Let’s Eat – Season 1
Original Title: 식샤를 합시다
People know I’m not generally a fan of K-Drama length (since I’ve been spoiled with J-Drama length), even in rather “short” series such as the 16-episode Let’s Eat (aka. its transliteration Shiksyareul Habshida), but I could hardly resist the stomach-tantalizing title and the pictures of mouth-watering food. I’m a sucker for food shows, and I was in the mood for some.
Unlike most idol-teen-obsessed dramas or telenovelas for the ahjumma crowd, Let’s Eat follows the story of Lee Soo-Kyung (played by the actress of the same name), a 34-year-old divorcée secretary at the Law Firm of old University mate Kim Hak-Moon (Shim Hyung-Tak), that has a habit of eating her stress out. She’s learned to live an independent life, but the only thing she cannot do by herself is to eat out. Plus, have you seen the size of Korean food portions? It’s impossible.
Anyway, that is until Lee Soo-Kyung begrudgingly befriends her floor neighbors, the fresh but good-hearted Goo Dae-Young (Yoon Doo-Joon) and new tenant Yoon Jin-Yi (Yoon So-Hee), the three of them will embark on a food journey that will break some hearts, but most of all bring friendship, joy and savory dishes to your soul.
To you who used to eat a lot of rice because you are lonely;
To you who sleeps a lot because you are bored;
To you who cries a lot because you are sad;
I write this down-
Chew on your feelings that are cornered like you would chew on rice.
Anyway, life is something that you need to digest.
Though I did feel that Let’s Eat dragged by its last two episodes (where most of the things are neatly wrapped up), the pace of the storyline is nicely done building up all the major characters, and even does it quite well with minor characters; such as Lee Soo-Kyung’s co-workers Attorney Oh Do-Yeon (Lee Do-Yeon) and friend’s hubby Choi Kyu-Sik (Jang Won-Young), as well as Soo-Kyung’s bestie Park Kyung-Mi (Jung Soo-Young). Even Soo-Kyung’s mother (Nam Nung-mi), who pops up out of nowhere in ep.08 Things That You Can See Only When You Quit to add depth within the various comedic interactions and furthering the plot by putting the Lee Soo-Kyung and Goo Dae-Young relationship forward.
I did have an issue with the continuous red-herring of the Don’t Ask assailant, which splits into two different results- Dae-Young’s realization of his increasing feelings for his Nuna, and bursts the bubble for cutesy Jin-Yi. Also- kudos for the older woman/younger man relationship. You never see this enough, and love the fact that Soo-Kyung has all these older woman/younger man couples name-checked.
Having said that, though food isn’t exactly a main character in the show, it turns into a continuous… guest. At least one lunch/dining experience is featured in each episode in which a character, usually Dae-Young, bursts out into a somewhat lengthy explanation of how a certain dish is prepared or should be best eaten. The rest goes out to the way characters eat and savor it, which is a direct influence of Muk-bang [Wikipedia]. Lee Soo-Kyung had a really special aura when eating food in camera that may actually match how much I enjoy seeing Yu Aoi munching on screen.
However, the most surprising element in the show ended up being hard-shelled Attorney Oh, who throughout the many episodes seems to be deluded into thinking everyone is in love with her… until it hits the breaking point. In one of the world’s most superficial nations, you gotta have a backbone as strong as an oak to have your looks being the pun of a joke. It’s hard and it was beautiful how at one point Attorney Oh’s tear falls down as she has missed the delicious flavor of yummy food to please others. It doesn’t last long, though, as Let’s Eat is a comedy… but the moment is there, as Oh goes back to her deluded self.