EPISODE 348. Broadcast on August 21, 2011.
javabeans: Based on last episode’s radio-station win, Seung-gi and Su-geun now take their trip abroad, which of course turns into a working vacation for them as they head to Japan. At the airport, they do their “We have arrived!” intro, and it always feels weird and awkward without Ho-dong around to lead the cry. With him it feels oddly natural, and without him it’s like boys are playing Dad in his absence.
girlfriday: I know, right? Why is that? It’s like the most literal example of not being able to fill daddy’s shoes. It’s always cute though.
javabeans: Su-geun busts out his brand-new passport, clean of visa stamps, and tells it, “How frustrated you must’ve been!” Then later at the airport, he asks the handler, “Please be gentle with it. It just came out today.”
girlfriday: I love Seung-gi and Su-geun’s odd-couple friendship. The differences are even more pronounced when it’s just the two of them.
javabeans: Their itinerary for this trip: Travel to Osaka to cheer on Park Chan-ho, former Dodgers/Padres/Yankees major league ball player, who currently plays for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan and is recovering from an injured hamstring. Park, like Park Ji-sung of Manchester United, isn’t just a star but a mega-star, a national hero, for earning recognition outside of his home country. And boy don’t I know it — my dad is a big baseball fan, as well as possessor of that Korean talent of knowing every single Korean person who’s famous in America for whatever random reason. So yeah, I’ve heard about Park Chan-ho. A LOT.
girlfriday: Seriously. Dads talk about Park Chan-ho like he’s the second coming. He’s been a recurring guest on 1N2D for long time now, and it’s always really cute to see all the guys, especially Ho-dong, turn into adoring fanboys at the sight of him. When you have six big celebrities, you wonder what will make them starstruck, and then you see them all turn into giddy little boys at the sight of their sports hero. It’s so endearing. The first time they met him was like the Actress Special times ten. And Chan-ho adores them right back.
javabeans: Adorably, each member has packed little food care packages for Park Chan-ho (do we just call him Chan-ho now? so weird). Or should we say, each member’s mother, which makes it even cuter. Like Tae-woong’s (mom’s) plum juice, or Jong-min’s (mother’s) grain powder.
girlfriday: And Su-geun shows off his wife’s doshirak, like a proper adoring husband. It’s really cute that they’re bringing him food, because Chan-ho’s done the same for them — he once sent them food to feed an entire team on one of the Viewer Tours.
girlfriday: They arrive in Osaka to a crowd of adoring fans, and Su-geun marvels at Seung-gi’s Hallyu starpower, but the bigger shock is seeing someone hold up a “Su-geun” placard. Better yet is someone else’s sign: “Na PD” in a PINK HEART. HA.
javabeans: It’s always moments like this — reality meets variety — when you realize just how huge this show (and its cast) is. It’s one thing to get this kind of reception at home, but abroad? Most of the signs are for Seung-gi (some in Japanese, reading “Sun-gi”), but the stray signs for Su-geun and Na PD tickle my heart. Even if Su-geun is spelled wrong. Aw.
girlfriday: The next morning Na PD asks if it’s true that they went out last night and Seung-gi’s manager got hit on. Standing next to Seung-gi? That’s funny. Seung-gi heartily agrees that his manager is better looking than him. Hee. It would only happen in a foreign country, but that’s awesome.
javabeans: Dude, that manager is hot. I remember the day this aired, all these headlines were about Seung-gi’s surprisingly good-looking manager.
girlfriday: Seriously. He was all over the headlines.
javabeans: There’s such a weird effect when stars’ entourage members turn out to be as good-looking as the stars themselves (Kim Haneul’s was in the headlines a few weeks back), like it’s odd for normal people to be good looking, and that all good-looking people should then be stars. What, so normal people are only supposed to be average to ugly? I get where that comes from, but it’s one of those sad truisms — and why, conversely, all stars then feel like they have to go nip, tuck, and shave their bone structure (owww) to fit that ideal.
