My Sweet Dear Summary
마이 스윗 디어
Around 90 minutes
Cute and sweet
Around 12 to 15 minutes
Do Gun is a gourmet chef at an Italian restaurant called Laura's Dining. Thanks to his culinary talents, the restaurant is highly acclaimed and even won a Michelin star in the past. The restaurant staff is in awe of Do Gun, inspired by his delicious cooking. There are even some recipes that only Do Gun knows how to prepare himself.
However, the restaurant owner Laura Kim clashes with Do Gun recently. She has big ambitions for her business, including a more modern approach to the menu and dishes. Do Gun disagrees with her vision, preferring to stick with his traditional recipes. As a result, Laura is increasingly unhappy with how Do Gun has been running her restaurant. The mediocre customer reviews only amplifies her dissatisfaction.
Laura hires Jung Woo, a bubbly and vivacious chef who studied cooking overseas. Jung Woo has a creative flair, and his modern style is what Laura wants for her restaurant's future. However, she doesn't inform the restaurant staff about her decision. Do Gun is caught off-guard when Jung Woo suddenly shows up for his first day of work. The two chefs butt heads in the kitchen, especially since Jung Woo seems confident that he can cook Do Gun's secret recipes.
After the initial confusion, Laura finally explains her intentions. She wants Do Gun and Jung Woo to compete against each other in an upcoming cooking contest. Each chef is tasked with designing a new dish for the restaurant. The winner will become the official head chef at Laura's Dining, while the loser will have his employment terminated.
The stakes are high, but Do Gun accepts the challenge and thinks he can best a rookie chef like Jung Woo. He is hostile towards his rival and doesn't treat him kindly. However, Jung Woo views their competition differently. Impressed by Do Gun's cooking, he seems to develop a romantic admiration in his standoffish opponent.
My Sweet Dear Trailer
My Sweet Dear Cast
Do Gun Lee Chan Hyung (이찬형) Lee Chan Hyung Instagram
Do Gun is an accomplished chef at an Italian restaurant, run by Laura Kim. Although Do Gun's cooking has won awards for the restaurant, Laura isn't pleased with his lack of adaptability. He wants to stick with the classics, whereas she has a more contemporary vision for the restaurant. When Laura hires a new chef for the restaurant, Do Gun clashes with Jung Woo intensely over their differences.
Jung Woo Jang Eui Soo (장의수) Jang Eui Soo Instagram
Jung Woo is a new chef hired by Laura in her restaurant. His offbeat personality and confident swagger put him at odds with Do Gun as soon as they meet. Beneath his bravado, Jung Woo is a pretty lighthearted and sensitive guy. He has a unique sense of taste and can replicate many recipes just from experiencing a meal.
Jo Seo Hu (조서후)
Jang Do Yoon (장도윤)
Oh Seung Jun (오승준)
- Jung Woo's actor (Jang Eui Soo) appeared in multiple Korean BL dramas in the past. He had a leading role in the highly recommended 2020 series Where Your Eyes Linger.
- In addition, Jang Eui Soo's other works include a supporting role in Nobleman Ryu's Wedding (2021) and a tiny guest role in Mr. Heart (2020).
My Sweet Dear Review
Drama Review Score: 6.8
My Sweet Dear is an aesthetically pleasing BL series, impressing me with how pretty it looks. This drama appears luxurious and sophisticated, both terms that I don't often use to describe the low-budget BL genre. Not only is the cinematography attractive, but the set designs, scene compositions, and post-production process come with an elegant polish. Each episode is a visual delight, like an extravagant gourmet meal designed for the eyes.
Sadly, My Sweet Dear has a lousy premise that doesn't measure up to its fancy appearance. The cooking competition between the chefs doesn't make sense from the start. Why would Laura put her employees through such an unnecessary exercise that destroys workplace morale? The storyline gets more convoluted as it progresses, becoming such a farce that I am infuriated by the stupid events.
The characters are all over the place. Jung Woo makes a poor first impression, has a vague backstory, and his cryptic motivations never become clear. "Let me explain everything!" Jung Woo exclaims in an episode, and then he never does. 😑 Do Gun is even less defined, receiving sparse characterization and you learn so little about him as a person. The worst must be Laura, a scheming antagonist who seems needlessly underhanded. I hate Laura not because she's the villain, but it irks me that her character is senseless, confusing, and terribly written.
My Sweet Dear works best when it doesn't focus on the restaurant storyline. The romantic scenes between Jung Woo & Do Gun are endearing, far more enjoyable than the main plot. Admittedly, the BL relationship is lightweight and doesn't explore their attraction beyond a superficial level. Nonetheless, I find those few episodes in the middle very enchanting as they go on cute outdoor excursions. Best of all, the beautiful camerawork elevates their moments together, making each date feel vibrant and intimate.
