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Memorials: Episode 9

We’ve reached the halfway point and our heroine has come a long way from where she started in terms of position. Now, she needs to catch up in personal growth and politics because getting the title is (literally) only half the battle. On the flipside, our heroine continues to struggle with her feelings for a bumbling hero, who may not be as indifferent as he tries to appear.

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

Awestruck by Gong-myung’s declaration to be her secretary, Se-ra regains composure and asks if he’s lost his mind. Confirming he’s aware of Chairman Jo orchestrating Se-ra’s appointment, Gong-myung thinks together, he and Se-ra can pull it off. Shaking off her uncertainty, Se-ra agrees they can do it and holds out her hand. Gong-myung takes it and shakes as the pair smile. Their expressions shift to determination as their hands remain clasped.

Se-ra leads the way down the hall with an exaggerated swagger, only to stop and grasp Gong-myung’s arm, reminding him he volunteered and no taksies-backsies. Gong-myung patiently reiterates that he recommended himself and there was no ulterior motive from a personal connection. Slightly put out by the last part, Se-ra drops his arm and continues to march towards Chief Won’s office.

Inside, Chief Won is stunned by the turn of events, but Se-ra follows Gong-myung’s coaching and says in light of budget cuts, she felt it was more practical to choose someone from the secretariat staff. She’s taken aback when Chief Won explains Chairman Jo had recommended Min-jae… but shakes it off and recites the bylaw stating the secretary will be recommended by the chairman and appointed by the chief, insisting her recommendation is Gong-myung.

Chief Won finally agrees but adds that as they are experiencing budget restrictions, Se-ra will not be receiving a driver or assistant… only a secretary. Se-ra gleefully accepts and Chief Won congratulates her on becoming chairman. Se-ra leaves and Chief Won smirks after her.

Upon hearing the news, Chairman Jo is furious. He asks Chief Won to postpone the secretary appointment, but she says Se-ra brought up the law, so her hands were tied. He rounds on Min-jae, demanding to know what he’ll do now. Min-jae is unable to answer and looks distressed as Chairman Jo stomps off.

Assemblyman Heo is surprised Chief Won sided with Se-ra, but Chief Won breezily answers she’d been planning to cut ties with Chairman Jo before the general election, anyway. She tuts electing Se-ra was a definite error on Chairman Jo’s part. She tells Assemblyman Heo to continue making nice, however.

On the roof, Min-jae confronts Se-ra about the secretary debacle, insisting he had a plan. Se-ra blinks back that she wasn’t privy to his plan. She sneers he must’ve expected her to be thankful and follow along blindly after they elected her. Min-jae insists she needs a party and while he couldn’t support her participation in the district rep election, he truly wishes she’ll finish her term without incident.

“You know me,” Min-jae says, placing a hand on Se-ra’s arm, “I can help you by your side.” Slapping his hand away, Se-ra scoffs, “Help me? Now?” She says neither he, nor Chairman Jo, are in her plans and Min-jae demands who is. “I am,” Se-ra answers, vowing to do things her way since she got elected. With a final grimace, she stalks off, leaving Min-jae to release an agitated breath.

Dae-cheol and Yong-kyu try to reason Gogn-myung’s career choices and Gong-myung assures them he still plans to return to Planning and Budgeting. Dae-cheol argues he likes getting off on time, but secretaries are on call 24/7. Gong-myung agrees and smiles, “I will continue… to like what I like.” His answers don’t provide any clarity and Dae-cheol groans Gong-myung’s parents must be extremely frustrated just as Gong-myung’s phone lights up with Chairman Jo’s number.

No sooner does he walk in than Chairman Jo rounds on Gong-myung: “You wanted to be a mere secretary?” Gong-myung scoffs, pointing out Chairman Jo had planned on recommending Min-jae, whom he claims to consider his son. Chairman Jo spits he and Min-jae had a plan and Gong-myung shouldn’t have gotten involved to rebel.

Gong-myung argues they should’ve considered all the variables – that Gong-myung might get involved, or that Se-ra could turn down the offer. Chairman Jo swears they’ll regret their decisions, pointing out Se-ra can’t do anything by herself in the District Assembly. Gong-myung is equally sure Se-ra has the potential and qualifications to be a great chairman, vowing to make sure of it.

The next morning, Gong-myung watches with amusement as Mom squeals over Se-ra’s new car. She’s also thrilled Gong-myung will be working with Se-ra and asks him to take a picture of the family in front of the car. After a series of ridiculous poses, Mom insists on a picture of Se-ra and Gong-myung together. He agrees in order to avoid Mom and Dad bickering and Se-ra looks up at Gong-myung right as the shutter clicks. Dad immediately confiscates the phone and then grabs Gong-myung to growl in his ear, “Take care of my Se-ra.”

Driving to work, Se-ra fidgets excitedly in the passenger seat and asks what Dad had whispered. Gong-myung asks her to sit in the back since people are watching, but Se-ra tuts, “Let’s sit side by side, not diagonally. We’re acting like strangers, but we are one.” Sighing, he reminds Se-ra she has a 24/7 position to uphold and she has enemies waiting for her downfall. Se-ra quips his nagging will crush her to death first.

Gong-myung adds that if she’s ever unsure of what expression to make, she should smile. Se-ra scoffs… but as she’s officially sworn in, she thinks of Gong-myung’s words and beams brightly. In the back, he groans that’s not what he meant. Se-ra scurries to her seat as they move to announce the vice chairman and we flashback to see Hee-soo immediately went to Dong-chan after Se-ra’s election. She announced she wanted his position and her threat over his bribery was still valid.

Presently, Se-ra makes her speech, telling everyone to understand or misunderstand as they please and vowing to do what she must do, what only she can do. Hee-soo takes the stand next, her speech dripping with venom directed at Se-ra as she preaches about trust.

