I Live in Cheongdamdong Ep 53 Recap

Our dear Jieun is already on the mend. She wakes up in the morning still a bit teary, but then hears a talk show host advise a girl to stop chasing after her crush.

“It’s clear that this is a lost cause. So, stop and pick yourself up again. There are a lot of men out there.”

With these fighting words, we see Jieun sprucing herself up.

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Ahahaha. I thought she was just putting on some lipstick, but then the camera pulls back and we see that Jieun, cute Korean girl has apparently transformed into…

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World, meet Jieun the vamp. She looks at her reflection with a raised chin and says in a voice several registers lower than usual, “There are many men in the world.”


In his office, Sangyeob is feeling guilty and imagines Jieun leaving the construction tearily after his dismissal. I thought he might over-imagine her angst, but sadly, he got it pretty accurately. He texts her, asking if she’s free because he knows a really good place to go and she sends back a VIDEO of her writing his name on a piece of paper and then crumpling it up. The video pans up to her face. She says, “Lee Sang Yeob, it’s over.”

What is this? Love Recovery 101 with a side of voodoo-ism?

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If I were Sangyeob, I would backing away slowly from the crazy, but Sangyeob just looks concerned.

Jieun goes downstairs and scares her uncles with her new look. Hahaha. One uncle pastes on a polite smile and asks, “Who… are you?”

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Jieun leaves for work, but not before she turns around and thanks Hyunwoo for waking her up. At work, she is immensely cheery, telling her boss Jungmin that it’s thanks to Hyunwoo that she knows that, if a man likes a woman, she wouldn’t feel doubtful, hesitant, or unsure. Lol, like every girl who has insisted they’ve let go RIGHT AFTER something has happened, Jieun insists that she feels great and she wishes she had done this earlier. I smell a breakdown coming before the episode’s end.

After getting the scoop, Jungmin rushes outside, where Sangyeob is waiting. “It looks like everything’s fine,” she says.

Sangyeob does not look thrilled to hear this, but he says, “As long as she’s okay, then.”

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By nightfall, Jungmin’s got the entire story and she’s outraged on Jieun’s behalf. “That bastard!” she fumes. “Even if it were a disgusting lunch, how could he do that? What do you want to do? Beat him up? Scratch his car? I’ll take responsibility.”

But Jieun says placidly that she doesn’t want to do anything, and that letting go is enough to make her heart content. However, later on, in her bed, Jieun thinks over the previous day’s events, clearly troubled. The next morning, she wakes up in a foul mood, lol, and while everyone’s peacefully, eating, she starts cursing randomly under her breath.

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Ok, I have NO IDEA where Jieun gets her recovery ideas from, but for all the guys reading this, I can assure you this is not the norm. Angry that she can’t get Sangyeob out of her mind, she takes out another piece of paper and writes his name again. And then she spits on his name. And then she spits on it again. And then she puts mustard and ketchup over it. And then some Worcestershire sauce. For good measure, she grinds the gloppy mess into the paper with a pestle.

Sangyeob comes to visit her at the restaurant where she’s a manager. He asks her to come hang out again because he knows a really good place. Jieun replies in this utterly disinterested voice, “I said I gave up. Did you not understand?

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“No, no. It’s just that this place is really good.”

Jieun says, “Can you say something else? Every day you say, ‘this place is really good.'”

Sangyeob pauses. “Then. This place is somewhere I want to go with Jieun. Will you go?”

Jieun doesn’t even look up. “No.”

“Why not? Do you have a date?”

To her credit, Jieun doesn’t lie, which is probably worse for Sangyeob. “Nope.”

“Then why not?”

“I just don’t want to.”

But then he finds her after work drinking in a bar. “It looks like you have some personal matters going on,” he says. “What’s wrong?

She gives him this face. I give him this face. We all give him this face.

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“What’s wrong?” she asks.” Are you someone who stabs a person and then runs back to check if they’re dead? Do you really not know what’s wrong?”

Sangyeob tries to cut in, but mostly he listens to her talk.

“People express their feelings in different ways. About 14% is expressed with words. About 80% is expressed through their actions, their face, their hand gestures. I didn’t tell you I liked you with words, but I told you with those 80%.”

(I’m not sure where the remaining 6% is, but Jieun is getting pretty tossed from soju, so I’ll leave it at that.)

A thought occurs to her and she looks at him in disbelief. “In fact, what are you doing now? Is it that you have a date nearby but need to kill some time before she comes? Aish. You’re like this till the end.” (Oh, Sangyeob, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.)

