***EDIT 7-21-15*** Speaking of cyber woes, we just received a complaint about copyright issues on this post. Since I don't know what specifically was the issue, I have gone ahead and removed every screencap. I apologize that there are no pictures now to look at which makes this a much more boring recap and much less likely to actually be read. Which in turn is sad for the drama since recaps help build interest in and an audience for these shows. Here at TCA, we actually do strive to stay above board, and so this turn of events makes us very sad. We will look into it further and hope to be able to bring some back, but for now, I'm sorry, you only get words. And a grumpy ahjumma who put in a ton of work into promoting this drama for no compensation or benefit other than the pure love of the drama. Makes me wonder why I bother busting my butt on this stuff anyway.... Sorry, again, grumpy, don't mind me and my whining.***
I thought I'd address these first couple of episodes by really focusing in on some of the main characters that we were introduced to, since that's kind of the focus of these earlier episodes - character building. Most of our plot is geared towards getting to know our people, so let's go ahead and get to know them!
Let's meet our ghost.
Soon Ae is, shall we say, "amorous" as a result of her untimely death and lack of dating. She's got a thing for the boys and is hilarious as she lusts after them, stealing touches and glances whenever possible. I am so loving this character and I think this actress is phenomenal. I am full-on in love already. From her lusting to her temper tantrums when trapped by the ghost hunter lady, she is completely entertaining.
Let's meet the kitchen scrub and our ghost host.
Our leading lady is Na Bong Sun. Na Bong Sun has the personality of a snail. She is a walking, breathing human doormat, constantly being stepped on and disregarded. She works in the kitchen of famed chef, Kang Sun Woo. A talented cook in her own right, her talent goes undiscovered simply because of her personality, or lack thereof. Head constantly cast downward, she goes through life without making any real impact. I feel for her, yet at the same time I want to slap her and tell her to snap out of it and grow a pair. Now, in her defense, there is a major reason she is the way that she is. This poor girl has been cursed with the ability to see ghosts. These ghosts approach her day and night and scare her so bad that she can't sleep. So then she falls asleep at work and walks around like a zombie in between. This appears to be a trait she inherited, her grandmother also having the gift/curse. Sadly, she can't even follow her grandmother's incense-burning advice for keeping the spirits away because her landlord (the girl lives in a window-less closet) forbids it. In fact, he kicks her out for lighting incense and for her talismans plastered all over the wall that he deems "creepy". You know what dude? You're creepy. Leave the poor girl alone. Can't you see she is crazy stressed? And now you've just made her homeless? Nice.
After being scolded at work and her boss (who she has a big time crush on) basically asking her if this is the right line of work for her to be in, what with her being all soft and weak and all, she turns in her resignation letter. At this point her life changes, dramatically, when ghost Soon Ae jumps into her body as she runs from the ghost wrangling ahjumma.
Typically when Soon Ae possesses someone, she is able to just as easily unpossess them. But not with Bong Sun. Looks like their energies/frequencies/whatevers match too closely and Soon Ae is stuck inside Bong Sun's body for the time being. Through a series of events, the possessed Bong Sun finds her way back into her job in the kitchen and all of her co-workers and boss are perplexed at her sudden and drastic change in personality.
And now for our leading man, Top Chef.
As mentioned above, our leading man is one Kang Sun Woo, famous chef/TV personality. First, I am thrilled and beyond stoked to see Jo Jung Seok back in a drama. I have been solidly in love with him since his role in King 2 Hearts. Seriously, I still can't even look at him without feeling a twinge of...well, I can't say in case you've never seen K2H. But a twinge of emotion thanks to his powerful portrayal of his character in that drama.
Kang Sun Woo appears to be quite a peach to work for. Exacting perfectionist with a temper. And a big enough ego to fill his entire kitchen and then some.
Despite his rough edges, we are already seeing a softer side to him. He may be tough, but he's obviously no out-of-control beast with no soul. Ah! Just how I like 'em! Hard on the outside, soft and squishy on the inside. He barks out orders and pushes his staff, but will also take the time to care for his sister and re-hire the girl that just quit on him (and threw him to the ground at that). Imma gon' like this one.
Top Chef's Sister
Speaking of Sun Woo caring for his sister, Kang Eun Hee is in a wheelchair following an accident. There's a chance we may get some more on that accident as we go on is my guess. She is paralyzed and can't use her legs, so her brother dotingly takes care of her and shows his softer side in doing so. Of course, back to my K2H reference, this gave me a chuckle and made me wonder on why Jo Jung Seok gets paired with women in wheelchairs so often (and by "so often" I mean that this is like the second time). Not really relevant to my story here, but interesting to note at the same time. We don't often get wheelchair-bound characters in dramas, so to have one actor show up in two of those rare occasions is just an interesting-enough-to-point-out tidbit. That random JJS trivia aside, I am liking this sister and feel she is a wonderful voice of reason for her brother and gives him some solid guidance and advice. She's so calm and docile compared to her bullish, temperamental brother.
