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Monday, February 11, 2013

A Special Recap Pt 2 of 2:
The Guksoo Loveline: Episodes 6-10
I Live in Cheongdam-dong

The Guksoo Loveline 
from I Live in Cheongdam-dong
Without a doubt, recapping is insanely time consuming so I admire and appreciate all those who selflessly dedicate hours upon hours of precious personal time to do it for other drama fans. Don’t worry, this is not some preening self-congratulatory intro ^^ , the opposite in fact. I’m a total fail in managing my time so this is my second/last recap post for Cheongdam-dong. Sechubie and I probably should never have dared to reach for the stars! But you know how it goes, you and a friend are totally loving a drama, and after a few drinks, totally think you can do anything. Yeah, it was a drunken delusion. Anyhow, I will go ahead and post the episode 6-10 recaps because it had already been completed awhile ago. Now I’ve finally edited it, and will throw it out there.

Episode 6

JiEun is at work at Piace when her mother’s VIP group arrives. HyeJa’s voice over clues us into the guilt she feels about creating a situation where she has forced her daughter to endure the humiliation of her extravagant lies. Instead of the truth, that her daughter had been fired from her hotel job, HyeJa has told her new rich friends that JiEun has just finished her studies and is only helping out a friend at Piace until she opens her own place. In fact, HyeJa feels unhappy about the whole situation, including her own pathetic self, as she feigns a lack of appetite and ends up drinking black coffee on an empty stomach because it is the cheapest thing on the menu. JiEun watches from the restaurant bar also feeling sorry for her mother.

When Mr. Manhwa Room walks in, Uncle WooHyun comments, “You’re late.” The implication being that this boy comes every day, early on the dot. Mr. Manhwa Room replies that he was a little busy today, which WooHyun finds amusing…how busy could an idle person really be? Mr. Manhwa Room scoots a younger kid out of “his spot” and promptly reclines with the intention to take a nap. “Why do you come to a manhwa reading room if you aren’t going to read?” the student wants to know. Manhwa Room simply replies, “Aren’t you going to read?” In other words, mind your own business. WooHyun eyes Manhwa Room curiously from the side. It is a rather good question, actually, why does this guy spend so much time at the shop, even when he’s not reading anything?

Suddenly, Mr. Manhwa Room jumps to his feet and paces to the back of the room, seemingly absorbed in thought, he starts humming notes to himself…then runs back to his seat, furiously scribbling all over a manhwa book. WooHyun is very understanding about the young man defacing store property: “You’re a musician? Then why do you always loaf around here all the time like a bum?” Manhwa Room says he’s waiting around until the melodies in his head clamor to come out.

At Piace, JiEun realizes the more she gets to know SangYeob, the more he makes her feel useless; she gets disheartened at the impressive circles SangYeob runs in as now he’s helping organize a reception for some dignitaries. SangYeob wants to go with JungMin to check out a sauce his mother recommended from another restaurant, but JungMin suggests taking JiEun instead since a chef can’t just vacate the kitchen on a whim.

The next day, JiEun comes to work especially dolled up in preparation for her excursion with SangYeob. JungMin smiles knowingly as JiEun practically skips out.

When she comes downstairs, SangYeob is waiting at the curb. He appears a little surprised by her appearance, either by how pretty she’s presented herself, or more likely, wondering why she’s so dressed up for what is essentially a work excursion. He apologizes for making her leave the restaurant early; he suggests they stop by a florist first. JiEun optimistically misunderstands and says he doesn’t need to buy her flowers for such a small thing! Awkwardly, but as politely as possible, SangYeob amends that he meant they should select a centerpiece for the tables…he kind of grins at her obvious fluster, but thankfully, she doesn’t see his smirk as she’s already climbing into the car.

At the florist, JiEun is diligently scribbling all the names of the blooms selected when SangYeob shoves them toward her. She looks up with hopeful eyes, but he says, “Why don’t you carry it? It’s a little, you know, for a man to be carrying around flowers.” He’s pretty matter of fact and JiEun nods, hiding her disappointment well enough, but it’s clear she’s feeling like just another hired hand tagging along after a client (which is exactly what it is) instead of the date-like outing she had imagined.

