And it has begun! My very first family drama recapping project. Fifty episodes. EEEK! At least I get Jo Jung-seok the whole time…
There really wasn’t anything new about the set up, but hey, it’s the first episode! I’m not judging. IU is adorable and Jo Jung-seok…hehehehe.
Oh yes, the AGB Nielson had this episode coming in at 22.2%, 2nd overall.
episode 1 recap
It’s party time for a group of ahjummas. There is a whole table of delicious food and lots of drink to be had.
Why must they open like this when I’m hungry? It was very inconsiderate of the director…
Anywho, an ahjumma, Jang Gil-ja (KIM DONG-JOO) singles out another, Kim Jung-ae (GO DOO-SHIM), to treat them because she has a rich, fund manager son-in-law even though another woman “won” something, presumably a game. Jung-ae’s exemplary, brilliant oldest daughter, Lee Hye-shin, is the lucky wife of said fund manager.
The director’s very obvious attempt at introducing Jung-ae’s kids continue with the ahummas asking about the second daughter, Lee Yoo-shin the beauty and newly promoted to manager..
Well-flattered, Jung-ae agrees to pay for the meal and then they ask about the third daughter, Lee Soon-shin, who has just graduated. But Jung-ae is really quick to gloss over her and suggests they dig into the delicious looking meal.
Um, what about me? Sharing is caring, ahjummas!
Skip to youngest daughter Lee Soon-shin’s (IU) job interview where she looks like a nervous wreck as she listening to one job hopeful rattle off some fancy schmancy Chinese while the other candidate has an impressive resume. Like Jung-ae did at the lunch, the panel of severe-looking businessmen completely gloss over Soon-shin because of her less-than-impressive resume.
Of course, our plucky heroine pipes up and says that although she may not be better qualified, she will work hard. But the panel isn’t listening. Instead, they’re more fascinated by the fact that her name is the same as a very famous Korean naval commander and have a really unprofessional laugh at her expense.
After her interview, a dejected Soon-shin walks by a statue of Lee Soon-shin the commander and asks that he not tell her family that she was rejected. That was a nice touch. Shows that she respects him even if their shared name causes her grief.
Jung-ae calls to find out how the interview went, but when the call is ignored, she wonders if Soon-shin got rejected….again.
Also, zgzgirl pointed out that Soon-shin’s ringtone is the theme for the anime Candy Candy, a very telling character hint. Yeah, Soon-shin is supposed to be a Candy type.
Cut to an idol concert where our MAIN MAN, Shin Joon-ho (Jo Jung-suk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) is watching and observing the whilst bobbing his head adorably.
Yes, I like Jo Jung-suk, get used to the fan girling. It’s going to happen…for 50 episodes.
As Shin Joon-ho chaebol walks down the halls of a swanky entertainment company, GABI we find out he is it’s president. He receives a call from “Old Man/끈대,” his daddio, which he ignores with mild exasperation.
Hehe. Old Man. Hehe….
Out of the blue, his cheery assistant Jo In-sung (LEE JI-HOON 1988) comes to tell him that his father called about an important meeting. Gloomy Joon-ho ignores him and asks about the event welcoming famous actress Song Mi-ryeong to their company. Then he oh-so-nonchalantly inquires if a certain Choi Yeon-ah will be attending…and then brushes off the question with an awkward expression.
Ooooh, not so cool are we you adorable fool you!
Enter Choi Yeon-ah (KIM YOON-SEO) who has come to visit her teacher, the aforementioned actress Song Mi-ryeong (LEE MI-SOOK) at her swanky new digs. It seriously looks more like a museum. Creepy.
Anywho, an old film is playing on a projector when Yeon-ah comes in with flowers and greets her teacher amicably. She comments on the film, which was one Mi-ryung was in ages ago. Yeon-ah flatters Mi-ryung and wishes to be an actress as good as her teacher.
And onto sad little IU (strike) Soon-shin who trudges home in the rain without an umbrella. She spots Park Chan-woo (GO JOO-WON) and quickly hurries around the corner to call his sister, Park Chan-mi (PARK GA-WON), desperately wondering why Chan-mi didn’t warn her that Chan-woo got out of the army.
Soon-shin primps in time to greet him with a cheery “Oppa!” in all of her rain-soaked glory. He seems happy to see her and asks after her. She admits to unemployment and job hunting but he comforts her by saying a company will be lucky to have her.
She wonders when he’’ll start working at the hospital, and he’s already begun. Of course, another person to make her look completely incompetent. There is an awkward moment and they both speak at the same time: she invites him for coffee; he asks after he beautiful older sister, Yoo-shin. With disappointment, she says that Yoo-shin just got promoted and she’s popular with the menfolk.
