Flowers For My Life is a rare find. I absolutely love it. It’s so laugh-out-loud funny in a smart, unexpected way. If it continues like this, it may not just become my favorite drama of the moment or season, but join the few on my all-time list. I can’t wait for the subs to come out so more people can catch on to this lovely, quirky drama.
(Old-school) SONG OF THE DAY
전람회 (Exhibition) – “꿈 속에서” (In a dream) I was digging through some old music and stumbled across a really old mp3 from back in the day. Good stuff. [ zShare download ]
Cha Tae Hyun, though perhaps not the most handsome or commanding actor around these days, has a very down-to-earth, honest appeal, and his acting and exaggerated facial expressions somehow manage to be funny and not ridiculous. He’s perfect as this weak, fallible, but ultimately good-hearted Ho Sang.
Similarly, Kang Hye Jung is perfectly cast as Hana. She’s natural and transparent in her acting, and completely absorbs into the character. If I didn’t see her act in anything else, I’d think she’s just like Hana.
EPISODE 3 SUMMARY
Hana walks right into the burning building and saves Ho Sang. Ho Sang mumbles out Nam Kyung’s name, and Hana yells “Shut up!” as she drags him out. She’s awesome. And so matter-of-fact about it. Ho Sang thinks to himself, “With that one phrase, I realized I was still alive. I didn’t know it back then, but that feeling is what kept me alive.”
In the hospital, Hana eyes Nam Kyung with distrust, rejecting Nam Kyung’s thanks for saving her friend by saying, “I didn’t save your friend, I saved my man.”
Ho Sang awakens, and I love that he went in to save a trained firefighter and had to be saved by a nurse, making him effectively incompetent. At least at the hero stuff. Ho Sang has some fast explaining to do when both women call him by different names, and says he changed his name when he set up his business because a fortuneteller told him his name was no good. HAHAHA. (Yoon Ho Sang is a very straightforward, typical sounding name.) In any case, that’s why he had it changed to Wang Dae Bak, which I mentioned previously means “jackpot.”
On their way home, Ho Sang remarks that she’s pretty strong, which Hana explains is the power of love. He wonders how there’s nothing cute about her. Hana says she’s never been cute, and people have always thought she was weird, wondering why she played with dead people instead of dolls. Ho Sang: “You played with dead people?” Hana: “Dolls are made to look like people anyway. Why play with dolls when you can play with people? Dolls and dead people are the same in that they both can’t talk.”
Arriving home, they’re about to be scolded by Hana’s parents, but Hana speaks up, saying Ho Sang — er, Dae Bak — saved her from a fire. Her father’s skeptical, but her mother loves hearing it.
Nam Kyung informs her husband over the phone about this latest news, and praises Ho Sang. He was really cool, rushing in to save her, even if he didn’t actually manage to do it. She was touched by the gesture. I have my own theory about Nam Kyung’s husband, but I’ll leave it alone for now…
I really like Nam Kyung.
Ho Sang makes a small effort to get along better with Eun Tak, whom I’ve upgraded from Mr. Cool to Mr. Hot. I don’t know what it is about Kim Ji Hoon — there are better-looking actors who don’t do anything for me — but he’s so distractingly attractive. Eun Tak remains aloof, saying he just works there — there’s no need for Ho Sang to concern himself with him.
I really like Eun Tak.
Ho Sang gets dragged on the job with Eun Tak and Hana’s father. As they ride to the deceased man’s home, Ho Sang calls Hana a “wad of gum” for sticking so close to him, but does seem to be warming up to her. Still, he reminds himself to stay on his guard, otherwise he might get stuck in this family forever.
He’s horribly uncomfortable around the dead man (his discomfort is hysterical, because he’s such an unabashed scaredy-cat) and is stunned into silence when he massages the dead man’s leg, which causes the corpse to spring up and SLAP HIM square on the cheek. I’ve heard of dead bodies sometimes making small movements soon after death — there’s some medical/scientific explanation for it — but even Hana’s father’s never seen anything like it. Hana asks if the guy had any grievances with him; for a dead man to be upset, there must be a reason.
Ho Sang tries to sneak out, but is caught by Mr. Hot — er, Eun Tak — who intercepts his exit. Their attention is diverted as they listen to Hana’s parents arguing. Her mother likes Ho Sang as a future son-in-law, but her father infinitely prefers Eun Tak. And so, Ho Sang comes upon the idea that if he makes himself look bad, Eun Tak will look more desirable as son-in-law, and he’ll be off the hook. He ditches work to play video games and goof off. But he’s thwarted, as Hana covers for him, and Eun Tak doesn’t say a word in protest.
Hana wonders how she can get Ho Sang to like her, and goes to learn tricks of the trade by observing the madam of a local tearoom which operates like a less scandalous version of a hostess bar. The woman (Mi Ok) flirts with all her customers, mostly male, but the level of interaction seems rather innocent — except, of course, that we see that she’s got a flirty thing going on with Hana’s father (which Hana doesn’t witness). Hana soaks it all in, observing Mi Ok at work.
Nam Kyung prepares a picnic lunch for Ho Sang in thanks for rushing to save her. Ho Sang’s embarrassed about it, but Nam Kyung tells him it’s the thought that’s important. She asks about Hana, and Ho Sang scoffs at Hana’s insistence that they’re fated.
