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Greasy Melo: Episodes 17-20

As the two restaurants prep their menus for battle, Poong struggles to choose between his respect for Chil-sung and his growing affection for Sae-woo. Bromance or romance? If being able to order half-and-half dishes at a restaurant is no big deal, then why can’t it be an option when deciding which person deserves the most loyalty?

 
EPISODES 17-20 WEECAP

After taking off his wedding ring and telling Sae-woo that he’s no longer married, Poong makes good on his offer to make her noodles. Sae-woo happily slurps down down her wonton noodles and then tries to clarify what he meant earlier about sharing his favorite song with her.

Poong vaguely explains that it’s because they’re the “wok and ladle” so it means they can have that kind of relationship, but Sae-woo refuses to accept his ambiguity. They bicker about what it means to have an ambiguous relationship, but Poong refuses to cave on his firm stance so Sae-woo continues eating, anyway.

Seol-ja and Maeng-dal return to the restaurant after their meal (which included lots of alcohol). Maeng-dal drunkenly accuses Sae-woo of breaking Chil-sung’s heart and actually plays the recorded conversation as Sae-woo dies of embarrassment hearing herself farting in front of Chil-sung (not to mention all the other things she said to try and convince Chil-sung not to fall in love with her). Maeng-dal insists that Chil-sung can’t get over his feelings just because Sae-woo told him too.

Everyone’s surprised when Chil-sung suddenly arrives at the restaurant, since he should still be recuperating at the hospital. He wonders why everyone looks so glum, reassuring them that he’ll be released tomorrow but just wanted some decent food, which Poong proceeds to make for him. But Poong’s attitude has turned thoughtful and somber after listening to the recorded conversation where Chil-sung confessed that he liked Sae-woo.

Poong’s ready to deliver the bowl of noodles to Chil-sung, but quietly retreats when he overhears Chil-sung admit to Sae-woo that he left the hospital because he wanted to see her. Sae-woo helps Chil-sung return to the hospital, where a nurse chides Chil-sung for leaving in his condition and orders Sae-woo to help make sure Chil-sung focuses on healing.

Chil-sung wants to know if Sae-woo’s had enough to time to think over how she feels, and she admits that she’s grateful that he helped her by loaning her money when it felt like she had too much pride to ask anyone else. Chil-sung quietly says that he would give her all his money if she needed it. Sae-woo tells him that he’s a good man who deserves to find a good woman.

She admits that she was confused when he kissed her, but she’s just a nobody. He should stop liking her. Chil-sung says everything deserves three chances, and Sae-woo reminds him that she already turned him down twice. He points out that she doesn’t really know him yet — she only knows him as a loan shark with a criminal record who gets hurt while fighting.

After Sae-woo leaves the hospital, Poong arrives to check on Chil-sung. Chil-sung asks Poong to stay with him since Chil-sung doesn’t think he’ll be able to sleep if he’s alone. Poong scoffs at him at first, but then admits he feels the same way. They have a laugh that they’re both so melancholy that they need the extra company. Aw.

Poong stays until Chil-sung falls asleep, unable to stop thinking about how Chil-sung admitted to Sae-woo that he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Then he gently tucks his hyung into bed. Aw.

In the morning, Sae-woo arrives at the restaurant surprised to see that Poong’s shoes have been thrown back onto the roof (which he did the night before in a fit of pique), but even more surprised to see the huge banners on Giant Hotel, promoting their new “Whole Shrimp” menu.

The rest of the restaurant staff are indignant on Poong’s behalf, since it proves that someone at Giant Hotel definitely stole Poong’s notebook. Haha, Poong’s banner arrives to promote Happy Wok’s Whole Shrimp menu, but it looks pathetically small and humble in comparison to Giant Hotel’s banners.

Poong’s still determined to continue with their menu, since even if they’re serving the same dishes, they’ll still be vastly undercutting the cost of the hotel dish which should bring in customers. He orders the team to get to work prepping for the Whole Shrimp dishes. But both he (and Sae-woo as his ladle) are having the same difficulty as Giant Hotel in creating the impossibly thin dim sum wrapper.

As Poong’s rattling off orders to Sae-woo, she casually slips in that she signed her divorce papers so she’s no longer married. That stops Poong in his tracks. Sae-woo says she wanted to say it now since she figured they’d be too busy later.

Haha, Poong tries to cover up his frustrated confusion that Sae-woo is officially single by demanding if the rest of the crew have something urgent to tell him. They’re worried that he’s found out that they’re a family, but Poong just needs to find a way to vent his frustration that Sae-woo didn’t tell him sooner she’s no longer married.

Which he does by going to the rooftop and shouting, much to the gangsters bewilderment. Aw, but Poong’s adorably happy to know that both he and Sae-woo are both single and he literally skips back to the restaurant. His joy is halted when he sees the recently-discharged Chil-sung sitting outside.

Chil-sung tells Poong that he’s on Poong’s side, promising to help him win against Giant hotel.

Seol-ja is still worried that Poong will find out how she, Geok-jung, and Jung-hye are all connected, so she creates an elaborate way of communicating that mimics different sounds of horses trotting. Aw, but it only serves as a reminder that Sae-woo’s horse is sad because she hasn’t visited him in a while.

Later that night, Poong sneaks into Giant Hotel and rummages around the kitchen, searching for his notebook. Unbeknownst to Poong, the sneaky Giant Hotel sous chef Sam-seon and his unwilling partner-in-crime Bo-ra are also breaking into Happy Wok to try and figure out how Poong is able to make the dim sum wrappers so thin.

Chil-sung discovers them in the kitchen, but silently watches them steal one of Poong’s dim sum wrappers. They quickly make their escape when they hear someone in the restaurant, but it’s just Chil-sung gesturing to Seol-ja to be quiet. Seol-ja is surprised that Chil-sung would just let them go so easily, and offers to go beat them up for him if he’s still too injured. Pffft.

Meanwhile, Poong finds a photocopy of his notebook in Bo-ra’s locker. Master Wang catches him in the locker room and takes the photocopy back. Master Wang accuses Poong of theft and trespassing, but Poong insists he’s only taking what rightfully belongs to him.

Master Wang points out that anything Poong created at Giant Hotel officially belongs to the hotel, and Poong angrily confronts Master Wang for stealing recipes that don’t belong to him. Where is his honor as a chef? Master Wang burns the photocopy and warns Poong that if he finds the original notebook, he’ll burn that, too.

Sam-seon and Bo-ra return to the Giant Hotel kitchen, and Sam-seon pulls out the notebook from where he’s hidden it so they can figure out how Poong makes his dim sum wrapper so thin. Chil-sung, having followed them to the hotel, snatches the notebook from them, and when Sam-seon protests, Chil-sung knocks him out with a roll of wax paper. Ha!

But Seung-ryong spots Chil-sung on the hotel’s CCTV and orders his men to bring Chil-sung to him. Chil-sung realizes he’s trapped and fights back as best he can in his condition (and with a rolled up magazine as his only weapon).

He tries to escape in the elevator with Gum Granny (who followed Chil-sung to the hotel), but the security guys rush in and continue to beat him up. Chil-sung does his best to defend himself, but accepts the beating in order to protect Gum Granny from being hurt.

They head down to the parking garage where Seol-ja is waiting for them with the car. Chil-sung fights his way out and makes sure he and Gum Granny get away safe — and with Poong’s notebook.

Poong is distraught that the copy he found of his notebook is destroyed and turned to dust. But he rushes to the hospital, concerned for his “hyung” when he hears that Chil-sung has been injured again. Poong’s stunned when Chil-sung hands over the original notebook. Poong’s so overcome with emotion that he can barely speak except to say “thank you.”

As he looks over his precious recipes, Sae-woo tries to quietly practice her wok skills. Poong finds her in the kitchen and actually gives her helpful advice and training. She’s adorably thrilled when her efforts finally produce the correct movement. Both act like they’re not aware of how close they are to each other.

Sae-woo cooks a meal to test her skills, getting way too much satisfaction from ordering around her “ladle,” Poong. As she happily eats her meal, Poong asks when she got divorced. She admits it was when that night when Chil-sung and Poong found her drunk and homeless.

Poong suddenly admits that he likes her, but he also cares about Chil-sung. So Poong won’t go any further, and asks that she not like him, “just in case.” Sae-woo agrees and then takes her leave. Suddenly her homemade meal is no longer so delicious.

