What’s Up: Episode 15
Being obsessed with a show has a double-edged sword; when things are going well, it’s great. When things go exactly the way you want them to, and/or turn out to be better than you expected, it increases the level of fandom. And that’s difficult for me because I can’t go shouting on the rooftops, “What’s up, WHAT’S UP!!” and turn on everyone’s computer to episode 1. I’d get the stink-eye, no matter how sweet or charming I think I am. The point of all this “fandom rambling” is: this drama needs an official OST, stat. The songs are what increases my love for this show each week because of the talent involved. There’s only so much I can do with editing audio tracks from the drama episodes to create my own personal OST.
Sun-Man is informed of Team Yang’s progress via Prof. Yang’s assistant. (Frustratingly, I have not heard her name yet, but she did change up her hairstyle.) They not only have a musical (“Fame”) but are already rehearsing the choreography. Doo Ri is also in Sun-Man’s office, listing all these history facts about “Fame” as if she read the same musical encyclopedia Byeong Gun probably wrote. She’s always around him, and Sun-Man offers $50 if the assistant can help him get rid of her. Sun-Man has the gall to say that he’s disappointed in Prof. Yang’s lack of creativity, for not using the students to create an original script, score, and choreography. He wants to do an original musical, to which Doo Ri quickly shuts down because they have no script, score, or even actors. Sun-Man throws a book at them – here’s the script! Except… It’s just one liners on each page. You have the start (a “challenge”), a failure, a build up to climax, and the ending. Basically it’s the bare bones of the “Hero’s Journey.”
He presents this to the freshmen class in four large sheets of poster paper. Even if some of them are working on”Fame,” they can all participate in creating the script for his musical. All they have to do is write about their experiences and express whatever they want on the appropriate poster sheets. He asks who wants to write the script, and Doo Ri, Byung Gun, and several others raise their hand. Sun-Man points out that it’s going to be hard work writing the students’ real story (and two people put their hands down); the writer will have to connect the dots between the scribbles (one more down); whatever can’t be expressed in dialogue must become a song (another down); and the writer cannot be onstage at the same time (Byeong Gun’s hand goes down). Sun-Man is surprised to see Byeong Gun want to be onstage, because it will require singing. But Byeong Gun insists on trying – he will audition on the final night of auditions. That leaves Doo Ri as the writer (much to Sun-Man’s reluctance).
Class is dismissed, and Tae Hee hangs back in the hopes of speaking with Jae Hun about last night, where he just broke up with her. Since she wants to be part of the play too, she hopes that things won’t be awkward between them since they will have to see each other. Jae Hun doesn’t care, and so Tae Hee stops him for one more request: can he tell her what she did wrong? She promises to fix whatever it is that pissed him off. Jae Hun: “Just think of it as you meeting me is like you sitting on dog shit. Let’s just go our separate ways.” Tae Hee doesn’t understand, which frustrates him more. She can be so clueless at times! He even yells, “Should I quit school to avoid you?!” And with that, he rudely just leaves her.
Doo Ri is left to deal with the aftermath in their dorm room, when Tae Hee can’t stop listening to the depressing version of “My Funny Valentine.” She finds Tae Hee crying silently to herself, and encourages her to just cry out loud. Tae Hee is so lost; her father usually appears to talk to her whenever she needs him, but lately he hasn’t appeared. Doo Ri understands the root of the problem is Jae Hun, and she storms out of their room.
With Do Sung’s help, Jae Hun is dragged to an empty stage for a confrontation with a very angry Mama Hen named Doo Ri. She wants to know what on earth Jae Hun did to Tae Hee, but he just turns to leave. Do Sung won’t let him, and when Byeong Gun appears (having followed the boys out of curiosity), Jae Hun is trapped. Doo Ri: “Jang Jae Hun! Are you trying to run away? What’d you do to her!?” Jae Hun: “What are you to know about my business?!” Doo Ri becomes violent, throwing chairs and props at Jae Hun. Dang – never piss off Mama Hen again.
They finally reach a stare-down, and Byeong Gun neatly summarizes that Jae Hun must have dumped Tae Hee for her to be crying for two hours straight. Doo Ri thinks it’s just one of the games boys and girls play, where boy meets girl, boy dumps girl, then boy and girl get back together. However, since she knows her naive roommate knows nothing of these games, she asks for Jae Hun to fix the problem. Even Do Sung calls Jae Hun out on his feelings, noting that everyonein the school knows he likes Tae Hee. Jae Hun: “I know this may sound funny to you guys, but I’m doing it for Tae Hee.” Yeah – to an outsider, you sound like a noble idiot. But we all know it’s because of his longstanding guilt towards her. Doo Ri is disgusted to hear that’s his only excuse, and Byeong Gun jokes that they’re in the romantic comedy-melodramas on TV. (So true!)
Jae Hun: We learned in class to look into your own heart. I looked into my heart this time, and I found out I was pretty gross. I’m selfish, dirty, and cowardly. I’m also weak – a total loser…. Thus I realized I shouldn’t be hovering around her.
