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Record of Youth: Episode 1

High expectations would be an understatement for Record of Youth, and I’m delighted to report that the premiere promises a heartwarming show about the turbulences of youth and the determination to make most of this fleeting time. The top tier cast and production is apparent in this strong first episode, as we learn about our aspiring actor and the relentless doubts he faces in pursuit of his dreams. In addition to battling the doubts, he’s racing against time, and the reality of his situation weigh heavier on him with every passing moment.

 
EPISODE 1

A production team watches an audition submission from a young man who acts with intensity, delivering a desperate plea to immediately deploy a rescue team for the victims of a collapsed bridge. The producer seems intrigued by this unfamiliar newbie actor, SA HYE-JOON (Park Bo-gum) and asks his team for his name.

Our aspiring actor stands guard backstage for a famous actor at an awards show, and make-up artist Lee Bo-ra (cameo by Kim Hye-yoon) tries to get past Hye-joon. She insists that she needs to settle her break-up, and though Hye-joon received specific orders to not let her in, he barely puts up a fight and decides to let her “forcefully” enter.

As soon as Bo-ra enters the room, she slaps her ex and gives him a mouthful about his insulting behavior after their break-up. When he talks back, she slaps him again and runs off. Hye-joon looks surprised by the escalation and claims that he did his best to guard the door. The actor doesn’t believe him and slaps him hard.

Hye-joon slowly reaches for the cut on his face and gets fired up when he sees blood. The actor belittles Hye-joon for taking a lowly guard job when he’s actually a model, but Hye-joon doesn’t find anything wrong with his current situation. He drops the formalities because they’re the same age, and that provokes the actor to throw another punch.

As Hye-joon blocks the punch and suffers a kick, he narrates, “My dream is this person in front of me. Even this [trash] person was able to make it, and I don’t have much time left.” Hye-joon puts a bandage on his cut and fixes his disheveled look in the bathroom.

It’s 2018, and while Hye-joon gets punched at work, another model/actor WON HAE-HYO (Byun Woo-seok) finishes up a photoshoot and teases his friend and intern photographer KIM JIN-WOO (Kwon Soo-hyun) for struggling with the reflector panel. Hae-hyo advises him to exercise, but Jin-woo refuses to join the friends for their evening jogs.

Hae-hyo checks the notification on his phone, and Jin-woo bets that it’s Hye-joon’s social media post. Jin-woo guessed correctly, after investigating the photo, he wonders if Hye-joon got beat up at his job. Hae-hyo doubts this, but Jin-woo shakes his head that a silver spoon like him can’t understand the struggles of his humble friends.

Jin-woo asks about the upcoming movie casting and wonders what will happen if Hye-joon doesn’t get the role. Hae-hyo remains optimistic and says that he’ll take care of Hye-joon, and Jin-woo clings onto him asking for his generosity as well. Their banter is interrupted by Jin-woo’s photographer boss scolding him, and Hae-hyo picks up a call from his mom.

Mom KIM YI-YOUNG (Shin Ae-ra) asks Hye-hyo why he’s not coming to her salon and complains that she doesn’t like his hair. Amused by Mom’s complaint, Hye-hyo insists his hair his fine and hangs up. Mom Yi-young gets impatient waiting for the main designer and asks the assistant AHN JUNG-HA (Park So-dam) to do her make-up instead.

Jung-ha hesitates to overstep her role, but Yi-young cheerfully says that she doesn’t like to be kept waiting and trusts Jung-ha’s skills. Yi-young approves of Jung-ha’s detailed client care — from sanitizing her hands to complimenting Yi-young’s beauty. When the late designer Jin Joo arrives, Yi-young insists that Jung-ha finish her look.

Yi-young thanks Jung-ha as she heads off to her meeting, and designer Jin Joo makes a snobbish comment that Jung-ha, who quit her corporate job, thinks she’s everything because she’s the director’s favorite. Jin Joo reminds Jung-ha that she is a ten-year veteran and warns Jung-ha to stay in her lane.

Salon colleague Choi Soo-bin follows Jung-ha into the break room and tells Jung-ha that the designer has an inferiority complex because Jung-ha is so good. Jung-ha thanks her for the encouragement, and when Soo-bin asks if Jung-ha likes her more than Sa Hye-joon, Jung-ha draws the line: No one beats Sa Hye-joon.

Soo-bin thinks that Hye-joon will fade away because he’s not that great of an actor as he was a model, and Jung-ha takes offense to this. As a dedicated Hye-joon fan, Jung-ha disagrees and emphasizes how hard he works for his achievements. Soo-bin gets called back into work, and Jung-ha takes a moment to recharge by looking up photos of Hye-joon.

On the bus, Hye-joon scrolls through his model friend Hye-hyo’s social media feed. He narrates, “For my friend, ‘dream’ means preserving himself, but for me, ‘dream’ is expensive homework.” He checks his bank account and sighs at his measly balance.

