Three Meals a Day: Episode 1
girlfriday: Yay, Three Meals a Day is here! I don’t normally watch cooking shows, but I have a feeling this show is mostly just another chronicle of Na PD and Lee Seo-jin’s bickering bromance.
javabeans: Right. I’m even keeping my expectations low, because of all the pre-show stuff where Seo-jin has been complaining about how doing this program was less fun and more pain than doing Grandpas Over Flowers. Of course, his entertainment is often inversely proportional to ours, but when your preview is full of people saying onscreen, “This program is going to be so boring, you guys are doomed,” I’m going to try to keep that in mind.
girlfriday: I’ll die laughing if the show actually sucks. It’ll be his revenge in a meta way.
javabeans: Yes, his version of “Maybe now he’ll stop calling me!” Is that like tanking a date instead of breaking up with someone?
girlfriday: Now I imagine Na PD calling Seo-jin all the time like Ho-joon calls Yeon-seok.
javabeans: I already kind of think of it like that. But where Ho-joon is the sweet puppy who just wants to cuddle, Na PD is the kid brother who shows his love by making your life miserable. But you know Na PD wouldn’t pick on Seo-jin if he were a sad, helpless type. He only does it because Seo-jin is so perfect you just want to… like… muss his hair and cut all his shoelaces and swap his shampoo for dish soap or something.
girlfriday: Yes totally. The aggravating thing is that he’ll still look beautiful, but there’s a joy in the process of annoying a hyung like that.
javabeans: So we start Three Meals a Day by flashing back to “A long time ago in a Grandpas Over Flowers…” and all the mentions of Seo-jin cooking and his hate for it. Every time the producers joked about doing a cooking show with him next, he had complained at them that his cooking show would be disastrous and boring.
girlfriday: I forgot that Na PD even made up a theme song for their fake show, King of Cooking. Seo-jin had declared even back then: “If you do it, I’ll work really hard to ruin that show!” Fast-forward to this past September, where Na PD goes to a pub to meet Seo-jinnie, and of course comes armed with hidden cameras.
javabeans: At this point you should just assume Na PD is always hiding a few cameras somewhere.
girlfriday: Ha, Na PD says they’re doing that cooking show after all, and he’s already bought a studio to shoot it in. He’s such a liar.
javabeans: I like how Na PD doesn’t exactly explain the catch, but Seo-jin starts to get an inkling when he hears that the studio is all the way in Gangwon Province.
girlfriday: With no warning, suddenly Taecyeon arrives, and Na PD just says he’ll be Seo-jin’s cooking partner for the show. Seo-jin just laughs and tells Taec that he’s dead, since being the maknae means he’ll get stuck with all the work.
javabeans: Na PD hands over these plastic bags containing tiny seeds, and tells them this is how the program will start. Cue: Time-lapse footage of a seed growing into plants, and shots of farmland and rustic-style cooking. The question that leads us into the show proper: “Will that seed have grown well?”
girlfriday: We see that Tae actually took his seeds home and waited for them to sprout before planting them.
javabeans: Aw, he actually really worked hard on those plants. He props them up with these q-tips to help them grow, which I’m not sure is necessary, but that’s so adorable.
girlfriday: LOL, and then Na PD calls Seo-jin to ask how his seeds are growing, and he just laughs, “I knew it! Why are those seeds at your mom’s house?”
javabeans: We cut to his mother’s house where Seo-jin is seated in front of these nicely growing plants, and when his manager asks if this is the first time he’s seeing them. It totally is.
girlfriday: He’s super cuddly with his niece, who’s been watering the plant for him, as she asks what the plants are.
javabeans: I love the contrast between Seo-jin’s voice and his words as he answers lovingly, “I don’t know and I don’t care, I’d like it if they died.”
girlfriday: The first day of the trip rolls around, and Taec comes out with his potted plant in hand.
javabeans: Why are they so tiny? Did he kill them with love?
girlfriday: I was just thinking how even if Seo-jin had lied that he had grown the plant himself, it’s so obvious the difference when a mom raises a plant — Taec’s looks like he just planted them last night because he forgot to do his homework.
javabeans: They compare their pots, and Taecyeon is so shocked at the difference. Seo-jin says he should’ve given those seeds over to his garden like he did, and Taec is all, “You sent yours to a garden?” LOL. Yeah, pretty much.
