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Smile: Episodes 7-8

How the mighty have fallen…

As soyjoy mentioned in her last recap, watching an episode twice makes the shortcomings glaringly obvious. This definitely isn’t a masterpiece that needs to be seen more than once. It’s not surprising for a 50-episode series to be drawn out, but I think some plot development/movement is in order. Fortunately, Lee Chun Hee‘s entrance has infused a bit of energy and his love interest has been revealed, giving me some hope for the future. I still enjoy the goofy and sweet moments, so all is not lost.

[Just a little housekeeping note: Unfortunately, our 3rd partner in crime had to bow out, leaving 2 of us for the recaps. With the good ratings, I fully expect to see 50 episodes of Smile, leading to our decision to recap 2 episodes together going forward.]

SONG OF THE DAY

Smile OST – “안녕 내 사랑” (Goodbye, My Love) by Melo’ Breeze [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Episode 7

The Seo family is in complete shock with Grandpa Man-bok’s stinging words, “Yesterday was the last day I treated you like a guest. You’d better do as I say!” The puerile Sung-joon, immediately walks over to the Kang family, and starts stretching. (Chunderella, you’ve still got it!) Jung-kil kicks Sung-joon and takes his family into the house.

Inside, Jung-kil accuses Jung-in of tattle tailing their current state of poverty to Grandpa Man-bok, declaring that she’s always liked him more than her own family. Joo-hee (mom) and Sung-joon both jump on her for betraying the family. She immediate declares her innocence and reminds them that Grandpa Man-bok isn’t the type of person to be swayed by money. Seeing the desperate situation, Sung-joon suggests following Grandpa’s orders, but Jung-kil won’t hear any of it. Jung-in takes charge, “Let me give it a try. He listens to everything I say, so you just sit quietly and trust me.”

She heads outside and turns the charm dial to full, trying to win Grandpa Man-bok over. But he’s no pushover, and tells her to stop acting like a child. He calls over Geum-ja and puts her in charge of the women, instructing her to share the housework with Jung-in and her mom. He even suggests that she hit them if they won’t listen. Geum-ja is excited beyond belief and walks away thinking about the possibilities.

Realizing that he needs to work in order to eat, Sung-joon heads outside and pretends to help Hyun-soo with the car wash. (He basically picks up a sponge and then puts it back down.) Sung-joon asks Hyun-soo to take care of the soft-hearted Jung-in, which makes Hyun-soo adamantly deny that anything is going on between them. But at the mention of Jung-kyung’s name, Hyun-soo perks up.

Sung-joon: If it was Jung-kyung…
Hyun-soo: What if it was Jung-kyung?
Sung-joon: She would have already packed up her bags and left, and never come anywhere near here again. Her personality is… bleh. If you say one thing she doesn’t like, she’ll never see you again. That’s why she has no friends.

Meanwhile, Jung-kyung is off playing house with her doctor boyfriend. He’s moved her into his spare apartment, and comes over to prepare breakfast as she wakes up in the morning.

I know there’s been quite a bit of Jung-kyung hating going on. Maybe I’m biased because I like the actress who plays her character (Choi Jung-yoon), but I think she has redeeming qualities in the series. Yes, she’s cold, even heartless at times, but I think she wants the best for her family. She just does it in her own harsh way. I mean, she’s had to endure 26 years of her family’s craziness. That said, it is pretty bratty of her to stay in this apartment, while her family suffers at the Kangs.

As the Kang family starts breakfast, the Seos file out, hoping to join them. They start to scoop food onto their plates, but Grandpa Man-bok is relentless and refuses to feed those who don’t work. Jung-kil calls his family back to their room, but the shameless Sung-joon fibs that he helped Hyun-soo with the car wash, and eats breakfast. Man-bok is so stubborn that he won’t even let Jung-in drink water at the table.

The Kang dad/son combo try to talk Geum-ja into showing some compassion to the Seo family. It’s for different reasons, different ladies to be more precise. Sang-hoon is worried about Joo-hee, while Hyun-soo is thinking about Jung-kyung. But Geum-ja refuses to give an inch.

As Hyun-soo leaves for work, he offers to buy food for Jung-in. But she thinks that he’s only being friendly because of the earlier text she sent, pretending to be a worried Jung-kyung.

Jung-in: What happened? You didn’t even want to eat ramen with me yesterday.
Hyun-soo: That was yesterday. Let’s go. I’ll buy you something.
Jung-in: Forget it. Don’t meddle and just go.
Hyun-soo: How can I not meddle when you’re like this?
Jung-in: If anyone saw, they’d think you’re worrying about me.
Hyun-soo: Huh?

