Youths Over Flowers: Episode 2
javabeans: We begin the second episode with a brief rundown of how these ajusshis ended up in Peru, but really it’s more of a recap of Lee Juck’s pain. He ended up being the peacekeeper in navigating the trio to their hostel room, only to have his hyung (Yoon Sang) nitpick his choices, leaving him feeling underappreciated and a bit huffy.
girlfriday: It’s kind of endearing that Juck is enough of a maknae, as in like a real kid brother to them, to get pissy about not being appreciated for all his effort to appease their bathroom-in-hostel needs. As it goes on though, the air gets a bit weird between them. Sometimes strained politeness is worse than actually fighting, don’t you think?
javabeans: It’s absolutely worse, because you don’t know whether to pretend it’s not there, or whether you should bring it out into the open. But if the other person is pretending it’s not there, then it’s more confrontational to dredge it up, and then you’re just stuck in that limbo. So Sang steps out to buy something before joining the other two at a bar to watch the World Cup game, and when he returns, Hee-yeol motions him over and hands him a beer, but Juck is just sitting on the other side, looking fixedly ahead at the TV.
girlfriday: Sang is uncomfortable enough to remove himself from the situation again, and now he’s the nervous one who keeps wondering how to approach Juck and make the weirdness go away.
javabeans: This is painfully awkward. It’s not like one person is wronged and the other is being unreasonable—I can feel for both of them and I just want it to go away. At first I felt like Sang was being a bit demanding, but now he’s trying SO HARD to smooth things over, but it’s clearly not his forte and he just keeps trying.
girlfriday: I know. I just want to help him. Clearly Hee-yeol feels this pain too, because he keeps trying to play the peacekeeper and includes Sang whenever he can.
javabeans: So he sits on the couch for a while and makes up the excuse that the bar chair was too uncomfortable, but then comes back and is trying to say friendly, funny things to fill the silence. You know it’s bad when the guys seem to feel worse about the strained air than the fact that Korea lost to Belgium.
girlfriday: Right? Things start to get a tiny bit better after the game, as the group heads out toward the ocean. Hee-yeol makes an effort to walk slowly and wait for Sang this time, and Juck actually goes up to Sang and strikes up a conversation about wanting to find a long-sleeved shirt that looks as good as the one Sang is wearing. It’s an obvious attempt to smooth things over with flattery, but I think it works.
javabeans: Things are still subdued, though better. They’re able to walk to the beach together and take a cheery-looking photo together, but when Sang switches sides to be next to Juck, and reaches over to pull up his collar in the wind, Juck is still feeling hurt enough that he can’t quite acknowledge him. He talks over the awkwardness rather than addressing it, so I’m still all tied up in knots for them. I can see how Sang would think he had to stop with the little gestures and really go for it to make it up to him. Like, you know when it’s just too big of a thing to accept less than an outright “I’m sorry”?
girlfriday: Yeah and the thought that this is just the first full day of the trip makes it worse. You have to deal with things or the rest of the week is going to suck. They go to dinner and then things get awkward all over again (at least when you’re moving around there’s less dead air if you have nothing to say).
javabeans: Finally Sang just outs with it, starting out with the lighter comment about how he really has to be able to poop today, basically, since he’s been stuck with the bad bathrooms, and then adds almost as an afterthought, “That medicine is great, except for that one effect.” And then the others are all, “Wait, medicine?”
girlfriday: Juck suddenly scoots forward, because this is the first he’s hearing about Sang taking meds for some mystery condition and they ask what’s wrong.
javabeans: Apparently, Sang quit drinking, at first because one effect was insomnia, and he felt a lot of pressure about his work as he started writing more and getting more recognition (and there’s this montage of all these really noteworthy hits that he wrote over a span of the past thirty years, songs we all recognize that pretty much make up a best hits collection of kpop over the years). Although he adds, “Though that’s really an excuse…”
girlfriday: He says that he realized one day that he’d been drinking every day for thirty years, and that he’d disengaged from the people around him just to cope. He finally says in a roundabout way that once he quit drinking, he started to take antidepressants to help manage his depression and sleep. It also has the added effect of keeping him away from liquor since he can’t be mixing those meds with alcohol.
