Review: Yumi’s Cells

THE SHORT VERDICT:

If I had to pick just one word to describe the watch experience of this show, it would be “fresh.”

Show is just really good at what it sets out to do. It’s great at mixing the live-action with the animation stuff, and it’s also great at shining the spotlight on all our human thoughts, reactions and foibles. And Show manages to be funny and entertaining, while remaining heartfelt and relatable. Really impressive, all-around.

I’d suggest putting this on your list, even if you were originally going to give it a pass.

THE LONG VERDICT:

I was one of those who’d been immediately skeptical, when Show’s synopsis first came out.

I hadn’t thought that the live action mixed with animation concept would work that well in a kdrama, but whaddya know – Show makes it work, so well, and the animation stuff turned out to be one of my favorite things about this show.

Ha. Show really does seem to know me better than myself, and in more ways than one.

My biggest joy, in watching this show, is the thrill and sense of vindication that I get, from realizing that I’m not weird after all, we’re just ALL like this. 😅 I find that over and above enjoying Yumi’s story, I’m understanding myself better, by watching her go through life.

On top of that, I find myself starting to understand the male psyche better, as Show unpacks that too. What an unexpected, illuminating bonus!

This show honestly feels like the gift that keeps on giving.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while reading the review. I really enjoyed the OST; everything felt on point and suitably applied, such that it all worked to lift my watch experience.

In terms of a favorite track, I’m gonna hafta say that it’s Track 4, “Like A Star.” That song really added a touch of ethereal magic to some of Yumi’s most special moments, and every time it came on, it gave me tingles and made me smile, all at the same time. 🥰

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS

Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:

1. Keep an open mind. Show isn’t like most of its Dramaland cousins, in that it doesn’t seem to follow any recognizable formula. Therefore, just putting those expectations away, and allowing Show to take you on its journey, is the best approach, I feel.

2. Embrace the cells. Even though I’d been wary of the animation portion of this show’s concept, I found the various cells to be very likable and entertaining. Don’t fight ’em, coz you’d miss out on loving ’em, is what I’m trying to say.

3. Show acts like a mirror. What I mean is, Show isn’t trying to tell us a perfect, romantic fairytale. Instead, Show’s mirroring for us, what WE are like, as we live our lives and engage in relationships. I think that keeping this in mind will help to calibrate your expectations of the various narrative arcs, as well as gain some introspective benefits.

GENERAL HANDLING & EXECUTION

I love this show coz it’s cute, but I also love it coz it’s clearly very carefully thought out.

The general handling and execution is really impressive, and the more I look at the various breakdowns of how the cells interact, and how that pans out in Yumi’s (Kim Go Eun) real reactions, it all feels so on point and pitch perfect. Writer-nim clearly has an impeccable understanding of people, emotions, and how our emotions translate into behavior.

I love it, and I can almost imagine myself having a whole town of cells who care about me, who work together to push me in what they think is the right direction too.

Here are just a couple of highlights, of Show’s excellent handling and execution.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. I am extremely tickled by the cells breaking out Yumi’s emergency tool, the reaction puppet aptly named Reaction Number One. Watching the puppet in action, I so identify with how it gets the job done in dealing with social situations, but without subtlety or believability. 😂

E8. I am SO very tickled by the way Show demonstrates the selective blindness to the opposite sex thing. At first, I was really thrown by the scene of the 2D sketch of a guy interacting with Yumi, but as Show explains what this is, and why this is, it makes so much sense to me!

With Yumi’s attentions fully on Woong (Ahn Bo Hyun), and her heart fully set on Woong, it feels very natural, that she would stop noticing other guys, to the extent that she doesn’t even really notice their faces and whether they’re handsome. To her eyes, they really are pretty much all the same, which is why I think it’s quite brilliant, that Show would dramatize this, by having the guys all walk around as 2D images. It’s so great. 🤩

[END SPOILER]

STUFF I LIKED

Yumi’s cells in Cell Town

I’ve already mentioned this up top, but just coz I can, I’m gonna shout it from the mountain tops: I LOVE THOSE CELLS!! 🤩🤩🤩

First of all, they’re gosh-darn cute, AND they feel pitch perfect to what I understand of our human workings.

On top of that, Show is so creative, in playing with the various facets of this concept, to bring out the layers and nuances, of how we function as people. I am so impressed, seriously.

The way Show breaks down our internal communication process as humans, and interprets it as various cells interacting with one another, is really spot-on, and it makes me feel like I’m gaining a better, more articulate understanding of how my own cells respond, as I live my life. I find that really cool.

This entire side of Show is so rich, that I can’t possibly cover everything in a single spoiler section. So here are my top highlights instead (and even then, it’s quite a chunk 😅).

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I love the idea that the cells all live in a town, and are essentially a community, where cells each have their own personalities and reputations, and interact with one another. This interaction, particularly the back-and-forth between opposing cells, like Reason and Emotion, or Reason and Hunger, is exactly the kind of thing that we experience, as we navigate our lives and our worlds.

I also love the idea that Hunger is characterized as a very young child who cannot be reasoned with. It’s so true, that you can’t reason with hunger; it’s a basic need that demands to be met, especially when we’re very hungry – which is why I think it’s brilliant that Hunger is drawn as much larger than the other cells. The hungrier Yumi is, the larger Hunger is, and the more power he has, to just stomp on all the other cells. How very relatable! 😂

I was extremely tickled by the concept of Yumi’s love cell being in a coma and on life support, for the 3 years since her ex-boyfriend broke her heart by dumping her for another girl. I mean, it’s sad that Yumi’s ex treated her so poorly, but the idea that her love cell just.. collapsed from that trauma and went into a vegetative state, is so perfect. That’s exactly what happens to a lot of people, I feel, when they’ve been deeply hurt by the ones they’ve loved.

I like the idea that each person has a prime cell, and that that prime cell determines that person’s main brand, so to speak. It’s so true, that the people around us all have their own schtick, and it’s a cute idea to put that down to which cell is prime.

It’s actually rather poignant, to learn that Yumi’s prime cell is love – because that means that in the last 3 years, Yumi’s basically had to live with her prime cell in a coma. Doesn’t that translate to her feeling unfulfilled, because her main driving force in life, has been missing?

I am very much tickled at the process of the cells getting Yumi to go to sleep. It literally takes a village, ha. I find it really cute that it’s Reason who’s going around reasoning with &/or knocking out other cells like Emotion, Anxiety and Painful Memory, so that Yumi’s Sleepy cell can do his job of getting Yumi to go to bed.

The cells working really hard to get Yumi to smile, in the face of Ruby’s (Lee Yoo Bi) blithe bragging, of how she and Ugi had spent many hours together, is also very amusing to me. Ahaha. That feels so on point; sometimes, it really IS hard to keep on a smile. 😆

I love-love-love how it’s Love cell, who instructs Rampage to get True Feeling. That makes so much sense! Yumi’s desire to love again, is what’s causing her to be frustrated enough, to indicate her true feelings, in that conversation. That mix of emotion, and the cause and effect, is well deconstructed, in how our cells work it out. I love it.

E2. I’m so tickled by Fashion Cell and how she became a felon cell and got thrown into prison, for making Yumi blow 3 months’ salary, all because of a 70,000 won dress. Ahaha. I love it.

I have to sheepishly admit that I did stupid things like this too, when I was in my Fashion Phase. You buy one thing, and suddenly you need 1,000 other things to go with it (ok, not literally 1,000 things. More like.. 10 things. But you get the idea). The worst part is, you might never even wear or use that one thing; you just have the satisfaction that if you ever need it, you have an entire matching set, sitting in your closet – until it completely goes out of style, by which time you need a New Thing. 😂

I love how excited all the cells are, for Yumi’s flower festival date. I feel like that’s possibly a representation for when you’re so excited about something, that it feels like your entire body, ie, all your cells, are just tingling?

E3. I find myself paying attention to which cell is speaking, at any one time, and it’s so on-point, for it to be Reason who decides that since Yumi’s been at the blind date for 2 hours, it’s alright for her to say goodbye and leave.

It’s so true that Hunger is such a basic need, and therefore, it makes so much sense that Hunger is larger and more powerful than all the other cells. The more hungry Yumi is, the larger Hunger is, and the more powerful too. I know from personal experience that when hunger strikes, it can’t be reasoned with, and so, of course it’s Hunger demanding to be fed, that gets Yumi to agree to have dinner with Woong.

I freaking love the detail, that Hunger has a belly pipe that he plays when he can’t take it anymore, and that translates into the sound of Yumi’s stomach growling. I’m inordinately amused by this, especially the bit where Hunger looks so pleased with himself (against all Reason and Emotion, of course, because nobody actually wants their stomach growls to be heard, whether it’s a logical thing or an emotional thing), as he plays that pipe.

Tee hee hee. He looks so happy, like he’s making the most beautiful music ever, while on the other side of things, Yumi’s wishing desperately for her grumbly stomach to keep quiet. 😂

I have to say, I find the stress minefield so recognizable, both as something I’ve seen in myself, as well as something I’ve seen in others. Truly, it’s the kind of state where anything can and does set you off, and you are barely functioning, because of all the internal turmoil. Show does SUCH a great job illustrating this state of mind, with all the stress bombs that Hysterius is throwing all over the place.

E4. I am loving how Cell Town is shown to be in ruins after Hysterius’s rampage, but then is magically restored by the falling of sugar snow. Ahaha. It’s so true, though, that the giddy thrill of romantic feels can cut through the worst mood, and make everything magically better.

I’m pretty intrigued by the idea that every person has a bulletin board where the various cells post ideas and thoughts, and every night, the Bulletin Board cell sifts through everything, and puts the most important and relevant notes up top, so that they’re front and center for Yumi, when she wakes up.

That’s.. such an interesting way to portray the fact that our thoughts often feel more organized after we’ve had some sleep, and our priorities appear clearer to us too. Who knew, that we had our Bulletin Board cells to thank for that! Also, tee hee, that Woong’s bulletin board is basically full of random things about Yumi. What a great way to show us that his mind really is just overrun with thoughts of Yumi, of every shade, shape and size.

This episode, I’m most tickled by the introduction of Yumi’s Lust Cell, and Woong’s Lustsaurus. Ahaha. Just thinking about it is making me chuckle.

