girlfriday: Now that Seo-jinnie has joined the halbaes in Spain, Na PD is quick to hand over responsibilities, like booking the next leg of their journey. Seo-jin tries to nudge Na PD to book the staff hotel first so he can just piggyback off of his work, but they just keep arguing back and forth: “No, you do it. No, you first! No you!”
javabeans: It’s so cute how Seo-jin is so happy that their lodgings are run by a Korean person; he literally can’t stop grinning.
girlfriday: She helps him book train tickets and hotels, so he’s off to a pretty easy start. In an interview he says that his biggest worry on this trip is the halbaes’ health, just because they’re cramming more travel into the itinerary. Na PD: “Well it would’ve been nice if you had come a little sooner.” But… you’re the one who forced him to come later!
javabeans: He really is shameless. I notice we don’t get a flashback to Na PD suggesting that idea, though Seo-jin is happy to point out that the producers kept him from coming. He threatens to give interviews in Korea outing them, and when Na PD says (so shamelessly), “Well if only you had finished your drama shoots a day earlier and made it out here, this wouldn’t have come to this,” Seo-jin throws out the words “libel lawsuit.”
girlfriday: Hahaha. I could really watch these two bicker all day. As they look for hotels, they come across one with bunkbeds, and Soon-jae halbae bristles, “What are we, a ship crew?”
javabeans: In the morning, Na PD (and I’m sure it’s Na PD) has this entire captioned sequence pointing out how terrible Seo-jin looks in the morning and how he dares to greet people “with that unwashed face” and goes to eat breakfast “without having even washed his face” and daring to show his dimples “despite the face that’s been unwashed.”
girlfriday: It’s worded like it’s an affront to decency.
javabeans: “And when he’s finished with everything, finally he goes to wash.”
girlfriday: And then when he does wash up and puts on a crisp white shirt, suddenly it’s all, “Are you going to a wedding?”
javabeans: He does look really spiffy. They pointed it out in the first episode, and I wonder if it’s because he’s shooting a drama where he’s a cool modern professional, but he’s looking really sharp these days. Even though if you think about it, he also looks the same as ever. Just… you know, with a little extra mojo.
girlfriday: Maybe his agent sat him down after watching the first two seasons and forced him to dress closer to his drama hero image. Or maybe this is just how he looks because it’s Day 1, and in a few days’ time he’ll look normal.
javabeans: That’s true. Based on the flash-forward preview, he’s going to be sweating in no time.
girlfriday: Not that I MIND watching him strut down the street looking so good.
javabeans: As they head out that morning, Na PD is quick to announce his retreat, saying that the crew will take a step back now that the luggage boy is here. Seo-jin leads them out to the bus stop looking something like a kindergarten teacher leading a class outing, looking back periodically to check that everyone’s there. It’s that constant awareness that makes him the pro to Seung-gi’s spazz-bot, because Seung-gi’s trying to do everything at once and it’s too much. Whereas Seo-jin says that he doesn’t study anything about the sights they’re seeing—all he does is study routes and mass transit systems so he knows how to get everyone to and fro.
girlfriday: It also means that when he’s on top of things, there’s nothing to converse about. The halbaes can be a quiet bunch anyway, but Seo-jin is probably the most taciturn out of all of them, so there are regularly these long silences that stretch on.
javabeans: PD: “People will think you’ve been fighting.” Seo-jin thinks this is a pretty good mood despite the silence, and the show cuts in cozy scenes from Noonas as if to say, “C’mon, THIS is a good mood.”
girlfriday: I love how many times the caption repeats: “Not fighting. Really, a good mood.” It’s so mocking.
javabeans: The PD mentions that they’re so quiet and how the noonas were more talkative. Il-sub halbae says cheerfully, “Well, they’re women. They probably talked about how they like things, and how long they’ve liked those things, etc. Men don’t need that kind of stuff.”
girlfriday: Despite that, I think the halbaes enjoy taking pictures as much as the noonas do.
