Triple is shaping up to be an adorable drama. In addition to its Coffee Prince similarities, it’s also sorta like My Sweet Seoul in its charm, but with more pep. Like The World They Live In, each episode is titled with a theme, but unlike World, Triple doesn’t overdo the narration or get too self-indulgent with its Insight of the Day.
True, if you didn’t like Coffee Prince or My Sweet Seoul, maybe Triple isn’t for you either. But I find the characters really entertaining, the pace is enjoyable, and the drama keeps a smile on my face.
SONG OF THE DAY
Yozoh – “Honey Honey Baby” [ Download ]
EPISODE 3: “Compulsory”
As Episode 3 opens, our characters are getting used to their new decisions, starting with Hwal and Hyun-tae’s resignations from the ad firm so they can start their own company.
All three guys have to get used to having a girl’s presence in the house. For instance, Hae-yoon freezes in shock as Haru walks in while he’s on the toilet, and Hyun-tae attempts to laugh off being caught watching porn on his computer.
While Haru isn’t a fan of the porn, she’s adjusted fairly well to the living situation. The guys are a little slower in that regard — for instance, she’s not fazed at all to walk in on Hae-yoon’s bathroom time. Lucky for him he had a newspaper.
She’s kicked outside to clean the shed, which she starts by painting an (angry) illustration of Hwal on the window. Peering inside, she finds a stray puppy, which she immediately bonds with and names “Wal” (because it’s similar to her brother’s name), giving her an excuse to call out the name jokingly. She can’t do that with Hwal, whom she calls “oppa.”
Hae-yoon is the only one who thinks leaving the firm is a bad idea; he doesn’t resign and advises his friends to beg for their jobs back. Hwal has resigned out of personal pride and a desire to be independent, while the less ambitious Hyun-tae follows Hwal out of loyalty. Hyun-tae also figures it’ll be fun working on their own without office schedules.
There’s a humorous moment when a customer at the bar calls out for service, and Sang-hee answers. They gape to realize that she’s now the manager of this place. Hae-yoon’s already reserved mood sours further when a man drops by who’s obviously friendly with Sang-hee; this is one of Sang-hee’s sunbaes, and Hae-yoon gives the two a dour look. He’s Manager Park, who heads the promotional team for a beer company. He’s also familiar with the guys’ former company, since they outsource a lot of their publicity.
At the rink, a group of younger girl skaters mock Haru behind her back; Haru’s an easy target since she’s older and relatively behind in her skating training. Still, she doesn’t let it get her down and merely ignores them.
She can’t ignore Ji Poong-ho, though, who has taken notice of her and tries to get her attention by bumping into her purposely. As we’ve seen, Poong-ho often fends off adoring girls, which, as we can imagine, has given him something of an ego. Therefore he expects the same sort of recognition from Haru, and has to face letdown when she doesn’t give it.
Poong-ho’s like, “Don’t you know who I am?” and cites the Olympics where he won gold as a short-track speed skater. Haru deflates his ego by informing him that she didn’t watch his win.
He hands her his phone and tells her to give him her number (although he plays it cool by saying, “I probably won’t call you first, but…”). Haru again bursts his bubble by saying she doesn’t have a cell phone. She disdains his immaturity and brushes past him, not the least bit flattered at his attention.
Haru waits outside for her ride following practice; it was supposed to be Hyun-tae, but he has forgotten. When Su-in passes by, she asks whether Haru’s waiting for her brother to pick her up, then offers to take her home. In the car ride, she prods for information about Hwal — trying for nonchalance, but not really achieving it — and asks how Haru is related to him.
Hyun-tae calls Su-in and confirms that Haru has gotten a ride home. He awaits their arrival with eagerness, and when Su-in tries to immediately leave, he refuses to take no for an answer and pushes her to come inside. Su-in protests, knowing Hwal won’t like seeing her, but since nobody else knows that, they urge her to stay awhile.
Inside the house, Su-in tenses to come face to face with Hwal, expecting him to be angry. Perhaps more hurtful than his anger, though, is that he holds out a hand and introduces himself as though this is their very first encounter.
Still, he can’t help getting in a dig at her, and bitterness creeps back into his tone before he stalks off. Haru chides him for being rude to her guest, not understanding his harsh reaction to her coach.
