EPISODE 362. Broadcast on November 27, 2011.
girlfriday: So after Su-geun wins the slip ‘n’ slide cabbage roll game, he gets to decide who goes where for the morning mission, an Autumn Leaves Special. He actually decides not to take the easiest one in Seoul, because he wants to ride the cable cars in Wanju, and then he sets up the ladder game, to let fate determine where the rest of the members will go.
javabeans: We just saw this in Ramyun Shop! Basically you set up a quick grid, get from one side to the other, and use it to arbitrarily choose teams.
girlfriday: Tae-woong gets the second-longest hike, and then Jong-min gets the longest, a 7km trek up Mt. Jiri. Ji-won and Seung-gi scream and hug like they just won an olympic gold medal, and not the finger-olympics kind. Poor Jong-min. He just had to go to the farthest place for the Kimchi Special, and now this? It’s just not his weekend.
javabeans: I love that the biggest reactions aren’t even from him, but Seung-gi and Ji-won. He’s just standing there half in shock at the bad news(ies). (What? Did we not establish that everything is better with a Newsies reference?)
girlfriday: I’m ignoring your musical outburst.
javabeans: My musical Bale-out, you mean?
girlfriday: Ha. Yes, I’m ignoring your Bale-out. Better not to feed the beast.
javabeans: Too late.
girlfriday: So the boys wake up early and split up for their respective hikes.
javabeans: They are really promoting Seung-gi’s album like crazy on this show, aren’t they? That must’ve been a huge refrigerator.
girlfriday: Yeah seriously. Ha, Seung-gi stops to pose among the autumn leaves, patting himself on the back at how pretty it looks with him in the frame, and then the cameraman snarks, “It looks like a scene on a noraebang machine.” LOL. He takes in the beautiful scenery, and then lets out a deep sigh that once again, he’s all alone.
javabeans: His VJ asks, “Are you saying you wish you were here with your hyungs?” Yeah, sure….hyungs. I guess we might want to explain that autumn-leaf-viewing is sort of a thing in Korea, where people go out on purpose to see the leaves for the few weeks that they’re bright red and orange. Like flower-viewing in spring. This explains the crowds that the guys encounter, because there’s only a short window available for these outings.
girlfriday: Su-geun’s location is particularly crowded, because it must be a popular spot, with the cable cars and the suspension bridges. It looks really pretty.
javabeans: I think Tae-woong’s hike is the most dense with foot traffic — it’s as much traffic as you might find at a marketplace, only they’re all just here to see the leaves. He’s followed by a chorus of, “You’re really handsome” by random strangers. He jokes, “I felt this yesterday too, but I must be handsome.” Hahaha.
girlfriday: Ha. His writer eggs him on, offering to buy him a soft drink if he hears it ten more times.
javabeans: I love that this is a game now! He counts off on his hand, and basically he’s halfway there in the span of three seconds.
girlfriday: If his kimchi ajumma were around, he’d have three drinks by now. Seung-gi’s theme continues to be loneliness, as he spots a pretty tree, and his PD jabs, “Then why are you here alone?” sending him into another deep sigh. Ji-won walks down his street hugging himself like a lonely little choding.
javabeans: Ha, I guess I hadn’t really thought of leaf-viewing as a strictly romantic activity, but it IS sort of the perfect type of activity for dates. So going alone isn’t just going alone — it’s conspicuously alone.
girlfriday: Aw, poor Jong-min faces the toughest part of his climb, and then his writer pipes up that they forgot to pack lunch. What? I know they often starve them for games, but that’s just mean.
javabeans: That’s so sad! Jong-min has been on a nonstop laughing spell, and he can only keep laughing, since this is all so weird and absurd to him.
girlfriday: He just keeps repeating over and over, “But this is the morning mission!”
javabeans: Here’s a mean transition for you: Cut to Ji-won, snacking. And snacking. And snacking. Back to Jong-min, who encounters a hiker on her return trip. He asks how the trek up was, and she says, “I felt like dying.” Laugh, laugh. And then he runs into another return group, who says, “It’s really hard! You got stuck with this [mission], didn’t you?” And Jong-min’s face is now stricken as the hiker tells him to look up this trail on the internet: “It’s called The Worst Trail.”
girlfriday: What a terrible thing to tell a hiker who’s still on his way UP. Meanwhile Tae-woong comes across an amazing sight — it’s a sea of little stone towers, left by people making wishes and offering up prayers. There’s something so awesome about a common spot where people stop on their journey and leave their little mark.
javabeans: Jong-min: “This is the road of leaves…but there are nothing but rocks!” Laugh, laugh. Poor Jong-min. He gets a call from Na PD and asks, “What’s your motive?”
