Drama Recaps
What’s Up: Episode 20 (Final)
by | February 10, 2012 | 72 Comments

The end is here! And it is not without pain, suffering, sadness, and tears. Oh my – I think I sound quite depressive, but then again, how else can I feel when such a wonderful series comes to an end? There are enough happy moments, but all tempered with a tinge of dread as we all know what’s going to happen to Sun-Man. I hope you’ve enjoyed watching this series, more so than reading recaps; What’s Up is quite the rare gem, and it’s definitely up there in my list of favorites.

Now let me just whip out a box of tissues…


This ballad plays quite frequently in What’s Up. [download]

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Sun-Man is rushed to the hospital, and fades in and out of consciousness. Doo Ri and Jae Hun sit in the waiting area all night; Soo Bin plays his violin in an attempt to distract himself; Byeong Gun practices dance moves, but falls down and doesn’t get back up.

Meanwhile, in his own dark practice room, Do Sung sings his Hades song, “Lunatic,” but he doesn’t get very far when he realizes someone is in the room with him. It’s Chae Young. She doesn’t buy his story that he’s trying to “mimic” Hades’s music, and wants to know why he’s hiding the fact that he’s Hades. It’s no use trying to deny it to her.

Chae Young also has a proposal – how about Do Sung sign on with her? She will be his manager – for five years. (Those are going to be one heck of a loooong five years dude.) Do Sung’s uncle can be demoted to his driver. Do Sung tries to explain that he has his reasons for not wanting to be Hades and live a public life. She promises she will take care of the reporter so that none of his secrets will spill out; if she does this, will he trust her? Do Sung made promises to stay under the radar in exchange for attending college, but Chae Young tells him to just break it. Easier said than done, lady.

He finally admits that it’s a family affair, but doesn’t divulge any further than that. Chae Young resorts to blackmail: Do Sung should tell his family that he had to sign on with Chae Young, otherwise the family secret will be exposed to the world. She has no qualms about blackmailing, because she’s come to terms with who she is. She is a B-list star, but she can spot A-list talent. More than anything, she hates it when people just let their talents go to waste, because she herself is talentless, but is working hard to prove she does.

Driving her point home, she asks him, “Coming down to a dark room and singing and practicing where no one can hear you – is that really considered “living”? You’re Hades. The king of the underworld.” Chae Young has a new goal – she will start her own management agency – she will be in control of all the other “kings” of the entertainment world.

Back at the hospital, the doctor informs Doo Ri and Jae Hun that Sun-Man finally woke up. Doo Ri rushes for the door, but Jae Hun sensibly pulls her back and asks for the doctor’s permission first. The doctor warns them that Sun-Man may not be lucid when he is conscious. He doesn’t have much time left, having lost all liver function and having difficulty breathing. Doo Ri is about to faint, but Jae Hun jerks her back upright.

The doctor hopes that as Sun-Man’s guardian, she keep up strong appearances. After all, Sun-Man will be able to pick up her emotions, and it will transfer on to him.

Sitting inside his room, Doo Ri softly whispers that Sun-Man better not die yet. He promised to watch their performance. Weakly, Sun-Man raises his hand to her hair and ruffles it, acknowledging her words. That’s too much for Doo Ri to bear, and she runs out of the room so that he won’t hear her sobs. Sun-Man then beckons for Jae Hun to come in.

Despite his weakened state, Sun-Man still has some acting advice for Jae Hun to impart upon the other students. For example, he wants the students to know that they shouldn’t imitate other actors. Rather, the smart actors acknowledge what level they are at and know how good or bad of an actor they are. So once the students can acknowledge their true selves like a smart actor, they can properly act.

Jae Hun repeats the words to Doo Ri, Byeong Gun, and Soo Bin back at school. Byeong Gun puffs up his chest. He is a smart actor then – he knows he’s good looking, and he knows that his singing and acting are top-notch. Doo Ri smacks his head to the left. Soo Bin smacks his head to the right. Doo Ri smacks his head down for good measure. Aww – my favorite trio!

We cut back to the hospital, where Sun-Man and Jae Hun are reviewing the script, and Sun-Man gives his notes. Therefore, when Jae Hun heads back to practice, he can properly guide the actors on the right emotions. For example, Ka Young and Sung Jae are acting out the “I’m your father!-Let me do what I want!” scene that occurred between Tae Hee and Jae Hun. Jae Hun has them do it over again, because Ka Young is too “pretty” when she’s whining to her father Sung Jae to let her go on this audition. Because she is too “pretty,” she sounds like she’s lying. Jae Hun challenges her to not worry about how she may look, but to think about her situation. Isn’t she angry? Isn’t she afraid? Isn’t she desperate to go on this audition? Ka Young turns back to Father Sung Jae, and this time delivers her line much more believably.

It’s cute that Doo Ri gets inspired to put in another line – “My life turned to ruin because of you dad!” And everyone starts screaming, “That’s too cheesy!” Jae Hun tries to mediate and has Ka Young try it out. She says it, and the whole class protests at the ridiculousness of the line. I love collaboration.

