Dropped: Greasy Melo [Wok Of Love]

Many moons ago, when I was in college, I picked as many film courses as I was allowed, coz they were the coolest, and also, the funnest, and therefore, I got to watch a whole lot of movies as part of my curriculum (see? Film really was the coolest and the funnest, heh. Especially when we got to the part on animation and sat around watching cartoons together).

To tell you the honest truth, though, I never was a great film student, and I often didn’t see the genius in certain films, unless it was pointed out to me. I mean, while most of my classmates were blown away by the brilliance of Prospero’s Books, a strongly avant-garde adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I was sitting in my seat, trying to digest – what was to me, anyway – a very, very weird film. I didn’t naturally geddit, y’know?

Kinda the same thing with this show, for me, methinks. I know there are folks who love this one, and some who even revel in its reportedly clever use of metaphors and imagery, but I think it’s time for me to admit that I just don’t geddit, with this one.

Jank Hyuk looks super cool in the posters, though, dontcha think? <3


For the record, I watched 11 episodes of this show before calling it quits. Also for the record, I actually struggled with my watch from the get-go. Right away in episode 1, I found myself not jiving very well at all, with what Show was serving up. Here’s a quickish round-up of the things that didn’t wok work for me. Hur. See what I did there? (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

1. Show’s Intended Funny mostly wasn’t funny to me

If you’ve been around here for a bit, you’d probably already know that I don’t often jive with the Intended Funny in kdramas. Most times, when the Intended Funny is incidental, it’s something that I can just shrug and move on from, in the name of differing personal taste.

In this show’s case, however, where its tone is strongly comedic, this was a bit of a problem. Show would often serve up stuff that was obviously supposed to be funny, and almost every time, I found that I wasn’t laughing. Admittedly this was not a great way to start off our relationship, but it is what it is.

[VAGUE SPOILERS] In episode 2, I think it’s supposed to be funny, with everyone so fixated with jjajangmyun – from the gangsters in hospital (which did give me bad SWDBS vibes), to our heiress female lead Sae Woo (Jung Ryeo Won), to the final scene where everyone’s all up in a twist basically because of jjajangmyun, but it all just didn’t land so well for me. I also didn’t find it funny in episode 5, when the gangsters force-tattooed our main chef Poong (Lee Joon Ho). [END SPOILERS]

2. Show’s whimsy didn’t sit well with me

Show’s clearly going for a strong whimsical vibe, but again, this didn’t end up working very well for me at all. All the random and quirky stuff on my screen felt try-hard to my eyes, unfortunately.

Here’s a quick handful of stuff that Show intended for charming whimsy, and which didn’t work for me.


E4. The sudden and very random appearance of Sae Woo with her fencing headgear on, leading her horse down the street.

E7. What the heck was that prelude, with the Sifu (Im Won Hee) chef kissing 2 different woman ardently, one in the kitchen and then one in the cinema? I don’t get it.

E7. The hiring of the woman (Park Ji Young) is also weird. The whole prolonged cutting sequence, especially the onion cutting, was made out to be funny and almost magical. But.. I wasn’t feeling it.

E8. The kiss in the freezer between the newly hired woman and the embarrassed gang member (Jo Jae Yoon) is very bizarre. This is the point where I thought to myself that that’s a word that I’d be using a lot with this show. The whole ensuing arc of her following him to a hotel to sleep with him, then changing her mind the moment she realizes he doesn’t own a house, is also rather bizarre.


3. I didn’t take to 2 of our 3 leads

Let me state for the record that I have nothing against Joon Ho or Jung Ryeo Won. In fact, I have a good amount of affection for Jung Ryeo Won (especially after her fantastic turn in 2012’s History of the Salaryman). I also thought Joon Ho was very solid in Just Between Lovers.

However, I just did not take to either of their characters in this show.

Basically, I found Poong too mean and brusque, not only with our female lead Sae Woo, but with just about everyone around him. Although his situation is presented as a sympathetic one, I found that I didn’t actually like him, as a character.

I also found Sae Woo too ditzy and clueless for my taste. I know in my head that she’s presented to us in this way on purpose and that I’m supposed to find her delightful and endearing, but despite Jung Ryeo Won’s considerable personal charm, I found myself not having much patience for her character.

4. I didn’t take to most of the secondary characters either

To add to my struggle with this show, I realized that I found quite a few of the secondary characters unlikable too. To be fair to Show, these characters weren’t actually supposed to be likable. They just didn’t do anything to make my watch any more enjoyable, is what I’m trying to say.

[SPOILERS] I disliked Poong’s cheating wife (Cha Joo Young). She is terrible for cheating on him and then marrying him anyway, then divorcing him, while still cheating on him. The guy she’s cheating with (Kim Sa Kwon) is not appealing at all either. He’s greasy, annoying, MMA-obsessed, and the way he opted to sign important business documents using literally his feet in episode 3 was very distasteful.

I also have a very poor impression of the so-called Sifu. From the beginning, we see that he’s playing so dirty because he feels threatened and disrespected by his own disciple. Which is, honestly, such a poor showing. [END SPOILERS]

5. Most of the time, characters don’t behave like real people

Quite quickly into my watch, I realized that the characters in this drama world simply did not behave like normal people. And so, I did attempt to adjust my lens to something more manhwa-esque, and think of our characters as manhwa characters sorta like Scooby Doo and the gang. But I must not be in the mood for manhwa-esque, because my attempts to accept the odd behaviors of our characters.. did not go so well. I still felt like they were really weird, and I found it hard to understand or empathize with them.

