directed by Park Sung Soo
korea 2001

 

There are basically two interacting plot lines: the first concerns the bitter rivalry between restauranteurs: Park Geun Hyung and Jang Tae-kwang. Their history is told in brief flashbacks to their youth and early days as student chefs – and, as it happens, they each tell the story from opposite perspectives and reach opposite conclusions. The audience is fairly certain of the truth and sides with Geun Hyung, who is seen rescuing a small child from a fire, which act resulted in his losing his sense of smell – death for a chef.

Geun-hyung now owns a small Chinese restaurant in Korea and, for reasons that have nothing to do with his cooking which is, despite his sensory handicap, very good. His restaurant is on the verge of going under and it has just lost its chef, Pang-dal, to the competition. Tae-kwang, on the other hand is prosperous, but not so much that he doesn't have energy and resources to bear to make certain that his old rival goes under – and, to twist the knife further, that Geun-hyung is made to sell out to him.

Hyo-dong is the son of Geun-hyung - a young man of two minds: he refuses to suffer disloyalty from others (as when he visits Pan-dal in his new kitchen and beats him good and proper), but disrespects his father's loyalty to his restaurant – not coincidentally named after Hyo-dong. In an amusing sequence of events Hyo-dong meets up with the lovely Hee-ae and they court and fall in love, only to learn that they are the son and daughter of Geun-hyung and Tae-kwang. To add to the stew, Hee-ae is studying to be a chef and Hyo-dong traipses after her only to learn he has hidden talents.

Korean soaps are never content with a single romantic duo, and so introduce another character to further spice things up. Enter: Ma Shin-ae, by far the most interesting character in the series and the more emotive of the two women that vie for the affections of Hyo-dong. Shin-ae becomes a pivotal player in the proceedings as things develop. Always just one foot away from poverty, living on the streets by her wits and talents, Shin-ae dreams of becoming a great cook and of owning a three-story restaurant ("one story for Chinese, one for Korean, one for Western"). She meets Hyo-dung under the most embarrassing circumstances: carelessly coming upon him while he is stripped to his undershorts in a department store changing room. Not to be undone by her indiscretion, he chases her through the store, still more or less undressed. This calculated silliness of the first episode leads to further improbables when Hyo-dong comes upon Shin-ae as she is taking a leak in what she hoped was a unattended sidestreet. (Things never get quite so out of hand again, I am happy to report.) When Shin-ae meets up with Hyo-dong in cooking class, the expected triangle takes shape.

The fathers of our "star-crossed lovers" are both dead set against any courtship between their children but Hyo-dong and Hee-ae have other ideas – not the ones I hoped for, alas. In fact, Hee-ae turns out to become an underdeveloped character, just as does a third romantic diad between Hee-ae's semi-ruthless brother, Hee-moon, and Shin-ae. The unexplored ironic possibilities between this two was one of the series' great disappointments for me. All About Eve, an MBC romantic drama from the previous year, was able to flesh out just such dimensions to their characters, but not so here.

Theatrical Release: Originally aired on Korean television, February 7 – March 29, 2001

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DVD Review: YA Entertainment (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution

YA Entertainment (USA)

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 880 min
Video

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.4 a mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio Korean DD2.0
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: YA Entertainment (USA)

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• 16 episodes, approx. 55 min/episode
• Published in 1 box set
• Each box set includes 2 volumes, total: 6 discs
• Bonus: Jumong (20 minute excerpt, Episode 1)
• Bonus: Sad Love Story (20 minute excerpt)

DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008

Chapters

 

Comments

What starts off as an over-the-top comedy, soon settles down into a garden-variety love story of the Romeo & Juliet kind. That said, Delicious Proposal does a better than average job in blending romance, drama and comedy into a savory confection, if I may be permitted the mix of gourmet perspectives. Typical of Korean soaps of this period (they were still in their infancy in 2001) the plot doesn't stand up to close scrutiny, and it misses out on the dramatic potential of two plot developments.

As for the actors, we should note that Delicious Proposal saw early work from a number of eventual starts and superstars: Most obvious, and the probably reason for this series to have been taken up by YAE, is the presence of Son Ye-Jin (Alone in Love, Summer Scent,
April Snow, Lovers' Concerto) in her TV drama debut. Ye-Jin has one of the most disarming smiles in the business. It starts as a kind of squint that opens up into a veritable pool of loveliness. How could anyone not fall in love with her on the spot? On the other hand, how could Hee-ae be treated so rudely by her family and, eventually Hyo-dong's father? I'm telling you, these Koreans will stop at nothing to twist our emotions! It's too bad that she is little more than a passive pawn in the hands of the writer.

 


Other young actors who would later become superstars, include So Ji-Sub (Something Happened in Bali, Sorry I Love You, Glass Slipper) – now a major fashion plate in the industry, Ji Sung (Save the Last Dance for Me, All in), and Kwon Sang-Woo (Stairway to Heaven, Sad Love Story). Less destined for stardom, but fascinating to watch all the same is Soh Yu Jin as Ma Shin-ae whose, character, as noted earlier, is placed more vigorously than Hee-ae. Yu Jin - a sort of cross between a rabbit and Jim Carrey - conveys all sorts of mobility in glances and eye movements that simply exude anxiety or romantic love by turns.

One of my favorite characters is Pang-dal, the renegade chef played for comic relief by Jung Won Jung. Pang-dal can always be counted on to break up the monotony of heavyosity that pervades some of the contrivances of the plot – as, for example, when our heroine just happens on a suspicious clinch between Hyo-dong and Shin-ae. But even with such routine turnabouts in plot, Delicious Proposal picks itself up and finds ways to develop most situations in intriguing ways.

 Leonard Norwitz-

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

Distribution

YA Entertainment (USA)

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

 





 

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