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Heard It Through the Grapevine: Episode 1

Well, this is going to be interesting. Heard It Through the Grapevine premiered on SBS this week in an attempt to fill the gaping hole in the lineup left by Punch, which is a hard act to follow if there ever was one.

Boasting an unusual premise dealing with a teenage pregnancy between a poor girl who’s not a Candy and a rich chaebol who’s anything but heroic, there’s plenty of room for subverting expectations—especially with a team as highly acclaimed as this. It’s part melodrama, part black comedy, part coming-of-age tale, and a whole mishmash of other things yet to be explored. I’m not entirely sure what we’re in for, but I’m willing to give it the good ol’ college try.

SONG OF THE DAY

MBLAQ – “남자답게 (Be A Man)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 1 RECAP

We meet beleaguered father SEO HYUNG-SHIK (Jang Hyun-sung) working at his job as a trophy maker before returning to his humble home with his brother and wife.

They share one tiny house and one car between them, but of more importance is their pregnant young daughter set to deliver her baby in two weeks’ time.

She’ll be giving birth without the baby’s father around, which has Papa Seo all but wailing about his breaking heart—he had such high hopes for his daughter, and now none of them will ever be fulfilled. Because babies ruin lives.

In stark contrast, we see the lavish mansion belonging to the family of our hero, HAN IN-SANG (Lee Joon), who’s just been accepted into the prestigious Seoul University to study law.

Being accepted was a given, as his hard-nosed father HAN JUNG-HO (Yoo Joon-sang) tells him. Now In-sang has to focus on studying and becoming a lawyer like his grandfather, who always said: “A true lawyer is a cool-headed humanist as well as a passionate rationalist.”

In fact, Daddy Han knew about his son’s acceptance days before the official announcement due to old family connections, so there won’t be any celebratory parties on their end. His mother seems relatively pleased though, and his younger sister mostly ambivalent.

But as soon as they catch some time alone, lil sis HAN YI-JI (Park So-young) knowingly asks her oppa if he’s going to see her again—a girl she calls “Bom Bom.”

In-sang denies knowing who she’s talking about, but a flashback reveals otherwise: He’d been the puppy in love with SEO BOM (Go Ah-sung), and used opportunity to get into her dorm room while they were both at study camp.

Bom was the one who wanted to keep some distance between them until they were done with college entrance exams, and was also the one who was afraid of physical intimacy—not because she didn’t like him, but because she did.

But In-sang had found a way past her boundaries, culminating in a night of intimacy that’s (presumably) responsible for the baby on the way.

They’d only met each other at that study camp and had gone to different high schools, but because they’d agreed to change their numbers after parting, the only way for Bom to get in touch with In-sang was to send a letter to his high school in the hopes that it’d reach him.

She’d sent him letters over the course of a few months, at first just wanting to meet so she could tell him something, later detailing how she was dropping out of school. She even tells of how she tried going to see him at his school, only to turn back.

“I’ll forget you now,” Bom wrote in her last letter to him. “I hope that at least you get into the school you want.” That was enough to get him to pay a visit to her school, but he’d been unable to find her after she dropped out. No one would give him any personal information of hers, and she and her family had even moved out of their last known address.

We see Bom and her mother attending lamaze classes, with Mom standing in for her absent partner not only there, but at her doctor’s appointments. Mom even lies to nosy women at the clinic that her pregnant daughter is just adored by her in-laws in order to save face.

Bom is mostly unaffected by Mom’s lies/personal wishlist, since the two share an affectionate relationship where they act more like friends than a parent and child. Mom doesn’t even know who the father is, and Bom’s keeping it that way. Besides, she tells Mom, she got dumped.

In-sang has no other way to try and track Bom down than by using a secretary at his dad’s law firm, though she knows enough to be suspicious that he’s trying to find a girl who dropped out of high school and tells him she can’t help him without alerting his parents.

Meanwhile, In-sang’s mother (who we’ll just call Mama Choi), employs the services of a shaman to bless her home for her son’s future benefit. In-sang has to hide in the shower to mask the sound of his cries while the shaman pastes paper talismans in his room and around the house.

Daddy Han is also congratulated on his son’s university acceptance by a rich older colleague, who laments how the process of becoming a lawyer has changed and urges Daddy Han to have his son take the civil service exam before it’s too late so he won’t have to go to law school.

(Previously, one had to take the bar exam and be accepted into the prestigious Judicial Research and Training Institute to become a lawyer. Before 2011, there were no postgraduate law schools like we’re familiar with here in the States, and while postgraduate programs and the JRTI exist simultaneously now, the JRTI will be phased out by 2017 in favor of the more American method of creating lawyers. In-sang can either cram for that last civil service exam or go through the new law school system.)

