[Hey, that’s me] Me in the trap
by Guest Beanie
Last summer, I was really sick with tonsillitis. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. It’s the most ill I’ve ever been, and I realize that makes me very fortunate but I was still feeling pretty sorry for myself. It was then that I, bedridden and emotional, decided on a whim to re-watch Cheese in the Trap.
We all know Cheese in the Trap – I’d bet nine out of ten people who watched it would say that the first half was amazing. Just as good as the webtoon it was adapted from! Of course, the second half was plagued by issues behind the scenes. And for this reason, I highly doubt that a lot of people return to it. There’s a movie now, designed essentially to appease the webtoon’s author and sprawling fan base. Many viewers scorned the drama, and the differences between the drama and webtoon were enough to turn even the most avid fans sour. Myself including. So what sense is there in watching the drama now, right?
In two weeks time, I will get the results for my A-level exams. For anyone unfamiliar with the qualification, it’s enough to say that the last two years were tough on me. No matter how hard I pushed, I just couldn’t muster the will to work harder. Everything about the way that my course was set up completely drained me. Looking back on the last year makes me recall a lot of crying, complaining and procrastinating. A lot of thinking about the future, and how endlessly vast but equally narrow it is. I’ve also been using dramas as a crutch (surprise, surprise). A pattern I’ve fallen into is returning to old dramas whenever I’m run down, ones that are familiar and comforting. I don’t think I’ve been more reliant on a drama this year than Cheese in the Trap.
When I watched this while it was airing, it was an unremarkable experience. As much as I anticipated new episodes and analyzed the characters at the time, once the show was over it slipped into my back catalogue and was forgotten about. That’s not true now. My attachment to Cheese is a strong, emotional one, because this drama is about me.
Becoming immersed in this world last summer was almost surreal. It had so much heart. The energy of the whole production was palpable in every scene. It felt like I had never seen a drama that was more sincere and honest in its portrayal of what it’s like to be young. I’ve read the webtoon, and as impressively polished as it is, it didn’t make me feel anything. On the other hand, by the time I got to episode three of the drama I was bawling. In this episode, the protagonist Seol receives a bad grade because her group failed to work with her. Stressed, she later lashes out at her best friend. The whole ordeal struck a chord with me. When I’m stressed, working too hard or not working hard enough, I push the people who love me away, just like she did. And I’ve cried every time I’ve seen that episode since.
Right now, Cheese in the Trap is very important to me, because it is about me. Kim Go-eun’s Hong Seol is at the center of this loving attachment. She reaches me: from her expressions, to her anxious mannerisms, to the fact that she dresses like me and has my vibrantly ginger hair. I don’t just casually relate to the struggles her character faces, I feel them. After all, the version of me that exists at this point in time is just like her.
Tags: Theme of the Month