Sweet Munchies: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread
I’m not honestly sure how or why, but our reluctant chef eventually decides that proceeding with the show is worth the risks. That means that he gets to spend more time with his upstairs neighbor and the broody clothing designer that form the points of a brewing love triangle.
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
Last week ended on a tense moment as Jin-sung jumped in front of Ah-jin to protect her from a paint balloon lobbed by protestors. It’s a heavy moment, and so Ah-jin and her team decide to deal with it by… having a last-minute overnight camping excursion at the beach.
This excursion makes absolutely zero sense from a character perspective. I might buy the part where Ah-jin’s best coworker friend Sung-eun drags Ah-jin out of town, and even Jae-soo tagging along as a spy, but I cannot fathom what motivated Jin-sung or Tae-wan to climb in after them.
This is not a close-knit group of friends. That any of them agreed to get into the car was pretty unbelievable, but that they then readily agreed to frolic in the water together once they arrived was just absurd. And yet, both Jin-sung and Tae-wan seem to immediately loosen up just in time to throw Jae-soo into the waves.
That said, man I love it when Tae-wan smiles. And he smiles a lot during this entire overnight stay, clearly so happy to spend time with Jin-sung. The show makes an effort to give equal screen time to the developing feelings between Jin-sung and Ah-jin and yet… I don’t buy it. Give them all the romantic sunrises you want, but they really seem just like close siblings at best. Tae-wan is clearly the winner in the chemistry competition.
When viewed as a series of unrelated scenes, some things that happened this week were really cute and enjoyable. Ah-jin, Tae-wan, and Jin-sung buy matching sweats at the seaside market and stalk the stalls as the cutest trio. Each pairing gets to trek out for a date as the show grows the developing love triangle situation, and both Jin-sung and Tae-wan’s early morning market date and Jin-sung and Ah-jin’s post-dinner walk were adorable.
It’s just that none of it makes sense as part of a larger story. Everything feels more like nicely shot commercials for some unknown product than a cohesive plot and emotional arcs. Somewhere along the way they forgot to convince me that any of these people are friends.
I was happy that Ah-jin took a moment to think about the protestors and how that might relate to Jin-sung’s reluctance to take part in her show. It’s not his actual reasons, but they are reasons that she should have considered from the show’s conception. And Ah-jin is a strong person who sticks by her convictions once made. She doesn’t let the others force her to bother Jin-sung any further once she decides to respect his decision to not take part.
So of course, Jin-sung somehow decides that he should do the show for Ah-jin. Besides the fact that his interest in her feels really forced for the sake of the story, I still can’t imagine how Jin-sung thinks that his romantic feelings are worth continuing on with this lie. If by some miracle his little brother managed to miss the pilot episode, there is absolutely no way that this will stay a secret for long now. They’re shooting the episodes at his restaurant! But it’s decided, and they all head in to attend their 2pm meeting (still in their sweats) and agree to keep filming. Now, it’s time to dive directly into that love triangle.
This show would be so much better if Jin-sung was actually gay. Then he’d have a good friend in Ah-jin and the best love interest in Tae-wan. Tae-wan was never interested in food before, but he’s immediately on board to get up early and shop with Jin-sung. And I loved Tae-wan’s subtle brag when he tells Ah-jin things he knows about Jin-sung that she doesn’t. Jin-sung, he’s cutely calling you Hyung and eating hot noodles with you while he wears a tailored suit to the market. He’s giving it his all.
But I suspect that Jin-sung will continue to be really dense about Tae-wan’s obvious feelings for him for a while. Jin-sung’s misplaced jealousy when Tae-wan spends time with Ah-jin is cute, and Tae-wan is the best at pouting. It’s really the most effective dynamic the show has currently. But ultimately it’s all just a little cruel, knowing that the best on-screen couple isn’t going to work out.
While the main romances are at least enjoyable (if nonsensical), efforts to build out stories for the side characters really fell flat for me. The biggest problem this show has is that none of these characters warrant a redemption arc. Who on earth wants a romance between Sung-eun and Jae-soo? They’re going to have better luck with their attempts to show a soft side to Director Cha than they will convince me that this clueless, sexist dude is worth redeeming. It’s nice to see that he’s seen through PD Nam’s behavior at least, but he’s only abandoned the guy because he’s not effective, not because he disapproves of his actions all that much.
It also feels incredibly unfair to laugh off PD Nam’s bad behavior as just, “that’s family.” Why go through all the trouble of making him so absolutely repugnant if the plan was just to tolerate it? PD Lee just shares his food as PD Nam continues to shout offensive things and grind his female colleagues into the dirt.
It hurts a little that PD Nam is actually spot on when he suggests that Jin-sung is pretending to be gay for money. It’s not about that anymore (it’s much more convoluted and weird and really not going to work out for him), but it’s why he showed up in the first place. So now we’ve introduced an obvious conflict, that there are people that know Jin-sung in real life and will question the validity of the show. And then, we’ve also included a break-in at Ah-jin’s apartment and a missing laptop (best moment of the episode for me: Jin-sung asking how Ah-jin knows the place was broken into when it’s always this messy. Truth). I’m really not sure where we’re headed next, but I hope it’s not anywhere where PD Nam gets to walk around feeling like the morally superior person.
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