Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Slice of life, College Life, Psychological, Romance, Webtoon
Summary: (per webtoon): Seol Hong (Kim Go eun) is a hard-working student, who has returned to college after a long break. Jung Yu (Park Hae Jin) is a senior at the college known as Mr. Perfect. Seol feels like her life took a turn for the worse since she got involved with Jung. Is Jung intentionally turning Seol’s life?
There’re few blogs recapping this drama, so read up on it to understand my midway review, but that shouldn’t be the case. IF YOU ARE NOT WATCHING THIS DRAMA, YOU NEED TO RIGHT NOW. So, leave this site, go watch the drama, COME BACK and resume reading. GOT IT! 🙂 Anyhow, this post is not to persuade you to watch the drama, rather comment on observations about characters.
As an audience, most scenes play out in Seol’s perspective, especially, with her interaction with Jung; hence, we get the sense that she is an unreliable narrator. However, when we see Jung from other’s perspective, we can see some similarities that align with Seol’s. Yet, when we are alone with Jung, those thoughts of others about him do not reflect. In fact, it seems like everyone tries to take the victim approach with Jung. In short, nothing makes sense with this drama because emotions are conflicted. We do not know who to believe and we are left with mystery surrounding the characters, mainly Jung, Seol and Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Joon).
Personally, this type of complicated, unreliable narration is more interesting because it engages the audience to participate in making their conclusions about characters without the audience feeling judged or wrong about an assumption. Having a narration that is unreliable gives an audience room to come up with their own conclusion about a character’s behavior or attitude.
Yu Jung is not your typical male lead; he’s cold/ nice, sweet/brutal, unsympathetic/compassionate, in short, he is a composition of personalities in one. You don’t know where to stand with him because he reflects so many personalities in one episode, you begin to have whiplash on trying to understand this ray of sunshine on a cloudy, rainy, stormy day. This is why Hong Seol feels ambiguous when she is around him; never sure of the forecast.
So, is there a clear way to understand Jung? Not really, there is no definite answer to this mystery of a dude. Some say he is a psychopath, others say he’s bipolar. However, though those theories might not be far-fetched. Yes, he does harbor personalities extreme, but there is more to him that that.
Jung is manipulative, that is a known fact, but how he uses those traits is really interesting. Like the title of the drama, “Cheese in the Trap,” everyone who comes across Jung is like a mouse that gets distracted by the cheese, that it forgets constantly that there is no such thing as free without any incentive, in most cases. We still do not know Jung’s background, but it is safe to state that over the years, scheming is one of the self-defense he’s built.
I’m not insinuating that Jung is purely innocent in every scenario, in fact, it seems like he truly believes that his way is the end that justifies the means. Like a kid, he doesn’t see anything wrong with his approach to right a wrong. He strongly believes that people deserve what they get because they didn’t think of the consequences of their present actions. In other words, people get too caught up in their own agenda that they tend to fall into their own trap. Jung simply finds a way to use their circumstances to get out of his own predicament or rather, Seol’s since he’s affiliating himself with her.
I have noticed a distinctive factor about him; Jung HATES BEING DISTURBED. If you don’t align with him, he has to get “rid” of you. Either, by himself. or it happens in a different way and he watches it play out without interfering. That way, true blame doesn’t fall on him for what he started. The victims become fools front of Jung and others as they begin to unravel in the trap they’ve sent for themselves in the first place all. It is pretty smart and highly intuitive.
What’s the Freaking Big Deal?
There are hardly any reasons to justify Jung’s actions. For example, the incident with Baek In Ho’s right hand that disrupts him from playing the piano. We are still on kept in the dark with the details, but it seems like Jung doesn’t see that he played a role in what caused a career out of someone he grew up with. Though, I strongly believe that In ho had an equal role to play in what happened to him because as we’ve seen in the past, not everything we see from other characters about Jung is true. As the narration delves into their story, we see that they were in the wrong as well and Jung simply took advantage to rectify a situation.
