EPISODE 354. Broadcast on October 2, 2011.
javabeans: Wow, finally a “regular” episode, with the Viewer Tour and various guest specials over. Although I’m not sure if it’s going to feel normal for a while, with Ho-dong gone. As we’ve seen before, even just a temporary absence can change the dynamic pretty significantly. I’m curious to see how things shake out.
girlfriday: I like that it’s just as awkward and disconcerting for them as it is for us. Sometimes shows try to cover up changes or pretend like they don’t know what’s going on, but 1N2D without Ho-dong is not something you can just skirt around and expect people not to notice. It’s been a month hiatus while everything went down, so there’s a bit of anticipation from all the guys as they greet each other and get ready for the opening.
javabeans: Do you like how they all give Seung-gi grief about his hair?
girlfriday: He’s having some serious hair issues lately. Not gonna lie. Na PD makes them stand in birth order, because I guess that’s as good an order as any, since now it’s sort of arbitrary. That puts Ji-won in the center, which makes him nervous.
javabeans: It’s like they’re back in school. I like how they’re thrown by the request, since it’s not like they’ve ever needed to stand in any order before. It’s always weird to me how the producers will be like, “We’re starting now!” and “Let’s begin filming!” because to us, they’re already shooting. Ha. It’s that weird painting-in-a-painting feeling.
girlfriday: It’s what makes this show feel so intimate, so behind-the-scenes. We get to see both the “show” show and the raw stuff that normally gets left on the cutting room floor. AW, their old-school opening is so cute. They’re trying so hard!
javabeans: It’s adorable. And they’re so earnest as they do their intro, explaining how they’ll try their best to fill Ho-dong’s shoes.
girlfriday: I love that they talk about it directly, and say that they’ll do their best for their hyung, who’s watching. And then Su-geun pulls a classic Ho-dong move and does a full bow to the ground without warning.
javabeans: Omg, how hilarious. Everyone’s awkwardly stuck in a bow and he’s on the ground, and there’s no saving this moment. Ji-won’s all, “We just said we’d do this together, and there you go, showing off alone.” Ji-won argues strenuously to take himself out of the central position, saying he feels too much pressure there: “I promise I’ll work reallllly hard from the corner!” Na PD and the others argue that this is a fair arrangement, but I’m thinking they’re just relieved it’s not them in the middle.
girlfriday: I feel like there’s always a push and pull between Na PD and Ji-won — Na PD wants Ji-won to be more front and center (making him team leader against his will, insisting that he’s the captain of a team regardless of age), while Ji-won resists it constantly. There’s something so fascinating about the fact that he refuses to stand in the middle, even though it’s based on age and nothing more. Perhaps he’s just keenly aware that he’s the quippy snarky guy who’ll miss his timing if he’s forced to be the straight man.
javabeans: Su-geun comments that this is the fastest Tae-woong has ever spoken in a shoot, and Ji-won jumps all over that and forces Tae-woong into the center, since he’s the new mat-hyung anyway.
girlfriday: Tae-woong: “So…where’re we going?” Hahaha. That’s the fastest they’ve ever gotten to the point. I have a feeling that if they let Tae-woong MC the whole show, it’d be five minutes long. Na PD tells them they’re going to visit local 5-day farmer’s markets all over Korea. The boys start asking what a 5-day market means. Ji-won: “Is that because it’s open for five days?” Seung-gi: “Hyung, if it’s open for all five days, then it would be open 365 days a year.”
javabeans: Tae-woong: “That’s a supermarket.” I love how confusing this is for them. Granted, it’s a little confusing for me too, before the explanation is given. Ji-won unveils the map, upon which five marts in five separate regions are marked. The team will separate, with each member heading to a separate locale. Ji-won points out that there are a whole bunch of these things really close by, so why the need to go alllll the way down to the tip of the peninsula? Hi Ji-won, have you met Na PD?
girlfriday: He gets so mad that his speech gets short, as he asks Na PD how they’ll determine who goes where, in near-banmal. Seung-gi points it out, amused, and Ji-won’s like, “Did I say that out loud?” Hahaha.
