Grandpas Over Flowers in Greece: Episode 2
javabeans: We’re back! So the first episode was a mega-hit, both among public opinion and with the ratings, which averaged 10% and hit a high of 12.5%. I enjoyed reading the handful of news articles that were clearly trying to stir a tempest in a teapot by suggesting that the disproportionate attention on Ji-woo and Seo-jin might be a detriment, and all the netizens basically responded, “God, reporters, you guys are the only ones making trouble! Shut up and enjoy it!”
girlfriday: And everyone who’s seen all four seasons of this show would say that doing the exact same thing again without a new twist would be boring. It’s so much cuter when you give Seo-jinnie a love interest!
javabeans: In the morning on Day 2, Seo-jin and Ji-woo are down to breakfast first, while the halbaes lounge in bed. Ha, Geun-hyung halbae calls Ji-woo by the wrong name (Ji-hee) — don’t you love how she’s the huge A-list star and the halbaes are just all, That’s a nice kid.
girlfriday: It’s so funny how she’s just another nice girl to them. They start to talk about getting older and Gu halbae says that he likes working more than anything, but sighs that drama roles are pretty few for people their age. I guess that’s true, but I feel like I see these halbaes all year round in dramaland.
javabeans: It’s twofold, that there aren’t a lot of roles, but also not a lot of actors. Gu halbae tries to list all the seventysomethings still working, and can only think of one offhand.
girlfriday: The group gathers outside the hotel later in the morning, and when Ji-woo cheerily tells Il-sub halbae that his shirt is on inside-out, he just whips it off and puts it back on right there. She cracks up and turns her head away.
javabeans: I love that Ji-woo calls them all “saem” for Teacher instead of “seonsaeng-nim” — it’s what you say when you’re a teenager, but it works for her.
girlfriday: It’s like she’s just a perpetual teenager. I know we’ve seen these halbaes together for a long time, but it still weirds me out when they’re all, “Hey you!” and “Hyung!” to each other. It’s so familiar and easygoing.
javabeans: Or when a cute granny goes, “Oppaaaa!”
girlfriday: That’s the cutest. So the group goes to visit a mosque, which I guess includes a speech or presentation about the history of the place. They sit listening for a while, and Seo-jinnie totally spends the whole time whispering things to Ji-woo. At one point he totally reaches out to touch her for no reason.
javabeans: He cracks me up, because as we know from previous trips, he’s not going to pay attention to sightseeing details when he has to worry about trip logistics instead. He asks if Ji-woo’s bracelet is gold, and suggests they sell it for money. One-track mind, this guy.
girlfriday: Well, two-track mind now. Touch Ji-woo, then sell her jewelry for money.
javabeans: The tour lecture is given in English, and of course the only guy who can understand them is busy giggling with his partner instead of listening. Gu halbae isn’t even trying, and mimics the guide’s hand gestures like they’re baseball signs.
girlfriday: At any point I expect him to reach into his backpack for his bottle of soju.
javabeans: Granted, it IS an hourlong lecture in a language they don’t understand. The halbaes look totally zoned out. And is Soon-jae halbae napping? Seo-jin actually gets up to see if they can exit mid-lecture, and thus commences the (not-so-)stealthy exit mission.
girlfriday: You can see the relief on everyone’s faces when they get the signal to leave, and they all sneak out without shoes on going, “We should’ve done this ages ago!”
javabeans: Geun-hyung halbae asks mock-sternly, “WHO suggested we come here?”
girlfriday: Soon-jae halbae doesn’t admit that it was his idea, but just says sheepishly, “Who knew they were going to do a whole promotional lecture?” Then it’s on to the gold market for shopping. They don’t really buy anything, until they reach the dock to take a boat, and Ji-woo gets it into her head that she NEEDS a parasol. It’s really funny how she declares it waiting for someone to respond, but no one does, so she heads over to the stand by herself and bargains her way down successfully.
