Coffee House: Page 8
A picture says a thousand words, doesn’t it?
I could tell from the way the Episode 7 recap went that the fan fervor would increase for this episode, which surely delivered. Aside from the laughs and the chemistry between the actors, one thing I’m really loving about this drama is the loaded conversations — there are a few really interesting passages of dialogue that play a lot with text/subtext and nuance, which I always enjoy.
SONG OF THE DAY
LillSoo – “그대의 Rain” (Your rain) [ Download ]
PAGE 8 RECAP
Later that morning, Eun-young wakes up and thinks back to the dawn hours, when she had woken up to see Jin-soo deep in thought by the window. All he had said was for her to go back to sleep, but she had sensed the change in his attitude — serious, pensive — and comes out of the room wondering how Jin-soo will act now, in the light of day.
But he acts totally normal, chatting easily like nothing happened, and Eun-young looks disappointed. Like she’s bummed out at herself for expecting anything more.
When she heads to the bathroom, Jin-soo makes it a point to wait until she’s out of earshot to turn on some music. Whether he’s setting the mood or not, it’s a conscious move that tells us he’s aware of the change that Eun-young sensed, and that he’s purposely putting on his nonchalant front. As for Eun-young, she sighs to herself for bothering to come here to check on him.
Over breakfast, Jin-soo chuckles at his memory of last night’s movie outing and prods Eun-young to guess who Dong-wook likes. She guesses everyone else first (the cafe employees, her employee Hyun-joo) before landing on Seung-yeon, and marvels at the unexpected pairing. He jokes that if he’d interfered the date a little more, he probably would have been killed.
Having revised her opinion of the secretary, Eun-young gives her due credit — although she doesn’t seem to be especially sharp, she’s determined. With more development, Seung-yeon could become quite useful the more he continues to use her. But Jin-soo says that he can’t do that, because “I’m going to leave.”
This brings a serious note to the conversation as he says that he’s worked hard and written diligently for the past two years, so he wants to disappear for the next two. He feels he’s been here too long and wants to get away; they can always re-sign their contract at a later date. Eun-young’s sharp, and asks if that’s why he has thrown himself into his writing now — to finish quickly and get out of here. Jin-soo teases that yup, he wants to go far away to escape her nagging, but she doesn’t find it funny; he assures her it was a joke, but she corrects him — it’s the truth disguised as a joke.
Jin-soo promises he’ll stick around until the manuscript is done, and even agrees to do the TV interview, just this once. However, Eun-young sees that he’s keeping his gaze away from her, and she prods him to look at her.
Eun-young asks, “Did I dream last night? You’re the same person, but how can the look in your eyes be so different?” He knows exactly what she means but he throws humor up as a shield and makes exaggerated faces to keep the tone light.
Sigh! There he goes, pulling a Troy from Reality Bites. I hear Eun-young’s frustration with this, having known a few of those boys in my day. He’s using flippant jokes as a defense mechanism, and it’s clear that he’s desperately trying to avoid any sort of genuine emotion to protect himself, and Eun-young is the only one who sees that and can call him on it. But even though she understands, she’s disappointed at his response. Like he thinks it’s just not worth the trouble to be honest.
That feeling grows during their drive in to work, and she gets sick of his glib veneer. She calls him hopeless, but not in an endearing way — it’s in an “I’m so upset that you’re actually beyond hope” sort of way. Pulling over to the side of the road, she tells him to get out of the car, frustrated with herself as much as with him for thinking that things might be different this time.
Jin-soo starts the long walk to the office, where Seung-yeon waits at the door. He gives her a key with the excuse that it’s inconvenient for him to always open the door for her, but she appreciates the gesture.
Jin-soo asks Seung-yeon how “ice cream” went last night, said in a knowing tone since he’s really asking about her date. She doesn’t get it, of course, and says he should have come along, to which he laughs, “I can’t risk my life over ice cream.” He muses to himself about her curious appeal — he could kind of let Do-sang slide, but now Dong-wook as well? She looks at him questioningly, not quite able to hear and not understanding what he means anyway.
While checking some camera footage, Jin-soo finds something odd and instructs Seung-yeon to take a look, then leans over her shoulder to peer at the screen. The sudden proximity sends her nerves all a-jitter and she hunches away from him nervously. When he again leans close while she’s making his coffee, she lurches and exclaims wildly that he should stay at a distance, and complains how he’s always hovering.