javabeans: Tae-woong, in his super-speed hosting mode, asks if he can take the closest location right off the bat. But no — naturally, Na PD has prepared a game. It’s a variation on the “Pat your head and rub your tummy” exercise, and in this version one fist thumps the chest while the other open hand moves up and down. Then, Na PD gives the signal and the hands have to swap duties. Eep, I’ve already failed this challenge and I haven’t even moved out of the hypothetical realm yet. Each member does it in turn, some lasting longer than others. Su-geun can’t even get the basic motion down, while Jong-min lasts until the swap.
girlfriday: This game is hilarious. It makes them look crazy.
javabeans: It makes them look like they’re doing something very inappropriate, is what.
girlfriday: The only person who can do it is Ji-won, who gets it on his first try. Damn, that guy is coordinated.
javabeans: I’m dying laughing as the four others keep trying and failing. They all do that thing you do when you’re frustrated, which is to do it harder, not better. So now they’re all beating their chests and looking like King Kong.
girlfriday: Eventually Su-geun rubs his chest, telling his nipples to go back in. Pfffft.
javabeans: Jong-min is so cute when he takes Ji-won’s hint (let the fist rest for one beat during the swap) but he’s so exaggerated that Na PD makes him do it one extra time just to make sure. He’s declared good, and finally he joins Ji-won in the winner’s circle.
girlfriday: Hahaha. His version is like the crazy robot on overdrive version. It must be a game that’s stacked in the idol dancer’s favor, ‘cause the other guys have no hope whatsoever.
javabeans: They’re given the first two picks, and I love that Ji-won and Jong-min explain that they really have wanted to see…the two closest locations. Just coincidence that they’re the nearest to Seoul, I’m sure.
girlfriday: Na PD gives them the mission: they have to buy one thing that universally represents the 5-day market, and one thing that is unique to their local 5-day market. Once they reconvene, all of the universal items have to be the same, and all of the unique items have to be different. They’re not allowed to communicate with each other, except through telepathy. I have serious doubts that they can pull this off.
javabeans: You know they’re Korean because the “huge reward” for succeeding is 300 bucks’ worth of top-of-the-line red pepper flakes, delivered to their wives or mothers. Okay, that bit of sexism aside (Oh honey, look what I won, now cook it!), apparently this is a good deal and the guys look adequately impressed. But I think this mission will be more motivated by fear of failure than desire of reward, because Na PD explains in his flowery way that losing will mean they have “not sufficiently understood” their market, and will be given “another chance to study”…by doing the exercise again the next day at a different market.
girlfriday: They try their damnedest to jedi-mind-trick each other to think of the simplest item, and just before they leave, Ji-won asks Na PD if it’s okay if their universal item looks different, as long as it’s the same kind of item. Na PD says of course, using a squash as an example — each of them could bring a squash of different shape/color/size, but if they’re all squash, then it’s a winner. Su-geun locks in on that and winks at the guys: “Na PD just SAID IT.” Ji-won is the first to catch on, and his eyes light up as he giggles. It’s just like their strategy to answer “WHALE!” no matter what the question is!
javabeans: HAHAHA. Na PD looks genuinely alarmed that he gave them an out, so he invents a new rule just to keep them from doing it: “It can’t be a squash!”
girlfriday: I love how flustered he is. In banmal: “Don’t do it!”
javabeans: They split up, and each arrive at their respective markets. Seung-gi has an awkward moment when his ajumma fans ask where Ho-dong is, and you can see that expression on his face, like, “Uh…what do I say to that?”
girlfriday: Wow, he was out of the car for two seconds before being asked about Ho-dong. You can tell it’s still so very new and awkward for him to answer that question because he doesn’t have a pat answer yet. All he can eke out is: “He’s at…h-home…”
javabeans: Thankfully they’re too excited to see him to really dwell on that, and just tell him he’s prettier in person and go on their merry way. Tae-woong eats his way through his market, and even asks a couple of ajummas for a taste of their jajangmyun. Hee, he really is starting to come out of his shell; he’s gotten much better at talking to strangers. Su-geun finds his own socks at a stand, in an 1N2D set. He marvels that they have his socks but not Seung-gi’s; shh, no one tell him that it’s probably because Seung-gi’s is sold out.