Min-jae hands things over to Gong-myung, adding he shouldn’t have gotten involved: “I had a plan for Se-ra.” Gong-myung snorts it’s a plan he and Chairman Jo concocted but Min-jae says it was in Se-ra’s best interest. Gong-myung recounts how he’d accused Se-ra of running for district rep under Min-jae’s direction to rig the election and she’d angrily argued Min-jae wasn’t the kind of scumbag to use his girlfriend politically: “That’s what it means to have someone’s best interests.” He adds Min-jae should address Se-ra properly now.

Slumping into her office chair, Se-ra wonders where Gong-myung is. She starts flipping through her journal but when the door opens, she drops onto the desk, feigning sleep. Smirking, Gong-myung reaches to wake her but hesitates… and Se-ra pops up. He awkwardly chides her for napping but Se-ra simply asks where he was.

Gong-myung explains he was fetching her tasks and presents a draft of office regulations. First, there’s no hierarchy between them, they trust and respect each other. Second, Se-ra is to observe Gong-myung’s work hours, 8 am to 10 pm on weekdays. And lastly, Gong-myung will tutor Se-ra one-on-won, “hardcore Sparta style.” Easily agreeing to the first two, Se-ra balks at the third. Hee.

Later, Se-ra’s friends wonder if she has a thing for secretaries. Han-bi is pulling for Gong-myung, while Woo-young firmly supports Min-jae. Ja-ryong pipes up to ask why Se-ra was looking at Gong-myung in their photo and Han-bi explains she’d snuck a look because she likes him. They wonder if Se-ra plotted the secretary position and tutoring in order to spend time with Gong-myung.

Correcting those were Gong-myung’s ideas, Se-ra excitedly wonders if he likes her… only for Ja-ryong to remind her he saw Gong-myung reject her at the apartments. Se-ra admits she was rejected twice, and Woo-young tuts she’s should give up and go back to Min-jae. Se-ra declares they’re both out and she’ll take a break from dating and focus on work.

The next day, however, she snickers to herself she should always try three times. Her enthusiasm falters when she sees the syllabus Gong-myung has compiled for her tutoring, but she slyly orders him to answer her questions, even outside of his designated work hours. “Of course,” Gong-myung agrees, “Here, wherever, always.” Se-ra is too melty to respond with more than a nod and he promises to make her a decent chairman.

As his first secretarial duty, Gong-myung writes a press release for Se-ra’s appointment and the inflammatory headline declaring Se-ra the Conservatives’ choice, ruffles feathers. Chairman Jo assures the Conservatives (and himself) the press release will be pushed aside by the chief’s article and Se-ra can’t do anything on her own… Meanwhile, Progressive member Chief Won meets with Assemblyman Bong and Hee-soo to re-forge her party alliance.

Leaving her office, Hee-soo thinks Chief Won’s proposition to align together isn’t bad, but Assemblyman Bong thinks she should consider whether it’s good. He reminds her their job of the District Assembly is to keep administration in check. Bong adds he sent a gift to her office, and Hee-soo unhappily guesses he sent one to Se-ra as well. “Together, but also separately,” Assemblyman Bong says, “Raise it well.”

Fuming over the article, Se-ra pounces on Gong-myung as soon as he enters her office. He defends it’s better to be upfront about the Conservatives involvement and reminds her of their first office regulation. Cursing the regulations, Se-ra grabs a towel, pausing only for a delivery to arrive… and then attacking. The delivery is the gift from Assemblyman Bong and Se-ra smiles at the cactus accompanying a note: “A cactus withstands a desert’s hot days… as well as its cold nights.” It instructs her to water once a month and congratulates her becoming chairman.

PART 2

At the shop, Han-bi and Woo-young unbox Chairman Gu Se-ra towels and Han-bi announces Ja-ryong won his class president election. Ja-ryong explains he’d told the teacher about the burger kid and simply asked his classmates to vote for him. He proudly displays an “everything comes true talisman” but declares it not for sale. Woo-young asks if being class president is different and Ja-ryong slams down his book.

We see Se-ra stand and attempt to open the meeting, only to be ignored, as Ja-ryong narrates the kids get noisier whenever he makes an announcement. Se-ra bellows the meeting has begun and people finally sit. Next, she sits in another meeting, and nervously agrees when asked a question she clearly didn’t understand as Ja-ryong continues even if he doesn’t know something, he has to pretend he does.

Finally, Se-ra greets members of the Women’s Association and when offered a drink, Gong-myung refuses it (because she’s on the clock) as Ja-ryong sighs he can’t even do things he likes. Afterwards, Gong-myung drops Se-ra at the shop and reminds her she’s not allowed to drink at work. Se-ra pouts an elder had offered it and then accuses Gong-myung of cursing at her with his eyes. Stifling a smile, Gong-myung says she was mistaken.

Se-ra insists he was and Gong-myung chuckles, then leans in close. Se-ra questions what he’s doing and he asks if she heard what he’d said. Se-ra guesses “good work today” and “let’s do well tomorrow” but both are shot down. When she tries, “thank you for being with me every day,” Gong-myung is taken aback… but still says she’s wrong. She curses and he says it was “don’t be late tomorrow.” Grumbling, Se-ra tries to invite him in for tea, but Gong-myung reminds her of office regulation 2 – he’s off at 10 pm – and walks away.

At home, however, he thinks of Se-ra’s final guess and kicks himself for only replying “wrong.” Meanwhile, Se-ra is also grumbling over his answer while nearby, Woo-young practices interview questions. Han-bi asks Ja-ryong if he’s chosen who to give his talisman to, and he nods. The next day, Woo-young nervously waits for her interview, the talisman pocking out of her bag. Aww.

It’s quiz day for Se-ra’s and she stares despondently at the question sheet before declaring the questions too complicated. Gong-myung says he made them multiple choice just for her, and Se-ra argues he should teach her tips she’ll actually use. Gong-myung says it’s up to her and Se-ra breaks into a Cheshire grin, fanning out a stack of “You can do it” wish coupons. She says she should be rewarded to increase efficiency: 1 coupon for scoring over 80, 2 over 90, and if she aces it, she’ll get all 10.