This is all to cover up her uncomfortable budding attraction, but Jin-soo misinterprets her snappishness for rebellion. Offended that his employee is now putting on airs and daring to talk back to him, he gets mad right back and scolds her for taking advantage of his lax attitude. Lol.
In the safety of the bathroom, Seung-yeon scolds herself for suddenly losing control of her hormones, reminding herself that this is her workplace.
Ji-won drops by the cafe hoping that Disapproving Grandpa has gone by now. However, the employee informs him that Grandpa is sitting right outside, then calls out to get the old man’s attention. Ji-won reacts hilariously, saying furtively, “Don’t call him!” and ducking out of sight. But the employee then moves aside and points down at him, telling Grandpa, “Ji-won hyung is here.” Hehe. Ji-won forces a nervous laugh, bows respectfully, then turns to leave. (And almost runs into Jin-soo on his Segway. He’d like to give him a piece of his mind, but he’s too eager to get away from the dreaded Gramps.)
Grandpa recognizes Jin-soo and requests a chat with him. He dislikes Ji-won’s constant lurking around his granddaughter and asks Jin-soo to do something about it to get him away from her. It’ll be a temporary fix, because Grandpa figures that the ultimate solution is to marry her off — perhaps he should start sending Eun-young on blind dates. Mention of this dims Jin-soo’s smile a bit.
Eun-young joins them in the cafe, where Grandpa asks if she met that guy she was supposed to be set up with. She sends a quick look Jin-soo’s way before smiling it off.
When Jin-soo comes back to the office, Seung-yeon hands him the phone, awkwardly holding the receiver as far from her body as possible to keep Jin-soo at a distance. The call is from Eun-young, and he asks if she’s going on blind dates now, telling her that they don’t suit her. She jokes that he probably thinks she’s more suited to being a forever-single cat lady.
Eun-young is calling to give him her answer to his breakfast proposal regarding his future plans. She recognizes that he’ll leave no matter what she says, and from a business standpoint he’s too valuable for her to just cut ties. She adopts a philosophical tone — it’s not ideal for him to go off for months or years, but he’s bound to pop back up bearing a new book. As far as hypothetical situations go, it’s neither the best- nor worst-case scenario.
This is her way of saying she’ll accept his decision as his publisher. Jin-soo asks for her opinion from a different perspective — meaning, not as his publisher but as a person. She says matter-of-factly, “I told you earlier, the person Lee Jin-soo is a lost cause.” And hangs up.
Spurred by Grandpa’s request (and maybe some of his own personal motivations), Jin-soo gives Seung-yeon an assignment — to write her very first synopsis for a story. Her task is to work out possible ways to get rid of Ji-won from Eun-young’s life for good.
Seung-yeon is taken by surprise, since writing scenarios is hardly something she’s good at, but Jin-soo insists that he’s giving her the opportunity to develop her skills. Even Seung-yeon is smart enough to know that that’s a crock of bull, and retorts that the only reason he’s telling her to do it is because he doesn’t know the answer himself.
He gives her an hour, after which she comes up with the idea to set Ji-won up with a new love interest. But she hasn’t thought out the particulars, and Jin-soo ruthlessly pokes holes into her idea — who? Where would they find her? What would she be like? How would they find someone even more impressive than Eun-young herself?
As he points out each flaw, Seung-yeon’s half of the split screen starts slowly shrinking, to match her falling spirits. Jin-soo sends her back for another pass, and this time she takes more care, interviewing Hyun-joo to ask about Ji-won’s past relationships. Eventually she ditches that idea and tries out a couple new theories.
The first involves a fortune-teller she knows, who can be persuaded to read Eun-young and Ji-won’s couple fortunes and declare them a disastrous match. This is such an obvious line of thinking that Jin-soo declares it completely lame. As he again criticizes her lack of imagination, her split-screen box starts shrinking again. Aw.
She retorts that HE ought to give it a try, to which he replies that this is HER homework — he’s purposely not giving her the answer just so she can practice. Seung-yeon calls him out for the lame excuse, pointing out that he’s foisting this off on her because he doesn’t have a better solution, and this time his box starts to shrink. Haha! (I love the shrinking screen motif, because it’s so simple and yet says so much.)
Her last idea is to get someone to act as Eun-young’s new boyfriend. Jin-soo starts to ask about the particulars, ready to shoot them down: What would it entail? Who would be the boyfriend? By now she’s lost confidence in all her ideas and blurts that he should be the one to play the boyfriend.
She points out that it would be believable, and if Ji-won saw it with his own eyes, he’d have to accept it. Jin-soo asks what would serve as “proof” of the romance, and she mumbles, “Stuff that dating people do.” He asks if this would require “a bed scene,” to which she nervously says no.