Nam Kyung believes in fate, though, particularly in romantic relationships between men and women, which spins Ho Sang off into the memory of his first encounter with Nam Kyung, when they were students, to the sounds of The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer.” [ zShare download ]
And because I love this show, which is awesome and all kinds of wrong in the funniest sense, Ho Sang actually met her in a blood-donation van — which he stopped by purely BECAUSE HE WAS HUNGRY, thinking to grab some free pastries. Afterward, he stopped by a cafe where she was working, and saw blood on his arm from the needle and cleaned it for him. Ho Sang muses, “Maybe that day, the sudden, abnormal craving for pastries that led me to Nam Kyung was also fate.”
However, when he asks Nam Kyung if she remembers their first meeting, she recalls a class they had together; their memories are a year off. She says she wishes she could go back to that time, but Ho Sang doesn’t, because he could never be like this with her back then.
At home that night, Hana asks what Ho Sang likes about Nam Kyung. Despite the absence of a romantic mood, Hana attempts to kiss him, but he’s totally oblivious, and she misses her chance. Hana thinks of her timing: “I was late!”
Ho Sang gets another brilliant idea to shame his prospective father-in-law into kicking him out. So he splashes liquor over himself and arrives at a funeral acting drunk, slurring to the respected elders and complaining about the depressing atmosphere. HAHAHA. Mr. Sexy Hot sees that Ho Sang is faking, but explains to the crowd that Ho Sang is reacting to some troubling personal issues, and carries him out.
Ho Sang tells Eun Tak to stop covering for him, because he doesn’t appreciate it. If Ho Sang is kicked out, it’ll be good for both of them, since Eun Tak can take over the funeral business. Eun Tak expresses no such desire, but declines to explain why he’s working there, telling Ho Sang to mind his own business.
Ho Sang: “You really have no intention of becoming son-in-law?”
Eun Tak: “None at all.”
Ho Sang: “But Nurse Na is really a good girl. She’s strong and brave. In this tough world, she’s a must-have-item!”
Eun Tak: “Then why are you in such a hurry to ditch her?”
Ho Sang: “I feel bad, but my heart is with another woman.”
Eun Tak: “I’m not interested in your business, so give up on the idea of dragging me into this mess.”
At this point, Hana arrives to see the guys in each other’s faces…
…and this is the conversation SHE overhears:
Ho Sang: “And if I won’t give up?”
Eun Tak: “I won’t stand for it.”
Ho Sang: “So you want to battle it out, do you?”
Eun Tak: “If you want.”
Ho Sang: “Do we have to go this far over a son-in-law position?”
Eun Tak: “You’re the one who started it.”
Ho Sang: “I definitely won’t retreat.”
Eun Tak: “We’ll see about that.”
Hana watches and thinks, “I don’t like love triangles. They’re tiring.” And I literally wipe tears of laughter away.
The funeral procession carries the coffin up to the mountaintop, where the gravesite is being prepared. Unfortunately, Ho Sang has forgotten something (which he swears wasn’t on purpose, this time). Exasperated, Eun Tak goes back for it, telling Ho Sang and the funeral party not to move.
Ho Sang sees a grand opportunity to ditch the party and cause everyone to hate him, so he wanders off. The funeralgoers, however, mistake his exit for leadership, and follow behind carrying the coffin. Meanwhile, Eun Tak arrives to see everyone gone, while Hana’s father wonders at the gravesite what’s taking everyone so long.
When Ho Sang realizes everyone’s followed him, they angrily demand to know what he’s doing, leading them in circles. But before trouble erupts, a kindly elder intercedes and defends Ho Sang — he looked like he was having stomach issues. He must’ve been looking for a place to attend to his business. They continue onward, with Ho Sang blindly leading them up to the mountain — and just when they’re about to mutiny at the long walk, they arrive at the site. Um, only, it’s the wrong gravesite.
When all is said and done, however, Hana’s father is furious — but with Eun Tak. Ho Sang attempts to accept all the blame, but Hana’s father rails on Eun Tak and hits him, blaming him for failing to take responsibility. Eun Tak takes the scolding quietly.
That night, Ho Sang goes off alone and gets drunk, upset over the day’s events. Despondent, he tells Hana that the kindly elder actually thanked him for his work. “I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve heard that. I’ve only ever heard that I was useless, that I was no help. I don’t have any right to those words.” He says he didn’t have one ounce of caring for the task of laying a dead man to rest, but the elder actually thanked him.
Hana says her father told her funeral work isn’t for the dead person, but those left behind. It’s to comfort them, to not add pain to those who are already in pain.
As they head back home, Hana brings up the topic of marriage. Ho Sang looks at her and says if not for her ignorant persistence, she’d be all right. Hana once again leans in for a kiss, but misses the opportunity. “Too late!”
The next morning, Ho Sang and Eun Tak meet a visitor who’d arrived drunk the night before, a ne’er-do-well who is treated like a family member. Mr. Sexy Hot Bedroom Eyes barely acknowledges the man’s existence, but I have a gut feeling — purely speculation — that the guy is Eun Tak’s father. That explains why Eun Tak would work here despite having no interest in the funeral business, as well as Eun Tak’s reaction when hearing who the man was.
Ho Sang claims his car from the repair shop, and indulges Hana’s request to go for a drive, although he insists it’s not a date. It’s just repayment for her saving him twice.
Hana says it’s her first time going driving with a man, and Ho Sang asks, “So I’m your first love?” She says yes, and Ho Sang muses, “Hm, first love. Doesn’t feel bad.”
Seeing another opportunity, Hana says she wants to do “it” with him, meaning a kiss — but Ho Sang naturally interprets it a little differently. He stutters, isn’t it too soon for that? No. He won’t do it.
But Hana knocks aside his food and swoops in for the kiss, smiling in satisfaction as she thinks, “Not late!”Cha Tae-hyun, Flowers For My Life, Kang Hye-jung, Kim Ji-hoon