When Haru goes to feed the puppy Wal in the shed, she finds that he’s brought friends. She feeds and bathes them, but they slip through the bathroom door and tear through the house.
Naturally, the guys are not happy about the damage to their things, least of all Hwal.
Hyun-tae shows up unannounced at Su-in’s house and cheerfully invites himself inside. Since she never invited him (or gave him her address), Su-in is surprised and balks at his forward behavior.
The thing about Hyun-tae is that he does come on pretty aggressively, which would be annoying if he weren’t so damn adorable. On the other hand, from Su-in’s perspective, he IS just that annoying, so I can understand her reaction. It eases a bit when Hyun-tae produces a toolbox and tells her he’s here to fix her boiler. Afterward, she offers him food as thanks, but tells him that his actions were pushy.
The “compulsory” theme comes into play as Haru trains and, as with the previous episode titles/themes, this one is a figure skating term extrapolated to life in general. Haru thinks she’s above basic skating drills, but Su-in proves her point by having Haru weave in and out of cones. While the younger skater aces the drill, Haru’s cone course goes sadly off-track. Haru hangs her head as Su-in reminds her that this is her level, hence these compulsory exercises.
After running into the Taeyang Beer company executive (Manager Park) at the bar, Hwal seeks him out to aggressively push for the job managing their ad campaigns. Hwal calls Hae-yoon to talk it over, but Hae-yoon maintains that he’s not involved in their new solo venture.
Therefore Hae-yoon continues to work at the ad firm while Hyun-tae and Hwal set up shop at home, working on a presentation for Taeyang although they haven’t even gotten the account yet. But Manager Park likes their energy, and gives them the account.
In contrast to his friends’ excitement over their new account, Hae-yoon’s feeling bored and listless. Sang-hee tells him it’s because it’s unnatural for the three friends to not be working together.
Hae-yoon brings up the topic of their relationship, which has been bugging him ever since the appearance of Sang-hee’s sunbae. The last time he’d seen them drinking together, he had walked out in jealous irritation, which both he and Sang-hee recognized was immature of him. This time, he asks what she thinks of their relationship; Sang-hee answers that they shouldn’t date, because they’re totally wrong for each other.
This isn’t what Hae-yoon wants to hear, but I like that this drama lets this relationship play out realistically. By which I mean, relationships are treated as growing, changing entities, not Fateful Encounters That Are Meant To Be (or Cannot Be). Hae-yoon may like Sang-hee but he’s not going to cling to someone who doesn’t want him, and he accepts her decision, but clarifies that this means they won’t be sleeping together anymore.
Haru comes home to find her dogs being taken away — they’d been reported. She knows who’s responsible for this, and angrily confronts Hwal, calling him cold and mean: “What’s so bad about giving food to some hungry guys?” While Hwal has a point in sending the strays away, his own reaction suggests that he feels guilty after seeing how upset Haru is.
Miffed, Haru finds Hae-yoon a sympathetic listener to her gripes about her brother. Hwal, meanwhile, calls his friend a traitor for continuing to work at the firm and not joining their foray into independence. Figuring he could use some outside help, Hwal asks Sang-hee to do her best to convince Hae-yoon to join their new company, since she might have some influence that he doesn’t.
Poong-ho continues to try to get Haru’s attention, which is really cute because he is totally unsuccessful. Well, he’s successful in getting her attention — he marks up her training diagrams on the ice with goofy graffiti and swipes her skate blade covers — but not necessarily her admiration. He skates off with her blade covers playfully, while Haru, unamused, chases him and knocks him down on the ice in annoyance.
She continues to be the object of pranks at the rink, and has her skates stolen. She’s annoyed but not devastated because she takes it for a silly prank rather than a malicious theft. The younger girls all giggle at her predicament, and Haru is forced to use borrowed skates for the day. Su-in tells her that she ought to order new skates right away, since a skate’s fit is extremely important.
When Hwal drops by the skating rink that night, he encounters Su-in, who returns his discourtesy from before by walking right by him, ignoring his presence. But she turns back to see him, hoping for a positive reaction, deflating a bit when he asks, “Are you really not going back home?” He tells her that by staying here, she’s only making their relationship worse, and wants her to stop coaching Haru.
