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Be Melodramatic: Episode 1

Meet the latest group of gal pals to join dramaland. They’re thirty, flirty, and thriving — ready to face life’s challenges head on. JTBC’s Be Melodramatic had to postpone the premiere due to re-casting, but, boy, am I glad that it’s finally here. Something tells me that hanging with these girls is going to be a good ol’ time.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We open to a couple (cameos by Jin Seon-kyu and Honey Lee) walking down a road, pondering all the hardships they’ve been through.

As they promise to love each other despite the dark clouds of their past, we zoom out to see that this is a drama four friends are watching in their living room.

Filling their bellies with beer and snacks, we have the cynical IM JIN-JOO (Chun Woo-hee), the stoic LEE EUN-JUNG (Jeon Yeo-bin), the sweet HWANG HAN-JOO (Han Ji-eun), and the lone guy friend LEE HYO-BONG (Yoon Ji-on).

The girls analyze the meaning of the couple’s “dark clouds,” taking it literally and saying that they could get depressed without the sun for too long, haha. Jin-joo doesn’t like the fact that the drama ended with a declaration of love, and Han-joo argues that this type of ending is simple and satisfying.

“Why don’t we try saying it then?” Jin-joo suggests. So one by one, everyone says I love you in their own personal way. We then cut to multiple characters (who we’ll be meeting soon) smiling into the camera and saying the phrase, too.

Jin-joo then admits that she does like lovey-dovey dramas since she’ll never love anyone in real life. Hyo-bong points out that those who complain about love are the ones who want it the most. Still, Eun-jung says, Jin-joo’s writing really thrived after breaking up with her boyfriend.

With that, the gang reminisces about Jin-joo’s romance. She’d dated ex-boyfriend KIM HWAN-DONG (Lee Yoo-jin) for seven years, their relationship rocky the entire time. It was an endless cycle of arguing, Jin-joo crying, and Hwan-dong apologizing.

Eventually, Jin-joo’s friend had caught Hwan-dong going into a motel with another woman, thus ending their relationship for good. The girls remember Jin-joo crying over him for days.

“I did?” Jin-joo cuts in. “It wasn’t because of a drama? Answer Me was on back then.” LOL. Either way, Jin-joo continues, she was able to meet a good friend after everything she’d been through.

One day, while passing a shop, Jin-joo had stopped at the sight of a designer handbag. She’d never been interested in material things before, but this particular handbag had spoken to her — literally.

“Love?” the bag said, its voice hilariously sophisticated. “Is that something you can see? Is that something that lasts forever?” The bag urged Jin-joo to purchase it (er, her?), to trust only what she could see.

Determined, Jin-joo had stolen her younger sister’s piggy bank of life savings to buy the ever-so-wise handbag. With the bag in her possession, she was able to move on from her ex-boyfriend and focus on her writing.

She later applied to work for a drama writer JUNG HYE-JUNG (Baek Ji-won), who completely understood her handbag story. Writer Jung had opened up a secret compartment to show off her own collection of designer bags.

Seeing Jin-joo’s potential, as well as her feisty personality, Writer Jung was happy to hire her as an underling. And Jin-joo was so ecstatic that she’d danced all the way back to her parents’ house.

Jin-joo and her family celebrated her new job with fried chicken. Her smile never leaving her face, she’d told the fam that she was on her way to success; from then on, she would only walk a flowery path.

Cut to: Jin-joo and her fellow assistant writers looking drained of all life at work. “Right,” Jin-joo narrates. “A flowery path is actually an unpaved road.”

There was a knock at the door and everyone turned to see a man sauntering in. Jin-joo recognized him as director SON BEOM-SOO (Ahn Jae-hong), who’s famous for multiple hit dramas. As we see in a TV interview, he’s also famous for being extremely egotistical.

Jin-joo stood to leave, having been working for two days straight (poor soul). As she passed Beom-soo, she tripped and reflexively grabbed for him. But he quickly moved out of the way, making her fall flat on her face. When she got up, he noted that that could’ve caused an injury.

Jin-joo pointed at herself, and Beom-soo smiled and said that he was referring to himself. Incredulous, she scowled at him.

