Decided to check this series out because I’m a fan of writers, the Hong Sisters.
1. Four key characters comprise our young romance quadrangle: Mok Ji Won (2nd lead), Baek Gun Woo (lead), Lee Jung Joo (lead), Hwang Wook (2nd lead). Gun Woo likes Ji Won. She has been toyed with him for years and uses him as a fall back. Jung Joo is a hardworking girl who lands in Jeju to open a cafe. Things go awry, she meets Gun Woo, and he gives her ownership of the cafe he runs. Hwang Wook is the mayor of the town and drawn to Jung Joo.
2. Two key characters comprise our mature romance: Song Jung Geun, rich brother of Gun Woo, and Kim Hae Sil, independent local lady diver.
Nutshell Summary Episodes 1-6:
Jung Joo originally meets Gun Woo believing he is her twin brother. Gun Woo’s mother denies recognizing Jung Joo’s father. Jung Joo and Gun Woo are all set to do a DNA test with hairs from his mother’s hairbrush and Jung Joo but that fades away when Gun Woo’s mother denies knowing Jung Joo’s father. Frankly that made no sense to me, she could be lying.
10 years later Jung Joo is working in Seoul and has her cousin purchase a lovely house on Jeju she plans to turn into a cafe. Unfortunately the house turns out to be ramshackle and not fit to live in. Gun Woo happens to be renting the house next door and offers assistance to Jung Joo which she gratefully accepts. Gun Woo heads to Seoul to see Ji Won who is back from America. She is cool towards him and he is crestfallen. He returns to Jeju determined to sell the Warm and Cozy cafe and return to Seoul to win Ji Won. Gun Woo mistakenly believes that Jung Joo is in the final stages of cancer (because she uses an old medicine bottle for powerful pain medicine to keep her mints and he is lead to believe cancer patients use this drug in their final stage). One night they drink up storm – Gun Woo in frustration that Ji Won has ignored him and Jung Joo that her house is a complete wreck and she has insufficient funds to fix it up properly. Gun Woo’s desire to leave Jeju to court Ji Won makes him offer ownership of the cafe to Jung Joo to her remaining savings. She agrees. They sign a contract. She takes ownership of the Warm and Cozy cafe.
Gun Woo is set to leave Jeju but learns that Ji Won has accepted a job on Jeje at the resort his rich brother, Song Jung Geun, runs. That put the brakes on Gun Woo’s desire to leave Jeju. He returns to the cafe and offers to continue to be the chef IF Jung Joo will allow him to share the living quarters (the house he rented is no longer available). Reluctantly Jung Joo agrees. Gun Woo is an excellent chef so that is a plus. But her savings are gone, wiped out by purchasing the cafe. Gun Woo decides to become a female diver so she can secure the protein for the cafe free from the sea. She interviews to be trained by the local lady divers’ club. Gun Woo is positive, builds relationships with the locals, favored by the mayor, and aware of Jung Joo’s interest in Ji Won. Gun Woo’s first meeting with Ji Won isn’t positive and that impression does not change as Ji Won inserts herself in Jung Joo’s life again. When Ji Won sees that Jung Joo cares for Gun Woo, that irks her and she because determined to thwart any personal relationship they might have.
Fascinating when in episode 6 Gun Woo uses Jung Joo in his not simply wimpy relationship with Ji Won. He tells Jung Woo he and Ji Won have a track record of being mean to each other but they always return to each other. To make that point, Gun Woo pretends to kiss Jung Joo purposely knowing Ji Won will see them. He’s right and Ji Won storms out but does return to Gun Woo later in the episode drawing him away from Jung Joo. Unfortunately Gun Woo promised to shop with Jung Joo and deserts her to be with Ji Won. At the end of episode 6, Jung Woo is hurt and disappointed in Gun Woo. She asks him to leave the cafe and live somewhere else. Gun Woo is stunned. He had no idea that taking Jung Joo for granted would be him kicked out.
