[Dramas and Food] Fighting the pull of PPL pizza
by Guest Beanie
Every good K-drama fan knows to expect some PPL in their show. It’s why Subway has become a running joke in the Dramabeans community. While product placement in dramas definitely impacts consumer shopping patterns, I always prided myself on being able to resist the marketing with ease. I’m a simple girl with few wants. I try to spend only on things I need: warmth, shelter, water… food.
So a few months ago, having finished Just Between Lovers and being a tenured fan of 2PM, I decided I needed more Junho in my life, and finally picked up Chief Kim. The premise hadn’t been enough to draw me in when it premiered (um… accounting? Zzzzz), but I recalled all the positive feedback from Beanies when it was airing. And once I started watching, I couldn’t believe NOBODY WARNED ME THIS WAS A MEOKBANG? (Okay, I probably just didn’t pay enough attention to the fan comments, but…!) One episode in, I was already salivating watching Junho feed fried chicken to a suspect.
A few more episodes, and I learned to either watch on a full stomach, or have dinner while I watched. Still, my healthy home-cooked meals seemed to pale in comparison to whatever food the characters on TV were eating.
Scene after scene, Papa John’s pizza consoled our protagonists when they were down, celebrated their victories, facilitated undercover rendezvous, tantalized me with the imagined scent of oily garlic dip and soft carb-y breadsticks and hot melted cheese and — no, no, no, no, I had to keep brainwashing myself, while stuffing my face with a balanced meal of rice and vegetables and like, protein or whatever.
“No, you know what Papa John’s pizza tastes like. You’ve had it a million times for free at university events. You’re sick of Papa John’s pizza because you’ve had it so much and also you’re slightly lactose intolerant so you know there will be hell to pay afterwards.”
So I resisted.
Then one day, I was in the grocery store, strolling past the frozen foods aisle, with mixed vegetables, microwave-ready chicken tenders, giant extra-large family-sized frozen pizzas of multiple varieties… I walked past. Paused.
Backed up the shopping cart.
Stared at the pizzas.
These are a much better deal than buying a Papa John’s pizza, I said to myself, as my eyes drifted from SAUSAGE AND PEPPERONI to FIVE CHEESE. And one is so large, it will last me for many meals, I said to myself as I picked up the cheapest one, an oversized FIVE CHEESE topped pizza and put it in my cart. I’ll put vegetables on top to make it healthier, I said to myself as I hustled guiltily to the checkout line.
Back home, I threw the pizza in the oven (with added vegetables!) and powered on the next episode of Chief Kim, congratulating myself on sticking it to the man — buying an off-brand pizza and therefore subverting the power of the PPL.
Just as I had told myself, the pizza did last me for many meals — five meals. I had a quarter of the pizza for dinner that night. The next day was my day off. I had pizza for breakfast, lunch, second lunch, and dinner again. I finished the entire extra-large family-sized pizza within 24 hours.
It was amazing and also terrible and I threw the box away without looking to see how many calories the thing was. And now Greasy Melo is on, so… my fridge is stocked, my heart is full. I’m ready to wok and roll.