Trying to hide his amusement, Gong-myung asks what she’ll wish for and Se-ra quips he can look forward to it. Unfortunately, Se-ra scores a 72. Gong-myung’s 10pm alarm goes off and Se-ra frantically asks for an extra lesson. Gong-myung tells to wait and Se-ra grins it’s all going to plan… until he returns with a stack of books.

At lunch the following day, Se-ra gets a notification for the business operation funds (3,300 dollars). She excitedly declares that more than a full stomach, modern people need fat bank accounts. She asks Gong-myung if there’s anything special he wants to eat, and he tells her to get a grip – the money is for business. Se-ra pouts it doesn’t cost money to imagine. Instead, she opens her mouth for Gong-myung to feed her… but he just places it on her plate. Heh.

They help make kimchi deliveries with a group that aids senior citizens living alone and Se-ra’s heart goes out to the coordinator who says they’ve been struggling since the budget cut. Hearing making kimchi will cost 1,000 dollars, Se-ra cuts them a check from her budget. Gong-myung looks a little exasperated, and it only worsens when they join a nonprofit volunteer organization on a nightly patrol who’ve also lost funding with the budget cuts… so Se-ra issues another 1,000 dollar check.

The next day, Gong-myung chides Se-ra for already spending nearly 2/3 of the budget the day she got it. He points out they don’t run a charity and if she helps everyone, she’ll be in the red. Se-ra says she still has 1,300 dollars left, and again wonders where all Mawon Office’s money has gone. Gong-myung visits with Dae-cheol and Yong-kyu (soaking up some petty satisfaction at watching Yong-kyu on dish duty now, hee). They tell him he’s at the center of the rumor mill, as everyone is speculating he’d offered to be Se-ra’s secretary to mess with Chief Won.

Dae-cheol starts to warn him Chief Won is scary, but clams up when Dong-chan walks in. Dong-chan barks he’s not so free to eavesdrop since he’s taking Hee-soo to a groundbreaking ceremony for the Smart One City. This is news to Gong-myung and he immediately calls to demand why Chief Won, Vice Chairman, Hee-soo, and even former Chairman Jo are invited… but not the current chairman. He has them add a chair and when Se-ra is confused by the addition to the schedule, Gong-myung explains she’d wanted to know where the money went.

Se-ra notes the protestors on her way inside and when Chief Won announces the 1.6 billion dollar bill, Se-ra’s jaw drops. Chairman Jo asks who Se-ra is holding up, reiterating his offer is still valid. Chief Won introduces the people onstage, but when it’s Se-ra’s turn… she continues her speech. On the sidelines, Gong-myung tsks at how childish it is and Min-jae says he’s not a very good secretary.

Gong-myung tells him to mind his own business. Min-jae tsks he knows so little about his father and Gong-myung retorts Min-jae knows very little about Se-ra. Unfazed, Min-jae say she does know a secretary that focuses on attending events and press releases won’t accomplish much.

Across town, Woo-young gets news of passing her interview and Han-bi muses the talisman worked. She wonders what’s taking him and heads inside the dojo to check. Smiling when she spots Ja-ryong, her face falls when she sees his instructor and Han-bi quickly ducks out before the other woman sees her.

Se-ra wonders at Gong-myung’s sour mood but he waves it off as they head to the next schedule and Se-ra assures him she’s good with kids. Dad stops them to sign in and his shock at Se-ra as an honorary teacher makes Gong-myung laugh. Inside, Se-ra greets the students brightly, but they only stare blankly. She demonstrates pH strips for the students but when they ask how it works, Se-ra instead presents the color change as a metaphor for love… only for the students to point to the board and say it’s a chemical reaction. Hee.

As they’re leaving, Se-ra reminisces about the long distance from the gate to the classroom. Gong-myung laughs that’s why they’d run across the playground but Se-ra admits after he moved, she’d stopped: “Even that run was far without you.” Flashing back to Summer 2002, Se-ra looked sadly at Gong-myung’s empty desk and another student announced Gong-myung was moving. Se-ra had run outside to see the car pulling away and ran after it, yelling for Gong-myung as he sat sadly in the backseat.

In the present, Gong-myung stares at Se-ra until she asks if he’d heard her. He claims not to remember and walks away. Se-ra bounds after him and links arms, but Gong-myung pulls away. She instead hugs him from behind, leaping away when he feigns seeing Dad… and then grabbing him again. Hee.

Gong-myung leads Se-ra to their next stop, explaining he’s been once before. Se-ra starts to ask with who until she remembers he’d been with Hee-soo. Her smile morphs into a scowl as she recalls Hee-soo stamping Gong-myung’s hand and groans. He takes her bag and reminds her since they bought gifts, she shouldn’t spend money. Se-ra agrees twice was enough and storms ahead. Unfortunately, the instructor informs them with no funding, they can only open on weekends.

Se-ra cuts off Gong-myung’s protest with a karate chop and writes another 1,000 dollar check. He grumbles he didn’t bring her to donate and they’re down to 300 dollars. Se-ra quips she left enough for food and turns to look at photos on the wall. She zooms in on one with Gong-myung and Hee-soo and as she stares at his face turned towards Hee-soo, she thinks of Han-bi’s saying Se-ra looked at Gong-myung in their photo because she likes him.

Realizing what she’s looking at, Gong-myung coughs awkwardly and back at the office, he sits uncomfortably as Se-ra silently fumes. A flashback reveals right before the photo was snapped, Hee-soo had linked arms and Gong-myung turned in surprise right as the shutter clicked. Presently, he tries to explain Hee-soo had grabbed him but as Se-ra hadn’t even noticed that, it only makes it worse.

