Friday, May 22, 2015

Producer Episode 2 - The Korean Bachelor Pad

So I will be completely honest.  Recapping this drama is really intimidating to me.  The writing is so cleaver and there are so many meta jokes. Which, while hilarious, are a bugger to explain to a third party.  There is just something lost in translation when I have to tell the joke, say why it is funny, and then laugh awkwardly while I hear cyber crickets coming from my readers.  So in other words, I have no clue what I am going to recap.
With the above confession in mind, I watched through episode 2 waiting for inspiration to come.  Ottoke, What to write?  Then it hit me.  I was pretty much watching an American variety show in Korean form.  What we really have here is the Korean version of "The Bachelor Pad".
For those of you who are not familiar with what this is...... The Bachelor and Bachelorette are US variety program where a single bachelor (or bachelorette) starts with a pool of 25 romantic love interests from whom the bachelor/ette is expected to select a wife/husband. There is a lot of crazy antics and the contestants get dumped til only 1 survives, supposedly to get married and live happily ever after.
 Still with me up to this point?  I swear this will all make sense in a minute.  Then the PD's of these two stellar programs realized that they had a whole plethora of odd crazy losers in which they could create a spin off.  A spin off they named "The Bachelor Pad".  This show was made so all the "losers" had to hook up with other "losers" in romantic/political combos to destroy weaker couples.  Now imagine that the Korean variety system from this drama was relocated to a beach house then add free booze.  I suspect it would be pretty much the exact same.  Everyone is trying to survive by hooking up with stronger competitors/producers.  It is a never ending hook up (work related, if not romantic) of a bunch of quirky, egocentric, characters.
So with this comparison, let's jump right into the pile of relationships and discuss some of my favorite.

The Forced/Secret Alliance
After episode 1 I was left with the burning question: "Why are they living together?  Are they married? Dating?  In a contract relationship, forced to be together by aggressive parents, and just hiding it from work?"
Haha nope, much better by far than any of those options.  It seems that there is a 4 mth gap between Ye Jin's housing contracts.  So in order to not be out any money, she convinces a drunk Joon Mo (who just happens to be a lifetime friend) to let her live at his place.  I totally died laughing at her hutzpa in getting him to sign a contract while being totally plastered. 
The flashback of the two coming home from school was also adorable. I love that Joon Mo walked Ye Jin home only to ride the elevator in her building.  I can relate since I have fond memories of visiting the local bank (the only building that had an elevator in my tiny town) and riding up and down for twenty minutes while my mom completed her banking.
The real question now is if this power couple are going to transfer their friend relationship over to the workplace or even jump to something more romantic?

The Odd Man Out
 Oh Baek Seung Chan.... how you are so adorkable and awkward.  He definitely takes the spot of that weird guy in the Bachelor Pad who you are not sure if he is hot or just kind of special.  The guy that just dances to the beat of his own drum... and in Seung Chan's instance, a very slow drumbeat. I can't count the number of times I screamed at the TV for him to just "spit out your words".
Despite his speech style, I still am falling in love with his character.  When Seung Chan is asked what he is studying and he replies "classic comedians" and then goes on to do impersonations.  BWAHAHAHA I had tears in my eyes from laughing.  I love how Seung Chan is all dry and talking phonetics, and then pops out  those famous comedy catch phrases/accents, and is unintentionally hilarious. This is pretty much a small moment that describes the characters whole personality.  Serious with bursts of accidental humor.

The one downfall when it comes to Seung Chan's character, is his one sided love with this girl. 
I really really dislike this actress (SHE RUINED KING'S FACE) and can't get past my dislike to find anything likable about her character.  She literally makes me want to hit my computer screen in the hopes that the constant pout she sports will fall off.  So it is unfathomable to me how such a sweet guy can be captivated by this empty vase.  Thankfully she is rarely in the drama so my suffering is at a minimum.  Hopefully now that she has been dumped, that screen time will be even less.