girlfriday: Yeah, it’s sad but true. That’s why I like the exception, like Ho-dong and his manager. He’s hot. He should hang out with Seung-gi’s manager, and combined, that manager duo would be way hotter than Seung-gi + Ho-dong.
javabeans: I love how Seung-gi joshes Na PD for their low-budget trip. They got in late last night so they ate dinner on the plane, and now they’re eating pre-packed breakfast — Su-geun’s treat, bought at a nearby convenience store — on the bus to Kobe. Then, lunch is scheduled during the shoot. “Where did the production budget go? Do you not have a food budget?”
girlfriday: They were supposed to meet Chan-ho at the ballpark, but they surprise him at home with their food delivery, and Chan-ho’s eyes light up at the sight of Korean ramen.
javabeans: They’ve caught the family just before lunch, and the schedule is tight before they’ve got to head out. I love how they’re like, “Let’s just eat the stuff you brought.” Well, that was convenient. I love how some of the treats they’ve brought were decided upon via internet search. That makes it nice when you have to give a gift to a famous person.
girlfriday: Su-geun says that they didn’t get to see him this winter, so they came to him instead. (Chan-ho’s favorite activity on 1N2D is jumping into ice-cold rivers and lakes in the dead of winter. One time he cracked open one that was frozen solid, just so they could jump in.) Su-geun jokes, “Hyung-soo-nim, can you fill the bathtub with cold water?” She comes running out with bottled water, getting a big laugh from the boys.
javabeans: That’s super cute, ‘cause she missed the joke. It’s so weird that the girls are apparently more versed in English than anything else, while the wife is Japanese but speaks Korean with Chan-ho. Ha, Chan-ho mentions how he’s getting older and now people wish him happy birthday with the honorific word reserved for older people (saengshin) rather than the ordinary saengil. Su-geun offers to be the MC at his 60th birthday celebration, and they joke that Chan-ho can throw the opening pitch (shigu) at Su-geun’s. Su-geun goes in for the punchline kill, joking that his shigu will be more like an ul-shigu — a saying old people use, like “aigoo,” or “Ow, my back is killing me.” HA. And now that I’ve explained it, I wonder if it’s not at all funny in English. Heh. Puns, puns, puns!
girlfriday: It’s not just a pun; it’s an old-fogey pun! You know what’s sweet about Park Chan-ho is that he takes his role as national sports hero very earnestly and seriously. He’s just so sincere about being a role model and a sunbae. It’s nice to see the turnaround on that, because he’s received an entire country’s love throughout his career.
javabeans: When asked why he chose to play in Japan, Chan-ho goes into a thoughtful explanation that’s pretty long-winded but the gist is: I’d set out to break a record of 124 career wins, but once I hit that mark, I realized the number is unimportant because it can always be surpassed. That number isn’t forever, but my journey till then will stay with me. And if I’d set store in that number, when I retired I’d have no advice to pass on to anybody other than, “Rack up 124 wins.” But now at least I can dig into that process and use that to help younger players.
girlfriday: Chan-ho sends messages to the other members, asking if Ji-won still communicates with his alien friends, and that it would’ve been nice if Ho-dong hyung had come, but he understands that it’s a lot of effort to move around that big face. HA. Only Park Chan-ho could talk to Kang Ho-dong that way.
javabeans: Speaking of whom, we get to see Ho-dong and the rest upon the end of the Japan trip — we couldn’t have an entire episode without them, right?
girlfriday: We fast-forward to the roof of KBS a month after the waterfall episode. Na PD informs the boys that it’s time for the third Viewers Tour. It’s a special where each member takes a group of viewers along on a massive 1N2D trip. Usually people apply in groups — Jong-min once had a team that was all one family, Ji-won had a ballet troupe once that was awesome, Ho-dong had a group of high school students from his hometown — so they vary in age and circumstance.
javabeans: Ooh, fun. I’ve heard about these — and the application process — but never seen one of the episodes. Sounds like they’re always a lot of fun to watch.