Back in the present, Han-joo sighs that she’d rather be seen as an annoying boss than a troublesome employee. A young boy then stomps in, chiding them for making so much noise when he’s trying to sleep. As the boy returns to his room, Jin-joo narrates that Han-joo once had it all — the brains, the popularity, everything.

Back in college, we see that Han-joo was rarely seen without a flock of boys on her tail. She cared more about her girlfriends than dating, though. That is, until one fateful day at the library. A boy named NOH SEUNG-HYO (Lee Hak-joo) had randomly walked up to her and asked what her type was.

When Han-joo hesitantly answered with, “A funny guy,” Seung-hyo wordlessly left. He returned the next day, inviting her to a comedy show he joined.

She asked why he was bothering her instead of studying, and he nonchalantly stated that he wasn’t even a student at her school — he just happened to see her on the street one day and followed her inside. Uhh…

Upon hearing the story, Eun-jung had warned Han-joo that the guy was probably some perverted stalker. However, it was too late, for Han-joo’s interest was piqued. She ended up going to the comedy show, smiling shyly at Seung-hyo onstage.

After the show, Seung-hyo had walked Han-joo home, admitting that his dream wasn’t to become a comedian. But the girl he was interested in had said she liked funny guys, so that’s what he wanted to do. “Then try to make me laugh,” she said. And without hesitation, he did.

It was that night, so full of laughter, Jin-joo narrates, that led to Han-joo’s pregnancy. They later had their son In-gook (the young boy who’d interrupted earlier) and married. Not too soon after that, Seung-hyo had asked for a divorce so he could find his happiness. When the crushed Han-joo had asked about her own needs, he’d responded, “Why are you asking me about your happiness?”

Eun-jung (representing all us viewers right now) had grabbed a scythe and chased after Seung-hyo. However, he managed to outrun her, wearing the same passive look he always had.

Seung-hyo went on to become a professional comedian, and even appear in TV ads, while Han-joo had to learn how to be a working single mom. She was able to get a marketing gig at a drama production company, where she was constantly belittled.

One night, after a long day of being yelled at at work and tending to her sick baby, Han-joo had watched an interview with Seung-hyo. And hearing him retell the story of how he got into comedy, her face crumpled.

Han-joo cried her heart out, with Seung-hyo laughing onscreen and baby In-gook shrieking in the background.

Back on the couch with our gang, Eun-jung grumbles that she should’ve killed the bastard. “Then you wouldn’t have been able to meet me,” a voice says. She turns to see a man smiling warmly and smiles back. “You’re right,” she notes. “Sorry.” The others look around in confusion — they don’t see anyone there.

Jin-joo then narrates that Eun-jung had always loved documentaries, bringing us into the third and final backstory. Our tough girl Eun-jung started out as a miserable intern in a documentary company. Her boss and co-workers treated her like garbage, but she kept telling herself to endure it.

But there was only so much Eun-jung could take. After a company dinner, her boss made her act as his designated driver. And once he had her alone in the car, he said, “Why don’t you call me Oppa?”

That was the last straw — Eun-jung cursed, crashed his car into a pile of boxes, and then chased him out with a pipe. Right on, sista.

Eun-jung quit her job and got herself an office to start her own documentary company. Her girlfriends were supportive but wary, seeing that the “office” was actually a rundown rooftop apartment.

Eun-jung’s first major project was a documentary interviewing pro-Japanese people. She got zero support until she met a cafe owner named HONG DAE (Lee Joon-woo, the man she’d smiled at in the present-day scene).

Hong Dae could relate to her struggles since he was a businessman himself, so he was more than willing to invest in her movie. Eun-jung was taken aback but grateful.

The two became partners, with Hong Dae helping Eun-jung obtain interviewees. It was tough approaching pro-Japanese folk without offending them, but Hong Dae eventually gathered a group that was willing to talk.

The couple shared drinks the night before filming, with Eun-jung so happy with Hong Dae that she offered him a bigger share. Though he appreciated the offer, he explained that there was something he found more exciting than money. When she’d asked what, he just smiled at her.

Fast-forward to the movie release, which was so big that it made Eun-jung an overnight millionaire. She couldn’t even watch the movie with her girlfriends because it was completely sold out. Her girlfriends joked that she was too good for a dusty theater anyway and dramatically escorted her out. Hee.