At his company, Hye-joon demands to be paid for his runway and guard jobs, but model agency director LEE TAE-SOO (Lee Chang-hoon) retorts that he barely blocked the haughty actor from suing Hye-joon. Standing tall, Hye-joon claims that he has nothing to lose in lawsuit and gets back to the issue of his payments. Everyone left the agency when they didn’t get paid, but Hye-joon stuck around because he trusted Tae-soo.

Tae-soo tries to whip up an excuse, but a model agency employee LEE MIN-JAE (Shin Dong-mi) intervenes and tells Tae-soo to pay Hye-joon. Having just quit the agency, Min-jae was packing up her desk but couldn’t stand watching Tae-soo take advantage of Hye-joon. She commits to this act of kindness on her way out and threatens to send photos of Tae-soo’s infidelity to his wife if Tae-soo doesn’t provide proper compensation.

Hye-joon watches Min-jae with admiration and follows her out to request that she be his manager. He needs someone like her, but Min-jae isn’t keen on continuing to help naïve Hye-joon not get conned. Hye-joon tries to convince her, but Min-jae rolls down her car window and concludes that she was only briefly excited by his proposal.

Hye-joon returns to the office to finish his contract termination with Tae-soo, who agrees to a written contract termination agreement but says that he can’t pay the outstanding labor costs. Hye-joon considers this a fine compromise to be freed from Tae-soo.

Tae-soo claims all the credit for Hye-joon’s successful modeling years and doubts that Hye-joon can transition into acting. Insulted Hye-joon pushes Tae-soo against the wall in anger, and Tae-soo asks, “Do you really think you can be like Hae-hyo?” He knows that Hye-joon is anxious about their disparate paths, and Hye-joon tears up in acknowledgement. Their different career paths couldn’t be more drastic, as we see Hae-hyo attending his private pilates class. Being the bigger person, Hye-joon lets go of Tae-soo and says that he isn’t trying to be like his friend.

They finally sign the termination papers, and on his way out, Hye-joon clarifies that he didn’t even try to get his money because he knew he would need to play even dirtier to get his well-earned compensation. “I don’t have time for that,” he says and walks out as petty Tae-soo continues to belittle him.

As Hye-joon leaves the company, he receives an encouraging message from his grandpa SA MIN-KI (Han Jin-hee), who’s out dancing. Hye-joon receives a call from Gramps and takes a deep breath to collect his emotions before answering. Gramps dotes on Hye-joon, saying he’s the most talented person and assuring his grandson that his time will come. Hye-joon looks grateful for the encouragement. Gramps hangs up to head back to the dancefloor and Hye-joon runs off to his shift at PPL Subway, where a crowd of his fans wait to order from him.

Yi-young lounges on the couch browsing through a catalog while the housekeeper (and Hye-joon’s mother) HAN AE-SOOK (Ha Hee-ra) brings the arranged flowers to the dining table. Noticing a taller flower in the arrangement, Yi-young tells Ae-sook to cut it shorter, and Ae-sook obliges, though she silently disagrees. Yi-young then asks Ae-sook to handwash some laundry, but Ae-sook mentions that she already changed into her nicer outfit to leave for the day.

Ae-sook shares that she has to go home early today to celebrate her older son’s new job, and on the surface, the two women have a normal conversation about the son’s new job and prestigious school connections. But in their minds, they’re squabbling about bragging rights, who’s better connected, and the laundry. Haha, I love this duality.

As Ae-sook hand washes the laundry, she notes about how there are people in the world who get everything they want. She accepts that she got the short end of the stick in this life and decides not to complain about it. In the family group chat, her husband reminds everyone about their dinner, and Hye-joon responds that he’s going to be late. Ae-sook shakes her head that the two constantly clash, even when she tries bridge their differences.

Dad SA YOUNG-NAM (Park Soo-young) tells his carpenter co-worker to share any requests for their celebratory dinner, and carpenter friend (also aspiring photographer Jin-woo’s father) KIM JANG-MAN (Jung Min-sung) is jealous that Young-nam only has Hye-joon to worry about now. Though Young-nam initially saw hope in Hye-joon’s career as a model, he’s disgruntled that Hye-joon won’t let go of his acting dreams after 7 years and wishes he would pick up carpentry.

Young-nam cringes in pain when he tries to lift a piece of wood, and Jang-man offers to do the heavy lifting. Jang-man notes that carpentry isn’t a desirable trade to pass down, given Young-nam’s injury and hardship with working to pay off his father’s debts. Young-nam worries about supporting Hye-joon financially, even with him and his wife both working.