Born and bred a gentleman, SangYeob opens the car door for her. The romance of the moment isn’t lost on JiEun, or on several female passerbys who watch the display of chivalry enviously.

At the restaurant, SangYeob orders two of the dish they’d come to research, but orders only one glass of wine. When the waitress asks why just the one glass, he explains it is because he will be driving JiEun home. Even the waitress mentally swoons with JiEun, going as far as shooting JiEun an envious glance as she walks away. In fact, all throughout dinner, JiEun is very aware that she’s getting envious glances from every female customer in the vicinity. JiEun is getting an idealized taste of what it might be like to date a prince charming like SangYeob, what it would feel like to be a Cheongdam-dong princess. You can tell she likes feeling special, even enjoys the other women eyeing her jealously. Does she like SangYeob or does she just like the idea of him? Since she knows next to nothing about him as a person, it’s probably safe to say she likes the idea of him more than the actual man.

SangYeob, on the other hand, is all business. All he cares about is whether or not JiEun is able to figure out the ingredients for the sauce by taste. She’s kind of sure, so he tries to pass off more of his own steak onto her plate, to which she balks in embarrassment. After all, what is more unfeminine than a girl who eats a lot? Heh.

At the reading room, Mr. Manhwa Room is showcasing for WooHyun and SangHoon his new scribed song, and it’s a sad sounding ditty about the long lonely journey of coming home (“I fall asleep as soon as the door opens, but when I wake up there’s no one there”). The uncles are appropriately impressed by his display of guitar-strumming, deep-voiced crooning talent. 

At that same moment, somewhere across town, JiEun is traveling her own long journey home in SangYeob’s car. As she smells the bouquet of flowers that are not really hers to smell, ending a date that wasn’t ever really a date, she watches the glittering and expensive lights of Cheongdam-dong pass by. It had indeed been a great date—in pretense.

JiEun asks SangYeob if she can keep the bouquet, she wants to keep it because it is pretty. SangYeob is ambivalent, “Sure, let’s just say it’s a present then. After all, I did intrude on some of your time and all.” After declining a ride all the way home, she walks with the flowers in her hand. JiEun walking the streets of Cheongdam-dong alone is a good metaphor for the loneliness she always feels there. She wanted to keep the flowers at least, she thinks to herself, because the flowers were attainable. A man like SangYeob, however, will never be hers no matter how much she longs for him.

While JiEun spent an energy-sapping day with SangYeob, her uncle WooHyun spent the day bonding with their most loyal customer, and also becomes his biggest fan. He is totally delighted that his comic book was defaced by someone clearly destined for greatness. It’ll be worth a lot of money one day, he thinks.

When JiEun gets home, WooHyun excitedly shares the news of Mr. Manhwa’s talent as a singer songwriter, that he’s prone to getting moments of musical brilliance. JiEun scoffs at the notion, she’s more worried at what HyeJa will say when sees the writing all over the manhwa. Even as they discuss him, Mr. Manhwa Room jumps up again to go stand in the corner. When he sits back down, the same student from earlier complains, “Mister, you shouldn’t come back until after the smell fades a little!” Mr. Manhwa Room smiles, “Oh, you’re pretty quick!” The other grumbles, “It’s not like it’s only once or twice.” JiEun shoots WooHyun a “oh yeah, he’s brilliant, alright” look.

Also: HyeJa struggles to keep up appearances with her VIP group, including lying about having claustrophobia as a reason why she doesn’t often ride in cars. BoHee loses an actress gig because of her petite bust size and considers breast augmentation.

Episode 7

As JiEun ushers a couple out of the restaurant, SangYeob is rushing in, but pauses to whisper very familiarly to JiEun, “Dress warmly before going outside, its really cold.” He shoots her his trademark grin before breezing by. The female customer who had been leaving takes a long glance backwards to check out SangYeob, and JiEun knowingly reads her mind, “Yes, I’m sure the guy next to you suddenly seems more like a squid.”

JiEun’s cell is ringing and SangYeob nosily picks it up to see who’s calling. The Caller ID reads: “Choi Daechi”. JiEun quickly grabs it out of his hand. SangYeob thinks the name is quite unique. JiEun’s voice over tells us it isn’t a person’s name, but actually a portmanteau for describing the ideal guy she can date, a guy who is the “The Ultimate Standard.”