Jin-joo’s narration continues that Eun-jung wasn’t crazy about the money because she discovered something even more valuable: love.

We then cut to Eun-jung and Hong Dae making out as they made their way into his apartment. They froze, however, when they realized that someone was sitting on the couch. It was Eun-jung’s younger brother and the girls’ future guy friend–Hyo-bong (aha).

He told the couple to keep things PG-13 while he was around, and they wordlessly left for the bedroom.

The next morning, Eun-jung woke up to the same smiling face she’d come to love. They held each other in bed, in total bliss. But that image fades into the couple holding each other in a hospital bed, with Hong Dae the one in the hospital gown.

Looking at the beanie over his head, she’d asked if he wanted some of her hair. He joked that her hair wasn’t that pretty, but that her face made up for it. “You’re pretty too,” she said, serious. “That’s why it’s okay.”

After Hong Dae passed away, Eun-jung continued to live with Hyo-bong in their apartment. Though she was still struggling, she was able to smile and laugh with her friends again. “We thought she got better,” Jin-joo narrates. “But…”

One day, Hyo-bong opened the bathroom door to check on Eun-jung. And while we don’t see what happened inside, Hyo-bong’s screams say enough.

The girls visited Eun-jung in the hospital, and the sight of her sleeping, her wrist all bandaged up, made them burst into tears.

Once Eun-jung recovered and returned home, her friends started coming over to check on her. Eventually, Jin-joo, Han-joo, and little In-gook all moved into the apartment permanently.

Over dinner, Eun-jung narrowed her eyes at everyone and asked if they only moved in to save on rent. The friends merely continued eating, as did she. “Whatever the reason was,” Jin-joo narrates, “we all liked living together.”

Eun-jung gradually got better, but there was one change that the others had noticed. She started talking to Hong Dae as if he was still there. The others chose to let her be, and Jin-joo figures it was because they were scared. They’d almost lost her, so one little change didn’t seem like a big deal.

In present day, the girls chat about life and how harsh it can be at times. Even so, Han-joo says, they’re able to make good memories too. As for Jin-joo, she’d prefer it if they didn’t look to the past or the future. Instead, she’d like it if they focused on the problems right in front of them, like her sudden craving for ramen. With that, the three make a huge pot of ramen and continue hoping for good things in life.

 
COMMENTS

Age of Youth, is that you? This obviously isn’t a sequel or spinoff to that drama, but it certainly feels that way. And I mean that as the highest praise, because I still consider Age of Youth as one of JTBC’s greatest achievements. There was real life humor and real life pain, and we’re getting all of that here with Be Melodramatic. It’s almost like we just moved a couple neighborhoods over from the Belle Epoque house to the Melo apartment.

I love that this group of friends are all in the entertainment industry, and at different stages. And while they’re all in their thirties, they’re also at different stages in life. We have Jin-joo as the exhausted writer (#relate), Han-joo as the hard-working single mom, and Eun-jung as the heartbroken director. Once we got into Jin-joo’s backstory, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with her. She’s weird, she’s funny, and she’s got the heart of a true drama fan — what more could I ask for in a female protagonist? Since she’d made such an impression, I was worried to leave her story and enter Han-joo’s.

However, my worries were out the door as soon as we got to know Han-joo, as well as Eun-jung. All three girls were equally as interesting in completely different ways. And whenever we needed a break from all the girls’ pain, we were brought back to their cozy drama watching party. I thought it was genius to frame the episode with those present-day scenes. It was great to see the group’s dynamic now, while also jumping around in time to figure out how that dynamic was built. (The reveal of Hyo-bong being Eun-jung’s little bro was especially hilarious.) Needless to say, Chun Woo-hee and the other actors have fantastic chemistry.

Watching the girls’ separate stories caused three separate wounds on my heart, so I appreciated them all coming together in the end by living under one roof. Jin-joo may not understand what Han-joo is going through, and Han-joo may not understand what Eun-jung is going through (and so forth), but they’ll always have each other’s support. And it makes me giddy to know that little In-gook has two loving aunts and an uncle. We’ve yet to meet every character in the show, like Gong Myung’s, so I look forward to seeing how they’ll work their way into the girls’ lives.