javabeans: This completely turns things around for both of the others, but really mostly Juck, who is in tears almost right away. It totally dissolves whatever negativity there was in the air, and as we fast-forward a bit to scenes from other outings on this Peru trip, we see the three of them talking about it more openly. For instance, there’s Hee-yeol telling his hyung he’s glad he made the decision to quit drinking, and Sang saying that this is the first time he’s been without either liquor or his meds ever, and now he feels hope that he might be able to handle this without becoming too dependent on either.
girlfriday: They’re super supportive, and tell him that he’ll be able to kick the habit and wean himself off the meds, and Juck says later in an interview that he realized how much they needed to be friends Sang could lean on.
javabeans: Are you crying? I’m totally bawling over here.
girlfriday: It’s so beautiful without at all being saccharine or cheesy or manufactured.
javabeans: It’s not even this grand emotional melo moment or anything. The guys are actually being quite matter-of-fact and unsentimental about it, but because of that, the sincerity just lands harder I think.
girlfriday: Yeah it’s the everydayness of it that gets to me. And when Sang starts crying, it’s hard not to cry with him.
javabeans: Back at the hostel, Sang and Juck lie back in bed and start chatting, and Hee-yeol interviews that he had no idea they’d talk so much about anything and everything. First is women, “second is music—briefly” and then it’s on to swearing and badmouthing. We catch a glimpse of it and it’s all bleeped out so you don’t know which hyung’s songs Juck says he never listens to.
girlfriday: AGH. Why is it bleeped out? I want to know which musicians they’re badmouthing. But then when talk turns to porn, almost every other word is bleeped out.
javabeans: It isn’t until they’ve been at this for a while that it occurs to them that they’re being recorded. Hee-yeol tries turning off his mic, while Sang was under the wrong impression that the cameras weren’t recording this. He gets up to check and realizes it was all caught on tape, and then they suddenly get super silent. They finally fall asleep… and in the morning the first words out of Sang’s mouth are, “Should we try erasing the tape?”
girlfriday: HA. Good luck wrestling that away from Na PD. They get up and head out for their day trip to some massive sand dunes.
javabeans: They pack up and leave the hostel, and while they’re waiting for a taxi they realize that the sandwich shop nearby is famous and decide to try it, which is funny if only for the sequence where Hee-yeol orders, and then has no idea what is being said, and he and the cashier are basically having two separate conversations.
girlfriday: I love it. “Do you want onions?” “Yes, to-go. We want it to-go.” “What’s your name?” “Yoo.” “You?” “Yoo.”
javabeans: They eat the sandwiches on their bus ride down to Ica, and are all, “Man if I knew they were this good I’d have eaten one every day!”
girlfriday: Stop making me hungry! Is Juck drying his laundry on the bus? That’s some skilled backpacking right there.
javabeans: I love how Juck and Sang fall into one of their (apparently common) debate-type conversations, and Hee-yeol just nods off. Which isn’t funny until Juck interviews how he can tell Hee-yeol isn’t necessarily sleepy, he just totally drifts off when he starts hearing boring debate talk—and just then you see Hee-yeol’s eyes snap open, totally awake, even though it looks like he’s sleeping.
girlfriday: That’s hilarious. They stop to make some travel arrangements for the next day, and a rewind to the night before shows Hee-yeol staying up late by himself to read more guidebooks and plan their itinerary.
javabeans: Aw, it’s so sweet how we see a clip of the three of them hiking, and Sang gets really tired so the guys each take one hand to help him up.
girlfriday: Later in an interview, Na PD asks Juck who the leader of their group is, and he says it’s Hee-yeol. Na PD: “Not Sang hyung?” Juck: “Sang hyung? After Hee-yeol hyung it would be me!”
javabeans: He says that it’s like at a kindergarten picnic, when the kids are walking in a line with Hee-yeol in front and Juck behind him, and Sang is waaaay in the rear, dragging his feet complaining how he’s tired.
girlfriday: By chance they find a taxi driver who speaks Korean, and it’s pretty funny the way he points out hotels on the drive in Korean: “Expensive, expensive, cheap!” They get to the oasis in the middle of the desert, and Juck immediately runs in to dunk his feet and chides the hyungs for not joining him.
javabeans: Ha, Sang was the most reluctant to dip his feet because he’s thinking of the clean-up afterward, so to avoid getting sandy feet he stays in the water and asks Juck to hand him his shoes… and Juck just throws them waaaaay down the sand. To contrast, we see an interview asking Sang how he and Juck met twenty years ago, when Sang was already an established musician and Juck was the newbie. Next, Hee-yeol jogs ahead to pick up the shoes… and throws them even farther down. Cut to: Interview of how meek and respectful Hee-yeol was when he first met Sang.
girlfriday: Sang: “They used to not even be able to look me in the eye!” Turns out twenty years later, they feel fine throwing his shoes and making him suffer for their enjoyment. Muahaha.
javabeans: They go looking for a hostel, and now they know better what to expect and ask for, and pass by some that don’t have a bathroom or are too pricey or whatnot. Then they come to this one place with a “letter of recommendation” posted in Korean on the front door, and it’s hi-la-ri-ous. “Elisa is very nice until you pay and then she’s mean. But when she asked me to write this letter she switched back to full aegyo. P.S. After I write this letter I will take the night bus and escape to Cusco.”
girlfriday: LOL. I now have a new personal goal of writing letters of recommendation at random hostels with sneak-snark.
javabeans: They ride this bus-buggy across the sand dunes and Hee-yeol is happy because he gets to sit next to two pretty American ladies. Okay, can I point out how very shameless Hee-yeol is about gawking at the ladies? It would be embarrassing except that he has no shame.
girlfriday: He’s so obvious about being upset when he thinks they’re leaving, only to light up again when they return with jackets. The dune buggy ride turns out to be really cool, and they’re alternately excited and scared to death but the outcome is the same: lots of screaming.
javabeans: Hee-yeol literally is cheering with a huge smile on his face and then yells, “I hate this!” You know, while looking like a kid on Christmas.
girlfriday: Then they get taken up to the top of this massive hill where they get to board down to the bottom. I’m so jealous right now. It looks so fun.
javabeans: I know. HA, Juck almost loses his pants on the way down. Then it’s Sang’s turn, which prompts this montage of how he’s always the guy saying “No thanks” and “I don’t want to try that” and “That seems inconvenient” and then contradicting himself on the trip by doing everything he thought he wouldn’t. Like how he didn’t want to sandboard because sand would get in his clothes, and afterward he totally had fun.
girlfriday: It’s just a nice moment of reflection, where he says that he had kind of forgotten that in order to be happy you have to DO things. I feel like in that sense, this trip will have the most meaning for Sang.
javabeans: Yes, like the other two will absolutely have fun and learn things, but Sang might come back a changed person. They comment how their kids would enjoy this, and Sang says he’s never led his family on trips because it’s always the wife planning and him just following along. But now he has a place he could bring his kids that he could be the tour guide on, and seems to be serious when he says he’ll come back with the family.
girlfriday: They watch the sunset over the desert, and Sang even gets the others to do this adorably silly handholding skipping dance at the camera. They feel like the sun sets especially fast today, and Hee-yeol says it reminded him that everything passes by so quickly.
javabeans: Isn’t it kind of amazing how between these three men, there is a song that somebody wrote that perfectly fits every situation of this trip? It’s a rotating door of their songs, but not just for background music purposes—they’re totally thematically related! (“When I was young, I thought life was long, but I trudge along and find we’ve already come this far…”)
girlfriday: I know. You kind of wonder if that’s why anyone thought of them for a show like this, because the editor’s job would be so easy. I really like the way Hee-yeol talks honestly about his age, and how they’re at a really odd point in their lives where they don’t feel young but don’t feel old either, and how they’re sort of in between.
javabeans: It’s nighttime as they walk back, and Juck tells this cute story about how his daughter asked why he left without saying bye, and he explained that there were these ajusshis who took him away suddenly. She said (like it was the most obvious thing in the world), “Then you should have just said no!” and he had no answer for that. Haha.
girlfriday: Now I wanna see if Na PD could trick her into something, just for funsies.
javabeans: You mean, him trying all his tricks in front of the world’s most skeptical five-year-old who is having none of it?
girlfriday: Yes. Wouldn’t it be the best show ever? Ha, Juck self-narrates in his Dad, Where Are Going? voice: “Will these fathers be able to return home?”
javabeans: That night, they make it back to the town and talk music over beer, and their passion about music is just so apparent. Juck is asked about talking about work while here, and he explains that it’s not really work if they’re talking about what music they’re listening to or how to achieve a certain thing with a certain tool. Like, Hee-yeol says there’s a song Sang wrote where he has this “one tone” that just struck him and made him wonder how he got that quality and made him think Sang was a genius. It’s super detailed conversation but I find it fascinating.
girlfriday: And you start to see why they respect Sang so much, because he really does seem like a different person when he’s talking shop.
javabeans: Sang even points out, for instance, how there’s an IU song that doesn’t use a real piano, and it makes him think, “There’s no affection here.” Juck protests that he has a lot of affection for IU and listened to that song over and over again, but when Sang asks about the piano, Juck says, “…I just listened to her voice.”
girlfriday: There’s a momentary blackout during dinner, and they just sit there as if nothing happened, and by the time the lights come back on, their plates are clean.
javabeans: The producers ask the three to sit at the table after dinner so the staff can get a chance to eat, and Juck asks, “To enable us to stay longer, how about you all buy us a round of drinks?” The PD tries to decline, and he’s all, “Then we’ll be going now.” Haha.
girlfriday: They go to bed after a long happy day, and then at the crack of dawn, someone creeeeaks their door open, slides something into their room, and closes the door again.
javabeans: This can’t be good. Hee-yeol wakes first and finds a letter, which he reads through, and a plastic bag containing a few things. We can’t see what anything is, but Hee-yeol turns serious—not serious enough to wake the others, but serious enough so that he’s anxiously waiting for them to wake up so that he can share. Hurry up and share!
girlfriday: The others stir awake, and he very calmly asks how they slept. Tell them what’s going on! He finally says, “The staff already checked out. They left a letter…”
javabeans: What! Juck reads the letter aloud and the captions call the handwriting and the contents quite humble and modest, and how Na PD wrote it while kneeling every so humbly, so I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop—what insane demands are you making? But then it says that since they’ve put in so much hard work and suffered, the staff is gifting them with a full day free of cameras and crew…
girlfriday: LOL. The whole thing is written in this super polite tone, and then at the very bottom is the P.S.: “It’s annoying so don’t call.”
javabeans: And of course, they left behind two cameras for the boys to use along with an instruction manual. So basically they get a free day… to pull double-duty and work both in front of and behind the lens?
girlfriday: Pffft. Thanks for the gift.
javabeans: Sang: “Why are they doing this to us all of a sudden?” Hee-yeol: “They must’ve been planning it all along. Now I get why they were showing me how to use the camera all day yesterday.”
girlfriday: They totally spent the day pretending to need Hee-yeol’s help white fidgeting with camera equipment, and in the process they were pointing out all of the functions. That is so devious.
javabeans: We see footage of the staff packing up and leaving at the crack of dawn. The thing is, this show does a good job of masking how much manpower is behind the production that even when you see Na PD or a VJ here and there, you don’t get a sense of how large the whole group is that tags along. Even if they don’t talk to you, you know there’s twenty other people who came with you, so it feels comfortable in that sense. So I imagine this really does leave the trio feeling much differently, maybe even stranded.
girlfriday: Yeah these guys are very capable and I don’t worry about them getting by, but now it really does feel like they got sent to Peru with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
javabeans: Hee-yeol mans the camera as he gets Sang and Juck to say a few things, and then the screen goes black and the captions tell us: “And a short while afterward, the producers come to deeply regret leaving them behind alone.” Ack! What a way to send us off!
girlfriday: Is it mutiny?
javabeans: Or sheer incompetence?
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- Answer Me, Youths Over Flowers
- Na PD’s next travel variety spin-off Youth Over Flowers sets sail
- Chinese version of Grandpas Over Flowers gets green light
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 1
- Na PD on grandpas, money, and Seo-jinnie the con artist
- Noonas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1