Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 5
EPISODE 5. Broadcast on August 2, 2013.
girlfriday: We resume the trip in Strasbourg, where the group makes the ten-minute walk back to the cathedral they saw yesterday. This time Soon-jae halbae totally waits to walk with Il-sub halbae, and a new loveline is born.
javabeans: Aw. I don’t know what number day we’re on but it’s clearly not been that long a trip, and yet already I feel like we know enough about these two gramps(es) to FEEL what this MEANS. Soon-jae halbae is the impatient brisk mat-hyung with Things! To! Do! But he’s waiting!
girlfriday: I know, right? From behind, Geun-hyung halbae points it out, and Na PD wonders (way too) excitedly, “Do you think this means they’re becoming friends?” So cute.
javabeans: When the group heads inside the cathedral, we focus first on Geun-hyung halbae as he looks around solemnly and sits down to offer up a prayer (for the health of his family, he says). Then we cut to Soon-jae halbae, who is the total opposite and is like this really curious schoolboy, inspecting everything up close and taking an academic, if not religious, interest.
girlfriday: I love the children’s song to match. And then when Seo-jin enters and lights a candle, the caption says his prayer must be: Make Na PD go away!
javabeans: Haha. It’s all, “Deliver me from evil (Na PD)”! Then, “And also, please just leave me be for some alone time!” Next is Shin Gu halbae’s turn, and he stops to give money to a begging woman on the front stoop. Meanwhile, Il-sub halbae is parked at a cafe not even bothering, HA.
girlfriday: Geun-hyung halbae spends his time taking pictures of every little thing to show his wife, of course. I like that his hat is turned sideways to do so.
javabeans: He is such a teddy bear. His wife even texts him hearts! I’m never going to be drama-scared of him ever again, am I?
girlfriday: I know, how am I supposed to be frightened now? It’s kind of like Joo-won post-Gaksital all over again.
javabeans: Aw, and apparently the wife just got her five-year all-clear after cancer surgery. Apparently she found out while he was on this trip.
girlfriday: The montage of him calling to check on her constantly is making me cry.
javabeans: Especially when he recounts the day she went into surgery and how he told her he’d die if she died, because he couldn’t imagine life without her. Tear. I think it’s the matter-of-fact way he tells the story, because he’s not trumping it up for drama. It’s just the way it is in his world.
girlfriday: Yeah they’re all like that, about everything. It’s amazing. I guess you just have to be a grandpa to have that perspective on life.
javabeans: Then they head back to the hotel and thoughts turn to dinner. OH RIGHT. Today’s bettin’ day, isn’t it?
girlfriday: OH I forgot all about that. Muahaha.
javabeans: But first it’s time for Seo-jin to make magic happen in a hot pot, again. Tonight he’s put in charge of making jjigae — Na PD literally just plops down a dish of kimchi, a can of Spam, and some random leeks and is like, Thanks for a delicious dinner! There’s this hilarious tone to Na PD’s instructions — now that they know he CAN do it, they just expect it of him. Haha. That’s what you get for trying hard the first time!
girlfriday: Yeah I think doing a good job totally backfired on him.
javabeans: And the PDs are just backseat-cooking the whole operation, correcting Seo-jin here and there. He takes a look at those leeks and is all, WTF am I supposed to do with them? Apparently it was “the closest thing we could find to onions” and retorts that they look like aloe. Hahaha. He’s practically rolling his eyes at this point, although I will point out that leeks are actually really tasty as scallion replacements. It’s just… that’s not how they roll in Korea.
girlfriday: But the best part is when he starts ripping it with his bare hands to put in the jjigae, like it’s tissue paper. And Na PD is just cackling in the background.
javabeans: Don’t you love how the Spam is captioned “ham”? To Koreans, it’s the same thing. It’s not the same thing.
girlfriday: This time when he gives Na PD a taste, he says it’s sour (from all the sauerkraut, duh) and they get into a tiff about it. Na PD: “Hyung, it’s SOUR! Anyone can see that it’s sour!” Seo-jinnie: “Can’t you just eat it sour?” He runs off, and I half expect him to just give up, but he starts rummaging the rooms for other ingredients.
javabeans: Wait, did the crew just stock up on stuff for themselves? Lol. He’s rifling through writers’ bags and scavenging from various staffers, who have stuff like seaweed, rice packets, cup ramyun. The PD’s all, “Oppa, get out of there” and “That’s for the staff to eat!” and Seo-jinnie is all, “Whatever.” Ha, and he promises to pay the junior staffers in cash when they get to Seoul.
girlfriday: Dude, they have SO MUCH stuff. Not even just snack foods, but like soup stock and things for serious cooking (well out of a hotel room, that is).
javabeans: Dayum, he makes off like a bandit. Na PD keeps trying to get him to return to his room, but short of forcibly removing him this is all futile. Were these crew members seriously planning to come to Paris and never actually eat French food?
girlfriday: That’s what it looks like. It’s nuts. And Seo-jin just gets this crazy look in his eye and just takes anything he can get his hands on. Meanwhile, downstairs Il-sub halbae is getting ready to make some ramyun, and he asks Gu halbae if he knows how to make Chapaghetti. And then it turns into a Thing.
