Record of Youth: Episode 12
As the more famous our actor gets, the harder it becomes for him to shield his loved ones from the ugly side of the entertainment industry. Though he wants to shoulder his burdens by himself, he inadvertently pushes people away, which makes them feel lonely. Despite the good intentions, the consequences of his choices only deepen the rifts forming in his relationships.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Hye-joon hears from Jia about her upcoming interview, and after hanging up, he yells at Hae-hyo for not telling him beforehand. Upset by his friend’s outburst, Hae-hyo argues that the old Hye-joon would have been grateful for the help, but Hye-joon thinks Hae-hyo is the one who has changed.
Hae-hyo vents about both of his friends since one is too busy hanging out with his girlfriend while the other is dating his sister. When Hye-joon isn’t surprised by the news, Hae-hyo realizes that he was the only one kept in the dark and leaves feeling betrayed. Having witnessed the entire fight, Min-jae marvels at how civil their argument went, and tells Hye-joon to thank Jia, regardless.
Rewinding back a bit, Jia met with Hae-hyo to set up her interview because she wanted to protect Hye-joon. She realized that he was the real deal, and now that she couldn’t have him, she wanted him even more. Hae-hyo was happy to hear that at least one thing wasn’t going well for her, but Jia smiled at his taunts, knowing fully well that he should want her to succeed.
Young-nam oversees the construction for Hye-joon’s new room but gets kicked out since he needs to rest his shoulder. However, when Jang-man goes upstairs to check on his friend, he only finds Gramps in the house. He tells Gramps about Young-nam’s bad shoulder and guesses that he’s embarrassed to face Hye-joon after being unsupportive all these years.
On his way out, Gramps runs into Young-nam and asks for a ride to the modeling academy. Though Young-nam refuses, he ends up driving anyways, and Gramps sighs at his son’s bad habit of speaking negatively. Young-nam jokes that he would be too perfect then, and the pair chuckle at his comment.
However, the rare moment of goodwill quickly dampens when Gramps hits a sore spot and mentions Young-nam’s homely looks. Reiterating the difference between father and son, the instructor at the academy mistakes Young-nam for a manager, and Young-nam looks hurt by the implications of her comment.
As they discuss Gramps’ new television commercial, she asks Young-nam if he could buy some drinks, but Gramps doesn’t want his son to go. Young-nam takes issue with Gramps, and the two of them start bickering with the instructor awkwardly caught in the middle. In the end, she offers to buy them, leaving Gramps feeling mortified by their behavior.
Kyung-mi drops by and finds Ae-sook scowling at the negative comments about Hye-joon’s recent win. As a proud member of multiple Hye-joon fan clubs, Kyung-mi notifies the others in order to raise funds to sue for defamation and complains about Jjamppong being inefficient.
Remembering why she came, Kyung-mi hands Ae-sook a bag of side dishes, and Ae-sook thanks her since Young-nam has been busy with the renovations. Kyung-mi is shocked to hear that Young-nam is still working and nearly spills the beans about his shoulder before catching herself in time.
Hae-na avoids Yi-young’s calls and sneaks out of the house to meet Jin-woo. To her dismay, Yi-young sees through her schemes, but contrary to Hae-na’s concerns, Yi-young gives her approval of them dating. However, there’s a catch: no marriage.
The condition irks Hae-na, but Yi-young won’t budge on the matter. Just as she obeyed her parents, she expects Hae-na to listen, too. If that isn’t the case, Yi-young knows a few restrictions are enough to bring her kids back in line, so she starts off small by taking away Hae-na’s car keys. With a smile, she congratulates her daughter for entering the real world.
Jia meets with Reporter Kim who speaks to her informally. Though angered by the latter’s attitude, Jia bites back her usual retorts and addresses the camera amicably.
After the little spat with her mom, Hae-na meets with Jin-woo and tells her that Yi-young isn’t opposed to their dating. She realized for the first time that she might not be able to beat her, which isn’t a surprise to Jin-woo.
He believes dating is fantasy while marriage is reality, and Hae-na stares at him intently. She says that he’s more rational than she gave him credit for, and he explains that it’s because he loves her. His nonchalant declaration stuns her, so he teases her for falling in love with him again until a call from Hye-joon interrupts their moment.
Jia stops by the Jjamppong office, so Min-jae steps out to give them some privacy. Hye-joon cuts to the chase and lets her know that he doesn’t want her in his life, but Jia points out that she always did the opposite of what he wanted. She recognizes that they can’t be together as lovers or friends, and wishes they could at least act comfortably around each other.
