Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1 & 2 notes on Crash Course In Romance, because I’m liking it a lot, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? 🤗
These are my episode 1 & 2 notes, exactly as they appear on Patreon, ie, without screenshots (I’m saving those for the actual review).
I hope you all enjoy, and I hope you’ll consider joining us over on Patreon, for the rest of the discussions! ❤️
E1. Ahahaha. I liked this, and very well, too. Right away, I’m gonna say, I have a good feeling about this one. 😁
For the record, I don’t feel (yet?) like Show is exactly new or inventive, but so far, I’m enjoying what it’s serving up, and that’s the more important thing.
First of all, I love that Jung Kyung Ho’s character, Chi Yeol, is so insecure and neurotic, underneath his shiny reputation as a successful top tutor.
We see the juxtaposition between those two sides of him, again and again, this episode, and y’know, that insecure side of him, that’s too nervous and neurotic to rest on his laurels, even though he is widely acknowledged to be at the top of his game, endears him to me.
I’m sure that there’s hidden angst in there that’s going to make me feel sorry for him, and I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with that student that he still dreams of, from time to time.
And yes, already, I do start to feel my heart go out to him, when I see that he’s so messed up that he can’t eat or sleep, and that it’s making him sick.
At the same time, I can’t help but find the fact that he’s insecure, despite his success, very cute.
It’s like, he knows that he’s successful, but he can’t accept that he’s successful?
Like with the livestream thing, for instance.
Since he’s the star tutor whom everyone waits for, I’m sure that it would’ve been fine for him to have gone live as scheduled. But no, the moment he sees that someone else has started livestreaming a tutorial for those exam questions, he just has to start his livestream earlier.
It’s like he’d have no peace otherwise.
And the way he needs his assistant to affirm and reaffirm him (“say that three times!” 😁) is so endearing as well.
He knows that he’s neurotic, and he knows he’s just asking for a repetition of words which might not even have true conviction in them, but they soothe him somehow, and so he keeps asking for it.
It’s somehow quite endearing to me, that he’s this easily soothed as well.
And of course, in Jung Kyung Ho’s hands, it’s just all kinds of entertaining and lovable, and I am very much enjoying Chi Yeol already.
As for Jeon Do Yeon’s character, Nam Haeng Seon, I really like her too.
I mean, she is a little bit like a Classic Candy, in that she doesn’t have an easy life and stretched on money, and is working really hard to support a daughter who’s really her niece, and an intellectually challenged younger brother.
And yet, she keeps a stiff upper lip and a cheerful mindset on, and keeps on keeping on, for the sake of those she loves.
These are classic Candy traits, when they’re laid out like that, but in Jeon Do Yeon’s hands, I don’t see Haeng Seon as a Candy.
Of course, there’s also the fact that Haeng Seon isn’t a young twentysomething, like traditional Candy characters are.
In fact, this is one of my favorite things about this show’s set-up; our leads are in their forties, it looks like, and that’s just not typical, in a k-romcom.
I love that Show is saying that people in their forties, who are more often than not relegated to supporting character status in a k-romcom, deserve to be the leads in their own love story. I dig that. 😁
And while it’s not surprising that this episode’s happenings basically are catalysts to throw our leads in each other’s paths, I find myself nicely entertained, through it all.
I also wanted to say that I’m also very much enjoying Roh Yoon Seo and Oh Eui Shik, as Haeng Seon’s daughter and brother.
I really enjoyed Roh Yoon Seo in Our Blues, and I’m really pleased to see her here, as yet another relatable, sympathetic character.
Hae Yi immediately strikes me as a considerate, conscientious girl, with the way she works hard at her studies, and doesn’t depend on extra classes, to score top marks at school.
Not only that, she helps out at Haeng Seon’s store after school, when her classmates are all getting extra lessons at the top hagwons.
Hae Yi feeling the pressure, when she’s unable to keep up the top scores that she’s been getting, already lent her a layer of poignance, because of the way she struggles with whether or not to ask Haeng Seon for extra classes, knowing that Haeng Seon’s tight on money.
But then, when Show reveals that Hae Yi had actually been abandoned by her bio mom, at an age where she still remembers it now, really adds a layer of pathos that I hadn’t expected.
There’s likely a lot of emotional baggage there, that Hae Yi is hiding.
Just off the top of my head, I imagine she has abandonment issues, and acceptance issues, and security issues.
