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Record of Youth: Episode 2

Behind the glitz and glamour of the entertainment business lies a dark and broken industry filled with the corrupt and misguided. For our aspiring actor, holding onto his moral code proves to be a challenge as he questions his own virtues and tries to find his place in the world. With every step forward, his naysayers push him back, but fortunately for our hero, there’s still good people around him who see his worth.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

After being humiliated by her colleague, Jung-ha cries by herself and curses under her breath since positivity is crap. Like a true fangirl, she turns to her bias for comfort, but a familiar voice calls from behind, “You were my fan?”

Hye-joon’s appearance flusters Jung-ha for a moment, but she quickly puts on a smile and denies it. He doesn’t believe her since he saw her phone wallpaper, but she lies about being Hae-hyo’s fan instead. Showing him the photo, she points out Hae-hyo in the background.

Though it’s a pretty unconvincing lie, Hye-joon’s face falls, and his demeanor turns cold. Jung-ha brushes it off as a plausible misunderstanding, and he loosens up, feeling less embarrassed about his mistake.

Hae-hyo drops by a café to visit his mom, Yi-young, when a gaggle of fangirls bombard him for pictures. Yi-young stops the impromptu fan meeting and drags him away to tell him that he got the movie role. To her disappointment, Hae-hyo is more concerned about Hye-joon.

Back at the venue, Hye-joon sits with Jung-ha and asks if she was nervous seeing her star. She tells him that she was anxious since last night, and Hye-joon compliments her choice of bias, firmly believing her lie. When he learns that they’re the same age, they decide to become friends and speak casually.

Jung-ha asks if he came to find her, and he tells her that he understands what it feels like to be treated unfairly. Before he leaves, Hye-joon asks why she uses that confusing photo, and Jung-ha watches him go, telling the audience why she likes him: he has a special ability to connect with anyone.

The fashion show begins with a cacophony of flashes, and among them is Jin-woo who diligently snaps photos of his two friends. After the successful show, Jin-woo runs backstage to brag about the pictures, and the three friends bicker like schoolkids.

Jung-ha’s colleague Jin Joo calls the models over to remove their makeup, and Hye-joon uses this moment to introduce his buddies to his new friend, Jung-ha. The others warm up to her instantly, making silly puns about each other’s names, and Jin Joo looks peeved as they invite Jung-ha out for drinks.

Hae-hyo offers to treat everyone with today’s earnings, and his words remind Hye-joon of an issue he needs to fix. He gets up to find the show producer, and Jung-ha watches him leave with a look of concern.

He spots the producer talking with Designer Jung and asks for a quick word. Designer Jung gives the two some space, and Hye-joon asks to be paid directly since he split from his agency. After settling things, Hye-joon turns to leave, but Designer Jung calls out to him, asking if he has anything else to say.

Sometime in the past, Hye-joon geeked out over Designer Jung’s sports car and absolutely beamed when he got a chance to drive it. In the evening, they arrived at a fancy establishment where an impressive spread of Hye-joon’s favorite foods was prepared for them.

Innocent Hye-joon asked when the rest of the party guests were to arrive, but Designer Jung told him that it was just the two of them. He explained how everyone in this field starts off with sponsors, but Hye-joon rejected his advances. Stopping him from leaving, Designer Jung professed his love, but his words only pushed Hye-joon away.

In the present, Designer Jung notes Hye-joon’s cold behavior and chides him for rebuffing his proposal five years ago to live like this. He tells him that his offer still stands, and despite Hye-joon’s refusal, the designer gives him a week to decide.

At a construction site, Young-nam winces in pain, and his best friend Jang-man worries about his bad shoulder. Young-nam tells him that he’s stressed about Hye-joon lately since he got his draft notice, and at Jang-man’s insistence, he agrees to take the day off.

Ae-sook hears about her husband’s condition from Kyung-mi who heard it from her husband. Kyung-mi also mentions Hye-joon’s draft notice and bemoans the poor boy’s fate for not having any support for his career unlike Hae-hyo. Ae-sook believes her son needs to achieve success by himself, and Kyung-mi sighs at her naivety.

Gramps eats alone at home—complimenting Ae-sook’s cooking and calling her too good for his son—when Young-nam comes back early. Noticing his son in pain, Gramps tells him to go to the hospital, but Young-nam stubbornly refuses to waste money on his health.

While taking out the trash, Ae-sook digs through the clothing recycling bins and finds some jackets for her husband and father-in-law. Though Gramps would accept the gift gratefully, Ae-sook sighs since her husband will refuse to wear secondhand clothes.

At home, Gramps puts patches on his son’s shoulder and tells him to wait until he wins the lottery. Young-nam yells at him for having futile dreams, and their bickering turns into an argument about Young-nam’s treatment of Hye-joon. Gramps storms out of the room, but not soon after, he returns.

He advises his son to learn how to be repentant, but Young-nam belittles his father, arguing that only the successful should teach life lessons. Gramps slaps on a patch, but when he sees Young-nam yelp in pain, his anger turns to concern.

Hye-joon goes backstage but only finds Jung-ha there cleaning up. She won’t be joining them for drinks and tells Hye-joon that she couldn’t refuse earlier since a nobody like her shouldn’t ruin the mood. She already has plans for “makeup busking,” and Hye-joon marvels at her diligent lifestyle.

Their conversation turns to fandoms, and Jung-ha wonders how Hye-joon remained friends with Hae-hyo all these years. Hye-joon is surprised to hear Jung-ha know so much about him, especially since he’s a nobody. She shouts at him for demeaning himself, and Hye-joon points out that he was merely borrowing her words.