Passed over again, our poor Lee Soon-shin is.
They come across Chan-woo’s mother, Jang Gil-ja, who is happy to see her son, but unhappy to see her son with Soon-shin. Gil-ja order Soon-shin to take her drunk unni home and we get to meet the infamous beauty, Lee Yoo-shin (YOO IN-NAH). She is drunk off her ass and tells the man with her that if he passes out first, he can’t hang out with her anymore. The man looks like a goner. Truth be told, so does she.
The unstoppable Yoon-shin and her friend have gone through ten bottles of soju. Eek! Soon-shin tries to stop her sister and then Chan-woo’s father, Park Bok-man (SONG MIN-HYUNG), tells him to piggyback the drunken beauty home much to Gil-ja’s horror.
Man, this show really shoves characters at you. I’m still trying to get my head around all the names. I guess family dramas need, y’know, families. In any case, I’m updating my character introductions as I write this. Check it out if you’re as confused as me…
(Hehe, welcome home Chan-woo…)
Despite his mother’s protestations, Chan-woo volunteers to carry Yoo-shin who flops back and knocks them both over. Attempt number two is more successful and soon they arrive at Soon-shin’s home and greet a worried Jung-ae. She sends Chan-woo to deposit the noisy drunk upstairs and they depart, but not before Yoo-shin slaps Soon-shin.
Ah, what a friendly dynamic they have already…
Onto Shin Joon-ho’s blind date (*SQUEE* Jo Jung-seok) where he makes small talk with disinterest. She says his father said he might not be a good son, but he’ll be a good husband.
And then the male lead jerkiness rears it’s ugly head.
Joon-ho sets her straight as the coffee shop manager and Joon-ho’s sunbae, Kim Young-hoon (LEE JI-HOON 1979), listens in with mild surprise.
He was a serial dater in school. In fact, she’s the 99th female doctor he’s met. She doesn’t know what to say to that. So he continues, wondering if she’s lacking somehow, since she’s on a match date. Getting married would make up for her inadequacies and allow her to rise in a hospital’s ranks.
Jaw dropping all around (including mine).
And then the icing on the cake: he hands her the card of his stylist who will give her a 30% discount if she mentions his name. Then he leaves.
Jo Jung-seok, you’re an amazing actor ‘cause right now, you totally have me believing your character is the scum of the earth. Is it sad that my adulation is turning into full on Jung-seok oppa worship?
Jerkface returns home and is greeted by his frantic mother, Yoon Soo-jung (LEE EUNG-KYUNG), who tries to usher him upstairs before daddy shows up. But she fails and angry daddy Shin Dong-hyuk (KIM GAB-SOO) calls his wayward son into his office for a nice, little chat.
Dong-hyuk orders Joon-ho to knock off this embarrassing behavior. Joon-ho cheekily replies that he was obedient and went on the blind date.
Did anyone else notice how gravelly and sexy Jung-seok oppa’s voice is. RAWR.
Anyway, he thinks that “ahjumma” who he met overreacted to his hairstyle comment. Instead of her, he should just have a doctor son to please his father. But daddy ain’t pleased. In fact, he scolds Joon-ho for running away from his small-time singing career to do more “useless” things, like not following in his father and becoming a doctor himself.
*SQUEEEEEE* That means Jo Jung-seok will be singing. ASA!
Joon-ho’s face freezes and then falls as his father toots the fact that he built his hospital from his father’s small practice. So Joon-ho tells him to go live with his successful son-in-law once his sister, Shin Lee-jung, comes home.
Joon-ho also snarkily says that he likes small actors – they’re all the rage nowadays. Dad makes sure to warn his kid from marrying an actress.
Does that mean Joon-ho’ll marry Soon-shin and have singing babies? Also, to clarify, Joon-ho is now widening his companies scope to include actors.
With one last quip, Joon-ho leaves his father absolutely incredulous at his kid’s attitude.
The next morning Soon-shin receives a text message about a 10% birthday discount coupon. Mom doesn’t seem to remember that it’s her birthday, focusing on cooking for her oldest daughter’s, Hye-shin’s, visit. Hye-shin’s husband got relocated to Seoul.
Then mom asks about yesterday’s interview and Soon-shin awkwardly lies that it was okay. While mom gives her encouragement, grandma (SHIM MAK-RE) tells her she’s not even worth half of what her sisters are and that she’s pathetic for relying on her parents at this age (25). The older women argue about Soon-shin’s worth while making her feel like crap.