When Sun-Man wakes from his unconscious state again, he finds Prof. Yang sitting by his bedside. Prof. Yang admits that she gave up her class time so that the kids can practice for the musical performance in two weeks. She also informs him that both teams have now joined forces. Her voice wavers, and I wonder if it’s because of the difficulty of the words she’s saying, or because of the fact that she knows she’s speaking to a dying man.

In true Prof. Yang fashion though, she’s not sure if the students can do it. “I don’t really believe people who say they’ll do their best. Who wouldn’t do their best? You have to do great!”

Sun-Man notes that Eun Hye used to say that line all the time. Either Eun Hye got that line from Prof. Yang, or Prof. Yang stole it from her and pretended it was hers. (Haha!) Prof. Yang: “For a dying man, you sure do have an active mouth.”

Sun-Man has another favor to ask, the final final wish. Can Prof. Yang make sure that Doo Ri never see him at his end? Doo Ri would never listen to him, so he hopes Prof. Yang can lock her up somewhere.

Oh God – where are my tissues. WHERE ARE MY TISSUES!?!!

Prof. Yang promises to keep Doo Ri occupied with the musical, fully realizing that Sun-Man cares for his student deeply even though he acts like he doesn’t. But in a small voice, she asks if Sun-Man will come to the performance. It’s in two weeks – he’ll make it right? Sun-Man says he will, but he’s already falling out of consciousness again.

Back on campus, the students are all rehearsing. Young Jin and her production design team come in, a set design ready for review. It thrills the students, but the issue is money. Byeong Gun dumps a plastic bag that has an embarrassingly small amount of money on the table – $216.43 USD to be exact. With that budget, they are to get lighting, props, and costumes done?

Already, Young Jin’s team is shaking their heads, hoping she’ll turn the freshmen down. Young Jin asks when the deadline is. Jae Hun: “Two weeks.” Young Jin: “Are you crazy?” Jae Hun: “That’s our goal!” Her team shakes its heads even more fervently.

The freshmen start pouting and put their hands up in prayer, begging that she accept. She looks at all of them, then spies Soo Bin all the way in the back, putting his hands up as well, begging her. OK that does it – she takes the job! After all – how can the president of Soo Bin’s fanclub reject Soo Bin’s pleas?!

However, she has one condition – everyone must help out in the set design, because she doesn’t have enough people.

Cue everyone dancing and singing to “Those Magic Changes,” cutting between the practice room and the stage as they build sets. It’s almost like they are practicing for that very performance that occurs in Byeong Gun’s imagination. Doo Ri is on trash can-drums; Jae Hun pauses to swing his arms around on an air guitar; Byeong Gun takes center stage, singing into a whisk or hammer.

(Can I just pause and say that Jae Hun looks really hot doing his air guitar and then walking away as if nothing happened? *Goes back to rewatch that 1 second*)

Rehearsal devolves into kids simply having fun, dancing their hearts out. But as soon as Byeong Gun hits his final note, everyone collapses in the practice room, except Jae Hun.

Jae Hun: OK everyone, get up. Let’s do it again.

Byeong Gun: WHY?! What wasn’t right with what we just did?

Jae Hun: *shrugs* I don’t know. So let’s just start from the top again. One more time!


And Jae Hun hits all of their butts with his broom. At the doorway, he sees Min Woo watching him direct. He gives a small bow, but doesn’t go over to say hello.

Out in the hallway, Chae Young and Director Oh are having their own private conversation. She’s going to take the project from Director Oh away, which pisses him off because… he just got played! Chae Young hands over the article the reporter gave her about their little coup d’etat. If it had gone out last week as planned, both of them would have been totally ruined. She managed to stop it, and so she kind of expected Director Oh to thank her.

He hides the article in his jacket before Min Woo can see. This time, Chae Young wants Min Woo to help produce this combined-team’s musical. Min Woo isn’t too interested in investing in some amateurs, but Chae Young has the trump card: if he invests in this musical, she will bring in Hades into the performance.


She also has another condition: Min Woo will also have to get rid of the pesky reporter from Hades’/Do Sung’s back.

The cast practices their “You and I” routine with Jae Hun and Soo Bin supervising, and practice takes them all the way through the night. Many fall asleep on the cold floor, while others lean on each other as pillows. Jae Hun wanders around the campus, thinking about Tae Hee, missing Tae Hee.

When he heads back to the school buildings, he senses someone else with him in the dark night. It’s the Red Tracksuit Ghost! But the ghost isn’t talking today. Rather, he just shakes his head, and tries to hold back his tears. The ghost brings Jae Hun’s attention to Prof. Yang coming back from the hospital before disappearing.

With just one look, Jae Hun can read Prof. Yang’s message on her face.

They enter the practice room, both wearing similar somber expressions. Slowly, each student notices their presence and bows in greeting. But neither Jae Hun or Prof. Yang speak. Eventually Byeong Gun sees their expressions, and, understanding, he quickly goes to wake Doo Ri up from her slumber.

She wakes up, and sleepily takes part in the wordless conversation. Doo Ri, “No… it’s not true, right?”

No answer. And that’s the worst. Doo Ri collapses to her knees in tears (as “Seasons of Love” plays in the background). The rest of the students huddle around her, trying to comfort her. Even Soo Bin tries to pat her on the back, but it’s hard for them to comfort her when they’re grieving themselves.