girlfriday: Hahaha. Because clearly, there are no leaves on his leaf trail. Therefore Na PD must have an ulterior motive.
javabeans: It’s like Jong-min is waiting for Na PD to ease up on him, maybe change his mind, but all he gets is: “Jong-min. I feel your pain. I’d just like you to know that I love you.” (….but you’re doing this eight-hour hike, buster.)
girlfriday: Hence the “I love you.” Seung-gi finds a good vantage point that overlooks a valley full of different colored leaves… which immediately makes him re-depressed at being there alone. His PD asks if he wants a particular song to be played on the soundtrack as he angsts, and Seung-gi sighs for him to just put any one of his songs. Cue “Age of Dating / 연애시대.” Seung-gi: “But NOT ‘Age of Dating’! NOT that one! Don’t you dare!” Ha. The writer mentions that the song makes single people bitter, and he commiserates that his own song rubs salt in his wounds more than anyone else. HEE.
javabeans: Fade out. Fade in on: The leaves, standing in for karaoke background. The song: “I Love You.” Seung-gi walks along the scenic path while lyrics light up over his image onscreen, noraebang style, just as Seung-gi tells his crew, “You’d better not put in a noraebang background song!” Oh, Seung-gi. At this point you’re just giving them ideas.
girlfriday: I love that it’s this meta conversation between him and the editor, after the fact.
javabeans: Jong-min explains that they call his trail Nose Hill, because it’s so steep the hillside practically touches your nose. And then he stands up to demonstrate, and the rocky slope basically looks like a wall, not the ground. Cue title song from Sandglass. Ha. Is that just the song of all mourning?
girlfriday: And heartache. And betrayal. It’s a catch-all.
javabeans: Jong-min buries his face in his hands, and his writer asks, “Are you mad?” He assures her that he’s not, but I’m thinking he’s about to cry.
girlfriday: And then, to make it worse, he gets to the end of Nose Hill, and comes upon… a paved road. He finds out that you CAN DRIVE up as far as he’s come, but they chose to make him hike this way.
javabeans: Methinks Na PD’s love is tainted.
girlfriday: I’m sure Jong-min’s love will be tainted too, after this. What kills me is that there are NO LEAVES anywhere on this mountain, from top to bottom. So, other than character-building, there was literally no purpose for this hike. Poor Jong-min. Everyone does their closing sign-offs, and then two weeks pass…
javabeans: We resume at the station in the wee hours of the morning… for a rice cake soup breakfast?
girlfriday: Something is weird. Na PD has the food truck set up in front of KBS, and has the staff eat. He comes to get Ji-won and Seung-gi in the car, and tells them that they’re starting with breakfast.
javabeans: Ji-won: “I’m not eating.” Seung-gi: “Are these extras you hired?”
girlfriday: They don’t trust him, of course, but he swears up and down that it’s not a trick, and even says in so many words that they won’t be given any kind of penalty because of eating. He tells Jong-min in particular that it’s because he had such a hard time of it last week. Oh, you think? So this is pity soup? Or apology soup?
javabeans: Jong-min says, “This is weird.” And Su-geun just laughs, “No thanks.” He says he’s not hungry at 4 am, and Na PD asks, “So are you really not eating?” Su-geun: “I’ll eat.”
girlfriday: The menu: ramyun or rice cake soup, from Food Truck Ajumma.
javabeans: Eventually all the boys arrive and as they eat, they wonder if breakfast is gonna get interrupted with a game. (Remember their 200th episode feast?) Seung-gi says they were assured there’d be no game, but Ji-won eats with his eyes wide open, looking around like a spy on a mission. Don’t you love how Na PD always sounds so surprised that he’s not trusted?
girlfriday: Yeah, his tone of “What? What do you mean you don’t believe me?”
javabeans: His explanation points to this being apology soup, but Seung-gi points out that it may be an apology-in-advance-for-the-thing-I-am-about-to-do-to-you.
girlfriday: I know, I’m bracing for boats or mountains or something, but then Na PD explains that they’re doing a city tour, which makes everyone happy. But he doesn’t give the name of the city, so they figure right away that it’s a race. Two teams, intermittent clues, race to the flag. The prize for the winning team: a spinny wheel full of delicious local foods. The punishment for the losing team: a spinny wheel full of all the possible punishments in that city.
javabeans: Na PD asks if they get the gist, and they nod. So he tells them, “Okay, begin!” And they’re all, “What? Begin WHAT?” Ha. What about teams? Cars? Rules? Na PD tells them that the teams have already been decided.