Then the hot-tempered Yoo-shin storms downstairs, angry that Soon-shin used her very expensive black jacket without asking – AND she soaked it. The two start arguing (although Yoo-shin’s voice is most obnoxious. Sorry Yoo In-nah. You know I love you.) Soon-shin says Yoo-shin would NEVER lend her the jacket otherwise.
The noise rouses father who is annoyed that they’re spatting over this. He tells Soon-shin to apologize and grams walks in, calling Soon-shin worthless again.
Wow, seriously? These people aren’t nice.
Lee Soon-shin’s phone rings and Jung-ae tells Yoo-shin to forgive her jobless sister, but the girl is adamant about being angry.
The phone call was an offer for a part-time job as a server at a swanky hotel and Soon-shin tells Jung-ae while Yoo-shin scoffs. But Soon-shin holds onto the possibility that it could become a regular job. She’ll even get Yoo-shin a new jacket with the salary she makes.
Of course, she misses the bus and arrives late for her first day of work where she gets scolded for being late and also gets made fun of for her name. If she messes up, she’s fired.
Lemme guess, she’s gonna mess up.
The event that is being catered is Song Mi-ryeong’s Timeless Celebration of her 37 in the biz since her debut.
She comes looking fabulous and Soon-shin watches her with awe.
I would, too. Actually, I did. How does the woman look that fabulous? I mean seriously. *grumble*
Joon-ho and his assistant, In-sung, are heading towards the event and In-sung asks if Joon-ho will be looking for the top star, Choi Yeon-ah. Joon-ho pretends not to know what his assistant is talking about (although he’s already asked about her several times). Heh.
In-sung continues to make cracks that annoy Joon-ho. I love that In-sung gets away with it.
They come across Yeon-ah surrounded by reporters and Joon-ho runs into a stairwell to practice his swagger.
Jo Jung-suk is soooo funny practicing with overly emphatic “Aigoo’s” and “My, you’ve aged a lot.” He heads out to try his lines on her and doesn’t make it all the way out of the door before he’s back in the stairwell for more nervous practice.
Back to the Timeless beauty Mi-ryeong answering questions about how she remains so ageless and cracking eloquent jokes. Joon-ho swaggers in and pointedly ignores Choi Yeon-ah. A reporter’s question gives us a tidbit about Joon-ho and Mi-ryeong’s relationship: they’ve known each other for a while and Mi-ryeong decided to join the “god of producer’s” company because of the company’s great reputation.
The mingling begins and Joon-ho is admired for the performance his company put on in Tokyo. The reporters mention a potential dabbling into acting now with Mi-ryeong under his management.
Then the meet happens: Joon-ho versus Yeon-ah.
She’s arrogant and he has to work up his arrogance. But he manages and tells her that her acting hasn’t improved at all. She elegantly replies that her lack of perfection is part of her charm. He purposefully misunderstands her to mean that she purposefully sucks to come across as sincere.
With a smile, she tells him he’s the same but he denies it. People’s hearts always change (that was definitely a pass at her and their former relationship). She insincerely compliments him on doing so well with his company and also that she thinks of him on occasion.
She is slimey. Not that he’s nice, but he’s played by Jo Jung-seok….
Mi-ryeong watches as Joon-ho retaliates that of course he thinks of her: she’s on television all the time and has the same lame image that she always had. Her agency must not be doing a good job.
She asks for his number and hands him her phone, but he coolly hands her his business card. Although she wants to be drinking buddies, he says he has plenty and only to call him if she wants to change agencies.
He leaves her and celebrates his asshole-yness with a fist pump. It’s quite cute actually. He’s happy until he bumps into a man that Yeon-ah calls out to, “Seon-woo oppa!” They’re all flirty and familiar, which makes Joon-ho turn away with a pout.
And then he walks right into Soon-shin who splatters a whole tray of food on him. They both fall to the ground and Joon-ho is extra humiliated in front of Yeon-ah and her “Seon-woo oppa”. When Soon-shin tries to help Joon-ho up, they fall again…and again. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
So sue me. I love slapstick.
In-sung helps his boss change and tells him that it is because he wears man-heels he fell before because of them.
They are interrupted by Lee Soon-shin who has come to apologize. Joon-ho laughs at her name and coldly tells Soon-shin’s new boss to fire her. She tries again, asking for another chance, but he’s been humiliated. He’s so flustered, it’s kinda adorable. When she grabs him to beg again for a chance, he throws her arm off, afraid of another accident.
