Warm was on my backburner until very recently. In fact, I’ve juz completed ep1 (and part of ep2)…but then it’s a bit late to call my post a First Impression, since Warm is already midway through its story.
If you were like me, wondering whether to pick up or leave Warm alone, and not a
rabid over-zealous staunch Yoo Yoon-seok fan like kooriyuki, here’s my short take on it. (but remember, i only completed ep1)
Baek Gun-woo, played by Yoo Yoon-seok, surprisingly is a very relatable and likeable character. And this is despite that he is that “lazy grasshopper” as described in Warm‘s blurb. True, he is rather lackadaisical (carelessly lazy) young man, seemingly without any cares in the world, and fairly airheaded. Juz cos of his love interest’s (Ji-won) offhand remark that a certain remote part of Jeju-do is “pretty relaxing”, he takes it into his head to purchase real estate there to set up a restaurant. Which of course, ends up not doing well, cos he hasn’t done the proper homework. (yunno, like marketing research, blahblah boring stuff?)
But I digress. Although his glaring fault is his lack of purpose (chasing after skirt tails is not a purpose), he makes it up with his rather easy-going attitude, and evident even from ep1, a warm heart. Instead of brushing Jung-joo off or calling Security on her a decade ago, he actually bothers to listen to her weird story of her being his missing twin. And later he verifies Jung-joo’s story with his mum (we don’t see/hear what she said).
So our typical cold-cheabol type is replaced with an atypical warm-chaebol, though Gun-woo also has that chaebol trademark’s “I-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude. Juz that his heck-care behaviour lasts only all of 3 mins before he tumbles over his feet trying to help.
In contrast, our “Candy” or the “hardworking ant” in Warm‘s words (Lee Jung-joo, played by Kang So-ra), doesn’t come across as very appealing (at least to me) in the introduction. The usual girl-next-door + ultimate part-timer with a good head on her shoulders’ archetype is replaced by a young lady who claims to be a cynic, but is overly trusting. She is also very high strung. As I was telling kooriyuki, at times, I feel almost annoyed with Jung-joo. She has a habit of picking at her fringe, her clothes, biting her nails, popping peppermint
pills sweets (sometimes with shaky hands), talking too fast, and generally gives me the impression she is going to bolt.
But first on the fake-cynic bit — it may be cos of (misplaced) pride, or juz plain stubbornness, when Jung-joo claims herself to be materialistic and hard hitting. The truth is she is nothing near what she thinks herself to be. For one, she places too much trust on people — her cousin, her (ex) boyfriend, or even Gun-woo. Instead of checking things out, she believes at face value whatever they tell her…so really, she can’t blame anyone or anything for her subsequent failures. For examples, she should have checked out the so-called “wonderful apartment” before instructing her cousin to sign on her behalf. And a boyfriend who suddenly cuts off contact…should have raised immediate red flags. Lastly, she laps up Gun-woo’s off-the-cuff marketing spiel that the (remote) area actually has good business without any basis.
So later, when events explode in her face — being stuck with a ramshackle hut, boyfriend-less and penniless — she implodes. And all those nervous tics show up…plus she will end up doing something really stupid. Such as packing all her belongings and moving to Jeju-do.
Sigh…I can see a vicious cycle happening for this girl.
If the short review on our eccentric OTP above doesn’t convince you to try out Warm, then the plot is sure to sink any desires. To put it bluntly…I am still rather confused with Warm introducing our OTP with a possibility of them being twins. Why the faux-cest? And there’s no follow up after that very, very brief mention. (even the DNA testing poofed) I suppose it will clear up at the end — like why Jung-joo happens to possess an old photo of Gun-woo’s mum with her dad(?). But it IS annoying to throw us a juicy tidbit then snatch it away without explanations.
Other than that, I also do not buy in Jung-joo’s unexplained crush on Gun-woo. And her crush happened a decade ago, at the same time when she went after him thinking he was her long-lost twin. (eww?) So what exactly inspired Jung-joo to look at Gun-woo as a man instead of a brother within that short few hours? And the impression left such a lasting mark on her, she can’t help but daydream about Gun-woo (in the literal form of a Prince Charming, complete with horse) whenever mentions of Jeju-do, and horses pop up.
Besides these two unexplained elements, the rest of the plot very much follows kdramas’ usual rom-coms’ track. Where our heroines fall into a gutter (usually a financial sinkhole), and has no choice but to hole up with a chaebol, or play to his every whims and fancies. Even a nice, teddybear type of chaebol like Gun-woo isn’t immune to chaebol-type bad habits — like poking fun at Jung-joo and making bad jokes.