Outside the restaurant, Gum Granny is trying to knock down Poong’s shoes from the roof. She tells him that Sae-woo just left and that he should go after her. Even though Poong insists that he and Sae-woo aren’t dating, Gum Granny retorts that he should stop lying to himself and go to the bus stop, since she saw Sae-woo crying her eyes out and wishing she could die.

It’s a big fat lie, but it’s enough to make Poong concerned and run to the bus stop anyway. He finds Sae-woo with her head buried in her knees. But she’s just lost in thought, not crying.

They have a thinly veiled conversation about her working with the wok that’s really about how she feels about working with him. Poong warns her that she’ll be hurt (because her shoulders would be sore from lifting the heavy wok) and will want to quit. But Sae-woo says she likes working with the wok and will take care of herself, so he shouldn’t worry about how she feels.

But on the way home, Sae-woo can’t get Poong out of her head. She goes through all the arguments why it shouldn’t bother her that Poong confessed he likes her in the same breath that he told her to not like him. Even so, Sae-woo can’t stop thinking about the fact that Poong likes her.

Poong picks Chil-sung up from the hospital. Aw. When Chil-sung sees Sae-woo get off at the bus stop, he tells Poong to stop the car so they can all ride to work together. It’s an awkward morning commute as they try to stifle their feelings out of respect for each other.

Later, Chil-sung warns Poong that he should be nicer to Sae-woo. Poong reveals that everyone knows how much Chil-sung likes Sae-woo (which makes Chil-sung choke on his coffee, ha!), and Poong asks what it is Chil-sung likes about her so much. Chil-sung explains that Sae-woo doesn’t care about his tough-guy criminal background, plus she’s beautiful in everything she does.

Poong continues to staunchly insist that Sae-woo isn’t pretty and that he doesn’t like anything Sae-woo does. Yeah, sure, buddy. Nice try, lying to your hyung like that.

Poong creates a test menu for the staff to taste the dim sum shrimp. It looks gorgeous — one large dim sum filled with juicy broth and shrimp. Except… it tastes terrible. The staff are hesitant to tell the chef that his carefully planned menu isn’t good, but Poong insists he wants honest feedback. So then they let him have it, and Sae-woo seems to take special delight in detailing everything the dish is lacking. Ha!

Meanwhile, Master Wang is creating his own spin on the dim sum shrimp by creating a crunchy — and definitely delicious — version of the dumpling. He has to put his own spin on it in order to defeat Poong so that Seung-ryong doesn’t send him back to China.

Poong stops by the hospital to have his wrist checked, and Sae-woo insists on tagging along — only to have her own overworked wrist inspected. Ha! Poong says that she should stop working with the wok since it’s hurting her, but Sae-woo stubbornly says that Poong keeps trying to push people away unnecessarily. She’s good at keeping her personal and professional life separate, so there won’t be a problem.

When Poong and Sae-woo return to the restaurant, Chil-sung asks to speak with Sae-woo, confirming that she’s now divorced. Chil-sung then notes that Poong has removed his wedding ring, confirming that he’s single now, too. Poong says he’s not interesting in dating, though, and would rather focus on work. Mmm-hmmm. Suuure.

Poong is determined to find a way to make the dim sum wrapper even thinner, since that’s the main issue with the dim sum. He tries blowing the dough into a bubble to get it form the shape he needs, but it’s too thin and keeps popping. Awww, the kitty returns to make another cute cameo! Can we keep it, Chef? Can we? Please???

It’s the day before the Whole Shrimp festival begins. Oooh, it’s nice to see Happy Wok full of customers and the kitchen staff busy. Poong orders everyone to focus on prepping the shrimp. Even Seol-ja starts yelling at the staff to peel the shrimp properly, before realizing in horror the harsh way she’s talking to Jung-hye.

Sae-woo relieves her stress by chewing bubblegum since at least then something will form a correct bubble. She also makes dinner — her first real attempt at jajangmyun. She’s so proud, but Poong points out all the errors with the dish.

However, the bubblegum inspires him figure out a new formulation of the dough that will make it more resilient. After a few trial-and-error attempts at a new batter, Poong and Sae-woo finally hit on a mix that makes the perfect bubble.

Sae-woo is so delighted by their success that she kisses Poong on the cheek, which causes him to freeze. Chil-sung sits outside the restaurant, pondering Sae-woo’s declaration that she’s now divorced and Poong’s insistence that he’s focused on work and not interested in dating.

 
COMMENTS

I don’t know if I’ve grown accustomed to the disjointed pacing of this show or if the story is starting to flow better now that we’ve established all of the characters and their motivations, but I feel like the plot is finally settling in. Maybe it’s because there’s a main mission for everyone to focus their energy on — the shrimp battle between Giant Hotel — or maybe it’s because I finally believe that everyone’s feelings for each other seem genuine and not just because the script (or a fortune cookie) says that’s how they should feel.

I adore the affection the Happy Wok family has for each other. Not just the main trio (which I’ll get to in a minute), but the fact that the gangsters are now officially back in the kitchen as prep help and deliverymen (finally!). Even though Master Wang keeps trying to coax Seol-ja back, I giggle over how cute she and Maeng-dal are together (and how loyal she is to Jung-hye). Not to mention how adorable Seo-woo and Geok-jung are, working together to create the noodle dough as she bounces on the bamboo stick. I’m more than ready for this David-and-Goliath war between Happy Wok and Giant Hotel, especially since I’m always one to root for the underdogs who realize that effort, compassion, and respect are more important than always being the best. Not that Poong won’t accept anything less than perfection, of course, but at least he rallies his troops by insisting that their product should be worthy in-and-of itself — instead of relying on fear, like Giant Hotel.

Now, our trio — the beloved, misguided, hopelessly-in-love-with-each-other trio. I can’t even complain about them acting like the usual Noble Idiots because they’re being so reasonable and honest (well, as honest as they can admit to each other — and themselves). The conversations that Sae-woo and Poong had with Chil-sung in the hospital were my favorite moments this week, but that could also be because Jang Hyuk did an amazing job expressing vulnerability while subtly reacting to everything Sae-woo was telling him. But my heart melted the most when Chil-sung admitted to Poong that he didn’t want to be alone. There’s something about this tough-yet-vulnerable gangster that continues to steal my each week, and is why I fully understand Poong’s desire to tamp down his own feelings for Sae-woo with respect to his hyung.

One of the things I love most about this writer is her ability to portray friendship — both the obvious bromance, but also the friendship between women. I love watching Seol-ja and Jung-hye support each other. You’d think that Seol-ja would do the heavy lifting, since Jung-hye seems to be essentially useless except as a way for everyone to be connected. But their conversation on the patio revealed that Jung-hye is more observant and intuitive than perhaps anyone gives her credit for. The other thing I love about this writer is her ability to make me so incredibly hungry with her depiction of food. The characters may say it doesn’t taste good, but it looks so delicious from this side of the screen that I’m not sure how I’m gonna last through next week when the shrimp battle begins in earnest. Let’s just say that my local Chinese delivery place is now on speed dial.

 
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So many cute moments in these episodes, from Poong picking Chil Seong up at the hospital to Sae Woo's imaginary argument to the return of our special guest star kitten.

There is so much love between everyone at Hungry Wok and it gets stronger each week. I find myself longing for the real shrimp battle to begin, but then I appreciate the slow build of getting everyone on the same side as their love for each other grows in real time - like the gangsters' burgeoning affection for Poong - before it action really gets going.

And may I say, it was soooo damn satisfying watching Chil Seong thwack that sneaky sous chef upside the head and get Poong's recipe book back! True bromance and badassery all at once.

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Oh yes! When that dirty, cheating, lying thief got hit, I loudly cheered.

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You missed out adulterer in the range of insults.

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I'm super happy that Chil-sung rescued the Poong's note book! He must really want Poong and the restaurant to succeed.

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Ah, the bromance is breaking my heart. Such sweethearts, both of them. Plus the kitty. But, of course, what Saewoo said a few eps ago is true. It doesn't matter if they both like her, it only matters who she likes. Sorry, Chilsung.

I have never been so happy to see anyone blow a dough bubble before. Hungry Wok, fighting!