Yeon-ah greets Mi-ryeong who says that she heard that Joon-ho gave up music for a girl. Then he started his own business. Mi-ryeong can guess who that girl is. They giggle.
Soon-shin meets her friend Park Chan-mi (PARK GA-WON) for a venting session over dinner. Soon-shin says nothing goes right for her while Chan-mi is doing well – a freelance writer. Chan-mi tries to comfort her friend but ends up telling her to get plastic surgery.
Okay, I get the character is supposed to be plain, but then they shouldn’t have had gorgeous IU play her…
Onto the topic of beauty, Soon-shin says she saw Choi Yeon-ah who must’ve had ancestors who saved a country because she looked so stunning. Chan-mi laughs and jokes that Soon-shin’s ancestor is the one who saved a country – perhaps Soon-shin’s name is too strong for her and it’s sucking up all of her luck. She should change it, which is not what Soon-shin wants to hear.
I’m feeling a My Name is Kim Sam-soon vibe coming on…but where is Hyun Bin to stop her?
On the way home, a guy handing out fliers ignores her and she confronts him, demanding a flier, feeling hurt at being passed over again. Then she looks at the flier and sees that its for a male sauna.
A man stops her in the street, telling her she has a unique look and all sorts of other niceties. He’s a little slimy and claims to be the president of GABI, Shin Joon-ho.
Sorry buddy, you don’t look anything like him…
But poor Soon-shin is so desperate for something to go right that she hang on his every word.
That night, Soon-shin comes home to a full dinner table and a cake. She thanks her mother for remembering, but Jung-ae glosses over it. Hye-shin (SON TAE-YOUNG) comes downstairs with her daughter, Han Woo-joo (KIM HWAN-HEE). While Hye-shin greets Soon-shin warmly, Woo-joo is cold. She answers Soon-shin’s affections in stilted English and rebuffs any physical affection.
Jeez, everyone is on Soon-shin’s case. Writernim…this is a bit much.
Jung-ae notes that Soon-shin is home earlier than expected and Yoo-shin meanly jokes that she must’ve been fired. Soon-shin denies it and Hye-shin tries to soften the mood, complimenting the dinner spread. Jung-ae got the cake at a new shop that just opened.
Oh no, this isn’t for Soon-shin’s birthday, is it?
They sit down for dinner and realize it’s been three years since Hye-shin has been home – she’s been living abroad, which explains little turd Woo-joo’s English. During desert, Soon-shin can’t help but feel gloomy. Granny Mak-re fusses over Hye-shin’s apperance and Yoo-shin says there is nothing for Hye-shin to complain about: rich husband, big house, maid. But the look on Hye-shin’s face tells me she’s not quite happy.
Yoo-shin picks on her grandmother and Hye-shin and I just want to shove the entire cake down her throat to shut her up.
Speaking of cake, Yoo-shin takes Soon-shin’s piece because the lonely birthday girl hasn’t touched it. Mean sister. Mean. You don’t steal cake…that’s…WRONG!
Everyone seems to be happy that Hye-shin is home. Yoo-shin is until she’s told to share a room with Soon-shin and then we get to hear Yoo-shin whine more. Hye-shin changes the subject by asking about Soon-shin’s job hunting, but Yoo-shin cuts in again. Hye-shin and Jung-ae try to stop Yoo-shin, but she thinks Soon-shin needs sense knocked into her by her older and wiser sister. Yoon-shin rags on her for being complacent and lacking.
Hye-shin tells her not to worry because Yoo-shin is only worried about her.
Anyway, Soon-shin retaliates that she was casted today, but Yoo-shin laughs at her and no one believes her.
As they clean up, Yoo-shin picks on Soon-shin more, telling her to not even dream of becoming an actress. Jung-ae agrees so Soon-shin shows off the business card, telling them that the man is a big deal in the entertainment world. But daddy comes in and deflates her sails: forget becoming and actress and get a real job.
I’m depressed by watching these people pick on her.
Soon-shin explodes that Yoo-shin never treats her the same as everyone and that no one cares about her. She stalks outside to mope and gets scared by a cat jumping onto a tree.
My cat likes to jump onto my pillow right next to my face while I’m sleeping. Now THAT’S scary.
Jung-ae can’t sleep and wakes her husband to talk about the man who approached Soon-shin about acting. Dad doesn’t seem interested, but Jung-ae wants him to support her. Dad refuses to let her become an actress, which makes Jung-ae admit she wanted to become a performer before she married. Opportunity doesn’t come often so Soon-shin should grab onto this. Dad refuses again and Jung-ae becomes more emotional: he and granny treat Soon-shin differently.