Exhaling, she announces she always tries three times, so she’ll ask once more. Before she can say anything, a phone goes off and she shouts she hates his 10pm alarm the most… but it’s her phone. Gong-myung grimaces at Min-jae’s caller ID and Se-ra asks him to wait while she takes it, but Gong-myung tells her not to and rejects the call. He tells her not to ask, either: “My answer has been the same since the very beginning.”

Se-ra snaps if he’s rejecting her again, it shouldn’t matter if she answers but Gong-myung says he never rejected her – he was unsure of himself. Looking for her for hours with just a photo is crazy, he doesn’t understand people who wait 30 minutes for dumplings and thinks trying to win the sports festival and running in the heat is pathetic… but he did it for her. The reason he ran to volunteer as her secretary was all for her: “It was you from the start.” When she recovers from melting, Se-ra walks over and kisses him. She pulls back briefly, and then they kiss again.

Epilogue While the students were unimpressed by Se-ra’s love analogy, Gong-myung had raised his camera to take a picture, but Se-ra’s joyful laugh finally clicked for Gong-myung and he blushed.

 
COMMENTS

The last 10 minutes of this episode instantly became my favorite of this entire show thus far. Gong-myung’s confession accomplished everything I wanted and more. Se-ra’s first confession could easily be written off as drunken silliness, but her second was so heartfelt and sincere that it was jarring when Gong-myung turned her down. His smile was absolutely baffling because it, like everything else he does, screamed “puppy in love.” Se-ra was understandably confused and hurt, left having to reason she’d somehow misinterpreted his actions, but I love that she was willing to try one more time… and I love that Gong-myung didn’t let her because he knew it was his turn. I’m not sure how they’ll manage to keep this a secret when I swear anyone could tell they were smitten before but I’m excited to watch them try.

Min-jae continues to be weird and I wish we’d get into his head a little. He’s repeatedly disrespected Se-ra’s personality and autonomy and I did love both Se-ra and Gong-myung calling him out on it. This plan he’s crafted with Chairman Jo was first and foremost for Chairman Jo, not Se-ra. So even if Min-jae truly believed it would benefit her, that alone negates his ability to say he acted with her best interests at heart. It’s possible Min-jae has a long con separate of Chairman, but that still wouldn’t excuse him in my book. He’s failed to communicate with Se-ra let alone support her and those are such basic forms of respect. One thing I do like is that Min-jae isn’t evil – he’s just kind of a jerk – and that makes for such a realistic, human character. I’m still curious to see his backstory and how Chairman Jo got his claws in him. I’m unsure whether it’ll endear Min-jae towards me, but I’d like to know why he chose to give up so much to support this man who hasn’t given anything back.

There’s still a lot of fog around Chairman Jo – and I’m not complaining because it’s nice not to spend half an episode on scheming bad guys – but there’s a lot still to unpack with the relationships he’s forged… and destroyed. Min-jae and Gong-myung are the obvious, but I assume we’ll also revisit what happened between him and Dad, and how Gong-myung’s little brother died. Not to mention, whatever happened with Assemblyman Yang. With all the fluffy cuteness, I’d forgotten we still had some darker plot points to explore. I hope the show remains chiefly adorable antics (and smooches) between our leads, and Se-ra coming into her own as a badass politician, but I’m still curious about the other threads… But mostly the smooches.

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Seriously the last 10 minutes were so perfectly swoony. Gong-myung and Se-ra are among my favourite kdrama couples this year.

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They're quickly rising for me! In a year with plenty of good couples, they are definite stand-outs.

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That confession scene. Swoons. I love it when the guy spills out his guts emotionally to his love interest. There's something rather sexy about that lol!

Also notice how Gong-myung's hands quickly adjusted lol. He was like "Oops moving a bit fast" and quickly changed position haha.

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So annoying the way Min-jae thinks he has a right to have any say so regarding Se-ra!

Gong-myung and Se-ra together are a treat to watch!

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I think that's because MinJae never really took SeRa's ideas in consideration. I mean, he keeps saying "I had a plan for SeRa" as if SeRa could't figure a plan by herself. It's quite infuriating this patronazing.

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@eazal Exactly!

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My one question why did she even date Min-jae?

There was a cute pic of them taken together (Camping?) and he smiled there! But 9 yrs on/off relationship and she never even introduced him to her parents either?!

And he's just a pawn in Chairman Jo's circle, his karma is going to be sad to see. I hope he doesn't meddle in and try to cause a rift between Se-ra and Gong-myung!!

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@soulsearch12 That's my question also.

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Right? Like what gives? She's such a strong headed person and her ex is such a wimp. He's so boring too. Maybe he was her 'first' love and she fell for him (I guess he was better then?), and dated on/off for 9 yrs. But it seems like she was alway putting more effort towards him than he was. Plus, his work w/ Chairman Jo/trying to get more power got in the way.

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I honestly am sad that this drama is in its last month. It's grown so much on me and I look so forward to watching it every week!

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:(. me too

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Controversial opinion: It's better than IOTNBO. (Cue people coming and pillorying me.)

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Totally agree with you! I dropped IOTNBO a long long time ago. Can't understand the hype. We will be pilloried together. :p

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I like IOTNBO! However, I confess that I have lots of gripes with it (some minor, some not so minor). I think Into the Ring is a better drama. I think Into the Ring does a better job with small details and has done a better job creating main characters who are believable and likable (in spite of, or perhaps because of, their imperfections). It helps that the setting is less fantastical. Most importantly, though, while I individually like Kim Soohyun and Seo Ye-ji (especially the latter; she's amazing!), I think Park Sung-hoon and Nana have better chemistry and are less uneven in their performances.

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@smaltwalt - hah then in comparison, I'll be pilloried first! Because I am definitely in the negative camp for IOTNBO :p Agree on the chemistry between Nana and Park Sung-hoon! And I also like Seo Ye-ij better than Kim Soohyun too!

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I like Kim Soohyun, too! I just like SYJ more in IOTNBO.

