Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Twenty Again ep 2: Dongsaeng's Slam Book

As our heroine, Ha No Ra, heads to college and we watch her try to adapt to this brand new world in which she is automatically and unavoidably an outcast way out of her comfort zone, some things about the past start to emerge. Stories begin to unfold and curiosities begin to arise, all while worlds are colliding, marriages dissolving, and mistresses are teaching courses on marriage and family. And hot professors are left wondering about the relationship status of former love interests.

When any new drama begins, it is customary that the first week or so is spent mainly on character development and story building and less on major plot movement. Such is the case, of course, with these two episodes. So, since I have little to work with story-wise and lots to work with character-wise, I'm going to focus in on those and create for you, if you will, my own version of a "slam book". Now class, is everyone familiar with what a "slam book" is? For those unfamiliar, the interwebs define it for us as "a notebook which is passed between students for writing gossip or opinions". Okay, so I don't really like condone the use of real slam books in real life or anything (bullying is bad - don't do it), but for my purposes here, well, it fits. I'm going to share with you my opinions on some of our drama's characters up until now.

Characters I am loving right now will probably be pretty obvious. This list is relatively short, which means that some of these other characters better shape up soon.

While not perfect or without her faults (hello - mean to the dorky boy Cha Hyun Suk much?), the BFF is one of those that you can't help but love despite her rough edges. Besides, she's been by our heroine's side all these years through thick and thin and that's gotta count for something. 

The Boy
Our story's hero, Professor Cha Hyun Suk. What is not to love? Besides the fact that he starts off pretty mean to our girl when he calls her "ahjummeoni" repeatedly in class and out, he quickly turns things around and that initial disdain quickly turns into curiosity and yes, even concern.
It was quite fun though watching him as he starts to notice the things that are off. I adored his cold shoulder act with the Can't Be Ex Soon Enough husband at the luncheon when he figured out who the man was.

Or how perplexed he became when he saw husband and wife arriving at the same time, wholly and completely separate from one another. 
Or that time when wife is desperately hiding from husband. 
It doesn't take much time before he's figuring that not all is well in paradise. He spends most of the episode with a very puzzled and quizzical look on his face. Which just so happens to be a good look for him.  

A very good look indeed.

The Girl
Our plucky heroine who is learning to use her own wings really for the first time in her life at the age of 38 obviously makes this love list. While there are times I want to throttle her and encourage her to be stronger, I am so proud of her and the advances she is making already. 

Getting knocked up as a junior in high school, we learn that she follows her man child to Germany in order to marry him (or so our BFF tells our Boy back in the day). Losing her marriage (good riddance if you ask me) and her life (what with the bogus cancer diagnosis) all in one go, she bounces back and proves what mettle she is truly made of when she shows up at college. Things are not easy for her there. We watch her, rather painfully, try to adjust to the world of the young. 
The other students don't exactly welcome her with open arms. In fact, nothing can quite clear a room like an ahjumma with a few questions.
Even though this new adjustment to college life isn't smooth, she takes it all in stride and plugs along. Who wouldn't love someone like that?

Ah! The fun list! Where we get to rag on those characters with the distinct ability to make us loathe them right out of the gate. That takes a special kind of talent. Or sleaze. 

The Can't Be Ex Soon Enough husband
This guy tops our list for obvious reasons. He's a total jerkwad. He's pompous and arrogant and cruel to his wife. Thankfully, for our enjoyment, he's kind of funny in his jerkwadiness most of the time.

Still hate the character, but at least can appreciate the actor portraying him. The way he talks down to No Ra is infuriating. He treats her like an idiot. I loved when she turned that back on him, citing him as the one that told her all the facts about the divorce, then coming back with what she had learned herself - that him taking legal action against her would take longer than the 3 month extension she is asking for in regards to the finalizing of their divorce. I wanted to high five her and forever immortalize that gobsmacked look on his face. I hope to see that look coming around much more often as we move forward. It looked nicely similar to the one he had when she called him "petty". heeheehee! love!

The Mistress
Oh yeah, this shouldn't come as any surprise, but it looks as if Ex has a girlfriend. Shocker. When a man suddenly wants to divorce his wife of 20 years, you can be certain that there's a girlfriend waiting in the wings, spurring him along. And who else should it be but No Ra's freaking MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONS TEACHER!!! Ouch!!! This is the woman that is meant to be teaching our girl about building strong marriages?!?! Guess that just proves the old adage that those who can't do, teach. I wonder how long before the Homewrecker figures out just who this new student (that intrigues her so much that she has to call her out in class and ask her her marital status) really is?

