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[Hey, that’s me] Me in the trap

By frabbycrabsis

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.

 
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Such a beautiful and relatable write-up, @frabbycrabsis! This reminded me that I still need to start this drama.

Fighting and I wish the best for your exam results! πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

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Thank you, I get them on Thursday! πŸ˜†

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*crosses fingers and sends all of my good luck and well wishes*
Don’t stress too much and remember to relax and drink lots of water. Ice cream will be helpful too!
You’ve got this!!!

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Thank you for such a nice write-up, @frabbycrabsis . There was one scene I remember relating to very much in this show, Seol registering for a course with a preferred teacher, the moment you are allowed to register. Ha! It was a funny memory to recall from my uni days, about how we would decide on which courses to take and we have to register fast...

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Thank you Dramabeans for accepting my embarrassingly exposing post, and editing it too! ❀️

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Congratulations! I have, up until now, avoided CITT due to Beanies’ misgivings. Being so caught up in grades and focused on studying during your university days was totally me as well. I remember failing my first organic exam and going to the only female chemistry prof in my school bawling. She didn’t even know who I was and had just started teaching there herself. She wasn’t ever my prof, but I found a sympathetic ear in her anytime I felt less than able. Good luck on your exams! I’m sure you did well!

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Aw, thank you, @ally-le! Were you quite close to that professor in the end, then? I'm lucky to have had such brilliant teachers, actually, who truly cared about me - I'm going to miss them a lot.

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Actually, I became better friends with the prof that failed me!!! I ended up babysitting for him. I was lucky to have great teachers and mentors in school. There was a friend I had a crush on in college and his dad was my prof as well and though I never dated him, his dad became one of my biggest supporters in med schoolβ€”I would stop by their house on the way home from med school (the boy wasn’t even there, going to grad school somewhere else) and I’d pour out my frustrations. I’m sure he was glad I never dated his son! I was a stressed out, emo mess back then. But I moved back to the town I went to school in and I see those two professors occasionally. I volunteer some at the university doing recruiting and such for the school. It’s a small town. I’m glad that you also had good professors. That’s invaluable!

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@ally-le I watched CITT without knowing about the behind-the-scenes problems (and in spite of beanie misgivings) and did not regret it. Wonderful acting by Kim Go Eun.

@frabbycrabsis Congrats on being published! I related so much to Hong Seol too. Best of luck on your A-Levels and whatever comes next. Fighting!

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Oh, I love KGE! Anything she does is magic for me.

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Oh that's a great writeup. I count my alevels as the worst level (lol no pun intended, basically education level). It definitely gets better after its done. There is just so much pressure regarding the career we'll take afterwards and how they are so dependent on the grades you get. It doesn't help that it is so so tough. Almost twice as tough as olevels. Many people I know had their first onset/realization of depression or anxiety at this time. But it surely gets better. Don't take so much tension regarding your result. All Work gets done.

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I know what you mean about career pressure - it feels like you just got there, and they're already trying to push you forward! πŸ˜‚

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@frabbycrabsis I can relate with your write-up 😭😭. I did my A Levels last year and remember not having the energy to even bother sometimes because of how dense some topics could be. And group projects 😱 like uni is hell.

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Ugh, someone understands! How did you manage, @fencejumper?

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You must be a bundle of nerves cause the results are coming up! I managed with Kdramas πŸ˜‚ After the exams I just ignored the stress cause like all the uni offers depended on them but it meant I watched a whole lot of dramas.

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Wishing you good luck on your exam results.

"Everything about the way that my course was set up completely drained me. " this is reminding me a bit of the heroine of A Moment at Eighteen who is so resistant to the academic path that her mom wants for her.

But you got through it even though it was tough. That feeling of either not having anymore to give or not wanting to give anymore of what you have is a hard wall to break through. You should be feeling proud of yourself even before you get back your results.

So...I'm assuming you have a really good wardrobe then? I watched this for the first time within the past year and I loved a lot of the clothes, the colors and textures.

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Thank you, @bcampbell1662! ❀️

I don't think I can watch A Moment at Eighteen, the first episode really caught me off hard by how most of the teachers reminded me of the management at college. They didn't care about us, we were just walking talking sacks of money. Because of that, I think I relate to the "adults don't understand" youth drama trope more than ever right now!

I think I have a good wardrobe? πŸ˜†
Kim Go-eun iconic mustard colour jumper comes to mind when I think of her clothes - I don't think I love anything more than beautiful jumpers!

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Two years have passes since this drama and her style is still an inspiration to me.

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Kim Go Eun style in this drama is one of her best IMO... at times, she looks stunning!. oohh definitely can relate with her potrayal of Hong Seol. Her vulnarability looks so real.

