The Producers: Episode 4
The lovelines really get going today, but this show has them going in every direction—and curiously, the more it becomes uncertain which way they’re meant to go, the more I’m invested in all of them. Or maybe that’s not curious and we a little mystery is sometimes just what we want, rather than knowing from Day 1 where this thing will end up. I have a feeling the show’s going to play with all the different pairings all the way through, and because I see arguments for all of them working, I figure the best thing to do is to just sit back and see how it all unfolds.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Yeon-woo – “To Be With You” from the Producers OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 4: “Acting that way, unintentionally”
Totally drunk, Seung-chan falls on top of Ye-jin and is out like a light. She manages to wake him back up… and it’s like Seung-chan has flipped a switch because suddenly he’s barking curtly in banmal (with sarcasm! He knows sarcasm!), “Is this Dongtan?” (The neighborhood she said she was moving to.)
He continues in banmal as he pinches her cheeks and asks why she lied. (I’m cringing for Future Seung-chan but it’s so funny, stoppit! No, keep going!) He falls asleep on her again, so she deposits him on the couch wondering how he knew she lived here.
The door beeps, and she opens the door on a drunk Joon-mo who’s trying (and failing) to punch in the correct access code. He sees Seung-chan sprawled out on the couch and rouses him to order him home, and Seung-chan stirs awake enough to mumble at him, “Two-timer.” Omg. He’s your boss!
He takes Joon-mo to task, chiding, “You can’t do that to our Ye-jin!” Joon-mo counters, “Why is she your ‘our Ye-jin’? She’s my ‘our Ye-jin’!”
Hilariously, Seung-chan starts to mumble a defense of Ye-jin that begins, “Our Ye-jin may be old, have a bad personality, and doesn’t repay debts…” Joon-mo hears that as an insult and leaps to her defense with: “Like you said, even if our Ye-jin is old, has a terrible personality, and is a penniless beggar, are you looking down at her for that?!”
In the morning, Seung-chan is back to his meek self, mortified to hear that he’d called Ye-jin a liar and pinched her cheeks last night. Asked how he knew where they lived, Seung-chan explains that he lives nearby and saw them coming home together. Ye-jin realizes that looks bad and tries to clarify the situation, which ends with the explanation, “I know it looks like we’re living together, but really, we’re just living together!”
She launches into a whole monologue about the problems with Korea’s real estate system and how she ended up here for a few months, not living together but “just sharing addresses.”
Seung-chan says he understands, and it cracks me up how important it is to Ye-jin that he actually understand rather than simplifying it in his mind as cohabitation. She whines that he still has the wrong idea, though it hardly makes her feel better when Joon-mo says that they’re just two humans who’d neeeeeever feel anything romantic for each other: “We’re totally Just Friends.”
Ye-jin continues to worry after Seung-chan leaves, wondering if he’d use that information against them somehow, while Joon-mo waves it off.
Meanwhile, Seung-chan runs into his mother and sister in the parking lot, and they find his explanation of sleeping at a sunbae’s apartment suspect when his home is right here. Noona asks Seung-chan for a favor, since her husband’s medical practice is struggling and could use a boost—could he get him a TV appearance on the health variety program Vitamin?
He’s hardly in a position to be pulling strings for family, and tells them he’s on shaky ground. He explains nervously to the docu crew that he’s made two mistakes already and might get fired. Aw, he’s worried about Ye-jin’s three-strikes warning, poor boy.
At the KBS offices, Joon-mo and CP Kim worry about their empty slot—the director is under the impression that they’re going to score either Suzy or Cindy, but they’ve heard no word about Suzy (and Cindy isn’t even a consideration, given Joon-mo’s bad blood with her agency prez). Joon-mo wonders, “Should I beg on my knees?” CP Kim: “You mean you haven’t already?!”
JYP calls, and Joon-mo lights up to hear that he’s consented to giving “the biggest get at JYP,” assuming that’s Suzy. Only to have JYP announce, oh-so-generously, that he’s giving himself. LOL.
Little do they know that at that very moment, Cindy is announcing to CEO Byun that she’ll do 1N2D. (Turns out CEO Byun isn’t her actual mother, as I’d wondered, but she has been “just like your mother” ever since taking Cindy on at thirteen.) The CEO is horrified, but Cindy repeats Seung-chan’s own words about how variety changed images and boosted the careers of top stars in the past. It’s a good enough argument to get CEO Byun to relent to variety—but it can’t be 1N2D. Anything but.
