Beethoven Virus: Episode 2
Omg so tired. At what point does a midterm stop being a midterm? (And how is it a midterm if I have 3 in one term??)
I know that what they’re doing onscreen isn’t what it actually looks like, and many times it’s even off sync, but I think you might want to cut them some slack – a) this is a comedy, and b) remember Iljimae? Hong Gil Dong? They were even worse for realism. If you really can’t stand it, close your eyes when they play. That’s what I do.
Caption: *gasp* Why you so mean?
SONG OF THE DAY
Vistee – “Bling Bling Sky” [ Download ]
The orchestra killer comes to town. Wow, he’s so arrogant I’m not sure if he’s caricaturing on purpose or… the alternative is just an overblown sense of insecurity, and that’s probably worse.
Kang quickly grills Ru Mi about the state of the car (dusty), the quality of the restaurant they’re going to (not friendly to dogs), and the qualifications of the trumpeter (graduated from ‘music for idiots academy’: Julliard.). This guy is hard to handle. He wants a large house with an attached yard, two bathrooms, one for him, one for his dog, nicknamed ‘Toven (I’ll let you guess his real name).
The dog has allergies to plastic and so needs to use a real bathtub. Oh my god. Ru Mi senses that she’s going to have her hands full and asks, half-jokingly, if ordinary accommodations are okay. Then he gets picky about the way she talks.
Well, the house isn’t half bad.
On the drive there, she gets a message from Gun Woo that he’s reconsidering being a part of the orchestra if Kang is the one directing it. Unfortunately for him, Ru Mi brings Kang to the house Gun Woo house-sits. Hm. He manages to decipher the changed passcode (11119, as opposed to the original 12345) and enters, only to wrinkle his nose at the very, very bachelor-esque mess in the living room.
He itemizes a list of demands to Ru Mi like he expects her to do all of it – even bringing in his luggage.
I can’t decide if Kang is an asshat on purpose, or if, you know, if he’s just socially awkward from being so smart (a common syndrome in the fictional world).
Anyway, poor Gun Woo returns home from his nice jog to find himself locked out of the house, and what’s worse, hears barking from the inside. When Kang comes out of the house, all prepared to walk Beethoven, Gun Woo grabs him in a classic ‘under arrest’ hold against the front door (which looks like a part of the wall).
Then he recognizes the man. Gun Woo remarks that Kang hasn’t changed in ten years, and tells him that he thinks classical music is dog excrement.
This obviously gets Kang really angry, and Ru Mi watches the two face off, transfixed for a moment by the train-wreck potential of the confrontation and then rushes forward to do some damage control. End result: Kang kicks Gun Woo out of his own house.
(Um, lol, now Ru Mi is in trouble with both of them.)
When Ru Mi comes to tell Gun Woo that he can move into the second floor, Gun Woo just throws fits. Downstairs, Kang reads the score for the performance while poking the ceiling to tell Gun Woo to quiet down once in a while. Gun Woo can’t take it anymore, and calls his buddies over at the police station.
Ru Mi’s just making a habit of this taking-cellphone-away-from-Gun-Woo thing, isn’t she?
To add insult to injury, she fakes being humble, then locks him out. I know kdramas like for their couples to start off on a rocky footing, but this might be taking it too far.
(You know, I keep getting flashes of angry Chang Hui and hyper Sujini. Brain, pls to be stopping the torture.)
In the end, Gun Woo gives Ru Mi three days to both find Kang a new house and another trumpeter. The poor boy moves things around on the top floor, trying to not make any noise, but unfortunately Kang’s many conductor skillz include the superpower of good hearing.
Lol. In order to annoy Kang (after not being able to stand his nitpicky ways), he turns up the volume on his stereo and throws things around. Even Beethoven gets annoyed at the loud rock music.
The next day, orchestra members wait for Kang to make his appearance. The only ones not shaking in fear are Mr. Kim the oboist (who looks resigned) and, of course, Gun Woo (who sneers at the arrogance of the man). (Thus Spake Zarathustra plays, which makes it funnier because I keep thinking of that annoying Rogers commercial when this song comes on.)
He tells them to practice on their own for a while (cacophony reigns) and immediately picks out faults with the members. He correctly identifies Ru Mi’s landlady, Jun Hee Yun, as someone who hasn’t played for 20 years. He picks out one of the Kim sisters as playing her fa (F) too loud, and guesses that she must be an electrical instrumentalist. The list goes on.
