lead who apologises to an onion plant. Sounds like the ensemble to follow!

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I totally agree with what you said about Lee Jong Seok. I love all of his dramas! There is really something about him that drawns you so much may you be a fan or not! Thanks for the recap! I watched it already before reading this.. I am that addicted!😄

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I strongly suspect the enigmatic and now disappeared Writer Kang is Dan-yi (same last name!). The timeline fits. They ceased being in contact with her recently; it seems rather serendipitous that this is exactly when Dan-yi's marriage has collapsed and she's suddenly barely making ends meet. Then again, though, if she's the great and mysterious Writer Kang, where did all the money go? Why would she be destitute? Maybe her husband took her money? Maybe her money went to paying off the family's debts?

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@smaltwalt Maq, I was thinking that mysterious Writer Kang is more likely Seo Joon or even Eun Ho himself. The latter seems to have stopped writing, but he may have been both the writer and the editor in that Publishing House at it's start-up. Once the company took off, he no longer felt the need to write, perhaps, because he may have written to help his boss out in the early, challenging times.

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I think Eun-ho is still writing. He had that photo shoot with the journalist. However, I think you may be on to something. Apparently, Eun-ho's newer books are literary fiction. Maybe he writes genre fiction under the pseudonym? Although it raises a question about why he wouldn't just write the genre fiction under his own name.

I could definitely see Seo-joon being Writer Kang! That would make for an interesting development. Also, complete digression, but for once I want a k-drama that his this sort of set-up in which the newer man is chosen. Strong Woman Do Bong-soon does this (and it's probably one reason why Ahn Min-hyuk is so winsome), but the set-up in SWDBS leaves nobody with doubts about who the male member of the OTP is from the very beginning. The only show that really succeeds in creating suspense about who the protagonist will end up with and which ends up choosing the newer man (sort of) is Jealousy Incarnate (which, unsurprisingly, is my probably my favourite k-drama!).

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Completely random (and maybe a little bit rude; if so, I'll delete this comment), but Lee Jong-suk's fingers look really weird to me.

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Is Eunho aware that he is in love? I am just wondering.

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Is Eun Ho in love? I am not convinced yet. Blaming Dan Yi for his inability to love is not the same thing as being in love with her. Sure he loves her, as a friend, as a noona. But I haven't seen evidence of romantic love yet.

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She liked him , remember when she ran away from marriage,it's eun ho who could not hold her ,she was not sure about his feelings that's why she returned and got married. They liked eachother but never got the courage to accept that.

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I'm eagerly awaiting for Netflix to release the first 2 episodes, seems they become available a week after the broadcast in Korea.

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I was sooooo happy to see some queer representation!

I know this probably doesn't mean much to most viewers but to me it meant a lot... especially since bisexuals are super under-represented even in Western media and his ex seemed to be bi.

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I was surprised and delighted at how this revelation was presented.

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I liked this episode better, because I like side cast better, and Dani portrayal win me over, I'm not warmed up to EunHo because I hate "the jerk with the heart of gold (for the right woman of course:/)" trope with the passion of a thousand burning suns.

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This trope needs to DIE. Another thing I hate is when the male lead yells at the woman because he's "worried" about her. Such nonsense.

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Yeah agreed, dramas could do just fine without that dumb trope.

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I could see how watching Da Yi and her oppa would turn Eun Ho off love. So far I hated all of their scenes. It wasn't just his treatment of her that was revolting, her treatment of him seems to have enabled him. In that regard I also found her letter to herself very meaningful.

I did love the way the story of the company was told during Eun Ho's interview.

I also enjoyed Eun Ho's reaction to being cheated on with a woman and still being friends with his ex but I didn't see the point of that haircut as her hair is still as awful as before with those blunt bangs (I was excited with the prospect of a haircut!).

But what I loved the most was the story of Dan Yi and Eun Ho's first meeting and how this friendship shaped and helped his future career. But seeing how close they are I found it sad that Dan Yi wasn't comfortable enough to come to Eun Ho for help and had to sneak around be it for staying in his house or housekeeping for him (I guess she was embarrassed). Eun Ho is well aware of her pride to play daddy long legs behind the scenes by providing her a new wardrobe.

Now I'm expecting her to housekeep for him in exchange for rent.