Lust Cell is hilarious, with his (her?) no-pants, hip-thrusting, butt-wiggling lascivious ways. I love how he tries to tempt Yumi into undoing a couple of buttons on her dress, to show off her collarbone, and how the other cells reason with him, to stop talking nonsense. I love how this translates into Yumi actually contemplating it, in front of the mirror, and then brushing off the ridiculous thought, with some embarrassment. This feels very relatable, I have to say. 😅

Ahaha, I love how Lust gets all breathless and huffy, just thinking about the chance for Yumi to kiss Woong, if she agrees to his suggestion to launder her dress at his apartment – and this is how Reason loses his argument, quite promptly. 😂

And then, there’s how Lust practically drools over the idea that Yumi’s in the same space where Woong’s recently been very, very nekkid. Pwahaha. Her reverie, of Woong in the shower, very damp, very shirtless and very ripped, made me giggle, even as I registered a note of appreciation for how buff Ahn Bo Hyun is.

I couldn’t help laughing, at Lust Cell’s practically drunken remarks, that “it” is big, and then his hasty protests, as he’s being dragged away, that he’d only been talking about the tree. Hi-la-rious. 😂

After all that, though, I basically couldn’t stop guffawing with laughter, when we’re introduced to Woong’s Lustsaurus. The way Lustsaurus bounds all over the town with big heavy steps, growl-shouting that Yumi’s wearing his clothes, and her collarbone is so sexy, while breathing fire, as Reason hangs on to Lustsaurus’s tail for dear life, is just hysterical. OMGGG. He’s so obsessed, and so aggressive at the same time. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard or so long at a drama, possibly ever. 🤣🤣

I LOVE the little scene, where Lustsaurus is barely keeping calm, while Reason soothes him by telling him not to ruin everything. I can so imagine this conversation going on in Woong’s head, as he tries to control his instinct to just grab her and kiss her.

I also love the little detail, that Lustsaurus gets out of control when he can feel the CO2 emitted between Woong and Yumi. Ahahaha. This is so spot-on, though. I’m sure Woong would get all hot and bothered, if he could actually feel Yumi’s breath on his skin, after all. 😏

E7. I’m also very much intrigued by the concept of the Priority List. The way it’s set up, it looks like a list of trending topics on the internet, or something similar. And it feels so spot on, that Yumi’s Priority List is full of things related to Woong.

It’s little wonder that Yumi would feel particularly sensitive when it comes to things to do with Woong, then, like how Sae Yi (Park Ji Hyun) keeps trying to drill home the point that she knows Woong better than Yumi. The whole thing, where Yumi’s working to establish an edge over Sae Yi with that whisper technique, and how Sae Yi gets all up in a twist trying to guess what Yumi’s whispered to Woong, feels petty, but also, spot-on. This feels like just the sort of small but consuming competition that women might engage in, over a man.

E8. One thing I found hilarious, is the way Yumi’s touch on Woong’s back registers as the sound of a doorbell, and back in Woong’s Cell Town, Love cell opens the door, and Lustsaurus pushes the door wide open with his big snout – thus leading Woong to the appeal of immediate sexytimes. Tee hee. I found this extremely funny and cute, for some reason.

E10. I mostly also found Yumi’s efforts to test the aegyo moves on Woong pretty hard to watch, though I did find it very funny, when the instructions went down to the hand cells, saying to exert effort, but not actually open the cap of the cola bottle, and the hand cells are all, what the HECK do you actually want..? 😂

This episode, I am quite taken with the concept of the compliment package, and whether the compliment package contains real soul. It’s funny how that really does reflect how we respond to compliments that are real, and not just lip service.

I love the dramatization in Cell Town, of how Writer cell is completely blown away at actually receiving a real compliment package, with real soul, that she becomes bewitched by the potion, and writes feverishly – and fruitlessly – while buoyed by the potion of the compliment.

It sounds so out there on paper, but that really is how we tend to respond to sincere compliments, isn’t it? We apply ourselves even harder in the area we’ve been complimented on, because we are that excited to be recognized for doing that particular something well.

And yet, writing – as with so many other creative pursuits – doesn’t actually benefit from the sole action of applying oneself harder. I really feel for Yumi and for Writer cell, because it’s one thing to want to write something amazing, but it’s completely another, to actually be in the zone, and have that amazing writing just flow out from your fingers.

You can’t force it, as I’ve come to learn myself, and watching Yumi attempt to force it, really made my heart go out to her – especially when she reached the point of wanting to give up. Also, I love the detail, that every other cell in her body is crying out to go home, while Writer cell holds everyone hostage, because of her desperate desire to write something good. That feels so true to life!!!

That scene of Writer cell, digging up her own grave in tears, planning to bury herself, because she sees no point in her continuing to exist, is so poignant, even though it’s an animation. I felt so sorry for Writer cell, honestly, and wanted to reach into my screen so I could stop her from attempting to bury herself alive.

How cute, though, that it’s Cheapskate cell who comes to Writer cell’s rescue, because Yumi suddenly learns that she’ll be compensated for her writing work. Tee hee hee. Ok, I am thoroughly amused by how Show dramatizes how monetary reward can be a big motivator.

On a different note, I am super amused by how Show interprets the making of New Year’s resolutions, in Cell Town. It’s hilarious to me, that the cells all wait around excitedly, because a few chosen ones will grow extremely large and powerful – for 3 days.

Ahaha. Coz that’s how long New Year’s resolutions tend to last. Pfft. It’s such a low blow, and yet, it’s so true. 😂 This is why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, my friends. Coz I never end up keeping ’em!

[END SPOILER]

Kim Go Eun as Yumi

I really, really like Kim Go Eun as Yumi. She’s absolutely pitch perfect.

In Kim Go Eun’s hands, there’s an awkwardness about Yumi, but that awkwardness leans gentle, so it’s pretty subtle, yet is relatable. And, there’s a delicateness about her, which I feel is so well expressed in her hands. Her hands are slender and graceful, which adds to that sense of fragility about her, while still being so gently yet eloquently expressive of her awkwardness, in her gestures.

Also, I find her gaze very expressive. The small shifts in her gaze; her quick blinks; the slight widening of her eyes; they match every scene in such a pitch perfect way, and I find it even more pronounced when they’re matched with voiceovers from opposing cells who are arguing, thus creating an overall effect of confusion, for Yumi.

On a tangent, I also like the fact that Yumi is hardworking and good at her job – but is not a Candy. I love that she’s been promoted, even, for her efforts, and has actually managed to save a lot of money, from not dating, but having a well-paying stable job. That actually makes her fancy stove that much more organic to the story, rather than a convenient spot of PPL.

Overall, I found Yumi relatable in the best way.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. What stands out to me as poignant, though, is the fact that Yumi isn’t jaded by her bad romantic experience; she wants to love again, and just.. doesn’t know how. That layer of vulnerability – of wanting to be vulnerable – really endears Yumi to me.

I love the idea that despite her bad experience, and despite her love cell being literally comatose, her heart remains tender.

E2. I must say, I’m impressed by how Kim Go Eun really throws herself into the physicality that this whole sprint-and-escape sequence demands, for the flower garden date getaway. It’s all kinds of extreme and bizarre, but it’s entertaining to watch, and I’m just rather impressed by Kim Go Eun’s athleticism and general gung-ho spirit, what with Yumi pulling that duck-and-slide move, to avoid that frisbee.

And yet, through it all, Kim Go Eun still manages to infuse Yumi with a sense of awkward fragility. Really nicely done, I say.

I feel really bad for Yumi, after all she’s been through, and the rollercoaster her emotions have been on, when she realizes what Ugi is saying to her; that he wants to introduce her to someone else, via a blind date, and is therefore not personally interested in her. That bursting of the heart balloon, along with its rapid deflation, as all the cells reel in shock, really encapsulates how Yumi must feel, as she processes this new information.

I love the detail, that it starts to rain in Cell Town, even though Yumi isn’t crying in front of Ugi. Without Show having to spell it out, it’s already clear to see that Yumi’s crying on the inside.

Trust that it’s Reason, who tries his best to manage the Expressions Lever for as long as he can. Because of course it would be Yumi’s sense of reason that dictates that it would be best to at least pretend to be ok for as long as possible, in order to protect Yumi’s pride. It’s perfect. Emotion wouldn’t care about this in this moment, but Reason does.

Kim Go Eun’s delivery of Yumi’s struggle to keep up her “I’m ok” face is so well done. Her smiles are tinged with just enough ticks like an awkward swallow, an aversion of her gaze; I can literally feel Yumi struggle to keep her smile on. And this meshes perfectly with how the cells are doing their best to manage that Expressions Lever for Yumi, but struggling to succeed.

And it makes so much sense, that as Yumi grows more and more distressed on the inside, that it’s a tidal wave of inside tears, that washes the cells, and that Emotions Lever, into oblivion – which is when Yumi has to have a cry break, alone in the bathroom.

I also find it so on point, that the Expressions Lever completely breaks – and that’s when Yumi can’t keep up a false front anymore. It’s so true, that sometimes, you reach your breaking point, and just can’t pretend that you’re ok anymore.

E10. Yumi being invited to transfer to Marketing is like a dream come true for her, in that, she’s always had a writing dream, and had buried that dream, because she’d believed that she didn’t have the talent nor the opportunity to pursue it. And yet, here is the GM of Marketing, telling her that she has the talent, and offering her the opportunity to pursue it – for work. If Yumi accepts this, she’d be living the dream, coz she’d finally be writing for a living.

Yet, I can understand why Yumi would hesitate. Starting something completely new, especially when you’re no longer in your twenties, can be very intimidating and scary. It’s no wonder she needs courage for this.

I do love the dramatization of how courage can be borrowed, and how it’s borrowed when other people tell Yumi to go for it, because they think it’s a good idea, and that she’d do a great job.

At the same time, it’s also so true to life, how that courage to try something new, can be systematically broken down, when someone else gives you all the risks and downsides on a plate, like Woong does for Yumi.

I love how Yumi deals with it all, with an extra spicy plate of tteokbokki, which triggers an Endorphins concert in Cell Town.

HAHA. That’s so great. I love how Endorphins are characterized as rock stars, and it feels so pitch perfect, that all the other cells are hypnotized by them, such that Yumi’s entire body is in a rather blissed out, intoxicated sort of state. 😂 Whoever thought of this is freaking BRILLIANT, I say.

[END SPOILER]

Ahn Bo Hyun as Woong

I really enjoyed Ahn Bo Hyun as Woong, as well, and that’s partly because it tickles me greatly, that Ahn Bo Hyun in this beach bum sort of character, reminds me a great deal of a friend of mine, down to the slippers, tanned muscular frame, and long unkempt hair. Ahaha. My friend went through a total phase for several years, and Ahn Bo Hyun’s brought it all back to me. 😂

In all seriousness, I have to say that I grew very fond of Woong as a character, over the course of our story. He’s decent, loyal, and is super cute when he’s smitten. 😍

Kudos to Ahn Bo Hyun, whom I think gives a really excellent detailed, faceted performance, that matched really nicely with Woong’s internal cell goings-on that Show gives us insight to, alongside.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. So far, I like that Goo Woong seems like a straightforward sort of guy, who’s generally uncalculating and quite open to new experiences and people. That’s what I get from him agreeing so readily to the blind date when Ugi calls, but refusing to just treat it lightly like Sae Yi tells him to.

