Hello? It’s Me!: Episode 1
KBS’s new fantasy rom-com takes us through an eventful day in the life of our heroine, letting us understand how she got to what she considers the lowest point of her life. She runs into some peculiar people along the way and although one is destined to become somebody that will change her life, she won’t be prepared when they finally meet.
Note: This is a first episode recap.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Sometime in the future, BAHN HA-NI (Choi Kang-hee) sits alone in a café and smiles fondly as she pens a letter: Did you get back safely? I bet it hasn’t changed much. Oh, I forgot to say hello, didn’t I? Hello? It’s me!
In the present day, Ha-ni gets involved in a traffic accident one rainy night and is transported to the ER in an unconscious state. She narrates that people typically have many thoughts at the brink of death, yet she just wishes not to wake up.
Her spirit’s desperate pleas to not be saved go unheard as the doctors attempt to resuscitate her. Ha-ni wails that she’s at the worst point in her life and her only option is to be reborn.
For work, she’s a dancing mascot at a local supermarket to promote squid-flavored snacks. Despite her adorable performance, Ha-ni gets ignored by the adults and her tentacles pulled on by children.
In the events leading up to the accident, Ha-ni stops a young boy from helping himself to endless samples. His mother comes running and yells at Ha-ni for giving him snacks…he’s allergic and covered in hives.
Ha-ni’s manager (cameo by Jo Han-chul) later gushes that she must’ve been startled by the situation and agrees that it’s not their fault. However, the customer is always right so the manager puts on a show lamenting that he’ll be fired soon…the mom will sue Joa Confectionary. He says he’ll go beg for forgiveness but when Ha-ni asks which hospital they’re at, he happily tasks her with visiting them to apologize instead.
This isn’t why Ha-ni’s done with living, though. As she leaves work, she gets arrested for failing to answer to summons for a slander charge. She sits in a holding cell still in her squid costume, drawing looks from everyone at the station.
Their attention shifts when HAN YOO-HYUN (Kim Young-kwang) gets dragged into the cell next to her, looking suspiciously like a pervert wearing nothing but a trench coat. “It’s not what it looks like!” he proclaims. This marks the first humiliating encounter between “Ms. Squid” and “Mr. Pervert,” ha.
We rewind a bit to learn how Yoo-hyun got himself into this situation. He and his older cousin YANG DO-YOON (Ji Seung-hyun) show up at an equestrian club, ready to compete against each other in a bet where the loser grants a wish. They’re only able to mount the horse before Do-yoon signals that Yoo-hyun’s father is here.
Chairman HAN JI-MAN (Baek Hyun-joo) gives Yoo-hyun an earful about hopping from one hobby to another – is he already over his paragliding phase? “What if I crash land in North Korea while paragliding? I’ll die,” Yoo-hyun claims. HAH.
Despite having 80 different licenses, Yoo-hyun hasn’t been able to earn a penny from any of his skills. When even Do-yoon is hard-pressed to believe that his cousin can earn a million won (around $1,000) within a week, Yoo-hyun boasts that he can do anything he puts his mind to.
Chairman Han proposes a bet – if Yoo-hyun can earn that amount, he will stop interfering in his life. Yoo-hyun wags his finger and tells him a man can’t go back on his word, accepting the deal.
Yoo-hyun enlists the help of a career consultant who reads a few hobbies off his resumé ranging from scuba diving to teddy bear making. Hee, Yoo-hyun even shows off his food carving! The consultant deems most of his skills useless but figures that he could work at a restaurant since he can cook a variety of cuisines and is a certified barista.
The chaebol flashes a smile and asks for a job that pays well instead, as he’ll only be working for a week…so he ends up at a bath house scrubbing backs. When the week is over, Yoo-hyun returns home with a little more than $25 and a busted shoulder.
He talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk, so Chairman Han tells him to get out. The chairman’s sister HAN JI-SOOK (Baek Hyun-joo) steps in to take Yoo-hyun’s side, but Dad plays a recording from the day their bet was made.
They had agreed that Yoo-hyun would move out if he failed, and he was so confident that he promised to leave without wearing underpants that Dad bought if that were to happen. He hides behind Ji-sook but Chairman Han kicks him out with nothing but his trench coat and underwear as an act of generosity, ha.
