What happens in the first episode of a K-Drama…Um… a lot! Just like when writing a novel there is a lot of character setup within the first episode of K-Dramas too. This week I’m looking at the K-drama Her Private Life.
Table of Contents (Just in case you’re in a hurry!)
A dedicated professional, Sung Deok Mi lives for her work as an art gallery curator. Devoting herself to her work, she is exceptional in every way, save one. Beneath that cool, professional facade, Deok Mi carries a dark secret. A secret she desperately wants to keep from the world. A secret that has driven lovers away. A secret that rules every moment of her personal life… Sung Deok Mi is the ultimate Cha Shi An fangirl. The devoted manager of a Shi An fansite, Deok Mi eats, breathes, and sleeps for Shi An. He is her sun, her moon. Her entire universe revolves around him. This is the secret Deok Mi must hide from the world. And hide it she does. At least until Ryan Gold, the art gallery’s new director, saunters into her life. A once famous painter, the former artist turned director considers himself an indifferent being, unconcerned with the lives of others. But when he uncovers Deok Mi’s secret, everything changes.
Just by reading the synopsis we learn some things about these characters.
Deok Mi’s career. Her dark secret: being a fan girl. We also know what Ryan Gold does and that eventually he will discover her secret.
Here is what I also learned from episode one:
K-drama Character One: Heroine, Seong Deok Mi
Art gallery curator (ep 1)
Kpop Fan Girl (ep 1)
Overlooked at work (ep 1)
Problems: Her boss wants only the best artists while she wants new artists (similarly the hero looks for new art as well).
Secret From Family – Her fangirling apartment. She hasn’t let her mom see how bad her obsession is.
As soon as she returns from China Her boss is being indicted for embezzlement. She and her boss are taken to the police station for questioning.
When she goes to tell her boss she’s going to quit, her boss lets her know that Seong is being promoted to director and the boss is resigning.
Seong discovers that she is NOT the new director. She also discovers the new job was already taken by someone else. She’s stuck.
K-drama Character Two; Hero (Ryan Gold)
Art collector/critic (ep 1)
Artist with block (ep 1)
Seeing a therapist (ep 1)
Problems: He cannot paint, he has a block. The idol loves art and has the painting Ryan needs in his collection.
MISUNDERSTANDING Ep 1 – He thinks that the BFF is at the hotel to meet with her lover (a woman) and that’s why it’s hard for them to meet up. He sees the BFF cuddling up and giggling with Seong not knowing the two of them are fangirling over Si An, the idol.
In the hotel bar bathroom he chastises himself for being a douche and assuming she was lying. To make up for it he gives up the suite.
Side character: Heroine’s Mom
(You could have become an artist if you hadn’t gone to see that idol and broken your arm.) < backstory without flashback
Obsessed with knitting. Her husband was obsessed with rock collecting (therefore their daughter was bound to be obsessed with something too and that something was Kpop bands) SHOWING FAMILY THREADS/GENETICS
Side Character: Her Brother, Eun Gi
Warns her about keeping her fangirling secret from their mom
Brother knows the passcode to her house (Idol’s birthday or Idol’s debut date)
He left his sneakers at her house. (The reason why is his secret)
Side Character: Ryan’s Therapist
(I think the key to you not being able to paint has something to do with that painting. We need to get it back)
Side Character: The idol
Loves art (ep 1)
Collects art (ep 1)
Heroine FanGirls over him (ep 1)
Heroine wants to gift him something for his birthday and on a video he says he really wants the original painting with bubbles. (Ryan has this painting)
Side Characters: Heroine’s Co-worker Girl and Boy
They talk to each other about how heroine is under appreciated. (Mouthpiece – Ep 1)
Side Character: Seon Joo (Seong’s best friend)
Seong drinks soju and unloads on her friend about the work situation. (We learn more about Seong who says she loves hanging paintings that move people)
Shows friendship when Seon Joo cries bc Seong is crying
When Seong is having a job interview another character asks if Seong is on a blind date. Through Seon Joo we learn that Seong doesn’t date.
After bitching about losing the job Seon Joo takes Seong to places her idol has been. (Set up for running into male lead again?)
When they are told the room has already been taken the BFF chases down Ryan Gold to try to convince him to give up the room he was just given.
Meet Cute – Ep 1 – They are both at an art action in Shanghai. They are seated in the same row. He glances at her. When he looks away she is glancing at him. He seems to glow and she says to herself that he looks like her idol, Si An. She continues to stare. He then starts talking about himself as if he were a painting and asks if she wants him. She’s offended and says no. He leans in, arms crossed and tells her he thought she did since she was staring at him so much. She calls him a psycho. (Eye to body, eye to eye, voice to ears)
Tensions Raising – Ep 1 – They begin to bid for the same painting (the bubble painting). Giving each other side eye. He wins out. (Eye to eye)
She chases after him to convince him to give her the painting. She insults him (politely) and he then in turn insults her (politely) (eye to eye, voice to ears)
Meet Cute #2- Ep 1 – She is at the airport waiting for her idol. She is taking pictures and Ryan Gold is blocking her view of her idol who is behind him. Someone spots the idol and he is suddenly bombarded with a stampede of fangirls. He is pushed out of the way and bumps into Seong who grabs onto his coat, rips it and topples on him. She is relieved that her camera is safe but Ryan is really peeved that his coat is ripped and a girl landed on him. When she apologizes he tries to take off her face masks. She flees and leaves behind her planner. (Cinderella moment) (eye to eye, body to body)
Adhesion (End of Ep 1) – She goes to work, ready to resign, fixes a lightbulb (on a ladder) and he comes in and asks “Do you work here?” She comes most of the way down and then stares at him. He asks, “Do you want me?” She falls off the ladder and onto the floor.
As we can see there is so much that happened in this first K-drama episode. And it ended really well with a hook of her running into Ryan Gold again… or rather falling for him – literally.
I cannot wait to see how things play out between Ryan and Deok Mi when he tries to get the painting back from her idol. She’s got a huge obsession and I wonder if she’s going to have to give it up or if Ryan is going to be understanding and accepting in the end.
What do you think? If you can’t wait for my next update you can watch this K-drama on Viki.com with a Standard Viki pass.
Episode Two will be coming soon!
I’m thinking about doing real-time K-drama reactions and breakdowns on a Youtube channel. Is that something you might watch? Let me know in the comments below!
Hold onto your seats, folks! This is a long one! This is my first recap and analysis of a full-length Kdrama episode. I’m going to try to sprinkle it with some pictures to break up the text but if you want to skip to the full analysis at the bottom go ahead and click here now.
Just Between Lovers Recap Episode 1
We are introduced to two little girls. One is younger and is getting her hair and makeup done by her mother. The other one, Moon-Soo, is sitting around pouting and complaining about having to go to the photo shoot for her little sister. Her mom says that she can’t be two places at once. Mom tells the older daughter , Moon-Soo, that she needs to reschedule the meeting with her girl friend. The older daughter texts the boy and the younger sister tattles on her.
(Set up here by the Just Between Lovers writers. Little sister is the favorite. She’s dolled up and given a cellphone to use even though her older sister doesn’t yet have one.)
Mom drops them off at the event. Moon-Soo asks her mom when she’s going to get her own cellphone and her mom brushes the question off, telling her they’ll both be late and then drives away leaving her daughters in front of the mall.
(This reinforces that her mom has a favorite but doesn’t want to admit to it. Mom leaving little sister in Moon-Soo’s care shows that Moon-Soo is responsible and will step up when needed.)
The younger sister tugs on Moon-Soo’s sleeve and points to the sky. “The weather is nice. Look at the sky.” Moon-Soo looks up and then shields her eyes. The sun begins to come through to clouds and she squints.
(I have a feeling this is foreshadowing!)
Cut to the mall where there are glittering stars and moons in the open stair area. The little sister is getting her makeup redone. Moon-Soo is sweating. The makeup is done and the little sister hands the cellphone her mom gave her to Moon-Soo because she received a text from the boy. Moon-Soo goes to meet him, leaving her sister behind. She goes up one flight of stairs and pauses by an ice cream shop to put on lipgloss. The building begins to shake and then collapses. (It was here I had to pause and Google if malls collapsing was a common occurrence. This is like the third one I’ve seen mentioned in a K-drama. The Sampoong Group Mall Collapse happened in Seoul, South Korea in 1995. Very traumatic for the people of South Korea. I see now why it has occurred in so many dramas. Just like we in the States have taken traumatic events and weaved them into our stories, so too have the South Korean Kdrama writers. I’m bracing myself now for what’s to come!)