That aside, Daddy Han proves to be adept at political manipulation, since the sunbae he’s talking with is the soon-to-be former prime minister. There’s going to be a reshuffling of high-level officials thanks to Daddy Han’s far-reaching political influence, but he’ll make sure the former prime minister finds a (very) cushy job at his law firm.

Mom asks Bom the usual questions any mother would about a potential son-in-law, and Bom answers what she can without embellishing anything—except for the fact that she doesn’t even know her baby daddy’s phone number.

After sitting through a stiflingly formal family dinner, In-sang skips out when the secretary who’d initially refused to help him locate Bom notifies him that she’s found her address.

Mama Choi talks shop with her other high-class snooty friends, mostly regarding her wish to have In-sang take the civil service exam before they’re done away with completely in a few years.

Since that would be the harder route to take, her friends advocate letting In-sang enjoy his college years by going to law school after university, which would be easier. But they all seem like vultures, since they go through Mama Choi’s stuff when she’s gone and find the talisman the shaman gave her.

In-sang finds Papa Seo’s trophy store/home, only to immediately be scared away by Bom’s father and uncle (they don’t know who he is). He overhears them calling Bom’s name when she returns home and rushes to catch a glimpse of her waddling into the house, very pregnant.

He doesn’t believe it at first, and his questions lead Uncle Seo to believe that he’s the father. In-sang is too nervous to reject the offer to come inside, and ends up walking in on Bom and her whole family.

Bom brings her hand to her mouth to stifle a sob the second she sees him, recoiling in near-horror. There’s a silent moment where he points to her swollen belly as if to ask if it’s his, and when she nods back, all hell breaks loose.

Papa Seo has to be held back from attacking In-sang while Bom asks somewhat incredulously if he really didn’t know she was pregnant until now. Mom actually seems happy In-sang is there (though I think she’d get distracted if a butterfly passed by) and urges him to sit, but In-sang drops to his knees in a formal and supplicatory gesture of apology to Bom’s father.

Papa Seo wants none of it, but hilariously refuses to let In-sang either bow or sit, instead relegating him to standing with his head bowed and his hands clasped before the rest of the family.

Poor In-sang can’t even string two words together without stuttering, but manages to eke out that what happened “…was because I loved Bom. I loved her back then and I still love her now. I’ll take responsibility for her. I’ll marry her!”

He claims he’ll introduce Bom to his family straightaway, but also seems like he’s on the verge of a total mental breakdown. Bom cries when he brokenly professes that he realized today he didn’t want to ever be apart from her, and gains Papa Seo’s permission to take her to meet his parents.

It’s kind of funny how Bom has to ask In-sang if he’s okay during the taxi ride over, even though she’s the one about to bring a new life into the world. She also convinces the taxi driver to take a break so they can have a private moment in the car, and it’s only in the silence that they both allow themselves to break down.

In-sang asks to touch her belly, which Bom allows before surmising that the baby’s sleeping—she’ll let him know when the baby’s moving so he can feel it. “I can’t imagine how tough it must’ve been for you,” In-sang all but sobs. “I’m just so sorry. I’m going crazy.”

Bom attempts to distract him by showing him the welfare card only pregnant women under the age of eighteen receive, adding that she had to convince them to allow her into the program because she’d just turned nineteen. This only seems to dig the knife deeper into In-sang as he asks if she had to do this all on her own.

When she asks if he used a condom back then, In-sang says he did, but that it either must’ve been a bad one or he didn’t know how to use it. He takes offense to the regretful tone Bom is using, because that would mean she regrets the baby. And the baby is only there because they like each other, right?

“I regretted it,” Bom says. “I like the baby, but it was really tough for me. Really, really tough.” She’s still the one having to console In-sang, who still can’t forgive himself for leaving her on her own even if he didn’t know she was pregnant.

Mama Choi and Daddy Han are none the wiser about the soon-to-be new addition to their family, but we know it isn’t going to be pretty when Dad’s so obsessed with his son’s future while his values remain so firmly in the past.

He has a nervous tic with tapping his head, but it reveals that he and Mama Choi have at least a working relationship despite the likelihood that they were forcibly married. Mama Choi even reminds him that she was handpicked by Daddy Han’s mother after undergoing a rigorous selection process.

Contrast that with the way Bom’s family nervously awaits news from their daughter’s meeting with their future in-laws, though they clearly have no inkling as to just what kind of a family In-sang comes from.

Bom and In-sang take a bathroom break before the inevitable parental meeting, at least until Bom spots her baby daddy teetering at the edge of the Han River. Is he thinking of committing suicide?

She watches with something close to disgust as he takes a shoe and sock off only to gingerly dip one toe into the freezing waters. Then she waddles down the stairs with purpose, calling him a coward. “That’s not enough! If you’re going to die…”

And then she demonstrates by waddling right into the water. Haha. In-sang freaks out and tries to stop her, attempting to remind her that she’s got more than herself to think about by committing suicide.