Ae-sook announces her departure, and Yi-young catches her to give her a bonus for staying late to do laundry. Ae-sook politely declines and runs into Hae-hyo at the door. Hae-hyo sweetly greets Ae-sook as “mother,” and they comfortably chat about his friendship with Hye-joon. When Hae-hyo mentions that he shares secrets with Hye-joon that his mother doesn’t know, Yi-young interjects and insists on knowing these secrets.

After Ae-sook takes off, Yi-young suggests that Hae-hyo address Ae-sook as “ajumma” instead of “mother,” and Hae-hyo shakes his head at his mother’s immaturity. She pries about the secrets that she doesn’t know and finally lets it go when he calls her a stalker. Then, she asks if she should prepare salad for dinner, since Hae-hyo has a fashion show tomorrow, and Hae-hyo begs his mom to let him be.

Yi-young scoffs that he hasn’t come this far on his own, and Hae-hyo’s expression hardens at that comment. She brushes it off, and Hae-hyo asks her to respect his commitment to power his own success. Mom agrees to respect his boundaries and thinks back to her meeting earlier — the one she got her make-up done for. She met up with a producer and essentially bribed him to push for Hae-hyo to be casted.

Ae-sook comes home with a load of groceries and picks up the mail on her way inside. From the envelope, she can tell it’s Hye-joon’s enlistment letter. Friend (and Jin-woo’s mother) Lee Kyung-mi stops by to help her cook and asks if the lady (Yi-young) has acted up lately. Apparently, Ae-sook had quit her job, but Yi-young had requested that she come back. The friend notices the enlistment letter, and Ae-sook sighs in anticipation of chaos.

As the salon wraps up for the day, the director asks Jung-ha if she can support Jin Joo at the fashion show the next day. It’s Jung-ha’s day off, but she excitedly accepts the opportunity. After the director leaves, she celebrates with Soo-bin and gleefully anticipates her meeting with Hye-joon.

While Hye-joon works at a barbeque restaurant, Ae-sook and Kyung-mi prepare a feast to celebrate SA KYUNG-JOON (Lee Jae-won). Gramps waits inside his room, trying to determine when to go outside. He puts his ear to the door, and then KIM JIN-RI (Jin-woo’s younger sister) opens the door to retrieve Gramps for dinner, and Gramps gets knocked on the head as he jumps back to pretend he wasn’t listening.

Gramps claims that he was just stretching, but Jin-ri says that she doesn’t need to know since she respects his privacy. Gramps sighs that everyone in the neighborhood knows that he lives in deference to his family.

The barbeque restaurant owner stops by the locker room to offer Hye-joon a manager position. He has Hye-joon’s best interests in mind and even offers to hand over the restaurant to him, but Hye-joon declines the offer. The owner advises Hye-joon to listen to adults, but Hye-joon has learned that humans only have their own interests in mind. He assures the generous owner that he’s talking in general terms — not about the owner — and reluctantly agrees to reconsider the offer.

Hye-joon meets Jin-woo outside and says that he’s got a lot on his mind. He wonders what he should do to clear his mind and silently turns to Jin-woo with a mischievous look. Jin-woo knows exactly what Hye-joon is up to and begs him not to do this, but Hye-joon has already started running.

Hae-hyo joins them at an intersection, and Jin-woo asks him to stop Hye-joon. Instead of stopping Hye-joon, Hae-hyo joins him on the jog and the two friends run together in their neighborhood with Jin-woo lagging behind.

As the families celebrate Kyung-joon over dinner, Dad Young-nam and Gramps create some awkward moments with their tense interactions. When Gramps tries to advise Kyung-joon to not grant any personal favors with work, Young-nam says that Kyung-joon can take care of himself. Friend Jang-nam tries to relieve the tension by proposing that Young-nam lead a toast, and when Young-nam has nothing to say, Gramps says that he would be bragging far and wide if he had a successful son.

Jin-ri observes that Gramps just dissed Young-nam, and Young-nam acknowledges the diss — that if he had been more successful, Gramps would have proudly bragged about him. Young-nam isn’t affected by this truth and raises a glass to Jin-ri’s honesty and his son’s success. Gramps looks sheepish and apologetic.

At the neighborhood playground, Jin-woo eats ice cream and surmises that models were sinners in a past life and therefore can’t eat everything they want. Hye-joon says that food isn’t everything in life, and looking to Jin-woo, Hae-hyo playfully adds that food is everything for some people. Hae-hyo says that they don’t tease those people, and Hye-joon completes the thought by saying that they respect their differences. The two models fist bump to completing each other’s sentences.

A fancy car drives by, and Jin-woo yells at the driver to catch their attention. The driver, WON HAE-NA (Jo Yoo-jung) reverses and rolls down the window to greet her oppas. She tells them to get in because she’s bored, and Jin-woo eagerly jumps into the passenger seat while the other two linger at the playground.