I do love that Woong is so taken with Yumi at first sight, that he completely blanks out, thus sending his cells into a panic. (I’m extremely tickled that we get insight into Woong’s cells too, where there’s this whole other Cell Town, with a whole bunch of other cells attempting to help Woong. That’s really cute.)

It’s somehow gratifying to witness someone be so mesmerized by Yumi, after she’s felt so rejected in love, for so long. I just like the idea that for the first time in a long time, someone seems to really, really like her.

Unfortunately for Woong, Yumi and her cells aren’t at all impressed with his behavior – including his humor! – so far, and just want to go home. Oops. I do love Woong’s humor cell though. He somehow reminds me of Yo Na, from Kill Me, Heal Me. Flamboyant, vain, and utterly over-confident, I love it. 😂

E3. I find it really refreshing to see Woong analyzing the blind date, because I’m only really familiar with how women tend to over-analyze a date; I don’t think I was even sure that men did the same. So I guess you could say this is not only refreshing, but rather illuminating? (I’m assuming that Show’s representation is true, since the women’s perspective has been so spot-on so far.)

Woong’s poor Hair cell, who gets put at risk – and ends up getting a full hair cut – because Woong guesses (incorrectly) that Yumi isn’t responding to his text because she finds his beard dirty-looking. Ahaha. I have to love just how far Woong’s overthinking is taking him, and also, just how far he’s willing to go, for the mere chance of Yumi liking him a little more. Aw. He’s very earnest, isn’t he? I like him already.

Pfft. I like how Sae Yi works so hard to weave a convincing tale of how everything in Yumi’s texts indicate that she’s not interested in Woong, only for Woong to completely ignore her, and decide that he’s slow-witted and never does what he’s told anyway.

Ahaha. I love it. I love that he just decides that everything’s Sae Yi’s said is just.. not relevant to him. I smirk at the frustration that Sae Yi must be feeling. 😆

E4. I am duly intrigued by the introduction of the various algorithms in Woong. Lol. This makes Woong seem like some kind of robot, having to follow algorithms in order to operate. Is this really how guys function, particularly when under pressure? It appears to me like the algorithms kick in each time Woong’s facing some kind of stress or nervous tension, and then his way out, is via following the flowchart of the algorithm that’s been activated.

It’s well known that male and female brains are wired differently, but this illustration via how the cells operate differently in Yumi’s Cell Town and Woong’s Cell Town, is really helping me see things in a whole new light.

I mean, we’ve never seen Yumi follow an algorithm thus far, even under the most trying circumstances. And yet, when witnessing Woong operating under the guidance of his algorithms, the resulting behavior meshes well with what I understand of male behavior. I’m delighted and intrigued.

It makes complete sense to me that Woong enters Conceit Mode after getting Yumi to the hospital, because the male ego is a very real thing, and of course Woong would feel proud of himself, for having saved Yumi. That’s his male wiring at work; he thrives off feeling like Yumi’s protector.

(On that note, it’s wise of him to get off that phone, before Sae Yi completely dismantles his Conceit bubbles.)

I do love how we see that Woong has his defenses up when it comes to Sae Yi. I laughed so hard at Bear Mode, where Woong becomes obtuse and forgetful, and just kind of dense overall, to all of Sae Yi’s hints and advances.

It’s also quite illuminating to me, that guys consciously put on Bear Mode, in order to get out of a sticky situation. I mean, I’ve pretended not to understand things before, in order to get out of a tricky spot, but.. for some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that guys do this too. 😅

I laughed so much, at Bear Mode in full swing, and got a fair bit of satisfaction, from seeing Sae Yi’s attempts to draw Woong in, fail time and again. And, I found it very amusing, that once the main danger is averted, the bear ears continue to stay in place – for just in case – until Woong is safely out of Sae Yi’s proximity.

E9. I find it really interesting, actually, that while in his icy state, Woong is cognizant enough that Sae Yi’s in the wrong, that he speaks to her coldly when she tries to act all innocent and passive-aggressively push more of his buttons, but this doesn’t cause him to want to do something to reconcile with Yumi either.

I guess things aren’t so cut and dry for Woong, after all.

He might recognize the fact that Sae Yi has been messing with him and Yumi, but that doesn’t equate him backing down and admitting that Yumi’s right, because ultimately, he does feel that he’s been managing things fine on his end.

This definitely is an accurate reflection of his priority list, which we’ve gotten a glimpse of. In this moment of relationship crisis, his priority is his own blamelessness, over Yumi’s distress.

I really like the peek that we get, into Woong’s conversation with Sae Yi afterwards, at the cafe. It feels like this is the first time Woong’s actually confronting the situation with Sae Yi head-on, and even though it’s uncomfortable and awkward, I’m glad that he sticks to his guns and tells Sae Yi not to treat him as a back-up, because it’s never going to happen.

YESSS. I’m SO pleased about this.

Of course, I’m not pleased that Woong and Louis suffer as a result of losing one person on the team, but I’m gratified that even in the face of this hardship, Woong doesn’t appear to be even a little bit tempted, to ask Sae Yi to come back.

E11. I thought the concept of Woong’s Training cell, practicing the nuances of “What’s wrong?” for years without understanding what it was practicing for, was very cute. I suppose this is Show’s take on how we absorb words, phrases and ways of doing things from the people around us, and then reach for them, when the situation calls for it.

In Woong’s case, he’s picked up “What’s wrong?” from his mom, but I’m much more tickled at the super special secret move that he’s picked up from his dad – the meek “okay.” Ahaha! I thought that was really funny, especially since Show positions it, saying “Obedience is the only way to survive.” 😂

[END SPOILER]

The connection between Yumi and Woong

I thoroughly enjoyed the way Show explores Yumi’s connection with Woong.

The way Show deals with their loveline, makes everything feel so real and relatable – even as it still manages to retain some of that drama magic, to their romance.

Unlike most other dramas that deal primarily with how a couple gets together, this show also deals with what happens after a couple gets together. How do they get along, on a daily basis? How do they get over disagreements and misunderstandings – big ones and small ones?

Show brings that all to life in a way that feels palpably relatable, and honestly, even though I was fully on board with rooting for this couple, the reflections and insights I got, in terms of relationships in general, kinda outshines even the romance itself. 😉

[SPOILER ALERT]

E3. All things considered, Woong’s actually a very decent date, once he gets past the nervous habit of telling bad jokes. I like that he responds tactfully to Yumi’s stomach growls by pretending he doesn’t hear them, and offers to take her to a nearby place for some good food, because, oh look at the time! And, he looks genuinely pleased when he sees Yumi enjoying her food. There’s something very sincerely sweet about that.

I love how Hunger’s joy at experiencing all these delicious foods translates into Yumi becoming more relaxed and candid in her reactions. His butt-wiggling happy dance is the cutest thing, seriously. 😂

Plus, there’s how Woong notices that she’s wearing white, and goes to get her an apron to wear, so that she can enjoy the kimchi stew without worrying about staining her clothes. That’s thoughtful; I like it. So far, I really like him. I realize I’m beginning to sound like one of Yumi’s cells, articulating my approval of him, ha.

Speaking of which, the way the various cells weigh in, is such a perfect reflection of all the different aspects of Yumi’s character responding to Woong’s different facets. I’m most tickled by how Fashion cell approves of Woong’s perfect effortless look, ha. She’s not wrong; he did say that he’d put effort into his appearance, for the blind date.

I also love that moment when Woong grabs Yumi’s hand, to stop her from paying for dinner, and all the cells find themselves floating up into the air. Ahaha. That’s such a perfect representation of how Yumi herself must feel, in the moment, with Woong’s surprise move. What a great way of showing us that Yumi doesn’t hate this sudden bit of skinship with Woong, and that it’s even making her walk on air, a little bit – so to speak.

And yet, how on point, that Emotion’s insistence that Yumi isn’t that easy, is the thing that causes Yumi to try to end the blind date.

I’d half thought that this might be a call for Reason to make, but come to think of it, Reason would probably be the one to say that there’s nothing wrong with Yumi giving Woong a chance; after all, there was nothing going on with Ugi, and it’s been three years since her last relationship. It really is Emotion who’d put the brakes on, because of not wanting to appear easy.

I do love how Emotion gets out-voted by the other cells, which is how Yumi ends up going to that funny Frog Festival thing with Woong, because that’s the only thing Woong could come up with, despite his cells working really hard to get his brain gears going. 😂

I like how Yumi only thinks about the practicality of gaining the lower entry fees, if they say that they’re a couple, and doesn’t think about whether anyone might see the photo of them together, on her SNS. It makes me feel like Yumi’s not the calculating sort, and I like that.

Of course, I’m not surprised – but I still cringe – at how Ruby calls Woong, and starts asking him about the blind date, right then and there. Oh my. Girl has no sense of subtlety or propriety, does she?

The silver lining to this, is how Woong is so candid, in expressing to Yumi that he thinks Ruby is weird for talking like his niece had, when she’d been 5 years old. HAHA. I love that enough, to accept that it was necessary for Ruby to call, just so that we could have Woong say that.

I love the way Show dramatizes the moment when the pretenses come down, and Yumi starts to respond to Woong with sincerity, as herself. Emotion realizing that Woong is honest, and that that’s a good thing, and putting aside Reaction Number One, so that she can answer Woong herself. Aw. That’s nice.

Also, kudos to Woong, for being bold enough to tell Yumi that he thinks she’s cute. Given how dumbstruck he’d been when they’d first met, I wasn’t sure he had it in him. But he does, and it makes Yumi smile to be told, sincerely, that she’s cute, and all is good in the world.

..Until Show introduces Hysterius, that is. 😝

Yet, how spot-on is that, that sometimes, when we’re just beginning to forget our troubles and starting to be happy for a bit, our bad memories come flooding back to us, and we start to question ourselves – thus leading to an absolute crash in our mood, that can last for days.

Poor Woong, who’s confused and perplexed at the sudden turn that the date takes. But I do like how upbeat he still is, when Sae Yi asks him how the date went. I love the idea that even though Yumi leaves so abruptly, he’s still in good spirits about the date, with his thoughts so full of Yumi, that there’s a giant gleeful Yumi running rampant in his Cell Town. Lol. I found that quite funny, and it really does feel like an accurate representation of what Woong’s thoughts must look like.

I also found it funny that Yumi’s cells put their hope in Hunger, so that the sugar rush can weaken Hysterius, so that they’ll be able to get Yumi to respond to Woong’s text. I couldn’t help giggling at this, because it’s true that a sugar lift can make a huge – albeit momentary – difference.