[SPOILERS] Like in episode 3, where Sae Woo reacts to Poong and the gangsters by aggressively handing out her wedding invitations and insisting that they all attend. Or the scene in episode 7, where Chil Sung (Jang Hyuk) runs after Sae Woo and is cloud-nine delighted to have permission to have a crush on her. I mean, seriously, people just don’t behave like that. [END SPOILERS]

Bonus: the writing didn’t feel clever, to me

Viewers who revel in Show’s use of metaphors and imagery would likely disagree with me on this one, but the writing in this show did not feel clever, to me.

A lot of stuff felt all over the place, and for the first several episodes, which felt like an eternity to me, I literally had no idea how all the various characters being paraded on my screen would fit into one another’s worlds. They just seemed to be randomly colliding into one another, one insistently whimsical arc at a time.

[SPOILER] Also. The Big Twist, that it wasn’t Sae Woo who was suffering from cancer, but her horse, felt like a cheap cop-out, to my eyes. I didn’t find it clever, nor funny, nor the worthy emotional rollercoaster it was likely intended to be. [END SPOILER]

STUFF THAT KEPT ME GOING: Jang Hyuk, period.

With my Jang Hyuk love freshly rekindled by his magnificent turn in Money Flower, Jang Hyuk was easily the One Thing that kept me watching, even when everything else in this show wasn’t working for me. Of the two male leads, I found Jang Hyuk immediately more interesting, just by the fact that he is the one who has more screen presence and charisma, and therefore commands more attention just by being on my screen.

At first, I found his character Chil Sung very strange, but I soon came around when I realized what a dear heart Chil Sung is. I love that he really just wants to help his boys live new, un-gangsterly lives, and is willing to bend himself practically into a pretzel, in order to give his boys a chance to start over.

Also! Jang Hyuk is glorious when he fights, and I love that in episode 4, Show allows him to slay at one of the things he does best. I’d been afraid they’d make him a completely bumbling ex-gangster, but he isn’t. He took down all of those men with swift, sharp, effortless moves, and I drowned in it all, with hearts in my eyes.

I didn’t think it made any sense that Chil Sung would be so taken with Sae Woo, but I found his adoring devotion rather sweet, and he quickly became the only highlight in this show, for me. Which was cold comfort, since Chil Sung doesn’t get as much screen time as Poong. Bummer.


By around the episode 9 or 10 mark, I was seriously thinking of dropping this show. As much as I tried to think of this as a manhwa sort of world, I couldn’t honestly say that I was having a good time.

But then, bad things happened to Poong and Sae Woo these episodes, and I found that I actually felt rather sorry for them. [SPOILER] It sucks that Sae Woo’s husband cheated on her, and it sucks that Poong never even knew about the baby that his ex aborted. And it sucks that he got beaten up for barging in on her to confront her about it. [END SPOILER]

I also felt my heartstrings waver at Chil Sung’s brand of self-deprecating adoration. [SPOILER] Instead of getting annoyed at Sae Woo for working so hard to tell him bad things about herself to fob him off, he’s sad because this must mean that she really, really doesn’t like him. Aw. Poor baby. 🙁 I wanted him to forget about her, and be happy all on his own. And then maybe meet a girl who’d appreciate him for who he is. [END SPOILER]

[SPOILER] And at the end of episode 10, there’s the mystery Show shoves in there – Poong’s kitchen staff are in cahoots. But who are they, and what are they in cahoots about? [END SPOILER]

Which, altogether, is how I literally went, “Argh. Looks like I’ll be watching at least the next episode.”


..Which, clearly, did not work out so well.

First of all, I like animals, but all the horse voiceovers that Show served up just weirded me out.

Also, episode 11 managed to be markedly crazier and weirder than all of Show’s other episodes. Here’s a quick recap of episode 11, just to prove my point:

We start with horse voiceovers, then move on to random-feeling whimsical descriptions of hot pepper sauce almond tofu, and Sae Woo’s rapturous wonder over it, which quickly disintegrates into disgust at Poong and at herself, for even considering an affair. Then we get random-feeling songs and dances in the noraebang – and it feels especially random when deep-in-thought Chil Sung breaks into a dance when prompted by Maeng Dal.

Then divorce papers get served to Sae Woo by Oh Jik’s parents, which then results in the subsequent immediate homelessness of Sae Woo, which is all followed by a lingering shot of Chil Sung sauntering through a psychedelic hallway at the club. This is followed by the drunken arm-wrestling showdown between Chil Sung and Poong, and then the appearance of a drunken Sae Woo, who promptly folds herself into her suitcase and pronounces it her house. We are then treated to the sight of Chil Sung dragging Sae Woo to his house in her suitcase, while her arms flail about happily, like so:

Yep, that sounded so weird that I felt I had to put a screencap in there, just to show that this really happened on my screen.

Just, so strange, and so weird, amiright?

I feel like there are people out there who would pronounce this deep and all kinds of wonderful. But if I’m being brutally honest, I.. am just not one of those people. Just like I said about Prospero’s Books earlier, this, to me, was just really, really weird, and I just couldn’t get into it, no matter how hard I tried.

I’m sorry, Jang Hyuk-sshi. I still love you. But I’m just gonna close my eyes and move on from this one now, ok?

71 thoughts on “Dropped: Greasy Melo [Wok Of Love]

  1. Angela

    I AM LOVING THIS SHOW 😍 From the cast, the acting, the dialogues, everything. It made me laugh out loud while watching hehe. Kudos to everyone! You all did a great job! 👍

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  3. carulhein

    I’m at ep 5 of this show and it literally feels like I want to claw my own eyes out with frustration. The dialogue is so awfully awkward and unnatural. Out of hundreds of k dramas I’ve watched, I’ve never felt this annoyed with a show and I don’t like dropping something once I’ve started. I really like the actors in their other shows, so I feel quite sad that I have to pack it in, but my sensitive nature just clashes with absolutely everything that’s being offered here.

