So good! Certainly still high on the angst factor, but still gets a lot of chuckles. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this level of excitement and anticipation about a drama. There have been a few gems that I adore, which are excellent examples of quality dramas, but I think You’re Beautiful taps into something on a more gut level. The drama is less intellectual, for sure, but for what it is, it’s not only written well but also hits the right emotional buttons. Given the fan response, I have to think many would agree on that. The last drama to do that for me was… Coffee Prince, I think, and that was over two years ago. (Man I feel old.)
Also: Jang Geun-seok, you break my heart. In a good way.
SONG OF THE DAY
Loveholics – “아픔” (Pain). This is from the rock (now-)duo’s first album since losing Jisun, but I think that this song — courtesy of the vocals by Jang Eun-ah — actually recalls classic Loveholic the most.
[ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
When Mi-nyeo races out of the studio in tears, Shin-woo chases immediately. Tae-kyung remains behind and asks Hoon-yi if something happened prior to the recording session. Hoon-yi says that he’d advised Mi-nyeo to let her emotions burst, and this is the result: “They’ve burst onto Kang Shin-woo!” (Oh, I love this. It’s too bad for Tae-kyung, but dramatically, it’s great.)
After sobbing all over him, Mi-nyeo apologizes to Shin-woo, then glances up and sees Tae-kyung. She leaves right away, prompting Tae-kyung to follow, but Shin-woo holds him back.
Shin-woo: “Don’t go. You should leave her alone.” They exchange intense stares, but Tae-kyung stays put.
Hoon-yi is relieved that Shin-woo’s explanation (that Mi-nam is stressed) shows that he hasn’t caught on to Mi-nyeo’s supposed feelings for him. But when he asks Tae-kyung what they should do now, the latter gets snippy. This isn’t his business. Tae-kyung walks away feeling peeved that Mi-nam’s feelings have “burst” for Shin-woo, and gripes that it’s absurd.
Mi-nyeo sits alone and prays, as her image slowly turns transparent: “Mother Superior, my feelings keep trickling out. I wish I could become invisible, so that my feelings won’t be discovered. If I gradually disappear, nobody will see me, right?”
But as she is about to fade completely (figuratively, in Mi-nyeo’s imagination), a voice calls her back to solid form. It’s Jeremy, sitting on a bench in front of her.
She asks, “Jeremy, can you see me?” Smiling, he answers, “Of course. I’ve been watching you for a while.” She sighs, “So I didn’t disappear because you were watching.”
He takes her hand and says, “You can’t disappear. You have to come with me to a party to celebrate your first recording.” She notes how much he likes to throw congratulatory parties, and he replies that congratulations are good things.
He can tell she’s feeling down, so he promises, “I’ll let you cry to your heart’s content.”
What does he mean by that? Spicy food!
Eating spicy Indian food gives Mi-nyeo (and Jeremy) an excuse to cry. Afterward, they eat ice cream to cool their tongues, and he announces that since that she’s had her cry, now it’s time for some laughs. Off to the arcade they go.
(Jeremy is so cute. I’m so glad they gave these two some bonding time. It’s also good to see Jeremy move beyond the comic relief into a more substantial role.)
Next, he takes her to his special bus; he’s letting her in on a secret. This bus is pretty empty and completes its circuit in one hour. When he’s depressed, he rides this bus, which allows time for his feelings to “return to normal.” She wonders if that’ll happen to her feelings, and he assures her, “Of course! My bus is a magic bus.”
He says, “Let’s meet in an hour,” then sits back to give her space.
As he watches her silently, Jeremy wonders to himself, “In an hour, will they return to normal? For an hour, I’ll like you, Go Mi-nam.”
Mi-nyeo apologizes to Hoon-yi for running out. He is glad that she’s let out her emotions for the sake of the song, but she needs to learn how to manage them so they don’t get out of control. As a tip, he tells her about various pressure points that a person can press to “control” different reactions. You can touch your ears, hand, or temples to help endure things like temperature or sleepiness. For instance, when she has trouble managing her feelings, touch her nose.