Moon-Soo, older now, wakes up at 3:59am, one minute before her alarm. It was a dream, she said, that has the same ending no matter what she does.
Moon-Soo works at a Bath house. After opening she looks out at the city, taking a moment to enjoy the view and the breeze.
We cut to lots of men who are standing around asking for their pay. The manager tries to explain and this one guy keeps interrupting. It’s our hero, Gang-Doo and he has a cut on his chin, a bandaid over his left eyebrow and tattered looking clothes. The manager tells him to step forward. The manager punches him and then harasses him some more. Gang-Doo only lets him get in one punch before doing a few of his own, demanding his pay.
(We can get a sense already of Gang-Doo’s character just from these first few minutes.)
Moon-Soo is interested in architecture. She has blueprints on her desk and is making paper models during her spare time at the bath house.
She goes to her mom’s room and wakes her up so that she can do some hair for a customer. When her mom walks out the older daughter finds empty bottles of soju. She recycles them and then heads away.
Gang-Doo is sitting hear the water’s edge, lip bloodied. A guy who seems to have special needs comes up, addresses our hero as Hyung and asks “Did you get in another fight again?” (The hero continues to be developed. He’s a fighter.) He says something along the lines of “If I look this bad, how do you think the other guy looks?” The guy shares his meat on a stick and then our hero gets a phone call and is called off to a job. The two go together after the guy says “You always work and never get paid. Play with me instead.” And he replies “I can’t. Because I don’t have a good mom like you do.”
The young guy follows Gang-Doo to where he’s going to work. The streets are filled with scantily dressed women and foreigners. The guy says that this is a place his mom tells him he shouldn’t ever go because it’s dangerous. Gang-Doo says “Anything you can do making money is dangerous.” The hero tells him he should go home. He saves the guy from being conned by a scantily clad woman and then sends him on his way before ducking into a place called Mary & Club.
Moon-Soo goes into talk to her boss. She explains that the blueprint is wrong and that built the way it is it could collapse and demands he have it redone. The boss says that’s not his job, his job is just to make the models and tells her to go do what she’s getting paid to do. She explains that the spacing on the support beams are too far apart and asks him if he’d want his kids living there. When he frowns she smiles knowing she’s won. She tells him she wants it redone and that no matter what she’ll get it done on time and then turns to leave.
When she’s gone we see another man come out from the office behind the bookshelves and looks at the blueprints. (I’m pretty sure he looks like second male lead material!)
Back at home Moon-Soo is doing something on her laptop and her friend (and roommate?) Wan-Jin, is trying to draw her romance comic and is having writer’s block. (I think we are all about to relate) “How can I make them break up again?” She cries at Moon-Soo’s feet. “I wonder why I have to agonize over these two characters being lovey-dovey with each other.”
Moon-Soo: Aren’t you going to make them get back together anyway?
Wan-Jin: Exactly, that’s what I’m saying. They are going to get back together but why would they break up? Why?? In other cartoons, people say it’s too chaotic since the main character acts as he pleases. But these two, they don’t budge.
Moon-Soo: Why do you need reasons? Is there a specific reason why people would get together or break up?
Wan-Jin: Don’t you know logical development? Don’t you know that the story has to make sense or it needs to be justifiable?
Moon-Soo: Forget about all that. You need to draw your main character more beautifully. Your online cartoon is a romance, but you’re being needlessly realistic. Make the main character a drop dead beauty. Then even if it’s not logical, everything makes sense.
Wan-Jin ponders that as she goes back to her computer and drawing tablet. Moon-Soo gets a phone call and it’s her boss. Her boss says there is a good opportunity for her to work on Bio Town and she tells him that if they want a study model she isn’t going to do it. The boss tells her that they’re going to compensate her well.
Cut to Gang-Doo and he’s at the back of a restaurant eating instant ramen. He asks a waiter why “she” isn’t there yet because “she” asked him there. “She” comes to the back, looking angry and asks for a glass of water. After she calms down he asks if she’s okay (character trait: caring) and then she explains that a guy beat up one of her girls. And then she mentions Bio Town is being built. She says the guy who beat up the girl is a manger working on the build. She tells Gang-Doo to go further up the ladder to the director of the company building Bio Town instead. She tells him to pretend that the girl that got beat up is his younger sister. She wants him to get settlement money. He says he’ll take 20% of what he gets.
He stares at the business card: Cheong Yoo Construction – Jeong Yoo Taek
Later that evening Moon-Soo sees her mom grabbing soju and tells her to stop drinking because she has to manage the bath house in the morning. Her mom asks Moon-Soo if she remembers what tomorrow is and takes the soju back and goes to sit down and drink it. The sister grabs some food and asks her mom to eat while drinking. Her mom pushes the food onto the floor. Moon-Soo drinks and eats the food her mom rejected.
Gang-Doo is outside and lights a cigarette. He stares at the business card.
Flashback: His dad is trying to leave with Gang-Doo who is holding a soccer ball. His dad’s boss comes and tells him he needs to do more work before he goes. Gang-Doo is directed to go across the street and eat some ice cream while he waits. He is in the ice cream store when the mall collapses. (Is ice cream going to be significant later on? Second time it’s come up.)
Gang-Doo goes to the director’s office and demands money. He sees Bio Town on the computer when he’s there. “Seeing the world from up here, don’t people seem like people to you?” Gang-Doo asks the Director.
At her interview Moon-Soo is asked whether she knows the CEO personally, Seo Joo Won, the architect because he wants to work with her personally. He tells her she’s going to be working in the office full time. She seems taken aback and unsure until she sees a blueprint on the desk. Seeing the design she asks “When can I start?”
Moon-Soo is walking around the office examining things and then the CEO calls and tells the co-worker he needs a blueprint. The co-worker looks at Moon-Soo, hoping she’ll take it to him.
Joo Won is at a fancy office building trying to get to his appointment but someone has used his name. When he arrives at the Director’s office he sees Gang-Doo standing over him. Joo Won carefully asks if he was too early. Gang-Doo says he’s done and as he’s passing by Joo Won grabs his arm and tells him what his name is. Gang-Doo slaps his hand off and says he didn’t ask. Joo Won says he thought he’d like to know who the name really belonged to since Gang-Doo used it to get in. Gang-Doo warns him not to touch someone he doesn’t know and then leaves.
Moon-Soo arrives at the very tall building as Joo Won texts and tells her to meet him in front of the elevator on the 16th floor. We cut to her in the stairwell, huffing up the flights of stairs, the file in her hand. As she’s almost to the top she runs into Gang-Doo. He scares her, she almost falls back but he grabs onto her and pulls her foward, her cheek lands against his chest as she clutches onto his shirt.
Without looking at her face he says, “Look in front of you when you walk.” After a moment he says, “Are you… going to stay like this?” She quickly steps away and avoids eye contact as he steps around her and continues down the stairs. She catches a glimpse of his face then but he doesn’t look up.
She finally makes it upstairs and introduces herself to Joo Won, through gasps for air. He thanks her and then tells her to take the elevator. She continues to gasp and shakes her head saying that the stairs are more comfortable for her. He stares after her after realizing that she just climbed 16 flights of stairs.
Outside Gang-Doo is walking and stops, flexing his leg. He glances at the sky and then approaches a street vendor, asking if he has an umbrella. When he comes back with one he tells the street vendor to put them out front because it’s going to rain. The street vendor says it’s forecasted to be sunny. Gang-Doo opens his umbrella and walks away.