  4. RS

    Drama: Wok of Love

    Slow, boring and extremely dragging.. 😡
    The lead female character BN is annoying 😡
    Can finish the drama quickly by fast forwarding and will still know what is going on. 👎👎👎👎

    1. kfangurl

      I didn’t FF to the end like you did, but I agree this one was just not that great at all, unfortunately. 😛 Hope your next drama is better!!

    2. beezrtp

      But I’m afraid no amount of fast-forwarding or squinting or closing one eye will help our brains process the talking, one-time cartoon horse (the word “animated” would be giving it to much credit). The only thing that could explain that is if we were shown begging the scene deleted footage that the female character was taking LSD that episode.

  5. Ploop

    The show could have benefitted more if they just focused on one plot, which is Pung’s downfall and revenge with the help of the gangsters. That plot alone could have really elevated this drama. They pushed so much romance into this, which is ironically, also the WEAKEST link of all the subplots.

    Which leads me to the next issue, the subplots. It’s way too many and they are so drawn out that it sometimes takes a quarter of the episode just for the DIALOGUES that does not push the plot forward.

    They needed to tune down the romance, making it an afterthought would have made this drama good. Jang Hyuk’s sideplot should have been toned waaaayyy down with his mom. It was way too much and did not benefit the main plot.

    Which leads me to my next point, what is the main plot anyway?! Because between the 3 characters alone, there was way too much plots going on at once.

    The drama picks up at episode 11. I ended up skipping a lot of scenes per episode due to me expecting more on the cooking and how he can manage to get back up (Pung). Instead, the FORCED romance between the leads is being pushed down our throats it was just not organic. There’s no chemistry between them. Actually, Jan Hyuk has more chemistry with the female lead.

    Also, Jang Hyuk is so misdirected in a lot of scenes that his character’s actions completely ruins the mood. What came to the director’s mind how he would spontaneously clap in a middle of a milestone scene was just annoying. His character probably ruins a lot of mood due to him clapping OUT OF PLACE.

    No replay value. I do, however, replay selected scenes because these are the highlights of the drama imo. Especially the parts where Hungry Wok is slowly getting popular.

    What a waste, sadly.

    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Ploop, thanks for sharing your experience with Greasy Melo; I just didn’t have the fortitude to make it to the end, so it’s always interesting to see what viewers who’ve finished the show have to say about it. Sounds like I didn’t really miss much by dropping out early. 😛😅

      From what I did see, I fully agree that the romance was the weakest link, and Jang Hyuk’s character was misdirected to be overly weird instead of charmingly eccentric. Truly a waste. 😕

  6. Zen Cal

    I personally really enjoyed the show. There was a few things that bothered me though. Particularly the ending and there was some dropped plots in the show. I think this story could have been more developed but I was left with a lot of unanswered questions. But it was worth fully completely the show for me, especially with Jang Hyuk in it.

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  8. My2Girls

    This post will prove to you my dear Kfangurl how shallow I really am:

    With ALL of shows shortcomings I will stick it out until the bitter end – I came for my beloved Jank Hyuk and I am staying for a man/child with the sexiest voice I have heard in years. And this ahjumma is ALL about voices. I am not a K-pop fan and I have never been exposed to Lee Jun-ho before but I am hooked. He has forced me to revise my “no lusting after anyone born after 1987” rule. Though the show is not something I look forward to all week it is nice, mindless filler. So there you have it. I will hang my head in shame.

    1. kfangurl

      Naw! There is absolutely no shame in a watch purely fueled by fangirl love, I say! 😉 I don’t have enough fangirl fortitude to power me through Greasy Melo, but power to you, I say! 😀 Jang Hyuk is very sweet in this – at least, in the little that I saw – and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him like that. I just wasn’t enjoying Show enough, to convince myself to keep going.

      If you’re up for a melo, I thought Lee Jun Ho was very good in Just Between Lovers. It’s not an easy watch, but it deals with the remaining fallout that survivors of tragedies have to deal with, and I thought it was pretty well done. I also thought his acting in that was better than what I saw of him in Greasy Melo. Maybe something to keep in mind? 🙂

  9. Kat

    This was on my “maybe” list but I started hearing rumblings that it wasn’t anything all that grand. I really like all three actors so it is unfortunate, and I also see no reason for Jang Hyuk to be 2nd male lead at this point unless it is an absolutely spectacular role and drama. I’m one of those that liked the leads in SWDBS but the humor did not resonate so this one is on my “nope” list now.

    Just out of curiosity, do you go back and watch the last episode or last 15 minutes of the last episode of a drama after investing so much of your time? I usually am fickle and drop early but when I stick to the halfway point or thereabouts, like Temperature of Love, I can’t resist going and checking the last bit out.

    1. kfangurl

      Well, Show definitely has its fans.. some people really love the humor. I just wasn’t one of them. So if you’re up for it, you could dip a toe in, just to see if up your alley?

