EPISODE 380. Broadcast on April 1, 2012.
javabeans: So the new episode opens, and…
girlfriday: It’s not a new episode?
javabeans: Things look familiar, but then there are scenes I don’t recognize.
girlfriday: That’s ‘cause we’ve already seen this trip, over the last two episodes. This is apparently a B-side re-edit of the same trip.
javabeans: The strike strikes again, huh?
girlfriday: Yeah, it’s been about a month now since KBS joined the strike, so now shows like 1N2D, Gag Concert, Win Win are going to be seeing some repeats or highlight reels for a while.
javabeans: The material may be familiar (though at least what we’re seeing are exchanges that got cut out of the original episode, not, say, repeats), but it’s interesting, purely as an exercise in broadcasting. Because the show has ostensibly already picked the best stuff for broadcast, what we’re seeing a lot of is the setup, the behind-the-scenes, the “Wait, where should we stand? Who talks first?” stuff.
girlfriday: The stuff that ended up on the cutting room floor?
javabeans: Well, what I’m trying to say is that it’s the stuff that wasn’t deemed interesting enough originally, but since circumstances force a re-do, it gives us more of a look at the production side than we normally get. Breaking down that fourth wall even more.
girlfriday: True. It’s just too bad that the strike comes at a time when the season 2 cast is brand new — there’s only so much behind-the-scenes stuff you can glean from a couple of trips.
javabeans: Yeah, no kidding, right? One more week and they’re out of material. Then they’ll either have to settle for repeat episodes, or maybe one long uncut reel of the guys just hanging out, like all those variety hosts had to do when the WGA went on strike, their writers rooms quit working, and you had a host and a camera, trying to make some funny out of material that couldn’t be pre-written.
girlfriday: That could totally work with this cast, but it’s unclear to me how the rules of striking go in Korea, because it’s not like the WGA strike in Hollywood.
javabeans: I feel like in theory it should be pretty similar, but Korea doesn’t really have a strong union culture so perhaps the big hindrance to making a strike effective is the fact that hiring scabs isn’t seen with the same vitriol as it is here.
girlfriday: Right? Because I don’t really get what the point is, of having your big name PDs on strike, and then hiring other people to edit and stuff, essentially filling his/her shoes.
javabeans: Yes, the point of a strike is to cripple the circumstances as leverage. But if you strike, and then hire tons of scabs, then you (the striking body) have only hurt yourself.
girlfriday: Yes. So there’s no real effect.
javabeans: What they really need to do is take a hardass line on scabs. As in, you can’t hire any. And if you do, you’ll be kicked out of the union, like they do in the U.S. The reason the Hollywood Writers Guild (WGA) strike was effective at least in shutting down shows (its efficacy in general is more murky) is because if you were an aspiring writer and you crossed the picket line to pick up scab work, you could never join the WGA later. And likely if you’re an aspiring writer, WGA is your goal.
girlfriday: Exactly, so we’ve talked about this before, but if everyone from ONE union could get their shit together and take a hard line, then all shows would shut down.
javabeans: Yes, you don’t even need every single crew member to be involved. Say, if you mobilize every single sound editor to strike, across the board and spanning all shows, then basically you have nobody available to sound edit. When a lot of this happens, ostensibly the head PD steps in to basically kill himself with overwork (I think Moon/Sun is one example of this), but pick a technical skill that not any Joe Blow can pick up overnight. Strike en masse. Quick tactical strike. Blitzkrieg that mutherfucker and you’re done in a week or two, not dragging everything out indefinitely.
girlfriday: Yes, yes, exactly. Strikes are 99% strategy, 1% picketing. Because picketing be hard, yo.
javabeans: At least, they SHOULD be. Otherwise you’re doing it wrong.
girlfriday: People should hire us to rule the world. Just sayin’.
javabeans: Benevolent dictatorship, that’s the way to go.
girlfriday: Says the dictator.
javabeans: Which means I have the relevant work experience. Anyway…. back to the trip. Which we’ve seen already. There must not be a lot of extras in the early part of the mission (the museum visit, the memory quiz) because we whiz right through it.
girlfriday: I love the moment in the opening where the PD messes with Su-geun, moving him over to make him stand next to Shi-kyung, who’s standing a foot below everyone. Su-geun just innocently complies, and then finds himself eye-level with Shi-kyung. Instant sight gag.
javabeans: Hehe. He literally has to stand off the path to be even with the rest of the cast.
girlfriday: And now we get to hear all of Tae-woong’s terrible jokes that normally get cut from broadcast.
javabeans: The man is terrible at corny ssullung jokes. Or maybe I mean he’s great at them?
girlfriday: Yeah he’s the king of ssullung. It’s embarrassing. Seung-woo giggles, “Tae-woong-ie is a funny kid!” Except he means fun for them ‘cause he’s not funny.