Later, JiEun calls her friend to relay the news that NamGi oppa from their past is getting married, a guy she used to think was the primo guy. She’s surprised by how much she’s changed as looking back, she can’t believe she used to think that oppa was the ideal. Her standards must have really changed since moving to Cheongdam-dong. When her friend asks if she’s met anyone cool at the restaurant, JiEun tells her it doesn’t even matter, as even if there was someone, she would have zilcho in common with such a guy, so there’d be no chance of landing him.

At that exact moment, Mr. Manhwa Room snickers. She stomps over there and snaps,  “Why are you eavesdropping on other people’s conversations?” Mr. Manhwa Room replies innocently, “Who me?” JiEun doesn’t believe he was just laughing at his comics, and demands to see what’s so funny. He pulls a wacky face and she involuntarily laughs.

Mr. Manhwa Room wants to know why she keeps picking on him when he’s minding his own business—does she like him or something? The other customers who overhear the exchange snicker. JiEun can’t believe the nerve of this guy! All of these loser men are nowhere near her ideal type, yet they are poking fun at her?

Unless she gets shot in the head—no even if she gets shot a million times over by a machine gun—she would never get tangled up with men like them! (Oh, never say never, JiEun, it’s like challenging the fates to prove you wrong!)

The next day, JiEun is outside Piace when SangYeob pulls up looking for Chef JungMin, who is out at a seminar until three. “Is it busy today?” he asks. JiEun leans seductively over his car, thinking he’s hitting on her, “And why exactly are you curious if I’m busy or not?” A pretty female passenger who had initially been out of view leans forward and smiles at JiEun. SangYeob explains, “Ah, it’s not that, if the restaurant is not too busy, I wanted to make a reservation for the whole place.” As always, she thinks, mentally kicking herself, this guy sure knows how to knock her back in her place!

When JiEun tells JungMin that SangYeob wants to borrow the whole restaurant for the night, his noona wonders if there’s a girl he’s trying to impress these days. JungMin says she’s got to see all of his past girlfriends that way. That night, SangYeob brings a crowd of people. Turns out, it’s actually a farewell party for a childhood friend he knew while going to school in Russia when his dad was there. EunJoo, the girl, had been learning ballet there at the time. In fact, she’s actually a prima ballerina. “Isn’t she totally beautiful?” JungMin asks, innocent of JiEun’s interest in SangYeob and the constant comparison she does with herself and his string of girls.

In fact, JungMin pulls SangYeob aside asking if he’s into the childhood friend, but SangYeob shrugs that off, “Please, she’s like a little sister to me.” But as JiEun watches SangYeob with EunJo, she concludes that while SangYeob is her ideal man, his ideal girl would be more like this perfect ballerina.

As the dinner progresses, JungMin and SangYeob tell JiEun to go on home, since they don’t even know how long the private party will last. They are being considerate of her time, but JiEun can’t help but feel like she’s being pushed out of their elite social circle. SangYeob even plays the piano in EunJoo’s honor. JungMin reminisces about when they all went to Russia to see her debut performance, complimenting, “You were so pretty that time!” In response, SangYeob calls out affectionately, “EunJoo-ah, you’re still very pretty!” The ballerina laughs prettily, “Oh, oppa!” JiEun leaves feeling lousy.

A bunch of kids want to read the next chapter of a popular manhwa Killer X, but it’s been loaned out. HyeJa tells them that it’s nothing special, just about some woman who wants to get revenge on Killer X, but ends up falling in love with him instead. Feeling sorry for the kids who are really bummed, she starts to reenact the manhwa for them. As she’s telling the story, she decides she needs an assistant to act out some interactive scenes with her, for clarification. 

She calls over Mr. Manhwa Room to help her play a scene. She tells him to put his arms around her, to Mr. Manhwa Room’s surprise. He’s so awkward, HyeJa asks, “Haven’t you ever dated a girl?” They start acting the scenes out with emotion and really get into character, putting on a stellar performance.

HyeJa and Mr. Manhwa Room bond over their impromptu stage show.

