Omg. I don’t know if I’ve laughed as hard since the Great Pants-Dropping Episode of 2011. It’s a little bit wrong, but a whole lot hilarious. Or maybe it’s a whole lot wrong — but still gut-bustingly hysterical.
EPISODE 357. Broadcast on October 23, 2011.
girlfriday: Now that the boys are down the mountain, talk inevitably turns to food. Or the cruel lack thereof.
javabeans: It’s been nine hours of trekking. In the bus, Su-geun starts the rally cry, emphasizing the tininess of their lunch. The genteel professor wonders, “Won’t they have made dinner reservations?” Su-geun: “They are not those kind of people.”
girlfriday: Ji-won: “Now BOAT reservations, they…” Uh…how would you translate the way he says it?
javabeans: They cut with knife precision?
javabeans: It’s such a wayward metaphor! It means “They stick to like glue,” but that’s not what he says. He SAYS, “They cut like a knife.” Which makes no sense in English.
girlfriday: It FEELS like it ought to make sense, because it makes sense in Korean, and isn’t a complex metaphor. And yet…
javabeans: In any case, the professor sort of catches on, and he wonders if they’ve passed by the tofu restaurant that he knows is in the area. They have, to his disappointment, because if they hadn’t he figures they would’ve given them at least a block of tofu, “because it’s the humane thing to do.”
girlfriday: They pass by another monument, and ask what it is. Professor Yoo: “A tahb, tahb, just another tahb.” Haha. What does he care? He’s hungry!
javabeans: A PD mentions noodles, and the boys start chanting for them, only to have Na PD counter, “Why would we feed you without bokbulbok?” (To reiterate: Because it’s the humane thing to do?) I love that Professor Yoo has no qualms about pressing for an exception as their invited guest.
girlfriday: I love that when Na PD wonders, “Why would we give you rice?” (Because in Korean, rice = food.) The boys split hairs: “It’s not rice! It’s noodles!”
javabeans: Professor: “Are you never going to invite me back?” PD: “Uh…of course we have to invite you back!” Professor: “Then hurry up and give me food. Tofu, noodles, whatever.”
girlfriday: They reach an area of town with restaurants, and the chorus of “STOOOOOOP!” begins, first with the boys, and finally ending with the professor. Ha. Ji-won points out that the word was “Stop,” but the tone was: you little twerp.
javabeans: Na PD is so evil. We know this, and yet, the amazement is constant. He finally allows the bus to pull over in front of a restaurant and confirms that they’re open. The crew had planned for Dinner Bokbulbok to take place at basecamp, but the guys are so restless that he whips up an alternative on the fly. One by one, each member will exit the bus, and Na PD will ask which of two dishes he would like to eat. If ALL SIX members choose the same dish, he’ll buy dinner for them.
girlfriday: He’s like the stingiest dad ever.
javabeans: I guess it could’ve been worse though, since the options are scallion pancake versus noodles, and everyone had just been clamoring for noodles. Su-geun, Jong-min, and Seung-gi all choose noodles, and huddle together excitedly.
girlfriday: And then it’s Tae-woong’s turn, and he shouts all over-excitedly, “NOODLES!” Oh no. Did you just ruin it for everyone? He says he was trying to be enthusiastic, and Na PD just doubles over in laughter. Oh, Tae-woong. Still the new guy.
javabeans: Na PD is convinced everyone could hear inside the bus and orders a re-do with a new match-up. Aw, man. Although Ji-won admits that of course they could hear him, ha. Thankfully their telepathy is flowing today and they all pick tofu over fish soup.
girlfriday: What’s genius about Na PD is that he makes it so that a ten-dollar meal is like a gift from the heavens. If there’s one thing Seung-gi learned perfectly from Ho-dong, it’s that taste-food-and-cry face.
javabeans: You mean the “Am I hungry, or about to pee?” Yeah he’s got that down.
girlfriday: It’s that orphan-Annie look, tears brimming in equal amounts sadness and joy.