She tells him that she was happy to see him succeed, so she couldn’t stand by and watch other people try to bring him down since only she has that right. With that, Jia no longer feels indebted towards him for testing his love while they dated, and Hye-joon is surprised that she even felt that way. She acknowledges her fault in the matter, but even so, she reminds him that she still has a heart.
At her salon, Jung-ha is busy with a client and misses Hae-hyo’s call. While he’s thinking of her, someone else is thinking of him: Do-ha. Sitting in Tae-soo’s office, Do-ha is still fixated with Hae-hyo’s follower count and tells Tae-soo his theory about Hae-hyo buying followers. When Tae-soo asks why he’s so concerned about it, Do-ha explains that he feels nice knowing that the rich stoop to lowly tricks as well.
Yi-young steels herself to fire Kyung-mi when she drops off the food, but the words don’t leave her lips easily since Kyung-mi is a splendid cook. Once Kyung-mi starts listing off the next set of dishes she should prepare, Yi-young smiles at the thought of yummy food and then curses herself for wavering.
Kyung-mi encourages Yi-young to cheer up after eating good food, and Yi-young snaps at her to not make assumptions because she’s totally not upset… like, at all. Her snarky comments fly over Kyung-mi’s head as does her weak attempts to fire her. Yi-young tells Kyung-mi not to come back after she leaves, and then feels proud for accomplishing the task. Pffft.
Hae-hyo drops by Jung-ha’s salon and gloats about setting up a meeting for her with a female celebrity. Successfully earning some brownie points, he asks if she wants to eat with him, but Jung-ha has filming tonight.
She broaches the topic of Hye-joon, and he tells her that they met recently, although he’s upset with his friend for only paying attention to his girlfriend lately. He asks when she last saw him, but she’s only been texting him.
He wonders if their relationship is as solid as she claims, so Jung-ha explains that she’s waiting for him to bring it up first. Though waiting isn’t her forte, she’s changed for him. Hae-hyo notes how she must really love him, and offers to drive her home in his stead.
Hye-joon drinks beer with Jin-woo and sulks when enlistment is mentioned. Jin-woo asks about his upcoming drama with Hae-hyo, which reminds Hye-joon of their fight over Jia’s interview. Hearing that, Jin-woo asks what will happen if Jung-ha sees it, and Hye-joon looks up in shock.
Hae-na shows Hae-hyo the clip of Jia’s interview, but he’s more interested in Jung-ha’s upcoming video. It’s titled “Confession,” and someone in the chat asks if it’s about her boyfriend. Jung-ha admits that it is, but stops the recording when Hye-joon calls.
He apologizes to her first and then explains the situation about the article. By the time Jung-ha returns to her live broadcast, only two people remain. Unable to rescind her previous statement, Jung-ha calls her audience her boyfriend and offers a voucher to her salon.
At Hye-joon’s insistence, the friends get up to meet Hae-hyo but are stopped by a couple of women who ask for pictures with Hye-joon. He agrees as long as they promise not to upload it online, but once he turns the corner, they post it with the caption that Hye-joon was drinking with his boyfriend. Ugh.
Jung-ha watches Jia’s interview as does Hye-joon’s family. The parents dryly comment on Kyung-joon’s lack of girlfriends, so Kyung-joon accuses them of receiving money from Hye-joon. Ae-sook and Young-nam exchange silent glances, and we see that Hye-joon did, indeed, send them money.
Along with the money, Hye-joon sent Ae-sook a text, asking her if she remembered his promise from middle school. He told her that he would earn lots of money to support her, and she agreed to do the same for him.
While Young-nam marveled at the sight of Hye-joon making more in a year than he’s ever made in his entire career, Ae-sook pointed out that it actually took much longer. Feeling guilt over not keeping her promise, Ae-sook told Young-nam that she didn’t want to accept it.
Back in the present, Ae-sook and Young-nam ask Gramps if he knows Min-jae’s number, but Gramps is against the idea of them pressuring the company, especially if it’s coming from Young-nam. Despite Gramps’ disapproval, Young-nam calls Min-jae and asks when their contract is over. She tells him that they actually need to renew and asks if Hye-joon said anything bad about working with her.
On their way to meet Hae-hyo, Jin-woo wonders if Hye-joon should meet with Jung-ha first, but Hye-joon feels more embarrassed about his situation in front of those he loves. It hurts his self-esteem to know that his loved ones are reading his negative comments, but in Hae-hyo’s case, Hye-joon feels a sense of kinship with him. Jin-woo adorably asks if Hye-joon is embarrassed in front of him, but Hye-joon pushes his friend towards Hae-hyo who’s waiting in the park.
