The poster for new drama ``Coffee House,'' which starts airing tonight at 8:50 p.m. on SBS / Courtesy of SBS
By Han Sang-hee
A new drama on SBS titled ``Coffee House'' begins airing this week and it has already made headlines thanks to its star-studded cast and producer Pyo Min-su.
Coffee and books may seem like main ingredients for a typical romantic comedy targeting young women, but Pyo, who created popular works such as ``Worlds Within,'' ``Full House'' and ``Pretty Insun,'' is adding a bit more philosophy and thought to the series.
The soap stars hallyu star Kang Ji-hwan, along with actresses Park Si-yeon and Ham Eun-jeong.
Kang plays successful novelist Lee Jin-su, who seems like the perfect catch but underneath is one of the pickiest people on the planet. One of Lee's biggest pet peeves is bad coffee, so he becomes an expert in grinding and making his own high quality brew.
Park will appear as Seo Eun-young, the head of a famous book company where Lee is contracted to, and shows off her comical side. The two can't stand each other, but they consider themselves professionals and endure daily interaction without realizing their true underlying feelings.
Ham, who is also currently a member of the girl goup T-ara, will play the clueless barista-to-be Kang Eun-jeong, who coincidently becomes Lee's assistant. Determined that this is her one chance to become a coffee-making expert, Kang follows Lee around like a puppy, despite all the snapping from the proud writer.
The three characters seem to be enough to create chemistry, as the backdrop (cafes and bookstores) and materials (coffee and books) easily combine to form a romantic and trendy atmosphere on their own.
``I think it's not possible to decide on a specific genre because there are so many different genres mixed into one. `Coffee House' may follow the rules of a typical romantic drama, but there is comedy and each episode will deal with different stories, just like a sitcom,'' Pyo said during a press conference last week at SBS headquarters in Mok-dong, northern Seoul.
Viewers may be concerned that the new soap will actually resemble two other popular dramas: ``Coffee Prince'' (MBC) and ``Full House'' (KBS). Korean dramas have already been criticized by viewers and critics for repeatedly dealing with similar plots and storylines, but Pyo emphasized that his drama is unrelated and completely different from the other two.
``I enjoyed watching `Coffee Prince' myself. But I'm thinking of bringing a bit more meaning to our drama. Something real and current. I want to deal with the gap between the rich and the poor,'' Pyo said.
``I am a very cultural person and I wanted to make a drama that dealt with people who are not cultural. Books are food for the soul and coffee accompanies the intake. I wanted to fuse the two together and come up with a cultural story,'' the producer added.
Moreover, the series will also feature the competitive world of professionals and amateurs.
The two characters Lee and Seo may have trouble getting along personally, but when it comes to work, they have the same goal: perfection. They may argue and complain that they hate each other, but they have to admit that their collaboration brings the best results. For Kang, on the other hand, the world of such professionals dazzles her, and she promises herself that she will soon become an expert exactly like them.
``Everybody wants to be a professional, but it's not an easy process. I think it's not about trying too hard, but naturally enjoying the work. The drama deals with how we can all become professionals in our fields. It's about the characters' lives, not just about coffee and books,'' Pyo explained.
``Coffee House'' starts airing tonight at 8:50 p.m. on SBS.