      I sometimes do go back to check out the last episode by FF-ing through it and maybe watching some snippets. I usually don’t watch the last ep in its entirety. That’s mostly when I’ve watched a fair chunk of the show and am curious to see how everything ends. But if I’ve dropped a show fairly early, it’s unlikely that I’ll go back to it. Given that I watched only 11 eps of this show’s 38, I doubt I’ll check out this show’s ending, when it comes out. 😛

  10. Elle Blu

    Your review was spot on with everything that I couldn’t love about the Wok of Love. I watched it bec. I really like the 1st episode in the bridal shop when Jung Ryeo Won first met Joon Ho.The setting & the banter was fun & what I hope the show was heading for.But it went towards SWDBS brand of slapstick humour too much & unlikable side characters like Jealousy Incarnate, that I dropped it after episode 4. But I completed Jealousy Incarnate bec. the chemistry & acting of Gong Hyo Jin, Jo Jung Suk & Go Kyung Pyo was excellent & the episodes & storyline got better as the show progresses.

    One of the many things I find lacking in this show was the chemistry of the 3 leads (even tho Jang Hyuk was a 2nd lead, his experience would put him as one of the main actors). I think the actors had other side projects that they didn’t find time to work on their chemistry.Some had back-to-back dramas & variety shows. What drove me nuts – the horse voice over was the most annoying + the mindless silly jokes + the non cohesive narration & side characters.

    It’s a waste of the actor’s talents. So kudos to you for lasting through ep 11!

    Thank you for letting me rant.Happy Tuesday!

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, you can rant anytime, Elle! And YES, those horse voiceovers weirded me out, so much. The moment the first horse voiceover came on, I cringed as a reflex. It was just too weird. 😛

      1. Blenny

        This is one I shoulda/coulda/woulda loved, but didn’t. Had such great possibilities, but… nope.

        Back in the 1960s, I think, there was an American television show featuring Mr. Ed, a talking horse. Yeah, people will make a show about anything. But I believe Mr. Ed was funnier.

        Still don’t get the fencing mask. What?

        Perhaps this one would have been better as a movie?

        1. seankfletcher

          Mr Ed was (is) a classic show (also cross reference with Francis the Talking Mule). I use to watch it with my grandfather (who was a no nonsense type! and he enjoyed watching the Monkees as well). Apparently, Mr Ed (Bamboo Harvester) could do his scenes in one take. From what I could read, he was a wonderful horse and equally famous as a show horse. Anyway, we were talking about Mr Ed to our youngest the other night and rattled off a few quotes – yes to raised eyebrows: “A horse is a horse of course, of course…People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say”. Great fun

          1. beez

            I have not watched the final episodes of Greasy Wok, but I could’ve had no problem with the talking & animated horse but it would’ve needed to fit the general atmosphere of the show as a whole. I knew I was going to hate everything about this show (except Jang Hyuck, if course) when the cartoon horse went for an all-to-long purposeless stroll. As we see, the entire horse plot was unnecessary as the show never returned to it (as far as I’ve watched). I love whimsy but ya gotta know how to be whimsical!

            1. seankfletcher

              In recent years my favourite movie with a touch of whimsy is Stranger Than Fiction. I thought it was so well done regarding how a writer becomes the narrator controlling the life of the hero in this film. Every time she typed the next part of her latest novel, he heard it out loud and then proceeded to enact what she had written. But, my favourite whimsical tv series of all time is the Australian Drama – SeaChange (David Wenham, Sigrid Thornton). Just a delightful story set in the seaside town of Pearl Bay that is cut off from the rest of the world. When you watch it, the world just stops – absolutely beautiful.

              1. kfangurl

                I think I saw Stranger Than Fiction available on a flight, but didn’t actually check it out. Looks like I should give it a try next time I see it available, since you name it a favorite! 😀

                1. seankfletcher

                  This is what Roger Ebert said about STF when it came out (and he was always right when it came to his reviews of course!):

                  “Stranger Than Fiction” is a meditation on life, art and romance, and on the kinds of responsibility we have. Such an uncommonly intelligent film does not often get made. It could have pumped up its emotion to blockbuster level, but that would be false to the premise, which requires us to enter the lives of these specific quiet, sweet, worthy people. The ending is a compromise — but it isn’t the movie’s compromise, it belongs entirely to the characters and is their decision. And that made me smile.

                  He is so right. Will Ferrell (straight laced) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (chaotic) have a wonderful relationship in this movie contrasted against that of Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman.

                  1. beez

                    Will Ferrell is in it! Yuk! I avoid all things he’s in but I’ll have to make an a exception if it also stars Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman.

                    1. seankfletcher

                      Exactly Beez re Will Ferrell. However, when I watched him in this, I found he was very good and it made me think “why on earth isn’t he making better movies?”

                2. beez

                  Thanks Kfangurl & SeanFletcher, I’ll check it out and depending, add them to my watchlist. My whimsy recommendations would be Big Fish and Secondhand Lions. (As usual Robert Duvall is everything!)

                    1. beez

                      Haha! SeanFletcher, our paths diverge at Tim Burton. My son had loved him since he was small. I consider him subversive. I like my Christmases like I like my peaches and animation – warm and fuzzy. 😉

  11. beez

    Everything you said and more… And I’m stuck because Jang Hyuk just likes to help busy while I’m crying “Please Jang Hyuk Oppa, please be choosier!”

    Show must’ve realized fans weren’t feeling the whimsy (very kind word you picked – I called it nonsense) – anyway we haven’t seen the talking horse in a long while. Yay! I like whimsy when its done right but the animated cartoon version of the horse was on screen 20 seconds too long. That was when i first knew we were not going to swing this thing around and recover.