It makes complete sense to me that Yumi decides that she doesn’t need to see Woong again, and that it would be best if she were to simply not date, after being disappointed time and again, in love. I actually believe her, when she says that her heart feels more at ease, after making that decision. Of course it would feel more at ease, with the tension of a potential-maybe relationship now defused.

It’s completely in character, that Ruby would be the one to get Yumi to her breaking point, where Yumi drops all pretense and niceties, to confront her.

What I like about this scene, though, is the glimpse we get into Yumi’s true feelings, as she speaks, bitterly, and with tears burgeoning, about being used to being alone. That feels like it comes from a place of genuine loneliness and hurt.

I’m glad that Woong stays in character too, and shows up, even though the people around him are convinced that Yumi’s cut him off and it’s not worth pursuing. Not only does he show up, he shows up with an umbrella to shelter her from the rain, while expressing sincere concern that she’ll catch a cold.

This feels like quite a bona fide hero moment to me – and I hope Yumi feels the same way. I’m with her cells on this one; I approve of Woong as potential boyfriend material, and I’m rooting for her to think so too.

E4. The dress, with that froggy on it, that Woong chooses for Yumi is perfect, because not only is he showing consideration for her, he’s also demonstrating that he holds their first date dear – even though that kind of ended on a questionable note.

I was thoroughly amused by how the cute froggy gains entry to Yumi’s heart, and then systematically fixes everything, and even goes out on a boat, to save Love Cell and True Feeling, from that deserted island where they’ve been stranded.

HAHA, that cute froggy turns out to be Woong’s Love Cell in disguise. This feels so on point, because this thing, where a guy softens a girl’s heart via something cute, is so recognizable, to me. I just hadn’t put it together in my head, that this was the male love cell going undercover! 😆

And it turns out to be super effective, too. I mean, not only is Yumi actively asking Woong out on a second date, she’s even reusing his lame jokes. I’d say that qualifies as a quantum leap forward, wouldn’t you?

I love the way the cells gather every night for a bit of Dream Theater, as Yumi relives all the swoony moments she’s experienced with Woong. This is such a great depiction of how Yumi’s soaking in all of the feels, at all times, down to her last cell. 🥰

I do love that when Woong calls Yumi, he’s so frank and forthright about wanting to give her back her dress right away – because he’d like to see her. Ahhh. This is just the kind of honesty that melts a girl’s heart. This is definitely an instance where his honest streak is working in his favor.

Woong’s train of thought, as he processes why Yumi would agree to go to his apartment, when she’d had clothes being held for her at a clothing store that was even nearer to their location than his apartment, is quite cute and amusing at the same time. He looks so.. gratified and delighted, when he arrives at his conclusion of what it must mean.

I do like that Woong doesn’t just assume that his conclusion is right, and actually asks Yumi about it, even though this definitely lands on the side of awkward and embarrassing for Yumi.

Y’know, I’d actually thought that at least part of Yumi’s reason for not revealing that she had clothes nearby, is because she was embarrassed to let on that she’d bought a new dress for the date. And, I’d thought that being upfront about this would’ve served Yumi better, than letting on that she’d been thinking about skinship opportunities with Woong. At least, that’s probably what I’d choose to say, if I were in Yumi’s shoes.

But perhaps it’s a good thing that Yumi doesn’t say what I would say, because I do think it’s her shy awkwardness around this, that leads Woong to pull her in for that kiss.

The kiss is sweet and rather melty, but I have to admit, that as the music’s swelling and the camera angles for a better close-up, all I’m thinking about, is how Lust Cell and Lustsaurus are taking this moment. Are they running rampant? Swooning to the floor in bliss? I want to know! 😅

E5. I did enjoy the highlight reel that we get in the beginning of the episode, where we see Woong and Yumi settle into the honeymoon phase of their relationship. Somehow, the highlight reel feels down-to-earth and true-to-life, even as it’s scored with a swelling love ballad.

This really is what it feels like, when you’re in the early stages of a relationship; everything feels dreamy and surreal, everything’s lovely, everything about your partner is lovable, and you’re basically high on endorphins, as a general state of being, from all the blushy-kissy-touchy. 😚

The Main Event this episode, from my perspective, is Yumi having to deal with the specter of Sae Yi, in her relationship with Woong. I thought that was fantastically broken down, in the workings of Cell Town.

It makes complete sense to me that while Reason has a perfectly feasible explanation for how men and women can be friends, Emotion is too fired up to actually want to listen. And it’s so spot-on, that in moments like these, Emotion wins out, just on pure brute strength alone. 😅

Intuition cell, getting all these theories via his lightbulb moments, also feels on point. Stuff like Sae Yi’s really pretty, is single, and has feelings for Woong, all come from Intuition cell, and well, he’s not wrong, is he? And it’s true that we sometimes get these gut feelings about things, that we don’t have any evidence for.

I do very much appreciate that moment, when Reaction Number One is activated, because the cells haven’t come to a conclusion about how to feel about the reveal, that Sae Yi, is, in fact, a girl. That automated, fake, “yes, everything’s fine” sort of facade, employed to buy time, feels so relatable! 😝😅

I did get a kick out of Lust cell persuading Yumi that she should pick out pretty underwear to wear on her birthday, for just in case, because he’s just so happily drunk on possibility – and he doesn’t even miss a beat, with his hip-thrusting, butt-wiggling ways. 😂 I just love how the animation manages to capture his wiggle-butt so well.

I also like the beat, where Yumi’s all fired up and about to text Woong to ask him about the giver of the yuzu tea, when he inadvertently defuses the whole situation, with his sweet birthday wishes.

I like this beat because it demonstrates what I feel is a deep truth; what women want is a sense of assurance and security, in their relationship.

Even though Yumi had been preoccupied with the possibility that there might be something fishy about the yuzu tea, Woong’s sweet attentiveness was enough to give her the assurance that she’d been seeking. Her end goal, if she’d asked Woong about the yuzu tea, was to gain some assurance from him. And because he’d provided it without her needing to ask, there just wasn’t a need for her to ask him about it anymore, that night.

Yumi’s entire experience of going to Woong’s office, from the intention of using the opportunity to establish that all things Woong are in her territory now, to the eventual unfolding of her frustration and jealousy, as Sae Yi flips the power dynamic to the opposite of what Yumi had expected, feels so relatable to me. This feels like familiar territory, for sure. 😅

On the one hand, I want to tell Yumi that she has nothing to worry about, because from my omniscient viewer perspective, I can tell that Woong’s really into her, and not at all interested in Sae Yi. On the other hand, I find Yumi’s reactions and feelings so relatable, that I’m almost thankful that she feels this way – so that I can be comforted that I’m not at all weird. Is.. that weird? 🤭

The whole sprouting of the flowers of doubt, with Sae Yi continually planting new ones, feels so familiar and relatable too. All the cells turning into zombies who obsess over Sae Yi’s words is so creative and yet so on point. 😂

I do think Yumi did the right thing getting out of there, because staying on would have just made her feel so much worse. And, I’m glad that Woong’s sharp enough to pick up on the fact that Yumi’s upset – and that Sae Yi had contributed to that state of upsetness, on purpose.

I’m glad that Woong and Yumi end up making up by the end of our episode, but I do have to say, Woong’s tendency to censor himself, to say only what he thinks needs to be said, isn’t going to be super helpful in his relationship with Yumi. And it’s going to be particularly unhelpful, in times when Yumi’s looking for a sense of assurance from him. Eep. I hope Woong will learn to express himself better, for the sake of this relationship.

E6. I get the idea, I really do, that in this early stage of their relationship, Woong and Yumi are still very tentative around each other, and easily embarrassed, which is what gives rise to this episode’s hijinks. I guess you could say that this is all just a bit too real for comfort..?

I do like the emotional rollercoaster that we see Woong go through, at the beginning of the episode, as his trepidation turns to relief and delight, when he realizes that this isn’t the end, because Yumi’s smiled and invited him up to her apartment, instead of turning him away.

The way the cells go from intently beating those drums and girding up their loins for the worst, to celebrating with whoops and fireworks, is such a great breakdown of how this emotional rollercoaster actually feels. And there really are moments like these, when you think that you’re on the verge of a break-up, and everything’s all over, but it all turns around in an instant, because the other person has smiled, and chosen to forgive.

It’s just too bad that Woong has a ToiletGate incident, which, like I said, was rather excruciating to watch – not because of the toilet humor, to be clear, but because of just how mortifying this is, for Woong. Eep. 😬

In the midst of all this, though, I have to say that I really do find Intestine Cell quite endearing. I have to love how zen he is about everything, because it’s an automatic discharge system. Ahaha. That’s hilarious, seriously, and I do think it’s perfect that Intestine Cell doesn’t care about logic or reason, because, essentially, what will be, will be. 😂

Of course, this whole thing could have been avoided if Woong had been upfront about needing the restroom the moment he felt that tummy ache coming on, but of course, with him desperately not wanting to touch on such a delicately mortifying topic of bodily function while in this early stage of his relationship with Yumi, I can see how he might have gotten to the point of almost pooping his pants, ack.

I guess this incident proves that we aren’t always rational or logical, when we desperately want to impress someone else. 😅

I thought it was really kind of Yumi to persuade Woong to stay, in the aftermath of ToiletGate. I mean, in her shoes, I think I would’ve just let Woong go home, because it looks so much like he’s desperate to get out of there, plus, I think I’d be acutely aware of his embarrassment, and letting him go home would seem to be the fastest way to make that embarrassment go away, or at least, not grow any larger.

However, Yumi has more foresight than I do. By leaning into the moment and persuading Woong to stay, while doing everything she can to make him more comfortable, she’s kind of nudging them to push through this embarrassment as a couple, and that eventually levels up their relationship. Very wise, Yumi.

But then, we get another bathroom situation, with the hotel booking for their short getaway, and that was probably even harder to watch, for me, than Woong’s ToiletGate. I think it’s because I can identify with Yumi’s mortification more easily; I felt the tension gathering in my body, just watching her make those phone calls to reserve the hotel room.

Again, the way the situation coils on itself until it’s this gigantic thing where Woong hears the recording of Yumi’s desperate declaration that she loves glass-walled bathrooms, is just so unfortunate.

It could have been avoided if Yumi had been upfront with Woong from the start, about there not being any other room, if they wanted to stay at that hotel, but again, I can see how this might feel awkward to bring up in the early stages of a relationship, which is why we got where we did, with this one.

I did get a giggle out of Yumi imagining herself watching Woong undress for a shower in that glass-walled bathroom, because she goes from daintily scandalized, to openly entranced in 2 seconds flat. HAHA.

