Will You Have Dinner With Me: Episodes 1-2
What a breath of fresh air! Will You Have Dinner With Me delivers a simple premise of two people with very different lives, who find a commonality and decide to strike up a friendship. It’s a show about love and loss, pain and healing, but it’s also a lot funnier than I expected. It’s nice to see a story about people who have been hurt, but who still retain their sense of humor and desire to connect with others.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
In voiceover, a woman tells us that her favorite movie scene is the iconic opening scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She acts it out, standing in front of a jewelry store window sipping coffee and eating a croissant. She says she likes the scene because the character is eating alone, allowing her view of the beautiful jewelry, her tastebuds, and her mental state to form the perfect combination.
The woman is WOO DO-HEE (Seo Ji-hye), and she’s looking at a jewelry store window herself when her boyfriend YOUNG-DONG (cameo by Kim Jung-hyun) (too soon, Show, too soon!) calls her name to continue on their walk.
Young-dong is very attentive to Do-hee during dinner, but he severely over-peppers her steak before feeding it to her. This annoys Do-hee, but in another voiceover she says that spending time together with your loved one is important. She admits that sometimes, the perfect combination of ideal factors isn’t necessary.
In an abrupt change of tone, we see to a high-speed motorcycle chase between two riders. Eventually the one being chased hits a car, crashes, and continues on foot. His pursuer catches up to him, but he pulls a knife and yells in Chinese that he wants to see his girlfriend right now.
His pursuer understands enough Chinese to figure out what he’s saying and promise to bring her, then he accidentally tells the man that he’s going to die soon instead of that he’s going to get better soon. LOL, oops. The armed man attacks, and the pursuer busts out some pretty impressive marital arts skills and takes him down without hurting him.
While packing for a move, Do-hee talks to her mom on the phone about the fact that her dad might be cheating again. Her mom tells Do-hee that if Young-dong ever cheats, to just cut his “thing” off, ha. Do-hee says she’d never marry a cheater, but she’s also a bit unsettled that Young-dong hasn’t called her even though she’s moving today.
Back to the motorcyclists — it turns out that the Chinese man is a psychiatric patient, and his pursuer, psychiatrist KIM HAE-KYUNG (Song Seung-heon) is his doctor. Hae-kyung’s assistant BYUNG-JIN (wow, Kim Seo-kyung is everywhere right now!) finally catches up, and after they get the patient safely into an ambulance, he fails to entice Hae-kyung to have a meal with him.
That night, Do-hee waits until the clock ticks exactly midnight, then she calls Young-dong. He doesn’t answer, so she texts him a happy birthday wish, lamenting that it’s his third birthday since they’ve been dating but she’s never gotten to spend one with him (he lives on Jeju Island).
In the morning she heads to her job as a PD for an online show at a company called 2N Box. The company streams all kinds of live shows, from gaming livestreams to mukbangs to ASMR feeds. The CEO, NAM AH-YOUNG (Yeh Ji-won) warns Do-hee that she’ll be watching her new show closely today.
The show’s concept is that a viewer calls in to talk about being dumped, and the two hosts smack-talk the cheating ex while drinking alcohol. The number of viewers starts to nosedive almost as soon as the show starts, and by the time the hosts are drunk, Do-hee is getting anxious.
She nudges one host to start a fight, and suddenly the views quadruple (and go even higher when the male host (cameo by comedian Kim Young-chul) literally snatches the female host’s wig, hee). But Ah-young freaks out and tries to pull the plug, so Do-hee physically restrains her until the views reach the magic number of 100,000 viewers.
The plastered female host notices the cameramen laughing, so she starts flinging the food on the table at them. She tosses a container of soup directly at Ah-young, and by trying to deflect it, Do-hee accidentally smashes it right into Ah-young’s face.
Ah-young calls Do-hee to her office to yell at her, but Do-hee openly sasses her, saying that Ah-young’s changed since they started the company together. She argues that they’re making plenty of quality shows, so doing something ridiculous is just going back to their roots. Ah-young reminds Do-hee that she’s her boss, so Do-hee sarcastically bows and scrapes, then informs Ah-young that she’s leaving for vacation. HA, their relationship is going to be fun.
