Drama Recaps
Playful Kiss: Episode 5
by | September 17, 2010 | 200 Comments

Yay! Playful Kiss finally figured out how to tell a story!

This was the episode I was waiting for — one that felt complete, had an arc, told a story, was driven by something more than pure fluffy cuteness. It’s too bad this week dropped this drama to new ratings lows, because it’s just starting to gel together for me, and I think it’s rather late to change people’s minds significantly. I only hope things continue in this vein.


Misty Blue – “마음을 기울이면” (Listening to my mind) [ Download ]

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Turns out Seung-jo’s fake-out kiss maneuver (I almost wrote “meaneuver,” which should totally be a word) is just another prank. He lets it go far enough that Ha-ni thinks he’s being serious and nervously suggests they date first. Oh, Ha-ni. Half the time I want to be you with your adorable facial expressions and ten million hairdos, but then you are so sweetly gullible that I cringe for you so hard it hurts a little.

Seung-jo bursts out laughing at her choice of words, and Ha-ni dashes out of the room, mortified. She leaves behind the reason she went there in the first place — her workbook covered in “I ♥ Seung-jo” doodles, which he smiles to read. You act all cold, Mr. Genius Robot Boy, but you sure don’t hate her adoration, do you?

Tearily, Ha-ni wonders if she really is stupid for liking him even after he treats her like this. But she can’t control her feelings.

On to the Topic of the Day: university admissions. As third-year students, Ha-ni and her crew are worried that with their grades and limited smarts, there may not be any schools that will accept them. With the help of her teacher, Ha-ni tries to find an angle that will bolster her case for admission, asking her father about notable relatives in their family history.

After exhausting the list, they find one spark of hope to cling to: Blood donations, which Ha-ni makes regularly, count as community service. This gives them a school to target: Parang University, with its social sciences department, which is also Min-ah’s school of choice because of its animation department.

That university fervor doesn’t extend to Seung-jo, however. While the other kids study madly and pin their hopes on particular schools, he zones out dully.

When Ha-ni’s computer goes on the fritz, deleting the school application she’d been working on just as the deadline looms, Seung-jo is called upon to restore it. (Thankfully he succeeds.)

Ha-ni knows that Parang University is a long shot, which makes Seung-jo wonder why she flipped out so much to get her application in. Her answer pretty much sums up the dynamic between them and shows why we love her: “I still have to try my hardest.” For her, college is about finding out what she’s good at and what she likes.

Seung-jo asks how you know when you like something, and there’s something sad about the way he says it with genuine curiosity, as though he truly doesn’t understand this thing called human emotion. Ha-ni answers, “When you find something you like, your heart races.”

At that, Seung-jo raises a hand to his chest but sighs when he doesn’t feel anything. Looks like the Tin Man still needs a heart. He says, “I’d like to feel that too.”

Teacher Kang-yi exults to prove her detractors wrong when two of her students — Ha-ni and Min-ah — pass the preliminary round for admission to Parang. They still have a rigorous interview to undergo, as well as entrance exams to take, but this is a promising sign.

A sudden typhoon hits on interview day, however, which is enough to cancel school and keep most people indoors. Ha-ni braves the weather, determined to make her interview come hell or high water. (Literally.)

In fact, most of the intervewees have decided not to risk the storm and don’t show up. One interviewer is sympathetic to their plight, but the snappish lady (and head interviewer, it seems) is not pleased. So a storm hits and these kids just decide to put life on hold until it’s over?

Ha-ni faces the panel nervously, stumbling a little when she’s asked what she’s most interested in and blurts automatically, “Baek Seung-jo!” (Cringe cringe cringe.) But the nice interviewer takes her explanation with an open mind as she amends that she’s most interested in people. With Seung-jo in mind, Ha-ni launches into philosophical musings about how she’s been wondering how and if we are truly able to understand people.

It’s not a bad way to present herself, but the waspish head interviewer asks why they should pick her, and Ha-ni falters, unable to think of an answer. She’s coolly dismissed.

Ha-ni: “You’re right, I’m not really good at anything. Even I’m amazed that I made it past the first round, and I’m really grateful for it. But I think I can say this: If you choose other impressive students with good grades and lots of awards, but those students don’t study because they’re lazy, or they just give up because it’s raining, and you feel like it might be damaging to your school, then pick me. I’m slower than others, but I don’t give up. I stick things through to the end. That’s why my nickname is Noah’s Snail. Please raise this one snail.”

Seung-jo drops a bomb when he announces he’s not going to take the college entrance exam, nor does he intend to go to university: “Because there’s nothing I want to do, and no place I want to go.” He isn’t being a brat; he just don’t know how to live, and doesn’t want to just go through the motions of copying other people. Mom sighs that he has no goals because he’s good at everything, and the adults worry about how to handle this.

Ha-ni tries to talk to Seung-jo, settling for speaking through his locked door, suggesting gently that he at least take the test. What if he skips the test, only to change his mind? She’s always thought that people who have a lot could share a lot, whereas she has nothing to share because she’s so lacking. It’s a sweet way of pointing out that he has a lot going for him without being petulant about it.

The family breathes a huge sigh of relief when he decides to take the exam after all. He’s got a little cough, so Ha-ni springs into action and offers him some cold medicine.

It isn’t until after he takes it that he asks if it’s the kind that makes you drowsy, and to her horror, it is. She urges him to throw it back up, but he just sighs and says this is typical Ha-ni behavior.

Thanks to the pill, Seung-jo drowses through the test, his vision blurring and his head nodding in sleep. When the proctor warns him time is running out, he looks up in horror and starts hurriedly zooming through the test. As a result, the whole school is abuzz with the possibility of their star pupil crashing miserably in this most crucial of moments, and naturally Ha-ni is blamed.

When the scores come out, Seung-jo is shocked, but not for the expected reason. He muses, “I must really be a genius,” because as usual, he’s performed brilliantly.

Ha-ni is elated, relieved to not be responsible for the ruination of a young genius’s future. It’s super sweet that she exults for Seung-jo, even though her own scores have come out very poor.

Now for the wait. Ha-ni sticks close to her phone, hoping for a call, and slowly her spirits flag. Eun-jo plays a prank on her, making her think for two seconds that she got in, which is just… so… cruel. (Lying in the name of love, going on a revenge warpath, switching babies at birth — those are kdrama conflicts I can handle. But screwing with college admissions? Let’s just say, if somebody pulled a prank like that on me, I’d be in prison right now.)

Min-ah gets her acceptance call, which is further disheartening (for Ha-ni, who is nonetheless excited for her friend). So when her call finally comes, she’s convinced she has failed and thinks it’s another joke. Upon realizing that it’s true — she got in because someone else backed out — she exults.

Seung-jo smiles to himself as he watches her reaction. And isn’t it telling that he only ever smiles at, with, or to Ha-ni?

Seung-jo’s parents give Ha-ni musical tickets as a congratulatory present, and she makes plans to meet Seung-jo’s mother there. (It’s the Goong musical — way to cross-promote, Group 8.)

This gives Mom another opportunity for matchmaking fun times; she tells Ha-ni she’s running late, then sends Seung-jo in her stead, telling him that she got stood up. Ah, way to pull the Mom In Need card, which no Korean boy can resist!

Mom credits her acting for this success, but Eun-jo has caught a whiff of Seung-jo’s changed attitude and wonders if his brother might have another reason…

Seung-jo us being pressured to attend a top school, Tae-san University, but doesn’t understand what the big deal about college is. Ha-ni recites some words her grandmother used to say, which are to live life with a spirit of fun.

He mulls those words over, as though the concept of fun is one that hadn’t been programmed into his bank of simulated human emotions. The word “fun” does seem to appeal to him, at least on a theoretical level since I’m not sure he’s ever experienced it first-hand. Cutely, Ha-ni says that if he went to Parang, she’d make it fun for him.

If this is how we eventually get these two at the same university, I LOVE it! Earlier, I’d assumed his doped-up testing experience would be the great equalizer that would force Seung-jo to consider a lower school like Parang, but if he chooses it… well, you’ve just won me over, Playful Kiss.

Seung-jo picks out a doll from one of those claw-hook machines, and although he tosses it at Ha-ni indifferently, his response proves otherwise. She asks if it’s for her, and he retorts, “Do you think I picked it so I could keep it?”

They are joined by Joon-gu and his posse, who happen to be in the area, and what ensues is the adorablest bit of metaphorical dick-waving ever. I mean, insofar as male posturing can be adorable.

Seung-jo carelessly tosses his crumpled-up cup into the wastebasket, earning him Ha-ni’s admiration. Joon-gu scoffs and follows suit, proving it’s no big deal, which makes Seung-jo pinchy-faced to have his prowess challenged. He gets up, tosses a soda can into the air, then high-kicks it into the trash can. This earns him more wide-eyed wonder from Ha-ni, to his satisfaction.

Joong-gu attempts the same, but no dice. He falls clumsily to the ground, and Ha-ni stifles a laugh. Seung-jo smirks, pleased with himself.

This spurs Ha-ni into one of her flights of fancy, wherein she imagines the boys in a Baroque display of dueling over her affections.

She gets so caught up in the fantasy that she imagines them about to run each other through on their swords and bursts out, “NOOO!” To which both boys look at her quizzically and she lamely covers by turning the “No!” into a round of calisthenics.

Now that Ha-ni’s university future is secured, it’s time for Seung-jo’s next round in the Tae-san admissions process. Recalling Seung-jo’s indifference over college, Ha-ni decides to follow him to make sure he ends up at Tae-san.

She sneaks along at a distance, and a brief run-in with a pedestrian causes her doll to drop from her bag — the one Seung-jo won for her. She looks back to spot it lying in the middle of the crosswalk, and worries over whether to dash back to get it, or keep going.

Seung-jo doesn’t seem to notice he’s being followed, but when he hears a car screeching and hitting something, he stops in alarm. Passersby gasp at the girl who went flying through the air, and he looks back, eyes widening in shock.

Ha-ni ends up in the hospital with a broken leg, attended to by the adults. She’s worried about Seung-jo, and breathes a sigh of relief when Mom supposes that he’s already at Tae-san; he’d left soon after bringing her here.

So it’s with surprise that they all look up when Seung-jo enters the room.