Also, it’s so funny that Lust Cell gets a nosebleed, just from this flight of fantasy alone. Tee hee. Lust Cell’s very much worked up this episode, clearly. 😂 Ordinarily, I think I’d be more tickled by all of Lust Cell’s gyrating hips and earnest pleas, but I think this episode, I’m a little distracted by all the tension from the secondhand embarrassment. 😅 Still, objectively speaking, Lust Cell’s antics are on point, and much appreciated, for the levity it provides.

The way Yumi lashes out at Woong, out of mortification, is not cool, but also, very understandable. As they say, attack is the best form of defense, and as humans, we seem to be able to default to that with no problems whatsoever, when the going gets rough. I guess our first instinct is to protect ourselves at all costs, isn’t it?

The way Woong’s mood changes completely, such that he moves to cancel the room and the trip, also feels very true to life.

Although, King Sullen is hilarious, and his peeved, “Hmph!” is really quite cute, honestly. I couldn’t be upset with him if I tried. 😂

Clearly, we are getting to know Woong better, along with Yumi. Isn’t it so true, though, that you never know the kind of temper someone has, until you actually get closer to them?

I’m glad that Woong doesn’t go so far as to cancel their reservation and their getaway along with it, and I’m glad that by the time we close out the episode, Yumi and Woong look like they’re in the throes of having an – ahem – good time, but I have to admit that there’s a part of me that wonders what else we’ll learn about Woong, in the coming episodes, and whether this sullen part of him might not be so manageable, the next time. 😛

Perhaps I’m just overthinking it, though. After all, Yumi and Woong have now successfully navigated yet another awkward relationship milestone, so perhaps it’ll be smooth sailing for them, from here on out – at least for a while?

E7. Love cell’s adventures in Woong’s cell town turns up a potentially troublesome combination of factoids.

It’s not unreasonable for Woong to have himself as #1 on the Priority List, because, to be brutally honest, human beings do tend to be selfish. I think Yumi’s the more unusual one, to actually have Woong at #1, as more important than herself. However, when Woong’s prioritization of self is paired with that buried-under-the-sea factoid, that he’s not interested in marriage, the situation starts to look.. potentially problematic.

Certainly, Woong’s interest in marriage could change, and so could his Priority List ranking, since we as humans change and shift all the time. But as it stands right now, this is in direct conflict with Yumi’s latent-but-awakening desire to get married. I already feel myself beginning to brace for impact. 😅

Of course, if Yumi didn’t have Na Ri’s (Kim Hye In) wedding to attend, and therefore wasn’t exposed to the ribbing of her disbelieving friends, this probably wouldn’t become an issue – or at least, it wouldn’t become an issue right now.

And then, there’s also how Yumi runs into her Terrible Ex (Lee Sang Yi), and quickly realizes that he’ll be at the wedding too. It’s little wonder that Yumi becomes obsessed with the idea of having Woong attend the wedding with her. It’s no longer just about proving to her friends that she’s not lying about having a boyfriend. It’s now also about showing Terrible Ex that she’s absolutely moved on from their relationship, thankyouverymuch.

That said, it was still mortifying to watch Yumi become more and more agitated over the whole thing, and her desperate spiel to Woong over the phone really does make her sound like a crazy person, objectively speaking.

I think Woong deserves points for not being spooked by Yumi’s bizarre intensity around him attending this wedding. And, he also deserves points for not being swayed by Sae Yi’s proclamation that to Yumi wanting Woong to attend the wedding with her is a definite sign that Yumi herself is looking to get married soon.

One other thing I think Woong deserves extra points for, is how he doesn’t seem too perturbed by Yumi’s stream of texts from the wedding, asking him if he’s showered, or if he’s wearing a suit, or if he’s shaved.

I imagine that someone else in Woong’s position might actually feel rather insulted to be asked these questions. It’s basically saying that his presence per se, isn’t good enough; that his presence is only good enough, when paired with certain other factors, like him cleaning up nice in a sharp suit.

I mean, I understand Yumi’s angst. I also think that this isn’t coming across very well.

The way she keeps trying to manage her friends’ expectations, by talking down Woong’s fashion sense and general appearance, is not very nice, honestly. I can understand why she feels the need to say something, but it was hard to watch her essentially diss Woong to her friends. It’s true that past a certain point, Yumi kind of decides to let go of the whole thing, but I can’t help but notice that in her language, she’s still describing Woong in unflattering terms to her friends.

I also understand why Yumi makes up a bunch of lies to tell Terrible Ex, when he announces that he’s getting married soon. As we see, it’s solely an emotional response; she’s just so mad at the whole thing, that she’d say anything, in order to make herself feel that she’s not being humiliated for being the one that’s “left behind.” And, at least she makes up a lie that doesn’t actually require her to hold a wedding? Since she says that they’re planning a small wedding abroad?

BUT STILL. It’s incredibly mortifying to watch, and the secondhand mortification is MONUMENTAL, the moment the camera pans over to show us that Woong’s standing right there, and has heard every single lie that Yumi’s just spun, in a moment of reckless anger. Yikes. 😬

And then, just when I think that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Terrible Ex compliments Woong for not having the style of a hobo (my subs say “hobo” but if my understanding of the Korean dialogue is correct, what Yumi says is closer to “beggar style”). That somehow makes things ten times worse, because now, from Woong’s point of view, not only is Yumi lying about the status of their relationship, she’s also been insulting his sense of style to her friends. And we have seen that Woong takes pride in his casual chic style. Ooops.

To Woong’s credit, he plays along and doesn’t create a fuss, which allows Yumi to successfully tide over the moment.

E8. The way Show teases out trouble in our OTP paradise, not via the Big Wedding Faux Pas, but via the daily grind eating into Woong and Yumi’s happy bubble, is a great direction, I feel like. So often, relationships suffer, not because of One Big Mistake that one party makes, but because of smaller, more daily type things that slowly but surely erode the shine off the relationship.

For a start, though, I want to give Woong props for handling the whole wedding faux pas with so much humor and grace. He could have easily concluded that Yumi’s just too crazy to handle, with her outlandish lies and everything, but instead, he chooses to see things from her perspective, and understands why she might feel compelled to lie, when faced with the ex who had treated her so cruelly.

The way Woong reacts with gentleness and assurance, when he could have gotten mad instead, totally melts my heart.

I mean, there’s no hint of anger, even after the wedding’s over, and the rumors keep circulating. Even when Ugi questions him about it, Woong doesn’t blow Yumi’s cover, and simply evades the question by being purposefully vague. This makes me feel that he’s unequivocally on Yumi’s side, even though it’s a rather ridiculous situation to be in. Such loyalty should be treasured, I say!

Plus, even though Woong’s outfit at the wedding is on the non-traditional side of things, it’s clear that he put in effort to dress up for the occasion. Considering that he’d been in the thick of a tough work deadline, and could barely make it to the wedding, not even having time to wash his hair or shave, the fact that he brought a change of clothes that he thought was suitable for the occasion, should count for something, I feel.

For the record, I do think that Woong wears it well, in that it’s in line with his personal style, but is a nod to the more formal nature of the event.

E9. I found the confrontation scene between Yumi and Woong hard to watch, mainly because of Kim Go Eun’s excellent portrayal of Yumi’s pain and sense of betrayal.

I do appreciate the fact that instead of having Emotion cell run rampant, like at the wedding, this time, it’s Reason at the fore, breaking down exactly why Yumi feels that Woong has been lying to her. Given that we’ve seen that Yumi’s fully capable of behaving irrationally when her emotions are stirred up enough, I feel like this is a really good demonstration of self-control, actually.

It must be really difficult to think straight, when all Yumi probably wants to do is scream and cry, but she’s methodically logical in laying out the facts, and I can’t help but feel rather impressed.

Unfortunately for Yumi, Woong sees the situation completely differently, and the thing is, he does have some kind of a point, that he’s been keeping Sae Yi at bay, in his own way. Certainly, the way he’s been going about it isn’t quite enough, in my opinion, but I can see why he goes about it the way he does. Keeping the status quo is helpful for the company, and he can’t afford to alienate Sae Yi too much, as we see later in the episode.

The first big fight in a relationship is such a big milestone, because up to that point, you don’t actually know what the other person is like, when in serious conflict.

Do they shout? Get violent? Freeze up? Withdraw? None of these options is ideal, of course, but I get the feeling that the non-communicative icy treatment that Woong defaults to, is particularly hard for Yumi to deal with. My gut tells me that Yumi would probably be able to deal with it better, if Woong were at least saying something, instead of nothing at all.

Show does have a point, that putting things in perspective, by looking at it in the long term, gives us a sense of clarity. I’m glad that Yumi takes action, and in particular, I’m pleased that she directs her efforts directly at Sae Yi.

Sure, Sae Yi is technically Woong’s friend and colleague, but since Sae Yi’s actions have been directed at Yumi’s relationship with Woong, it does get Yumi to the heart of the matter, without having to involve Woong, and make him the middleman.

It gave me a great deal of satisfaction, to watch Yumi spell things out for Sae Yi, such that Sae Yi isn’t even able to finish articulating her various protests. I’ve been chafing at Sae Yi’s sneaky ill-intentioned ways for so long, that it feels gratifying to see her being told what’s what, in such a plain, no-holds-barred, you-suck, sort of manner.

Even though it’s disappointing that Woong steps in to ask Yumi to stop, I can understand why he’d do that. After all, this does count as a very awkward social situation, and I imagine that he’d want to wrap things up before they got too out of hand.

I do appreciate how Yumi handles it with class and grace, though, by telling Woong what she sees, even though he may not be able to see it. And, the way she phrases it, is with his wellbeing in mind, which I feel is important.

“Woong-ah. Regardless of what you think of me, I have to say this. You might not be able to see it, but to me, it looks like she’s not a good colleague or a friend who is worth you defending. Don’t keep people like her around you. You’re a good person. Every time you meet someone you care about, your friend will act like this again. Regardless of who that is.”

I very much appreciate that even as Yumi says all this, with a clear slant in favor of Woong’s wellbeing, that in so doing, she is actually putting herself first. I love that even though it breaks her heart that she might have no choice but to give up on this relationship, she is consciously putting herself first. YESS. For someone like Yumi, whose default has always been to put her significant other first, this is a huge step, and a healthy one, too, for her long-term wellbeing.

I’m glad that it’s revealed to us – albeit later – that Woong does go after Yumi, and reaches to reconcile, with a hug. Aw. What a relief it must be for them both, to feel like they’re on the same side again.

The way Show portrays Woong and Yumi’s relationship, as settling into a familiar sort of groove, where the butterflies are replaced by a general feeling of affectionate exasperation, feels very true to life. I feel like almost all relationships have to go through this transition, and there’s a kind of comfort, to seeing Yumi reach this milestone with Woong.