Su-in admits that he’s the reason she took on the job, and announces that she’s going to stay until he comes around to her. That angers him: “You’re determined to do it your way, no matter how I feel.”
Haru comes out of the shower to her (now-graffiti’d) locker, only to find that her clothes have been stolen. She wanders through the darkened hallways, calling out for anyone, asking for the young girls (whom she rightly assumes took her clothes) to return them.
She runs into Hwal, who lends her his clothing — and seeing how she’s barefoot, is forced to give her a piggyback ride. As she enjoys her ride, she muses that there’s power in the word “oppa,” which is what she calls him. (As the reluctant oppa, Hwal isn’t interested in hearing that and none-too-gently drops her to her feet.)
But contrary to Hwal’s outer gruffness, he shows a flash of his inner teddy bear, and it is SO HEARTWARMING. I think tears even came to my eyes as Hwal comes into Haru’s room that night while she’s sleeping to paint her feet and press their imprint on a piece of paper. (He’s getting her new boots! But instead of just offering, he’s going through this trouble to make it a surprise. Aww.)
In the morning, Haru sees her stained feet and wonders if she’s a sleepwalker, making Hwal smile. He gets a kick out of fake-scolding her for dirtying the floor with her footprints, amused at how perplexed she is.
Per Hwal’s request, Sang-hee attempts to persuade Hae-yoon to join his friends with their company, and puts up a sign on the front of Hwal’s house which reads “Bond Factory.” It’s the new name for their business, which she came up with. The guys are Bond (she decrees Hae-yoon the “7” in 007) and she’s the Bond Girl.
Hae-yoon heads off grumpily for work and Sang-hee wonders if her tactic failed, but Hwal tells her she did the trick.
I doubt her action alone would have convinced Hae-yoon, but it does push him over the edge onto their side. That day at work, Hae-yoon looks over his friends’ presentation prep work for the Taeyang Beer campaign and sighs in worry. He tells his junior colleague that their firm would do fine without him, but he feels uneasy about how his friends will fare alone.
It’s a valid concern, since at that moment Hwal is explaining their work to Manager Park, who asks a skeptical question. Hwal tries to come up with a convincing answer, which is when Hae-yoon swoops in and joins the group, smoothly taking over and giving a good answer. Bond Factory complete!
Assuming that her missing skates are another of Poong-ho’s pranks, Haru confronts him, knocking him over and yelling at him to return them. He doesn’t know what’s going on and seems genuinely confused. He does notice, though, that the ever-present group of giggly little girls gets particular enjoyment out of Haru’s aggravation.
So, he takes it upon himself to punish the true wrongdoers, and makes the girls do duck-walk laps in contrition. He makes sure to get Haru’s attention when she exits from practice after a very good day — Su-in has given her replacement skates as a gift and agreed to let her advance from compulsory exercises to jumps.
What’s particularly adorable about Poong-ho is how important it is for her to understand he’s not the bad guy. (Other people might be angry at being wrongly accused, but Poong-ho is more worried she’ll hate him.) At his prodding, the girls admit that they took her skates. (He watches with smug satisfaction.)
Haru makes the girls apologize by saying, loudly, “I’m sorry, unni!” then lets them off the hook. After they scamper off, Poong-ho turns to her expectantly, wanting the same sort of apology. She mumbles “I’m sorry,” but when he demands a more satisfactory apology, she shouts loudly, “I’m sorry, oppa!”
His reaction to that is just about the cutest thing ever, as we are shown proof that yes, there is indeed power in the word “oppa.” All of a sudden his cockiness transforms into bashful giddiness, and he makes her repeat it. (Poong-ho: “What did you say after ‘I’m sorry’?” Haru: “Oppa?”)
Unable to contain his glee, Poong-ho gets swept up in his excitement: He distracts her for a moment, then grabs her into his arms and plants a big kiss on her lips, exclaiming, “Oh, you cute thing!” Haru shrieks while Poong-ho rains a bunch of kisses on her face like an overexcited puppy. OMG SO CUTE.
