Review: A Business Proposal

THE SHORT VERDICT:

When Show is at its best, it’s light, fun, slurpable and really quite cracktastic, in the best way.

The good news is, Show is at its best, for most of its run.

Both romantic pairings are cute, entertaining and swoony in their own ways, and the chemistry between both couples is excellent as well. On top of that, Show manages to feel fresh and fun, even as it serves up and plays with rom-com tropes.

The not-so-good news is, Show isn’t quite at its best, in its final stretch. Everything feels less cracky and absorbing, and coming off a cracktastic high, this can feel disappointing and underwhelming.

Show still works out to be fun and watchable on the whole, however, so I’d still recommend this one.

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show has a particular brand of nonsensical fluff, that reminds me of retro-ish classic You’re Beautiful.

Some of the stuff is very tongue-in-cheek; some of the stuff is very silly and logic-lite. And somehow, pretty much all of the stuff adds up to a rollin’ ball of a good time.

For Show’s first 8 episode, I was slurping up this drama with a spoon. Make that two spoons. Coz Show kept effortlessly giving me a case of the goofy grins, and I just couldn’t get enough. 😋

Some episodes, I found myself gurgling out loud more than a few times, which rarely ever happens to me. And sometimes, I literally had to pause the episode several times, just to giggle and squee.

So! Much! Fun!

It’s really too bad that Show didn’t manage to keep up the magic all of the way through, but.. we can talk about that later.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while reading the review.

In general, I really enjoyed the breezy, cheerful OST, which I thought did a good job of adding to Show’s fluffy, lighthearted feel.

I do have a soft spot for Track 1, Love, Maybe, for its easy-breezy yet slightly sexy groove. Plus, I do enjoy MeloMance’s sound in general as well. Basically, every time this song came on, Show would get a bit of a goofy grin outta me. 😁

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. Show is a lot fresher and funner than its trailer might suggest

I’d felt rather uninspired by the various teasers and trailers that Show had put out prior to its premiere, so I was pleasantly surprised that Show is fun and breezy right away, from episode 1.

2. Tropes abound, but Show makes it work

There are lots of tropes in this one, so it’s good to know this upfront, and be prepared for it.

At the same time, Show does an admirable job of playing with those tropes, so that more often than not, things don’t work out quite the way you might expect, with said well-worn trope.

3. A manhwa lens is useful

Suspension of disbelief is a prerequisite, when approaching this show, and I personally found that a manhwa lens was really handy, for this purpose.

This helped smooth over any logic stretches or troubling bits, in the watch experience.

[MINOR SPOILER]

For example, in episode 3, Tae Moo (Ahn Hyo Seop) tricks Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong) into signing a contract with very unreasonable terms.

With a serious lens on, it would feel.. well, troubling, that Tae Moo would do this to Ha Ri, particularly since this is our would-be OTP. With a manhwa lens on, however, it works fine.

[END SPOILER]

4. Show can feel a bit like a rollercoaster, sometimes

And by that, I mean a fun rollercoaster, just to be clear. 😅

Quite often, Show serves up all these contrasting moments, such that we have nonsensical stuff undercut by raw, sincere, emotional beats, which then in turn get undercut by something silly.

It’s a bit of a rollercoaster in that way, but it works, and very well too – especially if you’re somewhat prepared for the rollercoaster effect.

5. Show sparkles more in its first half

I’m admittedly a bit sad about this, but Show really is better in its first.. three-quarters, than in its final stretch.

Not to say that Show is bad, necessarily, in its final few episodes. It’s just that Show is so delightful in that first three-quarters, that it’s hard to accept a step down, in the final stretch.

I’d say that it’s helpful to keep in mind that doing rom-com right is actually a lot harder than it looks.

I rationalize that it’s better to appreciate that Show manages such a fantastic showing most of the way through, because so many dramas don’t manage to be half as terrific, as Show’s first 8 episodes.

STUFF I LIKED

General handling and execution

Here are a few key things that I really enjoyed about the way Show handles itself.

1. It’s tropey and predictable, but somehow, it works.

This show kinda gives me Goong-esque vibes, in that Goong is also about a contract marriage, and there’s also a standoffish male lead character who sincerely thinks that he’s amazing and perfect, and a cheerful bright normal girl who ends up in a contract marriage with him.

More importantly, it’s the breezy execution, where I feel happily carried along by Show’s story,  and the hour feels quick and short, that reminds me of Goong.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. Of course, it’s completely predictable that Grandpa Chairman (such a fun role for Lee Deok Hwa, after his royal role in The Red Sleeve) would set up a blind date for Tae Moo (Ahn Hyo Seop) with Young Seo (Seol In Ah).

And it’s predictable too, that Young Seo would default to getting Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong) to stand in for her.

But y’know, I realize that I don’t care that it’s predictable, as long as it’s enjoyable, and I’m enjoying this whole thing, of Tae Moo deciding to marry “Young Seo” who isn’t really Young Seo at all.

[END SPOILER]

2. I really like how Show weaves its various threads together.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. For example, the way Ha Ri follows Hye Ji (Yun Sang Jeong) down to the lobby, because she knows that Min Woo’s (Song Won Seok) here to see Hye Ji, makes perfect sense.

And then, the way that evolves into the iconic SlipperGate incident with Tae Moo, feels so seamless as well.

[END SPOILER]

It’s a twofer, is what it is, and I like that Show seems so confident, in weaving its various narrative threads together, so that we float quite effortlessly from one plot point to another.

3. It’s all very zippy

One of the things I enjoy about this show, is how zippy everything is.

Our story moves along quickly, and even in our early episodes, we already get some important developments in both our lovelines. That’s pretty gratifying, from an impatient viewer’s point of view.

Kim Se Jeong as Ha Ri

I’d thought Kim Se Jeong was pretty great in The Uncanny Counter, but I wasn’t sure how I would take to her here, since I’d also felt rather underwhelmed by her outing in School 2017.

Now that I’ve seen her outing as Ha Ri, I’m super pleased to report that I loved her in this.

I think the most important thing – for me, at least – is that I find Ha Ri charming and likable, as a character.

With comic, OTT portrayals, it often can go south for me, and register in my brain as try-hard and cringey. However, in Kim Se Jeong’s hands, Ha Ri’s OTT comic moments are actually amusing, and (sometimes) even quite charming even, to my eyes. That’s skillz.

That makes so many things work, from where I’m sitting, and Ha Ri’s likability definitely added to my enjoyment of the show.

I will talk more about Ha Ri’s character, in the OTP section of this review.

Ahn Hyo Seop as Tae Moo

I have to say, Ahn Hyo Seop really grew on me, in his role as Tae Moo.

Which, I have to admit, was a very pleasant surprise, because I’d been rather underwhelmed by his last drama outing, in Lovers Of The Red Sky.

I do think that part of the reason Ahn Hyo Seop does so well in this role, is because the character of Tae Moo plays to his strengths. It’s not an extremely demanding role, all things considered, in that it doesn’t demand a great deal of acting range.

That said, Tae Moo does have some deeper emotional beats in our story, that I thought Ahn Hyo Seop handled very nicely.

Plus, Ahn Hyo Seop does display some nice comic timing as well, in some of Tae Moo’s funnier moments, which I thought was pretty great.

Hurray for a promising show of growth!

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. On paper, Tae Moo seems rather insufferable, being such a stick in the mud who’s got an inflated opinion of himself and how handsome / important / skilled / amazing he is.

However, the saving grace is that I detect mild glimmers of potential dork, underneath the coiffed chaebol prince veneer.

I love the idea that Tae Moo will likely show himself to be a bit of a dork, despite his repeated pronouncements that he’s just perfect.

E2. The way Tae Moo obsesses about Ha Ri’s archaeopteryx remark, the entire episode, works out to be funnier, the longer it gets dragged out.

I feel like Tae Moo’s inability to get over the archaeopteryx remark, brings out the dork in him, and like I said before, I am all for his inner dork making an appearance.

Perhaps Tae Moo isn’t as self-confident as he’d like everyone else to think, if he can’t shake the thought that Ha Ri thinks he looks like an archaeopteryx? 😁

E6. I do like the fact that Tae Moo is so clear that the person he’s been interacting with, has been Ha Ri all along, even when she’d been dressed as Geum Hui. Even though Tae Moo is mostly like a stoic robot, he has these flashes of keen insight that I really like.

..And then those tend to regularly give way to distinct displays of dorkiness, and that’s just so fantastic.

I was so tickled by Tae Moo’s plan to confess at the restaurant, complete with cake, flowers and a string quartet. His determination, his confidence and his signal to the servers; it’s entirely dorky, and I love it.

The funny gets even funnier, when Ha Ri actually shows up, and treats the entire thing like a business meeting, complete with a presentation.

I just love that way Tae Moo’s reflex touching of his forehead in consternation accidentally triggers the servers to come forward with the cake and everything, and I love even more, the way he aggressively wiggles his eyebrows and hisses to get them to retreat again. Muahaha.

I am very, very tickled by this scene, and have watched it several times, just coz. 😂

[END SPOILER]

Ha Ri and Tae Moo together

I have to say, the development of the OTP connection was one of the biggest highlights of my watch.

Ahn Hyo Seop and Kim Se Jeong share a sweet, sparky chemistry that I enjoyed very well, and their comic sensibilities complement each other nicely too.

I had so much fun watching this contract relationship go from fake to real, with additional shades of mixed-up fake with real, in between.

This romance had me giggling with laughter and grinning silly goofy grins in turn, and it was a really fun time, all in all.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. The main event this episode, is Tae Moo’s insistent interest in Ha Ri, and the danger that he might discover that she’s actually his employee.

I had to laugh at the way Tae Moo runs after Ha Ri after that slipper slaps him on the head.

Again, I feel like this reveals his inner dork, because, if he were as confident as he presents himself to be, why would he be so bothered about someone throwing a slipper at him – or so he thinks?

The fact that he runs and runs and RUNS, to catch hold of the person responsible for the slipper throwing, and demands to know why she’d thrown the slipper, makes me think that he’s actually a rather insecure dork on the inside.

That possibility is quite delightful to me, at the moment, I gotta say. 😁

The fact that Tae Moo’s angry with Ha Ri for deceiving him, rather than with Young Seo, for sending Ha Ri to the blind date in the first place, is definitely kind of weird.

But I do think that this gives us an early indication of him being drawn to Ha Ri, even before he’s cognizant of it.

The other indication, I think, is how Tae Moo feels so bored and uninspired by all the other blind dates that Gramps sends him on this episode.

Muahaha. That’s likely because he’s already lost his heart to Ha Ri, without his knowledge?

We end off the episode with Tae Moo proposing a contract relationship, and a falling kiss, both of which are classic tropes of the rom-com genre.

I do love me a good contract relationship, so I have no complaints there.

And even though I don’t typically enjoy the falling kiss trope, I have to admit that Show does a good job of creating the situation that results in the falling kiss.

First, we have Tae Moo tripping backwards, because he’s taken by surprise when Ha Ri kind of pushes him; then, we have Ha Ri trying to catch him, to prevent him from falling.

And then, we have Ha Ri falling down with him, because she’s not strong enough to pull him up. It all makes sense, that way.

Which is why, I can’t really complain, when Ha Ri lands on him in a compromising position.

Muahaha. Sure, it’s tropey, but somehow Show makes it work, and I find myself smirking at the sudden close proximity and unexpected skinship.

This will surely continue to muddy the waters of their contractual relationship – and that’s what I’m here for. 😋

E3. I am very pleased that the contract relationship between Tae Moo and Ha Ri gets into full swing so quickly after the falling kiss – and I have to say, I sniggered at how Tae Moo ended up being so dizzy from the experience, that he had to cancel an important meeting, which cost him an important contract.

Ahaha. It’s one more thing that hints at Tae Moo not quite being as perfect, amazing and invincible as he claims. 😁

Plus, that quick shot of Tae Moo looking just a little bit uncertain, as he studies Ha Ri’s expression as she reads the contract, again indicates hints of dork beneath the confident surface, and I am realizing that this is one of my favorite things in this show.

Yes, Show. Unveil all the dorkiness that Tae Moo’s got hidden underneath that prickly, I’m-better-than-you exterior.

I am inordinately amused by how methodical and detailed Tae Moo and Ha Ri are, in preparing for Ha Ri’s first meeting with Chairman Gramps. It’s like their study buddies now, which I find pretty cute.