Yi-young checks Hae-hyo’s Instagram follower count and buys a couple of thousand more for her son. When she sees her daughter Hae-na waltz into the kitchen, she scolds her for snacking and asks if she wants to go on a blind date. Hae-na says that she’ll take care of her love life, but Yi-young warns her daughter that marriage is between families.

Hae-na complains about her mom causing stress, but Yi-young knows exactly how to relieve it: shopping. She tells Hae-na that she’s next after she finishes securing her brother’s future and gets ready for their outing.

Noticing Hae-hyo shaking his leg, Jin-woo asks what’s bothering him, so Hae-hyo informs him about the movie casting. Jin-woo advises him to tell Hye-joon when he’s in a good mood, so Hae-hyo decides to break the news to him if their soccer team beats Japan today.

While his friends wait for him outside, Hye-joon helps Jung-ha with her bags, and though he offers to carry them to the bus stop, she refuses. He comments on her strong sense of independence, and she explains it as a result of having no one to lean on. He finds this surprising since he assumed that she was like Hae-hyo.

As goodbye, Hye-joon tells her that he’ll see her later, but Jung-ha calls him out on his empty formalities. Rectifying his mistake, he exchanges numbers with her, and asks why she isn’t jumping at the chance to hang out with her star.

Jung-ha tells him that she needs a stable life first, and they exchange childish barbs with each other. She thinks to herself that he’s different from what she imagined, and as Hye-joon walks away, Jung-ha wonders why it feels like she’s talking to a doll.

Elsewhere, Hye-joon’s ex-agent Tae-soo meets with a potential talent, but none of his scare tactics work on the model who walks away from the unfavorable contract. Thus, he’s in a foul mood when Min-jae arrives, but she gets straight to the point and asks if he paid Hye-joon. The agent gives a roundabout answer and then gloats about how he rejected a job offer for Hye-joon by claiming he retired.

Gramps waits for Ae-sook to come home, and she greets him outside with a smile. He hears about the jackets she found and volunteers to play the scapegoat to get Young-nam to wear the clothes. He promises to buy Ae-sook a house once he wins the lottery, and unlike his son, she laughs good-naturedly at his offer.

Once inside, Ae-sook sighs at the sight of Young-nam, and it’s the same repertoire: she tells him to go to the hospital, and he refuses. She scolds him for telling his friend about their son’s draft notice, but Young-nam is set on making his son enlist, sure that he failed his audition once again.

At the bar, Hye-joon and his friends drink and cheer as they watch the soccer match, and on the streets of Hongdae, Jung-ha is just one of the many buskers performing through the night. After the match, the friends talk about exemption from service, and Jin-woo accidentally mentions Hye-joon’s upcoming enlistment.

The others grow quiet until Hae-hyo speaks up and confesses that he got the role. Hye-joon frowns at his friends and angrily asks if it had to be right now. He storms away, but they chase after him and treat him to karaoke.

Hye-joon keeps singing long after the others are winded and finally stops to tell them that they ruined one of his rare happy moments. Hae-hyo throws Jin-woo under the bus for the blunder, and Jin-woo imitates Kim Rae-won’s famous scene from Sunflower. That gets a chuckle out of Hye-joon, and the mood lifts.

After her busking, Jung-ha edits her recordings and smiles to herself as she watches her clip. The guest asked if she was dating anyone, and Jung-ha told her that she doesn’t date but fangirl.

Walking home, Jin-woo comforts Hye-joon, but as soon as he receives a text from Hae-na, he scampers off to see her. All alone, Hye-joon thinks back to his conversation with Designer Jung, who berated him for having no ambitions. Though Hye-joon walked away without a word then, in the present, he tells the designer to screw it.

Yi-young waits for her son to celebrate his casting, but when he comes home, he asks if she knows anyone at the movie studio to get a part for Hye-joon. Yi-young pouts at the request, but Hae-hyo just teases her and escapes to his room.

Complaining to her husband, Yi-young blames him for sending Hae-hyo to a public elementary school which led him to become friends with the housekeeper’s son. Her husband argues for the importance of a wide perspective, but Yi-young is a firm believer of homophily.

He doesn’t understand why she’s so worked up over a hobby, but Yi-young tells him that being a star is Hae-hyo’s future. As their bickering progresses, he gets offended by her casual speak—scolding her for being vulgar—and Yi-young scowls at her uncommunicative husband.

After showering, Hae-hyo calls his manager to ask if Hye-joon can join him for his next photoshoot. The manager is against the idea, but Hae-hyo is set on having his friend, even if he has to pay for the expenses. Changing to a happier topic, his manager congratulates him on his Instagram follower count, and Hae-hyo is happy to see his numbers increase, unaware of his mom’s meddling.

Still working well into the night, Jung-ha uploads her video on YouTube and records a log of today’s events. As she recalls her encounters with Hye-joon, the memories appear on screen like an Instagram grid, and she describes the day as exciting, unfair, surprising, touching, and a splash of cold water. All in all, she thinks it was a perfect day.

Young-nam replaces Kyung-joon’s door even though his shoulder hurts, and Kyung-joon promises to buy his parents gifts after he earns his first paycheck. While the family laughs, they hear a disturbance outside and notice Hye-joon stumbling home.

As soon as his son enters, Young-nam berates him for drinking, but Hye-joon tells him to stop because life is already hard enough. Young-nam doesn’t understand what could be so tough and asks his son what’s bothering him so much.