She just screams and cries as he drags her back to dry land before she tells him matter-of-factly to take her back to the car—she’s cold. The taxi driver gives them blankets and some advice: “Even if you’re immature, you should’ve figured out how to survive by this point.”

Through chattering teeth, In-sang asks if Bom’s okay only for her to reply with a resounding, “No.” Hah. He apologizes for trying to take the coward’s way out and promises he won’t ever try that again, which Bom accepts.

In-sang has to work up the courage to call his mom to explain why he’s out late, but Mama Choi doesn’t think anything of it. She certainly doesn’t know what’s coming.

Hilariously, In-sang notifies the taxi driver that they’re going to kiss moments before he grabs Bom and plants one right on the lips. The driver just shakes his head.

 
COMMENTS

I have to admit I was curious when “black comedy” was listed as one of this drama’s four genres, and up until the halfway mark I was beginning to suspect that someone had been a little overambitious in that department. I’m not really sure whether the comedic tilt the last few minutes took is going to be carried through or just sporadically planted, though as of right now, I’d say I’d rather have the former.

My initial interest in Heard It Through the Grapevine was due to the team behind it, which previously helmed cable hits A Wife’s Credentials and Secret Love Affair over on jTBC. While both the writer and director have worked on major network dramas before, it was inevitable that we’d be curious as to whether they’d weather the transition from cable back to a major network, and what would need to be changed, if anything.

But fans of this production team can rest assured that no artistic visions were cut short or mercilessly sacrificed at the altar of primetime television, and so far everything is in its right place. This first outing looks and feels exactly like what this writer/director duo would produce over on cable, so clearly we didn’t have to undergo a cosmic shift in consciousness in order to be able to view this drama without the warm blanket cable provides. If there was anything actively missing from this premiere, it’d be proper lighting—I’ve got nothing against moody shadows, and call me picky if I don’t love the idea of filtering even the most sunlit scenes through a grimy lens that turns every would-be vibrant color into another shade of melodramatic brown.

Visual palette aside, there’s certainly an interesting nugget of a story going on with our immature teenage lovers, and we can only guess what sort of hell on earth is in store for Bom with chaebol in-laws on the way. Bom’s parents made a much better impression as the societal underdogs, with Mom even attending her daughter’s lamaze classes and working to keep the atmosphere light. By no means does Bom live in a perfect family but they seem pretty handy to have around during an unplanned pregnancy, all things considered.

In-sang is a bit tougher to decipher, though I’m beginning to think that I’m giving him way too much credit by assuming there’s more underneath the surface—and you know what? It totally works. His spirit animal is clearly a frightened bunny, and all the book smarts in the world can’t cover up for a lack of common sense. He’s clearly been pampered by his family to the point of being ill-equipped for life out in the real world, which is something I’m guessing his relationship with Bom will show him in time.

She seems pretty well grounded for a nineteen year old who was fully intent on going through with this pregnancy without him, so I hope she’ll keep that strength when she faces In-sang’s stuffy, perfectionist parents. Though there’s something to be said for the way his mother seems like an outcast even among her own kind, and at least she doesn’t read as instantly cruel and unfeeling as most chaebol mothers tend to be. For now, anyway.

I do hope the show keeps the zaniness we saw toward the end throughout the run, since it was refreshing to laugh so hard even though, in reality, we were laughing at the idea of a pregnant girl drowning herself in a river just to show her cowardly boyfriend how it’s done. That’s some pitch black comedy if I ever saw it, so keep on keepin’ on, Grapevine. I can’t guarantee continuing recaps at this point, but I’m at least in for another episode. Let’s see where this goes.

 
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Ah!!! Thank you so much! I just watched it yesterday and was waiting for your views on it bc I couldn't understand everything that was happening (subs weren't completed). Everyone in the comments in Viki hated Lee Joon but I kinda love him a lot already. He's adorable, and that scene where he asked the driver permission to kiss was SO CUTEEE. I hope you continue the recaps since I'm planning on continuing to watch-until the pain of the makjang gets to me, atleast^^ thanks!!

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I am so glad that HeadsNo2 is recapping this drama!
I've never really watched a black comedy before so this will be very interesting.

I am also really impressed with Lee Joon's acting so far, even though he seems to be a little wimpy right now, more room for growth!

Here are some more thoughts of mine on Grapevine: https://picadrama.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/heard-it-through-the-grapevine-heard-it-as-a-rumor/

I can't wait for future recaps and other people's thoughts!

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I am glad that this show is being recapped. I am honestly not sure how I am feeling about it after this episode. I am going to stick with it but it could either be amazing or a complete and utter mess.

All I wish for after this first episode is for Lee Joon to stop sniveling. I am going to go crazy if this a continuing character trait. Other than that I am intrigued by all the characters.