The way he gets her out of her home late at night, just so that they can quiz each other, is quite amusing to me. And, the way they try to catch each other with trick questions, is pretty entertaining to me.

If they were studying for some major national exam together, I feel like they’d ace it, with this kind of dedication. 😁

Later, that beat in the car, where Tae Moo leaks a smile at the imprint that Ha Ri’s face has left on the window, is pretty gratifying to see, although I have to say, it’s not cool that he pushed Ha Ri’s face away from himself like that, which had caused her to bang her head against the window in the first place.

However, I do think that a manhwa lens solves most conundrums in this show, and that manhwa lens works nicely, to make Tae Moo’s reflexive shove land more funny than offensive.

I’m also very nicely amused by how Ha Ri has to continue to dodge Tae Moo at work.

Show is so unabashed at creating a situation in which Ha Ri has no choice but to give a presentation in front of Tae Moo, even though this is far from her usual job.

It’s pretty smart of Ha Ri to put on a mask to cover up her face, and I’m pretty impressed that she thinks to feign actual sickness, when Tae Moo demands that she take off her mask for the presentation.

Ha Ri dodges that bullet for now, but her cover’s surely going to be blown soon, based on just how quickly Show is truckin’ right along.

Beyond that, I am very taken with the fact that through all of this, both Tae Moo and Ha Ri are beginning to see the emotional vulnerabilities of the other person, and that inevitably causes each of them to have empathy for the other.

Like when Ha Ri hears from Young Seo, that Tae Moo’s parents’ fatal accident had been rumored to be more than just a simple accident.

Or when Tae Moo happens to hear Ha Ri crying over the phone, after she comes to realize that Min Woo’s gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend Yoo Ra (Woo Hee).

These are things that kinda force them to see each other as more than mere business partners, and even though the effects are still rather muted at this stage, I do feel like it at least gives each of them a bit of pause.

There’s definitely something there, about Tae Moo’s dislike of rain. The way he reacts to even the mention of his dislike for rain, so viscerally, it makes me think that it must have something to do with his parents’ accident.

Most likely, it had happened on a rainy day, and that’s why he avoids rainy days like the plague now?

It’s too bad that he and Ha Ri aren’t close enough to discuss things like this, because it leads to Ha Ri creatively reaching for fragments of information about Tae Moo, in order to create a more believable facade with Chairman Gramps.

To Ha Ri’s credit, I do think that she does a great job with weaving those nuggets of truth into her cover story. It really does make things more believable, and as we see, Gramps is actually really quite pleased with what he thinks is a very real relationship between Tae Moo and Ha Ri.

I also really like that beat after the concert, where Tae Moo and Ha Ri speak quite unguardedly, about their respective emotional states.

I like that Ha Ri explains that she’d overdone it a little, in an effort to cover up her emotional upheaval, and apologizes for saying things that had ended up offending Tae Moo. And I like just as much, that Tae Moo also acknowledges that he’d been oversensitive.

Plus, how sweet, that Tae Moo actually attempts to comfort Ha Ri in his logical, almost robotic sort of way, even though he’s never actually tried to comfort anyone before.

The fact that he attempts to comfort her, says a lot about how he’s responding to her, even though he’s likely not cognizant of it yet.

And, how nice, that Ha Ri thanks him anyway, saying that she does feel quite comforted. Aw.

I like these honest beats a lot; they feel so raw and genuine. I really feel that these are the moments that help to ground all the silly and comical stuff, such that the watch experience lands with oomph and authenticity.

E4. This episode, as far as our OTP goes, I’m most taken by the little hints that Tae Moo’s feeling.. well, pleasant things, when it comes to Ha Ri.

It’s possible that he like-likes her and just doesn’t know it yet, or maybe he just likes her as a person, and is feeling some lashings of genuine affection. It’s hard to say.

But I just like those little soft gazes when he thinks about her, and the little leaked smiles, that he can’t help but smile sometimes.

Plus, there’s that little beat, where he shows up to pass her the tonics that Chairman Gramps has prepared for her, and is a little wistful that he doesn’t get to check on her eye, and see for himself that she’s doing better.

And, how thoughtful of Tae Moo, to actually get ointment for Ha Ri’s eye. He really is turning out to be a bit of a sweet dork.

All the little things add up to a nice amount of squee, and this is making me a contented happy camper right now.

Of course, I’m not forgetting the little hints of dork, like when Tae Moo makes sure to wait X number of seconds, before answering Ha Ri’s call, so that he can appear sufficiently cool.

Tee hee. It just makes him look even dorkier to my eyes, and I’m suitably amused. 😁

On Ha Ri’s side of things, I like how she’s speaking of him kindly, to Young Seo, and being so forthright about the fact that Tae Moo’s nicer than she’d expected.

Also, there’s that beat with Min Woo, where she thinks on the concert date with Tae Moo, and smiles a bit absentmindedly, while telling Min Woo that, yes, she did have a nice time.

This growing mutual fondness is really the highlight of the episode for me,

I like that they both have a genuinely enjoyable time during their fake-anniversary date, and it doesn’t escape my notice that Tae Moo doesn’t use the word “fake” when telling Ha Ri that he had a good time. Squee?

I do love that beat where he comes to her rescue when her dress rips, and then can’t quite wipe the amused little grin off his face.

It’s all adding up to a situation where Tae Moo’s actually leaking hearts out of his eyes, a little bit – which is probably why it’s so shocking to him, when he realizes, at the end of the episode, that Geum Hui is actually Shin Ha Ri from work.

Eep. I know that the truth had to come out somehow and sometime, but this feels a little extra cruel, for Tae Moo to have the wind ripped out of his sails, just as he’s starting to acknowledge some genuine affection on his part, for “Geum Hui.”

E5. Muahaha. This is an episode full of dorky denial, and I hafta admit, it’s all kinds of silly, but also, nicely enjoyable to watch.

Partly because, I know this is just a necessary stage of Tae Moo grappling with his feelings, but mostly because, we see a lot more of Tae Moo’s inner dork coming into play. He is SO much dorkier than I’d hoped for or imagined, and I’m lapping this up, like it’s the best thing evar.

On a side note, this makes me wonder, slightly.

I distinctly remember once being the kind of drama fangirl who much preferred my male leads smoldery and swoony. When did I become the sort of drama fangirl, who actively hopes for my male lead to show as much of his dorky side as possible..? *ponders*

At any rate, Tae Moo’s angry bluster and his petty efforts to punish Ha Ri for her deception lands funny to me, because 1, it’s obvious that it’s really all because his pride is hurt, and that is, 2, because he’s been much more sincere in his interactions with Ha Ri than he’d like to admit, and 3, it’s really a lot more petty and silly, than it is actually malicious.

In fact, the more blithe and noncommittal Ha Ri, in response to Tae Moo, the angrier he gets, and that just tells me that all he really wants from Ha Ri, is some reciprocal sincerity.

And, put that way, his whole reason for being upset almost manages to land as endearing.

Of course, with the way Tae Moo torments Ha Ri by forcing her to be in two places at the same time, as often as possible, means that suspension of disbelief is required in larger servings than ever.

I mean, it’s outright ridiculous, that by this point, Ha Ri as herself at work, is looking Tae Moo in the face, pretty much, and yet, we’re supposed to believe, at some level, that her “disguise” still totally works.

But, I’m happy to roll with it, because in this ridiculous campy drama world, little things like logic should hardly get in the way of my drama enjoyment, yes? 😁

I’m inordinately amused by the idea of Tae Moo being jealous of Ha Ri’s interactions with Min Woo, when Min Woo shows up at the office in his capacity as consultant chef. I love how antsy Tae Moo gets, at the thought of Ha Ri being in close proximity with Min Woo, ha.

E5. My personal highlight this hour, is definitely the scene where Tae Moo runs to Ha Ri’s rescue, when she drunk dials him, and abruptly hangs up, while shouting at some high schoolers to stop smoking.

The way Tae Moo runnnns over there, desperately searching for Ha Ri, really is very endearing.

And the way he reacts, when Ha Ri makes her drunken “dream” confession that she really isn’t Geum Hui, but Ha Ri, and apologizes to him, is just gold. I love his stunned expression, as he receives exactly what he’d hoped for, from Ha Ri.

It’s quite sweet, actually, that he realizes that underneath the whole facade, Ha Ri actually wants to be honest with him too.

Of course, I can understand why Tae Moo’s chosen course of action is to fire Ha Ri in her role as Geum Hui, and resolve not to see her again.

After all, the situation is complicated, with her actually working at the company. Plus, he’s embarrassed about developing real feelings for her, when all she’s doing, is putting up an act. It’s little wonder that he’d run away to New York, to clear his mind.

I felt suitably tickled at how Tae Moo’s efforts to get away from Ha Ri are so futile.

The way he sees her everywhere, even when he’s far away from her in New York, is quite funny.

It’s so great that when he imagines Ha Ri in front of him, she’s basically speaking his subconscious thoughts out loud. His nervous, scared reaction faces in response to that, amuses me greatly.

At the same time, I appreciate that Ha Ri’s initial bliss at being let go from the contract, actually gives way to a measure of wistfulness. I guess, subconsciously, Ha Ri misses Tae Moo too?

Also, I feel that it says a lot about Tae Moo, that the moment he hears what’s going on, from Sung Hoon, his first instinct is to rush to the police station – and take Ha Ri with him, since he runs into her.

Ahh! I love that his sincerity is coming through!

I also love the fact that, without even thinking about it, Tae Moo uses Ha Ri’s real name when addressing her, instead of her fake name “Geum Hui.”

This means that he’s internalized her real name by this point, and is thinking of her, as herself, rather than her adopted persona. I like that.

Now that Ha Ri knows that he knows, this is surely going to launch their interactions into a whole new chapter – and I’m very much looking forward to that. *rubs hands*

E6. My favorite thing, this episode, is Tae Moo’s dorky reaction to all things Ha Ri, as he grapples with the fact that it’s not as straightforward or as easy as he’d thought, making his feelings known to her.

Of course, it’s sweet and swoony in and of itself, that Tae Moo’s so quickly cognizant of the fact that he likes Ha Ri, and is quickly decisive, that he’d like to tell her that he likes her.

The stoic robot-like chaebol has all these feelings and wants to announce them? YES PLEASE. Also, how refreshing is that, versus battling with his own feelings for an episode or two?

On a tangent, I’m quite amused at how Tae Moo takes it upon himself to punish Creepy Neighbor in his own way, because the laws around hidden cameras are still pretty lenient.

I mean, the fact that Tae Moo would buy out a whole company, just to have the power to fire Creepy Neighbor, says A LOT, about how personally he takes Creepy Neighbor’s offenses towards Ha Ri (and Young Seo too, of course).

And, because this entire show lands with a manhwa sort of flavor, I’m not too fussed at the idea of Tae Moo ruining Creepy Neighbor for life. I don’t think it’s meant to be taken too seriously, and I think if you analyze this too deeply, you’d only ruin the watch for yourself.

This is basically the equivalent of a cartoon cockroach getting smashed good and proper, for being evil, ha.

Tae Moo tearing up Ha Ri’s resignation, and then using extra work as an excuse to spend time with her, is pretty entertaining, all around.

I kinda love how Tae Moo tries so hard to get Ha Ri’s attention, by doing romantic things, and trying to look cool, but keeps failing, ha.

I mean, he doesn’t fail completely, but each time Ha Ri feels her heart wobbling in response to Tae Moo, I like how she basically beats it into submission, because he’s her boss, and it’s highly inappropriate – all while he’s actively trying to impress her. It’s quite amusing, to me.

Aw. Tae Moo goes to such great lengths to book the entire fancy movie theater, to impress Ha Ri on their not-quite-a-date, and ends up having to crawl outta there, and sit it out, because Ha Ri’s colleagues insist on joining her, after running into her?

Ahaha. Poor Tae Moo. I feel bad for laughing, because it’s so mortifying for him, but it really is quite entertaining.

The thing is, he quietly sits it out, and calls Ha Ri right away, once he sees that the movie’s over, but all this while, Ha Ri assumes that he’s left, and so he blusters that of course he has – when he’s been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for her, all along.

This is priceless levels of dork; it’s so great.

The leaked smile is kryptonite to me, and I love that as Tae Moo secretly researches where to take Ha Ri next, and what she’d like, he can’t help leaking smiles, as he thinks about her. Ahhh!!