I know I'm not alone in my adoration for Jung Woo's actor (Jang Eui Soo), who has quickly built up a resume of Korean BL dramas in his career. My Sweet Dear is another strong showcase for his natural charisma. Even though I was iffy on Jung Woo's character at first, the actor brought so much charm and likability to his role. He shines radiantly in this series, from the sparkle in his eyes to the prominent abs on his torso. His screen partner (Lee Chan Hyung) isn't as memorable, but still gives a perfectly acceptable performance on a similar wavelength.
Unfortunately, the narrative flaws in My Sweet Dear are too significant to overlook. The plot is already flimsy since the beginning, but it seriously goes off the rails in the last two episodes. Any goodwill I felt towards this series is bogged down by the dumb contrivances near the end. Overall, I'm still fond of this BL drama, appreciating the ambiance, cinematography, and performances. Despite the high-quality ingredients, I am disappointed by My Sweet Dear, like an expensive meal with a mediocre aftertaste.
I thought Laura's cooking contest sounded so dumb from the moment she announced it. She created such a hostile work environment by pitting her staff against each other. Did Laura watch too many reality television programs and think she can turn her restaurant into one?
Lady, you're running a legitimate business! Can you try to be more professional!? If you don't want Do Gun running your restaurant anymore, just fire him already. This competition serves no purpose other than to stroke Laura's ego and humiliate her former employee.
At first, I went along with this silly premise, because I thought My Sweet Dear needed a unique hook to stand out as a BL drama. Unfortunately, the storyline became so farcical in the last two episodes that I felt really annoyed. Even though My Sweet Dear has created tension, it doesn't feel authentic. The drama feels forced, like part of a contrived plot.
Laura vs Do Gun
Running a rigged contest to fire your star employee is stupid and unnecessary on many levels. I actually understand why Laura wanted to replace Do Gun. It is her business and she thinks a new chef could reinvigorate the restaurant's reputation, which seems understandable.
However, how she went about terminating Do Gun's employment with this fake contest is downright cruel. Why are you acting so underhanded? Why are you scheming against him? Laura took the most convoluted approach to part ways with her former employee, the same person who made her restaurant a success.
Worst of all, Laura's actions conflict with her best interests and she's sabotaging her own business. She gains nothing from this competition other than opening herself up to bad workplace morale & employment lawsuits. Much like every character in this series, her motivations are vague and unclear. Everything about Laura Kim perplexes me and I think she's an atrociously written antagonist.
Jung Woo made a terrible first impression on me. He came on too strongly in his introduction, acting over-the-top when he first met Do Gun. He came across as a douchebag and Do Gun responded appropriately to this weird guy who invaded his personal space. Jung Woo's character started the series on the wrong foot and I wasn't feeling his vibe from the first episode.
Fortunately, Jung Woo became more likable as the story developed. I got used to his quirky personality and unique sense of individuality. Once he dropped his initial bravado, Jung Woo seemed goofy, bubbly, and charming. I also enjoyed his free-spirited spontaneity, going on whimsical beach excursions and romantic amusement park dates. Like Do Gun, Jung Woo's charisma won over me, and he changed my negative impression of him.
Still, there was too much mystery around Jung Woo's backstory, which didn't get fully explored. We'd see snippets of his personal life from time to time, revealing that he had a troubled past. However, My Sweet Dear only teased us with some information and never properly explained his background. Jung Woo remained an enigma by the end of the drama. I felt like we only saw the tip of the iceberg with his character.
Despite being the protagonist, we learn shockingly little about Do Gun. What do we actually know about him? His characterization never expands beyond being a chef and a love interest. I talked about how Jung Woo is an enigma, but Do Gun seems even more mysterious. Who is he? What's his story?
I kept waiting for any character development during the eight episodes, which never actually came. The only time Do Gun opens up about himself is when he talks about opening a restaurant by the beach. Finally, we learn something personal about him, and then he clams up again five seconds later.
Do Gun is the weak link in My Sweet Dear because we don't learn enough to care about his character. There are parts of him that I enjoy. For example, I like his bashfulness around Jung Woo and their interactions together. However, Do Gun doesn't have a distinctive identity other than being a talented chef. While Jung Woo is full of individuality, Do Gun has little uniqueness to distinguish his character from a generic love interest.
Do Gun and Jung Woo started out as rivals, competing against each other over the head chef job. To be honest, it didn't feel like a rivalry. Their scenes primarily involved Jung Woo being flamboyant and Do Gun getting annoyed with him. Their early dynamic was my least favourite stage of their relationship. There wasn't enough spark between them and I didn't feel engaged.
