Around this time in April, we were talking about the possible collaboration between CN Blue’s Jung Yong Hwa and Park Shin Hye in Kim Eun Sook’s then upcoming drama, He Who Wears The Crown Must Bear Its Weight: Heirs. Six months later, Yong Hwa is starring in another drama and after unprecedented hype and anticipation, the first episode has finally aired. Did it live up to the dream? Let’s see.
The episode begins with Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) surfing. When he’s done, he walks on the beach with some friends then shows off his pecs when he takes a shower. Baywatch Korea? But since men can’t just show off their wet pecs in Korean dramas, it also means he has to brood and think about his life. What do we learn? That his brother, Kim Won (sexy Choi Jin Hyuk) exiled him to America, encouraging him to become like one of those Rich Kids of Instagram who just while away in their very comfortable but aimless lives. Which must mean Hyung is threatened by his brilliance and got rid of the competition… I’m guessing.
He’s with a friend who’s high on something much more potent than life when a Korean waitress tops off his coffee. Then we learn from the high friend that Tan doesn’t hate his family despite their less than loving treatment of him. Why? Because he’s too lazy.
Next up is the requisite bullying scene every high school drama must have. Choi Young Do (Kim Woo Bin) sits in a chair, looking like a student who’s been held back at least five years. Seriously, this dude looks like he should be in grad school studying Kinesiology. Anyway, he stones his victim with a ball and believes the kid is powerless against him and his rich friends because they’ll be his boss later in life. Well, screw you. I hope this ends with him becoming the next Steve Jobs and your father’s company going in the way of Lehman Brothers.
The next time we see Choi Young Do is at a bike shop. He’s talking to the salesman when Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye) shows up with their chicken delivery. Some ajusshis there only stop hitting on her after she calls the cops and reports their pedophilic ways. Young Do is intrigued.
Then we see her at another part time job at a coffee shop. She stops to talk to her friend, Yoon Chan Young (Kang Min Hyuk), who’s a sweet, considerate guy (he brought her an umbrella) dating the very bratty Lee Bo Na (Krystal) who rapidly spits out her words.
We soon learn that Chan Young is being raised by a single dad and will be taking an English language course in America. Bo Na knows about it and wants to come along but he’s been unable to tell his bestie because his girlfriend is jealous of their closeness.
Next, we get to see where Eun Sang’s deaf mother works. She is a maid at Kim Tan’s mother’s home where she gets treated like shit. And because there needs to be balance in the world, her boss gets no respect from Kim Won for being his dad’s woman. She can’t live freely and has to hide her wine when he shows up.
Next, we see Eun Sang’s mother at home. She’s brought home the yummy food her boss asked her to discard but her daughter is offended. Is she the rich lady’s trash can? Girlfriend, why exactly are you rejecting free food? Back in college, I attended countless informational sessions unrelated to my major just for free pizza.
She goes into her bedroom, looks at a photo of her sister and calls her a meany for enjoying her life in the Land of Opportunity. So basically, she’s jealous that her sister gets to have fun with celebrities and hot men while she’s stuck working fifteen part-time jobs and eating rich people’s leftovers.
Her mother comes into her room with her bank book. She’s going to transfer her life savings of about $8K to Eun Sang’s older sister because she’s getting married. How wonderful. If this were my household, my parents would like, “You’re getting married? Here’s a list of 100 people you don’t know who need to be invited to the wedding.”
Next, we learn that Rachel Yoo’s (Kim Ji Won) mother is remarrying Choi Young Do’s short daddy. At their family introduction dinner, Young Do gets a slap for rudely leaving and the two kids have a tense conversation afterwards where Rachel tries to recruit him to join her plans to wreck the upcoming marriage so that he can avoid becoming Kim Tan’s brother-in-law. What interests me isn’t the war between Tan and Young Do but that apparently, at like 18 years old, she’s engaged to be married. Anyway, Young Do refuses and I wonder if these two will end up as an evil couple.
Without her mother’s approval, Eun Sang makes plans to join her sister in America. She’s firm in her decision to leave but dissolves into tears when she sees the notebook her mother uses to communicate with her boss. Yes, Girly, if you think your life is hard, imagine how hers is. She vows to return successful and take care of her. Well, I guess her mother can now bring home the leftovers in peace.
Back in America, Tan’s high roommate tosses over his ringing phone. He sees it’s Rachel and doesn’t pick up. Why? According to the subtitles, because he already knows it’s about her visit to celebrate their engagement anniversary and he’s just not interested. Say what? Their engagement has an anniversary? Were they betrothed in the womb? This had better not be a sandbox promise that Princess Rachel is holding him to.
Eun Sang arrives in the U.S. and as she waits for a cab outside the airport, overhears Rachel’s phone conversation where she lies about how well Tan is taking care of her (he didn’t even bother to show up). She laughs and later gets confronted by the rich bitch. Dear Rachel, instead of attacking strangers for laughing about your humiliating existence, why don’t you stop sticking to a man who’s just not that into you?
Tan and his friends go surfing and we see the exact same scenes from the beginning. Here’s a tip, Director: if there is a time or cash crunch, split the scene in two. Maybe only show the the wide shots at the beginning then the close ups later. Or we could have just seen him step out of the ocean with his surfboard in the later scene. Having this kind of repetition in the first episode doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series. Are we going to have 50-minute flashbacks when you’re in live shooting?
Eun Sang arrives at the beach, looks at her small bust and wonders if hers isn’t American-size based on diet. Do our cows get injected with hormones? Tan spots her. Tan’s friends want him to go partying with them but according to the subtitles, he refuses because he’d rather spend his time thinking. Was that translated correctly?