Seeing Jin-woo, Hae-hyo asks why he kept the relationship a secret, and Jin-woo laughs since he doesn’t have a death wish. Hae-hyo doesn’t refute since he plans on hitting him at least once. Jin-woo happily offers either cheek, and Hae-hyo pushes him, instead. Flailing on the ground, Jin-woo cries for Hye-joon, but their friend is nowhere in sight.
Taking Jin-woo’s advice, Hye-joon goes to meet Jung-ha and has another drink on the couch with her. He tells her that his friends were complaining about him not paying attention to them, and she mentions that Hae-hyo said the same thing to her. Hearing how Hae-hyo has helped with her business, Hye-joon wonders if he might lose his spot, but Jung-ha assures him that he’s always number one. He tells her that he loves her, and she responds in kind.
He asks if she saw Jia’s interview, and Jung-ha admits that she felt bad after watching it. She asks why he never comes to her about these things, so he explains how he only wants to show her the good parts. She angrily retorts that he’s treating her like his child, and tells him that his loved ones want to share in his pain. In response, he inches closer to her on the couch and holds out his hand. Once she grabs it, he tells her that he loves her more than she thinks.
Min-jae sighs over the still negative comments section before dropping by Hye-joon’s place early in the morning. Unbeknownst to Hye-joon, Young-nam asked to meet her. He’s curious about how the company is dealing with Hye-joon’s issue, so she tells them that they’re filing a lawsuit.
Kyung-joon comes out, asking Min-jae for a ride, but Hye-joon puts a stop to it. He then pulls Young-nam aside for a private word and tells his dad to speak through him from now on. He doesn’t want him to hurt Min-jae’s feelings, and Young-nam agrees, though he’s not keen on the idea.
Hae-hyo greets Ae-sook at his house, and they talk about his upcoming drama with Hye-joon. He says that he’s only a supporting role, but Ae-sook believes such divisions are pointless as long as the part is good. He asks about Yi-young, and Ae-sook tells him that she went out—though she surmises that it must be an unwelcome meeting.
Ae-sook’s hunch turns out to be true as Yi-young frowns at the sight of Tae-soo. She’s angry at him for deceiving her about the casting, but Tae-soo calls it a joke. He claims that everyone uses tricks, including Hae-hyo and his inflated follower count. Yi-young denies the accusations and informs him that today is their last meeting. Tae-soo won’t fall off that easily, though, and calls her noona. Yuck.
Hye-joon has an interview to promote his upcoming drama First Human, which he’s costarring with an old modeling friend. Said friend is actor Jin Seo-woo (cameo by Lee Sung-kyung) who dances in a studio when Hye-joon enters. She tells him to stay away, but Hye-joon confidently marches to her side and tells her that she can’t be without him, either. He pulls her into a hug… and the director calls cut.
Immediately, the two actors drop out of character and joke around. Hye-joon notes her makeup needs some touchup, and she tells him that her regular artist is on maternity leave. He offers to introduce her to someone else, and she correctly guesses it’s his girlfriend. While she gets Jung-ha’s number, they don’t notice a camera still filming them.
Despite his busy schedule, Hye-joon is happy for the work as he prepares for his next scene. Today, Hae-hyo is also on set with Jung-ha, and from afar, they watch Hye-joon surrounded by his staff. Hae-hyo’s manager shares a Chinese idiom, and Jung-ha interprets for Hae-hyo. She describes it as the feeling of drastic change, which accurately captures how they feel about Hye-joon, now.
With the shoot about to begin, Hae-hyo calls out to his friend, and they joke around for a bit. As the actors move on ahead, Min-jae calls Jung-ha to the side and explains the situation about the new makeup artist so there’s no misunderstandings between them.
Min-jae answers a call from Reporter Kim who asks if Hye-joon is dating his makeup artist. Min-jae sternly tells her not to publish fake news, but Reporter Kim’s face stiffens as she states her intentions to do her job. As Min-jae feared, Hye-joon and Jung-ha’s relationship may be revealed since Reporter Kim has photos of the couple.
During their break, the three friends walk together, and Hae-hyo jokingly accuses them of using him to cover for their date. Hye-joon tells him to play along, so Hae-hyo pulls Jung-ha to his side to make the lie convincing. They bicker about who’s side Jung-ha should be at when Seo-woo calls.
Over video chat, Hae-hyo asks if it isn’t awkward playing lovers, so Seo-woo says that they’re dating. Hye-joon balks at the joke and worriedly glances toward Jung-ha’s direction while she tries to look unbothered by the comment. Before filming resumes, Hye-joon asks Hae-hyo to take a picture of him and Jung-ha.
