EPISODE 6. Broadcast on August 9, 2013.
javabeans: You know the dancing high-heeled feet in the intro animation for this show? I hadn’t stopped to give it a good thought but it occurs to me today that I’ve always kinda had the thought in the back of my mind that it was a halbae in drag. I don’t even know why. My money’s on Grandpa Geun-hyung.
girlfriday: Well he’s halfway there already with the vampy toenail polish.
javabeans: Although I suppose Grandpa Gu could also be the one, if you got enough liquor into him. Which wouldn’t even be that much.
girlfriday: Yeah that’s not hard. I think you could get Gu halbae to do pretty much anything with enough likker.
javabeans: We resume with our group arriving in Berne, and no Han Ji-min in sight to greet them or play tour guide for the day, as Seo-jin had assumed. Uh-oh. We get a nerve-wracking sequence where he scours the area around the train station with worried eyes, and finally he gets the message that Ji-min is on the train for a different city, having an itinerary of her own for the day.
girlfriday: This is why you have to call people ahead of time instead of just showing up in Berne after a leisurely lunch.
javabeans: The worst part of all this is that Seo-jin can’t show the panic he’s feeling, because there are the four halbaes to think of, but on the other hand, what the hell is he supposed to do? He didn’t even prepare for this city like he usually does, because he assumed he’d have help! Ack ack ack. It doesn’t help to have flash-forward edits cut in where Na PD is saying (crowing? gloating?) that this seems to be the worst trip EVAR.
girlfriday: Soon the whole group is aimlessly wandering the streets, and the halbaes are starting to get cranky, not with Seo-jin, but the heat and the exhaustion is just putting everyone on edge. Also the aimlessness.
javabeans: Seo-jin buys some time by suggesting a cafe stop, but then he can’t even buy coffee because they take no Euros and he has no Swiss cash, and there’s a halbae looking over his shoulder going, “You didn’t change money? You shoulda changed money!” We’re now up to Stage 3 in Seo-jin’s Five Steps to Mental Breakdown (as helpfully captioned by the show).
girlfriday: Geun-hyung halbae decides to go with Seo-jin to help him, but you can tell that it’s actually worse, because now Seo-jin can’t run around on his own, and every wrong turn he makes is being dogged by Geun-hyung halbae, who is frankly sometimes still scary.
javabeans: This reminds me of his terrible Strasbourg outing where he kept getting lost driving the rental car, and the ONE saving grace was that the halbaes weren’t in the car with him.
girlfriday: He finally can’t handle the pressure, and forcibly makes Na PD stand in place and asks Geun-hyung halbae to stand there with him. Did he just turn Na PD into a human flag? I totally understand why he’s doing this though — he’s in a hurry, but he can’t run with a halbae in tow, and it’s all just starting to be too much.
javabeans: Finally they make it to the currency exchange and Geun-hyung halbae goes in to exchange the cash while Seo-jin inquires at the travel info center, and through the window you can see him adding his own cash to the pile. Aw.
girlfriday: And then the first thing he does with his Swiss money is buy ice cream, of course. Hee.
javabeans: I love him and his ice cream fixation. After picking up a map and sightseeing recommendations, they head back to the others with plans to take a walking tour. Um. I agree that it’s a good plan, if not for Grumpy Bear Grandpa.
girlfriday: It turns out that Seo-jin lucked out having Geun-hyung halbae around, because he’s the only one who has the brainspace to realize that they came out of the train station a different way, and notes the clock tower that’ll lead them back to the other halbaes. I really think Seo-jin’s soul is elsewhere today. He seems like he’s broken and about to snap.
javabeans: As the group starts walking, the show plays this dramatic sad love ballad all about how I was always one step behind you, but will you ever see me? Complete with a montage of all the walking they’ve done with Il-sub halbae walking behind everyone.
girlfriday: Hahahaha. I’m dying. It’s hilarious and sad, all at once.
javabeans: And then they play the song to Nice Guy, which just automatically makes me think somebody’s getting betrayed. It’s hardwired in my brain at this point. Stage 4 to Mental Breakdown comes when the whole freaking walking tour is penned in by construction zones, so they don’t actually see anything but temporary fencing and dust.
girlfriday: Oh noes. This is just the day from hell.
javabeans: It just clicked in my head that this means we’re going to see a mental breakdown, doesn’t it?
girlfriday: Is it wrong if I hope so?
javabeans: Ha, so Stage 5 hits when Seo-jin checks the map and they’re smack-dab in the middle of the city, and Il-sub halbae puts his foot down (literally) to say he’s not walkin’ no more. He’ll wait somewhere for the others. So naturally the first thing Na PD does to broken-down Seo-jin is interview him, ha: “This seems like the worst point in the whooooole trip. How do you feel about it?”
girlfriday: Poor guy. He looks like he’s about to give up. So now the group is split down the middle, with half the halbaes wanting to go on, and Seo-jin completely at a loss: “Whose decision do I follow?” He decides it’s Na PD’s fault to begin with, for setting up a trip with people who love and hate walking.
