Drama Recaps
Playful Kiss: Episode 3
by | September 10, 2010 | 198 Comments

Ah, the eternal kdrama conundrum. Go for the perfect meanie who needs to be convinced of your worth, or the loyal lackey who already knows it?

And of course, the answer (in a drama) is always the opposite of the one we’d advocate in real life. Funny how television can romanticize the unromantic, and vice versa.

SONG OF THE DAY

Lee Seung-hwan with Park Shin-hye – “Wonderful Day” [ Download ]

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EPISODE RECAP

After Ha-ni surprises everyone with her high test score, the students (led by teacher Kang-yi) chant for Seung-jo to live up to his promise of carrying her around the school. The two had privately agreed to nullify that bet, but can’t explain that to the others without revealing that they’re living together.

Ha-ni mutters to Seung-jo not to misunderstand — she had nothing to do with this. He grumbles that she’s a public menace, but sighs and tells her to go ahead and claim her piggyback ride. If everyone’s going to assume he’s a flake, he’d rather just get it over with.

Three-year crush notwithstanding, being called a public menace can go a long way in quashing the warm fuzzies, and Ha-ni refuses. He grabs her wrist (oy), and protective Joon-gu arrives on the scene at just this moment, seeing Ha-ni struggling against Seung-jo’s grasp.

Joon-gu steps in and offers the piggyback ride instead, and while Seung-jo hadn’t been eager to carry her, damned if he’ll be upstaged by this guy. What ensues is a double-wrist-grab competition of whose back she’ll climb on. Oh, that we all had such problems.

Joon-gu’s more aggressive, and (literally) sweeps Ha-ni off her feet to carry her outside. Ju-ri and Min-ah reproach him for interfering, and he’s so dense that he thought he was being helpful.

Now he asks suspiciously if Ha-ni still likes Seung-jo, to which she blurts that she doesn’t. He’s cold and mean and lacks any spark of humanity. She totally hates him now.

Suuure. That totally explains her fit of jealousy in special study hall when another girl tries to flirt with Seung-jo, right?

Ha-ni’s the odd duck out in study hall, where we hammer in the stereotypes inherent in this drama: that all humble, average-brained folks are nice and friendly, while smart people are rich snobs. But how does that explain all the dumb snobs I’ve met? And poor jackasses?

Ha-ni is cheered when Seung-jo rejects the girl’s offer of a soda. You’d think she would have a little bit of sympathy for this predicament, but she hasn’t learned the lesson from her own humiliation and bursts out laughing at the other girl, even pointing a finger literally as she guffaws. Wait, drama, aren’t we supposed to like her?

Ha-ni’s presence in the study hall is such an anomaly that you can practically hear the minds being blown as people try to figure out how she got there. One such example: the vice principal, who takes great pride in Seung-jo as the school’s star pupil and therefore can’t understand how Ha-ni squeaked through.

He asks Class 7’s teacher Kang-yi if she finds that odd, but she answers simply that hard work can yield good results. The other teachers are unconvinced, however, particularly the pretty teacher (whom I suspect will be Kang-yi’s rival, or at least her foil) and Class 1 teacher Ji-oh. They even go so far as to speculate about cheating, though they make no accusations.

Each class has an upcoming outing planned, and Classes 1 and 7 get stuck in an athletic competition at Kang-yi’s suggestion, because she’s determined to prove that her class can beat the snooty Class 1-ers at something. Class 7 isn’t terribly enthusiastic, but are won over with Kang-yi’s bribe of pizza if they win all three events.

Motivated by pizza — and yeah, beating Class 1, although mostly the pizza — the class practices for the competition, performing drills and running through relay simulations. It’s pretty cute how enthusiastic they are, so of course haughty Seung-jo has to rain on their parade by sniffing at how silly they look.

He says indifferently that Class 7 is sure to win, because his class just doesn’t care. Riiiight. You care so little that you have to announce just how little you care, in case they thought you cared. (I sorta love how Seung-jo tries to pretend he’s so superior to Ha-ni, but he can’t resist poking and prodding at her, when a truly indifferent person wouldn’t bother.)

Worse than insulting them is his air of “Oh, we’re so above that,” and Ha-ni has to hold back Joon-gu from launching into a fight. But when Seung-jo goes so far as to call them “pathetic,” she has to speak up: What’s pathetic about working hard? She gives Joon-gu an inadvertent compliment by saying he’s super fast and athletic, which makes his day. She was just saying it to warn Seung-jo not to be so snooty, but Joon-gu is, adorably, thrilled.

What I enjoy about Ha-ni and Seung-jo’s budding dynamic is that Ha-ni knows how to push his buttons right back. She gets a rise out of him by saying the losing chicken makes more noise — effectively calling him both a chicken and a loser. Two birds, one stone.

There’s a cute but ultimately irrelevant scene (which is beginning to be Playful Kiss‘s hallmark) when Ha-ni heads out to the field dressed in a mascot’s costume. She takes advantage of her momentary anonymity to sneak up on a passing Seung-jo and pokes him in the butt. Saucy!

Her brief satisfaction (and getaway) is ruined when she trips. He has to help her up, and flings off her mask to get a good look at the offender.

On to the first event. The two classes line up for a 15-person, 16-legged race, and the smarties (in blue) stumble along badly, since they didn’t bother practicing or figuring out strategy. In contrast, the yellow-vested misfit team marches forward in unity for an easy victory.

Misfit Class erupts in cheers, and Ha-ni and Joon-gu clutch each other in celebration. Seung-jo would very much like not to notice, but he sneers at the sight. Totally what a non-caring person would do, right? I’ll posit that Seung-jo has actually got it pretty bad to be envious (though reluctantly, and in denial) of being hugged by a butternut squash in pigtails.

Seung-jo’s mother arrives during the second event, a team tug of war, taking care to stay out of Seung-jo’s sight. She runs into Jang-mi, who is leading her team of cheerleaders in chants for Seung-jo.

Jang-mi is eager to play up their acquaintance, but Mom’s puzzled reaction shows that Jang-mi hardly registers in her memory. Mom brightens to see that the girl’s cheering for her son, as she was having a hard time deciding who to root for. (This leaves her free to support Ha-ni. Aw.)

The last event is a relay race, which both Seung-jo and Joon-gu are anchoring. Ha-ni is also running a leg, as is her teacher, who enjoys rubbing in her class’s imminent victory to Ji-oh. Although Ji-oh had shared his class’s indifference, he can’t abide Kang-yi’s side bet to call him oppa if he loses. She even teases him about losing on purpose in order to be called oppa, and he shudders at the thought. This gives him new motivation to win this event to prevent such a horrific outcome.

But not without suffering some indignities. Min-ah gives the misfits a nice head start in the first lap, but Ji-oh, determined not to lose, makes up the difference in the next. Kang-yi flails and reaches out as he passes her, accidentally grabbing his pants as she does.

She goes down, and loses precious seconds that she attempts to make up for by throwing the baton at the next runner, Ha-ni. (Impeding an opponent and throwing the baton — nobody’s gonna call cheating? Just sayin’.)

Thankfully, Ha-ni is a fast runner and she blows by her rival, clearing the way for Joon-gu to carry them to victory.

But then, a curious thing happens: Seung-jo smiles directly at her, and this messes with her mind. Suddenly thrown into confusion, the two boys blur together in her mind, and her tunnel vision narrows to one point: Seung-jo.

The sign of an effective bit in a comedy is when it makes you cringe so badly for the heroine’s behalf that it kind of hurts, and you have to pause the video to lessen the impact of the moment. Hypothetically speaking.

With her mind messing with her eyes, Ha-ni misses the hand-off to Joon-gu and instead reaches for Seung-jo. He’s awaiting his own teammate’s baton and doesn’t accept it; as he succeeds in his own hand-off, he thinks, “Idiot.” Ouch. But he’s not wrong.

Seung-jo is the toast of his team, but what warms Mama’s heart is the smile on his face as he takes a moment to bask in the victory.

Ha-ni’s team, on the other hand, is bummed to lose, particularly the pizza. The team clamors for Ha-ni to buy it since she lost the race, at which point Joon-gu totally wins my heart for jumping to her defense. He takes the blame for the race, apologizing to Ha-ni for bungling their hand-off. Aw! Joon-gu, you win one free pass for future boorish behavior with this move. (But just one! That’s one wrist grab or forced back hug — but not both — so use it wisely, buddy.)

His acceptance of blame means the class wants HIM to buy the pizza, then, and unfortunately he doesn’t have a spare hundred bucks lying around to do that. Saving him from the wrath of a pizza-craving horde, Seung-jo’s mother makes her appearance and offers to treat them. Instead of revealing who her son is, Mom introduces herself simply as “Ha-ni’s fan.”

That night, Seung-jo asks Ha-ni about the baton pass, guessing that she got ragged on by her peers. Even so, Ha-ni’s in a good mood, saying that it was all okay because his mother bought them pizza, which surprises Seung-jo.

He sighs that Mom’s always causing trouble, which he means affectionately. Even so, Ha-ni speaks up to say she really likes her, and that his mother’s presence brought her happiness today. Mom, listening just around the corner, is gratified to hear it.

Ha-ni explains that her own mother never came to her school, since she died so young. Her father and grandmother did, and “I was thankful for that, but I don’t think it was happiness.” Today, it felt like her mother came to school.

Perhaps mention of her mother rouses some sympathy in Seung-jo, or maybe it’s just his growing interest in Ha-ni, but in any case it’s becoming clear his feelings are changing. (Albeit against his will.) Example: Ha-ni says she has to help prepare dinner, and he starts to blurt that she should rest. Catching himself, he amends his words to say that she ought to earn her keep since she’s mooching off his family.

Ha-ni interprets Seung-jo’s comment about her costume as more mocking, since a compliment, even a grudging one, is completely beyond her expectation. Therefore she thinks that he told her “You had no ears” (gwi-ob-da) rather than what he really said: “You were cute” (gwi-yub-da).

Dad comes upon Mom as she’s updating her blog with her new photos, and Mom says with satisfaction, “Since Ha-ni’s been here, it feels like real people live in this house.” She takes particular notice of a photo of Seung-jo after winning his race, because it’s been a long while since he’s has smiled like that.

The two families have dinner at Ha-ni’s father’s restaurant, and as usual, Seung-jo is the sourpuss of the group, with little bro doing his best to be Sourpuss Jr. (I’m convinced that his constant iPod fiddling is just an affectation, so he can pay attention while pretending he doesn’t care. When clearly he cares, YA BIG FAKING FAKER.)

Dad thanks Seung-jo for helping Ha-ni with her test results, and Seung-jo politely plays down the compliment. Mom jumps in and says that it’s more impressive that Ha-ni taught Seung-jo how to study, and the parents engage in a round of Thank-you, oh no, thank YOU.

Everyone has a glass of makgulli to toast Ha-ni’s accomplishment… which means Ha-ni gets tipsy. With her tongue loosened, she reveals that Seung-jo’s a big fat meanie who treats her like she’s nothing and called her a public menace who mooches off his family. The guilty look that flashes across his face is pretty gratifying; put that way, he comes off as quite the bad guy.

