I like watching Kdrama. For me, it is a perfect escape from life’s stresses. I carefully choose the Kdrama’s that I watch. I prefer those under the RomCom category since my main goal is to de-stress. Recently, as I was checking on the next Kdrama to watch, I came upon the “Cheese in the Trap.”
It stars Park Hae-jin as Yoo Jung and Kim Go Eun as Hong Seol. Among the cast are the stars of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo – Lee Sung-Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk. And since I like these actors, I gave this drama a try plus the characters seemed happy in the poster below.
I had the impression that this drama was boring during the first two minutes of watching it. But wait, it became interesting for me as Yoo Jung appeared in the scene and gave Hong Seol a cold, creepy look during the beginning of the year party. My thought was, ‘how can this guy be Seol’s leading man?’ So, I continued watching… There was something off about Jung’s personality which intrigued me. He seemed to be a complicated person and I want to know more about him. Thus, I watched this drama until the end and I am happy that I did.
To be honest, this is not the top 1 kdrama on my list. My top 1 is still DOTS (Descendants of the Sun)! But, Cheese in the Trap got me so intrigued that I have put up a blog to share my thoughts about it. Actually, more of my thoughts about Yoo Jung’s character.
The set up of this drama revolves about college students and their personal struggles in life. It focuses on the life of Hong Seol who is a very industrious student. She is determined to maintain her good grades and to finish college. What does she want to do in her life after college? She didn’t know at first but towards the end, she did find out where to go and what to do.
Seol struggles financially and has to work part time to support her studies. Her two friends, Bo-ra (Park Min-Ji) and Eun-tak (Nam Joo-Hyuk) add color to Seol’s almost boring life. They were Seol’s trusted friends. Thinking about these two made me realize that we don’t really need a lot of friends but only those who are true enough to stay with us no matter what.
Of course, school life will never be as colorful without the bullies who made Seol’s life difficult yet more flavorful. They seemed antagonists in Seol’s life but they too have their own struggles to deal with. They also are protagonists of their own life story and I did appreciate their presence as they helped Seol to mature as she tried to deal with them and they situation in which they’ve put her through. And like what the story pointed out in the end, we will always encounter difficult people not only in school but everywhere. We will encounter numerous difficult people as we journey through life and like Seol, we need to learn how to deal with them effectively. After all, they can also teach us a thing or two about life.
Let’s now go to my favorite part, Yoo Jung.
I certainly love his character. I think that Park Hae Jin really did a great job portraying Yoo Jung. Well, Jung is not your typical leading man or knight in shining armor type of guy. He is very well flawed. Like anyone of us, of course. But not how we would like our leading man to be. Jung has been described in the drama as “strange” and “weird”. I think that we tend to label others this way if we think that they do not fit the norms. What’s sad is that we do not take time to empathize with them or get to know them even a little bit just so we can better understand them. Probably because its easier to judge than to put effort in knowing someone.
So, allow me to take some time to enlighten you about Jung.
Yoo Jung is an only child. His father is the CEO of Taerang Group which seemed to be a big time and well-known company. It was shown that Jung grew up with his father only. It was not shown where his mother was or the kind of relationship she had with Jung. There was only an implication that Jung’s mother left them. This could have caused an emotional trauma for Jung but it was not emphasized in the drama.
As a child, Jung was trained by his father to control his emotions. Others must not see his bad temper or show them his dislike, disgust, or anger. His father taught him to always show his good side when dealing with others since their family holds a high position in society. Gaining other’s approval can bring a lot of pressure and stress to anyone. Can you just imagine Jung as a child being forced to grow up too soon? This might have been difficult for Jung but he followed his father’s wishes as he is also hungry for his father’s love and attention. Jung did his best to please his father and managed to plot his own means of getting things his way. I think that that Jung’s family background and childhood experiences molded his sociopathic tendencies.
Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is a mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder/home/ovc-20198975).
So, is Jung really a sociopath? He does have some of the characteristics such as having superficial charm, intelligence, being calculative, controlling, and lacks empathy for others and their situation for which he is responsible. Jung’s sociopathic tendencies is what sets him apart from other leading men which is also the same reason why he is so intriguing. But don’t be dismayed because there’s a lot of hope for Jung.