javabeans: Upon arrival at basecamp, Na PD declares that they’ll be merging the bokbulbok for dinner and sleeping rights. It’s got a bit of the morning trumpet-call mission mixed in, too, since he’s giving the five members some time to rest up, after which point a song will be their cue to find him. They’ll be given a task in the order that they find Na PD, and then the first two win. However, Na PD points out that after number 2 succeeds, the rest might just give up, so he’s got a “special bonus” (read: penalty) to last place: an outdoor bath. Beautiful night air, moonlit sky, actual frigging flower petals in the water…in this frigid air.
girlfriday: The flower petals are a nice touch. Hee.
javabeans: I love that this is basically Na PD playing hide and seek. He hides outside an adjacent building, in the shadows. The funniest thing about this is that the boys start reacting to each other’s reactions more than the actual chase, and Su-geun fakes them out by crying, “So THIS is where you are!” to distract them.
girlfriday: Tae-woong and Ji-won find him first, and get the mission — to find Professor Yoo who’s waiting at another national treasure. Ji-won takes off running first, but then he notices that all the other guys have gotten into cars. Whoops. He runs back to basecamp, now suddenly in last place. Su-geun decides to pick him up at the last minute, because hey, joining forces with Genius-won can’t hurt, right?
javabeans: The hint is written in poetic language, so it’s up to them to decide what location marks where history sleeps bathed in “golden light,” and Su-geun recalls hearing of famous tomb under which gold was buried. Alas, the guess is wrong, and when he uses his 30-second phone-a-guess chance to ask the Professor, he tells them he’s wrong. It’s back to the drawing board.
girlfriday: When the PD asks Professor Yoo who he thinks will find him first, he says Tae-woong, “because he played Kim Yu-shin.” Hahaha.
javabeans: On the road, Tae-woong has the choice of following Seung-gi or Su-geun’s cars, and chooses Su-geun because (1) he’s got Ji-won, and (2) Seung-gi is crap with directions. On the other hand, Jong-min decides to follow Seung-gi. I love that everyone’s basically trying to mooch clues from each other, but they’re just feeding their confusion with more confusion.
girlfriday: It’s hilarious because Jong-min chooses to trust Seung-gi’s booksmarts, while Tae-woong chooses to distrust Seung-gi’s roadsmarts. It’s anyone’s guess whether his strengths or weaknesses will win out.
javabeans: Jong-min follows Seung-gi to a gas station, which is convenient since Jong-min needs a fill-up. Seung-gi and Jong-min say hi to locals, and Seung-gi gets a valuable clue from a woman who recalls a particular headdress that is said to cast golden rays in the sunlight. She must be a Seung-gi fan, because after he thanks her and hurries off, Jong-min asks for the clue, and she tells him, “I don’t know.” HAHA. She only gives up the clue after an ajumma urges her to help Jong-min, too.
girlfriday: They both head in that direction and call the professor, who tells them that they’re both wrong. Panic starts to settle in, while Na PD, who’s riding along in Seung-gi’s car, starts smiling broadly. Evil.
javabeans: Heh. The professor is only allowed to answer in yes or no, and Jong-min confirms that it’s at least a tomb. But he starts flailing, asking randomly, Is it this tomb? That tomb? That other tomb?
girlfriday: Seung-gi: “I can’t think straight!” Na PD: “You know what’s good for that, is a cold shower…”
javabeans: Tae-woong pulls in to a parking lot and a crowd of youngsters immediately recognizes him and cheers. No time for pesky things like greetings, he heads directly to them to ask if they live around here and recognize the clue. Everyone immediately answers one way (it’s the one Su-geun guessed, which is wrong), but one lone dissident tosses out another name, that of a tomb. Hee, and then as he jogs back to his car, a kid declares, “He’s so cool!”
girlfriday: I’m having flashbacks to the college kids he met on his first episode, where he had to hitchhike. He has such an easy manner with strangers, despite seeming like he’d be shy. He calls the professor to see if he’s on the right trail, and as suspected, he’s the first to get it right. Professor Yoo is both impressed and pleased that Tae-woong is first. Kim Yu-shin for the win!
