One takeaway from Cheese — do NOT attend Seol’s college.
For juz one campus (or worse, juz one Business Admin faculty), it seems to harbor quite a number of weirdos. And I’m not talking about the odd eccentric character, but psychologically disturbed ones. First, there’s Min-soo. Originally a rather normal, albeit shy and reticent girl, she suddenly appears in school dressed exactly like Seol. Even though mimicry may be the best form of flattery, her level of copy-catness is creepy. Really reminds me of a horror flick I’ve watched in the past, where an unsuspecting, perfect-life woman unwittingly invites another girl to bunk in with her, only to have that girl stealing her identity, her fiancé, and even her life. (i forgot how it ended, but it wasn’t good)
I accept that Min-soo has very low self esteem, and she admires Seol and wants to befriend her. However, we do know Seol is no social butterfly or Miss Popular on campus either. Which is kinda…strange. Other than being the female lead, Seol is rather your girl-next-door, with juz a few close friends, studious, and usually bullied. So, exactly what does Min-soo wish to achieve from copying Seol is beyond me. But because Seol is such a normal girl, Min-soo’s copying of her behaviours, her dressing, her looks become even scarier.
Topping Min-soo is of course, Young-gun Stalker Boy. Like Min-soo, he seems to have problems making friends, or becoming accepted. But while Min-soo (the non-copycat one) regresses and becomes invisible, Young-gun’s tactic is the opposite. He tries to draw attention to himself, visibly throwing money at his classmates (treating them to meals, drinks) to make them like him. And then, adopting the anonymous persona online to bitch about them. I suppose the anonymous bitching bolsters his ego, making him feel ultra powerful — in other words, he thinks he is “well-liked” and “accepted” but “above” those sycophants who “suck up” to him.
Like Min-soo, Young-gun’s sense of reality is rather skewed. Thus, when Seol “rejects” him after “showering favours” on him (that one time where she pitied him and offered him water), Young-gun becomes upset. He resorts to making Seol “revert” to being one of his many “subjects” by pestering her, and the badgering worsen with each rejection.
Of cos, both Young-gun and Min-soo lose out to Ms. Histrionics aka In-ha. The brief flashback to In-ha/In-ho’s past where the siblings “conspired” to run away from their aunt’s house already made me uncomfortable about In-ha’s character. Even as a child, she is strident, insistent that she is right (even though her method of resolving an issue is usually over the top). I dunno if the whole incident of their aunt abusing them is actually true…In-ha shows a need to over-react, to make people side and sympathise with her… and turning ugly (and sometimes violently so) when she gets ignored. (imo, she really acts like a 3-year old who doesn’t get her candy, and resorts to temper tantrums and kicking/ screaming to get her way)
The three of them actually make Jung appear relatively normal. Actually, I kinda enjoy watching him manipulate Min-soo, Young-gun and In-ha to his benefit. (own up, so do you) While the Jung in Cheese manhwa (given it is a longer running series) may come across as a narcissistic creep, I find the Jung in Cheese drama at most only calculative, and coldly logical. And misunderstood. Like us, Seol may not approve of his methods, especially when he claims to manipulate people for her benefit (which usually is the result). But I think partly, it’s also Seol’s fault. She chooses to keep things from him — especially those bad ones — wishing to keep their relationship dark clouds-free. That only spurs Jung to work behind the scene: since his girlfriend doesn’t want him to know how Min-soo/ Young-gun affect her, he should likewise pretend that he doesn’t know…and help her resolve her problems secretly.
Putting it in that way, it almost makes Jung a kinda Dark Knight character.