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Thanks for your sharing @frabbycrabsis. All the best for Thursday and ever after. It's one exams results but what you do after that is the important thing. Fighting!

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I love hong seol and i love this drama no matter what happened behind the scenes. And yes, i know lots of dramas portray life realistically, but after misaeing this show was so darn close to what school life is really about and interacting with others. And being you and overcoming unfairness. Not to mention its’ soundtrack. I loved it and im glad she resonated with you too @frabbycrabsis shes hands down one of my favorite characters and i love her

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Cheese in the Trap's soundtrack is just πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ
I have a good five songs from it on my iPod!

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Loved this drama and I was glad I watched it (i didn't read any reviews prior). It's definitely on my rewatch list.

❀️ your write up and wishing you all the best.

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Ah I remember now, that one where Seol fails because of her team members. That was one of the rare instances when cried along. I was in my 2nd year of university and was pretty much going through the same. (for context, I'm not a TV crier and the next time I cried was when Eugene died in Mr Sunshine 2 years later)

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@frabbycrabsis, thank you for your essay. I love the clarity in your writing. You've reminded me why I always felt anxious about group projects in school and that specific dread of waiting, waiting, waiting for results. ugh.
I hope that you get really good news on Thursday. You have been working so hard for so long...!
πŸ’•

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I love you, @rukia, thank you for always being so supportive! ❀️

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@frabbycrabsis

This is a great write up, for a great character (who happens to be you!). I related so much to Hong Seol’s self isolation when I watched it while in uni, KGE did an absolutely fantastic job in this role.

I know it’s already been said, but if you and Seol have the same style your wardrobe must be wonderful. I think this all means I must be your fan too ~ πŸ€—

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Hong Seol was so relatable and real...she is the heartbeat of the show and this is a very good analysis on her character's relatability

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I’m one of those CIIT fans who more despaired rather than hated the 2nd half but has rewatched the it almost 4 times. There was a long gap between my 3rd and 4th rewatch. It was just little over a year but like the writer, I’d gone through a lot that year and rewatching it was a different experience. Hong seol was why I fell in love with Kim Go Eun, because I’ve seen the movie and while OYS is a wonderful actress, KGE owned HS. Despite me hating InHo, I have to admit that SKJ played him so well, I still find it difficult to watch him anything else because I get the urge to smack him.
And the ost playlist was beautiful. It was the first ost playlist I fully downloaded. It was my intro to SALTNPAPER. I loved, love CIIT despite its shortcomings. It was why I was so disappointed because it had the opportunity to be even more amazing, instead they chucked character development for the sake of a cheap love triangle πŸ™„. I’m still salty!

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I tried watching the CIIT movie and just couldn't get through it. KGE's portrayal really was so good and like others have mentioned, she MADE that drama. Don't think it would have been as good or popular if she wasn't the one portraying Hong Seol.

I will be forever salty about the last half of CIIT and what could have been! I remember crying...from disappointment. Hahah

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Me too to everything you just said. I'm still salty because as much as I love the drama, it didn't do the basic act of honoring viewers. And it had sooo much potential. The rating could have hit 10% for the cable Tvn. Anyway, that's just to say how much I loved it before that second half happened.

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The first half of the drama is "what kept you reaching for more", and the second half is definitely "what made you want to throw your remote through the screen" (Beannies, y'all know what I'm talking about right?).

But true, I remember going through a very tough time at that point of life and the fist half of the drama really tells my story in a way that was very comforting, as if there is another person in this world who understands the pain of growing up.

Anyway, I guess I'm still yearning for more of that drama. So thanks so much for writing this post. This is one of the best dramas for this topic.

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I watched this while it aired, and then for whatever reason, I dropped it right before it all apparently went downhill. I'm not sure exactly why I dropped it, as when I drop dramas, it's not often a conscious thing. I just find myself not going back to it, and that's what happened with this drama. But I remember loving what I saw in the first half and being really sad when I heard about all the drama and problems with the script that happened later. Now I could have made this up in a fever dream, but I was always under the impression that the webtoon author was actually really upset by how similar the drama was (in the first half) to the webtoon, because she'd told the PD, etc. that she wanted the two to be different from each other (especially the ending), and that's where the problems started, because the PD was a big head who thought they were smarter than everyone else. (Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.) Either way though, it's honestly a shame what happened to this drama, because the first half was ten stars all the way, and Seol was such an incredibly grounded and relatable character. Like you, I definitely saw some of myself in her and felt for her while she struggled with school and relationships because those moments felt so real in my own life. This was a beautiful write-up. You did a great job.

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