Cindy reminds her that for ten years, she’s done everything asked of her: “So this time, let’s do as I say.”
Cindy’s manager-oppa tries to talk her out of it, since 1N2D is a tough program for people as picky and short-tempered as her. Cindy says she’s a pro who can suck it up for work, and points to her fingerprint-smudged mirror (that she’s totally not even fussing about) as proof of how laid-back she’s being. HA. Oh, this’ll be fun.
Ye-jin spots Seung-chan chatting with his fellow rookie PDs and pulls him aside, wanting to make sure he wasn’t flapping on about her living situation. He assures her that he wasn’t, and that they were only startled because she looked so scary. Wide-eyed, she says she’s not scary at all, while he gulps and tries to excuse himself for lunch.
Instead, Ye-jin takes him to lunch, where she references the plot of Oldboy and how the main character was locked up for fifteen years, eating only dumplings, because he knew a secret. “Eat, eat,” she says, holding a bite up to his mouth. “The dumplings here are delicious.”
He promises to be careful not to accidentally spill anything, and she warns him off SNS and liquor too. If the rumor leaks, she’ll know it was him, and she won’t pay the remaining 700,000 of her debt (taking a bit off for housing him last night). She hands over another installment, and he thanks her profusely, then interviews how receiving money makes him feel so grateful, “Even though it was my money to begin with.”
Seung-chan hesitantly broaches the question of whether his noona Hae-joo knows about the whole “address-sharing arrangement” too, since it feels only right that she does. Ye-jin now understands his comment about two-timing and assures him that the couple is kaput, with brings a huge doofy smile to Seung-chan’s face. Both of them exclaim how great this is, and then Ye-jin asks why exactly he thinks so. He ekes out an explanation about how it’s good not to have a misunderstanding in play, then is alarmed to hear that Hae-joo is on leave, having tired of PD work.
In an interview clip, Hae-joo explains (with a perfectly straight face) how she chose this profession because she thought it would get her wedding emceed and guest-hosted by famous people like Yoo Jae-suk. But she found the only people it put her in contact with were other PDs, so she picked the best one, and then end up like this. Um, boo hoo for you? So now she’s through dating PDs (and, I guess, also being a PD. Priorities!).
Ye-jin giggles to the docu camera that it’s clear Seung-chan liked his noona, and how no matter how hard he tries not to let it show, it’s not something you can hide. Which is doubly funny since she’s pretty much talking about herself, too, unintentionally.
Ye-jin receives her summons from the standards commission for Cindy’s wardrobe rebellion. She calls in Cindy’s manager and complains about CEO Byun clearly avoiding her because she’s afraid of getting in a tangle with her, only to be told that the CEO doesn’t even know about the incident. So she comes out even more strongly, saying that Cindy should sit this week’s show out, to the shock of both the manager and her staff.
Her team warns that Music Bank will be the bigger loser if No. 1 is kept off the show, and she assures them that Cindy’s management will scramble a bit and come crawling back. She insists she’s not doing this just for an apology, saying that a PD’s most important skill isn’t editing or connections or ratings, but follow-through.
They surreptitiously watch Cindy’s manager frantically making calls, assured of victory. And then he just… leaves. Uh, this can’t be good.
CEO Byun arrives at the KBS building to meet with the director and CP Kim, announcing to their shock that Cindy will do 1N2D after all. She has conditions written into the contract for what Cindy will and won’t do, and anyone who’s watched 1N2D will know how preposterous it is to basically contradict the whole purpose of the show. No spontaneous games, no dunking in water, no shooting post-midnight, veto power on footage usage? What is this, America?
Joon-mo balks at the conditions, and the executives play mediator between him and Byun CEO, getting her to concede on a few points. The back-and-forth is hilariously petty, with Cindy agreeing to dunking in water only up to the ankles (CP Kim: “I’ll try to let them agree on mid-thigh”) and eating stew but not soup.
The 1N2D team pumps Seung-chan for tips on how he got Cindy to agree. His explanation: “I just told her, ‘It would be nice if you did 1N2D.'” The women laugh that it was his face that did it, and that sending the other PD would have backfired on them for sure. He bashfully says that isn’t it, but totally lights up to be called good-looking. He even adopts a few cool poses for kicks, checking himself out in the mirror.
