Imagine going from “Another Oh Hae Young” to “Eccentric! Chef Moon”…. I don’t know whether to be puzzled or feel bad for Eric but here we are.
I’ve been watching a lot more kdramas lately since I am under quarantine, I have a lot more time on my hands and this meant I watched basically every kdrama release recently. I plan on catching up on reviews that I had planned but never got to.
I would like to stress that this is not a hate article against the actors or the people behind “Eccentric! Chef Moon” but merely a review- a subjective review about the script for the most part.
To give you context, I had no expectations going in, I wasn’t overly excited and I wasn’t uninterested, I was pretty neutral going in but I was not prepared for the stuff I saw. It made me wonder why some of us writers have a difficult time getting a screenplay approved while others can approve something like “Eccentric! Chef Moon,” it’s a tough world we live in.
I was going to initially only review episode 1 and 2 of “Eccentric! Chef Moon” and leave it at that but I decided to watch episode 3 and 4 to see if maybe… maybe I was overreacting, but apparently it’s not getting any better or any less ridiculous so here we go.
Note: This is a spoiler review.
Eric is a good actor. I didn’t know he originally debuted as an idol but that’s an estimate of how good he is that he completely shed his image as an idol. This marks his first project in 4 years since the massive success of tvN’s “Another Oh Hae Young.” I was curious about his next project because I am sure he received a lot of love calls after the success of that drama.
4 years later he’s back with a drama that almost no one is going to remember, I am still puzzled he actually read the script and said yes, like how? I seriously can’t wrap my head around it.
“Eccentric! Chef Moon” is written by two screenwriters who don’t have any other credits to their names but man, how on earth was this approved?
“Eccentric! Chef Moon” would’ve probably been a hit drama in 2004 but the fact that such writing is still used in kdramas in 2020 is alarming to say the least, I can’t believe we are seeing such types of scripts in 2020, can we move on from the overly used clichés please?
“Eccentric! Chef Moon” tells the story of a chef who loses his parents in a fire ‘accident,’ and a fashion designer who loses her memory and start living with him.
“Eccentric! Chef Moon” is the text book of kdrama clichés but magnified, its like the type of script you’ll read to get an idea of what types of cringy tropes kdrama writers use sometimes but instead of being sparingly used, the cringy clichés are the entirety of the plot in this case.
This is not to say I mind kdrama tropes or regular clichés as long as they’re used only when needed and far in between.
Episode 1 was the worst of them all and that’s saying a lot, any kdrama fan who watched anything for the past 4 months would’ve probably clicked off by the 20 minute mark because it’s so ridiculous. We’re gonna go over some of the most ridiculous points.
We’re suddenly introduced to this very annoying child character who just shows up on Chef Moon’s parents’ house and claims she’s his daughter, he denies over and over again.
I was there just shaking my head, first things first, report this child to authorities, second get a fucking DNA test. I don’t understand why this child character just stays there for the sake of the plot when any human with a brain would’ve just solved her issue in a day or two.
She’s either his daughter or not, but he just keeps her around and doesn’t do anything with her (including getting a DNA test) because he’s ‘pressured’ by those around him to be her father, they just believe she’s his daughter…. for what? I don’t get it.
This is not mentioning what I believe really got on a lot of people’s nerves and that is the awful presentation of eating disorders, anorexia in this case.
So the main female character Bella is ‘anorexic’ and refuses to eat, she chooses to work on her projects getting injections in the hospital whenever she collapses. They just introduce this major thing in a character and then proceed to brush it off as passing phase? In matter of minutes? Wasn’t she having a hard time eating? People with anorexia don’t just eat like that…
She just starts eating when she sees food in front of her…. dude, did you do your research? Do you know what anorexia means or how it works?
You also have this god awful cliché of a chaebol family and a bitter man who made his way to the top and thinks he deserve the company over its rightful owners…. and it’s introduced in the most over-the-top way possible.
and it gets worse…. so a fire erupts in the grandparents’ house and they manage to get out safely with the little kid, and for the dumbest reason ever, the two go back to the burning house (wait for it)….. because of soy sauce…. the grandpa goes back and he’s followed by his wife and the two just die…. are you fucking kidding me?? Who is this made for again? 10-year-old kids? Somebody enlighten me please….
So after his parents’ funeral, he moves to the house they set for their retirement in the countryside with the annoying kid and his equally annoying secondary lead male character who I’d like to punch if possible.
Apparently, the designer Bella has a dark past and a set of complexities because of her mother’s death. She’s rude and unbearable but we’re supposed to care about her despite that terrible introduction. She flies back to South Korea for her mother’s grave and more unbelievable shit happens.