Moon-Soo is walking with a cake box in her hand. It starts to rain and she runs for cover under a bus station. Joo Won honks as he pulls up to the curb and tells her to get in. She declines and he insists she gets in. Joo Won apologizes for making her run an errand when she isn’t officially employed yet. (Character trait: considerate) And he tells her that it was all for nothing because the meeting was cancelled. He apologizes again and she asks him to stop apologizing because it makes her uncomfortable. He is about to apologize again and then catches himself. He says it’s a habit. She says it’s better than never apologizing. He tells her that he overheard her comments on his blueprints and that’s why he hired her. He also mentions her walking up 16 flights. Why did you skip the elevator? She replies, “Just because it’s a bit stuffy not being able to see outside.” (This is a PTSD side effect from what happened to her at the shopping mall disaster.)
Gang-Doo receives payment for his job and the boss lady asks him to work for her. He says no. Asks him to have a drink. He says no. Why? “There are no windows here. It’s stuffy.” (We can see that these two characters are suffering from similar PTSD symptoms.) Before he goes he asks the boss lady to help him get a job on the construction site of Bio Town. Gang-Doo goes to a lady who runs an underground medical clinic. He gives her money and she gives him painkillers. She warns him not to take too many or he’ll ruin his liver. (Foreshadowing??) She takes what she needs from his money envelope and then hands it back. He says he wants the rest to go to his sister. She scolds him for giving all his money to his younger sister, but he insists and then leaves.
Moon-Soo goes home and her mom isn’t there. She finds her mom arguing with ladies in the neighborhood. One says, “You should be ashamed! If you opened up your bath house with the money you sold out your child for, you should put your head down and live a diligent life. All you ever do is drink and go around all over the neighborhood. Aigoo, you’re shameless.” Blinking back tears, Moon-Soo gathers her mom, pays for her drinks and then brings her home. On the way back her mom asks “Do you also think I’m being unreasonable? Did I seem that way?” Moon-Soo says yes and asks why she did that. Her mom says, “So I won’t forget her. I should get yelled at so that I won’t forget that I had to send off Yeon Soo first. If I don’t, I forget that sometimes.”
Moon-Soo: If you can, forget it. I really can’t remember it either.
Mom: You and I are different. Mom needs to remember because this is all my fault.
Moon-Soo: Why is it your fault?
Mom: It is. It’s the mother’s fault when the child goes first. If I live well, they’ll say I live well. If I destroy myself, they’ll say I couldn’t come to my senses even after letting my child die. If I laugh or cry, people will point fingers at me. So, even if I drink and throw a tantrum, don’t hate me too much.
Moon-soo wipes away her tear and follows after her mom. Later she puts her mom to bed and then sits down with the cake, three candles on it. She starts to light them but hesitates and looks at a picture of her sister: “You don’t age anyway.” She takes out the candles and eats the cake.
Flashback: Her mom is in the ER, she says she’s so relieved that Moon-Soo is alive. Then she realizes that her sister isn’t there and starts to freak out. The fact that Moon-Soo survived is clouded by the loss of her sister. After her dad confirms the body of her little sister her mom turns to her and says, “I told you to be together. I told you to be together!”
The dad then turns to the mom, “What about you? Where were you, leaving your two kids behind? I told you not to go around selling out our daughter!”
Mom: Am I the only one who did wrong? This is my fault? Who’s the one who didn’t even care for the kids because you were so busy outside the home? Where were you when I was going all over the place looking for our daughter? Where were you?
Poor Moon-Soo had to witness all of this. Her dad looks at her and says, “you still don’t remember? What happened at the time of the accident?” She shakes her head. He sighs. “Forget it. It’s not something pretty to remember anyway. It’s a relief that at least you made it alive. Despite everything, it could have been worse.”
There’s no such thing as being relieved because things could have been worse. Being unfortunate is just feeling miserable.
Moon-Soo leaves the cake and goes to get noodles at her dad’s shop. He brings her water and she asks for noodles, spicy. They don’t look at each other. Moon-Soo asks, “aren’t you going to ask if mom is doing well?” He doesn’t answer. He serves her noodles and she tells him that he should’ve stopped by because it was her sister’s birthday. She puts in lots of spice and eats her noddles. He sits at a table nearby and turns on the TV while she eats.
Gang-Doo is at home and he is having a PTSD nightmare about the incident. He wakes up, sweating and has to catch his breath. He goes to his painkillers and takes some, washing them down with beer. He looks at the scar on his leg from the rebar that went through in the mall. The neighbor down the hall is being loud while they have sex. He bangs on the door and tells them to knock off the noise and just do it already. He goes out and sees the construction manager eating noodles in a shop. He stops and stares at him. He knocks on the window. “Is it good? You feel like drinking when you fired me and ripped me off? I get all the suffering and you get all the fun?” When he sees the manager is ignoring him he begins to yell, “These days! Bad guys live well comfortably! What the crap is this?! Right? Old man?!” The manager gets up and comes outside “Why are you pointing at me?” Gang-Doo doesn’t back down, “Are you happy that you ripped me off, but you’re eating pork? If you’re old enough, act your age, you brat. Don’t rip people off, man.” A few big guys approach from behind and Gang-Doo realizes he’s misstepped. He’s outnumbered and they start to encroach on him.
Moon-Soo is passing by as the gang is leaving. She pauses when she spots a lifeless hand in the alley. In the rain she approaches slowly and then sees him bleeding badly, she tries to get him to speak up, She asks him if he’s okay, gently tapping his shoulder. Bleeding, he grabs her arm and doesn’t let go. They meet eyes.
She brings him to her dad, explaining that no hospitals were open and she couldn’t leave him on the street. Her dad gets a first aid kit but before he can help a customer comes, leaving the cleaning up and tending to Moon-Soo. Alone with him she stares at his face. She feels on his body for stuff and then finds his phone and a few dollars. She looks to see if he has contacts but he doesn’t. She stares at his old leg scar and then he begins to groan. She gets to work cleaning him up, starting with his face.
When he wakes up he’s got a band-aid on his head. He groans as he sits up. Her dad comes out and updates Gang-Doo, telling him he briefly cleaned him up but he should get to the hospital and that his phone won’t stop ringing. Then the dad goes back into his room and shuts the door. Gang-Doo hobbles back, he’s in rough shape physically. He runs into his sister who throws the money back at him. She’s dressed nicely and he asks why she’s not at the hospital. She asks him questions about his face. They both ignore the other’s questions. She tells him to come home. He gives her back the money and tells her to go home. She leaves and he goes back to his tiny room. It’s the guy from before, he is a neighbor, it seems. He said a pretty girl came to see Gang-Doo and left crying. “You shouldn’t make girls cry. You’ll get punished,” he says. Gang-Doo looks away, “She’s not my girl, she’s my younger sister.” The younger guy asks, “is it okay to make your sister cry?” “No,” Gang-Doo says, “it’s not.”
Gang-Doo relives the beating from last night. And the memory of a girl with an umbrella. Moon-Soo. He remembers her and then realizes he’s seen the girl before.
Moon-Soo is cleaning out her new work area. (Hard working trait) A coworker asks if she wants coffee. While drinking the coworker coos about the CEO, Joo Won. He remodeled the office all by himself and picked out the materials alone and GEEZ he looks good in any clothes he puts on and he’s from a good family AND he owns his own studio with his name on it at such a young age.
Moon-Soo pipes up to state the obvious: “He must be talented.”
The confuses the co-worker and Moon-Soo explains that he had a hand in his success, it wasn’t just because of his family.
Joo Won is having dinner… with the DIRECTOR (gasp). Turns out Joo Won’s widowed mother married the Director’s father. Joo Won isn’t favored in the sibling dynamic, of course. It’s mentioned that the sister Yoo Jin is coming back to take over Joo Won’s business.
Gang-Doo is heading to the new construction site for his job. While getting a tour of he sees a memorial plaque for the Mall victims.
The coworkers in moon-Soo’s office are talking about the memorial. He says “only 48 people died” and she corrects him “As many as 48 people died.” She realizes the boss was behind her and then she ducks her head and walks away. She’s searching the blueprints and documents. Then she finds a report about the disaster case study and articles about the incident. She collapses to the floor and becomes overwhelmed with tears.
Gang-Doo stares at the memorial plague in the darkness on his shift. He destroys it with his sledgehammer.
Just Between Lovers Analysis
Multiple times in this first episode of Just Between Lovers we have seen Moon-Soo looking up to the sky. The same is true for Gang-Doo who is outside except for the those few moments he’s cramped up in his tiny studio apartment. This, the nightmares, losing a loved one, and the event itself all form this base for our main couple.
