girlfriday: So the final “director’s cut” episode starts out with a brief recap of the trip thus far, along with a caption apology from the PD for the mistakes made (in reference to wearing robes in the restaurant and the swimming pool scene at the hotel).
javabeans: I know it’s just a formality, but it’s a good thing they acknowledged it — I think it was weird they didn’t apologize in last week’s episode, actually, but in any case the thing was a tempest in a teapot and it’s pretty much over now.
girlfriday: Yeah in variety it’s best to acknowledge it right away with an apology in the next episode, and the whole thing blows over. I’ve seen them do it enough times on Infinity Challenge to know that it’s just a regular part of variety shows and the expectation from the audience.
javabeans: Looking back at these clips of all their adventures, particularly last week’s rafting and bungee-jumping, I think the boys did fun activities that gave us a lot of things to look at, but things that don’t really recap well — you can spend five minutes watching a lot of exciting-looking footage, but it turns into “they raft on the river and almost capsize a few times.”
girlfriday: Yeah they had a lot of fun doing the cool things; I just wish there had been more of a narrative in the way the episodes were put together.
javabeans: We open on everyone’s arrival at a smallish building in Seoul, where on the rooftop the crew has put together a mock campground. I wonder what building that is. Wouldn’t it be funny if it were the agency’s or something?
girlfriday: It looks like the roof of a restaurant or something, which is odd, but then, so is camping on a roof in the middle of the city.
javabeans: Kyung-pyo arrives thirty minutes early and looks around first, while Jae-hong heads up to the roof with his trusty pot. He hasn’t eaten yet, because the crew told him they’d be eating here. You mean, Jae-hong would be cooking here.
girlfriday: At least this time he’ll have more tools than a tiny butter knife from the airplane? Bo-gum arrives next with a handheld camera, and he says it’s been a month since their trip.
javabeans: It’s so funny to see him bound out of his van shooting the camera crew that’s shooting him.
girlfriday: They’re all awkward again, as if it’s the first day.
javabeans: I know, I was just thinking out strange it is that Bo-gum is speaking super-formally to his hyungs, like they’re his parents’ generation, although his demeanor is warm and huggy. It’s at odds with the honorifics.
girlfriday: It gets a little more comfortable when Joon-yeol arrives, because he talks more freely and asks everyone questions. Bo-gum says he’d like it if they got kidnapped again today, and Kyung-pyo says he’d fail his college courses for sure if that happened a second time.
javabeans: The PD asks what his grades are like, and Jae-hong asks back, “Do you think they’d be any good?”
girlfriday: The hyungs advise him to just go to army first, if his grades are crap anyway. They’re all hungry, so they start cooking right away and Jae-hong says the menu will be meat and fried rice.
javabeans: Joon-yeol and Bo-gum start frying the vegetables, and somehow it starts to get away from them the more they just pile things in that pan, but I suppose fried rice is a forgiving dish?
girlfriday: It’s looking pretty weird. Their first mistake was leaving Joon-yeol alone at the start. But halfway through, Jae-hong just goes to his pot, takes out his African MSG powder, and sprinkles a whole bunch into the pan.
javabeans: While they’re cooking, Kyung-pyo says that Bo-gum actually paid his parents a visit while he was busy filming, just to introduce himself and say hello, and by luck his visit happened to come the morning after Kyung-pyo’s parents had been saying they were sad he didn’t have time to come by more. That’s such a Bo-gum thing to do, isn’t it? It’s kind of an old-fashioned or formal gesture, but he does it like it’s natural, since he’s so so so polite.
girlfriday: Aw, that’s so sweet. It’s extra cute because they played stepbrothers in Answer Me and had the cutest bromance. I would never expect anyone to do that for me in this day and age, but Bo-gum really does seem that thoughtful in his regular life.
