EPISODE 372. Broadcast on February 5, 2012.
girlfriday: The boys gather for the opening and chitchat a little, and note that Seung-gi’s lost some weight. He says it’s for his new drama. He says he’s going to be a king, and Ji-won asks if it’s a sageuk, while Jong-min gets all wrapped up in the story description. Guess at least one of his hyungs will be watching.
javabeans: Na PD introduces today’s trip by referring back to a viewer favorite, for which today will be a second part. Tae-woong immediately blurts, “Actress special!” Too bad for him that’s not it, and Ji-won asks to clarify, “Did WE enjoy it?” Ha. I like how he immediately knows that viewer enjoyment does not necessarily equal member enjoyment.
girlfriday: In fact it’s whatchoocallit… inversely proportional. I like that Ji-won asks the other guys which episodes they liked filming, and the only answers are “Actress Special” and “Highlights,” aka reruns. HA.
javabeans: Okay, I think Na PD has to work on his expectations-building skills, because it turns out to be the recent(ish) national treasures trip, where they went hiking up a mountain with the professor to explain the Buddhist statutes. It was an informative episode and had fun moments, but I wouldn’t have pegged it as a favorite, even of the episodes I’VE seen. Seung-gi jokes, deadpan, “But I didn’t really like that trip.”
girlfriday: I much prefer episodes where they’re locked in a room and forced to play ping-pong for food. Or pride. Or both.
javabeans: One nice thing about the Buddhist treasures trip was that at least all the guys were together on the nature walk. And there was that trivia game.
girlfriday: True, and I liked that professor who took to Ji-won. And the funny money.
javabeans: Na PD gives them the theme of today’s trip: The Beauty of Korea. Ji-won guesses, “Like Miss Korea?” Oh, you wish. Oh yay, they brought the same professor back. That’s cool, ‘cause he’s got a funny dry wit and he knows the guys now. They all greet him with genuine warmth, and he quips, “You haven’t even called once.”
girlfriday: Aw, it’s directed at Ji-won, his favorite student. So cute.
javabeans: They ask how the reaction was to his last 1N2D appearance, and he says life got “noisy”: “I thought I was a little famous. After 1N2D, I realized I’d been a no-name all this time.”
girlfriday: Su-geun notes with a giant grin that they can rest assured today, since the professor showed up in city wear, not hiking gear. Professor Yoo doesn’t tell them where they’re going, but volunteers to drive the boys himself. They’re impressed, since driving-and-talking is apparently something that takes about three years’ variety experience to master. Heh, advanced variety, eh? They get in the car and he asks if Na PD is riding with them, visibly more at ease without him around. Seung-gi: “We’re not that comfortable around him yet either.” Hee.
javabeans: The professor starts driving, and as they suspected, he’s focusing a lot on driving and not talking. Su-geun offers to take over and is totally backseat-driving. Or should I say, passenger-seat-driving. It’s hilarious, like when you’re all, “I can do it” and your parent is like “I know, but go left, go left, I said go left!”
girlfriday: I love the panic on Su-geun’s face, and his attempt to keep a calm, even tone because he’s trying to be respectful. But every few minutes he asks if he should take over.
javabeans: The drive starts to take on this totally unintentionally comic vibe, because Seung-gi prompts the professor into conversation like the emceeing pro that he is, saying that Seoulites like them have gotten so used to the sight of the palace (Gyeongbukgung) that they don’t really think about it. So the professor starts explaining in that gentle teacherly way, but it goes like, “But then when Heungseon Daewongun came along, and I make a left turn onto Olympic?” Then he continues with the lecture, “No, it’s okay, I can still talk and drive. So then Gojong’s father, and I make a right here?”
girlfriday: It’s hilarious. The boys in the back are interviewing him, he’s quizzing them, and Su-geun’s trying to say calmly, “Professor, you have to pick a lane.” HA.
javabeans: He’s such a good teacher, when he’s not distracted by traffic. It’s a Socratic way of teaching, but it’s engaging, not scary like the way it was at my school. I love that Ji-won tries to set him up for a joke, asking if he knows what event occurred in 1978 (his birthday, I’m presuming), but the professor just says, “Oh, that was recent. Psh, then it’s not history.” This simultaneous strain of history and driving is cracking me up.
girlfriday: I’m pretty sure Su-geun’s going to age prematurely from it. But thankfully, they find out that their destination is in Seoul after all, and the boys give a big cheer. They’re headed to the palace that Seung-gi mentioned — Gyeongbukgung — the largest palace built in the Joseon dynasty, and happily for them, right in their own city. I like the concept of this trip, because it’s the kind of place everyone’s visited once on school field trips but never thought twice about afterwards, because it’s right there.
javabeans: Yeah, it’s like going to museums with school, but retaining nothing because it’s assigned. Compared to how you’d approach going there on your own time to take in what’s there. They finally arrive and park, and Su-geun offers to drive the next leg of the trip (hee), and the professor says tiredly, “I don’t want to drive anymore.”
girlfriday: The professor says that this palace is one of three destinations today that showcase Korea’s beauty, and then Na PD tags on the extra carrot that if they can manage to go to all three places today, it needn’t be an overnight trip. Aw. *pouty*
javabeans: I love Ji-won’s immediate wild-eyed response. He and Seung-gi chest-bump in glee. I wonder if they’re really going to let that condition stand, or if there are built-in delays to make it an overnight trip as usual.
girlfriday: I’m sure he’s got some evil mastermindy things planned.
javabeans: Because where would you make them sleep in Seoul? In a tent in the park?
girlfriday: They should crash Na PD’s house.
javabeans: Why am I picturing six men shoved into a shoebox? Na PD informs the group that the palace portion of the trip includes a scavenger hunt for hidden pictures. Lunch depends on their finding them. The professor explains that there are “humorous elements” built into the palace, not explaining exactly where the humor comes from — that’s up to the boys to figure out. They start spreading out, and Jong-min hurries to keep close to Seung-gi, figuring that’ll put him one step closer. Haha.
girlfriday: Seung-gi does actually find the answer — one of the statues of a mythical creature is sticking out his tongue, while the others just have serious faces. The professor says it’s going, “Mehrong~!”
javabeans: (Mehrong, in case we’ve never explained it before, is what Korean kids say when sticking out their tongue. Like “neener neener!”)
girlfriday: For his answer he gets 1 nyang, and they boys immediately deadpan to Na PD: “You can’t just steal this stuff. It’s national treasure.” Na PD: “They sell them on the internet.” Ha.
javabeans: (Nyang, if you don’t watch sageuk, are old currency, now obsolete, in coin form.)
girlfriday: Are you only going to talk in parenthesis today?
javabeans: (Is there something wrong with that? Maybe I like having hushed asides.)
girlfriday: It looks like I’m talking to myself!
javabeans: (And that’s another bonus.)
girlfriday: Hmph. Ignoring you now! So the professor explains that the best time to visit this palace is in sudden rainfall, because the stones are designed in a pattern for the rain to flow a certain way. Oooh how cool.
javabeans: Quiz time, which takes them to the second point of interest: iron rings embedded into the stone tiles. Su-geun guesses they were used to tie up criminals, which would be my guess (plus the dramatic Princess’s Man music enforces the imagery of people being dragged to court and tortured). Tae-woong cracks me up with his question: “Did they raise dogs?”
girlfriday: Tae-woong eventually gets the right answer, dogs notwithstanding, and gets 10 nyang. The rings are for tent-tying, when they had royal festivals and such. I totally would’ve gone with torture too.
javabeans: Maybe we’ve just watched too much sageuk.
girlfriday: You mean not every slave is a nobleman switched at birth and separated from his one true love, destined to avenge the wrongs done to his father?
javabeans: No, of course they were. They just weren’t tortured in the courtyard with iron rings. TV can be deceiving, apparently.
javabeans: Quiz number three involves a large urn situated near the steps up to the palace, right by the side of the stairs. What was it used for? The guys guess a number of things — water, fire, trash — and the professor says a little crankily, “That’s all your imaginations can come up with?”
girlfriday: This one really does take a lot of imagination though, because it’s a basin you fill with water… so that the fire demon gets scared by his own reflection and runs away. What the? Well it also has the practical purpose of being there to put out fires.
javabeans: I guess it’s because the fire demon would be afraid of water?
girlfriday: Well then he’s not a very scary demon, is he?
