Main cast: Kang Ji-hwan, Ham Eun-jeong, Park Si-yeon, Jeong Woong-in, Park Jae-jeong, Jeong Soo-yeong Director: Pyo Min Soo Total Episodes: 16 Audio Tracks: Korean, Mandarin Subtitle: English, Chinese Rated: PG Studio: SBS Release Date: 22.01.2011 Production Year: 2010-May-17 Running Time: Approx. 1200 min (20 Episodes) No. of Disc: 4
Format: NTSC Dvd: Dvd 9 Dual Layer Video: Mpeg 2 Audio: Dolby Digital AC3 Audio Channels: 2 Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Resolution: 720×480 px Format: NTSC Region code: All Countries Special Features: Interactive Menus, Scene Selections
Lee Jin Soo is a talented novelist who shot to stardom at a young age after writing a series of bestsellers. He finds two potential love interests in Seo Eun Young, a publishing executive, and Kang Seung Yeon, the daughter of the Page One Coffee Shop who is studying for the civil service examination and later becomes Jin Soos secretary.
New drama to bring more than coffee
By Han Sang-hee,
A new drama on SBS titled “Coffee House” begins airing this week and it has already made headlines thanks to its star-studded cast and producer Pyo Min-soo.
Coffee and books may seem like main ingredients for a typical romantic comedy targeting young women, but Pyo, who created popular works such as “Worlds Within”, “Full House” and “In-soon is Pretty”, is adding a bit more philosophy and thought to the series.
The soap stars hallyu star Kang Ji-hwan, along with actresses Park Si-yeon and Ham Eun-jeong.
Kang Ji-hwan plays successful novelist Lee Jin-su, who seems like the perfect catch but underneath is one of the pickiest people on the planet. One of Lee’s biggest pet peeves is bad coffee, so he becomes an expert in grinding and making his own high quality brew.
Park Si-yeon will appear as Seo Eun-young, the head of a famous book company where Lee is contracted to, and shows off her comical side. The two can’t stand each other, but they consider themselves professionals and endure daily interaction without realizing their true underlying feelings.
Ham Eun-jeong, who is also currently a member of the girl goup T-ara, will play the clueless barista-to-be Kang Eun-jeong, who coincidently becomes Lee’s assistant. Determined that this is her one chance to become a coffee-making expert, Kang follows Lee around like a puppy, despite all the snapping from the proud writer.
The three characters seem to be enough to create chemistry, as the backdrop (cafes and bookstores) and materials (coffee and books) easily combine to form a romantic and trendy atmosphere on their own.
“I think it’s not possible to decide on a specific genre because there are so many different genres mixed into one. ‘Coffee House’ may follow the rules of a typical romantic drama, but there is comedy and each episode will deal with different stories, just like a sitcom”, Pyo said during a press conference last week at SBS headquarters in Mok-dong, northern Seoul.
Viewers may be concerned that the new soap will actually resemble two other popular dramas: “Coffee Prince” (MBC) and “Full House” (KBS). Korean dramas have already been criticized by viewers and critics for repeatedly dealing with similar plots and storylines, but Pyo emphasized that his drama is unrelated and completely different from the other two.
“I enjoyed watching ‘Coffee Prince’ myself. But I’m thinking of bringing a bit more meaning to our drama. Something real and current. I want to deal with the gap between the rich and the poor”, Pyo said.
“I am a very cultural person and I wanted to make a drama that dealt with people who are not cultural. Books are food for the soul and coffee accompanies the intake. I wanted to fuse the two together and come up with a cultural story”, the producer added.
Moreover, the series will also feature the competitive world of professionals and amateurs.
The two characters Lee and Seo may have trouble getting along personally, but when it comes to work, they have the same goal: perfection. They may argue and complain that they hate each other, but they have to admit that their collaboration brings the best results. For Kang, on the other hand, the world of such professionals dazzles her, and she promises herself that she will soon become an expert exactly like them.
“Everybody wants to be a professional, but it’s not an easy process. I think it’s not about trying too hard, but naturally enjoying the work. The drama deals with how we can all become professionals in our fields. It’s about the characters’ lives, not just about coffee and books”, Pyo explained.
“Coffee House” starts airing tonight at 8:50 p.m. on SBS.
From left, director Pyo Min-soo, actors Kang Ji-hwan, Park Si-yeon, Ham Eun-jeong and Jung Woong-in of TV series “Coffee House”. [photographed by Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
An ounce of romance, another ounce of comedy and three ounces of fantasy are what usually make up a romantic comedy. Thanks to viewers’ fantasy that the main character of a drama ‘does not have to worry about making a living and has looks good enough to get him by anywhere’, Jin-soo (played by Kang Ji-hwan), a young and good-looking free-spirited best-selling novelist who is so fickle that he will decide not to attend his own book signing event for no particular reason, regards an unproperly sharpened pencil as a more serious issue than a signing contract.
But it seems that “Coffee House” was able to start off as a romantic comedy with slightly more of the comedy and less of the fantasy due to scenarist Song Jae-jeong who has penned hit sitcoms such as “Soonpoong Clinic” (SBS) and “High Kick!” (MBC). The doormat which makes a noisy sound when stepped on, the incident where Seung-yeon (played by Ham Eun-jeong) gets trapped inside a bathroom and the show’s character such as the pretty Eun-young (played by Park Si-yeon) who is a workaholic with a short temper, are examples of Song’s talent at effectively weaving in sitcom-like elements into a drama.
Unlike Jin-soo who is not just a ‘cold-hearted man living in the city’ but rather polite on the outside yet a neat freak and almost-perfectionist who rarely expresses how he feels, Seung-yeon’s character will need to do more to convince viewers that she is a typical ‘cheerful-and-nothing-can-bring-me-down’ female character who knows how to do more than just be a nuisance. But the light development of the scenes and cheerful tone are worth giving the show a slightly above average score. In contrary, the overly-zealous narration and mood-killing ending song account for points taken off for the drama. Overall, however, Song Jae-jung seems to have made a relatively refreshing start in his attempt to execute his desire to “cut down on the comedy and do more with the imagery while working on director Pyo Min-soo who wants a much more cheerful story compared to the past”.