Welcome, Drama Fans, to the first two episodes of Jeju Island Gatsby (a.k.a. Warm and Cozy). As we settle in to slip into the fantasy world of K dramas, where all the men are good looking and can cook, and all the women are slim and can cry prettily, let’s examine Fantasy vs. Reality.

Watch the premiere:

Taleena: Let me start off by heaping praise on the Hong Sisters for a moment. If there is one thing they know how to do really well, it is write poor people. The poor girl/rich boy narrative is a common K-drama theme, but the Hongs really have a way of making the little things highlight the reality of that dynamic. I am thinking about Jung Joo’s insistence on paying for every little favor and not taking anything for granted - even using the bathroom.

Marakeshsparrow: I really felt like I could relate to Kang So Ra’s character, Jung Joo, in these first couple episodes. Not so much the part about searching for her lost family . . . but when it comes to being a poor, working stiff--I’m right there with her. I’m already really enjoying her character because even though she’s been hit with some hard knocks (losing your boyfriend and your job and your savings all in one day? Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!), she still seems like a strong person and doesn’t play the “poor me” victim. Lee Jung Joo fighting!

Jazmine: You’re so right Taleena, no matter how much the Hong Sisters reuse the poor girl/rich guy theme they always do it so right. They make the characters really loveable or unique so you end up focusing more on the characters themselves. Also, I am so happy to Kang So Ra in another drama. I really like her as an actress and I think she’s gorgeous so I’m fangirling. Anyways, her character is strong. I don’t like when female characters are helpless and even with all the hardships she’s been facing she can still hold her held high and keep on moving. I like it! I also like Gun Woo a lot. He seems to be a little stubborn but I like the way he reacts when Jung Joo wants to pay for something. He always wants to give her change, and I think that’s cute and says something about his character.

Marakeshsparrow: I wasn’t sure about Gun Woo to begin with--he seemed like he might be the typical rich snob riding around playing polo, but I’m happy to see I was wrong! There’s definitely more to him than the usual kdrama rich boy, the fact that he went off on his own to open a cafe on Jeju Island (even if it had something to do with the girl he likes) make me think he walks to the beat of his own drum. And he’s got such a cute personality! I’m already really enjoying their chemistry and how they play off each other.

Taleena: It is interesting to me that Gun Woo is as warm and connected as he is. I’m not saying that people with money are all cold hearted jerks, but in the beginning with the watch especially, it really highlighted the fact that he lives the fantasy life of the indolent. I LOVED Jung Joo’s monologue about her big splurge being new white underwear - and how much she hates pink. That rings so true, getting all excited because of white cotton undies because they are the one, new thing all your own.

Jazmine: Gun Woo definitely has his rich snobby tendencies. His has this little flair of ignorance about him which is why I think he can’t win over the elders on the island. He’s not trying to connect with them, because he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have to make his life Jeju Island, he can go back to Seoul anytime. That, and he seems useless to the elders. I think Jung Joo will make better waves with the elders, but not for long. She longs for the rich life too and making some sort of profit off wear she lives. She has her own agenda too. I think that makes them more alike than anything.

Taleena: Except, there is a lot going on with those fisherwomen. Or rather, that ONE fisherwoman - the one played by Kim Hee Jung. The way she kept looking at Jung Joo, it was like she recognized her. I think she knows something about Jung Joo and Gun Woo’s parentage. (Side note - can she just TEST the huge hunk of Gun Woo’s hair for DNA similarity please! It’s like Chekov’s DNA test hanging out there in the ether.)

Marakeshsparrow: I find those diving women so interesting! I didn’t know anything about that aspect of Jeju culture and I like that the Hong Sisters have included it in this story. As for DNA testing--YES please! What, did Jung Joo just take the mother’s word that she didn’t recognize that photo and leave it at that, case closed? Come on! I want to support the apparent romance that’s brewing, but I’m little distracted by the fact that they might be twins . . . That would make for a strange story for sure.

Taleena: Well, I for one am holding out hope for Mr. Mayor the Underwear Model. After all, his naked body has been the fantasy picture that has kept Jung Joo going almost as much as the knowledge that Gun Woo was in her corner on his polo horse.

Marakeshsparrow: Can I just say quickly that I can’t see Mr. Mayor without thinking of that actor’s creepy role in Night Watchman’s Journal? Hahaha--that’s been a little distracting for me.

Taleena: Marakeshsparrow, my drama friends had a HUGE crush on him in NightWJ. Cuppybowls. It makes no sense I know.

Jazmine: I almost forgot that Gun Woo’s mom told him something very important 10 years ago. I’m hoping they’re not twins because the romantic chemistry is building and that would be beyond awkward if they are twins. Also, I never watched Night Watchman's Journal, but now I am interested.

