Drama Recaps
What’s Up: Episodes 1-2
by | December 14, 2011 | 103 Comments
Photobucket

It’s like The Musical redux – my weekends are all music’ed out. However, I was definitely more excited for this drama than The Musical. And… I think my gut was right in this case. What’s Up is decidedly more quirky, more serious, and darker than its predecessors this year (Dream High, You’ve Fallen for Me and The Musical). But I think that’s what’s so great about it – I like that it starts off in a haunting way. The cast is like Dream High, if the students were older; You’ve Fallen for Me, if the drama was set in winter rather than sunny summer.

Plus, it starts off with a great soundtrack. Les Choristes, anyone?

SONG OF THE DAY

“Lunatic” by Daesung – What’s Up OST Part 1 [download]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The series starts off with a montage of our main characters all dressed in black, looking mournful and wistful. Someone died, from the looks of it. The question is, who?

But let’s start with the characters. With a big cast, there’s plenty of story threads to keep track of. In the first two episodes, we build a foundation for these characters, and understand more of who they are (or were). All it does is get us to the school, where all of them enter the theater department.

JANG JAE HUN (Im Joo Hwan) is a bit of a slacker. Or more like a productive slacker; rather than going to school, he and his two friends pickpocket drunk guys around Hongdae. Taking advantage of the fact that the drunkards stumble around a lot, Jae Hun “accidentally gets bumped into” by these fellows, and then creates a ruckus over the drunkard’s behavior. While he grabs the attention of onlookers, his guy friend palms the wallet, and drops it into the hands of their female friend pretending to be a passerby.

They go around to different neighborhoods, but in one street, Jae Hun spots some cops in the distance. He quickly calls up his friends and tells them to run, rather than go through with the scam, because if they cause a ruckus the cops will come running. Unfortunately, they get that message a little too late, when they’re already in the midst of robbing the guy. The police come running with a detective who happens to be on the scene, and his male friend is caught.

Jae Hun assumes the air of a fellow detective and says that he’ll take care of his friend the “criminal” since he’s been chasing him for a while. The detective is skeptical over Jae Hun’s credentials and reasonings, but before he can probe further, Jae Hun distracts him, and they run off. They split up, and Jae Hun steals a motorbike along the way.

In the meanwhile, a father (Kim Chang Wan) and receives some photos and an address from a private investigator; he’s searching for someone. As he leaves the office, he walks into Jae Hun’s oncoming bike. Jae Hun swerves to avoid hitting the father, and crashes into some nearby boxes. The father falls backwards on to the street… and right into an oncoming truck.

Shocked, Jae Hun gets up and sees the father looking up at him, still holding on to his life. Jae Hun picks up the piece of paper with the address and clutches it. Then, instead of helping the father, he runs away, and lets the truck driver and other bystanders take care of him.

As this is all going on, it’s also the night of Hades’ concert. Hades, or HA DO SUNG (Daesung) is one of those pop idols whose mystique lies in the fact that no one has ever seen his face. But behind his mask is a weak, insecure guy. Do Sung is managed by his uncle, and his main worry is about his mother. It appears she abandoned him when he was younger, claiming that she needed to keep him hidden for her to continue living. HMM… Nevertheless his mother also can’t find out that he’s Hades.

Getting ready for his next act, Do Sung takes off his mask in the safety of his dressing room, and in a way releases himself from suffocation. But then, a photographer who was hiding behind his clothing rack starts taking pictures, and he catches the true face of Hades.

The photographer runs out of the dressing room and bumps into the uncle. Security grabs the guy, but the photographer is quick. He removes the film from his camera and throws it out into the crowds of screaming fans. A mysterious hand catches it and walks off.

The jig is up, and there’s no way Do Sung can continue with his act. He calls up his mother, and she’s surprised to hear from him since it’s not their scheduled day for a call. She promises to help him and clear up this mess this one time, but if he does something as dangerous as this again, she’ll never see him again. I get this feeling she’s the wife of a powerful man and he’s a bastard child that can’t be ever discovered.

For his encore, Do Sung returns onstage and sings a final song. He then announces to his fans: “Hades is dead.”

Jae Hun wanders around the streets in shock, and he finds himself wandering around. But he sees the police, still on his tail, and joins a couple of movers to help transport a set piece. He hitches a ride with them, and ends up in a theater. Onstage, a young woman sings “The Phantom of the Opera” in a haunting voice. It stirs up memories of the accident, and he grips on the address even more tightly. Tears stream down his face, and he doesn’t let go of his breath until the soprano lets out her final note.

Jae Hun returns to the scene of the accident, and asks if the store keeper heard anything about the man who was hit by a truck. She doesn’t have any information for him, or which hospital the man could have gone to, as she’s more engrossed by a news report about how “Hades is now dead.”

He leaves, unsatisfied, and another store keeper comes out from the back room to announce that the victim – the father – died. No one knows how or why he ended up in the middle of the road, so everyone else thinks it was a suicide. Too bad Jae Hun doesn’t know this yet, and he’s going to share a sad fate with another student.

Jae Hun later raises the topic of reentering college to his mother. But not just any college – how about an arts college? A college where he can be a musical star?

