Thanks to last episode’s unexpected delay, we get a little bit of extra material, which fills out the first half of this episode. Then the guys leave Jeju behind, and it’s time for some sweet, sweet payback for Na PD, who gets to crank up the difficulty meter. It’s like his soul requires a certain amount of havoc-wreaking upon his cast’s lives (and comfort levels), and needs to regain its karmic equilibrium.
EPISODE 330. Broadcast on April 17, 2011.
girlfriday: The boys wake up bright and early and finally take the boat to Kapado, which is the tiniest, flattest island I’ve ever seen.
javabeans: Cue the obligatory segment highlighting the scenic views. Like I said, this show is a tourism board’s wet dream. You’d think there’d be more tie-ins, although I suppose it’s reassuring that the show isn’t completely overrun with product placement and advertising.
girlfriday: Yeah, I like that despite being a huge production, the show can still be six guys on a road trip, without that commercial sheen to everything. The low-rent style is the charm of the show. For instance, Ho-dong announces that the cameraman’s gonna do a 360-degree shot of the view, to show it off. He spins around, and then Seung-gi adds, “And the staff that’s hiding!” The camera pans down to show Na PD and the crew crouching just below, now feeling really silly.
javabeans: At the village mayor’s house, Ho-dong can’t pass up the chance to poke fun at the massive amounts of empty liquor containers outside in recycling crates. “Amidst such scenery…you just gotta drink, huh?” Like, it’s gorgeous here, but what else ya gonna do? The mayor looks abashed to have them point it out, hee.
girlfriday: Everyone naps, but Tae-woong is awake as they bring the food out, and you can see who he’s REALLY friends with, since the only person he wakes up is Su-geun. By dragging him like a ragdoll, no less.
javabeans: I love that Tae-woong is the only person awake initially, because he’s the guy with the least clue what the hell to do with all this free, unsupervised food. Then Jong-min gets up, and it’s time for the tasting game! There’s such an illicit thrill in doing something without the full group, even if it’s something as small as getting to taste one spoonful before anybody else. They revert to their go-to game, rock-scissors-paper, and Tae-woong kicks some butt.
girlfriday: When Ho-dong wakes up, their first instinct is survival — let’s pretend we’re sleeping so we don’t get hit!
javabeans: Sometimes all you need is a cute caption to wring a laugh: Ho-dong looks around blearily while they pretend to sleep, and Tae-woong’s caption reads, “Actor Uhm is acting.”
girlfriday: Na PD tells them that they’ll play a round of games, and the winning team gets to eat everything, and the losing team gets rice, and one of the small side dishes. That’s just mean. It’s almost more pathetic than starving. Almost.
javabeans: I thought it was actually pretty nice of him, given that he coulda just given them nothing. Or just rice.
girlfriday: He announces the birth of a new team: Tae-woong, Ji-won, and Seung-gi. Damn, that’s one scary team, is what I’m thinking, and then he tells them the team name: Moo Sup Dang, which means Scary Team. Literally. (It’s a collection of their nicknames — Moo-dang: Tae-woong, Sup-sup-ee: Ji-won, Huh-dang: Seung-gi)
javabeans: See, the powers that be have LITERALLY heard my wishes, because Team Scary is a result of fan voting.
girlfriday: Leave it to netizens to clinch the name too, along with their counterpart: Ho-dong / Su-geun / Jong-min: Babo Dang, or Team Stupid. Aw. Sadly though, it IS true that each of them has been voted the dumbest member of 1N2D at one point or another, by their teammates.
javabeans: It’s doubly sad that there’s no alternate meaning to Babo Team. Scary Team, at least, has an excuse for being made up from their nicknames, but Babo Team gets no explanation. Su-geun looks particularly saddened by this.
girlfriday: To prove their namesake, the Babo Team turns in a game suggestion that’s spelled wrong, and Ho-dong just sighs at the aptness of the team name. Each team throws in suggestions for games that they’re good at, but then they’re drawn at random. Scary Team writes in: emphasis game, double jump rope, and breath holding. Babo Team writes in: hackey sack (is this whatchoo call jaegi?), arm wrestling, and ping pong. Na PD laughs that Ho-dong’s thrown variety out the window today; he plans to WIN.
javabeans: It would suck to come all the way to Kapado, replete with weather delays, be told you have a meal worthy of a “sea palace,” and then get to eat none of it.
girlfriday: Ji-won and Seung-gi call Tae-wong the Moo Sup Dang Boss, deferring to him by age, but methinks Ji-won’s still the boss of this team, like he’s always been. First game: hackey sack. Seung-gi jokes that he’ll do a cool 20, but then it turns out that he really does have to do 20 to beat the other team…which of course he can’t do.