javabeans: The next “new” footage I recognize is during the car ride while they discuss sleeping rights. They say that it’d be sad for one person to sleep inside while the rest sleep outside, but worse for the reverse if only one guy is assigned outdoors. Seung-woo suggests that if only one guy gets stuck outside, one other guy will join him in solidarity. Pause. Su-geun: “The one who suggests it should go.” I’m guessing this means if Seung-woo gets stuck outdoors alone, he’ll be spending a lonely night outside.
girlfriday: Su-geun asks the new members what the reaction has been around them, and Shi-kyung and Tae-hyun agree that no one’s really going to say to their faces if they’re unfunny or uninteresting. Joo-won mentions that Seung-woo has been getting the biggest reactions, since everyone expected him to be gentle and taciturn. He was certainly the biggest surprise for me, so I guess everyone expected the same.
javabeans: He’s not necessarily the funniest (nobody beats Tae-hyun) but I think the others are pretty much as expected. Which is great, since we expected them to be good, but Seung-woo’s the only surprise. Can I say, though, that it’s interesting with Joo-won because he seems like such a… new-generation trendy youngster, which is a marked difference from the rest of the cast. He and Seung-gi are the same age, but as we know, Seung-gi had oddly old-man tastes.
girlfriday: Seung-gi is an ajusshi trapped in a puppy’s body. Joo-won seems much younger.
javabeans: Joo-won seems one generation younger than Seung-gi, who can roll with the thirty- and forty-year-olds.
girlfriday: When Joo-won talks to Seung-woo, I feel like he’s talking to Dad.
javabeans: Right? Seung-woo totally has Dad vibe. And Tae-woong is Joo-won’s sorta-dorky uncle. Just humor him when he tries to be cool. Like Kye-sang and Jong-seok in High Kick 3.
girlfriday: Ha. “Just kidding!” Tae-woong needs a ssullung catchphrase. That’s what he’s missing!
javabeans: Oh totally, that’s what he needs. He already has the dorky ssullung laugh to go with it.
girlfriday: Joo-won seeming so young isn’t a bad dynamic; it’s just so very different from say, Ho-dong and Seung-gi, who had the same age difference, but were perfectly believable as hyung-dongseng.
javabeans: Okay, this episode must not have had a lot of interesting moments ‘cause all this is stuff we’ve seen—they go to the cave, get the clue to the Sassy Girl Tree, do the faux-turbo car ride up the mountain…
girlfriday: I know, I’m watching, waiting for new stuff, but it’s all what we’ve seen before.
javabeans: Honestly I think I’d rather see boring new footage, over repeat footage.
girlfriday: Me too.
javabeans: This must be why the ratings nosedived for this episode. Still got into the teens, but it was half its normal numbers.
girlfriday: You know what they’re missing for potential B-side goodies, is that when Ho-dong was around, he’d force the guys to do funny things, if even just to entertain him.
javabeans: I suppose if you’re sitting in the car quietly, thinking, “They’ll cut the boring parts out,” you can still wind up with one episode’s worth of footage from the games and the structured activities. You just won’t get lots of fun stuff for the emergency backup episode. Su-geun tries, but the others are pretty subdued in the car.
girlfriday: Su-geun does a good job of trying to jumpstart things, but he’s not the mat-hyung, which makes a difference, and Ho-dong could be scary in that BE FUNNY, NOW! way, that kept the boys on their toes.
javabeans: True, he’s like a force of nature. I think what makes Su-geun important in this line-up is that he’s always *on,* and the others haven’t figured that out yet.
girlfriday: Yeah, a lot of them are still thinking of it like a drama set, where there’s downtime and camera time.
javabeans: Wait, Jong-min was a gymnast?
javabeans: I’m not sure if I missed it the first time or if it’s new, but in the wire-kicky task, they caption everyone’s traits like Su-geun being a taekwondo black belt and Seung-woo majoring in athletics. Jong-min’s says, “Very flexible, gymnast as a student.”
girlfriday: Well now I’m picturing him in a leotard, and I can’t undo that.
javabeans: Thank you. Now I can’t unthink what I’ve thought.
girlfriday: Well I can’t be the only one with that mental image.
javabeans: YES YOU COULD. You could’ve taken one for the team. But no. You pick this time to share.
girlfriday: Sharing is caring. So most of the footage is the same as last time, but we do see some games that got cut, like the spelling challenge, involving Shi-kyung’s nipples??
javabeans: LOL. Well, you gotta give them an interesting prompt. Basically everybody has to write down what is dictated to them (a sentence about Shi-kyung’s insistence on not showing his nipples, which prompts a flashback to all his recent comments and worries about going topless). Ha, everybody gets something wrong but Shi-kyung and Joo-won. That seems to fit.
girlfriday: The longer you’re out of school, the more you forget?
javabeans: Or some people are just bad at spelling? I’m thinking of all the smart people I know who still spell things like “definately” or “raffel.”
