Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 8
EPISODE 8. Broadcast on August 23, 2013.
javabeans: The halbaes are back with Season 2! We open with a montage of scenes from the first season, and interview snippets with the halbaes. Already I’m cracking up with Il-sub halbae, answering the question of what he recalls of the ten days he spent in Europe: “Melbourne? Malborn? The Paramount mountain! [Meaning Matterhorn] Patterhorn?”
girlfriday: It’s nice to see their reactions to their popularity now, because they didn’t know how beloved the show would become while they were on their first trip. They’ve already got other halbaes wanting to join in.
javabeans: That’s so cute, with frequent dramaland father Kim Yong-gun calling himself a “halbae-to-be.” It reminds me of Seon-kyun joshing Tae-woong about taking his 1N2D slot. Then there’s Seo-jin, intro’d as “one person who’ll want to avoid Season 2,” who we know got finagled into returning. You know, I wonder if Seo-jin’s return is like childbirth, where the second the pain is gone your brain deletes that from its banks and makes you only remember the good parts, otherwise you’d never do it again.
girlfriday: I dunno, is there a post-halbae hormone? Whatever it is, it starts out with the installation of hidden cameras at the post-trip dinner. Muahaha.
javabeans: The halbaes file in, Seo-jin takes his seat, and then Na PD broaches the idea of discussing their next trip while Seo-jin studiously pretends not to hear.
girlfriday: Ha, Seo-jin freezes and just ignores the whole conversation, but Na PD barrels on through, getting everyone to toast with their soju glasses: “Taiwan, okay? Okay? Hyung, okay?” So then Seo-jin has to raise his glass, because there’s nothing else you can do in this situation. He totally planned it this way.
javabeans: Na PD is so shameless, it’s amazing. Seo-jin tries not to respond at all and then says, “Let’s discuss this later,” and Na PD just keeps planning the trip and handing out itineraries. HA, I love how Seo-jin just takes that paper and shoves it away from himself. I wish we could hear his inner monologue right now, so much.
girlfriday: It’s totally the Blind-eye Face-off, with Seo-jin ignoring Na PD and Na PD ignoring Seo-jin’s ignoring, round and round in circles. My money’s on Na PD, not only because I know Seo-jin ends up on this trip, but because he’s just going to win.
javabeans: Then Na PD says he already checked Seo-jin’s schedule with his management and got the okay, which cracks me up. So Seo-jin’s first mistake was NOT firing his team like he threatened. The caption: “My @*$^#%$ agency…”
girlfriday: It’s so great.
javabeans: I think it’s so sweet of Soon-jae halbae to say in an interview that Seo-jin’s role in this second trip is to be rewarded for the first one, which suggests he’s gonna intentionally try to make things more comfortable. But! Then the PD asks if that means Seo-jin will suffer less, and Soon-jae halbae is all, “What would he suffer about?” as though the question were absurd. Ha, if he doesn’t think that was suffering…
girlfriday: He didn’t watch the broadcast.
javabeans: Seo-jin half-jokes (but not really jokes) that while Soon-jae halbae consciously tried not to give him a hard time, there were other halbaes who weren’t as helpful. The show helpfully identifies Il-sub halbae as the difficult one, even though he says at the dinner table that Seo-jin could have been really aggravating if he’d complained a lot, but he didn’t so all was well. Seo-jin adds, “I think I’m going to be aggravating this time.”
girlfriday: Na PD immediately follows up with: “What did you just say? THIS TIME? Congratulations! *clap clap clap*” And before he can even react, the whole table is toasting. HAHAHA.
javabeans: I love Na PD and his shit-eating grin that you can see from a mile away, with his shiny gleamy white teeth. Seo-jin says in interview that he doesn’t know anything about Taiwan, but there’s no point in learning about it because “I’ll just forget it all when I return.” He means forgetting as coping mechanism, I’m assuming. Hee. But then later he’s turned into this whole fact-spouting guide anyway, and that cracks me up.
girlfriday: Hee, as soon as Soon-jae halbae leaves, Gu halbae starts talking about him.