    1. kfangurl

      Hahaha! I must tell you, the moment they introduced the talking horse at around the E5 mark, was THE moment I started to be convinced that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the finish line of this show! 😂 I can only say.. I’m glad and quite relieved I didn’t stick around the animated cartoon version of the horse showed up! 🤣

      Also, I’m sorry you’re stuck, my dear. I know you have a very loyal streak, and you’ve got way more fangirl fortitude than I do. <3 On the upside, Oppa seems to have chosen a very promising next project! Eeee! I can't wait for Bad Papa!! This is one time I'm grateful that he likes to keep busy. AND, now we all have a valid way to comfort ourselves when he doesn't get much screentime in this show – he gets more rest, and time to prep for Bad Papa! 😋

  12. phl1rxd

    Laughing over here Fangurl cause I get everything about this inane, ridiculous and silly show and I really love it. It is off the wall, wacky humor and I think Jang Hyuk is super adorable in this. I like Lee Mik Sook in this as well playing the part of a ditzy housewife and odd old lady. Love the overdone, crazy mashismo of Im Won Hee in this. I am not taking any of the characters seriously – I am just going along for the crazy ride, kind of like being on the the Mad Tea Party ride at DisneyWorld.

    And on another note – this drama has been a good cushion for me to fall back on while trying to digest the hard edge, intense sadness/darkness of Come and Hug Me.

    @seankfletcher – I agree with you completely that What is Wrong With Secretary Kim has impeccable timing. Bravo to the sound editor for dropping in those whistle sounds in at precisely the right time!

    Thanks for the review Fangurl and I sincerely respect your decision to drop. This show was simply not for you. Hey, I dropped My Lovely Sam Soon and DOTS like hot potatoes while almost everybody loved these 2 dramas. Not everything is for everybody. It would be truly boring if we all liked the same thing LOL!

    Thanks again Fangurl!

    1. kfangurl

      Haha! Glad this post gave you a bit of a laugh, phl! 😆 I like your analogy, that watching this show is like being on the Mad Tea Party ride, that’s so perfect! 😆 And you are so right, not every show is for everyone. This one just wasn’t for me, the way DOTS and Sam Soon wasn’t for you. I didn’t love either of those myself, come to think of it!

      Yay that you are also enjoying Secretary Kim – the more positive reactions I read about it, the more I’m looking forward to checking it out! How is Come and Hug Me? I’ve heard people say good things about it, but am very wary of the very tragic premise. 😛

  13. Timescout

    Oh, I didn’t get far with this one either and mostly for the same reasons as you. I just didn’t get it either. I didn’t find the funny fun nor the whimsey whimsical. And I felt no interest in the characters or their lives. Like you I thought show was trying way too hard and it showed. This isn’t the first time others find deep meanings and meta in a drama and I’m throughly mystifed about that, ha.

    Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that Korean weired and OTT funny just doesn’t work for me in general. There are fiew exceptions but I can probably count those with one hand. The funny thing is that I have no such problems with most similar jdramas. *cough*Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi aka The Fantastic Deer Man*cough* 😀 Guess the Japanese ‘weired’ just happens to work for me. Most of the time anyway.^^

    1. kfangurl

      Looks like we are very much on the same page with this drama, Timescout!! 😆 Thank you for affirming that a lot of the quirk was coming across as try-hard.. I wondered if it was just me. Now I know that at least I’m not alone in feeling that way!

      The Fantastic Deer Man already sounds all kinds of weird and quirky, haha! But I must say, my experience is rather similar to yours. I haven’t seen as many Japanese dramas as you have, but I basically feel the same way. The Japanese brand of quirky works for me, but so far, the Korean brand of quirk often doesn’t. Innnteresting. 🤔

      1. Timescout

        Yup, I felt oddly like Drama had these signs of “This Is Quirky”, This Is Funny” etc at specific moments. But, I wasn’t buying.

        ‘The Fantastic Deer Man’ truly is all of that and more, LOL! It even has a talking, mystical deer. You should totally watch it. 😛 Gosh even thinking about the drama makes me grin. I don’t know how the Japanese do it but their weired tends to have loads of heart mixed in and the dramas usually have characters I end up loving. Annnnd the thing is that they usually also have something to say, amidst all the funny.

        1. kfangurl

          Oh, EXACTLY what you said, Timescout! It DID feel like that to me, like Show was pointing to scenes with big blinking lights, announcing, “THIS IS WHIMSICAL, BE CHARMED NOW.” 😝😂 I wasn’t buying either.

          Ha. Thanks for the recommendation of The Fantastic Deer Man, that title is so bizarre I’m intrigued already! 😂 It sounds completely absurd, but somehow, I find myself more ready to accept absurd things from Japan. Maybe because I’ve seen how quirky and bizarre some of their things are, so it just feels natural, heh. I’m putting it on my list for later. 😉

          1. Timescout

            Yes, the whole premise of Deer Man is as absurd as they come but then, it’s ment to be. Through the protagonist Ogawa, Drama takes you through all the steps from disbelief to acceptance and beyond. Even with all the wonderfully weired stuff going on I never felt like the characters weren’t real. Which is a feat in itself. *g* I loved everyone, even the bit players. Drama was funny as heck in places, without being in your face with it.

            I’m with Junny in this, 100% recommended. 😀 But it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea.

            1. kfangurl

              I read Junny’s post on it, and it sounds all kinds of surreal and bizarre! 😂 But I am intrigued, I must say. I haven’t found a place where I can download it, but I’ve found a streaming source. (Not as ideal, but when you’re in a pinch, eh?) I’ll let you know how it goes, when I do get to it! 😉

              1. Timescout

                😃 It sure is! Looking forward to see what you make of it. As for ze zourse, I might be able to enable, like. Let’s see when I’m back from work. 😉

      2. junny

        100% recommend Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi, it’s one of my favourite dramas and has a great storyline. I have a non-spoilery post on it if you’re remotely keen.

