Sunday, July 15, 2012

Drama Short: Pasta (2010) Review

Grade: A

What it’s about
The politics and personalities in the kitchen of an upscale Italian restaurant in Seoul, with special emphasis on the forbidden love between the hardworking kitchen assistant and her prickly new chef.

First impression
Light and breezy. Dare I at first bite? More please!

Final verdict
If you’ll pardon the doubtlessly overused metaphor, this well-executed dish definitely deserves a passing grade—it’s made with a near-perfect recipe and uses only the finest of ingredients. 

More of a lighthearted workplace drama than a traditional romantic comedy, Pasta may not have much of a central plot, but its underdog-makes-good storyline and episodic structure manage to stay fresh and interesting to the very end. (The middle does get a bit doldrumy, especially when the narrative starts to focus on the devious machinations of the show’s least likable character.) With its grown-up vibe and well-considered characterizations, Pasta is a laid-back, feel-good delight to watch. Its greatest charm, though, is the sweetly goofy relationship between its romantic leads: Coffee Prince’s sex-voiced Lee Sun Gyun and Greatest Love’s Gong Hyo Jin, she of the world’s most earnestly beleaguered expression.

Pasta also accomplished a rare feat: When I finish watching a Kdrama, I’m generally ready to move on to the next one, but this show’s final episode actually made me sad to say goodbye. 

Stray thoughts
Pasta’s female lead is like the anti-Ha Ji Won: always engaging, always charming, and always someone I’d like to see more of.

• There may not be a lot of heat in this OTP, but boy are they ever cute together. They even seem like they’re having fun, a shockingly rare commodity in Kdrama romances, where love tends to be a supremely serious matter. 

• For such a food-porny show, most of the dishes served at La Sfera are a bit nouvelle cuisine for my tastes. (On the other hand, I would have gladly cleaned up all the extra servings lying around the set.) It’s amazing that everyone managed to stay so thin throughout this show, when practically every scene requires them to consume carbohydrates.

Episode 2

Dear Goldfish: 
Consider moving to America! Here, you could sue this creep for gender discrimination.

Episode 8. You know what else would be bad for business, Chef? If somebody died in the walk-in freezer, thereby necessitating legal intervention and probably shutting the place down altogether for the foreseeable future. 

Episode 17. Screaming doesn’t seem to be the most effective of teaching methods, does it? Maybe you should try something new, Chef. Say...telling the person why you’re rejecting their dish instead of making them redo it again and again without feedback. But then again, your student should probably be looking for a day job anyway—she grew up in a restaurant family, went to culinary school, and worked for three years as a kitchen assistant and still can’t grill a scallop? (Frankly, this makes me feel better for being totally inept in the kitchen. Of course I suck, if someone with those credentials can barely manage to feed herself.)


  1. Ahh, I too miss my Pasta days of yesteryear.. or at least of a couple weeks ago. Near perfection. And without all of the wrist-rolling cringe-inducing angst that so many (seemingly) nice rom-coms like to throw in there periodically, thereby ruining my moment(s). Gong Hyo Jin is totally off the adorableness chart. As for Sweeper's Dad... ahhhh... even my husband thought his voice was sexy, hehe (and yes - he did watch every episode with me. Success!)

    I totally had to make a drive to the big city for some decent Italian food though.. those cream sauces got to me after a while... *drools*

    1. It was nice to watch a foodie drama that focused on familiar dishes for a change--I've even made a few of them in my kitchen. (But, clearly, without swishy, scarf-wearing Chef yelling at me...Thank god. I would have spent all my time blubbering in the walk-in if my boss was that mean.)

      I liked the lack of angst in this one, too. Almost all the characters were refreshingly logical, and played well with others. the last time I remember a drama being this likable was my beloved Protect the Boss. Hooray for under-appreciated gems!

  2. LMFAO at your episode 17 comment. I thought the same thing ha ha. I really enjoyed Pasta as well, it was a nice change from all the back and forth angsty rom coms. Unfortunately as I love anything involving pasta, I cannot watch a kdrama without craving it because they are always eating it, whether it be Italian or Asian noodles. I'm trying right now to kick the noodle habit for some healthier grains with less carbs and more protein, but kdramas certainly do not help :P.

    On a side note, I just started watching A Gentleman's Dignity (Yes I am watching 3 kdramas at the same time now lol, but they are all currently airing so what can I do? At least AGD will be done airing by the time I get to the end so no waiting on that one lol) I think you would really like it. I am in love with it so far. It is a really different sort of drama than what I am used to watching. I described it on my blog as "A men's sex and the city without all the porn" lol. But it's very mature and funny and the lead male has an infectious quirkiness about him that I am now obsessed with. And he looks and acts freakishly like an Asian Johnny Depp in this drama. Weird... Anyways, sorry I always have to blabber when I like a drama lol.

    1. What's this? "Asian Johnny Depp"!?! That certainly sounds appealing...and it's interesting that this is a guy's take on the standard Kdrama single-in-the-city rom-com. I've definitely added it to my list of things to watch--thanks for the rec!

  3. That's at least what he reminds me of a lot, my husband said he could definitely see the resemblance too. So far it's still entertaining. Lol no prob, you know I'm going to run off at the mouth about whatever drama I'm watching whether you want me to or not, I cannot seem to help myself :P.

  4. I just want to say because of your review I gave Pasta a shot (the synopsis was not compelling for me) and all I can say is THANKS SO MUCH! I love it, I was a little hesitant because it seems like we have different drama tastes, but I love the way you talk about the dramas themselves and your overall view. So I just thought I would give credit where its due. This is now one of my all top dramas (so far, Im only on ep 15)!

    1. Recommendations are a tricky business—what one person loves another person could very easily hate. I'm glad you like Pasta, though. I've grown wary of trusting the official synopses for Kdramas: they're often wrong, and usually totally misguided. Based on what the network had to say about it, I never would have bothered to watch Coffee Prince, my favorite drama of all time. Thank heavens that word of mouth convinced us to give these shows a shot!

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