javabeans: Uh-oh. Il-sub halbae insists that you have to cook the soup with the noodles, while Gu halbae argues that you cook the noodles, fish them out, then add the sauce packets. This sounds petty, unless you have made Chapaghetti and then you totally Get It. Because you only make Chapaghetti badly once before realizing that the instructions on the package are crap. Don’t add the soup to the water! Don’t do it!
girlfriday: The hilarious thing is how long this conversation goes on. There’s like instruction reading, arguing, giving up, guessing. And they even hook Soon-jae halbae into the debate.
javabeans: Ha, and this is the edited version. Can you imagine how long the real-life version went? Soon-jae halbae gets the caption pointing out that he’s a Seoul University grads. How many Harvard grads does it take to change a light bulb…?
girlfriday: Seriously. This is so a generational thing, but these men have never had to cook for themselves, so they’re sitting here reading Chapaghetti instructions like it’s rocket science. It’s pretty freaking funny.
javabeans: I love that you can even hear Na PD laughing off-screen. It’s like the National Geographic quandary, the comic version: You’re just the crew here to document, not help, but you must be fighting that urge to step in and be all, “People! Boil water! Add noodles!” Meanwhile, there’s this whole argument upstairs about the very expensive sauce base that Seo-jin pilfered, and it also turns into A Thing. I fully expect sales of that soup stock to skyrocket now. It’s like this magical tiny packet of wonder.
girlfriday: For people who can’t cook (that’d be me) soup stock IS a packet of wonder.
javabeans: After dinner, it’s time to turn to Go-Stop, and Soon-jae halbae worries that he’ll win so hard that people will think he’s a gambling shark. The captions point out that he’s already assuming he’s gonna kick ass. And you know, just based on that attitude alone I’m thinking he’s probably going to clean up shop. Seo-jin cutely argues that he’s “fighting for his life/livelihood” right now so it won’t reflect badly on him.
girlfriday: Also, I’m pretty sure when you’re Lee Soon-jae, there are few things you could possibly do at this point to truly ruin your image. Gu halbae’s already trying to figure out secret codes and hand signals to “help,” and so far I’m thinking it’s a good thing he’s not playing for their team.
javabeans: Seo-jin says that they can’t let the cameramen see the cards, because he can’t trust them not to cheat for the production team. Na PD is all, “Do you really think we’d scam you?” Seo-jin replies calmly, “I was scammed coming here.” You really can’t argue with that.
girlfriday: Haha. And he says it with such a straight face too.
javabeans: Don’t you love the “character placard” descriptions given to each member? For instance, Soon-jae halbae has picked up the nickname Straight Ahead Soon-jae (for the way he barrels along forward all the time) while Geun-hyung halbae’s hobby is “calling his wife.” Seo-jinnie, on the other hand, has “about eight” duties under the “job” category, and his hobbies are jjigaes.
girlfriday: They’re adorable. Gu & Sub halbaes’ jobs are “drink and commentary,” and the first thing they do is feed the opponent a shot of soju. Ha.
javabeans: On the other hand, the staff representatives are presented so straightforwardly it’s funny the other way. The doctor’s job is “doctoring the cast” and her speciality is “graduated from medical school.” Lol.
girlfriday: And the VJ: “looks like a card shark.” HA. Is that the sole reason he was chosen?
javabeans: They begin—Soon-jae and Geun-hyung halbaes on one team, the doc and VJ on the other—and all of a sudden the halbaes are ALL BIZNESS. I do love the peanut gallery on the side, aka Gu & Sub just tossing out random comments and enjoying the leisurely watch.
girlfriday: This is pretty awesome. As they play, the halbaes are like a hair’s breadth away from cursing, they’re so into it.
javabeans: The doctor is doing pretty well, but I fully expect Soon-jae halbae to start hustlin’. Then he finally starts winning and it’s just hilarious. Everyone cracks up at his cute-but-card-sharky demeanor. And when Geun-hyung halbae starts winning he automatically starts singing. But I think I’m loving Seo-jin’s elation the most.
girlfriday: He’s SO HAPPY. It makes sense, since he’s the one stressing about money on the trip all day. Omg, I love this. In no time, Soon-jae halbae is swearing, Geun-hyung halbae is shuffling like a shark, and Gu & Sub come by with coffee for the hyungs.
javabeans: And best of all, Na PD is whining, “No, this is all wrong! He keeps winning!” They really are cleaning up. To put it in perspective, I play Go-Stop like a wuss where I stop the game the first chance I get because I get scared of losing, and therefore my winnings are puny. On the other hand, Soon-jae halbae keeps Go-ing, which doubles his chance for losing everything but also doubles his chance for, well, doubling everything. He’s piling on the Go’s, so he’s winning, but also winning by huge margins.
girlfriday: Oh no, and then a sudden reversal from the doc! You just can’t fake that giant smile on Na PD’s face when they turn the tables.
javabeans: Oh noes! This is why I would have stopped at two Go’s and won, rather than go for three and lose. Okay, admittedly I would have stopped at one and been happy with my penny.