After all, reaching this milestone is an indication of stability in the relationship, in a manner of speaking?

E11. I do think that Woong should have told Yumi about his business struggles, since it really is a big deal, and since they are in a steady relationship. However, I can see why Woong would choose to keep this from Yumi.

It’s basically part of Woong’s hardwiring, to want to be seen as a stable and successful provider, even though he and Yumi aren’t married. It’s a basic need for him, to want to show his partner that he’s financially stable and secure.

I believe that’s why he refuses, at first, to live at Yumi’s apartment, even though he has nowhere else to go, and I believe that’s also why he emphasizes that he is doing this by choice, and not because he’s been backed into a corner.

And it’s also why he tries to show, in other ways, that he’s financially fine. Like when he tells Yumi he’s full of cash and can therefore take her to work in a cab, so that she has time to eat breakfast, and also, when he insists on paying for the groceries, even though they’re buying a lot.

As we see from the way his card is maxed out, and he asks to split the payment into 3 months, on his other card, Woong isn’t doing as well as he’d like Yumi to think. But I don’t hold it so much against him, for wanting to avoid telling her, because he’s basically trying to protect his pride, as a man.

It’s good that Yumi and Woong clear up what Woong had meant, when he’d appeared to discourage Yumi from accepting the transfer to Marketing. It makes sense, that given his work situation, he’d be more cautious than average.

His reasoning, that he knows he has what it takes to endure the difficult times, because he already knows that he loves the work, while Yumi hasn’t actually tried the work at Marketing and therefore doesn’t know whether she’ll love it enough to have the tenacity to bear it out, makes sense too.

I’m glad that they talk about this, because I think it’s important for Yumi to understand why Woong wasn’t as enthusiastically supportive of the idea of her transfer, as the other people in her life. Additionally, I’m glad that Woong doesn’t actually discourage her from accepting the transfer; all he asks is if she’s thought it over well, and when Yumi says that she’s sure she wants to give it a try, that’s good enough for him.

It’s nice to see that living together works out quite smoothly, for Yumi and Woong. Moving in together is a huge step, as Show acknowledges, and it’s just good to see that the teething issues that Yumi and Woong face, aren’t very big issues, overall.

I’m rather amused at how Woong’s so good at tidying up and organizing things, while Yumi’s Chore cell is a laidback, happy-go-lucky, not easily fazed chill type, who makes it habit of putting things off till tomorrow or next week, because why not?

There are two things that I’m particularly amused by, in this whole sequence of Woong being super neat and keeping house.

1, the fact that Yumi’s book shelves are soooo full of books by Lee Dong Gun, because she loves his books sooo much. Tee hee hee. Lee Dong Gun is the writer of the source material for this show, and I thought that was a bit of nice tongue-in-cheek meta.

2, the way Show leans into the opportunity to showcase a very casually very shirtless Ahn Bo Hyun, now that Yumi and Woong live together.

The scene of him wanting to ensure that the picture above the bed is centered with the bed’s position, is so cheeky, and Show is smart to make his shirtlessness the reason for a bit of funny misunderstanding on Yumi’s part, so that the shirtlessness doesn’t come off as completely gratuitous (although I’m sure it actually is). 😂

Reason cell’s visit to Woong’s Cell Town through the wormhole of love turns so hilarious. I LOVE that Lustsaurus is basically running rampage through the sky, roaring wildly about how sexy Yumi is, and how he can’t restrain himself, all while Yumi’s Reason cell is hanging onto his back for dear life. Ahahaha. It’s hysterical, and I can’t stop giggling. 😂😂

Also, how interesting, that Woong doesn’t have a Chore cell, and instead, his algorithm takes care of it, just like it takes care of other problem-solving. I’m getting the idea that Show is working to show us that men and women are indeed wired differently. The differences aren’t just in terms of which cells have more power; the entire infrastructure differs.

With living together working out so nicely, it’s little wonder that Yumi’s nesting instincts kick in, and literally just about every cell in her body (except for Reason and Love, who have inside Woong intel) is obsessed with wedding-related thoughts.

I’d honestly had a bad feeling about the whole prank that Yumi was planning to spring on Woong on his birthday. The way Show was drawing the whole thing out, led me to assume that something was going to go wrong.

I was afraid that the present that Woong leaves in the apartment had been a birthday present from the likes of Sae Yi, but Show turns that on its head in such an unexpected way, with it turning out to be Woong’s gift to Yumi, to celebrate her first day at Marketing. Ahhh. How sweet!!

To think that Woong forgets his own birthday because he’s been so busy – and yet remembers to get Yumi a gift to celebrate her transfer, when he had originally been the one to dissuade her from accepting the transfer too easily. Gosh, how thoughtful and considerate is he?!?? He seems to effortlessly put Yumi first, in this case, because he legit doesn’t even remember that it’s his birthday.

I can see why Yumi would blurt out a wedding proposal, from being so touched by it all.

Gulp. With Woong’s Marriage Desire already not a priority even before his financial instability, this really doesn’t seem like a commitment Woong would want to go for, especially right now.

E12. I definitely felt like I could empathize with Yumi, in terms of how mixed up and mortified she feels, when she broaches the subject of marriage with Woong, and he doesn’t reciprocate in an equally enthusiastic manner. The way Emotion cell bawls her head off, and rants to Reason cell, feels very true to life. I imagine that in Yumi’s shoes, I’d probably feel rejected too.

Woong’s hesitation in answering Yumi’s question about marriage makes complete sense to me too. It’s nice to see that he’s reconsidered the idea of marriage, and now feels open to it, because he likes Yumi that much. Yet, it’s also true that he’s in a precarious financial situation, and I can see how it’d make him nervous to put Yumi in a not-great situation, if he can’t provide for her.

I know it’s a rather traditional way of thinking about things, but I do think that many men are still hardwired to want to be a stable provider. Woong definitely falls into this category, from what Show’s demonstrated so far.

While it makes sense for Woong to just come out and tell Yumi what his concern is, I can also understand why he’d hem and haw – and lose the timing to actually say something. If a man considers being a stable provider part of his identity, then it would make it really tough for him to come out and admit that he’s not able to live up to that expectation.

It’s just really unfortunate, that this little misstep in communication, seems to create a small but significant wedge between Yumi and Woong. In fact, all the different times that we see their relationship suffer some kind of setback this episode, it’s had to do with unfortunate poor communication.

There’s actually nothing terribly wrong with their relationship, and so it feels even more like a pity, to see them drifting apart, because of communication issues that could be fixed, if they’d just have an open, honest conversation, and really listen to each other.

On a different note, I must say that I’m genuinely, affectionately tickled by Woong’s drunken response to the sight of Bobby taking his jacket off to keep Yumi warm.

I’d imagined that Woong might get aggressive &/or belligerent with Woong, for daring to do something so cozy for Yumi, but instead, Woong takes off his own jacket and insists that Bobby wear it. Tee hee hee. That’s so unexpected, and so funny! This incident alone, makes Woong several times more lovable in my head. I feel like he must be very pure, if he’s so guileless when he’s drunk.

Sadly, this is one of the things that gives Woong pause, and a resulting sense of unease, about his relationship with Yumi.

And that encounter with Bobby and Yumi at the bus-stop, just puts Woong’s insecurities into focus in a way that isn’t helpful.

Bobby was asking a completely innocent and sincere question, about whether Woong’s visiting Yumi that day, and I do think that Yumi’s answer of yes, was in consideration of Woong. Plus, Yumi’s entitled to keep her private life private, so if she doesn’t want to give Bobby details like the fact that she and Woong are living together, I feel that that is her prerogative.

Unfortunately, this question puts Woong’s deep insecurity and humiliation in the spotlight. He hasn’t said a whole lot about it, but it’s clear from his actions, that he’s still not doing great, and also, he’s still trying to keep up a brave and cheerful front, with Yumi. He cares about Yumi, and that’s why he doesn’t want to feel embarrassed before her, about this thing that is so key to the way he sees himself.

It would definitely be helpful if Woong would put aside his pride and just tell Yumi what he’s feeling about all of this, but that’s honestly easier said than done, isn’t it? And, I am guessing that even if he did put aside his pride to tell Yumi, the very act of putting aside his pride, might eventually have other repercussions on their relationship, because it’s messed with how he sees himself, in Yumi’s eyes.

Woong’s decision to solve this, by moving out of Yumi’s apartment, unfortunately rings true to life. I can absolutely believe that someone in Woong’s shoes, might make this exact decision, in order to salvage what’s left of their pride.

The tragedy in all this, is, as I said earlier, the fact that Yumi and Woong really do care about each other, and want to be together. And, at this point, it still feels like these communication issues are fixable – if they can just talk honestly about it, with each other.

[END SPOILER]

Park Jin Young as Bobby

I generally liked Bobby, as a character.

Through all that we see of him, he’s a decent, thoughtful, helpful kinda guy, who seems to be reasonably mindful of social boundaries that he shouldn’t cross.

Overall, I feel like Bobby’s introduced more as a catalyst than as a character proper, because his existence raises a few important issues for Yumi and Woong.

I’m curious to see if Show brings Bobby back, in Season 2, and if so, whether he’ll have a larger role to play in our story.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E8. The whole question of whether men and women can be friends comes up, and it’s a delicate topic, to say the least. It does seem like it’s not such a simple question, in most cases, but as someone whose closest friend in the world is male, I’d like to think that there are genuine exceptions.

And, in Bobby’s case, I do get the sense that he simply wants to be friends, with no ulterior motive whatsoever. In fact, Detective cell’s idea, of testing out how his remarks come across, if Yumi were to imagine him as a girl, works really well, and I think Bobby passes with flying colors.

Also, Jin Young dressed as a girl is such a hoot! Ahaha. I mean, he is very pretty, so it gives me a kick to see how that brand of pretty works in the feminine realm of things. My verdict? He is pretty, but leans too much on the male side of things to actually pass for a woman – but that’s exactly what makes it amusing. Whoever thought of this (writer-nim? PD-nim?) is brilliant. 😂

E12. Yumi’s move to Marketing, thus bringing her closer into Bobby’s orbit, seems to be a complication. I do think it’s an innocent complication at this point, in the sense that both Yumi and Bobby are keeping things professional, even with the insistent ribbing by nosy colleagues. Yumi’s open about having a boyfriend, and Bobby seems to be keeping things reasonably professional, even though he does seem to care about Yumi on a personal note.

It’s not super clear who Bobby has in mind, when he says that he likes someone at work. Right now, it looks like it could be Yumi, but maybe Show is throwing us a red herring..? Also, even if it’s true that Bobby likes Yumi, I find his behavior generally acceptable.