Moon-Soo is obviously obsessed with architecture because of what happened to her in the past. If only the architect had done things to code the incident wouldn’t have happened. She doesn’t want to see it repeated. Moon-Soo is also very observant and mature for her age. She speaks wisdom to her friend, her mom and her female co-worker. As I predicted, Moon-Soo is responsible and hard-working. She takes matters into her own hands and doesn’t complain when she has a lot asked of her. Her mother is handling her grief in self-destructive ways as an alcoholic. Her dad has left the family and works nearby in a noodle shop. And an Auntie was mentioned. So it’s obvious that Moon-Soo has supports in place, even if it’s not her mother. Yet there has to be this wound in her from the accident when her mother was yelling at her for not being with her sister because Moon-Soo is the only one who knows that if she had been with her sister that Moon-Soo would have died too because she left her sister downstairs. Heavy stuff!
Now onto Gang-Doo. He’s completely the opposite of Moon-Soo in a a lot of ways. He left his family and struck out on his own. He doesn’t hold in his feelings, they come out in anger and flying fists. He makes money in less than savory ways. He doesn’t take care of himself. He honors his father, however, by doing construction work and sending extra money to his younger sister. He fights back when he feels mistreated by a boss, the way he saw his father being mistreated before his death in the mall disaster. Gang-Doo is also caring. He has befriended a slightly younger poor teen whose mother is doing the best she can for him. He sends his extra money to his sister when he barely has two bucks left in his pocket. And his unsavory business is defending victims. Oh, and I have to mention that I love that he knows when it’s going to rain because of his injury. (#KDramaCharacterQuirk) That’s a great quirk to have added. I hope the writers will use it again later in the series.
I love that the two of them have already had TWO encounters. We saw the “OMG I’m going to fall down the stairs” catch and clutch. And then we had a Band-Aid First Aid as well after Gang-Doo’s fight. The romance arc is already starting off and I hope we continue to see nice growth there.
The Director and the construction manager were set up to be the bad guys. Both representing the upper class and men in positions of power.
The second male lead has also been introduced and he’s talented and a bit broken. He hasn’t had the same romantic moments that Gang-Doo has had with our heroine, Moon-Soo.
The hook at the end of this episode was kind of weak, leaving it off with Gang-Doo destroying the memorial plaque.
But I do have a lot of questions:
Who is the sister?
Were Gang-Doo and Moon-Soo trapped together somehow in the accident since they were in a similar location when it happened?
How are the writers going to get Moon-Soo and Gang-Doo to keep running into each other? Is she going to be present on the construction site a lot? Will she get to boss him around?
What’s the deal with Gang-Doo’s family? Why won’t he go home?
Have you seen the first episode of Just Between Lovers yet? After reading the recap does Just Between Lovers seem like a drama you’d be interested in watching? I’d love to see your comments below! Episode two releases next week! Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free Character Arc Cheatsheet and be reminded weekly when new blog posts go live!
When I say writing a romance hero that’s “sexier” I don’t mean describing the bumps on his six pack or including some shirtless car washing scenes.
Sexy is attractive. What will make you romance hero super sexy? Keep reading to find out how to write a romance hero that is swoon-worthy.
Writing A Romance Hero: Show His Soft Center
Now you may not want your hero walking around being like Santa Claus but you should definitely seduce your readers with a man who is thoughtful. Your job as the author is to make sure your hero woos his heroine*. (*For ease of reading I’m going to refer to the love interest as the heroine but it could be another hero, an alien, a monster or something else altogether. You do you, boo!)
When I talk about doing I am not talking about love bombing, we don’t need more narcissists in the world, but subtle meaningful acts of “Hey, girl, I care about you enough to inconvenience myself.”
When plotting or as you are writing or revising try to think about how your hero can will your heroine.
From Korean dramas these are some fan favorites:
Retrieving the drunk woman from her company dinner and carrying her on his back to take her home. (He may or may not have put on shoes or changed out of his pajamas before leaving to go rescue her. He wouldn’t want her being taken advantage of.)
seeing a heroin struggle with something and then getting that thing to her. (Like in True Beauty when Su-ho (our hero) sees Joo.-kyung, our heroine, pinning her bangs with a cheap plastic hair salon clip. He purchases her a nice barrette to replace the cheap salon one. She is touched by his thoughtfulness.)
What’s sexier than a man giving you a really great gift without you needing to prompt him???
Writing a Romance Hero: Quirky Can Be Sexy Too
Perfect doesn’t exist in real life and it shouldn’t in your romance either. Prince charming is a fallacy and grown women know the difference. Make your hero more human and give him some quirks.
In What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Young-joon, the hero, is a bit uptight. He has his reasons but one of his biggest quirks is that he’s never dated or kissed a woman. It’s a really fun time trying to watch a romance unfold with this guy who has healing to do before he can fully give himself to his heroine, Secretary Kim. He wants so desperately to be “normal” but he has to work with what he’s got and when he finally overcomes his issues it makes the audience love him even more.
In Coffee Prince Han Gyeol, the hero, loves legos. Like a lot. This is his unexpected quirk especially for our free-spirited playboy hero. On the outside he’s cool and hot and kind of stuck up, but these legos show that he has a soft center. He has an innocence about him. These legos, which are seemingly toys, are something he is very serious about. (One of my favorite scenes from this 2007 K-drama is when he is in his lego room. He’s adorable!)
When writing a romance hero ask yourself: what is this guy’s thing? What is something he does or loves that is special to him and when or how will he share it with the heroine.
Your readers will swoon over these moments where your hero lets down his walls and shows his vulnerability.
Writing A Romance Hero: Put Your Hero On His Knees
I don’t mean in a BDSM kind of way (unless that’s your thing – no judgements) in real life men tend to have a tough time apologizing when they mess up.
In the fantasy world it’s really hot when the hair apologizes. This can look different depending on the hero. For example, an alpha kind of hero is going to have a hard time admitting he’s wrong. He might not get down and grovel until the very end, but it’s that’s the case then you’d better make the grovel really, really good.
The most alpha-est alpha in K-drama that I can think of is Jyun-pyo from Boys Over Flowers, the poor thing has to grovel a lot in order to be initially accepted and then forgiven time and time again by his love interest, Jan-di. He’s not a jerk intentionally –it’s just how he is– until he learns and matures. By the end of this classic drama (which is based on a Japanese shojo manga series and has been adapted into a Chinese version (Meteor Garden) and an upcoming Thai version (The F4)) Jyun-pyo is a worthy hero for our heroine, Jan-di.
Another type of American hero, like a cowboy, might not need to grovel but might instead glance down, shuffle his feet and mumble his apology after having some think time. Perhaps he puts his foot in his mouth a little bit and makes the heroine angry, but doesn’t thoroughly offend her.
But either way don’t underestimate the power of a good apology.
In Shopaholic Louis, Louis, the hero, delivers something to the heroine, Bok-shil, which she thought she’d lost forever. He doesn’t ship it to her but instead gathers all his friends to help recreate their meet cute to remind her how much they mean to each other and when she thinks she’s so close to finding the thing she’s lost forever she discovers it’s there where she is. She then sees an apology video from Louis before being reconnected with him.
When writing a romance hero, make your hero vulnerable. Show him as a human, not a God.
Again, as a human, when writing a romance hero give him something uniquely him. He’s not perfect. Give him some kind of “flaw” or “quirk” that makes him relatable.
Lastly, when writing a romance hero bring him to his knees and apologize when he’s done something wrong. Who doesn’t love a person who can communicate and accept their part?
What do you think makes a good hero? If you’re a K-drama/C-drama/J-drama/T-drama fan, can you name any other good examples of these characteristics? I’d love to hear from you! Drop your comments below!
Looking for more writing tips? Check out more blog posts about writing here!
This is the very last episode of Kiss Goblin. If you missed any of the recaps you can find them here.
Let’s get to it!
The Goblin appears and apparently, he had the magical power hidden within him the whole time. Exorcist drops our heroine, the goblin’s power surrounds the Exorcist with this green blob of can’t move and then he punches The Exorcist and knocks him out.