While the second lead still doesn't do much for me I did find the scene of Seo Joon with the spring onion very cute.

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Yes what was the point of getting her hair cut if it looks exactly the same.

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Thanks @abirdword

I couldn't stream Ep 1 so I jumped in at Ep 2 and it was great! There was enough introduction and flashbacks so that I got an okay grasp on the people and the main relationship.

Lee Jong Suk and a noona romance just goes super well together. I've never gotten over the sad 'little boy' feels of I Can Hear Your Voice. That show's cohabitation scenes were some of the sweetest. I'm hoping for more in this show.

What a great solution cohabitation would be since they'd be saving each other money and helping each other at the same time. He could drop her off at work and support her surreptitiously, and at home she could continue to cook for both of them. 😆 Opportunites galore for love to bloom, if only she'd stop seeing him as the doengsaeng. 😉

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It was far better than the first episode.
I liked the atmosphere in the office and even if I generally don't like when characters know each other from childhood, this time the situation and the way to describe it was cute.

I'm not yet into the story, but I think it could become more absorbing.

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Gosh, I'm that person this time. I hate Dan-yi. I think she's a horrible friend and a pretty terrible human being. She's so full of pride, she'd rather mooch off her supposed friend, whom she's seemingly never treated as anything but her last resort, than ASK for money. Or a place to stay. Or anything, really.

They probably haven't kept in touch since she got married, as they didn't have much in common anymore, but I can't imagine them ever being close since she didn't mention her second thoughts on marriage, or her marriage problems, or her divorce, or ANYTHING.
Unless they go through a crash course on how to communicate, I'm not buying this friendship thing.

I get that she's ashamed, and I get that she wants to be independent and she is worthy of admiration for that, but GOD it's so frustrating.

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I get that her actions are being used as an entertaining literary devise, but I agree with you here. Living in your friend's home secretly, and stealing the food off his plate....this is not how we treat our friends in real life. Not only is it trespassing, theft, and an egregious breach of trust, but what does it say about your friendship that you don't have enough faith in yourself and your friend to share the truth of your situation?

However, as a set-up for friends-to-lovers and cohabitation hijinks in a rom-com, I suppose it could have been worse?

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I'm entertained. But there's no excuse. You either ask for help and receive it, or you suffer and maybe manage to survive on your own. Either way, friends shouldn't keep such things from each other. If they don't show him ignoring her attempts to vent or whatever in the past, I'll be happily sailing my tragic SSV SLS until its inevitable demise.
He has a doggo.

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Oh God no, the second male lead is... I don't even know what he is. Walking around with some strange woman's shoes and his golden retriever and apologising to plants for cutting them... it's weirdly creepy to my mind.

I'm in two mind about Dan-i. On the one hand, I agree with you because he probably would have let her stay with him if she'd just asked. Sneaking around in his house, eating his food and lying to him about it is just insane.

On the other hand, I have a feeling he's always hero-worshipped her and she doesn't want that image to be tarnished. She was the brash and confident older woman who saved his life and went after everything like a bulldozer. She doesn't want to appear before him as a total loser.

So I get her, even if I think she was behaving like a crazy person this episode.

Also, and this I don't get, he's not a jerk. At all. I have no idea why some people think he is. He's not even vaguely jerk-like. I just don't see it at all. I like him. He's a nice guy and a good friend (at least when he's given the chance to be).

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Sorry, that last bit is in response to other comments - not yours.

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In the drama, EH describes her as eccentric and a trouble maker … so unconventional and slightly strange behavior may be expected, which makes her a very interesting character.

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In a drama it’s cute, in real life it’s creepy.

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hmm when my marriage was having serious problems i didn't even tell my mother about it- i remember feeling ashamed and felt like a big failure, and at the time i couldn't handle other people's feelings on top of my own. so i just kept mum even to my closest people. i can empathize with dan yi on the secrecy thing

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Refusing to talk about your problems at the time they're happening - yeah, I get it. But after all is said and done and you know you're drowning? That's some serious lack of trust in your friendship.

