Dinner Mate started off with some silliness. It begins to settle in after a few episodes and becomes a good watch. It then falls apart in the second half and doesn't recover. Too much focus on the Ex's and conflict that went away from what made the series enjoyable in the first place. At times, it felt like I was watching a daily drama. Dinner Mate started to lose me around the time Jae Hyuk started with his creepiness. By the end, I didn't really care about much of what was going on. It's a shame because I had high hopes for this series.
I liked Hae Kyung and Do Hee. I liked the scenes of the two of them eating and talking. It just seemed like once they got together their talks weren't as meaningful. Dinner Mate would have probably benefited from holding off on them getting together until a bit later in the series. Dating history can be a touchy subject. I liked that both were aware of each other's past and weren't bothered by it. Maybe it's a me thing but, since getting back into Kdramas, I find myself not caring about a lot of the supporting characters (One Spring Night being a rare exception). Dinner Mate was no different.
Mental health has been a major topic in Kdramas this year. My issue with the way it's a addressed in Kdramas is that it revolves heavily around love. You find love and life gets better. There's some truth to that but your happiness shouldn't be solely dependent on one person. Unfortunately, these being romance dramas, I don't see that changing.
I hope you all enjoyed the series more than I did. I miss watching shows and talking about them with other members of the board. Hopefully, we can do it again soon.
So there’s one very valuable lesson to be learned from this series: If you want to get a smart, pretty woman like Dohee in your life, don’t wear socks. Strange but true....
I rarely watch contemporary dramas but wanted wanted to watch this one just to see Seo Ji Hye, who I fell in love with during Shin Don. And then the story line as it was described originally, that was appealing too, the idea that people beyond their twentysomethings could find someone and help each other become stronger people and end up happy together. Then reading the graphic novel/comic book that was supposed to be the original source material, it offered a lot of promise for a very good series. A quieter, more introspective, thoughtful story is the kind of thing that Korean TV does really well when it’s good. So lots of reason for hope....
...All of which was immediately shattered with the first two episodes. It was the worst hour of Korean television I had ever watched. Literally. I’ve watched a couple of daily dramas and they had their share of low points, but those are low-budget productions and they’re trying to come up with hours of content every week for months straight so you expect some rough spots. This thing was a prime-time series, high budget, only sixteen hours, and certainly the luxury of enough time to get the opening to be good. Instead we got a Jeju travelogue, and a big urban street chase scene to get people’s attention, and none of it made a lick of sense. Just horrible.
But the second hour wasn't quite as horrible, and after that every episode got a little better, and by right around the middle, like hours 6-7-8, it was terrific. They had a good cast, and the Doc/Dohee storyline was excellent. Everything was working well. Couldn’t wait to see the next episode.
But they reached the endpoint of the source material—Doc and Dohee becoming a couple—barely halfway through the series, and nothing else they gave us after that was even in the same league. And the whole thing crashed into a wall the moment they threw in the twist about Ex suddenly being dangerous. That turned things ugly, and nobody who tuned in to watch this series wanted to watch dark and ugly. And by the last couple of hours it was just a lot of random peripheral things that they were tossing in to fill up time.
The production certainly was good, nicely done. The music, a couple of really good songs and some of the incidental music was done well too, but they kept playing the same few songs over and over. A sixteen-hour prime-time series on a major network should be able to pull together enough songs for a full-length soundtrack. This one, I think there were six songs in the soundtrack. What the heck?
Usually I like to go though these series in more detail and list goods and bads, but really the only thing that stood out other than Doc and Dohee’s relationship was the Homeless Guy angle. He was likeable and had an interesting story. The rest of it, in the end it was pretty forgettable.
That’s why it seems so likely that this was conceived as a shorter series. A very competent, clever person or people took the original source material and turned it into a terrific TV script, and then different, far less talented people took that product and padded it with filler and nonsense. It’s really a shame because a twenty-episode version of this thing could have been outstanding.
Thanks to knov for doing the summaries, and yes it’s too bad there aren’t more really good series these days to generate more interest like there used to be.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to the backyard to burn all of my socks.
Just to add my two cents worth (if it is even worth that). I basically enjoyed this drama and yet did not enjoy it for many reasons that you guys mentioned. Maybe it was in the translation, but with a title of "DinnerMate", I was expecting more dinner/food scenes and looking forward to seeing some delicious food. Although the stalking of DoHee was too much, I thought the acting of Jae Hyuk when he "spiraled" out of control after showing up at DoHee's place was good. Kinda felt sorry for him at that time-- to have your life mean something by hanging onto a old love it tough, but when the "link" is severed I could easiler see how someone could feel helpless. I really liked the "homeless" guy, but when they cut his hair I knew the results would not be good-- why could he not be a good psychiatrist with long (neat) hair? I grew to like DoHee's boss, too. I used to work with a guy who never wore socks, even in the winter-- never had the guts to ask him why-- just looking at him made my feet cold. Open to watch anything, I don't go into details-- but love reading the summaries/posts I finally finished this and I have to add that I did not enjoy the last two "episodes" -- but the thought the very end was good, with the "homeless" guy and DoHee's boss getting married- although his hair style was awful -- and the final dinner with DoHee and HaKyung was nice with the food truck, but I thought for sure he would propose at that dinner.
I felt sorry for Ex too. It's too bad that they turned to the dangerous, threatening angle rather than bring his father into the story earlier, because it made us fear and hate him rather than feel any sympathy for him.
And I also was expecting a proposal at the end, especially since they had just been talking about it.
Forgot this before but the Mrs. Guk MVP Award goes to Geon-u, no question. He was consistently the voice of reason in this whole thing, much more reliably than anybody else. Too bad he wasn't in the writers room!
ajkbird11 If you're looking for something to watch, I highly recommend the 2019 MBC drama One Spring Night starring Jung Hae In and Han Ji Min. It's one of the better dramas I've watched in a while.
As far as upcoming dramas go, I'm looking forward to Channel A's Lies of Lies. I posted about it in the Upcoming Kdramas thread. I'm not familiar with Channel A so not sure how/where I'll watch and availability of English subs.
Thanks for the suggestion, Knov1. I am currently watching "The King:Enternal Monarch" on Netflix and was going thru the episodes much faster than I wanted to, so this will give me something to watch in between the "King" episodes.... (just as a reminder, if you are looking for something to watch, try Hotel DeLuna, I really liked it a lot)