New Journey to the West: Episodes 16-19
girlfriday: So we’re backing up a little in the timeline with Episode 11-1, which was released a few days after the last batch of episodes, and opens with an embarrassed note from Na PD about how this was supposed to be the part in between Episodes 11 and 12, but they didn’t get it edited in time. Which I find funny since they’re airing on their own made-up rules on the internet.
javabeans: It also explains why they released one randomly, without any announcement, and made us wonder if we were supposed to expect more random episodes at any moment. I’m glad we’re not.
girlfriday: Na PD gives them a dragon ball mission in the car, and each of them picks a mission at random from a pouch. Ho-dong has to withdraw money with the monk card, Seung-gi has to take selcas with Hallyu stars (can he count himself?), Su-geun has to buy 20 Korean items at a convenience store, and Ji-won has to buy team T-shirts at the GAP. Huh? These are really random.
javabeans: Ho-dong looks thrown at his task, and Na PD points out that he’s used a Korean ATM before. Ho-dong says, “No I haven’t!”
girlfriday: What? How has he never withdrawn money from an ATM before? Does he keep all of his money under his mattress?
javabeans: I think Ho-dong has a really really really nice wife. Na PD says his is the easiest mission, and everyone else says it’ll be really fast. But of course, the one person who could fail at this happened to pick this.
girlfriday: It really is terrible luck. Great for variety though, since otherwise it would be a boring simple mission to anyone else. They get dropped off and each split up to complete their tasks, and Ji-won and Su-geun start asking people on the street for help right away. Seung-gi decides that he can’t find Hallyu stars just standing around, so he’ll take selcas with ads featuring them. That’s smart, but I still wonder if it’ll be that easy.
javabeans: You see the show intercut scenes of the three of them running around all productively, and then we cut to Ho-dong, who’s sort of wandering aimlessly with a really beleaguered expression on his face.
girlfriday: Ho-dong finds the GAP first and directs Ji-won there, and then trudges off towards the bank looking dour. His VJ taunts, “Do you even know what an ATM looks like?”
javabeans: Ho-dong’s face looks so… tragic. Like he’s being hunted for a human sacrifice or the world’s greatest martyr.
girlfriday: Meanwhile, Su-geun hits the Korean snack food jackpot at the convenience store, and Seung-gi finds Kim Soo-hyun in the street. Well, a cardboard cutout Kim Soo-hyun, but it works. I find this hilarious, that someone who cameoed in The Producers has to settle for Cardboard Soo-hyun.
javabeans: HA, then as he’s running by, he sees Lee Min-ho on a bus placard and gets another one with him, greeting him, “Good to see you!” like a friend.
girlfriday: This is really funny.
javabeans: Is Ho-dong actually incapable of not stopping to eat in every mission?
girlfriday: Maybe it’s denial ice cream, because he doesn’t want to face the horrible fate of the ATM.
javabeans: It looks like a dozen denial ice creams the way he shoves them in his mouth. He finds a bank and heads to the ATM, and doesn’t even know how to start.
girlfriday: He freezes up right away, and can’t even stick the card into the slot for fear it’ll blow up or something. He can at least ask for help, and an attendant helps him get started. It’s a miracle he remembers the PIN number, really.
javabeans: Then he freezes again because the menu is all in Chinese and he doesn’t know which one to select. The guys had advised him to press the button with the “withdraw” character… but none of the buttons have that character. The bank employee comes over and presses the button, and Ho-dong, I swear, looks like she just conjured up gold out of thin air, he’s so impressed. (While she looks so annoyed at his incompetence.)
girlfriday: He’s SO HAPPY that he just giggles all the way out of the bank.
javabeans: God, I really hope he got his card back out from that machine.
girlfriday: Oh no, this could end in tears. The clock starts winding down for the mission, and everyone starts hurrying back to Na PD. Ho-dong and Ji-won are first to return, and then Su-geun runs in with a few minutes to spare. Seung-gi is last, and he’s been sprinting around looking for one last Hallyu star because he could only find four. He barely makes it back in time… and then he takes a selca… of himself?
javabeans: The other guys go first, showing Na PD their completed tasks. Seung-gi goes last, and gets through four Hallyu celebrities whose ads he took selcas with. And then he shows the other guys the fifth picture and they all nod that it’s totally acceptable, and then shows Na PD… the selca he just took of himself with Na PD on his way inside five minutes ago.
girlfriday: LOL. That is not how I thought that was going to go.
javabeans: Na PD starts to protest that he’s not a Hallyu star, and the guys all chime in how he totally got stopped at the airport and asked for his autograph. You see him standing there trying to argue, but he’s actually momentarily speechless. The caption asks dramatically, “Will he declare failure according to the rules? Or… will he shamelessly become a Hallyu star?” And then he says, “You are… a hundred percent… successful!” HEE. Flattery wins.
girlfriday: Hahaha, Na PD the shameless Hallyu star! He does add in a caption apology afterwards to Jeon Ji-hyun, Park Shin-hye, Lee Min-ho, and Kim Soo-hyun for becoming part of their club.
javabeans: Ho-dong points out that Na PD seemed to guess what Seung-gi was doing with the selca, but his reflexes were too terrible to prevent it. (Or were they??)
girlfriday: Okay, now we’re back to the Incident of the Disappearing Shoes from last week. Everyone’s a suspect, even Na PD, and he shows comments from netizens accusing him and replies that he’s really not the culprit. I totally think it’s Su-geun because he woke up wearing shoes, but they all point out that Ho-dong is the only one with his sneakers.
javabeans: We turn back the footage to the night before, when Ho-dong’s snoring was keeping everybody awake. Then Ji-won clapped loudly and the snoring stopped… because Ho-dong was woken up, allowing everyone else to fall asleep. Aha! So then we see him quietly moving shoes into random hiding spots, and then going back to sleep.
girlfriday: Ji-won nearly curses asking for his shoes back, and Ho-dong points out that Ji-won is the original brains behind the morning mission shoe fakeout. Yeah, he really is. He did all sorts of crazy things on 1N2D, and pioneered the shoe-stealing.
javabeans: We see how last night Ho-dong had asked Ji-won who used to win their missions the most back in the day, and Ji-won says it was himself. He recalls all the crazy things he used to do, like not sleeping all night just to be up first in the morning. Wait, did he seriously tape the tent shut to keep everyone else inside??
girlfriday: He was nuts. Su-geun tells them that he even woke up and found the shoes that Ho-dong hid, but left them there thinking that Ji-won hid them, and dug out a second pair of sandals and wore them to sleep. Ha.
javabeans: That’s so cute that he thought Ji-won had gone easy on Ho-dong to be nice to the eldest hyung, and in turn didn’t mess with Ho-dong’s shoes, not knowing that it was Ho-dong who messed with them in the first place. Ji-won asks how come Ho-dong wasn’t in first place, and he says sheepishly that he still couldn’t outrun Seung-gi in his bathroom slippers. Su-geun adds that ba ck in the day Seung-gi would’ve been way out ahead, laughing that Seung-gi’s become old too because he still didn’t beat Su-geun.
girlfriday: Even maknaes age. Seung-gi still gets the most money for breakfast because Su-geun let him win in the end, and though Ji-won only gets a hundredth of the amount, Na PD says they can all eat breakfast with that money. They make their way over to a street market with all sorts of delicious food, and it’s making me seriously hungry right now.
javabeans: We start with Seung-gi, who has enough money to go tasting lots of things. Ho-dong ambles by and tries to finagle some money out of him, and when Seung-gi offers him a taste, Ho-dong peers at his food like the world’s most obvious thief in the making. I expect him to grab and run at any moment.
girlfriday: Su-geun and Seung-gi are in heaven, getting to buy and taste whatever they want because all the street food is so cheap. Ji-won, on the other hand, just sits there sighing at his sad single bill.
javabeans: I can’t believe he sighs, “I must’ve lived too nicely.” But then the show scrolls a whole long list of all his pranks over the years to remind us of his checkered variety past.
girlfriday: It’s like night and day when we cut over to Seung-gi, who’s having like his fourth breakfast and buying up everything. He says it’s all delicious, but when have we ever seen him not eat like it’s the most delicious thing ever?
javabeans: I was just thinking that Seung-gi’s food reaction shots are both appetite-stirring and also totally misleading since he reacts like that to everything. Haha, Ho-dong gets the whole Dickensian orphan cut, wandering the food market trying to decide how to spend his meager allowance. You know it’s the tragedy montage when you’re scored to Lucid Fall.
girlfriday: But Na PD wasn’t lying, because Ho-dong manages to find a big bowl of beef soup and noodles that he can afford. HAHA, and then we cut over to Na PD’s breakfast…. which he eats ever so slowly right in front of Ji-won. That’s just mean.
javabeans: Na PD is enjoying this SO much.
girlfriday: JI-won: “Do you have to eat that in front of me?” Na PD: “I thought you’d want some.” Mind you, he’s not offering to share — he just wants to show him that it’s tasty.
javabeans: Omg. This is so funny. It’s freaking hysterical. Na PD and Ji-won are like a circus act, except all the emotions are real.
girlfriday: Na PD eats multiple dishes at a time, stopping to describe every flavor and texture like these noodles are the second coming.
javabeans: Then Ji-won goes over to Seung-gi, who can’t even speak properly, his mouth is so full of food. Seung-gi heads off to find more food, and Ji-won… just… eyes his leftover trash and caaaaaasually sits down at the table before it gets cleared. Omg, is he eating Seung-gi’s scraps?
girlfriday: Yes, yes he is. This is awesome and sad and hilarious, all at once. Eventually, Ji-won finds something he can buy for 1 yuan, and gets super excited because it’s a pretty big dumpling. And then right next to the dumpling stand, they discover a woman who’s cutting hair just out on the street, and Su-geun bravely sits down for a haircut.
javabeans: The boys marvel at how well the lady cuts hair and give her a bunch of thumbs-up(s), and then they start heading back and wondering what happened to their shoes.
girlfriday: Seung-gi bribes Ho-dong with food to find out where he hid their shoes, and Ho-dong says they’re inside the room.
javabeans: Ji-won finds them in a corner, and then Seung-gi sighs that he let his guard down and thought too nicely. Ji-won says he thought of pulling pranks himself, but was holding back because they were in a foreign country, and somehow that seemed unseemly.
girlfriday: Na PD tells the boys that they’re upgrading to better digs today.
javabeans: Oh wow, it’s all fancy-looking, like a modern apartment in a high-rise.
girlfriday: They’ll each be given a personal mission on the way, which could mean four more dragon balls
javabeans: Su-geun is up first, and Na PD says his mission is a speed quiz. Immediately, Seung-gi says, “We’re screwed.” On the upside, it’s one of those Charades quizzes, which Su-geun is really good at… but he has to get the Chinese employee to guess the answers.
girlfriday: Obviously language is the main barrier, but it does mean that he gets to blurt out whatever he wants in Korean while trying to get the Chinese woman to guess his clues. Mostly it’s hilarious for the other guys who are watching and busting a gut at Su-geun’s antics.
javabeans: HA, I forgot how funny Su-geun is at Charades. He never gives just the word, he does the whole story and song and dance.
girlfriday: Yeah there’s a backstory, and a setting, and emotions too. I could watch this all day. He does this whole spiel for You From Another Star about how an alien comes down from waaaaay up there in the sky, and has a pretty face.
javabeans: Ho-dong is next up, and he has to basically use an ATM again, this time with no help. He heads off all enthusiastically… and walks into the wrong building.
girlfriday: He has 60 seconds to make a withdrawal, and basically starts pushing buttons at random. This is going to end badly, isn’t it?
javabeans: He has to start over every time he presses the wrong button and fails to get money in time, which is hilarious to me. There are only like four buttons!
girlfriday: The other boys can already tell that things went badly inside the bank, and guess that Ho-dong is in there whining to Na PD and throwing a tantrum… which is exactly what he’s doing. He insists on trying again, but the ATM just spits his card back out like before.
javabeans: If you were in a foreign country trying to get money out of the machine, wouldn’t you push the first button? Why does he always go for the last button in the bottom corner, which you’d figure has to be cancel?
girlfriday: It’s funny because it’s the same button he keeps pushing, which is the wrong one every time. He finally comes out with cash in hand after Na PD helped him, and the boys say they didn’t really have high expectations for this round.
javabeans: He says firmly that he failed to complete the task because the task was impossible to begin with. The others can only chuckle at that.
girlfriday: Ji-won gets the next mission: He has five minutes to take a jumping picture with two Chinese friends.
javabeans: He gets two young guys to play along pretty quickly, but the problem is timing the jump so that all feet are in the air in the picture. I like the long shot that shows the growing crowd around them, wondering what exciting thing is going on, and basically it’s Ji-won just yelling, “One, two, three, jump! JUMP!”
girlfriday: Ji-won clears his mission a little too easily, so then Na PD offers Seung-gi the same mission with five people this time.
javabeans: We get a brief montage of all the people who’ve stopped Seung-gi (calling him oppa, saying they love him) to ask for photos, so he heads off and asks a group with young children. I wonder if the women recognize him, but in any case they’re super excited to be in his photo, and even get more than the required number of participants.
girlfriday: It’s pretty funny how much blathering Seung-gi does in Korean when he’s in a hurry — it’s not helpful at all because he only has five minutes to get the picture, but eventually they seem to get the jumping concept down.
javabeans: Oh, they totally know who he is. He hugs them to thank them and the girls scream.
girlfriday: Ha, Na PD must be pissy because this time he just chucks the dragon ball at Seung-gi when he wins.
girlfriday: Ooh, their new apartment-style residence is a big step up, and the boys are thrilled. Then they head out to dinner, and Na PD tells them that it’s going to be crazy crowded on a Saturday night, so if they get separated, they just have to find their own way home.
javabeans: “If”? IF? If Na PD says if, you’d better start memorizing your streets.
girlfriday: AGH, it’s more tasty street food!
javabeans: Nooooo. It was really hard sitting through the breakfast clips without stopping to eat!
girlfriday: This is torture. They weren’t kidding about the crowds, because they just get pushed along by the constant stream of people, and they find it miraculous that they manage to get to a restaurant without losing anyone. Seung-gi calls it a giant sushi conveyer belt, just with people — if it passes you by, that’s it.
javabeans: Na PD sits them down in the nice big restaurant and shows them the fifth dragon ball, then tosses it to a PD, who starts running away. Their mission: They have to find him in the crowd and bring him back in a half hour.
girlfriday: Whaaaaat. They’re all like, “Waitaminute, show us his face again!” But he’s long gone.
javabeans: Ho-dong gets all serious about how he’s gonna drag him back if he has to, and tells the other guys, “Try your best to bring him back alive.”
girlfriday: They split up and head out into the crowd, and I really have no idea how they’re going to find this guy. He looks so… nondescript.
javabeans: I feel like they’ll be better off just looking for that one furtive guy who keeps darting his eyes around all hunched over, ’cause Kyung-mo PD looks unassuming in facial appearance but is acting totally guilty.
girlfriday: OMG. Kyung-mo PD takes off his glasses! That’s like his only identifying feature!
javabeans: He even pulls off the long sleeves and pulls up his T-shirt to look like a native, and buys food so he looks totally normal.
girlfriday: Su-geun closes in on Kyung-mo’s location… but totally passes by without a second glance.
javabeans: Ho-dong feels exposed and recognizable, so he starts hunching over and walking furtively, which totally makes him look like a criminal.
girlfriday: Kyung-mo walks back and forth and nobody sees him, so then he starts to get bolder, and at one point he’s following Ho-dong around behind his back.
javabeans: Lol, he even waves at his back, then turns the moment Ho-dong does. It’s like one of those old-timey comedy bits, like the Marx Brothers or something.
girlfriday: He does it to Seung-gi too, and the guys eventually run out of time. The mission is a failure. The problem is, Kyung-mo does such a good job of hiding that even the staff can’t find him, and everyone starts to panic that they really lost him. Finally he walks right up to them just snacking happily.
javabeans: I’m just glad the game was for a dragon ball and not dinner, or we’d have a really cranky last segment on our hands.
girlfriday: Na PD starts bringing out trays and trays of street food that they bought, and they get to each have a taste of something. Of course they have to play a game before they get to eat it all, and Na PD busts out the old famous people quiz, where he shows them pictures and they have to name the people. Every wrong answer and one dish gets removed from the table.
javabeans: When they get the first one wrong, they have to decide which dish to give up and of course that’s a whole thing, because they don’t want to give up anything. It’s different when you’re trying to win something to put on the table, but when it’s taking it away…
girlfriday: That’s the meanness of the game — making you think it’s yours and then taking it away. Ho-dong keeps flubbing on the next rounds because he doesn’t know cartoon character (he calls Sailor Moon “Salary Moon,” and takes one look at Gargamel and declares that they’ve never met before). But this one is the worst: Ho-dong gets shown a picture of PD Lee Myung-han (Na PD’s boss on 1N2D and now at tvN), and he stammers, “The… the guy who talks a lot!”
javabeans: Dude, he’s like their big head boss! The one greenlighting shows like this one!
girlfriday: I bet he got an angry phone call when this aired.
javabeans: I love the excuses they give whenever they have to give up a dish. “I’m sure this is all dried out now anyway.” “The juice is lukewarm!” “Take the lamb skewers so we can think properly.” They’re getting desperate so they start forcing themselves to relax, which is as silly as it sounds. God, you know the one thing that’ll make you hungrier than watching four guys eating delicious food onscreen is watching four starving guys unable to eat delicious food onscreen.
girlfriday: I know. It just gets sadder and sadder. They get down to their last dish and a chance at the dragon ball.
javabeans: At first when Ho-dong kept messing up the guys would yell and tease and mock-threaten, but now it’s so bad that he’s about ready to cry and they’re comforting him, all, “It’s okay, anyone could mess up, it’s no big deal.”
girlfriday: I’m actually relieved for Ho-dong when Su-geun messes up instead, losing their final dish. I guess no dinner for them. Na PD offers them one final round just for the dragon ball, and even says he’ll reuse pictures from previous rounds (because he ran out, probably).
javabeans: Heh, they powwow around Ho-dong to give him a cram session of all the pictures he didn’t know.
girlfriday: Aw, Ho-dong flubs the final round anyway, and the dragon ball goes poof too.
javabeans: Ji-won: “Hyung, do you by any chance have face blindness?”
girlfriday: Ho-dong feels so bad that he apologizes over and over, and tells the boys that they don’t have to treat him like the hyung today. They don’t even hesitate for a second, and Ji-won and Seung-gi respond in banmal, “Hey you, let’s go!”
javabeans: They end the night with four dragon balls to their total, meaning there are still three to go if they want to win their wish. Considering they took four weeks to get four balls, I wouldn’t bet on them getting all three by next week.