Mi-nyeo takes the tip to heart and thanks him, leaving Hoon-yi feeling guilty for giving fake advice. But he figures that if she busies herself making that pig-face, at least her feelings won’t be discovered. (It’s a good thing for him that Mi-nyeo has a childlike trust, because as long as he gives Mi-nyeo an explanation, she’ll be distracted enough that the problem doesn’t hit crisis point. It’s the placebo effect.)
Tae-kyung reacts with some shock when he’s faced with Mi-nyeo’s pig-snout face. She’s just trying to tamp down her unruly feelings for him, but he thinks she’s mocking him about the pig chase in the previous episode. Not only is she like those detested rabbits, now she’s also playing the part of a pig.
He tells her, “Listen up, Pig-Rabbit.” He has been working on a plan: to tell Shin-woo that she’s a girl. She wonders why, and he answers, “Because I hear you like Shin-woo. Of course when I heard, I couldn’t believe it, but after thinking about it calmly, I saw the path. Go Mi-nam, I’m passing you over to Kang Shin-woo.”
She protests, “That’s not what it is. You have seen the wrong path.” Cutting her explanation short, Tae-kyung holds up a chart he has drawn:
In the Event You Confess to Shin-woo
The X’s indicate a bad result, the O’s a good one. As we can see, this works out nicely for Tae-kyung. lol.
Table translation (In Tae-kyung’s words): “Case 1, he accepts you. You may feel sorry to Shin-woo but it’s good that you can get your feelings into the open, and I’ll be glad to be rid of you. Case 2, he doesn’t accept you. This is only good for me, but try hanging on to Shin-woo and begging him so this scenario doesn’t happen. If you only do that half as much as you did to me, you’ll be able to cling to Shin-woo. ”
Mi-nyeo mulls over the chart while telling herself that it’s good that Tae-kyung didn’t catch on to her true feelings, but on the downside, he’s totally misunderstood the situation.
She nervously hides the paper when Shin-woo comes by and makes the excuse that she’s folding paper airplanes. He knows she’s just trying to hide it from him, so he shows her how to fold it so the inside doesn’t show. He calls her clumsy, and relates another story of a clumsy girl who harbored “a really big secret.” She was so bumbling that she was actually discovered right away, but didn’t know it.
Shin-woo explains, “At first he was going to see how it played out. He was a very bored guy.” As he speaks, we see flashbacks of Shin-woo witnessing Mi-nyeo mucking up her boy impersonation.
For instance, Mi-nyeo had accidentally caused a ruckus by entering the ladies’ restroom. Shin-woo continues: “But the more he watched, he found that she was really bumbling. It was both funny and a little sad.” In another scenario, Sung-chan had pressed her to go to the sauna together (a guy-bonding thing), which Shin-woo saved her from by taking her to eat out instead. Shin-woo: “His eyes kept going to that girl, and it was the first time he’d had such an interest in anyone. And at some point, he started to help her.” When Mi-nyeo had struggled with equipment, he had taken the heavy case from her. When she nodded off in rehearsal, he swooped in to provide a shoulder for her to sleep on.
As they are speaking in generalities, Mi-nyeo has no idea they’re talking about her, and wonders why he didn’t tell the girl the truth. He answers that it was to preserve her peace, but he’ll explain his feelings when the time is right.
After he leaves, she thinks, “Shin-woo hyung is a good person. I can’t tell him.” She decides she’ll have to beg Tae-kyung to reconsider.
Meanwhile, Tae-kyung is unable to concentrate on his work, for which he blames Mi-nyeo. He scribbles her name on the sheet music as he vents, “She likes him so much she bursts into tears? So this is the accident she said she caused! I’d really better not let my guard down — that rabbit-like guy!”
Vexed, he wonders if she’d already confessed to Shin-woo and is sucking up to him now. That spurs him to look around the house for her, starting to feel concerned that she may have confessed. Thankfully for his pride, he’s spared from dealing with his jealousy (although he doesn’t recognize it as such) when Mi-nyeo texts him the plea, “Hyungnim, please don’t pass me off to Shin-woo hyung! I promise not to be a pain!”
I love that Tae-kyung’s uneasy frustration gives way to that self-satisfied smirk, because we all know he’s pleased to have regained his equilibrium, even if he doesn’t admit it. Therefore, when he returns to his room and sees Mi-nyeo buried under her covers, he acts put-upon despite feeling relieved.