Finally, some stakes! This is what girlfriday referred to in a previous recap — that it doesn’t matter how small the story is, but we need to feel invested in that conflict and outcome. Till now, we’ve been treated to cute vignette after cute vignette, and this was the first episode that sustained a complete arc from start to finish. There were little cute bits interwoven throughout (like the trash-can duel), which show us that we CAN be cute and slice-of-life and still have a full-fledged plot and progression.

In fact, I don’t think it’s the slice-of-life aspect that was hurting this drama — God of Study was a hit despite a similar smallness of its stories and a vignette-based storytelling format. However, they had an overarching goal propelling the series that drove them from Point A to Point B. Until this episode, we haven’t had that with this drama. I don’t mean we have to focus on university conflicts from now on, but it would be greatly appreciated if every episode gave us a problem to worry about and stakes that defined the characters’ actions.

I haven’t seen or read any previous versions (and mayhap we can please, please lay those comparisons to rest now? Isn’t it getting old?) so I don’t know if this is new or not, but I like that we get some emotional depth in the characters. Ha-ni notes that Seung-jo has his own host of issues with being a genius, because he has no need for school or university or goals. Hence the existential crisis, which is a really interesting aspect to give a kdrama hero.

When I first heard that Seung-jo was a handsome, perfect, smart Big Man on Campus, I groaned at the cliche since that describes practically ever kdrama hero ever. But in making his intelligence a burden, and a problem, his character is given added depth. Ha-ni is also fast becoming the only person who can get through to him (as she did in urging him to take the exam), because she has a knack of framing things in a different way. It’s almost that she’s SO simple that her thoughts are surprisingly insightful in their plainness.


200 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. leelee

    Watched the first episode and never went back.

    • 1.1 balletbabe

      Well the first episode like most ppl pointed out was not very good, but the ones that follow have been much better thus far! You should give the drama another go (^^)

    • 1.2 yen_nguyen

      check out ep 5, I was the person who DISLIKE PK before but now I can tell I LIKE it. KHJ is more lively there, Hani is so cute (she’s not dumb at all, very lovely).
      give it a chance!

      • 1.2.1 Anonymous

        I love the fact that Ha-ni is NOT dumb, but so innocent, clumsy and cute! 😀

        • pumpkinattack

          I agree! She really is charming and lovable… and goofy. (o=

        • sarah

          yes yes! god, i’m glad she’s not annoyingly dumb.

        • sarah

          yes yes! god, i’m glad she’s not annoyingly dumb!

          • serenity56

            i agree as well. ha ni is so adorable. i like her bubbly personality. she is definitely not dumb but just clumsy. i love her character. it is being played so well. seungjo is, well, i like him and that’s it. kk

      • 1.2.2 :P

        Nice one.

    • 1.3 cjmfan

      you watched the first episode and never went back but continued to read the recaps…hmmm. interesting!…and confusing…even first to comment…go watch the drama, you know you want to 😉 peace!

    • 1.4 kit

      I don’t like the 1st episode but when I continue to watch, I like it ^^ So, I hope you will give the drama a chane.

    • 1.5 faye

      honestly, i am really loving PK,

      and yes to the point where in order to get my PK fix, i’m now officially one of “those” who refreshes websites anxiously waiting for updates, and
      even to the extent of reading chinese in the baidu bar forums ^^

      but it’s v heartening to see that a lot of ppl share the same feelings as me, and the same ??? about why the ratings are so low.

      the show is just so cute and makes me giggle like a 16 yr old schoolgirl, and i’m so glad i made it past episode 1 coz i loved every single other episode.

      i even converted a few other friends to watch it, i just told them to skip episode 1 and go directly to episode 2 heh

      i truly hope that the ratings go up, but honestly, even if it doesn’t, i hope that the cast and crew don’t feel too disheartened and just keep improving.

      they definitely have an international audience that is lapping up everything, i mean, after lurking around so many websites *cough* (am i becoming like oh hani?), it’s definitely a top show,
      it’s the most facebook-liked/ subscribed on viiki (i just checked, i thought it wld be 18k, but now it is already 19,066 fans and counting),
      it’s the top watched drama on tudou and youku (although just yesterday they had to remove all the links due to copyright issues, all the viewers are crying blue murder),
      and i read that it is even the no.1 downloaded drama…. in RUSSIA~! O.o

      so anyhow, i thought that i should do my little bit as a PK viewer, no matter how little.

      it makes me smile, it makes me forget the stress of my work (which is very stressful, sigh), it makes me believe that life can be a bit simpler, it makes me look forward to a love that is cute and glowing, and i-want-my-own- kim-hyun-joong (i finally understand why there are so many fanatics over him).

      to a life that is meaningful and fun (just like what baek seung jo said in his speech in episode 6), PK hwaiting~!

    • 1.6 Anonymous


  2. kat

    oh, JB. i could kiss you. thank you so much. i love this recap. made me enjoy the episode all over again.

    PK ganbatte ne!

  3. FasirisFay

    I really want to watch this, after falling in love with ISWAK but the ratings keep scaring me…

    • 3.1 Nanci

      Honestly, ratings shouldn’t always matter, because we all know sometimes sucky dramas have grand ratings and great dramas have sucky ratings. I’m not saying this is a great drama, but I think it’s nice

      • 3.1.1 Anonymous

        yea..lyk BOF & YAB didnt have good ratings..but they are the most popular shows :p
        i personally realli enjoy this show.. 😀
        its a show where you can enjoy it without getting too stressed out

        • Lily

          BOF had really good ratings, but it’s true that YAB didn’t have the greatest. However, YAB had a huge mania fanbase behind it and it was backed by a million netizens. PK…not so much

      • 3.1.2 hitaruchan

        yes i agree with you, i think low ratings doesn’t mean the drama is bad, just people don’t like the story. i think the cast, director, and the crew work hard for this drama. yeah no matter the ratings is low, we must honour this working.