While I won’t be recapping every episode of Be Melodramatic, I’ll definitely be checking back to see how our group is doing. It may seem like they’ve already gone through the worst of the worst, but I’m sure life has a few more surprises for them. Here’s to hoping some of those surprises are good.

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Must watch show. Humour is the only way to poke at their lives. The title suits their life so well.

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An introductory episode that is only an hour long but doesn't get boring in the middle and manages to introduce all of our characters in a fresh way? Cable shows, especially those from tVN, should take note!

I screamed so loud when I saw the premise Melo Suits Me is going for. It reminds me so much of Age of Youth but it feels more like an Age of Adulthood of some sorts. Our women and their stories plus personalities are #relatable and the show itself is presented in a fresh and creative way.

I am really hoping that this show will keep being creative and show us something new we haven't seen before like they did on the first two episodes. Also, I hope it touches on mental issues as well as societal issues like Age of Youth did, but in a deeper and more mature way.

This recap is unexpected but it was really great. Thank you so much, @sailorjumun!

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I thought "Be Melodramatic" was going to be a female-centric version of "Twenty", another of the director/co-writer's work, as I saw our three heroines as the three heroes and it also deals with ups and downs of a certain age, but it's much deeper and our female trio stand as original characters on their own.

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I agree that the female characters are their own and one-of-a-kind. Their friendship reminds me of the girls from BTIOFL but this one is a deeper kind of one. It really is nice to see female-centric adult slice-of-life shows since we've got WWW recently which is a female-centric workplace drama.

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lol @ "Age of Adulthood"

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The show we deserve but never got to see the light HAHAHA

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I wasn’t prepared for plot twist in eun jung’s story, what a downhill it become. And i know they’re afraid of making eun jung’s condition worse by telling that she is hallucinating, but i hope they do tell her right away. That kind of mental condition can turned into something worst if not being treated. And han joo’s, he is the example of people who live freely without being responsible, it makes him a douchebag.
Anyway, Jtbc doing great these days with drama like moment of 18 and now this one. I like this drama vibe, story (a lot of twist), and the humor. and it does have AOY feeling (btw, do you think we will get season 3 if only son seung won didn’t cause trouble? Do you think we’ll get season 3 even without SSW? Im still hoping we get season 3 tho.)

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*hanjoo’s ex boyfriend

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JTBC did it again!

Thank you @sailorjumun for the wonderful recap <3.
I love this good looking multi-talented PD/writer/producer lol. I have a feeling that he probably wrote the script with these girls in mind, especially Chun Woo-hee.
Those feelings from AoY <3. I'm so on board till the end.

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Eun-jung's story was so devastating. They showed us how she was fierce (Han-joo's situation, with her boss) and then...

Han-joo is pitiful. What a jerk! Can't they sue for alimony in Korea?

Jin-joo is really weird but so funny at the same time.

For the ML, he really looks as a jerk too for now...

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The problem with Hanjoo is that she didn't register her marriage with her ex, so technically they weren't married (but I wonder why he talked of divorce). Hmm I wonder why.

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But if his name is on the birth certificate, she could ask for alimony for the kid, couldn't she?

I don't know in Korea, but in my country no married parents have to sign a covenant about the child (parental custody, alimony, etc.).

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Korea works a bit differently from the Western countries, from what I know. Parents who don't get married/register their marriage don't benefit from the same rights as legally-recognized couples because they are an "illegitimate" union. Therefore, the mother is considered the sole legal guardian of the child, and she will put her child's name in her family registry. I think this is all because Korea still has the belief the ideals of the ye old times when a child was born outside of a legal union is considered a "bastard" so he cannot be a rightful member of his father's family and be protected under their surname. To give you an idea, in sageuks, characters born to maids or concubines cannot enjoy the perks and rights given to the children born to the legal wife, and this still continues to a minor extent today.

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Oh thank you for your explanations :)

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However, a child born out of wedlock could still be registered to his father's family (this actually is a plot point in some drama's). When that happens the father's wife, if he is married, actually becomes the legal mother of that child. I believe that this is why the male lead in FLUTTERING ALERT actually does have his father's family name (and in the final episode father's wife actually points out to said male lead that "Legally, I am your mother").