Time to do the *rolls eyes*. Or as his mother does it, shove a large piece of fish cake in her mouth and pretend she heard nothing. Of course she’s not going to agree. Why does he want to be a musical actor of all things? Jae Hun admits that when he saw an actress practice her song, he felt his heart pound, and he was so moved by her performance that he wanted to do the same.

Mom doesn’t look convinced. Jae Hun tells her to forget about it. Then Mom surprises him by giving him some money to pay for the school. And with the money, he goes and asks his friend to write his admissions paper and take the test for him. Screw the fact that he’s never auditioned before. He’s going to Haneul Arts College.

Now we go to PARK TAE HEE (Kim Ji Won), a lovably naive girl who also wants to audition for . She gets on the train, and being a non-Seoulite, she’s unfamiliar with the directions on going. But that’s fine – because she has her trusty father to talk to her in spirit, and encourage her. Yes, it’s the father whom Jae Hun accidentally and indirectly killed.

Audition time!

KIM BYEONG GUN (Jo Jung Seok) is nervous like heck, but he’s not the only one, as a bunch of other students are terrified to be standing before the department head, YANG SOO JEONG (an imperious Kim Mi Sook). Meanwhile Tae Hee and Jae Hun are having difficulty finding the location of the audition place. Jae Hun demands to know the audition location from a security guard, but he wryly replies that if Jae Hun did the application himself and knew where he was applying to, he would have known where the audition room was. Poor Tae Hee – she gets so lost and confused that when she finally faces the same security guard, she nearly breaks down into sobs. Security officer’s face: *blink blink*.

EUN CHAE YOUNG (Jang Hee Jin in a surprising turn from her vacuous Spy Myung Wol performance) enters the audition room, and she is actually a well known actress already. Rather than watching her audition, we see her trying to convince Professor Yang that she is worthy to enter the musical department, that she wants to learn the basics of a musical and star in a role that is suited for her.

Finally it’s Byeong Gun’s turn. He enters the audition room… and completely bombs. Singing? Flat, weak, totally nervous. Acting? Monotone. But to his credit he did manage to memorize the entire monologue piece. Honestly, he’s just wasting the time of the panel of judges. It’s a miracle that he even gets in to the school. But despite this achievement, his family of boring business executives are nonplussed.

And then OH DOO RI (Im Joo Eun) comes in with her overbearing mother (Yang Hee Kyung); her mother is like a show mother where she wants to make sure Doo Ri will perform her best and reminds her on her breathing, etc. For her audition, Doo Ri does an acting piece. It starts off quite typical – super dramatic, full of gestures – but as she progresses in her monologue, she becomes matter-of-fact, more blunt, and more angry. She even stalks towards Professor Yang’s table, scaring the professor, as she demands that she live her own life the way that she wants. She definitely has range. And some mommy issues?

Tae Hee finally makes it to the audition room, and she quickly latches on to Do Sung, who’s lurking in the corner. She’s so bright and bubbly to his “leave me alone” attitude. Jae Hun joins them as well, and he has a more pressing issue to ask these two: “What’s a musical?” Crows squawk in the distance. Dude – what the hell are you doing here?

Tae Hee does her audition – which is a monologue – and we can see from the way she acts that she’s like a fairy. Next up is Jae Hun. He goes in and announces that he’ll do a song. However, the guy who’s managing the songs for each audition can’t find Jae Hun’s tape. Jae Hun goes over, and then he pretends that the guy, Ahn Jeong Dae, lost his tape. He keeps muttering random things to Jeong Dae, which makes Professor Yang think that the two know each other. Poor Jeong Dae – he’s utterly lost. Professor Yang calls them out on their games, and Jeong Dae insists on not knowing Jae Hun at all.

Jae Hun: “I thought we were close. Very close. We loved each other.”

WHAT THE HELL!?

Har har – Jae Hun laughs it all off and says that he was actually acting for them. Improvising. Do they like?

Next up: Do Sung. Do Sung starts off practically whispering the first two lines of “This is My Moment.” Pathetic coming from Hades. But he closes his eyes, and gains confidence in his voice. His voice becomes stronger, and he starts belting out all the notes. He impresses Professor Yang so much so that she takes off her glasses. He sings so powerfully that he falls to his knees and becomes out of breath.

He’s so amazing that the girl taping his audition squeals like a fangirl. Literally.

Needless to say, everyone gets in. Tae Hee celebrates by telling her grandfather and other villagers; Doo Ri’s mother finds out over the phone while Doo Ri plays some first-person shooter game on the computer; Do Sung calls his mother and she in turn says she has no time to speak with him. A little boy in the background calling for his mother clues us in to her other family.

As for Jae Hun, he goes to help his mother wallpaper an apartment He’s no longer going to be able to help her…because he got into the college!

So now we are at the first day of school! The students all move into the dorms. Do Sung’s uncle is reluctant to let him go because he doesn’t want others to find out he’s Hades. But Do Sung is stubborn. He ends up being Jae Hun’s roommate too! As soon as they enter their room, they spot a bed on the far side with a huge stain on the mattress.

“Rock, Paper, Scissors!”

Jae Hun wins. Boy is he happy – and he settles in for a nice long nap.