javabeans: Su-geun gets the same clue from a bunch of taxi drivers, but he’s used his phone call already so it’s up to Ji-won to confirm that they’re on the right track. They happen to be in front, though, so Tae-woong trails them. I love how Seung-gi’s head for directions is reliably bad, as noted by Jong-min and Tae-woong. When Jong-min changes course, he chuckles to himself that Seung-gi’s the only guy going in that direction, while everyone else is headed the opposite way. Tae-woong also notes that Seung-gi headed off in the wrong direction and wonders where he ended up: “Hehehe, he’s headed for the bath!”
girlfriday: One can only hope.
javabeans: The problem is, there are two cars headed in the right direction, but three people. Only two winners permitted. If Su-geun and Ji-won remain in the lead, no problem, But if Tae-woong manages to outstrip Ji-won and Su-geun — he’s riding their tail — this could be a problem. They ditch the vehicles, and the footrace begins. Ah, in this Tae-woong has the advantage, no?
girlfriday: Ji-won finds the professor first, and Su-geun is right behind him… but out of nowhere, Tae-woong comes up from behind and overtakes Su-geun so fast he doesn’t even notice. Pffft.
javabeans: That’s what Su-geun gets for moseying along, talking on the phone all complacent-like! And how much do I love that the method of claiming victory is to HUG the professor?
girlfriday: The first two hug him at the same time, and Ji-won turns around in the middle of his man-sandwich, shocked to see Tae-woong and not Su-geun there. HA. Surprise!
javabeans: Omg, I’m cracking up. Here Ji-won is, hugging the professor, assuming that one guy is hugging him, only to find it’s someone else.
girlfriday: The professor declares Ji-won officially graduated from elementary school. Heh.
javabeans: Su-geun decides to give his two wandering hoobaes a hint and calls Seung-gi and Jong-min in turn, getting them as far as the syllables geum-kwan, and then hanging up to let them figure out the rest (they’re at Geumkwanchong).
girlfriday: The race not to be last is more nerve-wracking than the race to be first!
javabeans: Seung-gi’s 1.6km away while Jong-min’s 600m away, although once Jong-min’s in the vicinity he has trouble nailing down the exact spot. Seung-gi’s about to die, hoping he’s not last.
girlfriday: Jong-min makes it there first, and then Su-geun and Ji-won decide to mess with Seung-gi and pretend that Jong-min went elsewhere. HA.
javabeans: That’s SO MEAN. Hee. Especially since Seung-gi is so panicked to begin with. Jong-min calls him to check where he is, and lies that he’s 2km away, and Seung-gi grins, thinking he’s got a shot. The captions helpfully point out how Seung-gi lies (er, “acts”) like a pro, while Jong-min is still an acting newb. This is so hysterical, how Jong-min hides until Seung-gi is racing toward them, and he pops out as though he’s still racing Seung-gi.
girlfriday: They totally play him, and Seung-gi jumps up and down, thinking he’s beat Jong-min by a hair. They let him revel in his victory just long enough to be embarrassing, and then the PD announces: “Lee Seung-gi, fifth place!” He gapes, dumbfounded, and Ji-won starts trying to undress him, right there. HA. Seung-gi: “When did Jong-min hyung get here?” Professor Yoo: “He’s been here for 530 years!”
javabeans: The professor gives a mini-lesson about the tomb and the origins of the golden crown it’s named for, but Seung-gi just stands there, blank-faced. Tae-woong points, “Seung-gi can’t hear a thing right now!”
girlfriday: Who can pay attention to a history lesson when there’s nekkidness on the horizon? And… wait… is that crossdressing I see on the menu?
javabeans: Why, yes it is. Seung-gi takes in the tub of icy water, the woman’s hanbok, the wig, and asks for a moment “to prepare myself mentally.”
girlfriday: By which he means pumping weights at the last minute, before baring skin. Pffft!
javabeans: Na PD is loving this, and calls it “the turning point in your entertainment career.” Aw, every actor remembers his first moment in drag. He puts on the wig (the type queens wear, no?) and everyone oohs, “Seung-gi, you’re so pretty.” Said with loving mockery, of course.
girlfriday: At least he makes the prettiest girl out of all of them?
