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Entourage: Episode 1

Butts don’t lie, folks. You’ll see what I mean when you catch tvN’s hotly anticipated remake of the HBO series Entourage, which just premiered and was simulcast in multiple countries worldwide. Let’s meet the movie star and his boys who make up the titular entourage, as they navigate the treacherous and glimmering waters of the entertainment world. Sink or swim, they’re in it together, and lucky for us, there’s strength and comedy in numbers.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

The camera zips across the water and lands right in the middle of a raucous yacht party. Music’s blaring, bikini-clad girls are shimmying, and hot young movie star CHA YOUNG-BIN (Seo Kang-Joon) and his buddies LEE HO-JIN (Park Jung-min), CHA JOON (Lee Kwang-soo), and TURTLE (Lee Dong-hwi) make their way up to the top of the vessel.

Joon’s fastidiously massaging a sunbather, Turtle’s snapping pictures of the attractive woman before him, Ho-jin’s lounging, and Young-bin’s sipping champagne. Soon, they’re dancing with the ladies, and from the look on Young-bin’s face, he’s tickled that this is his reality.

Later, Turtle, Joon, and Ho-jin unwind at a neighborhood spa, reflecting on the hot women from earlier. For Turtle, “the pelvis is everything.” Joon disagrees: “Only boobies matter,” because when a fatigued man momentarily rests against said boobies, his vigor instantly returns. He tries to get Ho-jin on Team Boobies, but Ho-jin says he doesn’t want to get dragged down to their level of immaturity.

Young-bin finally joins his crew in the tub, and marvels at the fact that this spa still exists; he and Ho-jin were regulars as elementary school kids. Joon, who is Young-bin’s older cousin, chimes in that while the two were doing that, he marveled at the nude Venus painted on the ceiling. Ho-jin remarks that the ceiling was blank then, and wonders if they should even be here when tonight’s the big film festival debut for Young-bin’s film.

Young-bin says that he always wanted to revisit this spa, and notes that the other men here glanced at his face before shifting their gaze down to his nether regions. Turtle deems that a natural reaction upon seeing a famous celebrity and makes fun of Joon’s package for looking exactly like his face: “Are those teeth?!” A naked splash fight ensues.

That evening the boys head to the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), with Joon standing awkwardly in the van to keep his suit from wrinkling. Ho-jin inquires if Young-bin’s nervous, and Young-bin feigns hurling before breaking into a smile. He tells Ho-jin to relax, but Ho-jin advises him to take the interviews seriously. No more verbal missteps, he warns.

Joon teases them for sounding like a couple, and Turtle retorts that that’s why Ho-jin’s girlfriend hates Young-bin, prompting Ho-jin to flip him the bird. Joon suggests that Ho-jin sleep with her as a panacea to all their problems. Turtle calls Joon an animal, and Joon snaps that Turtle’s right hand is still his girlfriend. Turtle proudly raises it.

Turtle doesn’t get Joon’s formal attire when he’s merely an extra, and Joon contends that he’s the integral scene-stealer of the movie. As they arrive, we see red carpet footage of A-list thespians making their entrance (a seamless incorporation of actual 2015 BIFF footage). Finally, the boys step out. Despite claiming to be an experienced celebrity, Joon appears quite nervous and stiff while Young-bin waves and smiles with ease.

Young-bin supportively guides Joon next to him in the photo zone. He addresses reporters and states that he’s happy to be back in his hometown of Busan and even introduces Joon as his cousin and costar.

When asked for his thoughts on the early negative reviews of his film Flowers of Evil, he responds with: “I don’t like them. They just criticize to criticize. I don’t think critics have the right when they’ve never made a movie themselves.” Yikes. Ho-jin motions for Young-bin to cut it out, to no avail. Just then, talent agent KIM EUN-GAB (Jo Jin-woong) rushes to Young-bin’s side and attempts damage control by suggesting that they revel in the festival atmosphere and celebrate cinema.

Inside the venue, Eun-gab reminds Young-bin that he needn’t react to every negative opinion, but Young-bin admits that he said what he always wanted to. He spots Ha Jung-woo (bring on the cameos!) who introduces him to The Handmaiden director Park Chan-wook and actress Kim Tae-ri. As The Handmaiden crew leave, Eun-gab reassures Young-bin that he’s way cooler than Ha Jung-woo, whose head is too large, heh.

Eun-gab asks Young-bin if he read the drama script, but Young-bin doesn’t answer as he leaves to tend to something. Eun-gab fumes when he finds out that Ho-jin didn’t read the script aloud to Young-bin like he asked. Joon and Turtle look uneasy as Ho-jin describes the drama as terrible and boring with overdone tropes. Eun-gab interrupts and calls Ho-jin “Cup Ramyun” since Ho-jin’s first job when they met was to deliver instant ramyun. He reduces Ho-jin to a former cup-ramyun-gopher who’s still too inexperienced a manager to make judgments on scripts, and orders Ho-jin to stop with the opinions and make Young-bin read the drama script.

He shoots down Ho-jin’s ideas by bluntly declaring that Young-bin’s movie bombed. This throws everyone for a loop, and Eun-gab shoos Turtle and Joon away so he can explain to Ho-jin in more detail. Apparently, everyone at the VIP preview hated it. Ho-jin thinks maybe there’s still a life for it once it’s officially released, but Eun-gab informs him that they should make as many TV deals now while he’s still hot. “Just do as I say,” Eun-gab says.

Eun-gab says he’s skipping the screening since he’s seen the film too many times, and plans to schmooze with investors before returning to Seoul. Joon and Ho-jin are offended by Eun-gab’s behavior, but head off to eat cup ramyun, heh.

Outside, Young-bin walks toward a parked minivan. The door opens to reveal actress Lee Tae-im waiting for him. She assures him that the coast is clear, so he enters. They sneak an intense makeout session, and afterwards, Young-bin exits and adjusts his shirt. He buttons the back of Lee’s dress and sweetly asks about her dog. She’s touched that he remembers and laments that they were a good match. He points out that she initiated the split, but she reminds him that her plan was always to breakup at the end of a project, which she informed him of before they began dating.

Young-bin thought she was joking, but she says there was no ill will; they needed to be in love for real to play their parts. She bids him farewell, and Young-bin heads inside for his screening. He and his buddies are seated in the front row, watching closely. Female members of the audience swoon when Young-bin’s character smiles at Lee Tae-im in the movie. Perhaps this movie isn’t totally a lost cause?

Joon sits at the edge of his seat anticipating his scene. His one line is heard, but his face is unseen before the movie abruptly cuts to the following scene. Uh oh. Joon bolts up in disbelief and shouts that he got edited out. He curses and throws a loud fit, but his buddies restrain him and tell him to simmer down.

Later in the movie, Lee Tae-im repeatedly stabs Young-bin’s character while he’s asleep, and the audience cringes and cowers. Young-bin wonders why the movie was re-edited since he was only supposed to get stabbed once.

At the after-party, Joon is still fuming and calls the director insane for re-editing the movie. Turtle chides him for calling the director a genius before, and Ho-jin bemoans the new runtime of two-plus hours. Young-bin suggests they go and talk to the director and learn what happened.

In a private room, the boys sit down with the schlubby director, who’s in a dismal mood, and Young-bin admits that the latest cut of the film isn’t any better than the previous version. Joon asks if his lines could be inserted back in, but the director scoffs.

The producer mentions that the investors now want to edit the movie themselves. That doesn’t sit well with the director nor Young-bin, who insists that he liked the latest version, but that the ending could use a revision. The producers threaten to hand the movie over to the investors who’ll edit it themselves, and the director flings his beer across the room in a fit.

The club’s hoppin’, but the boys aren’t boppin’. Ho-jin’s worried about the movie, but Young-bin wants his friends to cut the brooding and enjoy themselves. Joon wants to leave, but decides to stay for Mamamoo’s performance.

Turtle and Joon head downstairs for a better view of the stage. Young-bin stays with Ho-jin upstairs and urges him to lighten up because everything will be fine. But Ho-jin tells him to stop bluffing, knowing full well that Young-bin’s the most anxious of the bunch and putting on an optimistic front.

Actress Ahn So-hee surprises the two from behind. They’re all pleased to see each other; it’s been years since their schooldays together. Ho-jin gives Young-bin and So-hee a moment to catch up. They relocate to the roof where it’s quiet. So-hee congratulates Young-bin on his film, and he asks for her opinion. Her response is iffy, and it saddens him, but she laughs and says she hasn’t seen it yet.

Young-bin says he can’t be depressed in front of Ho-jin these days. So-hee’s glad to know that he and Ho-jin remained close. She reminisces about their Busan adventures, watching movies and pigging out as a group of five. A ricecake joint stands out in her memory, and Young-bin suggests they all eat there tomorrow, but So-hee’s got a shoot.

Young-bin has an idea and tells her to stay put. He runs to their beloved ricecake joint, and right before So-hee’s van leaves, he returns and hands her a bag containing her favorite ricecakes, which he was able to get by using his handy fame card.

At the club, Joon’s munching on carrots when an older woman marches up to him and grabs his butt. Hard. He’s mortified as the woman asks if he’ll be joining her in her room. He turns to face her, and the woman apologizes for mistaking him for someone else and dashes off.

Joon’s still frozen in place when his buddies return. Turtle recognizes Joon’s horrified look as the same expression he had when he found out his first love had thirty kids, heh. Joon stutters that he just got sexually assaulted and recounts what happened. He acknowledges his preference for older women, but still feels violated. He points her out, and Turtle jokes that he should seriously date her since she seems like his type. Ho-jin thinks she looks familiar.

The next morning, the boys walk up a familiar path in a small neighborhood of Busan and reminisce about their adolescence, when they were broke, movie-loving kids. Joon credits himself for turning Ho-jin and Young-bin into young cinephiles who went on to attend film school. Turtle distinctly remembers Joon’s unfair dating ban while all four of them lived together and stunk up a cramped room. Young-bin remarks that not much has changed since, because the four of them are still a unit today. They reach the top of an old house and gaze at the view. They all have grave and wistful expressions on their faces, concerned about the film’s potential for success.

Back in Seoul in their swanky bachelor pad, Joon whips up breakfast while Turtle scans the harsh critiques of Young-bin’s film. Young-bin is bummed, but there’s nothing he can do. Joon reassures him not to fret because even acclaimed films get slammed.

Turtle quips that there’s even a critique of Joon’s performance, but he was only kidding; Joon was hardly in the film so obviously there’s nothing. They fight like always, and then Joon says he has to train hard today to prep for an audition that specifically calls for a sexy butt. When Ho-jin arrives, they all hop into Young-bin’s car and head to Eun-gab’s office for a meeting, which Young-bin is dreading.

As soon as Eun-gab arrives at the office, he answers his phone and reassures the person on the other line that Young-bin will definitely be signing a contract. His assistant joins him in the elevator and gives him a rundown of all the latest talent deals.

When he hears that one of his actors didn’t get cast, he orders his assistant to find a woman his client can sleep with so he’ll stop being a prude and become a seasoned actor. A man of creative solutions, this one. He barks at his colleagues and threatens to fire his assistant.

But Eun-gab is nothing like his acerbic self for his meeting with Young-bin. Eun-gab is dismayed that Young-bin still didn’t read the drama script he had mentioned, and explains that Ho-jin found it boring because of blue balls — a boring existence devoid of sex made him perceive the script as boring.

Eun-gab says the script is a goosebump-inducing, hot commodity. But Young-bin surprises him by saying he wants to rest. Eun-gab tries to sympathize while offering another solution — invigorating eel extract — to no avail. Eun-gab gingerly states that his movie will probably bomb, so now is the time to lock down his next project, one that’ll appeal to women and cause everyone to forget about his flop.

But Young-bin asserts that he doesn’t want to play a chaebol and advises Eun-gab to find his next project carefully. After everyone leaves, Eun-gab criticizes Ho-jin for being too hands-off with Young-bin and orders him once again to simply do as he says. A furious forearm jerk follows.

While they wait for Young-bin to see the dentist, Ho-jin and Turtle regret Young-bin’s lackluster film debut. Joon can relate since his debut album flopped, and he became depressed. Ho-jin notes that Young-bin’s probably feeling the same way. But as Young-bin’s lying on the dental chair, I.O.I member Nayoung approaches him. She says she’s not here for treatment, but for him.

At home, Joon does pelvic thrusts as part of his workout while Turtle gropes the air with VR goggles on. Young-bin exchanged numbers with Nayoung at the dentist and made plans to meet her and her friends later today. He suggests they all go. Ho-jin parses through the script Eun-gab raved about, but Young-bin remains uninterested in it.

Ho-jin presents Young-bin with a film script called Im Hwa-su and encourages him to read it if he doesn’t want to do the drama; he liked the story, and never mentioned it to Eun-gab. Ho-jin orders him to read it now, but Young-bin feels no urgency to line up his next project, which frustrates Ho-jin.

Ho-jin receives a text from his on-again, off-again girlfriend who wants to see him briefly. Only then does Young-bin promise to read the script, in order to make Ho-jin go and see her.

Clothes are strewn on the floor of Ho-jin’s girlfriend’s apartment. They cuddle in bed, and she scolds him for not calling. He counters that she blocked him on Kakao. She observes that he’s skinnier, and Ho-jin says he’s been stressed, what with Young-bin’s film bombing, and someone pestering him. But she notes his package is looking bigger as a result of the weight loss, and they laugh.

Meanwhile, Young-bin and his buddies go bowling with Nayoung and her friends. Turtle tries to impress I.O.I’s Chungha by throwing down some English. But he’s jobless and sans ambition so when he asks if she has a boyfriend, she answers that Turtle’s not her type. Despite the rejection, he plays it cool.

Joon passes on bowling, feeling self-conscious about his butt. He stares at the burly men bowling in the next lane and leers enviously at one beefcake’s butt, saying it resembles two watermelons. That doesn’t go over well, and Joon nearly gets pummeled, but Young-bin effectively defuses the situation. Na-young finds Young-bin’s friends funny, but she says next time she wants to hang out with Young-bin one-on-one.

Ho-jin and his girlfriend are kissing when his phone rings. It’s Eun-gab, who chews him out for not being within ten centimeters of Young-bin, and informs him that Young-bin’s got a meeting with a drama production company this week. Eun-gab is calling from a boutique where his wife (Yoon Ji-hye) is shopping; she clearly doesn’t approve of this. Ho-jin explains that Young-bin doesn’t want to do the drama and mentions the film Im Hwa-su instead, but Eun-gab refuses to hear it and yells at him to meet later.

Eun-gab tells his wife he has to leave; he’s a busy workaholic who barely has time to eat, let alone shop with his wife. But when his wife calls him by his full name, he looks up from his phone, encourages her to buy the more expensive outfit, and promises to return, heh.

Ho-jin quickly dresses to meet Eun-gab. His girlfriend’s exasperated by the fact that Ho-jin’s life revolves around Young-bin; they even broke up because of that. Ho-jin asks her to understand since it’s his job, but she’s tired of his lack of ambition and the freewheeling, pathetic lifestyle he shares with his friends. “So what if Young-bin’s a star? What are you?” she asks.

Eun-gab takes Ho-jin for a joyride on a field, spinning his car in circles with alarming speed. Ho-jin hangs on for dear life while describing the film script to Eun-gab. When the car finally screeches to a halt, Eun-gab reiterates that Ho-jin’s merely “cup ramyun” while he’s a seasoned professional. Right now, saving Young-bin’s popularity is first priority, and Eun-gab hollers that Ho-jin’s nonsense opinions need to end now because turning Young-bin into a star is their first order of business, and he can become a real actor after that.

Eun-gab reminds him that because Ho-jin is Young-bin’s friend and became his manager through nepotism, no one respects him in this field; therefore Ho-jin has zero clout. He says the best thing Ho-jin can do is to stay still. Ouch.

Young-bin, Turtle, and Joon are at the barbershop. Ho-jin joins them, and he’s noticeably glum. He divulges that his girlfriend called him pathetic because all he does is look after Young-bin. Young-bin says she should understand that it’s part of the job, but Ho-jin agrees with her; he is pathetic because he’s not even a real manager, but a friend doing Young-bin a favor.

The mood shifts, and Ho-jin expresses that he no longer wants to clean up after Young-bin, but become a real manager, official contract and all. He’s tired of being belittled and wants to work for Young-bin professionally, but Young-bin’s opposed to a professional employee relationship with Ho-jin.

Young-bin: “I don’t expect any more from you than what a friend does.” Ho-jin replies, “That’s EXACTLY what bothers me!”

His voice rises, and Ho-jin’s point is proven when Young-bin admits that he didn’t read the film script. Ho-jin is annoyed that Young-bin never listens to him and wonders why he’s doing all the work Young-bin should be doing to line up his next project. Young-bin asks Ho-jin why he didn’t reveal how much he hated working for him sooner, and Ho-jin answers that he came to do that today. “I quit,” he says.

As soon as Ho-jin enters his small apartment, his landlord calls reminding him that his lease is almost up and that she’s going to raise the rent. He screams into a pillow and tosses the Flowers of Evil script that he heavily annotated for Young-bin.

It’s the day of Young-bin’s official film release, and Joon dresses for his audition. Young-bin seems like he’s waiting for a call, and they advise him to call Ho-jin first and make up. Joon says Ho-jin won’t be heading to the theater with them. Young-bin checks his phone instantly when it buzzes; it’s a text from So-hee, who enjoyed his film. Before heading out, superstitious Joon makes sure Turtle’s wearing his lucky boxers and forbids Young-bin from tagging along to the audition.

Joon feels intimidated by the nicely sculpted derrieres of the other actors auditioning, and regrets that he wasn’t well-endowed like them. When he steps into the audition room, he greets the director too loudly and awkwardly stands right in front his face before he’s asked to back away.

He flatters the director too much before auditioning, and his delivery is impassioned and terribly over-the-top, but the director cuts him off early to focus on what’s more important: butts. The director explains that he wants to rediscover the male body through his film, and asks Joon to turn around. Joon stalls for as long as he can before slowly turning and flexing his flat behind with all his might. It’s no use though; the director is disappointed by his lifeless butt.

Ho-jin takes a seat inside a movie theater and ignores a call from Eun-gab. Much to his surprise, Young-bin plops down right next to him and wonders why Ho-jin’s watching his movie of all things, after he quit being his manager. Aww.

Young-bin says he knew Ho-jin would be here because they used to watch movies for hours at this theater. He adds that he read the film script and liked it because he always wanted to play an evil protagonist. Ho-jin tells him to call Eun-gab, but Young-bin wants Ho-jin to do it as his manager, and says he’ll even draw up a formal contract.

But Ho-jin doesn’t want a nepotistic handout. Young-bin explains that he prefers having a friend as his manager because he knows that Ho-jin’s not after the money, but truly cares about what’s best for him. Aww! He adds that Ho-jin also happens to have an eye for good stories. Ho-jin asks if he rehearsed this monologue, but Young-bin’s serious: “Don’t say you’ll quit. I’d be useless without you.”

Ho-jin agrees to schedule a meeting regarding the new film project, but wants to sign on as an official manager after the movie performs well and Eun-gab recognizes his ability. Later that day, Young-bin and Ho-jin step out of an unsuccessful meeting with CJ E&M; apparently casting for Im Hwa-su is “postponed,” which is just another way of saying that they’re not interested in casting Young-bin. They wonder who opposed his casting when they recognize Joon’s butt-grabber a few feet away. Oy. She just so happens to be the production executive of the film they want.

Young-bin thinks the butt-grabbing lady is the reason he wasn’t cast; that’s the only plausible explanation, but Turtle thinks that’s unlikely. Meanwhile Eun-gab calls Ho-jin with “good news” and “even better news.” Ho-jin asks to hear the good news first, and Eun-gab informs him that Song Joong-ki has signed on to the drama project Young-bin had no desire to do. Oof.

As for the even better news? Young-bin has no chance at Im Hwa-su because the production company and CJ don’t want to work with him, and they didn’t offer a reason. Fiddlesticks. Eun-gab asks if Ho-jin may know why that is, and Ho-jin almost brings up Joon’s butt, but decides not to.

He breaks the terrible news to his buddies, and Turtle can’t help but laugh because Young-bin lost an opportunity due to Joon’s butt. Ho-jin laments their single, jobless selves, and wonders what they should do next. Young-bin, undeterred, brightly suggests that they grab some grub.

 
COMMENTS

I enjoyed it, and I laughed! Success! This was a solid pilot largely (if not entirely) due to the assured performances of the pitch-perfect cast. Seo Kang-joon’s Young-bin is more than just the handsome star, and I was pleasantly surprised that his reason for not wanting Ho-jin as his official manager was because of his desire to preserve their friendship, and not let work drive a wedge into their strong bond. I found that pretty touching even if Young-bin was being a bit selfish. Little acts of goodness like Young-bin making sure to walk down the red carpet with Joon right beside him, surprising So-hee with ricecakes, taking the first step in reconciling with Ho-jin…all paint a picture of a rising star with a heart of gold who just really loves and cares for his friends and wants for all of them to be happy together. He’s a sensitive soul who needs his friends more than they probably realize, and I admire the fact that he’s not afraid to show it. I can see why he’s the mediator of the group, maintaining equilibrium and ascertaining that everyone’s all right.

Park Jung-min, who plays Ho-jin, has always been a very talented yet inexplicably underrated actor. He’s so natural, and he was the main reason why that escalating feud in the barbershop was such an excellent scene. Ho-jin’s not the type to push buttons, and we were able to see his inner conflict of wanting to be something other than his best friend’s gopher without losing his best friend in the process. There’s that saying, “Never mix friends with business,” and that scene perfectly depicted why that phrase often rings true. I guess I can see the advantage of having your best friend as a manager, which Young-bin explained in the movie theater, but that kind of relation is a rarity in entertainment because it’s just too difficult to separate personal from professional. It can get messy. I was able to relate to Ho-jin the most because I’ve worked in entertainment and witnessed industry executives and creatives who had big egos, a propensity to yell, and an uncanny ability to shrink anyone below them into a pool of insecurity. Eun-gab’s treatment of Ho-jin? It’s nothing out of the ordinary, and just a regular occurrence on a “normal” day in the world of entertainment.

How amazing is it to have Jo Jin-woong back on our screens in dramaland?! He’s nailing the role of the hotshot, douchebag talent agent, and I know I’m not supposed to like him, but I was grinning in every scene of his. I hope he has more screen time in the coming episodes. Lee Kwang-soo and Lee Dong-hwi as Joon and Turtle, respectively, are driving the comedy with ease. I find it hard not to laugh even when they’re being still and not acting silly or saying something stupid. Lee Dong-hwi has played the jokester in previous works, and while his portrayal of Turtle isn’t anything new, he’s a reliable source of comic relief that I can still appreciate.

The first batch of cameos was impressive! My favorites were Ha Jung-woo, Park Chan-wook, and Mamamoo. Cameos in general are fun, but here they also lend some credibility to the showbiz backdrop of the show. I’m looking forward to seeing who pops up next, and hopefully I won’t have to turn to Google to recognize them.

I can detect the efforts to infuse this remake with the original’s trademark ribaldry, overt sexualization, and R-rated content, but in much lighter strokes, and I don’t mind at all. I don’t feel that what I’ve seen so far is lacking because there wasn’t enough nudity, swear words, or crass dialogue. It doesn’t work like that; more butts or boobs isn’t necessarily going to make this show better, and I’m all for remakes retaining the essence of the original while still taking on a new identity. I absolutely loved what tvN did with their remake of The Good Wife, and I’m hopeful Entourage will get the same methodical treatment.

Two aspects of the show that I truly loved were the authenticity of the boys’ friendship and the accurate portrayal of the entertainment industry. It really did feel like the boys grew up together. The way they conversed and their ease with being around each other seemed genuine. Moreover, each person had his own distinct voice, quirk, and aura so I never felt anyone was being overshadowed or getting lost in the mix.

Eun-gab quarreling with Ho-jin and not recognizing him as a serious manager felt real and believable. It takes a village to groom a star, and when there are too many cooks in the kitchen, disagreements can take place. Industry professionals dropping out of projects over “creative differences” happens all the time. And Young-bin not getting that film because of Joon’s butt incident? It sounds like a silly and unfair reason, but in an industry in which keeping up appearances is half the job, there are a lot of factors that are superficial and illogical. Case in point: Joon not nabbing his part because of his lackluster posterior.

For the rare few who make it to the top, life can be quite glamorous and full of luxury, and that’s where we can see the boys have some fun. (And we can have some fun vicariously, too!) But it’s also nice to see that Young-bin isn’t thoughtless. He knows how capricious and fleeting fame can be, but as long as he has his friends, an uncertain future seems less terrifying.

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YAY!!! So happy this is being recapped! I really enjoyed the ep.. and I love SKJ. :) Also Sohee. Can't wait to see more of her.

Not familiar with the original, but I like the characters so far & hoping it just keeps getting better.

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Nice to finally see a positive review! There were a lot of bad comments on the show's pilot, especially on Korea's side, citing too loud music, choppy cuts and bad acting by IOI (though I thought it wasn't the worst of bad acting I've seen)

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wow, it was just a cameo and ppl are complaining?

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The downwards direction of the ratings, shows that it isn't just netizens complaining. The drama stumbled out of the gates, and was a messy and incredibly boring first episode.

This wasn't a case of Koreans not liking an "American" style drama, since Good Wife managed that same burden well. But entourage was boring, poorly acted and none of the characters seemed to have been cast for the correct roles.

Seo Kang Hoon was not a convincing Vince, the bromance that was a staple in the original was non-existent. Being shocking for the sake of being shocking, isn't always a successful gimmick.

Did I mention that it was inexplicably boring, like rote scene depiction without heart or seoul (pun intended).

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I didnt find it boring though, especially with the upbeat music and fast cuts. And I thought that the bromance was brought across well too. The only thing was that the first part of the episode felt like an introduction, and the conflict between Young bin when Ho Jin felt like the only compelling part where we find out more about Ho Jin's character. But overall, it still left me smiling and excited for the next episodes.

I've not watched the American Entourage so I'm not sure how the original characters were like. Maybe the fact that its directed differently from the usual Kdramas would be the cause of the negative reviews?

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Wait... Are they being naked? Omo... It's not healthy for a college student who's in the middle of midterm exams >_<

By the way, Jo Jin Woong Ajusshi looks cool as always^^

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Nope..

Kwang so's red trunks are visible :P

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I like it the first two episodes a lot, its so american style, and the plot must be boring, but its like the american one, the dailylife of an actor in the entertainment world and his friends, its nothing more, i don't know what Knetz were waiting for.
This is a black comedy about the k-world, and the dialogues are really realistic, im a guy and i talk like that with my friends too. I think this drama is more for guys than for girls, and in the knez comments on naver i noticed that almost all the comments are from girls.
They talk a lot about sex, and some koreans feel ashamed to watch this drama with family or friends or whatever.
Well this is not a love story, and i think TvN never thought about this drama being a hit, they sold the drama to 12 countries right now, they earned the mo [Read more]

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Hi Crom, is it the case in Korea that there are more women who watch dramas than men do anyway?

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Sold?
No, they just air the show on their own international channel.
I would like to watch it when it ends in a batch - just to see how they depict the korean showbiz.
But it's a bad remake.
They should write some original and more realistic drama as "King of dramas" was a revelation about how those shows are produced in Korea.

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You are right this is a "bromance" comedy, which in the US are often silly, irreverent, misogynistic and crude. Often about pot heads or man-child guys that won't grow up. The audience here for those are predominately male.

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I'am the only who thinks that Kwang Soo will be ending with the CEO girl????

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You are not alone in that territory.....😉

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I watched the 1st episode; I didn't watch the original American version. I only watched it for the actors as I like most of them. And I also like tvN's edgier shows.

The reason why I switched from American shows to Korean ones is simply because Korean shows are generally (not always, but generally) more wholesome and espouse most of my values as a Christian. This show is definitely not one of them. The interactions are interesting and the value of brother-hood is clearly shown but the other many subtler messages made me uncomfortable.

I am out.

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i understand your point and respect that, but this is the real world, its a really realistic drama about the show business.

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Hey laura,
'The reason why I switched from American shows to Korean ones is simply because Korean shows are generally (not always, but generally) more wholesome and espouse most of my values as a Christian.'
Exactly my reason for switching to Korean drama's, I have tried to go back to American but i always get so disappointed and nobody gets it and they find me weird.

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I'd probably argue that presently, it's not that Korea is more 'Christian', but rather conservative.

While there's still a high percentage of church attendance in Korea, the Church has been under a ridiculous amount of mudslinging. Much of it for good reason. What happens is that people are brought up with a set of ethical values that have a Christian foundation, but when the faith part is removed, it becomes a series of cold laws that people don't understand and rebel against. As a reaction, many Christians become even more radical, uncontextual, and unloving - or are presented as being so. And so it goes on and on.

Culture, when mixed with religion, often makes a bastardised child of unpredictable elements puppeteered by select individuals with their own misguided intentions to [Read more]

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Truer words👌🏼👌🏼

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Totally agree and surprisingly as a Christian, im most wary of Christians if you can understand that, i find most are 'Christian' and not simply Christian.
Anyway my reason for kdramas aside from Entertainment is to grow spiritually by breaking behaviour and habits that i had that hinder my walk with God, for example i wanted to stop cussing even in my thoughts and i couldn't do that while constantly hearing it. Plus the sex scenes in American shows are just too many and show too much that i just reached a point where i just got tired of it all.

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You need only go back a decade or two in order to see Kdrama that is "gritter" and more "American style". Much more sex, and the breaking of every other "commandment" in a few dramas that launched some famous K actor careers. It Happened In Bali, Sandglass. and plenty of the movies had much more "controversial" subject matter. Korea I believe has made a concentrated effort to shift more "conservative" in the past couple of decades. I feel like there may be a shift emerging once again in Korean culture if you pay any attention to actual current events in Korea maybe you'll understand what I mean. That shift will eventually be reflected in the "cultural" output, their pop culture entertainment. Korea may not remain a haven for "conservative" television watchers forever.

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This. Exactly. 👌

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The main reason I switched to Asian shows in general (not just Korean, but Chinese and Japanese as well) is because they actually have an ending.

I just don't have the time to spend years waiting to see how a show will end. Especially since they try their hardest to stay on air for so long, that they eventually destroy their characters.

Or worse, are canceled just as you get into it, leaving you with no ending.

At least if an Asian show is bad, at most I've spent 2-3 months and that's it.

I've noticed that some Asian shows are starting to have multiple seasons, but I hope this doesn't become the norm.

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Exactly, i was so disappointed when one of my American show got cancelled altogether during a climax in the second season. It was so frustrating not being able to know how the story ends that i swear off American series after that (but i cheated once hehe but stopped before i got carried away).

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Heh! Yes, I'll sometimes cheat if I know the show has already ended and there really is an ending!

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I also like the short, "mini series" style format, and the two episodes a week I might add. Plus, the men are pretty. lol

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I totally agree with you on that. I love to watch Korean shows because they're so much more wholesome than American shows. But this one's definitely not it. You said it perfectly.

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Seo Kang Joon is soooo pretty to look at. And there were was a lot of action and a few moments where I laughed. I'm also really digging the bromance and the acting by the main characters is great. But after watching the first two episodes, if someone had asked me what it was about, I would only be able to say, "I dunno. A pretty actor and his friends doing stuff?"
I also think the show suffered in comparison (for me) because I watched it right after This Week My Wife is Having an Affair, and that's a show with big laughs one second, and beautifully drawn heartbreaking scenes the next.
I'll probably keep up with it for a while, but I didn't love it.

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The plot is easy the A-List actor dailylife and his friends going around, nothing more.
The american one for some people is boring too, the plot and theme is not for everybody.

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First of all this pilot was not about yong bin but about Joons' butt, it's the real star of the show first of all, it was grabbed, caused a fight, rejected and then it made Yong bin lose the role, this butt is the equivalent of the female lead 😂 i loved how kwang soo stuck it out to make it bigger, lol kwang soo never fails to be hilarious. I enjoyed it and i was going to enjoy the second episode which i downloaded last night in HD till i ran out of data but now it says can't play video, argh i should go munch on something to ease my frustration.

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Kwang Soo is probably the most expressive actor in Korea lol.

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He s not acting... He is like that in real life too..... You can see from Running Man..... Asia Prince.....

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he's acting in RM too, he plays a character or do you think that KS is an idiot with bad luck.

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True to a certain extent i suppose..

Of course, if he is like this in real life, its not a totally bad thing, at least he's a happy person..

But for games like luck, probability, i mean this cant be "manipulated" right?? (unless its so scripted that even every game got a scripted winner for it.. then i got nth to say) though the expressions might be exaggerated on purpose at times.. or he might do things to act in tandem to his character role/setup like betray and being a traitor at times, but thats all acting for variety..

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He was awesome in the 2014 movie Confession where he totally stole the show. I would love to see him in another dramatic role like that.

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I watched that movie! Agreed, it was a good watch.

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Really, now i have to watch it.I love me some Kwang soo

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Prepare for a pretty depressing watch then! The movie also goes by the title Good Friends.

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Did you see him in 'dear my friends'. he made me cry so many times.

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I loved him in 'My Dear Friends ' thats when i knew how good of an actor he really was because after watching running man, even in 'Its okay that's Love' i never took him seriously as an actor to be reckoned with.

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Not yet! I might watch it at some point, lately I'm more into movies than dramas.

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I liked the first two episodes. The editing was awkward (YOU HAD TIME TO FIX IT) and there was a lot of 'telling' of backstory which was low key frustrating, but our lead can do glorious things with his eyes and the minute hesitations made the episodes tbh. Turtle and cousin are annoying (for now), basically, but they're meant to be.

I like how they kept Sohee's real name, as they did for the cameos, because it gives it an edge of ~realism~ that makes it more interesting for the viewers.

The ~scandals~ are pretty tame as of yet. I'm hoping we get greater hints of how dirty this industry can be.

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They were trying so hard to be cool and daring! I get that they need to be edgy but it just fell flat, its... *cringe*

I don't want to say they have "Scarlet Heart" this show but they sure seem did especially after watching episode two. But... I'm not dropping it yet. Ha!

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"Scarlet heart" hmm this seems to be the new term.. shall wrap up with shopping king ending this week and watch this next week onwards to see for myself :D..

glad there's a recap being done (not sure why, but i love to read recap while watching simultaneously to make sure i dont miss tiny bit of things.. i cant sit still to watch the whole ep a second time.. but i can rewind many many times just to watch a particular scene over and over again)

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"Scarlert Heart this show" ? Just ROFL xD Yeah it felt flat to me too, I really do not mind slow even very slow drama, but it has to make me feel that the slow unveiling has a purpose story-wise or directing-wise. The first episode felt just very awkward, like the all show was "out-of-character", if that does make any sense.
At this point I do not know if the issue come from the story or the directing, the editing, but it feels like they tried too much to make of this drama a carbon copy of the original, instead of finding its own touch and feel, unlike the remake of the good wife wich found its own flavour.

But it is probably too soon to brand this drama a failure or a Scarlert Heart show xD. Let's give it another chance to prove us that it can have a heart of its own :)

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I watched the first two episodes and was disappointed. I must admit that I didn't watch the original Entourage so I don't know what I should be expecting. However I found the execution (directing and editing) of this drama to be very lacking. There's not much substance and the acting is just okay, with the exception of Jo Jin-woong. He was great as usual and I enjoyed his scenes tremendously but when he wasn't on screen nothing else could hold my interest and I was bored.

I didn't get the humour either. The guys would bicker, one person would say something, another would come out with a supposedly witty comeback and then the rest would laugh and I was like, "Am I supposed to find this funny?" It doesn't help that the camera would follow each person's face to capture their reactions one [Read more]

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"It doesn’t help that the camera would follow each person’s face to capture their reactions one after another. It feels amateurish."

holy shit that's it. i watched the first half of the first episode before dropping it. there was a scene where one of the dude was talking and the camera cut to jo jinwoong's face just to show him making a frustrated expression for like 2 seconds ROFL. come on man, this doesn't do justice to jinwoong

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Ah yay thanks chickachunga for the recap!
There's some pacing issues indeed, yet I really enjoyed the first episode of this show nevertheless. (Don't know why there's so many negative comments already?) I really liked Park Jung-min in You're All Surrounded and here he has such good rapport with Seo Kang Joon. The bromance is already so apparent and sweet. So I am at the moment quite positive about the show and looking forward to the next episode.

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Another reader here happy that you're recapping this! It was a pretty flashy and glitzy pilot. It felt like the show was pulling out several of its cards and showing off what it had. Hopefully it has more up its sleeves.

Ho-jin is very much my fave character so far and Park Jung-min is a perfect casting choice.

For the material he's been given, Kwang-soo is doing a really good job :)

This is the first time I'm watching Seo Kang-joon and I'm wondering a bit if the Young-bin character would be even better in the hands of another actor.

Jo Jin-woong is of course excellent.

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I feel that it was flat. The music is good, but a large dose of music in an inappropriate time, a.k.a the music is blaring all the time was never good. The editing is also choppy and dizzying.

I don't love it nor hate it. I'll just keep watching to pass time.

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I enjoyed the episode (and the recap). Looking forward to episode 2 - and the recap. Love Seo Kang Joon! Just not loving his co-stars. So mismatched. Cho Jin-Woong felt so life-size though. Liked him. It's got a different flow from what I'm used to in kdramas and I feel like that's a good thing!

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I've watched the original Entourage and really enjoyed this remake. I didn't find the editing jarring at all and was drawn into the show. Fantastic acting all around! Thanks for recapping.

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ive never watched the original, but im enjoying this remake already.

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I love Giraffe in any form and version!

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Amen

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I liked it. Didn't love it. I do like all the actors, with Lee Kwang-soo and Jo Jin-woong being my favorites so far. But our main cast seems natural and is nailing the friendships. It's an easy watch with some chuckles and nice eye-candy (Seo Kang-joon is just so damn pretty) and I'm looking forward to what's next.

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I really like it so far. I like the focus on friendship and I hope they show more of industry behind the scenes dirt. Hojin is my favorite character. Eungab is also interesting. Youngbin is pretty but I'm not getting the charisma I want to see from the main character and supposedly rising star.

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I feel the same towards Youngbin I can't really bring myself to like his character I just hope the upcoming episodes change that for me.

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I just felt like Young Bin was such an ass in this episode cause of what Ho Jin had to go through but its still understandable cause we're sometimes like that too

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This wasn't what I was expecting but that's not a bad thing. I enjoyed how realistic it was in terms of the business and the friendship between the guys, I can't even dislike Eun Gab since his character is just entertaining for some reason. I never watched HBO's Entourage but I can see how they tried to "Americanize" this version in terms of some scenes which I don't mind at all, it was refreshing.
The only thing I didn't like was the choppines between scenes it was disorienting to watch other than that it was great.

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I've never seen the original (and don't want to) but I like this version so far. Giraffe especially is hilarious, as always. I think Seo Kang-joon is doing really well too.

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A breath of fresh air among Korean dramas, imo. Too bad Korea doesn't know how to appreciate it when K-dramas try new stuff. Just like with Producers.

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I loved it from the very first scene, I like that Kdramas are becoming more daring. I don't know what it's about but I do know that I loved it.
I thought entourage was supposed to be a movie, not that I mind though, it's perfect the way it is.
Now that my love Louis is ending, I will have something to watch till Legend of the blue sea starts

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This is the first drama that I am following as it is being aired and my first time commenting on dramabeans.

Personally, I liked the two first episodes, they feel fresh though it is true that not specially attention grabbing. But hey, I just marathoned Scarlet Heart, so I might just be in need of some nonsense and modern times. Will see how future episodes pan out

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I didn't like the US version so i'ts no surprise I didn't care for this one either. Stop objectifying women, its gross.

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some may not like it, but some may like it, and i liked it! i just catch my first episode and it keeps me smiling and even laughing, looking forward for the next episode ! and i love the OST so MUCH! its so LIT and match the show perfectly!

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I am quite surprised at all the negative comments towards this show. Sure, I can understand that this is not everyone's cup of tea and maybe I live way too long in an all-boys apartment and slowly turning into a boy myself haha, but I really enjoyed their conversations and friendship, it felt real to me. I am not saying the editing was the best, but it felt fresh and different and I am all way in for a show where I can take a break from family tragedies, noble idiocy and way too innocent leads. (Yes, it's part of the charm of k-dramas and sure I like to watch them too, but I don't need a roller-coaster ride every time I switch on a show.) I am glad they are trying something new and daring. So! I hope they will focus on their bromance and the movie industry as much as they can, although we [Read more]

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Uggh! don't get me started on how tiring "noble idiocy" can be. I have been watching "To the beautiful you" and I am stuck halfway through episode 13 because I just can't deal with it and the gazillion love interests that the undercover female lead has or has had till now. Borrowing from another website, I abhor "too stupid to live" female leads!

I hope that they focus on the relationship between the guys, as I too thought if felt quite realistic and fresh, and do not clutter it with pointless love interests.

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Ha ha ha! I'm laughing my patooty off at all these comments. Obviously none of you guys know how boring the original Entourage was! lol I watched a random episode or two because I had HBO and it was on or 8 years! Want to know why it made Jeremy Piven such a huge star at the time? Because whenever he had a scene something was going on. LOL Adrian Grenier is probably one of the most BORING good looking actors in Hollywood. (Which is why Seo Kang joon is perfect for the role.) It was an HBO show with lots of T & A (tits and ass) and yes, it's an American "bromance" with annoying man children running around Hollywood ogling women and doing stupid stuff. The only people that love the original version are the same people that like "bromance" comedy like Seth Rogan and James Franco the origi [Read more]

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I've watched episodes of the American Entourage and once dated a guy who was a huge fan of the show and who's life ambition was to be Ari Goldberg (Jeremy Piven's character). BLARGH.

It is exactly like how TJ describes it. Annoying man-children and a rising star known for being good-looking rather than talented so Youngbin's character is pretty on point. Eungab is so much scarier in a quieter less hysterical way than Ari Goldberg though!

The pacing's is a bit slow but still refreshingly different and I'm hoping it'll keep getting better. As to objectifying women, well what else do a bunch of guys do when they get together? It may not be pleasant but realistic anyways.
I love that TvN is not afraid to try new stuff (Let's Eat series, Reply series) without the usual drama trope [Read more]

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@TJ
I don't want to be offended but I am. Don't ridicule people for their choices in drama be it Ameican or Korean, to each their own.

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I thought it was kinda of boring but the chemistry between the boys, especially Ho-jin and young bin is awesome! Make it happen show!

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Better make it in points;
1. I don't mind flashy dramas, because I don't specify myself with certain genres, means that I could be into Bollywood, Hollywood, Hallyu, Japanese dramas and so on. This Korean version of Entourage, I was thinking if between these bromance I was hoping for more witty kind of talk, since its about 4 guys in the entertainment world. I like their setting, it was believable and sparkling, and yet it does seem a bit off for me.
2. I like Manager Kim and Ho Jin the most, somehow these 2 characters seem the most appropriate and align to the show, and Ho Jin struggles seem so much real to me. He lives under the shadow of the star, so of course he would have that kind of tension.
3. Seo Kang Joon, he is indeed pretty but thats all there is. No offense, but I think [Read more]

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I completely agree. I have never cared about Seo Kang joon. I think he lacks, presence or what I cal "charisma". He's just there, he's pretty but not compelling or even cute.

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I do not watched him in Hwajeong and What Happened in This Family. Somehow I don't get the hype on why people go crazy over him, but alas everybody has their own tastes on whom actor they like the most but yeah just like you say, he lacks screen charisma. His pretty face wasn't enough to draw me in. No offence though.

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Opss, I was supposed to say *I do watched him*. Sorry, haha.

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I disagree with you guys.
I saw him first in a couple of dramas and felt nothing, but Seo Kang Joon was awesome in Cheese in the Trap. I think he is making big progress. He conveyed the feelings very well: a hotheaded guy that has no luck in life, how he liked the girl knowing that it was unrequited love....I saw potential in him and believe that he can shine as an actor. Maybe being so handsome and this Entourage character are not helping. You know that pretty actors and actresses always need to take "ugly" characters to get recognition.

Anyway, this is a matter of personal taste. He might not be the most charismatic actor around but I find him compelling enough (and extremely pretty :D ). I will check this and hope it goes well. :)

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Yay for recap! Loved reading everyone thoughts, especially those who watched the original American version. I quite enjoyed the first episode, didn't need to think too hard and could actually turn my brain off. As for the crude jokes, well maybe because I don't mind them I was able to laugh at them.

I normally watch dramas for a bit during my lunch break so anything too complicated or deep is hard for me to invest in. This one will be a great lunch companion.

Just like everyone else gotta say Seo Kang Joon is just so pretty to look at, but chemistry wise and acting wise he also fell flat for me. Maybe someone like Kim Woo Bin would've been a better fit for the lead.

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I liked the first episode. I could see the chemistry among the four guys.

Joon and Turtle teased each other often, but they were never actually mean to each other. They made me laugh.
I also feel like each actor is perfectly matched for their roles.

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I don't think the dialogue is as sharp and witty like the American version. Is that perhaps to do with 'censorship'?. The bad acting doesn't bother me from cameo's to main characters because Entourage wasn't great acting either. On the characters I don't feel it, I think they're trying too hard and it feels awkward.

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I really don't like Lee Kwang Soo here, Johny drama was ridiculous but Kwang Soo, the problem is he is hamming too much here, he is not making it his own instead it looks forced what he does here.

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I felt bad for the character of Cha Joon for losing out on the casting for having no butt, but (ha!) I felt great for Lee Kwang-soo for lacking the butt to portray the butt-less character.

Butts!!

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Where can I watch this in good quality with English subtitles?!!! Neither Dramafever or Viki have it - RIDICULOUS! I really wanna see this! Please help!

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who is the actress who play as hojin's gf? i saw her somewhere

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I can't tell clearly from the one screenshot but could it be Jung Yoo-min?

I remember her from Moonlight, Yoona's Street, and Age of Youth. Her other projects are here:

http://asianwiki.com/Jung_Yoo-Min_(1991)

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