And then there’s Hae-kyung, who’s famous enough that he receives tons of invitations to appear on television shows but turns them all down. He tells the very frustrated Byung-jin that he’s just not interested, then changes the subject to his day trip to Jeju Island. Byung-jin tells Hae-kyung to stay in Jeju for a vacation, maybe even meet a woman, but again Hae-kyung blows him off.
Do-hee is also headed to Jeju to surprise Young-dong for his birthday. She tells her friend SO-RA (Oh Hye-won), who also works at 2N Box, that she thinks Young-dong is planning to propose — he recently sent her a picture of a diamond ring, though he said a friend was wondering if it would make a good proposal ring.
In anticipation of her big moment, Do-hee videos herself at the airport, and her day gets even better when she’s upgraded to business class. Her seatmate on the plane happens to be Hae-kyung, who’s mildly irritated by Do-hee’s recording of herself, though he doesn’t say anything.
Do-hee tells the attendant (cameo by Seo Eun-soo) that she’s about to get engaged, and the attendant obligingly records a congratulatory message to the new couple. Do-hee turns to Hae-kyung, but before she even asks, he refuses to record a message, ha.
Do-hee’s day continues to improve when she lands and finds that her rental car has also been upgraded. She heads to the grocery store for the ingredients to make Young-dong a fancy birthday meal.
Hae-kyung is in Jeju to do a “diet counseling” session, in which he helps the patient by observing their eating habits. He meets his patient, GEUN-HEE (cameo by Kim Hyun-sook) at a restaurant, and the first thing he notices are several fresh wound on her wrist, probably from cutting.
Geun-hee asks Hae-kyung to order for her, so he chooses salmon for the omega fatty acids, which increase dopamine and serotonin in the brain. He observes her slow speech and movements, indicating that her thoughts and judgments are blurred.
Everything Geun-hee does informs Hae-kyung about her mental state, even the way she arranges the plates on the table. She’s finding it difficult to move on from a bad breakup, and she can’t even bring herself to eat.
Meanwhile, Do-hee arrives at the same restaurant, which Young-dong happens to own. Hmmm, strange how nervous her presence makes the employees, who seem desperate to stop her from going upstairs. Halfway up, Do-hee hears a woman’s voice cooing and sighing, and oh no, this is bad.
The upper floor has indeed been decorated for a proposal, but the woman Young-dong is proposing to is already there, kissing him. Young-dong has a small out-of-body experience as she watches the couple making out, and she drops her cake, which gets Young-dong’s attention.
As if Young-dong’s proposing to another woman isn’t bad enough, his intended turns out to be Eun-seo, the flight attendant from Do-hee’s plane. She yelps that Young-dong said he broke up with Do-hee, and Young-dong stammers like an idiot.
Downstairs, Geun-hee is complaining to Hae-kyung about her ability to move on when Do-hee’s loud, “HEY!” echoes through the dining room and Young-dong nearly falls off the balcony. They get so loud that the diners all stop eating to rubberneck their fight, cringing every time Do-hee smacks Young-dong and he almost falls again.
At one point Do-hee succeeds in sending Young-dong tumbling halfway down the stairs, and when she steps out onto the balcony, Hae-kyung recognizes her from the airplane. Eun-seo starts taunting Do-hee and Hae-kyung recognizes her as well, and now he starts to enjoy the show.
The customers are still listening in as Do-hee demands one good reason why Young-dong is dumping her. He says it’s a boring reason — he just started feeling uninterested in her, and eventually he realized that he’d started hating to eat with her. In a society that values sharing meals with the people you love, Young-dong says that eating with Do-hee became more like a duty to be endured.
Interestingly, Geun-hee shows more enthusiasm for Young-dong and Do-hee’s fight than she’s displayed since Hae-kyung arrived, which he sees as a good sign. Geun-hee joins the other curious diners as they criticize Young-dong, and she asks them to keep it down so she can hear, ha.