girlfriday: He tells them the first game is for them to guess HOW the teams were made, and if they get it right, they get to leave first.
javabeans: Ji-won and Seung-gi perk up, because they’d been chatting before the shoot when Na PD came up to them.
girlfriday: I love that the PDs greeted them with, “Are you two dating?”
javabeans: Hee. But no, when they hustle up to Na PD to ask if they’re the team, they get a big fat no. Tae-woong wonders if it’s hats vs. no hats, which is wrong. Then Seung-gi gets an idea and guesses something (which we don’t hear)… and he’s right! Off he darts with an envelope of spending cash, leaving the others wondering what the heck just happened. Flashback to their breakfast menus, with four guys choosing rice cake soup and Seung-gi choosing the lone ramyun.
girlfriday: Oh no!
javabeans: I was wondering how five would divide evenly into fair teams. Answer? NOT FAIR TEAMS. It’s four against one!
girlfriday: No wonder he runs off screaming, “I’m SCREWWWWWWWED!”
javabeans: Heehee. But they do call him “1N2D’s sole brain.” Jong-min belatedly guesses that it was based on food and he gets his team’s envelope. The rest of the team is still standing there bewildered as they’re instructed to go with Jong-min.
girlfriday: Seung-gi is the brain, but Jong-min rather astutely points out that Seung-gi is also blind when it comes to the road. He’ll get lost in no time, right? This is a disaster! And hilarious!
javabeans: The worst thing is, he can’t read or navigate WHILE driving, so already he’s handicapped. Well, more than just with the numbers. He gets the first hint, which is the familiar clue of consonants. ㅇㅅㅌ, or O-S-T.
girlfriday: Su-geun points out that that’s not even the worst thing — when you’re driving alone, you have to ramble on and on by yourself at the camera. Cut to Seung-gi, DJing at the camera, with nothing else to say.
javabeans: Seriously, it’s like he’s a radio host in a show with no content. No theme, no songs, no topics of the day. Seung-gi: “I can’t think of anything to say!”
girlfriday: He ends up stopping to call his hyungs, just to have someone to talk to, and then after that, climbs onto the PD bus behind him, begging for them to let him on. Hahaha.
javabeans: Ha, I laughed when he asked them to talk about him a lot, to ensure he gets some airtime, because he doesn’t think he can supply that on his own. The second clue comes in before the first one gets solved, and Na PD instructs him to find it on the reverse side of the sign that’s been taped inside the window that reminds them to wear their safety belts. Ha! That’s pretty smart, actually. The last race (with the actresses) showed that the guys were catching on in the clue-finding hunt, so now Na PD has taken to hiding them in plain sight, disguising them as other things.
girlfriday: This one’s a crazy long string of consonants. But Seung-gi’s the brain, so he manages faster on his own than the car full of his hyungs. But the funnier thing is, he has no sounding board, so he keeps getting out of the car to talk to Na PD, who has to yell at him to stop. Heh.
javabeans: Na PD: “Figure it out in your car!” Seung-gi: “But there’s nobody in my car!”
girlfriday: I think he should just kidnap Na PD and put him in the passenger seat.
javabeans: Omg, I love how he figures out the whole clue, and he’s so excited he runs to the PD bus. He’s like, “I got it! I got it!” And Na PD yells, “GO AWAY!” The first clue remains unsolved, but this long one reads: “You’re not heading west, but to the east, aren’t you? For now, continue heading in that direction. Drive safely!” Dude, the first clue (ㅇㅅㅌ) isn’t 이스트, is it? (Ee-seu-teu, or east.)
girlfriday: Yeah it has to be, even though it only makes sense retroactively. Ha. I hate it when they do English-as-Korean that way.
javabeans: That’s mean. The foursome guesses the clues in entirely another way, which seems wrong to me. The letters in the clue include unnecessary words (it’s very conversational) but that’s tripping them up because they think they’re important letters instead of frivolous extra words. They start heading toward a certain area with a partially solved guess.
girlfriday: The hyungs take the opportunity to dig around in the car, and find the next clue hidden in the car’s tissue box: 16.8.4 and a picture of a large grave. They giggle that Seung-gi has no free hands to do any of this. Seung-gi stops his car to get the next hint, and when Na PD radios him, he gets out of the car again, “Say it to my face!” The caption: “A man hungry for affection.”
javabeans: Seung-gi puzzles over the clue — a date, perhaps? August 4, 1916? — and resorts to asking himself, “Seung-gi, what is it?”
girlfriday: Heh, between this and the autumn leaves special, Seung-gi’s gonna crack from the loneliness. It’s okay, Puppy. There, there.
