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Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 13

The law of the universe dictates that what goes up, must then come down. Sadly, our heroine is learning that the hard way as her time at Gyeoroo threatens to come to an end. Dan-yi has trudged an unfair path from the get-go, but at least this time, she doesn’t have to face it alone.

 
EPISODE 13: “Did It Hurt Because of Me?”

In light of Director Ko’s discovery of Dan-yi’s lies (in regards to her over-qualifications for her position), Eun-ho makes it his mission to find Dan-yi a job elsewhere. Unfortunately, each person he approaches agrees that Dan-yi is talented, but her employment gap is a deal-breaker.

Meanwhile, Seo-joon gets a call from Hae-rin (whom he’s labeled as “Red Spots” in his contacts for her allergic reaction to the cucumbers, hee). He winces at the memory and rejects her call. Eun-ho also declines answering her, but she sends him a text begging for help in apologizing to Seo-joon after her drunken fiasco.

Eun-ho replies that she should be professional since Seo-joon isn’t a friend, but a business partner. Seo-joon also texts her, complaining that after she’d slept on his bed, his sheets still smell, despite washing them.

Hae-rin pouts that both men hate her. She texts Seo-joon that she bought an apology cake and he replies that he doesn’t need it and asks that they not see each other again. He can’t help but wonder if Hae-rin was a bad drunk because she’d gotten dumped… or the other way around. Hehe.

Arriving home empty-handed, Eun-ho sighs at the realization of how hard Dan-yi has struggled. Inside, she greets him happily and asks for a hint for the upcoming company idea competition.

Eun-ho agrees… on the condition she give him a kiss on the cheek. Dan-yi complies but Eun-ho grins it wasn’t good enough, and has her do the same for the other cheek. Still unsatisfied, he closes his eyes and puckers his lips.

Dan-yi gives him a peck on the mouth and Eun-ho says she can do better… but Dan-yi playfully bats his lips and tells him to uphold his end of the bargain. Laughing, Eun-ho points out that since he’ll be a judge, he can’t show her preferential treatment.

He does, however, tell her to aim for a book people will love for a long time. “It’ll be great if it can contribute to the company’s success,” he adds, reminding her to think outside the box. Dan-yi cheerfully turns back to brainstorming, but Eun-ho suddenly asks about her time job searching.

Dan-yi agrees that it was extremely stressful, recalling how miserable she’d felt at the unfairness of it all. Eun-ho wonders why she didn’t seek him out, and Dan-yi smiles that she knew he’d be upset.

Eun-ho argues they could’ve been upset together but Dan-yi waves it off as the past. “Now I have a job, and I’m doing pretty well at work,” she beams, “I even have a boyfriend now.” Taking her hand, Eun-ho apologizes for having been blind to her struggles and denies it when she asks if something is wrong.

Dan-yi wonders if it’s okay for her to participate in the idea competition when she’s just a contract employee, but Eun-ho urges her to do everything she wants to do. He reminds her she’s supposed to be meeting with Hoon and Ji-yul to brainstorm and Dan-yi rushes to get ready.

As she’s finishing up, Eun-ho brings her bag and tells her to close her eyes. Dan-yi grins, suspicious, but does so and Eun-ho clasps a flower earring in her ear. He hugs her from behind as she admires it in the mirror.

Eun-ho says he’ll do chores while she’s gone, but he won’t be home when she gets back. When asked where he’s going, Eun-ho simply says it’s a secret.

Dan-yi meets her fellow newbies at a coffee shop and Hoon declares that while they’ll sit together, they’re still rivals and shouldn’t share anything. Ji-yul pouts that she’s screwed and the other two don’t hesitate to hand her some materials they’d gathered to get her started. Aww.

That evening, Dan-yi arrives home to find Eun-ho prepared dinner for her before leaving. She smiles at his thoughtfulness, but wonders where he’s been disappearing to.

Eun-ho and Jae-min watch anxiously as a doctor finishes examining Author Kang at the house in Kapyong. The doctor tells them Author Kang’s condition is declining and they should prepare for the worst.

Jae-min reminds Eun-ho that they’ve heard this diagnosis many times. Eun-ho’s mind isn’t on the future, however, but the past. “I’m just not sure if I made the right choice,” he admits quietly. Crying, he begs the unconscious Author Kang to tell him he’s doing the right thing.

The next day, Hae-rin finally locates Seo-joon’s house. She peppers the door with knocks but when Seo-joon goes to answer the door, she scurries around the corner. Seo-joon takes Geum-bi for a walk and is surprised when Hae-rin appears before them.

Via message cards, Hae-rin tells Seo-joon that she has sworn off alcohol. She tells him she greatly respects him and begs him to forgive her.for her drunken behavior. Seo-joon can’t help but chuckle a bit, but then his face resume a neutral expression and he walks away.

Over lunch, Yeong-ah tells Dan-yi she plans to request Dan-yi transfer to her team at the next founding members’ meeting.

Meanwhile, Hae-rin continues to follow Seo-joon and he continues to give her the could shoulder. By the time he exits a bookstore to find matching ribbons on Geum-bi and Hae-rin, he’s completely exasperated.

Hae-rin explains that she feels particularly responsible towards Seo-joon because she’s never ended a contract on a bad note. She apologizes again, but Seo-joon seems more upset she subjected herself to her own allergy.

Accepting Hae-rin’s vow to do better, Seo-joon takes Geum-bi home, ignoring her suggestion they eat together. Hae-rin texts Eun-ho that she smoothed things over and promises to keep personal and work matters separate from now on.

The office is abuzz after a post about alleged spotting of Author Kang popped up online. Ji-hong waves it off as another crazy rumor. He believes that Author Kang vanished for a good reason and will reappear someday with the novel he never published, The Heroes.

Curiously, Seo-joon is at home printing off a manuscript also titled, The Heroes, but with a different author listed.

That night, Dan-yi does a little research and finds Author Kang’s declaration of retirement. As Author Kang’s voice reads the letter–lamenting that his passion had been reduced to merely a job over the years–we see Seo-joon finally tearing down his conspiracy board on Author Kang.