In the restaurant where they were working part-time together, Goblin asked her if she believed in fate and she tells him she does but she doesn’t want to rely on fate. She wants to rely on them. So she grabs him and pulls him in for a kiss and says “I want the future you and the future me to worry about finding each other again. We’re not going to leave it up to something else outside of us like fate.” He says he knows why he fell for her because she’s so cool and she says “it better be because I’m pretty” and he says “the future me will fall for you again for sure because you’re so cool.”
They kiss. A lot.
Time Hops One Year
He’s at university and she passes right by him. She takes a seat in class. And then he comes in and sits down. The teacher assigns a group project with two team members. The Goblin Queen comes by and swaps names so that they are paired together for the project.
Their relationship begins, they meet in front of the library and she pulls him out of the way of a bicyclist, saving him. She says she knows immediately that she’s going to date him. He says she’s cool and thanks her for saving him. She asks if they’ve met before and he says he’s not sure. Maybe…
So super cute ending where both fate AND Goblin magic come into play. If this were a full length drama perhaps we would have gotten a more solidified ending where we could watch their romance unfold for a second time.
Below is the outline for the whole series where we can see the progression of the romance, the breakdown of our characters.
Kdrama Cure Outline – Kiss Goblin
• Quirks – She speaks her mind, hits people on the face a lot
• Hobbies – None. She works and goes to school.
• Problems – needs to earn money, get good grades at school, recovering from a break-up
This week we are doing Kiss Goblin episode 10 if you miss the analysis for the majority of the season and you want to start over you can find that here.
With only three episodes left in Kiss Goblin, we should be coming to the big kiss and the last-ditch effort from the writer to keep these two apart and I have a feeling it’s going to revolve around the Exorcist.
Let’s jump in.
We start off with a time jump to the morning so they spent all night laying in bed facing each other holding hands and they fell asleep.
She leaves the love nest first, touches his dimple and gets herself some coffee. When he comes out there is an awkwardness between them for a moment as they try to catch each other’s gazes and then they both giggle. (So 귀여워요 (gwiyeowoyo)!)
Showing thoughtfulness – she made him breakfast. He says he’s happy to be with her like that and after breakfast he offers to do the dishes. There is sexual tension as he comes up behind her and wraps his hand around hers to turn off the water. She leans back against him and tells him that she’ll tolerate him kissing other girls ONLY until the last kiss. And if he kisses someone after that she’ll kill him.
He asks her to clairfy if they’re dating. She says nope, not until he’s human. He smiles and says he can’t wait.
Their happiness won’t last! He gets a text from the Goblin Queen. Kiss number 10, his last kiss: the heroine.
He leaves in a rush, lying to her about where he’s going and leaving his phone behind.
He goes to the Goblin Queen, he’s angry, which is an emotion he can feel now, and he asks why it has to be her. And the Goblin queen says that’s the way it is it has to be someone who loves you. And he says what if I kiss her… she won’t remember me. The Goblin Queen tells him that she told him it wasn’t going to be easy and that no Goblin has ever been able to become a human before, though many have tried. Most problems come to the last kiss and they can’t do it and they choose to keep the memories instead of becoming a human. And if he chooses not to kiss her then he has to leave the human world immediately. (The author raised the stakes. He cannot keep the status quo, a change will happen. Which path will he choose? Also, he now has a big massive secret.)
We finish up the Goblin Queen’s arc, seeing the rest of her past. Her last kiss was with the exorcist and she chose not to kiss him and instead has kept her memories of him.
Heroine gets dressed up and goes out looking for Goblin. She finds him at the park. She’s smiling and happy and sits in the swing next to him. He shares that he is there to think. He notices that she’s dressed up. He flirts with her calling her pretty. Then he tells her that he has to leave, to go back to the Goblin world. He tells her that he’s giving up on being a human. And she asks if he can come back if he leaves. He says nope, never. She asks “What about me?” He looks away. She confronts him. “You don’t like me anymore?” He says quickly that he does like her. She asks if he’s stopping because she’s the last mission… (Her secret: she saw his phone). He says it’s not that easy. She tells him that if he tries it’ll be easy for her to fall for him again. Does he just not want to kiss her? He looks up quickly again to deny. He does. She eggs him on, just do it, man!
He shares the Goblin Queen’s last Rule: not only will the human lose her memories but the Goblin will also lose his memories when he turns human. So he tells her that he’s decided instead of losing her altogether, he’s just going to keep liking her so he can remember her forever because he doesn’t want to risk never finding her again in his life.
In the short little episode A lot happened. We had a plot twist which basically is going to cause The Break-Up of these two because like it seems like a dark night of the Soul, what can he do? He can’t stay in the human world or else he totally forgets her and she forgets him, and if he goes back to the Goblin World they still can’t continue on their relationship because he’ll be in a different world altogether.
In this episode we saw how the secrets moved from one person to another so at the beginning of this episode The Goblin Queen had a secret that the last person he needs to cast with someone that he loved and when he kissed her he would lose his memories as well. That secret done was the Goblin’s secret to keep which he didn’t hold on too long before the heroin showed up and he told her that he needed to leave and she asked him why and he confessed the secret.
Goblin get a call, his 9th kiss target is revealed and he needs to do it before 2AM.
Later he calls heroine and she ignores him. Instead of answering she guzzles down beer with the male friend.
Goblin waits as long as he can and sends her a text to tell her where he’s headed. He kisses girl number 9.
On his way home he experiences his new emotion: happiness. He thinks of the heroine and in his mind he says he’s experienced happiness with her and he wants to keep experiencing that. (is this the beginning of wanting to confess?)
The heroine is drinking and talks about happiness and love. You have that happiness for a moment and then it’s gone and you want to be happier and happier. (She thinks about her wound, trying to reinforce it in her mind, slipping back into her hurt self) She says she protects herself by cutting off the feelings before they get too deep.
The male friend confesses his feelings to her. She’s shocked.
Without heroine around, the exorcist finally has his chance to attack the Goblin. [The Goblin Queen did foreshadow this in the previous episode when she asked the heroine to take good care of the Goblin.] Goblin, while wounded, calls the heroine. Heroine sees the texts and rushes away to find him, a pan in her hand, taken from the restaurant she was at.
The exorcist is about to do the final blow to the Goblin when the heroine comes in and whacks him across the face with the pan. (selfless giving) She sees the Goblin’s blood and freaks out. He asks her why she’s so late. She apologizes for not keeping her promise to keep him safe. He says he’s happy to see her and that he really missed her. And then he passes out. Touching moment with emotion as she confesses to him thinking he’s dying. (One party confesses.)
Goblin Queen arrives and see the exorcist. We flashback to her past. The exorcist is someone from her past.
The Goblin Queen heals the Goblin. They take him back to her place and the Goblin Queen asks if she meant what she said about doing anything and tells her to take care of him. [More foreshadowing?]
The heroine tucks him in and lays beside him. She reaches out and touches his cheek. (hand to face intimacy) He wakes and pulls her hand away. He faces her and holds her hand. He tells her to stay by his side and not drink or talk to any other guys. And he confesses to her that he likes her a lot. She confesses to him too. [Both party confessions!]
Analysis: Here we are with only three episodes left! We are about to go into the dark moment and the final test of their relationship if this writer is following the traditional romance arc.
In this episode we saw more intimacy building. Selfless giving on behalf of the heroine who ran into danger and struck down evil with a pan. There was more jealousy and realization on both parts that when they thought of the other they were happy. It took a near death scenario for the heroine to fully confess but by the end of this episode they both solidified their feelings, announcing them to each other.
Showing kindness, Goblin saves a balloon for a little boy and chats with him.
The heroine’s unrequited love approaches and asks if she would like to have a drink. The goblins sees this gets jealous and goes over to intervene. [These are my favorite scenes where are the two boys are arguing over the girl and saying silly things to show who is better.] Information is revealed through the dialogue, the unrequited love has been her friend for two years. And the Goblin almost lets it slip that they are living together. Our heroine covers the Goblin’s mouth (touch). Goblin is mad that she wants to deny their relationship and walks away.