    • 3.2 Diadda

      If you want to watch it because you liked ISWAK, then don’t. If you want to watch because you like romantic comedies fine it won’t kill you(except the first episode).

      The outline and situations are the same but the main characters are completely different and have different reasons for do doing everything they do. For some that is a huge bonus for others a curse.

      It is it’s own show with it’s own ideas of how to interpret the source material. Honestly if you block out all other references to other versions and pretend none of the other shows existed, it would be a very average cute little drama about a boy and a girl who fall in love.

    • 3.3 cjmfan

      why should the rating scare you? i mean, it has no effect on you whatsoever except when you’re part of the cast…are you?

      if you enjoy it watch it! that’s what i do!

      PK fighting!!!

    • 3.4 Ami

      Well.. why should you let the 2,000 Korean home-viewers (which contribute to the rating) decide which drama you should watch? If you really want to, watch it. If you don’ like it later.. you can just drop it and watch other dramas.

  4. J

    I love this series. I have no idea why the ratings is so low. It’s not the best show out there, but I don’t think the ratings should be that low!

    • 4.1 Birdie

      It is because the other 2 dramas competing for viewership are so so much better and more interesting.

      • 4.1.1 gisselle

        yah.. I think mgiag and playful kiss is reall yfun to watch. I just watch the drama whose episodes are ready to watch. I can’t even choose 1. Aigoo!

    • 4.2 jea

      Thanks JB for the recap! Also, I agree with the ratings being overly low for this drama. While it has its flaws, I think it still offers more than the ratings indicate. I guess things can’t be helped b/c of its tough competition.

    • 4.3 Nanci

      I also think that sometimes with a remake, it has to start off really competitively, I can’t say this did. Now I’m not saying it’s bad, just that it started off a bit slow, and that probably didn’t sit well because it’s a remake.

      I hope that it does catch an audience, I really do.

      • 4.3.1 Dara

        Agreed, they should start the first 5-10 mins of the 1st ep with something at stake like JB mentioned. May be go directly to Ha-ni confronted SJ with her love letter or their bantering -something that could capture the audiences right away. It’s a competitive time slot, make it fast and efficient.

  5. Cloudysky

    Thanks so much JB for the wonderful recap, i especially love ” It’s almost that she’s SO simple that her thoughts are surprisingly insightful in their plainness” i feel the same way, this drama is really growing on me, it really brought back happy and nostalgic memories back in the school days, and i truly admire Hani for her devotion and love to SJ, i think if you ever had feelings for someone like her, you’ve at least experienced true love once in your life 😉

    • 5.1 Nanci

      well I don’t know if that at the moment I would call it true love, and her devotion still makes me cringe from time to time. But she is a trooper for herself, so that’s what I admire. I really hope that they make him more worthy of her.

    • 5.2 alice

      I agree with PK bringing back those happy and nostalgic memories of a first love. I guess it’s what you would call puppy love. It’s funny to watch because I’ve had those many embarrassing devoted Baek Song Jo scenes that I can now laugh about.

  6. anon

    pity about the ratings but how much do i love joon gu and his busan accented adorable ness
    why do they always make the busan guys lovable second male leads
    Like in CS i totally loved TAEC

  7. -adrianne-

    Thanks for this! Enjoy it as always. Just one point of disagreement – I think seung jo knew he was being followed after crossing the road, which is why he stopped and looked alarmed in the first place. That’s my read of it! 🙂

    • 7.1 leah

      i’d have to agree with this one. i think he knew which was seen in his little smirk when he heard some shuffling noise behind him. which was why when he heard the car screech, he dared not turn around and was frozen for a second, because he knew but dared hope that it wasn’t so.

      i also think that seung jo can read hani pretty well. when his family was saying goodbye to him before he left the house, it seemed like he was waiting for hani to say something but she didn’t, which was so not typical for hani.

      • 7.1.1 Ami

        yep.. was about to comment about this too. I too noticed the smirk and the frozen expression was extreme if it’s just him worrying about strangers getting hit. In fact, if it were a stranger.. my bet is Seung Jo would just walk on expressionlessly, not even turning around. I don’t think Robot Boy appreciates having his schedule messed up due to some unrelated accident along the way.. 😛

    • 7.2 christy

      yeah, he totally knew about her following him since he once smiled when he was walking. That’s why after he heard the crashing sound and hearing people talking about seeing a girl being hit, he stopped in shock and didnt dare to look back for a few secs, because of the thought that it might be Ha Ni who is involved in the accident.

      • 7.2.1 Charmie

        i was just going to put in the exact same comment that SJ knew she was following him! I’m glad I wasn’t imagining things and you guys noticed to! That few secs he hesitated and seemed worried, that was a cute moment for me. It shows that OHN is really getting to him, right? 😀

    • 7.3 Kelsea

      He definitely knew Oh Ha Ni was followed him. He only smiles for her.