javabeans: Then the other car discovers a CD and puts it in, guessing it’s another hint. The first song is readily recognizable as “Top of the world,” the second one is classical, the third is “Hand in Hand,” the theme song from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Jong-min guesses; “Pyeongchang!” The site of the next Olympics. They crow, “2016! August 4, 2016!” Wait, but isn’t Pyeongchang the winter olympics? In…2018? Haha, so close, but so far. Seung-gi wonders if it’s 1816 instead of 1916. I’m wondering, can it be 1684?
girlfriday: Neither team can figure out the numbers, but the grave, a neung, gets them both in the direction of Gangneung.
javabeans: The hyungs’ car discovers another clue ahead of time, and this time it’s an old saying that means, “You can’t call your father your father, or your brother your brother.” It’s a famous sentiment, and Tae-woong guesses, Hong Gil Dong? (Born illegitimate to a nobleman, Hong Gil Dong couldn’t call his father his father, or his brother hyung.) But he guesses that Gangneung is where the writer of Hong Gil Dong (Heo Kyun) was from. All of this sounds pretty good to my ears, but they’re sorta tossing out guesses willy-nilly and nobody’s grasping on to any of them in particular.
girlfriday: Seung-gi stops at a rest-stop and asks the PDs what the numbers are about. He’s figured out that it’s Gangneung, but can’t confirm it until he gets why 16.8.4 = gang. Then suddenly he comes running out of the bathroom, screaming, “Eureka!” (And then has to be told to zip up his pants, HA.)
javabeans: He declares that it’s like the world cup, where you have round of 16, then 8, then 4. In Korean, gang is how you designate the rounds. So the first clue is gang and the second clue is neung, ergo: Gangneung. Na PD: “When did you figure it out?” Seung-gi: “As I was pulling up my pants.”
girlfriday: Apparently he does his best thinking pantsless. And don’t we all?
javabeans: Arriving closer to their destination, the foursome find a large map at a rest stop and sure enough, there in the Gangneung area is Heo Kyun’s homeplace, the 16th-century writer of the famous Tale of Hong Gil Dong. His preserved home is the destination, with the 1N2D flag at the front.
girlfriday: I love that the hyungs miss Seung-gi so much they start mistaking random passersby for him, and meanwhile Seung-gi is going batshit crazy, talking back to his radio as a substitute for human contact.
javabeans: It’s so cute how he has a one-way conversation with his radio, and when it’s Norajo (meaning let’s play), he says, “I’ll play.” And then the song ends and he says sadly, “I wanted to play, but now you’re gone.”
girlfriday: He stops at another rest-stop, and lo and behold, it’s the same one his hyungs are at. He gets the last hint, and immediately figures out Hong Gil-dong and Heo-kyun. So suddenly they’re even-steven on clues, and Seung-gi’s got the drop on them while they’re inside.
javabeans: Wait…is this really happening? Is Seung-gi trying to steal their car key??
javabeans: Omg. The hyungs spy something fishy and chase after Seung-gi in the parking lot, but he has already taken the keys and dropped them behind a car tire (telling the producers at least where he’s leaving it). This is kind of awesome.
girlfriday: He swears he doesn’t have them, but his hyungs try to wrestle and tickle it out of him, chasing him up and down the lot. Ji-won counters by trying to steal Seung-gi’s car, but of course, he’s already secured his own keys. Su-geun sighs, “Of course he has them. Do you know what kind of kid he is? Who he learned from?” Hahahaha.
javabeans: This is great. The hyungs tell Seung-gi to get the key back, and he goes with Jong-min to find it. He sees it but pretends not to, and misdirects Jong-min’s attention while surreptitiously grabbing them off the ground. Is he going to steal their car? ‘Cause he’s still got his own car keys, no?
girlfriday: That would be the best move ever. It would pretty much top anything his hyungs have done to him.
javabeans: Aw, man, I wanted him to get away, but Ji-won is too sly. Keys are returned. The other team swipes some food from Seung-gi’s car (he’s got more money to spend, since it’s not split four ways) and are slower out of the rest stop, but they have maps.
girlfriday: I love that they’re like, but why does Seung-gi have so much food? Are you being nicer to him? And someone has to explain how he doesn’t have to split his money. “Oooohhhhhh…”
javabeans: Seung-gi takes off first, knowing his ultimate destination but not taking a map, opting for the head start instead.
girlfriday: I suppose Su-geun’s right to note the irony–that they created this monster. I remember Upright Young Man Seung-gi used to refuse to cheat and always took the long way around. I think I like Bad Idea Seung-gi better.
javabeans: I like Pantsless Seung-gi best.