She follows him home and confronts him. He gets snippy “Why are you home? I thought you were going to go have a drink with that guy.“ (a touch of jealousy)
And then he reveals that it bothers him that she doesn’t want to say that they live together and asks if she’s embarrassed by him. (Talking about feelings) She asks him if he’s jealous and he adamantly denies it and walks away. (He doesn’t want to reveal his feelings yet)
Later at work they are cleaning in silence but exchange glances. The Goblin Queen comes in. Asks heroine if she’s dating anyone or interested in anyone. (The side character is acting as a plot driver!) Heroine glances at Goblin but says no. Goblin Queen shares the next target, and tells the heroine to take care of Goblin and leaves.
There is internal dialogue about how it’s obvious to others about who you like because you always look at the person that you like. (Yes you do! It’s one of the stages of intimacy) The heroine’s male friend talks to the female best friend about how it’s obvious when someone doesn’t like you because they don’t look at you as much as you look at them. (It’s obvious the best friend likes the friend.) She still helps him and encourages his feelings with her friend, our heroine.
Our heroine comes into the restaurant and sees the Goblin kissing another woman. She goes upstairs so that she doesn’t have to watch.
At home she’s drinking and sighing and thinking about him kissing the girl. (Getting hard to deny those romantic feelings, isn’t it? We’re firmly in the denial of feelings in the romance arc.) Goblin comes running out of the bathroom and grabs onto her looking scared. She asked him was wrong and he says that the shower curtain moved by itself and he didn’t touch it. His new emotion is fear. She tries to explain to him that it was only the wind but he insists that he is still scared. He ends up laying his head on her lap and falls asleep (common Kdrama trope). While he is sleeping she puts her hand on his face. He wakes up and she pulls her hand back quickly. He thanks her for the comfort.
(Talking about feelings)
She tells him not to look at her the way that he looks at other girls when he tries to get them to kiss him.
He says he doesn’t like kissing the other girls but he has to.
She leans into him and asked if he feels anything with her.
Visually we see that he does and he turns his face away from her and says that he doesn’t know about those things. (Looking away is lying)
She grabs his face by the cheeks and turns them towards her (hands to face) and gets closer and asks him one more time if he feels anything and he says no nothing at all all.
She loses her temper and tells him that she doesn’t understand why he even came into her life at all because all he’s doing is confusing her. (semi-confession)
She gets a phone call and it’s the friend who asks her to have another drink and while staring at the Goblin she accepts the invitation and heads out.
Goblin is obviously distressed.
Analysis: The romance arc is building, we’re getting to the point where these two are going to have to confess their feelings because the jealousy is getting to be too much. The writer is slowly working their way through the stages of intimacy with touching and direct eye contact. These two are also having intimate discussions that skirt around their true feelings. We also saw how the Goblin Queen was being used as a plot driver and perhaps as a foreshadowing agent.
We are more than halfway through the drama now on episode 7. If you missed the other breakdowns you can find them here.
Goblin finished kissing the girl and our heroine asks him what emotion he got. He said he’s not sure because he doesn’t feel anything yet. Our heroine asked Goblin what he wants to do first when he becomes a human. Our heroine spots the Exorcist and tugs Goblin close in a hug to protect him.
The 7th emotion is infatuation.
The exorcist leaves. Our heroine asks if Exorcist is gone and the Goblin says no he’s not and hugs her closer and she locks her arms around him a little bit tighter too. He answers her while they’re embraced that the first thing that he wants to do when he’s a human is to be friends with her. Formally.
And she knows friends means…. friends , platonic.
Our heroine is eating lunch with her friend but can’t stop thinking about how sexy the goblin is. She keeps this a secret from her friend. (Secrets, secrets)
The next morning the Goblin cooks breakfast for her before her class. (showing thoughtfulness) Homemade, no artificial seasonings because it’s healthier that way. And he grabs the ketchup and puts it over the eggs because that’s how she likes it. (showing thoughtfulness)
He is on the couch, folding laundry while she watches TV next to him. She laughs and leans into him, asking him if he saw that. They both pause, feeling tension between them. (romance arc building)
Later, he comes out of the shower and walks by and she sniffs him and asks him what shampoo he used. He said soap. And in her mind she called him handsome and then she slapped herself. (denying feelings that are trying to surface)
At work she’s watching him while he changes a light bulb. The light shines in her face and he covers her eyes with his hand. She gets flustered and walks away. (more romantic tension shown)
At home they’re together and she says they need rules. She says he’s still a man and he shouldn’t be walking around with his arms and legs exposed. And they should keep distance from each other unless he’s on a mission because if they accidentally touch it would be uncomfortable. He agrees but wants some rules too. He wants her to pick up her hair and clean a little bit sometimes. He then grabs her beer and swigs. He doesn’t drink so she questions him. He opens up and says he’s having a hard time lately. She asks why and he says it’s all the new emotions – he’s so confused. He says he tries to be cool but sometimes he’ll just laugh or cry at the things on TV randomly. And when he’s around her… he gets… “emotional.” He goes and sits next to her and says he keeps wanting to be nice to her and then… he passes out on her shoulder. (kdrama special – lean on me)
Then she’s back with her friend. She asks her how she knows if she likes a guy. Our heroine tries the method her friend suggests and is happy to learn that she doesn’t like him. But then she sees him helping a kid and realizes she does like him.
Goblin is working up the courage to confess after his new emotion comes in.
The once “always honest” Goblin lied to her to keep hugging her.
She is waking up to his charms.
The two of them are now clearly liking each other, what next? Will they let themselves fall?
This episode was packing in the romantic tension for these two. Clearly they like each other but they aren’t willing to admit it, not to themselves and definitely not to their friends. We saw another instance of food the couple shares together and two ways the hero showed thoughtfulness for the heroine.
Today we are going to dissect episode 6 of The Kdrama Kiss Goblin. if you missed the other breakdowns you can find them here.
Yet again the writers started the episode off with a teaser of the future where the Goblin is kissing a girl and the heroine is standing back, watching.
Back to the scene at hand, the Exorcist tells the heroine to get out of the way and asks why she’s protecting the Goblin. She asks The Exorcist why he wants to kill the Goblin and the Exorcist explains that killing Goblins and protecting humans is his job. The heroine says “Well I don’t know about other Goblins, but this one helped me today so he’s not harmful. Leave him alone.” The Exorcist reveals that he cannot harm the human.
The heroine smiles, snuggles closer to the Goblin, looks the exorcist in the eyes and eggs him on to try to kill her. There is romantic music as the Goblin looks at the heroine. He must have just fallen for her.
The exorcist relents and leaves.
The heroine is happy and asks if he’s happy too and he just stares at her. Her smile fades as she realizes that look of love in his eyes and she tries to get up. He pulls her back down and asks her to protect him by living together.
#tropealert living together/cohabitation
The heroine agrees to protect him, support his mission of becoming a human, and live together as long as he pays 100% of the rent, and does all the chores, and has to do what she says.
At her apartment, she sets up a whiteboard with the mission objectives and shares it with him. He listens attentively. She says as soon as the GQ identifies the person they’ll go together so she can protect him from the exorcist.
Morning 1 of living together. He gets up off the couch, cooks a very nice breakfast. She gives him a thumbs up and a huge smile. She watches tv while he cleans. He does laundry (including her bra and panties. She snatches that from him, mortified).
Mission 5 comes in. They go together. She watches him kiss the girl… for a long time.
The new emotion is happiness and he’s giggling at everything they see Including the exorcist when he appears. As soon as he does the heroine presses her body against the goblin and smiles in victory. Exorcist frowns and walks away in distress.
Later, it is nighttime and heroine is being followed. She hurries and so does the perp. She stops to huddle in fear and the guy, who is exercising, goes right past her. She pulls out her phone and hesitates to call The Goblin. but that doesn’t matter because when she looks up he’s there. He smiles at her and says he’s there to pick her up. She smiles back and comments on his smile.
Cut to the next kiss. She’s uncomfortable. He gets the emotion desire and tells her he wants something – a friend. Goblin asks her to be his friend. Exorcist shows up and they hug. Exorcist gets mad and goes away.
They’re grocery shopping. Couple activity. They fight over what to buy in a playful way, you know… a cute way. Not like how it happens in real life with your husband or your kids. 😀 She looks around and sees other couples shopping together too.
