WARNING! This review contains SPOILERS!
I’ve never read the webtoon Cheese in the Trap, so I’m only basing my review on the k-drama.
Cheese in the Trap centers around the life of university student, Hong Seol. The show focuses on Seol’s relationship with a group of students, specifically, her and Yoo Jung.
I still don’t understand the first scene of the show; I’m going to have to re-watch it at some point. What I gathered was that Seol wants to take a break from her University (again) because of Jung, a senior.
During the first few episodes, I kept waiting for Jung to be revealed as a vampire or a character with super powers. He was seriously giving off Edward Cullen vibes.
It turns out that it wasn’t that kind of drama at all. It’s just the story of a college student who unfortunately falls in love with a sociopath.
People at school are drawn to Jung, and no one suspects him of being a little off, except for Seol.
Hong Seol and Yoo Jung
What I don’t understand about the show is why Seol and Jung liked each other in the first place. As viewers, we get a flashback to when Jung first started to like Seol.
It seems that he likes her because she cared for him when he was sick. But is that really convincing?
He hated Seol for a year after she accused him of being the one to expose Sang-cheol (another student) of stealing money from a club. Because of that incident, Jung is out to get her.
At the beginning of the series, no one sees what Seol sees in Jung. He is friendly when others are watching, mean to her when no one is around, and happens to show up wherever she is.
Perhaps she is initially attracted to his looks and the air of mystery surrounding him.
But if she was so adamant about the bad vibes he gave off, why did she agree to date him? And why would you date someone who made you consider dropping out of school?
The main character is attracted to this dangerous and mysterious man who is kind of a monster.
He takes revenge to the extreme, but because of her extraordinary ability to empathize, she always forgives him, justifies his actions, and things go back to “normal.”
Their relationship was shaky from the start and their issues were never resolved.
I also don’t understand why he asked her to date and then proceeded to ignore her for about a week. That was so weird!
I don’t know why as a society we continue to romanticize such toxic relationships. When Jung played a hand at unleashing crazed stalker,
Young-gon on Seol, that ultimately crossed the line. I know this was before he liked her, and he takes care of the situation, but this doesn’t erase the fact that the damage was already done.
Seol suffered for so long because of this vendetta that Jung held against her.
In the end, Seol admits to thinking that Jung’s wrong-doings were okay because they weren’t directed at her.
That sort of mentality is not rational.
I would have understood it if Seol stayed in the relationship to try to change Jung into being a better person.
But no, she would only justify his actions and let him know that she understood why he did x, y, and z.
Is this girl for real?!
What made Jung even scarier was that he never had to involve himself in situations to cause harm to others directly. He manipulated people to do everything for him.
What confused me was that Seol was most upset when Jung beat up the pervy neighborhood burglar. That was the only logical punishment that Jung ever served onto someone.
Everything else that he did always crossed the line.
Power of “Love”
I was glad when they broke up in the end, but I don’t like that Jung was the one who had to break it off with Seol.
It should’ve been the other way around.
Why did she never have an “aha” moment? And why was she so adamant to keep dating as if nothing was wrong?!
The power of love in these dramas is so strong that no matter what the male lead does to the female lead, she won’t bat an eye *ugh*.
I also disliked that the show left it open-ended for a possibility of them reconnecting.
First of all, where did Jung go for three years? Did he check himself into a mental institution overseas?
If he didn’t seek medical help, wherever he went was useless. And why did Seol cling onto him for three years?!
They dated for like half a year!
I don’t feel like the show did enough to demonstrate the romance between the two. I never felt like they had enough time to get to know each other to be in “love” or to establish a deep connection.
Hong Seol and Baek In-ho
I’m in the minority here, but I think that Seol should have ended up with In-ho. Throughout the series, he’s given more screen time than Jung, which was a bit odd.
But hey, I’m not going to complain because In-ho is so handsome 😍.
Seol and In-ho had the cutest relationship, and her family loved him (bonus points). In-ho might have gotten close to Seol with intentions to expose Jung’s real personality, but he ended up falling for her.