Meanwhile a new girl spazzes over the fact that she’s Chae Young’s new roommate. Tae Hee settles into her new room and has a one-on-one talk with her father’s spirit. Byeong Gun meets LEE SOO BIN (Lee Soo Hyuk - the assassin with the face of plastic in Tree With Deep Roots), a second-year who’s a quiet violinist. Soo Bin warns Byeong Gun that the room is quite messy. Byeong Gun is speechless at the state of his “new” room and the fact that his roommate is so messy… until he finds out that quiet Soo Bin is his roommate, and the reason for all the messiness. Doo Ri enters her room to find Lee Da Jung, a second-year who acts like a drill sergeant despite her small stature. She gives doo Ri some papers and informs her of the orientation at 5pm. Doo Ri has one favor: does she have a pair of scissors?

*Snip* And Doo Ri’s long hair transforms into a shaggy bob. Doo Ri is now living her own life, and rebelling against all things cute, pink, and sweet.

Napping, Jae Hun falls into a nightmare, dreaming of the night when his friends were driving and got stuck in traffic. He was (and still is) haunted by the memories of the accident that he ended up blowing up on his friends for no reason and running out of the car. Jae Hun wakes up in a cold sweat to an empty room and realizes he’s late for orientation.

Every group has a different sort of gathering, but for Jae Hun and the musical group, they end up in a large gym. As soon as Jae Hun enters – late – the doors all close shut and the curtains are drawn across the windows. The lights turn off, and a spotlight shines to a door above them – where the senior students come in.

“Orientation” becomes something like a hazing session as the senior students order the first years around, making them do push-ups while chanting and other strenuous physical activities. Only Jae Hun won’t take that kind of crap. The leader singles him out, but Jae Hun won’t take part in all this ridiculousness. He even starts flipping over plastic chairs and throwing all the basketball racks down.

Stirrings of a bromance between Soo Bin and Byeong Gun are making me super excited. Soo Bin smacks Byeong Gun until the latter wakes up to shut off his alarm. Then when Byeong Gun mutters grumpily, Soo Bin throws a pillow to shut him up again.

Everyone scrambles to the gym, which doubles as an auditorium, for morning hazing. I mean, morning training. Do Sung tries to wake up Jae Hun, but Jae Hun won’t budge. The leader tells everyone what their schedules will consist of, which includes a lot of training, forming a buddy system where they greet all their sunbaes with a proper bow and greeting, and cleaning the studios. Of course, the one still missing is Jae Hun.

 

They undergo such strenuous exercises that Doo Ri recognizes it as torture. She glares at the leader at one moment during practice, and then pretends to throw up, thus running out of the room and out of the training session. Taking a cue, Chae Young pretends she hurt her ankle and that she’ll need to rest for the rest of the day. Since she’s famous and flirtatious, the leader lets her go. HEHE.

Class time with Professor Yang. Their first lesson is on acting convincingly. It can’t sound like a lie. She then has them all start running in place. Of course the person who’s late is Jae Hun (and the security guard isn’t all that approving of it. I feel like he’s going to be the Daddy to all these kids, keeping them in line with his no-nonsense attitude). Professor Yang asks who his roommate is – and Jae Hun points out Do Sung. She kicks out the both of them – Jae Hun for being late, and Do Sung for not having dragged Jae Hun to class.

An even later student arrives – and it’s Tae Hee! Once again she goes into her long spiel about how she got lost and explaining why she’s late while being half in tears. Um – how do you respond to that? The professor doesn’t – she just orders everyone else to start jumping in place, and still kicks out Jae Hun and Do Sung.

At lunch time, Jae Hun is basically treated like a pariah – everyone looks at him derisively. Even Do Sung doesn’t want to sit with him, but Jae Hun forces his way over. They then spot Tae Hee, and she joins them at the lunch table, also quite bummed out. She even admits she wants to die, which makes everyone awkward. I think Do Sung has a mini crush on her. But something brings Tae Hee out of her funk: it’s the sighting of Chae Young!

All eyes in the room follow as Chae Young makes her way to Byeong Gun, who’s too speechless and gaga over the fact that she spoke to him. She just wants to know if there’s room at his table, to which he shakes his head, and then nods vigorously. But she’s not really going to sit there. Byeong Gun gets pushed out of the table by a bunch of other girls who want to sit at that table now, in the event that Chae Young does end up sitting there, and so he joins his roommate Soo Bin.

He gushes to Soo Bin over how Chae Young just spoke to him, but to Soo Bin, it’s just a mouth moving. His music is blasted so high up in his ears that he doesn’t even notice a fan girl coming over asking for an autograph. That’s when Byeong Gun realizes that his roommate is the Lee Soo Bin. How famous? I have no idea. But Chae Young flirts with Soo Bin a bit too.

Jae Hun, Do Sung, and Tae Hee (our little Trio) start hearing a voice around them, and it turns out to be Doo Ri, lurking beneath their table with her camera. She aims the camera at Do Sung, and he immediately covers his face out of habit. But before Jae Hun can find out who she is, Doo Ri flutters away.

A homeless looking guy with his shopping cart gets dropped off at the school by a truck. He walks right past security, and the guard lets him through without a second glance. He makes his way through campus and enters the Musical department. An assistant rushes into Professor Yang’s room and fearfully informs her that “that guy” is back.

“That guy” is SUNWOO YOUNG (Oh Man Seok).

Comments:

I knew I would like this drama more. Even before The Musical aired, I was looking more forward to this one. It’s definitely darker than any of its musical predecessors this year. When you start off with all your main characters crying or looking somber, you’re just curious at how they got there.