Eun-ho returns home and pauses when Dan-yi tells him she was reading Author Kang’s retirement letter. She muses that Author Kang is the reason Eun-ho became a writer, since he’d been Eun-ho’s teacher and asked Eun-ho to write a novel. Wait, what?!

Eun-ho points out Author Kang never liked his novels, and showered them with criticism. “I became a writer because of you,” Eun-ho corrects, reminding Dan-yi she’d uploaded his novel online without his knowledge.

Dan-yi asks if Eun-ho was the one to receive the letter. She admits she’d been busy working and raising her daughter at the time, and hadn’t even known Eun-ho was working at Gyeoroo. Dan-yi adds that he’d been weirdly distant around that time.

His evasive answers don’t deter Dan-yi’s question train. When asked if he’d kept in touch, Eun-ho says Author Kang wasn’t close with anyone and left that letter in hopes no one would search for him. “I personally think it was just the right ending for him,” Eun-ho tells her.

Dan-yi points out The Heroes is still unpublished, and she and many others think Author Kang will return with that book someday. She finally changes the subject to the poetry book Ji-hong wants published and says she hopes Eun-ho voted in favor.

The next morning, the founding members all saunter into work clad in their identical jackets, a dramatic wind and sassy music announcing their arrival. The other employees gather to see the team assemble in the meeting room and Hae-rin notes that it’s her first time seeing this Gyeoroo tradition.

Another employee explains that the founders wore those jackets to every important meeting and event when Gyeoroo was starting out. Dan-yi scurries off to get the voting box she’d been entrusted with and the meeting to decide whether the poetry book will be published commences.

Ji-hong waits with bated breath as Dan-yi reveals the votes one-by-one. First is Ji-hong’s “yes,” followed by Jae-min’s “no.” Jae-min grows nervous when Yeong-ah and Eun-ho’s votes are also a “yes.” Ji-hong’s excitement fades as the last vote falls to Director Ko. Jae-min grins smugly as Dan-yi pulls out the final paper and reveals… a “yes!”

Jae-min stares at Director Ko with utter betrayal in his eyes as everyone else cheers. Dan-yi leaves the meeting to reveal the results to the rest of the office. Ji-yul declares it a historical moment (since it’s Gyeoroo’s first poetry collection) and Hoon announces a second historical moment as the newbies grab their laptops and simultaneously submit their entries for the idea contest.

Back in the meeting, Yeong-ah pitches her request for Dan-yi to transfer to her team. Director Ko immediately shoots it down and the resulting argument between her and Eun-ho reveals Dan-yi’s lie to the rest of the founders.

Afterwards, Ji-hong and Yeong-ah wait anxiously outside and when Director Ko walks past, they ask for the verdict. Director Ko simply says that now that Jae-min is aware, it’s his decision and briskly changes the subject.

Returning to the meeting room, Yeong-ah overhears Jae-min tell Eun-ho that it’s only right to terminate Dan-yi’s contract. Eun-ho argues that Dan-yi’s deception wasn’t illegal but Jae-min firmly replies that the company has rules.

While consulting with Hae-rin, Director Ko makes eye contact with Dan-yi and almost looks remorseful when Dan-yi smiles at her. Seeing Yeong-ah return to her desk, Dan-yi rushes over to hand her some documents. She’s attached a note, asking about the transfer news and Yeong-ah shakes her head.

Dan-yi runs into Yeong-ah in the break area later and assumes Yeong-ah’s distress is because Dan-yi’s transfer was denied. Dan-yi assures her she’s not upset, but Yeong-ah says they found out she’s far more qualified than she’d noted on her resume and that there was talk of terminating Dan-yi’s contract.

In the main office, Ji-hong asks Eun-ho if he really plans to fire Dan-yi. Eun-ho immediately rejects the idea. Ji-hong watches anxiously as Dan-yi and Yeong-ah return to their desks with hollow expressions. Eun-ho attempts to compose a text to Dan-yi, but can’t think of what to say.

Suddenly, Dan-yi gets up and walks away. A text tells Eun-ho that he just informed Dan-yi of her termination and she’ll handle the rest. Shouting her name, Eun-ho chases after her, and Ji-hong wonders if he and Yeong-ah should follow, but she snaps at him to stay put.

Dan-yi arrives at Jae-min’s office and steps inside before Eun-ho can stop her. He watches helplessly as she announces to Jae-min and Director Ko that Eun-ho informed her of her impending termination.

She continues that she’d like to explain herself and says that for a year, she’d searched relentlessly for work. “I heard that it’d be hard,” she says, “but I thought Id’ be given a chance since I lived my life to the fullest. I thought someone would acknowledge me or there’d be a place that would need my and my abilities.”

Dan-yi hadn’t been given that chance, though. So when Gyeoroo claimed age and educational background irrelevant, she’d been willing to throw away her accomplishments and applied without thinking.

She’d been so thrilled when she was hired and hadn’t cared what her job entailed because it was work. “Just so you know,” she finishes with tears in her eye, “I really did my best here.” Jae-min recognizes her hard work, but says the lack of requirements listed on the job posting and Dan-yi’s deception are different matters.

Dan-yi admits she’s at fault, and that she has to leave the company. “Still, this place is my present and future,” she chokes out, “That’s why I came here to ask if you could reconsider.” No one says a word or even looks her in the eye as Dan-yi excuses herself.

In the bathroom, Dan-yi locks herself in a stall and sobs as her voiceover says, “Termination of contract. I realized once again how heavy those three words could be. All I want to do is work. I just want to be here. As saying those things out loud would only make me look greedy I just poured out all the tears I had been bottling up inside.”

That evening, Hoon is startled when Ji-yul shows up and forces her way into his apartment. She announces her mother has kicked her out and declares Hoon is responsible. Hoon argues that they’re not really dating and asks if Ji-yul likes him.

Ji-yul balks that he’s too ugly and Hoon snaps that even if she’s pretty, he doesn’t like her enough to take care of her life. Ji-yul snaps that he’s short and Hoon counters that she looks old. He urges her to go home or at least to the jimjilbang, but Ji-yul says he should go.

Hoon cries that this is his house… only to end up lying on the floor of the jimjilbang wondering why he left. Hee.

Dan-yi and Eun-ho sit together at home and she sighs that Eun-ho must’ve been troubled by the ordeal. Eun-ho promises he’s fine and tells Dan-yi that what she did wasn’t illegal and she’s within her rights to continue working until her contract expires.

She’s unwilling to cause him trouble, but Eun-ho smirks that he’s Cha Eun-ho. “And I won’t let you leave,” he says, “not because I like you, but because you’re a great employee.” Dan-yi agrees that as long as Eun-ho is okay with it, she’ll hold out.

He laments he can’t be with her tomorrow because he has a lecture at the college and Dan-yi playfully reprimands him for acting like her guardian. She tells him not to worry, she feels brave since the only person she needs is him.

Eun-ho drives Dan-yi to work and she grumbles that someone could see them and find out they’re dating. Seeing Dan-yi’s uneasy expression as she gets out, Eun-ho slides out of his window and throws his arms up in a heart. “Kang Dan-yi! I love you!”

She urges him to get back in the car, but grins as he shoots hearts at her. Dan-yi bounces off to work, but Eun-ho watches her warily. Sure enough, he gets a text from Hae-rin in the middle of his lecture… Dan-yi submitted her resignation.

Eun-ho storms out of the classroom, demanding Hae-rin tell him exactly what happened as Dan-yi sits at the bus stop with her belongings and cries.

 
COMMENTS

Well color me confused, folks! This episode took me on a bit of a roller coaster ride and I’m left with a bit of whiplash. I’m not sure how I expected Dan-yi’s fib to play out, but this wasn’t it. Part of the problem here, is I still can’t seem to wrap my head around why it’s such a big deal that she left out a few qualifications on her resume. As Eun-ho pointed out, it’s hardly illegal, and I’m genuinely surprised at how flabbergasted everyone was when Director Ko dropped the bomb.

But even setting that aside, once the cat was out of the bag, I figured Dan-yi would accept her fate and leave. I was pleasantly surprised when she went to see Jae-min, not to quit, but to plead her case. It breaks away from the formula and I was proud of her for admitting that while what she did was (technically) wrong, the system was stacked against her from the get-go and she was screwed either way… and that’s why the ending was particularly upsetting.

After all that for Dan-yi to resign anyway just leaves me feeling robbed. She’d asked for Jae-min to reconsider, and unless something else happened that wasn’t shown, she quit before even getting an answer. I’m hoping there’s more to this, because right now it just looks like she quit to protect Eun-ho and that’s a branch of noble idiocy I could do without.

Same goes for this weird mystery, but for fear of sounding like a broken record, I’ll avoid ranting this week. Instead, I’ll turn to the few positives this hour. The romance is adorable. I’m not as invested in the OTP as I wish I was, but I’m happy that they’re happy and I wouldn’t want them with anyone else.

Hae-rin and Seo-joon are so weird and compliment each other very well. I found it funny how Seo-joon has fully realized just how crazy Hae-rin can be and tried to distance himself. It was cute how hard she tried to win him over, although I totally understand Seo-joon’s exasperation. Hae-rin may be extremely competent in the workplace, but when it comes to her personal life, she still has some growing up to do.

Same can be said for Ji-yul. I haven’t mentioned her and Hoon much because they’re fairly minor characters, but I do thoroughly enjoy their zany dynamic. She’s still immature and pretty selfish, but Ji-yul has made progress and is taking her job seriously and standing up to her mother. Poor Hoon has his hands full juggling mother and daughter and if Ji-yul continues to deny him as a romantic partner, I really feel for him going forward.

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Ji-yul and Hoon are my favorite couple. I wish I could see more of them.

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To me, they are carrying a LOT of this show's weight now.

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I totally agree, I have dropped this drama for now but I still find myself wanting to know how Hoon and Ji-yul are getting along at the company

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Yeah, I might start back up when it wraps up and just fast forward to their parts.

I really like those two and I like the way they were written.

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That particular minor character, co-worker, unattractive guy and pretty but dumb girl trope is among my least favorite in Kdramas. I zone out during their scenes together, although I don't mind them individually so much, although I don't for one second buy that Ji-yul can become a competent editor. She's dumb as a post.

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At first I couldn't understand as well why was it such a big deal that Dan-i left out some of her qualifications in her resume, but then I remembered that we're in Korea where age, sunbae&hoobae relationship matters a lot.
It would make the atmosphere really awkward inside the company to know that someone with credentials like her is in that position.

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That's an interesting point, but I still don't buy the righteous anger over "she lied." She omitted some of her credentials, she didn't manufacture anything. I felt the whole thing was contrived because the plot required a crisis at this point. Dan-yi is going to get her job back in the end, and the Author Kang situation is going to be solved. We just need to go through a crisis first. And the Author Kang crisis is still brewing.

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Well think of it this way. The hierarchy from age is like a smooth vertical chain in society. The hierarchy from job position is a parallel smooth chain. As soon you do ANYTHING to create an imbalance it's like chucking a huge brick into a pond; it's not a small ripple but a huge PLONK!

You see this in Marry Him if You Dare when the female lead gets an entry position at age 30, making her 29 year old boss innately furious for being in this intense personal conflict between the obedience she should be showing to someone a whole year older than her and the obedience she should be receiving from someone 4 job levels lower.

You see it again in 20 Again when the female lead goes back to college and all the other frosh are horrified someone's mom is in their class.

It's an element of Korean society I am understanding from watching dramas and reading material explaining the culture but it's something that makes me grit my teeth because I feel it's so unjust and basically stupid. Here you have a fantastically talented person and OH MY GOD RESUME GAP, DEAD TO ME!!!

As they point out in the episode it's illegal age discrimination that everyone just does anyway.

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That's why this actually makes sense to me. The inner office where Dan-i works is intimate. All of the employees know each other, and they understand where they stand in terms of experience and seniority. There are also rules about company policies regarding hiring, and rules that specifically apply to contract employees. This was portrayed in a much more serious way in Misaeng, for example. Here it's kind of a reverse effect - the employee who everyone is asking to fetch and carry, but who is also talented in other areas (which makes her seem like a genius/prodigy as everyone things she has only a high school education and zero experience in marketing/publishing). She could certainly be hired, but the company apparently has policies re how a contract employee can become a permanent hire, and it involves leaving their current position and reapplying for a permanent position.