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I agree with @odilettante, this is the first week where I actually felt like there's finally a purpose to the story. It really took this show like half it's total run-time lol but we finally get to SEE how the relationships in this drama evolved without having it being told to us.

Gotta admit, I was prepared for Poong-Kitty to be my otp lol (can Poong just bring it home and give it a name already) , but I'm finally fully on board the Poong-Saewoo train. I feel like this week's eps did a really good job at subtly showing how good they can be for each other and how well they work together. The heart eyes from Poong seeing Saewoo enjoy the meal his ex-wife had used to diss was a warm scene. At the end of the day, all Poong really wants is for someone to love his food, and that makes it easy to understand his growing attraction to her. And I also love how different his dynamic with her is compared to her dynamic with everyone else. Saewoo for the most part is a very sheltered woman, and everyone around her keeps trying to 'protect' her, but we do see moments of her spunk and it's something Poong really brings out of her. I like the fact that he doesn't coddle her, warns her about her arm and when she insists, chose to give her a lighter wok but still lets her do what she wants. He doesn't look at her as someone that needs to be sheltered and I think that's also part of her attraction to him. The way they agreed to be frank with each other, and the way Poong really appreciated her honesty is great. I love a couple that's based on mutual respect and honesty.

Also that's twice now that Saewoo has said out loud that her heart is hers to give, and I'm loving it. She sometimes comes off as annoyingly obtuse to me, but her firmness in not letting others sway her feelings is really something I love about the character.

I'm also so happy my Chilpoong bromance is still on course! Really, all that needed to happen was for Poong to thaw, now he's practically in love with Chilsung himself lmao. Why can't we have a polyarmorous love story again? That would truly be the best outcome for this show.

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Good point about Poong not-coddling Sae-woo, and that being attractive to her. One of my favorite scenes was the role-reversal, when Sae-woo was the wok, being just as critical of and impatient with her ladle, Poong, as he'd been of her...and he took it like a champ. I, too, like that he brings out her spunky side and that they're becoming increasingly frank with each other. For me, the best OTPs are the One True Partnerships.

And of course I double-swooned when Poong confessed his feelings for Sae-woo, and then said he didn't want to act on them because he cares so much for his new hyung.

I've lost track of how many different relationships I'm shipping in this show (not necessarily romantically). The plot is seriously lacking, but the characters (including the four-leggeds) bring me so much delight that I'm always looking forward to the next episodes. (And yes, Poong needs to adopt Kitty asap!)

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All three characters' approach to the romance have been so reasonable so far that it's not really that frustrating to watch. I loved the switcheroo scene! It really shows so much of Poong's character. His bark in the kitchen mostly comes from a place of authority, and when they switched he acts accordingly.

Also how much do I love SW laying it straight for him about his dimsum.. Honesty is something he holds in high regard, esp when it comes to food which is why he's the same way with others as well and expects the same kind of treatment for himself too. It's something SW seems to be aware of. I really love the development between them this week.

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And also her comments about why the dim sum was bad were so specific and detailed, she was really impressive. Like she's got a natural born talent for food creation - or food criticism.

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I know some people didn't like Poong yelling at her but to me that was why she liked him. He didn't coddle her, he demanded things from her, and he needed her. It's what she's drawn to about him because nobody has ever demanded anything from her. Everybody wants to feel needed but her life up till now has been pretty useless. Poong gives her a purpose.

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Yesss. Also, she knew she was terrible, she deserves to be yelled at lol. But even then when she felt like he went too far she did flick some onions in his face lmao, so Poong really does bring out her spunk. Her face lights up when he lets her learn, and that's my favourite part this week too. The fact that he teaches her how to use the wok and how to cook. I think in the beginning it was just about her needing a job and he knew that, but when he sees that she's actually quite passionate to learn, he doesn't shy away from teaching her. When it's after hours Poong chills out considerably lmao. And the way he was almost complimenting her harsh criticism of his dish lol, he's so attracted to her spunky side and I love it lol.

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At the beginning of the show, did Sae Woo have a job? I can't recall her in a profession.

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No, she just fenced and rode horses. And was always hungry but could never get nourished, symbolising her emotional hunger. I mean, this was a woman so lonely and bored she had imaginary conversations with her horse.

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and now her horse is lonely because she no longer visits and talks to him as her (emotional) hunger is satisfied

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Actuall, also meaning that her ex-boyfriend/husband actually didn't satisfy that hunger, right?

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And that's why I read dramabeans. For all the little details I missed while I watched it. Thank you so much, Chingu.

And also I completely agree with you. First, I LOVE that Poong treats her like an equal. The ladle to his wok. He might not be very delicate about it but Sae Woo is no delicate flower. Clearly she can take it and give it back in full when she is the wok. I got the feeling that Sae Woo has been cuddled all her life (especially by the men in her life namely her father) and for the first time, she is actively doing something and loves it. I don't think she will go back to her old life even when her father gets out of prison. Her mom might as she seems to be struggling a bit but Sae Woo is a tough cookie.

Which also explained why she moved on from her ex-husband. I think that despite him, she did felt emotional hungry as you mentioned and he wasn't really able to fill that void.

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I was one of those, I even jokingly said "Does she like yelling?" cause she even asked DCS to yell at her at some point (that scene was funny though, when he actually yelled) but now, wow, it does make sense. I mean not that she "likes" yelling per se (that would be disturbing?) but she really dislikes favoritism, and she really dislikes being over protected

I had been feeling uncomfortable by her little tantrums, because while she said things I could get behind such as "I don't want a man to tell me what to do" I was not understanding why she was acting this way. But at the back of my mind something suggested, "Could it be that she is somewhat rebelling at all this over protection, her father's all the men in her life, which ultimately becomes useless when she had to now fend for herself? Like, maybe she wants to be finally independent and stronger and NOT ever depend on the men like before?

And I guess my "back of my mind" thoughts were probably on the right track and that makes me feel at ease again. One thing that was bothering me was not to be able to understand DSW anymore.

Now I understand what makes her so uncomfortable about DCS treating her with favoritism and trying to overprotect her. It goes far beyond "Im not in love with him and I feel guilty and he is being stalker now not taking no for an answer" which was what some ppl were suggesting, and I thought that couldn't be "exactly" all, because initially she did encourage his attention. She did tell him to "wait for her" as she was confused. Only in their last encounter was she totally clear that she wants nothing to do him in a romantic way.

But if I see it as, he made the mistake of overprotecting her, it makes more sense to me. She does feel burdened by his "idealization" of her too. A person who is idealized is always burdened because then they have to live up to a certain "ideal" like the word implies. So now her rudely farting in front of him makes more sense (still so embarrassing though). She just wanted him to snap out of it (though she went back and forth between wanting his protection and not wanting it but that makes perfect sense from her point of view and the good thing is, she finally chose to go for "not to be sheltered").

Now this is a two way thing. DCS and SW only got to know each other on a certain realm. He idealized her and saw her as a delicate fairy and she can do no wrong to him, even before speaking to her (though his crush got stronger after she called him Mr Light). She, refused to see his criminal past and only see him as her Mr. Light. I guess that was convenient for her at the time? It was a form of "idealization" too? But bottomline, they don't really know each other. They don't know each other's flaws as they refused to acknowledge them.

BTW I don't know if this has to do with anyhing, but randomly noticed all of the three leads have engaged at some point in "tunnel vision" or rather chosing to...

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Continue here ...
choosing to see what they want or need to see. Poong did it with his ex, DCS did with DSW, DSW sorta did it with DCS and now "concsiously" is doing it with Poong choosing to listen to "I like you" and ignoring the "But don't like me" part

I said a bunch of things about Poong and DSW but they are repetitive to what you guys already pointed out so the bottomline is, they not only have what they need from each other but also what they want. So, let them be happy! I just wish DSW didn't forget too long about Buster and her dad. The pacing of the drama is such that it feels she is neglecting them.

Also, I worry that Chilsung's tendency to overprotect and sugar coat things to those he loves (he never told his guys their noodles sucked and was doing to same regarding Poong's giant dumpling) is actually considered a "flaw" of the character? Is this flaw going to affect his future relationship with "pretty patient lady" negatively? I mean, I like how Chilsung is direct and not afraid to express his feelings/vulnerability, but he does sugar coat things so its a bit a contradiction I guess. Also, what if he is burned by DSW crush failure and decides to never love again? Then it will be one sided love from "pretty patient lady" and I'll get annoyed again :p

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I remember Saewoo mentioned that her husband would do what she asks her to. @ChinguMode, I agree that she's attracted to Poong because he didn't coddle her.

