I’ve been eagerly waiting for this second installation ever since the announcement. However, maybe I’ve brought a little too much expectations prior to watching Eat 2, somehow…something feels a little lacking in the sequel.
- Yoon Do-joon (from Let’s Eat) as Gu Dae-young again. A Dae-young that has broken up with our dear unni, Lee Soo-kyung. Dae-young also moves from Seoul to Sejong City in Chungcheongnam-do (more provincial than city-like) to hunt for new prospective clients in his insurance business. He moves in to a single unit apartment (bigger than his previous Seoul’s officetel) and starts on new adventures (and food) with his neighbours.
- Seo Hyun-jin (from Three Musketeers) as Baek Soo-ji. Dae-young’s elementary school classmate (before he changed school), who had a major crush on him in the past. However, she used to be rather heavy set, thus Dae-young didn’t recognise her immediately. She bears a grudge against Dae-young however, as she feels he had betrayed her friendship and affection. Soo-ji works as a (very poorly paid) freelance writer at the moment.
- Kwon-yool (from Roaring Currents) as Director Lee Sang-woo. The civil servant who is materially well off, but rather emptionally empty. Imo, it’s cos he never makes an effort to connect with people. He can’t remember the names of his colleagues, and chooses to stick to a well-oiled schedule of work-home-work. Soo-ji however, has a big crush on him. She currently is working with him as a script writer for one of the upcoming municipal festivals.
- Kim Ji-young (from Angry Mum) as Ahjumma Lee Jeom-yi. Dae-young’s other neighbour who lives one level below him. She is not your typical ahjumma, prefering to eat out than cook at home. She takes care of a stray puppy (who looks seriously like Boo) that has been abandoned by its previous owners.
- Kim Hee-won (from Angry Mum) as Im Taek-soo. Dae-young’s colleague who has shifted to Sejong-shi earlier than him. He used to work as a policeman before switching career into insurance. Chatty guy, and has a roving eye for the pretty girls.
I’ve only completed watching the newly subbed ep1, so my synopsis will be based on it.
It starts off on a fishing boat…and we see a harrassed captain yelling at his crew to buck up or ship out. Cue ominous bg music, as one of the crew member glares at the captain while sharpening a really nasty looking knife. Scary crew member approaches his captain, only to get yelled at to “cook the squid, pronto”.
Then we hear a familiar voice shouting “NOOOO!!!”. Cut to — a puking seasick Dae-young. He is onboard the fishing boat to taste the freshest squid sashimi — so cooking the sashimi defeats his coming onboard in the first place. The not-so-scary-now crew member apologises and says he has sharpened his knife all ready to slice the squid. Cue: foodporn, part 1. Squid sashimi.
We learn later from Lawyer Oh and Kyu-sik (hello there!) that Dae-young has broken up with Soo-kyung months back. And has been travelling all over Korea to sample the country’s finest (and updating his ever popular blog in the process). Juz as Kyu-sik is leaning over to tell Lawyer Oh the reason for our fav couple’s breakup, his wife calls. And the stupid break up secret remains dangling. (i hope Lee Soo-kyung comes back in Eat 2 in a cameo role…I MISS HER)
Since the insurance business is flagging in Seoul (Lawyer Oh helpfully supplies us with Dae-young’s misadventures while sourcing for new clients), Dae-young decides that new hunting grounds are in order. So he moves to Sejong-shi and secures a rather large single apartment for himself. (and getting out-bargained by the landlady ahjumma in the process…lolx)
Dae-young’s new neighbours are Mdm Lee from downstairs, and Soo-ji (opposite) who slams the door in his face during the first meeting. (Soo-ji appears to have recognised Dae-young immediately) While Dae-young manages to worm into the ahjummas’ hearts (incl the sharp witted landlady), he has serious problems with Soo-ji. She’d knock on his doors at weird hours of the day/night on rather inane misdemeanors — such as parking his car juz a little wee bit out of line from the parking lot, or singing in his showers.