  14. Dorotka

    I looove this show! Yes, it’s disjoint and random, but I don’t mind. I love the humour, the absurd situations and I’m enjoying the ensemble of the actors. The two moms I loved in Jealousy Incarnate are here for example… and isn’t it funny that Lee Min Suk and Jang Hyuk are now playing mom and son again but it is such a huge contrast from Money Flower? 😂😂 Btw, in no way do I see Jang Hyuk as playing second fiddle (like I also didn’t consider Cha Seung Woo playing second fiddle to Lee Seung Gi in Hwayugi, I also enjoyed Zombie girl there and Secretary and didn’t see them as some under roles). And I actually think all main actors have a blast acting here 🙂
    I also may be one of the few who feel chemistry between Poong and Prawn, especially as the Wok and Laddle 😄 and, gasp, I prefer this couple to Chil Sung and Sae Woo…
    However, I can understand why people are dropping this show. And I think if you don’t enjoy this show it’s only right to drop it even if all world is telling you it’s a master piece 😁 (which this show definitely isn’t, but I love it dearly so far).

    Anyway, I think this is the first time I feel differently about the show than you (surprise, surprise, people are different after all 😁 ) and I’m looking forward to the review by Dame Holy.

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, yay that you’re looking forward to Dame Holly’s guest review, Dorotka! I’m excited to hear everything she has to say about this show. She has a way of noticing all the types of things that I usually don’t notice or don’t look for. 🙂 And yes, we are all different after all.. even when I mostly agree with some of my dear drama friends about most dramas, there are always some where we have completely opposite reactions. Keeps life interesting, eh? 😀 I’m glad you’re having a good time with this one!

      I do agree that the actors seem to be really enjoying themselves while filming this show, which in itself is a very nice plus point. And I personally didn’t root for Chil Sung to end up with Sae Woo either. I heard that Chil Sung met a nice lady in the hospital, so hopefully that loveline will materialize, coz it sounds cute 🙂 Also, thanks for your wise words.. yes, you just can’t force it, with dramas. Even if everyone else is raving about it, if you’re not feeling it, you just can’t force yourself to feel it. You wise one, you <3

  15. junny

    What I didn’t get: Jang Hyuk playing second fiddle. Does. Not. Compute. Not that he should do the Poong role, but just that it is weird for him to take a backseat like this. Anyway, glad he’s the lead in his next drama.

    1. kfangurl

      I guess he found the role different and interesting? I have the impression that he’s very dedicated to his craft, so it’s possible that he thought it would be an interesting challenge. But YES, I’m SO looking forward to his next drama. I read about it today, and it sounds potentially awesome! <3 Can't wait!

      1. junny

        Well, I suppose some train wrecks can be “interesting”, lol.

        This is quite funny if you haven’t seen it. A bit long though:

  16. Dame Holly Has A Hat (@Lee_Tennant)

    “Viewers who revel in Show’s use of metaphors and imagery would likely disagree with me on this one..”

    Me! Me me me! It’s probably no surprise to you by now but I LOVE this stuff and I love this show. I love everything about it.

    I love that the show is about jjajangmyeon and also IS jjajangmyeon – the bringing together or fusion of disparate elements into a perfect recipe for life (and noodles). I love the ongoing themes of light and shadow and hot and cold and the way that each character has elements of each but need to find the perfect balance of both to be happy.

    I like that the “Light and Shadow” is not necessarily good and evil but more like facets of people. And you could argue that this show is a bit too dichotomous in terms of its themes – the marriage of light and shadow like the yellow noodles and black sauce in jajangmyeon, the fusion of Chinese and Korean cooking, the good and bad, the angry and the romantic, the violent and the poetic, the hot and cold, love and lust – but to me they’re exploring it in a way that’s not dichotomous at all.

    In a way, that’s why the show is so messy and it’s why I love that the show is so messy. Because it seems to be saying that people, relationships and life are a huge mashup of disparate things and it’s not about one being ‘good’ and the other ‘bad’ but about the proportions of each ingredient.

    I love how all our characters but especially Poong are floundering because their life recipes aren’t right yet and I love that Poong has the jjajangmyeon both Sae-woo and Chil-sung need. I love that Sae-woo means prawn and Poong is trying to win at life with the perfect prawn dish but can’t do it without Sae-woo as his literal “right hand man”.

    I am ready for the disparate elements parts to give way to the fusion part, I admit. But basically, I love the whole thing.

    1. kfangurl

      Tee hee. No, I am not surprised AT ALL, that you love this one, Dame Holly! 😀 Which is so great, because now I have you to tell me exactly what’s genius about this show! 😀

      Thanks for sharing your appreciation for all of Show’s elements – you make it sound so poetic that I almost want to give this show another go. Which brings me to my next question: Seriously, would you be interested in writing a guest review of this show when you’re done watching it? I’m thinking there aren’t many people who can appreciate the show in the same way you do, and you might be able to help unveil this show’s genius for us. No pressure, of course! But let me know? 🙂

      1. Dame Holly Has A Hat (@Lee_Tennant)

        LOL. I watched a movie last night where they said “You like somebody because of things but you love them despite things” and I think that applies to this show. The gangster scene you mentioned for example was too much like the awful gangster scenes in SWDBS for me as well. But then they start quoting Nietzche (nihilism) while clamouring for food (life) and I forgave them everything.

        I’d love to try a guest review for the site. I’ll dm you on Twitter when it’s closer to the end.

        1. kfangurl

          Ahaha! That is a great quote! And SO TRUE, so much of the time – especially with these dramas! 😀 YAY that you’re open to a guest review!! *dances* I can’t wait to hear you expound on all of your thoughts, in a full post! Yes, dm me on Twitter later on, and let’s work out the details! Wheee~! 😀

  17. seankfletcher

    Hmmm. Interesting. Your comments seem to bear out what has been said in plenty of other places. Despite that, I did see some positive comments, but I still said to myself, no, this one is not for me. A show that is quite humorous (but lovely at the same time) is What is Wrong With Secretary Kim. The humour is handled very well, almost subtle at times, with the odd laugh out loud moment because the heroine’s boss is totally oblivious to those around him (I’m guessing a defence mechanism and he really does love Secretary Kim, but keeps it well under wraps).

    On the movie appreciation front I am back home this weekend to finally see a feature film that I was involved in behind the scenes. I missed the premiere previously, because I had to fly off somewhere at the time. So there is a “second premiere” before it’s international release. With some of the short films my daughter has made, it’s surreal at times to see props used in them from our house, or as with what happened on one occasion, the film crew did a full on redecoration of a bedroom! My wife generally warns me beforehand, but I tend to forget and then when watching a scene I go “ hang on – what’s that doing in there”. It’s almost like being in the twilight zone. All good fun in the end though.

    When I think about it, I’ve been quite lucky with the things I have done in life. But some of the things I do enjoy immensely are movies and tv shows and a damn good book. My top three favourite movies: Metropolis, Shawshank Redemption and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. My favourite show at the moment: The Crown Princess. In terms of a book: The Three Body Problem.

    I look forward to your next review 😊

    1. Lady G.

      I think it’s so funny you see props from your own house in your daughter’s films. Whatever works. 🙂 And saves money too. What films has she made?

      I loved Metropolis and ran to the theater to see it when they’d found the long-lost additional footage in Argentina of all places. It was my first time experiencing it on a big screen. I’ve seen the Shawshank Redemption so many times and I’m a big fan of actor Clancy Brown who played Captain Hadley. Boy was he cruel in that one. The movie great.

      1. seankfletcher

        My daughter has made Baby (quite a confronting film about teenage mums and drug rehab), Rose (a thriller), Stellar Nox (Not sure where this one is at at the moment. There was talk of making this into a full on feature). She is credited on IMDb, which is nice.

        Clancy Brown is a wonderful actor. Just brilliant in Carnivale.

        As for Metropolis, just amazing on the big screen and the 1984 version where they added the modern music sound track worked extremely well I thought. I just happened to listen to Radio Gaga yesterday.

    2. kfangurl

      Heh. You are wise to sidestep this one, Sean, especially since your gut tells you that this one isn’t for you! 😀 I have to admit that if Jang Hyuk weren’t starring in this, I might’ve done the same. But, I have a rekindled hankering for all things Jang Hyuk, and couldn’t pass up the chance to see more of him on my screen. Happily, even though I’ve dropped this one, I saw news that he’s signed on for another drama, where he gets to play a top boxer who loses all his fame and fortune in one go. I’m already excited for all the fighting and character development that I’ll get to see, with Jang Hyuk in the center of it all. 😍

      I’ve got What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim on my list, but I’m waiting for a bit before I dive in. Yay that you’re enjoying it, because that bodes very well for my watch too. 😉

      That is SO COOL, that you are involved with movies behind the scenes! I bet very few people get to play “Spot your Stuff” while watching movies! 😆

      1. seankfletcher

        Jang Hyuk’s next venture sounds really good and the type of story I will keep my eyes peeled for.

        The great thing about Secretary Kim is not so much the first episode. There was a lot of super enthusiasm after it’s airing about things I thought were meh. For me it’s about what has happened since then where both CEO Lee and Secretary Kim find themselves continually saying “what the heck just happened!” And there is certainly a mystery or two underneath it all as well.

        Spot your stuff, spot your room and spot your family member too! Anyway, off to The Decadent and Depraved tomorrow night!

        1. kfangurl

          Yes, doesn’t Jang Hyuk’s next project sound like it’s full of potential awesome? 😀 It’s tentatively titled Bad Papa, but I’ve learned that these working titles can change drastically along the way.

          Ooh, I like the idea of both characters asking “what the heck just happened!” 😀 I’ve heard good things about the first 4 eps, so I’m looking forward to checking it out!

          Oh my! Spot your room and your family member too?! How surreal! 🤩🤩 Enjoy The Decadent and Depraved tomorrow! 😀

    3. Dorotka

      Must feel surreal indeed 😁

      I was disappointed with the last third of Salmon, prefered the book ending. But the first 2/3 were brilliant.

  18. Webby

    Aw and just when I was getting really immersed too! Agree about the SWDBS deja vu in the Hospital gangster scenes. I didn’t get what’s so fun about that but I that down to something probably uniquely Korean in their anti-gangster sentiments. I’ve noticed that in order to justify sympathy or empathy for k-gangsters, Kdrama audiences must first be shown that they have recived some punishment for their life choices.
    But on the whole the whimsy in the show appeals to me. It’s a tad overdone, but it does make for some novel juxtapositions! I chuckled when she appeared in her fencing gear even though there was no logical reason to drag her horse around town 😁
    Anyway thanks for the dropped post! Still a fun read 😀😀

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks for enjoying the post nonetheless, Webby! <3 Good point about the gangsters.. maybe that’s why we keep getting scenes of befuddled gangsters all beat up and lying in hospital beds! 😝 Also, I guess this just makes you one of the “in crowd,” since Show’s brand of whimsy seems to be sitting well with you? Maybe it’s a writer thing, and you’re able to appreciate things that I can’t. 😉

  19. Lady G.

    I feel like we have much more in common after reading this! I took film courses throughout high School and college, for the most part I loved them. For a spell I got gung-ho about learning all I could on film and maybe even teaching courses. But then we’d get these weird movies that made me go…huh. Or it clashed with my moral sensibilities, etc. and I realized that like you, I just didn’t geddit either. lol I missed the point of a lot and I couldn’t pretend to really care. I passed the classes and moved on.