girlfriday: Sad. Now what’re they gonna do for trip money?
javabeans: The funny-sad thing is that I don’t think this loss means anything to anyone other than Seo-jin.
girlfriday: Totally. It’s not even like they lost money. They just didn’t win extra. But don’t they have another city to hit?
javabeans: But at least now Seo-jin knows whose suitcases to raid. They won’t go hungry, at least!
girlfriday: They head upstairs for bedtime, and Gu halbae stays behind to do an interview because he’s leaving early tomorrow. Aw, must be because of drama shoots. Too bad. (Also, for absolutely no reason other than “That’s what was on TV,” the three halbaes are watching erotica in the middle of the night. Pffft.)
javabeans: It’s so interesting how already there’s all this emotion in his confessional moments, like he’s saying goodbye after living together for four months instead of traveling for maybe four days together. Plus they’ll get to hang out in Seoul as little as a week away. But there’s just that lightning-in-a-bottle feeling to a trip like this.
girlfriday: I know. They’re so attached already, and he’s just so genuinely sad to be leaving. I’m sad too, and I know they’ll be on another trip just like this one in no time, but there’s just something about the moment. And in the morning everyone wakes up early to see him off with hugs and it’s just so sweet.
javabeans: Seo-jin gets a short moment alone over breakfast and I swear you can see his eyes darting around as if to gauge, How much time do I get? Five minutes? Ten?
girlfriday: Suddenly Na PD interrupts his breakfast to ask if he knows Han Ji-min. Of course he does. Drama wife.
javabeans: Ha, Na PD says that news appeared that Han Ji-min is in Bern (where they’ll be heading), and he’s totally angling for a show connection. I’m guessing he doesn’t have the connections himself but wants Seo-jin to finagle something. Seo-jin accuses Na PD of lying, but reaches for his own cell phone… and laughs that he’s going to use “Teacher Soon-jae” as his excuse (they were all in Yi San together), saying, “She might not reply if it’s just me.”
girlfriday: And then in no time he’s calling her, and it cracks me up how he gives zero introduction: “Are you in Bern? I’ll be in Bern at 2 o’clock.” Huh? What?
javabeans: It’s cracking me up how he’s clearly enough of an oppa to talk to her in banmal and talk in declaratives (rather than hedging for questions or permission), and yet he’s still totally hiding behind the excuse, “It’s not for me, it’s for Teacher! He really wants to see you! I won’t even come!”
girlfriday: LOL, in the middle of the conversation he shouts into the imaginary air beside him: “Teacher, Ji-min said she’s coming!”
javabeans: Hilariously, the staffer standing by does this whole double-take, all, Who me? Seo-jin hangs up and half-whispers, “Daebak.” Then he tells Na PD, “With her, if you just insist she’ll do as you say.” LOL.
girlfriday: Hahahaha. This is such a win-win. Na PD gets a celebrity guest, and Seo-jinnie gets a free ride. Seriously, this is all he’s thinking about. “She’ll have a car!”
javabeans: THEN Seo-jin informs Soon-jae halbae of the situation, and butters him up by saying how Ji-min is excited to see gramps, and of course Na PD totally tattles, “He totally sold you out!” But when Seo-jin says, “If I told her to come for me, she wouldn’t,” Soon-jae halbae just agrees, like, “Yup.”
girlfriday: They tell the other halbaes about meeting Ji-min, and Il-sub halbae’s like, “Is that a boy or a girl?”
javabeans: Na PD asks if he’s coordinating with Ji-min, and Seo-jin says he’s not coordinating, he’s handing off the halbaes to her entirely. He’s SO HAPPY to not be the guide in charge on this one.
girlfriday: It’d be pretty great if he really did just hand them off for a few hours like halbae daycare. Can you imagine the look on her face?
javabeans: I can, and it’s keeping me excited for the big reveal. The team pauses for a lunch break during a stopover in a Swiss train station, where Na PD hands over their transportation passes for the entire Swiss leg of the trip. Dude, this show has worn him down. So easily handed over! They only have forty minutes for lunch, and Seo-jin starts checking his watch every other minute while the order takes forever. Eek! I’m all tense now.
girlfriday: So then he decides maybe they’ll take the later train, and goes to check the departure times. He finds one that buys them an extra half hour for lunch, which is good.
javabeans: Phew. I was all worried they might miss the train. Better to buy time than to make halbaes hurry.
girlfriday: But then he doesn’t really think much of Ji-min and her schedule, so now THAT’s starting to worry me.
javabeans: I know right? I really hope that thirty minutes doesn’t screw up anything else. Should I be concerned that the show is scoring the moment with the song “Forget You”? Then they arrive in Bern and Ji-min is nowhere in sight, and she isn’t picking up her phone… AH THE STRESS. I need to know!
girlfriday: Guess we’ll have to wait till next week to find out.
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 4
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 3
- Grandpas Over Flowers (and Seo-jinnie) head to Taiwan next
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 2
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- More crackling wit from Grandpas Over Flowers
- Grandpas Over Flowers goes to Paris
- Na PD launches new travel variety show on tvN