New Journey to the West: Episodes 1-5
javabeans: Na PD’s new online variety show New Journey to the West premiered on Friday, and my main question is: Was anybody able to watch it?
girlfriday: I had to do some digging to get my hands on it, which was annoying. For an internet broadcast, this show is strangely difficult to watch on the internet.
javabeans: The show confuses me on a number of points, although the show concept itself is not in the least confusing (old variety show partners take a trip to China with famously stingy producer). Just, why is it only available on NaverCast? Why is the first “episode” really five “episodes” and how do we watch it and why are they treating it like it’s such a brand-new show when it’s really the same old show with a new name?
girlfriday: Who even knows. I’m pretty sure that even the cast has those same questions. The first five episodes were released all at once, and each “episode” ranges from three to thirteen minutes or so, so I thought maybe it would be a really non-linear show that amounted to a series of funny clips. But no, they’re just five snippets arranged chronologically, so you can just watch them all in order as if it were one episode.
javabeans: The first part starts off in Seoul, with Lee Seung-gi arriving with his luggage. Isn’t it strange to see him introduced as a 29-year-old, when you can remember the first time he was on a Na PD show as the baby?
girlfriday: Omg, he was such a baby. Also, now he’s starting out as the biggest star in the cast, which is weird too.
javabeans: He gets into the bus first, and Na PD starts out with an “apology” — for putting him on a show with people with tarnished images. Wow, you’re just gonna address all their divorce/tax/gambling scandals huh? And then Seung-gi jokes that the cast will arrive in order of “least sins” to most.
girlfriday: Lol, he says that the last-place person is already decided: “Sangam-dong Betting Man” (Lee Su-geun), but he doesn’t know about 2 or 3, and guesses maybe that “Yeouido Divorcé” is next (Eun Ji-won). Guess the maknae isn’t pulling any punches today!
javabeans: No. 2 is Kang Ho-dong, though, whom Na PD makes fun of as looking like a kindergartner with his schoolboy bookbag. I guess if schoolboys chugged liquor, because then he references the recent drinking party they had, and we get video of Ho-dong singing drunkenly in a restaurant. The thing is, these guys are so used to preserving their images for their shows that I wonder if it’s actually weirder to be on a Na PD travel show, where they can’t be on for the shoot and then turn it off (because Na PD will get that footage no matter what).
girlfriday: Yeah clearly this is going to be a brave new world for Ho-dong, who freaks out the second Seung-gi says that they’re picking up the Yeouido Divorcé next. Ho-dong: “Can you just say stuff like that?”
javabeans: Well, you’re not on broadcast TV anymore. Caption: “An Internet World that Ho-dong doesn’t know about.”
girlfriday: It’s hilarious to see Seung-gi being the sunbae in this situation. As expected, they pick up Ji-won next, who touches Seung-gi’s cheek and makes fun of him for putting on makeup. Seung-gi in turn laughs at him for coming really fresh-faced. I love that Ji-won immediately starts reaching for Ho-dong’s ear, and the captions call Ji-won “the only human being on this planet who can mess with Kang Ho-dong.”
javabeans: Ho-dong continues to fidget and sweat in his seat, so much that the other two laugh at his obvious discomfort. The screen literally splits, into “Internet-Adjusted Zone” (Seung-gi and Ji-won) and “Maladjusted Zone” (Ho-dong). Seung-gi keeps using the term “Betting Man” for Su-geun, and Ho-dong just can’t even handle it. It’s like when you take an OCD person and mess up all their neatly arranged rows, and watch them pretend it doesn’t sear their soul.
girlfriday: Ho-dong keeps looking for a window to jump out of, he’s so uncomfortable. They reminisce about old 1 Night 2 Days memories, and Ho-dong brings up Seung-gi’s Beer Chicken Incident, and the screen turns black to explain the day when Seung-gi got it into his head that he was going to make beer chicken, and failed epically. I remember this too, and it was awesome.
javabeans: I love that Ho-dong immediately rescinds the story thinking it’ll bring up bad associations, but Seung-gi is just totally cool with it. It’s hilarious how Seung-gi is now the calm veteran and Ho-dong is like an agitated caged baby bear.
girlfriday: I know, the reversal is really funny. Seung-gi’s all, “In this company, that barely counts as a sin. Is it a sin to want to cook chicken?”
javabeans: We end Clip 1 with a preview of Clip 2 (which seems soooooo unnecessary), but the content is funny: Ho-dong is trying to understand how this internet thing is different from TV, and he asks like a child, “So… you’re saying that if this airs on the internet… we won’t… get… criticized?” Pwahaha.
girlfriday: Um… I think you were misinformed about the internet.
girlfriday: Clip 2 opens with them arriving outside the restaurant, where Seung-gi tells Ho-dong that he got his fortune read, and the guy told him that his fortune would be really great next year. Seung-gi: “But I have to go to army next year.” The fortuneteller told him to push it a year then, and Seung-gi’s all, “But I have to go somewhere, whether it’s army or prison!” Lol.
javabeans: The matter-of-fact delivery is what makes it so great. Ho-dong is so slack-jawed at how ballsy Seung-gi is being with his talk on this show, not all scared of how it’ll taint his perfect image or anything. Anyway, Su-geun is waiting for them inside, where they’ll eat breakfast before flying out, and Ho-dong warns him that Seung-gi’s on a tear.
girlfriday: Ho-dong insists on doing a hands-in cheer, like he can’t be doing a variety show without the old-school trappings.
javabeans: They sit down, and it’s time to outline their task list for the morning, which includes stuff like informing them of their destination and ends with “Steal their wallets.”
girlfriday: Of course. Na PD asks if they know about the Chinese novel Journey to the West, and Ho-dong says it’s about people who have sinned going on a journey.
javabeans: Na PD pipes up, “There are some people here who’ve committed large sins, and some who have committed a reasonable amount of sins…” Ho-dong shoots Na PD a disgruntled look for mentioning it again, and his caption reads: “Ignoring with effort.”
girlfriday: Na PD says that among them, the character Sun Wokong (Sohn O-gong in Korean) has sinned the most, and they have to decide which of them will be Sohn O-gong. Seung-gi oh-so-casually reaches over to refill Su-geun’s cup, saying, “Sohn hyung, have a drink.” He really IS on a tear.
javabeans: Na PD produces a gold crown made especially for the trip, to be worn by the biggest sinner, and Ji-won says it was measured to fit Su-geun’s head.
girlfriday: Ji-won says that in the story, the crown is meant to control Sohn O-gong by squeezing his head, and Na PD jokes that the zapping version would’ve cost 1.3 million won to have made. So instead, they’ve come up with the low-rent version, an electrical current zapper that they attach to Su-geun’s back.
javabeans: Don’t you love that the show makes it a point to tell us it’s low-frequency and totally approved as safe? The remote control has been put onto a necklace, and whoever’s playing the monk role will get to wear it. (Ha, so Seung-gi gets zapping rights?) Technically they haven’t assigned roles yet, and Na PD asks who the monk should be. Ji-won snatches the remote, and the show captions, “Taken by the most dangerous guy.”
girlfriday: Su-geun’s worst nightmare, basically. Na PD says they’ll compete to get the title (and zappy remote). Su-geun brightens at that and asks if he gets a chance, and Na PD waves him aside, “You’re out.” Next on Na PD’s to-do list is to tell them where they’re going, but they don’t seem to care, and Ho-dong says, “All that matters is that we’re going to China. It doesn’t matter where in China.”
javabeans: They seem to care most about the weather, since it’ll be really hot there, and somehow this tangents into a hilarious debate between Ji-won and Ho-dong, who argue about whether the top of a mountain is very hot, or very cold. Ji-won sweeaaaars that the higher up you go, the hotter it gets, because you’re closer to the sun. When everyone cracks up, Ji-won asks why on earth it would get colder, and Ho-dong retorts, “Because the temperature drops, you fool!”
girlfriday: This is classic Dumb vs. Dumber. It gets increasingly ridiculous when Ji-won supports his theory by arguing, “Why do you think they turn on the air conditioning the whole time on an airplane?! To the point that they have to give you blankets? Because it’s that hot!”
javabeans: Finally they all sort of give up trying to teach Ji-won science, and Ho-dong advises, “Don’t go around saying that anywhere else.”
girlfriday: They’re off to the airport after breakfast, and Ji-won points out that Ho-dong skipped the whole cable migration and went straight from public TV to internet. That might explain his difficulty adjusting.
javabeans: The show points out that of the five-item task list to do before the airport, they’re still on Step 2, and every time Na PD tries to broach the topic of where in China they’re going, the boys just ignore him and talk over him. Eventually the task list gets crumpled in defeat and the captions tell us that fine, if they’re not going to listen, then the show will just tell us in words on the screen.
girlfriday: Hee, even the captions are saucier on the internet.
javabeans: The first stop is the city of Xi’an, and I swear, this show feels just like Over Flowers, just with a new cast.
girlfriday: Yeah it’s almost exactly Youths Over Flowers, just cut up in smaller snippets. Na PD finally does get to explaining the show’s concept, and says that it’ll be like an arcade game where they have to clear multiple levels together as a team. So maybe there’s some old 1N2D mixed in there as well.
javabeans: It’s so hilarious how Na PD is trying to explain the rules, and I SWEAR he only gets through half a sentence before it gets diverted. Example: He says that if they win a game, they get a “dragonball.” Seung-gi: “Ooh! That’s my favorite manhwa!” Ji-won: “You know, they remade it now.” Seung-gi: “Dragonball Super?”
girlfriday: They’re actually like a group of eight-year-olds. Seung-gi: “If we collect them all, then a dragon appears! And we get three wishes!” Ji-won: “No, it’s one wish!” It’s a full-on explosion of geekery, and I love it.
javabeans: Ho-dong clearly is left out because he doesn’t even know what this ball of dragons is about, but instead of admitting it, he tries to pretend he has an ethical objection to incorporating Dragon Ball into their trip, saying that it’s not right that Dragon Ball should encounter Journey to the West. Which backfires instantly, because everyone immediately exclaims that Dragon Ball is totally based on Journey to the West — its main character, Son Goku, is a riff off of Sohn O-gong/Sun Wokong.
girlfriday: Ho-dong is all pissy after that, and when he tries to steer the conversation away, Ji-won calls him old-school for trying to emcee a reality show. They get asked what their wishes would be if they got all the dragon balls, and Ji-won says, “I’d like you to go on the internet and erase all the bad comments about me.”
javabeans: Na PD’s an imp, not a genie!
girlfriday: Ho-dong says that Ji-won’s aren’t even that bad, but points at Su-geun: “Even if every employee at Google was on it, they couldn’t erase his!”
javabeans: Finally we’re at the last item on the list, which is to explain the first game once they arrive in China: assigning the monk role. He even has a literal “monk card”… which is a bling necklace reading “Show Me the Money” (ha, that’s an Mnet variety show, and CJ owns Mnet and tvN), and it has a credit card attached.
girlfriday: Na PD knows this cast well enough to add a punishment for the last-place loser, just in case anyone is feeling lazy about the game: The loser will be forced to wear thermal long underwear all day in the scorching heat.
javabeans: Clip 4 starts by telling us Ho-dong quit smoking, which is a surprise for the others, and he sighs that it’s a wonderful new world without cigarettes.
girlfriday: Ji-won quit gaming, apparently, which is a huge revelation.
javabeans: WHAT? I’m more shocked about that. He played World of Warcraft for ten years, but says he quit without seeming too torn up about it.
girlfriday: And LOL, we cut to Su-geun, and the caption just reads: “… he quit.” At the airport, we see Ho-dong futzing with his smartphone and muttering that he’s doing this for the first time ever, and we flash back to a pre-show meeting where Su-geun begs Ho-dong to please use Kakao Talk. Ho-dong seems fixated on the fact that you can see whether or not someone has read your text on Katalk, and Seung-gi argues, “Is there a reason you need to hide that?”
javabeans: Ji-won trying to teach Ho-dong how to create a chat room in Line feels eerily similar to every time my mom asks me how to do things online. Cut to later, when Ho-dong is glued to his smartphone screen, marveling at the wonders of technology.
girlfriday: Ho-dong trying to understand emoticons is even funnier: “What’s this mean?”
javabeans: At the airport, Ji-won pulls something out of his bag, and starts assembling it. HA, he brought a kick scooter with him?
girlfriday: Always count on Ji-won to find the lazy shortcut to anything.
javabeans: Well now I think he’s a genius. Why have I never done that?
javabeans: Okay, so they land in China and the first game begins, which is the race for Monk rights, requiring them to find their way to their lodgings.
girlfriday: Na PD purposely handicaps them by draining their cell phone batteries to 10%, and gives Su-geun a special monkey tail that can be used to charge phones.
javabeans: Na PD’s ideas are always the most ridiculous mix of high concept, low execution.
javabeans: He only gives each guy 50 yuan for the 40-kilometer trip, which is about $7.86 USD. Na PD: “This money is plenty to get you to the guesthouse!”
girlfriday: Then he has someone read the destination address out loud to them, without even giving them a written copy. That’s mean.
javabeans: They can’t understand a word of the Chinese, they all just have their phones out to record his voice. Oh right, and their phones only have 10% juice! That’s suuuuper mean.
girlfriday: Immediately Ji-won teams up with Seung-gi. Guess it’s going to be YB vs. OB (young boys and old boys, like they used to do on 1N2D). Or also Brains vs. No Brains.
javabeans: He figures they’ll pool their cash for a cab, and let Seung-gi be the monk, since they only care about not being last place. How cute, Seung-gi gets recognized by airport employees, who say in English, “Hi! I lub yoo!”
girlfriday: It’s adorable. Also a big boon for their team, because she then listens to the recording and writes down the address for them.
javabeans: Aw, that’s a huge help. At least Ho-dong thinks to do the same in asking a nice airport employee to write down the address too.
girlfriday: Seung-gi and Ji-won catch a cab, and Seung-gi does a pretty good job of communicating with the driver, to ask if they can get there on their 100 yuan. Sadly, the driver says no. Ji-won gets so worked up that Na PD starts inserting shots of nature from Three Meals a Day just for calming Eun Cho-ding (Ji-won’s nickname from 1N2D, meaning “grade-schooler”) down.
javabeans: It’s basically his version of “Stand by while we fix our technical difficulties” screen, hee. Ji-won lets out a string of curses while Seung-gi tries to think up all the ways they can make this work, and it must be enough of a sight that all these employees are trying to help. They get directed to a bus at least.
girlfriday: Ho-dong is definitely in a worse spot, because he can’t even speak English. A fan recognizes him and tries to help, but he can’t understand a thing she’s saying. Multiple employees tell him how to take the bus, and the captions taunt, “They’re explaining so kindly, why can’t you understand?”
javabeans: It’s so a mix of pidgin English and Chinese with Korean thrown in when they get frustrated. Meanwhile, Seung-gi and Ji-won are way better at both Chinese and English and get the gist pretty well — take a bus, then take a taxi for the rest. They sit back in the bus feeling pretty good, though Ji-won wonders if this first mission is this hard, how will they collect seven dragon balls?
girlfriday: Seung-gi texts Na PD to complain that he gave them this mission, and conveys Ji-won’s message. It must be swear words, because it gets blurred out and the captions say, “This can’t be shown on the internet either…”
javabeans: The show plays a taunting song over the ensuing chat conversation, where Su-geun bluffs that he’s almost there, and Seung-gi’s having so much fun that he’s bummed when his phone dies.
girlfriday: Ho-dong has Su-geun’s monkey tail to charge his phone when it dies, though it gets them weird looks from fellow passengers because he’s got his hands near Su-geun’s crotch.
javabeans: Seung-gi and Ji-won luck out because a fellow bus passenger has a charger on him, and even gives them tips translating terms for them.
girlfriday: Ji-won lasts about two seconds in their conversation, and immediately starts whining about how boring it is when he can’t understand what they’re saying. Then when the man’s daughter pipes up in English, Ji-won’s eyes practically pop out of his head: “CAN YOU SPEAK ENGLISH????”
javabeans: How intimidating must that look to that child? His eyes are bugging out and he looks desperate: “ENGLISH! DO YOU SPEAK?!”
girlfriday: Next time, the Monk Race continues, and the captions tell us, “No matter what you do, Lee Seung-gi is the winner.”
javabeans: Way to anti-cliffhang, Na PD. Then again, nobody’s watching this show for the games.
- Classic 1N2D hijinks in New Journey to the West
- Na PD’s 1N2D reunion journeys to the west
- Kang Ho-dong and Na PD get the 1N2D crew back together for tvN
- Three Meals a Day: Episode 1
- Lee Seung-gi to be Na PD’s next luggage boy
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- 1 Night 2 Days: Episode 375 (Season 1 Finale)
- Kang Ho-dong takes break from showbiz, 1N2D to shoot farewell episode?
- 1N2D (as we know it) to come to an end
- Na PD rumored to leave 1 Night 2 Days
- Kang Ho-dong to quit 1 Night 2 Days?