I Live in Cheong Dam Dong 7: The Manhwabang Ahjumma, Hye Ja

Guys, we have SKINSHIP!

We finally are spending time with HJ in her element, her home turf:  the manhwabang, where she has a reputation as the Manhwabang Ahjumma.  We know very well she’s a most hilarious and creative liar, but we can feel the shame and guilt and the frustration of her heart tugging attempts trying to fit in.   At the manhwabang she can be totally herself, ie PURE AWESOME!

HJ is organizing her manhwa like clockwork while giving manhwa wisdom on everything:  the ultimate end move will be Silent Wave, boys; the exact row and shelf of your volume and it’s organized by genre, dude; the manhwa book feels 4 pages short, smartass and you had better pay before I open the book, ratting you out.  *fangirl mode*

SY greets JE with That smile.  It’s cold outside, SY reminds her to put on the layers to the envy of a lady just leaving, with a guy in her arms no match for SY.   JE gets call from ‘Choi Daechi’ /Top Value.  SY takes a look at the caller ID, smiles and hands it back to JE throwing in ‘what a peculiar name!?’  He sure is a friendly guy (maybe too friendly).

Choi Daechi is not a name, but the most JE can hope in a man.  It is Namgi Oppa, the popular guy she likes a lot (back in the day).  He is getting married, but suddenly pathetic after a meet up.  Off the title of Choi Daechi, he’s just ‘Namgi Oppa’ now. ‘ Maybe my standard is higher living in CDD,’ JE chats with her friend on the phone.

She tells her friend there is a guy from the restaurant but she doesn’t even have a 0.0001% chance.  At that moment, another guy is guffawing.  It’s Bum with his manhwa book in hand 5 ft away.  JE hangs up, he must be eavesdropping!

You just laughed a moment ago!

I can’t even laugh while reading?

So it’s because of a manhwa?  -Yup.

Show me the funny!

(and THIS):

(JE, and all of us, chuckles)

(Bum stands up, leaning in) Why are you always acting like this? Are you interested in me?

HAHAHAHA, right!ERm#@$@$&%$@  *hmmmmmmmmmmmm from the rest of us.*

Bum acquires a new status:  JE’s Choisochi (minimum value).  Not even that, even if JE got shot in the head *but she said I LOVE YOU!*, or rampaged by machine gun, she’ll never be involved with such losers, big fat ‘X’ no!

BH asks JE if the jumper guy was here.  He was, with his son.  BH laments he looks soo young.  JE gives her the ‘X’ ‘never be involved’ sign.  BH sees HJ’s book of poetry.  That never interested her, but a certain sparkling Poet Park Gyeonggeum catches her eye.  KBH has been quiet for too long!

 SY drives by Piace asking if Noona Chef is in.  JE tells him she’s off at a seminar.  SY then asks if JE is busy.  JE perks up, leaning in, smiling too eagerly she asks why is he interested in whether she’s busy or not…NO!  SY has a ladyfriend in passenger seat!   He’s asking if Piace is too busy…to take his reservation for tonight.  JE puts on her poker face.  They are free to take his reservation.  SY asks if his lady friend is fine with the arrangement and drives off as JE pouts he never gives her even a care when she’s so very ready to take up the challenge.

BH is sneaking out in a short leggy number. Two kids are asking HJ for the next volume of Killer X.  It’s borrowed, they will have to wait till tomorrow.

At the Morning Club, BH sneaked in with HJ’s VVIP card.  She looks familiar to Old Schoolmate.  BH says it must be her TV work.  When Teacher arrives, BH pulls her chair in front of the desk, not wasting time asking where he lives and if he’s married.  Dropping her pen, crossing her legs, teacher is not giving off an amused face.

The legs do the trick, Old Schoolmate recognizes BH.  At a rooftop tête-à-tête a la Infernal Affairs style, Old Schoolmate is one of the Seopyeong Girls gang!

The bully in mink asks if BH not get what she wants seducing that 2nd generation chaebol?  BH tells her she got dumped.  Mink bully reminds her she should stay low and stop the prancing.   Her brother needs CPR whenever he sees a woman’s legs still. (lolz!)  If BH lets out a word of her, she’ll get fist in her face!

It’s Saturday and no school, the 2 boys are back waiting for their next volume.  HJ tells them it is nothing but Killer X going after a woman for revenge and falling in love.  The boys are still bummed, HJ leads them to the kitchenette, she retells the manhwa: Killer X jumps 100 storeys, running and biking then no pedaling…he’s biking downhill.