At home, she’s drinking and he’s cooking. He presents her with dinner and comments that her face has changed. She used to look sad and now she smiles a lot. He stares at her with adoration and says it looks better that way. She tells him to stop flirting with her. She tells him why she hates people (because they are selfish). He tells her he won’t be the kind of human she hates. He reaches out and touches her face and tells her that he likes her smiling face.
Cut to the next kiss… the heroine thinks: she likes being with him and that’s why they can’t be friends because she likes him too much.
Lots of plot moving forward quickly, he only has four more kisses to go. We are halfway through the drama.
They are now sharing moments together as a couple, like grocery shopping, walking home at night together, eating meals together, etc.
He tells her that he likes her smiling face, which is strengthening the intimacy between them. She is feeling it too and we can tell because she can’t watch him kiss other girls anymore.
If you missed any of the Kiss Goblin episodes before this one you can find them here. I am going through each episode of Kiss Goblin and breaking it down so we can see how the screenwriter crafted this delightfully fun mini K-drama.
The screenwriter again teases at a future scene – a kiss between goblin and heroine. (This gives the viewer a taste of what’s to come!)
Then we go back to the present with the exorcist. The exorcist has the goblin pinned against the wall by the neck and the heroine comes over and grabs onto the exorcist. The goblin touches her and magics them out of the situation and then they run. Fleeing together and then there is some sexual tension when they have to hover together and he makes them disappear.
Then they are in the bar together and she is recalling what he said earlier. He is cleaning a wound on her hand (another trope – fixing w a band-aid). She’s realizing what he said was true and is trying to rationalize it. She then leans forward and kisses him, hoping that by kissing him she’ll wake up from the dream.
She grabs him and kisses him. (First kiss)
She pulls away and when he doesn’t disappear she starts freaking out because that means it’s all true. And then she asks him to forget that she kissed him. She asks him details about his kiss mission and discovers that it can’t be any random 10 humans, it has to be the ones that the goblin queen picks for him to kiss and then explains that when he does that the emotions are passed to him.
She asks more questions about his world. (intimacy building – getting to know him better) Goblin answers and then asks her if he’s handsome.
The scene cuts to the morning. She was dreaming about the kiss. She wakes up hoping it was a dream but then sees her bandaid and grumbles.
Goblin is w the queen and asks about the exorcist. Goblin queen explains the origin of goblins. He learns that no goblin has ever been successful in their quest to become a human. (foreshadowing) She warns him again to make sure he leaves right after the kiss. (more foreshadowing) He asks her if she wanted to be a human and we flashback to her a long time ago. She did, at one time, want to be a human.
At work he is sweeping and she arrives. They look at each other for a moment and he seems unaffected by their kiss. As they go about their shift they bump into each other. ++Sexual tension.
Second Male Lead (SML) friend is asking advice from the best friend about the heroine. The best friend urges him to go to the heroine and confess his feelings for her before it’s too late.
The restaurant is closed and the SML comes in, brief glance exchanged between the two studs, and then the heroine comes to greet the SML. He tells her that he’s taking her home because it’s not safe. She calls him out on his weird behavior but he ignores her and they leave together.
Goblin stares after them curiously.
SML on the way home talks about how good-looking Goblin is. The heroine calls the SML out on his weird behavior again and he gears up to say his confession: “I….” (Hook- Scene Cut)
This episode was mostly background and facts gathering. There was a little sexual tension mixed in. Overall, not much revealed in the way of character traits. The couple do connect in this episode, revealing their personal secrets, raising the trust and intimacy levels between them.
The episode opens with a future scene: the goblin and heroine are standing on the sidewalk crying while looking at each other.
Everyday life – second male lead introduced – #tropealert – unrequited love, friend
The best friend can see that the second male lead (SML) likes the heroine. Through dialogue the SML friend points out the heroine’s flaw: she was cheated on and didn’t confront the ex about it. But with anyone else she’d speak up and go off the handle.
Meanwhile, Goblin is on to his third kiss. Speaking with his mentor, the Goblin Queen, we learn about the exorcist whose job it is to stop Goblins from turning into humans by killing them. (Connected the bad guy and giving background to his motivation for wanting to harm the hero) The Goblin Queen warns him to leave immediately after kissing someone in order to stay safe. Also, this emotion will be tough. (Sadness, if the intro was any indication).
The goblin meets with his third kiss girl. He talks to her first and finds out that her fiancee died right before their wedding a couple of years ago. While he kisses her he changes form to look like her dead fiancee, giving her a dream of kissing him and holding him. The goblin says she’ll dream of him often. (Good character trait – compassion).
As the goblin walks away the sadness starts to affect him in his chest.
We cut to the heroine and she runs into her ex at school who hurts her by failing to acknowledge her as an ex-lover to his newest girlfriend.
The Goblin and heroine meet on the sidewalk, crying. She asks him what’s wrong and he says he doesn’t know. They stand there, apart but together, crying. Then he takes her for a drink.
Couple growth: having a drink and talking about emotions. He asks her for advice on how not to be sad. She reveals her thoughts about this topic (he is learning more about her).
The exorcist comes in and tells him he can smell a Goblin. They stand up and the Goblin says “Exorcist?” -Hook
In this Episode:
We had some couple growth as they opened up and shared secrets with each other..
The goblin took one step closer to his goal completion.
Welcome back to the Korean Drama analysis of Kiss Goblin. We are on episode two of this Korean drama. If you missed episode one, you can find it here.
When we left off in our Korean Drama, the goblin was being punched in the face by the heroine. The goblin confronted the heroine and asked her why she hit him. She projects her feelings from her act on to him, asking if he thinks it’s fun to play with people’s emotions and make him feel superior. The actress shows the depth of her character’s emotion by the quiver in her voice and the tears coming to her eyes as she talks about this.
We flashback to see that she’s really thinking of what happened with her and her ex in catching him cheating.
Goblin reaches his hand up towards her face, but she stalks away, her friend in her grasp.
We hear the Goblin’s voiceover telling the goblin queen that he feels strange because he wanted to wipe away her tears and pat her back. The goblin queen explains that this is the new emotion that he just received from girl number two, and it’s called compassion.
When the heroine and her friend are far enough away from the Goblin, her friend looks very confused. The conversation reveals that her friend does not remember kissing the goblin.
The Korea drama writer then cuts to a scene where the heroine is frustrated because she isn’t finished with her assignment. She has a flashback thinking about the goblin and wondering how it’s possible that her friend doesn’t remember kissing him.
She needed to be frustrated with her assignment because of what’s about to happen next. Her classmate offers to do her homework in exchange for going on a blind date with one of his friends.
We see the goblin in everyday life, and we are shown that he has lots of bills and his water has been turned off.
Now we see the heroin on her date. The guy approaches and is rude, saying that she doesn’t look like her dating profile. He wants to know what photo editing app she uses. She keeps a smile on her face to be friendly and says that she heard that he was pestering her classmate for four days and five nights for them to get together and she’s sorry that she doesn’t look as good as her picture does.
He said it was a joke, and she must be the type to hold grudges.
In her head, she says people sometimes confuse being rude with being fun-loving.
The date continues to spiral downward with him talking about himself and his preferences without her even asking him. She also notes that guys think that having manners is too old-fashioned.
He then says one last thing asking her how many people she’s gone on blind dates with and how many guys she’s dated in total.
She insults him in reply, with a smile, and then says, “just joking.”
Through this scene, we learned that she prefers old-fashioned guys with manners. Luckily the goblin is old and, therefore, probably old-fashioned. Check!
She then goes to work and bumps into the goblin (literally), who has taken a part-time job there. She is suspicious that the goblin is only there to get revenge on her for hitting him the previous evening. He reveals to her that he needed a job because his water got shut off.
Purpose of this scene:
-sexual tension (he grabs her wrist and pulls her towards him to prevent her from running into a table. After interrogating him, he grabs her wrist again and pulls her towards him, trying to be intimidating. She kicks him in the shin in response. She demands to know his reasons, and he motions for her to come closer so he can tell her. He leans in close and speaks into her ear.)
-couple gets to know each other (she asks why he’s working there, why he kissed her friend, and he basically tells her to be respectful, call him by his name and mind her own business. After the kick, she shows her noncompliance with being a soft-spoken woman, defends her friend, and makes fun of his name. She asks again for his reasons. He tells her the truth, and she calls him crazy.)