Kang storms off in a rage, or in disappointment.
Ru Mi chases after Kang, who is … strangely kind. He reassures her that at the age of 40, he is no longer the type of person to dramatically flounce off and kill orchestras. Aww. He ushers her onto a nearby bench and asks her to tell the truth.
Gun Woo watches this and becomes irritated, all the while telling her not to listen to Kang.
OMGWTFBBQ. Kang was holding her hand?! (Dudes, tell that’s not normal behaviour for people who’ve just met. Or maybe it is and I’ve had my nose in books for too long.)
He urges Ru Mi to tell the truth. She does so. (Gun Woo looks like he’s about to die of exasperation. Eyerolling ftw!) Kang is all sympathetic about the embezzling, but then does an abrupt volte-face and tells her to order his return ticket for tomorrow. With his usual dramatic flair, Kang leaves, but not before insulting Gun Woo’s trumpet-playing skills.
After practice, Park calls all of his conducting contacts, but none are available at the moment, or at least not for free. The only free ones are away on Jeju. He yells at Ru Mi for not being able to do anything properly. Gun Woo looks on as she thinks through her probable confession to the mayor, and her dramatic side reasserts itself as she thinks of the possibility of being jailed.
Gun Woo tells her not to worry about being jailed, but Ru Mi’s mind’s already on the money problems she’ll have to take care of. In order to raise enough money to pay for all the costs so far, Ru Mi decides to sell her violin.
She talks to her violin, promising to make the ‘pretty lady’ nice and shiny for a good owner who will let ‘her’ perform in front of an audience for a change. (Aw, so cute!) Gun Woo sits beside her on the swings and feels bad.
He stands up, decision made, and promises to help her with the orchestra – first stop, earn some money.
The next day finds them in a shopping centre, busking for money to a very appreciative crowd. It turns into something of a one-upping contest. Then they begin to harmonize with one another. Yay for having fun!
The background music segues into Kang enjoying Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. (I just noticed from watching this again – the selection is from the concerts he’s directed. How egocentric can you get?) He puts eye-covers on and takes a pill (with his eyes covered?) and puts the bottle back on the nightstand, but it falls on the floor. Beethoven, being a curious doggie, eats the pills. Bad dog! He’s going to be sick even if it’s just a few vitamins.
Sujini Rumi returns from a day’s hard work with Gun Woo, swearing to avenge herself against the pompous bastard, since he’s going back to the States anyway. Her plan: to play violin for an entire night.
Kang wakes up in the middle of the night and changes the song selection, only to notice his dog lying unconscious on the floor, having consumed an entire bottle of sleeping pills. He performs frantic CPR, but a whole bottle of sleeping pills, dude!
Kang phones emergency services, not realizing that… he needs to call a vet instead. He sits down and relives angsty moments in his life – getting into a fight with his girlfriend and breaking up. Ooh. Rain. Emo. Unhappiness. Then he met Beethoven. It was love at first sight.
Gun Woo and Ru Mi come home to hear him howling in pain – and they ring the doorbell cautiously, only to be roped into rescuing Beethoven. Well, it’s not like there’s much they can do, at this hour of the night, except finding a vet clinic that’s open. Ru Mi runs around helping Kang, while Gun Woo stands aloof. (Minus points for Gun Woo for showing no sympathy for furry cute animals in distress. It can’t help its master, and from all available evidence Kang loves the dog.)
Kang frantically tells ‘Toven not to sleep, and carries him into the car’s backseat. Gun Woo tells Ru Mi to take the collie to the neighbourhood vet, who happens to be the flautist’s family. She leaves Kang behind, rather strategically, in case they refuse to treat Beethoven because of him.
Oi. More minus points for Gun Woo, who uses Beethoven to force Kang into agreeing. Both Ru Mi and the vet just ignore Gun Woo’s calls. Cue heroic music as Kang rushes into the vet’s clinic. Aww!
If you’re not touched by Kang’s reunion with his dog, you’re not human.
Back home, Kang refuses to honour his agreement. This mainly comes from anger at having been manipulated by his dog’s condition, and he agrees to stay in a roundabout way after Ru Mi’s admission that they weren’t really going to use Beethoven like that.
As Kang demands a chauffeur, a housesitter, a caretaker for Beethoven and a cleaner, Ru Mi’s face glows with happiness and agrees to all his conditions (there’s about 10, I didn’t count). Gun Woo the younger looks like he’s been forced to swallow a lemon taped to a brick.