And I also imagine the reason she works so hard, is in order to feel like she’s earning her acceptance, with Haeng Seon, who’s clearly given up a lot in order to bring her up.
I’m curious to see how Show teases out Hae Yi’s layers, going forward.
As for Jae Woo, I actually really like how Oh Eui Shik is playing him.
We’ve been seeing more and more characters on the autism spectrum in Dramaland lately, starting with Oh Jung Se’s turn in It’s Okay to not be Okay, and then more recently, Park Eun Bin’s outing as Attorney Woo.
It’d be easy to think that Show is just jumping on a bit of a bandwagon here, in including an autistic character in our drama world.
For this reason, I actually like that Oh Eui Shik’s playing Jae Woo with what feels like a tamped down sort of restraint.
Jae Woo is displaying some of the typical traits that we tend to associate with the autism spectrum, but he’s more quiet and low-key than the other two characters that I mentioned, and that makes him feel different and therefore not in that copycat space.
I am also really happy to see Lee Bong Ryun as Haeng Seon’s bestie, because I’ve had a huge soft spot for her, since her role in Sweet Home, and also, in Hometown Cha Cha Cha.
Back to our OTP-in-waiting, I thought the chase scene between Haeng Seon and Chi Yeol was all kinds of ridiculous, but importantly, it made sense within our story, and I think that’s what makes it hilarious, to me.
Also, while it’s utterly predictable that Chi Yeol finds himself only able to eat food from Haeng Seon’s shop, I do enjoy the idea, that she holds the key to him finding healing for himself, physically, emotionally and mentally.
If Show stays true to kdrama tradition, then I fully expect that after a few false starts (because Chi Yeol is now terrified of Haeng Seon, who wants to kill him, for the whole debacle of snatching Jae Woo’s phone and causing to crack), they’ll come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
She’ll provide food that heals him, while he provides tutoring for Hae Yi, so that she doesn’t have to pay for extra classes.
E2. Ok, so I was wrong about Chi Yeol providing tutoring for Hae Yi so that Haeng Seon doesn’t have to pay for extra classes, and that’s perfectly fine by me. I’m happy to be wrong, because that means that Show isn’t being all that predictable. 😁
I really enjoyed this episode, and when I got to the end, I was genuinely kinda wistful that I’d run out of Show to watch. That’s an excellent opening week, I say!
Backing up to the top of the episode, I have to say that the flashback just gobsmacked me, in the best possible way.
Ok, so it’s a bit (ok a lot) tropey that Haeng Seon and Chi Yeol have some kind of connection from when they were younger, but in this case, it does make narrative sense, in terms of why he’s so drawn to her food.
Because her mother’s food had meant so much to him during those hard years, because of the motherly touch and the kindness that came with it, I can believe that he would be instinctively drawn to Haeng Seon’s food, which carries on Mom’s tradition.
It’s also pretty poignant to hear that Chi Yeol’s entire reason for working so hard to become a teacher, was because he’d wanted to fulfill his father’s dream.
And how awful, that he’d lost his father, because of Dad’s desire to save money on medical bills. 😭
As poignant as I find Chi Yeol’s story, I find Haeng Seon’s story even more affecting.
Haeng Seon’s entire life basically changes in a split second, and her entire world is turned upside down.
It’s surreal to think that she went home to eat her mother’s food, and within minutes, found that her niece had been abandoned – and then Mom dies in an accident, while running out to try to look for Unnie. Ack.
What I find particularly affecting, is the matter-of-fact way Haeng Seon throws herself into taking care of Hae Yi and Jae Woo, and putting them first in her life, like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
The way she chooses to quit handball, even though she’s the star player on the national team, because Hae Yi needs her, is all the more moving to me, because there isn’t a trace of bitterness about her, as she chooses to walk away from her sports career.
The scene that gets me in the heart most of all, though, is the one where little Hae Yi plaintively asks if she can’t address Haeng Seon as “Mom” instead of “Auntie,” and Haeng Seon just processes that request for a few seconds, before giving her answer in such an offhanded yet resolute manner, “Sure.”
Augh. I love her for that.
In that one moment, she realized that she would, from that point forward, be tagged as a single mom, which carries a lot of stigma, in Korea. And yet, she decides that it’s more important that Hae Yi feel like she has a mom.