The question seems more like, will the company bend its rules for Dan-i. Director Ko is a stickler for the rules, so this doesn't seem personal to me, but just her being the usual strict director that she has always been. I think she personally likes Dan-i, and thinks she's very talented. The reveal of her background probably cleared up a lot of things for her, but I'm not seeing any personal resentment. As Jae-min told her in an earlier episode, her strict supervision and adherence to the company policies is what has kept the reputation of their company clean.

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Soooo...at this point they have just stop talking about Dan-yi's daughter.

Because her resignation reads like a single woman who can take time to figure things out and luckily has a wealthy boyfriend while doing so.

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The curious case of the missing daughter!

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I agree. I’ve been harping on this since episode 3, so I think I’m done.

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I haven't read a lot of the comments in the recaps lately, so forgive me if I'm saying what's already been established by other beanies, but: really it feels like the writer wanted a character who took time off from work and then tried to come back. And then the writer needed a way to make that "time off" from work legitimate and understandable and sympathetic. So the writer chose "raising a child" -- but with NO consideration how having a child would impact the rest of the story line. This is one of a few ways that this show has dropped the ball, and as much as I'm enjoying parts of it, I am sad for those lost opportunities.

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agreed! If they chose to go that route, they could have atleast had few moments talking about the daughter - may be DanI explains that her daughter is mature and independent. Have some conversations between DanYi and EunHo about the daughter. May be have her run off to take a facetime call. Have them plan a trip to go visit the daughter. Just random 10 second references too would have been better than this!

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Agreed - it would have worked out so much better if she'd stopped working to take care of a sick parent or sibling, or even a niece or nephew. We'd still have the dynamic we have now except without any of the problems created by the Case of the Missing Daughter.

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Right!!! Having a daughter with little to no support from the ex-husband means Dan Yi needs to have a 'stable' enough job. But the daughter is never mentioned! So strange!
I expected Eun Ho to have a great relationship with the daughter(when she was first introduced) . But so far nothing...

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At this point I still don’t know what this show wants to be.
1. A slice of life drama? It works sometimes, it poses some major question as the agony of job hunting these days, or being a working mother (not talking about Dan-i here) or trying to run a company ...
Interesting topics and some of them well executed.
A rom-com? Absolutely no. Sorry guys but I dont feel it and therefore i dont buy it. No chemistry between the leads, no grown up progression of a relationship( if thats what they were trying to show which at this point im not even sure)

And last but not least, the daughter situation has completely ruined any chance to like this. It is so utterly unrealistic, it makes want to go to Korea and actually give the glass of water treartment to writer nim.
The very thing they have avoided throughout the show is in my opinion what would have made it fantastic at all levels ( love, work, life )

It did help me realize what my problem with kdramas has been in the last year or so. They aim too high, they want to be so many things that I as a viewer, end up trying very hard to be invested in something, the love line?, the mistery? the revenge? the office?
What happened to the good old simple and adorable kdramas?????? Oh how I miss them!!!

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Well it's a BONUS Book...

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JiYul is selfish, totally agree. She's trying to stand up to her mother but doesn't care if the very person who was helping her do that suffers. I won't rail on her because she is learning, slowly but surely.

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One thing I love about Ji-yul is her willingness and ability to learn, however slow that may be.

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The mysterious about Writer Kang is kind of boring now.

The lie of Dani is pretty exaggerated. In the facts, it changed nothing. But if it was a big deal for them, how will they react when they will know for Dani, who is a divorce and has a child, and Eun Ho, who has a big secret, knowing each other for 20 years, living together and dating?

I was disapointed that Eun Ho didn't tell her himself. It could have been easier for her to not handle this news at work. He tried to be the white knight on his horse saving the damsel in distress by finding her a new job, but he kinda fail.

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agree. - a really pointless plot line, all things considered.
agree.
agree. - totally did not like him doing all that without talking to her.

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Agreed but I'd say it's Eun Ho's character, he white knights for Dani a lot. I'm glad that it fails this time because it makes him realise exactly what Dani has been up against in a way her telling him doesn't.

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This episode was hard. It broke my heart. And when Dan-Yi confronted the execs and gave her explanation - It was so honest, mature and yet a tad pleading in asking for a second chance. She did not ask for sympathy because she was a single mom, but she asked them to reconsider if they valued her work.
I will keep my comments for the next episode recap!

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The entire final act of this episode was just beautifully done. The whole atmosphere changed and honed in on Dani in those moments and I loved that. I think the show did a superb job in portraying that helplessness and loneliness.

I was worried that the show was going to brush past all this with a happy smile and move on or focus on the writer Kang mystery.

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I didn't like a lot of developments in this episode, but that scene was masterfully done. As snarky said, the show did such a good job portraying those emotions. so so so well done.

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Some shows manage to be sad and also gripping (like Mother). This one can only manage sad and irritating.

BTW, in my head-computer-geek-for-a-small-company days I got to hire a few people. One of them was a Dan-yi type -- a mother coming back to the work force after taking a few years off to have kids. She's still with the company after about 15+ years.

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That is an unfair comparison. Mother and RiaBB are two totally different genres.

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I think the highlight of this episode for me was the tradition of Gyeroo part. All of them cooly strutting in with their trench coats and the voting and the result and the reactions to the results!
haha

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CEO Kim rocked that trench coat!

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EH owning the "runway", and I think he was looking at DY. Hehehe

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CEO Kim is actually quite an attractive man. I'm shipping him with Director Ko. I think they are a perfect match!

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I forgot what I really wanted to comment on and that was the poetry collection! They made it seem like they had published poetry before and it failed. I'm happy JiHong finally got a chance to publish what he wanted.

Oh and I'm glad YoungA told DanI. She is a true friend.

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I think I’m in the minority but I’ve started liking this show a lot in the later episodes. I wasn’t a big fan when the show started and was only reading recaps but the last few episode have been sweet and warm. The soundtrack is amazing.