We learn that Soo-ji works as a freelance (novel) writer, and in order to get her bread and butter, she sources for jobs in TV stations and govt offices as script writers. Her most recent stint writing for a TV series earns her…a box of seaweed. (yeah, poor girl) Her latest job is with the municipal office, writing the programme/ storyline for an upcoming festival. And there, she gets to meet Sang-woo. The emotionally stunted govt official, who can’t seem to care about making connections with other people (even colleagues who have worked with and under him for years).
Thinking that he needs to smooth things over with his new neighbours (and to help pave the way for making them his new clients), Dae-young suggests an impromptu dinner date one evening. When he says he will treat, Soo-ji (who has been eavesdropping) volunteers to reserve a restaurant.
And she brings them to the most expensive Chinese restaurant in town. And immediately orders the most expensive dishes on the menu. And proceeds to wolf them down. Cue: Foodporn, part 2. The total bill amounts to 670k won. (eeps) But the joke is on Soo-ji, as the restaurant is carrying out a promotion where the 100th diner eats free…and guess who is the 100th? Yep. Dae-young.
Soo-ji fumes impotently, and when the 2 ahjummas leave, she finally blurts out her “history” with Dae-young. She used to be teased mercilessly in elementary school due to her weight issues, and only Dae-young (a new transfer student) made friends with her. In return, she visits his mum’s ddeokbokki restaurant daily and spends her allowances there. One day, Dae-young has to move and transfer school (again?), and Soo-ji overhears him telling his mum that he will continue to lure new customers to her ddeokbokki restaurant, never mind which school he enters. Soo-ji, who harbours a crush on Dae-young, is heartbroken to find out she has been used. She spends her teenage years in depression, and only managed to shake off the blues (and her fats) when she starts working.
Dae-young though, doesn’t appear too sorry to hear about Soo-ji, and continues to tease her when she emerges later from her apartment to engage in a bout of skipping (to burn off that Chinese food calories).
Like I said earlier, I had enjoyed Eat soooo much that I pre-empted Eat 2 with seriously high expectations. Although Eat 2 hasn’t technically flopped, somehow bits of the original magic are missing. Maybe I miss Soo-kyung unni too much…or more likely, it has to do with stretching the format of the show to 2 eps per week instead of one. In Eat, the plot moves with a briskness. Things happen rather quickly and we don’t dawdle. In Eat 2, there’s a more leisurely pacing. And there’s more food porn in Eat — being sponsored by CJ Food Group — the food porn has been pared down quite a fair bit in Eat 2. (….sadded…much. is the sponsorship gone?)
Otherwise, Eat 2 tries to mimic its tried and tested storytelling formula seen in Eat. Even our neighbours-turn-lovers OTP meeting is the same. Soo-kyung nagged Dae-young for his sloppy trash management. Soo-ji nags Dae-young on the same issue — and brings it a notch further by nagging him about his parking and singing skills too. And Soo-ji and Dae-young squabble like how Soo-kyung will argue with Dae-young. There’s also another super cute dog. But unlike Barashi, this (unnamed) dog is an unwanted stray.
The tonal quality of Eat 2 remains similar to Eat as well. We are reminded immediately that behind the fluffy foodporn-rom-com theme is a mystery thriller in the making. The darkly ominous opening scene of the crew member sharpening his knife is repeated at the end, when we see an eye (dunno whose) spying on Dae-young in the dark. (it’s kinda creepy to focus only on an eye peering through a peephole)
What is different and what I am looking forward to though, is the renewed love triangle. This time, our female lead doesn’t have a secret admirer — she has a crush on somebody else. And will likely ask Dae-young for help, in return for helping him gain entry into the govt office to sell his insurance policies. We don’t know much about Soo-ji’s crush, Sang-woo, yet…other than he really seems very lonely, a little depressed…but doesn’t do anything about it.