Youths Over Flowers in Iceland: Episode 1
girlfriday: Yay, the new season of Youths Over Flowers is here!
javabeans: I’m excited because at this point I go into a Na PD show with full confidence that I’ll love it, which may let me down someday in the future, but so far has not led me astray.
girlfriday: Yeah I always end up watching his shows, and loving just about everything.
javabeans: It’s also been a while for me watching a Na PD show, because while he’s on all the time, I haven’t been as addicted to the Three Meals a Day franchise and only watched bits of the last one. The first island season was the only one I saw all the way through.
girlfriday: Three Meals a Day has less of an ongoing narrative, so it’s a little more casual to watch. They cook. A lot. I do especially like the Youths spinoff of his travel series though, because the younger the travelers, the more suffering you can introduce.
javabeans: Me too, and I like that he’s been rotating casts. The grandpas are a fixture at this point and it wouldn’t feel right going on a Grandpas trip with a new cast, but getting new youths keeps it fresh. Which is basically the problem posed in the introductory Star Wars-esque prologue, where the producers tell us that as soon as the last Youths trip ended, they felt “the force… of the pressure of the previous series” as they searched for a new cast.
girlfriday: That thing is hilariously over-describey. It says they finally found a new cast member in Jo Jung-seok (whom they just call by his permanent movie nickname Nabdeuki from Introduction to Architecture).
javabeans: We’re endlessly amazed at the staying power of Nabdeuki, because frankly his character in Architecture was pretty minor, but his one “nabdeuki” line kind of became the runaway catchphrase of the whole movie. (The word literally means “comprehend,” and in the movie was used to say, “You should act like this, and she’ll be unable to comprehend you, and that will make her interested.”)
girlfriday: Also, his demonstration of a French kiss is pretty unforgettable. (“Your tongue, and her tongue, and…” *weird hand gestures*) It is kinda cool to think of him going from scene-stealer in that movie to a leading man now. I just love seeing his success because I think he deserves every drop of it.
javabeans: Introducing Jung Woo as Garbage makes more sense since that was a memorable nickname for a memorable role. He’s the same age as Jo Jung-seok and they’ve been friends for a while, as well as their musical theater hyung Jung Sang-hoon. I don’t understand his nickname though (Lamb Skewer and Qingdao?).
girlfriday: It’s from an SNL Korea sketch, where he speaks Korean with a Chinese inflection (like Su-geun used to do on 1 Night, 2 Days). Apparently Jo Jung-seok and Jung Sang-hoon were roommates back when they were starving artists, so they go way, way back. And then the prologue ends by telling us that they brought on Kang Haneul to be their maknae, and we all heard about how they kidnapped him after the Blue Dragon Film Awards and made him go to Iceland in his awards tux.
javabeans: We open on the scene as the cast is called to a Gangnam restaurant three hours before they are set to fly out, not knowing who, when, or where. As it should be.
girlfriday: Jung-seok is the first to arrive, and right away he tells Na PD that he already packed a bag, just in case. LOL. He’s done his homework.
javabeans: Ha, well you know that as soon as you sign on to a Na PD show, at this point everyone’s going to warn you to be ready at all times.
girlfriday: He says he watched the previous seasons and caught on right away, and started packing days before his first meeting with Na PD. Heh. Na PD plays it cool though, and as soon as he pours Jung-seok a drink, there’s this moment where he decides that they couldn’t possibly go today if they’re going to drink. Mistake #1.
javabeans: Well, the mistake was really announcing to the producer that he decided in advance, “If we drink tonight, we’re not going today, we’re going tomorrow,” because that’s the point at which the producer then pours him a drink. Rookie move. But he does catch them off-guard by asking, “Am I the only member who knows who the others are?” Apparently his manager slipped, haha.
girlfriday: That throws Na PD off a little, and he tries to act like things could’ve changed in the meantime. Jung-seok says he’ll put on a good act anyway.
javabeans: Jung Woo is the next to arrive, and Jung-seok pretends surprise, though mostly he lets Jung Woo be surprised. He lights up and calls Jung-seok “Seokie,” and they do a cute formal handshake before hugging adorably.
girlfriday: Aaack. They’re so cute!
javabeans: I’m glad they were friends through You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin, although I’m pretty sure they had zero scenes together. (Everyone loves Jung Woo from Answer Me, but he will forever be the Bread Man to me!)
girlfriday: Jung Woo is totally blown away when Sang-hoon comes in, and it’s like one big happy reunion.
javabeans: It’s hilarious comparing Jung Woo’s big dramatic reaction to Jung-seok, who kind of tries to act surprised but can’t.
girlfriday: Jung Woo catches on right away that he’s too calm to be natural, so Na PD has to admit that Jung-seok knew they were coming.
javabeans: I’m just going to call Jung Woo Huggybear, because he does these giant giggling hugs that sound like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I might fall far behind you on this episode because I keep rewinding the hugs.
girlfriday: He even holds their hands! He’s just too cute to be real. He explains that he and Sang-hoon hyung were in this failed movie together, and that Jung-seok and Sang-hoon were in musicals together.
javabeans: Aw, Jung-seok interviews that he’s so envious of the other two and their big reactions that he wishes he hadn’t known in advance. They ask if anyone else is coming, and Na PD explains that they were going to bring Kang Haneul along (which gets a big reaction: “Haneulie!”)… but he had to go to the Blue Dragons in two days so he couldn’t come. Oh, now I really can’t wait for him to join.
girlfriday: I kinda knew these guys would be adorable, but I didn’t know they’d be THIS adorable. Na PD finally tells them where they’re going, and again Jung-seok misses out on the surprise factor because he already heard they were going to Iceland. Jung Woo and Sang-hoon leap and hug for joy, and Jung-seok joins in anyway, just to feel included.
javabeans: We rewind to a few days prior, when the producers had visited each member individually to suss out their reactions. Na PD shows Jung Woo pictures of various places and asks for his thoughts, like Russia and Africa, and we start out with a bunch if mixed and indifferent reactions, but they all perk up talking about Aurora Borealis.
girlfriday: They all get really excited talking about nature and stars and stuff, which is either crazy lucky or crazy genius on Na PD’s part. I suppose it’s lucky that all three of them have similar travel tastes, otherwise someone would’ve been unhappy.
javabeans: Na PD asks about their English levels, and Sang-hoon says he only travels on package tours (where he doesn’t need English), while Jung-seok is either modest or unconfident (or both), and Jung Woo laughingly calls himself “rocks for brains.”
girlfriday: And then Sang-hoon confesses that Seokie is ALSO rocks for brains, and he himself is the biggest rocks for brains of them all. This is going to be disastrous (and awesome).
javabeans: Then we get a brief flash-forward montage of the guys basically being endearingly dumb. They’re all asked separately who’s the most trustworthy (as in, you can put your faith in them to get you around, not that they’re shady folks), and Jung Woo says they’re all neither here nor there, Sang-hoon says “Nobody!” and Jung-seok says his smartphone. (Side note: Na PD’s hair is distractingly shaggy. Is this what happens when he takes around a bunch of dudes instead of pretty ladies? He lets himself go?)
girlfriday: I feel like we’re lucky if Na PD showers, so asking for a haircut is a lot. The boys ask what time they leave tomorrow, and Na PD hands out mission envelopes for things they have to do until they leave “tomorrow night.” Of course they open them up to find airplane tickets for midnight tonight.
javabeans: Yes, because technically they’re leaving tomorrow, and at night. Hee. They have literally 2 hours and 55 minutes before their flight.
girlfriday: It takes them forever to understand this, and Seokie is hilariously hung up on their arrival time in Amsterdam at four in the morning, thinking it’s impossible. Na PD: “There’s this thing called time zones, do you not know?”
javabeans: Jung Woo is all set to call his manager, and Na PD tells him, “I’m very sorry… but your manager went home for the night. I have your passport. I’ll give you some spending money.” They’re each allowed to take only one item (what is this, Survivor?) and Jung Woo picks a pillow, Sang-hoon his parka, and Jung-seok his contact lenses. They’re told they have to hustle to get there before the gates close, and Jung Woo actually asks permission to use the bathroom.
girlfriday: Ha, he’s already mentally prepared to be Na PD’s prisoner. Sang-hoon quietly puts on Jung-seok’s jacket thinking he won’t notice, but thankfully his manager is allowed to come back and give him a jacket.
javabeans: On the car ride over, Sang-hoon calls his wife to say he has to leave now for the next 10 days, and hangs up thinking she’s pretty calm “when I thought she’d be really sad.” Heh.
girlfriday: Na PD gives them 3000 euros, and Sang-hoon is put in charge of the money by the other two. They say it won’t amount to much if they have to take care of their own lodgings and food, plus they have to buy Jung Woo a jacket. Jung Woo immediately begins to show some aegyo to make sure hyung buys him a jacket.
javabeans: They have to hand over their own wallets, and Jung-seok notes how in previous seasons there were card-sneaking shenanigans pulled. See, if he’d really been prepared he should’ve stuck a credit card in his shoe the moment he knew he was meeting Na PD. They’re each given a travel book to study, and initially look up lodgings and rental cars, but study session pretty quickly dissolves as they put away the books and decide, “Let’s not worry about it.” HAHA.
girlfriday: They really don’t seem to worry about it, like at all.
javabeans: They also seem to be Na PD’s least fussy, most loosey-goosey cast thus far. I bet you could drop them off the side of the road and they’d just cheerfully figure, “Whatever.”
girlfriday: And if they had to spend the night in a cave, they’d make do and call it an adventure.
javabeans: They might smell and eat disgusting concoctions, but they’ll have fun and wing it! Of course, once they’re in the air, it occurs to them that maybe they ought to make reservations after all, rather than wandering around after landing. Cut to: montage of them wandering, running into setback after setback.
girlfriday: Jung Woo is kinda like a mom, with his backpack full of pillows to make Sang-hoon comfortable or chocolates and gummi bears to feed everyone.
javabeans: Also he has the attention span of a tiny dog. He’ll do five things at once, but in no relation and with no purpose. He’s like completely in-the-moment guy, 100 percent id.
girlfriday: He’s amused by everything too, even if it’s not that funny. He and Jung-seok both seem exactly how I imagined, because Jung-seok has this funny nervousness to him that never quite goes away, like he’s always conscious of how cool he should be, and how cool he’s not.
javabeans: He does have that little-boy quality you always see in his dramas. The boys marvel at their in-flight dinner and the lights and remote controls, all, “Ooh, shiny.” They land in Amsterdam for an eight-hour layover, and figure they can head out to the city, which is a 20-minute subway ride away. They manage to find the ticket booth, but the price makes them pause and they step aside for some calculations, conferring on whether it’s better to save their money or take advantage of the opportunity. Cutely, we see that this team huddle becomes a feature of the trip, where they stop to have meetings on everything.
girlfriday: They really do stop to hold a team meeting over every little thing, from where to go to what snacks to buy.
javabeans: OMG, it’s hilarious. There’s an actual team meeting for “Shall we dunk our rice in our ramyun soup, or not?” It becomes ridiculous, and Jung-seok interviews, “You put a bunch of rock [brains] together and hold a meeting…”
girlfriday: I think it’s partly because none of them wants to step up and make decisions, and partly because they’re just really considerate, but the result is a lot of going in circles. In any case, they finally decide to go to Amsterdam. I can’t even believe that sitting in the airport for eight hours was an option they were considering.
javabeans: They drop by a clothing shop to pick up underwear and pajamas, and Sang-hoon seems most concerned with cost, deciding underwear is too expensive so he’ll do without buying any. Ha. I’ll die laughing if they spend all their money on the wrong things and forgo the important items.
girlfriday: BUY UNDERWEAR! It’s important!
javabeans: Upon landing in Iceland, they decide their first stop is the airport food court to eat. The show points this out drily, naming them the Three Stones (for brains). Jung-seok nervously makes the call to check their lodging reservations, and stammers through his questions, running into trouble when he’s told their room only allows two guests. Bad news: The place is fully booked and they can’t switch rooms. Jung-seok interviews how bad he feels for making the mistake, and seems really torn up about it.
girlfriday: Oh noes. Also, I think Jung-seok’s English is pretty good. He seems unduly nervous about it.
javabeans: Yeah, he’s just probably perfectionisty, and hesitates too much when he talks, so the other person is left waiting. He really does seem to feel bad, but the guys take everything in stride, all in good humor. I’m a little worried about how much time is passing as they sit waiting for the bus out of the airport. It’s already 7 at night…
girlfriday: I don’t know if it’s all the team meetings, but it does seem to take them forever to do a thing. It’s cute the way that Sang-hoon reads Jung-seok’s stress about the hotel and keeps making jokes until he laughs. He interviews later that Jung-seok didn’t need to stress that much when it’s just the three of them, so he wanted to lift the mood.
javabeans: They finally get on the bus to take them to their lodgings—at least, their hoped-for lodgings, since they’d decided to go in person because the places require credit card pre-payment. They arrive at the place they’d reserved at 9 pm, and hold their breaths as they wait to hear if they can manage to stay in a room for three. And after all that build-up, the clerk just says he can give them the bigger room. Phew! I was so worried!
girlfriday: Oh thank goodness. I’m so relieved for Jung-seok.
javabeans: It’s a great room, too, with kitchenette and everything for only 125 euros. Jung-seok interviews later how glad he was, and can’t stop smiling when the producers compliment the choice.
girlfriday: They travel like we do, getting a room with a kitchen and heading straight for the store. Once the hotel is taken care of, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted, and Jung Woo grabs their hands and starts running down the street screaming, “We’re heeeeeeeere!” Jung Woo turns out to be the chef among them, and the others are amazed that dinner tastes so good.
javabeans: After eating, they shower and settle in, and as Jung-seok swaps his contacts for glasses, the show pauses to tell us of “one sad legend from Iceland.” They play fairy tale music and show footage of Jung-seok doing his nightly lens-swap ritual, and the show makes it out into this “frightful” story of one sad man whose face transforms every night into a “strange appearance.” Lol, Na PD makes stories out of everything.
girlfriday: Hee, I can’t believe out of all the guys in this cast, Jo Jung-seok gets made fun of for his looks.
javabeans: I know, right? But maybe it’s because we’re so used to seeing him pretty? Still, it’s not like the glasses make him ugly, even if the show insists they do.
girlfriday: And because they skipped buying pajamas, they turn blankets into skirts to wear to bed. Cue awkward fashion show with a little too much skin.
javabeans: Too much skin and not enough shame. In the morning, they get ready and eat breakfast in their room.
girlfriday: Are they eating hot dogs AGAIN?
javabeans: They don’t seem like picky eaters, do they?
girlfriday: I’ll die laughing if they eat nothing but hot dogs for ten days.
javabeans: Reykjavik is really charming, as we finally get to see in the daylight. Jung-seok steps out and tries to figure out the priority for the morning, whether they rent a car or find tonight’s hotel. All three are fixated on seeing the Gullfoss Waterfall, which is east of the city and looks pretty spectacular, from the images we’re teased with.
girlfriday: Wow, that looks amazing. Cold, but amazing. The boys make their way to the car rental place, and each of them interviews that they’re nervous about renting a car, mostly because they don’t think they’ll succeed in getting through all the steps in English. Jung Woo, for instance, just starts speaking in Korean as if the clerk understands him.
javabeans: Mostly it falls to Jung-seok, who is adorably careful with his pronunciation. Eck-skyoo-z. Me? Then they find out that the price of renting a car for a week is actually half what they expected, which is a boon. Ha, and Jung-seok only now realizes that he could have used a translation app all this time (not that he did a bad job, mind you). And guess what his first test phrase is?
girlfriday: Does it have to do with hot dogs? I saw this in the teaser, but also, that’s what I’d expect at this point.
javabeans: Yes, he asks for a hot dog, haha.
girlfriday: Their sodium is going to be way up after this trip, but at least they won’t starve?
javabeans: Jung Woo takes the wheel as they drive out in great spirits, and he thanks Jung-seok for working so hard. Jung Woo: “They speak English SO fast!” Jung-seok: “No, we’re just dumb.”
girlfriday: Omg, he wasn’t kidding about the hot dogs, because that’s their first stop in the car. And then as they stand in line for their hot dogs, Jung-seok shows off his nifty translation app to Na PD and demonstrates by saying, “Give me three hot dogs.” App: “Please hot dog world.” (“Three” and “world” are homophones in Korean.)
javabeans: That moment has the best comedic timing ever. He’s so proud, and then… wah-waaaaaaah.
girlfriday: I’m dying. He keeps trying, and it keeps repeating, “Hot dog world.”
javabeans: They drive on for a while, until the show slams this ominous title onscreen: “So, you thought they’d be leaving for Gullfoss now, didn’t you?” Um, yes?
girlfriday: They look like they’re driving into a blizzard. Is this normal? Is it safe to drive on roads this snowy?
javabeans: We’ll have to wait till next week to find out. But mostly, I’m dying to see Kang Haneul’s arrival into the fold, which gets teased in the ending preview. Whee!
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