I liked that Dani-yi stood her ground and asked for reconsideration. I liked that she didn’t become a sobbing mess and told Eun-ho that “it’s her problem and she will face it with bravery.” I liked the Eun-ho tried but failed to find her a job. I like that he did his research and found out that it was not illegal. I liked that Jae-Min pointed out to Eun-ho that rules are there for a reason and there is a process to change them. I liked that Eun-ho didn’t barge in on Dan-yi’s conversation with Jae-Min and Director Go. This is realistic to me and how adults behave. Too often you will have male leads in k-drama barge in and take over and female leads who become start strong but become sobbing doormats who can’t do anything by the end of the drama. I have no doubt that Eun-ho would have told Dan-yi after he had talked to Jae-Min. He was doing his research and that is also realistic. I liked that Yeong-ah told Dani-yi that everyone knew about her qualifications. I liked that Seo-Joon was disappointed and standoffish with Hae-rin and for the right reasons. I felt like I was watching real adults interacting and making decisions (apart from the wardrobe).

I do have to agree that no mention of Dan-yi’s daughter is very weird. And it does seem like it was written as a plot device to give Dani-yi a career break. I read on the inter webs that this show is based on an American Series which also deals with a women trying to get back into the workplace after a big break. In that show the female lead was much older and her daughter was off to college. I guess the Korean version couldn’t make the female lead that old!

To everyone who is confused why Dani-yi resigned, watch the next episode.

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I think the story wants to show us first how DY sorts out this aspect of her life first. Like how she could get back on her feet by finding a stable job that can support her daughter's education without having to send her abroad. I dont think finding a second chance in love was part of DY's plan but since it's inevitable she deals with it as well. Once she's financially capable and her love life is sorted out, she can start to introduce EH to her daughter and probably bring her back to Korea as EH is here now to be a father figure who can protect her. But that would be another story, or hopefully, in the epilogue.

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I love this show as well.. There's no extreme bad characters - they're just only people... In the beginning, I'd thought Hae-rin would be a evil jealous character.. But nope.. even though she's suspected Dan-Yi and Eun-ho, she keeps being good, including she's the one who tells Eun-ho that Dan-yi is quitting.

I'm too tired to watch the show with too extreme bad characters, except for the thriller....

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yeah, am glad they didn't go that route. The normal people we mostly meet in life are just basically decent people who do some stupid/immature things. They are not evil people going out of their way to ruin someone else's life. I feel that too when I watch this show. I had some apprehensions about Dir Ko - so that's one character am still not clear about. So will leave it at that.

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" I felt like I was watching real adults interacting and making decisions (apart from the wardrobe)."

👍👍👍
EH wardrobe 😎

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At this point only hanging on for Park Hoon's antics.

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Park Hoon is LOVE... <3 <3 <3

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I'm probably in the minority here, but this is one series that I am still fully invested in even at ep 14. That's not to say I love each and every storyline (not so amused with Ji-yul and Hoon) , but I don't hate them enough to stop watching (unlike the more popular noona romance dramas, finishing them just for the sake of finishing them). Some points:
O I think the writer, through this drama, wanted to subtly raise interest to various topics without them being "THE" main topic. And I think she was successful.
- Divorced with a cheating ex and a divorce "just because"
- Working moms with financial difficulties, Single women
- Finding jobs with employment gap, starting a new job (being a newbie)
- Managing a company (sometimes you just got to do what you got to do), company policies and cultures
- The declining book industry and the effects of social media and the internet on the publishing industry
- The appreciation for printed works
- Importance of knowing someone will always be there for you
and a whole others.

O I've read a lot of comments about the daughter and just wanted to say that even if I am not a mother, I was like the daughter. I started studying away from home at age 12, without my parents, going home only on weekends. My parents wanted to give us a good education and their main focus was earning enough to give that to us, even if that meant leaving us alone most of the time.

O About writer Kang's mystery, I think that will be mostly related to writers/authors and the publishing industry. I am actually curious to know the whole story but saving my theories to myself since I have been unsuccessful with them so far. 😅

O And lastly, I already sound like a broken record but just wanted to say if tVN had an end of year awards, LNY and LJS MUST win the Best Couple!

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About the ep, agree with everyone how the drama showed DY situation.. nicely written, directed and portrayed. And as I have said, this show never fails to surprise me.

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You've got it covered! I totally agree with all those points you mentioned. So I'm also in the minority. Still, I really like this show and understand most of it's characters. It's easier to understand though after watching ep 14.

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Me too.

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I agree with everything you said. I feel like the drama is a nice slice of life drama where you see some aspects and not all. My only gripe is that they can at least include one or two scenes with Dani-yi talking to her daughter. The sticking point for me is that the daughter should be about 7 I think since Dani-yi had a 7 year gap. That’s a very young age for a child to be almost completely without parental interaction. I’m not a parent so I don’t really know for sure.

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I'm not watching this drama as I dropped it after episode 4, but I'm flabbergasted that the daughter is still an overseas after thought.

As to your question, yes it's weird that a child that young does not have parental interaction. It's weird that DY shipped her bullied kid off to a foreign boarding school when it is likely the kid was also reeling from the her father abandoning them. The whole of this just confuses me, and I find the conveniently absent child distasteful. Were they too cheap to hire a child actor?

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That points you raise about the daughter needing to deal with her father leaving is good. Maybe they will address it or maybe they won’t.

@growingbeautifully and @kdragon pointed out that the daughter in 12. That does make a difference. By twelve I was pretty much making my own decisions and since my parents were busy I didn’t have too much interaction with them. So I can see if Dan-yi’s daughter is in a boarding school and also not really close to Dan-yi then it kinda makes sense that we don’t see her often. The one concrete reference to her daughter was her note to buy a gift for her daughter with her first pay check. I thought that was sweet and also realistic.

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glad the daughter arc has been discussed here! cos I'd been thinking about it myself and wondering where she would fit in in all of this. of course, we're probably not going to have to think about what happens after everything ends, but in the event that EH/DI get married...? again, not our concern, i know. and i understand that the focus is about Dan-i and how she finds her footing again as a working woman, but i guess her identity as a mom shouldn't quite be something that gets completely cut out either? in real life... there'd be lots of talk of her gallivanting around with her younger boyfriend >.< while her daughter lives abroad and her ex-husband lives a life with his new family. thinking about these double standards just hurts my head and heart hmm.

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She's not 7, she's 11 or 12. Dan-yi didn't stop working right away after she was born.