Sure, the offering of the jacket off his own shoulders was pushing the boundary a little, but by and large, he seems respectful of Yumi’s relationship with Woong, and I think that’s important. It’s not wrong for him to have feelings for Yumi (if that’s really what’s going on), as long as he doesn’t actively try to steal her away from Woong, I think.

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-out:

Choi Minho as Ugi

I wanted to give Minho a shout-out, because even though he doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time, I enjoyed him very well, as Ugi.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I’m extremely tickled by Minho’s casting in this show, as the junior on whom Yumi has a crush.

He’s got just the right kind of wide-eyed innocence, to make Ugi’s actions feel hard to read. Is he just doing something nice for a sunbae whom he respects, or does he actually have a personal interest in Yumi? It’s hard to say, from Yumi’s point of view, and Minho’s brand of innocent dorky charm is just perfect for this.

Also, I am extremely amused at the fact that Show gives Minho not one, but two shirtless scenes, in the space of an episode. Gotta make that idol body count, eh? 😂

[END SPOILER]

STUFF THAT WAS OK

Lee Yoo Bi as Ruby

Lee Yoo Bi really hams it up as Ruby, Aegyo Queen of the Ages, and I have to confess, my feelings towards Ruby felt like a rollercoaster, ha.

From feeling half repulsed and half fascinated by her, I went through a stretch of feeling overwhelmed by her aggressive aegyo on my screen. And in the end, I actually felt rather amused by her. What a journey!

I guess that all kinda balances out to okay, which is why she’s in this section. 😅

STUFF I LIKED LESS

Park Ji Hyun as Sae Yi

I did NOT like Sae Yi, as a character.

Park Ji Hyun’s just really adept at playing this kind of character, and without getting spoilery just yet, I’ll just say that I loved to hate her – and sometimes, with a passion. 😝

[SPOILER ALERT]

E4. We finally get a bit of clarity, around Sae Yi’s clingy tendencies around Woong, and as it turns out, she’s ambitious enough in terms of her career, to not want to get married, but she also feels that if she ever were to get married, she’d like to get married to Woong.

Huh. No wonder she keeps Woong at a distance, until it looks like Woong’s in danger of falling for someone else. In essence, Sae Yi wants to keep Woong as an available spare tire, just in case she changes her mind about marriage. Like that’s not selfish or anything. 🙄 I’m glad Woong’s smart enough to be on his guard around her.

E8. The whole back blast angle makes a lot of sense to me, because it feels true to life. Such a big lie creating such a widespread rumor of such momentous proportions is sure to have consequences, and it makes sense that, with it coming to Sae Yi’s ears, it would act as the catalyst to cause Sae Yi to wake up and realize that she really does want to be with Woong after all.

Sae Yi really is one sly fox, I hafta say. The way she ups and moves into Woong’s building without telling him, only showing up at his door as his friendly neighbor who needs a helping hand, is so sneaky!

Of course Woong can’t say no, when her requests are so small and mundane. And yet, this puts her in Woong’s orbit in a very real way, and gives her more access to Woong than ever.

While I appreciate Yumi’s Reason cell’s protest, that if they accept the idea that Yumi and Bobby can be friends, then they need to accept that Woong and Sae Yi can be friends, I’m gonna have to agree with all the cells, that Sae Yi absolutely does not pass the Swap Test.

E9. I didn’t realize that it was possible to dislike Sae Yi more than I already did, but whaddya know, this episode managed to amp up my dislike for Sae Yi, after all.

Her brand of passive-aggressive feigned ignorance is so aggravating, seriously. She acts all innocent, while fully aware of all the buttons that she’s pressing – on purpose. She’s definitely out to create unhappiness and discontent in Woong’s relationship, and it’s so vicious, really. She might think that she likes Woong, but the way she’s trampling all over his personal life in an effort to claim him for herself, is basically degrading him from person to object. 😤

[END SPOILER]

Some of the Intended Funny [SPOILER]

I mostly found Show’s brand of humor quite easy to roll with. Even when I didn’t enjoy the humor around ToiletGate, and when I didn’t take to the aegyo, I could still see how these incidents fit organically into our story.

The only time I felt Show’s Intended Funny didn’t seem to fit so well, is in the cafe scene in episode 5.

I was a touch perplexed by the scene in the cafe, where Yumi gets Woong all hot and bothered, when she’s really asking him to join a marathon with her. This just doesn’t seem like an actual example of how Yumi would talk to Woong.

I can look past it as Intended Drama Funny, because this is just the sort of corny thing dramas tend to do (though I hadn’t expected that of this drama), plus Lustsaurus getting all fired up and fierce, in one second flat, was pretty amusing. However, I have to say that I find it hard to reconcile this line of teasing with what I understand of Yumi’s character.

THEMES / IDEAS

Here are several themes and ideas that come to mind, when I think of this show:

1. We are more alike than we think.

2. Communication is so important – even when it’s uncomfortable.

3. It’s scary to be brave, but it can be so worth it.

4. Value yourself. Don’t forsake your self-esteem, because of your emotions.

5. You are the protagonist of your life story. Don’t settle.

SPOTLIGHT ON THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE [SPOILERS]

The more I watch this show, the more I’m convinced that just about everything I’ve experienced in life, particularly in the area of relationships, is universal. Because if it isn’t, how could Show read my mind, and create these relationship situations that feel so familiar and true to my own experience? I guess we are all more alike than we thought. 😅

The tragedy of the situation between Woong and Yumi, like I’ve mentioned, is that they really do care about each other, and there’s nothing so seriously wrong in their relationship that it can’t be fixed. And yet, Show does an excellent job of unpacking for us, why Woong feels the way he does, and why Yumi feels the way she does.

I can understand Woong’s innate need to feel less humiliated in front of Yumi; it’s just part of his hard wiring. This is important to him in a way that Yumi might never understand. Yumi’s instinct is to make things easier on Woong – by having him live with her, and by insisting that he doesn’t pay for the table – but unfortunately, these are things that actually wear down Woong’s self-esteem.

It’s not that Woong’s not willing to be embarrassed in front of Yumi; it’s that his self-esteem is designed to be interwoven with his perception of his own security and ability to provide. Unfortunately, with Woong’s situation being what it is, unless he makes a conscious decision to sacrifice his self-esteem in favor of his relationship with Yumi, I can’t see how the two of them would be able to stay together, through this.

The way Woong starts to distance himself emotionally from Yumi also feels very true to life. Again, this has everything to do with how Woong sees himself, and nothing to do with how Yumi’s acting towards him. As long as Woong feels bad about himself, he’s going to keep this emotional distance, I believe.

The way this all shakes out, feels so relatable, seriously. That unnerving sensation of feeling distant from the one you love; trying and failing, then trying and failing again, to close that distance, then feeling completely stuck, because nothing that you do seems to make anything better.

It’s so painfully relatable that I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

The way Show dramatizes the building anger in Yumi, with the various cells throwing bean bags at the gourd, until one day the gourd breaks open, feels true to life as well. With Woong being so distant, it makes sense that Yumi and Woong wouldn’t have had any sort of heart-to-heart talk about the state of their relationship.

With Woong basically pretending everything’s fine when things aren’t, it’s not surprising that Yumi would take a similar approach. I mean, it takes two to have a conversation, and if Woong’s not responding to Yumi’s efforts to come closer, what’s a girl to do, if she’s not about to break down his door and force him to talk by twisting his arm..?

..And that’s how all those little bits of anger and annoyance build, until one day, a small little bean bag – a small annoyance – breaks the gourd and heralds the need for the use of the Break-up Card.

It’s far from healthy relationship dynamics, and yet.. haven’t we seen this so many times before..? Show’s not demonstrating how we should be doing things; Show’s mirroring to us, the things we already do – is what’s happening.

I really like how Show unpacks what’s going on, from both Yumi’s and Woong’s perspectives.

Yumi’s conflicted about using the Break-up Card, once she starts thinking back on all the happy memories that she and Woong have shared, and asks that they take some time to think, instead.

And Woong, seeing Yumi’s despondent face, finally shifts Yumi into the #1 spot on his priority list, and works to be as cheerful and normal as possible, in hopes of averting the disaster that he forecasts, from her downcast expression.

This particular thing is so relatable to me, seriously. I’ve done this too; predict something bad on the horizon, and then proceed to act as cheerfully and normally as possible, while hoping against hope that things will then be as normal as possible. My results were mostly mixed-tending-bad, so.. research shows that this isn’t a great technique. But we humans somehow reach for it anyway. 😅

Sigh. I actually feel like Woong and Yumi could work things out, if they approach this right. There really is something good here, between them, that I think would be a waste to let go of, because of differences that really aren’t insurmountable.

The question, though, is, will they actually be able to work through their differences, with all this emotion and baggage in the way?

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

In true keeping with its own tone and vibe, Show serves up a finale that feels so relatable that it hurts, sometimes.

I felt like I could relate to a lot of what Yumi goes through in this last episode of the season. The reluctance to put an end to the relationship; the not knowing what to do with oneself; emotions running amok with no regard to real life demands; missing the other person and wanting to call, but not knowing what to say. It all feels so familiar to me, even though it’s been so long since I’ve found myself in such a position.

Because Yumi tells Woong that she feels they need some time to think things over, I would have liked to have had a little more insight to Yumi’s actual thinking process, after asking for the time out. However, in practice, this “thinking time” feels more like a trial period, where Yumi tries on the sensation of being alone again.

Granted, that’s an important part of the process too. Yumi does need time away from the preoccupation of her relationship with Woong, to rediscover herself, and figure out who she is, when she’s not one half of a relationship, but just.. herself, and nothing else.

One of the most important, poignant moments this finale, to my eyes, is when Yumi has that dream of Cell Town, and meets Bulletin Board cell.

I completely understand where Yumi is coming from. With Love cell as her prime cell, Yumi’s always been wired for love, and therefore, I can see why she’s yearning so strongly for a happy ever after, with Woong.

I love what Bulletin Board cell tells her, in such earnest, innocent tones, that around these parts, there is only one protagonist. It feels like such a meaningful moment, because it’s something that I’ve felt Yumi’s needed to learn, since early on in our story. Yumi’s needed to learn how to put herself – and not romance – first, in her priority list. And this feels like the Aha! moment that Yumi’s needed, for a long time.

Even so, it makes a lot of sense, that Yumi would still be in two minds about breaking up with Woong. After all, she’s always been primed for love, and also, Woong really is a good, decent person whom Yumi cares for a great deal. They’ve had a lot of good times together, and like I said before, there really is something of value here, between them. Because of all these reasons, I can completely understand Yumi’s decision to work to save the relationship, if only Woong would show a willingness to do the same.