Sung-joon see them talking to each other, and asks what the 2 of them are doing. When Hyun-soo abruptly leaves for work, he gives Jung-in a knowing smile.

Hyun-soo heads to his new work at Global Motors (used incorrect company name in earlier post), and Han-se loads him with work on his first day. He also takes the opportunity to talk to Hyun-soo about the incident outside the restaurant. He tells Hyun-soo to be careful about Jung-in, because she’d try to do anything to win him back. Even using sympathy to exploit Hyun-soo. Han-se is hoping for some revenge with his words, but Hyun-soo replies with confidence.

Hyun-soo: Is the Seo Jung-in you know that kind of woman? I’m sure you know her better than me, since you even married her. But the Seo Jung-in I know would find keeping her dignity more important than being pitied. I’m sorry that I seem to get involved in your personal life. As I said earlier, Seo Jung-in and I don’t have any relationship. So, please try to avoid this kind of discussion in the future.

Jung-in is sulking back at the Kang residence, waiting for someone to notice her. It’s a little cute, but mostly sad that she’s decided to act like a toddler to get her way. (What happened to the resilient Jung-in?) Her presence has the opposite effect that she’s going for, and Grandpa Man-bok’s blood boils, seeing her mope. Geum-ja pushes her into the house at Man-bok’s request, and tries to put her to work. She hands her a hand broom, explaining that sweeping the floor is the easiest chore in the house. But Jung-in throws the broom on the floor, barking that she shouldn’t have to work. Geum-ja slaps her on her back, calling her a foolish, immature girl. (Way to go, Geum-ja!)

While having lunch, Hyun-soo’s coworkers start telling grade school wordplay jokes.

Q: Do you know who grandpa loves the most?
A: Hal-MO-NEY… (Hal-muh-nee is grandma in Korean.)
Q: What do you call it when a dong-seng (younger brother) really loves his hyung (older brother)?
A: Hyung gwang pen [형광팬]… (It could either mean a highlighter or hyung/older brother’s biggest fan.)
It’s cute that Hyun-soo takes a second to figure out the joke, and then texts them to Jung-kyung (really Jung-in) to make her smile. Jung-in gets the message and thinks, how childish, but starts cracking up after a second.

Hyun-soo text: You’re laughing because it’s childish, right? But if you laughed, mission accomplished.
Jung-in: I laughed because it’s me. If it was Seo Jung-kyung, there wouldn’t have been any laughter. What a dummy.

Hyun-soo receives a text from “Jung-kyung” that reads, “hehe… really funny.” But more significant is the pair of lips that comes with the text. Hyun-soo tries to play it cool in front of his co-workers, but we know that he’s bursting with joy on the inside.

Jung-in lies in bed, thinking about Hyun-soo, and wonders if he could figure out the owner of the lips. She realizes that it’s unrealistic, but still peruses through the texts from him, smiling. When she sees her sister’s name in one of the texts, she comes to her senses, knowing that they were all meant for Jung-kyung.

Determined to tell Hyun-soo the truth, she resolves to pay him back for the cellphone. She decides to sell off her clothes and starts going through the luggage, with her family following suit. When they try to take the clothes out of the house, grandpa Man-bok orders them to give up their clothes as collateral for the room. After Man-bok drives off with the clothes, Jung-kil is still in a good mood, and takes his family out, promising to buy something better than the lost clothes. When Sung-joon asks about money, Jung-kil points to his watch.

As Jung-kyung is about to go on a date with her doctor boyfriend, Hyun-soo arrives at the hospital and sees them together. He’s surprised but walks over to talk about the text he sent. She, of course, doesn’t know what he’s talking about and takes out her cellphone. Hyun-soo realizes that it’s not the phone he bought and flees. Jung-kyungs runs after him, wanting to keep him quiet about her boyfriend.

The rest of the Seo family are out at Joon-bae’s restaurant. Jung-kil and Sung-joon are enjoying their food, while the 2 ladies are none too happy with the situation. Joo-hee has filled up with the bread that Sang-hoon brought her and Jung-in wants money instead of meat. Joon-bae is averse to watching the Seo family eat their money away, and calls Man-bok to come pick them up.

A dejected Hyun-soo heads home, and sees the oblivious Jung-in, who’s happy to see him. But Hyun-soo is angry and walks right past her.

Jung-in: Oppa. Hold on. You were going to take me out for food this morning. Let’s go now. I haven’t eaten all day and I have something to give to you.
Hyun-soo: … [walks away.]
Jung-in: I have something to give to you.
Hyun-soo: … [walks away.]
Jung-in: Oppa. I have something to tell you. I’m not sure why you’re mad, but I didn’t eat, waiting for you to come home. I know I was cranky this morning for no reason. I just didn’t have anyone else to take it out on. When I was burned by Han-se, when I cried, or when I was upset, you…
Hyun-soo: I’m not going to anymore. I’m not going to soothe or console you anymore. So get out of my way.
Jung-in: Listen to me first.
Hyun-soo: I don’t want to.

