EPISODE 396. Broadcast on July 22, 2012.
girlfriday: We open a new trip with footage of young Seung-woo as a gangster in one of his films, and cut to present-day Seung-woo, yelling and losing his cool with the PDs. Is there an outburst on the horizon?
javabeans: Even funnier is how we start with footage of everyone agreeing not to get worked up today, cutting to later when they’re shouting and arguing with the PDs over the walkie-talkies. Is this going to be a group outburst?
girlfriday: I hope so. We open in front of Gwanghamun, so right in the center of the city. Are they not traveling today?
javabeans: Ha, they’re singing Cool. It’s the quintessential summer song, “Woman on the Beach,” and everyone’s doing a little cutesy dance.
girlfriday: I love it when Seung-woo dances.
javabeans: Me too! You’d think he’d be image-conscious or unwilling, but he really commits.
girlfriday: And then after his cutesy dance, he points out jealously that all the 1N2D news stories lately are about Joo-won.
javabeans: Aw, he’s having his All About Eve bygone-youth moment. And there Joo-won is, dimply and cute and… sporting a perm?
girlfriday: I kinda love the perm.
javabeans: I do too. It’s vaguely Lee Min-ho-esque, isn’t it?
girlfriday: But messier and therefore better. Seung-woo’s just getting started, adding that Joo-won’s getting CFs left and right too, deciding that he should be taking all of the hyungs out for a drink.
javabeans: Joo-won says he will, and Seung-woo yells, “FOR REAL!” Haha. He adds, “This week is YOUR turn! He has so many ads!”
girlfriday: Haha, he’s FOR SERIOUS. He’s like, “We’ve all taken turns paying! IT’S YOUR TURN!”
javabeans: Su-geun quips that the real reason Seung-woo’s upset is because it’s been twenty years since he shot his last CF. Then Tae-hyun chimes in that he’s great for some CFs, like a hearing aid.
girlfriday: Lol. Poor mat-hyung.
javabeans: Su-geun prompts Joo-won for his almost-catchphrase (“Gaksital will never forgive you!”), which is good in theory but just unwieldy enough in real life that the others are sorta embarrassed for him. It’s just too long. But Su-geun goes with it, saying Joo-won needs to think of a gesture to accompany the saying. Heh. Then they go around trying to come up with individual catchphrases, and Tae-hyun goes, “What is this? It’s so annoying! What is this that it’s so annoying?!” Haha.
girlfriday: Shi-kyung’s is characteristically serious: “I don’t think this is it.” But then Su-geun adds the perfect gesture to it, and suddenly Shi-kyung’s is a crack-up.
javabeans: It’s better because he does the totally silly wavey hands along with his total serious deadpan face. Seung-woo offers up one with his characteristic 100% commitment, but it falls so flat that there’s a moment of silence, then he takes it back right away.
girlfriday: Su-geun’s is just a silly little dance, but then quick-on-his-feet Tae-hyun employs it right away for a big laugh.
javabeans: He’s so hilarious. Why is he so hilarious? You know everyone’s feeling sharp when you spend six minutes just on the opening.
girlfriday: It probably helps that it’s not like four in the morning or something.
javabeans: Yes, and they’re in the middle of Seoul so they ask hopefully if this is going to be a Seoul Special type of episode.
girlfriday: Bird PD tells them to face left and asks what’s in that direction. It’s East, and they call out all the things that are eastward, like the ocean, if they just go that far. Apparently they are, because their destination is Jungdongjin, as in the point directly east of Gwanghamun.
javabeans: Bird PD prompts them to finish the familiar saying, “Men are….” Simultaneously, Joo-won and Seung-woo call out, “Fists!” “Straight ahead!” Haha. Both are well-known sayings, but it’s the juxtaposition that makes the moment. Then Tae-woong steals the moment by adding, “Boat!” It’s a silly reference to a song (“Men are boats, women are harbors”) which totally sounds dirty to my ears.
girlfriday: I’m not a good judge, because everything sounds dirty to my ears. But straight is the answer, and Bird PD says that today they can only travel in a straight line. Every hour they’ll get a chance to earn a left/right/u-turn, but otherwise it’s straight all the way.
javabeans: That’s a pretty good gimmick. But super hard.
girlfriday: I can’t fathom how you’d get anywhere without being able to turn onto a highway or turn off of one.
javabeans: Right? Like, once you’re on the expressway you’re cool, but if you miss your turn onto the on-ramp, for instance, do you just have to travel in the wrong direction for the next hour?