I think episode 1 was more solid than episode 2, but these two episodes were great in building up our characters. What I truly enjoy is that every character has a different background, a different personality, and holds their own dark secrets. It’s not like you have your typical rich brat, your outgoing hero/heroine, your pretty-and-talented wallflower, or your sweet second male lead. You have your quirky fairy (Tae Hee), your shy pop idol (Do Sung), your adorable chaebol son who just might be a black sheep if they knew he was studying musicals (Byeong Gun), your rebel actress (Doo Ri), your haunted but cocky hero (Jae Hun), your music genius slob (Soo Bin), and your famous actress who wants to prove she can act (Chae Young). Admittedly, Chae Young is probably the one character that falls under some K-drama stereotype of pretty girl, lots of talent, and also quite possibly b*tchy. But I think there’s something shady with her, that she’s not exactly who she portrays herself to be. I actually hope there’s a darker side to her, or a more serious side that hasn’t been tapped into yet, because everyone so far seems to be quite a contradiction.

I hate how a lot of dramas have started out quite promising but then flagged as it wore on. I do have high hopes for this one, but it is pre-produced and therefore they can’t change the story anymore. A lot of conflicts have already been introduced in this drama that there is so much fodder for plot, so I hope the writers delivered. For one thing, I’d like to see Byeong Gun’s family find out about what he’s really studying. I’d like to see Tae Hee and Jae Hun face the truth on each other’s involvement with Tae Hee’s father’s death. I’d like to find out more about Do Sung’s mother, and why he was rejected. I’d like to see Doo Ri put Chae Young in her place. I’d like to see Soo Bin and Byeong Gun become the bestest buds, pig pen aside.

One thing important to note is that this drama isn’t really trying to be a musical drama. The first two episodes make that clear. It’s really about the characters, and about how our main seven characters (the students) pursue their dreams and overcome their obstacles in their personal and school life. You’re really only watching for the improvement of the characters’ talents and well-being, to see them grow up and realize fully who they are. It’s a true college drama of finding yourself during the start of your adulthood. And if it’s a character drama, I think I’m going to like this one. The characters singing and performing is just fudge and sprinkles on an already-awesome sundae.

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
SPONSORED VIDEO
103 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ani

    Kim Jiwon and Daesung! Woot woot! I hope it is as good as hoped.

  2. jazz

    Thanks so much!!!
    I have downloaded this drama but I can’t find a recap to understand it.. and now there’s a recap.. i love you!!

    • 2.1 Ace

      Just finished watching episode 2 @jacinda1st. (If there’s an idol in a drama, the subs sure get done faster!) It’s getting a little more interesting now after “that guy” entered the picture. I also like that it’s just 40 or so minutes per episode.

      • 2.1.1 mars

        Thank you for the tip! I’ve been dying to get my hands on a subbed version.

  3. rianna

    yaaaaaaaaaay! thanks for the recap! lee hyuk soo’s voice isssssssss hgvasidbasdjfbhklsadbfksbdf

    and kim ji won.. i love her already~

  4. Justine

    I love what I’ve seen of all the characters so far. There’s so much potential! I’m so glad this is pre-produced so the writers can’t change it at the last minute if the ratings bomb.

    Anyway, I think you made a little mistake because according to the subs that I got, Jae Hun actually applied to major in acting and it was his friend who sent his application that sabotaged him/played a prank and put him down as a musical major. That’s why he was completely clueless.

    • 4.1 kaedejun

      Hehe, you are probably right!

    • 4.2 kaedejun

      Hehe, you are most probably right!!

  5. eve

    Dosung’s song title: This is the Moment

    • 5.1 GiaGia

      Lol, I was sitting there going “I KNOW I recognize that song… I think it’s from Jekyll & Hyde (did that musical 2 or 3 years ago), but I don’t recognize the title…”

      Also- it sounds awesome, even in Korean ^_^

  6. Mei

    why o why

  7. 9to5

    this drama is a breath of fresh air! i love the characters already, and hope this drama ends up being good.

  8. Raitei

    Ooh. This looks really intriguing. I was doubtful of the posters since I can’t get any ideas from them, but this is looking great.

  9. swui

    So that’s the haunting song in the beginning… Les Choristes. I loved it.

    Oh so it was an address on that yellow paper…I was wondering about that…

  10. 10 Selli

    I think Tae-hee was missing in the “everyone’s-dressed-in-black” opening, so maybe she’ll die?

    At first, I didn’t really like it, but it kind of grew on me, so I’d like to see where it’ll go ^^

    And Justine is right, Jae-hun just wanted to apply to acting classes, I think.

    • 10.1 alua

      Oh god! I hope not! I love Tae-hee already – that’d be awful. )-:

      • 10.1.1 alua

        I had to go back and rewatch the opening… I originally thought it was just a ‘let’s introduce all characters visually’ bit, and didn’t pay attention to it being totally dark and moody… darn, looks funereal indeed and the expression on the characters’ faces, ughhh… and no Tae-hee to be seen anywhere.

        BUT – wouldn’t it be too obvious to announce that from the start? Of course, we’d still not know how the drama got there, but still… maybe there is a different sort of twist, and another reason for Tae-hee not being there?

        I have only watched two episodes, and I’m already so invested in her character…

    • 10.2 kaedejun

      I think Tae Hee is there. She’s the one letting go of the balloon.