(Show – I have no more tears left!!!! ARGH!!!)

And now, we are at Sun-Man’s funeral. We are back to where we started in episode 1. A photo mosaic of all the students in the musical department creates Sun-Man’s likeness, and it hangs from the church ceiling. The service begins; Sun-Man’s coffin is carried into the church.

Meanwhile, Jae Hun is standing outside, waiting for Tae Hee to arrive from her agency. She slowly makes her way up to the steps, their first time seeing each other in weeks. The both of them struggle to hold back their tears, and Tae Hee leans her head against Jae Hun’s chest, shuddering as the tears fall. He embraces her. Poor girl – she’s lost her aunt, her father, and now her pseudo-uncle.

It’s time for the eulogy. Doo Ri does the honors:

Professor Sunwoo Young, we are here to send you off. When you first walked into our classroom a year ago, we thought that some homeless person walked into our school by mistake. Truthfully, your first lecture made us think you were a jerk. The reason was because we’d never seen someone like you. A soul so free and confident, that’s the kind of person you were. You were always very real.

Tears pouring down her face, it becomes difficult for her to continue.

A haunting, lone, whistle to the tune of their “What’s Up” theme floats down the aisle. Everyone turns back to see who this person is – it’s Jae Hun. (Who else!?)

Do Sung picks up the next line of the melody, and then Byeong Gun continues, picking up the tempo. Soon everyone on Jae Hun’s side of the church are whistling, and they look over to the other side. Sung Jae, the rapper, and Ka Young pick up right after, even with Chae Young staring at them incredulously. Everyone in the church smiles, and then Soo Bin plays his electric violin at the front of the church.

And… Jae Hun stands up, and he leads the students down the aisles as they perform their musical for their professor one last time. It’s a fusion of “What’s Up,” Hades’ rock song, and “You and I” – a mix of rock, classical, hip-hop, and ballad all rolled into one. [download]

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As they perform, we see flashes of their year together. From how they first met, to how Do Sung dealt with his mother, to how Byeong Gun gained the confidence to sing, to how Doo Ri discovered the truth of Sun-Man’s disease, to how Tae Hee realized that her dream was to be happy.

Doo Ri takes the solo in “You and I,” and we go from the church to the students’ performance. It doesn’t look like it’s an official performance on a stage, but they are performing to the rest of Haneul Arts school. Everyone – including Chae Young and Tae Hee at the piano – are in this performance. Even Prof. Yang, the reporter, and Detective Cho are in the audience, dancing along!

It’s one big party. It’s one big celebration of life.


These last two episodes may have been the most cathartic episodes ever. How much sadness can one endure!? I must admit that the ending was a bit rushed, and there were two things that irked me completely. The first occurred in episode 19, with the conclusion of Tae Hee’s story.

The second thing that irked me was Do Sung. He was mostly absent until the final episode, and only then, all of a sudden his problem with keeping Hades a secret is resolved. All that had to happen was for Chae Young to take him under her wing. I thought he was composing with Soo Bin – how come he’s not with Soo Bin more!? His story felt unfinished, especially because we never get a confirmation from him that he will sign on with Chae Young. I also was very curious about what the aftermath with his mother could have been. Perhaps his story was meant to continue, or perhaps his story was cut out. Either way, the two strongest and most prominent plot lines faded into the darkness by the end.

Now on to this series as a whole: I don’t know if there could have been a more inspiring series than this one. After a long 2011, this was a shiny diamond hidden under a huge pile of coal that then helped start of 2012 with a bang. I felt like I saw these characters grow up and transform as if they were my own kids; that’s how close I felt to these characters.

This drama kept extolling the virtues of actors being true to themselves; only then could our students bring out their most passionate performances. What I loved was that the actors themselves followed that same idea – their acting as students was phenomenal and real. In every moment of this drama I felt an emotion towards a character, whether it was sympathy, hate, or love. One of my favorite moments was when the students were informed of Sun-Man’s death. It was quiet but emotional, and the fact that it needed no words allowed for the scene to play out poignantly without insulting the intelligence of the viewer. Clearly, these actors put everything they could into this drama.

Perhaps it’s a testament to the writing as well, because Song Ji Na managed to capture the spirit of a student who isn’t a child, but not yet an adult. She trusted her actors to express the correct emotion without giving them so many lines to work with. Perhaps it helped also that not all of the actors were professionals, but some were nobodies selected through an audition process. They had no acting experience, but only their own real life to draw from. Whatever it is, this drama had heart, and it had a wonderful message – to live life to the fullest, and always ask, “What’s up?” You never know what answer you’re going to get by asking yourself, or anyone else, that question.


72 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Shara

    Loved it… Thanks for the recap!

  2. Yasmin

    thank you for recapping such an awesome series!!

    From comments i found that people werent satisfied with the endind but for some reason i was. Some issues couldnt be resolved in two episodes so i felt that it was respect to the viewer that they left them unsolved…i really hope that this has a season 2, but with the same actors.