Gun Woo gets up to feed Beethoven, who’s had his stomach pumped. Kang makes snarky comments about the ‘young couple’ and warns them not to explore their relationship in this house. (Did he just make a joke? :D)
Uh. They get into a confrontation and Kang demands that Gun Woo complete all the tasks, without Ru Mi’s help. He agrees. Interesting.
Task 1: use a mini-scythe to cut the grass, in the glaring sun.
Gun Woo’s wearing a towel on his head in the manner of field workers everywhere, while Ru Mi washes and dries dishes and the such. She gets all coy about why he’s helping her and generally assuming more than there is (or maybe not, given what happens later). It’s like Ru Mi’s on her own planet as she leaps around the yard and then ends up tripping backwards into a tub full of clothing that’s being washed.
Laughing with her, Gun Woo gets a towel for her to dry off with. When he helps her out, the two end up accidentally hugging. Sparks fly, clouds part, angels sing, bla bla bla. They discover feelings for each other. (Isn’t it a bit early?) I do love the attention to detail in that Ru Mi is still dripping used laundry water. Hehe.
Awkwardness ensues when Kang comes out to walk Beethoven, and overturns all the laundry Ru Mi did. This time, he specifies that Gun Woo has to do it alone.
The grandpa oboist tries to talk to Yi Deun the flautist, who brandishes her flute at him, warning him to stay away. He explains that he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and was losing his memory all along. Wow, he gives her money, and all of a sudden, she’s nicer to him – and promises not to tell the rest of the orchestra.
Ru Mi tells everyone that no matter what conductor Kang does, they’re to smile and be nice to him.
Omg, his smile is scarier than his frown. He starts the practice with an unusually nice intro and a semi-apology for his behaviour on the previous night. He sits down, reads the newspaper, and tells the orchestra to continue practicing. He walks his dog, grooms him, reads, and, on one notable occasion, falls asleep.
It’s irritating because he behaves like he’s humouring them the way one does with children…
Cellist Hee Yun (and not ajumma!) gets up to leave early so she can cook for her husband, and the others balk at having to stay late. All sorts of fracas happen (if the trumpet dude gets dumber he’s going to be made of wood), and Kang wakes up in time to belittle them.
Kang walks off with Beethoven. It’s like a good cop-bad cop routine, as Ru Mi tries to persuade Kang to stay while Gun Woo does his damnedest to anger Kang. This time he tells Ru Mi that the orchestra doesn’t really need Kang except as a prop during the actual concert.
Well, good on Gun Woo for holding the orchestra together. He nominates Mr. Kim the oboist as the orchestra liaison and starts everyone off on practice again (yay for experience as traffic director, lol).
However, as everyone joins in with gusto, Gun Woo senses something off. He stops everyone and asks if they hear something off, but no one gets it.
Outside, Kang tells Ru Mi that he doesn’t want anything to do with an orchestra that can’t even tune itself. Ru Mi points out that everyone is trying really hard, and asks him to give them a chance. Kang is just earning all the harsh points here – he dismisses the members as people who have no skill yet still want to perform. If they want to make fools of themselves, he suggests, then let them, but he doesn’t want to be involved.
Kang: Classical music has always been performed for the nobility. Do you think that just because times have moved on that this will change?
Ru Mi stands and takes all this, with a smile, even, and answers her phone – I think it’s a telemarketer. Anyhoo, she lets loose on the poor guy on the other end of the receiver.
Ru Mi: Who the heck do you think you are, giving me advice?? Shut up! I can decide right and wrong for myself, you know. So what if we don’t have time, money or ability? Do we deserve to die, then? We can’t get involved in the arts just because we’re ordinary people? Is there such a law? People, nobility – yo, how long have we had human rights, are you still living in the Choseon era?
Kang: Er, he’s already hung up.
Ru Mi: So what if he hung up? (Still talking into her phone.) According to you we’re supposed to just work and die. If you were conductor during that time many talents would have been stifled. Salieri!
It’s clear that Kang understands this outburst is for him. He goes back in, but not before imparting insightful info about himself: He hates Mozart? Because he was a genius? Whaa?
The orchestra goes back to tuning itself, as Kang admits to Beethoven in the safety of the study that he doesn’t know which instrument is off either – just that the overall effect is the aural equivalent of running your nails down a chalkboard.