Ha-ni slurs, “Even if you’re so great, can you just look down on people like that?” This declaration disappoints Mom, who had thought the kids were well-matched and hadn’t realized that Ha-ni hates Seung-jo so much.

Seung-jo retaliates by reciting Ha-ni’s confession letter, which swiftly turns the tables and mortifies her. She reluctantly admits that it’s true she wrote it, but vows that she’s just wiped out every last bit of lingering affection for him.

Ha-ni’s proclamation is tested immediately when Seung-jo is pressed to carry her home, because the half-cup of rice wine hits her hard.

Seung-jo says sarcastically that she got what she wanted in the end with the piggyback ride. That jolts her out of her tipsy haze and she wants to be put down, but he points out that it shouldn’t bother her to be carried since she’s soooo over him, right?

She hurriedly agrees, but Seung-jo can feel her heart racing against his back and can’t resist commenting on it, which makes her pull back self-consciously.

He also teases her about her “severe condition” — will she be able to nurse when she has babies? Meaning, of course, that her chest is flat. Man, he really knows how to hit a pubescent girl where it hurts.

Ha-ni remembers that taunt when she wakes in the morning, now painfully aware of her flat chest. An idea seizes her, and she stuffs her bra with socks, pleased with the more robust silhouette this produces. When Seung-jo’s gaze takes note of her newly augmented chest, Ha-ni smiles with satisfaction.

At breakfast, Seung-jo tries to teach his brother how to jump rope for an athletic test at school, because Eun-jo’s having trouble. Ha-ni offers advice, but Eun-jo sneers, loath to take suggestions from such a dimwit. Ha-ni, to her credit, doesn’t take Eun-jo’s constant insults to heart and keeps treating him with friendliness.

Demonstrating how to jump, Ha-ni’s skills earn grudging respect from Eun-jo. Seung-jo, always the Debbie Downer of the group, is reluctant to give Ha-ni any props and sits there with his silent grumpyface. I particularly enjoy the Harrumph expression at below left. Totally the face of someone who doesn’t care at all.

Of course, all this jumping has an unintended side effect, which Seung-jo is the first to notice. Something lies crumpled on the ground, and it looks like… a sock?

Ha-ni looks down at her chest, then squeals in protest as she dives to retrieve the fallen sock before anyone else gets to it.

At school later that morning, the kids hang out before class begins, and Ha-ni reaches for her book, not noticing that a photograph flutters down from inside it. It’s the snapshot that Seung-jo’s mother had stuck in there earlier.

And let’s just say that without any context, it’s pretty incriminating: it shows Ha-ni and Seung-jo asleep at the table during one of their tutoring sessions in the previous episode.

As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s no faster way to attract the rest of the class’s attention than to exclaim loudly, “Why are you sleeping with Baek Seung-jo?”

With the photo posted on Mom’s blog, it takes no time at all for the news to spread through the school. Ha-ni tells her friends the truth, while bratty Jang-mi stews in indignation and Joon-gu nurses a broken heart.

As for Seung-jo? Yeah, he’s not happy either.

 
COMMENTS

I think one of this drama’s charms is also its biggest liability, and that’s the lack of a strong plot from episode to episode. As I noted with Episode 1, this episode is also a loose string of events rather than a plot-driven hour of strong conflict, motivation, and escalation.

There are advantages and disadvantages of this approach. In its defense, I understand that this narrative looseness is the entire point. I haven’t followed shojo anime or manga closely, but I have seen and read enough to appreciate what this drama is doing. As in those types of stories, the overall series is carried by small events collected loosely together in a slice-of-life format, rather than relying on a high-concept hook. That works particularly well in anime with the shorter running times that accommodate smaller conflicts. And in this regard, Playful Kiss feels a lot more like God of Study than Boys Before Flowers.

The interstitial moments with the band Bye Bye Sea also reinforce that vibe, and I find those bits charming.

On the downside, an hour is a lot of time to fill without much conflict. I like vignettes, but I firmly believe that it’s possible to string them together in a way that carries momentum and tells an overall story instead of a ten-minute vignette leading into another ten-minute vignette.

There’s nothing wrong with making an episode around an athletic contest, for instance. It’s okay that the story is a small one — but give it more of an emotional throughline. This is what American television shows do so well. If you have an A, B, and C storyline in every episode, don’t start and finish A, then start and finish B, then start and finish C. You start A, B, and C all at the beginning, then you let them play out over the hour, and hopefully if you’re good enough, the end of the episode will resolve all three points in a surprisingly harmonious way.

Three episodes in, I still don’t know what the plot of this overall drama is. “Guy eventually falls for girl” isn’t a plot, it’s a concept. So what’s the story? I think this lack of momentum is the biggest reason that this drama has failed to pick up an audience, because there’s no urgency. Is Episode 10 going to tell the exact same general story as Episode 1, only in slightly different configurations?

Boys Before Flowers may have been a hot mess in the plotting department, but it did manage to create arcs in its vignettes, and connected episode to episode with an overall story. They didn’t always do it WELL, but I felt like they were heading in a clear direction. I sort of feel like Playful Kiss is paddling in the kiddie pool.

On the upside, this lack of direction can be mitigated by cute interactions, good chemistry, and adorable scenarios. In that regard, I am enjoying watching this drama; it’s not all bad stuff. I just think it could have been so much better.

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198 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. jeane654

    omgomgomgogmmg
    wahh

    love this and ep 3…the part where she got distracted by seung jo’s laugh is soo funny..haha..off to read!

    • 1.1 jeane654

      ep 4 i mean…

      i think its the writing thats lacking though
      i actually dont mind if there is a small story every episode as long as i enjoy it…

      • 1.1.1 missy

        yeah me too

  2. justine

    ive been waiting for this for 3 days now, and i havent been this excited in reading javabean’s reviews since Boys over flowers

  3. Free

    the Taiwanese version is much better !

    • 3.1 Mythili

      feel the same….

    • 3.2 Anonymous

      i’m agree!

    • 3.3 Nana

      No comparison .. taiwanees version is wayyyyy better!! and I feel that the actors and actresses have a higher skills and a deeper acting emotions. It is also closer to reality not like this one feels like Pardise (unreal)!!!

      • 3.3.1 Anonymous

        I like the Taiwanese plot better! And the chemistry between the actors! But I prefer the korean setting (cleaner and more lavish compared to the Taiwan ver) and the female actress better. Ariel Lin made the female lead too stupid and annoying. Jung So Min makes the female lead so much more adorable!

        Kim Hyun Jun!! <3

        • 3.3.1.1 MEIKO**** ^-^

          agree bout Ariel Lin … I wanted to strangle her! She was sooo annoying most of the time.

          • 3.3.1.1.1 Madita

            …which ment to be!

            So Ariel Lin did a great job showing how annoying kotoko could be. A total contrary character to Irie…!

            Thid was the charm of the the taiwanese drama.

            Namely …how can a superbright but cold boy fall in love with a stupid warmhearting girl

            Well its good that the korean Hani is a little bit different, because of that its not merely a bad korean version, it makes it quite interesting to watch the difference

  4. CapitalScandalRocks

    Funny episode.Loved it

  5. xiaoSxin

    JB.. is there an MV for this song? Is this part of the OST?

  6. linkyo

    Finaalllllyyy your recap is out!!! Yay yay yay! Will read it right away! (Have been checking this site numerous time today)

    • 6.1 linkyo

      But… Uhh…. Why did I feel like, I’m falling flat after I read it? Nothing much happened in an hour? (Wow! My GF is a Gumiho sure did a great job then!) Meeehhh anyway… Thanks a lot for recapping!

      • 6.1.1 gala

        this story doesnt really take it to a grander scale -which is what kdrama is known for. it’s a typical shoujo story that focused on the growing relationship of the two main characters. this is why the taiwanese had to add some wackiness and tweak some of the personalities of the character – to make it more grandeur.

        the kdrama adaptation seems to be being a bit more faithful to the original. frankly, im loving it. i actually love the flow of the story and the chemistry of the leads. i think it’s gonna be my fave drama of the year. too bad not too many will agree.

        • 6.1.1.1 MsRetta

          yes

        • 6.1.1.2 dee

          i agree with you. i think the plot is just to see how the guy fall in love with “stupid” but with charisma girl, no big plot. just your high school sweethearts. i like the simpleness of the episodes.

          • 6.1.1.2.1 yay!!!!!! >

            exactly… i think that is the plot 2!!!!! just how a guy fall in love with girl

        • 6.1.1.3 lilly099

          fave drama of the year for you? hmm, that would surely be an overstatement for me…you should really watch more dramas. or maybe cos you like this type of drama? oh well, whatever floats your boat.

          • 6.1.1.3.1 gala

            not many kdramas interest me as of lately. sometimes too dense and long. i think the one thing i really did focus a lot was Cinderella’s Unni and we all know how that drama’s flow went. so i welcome lightheared ones like this. plus, i love Itazura na Kiss – all adaptations. it wouldnt be a surprise for me to love this as well.

      • 6.1.2 Charmie

        Watch it at Viikii my dear. You’ll enjoy it. ;p

  7. ockoala

    Thanks for the recap, JB! It’s quite hard to discuss PK because there isn’t an overarching plot, two people falling in love isn’t a plot, like you said.

    I find my enjoyment of PK to transcend the K-drama genre of what makes me like a K-drama, i.e. an interesting plot or cohesive story. In that respects, PK is really a J-dorama masquerading as a K-drama, which isn’t surprising since the source material is a J-manga.

    Because PK is also based on the writer’s real life, we’re not ever going to get a big overarching plot, but but chemistry, the connections and the issues do indeed get more meaningful and emotionally carthartic as the story progresses.

    Yeah, PK is sweet adorable fluff. :-D

  8. Varietyqueen24

    Hmmm….I agree that the Taiwanese version may seem better but they had two seasons. So they could create more of a story line. The Korean version is going to cram two seasons into one. I think they are rushing the high school part to get to climatic scenes which are the university period, marriage, and Hospital period. I think the acting is getting better with each new episode. I hope they extend the episodes to 24 instead of 20. I think it will give it more breathing room.

    • 8.1 estel

      Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. It does seem like trying to fit all the events of the 50-episode Taiwanese version into 20 episodes would make for a little rushing of the storyline. I only hope they don’t brutally chop off episodes because of the ratings, and the writers are forced to condense it to 16 episodes or something.

    • 8.2 melanie

      agree! i just wish they would just get married already but who knows, it’s korea and they may not have so many intimate scenes like joe and ariel had in they kiss again, which those scenes made season 2 so awesome to watch

    • 8.3 gala

      for now though, i cant see this drama reaching the They Kiss Again plot. the chemistry between the leads are there but i’m not sure if both actors – KHJ and JSM would be so willing to act overtly lovey-dovey. the “second season” of this story goes beyond fluff and fanservice. it really showcased the life of newlyweds struggling to build a stronger relationship.

      i also dont think kdrama audience would be prepared to see so many kissy-kiissy scenes – something that really made the taiwanese version so real and adorable!

