The characters of “Let’s Eat” took the show title to heart, and did exactly that for 16 episodes. There were brief pauses for a mysterious assailant, and some half-assed romance between the leads, but the true object of everyone’s affections was food.
Every look of outrage that was a precursor to Dae Young’s lecture on food in the entire series.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★
Only 만: ★★★.5
Lee Soo Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung) discovers that she has something in common with her younger neighbours: both insurance salesman, Koo Dae Young (Yoon Doo Joon) and Yoon Jin Yi (Yoon So Hee) are gluttons, too. A mystery assailant lurks in the background and Soo Kyung’s boss decides to pursue her after a decade of being the bane of her existence. These side stories really mean nothing, because the main focus of this show is always the food.
Only 만: We could start out by talking about the plot, but let’s skip that, and instead, discuss which episode made you the hungriest.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: To be honest, it was all a blur. All I knew was, every episode, there would be a scene of moaning and ‘O’ faces over loving shots of delicious food.
만: Do you even remember what happened otherwise?
중국어 캐나다: Yes, the plot was so simple, it was easy to remember. I can recap it right now. Divorced 33 year old, Lee Soo Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung) lives in an officetel and works in a law office. She is a glutton for food, and finds kinship with her two neighbours, Goo Dae Young (Yoon Doo Joon) and Yoon Jin Yi (Yoon So Hee) in gorging. Things get a little awkward at work, because of her boss, Attorney Kim Hak Moon (Shim Hyung Tak), but the entire office go out for lunch regularly and eat copiously. The characters and writers suddenly remember to insert some romance in the last couple of episodes.
만: Right. And, there was the subplot with the “Don’t Ask” assailant, but that was really about it.
중국어 캐나다: I found the random insertions of a scary element bizarre. Everyone’s just happily eating, and then a gloved hand comes out from under a bed. Or, a masked guy stalks the hallways of the officetel. It was so jarring that it came across as comedy, though I’m not sure that was what the writers intended.
만: I feel like the creepy factor was something that got dropped early on in the show, but was brought back to create some dramatic tension. I’m not sure why, since it distracted from the food.
Actually, at one point, Soo Kyung is too hung up on her feelings for Dae Young to eat, and I was annoyed. As in, why are they taking away from my food enjoyment for this half-assed romance plot?
Honestly, if it wasn’t eating, it was just light comedy to fill the space between meals. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
중국어 캐나다: It does remind me of the Hong Kong pastime of eating then wasting some time until the next meal.
만: Did you see Blind Detective? Practically the whole story was spent on Andy Lau stuffing his face. It was awesome.
중국어 캐나다: No, I haven’t, but it sounds culturally accurate. There are Chinese travel TV shows where all the hosts do is travel to other countries to eat. Who cares about the sights? What exotic thing can I stuff myself with?
만: That sounds like my kind of travel show. That said, let’s get back to “Let’s Eat”. I enjoyed this show, but it was pretty thin on substance, we can agree.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, I liked how pretty it was, and committed to framing the food in such loving shots. But, I think it was lazy of the writers not to have developed the relationship between the leads earlier and more convincingly.
만: Agreed. Aside from Soo Kyung’s earlier agonizing about her crush on Dae Young, we really didn’t get a sense that they had feelings for one another until he goes tearing across the city to save her from the “Don’t Ask” assailant. Even then, we could chalk it up to him being a good guy. And, I really thought Dae Young’s kiss with Soo Kyung came out of nowhere. I would have been as shocked as she was. For once, I didn’t object to her surprised face during the kiss.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, I was shocked, too. That said, the kiss was pretty nice, so again, such wasted opportunity.
만: Yes, coming where it did in the story, it felt a bit late.
중국어 캐나다: I don’t quite understand why I find Dae Young appealing. His character was weirdly breezy and charming. At first, I thought for sure that he was a gigolo. Then, it turns out that he just sells insurance.
만: Well, he sells insurance, he’s charming, he knows all the best places to eat, and can tell you in detail why you should eat there. No wonder he’s appealing.
중국어 캐나다: The lead female, Soo Kyung was, as you say, neither here nor there.
만: She was a good straight man for the comedy from the rest of the quirky cast. I think her defining characteristics were the orgasmic way she ate, and her paranoia.
중국어 캐나다: At first, I thought she was a foodie, which would explain why she wanted to try the latest, greatest restaurants. But, when she bought prepackaged dumplings from the supermarket, she still had the same reaction. So, I think she just likes eating, period. Quantity over quality.
만: Well, that was product placement, but I agree. She really was a glutton. At least, Dae Young could expound at length as to why he was stuffing his face.
중국어 캐나다: How did you like the secondary lead female, the young and naive neighbour, Jin Yi? I did find it funny that everything was a dream come true to her.
만: She was surprisingly charming. She didn’t grate on me, and I enjoyed it when she got into her rivalry with Attorney Oh Do Yun (Lee Do Yun) over Dae Young.
중국어 캐나다: I found Attorney Oh uncomfortable to watch, because she was such a caricature of the fat, unattractive and delusional girl. However, you don’t tend to see unattractive secondary characters in K-dramas, so that was unusual.
만: Well, the novelty was nice, but aside from that, the mockery of the character was borderline cruel. And, I don’t mean by the other characters, but by the writers. The whole character was sort of a cruel joke.
중국어 캐나다: Did you think the second male lead, Lawyer Kim was too ridiculous, even in the context of this show?
만: Yes. He was a bit too ridiculous, and thus not a viable second male lead. He was a jerk, but got turned on by Soo Kyung’s eating from the start, and then he figured out his feelings, and just became over-the-top.
중국어 캐나다: Soo Kyung’s dog, Barassi was very cute and low maintenance.
만: Barassi was probably my favourite character.
중국어 캐나다: He seemed to be one of the more reasonable characters.
만: He really did. Though he barely got to eat, poor dog. He may be the only character who didn’t get to stuff his face constantly.
중국어 캐나다: So, I’m realizing how hard it is to comment on a show that I don’t feel strongly about either way.
만: I probably spent more time with it than you. I can say that the show was light-hearted, and the lead characters were charming, but, really, the whole thing was a thin excuse for the food and the eating scenes. I’m imagining the auditions, where they probably filmed everyone eating and cast them on that basis.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, the eating was the main focus of the show, and hence, it should be ours as well. Did you find the range of dishes limited? They did not seem to make it out of Asia, cuisine wise.
만: When they did, it was generally unappetizing. The pizza looked alright, though it lacked the sex appeal of the tteukbokki, for example. The pasta dishes looked like something out of Olive Garden. I would have been satisfied if they stuck to Korean food all the way through.
중국어 캐나다: Well, that would be exotic and interesting to us.
만: Right. As opposed to creamy pasta in a bread bowl, which was gross and uninteresting.
중국어 캐나다: We should mention to our readers that you have lovingly prepared a checklist so that they may follow in the gluttonous steps of “Let’s Eat” characters.
만: I have, and I intend to make it my personal mission to tick each one off.
중국어 캐나다: What was your favourite dish? Don’t bother to ask for mine, because I can’t remember the dishes, only the chewing and slurping.
만: Probably the grilled shellfish. Watching that was pure food porn. Or maybe the tteukbokki. Or… let me stop here. I’ll stick with that.
Let’s Eat (식샤를 합시다)