javabeans: So Il-sub halbae happily takes a seat, not caring to sightsee, while the other two halbaes join Seo-jin in wandering the shops. Geun-hyung halbae beelines for jewelry for the wife, which is cute. Though it’s Soon-jae halbae who buys something first. A producer asks how long it’s been since Soon-jae halbae bought a gift for his wife, and he says, “This is my first time!” Haha. He looks really proud of himself.
girlfriday: That’s adorable. So then the trio of walkers makes it to the edge of the old city, which is where the really great view is. They take in the river view, eat more ice cream, and watch a couple of bears playing down below. Seo-jin: “I’d like to put Teacher Il-sub down there with them.” Ha. Il-sub halbae, meanwhile, is refusing to budge from his seat: “I’ve seen bears on TV.” He’s like the textbook definition of a grumpy grandpa.
javabeans: I’m just glad they put him on a bus to meet the others, which keeps him in a good mood. Then they head to the train station, where Seo-jin escorts Soon-jae halbae to the verrrry front because he prefers that, while the other halbaes sit on benches. And then the train pulls in and Geun-hyung halbae all but neener-neeners at the two of them because it stops short of them, haha. Caption: “Following the Berne calamity, Seo-jin completely breaks down.”
girlfriday: As soon as the train takes off Seo-jin runs away to lie down in a row of seats and starts whining at the PDs about how he has to start worrying about dinner now (“Are there any Chinese restaurants?” Ha.) and then he bolts up when Soon-jae halbae comes by, like a misbehaving kid.
javabeans: Just the process of feeding everyone and then feeding them again, mere hours later, is so exhausting. I feel like Seo-jin’s pain is a very familiar pain, like I feel his fatigue and building stress levels, but I can’t actually remember the occasions in my life that surround such feelings because I think I’ve blocked them out entirely. Don’t make me go back there!
girlfriday: This is why people take pretty pictures while traveling. To block out the stressful parts.
javabeans: To remind you that there was a good side? To trick your brain into thinking the pictures were the only thing that happened?
girlfriday: Yes. Lies, all lies.
javabeans: They arrive in this picturesque town to see the Matterhorn up close, and find their lodgings. Oh my, did Seo-jin slip somebody his personal credit card or something because this place is loaded. The rooms are spacious, there’s a full-on shiny kitchen, wood floors, a view… Dare we hope they might actually get some vacation up in this vacation?
girlfriday: I want to go here.
javabeans: Or, as Liz Lemon would say, “I WANT TO GO TO THERE.” Zombie voice necessary.
girlfriday: Yes. ME. YOU. THERE. NO WORKY.
javabeans: It’s Geun-hyung halbae’s birthday, so Seo-jin gets to work making seaweed soup and the producers bring in Chinese food. Ha, was that the closest thing around to Korean? Then they tie up Geun-hyung halbae outside with a fake interview so they can surprise him, which is really cute. Aw, his face just lights up when he hears the birthday song and realizes this is for him.
girlfriday: Yaaay. This is a nice reward for everybody after the day from hell. Haha, as they light up the birthday cake, Soon-jae halbae grumps, “Why are there so many candles?” like it’s Geun-hyung halbae’s fault for aging. And then Seo-jin hands him a birthday present that he bought on the sly (a scarf), and Geun-hyung halbae totally gets misty-eyed. Awwwww.
javabeans: So they eat and drink and hang out, and afterward it’s Seo-jin and Geun-hyung halbae, and Seo-jin reminisces on how they did Firebird together (ten years ago practically), and he totally recites what Geun-hyung halbae told him that one day on set that was the first time he was ever praised for his acting and how much confidence it gave him.
girlfriday: Doesn’t it say so much that he remembers everything about that moment?
javabeans: That’s what makes it so great. He’s all, “You called me over, and I was scared you were going to yell at me, but you shook my hand instead and told me I was good yesterday…”
girlfriday: Augh, that just gets to me. It meant the world to him, and I love that he describes it with such awe even now. In the morning, the first thing Geun-hyung halbae does is call the wifey to tell her all about the Matterhorn.
javabeans: At least it’s more of a leisurely day today, and for the first time Seo-jin stays behind while the halbaes go up to the top of the mountain. The weather is sunny and they get a train ride up, so everyone’s in a great mood. The halbaes take pictures and see a pair of St. Bernards and chuckle that they’re Gu & Sub.
girlfriday: It’s beautiful up there, like they’re in some kind of fantasy land.
javabeans: Apparently Soon-jae halbae is some kind of animal whisperer, as we saw a montage of all his moments with birds, goats, sheep, etc throughout the trip. He leaves out some fries for the crows, which they gobble up, and then Il-sub halbae leaves some bread crumbs, which get ignored because he’s not Animal Whisperer Halbae.