    • 8.4 Jessica

      Well you have to keep in mind that the Korean version may not even include anything about after their marriage. The original Japanese drama only went up to their marriage. Everything after that was purely a creation of the writers for the Taiwanese version.

      • 8.4.1 yay!!!!!! >

        but in the anime they went up to the birth of their daughter! and knowing that this is k-drama they will probably try to make 2 seasons into 1

      • 8.4.2 Anonymous

        Well, actually the writers of the taiwanese one did NOT create the plot of season 2 – the manga went up that far. Sure, they tweaked parts of it, but the original writer came up with it.

  9. badtanline

    i might not have stayed with this drama if not for fond memories of the taiwanese version, but it’s been paying off here and there in some truly laugh-out loud moments — javabeans, you are so right in identifying good comedic moments by having to pause to ‘absorb’ the dire embarrassment you feel on the character’s behalf. i did that during the failed baton-pass, and during the ‘sock-drop’ — and really appreciated how this was also a set-up for a brilliant follow-up joke in the next episode. these are the moments that make me think it’s worth sticking around.

  10. 10 Angela

    Wonderful recap. I agree with everything you said. I am liking it a lot better now though, than with the first two episodes. Probably because my expectations sank to the floor, and I stopped trying to compare it to other series, and its source material.

  11. 11 Hannah

    Haha, this was a little snarky, huh? I guess you’re not a big fan of the trope this drama thrives on.

    I pretty much love this drama right now – it’s not perfect by a long shot but it’s very, very cute and at times hilarious! And while at times the directing cuts scenes off a little quicker than I’d like (say, in example, when she is falling off his back during the piggyback scene and it just cuts – I felt that was a little jarring), I still kinda love the pretty as well.

    I don’t think this drama is meant to have any plot urgency outside of the romance. I’m thinking of it’s Taiwanese counterpart, and I can think of episode’s that were turning points as big, romantic declarations occured or some crap, but really, otherwise it’s charm is it’s langurous pacing that allows the characters to grow on the viewers.

    I agree that it’s not at all like Boys Over Flowers – but while both are Shoujo I would regard that to be a high concept kinda thing anyway, in a cracktastic way. That was pushed as an Epic Love whereas this is just… cute romance. BOF was way less slice-of-life and more like bring on the crazy.

    I don’t think this drama will surpass cute, and I guess it just depends on whether the audience is into that or not.

    “Is Episode 10 going to tell the exact same general story as Episode 1, only in slightly different configurations?”

    LOL. I’m predicting yes.

    • 11.1 cloudysky

      @ Hannah, i totally agree with your sentiments, this was spot on analysis, i actually really enjoyed the show w/o much drama and twists, it’s a slow but steady pace and really brought out heartfelt smiles from me….

  12. 12 birdscout

    Thanks, javabeans for this recap. You make watching this fluffy and fun drama more interesting. I love the fact that you used the word “interstitial” in this recap. I’ve never seen that word used outside of a biology textbook. lol

  13. 13 bumpkin

    I have to say it: KHJ, you are slowly erasing the ‘statue-like’ acting you did in BOF in my head. Glad to see you use some of your facial muscles.

    I gotta say this episode is really cute. Oh balls!! I love the fact that HN has balls to tell SJ what he needs to hear (yeah she was drunk but as they say, alcohol gives you courage!! – ok I made that up). I am totally loving the KDrama version of the lead girl.

    I foreshadow an SJ rendition of the “Everyday with you” song. Maybe during the time when he will eventually confess to HN?

    Thanks JB for the recap!

    • 13.1 Anonymous

      I agree! I really hated him in boh (maybe because he WASN’T Shun, lol) and was upset that he was doing my all time favorite manga, itazura na kiss…..

      And know I’m a fan :D. I love his way of playing the character!It makes the falling in love so much more believable…and enjoyable. I love all the hidden smiles XD. I’m begining to like the korean version even more than the anime, manga, or taiwanese versions ….soo, yeah….hope he keeps it up :)

  14. 14 djes

    oh thank you! I thought you’re going to drop this…
    I haven’t resume watching it, so I’m relying on your recap..
    I guess most of people who likes the Taiwanese version will like this version too ( I say the most but not all since my friend loved ISWAK but doesn’t want to watch PK at all )

    Too bad with the low rating, but well I can understand it, like you’ve commented, the story is slow and cliche.
    Anyway, I’m happy that Kim Hyunjoong is indeed improving! Good for him!

  15. 15 lulu

    Its charming, but it doesnt leave me with the feeling of wanting more, or expecting week to week eps!..

    • 15.1 Anonymous

      i’m sorry to have the same feeling with you, cause i dont feeling waiting foe the next ep…

      • 15.1.1 Anonymous

        really? I can barely wait, and I watch w/out knowing any korean and still love it…lol

  16. 16 hunterbear

    Wow you guys are on a roll. MGIAG and PK being recapped the same week and so fast! Woot!

    I actually enjoy PK a lot more than I thought I would. Granted it doesn’t make my heart pound like gumiho but it makes for good filler while waiting for the next week’s episodes.
    I’m not particularly concerned about the pace and lack of story, since it’s almost essentially following the anime. There really is no story, it’s all fluff…but at least it’s good fluff :).

  17. 17 saintpolar

    siigh.
    This is just like personal taste.
    It could be soooo muchh better!

  18. 18 pinkdrama

    I agree with you – dramabeans. that way SSK is much better.