Jin-soo sends her back for more thinking, and Seung-yeon brainstorms various scenarios, like getting them drunk and “proving the romance” with a grand public display of affection.
Eun-young sees her name scribbled all over Seung-yeon’s notebook and peers over curiously. Seung-yeon tries to cover it up and explain that this is just an exercise — absolutely imaginary, with no intention of real-life implementation! — while Eun-young ponders why Jin-soo would make her the subject of study.
Reading over the list, Eun-young muses that No. 1 (setting Ji-won up with a new woman) is something she’d have done ages ago if it were possible. On to No. 2 — but that won’t be convincing because their parents already had them go to a fortune-teller when they were engaged, and the forecast was positive.
Now for No. 3 — having Jin-soo pose as her boyfriend. Seung-yeon hurriedly explains that it was just a stupid idea, but Eun-young looks at her with interested eyes: “Now this, I like,” she declares. It has a high possibility of working — how can they work with this?
Eun-young dives into the scenario, thinking of a way to engineer a scenario that is so natural that Ji-won would fall for it. Uneasily, Seung-yeon is forced to sit with her as Eun-young lays out the details: Ji-won has a habit of looking in on her office from his window, so they’ll set this scene in her office. She also figures that a kiss scene is necessary — using a kiss that is convincing even from a distance.
Even more unsettling to Seung-yeon is Eun-young’s decision to keep it secret from Jin-soo, because he wouldn’t cooperate if he knew. Eun-young makes her pinky-swear to it, then praises her for her idea. Afterward, Seung-yeon looks at her promise-pinky in dismay, as though thinking, “Oh, what have I gotten myself into?”
That evening, Seung-yeon waits nervously for the hour of doom, aka 8pm, when Eun-young will put her plan into motion. Jin-soo gets the call requesting his presence in her office, and Seung-yeon bites her tongue anxiously, wanting to warn him but afraid to ruin the plan. (I can see her hesitation, because this is another exercise in loyalty. In an earlier episode, she had decided to stick with Jin-soo no matter what, but the last time they did that we sorta came to the conclusion that Jin-soo’s escape from the interview was childish and caused more damage than it solved.)
Good thing for her she realizes that this time she doesn’t have to go either to Eun-young or Jin-soo, because there’s a Door No. 3. She races next door to Ji-won’s office, intending to stop him from seeing anything.
Eun-young greets Jin-soo with a suspiciously bright smile and a glass of wine. He immediately knows that something is up, although he can’t pinpoint what she’s planning. At first she enjoys leaving him in the dark while she toys with his hair and touches his face, before she tells him through clenched teeth that Ji-won’s watching.
She also calls him out for dismissing Seung-yeon’s idea, because she thinks it’s a great plan — it’s the most realistic and has the highest probability for success. He was just letting his personal distaste for playing the boyfriend color his opinion of the idea itself.
Seung-yeon races into Ji-won’s office, ready to distract him from the scene at the window, but as it happens she’s too late. He is already looking over in shock while Eun-young moves even closer and starts to slowly unbutton Jin-soo’s shirt.
While keeping up the appearance of being locked in a romantic moment, Eun-young tells Jin-soo that she worked out this scenario with Seung-yeon, and they planned out the script for the evening. He asks nervously how far she’s going to go — “You want to keep going? How far?”
All this time, Jin-soo has been a little nervous and uncertain, but at her confirmation that there will be a kiss scene involved, his mouth quirks up in a self-assured smile and he challenges her to show him what she’s got. Eun-young moves in, pushes him back onto her desk, and leans over him.
I love the spectators’ response to this — they both recoil in shock, and Ji-won finally notices that Seung-yeon is in his office. He asks what she’s doing here, but she’s so stunned that she just presses her face to the window dumbly. Ji-won does the same. (Seung-yeon knows that Eun-young is faking this, but she assumes that Jin-soo is unaware of her motives and is reacting accordingly.)
There’s a hilarious pause while Eun-young is leaning over Jin-soo’s torso, practically on top of him, and he tells her to go on. She mutters, “You want me to do it? I pushed you, so you should do it [kiss].” Jin-soo: “What are you talking about?”
This pause has the effect of killing the mood — not that the mood was romantic, per se, but it has been charged with tension as they both waited to see what the other would do. Eun-young’s expression had gone from teasing to questioning, and at his terse response she now becomes serious.