      • 7.3.1 Kelsea


  8. Anonymous

    everybody,dont mind the ratings just watch it and have fun..thats it!

  9. eireen

    everybody,dont mind the ratings just watch and have fun.thats it!

    • 9.1 balletbabe

      Totally agree with you! If ratings were all that mattered I never would have watched nearly have the dramas I have seen and enjoyed like Love Marriage!!!

      • 9.1.1 balletbabe

        Opps I meant *nearly half *

  10. 10 renazil

    just when the drama gets exciting, the rating dropped to an all new low. though i believe that if this drama is beamed worldwide, it can achieved a higher rating than just in south korea. heh…cause i know of people in my country waiting for this show to come out online each week =)

  11. 11 Anonymous

    woo hoo thanks for the recap. I had been waiting for it. Enjoyed reading it.

  12. 12 miss_procrastination

    I can’t say that the drama is my favorite but it is readily improving and I like it. The balance between Ha ni & Seung-jo is shaping up to be quite lovely!! Yay!

  13. 13 Sonia

    For someone who hasn’t seen this or that version previously, you sure have a sharp eye and a silver tongue for communicating insight into the characters. It’s never a boring read. Thanks, JB!

  14. 14 me

    ahh.. great recap. although i’m pretty positive that seung-jo knew hani was following him. he gave a sly little smile and shifted his eyes. and also, after the car screeched and he heard people say that someone got hit, his face immediately darkened before he even turned around because he thought it might’ve been her

    • 14.1 Angela

      I agree! Before the accident, he smiled and looked amused, like he knew she was following him. Then, when he heard the screeching of the cars, it looked like he was afraid to turn around because he knew it’d be her…

      • 14.1.1 Charmie

        I agree. It was heart-wrenching wasn’t it? The look on his face as he was about to turn around.

        • Lemon

          Yes it was! It showed that at critical moments like this, Seung-jo does care about Ha-ni.

          I am positively sure he knew Ha-ni was following him- I mean she wasn’t being a little obvious and he is a sharp person. So when he heard the cars screeching and hesitated to look back, it was like he was dealing with so many thoughts in his head and how it would be like to lose someone to Ha-ni. At this point I don’t think he has come to the realisation that he loves Ha-ni yet; but he does know she is someone important to him. Yup here’s my two cents. 🙂

  15. 15 addicted to PK

    Thank you JB ! Love this drama … !!!
    I like how the relationship develops slowly,
    and how Ha Ni and Seung Jo learn from each other

  16. 16 ednacutie

    *sigh* young love! cant w8 for the recap of episode 6 JB and Girlfriday..esp now that the story is picking up its pace..PK fighting! 😀

  17. 17 Jenny

    I love it! Thanks for the recap javabeans! Looking forward to the recap for episode 6!


  18. 18 kit

    I really liked this episode. The next however … I dunno, I was happy that we were getting into some indepth character and plot movement, but then everything just started whizzing by and I was kind of o_o at how we went from school, university exams, graduation, UNI!

    Also, the plastic girl from BOF is gorgeous. That drama definitely gave a bit of a kick to her career and her acting’s gotten better.

    Anyhow, thank you for the recap! 😀

  19. 19 ali

    I had given up on this drama….i guess i loved iswak to much…but after readind the recap i may give it another chance!!!!

    • 19.1 Cloudysky

      Give it a shot, honestly, i find the korean version alot better, it’s has alot of small touches that the taiwan version lacked, watch it w a open heart, and no comparisons, i believe you’ll really enjoy it! 😉

    • 19.2 cheanne

      Give this series a chance…. I feel that this is much better than ISWAK…..There is just something lacking in ISWAK.

    • 19.3 linhee

      You should give it a chance! Although the chemistry isn’t as great as Ariel and Joe, but the story is just great. I can never grow tired of watching/reading THE love story of Kotoko and Irie-kun.

      • 19.3.1 dara258

        I have to disagree about the chemistry. I think both leads play off well with each other…the TW one I couldn’t stand at all. Fine there were many kisses but eh – something was lacking. This one though, seems more real and I love the two together.

        • linhee

          I guess the chemistry is up to interpretation. I tend to skip the kiss scenes so I’m not judging their chemistry from that. It’s just…their interactions with one another and their overall portrayal of Xiang Qin and Zhi Shu was just great. Xiang Qin may be annoying at times with her antics but she’s so kind hearted and her emotional scenes were just amazing. Zhi Shu on the other hand, felt so human. He could have just played Naoki cold and blank, but he didn’t.

    • 19.4 Angela

      haha, I know JB said to let the comparisons rest, but honestly, as a fellow ISWAK fan, I feel the need to do a little preemptive warning here… otherwise, you may be swayed by the glowing praise, get yourself excited, and then crash and burn after trying to watch it again.

      First off, yes, Playful Kiss IS cute and amusing… but really, that’s it. In terms of story, pacing, acting, and chemistry, ISWAK is still vastly superior (at least for now, and in my own personal opinion).

      The secret is to watch with an open mind, and try to enjoy it for what it is (rather than for what it’s not). Once you stop comparing, or thinking, “Gah! ISWAK did this so much better” it becomes much more enjoyable, and a lot less head-ache inducing.