JiEun is back with Poopie on the rooftop, giving the dog a life lesson. “Don’t be greedy. When you see something delicious I know it feels like you’ll be able to eat it always. But that’s not the case.” Basically, she tells the dog, just because you chase after something, doesn’t mean it will become yours.

She ends the night taking out the trash with SangHoon, who spent the day being mistaken as a gangster and murderer because his barber cut his hair more than the exact amount he specified. There is an exposed kitchen blade in the garbage and SangHoon holds it up while trying to find something to wrap it in.

While driving home from his party, SangYeob sees a criminal type holding a knife pointed at JiEun. 

Frantic with fear for JiEun’s life, SangYeob grabs JiEun’s hand and makes a run for it. SangHoon, on the other hand, thinks a crazy person is trying to kidnap JiEun and gives chase.

Eventually JiEun realizes what is going on and starts laughing.

In bed, she can’t help but giggle at the ridiculous situation, admiring the hand that was held by SangYeob. Even if he is out of her league, if he cares enough to be worried that she’s being stabbed by criminals, then she stands a chance with him!

Also: HyeJa is the acknowledged master of the manhwa room. BoHee goes to join the VIP club as well. SangHoon gets a his haircut too short and spends the day getting stopped by police officers mistaking him for a gangster…something he’s accustomed.

Episode 8

SangYeob (who now has the honor of being labeled “The Ultimate Standard” on her cell phone) calls JiEun out of the blue asking if she’s any good at billiards, specifically Four Ball? She says she knows a little Pocket Ball. SangYeob is a little disappointed, he wanted to improve his game, but they make plans to play later anyway. As she air-practices, she thinks, “Ah, men really go for a woman’s neck line.” Trying to be neck-sexy by angling her head, she pulls a muscle instead. But only a moment later, SangYeob calls back to cancel, saying he found someone who can really play a killer game of Four Ball, and promises they’ll play Pocket Ball some other time.

When JiEun explains the plan fall through, JungMin explains that her old pal SangYeob is the kind of person that can’t stand doing anything by himself, even eating by himself. He’ll even eat with random strangers just so he won’t be alone.

When JiEun gets home, her aunt immediately ditches shop and JiEun is forced to sit at the front desk. When she scolds a bunch of kids, they call her ahjumma (older woman). She takes offense and throws her shoe at them, hitting Mr. Manhwa Room in the head as he comes in.

She quickly changes to house slippers and denies that it was her who threw the shoe. The look he gives her is shrewd and challenging. (I dunno, I think JiEun underestimates Mr. Manhwa Room’s ability to play games)

He knows she’s lying so, calling her bluff, takes the shoe and makes a big show of jamming his big foot into it, to her mute annoyance.

When JungMin asks JiEun to deliver a food order, she initially balks. They aren’t a chachangmyun shop (black bean noodle), why would they do delivery? When JungMin says it’s for SangYeob, JiEun quickly amends, “Of course we must.”  When she gets there, she’s quite mesmerized by the image of him at his desk. She acknowledges that there is something amazingly attractive about a man who is absorbed in his own work…but that doesn’t stop her from letting out a big yawn.

SangYeob looks up at the exact moment she pulls yet another unattractive face.

After setting up the food, she says she will take the plates back when he’s done. She slyly confirms that his staff is gone, and remembering JungMin’s comment about SangYeob’s inability to eat alone, she thinks smugly that it must have been his plan all along to eat with her, hence the delivery. “I’ll be generous and eat with you today,” she thinks happily. SangYeob does note her big smile, but has no clue as to her thoughts. She’s about to take the seat across from him when he announces toward the doorway, “You made it.” JiEun does well to cover for herself and slides out of the way. Since she promised to clean up, she’s forced to stand there and watch them eat.

That evening, SangYeob’s at Piace going through his contact list trying to find someone to go out with for a drink. She grumbles behind him, “Why don’t you just go home if you can’t find someone to hang out with?” Snarkily, “Why don’t you ask them to go to the bathroom with you, too?” Despite all her big talk, when he asks her to go out as his last resort, she accepts, but does manage to throw out, “But I’m going to order something expensive.”

