Tag: cheese in the trap

Hard Pill

[Spoilers, Cheese in the Trap re-watch: episodes 13 – 16 (Final)]    CiTT posts in order 

I’m not sure when this turned into recaps when I never meant to do such a thing, but it has been a good tool to work through unarticulated impressions, with distance from the first viewing.

I’m not going to go through all the scenes that get us to the high and low points of the next few episodes, which in many ways felt flimsy.  Basically, there are a number of ‘testing’ situations… Seol setting limits, Jung defaulting to usual patterns, and Seol dealing with In Ho’s now openly expressed feelings.

Ready to be dropped off a cliff?

Me neither but here we go.

Continue reading “Hard Pill”

As You Are, if You Know

[Spoilers: Cheese in the Trap – re-watch, episode 12]

CiTT posts in order.

Episode 12 is actually another worthy of its own attention. I see it as the flip side of 11, where Seol’s vulnerability and anger surfaces, and she finds comfort in Jung, who then matches her in kind. Both are achingly raw with each other, but tested too soon. Jung closes abruptly, hurt mostly by his own unfamiliar openness.  

Having seen both Jung’s warmth and coldness in play, perhaps Seol feels she can talk him through what she is coming to know about expression and ‘prevention’. He can be genuine and warm with her; can he also be honest? Can she risk being honest with him too, about all the ‘little things’ she is afraid will hit his many triggers?

What will it take to maneuver this minefield together?
Continue reading “As You Are, if You Know”

Sometimes I, Even I…

[Spoilers – re-watch episode 11]

CiTT in order.

I am now so sucked in, so invested, that I’m scared to have forgotten what I know about the drama on the whole. Am I about to be blindsided again? I can’t help myself – the character study is intricate, and episode 11 especially, hits me right in the gut. I find both Seol and Jung too deeply relatable and am projecting on them full speed ahead, myself an introverted only then oldest child, raised in a small and fragmented family.

When Seol finally erupts at the unfairness of treatment by her parents in comparison with her younger brother who has priority of resources as a male, it is one of the drama’s pinnacle moments.          Continue reading “Sometimes I, Even I…”

Who Exactly, Are You?

[Spoilers for re-watch, episodes 8, 9, 10]

CiTT in order.

It might have worked a number of ways, actually. Here in the middle episodes we may have been able to shift away from Jung/Seol for a while, and to consider In Ho/Seol. We could have been honestly torn, and come to accept a change of heart, or have backed up enough from both to see them growing up in parallel through unique challenges.

However, for In Ho to supplant Jung in Seol’s affections, the writer would have had to start solving Jung for us in another way by now…


Continue reading “Who Exactly, Are You?”


CiTT in order.


The texture of time in the storytelling has a lot to do with what makes Cheese in the Trap resonate. In the webtoon also, inner dialogs and flashbacks serve to paint what experience is really like for people: we generally don’t make sense of things by linear data gathering; we take in flashes of time and are rather mosaic, perceptions flickering in and out of awareness.


Clarity and Ease

[Spoilers for rewatch of CiTT, episodes 7 – 8]

CiTT in order.

I like getting to look back on simpler times with Jung, In Ho, and In Ha. There is this feeling of, “It could be such a perfect situation – each learning and growing from the others…” Yet of course they are learning from each other, by breaking each other down.

We see uglier aspects of In Ho during the flashbacks, harshly criticizing his sister’s dreams because he takes for granted his own, saying whatever he thinks in the moment with little care. Jung seems even-tempered, and to hold no ill view toward them at this point but rather a sense of supportive older brother type of responsibility. I’m not sure there is even pity.

For me the heart of the drama is in these revelatory backstories that shed light on whether Jung’s cold, manipulative streak is deliberately formed, or whether it is fundamental to his personality (realizing the answer is ‘both’) … and how Seol is with that. Relaxed from drinks, Jung continuing the intimate and open conversation that began in Seol’s apartment… describes himself as being a pushover before… that it was once easier to go along with what others wanted from him, although he could discern the dynamics nakedly.


His appreciation for Eun Seol’s genuineness, and for seeing him rather than what he has, soften his eyes and heart enough to glimpse his pain and feelings of abandonment.

Wow, I’m a sucker for that.


Continue reading “Clarity and Ease”

Of His Own

[Spoilers for re-watch of episodes 5 (cont.) – 6]

CiTT in order.

With Jung and Seol, things develop slowly. Although he has dated far more, and, as In Ho tells Seol, broken the hearts of “trucks of women”, with Eun Seol Jung finds an innocence he knows is precious and tries to protect that.