    This series wasnt without its flaws buts steller acting from the whole cast and the great script made it so much better! Also, the ost was just great and i hope they release the studio versions of the songs soon!

  3. Raven Ward

    What’s up, was full of heart, I’ll love to see a vol. 2…Where do there characters go from here…One of my top ten kdrama is for sure

  4. Mystisith

    When imperfection is better than perfection : That show has broken my heart, well rather the shell around my heart. So much love, so much authenticity. Sun Man’s death is full of meaning for those kids. Im Joo Eun, Im Joo Hwan and Oh Man Seuk are for now the newest stars in my dramaverse sky. Hats off and silent applauds. The king is dead, long live the king.


  5. Lisa-Loo-Loo

    Thank you for the recaps:I loved that they came way after the episoded aired, because it allowed me to watch the show and then form my own opinion and then hear what someone else thought… Your recaps were awesome! Thanks for taking the time, I liked this drama a lot.

  6. missyxcindy

    Just wanted to thank you so much for recapping the series! I didn’t really feel like I got full closure with their ending, but I really enjoyed the drama overall.

    I heard that there’ll be a 6 episode special. I wonder if it’s true.

    • 6.1 M.D.

      If they hadn’t been filmed already, I don’t think there are going to be more 6 episode special, though I wish for some. But Im Joo-hwan is in the army now. That’s why I wouldn’t like a “What’s Up” vol 2, either. I don’t think it would be possible to be done with the same team, and we witness already what happens with a sequel on somebody else’s hands. I really don’t want it destroyed as “Dream High 2”. I find some comfort thinking that well… Tae Hee get back together with Jae Hun and that Chae Young had Do Sung under her evil spell – in the end, this gives her a new dimension and I am sure she will be a good manager, in the end – she is smart and manipulative enough for that.
      I wouldn’t have thought that reading the recap, after already seeing the show would make me cry again, but wow, I needed some more tissues while reading, too. It is one of the best shows I have ever seen… and I felt it like ripped from the life, and not as a theatrical piece on the screen. A great job done by everybody in that team!

  7. jenny

    much muuuuch better than the musical; this was simply amazing….and the music was amazing as well. thank you for taking us along this journey

  8. canxi

    Thanks for recapping the whole show 🙂

    I agree with the Do Sung storyline…I felt like that was so unfinished and I was left sitting there like “Oh…that..that’s that then?” LOL, but I really loved it the whole thing anyway!
    I think the writing was great, if only the last episode was an hour and so that might have been what was needed to wrap things up but job way over well done to that cast and crew~

  9. estel

    Man, chingu, you made me cry reading this and I didn’t even watch What’s Up! ~sniffles and wipes tears away~

    Thanks for recapping WU for us – it’s been a great read. ^_^

  10. 10 Mia

    one of my fave drama!!! yeah! really hoping for vol. 2!
    please please please!!!! it just feels so incomplete!
    love the story, casts, and music!!!! will keep listening to the duets!!! love Doo ri’s What’s Up!

  11. 11 alua

    Me too, agree about the Do Sung bit.

    Chae Young? I’m bored with her character! Especially in this final twist… there is nothing interesting in it.

    And overall it does feel rushed, I wonder if it as originally longer? Again, would love to see a director’s edition of this drama because that might fill in the bits that feel incomplete/rushed right now…

  12. 12 momosan

    ::hands box of tissues around::

    I’m holding out hope for a director’s cut or in at the very least an OST, because the only rips I can get of Manzzang singing “Springtime” have dialogue over them. 8-(

    • 12.1 nuri

      accept tissue

      *thanks momosan*
      ::barely able to say it::

  13. 13 CB

    I’ve enjoyed watching this show. It’s worth watching. I hope there will be a soundtrack.

  14. 14 nuri

    I know. I agree with Kaedejun about Do Sung. Jae Hun and Tae Hee story? not so much, they got so much screen time as it is.

    Yet, Do Sung story is the one story that felt unfinished. My scenario was Chae young (and the whole class) found out about Do Sung and she get moment of redemption. that she stands up to the reporter and defend Hades. after all she is his fan. Well, i still like it that writernim stay to her story about Chae Young, that chae young has decided to keep the secret but for her gain.

    I totally forget that Young Jin is head of Soo Bin fan club. *screams in glee*

    I cried myself out watching this twice. once raw and once with sub. but totally smiling that it ended with such style.

    hopefully Shut Up : FBB will be the next what’s up. makes me cry, smile and care so much. bye What’s Up.
    see you in the next project Kaedejun!

  15. 15 Gaea

    Maybe this help, I guess Hades stroy was cut out, because between that time Dae Sung was charged of the ‘infomous car accident’ thus prevent him to act more. To be truth, yes…I’m a bit disappointed with the lack of Do Sung at these two episodes, I wish I can see the ‘real’ resolution of him

    Yes, What’s up is gem, a rare gem I said. It’s complex and yet…portraying the youth. It’s feel real until the core, and nothing on these recaps (I repeat NOTHING) made me said cheesy. It’s all touching, it’s all complex & it’s all about guts.

    I’m seriously wondering why the previous station TV drop it. It could be Hits for sure…and I think, from now I’ll keep an eye for the writer.