“Is it the loneliness you can’t stand?” JiEun asks SangYeob once settled over drinks. “Nope,” he says. Then why can’t he eat or drink alone? “If I eat alone, it’s boring,” he replies simply, as if that explains it all. JiEun says that is the definition of loneliness, she further points out that’s exactly why he goes around dating so many women. SangYeob denies that’s true. He argues that all the girls he meets are each amazing, their best trait being that they don’t expect anything from him (player alert!). They don’t care if he’s late, or if he doesn’t do special events for them, so in his opinion, there are so many amazingly cool women in this world, why should he have to just pick one?

JiEun asks if all these women know he’s not monogamous. “How could they not?” SangYeob asks seriously. “Can’t you tell just by looking at me? When you look at me, does it looks like I’m that chaste?” Then SangYeob throws back the psychological evaluation by saying when he looks at her, he knows exactly the measure of her. She’s the kind of girl that will end a flirtation with a broken nose–as in, his broken nose.

Understandably, JiEun doesn’t much appreciate SangYeob’s assessment of her. She promptly gets drunk, and as we’ve quickly learned, the girl tends to guzzle like a sailor when depressed. “I am not the kind of woman who breaks mens noses!” she defends herself. Since she’s clearly upset by his words, SangYeob says placatingly that he’ll take back what he said about her, but she’s all “no, no, no” as she wags a finger at him. No need, he doesn’t need to recant, why? Because she’s a cool girl! She’s pretty sloshed, slurring her words and thoughts. To SangYeob’s amusement, she starts to babble incoherently and too honestly, saying she’s been told many times she looks like Shim EunHa (famous Korean actress), to which he chuckles. She slurs, “What? You don’t believe me?” As she continues to ramble, she talks about her popularity when she was young and almost reveals her real hometown (she slaps herself mid-sentence to stop herself).

She then reaches out and places her hand on his…then recoils in horror at her bold display of skinship, “Oh no! Accident! Accident! It was an accident!” SangYeob laughs, “What was? Your grabbing my hand?” Then she almost blurts out that he’s the primo standard of man. Finally, as SangYeob continues to regard her in patient amusement, she ends lamely, “I’ve been told a lot that I look like Shim EunHa. Oh, did I already say this? I did!” Then promptly passes out.

SangYeob drives JiEun home. Fortunately, she’s cognizant enough to decline a ride to her door and stumbles through the streets by herself. When she gets home, there is a prettily wrapped gift waiting for her at the front desk. It is addressed to the “Manhwa Room’s Young Lady.” She smugly thinks it must be from an admirer, but it’s actually from the Manhwa Room guy. He’s potted a plant in her shoes! “Why that—!” she hisses.

Also: All the members of HyeJa’s VIP club has had their homes broken into…and HyeJa ends up saying she’s been robbed too, as a badge of honor.

Episode 9

JiEun comes home tired from her day job at Piace, and of course, Mr. Manhwa Room is still there, the last customer lingering. She asks him to please leave so they can close up. He counters it isn’t closing time. “If it wasn’t for you, we would have closed a long time ago,” she informs him tartly. He argues that he hasn’t been there very long so he doesn’t feel like leaving just yet. She tells him to get an earlier start every day then, “Haven’t you heard? The early bird catches the worm.” He debates with her, “What about the early worm that gets eaten?” She snaps, “That worm was out playing all night long and was on his way home!” He gives in, “You win.” He promises to leave after finishing the comic he’s already reading.

JiEun, despite her cranky attitude, can’t help but notice that the guy is always dressed so lightly despite the cold temperature. “I heard he’s a musician. Do you think he’s short on money?” she asks her Aunt BoHee, who tells her niece to leave him alone, obviously he’s scrimping on funds otherwise why would he borrow manhwa books to read? JiEun murmurs, “That’s a relief, at least he’s not a bum.”

The memory of an old college senior she once dated comes to her mind, as he had also been a pitiful character. He always looked so cold and useless, and she especially recalls that he always had dirty glasses. She dated him for about six months, even lent him some money for tuition, before ultimately breaking up with him. Looking at the Manhwa Room guy makes her remember that old flame.

She watches Mr. Manhwa Room as he yawns too loudly and stretches very melodramatically. “Put on a show, why don’t you,” she says in exasperation, but this time, there is some kindness in her tone.