Hye-joon tells him that he lost the role, but instead of comforting him, Young-nam calls it a good thing. He thinks his son is wasting away his life chasing after his silly dream, and Kyung-joon agrees that even after seven years, Hye-joon has nothing to show for his work.

Hye-joon finally bursts and yells at them for criticizing his life. He never once asked his dad for help, so he refuses to listen to them belittle his life. Kyung-joon asks if he has a victim mentality, but Hye-joon accuses him for being a psychopath, then. He asks how a person could celebrate when he failed his audition, and Young-nam screams at his son for being ungrateful.

Gramps intervenes, defending Hye-joon, but Kyung-joon looks down on his grandpa for interfering. Having heard enough, Hye-joon drags Gramps into their room, but before he retreats, Gramps points to their old door and scolds his son for showing favoritism. He slams the door to express his disapproval, but the old hinges finally cave as the door comes tumbling down.

Hye-joon puts up a makeshift door for the night, and Gramps sighs, feeling like a burden. He asks Hye-joon to look for some work for him, but his grandson laughs it off, commenting on how Gramps never made a living before.

Gramps sadly comments on how Hye-joon is acting no better than Young-nam, and Hye-joon apologizes for unintentionally looking down on him. Gramps tells him that he wants to earn money to send his son to the hospital and breaks down sobbing. Hye-joon tears up as well and hugs his grandpa.

Later that night, Hye-joon sits awake and alone—though he’s not truly alone. Never in his life did he have a space to himself and belatedly realizes the importance of having a room to cry. Escaping to the roof, Hye-joon thinks back on his dream of owning a house while doing the things he loved, but now… he’s decided to reject the things he can’t have.

The next morning, Min-jae waits for Hye-joon to tell him some good news. Flashing back to earlier, she called the fashion show producer on Hye-joon’s behalf, and in the spur of the moment, she told him that she started a new agency, Jjamppong (aka, spicy seafood noodles). Hahaha!

Hye-joon laughs at her story but apologizes since he can’t go. He’s enlisting soon, and Min-jae fails to convince him otherwise. Afterwards, he visits Designer Jung and declines his offer once again. The designer accepts it and offers to buy lunch, instead. Hye-joon makes up plans to avoid the meal, but the designer sees through his lies.

He gets angry at Hye-joon for complicating matters and criticizes him for being so dense. He says that there’s a reason why Hye-joon failed while Hae-hyo succeeded, and predicts Hye-joon will end up wasting away at a construction site like his dad. Keeping his composure to the bitter end, Hye-joon tells the designer to remember how he remained professional and marches out with his head held high.

To Hye-joon’s surprise, Min-jae was waiting for him this entire time, and relocating to a café, she shows him the plane ticket she booked. She already set everything up and won’t take no for an answer: Jjamppong is happening whether Hye-joon wants it or not.

At the salon, Jin Joo asks about their inventory and Jung-ha lists what they need off the top of her head. Instead of being impressed by her abilities, Jin Joo lets her jealousy control her and lashes out at Jung-ha for being unfriendly.

Revealing what’s really bothering her, Jin Joo asks how Jung-ha could saunter off with the models without her, but Jung-ha corrects her—she never went. More importantly, though, she asks if Jin Joo even has a right to be angry after humiliating her in front of everyone, and leaves the jealous colleague speechless.

In the backroom, Soo-bin takes Jung-ha’s side and asks how her meeting with Hye-joon went. She notes Jung-ha’s friendly use of the models’ names and assumes she’s exaggerating until Jung-ha explains how they’ve actually become friends.

On their flight to Milan, Min-jae is excited about all the little things since it’s her first time on a plane. Hye-joon chuckles at her unbridled excitement and teases her for acting like the star. When they arrive at the show, it’s hectic backstage as staff and models mingle around getting prepared. Once the show starts, Hye-joon does what he does best, and Min-jae watches from the sidelines like a proud mama duck.

Afterwards, they share beers in their lodging, and Min-jae describes how it feels like a month has passed even though it’s only been two days. She calls everything a dream and describes her inexplicable feelings of wanting to see him succeed. He jokes that those sound like someone in love, and she admits to being in love… with the process, not him.

She asks if he’s really quitting, and he tells her that it’s the logical choice because he lost the movie role. When she hears that Hae-hyo got it instead, she balks since Hye-joon has a special something his friend doesn’t have.

When they arrive back home, Hae-hyo picks up his friend to go to the salon, and they arrive at Jung-ha’s workplace. Hye-joon introduces the two friends again, but this time he tells Hae-hyo that Jung-ha is his fan. She accuses him of having loose lips, and Hye-joon is offended by her words.

Jung-ha freezes, worried that she crossed the line, but Hae-hyo tells him to lighten up since he was obviously joking. Hye-joon laughs, asking if his acting improved, and Jin Joo comes over, wanting to join in on the fun.

Hye-joon steers Jin Joo away so Jung-ha can be with her star, and once they’re alone, Hae-hyo tells her to act comfortably around him. She clears up the misunderstanding, clarifying that she’s actually Hye-joon’s fan, and asks him to keep it a secret since he’s a nice guy. Though he doesn’t look pleased, Hae-hyo agrees.

As Jung-ha goes to pick up some stuff, she bumps into Hye-joon who teases her about hanging out with Hae-hyo alone. He asks if she can cut hair, and she tells him that she can for soldiers and toddlers. He invites her to their upcoming photoshoot and encourages her to win against Jin Joo: if she can’t win even after all his support, then she’s a dummy.

He flashes her a smile before turning around, and Jung-ha tells herself that she’ll win this time. With a pep in her step, she walks to her station, glowing with confidence.

During their photoshoot, Hye-joon realizes that everyone—including him and Hae-hyo —shines in their own way. He learned from Min-jae that he lost the role to Hae-hyo not because of a lack of skill but because his friend had more followers on Instagram.

Hye-joon looks up at a billboard playing Hae-hyo’s commercial and narrates, “I fooled myself that not comparing myself and competing against him was virtuous. Now, I feel relieved.”

He stops by Jung-ha’s salon where she’s cleaning up at the end of the day and asks for a haircut. She wonders if he wants to look like a toddler, so he announces, “I’m joining the military.”

 
COMMENTS

It’s easy to judge the characters superficially, but there’s something between the lines—the passing facial expressions, the words spoken through silences—that suggest something deeper and hidden within these individuals. At first glance, Hye-joon acts like the typical male Candy who works hard and is morally upright despite the challenges in his life. As for Hae-hyo, he’s the rich best friend with a warm heart who’s always looking out for his friends. For the most part, I don’t think these interpretations of the characters are wrong, but there’s a tension in the show that’s hard to place, making it feel like everyone is skating on thin ice. Despite the moments of hope and brightness, there’s a slight melancholic tone to the drama that highlights both the youthfulness of its story as well as the bitter struggles of youth, itself.

Though it’s only been two episodes, I feel like I know Hye-joon, but at the same time, understand nothing about him. It’s a paradoxical feeling that Jung-ha aptly describes when she wonders why it feels like she’s talking to a doll when she’s with him. There are times when Hye-joon feels like an open-book with his earnest puppy eyes and boyish charms, which is amplified by Park Bo-gum’s portrayal. However, at other times, he comes across as standoffish, as if he’s using his handsome mask to maintain a ruse and closely guard his true feelings. Is he really the man everyone thinks he is—kind to a fault and innocent—or is that the man he wants people to see him as?

After years of working in a cruel and unforgiving business, Hye-joon has learned to keep his emotions bottled-up and doesn’t share his struggles with anyone, not even his friends. He has no family to turn to for support—emotional or financial—and even when he tries to open up, he’s met with backlash. It seems everyone is in the dark about what the designer did to Hye-joon, and it was difficult to watch him be courteous to such a deplorable human being who only deserved his ire. What makes Designer Jung so terrible is that he disguises his obsession as love and tries to gaslight Hye-joon into accepting his proposal. He’s manipulative and egotistical, barraging Hye-joon with unsolicited criticisms that were uncalled for and meanspirited. Hye-joon is clearly struggling in his career, but luckily, there are still some good people around him who are willing to help. Hopefully, by surrounding himself with positive influences, his special talent to connect with others will flourish.

Besides Hye-joon, Hae-hyo and Jung-ha are both still questions marks in my book. On multiple occasions, Hae-hyo has been shown caring for Hye-joon, but I wonder if his kindness will still extend to his friend when he feels like he’s on the losing end. A part of me wonders if Hae-hyo might unconsciously see his friend as beneath him, which is why he treats Hye-joon so well. To Yi-young, it seems like her son is more concerned for his friend than his own accomplishments, but I doubt this is really the case. When Jung-ha told him that she was Hye-joon’s fan, his response was tepid at best, and when he saw his follower count increase, Hae-hyo was proud of his achievement, showing that he does care about his celebrity status. Learning of his mom’s meddling will likely put a damper on his mood, but will Hae-hyo right Yi-young’s wrongs or choose to feign ignorance to reap the benefits? Though their friendship seems genuine, the show emphasizes the complexity of their relationship as both childhood friends and potential rivals.

However, of the three main protagonists, Jung-ha is the biggest enigma. She’s hardworking, capable, and friendly, but I don’t understand her motivation or goal. She doesn’t want to date because of the emotional and social labor that goes into romantic relationships, which is why she fangirls instead to experience the emotions without the work. Yet, she wants a connection to her star while keeping her identity a secret. I don’t understand what Jung-ha’s end goal is (Friendship? Love? Support?) and why she keeps Hye-joon in the dark. Granted, it’s only been two episodes, and the show has barely scratched the surface with her character so there’s definitely plenty of time for answers. As of now, I like Jung-ha the fangirl and Jung-ha the makeup artist, even if I don’t quite understand her completely.

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Episode 1 was a lil bit boring for me, but ep 2 is more fun than I think (thanks to grandpa and hye joon), and Jung Ha, I agree with you lovepark. She's an independent woman, but how come you lie to hye joon that you don't like him? :( being starstruck/nervous is one thing, but she keeps lying/hiding to him. Thank god she didn't lie to hae hyo too

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I agree with your assessments about the characterizations. This easily could have been a pretty standard piece of A-list fluff but I do like the unexpected script touches: neither HJ or HW, despite their generally sweet natures, possess a fair degree of vanity and self absorption, which only makes sense yet other shows shy away from this kind of character profile. Likewise, I appreciate the inclusion of the predatory designer. Too often such characters are unreal paragons of virtue which comes off as it's own kind of tokenism -- I hope the character is fleshed so as to avoid ultimately seeming like a bad caricature. My only real conmplaint thus far is the script giving short shrift (so far) to JH, which is all the more disappointing given PSD's impressive talent.

One small prediction -- like use of the classic "gun in the first act", by the end of the show's run, Gramps will win the lottery.