girlfriday: Hahaha. That’s exactly what the sock vendor tells him when he asks.
javabeans: Cut to: Montage of Seung-gi being mobbed by women of all ages, one after another. Omg, and then they start following him until he turns and there’s a crowd with their cameras out.
girlfriday: He’s never gonna get through the market at this rate. Pfffft! One of the ajummas stops to marvel at Seung-gi’s prettiness, and then when she gets to Na PD: “Oh you’re… you know… what’shisname.” Caption: “Yes, I’m what’shisname.”
javabeans: How adorable is Ji-won’s astonishment: “Whoa! Is broccoli always that big?” It’s totally a normal head of broccoli. Caption: “You cut it up, Ji-won-ah…” Nobody tell him where beef comes from…
girlfriday: Jong-min arrives at his market and blows through more than half his allowance in like ten minutes.
javabeans: Oh man, Jong-min, pace yourself buddy. He’s buying everything in sight. Some roots, a corn dog, a cucumber. He must suffer the same problem I do, which is feeling like you ought to buy something every time a shopkeeper is nice and helpful, and feeling guilty if you don’t. Unsurprisingly, I suck at bargaining.
girlfriday: He’s got the worst combination — guilt and bad math skills, so much that when his PD asks how much money he’s got left, he’s genuinely shocked that he blew through so much so quickly.
javabeans: Plus he’s a celeb, and he must be used to just buying what he wants. I just hope he has enough left to complete the mandatory mission purchases. The lunchlady ajumma even tells him he spent to much and refuses full payment, which is so sweet. They push the money back and forth a half-dozen times.
girlfriday: Meanwhile Ji-won is much more frugal, and finally caves when he sees a fishcake stand that makes his mouth water. He buys one and then gets mobbed by ajummas, so he has to carry his fishstick above his head. He quips that it’s become a fishcake torch. At the same time Seung-gi stops for his first snack: red bean porridge. I’m having serious food envy right now. All these delicious things I can’t eat!
javabeans: I just ate, and now I’m hungry again.
girlfriday: Omg, Na PD and Seung-gi are like a comedy routine.
javabeans: I’m giggling. It’s best because it’s totally random and unscripted. Na PD watches as Seung-gi orders some paht-jook, a red bean porridge with rice cake. Seung-gi likes it so much he tells Na PD to order one too, but Na PD is flat broke. So Seung-gi offers him a taste, and Na PD is there, already with a spoon at the ready.
girlfriday: He’s just standing there, spoon in hand. There’s something so hilarious about that visual.
javabeans: Then he borrows cash from the writer to order a dish of this soupy noodley dish.
girlfriday: It’s apparently like cold bean noodles, with the noodles replaced by strips of acorn jelly.
javabeans: I love that Seung-gi’s hinting he wants a taste, and Na PD is playing totally dense. Seung-gi: “Wow, that looks so good. SO GOOD. Is it good? How’s it taste? Good?” Na PD: *ignore*
javabeans: Finally they trade bowls for a taste, except when they trade back, Seung-gi complains that Na PD has eaten way more than he ate of his. And sure enough, there’s Seung-gi’s bowl, all emptied.
girlfriday: He totally got played. Meanwhile Tae-woong and Su-geun each stop for lunch, and Tae-woong takes a break to play with a puppy, which just about makes his day, I gather.
javabeans: It’s so cute how this ajumma also tries to refuse Seung-gi’s money. It’s the double-edged sword of this kind of scenario — ajumma wants to feed the nice boy, and the nice boy wants to pay and give her good business, and they push money back and forth a few times. But that was just a snack, because he stops by another stand for some jajangmyun, the kind that’s pulled by hand. He sits with two grannies already eating, and one of them looks at him in recognition, “You’re…the young man from the TV.” She knows he’s famous, kind of, but isn’t like the others who immediately squeal and dote on him. It’s so cute.
girlfriday: And then someone calls out Seung-gi’s name, asking if he recognizes him. Seung-gi’s eyes open wide, because he knows he knows this guy, but can’t quite place it… and then with a few hints, he remembers that he stayed at his house once.