After a seminar of French, chef is pleased to hear Korean fr JE.  JE tells her about SY’s reservation.  Chef says he is likely wooing someone, hitting it out of the park if he’s bringing her here.  She’s met all his girlfriends who are the same type of perfection.  Anyone different will not have a chance.  They are the maximum value, it is game over for the rest (JE included).

SH’s hair is 1cm long instead of the 4cm he asks.  When he leaves, the hair stylist lady is visibly shaken.   Down the street, SH smiles at the Gangnam district police passing by.  SH is already reaching in his pocket when the police stops him.  He shows his ID for a background check.  The officer double checks his record.  It is squeaky clean to their disbelief.

HJ’s manhwa theater has a full house.

Killer X is about to kill Woman, she’s awaiting her fate with eyes closed.  Killer cuts her ropes instead! Unbeknownst to her, Killer likes the woman.  The manhwabang audience misses that nuance in Vol19 where he turned back and looked at her TWICE.

HJ continues with the climatic cutting of rope when one of the boy gets a call from his mother, he and his friend have to head home.   It’s getting late, the rest of the manhwabang gang leaves as well.  HJ pouts.  It’s just getting fun.

SY is here with a surprise for his Noona.  His friend EunJoo is also a good friend with Chef.  It is her farewell party. Noona chef asks if something is going on between them…again? SY reassures she is like a sister.

JE asks Chef the 411.  They grew up together when she’s studying ballet in Russia.  She is Primadona at National Ballet now and Gorgeous.  JE can’t agree more, SY may be just another guy to her, but he’s creme de la creme for JE.  When EJ spills water, SY is fast to pour concern all over her.  In the same breath, SY asks if they are keeping JE, it’s ok for her to leave.  Chef concurs, the gathering may go on all night.  JE feels as though the elite air is already shoving her out.

Misfortune of SH continues, He gives lady cook a sadface  when she spills kimchi soup all over him.  The lady apologizes in shivering fear.  A taxi driver spots his red stained top as he walks out, calling the police at once.  The same Gangnam district officer from earlier sniffs SH’s chest, an inch from the red spots, but still he asks SH is it really kimchi.  It does smell like kimchi soup as the taxi driver sniffs SH himself, but he is pushing the officer to check on SH for sure.  SH suffers silently in a sulky face.

As JE leaves, SY is upping his dreamboatness, playing the piano.  While playing he joins Noona Chef in singing praises EJ is still as pretty.  As JE is walking out, SY sweetly says goodbye with That smile while EJ joins him performing.  JE is about to barf.

SH is at the front desk, the only pleasure of his day is listening to his cassette.  JE robs it away as she walks in frustrated, stopping his music.  Awwww poor SH!

Manager Jo got a 1 Night and 2 Days gig for the CDBB boys.  Next morning, in boyband uniform, the CDBB boys get on the bus.

HJ flashes a billion won smile as the gang arrives for the next chapter:  Killer and the woman realized their feelings for each other.  ‘How poignant!’ gushes HJ.  She asks if the little one knows what poignant means  and explains to them it is the sadness of an embrace from behind before breaking up forever, eyes filled with tears.  The audience mixes up who is embracing whom and who has tears in his/her eyes.  The tears wiped off is HJ face is all hers. XD

Bum is yawning when HJ demonstrates the back hug, she asks him for his help…in embracing her!  From the back!

Like this!  Never dated before?


It is your final moment with your beloved, is this how you hold her?!

They say the final lines, embracing like this.  “I wish time could stop.”

It is for you to say, silly.

“I wish time could stop.”

Put some feeling into it.

“I wish time could stop…”


“I wish time could stop!”

That’s too much.

HJ throws Bum a chiding glare.  He smiles back woefully at her.

Manager Jo ignores his ringing cell.  It’s from the CDBB boys, this is a One Night Two Day Tour escorting gig, the ahjummas have hands all over their butts to their protests!

Back at the manhwabang, Bum the Killer X is gesturing the profuse bleeding from mouth.  Killer X:  This is enough! 

The engrossed audience is screaming at him not to go, not to die on us, KillerX!  Bum the Killer X turns back, says thank you to his Woman, meeting her was more than he could ever hope for.  HJ nods approvingly.  The End!

The manhwabang theater duo smile contently at each other, to the accolades of their fanboys.  HJ tells Bum he did a good job.  Bum is still grinning as he closes the manhwabang door behind.  *Do not ask me why but I have a flashback of Babe the ‘sheepdog’ and Farmer, ‘that will do, Pig’ *  They are now manhwabang soulmates, yawning together, giggling together.  Ahhhhh, we fiends, don’t we all get that exact rush meeting our kindred spirits over one craze or another addiction?!

Doggy Poo is sticking his head impatiently in his saucepan at the ‘good stuff’.  It’s another heart to heart between JE and her best ears Doggy Poo.  One can not be greedy.  Do not think you can taste the tasty food in sight forever.  It is completely out of your control, and we can do nothing about it.

HJ nudges JE to take the trash out, she never does it, always messing with her phone in her room.  JE diverts attention to the Three Men in the room. WH claims his eyes feel bloody red, asking MS to confirm.  MS is swift with a makeshift bandage, looking the part of too-ill-to-even-look-at-WH.

SH volunteers.  JE feels bad, she tags along.  HJ reminds them to wrap the knife in the trash with some paper.

SH looks for paper to wrap the knife when SY happens to drive by.  He jumps off his car, grabs JE and they run for their lives.  SH, still holding the knife, chases after JE.   SY hides with JE, he calls the police reporting a man running with a knife as JE can’t hold in her lol any longer.  SY puts a protective hand over JE’s mouth to shush her guffaws, he’s genuinely concerned, asking her if she’s hurt and is everything ok.

Squeeing in bed, JE is sniffing the ‘blessed’ hand grabbed by SY.  She nicked SY’s number ‘Choi Daechi’.  No matter how different they are, as long as he cares, there is a chance for her, even if it’s 0.00001%.

We end the episode with coda: Yumeji’s theme, In the Mood for Love.  Remember Mr Chow and Mrs Chan acting out his novels in the hotel room #2046?!

Bum tears off the pages of Killer X they acted out,  with her keen eyes and ears HJ lets him.  They are forever the Killer X and Woman in those pages now.

9 thoughts on “I Live in Cheong Dam Dong 7: The Manhwabang Ahjumma, Hye Ja

  1. Hye Ja and Hyun Woo LMAAAOOOO

    But this ep was ep where I felt the most for Sang Hoon, he does have that kind of look! I gagged!

    1. At this point, we all know who the OTP is, but still Hye Ja and Hyun Woo have so much chemistry! HJ is just soo awesome and charming as the MHB Ahjumma HW genuinely is crushing on her. AND it is soooo sweet and hilarious!

      SH is always the sweetheart that has been subjected to the most abuse for his looks and his easygoing mellowness… at least samchun will fight and bite when wronged, SH will just let it slide and takes life as is.

  2. http://koalasplayground.com/2012/12/19/2012-year-end-drama-reviews/
    “If this isn’t the most perfect sitcom K-drama that was ever produced, I don’t know what could possibly qualify. Acting, script, directing – I Live in Cheongdamdong can even easily go toe-to-toe with any K-drama on all three standards of quality. One would think a sitcom would be merely a pleasant diversion, a way to spend 30 minutes a day having a few laughs and then moving on. That assumption is absolutely wrong when it comes to the world of ILICDD, filled with denizens of all sizes, shapes, and stripes, all of them lovingly fleshed out through episode-after-episode of zany and witty interludes and shenanigans. I want to live in Cheongdamdong not because I want to be rich and wealthy. I want to live in Cheongdamdong in that old eye-sore of a manhwa bang with the sweetest bunch of goofballs that I’ve ever spent time with onscreen. I can rewatch any random episode to recharge my happy batteries and it never fails … Each episode is a vignette into something humorous or touching, but always presented with the most delicate of physical or linguistic humor. Each character is developed with sincerity and treated with respect … I ended each episode of ILICDD feeling a deep seated contentment with life. My only regret is that this sitcom doesn’t have English subs and this cannot be enjoyed and appreciated by a greater swatch of drama fandom, but trust me when I say there isn’t another drama this year, sitcom or otherwise, that I watch which has made me appreciate the art of television entertainment this much.”

  3. I love all the movie references and tributes in ILCDD. It will be quite a tally if we add them up. I guess we will soon get to the “who’s the greatest: Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan” episode.

  4. I loved that episode (about Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee), couldn’t stop laughing!

    SH looking like a serial killer also makes me laugh, rofl. XD

    1. I wasn’t paying too much attention to SH the first time I watch it, I am also at fault of the superficial, thinking his storyline will be flatter, simply on his looks and nth else. But I’m picking up more on how he’s the most level-headed sweetheart stooge of the 3!

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