javabeans: Aw, Seo-jinnie points out that the halbaes are wearing the jackets he bought them, which are monogrammed with H1, H2, etc.
girlfriday: That’s cute. Where’s his, monogrammed Luggage Boy?
javabeans: Ha, I wish he made himself one too. That’s one thing that I think gets lost in translation—I’ve seen Seo-jin described elsewhere as porter or carrier, but that totally misses the mocking element to “luggage boy,” which is deliberate.
girlfriday: Yes, you need to have that mocking element of cutting a movie star down to “fetch this, boy” level. As they get in line to ride the cable car, Na PD whispers to Seo-jinnie to do something to make the halbaes happier, and Seo-jin just gapes, “Me? How would I do that?” Na PD says that that is a luggage boy’s duty, and suggests he should’ve come prepared with jokes of the day. Ha.
javabeans: Then it’s their turn to ride, and HAHA I forgot how scared of heights Na PD gets. Remember that suspension bridge he could barely cross? Seo-jin jokes, “Are you gonna pee yourself in fear?” The captions pettily point out that Seo-jin’s the only one laughing at that joke.
girlfriday: It’s even funnier that two seconds later when they get going, everyone including Seo-jin grabs onto something because the ride is scary.
javabeans: I love the offscreen yelps you occasionally hear from Na PD, who asks all scaredly, “Are you scared? Isn’t it scary? Teacher, aren’t you scared?”
girlfriday: Lol, and then Soon-jae halbae deadpans, “Of course it’s scary. If we fall we all die.” And then he adds that falling into the ocean is better, for less mangling of bodies. I actually think he might be trying to make Na PD cry.
javabeans: When they pull into the station at the other end, Il-sub halbae says he didn’t look down once. Ha, defeats the whole purpose of the scenic cable car ride. The tidbit comes out that Seo-jin is the same age as the Korean marathon runner who won gold at the Barcelona Olympics in ’92, and of course Na PD tries to use that to embarrass Seo-jin: “When he was winning a gold medal, what were YOU doing?” Seo-jin takes it all in stride and quips that he could probably run better now, since the marathoner probably has bad knees at this age. The story itself isn’t funny but I do love the whole needling-and-failing by Na PD. And you know that the more he fails to get a rise out of him, the more he’s going to try.
girlfriday: It’s pretty much his personal life’s mission. The group gets ready to walk to their next sight, and Gu halbae chuckles when Il-sub halbae asks on cue how long they’ll be on foot. Seo-jinnie casually answers that it’s a five-minute walk, but a quick flash-forward shows us that this was his fatal mistake.
javabeans: Uh-oh… at first it starts out with a little grumbling over the walking, but the preview ends with Il-sub halbae actually angrily saying, “Forget it! I quit!”
girlfriday: They start walking downhill, and at some point Seo-jin realizes that his estimate wasn’t quite right. He keeps saying things like, “We’re almost there,” but his face has practically frozen in that purse-lipped expression he makes when he’s lost.
javabeans: It gets nerve-racking, and even the other halbaes are casting uneasy looks back at Il-sub halbe, expecting an outburst at any minute. Il-sub halbae is actually doing really well, and you can see him holding it in, and trying not to complain, but… it’s a long walk and they’re passing bus stops that suggest to him that they didn’t need to walk.
girlfriday: He finally asks why they’re walking when there are buses passing by, using the common expression, “Are you training a dog?” to mean that the exercise seems totally pointless.
javabeans: Then the editing makes it seem like Seo-jin is walking ahead on purpose to avoid being in Il-sub halbae’s line of fire—he looks back to make sure they’re all there, but at a distance. He acts like he’s unaware of the tension brewing, but in interview later he laughs, “How could I not feel it? That’s why I went ahead!” Ha. Il-sub halbae is even labeled “the green grim reaper,” thudding ominiously in the background.
girlfriday: Hahaha. I love that Seo-jin admits to running away like a coward. To his credit, Il-sub halbae tries really hard to put a smile on his face, and he doesn’t once stop to rest despite being tired. Geun-hyung halbae sticks to his side the whole way to keep him company, so it’s not so bad.