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crap - that should read "fail to possess"

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Look at all the pretty. Soooo much pretty. So all he has to do in 2018 is join the military, meet Yoon Doo-Joon and Go Kyung Pyo (whom PBG starred with in Reply 1988 and would have been enlisted the same time) and they’ll be his sunbaes and fix his life when he gets out. Can you imagine the cameos???

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omg a Go Kyungpo cameo would be epic

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IKR!!

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I found this two episodes to be kind bland. Not even the main characters has my interest.
Everything here seems to be something I've seen before and I've seen it better somewhere else.

The gay character being portrayed as a predator it really bother me. This is a stereotype that does the community a lot of harm and if Kdrama doesn’t constantly want to write good examples of LGBTQ+ it shouldn’t write about other parts either.

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I think a lot of people had problems with that. I do think that whether they made that character male or female, it would have gotten some backlash. It’s a no-win character. A person in a powerful position taking sexual and financial advantage of a person in a lower position never sits well.

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But the gay predator is actually stereotype was used a lot on media and There people out there who thinks that all gay people are pedophile. So it not the same thing if the character was a men or women. Especially because the drama will have the main characters with positive influence to balance it out.

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Attention, the problem highlighted is not represented by the homosexuality of the predator rather that of the phenomenon of sponsorships behind which sexual blackmail is hidden. And the complaint that the drama makes is remarkable

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This especially because S. Korea habitually looks down on homosexuals...even I raised an eyebrow but let it go at the end...also this male designer must be gay...all stereotypes

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If the designer Jung's character is not further developed, I can see the problem with bad stereotyping but reservations about portraying any previously marginalized type of character as villains in the present give rise to another category of problems. To me, an indication that a piece of entertainment is truly comfortable about race, class, sexual orientation, etc., is the willingness to depict people of color or LGBTQ community as three-dimensional, even if they are characters who do horrific things. For example the HBO series The Wire had numerous black drug dealer characters at time so many black actors were limited to playing gangbangers, and the show creators were initially criticized for this but because of the amazing complexity given the characters, they turned out to be the best and most memorable part of the series.

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"previously marginalized type of character"

But the thing is that in kdramas and in Korea, gay characters (and real gay people) are not previously marginalized--they are currently marginalized.

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I appreciate the point -- but we are at a point in time we get characters like the gay cousin in Dinner Mate or the the trans chef in Itaewon Class -- characters who seem devoid of the host of ugly human qualities like overwhelming lust, avarice or opportunism. The worst personality traits you see from these characters is perhaps naivete or poor judgment. We have a long way to go for true equality but enough has changed such that swaddling characters in cotton is counterproductive, IMO. That being said, if all we get from designer Jung for the rest series is what we have seen, then yeah, the show should be rightfully lambasted.

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So what's your problem, the advances of a gay character or the problem of sponsorship? If your problem is the first, you have a problem not the drama. Could she also be a female stylist, would anyone have said that women of power are sexual predators? Stop looking at the details and applaud the complaint of the problem for the first time in a drama

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Two or three positive representation in a handful of dramas once in a bluemoon does not make LGBTQ 'previously marginalized'...it remains 'currently marginalized' in Korean drama landscape...agreed with @mindy

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that's a misreading of the wire anyway bc it not only gives into our current standing and stereotype that is unchanging—and global and would not EVER possibly be able to be achieved in south korea ever in any way shape or form and i cannot stress this enough esp w the way drugs are viewed on top of blackness—and something we are currently dying from

and the problem with the wire may have been that critical analysis, idk i was so young and i ccan't watch it now though it is an important part of media, it CANNOT be just about the complexity. people still see us this way and the show is a comment on racism and how intentional drug use and poverty are to my people and the disgusting nature of the "justice" system. we are not characters, we are human beings. the whole show is about something specific to american history and blackness and black history. it has nothing to do with IF they could put us as complex characters rather that it is social commentary and it would be literally impossible to put us as caricatures in a show all about us and the disgusting effects the cops and the law has on us. not to mention the creator, who i donot agree with much and see him sort of as neoliberally now, made it and the goal was to showcase the disgusting racism within our system and the carceral system.

we had to be the most memorable part of the series bc it is about us and we ARE the series. but here's the other thing: our material conditions are not about representation. they are about our CONDIITONS and how we got there. that's part of the issue when you think of complexity as putting a good name to black ppl irl. in a way capitalism can't ever achieve this but it puts the "way we are" (we arent') in context of not cultural but surrounding and subjugation. which is the point but korean dramas can rarely if ever get to that.

sorry mindy replying to u cos i was looking back at posts and yea lol i'm actually kind of floored at this misreading of the show

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No need to apologize! I haven't seen The Wire so I don't have much to say about it but I always like reading your thoughts lol I wouldn't be mad if you tagged me in everything you wrote

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I mean so far we just have one gay character (in the fashion industry no less!) and that one gay character is a sexual predator. I don't like that. True, predators are not confined to one sex or one sexuality (e.g., Kevin Spacey), but if this ends up being the only character who's gay in this show, then this'll just seem like a cheap attempt to play off of a stereotype. Complexity might help, but I'm sort of doubtful we'll get very much of that in this show (which, at least so far, seems pretty on the nose).

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There is a lot of difference between The Wire and Kdrama.
The Wire is pratically a social studies of war on crimes and why black people turn to drugs and become drug dealer, they humanized the drug dealer. It wasn't Black and white. It shows the whole system, structural racism, it complex, deep and real sometime kdrama couldn't never.