He addresses the lumpy bedding on the ground, asking whether she’s intending to burden him with the truth, and whether she knows what a great inconvenience she is being to him. The lumpy pile nods its head to acknowledge this.
As he goes to bed, Tae-kyung sighs, “Ah, what a pain.” But he peers over to check on her, and half-smiles as he goes to sleep.
Meanwhile, the management team discusses their next move, which is to come up with a killer music video to showcase the song. Hoon-yi suggests getting Tae-kyung and Heyi to appear in it, and provides the story: an action-packed blockbuster!
In it, Tae-kyung (“lonely killer”) and Heyi (“sexy killer”) jet-set around the world on secret missions.
It’s definitely a Bond parody, but the Hong sisters get in a poke at their competition, too, with a nod at IRIS. Sung-chan vetoes the spy plot: “Just because you go abroad, blow stuff up and shoot guns doesn’t make it good!” HAHAHA.
The stylist suggests an erotic love story, but Sung-chan says no to that, too — he wants a young, fresh image. He strikes upon the concept: a first love that came and went “without a word.”
With the theme in place, the MV rolls into production with a high school setting. Mi-nyeo and Tae-kyung, who have roles in the video, are costumed in school uniforms. Tae-kyung is not looking forward to working with Heyi and instructs Mi-nyeo, “When Heyi gets here, stick to my side.” Thinking of her promise to not interfere, Mi-nyeo says she’ll stay away, but he insists she stay nearby.
During a shoot in a classroom scene, Tae-kyung notices an extra staring at Mi-nyeo. She ducks in alarm to recognize her brother’s best friend from high school. What to do? Tae-kyung advises her to greet him like a friend, but the problem is that Mi-nyeo can’t remember his name.
She pleads with Tae-kyung to help, so he finds himself reluctantly getting involved. He catches the extra in the hallway and tells him that since he kept looking at him, he must be a fan. He offers an autograph, which gives him an excuse to ask his name. Too bad the extra declines the offer politely. Tae-kyung glares and grits out: “Your. Name. Is?”
Hearing that his name is Kim Dong-joon, Mi-nyeo is able to greet him like an old buddy. Overjoyed, Dong-joon grabs her in a hug: “Do you know how sad I was, thinking you were ignoring me now that you’re a celebrity?” Yet when Dong-joon grabs her hand in an enthusiastic handshake, he notices that a scar — from a bike accident they experienced together — is gone.
Thinking fast, Tae-kyung tells Mi-nyeo that there’s no need to hide the surgery from a friend. She explains that she’d had a little work done before debuting, and Dong-joon says he understands.
She finds herself in a tricky situation when the director announces their last call for a bathroom break, and Dong-joon perks up. They can go pee together, for old times’ sake! After all, they’d used to bet who could pee farther.
Major lulz! Oh, Hong sisters, you sure do like your toilet humor!
Mi-nyeo turns pleading eyes to Tae-kyung to save her, so again he finds himself reluctantly stepping in. He takes the urinal on Dong-joon’s other side and distracts him with questions, so that he can’t notice that Mi-nyeo isn’t actually using hers.
Dong-joon isn’t really familiar with A.N.JELL’s music, but Tae-kyung has to keep distracting him, so he interjects, “You probably know this song,” and starts to sing “Promise.” Dong-joon recognizes the tune and picks up the chorus, while Mi-nyeo takes the cue and “finishes” up.
I love Tae-kyung’s muttered comment that if he had rid himself of Mi-nam, Shin-woo would probably have swooped in to save the day instead of him. No he’s not jealous, no not at all!
Next is a lunch scene. Mi-nyeo comments that her character is rich, so her lunch is yummy. Tae-kyung scowls as she points out, “Hyungnim, you’re a poor student so all you have are anchovies. I’d like to give you an egg roll, but it’s too bad I cannot.” She’s having fun taunting him and it is adorable.
Seeing her egg rolls, Dong-joon reminisces that they remind him of Mi-nam’s sister, since she liked them. Mi-nam used to gather them from schoolmates and give them to Mi-nyeo. Dong-joon: “I don’t like them, but that’s why I asked my mother every day to make me egg rolls. Because she would eat them.”
Tae-kyung smirks, saying that he must have liked her, then looks on in surprise when Dong-joon bows his head bashfully. Dong-joon admits, “I’m saying this now, but I used to really like your sister. I couldn’t say anything since she was my friend’s sister, but she was my first love.”
Dong-joon is heading off to the army tomorrow, and had thought a lot about Mi-nyeo: “Now that I’ve seen you, it’s like I’ve seen her.”
All the while, Tae-kyung watches the exchange with distaste and shoves food in his mouth grumpily. He’s further dissatisfied when Mi-nyeo reacts with sheepish pleasure to the revelation.
Tae-kyung’s displeasure grows after lunch, when Dong-joon asks if Mi-nam’s sister ever visits the house. When Tae-kyung confirms that he’s seen her, Dong-joon sighs, “Isn’t she beautiful?”
Tae-kyung replies, “Since you’re about to go to the army, try asking Go Mi-nam to let you meet her.” But Dong-joon says no — he’ll see her after he’s discharged. He’s studying pharmacy, and he plans to return to their hometown and set up a pharmacy there. He’ll seek her out then: “It’s my dream to marry early, set up a pharmacy, and live happily.”
Filming an outdoor scene next, Tae-kyung can’t resist mocking Mi-nyeo: “I didn’t know you were a future pharmacist’s wife.” She’d better send him vitamins and medicine later!
He’s pushing her buttons, so when the director tells them to act friendly, Mi-nyeo grabs some dry leaves and “playfully” tosses them at Tae-kyung’s head. Tae-kyung returns the gesture, and things escalate as both use the mock leaf-fight as an excuse to annoy each other. He wrestles her to the ground and continues tossing leaves on top of her.
At one point, though, Tae-kyung’s laughing goes from sarcastic to genuinely happy. Looking up at his smiling face, Mi-nyeo’s feelings start bubbling to the surface again, and she makes her pig-nose. Of course, this makes him think she’s mocking him again.
Heyi arrives on the scene and has to contend first with the persistent reporter, who is still sniffing around about the photo. He knows the woman in the picture isn’t Heyi and threatens to ask Mi-nam. Heyi intends to warn Tae-kyung about the reporter, but seeing his cozy interaction with Mi-nyeo makes her jealousy flare.
Heyi interrupts, fake-sweetly “congratulating” the two of them on their natural acting. She deliberately asserts a possessive air over Tae-kyung, which makes Mi-nyeo feel left out. She leaves while Tae-kyung tells Heyi to lay off.
She responds, “Why? You were good just now. Laugh like you did then. If your acting is good, I’ll give you a prize.” He replies, “That wasn’t acting.”
Tae-kyung leaves, and a miffed Heyi decides that she’d rather not warn him about Reporter Kim’s snooping after all.
Aunt Mi-ja meets the fan club members, offering them some of the A.N.JELL boys’ personal items like Jeremy’s face wash, Shin-woo’s razor. They’re disappointed that she couldn’t swipe something of Tae-kyung’s, but at least she can offer some gossip: Mi-nam is shooting a music video, and Tae-kyung will appear in it wearing a school uniform.
Aunt Mi-ja doesn’t quite see the A.N.JELL charm, though, and asks why they love the guys so much. Surely they’re not all that.
Blasphemy! Sayuri answers that if Aunt Mi-ja knew “the oppas’ legends,” she wouldn’t say that.
For example: Shin-woo’s “legend” shows him as a badass fighter who had once roared up to a gang of delinquents on his motorcycle and taken them on in a 17-to-1 fight.
(Note: This seems to be a riff on Lim Chang-jung’s famous line in the 1997 film BEAT, which popularized the “seventeen-to-one” phrase. The movie starred a young Jung Woo-sung; you can watch a clip here.)
Jeremy’s legend features him as the grandson of a Scottish aristocrat, and he was once engaged to a princess. He gave it all up to pursue music in Korea, which is, according to Sayuri, the princess’s loss but her gain!
Meanwhile, Tae-kyung’s legend speaks of a huge birth secret. This one has the ring of truth (to us), as she describes his mother as a beautiful, famous woman who is unknown to everyone except Tae-kyung and his father. Even his real birthday is a mystery to the public; the one that people know is just his “official” birthday.