With some anger creeping in, Eun-young tells Jin-soo not to mess around with her life: “You do all these things that I don’t ask for, and then you don’t do what I do ask for. I’m not thankful at all. If you have even a little thought for me, you’d do what I wanted you to. Don’t keep doing things I don’t ask you to do. When did I ever ask you to help me?”
Ooh, banjun. I love when scenes suddenly turn on their heads, and that’s what happens here. The comic uncertainty and jokey tension dissipates entirely, and Jin-soo asks, “So what is it you want from me? A convincing, magnificent kiss?” Their exchange is loaded with meaning — not about the words at all but in the way they say them.
Eun-young (Duh, exactly): “Yeah.”
Jin-soo (challenging): “Yeah?”
Eun-young (matter-of-fact): “Yeah.”
Jin-soo (very interested) “Yeah…”
However, Eun-young’s confidence seems to falter, and her gaze wavers uncertainly, like she’s about to back down and give up on her crazy scheme. Which is when Jin-soo decides, “Then let’s do it my way. I don’t like this way.”
Ji-won and Seung-yeon watch in horror and disbelief as Jin-soo leaps up and clears off all the papers from her desk. Moving with decisive assertiveness, Jin-soo flips around their stances, lowering Eun-young onto the tabletop and leaning down over her, one of her legs bent and raised up by his waist.
Then, Jin-soo gets up to face the window, where he looks tauntingly at Ji-won. He reaches toward his waistline… and pulls out his belt… and pulls the blinds shut. HAHAHAHA.
As soon as he pulls the blinds closed, he’s back to his old self. Putting his belt back on, he points out that it’s more powerful to leave them to their imaginations. Eun-young, however, is just as shocked by his sudden romantic fake-out and takes some moments to recover from its effects.
Ji-won and Seung-yeon are both so stricken by the events that they stagger from the window in a daze.
Jin-soo suggests heading out for something to eat. Eun-young, now recovering her composure, tells him that he’s right and wise — he’s more logical than her. “I understand,” she tells him. She’s referring to his tactic, but it also mirrors her perception of their emotional paths as well — he puts on a good show and comes out of it totally unmoved, while she can’t be that detached.
Jin-soo points out that no matter how worked up she gets over something, she’s always able to return to her original state. Eun-young forces a smile and agrees — that’s her, all right. Coolly, she turns down his dinner invitation, and he heads back to his office.
Once he’s gone, though, Eun-young lies back down on her desk, still feeling all that pent-up anticipation.
When Jin-soo gets back to the office, he tsks-tsks over the silly plan Seung-yeon had worked out with Eun-young. Seung-yeon realizes that this means he was aware that the whole thing was faked, which means that his part was also just as faked. (Her shock came from thinking that Eun-young had made an advance as an act, which he reciprocated in reality.) This is a thought that vastly relieves her — until she recalls with frustration that she shouldn’t feel relieved about that, as he is her boss and et cetera.
A few nights later, Seung-yeon is working at her family’s coffee shop when Dong-wook comes by. He’s happy to see her through the window, but his path is blocked by her curious family, and he has to endure a brief interrogation before he can head inside, answering questions about his family situation. Grandma likes him, although Dad has a few reservations. (Grandma points out that his reservations are unfounded, since Dong-wook is no worse off than Dad himself.)
I wonder if it’s worth noting that Dong-wook appears to be getting sloppier (outside of work) while Eun-young continues to get sharper — her hair is smooth and straight, and her dressing style is becoming more put-together.
Seung-yeon hasn’t been to the office in three days, because Jin-soo had been busy writing and told her not to come until he called. Dong-wook perks up, as this means she has lots of free time, and just as he starts to ask her to a movie, she gets a phone call that cuts him off.
Seung-yeon answers eagerly, hoping it’s Jin-soo calling her back to work, but it turns out to be Hyun-joo. The publishing office is cluttered with birthday presents, and they were hoping she would take them up to Jin-soo’s place. Seung-yeon had been under the mistaken belief that Jin-soo’s “real” birthday was months later and that this was only his “profile birthday.” Of course, it turns out that Jin-soo had lied — she’d been going on and on about throwing him a party, so he picked a different date to shut her up.
Dong-wook tries to ask Eun-young out again, but now she’s distracted by this news, and barely hears him. She decides that the day isn’t over yet, so there’s still time to plan some birthday events. I love that her reasoning isn’t (only) to celebrate his birthday, but to get back at him for lying to her in the first place. Hee. She’s learning!