At Piace, a pitiful salesman comes in trying to sell water purifiers, but he’s not very good at it. Feeling bad for the guy after JungMin firmly declines, JiEun follows him out. She bumps into SangYeob and it’s slightly awkward as she immediately recalls her drunken behavior from the night they went out for drinks. While she’s giving the salesman some suggestions, SangYeob tries to interrupt her, but she cuts him off saying she’s busy at the moment, so whatever it is, tell her later. After listening for a moment to the conversation in process, SangYeob decides to also pitch a suggestion for the salesman.

JiEun thanks SangYeob for his effort, but SangYeob counters it’s him who should be thankful to JiEun, because she sure was putting in a lot of effort to sell those purifiers. Actually, those are owned by a cousin of his, and well, it sure is a problem with that industry being so competitive and all. Flashing a smile, he jaunts away. “What’s with that guy?” she mutters irritably, as again he has made her feel totally inferior and pitiful.

When she goes back in, JungMin says, “Oh, you’re in big trouble, big trouble.” JiEun tells her not to worry, she won’t involve herself with pitiful men anymore and be a pitiful girl by association. No, JungMin says, her zipper is down. She immediately looks at SangYeob’s direction, who calls out gaily, “You said to tell you later!”

Back home, she thinks about the long list of pitiful men she has been attracted to, and realizes that being too nice is an illness in itself, a very serious one at that. She draws a hard line for herself, she will no longer let herself be moved by the pitiful sorts, especially now that she has a standard to uphold. When a customer comments to her casually, “You must only work nights,” she immediately tells him to cut off any conversations with her. After all, if she locks eyes with one of these losers, before she knows it, she’ll be falling in love with one without even realizing it! (Well, she definitely knows herself well!) That’s how love works, she tells herself. Instead of wanting to gouge her eyes out after it’s too late, it’s better not to even match eyes with any of them now.

She falls asleep at the desk and startles awake when Mr. Manhwa Room comes in with a gigantic sneeze. “That’s what I thought; I was wondering why you weren’t here today,” she thinks. 

As she gets up to shelf books, she tangles paths with Mr. Manhwa Room. She tells him, “I’m asking this as a favor, but can you walk with your head turned away from me or keep from locking eyes with me? What if we grow an attachment or something, since you don’t miss a single day coming here?”

He tells her to walk with her head turned away. When she keeps arguing with him, he looks away from her, pretending not to hear, which makes her even angrier. He says cheekily, “You said not to look at you.” She’s definitely met her snark match in him, he’s almost as juvenile as she is, or at least knows how to rile her up. She continues to eye him in annoyance. When he asks her if he can order ramen, she gleefully tells him they’re all out.

But despite her decision to to stop meddling, she can’t help but notice that Mr. Manhwa Room keeps sniffling. She notes that he’s dressed only in a thin pullover, and sheesh, he’s not even wearing socks. She can’t help herself, she storms over, and to his confusion, yells at him, why does he walk around in the cold dressed like that? Does he not have socks? Does he want her to buy him a pair of socks? That’s why his cold won’t go away! Mr. Manhwa Room isn’t sure what just happened…why he was just scolded by the Manhwa Room Young Lady?

When JiEun reads one of her mother’s poetry books, she has an epiphany. The reason why she feels so sorry for the pitiful people is because they are extensions of herself. Her pitiful ex-flame with the dirty eyeglasses reminded her of her father; the pitiful salesman today reminded her of herself, feeling lost in Cheongdam-dong…and even Mr. Manhwa Room is like her. In fact, he isn’t just like her, he is her. She promises herself she will never see herself as pitiful again. “I’m okay,” she tells herself, patting her heart comfortingly.

Well, well, well…look what we got here. We get a little more insight into the young man JiEun is fighting so hard to resist—Mr. Manhwa Room walks through a really swanky and modern pad. Despite the posh surroundings, he seems glum. What he is, besides obviously very wealthy, is lonely.

His home looks expensive, but it’s dark and sparse. Everything feels cold and empty, just like the fridge. He sits on his bed and sighs. A moment later, he swings his jacket back on and leaves.