The turning point came when they were trapped in the storage room together. It gave the characters an opportunity to talk in-depth and warm up around each other. Since then, Jung Woo spends more time with his coworker and Do Gun starts enjoying his companionship. Once they are on friendlier terms, their interactions feel a lot more vibrant and fun.
I like how much one-on-one time they have as a pair. During their relationship scenes, they don't interact with anyone else. The two of them are isolated in a fantasy bubble, shutting out the world around them as they develop a bond. The scenes feel romantic and intimate, helping me to immerse in their connection.
Do Gun and Jung Woo
I was especially charmed by their scenes in the middle of the series, where they go on cute outdoor excursions. Oh my gosh, I loved their lighthearted interactions on the beach and in the amusement park. Their interactions felt so casual and easygoing, like two ordinary boyfriends going on a date. Those few episodes were the highlights of My Sweet Dear for me, capturing the essence of what I enjoy about BL.
In Episode 5, Do Gun and Jung Woo sit on the beach as they watch the sunset together. Jung Woo notices Do Gun bobbing his head merrily. He asks, "Are you having this much fun?" Do Gun doesn't reply back as a bashful smile forms on his face. Do Gun smiles as well and he starts whistling a tune. The camera cuts to an intimate shot of their hands with their fingers touching on the ground. It's a small and trivial moment, but I can feel the pure bliss in the atmosphere, almost like love is in the air.
Many BL watchers might recognize Jung Woo's actor (Jang Eui Soo) from Where Your Eyes Linger, an excellent series that showcases his talents perfectly. My Sweet Dear isn't as well-written and doesn't come close to achieving the same emotional impact. Nonetheless, I still thought the actor gave an excellent performance, showing lots of range, nuance, and charisma.
What I like about the actor is how his eyes tell half the story. He can convey so much sensitivity through a single glance, elevating every scene because he brings so much emotion. I really wished My Sweet Dear had a better story, because there's a disconnect between his delicate performance and the unintelligible nonsense in the plot.
In contrast, Do Gun's actor (Lee Chan Hyung) didn't stand out as much for me. He gives a very standard performance, which I'm okay with overall. It's serviceable and does the job. I also like his interactions with Jung Woo and thought they were cute together as a couple. Their romantic chemistry isn't super amazing, but it's adequate enough to establish a convincing bond.
From a romantic perspective, My Sweet Dear has a happy ending where Do Gun and Jung Woo are romantically involved at the end of the series. However, the couple goes through some emotional turmoil in the last two episodes. The drama revolves around the cooking competition. Laura plans to rig the contest results so that Jung Woo wins and Do Gun loses his job.
Jung Woo feels guilty about the fixed outcome and wants to compete fairly. However, Laura threatens him to keep quiet. It turns out Jung Woo's impressive education credentials are faked, and she has this leverage over him. However, their conversation is overheard by one of the restaurant staff members. After getting caught, Jung Woo vows to tell Do Gun the truth. However, he doesn't have the courage and still doesn't confess.
Eventually, the gossip spreads to Do Gun, who feels backstabbed by his deceitful boyfriend. They break up, but then Do Gun realizes that he misses Jung Woo too much. In a tearful confrontation, Jung Woo reassures his boyfriend that their time together is sincere and his feelings aren't based on a lie. Despite the betrayal, Do Gun forgives Jung Woo and they reconcile.
Laura's behaviour in the last two episodes is aggravating. Holding a rigged contest to fire someone is already messy enough, but she doesn't even try to hide her scheming. For some reason, Laura seems proud of the fact that she'll sabotage her employee, mentioning it multiple times at every given opportunity. Even on the competition day, she *loudly* reminds the judges this contest isn't real. Umm, can she be any more conspicuous? 😅
During the cooking contest, Laura deliberately gives Do Gun the lowest score to ensure he loses. Everything goes according to her plan and Jung Woo ends up winning the competition. He becomes the new head chef at Laura's Dining. Do Gun maintains good sportsmanship and congratulates his boyfriend. He seems happy that Jung Woo is recognized as an acclaimed chef.
After the contest, Laura and Do Gun have one last conversation together. Laura tells him that his dish is "the best thing she ever tasted". THEN WHY ARE YOU FIRING HIM FROM YOUR RESTAURANT!? 🤬 She orchestrated this phony charade to get rid of her star chef, and now she's like "btw i luv ur cooking!" Laura's character kills me sometimes. She's so awful that her senselessness almost circles back to being ironically hilarious. 😂
After the contest, we jump forward in time to three months later. Jung Woo has settled into his new role as the head chef at Laura's Dining. The customers seem receptive to him, taking social media pictures together. The restaurant seems to be buzzing vibrantly, just as Laura had envisioned.