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Because they did not get the marriage registered there would be no alimony, but child support is another matter now.

This show is actually quite out of date on the matter of child support in Korea. I remembered references to a Support Service Center in the show FIVE CHILDREN and decided to check on this after watching this first episode of BE MELODRAMATIC.

A few years ago the Republic of Korea established the Korean Child Support Agency. It appears that Han-joo need only apply for their services. They will even represent her in court to establish an order. While this new government agency apparently does not have the full range of payment processing and related services that western child support agencies have in the case of her ex that will not matter- he cannot afford the bad publicity of being seen as a deadbeat dad so he will quietly pay what is ordered.

So this part of the story is what can only be described as an anachronism- it would have been true 10 years ago (although private lawsuits would have been possible then) but it is definitely not true now.

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Thank you for all these informations :)

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I loved the premise of this episode, like watching what will happen after "happily ever after". Quirky storytelling make the tragic events more palatable and relatable, I already love all three heroines, and can't wait to see more. I don't think that Eun Jung talking to dead lover is that unusual as I read about it multiple time, it part of grieving process but she definitely need psychiatric care after her suicidal attempt and I hope the show will address that it's not something one can get over all by oneself.

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There's a certain rawness in the storytelling that is not afraid to show each character's flaw/s. This drama is what I call an exercise of the heart---one minute you're laughing and the next, you're crying. Certainly not for light viewing as you tend to get heavily invested in it.

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This was the best premiere I've watched in a while. I didn't expect it to actually be laugh out loud hilarious, and later Eun-jung's story made me bawl. I already love all the characters. This is a keeper, for sure! 😍

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i think i may have found my new slice of life show after an eternity of waiting for each crop of dramas. I love that this feels like a mash up of age of youth x laughter in Waikiki, which gave me fuzzy feelings and lots of laughter and this has done the same in a span of an hour. I missed Chun Woo Hee and surprised that she came back to the small screen with a romance/life drama and im so utterly here for it. The other girls are just as interesting and i already have a crush on Jeon Yeo bin who reminds me every bit of Yi Na from AOY but more fiesty and i felt her pain. Can't wait to see what more this show can bring

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♥️♥️♥️

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❤️ One for the child too.

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This show is literally life (happy, funny, painful and sad all in one go) and mixed to perfection. The direction and editing is so beautiful, even the OST is so soulful and heartbreaking....
I am looking forward to its next episodes...
I am so happy its getting recapped....

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"Be Melodramatic" was bleakier than I imagined: I thought it was more of a rom-com which made fun of melo tropes, but it actually embraces them, which was a twist to me.
Eun-jung's character was the most surprising. I thought the show would deal about her romance with a man from a family of Japan sympathizers, and how it'll be viewed by society, but it went further than that. I hope she finds her drive again.
I like how Ahn Jaehong was cast as the arrogant, successful man. It's because no matter how handsome he is, he is STILL a jerk. While I would like to see him widen his acting repertoire, it's hard to see him play the bad guy...
Finally, am I the only one who felt that Jin Seonkyu and Honey Lee were really convincing in a melo as well?

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My favorite part was the way they walked out of the theater. Every woman needs friends like that.

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Lol Eunjung's deadpan expression while skipping! 😂😂 Jeon Yeobin killed it

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Me too, I commented before I read your comment. It was excellent.

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When the bag spoke, I felt that! LOL

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Thank you for this recap, @sailorjumun! Be Melodramatic was seamless to cozy into. I loved that we were able to see each woman's backstory in equal detail. I found myself relating to all of them and becoming invested in their happiness.

I agree with everyone's comments about this feeling like an Age of Youth for adults. I think that is why I like it so much. I am thrilled that I see potential in this drama and am looking forward to future episodes. Slice of life lovers unite!

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I love it, my favorite scene was them strutting in the movie theater with their super serious faces. This doesn't remind me of Age of Youth at all, but I don't care so long as it stays as fabulous as Age of Youth was.

