The Viewer Tour special continues (but does not yet conclude)! In this segment, we’re shown that even simple things like feeding and transportation can be a laborious effort, although surely it doesn’t help when there’s a nefarious PD at the helm, bokbulbok-ing his way through everything.
The massive ensemble makes its way from Yeoeuido to the airport in Incheon, to their final destination of Busan. Along the way, the special guests bond, some with each other and some with the cast members in charge of their journeys. It’s an hour of Awwws.
EPISODE 351. Broadcast on September 11, 2011.
girlfriday: It’s time to spin the money wheel, so each captain can score some lunch money — 10,000 or 100,000 won (roughly 10 and 100 dollars) — which means some teams have to eat for less than a dollar a person. Prince or pauper, for sure. They spin, and Ji-young (teens), Ho-dong (20s) and Ji-won (70s) all get 10,000 won. Su-geun (60s) manages to land on the one tiny sliver for 200,000 won, and Na PD’s face falls. Everyone else gets 100,000 won.
javabeans: I’d say the most worried is Shi-kyung, not only because he has the frail 100-year-olds to think of, but also because he’s last to spin and every entry has popped up except for the dreaded zero. The others encourage him on, pointing out that Su-geun’s 60-year-olds are swimming in riches, and to them, the 90-to-100 group is like their parents’ age. They lay it on thick: “They don’t seem the kind of people who could let their parents starve.” Ha. I’m glad that if anybody had to deal with skimpy lunch, it was the youngsters. Not the babies, but the 11 to 29 year olds, although Ho-dong still feels the need to bow in apology to his group. I bet if any of the extreme groups ended up strapped for cash, the others would have stepped up, which would have been feel-good but defeated the purpose of bokbulbok.
girlfriday: And thus begins the negotiating, as Ho-dong proposes how nice it would be if they all pooled their money and ate together. Yeah that’s not transparent or anything. Su-geun’s team immediately vetoes that idea, since they have the most to lose in that deal. Ji-won pulls out the age card, getting his 70s grandpas to speak out on behalf of sharing, but one 60s ajusshi refuses to back down. Leave it to 1N2D to break down social hierarchies in the face of starvation.
javabeans: I bet Na PD loves him. His team earned the big lunch, and ajusshi wants to enjoy the privilege. NO sharing! It turns into this full-on debate, with those opposed to sharing asking, “Then why did we bother with the game?” and those for sharing replying, “For fun!” That…defies the purpose of 1N2D: To do things for pride, luck, or shame.
girlfriday: They break into teams and everyone gets a shirt with their age on the back. That’s cute. Now everyone’s easily wrangled into their groups, which is probably helpful in the crazy mass.
javabeans: Do you love how the 80-year-olds are marveling at how young Grandpa 93 is? They’re like, “Maybe he got registered wrong.” (In the olden days, a lot of times births weren’t recorded immediately and birthdates were approximated, although usually you could suppose the parents got the year right.)
girlfriday: The captains head out to buy lunch, and the ones with 100,000 won go straight to restaurants to choose what they like. Su-geun just picks up his phone and calls for delivery, because why not? He asks for the total and then laughs, telling the delivery person to bring change. Heh.
javabeans: It’s hilarious because he’s just throwing out names of dishes now, whatever he can think of, and he’s still got like 40 bucks left at the end.
girlfriday: The real battle is for the 10,000 won captains. Ji-won goes for kimbap, and deals to get seven rolls for his 10,000 won. Ho-dong decides he can only afford convenience store food, and finds two loaves of bread and two tiny cartons of milk for everyone to share. Okay, that’s a really sad lunch. Especially for Ho-dong who’s such an ajusshi about his food, always wanting rice and soup.
javabeans: That’s really pathetic, although I wondered if perhaps he didn’t make the smartest decision. Couldn’t he have bought those kimbap rolls, or at least the triangle kimbaps? I think he went for volume, like what looked biggest.
girlfriday: Ji-young refuses to accept her poverty and takes matters into her own hands, visiting richer teams to see if anyone’s handing out freebies. They’re not, so she’s forced to move on. But she finds Seung-gi at his restaurant and bounds up with a big smile, and makes a business deal: her teens will give his 40s team massages on the plane, at 2000 won a pop. Oh, man, she’s brilliant! He gives her all his remaining change, and she heads for the cheaper restaurant, to make the most of what she has.