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I am assuming the sniveling boy (which is perfectly inline with his character seeing the environment he grew up in) has a growth arc. And hope the Seo Bom still stays grounded and strong. I would hate for her to become a sniveling lead. Otherwise this show will get hard to watch.

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aw ... I get the sniveling. She's had 9 months to come to terms with her pregnancy so it' no wonder she seems strong and able to handle it. This poor kid had his very well-planned and over protected life upended in a moment - give him at least a day figure it out and recover! I think he's behaving pretty well under the circumstances even if he's so emotional he can't speak. It's a good sign that he has an understanding of how serious this is.

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Yay thanks for the recap Heads! I had been waiting for this recap ever since I saw on the website footer that the next recap to post was this one. I was really drawn to the show after watching episode 1. I love the the characterizations of both Seo Bom and In-Sang and I think the actors are doing a good job. I love the mess of a baby daddy who inspite of being scared to death is still intent on doing the right thing (barring the detour to the Han River) and the unexpectedly calm mommy. I just hope the 32 episodes don't drag this down.

I also hope the current vein of dark humor continues. That will keep this from being too deep into the depressing territory. 32 episodes with this material can easily take this show to a bad place, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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I'm not getting the 'black comedy' vibe at all at moment, just exaggerated melodrama.

I have to confess, I was underwhelmed by the first two episodes. In-sung's family is delulu to a degree that I think I'll end up tearing my hair out if I continue watching this (this concerns particularly ep. 2 so I won't go into it to avoid spoilers).

Lee Joon's acting is doing very little for me at the moment. I know Go Ah-sung is good, I've seen her in other things.

I feel my main issues so far have to do with the writing/directing because there are just things that don't seem credible to me at all (there's crazy, but then there's this-just-makes-no-sense-even-in-the-most-chaebol-family) and some dialogue just falls flat.

I don't know. I had some hopes with the supposed black comedy element, but just not seeing it. Not sure if I'll just try another episode or two, or if I'll just drop it.

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Regarding dialogue, I feel it weird seeing Yoo Joon Sang (as Daddy Han) speaking with tone and delivery like someone on stage/musical. He doesn't speak naturally at all for me...
I don't know whether it's character's quirk or he would act the character that way.

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if you already watch ep 2. You will get the vibe for the black comedy. The story is getting interesting. I'm not suprised if the rating keep rising and passing up shine or go crazy. All the casts act very well. And i found the directing is really good. There is no korean drama at the moment that deal with black comedy because its hard to make. But after watching ep 2, i realized they nailed it.

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I love this drama after the first two episodes. Everyone is wonderfully flawed with redeeming qualities. Even though the parents are snooty, there are humane sides to them in moments where I expected the worse of them. We're only at the beginning but so far, so good.

I love the rapport and portrayals from Go Ah Sung (no surprise there) and Lee Joon. It's nice to see him deviate from the darker roles and embrace something so different - a sheltered, well-intentioned boy who's kind of cowardly. Their story works for me because even though the pregnancy was a realistic accident, there is love and care there. I'm just glad he took responsibility despite the dip in the Han River. So even though his parents will be a living nightmare, I'm glad Seo Bom will have him by her side. :)

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I loved it for the first two ep
I am already a fan of their puppy love and personally I really like IS for now. It was so shocking and yet he was so sincere and in love to admit that it was out of love and he will take responsibility for it
I guess it's pretty much his character to do the right thing and I do think he like her, but during youth you overestimate your feelings
So I really wish for them to grow their feelings and grow as human beings
Her family is pure love and so real as well
I liked the comedic undertone so far and I can't wait for more
All the acting are good. Lee joon is really impressive since I had no expectations and I expect more craziness from Han family

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Will watch, 10x

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Really, really enjoyed the first two episodes!! I didn't expect it to go the deep end by having Lee Joon portray a cowardly airhead, but it is totally working for me. His character actually reminds me a little of Kwangsoo's Running Man persona haha. That being said, there is this undercurrent of darkness that is portending something leas humorish and more...melodrama? I hope it continues the vein of taut storytelling and not waste time on Makjang hijinks (and I do have faith in the pd/writer team).

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I've watched the first two episodes as well and I am also not getting the black comedy vibe. But it's still early days. I like both lead characters. In-sang is such a snivelling mess right now that there really is no place to go but up for the character. He obviously wants to do the right thing and he knows what the right thing to do is - he has to take responsibility. After his brief suicidal moment of despair, he's willing to face his parents with the shock of an unplanned teenaged pregnancy. He can be brave when it counts most so here's hoping the snivelling will stop soon. Seo Bom, on the other hand, is committed to having and keeping her baby regardless of parental disapproval. Her parents may not like it, and really what parent would given the climate for single mothers in Korea, but her strength has already overcome that particular obstacle.

