Hmm…to tell the truth, I don’t quite enjoy this show (more about why later) as compared to its predecessors — the Let’s Eat series.
- Ha Seok-jin (from Goodbye, Mr Black) as Jin Jung-suk. An A-star and much sought after private tutor, he is an arrogant twerp by nature but also a perfectionist. He switches learning centre to one located Noryangjing.
- Park Ha-sun (from Three Days) as Park Ha-na. Rookie tutor, who lands a job in the same learning centre as Jung-suk.
- Hwang Woo Seul-hye as Hwang Jin-yi. Not the famous courtesan, but close — in terms of her dressing and behavior. She teaches English at the learning centre.
- Gong-myung as Gong-myung. Juz fresh out from enlistment, his mum is bugging him to study for the civil examinations — hence he enrols himself in the learning centre at Noryangjing.
Jung-suk is scouted for a top position as a tutor in a learning centre (to prepare entrants for the civil examinations) in Noryangjing. He meets rookie tutor, Ha-na, who reports for work on the same day in the centre.
Jung-suk by nature is a perfectionist — he prefers to drink alone, not cos he has no friends (which is also true, cos of his abrasive nature), but he has elevated the idea of alcohol appreciation to a level where it is pretty finicky. In contrast, Ha-na drinks alone (at home, not at spiffy outlets like Jung-suk), simply cos she can’t afford the expensive establishments.
While Jung-suk may be aloof, at least he sticks to his own set of principles. Ha-na, on the other hand, is willing to bend over backwards in order to secure her job, please her colleagues/ bosses, or both.
Gong-myung, who enrolls in the learning centre after persuasion from his mum and his 2 friends (Ki-bum and Dong-young) has a mini crush on Ha-na. And Gong-myung happens to be Jung-suk’s kid brother.
I suppose it’s harder to do an alcohol-porn show as opposed to a food porn show. So while the title may focus on “drinks”, and there are some close shots of draft beer vs canned beer, it is still not like Let’s Eat. Definitely not easy to portray ecstasy over a glass/ can of alcohol as opposed to an array of dishes on the table.
But, that’s not the main contention I have with Drinking. Take away the food porn in Let’s Eat, the series will remain engaging, because of its quirky characters. Jung-suk and Ha-na in Drinking are pretty nondescript. They are the many Cold Chaebol types and Determined Candies that populate Kdramaland. And it’s a pretty good guess that we are looking at the usual Candy melts Chaebol loveline in Drinking. (yawns) I’d rather have my scruffy and machine mouth Gu Dae-yong back, thank you very much.
Without Let’s Eat‘s sunshiny characters, Drinking is ironically rather sobering. I suppose it could be part of the intention of Drinking. After all, there are some negative connotations associated with imbibing alcohol. While alcohol consumption usually happens on happy occasions (think weddings, parties), drinking alone is closely linked to images of a troubled mind, or alcohol addiction and intoxication. So while Drinking tries to push for the funny (in having the typical rom-com’s opposites-attract trope), there is a certain pensiveness which is not present in Let’s Eat.