  19. 19 Q

    Thanks muchly for the recap! I totally agree about the lack of plot :/ if you’ve ever watched jap drama you’ll start to see a resemblance – every episode has it’s own story and the drama is tied together mainly by character and relationship development. If it fails to do that well (cough cough wallflower) then you just waste 11 hours of your life :<. I really hope PK won't do that to me …

  20. 20 Emi

    Even though the pacing in the first 2 episodes was slow, I am still really enjoying this series, and don’t really feel any lack of ‘plot’ that other Kdramas have. I think an opposites attract story is a perfectly fine plot and it generates a perfectly fine amount of conflict, just not on a ‘who is going to inherit/save the giant megacorporation!’ scale I see so often, and that the other types of typical drama twists and turns and story arcs are all just gimmicks.

    I like how this drama – and the Taiwan and Japanese drama – finds new ways to interpet the manga and stay fairly close to it without being totally identical shot for shot. (I especially liked how the j-drama version recreated scenes from the manga illustrations during the ending credits, as can be seen here – http://niko-niko.net/star/ed.html) I look forward to watching more :)

  21. 21 B.*

    Well , I’ve seen the anime so I can say yes probably they will be telling the same things in episode 10 too . Nothing much happens in this story . It’s very slice-of-life really ! No big plots , no evil parents , no serious love rivals .. The story is all about how this two people come to love each other . I think the drama will get a cut which might not be necessarily bad as there’s really not much material for 20 hours .

  22. 22 sunsnaillollipop

    I’m really loving PK for some reason – plot IS a little lacking, but the adorable, adorable fluff makes up for all of it.

  23. 23 Anonymous

    This drama has KIm Hyun Joong ( oh , I love him )
    and jung So Min ( I really want to watch her acting )
    But i feel nothing happen after 3eps

    It’s cute but it’s all.
    I begin wanting more for SScandal

  24. 24 sansukini

    i haven’t found the inclination to watch this. I’ve tried watching it several times… but I always end up not watching it altogether. I gues it was because I watched the 1st part of the 1st episode and it was so slow for me. Not to mention I’m currently watching and immensely enjoying Sungkyungkwan Scandal and My GF is a Gumiho so I kept comparing.

    I’m really sorry but this really reminds me of It Started With A Kiss and I find i’m not excited anymore cuz I know what’s gonna happen next and I did love the Taiwanese version very much so i end up comparing.. again. i did try to pique my curiosity by reading the recaps, but it’s not working.

    i’m not sure why, but I loved BOF when i watched it even though I’ve already seen the japanese version before that. I’m just not sure what this drama is lacking. Maybe i’ll give it a try after Sungkyungkwan scandal and
    Gumiho.

  25. 25 cille

    wow! a recap during the day. i don’t think i’ve seen it done in a while.. hehe

    /me back to reading recap.

    thanks JB!

  26. 26 mary

    This drama is so cutsey. The actors are so comical, feels cartoony. In the Taiwanese version, it was more realistic, but the Korean version is getting better with each episode. SJ, when he gets irritated is so funny. Duck boy would have won it for them if it wasn’t for the mishap. Love Oh Han Ni’s expressions. Priceless!

  27. 27 Christine

    One good difference between Taiwanese version and Playful kiss is that in ISWAK the male lead was way too cold, female lead was way too dumb and the mom was way too over the top. However, in Playful kiss, Seung Jo has a warmer side to his personality, Ha Ni has some dignity and pride and the mom is cute and likes Ha Ni for understandable reasons. Thus, till now I am finding this show better than Taiwanese version….And of course, I feel Korean male leads get more beautifully jealous than any other male leads
    BUT with due respect to all KHJ fans, Taiwanese male lead was better looking……

    • 27.1 cjmfan

      i agree with you…only on the first part, but i’m not really a joe cheng fan, as you are not a KHJ fan, let’s agree to disagree. peace!

    • 27.2 Autumn

      yeh, it’s all up to personal preference, though objectively speaking, KHJ has a prettier face, while Joe Cheng has better screen presence…seriously, that guy just exudes sexiness. woot.

  28. 28 Birdie

    Thanks for the recaps.I can’t say i am charmed by the cute moments as in MGIAG.I keep thinking I wish it is better.For me after 3 episodes, it is enough especially when there are so many good dramas out at the moment.I feel like I am wasting my time,so farewell PK…..

  29. 29 SunsetSeashells

    I love this!!! I feel like the drama really captured the dynamic of the main couple PERFECTLY. As well as the rest of the family. Ep 4 is so cute.

    I agree that this is not a very plot driven drama and more of a slices of life piece, kinda like Love & Marriage in my opinion, but that’s why I love it so much. Because by the end the characters really really grow on you.

    It will continue to stay in the Cute instead of the BIG DRAMA, but I hope you will still enjoy it till the end Javabeans and Girlfriday.

  30. 30 sunshine

    JB, what is your opinion about Koreans who complained about breast scene and drinking scene? As a foreigner, I may not really understand Korean culture and conservative side :)

    • 30.1 javabeans

      Tempest in a teapot. I don’t think it was a big deal, to be honest.

  31. 31 Malorie

    I am sooo disappointed with the the drama so far.
    I agree with everything you’ve said, the momentum is just not there, and though the characters each have their own charm, it’s just not enough to keep me super interested in that full hour…which I want to be.

    Oh well, fingers crossed it gets better.

  32. 32 Gina

    It’s so cute and funny. Though it lacks of plots but it follows the original manga quite well, purely entertaining and sweet.

    I really like how Hyun Joong portraying Seung Jo; mean, arrogant on the outside, but caring and conflicting as in his heart. I thnk he did a better job for this character than the male lead in ISWAK.

    So-Min as Hani is so adorable and cute. I find her very natural in her character, and not as annoying as other version.