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Not quite sure about this one yet after two episodes, but I will continue to watch just for the chaebol family home - I've never seen such a gorgeous traditional home.

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You know, even with subs, when InSang was dipping his foot in the water I thought that he was just washing his foot... and I think that's the epitome of pathetic - to have someone think you're just washing your feet when you're trying to drown yourself... what person with intent to commit suicide bothers about TESTING the water's temperature with ONE FOOT before plunging in?! This dude has a looooooooong way to go in becoming a functional dad and husband.

Also, this show is not good for people with astigmatism. Lights please, PD-nim.

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LOL .. I didn't think he was trying to kill himself either. Then when he apologized I was like... WTF really??!!

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"this show is not good for people with astigmatism. Lights please, PD-nim."

Ha, you said it "lights please." With the way the lighting is currently, it seems like hard times are ahead for seeing and being able to fully pick up on the finer details. No doubt, lots of shenanigans and goings-on will probably take place. And, the traditional residence setting looks extremely interesting visually and captures your interest.

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Nice to see recap of this series here. These creators are reason I waited this drama and the first two eps was very promising. I didn't even care who was casted.

SLA was easily the best Kdrama in 2014 and it wasn't recapped here like all my other dramas. I look forward to seeing what the recappers, my fellow DB fans say about this series and this director + writer team that im huge fan of. They have visual style ,writing style that is easily to recognize if you their earlier dramas.

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Yay! Are you recapping this entirely, Heads? It seems very very promising--I really liked the first two episodes!

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I've watched the 2nd episode too.. The characters are so interesting. They don't act the way a characters of a drama usually act. It's fun to watch indeed. good drama.

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Well, the black comedy vibe didn't really come through for me either; maybe it was obscured by the dim lighting.

Not sure if I'll go all the way with this one. For now I am finding our heroine pretty refreshing. Our hero ... well, methinks that's gonna have to be one steep growth arc there. And I'm not sure we've got the actor there who can handle it.

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Happy to see a recap of episode 1! (Hopefully more to come?)

After watching the first two episodes, I'm a little afraid that the production team doesn't know what 'black comedy' means (seems more dark with random comedic bits tossed in) but hell, at least it's something *different.* I swear, if I see one more sweet, hard-working Candy get her happily-ever-after with a chaebol Prince Charming, imma scream...

Plus this show looks lush as all get-out, with fantastic pacing so far.

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This show is refreshing!! I like it a lot.. 2 eps in and now I'm curious what will happen to Han Family and Seo Family?
The melodrama is already in, the black comedy, not so much, although i admit I laugh at some ridiculous moments.. This is my first time watching Go Ah Sung in anything and she's really promising!
Keep it up Grapevine!
And thanks HeadsNo2 for recapping :D

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Thank you for recapping this! I really wanted to hear what other people thought about the drama. Personally I found it really complex and interesting.

Honestly I think the biggest element of dark comedy in the drama is the subversive use of music. Scenes like In-Sang's attempted suicide are paired with upbeat music. My favorite instance of this is when Bom goes into labor and In-Sang's mother lies in the next room suffering from whatever disease all rich ajummas get when they're "shocked" by something.

It made me realize, the drama itself is poking fun at these uptight chaebol families AND melodramatic tropes at the same time.

Yes, while Lee Joon does spend most of the first two episodes crying, I found myself sympathizing with him more than I thought I would coming into this. In-sang's been smothered so much by his parents that if people were flames he'd be a dying ember. Like many of the commenters I hope his character develops into someone who can stand up against his parents. Also I can't help but love his innocent devotion to Bom. I hope that doesn't change either.

I'll keep watching and I hope you keep recapping too!

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"Honestly I think the biggest element of dark comedy in the drama is the subversive use of music. Scenes like In-Sang’s attempted suicide are paired with upbeat music."

I absolutely agree. It gets even better as the drama progresses. The music is a full fledged character. It is great, I love it.

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The first 2 eps are very promising. Finally, i have my answer about why they cast these two young leads (Joon and Ah sung) because they can portray their character and its such real. I don't think they're 20+ anymore. good job guys!

I'm actually new for this production teams (PD and Writer) but this is what you're talking about and i respect. I might become their fan from now on. I love dark comedy and seems they know how to do. Love the Han river suicide scene. kinda symbolic when they failed in Han river but they face the real suicide when they walk in Han house.

Love cinematography, too dark? yes but i still love it. The lighting in Han's house make me inconvenienced. Too beautiful but lost soul. idk but seems the light is one of character.

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sss

I love the cinematography, the lighting style. It looks much fresher like quality Indy film and not too colorful cheap looking soap opera ala weekendramas. Thats ones Of the things I liked about Secret Love Affair.