    Thanks for recapping this wonderful series!!

    • 15.1 Aki

      Actually, Dae Sung’s accident happened in May/June. And the filming for the drama ended in Feb so no… it wasn’t because of the accident. It’s possible that it might have been because of Big Bang comeback though.

  16. 16 sangay

    i love this drama despite the lack of some explanations, the way things were left hanging, ‘resolved’ suddenly, etc. i’d attribute it more to the cutting by the tv station. wish i can see the full pre-edit version !

    all of the artistes in this drama are amazing. of course a few really stood out.

    doo ri – love her insistence in doing what she wants, giving n loving sun man.
    sun man – he really earned lots of my tears. the turn from a drunkard who cared about his students to putting more efforts into teaching his students was amazing.
    do sung – urgh, wish n wish i saw lots more of u in the drama.
    soo bin – i was really happy when he pleaded with young jin along with the rest too.
    tae hun – good grow in character and he was able to portray it well.
    byeong gun – oh, love this character. he brought lots of laughter to the show 😀
    prof. yang – disliked you previously, but love it when u told that director oh to just go ahead n sue you.

    time to go back and re-watch this drama !

    n THANKS for recapping this drama !!!!!

  17. 17 nzltt

    It is nice ending but unsatisfied. The lack of answers of Do Sung n Chae Young make the drama uncompleted. I think they should have show more about them in last two episodes then the ending with everyone is on the stage would have a better impact. I would blame it for the editing.

  18. 18 ldsaf

    thankx for the recap! I agree with you some stories just felt too rushed and some was faded into the background. Theses two episode i really came to like Prof. Yang, 1st when she talked to Manager Oh in episode 19 and then when she talked to Sun man in his room… This episode made me cry like hell… the hospital scene ( both with Doori and Prof. Yang ), when they found Sun-Man had died, and the funeral scene… I was watching these scenes while crying.
    In a way I wanted to watch them preform in the competition, but the funeral performance was sweeter coz they preformed for someone who mattered. the Competition, at that point was not that important.
    And who else thinks that Chae Young would make a kick ass manager?

  19. 19 JoAnne

    It’s ok that I don’t know the answers to all of their stories, or what happens to them next. I have never felt so connected to such real struggles and emotions as I did with these kids. In a drama, anyway.

    It’s like loving a person. You see there are things that aren’t your ideal, but you love the whole…and so you wouldn’t change a thing, because those little things don’t matter in the end.

    I need more Sun Man though. Have to find his stuff, I guess!

    • 19.1 mardie

      try ‘the man in the vineyard’. i feel in luv with him while watching him in that.

      • 19.1.1 Mystisith

        Very good choice 🙂

      • 19.1.2 momosa

        Oh my wits! He’s the guy in ‘vineyard’! I can’t believe I couldn’t recognise him!!

  20. 20 chillinducky

    Thank you so much for writing these wonderful and insightful recaps!

    Agreed about delving into Do Sung/Hades exposure more. I don’t think the issue with his mother (ditto for Doo Ri) would have ever have a neat resolution though. I liked that Chae young found her niche: scouting talent. That’s true that Do Sung doesn’t actually confirm although I just assumed that he went with her. Wish to have seen Do Sung and Lee Soo Bin battling it out… That’d be epic.

    Overall, Song Ji Na was amazing in writing the script. I never expected What’s Up would be one of my favorite dramas, and I’m ready for a Volume 2! There’s definitely room for more story with these characters! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Maybe that’s why the ending wasn’t as tight as it could’ve been?

    I didn’t mind the ending so much– but didn’t care for the execution of the ending performances. Am I the only one who feels this way?! @_@

  21. 21 78446

    Thanks for giving us this wonderful journey, Kaedejun!

    I love this drama but can’t help but think of the missing 1/3 of it. I really do hope that there really is a missing 1/3 because the ending felt really rushed. Much as I loved the funeral performance, I would have loved to see the final musical, the one we saw bits and pieces of in the show’s trailer. Gah, and what will it take for this show to finally release an OST? All we have are the Hades performances, where’s the rest of it?

    • 21.1 Saima

      I’m pretty sure the reason the Hades/Daesung song is available is because it was officially released by YG entertainment.

  22. 22 WvR

    I enjoyed this drama a lot. I felt it was a bit rushed to the end though. All the stories sort of wrapped up and I didn’t enjoy it much (I wanted more!) until I read your recap. I now see how they wrapped up some of the plots.

    I thought there would be more musical numbers, a portion of their musical, or them in the competition, but technically the drama was the musical (or the musical was the drama) so I’m guessing there wasn’t anything new to show.

    I thought they would flashback to the first episode and repeat that scene where they are all wearing black clothes. I definitely forgot about it until kaedejun mentioned it before.

    This drama really surprised me. Having not secured a broadcast spot for a while, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be good. Definitely blew my expectations away. Thanks for recapping!

  23. 23 Anime1234

    The funeral scene starting with the photos of the students and pulling back into the giant mosaic of Sun-Man made me catch my breath. It is amazing how they can make one beautiful image out of so many small ones.