Taleena: Get thee to TV and watch NWJ, because it has some sexy blacksmithing scenes that are not to be missed. BUT back on topic. Let’s talk about poor Jung Joo’s need for fantasy because her life is so crappy. When you can’t actually spear your ex boyfriend who married behind your back, it helps to fantasize about doing it. Right?

Marakeshsparrow: But even in her fantasy she misses! Ah, so sad. She’s really having a bad day. I guess her whole life has been rough though. When she was young it seems like the fantasy of reuniting with her long lost family kept her going (she said she’d saved up for a whole year to travel there and find them), and since then she’s held onto her fantasy of her prince on a black, not white, horse. I think this also makes her really relatable--when life is hard and things aren’t going your way, it’s so easy to rely on your fantasies (or //cough//kdramas//cough//) to keep you going.

Jazmine: I felt so bad for Jung Joo when she found out her boyfriend has married behind her back. And he had the audacity to wear the couple shirts that she got them with his wife. He’s a jerk. I know I go into my fantasy world (yeah kdramas) when I’m down and I think it’s healthy. It can make you feel better and then you can take on the world. It gets to be a problem though when fantasy meshes with reality or when you stay in fantasy land too long. The real world is always waiting and I think Jung Woo knows that better than most.

Taleena: Yes, it’s a coping mechanism, but she doesn’t live in a fantasy life or get it confused with reality. Meanwhile, Gun Woo’s living out his self created delusion of helping out the girl with terminal cancer to prove he really is a Good Guy. He keeps tearing up and looking nobley off into the middle distance.

Marakeshsparrow: Oh man, that misconception he has is pretty hilarious. I feel bad because I think Jung Joo is going to misinterpret his attentiveness since she’s always had that fantasy of meeting him again and falling in love. Meanwhile, at this point he more or less sees her as a pity project. I’m sure that will change along the way though. I think the more he cares for her, the more he’ll actually grow to have feelings . . . ok, still a little weirded out by that since they may be siblings.

Taleena: WE don’t know. Gun Woo does. I don’t think he has any romantic inclinations other than to Whatsherface Keep Him on a String. I DO think that his Noble Concern for Jung Joo’s latter stage cancer will be good for extricating him from that relationship. I really, really, REALLY want his older brother - played by the handsome Lee Sung Jae - to be Jung Joo’s brotherly Oppa. I love him so much as an actor and always like it when he plays goodies and not baddies.

Jazmine: I am interested to see if any more love interests pop up for Jung Joo. I also wanna see how Gun Woo will find out about her not having terminal cancer. That’s going to be funny. I’m not if Mr. Mayor will be a love interest, but I’m willing to entertain the idea.

Taleena: On team Mayor. How did she put it? Good looking, stable, good income, level 5 civil servant and, Oh Yeah, SHY Underwear Model. Ha ha. I can’t wait until she puts 2 and 2 together. He was totally floored by her getting off the bus, and her giant bag of underwear!

Marakeshsparrow: I definitely think he’s going to be a major love interest. I have to say, I’m very intrigued by his character--how did he get into underwear modeling? Does he have this whole secret life he’s hiding from everyone else? I’m definitely excited to see how that plays out. Right now I’m honestly torn between teams. On one hand we’ve got the creepy sorcerer from Night Watchman (haha) and on the other, her potential twin.

Taleena: Maybe it will help if you think of him as the secretary from Secret Garden.

Jazmine: OH. MY. GOD. This entire time I was wondering where I recognized his face from! Secret Garden is my fave drama and I could not put his face to anything. Thank you Taleena for pointing that out. I’m content now.

Taleena: That’s OK, I just figured out where I saw her Brazil bound cousin, from Tomorrow’s Cantabile as Il Rak. I wanted crazy blond hair on him.

Marakeshsparrow: Yes! And Flower Boy Next Door! Ah, I love playing the who’s who in kdrama guessing game. Once you watch enough you start to recognize everyone! 

What did you think of the first two episodes Drama Fans? Are they twins for real? What's the deal with Mr. Mayor? Is anyone taking bets that Jung Joo starts working for Gun Woo's older brother as a Chinese interpreter? Let us know in the comments!

Want more Jeju Gatsby Drama Club? Check out the links below!

Taleena: | As the Kimchi Turns | Past Drama Clubs | Hong Sisters

Marakeshsparrow: @marakeshsparrow | Jessa Leigh (Marakeshsparrow) | Sensory Couple

Jazmine: Greatest Marriage | Love Cells | Pinocchio | Divorce Lawyer in Love