javabeans: Yeah, like he does it because he wants to, rather than because it’ll win him brownie points. (Of course, it totally does win him brownie points, but that’s besides the point.) The boys start eating the meat happily, and then take one bite of the fried rice and grimace. Haha, it’s uncooked!
girlfriday: Gack, those are definitely not happy faces. It must be pretty bad, ‘cause fried rice isn’t that hard. I mean, if *I* can make it…
javabeans: They offer it to a staffer, who eats its sloooowly and then laughs, “It’s the worst.”
girlfriday: Bo-gum starts adding red pepper paste to make it better, which seems okay. But THEN, Jae-hong adds a whole bunch of mayo. Agh.
javabeans: Eww, mayo? Maybe these boys did better when they had no ingredients, and just had to cook the one thing. Meat. With MSG. They all agree that everything they ate in Africa was good.
girlfriday: That’s probably because they were starving and that’s all they had. The PD asks what was most memorable about their trip, and they say Victoria Falls. Jae-hong mentions regretting not going on the quad-bike ride through the desert (that did look really fun), and we go back to watch footage of Jae-hong and Kyung-pyo hanging out on the beach that day, with camels and flamingos.
javabeans: That means they missed the sandboarding too, where Joon-yeol and Bo-gum got so sandy they were brushing it off each other with paintbrushes. Aw, I like the cute segment after the sandboarding when Joon-yeol poses for photos, and Bo-gum pretends to be his stylist, interrupting to fix his hair or demand better smiles.
girlfriday: It’s funny because he’s fixing every minor thing like they’re in a studio, except the wind is whipping through the desert, so there’s no way to make every hair fall in place. As they hang out, Joon-yeol asks Bo-gum what he does on his off-time, and Bo-gum says he mostly eats and sleeps, and likes to play the piano or watch movies. Joon-yeol says he mostly likes to wander about, which probably means he hangs out with friends.
javabeans: Bo-gum lights up when Joon-yeol suggests they go bike-riding together in Korea, and gah, it’s so cute how much he likes his hyung. I think Joon-yeol is his hero.
girlfriday: It’s so very cute.
javabeans: Back (to the future) on the rooftop, they open a bottle of Amarula, which they first tried in Africa, which they describe as a sweeter Bailey’s, or a caramel macchiato with milk and a hint of whiskey. In any case, Bo-gum has a sweet tooth and he super likes this drink; I feel like he got a taste for alcohol for the first time on the trip, from the brief glimpses we have of them when they were tipsy. Basically I think he got a taste for everything — it’s like an eye-opener experience for him.
girlfriday: He really does light up when he drinks this liquor, probably because it tastes like candy (mmm… where can I get my hands on some?). The PD mentions how rough the first day was for them, especially for Bo-gum, who missed his flight. We rewind to watch him wait and make a bunch of connecting flights, and every step of the way, flight attendants give him bags and bags of snacks and red pepper paste and all sorts of goodies.
javabeans: It’s kind of hilarious how much loot he was given randomly. But c’mon, he has that pretty face and that baby-like sweetness, I don’t blame them.
girlfriday: I love how jealous the hyungs are, especially Kyung-pyo, who rifles through the bags and wonders what Bo-gum did to get such special treatment.
javabeans: We get this whole montage that gets funnier the longer it goes on: “Hyung, eat this cookie from the flight attendant.” “Is this from the flight attendant too?” “HOW many flight attendants were there?” “Something’s fishy about those flight attendants.” “Do you suppose it’s because it was Bo-gummie?” At one point the hyungs just congratulate him.
girlfriday: “Is this from a flight attendant too? Don’t you think this counts as a [love] confession at this point?”
javabeans: Present-day Bo-gum thanks Kyung-pyo for buying him that dinner that day he was supposed to arrive — this special was shot after the show aired, so he’s seen the footage — and the hyungs reply that he sure was eating pasta and pizza deliciously at the airport while missing his flight, which he left out of the story back then. Haha.
