You’re Here, You’re Here, You’re Really Here is the MBN sitcom that premiered at the start of December, which touted itself as a new style of sitcom modeled after the American sitcom format, with a Friends-like vibe. Supposedly.
At 120 episodes and on a daily airing schedule, it’s not a show I’d normally want to watch… but for the lead actors, whom I love. I’ve wanted to see Jin Yi-han as the central lead in something for a long time — not playing a loser or a baddie — and Lee Soo-kyung is so bright and effervescent in comedy roles.
So here’s an introduction to the series, which covers episodes 1 through 20, putting us just about current with the airing schedule at the time of this posting.
Note: I’ve seen this title mistranslated as Come, Come, Absolutely Come, which makes me cringe (such blatant disregard for verb conjugation!, protests my inner grammar nerd). Sadly enough, it’s probably the title by which this show is better known.
SONG OF THE DAY
Flower – “She” [ Download ]
Before I get to it, though, I feel obligated to warn you: This is not a great show. It’s not that funny and the plots are simple to the point of silliness and the first episode was so terrible that I wondered how Lee Soo-kyung and Jin Yi-han got themselves involved with such a mess. And to be honest, for the first 15 episodes I thought the show was rather lame.
And yet, I continued watching. Why?, you wonder. Who can know? It’s one of the big K-dramaverse mysteries. I was casually hanging around, ready to drop it, and then suddenly last week came around and started actually going somewhere, and I’m finally invested. It’s still not a wonderful show, but now there are relationships I care about, lovelines that make sense, and conflicts that have stakes. It’s around this point that I found myself groaning, “Arg, I can’t believe I got hooked on another dumb show! Now I have to watch it.”
In that, this show sort of reminds me of It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl. Not in plot or character or tone, but in the way that it’s kind of dumb, but also kind of endearing. (How funny, then, that Daddy’s Girl’s Jeon Tae-soo should have joined the cast.)
First, the characters: These three have been a tight trio since elementary school, when they bonded over being the outcasts. They are, from left to right, lawyer Chan-young (Jin Yi-han), D-list actress Sae-bom (Yoo In-young), and PR employee Su-jin (Lee Soo-kyung).
At the sitcom’s start, the girls live together and Chan-young has his own bachelor pad. He’s notoriously fastidious, warning the girls not to eat while sitting on his precious couch and anxiously catching crumbs with tape. This means that the girls enjoy pushing his buttons for fun; Sae-bom, for instance, deliberately shakes her head over his floor so that loose hairs drift everywhere, predictably freaking him out. Ah, friends.
Chan-jin is a divorce lawyer working at a firm run by his stone-faced mother, and while he’s well-off, Mom controls the purse strings. He declares that he’ll never marry, saying he’d rather go to the army again than get hitched. I’m sure that’s partly because his anal-retentive, OCD brain hates sharing his space (it’s the official reason he gives when he’s asked), but it probably has more to do with his parents’ broken marriage and the resulting childhood trauma.
Sae-bom is a struggling actress who keeps getting typecast in roles as adulteresses and vixens on third-rate soaps. She’s actually a sweet person, which makes the dichotomy funny more than anything, and is also the main breadwinner for her agency. (In fact, her CEO/agent — a has-been actress clinging to her ’80s fame, ha — hits her up for a loan.) Thanks to her roles, Sae-bom’s public image isn’t so great, but because she’s got so little name recognition, she’s ecstatic when an anti-fan cafe springs up — at least it means somebody cares!
Then there’s Su-jin, who has been dating a guy for a while (cameo by Joo Sang-wook), and he finally pops the question. In a flurry of giddiness and excitement, she begins wedding preparations. This includes a photo shoot with her two bridesmaids, giving us this:
Hee. Su-jin finds a new apartment and puts in the deposit, which means Sae-bom has to find a new place to live. Su-jin’s fiancé gives her the choice to keep working or quit, so when Su-jin’s lazy boss gets on her nerves yet again, she quits the thankless job in a fit of indignation.
Too late, they hear that the fiancé took the apartment deposit and split — he’s actually a con man leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake. Su-jin is homeless, jobless, and husbandless.
She’s not friendless, though: When she sinks into depression, it’s Chan-young and Sae-bom who take care of her, trying various tactics to draw her out of her funk. Finally Chan-young breaks his own resolve and tells her to live with him in his spare room.
Sae-bom jumps on the bandwagon and squeezes herself into the deal, giving us the setup for the rest of the series: Three’s Company.
So that’s the first three episodes. Time to take a look at the rest of the world.
The entire show takes place in a fictional neighborhood dubbed Goolgie Town, which contains the Goolgie Villa complex and the offices for Goolgie the company. Our characters all live and work in this town, which also houses a Korean restaurant, a fancy French restaurant, a cafe, a bar, Chan-young’s law firm, and Sae-bom’s agency.
The big joke: Goolgie is named after its CEO, Kim Gool-ji, and produces various tech products; one of its computers, for instance, bears the logo of a pear with a bite taken out of it. Hur hur. Here’s an example of a joke that could be witty, if only it weren’t mishandled by such ham hands. It might be funny if they actually did something with it, but it’s basically a one-note gag that gives us a name for the town.
(Gool-ji’s younger brother is Kim Gool-jong, and because of his connections he gets to be a PR manager without doing any work, to Su-jin’s constant irritation. Jeon Tae-soo plays Kim Gool-joo, the third brother from a different marriage.)
Goolgie Town leads us to another of the sitcom’s shortcomings: the cheap, cheap, cheap sets that don’t even try to look realistic. The show’s made on a shoestring budget that makes Vampire Idol (also on MBN) seem like a special-effects masterpiece. Everything basically looks like an SNL sketch, and it doesn’t work to the show’s benefit.
Granted, maybe they don’t have a lot of cash to work with. And the indoor sets are mostly fine — par for the course. On the other hand, the show could try actually shooting the outdoor scenes in real sunlight, or make an effort to make sets not look like they’d topple over if you breathed too hard on them. High Kick, for instance, largely shoots on the same sets over and over, but at least it uses real buildings for establishing shots.
Moving on to the other characters: There’s also Chan-young’s cousin and hyung, Hye-sung (Lee Kyun), who’s a famous songwriter. He’s the reason that young aspiring singer Park-ho (former FT Island member Oh Won-bin) has packed his bags to arrive here, wanting to learn from the master.
This gives us the recurring bit of Park-ho trying to serenade Hye-sung in random moments, wanting to be discovered and taken on as protégé. He finally succeeds — not through his talent but through his cooking skills. Hye-sung is a slob and needs some housekeeping, so he agrees to train Park-ho in exchange for maid duties.
I suppose I should mention the older generation, although they are by far the least interesting and take up too much screentime. I understand the desire to feature Mr. Bigshot Gool-ji since he’s the name on all the buildings, but he’s a buffoonish character who spends way more time mooning over the stiff lawyer lady (Chan-young’s mother) and glowering at his rival, Mr. Gong.
Mr. Gong is the diametric opposite to Kim Gool-ji: He dresses plainly, he runs a restaurant and takes on handyman jobs, and he’s quietly masculine. So while Kim Gool-ji makes clumsy attempts to woo the lawyer, she finds herself attracted to Mr. Gong. It’s a budding love triangle, but really, I could care less.
It’s really the main cast that has the endearing relationships, so let’s get back to them:
With all those satellite characters incorporated into the mix, we now have a bigger posse to work with, whom we can rearrange into multiple relationship configurations. Some connections may hint at romance, but a lot of them are just interactions between a group that’s slowly coming together and becoming familiar with each other.
As an example: aspiring singer Park-ho and struggling actress Sae-bom are perpetually poor, so they jump at the chance to win prizes in a neighborhood dance-off. It’s only for housewives, so they don disguises, which gives us Sae-bom sporting a water-belly and Park-ho dressed like a lady. (They win.)
And then, at some point, the cute, unassuming Park-ho starts to develop a crush on his Sae-bom noona, leading to some pounding hearts and uneasy moments of proximity.
For the first three weeks, the sitcom mostly features the characters in comedic plot points (which, sadly, aren’t that funny). I suppose they’re the types of things that fall under the header “Shenanigans” — at least on paper, in theory. The problem is that the execution is sloppy — no matter how amusing an idea is, when you treat it with all the sharpness of a Saved By the Bell episode, all the funny gets dulled down.
Another example: Su-jin is forced to drink at work parties, which makes her massively hungry and sends her on midnight food rampages. Finally she lies and says she can’t go to a work party because her aunt is in the hospital, and that lie spirals out of control until she’s donning funeral clothes, pretending she’s an estranged niece to a random stranger, and accepting the bows of the line of gangsters who turn up to show their respects. (Auntie was a badass?)
In another episode, Sae-bom dates a serial killer, and Chan-young ends up in jail after he’s mistaken for the culprit.
In another bit, Chan-young accidentally throws out Su-jin’s gambling ticket and digs through the trash for it. They think they win a huge jackpot on the outcome of a soccer game, only to realize that they got the numbers all backward. Thus they end up in a bar the next day, quietly rooting for Saudi Arabia to kick South Korea’s butt, while the mob glares at them.