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The show is definitely at its best when it's not focused on romance, that's when one feels that there's some measure of plot progression. It occurred to me that the love triangle was probably holding the show back from fulfilling its potential on other fronts, namely the restaurant as a place of business, not just a metaphor for the OTP's UST. After the last couple of episodes the SLS has more or less dissipated but it doesn't mean that I'm more enthused about OTP. It is what it is... even with the noble idiocy. I accept the noble idiocy because it signals to me that writer will finally get to business with the restaurant and give it real customers.

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I forgot to mention hospital lady! The laws of k-drama would suggest there's no reason for her to exist except to become Chil Seong's love interest. I really hope so, he deserves someone who has just as much love to give as he does.

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That was pretty clunky for me but if they're going to re-introduce her I hope they find a fun way to do it. Or just have her be some nutty connection to the way he meets his actual sweetie.

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I think she should be connected to the hotel to make any future relationship clouded in mixed intentions (like being a spy or double agent). She could be the go-between between the warring camps (a moral barometer with a dark sense of humor).

The show has settled on being one of redemption. The Light and dark being good and evil but at times reversed (hotel staff in white, Wok staff in black). But the subcontext of this is the question "what is more valuable: wealth or love?"

SW's husband left her in time of need because she had no more wealth/status.
Poong's wife left him for loveless wealth of the hotel CEO.
CS wants his men to give up their gangster wealth to find spouses and live ordinary lives.

For example, if the roles are reversed and the hotel CEO is crushed, would Poong's wife think about returning to Poong because she learned love is more important than money?

The same is true for SW's husband; if her family is vindicated, would he return to her because he still loved her?

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What I like is that the "Light and Shadow" is not necessarily good and evil but more like facets of people. And you could argue that this show is a bit too dichotomous in terms of its themes - the marriage of light and shadow like the yellow noodles and black sauce in jajangmyeon, the fusion of Chinese and Korean cooking, the good and bad, the angry and the romantic, the violent and the poetic, the hot and cold, love and lust - but to me they're exploring it in a way that's not dichotomous at all.

In a way, that's why the show is so messy and it's why I love that the show is so messy. Because it seems to be saying that people, relationships and life are a huge mashup of disparate things and it's not about one being 'good' and the other 'bad' but about the proportions of each ingredient.

That's why I loved the scene in this where he made something that looked perfect but didn't taste perfect because he doesn't yet have the 'recipe' correct. That relates to his decision to push Sae-woo away and why that is in an episode where his Prawn dish just isn't quite right yet. He hasn't worked out just how much Sae-woo and Chil-sung he needs in what proportion. And they're the same as well.

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Yes! I love how messy it is. For me it makes it more like real life.

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V in Dramamilk wrote that a character will be introduced. Not clear if it’s the hospital lady or another lady. From the description, she’s a civil servant which deals with inspection. She might be CS (new) love interest. But we’ll see. 😬

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Yes. I do hope she's going to appear again so that Chil Seong has someone to care for his broken heart. She seemed like another spunky Sae Woo - made the joke about lung cancer just so that Chil Seong doesn't smoke.

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I almost never eat in courses but last night I made myself some sushi and sake for the first episode and then some laksa for the second because these people just keep eating and the food looks amazing .

I could ramble on as usual but I'll just say I loved the reversals in this. I really like how these writers defy tropes by mixing people up; so the wok becomes the ladle, the ladle becomes the wok, Seo-woo becomes the patient, Poong becomes the one who gets criticised (and responds positively to it as well). I particularly love that while Poong is happy to have his recipes from the Giant Hotel, he's still open to feedback on his food from people whose opinions he trusts and respects. It's that kind of fusion that this show is all about and I love how cohesive this show is thematically.

Nonetheless, it all feels like setup to me so I'm ready for the Big Prawn Battle to begin.

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Same here... This drama made me wanted wonton soup so badly!

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Every time I cook something they make something new. Next week I might try prawn noodles??

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I loved the scene where Sae-woo expressed all her frustration to an imaginary Poong, especially when Poong just kept saying, "I like you." Jung Ryeo-won just seems to be enjoying this role so much.

I also thought that Chil-sung was struggling with himself at the end. Gum Granny clued him in to the fact that Poong and Sae-woo have feelings for each other, and he seemed to hold back from going inside and from peeking in the lighted window, knowing that something might be going on in there. And then finally he gathered himself up, suspenders and all, and went in. I love how Jang Hyuk's can deliver so much meaning just with body language.

Last but not least, I was happy to see Pretty Patient arrive on the hospital scene, because she really doesn't have any other purpose than to be Chil-sung's consolation. I wonder how she's going to get back into the story, and whether she has ties to the other gangsters or some secret knowledge of that jerk who owns the hotel. Can't wait to see that develop.

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I forgot about Pretty Patient. I probably shouldn't have had quite so much sake with my sushi...

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Hmmm I’m so not in the “love this show” camp. But I’ve already ranted everywhere else so I won’t poop on this party you guys are having. I honestly like that at least somebody is enjoying this show. Anywho

SPOILER ALERT

The pretty patient is played by an actress who was going to originally play the thief chef’s wife. Her character description was recently changed and now it says she will play a very strict restaurant inspector.

END OF SPOILER

I find most plot developments in this drama to be contrived. I hope this change of tune from the writer (ending the triangle) doesn’t make me question the only character I truly love, Chilsung. While his devotion to DSW became a nuissance to the OTP, I felt and believed his feelings. So I hope his “falling out of love” is also convincing. The triangle was definitely dragging everything so I’m glad its over. But now I wonder if I’ll care about whatever else the writer decides to focus on? I’m open to anything now but my expectations are low. On a more positive note I am liking the bromance and the fact that Poong has calmed down.

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Are you kidding? Jang Hyuk is having so much fun playing Chil-sung! He's taken this character who could have been cartoonish and given him real humanity, dignity, and depth. Playing second fiddle doesn't make him a second-best character, it's part of what gives Chil-sung the chance to be a great character. I'm sure he took this part exactly because he could see all the possibilities to take it above and beyond.

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Jang Hyuk is absolutely not playing second fiddle- he absolutely a central character in this story

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I have deleted my comment. Clearly it is rubbing everyone the wrong way. Second fiddle is basically saying second lead. Is that wrong? If Junho gets the girl then Jang Hyuk is the second lead and vise versa! Jang Hyuk is a legend and I am just conveying my surprise for him to play a possible second lead in a drama. Regardless of how great he is and how wonderfully he is portraying his character if he doesn’t win the girl he is the second lead. And I like this drama!

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Not saying this in a snarky way, just an observation: I think this drama is showing me, perhaps more than any other, that first and second lead is a fluid concept, and we open ourselves up to much more exciting plot shenanigans if we think of them that way. Jang Huk may not get the girl but he is not the second lead, either. He is too crucial, too central, too compelling. I love to think that he took the role because he could see that potential, as an older, more experienced actor, to open up romance drama storytelling in new ways.

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It's a fun role. Why wouldn't he take it? I don't think his reputation should stop him from taking fun roles when he wants to. The whole point of being more seasoned is to have more opportunities. Why define your role with first/second/third, lead, non-lead,...?

The whole cast seems like they are having fun. Isn't that what matters?

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I actually thought that the deleted comments made a good start to a good conversation. I, for one was not offended by someone putting a point out there. Some of the best writers out there- and these writers are good ones- are good in part because they bend the drama formula. Here the writers are showing us that "get the girl" does not necessarily have to equate to "First Lead". In my opinion we are watching a show where both Jang Hyuk and Junho are first leads. The relationship between them is as important to this drama as are their relationships to The Girl. The writers are calling for us to update our terminology- they want us to realize that it is not just about Who Gets the Girl- that is important but so is defeating Giant Hotel, etc.