      • 10.2.1 Selli

        Oh, you’re right, sorry! I think that’s her, too. She looks so different with her hair like that.

        Well, then maybe it’s Oh Man-seok? I can’t stop my brain from speculating, sorry ^^’

        • 10.2.1.1 Laica

          Oh please no. They can’t kill off OMS! :( Although I have a horrible feeling you’re right…

        • 10.2.1.2 ripleyfell

          That’s what I thought too. Judging from the previews, it looks like he’s going to be a big hit with the kids. Which is gonna suck because I’m pretty sure if he’s a big hit with them, he’s gonna be a big hit with us. :(

          In any case, I adore this drama, the OST and all the actors. But is anyone thinking that Im Joo Hwan is looking a bit too skinny?

  11. 11 sake

    Oh, wow, fell in love with the OST in the beginning~

    As I haven’t watched the series yet, (waiting for subs) I’m curious about everyone’s (especially our webmasters :P) opinions on the acting of all the main cast. Please let me know!

  12. 12 alua

    I watched the first two episodes of this. I’m not grabbed by the story yet, because Dream High and Hearstrings were still somewhere lurking in my mind (did they film this at the Heartstring’s school? It looked somewhat familiar?), BUT I am loving the characters so far. Especially Jae Hun, Tae Hee and Soo Bin. The rebel haunted by his conscience, the overly-everything country bumpkin and the another, darkish I-don’t-care-about-what-anyone-thinks.

    Tae Hee is so cute! I’ve never been a fan of the too gorgeous (plastic), perfect females that appear in many dramas, I like characters like Tae Hee that are quirky, much more natural and look like real people.

    Not too keen on the story they seem to be hinting at with Daesung’s character and his mother though. Of course, we don’t know any of the details yet, but my hunch is Mom left her son to marry (?) some important person, or take on some important, public role, abandoning the Hades guy, never being a mother to him but still having total control over his life – his emotions especially (which are obviously totally stunted). If it’s like that, I hope he finds his confidence and never makes up with his mother, because she doesn’t deserve it – no matter what excuse she has got. (Especially because she seems to have other children who DO live with her.) Ugggh.

    I also like so far that there does not seem to be any evil infighting between the main leads (a la Hye Mi and her ‘ex’ best friend in Dream High — always hated that storyline). I hope it stays that way… and that it will be a character drama most of all.

  13. 13 meilady

    THANK YOU!! :DD
    So I was watching the raw episodes… and they make so much more sense now x]

    I did love Daesung’s audition scene regardless though <3

    • 13.1 ADayAway

      I did too…LOL I had the same reaction as the camera lady. :P

  14. 14 Yee

    The part Tae Hee perform is from the korean movie:
    “Welcome to Dongmakgol” where Kang Hye Jung play a mental girl who meets the north koreans and invite them to stay over.

    — Lol. The part when she said about “snakes” are soo funny. I recommend you guys to watch it, to actually understand what tae hee is trying to portray (like a mental girl)

  15. 15 Nilly

    I have waited for “What’s up” for so long and I am happy to see that it does not disappoint me. The tone is a bit darker than I expected. I am interested in all the characters and I hope they have equal chances to show their improvement. And I really like the music in this drama.
    For anyone who wants to watch the drama with English sub, you can find the first 2 episodes here
    http://www.bigbangupdates.com/2011/12/whats-up-episode-1-111203-subbed.html
    http://www.bigbangupdates.com/2011/12/whats-up-episode-2-111204_13.html

    • 15.1 Yee

      Thanks for the links! I have only watched episode 1 and I will be watching episode 2 when I come back. Also, I feel the same way as you. I’ve been waiting for this drama for the longest time!

    • 15.2 SED606

      THANK YOU!

      I came into this post specifically looking for someone to point me to English subs. I’ll be watching these tonight!

  16. 16 Laica

    Thanks for the recap, Kaedejun! This is already the best musical drama of the year. Maybe I’ll eat my words later, but right now I’m loving it (I say this after watching 4 episodes). You’re right, it’s the characterizations that are the best thing about this drama. I love how dark and complex the story looks like it will be, although I hope they don’t overdo the dark secrets bit. Im Ju-hwan is incredible here. I laughed so hard at his audition scene. And yet his serious moments – kind of break my heart.

    This has a similar vibe to You’ve Fallen For Me in that it captures that mood of being young and in college, of searching for direction and your place in life, of friendship and fooling around. But the writing is at a higher level, and the characters have more depth. I will be so happy if this focuses on this group of friends and their journeys, together and separately. That’s one thing I find j-doramas do better than kdramas, sadly. There’s a lack of really awesome friendships in kdramas.

    • 16.1 riin

      I agree with you 100%!
      and.. Im Joo Hwan is indeed awesome.

    • 16.2 alua

      Im Ju-hwan is wonderful in this. Totally, totally love his character already. It better stay that way!

      I don’t it to be in any way like You’ve Fallen for Me. Really didn’t like that drama – fell flat for me the longer it continued. I just liked the character of the kid that always was stuffing himself, he provided some great scenes.

