So this drama starts as a mockumentary featuring new recruits as KBS Television studios. I have never seen a Korean mockumentary before, so I was a bit startled as to how similar this was to American mockumentaries. It reminded me of the movie, Best in Show but a lot of others have compared it to The Office.
We start off in a parking lot where Kim Soo Hyun playing a new hire named Baek Seung Chan at KBS pulls in quite closely to the car next to him and walks away. Inside the other car is Gong Hyo Jin who plays Tak Ye Jin a feisty PD (Producer) at the same company. As she gets out of her car she nicks Seung Chan's car, a nice imported car. She considers walking away until she realizes that documentary crew filmed it. She finds the car owner's (Seung Chan) number and heads inside.
The documentary crew interviews a few new hires from the company including Seung Chan. He's shy and a bit nervous, definitely a change from his confident cocky character in My Love From Another Star. The documentary crew asks the new hires some different questions about getting hired. Seung Chan reveals he joined the company because a neighborhood friend that he has a crush on works there and he wants to get close to her.
The crew follows Seung Chan and a few other new hires as they are lead around and introduced to the environment by one of the head directors. They are all eventually brought to train under Ye Jin who it turns out is the PD for Music Bank. I was surprised to find the characters are working on actual existing shows rather than fictional ones. While she's working, she attempts to text the car's owner and of course Seung Chan's phone chimes because it's his car. She scolds him and he puts his phone on silent and apologizes. She then scolds him for apologizing saying that as a PD you can't say sorry all the time. They have a funny bit where it shows the other employees talking about how she has levels of anger and alert each other that she's now level three, which is the least severe of her three levels. Ye Jin then goes on to show the new hires the control panel and how the cameras capture the stage. The group notices two people sitting in the audience of an otherwise empty studio. The camera zooms in to show a young girl and an older guy sitting close and being flirty. As they show the girl's face Seung Chan's face falls. It's his first love. The guy she's with is Cha Tae Hyun playing a yet to be introduced character. There's recognition on Ye Jin's face. She knows him, that's not unexpected if they work at the same company. But as Seung Chan's first love kisses the man on the cheek, there's something about Ye Jin's expression that is unsettled. Is she in love with him? She re-gathers the group's attention and they get back to work
Seung Chan runs into his first love, who remembers his name but gets all the details wrong on how they know each other. It's clear she doesn't pay him much mind and he's hurt by this. She skips away with her friend going on about her Oppa and leaves Seung Chan devastated.
We learn that Cha Tae Hyun's character is Ra Joon Mo, the PD for 2 Days,1 Night, which is funny because in real life Cha Tae Hyun is a cast member of the show. But in this fictional universe 2 Days, 1 Night is struggling. To try to boost ratings in the last year he had replaced the original cast with a cast of all older women actors, but it wasn't all that well thought out because they're not nearly as willing to do the rough activities that the cast of 2 Days, 1 Night normally does. He knows his show needs some revival so he's working to try to get Miss A on the show, but they are scheduled to appear on Music Bank on the same day.
Joon Mo is constantly getting summoned by the KCC (Korean Communications Commissions like the FCC in America) for infractions they find in the show. On this particular day they discuss their disgust at the constant use of the word 'booger' in one episode. Joon Mo has to grovel to them. He calls Ye Jin to see if she'll film Miss A on Music Bank ahead of time, but she says no. She tells the new hires that it's because you can't let people walk all over you in this business. She's been continuing to try to contact the car's owner but scolds Seung Chan again for even looking at his phone.
When Joon Mo gets back to the studio he's informed by the CEO that his show is going to be cancelled. He'll still have a job, but he has to fire all of the cast and he'll become PD on another show. Joon Mo is really upset because he feels bad for his cast of writers.
Meanwhile we get introduced to Cindy played by IU. She's a young, but veteran idol appearing on that week's episode of Music Bank. Cindy is so apathetic that she's scary. She's quiet and calm, but it's clear that she's someone you don't mess with. Her manager pretty much trembles at the sight of her. Cindy's outfit is more risque than is normally allowed on Music Bank. She's wearing a crop top tank top and high-waisted shorts, but the problem is that she's wearing a transparent overshirt, which is not something that KBS allows. When one of the assistants tell her that she has to change because they don't allow see-through clothes, she refuses saying it's part of her concept.
Ye Jin doesn't want to deal with arguing with Cindy so she sends her assistant to get Cindy's manager's manager. She acts a bit haughty to the new hires, showing how things are done properly and the extent of her power. When the manager comes, she is very strict in saying that see-through clothes are not allowed. He says he'll talk to Cindy and get her to change, but when he comes back he says that Cindy won't change her clothes. We can only imagine what she said to him.
Of course, Ye Jin doesn't want to look bad in front of the new hires, so she goes and talks to Cindy herself. All the new hires follow eagerly, wanting to see how she'll handle it. Both Cindy and Ye Jin come to a bit of a stand-off as neither refuses to back down. Eventually Ye Jin has everyone else clear the room. Still neither are budging and eventually Cindy decides that she just won't perform on Music Bank. Ye Jin continues to appeal to her and eventually they agree she'll wear the outfit as long as she wears a jacket over it. Ye Jin takes this as a victory and goes along training the new hires.