    Watching this drama is like experiencing those ‘huh’ moments. I think you pretty much typed out everything swimming in my brain about this drama and everything that doesn’t work for me. If you’ve seen my twitter posts/rants on this drama, there were times I felt seriously mad over how they treated Chil Seong and I’d given up the drama at the same point as you. I cheered when his gangster bff Maeng Dal calls Sae Woo out with the recording for her utter lack of respect. I understand that she needs to be strong, and no is no, but then she kept hanging around him. I went through the roof when she called him for breakfast and completely dissed him with the flowers when he showed up all spiffy and ready. I stopped liking her very much at that point. It didn’t sit well with me.

    I love all the Jang Hyuk action sequences! He blows me away every time.

    I’m curious how Chil Seong is going to fare by the end so I’m sticking with it and kind of FFwding through it. We’re expecting ‘I.V.’ couple. since he’d met a pretty, cool woman in the hospital. But she hasn’t come back on the show yet. Durn it.

    This whole drama feels too random, with misplaced whimsy and overlong scenes brimming with boring dialogue. I literally fell asleep during the almond car scene.

    Sae Woo is such a ditz she doesn’t feel like a real woman to me and I don’t get Chil Seong’s obsession either, but I accept it. Poong makes positive changes in his personality and softens up but I find him bland and uninteresting. I enjoyed the actor much more in Chief Kim.

    When I learned that Writernim also wrote “Pasta” My feelings fell into place. The spacey girl who smiles at the wrong time, the barking, perfectionist chef, the super nice 2nd lead, the underhanded ex-lover, a slew of under developed, unlikeable kitchen characters…the similarities hit me in the face like an anvil. I couldn’t stand that drama even though I’d forced myself to finish it. I was a Kdrama newbie then and felt guilty for drama dropping. lol

    Well, keep your eye on twitter for updates on Chil Seong! 😉

    1. kfangurl

      Wow, hi5 m’dear! 😀 I had no idea we had such similar experiences in film class! 😆 Even down to the “huh?” moments of not getting the widely acknowledged brilliance of a movie, lol.

      Also, looks like we feel very similarly about Sae Woo. I find her too much of a ditz, and far from believable. All her random quirks which are supposed to be charming just feel very odd, to me. I felt the glorious almond tofu was weirdly placed too, and while I think it was to show us how quirky and random and cute she is, I found it just plain weird.

      I haven’t seen Chief Kim, but I thought Joon Ho did much better in Just Between Lovers. Or perhaps that role suited him better. I find him rather lacking in depth and nuance in this show, especially during the more intensely emotional moments.

      I didn’t get to the scene in the hospital, but yes, I hope IV Couple becomes an actual thing, but I don’t find myself rooting for Chil Sung to get together with Sae Woo. Well, if she becomes a lot less ditzy and actually becomes more engaging and likable, then maybe I might. And yes, I’ll be waiting to hear news about Chil Sung through your tweets! Coz I can’t convince myself to keep on watching this one, even for Jang Hyuk. Btw, I just read that he’s signed on to a new drama, and from the synopsis, it sounds potentially pretty awesome. He gets to fight onscreen, AND show heaps of character development? YES PLEASE!!! 😍😍😍

      1. Lady G.

        Yes, he signed on for Bad Papa. Looking forward to it! But the storyline keeps changing. lol. I guess we’ll see soon.

        I don’t think Sae Woo’s character is gonna really change. The script and story is just rambling along. I think they’re going to develop Chil Seong’s character more. I saw pics that they might do a flashback to his childhood. I hope they don’t try to tie all these character together as kids. That’d be annoying.

        I still love analyzing film themes, but lately I just turn off my brain and enjoy stuff. lol

      2. Lady G.

        And i’m sorry, I actually thought i replied to your comment and it’s been 4 days already. I was a little out of it this week.

        1. kfangurl

          Aw, no worries at all, m’dear! Oh, does the synopsis for Bad Papa keep changing? I didn’t see anything different so far, though. I read that he plays a boxer who loses all his fame and fortune in one swoop, who then starts over with MMA, for the sake of his family.

          Oh, I hope they don’t tie the characters together with a childhood backstory too – that is so tropey and overdone. Also, this story doesn’t need it, it’s weird enough all on its own, I think! 😆

          I’m watching my dramas and movies with a much looser lens now than before as well.. happily, I still have things to write about, even with the looser lens, so I don’t feel pressured to be too analytical. Well, unless I actually want to be, of course! 😄

  20. Simple

    hello kfangurl,
    ” STUFF THAT KEPT ME GOING: Jang Hyuk, period.” — i like this statement. Haven’t seen this drama yet aside from the teaser. but i’m going to watch it because of jang hyuk oppa too. take care.

    1. kfangurl

      Haha! Glad you resonated on that note, Simple! 😀 And, I hope your watch of this one will go better than mine did 😉 Jang Hyuk is pretty sweet in this. Goofy too, but endearingly so. <3


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