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They walk out of the restaurant and Jieun shoos him away. He looks at his phone and she says, “Ohhh, right. You can’t leave. You have to wait for that girl. How much time is there? 10 minutes? Fine. I’ll give you 10 minutes.”

She drags him into a photobooth and feeds the machine some money. I have to admit, knackered Jieun is even more charming than usual stripped of her usual reservations.

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They walk out and Jieun spots a random lady walking down the same sidewalk. “That must be her,” she says. She bows solemnly to Sangyeob, “I wish you a very, very happy time. Then she proffers Sangyeob to the woman like you would display a house. “Here, here you go!”

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“Oh, guess that’s not her.”

Sangyeob… looks tired. I don’t really know the backstory to their relationship up till now, but if this was Episode 130 Sangyeob, he would be jumping with glee. He says that she’s obviously very drunk, so he’ll take her home now. Jieun sticks to her guns, saying that she wouldn’t want to make the other girl wait. For Jieun to be acting like this, Sangyeob must really have treated her poorly in the past. Oh, Sangyeob, truly a case of not realizing the worth of water till the well is dry. She flips around and walks away humming.

But as soon as she rounds the corner, she breaks down.

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I’m nodding sympathetically, till Jieun rises above my expectations and comes back swinging. Literally.

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Sangyeob was in the middle of a phonecall with (presumably) a girl, telling her that he won’t be able to make it today since he doesn’t feel well. (Aish… Sangyeob… it was true? Again?!)

And then she gives him a piece of her mind.

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“Next time, if you want to call me and say something like, ‘Did you eat yet? How are you? Are you warm?’ Don’t! Don’t ask me anything that would give me hope. If you do, I won’t forgive you.” (It sounds like Jieun is overreacting, but based on some clips I’ve seen of Sangyeob in earlier episodes, he really could give off the wrong vibes.)

And then she goes knocking on Hyunwoo’s door, still drunk.

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“Unni drank a little too much,” she says. “Come. Come out and give me some background music. I was thinking, what’s the difference between our lives and movies? The difference is that we don’t have music. If I had some music, my life would be a movie, too.” (Cough, I think the real difference is we don’t all have Hyunwoo to run to and Sangyeob to turn away.)

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In a very sweet turn of events, music starts to play. It’s not clear if this is music heard in their hearts, music intended only for us to hear by the director, or music coming from Hyunwoo’s radio, but there is music all the same. And Hyunwoo and Jieun sit down together.

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“Cheongdam. Cheongdam. The name is not very pretty, is it?” Jieun says. (Cheongdam dong is one of the wealthiest zipcodes in South Korea, and Jieun and her family all have hopes of attaining the quality of life that most residents in Cheongdam have. Currently, they reside in a tiny manhwa house in Cheongdam that their friend abandoned.)

“When I say, ‘I live in Cheongdam dong, I feel very valuable,” she says. “But then I remember. I am not really a Cheongdam dong person.”

“Is that why you chased after Sangyeob come hell or high water? Because he lives in Cheongdam?” Hyunwoo asks.

Jieun doesn’t really answer, but starts laughing and going off on other tangents, at times falling into sadness, causing Hyunwoo to look downcast in commiseration, only to startle him with a sudden drunken outburst.

“It’s ok, Jieun. Humiliation won’t kill you,” she says, tapping herself on the chest. “it’s okay, Oh Ji Eun. It’s okay. Can you tell me like that?” she asks Hyunwoo.

“It’s ok, Oh Ji Eun,” he says.

“WITH FEELING!” she shouts.

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Hyunwoo tries again. “It’s okay, Oh Jieun. I, too, have been embarrassed, and not just once or twice. Remember, when people look at photos, they only look at themselves, and care about what they look like. They don’t care about how the other people in the photo look.” He slings an arm around her jovially. I’m waiting for more. These early episodes have me on the edge of my seat for any movement on the Jieun-Hyunwoo front.

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Jieun says, “Remove your hand.” I say, “WHHYYY, JIEUNNNNN.” Oh Ji Eun, you will kick yourself for this in a few episodes.

The next day, Jieun’s uncle, a manhwa illustrator, hands her a drawing. Jieun looks at it in a rather evilly satisfied way.

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Ending Thoughts: It was gratifying to see these early episodes if only for the fact that I know now that Sangyeob was aware that he had once had a chance with Jieun. It was much sadder to think that Sangyeob was under the impression that he had never had a chance at all.


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