girlfriday: Sometimes the application process is just as fun, like when the boys find one from a group of Miss Korea contestants. There’s some fighting. This time the concept is different — Na PD explains that they’ve gathered a hundred individuals to represent each age, from 1 to 100. Whoa. The boys are just as stunned as we are: “But… so… the youngest one was born in 2011?!”
javabeans: Ji-won: “What does a 1-year-old know?” But then, I’m sure there are many a new mom who’d be happy to use her 1-year-old as an excuse to get close to Seung-gi. Heh.
girlfriday: They worry about how everyone will get along if they’re all strangers. Su-geun: “What if the 100-year old person just tells everyone to be quiet?” Na PD tells them that it’s a way to represent the range of viewers they have and to thank them all. Ho-dong is quick to agree, saying that the viewers love them despite being fat (points to self), ugly (points to Jong-min and Su-geun), and “have disappointing hair” (points to Ji-won). LOL.
javabeans: Good lord, there were nearly 70,000 applicants. Yeesh. How do you even pick from that many? Ha, I guess that explains the heart-shaped photo of Na PD — you’ve got to stand out somehow.
girlfriday: They realize that the youngest, born this year, will be eight months old, tops. Seung-gi with very serious face: “Are we going to make him starve too?”
javabeans: Hehe, they mock Na PD in turn, mimicking his stern delivery: “No, you can’t do that!”
girlfriday: The teams will be split by age, grouping everyone into decades. Damn, 0-10 and 90-100 are no joke. Ji-won nominates Jong-min for the 0-10 group, since he fits right in with children who can’t communicate. Aw.
javabeans: Not only can’t communicate, but share the same sensibility with regard to the impossible. Which is totally true, although I also see Ji-won fitting in, with his childlike way of doing things.
girlfriday: They do the math and realize that four teams will be left without captains, and Na PD offers up the solution — four guest MCs, who will join them on the trip. The boys get all excited. The first is Baek Ji-young, singer, longtime friend of most of the members, and a recurring guest for the previous Viewer Tours.
javabeans: She comes out covering her hair from the drizzle, until Ho-dong jokes, “Since when have you cared so much about your appearance?”
girlfriday: I love that she’s close enough to the members that they tease her mercilessly. She’s currently dating Jung Seok-won, and Ho-dong launches straight into how she looks pretty because she’s in love, and Seung-gi makes the mistake of saying she’s looking younger these days. She tries to change the subject, but when she uses the word “boyfriend,” Ji-won mocks her relentlessly in that annoying little brother tone. It cracks me up.
javabeans: It’s so cute when she realizes they’re prepared to tease her for dayyyyys. I get the sense she can hold her own against these boys, except right now they’ve got the gold mine of her new, hot, younger boyfriend to use for joke fodder.
girlfriday: She tries her best to weasel out of talking about her love life, but she’s no match for Ho-dong, who busts out his MC-fu. Ho-dong: “Why are we doing the Viewers Tour? So that we can share similar experiences about life.” Ji-young: “Yes, so we should talk about life, not love.” Ho-dong: “What’s the most important thing as you live life? Love.” She starts to nod her head in agreement. Ho-dong: “So what’s the most important thing?” Ji-young: “Love.” Ho-dong: “Who do you love?” Ji-young: “Jung Seok-won.” Hook, line, and sinker.
javabeans: Thankfully for her, there’s only so much time they can spend on her before moving on to the second guest.
girlfriday: The song comes on to introduce the next guest, and the guys perk up in surprise to hear Shinee’s “Lucifer” play. They’re like, an idol? On OUR show? They get their hopes up… and Jeon Hyun-moo walks in, dashing their hopes. Ha. This guy’s hilarious. He’s a KBS announcer, but he’s more like a gagman-MC. He introduces himself as the Ajumma’s Pororo.
javabeans: And they were all excited about getting an idol as their teenage representative, too. Ji-won, to the producers: “Have you just given up on this broadcast, then?” Hehe. Wouldn’t the Ajumma’s Pororo actually be Seung-gi? He calls them rivals — Seung-gi is for loving, and he’s for playing.
