Horny virgin ghost, Shin Soon Ae (Kim Seul Gi) is all hot and bothered after another attempt at sex results in sending a guy to the hospital. Both the doctors and police are baffled, as this is the lastest in a string of men she’s left in a hypothermic state. Depressed, Soon Ae wanders around the city, then ends up on a park bench. Unable to move even a pop can tab, she’s caught off guard when she blocks a basketball from hitting a baby. To cheer herself up, Soon Ae goes in search of funeral food.
At Sun Restaurant, shy assistant cook, Na Bong Sun (Park Bo Young) burns the sauce when she falls asleep. The sous chef, Min Soo (Kang Ki Young) is interrupted in the midst of yelling at her by the arrival of restaurant owner and head chef, Kang Sun Woo (Jo Jung Seok). Sun Woo ignores Bong Sun entirely in favour of yelling at Min Soo, who then takes it out on her.
Bong Sun can barely stay awake to scrub the pot she burned, until a ghost shows up to haunt her. Luckily, it’s scared away by a call from her grandmother, a former shaman who reminds her to burn incense before she sleeps to keep the ghosts away. Bong Sun tearfully lies to her grandmother about everything being okay.
Sun Woo’s sister, Kang Eun Hee (Shin Hye Sun) reproaches him for being mean to two women in particular; the first being Bong Sun, and the second being his mother, who chooses that moment to make her appearance. Sun Woo proves her point by telling his youthful mother to stay away from his restaurant, but she’s really there to give him a talisman, since he has the fortune of two strong arms, and there is a ghost in his future. He refuses, but ends up being distracted by his phone.
Meanwhile, Soon Ae finds a funeral home full of ghosts, and sits down for food. It’s like a high school cafeteria, as a bitchy ghost mocks Soon Ae, because she’s lost her memory, and can’t eat her own funeral food. When the bitchy ghosts accuses Soon Ae of causing trouble by possessing women, Soon Ae gets ready to throw down. They’re interrupted by the arrival of Suhbingo, a shaman who scares all the other ghosts away. But, her target is the wayward Soon Ae, who takes off running. Suhbingo turns out to be surprisingly spry as she chases Soon Ae through the city. To escape, Soon Ae possesses a woman, but is kicked out of her when Sun Woo passes by, unknowingly carrying his mother’s talisman in his pocket. This gives Suhbingo the chance to catch Soon Ae, and drag her off.
Sun Woo, it turns out, is at the TV station to meet a woman who asks him for the favour of appearing on a TV pilot. They appear to be friends, but he turns her down, since he doesn’t do pilots. She asks Sun Woo if he will join her and a friend on the weekend, and he tells her that their mutual friend will probably want to be alone with her, anyway. Outside the building, Sun Woo stares at photo on his phone of their love triangle, and sighs.
Soon Ae, meanwhile, ends up trapped in Suhbingo’s apartment, as punishment for trying to seduce men by possessing attractive women’s bodies. It’s a futile effort anyway, according to Suhbingo, because only a man with two strong arms can overcome the chill of a ghost. As a virgin ghost, Soon Ae believes she can’t move on until she resolves her grudge (i.e. loses her virginity), but if she stays a ghost longer than three years, she’ll turn evil. Suhbingo warns her that she could get trapped if she possesses a body with the perfect frequency. Suhbingo pretends to be sympathetic to Soon Ae’s plight, and tricks her into wearing a necklace of bells that only Suhbingo can remove.
Back at the restaurant, Min Soo tries and fails to organize a rebellion by ordering in rice dishes rather than the customary eating of noodles while standing up. He is interrupted by the arrival of Sun Woo, and they have noodles before opening the restaurant for the evening. At the end of the evening service, Bong Sun is doing dishes when she feels a pain in her head; back at Suhbingo’s apartment, Soon Ae screeches as Suhbingo slaps her upside the head.
As they finish cleaning up, the male chefs all get ready to go for a drink, while Bong Sun averts her eyes from their locker room antics. Afterwards, Bong Sun goes home to practice her cooking in the shared kitchen, to the annoyance of her neighbours. She makes cabbage porridge, and writes a blog post about it, while burning incense in her room.
The next day at the restaurant, a food blogger rudely demands that a bowl of soup be reheated so that she can take better photographs of it. When Bong Sun returns with the bowl, the food blogger’s neglected child runs into her, causing the piping hot soup to spill over her hand. The food blogger goes off on her, but Sun Woo steps in to defend his employee. Eun Hee intervenes as the situation escalates, and when the blogger insults her wheelchair bound status, Sun Woo unceremoniously tosses the food blogger out of the restaurant.
Sun Woo takes the apologetic Bong Sun aside, and tells her that she can’t be weak if she’s going to work in a kitchen, and counsels her to rethink her choice of career. Back in the restaurant, he gets a text for a middle school reunion, prompting a flashback to his own middle school days as a bullied kid who was neglected by his mother.
At a snack shop, policeman Choi Sung Jae (Im Joo Hwan) pays for his order and sympathizes with the distracted owner. Afterwards, he goes to pick up Eun Hee, his wife, from Sun Restaurant. It’s not his best outfit, but this is possibly the best Im Joo Hwan has looked in the dramas that I’ve seen him in.