javabeans: Tae-woong was so eager to go second, the least pressure-filled situation, because I don’t think he could handle the burden of losing for his team. Plus, well, there’s the fact that he sucks at this game, as we’ve seen. But the best part is how very seriously Seung-gi takes his turn, folding his pant cuff and putting on an extra sock, and then faltering at number three. Talk about anticlimactic.
girlfriday: The extra sock was hilariously useless. At least Seung-gi has a chance to regain his image in double jump rope. He does 43, and Jong-min goes: “Forty-three? How many is that?” HA. Haha.
javabeans: Ho-dong, counting Seung-gi’s jumps: “Twenty-three, twenty-four, we lost, twenty-five…” He does his best to hang in there, and when he falls, he beats the ground like a baby.
girlfriday: A very LARGE baby. Last game is the emphasis game, which they suggested purely hinging on Jong-min’s failure, rather than their own success.
javabeans: Poor guy. That’s like being voted MVP for your opponent’s team. And Team Babo was so hoping to score the arm-wrestling challenge instead. Instant win.
girlfriday: Ho-dong whines that the other team has two actors with good pronunciation, and his prediction turns out to be true — Tae-woong and Seung-gi are both pros at this game. Problem is Ji-won, who has some trouble. But he gets through it eventually.
javabeans: Seung-gi’s awesome at this, I notice. It’s good that he’s first, because when someone else flubs, he’s so quick to redo his lines that it hardly takes them any time to get back up to speed. O_O
girlfriday: Jong-min, on the other hand… is like the poster boy for Hooked on Phonics: The scare-tactic version. Yunno, what happens to your kids if you let them grow up without learning how to read.
javabeans: Ho-dong points out that singers are also supposed to have good enunciation…but not so much in Jong-min’s case.
girlfriday: At one point Su-geun tells him to just say the phrase six times without changing emphasis, and he can’t get through it even ONCE. I think he’s confusing emphasis for volume, though eventually that tactic works for him. Not before he has everyone rolling on the floor first though.
javabeans: I actually suspected that Jong-min was, as you alluded to in a previous recap, going for the laugh rather than the win here. In the last episode, he seemed to genuinely trip up and that had me in stitches. Here, it was like he went one step further and tried on purpose to be bad, except he was actually doing okay in the recitation and it wasn’t as difficult a phrase. Not that I think he always fakes being bad; maybe he knew they’d already lost and decided to make lemonade out of the situation?
girlfriday: Yeah, it was a little exaggerated. I could tell this phrase was easier because by the time it was his turn, even I could say it six times without fail, and I’m terrible at this game.
javabeans: The only thing that made me think it wasn’t entirely a show was that Seung-gi offered to send the losing team an extra dish because he felt bad for Jong-min. Plus, Jong-min’s face did look uncharacteristically sad, rather than his usual goofiness. See, that’s where he always sits for me — on the very edge between annoying and endearing. At least his team eventually completes the game, albeit with a few slip-ups that the PD lets slide. Team Scary is about to protest, but Na PD points out that the only reason they let it go was because Team Babo is way over time limit anyway.
javabeans: Then they eat. I can see how Seung-gi really shot to fame as Korea’s darling in the past couple of years — not based exclusively on 1N2D, but probably in large part because of it.
girlfriday: And why he’s my puppy?
javabeans: Sure, he can be your puppy. He’s the poster boy for the eom-chin-ah, or “Mom’s friend’s son,” which is to say the nice boy next door. It’s one thing to have a positive public image through movies or dramas, but in variety, you really get a sense of their real personalities (even allowing for some construction of personas), and Seung-gi’s got such good manners and a generally great attitude. We see this when Team Scary is eating their reward dinner, and Team Babo sits outside with their three bowls of rice and two small side dishes. Ji-won wonders, like the curious little child he is, if they should peek outside to see what the losers are doing, and Seung-gi tells him, “The winning team should eat quietly,” meaning, don’t be a poor sport and flaunt it. (And then Ji-won goes outside anyway to offer a teeny bite of food, if the losers play a game for it. Dance, monkey, dance!)
girlfriday: Yeah, that’s definitely the sentiment (And why there was such an uproar when Seung-gi announced his activities in Japan, and people were like, “You can’t abandon 1N2D! It MADE you who you are!”).
javabeans: I can see how fans have gotten attached to these boys. On the other hand, it’s been, what? Three years of their lives? I can understand wanting to move on, too.
girlfriday: He literally had to find a way to keep doing 1N2D and Strong Heart, while flying back and forth to Japan. It’s nuts.