These are characters that I don't really loathe or like, they're just kind of hanging out there in that gray zone.

The Son
He's just a dumb kid right now. A dumb kid that treats his mom like trash, but I'm sure that that was a learned behavior and he doesn't really know any better. I actually am harboring high hopes that part of his maturation process will bring him to that point where he realizes for himself that his father is a dipwad and that he should be nicer to his mother. Mom learning to stand up for herself will, I'm sure, go a long way to help that process. Her just taking their crap didn't do much to foster respect for herself.

The Son's Girlfriend
She's a little immature in her handling of her relationship (crying because he fell asleep during a movie), but there's something about this girl that I can't help but like. I like how she and her boyfriend's mom started interacting a bit in this episode and I look forward to what is to come on that front. Will they be friends? Enemies? Mother-in-law/Daughter-in-law? So much potential there as these two women are thrown together by classrooms and their shared boy.

A couple of characters were played in this episode that could go either way, but have as yet to be assigned a definite direction. The potential is there for them to be helpful or roadblocks, but it's too soon to know which.

The Hottie Classmate/Marriage and Family Partner

Mr Beats (hey, might as well call out the obvious product placement, right?) has popped up in a couple of classes with our leading lady. At first he was just a bit of eye candy, but soon becomes a real player in our story as he and No Ra end up as partners in their Marriage and Family Relations class. He's resistant to being paired up with the old lady for now, but I'm seeing that he may very well end up being very much on her side in the future. I don't know why, call it a hunch or drama experience or whatever, but I'm smelling a noona crush in our future. I like those. 

The Assistant
Our Professor Cha Hyun Suk has a lovely assistant that may end up being awesome or may end up trying to get in the middle of our couple. Not sure yet which side she's going to fall on, but I'm sure she'll fall on one of them eventually. Let's hope she's a cheerleader not a speed bump. 

Okay, so that should cover our characters for now. I'd like to take a minute now and go over some of our backstory and other important/memorable moments from the episode not already covered.

Girl Meets Boy
We learn how Cha Hyun Suk and Ha No Ra met 20 years ago. No Ra and BFF are dancing to music only they can hear when a very nerdy Cha Hyun Suk interrupts them, offering them a new tune that he thinks they could dance nicely to. BFF goes on the attack, calling him a weirdo and idiot (sounds like Hyun Suk isn't too popular at school), but No Ra shows the poor boy a little more mercy. She even accepts his musical gift. At this point it looks like it is safe to assume that our boy has a crush on our girl. 
He is later crushed when he finds out that No Ra is pregnant and has run off to marry her baby daddy. It would seem as if that pregnancy was not a result of a long-term or serious relationship with Kim Woo Cheol either. We don't know the story of what happened in between our leads meeting and her pregnancy, but whatever it was was obviously enough to cause Hyun Suk to harbor some pretty strong resentment towards No Ra that we see show itself 20 years later. My theory is that he really liked her and was really hurt when she ran off. I don't think they necessarily dated, but the attachment was apparently strong on his side. I'm calling it a one-sided love for now as there isn't any reason to believe she ever reciprocated. She doesn't strike me as the type to two-time and get pregnant with another boy's baby while dating someone. He's the nerdy outcast kid that liked the pretty girl that was nice to him and takes it hard when she suddenly marries young. His anger that surfaces when she reappears 20 years later though fizzles fast when it becomes obvious to him that something is up with her - that her marriage is not so fabulous. The resentment quickly turns to concern and it's safe to say that he is well on his way to falling for her all over again. 

