EPISODE 13. Broadcast on September 27, 2013.
javabeans: The trip ended with last week’s episode, so this begins the 2-episode special, full of unbroadcast scenes and B-side footage. Which could be really entertaining, though I’m curious to know how they’re going to string this into any semblance of coherence. But maybe the jumping around will be fun, because we already got the overall narrative. We start with Seo-jin walking into either a hair salon or the makeup room at the station, dressed as… what is that, seventies gigolo?
girlfriday: A pimp? I just love Na PD’s reaction. He falls over laughing. I think this interview is post-Europe, pre-Taiwan, and Na PD asks about Seo-jin’s experience leading the halbaes. Maybe the interview itself will anchor the flashback footage?
javabeans: Hm, thus far it’s very clear this is B-side footage. Like you know when you’re in a brainstorming meeting and you throw out ideas, and you have the ones that make it and the ones that get tossed aside for being not quite up to par? That’s this. Some random character notes about how Gu halbae looking all chic and cold, acting gruff instead of cute and drunk as we know him to be, etc.
girlfriday: Mostly, it’s the Godfather music that sells it, otherwise we’d just be like, uh… this is Gu halbae shopping. I wonder now if there are any entertaining scenes to be scraped off the cutting room floor, because then wouldn’t they have been used?
javabeans: I think the special may be diluting the funny. It’s too bad since I was hoping there was so much extra good stuff that they scheduled this as a must-see extra, not… I dunno, filler. I think they needed to craft a storyline somehow.
girlfriday: Yeah it needs a story, even if it’s made up.
javabeans: So now they’re wandering Montmartre, and Seo-jin gets asked if he’s an actor, and Il-sub halbae is getting his picture drawn, and there are interstitial moments of locals being locals. I’m pretty sure Gu halbae got the better end of the caricature stick, ’cause he looks cool while Il-sub halbae actually looks forty years older.
girlfriday: The staff tries to lift Il-sub halbae’s spirits by saying it looks cute, but the second he shows it to Geun-hyung halbae, he’s all, “What’s that?” Ha.
javabeans: I like the next sequence more, which is actually anchored in the post-trip interview, as we follow Seo-jin’s trials and tribulations in keeping all the halbaes together (impossible) or at least in his sights (improbable) or at least mostly in the same vicinity. We see him losing halbae after halbae because basically they just wander when he’s not literally by their side. So if he turns around he loses one.
girlfriday: I can feel his stress, because you find one, and then log that into your brain: Halbae 1 is here in this store. And then he rushes off to find Halbae 2. And then you come back and Halbae 1 is elsewhere.
javabeans: There’s a clip captioned “This is Seo-jin’s mental state” while he’s hurrying to find them, and it’s basically a VJ getting shaky camerawork of feet, which cracks me up because I’m like, Is that how you make use of unusable footage? Points to you, Na PD.
girlfriday: Yeah that’s actually funny in a meta way.
javabeans: Cut to four days later, when Seo-jin has now become a master at halbae radar. So now he’s not even fussed when they’re all scattered and knows how to position himself to see them all in his range of sight, and when a staffer worries that they’ve lost one, he looks for literally a split second and tosses out, “He’s over there.”
girlfriday: It’s pretty amazing that it only takes him four days to turn into a pro.
javabeans: Okay they’re settling in because next we start off a mini-storyline with Il-sub halbae on the hunt for crepes. Only he doesn’t know how to pronounce anything (see: “Patterhorn?”) and quickly forgets the word crepe (broken down, pronounced “ku-reh-peh”) wanders around asking for “pe-re-to?”
girlfriday: I mean, he’s standing at the crepe stand where they only sell crepes, but can’t manage to order, which is pretty hilarious. Thankfully Na PD is there to translate. And then we watch the crepe lady make banana nutella crepes, and I’m licking my chops.
javabeans: Did Na PD just order a “choco-banana crepe,” and not realize what that was until she started making it? He’s all, “Ohhhh, it’s chocolate and bananas!”
girlfriday: Hahaha. But… those are the same words in Korean!
javabeans: Ha, I like how Seo-jin and the producer try to tell the halbaes they’re supposed to eat the crepe as is, since they’re folded up for maximum convenience anyway, but they unfold, unpack, and tear at it like it’s Korean pancakes. “It’s the same thing!”