Cindy goes to perform on stage wearing on the jacket but after a few seconds removes the jacket leaving her original sexy outfit. Ye Jin scoffs, but keeps on going with the show. What can she do at this point during a live broadcast, really. After the performance she sends for Cindy's manager, but they've already taken off.
Meanwihle Joon Mo has to tells his crew that their show has been cut. They're all understandably upset. Some break down completely and others go to work right away trying to find a new job. Ye Jin has just found out that Joon Mo's show is struggling so she calls and offers to pre-record Miss A. She doesn't know yet that his show has been completely cut. To explain her flip-flopping and make it look like it's not just out of empathy she tells the new hires that it's important to be generous when you're running such a successful show, because it makes you look good but that you don't want to give it away from the get go. Joon Mo promptly hangs up on her after she offers. After all he doesn't need Miss A for a show that no longer exists and he's not really in a very good mood.
Ye Jin goes out to the parking lot and is still trying to get in touch with the car owner. She keeps calling and is waiting near his car when finally he answers the phone and says he's on his way. When he approaches she realizes its Seung Chan and that's why he didn't answer her all day- whoops! He says it's his dad's car so he'll have to talk with him before they decide how to proceed. Ye Jin only seems slightly irritated at this and they part ways.
Joon Mo is at a convenience store where he runs into Cindy's manager who is buying her a salad. Joon Mo is upset that her CEO overworks the members of her agency and doesn't make sure her stars get fed properly. So he takes the manager to the restaurant next door and buys a meal for him to take out to Cindy. Cindy seems annoyed at first when the manager presents her with the meal because it's food she doesn't normally eat. The manager explains that Joon Mo is the mortal enemy of their CEO. While it's hard to tell through her cold persona, it seems like Cindy is touched that Joon Mo made sure she got a meal even though he doesn't know her and isn't' even her fan.
Joon Mo and Ye Jin both go back to their homes. We see Joon Mo sitting down at the table with some food and a bottle of soju. Ye Jin enters her home and sits down at her table with some food and then goes to grab a bottle of soju from the middle of the table. The camera pans out and it reveals they're both at the same table, insinuating that they live in the same house.
Seung Chan goes home as well where his family is having a celebration for him getting a job. His dad sits at the head of the table and they have a cake and all sorts of goodies. His parents, older brother, pregnant older sister, brother-in-law, and little sister are all there. His dad prays and says how thankful he is for his family. They're all quite adorable and supportive of each other. And that's where Episode 1 ends.
So now we've covered what happened. Here are my thoughts on the first episode:
-Okay so let's get this out of the way. Yes, the first episode was a bit slow. But think back to when you first started watching dramas. Didn't you go in with the expectation that the first episode is always weird and not a good indicator of the drama quality? I did. I always give a drama 3 episodes before deciding whether or not to keep watching because it takes some time to set-up the plot and introduce the characters. *I had to come back and put a disclaimer in here after watching Episode 2 and say that it gets better! Stick with it.*
-I wouldn't have thought that the same time of dry humor used in American mockumentaries would transfer well to Korean dramas, but it does. The parts of the episode where they used dry humor were actually funny. I was literally lol-ing. If they can keep the humor up and pick up the pace I think it'll be amazing.
-I wonder if my friends and family have a secret code for my levels of crankiness? I hope not.
-That documentary crew is devoted to follow the new hires into the bathroom.
-Joon Mo answers his phone in the bathroom and then is annoyed that Seung Chan is using the hand dryer? Does that seem a bit backward to anyone else?
-Haha. Booger is a vulgar word. I can't imagine what the KCC would think of some of the words I say. Lol.
-I love the character of Cindy. To me she doesn't seem like a Diva as much as just an idol who's really bored. Like she's totally over it. After 10 years in the business it's just the same old song and dance. That's a refreshing idea for a character. It's not something I've seen before.
-The Girl's Generation cameo was cute.
-Very interesting that they are using existing shows in the drama, especially when in the plot 2 Days, 1 Night gets canned.
-How is the see-through top the part that makes Cindy's outfit risque? That I don't understand. It looks just as "racy" with the jacket, although of course in America it's nothing to see someone dressed like that on a day to day basis. And if she was really going to wear a jacket she should have worn the leather one, it looked really cool.
-I think Cindy might be wearing a cat collar. That's a bit weird.
-I'm not a fan of Joon Mo's yet, but I really wanted to punch the CEO and that other director for telling everyone else but him that his show was going to be cancelled. I mean, have some common courtesy.
-I actually don't find it romantic that Seung Chan got a job there so he could work near his crush because he's just been watching her from a distance. He doesn't actually know her.
-Okay, so theorizing here...What's going on with Ye Jin and Joon Mo? Are they married and at the end of their relationship? Or maybe just dating and at the end of their relationship? Or maybe they're just roommates and she likes him? If I had to guess, I'd think that they were dating, but not a lot of people knew. And they don't really get along anymore and possibly have even broken up. She looked pained to see him with another girl, but not devastated and they don't seem to like each other that much.
-Seung Chan's family is adorable. I love to see a family that gets along for the most part, even if they are cheesy. I hope they continue they are a good support system for Seung Chan and that we see more of him. The actress that plays his older sister is adorable and hilarious.
So there we have it, the first episode. Let's keep going with this drama and see where it takes us. Stay tuned, in a couple days you'll have a chance to hear me and the other Drama Clubbers discuss the first week of episodes a little more!