      So yes, definitely give it another try. Just keep your expectations low so you don’t get disappointed, and try to appreciate its fresh new approach. Then stir and enjoy! That’s what’s worked for me anyway… ^_^

      • 19.4.1 Melanie

        Thanks for the advice. I’m going to try to watch ok pk again. And I admit, I am one of those who watches pk and continues to think iswak is better just because I am a die hard arjoe fan.

  20. 20 ockoala

    Thanks, JB.

    The dick-off was awesome. It always gives me a start to see Seung Jo acting like a human being, with petty jealousy and insecurity. And I love it.

    Ep. 5 is my fave episode to-date, for all the same reasons you articulated. And the ratings would definitely be higher if PK was actually BAD, and could be made fun of. At this rate, it’s there no interest from the general Korean viewing public. Sigh.

  21. 21 red_pill

    Yes, little Eun-jo, you are right. Your perfect older brother IS falling in love with the cute dunce. <3

    I'm really enjoying this drama. Ratings, smatings.

  22. 22 Anonymous

    thanks for the recap jb.enjoyed reading your recap. I will stick with the show no matter what the rating say. So, Show fighting!!!

  23. 23 Lily

    I think the ratings for this show will skyrocket next week compared to now, since Baker King just ended this week with a 49.3% rating…

    I love this drama so much! It’s just so adorable!

  24. 24 Lala

    I don’t know why people in Korea don’t watch this drama. It’s clearly a good drama that shows as a small part of our lives. It’s really entertaining and sometimes you’ll find yourself embarrass for you had also the same shameful experience like Oh Ha Ni.
    A big “whatever” to the ratings because it’s still one of my best dramas in 2010.

    • 24.1 addicted to PK

      yes, a lot of embarrassing moments … and a lot of smiles too : )

  25. 25 Amg1

    JB thank you for your hard work!!! I am enjoying this version very much, I never mind the ratings if I like it that’s all that matters to me! And I am with you 100% about stop compering this version to the J and TW one it gets old pretty quick, thank you again!!!! : O }

  26. 26 rainerust

    The ratings are such a pity, because I honestly feel like the drama is getting better with every week.

    I promise to stop with the comparisons since you asked, JB, but it’s not a hardship, because I think the Korean version’s adaptation is delightfully different (insofar as it’s similar) and works well in its own way.

    Hyun Joong is also getting (thankfully!) better – love the mischievous smiles quirking up his lips everytime he thinks of her, and the way he’s resigned himself to her, like saying, it would be Oh Ha Ni if she hadn’t fed him medicine that made him drowsy. ALSO! How adorable was that scene when he got back his results and was shocked and told his teacher, I really AM a genius??! I laughed like hell. Or maybe I’m just 12.

    Anyway, great recap JB! Loving forward to Ep 6’s recap…

  27. 27 rainerust

    *it wouldn’t be Oh Ha Ni if she hadn’t fed him medicine that made him drowsy.

    Sigh. I really must learn to read before I hit submit.

  28. 28 Nanci

    I was scared of watching this because they hyped up the ‘OMG sleeping pills!! You drugged him! He won’t get in!!!’ but I can see it’s not like that, yay!

    I am so glad that it has a small arc and development, THIS is what I’ve been wanting. Although, even if it hadn’t happened, I had still planned on watching it. I mean, come on, when Hyun Joong smiles…yeah, I have to keep watching.

    I will definitely catch up…after monday, after I finish my History exam which, judging from the study guide, will not be fun.

  29. 29 SecretAddiction

    Thanks for the recap!!! I thunk this show is great but lacks some of the magic (or absurdity) that ISAWK had but it’s cute in a different version kind of way. The cast is so much cuter than ISWAK.

    Ps. Dramabeans has saved me from going insane with studying. Thanks for keeping me alive.

  30. 30 Quaggy

    Thank you for the recap, Javabeans!

    I’ve seen ISWAK and even read some of the manga that inspired it all, so obviously I know the basic plotline, but the slight changes that they are making for Playful Kiss is making me hope that this is going to be my favorite out of the whole bunch! I hope the show’s number’s improve now that Baker King is over. It’s too bad that more people aren’t watching this sweet little show.

  31. 31 fairybluebird

    they should blame you and girlfriday as to why the ratings are going down… coz people are more than satisfied just by reading your recaps. heh! jk 🙂

    seriously, i wish the ratings would go up now that Baker is out of the picture. it would be a shame if they station cuts it short. i haven’t watched itazura but this one looks better than ISWAK where i cringed and whined over Ariel’s overacting character…. and Joe Cheng is just blah! i like this pairing much, much, more.

    • 31.1 cheanne

      I agrre with you….Althou Joe Cheng is handsome and very tall but the only expression he mastered is pouting and looking annoyed to ariel…..hayzzz Thus this is much much better.

    • 31.2 linhee

      The Korean version made Kotoko less stupid, clueless and annoying. Or, it could just be because Ariel just overacted. I can’t ever recall being so annoyed with Kotoko in the anime/manga…

  32. 32 alice

    thanks heaps JB, im getting excited about this series with this ep, can’t wait for the next recap from girlfriday

    off topic, but can someone please tell me what drama ISWAK is? my brain cells are hurting from trying to figure it out lol

    • 32.1 alice

      ok, lol so when i send it, i get the answer

      • 32.1.1 balletbabe

        ISWAK stands for ‘It Started With A Kiss’ it’s the Taiwanese version. I think it air in 2005! A second season was created called ‘They Kiss Again’ (the most skinship I’ve ever seen in a drama) which aired in 2008! Oh that was a good series with strong acting! But I like this version too!