Episode 6 holds one of the most tender scenes in the drama if you’re on Jung’s side, because while at Seol’s house, comfortable and curious, he easily begins to share the core of struggle that for everyone else is a lock box mystery. Trust between them becomes much easier.


Still trying to make sense of his change toward her, and to make peace with earlier instincts and events, Seol also seizes the openness to ask, when that happened. We get to see the way he came to understand her walls as like his own, began to recognize her kindness and sense of personal responsibility, so important to Jung who has been groomed not to complain when taken advantage of… always to do and give more, to let things be taken, since he has so much.                         Continue reading “Of His Own”

Re-watching Cheese in the Trap


CiTT posts in order.

Craving nuance and subtext more than usual, and longing for safe places to express complex wonderings without being jumped on before fully forming thoughts, I’ve decided to revisit and write about Cheese in the Trap.

I watched it ‘on air’ last year, riding the many elations and frustrations… by the end not able to stop loving what I’d loved, nor to recommend the story to anyone else, especially not without strong forewarning that might ruin their experience in the first place. I wanted to know what a second viewing, with heart more guarded and expectations tempered, would be like. The experience 5 episodes in, is a rich one.


I could re-watch these first episodes over and over, just noticing the entanglement of inner detail and outer projection, much like in Jane Austen novels. The main characters, at least the beginning main characters, are both introverts, yet of quite different sorts, and each is misunderstood by many around them.

This is what draws them toward one another, although I think Jung understands Eun Seol better at first, especially her intricate defense mechanisms and difficulty letting others into her world.

Through Eun Seol’s inner dialog, we understand her penchant for overthinking and spinning things out of proportion, but we are faced with a Rorschach test about Jung’s motivations. Each scene paints distinct sides of Jung, warm or icy depending on the filter the audience is privy to. This is the main captivation of the drama.


An exchange in episodes 4 and 5 mirrors a conflict between Hae Soo and So in Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo, which is interesting to contrast… the process of building or destroying trust… intentions, sins of omission, masks. Also conflicting desires.

Eun Seol is turned against herself, wanting to be on his side, touched by things he does for her, but also intensely aware, empathetic, unable not to consider other people even when they are clearly wrong in some way.

Jung is almost always right, but is he good?

These questions of psychopathology or Spectrum disorders that many are fascinated by, are handled especially well in these episodes. Although based on a webtoon, the character of Jung is dimensional, his sweet and vulnerable side apparent alongside his shrewd one.  However, Jung seems to exist in the eye of a hurricane others are not able to withstand the edges of.


Differences in introversion between Jung and Seol:

– One has a circle of close and real friends, while the other has a lot of acquaintances based on exchange.
– One has a hardened attack mechanism when their sense of justice is threatened, while the other is more likely to cope and puzzle the right thing to do.
– One’s universe is well ordered with non-negotiable rules and habits, while the other’s time and attention is continually tugged in different directions by others.
– One holds grudges and keeps sharp record of debts and repayments while the other takes a longer process to close the door on someone or ask retribution.
– One avoids other people, while the other uses them.
(I’m sure there is more)

What is so moving toward the end of episode 5, is that we get to begin to see the fear of loss beneath Jung’s ruthless streak clearly for the first time… his life of obligation, having been born into a family of notoriety, and the wounds of his father’s seeming impartiality in caring for In Ho and In Ha. Understanding and adhering to the lines is critical to Jung. On top of his already ‘distant’ disposition.

Yet at least with Seol, he trusts and believes in her as a person enough to begin to examine his behaviors, comparing feedback against her words and feelings. Maybe with others, their cowardice or feelings of entitlement are enough to draw what he sees as clear lines of right and wrong, but he can’t dismiss Seol’s feelings so quickly out of hand.




I have spent the day hoping to get a few posts out of my system before embarking on a new project that will likely take my attentions away for a while. To no avail. My writing these lines is as close as I’ve gotten to writing about Cheese in the Trap, or the bizarre controversies surrounding the drama and fandom.

I don’t like to get wrapped up with fandoms in the first place, however, Korean dramas have a complex relationship with their audiences. There are so many produced, with such similar formulas and gears exposed, that there often aren’t too many steps away from something like fan fiction. Also, the insights amateur writers especially bring to comments sections on sites like Dramabeans, are worth sifting out, and can enrich the experience of the more layered stories.  Cheese in the Trap certainly qualified, unfortunately in a less interesting way at end than beginning, with the production partially unraveling into rumors and arguments. This was felt deeply by those invested, either because the drama is based on a beloved web-toon, or loyalty toward certain actors.

Then there are those of us originally hooked by the potentially deep subject matter of psychopathology, with one main character presenting a fascinating duality at onset, and the chance to, as a viewer, stay on the edge of doubt. Continue reading “Trapped”