javabeans: How cute — I wasn’t watching 1N2D when they first met him, but it seems like a memorable trip, with the man feeding and housing them.
girlfriday: It was really cute. Seung-gi and Ho-dong lost a game and so they had to do this trip with zero money and no place to stay.
javabeans: That explains Ho-dong faux-crying when he’s fed: “I was about to eat plastic!”
girlfriday: Yeah they were in really dire straits and this guy housed them and fed them, and they insisted on helping him with some work to repay his kindness.
javabeans: Seung-gi leaps up to hug the man and his wife, who have traveled a bit from home to do their shopping here. Seung-gi makes sure they received the gifts he and Ho-dong had sent to their son’s wedding, and I love how apropos the gifts are: Seung-gi sent flowers, Ho-dong sent meat.
girlfriday: Hahaha. That says it all. Aw, the way he rubs Seung-gi’s cheeks like a son is so cute. He’s just as happy to see Na PD, who also had to stay the night, since the whole crew had nowhere to sleep.
javabeans: Oh…my… Are the boys actually working the telepathy after all? One by one we see them looking around for their “universal” items, and Jong-min, Seung-gi, and Su-geun all stop to look at those flowery pants that make you think of rural markets. But the others are working the telepathy the other way, settling for puffed crackers.
girlfriday: I never would’ve thought pants. It’s pretty amazing that among the five of them, they’ve settled on two items.
javabeans: It’s a hard task — if I had to pick something at a carnival, for instance, would I go for cotton candy? Or funnel cake? Or some kind of cheap toy at the game booth? Ji-won is the first to arrive at basecamp, and gets bored waiting around. He waits for the next member to come, which turns out to be Seung-gi, and makes a few more comments about his hair. It’s cute that Seung-gi is open to the possibility of his hair being weird and asks for everyone’s opinion, but he’s not super insecure about it. He asks Ji-won if he should change it, knowing that he’ll be frank, and Ji-won tells him yes. So off they go to change it up.
girlfriday: I can’t believe he trusts Ji-won to be his stylist. Have you SEEN his hair?
javabeans: You mean, considering how Ji-won’s almost bald at the moment?
girlfriday: Yeah that too, but I meant more of his previous crazy hair, pre-shaving. He looks great now, but his bangs that came past his chin? Or his noona hair?
javabeans: They play barbershop with the hair dryer and wax, and now Ji-won’s just fucking with him. It’s like part Bieber, part Ronald McDonald. He looks like Krusty the Klown.
girlfriday: PWAHAHAHA. It’s Astro Boy! They do a Dooly and Astro Boy pose for the camera, and Seung-gi checks his hair in the mirror: “This is the weirdest hair I’ve ever seen.” This is definitely the cho-ding’s version of: How to blow an afternoon by fucking with my dongseng. Their mom’s gonna be so pissed. Eventually all the guys gather and it’s time to show off their purchases, starting with celebrity socks for everyone. *puts on Seung-gi socks to join in*
javabeans: Now it’s time to unveil the results of their respective shopping trips, whether it’s fish, seaweed, roots, or other specialty food items representative of the regions they were assigned to.
girlfriday: They start with the unique items. Su-geun warns them: “You’re going to be surprised. Ji-won, you’re going to be surprised…” and then he pulls out a string of dried fish that makes the squeamish Ji-won jump out of his seat. Hehe. He DID warn you. They stop when they get to Tae-woong’s root kimchi — they’ve gotta have a taste. They ask for a bowl of rice and immediately it’s rock-paper-scissors for a spoonful. Aw, how long has it been since they’ve played this game? It feels like forever.
javabeans: Su-geun and Ji-won win tastes, and they finish showing their market items. They’ve managed to avoid buying the same thing, but the harder part of the challenge is next…which we’ll have to wait a week to get to.
girlfriday: In Na PD’s bromancey terms: “Were your hearts connected? Will we be spending the next six months with good chemistry? Or…” Ji-won: “…Are we breaking up?” Hahaha. Wait. Don’t joke about that!