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These episodes laid out the true love triangle at the heart of this story. Both Chil Seung and Poong are in love with Sae Woo (ok, any man who doesn’t have a heart of stone would be). But there is a very real bromance forming between Chil Seung and Poong. Most love triangles are really just love v’s- 2 guys love the same girl or 2 girls love the same guy. Very rarely do we see a true love triangle- where the 2 guys or girls also have a deep but non-romantic love for each other: among romantic comedy K-Drama’s only She Was Pretty comes immediately to my mind. In Greasy Melo we seem to see a recreation of the true love triangle from a very famous novel: T.H. White’s The Once and Future King (which was the basis for the musical Camelot). Chil Seung is Arthur- the leader who is genuinely striving for a better life for his people. Poong is a chef with extraordinary skills rather than a warrior with extraordinary skills. Part of the tragedy in The Once and Future King stems from the genuine non-sexual love that Arthur and Lancelot have for each other. But this time there is no need for tragedy because our Guinevere, who genuinely likes, respects and admires Arthur has the option of turning him down (and tells him to look for another woman). The real Guinevere never had that choice- she had to marry the man her daddy told her too. Because Sae Woo can say no to Chil Seung the result can be a happy ending for everyone (including Chil Seung, in the long run). That is why I loved the moment when Chil Seung meets a beautiful fellow patient in the hospital- first he helps her when her IV stand breaks a wheel, and then she is trying to help him stop smoking by pretending she was there for lung cancer. Was this a foreshadowing? Did we just see the beginning of something? If she shows up again in this series the answer will be yes. And maybe we even have a Round Table as well- Poong has accepted our band of (fortunately only semi-reformed) thugs- and will even be teaching them, uniting them in turn with the kitchen family.

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Another true triangle would be Jealousy Incarnate by the same writer...

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Yes, you are right- and it made the show better

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Can't wait for next week shrimp war, really need Chief Wang to go down in fire, ugh. No matter how grand he looks outside, he is nothing but a petty thief inside, taking other people's hard works for his own. Hope he ends up as a slave kitchen helper in Hungry Wok for his crimes!
That said, am confused as to why Poong needs to create a new skin for the dimsum, especially after all the pain Chil-seong took to get it his book back. Is it because the super thin egg is no longer a secret..?
So, Poong's (clean) shoes, are they a symbol for Sae-woo's feeling? He wanted it, it was out of reach; it was put into his hands, but he threw it away. ^^
Also, am not happy about all this animal neglect going on, tsk. Buster'd better be visited and kitten adopted by next week!

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Maybe Poong was still fine-tuning his dishes. But then again, why announce a menu that you haven't figured out yet? Also, how did he not know that the dumpling did not taste right, if he's been working on the recipes for ages.
And, I am not sure if Chef Wang's fried dumpling is that great. Poong got honest feedback from Sae-Woo and others whereas Wang is surrounded by sycophants in the kitchen.

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Now that you mentioned it, Chef Wang's did look awfully hard to chew. Maybe that'll be his downfall!

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We are keeping our fingers crossed, aren't we!! Can't resist a good underdog story. The Giant Hotel are the gangsters, but without the ethical code!

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I hope so too! I want the whole hotel to go down in flames. I was going to put chef and ceo only first and then realized the whole staff kitchen at the hotel sucks.

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yupss I also think that too about his crispy fried dumpling 😉

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Wasn’t the dim sum soup additional to the whole shrimp menu which will come together with them? I might be wrong hearing Poong said so....

And I don’t think the dim sum soup has already been in the notebook. It meant that Poong hasn’t done trials and errors testing yet.

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Thank you! And, I must say I am not sure i’d want to eat a dimsum ‘blown up’ my the chef, even if it’s gorgeous Poong!!

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I think he was blowing the skin up to test the elasticity, to make sure it can hold the ingredients and soup without breaking. He's trying to make it thin so it won't be too doughy but still thick enough so it won't break. I don't think he'll be blowing into any of the dough he feeds the customers.

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Phew! Good to know, @almond!

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Like almond mentioned, Chef Poong is blowing the skin to test the elasticity. I think he's making something like the chinese xiao loong bao with soup inside. But Chef Poong's version comes with a straw so it's probably bigger with more ingredients.
I didn't realise the chef had to put so much thinking/effort into making sure the dough is thin enough, yet doesn't break.

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Something like indirect kisseu with all you customers? >< This is what I thought too before I realised he was imitating the cooking process...

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that’s what I thought lol 😂

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tbh I didn’t get it with Poong’s shoes scene at first 😅😅
so thank you to make it clear for me

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As I understood it, The Whole Shrimp is a tasting menu he developed way back, and now he needs a main course to go with it for the Shrimp Festival. The balloon dim-sum will be a separate dish served alongside.

You're right about Chef Wang being a thief - he proved it years ago when he took Seol Ja's money!

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Ah, thanks! Need to watch even more carefully 😊

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Yes, you are right! I just thought it's quite similar to the egg wrapped dimsum, should've paid more attention when Poong is presenting it, hehe.
Chef Wang is indeed a low-life from the get go. He has no shame in keep using Poong's stolen idea, heck, he probably gave the betrayer underling a slap in the back, ugh. One thing about this show tho, it's sure is black and white about the villains and the good guys. Am foreseeing no redemption arc for our villains, and waiting in glee for the comeuppance!

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First, many thanks and 💐 to odilettante for kindly recapping this drama and providing us with the extended opportunity to spazz on about it! I really love these guys and, as with all good shows, want to keep spending time with them well beyond the end of each episode.

This week I'm especially taken with how sexy Junho looks when cooking. Nothing like a man showing his mastery at a skill, Hubba Hubba! And Chil Sung's calm, observant, gangster-y way of having everyone under his wing and everything under control most f the time (that he's not in the hospital). Sae Woo's directness and lack of artifice makes her easy to root for.

Now, most importantly, the kitten. Poong! Feed and then house that cat. I squeaked so loudly when the cat came back on the scene, my own cat sat up to see what had happened 😺

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Man, that has got to be the most awkward car ride ever!! I actually like the disjointed pacing and the randomness, it's what makes the show charming and different.

I know a lot of people thought they dodged a bullet by not watching this show, but they are actually missing out. It's not your run-of-the-mill rom-com although it may seem that way on paper. Sure this is no literary masterpiece, it's silly, random, hilarious, heart-warming and doesn't pretend to be otherwise.

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@odilettante, thank you for the recap.
..the story is starting to flow better now.

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Thank you, @odilettante!
I love this show! I don't care if it is disjointed and the setup seems obvious... Our threesome and their 'families' are wonderfully engaging.
I enjoy all the little details which are gradually worked into a cohesive whole (kind of like the dim-sum balloon dough).
Bromance - check!
Kitten - check!
Honest, heartfelt interactions - CHECK!!
I am enchanted!! ^^

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Yes, I love the whole thing. And the bromance is wonderful.

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I didn't watch these last 2 episodes so your recap is really useful. I actually have time to watch them now, before the Roland Garros finals today.

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There's finally proper cooking scenes after 18 episodes! Lol, for a drama called Wok Of Love there was way too little food and way too much fighting. Loved this week's episodes. The Hungry Wok finally coming together, Poong and CS's lackeys finally coming together, epic bromance still building up, not to mention our main romance finally taking flight. It's almost a shame how much time the writer wasted to get to this point. I hope this trajectory maintains going forward, gotta be honest I've been hanging on for the sake of the main leads every episode and this week's the first time I actually fully enjoyed the drama by itself.

Also, I enjoyed how they connected Poong's inability to perfect his recipe with his need to work together with Saewoo. At the end of the day he got the dimsum skin right when they worked together, also with the honest input of the rest of Hungry Wok. Love that metaphor.

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I loved loved loved these episodes! Happy that "Hungry Wok" started getting costumers. Can't I say that Poong is a perfectionist chef?! He's also a persistent one: he kept trying and trying. No wonder, his notebook is so precious to him as there are so many trial and errors recipes in that sacred book.

Glad the show is finally in place. Agreed with everyone here, Jang Hyuk has made Chil Seong character alive. Never ever been seeing a soft-hearted gangster in Dramaland.

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@lemoncello,

Poong is truly "the Thomas Edison of the kitchen." If you've ever read about all the experimentation Edison did to perfect the filament for the incandescent light bulb, you'll know what I mean. Poong's recipe book = Edison's lab notebooks. ;-)

Like you, I appreciate Jang Hyuk's personification of golden-hearted gangster Chil-sung. For that matter, Junho has done a dandy job of conveying Poong's culinary genius and dogged perfectionism -- and commendable regard for the honorable gangster.