Plus, he’s actively distracted, during business presentations and meetings too, which is a huge no-no, in his books. And, all because he can’t stop thinking about Ha Ri, and wanting to spend time with her. That gives me a case of the goofy grins, no lie.

It’s a bit sad, but mostly funny, that Tae Moo’s elaborate plan to take Ha Ri on a day trip, goes somewhat disastrously, at least at first. The way Ha Ri’s so eager to stay focused, and save time, and her aggressive driving making Tae Moo feel nauseous, is quite amusing.

But how sweet, that Tae Moo arranges for that burger stand to show up at the beach, just because he saw from Ha Ri’s social media post, that she’s always wanted to try the burgers from this roaming stand.

Aw. It’s really really sweet, that he pays for the stand’s entire day of profits, just so that Ha Ri can enjoy the burgers that she’s always wanted. It’s really melty, made even meltier by the fact that he doesn’t want to let Ha Ri know that he’d arranged for it.

He’s happy just to see her joy, and that makes me melt into a puddle of goo, honestly. 🥰

I do love that in the midst of this, Ha Ri starts to relax a bit, and they even have some good soul-baring conversation, about her dream. Sure, Tae Moo has to prod her a bit, to open up, but what’s important is that they do talk, and the conversation vibes honest and relaxed.

I liked that a lot. It makes me feel like they’re growing closer, without really realizing it.

I was chagrined when Tae Moo orders Ha Ri out of the car, in the middle of that rainstorm, because things were going so WELL, before that. This sudden unexplained order feels like such a record-scratching moment.

It honestly feels like it’s undone every little bit of progress that Tae Moo’s made, towards getting Ha Ri to relax around him.

But, of course, we know that this has to do with his childhood trauma of losing his parents on a stormy night, so it’s not like he’s being cruel on purpose.

I rationalize that he’d rather order Ha Ri out of the car, than admit his trauma to her, because he doesn’t want to appear weak in front of her. After all, he wants to see himself as being a strong person who can be whatever she needs him to be.

To be clear, I do think that it sucks, and that Tae Moo shouldn’t have ordered Ha Ri out of the car like that.

To his credit, he does try to look for her afterwards, once he gets himself together.

I’m curious to know how he finds her, at that hotel, but for now, I’m just SO stoked at this new story development, that Tae Moo’s now volunteering himself to be Ha Ri’s fake boyfriend. MUAHAHA. What a great turnaround! And what a great role reversal! 🤩

I LOVE THIS.

The prospect of Tae Moo acting as Ha Ri’s boyfriend is so thrilling to me, that I literally can’t wipe the goofy grin off my face, as we wrap up the episode. 😁

E7. First of all, I am pleased with the explanation that Show gives us, in terms of how Tae Moo finds Ha Ri at the hotel. That was straightforward, simple and best of all, completely plausible, which really is rarer than one might think, in Dramaland.

Best of all, I am as thrilled and tickled as I’d expected to be, with Tae Moo’s self-appointed mission of acting as Ha Ri’s boyfriend.

If I’d thought the smitten robotic chaebol was great, the smitten robotic chaebol getting to act out his boyfriend fantasies with the girl of his dreams, while pretending that it’s all for show, is even greater, muahaha.

And while he’s enjoying all this, it’s so fantastic, that his big displays of affection, have Ha Ri’s so-called friends either sighing in envy, or stewing in jealousy.

Before all that, though, I just have to say, I love that when Tae Moo asks Ha Ri if she shouldn’t thank him for saving her from embarrassment, Ha Ri comes right back and asks him if he shouldn’t first apologize, for leaving her on the road, in the rain.

YES, GIRL. You stand up for your rights.

I’m so pleased that Tae Moo, whom I believe has had very little experience with apologies, actually does apologize to Ha Ri. Ahhh. This makes me so happy, seriously.

This means that I don’t have this bad behavior niggling at me, through all the fake boyfriend shenanigans, and therefore I’m free to just revel in the silly joy of it all. 😁

I can’t decide which cheesy line of Tae Moo’s I’m most tickled by, but a strong contender is the one where he announces that his love for her, is just like his Black Card – without limit. Ahahaha!!

I’m with Ha Ri on this; where does he even come up with these lines? I mean, it’s not like the robot chaebol has had a lot of experience wooing women..? 😁

I also love the fact that Tae Moo essentially tells the truth, while acting as Ha Ri’s fake boyfriend. That thing about falling for her at first sight, is quite true. And that thing about proposing marriage on their second date, is absolutely true.

I love it. Specifically, I love that this is not as pretend as Ha Ri thinks, and Tae Moo’s basically just letting his inner boyfriend live his best life, tee hee.

I mean, he’s clearly really into it, the way he continues to tease Ha Ri behind closed doors, in their suite. The way he gets her all flustered, then leaks smiles to himself at how cute she is, is both amusing and endearing, and I find myself grinning reflexively, through the whole thing.

This whole dynamic, where Ha Ri struggles with her heart fluttering in response to Tae Moo’s boyfriend actions, and holds it in forcibly, while Tae Moo tries his darndest to make Ha Ri’s heart flutter, and thinks that he’s failing, is endlessly entertaining to me.

While it’s completely OTT of Tae Moo to bring in a yacht, of all things, I do love how his splashy chaebol ways are making such an impression on everyone. It also makes an irrefutable statement about his authenticity as a legit rich boyfriend, just in case anyone was still having doubts. 😁

My favorite bit on the boat, though, is when Min Woo asks Tae Moo why he would date Ha Ri, “of all people,” and Tae Moo gives him a stern warning, that to him, Ha Ri has endless charm, and Min Woo shouldn’t judge Ha Ri ever again.

Ooh. Nice one! I liked this a lot. Partly because it puts Min Woo in his place, a little bit, but mostly because it’s so clear that Tae Moo’s saying this in all sincerity.

I wasn’t so hot on the petty competition between Min Woo and Tae Moo, coz this kind of thing rarely entertains me, but, I have to say that Show doesn’t lean too hard into this, so even though it’s not my favorite thing, it’s mild enough that I find it inoffensive.

I kinda love Tae Moo’s confession, when he takes Ha Ri home after the trip. He’s matter-of-fact, yet rather ardent and also, distinctly gentle, all at the same time, and I do find that mix very appealing. Plus, he admits to being an idiot in feeling jealous of Min Woo, and apologizes.

That’s so great. I really, really like him, in this moment. 🤩

It’s too bad that Ha Ri is convinced that a relationship between chaebol prince Tae Moo and little ol’ ordinary her would never work out, and thus actively avoids him for days on end, after the confession.

Ahaha. Poor Tae Moo. The way he gets more and more disgruntled and worked up, while waiting for Ha Ri’s answer, and trying – and failing! – to keep his composure, is very entertaining, and it’s hilarious how he ends up taking it out on unsuspecting people during meetings.

I’m suitably low-key amused at Tae Moo getting jealous at the sight of Ha Ri filming with Min Woo. It’s not terribly exciting, but the payoff, when Chairman Gramps comes hunting for Tae Moo, is so great.

I’m not surprised that Ha Ri tells Tae Moo to go on the blind dates like Chairman Gramps demands; what I am surprised by, is how Tae Moo tells her that he’s just going to keep liking her, and keep confessing his love to her, going forward.

Ooh. I like that persistence.

It’s the perfect provocation, that causes Ha Ri to indirectly blurt out the truth, that she’s been thinking about him, and that he keeps making her want more. Oooh!!

And I do love that the way he grabs her shoulders, to stop her from walking away, is distinctly gentle, even in its firmness. I like that.

And then there’s Tae Moo’s earnest request, as he looks into Ha Ri’s eyes, and asks her to just stay by his side. It’s all very heart-wobbly stuff, and I can definitely see why Ha Ri would lean in to kiss him, right there and then.

How excellent, that Tae Moo is cutely taken aback, just for a second, before he focuses his attention on kissing Ha Ri right back.

Eee!! Cute! Cute cute cute!

E8. I should’ve guessed that Show wouldn’t make the sealing of our OTP relationship that straightforward, ha.

Even though part of my fangirl brain really wanted that ending kiss from the previous episode, to be the one to mark the official start of our OTP relationship, I’m honestly not even that surprised, that Show chooses to take a bit of a detour, to stretch out the longing, angst and hijinks.

That said, I’m also glad that Show doesn’t overdo it, and only takes a one-episode detour. If Show had leaned into denial hijinks for more than this episode, I might have had some impatient words to say. 😅

As it is, though, it all works out quite well. I get a few extra laughs this episode, but my fangirl heart still gets the gratification of our OTP ship setting sail, without needing to wait too long. Very acceptable, in my books. 😁

Also, what a bonus, that through the whole thing, I find myself growing more and more fond of Tae Moo.

For example, at our opening kiss, I’m very pleasantly surprised that Tae Moo doesn’t automatically take the kiss to be Ha Ri’s answer; he actually stops to ask – gently! – if he can take her kiss as an answer to his confession.

This might seem like a small thing, but this lands as gentle respect to my eyes, and I have to say, this gave me a spot of melty knees. 😍

And then, with Tae Moo looking so taken aback and perplexed by Ha Ri’s backpedaling request for him to pretend like the kiss never happened, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Poor smitten confused thwarted puppy. 😅

I am also thoroughly amused when Tae Moo later says to Ha Ri at the restaurant, “I told you that I have feelings for you. How could I stay still when the woman I liked started kissing me so aggressively?”

Ahaha. I found this plaintive-yet-still-robotic, peevish complaint very funny, particularly the part about Ha Ri kissing him aggressively. He’s so cute! 😂

In fact, I think that’s the thing that keeps me most entertained, through most of this episode; the fact that Tae Moo’s finding ways to frustrate Ha Ri’s desire to “pay him back” for the kiss, while continuing to be so upfront – in his perplexed, robotic chaebol way – about the fact that he likes her, a lot.

I find it all very endearing, really.

Of course, the other thing that I found quite entertaining, is how Ha Ri finds herself being drawn to Tae Moo, slowly but surely.

Her reflexive fixation with the way Tae Moo bites into that dessert truffle is low-key amusing, but I think what’s funnier, is how she then runs off to the bathroom to berate herself, “Were you always like this, Ha Ri?!?”

Ahaha. I think she means, “Were you always this lascivious?” – which makes me giggle.

I thought the whole piano-playing thing was a bit much (coz, who really actually gets up to play in the middle of a meal, in the middle of a restaurant, really?), but I take the point, that Ha Ri’s more entranced by Tae Moo than she’d bargained for – which is an idea I can fully get behind.

The amusement park date is cute, and I like Tae Moo’s idea, of getting Ha Ri to spend time with him, as payment for the kiss. After all, spending time together is probably the best way for them to get to know each other better, and for him to win Ha Ri over. Smart move, Tae Moo.

That moment when they talk about his memories of his parents, while eating corn dogs, is really very nice. It’s poignant, without getting awkward, and I can see why Tae Moo would feel so moved and so glad, to be able to comfortably talk about his parents with someone.

That’s credit to Ha Ri, for sure, for being such an easygoing, emotionally connected person, that she’d be able to connect with him on the thing that matters the most to him in this moment; the fact that his memories of his parents are precious and meaningful and wonderful.

Poor Tae Moo, going all out to put up Ha Ri’s parents in the VIP room at the hospital, and then being forced to take on Manager Gye’s (Lim Ki Hong) identity, WHILE hearing all about what a demanding and unreasonable boss he is. Oh dear. 😂😂

But that all pales in comparison to how Tae Moo gets punched the face by Min Woo, who discovers their dating contract in Ha Ri’s drawer – dang.

I honestly wish Min Woo hadn’t discovered the contract, because I’ve decided that the less I see of him on my screen, the better. And how unfortunate, that Ha Ri’s attempt to stop the fight between Min Woo and Tae Moo, comes off as her taking Min Woo’s side. DANG.

BUT. I’m so pleased to see that Ha Ri actually defends Tae Moo when she sits down with Min Woo, and even tells Min Woo to apologize properly to Tae Moo, the next time he sees him.

The more Ha Ri defends Tae Moo – not just to Min Woo, but also to Young Seo, this episode – the clearer it becomes, that she really, really likes him.

Well, that and the fact that she suddenly can’t stand the thought of Tae Moo having dinner with any other colleague, or the thought of Tae Moo going on a blind date.

Aw, our Ha Ri just needed a bit of a nudge, didn’t she?

I like how she actually makes a decision to crash Tae Moo’s blind date, and when traffic isn’t in her favor, she even calls him, to tell him to get out of there. Ooh.