Meanwhile, Do Gun has opened a new restaurant by the beach, fulfilling the aspiration he told Jung Woo about in an earlier episode. He used the last few months to prepare for his restaurant's opening, and it's now finally complete.
Between Jung Woo's new job and Do Gun's new business, I guess they didn't spend that much time together as a couple. The two of them are excited to reunite in the ending with a passionate embrace. Jung Woo then becomes Do Gun's first customer at his restaurant.
The final scene is a playful reference to Do Gun and Jung Woo's first encounter in the series. The roles are now reversed with Do Gun as the customer and Jung Woo as the chef. Just as Jung Woo had done in the past, Do Gun grabs his boyfriend's apron and pulls him closer. The drama ends with them staring into each other's eyes.
Although this throwback is cute, the overall ending disappointed me. A happier conclusion would have been if Jung Woo grew a backbone, quit his job, and opened a new restaurant with his boyfriend. My Sweet Dear missed an opportunity to go for this dreamy and romantic BL ending. However, I guess it's more ~practical~ for Jung Woo to secure a steady paycheque and keep working for his crappy, manipulative boss…
Although I dislike the circumstances of how Do Gun lost his job, I'm glad he has his own restaurant instead of working for Laura. She sucks, so it comforts me that he is free from her toxic presence. Starting a new restaurant venture is risky for sure, but at least Do Gun steps out of his comfort zone to pursue his dreams. Let's hope his beachside restaurant becomes successful while Laura's Dining gets hit by karma and goes out of business. 😌
My Sweet Dear Episodes
This drama has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 12 to 15 minutes long. The last episode is around 20 minutes long. It's a short BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 2 hours. My Sweet Dear started its first episode on October 21, 2021 and finished on November 11, 2021.
⭐ Best episode
Episode 4 marks the turning point in Do Gun and Jung Woo's relationship. Up until this point, Do Gun is still weary around Jung Woo, viewing him as his rival. When their characters become trapped inside the storage unit, they get a chance to talk one-on-one and learn more about each other. As Do Gun and Jung Woo open up, they start becoming on friendlier terms.
Later in the episode, we get a really cute scene when Do Gun and Jung Woo spend time on a beach. There's a fun and lighthearted vibe between them, as they tease each other playfully. You can feel their transition from enemies to friends. The episode ends on a positive note and their charming outdoor date continues into next episode.
💕 Most romantic episode
The most romantic episode in My Sweet Dear is Episode 6. It begins with an intimate love confession between the characters. Jung Woo blurts out that he likes Do Gun, who smiles bashfully and reciprocates his feelings. Later, the two of them are alone in the restaurant, where Jung Woo surprises Do Gun with a sudden embrace.
The rest of the episode takes place during their fun and vibrant date in the amusement park. They spend time casually as a couple, feeding the birds and just goofing off with each other. Their date ends with a cinematic kiss inside the Ferris wheel, an epic climax to a sweet and satisfying episode.
😡 Most triggering episode
Both the plot and the romance start going downhill around Episode 7, taking a rapid nosedive in quality. It's difficult to explain the events because they seem so incoherent and nonsensical. Basically, Laura plans to rig the cooking contest so that Jung Woo would win. Do Gun finds out and he is heartbroken by his boyfriend's betrayal.
Jung Woo had a chance to confess to Do Gun during the episode, but he wimped out and pretended like everything was fine. Do Gun still finds out the truth anyway and becomes devastated. They break up, leading to overwrought tears and angst from both characters.
The drama is short-lived when they meet later in the episode. Do Gun has forgiven his deceitful boyfriend for some reason, so they reconcile and become a couple again. The sequence of events is incredibly stupid, leaving me unsatisfied and dumbfounded by the end of the episode.
💪🏻 Episodes with skin
Episode 1, 5
The first scene of My Sweet Dear is LITERALLY Jung Woo's shirtless body. We haven't even met his character yet, but we already see his muscular torso on display. Needless to say, his physique is spectacular and the shirtless scene starts this drama with a memorable impression.
In Episode 5, we see Jung Woo shirtless again when he gets undressed for the beach. Oddly enough, Do Gun doesn't take his top off during the scene, even as he goes into the water. It's okay though, Jung Woo's shirtless body is more than enough to compensate!
💋 Episodes with kissing
Do Gun and Jung Woo kiss once during My Sweet Dear. Their first and only kiss happens in Episode 6, where the two characters go on a date in the amusement park. They go into the Ferris wheel together and end up sharing an intimate smooch.
What stands out about this kiss is how beautiful it looks. The scene is so thoughtfully composed, creating such a dreamy aesthetic inside the Ferris wheel cart. I love the colour contrast in the clothing, the horizontal lines on the windows, and the warm sunlight radiating from outside. Despite the simple setup, everything in this scene looks cinematically magnificent.