Then there’s the part where Chan-young is beat up and mugged by teenagers in a park, leading to a Rocky-esque training sequence… which ends with him beating the thugs with a prop trick instead of his fists. (Okay, that story I liked, because it takes Chan-young from the stereotypical, chic perfect lawyer man populating trendy dramas everywhere and makes him a weak nerd, which is much more appealing.)
These are examples of the stories cluttering the first month. They’re not terribly original or unexpected, but on the other hand I found myself watching anyway because I’d developed some affection for the characters by this point.
The reason this sitcom takes a while getting started is that for that whole month, the show opted for the overtly comic storylines. For whatever reason, it was like they were deliberately waiting before introducing romance, which was a mistake, and not just because I like romance. It’s because the comedy is ham-handed, but the romantic elements are actually well-supported by character backstory and chemistry. Why feature your weakness and hide your strength?
Furthermore, if you cast Lee Soo-kyung and Jin Yi-han and promote their romantic storyline, people expect to see it. When we sit through three weeks of silly comedy waiting for a scrap, we get frustrated and contemplate dropping the show — and perhaps some viewers are no longer around when we finally get what we’ve been longing for.
To be fair, there is ONE tiny hint of chemistry early on between Su-jin and Chan-young, in the scene pictured below. When Su-jin is dumped by her con man and finds herself homeless, it’s Chan-young who comforts her and assures her that all will be well. She looks at him sadly, leans in, and he gulps nervously while closing his eyes… only to have her fall asleep on his shoulder.
After that, it should be fairly clear that we’re heading toward romantic waters, right? And yet, soon afterward Chan-young is dating a random other girl and declaring his devotion to his I’ll Never Marry philosophy. We have to wait a whole month before we get our next hint of anything, and that’s a damn shame.
In Episode 19, we get the plot involving Chan-young being forced on a mat-seon blind date by Mom, and his date turns out to be the kind you just can’t get rid of. He hires both his roommates in turn to act as jealous exes, which you think could be great fodder for romantic chemistry… but then the show just drops that ball and kicks it aside, opting instead for the tired joke of pretending to be gay.
Admittedly I find the interactions cute so it wasn’t a total loss, but let’s just say that if you’re going to adopt the Coffee Prince maneuver, the show should at least try to give it a fun twist.
The mat-seon storyline does give us a conversation between the friends, though, as Su-jin wonders why Chan-young’s so averse to marriage. He repeats his familiar line about invasion of privacy — he’s always hated people poking around, in his room, in his space. But he sends Su-jin into his room to retrieve something, and she pauses — why isn’t he bothered? Is this really okay? Surprised, Chan-young wonders to himself if it is. And then he shakes his head, convincing himself, “No way.”
Finally it’s in Episode 20 that we finally get to an honest-to-goodness Moment of Breakthrough, when Su-jin falls sick and has trouble washing her hair, just as the water heater fails. She’s shivering and coughing, and Chan-young nestles her with blankets and pours hot water from the stove to finish the job for her, and she looks up at him with dawning awareness.
They’ve been friends for twenty years, but it’s today that she asks why he’s so nice to her, wondering what this means. Then he puts her to bed in his warm room for the night, tucking her in, and she wonders why it seems her fever is running even hotter now.
Of course, this is also the day that the New Doctor arrives in town and briefly makes her acquaintance — and then treats her at the hospital. Oh noes!
(Preview into Episode 21: Sae-bom meets the handsome new stranger and is instantly smitten, although she thinks he’s an unemployed slacker. Su-jin meets him later in his quirky doctor guise, who falls asleep while talking to her, then asks weird questions and cracks silly jokes — which is pretty adorable — all while fighting her growing awkwardness and awareness around Chan-young, now that she’s seen him in a new light.)
So that’s the show. Like I said, there’s a lot of dumb filler and the actual plots are super-simple, so this isn’t a show to watch for the compelling storylines. It’s mostly a showcase for some cute relationships amongst a group of young single professionals all hovering around the age of 30, all good-looking and charming in their own ways, displaying a nice, easy chemistry with each other. I’m a fan of the longtime-friends-fighting-chemistry plotline, which is one of the charms of Lee Soo-kyung’s other current drama, Color of Woman, because it explores a different facet of relationships from the standard meet-cute. And even though You’re Here is not deep, I’ll admit that the show does have a way of growing on you — if you make it past the initial awkwardness.
If you wanted to start watching You’re Here, You’re Here, You’re Really Here, I’d propose that you could even skip straight to Episode 19, in time to get to the burgeoning Su-jin / Chan-young relationship and just in time for Jeon Tae-soo’s arrival. In fact, if you do in fact skip and have questions about the details I’ve left out of this intro post, feel free to drop me questions and I’ll do my best to fill in the blanks for you. I just didn’t bother with all the details here because, let’s face it, most of them aren’t that interesting.