javabeans: I’m amazed he kept it up while shooting My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho. By now, we all know that drama shoots are fucking INSANE. It’s hard enough to get a drama shot and aired when that’s all you’re doing. Adding another job on top of that is overextending by a factor of, like, a million. (Says my math.)
girlfriday: And that’s why he’s Korea’s eom-chin-ah Golden Boy. Because he somehow does the crazy, all with a good attitude.
javabeans: Didn’t they have to stipulate in his Gumiho contract that he’d have to be able to do 1N2D weekends if he was gonna take on the drama in the first place?
girlfriday: Yeah, they did. And isn’t that why he didn’t do Iljimae? (Which, thank god, because where would we be without Jung Il-woo and his mane of glory?)
javabeans: I know! As much as I like him as an actor, that was really Jung Il-woo’s shining moment. He fit the elegant beauty of that so perfectly.
girlfriday: Two weeks later, they start shooting the next outing at 12:01pm, as promised, since they completed the 3-photo mission in Jeju last time. Only… they meet on the south shore of Korea, which has taken them SIX HOURS to get to, from Seoul. They rant, calling Na PD a liar, but he sneakily points out that the promise was for the time, not the location.
javabeans: Ha. I knew he’d pull one over on them. (Maybe if they’d had a harder time in Jeju, he’d have been nicer about that noon shoot. But he totally made sure to leave plenty of room for loopholes.) So there they are, filming at noon, but at their far-off destination of Namhae rather than in Seoul.
girlfriday: They point out that he had even said they would have enough time to book an event in the morning before the shoot. Ji-won: “When? Even nightclubs close at four!”
javabeans: I feel like Na PD designed this outing around that loophole. Rather than designing it around their locale.
girlfriday: Seung-gi shows up with a new haircut. Sigh. Oh, Seung-gi. WTF? Did you get into a fight with a pair of scissors?
javabeans: It’s…an interesting look for him. Like he lost a bet with a 6-year-old girl who wanted to play barbershop. I hope you didn’t pay some fancy stylist for that, ‘cause you got hosed.
girlfriday: If that were the actual case (like, he let his niece play hairstylist, and the game got too real) then it’d be ADORABLE. He should’ve just gone with that story.
girlfriday: Na PD walks them to their first destination to see this outing’s theme for themselves. I love when the cameras catch the little things, like Seung-gi and Ho-dong, the maknae and the mat-hyung, walking along side by side with their arms in the same grandpa-on-a-stroll position. They arrive at a modest country home, and it turns out to be Food Truck Ajumma’s house. They watch as she makes a spring-themed meal, and they can’t handle not being able to eat it. Su-geun: “Can you just hit me with a stick so I’m not awake for this?”
javabeans: They note that Food Truck Ajumma doesn’t measure anything, because the Korean mother measures and cooks with sohn-mat. Literally, that means “taste of the hand,” or “hand seasoning,” aka Mom’s home cooking.
girlfriday: I love when the guys talk about Mom’s cooking, and how they used to eat bibimbap out of those pink plastic bowls, and get all nostalgic.
javabeans: The funny thing is, my mother has trouble with the whole sohn-mat concept. She’s not really your typical ajumma, in that she’s sorta very intellectual and very UN-domestic, and she hates the Korean way of touching everything with your hands, mixing and tasting with the same utensils, and so on. She’s a clean freak. Which is totally understandable from Western standpoint — sanitary food preparation, yay! — but kind of goes against the whole Korean way of being. She wouldn’t even let us eat jjigae out of a communal pot.
girlfriday: Wow, that’s so… UN-Korean.
javabeans: Anyway, all this to say that mi madre lacks this sohn-mat affinity, and therefore cooking isn’t exactly her forte. Plus, she was the youngest girl in a multi-daughter household. When I was a kid, she’d try to cook out of Korean cookbooks, but as you probably know, Korean cookbooks aren’t really very…accurate? She’d get frustrated with recipe books that read “Put in the appropriate amount of soy sauce” and “add just the right amount of sugar.” Haha. I think that’s why it’s hard for non-Koreans to learn how to cook Korean foods.
girlfriday: That’s like me, when my mom tries to teach me how to make something, and I’m like, “How much? How much do I put?” Mom: **shows me on her hand** “This much.”
javabeans: My mom actually sent me to my aunt to learn how to cook when I was in my teens, because she couldn’t teach me anything. HAHA. And my aunt cooks that way. I’d be trying to file away the information for future use, and she’d just pour in unmeasured amounts of oils and seasonings and be like, “See? This is how you do it.”
girlfriday: It’s like they don’t understand how someone couldn’t know how much. But it’s a feeling, or a sense that they adapt over years and years, that can’t be translated into measurements.
