EPISODE 441. Broadcast on June 2, 2013.
girlfriday: Back to the Friendship Special, where the boys are asked to vote for the winner of the Friendship Award. Are they supposed to vote for the member they’re closest to?
javabeans: They’re… not very clear on the rules, are they? I liked it better last time when Ho-dong ended up broken-hearted when Tae-woong didn’t pick him back. But this time, all I know is that there’s some kind of “Friendship Award” and that requires voting.
girlfriday: This PD has a problem with rules, which makes me have a problem with HIM.
javabeans: Tae-hyun goes up first and totally votes for himself. First of all, HA. Second, I guess there are no rules. It’s anarchy up in this hizzy.
girlfriday: Yeah a vote isn’t the same as a thwarted loveline. Er, bromance line.
javabeans: Tae-woong votes for Shi-kyung. Hae-jin says, “Jong-min… was who I was gonna vote for, but I picked Joo-won.” Haha. Jong-min calls out Tae-hyun’s name (super-loudly), only then he has to ask how to spell it.
girlfriday: Haha. He spells it wrong anyway, which hilariously negates his vote. So Tae-hyun would’ve won (even though dude, you voted for yourself so that doesn’t count), but Jong-min wins first place instead.
javabeans: I’m amused at the fact that the winner got two votes. Which means nobody else got voted twice.
girlfriday: Jong-min wins some dried anchovies, but he seems happier with his pageant sash, and wears it to the beach where the boys greet a crowd of people waiting to play some bokbulbok games with them.
javabeans: A whole contingent of Joo-won’s university-mates is part of the crowd, because they’re theater majors and came here to Busan for the film festival. This was totally planned, wasn’t it? Then Su-geun tells them to perform an impromptu scene, and I’m sorta mad now.
girlfriday: Yeah, I’m annoyed with all the I just happened by on this show. And I’m still waiting for the explanation of why they came to the beach to play games with tourists — not because that’s bad, but because this show used to be explained, but now that transparency is totally gone.
javabeans: It’s super contrived, but without purpose. At least on Strong Heart or something, the guests come prepared with stories and that’s built into the format. Here, you’re promising one thing and delivering another. Also, to make things even worse, WHAT IS THE POINT. It’s like with the football players last episode — the game seemed fun, but why? And these students acting out this convoluted scene — why? And Choi Kang-hee’s seven-part movie — WHY? I’m just going to fast-forward this whole bit.
girlfriday: I already did.
javabeans: Show, you don’t win this time! Geez, I’m fast forwarding and it’s still long. Okay, finally that ends and the student spins the wheel of games.
girlfriday: He chooses Tae-hyun as his opponent in Green Tea vs. Bitter Tea, which is a smart move. Su-geun ups the stakes by saying the loser should jump into the ocean, so someone’s gonna end up in the water. Ha, is Tae-hyun stripping down before he even takes a sip?
javabeans: Tae-hyun wins, the other guy jumps into the ocean, and there are no stakes. I don’t care that he jumped.
girlfriday: Because we met him five seconds ago and will never see him again? Gee, why didn’t anyone else think of that?
javabeans: Dude, if this is how the show is gonna be, it deserves to be cancelled. It would spare me the need to break up with it.
girlfriday: Yeah the pointless is really starting to outweigh the pointy, in pure airtime.
javabeans: Next is a girl who picks the Americano vs. Eel Sauce game. She chooses to go up against Shi-kyung because she’s a huge fan, and Su-geun gives her the chance to ask for a hug. So Shi-kyung backhugs her and she basically dies of glee. Now that was sweet.
girlfriday: That’s cute. I basically love it any time someone squeals over Shi-kyung, I don’t know why.
javabeans: Because I want to marry him? It’s a vicarious enjoyment response?
girlfriday: But also because I feel like the other boys underestimate how liked he is by women, or something.
javabeans: I do think that he gets that adoration less than the others. Not that he’s unappreciated by fans, but that he doesn’t encounter the outward response in the same way that squealing fans run up to Joo-won or Tae-hyun, and he’s so reserved that it’s only when the show puts him in these situations that he gets a lot more of that. That’s just my theory. Anyway, Shi-kyung drinks eel sauce and then it’s another guy’s turn. This feels long. Five more of these games?
