Youths Over Flowers: Episode 6
javabeans: So we’ve already seen the end of the Peru trip, but this is the special extra episode (the “director’s cut”) that was added on to show us scenes that hadn’t been shown the first time around. I’m always a little iffy on these extra episodes because if they were good scenes, they would have been included in the main run, right? It’s why I’m always disappointed with DVD extras when I bother with the deleted scenes.
girlfriday: “Director’s Cut” is such a bogus term, as if Na PD doesn’t just put in whatever he wants anyway. Basically, Youths was popular, and so more episodes were milked.
javabeans: I don’t begrudge the show extra episodes, and am glad that the ajusshi trip was more popular than expected because they were so heartwarming and fun to watch. But let’s just hope the B-sides are as close to the A-sides in quality as we can get ’em.
girlfriday: We rewind to the beginning for a quick recap of how the boys ended up in Peru with nothing but the clothes on their backs, this time framed as a horror story that all began at that one restaurant over a pot of kimchi stew.
javabeans: Oh, and then we skip ahead to two months after their trip. Yay, we get to check in with the ajusshis afterward!
girlfriday: They look so clean-cut and pretty now!
javabeans: Especially after seeing that montage of them smelling themselves and the one shirt they had to wear for days at first.
girlfriday: LOL, they return to the same restaurant where it all began, and even arrive (unplanned) in the same order. Juck walks in and exclaims that it’s deja vu.
javabeans: I love that the restaurant now has this big banner to announce that this is where Youths Over Flowers was filmed. At first I thought it was a production prop to announce today’s shoot, but no, it’s on their wall as a permanent fixture.
girlfriday: It’s hilarious. Hee-yeol arrives last, and just asks Na PD, “So where’re we going this time?”
javabeans: Na PD jokes that they’re not even scared of the idea anymore, and Sang adds, “I wish we were going somewhere.” Juck whines, “Take us awaaaaaaay.”
girlfriday: Hee-yeol says he watches reruns of the show every day just laughing to himself at all the stuff that happened. That takes us back to the first day of the trip, where Juck wakes up in the middle of the night and joins a late-night chat that Hee-yeol is having with Na PD. They talk about their insecurities as songwriters, and Hee-yeol admits that he’s changed — now he’s more pleased when people say he was really funny, rather than when they praise his music.
javabeans: It’s weird to hear Na PD admitting that he doesn’t have confidence that he can be as good as he used to, either, when basically he’s the Variety Midas. Hee-yeol says that this (the question of their insecurities and career existentialism) may be the answer that the three of them have to figure out on the Peru trip… which is what jumps us back to the present day to see whether that happened.
girlfriday: I like that the episode is framed as four friends reuniting and reminiscing over the trip. It’s a good device.
javabeans: They don’t actually answer that question (yet?), but the next segue is about how the guys admit they briefly considered showing up at the reunion dressed exactly like they had for the first send-off. They remember how they had to go buy clothes in Lima, sending us into flashback.
girlfriday: Ha, the whole thing is about Juck’s green tracksuit, and how they basically tricked him into thinking he looked good all while laughing that it was hilarious.
javabeans: Awww. He actually really liked it! Everyone stifles laughs and assures him, “No, it’s not weird, really.” While the producer lies to his face, the caption reads, “She’s thinking of the program first.” Liars. He even asks, “Do you think I could wear this in Korea?” And then the producers labeled Juck’s look “Peru hobo,” which he says actually hurt his feelings, lol.
girlfriday: Juck says now that the worst part was when Sang hyung tried it on and looked good in it, which basically means that he was the problem.
javabeans: Aw, that’s so sad. I think he looked good! (…although admittedly, I do recall us joking that he looked like an unemployed student taking the civil service exam…) Hee-yeol laughs that in person it was fine, but onscreen it looked much worse.
girlfriday: Na PD asks them about the day the crew ditched them, commenting (disappointedly) that they seemed to enjoy the freedom and not care at all. They spent those few hours at the market shopping for pants, and I think they’re trying on a ridiculous number of similar track pants, but Na PD says they didn’t seem very discriminating while shopping.
javabeans: I’m not entirely sure that one of those pairs isn’t women’s. Hee-yeol explains that they were concerned more with function than with looks, since two of them were wearing shorts and it was cold, so if it fit, it was good enough. Then we see a producer telling Hee-yeol on the fifth day, “I haven’t see you washing any underpants even once…”
girlfriday: Ha, the staff gasps audibly when he interviews that four pairs of underwear seem like plenty.
javabeans: He laughs that he can wear a pair for two or three days, and I don’t think he’s joking!
girlfriday: I was wondering why Juck’s constant underwear washing/drying was a thing on this show, but it turns out that he was the odd one out. Na PD tells the boys that a lot of the female fans comment positively about how well the guys eat pretty much anything they’re given, and they’re just like, “But it was tasty!”
javabeans: You see them sidling up to a fried chicken place, and I think it’s not just that they eat tasty things, but they’re not fussy about choosing either. It’s basically, “How’s this?” “Looks good, let’s go in.” “You wanna try looking around?” “Nah, this seems good.”
girlfriday: Yeah they’re just super agreeable, and I also like that they eat all local food, even though they’re currently eating what looks like chimaek. At another restaurant, Juck orders almost entirely in Spanish, which is impressive. And then we see him bust out four foreign languages over the course of the trip.
javabeans: I like that the counting goes beyond that to “body language” as he makes these funny gesticulations.
girlfriday: Na PD asks what the most memorable meals were, and they all agree that it was the cuy. They all talk about it like it’s some strange food that might be unfit for television, and we see a giant plate of meat being brought to a table and all the guys making shocked faces as they taste it. It turns out to be guinea pig, which is a local specialty.
javabeans: They do know what it is before trying it, but it’s in the books as a thing to try, so we see them asking each other beforehand if they think they could handle it. “But maybe it’ll come sliced, not like that?” “But it’s… rat.” And then Juck converses with some travelers in English who notice he’s got a cuy on his tracksuit jacket, and the woman says, “It’s kind of like chicken! …except it smells like… rat.”
girlfriday: Whoa, that’s not exactly appealing. And what’s worse is that restaurants that serve cuy feature cutesy guinea pigs on them, as if that’s a selling point.
javabeans: Then we jump ahead to the cloudy morning on Machu Picchu, where Na PD is taking the bad weather the hardest. The boys tell him, “Don’t cry, Young-seok-ah! We’ll each eat three cuys!” And Na PD goes, “R-really? Okay, I’ll suck it up.”
girlfriday: Haha, that’s cute. They literally do it to cheer up Na PD.
javabeans: Then at the cuy restaurant, Hee-yeol points out how Na PD is just beaming. Na PD says he’s thinking of how this will be the highlight of the program.
girlfriday: They order him to sit and eat with them, and Na PD declares himself a vegetarian as of today, lol.
javabeans: Sang is having the hardest time getting into this, but the dishes come out and then they’re all looking apprehensive. I actually think it looks like piglets, which… may not be better, maybe.
girlfriday: It looks like a whole roasted rat, complete with angry teeth and little paws, and I’m totally traumatized.
javabeans: I could totally eat that. It’s like a whole fish! If you just turn the head away from you, it’s could be okay?
girlfriday: It cracks me up that they all turn their heads, so as not to look the cuy in the eye. Hee-yeol is the bravest, tearing into the dish right away while the others shrink back in fear. He says it tastes like chicken but with the texture of pig’s feet, and eventually Sang tries it too.
javabeans: I actually worry that Juck might have an upchucking incident, because he’s trying to be calm but you can see this really weirds him out. He tries a taste, but doesn’t dig in like the others do. And then Hee-yeol takes the tiny little leg (with that skeletal foot) and starts playing with it, which totally freaks the others out.
girlfriday: Juck says he got in trouble for not sending romantic messages to his wife like the hyungs did, and at first he was mad at Na PD because he thought they’d been edited out, but realized he never said them. Hee-yeol, on the other hand, is pretty much son-in-law of the year.
javabeans: That’s hilarious. Apparently his mother-in-law was watching it with her friends, so when his message aired she was gushing about how romantic he is. Next they talk about how the trip was pretty hard on all of them, from a physical standpoint. I’ll say.
girlfriday: Sang says their day trip to Moray was the hardest on him — oh these are the circular amphitheater-looking ruins that got cut out of the main broadcast. They’re apparently an ancient crop experimentation system, and you can climb down into them using staircase-like stones.
javabeans: I have to say, the editing is done really cleverly, which I’ll assume is Na PD’s doing, because there’s no central narrative here and no way to hold together this episode. But he takes little threads from one topic to the next, as we see the guys testing out the echo at the bottom of the ruins, and that seguing into Juck talking about how one side effect of being a musician is always testing out sounds, and that goes into rumination about his twenty-year-long career.
girlfriday: They make the long climb back up, and decide to take a taxi instead of getting back on the tour bus. Hee-yeol says that meeting the local villagers there was the most memorable part of the whole trip for him, and we go back to the moment when they came upon a group of people grilling meat just on the side of the road.
javabeans: They’re given a plate of meat and stand around wondering how to pay, but the locals just tell them (gesture at them, really) to just eat, since it’s a party, and they thank them profusely at the warm reception. Then Sang notes that this is the saltiest food he’s ever eaten, and the guys decide they should eat it all with a smile anyway, so they smile and laugh while saying to each other, “Wow, salty. So salty. Salty!”
girlfriday: They all interview later that it was truly the saltiest food ever, but that it was the warmth of the villagers they happened to meet by chance that touched them. They take the train up to Machu Picchu and are pretty quiet at first, but then an American woman sits down next to Juck and suddenly they’re all attentive and lively.
javabeans: Haha, they really must have taken a liking to her. Later, Sang interviews and basically can give her full bio, how she’s a teacher from New York who comes to South America with middle schoolers during their vacation.
girlfriday: The boys do a rather remarkable job of explaining their very bizarre TV show to her in English: that they’re musicians who got kidnapped and put on a plane to Peru with no luggage.
javabeans: She cracks up hearing them describe how Na PD hoodwinked them, and Juck adds, “It’s kind of a crime, isn’t it?” And then they show her the news articles about them on their smartphones. They’re so giddy to be chatting with her. Seriously, they remind me of junior high school boys talking to OMG A GIRL.
girlfriday: I know, they just wear their excitement on their faces, it’s so cute.
javabeans: Na PD asks whether Sang has any problem with the States, and the guys all know what he’s talking about. A montage of news articles tell us that the press picked up on the fact that Hee-yeol and Juck returned to Korea without him, leaving Sang behind in the U.S. (where they had a layover). He was left behind in Dallas, where he missed the plane. Why? He calls the culprit “that problematic poncho,” haha.
girlfriday: We see them at the airport waiting near the gate, when Sang gets delayed going through security. Na PD comes up to Hee-yeol and Juck and asks pointedly what they’ll do if Sang has to take tomorrow’s plane — surely they’ll stay behind with their friend? Ha, Hee-yeol turns the camera away from them and loudly disparages Juck for betraying Sang.
javabeans: “The living have to keep living!” You see them boarding the plane and musing that it could be quite entertaining, framing it as a ditching of Sang, while Sang is stuck talking to the airline people with a serious-looking face. But then later, he admits that he really was happy to be left behind.
girlfriday: Hee, it’s because the airline put them up in a fancy hotel, and he was so pleased after living in hostels for ten days.
javabeans: The hotel was a bit of a drive away from the heart of Dallas, but they figured they might as well make the trip while they’re there.
girlfriday: He shoots this hilarious infotainment reel called “Use it Or Not,” about the site where JFK was assassinated.
javabeans: It’s pretty entertaining, because he’s talking in this every pleasant, even-keel voice and acting like a friendly flight attendant, while outlining the events of the assassination. “That X is where he was shot. That is where the killer shot from.”
girlfriday: Na PD calls it super old-school variety, and the other boys die laughing.
javabeans: It looks like he at least had a good time on his unexpected layover, and we see footage from before the Peru trip where he said he doesn’t really like traveling and hasn’t done much of it. Fast-forward to clips from this trip where he’s laughing and joking and having a ball.
girlfriday: He finally arrives in Korea a day later, and aw, Juck is there with Na PD to greet him, and Hee-yeol calls. Back at the restaurant, Na PD says it’s time to wrap up their trip, because next week, “the real youths arrive!” He calls them the fake youths by comparison, and they protest.
javabeans: Na PD asks if they know how he kidnapped the new youths, and Sang says, “I hear it’s similar to us.” Juck counters, “No, it was worse.” How? HOW???
girlfriday: We see clips of their shocked faces, and Na PD describes the trip’s concept: “We wanted to gift the twentysomething youths with the worst possible scenario on earth.” Hee-yeol cringes, which just makes me anstier to know what they did.
javabeans: That looks like the funnest trip ever.
girlfriday: Is it next week yet??