girlfriday: What’s great is that he admits to being called yesterday to show up the next morning. “I’m useful for filling a show in a hurry.” Aw. They introduce the third guest — ballad singer Sung Shi-kyung — which is a surprise because he’s not as much the variety type. It turns out he’s friends with Ho-dong though, which is weird.
javabeans: I don’t know much about his persona, but he always struck me as being quieter — or maybe that’s the impression his love ballads leave. Ho-dong sets about tarnishing his sparkly image, though, insisting that they’re actually not that different, and that Sung Shi-kyung is actually not as refined as his image.
girlfriday: Yeah, it struck me as an odd choice, but then the more he talks, you realize he’s hilarious. I mean, he’s comfortable enough to make fun of Ho-dong.
javabeans: It’s almost funnier because he mocks Ho-dong with such a deadpan delivery that you don’t realize he’s insulted him until he’s done it.
girlfriday: Like when he says that you think Ho-dong purposely lowers himself on television to make others look good… but then you meet him in person and he really is that ignorant. HA. Is it because he’s bigger than Ho-dong that he’s not afraid of getting hit?
javabeans: When Seung-gi says he’d prefer to get the 0-9 or teenage age group, the others muse that he must not have any nephews or nieces, to want such a difficult age bracket. MC Hyun-moo asks, “Does Seung-gi have a girlfriend?” and Shi-kyung tosses out, “I’ll bet he does.” And then Shi-kyung gives him the narrowed side-eye and volunteers to use his time on the show to “uncover Seung-gi’s true self,” speculating, “He’s got something [he’s hiding].”
girlfriday: That cracks me up. He’s not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking.
javabeans: I love that Shi-kyung is suspicious — not because Seung-gi seems fishy, but because he doesn’t seem fishy at all. And how not only is Seung-gi’s image squeaky clean, there aren’t even any rumors to the contrary. Someone that perfect, he declares, must definitely be hiding something. Hee!
girlfriday: It’s that annoying lack of scandal that makes people wonder if Seung-gi’s for real. Ho-dong tries this all the time — to uncover some hidden truth about him. But Seung-gi’s so versed in Ho-dong’s MC style that he cuts the conversation with answers like, “Yes, I’m married,” and “I just party all night.”
javabeans: It’s like if we can’t see the dirt on the outside, it must be on the inside! But maybe Seung-gi’s just that entertainment-world unicorn: Multi-talented, does everything well, treats old people with respect, takes good care of his momma, doesn’t have any airs, and is all-around a nice, decent guy. Wait, now I’M suspicious.
girlfriday: Ha. Right? I think he’s all of those things, but more importantly, he’s also savvy. He knows what to show and what not to. He’s famous for having paparazzi follow him for days trying to dig up dirt, and they all come up empty-handed. A Seung-gi scandal is like the media’s white whale.
javabeans: The fourth guest won’t show till later, so for now they’re complete. Na PD declares that they have a mission — natch! — before leaving. Shi-kyung: “Of course they wouldn’t just send us off normally.” Na PD calls this an exercise of team unity, which involves uniforms.
girlfriday: The mission is to decide which team uniform they’ll get to wear — winter parkas or summer shorts. Shi-kyung whines that these are those “Northern Face” parkas that film crews wear in the dead of winter, and I’m wondering what he’s talking about, until I realize he means the brand, North Face. It’s that strange thing that happens when English gets translated into Korean and then back into English, and Pizza Hut becomes Pizza Cottage or something.
javabeans: That happens with movie titles all the time. It’s so disorienting. Or every once in a blue moon, a Korean site will link to Dramabeans, and translate snippets of our recaps and comments into Korean. So then there’s Korean into English back into Korean again. It’s hilarious and weird.
girlfriday: It’s like playing telephone but with two languages.
javabeans: Dude, that should totally be an 1N2D game! Play telephone, but you have to alternate languages between clues/people.