We then see Eun Sang arriving at her sister’s place. Okay, I’m confused now. So instead of asking the cab driver to drop her off at her sister’s place, she got off at the beach? Then did she walk over or what? Anyway, she rings the bell and a blonde opens the door. She looks at the girl. No amount of plastic surgery could have changed her sister this much so in Korean, she asks where she is. The girl calls “Chris” who shows up barechested. Yes, the address is correct. Eun Sang walks into a very messy house. We’re not simply talking about clothes and pizza boxes everywhere but photos barely hanging from the wall like a tornado passed through it. I know people often live in filth but seriously! This place isn’t even fit to be a crack house.
The super intelligent blonde assumes he’s cheating with a girl he obviously doesn’t really know then leaves.
Then Eun Sang asks him where her sister is and if he’s her fiance. The guy scoffs. Why would he marry her? She then asks where her sister’s college is and is informed that she’s not a student. Now, Eun Sang is getting a very clear picture of her sister’s so-called idyllic life in America.
Not too far away, her sister is topping off Tan’s coffee. She asks him what he’s writing and he tells her he’s doing his homework. She’s surprised, given his surfer dude ways and he informs her that he’s rebelling against his image. She’s clearly interested in him but he isn’t receptive.
Next, we get to watch Kim Won at a board meeting with his executives, one of whom is Chan Young’s father. Their luxury mall is flopping and he’s upset that not only was he not informed earlier, his dad was. He’s quite a dick and it’s clear Chan Young’s father doesn’t approve of the nepotism that got him his position.
Eun Sang arrives at her sister’s job and hates what she sees. Several men flirt with her, putting money in her blouse and one even asks her to work for him at night. Tan spots Eun Sang and stares at her and it’s not till Eun Suk follows his gaze that she sees her crying sister.
She quickly rushes over to her, demanding to know why she showed up without notice but Eun Sang points out that she did contact her but her unnie never answered her calls. They fight, with Eun Sang disappointed at the life her sister leads and the fact that her dreams of abandoning their mother and living with her have come crashing down.
Her sister rummages through her suitcase till she finds the cash she needs and runs away. Still in tears, Eun Sang chases after her, begging her not to leave her but because she can’t abandon her suitcase, she turns around and weeps as she packs up her stuff.
Tan’s high friend shows up, sees who he’s watching and is excited that an angel has fallen from Heaven. Despite his friend’s protests, High goes over to her, reaches for her stuff , grabs a bag full of a powdery substance and runs away. Eun Sang chases after him, begging him to stop which he doesn’t till he crashes into a volleyball net. Then he takes out some of the bean powder and snorts it. I’m no drug expert but surely, someone who probably snorts a pound of coke for breakfast should be able to differentiate between drugs and food – regardless of how drunk he supposedly is.
Anyway, he has an allergic reaction to the beans and is sent to the hospital. If I were Eun Sang, this is where the bean saga would have ended. In fact, I would carry my ass to the airport and try to get on the next flight home. Yes, her sister took her money but still.
She goes to the hospital and after fighting with a stressed Tan and hearing that the guy will probably live, a cop approaches her with the evidence. Who is she and what was she carrying with her? Tan shows up to save her, pretending to be her boyfriend. Now the cop is really suspicious because of Tan’s reputation. All the cop needs to do is smell and feel it (or talk to the doctors) to know it’s not drugs but how else would Eun Sang and Tan fall in love?
He takes her passport, gives her his card, saying that she can get it after the substance has been tested. So she’s just going to give away her passport in such an informal way? I’d follow that man and sleep at the station till I get my passport back. What the hell?
Long story short, now stranded, she ends up hitching a ride to her sister’s with Tan, and since she’s got no cell phone, plans to call him periodically to learn if her passport has been returned. He’s reluctant to leave her, guessing that her sister won’t be returning home any time soon but she insists that he does. She sits at the doorstep and when a group of guys mess with her as they pass by, she gets scared. After they leave, she picks up her bag and begins her journey to Nowhereville. But as luck would have it, who suddenly pulls up? Tan. He asks her if she’d like to stay with him.
If I think back to my college days when I was young and free, yeah, I would have taken him up on his offer so I don’t think it would be unrealistic for her to go with him. What’s unrealistic is the acting by all the American characters. Where did they find them because I think you can find better acting skills in a Z-grade porn flick.
Then our dear Jay (the bean snorter). With his bulging eyes and extreme overacting, the only conclusion I could arrive at was that he was constantly high. Then he turned out to be a druggie so maybe he actually did a good job. But no, he didn’t. The acting really was terrible.
As for Lee Min Ho’s English language skills… lol… at least he’s not as bad as Hyun Bin in My Lovely Sam Soon.
It was a very introductory episode and felt so but I quite enjoyed it. There really isn’t much to say yet and even with all the stereotypical characters, I suppose that it’s nice that for once, we don’t have a poor character with a heart of gold. I think the only nice person in the episode was Chan Young but he happens to love an annoying girl which deducts a few points from him. Regardless, the story will be about growth and change so I’ll wait to see how they evolve and grow.
Awards for the episode:
Most unintentionally (or intentionally?) hilarious person: High Jay. Sorry, I burst out laughing every time he came on screen.
Worst actor from the main cast: Sorry, Krystal, but this isn’t a tongue-twisting contest. You don’t get extra points for saying your lines in the shortest amount of time.
Most ridiculous scene: Eun Sang’s first visit to her sister’s home. Give me a break!
Let’s see what the next episode brings us.