His character seemed much more in-depth than Jung’s.
As the layers of his character began to unravel throughout the series, In-ho was someone I rooted for.
He had a terrible childhood with his sister and was betrayed by Jung, someone who he considered to be his brother. In-ho is also always there to save Seol.
He is kind and caring, and he and Seol truly get to know each other.
I thought that the show was setting up the two to end up together.
When Seol gets back from her first date with Jung, you can feel the awkwardness. Their date is uncomfortable.
They watch a movie Seol doesn’t enjoy, their dinner is at a swanky place, she orders the cheapest item on the menu, and their conversation doesn’t flow.
Left hungry after their date, she goes to eat at a local convenience shop where she runs into In-ho. Their interactions at the store are much more natural than her interactions with Jung.
I thought the scene was trying to show the juxtaposition between the two relationships. In-ho and Seol had more chemistry and seemed to be a much better fit.
It felt like Seol could be herself around In-ho. They bickered in a cute way and just had more of a connection.
In-ho was the only character in the series to go through a full arc on-screen. Seol grew as an individual, but ever so slightly. She stood up for herself a bit more, but by longing for Jung after three years, she didn’t develop as a person.
I admired that In-ho never tried to steal Seol away from Jung. Not that I think he could’ve since Seol never showed any romantic interest in him.
But I felt like In-ho’s feelings towards Seol were more genuine than Jung’s. I don’t get why the main character in a lot of shows never ends up with who you would think would be the logical choice.
Where can I even find a guy like In-ho?! Seol was out of her mind!
Anyways, if they had ended up together, I bet Jung would’ve come back to kill them both. So I guess it was for the best that in the end, In-ho separated himself from the both of them.
Baek In-ho, Baek In-ha, and Yoo Jung
What I gathered from the show was that they had a falling out because Jung overheard In-ho say some mean things about him.
I felt like In-ho said what he did because he was jealous that Jung was getting close to that random piano student.
Instead of letting In-ho know that he felt hurt by what he heard, he plotted out a scheme to ruin In-ho’s life?!
I guess for a sociopath, that is the most logical solution, but how is it that his dad was not aware of what was going on. That whole family lacked communication skills.
I also don’t find the plot to be consistent with the character’s behavior. Jung, In-ho, and In-ha were doing just fine until Jung overheard In-ho’s insensitive comments.
Wouldn’t the three of them never have been close if In-ho harbored so much hate towards them?
And if Jung’s father believed him to have psychological issues, why wasn’t Jung in therapy???
It also would’ve made more sense not to have the dad turn out to be a major jerk in the end. I thought that Jung was jealous that his dad loved the Baek kids more than he did his son.
That’s what I gathered from the scene where Jung comes home from school to find this father happily chatting with the Baek siblings.
If the plot had gone in that direction, I could’ve understood why Jung acted the way that he did.
It would’ve been a better storyline to follow than the one that unraveled at the end.
I ended up binge-watching the episodes in a span of three days. It was a good show, but not amazing. I would give the drama a solid B.
I might re-watch it one day because I’m fond of In-ho, and there were some parts that I just didn’t get.
I’d recommend the show to those who want to watch a drama that takes place in a school setting. It made me miss college (the good ol’ days).
I didn’t write about minor characters, but everyone who appeared in the drama had depth. You felt for each character, even when they weren’t on their best behavior.
I also like that there was a gay couple. I haven’t watched many K-drama’s, but it was the first time that I saw homosexuality addressed in one. To me, it seems like major progress!
The drama had potential to turn out better than it did. The show had a platform to take Jung’s character and address his manipulative personality.
But instead, they made him out to be a kid with “problems.”
I guess the issue for me was that everyone was well written except for Jung. I empathized with everyone on the show except him.
Then again, the purpose of the story could’ve been not to empathize with him because he was just born that way.
I hope others who watched the drama (or will watch it) notice the red flags in Jung’s relationship with Seol. Nothing about their romance was healthy, and it is not one that anyone should inspire to be in.
A sociopath can never change, so in the end, Seol does fall for the cheese in the trap.