A pair of officers (cameos by Lee Soo-hyuk and Jang Ki-yong) are patrolling the area when they witness Yoo-hyun taunting Chairman Han after being chased off the property. It looks mighty suspicious out of context, which is why he ends up at the station.
He gets frustrated that nobody believes that it’s a misunderstanding. When Ha-ni scooches further away and is obviously judging his attire, he plops down in defeat and whines.
Movie star ANTHONY (Eum Moon-seok) enters the precinct for the slander case with his manager and CEO Park, who loudly asks, “Who here goes by the ID ‘Poopy Anthony’?” Like everyone else, Anthony assumes Yoo-hyun’s a pervert so the chaebol quips that he looks like a poison dart frog, haha.
The detective points out the real “Poopy Anthony” — Ha-ni. She glares at him and recalls why they’re enemies in the first place. Ha-ni was in the mountains one day taking photographs while Anthony was shooting a dramatic movie as a special forces agent.
The egotistical actor was doted on by his CEO and manager, who worked as a tag team to boost his mood. However, Anthony drank the CEO’s latte by accident and being lactose intolerant, got an upset stomach on a mountain where there were no restrooms.
Anthony did his business between the bushes and heard the shutter of a camera. It was Ha-ni. He assumed that she stalked him and secretly took a photo of him although she made it known that she doesn’t like him.
The actor forcibly took the camera from her hands and destroyed the film, shattering the lens on the ground. Ha-ni cried, as it was something precious from her father. It’s what prompted her to leave hate comments.
“I bet 50 cents and my testicle that this movie will fail,” the detective reads a comment aloud and Anthony insists that she be punished. Ha-ni’s sorry about the comments, but she only resorted to them because her attempts to reach his agency were ignored and she wanted an apology.
Ha-ni and Anthony get into an argument and in the heat of it, she yells that he accused her of taking a weird photo. Realizing that he wants to keep the incident private, Ha-ni begins to tell the detective what happened and baits the actor into agreeing to settle to keep her quiet.
When Ha-ni is ready to leave, Yoo-hyun calls out to her and asks for a favor…can he have her mask? Ha-ni leaves him with it and reads the fortune off her snack: You’ll meet an important person who will turn your life around. Whatever happens, don’t let go of that person.
Ha-ni’s sister BAHN HA-YOUNG (Jung Yi-rang) calls to remind her about the blind date she set up for her tonight. Ha-ni has something important to do but Ha-young yells that this is a building owner’s son and hangs up.
Ha-ni sighs but decides to go since her fortune mentioned meeting an important person. She looks at herself in the mirror and hides her face when OH JI-EUN (Kim Yumi) walks by.
Ji-eun is Do-yoon’s wife and is here to bail out Yoo-hyun. She wonders what’s up with the mask, but Yoo-hyun puts it this way: if you had to escape a fire while naked in a bath house and could only cover one body part, it’d be your face. Good point.
She hands him Do-yoon’s card to go shopping with which brightens him up, but Yoo-hyun gets moody again when Ji-eun advises him to apologize to his dad.
Ha-ni picks out an expensive sky blue blazer (her lucky color from the fortune) with the intention of returning it after dinner. Coincidentally, Yoo-hyun ends up at the same restaurant for dinner and recognizes Ha-ni as the Squid Ajumma.
Their reunion is short-lived when her date Jun-su (cameo by Jung Sung-ho) arrives and it’s one awkward topic after another. They discuss her contract worker status, lack of savings, and the fact that Ha-ni doesn’t look like her photos.
When Ha-ni doesn’t know the poem he’s referring to, Jun-su recites it and says that no matter how beautiful the piece is, it can’t be more beautiful than the time they spend together. He excuses himself to go to the restroom and she decides to go for it since Jun-su could be the important person she’s destined to meet today.
However, he doesn’t return and instead, transfers a sum of money to cover their meal. He calls Ha-ni and says that sometimes, beautiful memories should be left behind. Yoo-hyun is only a table away and watched the entire date play out.