When working together, there is an altercation between the heroine a male customer. The male customer becomes more and more irate and then tries to hit her, but the Goblin stops the customer. The heroine then slaps the customer across the face with his chicken (Kdrama Trope twist: Kimchi Slap) and has a massive outburst.
When alone, the goblin goes to her and tries to comfort her by bringing her a drink. He takes her side and tells her not to be upset because the customer was wrong, not her. He tells her he looked up online how to comfort others and gave her a carton of chocolate milk.
In the end scene of the Korean Drama, episode two, we are introduced to the villain who is looking at a picture of the goblin on his phone. This is an example of an external problem for the couple, more specifically for the hero.
The things the writer integrated into episode 2:
If we are following the Romancing the Beat sheet, then this episode covered Phase 1: Adhesion.
By putting these two characters together in their part-time job they now have a reason to continue to be in each other’s daily lives. The goblin needs money to pay for his bills, especially since he’s going to be human after eight more kisses.
We learned that the Goblin isn’t a liar – at least not with our heroine. She asked him twice why he was two-timing her friend and why she couldn’t remember it, and he answered her after the second time.
We also learned the heroine doesn’t get along well with normal human men. She finds them distasteful and rude. This is a contrast to the end of the episode where she sees Goblin offering her comfort in the form of a chocolate milk.
Another character trait for her is that she’s faithful and loyal to her friends as evidenced by her inability to let go what happened between the goblin and her friend.
Feisty heroine – she doesn’t stop herself from speaking her mind and she’s not afraid to get physical when someone crosses her boundaries.
Kimchi slap – In Korean Dramas there is a trope where a character gets slapped on the face with kimchi. The writer used a version of it here with the fried chicken (another common food in Korean dramas)
Forced proximity – they work together in the restaurant
Male knight – Goblin stepped in to keep the heroine from getting hit
Man in Black – clearly a bad guy is coming onto the scene – what part will he play?
That’s my analysis for Episode 2 of Kiss Goblin, the Korean drama. I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts! Did I miss anything? Did you find this helpful?
I’m really looking forward to analyzing Kdrama’s as a part of my blog and hopefully, I will soon get up the guts to be on camera and talk about it there as well. The first #kdrama I’m going to analyze is called #kissgoblin and I started the show on Rakuten #Viki. If you are not familiar with Viki, It’s a streaming service that streams Asian dramas and movies. You have access to a lot of current Kdrama’s and Chinese dramas and Japanese dramas and Thai dramas that are currently airing in those countries. Usually, the wait time is a day after it airs in that country, and then if you don’t know those languages it takes time for the translation teams to translate those into English so there is a little bit of a delay to watch brand new things but Viki has a tremendous amount of content to watch so you’ll never be lacking something. So let’s start with the drama Kiss Goblin. (You can watch Kiss Goblin for FREE on Viki.com – I get no kickbacks by mentioning Viki – I just love them so much! 💕) I recommend watching the episodes before reading the breakdowns below because they will contain spoilers!
The Breakdown The description for Kiss Goblin mentions a 160-year-old goblin who wants to be human but in order to do so, the goblin queen tells him that he must take human form and kiss humans 10 times. He has the ability to make people be attracted to him. He’s got magical powers so this doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do but after he kisses a person, he learns one of the human emotions and has to then experience it. Once he has all of the emotions he can then become a human. I picked this drama because it has a goblin, which sounds gross if you think about American goblins that are green and short and wrinkly and stuff, but in Korea goblins are immortals, like Gods. He also had this assignment of kissing ten different people and I wanted to see how this would play out knowing that this is a romance. It had me asking questions like… is she the last person he’s going to have to kiss? Or is she immune to his charms and he has to fight to make her fall for him? This is how you know you have a great description. You want your readers (or viewers!) to be asking questions and dying to know the answers! Okay, so let’s break down this drama. Each episode is 12 minutes long and there are 12 episodes with a total running time of 140-ish minutes. It’s episodic versus a movie so we’ll see how the writers decided to chunk the content. Let’s do this thang!
We are introduced to the hero quickly, he is wearing a long leather trench coat and all black. He’s attractive and glances at a single girl at the bar. He pulls her outside and they just start kissing after some green smoke surrounds them. There is an overhead voice of the Goblin Queen telling the rules he must follow: To be human he must kiss ten different humans.
We then cut to the heroine who is bussing tables. She is talking about herself, the writer is introducing her traits: she’s hard working, she wants an ordinary life, and she hates people. We see why she hates people very quickly. She’s taking a guy’s order and he hits on her, demanding her phone number. She then asks him if he’s having fun. This shows that she’s not one to demurely smile and walk away – she’s a fighter. We see more of why she hates people as it cuts to the drunken men in the bar she works in being dumb, vulgar and gross.
Because I’ve seen this all the way through once I noticed the lead in to the forced proximity. The heroine is taking out the trash and asks her boss if he thinks they need another part time worker. She goes outside to take out the trash and this is their meet cute – he’s in the alley kissing another girl like crazy. She stares at him with some longing and then she meets the guy’s eyes and runs away.
We see the wisp of smoke as her emotion passes to him and then he walks away from the girl who then startles, not remembering what just happened.
The goblin touches his chest, and the Goblin Queen comes, teaching him about his first learned emotion. We are learning about the Goblin: he doesn’t experience emotions. “It’s empty, but why is it heavy?” He’s contemplative.
The Goblin Queen warns him that despite sounding easy this GOAL to become a human will be painful and difficult. She then gives him his second target, and asks why he wants to be human. His MOTIVATION is so that he doesn’t have to be alone like the Goblin Queen who has been alone for 1000 years. (This is the Goblin’s mirror. She will be the confidant and guide as he embarks on this journey. She is also the representation of a path he needs to choose between. Becoming human or staying a goblin.)
The writer then takes us to the university where the heroine and her best friend are chatting. Through the convo we see again that she doesn’t like people, men in particular, and that she isn’t dating because of her ex who is the reason why she hates people. Her friend is the person who is telling her “Hey, dummy, you shouldn’t keep hating people or you’ll be bitter and alone.” Not a direct quote, but that’s the gist. The friend is also a medium in which we can learn more about the main character.
The writer then sets up what’s coming – the heroine tells the friend to enjoy dating and the friend says she will because a stranger asked for her number. We see that it’s the Goblin. She describes him as handsome and that he has an aura that attracts people. The heroine says she’s curious about him. And then goes to the library.
While at the library we learn a little about her ex. They were lovey-dovey there, sharing loving flirting touches and embracing each other. She leaves the library and here’s the setup for the hook: she sees her friend kissing the same guy she saw in the alley the night before outside of the place she works. A CHEATER – just like her EX! (The writer cuts to a scene of her seeing her boyfriend in a cafe embracing and flirting with another woman. She calls him and he ignores her call).
She approaches them both and, because she’s a fighter, she tells him that it’s because of people like him that she hates people. She throws down her bag and punches him right across his face.
So we have a woman who was cheated on (her wound) and the writer is setting her up with a Goblin (who actually isn’t a human but wants to be), who has to go around kissing ten different girls in order to fulfill his goal, which ultimately is to not be alone.
Let us note here that the hero doesn’t have a presenting wound, just a goal. The heroine doesn’t have a goal aside from working hard and going to school, but she does have a pretty big wound.
She’s attractive and has a temper. He’s super attractive and is not overly emotional (yet). He definitely doesn’t understand feelings.
Her – temper
Him – not having human emotions (yet)
Her: She was cheated on and is avoiding relationships (not a secret from her friend) She found the Goblin sexy when watching him kiss initially. (Her own secret)
Him: He’s a goblin and wants to be human so he won’t be alone. In order to get that wish he needs to kiss ten humans of the Goblin Queen’s choosing and after each kiss he takes one of their emotions. (secret known to Goblin Queen, his friend)
She works as a part time waitress and goes to college.
He’s kind of dark and mysterious and very emotionally dead.
She is the average pretty college girl with extreme emotions (anger).
He doesn’t want to be alone and she wants to be alone forever because of her wound.