javabeans: They arrive at the next cable car station, only to realize it’s closed. Gasp.
girlfriday: Oh noes! Ack, I fear for Seo-jinnie’s life.
javabeans: So Seo-jin tries to defuse the situation by suggesting they take a taxi or a bus here, only to have Il-sub halbae strangely insist he’ll walk the rest of the way up. Everyone’s shocked, but it’s also funny because this is not a distance that can be walked and Seo-jin tries to explain this, but now Il-sub halbae is all, “I will walk! I’ll just walk okay?” It’s kind of cute once we see the flashback of him saying he lost weight because he wanted to keep up with the others since he was always falling behind, and now he reasons (like a child, but cutely), “But we’re doing Grandpas Over Flowers so naturally we have to do some walking.” At least his mood seems to lighten, and they take a bus to their next location.
girlfriday: Aw, and phew. I’m so relieved. They go to the Olympics stadium, and then the halbaes get into this funny debate about the torch-lighting ceremony and whether or not the archer who shot the flaming arrow into the torch did it without any hidden wires. Suddenly everyone’s in on the debate and it turns into a Mystery Unsolved segment. (Turns out he missed it, but the torch was timed to light anyway.)
javabeans: Then they have this other extended debate about which stadium door the marathoner entered through to win his gold. Ha, it’s like Thanksgiving dinner or something where you argue about pointless things.
girlfriday: Na PD is better at conversing with the halbaes when it comes to stuff like this, because Seo-jinnie would just be like, “Oh okay.” But Na PD is stupidly contentious and gets all into the debate, which seems to make the halbaes happy.
javabeans: While the halbaes eat lunch there at the stadium, Seo-jin suddenly leaves the group to check on the next leg of their trip. He’s not taking chances this time and walks to the bus stop, then worries that the bus in question will stop at the one across the way, which is pretty far. He hoodwinks a young crew member into running there to check, promising that he’ll walk too. The young kiddo takes off running, and Seo-jin takes about three steps before he stops and just waits.
girlfriday: Hee. The poor kid falls for the old, “Hurry! Hurry!” and actually runs.
javabeans: Seo-jin figures out by the bus map that the bus in question isn’t running in that direction, then just starts walking back while the PD is still huffing and puffing at the bus stop down the way. He chuckles to himself, and then the PD accuses, “Did you already know the answer when you made me go?” Seo-jin does that hyung thing of refusing to take any of the blame and just saying, “Why are you complaining, it’s good exercise.” You almost expect him to pat the guy on the head.
girlfriday: I guess when you’re bossed around by people twice your age all day, the rookie underlings take the beating. They take a double-decker bus to their next stop, and it cracks me up that when Na PD runs to the back of the bus to egg Seo-jinnie on about naming the sights they’re passing, he just gets shooed away, like, Don’t call on me!
javabeans: I get a little nervous when the bus gets going and it’s clear that it’s way too cold for the open-air ride, but at least the halbaes have the option of heading down inside the first level. Seo-jin and Geun-hyung halbae stay on the rooftop—Seo-jin looks like he’s freezing but I sort of think he just wants the time to himself.
girlfriday: It mostly looks like he’d go downstairs if he could, but Geun-hyung halbae is enjoying himself up there, so Seo-jin is forced to stay with him. When they arrive, he’s the one shivering. They get to the FC Barcelona stadium and tour the locker room and field, and then change into uniform to take that picture they used for this season’s posters. As soon as they arrive at the boardinghouse after a long day, Na PD goes right up to Seo-jin and demands dinner.
javabeans: Oh right, dinner was Part 2 of Seo-jin’s torment today, according to the previews.
girlfriday: Seo-jin whines in an interview, “Really, don’t make me cook! I’m gonna die. I hate it! Really, really, don’t even talk about food around me!”
javabeans: Given that, it’s kind of impressive that he manages to do it anyway. I wonder if this is what Na PD means when he says there’s something about Seo-jin that makes you want to see him fail, because he always succeeds and that’s exasperating.