Then Cindy calls him out to meet her, and he makes his way to her van in the parking lot, peering in through the dark glass when she doesn’t answer right away.
Cindy butters him up by telling him that she’s doing the program because of him. She gets him to promise he’ll treat her well, then prods for details on how he’ll do that, saying “Since I’m doing the program because of you, you have to think only of me. Completely on my side. Got it? I’ll only be looking at you while we film.”
Then she meets with Joon-mo and gives him the same flirty speech about how he has to help her. But Joon-mo tells her if she doesn’t know what to do, do nothing. That’s what “real variety” is: “Don’t try to do anything. All you have to do is be there as yourself.” She mulls over those words: “Just as I am…”
Ye-jin waits all day for a call from Cindy’s reps groveling to be let back on Music Bank, but it never comes, and she snaps at her staff that it’s the other side who’s feeling nervous. She, Joon-mo, and Seung-chan meet in front of their building on their way home, and Joon-mo takes a call with his mother as she chats with Seung-chan. But she’s listening more to Joon-mo’s call, and it’s obvious even to Seung-chan that she likes Joon-mo. He uses the same words she’d used about him, that she’s trying not to let it show.
He carries a delivery box up for Ye-jin, and she asks if he likes Hae-joo and whether he’s confessed. Joon-mo joins them a moment later and grumbles about Seung-chan’s constant presence and Ye-jin using him for errands. Seung-chan actually stands up for Ye-jin and her injured wrist, which Joon-mo scoffs at as minor, though he feels bad enough to check on her later about it.
Joon-mo’s seems to be feeling some pangs of jealousy and warns her about Seung-chan always being around. When she points out that he’s always around, he says he’s not a man to her, which sinks her spirits.
But in the morning, he makes her smile by setting out a breakfast for her, twisting off all the caps because of her injury.
At the station, the 1N2D team gets busy planning their first show with the new cast, using Seung-chan as the guinea pig for all the game challenges. Ha, having seen all the games play out in the show itself, it’s funny watching the crew simulate the games beforehand to work out the kinks. (Although the kinks are often the best part.)
Joon-mo interviews using intellectual language about scientific experimentation while his crew beats each other over the head with a plastic mallet in the background. Then a writer breaks chopsticks using his butt and Seung-chan gapes at him in admiration. LOL.
Floor director Joon-bae gives Seung-chan tips as he’s packing for his first one-night, two-day shooting trip. Why pack a toothbrush when you won’t get a chance to eat? A book to read before falling asleep at night is unnecessary, because that assumes that you’ll be getting any sleep. Instead, Joon-bae gives him the list of essentials: chocolate, cup ramyun, and random game materials.
Ye-jin shows up to add her two cents, and takes him shopping for everything Joon-mo needs to function. Seung-chan says Joon-mo’s got a great girl-who-is-a-friend in her, and that he’s envious. It makes her feel good and she ruffles his hair, which goes slo-mo for a second from his perspective. More romance afoot?
Cindy’s manager-oppa fields a call from the producers and promises not to tell Cindy what time they’re coming to get her, since “real” is the concept. Cindy says that people only believe what they want, and that she can treat this like a drama where she plays herself like a character. She’s out to change her cold, hard image into something more approachable: “All I have to do is act it like it’s real.”
She wants oppa’s input in finding a pithy nickname to assign to her variety persona. She rejects Smile Angel Cindy “because that’s true—there’s no fun in calling me that!” She suggests the opposite, so he suggests a saint who never gets angry… which makes her bark, “When have I ever gotten angry with you?!”
Early in the morning, the crew huddles outside Cindy’s door, ready to catch her reaction when Seung-chan sprays her with water to wake her up, then offers her an iced coffee that’s actually fish sauce. Inside, Cindy primps and “sleeps” prettily, “waking” with a startled gasp and refusing the coffee, totally killing the fun vibe.
Joon-mo interviews that Cindy’s reaction seemed totally genuine and believable… but it wasn’t funny. Wah wahhhh.