The Interconnected
Dramas are so good at connecting everyone together in a complex web of interactions and relationships. This one is certainly no exception to this. Several interconnections are already being established.
the two men
The two guys in No Ra's life, her husband and her admirer, are thrown together in some sort of business agreement. Woo Cheol is a shrink that has joined forces with theater director Hyun Suk. The two are introduced at a business lunch (that it looks like the mistress arranged), and it doesn't take Hyun Suk long to figure out that this is the man that impregnated and stole his crush from him. Looks like their working relationship is off to a rocky start already.
Woo Cheol's women
Woo Cheol's wife and mistress are student and teacher. Yup, not going to get messy there, now is it?
son's girl and his mom
No Ra goes through extreme lengths to make sure she avoids her son at school. He doesn't know his mom goes there and she wants to keep it that way. She keeps a map and copy of his schedule that she consults before going anywhere in order to insure that their paths never cross. These efforts may prove to be for naught though when she just so happens to end up in multiple classes with her son's girl.
husband and wife
Looks like her son isn't the only one she's going to have to avoid bumping into on campus. Unbeknownst to her, her hubby has switched schools and is now teaching at her college (along with his mistress of course).  

The Lighthearted and Just Plain Fun
This episode had some moments of really, really cute stuff that I just have to mention. Like Hyun Suk knocking No Ra's hat off as he rode past her, after he is caught staring and she calls him an idiot from across the street. He's like a kid on the playground, teasing the girl he likes. Adorable. 

Then there was the scene where she raced to the library in order to check out her required books before anyone else, only to be denied thanks to her lack of modern knowledge and book lending apps. 

I loved when she got pulled into the dancing at the student activities festival (oh! and it sounds like our Mr Beats student just so happens to be a dancer too when he is called "president" by the kid running the dance team booth). 

The Cliffhanger
Our episode wouldn't be complete without the traditional cliffhanger. This time around it was a confrontation between our future OTP. She has been cheated out of a class by a punk kid and is desperate to get into this specific psychology class (it was actually Hyun Suk's theatre class she ended up dropping in exchange for this class). There isn't much hope at this point since the class is full, but Hyun Suk dangles a carrot in front of her. He, being a professor, can pull some strings and get her into the class she needs/wants. However, this favor comes with certain strings attached, namely, he wants to know why she was hiding from her husband earlier and why she's sneaking around and hiding the fact that she's in school from him. He's been going crazy with curiosity all through the episode and is bursting at the seams to ask her what is going on. He even had a pretend conversation with her earlier where he asked all of his an invisible No Ra. He's obviously still hung up on her and needs to know what's up with her marriage situation. She's oblivious to his feelings though and honestly confused as to why he feels he needs to know why she is hiding her presence from the man she married. It's all wonderfully glorious, really. 

Final Thoughts: I have to admit that there is part of me that is having a hard time watching this drama. Not because of it itself, but because of how close it hits sometimes. This episode was easier than the first one. The first one really shook me up. I can't even put it into words really as to why, but it did. I guess I see more of myself in her than I would like to admit. My personal reflections aside though, this drama is shaping up to be a whole lot of fun. I love the kitsch and the goofiness that helps lighten the heavier stuff. I mean, we're dealing with a woman here who literally thinks she is dying and who's life is crumbling around her. She's spent the past 20 years married to an idiot that treats her like garbage. She's clinging to this idiot because she doesn't know anything else. The humor helps lighten the mood and put a fresh spin on her transformation. Her old life is crumbling, but a new, brighter life is building up in its place. She's coming into her own in this phase two and I can't wait to see what all that entails and brings to the party. 

Thanks for stopping by! And a special shout out to anyone joining us for the first time! I neglected to introduce myself, but I am Dongsaeng and will be bringing you the even episodes while my blogner (blog partner) Kmuse will be bringing you her thoughts on the odd ones. Sorry that this one was tardy in coming out - I've been experience a litany of technical issues that has slowed me down. I don't plan on the others coming out this late, fingers crossed. Also, if I were to have a complaint with this drama, it would be that it moves too darn fast for screencaps. A great pace is awesome for us viewers, killer for bloggers. So that's why the blur on many of these. Sorry. I went through and watched it twice, taking screencaps both times and it still didn't help. The blur, I'm afraid, cannot be completely avoided. 

Anyway, I look forward to chatting with you on this one as we go forward! If you haven't found us there yet, come check us out on Facebook on our Crazy Ahjummas page and/or my personal page Shannen Dongsaeng.  Stay tuned for Kmuse's take on episode three coming up soon! Until next time, back hugs and fish kisses to you all!

1 comment:

  1. 'love the Slam Book! Thank you.
    Yes, the first episode was kinda hard to watch, not this divorce thing again, so I skipped it after 40 minutes and watched ep 2, then everything's ok ;-)


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