  24. 24 nas_election

    I was tearing up just hearing the ballad song that you posted. What’s Up long live.

    I’m just wondering, is the 6 ep, special is where there is scenes that has been cut or just like the normal sp where there are interview and other stuff?

  25. 25 Mara

    i had a huge goofy grin on my face during the duration of this drama. i hate that’s it over.

  26. 26 charitee

    i agree with you about it being a really good series. i have to say that i thought the writing was solid and so was the acting. i also really enjoyed the music. however, what i did NOT like was how it ended. it was incredibly rushed (as you said) and like, at first, i tried to explain it away saying, oh maybe it was on purpose…but the way certain storylines never really gave closure or were folded up so easily pissed me off. they also kind of excluded characters near the end and then brought them back in the finale (like you said).

    this drama is one of the few dramas that i think would have benefited greatly from having more time whether that be in episode # or in just sheer length of each episode. i think the fact that what’s up ended up going to cable was a disservice to them because of the episode length and the lack of exposure. however, i think that it being completely filmed and done (more or less) before airing was a huge service to them in that how things ended up wasn’t swayed by audience opinions.

    ultimately though, it’s a shame that what’s up didn’t get to air on a major network because it definitely was a good drama (aside from the rushed ending) and deserved to have that be recognized.

    • 26.1 nanairo

      Agreed! I really wished a major network aired “What’s Up” since the episodes would probably run for at least 20 minutes more.
      I hope a full uncut dvd boxset will be released so that at least us fans can see what “What’s Up” the way it should’ve aired.

  27. 27 Kushi

    This is an unpopular opinion, but I truly disliked Sun Man’s role in this whole drama. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his character – sass and charisma, BUT I feel that his role in the last 5 episodes was a major contradiction to tone set in the first 10.

    Did anyone else get breakfast club vibes through most of the series? A bunch of kids from different places with different circumstances get together and bond. In the end they battle higher powers and stick it to the man (or woman in this case).

    Then all of a sudden it’s like Great Teacher Onizuka jumps in and it went from “S&#$* you teachers!” to “Zomg we can’t live without you great teacher Sun Woo Young, our savior!”

    I mean it’s not the worst thing that can happen. I’m just kind of sad because Sun Man already had his ‘closure’ when he found Tae Hee. There’s still characters like Chae Young who hasn’t grown at all, Do Sung and his major problem just straight up disappeared, Doori’s mom is still insane, etc you get the point.

    Sorry I really just had to get this off my chest after watching the last couple episodes.

    • 27.1 jubilantia

      I liked his character, but I could have done with about 150% less of the whole cancer plot. A drama like this is about the team and the individuals within, and it ended up being mostly about the teacher. I think the time spent on him would have been better spent on more of the kids, and on seeing that final performance more.

      I’ve come to accept these little flaws as a part of k-dramas, though. Even though this one was pre-produced, you could still tell they were running out of money and time at the end, and it shows in the sloppy story resolution. I’ve liked many k-dramas, and this one is probably in my top 5, but hardly any of them have been consistently good all the way to the end.

  28. 28 Dita

    I DO LOVE the last scene… Very touching,,, 🙂
    Love all the casts…
    Thanks Kaedejun for the great recaps 😀
    Waiting for your another project recaps… ^^

  29. 29 pipao

    tnx for the recap…
    i also felt short about Hades story… & arent he doing a collab w/ soo bin…
    as for jae hun & tae hee, yah its a bit rushed but im not much in to their story bcoz really.. how can a girl be so clueless…

  30. 30 Piopo

    Never cried so much watching a drama. I’m so glad you were recapping this or else I never would have found it. It feels unresolved hopefully we will have a second season but not DH2 style.

  31. 31 gin

    when I watch the final episode, I’ve kind to miss old korean dramas (like winter sonata, autumn in my heart, etc.), or maybe I’m a bit tired of romance-comedy drama genre.

    Thanks for the recap. this show is really wonderful. this must have a season 2 with same cast. I hope song jina and other crew consider it. I’m willing to wait even if it takes years.

  32. 32 DramaticTeacher

    Hope we get a What’s up vol.2. Or at least a special that shows us what happened afterwards, a sequel would be great.

    -Chaeyoung, a kick ass manager spotting talent and treating them well (she knows how she was treated as B-list, so she will fight to make her artists A-lists).

    -Dosung famous as Hades and and Byeong Gun famous as musical actor.

    -Doori as a kind of next Sun Man teacher and I would really love to see her paired of with Byeong Gun ( he can be a teacher too and help students like him/ or he can be a famous musical actor and it would be really funny if Doori still treated him like she did ,

    or Doori with Soo Bin ( they had enough chemistry).
    JaeHun as a Musical Director and Tae Hee as singer/ musical actress.

    • 32.1 Anime1234

      Or Sun Man becomes the new red tracksuit ghost and continues to provide help to his chosen students.

  33. 33 haneul.

    I actully thought the loose threads at the ending were great. They kind of pissed me off for about 15min, but after I while I started to appreciate them. The drama is about the lives of these students, and life doesn’t always wrap itself up with a happy little bow.