javabeans: I love how Ji-young railroads over Seung-gi, and then the restaurant owner. She has this huge bright smile and basically speed-talks, trying to get things her way before they have a chance to think too hard about it. Seung-gi has that look on his face right after she talks and almost just wrestles money from him, like he thinks he’s being swindled but hasn’t yet figured out how.
girlfriday: Shi-kyung buys abalone porridge and serves it himself to his team, and this little vignette is a nice example of the stress of serving to a table of elders. First of all, he has to do it in order, so eldest gets served first, and then literally down the ladder, next eldest, and then next eldest. All the while he has to stop every time someone asks for something, and it doesn’t help that the oldest, Grandpa 102, isn’t afraid to shout his name whenever he wants something. “Sung Shi-kyung!!!” It’d be scary if he wasn’t so cute.
javabeans: It’s so funny. His group has no idea who he is, they just know he’s some young dude who’s team captain, and Grandpa 102 doesn’t even say it like it’s a name (Shi-kyung-sshi, Shi-kyung-ah, Shi-kyung-ee). He just shouts it like a declaration. Like you would say, “Garçon!”
girlfriday: Su-geun even buys energy drinks for his team with all his leftover money, and urges them to eat up, since it might be their last meal on this trip. It’s true — you never know when your next meal is coming. Ji-young continues on her quest to get more money, giving the 50s team an impromptu concert in the middle of a startled restaurant, for a little more cash. She cracks me up. I love how she orders too: “3000 won’s worth that LOOKS like 6000 won.” She’s gonna make a damn good ajumma someday.
javabeans: That was totally my thought too. She’s gonna be an awesome ajumma.
girlfriday: Oh man, I do not envy the job that Hyun-moo has. Even just handing out milk and doughnuts is a big rigamarole.
javabeans: Okay, which misguided bachelor ajusshi-man thought it was wise to give a BUSLOAD of fidgety children doughnuts to eat?
girlfriday: Right? Let’s pump them full of sugar!
javabeans: He actually bought real food too, but he gives EACH child a box containing three doughnuts, first thing, and then the real food. Yeahhhh, that’s gonna work.
girlfriday: He’s new.
javabeans: Also childless, I’m assuming, with no nieces or nephews to speak of. Perhaps he’s never had contact with any children ever, since he was one himself.
girlfriday: This is gonna be a rough weekend for him, isn’t it? So the exodus toward the buses begins, and there’s this hilarious moment when Jong-min’s 80s team tries to get on the elevator, and then Shi-kyung kicks them out for the 90s team. He realizes his position of power all of a sudden, and starts saying to the sea of 80-something grandmas, “Move aside, dongsengs!” Hahaha.
javabeans: I love how Shi-kyung escorts his grandmas personally, holding hands and helping them on the bus. Man, he may have picked a hard group but this show’s gonna do wonders for his image. Granted, it’s not like he’s saving the world or anything but his demeanor is so respectful and sweet that you can’t help but Aww at it. One granny apologizes at one point, presumably for making him walk so slowly with her, and he’s all, “Are you walking fast because of me?” and “What are you sorry for, halmoni?” Like it’s his pleasure.
girlfriday: Yeah, he already has a gentle image to begin with, but this show’s gonna have women lining up to marry him.
javabeans: It’s so sweet how Grandma 98 falls alseep holding his hand in the bus. She’s teeny, and he’s extra-tall, so it’s like she’s half his size, literally.
girlfriday: It’s the cutest thing ever. Now I wanna marry him.
javabeans: (See that, people? Now’s your chance to steal Seung-gi, while she’s distracted!)
girlfriday: I’m not THAT distracted!
javabeans: Then that means I can have Shi-kyung! Ha! I think the 50s group is a good choice for Byung-man, who isn’t getting much screentime but at least is getting tons of ajumma love. In the bus, his ajummas actually feed him kimbap and marvel at his young hands. It’s so cute. Hyun-moo leads his kids in some schoolroom games like “What does this animal sound like?” One kid pipes up that he can sound like grandpa, and demonstrates: “Aigoo, my back!” Keh. While they’re en route to the airport from Seoul to Incheon (not a very scenic drive along the expressway), Seung-gi half-jokingly points outside to the Han River, as though poking fun at their lack of a view, until the Hilarious Ajumma (I’m just gonna call her that) is wowed anyway and he remembers that most of these participants haven’t traveled much. She’s even amazed at the view of Seoul’s high-rises and the busy traffic. “People live so busily here.”