Do-hee asks Young-dong why he sent her the photo of the ring. He confesses that he meant to send it to Eun-seo, so his employees came up with the friend excuse. Do-hee tells him that her mother’s advice is that she should cut his “thing” off for cheating, but she sighs dramatically that it’s useless anyway so Eun-seo is welcome to it, HAHA.
She sails out of the restaurant (the diners all scurry back to their tables and pretend they weren’t enthralled), and Young-dong follows her to the lawn. Hae-kyung keeps watching them from inside, noticing that despite Do-hee’s bravado, she’s clutching her chest with shaking hands, signaling a possible anxiety attack.
Finally, Eun-seo tells Young-dong to break up with her first if he wants to pursue Do-hee, and he chooses Eun-seo. Only Hae-kyung and Geun-hee see Do-hee crouching on the lawn, struggling to control her emotions. Something about the situation makes Hae-kyung recall a breakup of his own… his ex-girlfriend JIN NO-EUL (Sohn Na-eun) had asked, “Oppa, why do you look like you haven’t lost anything?”
Geun-hee tells Hae-kyung to go help Do-hee, because if Do-hee can be helped then she feels like she’ll be okay, too. She literally pushes him out the door as the other diners applaud. Geun-hee seems better already as she returns to her table and tucks into her food with gusto.
Feeling a little out of control, Do-hee speeds down the road while Hae-kyung follows in a taxi ((ha, the driver — cameo by movie veteran Park Eun-young — assumes they’re having a lovers’ quarrel). Do-hee stops to walk on the beach, and Hae-kyung sees her on some jagged rocks by the water’s edge.
When a strong wind makes Do-hee wobble dangerously, Hae-kyung assumes she’s about to jump and rushes to save her. But he’s a complete stranger to Do-hee so she dodges, causing him to fly right past her in super slo-mo and go sailing into the ocean himself.
She pulls Hae-kyung out of the water, and he splutters that he saw what happened at the restaurant and was trying to stop her from killing herself. He gets to his feet and tells Do-hee in annoyance to just take her friend and go… oh no, he’s seeing double. They realize that Hae-kyung is bleeding from a head wound, then he passes out.
Do-hee gets Hae-kyung to the nearest hospital, where the hilariously taciturn doctor (cameo by Jung Sang-hoon) talks to Do-hee in very technical terms, confusing her. She makes him dumb it down, so he says that there’s only a small cut on Hae-kyung’s head, but that he needs to be closely watched for a while.
When Hae-kyung wakes up, he’s frustrated to find that he’s missed his flight back to Seoul. He dresses in the clothes Do-hee bought to replace his ruined ones, and PFFT, it’s so late that all she could find are mismatched floral ajumma clothes. Do-hee apologizes for the ridiculous outfit but fails to stifle her giggles at how ridiculous he looks, and Hae-kyung accuses her of purposely messing with him, hee.
PWAHAHA, Do-hee tells him that he looks like a contestant on “Granny’s Got Talent,” and Hae-kyung growls at her to laugh it up. He’s ready to part ways, but Do-hee insists on giving him a ride to the airport, saying that she’s headed there anyway. He calls Byung-jin on the way, and Byung-jin hears Do-hee’s voice and assumes that Hae-kyung went on a date after all.
Do-hee’s reckless driving terrifies poor Hae-kyung, but he still notices that she’s smiling a bit too widely, pretending to be over her break-up with Young-dong already. She finds a parking spot at the airport, then confesses that her flight actually isn’t until tomorrow, but that the ER doctor’s warnings made her worried for Hae-kyung.
She assures Hae-kyung that she’ll be fine spending the night in her car, though her stomach growls loudly. Hae-kyung says thoughtfully that most people think they’re the only unhappy one when something bad happens, but that it’s not true. He tells Do-hee, “Happiness has eyes, but unhappiness doesn’t. It just chooses anyone randomly.”
