Just a disclaimer before I commence with this post… you’re in for a really long one. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😉
There once was a woman named Park Gae In. She was a well-meaning but extremely naive young lady who clumsily stumbled her way through life, banging into things and unintentionally causing trouble but causing the people around her to ultimately fall for her charm and adorableness. She had only been in a few relationships in all her life because she was what could be considered the clingy type who usually fell head over heels without giving much thought to whether or not the man was worth her time. Although this could indicate foolishness on her part, Park Gae In is a woman who develops trust in people easily and is forever trying to see the bright side of things, always picking herself up after she falls.
She takes a huge tumble when she discovers that her best friend of more than a decade, Kim In Hee, has seduced her beloved boyfriend, Han Chang Ryul, all the way to the altar which is where she finds out about both of their betrayals in a humiliating, traumatic moment. Not even 24 hours later, she finds out that her old friend Lee Won Ho, steals almost all of her money and uses a lease on her house to pay back debts he has incurred after falling for a scam and her overbearing father is returning to Korea in a matter of a few weeks. But what does our heroine Gae In do? She mopes for a few days and then jumps onto her feet again, albeit in a bumbling manner, trying to get her life back on track.
Enter Jeon Jin Ho. Motivated and hard-working, there is very little to distinguish him from a human robot. All he focuses on is work, with his human side only coming out (tee-hee) when his mother is involved. He loves his mother more than anyone else in the world, you see. He encounters our blundering heroine Park Gae In by chance and they automatically are left with bad impressions of each other, she sizing him up as a stuck-up pervert while he considers her an inept old maid. However, they are inevitably thrown into a living situation that they both feel will be a dreadful experience, but which winds up humanizing both of them in ways they would never have expected.
Although they are against this living arrangement at first due to their mutual dislike of each other, Gae In’s incessant attempts to try and make nice with Jin Ho start having their effect. He begins to accept her eager, enthusiastic tendencies with resignation at first, but later enjoys her presence, letting her and her messy ways torpedo their way into his reserved, orderly life. And once that happens, he’s subject to assumptions and incredibly untidy houses, forcing him to endure it all gritting his teeth all the while.
But one day, Gae In and Jin Ho both find themselves warming up to the other. Gae In begins waiting for him on the stoop outside when he comes home late, and Jin Ho automatically races out the moment he hears her break something or yell out in pain, ready to pick up the pieces for her and chastise her for being careless yet again. They start to mean more to each other than they would’ve imagined, and despite the hindrance THE GAYYYY would normally present, they start developing feelings that push past the boundaries of friendship, although they aren’t aware of it yet.
Our clueless hero and heroine of the story have some great friends by their side that aren’t afraid to verbally slap some sense into their besties when they need a wakeup call, and we cue in Lee Young Seon and Noh Sang Jun, some of the most lovable sidekicks to our protagonists that I remember in recent k-drama history. Thanks to Young Seon and Sang Jun, the murky “friendship” that our lovely protagonists have cultivated grows more and more complicated. Despite their roles in mucking up the friendship between Gae In and Jin Ho into something more, Young Seon and Sang Jun provide hilarious comic relief with their great senses of humor and the great chemistry between the actor and actress.
But of course since this is a k-drama, there are second fiddles for both of our protagonists (with Jin Ho having multiple fiddles). It seems that the evil witch In Hee has conspired to make her ex friend Gae In’s romantic life a living hell, not seeing it as enough that she stole Chang Ryul away, she decides to go after Jin Ho as well, despite her initial belief that she wasn’t the right gender for him. She refuses to accept that He’s Just Not That Into Her (Javabeans’ clever usage of the tagline from the book and movie) and relentlessly pursues Jin Ho, despite his numerous shutdowns of her advances. On the flip side of Jin Ho’s romantic dilemmas, there is Choi Do Bin. He is much more discreet about his feelings towards Jin Ho, the sincerity of his interest in him simultaneously heartbreaking and innocent. On Gae In’s side, her wishy-washy ex Chang Ryul has crawled back, regretting wholeheartedly his foolhardy decision to dump her for her witch of an ex-friend as he attempts fruitlessly to get Gae In to care for him again.
Despite all of these obstacles that plague Gae In and Jin Ho from all sides, nothing can get in the way of their twoo luv. What Jin Ho needed was not a shameless barracuda like In Hee but someone to balance him out, provide some yang to his yin and complement his reserved personality which Gae In does perfectly. And what Gae In was in dire need of was a revelation that the way she staunchly remained an optimist despite numerous disappointments could ultimately be her own downfall. Jin Ho being the ultimate realist was just what she needed to disillusion her lingering feelings for Chang Ryul and see him for the simpering, sweet-talking wolf in sheep’s clothing that he really was. As they shared drinks on the deck of Sanggojae, shared an umbrella in the rain and played shooting games at the arcade with her decked out in men’s garb complete with a mustache, Jin Ho and Gae In accepted their feelings for each other and recognized how vital the other person is to their very existence. In order to humanize Jin Ho from the robot he was before and Gae In from the constant ball of hope she was prior into someone a little more realistic, they needed to fall in love.
After a long period of suffering through simmering frustration and giving up on pushing away their feelings, Jin Ho and Gae In have finally accepted their feelings for each other despite the assumption of THE GAYYYY constantly posing as the biggest foe to their love. Jin Ho has let this charade go on for so long that he’s lost for a way to clear up the misunderstanding, while Gae In is in turmoil because she’s fallen for someone whom she believes to be gay, and wants nothing more to be able to stay by his side in whatever way she can, even if she’s ruining her life by committing to love someone who could never love her back. However, once Jin Ho hears the admission of Gae In’s feelings the moment she confesses to Chang Ryul about her revenge plan, all of that falls away and all he can see is her. In a scene fraught with intensity and tension, Jin Ho strides to his love, forcing her to face him and announcing that this game is officially over. And following this declaration is one of the most passionate kisses I’ve ever seen from a k-drama or movie that sent me into a tittering frenzy and drove me to rewatch that very scene at least a hundred times. After seeing Lee Min Ho‘s subpar kisses with Gu Hye Sun in Boys Before Flowers, I figured that was the way he normally kissed, but he blew me away as he deliberately pulled Sohn Ye Jin towards him and met her lips with his. I’d been on the fence about whether or not I found him attractive because I couldn’t move past his Gu Jun Pyo, but this kiss shoved me off said fence to the OMG-Lee-Min-Ho-is-so-FINE side of the pasture. I still get breathless when I rewatch the end scene of episode 10 and fantasize about what it was like to be Sohn Ye Jin in those few minutes. I’m anticipating next week’s episodes so much that it’s probably unhealthy to be this obsessed, but I’m feeling slightly guarded because I’m afraid the kiss possibly wasn’t Jin Ho’s confession of his love for Gae In. The niggling thought that it might have been Jin Ho’s fantasy came to mind (just like he imagined dragging Gae In out of the hospital away from Chang Ryul). If the kiss wasn’t a fantasy and actually did happen, then what if Jin Ho tells Gae In afterwards that he did it so they could finish off the revenge plan with a bang? What if he’s so afraid of making it known what his true intentions were moving into Sanggojae that he retracts this declaration of love and goes back to the aggravating Jin Ho of previous episodes? Only time will tell. With this, I will leave you with one last reminder of the wonderful, wonderful kiss of episode 10 to tide y’all over ’til Wednesday rolls around. Hope you’ve enjoyed this very long post and until next time!
Yes, I am aware that I went a tad bit overboard with the screencaps for the kiss. But can you blame me? ^^