Top Chef's Sister's Husband, the Cop
Sun Woo isn't alone in caring for his sister. Eun Hee is happily married to a cop, Choi Sung Jae. It all seems picture-perfect on the outside, but I am picking up on some serious "this guy is trouble" vibes already. As far as married life, I'm sure he's fine. For now. But outside of that, I don't trust this guy one bit. He is giving me the heebie jeebies. I think that he is somehow involved in the death of our ghostess, Shin Soo Ae. She sees him and recognizes him. Granted, she isn't immediately scared of him which I suppose may mean he's not a bad guy, but I still can't shake the suspicion. A ghost with no memories and a mysterious death recognizing someone has to mean something, right? Always. He's totally being set up to be the villain of our story.
Top Chef's Mom
Knocked up at the ripe old age of 19 (Korean 19, I'm guessing, which is like Western 18 and probably still in high school), Sun Woo's mom has a debt to pay to her son. Or so he seems to feel and she plays into without much debate. They have a strained relationship. She was young and ill-prepared to care for a child in his early years. He spent his childhood home alone. Which is how he learned to cook. We got a scene that showed him making himself ramyeon alone on his birthday after being bullied by classmates out on the street.
While I can understand that they have a difficult and complicated history with some residual emotional scars as a result, I think it's time he starts to forgive her and stop holding the past over her head. She's making a major effort now to get back into his life and good graces. And by golly, how often do we see in dramas parents completely abandon their children and go live lives separate from them, making new families and all? At least the woman is there. Automatically that puts her in a higher parental bracket than a significant portion of other drama mommas. Mom is now a college professor with a penchant for the supernatural. She visits shamans on a regular basis, much to her stodgy son's chagrin. When one said shaman predicts that he will have ghost problems this year, she desperately tries to get him to use a talisman created for protection. It's funny that when this talisman is in his pocket, a chance brush-by with a ghost (ie Soo Ae), actually does protect him and pushes her away like a force field. Fortunately for us, that pesky little love-preventing talisman is soon discovered in his pocket and discarded, so now the way is wide open for some possessed lovin'. Sorry Mom, but this ghost needs to stick around him.
Kitchen Staff - Sous Chef Douchebag and Cordon
Rounding out our cast members in the first couple of episodes would be the rest of our kitchen staff that works with our Top Chef and Bong Sun. Specifically I would like to point out two of them - our sous chef, Heo Min Soo, who is a complete douche and so mean to Bong Sun and the guy they call Cordon (because he went to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school which really irks "homegrown" Min Soo). He also talks maliciously behind Chef Kang's back. He is two-faced and petty and I am really not digging on his character at the moment.
On the other hand, this Cordon guy seems to be pretty cool. He's nice to Bong Sun so earns himself some brownie points there. He just quietly endures the abuse from Sous Chef and does his job. He also happens to be crazy hot which I can also appreciate. There are a couple of other guys there in the kitchen, but those are the two that really stood out in these first two episodes. ...for some reason...
The One that Got Away
Sun Woo appears to have a lost love interest in his "friend" at the TV station. I'm pulling at straws here, so if I'm incorrect, please forgive me, but it would seem as if he were on the losing end of a love triangle when it comes to her. She ended up with his friend and he's still nursing some wounds as a result. Or so I can gather from the few screenshots I took.
The Rest of the Story
As far as plot points to mention, there are a few that I'd like to cover that haven't yet been covered. And a couple of really funny moments that just need a chance to shine.
Like all the lusty pervy ghostess moments...
As far as plot goes, we had some things happen. Thanks to the evil blogger lady and her false accusations of abuse at the hands of our chef, things are not going well at the restaurant. Sun Woo is being maligned publicly and needs to fix it. So, he agrees to go on the cooking show. Sous Chef Min Soo is supposed to be assisting him on the program, but gets locked out of the studio, which leaves Bong Sun, who is there to bring Chef's knife that Min Soo forgot, as the only option. During the filming of the show, disaster strikes when the rice burns. Considering that the whole premise of the show is to make a rice dish that a mom would make her child, this is problematic. See, our chef is known for being the "noodle king" - he doesn't like or eat rice. Probably relates somehow to his childhood. So when the rice burns, he is at a loss. He's up against his nemesis, Chef Marco, and looks like he's going to fail. That is, until Bong Sun steps in and saves the day by instinctively making a burnt rice pollack soup. There is an uncertainty as to how she suddenly knows how to make this dish and can jump right in like she's been doing it all her life...an uncertainty until we cut to a man in a restaurant. He has a customer asking for this particular burnt rice pollack soup, to which the man has to tell him sadly that they no longer make this soup. The customer asks where his daughter is, and the man replies that she is gone...for now. Oh. Okay then. So obviously this is Soon Ae's father and she was the one that made the soup for his restaurant until she died. Got it. That's like super depressing.
Dad coming in and trying to wake the young man is enough to jog Soon Ae's memory and help her realize who she is and who these people are.
And there we have it - some of the main people and points to remember as we begin our new drama. What did you think of the premiere? I know I loved it and saw a lot of positive feedback. Being a cable show as it is, I don't expect the ratings in Korea to reflect the buzz I'm hearing, but just from what I'm picking up, this one is playing well, especially to international audiences. As so many tvN shows do. They just push the envelope a little more than the average. Like making a drama about a horny virgin ghost. ;) Anyway, great premiere in my book, and I can't wait to see what this week has in store for us!
Thanks for stopping by!
Back hugs and fish kisses to you all,