Lingerie Girls’ Generation: Episode 1
I don’t know if I’m going to be able to handle so much cute all in one place. KBS’s new coming-of-age drama Lingerie Girls’ Generation is just adorable, with endearing characters and a world that lovingly recalls a more innocent time in our lives. The show beautifully brings to life that awkward age when your friends were the most important people in your life, every emotion felt like the end of the world, and your first crush was the most epic romance that ever existed. If you’re ready for a nostalgic trip back to your youth, then dive right in!
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Daegu, 1979. Four teenage girls dance their hearts out to Gimme Gimme Gimme by Abba, until a voice screeches at them to spend some time studying for once. The owner of the voice, one of the girls’ mother, storms into the room and chases them out of the house with a broom.
As they leave school, the girls talk about the group date they’re going on later today, hoping the boys will be cute. One of the girls insists with a bored expression that she’s not really expecting much.
When the date starts, the four girlfriends introduce themselves as Un-joo, Hyun-hee, Eun-ja, and our heroine, LEE JUNG-HEE (Bona). Jung-hee notices that one of the boys is staring at her with interest, and he takes special note of her name with an adorable grin.
But the boy, BAE DONG-MOON (Seo Young-ju), is slightly nerdy and overeager, making Jung-hee pray to be paired with anyone but him. Of course, she ends up with Dong-moon, who looks tickled pink about it. She softens a bit when he compares her looks to Brooke Shields, though she thinks she looks more like Im Ye-jin (wow, she does!).
Just as Jung-hee starts to make an excuse to leave, someone yells an alert, and the girls panic to see a militant woman in a starched uniform marching up the street. They nearly make it out the back door of the restaurant, but the woman spots them, and the chase is on.
As they flee, Dong-moon takes Jung-hee’s hand and leads her in a different direction than the other kids. They run until they find themselves in a dead-end alleyway, so Dong-moon shoves Jung-hee into a corner, throws a tarp over her, and stands to meekly wait for the uniformed woman to catch up.
When she does, he fibs with a big goofy grin that he’s all alone, but the woman insists that she saw him with a girl. She orders Dong-moon to move aside, but instead he throws himself on top of Jung-hee to protect her, which is equal parts futile and endearing.
Dong-moon and Jung-hee are saved when one of the woman’s lackeys, a girl from Jung-hee’s school, comes to point the uniformed woman towards the other students. Probably figuring that catching the group is better than just these two, she runs off.
Dong-moon celebrates their escape, but Jung-hee grouchily whaps him upside the head for touching her. She does thank him reluctantly for his help, prompting him to ask her out on a second date, but Jung-hee says that she’s busy every day from now on. Awww.
Nearby, at what looks to be a clothing factory, the supervisor addresses recent complaints of too much overtime, though he tells his employees that their real problem is lack of commitment. This is Jung-hee’s family’s factory—the supervisor is her father, and both her mother and her aunt work here.
A young repairman interrupts Jung-hee’s dad’s speech to say that he’s finished with the sewing machine he’s there to fix. His name is JOO YOUNG-CHOON (Lee Jong-hyun), and if I’m not mistaken, Jung-hee’s aunt (who’s young and pretty, if a bit frumpy) seems to carry a bit of a torch for him. But Jung-hee’s dad warns her away from Young-choon, since they don’t know anything about his background.
Young-choon looks embarrassed when his tiny little sister comes inside to find him. As they walk home, his sister entertains him by singing the theme song to the anime Candy Candy, making Young-choon smile affectionately.
Later, Jung-hee whines to her mother that she has nothing to wear, and her mother argues that she has a closet full of clothes. Jung-hee’s brother Bong-soo walks in wearing a new shirt, a designer brand no less, and Jung-hee ramps up her whining. Her mother yells at her to have some respect for her oppa, and Jung-hee is all, Oppa whatever, we’re twins! HAHA.
Their father hears the tail-end of the conversation and reminds Jung-hee that Bong-soo is the only boy in four generations, while she’s just going to end up married to another family someday, basically telling her to accept that he gets special treatment. Well, that’s not fair. He leaves, and Jung-hee proceeds to deliver a beating to Bong-soo.
That evening, Bong-soo spends time with the young ladies who work in the factory, teaching them the latest dance moves. One of them in particular looks at him adoringly whenever he talks to her.
When Mom falls asleep in front of the television, Dad carefully removes a paper bag from a cabinet and takes it to Jung-hee’s aunt’s room. He gives it to her with barely a word, and when she sees the cookies inside, she seems pleased.