girlfriday: There are more?
javabeans: Doesn’t each cast member have to do it?
girlfriday: I was going to fast forward to check, but the show’s doing it for me. The next few are montaged, so we speed through a few rounds.
javabeans: A kid ends up picking the spicy drink in the Tomato vs. Capsaicin game, and because he doesn’t want to put the kid through that pain, Shi-kyung tastes it ahead of time. They give the boy the chance to switch drinks, so now all the cast members are urging him to switch and his mother is shouting from the sidelines to do as they say. Ha. That’s really cute.
girlfriday: But dude, he drinks the super spicy one anyway, and doesn’t even spit it out!
javabeans: He’s like, This is nuthin’ and takes an extra sip. What’s cute is how much the hyungs are trying to take care of him, even though he appears to not need it.
girlfriday: And then the next woman picks Tae-hyun to play raw egg/cooked egg for a dip in the ocean, saying that she’s a huge fan of his.
javabeans: She’s an entertaining one to watch, and it’s funny to see her interacting with her husband too. She calls him over, and the cast members are angling for the husband to be the black knight and offer to take the dip instead of her. But he just says, “Make sure you take the cell phone out of your pocket.”
girlfriday: Yeah he’s the funny one with all the good lines, while she loses and goes straight into the ocean.
javabeans: Apparently Tae-hyun only gets lucky when the choices are out of his hands.
girlfriday: So the games end there, and then we go straight to the next trip. The episodes where the trips overlap like that always weird me out.
javabeans: Yeah, it feels unfinished. On the upside, at least the show doesn’t stretch out filler material (even more) just to fill the time. On the downside, they could have just edited last week to fit their slot properly. Ahem.
girlfriday: I was just thinking, Shi-kyung has a new haircut, but then they announce that he has a concert the next day, and he suddenly asks for the day off. What?
javabeans: He has prepared a substitute guest to sub in, and everyone acts like this is all a big surprise and not something trumpeted in all the headlines. Su-geun barks, “What if we get attached to the guest? Then we won’t need you anymore!” But Tae-hyun hears the guest is a woman and says, “Oh, then you can go.”
girlfriday: Why do they pretend they don’t know things when they know things? So then Shi-kyung calls for the guest to come out of hiding, and Yoona comes out. The boys freak out, naturally, and Hae-jin is adorably awkward.
javabeans: He even works in a SNSD dance move into the conversation, like a dorky fanboy. The caption is all: “It’s his first time seeing a celebrity.”
girlfriday: The boys immediately start clamoring for a ranking, which they always do. But the PD says they have to split into two teams anyway, and they have her choose her teammates the same way Choi Kang-hee did, by kicking the rejects in the rear. Su-geun and Tae-woong get kicked out first, but when Hae-jin gets rejected, I half expect him to cry.
javabeans: I don’t know why Shi-kyung is even in this game since he’s leaving. Jong-min gets the rejection, and because he refuses to accept his first butt-kick he just ends up getting kicked several times in a row.
girlfriday: Now that the teams are made, the PD announces that they have another guest, and then they bring out manhwa writer Heo Young-man. Wait, they brought the writer of Gaksital?
javabeans: And also Le Grand Chef, I Love You, Tazza… That’s random.
girlfriday: It’s extra random because the two guests have nothing to do with each other. But then, I guess that didn’t stop them the last time. At least with Hae-jin who was in Tazza and Joo-won in Gaksital, there’s SOME connection.
javabeans: Maybe he has a new manhwa book coming out. Who knows. But since he has some interest in good food, they’ll be incorporating food into today’s mission. They introduce something they’re calling a “food pairing race” and he explains with clue boards that they’ll have to track down their ingredients. Okay, one hint cracks me up because it’s a picture of a woman turning her back on jajangmyun, which instantly calls to mind the song by g.o.d., which is like the connection for all things in Kpopland.
girlfriday: Lol, weren’t we just talking about this, how g.o.d. = jajangmyun = being poor. I can’t even remember the context, because it just fits everywhere.