javabeans: Su-geun takes the director’s chair and megaphone and pretends he’s the PD of this drama, while Jong-min holds up a board for lighting, and Ji-won’s the cameraman who’s lost his camera. Su-geun grumps about needing to get this in one take, because they’ve been shooting this drama for 12 years and their lead actress is expensive. Stylist Tae-woong is called to check on the star, and then Su-geun calls out…Ms. Seung-mi.
javabeans: Omg. I know this is basically just five guys playing make-believe with props, but it’s…like performance art, I swear. Not the scene they’re “shooting,” but the scene about them shooting the scene.
girlfriday: I… can’t… breathe… Omg, Uhm Tae-woong calling Seung-gi “unni” and putting on his makeup is maybe the best thing ever.
javabeans: You mean until the next moment, when Seung-mi asks for a moment to keep his/her body in tip-top shape, and picks up his weights, to do some last-minute bicep curls while decked out like a bodybuilding Joseon-era gentrywoman.
girlfriday: Oh my GOD, that is officially the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen someone do in a hanbok.
javabeans: To maintain the illusion of verisimilitude (because everything else about this is so realistic?), Director Su-geun explains the scene to the actress — because the script pages are late and have trickled in last-minute, of course. Because otherwise Seung-mi ought to already know her scene, right? The gist: Today marks her long-awaited reunion with her dear husband, and she is bathing to prepare for his return. (How hilarious is it that they turn this very basic, standard 1N2D dunking into A Thing, with its own storyline?)
girlfriday: Seung-mi divas out, saying that she can’t work under these conditions.
javabeans: Well, the bumbling lighting director WAS in her shot. We should be glad she didn’t launch into a full-on Bale Out.
girlfriday: This is just so many kinds of meta, I don’t even know what to do with it.
javabeans: Okay, all jokes aside (and there are so many), the mind sort of boggles to consider the four other possibilities that could have emerged from this scenario. I say this as someone who knows nothing about Art, but it makes me feel sort of sad, to not have those options in existence in the real world.
girlfriday: But the thing that makes this something other than just a long drawn-out gag is that Seung-gi’s actual dislike of showing skin converges with the fictional scene in this odd level of meta that starts going to weird places.
javabeans: Plus his ad-libbing: “O when shall my husband, gone off to war, return? I shall have to bathe…” And then Su-geun calls NG, saying that that dialogue sure is weird. She’s bathing because he’s returning! She shouldn’t be wondering when he’ll come back!
girlfriday: He redoes the line and then takes off his top, only to have Ji-won the lewd camera guy shove the camera into her chest, which makes Seung-mi freak out. HA.
javabeans: I love that in this fictional moment, Ji-won even has his own artistic pretension, starting off his shot with a close-up into the flower petals, then zooming out to capture Seung-mi as she approaches the tub. We even get a look at the footage from Ji-won’s camera, with its awkward zooms and all.
girlfriday: Doesn’t it start to feel like Seung-mi got roped into some low-rent sageuk porno?
javabeans: Totally. The pushy director is trying to get her to bare all quickly, before she can think, and she’s bursting out, “Director! I can’t work like this!” at every little error, like the boom mic bumping into her face. “This is my first topless scene so please, be mindful!” And the director’s all, “Geez, this priss ain’t worth all this effort.” I don’t know whether to be humongously entertained, or feel seedy watching this.
girlfriday: Right? When did it take this weird turn?
javabeans: It does, and I’m uncomfortable but I love it. It’s also because Seung-gi’s actually doing really well staying in character, whereas another guy might break at any moment, so it feels realer.
girlfriday: Yeah it’s his discomfort that makes it feel strangely real. Like his reaction to having Ji-won’s camera zooming down his cleavage… when he doesn’t HAVE cleavage to begin with. But it’s the very idea of it.
javabeans: Oh man. If this episode had our commentary as an audio track, all you’d hear is me gasping for breath. Ji-won: “The cleavage is the whole point of the scene!”
girlfriday: I’m DYING.
javabeans: Omg. And then Seung-mi takes the close-up opportunity to flex her guns — all that prep can’t go to waste! — and it is just STRANGE.
girlfriday: I’m pretty sure worrying about your cleavage and then flexing your guns for the camera is just about the weirdest set of things to do, one right after the other.