Hye-joon expresses awe that Hae-hyo’s younger sister has grown up so fast, and he says that only time is fair. He thought he was the only one getting older, but seeing Hae-na proved that everyone is affected by time. Noticing his friend’s dampened mood, Hae-hyo asks if something is up, and Hye-joon responds, “I keep getting attacked by reality.”

Hae-na parks her car and tells Jin-woo to get out. But before he leaves, she stops him from leaving and leans in for a peck (oh cute, they’re together!). Jin-woo asks that they go elsewhere, but when Hae-na says that she doesn’t want to, Jin-woo agrees to do whatever she wants. Pleased with Jin-woo’s response, she offers a reward by driving elsewhere.

Hae-hyo asks what happened to Hye-joon that day, and Hye-joon says that he doesn’t want to relive his bad day. Hae-hyo respects his friend’s feelings and offers to wait until Hye-joon is ready to share. They ask each other about the movie audition and both confirm that they haven’t heard back. Whoever gets the part, they agree to cheer each other on.

Hye-joon shares his plan to enlist if he doesn’t get this role, and Hae-hyo reminds him that they agreed to enlist together. Hye-joon repeats a common saying that your friends change as you get older and as your situations change. Hae-hyo argues that the saying doesn’t apply to them because their situations have been different from the start, and Hye-joon says that if their friendship changes, it will be because they’ve lost their innocence.

Unnerved by Hae-hyo’s earnest look, Hye-joon gets defensive just in time for Hae-hyo to confess, “I love you.” Hae-hyo chases his friend with puckered lips and vows to give him a kiss one day. Hye-joon runs off, and the friends part ways for the night.

Jung-ha walks home with Soo-bin and films a beauty tip video on how to touch up your make-up. At home, Jung-ha cooks samgyupsal, and Soo-bin excitedly eats a perfect first bite. Soo-bin admits that she though Jung-ha was super cheap at first because she never joined them to go out for dinner, and then she learned that Jung-ha bought a house on a 30-year loan.

Having experienced the instability, Jung-ha values the security of having a home and claims that she values stability. Soo-bin suggests that Jung-ha get married if she likes stability, but Jung-ha doesn’t want to get married, even if it’s with Sa Hye-joon. She explains that she wants the happy feeling associated with love, but she doesn’t want to be in love.

Soo-bin asks for alcohol, but Jung-ha says that she doesn’t drink the day before a job. Soo-bin pouts that Jung-ha is self-centered, and Jung-ha advises her to be more self-centered. Jung-ha shares that she vowed to be more self-centered when she quit her job, and she adds that she thinks their society is too family-centered.

When Hye-joon arrives at home, he finds his dad making a new door for his older brother. Dad asks where he’s been, and Hye-joon curtly responds that he was working. Inside, Hye-joon looks at his brother’s door and looks deflated when he compares it to his even older door.

Mom pulls Hye-joon aside to give him the enlistment letter and quietly advises that he enlist this time. Hye-joon says that he plans on it but adds that he wants to wait until he hears back on an audition. Older brother Kyung-joon overhears the conversation and bluntly tells Hye-joon that everyone in the family thinks that he’s a burden.

Offended by the judgement, Hye-joon insults his brother for having a bad personality and not contributing to the family despite his book smarts. Dad enters the conversation to come to Kyung-joon’s defense, and Mom rushes Hye-joon to his room to avoid further confrontation with Dad.

Hye-joon goes into his room, where Gramps pretends that he didn’t overhear the conversation and asks about his day. Then, Dad storms into the room and orders Hye-joon to go to army immediately instead of wasting his youth. He asks Dad if he also thinks of him as a burden and says that he needs to know if his family is judging him just like the rest of the world.

Dad claims that he’s looking out for Hye-joon because he’s seeing Hye-joon’s modeling career decline. He compares Hye-joon to Gramps, who got caught up in the praise of his handsome looks and pursued aimless career paths in entertainment.

Gramps comes to Hye-joon’s defense and says that his grandson is different, but Dad disagrees. Dad says that the family would have been better off if Gramps hadn’t gotten scammed with his savings, and Gramps acknowledges his past mistakes. He claims that he’s the burden, and Hye-joon holds his hand in gratitude.

Enraged by Gramps’ protectiveness, Dad starts another round of arguments, but Mom rushes in to drag him out. She forces Dad and Kyung-joon into the bathroom so that they don’t make any more hurtful comments in earshot, and she tells them not to aggravate Hye-joon’s challenges. She reminds Kyung-joon that they waited for him to make his own choices and demands that they respect Hye-joon’s time and decisions.

That night, Gramps watches Hye-joon sleep and lovingly strokes his grandson’s hair. Another admirer, Jung-ha takes a break editing her video to watch old runway videos of Hye-joon. She plans out what she’s going to say when she meets him and posts dinner photos on her social media with hashtags expressing her excitement.

At the rehearsal for the show, the fashion designer critiques the models’ expression as they walk down the runway. Then, Hye-joon does his walk, and the designer’s expression changes. Instead of yelling critiques into the mic, he shares his approval when Hye-joon gets close. Huh, curious.

Hae-hyo and Hye-joon go backstage to get their make-up done, and Jung-ha fixates on Hye-joon as he walks toward her. Make-up designer Jin Joo calls Hae-hyo to her seat, but Jung-ha silently stares at Hye-joon. He looks confused and asks why she isn’t calling him to her seat. Jung-ha bashfully invites him to take a seat and prepares to do his make-up.

As Jung-ha takes off her rings, she accidentally knocks over a product, and Hye-joon catches it. She thanks him and starts cleansing his face with a cotton pad. Hye-joon looks over at Hae-hyo with a face mask and asks why he isn’t getting a mask too. Jung-ha responds that he doesn’t need a mask because of his good skin, and Hye-joon smiles slightly in satisfaction.

In the chaos backstage, Jung-ha does Hye-joon’s make-up with intense focus and the quiet intensity makes the session seem more intimate. When Jung-ha finishes the make-up, Hye-joon starts to head off, but Hae-hyo asks him to wait until he’s done. Hye-joon asks Jung-ha for permission to stay in his seat, and Jung-ha nods.

Curious about Jung-ha’s silence, Hye-joon asks if she’s always this quiet with clients, and Jung-ha shyly respond that she isn’t. Hae-hyo receives a call from his mom, who brought something for him, and he asks Jung-ha if she can finish his make-up while Jin Joo is tending to other matters. Jung-ha declines the request and says that she shouldn’t take some else’s client.

Hye-joon wonders why they’re territorial with clients, and Hae-hyo asks if they two don’t get along. Jung-ha instinctively answers truthfully, and Hae-hyo follows up by asking if Jin Joo has a bad personality. Attempting to minimize misunderstandings, Jung-ha offers to finish up Hae-hyo’s make-up and explains that some people accuse her of making others feel uncomfortable.

Hye-joon shares that he’s the opposite, and Hae-hyo teases that even neighborhood dogs feel comfortable with him. Their fun conversation is interrupted by Jin Joo, who accuses Jung-ha for habitually stealing her clients. Hye-joon tries to intervene, but Jin Joo doesn’t let him. Jung-ha apologizes, and Jin Joo mortifies her in front of the two models, calling her sinister. Embarrassed by the scolding, Jung-ha walks out.

Jung-ha cries in disappointment and tries to cheer herself up by counting her blessings. She tries to remind herself of her good fortune but then calls bullshit. Even in her mortification, Jung-ha admires her phone wallpaper of Hye-joon and says, “Living kindly and happily doesn’t matter. Ultimately in life, inconsiderate people with bad tempers are the winners.”

Grateful for his attempt to help her, Jung-ha looks at Hye-joon’s photo and says that she’s glad to be his fan. Hye-joon overhears her and appears from behind. He asks if she likes him, and Jung-ha stands up in alarm, caught red-handed in her adoration.

 
COMMENTS

I think I like this show, but it veered from my expectations. With this all-star cast, I was expecting something a bit shinier, but I appreciate the more muted tone of the show. I really enjoyed the emphasis on family in this first episode, and I particularly adored the relationship between Gramps and Hye-joon. They’re both the black sheep of the family, and I find it fitting and bittersweet that they share a room in house. I love that Gramps deeply believes in Hye-joon, and that unconditional support feels even more precious because of how the rest of the family treats them. Mom was another highlight of the family, with her unassuming yet headstrong approach to her interactions with both Yi-young and her family. She’s definitely the glue of the household more out of necessity than choice, and I appreciate her level attitude. Even though this isn’t the most harmonious family, I find them quite comforting because of the imperfections.

The main friendship was delightful, and I think this is where the writing really shines. The banter and quick wit are strong suits of writer Ha Myung-hee, and I enjoyed how the banter established a sense of familiarity and ease in the friendship. I love a good bromance, but I also get suspicious about a bromance this cute and sweet. Like is it going to last? Do we need to savor this now? I hope these two models don’t lose their innocence and pucker their lips at each other forever, but I fear that all the too-good-to-be-true pieces are just foreshadowing a turn for the worse.

I wish we had a little more background on our heroine in this first episode, though the moments highlighting Jung-ha seemed promising. I like that Jung-ha embodies independence, though her independence seems rooted in loneliness. I know there’s plenty of backstory on her, after learning that she bought her own house with a huge amount of debt because she’s experienced the trauma of not having a roof above her head. This characterization reminds me of Park Shin-hye’s character from Doctors (another show penned by Ha Myung-hee), which is where I start to caution myself from raising expectations. The heroine in Doctors started out really strong and then become really mediocre at the end. I like Jung-ha and want to like her without reservations, but my self-preservation instincts tell me that I should hope for but not expect a steady run from this character.

There’s something comforting about this drama, and although I can’t quite pinpoint the reason, I’m drawn to this show. My first impression is that it’s a thoughtful show rooted in realistic and relatable struggles of the youth. It doesn’t feel too eager or dramatic like Itaewon Class, but it has the same caliber of heart. I find it kind of cheeky that life is imitating art with this show being Bogummie’s last project before enlistment, and the parallels between life and art are making me root for Hye-joon’s character with the dedication of Jung-ha. Last project chance before enlistment — you can do it, Bogummie Hye-joon!

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I like Hye Joon for standing up for himself but I like Jungha’s character more. I wanna know more about her in upcoming episodes.

Question: Is it normal for Korean kids to talk back to their parents?

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@dramallama Thank you for the recap 😘😘

I just came to say that the screenshot of PBG at the top of this recap is basically us in 2020, ain’t it??? 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺

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Crying Bogummy will make me cry too.

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That is very true

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I had to scroll up and look at the screenshot.
Yep, that is all of us this year, including the bandaid!

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🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺

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I liked the first episode. I think the ML trying to fullfill his dream was realistic. He's not very young anymore.

Won Hae-Hyo's mother is creepy. If their friendship doesn't last, I'm pretty sure it will be because of her.

I like An Jeong-Ha but I agree with dramallama, we just know she's a fan of Sa Hye-Jun... I need more.

Is Kim Jin-U acted by the anonymous actor from Welcome to Waikiki?

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Thanks for the recap @dramallama!

I think it’s very much Hyejun’s show right now, which I don’t mind so much, but I agree that we need to know much about Jungha. I think the show has warmth and heart but some of the dialogue seemed a bit dated to me in this premiere. Overall, I’m sticking with it because at the end of the day, I’m really rooting for Hyejun. Park Bogum is a master of that sad puppy expression. His eyes get glassy and shiny and his voice cracks and I’m sold. Here, take all my love and support 🥺

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Enjoyed this first episode. As always, Park bo-gum delivers and I'm looking forward to Hye-joon's journey and what happens with his friendship with Hae-hyo.

On the other hand, regarding Park so-dam's character, I'm not feeling it as they say. I don't know if it's the actress, the role, I don't know what it is exactly. But I totally recognize this show just started and I may be premature in making a judgement. I'm certainly giving this a chance so we'll see what happens.

Thanks for the recap!

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I really like the main leads and the show so far. Jung Ha seems to have a steady head and a goal she wants to fulfill. I like Hye Joon and can feel his desperation to succeed and frustration prove to his father that he has his own life and can chose to live it the way he wants.

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There's something mesmerizing about watching Park Bo-gum get his make-up done. No sheet masks needed for his good skin. Still I can't shake the feeling what if a model-actor were cast as Hye-joon. Park Bo-gum is commercial-pretty, but his looks aren't high-fashion runway model. Acting-wise, Park Bo-gum does the tears-welling-up puppy dog eyes so well that I can already see Hye-joon's relationship with Harabeoji will be the heart and soul of this drama.

When Hye-joon asked, "Do you like me?" I answered out loud. Jung-ha is so relatable to all fangirls. "Fangirling is how I hang in there. Only the thought of love makes you happy." Thank goodness nasty Jin-joo only fawns over Hae-hyo to suck up to Mom, so Jung-ha can work on and stare at Hye-joon. Kim Hye-yoon's cameo makes me want a pairing with her and Park Bo-gum.

Thanks lots for the recap, @dramallama!

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yeah! I was also wondering what would happen if Jang Ki-yong (the first one who was offered the ML role, and a former model) accepted the role!!

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I read Jang Ki-yong was offered and declined Byun Woo-seok's role of Hae-hyo, not Hye-joon.

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I love this show! This show was an entertainment-related mixed with retailer-related and beauty/makeup-related (for both male and female).

I saw best editing when I looked at the beautiful onscreen focus of any social media posts which I think it will use this features until the final episode.

For the cast, I loved them especially with characters and their attitudes but emotions will be good enough to traditionally show how youth will know or reflection in both today and in future generations or social media generation/gen Z/gen AA (generation double A) from this episode onwards. Back to the cast, it was perfect real casting and I hope they will perfectly best acting until this show's completion.

But in my opinion, many (local/imported) PPLs (such as Subway) are excellently understood so that audiences from outside Korea will know what is their true meanings to any real brands/products/places.

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I tried for 38 minutes before I gave up. The cast is amazing. The director is great, but I just.... couldnt connect to it. I dont know what it is. I will wait a bit more to binge it, because there is no way this wont be a great drama.