On their way home, Hae-hyo offers to give Jung-ha a ride to her next schedule, but she tells him that it’s fine. Early the next morning, Jung-ha rides the bus to set, and gets a text from Hye-joon. It’s their picture from the other day, and he tells her that she’s always the best. Though Jung-ha smiles, she solemnly narrates, “Out of sight, out of mind… I had faith that our relationship was solid. Trust is much more fragile than love.”
Even though the sun has fallen and half the staff is sleeping, Jung-ha’s actor has yet to film her scenes. Touching up the actor’s makeup, Jung-ha asks her to lift her head, but the annoyed actor tells her to just get it done. Jung-ha kindly explains how these little details show up on screen, so the actor complies.
By the time filming wraps, it’s pouring outside, and Hye-joon sleeps on his way to the airport for his fan meeting. Meanwhile, Jung-ha finds shelter at a bus stop, and feeling cold and alone, she remembers Hye-joon’s words about calling her on rainy days to remind her that she isn’t alone in this world. She calls him first, but he’s already on the plane and misses it.
Jung-ha sits alone at the bus stop when a car honks at her. Hae-hyo gets out with an umbrella and hands her one, too. While Hye-joon sits in his flight, Hae-hyo drives Jung-ha home. Once she arrives, she invites him inside, and Hae-hyo walks into her home for the first time.
One of the main themes of this show is the idea of the haves vs have-nots. We see this contrast clearly between the two best friends who grew up in vastly different circumstances. However, the tables have turned, and now Hye-joon stands in the side of the “haves.” Unlike Hae-hyo who used to have everything, it’s now Hye-joon who has the big break, fame, and girl. However, popularity comes with its downsides, which Hye-joon quickly learns. No matter what he does, people want to believe what they think is the truth rather than facts. Unfortunately, because of his fame, it’s become harder for him to hide his troubles from his family and loved one. True to his character, Hye-joon would rather shoulder all the burden himself than inconvenience someone else, and while this similar trait with Jung-ha was something that drew the couple towards each other, now it seems to be causing a divide. The emotions that attracted them to each other may still be present, but clearly, maintaining a relationship requires more than love.
On the other hand, this role reversal for Hae-hyo might be just what he needs to grow closer to Jung-ha. In some ways, he’s experiencing similar feelings to her concerning Hye-joon in the sense that both of them feel like he’s shining too brightly and quickly for them to catch up. As a result, Hae-hyo now has a connection to Jung-ha that Hye-joon will never understand, and somewhat unconsciously, I think Jung-ha is leaning on Hae-hyo more and more for support. It also explains why Jung-ha went with Hae-hyo after the awards ceremony because it wasn’t just Hae-hyo who needed comfort in that moment—she needed it, too. Even if Hye-joon is still her number one, it’s clear that Jung-ha has opened her heart up more for Hae-hyo as depicted by the final scene where she lets him into her house, which signifies her space and identity. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she reciprocates his feelings, but Hye-joon’s worries about being replaced don’t seem so farfetched anymore.
Besides the economical and social contrast between the Sa and Won family, the concept of have and have-nots also applies to the idea of physical looks as depicted through Young-nam and his inferiority complex. As Jung-ha mentioned in a previous episode, Young-nam knows that he isn’t good looking, and just like Kyung-joon, I think he does know the value of appearances. However, it’s not that he undervalues Hye-joon’s looks as Gramps believes, but he actively denies it because then he would have to acknowledge his own disadvantage and jealousy. Being surrounded by beautiful people, Young-nam probably knows the value of good looks more than them because he’s always on the receiving end of the negative comments. Thus, to Young-nam, it probably feels unfair to see Hye-joon make money so “easily” when he also works diligently to the point of ruining his health yet he makes a fraction of Hye-joon’s pay.
Adding salt to the wound, now Gramps is cashing in on his good looks, too, which is a surprise to Young-nam. However, even if he has felt discrimination based on looks, he channels his anger and resentment towards his family rather than the root cause of these problems. Though he felt dismissed by the academy instructor (who seemed to mean no ill-will, which only reinforces the idea that lookism has become normalized in all contexts), Young-nam yells at Gramps for making things awkward. Again, he lashes out at those he thinks he can control, but as soon as they gain more power, he submits as he does with Hye-joon.
While good looks are certainly advantageous, the show also depicts the negative costs. Through Hye-joon we see the unwanted attention he also receives because of his looks, and just as jokes at the expense of the “ugly” have become par for the course, lookism makes it so that pretty people shouldn’t voice their complaints about how they’re treated based on appearances, either. On top of that, now that Hye-joon is a celebrity, privacy becomes a luxury rather than a basic right, and people feel no shame about projecting their insecurities and jealousy onto him online. In the end, all forms of discrimination are harmful because it excuses bad behavior, and while being a celebrity ultimately means entering public scrutiny, there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed.
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