Aunt takes the cookies to Jung-hee, who’s busy writing in her diary about how much she hates her family. Jung-hee beams at the rare treat, only stopping to complain that her father never gets her anything like this, and her aunt just smiles knowingly.
At school, Jung-hee’s friend Hyun-hee gets caught feeding Jung-hee answers as she does math problems on the board. Their teacher, Teacher Oh, loses his temper and whips the four girls at the board as punishment.
As the girls change clothes for recess later, Jung-hee’s friends admire the pretty, strappy chemise worn by one of their classmates, SHIM AE-SOOK (Dohee), though Jung-hee sneers that only delinquents wear that sort of thing. They head outside, where it turns out that their PE teacher is the same uniformed woman who chased them out of the restaurant before.
She marches the girls like they’re in the army, while Jung-hee’s friends stay in the back and talk about an event that their group dates have invited them to. Jung-hee complains that she doesn’t want to see Dong-moon again, but she perks up when Eun-joo tells her that a famous local heartthrob will be there.
Jung-hee has never heard of him, so her friends tell her that he’s smart, handsome, and student body president at his school. They’re so engrossed in their conversation that they don’t notice that the teacher has turned the other girls around and they’re marching off in the wrong direction, hee.
The whole class gets punished, and Ae-sook, who was also whipped earlier because of Jung-hee’s cheating, kicks Jung-hee and snarls that this is all her fault. She kicks her again, harder, making Jung-hee cry out and catch the teacher’s attention. The two of them get extra punishment in the form of backbends, cementing Ae-sook’s hatred for Jung-hee.
A little while later, Jung-hee and her friends go to the culture night event that the group date boys invited them to. Dong-moon bounds over to say hi before they even get in the building, but Jung-hee dismisses him irritably and goes on inside. Double awww.
Before the event even starts, Hyun-hee runs off to the bathroom to take off her pinching girdle, with Jung-hee following her. They’re scandalized to find cigarette smoke billowing from one the stalls, though it’s no surprise when Ae-sook and her two sidekicks emerge. Ae-sook croons that she’s happy to see her enemy here, blaming Jung-hee for the sunburn she got while they were being punished.
Hyun-hee is locked in a stall while Ae-sook grabs handfuls of Jung-hee’s hair and starts to grapple with her. Flailing wildly, Jung-hee accidentally gives Ae-sook a bloody nose, and at the furious look on Ae-sook’s face, Jung-hee makes a run for it.
She runs all the way downstairs to an empty room, but she’s not strong enough to keep all three thugs from shoving the door open. Suddenly an arm shoots out beside Jung-hee’s head, holding the door closed, and Jung-hee looks up to see a very handsome teenage boy standing there.
She barely has the brainpower to think, “Mommy…” as the boy looks down at her from only inches away. Without a word, he flings the door open, causing Ae-sook and her cronies to tumble into the room and sprawl on the floor while he holds the door at an angle that hides Jung-hee from their view. Awesome—I like him already.
The girls stand, recognizing the boy as SOHN JIN (Yeo Hwe-hyun), and Jung-hee remembers that that’s the name of the famous heartthrob her friends were telling her about. Sohn Jin tells Ae-sook that this room is restricted, staring her down until she backs off and leaves.
Jung-hee peeks out to see if the girls are gone, and Sohn Jin puts a hand on her shoulder to hold her back. He leaves his hand there for several long moments, making Jung-hee all fluttery, then he grins and praises her for her bravery in taking on three foes at once.
She’s got full-on hearts in her eyes by the time he says it’s safe for her to go. As Jung-hee floats down the hallway with a goofy grin on her face, she narrates that from the first moment she met Sohn Jin, the world was no longer boring and lonely—it was a world where a boy had entered her heart.
Sohn Jin performs for the other students as part of the culture night program, showing off his soft, sweet singing voice. Jung-hee watches, thinking to herself that she’s in love, and from across the auditorium, Dong-moon watches Jung-hee and decides that he’s in love.
But as Jung-hee skips home on cloud nine, she narrates that she didn’t know that being in love also meant being in pain, and that the pain would make her heart feel like a rock wrapped in thorns.
Jung-hee spends her school hours thinking about Sohn Jin, imagining her teachers with his face and confusing them with her dreamy smiles. Everything reminds her of him, and she wonders if he knows how much she misses him.
Her friends tell her that Sohn Jin studies at a certain library on the other side of town, because girls bother him too much at the local library. She sets three alarm clocks to make sure that she gets up early enough to go and get a seat near him, but she tosses and turns half the night, so that she sleeps through all three alarms.
It’s still dark when Jung-hee sets out for the library on her bike (and she nearly runs down repairman Young-choon on the sidewalk, ha). The line for seating assignments is halfway down the block when she arrives, so by the time Jung-hee gets to the front, all the tickets for the coed room where Sohn Jin studies are gone.