The side story of Jung Joo’s brother, Jung Geun, interests me. Jung Geun accidentally slips and falls into the sea while sneaking a smoke (a habit he supposedly has conquered do to his superior willpower). A lady diver, Kim Hae Sil, saves his life and berates him for throwing his life away. He sputters in protest that he did not try and kill himself. She is neutral in whether she believes him. He declares that he is a rare black pearl that she just dove and found. Unimpressed, she leaves him without giving her name. Jung Geun cannot get her out of his mind. He tracks her down and wants to get to know her. She counters that he should learn a trade so that he can survive (she is unaware that he is rich and powerful). Intrigued by this hardworking woman, he decides to interview to by trained by the local lady diver’s club.
1. The initial four episodes were standard stuff. Plucky heroine Jung Joo battles bad luck of ramshackle house, bad weather, and insufficient funds. Nice but selfish hero Gun Woo is rebuffed and decides to fight for the woman he’s pined after for years. He signs over the cafe to our plucky heroine. Her problems are solved. She’s got a cafe and place to live. Unfortunately she’s cash poor as she used the last of her savings for the cafe. When he reverses his decision to leave the cafe, she allows him to stay because he’s a fine chef and gosh she is drawn to him. Weird that her ramshackle house was abandoned, never to be mentioned again.
2. Episodes 5 and 6 hit the mark with me. The standard story line is set aside and the uniqueness of the situations start to be revealed. Gun Woo’s relationship with Ji Won is revealed not as passive. He is not simply the wimpy doormat in the relationship. She likes him too but they do this pull and push in their relationship. Ji Won cannot stand to see the plucky Jung Joo catch Gun Woo’s eye, even it is at this point it is as a protective and caring friend. Gun Woo knows faking a personal moment with Jung Joo will drive Ji Won crazy. That does the trick. Plus Ji Won is no dummy, she sees the potential for romance between them. She cannot and will not allow romance to happen between Gun Woo and Jung Joo.
3. Enjoying the relationship between Jung Joo’s brother, Jung Geun, and the lady diver, Hae Sil. I love her plucky quiet ways. Definite parallel plucky spirit for Hae Sil and Jung Joo. Definite parallel clueless rich boys for Gun Woo and Jung Geun.
4. The mayor, Hwang Wook, started slow but is growing on me. I like that he had a secret of being a successful male model. He doesn’t appear to have a chance with Jung Joo at this point but I wonder if the reveal that she does not have cancer will be twisted as a betrayal by Ji Won to Gun Woo.
5. Ji Won looks like a standard Hong Sister drama second lead. The Hong sister’s dramas second female leads actively pursue blocking the leads relationships. An irritation point with all Hong sister dramas is that the second female leads always have too much power and can easily disrupt the lead’s relationship. We’ll see if they walk this well worn path with Ji Won. Frankly it looks like Ji Won will be vindictive, and willing to thwart the relationship without a pain of conscience. That is typical for the Hong Sisters. I wonder how much negative I will feel about this second lead. I have hated several second leads in the Hong Sister’s dramas.
6. This show is a normal Hong Sister drama so far. That is a good thing but does have predictable aspects. The casting of our leads is a hit. They have a sweet chemistry that with the writer’s expertise can evolve into a lovely relationship. A couple of Hong Sister dramas come to mind with the sweet chemistry between our leads – Sassy Girl Chun Hyang and You are Beautiful (see review). The mature romance brings My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox to mind. The selfish second female lead brings to mind Sassy Girl Chun Hyang and You are Beautiful.
7. Overall I like the show, I like the leads, I like the mature romance, and I look forward real romance brewing between our leads. The show’s setting of Jeju is lovely. I’m glad the working title Jeju Island Gatsby was replaced with Warm and Cozy.
8. The first song of the OST is by K.Will “Thank you” is a pretty upbeat tune. Check is via the link or the embedded video below: