The Producers: Episode 10
Practically everyone takes steps forward today, and while some hearts get bruised in the process, pain in the name of progress at least speaks of growth. The show is still playing Answer Me with its lovelines, but I’ve reached the point where I’ve grown attached to their individual trajectories more than their coupled ones, so as long as they’re happy, I’m onboard. And could it be that (gasp) happiness could even suggest not winning your crush’s heart? That said, this is a K-drama so I’m not making any bets just yet…
SONG OF THE DAY
Baek Ji-young – “And…그리고” from The Producers’ OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 10: “Understanding Previews”
Seung-chan interviews that there’s a saying that when people wish very earnestly for something, it can come true. He’d generally thought the opposite—that you can’t make somebody like you no matter how much you want it. But hearing Cindy sing, he had a change of heart: “If you wish for something, you must make an effort and express yourself. Then, that heart might reach them.”
With that, he runs off to prepare his confession, armed with talking teddy bear and lighted flower. He arrives on the scene just in time to see Joon-mo asking Ye-jin not to move out, and sags with disappointment.
Ye-jin sees Seung-chan standing there, and he awkwardly hides the bear behind his back as she asks if he has a reason for wanting to see her. Seung-chan holds the flower out to her, lying that he got it for free, and she’s touched that he thought of her. Joon-mo clocks Seung-chan’s motives more accurately, though he doesn’t say anything.
Seung-chan heads home feeling gloomy, and his long face worries his family that the sunbae Mom yelled at is making Seung-chan’s life difficult. Ha, I’m loving Mom’s anxiety, given how annoying her building patrol was earlier; this makes it all worth it.
Seung-chan plays the message he’d recorded into the stuffed bear, which says that Ye-jin is always asserting that she’s a tough woman, but he thinks her shell is a self-defense mechanism when she’s really soft-hearted and warm. He thinks her recent loneliness is because she’s longing for someone to understand her and be with her: “Someone who’ll like you freely, who likes to see you smile, who wants to be next to you. In your eyes, I may be young, lacking, and clumsy, but if you’re okay with me like this, if you’re okay with my feelings, I’d like to be at your side. Someone told me that my true feelings are easily spotted. But it seems that my feelings that are seen so easily by others aren’t seen by you.”
By the time Ye-jin and Joon-mo arrive home, the moment has dissipated and Joon-mo tries to treat his comments earlier casually. All he meant, he says, is that she should let her new apartment out for rent and stay here, since, you know, it wasn’t so bad living together. Urgh, you are so frustratingly avoidant. With a roundabout reply like that, of course Ye-jin thinks he just wants her around as his maid and cook.
Joon-mo’s so frustrated that she would think that of him that he sarcastically agrees, saying that yes, he just wants her to stay so he doesn’t have to hire a housekeeper. Garrrrrgh, why are you always saying the worst possible thing? With feelings soured on both ends, they head into their rooms feeling hurt.
Things are still strained the next day, and Ye-jin pointedly bypasses Joon-mo and calls Seung-chan out to lunch. Joon-mo holds him back, asking for a report that he clearly expects to still be incomplete. To the contrary, Seung-chan has done a super bang-up job, and Joon-mo has to admit grudgingly it’s a good job.
Seung-chan escapes to lunch, where he remains studiously quiet while Ye-jin asks for his thoughts on Joon-mo’s comments last night. To the documentary camera, Seung-chan interprets Joon-mo’s intentions accurately and wonders how Ye-jin could miss it, but adds, “At times like this, I think the fact that men and women talk about things differently… is fortunate.” Hee.
Ye-jin guesses that Seung-chan’s silence is because he doesn’t want to tell her that Joon-mo only likes her for her housework, and he doesn’t correct her.
Cindy’s manager oppa hesitantly broaches the subject of relenting to CEO Byun. According to a more senior manager, Cindy’s situation right now feels exactly like Yuna’s back in the day—and now, nobody knows where Yuna is or what she’s doing. The only rumors are negative ones.
Cindy doesn’t reply, but gets an update from her anti-fan chat room, and once again finds herself scoffing at their comments while participating in it. She even gets invited to an anti-fan meetup.
The mood is dire with the 1N2D team, with the pilot program Star Wars doing well and rumored to be their replacement. They decide to do a fresh pass on the editing, captioning, and music for their show, and Seung-chan’s name gets suggested to handle the preview. Joon-mo’s skeptical, and Seung-chan promises to do a good job while the team tosses out a whole string of instructions: It has to be fresh, exciting, emotional, hilarious, and memorable. All in thirty seconds.
The Exposition FD, on the other hand, warns that trying to shoehorn in everything will lead to ruin. He advises not going too crazy, since the sunbaes will fix the teaser anyway—they’re just keeping him busy with this assignment, seeing the maknae as just an errand boy. That stirs Seung-chan’s competitive spirit, and he vows to make a fresh, exciting, emotional, hilarious, memorable preview.
In the street, Hong-soon ducks into a doorway to avoid being spotted by the office manager, only to have her show up and corner him. He gulps as she mentions “that night’s events” and how he can’t tell people about it, noting that he has a habit of shooting off his mouth. Then she asks to see him tonight so they can “settle” what happened that night, and he’s both scared and excited at the thought.
When he gets back to the office, the pile of accidental photocopies is discovered by other staffers, who wonder at all the random body parts in the copies. The maknae Music Bank writer picks up a photocopy of a forearm and eyes Hong-soon questioningly, and he nervously shuffles off clutching his forearms to himself.
The 1N2D PDs huddle outside the editing room, marveling at Seung-chan’s dedication to his preview assignment, having camped out there all night. Joon-mo overrides his protests that it’s not polished yet (“Who do you think you are, Bong Joon-ho?”) and asks to see it, and what he sees has him shaking his head.
He says that Seung-chan might think his sunbaes will fix everything for him, but he intends to let Seung-chan’s work air exactly as he created it, and thus if the program fails, it’ll be his fault. (Joon-mo: “You know I don’t have any sense of responsibility, right?” Seung-chan: “Yes! I mean, n-no…”)
But Joon-mo also adds some valuable advice about a PD needing to love his subjects in order for things to come alive onscreen. He says he can’t see Cindy anywhere in the video, despite her being physically on the screen, because there’s no distinguishing her from the rest. He prods Seung-chan to find Cindy’s appeal, asking how anyone else is supposed to see them if he can’t.
HA, Cindy actually goes to her anti-fan meetup at a cafe, wearing a mask and a cap to disguise herself. The other members tell her she has nothing to be embarrassed about as an anti, and introduce themselves, led by singers Roy Kim and Jung Joon-young (lol) in cameo appearances.
Cindy asks why each of them became anti-fans, then says “sorry” and whips off the mask to face her aghast antis. She apologizes for refusing to take a photo with one and takes one now, while telling Roy that his precious Suzy stole a bunch of her CFs, not the other way around. Joon-young (a supposed law student) mumbles the defense that he used the cafe to relieve stress of studying.
Roy pleads for an autograph, aegyo-pouting when she snaps at him to get Suzy’s. Just then the last member of the group arrives… and it’s Manager Oppa, who trips over himself running away the second he sees Cindy there.
Cindy tells the group that they gathered today to discuss how to ruin Cindy, and asks what that is. Then she can avoid those things.
Seung-chan takes a fresh eye to his preview, finding the little moments that make Cindy appealing, whether it’s a moment of sadness alone in her tent or laughing in a game. He finds himself chuckling along as he watches, and Ye-jin happens by to see him. Suddenly a knowing glint comes into her eye, and she interviews that she’s particularly good at catching on when a person likes someone, taking credit for four marriages (“Two ended in divorce, but that’s another thing”). She laughs that it’s understandable for Seung-chan to like Cindy, but that it can’t lead anywhere.
She calls him up to the rooftop to toast his first preview and ease into the topic of his liking somebody. He’s startled that she knows, admitting that it’s been some time since it started. She sighs that he’s fallen into another one-sided crush, to which he declares that he won’t sit back this time and keep his feelings to himself. When she tries to warn him of the dangers of falling for someone he met at the station and could open himself up to a scandal, he boldly says that he’ll take care of that, too.
But his brow furrows when Ye-jin promises to help him, adding, “Does Cindy know you feel this way about her?” He tries to set her straight, but she assures him she won’t tell a soul and offers herself up for advice. It seems like he might try again, but he stops when she advises him not to make a clumsy confession too soon, and that it’s too early. People who are in a one-sided love can rush things, she says, but love requires a preview too—to hint to the other person of what’s coming, giving them a chance to prepare themselves how to respond. She points to her own rushed confession as example of failure, and Seung-chan asks what kind of preview she’d want to have.
Office Nazi waits at the appointed dinner spot for her date with Hong-soon, only to have him stand her up. She ends up eating and drinking alone (to a stream of Roy Kim and Jung Joon-young songs), while over at a different restaurant, Hong-soon confides in Joon-mo and swears him to secrecy. Joon-mo asks how it happened when he’d hated her so much, and Hong-soon explains that when she was out sick, he felt strangely empty not seeing her around, and he got his feelings all mixed up.
Joon-mo comes home and hears Ye-jin yelping from being bitten by a mosquito. He covers her with the blanket and insists on getting it for her—he kills one, but it’s bloodless and he’s sure the one that sucked her blood is still out there.
While she’s sitting under the cover, she tells him she’s decided to move. He wonders how she can mistake his meaning when they’ve spent so much time stuck together, and she sighs that that’s the problem—she started mixing him up, one day a friend and another day a man. And this is problem they can’t end while they remain stuck together, because they can get confused: “Is this because of disliking not being seen by someone so familiar and comfortable? Or is this liking someone as a man and as a woman? I want to know.”
Seung-chan works on his preview while mulling over Ye-jin’s answer to his question: Other people do things to make the heart pound, “But I prefer a preview full of honesty.”
As he reviews footage of Cindy, he starts seeing little things he hadn’t noticed before, like how she was always aware of him, watching out of the corner of her eye. And his eyes start to open as Ye-jin’s words narrate, “Amid a whole lot of flashing neon signs, discovering one quietly burning candle—that kind of feeling.”
In the morning, Ye-jin finds a smear of blood on the wall and smiles to see that Joon-mo got her mosquito after all.
Seung-chan spends another night working in the editing room, and by the next morning he’s bleary-eyed and preview-obsessed. Seeing the director walk by with CP Kim and Hong-soon in tow, Seung-chan imagines them in a melodramatic trailer, asking the eternal question of what to eat for lunch.
Ye-jin takes her team out for coffee, and has another frustrating encounter with her maknae writer’s racy wardrobe. First the writer wears a leather jacket in the heat because of the clothing complaint, so Ye-jin tells her it’s okay to take off the jacket… until the revealing clothing underneath has people gaping and she suggests maybe she put the jacket back on. Sigh, the bratty writer annoys the hell out of me but I’m really starting to rankle at how they’re dealing with her character. We know she has boobs, okay? Can you just give her a dress code or shut up about it?
Cindy reads over the 1N2D preview script and finds the dialogue strange and off-putting. Manager Oppa agrees, saying that it was written by that umbrella PD who seems to be good at nothing, and offers to demand a rewrite. But in that light, Cindy decides it’s not so bad and smiles to herself, agreeing to go with it.
They arrive at KBS to shoot the preview, and Seung-chan ushers them in. Oppa starts complaining about the script until Cindy calls him off, and then sends him off with an errand to fetch her a really hard-to-find tea. Seung-chan explains the purpose of the script, which has the idol cast members saying things that the team has said internally about their show’s future, and he feels the lines are best delivered by “our show’s most loved people.” She says that’s a nice comment, and he adds, “Because it’s true.”
In the recording studio, Cindy and two idol boys (Seungyoon and Jaemin) read Seung-chan’s dialogue, to the background of dramatic, edge-of-your-seat music:
“The rumors are chaotic! They say the pilot program is really strong. Rumors of our cancellation are back. We’re in danger of cancellation after only five weeks on air. The internet reaction is horrible—there isn’t any! Not even curses! We’ve been off the search lists for ages. But it’s still too soon to lose, we still have our 6.8% viewership. But what about the 93.2% who’re ignoring us? Will we just disappear lifelessly, or will we show one last show of fighting spirit? This real wild road variety show that hasn’t even begun yet, Season 5!… please watch us just once.”
Seung-chan gives them an enthusiastic thumbs-up, pleased with their performance. Seungyoon asks Cindy afterward if he can upload a selca he took with Cindy, and she balks that it makes her look bad. The boys asks for Seung-chan’s opinion, and he says that Cindy looks pretty because she’s a pretty person… buuuut looks a little less pretty than usual. He launches into an overanalytical explanation of what angle flatters Cindy best, prompting the reply, “Are you [photographer] Kim Joong-man?”
Then Cindy asks for another example of when she looks pretty, and the boys wonder, “Is it okay for us to be here?” He explains looking at her face all night long as he put together the preview, figuring out how to make her appeal shine through. The boys ask for their examples, only to have him answer that he didn’t look at them.
The boys’ managers pick them up, and as they wait for Manager Oppa, Seung-chan apologizes for what he said last time, now that he knows he’d misunderstood her in various ways. She smiles and says okay.
They run into Ye-jin in the lobby, who is still under the hilarious backwards misconception that Seung-chan likes Cindy, who doesn’t give him the time of day. She asks about her comments from the last Music Bank appearance referencing the guy with the umbrella, and when Cindy deflects, Ye-jin looks pityingly at Seung-chan, thinking there’s some other guy. Meanwhile, Oppa ONLY NOW realizes that Umbrella PD and Umbrella Man are the same guy, his eyes popping wide open in shock.
Then when Ye-jin hears about the cast members recording their own preview narration, she nods knowingly at Seung-chan and this “special concept” that she thinks he whipped up just to be with Cindy. And he tries to insist it really was just a concept, but Ye-jin’s already got that idea in her mind and says his feelings are written all over him.
He does manage to convince her that the woman he likes is someone else, though he hasn’t made his preview yet so he can’t tell her who it is. She wonders, “Why does not giving her a preview keep you from telling me?” But she completely misses the connection, and later Seung-chan interviews that for all her good traits, her lack of perception might be a flaw. As well as her insistence that she has very good perception. (Meanwhile, Ye-jin interviews that she still thinks it’s Cindy, sighing that it’s tiring to see Seung-chan go through this so obviously.)
As he drives, Manager Oppa brings up Cindy’s thank-you speech, saying a little tearfully that he thought she’d been thanking him all this time—that it made him feel appreciated and touched. But she meant that the man who was a metaphorical umbrella in the rain was the real umbrella PD, and he’s disappointed in her. But all it takes is one mention of his anti-fan cafe ID and he’s back to obedient roadie oppa.
Hong-soon tense up when Office Manager steps into the elevator with him, offering up a weak apology for being busy that day. She tells him that even rejection should come with the minimum courtesy of a text message, then leans waaaaay into him and breathes a sultry “Adios amigo” before leaving him feeling wistful in her wake.
Joon-mo, Ye-jin, and little bro sit down for their last breakfast living together in this house. Little bro is reluctant to move and makes one last bid to convince her otherwise, suggesting they rent out the new place and stay living here. Joon-mo chimes in that it’s what he suggested, but Ye-jin shuts them both down again.
Cindy shows up for an event, and stiffens to see that her dressing room also has her rookie hoobae’s name on it. The rookie, Jini, is already inside being made up and Cindy instructs Oppa to bring her a chair in front of the mirror. That spot is occupied, so she gives Jini’s chair a satisfying kick and sends her rolling away, and tells CEO Byun that her spot was taken, and now the rookie will have to have her makeup done twice since she’s going to cry the first one off.
In front of the cameras, though, Cindy is a sweet helpful unni as she directs Jini in poses. CEO Byun sees through it, of course, and decides she saw Cindy too lightly. God, if that was treating her lightly, I shudder to think what she’s planning now.
At the fansigning, Cindy’s fans rush past a pouty Jini to get Cindy’s autograph, and she says she attributes her rash of TV appearances to her CEO’s scheduling, half-joking that she might have to do ads for a skeezy loan shark. Her fans loudly protest, and she says she has to do whatever her CEO tells her to do because of her contract stipulations, and asks them not to hate her too much if she does those ads.
That’s when an ajusshi fan introduces himself as a lawyer and offers his free services if she should want to contest an unfair contract. The fans go wild and Cindy plays it off lightly while promising to contact him if such a need should arise.
As Ye-jin and Joon-mo take out the recycling that night, Seung-chan’s mother happens by and lights up to hear that Joon-mo is Seung-chan’s direct superior who lives across the way. Relieved that he wasn’t sleeping those nights out at a woman’s house, she greets him enthusiastically and invites them over for dinner with the family.
Seung-chan fidgets uneasily as his parents angle for praise and describe him using such words as “so smart” and “too perfect.” Awkwardness abounds, what with Mom worrying about starlets throwing themselves at Seung-chan to little sis enthusing about Star Wars.
Then they have to sit through family TV time, and Seung-chan’s promo airs. The response is one big wah-waaaaaah as his family wonders what the point of the preview is, and Dad puts Joon-mo on the spot to ask how well Seung-chan did.
The three PDs get in a few honest words (and laughs) about Seung-chan’s nosy family afterward in his room, but just as Seung-chan is saying that his father isn’t usually so forward, Dad bursts in and ropes Joon-mo into a game of chess. Ye-jin says that if she told Cindy about his family, it could really impede their relationship, and Seung-chan says exasperatedly that it’s not like that at all.
After the event, Cindy sits down with CEO Byun in the car (overriding an increasingly peevish Jini) to ask what happened to corrode their mutually beneficial relationship. She says she received documents demanding compensation for damages incurred when she disappeared for a few days. She consulted with her law student anti-fan, who pointed out that she was injured and in the hospital at the time, and it was CEO Byun who insisted she work.
CEO Byun concedes that Cindy’s done her research, and Cindy tells her not to blackmail her, because she’s not utterly without support: “We have ten months left. Please don’t ruin Cindy in that time. Mom. I’ll work hard at what you tell me to do, but I’m not so naive that I’ll do things do to ruin Cindy.”
CEO Byun says she can tell from her tension that Cindy’s got no confidence in what she’s saying. But Cindy just tells Jini to listen up, because she’ll be in this situation soon enough. And when Cindy exits the car, it’s CEO Byun who takes a deep, unsettled breath, while Jini looks spooked.
Ye-jin looks around Seung-chan’s room and recognizes the stuffed bear he had the other night, and accidentally presses its hand, setting off the recording. Only now does she put the pieces together.
Riding home, Cindy looks at herself in the mirror until recalling Seung-chan’s words about her being prettier when she isn’t doing that. She sets the glass down, while online, Roy and Joon-young join her fan cafe.
Upon returning to his room, Seung-chan immediately knows that Ye-jin heard the bear. She heads home in a daze, trying to process the information. And Office Manager, for all her bravado earlier today, finds herself teary-eyed in the privacy of her bedroom, while Hong-soon looks at the photocopier with a fond smile.
Today’s lesson: “Understanding Previews: In any case, a preview is for the benefit of the main event.”
Ye-jin calls Seung-chan out to the playground in front of their building, sitting on the swings as she starts to explain about hearing his confession recording. He says he already guessed, and she chatters a bit about how it was so surprising and how she never guessed.
Seung-chan asks whether that was his unintentional preview, and when she asks what he means, he says, “For the first time in my life, using all my strength to muster the courage to confess—that kind of preview.”
With that, he grabs her swing chain and pulls her in for a kiss.
While under the bedcover, Ye-jin says her bit about spending too much time with Joon-mo that her feelings got confused. A while later, after he’s caught the mosquito and she’s asleep, Joon-mo tells her, “I know that too, that we’ve been together too long. And that saying this is like gambling our 25-year-long friendship. But what can I do? I feel more and more uneasy. If I leave things alone, it feels like something will erupt.”
I don’t even know what to make of that epilogue. You’re… going to confess without confessing? Where does that leave you, Joon-mo? He’s made progress in the past two episodes in that he’s at least trying to talk to Ye-jin—I have no hate for someone who’s bad at conveying their feelings if they’re making an effort—but he’s so frustratingly passive, and it drives me nuts. N-U-T-S. He reminds me of Garbage Oppa of Answer Me 1994 in that I love the actor, love the portrayal, and understand the character’s dilemma on a logical level. It’s not that Joon-mo’s fears are unfounded, or that it’s unreasonable for him to want to cling to a valuable friendship rather than lose it.
It’s just that he’s going about this in a mopey, passive way and he doesn’t see that if he can’t be honest, he’s going to risk losing Ye-jin anyway, regardless of whether he wants to take their relationship to a romantic level. He essentially acknowledges that in the epilogue by feeling that something big is about to burst, which I’m hoping is at least a sign that he’ll do something very soon. It really had better, inasmuch as we have two episodes left and if he doesn’t get moving, this will turn into a story of The Romance That Never Was. Frankly, for his sake I hope it’s sooner, because I never find it satisfying when romantic feelings are confirmed at the very last minute—we need time to enjoy the aftermath a bit and come to terms with it, and you deny the audience that satisfaction if you draw it out too long.
That aside, I was really proud of our younger two this episode, Seung-chan for realizing that he wants Ye-jin’s love enough to try, and Cindy for taking her future into her hands. Seung-chan wasn’t wrong for thinking initially that you can’t win love through effort, but he’s also not wrong for looking at it from a different approach and putting more thought into how he handled his confession. Or, to look at it in a different way, it’s the difference between seeing his feelings solely from his perspective (choosing to pine in solitude and hope you’re noticed) and seeing them from the other person’s—by preparing them, easing the expectation, giving them a chance to see what you’re asking (even if subconsciously) instead of thrusting it upon them out of the blue.
I’ll admit to having hoped for a Cindy romance with Seung-chan, mostly because in dramas I tend to root for the heroines to have their long-term crushes realized. I think that’s sort of an unspoken rule of most dramas—when the feelings and romantic outcome are unclear, it’s often the heroine who wins her love, rather than the hero. Which is why I also rooted early on for Ye-jin to resolve happily with Joon-mo—not that I think he earned his happiness, but for her sake.
But now, I find her story of finding her true self and paving her own way in her career to be more compelling, and more powerful. I find it difficult to like everything she does—I can’t write off every rudeness as a self-defense mechanism, for instance—but by and large, I find her incredibly sympathetic, and applaud every little victory she scores. It’s all the more gratifying because we know exactly what kind of consequences await her if she fails, and that threat still isn’t enough to cow her into submission. She’s got to be terrified, but she uses the past knowledge to arm herself rather than trap her by the ankle (the way, for instance, Yuna’s case has made Joon-mo responsibility-shy and actually changed his approach to work).
Of course, that strength didn’t come out of nowhere, and I liked that she cited having support as one of the reasons CEO Byun shouldn’t see her too lightly. My favorite parts of the drama have always been when the four main characters are together, learning from each other in small ways—and to be fair to Joon-mo, whom I like despite being aggravated by, I liked his advice to Seung-chan in the editing room about really seeing your subject. In many ways Joon-mo gives Cindy more credit than Seung-chan, and I’m glad that Cindy got a heartfelt apology from Seung-chan for misjudging her sincerity. It’s a bit of a cliche, but true for a reason, that sincerity comes through and can move hearts—even turning antifans into vocal supporters (and handy-dandy legal counsel).