I doubt very much Record Of Youth will have The Wire complexity and sensitivity. Especially because the show it not even about this.

The few positive representativeness of the community in kdrama still doesn't make up for the negative one yet. Korea is still a very conservative society when it comes LBGTQ+ and beside the gay predator stereotype is so old and bad.

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You misunderstand my reference to The Wire. I never stated that Record of Youth was directly comparable with The Wire. I said The Wire was simply an instance of a show that managed to upend stereotyping by turning two-dimensional characters three-dimensional.

While I agree this particular drama,Record of Youth, is unlikely to be at the level of The Wire, your post suggests that you see some kind of inherent complexity or sophistication gap between Western and Korean dramas, to the latter's detriment. Western TV (or streaming) may enjoy some advantages (mostly financial or technical in nature) but the ability to craft literate, multi-faceted characters or explore complex issues, is not one of them. If you have not seen shows like Misaeng, Radiant, A Piece of Your Mind or My Ajuhssi, then you have not watched the right dramas, IMO. If you have, and yet hold onto this opinion, then you and I see Kdramas with very different eyes.

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I watched the dramas you mention and almost every kdrama everyone said is high quality and I love kdrama to get me wrong but I never saw one kdrama with high quality like The Wire, Mad Men, BrB or HBO style, Not every Western show is also synonym for quality But the top one? kdrama can't reach. Kdrama is too nice and too clean.

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This show is like a fanfic. When Jin-woo said, "She's one of us. Let's be close friends, Jung-ha-ya." I was like, "I've read that before." Before Hye-joon even knew her name, he already asked to lower their speech. Jung-ha is every fangirl's dream come true. How does she talk so smoothly to her bias? I would be stumbling over all my words. She is crazy for busking instead of eating with him. Yesterday, I was expecting her phone wallpaper would cause a misunderstanding and both Hye-joon and Hae-hyo would think she likes them, but after her lie, I was hoping Jung-ha would tell Hae-hyo her secret of actually being Hye-joon's fan.

I only like the scenes of Jung-ha with the three friends and their fast-flying banter. The scenes with Hye-joon's family is a drag. I hate his rude dad and hyung. The family stuff watches like a bad weekend drama. I'm not yet feeling the bromance, and Hae-hyo's mom makes me sick with the way she treats Hye-joon's mom and Hye-joon, then buys her son Instagram followers. I wish Min-jae had named their agency a classy modeling agency name. Is next week the time skip for Hye-joon's military service?

Thanks much for recapping, @lovepark!

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The first paragraph is so true! It's part of what makes this show feel very unbelievable to me.

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This show really requires suspension of disbelief. One, no one talks like that, and two, no one talks like that to their bias.

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Exactly! I've watched shows that are probably harder to believe than this one, but I think part of the problem here is that the show is trying to be relatable (or so it seems to me).

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It's supposed to be slice of life, but nobody's life is like theirs.

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Agreed! The show and its characters want to be relatable but no one actually really lives like that. The characters are young but other than that they feel quite remote. I made the comparison to 2017's Fight For My Way, where the characters were a bit older but actually very, very relatable, and that really formed a solid foundation for that drama's success. I hope Hyejun goes to the military and becomes more relatable, lol!

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You are so right about the first part. I found the whole fan to friend in like 5 minutes extremely strange writing. It just did not feel organic or felt like there was any thought. It almost felt like careless writing to me. So, that definitely turned me off.

Also, the whole gay sponsor angle I felt was another lazy piece of writing too. If they wanted to write in that, I wish they could have done with more substance.

Even his dad's cruel nagging feels so over the top to me.

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone else shares my feelings about this drama but I feel slightly better that there are others who feel the certain amount of 'unreal' feel about it...

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I wonder if you have ever been young looking for work and have closed so many doors in your face because it is not recommended. What is real? The rich North Korean soldier who plays the piano or Itaewon Class's fight against the underworld? Maybe the parents arguing about school or the woman hurt by the separation? In part, each of these dramas has recognizable situations, here we are not interested if those who have never done it recognize themselves but what happens in the world of entertainment is really real, so cynical and sad that I get angry just thinking about what they face every day. young people full of dreams and hopes.

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For a slice of life drama, it feels very early 2000 troupe wise to me. None of the transitions felt organic, also a female model in the mix would be nice change, I guess. I can only guess where this one girl in mix of 3 boys is going, its all very uninspiring writing.

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I disagree, it's one of the best and original dramas of recent years, just give me an example of a story that looks like this. And beware that my acquaintance is very dated, because I have been over 40 for a while

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Hae-hyo is pretending to be ignorant but he definitly knows what his mother is doing. I think he feels sorta guilty about it but I also think he is very insecure when it comes to Hye Joon. You can see this when Jung Ha tells Hae Hyo that she is really Hye Joon's fan, his face reaction is priceless, he moves on but you can tell that he is bothered by that.

I agree with the poster. Jung ha is the one who we haven't got a real feel for as a character yet. I like her but I want to know her story more. I definitely like this drama so far and can tell its for international audiences.

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Yeah, Hae Hyo knows his mom is doing SOMETHING but it’s in the realm of plausible deniability right now. Once it comes out that she’s literally bribing people with goods and paying for followers... Then that will make it quantifiable. Right now he probably thinks she’s whispering in some ears and exerting light “do me a favor” pressure, but studiously not thinking about actual money changing hands.