“How could you do something like that? You made me fall for you and now you’re going on a blind date?

You know, I was waiting for your text all day, wondering when you would come by. I was going crazy thinking about you eating dinner with another woman. How can you do that?

I don’t know anymore. From now on, I’m not going to care about what other people think and just think about the two of us. So don’t go on that blind date, President-nim.”

Ahhh, so refreshingly frank! I love it. I love even more, the look of contentment in Tae Moo’s eyes, and he listens to all this. His gentle leaked smiles make me so happy, as he sits in the car, and soaks it all in. ❤️

The thing about the both of them getting out of their vehicles in the middle of heavy traffic, and running into each other on the bridge, is all kinds of clichéd, but because this is such a momentous moment for our OTP, I’m willing to just roll with it.

And, how nice of Tae Moo, to still give Ha Ri the option to change her mind, even at this point.

“If you come any closer, I’m never going to let you go again.”

It seems like a small, throwaway sort of line, but this consistency of his, to always seek her consent, and make sure he’s understanding where she’s coming from, is very appealing to me.

And then we have kisses!! Heartfelt, sweet, unhurried kisses, threaded through with gladness and relief. Ahhh. Lovely. 😍

It’s all very sweet and melty, and I’m grinning like a goon, as we close out our episode, on our newly minted OTP. Moar please, and soon! 🤩

E9. It’s actually nice, to see Tae Moo and Ha Ri enjoy couple type things, like when Tae Moo picks up Ha Ri for a surprise breakfast date, and then cooks that breakfast with his own hands.

That was quite melty, especially the part where he’s waiting for her in the car and tells her to take all the time she needs – but he does want to see her as soon as possible.

Ahhh. That was pretty squee-worthy, I have to admit. Tae Moo’s quite the natural, when it comes to the cheesy romantic lines; I think his little robot heart’s just built for it. When the feelings are there, the cheesy romantic lines just flow. 😁

Like when Ha Ri gets all embarrassed about putting on mismatched shoes.

Tae Moo: “You keep cheating.”

Ha Ri: “What do you mean, cheating?”

Tae Moo: “My heart just skipped a beat because you’re so cute.”

Tee hee hee! It’s somehow even funnier, because he says it in his trademark matter-of-fact, almost robotic tone.

His eagerness to be a good boyfriend is pretty great too, though his desire to take things public does create some awkward situations. Like the way he sends those shoes to Ha Ri at the office, and has the delivery guy announcing that it’s a gift from her boyfriend. Ha.

I’m pretty sure that must have been some kind of customer request, because why else would the delivery guy make that announcement, right? 😁

I also like the dinner date, which Tae Moo gets so much pleasure from, just by the fact that he can ask Ha Ri out to dinner, in front of other people.

I’m so glad that Ha Ri chooses to honor his desire to be known as her man, by introducing him to the restaurant owner, as her boyfriend.

Aw. Tae Moo’s over the moon because of it, and I find it super endearing, that this makes him so happy.

Also, how sweet, that afterwards, on the swings, Ha Ri admits that she also wishes that she could tell everyone that Tae Moo is her boyfriend. Aww. I can see why Tae Moo would want to kiss her, after that confession. ❤️

What makes it even better, is that Ha Ri pauses, only to pull Tae Moo close, by the collar, so that she can kiss him some more. Yesss, reciprocity is hot, thank you. 🔥

This makes me wish that Show would serve up more of this happy-shy-kissy, over some of the other stuff that we get, this episode (more on that later). 😅

I’m not super hot on the way Tae Moo joins Ha Ri’s team for their BBQ gathering – so awkward! – but that little moment in the stairwell, where Ha Ri makes Tae Moo’s heart wobble, with her statement that she’d like to receive love too, from someone whom Tae Moo loves, makes it feel worthwhile.

The look in Tae Moo’s eyes, filled with wonder – and also, bedroomy intent – is really quite melty.

[END SPOILER]

Seol In Ah as Young Seo

I really enjoyed Seol In Ah in Mr. Queen, so I was really pleased to have her on my screen again, as Young Seo.

I was especially happy to realize that Young Seo isn’t a token best friend character, there just to facilitate the switcheroo blind date that is the central plot line of our story.

I like that Young Seo is a character in her own right, who has her own space – and her own loveline! – in our story.

I will talk more about Young Seo, in her sections with Ha Ri and Sung Hoon, but for now, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed how forthright, spunky and loyal Young Seo turns out to be, and I basically enjoyed pretty much all of her scenes..

Kim Min Kyu as Sung Hoon

I basically found Kim Min Kyu very cute and very endearing, as Sung Hoon.

His dimple is adorable, and his innocent-serious bespectacled vibe is immediately dorky-endearing to me.

Although Show doesn’t spend a great deal of time on Sung Hoon’s backstory, I appreciate that we get a feel for it, via the nuggets of information that Show serves up.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E4. How interesting, that Sung Hoon appears to have been adopted by Chairman Gramps.

Although, I honestly should have seen this coming, since it’s been done in enough dramas, for it to be a trope, that a chaebol family would adopt a son, who then grows up alongside the chaebol prince, and eventually becomes his secretary. 😅

Clearly, Sung Hoon does have a chip on his shoulder about being adopted. With the way he’s so adamant about not moving back into the family home, it feels like he’s keen to draw a professional line between himself and the family who adopted him.

I thought this was an interesting angle to include in Sung Hoon’s backstory, because it does affect how his mindset and character have developed, over the years.

[END SPOILER]

Young Seo and Sung Hoon together

The secondary loveline between Sung Hoon and Young Seo is the spicier of the two lovelines in our story, and I found this loveline a very fun balance to our main romance.

Kim Min Kyu and Seol In Ah share excellent chemistry that ranges from sparky to molten, and their comic timing is pretty well-matched too.

I found this couple a great deal of fun to watch, and even though this loveline enjoyed less screen time overall compared to our main loveline, I thought it pulled more than its own weight, in terms of the amount of fun that it brings to our story.

There are admittedly a few bumps in the writing around this loveline that might niggle at you, but as with most other bumps in this story world, a manhwa lens solves just about everything.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. The meet-cute at the convenience store did feel rather contrived and cheesy, especially with the way Young Seo drew on her own skirt. But, I see that as more of a necessary inconvenience, than as a flaw, at this point.

If their connection works out to be as dorky and cute as Sung Hoon himself, I’m pretty happy to keep rolling with it.

E2. Young Seo’s crush on Sung Hoon is quite cute, and I’m actually quite eager to see how this unfolds.

I mean, she clearly has hearts in her eyes for him, and he’s not disinterested, based on the fact that he’d found her endearing at the convenience store.

But.. now he’s come to know that she is, in fact, the real Jin Young Seo. Surely that will have some influence over his thoughts about a potential relationship with her?

E3. Young Seo moving out on her own, and ending up as Sung Hoon’s neighbor, is completely tropey and predictable, but I’m so stoked at the idea of them being in close proximity, that I find myself lapping this development up with glee.

That little arc, where Sung Hoon uses up a whole can of bug spray to save Young Seo from that cartoon cockroach is quite amusing.

And, how loyal of Sung Hoon, to state politely that he shouldn’t be close to Young Seo, because of how Young Seo had put Tae Moo in a difficult position with the fake blind date.

Also, poor Young Seo. She’s finally found herself in the vicinity of the man of her dreams – but he’s declining to be close, because of something that she’d done, in order to be free to love the man of her dreams. Hahaha. The irony.

E4. I’m guessing that Sung Hoon’s decision not to get close to Young Seo, likely has something to do with the fact that Young Seo is from a chaebol family, perhaps even more than the fact that Young Seo had made things difficult for Tae Moo.

I imagine that perhaps Sung Hoon feels a sense of.. inferiority, perhaps, and therefore prefers to keep his distance from Young Seo, even though, as Young Seo points out, he had definitely appeared quite interested in her, at first.

This episode, the tension between Sung Hoon and Young Seo is mostly low-key amusing, with Young Seo regularly getting up in a huff because Sung Hoon’s actively avoiding her.

E5. I’m pretty sure that Yeong Seo’s pointed efforts to draw a line between her and Sung Hoon is meant to land as funny and entertaining, but I have to admit that I didn’t find it all that funny, nor all that entertaining. I actually found it rather cringey, in fact. 😅

So I’m really quite relieved, that the end of this awkward stage looks to be in sight, with Sung Hoon helping Young Seo to track down Creepy Neighbor (Lee Ki Hyuk), whose lamp gift was actually a hidden camera, designed to spy on her, preferably in the bedroom. Ack. Gross.

I’m super glad to have Sung Hoon successfully apprehend the dude, YES.

And Sung Hoon’s fight skills aren’t bad either – something that I hadn’t quite anticipated, given his dorky-cute image. 😁

E6. This episode, Show shines the spotlight on the anxiety that Young Seo suffers, after the hidden camera incident, and it’s both sad yet funny.

Overall, I do think that it’s pretty clever of Show, to explore the after-effects that an experience like that can have on the victim, while using it both for a bit of comedy, AND to further our secondary loveline. Quite nicely done, I feel.

Despite the secondhand embarrassment involved in Young Seo needing the toilet so very badly, I do appreciate how the tables have turned, between her and Sung Hoon.

Where before, she’d been the one trying to get Sung Hoon’s attention while he avoided her, now she’s the one avoiding him, and he’s the one trying to get her attention, and asking why she’s behaving this way.

It’s pretty great, how things shift into such an opposite state of affairs, and it all happens gradually enough, that it feels completely natural for Sung Hoon to be looking out for Young Seo, and trying to get her attention, even though it hasn’t been that long since he’d been actively avoiding her.

Young Seo getting all drunk, out of frustration and embarrassment, makes so much sense to me, because we’ve already seen how Young Seo likes to drink, AND, we’ve also seen just how embarrassed she’s been feeling around Sung Hoon.

It’s the perfect set-up, which leads to the perfect blurted-out tipsy truth, that she’s avoiding Sung Hoon because she’s embarrassed.

Not only that, it segues so naturally into her drunken confession, that she’d like him from the moment she’d set eyes on him at the convenience store.

SO GREAT.

The whole scene is so great. I love how she topples because she’s tipsy, which makes Sung Hoon grab onto her – but tellingly, he won’t let go. It’s so like Young Seo to threaten to really cross the line, if he doesn’t let go at the count of 3.

And it’s so like Young Seo to actually lean in and plant a drunken kiss on him, when he doesn’t move, despite her counting to 3.

Guh. The way he studies her silently, as she counts, is swoony in itself.

But then there’s the way he catches the small of her back, and kisses her properly, in response, with.. movement, and feeling; it’s incredibly sexy, and I faint.

Eeee!!! What a great turnaround; I love it. 🤩😍

E7. The way Young Seo freaks out in the morning, at the thought that she’s slept with Sung Hoon but can’t remember any of it, is hilarious.

And then the way poor Sung Hoon comes back into the apartment, looking happy at the new state of their relationship, only to have his hopes crushed by Young Seo’s pronouncement that they should forget anything ever happened, is such a rollercoaster.

Also – ahem – Kim Min Kyu is looking extremely.. fit, under that shirt. I wasn’t quite expecting that, but I’m certainly not about to complain. 😁

Sung Hoon’s crestfallen face is the most sad-cute thing, possibly ever.

Awww. Poor puppy.. he really does look genuinely hurt and disappointed, like a kid who’d been promised cotton candy, and then had the promise abruptly withdrawn, while he gets dragged out of the amusement park. 😅

How cute, that we get to see that Sung Hoon had fallen for Young Seo at the same time that she’d fallen for him, at the convenience store. Aww!

And how cute, that he’d wanted to get to know her, and had thought to ask for her number, but had missed the timing to do so. D’awww.. the robot secretary’s been curbing a crush, all this time that he’s been telling Young Seo that they shouldn’t get involved? It’s too cute.

All of that said, the arc that stole the entire episode, just has to be the one where Sung Hoon gets so wounded by Young Seo’s avoidance that he confronts her to cut things off, while stating for the record that he’d liked her too, from the beginning. Ahhh!!!

How absolutely great, that Young Seo doesn’t just stand there in confusion, but chases him down, and even manages to burst into his apartment, despite him trying to disengage, to say her piece.

The way she blurts out, so plaintively, that she’d felt embarrassed about forgetting, is as endearing as Sung Hoon says, and OMIGUHHH, the way he moves in to kiss her, telling her that he’ll make sure she doesn’t forget again, is all kinds of sizzling. Faint.