He heads inside the airport still wearing his ajumma clothes, lol. He happens to see Eun-seo showing off her new engagement ring to her fellow flight attendants, saying breezily that an “obstacle” ruined the mood, and the idea of Do-hee being dismissed so easily seems to bother him.
Meanwhile, Do-hee sits alone in her car, wondering what to do next. A man wanders by selling mandarin chocolate, but she declines. She can’t stop thinking about how Young-dong said he’d stopped enjoying meals with her, and she pouts that she was pretending to like steak covered in pepper to spare his feelings.
As it turns out, Hae-kyung had regained consciousness in the hospital much sooner than Do-hee realized. He’d heard her talking to him, assuming he couldn’t hear. She’d said that she feels like the whole universe is bullying her, and that it hurts to be left alone.
Hae-kyung thinks about his breakup again, and how No-eul had said that even though she was breaking up with him, he didn’t look like he was losing anything. He’d said in an emotionless voice, “I’m making it easier for you to leave me.”
No-eul had disagreed, saying that Hae-kyung was just used to being left alone. But now he thinks to himself that there’s nobody who’s used to being left alone. He makes a decision and leaves the terminal.
He goes back outside to Do-hee’s car, surprising her. She blinks at him, confused, and something in his expression softens for the first time. He looks shy for a moment, then asks, “Would you like to have dinner with me?”
Wow… these two already have the kind of chemistry that makes me feel like I’m intruding on an intimate moment, even though they’re standing ten feet apart in the middle of a parking lot. This is the kind of chemistry that makes me think of shows like The King 2 Hearts and Marriage Contract — the kind that I remember for years after watching the drama. And I don’t just mean romantic chemistry, though their gazes in that final scene were pretty intense, but I just enjoyed watching them onscreen together in general. Their personalities are pretty opposite, but not so opposite that they’re starting off on bad terms… in fact, Hae-kyung has seemed pretty fascinated by Do-hee ever since the scene at the restaurant.
I very much enjoyed this first episode, in large part because of the “feel” of it, sort of relaxed and leisurely. We got a very thorough introduction to our leads and their lives, and even a bit about their pasts, but without ever feeling rushed. My very favorite thing about the show, as always with a drama like this, is the characters. Do-hee is delightfully cheeky (which is a great switch for Seo Ji-hye after her turn as the extremely serious Dan in Crash Landing on You) and she has a sassy sense of humor, yet she never even comes close to the stereotypical perky rom-com heroine. I loved her short interchange with Ah-young and can’t wait to see more of them together, and while Young-dong’s betrayal was painful, Do-hee is still able to find the humor in things like Hae-kyung’s ajumma getup. Her healthy sense of self-esteem is going to be very helpful as she heals from this breakup.
And then there’s Hae-kyung, who seems very laced-up and proper most of the time, but every once in a while his eyes sparkle in a certain way (usually when he’s looking at Do-hee) that leads me to believe that he’s more than capable of handling Do-hee’s slightly nutty personality. He’s gruff and distant, but it comes across less as a dislike for people and more as if he just doesn’t have the patience for doing anything he doesn’t really want to do. But even though he told Byung-jin that he doesn’t like eating with others, he’s based his career around food and meals, and the first thing he asked Do-hee to do with him was to share a meal. Hae-kyung seems hurt by the past but still open to his feelings, and I like that when he saw a similarity between himself and Do-hee (being left alone), he took a risk and reached out.
This show is not at all what I was expecting, and I’m thrilled about that! You guys know I like to go into new shows pretty blind, without seeing any promo material or trailers if I can help it, but I still form expectations based on what little information I do take in. I’m usually not too far off from the reality, once I start watching. But I was expecting Will You Have Dinner With Me to be more earthy and slice-of-life, and while I wouldn’t quite classify it as a pure rom-com, the show is a lot more lighthearted than I anticipated. It’s the kind of drama you can sit back and enjoy without having to think too hard. You can just relax let yourself get emotionally invested, and I for one am completely ready to be swept away.
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