To make matters worse, Ha-ni spills wine on the blazer and cries as she attempts to wash the stain off in the restroom. She’s not sure what she expected but just like the stain, the scar left on her heart today won’t fade easily.
Meanwhile, Yoo-hyun is told that the card he’s using was reported stolen and has been frozen. Unable to pay for the meal, he calls Do-yoon, Ji-eun, and his aunt Ji-sook…but all three phones are lined up in front of Dad who warns them to never pick up his calls or he’ll kick them out too.
He specifically warns Do-yoon not to help him out financially, and Ji-sook asks if he has to be this harsh to a boy who lost his mother at a young age. Chairman Han has spoiled him because of that but has decided not to help him out anymore.
The restaurant doesn’t accept Yoo-hyun’s attempt at paying with his brand new shoes and threatens to call the cops. To avoid this, Yoo-hyun stops his “fellow cellmate” Ha-ni when she walks by, asking to borrow some money.
She declines but the way he sighs, “This is such a shitty day,” stops her in her tracks. No longer in his goofy mode, Yoo-hyun genuinely asks her to help him put an end to this terrible day and promises to pay her back tenfold. Ha-ni takes his number and he promises to repay her kindness no matter what.
At the bus stop, Ha-ni is angered seeing the poster for Anthony’s new movie. She grabs beers and snacks from the convenience store and doesn’t notice that Yoo-hyun’s already there. He casually comments that the beer suuure looks refreshing…
Ha-ni has a few ways to comfort herself: drinking beer or looking at someone more pitiful than herself are some of them. She hands him a can and some chips, which he adorably accepts with a grin.
Her manager calls and Ha-ni apologizes for not going to the hospital today. He tells her that the customer wrote a post about the incident, which went viral. Distraught, she tries to grab a taxi and drops her phone. It begins to rain and a truck honks, unable to stop in time.
She makes no move to avoid the vehicle and realizes that she isn’t afraid of dying. After all, her dreams and bright future never played out because of “that day” 20 years ago.
20 YEARS AGO.
MC Hong Rocky hosts the Young Power! Open Your Heart! program at Hosu High School, where students gather and make public confessions on the rooftop. Ha-ni is the school’s very own Lee Hyori – guys profess their love to her while girls ask to be her friend.
It turns out that Ha-ni (Lee Re) and Ji-eun were best friends during their school days. Coincidentally, Anthony (whose real name was YANG CHOON-SHIK) also attended this school. He had a huge unrequited crush on Ha-ni, so his friends snatch her from the classroom with a blanket over her head so that he can confess without getting shy.
When she doesn’t respond, one boy takes the blanket off to reveal that they accidentally grabbed her “little minion” Ji-eun. Ha-ni comes to the rescue, “Who are you calling a minion, you idiot?” she yells as she goes flying with a kick to Choon-shik’s face. She warns them not to disrespect Ji-eun again.
She shows up at the event and struts confidently through the cheering crowd, blowing kisses and flipping her hair. This is such a far departure from her current-day self! MC Rocky asks Ha-ni if she likes anyone in the school and she answers, “Yes. My crush is…Bahn Ha-ni!” The crowd goes wild.
At home, Mom gets annoyed that Ha-ni is wasting time practicing a Fin.K.L dance routine and sends her on an errand. She huffs at this but heads to the convenience store, then runs into her father outside. It’s clear that they have an adorable and close relationship, and he loves to take pictures of her with his camera.
Ha-ni asks Dad to be on her side tomorrow when Mom will inevitably get angry at her. She promises that it’s not illegal, and that he’ll live a comfortable life if he helps her out. They secretly share snacks before dinner. Aww.
The next morning, Ha-ni puts on some makeup in an attempt to look sick enough to leave early, but just looks terrifying instead. She comes up with an idea when she spots Chun-shik. Knowing that he’s lactose intolerant, Ha-ni hands him a carton of milk, promising to date him if he drinks it.
When Chun-shik is sweating bullets, Ha-ni puts on a show and tells the teacher worriedly that she’ll escort him to the hospital. While Chun-shik goes to the restroom to do his business, she texts: Chun-shik, let’s break up. Have a great time with the toilet! Bye! That’s terrible!