If Hae Hyo gets Hye Joon into the movie, and then the director switches over to Hye Joon or increase his role? That will be interesting, especially if it’s partly a result of Mom’s actions being uncovered. Hae Hyo may have gotten very used to being the rising star and bestowing favors, and may not like the shift. And Hye Joon may have no idea Hae Hyo’s been clandestinely supporting him all of this time (getting him add-on gigs). Which, when you think of it, is somewhat similar to Mom’s actions on behalf of Hae Hyo?

Going to get messy.

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Yes, I think Hae Hyo is practicing willful ignorance. Also, he is not used to losing so If and when its Hye Joon's turn to shine, I don't think he will be so magnamious. @lovepark nailed it when they said there is an undercurrent of something else with each of these characters and I agree, there is the " Model" side of them ( sweet, kind, naive but there is the other side too). I don't doubt for a split second that both Hae Hyo and Hye Joon are wolves when they wanna be.

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It felt a bit like wilful blindness to me too. Like, he's got it in him to question his mother a bit but he's not going to really get to the bottom of it because it's just more convenient and more beneficial to him to keep his mouth shut and keep riding off the fame his mum is helping him build up. I don't think he has antagonistic intentions (yet), but there's a chance this is going to get really messy when he inevitably is made to prioritise his longstanding friendship with Hyejun vs. his career in some way or another.

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I don’t think Jung Ha has an end goal, other than being self-sufficient. She’s gone a long ways toward that with her house, and it sort of sounds like she worked long enough at a company to get that down payment and then switched to the career she ACTUALLY loves but doesn’t have the same earning potential. She feels ruthlessly practical - not a bad way to be, honestly. She’s not closing herself off from other people, but she’s also not allowing herself to depend on them at all.

Same thing with the fangirling. She didn’t maneuver to be at the Homme show, even though she knew Hye Joon would be there. The flustered fan denial seems to be accidental, but then what’s the point of correction if she’s not acting like a fan around him?

I like her a lot. Something obviously happened to set her apart from her family, and whatever it is has made her self-sufficient but not secluded. If she can do makeup, live in her apartment and continue her busking, that might be just fine with her. There may BE no other goal than to be stable and fulfilled.

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First of all, that old door is pure BS out of Makjang that is an odd choice to show favoritism. I mean no Asian household will do that when you can cut the person down with words. Second, in the context of this pandemic, I have developed antipathy for characters like Hye Joon. I've rather be the person who can pay her medical bills and help out family in need than whatever he is. He doesn't look driven, he is stubborn and unreasonable with zero game plan. Hardship and Hardwork in any field as competitive as fashion modeled or acting is given. That doesn't guarantee success and hence crying your eyes out on with his gramos did nothing for me. I actually rolled my eyes. Like, yeah, he is pitiful, nobody understands him, I get it. It felt contrived.

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We have all experienced the pandemic, should our young people stop dreaming and be carpenters for it? It does not seem to me that where it is written that he asks for money from the family, on the contrary he pays for his grandfather's lessons. A family must support not judge.

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Hey, Carpentry is a whole god damn art. How rude! Jokes apart, you like this, good for you. It does nothing for me and I think I am entitled to a personal opinion. Also, he can have that door fixed himself if he is that self sufficient, why wait for mommy and daddy.

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I mean he lives with his parents and presumably eats with them. That's a huge chunk in terms of savings right there, especially in a place like Seoul.

Dreams and people both change. I don't like the idea that people should blindly and unrelentingly chase dreams. Realism is important, too. For a drama that purports to be relatable, it's surprisingly out of touch with the compromises ordinary people have to make. The young people who compromise and who try to meet their responsibilities while being generally decent humans are not worse because they don't go full throttle towards their dreams. They're not living dishonestly.

A family should support when it is in their child's best interests to support. When a child has outlandish dreams, and when there seems to be little chance that the child will reach his or her goals despite strenuous effort, parents do not behave badly by interceding and advising their child in the strongest possible terms to switch course for his or her own well-being. People can make bad decisions, and this is especially true of younger people, who have not had the lack the life experiences of their parents and other older family members. In real life, Hye-joon's dad would be right on. And as for passing judgment, well, find me a person who doesn't judge.

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Sorry, this came off as way more truculent than I meant! LOL, I think I got carried away while typing this. We just disagree, but that's okay. Send good vibes to you, wherever you are!

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I hope you are kidding, Sa Hye Joon is an honest guy who doesn't waste his savings, can't afford to live alone chasing an opportunity. What's wrong with it? Nothing. A father shouldn't allow himself to tell a son to abandon his dreams to work as a worker like him. Parents should believe in their children and allow them to choose their own path. It does not seem to me that Hye-Joon is unrealistic, he has given himself a deadline beyond which he will lower his expectations. Your speech about recognizability is absurd. I recognize myself in these two young people and I thank my family who are certainly not rich for always supporting me without affecting my life

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I agree with this 100%!

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I think Jung -ha's denial was a knee-jerk reaction to the embarrassment of the moment what with getting caught sighing over your crushes picture By your crush, and just went with it. She is reserved but if her upbringing was as unstable as it seemed it makes perfect t sense to not want to get close to people considering it had to be the people she was supposed to be able to count on that put her in that unstable, unhappy situation to begin with

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Perceptive comments @lovepark Too early to do anything but wait and see. If what you suggest is true then there are depths, murky or otherwise, to be revealed in the fullness of time.

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I love that episode and I looked forward for my excitement for childhood scenes/flashbacks soon.

I think it was Hye-joon's enlistment meant real Park Bo-gum's second enlistment.