girlfriday: Geun-hyung halbae goes on a stroll and explains that he’d have liked to bring the others along, but “Shin Gu-sshi and Sub-sub-ie walk like slugs,” and “Porno Soon-jae needed to do other things.” I freaking love that people still call him that (his High Kick nickname).
javabeans: I was just thinking that it’s nice to actually go on a trip and not feel like you have to be stuck together all the time, worrying about everyone’s collective pace and fatigue and hunger levels. Of course, what’s funny is that I really think he just wandered off and assumed it would be fine, because of course it is, and it’s that level of nonchalance that was so harrying for Seo-jin.
girlfriday: Yeah you kind of want to put tracking devices on them, just for Seo-jin’s sanity.
javabeans: Okay, it is really cute watching Geun-hyung halbae stop at every accessory and jewelry shop thinking to buy stuff for his wife, but now are you wondering how much junk his wife has at home? Now I picture her saying, “Thank you so much honey” and then tossing them into a drawer, thinking, “Sigh, another one.”
girlfriday: I know, he probably came back from Europe with a suitcase full of accessories. I can’t imagine she could actually wear all the stuff, but it clearly makes HIM happy. I like that Il-sub halbae joked about needing to eat the crepes before Geun-hyung halbae got back, and they really did clear the evidence before he returned.
javabeans: The next bit relives Seo-jin’s day of hell when the party moved from Paris to Strasbourg, which was stressful enough the first time. I mean, I know they made it, but just seeing it again…
girlfriday: I like the bit in the train when Seo-in goes to order the halbaes’ food, and they’re out of everything because the crew got to the dining car first and cleaned them out.
javabeans: Poor guy, he just orders whatever is available and takes the salad for himself, and when a VJ asks how it tastes, he’s all, “Who’s eating this for taste?”
girlfriday: Hee, Geun-hyung halbae is such a kid sometimes. He snaps a photo of Sub-sub-ie sleeping with his mouth open and giggles. And then it’s followed by a parade of all the other halbaes sleeping. Seo-jin goes to visit the crew in the next train car, and the writer worries he’s prematurely aging and suggests sunscreen. Seo-jin sighs that there’s no brainspace for his looks right now.
javabeans: He says he isn’t even drinking water like he normally does because he doesn’t want to have to constantly go to the bathroom, which is such a true-to-life travel issue where everything is dictated by your body’s limits! Ha, it reminds me of the Broadway play Urinetown, which I think was inspired by a trip to France where all the toilets are for pay and when you have to pee, it’s like the only thing you can think about. Hence the not-drinking and the rapid aging.
girlfriday: On the car ride over to their hotel in Strasbourg, Soon-jae halbae gets a call from his daughter, and suddenly he hands the phone to Seo-jinnie which cracks me up. Why do parents always do that without asking?
javabeans: It turns out they actually are quite friendly (judging from the comfortable way Seo-jin uses banmal with her) but still, it’s a little random, like, HERE! TALK!
girlfriday: Apparently they lived in New York at the same time, so Seo-jin randomly has a lot of connection to that family.
javabeans: There’s this funny bit where they stop and Soon-jae halbae immediately works the machine to get a cup of coffee. Then up comes Il-sub halbae who tries the same thing, and you can actually hear the writer trying to quiet her laughter while he pokes at the thing like a monkey, and ends up yelling, “Seo-jin-ah!” I don’t know why that’s so funny. Maybe because he doesn’t even realize they’re in a new country now? And of course Na PD has to needle Seo-jin like it’s his fault for not informing everyone they’re in Germany now.
girlfriday: It’s extra funny that Na PD is standing right there, but Il-sub halbae has to have Seo-jinnie, or it’s become his default mode: Seo-jinnie will fix it! And for as much effort as that freaking cappuccino takes, Il-sub halbae is genuinely thrilled about it when he manages to get it out.
javabeans: I know it’s not on purpose but doesn’t it sound like Na PD is saying Stressburg and not Strasbourg?
girlfriday: That should totally have been a caption gag.
javabeans: Na PD says that every night when Seo-jin should have been going to bed, he actually waited for the halbaes to turn in and then stay up longer, actually holding himself differently. I love his wording (so needly): “Why did you play the king every night like that?” Seo-jin laughs that he needed that, as though it was a matter of cosmic balance for all the slave hustling he was doing by day.