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Thanks Sunny!
I'm still loving this show. The only one I'm thoroughly watching even with shortage of time and spreading grey cells too thin.

I felt from the beginning that Dan-I's lie would bite her, because it was a lie. And worse, in this society and culture where everyone is competing so hard to get or keep a job, and every little crack or mistake counts. I don't say it's fair that the work culture is stacked against her, but at the same time, it's because it's like that, all the more what seems an innocuous lie that 'hurts no one' becomes a big issue. (Open to debate since other newbies will have been 'hurt')

In her early interview, despite her credentials, the mean interviewer spat at her that she herself had to hang on despite everything but Dan-I was trying to just get in after a break... and so it wasn't fair. That is the crux of the issue... the attitude of what is fair to the others. If others have truthfully said they are newbies with little qualifications compared to one who lied to get the job... it's obvious in the comparison that Dan-I would be given the boot.

It would be so much fairer in the world if we could be earning according to what we need, rather than according to what organisations determine based on credentials. 😐

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@mayhemf @wonid2017 @egads
About the daughter ... at one time, in other shows, I'd have felt her lack. However not in this show.

BTW she in Ep 7, we hear that her daughter is 12 years old. In my own country, I've come across Korean youngsters who are studying here on their own. They are sometimes living with relatives or some other Korean family not related to them. I guess, I've seen this story not as a holistic tale of how Dan-I's relationships with child, friend, work-mates are the main thing, but rather how when Dan-I had to grow up because she had a child to support, she re-discovered herself.

She was a book that was a stranger to itself. She made a bunch of mistakes in her major decisions in the past, and felt stupid. She thought that all she needed to do was to keep going the prescribed route for a parent in her late 30s. She was just going to get a job and survive without 'hope' for herself. She was just going to secretly mooch off her young friend and pretend that she was the cleaning lady so that she could get paid for that job!

However she is surprised and delighted that her life is not as hopeless as she imagined. Given the chance, she could shine. She had the ability to make friends and win people over. She was still attractive enough to command the interest of not one but two young men. She blossomed beautifully and continued to bloom even in the face of Dir Ko's coldness.

Soon we'll see if she gets hard knocks again, and how or if she can graciously navigate the downs as well as the ups.

The daughter did appear at least once in a video call and one other time we heard them speaking to each other. But from the beginning, we knew that this is a story of Dan-I, and Eun Ho and of the Gyeoroo gang (remember that kickass rah-rah dance they all did together in one of the ads/previews?), and not giving the child much of a role was to be expected.

The other corner story of Writer Kang is getting more of a showing ... this is probably because it impinges directly on Gyeoroo and Eun Ho. But even here, the scenes are sparse and only serve to augment the idea that Eun Ho is tormented by this secret. Only now that 'The Heroes' looks like it's going to make an appearance, will this mystery be unravelled. At least we cannot fault the show for keeping it too under wraps and only springing it on us at the end.

So I look forward to seeing how Dan-I continues to read her own (book) self and discover more of what she can do. If her daughter is given a chance to visit and she gets to be more of a mother on-screen, that will be a bonus (Hah!). But I'm ok with the lack of child because the tale this time is not about the blood family but the book publishing family, Eun Ho and mostly about Dan-I's growth.

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My bad. I did not realize the daughter was 12! I would have liked a little bit of the daughter in danYi’s life but it was not a deal breaker for me. Once I realized the direction this show was taking I chose to ignore the missing daughter in the plot.
I remembered it again when the show showed another child (son of Ms Seo).
I am enjoying this show and really rooting for DanYi. Like you said it’s about her getting back on her own feet and building her self esteem and confidence and reinventing herself. Something I can relate to at a certain age.
I also like the relationship between Eun Ho and Danyi. I like that they respect each other as individuals. The whole show makes me feel warm.
Now I have to go watch the preview/ad!!

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I didn’t know the daughter was 12. Thank you for the info. I agree with you on the show being about Dan-yi finding out about herself and growing.

To me the main theme of the show is about the importance of work, especially for women. That is the one consistent theme. Dan-Yi is rediscovering herself through work. Ji-Yul is discovering the fulfillment that work brings and the joy and pride of doing a good job. Director Go is viewing her life through her contributions and achievements and work. Had-Rin is learning to separate her personal and professional life and her passion for work is helping her do that. Yeong-ha struggles with balancing work and her family without guilt. In a way the show is a love story to work.
The second theme is the importance of friendships, mentors and having a good support system. I see that in the relationship between Eun-ho and Hae-rin, Hae-rin and Ju-yul, Yeong-ha and Dani-hi, etc. Romance is a bonus (book)! 😁

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in relating her daughter's studying abroad actually... we have similar case here... Park Dong-hoon's son in "My Mister" was also studying abroad. They only mentioned several times throughout the show, and he only appeared once during the Grandma's birthday through video call... And i think, people didn't complain much, because the story is not about his son, but the story about Ahjusshi and Ji-an, and their growth.. :)

I think both cases also similar.. which you also have mentioned above, about Dan-yi's growth.. :)

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"people didn't complain much"

--- So true!!!
I am also wondering it's being singled out in DY'S case. Maybe because the main character is the mother?

A lot of my friends are working moms who are really struggling to balance work/earning a living and childcare. And watching them, I've come to realize that one cannot really judge how each parent chooses to balance these two.
In DY's case, she doesn't have support so it is doubly difficult for her to balance finding work and taking care of her child who was being bullied in school. It may seem to be an easy way out but in the meantime, that's the best she could do.

Sidenote: Although my basis is not so reliable (kdramas hahaha), my impression is that it is common in S. Korea to send their children away to study abroad.

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Chingu, let's just think... Dan-Yi calls her daughter everyday without telling other viewers... :)

@kdragon: there are several drama I've watched where the characters live alone in Korea while their children and spouses are abroad, mostly in the US. They also has something to call the "Stay in Korea Dad", but I forgot the exact name, LoL. So yes, it's common to them... Another reference is "On the Way to the Airport" where Shin Sung-rok's character, Park Jin-seok is busily sending her daughter to study abroad.... I don't know, someone who knows about this common case could enlighten us...