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a failed marriage - and in dan yi's case, a failed life since she's left penniless, jobless, and homeless - is still a big issue in many asian cultures and the sense of shame it brought is not an easy thing to confess to. they might be very close growing up, but i guess they naturally drifted apart after she got married, since she'd be busy with her family and EH with his own life. shed managed to keep herself and her kid afloat so far with all her part-time jobs so she might not be desperate enough yet to ask EH for help. until the drama started that is, lol

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@siesta thanks for sharing your experience. It is amazing how human beings can react in many different ways to the same situation (or a very similar situation). I hope you have found peace and happiness just as we would like Danyi to achieve it too.

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Now I remember why I love slice-of-life K-dramas so much! Especially coming off of MotA where I tried so hard to get the gaming genre only to get conked on the head at the ending after all. So, I am charmed beyond measure by this story. Life can be that way, you know? Okay, minus the eye candy in most cases, but I love how these two leads interact. In K-dramaland I can totally believe how Dan-yi kept the news of her divorce and became Eun-ho's housekeeper. I loved the way she cried at the bus stop when her heel broke and she "chose" to turn down the interview. I love the side story of a knight appearing to save her in distress in the rain, and although Dan-yi is grateful, she holds her own and sends Seo-joon away with the last remaining item from her household - a potted green onion plant. I love how she still stays in Eun-ho's house without him knowing. And now she works at his publishing company. I love how Eun-ho is nonchalant but not uncaring. Of course, the fact that this drama takes place in the book world is a plus in, well, my book always! I felt so happy watching the first two episodes of Romance is a Bonus Book. It's a slice-of-life K-drama escape for me!

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I'm not sure what kind of drama it is. The subject of a divorced woman with a kid who must work again and find her place in the society is pretty interesting and serious. But the part where she lives secretly in the house of her friend whom she lied about her life sounds more like a romcom. I think I would prefer they give up about the weird kdrama tropes and tell her real story and it will not be about how she will be saved by the rich and genius guy...

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She saved his life … how about returning the favor?

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@kurama
The sense I'm getting from this show is that there is a role reversal where the young person is the responsible care-giver and the older person is the rash, childish kid (exception here is over her own child). The show, I think, will be about Dan-i growing up.

The fact that she gets help from guys does not bother me. I see her trying her best, not waiting to be rescued, but not above grabbing any help that she can get as well.

It will be good if the show can marry the 2 different genres ie workplace slice-of-life and rom-com, to give weight to the fluffy parts and to lighten the sombre parts. We'll have to see if it works out. 😃

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It doesn't bother me if Eun Ho helped her. But I hope he won't be the one who rescues her in her job or in their home everytime. I hope she will use her own strength.

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It's been quite interesting so far!!! :) I am just wondering one question..... where's the daughter (studying abroad?) and with whom? the father? he didn't seem too reliable in the past... not enough to care about her daughter anyway. is SHE (the daughter) gonna be a spoiled ("poor" /"evil") brat? that'd be pretty new in dramaland, right? because in a flashback (at a restaurant I think) she seemed to be complaining about sth... I just want to skip to the moment the lead couple are officially a couple. Another question that comes to my mind... in kdramas they dont usually show the afthermath of the whole story...or is too short? don't you all think? I mean, I only remember a drama where they showed sth similar (sorry, don't know if I should tell which one, don't want to spoil anyone).

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Her daughter is studying in a school in the Philippines- because she was bullied at her school in Korea. The ex-husband has run off with another woman.

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But we only know about that on the third episode. Right?. Poor girl if she's alone at school. The father is going to be in the story? It does not seem like that now... But who knows.

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I wonder if it is part of your culture to raise your voice as a sign of your concern.
I ask because I have some Asian (Chinese) friends (I do not know how to speak Chinese). We knew each other a short time ago. On one occasion, they met a person of the same nationality and began to converse in their native language. At some point in the conversation, they began to raise their voices and their conversation became more euphoric, for me, it seemed that they were angry and arguing.
Then, when they said goodbye to that person, I asked them if there was a problem. They told me there was no problem and they asked me why I asked that question. After hearing my answer, they smiled and told me that they usually communicate in that way. After a while I got used to seeing them communicate in that way.

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Upthread someone mentioned the "trope" of yelling at someone because you are worried. I've done that. Not just with my kids but my parents, s.o and friends. "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!!!" then you calm down and ask if they're ok or how can you help. It's the adrenaline, frustration and about a million other things you are feeling at once. idk about anyone else but I get it.