You must see SLA if you are new fan, its storytelling, acting, directing masterpiece I can compare only to the best Korean Cinema. The leading lady Kim Hee Ae is brilliant in their hands. Im also new fan after SLA

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Mohammed

yes, the lighting caught my attention. this is my first k-drama with this lighting style. it's look like i'm watching Wong kar wai's film tho. I have SLA in my watch list already

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@ sss

"Love cinematography, too dark? yes but i still love it. The lighting in Han’s house make me inconvenienced. Too beautiful but lost soul. idk but seems the light is one of character."

Yes, I agree with you about the lighting as being one of the characters. In-sang's house though it has windows is still subdued and confined. I guess we'll see whether it becomes lighter and brighter as the series goes along.

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Thanks for the initial recap of Heard It Through the Grapevine HeadsNo2.

I agree with you completely about this: "If there was anything actively missing from this premiere, it’d be proper lighting—I’ve got nothing against moody shadows, and call me picky if I don’t love the idea of filtering even the most sunlit scenes through a grimy lens that turns every would-be vibrant color into another shade of melodramatic brown."

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On that note, in terms of Design - a dimly lit space without windows and nothing but walls of dark brown tile from the floor to the ceiling is one of the most drab, uninspiring, & depressing environments to encounter and/or be subjected to on a continuous basis.

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It could be that is what they are starting with - this is In Sang's current world.
His house is like a trap - no windows, no lights - that he is bringing his babe(s) into.

My guess is as she affects him, his family, his world, the colors will brighten.

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Wow! What a great point! It is a beautifully decorated domicile what with all the carved wood and luxurious appointments but it is like a prison, or maybe a dark maze, than a home. The burden of family history and expectations must weigh heavily on In-sang. No wonder he has that nervous snivel.

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Thinking how they handled light and used places, like Seon Jae's 집, during SLA I'm sure this is the way they'll go.

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Well hopefully so.

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Honestly, there were a few minutes, more so in the second episode, that had me shivering a little bit with how the Han parents were. I hope that the Seo family becomes a more key figure than just sort of waiting or just reacting; like they raised their daughter to be, I hope they will be proactive

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yeah, it's early days yet but I think we have something rather promising on our hands here (and I think it lives up to the black comedy part too, having seen more). And the river-drowning scene totally upended what I expected from the trailer - we didn't know he'd thought of drowning first!

As for the lighting and interiors, I think it's conscious. That very dark brown stuffy traditionally-architectured house ......the production design team knows their aesthetics on this one.

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Thanks for recapping . First episode is interesting but the second one I find In sang family's reaction to the event ridiculous ( border to being
Criminal , in real life nobody should do it like that . I work in the medical
Field and I find it disgusting the way
They portrayed the parents reactions, even if their main concern is to keep their reputation intact. I think they went too far .. But anyway we'll see how it pan out.

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The lighting annoys me too actually. But it's the signature style of the team production so i try to adapt with it. Actually i like the camera script and the script too. It brings movie style in to dramaland.

I love lee joon so much. But yeah i admit his acting is exaggerated sometimes. Hahaha like in eps 2 the way he admit his mistake to his parents. But i love joon-ahsung chemistry. They really can portray immature-teens-parents to be. Ahsung is great btw.

Black comedy is something new for me actually.. And i just realized the jokes when insang ask permission to kiss bom in the taxi. So funny! Hahahha and i was like 'what you deliver baby by reading "the how to" in a blog?!?!?!' That's so funny.

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Thanks for the recap! I am so glad you are doing all this work for us.
I love this: "His spirit animal is clearly a frightened bunny..."

A good start. I like Bom-bom, and I like how brave IS is trying to be.

I wonder what some of the symbolism is for this show.
There is one part where the uncle tells IS to go and close the gate behind him on the way up the stairs to her family's home. Since nothing is ever a throw away line, I think it means he will eventually have to close himself off from his family if he wants to be with Bom-bom, who is not currently on his level. There were similar moments in SLA. Doors, threshholds, stairs. They all mean something.

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I'm so looking forward to discover the hints in this show. :D
I agree, the door closing was significant.

My 'door moment' during ep 1 was when he forced his foot into her door and made his way into her room. A truly life changing event. Would he have been a little slower, we'd have no story to tell.

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Good to see you here Jomo :)

I was big fan of your recaps,analysis of SLA in Koalasplayground. It added to my enjoyment of the show.

Keep up to get work here in the comments. Its interesting to try to read the small signs of these creators.

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+1 for the gate closing comment. The camera showing us the view with the fence running down the middle in that scene was awesome. IS is on the other side now.

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I laughed so hard at the scene where she wades into the river. He had just finished putting his shoe back on!!! LMAO I'm dying.