As it turns out, his real birthday is actually today, which we find out when Tae-kyung’s father calls to wish him a happy birthday. Tae-kyung had forgotten and says that “today doesn’t mean anything to me.” Still, his father has sent him a gift from the States, which he should be getting in the mail today.
Heyi wanders around looking for Tae-kyung, and spies Mi-nyeo with Dong-joon. (She complains, “Is she pretending to be a guy just so she can hang out with guys?”) She figures she can have some fun bringing the reporter into this mess, and goes off to find him.
After Mi-nyeo signs Dong-joon’s shoe, he looks at hers and notices something weird about it. She doesn’t pick up on the reason why, and says her goodbyes before heading off with Tae-kyung.
As she walks away, however, she realizes what’s odd: Mi-nam and Dong-joon have the same size shoes, and her feet are much smaller than her brother’s.
Mi-nyeo runs back, but by now the reporter has found Dong-joon and is chatting with him. She realizes that Dong-joon will have figured out that she’s not Mi-nam, and they all exchange loaded looks, anticipating the moment when Dong-joon will announce that this isn’t Mi-nam.
But Dong-joon looks at Mi-nyeo and answers, “Mi-nam is my best friend. He’s a good person, and he’s a really cool guy.”
Aw! Dong-joon knows this is Mi-nyeo, but he keeps up the ruse out of respect and uses the name Mi-nam. He assures her that once he’s off to the army, he won’t have reason to see anybody, nor is he the type to gossip.
Mi-nyeo is grateful for his graciousness and thanks him. At the last moment, he’s overcome with emotion and grabs her in a hug. He tells her earnestly, “I really liked your sister,” then he runs off in high spirits. Once again, Tae-kyung is NOT happy to see their closeness.
But next, it’s time for Mi-nyeo to feel left out, because Heyi claims Tae-kyung’s attention. She demands a ride home, and with one last look back at Mi-nam, he leaves with her. Mi-nyeo watches them go sadly, but reminds herself not to be an annoyance.
Just as Tae-kyung drives away, Shin-woo pulls in, having come to take Mi-nyeo home. She wasn’t expecting him, but since he’s here she may as well go with him.
Having passed by Shin-woo’s car, Tae-kyung keeps an eye on the rearview mirror to watch Mi-nyeo, while Heyi points out how nice Shin-woo is to Mi-nam: “He still doesn’t know she’s a girl, right? If he did, he’d really feel bad.”
Heyi wants some spaghetti and instructs Tae-kyung to take her to the restaurant. Just then, Tae-kyung gets a phone call from Mo Hwa-ran, who requests a meeting. So he pulls up to the restaurant, tosses Heyi the keys, and points out, “Like you said, I brought you here.” He didn’t promise he’d eat with her. He leaves Heyi pouting in frustration.
On his way to meet Hwa-ran, Tae-kyung notes that this is the first time in 10 years that she’s remembered his birthday. But when he arrives at the table, he finds that she’s waiting with a few others. A reporter enthusiastically greets him, saying that once he heard Tae-kyung would be remaking Hwa-ran’s song, he was eager to interview them.
Tae-kyung sizes up the situation, then makes the excuse that he cannot stay due to a personal issue. Excusing himself, he leaves. It’s particularly sad, because although he’d told his father that his birthday doesn’t mean anything to him, he was obviously feeling hopeful when his mother called him for a special meal together. How crushing it must be to realize that she wasn’t calling him to wish him a happy birthday, but was only doing it for her own PR.
Mi-nyeo finds that Aunt Mi-ja has already opened the package containing Tae-kyung’s present, and tries to figure out how to reseal the package. A note drops out, which she reads: “This is the album you wanted so much. Happy birthday. From Dad.”
Thinking of a nice way to surprise him with a birthday present, Mi-nyeo brings out the autographed photo of Hwa-ran, which she’d gotten from the singer at the music festival. Mi-nyeo thinks it’ll make Tae-kyung happy, since he’s a fan.
When she asks if Jeremy is throwing another party tonight, she’s puzzled to hear his answer that it’s not Tae-kyung’s birthday; they’d already celebrated it earlier this year. Furthermore, Tae-kyung won’t be home tonight because he’s working at the studio all night. Deciding to go to him, Mi-nyeo heads off to the agency.
Hwa-ran finds him at the office, confronting him for humiliating her at the dinner. He sneers that she must no longer be afraid that the truth will leak out, and she admits openly, “What do I have to lose? To be honest, I’m considering revealing that you’re my son. That’ll draw some attention.” She sees his hard expression and asks, “Why, are you afraid now?”
Hwa-ran explains that she’s very ambitious about her new project, and in order to command a lot of attention, she needs him. Understandably, he’s not exactly moved by that proposal, and he jeers, “Did you love the songwriter that much? The reason you left me is because of that love, wasn’t it?”
Hwa-ran answers coldly, “Don’t sneer like that. That was the most precious thing to me.” (Ouchhhhh. Hard words to hear from a mother)
Tae-kyung returns, “That was the most terrible thing to me.” He turns to walk off, and she bursts out, “But I gave birth to you!” She makes her case, and as awful as the words are, they do have a ring of honesty about them (not that it makes them any better):
Hwa-ran: “Because of you, because I gave birth to you, I lost that precious thing. Yes, you probably thought it was a terrible thing because I abandoned you. But because of you, it was horrible for me when I lost him. Since I lost him when I had you, help me keep that love as a memory.”
Not a persuasive argument to say to an abandoned child. Tae-kyung faces Hwa-ran, the tears in his eyes belying his cool words: “If you want to take credit for giving birth to me, at least you should remember when that was.”
His reaction makes Hwa-ran guess, “Was it today?” Tae-kyung walks away, leaving Hwa-ran standing alone outside.
Only… she’s not actually alone. Mi-nyeo has witnessed the exchange, and claps a hand over her mouth in horror.
Tae-kyung’s coldness to his mother is really a front to cover his hurt, because once inside the building, he slumps against the wall, bravado crumbling. He tries in vain to choke back his tears.
Down the hall, Mi-nyeo witnesses his pain and cries, too: “Mother Superior, my star is crying in the dark. What should I do?”
Damn. These things are getting longer and longer. As someone once said, if I had more time I would have made it shorter. I’ll try harder next time, promise!
Yesterday had the awesomely sweet “I can only see the moon” line, and today had the equally touching “My star is crying” line. Sigh. There’s something very poignant about Mi-nyeo calling Tae-kyung — in a completely non-possessive, un-ironic way — “my star.”
I don’t have that much to say in addition to what I’ve already said, except to marvel at Jang Geun-seok. He’s been great all series long, and I don’t want to suggest that the only way an actor can show he’s good is to cry a lot — but his crying scene was really, really well-done. Completely believable because it wasn’t one of those self-indulgent actorly weepfests, where it seems like they’re saying, “Look at me, look at how prettily I can cry!” (We do tend to get a lot of those in kdramas, don’t we?) I love Tae-kyung’s vulnerability in that moment — how he tries to tamp it down even though he believes himself to be alone and doesn’t have to hide from anyone. He doesn’t want to give in to the tears, because he doesn’t want to admit that his mother has that kind of hold over him, but he can’t help it. He’s a big ol’ softie, and now it’s his turn for the feelings to “burst out” of him.
(I wonder if this is an emotion that Mi-nyeo has prompted in Tae-kyung. I don’t want to attribute every little thing to the love relationship — that gets tiresome — but I do think that Mi-nyeo is the one who showed him that forgiveness can be more powerful than turning your back on the one who hurt you, as she proved with the ring scene earlier. She’s primed him for this emotional vulnerability to break through to the surface, so now I wonder how he’ll be able to bounce back from it, because I don’t think he’s ready to accept that emotional vulnerability can be a gift rather than a character weakness. He’s certainly not ready for forgiveness yet.)
And just because I have to say it: I love jealous Tae-kyung!
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 7
- Jang Geun-seok flooded with CF offers
- Park Shin-hye is tired but happy
- A.N.JELL’s music is a hit
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 6
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 5
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 4
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 3
- Behind the scenes with You’re Beautiful’s cast
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 2
- You’re Beautiful: Episode 1
- FT Island’s Hong-ki ready to return to acting