Sun Woo visits the newly opened restaurant of his hoobae, and pronounces his approval of the food. As the brotherhood of chefs horse around, they’re interrupted by the arrival of a chaebol heiress named Wang Joo. Wang Joo offers Sun Woo to name his price for catering her birthday party, but Sun Woo isn’t interested. Instead, he gets up to leave, then warns his hoobae to stay away from Wang Joo before handing him a generous monetary gift.
That same night, Bong Sun’s landlord evicts her for lighting incense in a room with no windows. Dispirited, Bong Sun thinks back to Sun Woo’s advice while looking over a scrapbook of clipping about him, then tears a page out of the scrapbook to write a letter of resignation.
Sun Woo goes to the fish market to buy the next day’s special, happily flirting with all the market ahjummas the entire time. He returns to the restaurant with his purchase and runs into Bong Sun, who is dropping off her resignation letter. Sun Woo leaves Bong Sun to put the seafood away, and goes home to eat a dinner of instant noodles, while searching his name on the internet. He ends up finding Bong Sun’s blog, and leaves a positive comment, without realizing who the author is. Alone on the street outside the restaurant, Bong Sun bids farewell to Sun Woo and her career.
The next morning, Sun Woo wakes up to the news that Bong Sun has resigned, and after reading her letter, instructs Eun Hee to give her three months’ pay. His fuzzy feelings are short-lived, however, after they discover that Bong Sun has taken off with the key to the storage room. Searching for a new apartment, Bong Sun ignores the calls of the restaurant chefs, while clutching her head in pain.
Back at Suhbingo’s apartment, Soon Ae is rolling around on the floor out of boredom. When Suhbingo receives a food delivery, Soon Ae finally makes her escape. As Suhbingo gives chase down the street, Soon Ae spots a half-asleep Bong Sun, and possesses her. She manages to give Suhbingo the slip, after one of the Sun Restaurant chefs spots Bong Sun, and picks her up on his scooter.
He takes Soon Ae/Bong Sun back to the restaurant, where Sun Woo asks for the key back. Soon Ae/Bong Sun has no idea what he’s talking about, so when he loses patience and reaches into her bag, Soon Ae/Bong Sun shoves him to the floor, to everyone’s shock.
Only 만: So, I hear you’re in a terrible mood. Did watching the first episode of “Oh My Ghost” help at all?
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Yes, for about an hour, my mood was lightened by the promise of a really good drama. This first episode deftly set up a great cast of characters, and established a supernatural, but coherent premise.
Only: It was really well done. I can’t say that this first episode delivered a ton of laughs. But, like you said, we got an idea about our characters, and where the story is going, and it left me with the feeling that the series is going to be great. Even the mini cliffhanger at the end was perfect.
But let’s be methodical. What did you like about this episode?
Junggugeo Kaenada: I really liked the way it introduced the lead characters. Bong Sun is the type of character we usually hate; always apologizing and needing protection. The fantastic thing is that Sun Woo reprimands her for her docile approach to life. So, I feel confident that the show will not present submissiveness as a virtue.
In addition to calling Bong Sun on her passivity, Sun Woo was appealing by demonstrating a reasonable balance between acting like a confident jerk and being, essentially, a good guy. He is not so far off the deep end of requiring redemption that it will take a complete 180 to make him likable.
Finally, I am happy to see Kim Seul Gi playing the frustrated ghost. I have not seen her as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in Korea, but I enjoyed her in “Surplus Princess”.
Only: I really like Soon Ae. I’m not super familiar with Kim Seul Gi, but I liked that she played her as a strong loudmouth that comes off as surprisingly sympathetic and playful, rather than screechy. The scene where she started fighting with the other ghost at the funeral was really funny, especially when she noticed Suhbingo, and quickly changed her tone.
As far as the story went, they compressed a lot of exposition and setup into this episode, which is good, because I feel like we’ve already launched into the meat of the story.
Junggugeo Kaenada: The writers have also set up an interesting supporting cast, as to be expected from the same team behind “King of High School Savvy”. Sun Woo’s young and attractive mother is a superstitious academic. His sister is a sweet object of pity, and her equally agreeable cop of a husband is the marketed second male lead, which surprised me. It made me laugh to see Kang Ki Young as the sous chef. Just as I recognized him as the high school student from “King of High School Savvy”, he mentions that he has been mistaken for a teenager.
Only: One thing that I liked about “King of High School Savvy” was how natural the interactions between characters seemed, and they’ve replicated that trait here. The scene with the four male chefs in the locker room, for example, or Sun Woo with his mother and sister, or even Soon Ae and the group of ghosts at the funeral home. The only one who seems to stick out is Bong Sun, and even then, it fits with her personality that she’s sort of creeping around the edges of the restaurant crew, nursing her crush on Sun Woo.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Now that Soon Ae has taken over Bong Sun’s body, I think we can look forward to some snappy exchanges between the leads. That’s a rare treat in a K-drama.
I do wonder how they will resolve who Sun Woo ultimately ends up with, because if he is interacting with Soon Ae, but left only with Bong Sun in the realm of the living, where do you go from there? But, I have faith in the writers.
Only: Same here. Now that they’ve set it up, I can’t wait to see where they take us.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Finally, some derision towards bloggers. We still love you, “Oh My Ghost”.