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In workplace dramas, there are a lot of supporting characters (all men) who can't risk losing their jobs because their children and spouses are living abroad. I think Park Shin Hye's boss in Pinocchio is one.

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@lemoncello
"Chingu, let's just think... Dan-Yi calls her daughter everyday without telling other viewers... :)"

Yes! The writer only has 16 eps you know. 🙃

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That’s an interesting point you make. I did not see “My Ajusshi” so I didn’t know about the male lead not interacting very much with his son. This also made me think of my own bias/expectation that mothers are more involved with their children. It reminded me of what Yeong-ha said when her son was sick “they always call the mother in these circumstances.”

The discussion with other beanies about Dan-yi’s daughter has made me rethink what we expect from mothers. It’s made me love the drama more.

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There aren't much scenes Ahjusshi interacted with his son... I recalled only two times: when he called his son regarding the school homework, and that video call. He and his wife also mentioned about him; only several times... but yeah, they feel closed... The son did exist in the family, and part of them although her's far away... :)

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I really believe RIABB is a female-centric drama with a very supportive male lead. You have a successful but "single and alone" Director (Dir Go) , a successful Manager and mother but divorced (YA) , a former rising star but now a mother and divorced and struggling to get back in the rat race (DY), an ambitious young career woman (HR) and a newbie struggling to get out of her mother's clutches (JY).

@wonid2017 "My Ajusshi" 👍 My favorite 2018 drama!

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@kdragon: agreed. Don't forget Song Hae-rin too... I also love this drama because the conflict is super low.

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I did mention her.. not sure how to best describe her though, maybe didn't do her justice, sorry :P

"an ambitious young career woman (HR)"

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@kdragon: even she's ambitious, I love her.. she's also rational... i'm happy she's not turning into an evil even though she started sensing there's something between EH and DY.. :)

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But I think it did have a few moments where he is making a video to send to his son. There were references. I think it was kinda established the son was old enough. Here, I think we all missed that the daughter was 12 and the first introduction was the daughter choosing not to go to a doctor when she was sick. I think that kinda set a different tone.

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Agree. It's true that the child didn't appear much in My ajusshi, but I was able to sense the closeness between father and son (and among the boy and the family). Maybe even the child's photos here and there helped.

In RIABB I can't sense this closeness. In My Ajusshi I knew there was a son, here I easily forget the daughter's existence.

And I don't think it is due to the fact that he was a father, while DY is a mother, but simply to the writing.

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I agree with some of the other comments here and am not bothered that the daughter isn’t coming into the main picture. (Of course, some snippets would have been nice to have). Otherwise, that would have changed the whole essence of the show to one that focuses on how new family members are integrated into each other’s lives, but the show wanted to focus on the publishing industry, and I’m not complaining! Think it’s better to focus on one thing rather than to cover too many major themes!

I’m still unsure whether Eun Ho is really author Kang’s son or not? Everyone around him says that he’s the student, even Dani. However, why did he say that he was the son in his conversation many years ago with President Kim? Given that he said that, and how his real father has never ever been mentioned (they only mentioned that his step-father tried to fight for the inheritance), I’m wondering if he really is the illegitimate son too, just like Seo Joon.

This was quite a heavy episode. I’m glad episode 14 more than made up for the heaviness here!!! Can’t wait for the next episode’s recap tomorrow!

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In ep 6 after Gyeoroo employees did their annual volunteerism at an orphanage, EH and Pres Kim visited the latters wife's resting place, there's a flashback of when EH signed his contract. He confirmed that author Kang was his father.
So far in the story, this secret is only known by Pres Kim.

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I was not sure if he really meant 'parent' or 'father-figure'. There might be blood ties between them, but I tend to think Writer Kang was more a mentor and someone who entrusted Eun Ho with his secrets and his last books.

This of course leads to the question on what Seo Joon is doing with Writer Kang's conspiracy info on his wall and the 'book' called The Heroes.

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"Can’t wait for the next episode’s recap tomorrow!"
--- 👍 I was thinking of starting a "Describe-your-best-guess-about-"The Myster that is Author Kang" in 5 sentences" but it seems there's not much interest there 😅

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Haha I too have not been very interested in that story arc. I think the information given has been too little over a long period of time to sustain any interest. I kinda wished they just focused on developing the OTP’s relationship and love story.

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The episodes get better and better. Am glad to see Eun ho finally accepted as Dan- i 's boyfriend. His makeup powder is too pale though, makes him look anemic. Hae rin is awesome. She should get more roles after this series. Love all the character couples' antics, sorrows, remorse, joy, regrets, etc. And the music and songs too. Maybe I should learn korean too. Is great to unwind after a hard day's work and watch the series..

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wow... what an episode >.< reeling over the tough decision Team Gyeoroo had to make - you could even see the hesitation in Director Go's eyes somehow, even though she was the one who'd brought it up. Dan-i was elegant as always with her approach, and it was somehow nice that she had Eun-ho by her side at the end of the day, even though at the office, she'd used his name when mentioning the contract termination (which was what he was supposed to have done).

one thing that really didn't sit well with me was how the writing team chose to juxtapose the heaviness of Dan-i's emotions with a 'light' scene like Ji-yul turning up at Park Hoon's house. didn't think it was appropriate; was still feeling the previous scenes and i ended up not liking that part at all.

looks like the next ep is going to be a pretty sweet one (despite how this ended)?

locations:

Seo-joon's house: Thanks, Oat [땡스오트] - https://koreandramaland.com/listings/thanks-oat/

giving a lecture: University of Seoul [서울시립대학교] - https://koreandramaland.com/listings/university-of-seoul/

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I have to say that with each passing episode, I like Yeong-ah more and more.

With this episode, however, I was a little frustrated with Hae-rin. I know what she's trying to do, regarding the whole apology thing, but she kind of did go a bit overboard. No wonder Seo-joon is exasperated.

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Yeah, I too was somewhat bothered by Hae Rin's approach to the apology. It was great for laughs but one of those things that is overboard in real life. Leaving a pot plant with a note outside Seo Joon's door, I felt, would have been good enough. However I know the Korean way is to meet face-to-face and do the deep bow as well.

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Why Hae-rin couldn't properly apologize when meeting at an agreed place? I didn't like how pushy and invading she was.