However, what I’ve come to realize is that Jung doesn’t use this manipulative and remorsless ways as a way to get ahead. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he still doesn’t use that to his advantage. We see that he does put effort into his education, career, relationships, etc.
So, why does his action seem to be a big deal? The answer is it is not. Jung is one who simply wants a quiet, normal life, right??? He hates fuss, as Seol can tell and he tries to resolve it as quickly as possible. This is why he doesn’t see himself as strange, but he sees others as weird.
The World is Stressful
Everyone is messed up in this world. At some point, we live a lifestyle that is not the norm; hence, we don’t see our actions as problematic because we victimize our actions that are not standard. Everyone in this drama live a life that at one point is wrong way before Jung stepped into the picture. Jung is trying to find balance in this crazy world, since everyone does crazy things, yet, we don’t judge them.
But when he tries to salvage a situation, the whole world point fingers at him. They call him strange, psychopath and narcissistic, yet, they don’t see that this guy isn’t mysterious or highly dangerous after all. He is just a guy who wants simplicity with no fuss. So, he tries to blend in with society, by trying hard to be someone he’s not. He simply does what every boyfriend will do when their girlfriend is being stalked. (Episode 6-7). Yes, he still has a dark side, but don’t we all?
What’s with the lingering feeling?
Seol sees Jung as someone who’s different from the others. In episode 7, when he caught the thief who broke into her apartment, Jung tells him that Seol is just like him; a part of him that makes him “normal.” This is why his actions are justified whenever he is defending Seol, she’s a part of him; she makes him feel like he’s not alone, she normalizes him. She’s unintentionally changing Jung from his darker side to be he’s more open in society. She doesn’t realize that her presence helps him fight the dark side. Hehe! He’s no supernatural being, but he’s different, and I am sure, the storyline will later tell us why. Episode 8 (the drunk/kiss scene is a perfect example as drunk Jung briefly spoke about how he was considered being a pushover in high school).
Irony is a horrible, yet so good
What is ironic is that Seol DOES GET HIM. Jung hides his emotions and thoughts from her or anybody. He barely sympathizes with others around him. Hence, we think that Seol is just like everyone else. But, in reality, she is similar to him. She barely voices her thoughts to those around her and keeps them to herself, hence, the voiceover. She lets things play out until it wears itself out without resolving the issue immediately, she is highly observant, and when push comes to shove (being cornered) she attacks. She is an enabler of a sort where she becomes a “bystander” to an ongoing event.
These are so simialar to Jung. Only difference, she is sweet and “innocent” like that we get thrown off. Subconsciously, we have built our understanding of Seol aroubd the synopsis of the drama and the expectation of what she is supposed to portray that as audience, we don’t see these factors as issues that Seol has. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize it herself. Epsiode 8 dibacle with imitator Min soo is a prime example of her enabling a negative act to continue until it gets to a tipping point before she resolve.
In a twisted way, it is like Seol sets an unintended trap for her “victims” and someone else cleans ups her mess. How is she different from Jung? She doesn’t have triple perosnalities in one episode to give a whiplash, she is actually considerate to others. She is the opposite of Jung, but similar. Ah, so complicated. She could be oblivious to what she putting out there, while Jung is fully aware of his actions. This is why Jung believes that Seol is like him, part of him.
For now, Seol is like him. I guess this is how opposites attract. Episode 8 was a stepping stone for his character (In Ho as well). The question is, is Jung willing to let go of the past and create a healthy future or will there be stubble blocks along the way that will make him recede. All I can say is that Yu Jung is his own enemy that he needs to deal with before venturing the healing process with others. His past has created a “sociopathic” tendancy (using the term loosely) in his present which can be damaging to his future and relationship with Seol, if it continues on.
I hope I made sense with this unintentionally written piece on Jung. I tried to connect all characters together, I guess that’ll wait till the drama ends. Since my thoughts went a different direction. 🙂
Verdict: LOVING (I have read the webtoon, however, observations are based SOLELY on drama adaptation)
Drama Recommendation: 4/5
Photo credit: Please take credit where it’s due for your pictures randomly grabbed from google. Thanks!!