At the store, she picks up an array of party supplies, choosing items that will most annoy Jin-soo, and heads over with her items of torture. However, Jin-soo looks out the window to see her walking up bearing her festive atrocities, and decides to sneak out before she gets there. He drops by a local convenience store to pick up some snacks, then makes a phone call.
Seung-yeon now has an apartment key so she lets herself in and starts to decorate. When she answers the phone, it’s Jin-soo demanding that she remove every little balloon and party favor immediately. If there’s anything left when he gets back, he’ll fire her. She protests (and despite her desire for a little “revenge,” she really does mean the best), but she senses he means it and glumly starts to collect the decorations.
Jin-soo steps out of the phone booth just as a sudden downpour starts. Without an umbrella and with no particular place to be, he retreats back into the glass booth and pops a beer. Happy birthday to me.
A knock on the glass draws his attention — it’s Eun-young, standing just outside.
She is on her way in, having had a few drinks herself, in celebration of signing a new contract. She tells him to come with her, since she’s got an umbrella, so Jin-soo grabs his plastic bag and starts to leave, but the contents spill out and beer cans fall to the ground.
He kneels to pick them up, while she comments on the oddity of him drinking alone in a phone booth on his birthday, especially considering that he’s a star author with crowds of fans. He thought she’d forgotten his birthday, to which she responds that since he’d prefer that she forget, she has to act the part to oblige him.
Jin-soo likes that about her, in contrast to his dense secretary who insisted on going out to prepare him a birthday party. Eun-young points out that Seung-yeon’s the normal one — it’s Jin-soo who’s abnormal. Eun-young adds that in going out of her way to suit him, that has turned her into another abnormal one: “I can’t buy a present for a friend on his birthday, or tell him congratulations.”
Jin-soo replies that he doesn’t need words of congratulations, “But a present is good. Just give me a present.” He’s happy with that, just as long as it doesn’t come with a birthday card.
At that, Eun-young’s gaze changes — she stares at him more intently as he continues to chat. Then, without warning, she drops her umbrella, steps inside the phone booth, and moves in for a kiss.
I have gotten questions about a Coffee House novel, which appears to be a different case from Coffee Prince or Personal Taste, where the drama was adapted from a previously published book. It looks like the Coffee House novel — or I’d call it novelization — was published after the drama began to air, and one of the writers is the same writer of the drama. Based on a few reader reviews, the characters are the same but the storyline is a little different. So I wouldn’t go around worrying about what happens in the book version.
However, if you are curious, here are the chapter titles. (Highlight to read; I’m keeping them hidden for those who wish to avoid the spoilers.)
1. Meeting at Palace Coffee
2. My enemy, my treasure
3. Love’s emergency landing
4. I’ll become a pro secretary!
5. The Jang Dong-gun and Go So-young of the publishing world
6. Dreams can’t come true
7. 척하면 착!
(This is the thing that Jin-soo tells Seung-yeon, and I don’t have a good direct translation for it. It basically means that if he gives the signal, she should know what to do immediately.)
8. This is Jeju Island
9. Things that change, things that don’t change
10. Ten-year friendship
11. Goodbye, Palace Coffee
It’s funny how I’ve never warmed to Park Shi-yeon before, and suddenly love her. Even after she improved mightily in La Dolce Vita and Story of a Man (as well as several movie projects), she was no longer bad but I still didn’t connect with her. But I find her absolutely endearing, adorable, and winning in Coffee House, and I love her chemistry with Kang Ji-hwan. She banters, teases, taunts, holds herself confidently, and even manages to show glimpses of uncertainty and vulnerability, all with a natural charm.
It’s partly that she’s improved, but also that this role really shows her off to her best advantage. I wonder if she’s one of those actresses whose perceived image and persona are quite different from her real personality, and therefore when she acts in roles that require her to be haughty or glamorous (which is how most people see her), it doesn’t work as well because there’s a disconnect in the acting. But I love her as this character.
As for the chemistry? Off the charts. How hot was that last kiss, huh? But not only that, I particularly dug the fake-out scene, because there were a lot of different layers operating there. There’s the outward “show” to convince Ji-won that they’re romantically involved, and their facade with each other that this is all just a ploy, and that they’re cool and unperturbed by the act. Then there’s a tinge of hope (for instance, in the way Eun-young looks to him when she wants him to kiss her), and then the flash of contained disappointment (when he doesn’t kiss her). I didn’t think this pair would be so well-matched at the beginning of the drama, but I’m a big fan now. And if THIS episode didn’t convince you… well, then, I guess nothing ever will?