And walks back into the cluttered and cozy, well-lived in manhwa room, this time with a bag of freshly purchased ramen so that JiEun can cook it for him. (Hmmmm)

In the kitchenette, very cutely, JiEun goes back and forth on whether or not she should give him the rice she’s scooped into a bowl as extra service. Adding the rice to the ramen would be like adding a pinch of caring and she’s trying to fight her own instinct to mother hen him. She serves the ramen without the rice. But then can’t help herself, goes back to grab it, and slaps the bowl of rice on his tray a second later. It’s an illness, she chides herself in disgust. You are not pitiful, you are not pitiful. You can stop caring after other people! But that’s what makes her JiEun, ultimately, she cannot stop being a kind person.

As he eats, he hiccups. (And we all know what hiccuping men in kdramas tends to indicate…)

Also: HyeJa uses one particular woman in her VIP group as a ruler to measure whether or not her behavior is proper. However, she becomes someone to follow when she impresses their poetry teacher.

Episode 10

SangYeob and company are discussing the best place for their friend to take a girl to set the mood for romance. When JiEun is asked to weigh in on SangYeob’s unconventional suggestion, JiEun admits she’s never been taken there. SangYeob, a little presumptuously (and snidely), tells her that her past boyfriends must have all lacked imagination if all her dates were just movies and meals. JiEun gets way too affected by the things SangYeob says, as back at home, she’s feeling low again because of SangYeob’s offhanded dig. She thinks back only to realize that, indeed, movies and meals were the extent of her dates. Did men think her the kind of girl they didn’t need to treat with any imagination? Those jerks.

Mr. ManHwa Room comes up while she’s angonizing over her boring dates wanting to order some ramen (fyi, instant noodles). She replies rotely, “We don’t sell ramen.” He replies dryly, “Is the menu just for show?” When she snaps that it is, he laughs that they must be feeling rich, “Your belly must be quite full.” She mutters, “Yes, my belly is very full.” He giggles, “How many months along are you?” She rolls her eyes at his juvenile humor.

Her phone suddenly rings and it’s “The Ultimate Standard” SangYeob. He asks, “If you have some time, do you want to come out?” She plays a little hard to get. “If you’re busy, nevermind,” he says. She plays it cool, saying she’s not busy, sure, why not? Where? Once off the phone, she’s in a panic to find someone to cover her shift at the manhwa room. No one is willing to do it, and JiEun threatens that’ll she’ll just leave it unmanned then!

Of course, she can’t just leave the store unattended. She sweetly cozies up to their most frequent customer. “Excuse me, but do you think you could watch the store for a little bit?” She tells him he can eat all the ramen he wants, read all the manhwa he wants for free. He snits, “Do you get paid in pasta at your restaurant?” He wants five dollars an hour. When she haggles that she’ll give him four, he bumps his required wage to six. JiEun gives in, “Fine, five.” Mr. Manhwa Room also stipulates, “For every half hour past three hours, another five.” She grumps in agreement.

“There’s not even a word of gratitude?” he calls after her as she hurries away. She sings back indifferently, “Thanks.”

She quickly pretties up and runs out. Mr. Manhwa Room frowns after her.

She dashes there…and arrives huffing and puffing. SangYeob tells her she’s made it just as he was about to leave. Then he glances at her outfit. “Will you be able to climb over dressed like that?” He grabs her hand, pulling her toward the wall. She balks, “Why go over?” You’ve never been here at night, have you? It’s killer. “Then let’s take the front door!” she resists. It’s closed, that’s why. “What if we get caught by the cops while going over?” SangYeob shrugs nonchalantly, “Then we’ll go to the police station.” JiEun thinks this is ridiculous. He shrugs, “Fine, then let’s just go. I was only trying to show you something nice.” But JiEun likes the idea of leaving even less than breaking the law. She tells him to give her a lift as she tries to climb over. (It’s difficult to say at this point if SangYeob is romantic, or just a playboy jerk. Hm?) He crouches to lift her and pretends to struggle, and jokingly pants, “How many kilos do you weight?” (Ok, jerk it is!) JiEun is already quite unsettled by this unusual “date” and SangYeob is enjoying her discomfort too much.