She spots Dong-moon just then and she wheedles him to give her his coed room ticket. He meekly argues that if he does, he has to wait until someone leaves to get another ticket, so Jung-hee pours on the aegyo until he caves. Poor guy, he never had a chance.
Jung-hee gets a lot of studying done—of Sohn Jin, anyway. Eventually, she retreats to the bathroom to give herself a pep talk in the mirror and practices approaching him, then she heads out to say hello. But she finds Dong-moon in Sohn Jin’s seat, and he says that Sohn Jin just left.
Jung-hee runs out and jumps on her bike, nearly plowing down Dong-moon—who followed her outside—in her pursuit of Sohn Jin. She follows him at a short distance all through town, until her inattention causes her to steer in front of a car, and an over-correction sends her crashing to the pavement.
She sits whimpering in the street with a badly skinned knee. A voice asks if she’s okay, and she looks up to see Sohn Jin standing over her, looking very concerned. She can only gape as he checks her knee and holds out a hand to help her stand, but soon she gives him her hand and he pulls her to her feet.
He fusses over Jung-hee, brushing gravel from her hands, while she continues to stare at him wordlessly. A pretty girl about their age runs over to see if Jung-hee is okay, and as Sohn Jin looks at her and a strange look comes over his face, Jung-hee narrates that she suddenly felt very nervous.
They’re in the middle of moving house, so the girl’s father leaves her behind to help Jung-hee and Sohn Jin, and Jung-hee freezes again when Sohn Jin crouches to piggyback her.
Convinced that this must be a dream, Jung-hee keeps her eyes shut tight as Sohn Jin carries her. She’s in heaven, but the way that Sohn Jin looks at the pretty girl makes me very nervous.
The girl, whose name is PARK HYE-JOO (Chae Seo-jin), runs ahead to a pharmacy for medicine. But the employee, who happens to be Young-choon, snaps that they’re closed. She blinks at him pleadingly and he blinks back nervously, looking a little unsettled.
But he flies into action when Sohn Jin carries in Jung-hee, asking if she’s okay and interrupting Sohn Jin’s explanation to call the pharmacist out. Sohn Jin tries to ask for medicine and Young-choon cuts him off again, telling him with unwarranted snark to talk to the pharmacist.
Hye-joo steps in to try and clean the wound on Jung-hee’s knee, though Jung-hee ignores her, only to beam at Sohn Jin when he does the exact same thing. Young-choon heads out to yet another job, while the pharmacist takes over doctoring Jung-hee. So much fuss over a skinned knee!
Once Jung-hee is all patched up, Hye-joo gives her a little card with her contact info on it, asking her to call if she needs anything. She leaves, and Sohn Jin watches her taxi driving away just a few seconds longer than necessary. He snaps out of it and offers to walk Jung-hee home, and on the way, he asks Jung-hee where she was hurrying to when she had her accident.
Jung-hee stammers, unable to think of an answer that doesn’t make her look like a stalker, so he asks why she went so far away to study. Surprised that he knew she was at the library, Jung-hee trips over her own feet. Sohn Jin catches her deftly and sets her back on her feet like he executes swoony maneuvers like that all the time.
He keeps asking questions, appearing entertained by Jung-hee’s flustered answers. Her brother Bong-soo wanders over and asks why Jung-hee is out here flirting when she’s supposed to be studying, but he snaps to attention (literally) when he recognizes Sohn Jin, since they go to the same school.
Jung-hee explains that Bong-soo is her twin brother, and she gives Sohn Jin her own name for the first time. He tells Bong-soo where to retrieve Jung-hee’s bike, then he says to Jung-hee with an indulgent smile, “Don’t chase after me so hard next time.” *cringe*
But despite her embarrassment, Jung-hee beams after Sohn Jin as he walks away. Bong-soo pesters her with questions, annoying her as only a brother can. As they near their house, they spot Young-choon working yet another job—this time he’s helping a family who’s moving in down the street.
Bong-soo stops dead in his tracks when he sees the teenage girl directing the movers, instantly smitten by her beauty. Jung-hee isn’t so happy to see Hye-joo again, irritated to learn that she’s their new neighbor.
Jung-hee’s day gets even worse when Dong-moon finds her and asks if she’s okay, admitting that he followed her home because he was worried about her. He looks cornered when she asks why he was at the library way across town, and he seems relieved when she assumes that the boys from his school must all go there to study.
He asks why she was there, but Jung-hee only says flippantly that he doesn’t need to know. She turns to go home, leaving the poor boy watching her go, crestfallen and still worried about her injured knee. This puppy is going to break my heart, isn’t he?
Her aunt fusses when Jung-hee comes home with her knee bandaged, but Jung-hee says she’s fine and heads to her room. She stands in front of the mirror, smiling and giving herself a fist-pump of victory as she thinks about how much attention Sohn Jin paid to her today. But those same thoughts keep her up that night, and she wonders why she was so happy earlier and so down now.
At school the next day, her friends are excited to hear that not only did Jung-hee meet Sohn Jin, but that he even piggybacked her. Eun-ja particularly likes the part where Jung-hee’s chest was pressed against Sohn Jin’s back, hee. They decide that she’s on the fast track to being Sohn Jin’s girlfriend, since he’s famous for not paying much attention to girls.
Teacher Oh and the militant PE teacher are both inordinately impressed, almost awed, when Hye-joo enrolls in their school.
Another student overhears Jung-hee’s friends and starts squealing loudly at Jung-hee. They’re caught by Teacher Oh, who makes them kneel on their desks with their arms raised. While they’re sitting like that, he calls in the new transfer student, and the girls all exclaim at Hye-joo’s pretty face.
Only Jung-hee isn’t happy to see her, surprised to learn that Hye-joo is a high school student. Hye-joo recognizes Jung-hee too, and Jung-hee wonders why she suddenly feels nervous again as the two girls make awkward eye contact.
Lingerie Girls’ Generation flew under my radar, so I went into it blind and I can say with complete honesty and no prior bias that this premiere episode is absolutely precious. It charmed my socks right off, and I can’t wait to see more! I love the whole setup of Jung-hee’s pre-established friendships and rivalries, and how that’s all about to be totally shaken up with the addition of a new frenemy in Hye-joo. Not to mention all the terribly tangled lovelines that look poised to cause all kinds of teenage heartache to poor Jung-hee. Dong-moon likes Jung-hee… Jung-hee likes Sohn Jin… Sohn Jin, Jung-hee’s brother, and maybe even Young-choon all like Hye-joo, and ’round and ’round we go.
The show gives me very strong Answer Me 1988 vibes, in a good way. That’s not to say that it feels like a copy—this drama has that same nostalgic feel, the feel of a simpler time when life’s problems didn’t seem too complicated. The pretty sepia tones of the cinematography give it a subtle sense of the past without making it glaringly obvious that this show is set almost forty years ago, and the music is a gentle reminder of when we are that I find really fun and almost comforting. There’s an innocence to the events in the show that owe in part to the fact that Jung-hee is a teenager experiencing things like a serious crush for the first time, and in part to it being set in a very different time period.
I can already tell that the relationship that’s going to get me right in the heart is going to be Jung-hee and her father. Daddy-daughter love stories are the best, especially when they go through a rocky period in the girl’s teens and the dad is too gruff to openly show his affection (Jung-hee definitely gets the grumpy side of her personality from him!). I actually teared up when Jung-hee’s dad took those cookies to her aunt, knowing she would pass them on to Jung-hee without his having to say anything. I was all ready to dislike him when he told Jung-hee to suck up the unfairness because her brother was the only boy in generations, only to realize that he made a special point to get a treat just for her. It kills me that he wants to make his little girl happy but he’s too brusque to do it openly, so he jumps through all these hoops to get her the cookies she loves without her knowing they’re from him. So sweet.
I think this is going to be one of those dramas that makes it very difficult to choose a favorite suitor for the heroine’s heart. I really like Sohn Jin so far—he’s sweet, funny, a complete gentleman, and he seems to find Jung-hee interesting at the very least. On paper, he’s certainly everything a girl could want, but it also makes me wonder if he’s hiding something. The way he seemed to take an instant disliking to Young-choon (and vice versa) struck me as strange, and I’m anxious to learn what that was all about.
But I can’t help it… give me a loyal, adoring doofus like Dong-moon over a handsome-but-distant boy like Sohn Jin any day of the week. Even when I was Jung-hee’s age, I knew the value of a boy who liked me, even if he wasn’t the best looking or the coolest guy around. That’s not to say that I never crushed on the popular guys, because goodness knows growing up wouldn’t be complete without one or two good, angsty admiring-from-afar crushes. But when it comes to relationships, I would rather date the slightly nerdy, smart, sweet boy who cherishes me. So my heart goes out to Dong-moon, who is exactly my type (I love a cutie in glasses!), and who is probably going to get his heart broken multiple times by Jung-hee before this show is over. He’s obviously just as gone for Jung-hee as she is for Sohn Jin, and I can already hear the love triangle heartache train pulling out of the station.
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