Jung-in wants to tell Hyun-soo the truth, but he’s rightfully upset about the cellphone incident, and doesn’t give her a chance to apologize.

Meanwhile, Jung-kyung has come to the house to talk to Hyun-soo. She finds Jung-in’s cellphone and looks through the texts, figuring out that Jung-in has been sending messages to Hyun-soo disguised as Jung-kyung. She comes down to Hyun-soo’s room to find Jung-in and Hyun-soo together.

Episode 8

Jung-kyung dismisses her sister as a flake only interested in getting a free cellphone, and scolds Hyun-soo for behaving rashly, “Did you really think I would send you these kind of texts?” Hyun-soo is wounded by her words but remains level-headed. He blames himself and reminds her that he’s always found excuses everytime she’s rejected him. Jung-kyung affirms her feelings for her boyfriend and begs him to stop making excuses anymore.

Grandpa Man-bok drags home a drunk Jung-kil. Our 2 families are finally together under the same roof again, but with disastrous circumstances. Jung-kil is fully inebriated and calls Man-bok all sorts of name, before passing out. The members of the Seo family are embarrassed and worried about being thrown out.

Jung-in runs after Jung-kyung, who sneers at her, “Why do you want to talk to me? To apologize? Forget it. I should thank you for helping me end things cleanly (with Hyun-soo.)” Jung-in has become quite the softy when it comes to Hyun-soo and calls her a callous bitch for the way she’s treating him. Jung-kyung picks up her sister’s concern for Hyun-soo, and tells Jung-in to keep her feeling in check and not fall for a guy who’s had an 8 year crush.

When Jung-in comes back to the house, she sees Hyun-soo outside. She tries to cheer him up and hands over the money for the cellphone. He makes her follow him to a playground nearby to talk in private. When he asks how long she’s known, Jung-in comes clean. She tells him that she accidentally saw them together at hospital, and tries to console him.

Jung-in: I know Seo Jung-kyung well, since she’s my sister. She’s always been a brat, since she was little. You saw the way she left, even though dad was (drunk) like that. So stop letting her upset you, and just let go of her. A person like you is worthy of someone way better than her.”

Unfortunately, Hyun-soo is more bothered by Jung-in’s condemnation of Jung-kyung, than comforted by her words.

Back home, they both ponder the conversation. Hyun-soo muses over his love, Jung-kyung, while Jung-in frets over Hyun-soo. She gives him 10 seconds to return her text, and starts counting to 10 slowly, sad that he’s not responding.

The next morning, both whole family comes out for their morning exercises. Jung-in may talk a big game, but still has a guilty conscience. One glare from Hyun-soo stops her yawn in its tracks. (Cute!)

Grandpa Man-bok cancels the morning stretching and calls a family meeting. The Kangs are assuming that Man-bok will finally come to his sense and kick out the Seos. But he has other issues to discuss. He’s found wasted rice in the drain and wants to know who threw away good food.

When no one speaks up, Man-bok declares that as the head of the family, he’ll take responsibility. He then eats the dirty rice off the table, while everyone looks on in horror. (That almost made me puke.) Even more surprising to the Kangs, is his decision to have the 2 families continue to live under one roof. When Hyun-soo speaks up and asks the reason for the decision, Sung-joon confesses that he’s squandered away the family fortune and they have no other place to go. Grandpa Man-bok clearly states that the Seos need to live like them, and puts Sang-hoon and Geum-ja in charge.

Following Grandpa’s orders, Sang-hoon takes the men out to the autoshop and makes them practice greeting customers. Jung-kil is slow to follow along, but threats of eviction convinces him to go along with the lesson. (Did anyone else have Sunwoo Hwan flashbacks from Brilliant Legacy?) Geum-ja shows the women around the kitchen and the backyard, proving their economical lifestyle. The Kangs could almost live off the grid with their efficiency. They don’t produce any garbage and live off the fat of their tiny garden.

Jung-in heads to the bus stop to see Hyun-soo before he leaves for work. (She’s turning into quite the stalker.) She starts out the conversation with her usual arrogance, but changes her tune when Hyun-soo scolds her. She’s truly sorry and apologizes while handing him the money. When Hyun-soo cites Jung-kyung as the reason for not accepting the money, she screams, “I’m not Seo Jung-kyung. I’m SEO JUNG-IN!” She runs into a doting Kyung-soo on her way back and takes out her frustrations on him.

