When 2 things happen, I know a drama is good. Number 1: when I whine that each ep seems to end way too fast. And Number 2: when I have so many things I want to write about that I get confused over what to write. Well, Cheese meets both requirements thus far. At the moment, it is my crack drama for 2016…until some other drama replaces its spot.
After much deliberation (and spending a night agonizing…i’m serious…that’s why there was no article yesterday…heh), I decided on playing with Cheese‘s title. It is already interesting when I first saw it — much credits to the webtoon’s artist. The idea of the conventional mousestrap with the slice of cheese strongly connotes a sense of danger (and for those who have seen mice/rats decapitated in conventional traps…there’s also the idea of Death associated with the alluring cheese trap). Which is paradoxical to Cheese‘s light rom-com narrative. And of cos, since there’s a mental image of a trap with the cheese…then the next question is: where and who is the Mouse?
Most obvious “mouse” is Seol. She is rather like the timid creature, always getting bossed around by her classmates/ colleagues and earlier on, high tailing at the sight of Jung. Her mousey like quality extends to her appearance: petite, with a mop of curly hair that she seems to drown under, and her behavior of preferring to appear as nondescript and invisible as possible. Note that she tends to prefer to sit at the back of the class or hidden in the middle. Never right in front.
But…don’t forget that rodents are also generally suspicious creatures. And by the fact that the title doesn’t refer to a Mouse who is trapped (yet?), but only to the Cheese + Trap, it hints that Seol isn’t that “easy” either — despite how her sunbae, Sung-cheol treats her, and how Stalker Young-gun bullies her. Her natural instinct to second guess people also reveals a keen sense of observation. And where necessary, she does flare up — like in her interaction with In-ho and her recent altercation with Jung.
In that case…does that make Jung Mouse-candidate? Weird though it may seem — cos Jung comes across as the super-cool, super-capable, and unflappable character (or narcissistic, depending on your reading). But…despite all these “strengths”, he appears to have really fallen for the very-normal, hardly-worth-a-glance heroine. At least from the drama, in eps5-6, Jung shows signs that he values Seol’s opinion of him, appearing disturbed (or annoyed) when he muses that she likes to “jump to wrong conclusions” about him, and cutely cherishing that cheap plastic watch which she bought him, when he has a collection of branded, leather watches.
Since there’s a target, there’s going to be a Bait. In the case, the metaphorical “cheese”. First reading is Jung is that piece of tasty cheese. On the surface, he is good looking, tall, suave, popular, an academic and sports overachiever. Plus, he’s rich. The stereotypical Prince Charming in any fairy tales. Enough to sweep not juz Seol, but also all female readers, viewers of the manhwa and drama away.
Unfortunately, the image of a cheese…is also riddled with..yep, holes. Well, at least the cartoonish stereotype. And let’s not forget that cheeses are basically fermented dairy products, which can (most times) be stinky. (ahem) Sorry if it kinda turns you off from that earlier image of Mr Perfect. Like the Cheese, Jung may look “tasty” on the outside, but you sense a certain rot on his inside. His callous behavior when it comes to non-Seol personnel (basically classmates, people who he doesn’t see a need to be bothered with), is scary. Like how he dismisses his ex-classmate, Joo-yong’s, plight when he is hauled to the police station. And how he turns at the drop of a hat to Mr Scary-Psycho when he learns that Yoon-seob has been “badmouthing” him in front of Seol. It juz gets worse and worse as random new characters (such as Stalker Young-gon) starts “warning” Seol that Jung is “not as he seems”.
So is the trap Jung’s ulterior motive for dating Seol? Assuming he is a Bluebeard-type (yunno, that French fable of a nobleman who marries women in order to murder them), then Seol is in super big trouble. Given her zero dating experience, she has next to nothing to compare between what is “normal” in a dating couple, vs. what is “not acceptable”. However, I kinda think she won’t so easily fall into Jung’s “trap” (if he is setting one for her), given her inherent nature to doubt people’s words at face value.
In that case, the trap may be laid for Jung — then he may be the Mouse (see above). Prior to knowing Seol, I’d say that Jung passively moves through life. Based on what the other characters in the drama say of him, people and things come easy to Jung. His dad is loaded, so no worries on the material front, and his popularity ensures a steady stream of people (or girls) who juz want to hang around him. (no wonder his narcissism) Seol is maybe the first person who actively tries to push him away (and literally too…as seen in ep5 when he rescues her from an oncoming bike).
Whatever the case, and whoever is playing the role of Mouse, Cheese or Trap, Cheese does have enough materials to make me wanna write an essay and yet, is really enjoyable to watch.