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Having watched the next episode, I have to say that I adore the chemistry between Park Bo Gum and Park So Dam. Their friendship seems effortless and I’m proud of Jung Ha being able to not melt into a puddle in front of her idol like I would. That takes guts!

But as much as I adore the bromance between the three guys, I’m cautious about their friendship. Sweet friendships like these don’t last in Kdramas. It’s a fact. And I smell a love triangle between our heroine and the two friends. Also Jin Woo and his girlfriend reminds me of the secondary couple in Reply 1988 for some reason.

This and Do You Like Brahms are what I’m watching until Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol starts airing. Then I’ll be having two musicals and one Bogummie drama to watch.... along with my exams in November.... *insert the first pic in this recap of Bogummie sighing*

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The blatant favouritism for hyung and the disrespect to grandpa really irks me.. erghh..

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It might not be fair but it is quite true to life. If we see from their perspective - one son is running after an unrealistic dream and other one has a stable job. The black sheep is not helping the household and other people have to make up for it. They are trying to be realistic but it would have been better if they were less cruel.

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He’s chasing after a dream but at the same time he’s been working/supporting himself since he left school while the brother just started working. For the grandpa, we don’t know how bad a father he was but i still don’t condone the disrespect to him esp by the grandson.

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Here for Park So Dam! Enjoyed this premiere, tentatively hopeful for this show!

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I was eagerly awaiting this first review almost as much as the start of the drama. The first episode is a little soft but you can already see the possible future developments. The protagonists was presented and incredibly are already completely in empathy with HYE JOON. Park Bo Gum is truly an incredibly talented and charismatic actor. I do not share the comparison with Itaewon Class of which I have only seen the first two episodes and 5 'of the last, because the cruelty of reality does not need to be amplified in order to be perceived. In Itaewon Class I found some forcing of the plot not very credible. The drama RoY is what it was meant to be, a drama that tells the everyday stories of young people who face the world of adults and clash with it to make their dreams come true. It is really interesting to see what lies behind the glossy world of fashion and cinema. I expect a crescendo. Ah .. I would not compare the presentation of the character of So Dam with that of Shin Hye in Doctors, here it has yet to be revealed and I guess it will be gradually more important. Everything to see even if only the thought that for two years that wonderful actor will be in the navy saddens me

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Though I enjoyed the Itaewon Class, I found that the whole story very fictional... and in a way over the top such as a girl who excelled everything ( and she was regarded sociopath yet at the end of the drama, she became a kind of lame, she lost the shine that she had early) and Sae-ro-yi's academic advisor is genius in finance thus he became loaded etc etc. It is not about the slice of life at all, it is very fictional. But the set up is poor/weak vs rich/powerful and this is a winning set up for krama afterall.
On the contrary, this drama gives me a vibe of slice of life.
I watched the second episode and I found it more interesting. The story reveals the whole set up rather slowly and it progresses with good tempo.

Let's see how the drama progresses,,,

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I agree with you. We'll talk about it in the comment below the second episode, but I got the same impression you did. It seems that the life of the protagonists hides a social complaint. Park Bo Gum's acting is so realistic that looking at him you only see Hye Joon.

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I forgot to say something in my long comment ... So Dam certainly isn't the prettiest actress BO GUM has worked with but her infatuation with Hye Joon is so believable that it feels real ... Already outstanding the couple chemistry. She is looking for stability, she doesn't want to fall in love, but I'm sure he will overwhelm her with his vitality

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I’M certainly “overwhelmed” with his “vitality.” (Sorry, couldn’t help myself 😜.)

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😂Sorry, I don't know how to describe the difference between the two, she seems very restrained, he very passionate, and for sure he will overwhelm her with his charge (and cuteness)

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My mind can go to the gutter pretty quickly and I’m just teasing, but yeah—loved how you described him.

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agree

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On August 31 Park Bo-gum enlisted! Shouldn't that put a crimp in his shooting schedule?

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This and his movie that will come out while enlisted were both pre-produced. I’m pretty sure he was shooting both these projects simultaneously. His production company squeaking every last cent out of him before he left.

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what can be Bogummies´ task in the army? Train puppies? Because I just can´t imagine it... maybe he will be a ballet instructor ...teaching the DMZ soldiers to skip mines Nutcraacker style?

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Bogummie's task in the navy, not army, is to play the piano in the military band.

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'Piano player in a marching band' I think was the punch line to an old joke I heard long ago.

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In the first six months he will do what everyone does, the fact that he is an artist does not mean that he cannot hold a gun in his hand, the fact that he has a kind personality, it does not mean that he cannot be strong when necessary. Let's not forget that the action scenes in his dramas were all well performed, even the most brutal, a sign that he has learned to use swords and hands.