This is only episode one and we’re just scratching the surface. The article won’t be a lot longer but I wanted to highlight the absurdity of the script and why the article is titled like that.
In episode 2, the writers decide to use one of the most hated and controversial cliché plot devices… amnesia.
The greedy man who wants to take over his wife’s father company has a psycho daughter who’s obsessed with Bella; he arranges a meeting by threatening her and the daughter is confronted by Bella for plagiarizing her works while they’re driving….. (Already a bad setup)
The car suddenly derails on the highway and crashes into metal fences causing a damage to the car but somehow Bella just loses her memory because of this lame car crash, like make it make sense please… at least make the whole memory lose part make sense for us to be fully invested in the drama, who is writing this?
Chef Moon finds Bella while looking for his daughter in the woods and then for the weirdest reason and instead of reporting her to authorities in this small town or just in Seoul, Chef Moon decides to allow her to stay with them….
I don’t know why exactly he just allows a kid and a female adult to crash in his place without trying to investigate whatever the hell is going on. He’s famous and has money; he can get connections to solve this soon. This entire plot could be resolved in 3 episodes tops.
Then you have even more unbelievable writing, the villain decides he can just pass off his psycho daughter as the famous designer Bella… He’s the most stereotypical type of villain I’ve seen in a while in kdramas, zero effort is going towards establishing an actual character instead of a caricature or a 2D character that’s only written to bring our leads together and basically drive the plot forward.
Episode 3 and 4 are slightly more absurdly entertaining, the writers go down the route of ‘we’re going to make them fall in love by forcing them to live together’ trope. They already start liking each other by the fourth episode. Its cheap comedy and I can’t believe Channel A approved this, Channel A didn’t have the best record for kdramas but that’s just a new low man.
I cringed a lot watching this drama and I didn’t honestly expect it to be like that. I mean no matter how prepared I was going in, I was never going to be fully prepared for that terrible plot.
As you’ve seen from my simple recap of the first four episodes and as you can already probably tell the character are as stereotypical as they can be, not an ounce of creativity was put into the writing of those characters.
Characters just do stuff because the script says so, nothing makes sense and no one is willing to actually use their brain. Those types of characters would never exist in real life. They’re all annoying and difficult to like.
The kid is an amazing actress and is so cute but god damn it the character is so annoying I just couldn’t stand her or care for her. You also have this awful sidekick who just leaches off of Chef Moon and his entire presence is just annoying.
The villain character takes the cake for being the most awfully written one of them all. They say the story is only as good as its villain….
The only character that I was surprised with was the villain’s daughter who seemed to be very unstable, I thought there was potential there but I know these writers will ruin it.
Eric seems to have a preference for playing awfully rude rich male characters who can’t treat women properly but then fall head over heels for the most unlikely woman ever, this slightly changes the character and makes him a little less terrible.
Most of his discography characters’ descriptions are basically the same but with different occupations. I am extremely disappointed in his choice of this drama. I can’t wrap my head around it to be honest. I am sure he was offered better roles, he was offered a role in Shin Sung Rok’s “Perfume” (which was average) but even that would’ve been at least 10 times better than “Eccentric! Chef Moon.”
Go Won Hee is an actress who doesn’t always choose the best projects, she’s a good actress in my opinion but damn it sis don’t know how to choose good projects. Her past projects were questionable choices and if she keeps this up, she’ll have no place in the industry. She has to seriously reconsider the way she chooses projects and settle for secondary lead roles in better drama projects.
She needs the right role to establish herself as an actress to be taken seriously. I hope that in the future, she chooses a role in known (good) screenwriter drama and get to show off her acting chops.
Overall, I walked in with zero expectations and left baffled. I really like the actors involved in this drama (both leads and the secondary characters) but I can’t wrap my head around how such a basic script was ever approved for a drama and acted out by one of the best idol-turned-actors out there.
And I know I’ll get comments that tell me to stop watching if I don’t like it, but this is not how it goes kids. I seriously hoped episode 3 and 4 would surprise me and turn out better but, again, I was surprised by how gullible every character is aside from the villain.
If you follow my blog then you probably already know I recap each year major events and dramas in December and I have post articles about the best and most disappointing kdramas I’ve seen, “Eccentric! Chef Moon” is the first drama that’ll go in the most disappointing kdramas article.
2020 has been a good year so far for kdramas. You have “Crash Landing On You,” Itaeown Class,” “Stove League,” and so many more. For a script like that to be approved in such a competitive environment is puzzling, to say the least.