girlfriday: Hee, well that’s just smart. You don’t want to arrive and be rubbing your delicious dinner in the hyungs’ faces. But seriously, Bo-gum eats a lot. Where does it all go? Meanwhile, the hyungs are at the airport wishing they could buy a drink, but all they have in their pockets is leftover spending money from their cast trip in Thailand.
javabeans: Poor Jae-hong, he loses the game of not-it (aka rock-scissors-paper) and the other guys are happy to sit it out while he tries to pay in bahts and gets denied and has to try to explain in broken English.
girlfriday: But then that leads to the better idea that they should just exchange their baht for dollars, and they proceed to act all stiff and awkward around the PDs, giving all sorts of fake excuses to try and sneak off to the currency exchange counter.
javabeans: Lol, are they lying because it technically doesn’t come from their budget? They wait at the currency counter and when a PD asks what they’re doing, they lie baldly, “We’re going to go to the restroom.”
girlfriday: They succeed in getting 92 dollars out of the exchange, which baffles me, because they totally ran out of money at the end of their trip!
javabeans: Remember that seafood and wine dinner they had on the beach, where they said they’d feast tonight and then skip meals later? And then that became truth?
girlfriday: Yeah that was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Apparently the boys tried to con the PDs multiple times, and I wonder why we’re only seeing this now, because it would’ve been more entertaining with all of this included.
javabeans: Why would you save that for the after-show special?
girlfriday: I don’t know. At one point, the boys are told to look up their first hotel and make a reservation, and Joon-yeol tries to use his personal credit card to make the charge. He’d make a terrible criminal, because he starts stammering the second he does this.
javabeans: Also, they’re the opposite of smooth about it — when a VJ creeps behind him, he covers his phone screen and looks around shiftily.
girlfriday: A minute later he gets a text and the boys all start cracking up. Na PD finally walks over to see for himself, and demands that they get a shot of this: The text says he used the wrong password, so his credit card has been frozen for security purposes. Lol.
javabeans: Joon-yeol starts to explain to Na PD, “In the Laos trip, [Yoo] Yeon-seok sunbae-nim…” (…successfully conned Na PD by using Paypal to circumvent the payment process, is what he means). Na PD cuts in: “Don’t learn stuff like that! What’s with all you Answer Me kids?”
girlfriday: Hee. But now I think more of him for at least trying.
javabeans: That must have been why Joon-yeol had been frantically texting just before, and now I understand the text exchange with his manager that got leaked — he’d been begging for his card and wallet, but his manager ignored him.
girlfriday: Oh yeah, I remember seeing this text exchange in the news before the show aired.
javabeans: I’m confused as to why we’re seeing fun bits of episodes here, and not even cutting back to the after-trip scenes as a framing device. If we were cutting back and forth with comments to tie them together, I’d understand at least that these are fragments that didn’t fit in, but when you spend these huge chunks of time on trip stuff, it should have just been in the episode.
girlfriday: It would’ve made the earlier episodes better, so it’s definitely an odd choice.
javabeans: Do you think Na PD edited this episode, and someone else did the rest?
girlfriday: I honestly think someone else edited the whole show.
javabeans: In any case, while the boys are failing to con Na PD, we see Bo-gum make his way to the airport extremely early the next day, half-scared he’s going to miss his flight again. He laugh-sighs to read the gate number he misread yesterday, “I think I’m going to get airport trauma from this.”
girlfriday: It’s pretty comical how many times he reads the screen, second-guessing what the gate number means, as if it could mean something else. Then we cut back to the present-day rooftop camp, and Jae-hong mentions being sad about missing Cape Cross, where there’s a huge colony of seals that live on the beach, and also Deadvlei.
javabeans: It’s not that they didn’t have the chance to go — they thought they did get there, but only got as far as the entrance before leaving! Hahaha. They even got out at the parking lot and chatted with travelers there. They got their car stuck in the sand too, and had to push it out.
