Dear X Who Does not Really like Me: Episodes 1-three (Initially Impressions)
Our most current bite-sized drama had me fooled into considering it was just one more quirky rom-com about a young lady browsing for like in all the incorrect locations. But underneath the clichés and the magical realism is a surprisingly astute message about the follies of 1-sided crushes and chasing immediately after the feeling of getting in like alternatively of locating an individual to like.
Editor’s note: Continued drama coverage is pending primarily based on Beanie feedback.
EPISODES 1-three Initially IMPRESSIONS
When I initially study the synopsis for Dear X Who Does not Really like Me, my initially believed was: What is this? Death Note but with romance and song lyrics alternatively of murder? I had the believed in jest, but some unexpected dark comedy featured in the opening moments did have me asking yourself if our most current dramavella — that is what I’m calling this not-pretty-a-net-drama drama — is a lot more like Death Note than I initially suspected.
We open to our heroine SEO HEE-SOO (Han Ji-hyo) going on a series of romantic dates with the similar man — later identified as KIM GANG-WOOK (Sohn Hyun-woo), her existing crush. By way of a voiceover, Hee-soo ponders the fantastic place for a like confession, and we move via 3 distinctive scenarios: playing about in an empty train automobile in the course of the initially snow, watching the sunset from a rooftop, and placing a pillow more than her lover’s face like she’s about to smother him…
Yeah, that final 1 gave me a moment of hesitation, as well, but it sooner or later turned into some flirtatious (totally clothed) mattress wrestling.
As these dates play out on screen, they sync up — feel Every thing, Everywhere, All At After if you have observed it — and as Hee-soo comes to the conclusion that all locations and moments are wonderful for a like confession, she and Gang-wook admit their feelings for 1 one more and exchange a kiss in all 3 circumstances. Dawww, how romantic. Until…
All 3 versions of Gang-wook commence coughing up blood. He collapses and seemingly dies as Hee-soo tries to carry out chest compressions on his lifeless physique.
Nicely, that definitely wasn’t the tone I envisioned this drama getting, but it is all fantastic in the neighborhood, people. Our major lady does not have an overly infectious case of the cooties. Nah, she’s just got an overly active imagination, and — as we see when she arrives at college the subsequent day — the true Gang-wook is nevertheless alive and effectively.
Hee-soo — in a move that is the incredibly definition of cringe but entirely a thing I would have performed as a teenager — tries to manufacture a predicament that would prompt Gang-wook to initiate a conversation with her, but he does not fall for the bait. Mainly because why would he? He’s the cool sunbae variety, and he does not even know her name. Ooof! That had to sting.
In class we meet JUNG SHI-HO (NCT’s Doyoung), Hee-soo’s lengthy-time finest buddy. He’s the type of guy who utilized to be a wimp but then became a total hottie immediately after he went via puberty. He undoubtedly has a not-so-secret crush on Hee-soo, but she has him firmly packaged away in the dreaded friendzone… for now. I say “for now” simply because I’m 99.99% constructive that Shi-ho is Hee-soo’s endgame. Every thing about this drama screams YA-novel-turned-film-about-girl-falling-for-the-guy-who-has-been-there-all-along. But initially, she has to date some losers. *cough* Gang-wook *cough*.
Shi-ho goes via the motions of getting the subtly jealous finest guy-buddy, which assists give us the low-down on Gang-wook. Turns out Mr. Fantastic Sunbae is a bit dumb and also a klutz. According to Hee-soo, he’s “gap moe” — he acts differently than you would count on from his look, but that is element of his charm (and Hee-soo adds that it humanizes his perfection lol).
Hee-soo and Gang-wook are a element of the similar music and lyrics club, and in the course of the commence of the semester celebration, the club members go about reading lyrics that they have composed. Initially up is the new freshman beauty KANG JOO-YEON, and her lyrics are praised by every person. Hee-soo is the unfortunate soul who has to adhere to Joo-yeon’s stellar efficiency, and thinking of Shi-ho keeps dragging her out for meals when she’s supposed to be writing, it is unsurprising that Hee-soo’s most current composition is entitled, “Have You Eaten?”
As you can picture, it does not go more than effectively with the snooty club members, but many drinks later Gang-wook calls her song cute. Riding higher on his praise and as well significantly liquid courage, Hee-soo follows him out of the restaurant with the intention of confessing her feelings.
However, she stumbles upon what seems to be his secret rendezvous with Joo-yeon, who proceeds to insult Hee-soo in an absurdly petty manner. Oh, you create your lyrics in a notebook alternatively of on your cell telephone? That is sooooo cute! But, underneath all the backdoor insults, Joo-yeon did have some strong (albeit unsolicited) constructive criticism: subsequent time, create from the heart.
Crushed, Hee-soo returns to the restaurant, exactly where she drinks and cries on Shi-ho’s shoulder. At some point, he sends her off in a taxi, and she wakes up on her father’s couch, a thing she is not pleased about now that she’s sober. As Hee-soo wanders about the property, we get the sense that her connection with her father is strained and has, maybe, been that way due to the fact her mother passed away.
She wanders into her father’s workplace, exactly where she has an old memory of him crying more than a photo album, and this is exactly where factors get magical. A journal begins carrying out a small jig on the bookshelf then throws itself on the floor to get Hee-soo’s consideration. She picks it up, and as she reads her name on the cover web page, the other books commence to tremble on the shelves like an earthquake is rolling via. Abruptly, they all fly at her face.
She wakes up in her personal bed and assumes the incident was all one more 1 of her wacky dreams, except… Shi-ho confirms he dropped her off at her father’s property, and the mysterious journal is on her desk. Conveniently, she’s utilized up all the pages of her old journal, so she cracks open the new 1.
Cue dramatic lighting and music, and I cannot assistance but giggle at Hee-soo’s incredibly suitable WTF expression as a mysterious voice calls from the journal and invites her to create inside of it. It promises to give her almost everything she desires. Hmmmm… what could go incorrect?
Hee-soo pours her heart into writing a new set of lyrics. At initially, absolutely nothing seemingly takes place, but then her club hosts a concert exactly where Gang-wook performs a song named, “Would You Please Confess to Me.” These are Hee-soo’s song lyrics he’s singing! Immediately after Gang-wook finishes, he walks out into the audience, and to everyone’s astonishment, he confesses his like to a incredibly confused Hee-soo.
After she realizes that the predicament is not a dream, she and Gang-wook commence dating, and we get to endure via a lengthy montage of them carrying out couple activities collectively. Gang-wook is as stiff and boring as a 40-year-old accountant, and their time collectively reminds me of staged wedding photography — the type exactly where the photographer asks every person to laugh and act like they’re all getting a fantastic time, but you can low-crucial inform that all the bridesmaids are hungry and daydreaming about taking their heels off and hitting the open bar.
And positive adequate, not almost everything is peachy in paradise. Hee-soo begins to suspect that a thing is up when she overhears members of her club gossiping that they have been constructive Gang-wook was going to confess to Joo-yeon the evening of the concert. She sooner or later figures out that her journal has magical powers and forcefully changed Gang-wook’s heart so that he fell in like with her alternatively.
Hee-soo wavers briefly, feeling insecure, but she chooses to selfishly plow ahead with the connection. I hate to use the term “daddy challenges,” but all indicators point to her father getting emotionally distant. So she latches onto Gang-wook simply because he seemingly provides her the like and affection she under no circumstances had.
Shi-ho senses her wavering and tries to point out to her that their connection is very unbalanced — she’s out right here shopping for Gang-wook pricey coffee makers even though he gets her low-priced jewelry — but she will not hear any of it.
We flashback to when Shi-ho initially transferred to Hee-soo’s higher college. He’s shy and awkward, and we understand that he was bullied at his old college, which has provided him PTSD. Immediately after an incident at college triggers a panic attack, he retreats to a storage area, exactly where Hee-soo finds him and assures him that it is a secure space for him to hide to when he demands it.
There’s a montage of their friendship and Shi-ho’s private development, but just as Shi-ho begins to really feel like all his previous discomfort and suffering was the price tag he had to spend so he could meet Hee-soo, he learns that she has no intention of ever dating. She does not really feel loved at residence, and her upbringing has provided her a pessimistic outlook on romantic relationships. She feels there’s no point in dating simply because all relationships sooner or later finish.
Back in the present, the magic has worn off Gang-wook, and Hee-soo catches him carrying out the hanky-panky with Joo-yeon. He’s truly angry at Hee-soo for walking in on them, calling her a stalker and claiming he under no circumstances liked her in the initially location. Needless to say, they break up.
Shi-ho shows up at her location with meals and comforting words, and he advises her to commence writing song lyrics once more simply because it produced her pleased. Hee-soo remembers the magic journal, which is mysteriously not in the trash exactly where she final left it, and requires Shi-ho up on his assistance. Except he wasn’t conscious that she was going to use her new lyric writing to get more than her breakup the old fashioned way: by throwing herself into a series of seemingly unhealthy rebound relationships courtesy the journal’s magic powers.