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Phew. First episode. I’ve been anticipating this one for months. I don’t know if I like the story line, but I do like their snappy dialog and the banter between all the characters. Park So Dam is so earnest and her character is as well. One of the cultural things that stands out to me is the fact she already has a house and mortgage. In Korea, males are almost required to have a house before they get married. She’s taken on that role for whoever she decides to be with. And Hye-Joon needs that. Already you see the puzzle pieces made for each other. And the grandfather-grandson dynamic is so good too. Hye-joon’s family is relatable and close. Jung-ha doesn’t really have a family, and I’m sure we’ll see why soon. She needs that piece in her life, which Hye-Joon has. This writer does a lot of details well. But the overarching story line and character development of hers has never impressed me. There may be a first time. I hope this show is it.

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I find struggle being faced by Hye-Joon and portrayal of imperfect family quite realistic and well done. I liked Mom's character the most. She is doing her best to keep her family together. I am on the fence about other characters as we don't have enough insight into them.
As for now I liked it enough to continue watching.

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At first, I found it hard to believe that the mesmerizingly beautiful Park Bo-gum could be as bereft of opportunities as his character Sa Hye-jun, and my viewing stalled halfway through, but when I saw a shot of the grandpa and Hye-jun holding hands, I got back into it and now I'm with its low-key vibe. I could watch Park So-dam anywhere anytime, She seems to bring a fresh feel to her characters, and I believe them.

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YES! I absolutely agree with you and this drama's "low-key vibe." I will say that I was at first thrown off that this drama was not hard-hitting in the first couple of episodes, but I really appreciated the quiet struggles of the characters and now I think that the low-keyness of the drama thus far matches with how our characters are dealing with their individual problems and worries. So yes - I am digging the low-key vibe, too. Hopefully the show handles that well for the rest of its course.

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I must say, I did not much enjoy the first week as much as I had hoped. I kinda found is really boring actually. They were all talking but none of it felt like real people to me.

Not sure if they had to accelerate the whole fan to friend bit so that they want to give us a lot of romance moments which are always fanfav but to me, it all felt really forced.

Also parents pressure on him felt awful to watch. I totally understand parental pressure is awful either way but it was just too cruelly done.

They touched so many K-ent moments already in first two episodes that I wonder what they are going to show in rest.

We already have (1) rookies exploited by agencies (2) sponsor offers - this one was ickier because he is straight and sponsor is gay (3) those with connections get the jobs.

I don't know, I am not feeling this one at all.

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The topics covered by this DRAMA have never been dealt with before, I would say that given everything that happened in just two episodes, you can't really get bored

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A bit underwhelming 1st episode for me, that it took me 2 days to finish this. But I will not judge this yet, it normally takes me 4 episodes to decide whether to drop or not. Hope it gets better.

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Park So Dam ' s acting is like a sedative drug. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. BORING!!!!!!!!!!!

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be serious please, make a criticism without talking about boredom, plus in my opinion in this drama there is the only Korean actor worthy of note for his acting.

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i tried watching for Park Bo Gum but I cant contnue because of Park So Dam. I wish the FL was not her. She lacks charisma and presence. Her acting is unwatchable.

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This is interesting because i dropped beautiful mind because of her obnoxious acting..
and she has been consistently bad in her cameos.. (veteran)

I think post that, i saw her in Parasite, but there she was amazing!

In this series, i feel she is doing - nothing great, nothing wrong

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@alasecond oh yeah, she was great at Parasite. I've never seen her in drama, but I'd say we have to wait, after all I don't know a single actress and not one who hasn't been enhanced by Bo gum's acting talent

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Her character so far is blandly written but this is the writer's fault. Right now it feels like PBG's one man show. Which is a pity when you have such a hot topic name in your cast, post-Parasite PSD success. However, it's still early days into the drama so I hope we have more characterization for her as the drama progresses.

I'm a fan of PSD but I unfortunately don't feel much towards her character either, with premiere week.

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I'm not Asian and the physical characteristics of the PSD don't appeal to me, but she has a gift, she does very well with the eyes (and by k-actress standards I know it's not obvious) and I'm sure her character will have some interesting developments. Also, the chemistry with Bo Gum was immediately explosive, both good acting with their eyes

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I loved the first episode and I loved the second more. I am objective, even though I really like Park Bo Gum's acting style and face and I liked So Dam in Parasite, I was generally not crazy about recent Korean dramas and I was afraid of being disappointed. Instead Bo Gum for the last drama before military service has once again chosen a quality product, with a script full of content and without too many clichés. Well done.

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hmm what is that song when she first sees Hye Joon.. I am falling something?? Loving the OST so far btw

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I haven't fallen for a pilot episode as much as I have for RoY since Hospital Playlist.. Not even IOTNBO didn't hook me in this early. I guess it's official then. Slice-of-life dramas are exactly my cup of tea. ^_^

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I’m here for the aerial shots of the food table. Yum!

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