Does that mean Soon-shin isn’t blood-related or something? Hrm….
Jung-ae begins to cry, remembering how thin and small Soon-shin was. The little girl wouldn’t stop crying and Jung-ae wants to make sure that girl doesn’t cry anymore. But Jung-ae feels like she didn’t do anything for Soon-shin. Daddy tells Jung-ae that she did her best, but she needs time to clear her head.
She heads into the living room where Soon-shin is snoring. Jung-ae sees the date circled on the calendar and realizes she forgot Soon-shin’s birthday. (Which is Lil Raine’s birthday! March 7!)
In the kitchen, Jung-ae finds the entertainment president’s card on the floor.
In a fancy store, Mi-ryeong and Joon-ho’s mother, Yoon Soo-jung (LEE EUNG-KYUNG), try on shoes. Soo-jung is pleased Mi-ryeong joined the company and then apologizes for missing the event. They chit chat about Mi-ryeong’s beauty and Soo-jung let’s us know she’s not quite happy being rich.
In his office, Joon-ho is still agonizing over making a fool of himself in front of Yeon-ah when In-sung comes in to say that the police station thinks that Joon-ho is a swindler. Of course, Joon-ho points out a swindler can’t be as handsome as he is.
Only because you’re Jo Jung-seok…
In-sung is worried that this is a big deal and Joon-ho tells him to just call in his stead and pretend to be him.
I bet this issue is going to come back…
Then an angry Mi-ryeong storms in.
They go to a conference room and are joined by Mi-ryeong’s manager, Team Manager Hwang. She’s furious that Joon-ho has booked her for only four scenes in a movie that conflicts with a drama she’s already contracted to do. Plus, he didn’t ask Mi-ryeong before booking her. The drama director has worked very well with them in the past
With a smirk, Joon-ho tells Hwang that he seems quite impatient to push this drama. But the “four-scene” movie that Joon-ho booked is with a director who will direct a very important melodrama. Doesn’t she want to go to Venice and walk the red carpet?
That, and Hwang is using Mi-ryeong as his trump card to pay off gambling debts to the director.
Mi-ryeong is furious and Joon-ho tries to say that Hwang is the reason Mi-ryeong is goingn down hill, but she stops him from talking anymore and leaves.
So…one point Joon-ho…one point…Mi-ryeong?
Hwang tries to explain his way out of his pickle, but she doesn’t believe him. She kicks him out. He tries pleading nicely and then tells her that she’ll regret firing him – he knows too much about her.
Like…maybe that she had a kid 25 years ago and left it?
On the street he spots Soon-shin’s dad with surprise.
Hrm…am I right?
The next day, Jung-ae gets dressed up and tells Soon-shin to do the same. Jung-ae doesn’t tell her where they’re going and Soon-shin is surprised and touched by her mother’s support.
In his office, Joon-ho is scrolling through message boards on Choi Yeon-ah and writes “Choi Yeon-ah is almost finished.” Heh, you so petty boi.
In-sung knocks and quickly comes in, surprising Joon-ho out of his chair. No literally, he falls out of his chair. In-sung brings news that Yeon-ah called and wants to meet.
Soon-shin and her mother sit nervously at a cafe when Joon-ho walks in. Soon-shin calls out “President Shin” and waves her hand. Joon-ho thinks he’s talking to her, but another hand waves in greeting behind him.
I finally got it out!
I wonder how long the confused identity thing will last and if Joon-ho will take advantage of it.
Was I astounded by this episode? No. It was a very typical set-up. Downtrodden girl who really gets passed over by everyone. Even a cat gets one up on her and scares the bejeebus out of her.
The chaebol is chaebolish and doesn’t get on well with his father. What is cool about Joon-ho is that he’s very insecure and that was amusing.
I’m not very intrigued about the Soon-shin/Mi-ryeong connection because, at least for now, it seems rather obvious. Soon-shin is adopted and Mi-ryeong has a secret…
Anyway, I’m hoping the plot goes somewhere interesting. I’m giving the show a break because setting up is very difficult.
In terms of acting, I’m very pleased with IU. She seems natural on screen and has a lot of wonderful sunbaes to help guide her. Plus she’s adorable. I don’t know if she pulls off the “ugly” part of Soon-shin’s character very well, but everything else is good!
And, of course, uri Jo Jung-seok. He plays cold well. I didn’t doubt it. But where his finesse comes in is with the humor and insecurities portrayed by his character.
I love the chemistry of the cast. The only one who seems to stick out of the fold is the dad. But he’s gonna die anyway.
On that note, onto episode 2…