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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First Impressions: Let’s Eat

Let’s Eat
식샤를 합시다
(Nov 2013 – Mar 2014)


who’s in it
Lee SooKyung (My Country Calls, Soulmate)
Yoon DooJoon (All My Love, Iris 2)
Yoon SoHee (The Blade and the Petal)
Shim HyungTak (My Daughter SeoYoung, You’re Great, Really!)
Lee DoYun
Jang WonYoung (Miss Korea, King of Dramas)
Jung SooYoung (City Hall, Fantasy Couple)


what’s it about
Another trendy cable drama taking stab at capturing the lonely city doings of Seoul professionals. This show, however, actually does it well! Oopsie, already opining. Sorry, moving forward with the summary: the collected urbanites in TVN’s latest quirky-lonely-people drama are a bowl of mismatched ingredients, a bimbim of differently seasoned people, if you will, ranging from the quasi-happily married couple to an independent divorcee to the freewheeling singles. What do they all have in common? They work, play, and live in the same backyard, which really, is a pretty accurate depiction of anybody’s daily routine and foot travel.

Lee SooKyung is our titular character, she’s in her early thirties, divorced, and working at a law firm for a real jerk of a boss, a man who is an uptight, insecure, and emotionally abusive lawyer played by a handsome Shim HyungTak. You see, Lee SooKyung’s not discontent with her life, but she’s not exactly happy either. The indigestible lessons of living alone in a dog-eat-dog society has knocked and hammered her personality into an impenetrable fortress of solitude. Nowadays, she prefers to keep to herself because she doesn’t get hurt that way (well, she does still get bruised, but she always has on hand a few candy bars to mend the small daily hurts). She has learned that she can only depend on herself, her clever Pomeranian roomie Mr. Bara (named after Marxist revolutionary and counterculture icon Che Guevara), and of course, her favorite food blog ShikSha. This is the entirety of her world. And despite living in a building full of people, she wants nothing to do with her neighbors, doesn’t even know their names (ain’t that a truth!). She only wants to exist quietly and be left alone, and of course, eat alone—that is, until bubbly and naïve Yoon SoHee moves in next door and forces the reluctant Lee SooKyung to come out of her protective turtle shell.

Through the brazen disruption from her neighbors into the routine of her mundane life, 805 opens her heart and her dining schedule to the residents of 804 and 806, possibly saying good-bye to lonely dining forever, and maybe even opening herself up to a new love.

It appears this show’s priority, first and foremost, is about HD zoom and slow-mo glorification of Korean food, and the self-absorbed gluttonous notion that it is not shameful to devote one’s whole life energy to deciding the next glorious meal—that good food leads to all else, love, friends, happiness, to absolutely everything. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, food does! A happy stomach is a happy heart! How very Korean. And what a great message! Ha. I already love this show! In the most simple sum up, this one is basically about an attractive cast who create their own urban family. There’s blogging, eating, bickering, and just in case you think the show isn’t trying hard enough to keep your attention, there’s a bit of a murder mystery as well.

I mean, hell, talk about a show that speaks my language.

commitment 
16 episodes
The crappy is that this show airs only once a week on Thursdays.

network
TVN

first impressions
In summary, the show does sound kind of boring. People dealing with everyday life problems and eating their feelings? No time traveling? No superpowers? No emphasis on pretty flower boys? What’s going on here? But, despite it sounding pretty dry considering the fireworks most other modern dramas have up their sleeves, I decided to check it out anyway because 1) I try to check out most kdramas as I’ve learned you just never know which one will be a diamond in the rough, 2) I tend to love dramas about food, and 3) idol-actor Yoon DooJoon has proven to be a naturally charming personality onscreen, well, in a comedic context, mostly from what I’ve seen of him in All My Love.

To my delight, right off, this foodie show really gave me a refreshing buzz. It feels quirky but not so much so that it spills into overly gimmicky and contrived territory. The producing in the show does occasionally feel like it is trying to be almost too-too-clever, but thankfully the characters themselves are so fun and interesting, it is more a slight nuisance than a bother. There is a synergy between the characters that makes for a nice balance of charm. While the plot does seem slim, the conflicts in the show still manage to feel rich as they are mostly gathered through the combustion of clashing personalities and are not dependent on any real external force or plot antics. The show really keeps the pace nicely moving even without any real motive besides following people around while they grow closer through eating.

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