More than the course of the subsequent handful of months, Hee-soo learns that the journal’s powers have a handful of guidelines. Initially, in order for the magic to perform, she will have to feel of an individual she desires to date even though writing. Second, only dating-connected wishes perform — this is not a lottery winning type of magic. Third, she can only want for realistic relationships, so she sadly cannot date her favourite idol. Fourth, if the connection started simply because of the notebook, then it will finish immediately after a month. And ultimately — according to the mysterious voice emanating from the journal — if she writes a thing on the final web page, then she will under no circumstances like once more.
Although Hee-soo goes via a string of 1-month relationships, Shi-ho worries about her. Their mutual buddy PARK SE-JIN (Kwon Ah-reum), nonetheless, is a bit impressed. Se-jin desires to know the secret of Hee-soo’s new dating good results simply because Se-jin has a crush on Shi-ho, and he keeps rejecting her date invites.
For some undisclosed cause, Hee-soo voluntarily reveals her magic journal’s powers to Shi-ho. They meet in the college library exactly where she asks him to assistance choose out her subsequent target, and she settles on PARK JOON-YOUNG (the Kim Ji-hoon born in 2001), the hottest freshman in the Korean literature division. Hee-soo writes in her journal, and collectively they watch as Joon-young walks — in slow motion, of course — towards them…
And then he requires an abrupt correct turn. Shi-ho sees this as proof that her magical journal does not perform, but then Hee-soo shows him her lyrics. The initially line reads, “We’ve walked previous each and every other a handful of occasions.” Certain adequate, immediately after walking previous each and every other a handful of a lot more occasions in the library, Joon-young approaches Hee-soo amongst the book stacks and asks her out. On the other side of the shelf, Shi-ho forlornly watches Hee-soo’s face as she smiles and accepts.
Afterwards, Shi-ho asks if she’s definitely going to hold working with the journal, and Hee-soo responds that she likes it when guys inform her that they like her. He asks what will come about when she fills up the final web page, and Hee-soo considers that a challenge for future Hee-soo. For now, she desires to reside in the moment and really feel loved and pleased, but Shi-ho argues that she does not appear pleased. She disagrees and ditches him when Joon-young calls.
When she’s gone, Se-jin seems and asks Shi-ho on one more date. Immediately after providing it some believed, he agrees, which surprises Se-jin. She was clearly expecting to get rejected once more. It seems Shi-ho is taking a web page from Hee-soo’s (metaphorical) book and is going to attempt and get more than her by getting open to the thought of an individual else.
And so we get a sense of what the mysterious journal voice meant when it mentioned Hee-soo could have all the like in the planet so lengthy as she does not create something on the final web page. Hee-soo’s window of chance to nab Shi-ho is closing, and if she does not get her head out of her ass, she’s going to drop him.
Although it is frustrating to hear Hee-soo complain about not getting loved when Shi-hoo — romantic feelings aside — is standing correct there getting an very loving buddy, I type of like that she’s a bit of a mess. It is a refreshing take on an overused plot line. Generally when the major lady falls for her lengthy-time buddy, she’s the fantastic girl-subsequent-door variety who has to get her heart crushed by a douchebag ahead of she sees the appeal in her finest buddy.
Hee-soo, on the other hand, is an individual who has grown up feeling unloved and vowed to under no circumstances face heartbreak, which might clarify why she either hasn’t acknowledged or noticed Shi-ho’s crush on her. But now that she got a taste of what it feels like to be loved in the course of her short time with Gang-wook, she’s chasing the higher. She’s searching for her subsequent repair, and an individual who can speedily fill the void — lengthy-term consequences be damned — so it tends to make sense that she’s not searching at Shi-hoo as a romantic companion. She only has eyes for guys who will like and leave her immediately after a month.
Y’all, I was not expecting this dramavella to be deep, but it is truly taking a legit appear at like and romance. It even points out the toxicity and disappointment that comes from getting a 1-sided crush on a individual ahead of you truly commit substantial time with them. Hee-soo’s crush on Gang-wook was constructed on the fantasy of who she perceived him to be and that carried more than into her connection with him. And simply because she was so blinded by who she believed he was and who she wanted him to be, she didn’t see the reality.
That getting mentioned, this dramavella nevertheless suffers from some of the pitfalls of your common net drama, such as abrupt scene transitions, inconsistent pacing, and flat secondary characters that you do not definitely care about simply because there’s not adequate time to give them the suitable consideration and improvement. I’m personally prepared to overlook such challenges when consuming bite-sized dramas, like Dear X Who Does not Really like Me, so I’m interested in seeing a lot more from this surprisingly complicated dramavella and its rookie cast.
- Premiere Watch: Dear X Who Does not Really like Me, Remarriage & Desires
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