javabeans: I actually cook that way, which is why my mom says she’s relieved I didn’t take after her. I just pour stuff in, taste, pour more, taste, etc. Not always with the best results, but hey, it’s how you learn.
girlfriday: Yeah, I have to do the same too, because all I know is what my mom taught me, which is the sohn-mat way. Not that I… can actually cook properly, mind you.
javabeans: I was actually helping a non-Korean friend prepare a barbecue once, and he wanted kalbi but didn’t know how to make it. He printed out some online recipes and I went over to his kitchen and just started throwing stuff into the marinade. And he was like, “Wait! You have to tell me how much so I can make it again!” And I was like, “Uh? You just taste it, and when it tastes right, you’re done!” It…was not helpful.
girlfriday: Hahaha. You are SO gonna be a good ajumma someday.
javabeans: I’ve already got the impatient, crabby attitude!
girlfriday: All you need is the MC Hammer pants and the flower vest to complete the transformation.
javabeans: Oh god. Shoot me now. Can’t we evolve the ajumma concept to at least have a killer wardrobe? Korea, get on that!
girlfriday: They drool buckets watching her cook, and then finally get one taste. Ho-dong mixes. Man, I know it’s a given, but this guy knows how to EAT.
javabeans: He practically gives the other guys a lesson on the rules of proper mixing. Then Seung-gi wins the right to a preview taste…and practically cries at how good it is. (The other boys have to sit there and take it, watching his reaction.) Damn if Na PD is feeling particularly sadistic today, because he just made them wait patiently and watch while ajumma cooked…but they all know there’s a catch. It can’t be as simple as merely then EATING.
girlfriday: Of course not. Na PD would get his Evil Brain Trust membership revoked. The challenge: Each member is tasked with an ingredient (eg. rice, soybean paste) and a game accompanying it. Only tasks completed by 3pm win, so they get to eat whatever they can make with those ingredients.
javabeans: The big prize is the rice. They can still eat watered-down versions of the other dishes if they fail to win certain ingredients (like bean paste, sesame oil), but if they fail to win the rice, they’ll be pathetically hungry.
girlfriday: The tasks: (1) glue eyes on 100 dolls, (2) sing karaoke and get the exact score of 79, (3) go to Chul-soo’s house, order jajangmyun and eat it, (4) put snack chips on all ten fingers, then eat them all in five seconds, (5) go to the famous temple at the top of the mountain and bow 108 times, (6) find a local arcade and beat the top score at Tetris. Goddamn, Na PD is on some sort of vengeance streak after Jeju!
javabeans: No kidding. You could practically hear him cackling in glee.
girlfriday: I know, right? You totally called it — the Jeju task was too easy for them.
javabeans: In Jeju, you could actually see on his face that he was bummed that it was so easy, like he was disappointed in himself for letting his guard down.
girlfriday: Like, “Bad Evil Genius, BAD!”
javabeans: “You have been downgraded to evil gifted student!”
girlfriday: HA. Self-flagellating evil mastermind.
javabeans: Well, you don’t get to mastermind status by being evil slacker. “Eh, I’ll conquer the world…tomorrow.”
girlfriday: Seung-gi figures out what the ordering jajangmyun at Chul-soo’s house is about. It’s a Fantasy Couple reference, because Oh Ji-ho’s character was named Chul-soo, and they always ate jajangmyun at the house, located on the south shore.
javabeans: Dude, I was totally thinking the same thing! When they announced they were in Namhae, I was thinking how this is where Fantasy Couple was filmed, and then the name Chul-soo clinched it. Which they then reinforced with the jajangmyun mention. Also: Seung-gi totally watches dramas!
girlfriday: And he’d BETTER watch all the Hong Sisters dramas!
javabeans: You’d think Tae-woong would’ve gotten it, since he was in a Hong sisters drama too. Ooh, another connection between him and Seung-gi!
girlfriday: OMG, wouldn’t it be awesome if they cameo’d in Best Love together?
javabeans: AS A COUPLE?
girlfriday: A girl can dream. No, as Team Scary.
javabeans: I like my idea better.
girlfriday: So do I, but it’s more likely they’d cameo as themselves, or as their Hong Sisters drama characters.
javabeans: They be writers of fiction. Make it happen!
girlfriday: Oh, man, since Best Love is meta-on-meta in the k-entertainment scene, they should have Seung-gi cameo as Woong-ah, playing Cha Seung-won’s stuntman.
javabeans: DUDE. And Tae-woong can play entertainment agency President Byun (from Delightful Girl Chun-hyang). It’s perfectly set up already! And they can both sling jokey insults at 1N2D.