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i like the show so far. We do see the characters slowly connect. I do see future pain points with their relationships. I love Hye Joon and his grandpa. Not so much the rest of his family especially the holier than thou brother.

I do want him to succeed in this one month before he heads off to enlist. Not sure how he will revitalize his career when he gets back but we shall see.

That Milan scene was actually at Gyeonggi English Village in Paju. The CGI is amazing. I love the night view of the Duomo. If only travel is possible.

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Finally a confirmation that the Milan scene was in English village! I looked through my photos but I didn't take any on the sides, only facing the City Hall.

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I understand the perspective of the family but if I was in Hye-joon's place, I'd leave that house. Totally amazed at how composed Jung-ha was when she finally met Hye-joon, if that was me, I'd freak out. Knew that wallpaper would be an excuse to say she's not a fan but glad that she told Hae-hyo the truth.

Is it just me or the acting of the side-characters (Moms, dad, evil mua,sister, etc) felt flat? I've seen some of them in other dramas and they were good.

It's still too early to decide, so I'm gonna keep watching.

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I like the fact the story is in modeling universe. It changes from other dramas.

For me, the episode 1 and 2 were too similar. We didn't really learn more about our charcters in the episode 2.

I think if Hye Hoon wants his family's support, he should leave their house. It's a little bit easy to ask them to be more supportive if they already give him a roof and food. Now, I don't know if he gives them money for that.

I like Jung Ha. She wants to be the make-up artist for big model, so I was happy to see she can work normally even in front of her "idol". She's smart and she doesn't do stupid things for her "idol". Saying to someone that you're a big fan can change the future relationship, so I understand she kept this secret.

For Hae Hyo, he knows that his mum is fishy but he don't know how. His parents are weird... Between the father who follows Confucius words and doesn't see his son's job as a real job and the mother who lives her life trough her son's life, he's not lucky.

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After so many suicides, it was time for the drama world to deal with the problem of sponsors and the pressure on aspiring models, singer actors. I found the script fantastic for this reason and more I loved the sensitivity with which PARK BO Gum drew his character, allowing us to see also what is hidden underneath. Masterful, waiting to discover the other characters.

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I felt a horrid chill during that flashback car ride with that designer and it turns out I was right to feel that way. Not sure whether I should credit my wariness or the crew for pushing all the correct buttons.

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This episode was slightly more interesting than the 1st, probably because there was more PSD. The only saving grace was the use of the sponsor. I know a great many people didn't like that he was gay and I understand the reasoning, but this was one of the few things that made sense in the context of the world they are in. Sponsorship is disgusting no matter who does it and I'm glad it was highlighted here.

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Agree, it's a horrible practice, this is the first drama about that world that makes a social denunciation. And the character of the designer is not hateful for the fact of loving him but for what he said to him after the rejection.

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Yes, and they played it that way too. He was disgusting for taking advantage of his situation not for being gay. Just like his former manager was disgusting trash as well, and he was straight.

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Literally in love with this drama.
I have officially become a Hye Joon fan and I can't stand Hae-Hyo's do-goodness, maybe the former is opening his eyes to his friend.
The second episode was perhaps a little bit raw in some respects, I didn't like the designer's behavior, but corruption is also not a good thing. I reject the idea that a young person has to bend to certain blackmail in order to make his dreams come true. I support Hye Joon in his attempt to go it alone and I hope his manager changes his military project. The family does not understand it for now, but it is normal, this happens in all families. We still don't know Jung Ha but I already like the chemistry with Hye Joon, just I'm afraid his friend might intrude out of jealousy.

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Everything is pretty. The drama's got that going for it.

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I mean, except for the predatory homosexual trope thing that could have been written very very differently in order to not make me want to throw my laptop across the room. (I did not throw my laptop)

But seriously, until there is regular positive representation of LGBTQ+ people in Korean media (well, everywhere to be honest), this type of scene is not okay. The designer could have easily been written to be a woman, and the effect would have been just as dramatic without the socio-cultural squickiness.

And with that, I'm out because frankly, pretty is not holding my attention.

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A woman of power in a drama? Never seen. I think yours is a reverse discrimination, to speak of the designer's sexual tastes and not of the fact that with his power he wants to pressure a poor young man. We are not talking about sexuality but about an absurd mechanism. I thank the writer for pointing this out.

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I'm talking about representation. Until there is equitable positive/neutral representation for LGBTQ+ people, the characters that we see on screen of non-heterosexual people acting in criminal and/or predatory ways continues to fuel real world prejudices. The power move, and the exploitation in this absurd mechanism, as you say, is reprehensible, but I stand by my opinion that the use of a gay man to characterize it is very much relevant, and I find it revolting.

Additionally, I'm delighted to say that there has been some women in power in dramas of late, and they have been misusing that power too. To name the ones off the top of my head: Lawless Lawyer, Hyena, My Fellow Citizen, and the women in Forest of Secret 2.

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The representation didn't have the same effect on you and me. He as a man made me feel sorry for the unrequited love and anger for the last words, but I didn't generalize thinking that all gays do this ... In drama women are usually submissive, I never generalized thinking that all Korean women are. I think yours is an unnecessary criticism, it's just my opinion definetely

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I am happy for the representation of woman power, also Cha So Hyun in Encounter... there will be a time when there will be gay protagonists but until then we do not think that the representations are always misleading .. if the viewer wants to think badly it is because he has prejudices

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The story does get better as I watch. There are certain elements that don't interest me much. But I enjoy the acting, and I'm curious to see how the relationship of the two main leads develops. I suppose that's what really interests me right now.

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