Jung-kil and Joo-hee are not used to doing any manual work, and cause problems. Jung-kil’s brazen attitude results in Kyung-soo’s complaints and ultimate departure from the autoshop. In the kitchen, Joo-hee breaks out into tears after breaking a nail from dropping and breaking a dish.

Sang-hoon sees Joo-hee crying and imagines her running to him for comfort. He’s so guilt-ridden that he runs to Geum-ja and gives her a passionate hug. Joo-hee in turn witnesses the hug, and goes to her husband for sympathy. But Jung-kil and Sang-hoon are too busy trying to sabotage the autoshop, wanting to get kicked out of the house (along with some money for a rental).

A woman drives into the autoshop after getting into an accident, wanting to get her car fixed. Seeing the blood on her forehead, Grandpa Man-bok orders Sung-joon to take her to the hospital. He’s squeamish at the sight of blood and tries to get out of it until he sees Man-bok take out 50,000 won ($40 USD) out of his pocket. Sung-joon and Jung-kil’s eyes pop out at the sight of money, but Sung-joon beats his dad to Grandpa Man-bok and escort the bleeding woman to the hospital. (The fortuitous accident brings us the last supporting character for the series, Jung Ji-hoo, played by Jun Hye-jin.)

Meanwhile, our 2 older couples, spend some time with each other’s partners. Sang-hoon and Joo-hee spend time at a cafe, reminiscing their younger days. Jung-kil and Geum-ja spar over bibimbap, as he tries to sweet talk Geum-ja into giving him money to move out.

This is the first time that I’ve found the scenes with just the parents intriguing. I found the constant bickering to be annoying, and it’s nice to see some real interaction between the 4. Also, I like Geum-ja the best out of the group, and it would be fun to see her whip Jung-kil into shape.

Jung-in comes out of her room to help Geum-ja prepare dinner. She sees Jung-in’s glum face and tries to liven up the mood. When Jung-in mentions that she knows Geum-ja’s dislike for her, she quickly compliments Jung-in.

Geum-ja: No, I never said I didn’t like you. I was just surprised to see you after the wedding, kicked to the… What I mean is, why did such a smart looking girl pick out a man like that? Actually, it’s good that you ended things with a man who throws out his woman for going broke. So, just think that this happened for you to meet a better man. Looking at your plump cheeks and behind, I think you’ll find a good husband.

She then gives Jung-in’s butt a little pat, just like she does to Hyun-soo’s butt. I think we’re seeing some not-so-veiled foreshadowing here.

After Sung-joon drops off Ji-soo at the hospital with Jung-kyung, he siphons the 50,000 won and enjoys a glass of wine at a fancy bar. He runs into Han-sae at the bar with another woman, and reveals that Jung-in also has a new man, one who’s competent and honest.

Sung-joon comes back home and tries to put one over Grandpa Man-bok, not realizing that Ji-soo has already come back from the hospital. Sang-hoon tries to alert him with hand gestures but our Sung-joon doesn’t have the brightest bulb, and continues his lies. When he sees Ji-soo at the autoshop, his face divulges his mortification.

Geum-ja, who had found Hyun-soo’s cellphone earlier, finally figures out how to use the phone and calls the slapper’s number. Jung-in happily answer the phone thinking it’s Hyun-soo, only to hear a woman’s voice on the other line. Geum-ja asks, “Are you the one who sent the slapper picture? Who are you?”, leaving Jung-in flabbergasted.

COMMENTARY

As I alluded to in the opening, there is a general shift in the dymanic between Jung-in and Hyun-soo. Her slightly confused, slightly embarrassed feeling for Hyun-soo is ever-so-slightly changing the way she acts around him. She hasn’t lost her pluckiness per se, but she’s glued to her cellphone and does nothing much except fawn over Hyun-soo. I think she needs to get a job.

On the other hand, Hyun-soo’s manliness is creeping out. He’s still a bit of a beta male, but proving that a talented working man is quite sexy. I also like that he’s trying to tackle the Jung-kyung issue head on. When he saw Jung-kyung with her older man at the hospital, he could have easily walked away. But he took the initiative to verify the relationship, and hopefully let her go for good. (If he ends up being like his dad, I will be sorely disappointed.)

Overall, I’m still having fun watching the series. It definitely has it’s moments of hilarity. But my initial love for the characters is waning a bit. For instance, I was completely thrown off by Jung-in’s childish behavior with Grandpa Man-bok. It seems out of character to me. This is a girl who ripped off the hem of her wedding dress and walked the Incheon highway, without any self-pity, after her new husband kicked her to the curb. Why does she plop herself on the ground and wail like a toddler because Grandpa took a few pieces of her clothing? I do want to see different sides to our characters, so here’s to some real development instead of incongruity.

 
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