  33. 33 asianromance

    Thank you fro the recap!
    Seung-jo’s existential crisis was also in the previous versions. That crisis is a turning point in their relationship and is the thing that will solidify their relationship and why they would be great together. In the story, you’re wondering what does Ha-Ni have that Seung-jo would want. And the answer is drive, passion, dreams, and goals.

    That car accident was a total surprise! But it makes the scene faster…

    Anyways, i think the Goong musicial promotion would have been more fun and less heavyhanded without the Goong bears showing up at the end of each epsiode. But poor Joon-gu and Joon-gu Bear. It looks like the Ha-Ni and Seung-jo Bears are bullying Joon-gu Bear!!!

    The episode looks to be finally picking up momentum. Hopefully some people will be able to watch it over the weekend and then take a chunk from ratings pie now that Baker King is over. The show’s got JSM and Lee Taesung and that dad from Who are you? & Goong- all very talented and deserve better ratings. And KHJ is finally improving and nobody is watching. sort of sad.

  34. 34 cheanne

    Thank you very much……Now this is better…..I am so excited with the next episode……Hahaha cant help it but from this episode I cannot compare it anymore with ISWAK…..This is different and I like it better.

  35. 35 Flower Pot


    If MGIAG is my main course, i say that Playful Kiss is my sweet, satisfying dessert…

    If MGIAG enthralls me with it’s magic and sense of fantasy, Playful Kiss mesmerizes me with how it depicts reality..

    If MGIAG is my escape into things that are mystical and otherworldly then Playful Kiss lets me remember a time when i was younger and when things were simpler…

    And for that, i love these dramas for exactly different reasons but i love them as much just the same…

    Compared to the past episode of last week, this episode is kinda thin in front of the spazz worthy interactions between Seung Jo and Ha Ni but it is rife with plot set ups leading towards the understanding of viewers as to how Ha Ni would really fit into Seung Jo’s life for later episodes..

    I just want to hug Seung Jo so much in this installment not because i want to cop a feel (but there’s also that) but rather because i can truly feel how empty and meaningless his life seem to him…

    There are so many expectations… so much pressure and attention given to him just because of his intelligence and yet deep inside he’s looking for something to make his life worth living because everything just comes easy for him…

    Funny how it is the supposedly dumb Ha Ni who can just stand back and look at him like a regular person with so much understanding… How her genuine concern is the one that truly gets to him and breaks through his walls and because of that canny ability that Ha Ni has to push his buttons and make him feel emotions that he has never felt before, Seung Jo is slowly finding the answers to his questions…

    He is starting to live life and not just going through the motions… He is starting to care when before he views everything with boredom… he is starting to warm up and his heart slowly thawing with Ha Ni’s persistence and determination…

    I love how she loves him and accepted him for himself… How her love is so vast that she can accept him for his imperfections and i also love how true her love is that she puts him first and foremost before anything else…

    To me, nothing beats a jealous Seung Jo…

    that showdown between him and Joon Gu during the “pseudo” date (Yay to Mom!) that Ha Ni and him had really tickled my fancy and rocked my boat…

    I don’t know what i would have done if i was in Ha Ni’s shoes at that moment and found myself in an

    unexpected date with the Love of my Life…
    Perhaps i would think that my time on earth is due and that the good Lord is coming to get me…

    I must have repeated that scene a dozen times… I was laughing like crazy and spazzing like a loony at the same time… from the moment that Seung Jo suddenly appeared beside Ha Ni in that seat in the dim theater, when he won that teddy bear for her in the claw machine and up to the moment when he was throwing soda cans and cups like his life depended on it just to one up Joon Gu i find myself smiling so widely that my cheeks hurt…

    I guess this story really has that effect on me… Ratings be damned but PK really makes me relive my youth and it makes me happy and for that I love this drama with a passion it hurts!

    • 35.1 cheanne

      very well said gurl…..Its been a long time I giggled this much…..I really love this series.

    • 35.2 me2

      LOL! If I found myself in an unexpected date with the love of my life, i think i would …. sit down very very still hoping time would stop.

      really love this drama too 🙂

    • 35.3 Cloudysky

      @ flowerpot, superb n insightful summary, it’s amazing how u can put into words how I truly feel for this Drama, I totally enjoyed it!

    • 35.4 Anonymous

      love on how you describe this drama… it did touch the bottom of my heart…

    • 35.5 deannadsc

      @ flower pot

      I totally loved your summary & take on episode 5’s “lovely scenes”…in fact I re-watched it 4 times!!!

      I re-live my teen-age 1st crush (mis)adventures too, thanks to PK!!!

      lovely scenes, lovely & lovable characters, lovely series…

      thanks, javabeans!!!

      • 35.5.1 Charmie

        I just love this drama so much right now that i’ve stopped my silent lurking ways, I am reading all the comments and putting in my own thoughts.The last time I did this was with coffee prince! The cutesy stuff are just plain adorable!