javabeans: Every Superman’s gotta have his kryptonite. Just… some heroes are more super than others. Su-geun wins 50 nyang for his answer. So Seung-gi won 1, Tae-woong 10. I guess this professor’s trips are always going to involve absurd amounts of fantasy money. Ha, Ji-won says he’d love to be a king from this era, looking at the palace and imagining the luxury. But the others point out that the king got up at the crack of dawn to study and train and was always busy, and he starts looking less than thrilled with this new fantasy.
girlfriday: Hahaha, it’s just like Ji-won to be thwarted by the lack of sleep, of all things. Not being constricted by society or having to bear the weight of a nation on your shoulders, but the waking up early.
javabeans: Seung-gi tells him, “In my drama, I’ll show you a king who’s exactly the kind you want to be!” Y’know, since he’s all lazy and snotty?
javabeans: Next quiz involves the rooftop of the king’s sleeping quarters, which lacks a ridge on its roof that’s there on all the others: Why? It’s a hard one, so they get the hint that it’s a symbolic meaning, not a utilitarian purpose. They make some guesses (praying for a son, to receive heaven’s blessing) until Tae-woong guesses that it’s because a king — who is symbolized as a dragon — can’t sleep under another dragon. It’s sort of a pun-related clue, because the ridge isn’t dragon-shaped, it’s called a yong-maru and a dragon is a yong.
girlfriday: All the boys’ jaws drop. They’re so impressed with his answer, and Su-geun says, “Hyung, you’ll get a sageuk offer soon!” Ha, always back to dramaland.
javabeans: Where’s that palace clue about how to get married? The next segment explores the palace’s system of chimneys, which were part of the floor heating system. The actual chimneys have elaborate graphic patterns, some of them spelling out hanja characters, and that takes them to the next point of interest, the chimneys of the queen’s palace, which stand apart from the building they heat. Is that a gayageum version of “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” playing? I love fusion gukak music.
girlfriday: It would’ve been cool if that was actually the kind of stuff You’ve Fallen For Me did.
javabeans: I was so disappointed that they didn’t, after they teased the Carmen gukak-rock-band hybrid early on.
girlfriday: They walk around the palace some more, and then Ji-won guesses what the storage area in the back is for — the royal kimchi. Wow, even kimchi is given majestic treatment in this place. He gets a whopping 300 nyang for his answer.
javabeans: javabeans: Now I’m worried about their lunches. No way it’s gonna be a happy one for everybody. Speaking of which, the professor finds himself pausing in the middle of his kimchi explanation… because he’s hungry.
girlfriday: So they cut to the chase and head to the palace’s highlight — Gyeongheeru, the royal pavilion featured on the back of the 10,000 won bill. It’s too bad it’s the dead of winter, ‘cause most of the pretty from these buildings is the fact that they’re surrounded by water. It’s still pretty impressive though, and the scale is really different once they step foot inside.
javabeans: Su-geun wins the next prize, which is an entire freaking backpack full of nyang. He actually staggers under the weight. The question he answered: What is the most beautiful picture within this pavilion? Everyone’s looking around for a piece of artwork, and he guesses that it’s actually the view from each section of the building, which has been designed to “frame” the sights around it.
girlfriday: That’s pretty cool.
javabeans: Lunchtime. The boys lay out their cash: Tae-woong has 20 nyang, Seung-gi 51, Jong-min 100, Ji-won 300, and Su-geun a shitload. Otherwise known as 1,050.
girlfriday: Na PD hands them the menu, which isn’t nearly as unreasonable as last time. Tae-woong’s the only one who can’t afford any food, so Seung-gi offers to share. Why is it always the two poorest ones who team up to share, while the king sits on his piles of money?
javabeans: Su-geun has fun ordering Na PD around as their waiter, and orders up a storm.
girlfriday: He even tips “Na Waiter” his leftover nyang, like the high roller that he is. Na Waiter offers up a last quiz question for an extra dish — to name the five palaces of the Joseon dynasty, which they can only name four of, and barely eke out the last after a million guesses.
javabeans: The food starts arriving, and Na PD rolls out a cart… of which the entire top tier is Su-geun’s. Sodas, salads, rice, ddukbokki… Man. Seung-gi says jokingly, “He has to eat everything before he gets to leave, right?” and Su-geun looks up with this look of “Don’t you dare” on his face. The caption? “With this one phrase, the tragedy began…” Wait, he’s not right is he?
girlfriday: HAHAHA. He should know by now. There’s always a catch when a guy hands you a bag full o’ money.