girlfriday: Na PD points out that he’d send the halbaes off with formal bows every night, and then immediately come downstairs and sit back in his chair and cross his legs. Seo-jin argues that he’s the oldest when the halbaes aren’t there, so why not? The captions call him the Late-Night King as he goes through his usual routine of unloading on the staff once the halbaes have gone to bed.
javabeans: I love the moment when a PD jokes that he was like a slave and he says, “I think I really must have slave mentality.” Like how the whole time he was sweating because Il-sub halbae wanted to listen to pop songs in the car, but the other three halbaes didn’t, but since Il-sub halbae was sitting shotgun he couldn’t stop him from changing the music, and was just sitting there in silent anxiety.
girlfriday: The way he describes that mounting stress over something so seemingly insignificant is great. That’s the stuff that actually stresses you out, because the halbaes are stubborn and you can’t mediate when you don’t get to have an opinion. I always love the way he talks about Soon-jae halbae, who’s like a father to him. Apparently he spent their days shooting Yi San over-feeding the horses because he loved them so much, and he says he could travel anywhere with Soon-jae halbae because he’s so comfortable with him.
javabeans: HAHA, Seo-jin winds down one of those late-night talk sessions by sighing with deep fatigue that this is way worse than the Hidden Camera show, and that this is more like when North Korea kidnapped that South Korean director and actor (Shin Sang-ok, Choi Eun-hee) from 1978 through 1986 and made them make movies in captivity. Na PD notes, “He’s going to be really wary at airports now… but you know, there are lots of places other than airports!” Muahaha. Seo-jin says he’s going to double-check with everyone from now on.
girlfriday: But yunno, the fact that he was kidnapped is what laces every single moment with that crack factor. Because it’s extra hilarious that he’s doing all these things against his will. Even now when I think about it, it’s genius.
javabeans: Yes, because it’s actually true enough that he was tricked. How cute, so we revisit the Fondue House lunch, and get to see how Soon-jae halbae got accosted by Japanese ajummas because they recognized him from Yi San (and Seo-jin, of course). And at the very same time, Il-sub halbae had stepped out for some air and got stopped by a Hong Kong fan who says in a Chinese accent, “U jak kyu?” And they’re like, “Ojakkyo!”
girlfriday: That’s sweet. It always makes me happy when they’re recognized.
javabeans: It’s kind of crazy though how with these halbaes, they’ve done SO MUCH work that you don’t know what it is they’re recognized for. It always takes a minute for them to understand why they’re being asked for autographs. Like, Yi San was six years ago and Soon-jae halbae has done 21 dramas since then.
girlfriday: Dude. Who feels lazy? In the next segment, we watch the last day of the Europe trip, where only Soon-jae halbae, Il-sub halbae, and Seo-jinnie remained. Now I know why this stuff was cut. Nobody’s talking.
javabeans: Just eating, eating, and wandering. Not that it’s uninteresting, but there’s no story to weave. Then we return to the present-day interview, and WHY HELLO THERE, Lee Seung-gi!
javabeans: He totally isn’t here unawares, but the way they shot and edited this scene is super hilarious because it has the tone of catching Seung-gi off-guard (taking a bite of food), looking totally ignorant of the horrors in store for him on the next trip where he takes over slave duties. Cut to: Seung-gi asking, “Wait, I thought it was a different concept from Grandpas Over Flowers!”
girlfriday: “I was told I was going with actresses!”
javabeans: Na PD says to Seo-jin (while Seung-gi’s right there), “Don’tcha think he’s gonna get himself into trouble, this one?”
girlfriday: Seung-gi: “I haven’t signed the contract yet, right?” Na PD: “It’s okay, your agent did.”
javabeans: He’s half disbelieving, saying that he had this concept in mind and Seo-jin says drily, “They told me my concept was ‘An Art Tour with Art School Hyung.’” Basically I’m amazed Na PD still has any celebrity friends left.
girlfriday: Seriously. The caption as we fade out on Seung-gi: “You should taste the bitterness of life before going off to army…” Muahaha.
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 12
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 11
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 10
- Lee Seung-gi to be Na PD’s next luggage boy
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 9
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 8
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 7
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 6
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 5
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 4
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 3
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 2
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1