javabeans: It’s the lyric “Mom said she hated jajangmyun,” because she couldn’t afford to buy herself one and wouldn’t eat from the son’s bowl, thereby symbolizing her love and sacrifice for him. Thus jajangmyun has strangely come to symbolize, in Korean pop culture, a mother’s love. At least for everyone under 40. And in this instance it’s also used as a pun (god = gat = gat-kimchi), so you can imagine how much WE like this.
girlfriday: So does Shi-kyung, who jumps up when he figures out the pun, even though he doesn’t get the point on a technicality when he doesn’t name the region the food comes from. So in the end there’s an eel team and a kimchi team, and they have to set out on a race to find other foods to pair with their item.
javabeans: They split up into their respective cars and head out to pick up their foods. I notice Joo-won is talking more today, even with the guest, which means he must be feeling way more comfortable now. Jong-min is kind of creeping me out, though, with this prowling around Team Eel’s car to catch a glimpse of Yoona. I know it’s partly comedy, but it’s also partly creepy.
girlfriday: Or mostly creepy, but not to be taken seriously as it is Jong-min, who cannot be taken seriously. Team Eel heads to the marketplace to buy some eels, which they have to grab out of the tank themselves. I’m pretty sure they’d starve without Shi-kyung, because everyone else is afraid to touch them.
javabeans: Yeah, they’re either cringing or screaming. Or both. Yoona does a lot of screaming. Plus, they also have to figure out (as part of the mission) what characteristic makes a good eel, where it’s rich in nutrients, and the like.
girlfriday: Team Kimchi, meanwhile, heads to the dock where the PD tells them one member will be heading out on a boat to taste-test their kimchi with various fish. It doesn’t sound totally unpleasant, but it’s still a fishing boat, so they draw straws and Hae-jin loses.
javabeans: Now I want kimchi. The eels just kind of turned me off eating, but the kimchi looks tasty. I could do a boat trip for fresh fish.
girlfriday: Right? I’m thinking he’s the winner here. Especially when we find out the other three have to do field work.
javabeans: They help the farm ajummas harvest the crop used to make the kimchi, and then it’s back to Team Eel. They take their catch and head back to join Heo Young-man for the next portion.
girlfriday: Okay, now that those eels are cooked, they’re starting to look delicious.
javabeans: Lol, and they’re all totally wearing spoons around their necks again. That just makes me think of grade schoolers on a camping trip or something.
girlfriday: This team has to send someone out on a fishing boat too, so they ask Heo Young-man to pick the member he thinks will be the least lonely. He points at Tae-hyun right away, so he leaves the table, head hanging.
javabeans: Over in Kimchi Town, the boys meet the ajumma who will be their taste testing guide.
girlfriday: I like this portion. Maybe I just like watching ajummas make kimchi.
javabeans: While wearing a fancy hanbok, no less. And allowing boys to eat freely. I’m sure a whole show of that would get boring, but knowing that this is an unusual occurrence makes it enjoyable, to see them stuffing faces while they have the chance. There’s something so satisfying about kimchi with a bowl of plain rice.
girlfriday: There is. It’s just mouth-watering. I’m super jealous right now.
javabeans: They’re given a tiny spoon (around the neck, of course) and allowed “one taste,” so they load up as much rice on that spoon as humanly possible—seriously, it’s like a bowl’s worth. If you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew, you’ve failed.
girlfriday: She loads up each mountain of rice with kimchi, and then they stuff their faces like it’s their first meal in ten days.
javabeans: Do you love the moment when the PD announces she’s taking away the rice bowl? The boys CRAM their spoons in for one final bite before she snatches it.
girlfriday: I died laughing. I’ve never seen Su-geun’s hand move that fast.
javabeans: The eel team tastes a soup made with a type of greens, then decides the key ingredient is bean paste. Then it’s back to Team Kimchi for their next dish, which includes buckwheat noodles. As the ajumma ladles out portions, the PD asks her to keep them small and the boys all protest. Ha.
girlfriday: They are totally the winners today.
javabeans: I think so. Also, I’m giving the edge to Team Kimchi, based on the highly scientific evidence of them making me hungrier. Eel is tasty, but fresh kimchi and rice and noodles? Those give a very basic sense of satisfaction… that I guess I’m getting vicariously? Though I don’t know if that counts as satisfaction when I can’t eat it.
girlfriday: I’m calling my mom after this.
javabeans: I’m going to the Korean store tomorrow.