girlfriday: We go back to show footage of all the various dishes that the halbaes’ wives packed for them this time, complete with post-its for how to prepare the ready-made stews… only to watch as those bags get packed along with all of the staff’s gear and loaded onto a bus to head to Granada ahead of the cast. Uh-oh.
javabeans: Well that explains the tragic violin music.
girlfriday: I know, you’d think someone died. Upon learning this, Seo-jinnie sputters, “What, then tha- that… and… p.. p… and… they took it all?”
javabeans: Did Na PD plan this? He suggests that Seo-jin make do with kimchi and pork, which he can use to throw together a jjigae. I mean, I guess he made do with sauerkraut in a hot pot before so he’s not wrong, but it sure is suspicious timing. I do love the look of genuine fear on Il-sub halbae’s face when he realizes, “Then… did the soju get sent down too?” while the caption calls soju “My friend.” Na PD assures him that they took special care of all their “medicine.”
girlfriday: Seo-jin begs Na PD for a female staffer to take to the grocery store, and instead Na PD gives him Daeju (he’s one of the old school 1N2D writers, also an Answer Me staff writer).
javabeans: His line of questioning cracks me up. “You’re married? So… you’ve been grocery shopping before? Do you know how to select meat?”
girlfriday: I’m a little worried for this trio. Seo-jin acts like choosing meat is the world’s greatest mystery.
javabeans: But then he gets to the meat case and is all, Durrr, they all look the same to me… He starts holding out the package and asking, “Does this look good? What do you think? Is this one good?”
girlfriday: Hahaha, I’m dying. “Is this lettuce? Is this lettuce? Which looks tastier? Is that lettuce?”
javabeans: The VJ pipes up, “Isn’t that cabbage?” (It’s clearly lettuce.) Seo-jin scoffs, “You’re worse than me!” I find it adorable that the silent VJ points his camera at this pile of lettuce that he clearly wants, but Seo-jin either ignores him or doesn’t pick up the hint and heads off with his other lettuce. The VJ casts this long, lingering look back at his pile of lettuce that went ignored.
girlfriday: I never thought buying two ingredients at the market could be so entertaining.
javabeans: I know. It’s not even obscure stuff. Meat. Lettuce.
girlfriday: It gets even funnier when Seo-jinnie gets to the kitchen and is severely panicked at the lack of time he has.
javabeans: I always love when they use the theme music from Gourmet when all he’s doing is cutting lettuce.
girlfriday: He barks at Na PD to get him some help, and I swear Na PD must do this on purpose but he shoves Daeju into the kitchen, and he stands there struggling to open the rice cooker and then just repeats Seo-jin’s directions back at him like he’s speaking a foreign language.
javabeans: There’s this whole exchange that cracks me up, and it’s really the blank faces that make the scene. Seo-jin orders his “slave writer” to get to work frying the bacon, and the VJ says confusedly, “Why bacon in the jjigae?” Slave writer: “You mean bacon separately, jjigae separately, right?” Seo-jin: “No, bacon IN the jjigae!” All three look at each other like they’re speaking in tongues, and at this point I don’t know who’s got the right idea. And somehow in this narrative Seo-jin the “Cooking King” has become the tyrant of the kitchen, and Daeju is the “poor slave who cannot speak of his sadness.”
girlfriday: Hee, and then they cut in little moments of Daeju running to the staff room to tell on Seo-jinnie and whine to Na PD about how bossy he is, which cracks me up. Seo-jin does manage to do very little of the actual cooking, despite seeming very very busy.
javabeans: He does speed up when the halbaes start trickling into the kitchen one by one, adding to the anxiety with their watching eyes and their hunger. Geun-hyung halbae wonders why they’re spending all this extra time cooking instead of just eating (it’s hilarious because he says it like they don’t go hand in hand) and Seo-jin blurts, “Please sit! Quickly meat! Right away! Meat! Soon! Will give you!” (That’s a direct quote.)