He doesn’t expect Doo Ri to understand him, but he’s grateful to her and Do Sung, because he now knows that Tae Hee has really good friends by her side.
Having reached this impasse, Doo Ri goes back to the classroom and snaps photos of the half-filled posters. Already there are a bunch of ramblings and drawings from her fellow classmates, and she belatedly notices that Chae Young is also in the room, staring at the posters too. Soo Bin enters and hands her some music sheets. He’s been up all night composing music for Tae Hee. He wants Chae Young to be his messenger: have Tae Hee sing his song for her audition tomorrow, and to make sure Do Sung is present to listen. It’s extremely important that Do Sung be there – because Soo Bin is throwing the gauntlet! You want risky!? I’ll give you risky! Soo Bin would relay the message himself, but he’s too tired. To punctuate his point, he lies down on the plastic chairs and proceeds to sleep (much to Chae Young’s annoyance).
Tae Hee is sitting in one of the practice rooms, trying to prepare for her audition. However, her voice keeps wavering and she can barely sing two lines of her song. Unfortunately, Chae Young happens to witness this. In her “I’m only trying to be helpful, but not really,” manner, she asks if Tae Hee can’t sing because of her breakup with Jae Hun. Chae Young then takes action; she calls up Director Oh and begins to yell that Tae Hee isn’t being managed properly. Because Tae Hee is now a mess over a guy, she can’t sing! Great – what a way to twist things and make Tae Hee seem like she completely disobeyed Director Oh’s instructions! The result of this call? Now Director Oh will be sending someone over tomorrow to check up on Tae Hee. If she can’t sing by tomorrow, she’s probably going to be cut from the agency.
The next day, Doo Ri heads over to Sun-Man’s office to present her idea for the script, but his office is empty. Prof. Yang’s assistant catches her practicing to no one, and is pleasantly shocked to see that Little Miss Stalker doesn’t know everything about Sun-Man! Since it’s a Thursday, Sun-Man always disappears after his 3 o’clock class. She doesn’t know where, or if he’s meeting a girl, but she relishes that Sun-Man has managed to keep at least some secrets from Little Miss Stalker.
Sun-Man is meeting a woman – a female doctor that is. She looks at his scans and notes that his liver isn’t functioning as well as it should be. He should seriously be admitted into the hospital, but Sun-Man vehemently refuses to. He just wants pain killers – preferably a brand that won’t make him seem so drowsy all the time too. What’s heartbreaking is that he refuses to acknowledge the gravity of his situation. Though he’s probably aware of it, and his doctor is trying to make him see reason in getting treatment in the hospital, he refuses to do anything about it. He doesn’t want to center his life around this liver disease, but rather is just making it another facet of his colorful life. We all know that this is just going to end up being very bad for him, so it makes me feel worse to see him refuse treatment.
Back in school, life goes on. Jae Hun witnesses Doo Ri and Tae Hee bonding in a practice room; Prof. Yang teaches more obscure classes where she has everyone stand like a tree; Tae Hee can’t stop looking at Jae Hun in class and in the hallways but he just walks off in the opposite direction, no longer hanging out with all of them. Before the audition, Doo Ri and Tae Hee go over the music Soo Bin gave her, writing original lyrics for it based on the experiences written down by their classmates. Byeong Gun is absolutely jealous that he, the roommate, doesn’t even get a chance to sing Soo Bin’s songs. He even claims 30% of the credit for the song, because he is the one who has to put up with Soo Bin when he enters his frenzied writing state.
Tae Hee then spots Jae Hun passing by their common area and quickly chases after him. He stops automatically, recognizing the sound of her steps. Without looking at him in the face, Tae Hee quickly asks that he be present for her audition. She doesn’t know if she can sing still, but if he’s there, she’ll feel safer, and her throat just might become unstuck. Looks like she’s been practicing this speech for a while now… She apologizes for being so “pathetic” in still clinging on to him, but Jae Hun doesn’t reply. He just stares at her, and then waits for her to walk off on her own. He looks like he’s debating whether watching her audition would be a wise thing to do.
Meanwhile, Prof. Yang takes Director Oh around the school. Since he’s going to be their sponsor for the NYMF festival, she suggests that when he produces his own original musical, he should use their students. He scoffs – no way in hell is he going to hire amateurs. He witnesses practice going on, and meets with the student director Chang Jin. With just a look, he tells his secretary to go hire the agency’s award-winning choreographer to redo all their routines, and to find another experienced director to take over from Chang Jin. Chang Jin and Jeong Dae are confused and astonished by Director Oh’s demands. It’s only because of their wide-eyed looks that Director Oh amends his statement – he’ll hire the director to do the work behind the scenes, but everything will be done in Chang Jin’s name. He will also look into the judges so that they can prepare accordingly to appease each judge’s taste.
Chang Jin and Jeong Dae’s reactions: “What the hell just happened here?” The only person actually thrilled about this arrangement is Prof. Yang, who can finally see the award that much closer in her hands. She even practices her acceptance speech with the boys, choosing to substitute “passion” with the word “fame” because, they mean the same thing right? Thank goodness she’s not an English teacher…
It’s audition time for Team Sun-Man! Doo Ri follows him close behind through the school hallways, which freaks Sun-Man out. Usually, she’s a step ahead of him, waiting for him at his next destination. Doo Ri corrects him; she’s not following him, but is observing him. I correct Doo Ri; she’s stalking him, not observing him. She wants to know exactly where he was in the afternoon, and if he met a woman or a man. He says ‘woman,’ and that elicits a huge glare from her. “What?” Sun-Man says, “I can meet a girl if I want.”
In the audition room, Tae Hee and Byeong Gun both want to audition. She goes up first, and hands the music over to the pianist. Jae Hun and Do Sung are not in the room watching. The pianist begins to play, and the door opens. Tae Hee looks over excitedly – but it’s Chae Young and a man from the agency here to observe. She misses her cue, and has the pianist start again.
Jae Hun is actually standing in the dorm lobby, debating on whether to go or not. Sung Jae and the Rapper from his class catch sight of him and drag him off to play a round of basketball with them. On the way to the courts, they are stopped by a deliveryman, who has certified mail for Jae Hun. It’s from the police station. It’s a request for attendance for interrogation. Oh boy. Once again, Tae Hee misses her cue to sing, and Sun-Man is ready to just up-and-leave. So Byeong Gun stands up – he’ll sing with her. He’ll help her get started, since the beginning is usually hard. Once she sings though, her throat should open up; Byeong Gun knows this from experience. Sun-Man: “I don’t think you’re really in the position to give that kind of advice…” HAHA!
But Byeong Gun insists – it would be an absolute honor for him to sing Soo Bin’s song. Sun-Man sits back down, and Byeong Gun places his brother’s drawing on the piano as a good luck charm. While he thinks back to his brother’s words of how inspiring his music was, Tae Hee thinks of her request for Jae Hun to come see her sing. It’s where they’re trying to gather their courage from. The pianist begins again. And hesitantly, Byeong Gun sings:
There’s no need to be afraid now. Let’s start again / Hey, hey, hey! Listen to the sound of my heart beating… Let your body move to the rhythm of life’s music. There’s joy as our voices reach the sky. Though the world seems hellish at times.
And JAE HUN ENTERS THE ROOM! Tae Hee smiles, and her throat magically opens up.
There’s a melody that always protects me. What’s up! / It’s best for me. / What’s up! There are no regrets / Know me? / What’s up! Throw your worries aside / What’s up! Everybody what’s up! / Give, give, give it up! Let your body move to the rhythm of life’s music. There’s a joy as our voices reach the sky. That crazy sound makes my heart beat. I’ll risk my life for it. This world, I’m gonna make it mine / make it mine, make it mine… Shout it out!
Chae Young glares. But looks of pride emanate from Sun-Man and Doo Ri, and most importantly, Jae Hun.
YEAAAAAAA! Byeong Gun singing? In front of MORE THAN ONE (living) PERSON!? And he even raps! Now that’s what I call a winning episode. If his disease of stage fright is contagious, so is his disease of “singing well.” I love that he gulps audibly before singing too. Jo Jung Suk is amazing to watch because he’s such a good singer, but he can portray an amateur with severe stage fright so convincingly. This guy needs to be in more dramas so I can see him more, or he needs to come to Broadway. This episode moved quite quickly, so I felt it glossed over the Jae Hun-Tae Hee storyline a bit. But I think the key takeaway for it was that they’ve broken up, and that’s that. Doo Ri can throw a tantrum all she wants, but no one can save the relationship except for the parties involved. It’s a quick resolution, but true and honest. Life is so much more than just one heartbreak, or one performance, or one musical; it waits for no one, and the added time constraint of 45 minutes per episode doesn’t help either.
As for why Jae Hun shows up at the audition in the end, I think it’s because he knows that he may not see Tae Hee for a while, and so this is sort of like his “seeing her for one last time” moment. Despite his feelings of guilt towards her, it’s heartening to see him smile when she finally finds her voice again. Their friendship – whatever is left of it – comes first. He’s both supporting her, as well as indulging himself with one last glimpse of her shining before he has to go answer for his past crimes. The final song speaks so much about our ragtag bunch; they individually have a lot to fear, but if they put their trust in the music of their hearts and find their voice, they can do anything. They are stronger together than they are by themselves. They can be honest with themselves and with each other. They can live their life and have fun.
The mini story at the end focuses on Chae Young and Soo Bin. Chae Young’s jealousy shows through when she asks about why he lets Tae Hee follow him around. He points out that most girls are like Chae Young – they fake a lot around guys and pretend they’re starring in their own mini-drama, but Tae Hee is real.