  34. 34 asianromance

    Thank you for recapping this series and sharing What’s Up with us, kaedejun!! I seriously thought Sunwoo Young would live long enough to watch their performance and was shocked when he died, even though I knew was in bad shape and was going to die. I love how they all sang at his funeral- bringing the performance to him.

    I was pretty disappointed with the ending though -it was rushed and Do Sung’s story feels so unfinished. Everyone else seemed to have their resolution, except Do Sung. And it felt weird that Tae Hee has so little screentime in the end when there was a big to-do about Jae-Hun and Tae-Hee and how he had a role in her father’s death.

  35. 35 ydoodler

    I ended this drama with a smile on my face and that made up for allthe crying. I feel like while I was unsatisfied with how certain stories were closed or left unfinished, overall, the drama was about their first year and how Sun-man’s last year touched them and in that way it was perfect. I was happier seeing all the students working together (but Tae Hee and Do Sung were missed) and making Sun-man’s last days memorable than focus on one character. What’s up! I love you!!
    After finishing What’s Up and I watched ep 11 of Wild Romance, I was soo happy when Sun-man’s character showed up. Even though it’s not him, it’s like he didn’t die. 🙂
    Thank you for the recaps! I loved reading them along with watching the story!

  36. 36 Lee

    I kinda liked it unresolved it felt more like a slice of life, a snapshot of that time, I think it makes it feel more real like they are really out there living on, finishing school, going for auditions etc.

  37. 37 Indynoona

    I enjoyed this drama so much. Many touching scenes and some great music. I’ve been a fan of Im Ju Hwan for a while now and liked his portrayal of Jae Hun. Still not sure how I feel about the ambiguous ending if Jae Hun has a future with Tae Hee. I will miss my weekly dose of What’s Up!

  38. 38 Saima

    Thank you for recapping the series, Kaedejun!! I still have to finish the series but it encapsulated what first year at university is all about. It is about discovering oneself, how your values play out, and is a foundation for forthcoming years!! Despite not resolving DS’s issue with his mom and what really becomes of Hades/CY etc. nonetheless a great series.

    Also, I’d to thank this series for introducing me to Daesung which further had me YT’ing Big Bang as well! lulz….he’s soo marvelous, multi-talented, and so unconventional from the stereotypical K-popstars!! kdjfhskdfhsksfhskj, yeah i totally love him!! Actually THIS is the reason why i haven’t finished the series 😀

  39. 39 Craxycat

    Loved this show! The ending felt great to me (aside from TH’s story which still felt crappy). Chae Young taking Hades under her wing was a brilliant way to handle that situation IMO. The no talent wanna have talent looking at the genius and saying um “Whats Up?” Why you wanna pretend to not have when lots of people want I want? Stupid! I want to say this to musical/actors that have committed suicide etc, and what DS was doing was a form of suicide brought on by his mom.

    I think the most poignant moment for me was when Do Ri looked at this terribly sick man and said “Better not be any BS,” and SM smiled under his O2 mask. It was beautifully done by them both. Good lord I loved those two…one was free while the other had always wanted to be free. I am NOT going to look for fanfiction about these two…nope I’m just…yea I am. No lie.

    TH/JH made me love them. I didn’t like her whiny always has issues ass, then he just forced the issue, and I love them. Or maybe I love him? I didn’t think I would like him, but BAM! he was awesome. Ugh. More stories to look for.

    Overall I liked this show immensely, and it has room for fans to expand on it. THAT will get me everytime. Buffy was the same way, and fans ate it up (don’t get me started on HP fandom). I am satisfied, but I want more which IMO is the mark of a great show.

  40. 40 blokkoms

    Wait – what? It feels unfinished to me, and wtf – why does Chae Young not get her comeuppance? And Do Sung’s mother just disappears? And Tae Hee/Jae Hun just melted into the wind?


  41. 41 Stacey

    I’m so sad that it’s all over!
    I’ve loved What’s Up from episode 1 but I do have some crticism…
    The Jae Hun-Tae Yi storyline dragged a lot towards the end (mainly around episode 17/18).
    There was not enough Do Sung towards the end!!!
    Chae Young was really infuriating to watch (although I did like the ending to her story).
    I would have like to have seen a lot more from Soo Bin.
    The episodes weren’t long enough!!! I would have been so happy if each episode was an extra 10 minutes or so longer. And maybe then each character could’ve had enough screentime.

    Having said all that, this drama was a brilliant wach. Probably the best musical related drama I’ve seen. The actors/actresses were so fantastic and raw. I loveeeeee the red tracksuit ghost and I loved the photo mosaic at the funeral.

  42. 42 Lavínia Coxi

    I must say that I absolutely LOVE this drama !! the caracters, the storyline, the music!!! AWWWW I’am already missing this drama…
    Thank you sooo much for the recaps … I’ve been coming here everyday to read my recap, even though I’ve already seen this last two episodes… But i just needed to read this to have some “closure”.. THANK YOU !!

  43. 43 jrm

    Kaedejun, your work is greatly appreciated; I look forward to your next project.

    I actually liked the lack of resolution for most of the characters. Life is not wrapped up in a bow nor is one year the end of growth, change and experiences.