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@pakalanapikake, I'll google that. Now, that you've mentioned, I'm curious about it. :).

I love the combo of soft-hearted gangster and a perfectionist and grumpy (yet soft-hearted) chef. Their bromance CS & Poong really melt my heart. CS sincerely like Poong, and so does Poong.

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@lemoncello,

Here's a link to Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey. His laboratory made a big impression on me during our family outings when I was a kid. There was not much to see in Menlo Park (now part of Edison, NJ), aside from a big memorial to the incandescent bulb. Nowadays there's a museum, too. Henry Ford moved his friend's old laboratory to Michigan and reconstructed it many moons ago.

https://www.nps.gov/edis/faqs.htm

Chef Poong doesn't give up as he doggedly persists with his dim sum dough perfection campaign. He keeps tweaking the recipe until he achieves the elasticity he needs for the broth-filled wonton skin.

IIRC, Edison once said something to the effect that his light bulb filament experiments were not failures. He could enumerate hundreds of materials that were not suited to that use.

Both these guys see the glass as half-full, and their goals as ultimately achievable. That's why I love them. Not to mention Edison's role in music recording technology. ;-)

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I'm happy with how the story is coming along with the latest episodes. We finally get to see the different sides of the characters (well, mainly for SP and SW) because CS is already quite clear (and likeable, thus criticised less lol). And I'm glad what we see in these episodes pretty much confirmed what some of us already thought. For instance, SW being passive towards SP's yelling is probably because she understood her position in the kitchen in relation to the chef. She knew she was inexperienced and incapable and she just played to the dynamics of the kitchen (where the chef is right and respected). We get to see that as she established her position more, she spoke up more to SP, and outside the kitchen (for more personal matters), she didn't hesitate to talk back to him (like in the noodle conversation). Similar with SP, we get to see that he's actually open in showing his feelings, and the reason he tried to deny his feelings back then was because it was not appropriate (he thought SW was still married). So it was not because he just wanted to be a tsundere type lol. I mean, look at how he skipped happily and asked SW to share her ice cream. Adorable. Another thing I'm happy about is that these two are open and upfront about their feelings so there'd be no misundertandings there. SP clearly said he likes SW (and clearly state the reason why he will stop), and SW clearly said she has no romantic interest in CS. I'm glad we won't dwell in some kind of misunderstandings.

So many swoonworthy scenes in these episodes, both of the romantic and bromance kind. I mean, look at how SP gazes at SW, I just cannot. At the same time, my heart also hurts seeing CS got beaten up again while he was still hurt I seriously wanted to cry. And so I understand the respect SP felt for him.

Lastly, I just wanna say thanks to everyone here for not making me feel weird for actually liking and enjoying this drama. It's so refreshing to read more varied comments about the drama rather than the persistently negative comments I read somewhere else that really makes me wonder. I mean, I know the drama has its flaws, and it's not that I only want to read good comments, but I like that it's more balanced here. From time to time I checked the hashtag for the drama in twitter and today I found a comment saying that putting an idol actor against an acting powerhouse is unfair to the actor and the viewers, and that he will not be able to convince viewers he deserves the female lead more than the second lead. I say, please, you don't have to feel it's unfair to Junho, I think he's doing just fine acting-wise and can stand his ground perfectly fine in the drama (and it's also another challenging experience for him, I bet he can learn a lot from his seniors and being in a rather that 'unfavorable' position). Also, I prefer the term rookie actor, as opposed to idol actor as it tends to stereotype. As for the convincing part, why is it so hard for some...

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. . . why is it so hard for some people to accept that others actually can buy in to the OTP? It doesn't really take a miracle to get people convinced. Each OTP has its own following based on people's preferences and I quite see a following too for the couple. The writer has also put substance in developing their relationship. I think I should stop here to not start a ship war lol, didn't mean to. I just think, we're already halfway through the drama, isn't it time to move on from that 'issue'. And maybe if people decides to stick with the drama, to open up about it. I guess that's all.

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Janghyuk has some overly passionate fans.. I gotta say I was really surprised at the backlash this drama got bc of his casting. To be fair, the writing in the beginning really left a lot to be desired, but some of the comments have been way too uncalled for. We all have our biases, but Junho is definitely holding his own and is doing a great job. Poong is not an easy character to play, and his bluntness in the beginning just really gave some of these fans a reason to criticise him to the point of demonization imo. Insulting Junho by calling him an 'idol actor' is just ridiculous. He has more than proven his acting ability, and he deserves the lead role he got.

I actually had a conversation with one of Janghyuk's fans about this drama and it seems that some of them feel like taking a 2nd lead is an insult to his career... But I don't see it that way. Firstly because he CHOSE to play the role, and also because to me it's just proof of how much of a household name he already is that he would confidently choose a second lead role tbh. What I don't understand is why they'd prefer to go through every episode and complain rather than just drop the drama altogether if they feel that way. But to each his own I guess.

I myself am a fan of all three leads, and am enjoying them in their roles even though the drama itself is still up in the air. And if anything watching the bts, they all seem to be having a great time filming the drama.

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Thank you so much for replying this and for those comments, and gosh, I agree with every point you have there. In the beginning I also have issue with how the writer portray SP (although I understand she did so bcos she wants to show the character progression), because I know it would give people more ammunition to attack the character. I mean you hv an established actor with loyal fans playing a likable character shooting heart eyes at the female lead, and you have the rookie actor (questioned why he got the lead) yelling at the girl and will get the girl lmao.

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woaa thank you for saying what I feel

I love the writer, I love Junho
that’s why I picked this drama
but even before the first episode start, WOL already received so much negativity because of “who is the lead”
tbh it’s make me sad
but the positivity in me thoughts “don’t think too much, they will stop when WOL started”
but nope... we already reach a second half for this drama and I still see a same complaints again and again every weeks 😑 ( not here tho...) but it’s enough to kill the mood
and me wondering why they don’t just drop the show? why watch a show that makes you frustrated 😑😑

heee sorry for my rants 🙈

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It’s alright! I think there’s been so much frustration from every side of the fandom regarding this drama. Aside from all the fan wars or ship wars it is not a simple drama to grasp. I get infuriated with some developments but something tells me “Could it be that I’m not getting what the writer is trying to say here”? Does it mean she is bad or does it mean I’m dumb? There is Always a possibility it is the latter and I admit it. In fact many times It is after reading the analysis here or on Soompi that I am able to see the drama beyond my initial “feelings” and understand a little more as a whole. I still feel it could be paced better and be a little more balanced so that some things didn’t feel so long and draggy. But theme wise, the drama can even be “interesting”. It’s definitely not the usual stuff even though it seems so on the surface and maybe thats why some of us get uncomfortable, impatient and ranty. The mistake is taking it out on the cast when they are the best thing this drama has.

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I really hate talking about fans. I'll just say that comments from some fans on both sides have made it a not entirely pleasant experience. But that, unfortunately, is the case with a lot of dramas, and this is fairly mild compared to some. Some dramas have scared me lol.

I have been critical of the writing and directing, but I think the actors are all doing a good job and at the end of the day, they are what keep me watching even though the drama sometimes frustrates me.

I respect that Jang Hyuk chose to be second lead. I have some complaints about the marketing and writing, but he seems to be enjoying himself so that's good.

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“some dramas have scared me”

I still remember how scary Reply 1994 comments thread for me 😅

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Agreed! The irony of these 'overly passionate' fans (lol) is they're really just insulting Jang Hyuk in the end. He's a well established and popular actor, it's not like he would have any reason to do this show other than he wanted to do it... I doubt even his agency can coerce him into a second-lead role especially opposite a newer actor. And he's clearly having fun playing this character. I've been seeing some of the bts clips too and they all look like they're having a blast - I would watch a show of that alone!

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I'll gingerly raise my hand as a resident hater. There's been quite a few dramas (i.e., Witch at Court and Five Fingers) that I've watched through completion even though I ABSOLUTELY hated them. Sometimes, it's just as much fun to watch a drama you hate as a drama that you love.

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I’m not one of the “not in love this drama” camp. I have many reasons why its not convincing to me, my Jang Hyuk bias aside. I have ranted on my twitter and everywhere BUT I like and respect the comments here. I like that others feel and see what I don’t because even if I don’t like this story anymore I still want it to do well. I still love the cast and I want them to be loved by as many people as possible.

I’m a hard core Jang Hyuk fan but honestly I won’t defend “us” anymore. I’ve seen oversensitivity (like ppl getting offended at the word SLS) but I’ve seen so much rudeness also,on every camp that I’m like “ah whatever! Haters gonna hate”

If there’s anything positive that will come out of the triangle being officially over (even though to me if felt like an abrupt and contrived change of tune) is that ship wars lose all reason to be. Unless we are going to pit DCS VS DSW for the love of Poong! Who deserves him more? Lol! Nah it doesn’t matter! It’s HIS choice anyway :D

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I have some thoughts on this whole thing that I will keep to myself. I haven't offended anybody for at least a week and that's a streak for me.

I will say that I love a fun ship war if it's related to what we see on the screen - APAD is the best recent example of this - but in this case the "war" has nothing to do with the characters and plot. Last week's comment thread was pretty out of control.

Unless the actor themselves complains about their treatment ala PHJ in CITT then we can assume they're perfectly happy with the decision they made.

I'd personally prefer it if we judged every show on the merits of the show itself rather than all this other stuff. But I realise that's not likely so I will now be silent on this issue for the remainder of the show's run.

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Yeah, I've been trying hard to control myself as well to not bring up that topic (cos I want to respect the comment section here and the people that are really nice), but I guess that comment I read about junho being an idol actor and thus won't be capable of convincing viewers when he is put against a seasoned actor (even though I didn't read it here) blew me off lol, and I just needed to vent it out at least a little, and in the nicest way possible. Hope people don't take offense, and let's enjoy the drama ^^

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first.. I want to apologize if my comment above is not nice or hurt someone
and I also try my best to ignore and not talk about it, but maybe I reach at the point where I can hold it anymore and vent it in here.. so sorry for my selfishness

and about "why people still watch the drama if they hate it and etc"
I can't help but always wonder about that.. because I reflect it to myself.. if I watch one drama, and it makes me frustated (not in a good way) and constantly complaining about anything in that drama, I will drop it, even though my fav actor/actress is there...
but yeah everyone is different and have their own reason
So I will respect that

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I respectfully disagree. Some people have engaged in fan wars. We can say that’s irrelevant to the show. But there has been some genuine ship wars based on characters. Some people are fans of all three actors and still leaned towards one pairing or the other, while some were torn, and some were/are more into bromance. The whole fan war thing is a long topic honestly and I’ve seen bad behaviour on every side. But it’s not happening here so there’s no need to bring it up each time

Having said this, you guys need to accept that just like you enjoy the drama some other people don’t. And you shouldn’t tell them to just drop it and shut up cause they might have their own reasons to continue watching it. I’ve seen a lot of automatic assumptions like “Ppl trash this drama because their favorite actor is not lead” No people no. Some of us find flaws in the drama. But who watches a drama wanting to trash it? I only vent on twitter because while I love some characters and moments, there are other things that frustrate me and bother me. I think that is also valid. I am sure this is the case for other people. Of course if I see that the majority are loving it here why bring my frustrations here? In other sites its the opposite. One person complaints so those who agree with the complaint will feel encouraged to agree or disagree.

And I am convinced that the ship war was initiated and encouraged by writer and PD but since now they decided to end it, much of the “animosity” will cease. If people got into this drama already and are feeling the OTP they’ll most likely be happy now. While the people who are not into the OTP are probably bored (me) and waiting to see what else this writer has in store and if she ever will develop any of the side stories/characters.

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Oh the showrunners were definitely relying on a ship war probably because they think it would help the ratings lol. If only they had more material other than a ship war, things could have been fun. As it is, this writer just wastes too much time on a half-baked love triangle and not enough on the fun revenge cooking hijinks I have been promised. The lovelines are so weak it took me 20 episodes to start 'shipping' lol. Tbh, I feel like if the writing material had been worth all 3 of these actors' abilities we wouldn't be having a 'shipping war' to this extent. The story picked up too late, people are already fighting and low-key insulting one another's ships lol.

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Things are not this way though. Most of the people who are watching the drama are fans of both of the actors. Some of them who are not familiar with Junho may not know that he is more than an idol. That he is actually a talented actor. Rest of the resentment came from the fact that initially they promoted the drama as two lead drama but in reality it was far from it. DCS character is just to support the main couple.
On top of that the blame is on the writer because she meant to initiate a fan war. She purposedly made SW's feelings ambiguous. In this case it was obvious that viweres will be divided in two camps. It happened and everybody is free to root for the couple they want to. Nobody needs to stop other camp from liking a particular pairing or liking a particular actor more than the others. Though writer has changed the direction abruptly and has decided to end the 'triangle'. Good for us peace-lovers.
We should respect individual tastes of the people.
Apart from that the reason people rooted more for SW-CS couple becuase CS's character was super 'nice' not becuase CS was played by Jang Hyuk.
If Jang Hyuk were to play a villian or a morally corrupted gangster I'm sure nobody would have been rooting for him. It's only because he seems calmer, more agreeable and more mature than Poong that people automatically started rooting for him.

Most important of them all Jang Hyuk is a well eastablished and popular lead actor. His decesion to take second lead role is quiet unusual. So it was sure some people might create the noise. Some people may even not understand his decesion. The writer initially presented him as rival of Junho for affection of SW so it was obvious people will root for one of them and resent other specially when Poong's character was anger prone in the start. The writer put Junho on the spot. Now Poong is likable so I think everything will be settled now.

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Exactly my thoughts! But you expressed them better

Poong became 100% likable to me as soon as he stopped yelling 😋

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His yelling was as annoying as JH's yelling in Voice but now I ship Chill-Poong.😂

Jang Hyuk himself has recieved his share of disapproval since the inception of this drama. Many people were not happy with his appearance becuase for them he is a bad actor even here in dramabean.

He got comments for being 'too stiff', 'overrated', 'bad actor', 'not hot enough', 'lacking range', 'too old for female lead'(he is only 4 years older than JRW and he has wtf make-up on), 'ugly'(wtf !!!) Blah blah blah
People(I wont call them fan of other actor because they can be the legit trolls) were making the death wish for DCS's character so that Poong and Sae Woo can be together. Some complained that he has too much screentime for a second lead.

I refuse to pay attention to them because I don't consider them significant.

It's not only about JH and LJH. JRW herself has got fare amount of flak for this drama. Like she is 'too cutesy', 'overacting', 'not good enough', 'annoying' etc. Whom should we put blame on for making rude comments on JRW now?

I don't know any other lead actor in JH's age range who would agree to play this 'less significant' part so even though I'm not happy with this drama I've to respect his self-confidence. Actors at his age are generally insecure. It's not like he lacks work. If it was someone else than him than I'm sure outrage had been on another level. Most of his fans I know seem quiet decent.

I've just decided to enjoy the drama (as much as possible) and stop thinking about negativity.

I'm sure three of them are having time of their life at BTS. I'm sure JH must be completely chilled out about how his character is being treated on the screen. He must be goofing around with new friends (if his serious mode is off 😅). Three of them will only have good memories with each- other.

If someone is to blame then blame the writer who wrote a lackluster script and tried to pit JH and LJH against each-other on the screen without support of a good script and blame the network for promoting the drama in sneaky manner.

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What's interesting is that I read a Korean news article about why romcoms in general are doing badly in kdrama. They mentioned Wok of Love and it's weak story-telling and use of cliches as turn-offs, and concluded that a strong cast is not enough to save a drama lol. To an extent I still enjoy this show, but I can't say I'm not a little disappointed that Junho chose this project, esp since this might be his last before he enlists into the army. But I still like the fact that he gets to work with seniors like Janghyuk and JRW tho because they're definitely at the top of their game and Junho looks like he's a sponge around his seniors. Also they really do look like they're having a ton of fun in the making vids so at least they're enjoying it? Lol

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@almod
Isn't it super ridiculous that instead of pondering about the characters and the story we have to indulge in the faux shipping war. The main reason is there is almost nothing worth mentioning in the drama. This must be one of the most uninspired script in a while.

Now a days viewers are smart. Gone are the days when star power was a thing and stars used to bring good ratings. Now ratings are all about the story. Even super popular one can't save the dramas from low ratings. This is a good thing though.

I hope Junho does well after returning from the army and stays away from shitty scripts. I'm not familiar with Junho's personality but since he is young he maybe more sensitive about this drama's faliure. While JRW and JH have sunshine personalities and much experience with the faliure (😅). I'm sure they know how to maintain positive outlook. I hope they help Junho too.
Tbh veteran actors are more likely to be harmed by the failed project than the younger ones since their popularity and relevalce is on decline but I hope things work out best for everybody. The supporting cast is also very talented and deserve much better work than this.

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thanks all for the replies, didn't really mean to stir a discussion but I guess it was unavoidable since it's quite a sensitive topic. I will try not to stir any more discussion with this reply lol. Basically I respect all opinions below my comment, some points I agree, some not so much, but I'm okay with that. I just want to say that I do rarely see personal attacks on Junho for being the 'lead'. People were/are more fixated on 'why is JH second lead' rather than 'why is junho the lead.' I meant that as a good thing btw lol. So it would've been the same situation whoever the co-star was, not personal offense on LJH.

I think the first challenge this drama faced even before it started was what you called the 'noise' regarding JH's casting as the 'second lead.' It raised many sentiments among the fans. One sentiment maybe was resentment/disappointment, and I think another is expectation, like people were thinking, wow what kind of a drama would put a seasoned actor like JH as 'second lead', maybe unconsciously raising people's expectations, about the story, the character, etc., and when these were not met, the negativity was felt even more stronger, and compounded the objective flaws of the drama. I do think, some fans are genuinely trying to go past that and try to analyse the drama objectively. But I also think it may be harder for some others to go past that initial sentiment, and keep fixating on that. But you're right, that's just the way it is, they have every right to do so, and it's up to ourselves to not mind the negativity.

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Oops I wanted to comment on what you said on how LJH will deal with the 'failure' (if that's what you wanna call it) but forgot, and no more reply function down there so I'll do it here lol. He should be pretty resilient, as 2PM has had their share of sh**ty times as well in the past, and also a fair share of hate (not saying that he received hate through this drama). Particularly LJH, he went from the least noticed member (and used to be edited out a LOT from tv shows) to what he is now. His path hasn't been easy, so he doesn't really take success for granted. As an actor, he's faced with a different situation here than he has faced before (playing lead against a more seasoned actor with loyal supporters), and I bet he read those types of viewer comments that were more focused on the casting issue (something he can do nothing about) rather than feedback about the acting itself, but I guess that should add to his experience in dealing with it. Also, everyone, including him looks like they're really having fun filming.

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@bluewings
Personally I like it when a comment stirs a discussion regardless of wether it's palatable or not. So you did right thing for me.👍
I try to understand the situation from every perspective. Only thing that matters for me is that the exchange must be civilized even though our opinions may differ.

And you got it right it's not about why LJH got the leading position but it's more about why JH got secondary position. Even if it was any other actor in Lee Jun Ho's place the people would've raised same concerns. It's just not about LJH.

Only if some people have tried to understand that Jang Hyuk himself chose the part and he is free to make every decesion for his career. Even though I don't agree with him sometimes.

They are acting like he has been demoted while the long-term fans like me know that he is a little reckless (read crazy) person. He does whatever catches his fancy.

If there was any other actor in Jang Hyuk's place I'm sure reaction of their 'fans' would have been same(maybe worse). Leading actors are supposed to have a 'status' and they have to maintain it. Therefore last time when JH did Money Flower(a weekend drama) some people were enraged because according to them he lost his 'status'. He said even his real life friends were concerned. But in the end it was very well recieved and earned him nomination for many awards.

Main problem with WOL is writing. If writer had the ability to write compelling characters then JH-LJH combination would've worked well regardless of who gets more screen-time and the girl.

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@bluewings
I don't know anything about Junho's personality. I just said that based on their vlive interview in which he said he can't eat well untill the first ep of their drama airs because he is sensitive.

I was talking about his sensitivity to the faliure not about 'haters'. They are different things. Having haters is a norm for idols and 2pm recieved it collectively. He was not even in the center then. But being an actor was the path of individuality for him. I think all of his past works recieved critical and commercial success so this must be new experience for him.

I know about the storm that was caused after departure of Jay Park from 2pm. People were divided in two groups. Haterd had no bounds then. Rumor mongers were having field-days.

Since Junho is in JYP I'm sure they will keep promoting him well as an actor. I mean they even did the maracle of turning Suzy into an 'actress'.

And in the end we don't have to worry about the actors' relationship behind the scenes. They are not juvenile to pay attention to this 'non-issue'.

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thank you @odilettante for the weecap
I’m enjoying this week episode ❤️❤️

• I always love Poong and SW conversation.. it’s fun to watch, and all those double meaning and word play.. esp the bus stop scene after Poong’s confession
“but I like working with a wok”
“it hurts though”
“I like the wok.. I keep thinking about it”
“there’s no solution if it hurts from the start”

so clever!

• SW imaginary argument with Poong! Cute but at the same time I can feel her frustration 😅😅 The repeated “I like you” is 😍😍😍

• Bromaaaaanceeeee ❤️ I love what Poong did to CS so far is what a hero do to his heroine : make a breakfast, accompanying him in hospital, tucks CS into bed, picks him up after discharged, opened the door car for him like a gentleman 😆😆😆
So I really undertand why he choose CS over SW, because he love and respect his new hyung so much (and we already see it even before CS saved the precious recipe book.. this scene only seal the deal) and I also like when CS said he is on Poong’s side... awww after the betrayal he got so far, it’s really nice for him to hear this

Fighting Hungry Wok!! Can’t wait for Monday 😆😉

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'What a hero does for his heroine' I love this!! So true!
Seriously SP was shooting so many heart eyes at both CS and SW these episodes, loved it.

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@Namu, love your comment which is focused on the drama plot and conversation with double meanings.
Reading long arguments/comments on who ships who and antagonism on fair/unfair treatment of their favorite idol hurts my eyes and gives me stress......

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I've decided I'm team Sae Woo. I want her by herself or neither of the guys.

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Both she and Poong are on the rebound so I wouldn't be surprised if that is where it ends up - at least for a while.

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The guys might be the OTP.

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@ndlessjoie Mugyuljoie, I've been getting that vibe as well.

For some reason, Miss Shrimp irritates me. And her mom, Miss Onion Festival, really rubs me the wrong way for being so useless. It's hilarious, considering the ruthless shark Kim Mi-sook played in MONEY FLOWER. Gum Granny just confuses me.

Time to turn off my brain again. ;-)

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OMG! How scary! My comments got stuck and its cause I wrote a minor possible spo...lrrrrr so I finally read the rules and it says I’m going to get warts on my toes waeeeeee 😭

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This week's episodes felt like an homage to Pasta. That's not necessarily a bad thing; though, I kept feeling like I was watching a younger version of Yoo-Kyung and Hyun-Wook. Or, maybe Yoo-Kyung and Hyun-Wook if they were starting their own restaurant. The problem, for me, is I don't think that's what the writer intended.
Greasy Melo and Pasta aren't like Let's Eat or ReplyMe where they're intended to be part of a franchise so all the similarities can come across a bit lazy.

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What should he do if you kiss all of a sudden😍😍😍 and not only once😗

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Thank you for recapping, Odilettante. This love polygon is nuts.

I wonder when Poong is going to retrieve his cleaver from Slimy Hotel Chaebol's bedroom wall. Or will that stay put as the latest trend in killer interior design?

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It does express the ethos of that place nicely, doesn't it?

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So disappointed at the long wait for ep. 23 and 24!!! Two weeks!!

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I just found out about this, noooooo..o!

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I second your distress, @meowingme. ;-)

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@lindag latebloomer,

Thank you for the news! I hadn't heard that WOK OF LOVE is being preempted. Two weeks? Yikes. What's the story?

I've heard that COME HERE AND HUG ME only has one episode this week, which will air on Thursday. Last week one episode was bumped for a "friendly" soccer game between ROK and Bolivia.

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Yesterday was because of news from the summit.

Next week for the World Cup.

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Aha. Now it all makes sense. Real Life intervenes. Thanks! ;-)

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Thanks so much for the explanation, I'll stop myself from checking for new eps next week!
Can't believe the shrimp battle is drawn out for so long *sigh*

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