    So far so good. I can’t wait for the next episode

  33. 33 saaandra

    thanks JB=)

    frankly speaking, i think reading your recaps make me appreciate the drama more,lol. agree with you that the small interactions between the characters are cute. but somehow, something is lacking…

    SSK scandal and playful kiss are dramas that have their 3rd and 4th episodes this week. however, my attachment to scandal is soooooo much stronger that kiss.

    i’m still watching kiss with the “let’s-see-what-can-they-show-me” kind of attitude. so…let’s see what they can show us next week!HAHA

    PS: THANKS JAVABEANS and GIRLFRIDAY for all the gumiho recaps!

  34. 34 Mel

    Yeah I think this drama is slow…

  35. 35 sunshine

    I watched JPN/TW version too and I admit I actually hate the storyline,lol. However, here I am, still excited for PK even though I used to feel really annoying with both of female lead in JPN/TW. I think it is because they tone down the annoying part for Hani’s role. You can’t expect much from the storyline since it will only about Hani and Seung Jo’s life. Nothing else!lol

    • 35.1 poo

      It is faster than the TW version and way cuter and funnier. The only problem is the target audience is limited…since it is a romantic high school drama…90% audience are teens. Actually the storyline is good, it is not just the guy gets the girl kind…it is big story (amean if they are gonna show it all) But so far it is going great…lots of cute moments and funny setups! Very lighthearted and entertaining!

      • 35.1.1 sunshine

        yeah, I agree, PK is faster than ISWAK and cuter too!

    • 35.2 ariendoll

      Totally agree all the way. I’m saving up enough eps so I can watch a mini marathon one weekend.

      I got reeled in to SKKS and IAL. Loving the series!!

    • 35.3 ariendoll

      @ sunshine

      Totally agree all the way. I’m saving up enough eps so I can watch a mini marathon one weekend.

      I got reeled in to SKKS and IAL. Loving the series!!

  36. 36 Purpleclouds

    I enjoyed this ep 3. They (the whole casts really) are so fun/cute. KHJ plays the character so well. ..& Han-Ni, is fun to watch.

  37. 37 Carinne

    Those Bye Bye Sea interludes are getting highly addicting. Gym heart….. extension of cuteness overload.

  38. 38 Bloop

    I’ve seriously been falling in love with this drama!! It’s so adorable!!!

  39. 39 Dara

    Thanks again for your recap, JB. Really looking forward to your opinion on this drama.

    After finished this episode, I don’t think the problem is with KHJ or the acting part but the writing and directing, more to the writing.

    I remembered watching the TW version and never once feeling confused how the story would progress, even with the anime version, I sat through episodes in no time. But this Korean version got me confused, and felt dry, no urgency to watch the show. At this point, I ‘m not sure whether the writer/director understand the original manga enough to adapt one. I hope it gets better after episode 5 (where they had filmed before the premiere). I felt sad for KHJ, I think he’s trying hard, too bad it’s not within his power this time to make it happen.

    Since you mentioned BOF, I have to say I loved the Japanese version much more (both 1-2 seasons), the story was direct and clear. I felt they understand the manga more thus adapted it better. Same goes here I guess.

    Anyway, I really admire your recapping on this drama though, only skilled and experienced viewer like you can understand what is happening here. Thanks again.

    • 39.1 Mythili

      completely agree with you….

    • 39.2 nom_kitteh

      Agreed. The directing is really what makes this version so static and still. Many of the scenes go on for way too long, and even within the individual scenes, there are very few cuts, so that the camera focuses on one character for way too long. And when there are cuts back and forth, they are from the same angles. Basically, that’s just lazy directing because one short scene should be shot from different angles and then edited so that you seem to be getting a panoramic view of the scene.

      Maybe the man just needs a good editor, who knows.

      The original content of the show, though — a snotty boy falling for silly girl — is still golden. KHJ is doing a great job and the lead girl is quite cute. I just hate how much like YEH she looks…makes me think the director has a pouty-lipped-little-girl-pedo fetish.

      Damn, I don’t like this director at all, do I?

      Thanks for recap, JB.

      • 39.2.1 nom_kitteh

        Haa, ha. Snotty boy. Snooty…snotty…KHJ is a fine specimen of beauty.

  40. 40 Sonia

    … envious of hugging a “butternut squash with pigtails”?!! AAHHAhahahahaha!!!
    What a hilarious description! I love it!

  41. 41 Gia

    The acting is so bad or I am not into this drama.

    • 41.1 sigh

      same here. Just for curiosity’s sake, i watched the drama. It’s just ok . The female lead is very cute and her acting was amazing. However the male lead was just the opposite!!!

    • 41.2 jyaaa

      To be honest.. male lead acting is bad.

  42. 42 ross

    this drama endears to me more and more
    not because so much of the story since
    i know already where the story is heading
    but more on the characters
    they are so adorable and of course
    the lead casts bsj and oh hani

  43. 43 callie

    saw the epi yesterday and im really enjoying it a lot!! i love the meanie KHJ!!

  44. 44 jeankaycee

    this drama is fluffy and fun to watch with adorable scenes but got to agree that the lack of alternative plotlines are hurting this drama.

    i do hope they could show more direction where this drama is heading in terms of storylines.

    got to say also that KHJ is fun to watch in this episode. he’s such a grumpypants and im loving it!

    and JSM continues to be adorable! and the mom is cool!

    this drama could do better, they just need to push a little further.

    anyways, will continue to watch this drama coz in my stressful world this drama helps to put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart which all that matters to me.

  45. 45 shika

    Thank you for the recap!

    I’m loving this drama more and more with every episode because it’s so cute and funny. I understand what people say about the lack of plot though, but I guess since I’m really fond of the slice-of-life type dramas/animes, like Pasta and Honey and Clover, it’s not really a problem for me, haha!