Once over the wall, it really is a beautiful sight. The park is lit up and peaceful, in a word: romantic. “This guy is a total player,” she thinks to herself. (No kidding!) She also notes it is the perfect location for a kiss! SangYeob talks about how different the feel is at a park during the day and at night. He remarks that it is in this kind of a setting that one can really figure out if two people are on the same wavelength, if they can feel the same thing while standing in such a place.

“What kind of feeling do you get here?” she asks. SangYeob says you can feel the passage of history here, even hear the echoes of Empress Myeongseong’s girlish laughter, who learned how to ice skate at this very place. “Really? Really?” JiEun gasps, “All I knew about her was that she declared herself Joseon’s empress!”

As they jump back out of the park, SangYeob tells her to meet more interesting men in the future, ones that are bursting with creative ideas for dates. JiEun says she’ll buy drinks since he showed her such a cool thing tonight. SangYeob says he already has an appointment and instead of offering her a ride all the way home, tells her he’ll take her to a taxi stop. What is truly unbelievable is that as soon as she turns her back, his flashy Mercedes does a U-turn and saddles up to the opposite curve to pick up another girl!

JiEun can’t believe it. He brings this other girl to the exact same place (who is played by Jo BoAh of Shut Up Flower Boy Band). JiEun watches as this girl playfully goes along with the adventure that SangYeob has prepared, not worried about cops, as JiEun had been. JiEun thinks regretfully, “That girl has the sense to appreciate what a man has prepared for her.” (Um, hello, who cares! What about the part where he uses the same move on two girls on the same night!?) This girl is wearing a skirt and her wall-climbing endeavor is definitely more girly and flirtatious, and seemingly quite enjoyable for SangYeob, too. JiEun wishes she’d worn a skirt, too.

Instead of leaving, JiEun climbs back over the wall herself. She watches as this other “date” gets an extra surprise. SangYeob has prepared a necklace for the girl, hanging it on a low branch. It seems as if the night had always been meant for Girl #2, and his visit earlier with JiEun had only been charity to a girl who’d never been on a proper date. Or a trial run. (Definitely mega jerk!)

She calls his cell phone while watching them, and gets even more upset when he checks who’s calling, and ignores it. (Double down mega jerk!) Right after, she gets a call from Mr. Manhwa Room, reminding her that his three hour shift is almost up, where is she?

JiEun is understandably bitter about the night’s turn of events and holds a flashlight (stolen from park security) at the couple. She pretends to be a guard, successfully interrupting an intimate moment…only to be caught by a real security guard a moment later. The guy is pretty annoyed she stole his flashlight! She beams him in the face with the light and makes a run for it.

When she gets back home, Mr. Manhwa Room is impatiently waiting to leave. Since she was half an hour late, he wants two manwon in payment ($20). When she counts out smaller bills, he says he wants big bills. When she smacks her own forehead in frustration, Mr. Manhwa Room looks at her quizically. She pays up and he leans forward—“What are you doing?” she demands—and he pulls out a twig from her hair. “Were you rolling down the mountainside or something?” he asks in amusement.

She shrieks in fury, “That jerk!” Mr. Manhwa Room looks back and grins (a little pleased that her date didn’t work out so well?).

Also: Dr. Choi MooSung and Chef JungMin bond over red bean filled pastry shaped like fish (붕어빵), and HyeJa struggles with the traumatic memories of when she suspected her husband of cheating on her (when he wasn’t). She doesn’t like it when people enjoy stories about cheaters, as it is nothing to laugh about when people get their hearts broken.

Episode thoughts: Unlike SangYeob, who puts her on the defense, Mr. ManHwa Room clearly puts JiEun on the offensive. Right now, she has a more familiar relationship with SangYeob than Mr. Manhwa Room, as she doesn’t even know his name, but ironically, she is more herself with the stranger. Just as SangYeob pokes at JiEun, not knowing why he likes to get a rise out of her, JiEun constantly pokes at her Manhwa Room guy, irritated by his existence, but not knowing exactly why he bugs her so much. Even if the mind wants to convince itself to go one way, the heart wants what it wants. As for Mr. Manhwa Room, he’s not loitering around that place just to read the comics, that’s for sure.

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