girlfriday: And after that, the PDs had interviewed Joon-yeol and asked how Deadvlei was and what he thought of it, and he was kind of half-sure he’d gone, and just started describing it in generic desert terms. He really is a terrible liar.
javabeans: Jae-hong says the show was the first time he’s seen/heard his own snoring (which was thunderous), and says he recently slept over at Kyung-pyo’s house, and Kyung-pyo gave him the bed and slept in the sleeping bag he’d bought in Namibia. I like that they seem like friends in real life. Kyung-pyo: “I still have [the bag] spread out at home!” Jae-hong, with a grimace: “His house is incredibly messy.”
girlfriday: At one point in the trip, they’re just in the car and they start playing a game of pinpointing each other’s nipples under their shirts (why is this a game?).
javabeans: The PD did bring it up by saying they played a lot of “strange games.”
girlfriday: They also ask the boys about their favorite meal, and they bring up the first night when they made ramyun. It looks questionable to begin with when they only cook the noodles, but then Jae-hong decides to add butter… my insides are curdling.
javabeans: Is that the meal where they were hungriest?
girlfriday: It’s the only explanation. There’s more food stuff, and then we get a really cool moment where they come across an elephant family just crossing the road in front of their car. Again I’m like, why didn’t we see this right away during the trip?
javabeans: Because Na PD decided to step back and let a hoobae take the reins and clearly he can never sleep again, because he can’t step away for one goddamned moment before everything goes down the drain. Also, I love elephants. They’re so beautiful and wise. I would have appreciated a better background song than “MMMBop.”
girlfriday: What, you don’t see the deeper meaning behind that song?
javabeans: If you can find one, you’re clearly high or drunk. No judgment. Just sayin’.
girlfriday: In my defense, you are drinking just as much as I am right now.
javabeans: In my defense, I know better than to defend the merits of Hanson.
girlfriday: Is that what I was doing? Well clearly, I’m drunk then. I blame you. Meanwhile, the PDs bring up all the great footage that the boys got on the trip with their own cameras and whatnot, and we get a montage of what they captured along the way.
javabeans: Then there’s a scene from when Bo-gum was still on his own, trying to figure out if he needed to buy extra data and feeling worried because the explanation was given in English and he didn’t fully understand. In the end, someone (a traveler?) gives him the translation, and when Bo-gum thanks him profusely for the help, he says, “I’m your fan.” HAHAHA. Where would Bo-gum have been without all the extra love? Certainly hungrier and with less data.
girlfriday: It’s just lucky that he’s so beloved.
javabeans: Though not difficult to see why. Most of the time in variety I leave with a stronger impression of what I already felt — I thought Jung Woo was goofy and extroverted, for instance, and the trip just confirmed that. But with Bo-gum, I feel like I’m seeing way more than I ever thought I would see, and can’t believe he’s that nice and baby-like.
girlfriday: He’s like a mini Joo-won. Raised by Seung-gi’s parents. I like when Kyung-pyo talks about his favorite part of the trip being just sleeping with other people around and sharing that day’s tiredness together, because he lives alone and feels loneliest when he comes home from a long day and has no one to share that with.
javabeans: They show him becoming more open as the trip went on, and I wonder if the trip helped him on a personal level. I did feel he was the most closed-off of the four, and sometimes that was disappointing, because I really enjoy him as a comic actor and wanted to like him more than I did. But I can see how he had more of a wall throughout the show.
girlfriday: Yeah I felt the least connected to him of all the guys, and thought that was strange when as an actor, he’s so emotionally open and approachable.
javabeans: He says that one thing that changed for him was the feeling that you should live in the moment — he says he tends to be lazy and figures that he can do things later, but now feels that there are things that pass you by that you can’t get back. It’s a sentiment shared by the others as we close the show on more scenes of their trip and thoughts on how special it was.
girlfriday: And that’s a wrap on another season of Youths Over Flowers!