Pasta: reaction post

“I’m back!” she said, triumphantly. Then promptly fell off the face of the blogging earth. Apparently, real life wreaks its revenge after one’s vacationed. I had a lot of things thrown at me this week, up to and including a burst pipe in our shower. Fortunately it was all dealt with, with relative ease. Unfortunately it left me exhausted beyond the point of writing. fighting photo fighting_zpsb4575684.jpgHowever! I did manage to watch the last two episodes of Pasta. And now, I opine.

Oh, my gosh, I adored it! It was exactly what I’d hoped for going in. A sweet, slice-of-life, workplace romance, low on plot, high on character. It helped that I’m fascinated by professional kitchens and chefs and therefore enjoyed the plentiful cooking and food shots. (It may have also helped that I’ve never actually worked in a professional kitchen. If any egregious mistakes were made beyond the usual “shooting a tv show” stuff, I didn’t notice them.)

From this point on… spoilers!

Our main couple, Seo Yoo-kyung and Choi Hyun-wook, were wonderful together — their flirting banter and emotional clashes and smoking hot chemistry were highly entertaining. But I also liked each character on their own. I adored Yoo-kyung’s drive but also her simplicity and lack of any kind of guile. flirting photo flirting_zpsa4631f8c.jpg(It’s the kind of part that could have easily tipped over into annoyingly sweet, but Gong Hyo-jin played it perfectly — keeping Yoo-kyung’s innocence earthy rather than cloying.)

Choi Hyun-wook was a different beast in that he starts off as a full on misogynist — firing all the female cooks as soon as possible, because he strongly believes women are dangerous to a kitchen (with their flirting and emotionalism) and that women don’t have the strength of character to be good chefs. (There’s a reason for his thinking. It’s still a sexist reason of course — he tars all women with a brush handed to him by one woman in particular — but at least he didn’t come to his conclusions completely out of the blue.)

Of course, his biases turn around to bite him, he recognizes it, and learns his lesson in the end. Which is what I figured would happen going in. With the sexism so highlighted and underlined and causing him to immediately lock horns with our heroine, you know changes are a’coming. And cleverly, we meet the man before he starts swinging his woman-hating axe. So we do see there’s something beneath his swaggering arrogance. It also helps that actor Lee Sun-gyun is full of charm and intelligence and likability.

That motif of hoisting yourself on your own petard, getting caught in your own trap, digging your own grave (pick your metaphor) carries out throughout the drama. Which I adored because it meant that lessons are learned, or comeuppance is had, without a lot of dramatics or massive plot mechanics.

There weren’t any real villains, either. The closest we come is Seol Joon-suk, the restaurant’s CEO (to begin with anyway). He was like a little resident Wormwood, running around trying to cause as much trouble as possible via lies and innuendoes. And it’s because of him, I thought, that the fissures in the kitchen went on for as long as they did.

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Will steal candy from babies…

But his lies were generally quickly discovered and he was always the one most hurt in the end. (There’s a hilarious scene where Hyun-wook offers a truce and Joon-suk refuses saying, “Hah — you offer that because you’ve won!” And Hyun-wook replies, “Well, as long as you know.” The look of outrage on Joon-suk’s face… hilarious!)

Neither of the second leads descend into villainy, either. The opposite actually. Owner, Kim San, was awesome from the get go — though obviously never, ever going to get the girl. And I was so, so, so thrilled with Oh Sae-young’s story. I loved that her goal wasn’t really winning back Hyun-wook’s love, but regaining her honor as a chef. That was so awesome! And I loved that she and Yoo-kyung had a good relationship all the way through. It wasn’t front and centered (and didn’t need to be) but I loved that it was always good, never dipping into dramatics.

As to the rest of the characters…

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Team Korea

I was not all that enamored with the “Domestic” cooks. Mainly because of the way they treated Yoo-kyung. (I pretty much gauged how I liked characters based on their treatment of Yoo-kyung.) I totally understood their rivalry with the “Italian” cooks and I got that a lot of their animosity came from Joon-suk’s manipulations and I did hope they’d win the New Chefs competition… but I was also glad they were heading off to Italy in the end.

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The Ladies

I did like the three fired female cooks. Mainly because they just kept on cooking. I admired their perseverance and liked that the drama kept them around to remind us that Hyun-wook did unfairly hurt these women by firing them in the first place. That they were rehired in the end, made me happy.

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Team Italy

I thought the “Italian” cooks were adorable. Their intense loyalty to Hyun-wook was pretty cool and they were a lot nicer to and accepting of Yoo-kyung. (Which was honestly a bit odd to me. Part of the reason I was so sour toward the “Domestic” cooks was how, despite having worked with her for three years, they always, always assumed the worse about Yoo-kyung whenever something was there to assume. That really bothered me.)