girlfriday: Su-geun gets advice on being a parent, and finds that almost everyone in his group was sent on this trip by their daughters. He worries that he only has two sons, and all the parents agree that daughters are the ones that think of parents and take care of them as they age, and they advise him to have another. I love that that’s always the solution. Just have another! Like a cookie.
javabeans: Is Tae-woong playing matchmaker on his team? Or did those two come as a couple?
girlfriday: He’s totally playing matchmaker, though he really ought to be focusing on himself!
javabeans: Hee. Isn’t it amazing how this show can totally shape (or reshape) your image of a person? Before, I just thought of Tae-woong as a cool celebrity with a rugged appeal, and now I feel like he’s the cute but bumbling manchild for whom his noonas are trying diligently to find a match, who gets set up on dates that he manages to fumble by talking about weird things, or doing something he doesn’t know is insulting, and scaring off all the women.
girlfriday: And now that he’s on 1N2D, the whole country’s trying to marry him off.
javabeans: He obliges one of his team members, who asks him to call her sister-in-law because it’s their baby’s birthday. Tae-woong wishes her baby a happy dol, and then adds that it must be a worry that Hyung-mi (Ms. 31) is still single, and totally throws in another teammate’s name in the mix as a good match, and even puts him on the phone with the sister-in-law.
girlfriday: The dad from the daddy-daughter pair tells Su-geun that he’s searching for relatives of his adopted daughter’s birth mother, so that he can connect her to some long-lost relatives. His heartfelt story brings everyone including Su-geun to tears. It’s really sweet the way the bus full of parents bonds over their mutual love for their kids.
javabeans: Shi-kyung listens rapt as Grandpa 102 relates all these stories about being alive in monumental historic occasions, like the liberation from the Japanese and so forth. Even though Korea is a society that respects the elderly, there’s a little extra reverence when you’re talking about this group. It’s like at a point, there’s value and beauty in the sheer fact of existing — to have made it through so much and this far. Like Grandpa 102 says, he’s seen so many people go through tremendously difficult times, but they died “before they got to see any of the good stuff.” Shi-kyung says somebody needs to sit down with him and record all his stories, which I really hope is a suggestion that gets taken seriously.
girlfriday: The teams start arriving at the airport, and someone on Tae-woong’s team asks him why there isn’t a mob screaming “OPPA!” like she’s seen on TV. Tae-woong says sheepishly, “That’s Seung-gi.” Heh.
javabeans: Speaking of whom, Seung-gi finds himself accosted by giggly girls, who swarm him and ask for hugs. He’s happy to oblige, and they exclaim, “You’re the best!” and tell him that he hurts their eyes because he shines so brightly…but then he comes upon them doing the same thing to Hyun-moo (who is so shocked to be suddenly accosted and informed how good-looking he is, haha). Seung-gi’s all, “I thought you were MY fans!”
girlfriday: I love Hyun-moo’s comeback: “Your type can get tiresome after a while.” Hehehe.
javabeans: And then they hit up Tae-woong for more hugs, haha. Ah, the fickle fangirl. The reason they’re roaming around so freely is probably partly because Ji-young’s busy tending to her 11-year-old, who got hit with some bad motion sickness from the bus ride. Thankfully, Dr. 40 is around to take a look — we knew he’d come in handy, right?
girlfriday: It’s so sweet how comfortably she takes care of her charge, just like a real noona would, stopping to tie his shoe and taking him by the hand.
javabeans: Hyun-moo really takes to the cute 2-year-old who’s nicknamed “three seconds” because he smiles every three seconds. I’m thinking he’s actually doing a pretty good job with his kids, but Su-geun comes up to tell him he’s being boring, and then livens things up. This must be where actually having kids comes in handy.