MY GOSH I LOVE HER. 😍
And, I have so much respect for her, for having the fortitude to take on the caregiving for her younger brother AND her niece, at such a young age.
This entire flashback was really powerful, I thought. Way to get me to have a huge lump in my throat, in just 10 minutes, Show. 😅
I looked up Lee Yeon, the young actress playing younger Haeng Seon, and I’m stunned to find that she was in Juvenile Justice – the juvenile offender in episodes 1 & 2, and 10; the one with the tattoos. If ya know, ya know, and your mind might be blown, just like mine. 😁😅
On another note, I find it interesting that, so far anyway, Chi Yeol doesn’t actually seem to register why the food from Haeng Seon’s shop tastes familiar to him.
After all, it seems like he’d spent months eating only the food from Haeng Seon’s mom’s shop.
I wonder if this has something to do with his trauma?
He did find out about his dad’s death while eating her food, so maybe that all got blocked out?
Also, this episode, it looks like Chi Yeol’s also been traumatized by the death of a student, and that he’s been wrongfully accused of being responsible for her death.
Given what a sensitive soul Chi Yeol’s shaping up to be, I’m not actually that surprised that with all this AND his neurotic tendencies, he’s under so much stress that he’s messing up his health, and under doctor’s orders to eat and sleep like a normal person.
The fact that his health is in shambles, and he’s feeling so anxious so much of the time, and he still puts so much effort into putting on a good and useful show for his students, is pretty darn admirable, in the sense of his spirit of excellence and professionalism.
Of course, it’s not great for his health, but hey, this episode he’s making efforts to go to Haeng Seon’s shop to get food to eat, so that’s a step in the right direction. 😁
Honestly, I was rather surprised that Haeng Seon managed to register Hae Yi for Chi Yeol’s class. I’d somehow assumed that she would just miss getting the last ticket, and then she’d blame the customer with the sunglasses, who would turn out to be Chi Yeol.
Ha. Look at me, trying to write my own drama. 😁
But, I did love seeing Hae Yi look so happy and content, with all the effort that Haeng Seon put in, to get her into Chi Yeol’s class.
The little treat that Hae Yi thinks to bring Haeng Seon, is a small thing, but it’s so full of sweetness and heart. I can see why Haeng Seon eats it with such relish. 🥰
It feels like a mother-daughter breakthrough of sorts, and I’m so here for it, especially now that I know how much Haeng Seon has given up, to become Hae Yi’s mom.
I don’t typically like any sort of darkness in my rom-coms, particularly if that darkness has to do with murder, so I was a little taken aback, with the introduction of our sharpshooter, this episode.
The way they take out Chi Yeol’s stalker student is really fast and lethal, and I was honestly quite shocked by the suddenness of it all.
Putting that together with the sudden attack while Chi Yeol’s in Haeng Seon’s shop, and I have to wonder what our sharpshooter is thinking.
Like, if Chi Yeol’s your target, then why attack the stalker student? I don’t understand that?
Or, is the stalker student being punished for having hearts-in-eyes for Chi Yeol? Maybe that’s it?
I’m guessing that it might have something to do with the death of Chi Yeol’s student from before, and since Chi Yeol’s suffering because of that and therefore in need of Haeng Seon’s food, I can rationalize that this darkness is organic to our premise after all.
Whatever the case may be, I’m hoping that the darkness doesn’t become too big of a presence, in our drama world.
I’d like our drama world to be shiny and breezy as much as possible, thank you.
Right now, I’m relieved that no one’s hurt at the shop, and I’m also quite pleased that Chi Yeol’s identity, as phone thief at least, is outed, and he and Haeng Seon can start interacting for real.
Of course, the next thing is for Haeng Seon to put 2 and 2 together and realize that Chi Yeol the phone thief is also Chi Yeol the star tutor whose face is plastered all over her neighborhood.
Surely that will come soon, like in our next episode, right? 😁
*This show is being covered on the Ultimate Early Access (US$25) Tier on Patreon*
To view episode 1 & 2 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!
You can find my Patreon page here, where episodes 1 through 6 notes are already available. Just look for the tag “Crash Course In Romance” or click here.
Episodes 7 & 8 notes will be out on Wednesday, 8 February 2023! I hope you’ll consider joining us!
It’ll be a way to have fun, and support me at the same time? ❤️
PS: For more information on what the Patreon experience is like, you might like to check out my Patreon update post for February, which you can find here!