First Impressions: Coffee House Page 1
Romanized title: Keopi Hauseu
English title: Coffee House
Broadcast station: SBS
Broadcast dates: 17 May – 27 July 2010
Cast: Kang Ji Hwan, Park Si Yeon, Ham Eun Jung (T-ara), Jung Woong In, Park Jae Jung
Watch on DramaFever
Synopsis: Underachieving Kang Seung Yeon crosses paths with famous writer Lee Jin Soo, who just happens to be friends with her sunbae. Through her sunbae, she manages to land a job as Jin Soo’s secretary, thinking that she has just caught a big break, she realizes too late that Jin Soo is more eccentric and hard to please than she ever thought possible. This drama follows the development of their relationship and how it changes their lives and relationships with those around them.
T-ara member Ham Eun Jung stars as the below average Kang Seung Yeon who meets famed writer Lee Jin Soo (played by Kang Ji Hwan of Hong Gil Dong fame). His first impression of the young girl is less than favorable, but he agrees to hire her as his secretary in order to pay back his hoobae whom he owes money to. Seung Yeon, not knowing this, goes happily to work. Her bubble is soon burst when she gets stuck with repetitive tasks that have no meaning. Add in to the mix publisher Seo Eun Young (played by Park Si Yeon of My Girl fame) who is itching to get rid of immature Lee, but who can’t turn down his next manuscript idea, and Seung Yeon’s protective, yet unsupportive family and this drama has some great hilarious moments.
We start the drama with Jin Soo escaping from the car on his way to a book signing, throwing his manager and publicist into a tailspin. It is not his first escape nor the first time he has shirked his publicity duties as an author. He makes his way to a coffee shop called Caffe where a sloppily dressed and unmotivated Seung Yeon is manning the counter. He orders a cappuccino, but before Seung Yeon can finish making it, her ex-boyfriend comes in and a screaming match ensues, causing Seung Yeon to lock herself in the bathroom.
Meanwhile, Eun Young is on a plane back to Korea when she gets the call saying that Jin Soo has managed to escape again. Infuriated, Eun Young instructs them to keep looking, frustrated that he pulled this stunt while she was away and can’t chase him down. She decides to wash her hands of the irresponsible author once and for all if he doesn’t make the signing.
After her ex leaves, Seung Yeon finds to her horror that she is locked in the bathroom. She calls for help and Jin Soo tries to get the door open with no luck. He then tries to contact her various family members, but no one answers their phones so Jin Soo puts in a call to a locksmith. While Seung Yeon is locked in the bathroom, customers come in. She tells Jin Soo to send them away, but he takes their orders and makes them their coffee instead. About the time the locksmith finally arrives, Jin Soo’s friend shows up. It turns out that Jin Soo’s friend is Seung Yeon’s sunbae who is amused by Seung Yeon’s predicament. While waiting for the locksmith, Seung Yeon began to have a stomach ache and decides to do some business since she is locked in. As luck would have it, the locksmith comes and cuts a whole in the door while she is on the toilet.
Before she can thank Jin Soo for his help, he leaves with her sunbae. And no, he doesn’t go to his book signing, he goes off on a little road trip instead. To cover for Jin Soo, his managers make up a story about a minor car accident. Eun Young is angry that Jin Soo bailed again, but is happy as it means she can sue him for breach of contract and finally sever all ties with the man who drives her crazy.
Seung Yeon is at home preparing for her mother’s death anniversary when her family comes in with the offerings all busted up. Seung Yeon scolds them for such a horrible lack of respect to her mother and then answers a call from her ex who tells her that her family attacked him while he was with his new girl (talk about fast!). Seung Yeon forgives the broken food as she realizes its her family’s concern for her and then tells them that she broke up with him, so he wasn’t cheating on her. This leads to some derisive comments about her appearance and lack of a job. With family like this, you don’t need enemies. While performing the rites, Seung Yeon’s cellphone goes off. She answers it and it’s her sunbae who offers her a job working as Lee Jin Soo’s secretary. Seung Yeon happily accepts the job and celebrates with her family at her change of luck.
Jin Soo returns from his trip to hear about the impending lawsuit. He is worried, but he already has a plan. He hands in a one page, handwritten synopsis for a new book. Eun Young pretends not to care and even throws it in her glass of champagne, but as soon as he leaves, she takes it out and desperately tries to open it without damaging it. While reading the synopsis, she realizes this work will sell well, thus the lawsuit is put on hold and she returns the synopsis to Jin Soo with a schedule he must abide by.
Seung Yeon goes to Page One the next day where Jin Soo gives her some busy work and she learns about his likes and dislikes. She sharpens his pencils and makes him coffee, both of which he throws out behind her back. Tired of her typing away on her laptop, Jin Soo sends her downstairs the the coffee shop/bookstore to summarize a book. Not just any book. A huge encyclopedia of fossils that is written in English, which she can’t read and needs a dictionary for help. This continues on and on with her supposed to summarize this work and not doing anything else. This frustrates Seung Yeon because she feels she is being paid for nothing, especially when she sees Jin Soo throwing out her pencils and coffee. She complains to her sunbae and gets drunk. On the cab ride home, she asks the cabbie his opinion and she makes up her mind to go back to ask Jin Soo just what is happening.
Seung Yeon asks Jin Soo why he doesn’t tell her he hates the coffee and the pencils are sharpened wrong and why he doesn’t give her any work to do. Jin Soo says she shouldn’t complain as she is getting paid and should be comfortable. She says that she is not comfortable at all and would actually like to earn her pay. Jin Soo then tells Seung Yeon that he owed her sunbae money and was using this method to repay him (apparently her sunbae likes her :-P). Seung Yeon is shocked to hear this needless to say. Jin Soo pushes her back out the door, but she is soon back asking him the reason why he isn’t giving her any work as that was not a real explanation. Even if it was a favor, he should still be making use of her. Then Jin Soo drops the good image she had of him and tells her that she is inadequate and not a pro. He has not liked her since they met at the coffee shop and he noticed all the horrible things (the misspelled sign, her lackluster attitude, the public fight with her boyfriend, her inability to make a cappuccino, the bathroom incident). She is an amateur who would not be capable of being able to help him and that’s where episode one leaves us.
My thoughts: Um, okay. I do love this drama. I find it funny, especially how Jin Soo’s true personality is revealed. I didn’t see him hiring because of a mutual acquaintance coming so that was a shock. I thought at least he would use her for fodder for his stories and was a bit disappointed that his only reason for hiring her was that. And Eun Young. Her character is highly mercurial and seems a bit crazy at times. I dislike her laughter, especially when she thinks she’s one over on Jin Soo or she is mocking Seung Yeon’s naivety. There is also quite a complicated relationship between Eun Young and Jin Soo, but we aren’t clued in on exactly just what that relationship is yet.
But this is definitely worth watching and a welcome break from the heavier melodramas. I love Kang Ji Hwan from Hong Gil Dong. He is a great actor and does comedy well. Playing the princely author with an uglier, perfectionist, almost obsessive compulsive side suits him and he does it well. T-ara member Ham Eun Jung is adorable as the ditzy, unambitious Seung Yeon. She plays the naive character rather well and I hope that she can mature and develop well under Jin Soo’s hands. I didn’t like Park Si Yeon in My Girl. Not that her acting was bad. I didn’t like her because I hated the character she played and this one, while funny and interesting, gets on my nerves with her laughter and mood swings. Hopefully she will start to grow on me more.