    • 35.6 Ladymoonstone143

      I agree with you totally…PK brought back so much memories of my high school days…it is so fun to giggle and feel light headed once in a while..:))

  36. 36 tiff2911

    To be honest, I’d given up on this midway through the third episode, but your recap made me want to give it a try again. Thanks JB!

    • 36.1 kit

      Try it again^^
      Give this drama a chane and you will like it!

  37. 37 kc

    Thanks JB! I also love her “million hairdos” if I can only do that to my own hair! I have to commend her acting, I did not see her in Bad Guy so this is my first kdrama as a female lead. I love her facial expression, it fits a Oh HaNi even her pouting and words under her breath are the cutest! She has substance even when shes not speaking.

    I wish thou that ratings would pick up. Single digits or not it needs to up its momentum soon!

  38. 38 cattey

    this recap makes me want to watch the series again. i had started watching it before, but lost interest halfway through the first episode. i think i might give this drama another shot.

  39. 39 Inlalaland

    Hi JB & GF – just wondering what are your thoughts on how Hyun Joong is doing acting-wise? Personally I think he’s better than BOF, but he’s still stiff. The actress that plays Oh Ha Ni (sorry, but forgot her real name) is so expressive with her facial features and gestures – love her! She’s over the top a lot but there are also subtle moments when she is so great. HJ’s acting just seems so…..meh. Maybe that’s part of the character that he’s playing too. But was just wondering what you thought? Many thanks to your wonderful recaps! Luv you guys!

  40. 40 Q

    HJ was a bit stiff again in this ep :/ he was better when he was pissed off haha. Also, I agree with JB about the other versions ~_~ getting really tired of all the scene by scene compare-and-contrasting.

  41. 41 cheekbones

    Thanks, JB, for the insights.

    I think I understand better now why Seungjo is falling for Hani. I never really got that from ISWAK.

    • 41.1 cheekbones

      Oops, sorry, about the comparison (yet again). But, really, I understand better now…..

    • 41.2 cjmfan

      totally agree with you!

    • 41.3 Ami

      yep.. that was what I was mumbling to myself too during some scenes in PK.. like, “ah..now I get it~”

  42. 42 Lizzy

    I’m here to confess, the ratings are my fault. Every series I watch and love does poorly. Maybe I should stop watching. I can just read the recaps….sniffle 🙁
    I have such a girl crush on Oh Ha Ni. I want to be her, with the pretty hair and adorable dimples.

    • 42.1 llama

      hahaha you sound like me. except that mine applies to world cup matches. every team i support, if i end up watching their match, they lose. ):

      • 42.1.1 Lizzy

        You too? I discovered if I get up to to the bathroom or get a drink, my team will score. Works every time, you should try it. 😛

    • 42.2 Nory Ellis

      Lizzy and Llama..LOL 🙂

      Sometimes I think like that also 🙂 When I don’t watch Man United play, they won. I guess that’s why they won lots of matches these last few years… it’s because I don’t watch the matches.

  43. 43 bananananaz


    I srsly think that the ratings do any justice. The show is getting better n yet, the ratings hit a new low.
    Hopefully kim hyun joong will not think of quitting after this.

  44. 44 Bloop

    I love this drama…I really do. I really adored ISWAK, but the Korean version is just too gosh darn adorable…

    BTW, I believe Seung-Joo DID notice that Ha-Ni was following him…if you watch that part again, you’ll notice that he kind of stops and glances back for a tiny bit…

    • 44.1 asian.koala

      I agree bloop!

      Just wanted to point out (since I did in fact watch ep 5 &6 of playful kiss last night), I think that Seung Jo did know that Ha Ni was following him to make sure he made the interview…you see that when she’s crossing the road, he smirks knowingly. Thus, when later on he hears the car hit someone, his eyes widen as he is fearful and hoping that it’s not her.

      on another note…

      Hey javabeans! Thanks for the update…I normally don’t watch shows that I read about from dramabeans, so many thanks to you, girlfriday, and other alternate writers.

  45. 45 Purpleclouds

    I suppose I don’t count in the “rating”. I watch each ep like 3 times. Notice though how in a beauty contest, one’s favorite never wins? How a political candidate one voted for never wins? Favorite tv shows are always cancelled. What EVER. I really like this show. They are just so cute, all of them. Fine actors. Spoiler…I love ep 6 too.

    • 45.1 QR

      yep..spoiler..epi.6..the first kiss that we waiting for..haha

  46. 46 QR

    dont care bout the ratings..just enjoy watching PK..

  47. 47 antigone

    Thanks for the recap Javabeans! I loved the latest episodes, both left me with a big, goofy smile on my face 🙂

    And how adorable is mom?!?!…

  48. 48 Francesca

    I love this episode! Seung-Joo is turning more human with emotions. KHJ plays better every time and the story grows interesting. And how can we not in love with JSM (Ha-ni)? She’s soooo adorable!

  49. 49 meteorflower

    thanks for the good recap

  50. 50 WS

    Honestly I think these ratings really don’t reflect how good/bad a drama is. Most of the time viewers do often start watching a drama because of either the actor/actress they like. The plot or acting later may contribute to the raise in higher ratings. For this drama though, I think it’s very underrated. It’s not the best kdrama out there nor is it a classic yet, but for some reason I can’t stop watching it. JSM’s wide range of emotions/expressions really caught my attention. Cross fingers for more goodness from the director & writer ^^

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