      • 16.2.1 Mystisith

        Agree with you alua !
        I couldn’t watch the last eps of fallen for me : Boring, no decent story, and no chemistry between the 2 leads ( which is quite an enigma, when you remember them in You’re Beautiful ). I also only remember the sides characters as the Hungry Kid or the Stage Fright student… Just to say. Here we have so much material to use and explore. I think the 18 eps will be filled to the brim. And if Lunatic by Daesung is the only complete piece of music we hear, i’ll die a happy girl ( and i’m not a Big Bang fan at all ). My god, what a powerful voice ! He should sing an opera play.
        As a more futile reason to like this show, i’m happy to see Im Joo Hwan facing my favorite ahjumma : They were so good together in Tamra. :)

        • 16.2.1.1 Mystisith

          Just a thing before i forget : Les Choristes, and later Edith Piaf playing on vinyl record. It seems that Korea is really grateful to France after we gave them back the Ancient Royal Books : I hear french music in a lot of dramas lately. And some stupid people here keep going against it. As if we lack masterpieces in our museums… I vote for more cultural exchanges and cooperation in the future. Korea : Know you have HARD. CORE. fans in France. Fighting !!

          • 16.2.1.1.1 YY

            Mystisith, maybe you could suggest to President Sarkozy to have Korean abs exhibitions in France? My grandma always says: “Nothing like abs to bring nations together.”

        • 16.2.1.2 alua

          Oh yeah… the lack of chemistry… don’t get me started about that. Hated them as a couple. Okay, not totally, but more and more as the drama went on. Especially when the guy started pulling ultimatums out of the air after going out, what, a few days? And the girl just becoming a passive damsel…

      • 16.2.2 Laica

        I liked YFFM a lot, but I agree it wasn’t a great drama, especially towards the end when any kind of plot dissolved into thin air. What I liked was the lead couple’s cuteness and the amazing! soundtrack. But I meant that WU has a similar theme, and vibe, although it’s much darker – and better.

    • 16.3 diorama

      I totally agree that the writing is one level higher than in Dream High. It’s deeper, darker, and richer, plus with actors who can really act and a darn good director. The first episode was amazing…it was better than Dream High, Heartstrings, and The Musical combined. I really hope it gets good ratings.

  17. 17 riin

    I love this one. especially because of the darkness and the quirky. there’s something about the show and its characters that draw you in.

  18. 18 RealOrNot

    Im kinda falling in love with the characters especially Kim Ji Won’s character

  19. 19 amelia

    the more i watch what’s up & padam padam, the more i’m dying for a kim bum & im joo hyun drama collaboration in the very near future! they need to act as brothers (or twins!) with a love-hate relationship! better yet, get the YG backup dancers kwon twins (starring as side characters in whats up) as side characters as a mirroring brother relationship. how long more is it beofre im joo hyun gets out of the army? this is just too excrutiating.

    anw, back to what’s up. this drama made me super duper impressed by kim ji won. that girl (more than doori) has range! such a totally different side from her acting in high kick. i’m so impressed. how does she memorise & articulate those long lines while emoting that panic sob so perfectly?!(ooh. & does she has daddy issues too in real life? ha.) n she goes on to show that she has some singing chops as well. love the moments she has with her dad. :)

    how much do i like that this drama allows newbies to shine so much? ^_______^

    oh n moarrr of pyungie! \{^_______^)/
    i just hope he ain’t really charmed by jang jin hee… (somehow her in this drama just makes me dislike her more than her role in spy myung wol…)
    & they proceed to show us how he and doori falls in love. that would be interesting. :)

    daesung really made a transformation here and totally blew me over with his singing performance (not the hades one..)

    hoping for it to deliver and not be dragged down. ep 3 & 4 were slowly building up an impending conflict and i’m looking forward to what wil happen to our leads :)

    • 19.1 xiaoSxin

      Im Joo Hwan still has a long way to go before he gets out of the military. His discharge date is set at February 2013.

  20. 20 amelia

    whoops. my bad. im joo hwan. i keep getting it wrong.

  21. 21 download

    where are people downloading this drama? the videos from my usual sources (like am-addiction) seem to not be working .. as in, the audio’s off.

  22. 22 Selli

    Im Joo-hwan really is awesome, but I also really love Im Joo-eun. They have a similar charisma, too, in my opinion. It’s kind of impossible to ignore. Argh, I’m very excited at how all of this is going to pan out, and I hope they’ll really stay together through thick and thin.

    I just hope Oh Man-seok isn’t going to die. Or anyone, for that matter. But that’s really unlikely. Thank you, kaedejun! ^^

    • 22.1 carolies541

      I just feel bombed that Im Joo Eun is not playing that much of an important role than newcomer Kim Ji Won from Highkick3.. It was advertised that IJE is the female lead but now it feels like KJW is the female lead and IJE is second…

      Well, i was excited for this drama only for IJE at first, KJW is alright, she got nice screen presence but i prefer IJE’s character in this drama.

      I’ve seen 4 episodes of this, i say this is an alright drama, not as good as i expected it to be but also not enough oomph in my opinion maybe i’m not invested in the characters yet =p

  23. 23 snow

    thanks for the recap, kaedejun! hopefully this will turn out better than “the musical”, which is kinda boring.

    oh, and professor yang is played by kim mi kyung, not kim mi sook.

    • 23.1 kaedejun

      LOL – oh the names confuse me so! thanks for that correction. I had the “hawt mama” in my head while looking at “the woman in every drama alive” on screen.

  24. 24 Kneekey

    Watched the first episode and wow, it’s probably the BEST first episode i’ve watched. Everything about it is perfect and movie-like, I cannot wait to watch episode 2.

  25. 25 am

    Thank you so much for the recap! Not only have I enjoyed the read but I’m very excited to watch it. However, I have a rule to let the series finish first before watching it…argh! I’m excited!

  26. 26 Hipployta

    I quite enjoyed the first two episodes…I’m not going to even lie…I’m a VIP so I was going to watch it no matter what for Daesung.

  27. 27 angle2mx

    Darn! Another one to add to my watch list for the winter Holidays. The first screen shot sold me! He is super adorable? How old is he?

    • 27.1 alua

      29. (Born in 1982.)

      • 27.1.1 angle2mx

        Oh my, Perfect Crush material 7 yr difference is not bad. He looks so young how is he 29! Jealous.

      • 27.1.2 xiaoSxin

        30 in Korean age.

  28. 28 E

    I’m sold – I can try to watch this drama on the subway to work. I must admit I haven’t watched any drama in full since Coffee House and before Coffee House it was….Goong I believe. Everything else I pretty much skipped through. I hope What’s Up is good – I’ll figure it out later I guess.

  29. 29 Dara

    Four episodes, and I’m in lurveeee. Wee! It ‘s a drama from the people who really know what it takes to get to be someone. Solid writing imo. Thanks for recapping this one. I was hoping someone would recap this awesome drama. For me, it’s the only solid musical drama this year.

  30. 30 sugarpunch

    wait till u watch ep 3 and 4:) I like it, it’s awesome! or i’m just weak when it comes to song and dance. hahaha.

  31. 31 Alvina

    IMo OP, while episode 1 was exciting and all, I liked episode 2 MORE because we got to see everyone at the school.

    How they all dealt with things, within the boundaries of the school, was very interesting because they all had different approaches to things.

    -Im Ju Hwan is my favorite character right now in the drama closely followed by Im Ju Eun as Doori.
    He’s doing a great job of being both incredibly outspoken, street smart, and talented while also being a vulnerable fish out of water.
    The fact that he applied as an actor, but his friends put him down as musical actor, makes me question them because they CLEARLY knew that he cant sing or dance. -__-

    Doori, most of all, amuses me. Because, while Im Ju Hwan’s character doesnt care out of ignorance, she doesnt care because well… she really doesnt care lol

  32. 32 Suzi Q

    Whassup? This drama is entirely different from “The Musical”,”Heartstrings” and “Dream High”.I have seen all 3, and this one is in a darker vein and emphasizes more on the characterizations.”Dream High” was my favorite.
    So far, I like all of the actors, although I’m not familiar with some of the them. I like Oh Man Seuk, and I’m glad he’ll be playing the weird instructor. I hope he’s not going to die at the end. I heard Daesung singing kpop and didn’t know he had such an awesome singing voice!So much of Kpop is autotuned and electronic. It’s nice to hear his real, amazing singing voice.
    Looking forward to see how this drama develops.The individual characters are interesting. I hope they show each character’s singing talent which isn’t that apparent other than Daesung’s. Sorry to hear about his recent problems. He is so talented.

  33. 33 xiaoSxin

    It’s out!!! Heeeeee ~ thank you KaedejuN!!

    FINALLY! What’s Up made it to broadcast! Granted there was a mild “fiasco” when MBN aired episode 1 again on Sunday Dec 4 instead of episode 2. So for those of us watching it live stream let out a collective “WTH?”, eventually, (thank goodness) MBN realized their blunder and aired the second episode after episode 1 finished. Whew ~ fans are pissed. Like me.

    Anyway. Back to the drama. *cue lots of squeal*

    IM JOO HWAN is back! It is such a happy thought that I could watch him every week now. I am looking forward to every Sat and Sunday. Counting down the days, to be accurate. He has improved with his acting. His character Jang Jae Heon 장재헌 fascinates me on how he would grow as as a person. There is so much potential in the story to make his character develop more and I believe Im Joo Hwan will do well. Heck, I already have a folder of Jae Heon’s multiple expressions and emotions just from episode 1 alone. Misfit, Cocky, Brash, Mischievous, Grateful, Shock, Fear, Relief, Wonder, Hurt, Disappointment, and that whole heart thumping thing with his mom. So cute I was rofl.

    After watching the first 2 episodes, I was confused at the tone of the drama, because there are dark(er) elements that I was not expecting at all. But I guess that really was the fault of having no promotions at all leading up to the broadcast date, except for that one official teaser. But after I get past that, I like the drama. It has both dark and light tones that it evens it out. And I agree that, overall, episode 1 is stronger than episode 2. Nothing really much happened in episode 2.

    Overall, the first 2 episodes were definitely owned by Im Joo Hwan. The writing/directing shows the quality of being pre-produced. Music is still middling for me as there is not much of a musical feel yet.

    Onto the next episode! Cheers!

    • 33.1 endodo4ever

      Hooray for the recap, kae! *hugs*

      Reminds me that I need to watch this sometime later this week so I can join xiaoSxin here in spazzing over Lim Ju Hwan! :D

      • 33.1.1 xiaoSxin

        watch it with subs!! links are posted above, if not I’ll DM it to you

    • 33.2 autumn rain

      I’m happy because you’re here!

    • 33.3 autumn rain

      Long time no see you, Xiaosxin. I’m happy because I see you’re here!

  34. 34 Cynthia

    I’m really liking this, so far – but I can see why it was shelved for the better part of the year, in large part due to Daesung’s personal problems. If ever fiction reflected reality, What’s Up? is it. No way could this have found airtime any sooner than it has.

    For me, WU? has the definite feel of an ’80’s production, but I must say that the film quality on Viki is awful compared to Jacinda’s which is crystal-clear.

    WU? looks (and sounds) like it’s been formatted from the U.S. movie “Fame” and subsequent TV series that ran for several successful seasons. I can’t equate it to Dream High or Heartstrings (YFFM) – those two are semi-fluff when compared to WU? – and I can’t consider “The Musical” to be included in either of these as I saw it as a total flop on all levels. If WU? can continue with strong writing, good characters and firm directing, it just might rise to the top of the pack for 2011. Hope so. :)

    • 34.1 Hipployta

      It actually lost its initial time slot in March back when SBS cancelled the 9pm drama hour…and then the accident in May happened

  35. 35 Yushi

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RECAPPING THIS!! :D :D
    I’m super happy.
    DaeSung is actually a pretty good actor, and a damn amazing singer. So far, I think my favorite character is DooRi LOL. I love her name too~

  36. 36 Danna

    I fell in love the second I heard vois sur ton chemin frim les choristes

  37. 37 Cynthia

    I’m aware of that – but don’t you think it’s curious as to the similarity between the fictional plot and what really happened to Daesung?

    I mean, guy on motorbike lands on the pavement where he’s struck and killed by a secondary vehicle? And it sure didn’t help that Daesung was portraying Hades, God of Death.

    If WU? had been released and shown at the same time as the accident it most likely would have ended Daesung’s career, permanently.

    • 37.1 Cynthia

      Sorry – this was a reply to Hipployta (34.1)
      :)

    • 37.2 Laica

      Yeah, that struck me as well. It’s an unfortunate situation all around.

  38. 38 Elena

    This drama has some of my favorite actors, I know I am going to enjoy it. Thanks for the recap :)

  39. 39 Alice20

    It’s nice to see a kdrama that’s not using super cliche character molds, and that focuses on the chAracters growth into adulthood rather than dumb makjang “I have a stepsister I never knew about!” stuff. Like someone said previously, when it comes to growing-up stories, Jdramas have it down pat. They seem to focus on middle school and high school days, though, so it’s refreshing to see a drama about people my age that’s more character-based and realistic.

  40. 40 beppu10

    Park Kyu (Im Ju Hwan) is back!!! :D

    Am having a lull time for k-series lately, but thank you kaedejun for sparking my interest again through your nicely done recaps :D

  41. 41 bim2

    “However, I was definitely more excited for this drama than The Musical. And…”, can’t agree more with it. I can feel the heat and the passion of music in this series, more than in “The Musical” ^^

  42. 42 sangay

    phew, glad to know that this drama’s going to be recapped here :D thanks !

    watched 4 episodes and loving them so far. ha, the 7 main characters … would love to see the changes in them as the story proceeds. can’t wait ! :D

  43. 43 moose

    Lee Soo Hyuk – the assassin with the face of plastic in Tree With Deep Roots

    … really, plastic? i don’t know if you intended to offend, but that was really unnecessary. i remember that you also used same word to describe So Yi Hyun in YFFM. it’s one thing if you think they’re bad actors but to keep randomly throwing that word out even though it has nothing to do with the topic is unneeded.

    • 43.1 kbap

      Haha, I think that he wasn’t a “face of plastic” x) He had miniscule changes in his expressions. Plus, he’s supposed to be the silent reaper, right? :)

  44. 44 fan

    Thank you, Thank you for your recap! For LSK, I think I am getting too much of Lee Soo Kyuk these days (TWDR, VI, and WU) and he (his character) looks same in all 3. Plastic, but still charming.

  45. 45 Alpha

    thank you for this :)

    the first episode is just smashing! i’m in love. It really makes a lot of difference to have pro’s in a genre of their own specialty. :D

  46. 46 tytoo

    thx foe the recap . !!
    daesung. . . . <3 :D

  47. 47 Claire

    thanks for the recap! i’m in love with this drama already… :)
    i actually love all the characters because all of them has important roles…even the teachers… :)

  48. 48 Blueangel

    I really think this is going to my ‘dream high’ just darker and older. If it’s going to go down the character root i don’t mind cause they all look like some awesome characters. Now if only we can find our ‘milky couple’ cause that’s what got me hooked onto ‘dream high’ in the first place…. and i had to watch it from the beginning.

    • 48.1 kbap

      YES, and bromance. Hee. (Oh, how I loved the Sam-dong Jin-gook underwear wars…haha that sounds wrong)

  49. 49 estelgrace

    Yes finally!!

    Thanks lot’s! ! :D

    Im Joo hwan
    Daesung
    That song up there
    The fact that this is What’s Up.
    SO HAPPY!

    Totally love the Taehee and DooRi girls too.

  50. 50 Viki

    How’s the ratings? Anyway, I might watch this…been wanting to ever since they announced it a while ago…but wasn’t sure what this is about

Add a Comment

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published)

Website

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.