Coffee House Pages 1-2: First Impressions

I have to say I really wasn’t going to watch this drama. The reason being: I am not really a big fan of Kang Ji Hwan. I tried watching Hong Gil Dong, but I got easily bored. He’s not completely eye-catching, and his eyes have this weird thing where he doesn’t look like he’s looking at you. Anyways – I do love to see some improvement in acting – in the form of Park Shi Yeon, and dramabeans did say that this was a fun drama.

So I gave it a try! And this is what I thought of it:

Each episode is called a “page” from a book. So here goes:

Page 1 sets up all the characters. T-ARA’s Eun Jung plays Kang Seung Yeon, who’s a somewhat naive but completely honest gal running a coffee shop in front of her home. She doesn’t have a job, even though she’s already graduated, and she lands a job with Lee Jin Soo (Kang), an author with severe OCD and deadpan humor. They don’t meet under the best of circumstances: running into her cafe from the rain, Jin Soo asks for a cappuccino but a series of embarrassing events (for Seung Yeon) lead her to getting locked into a bathroom and him having to serve coffee for himself and several ahjummas.

Jin Soo is definitely charming, but he’s a devil. And I don’t mean ‘devil’ in the coy, what-a-handsome-cad-you-are sense. I mean, he’s the devil incarnate. The only person who can see through this is his best friend Seo Eun Young (Park).

Eun Young is not only his friend, but also his boss – she heads the publishing company that publishes all of Jin Soo’s books. She needs him, because he’s her prize winning author, but sometimes Jin Soo’s skipping out on events can be stressful. She threatens to file a lawsuit against him and to cut him off from her company, but he comes in with a new idea that Eun Young can recognize is a genius idea.

Seung Yeon’s friend Do Sang is also friends with Jin Soo, and on her behalf, he begs Jin Soo to give Seung Yeon a job. Jin Soo owed Do Sang some money, but Do Sang would rather he give it to Seung Yeon (who’s family isn’t all to rich either). In exchange, she can be his secretary. (The office being his apartment.)

Ok – so her duties are to sharpen his pencils and make drip coffee for him. The problem is, Seung Yeon doesn’t do the task satisfactorily, but Jin Soo never tells her. Seung Yeon witnesses Jin Soo throwing out her sharpened pencils and coffee every day, and finally she can’t take it anymore but confronts him for it. He doesn’t give her any proper work to do and makes a fool out of her. That’s when she finds out that Do Sang asked Jin Soo for this favor.

Page 2 continues with Seung Yeon refusing to be a puppet. She wants to be a ‘pro’ at her job, rather than a silly amateur as Jin Soo had called her. Jin Soo finds her gall amusing, and so he lets her be his secretary once again. This time, if she does something wrong he tells her to redo it.

But on top of that, she now has to do random sorts of amusement for him: suck in helium and read a script (which is BYGONE hilarious by the way – and Kang’s laughter is just way too funny); hula hoop from his desk and walk over to pick up her cell phone on the coffee table (it takes her numerous tries but she does it); and to catch a wildcat. She can’t manage to catch one so she tries to pass a house cat as a wild cat. Jin Soo catches her in her lie and makes her do it over.

But another wrench is thrown into the story: Eun Young’s ex-fiance has returned (because he presumably got tired of dating her friend…?) and wants to win her back. Eun Young and Jin Soo have an immense distaste for him, even though Eun Young was engaged to him, and Jin Soo was friends with him and introduced the two. The fiance, Ji Won (hilariously played by Queen Seon Deok’s Jung Woong In), uses Jin Soo to help  him get closer to Eun Young – because he does not want to make the same mistake that Jin Soo made years ago. (And here, we get a clue that Jin Soo must have harbored a long standing crush on Eun Young. That’d explain their constant bickering.)

Seung Yeon finally manages to catch a wildcat up in the mountains – even getting scratches for her efforts. The problem is – it’s still not a wildcat! Seung Yeon demands that it is, going to the extent of saying that she will strip and dance if it isn’t. So they go off to a veterinarian, who then confirms Jin Soo’s claim: it’s not a wildcat. Seung Yeon runs off into the night (afraid of the consequences) and that’s when the veterinarian says that it’s actually a serval – which is an African wild cat similar to a cheetah!

The next day – Seung Yeon goes to Jin Soo’s apartment and he tells her she’s supposed to dance. She starts dancing awkwardly (which is funny, coming from the leader of T-ARA), and then he reminds her that she is supposed to strip too.

At the same time, Eun Young is on her way to Jin Soo’s apartment to bite his head off for leaving her to suffer a dinner with Ji Won alone…

It’s cute and hilarious – and I have to say I laughed more in episode 2 than in 1, showing that dramas really need two episodes to solidify its stance. There have been questions as to who is the female lead, since Park Shi Yeon is the bigger name and more likely to end up with Kang Ji Hwan, and yet Eun Jung’s Seung Yeon is onscreen most of the time and she is usually the voice over narrator.

(In a hilarious bit – she even narrates when her voice is high on helium!)

I don’t particularly care for who is the female lead, but I do think it would be highly interesting if Seung Yeon ends up becoming a love interest for Jin Soo. Jin Soo has harbored a long crush on Eun Young, and they are kinda perfect for each other in their weird bickering way. However, I really like them as friends. You can totally tell they’re on the same wavelength when Jin Soo first sees Ji Won in his car. (Ji Won will be a constant presence, especially since he’s working in the building next to Eun Young’s publishing house).

If he ends up with Eun Young, that’s totally fine with me too. (Yes – I get obsessive with couple-pairings from the start. I like knowing who will end up with who, no matter WHAT I’m watching. American, Japanese, Taiwanese, dramas, movies, etc.)

Aside from that, I like that they continue putting little manhwa vignettes for certain scenes. Instead of a proper flashback or that “side story” that shows what the character is explaining, it’s all done in a comic-style within a comic-book frame. This is consistent with Seung Yeon’s dreams of writing a manhwa, because most of the events that happen within the “manhwa vignette” are her interpretations of what happened.

The actors are all well cast. Jung Woong In is so funny – and he’s the ‘devil’ in the sense that he’s a cad. It’s a little departure from his role in Queen Seon Deok. Kang plays Jin Soo quite well, and though his “dead” eyes still bother me a little, I can tell he connects to Park Shi Yeon/Eun Young whenever he has scenes with her. Though he’s completely mean – because he insults with a smile rather than with a sneer – I love Jin Soo to bits for being so sarcastic, using words as his sword. What a writer. And Park Shi Yeon – she needs to do more roles like this!!

I’m gonna keep watching this!

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