girlfriday: I love that the crew’s helicam draws a big crowd. It looks like a toy.
javabeans: Seo-jin has been busy packing a special lunch, which he takes along as he joins the halbaes before they all head over for the helicopter ride that’ll take them even closer to the peak of the Matterhorn. Dude, is this the day Na PD was all, “Screw the budget, we have enough material”?
girlfriday: Or maybe this day’s budget was the reason he was cheap the rest of the time? It was like, Not my problem if you sleep on the street! to suddenly, Let’s shoot a blockbuster!
javabeans: OH! So it turns out the trip is actually courtesy of actress Kim Mi-sook (City Hunter’s mother, Brilliant Legacy, Empire of Gold), who gave Soon-jae halbae 200 Euros before the trip and told them to spend it on something fun. That’s so cute.
girlfriday: Dude, can I be friends with her?
javabeans: That explains why they’re eating fresh fruit and Seo-jin’s all, “Well we’re not paying for this…” Aw, did you notice how he cuts a peach with a Swiss army knife and takes the core for himself? Of course he does. He’s the maknae. And then he plucks all the grapes from the stems.
girlfriday: He’s a good boy. His mother raised him well.
javabeans: Then the caption points out that he’s stuck in his serving mode as he offers more and more food to the halbaes, and then goes around one by one giving the staff chocolates. I wonder if he’s going to go back to his drama sets where he’s the big headliner and shake his head, wondering what the hell man. I mean, it’s only mildly interesting at first, but then it goes on and on and on and on and now it’s freaking hilarious. He even shakes Soon-jae halbae’s orange juice for him. He’s Serving Bot.
girlfriday: It’s like he can’t turn it off. This from the guy who’s never cooked anything before this trip. Now he’s carving fruit on the go, and planning meals every second of the day like he’s done it his whole life.
javabeans: He’s gonna come out of this show married, isn’t he? If not by the halbaes’ design, then by every ajumma-mother-grandmother in the country.
girlfriday: Lol, it’s like the perfect bachelor reality show, where there’s no dating, but just a crash course in how to be a good son-in-law. Dates to follow after broadcast.
javabeans: Of course, then they arrive at their vantage point, only to find that the Matterhorn is covered in clouds, the lake is a puddle, and the wind is getting cold. The halbaes are all, “Let’s go back down and eat.” Seo-jin takes the PDs to task, joking that they’d better not get stuck up here.
girlfriday: Oh no. They’re all joking that the helicopters will stop running and they’ll have to hike down, which is making me uneasy.
javabeans: And then it starts to rain, and the helicopter just hovers around above because it can’t land in this wind.
girlfriday: Good grief, and I thought yesterday was bad.
javabeans: I love the shots comparing Il-sub halbae, who is stubbornly sitting in that chair waiting for the helicopter, and Soon-jae halbae who just starts walking down the hill figuring the road will take him back. Panic music plays as Seo-jin starts desperately trying all the doors to the locked building like something in a thriller.
girlfriday: Omg. Suddenly it really IS a blockbuster. Soon-jae halbae’s not really planning to trek down the freaking mountain without a plan, is he?
javabeans: I’m just glad Seo-jin finds a way in so they can get out of the freaking chill. If they have to wait, at least it’ll be indoors. With wine! Party time. Or is that just me.
girlfriday: Well if we’re stranded in the apocalypse, might as well have wine.
javabeans: They actually spread out a sheet and hunker down for a picnic in this weird industrial-looking building next to… tanks of gasoline? Sand?… and eat sushi on the ground. It’s hilarious.
girlfriday: It’s officially the strangest picnic ever.
javabeans: At least the view inside the copter is nice. And there’s a reason for the special day, since apparently Geun-hyung halbae will be leaving too. Aw they’re all dropping off one by one, which makes it sadder somehow.
girlfriday: Aw, I hate it when they leave. Also, did no one think it would be a bad idea to leave the two halbaes who don’t get along at the end?
javabeans: Maybe that’s what they call serendipity. Geun-hyung halbae’s last words of wisdom to Seo-jin is joking advice to disappear on the halbaes if they give him a hard time, ha.
girlfriday: Are the halbaes getting teary-eyed as they say goodbye? In his final interview, Geun-hyung halbae calls them all family and says he was so comfortable with them that he just got to be himself, so much that he’s worried that he’ll stop being believable in his usual bad guy roles. Ha.
javabeans: It’s extra sad back at the lodge, where the two halbaes eat dinner in silence, then just sort of sit around in a daze. Soon-jae halbae says there’s nothing to talk about with Geun-hyung halbae gone and turns on the TV to some soccer, and Il-sub halbae heads to his room alone.
girlfriday: Soon-jae halbae: “There’s nothing to do without Geun-hyungie here, to make fun of people with or talk about the old days.” And then he picks up his phone… to call Geun-hyung halbae, just to see if he’ll pick up. Aww, it’s so touching how much they miss him.
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 5
- 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