In the drama, Jung’s father consulted a doctor (probably a psychologist or psychiatrist) to help Jung. He suggested that Jung needs to have friends or siblings who will look after him. In-ho and In-ha were grandchildren of the said doctor and Jung’s father became their benefactor. In-ho and In-ha became the closest friends of Jung and I do think that they helped Jung control his tendencies and he cared deeply for the two. However, issues did arise when they were in high school. Jung felt that In-ho and In-ha were taking the attention of his father. Also, he overheard In-ho telling someone who wanted to befriend him that Jung is a pitiful fellow and this had a huge impact to Jung. He also overheard his father talking to Dr. Baek about adopting In-ho and In-ha. He also found out that the two were actually taking tabs on him for his father. Upon discovering these things, Jung felt betrayed especially by In-ho. This is were his sociopathic tendencies began showing up and In-ho became his first victim which resulted in a big rift between them.
What would you have felt if you were Jung? It seemed that after the situation with In-ho and his father, he realized that people cannot be trusted. Thus, he learned to cope on how to handle people. He smile at them, patronize them, be kind to them while keeping everyone at arms length. He placed a wall around him to protect him from being hurt again.
Then came Seol. Jung said that he hated Seol. This was because he knew that Seol has an idea what kind of person he is from the very start. On their first close encounter, she already had a peek into his well-placed wall. That would have been scary for Jung. That’s why he bullied Seol in his own way. By using others to make Seol’s life miserable. But little did he know that the more time he spent in devising ways to make Seol’s life miserable, means that he also spends more time thinking about her. Without realizing it, Seol was able to pierce the wall which Jung had carefully made.
You might ask as to why would Seol like Jung? She has an idea that Jung is a complicated person yet she still held his hand. Well, we become attracted to people who has the same dysfunctionality as ours. If you would closely look at Seol’s and Jung’s personalities, they do have some commonalities especially how they relate and don’t relate with others. They probably found a little of themselves with each other causing them to gravitate towards one another. Likewise, who wouldn’t fall for Jung? He is very ATTRACTIVE and he can be very charming if he wants to. He is smart, mysterious, and intriguing. His being child like is also appealing. In so many ways, he seemed like a child learning how to care for a romantic relationship and what it means to love truly.
Having someone who loves you and accepts you for who you are can really make a big difference in us. It’s also not easy to entrust your heart to someone especially when its your own heart which is at stake.
It was not easy for Seol to understand Jung and accept his complexities but she still chose to stay with him. I think it was more difficult for Jung to show his heart to Seol. He learned not to trust people and he was scared. He was scared because all his life, he was made to feel that he is different and that something was wrong with him. How can you trust others when you can’t even accept who you are? But what scared him the most was the fact that he may lose Seol if she finds out the real him. It was a good thing that Jung was brave enough to take the risk of letting Seol see his heart because it was what she was waiting for. Love is all about taking risks.
It was good to see their journey as a couple, from hating each other at the start to becoming an awkward couple and eventually overcoming their personal monsters as their relationship deepened. It was difficult for them to do that considering their personalities but their affection for one another overpowered their limits. They were really good influences for each other. However, one other lesson to learn in this drama is that karma is alive.
For every action we do there’s always a consequence which we have to face. As for Jung, he almost lost Seol which he was indirectly responsible for. The incident was like an alarm clock for Jung. He seemed to wake up from a long sleep and he started reflecting on his past actions. He realized his shortcomings and he also realized that he needed time to attend to his issues. Accepting that he has issues was a big step for Jung. Accepting that his issues hinder him from loving Seol properly was a bigger step to becoming a better person.
For me, Jung saying this to Seol is a sign that he has changed and that he reached a certain level of emotional maturity. He had learned to consider other people’s feelings. He learned how it is to love. It must have been difficult for Jung to break up with Seol having developed deep feelings for her. It was Seol who tried to understand him at all times and it was also Seol who made him smile the biggest in this whole drama. But learning to let go was a sign of how much he loves Seol, of how much he’s willing to give up for the hope of being the best person for Seol someday. Likewise, I also empathize with Seol. She was willing to forgive and forget in order to keep things how it used to be. She tried to understand that Jung needed to be away from her. My heart ached for Jung and Seol. Sometimes, being apart with the person we love makes us a better person and a stronger person.
I would have wanted to see more of them after the years apart. I’m still not over this drama. I’m still recreating my own ending for Seol and Jung. I think that deserve a better ending!
Is this drama worth watching? Definitely!
Will I watch this drama again? Yes. I’ll start watching episode 1 again after doing this.
I’ll give this drama a score of 8 out of 10.