And then, the rest of the 1N2D idol cast makes their appearance, with cameos from Sandara Park of 2NE1, Kim Min-jae (Persevere, Gu Hae-ra), Kim Ji-soo, Minwoo of Boyfriend, and Kang Seung-yoon (from Superstar K 2 and the group Winner).
Shooting begins, and the two other girls look sidelong at Cindy. Ji-soo’s the rookie so she thinks she’ll benefit from being near Cindy, but hilariously, Dara is the insecure colleague who’s worried they’ll be overshadowed by Cindy. She instructs Ji-soo not to react to Cindy in any way, glaring at anyone who calls her unni or noona (it highlights how much older she is, ha), and tries to form an alliance with Seung-yoon.
Pffft, the whole idol cast is busy strategizing this show off-camera, with Ji-soo and Minwoo also pairing up, while Min-jae tries his luck by flattering the writer.
Shooting begins, and Joon-mo fills the idols in on today’s plans. The guys will pick partners today, and if a pairing fails to happen, those left partnerless will get left behind to make their way with the rookie PD. They’ll have to spend the night at a separate location before joining the basecamp in the morning.
The boys line up behind their preferred partner, and Cindy has to slap on a face when she sees that she’s partnerless. Word gets to CEO Byun, who’s appalled that her top star got left behind, though Cindy takes it in stride, telling her oppa (and herself) that being the straggler gives her a chance to stir sympathy and show her cute side.
Then she takes out her umbrella and twirls it at Seung-chan, who lights up and comes running like the one-track-minded doof he is. She says that it’s more surprising for her to have chemistry with a PD rather than a celebrity. Oppa points out that this only works when the PD likes her back, and she scoffs that she can make anybody on the show fall for her if she tried. Seung-chan? “He’s easy.”
The car ride with Seung-chan tests her patience, as it turns out he doesn’t know any of her songs or her dramas. He just promises earnestly to look out for them, and she interviews with a bright smile that it’s totally not upsetting, it’s just a reminder for her to work harder and not get arrogant. We see the cracks in her sunny facade as she forces a laugh, then asks, “Are we there yet?”
The rest of the cast and crew have set up at the basecamp, and the producers tense when CEO Byun comes charging up to the filming site. Joon-mo braces for the confrontation, only to have her storm right by on her way to the idol table.
She asks why the boys didn’t choose Cindy: “Are you playing games? Who’s your agency?” She assumes that Yang Hyun-seok (head of YG) instructed his idols to band together, and orders Joon-mo to edit out all the footage of Cindy being left behind and to reshoot.
Cindy, Seung-chan, and their lone cameraman trek through the woods with three kilometers left to go. She suggests a game to liven things up, with the loser carrying the winner’s bags, and then loses promptly. He feels bad and offers to take his stuff, but she’s been trapped by her own deal and insists it’s okay.
Then she trips and he catches her, and the moment winds down in slow motion as she recovers her breath. He points out her untied shoelace and bends down to tie it for her, and the camera’s on hand to witness her reaction.
Joon-mo’s mother asks Ye-jin for information about her son, suspecting that Joon-mo’s got a girlfriend he’s hiding from the family, which suggests that she’s not quite acceptable. He’s always telling her not to come by his place, and his door passcode recently changed. She asks Ye-jin to set Joon-mo up with a nice woman—someone younger, in her twenties.
Ye-jin’s little brother gets riled up in his noona’s defense (aw), complaining that ajumma got her all upset, and that she should marry Joon-mo to get their old house back as revenge. He stirs her hopes with the comment that a guy keeping a woman close by, even just as friends, could indicate ulterior motives—because if he was absolutely uninterested, he wouldn’t be friends with her. She considers this.
Later that night, Ye-jin tucks away the milk bottle cap she’d saved from breakfast. Joon-mo films his show at basecamp, with the idols playing games and having fun. And in the forest, Seung-chan and Cindy are still wandering, puzzling over a map in the dark.
A glance at CP Kim’s manual gives us another lesson for Chapter 4, about Understanding Real Variety: “Sometimes the setup becomes poison.”
Cindy urges Seung-chan to call for help, just as the VJ pauses to change batteries in his camera. Immediately her on-camera persona drops and she complains about the day, refusing to let him take the bags because it’ll just make her look worse. To make matters worse, it starts to rain. Her head drops and she heaves a sigh.
Seung-chan steps forward and shields her head with his hand, as time slows down again. He draws the umbrella from her pack and opens it, as Cindy looks up at him with wide eyes.
We’re back in Cindy’s van, seeing things from her point of view as she catches a glimpse of Seung-chan in her mirror reflection. Smiling to herself, she watches as he knocks on the car door, pressing his face close to the glass when she doesn’t answer. Then she opens up to ask, “Are you looking for me?”
Unclear lovelines are sometimes a recipe for frustration, but I’m really enjoying the way The Producers is handling them, because they all feel plausible, given a little nudge in the right direction. I’m sure we’ll have our favorites in due time (or already), but I like that I can see things unfolding in more than one way, and it wouldn’t kill me (at least, not yet) if my favorite pairing didn’t pan out.
There’s been some behind-the-scenes talk of the drama not quite registering its quirkier format with the mainstream viewership (although ratings are doing just fine, with this episode logging a high at 11.0%) and shifting more toward the rom-com drama style, with drama PD Pyo Min-soo stepping forward and variety CP Seo Soo-min stepping back a bit. It seems the netizen reaction mostly favors this approach, although I’m disappointed because the first week’s mockumentary style and dry humor were what got me excited. On the other hand, now that I’ve seen the “new” direction and still like the show, I feel reassured that it’ll still be an entertaining, funny drama with characters I root for.
It does mean that I’m finding the documentary interview intercuts less relevant than they seemed earlier—I find myself wanting either much more of that, or much less. Okay, maybe I just want more. I like the dissonance they create when what is said is different from what we see—like when Ye-jin laughs at Seung-chan for his transparent feelings when she’s in exactly the same position. The docu clips add that extra comic bite when intercut into a scene, like Hae-joo’s tearful admission of why she doesn’t want to be a PD anymore, told in all earnestness without hearing how absurd she sounds. It makes me want to see the story of the docu crew editor and what he thinks of the narrative he’s cobbling together out of real real footage. And of course, if we got to see that, I’d want to see the PD behind that, proving that really, the truth has a gravitation pull all its own.
I like this idea that the feelings between Joon-mo and Ye-jin are evident to everyone but themselves, and the fact that perennially clueless Seung-chan cottons on readily is practically a siren blaring how obvious it is. I’m not sure whether Joon-mo is willfully ignoring things or if he’s that dense, because we saw signs of his jealousy with Seung-chan leaping to “our Ye-jin’s” defense. Even if he then hastened to insist, multiple times, that they were just friends and completely unromantic.
My hunch at this point is that this is one of our final pairings, though don’t quote me on that. But even if that’s how things end up, I like the idea of them breaking off to explore lovelines with the other two, if only to get a kick in the pants that’ll maybe prompt them to straighten out things in their own relationship. And Ye-jin’s misunderstanding of Seung-chan’s motivations seems like perfect fodder for comedy between them (especially since Seung-chan seems to be speaking a different language half the time and is so unable to read what people really mean behind what they’re saying), but there’s always the chance that it’ll lead to real feelings—we’ve already seen Seung-chan reacting a few times to Ye-jin’s friendly gestures.
That kind of confusion is a perfect motif to carry into this story that’s all about reality-versus-acting, onscreen-versus-offscreen ambiguity. It’s the thing that’ll trip up Cindy, too, after she all but declared she’d try a loveline with the PD as a calculated step to building a certain image. Of course, I doubt she would’ve put herself in this situation in the first place if she weren’t amenable to flirting with the PD, but it’s all the better that she’s getting all confused right from the start. I’m looking forward to the show-within-the-show prompting her to fight both facades at once: her determination to maintain this Nice Cindy persona, and her attempt to direct her romantic inclinations, as though she could control them. Good luck with that? I’ll just be sitting here, with my popcorn.
- The Producers: Episode 3
- The Producers: Episode 2
- The Producers: Episode 1
- Smiles and scowls at press conference for The Producers
- Producer’s playful partner-go-round posters
- Hidden camera teasers: Producer meta, or Meta Producer?
- Petty jealousy revs up on Producer’s morning commute
- Oh Snap! Cozy Producer, Hidden Ex-Girlfriend
- Cha Tae-hyun goes behind the 1N2D camera for Producer
- Script reads for new KBS spring dramas Producer and School 2015