javabeans: He’s relating a funny story about how Soon-jae halbae always leaves them behind, ignoring their “guide,” and Seo-jin pipes up, “It’s not a guide, it’s me.” LOL. Demoted yet again. Cut to a sequence previewing upcoming moments, adding other job descriptions to the previous ones, like weather forecaster (checking the reports constantly), cameraman (being asked to fill in for a staffer), and miner (which we’ll just have to wait to find out about).
girlfriday: So then at the next planning meeting sometime later, Na PD asks the halbaes if they’ll be packing a bunch of Korean food like last time. Il-sub halbae seems way less stressed about the food situation in Taiwan since it’s closer to his taste buds, but when Na PD asks if that means he really won’t be asking for stews every night at the hotel, he can’t bring himself to answer.
javabeans: Na PD says that the two halbaes (Gu & Sub) will have to bring along their “life-giving water” and mimes a pour, which hahaha. But yes, we can expect many bottles of soju, I’m sure.
girlfriday: Then we watch Gu halbae go soju shopping, and he totally looks more impish with his beard. Or is it the soju?
javabeans: Seo-jin says that while he does worry for the grandpas, “Honestly I might collapse first.” And how he’s been having nightmares lately about showing up to the airport and being told it’s not Taiwan after all, which is totally a valid fear.
girlfriday: Yeah after being duped once, you figure anything’s possible. Na PD tells them that Soon-jae halbae will join them two days late this time because of his drama schedule, and when the other halbaes look at Gu halbae to be their interim leader, he freaks out. I don’t think that’s his style. But hilariously, Geun-hyung halbae makes it his mission to turn Gu hyung into their leader whether he likes it or not.
javabeans: Yeah, because they all want to just follow, which is way easier. Of course, they don’t actually trust him to be a good leader, which makes it funnier.
girlfriday: Then it’s Trip Day, and the halbaes arrive one by one at the airport (minus Soon-jae halbae). Ha, while they’re waiting, Na PD checks out their passport photos, and notes that Geun-hyung halbae looks like a chaebol CEO in his, and Gu halbae looks like a mob boss.
javabeans: The halbaes all wonder where Seo-jin is and why he’s here latest, which is when Na PD drops the first bomb (of what I assume will be many more): Seo-jin isn’t going with them on the first day, he’s coming separately tomorrow. And you see their faces just freeze at the thought of not having their errand boy/tour guide/interpreter/bellhop around. Muahaha. I love that Na PD threw them a fast one too, since they all assumed they were safe.
girlfriday: And without mat-hyung Soon-jae halbae around either? This is going to be nuts.
javabeans: There’s this long pause, and then, “We’re in trouble.” Il-sub halbae says he doesn’t trust either hyung to lead, to which a producer asks about himself, and he exclaims, “I trust me the least!” Preview clip of landing in Taiwan and finding their way to their lodgings: bicker, bicker, bicker.
girlfriday: Oh no. At least the crew booked their first hotel, like last time. So the main thing is just finding their own way there. On the upside, Gu halbae can read Chinese, so at least there’s that.
javabeans: The halbaes have something of a stricken look on their faces, and then Na PD says that “somebody” wants to drop by and say hi to them, and requests that they cover their eyes until he brings that person out. Gu halbae immediately says they can let this kid do the work then, haha.
girlfriday: The halbaes cover their eyes, and then outside, Choi Bool-am steps out of the car.
javabeans: Ohhh, so that’s what those pics were about. And no, they can’t dump the work on this “kid,” given that he’s a respected 70-something halbae himself with a filmography a mile long. He’s obviously friends with them all and says he can’t go play with them, but wanted to send them off.
girlfriday: Haha, all the halbaes’ interviews are the same, all, I thought maybe when we opened our eyes there’d be a pretty young idol star or actress instead of Seo-jinnie, but then that oldie was there!
javabeans: Choi Bool-am worries about Il-sub’s bad knee and interviews about the beef-throwing incident in Season 1, and is all, “Didn’t you know about his personality before?” And then he adds that if Il-sub halbae hadn’t become an actor, he would’ve become a mob boss.
girlfriday: Haha. He’s hilarious, and obviously really close to Il-sub halbae, all naggy and hyung-like with him. And then he slips Il-sub halbae an envelope of money to spend on the trip. So cute. Even more adorable is how he whispers at him not to share it with the others, like a real hyung sending his little bro on his first school trip or something.
javabeans: Gu halbae starts getting more and more grim, which the rest of the cast and crew note with amusement, and which Gu halbae finds not at all amusing. Geun-hyung halbae quips that they’re comfortable even if Gu halbae is worried, and gets this death glare in return.
girlfriday: I love Il-sub halbae’s cute little “It wasn’t me! Hyung said that!” even though he’s been making the same comments all along. Once they get their bags, Geun-hyung halbae says he packed a map, and then literally takes out a map of the whole country, fully expecting to find their way to the hotel this way. LOL.
javabeans: Hahaha. The halbaes actually get quite the welcome from a whole line of fans with “Welcome to Taiwan” signs, and they’re totally surprised by it, all, How do you even know about us?
girlfriday: It’s really sweet how amazed they are, having never received this sort of fan reaction or welcome at any point before in their long careers.
javabeans: They wander a bit before finding their way to information, where they get directions in English on how to get to their hotel via bus. The woman gives them all the relevant information, but the editors do the whole ominous slow-mo repeat on the words, “It should only take three minutes… threeeee…. miiiiinutes…” You know what that means.
girlfriday: Aaaaaahhhh. it’s gonna take forever, isn’t it? Poor Gu halbae is actually really nervous about having to be the responsible leader. They show Paris Gu halbae in flashback, all happy and making jokes, and being the one to smooth over rifts between the other halbaes, but here he’s stiff as a board. But then we also find out things we never knew before, like the fact that he speaks English. Who knew?
javabeans: It’s funny how Il-sub halbae is totally enjoying this, because it’s just funny to him to see the Gu hyung he knows all stressed out.
girlfriday: I know. He just washes his hands of the decision-making by just being the maknae luggage boy, and then he gets to be the peanut gallery with his running commentary while the two hyungs figure it out.
javabeans: It is cute to watch the two of them work together though, since Geun-hyung halbae ends up helping after all despite teasing earlier. The bus ride takes them into Taipei, and as they unload their luggage Il-sub halbae just stands off to the side cackling. The show labels him “troublemaker student” while his hyungs do all the work. Aw, and then they spot this one girl at a distance holding up a sign with their picture on it from Season 1 saying “Welcome to Taiwan” in Korean.
girlfriday: That’s so cute. They have fangirls.
javabeans: They get on the subway train with some relief and start relaxing, as the show captions, “They feel good thinking they’re almost there.” Again, that wording is super ominous, like there’s a hidden, mocking “Suckas” tucked underneath somewhere.
girlfriday: To be fair, the halbaes are equally all, We showed them! They thought we’d fall apart, but we’re on this! and even gloating that there might not be enough footage to fill an episode. They get to their subway stop without incident, but here’s where things start to go awry, starting with the exit they choose. Once they’re out on the street, Gu halbae says they’ve all but found it, thinking that it’s only three minutes away.
javabeans: They’re all taking that three-minute instruction totally to heart, like this place must be within sight, wherever it is. They start walking in high spirits following the street numbers, not realizing they’re heading in the opposite direction. Gu halbae interviews, “We didn’t know the difference between streets and avenues.” Ack! Those always get you.
girlfriday: And then of course with Il-sub halbae shouting at you from the back: “Just don’t tell me we have to go back that way. It’s this way, RIGHT?” the pressure starts mounting.
javabeans: The street numbers aren’t going in their favor (too high, so they turn around, then they’re too low) so they keep asking locals and getting pointed down the road. But at this point it feels like they’re just getting directed to random places. They finally do manage to make it to a place with the number 195… and it’s a restaurant. I love how Il-sub halbae is all, “But we’re here! The number is right! Let’s stay here!”
girlfriday: Ha, he really would just start unpacking there if someone didn’t stop him.
javabeans: I also love that Gu halbae’s takeaway from this experience is that people in Taiwan are really nice (to help them find their way), because people in Seoul just wouldn’t. All in all, I’m pretty relieved when they finally find that huge HOTEL sign—but the street number is 98! Ack! Il-sub halbae actually exclaims, “It’s right! I’ll take responsibility!”
girlfriday: The hyungs say it’s wrong, but he’s the one to point out the tvN bus parked out front.
javabeans: The hotel employee confirms that this is the wrong hotel, and the show’s carefully placed background song blares, “Like being shot with a bullet…”
girlfriday: OH NOES. So it turns out to be the hotel the crew is staying at, and it’s actually further away from the train station, but they missed their street and somehow got misdirected here. Il-sub halbae isn’t budging, and I half expect him to just sit down on the lobby floor and throw a tantrum.
javabeans: They get directions to their hotel and grudgingly Gu and Geun-hyung halbaes head out again, and Il-sub halbae literally just stays put. “They can sleep there, I’ll sleep here. What do we gain by sleeping in the same place anyway?” Haha.
girlfriday: Dude, he’s really not going. He puts his foot down and refuses to go, so the hyungs have to go on without him. And then he actually just sits down on the floor in the corner of the lobby.
javabeans: It’s not a long walk for the other two, but I’m pretty tense the whole way because it seems pretty feasible for them to muck up the rather simple sounding directions. Thankfully they make it to their lodgings and check in, whereupon Geun-hyung halbae calls Gu halbae pretty cool for the way he led, because he so isn’t the kind of person to do that normally. And Gu halbae now thinks to Seo-jin renting a car in Europe and praises him for staying calm the whole time. He’s all, “I’ll have to pour him a drink when he comes.”
girlfriday: Aw, I guess you have to suffer firsthand to truly know the pain.
javabeans: Meanwhile, Il-sub halbae is in good spirits in his air-conditioned hotel lobby, and decides to sit on a box supposing that it contains soju or maybe food. The staffers try to suggest that maybe he not sit there, and it’s hilarious because they’re nervously laughing, their worry palpable. You can’t actually TELL him to get off, but they’re like, “Um, that could be camera equipment” and he says, “Nah, it’s not. I have a feeling it’s not.”
girlfriday: He’s hilarious. He just parks it there, totally expecting that the hyungs will come fetch him.
javabeans: I’m half-expecting him to insist that they do that when they call, but they give him directions and he makes the walk over.
girlfriday: They fiiiiiinally make it up to their rooms, and Na PD totally does this silent nervous check of Il-sub halbae’s room, just waiting for him to explode. He’s silent, so Na PD scurries away, only to be called back with the order that Seo-jin can’t stay here because the room is too small. Is Na PD actually pouting?
javabeans: He looks like a little kid, it’s so satisfying because he can’t say what you know he’s thinking. But you know halbae means it because he’s all, “I’ll pay for it myself, but I need my own room!” Aw, and in the other room you see Gu halbae unpacking in his cramped space by the wall, and then after he leaves and Geun-hyung halbae comes in, he sees the situation and silently moves the beds so hyung has more space.
girlfriday: Awww. Once they’re settled, Gu halbae gets right back to planning and studying, since he really is the Seo-jinnie of the group today. Thankfully the guest house has a nice employee who suggests things to do, and when the halbaes ask if she’ll come along to guide them, she agrees. That’s awfully nice of her. Also, she doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into.
javabeans: I’m like, they’re not serious are they? But she comes out with them to the marketplace nearby, and maybe it’s better that there’s some language barrier here so there’s a built-in limit — all you can do is just follow and watch, basically.
girlfriday: The three halbaes eat dinner at a local noodle shop, and then Geun-hyung halbae says he felt so bad about that moment in Season 1 when he ratted out Gu hyung’s drinking habits to his wife over the phone, and he said he was all worried that hyungsoonim would think he was a rude punk. Ha. First of all, anyone thinking of Park Geun-hyung as a rude little punk is just a really strange concept.
javabeans: It’s so sweet, they get a little misty-eyed and warm-n-fuzzy thinking of how great it is to be able to go traveling together with friends and how much they enjoy spending time like this. Then we cut back to Seoul, where Seo-jin is told to show up at 8am at the airport for his flight and wonders why so early, since he’s just going alone… or so he thinks. Cue: Sunny reveal!
girlfriday: I can’t wait to see his reaction. Thanks to Na PD, I now know that Seo-jinnie is just fun to mess with, whether the surprise is good or bad. It’s all equally entertaining.