But it is Seung Chan's love for this girl and the resulting jealousy over her relationship with Joon Mo that brings out the real humor in his character.
Tying the trash bag onto Joon Mo's car mirror and running away was classic.  Not to mention Seung Chan did all of this while being documented (still not sure how this documentary concept works, but I will go with it) for the world to see eventually. It is odd that Seung Chan is so candid with the documentary film crew considering that all this information about his one sided love, and his trash antics towards his boss, are going to become public.  I personally would be careful about what I said and consider the long term consequences, but hey... maybe he is just slow on the uptake.

Let's Upgrade
Just like in the Bachelor Pad, the KBS variety department is all about breaking up and then hooking up with the newer, bigger, and better.  If a certain variety program (cough....cough... 1n2d) is not doing well in the ratings, they "break up" with their current variety stars and start from scratch.  Something which is particularly awkward when the cast consists of 4 older actresses.  Actress egos + Seniority + a PD who hates to be the bad guy is a recipe for disaster. For those of you not aware, seniority means a lot in Korea and the last thing you want to do is have an elderly person mad at you.
So the big challenge ahead of the 1n2d producer team is - How do we notify the cast that they have all been fired... in a tactful way of course?  Everyone is assigned their actress to notify, and poor Seung Chan is nominated to inform the oldest member of the cast.  Unfortunately for him, she jumps to conclusions before he can actually get a full sentence out (seriously..... talk faster).  Which results in her going to the finale cast dinner, unaware that she had just been fired.  Chaos ensues and poor Seung Chan is blamed for it all.

The Likable Guy
If Seung Chan is the odd guy of the group, Joon Mo is the guy that skates by on his charm.  He is very likable, yet not a threat to those above him.  Joon Mo is also the real reason that there was a huge disaster with his show's cast.  The fact that Joon Mo refuses to be the "bad guy" and break up (romantically or in a work situation) with anyone makes him kind of an ass.  Sure he seems nice on the outside, but a selfish streak lurks inside and poor Seung Chan takes the fall. I really liked when Ye Jin was appalled that Joon Mo was leading on his girlfriend. She said "Even With break-up's there should be etiquette."  This is obviously something that Joon Mo has not yet learned. I know that we are supposed to see character growth and such, but so far, he just tends to annoy me.

The "It" Girl
In the Bachelor Pad there is always that one girl that is considered a pick above the rest.  The girl other girls are jealous of and guys want to date.  She alone has the power to make things happen when it comes to romance and alliances.  In this drama that girl is, idol singer, Cindy.  

The key to Cindy's power is in not acknowledging that she does have power.  Unless it is necessary to take down an opponent in one fell swoop (example - the see through shirt debacle of Ep. 1). The "it" girl must go through life accepting everything as her due and making other grovel beneath her leather boots.
So it is with great amusement that I watched Cindy lose the upper hand when dealing with Seung Chan.  Implied status is obviously mute when dealing with someone who is 100% literal.  Seung Chan offers Cindy a company umbrella with the instructions on how she can return it under his name. Otherwise they will take the price of the umbrella from his paycheck which is not acceptable.  Seung Chan is so worried that Cindy won't return it, that he demands her cell number, persisting until the digits are finally exchanged.  He then runs off into the rain, leaving her behind with his name, and the information that he is one of the producers for 1n2d.  Needless to say, our princess is intrigued by the odd duck.
I was happy to see some real interaction between Cindy and another character.  So far I can't tell if she is sleepy, cranky, or drugged out on xanax.  I really hope the character gets a bit more personality at some point since so far she leaves me cold.

It's War
Lines are drawn and Ye Jin and Joon Mo declare that Seung Chan is the enemy.  Unaware to Seung Chan's presence behind them (they all live at the same apartment complex), they declare their intention to get him fired ASAP.  Hahaha poor guy is left baffled as he watches the duo go the same apartment.  Ooops, the secret is out.  I also wonder how Seung Chan is going to take this situation since I am sure he will jump to all sorts of conclusions.

And Love??
We are still unsure on who our OTPs (One True Pairing) are supposed to be.  I have to admit that I am kind of OK with that since the story is entertaining enough without the addition of love.  However, I have heard rumors that with a new PD taking charge of the drama, we will be switching over to focusing on the couples.  Mixed feelings came with this news, I am hoping that the quirky quality continues but I also love a good romance.  Either way, I will continue to enjoy these characters and their attempts to create healthy lasting relationships in all aspect of their lives.
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