Unfortunately, Woong’s simple conclusion is one that rings true: they really are on different wavelengths, when it comes to big things like marriage. And while many real life couples (and drama ones too) might give love a chance, despite knowing that the couple’s goals are different, there are also many couples who decide, in the interest of being fair to each other, to break up, because of those differing goals.

The truth is, Woong still hasn’t changed his mind about marriage. Even when the financial pressure appears to be off (which Show hints at, but which we don’t get details of), he still isn’t in the marrying frame of mind. I think it’s important that Show demonstrates this, so that we don’t confuse Woong’s reluctance to commit with being brought on by his financial insecurity.

I really appreciated Show giving us a look at the conflict between Yumi’s Pathetic cell, and her Self Esteem self (my subs say “Pride” but self esteem is a more accurate translation). That struggle, between wanting to cling onto the person whom you still have feelings for, and wanting to preserve your dignity, is one that I’ve experienced too. It’s not easy being in that position, because, as Show has established, Emotion isn’t the sort of cell who follows rules.

Ultimately, though, I’m really proud of Yumi for choosing to honor herself, by opting to break up with Woong instead of trying to cling onto him. This feels like an important shift, where Yumi’s Love cell actually gets dethroned as prime, by Self Esteem.

Yes, Yumi’s going to have to deal with heartbreak and all the hardship and difficulties that come with it. At the same time, though, she’s grown, and is becoming a better and stronger version of herself, who knows when to put herself first. For someone who’d used to give it all up for love, even when love was treating her badly, this is a Huge Deal, and I’m so gratified that she’s growing in this direction.

Plus, we have the consolation of knowing, from that encyclopedia episode, that Yumi does eventually find love and gets married. Here’s hoping that we get to see all of that unfold, in Season 2.

I’m rooting for you, Yumi. You really are the true protagonist of your life. ❤️

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Smart, funny, poignant, heartfelt and so darn relatable.

FINAL GRADE: A

TEASER:

MV:

PATREON UPDATE!

The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Yumi’s Cells, is Our Beloved Summer. I’ve taken an initial look, and I really like it so far!

Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!

Early Access (US$5): Our Beloved Summer

Early Access Plus (US$10): +The Red Sleeve

VIP (US$15): +The Bond [China]

VVIP (US$20): +Melancholia

Ultimate (US$25): +The King’s Affection

If you’d like to join me on the journey, you can find my Patreon page here. You can also read more about all the whats, whys, and hows of helping this blog here. Thanks for all of your support, it really means a lot to me. ❤️

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Sam Butler
14 days ago

As others have said, my wife and I enjoyed Show’s first two thirds much more than the last third. Not that the sad ending was wrong; it just felt unearned. Woong’s transition from dim but sensitive to dim but insensitive seemed way too abrupt. Show went out of its way to be opaque, especially regarding his financial situation, and I’m not fond of shows where the characters have more information than the audience. Plus the leads needed to talk about their relationship at least once, if only to prove that they weren’t idiots. Nor do I think Yumi would have given up that easily. Show had portrayed her as growing because of this relationship, but if she gives up this easily then that portrayal was false.

It all feels a little like the ending is a setup for the sequel, though from what I’ve heard Woong is gone for good.

But the first nine or ten episodes were wonderful, and the animated insight marvelous.

Eda
Eda
1 month ago

I watched the show after reading your review and I liked it, thank you!

I would like the mention the things that bothered me about the cells. Yumi’s more intelligent, science-driven, logical cells are male. That is one thing. The other thing is that Woong has no female cells, all male, why is that? If the cells are supposed to be in the assigned gender of their owner, why Yumi’s stereotypically male-associated traits are male cells? Why couldn’t they make the detective or reasoning side of Yumi in a female form? Why the house chore cell had to be a female? Why woong has no sign of a female other than the voice of the algorithm? Would it make him less man if he had a female cell, and why is it completely natural that Yumi has a bunch of male cells while Woong’s village is strictly male?

I know, maybe it is a random choice and maybe I am over-analyzing, but as a female who specialized in STEM research, I often see people having a hard time accepting women’s presence in these fields, so I am a little sensitive about it.

On an extra note, Bobby is interested in Ugi, right? It would be so nice to have someone with bisexual orientation in this drama to make up for the gender-biased cells for me 🙂

Kay
Kay
1 month ago

Excellent review! I thought it was a really nice drama too. I didn’t love it quite to the extent you did, mostly because I was fairly neutral towards the cells as I didn’t click with their humor and wanted to mostly stay in the real world. But that was more of a personal preference as I genuinely think the cells were executed wonderfully and really made the drama fresh and unique. Nice romance, character explorations, and a good story made for a solid drama 🙂

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[…] KGF covered it on Patreon, and her review is here. […]

Nalu
Nalu
1 month ago

I also really liked this show. As for the ending, I got the impression that Woong wasn’t being truthful with Yumi about his professional situation. To me it looked like he had gotten bad news about his business, and maybe he broke up with her to “protect” her.

PP
PP
1 month ago

Yes, I’ve been waiting for this review.

When I heard that this show would be unique in the sense that more than half would be animated, I sort of brushed it off because media with real life acting + animations usually defaults to cheesy animations and real life scenes that left much to be desired. That quickly went away when I saw clips of the animated scenes that endeared me to the cute cells <3 Never would have imagined all of them have their brand of cuteness. Now, I often imagine how the cells of ML and FL in other shows of similar vein would react at each key moment haha 😆

After completing Yumi’s Cells, I watched a making of video that describe the process of choosing the voice of each cell. I find it quite interesting how most of the Korean voice actors in the video expressed that their work mostly revolves around dubbing for Western animations or anime, so this is the first Korean-made original project they had the chance to provide their voice talents. This aligns with the little knowledge I have about the sizeable Korean animation industry, where Korean-based animation studios often have a big hand in Western animations and Japanese animes, but there were hardly any major Korean animated productions due to seemingly low appeal to justify such a production.

However, I am also subscribed to a few successful, popular independent Korean Youtubers who mainly produces funny animations, so I always though there’s a lost market in the spaces of K-ent. From reading a few Korean comments in the making of video, they seemed to agree as well. Lots of adaptations are from webtoons, so there must be some material that are also more suited for storytelling through animation?

Shahz
Shahz
1 month ago

Such a lovely little show and I think perhaps when Yumi reflects on this relationship with Wung she will do with some fondness as actually he did re-energise her and relight her fire for writing.

JJ
JJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Shahz

@Shahz – Awww, Shahz look at your Love Cell Showing up 🥰

reaper
reaper
1 month ago

Really liked the show. Even tho I enjoyed eps 1-9 more than 10-14.
You said that show tries to mirror our daily interactions and relationships…. mine are not like that 😂
The cells in cell town were just so hilarious I love them all.

There is one thing I have to criticize. Naughtysaurus…. One of the biggest predators that has lived on earth is the male lust cell…. what is that supposed to say about men?

JJ
JJ
1 month ago
Reply to  reaper

@reaper – YAY! You found a Show you liked and I would have to agree I enjoyed Epis 1-9 WAY MORE than 10-14, too 🙂

I am glad you thought the cells in the town were hilarious! I laughed mightily with most of them throughout the Show.

Oh Naughtysaurus just cracked me up along with the look on Wong’s face. I just think they were trying to be very funny and for me at least it worked 🙂 We could talk about some of the portrayal female cells, too 🙂 But it was all in fun for me and made me laugh constantly.

reaper
reaper
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ Nice ^^ I hope season 2 will be more like the eps 1-9. Fingers crossed 😀

Well the face Wung makes when Naughtysaurus goes crazy looks more like he has to take a dump than Uhlalala sexy time.

As a man I thought the female cells seemed accurate (From my experience). But maybe I am totally off.

But you are right overall they all were hilarious ^^

JJ
JJ
1 month ago
Reply to  reaper

@reaper – I am so with you! Here’s Hoping!!!

LOL! Do you remember the automatic disposal system. That cell made me laugh so hard – “uh, well, its automatic and there is nothing I can do about it ” LOL!!!! 😂😂😂😂

Female Cells were pretty spot on as well, I thought. 🙂

My favorite part with Naughtyasaurus is when they show him for about 5 seconds peeping out that small door. His small shock of hair ALWAYS has me in stitches. 😂😂😂

reaper
reaper
1 month ago
Reply to  JJ

Ahh yes the poop squad was crazy 😀

I think Hunger had the best representation ^^

Ah that scene was great ^^ Naughtysaurus is definitely a dino of action and not of words :DD

JJ
JJ
1 month ago
Reply to  reaper

@reaper – Yes! Hunger was a great representation, lol. So funny, a big baby, LOL!

Love it, this is so funny what you said 😂 – “Naughtysaurus is definitely a dino of action and not of words :DD”

Medea
Medea
1 month ago

I haven’t seen the full show yet, but I consider the original webtoon to be a masterpiece. I watched the first two episodes, but I was nervous about continuing because I was afraid it wouldn’t stay true to the webtoon. Based on your review, the show seems to have been almost identical to the webtoon, which I’m really happy about. The webtoon was written over multiple years and it gradually constructed its system of cells in an intricate manner that was also true to life. This seems like an example of an adaptation that made really good use of the world building done in the original story.

I’ll probably binge watch this season over the holiday break in preparation for the second season.

Second Season Spoiler
I always felt most connected to Woong out of all of Yumi’s boyfriends, because I felt like we spent the most time in his head. I also just generally liked his character, for no specific reason. I was never particularly fond of Babi, because he felt rather bland to me. It’ll be interesting to see whether Jinyoung can make me feel differently!

On a tangent, Lee Donggun has recently started to release a new webtoon that has a concept that’s very unique (like Yumi’s Cells!). It’s called “Daily JoJo” and it follows our two main characters, Eunjo (who’s a bit of a slob, generally good-natured, and likes to put things off) and Wanjo (a perfectionist diva who’s pretty judgmental) and their interactions with their yesterday’s and tomorrow’s selves. Like Yumi’s Cells, it’s uncannily relatable, and I’m really loving it!

Trent
1 month ago

This show sooo exceeded initial expectations, really. I love your review letting us relive all the great moments. Who could have imagined that a live-action/animation mashup would deliver the goods with such insight and feeling?

As far as the ending…I had to sit with it for a bit to work out how I felt, which is probably a point in shows favor, it didn’t go cheap and easy.

Spoilers for ending of Yumi’s Cells
But ultimately I think it was pretty great that Yumi was able to learn that she is truly the star of her own show (i.e. her life), and when the chips were really down, self-esteem was able to dethrone love cell, who couldn’t stop herself from selling out to pathetic, even if it weren’t the most healthy long-term route to take. So yes, it’s sad, but also affirming in an important sort of way.

Great show; actually looking forward to what Season 2 has in store for us.