girlfriday: Na PD tells them the mission is to find nine flags hidden all over the KBS complex in ten minutes. Shi-kyung gets so flustered that when Hyun-moo interrupts him, he snaps at him in banmal. Everyone dies laughing and Shi-kyung admits to knowing how Kim Jung-tae felt when he was a guest.
javabeans: This show totally has a way of stripping down formalities like that — but it’s easy to get carried away and forget that, uh, you’re still my sunbae.
girlfriday: Hyun-moo’s like, I’m getting hit on one side, and being talked down to on the other side… he’s got a knack for being the funny punching bag guy.
javabeans: Okay, I’m loving Shi-kyung. He’s got that (seemingly) straightforward way of delivering a punchline, which actually makes it more unexpected, since I’m used to a set-up-and-joke rhythm. Na PD replies to the team’s complaints that 10 minutes is too quick, saying that they’ve all been to the KBS studios at some point, right? Shi-kyung answers, “I’m an MBC DJ. You should research properly when preparing a show!”
girlfriday: Omg, he’s cracking me up.
javabeans: Caption: “This man…is a formidable opponent.” I love that the guests are arguing more strenuously than the members. Finally, with Hyun-moo’s intervention — as a KBS announcer, he’s deemed the most knowledgeable — they get Na PD to increase the time limit to 15 minutes. Each member is given a slip of paper with a location on it, and Su-geun complains that his isn’t even in hangul. And honestly, what the heck is an “ingest room”? Is this one of those weird false cognate faux-translations?
girlfriday: It has to be, unless that’s the room people eat in.
javabeans: The only other explanation I can think of is that it’s a misspelled way of writing “In Guest Room.” Heh. Or, uh… the thing it almost looks like, incest room. Which, let’s not go there.
girlfriday: Maybe it’s the makjang writers room, where they come up with incest storylines and birth secrets. Or… it’s a term for archiving digital media, according to Google. Darn, I like our ideas better. Seung-gi gets the easiest one — Na PD’s desk, which he finds straightaway. He shakes his head at the mess, and then starts going through Na PD’s things. Hyun-moo and Shi-kyung are fast as well, and they decide to help the other members find their rooms.
javabeans: Hyun-moo wonders, “Was 15 minutes too long?” and Shi-kyung jokes that he has time for a coffee break before returning, ha. I love that Ji-young argued so fiercely for extra time because of her particular phobia of descending stairs (“It’ll take me 5 minutes just to go down the stairwell!”) and then she races down, even skipping steps. Ha. She finds the cafeteria but misses the flag by several feet, and the food ajummas try to hint, “Open your eyes WIDE and look! In front!” It’s like playing hot-hot-cold with the entire lunch line of employees chiming in (“It’s right there!”), and still she misses it! Ha. Thankfully, and with a lot of hints, she finally gets it.
girlfriday: Everyone gets their flags and heads up to the roof, but the last two holdouts are Ho-dong who can’t find the CG room, and Ji-won who has to travel the farthest to get to the Music Bank auditorium, on top of which he has to search the entire theater for his flag.
javabeans: He ought to be pressed for time, but he takes a minute to sit and catch his breath, and trade hellos with Sistar, the group rehearsing onstage for their performance later. Even the caption reads, “But you shouldn’t have time for that?” Eventually they all make it back, and Na PD declares it a successful mission — with 1 minute and 25 seconds left. It’s a good thing they argued for time.
girlfriday: I love how obviously disappointed Na PD is. He declares the mission a success in the most deflated, tiny voice.
javabeans: So everyone changes into their summer-appropriate uniforms and heads out. Upon seeing the teeny car in which all nine have to squish for the drive down to Gangwon-do, Ho-dong asks Na PD incredulously if they were actually going to make the guys huddle together in parkas in this heat all the way. Na PD just says, in his noncommittal way, that it’s not like they’ve never experienced such hardship before. Ho-dong points out that their guests would have to suffer too, and Na PD answers that he’d like to think of their guests as team members now. Ha. He’s so sneaky while being diplomatic.
javabeans: Before I even get a chance to crack a joke about the boys (and girl) getting all close and friendly as one unified, uniformly dressed team, Seung-gi actually plays with Ji-won’s hair. If he would only braid it, that would make my day.