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I really loved Lee Joon's character.. frightened little bunny is totally appropriate for him. But the funny thing is I don't think of him as cowardly.. He is just that well-meaning pampered chaebol heir who wants to do the right thing but is too weak (hopefully not for long)

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But even showing all these understandable insecurities, tears etc. In Sang still behaves mature. The first thing he does in the taxi is holding her hand and asking if he can touch her belly. He is caring and accepting right from the beginning although he is frightened to death and shocked. Who wouldn't be seeing his parents?

He is young, both are, but I like him.

His parents try to form him into a special person, I have the feeling Seo Bom is what he needs to become one.

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Yeah who wouldnt be scared of controlfreak parents like his. His father is powerful enough to give a fricking Prime Minister a cushy job at his firm. That is hell of scary if you are teenage son who knows the father will hate seeing a poor pregnant girlfriend.

Bravery is facing your fears. In Sang might be spoiled, weak sinc he didnt have hard time growing up but he is the last person to be called a coward. Coward is the opposite of facing your fears bravely....

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After Ep. 1, I was certainly hooked, but Ep. 2 is what really made me in with the drama for the long haul. Come hell or high water, I will be with the show to the end. I didn’t see Secret Love Affair last year, despite its rave reviews and my ridiculous love for Yoo Ah-in, but if it’s like this or better, then I may have to check it out! *goes on a SLA epis downloading spree*

I love Bom and Insang’s talk inside the cab, especially the brief silence that passed before both of them broke down. I’m particularly affected by Bom’s crying (it hurts soooo good), because Ep. 1 (before the taxi scene) did a good job of portraying her character to be incredibly strong and brave on facing her teenage pregnancy, and her matter-of-factly acceptance that she has to do it ALONE. (Sure, she’s got her family’s support (up to a certain extent, I guess) but the girl has been living in the countryside with ONLY her elderly grandmother for all of her pregnancy! If that is not a strong woman, then I don’t know what is.) But I loooove it when she broke down and we saw a crack in the strong façade she’s been wearing, and when she said it’s been really really hard on her. I’m pretty sure I am all set to loving her character unconditionally.

I also LOVE how simultaneously ridiculously funny and pathetically sad the suicide scene was played out. It’s kinda funny (it shouldn’t be tbh, but I just find it so) to think how In-sang came up with suicide as a way out and he may have had a resolve (no matter how weak) to go through with it, but he was like, “wait, lemme check how cold the water is first.” That was so sad. That’s why I also really think Bom’s the one who’s got the balls in this relationship, especially when she showed him how to commit suicide properly.

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I highly recommend SLA but beware, the tone is completely different. It is heavy and realistic. There is a lot of silent scenes full of tension and emotions expressed by the eyes and facial expressions rather than dialogue and many unjustly deemed the show "boring". It is not, it's just a different "atmosphere" and pace than your usual drama, you either like it or you don't. Oh and you'll definitely laugh a lot less

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What I love most about that scene was that he already put his shoes back on before Bom went down. He was like "nope, this water is too cold for suicide" I died.

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Hahahaha YEEEESSS!!! So funny.

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I saw the first episode, especially the end I was laughing so hard at the end. Despite that I'm holding off on the second episode for now.

They found the most tolerant taxi driver on the face of the planet, in fact can he stick around and be a character? Like whenever they need a taxi they get him or something that would be so awesome.

I'm personally hoping In-sang's parents heads literally pop when he brings home his pregnant girlfriend.

Also this could be a first, it might be the first time Jang Hyun-sung's played a character I actually like.

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The taxi driver was gold! He was very cool and took everything in stride, too. I loved his “How did babies have a bay” line (complete with incredulous tone) because it pretty much sums up the predicament of the two leads. Haha. Best one-off character ever.

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The traditional home is so beautiful! I do get feels of it being a dark comedy for now, especially in episode 2. And despite being a little wimpy I do like In Sang's character because he's a responsible young man. :) Hope it doesn't get too melodrama and makjang but this drama is pretty good so far! :D

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Just watched the first episode and i am interested. The girl is a tough chicka and I love tough chickas. I do not mind the lighting though. It gives a certain richness to the drama. Off to watch the second episode. This will probably be my next tear-jerker after Valid Love.

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Dont even know what black comedy is but I love this drama! Not an LJ fan but hes totally won me over as the stammering filial son and now son in law!

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HeadsNo2 ~

Thanks for the recap. I'm really enjoying the show. Not to spoil, but I did enjoy Ep 2 much more. I saw the humor in Ep 2 as well, I found myself chuckling throughout.

I have to feel for In-Sang, the atmosphere in the house had to be stifling, seemingly being raised by secretary's and right hand men dictating mother and father's orders.

Will wait for the second recap.

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I hated it.

The premise itself is boring so I was hoping they would do something different with it but it is exactly what I thought it would be, once again a nice girl has to fight the mean chaebol parents to get her prince charming.