Oh god, it does sound awful, but then it gradually changes to okay-sounding. Kang walks out, intent on finding out why the sound is back to normal – as it turns out, Gun Woo opened the air conditioner and set it to 1/8 of a degree lower. (He doesn’t know why either, just that it felt right after the heated room made the instruments all sharper.)
Kang goes back into his room, thrown into another flashback.
We see a fellow schoolmate’s casual and happy attitude towards music, but Kang has coloured the memory into a show of arrogant skill. Then the memory switches to a contest in which he and the schoolmate both play the same piece. The other man is like Ru Mi (and later Gun Woo) in that he takes great joy in the music, and it shows when he plays.
Kang ends up winning the contest, but his victory is shadowed when they announce that his friend, Jung Myung Hwan, has also won. Jung is so surprised at winning and is the complete opposite of the studied, reserved Kang – he even trips on the way up to the podium.
The next day, Kang wakes to find that Jung is given the honours of conducting the graduating class, which had been his spot before, I believe. He storms into the director’s office – but the dean told him that he was only a point lower – and if only he’d talked to his professors, or did community service, or something to show the others that he was capable of being a normal human being, basically.
At home, Kang is again reminded of his illustrious classmate when he turns on the TV to see a news flash announcing the return of the famous Korean conductor. (To show Jung’s individuality, they decided to give him an afro. Riiight.) Kang goes to Gun Woo’s room purely to bother him and to vent his own frustrations, but the other man’s a bit too sleepy to register anything.
The mayor, Kang Chun Bae, is all bows and smiles when Kang comes to his office (never mind that he’s the one who called Kang there in the first place). He gives a list of the attendees to Kang and hints (with an anvil) that the success of the city’s application to be a cultural centre hinges on the concert. And then the mayor drops the bomb: Jung Myung Hwan is coming to the concert too.
Jung’s in charge of the Seoul Philharmonic Concert, btw.
Well, at least he electrifies the practice with his anger and otherwise arresting personality. Unfortunately, he ends up demoralizing everyone (and picking the oboist apart) – the problem (or I should say the biggest problem) is that Kang doesn’t tell anyone what they’re doing wrong. Gun Woo brings this up but is shot down.
Kang picks on Jung Hee Yun for even daring to aspire to play in an orchestra, calls her all sorts of names, and then expects her to repeat them back to him. Gun Woo gets up in anger to defend his aunt, but is restrained – the rest of the orchestra is either petrified or angry.
After practice, Ru Mi confronts Kang about his sudden increase in bitchitude. He’s just like, I’m built that way, you got a problem?
Ru Mi: If the practice is happy, that’s already half the work done.
Kang: Who do you take me for, performing in front of him? Leading this group of incompetents, being dragged here like this, it’s all your fault!
Ru Mi looks furious, not intimidated.
– Dudes, I love KMM. He puts the ‘a’ in awesome. And since this is obviously meant to be a comedy, it’s okay-ish if people overact. I think we’re meant to feel sorry for his glaring social inadequacies. At the moment, he has the ‘freakishly nice personality who immediately segues into a facepalm-worthy arrogant yet sekritly insecure man’ going pretty well. (And if they ever decide to film Harry Potter with Korean people, he’d make an excellent Prof. Snape.)
– Speaking of social inadequacies, I’m glad Prince Chang Hui has added a few more expressions to his repertoire (previously including smile-like-you’re-a-kid-and-make-the-fangirls-faint, do-your-angst-thang, and wtf-do-you-think-you’re-doing-to-my-kingdom?). We now warmly welcome emotion-what-emotion, look-Ma-I’m-playing-trumpet!, and that-all-purpose-concerned-look-no-I’m-not-constipated.
– I get that to make Gun Woo supah speshul, the directors have him doing some pretty freaky stuff, like magically divining that the room temperature needs to be lowered by 1/8 of a degree. (Is your air conditioner that precise?) However, the whole going-to-Juilliard thing just doesn’t fit – he even says in ep1 that he learned trumpet all by himself – and that he had no musical training. How do you have no musical training if you went to Juilliard? Unless, of course, JGS breaks out the ballet slippers or does Lady Macbeth’s ‘Out, damned spot’ speech. Then I might understand (ha, JGS in a tutu).
– Wow. If we get a love triangle, the vast age different is kind of squicky. And I hope they won’t toss Jung into the mix. That would just make it… weird.