Eun-soo was adorable, too — especially when his storyline came front and center and Yoo-kyung and Hyun-wook ended up sleeping at his place and she started treating him like they’d adopted him or something — so cute! Plus, his interactions with Joon-suk at the end there — almost like he was retraining Joon-suk into becoming a better human being… loved him.

cooking photo cooking_zpsf87bb5cc.jpgAnd that’s really why I loved Pasta. I enjoyed the world it created and the characters it gave us. The end didn’t really feel like a full on ending. I feel like the characters all continued to evolve and grow after the final credits ran. For that reason, I wasn’t bothered by Yoo-kyung not going to Italy. Because it felt like she wasn’t going at this time. Like Hyun-wook said, she still had more to learn (she’d been an actual line cook for less than a year by the last episode) and Italy would be around. Life continues on and Yoo-kyung is out there, happily cooking away. I’m sure of it.

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17 thoughts on “Pasta: reaction post

  1. Pasta’s been on my must watch list for awhile, mainly because i like the lead actors and i’m big into food porn. Fermentation Family is currently satisfying my lust for the latter. After i’m done with that, its Pasta for sure!

  2. I’d watched this show on and off, liked it but never loved it though I totally agree with you that what mar it so watchable and ultimately an enjoyable watch (despite the constant shouting by Chef) is due to the characters!

    • It’s kind of building thing, too. I mean, I adored Yoo-kyung from the get-go, but getting pulled into that world took time. Once I was in though, I loved it. 🙂 But yeah, it’s definitely low-key and not very “oh my gosh, need next ep now!” addictive. Which is exactly what I was looking for at the time.

  3. I remember loving Pasta from the very first ep, and got quickly sucked in, ep after ep. In fact, I liked it so much that after finishing the last ep, I promptly went back to ep 1, to start over. I know, sounds crazy. But that’s how much I enjoyed the show! Loved the small story, and loved the sizzling yet natural chemistry between the leads. Loved Gong Hyo Jin’s earthy innocence and determination. And, Lee Sun Gyun’s nuanced moments rocked my world. ❤ ❤ Definitely on my re-watch list!

    • I love falling that deeply in love with a show! Pasta was more a slow-build for me. I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel a “must watch now!” urge. But by the time it was done I was wishing it was one of those 150+ dramas because I don’t want to let that world go! And yeah, that chemistry was so, so, so well played. I got the sense the two actors just really enjoyed each other’s company and kind of… teased each other into giving better and better takes. Like two extremely talented people having the opportunity to just fully immerse themselves into their characters and enjoy the heck out of their roles. It made for some awesome watching. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard that the show has very liitle plot….but I love slice of dramas that are sweet and have very little to no angst….your review tells me to give this a try 🙂

  5. God this show is awesome. Watched it twice through and it never got old the second time around. It was so nice to see a drama that wasn’t high on the zany dramatics (former CEO’s mischief being just brief interludes and no one takes him seriously anyways).

    It also solidified my love for the two leads. Gong Hyo Jin is one of the few female actresses that I adore whole-heartedly, just because of this role. Yae chep!

    Even my husband adored this show! He’s been practicing his Lee Sun Gyun, hip-cocked, arm on hip stance. “Vongole! hana!” Adorably, it doesn’t quite work on him…

    • That the former CEO just managed to pull things down on his own head was pretty fabulous. It meant no matter what he was doing I didn’t have to get furious. I knew he’d only end up hurting himself. And after the amount of melo’s I’ve been watching, that was very refreshing indeed!

      And your husband sounds hilarious! (Hmm… my husband may like it, too — and now I have a good reason to watch it again! \o/)

  6. Oh, this is one of my favorite dramas. If I were comparing dramas to books, this one would be a comfort read. The kind I keep around and pull out every so often, just to read a specific scene, but then I end up rereading the whole thing.

    And, yes to your take on why you love it. I’ve learned that most of my favorites have a sense of community around them, and I’ll overlook plot problems if the community of characters is strong enough.

    • Oh, this is totally a comfort watch — I’m quite certain this won’t be the last time I watch it. 🙂

      Strong community… any kind of found family (or actual family, if it’s got the bonds that go with it) go a long way for me, too.

      • I think I mentioned this before but this was the very first Kdrama I saw and it made me want more. Thus, I have become a fan. Pasta was cute, had great chemistry between characters and like others comments, I loved the cooking and food aspect. I was always eating pasta while watching this series. I agree it’s a comfort show and have watched it 4 times now!

        • Having finished it and seeing how awesome it was from start to finish, I’m even more envious of you. 🙂 What a great way to start! I am absolutely positive I’ll be watching Pasta again.

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