girlfriday: It seems most of the guys are lucky in the tasks they get, because they’re the perfect people for the job: Tae-woong gets the most physically demanding one (I was seriously thinking if it’s not him or Seung-gi, no one else will make it up the mountain by 3, let alone bow a bazillion times!) Ji-won gets Tetris, Su-geun gets karaoke, and Jong-min gets jajangmyun at Chul-soo’s. The only ones that should’ve been switched were Seung-gi and Ho-dong, because Seung-gi picked an eating task (would’ve been a breeze for Ho-dong), and Ho-dong got a task requiring patience….Ruh-roh.
javabeans: I love how Ho-dong is shown to his challenge area, and he does the MC thing by announcing his upcoming mission: “Here, I take on the challenge of attaching doll eyes!” Opens door. Sees mountain of dolls. “…which I have failed.”
girlfriday: That cracked me up. Every inch of that tiny room was covered with teddy bears.
javabeans: It’s also cute how Tae-woong asks someone for directions, and by now he’s been recognized by several of the locals and bows in greeting. And this ajumma sneaks in to shake his hand while he’s stuck at the corner.
girlfriday: Tae-woong blazes up the mountain, leaving his VJ behind… AGAIN.
javabeans: His VJ tries to keep up at first, but has to give up. I love his audible *SIGH.*
girlfriday: Ji-won the Cho-ding finds the nearest elementary school, and then starts asking kids in the street to take him to the arcade. How come he really does fit in so well with grade-schoolers?
javabeans: The song they played while the boys ran for the arcade cracked me UP. It’s a kiddie tune that goes, “Let’s all go running around the neighborhood…”
girlfriday: He finds an arcade, but no Tetris. Oh crap. At the same time, Su-geun can’t find an open noraebang, and on top of it all, none of the neighborhood karaoke machines give scores. When he finally finds an open noraebang, he chooses… Seung-gi’s noona anthem, the trot version.
javabeans: When Ji-won finds his arcade, the caption made it a point to draw our attentions to the man singing in a nearby booth, saying, “Someone’s singing in the background.” Then when it’s Seu-geun’s perspective, the caption says, “Something seems familiar…” Imma crack up so hard if the next episode reveals it’s Su-geun, singing in the arcade noraebang.
girlfriday: That would be AWESOME. I love Seung-gi’s reaction to his snack food task: “Came all the way to Namhae…to do this?” The funniest thing about his task is the caveat that he has to do it in a place where no one else is around, so it builds this hilarious ambiance, like he’s doing something wrong. He keeps darting his eyes back and forth, like a loon.
javabeans: It just makes him look like he’s a creep with a really weird food fetish.
girlfriday: Hahahahahahaha! He’s always saying that this show takes away all cool points, but this task really does make him seem like he’s got a screw loose. Meanwhile, Jong-min stops at a coffee shop to ask for the Chinese takeout number (smart) and the ajumma’s like, “Don’t stutter, and do well!” LOL. Yet another hitch: jajangmyun delivery will take too long. Dude, things are looking bad for most of the boys.
javabeans: They all started out feeling pretty optimistic, but as time ticks on, they realize that every mission has little hiccups. Like the noraebangs not being open mid-day, or not scoring the performances. Or the arcade not having Tetris.
girlfriday: Ho-dong is frustrated with his challenge at first, but then figures out a good way to glue the bears’ eyes on, and he starts getting excited, and talking to them. “I’m going to bring you all to life!” I started having pig-rabbit flashbacks.
javabeans: He strikes me as one of those super-extroverted people who NEED human interaction to stay even-keel. And if they get too isolated or deprived of mental stimulation, they get totally All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
girlfriday: Seriously. When he starts talking about the rush he feels when each eye gets glued in place, I start thinking he’s lost his mind.
javabeans: Usually he’s so good at keeping the talk flowing, conscious of his role as MC, but I notice that his VJ is asking him questions to engage him. Like about his young kid at home.
girlfriday: He talks into the camera at his son, saying he’ll bring one of the bears home, and the PD asks if his 3-year-old son recognizes Daddy on tv yet. Ho-dong: “Not Daddy, not anything… He’s obsessed with Pororo!”
javabeans: And then he did the impression of his son when Ho-dong wants to watch 1N2D, and the kid gets mad. And how he snaps to attention the minute he turns on the TV: “Pororo fixes everything.”
girlfriday: I LOVE that he confesses to being jealous… of Pororo. It’s so cute.
javabeans: Caption: “Pororo, my love rival!”
girlfriday: I guess even the nation’s top MC loses to that damn penguin.