Lee Joon was good in Mr. Back but I thought here he is pretty bad, in that scene when he finds Bom he was so weak, the rest of the time he was just flat. Does he get better in ep 2?

I didn't understand why she thought she was dumped. Was it because he never replied to those letters? Why did he not get them sooner? Hard to believe in these days he could not find her online!

All scenes of the rich parents were incredibly boring, not sure why so many drama writers think even the most mundane acts by the rich family are interesting, they all feel like filler.
The poor parents are of course good-natured, loud, hard working and sincere.
It's just one cliche on top of another.

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He didn't receive the letters because his teacher kept them from him.

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Yes, but WHY would the teacher keep them for so many months? Evilness? :)

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Because he's just another minion of the parents, assisting in the micro-mananging of their son. (Why? Maybe he's being paid for it or receives some other benefit? Who knows...)

But – why did he keep them at all and mention them to Insang in the end? I don't think the drama really has a good reason for this, they just needed something to get Insang to try and find Bom after all this time.

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Yes, at first I thought it was the parents doing but then the later conversation would never have happened.

>I don’t think the drama really has a good reason for this, they just needed something to get Insang to try and find Bom after all this time.

That is my opinion too but does mean lazy writing on a big plot event.

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The teacher kept them during In Sang's studying/exam period and gave it back to him only after he got into university.

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I wonder if those who didn't recognize the comedy are familiar with dark comedy because this show definitely nails it. I can see people not liking the show if dark comedy isn't their thing though - which, no judgement! It's not for everyone.

I have to say, I am completely smitten by Go Ah-Sung. Does she remind anyone else of a young Im Soo Jung?

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I'm pretty familiar with dark comedy and I did not found a hint of it in this. The only scene remotely funny was when he tried to kill himself but even this didn't work because it was undermined by the complete lack of sense. He didn't look like he was really trying to do it and many people didn't even understand what he was doing. But if you think people don't know what dark comedy is please give us good popular examples of it so we can make sure to be on the same page. :)

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You can be familiar with dark humor and still not like it. There were many touches of humor in the show, case in point being the music as a previous post had pointed out. Heck, I find the In Sang character pretty funny! I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Lee Joon here. You might not like his character but you have to admit that he does an amazing job at acting out who In Sang is supposed to be.

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+1

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The character was not interesting but I think I know how to set that apart from the actor's abilities. Take Hoo-gu's Love main guy for instance, I didn't like the character either but the actor was pretty much spot on even on the subtle parts, here the guy had one major dramatic scene in the surprising reunion and I was amazed at how bad he was. I think he was going for funny with those fake non stop sniffs but comedy is tough business for those who don't have a natural knack for it. We will just respectfully disagree on this. :)

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Popular example of dark humour is
"PULP FICTION " and it's not definitely in that category as of yet..
We'll wait and see

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I'm seriously loving this drama. As a new fan of Lee Joon -- since Gap Dong and since that flaky movie he did about the arrogant movie star-- I feel so happy and proud of him.

He totall.y nails a wonderful young character. (yeah, i know second episode, but i can praise him now too, i think.)

As for rich Mommy, I actually hated her by the end of the second episode. Usually, I like vilains. Or I like the writers' depiction of great villains. So usually I sit back and watch the cruelty and evil from afar, delighting in the evil machinations. But this woman, argh! It's been a long time since I truly felt my heart racing in disgust at the cruelty of an evil kdrama person. I suppose because the hypocrisy is not so cartoony and feels as if it could all really happen. Although kdrama rich mommas are always intrusive and vicious, the hypocritical entitled intrusiveness of these parents...wow! The assumption that other people's feelings don't matter...wow!!! I really felt: "So this is what being married into a rich chaebol family would really be like!"

I'm going to really love this drama but I feel the hurt and pain involved is going to be a hard row to hoe because of our hero's family.

Thanks for recapping.

Thanks for the recap.

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Oh yess you are recapping this drama! Thank you.. I love the first two episodes. LOL.. so many laughters hahahaha... aaahh it feels so fresh! This is what I need after a tiring week, every week.

I am the type who doesn't care of whatever genre a drama calls itself since I'm no expert in that body of knowledge anyway.. as long as I find it enjoyable to watch and makes me excited, that's it! I'm not bothered about the little lighting either, the PD and team had chosen this artistic pallette to go with, they must have good reason. And I enjoyed what I've seen. Awesome!

Thanks again Head and I'm looking forward to 2nd epi recap!

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Interesting. Intriguing. Weird characters.
Thank you for recapping this show.

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Thank you, Heads. Another great recap of what looks like so far a very interesting drama.
Acting wise, there is one comment I'd like to make: "THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE".

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This one was 5 star-worthy all the way through, I really hope it features prominently in DB's end-of-year nominations at least. The writers and cast are too good to not be.

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