  46. 46 tisyamey

    Hallo, pretty peeps!
    I am now a KIM HYUN JOONG fan!!! lol
    He is such an eyecandy, isn’t he?
    For some reason, he annoyed the heck out of me back in BOF but he totally won me over in this drama. Could it be because he is the main lead…? I’d like to think it’s more because he’s gotten better with his acting than when he was in the much popular BOF. I feel that he’s gotten better with conveying his character. I’ve become a cougar-for-sugar overnight– at least for KHJ! kekekekeke…. I’ll be prowling along while this drama’s on!

    The girl is such a treasure to watch too… I’ve seen both the Tawainese and Japanese version and the girls from both drama’s gave me the hibijibis [in such a BAD way] it took some REAL effort to finish the series! Not even the cuties [boys] in it were compensating enough with the girls’ annoying personae. I’m really hoping this version will not lose it’s cuteness factor.

    Javabeans, as usual, reading your work is such an experience. You’re always bringing the drama in better light [or not-so… depending on what drama lol].
    Looking forward to the next one, fo shu!

    me wubs u!!!

  47. 47 tatin

    so far, i think this version is already better that “it started w/ a kiss.” i just couldn’t stand watching ariel lin and her too stupid to live character… plot wise, it was too slow as well. “playful kiss” while definitely not the best kdrama, is the better version because its characters are actually endearing especially d heroine… yea she has dumb moments but she is definitely not too stupid to live…

    • 47.1 karened

      I agree somehow. In all the versions made of the manga, the k version has the least dumb Kotoko/Xiang Qin/Ha Ni. I guess that’s what makes the character in the k ver less irritating. Because in the other vers, the female lead is really, really dumb, simpleminded, so much so that it’s hard to believe that such a character exists.

      But then, this story originates from a manga, where things can get exaggerated. It’s refreshing that the k ver didn’t stick to the manga, because it’ll be too similar to the J and TW vers, making it lack the elemtn of surprise. Still, I prefer the J ver. The original is still the best~

    • 47.2 justine

      i agree with you. Plus KHJ is easy on the eye. I never did finish watching ISWAK because i was bothered by joe cheng for some reason

    • 47.3 sunshine

      yeah, totally agree with you!

  48. 48 notoriousnoona

    Thank you for the recap.
    I watched both eps last night and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m not sure if this is purposeful or just me but for that, I can continue to enjoy.
    There are definite times when my brows furrow(the butt poking scene), that I chalk up to the way scenes are strung together, which means, I have to agree with the American TV example. But for the most part it is the best watching SeungJo pretend to be so disinterested in everything. I am completely convinced he’s a Fat Faking Fake Faker. I believe Ha Ni genuinely annoys/pisses him off but he can’t leave her alone, mentally, verbally or physically, which I eat up like a fat kid. This portrayal of his character and the mom, I’m really enjoying. I am indifferent to Ha Ni(though I like her better than other interpretations). She irritates me but I don’t hate her. I realize that if it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t like SJ. So I’m grateful ;)

  49. 49 karened

    How should I put it?

    I’m taking this as….

    A filler for the weekends while waiting for the next installment of my Jdrama (Mondays) and then MGIAG. =S It’s quite enjoyable…a light drama…I guess.

  50. 50 DiOnIsSa

    Gina, Christine and Poo, guys, I completely agree with you :)

    I really appreciate how director changes main characters and does them more realistic! Not too much dumb female leader which often drove me crazy in both TW/JP versions and less rude and more canny male leader!

    I love that Ha Ni has pride and some really good talants! She isn’t just SJ’s shadow but the girl with enough strong character though dumb in studying and cooking ;) There is the reason to love her! Sorry, but in TW/JP versions, to my opinion, female leader had nothing but pure heart…Definitely, that is defining quality but isn’t enough to live in society! Moreover, this is very bad when girl has no self-esteem! Therefore, I so much anticipated with Ha Ni!!!

    Korean version for me is the most literate and realistic! It’s my favorite between all 3 of them! Though I enloyed TW too much :)

    As for 2 last episodes for me they were great! After finishing the 4th I’ve started waiting for the next one! It means that I was caught by PK like by many others korean dramas I’ve already watched :)

    Main leaders and all other guys are awesome! And now I, personaly, have no doubt that director made really good choice by choosing namely them to act! I don’t care the ratings! I just enjoy this light, pleasant and cute love story :) Honestly, there are so many problems in our life, and it’s really great that such lovely stories exists to cheer us up!

    PK, FIGHTING NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!

    • 50.1 Me 5

      Count me in. I completely agree with you guys about this drama.I could be wrong but by your names, i’m guessing we are all from the land of major major kdrama and internet video addicts? :p The same cultural background probably explains our similarity in preferences. Haha.

      • 50.1.1 missy

        Count me too! i really like this drama and i agree that it is much better than the Taiwanese version because the girl has pride even though she still likes the lead male.

        PK FIGHTING!!!

        • 50.1.1.1 celia

          i love this version too! since the actors are so much cuter and hotter x3
          i love playful kiss can’t wait for the next episode!!! <333333

          instead of comparing dramas… i think enjoying and taking in the drama gives everyone a better experience!!
          (just pretend it has nothing to do with the tiwan version and etc and just pretend that it just shares the same title o.o

    • 50.2 Mia

      Yeah.. agree!

      I prefer this one over the other two versions. Both leads did a really good job. Very enjoyable

    • 50.3 Francesca

      I second that! This version is more realistic than ISWAK or Japanese one. And its style is similar with dorama where a story is built and the characters grow feelings through various small events.

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