javabeans: She’s so pleased with it, but Seo-jin takes one glance and declares it like a tablecloth, and you can see Ji-woo just slump in disappointment right away. Then she literally shuffles over to the halbaes to get their approval, since Seo-jin was such a buzzkill.
girlfriday: It’s such a funny little moment. All she wanted was one It’s cute, but he couldn’t give that to her.
javabeans: The group heads over to meet Il-sub halbae at a restaurant, and it’s sweet how she spots him and just bursts into a singsongy “Saaaaaaeeeem!” and goes running over with arms open.
girlfriday: Can you imagine getting greeted like that every day by Choi Ji-woo?
javabeans: You’d feel like the most important person in the world, that’s for sure. They head inside a Popeye’s for lunch, and while Ji-woo and Seo-jin go to order, Il-sub halbae shuffles in last. He starts to seat himself next to Ji-woo’s seat, but Gu halbae grabs his arm and steers him to join their halbae table instead, haha.
girlfriday: Was he messing with their matchmaking scheme?
javabeans: Good thing his hyungs are there to set him straight. Can’t you imagine the inner dialogue: I don’t care if you think she’s pretty! She’s for him! Let the kids be!
girlfriday: Lunch is a success (fried chicken is kind of an easy sell), and then they go back to the hotel to rest, and Ji-woo and Seo-jin research the next hotel to book in Athens.
javabeans: Their exchanges are the funniest. Seo-jin: “We should book it now.” Ji-woo: “I wonder if we’ll have to reserve after the desert trip.” Seo-jin: “I said we need to do it now.” Ji-woo: “But we’ll be tired after the desert.” Seo-jin: “That’s why I said now!”
girlfriday: Seo-jin: “Let’s just book this one.” Ji-woo: “Oppa, just look at this one, it’s nice!” Seo-jin: “They’re all the same. Let’s just book it.” Ji-woo: “How can you book a hotel in under ten minutes?” Seo-jin: “We’re not in the position to look at that stuff. This one is the cheapest!” He clearly pisses her off, and then a few minutes later, Na PD calls them out and nudges, “So, I heard you two had a lovers’ spat.”
javabeans: As Seo-jin shows her on his phone, you can clearly hear Na PD and a producer laughing in the background, saying how they’re bickering just like real couples when they go shopping together. You can see that Seo-jin is actually going out of his way to at least pretend to care about the room and balcony and location, but he still wants to speed through it and she’s still pushing for more comparison shopping.
girlfriday: It just goes on for a comically long time, with him trying to hurry the process without starting a fight, and her trying to get him to look at just one more place before deciding.
javabeans: And then you get the reverse shot, where you see the halbaes sitting in the foreground, literally yawning in boredom, with Seo-jin and Ji-woo arguing in the background.
girlfriday: You just know that if ONE thing is wrong with that place, Seo-jin will never hear the end of it.
javabeans: Remember that Rainbow hotel?
girlfriday: Hahahaha. That was the best mistake. They all squeeze into an SUV to go on a desert drive, and judging from the anti-nausea medicine they all take at the start, it’s going to be an off-roading event.
javabeans: You can see their nervousness on their faces. I laughed out loud when Il-sub halbae suggested the driver take it easy “since we have a woman with us” (uh huh), and Ji-woo just chirped that she loves this kind of thing.
girlfriday: This is almost like taking a date to a horror movie. Ji-woo gets jostled around so much in the backseat that she and Seo-jin are squeezed together for most of the ride.
javabeans: He certainly looks happy. They pause to take pictures, and a producer asks Soon-jae halbae if he’s okay. He shrugs, “All the roads in Korea were like that back in the day.”
girlfriday: Seo-jin always does the cool-kid thing of joining in the pictures with half-assed Vs and whatnot, and this time Ji-woo is around to call him out for not doing the group thing, like not waving like everyone else.
javabeans: He keeps at a distance while the others gather to watch the sunset, and the producer prods him with questions like “How does it feel to watch the sun setting over the desert?” Seo-jin tells him to stop asking questions like that (he’s worrying about what to do in Athens tomorrow), but at least concedes that it’s nice, it’s totally nice okay?
girlfriday: I do love that his grumpiness is so consistent. It makes him feel real and not a persona invented for variety.
javabeans: Geun-hyung halbae gets on the phone to his wife, and we see once more how doting he is (with a montage of phone calls he’ll make home during this trip). He was so devoted on the previous trips, and this time is no different — he literally describes everything in vivid detail, like how high the sun is in the sky, and what it looks like, and how they got here today. Then later he plays a video on his phone to show Na PD — it’s Geun-hyung halbae singing a ballad for his wife. Maybe this is too morbid for me to say, but for his own sake I hope he goes before she does.
girlfriday: I think most older couples hope for that, because it would be too hard to cope the other way around. The serenade is too sweet. After they watch the sunset, the desert tour ends at a campsite that includes dinner and a show.
javabeans: The buffet isn’t open until after the show, but pretty much the instant it’s over, Seo-jin brings over a starter plate to the table for the halbaes. You know he was haunting the buffet like the whole time, just hoping the halbaes wouldn’t revolt before dinnertime.
girlfriday: He probably gave the attendant the evil eye until he finally caved.
javabeans: You know, it really IS a tremendous asset for this series that Seo-jin doesn’t care about tourist anything, because it makes him the best errand boy ever.
girlfriday: I know, he’s as efficient as an actual tour guide from the city they’re visiting, because he doesn’t care at all about seeing the things.
javabeans: I mean, I bet you he would enjoy things on his own personal vacation, but it’s a boon that he doesn’t consider this a vacation. This is work. He is the servant.
girlfriday: In the morning, everyone trickles into the dining room for breakfast, and Ji-woo busts out travel packets of drip coffee, which totally makes me want to go out and buy some. That earns her more praise from the halbaes.
javabeans: This is the kind of stuff in dramas that make me want to go buy the thing immediately.
girlfriday: They head to the airport, and have to stop for mango ice cream. Seo-jin wonders aloud why the halbaes have such an affinity for mango, since they have to have it everywhere they go.
javabeans: I feel like Taiwan ignited a mango fervor in the halbaes that has yet to be extinguished. You know they went home after that and just always want mango now. So it’s a five-hour flight to Athens, and upon arrival, the show notes how it’s suddenly so cold. Uh-oh. This is going to be a plot point, right?
girlfriday: Yeah it’s looking kind of dire. With anyone else you figure they’d just deal, but with the halbaes, you actually worry about their health.
javabeans: Seo-jin goes around checking and double-checking that they’re zipped up as securely as possible, and then it’s off to the subway.
girlfriday: This is the stuff that makes me melt — when a guy that’s cold on most days suddenly does something sweet and adorable. Gah. And I wonder why I love dramas.
javabeans: While they wait, Ji-woo busts out a pack of candies and hands them out. Seo-jin interviews that he usually doesn’t like any of that kind of stuff, but in the moment, he takes it and tells Ji-woo, “Oh this is the kind I like.” HA. He says it TWICE.
girlfriday: And he certainly doesn’t turn down a second piece when she feeds it to him, heh. They take the train to the city center, and there’s a segment about Gu halbae’s neverending curiosity, and how he’s always intrigued by something new and eager to explore.
javabeans: They near their stop on their way to Acropolis, and by now the subway has become packed and Seo-jin has to work his way over to their luggage to get it ready to take with them. This turns into a comical segment as he’s trying to signal to Ji-woo to help, because there’s a tight crowd and not much time left, and you just see the panic written on his face in the midst of this whole car of strange faces.
girlfriday: Ack, this is stressful. I picture the doors closing and Seo-jin having to go an extra stop with half the luggage.
javabeans: Even as he’s exiting the car, he’s saying, “Is this it? Were there six? Six? Did we get it all?”
girlfriday: Oh noes, and even when they do manage to get out with all their bags, they get lost in the subway trying to find their connecting train.
javabeans: The tension mounts as Seo-jin consults the maps, and the music gets more intense as he gets more stressed out — and then cut over to Ji-woo, who just asks some strangers who point her the right way. It’s a total wah-wah moment. She interviews that Seo-jin doesn’t ask people for directions, like she doesn’t know any men ever. Ji-woo: “But if he just asked, it would be so easy…”
girlfriday: So classic. After she asks, they find their way over to the opposite train platform, only they have to walk down the stairs with suitcases to get there. Seo-jin looks a little panicked again, but the halbaes just hoist up their suitcases and march down without complaint.
javabeans: They make it to their hotel rooms, and everybody’s pleased with the location — you can see Acropolis right from the window.
girlfriday: I love Ji-woo’s endless array of coffees and teas.
javabeans: She’s like Mary Poppins! I’m pretty sure half her luggage is treats for the halbaes.
girlfriday: It’s not unlike traveling with you.
javabeans: She definitely has me beat. She has three different varieties of cups, five sizes of paper plates, and multiple tablecloths!
girlfriday: She has like a mini-apartment on the go.
javabeans: Is that her mother in the background of her packing video, staring wide-mouthed in shock at her luggage?
girlfriday: It is! Ha, even Mom is like, “You have to take some of that out! How can you take it all?” Ji-woo: “But it’s so pretty!”
javabeans: Oh my god. They traveled close to the Lunar New Year, and she brought rice cakes so they could have traditional rice cake soup!
girlfriday: Dude, that’s some dedication.
javabeans: She says that like it’s an obvious given, not even a cute fun thing. “But… we have to have soup. Duh.”
girlfriday: But then she meets her first hurdle — she has to ask Seo-jin Oppa for money to go grocery shopping…
javabeans: You can totally see her adopt that whole body language and preparation, where she’s girding her loins for the ordeal, then launches into the argument. And of course Na PD is sitting right there, egging her on. Ji-woo: “I have to buy fruit and things!” Seo-jin: “Nobody eats fruit.” Na PD: “I hear the oranges here are delicious.”
girlfriday: Seo-jin will do anything not to give up the purse strings: “Should I go with you?” Ji-woo: “You said you hate grocery shopping!” Later the PDs ask why he insisted on going with her, and he says that after seeing her buy ice cream that first day, he knew he couldn’t let her shop on her own.
javabeans: That goddamned ice cream is SO going to become A Thing on this trip! He’s going to bring it up all the time, and she’s going to go home hating ice cream.
girlfriday: You know Na PD is taking her side just hoping they run out of money. She looks so shocked when he begrudgingly hands over 20 euros like it’s a fortune, like she can’t believe she had to beg for this and he’s making her feel grateful when he’s the cheapskate.
javabeans: They walk together to the market, and he’s got his smartphone out and is busily navigating, while she marvels at how pretty it is, it’s so pretty, Oppa isn’t it pretty? And he finally just says idly, “Yeah okay, it’s pretty, whatever” while staring at his phone. They make it to the tiny corner market and buy provisions, and then we get a preview of the cooking adventures in store for us next week. What’s better than one hapless luggage boy madly cooking in travel kettles in a hotel room?
girlfriday: Two hapless luggage people cooking while yelling?
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- Choi Ji-woo joins Grandpas Over Flowers as surprise guest
- Grandpas Over Flowers plans next season in Jordan
- Oh Snap! From Seo Genie to Seo Genius
- Three Meals a Day: Episode 1
- Grandpas Over Flowers gets remade for American TV
- Na PD’s next travel variety spin-off Youth Over Flowers sets sail
- Na PD on grandpas, money, and Seo-jinnie the con artist
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1