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O.O Looks. I started IOTNBO and on Ep 3, its such a heavy and good drama that demands ones full attention and for me rn, I have postponed it b/c I want to give its full attention.

I'll say that ITR doesn't have to deal with sensitive topics such as mental health and disabilities, so it makes for a more breezier watch. I respect IOTNBO for trying to shine a light on sensitive and tough topics/issues.

ITR has a lot of familiar tropes but the writer (newbie/this is their debut drama woah!) and inserts it with humor and heart. It helps that its smaller based, and we only focus mostly on Se-ra (She's the main lead) and Gong-myung as the supporting bf to her. But yes, IA I picked this show from the start b/c of both leads, and pleasantly surprised its been this enjoyable since.

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Ha agreed they don't compare thematically, and in that sense, it is unfair. So I shall refrain from further comment on this :D That said, I understand why a comparison becomes inevitable, though, because the two shows airing around the same time, and the one has such a huge fanbase as against the other!

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@pickleddragon Yeah, I get the comparisons rn b/c they are both airing now and feature romance w/ a feisty fl and stoic ml. Other than that, the shows genre/style/vibe are so different.

I do agree that IOTNBO is a more somber and heavier watch so its not an easy binge watch than ITR is. ITR has 2 leads that aren't actors with huge fanbases (Well IOTNBO only has Kim Soo-hyun but he is a Hallyu star). Plus the Netflix factor is a major factor, Viki subs are so slow for ITR/one has to pay extra to view it.

While I'm glad that DB comments have gone up on ITR, internationally speaking, its been under the radar. But I get it, it didn't seem that interesting at 1st glance. Prob. will be a cult hit like Be Melo. Sorry for the mini rant lol/lots to say surprisedly haha!

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As @pickleddragon has said, the comparison is mostly due to the fact that both are airing simultaneously. I think they are very different, but quite a bit of what’s driving my comparison of the two is my relative enjoyment of the shows.

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Lol... i am also watching IONTBO, and I also like it very much, but I won't undermine your opinion. I LOVE this show, it makes me feel good and happy.
Whereas I always need a "special" mood to be able to watch IONTBO, and it not necessarily makes me feel happy or satisfied.

I think both shows are good but different. Very very very different, and because of that I wouldn't compare them.

Now, all in all you can compare both OTPs, and there yes, I agree with you. I like more Se ra and Gong myun together better than Kang tae and Moon young together, but it is logical because the former are normal healthy people and the later are screwed dysfunctional people learning to adjust in the world and in their world with a horrible tragic story from the past.

Look how interesting that both couple got to know each other in their childhood, but what a different childhood it was!

Of course, we wish for their happiness, the four of them, but the vibe they send is way different and we can feel it every minute.
In the first case you always think: go for it and be happy.
In the second you feel pity for them and hope their love can overcome their tragedy and learn to be truly happy.

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I feel it's better, although let's wait until the end.
I mean, I'm liking IONTBO but the last weeks the show has lost steam and the writing isn't good at all. Also visuals are not as amazing as they were at the beginning.
I'm not having this feeling with Memorials, although I have to say that I felt like this with IONTBO from episode 12.

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Not so controversial, because in my opinion, IONTBO has become a bit bland, not that it’s not good. later episodes became not up to par with the quality of the earlier episodes.

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However, both dramas have something in common : the FL is pursuing very boldly the ML :D

I love badass FL :)

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Awee im watching both and i love both! I agree with @javinne , I have different moods while watching each drama. I watch ITR with a light heart, while IOTNBO with a discerning heart :)

But your opinion is valid if you like ITR more. Tbh theres no need to put out a sarcastic/shade comment on people coming for you bec the fans of iotnbo rarely attacks people who dislike the drama. Theyre actually open to it, as long as it's not downright hating. :) so as long as there is respect then we're all good!!

Im a fan of both drama leads so i rly have no complaints. Best of both worlds. Waited for this 2 shows since forever🥰

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Totally agree. Also, in DB we mostly respect one another's taste. Happily there are all kinds of drama for us to pick.
And all these actors, usually they do such a good job. Sometimes even the writer is bad (horrible or very stupi dialogs) and yet the actors do their best to save the character!!! 😂😂😂😂
That is why we are all here Kdrama fans. Because we know they are that awesome.

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point taken @chokolateybuddy and @javinne! :)

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Oh, I hope the comment didn’t come across as sarcastic or shading! I was just joking.

I like both dramas! It’s not that I think one sucks and the other is great. I think I just like this one more. And yeah, the actors in both of these shows are great.

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@smaltwalt The better comparison is Was it Love? That show is also a rom-com, and judging by the comments people make, it seems the FL there has been garnering some criticism compared to ITR even though she's also a larger than life character. And that show is on Netflix, but judging by the comment increase on ITR here, that says something imo as shows that get word of mouth (positive way) tend to increase comment count on here.

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Am loving Gong-myung so much for not letting Se-ra ask for the third time! After being all confused about his mysterious laugh, love how show simply portrayed him taking his time to make sure of his feeling, that he isn't taking this lightly and he only made his move once he's got the unshakeable certainty. He's really a personification of still water runs deep. These two, really, they are made for each other because bottom line, it's the same for both: they will just continue liking what they like, whether it's love or work!

It's cute how Se-ra managed to recite the law about choosing her secretary to Chief Won, no writing on the hand needed. Gong-myung's curriculum for Se-ra is proof of how much faith he has in her potential, and if it doubles as courtship time, it's even better ><

Did Gong-myung's article expose the sketchy voting incident? I sure hope this absolves Se-ra in the eyes of the Progressive Party. Am super annoyed with Hee-soo's barbs about breaking promises & betrayal when she did exactly that to Se-ra on the ordinance bill, and unlike her, Se-ra didn't even do anything wrong. That's a neat checkmate to Chairman Jo & Min-jae, at least for now. Totally excited to see how our OTP politically navigate their way as an official couple next ep!

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Ahh the last scene was everything! Gong-myung’s blush in the epilogue was so cutee. I’m excited to laugh and swoon over them dating.

This drama is still super hilarious as it was at the start. Se-ra and her family posing in front of the car made me crack up.

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And don't forget those leafy heartstrings in the background when he's blushing!

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Se ra and family are super fun. They are always bickering but you can tell they love one another and although they have their economic mishaps, they care about one another and as much as dad throws her out, they know they belong to one another.
It is just so healthy normal happy family!!!! I wish my parents would have been like that!😅

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IA. The only thing I am worried about is her mother borrowed a huge loan (K-drama loan sharks yikes), and used their house mortgage to help with that. If this is real life, the house might be taken over by tax agents and they will be homeless.

I hope that does not loom over Se-ra, because I want the second half to be focused on her growing into her chairwoman role without things like this or her meddling ex getting in the way.

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Me too! But who knows. Somehow I feel refreshed with this show because I really cannot predict what will happen. Although I know, for many it is full with clichés, but really... I haven't been able to predict almost anything, lol😂.
So I am excited waiting for the next episode every time.
I don't understand half of the politics in this whole show... But it is not so boring as well, because the characters are endearing. And even the baddies don't seem to be that evil.
Hum...
Nevertheless, apparently there was a murder at the beginning, so we never know... It may go dark.

Let's find out the second half.
If at least our couple remain together, I am ok with anything that comes along.... 😅

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Yeah, I hope that they don't do a What's Wrong Secretary Kim thing and add a dark plot all of a sudden. Like pls spare us that writer!!

The show rests on the 2 leads, they are what makes this show standout. Now that the rom-com has kicked in Ep 8, I hope that it focuses on their coupling. I mean the lovey dovey moments for others I would cringe, but here swoons. Like I don't know if its real or not, but Nana ab-libs on the show and Park Sung Hoon reactions to it seem real. I wonder if he's just as enamored by Nana as he is on the show (in a damn she's lovable way and not loving way)

Yeah the supporting cast are quirky/not on-screen as much to really irk you. Although I hope the meddling ex and Hee-soo stay put, and forge an olive branch instead. Let's keep this show light pls!

If the second half disappoints, I wouldn't be shocked cause I'm used to it but this show has been such a breath of fresh air, that it would tamper my excitement tbh. The next 2 episodes (So soon YAY!) will hopefully be filled with more kiss scenes/skin-ship.

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That epilogue was the sweetest thing!

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That was when he became sure of himself and that's is why he couldn't reject her later... he realized he was totally gone! 😂😂😂😂
Poor thing! He is so shy that is cute like a child!
I haven't seen such a charming male lead in a long time in dramaland.... oh, I am so happy! 😍😍😍😍

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I saw a picture on Nana's instagram, and it was taken a few days ago. Her and PSH are so cute together/their chemistry is incredible both on/off-screen. Anyways, his hair has changed into a much better one. Curtain bangs lol, but thankfully b/c his bangs were short, it looks good on him.

Our male lead is so cute/dorky, but also a bit sexy too? I mean, he dresses very nice in tailored outfits and his legs, his tall legs 😍😍. His deep voice. The way he lovingly looks at Se-ra, the way he gets flustered by her is just love. And that kiss scene too, Mamma Mia! He can kiss! Ok rant done!

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They form a great team officially and a great couple unofficially.

I loved how they understand each other. GM knew what she was talking about when she said she always tries thrice and I really liked that he didn't let her ask and answered directly. Now, we will get more GM's smiles \o/

I think MJ really did it for her, it was his idea not Chairman Jo's one, but he can't take decision like that without consulting her and now he's nothing for her.

Sera's crazyness is normal when you see her family, the car pictures were hilarious. I love her family, they're so weird and funny.

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Those parents are made-for-Sera.

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I know I mentioned this but if we are just talking purely from a relationship stand point. They remind me so much of the main couple from Hyena. Both male leads who appear a bit stoic and stand off-ish, but are actual puppies inside. And the woman that melts away at their cold exterior through both trust and respect for one another. I love seeing power couples together, as its important that both people are equal partners in both their work and personal life!

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I feel like Se-ra isn't stoic! She's very passionate and emotional, and we've seen that from the get-go. I do think, though, that she tries to bluff and come across as less invested and caring than she actually is.

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Her motive in the beginning of the show was about $$/earning that salary. However, this episode showed that she blew through her weekly budget to help someone in need. While she isn't stoic, she is fierce and feisty. Two sides of the same coin, like a yin and yang. Se-ra and Gong-myung would be the flip side compared to them imo.

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As much as that last scene was what folks were waiting or, I swear the only thing going through my head was "what if someone in the office sees them?"!

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That was my thought too especially with the camera angle. Lol

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I was actually half-expecting Kim Minjae to walk in on them seeking Sera as his call was rejected!

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Also, completely unrelated, but I just realized that Park Sung-geun, the actor playing Dong-cheol here, will also be reprising his role as prosecutor Kang Won-Cheol in Stranger Season 2. He's had a busy summer!

(Please excuse me, but for the next few weeks, I suspect I won't be able to comment on anything without making some kind of reference to Stranger...)

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Talk of Stranger is always welcome! 😊

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You're not alone.
The rewatch is making me see Stranger everywhere!

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OT: Is Stranger worth the hype? I seen so much praise for the show online. But I'm sick of crime/thriller shows (I feel its the same lately). I loved Signal and felt the hype was real.

Does the pacing for Stranger lag or is it good?

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Erm. Do you really want to get me started :D

While Signal has its fanbase (I'm not a crazy about the show), IMO, it does not hold a candle to Stranger.

Stranger is The Gold Standard, in kdramas and IMO, for the genre as well, and even, dare I say, for dramas generally. I like to call it 'world class', and I use that phrase with a great deal of care and thought here.

I was sucked into Stranger from the first episode, which, as I mentioned elsewhere, even on a rewatch, remains as compelling as it was in my original watch, even though I knew the story, and even some dialogues, by heart.

I'd just watch it if I were you. There's really no better drama out there. 'nuff said. :D

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Lol, I take it your a fan?! Judging by the Bae Doona icon <3

Thanks for answering in depth! I really should check out this show before S2 airs. One random ?, is there other dramas you would consider world class? Those are hard to find for K-dramas I find.

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Hehe. My Ahjussi? Another world-class drama in the kdrama world. I would not list anything else from kdramas in this category, but, to be fair, I haven't watched as many as many veterans here have! There are a few others among English language shows that I'd list, but maybe we should start a fanwall conversation about this instead of digressing from the joy that is ITR!

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@pickleddragon WOAH? Did you read my mind? After you wrote that comment, I was like My Mister man what a beautiful show and kinda smiled thinking about the show lol.

Oh yeah for sure! If something pops up to talk about this further, I'll fan-wall convo then!

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Though I’m not a fan of the genre, your comparison of Signal and Stranger is intriguing enough for me to start Stranger this week.

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Do please! I hope you love it as much as so many of us :)

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Stranger is not only, IMO, the best drama ever, but one of the best TV shows ever filmed. In any language, in any country.
That’s how I feel about it.
There are miles of distance from this drama in my top list to the second one. Miles.

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Damn all the praise from here/online is something else! Don't want to deviate too much away from ITR here, but one ? what's the second drama after Stranger?

ITR and Stranger both have a group of people leading something that marks whatever goal they are doing. There, I added a comment connecting the 2 shows lol.

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I have difficulties choosing the second but it will be The light in your eyes / Be Melodramatic / A poem a day / Just between lovers.

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Hahaha - thanks for making the connect between the two shows! lest people think we are hijacking the comments wall unnecessarily.

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@pickleddragon and @soulsearch12
Since you guys mentioned My Ajusshi, I highly recommend to read its thread in soompi, since it is full of wonderful insights.

There is even another blog with many of those essays and pictures.
I will also leave the link here.

https://forums.soompi.com/topic/408082-drama-2018-my-mister

https://www.google.com/amp/s/givemeslippers.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/buy-me-slippers-i-love-you/amp/

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Thanks for the links - I have seen the latter - I think the site owner/blog author is also a beanie? Will check out the forum too!

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I want to 2nd and third everyone here. Stranger is my favorite kdrama full stop and in my top 5 shows ever. It is perfect from start to finish. There are no plot holes, no empty scenes, no over or under acting. The casting is perfect and more importantly than all that the writing is perfect. The final scene is pitch perfect.

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I wish I could "like" this comment more than once!!! :D

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Their kiss scene at the end was very steamy and hot. I always knew Se-ra would be the one to lead. Also, its so cute how Gong-myung gets flustered every now and then by her. Nana is so lovable in rl, that I'm sure some of that rubs off of on him.

One thing: The side political stuff has been losing me a bit, not b/c its bad but sometimes my mind wanders off when that comes into the focus. I just want Gong-myung to do want he does the best and want he wants to excel at. Again, these two both have trust and respect in each other and that's a very important thing in a relationship!

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Gong-myung and Se-ra were super cute this episode, and I'm glad to see Gong-myung make a move this time. Also now that we're at the halfway point, I think we're starting to see some of the larger plot move with the Smart One City stuff.

Also,,,,,,,,Han-bi and Judo instructor???

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The use of the slo-mo shot, eh. Yeah, I think it's got a lot of people wondering...

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I’m glad that we are getting Hanbi’s background as well.

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Sera - Gongmyung has become my most favorite k-drama couple of recent times, really. And Memorials is one of my favorite rom-coms of all time. Here's hoping the 2nd half is as good, if not greater than, the 1st half. Especially since we have the smooches now. And, Gongmyung's smile & laugh.

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With you in re the second half!!

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Have I already said that I LOVE this show? Because in that case, I'm telling y'all: I LOVE IT (Why do I have the feeling I keep repeating myself?).

Cute chemistry reactions, cute supportive friends, cute confession and cute OTP. This is such a joy to watch.

On the political side, I think it's quite realistic the way SeRa is ignored by all the rest of professional politicians as they don't consider her "one of ours", and it shows how stupid they are. You have someone who is willing to work and help others, you should "attract" her to your side to have her vote. But no, they still prefer to ignore her out of selfish pride. This is so real. I see in everyday life, you just need to turn the news on.

I still hope HeeSoo at some point can change her proud manners to join forces with SeRa and I have the feeling that Mr. Bong has a hidden agenda (maybe it's just the actor and a recent drama in which I didn't trust him). Also, we need to know more about Chairman Jo and GM past and what made their relationship this way. I know adults are always the ones to blame (because adults can not act as children with their children) but I do get a real sad feeling whenever Chairman Jo leads with his son, like he's given up on him because he knows nothing he can do can make his son change his mind.

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Your "one of ours" comment makes me wonder - Se-ra will face this for as long as she remains unaffiliated. She will have to either align with one of the parties, or start one of her own. Of course, I'd like to see the latter happen.

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Usually those "unaffiliated" would tend to stick together because of their common status as "unaffiliated". They'll form alliances as needed and they'll be lumped as the minority bloc. Well, in my country's Congress, that's how it goes.

Hee Soo and Mr. Bong will definitely form an alliance with Sera at some point. I'm guessing on the Smart City issue.

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Yes, that is the case in my part of the world too - they get horse-traded for the sake of building delicate coalitions, or remain in the opposition as minority voices. But they rarely remain unaffiliated for the entirety of their political careers: at some point they fold, and join some side or other. Alternately, they institutionalize their own ideological position. That's what I meant when I said I'd like to see Sera start something of her own.

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Or usually they would go in the list of a party but as "independent". That's also what happens in my country.