girlfriday: You and me both. Although not as much as a haircut would.
javabeans: Omg, I love Shi-kyung’s warning notes: One of his radio colleagues is a huge fan of 1N2D, to the extent that he has seen every episode. Upon hearing Shi-kyung was slated to come on, he sent him words of advice. I DIE:
“First, don’t trust anyone. Especially in individual games. If PD Na Young-seok is nice to you, there’s definitely a hidden motive. For instance, if he gives you food readily, that means you’ll have to earn that food twice or three times over in suffering. If you talk about Na PD negatively and get a big reaction from the members, it’ll broadcast without being edited out. If there’s a race divided into teams, get on the same team as Eun Ji-won’s “Brain” and Seung-gi’s “Diligence.” But these two have no sense of direction. If Lee Seung-gi acts like he knows the way, don’t trust him. Kang Ho-dong has the best sense of direction, but if you’re on the same team as him, even if you win your body will suffer. But it’s the best way of getting airtime. Okay, for playing games with balls: For jegi (hackeysack?), Lee Su-geun is the best. Seung-gi is the worst. In races, Lee Su-geun is fastest, then Uhm Tae-woong, then Lee Seung-gi. Kang Ho-dong is slow. For continuous kicks or hits with soccer balls and volleyballs, Kang Ho-dong is the best. In jokgu, Lee Su-geun’s the jjang, and Uhm Tae-woong is Dog Feet.”
girlfriday: HAHAHA. It’s like a crash-course. 1N2D: The Survival Guide.
javabeans: What say you, longtime watcher? Accurate?
girlfriday: Scary accurate. I like that it’s broken down into Races, Airtime, and Games with Balls. Heh. If this person ever wanted to write a more complete version, he’d have to add sub-categories like Jokes That Ho-dong Likes, Faces With Foods, Song Lyrics Rewritten, The Art of Water Immersion, and Betrayal and Bromance.
javabeans: Randomly, Ho-dong starts testing Ji-young’s usefulness to the team, asking her (apropos of nothing, mind you) if she knows various country capitals. Haha. The members all chime in to mess her up when he asks for Italy’s capital, tossing out Toronto, Eiffel Tower, Beijing. And then she lands on… “Milan!”
girlfriday: Ji-won: “Noona, you’re really dumb, aren’t you?” I love that he says it like a bratty brother, not in a mean way.
javabeans: Next task: For lunch, they’ll have a chance to earn their food allowance. But it’s a tough one, because the game hinges upon their ability to not be recognized as the enter a rest stop. Dude, I’ve seen the episodes where they drop in just for a few minutes. There’s like a mob at their feet in about twenty seconds flat. The members are told to count off, and by arbitrarily selected number, Ji-won is singled out. The challenge? For every second that he’s able to stand upon an X near the information center undetected, they earn 100 won, which is like a dime.
girlfriday: It’s a lucky thing that Ho-dong didn’t get picked for this game. He’d last maybe half a second. I don’t even know if he’d get to the mark before being recognized.
javabeans: Yeah, I know! I was thinking Seung-gi would have a tough time too, since he’s by far the most popular, but there’s just no mistaking Ho-dong’s shape and silhouette. Seung-gi might last a few seconds. Shi-kyung comments, “But I can walk around like normal and not get recognized” before remembering, “Wait, that was always at nighttime.” There’s just something about his dry delivery that cracks me up. Ji-won is allowed a hat, but Ji-young tells the cast, just in case they don’t realize just how far-reaching their popularity actually is, that the everyone in the entire country watches this show and will recognize him.
girlfriday: But Ji-won does a good job of making an old grandpa face, and walking like an old man. It’s possible he’ll last a while because he’s putting on a persona, rather than trying to stay hidden.
javabeans: He does do the grandpa underbite pretty well, and makes his way to the X unseen. But people pass by, some of them looking twice…
girlfriday: Will they get to eat like kings? Or will they have to split a stick of gum nine ways?