girlfriday: Being sticklers for loopholes, of course, they ask about five-way streets or forks in the road, and Bird PD is prepared with all the answers: anything between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock is straight, or the road closest to 12 o’clock is straight. Yeesh.
javabeans: If they succeed, everyone sleeps indoors tonight. For every ten minutes they go over the time limit, one member gets kicked outdoors. No phones are allowed (so no navigation), and they point out how this depresses Tae-woong. I’m guessing everyone’s rather attached to their smartphones, but he in particular seems addicted.
girlfriday: Ha, I love how they call him In-joong hyung, for Internet Joongdok (Addict).
javabeans: While they’re collecting the phones, Jong-min sneaks in a last-minute text, but Tae-hyun spots it and swipes the phone. It’s one of those things where the reaction is way more interesting than the action, because Jong-min flips out and begs Tae-hyun for the phone back, all panicky.
girlfriday: They totally play a round of keep-away while Jong-min is flailing about, and everyone goes “Ooooooooh!”
javabeans: IS IT A GIRL.
girlfriday: It’s totally a girl. Seung-woo decides they have to share, and they repeat the text: “They’re taking away my phone so…” Su-geun: “Are you dating??”
javabeans: He insists it’s to his mother, and Su-geun’s all, “Tell your mother you love her.” Jong-min complies, saying, “There’s no one for me but you,” which is tellingly in banmal.
girlfriday: Aw, cute.
javabeans: Aw, and then Jong-min tells Seung-woo he read an interview about him, where Wifey Kim Nam-joo said he’s a really sweet husband. Seung-woo totally grins from ear to ear and says, “Say it louder.”
girlfriday: I love how much Jong-min seems like an actual Kim Seung-woo fan. They get started, and already it’s chaos in the car. Arguing over directions is always the worst in a city everyone knows. Everyone’s got an opinion, while Tae-hyun just whines, “What is this? I’m annoyed!”
javabeans: Plus today they have the added complication of what constitutes straight: “Is this straight? Or is that straight? Which way do I go?” They radio over to Bird PD to join them (to help figure out which way’s what), and he radios back, “No. I don’t wanna.”
girlfriday: Haha. I think that’s the way to go with his character. He doesn’t have the authority of someone like Na PD, so he should just go with petulant child. No! Don’t wanna!
javabeans: From the highway, they have their choice of roads, and pick the expressway. It’s fast and direct, but it’s actually headed to Busan, which is southeast. So at some point they’ll need to use that chance to make a direction change.
girlfriday: Seung-woo’s already feeling rebellious. He’s like, let’s just keep going straight like they say, and we’ll just end up in Busan and go “Whoops.” What can they do?
javabeans: Call the whole crew to Busan! Relo! Ha. The team pauses for their first quiz, which is about various fathers. (Of music, of math, of medicine.)
girlfriday: I’m surprised that they get that far, but the one that would’ve tripped me up is: “What is the father or a father?”
javabeans: Like, you’d have overthunk it?
girlfriday: Yeah. The answer, of course, is grandfather. Or Tae-hyun’s, the name of his kid, and the answer is himself.
javabeans: The boys get every answer right, and Bird PD is all, Fuuuuuck. The boys celebrate, and say that the producers really understimated their knowledge levels. True, they should’ve stuck to math and feet. Their next break is to win money for lunch, which involves everyone making the same body movement at once. They rack up the first few rounds of allowance money pretty readily, like making rabbit ears and elephant noses.
girlfriday: They get Batman easily enough too, but Fly and Baseball trip them up.
javabeans: Su-geun is the odd man out in Baseball, but tries to fudge his pitcher pose into a batter one, even though his hand is in a throwing position. Then Seung-woo misses Bruce Lee, and tries to fudge his stance into the right one. Ha. We’ve got slo-mo and instant replay here, don’t forget. They’re left with about ten bucks to buy lunch for all seven, although they’ve also got a watermelon courtesy of the producers. Joo-won and Shi-kyung go off to buy ramyun, and ask the ajumma for LOTS and LOTS of soup.
girlfriday: Aegyo is handy for just such an occasion. It’s a good thing they sent the maknae. While the hyungs wait, Jong-min keeps asking Seung-woo questions, so they do a parody of Win-Win called Jong-Jong.
javabeans: Haha, I love how the questions start out normal and then just keep getting away from him, into more intrusive territory. But since it’s Jong-min, it’s especially awkward when he’s asking about filming romances, where he just blurts, “But! The kiss scenes!” I love that he has a thought process, but only about 10 percent of it ends up in the question.
girlfriday: What he’s really curious about: if Seung-woo practices his kissing scenes with his wife. Heh.
javabeans: They finish lunch and resume the road trip, with the PD handing them a special Summer Mix CD to listen to in the car. The first is the aforementioned Cool song, and the caption adds that Joo-won was in grade school when this song was a hit. Thanks for that sobering reminder.
girlfriday: I choose to ignore that giant elephant in the room. Aw, it’s a whole mix CD of 90s pop!
javabeans: I’m pretty sure all these songs are on that Old School Playlist I posted a while back. It’s baby Shinhwa! Eusha eusha! And DJ Doc, Clon (koong-tari-sha-ba-ra!), and Uhm Jung-hwa. Is it me, or was K-pop in the nineties way cuter, and catchier?
girlfriday: Well you know I’ll agree. But this be our music, so we’re not really the best people to ask. There’s one 70s song, which only Seung-woo knows, and Uhm Jung-hwa’s Festival is one where Jong-min was her backup dancer. So cute. And why does Joo-won know all the words to a UP song?
javabeans: I think he knows the 90s songs better than the guys who were older whom you’d figure have better memories about that stuff. But yunno how your childhood mind can fixate and learn stuff really thoroughly (ahem, Little Mermaid soundtrack), so… maybe it makes sense?
girlfriday: That makes sense. And I guess tweens are the ones who learn all the lyrics and dance moves to songs. I feel somewhat better that Joo-won was old enough to have the same idols that we did. Somewhat.
javabeans: Ha, yeah. Except, you know he’s still dancing around to Wonder Girls and SNSD… I’ve seen the videos.
javabeans: About an hour later, it’s time for their next turn chance. But since they’re on the right track, literally, they don’t need the turn and opt to turn this into allowance money for ice cream and snacks. Shi-kyung radios over that they’re willing to go along with the game, like they’re doing the producers a favor, and Bird PD replies, “That wording makes me feel bad.”
girlfriday: But the boys are in the power position now, so after a pause, Bird PD ekes out a request for them to play the game anyway.
javabeans: The game is karaoke to the songs on the CD: The guys can’t make more than three mistakes. Tae-woong is picked first, and gets the oldies 70s song. He starts off pretty well…. but misses tons of words and is out by the third line. Shi-kyung is next, and they’re like, Yay a singer should be better at this! He gets the UP song, and doesn’t look very confident. Aw, it’s adorable how the other boys jump around him and sing along, like they’re trying to obscure his mistakes from the sharp-eyed PDs.
girlfriday: They break to memorize some lyrics, because this doesn’t seem to be going well.
javabeans: At least the PD seems to see that the game is too hard to be reasonable, so he changes things up: Each can pick a song to sing, but the prize ice coffee gets cut in half. And somebody’s got to get one right if they want to leave the rest stop. Jong-min starts Festival with confidence (since he backup-danced for that single), but alas, he messes up.
girlfriday: But Su-geun gets Koong-tari-sha-ba-ra, and rocks it.
javabeans: Wow, he even gets the rap. I’m impressed.
girlfriday: The things they have to do to get a couple of iced coffees.
javabeans: They truck on, and stop at the next rest stop for their last quiz. It’s another song one… but as the music starts, the side of a parked truck drops wide open and inside are… the members of Cool? That’s cool, haha.
girlfriday: They’re accompanied by Sistar idol Bora, and the boys freak out.
javabeans: Omg, Seung-woo and Tae-woong are like thirteen-year-old boys all of a sudden, going gaga over the cute girl. Haha, so every now and again Cool throws the mic to the boys, who are singing along, and they have to get the ensuing lyric right. They do so successfully, and finish the song in high spirits. Okay, this was a pretty spiffy “event.” It’s such a great nostalgic song, quintessential for summer, the bystanders are enjoying it, and the boys all revved up.
Cool – “해변의 여인” (Woman on the beach) [ Download ]
girlfriday: It’s adorable. Everyone knows this song, the dance, and it’s just super happy. And so weird to see Cool, the ajusshi version.
javabeans: They flash back to the prep stages — the group was inside that truck for 20 minutes, sweating bullets in the heat — and are all, “I feel like I’m in a one-night, two-day prison.” They have a brief chat with the singers, and Jong-min points out that Tae-hyun admitted he had a crush on Bora. He points out that he’s married now, and Tae-hyun shoots back, “What does that matter?” Haha. The boys shove Joo-won over to her and start that loveline going… And then Seung-woo makes a buddy in the Cool singer (they’re a year apart) and asks how his health is, and gets the answer, “Not good!”
girlfriday: What’s going on with the sound?
javabeans: Did they run out of editing time and not have the chance to lay in music or something? It’s like it’s missing one layer.
girlfriday: The audio’s in bad shape, and it’s missing music. Sigh, last-minute editing. Sigh.
javabeans: It’s so strange, now that I’ve gotten used to the 1N2D style of editing — I can tell which sound effects were supposed to be used, and what they were intending based on the captions and freeze-frame moments.
girlfriday: Yeah my brain is filling in the gaps, ‘cause there’s definitely something wrong.
javabeans: Anyway, the boys come to a fork in the highway and tell the PD that they’re taking the right side per their rules. But Bird PD argues that they’re “turning” and using up their turn opportunity, which has them all arguing back and forth, with the fork rapidly approaching. They pull over to argue it out.
girlfriday: They get nowhere with Bird, so Su-geun asks a cameraman, who hedges that he was texting at the time. Su-geun: “You people are all the same!”
javabeans: They get some extra time added to their clock, but worry that they still may not make their 4:50 deadline. They use a few of their turns in the last stretch, but run out and miss the first deadline.
girlfriday: Oh no, they have to turn left, but they’re out of options. They pull over to use their last bokbulbok, and at the same time, 4:50 passes, so one member is guaranteed to sleep outdoors.
javabeans: Bird PD lays out the cards, literally. There are a pack of 30, each one bearing a directional cue: Left, Right, U-turn, Free Choice. They’re hoping for left and free (right is less helpful, since it’s the default).
girlfriday: Well they passed the left turn they needed to make, so u-turn plus right would be helpful too.
javabeans: Those are the first two cards they pull, and then Seung-woo gets Free. Yay! Bird PD shoots another “Oh, fuck” look. Trouble is, they drive on and on and there are no U-turn opportunities.
girlfriday: Oh no. They sigh that things were going too well.
javabeans: Pretty soon they’ve got three outdoor sleepers on the line, and finally come to an intersection. They’re closing in on their destination and arrive in the parking lot with two minutes left, and save the last four boys from sleeping outside. This show is SO weird without music.
girlfriday: I know. It’s just so strangely quiet and somber.
javabeans: It feels disjointed and random. Amazing how a nice track will tie everything in together.
girlfriday: Especially when they’re trying to convey that the boys are in a hurry for anything.
javabeans: Or showing a scene of supposed grandeur. It also shows how much filler there is, ha.
girlfriday: Right? Now it’s glaringly apparent how many long shots of the ocean get put in.
javabeans: And reaction shots to scenery. Oh phew, finally the music cuts back in. All’s right with the world again. The cast comes to the beach and find Cool and Bora waiting for them. Everyone splashes around for a while and tool around in an inflatable raft, when Seung-woo picks up the romance storyline and insists on Bora and Joo-won getting in the boat together. They pull the boat over for her… and Tae-woong bogarts the moment by climbing in.
girlfriday: HAHA. Leave it to Tae-woong’s girl-craziness to win out.
javabeans: You know, his jokes are lame and he’s super dorky, but I think he’s found a really great niche by making himself the moment-undercutter. Like Su-geun, but with a different flavor. They shove him out of the boat and send the two younguns off, even though it’s less romance and more like a white-water rapids encounter.
girlfriday: I love the strangeness of them all splashing and playing in the dark and gloomy ocean with crashing waves. This does not look like a summer vacation. Bora changes her favorite oppa from Tae-hyun to Seung-woo and Tae-woong, and Tae-woong walks away on cloud nine.
javabeans: It’s shower and relaxation time, and they sit around watching TV and checking cell phones. They call over Joo-won to join the dogpile, and he goes straight for Tae-woong, who moves his arm so he can offer up arm-pillow. Snuggles. Gah, those two.
girlfriday: He just fits there, like Tae-woong has this Joo-won-shaped crook under his arm. I love that even though Joo-won is taller, Tae-woong is still the big spoon.
javabeans: Then they relocate outdoors to a tent on the beach for dinner games, where they’re called away one by one — first Seung-woo, then Tae-woong. What’s this about? They walk off feeling uneasy, and leaving us to wait a week to find out what’s up.
girlfriday: Sumthin’ nefarious for sure.