Cheese in the Trap (2016)
Directed By: Lee Yoon-jung
Webtoon Created By: Soonkki
I did a review of this webtoon series a while back, and I thought it was about time to check out the live action South Korean drama.
In my webtoon review, I mentioned that Cheese in the Trap is a favorite of mine and I highly recommend it to shoujo fans. You can check it out on Line Webtoon. When I first heard about the live-action drama, I was a little skeptical because manga or webtoon adaptations tend to leave a lot of things out and go on its own direction or they are a bit too cheesy as I witness from watching so many Japanese romance live-action dramas based on shoujo manga. However, my assumptions were wrong on this one, and I should have watched it as soon as it premiered in January.
So I think they did an excellent job in the casting call and it also surprised me how well each actor and actress are suited for their role and bring forth their own version of each webtoon character. They really brought these characters to life to the point where it’s better than the webtoon. For example, when reading the webtoon, I had trouble comprehending Yoo Jung’s cold-hearted nature because his actions weren’t convincing. A reader can only interpret the character’s emotions through the scene, the expressions on a character’s face, and the dark colored settings. However in the drama, the audience can see these emotions not only through these methods but the dialogue and music as well, which they use to their advantage for this drama. For instance, every time Yoo Jung (Park Hae-jin) and Hong Seol (Kim Go-eun) interacted, the light bulb would flicker suggesting some tension between the two.
Another example of excellent casting is Lee Sung-kyung portraying the female character, Baek In-Ha. She conveyed her in such a crazy and sociopathic way that I don’t think it would be possible to depict such over exaggerated emotions in the webtoon. Despite being annoying at times, I did appreciate her character because she’s the most troublesome but honest one. Baek In-Ha expresses her emotions as oppose to suppressing them and keeping secrets like a majority of characters in this show. Although she acts irrational, she does the one thing that the characters in this series should do: express feelings. As a result, the audience is able to understand and sympathize with her: we know what she desperately desires and she would do anything to achieve it even if it hurts others or is morally wrong. At the end of the series, I felt sorry for her because she suffered the most when it comes to betrayal from the ones she trusted and cared for the most. She faced abandonment, hopelessness, and despair, but even though, she may be the most pitiful, I couldn’t ignore her erratic behavior of hurting the innocent, Hong Seol. She takes things too far when doing that.
The ending isn’t what you would hope for in a romance drama, but given the fact that the webtoon is still ongoing, one cannot assume that this is the actually ending. They left the drama open-ended because no one knows what the author’s intentions or direction for the webtoon will be, so we can only make speculations. However, the drama’s ending is appropriate since it goes with the typical Asian drama formula: someone goes to the hospital and there’s a glimpse into the future for the characters some years later. The drama leaves the romance between Seol and Yoo Jung in the air and it is up to the audience whether or not they are together. This leaves audience members in anticipation to know the true ending of Cheese in the Trap.
I recommend both the webtoon and the live-action drama. The drama follows the webtoon fairly well, and I do think that the drama can be a stand alone if you don’t have time to read the webtoon. However, I strongly recommend that you watch and read both versions! They are good!