Astra inclinant, sed non obligant.
Last update
2023-05-29 04:14:34

    The best thing about Step by Step is that it’s a workplace romance that actually takes the workplace seriously. We’re very used to bls that use the office as a backdrop while flagrantly ignoring professional decorum, that have the characters casually engaging in all kinds of inappropriate behavior (see Gun and Cher making out in hallways and casually cuddling in his office). That is not going to happen here because in this universe we are actually supposed to care about the work, and Jeng is a responsible adult who understands there are some lines he needs to be very careful about crossing.

    Jeng and Pat like each other. It is obvious. They were flirting before they realized their work connection. And now they are continuing to find excuses to be around each other and constantly giving their feelings away.

    It’s very easy to see how this is manifesting for Pat. He said straight out that he was into Jeng after they first met, and his behavior becomes increasingly unhinged the more he gets to know him. He likes Jeng, which is why he overreacts to any slight criticism he perceives from him. You don’t get this emotional about someone unless you already have some feelings going on. He is investigating and snooping and stalking Jeng not because of any paper thin pretext about work, but because he wants to know him and now that Jeng is his boss he doesn’t know how to go about it.

    Jeng is more subtle (he has to be as the mature adult and the one with the power in this situation) but I would argue no less obvious in his interest. He is constantly finding reasons to work closely with Pat. He is trying (clumsily) to mentor and coach him so that he’ll be successful. He keeps finding reasons for Pat to be in his home, witness him in all his domestic splendor, and receive insight into his life - it’s not a coincidence that Pat has learned about his other job, his family, and his relationship status in quick succession. It’s not a coincidence that Jeng just happened to find ways to show Pat that he’s a great cook, a loving uncle, and occasionally likes to vacuum in a tux. Jeng wants him to know, so he is manufacturing ways to show him, because he can’t just straightforwardly ask him out. He has to be more measured at work, but when he is alone, we see him respond to interactions with Pat with giddiness (did y’all see the way he pressed his phone to his lips and grinned to himself when Pat texted him back??).

    This is what it looks like when two adults are attracted to each other in the workplace, especially when there’s a power imbalance. You have to be cautious. You have to go slow. You have to make damn sure you’re on the same page before you even consider making a move. Jeng will not be the one to cross the line - he’ll need a very strong signal from Pat that he wants to pursue this - and he won’t rush into it either, because he cares about his job and protecting their professional reputations.

    I am excited for the journey and here for every delicious moment of pining and tension building this show has in store.


    Mr. Jeng in his Mr. Darcy era.


    Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

    “We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.”

    Austen would be proud.