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and yes, I agree that of all the folks in the council, Sera is most likely to align with Hee soo and Mr Bong (or, as I like to describe him, the 'radio voice'!).

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This show! I have watched ep 9 and 10 repeatedly since Friday and all the scenes where Se ra and Gong myun are together since ep 1, because I am so happy and proud of them! 🎆🎈🎇🎉🎊

They are making the best OTP of this year indeed, and I love how healthy and comfortable they are with each other!
That kiss at the end of this episode, wow, made me feel something steamy!!!
And I tell you, normally I don't feel romance because in real life I know by heart men are not good, at least most of them. But of course... here is Dramaland and the heroes are swoony.
I loved this episode and I really envy Se ra for being so confident.
Episodes before Gong myung asked how come secretary Min dated her for 9 years, as if he was crazy for falling for her, but here you are, dummy! You also fell for her really bad.
Lol😂

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K-drama leads esp. male leads don't exist in real life. I watched a video where Koreans reacted to K-drama love scenes/romantic scenes and where like no way is this realistic/occur in real life. They did say the flirting scene using their arms in Romance is a Bonus Book was realistic.

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Ohh i have to rewatch romance is a bonus book!

And yes! Exactly! You will never find in real life men like those awesome MLs in dramaland... except sometimes you can also find jerks or losers in dramaland and they are closer to RL, but again... a Gong muyng in real life??? Hardly doubt it. And if he has that nice personality, he is not handsome. And suppose he is normal (like, I believe the actor playing Gong myung is more of an average face looking guy and not gorgeous like Lee Jeong suk, just to give an example), then he won't be single or most likely, he won't have the proper emotional and moral core, in order to date you. Or he has already a child he has abandoned before, for whatever reason, or he has a decease! LOL...
But again, something won't be ok and you won't have such a healthy nice love story, because it's real life.
Suppose you have it for a while, the nice man and nice love story, he will cheat later.
Suppose he won't cheat, but he will get bored and leave you, in order to be with another woman.
Or maybe he will always have this nice attitude and seems to be a perfect husband and family man, but years later you will find horrible secrets that makes you want to divorce and erase him from your memory.
So, yeah, I know drama heroes are totally fiction, but I am ok with that. That's why we watch kdramas anyway, to experience second hand what we can never have in real life 😂

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Here's the link btw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvltHD80Qg8

Unfortunately the bad guys in K-dramas do exist, sometimes I'm like ew/ugh and then I read certain cases like the nthroom case in S.K and revolt.

Gong-myung is a secret softie. He just needed to take time/trust someone to break down his wall. The actor who plays him seems like such a sweetie in rl. The actor in Psychopath Diary (the main) said that Park is a kind person who is pure. His gf is so lucky!!

Lol yep that's the right attitude to have! Its good that you're aware that its fictional/pure entertainment in the end! It's a good way to re-wind from the stress/hardship of real life. Also the handsome/attractive men aren't too shabby either ;)

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You have no idea how much it irks me whenever Min-Jae says he hopes Se-Ra can finish her term without problems. In other words: do not act out and stay quiet until then. Maybe it is me, but that guy can imply the meanest things, and I am not even sure he is aware that he is doing it. Telling her that she needs a party or else people will keep looking down on her…have you looked in a mirror lately?😤 It is a good thing both Sera and Gong-Myung called him out this episode.

Calm and controlled villains/antagonists are usually more dangerous and interesting, and I have been enjoying Ahn Nae-sang’s portrayal for that reason. Until this episode I found it at times hard to read his expressions or motivations, and downright infuriating in a good way how he would calmly manipulate people and situations, upsetting his son Gong-Myung in the process.

How I cackled at the beginning of the episode when Chairman Jo suddenly exploded.😆 Se-Ra and Gong-Myung finally made him lose (his) control, and the icing on the cake was Gong-Myung giving him a taste of his own medicine. For once Gong-Myung got to upset his father by defending his actions in that deliciously calm demeanor and not the other way around. He also indirectly threatened his father not to mess with Se-Ra! 🥰

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Yup, mostly the smooches.

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That was a long steamy kiss, hello or should I say anyoung. I'm glad we are here and get to see more cute shenanigans.

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Ahhhhh im really just enjoyong this drama bec i love it so muuuuuuch!!!!

I love Heesoo but I need for them to get along, fast! I cant wait to see them kick ass!

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Yes to Heesoo-Sera ganging up! I've been trying to conjure up scenarios as to how they could do it. Whatever it is, when it happens, if it happens, it will be fun.

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Right! Looking at how Heesoo is also an aggresive 2nd FL! Lololol the chaos🤣

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I love that the show didn't edit out and didn't mask the kissing sounds when they kissed. It made the kisses real somehow.

After that steamy kiss, I am expecting a gratuitous shirtless scene in the coming episodes. 😉

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Lol, same. Reminds me of Search:WWW hot office scene.

As for the shirtless scene, why do I've a feeling that our Seo Gong-myung is hiding a six pack somewhere? 😉

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So, is that the explanation of Gong Myung's mysterious Cheshire Cat smile last time at Sunset Land? He didn't know how to react or what expression to make, so he smiled?
Loved their kiss. The smooching noises.... hee hee. That's when I smiled like the Cheshire Cat.

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Is anyone else a bit peeved by Woo Young? At first it was her put down of Sera's decision to run for office. I chalked it up to her being the "realistic" one in the group and she did ultimately come thru and support her. But then her repeated comment about how Sera should get back with Minjae really grinds my gears because it's not just a matter of being "realistic" anymore, but rather how can she push her friend to be with someone who so fundamentally disrespects her??! I don't know if she says this in jest or what, but it's really weird.

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i replayed those last 10 minutes a hundred times. probably the best confession and kiss i've ever seen in a kdrama. they're definitely my favourite couple of the year and honestly, they've probably cracked my top 3 of all time. and its only episode 9. wow.

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