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Leads are talented and backstory is quite cute, so I think I will end up shipping them sooner or later. BUT it would be great if this wasn't a romance drama. There is enough material to work on without the romance (including the dynamic leads have) Like Eunho would come in terms with his crush and Dan Yi would realize the said crush, they would talk about it and move on. I can totally see Dan Yi cheering on EH to fall in love with someone lol. But since this is already decided, I hope they work a bit more on LJS's character and make sure LNY stays awesome. Oh and, second lead feels abit out of the whole plot at this point. Can't say I'm fond of the acting either. Here's hoping for better stuff!

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"The Bloody Contract", the title of Eun-ho’s first series. It is a symbolic way to describe how Dan-yi and Eun-ho's relationship was forged … thru a bloody accident.

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Yah! So ready to join the train. I am here for Jong Seok .It's looking great right now I hope it lasts this well

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I love this drama. The narrative was interestingly done and creative. CEH shows he is mature and considerate. He didn't force Dani to go back to the wedding but instead ask her what she wouldlike to do and giving suggestions. Although he didn't like her husband but he lends him money n when he realised that Dani is really having problem n knows has started, he immediately wants to check what is happening to her even risking annoying the boss during an interview. He was angry that he was not aware if her divorce n that Dani could get a better job cos of her qualification. It was so sweet that he knows Dani needs to have some newer dress so that the co workers will not be judging Dani.
Although Dani is older than Eun Ho, it feels like Eun Ho is her older brother - showing consideration and practical help. He is also very wise. Dani is a strong person although she sacrifices herself for her husband n child. She manages to survive after her divorce doing part time jobs here n there. She is lovely but agree with eun ho that she does not seem to know what loves is.
What is love? It will be interesting to see from the development of the drama. I am anticipating.
I love the cast everyone of them acted so well and they shines. Great teamwork - casts, director, writer n crews.

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I have actually now watched the third episode (no spoilers) and I can say that I really like this show.

Other people have mentioned the second lead- and he is indeed a first class second lead. After watching the third episode I strongly suspect that there is also a second female lead- and that this will add a great deal to our story. Love quadrangles are so much better than love triangles- even Shakespeare understood this, which is why his greatest comedy is "A Midsummer Night's Dream", which has one in it.

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Hi @oldawyer
Yes indeed. I'm also guessing at a love quad or maybe a double triangle? There are going to be much fun misunderstandings in couple-land, and I hope there'll be more awkward moments between the OTP as well! 😆

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A double triangle? Why not?

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I ❤️ how Dan-Yi centric the show is. She’s rather an oddball that made her an adorable and root-able character for me. It didn’t cross my mind that she possibly would be the mystery writer. But one thing for sure, she has a knack for writing. So I guess I will just wait on how the mystery unfold.

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I’m officially hooked on this drama. Now that the initial setup is complete we can get to the fun stuff.

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Can we talk about how they just casually talked about Eunho's ex-girlfriend having a girlfriend like it was no big deal? I haven't seen a drama with any mentions of LGBTQ+ in a while, and I thought that was great, even if it was minor.

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My Strange Hero did something similar too. It was so quick but good. Boksoo was trying to win someone over in a way that looked a bit like a romantic overture and the other man said "I have a boyfriend" and then walked on by. It was how offhand it was that sold it.

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Matrimonial Chaos too :)

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Two sequences that I really really loved in this episode: the first, the illustration of Eun-ho and Dan-yi’s childhood friendship and the second, the hilarious way in which Dan-yi made her furtive entry into Eun-ho’s house at the end. I really love the pace of this drama - I wouldn’t have been too unhappy if they’d dragged out her secret of staying in his house a little longer, but it makes it all that more exciting that the secret’s already out. As the recapper’s mentioned, the rich history that these two have makes it so amazing to watch this show, and hopefully watch as they rediscover themselves, each other and the feelings they have for each other. With the hilarious intros we had to Park Hoon and the other girl (I only remember his name because he was so eager to repeat it multiple times) I can already sense the comedy to follow at the workplace! After just two episodes, I’m definitely feeling hooked on this show.

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Hi! What's the name of Cha Eun Ho's Ex, Na-gyeong, in real life? I absolutely adore her face!!

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