girlfriday: The PDs try to point out how good it was that Taec raised his himself. Seo-jin: “Why’d you do something as useless as that?”
javabeans: You know, I really want to watch Seo-jin play a character who’s dirt-poor, just to see how he’d interpret that. I mean, he’s perfect for all the kings and noblemen and chaebols he plays, but I just want to see, as an experiment. Maybe this is what drives Na PD.
girlfriday: I think so. It’s just another form of mussing up perfect hair. They walk along a small paved road through the tiny mountain village, and Seo-jin seems happy at least for now, enjoying the sights. But then it only takes a few minutes before he grumbles, “I must be a city person.”
javabeans: Especially once he takes stock of the old-fashioned house where they’ll be staying and notes the outhouse bathroom and the yard faucet where he’ll have to wash, instead of a modern bathroom with shower. All he can do is laugh.
girlfriday: I dunno, the house seems nice to me, at least compared to the village homes in shows like Family Outing or Dad, Where Are We Going.
javabeans: The house is nice, but I’ve never had to live with an outhouse. Na PD sits them down in front of the yard where there are all these crops growing, and explains that they’ll have one task to accomplish while here: feed themselves three times a day.
girlfriday: I love how Na PD’s voice gets super high-pitched when he says stuff like this. ALL you have to do is eat! Like it’s a gift. He says they’ll provide one thing: rice.
javabeans: He gives them the menu they must produce tonight: a rice dish with radishes and a soybean soup. If they don’t, they can’t sleep tonight, and Seo-jin barks, “What are we, in boot camp? Whaddaya mean, we can’t sleep?” Taec keeps asking what radish rice is but goes unheard, so it’s like this noise in the background. “Radish rice? What’s radish rice? Tell me what it is!”
girlfriday: Here we go, with the sudden additional rules. So all they have to do is eat… if they don’t want to suffer punishments, is that it?
javabeans: They go inside the house, and find the cutest little puppy just sleeping inside. That thing is tiny, it’s like a toy.
girlfriday: How cute. Of course Seo-jin is characteristically unmoved by the cuteness: “WHAT. IS. THE. DOG.”
javabeans: Taecyeon volunteers to start the rice, and we see that he was pretty confident in his cooking skills. Then the second he starts, Seo-jin points out he forgot to wash the rice, and Taec is all, “Am I supposed to?”
girlfriday: Oh noes. This is going to be terrible, isn’t it?
javabeans: Taec washes the rice once, then dumps it, and it’s totally cloudy. Oh no, he’s Seung-gi! He only thinks he can cook!
girlfriday: God I hope so. There’s nothing more entertaining than when Seung-gi cooks. They ask where he learned this random stuff about farming, and he says, “The internet. I have a lot of useless knowledge.”
javabeans: For instance, he impresses the PDs by knowing you’re supposed to tie cabbage in winter, but when asked why, he can only guess, “Because it’s cold?” So he starts cooking the rice in the old-fashioned stone pot that’s set into the kitchen, and Seo-jin realizes that they have nowhere to cook their soup. Wait, are you just going to build a fire in the yard and do this camping style?
girlfriday: Apparently. Taec has a hard time even lighting a match to start the fire, and behind him, Seo-jin just starts going back and forth hauling bricks over to build himself a second campfire stove contraption. By the time he’s finished, Taec still hasn’t managed to light one match. They finally get some help from the PDs, but then the next hurdle is the fact that he can’t get the fire started, and all they do is keep going through newspapers and forming a huge smoke cloud.
javabeans: This is cracking me up. Taec is the guy who’s confident in his ability to cook but can’t cook, and Seo-jin is the guy who insists he can’t cook and yet can. I don’t know if he’s just lying about not cooking because he clearly knows how you’re supposed to do things, while Taec misses obvious steps.
girlfriday: Later in an interview, Seo-jin goes on about how much he helped tonight, when really it should’ve been Taec doing everything. While he’s cutting up veggies, Taec loses the fire altogether, so then Seo-jin has to teach him how to do that too. Hahaha.
javabeans: Taec goes out to collect the chives for the soybean soup, and wonders how he’s supposed to harvest them. He snaps off the stalks because he doesn’t want to uproot the whole crop… and the show says, “You’re supposed to eat the roots, dummy!”
girlfriday: They stand around staring blankly, still confused about what the heck radish rice is anyway. (Their phones have been confiscated, so they can’t even check.) They just chop up pieces of radish and add it to the cooking rice, because what else can you do at this point anyway?
javabeans: Thankfully these are two pretty forgiving dishes, and even with them sorta dumping vegetables into pots, it comes out decently in the end.
girlfriday: As they dig in, we get interview clips of Na PD asking them what they normally eat when they’re alone. Seo-jin eats sandwiches and salads throughout the day, and then goes out to drink at night. Taec eats ramyun. Somehow that makes their simple rice and soup meal seem even more satisfying.
javabeans: After they finish, they have to do the dishes, which is another challenge since the water spout is in the front yard and the kitchen area is at a distance. Taec has a mishap with the hose and gets sprayed all over, and ha, he’s already earned himself a nickname: “Ok Dummy.” (Er, that’s Ok as in his surname, not okay.)
girlfriday: Once they’re finally done, they just lie in the living room like a pair of corpses. Suddenly out of nowhere, Seo-jin just starts cackling uncontrollably and shouts, “Why are we doing this?!”
javabeans: They’re laughing so hard they’re snorfling, haha. And then the screen turns dark and in ominous red writing, we’re told that this is when suspicious things start to happen in the house… We see them lying in dead silence for a while, and then the house phone starts to ring. Seo-jin goes to answer, expecting more complications.
girlfriday: A woman asks for someone named Min-kyung and Seo-jin says it’s a wrong number and hangs up, but he keeps wondering about it afterwards, thinking it odd that someone would call a farm house looking for a young woman. It’s creeping me out, how the show keeps pointing out that they’re all alone in there.
javabeans: Taecyeon wishes he had some water to drink, and Seo-jin sighs that there’s a bunch in his van, but it’s out of reach now. Taec asks if there’s any way to get it, and a sly glint appears in Seo-jin’s eye. He calls his mother to get his manager’s number, to take advantage of this lapse in security(?), in that nobody’s around to interfere.
girlfriday: But then just as she’s about to give him the manager’s number, the call cuts out. What. He can’t manage to get her back on the line, so then he just sits there for a long while in silence. Suddenly the phone rings again, and a man’s voice asks ominously if this is Lee Seo-jin and Seo-jin is so confused: “Who are you?” The guy on the other end breaks into a laugh: “Hyung, it’s me, Seung-gi!” Seung-gi-yaaa!
javabeans: Dude Seung-gi’s being super suspicious to my ear, all hearty and jovial while Seo-jin guesses that the line is being tapped.
girlfriday: Lol, Seo-jin sounds suuuuper paranoid. Seung-gi’s just chattering away (it’s suspicious that he called but he’s not saying anything of importance), and Seo-jin just keeps repeating, “I’m being tapped. This line is tapped. They’re listening, so don’t say anything else!”
javabeans: Doesn’t it sound like they’re in two different movies? Seung-gi’s in a family comedy, and Seo-jin’s in a paranoid thriller.
girlfriday: Yes, it’s hilariously disjointed.
javabeans: They wash up and settle down for the night, and then a quick preview shows us the struggles in store for the next day when they’ll have to scrounge up three meals. Seo-jin at one point says it’s like they’re eating dirt and Taec calls a pancake a cracker, so I’m guessing it’s a mixed victory.
girlfriday: They wake up to a cold and windy day, and Taec goes out to the field to harvest sorghum, which of course he does all backwards and wrong.
javabeans: The show points out that he’s losing more than he’s harvesting, and he doesn’t realize for a full hour. Haha. At this rate they won’t even manage breakfast in time for breakfast hour. See, this is why I just skip this step and start with lunch.
girlfriday: There’s this whole show of Seo-jin putting on his gear for the day, which includes sunglasses and rubber gloves, and they make him out to be the fixer who scans the area looking for things fix with his superpowers. He takes one taste of the soup Taec’s saying is a little off… and then says, “Let’s just eat it!”
javabeans: The rice is a sadder affair, and looks really strange. They know it’s wrong but not why, and the show explains that despite their efforts to harvest and clean the sorghum, they missed the step where they were supposed to sift the grains and remove the hard outer shell. They also didn’t soak it for four hours in water. Ha, that’s going to be one gritty breakfast.
girlfriday: Seo-jin: “It’s like biting into rocks.”
javabeans: It looks like you took regular rice and then sprinkled popcorn kernels in it that haven’t been cooked.
girlfriday: Taec says (as if it’s reassuring), “There aren’t any rocks! Though there might be dirt.”
javabeans: They sit there eating and then we see that it’s 11:30 am… which means the minute they finish, they have to start preparing lunch. HAHA.
girlfriday: HAHAHA. This is hilariously futile. They’re told to make chive pancakes for lunch, so they literally turn around and start working on lunch. Hey, why wash two sets of dishes when you can just do it all at once?
javabeans: That’s Taec’s philosophy. He just flips the pot lid upside down and is all, “Let’s do this now.” He knows how to make this, though, so things proceed fairly quickly as they make the pancakes. Seo-jin declares this a hundred times better than breakfast, and Taec says that lunch is actually helping breakfast go down, which felt stuck in his chest somewhere.
girlfriday: My favorite part is that the table is still set from breakfast, and they just add the pancakes. It’s just one endless meal.
javabeans: Then we jump to Seoul, where the show is collecting its first set of guests, starting with Yoon Yeo-jung. Aw, I loved her in Noonas, and she was such a great mom to both Seo-jin and Taec in Wonderful Season, all gruff and bottled-up but so strong and heartfelt.
girlfriday: That’s so cute that she’s coming along, because I always wanted them to do a mix of Grandpas and Noonas because there are so many costars in the two casts. And Yoon Yeo-jung is just extra awesome.
javabeans: Next up is Choi Hwa-jung, who was the other mom in Wonderful Season (and also Dokko Jin’s agent in Best Love). This’ll be great. That drama had its flaws, but I loved the two mom scenario where you think they should’ve hated each other (the husband was a perennial cheater), but instead the ladies bonded and stood together when the dad came crawling back.
girlfriday: As the moms get going from Seoul, the boys realize that no one’s watching them right now, and Seo-jin makes an escape attempt in broad daylight. He runs to the exit, but a staffer comes chasing after him so eventually he comes back in and just joins Taec for an afternoon nap.
javabeans: In the car ride down, the moms talk freely about the boys, mostly ribbing them — like how Seo-jin is the type of person to hide the good stuff when guests come instead of serving it. Na PD is loving this, as he loves anytime Seo-jin is mocked.
girlfriday: They’re eating the entire ride, and Yeo-jung is all, “We should eat now and starve later. What could they possibly feed us?”
javabeans: Yeo-jung’s ninety-year-old mother packed all this food for them and the boys, and I love that they’re just eating it all right then and there with the PDs.
girlfriday: Back at the farm, Seo-jin and Taec set out to make radish kimchi, and Seo-jin asks what the plan is. Taec gets as far as washing and cutting the radish into cubes. Seo-jin: “And then what?” Taec: “…” He runs into the house to make a phone call… to JYP?
javabeans: What could JYP possibly know about making kkakdugi? Ah, he wants his mother’s number but there’s no answer at the office. So Seo-jin calls his mother, who really should’ve been the first source they tried, and Mom knows best.
girlfriday: It sounds rather simple from what Mom says, but when you factor in things like having to ground your own red peppers in a stone grinder, this becomes a much more involved ordeal.
javabeans: The moms arrive while the boys are busily grinding away at the peppers, and when Mom Hwa-jung asks for food, Seo-jinnie says, “Didn’t you eat before coming? You should’ve known to eat ahead of time.” Which cracks me up because the moms just said that in the car.
girlfriday: As soon as Seo-jin sees that they brought food with them (which is just leftovers from their food in the car), Seo-jin declares that they’ll just eat that and stop cooking dinner. Na PD chimes in that the dinner menu will be a feast, and Seo-jin just silently brandishes his knife. Na PD: “They came all this way!” Seo-jin: “You were wrong to bring them then!”
javabeans: The ladies have brought wine and Mom Hwa-jung suggests building a campfire, and Seo-jin keeps trying to impress upon them that this is not a fun trip but a difficult one. Once he tells them that there’s no bathroom here, it starts to dawn on them and they all start joking that the’re doomed, and the show is doomed.
girlfriday: …And of course it turns out that the show is a huge hit (it scored 5.6% for its first outing), because the more Seo-jin complains, the more people want to see his suffering. I love that Yeo-jung is convinced that Taec is doing all the work and Seo-jin is sitting around doing nothing, because that’s what it looks like from the outside, but nothing could be further from the truth.
javabeans: Totally! You’d think she knew from the Seung-gi Effect that the most flailing effort doesn’t indicate the most work, but they also do know Seo-jin’s personality so they figure he’s trying to do as little as possible. (The thing is, he IS trying to do as little as possible, but he still ends up having to do a lot.)
girlfriday: For instance, while the other three are busy cooking, he’s in the back building a fire so that the room will be nice and warm for the moms later, and when Yeo-jung goes to check on him, she nags him just like a mom so he runs away.
javabeans: The ladies help out while the food cooks, and Yeo-jung says under her breath to Hwa-jung, “Let’s eat and run.” Hwa-jung fans the fire and laughs, “I haven’t even done this in sageuk!” Taec somehow manages to open the wine bottle using a chopstick, and they pour red wine into rice bowls to drink, lol.
girlfriday: At least now that the moms are here, I’m less worried about how things will taste. Seo-jin suddenly has to be on his best behavior, but he also gets to let them cook stuff.
javabeans: Hwa-jung has brought meat, but of course Na PD has to make this into a deal and in order to get it out of his grubby hands, Seo-jin has to agree to harvest sorghum later. Caption: “These guys, selling their souls for meat…” We get a glimpse of their harvesting efforts later and Taec interviews, “I’m gonna set fire to all the sorghum here!”
girlfriday: I know they’re going to have to suffer for it later, but man, that samgyupsal sizzling on the pot lid looks so yummy.
javabeans: I love watching Hwa-jung eat, because she clearly enjoys it. She wants more, and eggs Seo-jin on to make a deal to double his harvest requirement for another serving of meat. He just agrees to it like he’ll eat now and wriggle out of the deal later.
girlfriday: Seo-jin has this confidence now about outsmarting Na PD later, and just assures him now with a straight face that he’ll totally do double the work.
javabeans: The moms comment about Seo-jin’s new movie with Seung-gi, wondering why he’d take a mere cameo role. Then he says his character has an affair with Moon Chae-won and then they’re all, “Ahhh now we get it.” He tells Hwa-jung to shoot something with Moon Chae-won — ha, expressly for the reason that she eats the most out of any actress he’s seen before. The implication is that she and Hwa-jung would get along great since they’re huge eaters, and I love Hwa-jung’s affronted response: “What, like I eat a lot?” Um, you’ve been eating for an hour straight on my screen!
girlfriday: She’s really funny. I like that the moms bicker freely with Seo-jin, because Taec just seems a little enamored with the cool hyung, while they’re like, It’s so unlike you to be trying so hard.
javabeans: Oh, it turns out Yeo-jung has a small role in that Wachowski Netflix drama Sense8 with Bae Doo-na. I’m glad to see some really good actors in the background roles, even if it’s probably mostly because they speak English.
girlfriday: That’s cool. I hope it turns out well.
javabeans: The moms wonder about breakfast and then figure they can skip it, at which point Na PD says they’ve prepared something special. The ladies know not to accept anything at face value anymore (he’d framed this guest visit as a barbecue party) and Yeo-jung retorts that Na PD is a born scam artist.
girlfriday: The preview for next week shows Seo-jin wondering where Na PD disappeared to, guessing that it means he’s bringing over more guests. Omo, it’s Gu & Sub!
javabeans: THE HALBAE CREW! That’s fantastic because Seo-jin and Taec were just wishing for male guests so they could foist the work off on them, but with halbaes they’re still stuck being the cooking slaves. I predict even more soul-selling for more meat.
girlfriday: Yay, I can’t wait for halbae hijinks! Seo-jin and Taec are so going to end up harvesting that entire field of sorghum by the end of this trip.
javabeans: Harvesting or burning.
- Three Meals a Day, with a heaping side of bickering
- Na PD whips up cooking variety program with Lee Seo-jin, Taecyeon
- Na PD baits Lee Seo-jin to headline new variety show
- Grandpas Over Flowers gets remade for American TV
- Wonderful Season: Episodes 1-2
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 1
- Na PD on grandpas, money, and Seo-jinnie the con artist
- Seo-jin gets cookin’ for Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain