Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 1

SBS premiered its new weekend miniseries Cheongdam-dong Alice today, and man oh man is it right up my alley!  To be honest, I totes wasn’t paying much attention to the show, though I love Moon Geun-young, and I didn’t even know it was going to premiere today.  Well, lemme tell ya that it’s got my attention now, alright, and I am TOTES excited!!

Rather than a conventional recap, today, I just want to introduce the characters via summary and weigh in on the first episode.  Here we go!

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Episode 1

Han Se-gyeong (Moon Geun-young) is an aspiring fashion designer who dreams of launching her own brand and becoming an international sensation.  She interviews for a designer position at GN Fashion and is hired despite receiving the lowest score, courtesy of Chief Designer Shin In-hwa (Kim Yuri).  Elated, Se-gyeong shows up at work bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, only to be told she’s a part-time temp hired to run errands for the President’s wife.01_3001_02

Refusing to be discouraged by the unpleasant reality check, Se-gyeong busily runs around Cheongdam-dong (a mightily affluent neighborhood of Korea) spending thousands of dollars to buy all the items on the Madame’s wish list.  Little does she know that Madame is Seo Yoon-ju (So Yi-hyun), an old high school frenemy who asked hubby President Shin Min-hyuk (Kim Seung-soo) to hire Se-gyeong.  What nefarious plans have you got up your sleeve, lady?01_0301_0801_1001_1401_19

Just outside Yoon-ju’s lavish home, Se-gyeong has a run-in – literally – with Cha Seung-jo (Park Shi-hoo), CEO of fashion brand Artemis.  But don’t call him that.  His business card and fancy name plate read “Jane Thierry Cha” – and that’s pronounced “shaw” not “chah”.  LOLOL.  EDIT: Also, is “Jane” a male French name???  The way he pronounces it, I feel like it should be “Jean” but my French is nonexistent so there well could be a “Jane”…  Any French-speakers out there wanna help?  Anyhooo, back to the story.  Jane Thierry is the son of Cha Il-nam (Han Jin-hee), President of Royal Group (yeah, I know, Koreans and their hilarious penchants for these ridonkulous names).  Papa disowned his son for (1) running off to Paris to study art instead of studying management in America, and (2) for living with a girlfriend of his own choosing instead of sticking with Papa’s choice, presented to him at 15.  And now, when Papa wants to carry Artemis items at Royal Group’s shopping mall, Jane Thierry turns him down flat – because Seung-jo wants his petty revenge.  Hahahahaaa!!01_1201_1101_3301_13

But back to Jane Thierry and Se-gyeong’s fender bender.  Jane Thierry sees Se-gyeong is driving a GN Fashion-owned car, filled to the brim with bags and boxes from high-end boutiques, and quickly sums up that she must be one of those women who spend their entire salary – and their man’s – on designer items.  Aka exactly the type of women his company targets with its exorbitant prices.  And thus begins the not-quite-there-yet romance of our Cinderella-Alice and Prince not-so-Charming.  Se-gyeong, of course, has no idea that the jerk-o-butt is Jane Thierry since he ever-so-kindly introduces himself as the CEO’s personal assistant.01_0601_07

After her horrible first day on the job, Se-gyeong meets up with her boyfriend So In-chan (Nam Goong-min yaaaay!), who offers a coveted Artemis purse as a parting gift.  Dang, girl, what a day.  He loves her, but the real world just sucks, and he doesn’t want to saddle her with his ill mother and a debt-laden, brand-name-less life.  Se-gyeong’s bestie Choi Ah-jung (Shin So-yool) tells her to just break up with In-chan, but Se-gyeong loves him, debts and all.  Girlfriend, I love Nam Goong-min, too.  Without him, Se-gyeong explains, she wouldn’t have graduated college or gotten anywhere in life.01_1501_1601_17

Jane Thierry gloats at home after besting Daddy dearest – oh my gawsh, you recorded the whole encounter?! Hahahaha!! – and bestie Huh Dong-wook (Park Gwang-hyun) drops by, calling him a petty psycho.  LOL.  Jane Thierry, though, has bigger fish to fry: Seo Yoon-ju, the love of his life who dumped him back in Paris.  Flashback to 2006: He didn’t understand why she was leaving him when he had willingly given up his family’s wealth for her.  Her answer?  Love is not “giving up” but rather “protecting.”  Whooee.  “To me, you were merely business.”  Wow.  I knew you were somethin’ special when you stole Se-gyeong’s boyfriend and made him draw your art pieces for a competition, but this is just another level.  Back in the present, Jane Thierry plots his revenge against GN Fashion’s lady of the manor, and Dong-wook reminds him to take his meds.  Hmmm, wanna break your bro code and explain, please?01_2001_18

Se-gyeong is assigned another delivery expedition, this time of a maginormously bling jewelry set.  Uuunfortunately, she loses the Certificate of Authenticity and finds herself on the hot spot.  She asks Jane Thierry for help, but he correctly guesses that she lost the certificate while secretly trying on the set, and derides her for being the usual avaricious female obsessed with expensive baubles.  His disparagement of her poor taste, exemplified by her current get-up, hits a raw spot, especially after In-hwa did the same earlier.  Se-gyeong gives him a piece of her mind, but the sting is still there, and when In-chan tells her not to call him anymore since they’re over, she agrees that they’re really done for realsies.  And promptly bawls her eyes out.  Poor baby.01_3601_2101_2201_2301_2501_26

She goes home and writes her resignation letter, but before she can turn it in the next day, everyone is set scrambling to spiffy up because Madame is making her appearance.  Se-gyeong, too, dutifully lines up to greet the heretofore mystery lady… and stares in shock at her frenemy-closer-to-enemy Seo Yoon-ju.01_3701_29

 

Thoughts

What a zippy, fun outing that was!  The episode only garnered an 8.6%, thanks to May Queen hitting a series-best 22.7%, and it probably didn’t help that the PR team didn’t do its job too well.  After all, I totes forgot this was even beginning today.  But let me tell you, I am SO on the train now.  For seriously.

The premise is common enough, though I can tell they’re making an effort to break new ground with little twists here and there.  It might be more attempt than results, but as long as things are cute and don’t stray into makjang-land or uber angsty I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out-land, I’m down down down down down.  *cue Jay Sean lolol*  The production is aiming for a juxtaposition of one man’s project to find true love, and a woman’s project to marry into a wealthy family – and I can guarantee you, the resulting clash is gonna be hilarious.  Sure, there’re gonna be some tears involved down the line, but I’m hoping the strong comedic undercurrent is maintained to the end.  *fingers crossed*

Speaking of comedic undercurrent.  Man oh man, do I love the comedy aspect of this show.  Yes, I love me a Cinderella story told straight, but I absolutely love rom-coms that give the “-com” justice.  And so far, Alice seems primed to make me a happy camper.  Jane Thierry is absolutely hilarious in how petty and immature he is – it’s what makes his jerk-o-butt-ness an overlookable flaw instead of a glaring defect.  And seriously, what a great touch with the satoori (accent) in his background.  I just cracked up when Han Jin-hee (Daddy dearest) broke out in Choong-cheong-do satoori, and judging from the preview, Jane Thierry is gonna let loose, too.  I am SO exicted.  Holla Choong-cheong-do!

The cast is absolutely solid, and I was squealing ever other minute when another face I loved was introduced.  Remember, I didn’t do my usual homework before the premiere, so each new face was a surprise.  I absitively posolutely LOVE Moon Geun-young.  Park Shi-hoo has been getting better and better with each project.  So Yi-hyun tends to choose characters I don’t like, but she’s pretty cute in real life, so I’ll let her pass.  I really like Kim Seung-soo – too bad he doesn’t have a bigger role here.  Nam Goong-min, why are you only making a cameo appearance?!?!  Why oh why oh whyyy?!01_27

Shin So-yool is SO cute here, and I’m seriously getting 1997 flashbacks all over again.  Park Gwang-hyun!  You’re baaaack!!  Who else, who else?  Oh yeah, Kim Ji-seok is supposed to make his appearance soon, so that’ll be exciting!  I’m just lovin’ it all, for seriously.

All in all, a wonderful outing for Alice, which has officially got me hooked.  Seriously, I think I have a new weekend winner.  Okay, I don’t wanna jinx it, so I retract that last sentence.  But if things continue on this path, I think we’ll have a lovely little show to bridge us over to the new year.  Cheongdam-dong Alice is set for 16 episodes (yay!).

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What did you all think?  Please share your thoughts! 😀

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14 responses to “Cheongdam-dong Alice: Episode 1

  1. “Nam Goong-min, why are you only making a cameo appearance?!?! Why oh why oh whyyy?!”
    my thoughts exactly. hahaha!
    I’m still not sure whether I’m going to watch it or not (checking out the first ep for NGM actually) and praying that Yoon-ju won’t be too much of a bitch. heeee 😀

    • hahahahhaa muchadoboutlove, you are the bestest!! i’ve been meaning to tell you that i looove your blog’s new look — it’s fantabulous to the max!!! 😀 😀 😀
      seriously, there was just NOT enough nam goong-min and i fear we may have to replay this episode over and over again to get our fix alice-wise xDDD lolol! but yes, i reaaaaally hope they do at least sooomething interesting with yoon-ju — she’s such a !@#$%^&* already, and it’s only episode 1 -___-;; hahahaa!!!

      • thanks for the compliment! revamped the whole site because I want something that looked simple, and it turned out to be like that 😛
        is it bad that I want NGM to stay and appear here and there throughout the drama? because that would be a nice catalyst for me to keep watching. hehehe 😉
        somehow I can see how YJ’s bitchiness lead to SK’s dream to be a Gangnam’s household wife, because that itself will be a good way for a revenge. Well, I hope she’s not going to drive me nuts and annoy me to death~ are you going to recap the drama? 😀

        • you’re very welcome! it for seriously looks great — whitecarrot and i aren’t very tech savvy, so we may be stuck with this theme for… a while lolol!!
          i SO want nam goong-min to stay foreeeeveeeer~~ i would have another really bad case of second-lead-syndrome again, though -__-;; hahaha!!
          i defs see what you’re saying about yoonju. her glamorous life is defs a major reason for se-gyeong to ditch her previously held values/beliefs — i thought they did a credible job explaining why se-gyeong decided to take the tack she’s taking. i kiiinda found the pace a bit slow in ep 2 so i haven’t finished eps 3-4 yet… i think i may weigh in on the episodes but i prolly won’t do full-on recaps 😦 the fact that i’m so very behind on seo-young doesn’t help the situation xDDD lolol
          have you decided whether to stick with alice?? 😀

          • you should finish 3-4 as I think those episodes give more insight into the plot and the characters. They are showing more of themselves and things are moving quite fast (and a little fast for Se-gyeong, according to Yoon-joo). I found myself liking Yoon-joo because she doesn’t look that evil, but it can always change, right? but the real deal is Seung-jo: he’s crazy, but I like it because that makes him unique on his own. He’s just excellent at making me laugh at his antics 😀
            Awww it’s okay if you can’t do the recaps, but it’s always fun to read your take on the episodes once in a while. Hopefully you’ll keep watching, because I think I will. Alice is my newest (and nearly only) drama crack!
            NGM is forever awesome, but his character deserves the leave forever from the drama. You’ll see why. Hehehe

          • i watched bits and pieces of ep… 6 i think? lolol i really need to sit down and watch it properly! i will defs go back and watch everything — in order! ^^ — thanks to your glowing recommendation! 😀 your encouragement and wonderfulestness keep me going!! 😀 😀 😀
            hope you’re having a wonderful last few weeks of 2012!! 😀

    • welcome to our Patch, Maeva!! 😀 😀 😀 thaaank you for your kind help! i defs felt like the name plate was an error, and voila! in ep 2 they had a new, correctly spelled name plate lolol!! thanks for joining us here at the Patch, Maeva! we look forward to more of your visits! 😀

    • Satsuki, how could you?! you beat me to it, and now nam goong-min is gonna princess-carry YOU instead of ME!!! hahahahahaaa!!
      but for seriously, is there anything — or anyone! — we don’t agree on?!?! you’re the bestestest!! 😀 😀 😀

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