    I, like everyone else would like to see a director’s cut and/or a Vol. 2. This was the most engaging contemporary drama I have seen in a very long time.

    • 43.1 Trish

      Exactly how I felt! This show was not about easy resolution; it’s about reality. The cold, hard truth is, if you’re not a star nobody cares about you. Then again, true performers aren’t in it for the glory, they’re in it for the chance to stop a show and genuinely move their audience. The last few episodes did not tie up most loose ends- except a bit of Ha Do Sung’s and Jang Jae Hun’s- but gave a lot of gems, like the advice not to attempt to look pretty while acting but to, you know, act.
      It’s also a perfect setting for them to continue another season, no? (Which I would watch just as religiously.)

  44. 44 Aana

    Definitely was rushed. Maybe, if we’d gotten the whole 90 minutes for every episode, the ending would’ve been a lot more satisfying 🙁 That said, I still love this drama a whole lot and would definitely recommend it to others! Thanks so much for the recaps, kaedejun 😀

  45. 45 carpetfibers

    Thank you for the wonderful recapping kaedejun! Recaps– in particular yours, because you always seem to pick up the series that no one else wants to– always make me feel that I’m watching the show with a shared audience. It’s wonderful 🙂

    What’s Up? made me break my normal rule regarding dramas: wait until it’s finished. I just couldn’t. Normally I’ll sample the first two episodes of a show, and if I like it, I set a reminder to come back to it in eight weeks or so. What’s Up? was so brilliant from the get-go, so full of heart and sincerity that I had to stick with it through the whole ride– and loved every minute of it. Plainly, I now need to find subs for KAIST and get cracking. I need some more school-centered dramas to fill the void.

    • 45.1 MsB

      You’re right! It was the first drama that I watched week to week!

  46. 46 Rai-Rai

    It’s sad that such an awesome drama had a hard time getting on the air, but it was definitely worth the wait. This way, it had it’s own moment to shine. The final episode was a little disappointing, with all of the loose threads…but it didn’t really hurt the drama as a whole. Regarding Do Sung’s Hades secret, his solo in the final song revealed to everyone that he was Hades…and the way he danced showed he was finally free to be Hades.

  47. 47 MsB

    There was definitely stories cut short with the ending but I thought the funeral was one of the best and saddest I had seen. I was crying, dancing, and singing right along with them. Overall, its still one of my favorite musical-based dramas! I felt in a lot of ways it exceeded my expectations that I had looked for in Dream High (I know, I’m the minority). The singing, phenomenal; the acting, excellent; overall, it could not get any better.

  48. 48 laos7

    I’ve marathoned like 10 episodes of What’s Up today and, without any sligthest doubt, it was time spent meaningfully.
    This drama easily ranks as one of the best of 2011, climbing up to my top 10.
    The storyline wasn’t perfect, but what caught probably everyone’s heart with this drama were the actors who left their hearts and souls in front of the camera.
    More dramas like this one, Korea~!

  49. 49 chen

    Hey what’s up!

    I grew very fond of this show in the short time that it was on air. Like a new set of friends that I was very reluctant to let go. I am a litlle disappointed with how very little we get to see Ha Do Sung though considering how his story has a lot of conflict in it. Apart from Daesung was very prominent in their promotions. I like how his character kind of let go at the funeral. Like a coming to terms with himself. He is Hades, the lord of the underworld welcoming someone very dear into his fold. A cause for celebration indeed. I also like those moments were Soo Bin cared. He knew he would through her. It was cute. As for Byung Gun, his ability to sing in front of an audience amp his confidence so much he lost his stuttering 🙂 and of course Doo Ri. Her character was so strong it was difficult to ignore her. And the supporting actors were so good, they were essential in the development of the main characters. I love this drama so much, it almost felt like the end of school. Where you are reluctant to leave your friends and yet excited to see them again in the coming year.

  50. 50 jubilantia

    Wooooo! Thanks for recapping this, kaedejun! You did great.

    I’m late to the comment party, but I had to say how much I enjoyed this drama. It was plagued by incomplete plot lines, but the story had such heart that it kept me invested, literally laughing or cheering or crying, every single second.

    Pretty much all the characters were well-developed and awesome, even the evil ones. Unfortunately, I think this is one of those times where the series would have been better as a multiple season show. With so many great characters, I want to know all of them. It’s a crime this one didn’t get as much hype as Dream High so there could be more.

    Im Joo Hwan is AMAZING. He really pulled me in with his character. I wanted to see more of Do Sung as well. Man, and Byung Gun!! They started out giving everybody equal time so they developed, but certain plot lines took over. I wish they’d evened it out a bit more.

    Also, generally I ignore anything that involves funerals, or cancer, or indeed even the genre of melodrama. However, if you have to include a cancer plot line, this is how you do it. Set it up so the audience knows what they’re in for and it doesn’t come out of left field, and offset it with an inspiring story. I’m afraid that story is part of the reason they never actually got to film the performance, but I’m okay with it as is.

    Man, I feel like I’m being overly critical, but this show was so amazing that I ended up expecting a lot out of it. Even as it is, slightly subpar in execution (probably because of budget and time and executives being awful), it needs to be watched by all the people.

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