Even more cuteness awaits as Haru walks home, a little dazed. She finds Hwal talking to his car, but when he sees her, he hurriedly directs her into the house. When she’s safely inside, he peers inside to check on the puppy Wal, recovered from the pound.
Led by Hwal, Bond Factory gives their presentation, which they feel very positive about. That night, they await the news together at Sang-hee’s bar. The preliminary call comes from Manager Park informing them that while they still have to wait for the final result, he feels they did an excellent job and hit a home run.
Now that they’ve got a reason to feel hopeful, Hwal and Hyun-tae decide to head out, and leave the bar without explanation.
Hyun-tae arrives at Su-in’s door to share the celebratory moment with her. She still finds him overly pushy, although it doesn’t seem like she dislikes him — he’s just moving really fast — and protests. When he faces her, she nervously claps her hand over her mouth as though to ward off a kiss, and he laughs, planting a kiss on her forehead instead.
Hyun-tae pulls her hands from her face, and starts to move in for a real kiss, and Su-in head-butts him — and suddenly, Hwal is there, punching Su-in’s accoster and sending him sprawling to the ground.
I think Hyun-tae totally jumped the gun and came on way too strong even when seeing things from his point of view, so it’s no surprise that it looks even worse to an outsider. Hwal only sees that there’s a man trying to move in on a struggling female and reacts instinctively. It’s only after Hyun-tae falls to the ground that he recognizes him. He looks at Su-in, who stares back in shock.
Now reading the situation, Hwal turns and walks away without a word, leaving Hyun-tae calling after him in puzzlement.
Su-in doesn’t know how to react to Hyun-tae’s question, “Do you know what just happened?” She shoves Hyun-tae onto the porch and closes the door on him, leaving him utterly confused.
As the episode wraps, Haru’s narration brings us back to the theme of “compulsory,” and how a person might feel a sense of being trapped on a day when things seem to be spinning out of control. If you decided to put your name and reputation on the line, would things feel more bearable?
Haru finds the puppy in her room, and chases it happily through the house into Hwal’s room, where she sees a box on the floor. In it are her footprints and a brand-new set of skates. Realizing they fit her, she singsongs, “My brother bought me skates!” as she dances through the house, clutching them to her in happiness.
When Triple was first announced, I remember feeling dubious over the casting of Min Hyo-rin, who was until that point merely a B-list (or C-list?) pop singer who hadn’t gained much traction, was promoted more via gimmicks than music, and had earned recognition mostly for her “luxury nose.” Well, I think she may have had an inauspicious start to her singing career, but she is really very cute in this drama, and (in my opinion) rather likable, even lovable. I like that her acting style comes across as unselfconscious and fairly natural, so maybe this is really the career she ought to be pursuing.
She also has good chemistry with each lead, and it’s fun to see the different dynamics between each of them. For instance, Hwal sees her as a constant annoyance, an uncontainable whirlwind crashing through his pleasant life. She gets the most sympathy from Hae-yoon (despite her constant interruptions into his bathroom time), and seems to view Hyun-tae as an irresponsible kid (which he sorta is). This is standard stuff — a rambunctious youngster turns the lives of adults upside-down and teaches them Important Things about themselves — but it’s always the execution that makes or breaks these kinds of stories. And so far, I really like the execution of this drama.
I’m not sure exactly what it is, but there’s something very pleasant about Triple. I’m not sure if it’ll incorporate anything more challenging or insightful — then again, I felt the same way at Episode 3 of Coffee Prince and that drama went on to exceed my expectations — but even if it didn’t, it would still be an enjoyable watch. It’s not simply a matter of being upbeat or cheery, because there’s an undercurrent of introspection running through. Andi t’s not just because the people are good-looking and funny, although that helps. I think it’s that Triple lets its characters breathe, and that’s a refreshing change — which is something that a drama can’t achieve without a certain measure of confidence in itself.
- Triple: Episode 2
- Triple: Episode 1
- Triple press conference
- Forget Partner, let’s look at Triple
- Half of Triple’s ad team
- Newest addition to Triple completes main cast
- First stills from Triple
- Lee Hana added to Triple
- Kang Ji-hwan drops Triple, Lee Jung-jae steps in
- Triple to follow Cinderella Man
- Min Hyo-rin takes to the ice