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First I'd like to thank @sailorjumun and all the other recappers for recapping shows. I had taken the job lightly. I was kind of waiting since the last DB recruitment to apply for a recapper when it happens again but I had lost touch with writing. I picked this show to recap and boy was it tough and also quite a long process. I left it there but hopefully someone else also chose it as an entry. So even if sailorjumun may not recap all of it, I hope some other new beanie recapper sent this as an entry and this show gets recapped because it's amazing. I definitely expected it to be more about the industry then the women themselves so it was a surprise that it's their lives that the title is about. Plus I loved the conversation between JJ and her kid's father. It was brutal. Not even for a moment in that discussion did they give the man the leeway of choosing his freedom. Several women sacrifice their goals and happiness for their children but many fathers choose to leave in pursuit of their own. I loved that the conversation was so straight, there was no question about it that he was a jerk.

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Han Joo not Jin joo*

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Another confusing title shift. Apparently on VIKI the series is called 'Melo Is My Nature".

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The director cursing at the jelly PPL was GOLD.
They should've made it a Subway sandwich, though.

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Wasn't that perfect. I had tears in my eyes I was laughing so hard. That was my favorite scene in the episode.

I loved that the director did vocal warm ups before the rant and everyone had arms ready to hold him back.

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just thinking about it makes me laugh again!
one for the endless re-watch!

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that was one of the funniest rants I've ever heard!
"So, the main protagonist gets shot and the jelly just so happens to be exactly where he falls ?!?!" (paraphrasing)
H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S.

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What a great premier! I love when shows find the humor in every day life, even during bleak times. Some of the topics were really heavy, but they were handled so well, and the humor kept it from being a downer.

I like all of three of our leading women, and I already feel invested in their stories. They have such distinct personalities and quirks without coming off like caricatures. I'm excited to see where this goes.

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THIS IS BEING RECAPPED. I repeat THIS IS BEING RECAPPED. THANK YOU @sailorjumun !!!!! The first episode was everything i ever wanted in a premiere. LOVE.

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Correction: i was too excited and wrote my comment before reading. At least we’ll have an open forum to write our thoughts!!

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your (misguided) excitement is endearing. lol
and yes, we can definitely post on this thread, going forward.

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I felt the same exact way you did. Just watched the first four episodes and immediately came to dramabeans to see if it's getting recapped. I was so EXCITED to see the first episode recapped and then SAD that it was only a first episode recap. :( Oh well, I'm glad this thread exists for us to share our LOVE of this gem of a show. :)

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I think I may have found a new drama to watch since WWW is over and Watcher is ending soon. This looks like my cup of tea. Yay! Glad everyone's loving this.

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I just finished watching this ep and I utterly loved it!💖

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Anyway, since the recaps won't be per episode, what a twist to have the guy friend be in a relationship with his musical director! Am I getting it, right? I haven't seen k-dramas who go this route so this was a surprise.

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You got it right! (If anyone is wondering in the future) we are referring to ep2. I especially loved that it kept the woman in check for her ego lol. It now makes sense looking back. I mean he’s a grown man living with two single women.

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That last song in Episode 2 was hauntingly beautiful❤

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Very bold indeed. I love it!

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Some of the scenes felt like a punch in the stomach. I really felt the pain and struggle. Which is really high praise for the first episode. I know that if I feel this way now, it's only going to get better and more intense. I'm ready for this journey!

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The first episode had me crying like a baby towards the end. Eun-jung's story is heartbreaking. I love all three leading ladies and their backstories. These ladies are very relatable and can't wait to continue following their stories for the next few weeks.

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The premier episode has got to be one of the best in kdramaland. It might look a little over the place but it meshes so well.

Actually watched the four episodes today. Still can’t get over how the Show went with Hyo-bong’s love life. Bold. I know that the three women will be the focus but I can’t also wait how they will go through with Hyo-bong’s story.

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I just watched the first 4 episodes - what a cool, quirky show! It's really different from any other show I've watched. It resembles Age of Youth a bit, but has kind of surreal things happening (like the talking handbag, manager mukbang, etc.) that are really amusing. I'm in for this one.

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There was a little nod to 'Because This Life Is Our First' too when they made the writer's assistant Jin-joo responsible for the product placements in K-dramas. That job must be the very bottom of the writer's room pecking order.

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