girlfriday: I kind of have a weird black hole when it comes to double letters. Words like “address” make me think twice, no matter how many times I write it.
javabeans: Harass. Embarrassing.
girlfriday: Yes! I hate that word! Or french-borrowed words that end in “ette.” They look wrong.
javabeans: I’m the reverse, I think omelet looks wrong but I know it’s acceptable. Or dialog, catalog—drives me nuts. On to another dinner bokbulbok quiz that got cut: The one where you’re given the first half of a hanja-based adage, and have to complete it.
girlfriday: I think this game is harder, but surprisingly, they all get it right.
javabeans: It’s probably why they cut it. I think it’s one that’s less interesting in that there’s only a right or a wrong, not really room for funny. But since they’re classical sayings, you basically either know it or you don’t.
girlfriday: Time for the popularity vote. I love that Tae-hyun catches Joo-won holding one of the female staff members’ hands, and calls foul, like, you can’t use those pretty boy tactics here!
javabeans: Oh, you can give back rubs but he can’t use his powers of flirtation? Use what you’ve got, I say. Apparently the boys were given a vote each, and Seung-woo’s the only one to vote for someone other than himself (he votes for Shi-kyung). Tae-hyun cracks me up; he goes next and makes the grand show of also voting for Shi-kyung, then “slips” and “accidentally” votes for himself.
girlfriday: Ha. Haha. When you know the outcome is that Seung-woo’s the big loser, that scene is really funny.
javabeans: I know, right? And he was the loser by a LOT, too. Okay, so the morning mission got cut from the broadcast, but I think it’s pretty funny. Seung-woo and Jong-min get up early (thanks to all the snow and freezing temperature) and hatch a plan to claim their breakfast flags, then throw away the remainder so the tent boys can’t win.
girlfriday: But then Joo-won is wide awake inside the tent, saying that his mommy told him to always eat breakfast. Omg, could he be any more of a boy scout?
javabeans: So cute. He’s ready and waiting for the song to start the mission, while his hyungs are still asleep. The second the morning music starts playing, Jong-min hides theirs under the sleeping mats while Seung-woo runs for the pond, tossing the extra flag into the water. Ha, they’re so cute, strategizing together.
girlfriday: Shi-kyung and Joo-won both run out of the tent, searching for the flags everywhere. But it’s Joo-won who spots the one that Seung-woo threw into the river, and without even hesitating, he just plops right into the freezing cold water to get it.
javabeans: He’s adorable. He’s like, “Wheee!” like it’s part of the game. He doesn’t even jump back out, he just stands knee-deep in the water, waving his flag, and Seung-woo’s like, “Damn, he’s tough.”
girlfriday: Yeah, real tough–he’s standing there aegyo-ing, “Victory~yong!” He’s like a cartoon character. Meanwhile, Seung-woo and Jong-min take out their hidden flags, and start doing this victory dance like a pair of nuts.
javabeans: HAHA, Su-geun complains about losing the mission, because when he got out of the tent, their shoes were missing. They turn to Joo-won to ask if he found his shoes, and he admits right away, “I hid them.” Omg.
girlfriday: What? When did that happen?
javabeans: Flashback to early morning, when he snatched them from their places in the tent and hid them under blankets and bags while his hyungs slept.
girlfriday: Okay, that’s awesome. The devious side makes his cute side even stranger. It helps that he has that I’m-up-to-no-good sideways glance thing down.
javabeans: The two scheming Kims crack up and high-five him. Joo-won thwarted their plan, but he sure earned his breakfast. Ha, I love the image of the winners’ table, loaded with hot, delicious soup and side dishes. The four losers get a bowl of rice and anchovies.
girlfriday: Okay, that’s sad. Seung-woo loooves the soup, and Jong-min asks if hyung-soo-nim (Kim Nam-joo) makes stuff like this for him at home, and Seung-woo scoffs, “What, do you think when you get married people suddenly turn into chefs?”
javabeans: Don’t ruin his fantasy! Marriage is a rude awakening everybody should experience for themselves.
girlfriday: But now it tickles me that Kim Nam-joo might actually be the sassy diva at home, and not the perfect wife that everyone assumes, all, “What am I, your chef?”
javabeans: “If you’re hungry, make it yourself!” “Yes, dear.”
girlfriday: Ha, I love the part that got cut from Joo-won’s pretty song the first time around — when he screams, “Everybody now!” when he gets to the high part. Hee.
javabeans: And then nobody joins in and he’s left hanging?
girlfriday: Variety’s brutal, man. So we’ll play it by ear for the next few weeks, because we don’t know how long the show will be out due to the strike.
javabeans: And there may not be much more “extra” footage to sustain the show while filming’s halted. I still say they should just get the boys in a room and let ‘er roll. But my Dictator of the World card is still in the mail, so whatchoo gonna do.