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Greasy Melo (Wok of Love) Review

My last post lamented the lack of any K-dramas to watch, but now that we’re heading into the summer season and the fresh romances that come with it, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. 

I didn’t initially watch any trailers for Greasy Melo (which also goes by the more appetizing English title Wok of Love), but when you give me Jung Ryeo Won paired with the writer from Jealousy Incarnate and Miss Korea, of course I’m going to give it a shot. Here’s the initial review from Greasy Melo‘s premiere week.

Episodes watched: 4 (split into 30 minutes each)

First impressions: Hmmm. Looking back at some of my initial impressions of both Miss Korea and Jealousy Incarnate, I’m realizing that this writer often starts out dramas with a weird mishmash of tone and slapstick humor that eventually evens out over the course of the drama.

I don’t recognize the director for Greasy Melo / Wok of Love, so maybe the direction heightened the writer’s natural inclination toward initial confusion. The first two episodes felt jerky and disjointed, with weird transitions between scenes and some oddly stilted direction. (That clumsy seduction scene between Seo Poong’s fiancee and his boss comes top of mind.)

And yet, if there’s another thing this writer does well, it’s creating charming characters outside of typical K-drama settings. Despite the erratic jumping from scene to scene, I caught myself laughing at the absurdity of Sae Woo strolling around Seoul with a fencing mask and a horse. Or tough guy Chil Seong seeing butterflies the first time he sets eyes on Sae Woo.

It’ll take some convincing before I buy in to the gum-selling woman who looks like she accidentally wandered off the set of My Fair Lady, and Chil Seong’s band of ex-gangsters is giving me Strong Woman Do Bong Soon flashbacks in the worst possible way, but I’m willing to let the writer prove me wrong.

Of course, I’m not here for the writer alone. (I do remember the simultaneously boring and infuriating Pasta, after all.) It’s really the cast that piqued my interest, and so far, that casting seems spot-on. Jung Ryeo Won is one of my K-drama woman crushes, and this type of role seems perfect for her. And Junho, who suddenly stole my heart this week when I picked up Just Between Lovers on a whim and found myself marathoning episodes into the wee hours of the night for the first time in a year. (I have three episodes left. You do not want to know what will happen to you if you spoil this for me.)

Then there’s Jang Hyuk. Because I didn’t watch any trailers for this drama, I’m kind of thrown by the idea that he might actually be the second male lead here. How is that even possible? I mean, as I said above, I have a newfound appreciation for Junho, but I did not turn on episode 1 thinking that in any universe it made sense to have Jang Hyuk playing second fiddle to a relative newbie at this point in his career. 

Still, though I’m surprised by the romantic setup (and maybe I’m reading it wrong and Jang Hyuk is the actual romantic lead), I can’t even complain because this role is right in Jang Hyuk’s wheelhouse. Watching him swagger down the road in his gangster suspenders makes me pretty excited to see him bumbling around in love, even if he’s not the endgame here.

Is anyone else watching this one? Did you get whiplash in episode 1? Are you sticking it out? Let’s watch together!

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