javabeans: Seung-mi drips water onto her skin, flinching at the cold, while Possibly-Porno Director Su-geun directs, “Thinking of your husband heats your body” and her gasps of cold start looking kind of suggestive, and… Mommy, I feel dirty.
girlfriday: To top it off, Director Su-geun starts making passes at Tae-woong behind the scenes, about how she should be an actress. This just gets wronger and wronger.
javabeans: You mean when he asks coordi Tae-woong, “Is this your first time?” And s/he replies meekly, “Yes it is.” And he’s all, “Don’t worry.”
girlfriday: So. Wrong.
javabeans: I don’t think Na PD realized what he was proposing with this loser’s “bonus.” He must be ecstatic with himself.
girlfriday: Is this just what happens when you give five guys a camera and free rein?
javabeans: Honestly, I think the actual “problem” is that Seung-gi’s too good. Like, he’ll cover up for his unintentional wincing at the cold with ad-libbed lines to remain true to “Seung-mi” the reluctant actress, but when he gasps and says, “It’s because I’m thinking of my husband,” things take a turn.
girlfriday: I just keep wanting to rescue Seung-mi and get her away from the lecherous crew. What the hell is going on here?
javabeans: I know, right? “You are better than this, Seung-mi! Your body is your temple!” And then a braid works loose of the headpiece and Seung-mi grabs it like a Bluetooth headset and reports, “Husband, when are you returning home, over? I repeat, when are you returning home?” Then she immerses herself in the water and…yunno, I’ll be honest. This is not how I imagined seeing Seung-gi’s o-face.
girlfriday: Seriously. I’m disturbed, I’m laughing, I’m disturbed that I’m laughing…
javabeans: And then at the scene’s, uh, climax, the director directs Seung-mi to cry out for her husband, then orders Light Reflector Guy (Jong-min), “Now you’re the husband! Go!”
javabeans: This. Is. So. Creepy. At that directive, Jong-min takes off his jacket….
girlfriday: Run, Seung-mi! RUUUUUUUN!
javabeans: Finally Seung-mi has had enough. She asks, “This is my husband?” Then she drops character and throws the water at the director and grumps, “What kind of movie IS this?!” YAY, Seung-mi!!! Yo go, girl!
girlfriday: Oh, what a relief! I’m so happy for fictional almost-porno-actress Seung-mi!
javabeans: Now I can stop feeling so uncomfortable! The “movie” is blessedly declared a theatrical failure.
girlfriday: I’m so disoriented when they suddenly switch gears back to a history lesson with the professor about bells.
javabeans: Right? It makes you remember what the episode started out being, and you wonder, “Is this really the face you wanted to present to the renowned historical expert?” On the other hand, it IS refreshingly dry and academic.
girlfriday: You mean to scrub out the memory of Seung-mi’s traumatic brush with erotica?
javabeans: Totally. With each ring of a stuffy, dry, academic bell, I feel removed from that tawdry episode and more on solid ground. Phew. Who knew academia could be so useful to real-world situations?
girlfriday: After the history lesson, Na PD gives them their morning mission: five different national treasures, each visited at their “prime” time of day, when they can be best appreciated. One is at sunrise, another at 9am, noon, one at sunset, and one by moonlight. Damn, that’s mean. Whoever gets the last one is stuck here another full day?
javabeans: I do enjoy how this is Na PD’s punishment of choice: Basically, more work. It also makes them want to win the morning mission more, since the earlybird can go home quicker. They each make their draw, and Jong-min comments to Seung-gi that he seems to be on an unlucky streak today. Then he reveals his choice, and everyone cracks up: Midnight mission for Seung-gi!
girlfriday: Wow, he really IS on a bad-luck streak today. First topless scene in drag, and now this?
javabeans: I don’t even feel bad about wishing for more Seung-gi bad days. Moar, moar, moar! The next morning, the guys embark on their respective trips, but really, those are incidental to this episode. Porno-comic-uncomfortable interludes really are the best way to break up a solidly “educational” trip, aren’t they? I think kids’d learn a lot more if that approach was taken more often…but then we’d have to deal with feeling dirty and wrong, so there’s that downside. The things we do for entertainment.
girlfriday: Yeah psychological trauma aside, I really learned a lot.