girlfriday: There’s clearly a big difference between the dad and the ajusshi. Jong-min arrives with the 80s team, and the youngsters all rush to get up and clear seats for them… but then Shi-kyung is straight on his heels. He walks up saying, “If you’re under 90, move!” Hahahaha! I love how he’s taking to his job with such panache.
javabeans: Shi-kyung passes out passports and plane tickets to his group, and stops to gape at their national ID numbers. The first two numbers indicate birth year, so he’s used to seeing the numbers start with, say, 79 or 85 or whatnot. But his group? They’re straight-up 10s and 11s and it’s the oddest thing to all the younguns.
girlfriday: I love that Tae-woong seeks out the little girl who picked him as her favorite, just to give her another hug. But 8-year old Little Kang Ho-dong pushes him away, clearly jealous.
javabeans: She’s adorable. I think the show is pushing a made-up loveline between her (Little Miss 5-year-old) and the 4-year-old boy, but sometimes I’m like, “He really does love his pretty noona!”
girlfriday: I know! He always trails after her and wants to hold her hand. They definitely win the cutest couple award.
javabeans: I love how Su-geun plays with his hat pretending to do a magic trick to produce a bird…and comes up with a hand puppet of a bird. But the kids turn on him right quick and hit his hands, saying, “That’s not a bird!” Byung-man laughs and tells him, “What you did was worthy of hitting.” And Jong-min has come prepared to take care of 80-year-olds, with tonics and sweets and lots of goodies. I love him when he’s being so earnest.
girlfriday: So the phone calls to family members start, and all the grandmas go around asking the boys to call their grandchildren to say hello. Seung-gi calls one, expecting a young girl, and greets her informally, “It’s Seung-gi oppa.” And then the grandma’s all, “She’s the noona!” Seung-gi straightens right up frantically, “Noonim!” That cracked me up.
javabeans: It’s doubly hilarious because before he corrects himself, he’s talking to her like she’s a little kid: “Hiiiiiii~ And how old are you?” I knew that was gonna happen — that somebody would get the ages all wrong and create an awkward moment!
javabeans: Then it’s time to board their chartered plane, seated according to their colored shirts. I love how the 40-something ajumma’s reaction to the plane and the children’s is essentially the same: lots of fiddling around, wowing over features, and wondering how these dang things work. Shi-kyung does a head count and worries because he’s lost one, but then finds her in her seat — she was just too teeny to see.
girlfriday: Everyone’s amazed at the sight of Grandpa 102 reading the paper just like some ordinary ajusshi on a plane. Ho-dong’s jaw drops, and he bows at the awesomeness of Gramps.
javabeans: Once they’re in flight, Na PD gets on the speaker to announce…in-flight beverage bulbulbok! This man gives nothing for free, does he? Heh. The rules are simple: Ho-dong and Su-geun will man the cart o’ mysterious drinks, which all look like standard juices. Each member of the team has to drink a small cup of the stuff, and if they succeed, they win dinner rights. That right off tells you that this is gonna be gross.
girlfriday: There’s good and bad news: if any of the team members can’t drink, they can hand it off to their captain, who has to finish it all.
javabeans: As expected, the drinks turn out hard to stomach, though they’re all potable ingredients. For instance, the “grape juice” has a mixer: soy sauce. And orange juice is flavored with vinegar.
girlfriday: Ugh, the vinegar OJ’s gotta be way worse than the soy sauce grape.
javabeans: I dunno, I’m split on them. Because you can drink vinegar for health reasons. Or maybe it’s just my mom who made me. *shudders at the memory.*
girlfriday: Shi-kyung and Hyun-moo watch with dark faces, bracing themselves for the inevitable: ten shots of mystery liquid for each of them.
javabeans: I’m curious as to what all the others are mixed with, but as it turns out, the short 1-hour flight from Seoul to Busan cuts this bokbulbok short, and Na PD tells them everyone gets dinner anyway. Everyone cheers…except for Team 40s and Teens, who feel their efforts have gone in vain. But how can you argue against Ho-dong, who reminds them that that’s the nature of bok (luck) bulbok (no luck)? Seung-gi tries to insist that their beverage stewards have a taste of their own medicine, which prompts Ho-dong to hurry past and cite “safety” as his excuse for chickening out.
girlfriday: Next week: we land in Busan, and the real games begin!