girlfriday: And then there’s this mad dash for soju to put on the table, like he’s in the emergency room or something. “Soju! Bring the soju!”
javabeans: Seo-jin takes a taste of his bacon-kimchi soup and it tastes weird. So he wonders, “Do I just add gochujang [pepper paste] to it?” Nooooooooo.
girlfriday: That’s what he does, and nope, it doesn’t taste any better.
javabeans: So then he goes for the bachelor’s fix, aka ramyun soup packets, which, noooooo.
girlfriday: But dude, ramyun packets fix everything.
javabeans: Apparently they do. It’s a miracle. Gu halbae compliments him, and the caption gives us a little God’s Gift shout-out: “I’ll have to give him 10 billion won.”
girlfriday: Seo-jin says in an interview that he was shocked it tasted good, because he hasn’t cooked since their last trip to Paris a year ago. As they sit around the dinner table and eat, Il-sub halbae mimes to Seo-jin to grab another bottle of soju, which he picks up on immediately. So then Seo-jin saunters into the staff room like a gangster and demands soju, like he got a personality transplant in the hallway on the way there.
javabeans: This show is such a living example of social hierarchy in play. Seo-jin is the dutiful servant with the halbaes, but as soon as he’s away from them he bosses around the PDs because they’re the only people he can boss around. Also because they’re the ones making his life actively miserable.
girlfriday: Right? It’s like he flicks on a switch. They finish dinner and it turns out that they weren’t kidding about running out of time because they’re taking a night train to Granada. They pack up and head to the train station, and everyone’s in a great mood because they’re full of meat and soju. But then Seo-jin is the first to get to their sleeper car, and it is TINY.
javabeans: Yikes. Not that I’d expect luxury, but they barely have room to turn around in there.
girlfriday: Gu halbae takes one look and tries to walk past the room, as if he can’t believe they’d try to cram him in there.
javabeans: Il-sub halbae: “It felt like walking into a prison cell.” You know it’s bad when even Geun-hyung halbae is saying how terrible it was.
girlfriday: Did the train designer really think that four adults would fit in this car? Even after all four of them try squeezing inside, Seo-jin realizes that none of their luggage has made it in.
javabeans: They wait outside the train until literally two minutes before departure, and Il-sub halbae is so frustrated that he’s about to demand an upgraded car, but everything’s been booked. So they squeeze into the tiny space, which is a trial in itself. I really think Il-sub halbae might blow.
girlfriday: It’s way too tiny a compartment for him. I feel like I’m suffocating just watching him try to fold himself into his bunk.
javabeans: Gu halbae plays with the lights, and he and Geun-hyung halbae chuckle at the very very minor joy of foiling Na PD, who would get stuck with footage of blackness.
girlfriday: Gu halbae seems to genuinely enjoy the train ride and the nostalgia it brings up. Na PD comes in to apologize about the tiny sleeper car, but Gu halbae tells him it’s perfectly fine for one night, and then he shares the light trick and they laugh all over again.
javabeans: And then later when the camera guy comes to check on the camera, the halbaes laugh again and show him their newfound prank. (And then the cameraman flicks on the night vision, lol.)
girlfriday: It’s adorable how amused they are. Meanwhile, Seo-jin has parked himself in the dining car, and Il-sub halbae passes him by, having left the sleeper car after just a few minutes. Seo-jin follows with trepidation in his eyes, and then the preview for next week is intercut with dramatic shots from The Snowpiercer.
javabeans: Seo-jin and Il-sub halbae cram themselves in the crowded dining space for drinks, and then apparently close out the bar car.
girlfriday: Omo, does Seo-jinnie get drunk? “I was left with fond memories… of drinking all of the liquor on that train.” Caption: “Drunkenpiercer.”
- Chinese version of Grandpas Over Flowers gets green light
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 2
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 1
- Na PD on grandpas, money, and Seo-jinnie the con artist
- Seo-jin gets cookin’ for Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain
- Noonas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1