As expected, Ha-ni went to an audition to be in the next hottest girl group. She is a charismatic performer that piques the interest of the judges. However, her parents show up at the venue and cut her off mid-dance.
As they drive home in the rain, Mom berates Ha-ni for skipping school and wanting to become a singer. Dad tries to restore the peace but Ha-ni is also mad and insists that she’ll audition again. When stopped at a red light, Ha-ni gets out of the vehicle and runs off.
Dad follows her, but Ha-ni can’t be stopped. “I’m going to audition,” she whines, “you promised to support me yesterday!” Her father watches in horror as she weaves through the traffic dangerously.
Ha-ni freezes when a truck comes barrelling towards her. “Am I going to die?” she wonders. “What about my radiant dream? My promising future? What will happen to them?” The Ha-ni’s of the past and present face the trucks of doom at the same time.
The present-day Ha-ni regains consciousness and the nurse asks for her name and date of birth. Ha-ni overhears the patient next to her claiming to be Bahn Ha-ni, born on November 18, 1984…which the nurse notes is impossible, since she’s a 17-year-old student.
When the patient says that her emergency contact is Bahn Ki-tae, adult Ha-ni whips open the curtain separating their beds and comes face-to-face with her younger self. She can barely get the words out to ask, but the nametag on the uniform confirms that it really is her.
Adult Ha-ni voices over, “On a day when I was about to give up on everything, on the year I turned 37…you came to me. The most obnoxious girl in the world. The 17-year-old me, Bahn Ha-ni.”
Teen Ha-ni sits in her room and writes, Hello? It’s me! It’s a letter to herself 20 years in the future, done for a school assignment. Ha-ni reads it in front of her classmates.
Although she can’t imagine what her adult self would look like, she’s positive of one thing: “Even 20 years from now, you’ll still be amazing, confident, and loved by everyone around you. You’ll be living as happily as ever.”
Ha-ni breaks the fourth wall and asks, “So tell me. Are you living like that?”
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I really liked what we got. I found myself chuckling often and enjoyed Yoo-hyun’s random comments especially (“Sir, you remind me of an eraser!” while scrubbing a man’s dead skin, hee). Not sure about the rom-com aspect since I can’t really imagine the chemistry between Kim Young-kwang and Choi Kang-hee yet, but I’m definitely digging the overarching theme to the show. Ha-ni spent a huge part of the episode wondering who this “important person” that would turn her life around would be, and even considered dating a guy she wasn’t remotely interested in for a moment. I just love that the important person is herself, although she’s not aware of that yet.
Young Ha-ni was kind of obnoxious, sure, but she also truly believed in herself and had no doubts that her life would turn out amazing. There are hints that the life-altering experience Ha-ni had that changed her as a person fundamentally is likely Dad-related. It must’ve been traumatic for Ha-ni to go from one extreme to another. I can’t wait to see how they’ll interact and influence one another. It’s quite typical for adults to lose the spark they once had as a bright-eyed youth with dreams and aspirations, but I doubt 17-year-old Ha-ni will be pleased with what she’s about to find in 2021.
Adult Ha-ni definitely didn’t lose her fiery personality (exemplified by how she reacts around Anthony), but she has matured and doesn’t use people for her own personal gain. She just lost her confidence and leads a life that she’s completely unsatisfied with. I am looking forward to her younger counterpart helping her re-discover herself. If the opening scene is any indication, then Ha-ni is going to go through a transformation that will allow her to be at peace with herself which I am so here for.
I find Yoo-hyun to be an interesting character as well, even though he’s just yet another chaebol male lead with a sad story. I love that he’s actually proficient at his many random skills (exhibit A: his apple swan) and it’d be so fun if they kept incorporating these talents throughout the episodes. Perhaps interacting with the determined younger Ha-ni will help him discover his passion as well!
I appreciate that whatever happened didn’t turn him into a cold person. Instead, Yoo-hyun seems to wear his goofiness as a mask to hide his real feelings. The only moment he was truly serious during the first hour was when he dropped the façade and admitted that he was having a bad day. Despite going through a worse day than him, Ha-ni still helped and even felt that he was more pitiful than herself. I like the tone of the show overall and will definitely tune in for the rest.