AND, that glasses toss? Ahhh! I’m a puddle of flailing toast. Gurgle.

E8. I’m amused, and also, not at all surprised, that after all the kissy-sexy, Young Seo and Sung Hoon are running into clashes of expectations and personalities, pretty much right away.

After all, they really barely knew anything about each other, before getting into the hot ‘n heavy side of things.

I feel low-key protective of Sung Hoon, perhaps because I find Young Seo to be a rather exhausting girlfriend, from some of the things she does.

The whole cooking thing is a great example. When Sung Hoon praises the meal, even though it doesn’t taste great, she keeps insisting on candid feedback, until he gives it.

But once he gives it, thinking that she really does want him to be honest, she gets all upset with him, for being critical.

Gah. What’s a guy to do, honestly?

It turns out that the only right answer she was looking for, was for him to keep insisting it’s great, regardless of what she might say, and eat it all up.

Wow.That’s quite a demanding stance, for one thing.

For another thing, how was the robot secretary, who’s had very little experience with relationships, supposed to know all this?

Poor Sung Hoon. I feel like it’s going to be an uphill journey, for him. 😅

On the other hand, it wasn’t very sensitive of Sung Hoon, to spring a hiking date on Young Seo like this, such that she’s not even dressed properly for the activity.

This lack of mental preparation, combined with Young Seo’s tendency towards quick peevishness, makes it feel like it was a given, that the hiking date would be a bust.

On the upside, I do like the fact that the peevish storm blows over quite quickly, with Young Seo getting over her anger, and coming around to Sung Hoon’s sweet and sexy appeal, before long.

Aw, ok. That definitely softens my impression of Young Seo as a high-maintenance girlfriend; if she gets over her angry outbursts quickly and doesn’t hold a grudge, it’s going to make thing so much easier to bear.

Also, I just much prefer it when these two are being cute and dorky together. It’s so cute how she can’t stop kissing his cheek, as he carries her down the mountain. 🤩

E9. Ahaha. The hijinks from all the cross wires around Yu Jeong (Seo Hye Won) are admittedly predictable, but it works out to be quite amusing.

Plus, Sung Hoon’s bemused reactions in response, and his kill-me-now expressions, when he’s trying to hide from her, are pretty great.

That said, I did think that Sung Hoon made some poor choices, like in the way he lies to Young Seo, that it had been Tae Moo in his apartment, when it had been Yu Jeong.

To be fair, I do think that the reason Sung Hoon does that, is because Young Seo’s shown herself to be the type of girlfriend who tends to fixate on the perfect boyfriend response in tricky situations.

I think it was his deer-in-headlights reflexive reaction, to avoid potential conflict with Young Seo, by saying that it was Tae Moo in his apartment, instead of telling her the truth.

I can’t say I blame Young Seo for getting upset at the end of the episode, when she realizes that Sung Hoon had lied to her. No one likes to be lied to, after all.

That last thing that Young Seo blurts out, about whether Sung Hoon is the Kang family’s servant, seems to hit rather close to a nerve, given the way Sung Hoon stops in his tracks like that.

I can imagine that being a chip on his shoulder, given his circumstances, even though Tae Moo and Gramps do seem to sincerely love him. Aw. Poor Sung Hoon.

[END SPOILER]

Ha Ri and Young Seo’s friendship

I found myself really, really enjoying the friendship between Ha Ri and Young Seo.

In a drama landscape where it’s not uncommon to have the female leads be enemies or frenemies, it feels so refreshing to see such a strong friendship binding our two female leads together.

This friendship turned out to be a big anchor in this show, for me.

It might not have enjoyed as much screen time as the romantic lovelines in our story, but Show does a great job of demonstrating to us, in whatever screen time this friendship does get, that the bond between Ha Ri and Young Seo is rock solid.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I liked seeing Ha Ri and Young Seo connect regularly over the phone, even though they live pretty different lives, and work in different places.

I also like the fact that they make it a point to meet up and hang out together, which is nice.

The thing I like most, is how supportive we see Young Seo being, when Ha Ri tells her that she’s going to see her crush on her birthday.

The fact that Ha Ri automatically hears Young Seo in her head, when she sets eyes on Min Woo carrying that cake, tells me that these two are very close indeed, and very involved in each other’s lives.

It’s hilarious how far Young Seo and Ha Ri have gone, when dealing with the blind dates that Young Seo’s family sets up for her.

I know it’s all very silly and OTT, but somehow, it’s working for me, and I find myself giggling at the nonsensical lengths that these two go to, to protect Young Seo’s right to fall in love with her fated person.

E2. I loved that drunken crying scene, where Young Seo and Ha Ri get ridiculously upset over nothing much, while super drunk.

Their chemistry and timing works perfectly, to create the silly-funny, and I surprise myself, by being here for it.

Also, I like that their friendship has such a firm foundation, that Ha Ri doesn’t even cut ties with Young Seo, for tricking her into meeting Tae Moo.

I mean, a weaker friendship would be over and done with, after a stunt a like that, no? Instead, they squabble for a bit, but come out of it with their friendship intact. I like that.

E4. Even though the friendship between Ha Ri and Young Seo takes a bit of a backseat this episode, I’m still enjoying their friendship really nicely.

In that one scene that they share, where they duck away for their own little dinner and drinks session, after Ha Ri runs away from Tae Moo at Min Woo’s restaurant, I love how they tell each other everything.

It’s so refreshing to hear them share all the details of everything that they’re facing, without holding back.

Ha Ri tells Young Seo that Tae Moo’s nicer than she’d expected (aw!), and Young Seo tells Ha Ri the whole situation with Sung Hoon, and how he refuses to have much to do with her at all, out of loyalty to Tae Moo.

Yes, that’s what girlfriends should be like, and letting it all out, and telling each other everything, without feeling awkward or embarrassed about anything. I like that a lot.

E7. I am so pleased that we get a spotlight on the friendship between Ha Ri and Young Seo this episode, as they meet to catch up, and are each ready to spill their guts about their deepest secrets, right there and then.

I LOVE this about their friendship.

There’s literally nothing they won’t tell each other, and I love that the only thing that stops them, just for a bit, is that they’re both so perplexed at their situations that they don’t actually know where to start.

E10. It’s endearing that Ha Ri would rush over to Young Seo’s apartment, early in the morning – to save her from a cockroach.

Aw. These two are such besties. I love that Ha Ri doesn’t think twice about going out of her way like this for Young Seo, and I love too, that right after, they fall into deep conversation, and Young Seo gets to share all her frustrations about what’s happened with Sung Hoon.

I just like the idea that these two can tell each other anything and everything – and that they do tell each other everything.

Even better, I like the idea that just because they’re both dating now, their friendship doesn’t suffer from neglect like some friendships too.

This friendship feels rock solid to me, and I like it a lot.

[END SPOILER]

Tae Moo and Sung Hoon’s friendship

Compared to the friendship between Ha Ri and Young Seo, the friendship between Tae Moo and Sung Hoon is a lot more tamped down and subtle.

However, I found that Show does demonstrate, via various nuggets, that these two are as close as Ha Ri and Young Seo are, and care about each other as much as the girls do, as well.

I found myself growing very fond of these two as a pair, over the course of my watch.

They are quite similar in their stoic robotic vibes, yet so different, once you get to know them better. I found it amusing and engaging, to see them play against each other, in all of the little moments.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. I suitably amused by the thing where Tae Moo de-stresses by cleaning and cooking. Tee hee.

That’s funny enough on its own, but the fact that he has to do it at Sung Hoon’s apartment, makes it even funnier.

I suppose Tae Moo’s own house is too organized to provide him with the stress relief that he’s looking for? 😁😆

I do find it endearing, though, that Sung Hoon’s relationship with Tae Moo, who’s his boss, is this close and casual, in private.

E5. As for Tae Moo’s streak of petty revenge, I’m really glad that Sung Hoon’s objective enough to point out to Tae Moo, that Ha Ri isn’t actually malicious, and that the only reason she’s even in this fake relationship, is because Tae Moo practically threatened her into it.

YES. I love it when Sung Hoon’s so forthcoming with nuggets of wisdom and common sense.

Although Tae Moo’s all nervous ticks and defensive bluster in response, I’d like to think that Sung Hoon’s words do plant a seed of reason, somewhere in Tae Moo’s neurotic and jealous mind. 😁

E6. I do love that Sung Hoon becomes Tae Moo’s love advisor, now that Tae Moo’s decided that he has feelings for Ha Ri and needs to act on said feelings as soon as possible.

It’s so cute; it’s like having one robot advise another robot, when neither robot actually knows a whole lot about love, dating or relationships in the first place. Tee hee.

E8. How sweet is Tae Moo, to immediately make it such that Sung Hoon can leave work right away, when he overhears Sung Hoon talking sweetly to Young Seo over the phone, and realizes that Sung Hoon has a date planned for the evening.

Y’know, I’d mostly expected Tae Moo to lean in and give Sung Hoon more stuff to do, if only to tease him a bit, and I’m.. really pleasantly surprised, to see Tae Moo do the exact opposite.

Aw. He really does care about Sung Hoon a lot, and wants him to be happy.

That is one of the most endearing things I’ve seen from Tae Moo so far, and I feel like my heart is melting in extra degrees for him, this episode.

E9. I did love the little scene, where Sung Hoon asks Tae Moo how things had gone with Ha Ri, whom he’d gone to see, instead of going for the blind date with Yu Jeong.

The way Tae Moo bluffs for a bit, saying that he’s not going to tell Sung Hoon coz Sung Hoon hadn’t told him that he was dating either – before casually dropping the fact that the shoes are for his girlfriend, is pretty darn cute.

It’s little moments like these, that solidify my impression, that Tae Moo and Sung Hoon really are best friends and brothers. ❤️

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-out:

Lee Deok Hwa as Chairman Gramps

I really enjoyed Lee Deok Hwa as Chairman Gramps – at least in Show’s first 8 episodes (because Show changes tack from around the episode 9 mark, which I’ll talk more about later).

For now, I just want to focus on how endearing and cute I found Chairman Gramps, while Show was at its best.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. Chairman Gramps is as cutely entertaining as ever.

I think it’s cute that he’s so into that drama within a drama, “Be Strong, Geum Hui,” the title of which feels like a strong nod to 2005 family drama, “Be Strong, Geum Soon,” a 163-episode whopper which had starred Han Hye Jin. That’s a nod-wink-nudge to long-time drama fans, for sure.

I find it sweetly endearing of Chairman Gramps, to grumble so gently, that dramas always portray chaebols as being evil, when chaebols are people too.

Aw. That’s so cute, isn’t it?

E5. As Tae Moo continues to torment Ha Ri in petty ways, I love how the drama within a drama mirrors the whole thing, with Chairman Gramps looking on, and tsk-ing at how the male lead is messing with Geum Hui for no reason, heh.

The thing that really made me giggle, though, is his reaction to the PPL in the drama. He’s so sincerely interested in the Red Mango drink, before he pouts very cutely, that they should’ve used his company’s products instead.

Tee hee! Is this how chaebol chairmen act in real life? Please say yes. 😅

[END SPOILER]

Seo Hye Won as Yu Jeong

In Show’s earlier episodes, I have to confess that I’d found Yu Jeong’s OTT presence akin to the buzzing of an annoying mosquito. It didn’t break my watch experience, but I certainly could have done without it.

However, when Show starts to lose some of its original sparkle at around the episode 9 mark, I found that, shockingly, most of my amusement actually came Yu Jeong and her OTT reactions, complete with her trademark Konglish exclamations.

She really is quite funny and entertaining, after all, heh.

In the end, I have to agree with Sean, that we didn’t get quite enough of Yu Jeong, in our final episodes.

The drama within a drama: Be Strong, Geum Hui

Show’s got a drama-within-a-drama, and it’s titled Be Strong, Geum Hui.

I actually really liked the tongue-in-cheek way Show uses this drama-within-the-drama to make meta jokes.

Here are a couple of examples.

[MINOR SPOILER]

E2. Instead of the classic kimchi slap, we have pork cutlet slaps, and fried chicken slaps, HA.

Plus, everything they’ve shown us in Be Strong Geum Hui, is a direct mirror for what’s happening with Ha Ri and Tae Moo. Fun!

E3. I am very tickled by how our drama within a drama continues to mirror the events in our drama world.

This episode, it’s the falling kiss, and I couldn’t help giggling out loud, at the ridiculousness of it all.

Hahaha, especially at how catching the scene on TV discombobulates Tae Moo and gets him all flustered.

Seriously, this is the kind of thing that gets funnier, the longer it gets dragged out.

[END SPOILER]

The only downside, is that Show fades out the drama-within-a-drama in its later episodes, so it feels a bit like a forgotten thread, at times.

STUFF THAT WAS OK

Song Won Seok as Min Woo

Without getting into spoilers, let’s just say that Min Woo works out to be less likable than one might first imagine, upon embarking on this show – and Song Won Seok does a reasonably solid job of delivering Min Woo’s various facets.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E4. I’m getting a more.. complicated vibe from Min Woo, than before.

Previously, he had seemed all innocent nice guy, whom Ha Ri just happened to have a crush on, and who just didn’t happen to return her feelings.

This episode, however, when Tae Moo asks him about it, he does look a bit uneasy, like he’s been caught out or something.

AND, he does also look rather taken aback, when Ha Ri says that she did bring a guy to the concert, and proceeds to act perfectly platonic towards him.

I’d say that in this moment, he actually appears rather disappointed, that Ha Ri’s being all platonic, and also, rather deflated, that she actually did take a guy to the concert, instead of going with Young Seo.

At the same time.. he does have that girlfriend, whom he’s just reconciled with?

I guess that makes him that complicated person who doesn’t like Ha Ri enough to want to date her, but likes her attention enough, to want that attention for himself? Even as he dates his ex again?

If that’s true, my feelings towards him have officially shifted from neutral indifference to active disdain.

E5. I feel like ever since Tae Moo confronted him about the possibility of there being feelings between him and Ha Ri, Min Woo’s been acting a little extra.. caring, towards Ha Ri, as if he’s trying to get closer to her.

To my eyes, it looks like he’s trying to regain Ha Ri’s affection, even though he doesn’t necessarily intend to actually date her. This, despite the fact that he’s supposedly happily dating his ex again.

Hrmm.. My gut is telling me that Min Woo isn’t as nice and wholesome of a guy as Ha Ri would like to believe.

But, we don’t actually have anything very concrete yet, to support that conclusion, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Min Woo’s on my probation list, for now.

E6. Min Woo’s clearly more interested in Ha Ri’s dating life, and more affected by it, than he’d like to let on.

I mean, I do think that Ha Ri’s worth anyone’s attention, but I do hate that he’s liked Ha Ri all this time, but strung her along, because he wasn’t interested in dating her.

I bet he’ll suddenly change his tune, once Ha Ri actually starts dating Tae Moo.

E7. I find myself feeling a sense of gleeful gratification, from the fact that Min Woo is clearly provoked by the idea of Ha Ri dating Tae Moo.

Muahaha. Take that, Chef. You could’ve/should’ve paid attention to your feelings for Ha Ri, when you were both single and available.

E10. That said, I agree with Ha Ri that Min Woo’s actions aren’t right, and I’m glad that she tells him so.

I mean, the fact that he runs towards Ha Ri and not Yoo Ra, after overhearing their conversation, says everything that anyone needs to know, about where his heart is.

Also, I feel oddly satisfied, that Show doesn’t care to let us know what happens, when Min Woo goes back into the restaurant to face Yoo Ra, after Ha Ri sends him packing.

It’s like.. Show doesn’t find it important enough to update us, and I.. have absolutely no complaints about that. 😅

[END SPOILER]

Woo Hee as Yoo Ra

I didn’t like Yoo Ra as a character – in fact, I possibly liked her less than Min Woo – but because she’s essentially a bit of a necessary evil, in our story, I’ve got her in this section.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E10. I’m pretty stunned to hear the backstory of Yoo Ra’s relationship with Min Woo.

It honestly blows my mind, that Yoo Ra had only dated Min Woo to spite Ha Ri.

Say, what? So she hadn’t even really liked Min Woo that much, but had accepted his feelings, just because Ha Ri had said that she liked him?

Who does that?

With this context, though, I can see why Yoo Ra’s especially miffed that Min Woo now seems more interested in Ha Ri than average. Like, after allll she’s been through, to get Min Woo away from Ha Ri, she’s.. failed?

Muahaha. I’m sorry, I can’t help feeling a stab of satisfaction about this, because Yoo Ra’s been quite insufferable. 🤪

[END SPOILER]

STUFF I LIKED LESS

Show’s writing and handling, in its late stretch

Like I’ve mentioned several times in this review, I didn’t much care for Show’s general writing and handling, in its last few episodes.

Mostly, it didn’t land as thrillingly slurpy, and there were chunks that didn’t feel organic to me, as well.

To be clear, I didn’t dislike everything that Show served up; there were actual bits that I genuinely enjoyed. But because those bits are so closely intertwined with the bits that didn’t work so well for me, I’ve got them all meshed together, in this spotlight on episodes 9 & 10.

[SPOILER ALERT: SPOTLIGHT ON EPISODES 9 & 10]

E9. Show is still light and fluffy, but somehow, this episode didn’t quite feel as thrillingly enjoyable and slurpy, as the ones that came before.

I don’t know if this is mostly a mood thing, coz that’s always possible, but.. I do think that at least part of it, has to do with Show’s writing.

What I mean is, our OTP has been officially minted, so the will-they-or-won’t-they tension, which accounts for so much of Show’s deliciousness up to this point, now needs to be replaced by other sources of dramatic tension, and unfortunately, it seems that Show’s struggling to find its footing, with that.

In terms of Tae Moo really enjoying his boyfriend role and wanting to lean into it, I like the idea of it – because how very sweet is it, that he wants to be known as Ha Ri’s boyfriend, and just can’t stop thinking about her? – but I didn’t enjoy the execution as much.

For example, I get the idea that Tae Moo’s so smitten by Ha Ri that he gets distracted by thoughts on her during meetings, but I also like the fact that Tae Moo’s a competent boss.

Therefore, I think it bugs me a bit, that he’s basically zoning out during presentations, and squiggling Ha Ri’s name, along with hearts, on his tablet, when he should be doing his competent CEO thing, by engaging fully with presentations.

Even though I love the idea of a smitten Tae Moo, I think it weirdly somehow detracts from his appeal, when he lets his smitten-ness interfere with his scarily competent boss persona. At least, I think that’s what’s happening for me, when I watch this. 😅

And then there’s how he seeks out Ha Ri at her office, to show her the all the ❤️ hearteu ❤️ squiggles on his tablet, on the pretext of showing her changes in schedule.

Gah. In what world would a CEO come to a regular employee, and show her changes in schedule on his tablet? 🤦🏻‍♀️ It’s no wonder it freaks Ha Ri out, so such so that she reflexively smacks that tablet out of his hands. Eep.

It’s kind of funny, but also, I have to shake my head at how poorly thought-through this plan of Tae Moo’s is, to spend a few moments with Ha Ri. 😝

The beat, of Tae Moo trying to call Ha Ri during his business trip, and Ha Ri failing to answer the call coz she’s surrounded by her colleagues everywhere she goes, is low-key amusing, sure, but it’s honestly nowhere near the kind of dramatic tension that Show’s working to replace, and therefore the watch experience of it, is a tiny bit deflating.

I can also see Show ramping up the thing with Chairman Gramps, with 1, Chairman Gramps being extremely eager for Tae Moo to get married, and 2, Chairman Gramps nursing a grudge against Ha Ri, for their unfortunate run-in from before.

I don’t mind the whole blind date insistence thing, since that’s been built into Chairman Gramps’s character from the very beginning, but I have to say, Chairman Gramps’s deep dissatisfaction with Ha Ri is landing as pretty forced, to me eyes.

After all, Chairman Gramps has been presented to us as a pretty good-natured guy, and other than this thing with Ha Ri, we haven’t seen any real petty tendencies from him.

Therefore, the fact that he continues to nurse this grudge against Ha Ri, feels like a narrative decision made to drive the story forward, rather than something that’s organic to his character.

I don’t like that, so much, especially since this episode’s ToiletGate 2.0 is followed by a written apology from Ha Ri. It honestly feels out of character for Chairman Gramps to fuss that Tae Moo shouldn’t have let Ha Ri off, because Gramps had wanted to give her a good scolding.

E10. The way Ha Ri and Young Seo end up chasing down Tae Moo and Sung Hoon in a taxi, all the way to the orphanage, feels rather clichéd, and I’m not super hot on the plot point in and of itself, BUT, I’m glad that this leads to a reconciliation between Sung Hoon and Young Seo, and a better understanding too.

That makes it feel quite worthwhile, plus, it’s also nice to hear more about Sung Hoon’s backstory, and his relationship with Tae Moo.

Also, it’s rather nice to see our main quartet just let loose and have some fun, with the kids at the orphanage.

Ha Ri getting called back to the store, and the four of them ending up offering dinner service to a bunch of hikers feels quite random, and the whole thing about Ha Ri’s parents coming home, and Tae Moo having to hide in Ha Ri’s room, was.. also not my favorite thing.

What I mean is, I know the whole dinner service arc was to get Tae Moo hiding in Ha Ri’s room, out of her parents’ sight, and we do get some breezy scenes AND a bit of insight into Tae Moo’s and Sung Hoon’s experiences with being restaurant servers, but.. I just don’t see why they can’t tell her parents that they’re dating.

After all, it’s not like they’ve outright objected to Tae Moo?

And, it’s not like they’d take that information to Chairman Gramps, who is really the only person objecting to this relationship?

I feel like whatever’s been said about Tae Moo in the past – including when Ha Ri had said that he was Manager Gye – isn’t so hard to explain, to her parents.

Therefore, with all of these protests going on in my head while Tae Moo hides out, I find it hard to get on board with why he’s even hiding in the first place – which ends up making the arc feel rather forced.

However, the one thing that I do acknowledge about this, is that it brings out with even more poignancy, Tae Moo’s wistfulness at having to hide at all. It doesn’t feel good to have to hide, and he’s having to hide the thing that’s making him happiest – the fact that he’s dating Ha Ri.

I can appreciate that the multiple times that he’s had to avoid telling the truth, is starting to wear on him. Poor Tae Moo. I do think he deserves some empathy, on this point.

It’s no wonder he seems to get so much gratification from introducing himself to Ha Min, when Ha Min spots them holding hands by the car.

I actually feel happy for Tae Moo, that he’s finally introducing himself as Ha Ri’s boyfriend, like he so dearly wants to. It’s not a lot, but it’s a start.

I thought Ha Ri’s rain date with Tae Moo was sweet, though I have to admit to feeling a little surprised by the “reveal” that Ha Ri was responding to Tae Moo’s rain phobia.

What I mean is, we’ve known for a while that Ha Ri’s aware of Tae Moo’s rain phobia, so while I get that the reveal this time has to do specifically with the reason behind his phobia, it felt more like half a reveal, than a full reveal, if that makes sense.

I’m glad that Tae Moo talks with Ha Ri about it, finally, and admits that he’d simply struggled with the idea of appearing weak in front of someone he likes.

The way Ha Ri thinks first, to apologize if she’s hurt his feelings, is so considerate. I also really like the way she wordlessly hugs him close, and pats his back. There’s something so accepting and comforting about that. I really like it.

In that moment, Tae Moo looks touched, and also, he looks like he can finally breathe easy, which is a sight that makes me smile.

What I don’t like, is how Ha Ri makes an excuse about going to see Young Seo, to respond to Gramps’s summons. Sigh.

I know that there was probably no way to stop Gramps from summoning Ha Ri, but couldn’t she have shared that information with Tae Moo, since they’re in this together?

Gramps does the dreaded chaebol thing, and orders Ha Ri to stop seeing Tae Moo. And now, it looks like Tae Moo’s gotten into a car accident while rushing to intervene, and that’s just all-around terrible. Boo.

[END SPOILER]

SPOTLIGHT ON THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE [SPOILERS]

Y’know, I’d heard so many rumbles of dissatisfaction about this show’s final two episodes, that I’d been prepared for the worst, coming into this episode. And.. whaddya know, I don’t hate this episode, after all.

It’s everything to do with expectation management, in the end.

I’d imagined that Show would lean hard into Chairman Gramps’s dislike for Ha Ri, and his disapproval of her, but.. it doesn’t quite work out that way, after all.

I mean, sure, the disapproval thing is still there, but its presence as a driving force for our narrative, is much lighter than I’d feared, so it almost feels like a relief, to realize that the main source of dramatic tension, comes more from the rumors that Yoo Ra’s spread.

Given that Yoo Ra’s been portrayed as being consistently against Ha Ri, I can totally believe that she’d spread those rumors, in order to lash out at Ha Ri, never mind that it’s Min Woo’s heart that’s straying, and not Ha Ri’s.

Because this source of dramatic conflict feels more organic to me than Gramps’s grudge against Ha Ri, I found that I rolled with Show’s punches pretty well, this penultimate episode.

Plus, it totally helps that Gramps doesn’t actually seem that hung up on his dislike for Ha Ri, this episode.

I mean, sure, he still is trying to send Ha Ri away, but given the situation, his actions make sense. And, because the root of his actions isn’t personal malice, I find it all much easier to swallow.

See, context really is so important, heh.

One of the things that I enjoyed this episode, is Tae Moo’s resolute attitude, when it comes to his relationship with Ha Ri.

When Gramps tells Tae Moo to end his relationship with Ha Ri, I kinda loved his response, that he’ll do as Gramps wishes, but that Gramps should reconcile himself with the fact that he will never have any great-grandkids, because Tae Moo is certain that he’ll never meet anyone whom he’ll love as much as he does Ha Ri.

Ooh. I like this approach.

He doesn’t fight Gramps on the actual steps that Gramps wants him to take, but he is clear with Gramps on the consequences; a consequence that Tae Moo is fully capable of controlling, even if he were ever to be forced into marriage. Smart move, Tae Moo.

I also really like how Tae Moo takes full responsibility for the lie, because it’s true that he’d been the one to coerce Ha Ri into entering into a fake contract relationship with him.

In fact, I like all the couple moments between Tae Moo and Ha Ri, like when she rushes back to the hospital to check on him, because it starts to rain, and they have that conversation by the window, about how his father had told him that Namsan Tower looks like a Christmas tree.

It’s down-to-earth and relaxed, and it feels like a big step forward, when Tae Moo remarks contentedly, that it’s been a long time since he’s looked at the rain like this, for this long. I like the idea, that Ha Ri’s helped to bring about that healing, for Tae Moo.

It feels like a huge thing, for Tae Moo to tell Ha Ri that he feels that he’d been the cause of his parents’ accident, and that they probably resent him for it.

The way Ha Ri responds, by assuring him that they’d never resent him, and the way she helps him to see that, by saying that he’d probably resent her, for his own accident, is pretty great.

That parallel works really well, and I do think that Tae Moo finally sees that his parents couldn’t ever blame him for the accident, just like he can’t imagine himself blaming Ha Ri for his own accident.

While I am not so hot on the fact that Ha Ri chooses to deal with the Yoo Ra fallout on her own, instead of telling Tae Moo about it, I can understand her decision.

For one thing, he’s recovering in hospital after the (thankfully minor) accident, and should probably rest, and for another, Ha Ri probably doesn’t want to make things more strained between him and Gramps, if she can help it.

Similarly, I’m not so hot on the arc where Ha Ri is an outcast at lunch, but I’m glad that Show keeps it short, with Manager Gye standing up for Ha Ri in the face of gossipy colleagues, and it all ends in a tearful group hug. Which, all in all, makes this land like some harmless filler.

In fact, there’s a number of harmless filler type scenes this episode, which I don’t love, but am fine to just roll with.

Like gossipy patrons at Ha Ri’s parents’ restaurant, and Young Seo’s effort to shut everyone up, by picking up everyone’s tab, and also, that completely useless beat, where the nurse walks in on Sung Hoon helping Tae Moo with his cardigan in his hospital room, and titters, presumably because it looks like they’re lovers.

I was pleased when Tae Moo overhears the two nurses talking about the gossip around Ha Ri, because that was my big indication that finally, Tae Moo, would be able to do something about it, instead of being kept in the dark.

The way Tae Moo gets so intent about seeking out Ha Ri, to set things right, is pretty swoony, so much so that I don’t even mind that his arm, which had seemed to be hurting him a lot before, doesn’t seem to bother him anymore, heh.

On another note, I thought Show did a nice bluff there, with Young Seo’s father.

I’d imagined that Dad would do the typical chaebol thing, and oppose the relationship, since Sung Hoon’s an orphan.

What a pleasant surprise, that Dad’s asking Sung Hoon about his situation, because he genuinely wants to know if Sung Hoon would be able to inherit his company, if he were to marry Young Seo and become his son-in-law.

Aw. It’s an unrealistic scene, sure, especially after Dad had tried so hard to get Young Seo to go on those blind dates, but I’m not going to turn down a nice chaebol parent, that’s for sure.

The way we go from dinner with Dad, to proposal by the river, is kinda at the speed of light, and I still think it’s too soon for Sung Hoon and Young Seo to be getting married, since they do have all these personality differences to work through, but it’s sweet, and these two sell it so well, that I feel more inclined to shut down my logical side, and just roll with it.

I’m glad that Tae Moo’s reunion with Ha Ri vibes more with comfort and relief, that any sort of dramatics, and I really like that little detail, of how Ha Ri pats his back soothingly, as they hug. It feels.. sweet.

That sweet turns to hot, quite suddenly, as our OTP moves forward with sexytimes.

For the record, I’d automatically assumed that they’d gone back to Tae Moo’s apartment, until Elaine pointed out on Patreon, that Tae Moo doesn’t live alone, but with Gramps. Oopsie. My bad. 😅

I’m actually quite distracted by the more overt display of sexy, given that this aired on SBS, and I can’t help thinking that kdrama kisses have gone through quite the evolution.

Looks like wide-eyed, frozen fish-lipped kisses (from 5! Different! Angles!) are officially a thing of the past, if things are getting hot ‘n heavy on a free-to-air broadcast network like SBS, ahem. 😉

I am also slightly distracted by Ahn Hyo Seop’s height and lankiness, which shows up a lot, in these scenes. He looks.. uncomfortably hunched over, as Tae Moo leans down to kiss Ha Ri. HA. As you can tell, my mind is just everywhere, at this point.

On a more swoony note, I am very much taken with how gentle Tae Moo’s hands look, as he cradles Ha Ri’s back; this makes everything land sexier to my eyes, for sure.

I like how this scene brings out the hot ‘n heavy bedroomy intent, while keeping everything very tender and gentle. It’s a pretty great combination of sweet ‘n spicy.

Mmm. Likey. ❤️

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

I’m gonna hafta say that this was an ok finale for me.

It wasn’t the best, as in, there were quite a few things that felt like clichés, or filler, and there was also a fair amount of stuff that felt predictable. That didn’t feel very fresh, nor very fun.

But, was it the worst finale?

Absolutely not. Show still served up the happy ending that I was expecting (and which, if I hadn’t gotten, I would’ve rioted against), and ends on a solidly sweet note. That’s.. not bad, all in all.

I didn’t care so much for Ha Ri’s mom getting so violent with Tae Moo for funnies, but I did appreciate that quiet note of concern from Dad, that Ha Ri would suffer as a result of being perceived as incompatible with Tae Moo.

Dad’s worry feels real and raw, and Tae Moo’s assurance, that he’ll do everything he can to protect Ha Ri, as he stays by her side, is earnest, and importantly, earthy and believable. I liked that.

It felt quite convenient to my eyes, that Min Woo gets packed away to Europe, but I did like Ha Ri’s answer, when Min Woo asks if they can still be friends like they used to be, when he comes back from Europe.

Ha Ri’s response feels genuine, and I really like how down-to-earth it is, while still acknowledging the possibility for growth and forgiveness.

I’m rather disappointed by Young Seo’s dad’s real agenda, which is to get Sung Hoon to break up with Young Seo. He’d really had me going, in our penultimate episode, with his Nice Dad act.

It’s actually pretty realistic, that Young Seo quit her job and start her own business, in order to truly be independent of her father, because I don’t foresee Dad changing his attitude anytime soon.

How perfect, though, that Sung Hoon has those funds which he’d received from Chairman Gramps, so that he’s ready to invest in Young Seo’s business, once she’s got a business plan mapped out. Nice.

Gramps leaning into his dislike for Ha Ri was a disappointment for me, because I’d thought that Show had lightened up on this, last episode, with the whole rumor started by Yoo Ra.

However, that rumor just kind of conveniently vanishes into thin air this episode, while Show amps up Gramps’s disapproval of Ha Ri. Sigh. I’d hoped that Show wouldn’t lean into this for dramatic tension.

I also wasn’t hot on the discovery of Gramps’s need for medical attention, which required Tae Moo to accompany Gramps to the US for a year.

I just.. don’t really see any real benefit to this, except to create a forced separation between our OTP, so that we can get a heartfelt reunion in the final minutes of our story, after a requisite time skip.

This felt unnatural and predictable, to my eyes, and was not my favorite thing about this finale.

But, it’s still rather pleasant to see everyone doing well, one year time skip later, with Young Seo running her business happily, with Sung Hoon’s support, and Manager Gye finally promoted – and married to Team Leader Yeo.

Even though Ha Ri getting surprised by Tae Moo’s sudden return is really quite tropey, I do like the sense of sweet relief and comfort that fills their reunion hug.

Also, it feels fitting that Tae Moo proposes, because he just can’t stand being apart from Ha Ri any longer. And, it’s nice (though predictable) to hear that Gramps now approves of Ha Ri, and is fully behind this proposal.

We get a sweet hug, and a tender kiss, before our OTP walks off into the snow of falling petals, with Tae Moo chuckling that the proposal sure took a long time, and Ha Ri giggling that she hasn’t said yes – before she reminds him to be good to her.

It’s sweet, feel-good and altogether unobjectionable; a solid note on which to end our fluffy-but-heartfelt love story, between our warm girl, and her earnest chaebol robot. 😉

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Loses some of its sparkle in the final stretch, but still works out to be a worthwhile fun watch.

FINAL GRADE: B+

TRAILER:

MV:

PATREON UPDATE!

The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of A Business Proposal, is The Sound Of Magic. I’ve taken an initial look, and I’m happy to say that I feel it’s off to a solid start. My E1 notes on The Sound Of Magic can be found here.

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

Foundation Tier (US$1): k-ent tidbits + E1 notes of all shows covered on Patreon

Early Access (US$5): Our Blues

Early Access Plus (US$10): +The Sound Of Magic

VIP (US$15): +Bloody Heart

VVIP (US$20): +My Liberation Notes

Ultimate (US$25): +Love All Play

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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Holmiensis
Holmiensis
3 months ago

The final episodes of the show may not have been outright awful, but with the very strong beginning, the second half or so of the show was a major disappointment.

I guess this show is yet another victim of bad script changes allowed by the live-shoot system. As far too often, when a show is a bit different or with a slightly more complicated plot, it gradually becomes more bland and formulaic and introduces annoying inconsistencies. Also typical, the show makes a great job of establishing an intricate plot, but soon gives up on resolving the issues.

The show is at its best early on, when the heroine desperately tries to scare away her CEO and fails miserably. Their first date is hilarious. The show is also great when the web of lies get more and more complicated, making it seemingly impossible for anybody to come clear. All signs point to a clever and rewarding resolution, perhaps tied to grandfather’s beloved TV drama.

However, as soon as the CEO understands that he has been deceived by an employee, the clever plot is abandoned. He becomes vengeful and mean, until he realises that he is in love for real. From then on there is a very bland romance story, with out-of-character pettiness and jealousy, eventually leading to a awkward conflict with a no longer good-natured grandfather, and an ending rife with meaningless tropes, including a stupid break-up and an annoying time-skip.

mary Briones Chávez
mary Briones Chávez
4 months ago

Me gustaría ver segunda temporada cuando se casan

BE
BE
4 months ago

People who know me here would be surprised to hear my response I think. This was the absolutely tropiest rom com I have ever seen. Do not think show writer missed a single cliche. But that for me was the fun of it. The all in silliness. Show refused to take itself seriously, unapologetically ridiculous and manipulative, in a good way. The ending was a bit foreshortened, but I did not care–a two hour a week getaway while it was on. And I would add, Kim Se Jeong–utterly disarming, and Kim Min Gue perfectly cast as Clark Kent, the mild mannered secretary. If South Korea ever does a Superman movie, I nominate Mr. Kim whole heartedly. The best “B” K com I have seen in a while.

Another spectacular in depth review–and I am beginning to think you probably have a book in the works if you can find the right publisher and publicist.

Elaine
Elaine
4 months ago

Thanks kfangirl for your review. Agree 100% with it! The drama was so funny, fresh and spazz-inducing in the first two-thirds. I had all the heart-eyes, and it became my happy pill every week. The last few episodes mixed some gem moments with some head-scratchers for me. In particular, I felt:

Grandpa spoiler
Grandpa holding onto his disapproval for so many episodes felt disappointing. After all, earlier in the series he had said (to his TV haha) that chaebol can be nice too, and that he would love to meet his future in-laws in a chicken restaurant. I thought the obvious thing to do would have been for him to have a good laugh over the Ha Ri/Geum Hui fiasco, especially after seeing how they genuinely care about each other, and meet Ha Ri’s parents at the chicken restaurant, where they could bond over Be Strong, Geum Hui!

I also felt they danced around the power issue of a CEO dating his employee with no clear resolution at the end.

Spoiler
Even though I was miffed that Grandpa held his grudge against Ha Ri for an unreasonable length of time, I thought his suggestion to transfer her to a subsidiary firm was a good one. If she stayed on in her original role, how would any manager have confidence to supervise her, knowing that at any time she could complain about him/her to the CEO?! I felt how drama treated the workplace tension of such a high-level romance to be quite unrealistic, you just see some colleagues gossiping about her, and then her Team One colleagues stick up for her and all is well. Yes her immediate team may be able to accept it but the rest of the company wouldn’t I think?

On a lighter note, here is a fun interview with the director of Business Proposal, enjoy!

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/netflix-k-drama-business-proposal-director-interview-1235132571/

MC
MC
4 months ago
Reply to  Elaine

Ah likewise, Elaine!! This was my happy pill and I couldn’t get enough – if it had stayed fresh and sharp it would’ve been one of my top ever romcoms. Ah well. At least it was good for a good long stretch!

Beez
Beez
4 months ago

“I distinctly remember once being the kind of drama fangirl who much preferred my male leads smoldery and swoony. When did I become the sort of drama fangirl, who actively hopes for my male lead to show as much of his dorky side as possible..? *ponders*”

Me too, Kfangurl. Me too.

Natalia
Natalia
4 months ago

This was (somehow) fun, especially its middle episodes, when I got over the Park Seo Joon syndrome (I spent the first episodes just trying to take in that this was not vice-president from Secretary Kim) and before it got a little underwhelming. I think it would be a B- or C++ for me.

Su San
Su San
4 months ago
Reply to  Natalia

Ha–like that you confessed to the WWWSK syndrome. I also had that during the start of this drama.

Eric Lancaster
Eric Lancaster
4 months ago

I agree with everything you said and your grade. I really loved the first part of this show – it was best when it was a crazy live action manga. Once it became a sincere and relatively sane love story the OTP lost a lot of sparkle (agree the second leads had all the sparks after about ep 6). I think the last 4 episodes should have been a mad-cap crazy adventure in which they persuade gramps though over the top insanity.

Also – would anyone else pay real money to see a whole run of the show within a show? Turn it into a parody K-drama with 12 episode run? Please? Can someone write that and produce it? (I also wished the writers had made even more use of this device, more parallels to the main story in the final episodes – it seems like gramps was primed to accept FL from watching this show).

Ele Nash
4 months ago
Reply to  Eric Lancaster

Yes, I would have loved to have seen more of the soap part too – I found it very funny!

Elaine
Elaine
4 months ago
Reply to  Eric Lancaster

Great suggestion, I would have loved for Ha Ri and Tae Moo to win over Grandpa with over the top insanity! Maybe Young Seo would have had good ideas too. I really enjoyed episode 10

Spoiler
which had our two couples playing and working together, very enjoyable dynamic. Wouldn’t it have been great if they had all worked together on Grandpa?

reaper
reaper
4 months ago

I still have to watch the last two eps. They will be available tomorrow in this god forsaken country…..
Totally agree with you on almost everything.
Just a few things. Maybe it was just me but I thought Ha-ri was the better friend compared to Young-Seo.
I always felt bad for 2ML when he had to deal with 2FL. I don’t know maybe my dislike for 2FL is just a me thing.
The interweebs were focusing very hard on the second couple. But at least for me the second couple lacked something the main couple had. I just can’t pinpoint what it is.

Ah and I can tell you why you liked Sejeong better in this one. Shin Ha-ri and Kim Sejeong share the same personality. So not much acting involved.

kate
kate
4 months ago
Reply to  reaper

I guess then it is a you and me thing lol
I am putting it all in spoiler tags in case someone else has not seen it. I have only watched up to episode 10 myself.

potentially spoilery about 2FL
Her bizarre turn from spunky but reasonable (a bit ott maybe but not irrational) to crazy lady was jarring for me. And then they dialed it up 100 when he lied about going on the blind date. Should he have lied about going on the blind date instead of TAe Moo? Definitely not. But she was crazy irrational lady already on their hike and I was just shaking my head. I strongly dislike female characters written like that. If I was 2ML, I would worry that at the slightest occasion, the crazy will come out again tbh.

Natalia
Natalia
4 months ago
Reply to  kate

Count me in too! She was a good friend but certainly an annoying and irrational girlfriend.

Ele Nash
4 months ago

I absolutely agree with your review, kfangurl. For me the swoony-melty bits were properly squeeeeee inducing! My heart eyes were everywhere, along with a lot of laugh out loud moments 😅

I thought the cast were perfect – including the soap opera cast too! I loved that element! And I totally rooted for the main couples, especially for Ha-ri. So likeable! I also found Tae-moo dorkily adorable – yes please to totally uncool protagonists! They are the best sort! He gave super autistic vibes, and you guys may know, I love that about Asian dramas, that, yes, autistic people can shine! Be loveable! Be loving! 😍😍😍

Slurpable indeed. xx

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
4 months ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

I think the term usually used to describe characters like Tae Moo is a “tsundere.” This refers to leads who start off as cold or aloof then later on ends up as warm and fuzzy. This is a Japanese word originally used in anime and j-dramas but has spilled over in usage to other East Asian dramas. Just FYI-ing 🙂

Ele Nash
4 months ago
Reply to  Jiyuu

Ah, cool to know. Maybe it’s that they just need someone to grab their interest, for all the warmth that’s always been inside them, to find its place to be free 😊

kate
kate
4 months ago

I have yet to see the final 2 episodes, so I tried not to peek at anything beyond episode 10 notes but I love your review! I completely agree and especially just coming off of episode 10, I have to say I am underwhelmed by the last 2.

I am 100% certain that there will be a happy end all around so I am not too worried though 😉

This may sound mean, but I am really relieved that Ahn Hyo Seop is good in this! While I never found him cringe-worthy bad, he isn’t (yet) the best actor ever either. I was not inspired in Abyss (I dropped this one, the whole thing was less than underwhelming I have to say) but liked him quite a bit in Romantic Doctor Kim s02 and Lovers of the Red Sky. What a joy to see his dorky, comedic portrayal here. More please!!! 🙂

Last edited 4 months ago by kate
Kim
Kim
4 months ago

I’m so glad to see that you enjoyed this as much as I did. I have agree that it did take a somewhat downturn at the end, but thankfully it wasn’t hugely disappointing, so it ended on a good note.
(I am very curious about the definition of a Manhwa lens.. I ‘hear’ you use this quite often and I have yet to figure out quite what it means.)
I liked seeing our FL, Kim Sejeong, in this as the only thing I remember her being in before was The Uncanny Counter, which was a quite different role from this one. I did find a few times that she used some physical movements/facial expressions that reminded me of her Counter character, which probably was what made me realize it was the same actress in the first place.
I really don’t remember seeing Ahn Hyo Seop in anything else but i am definitely fully in his corner now. I loved seeing his characters dorky side, his serious side, his flustered side, even his showing off side. I hope to see him in more things in the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching our secondary(though still very central) couple interactions. I have found in other shows I tend to not care too much for the other romantic arcs, but in this I soo very much did enjoy it. They really did a good job of fleshing out their characters and not just doing a surface type of relationship just for the sake of having another romance in the show.
Definitely a great show to spend time watching.

Thank you KFG for doing such a detailed review of this wonderful show. This just cements why I look to you for reviews instead of other reviewers. I looked at other reviews for shows that you have not watched and have come away sorely disappointed. They do not have the same level of commitment to detail or explanation that you do, and I appreciate that you have strived to give that to us fellow drama fans.

Eric Lancaster
Eric Lancaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Kim

I saw Ahn Hyo Seop in Abyss. It could have been a good show. The emotional/romance story – geeky, ugly genius magically transformed into model handsome, while his beauty crush since childhood gets down-graded to average appearance. (Note, this is kdrama average, which still translates into real world incredibly good looking). Anyway, this was interesting and the characters had some fun interactions. But there’s a whole murder mystery part with a character I can only call Korean Charles Manson (serial killer who spend way too much time on his hair) – fast forward through it. I wish I could recommend it more.

kate
kate
4 months ago
Reply to  Eric Lancaster

I did not like Abyss much either and dropped it before the end iirc. I also do not recall Hyo Seop being memorable in that one (so I guess he wasn’t for me lol)

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
4 months ago

Business Proposal was a refreshing change, a brilliant way to repackage the tropiness that kdramas offer up on a regular basis.

From what I have read, readers of the Manwha were generally happy with show despite some changes. I had a quick squiz myself. Also, some of the comments are amusing.

Yes, I was disappointed with the final episodes, a departure from the freshness and fun we saw in the majority of the show. As KFG says, the episodes weren’t bad, just not in keeping with the awesomeness we were part of previously.

Chaebol gramps was a big tick. The relationship between the two best friends was, literally, the best ever. In my notes re eps 7&8, my disappointment in show persisting with Min Woo caused me to grumble quite a bit at the time! The secondary couple were as brilliant as the OTP – a rare treat.

May many rom coms to come take a refreshing approach like Business Proposal 😊

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
4 months ago

Fangurl – I agree that the forced separation at the very end was a bit unnatural. Even with that, I still really liked the drama. It was pretty sweet and I enjoyed the story.

Su San
Su San
4 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Exactly! I was hoping for a change of heart, physically and emotionally for Gramps. Additionally, I wanted to see weddings and then a time skip to grand babies! I just watched Secret Garden and loved that the main couple was shown married with children. This show was SO CUTE until the final few episodes, just loved it–and a CUTE ending would have been an EASY fix. It was refreshing and funny and the actors did a great job.

I’ll never get over how the beginning of Kdramas are so engaging and “cracktastic” (LUV this term, thanks KFG). If the writers came up with “cracktastic” endings, Kdramas would be unbeatable entertainment!

So, KFangurl, I want to hear more of your thoughts on how the poor-ending-syndrome for kdramas developed, why it is allowed to continue (is there no “post-mortem” analysis?) and if there is a way to fix bad endings that the Kdrama industry would support. I’m shocked when it happens. Based on my work experience with the Korean subsidy, they were OTT on market research. I wonder if the Kdrama industry utilize focus groups for viewer reaction?

I “kinda” feel sorry for the stars, as the shows with bad endings because their reputations are stained going forward, even though its not really the stars’ faults but when viewers feel bitter their negative feelings often are taken out on the stars–who are the face of the show. (i.e., I hesitate to watch another drama with XXX ’cause their last drama was so unfulfilling; they must be poor at choosing good projects….)

There is a segment on another Kdrama website for viewers to “fix that drama’s ending” and mend their broken-hearts and calm their anger at shows. Is it cultural–is the Kdrama industry even aware of the bad-ending phenomena? Perhaps writers should be required to read some of those posts!

Enough ranting–sorry. Fellow fans, what do you think?

Elaine
Elaine
4 months ago
Reply to  Su San

Great question Su San! @Kfangirl, is there perhaps a potential Dear kfangirl post to be made of this? I think you have talked before about how live shoot shows often don’t have their scripts completely written out and there are sometimes changes along the way. But how about whether directors take onboard viewer feedback after show has ended and adjust their show ending strategies? I wonder!

Elaine
Elaine
4 months ago
Reply to  Su San

I feel like the letdown for this show’s ending is that there was too much serious emotion compared to the madcap jokes and hijinks. Grandpa was inconsistent with how he was at the start. And some things which were foreshadowed or promised – like a happy meeting of in-laws, happy weddings and grand babies were not delivered. There were photos circulating online of Young Seo talking to Ha Ri who was wearing a wedding dress, wonder what became of that scene.