Same goes with Ji-yul. Being more responsible and independent is good, and asking for help (squat at a friend's place) is okay. But the show portrayed her as havinf the upper hand and letting the guy out of his own place.

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The com part in the rom-com seems to include one party or the other getting the upper hand at the other's 'funny' expense. It's part of the entertainment but can be quite infuriating.

I never did like 'My Sassy Girl' who bullied the poor guy to death but he still liked her. I prefer that Seo Joon is exasperated with Hae Rin. Poor Park Hoon ... at least show has him telling Ji Yul off, but unfortunately still giving way like a gentleman.

My other comment on apologies is above in answer to Korfan.

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I think in the Korean work culture lying about your resume is a big deal and the fact that she was working side by side with people that were younger than her and that were giving her manual tasks to do is a big problem (for them). The whole respect your elders, your seniors at work etc is what they consider the problem. I assume that is someone who is older and with with a degree from one of the top Korean unis would start working there, they would not tell the person to go to the dry cleaner for them.

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Then I guess part of the message is that Korean work culture doesn't leave room for a woman to take a break for family reasons and then return to work, except in menial jobs.

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I assume so. Looks like the do not have career breaks where the company keeps your job for you while you are gone. No idea about maternity leave either.
But looks like DY left because she wanted to take care of her family or maybe she had to because her husband was working full time to try to keep his business afloat.

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That's accurate. And the drama is sharply criticizing it with this storyline.

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Hmmm.. I don't really know how I should start this.

I love the story. I don't mind that the show hardly mentions Dan-i's child at all since I don't consider the child the major aspect of this show anyway. I agree with some comments here that the show focuses on certain things, like the relationship/romance btw the FL and the ML, how a noona-dogsaeng relationship turns into a romantic one, how a divorced woman gets back to work after a hiatus, etc. I love the atmosphere in the publishing house. I love how 'cool' everyone looks and is. Though there are some office cultures which I myself consider should not be there, I, too, can't deny they don't exist even in Thailand.

About Dan-I leaving out her academic background and past achievements, I understand pretty well how that will affect her if it is found out. I don't know if this happens in other places, be it in South Korea or in other countries, but in Thailand that might post problems. In a competing place like workplace, there are people who would want to kick you out no matter how nice you are. It's a pond where big fish eat small ones. If the case happens here in Thailand, or at my workplace, I can imagine that there would be small talks everywhere, and that person will feel pressured to the point that he/she decides to resign him/herself. This is the case for over-qualified people.

I heard people talking at my workplace oneday that in Thailand, the culture is 'exclusion.' What he means is that when we want to hire someone, we make requirements. The requirements can be the required academic background, competency, etc meaning that without these exact requirements, everyone else is excluded. And we are left with someone with the exact qualifications who cannot really work. And that is just because we already excluded competent people, without exact qualifications, in the process of recruitment.

Well, that's just some insight which came to my mind so I wanted to share, besides this, I'm still loving and waiting for every episode of RiaBB. The show has a warm vibe and I'm a sucker for that...

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This is an interesting take on competition in the work place and how exact requirements don’t always give you the best candidates for the job. I once read an article about Google’s year long experiment to find the best way to recruit and build high functioning teams. They concluded the best way to find good candidates is to use “on the job” performance to decide, something like have the candidate work for 6 months on a probationary basis and evaluate the the candidate’s performance before . But when it is highly competitive and you have a million people applying you can’t really have them all work for 6 months to decide. So we have the list of requirements that “exclude” people. Too bad the “list” works against people like Dan-yi.

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"Why it’s such a big deal that she left out a few qualifications on her resume." About this question. I guess @sunny has a lost in translation on culture here. It is A BIG DEAL because South Korean (as well those countries or areas used to be under the influence of Chinese culture, including Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc) used to be a highly conservative and patriarchal society, and those element remain to this day. Married women (married or divorced, no matter what) must stay at home and "help their husbands, teach their kids". As a result, there is a systematic discrimination toward those women. This is exactly what Director Ko fear of, and exactly why she escape from a marriage. And although Dan-yi is totally legal to stay in the company, what would her colleagues think of her (from this sentence, I am talking about Ep.14)? This is why Director Ko introduces her to a very small company, so that she has updated experience (or, at least, an excuse) to go back following company policy.
Writer Kang is another puzzle I am reading these recap (note, not watching the series, but reading these recap). Why does the writer not care about Writer Kang? Let’s look at the timeline. When Writer Kang disappeared in 2009:
Gyeoroo establishes, and with the exclusive right of publishing Kang’s works, it has become one of the largest in the industry (ep. 2&6);
Eun-ho’s writing style changed to be more artistic (Ep. 1);
At the same time, Dan-yi fell in love with Dong-min (Ep. 1), and (we can imagine) she probably left Eun-ho alone to face the problem with Writer Kang; and
Final hint is this song, first appear at the end of Ep. 14, as Dan-yi discovers Writer Kang’s “memory box” on Eun-ho’s penthouse. The song is about “I love you even though you have forgotten me.”
This is my prediction for next week. The story will be about how Writer Kang getting disease similar to Alzheimer’s, and before he really lost his mind and memory, he decided to stop writing, and put all the exclusive right of his previous works to Gyeoroo, where Eun-ho works until this day. This begins Eun-ho’s career as a writer and editor-in-chief. This is because Writer Kang is Eun-ho’s literary mentor (no, not his son. The son is instead who born in April 23, i.e. Seo-joon, thus his last book’s name). Writer Kang wants all these hidden so he can pass away peacefully, thus Eun-ho always questions if he has done a right thing, which is one of the most important element in his character arc: he is a promise-keeper, and this is why he love Dan-yi for so long. We can also imagine how strict Writer Kang’s training toward Eun-ho (as well how big the influence Writer Kang has, since we know it is him taught Eun-ho to drink, not Dan-yi, as shown in Ep.14), by looking at Eun-ho’s mentee, Hae-rin, teaches Ji-yul.
So you still think Writer Kang’s plot not important? Think again.
(One very last hint: The last assignment the actor playing Writer Kang is being Ae-shin’s grandfather in...

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Please don't post spoilers.

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