Now it’s our time: What’s Up Episode 1

Indeed. After over a year of ups and down, I think almost everybody lost hope that this drama will make it to broadcast. Penned by Song Ji Nah, who is known for writing dramas such as Eyes of Dawn, Sandglass, and Story of a Man. She also wrote KAIST, which served as a launching pad to some of the Korea’s most popular actors like Chae Rim, Lee Eun Jo, Kim Joo Hyuk, Jo Hyun Jae, and Park Jin Hee. I am recapping this drama purely because of Lim Ju Hwan and I want to use the hundred or so screenshots I have currently on my hard drive.

Oh and just so it’s all laid out there, this is my first recap of any drama. Ever. (Warning: Lots of picspam below.)

Song of the Day

Always – Big Bang

 

 

A subdued and a bit eerie atmosphere beckons us as we see glimpses of our heroes all clad in black, all at different places. The feeling makes you think of a funeral, and that they will all be meeting there eventually. For us though, it would not be until at least 16 episodes into the series, give or take one or two episodes max.

So we backtrack to present time…

Intro to our cocky hero. Jang Jae Heon (Lim Ju Hwan) with his 2 buddies roam the streets of Seoul for some ‘fun’. Their operation: pickpocket drunken men by causing a commotion involving faux fights and deftly passing wallets from one hand to another. Their dynamics show us that they seem like old friends, with Jae Heon as the leader of their little gang and Han Ye Won‘s (dunno what her name in the drama is yet) character nursing a slight one sided affection to our Jae Heon.

Next day is concert time for Hades aka Ha Do Seong 하도성 (Dae Sung), an internet sensation about to have his first public appearance. It makes me laugh how they pronounce Hades as Ha-de-su. Hades is managed by his uncle, and it seems like he was the one who brought him up too. Hades hides his face with a mask, because his mom cannot find out about his public activities.

Many things are happening on this particular night. Jae Heon angrily tells his friend not to do their usual gig as there are a lot of cops tonight and they cannot do it on their own. Too late, as his buddy is already in the midst of their routine, but fails, as the drunk man isn’t as drunk as he thought. Schoolgirls pass them by and ran straight to the cops that Jae Heon spotted earlier. The commotion leads for his friend to be caught, and probably will get arrested in the end, as he doesn’t seem too quick or smart to get away from his predicament.

In order to help his friend, Jae Heon coolly walks in pretending to be a detective in pursuit of a suspect.

*cue giggles from me*

However, he cannot keep his story straight in front of the police so Jae Heon caused a distraction long enough from them to get a head start to run, but the police is hot on their trail. His friend fell and twisted his ankle, that Jae Heon had to lure the cops away from the pojangmacha where his friend was hiding. During the chase, he stole a motorbike on a street and takes off.

In an office building nearby, a private investigator hands over some information to a man (Kim Chang Wan), an address and a photo of a woman. He walks out of the building and ran after the green light of a crosswalk. His sudden appearance at the corner caused Jae Heon to almost collide on him, swerving to a pile of boxes and tires at the other end of the street. The man ended up falling in the middle of the street and into an oncoming truck.

The shock was enough for Jae Heon’s world to be at standstill, not moving and eerily quiet. It seems like he was about to make a step towards the injured man but stopped, breathing heavily. The address the man was holding ended up in Jae Heon’s hands, and when he came to his senses, he ran away from the scene.

During the intermission of the concert, a reporter is lurking behind the costumes in the dressing room, unknown to Hades. The moment he took his mask off, photos were snapped one right after another by the sneaky reporter.

He tried to ran after him but was stopped by his uncle-manager due to his mask-less face. Manager tried to ran after the reporter himself to retrieve the camera, but the reporter was quick in passing the memory card towards the crowd and straight to the hands of an unknown man.

This incident prompts Do Seong to call his mom (Kim Sung Ryung). His mom is unhappy about the call but she is willing to “clean up his mess”. Mom warns for Do Seong not to do something like this again as she would not be able to help him anymore and their ties will be over. What irks me was her reverse psychology babble about how sorry she was for Do Seong after saying those threats to her own son. Pffft. Manipulative – two faced so-called Mom, since Mom was the one who left Do Seong when he was young so that she can live her own life.

Mom: You are going to stop doing these kind of things now, right?

Do Seong: But.. Everyone claps for me.

Do Seong’s answer seemed loaded with meaning. It gives us a glimpse of his personality and background, and how he grew up. With that, Hades gives one last performance and his fans just went wild. After performing his song, he stops all music and announced, “Hades is dead.” and walked off the stage.

Meanwhile, Jae Heon spots the police on the street still out looking for him. He helps movers load a set piece to a truck nearby, boards it and escapes from his pursuers. He ends up in a theater where the set piece was being delivered.

Walking in a daze, with no direction or purpose, he hears music coming from one of the performance halls. Jae Heon walks in the middle of a practice with the opera singer belting out her rendition of Dream of Sanity from The Phantom of the Opera.

Like in trance, the music draws him in. Glancing at the piece of paper he was holding in his hand, the events of the night flashes back to him. He was suddenly flooded with his emotions as if the music has awakened him from his trance.

His shock, disbelief and grief were all excellently portrayed by Lim Ju Hwan, that as I viewer, can’t help but feel for him too. (Ok fine. I am biased towards Lim Ju Hwan.)

Jae Heon went to ask the shopkeeper in front of the street  where the accident happened, about the injured man. However, as the shopkeeper barely cares about his questions, she simply answered the man was taken away quickly so he was not hurt that badly.

The relief was enough for Jae Heon to give out a sigh and break out a small smile. But as he left the store, another man bringing some deliveries walked up and say the man was already dead when ambulance came. * more sigh* This will surely haunt Jae Heon in the future episodes.

At Jae Heon’s home, we meet his mother (Song Ok Sook). During their meal, Jae Heon tentatively calls her  and she immediately replies that she doesn’t have any money. HA! Jae Heon just ponders with the possibility of her dating or remarrying if he goes away to college. Jae Heon explains that since he was not really good at studying and with a temper, majoring in science would be hard, so why not study acting? Mom of course was wondering where in the world did he get that idea?!

Jae Heon: Just.. I went to this theater but not the one for movies, but a hall for plays. There was this woman practicing. And you know those, those emergency exits when you feel surrounded by fire. It felt like I was there. And.. right here. My heart went thump, thump, thump.. and it was the first time I felt like that.

Mom was startled at his confession, gobsmacked probably at this unexpected, totally uncharacteristic expression of his son’s feelings. So what would a mother do if a son passionately conveys his feelings to his mom? Bank account book plus that little stamp coming your way! Mom apparently has been saving up money for Jae Heon. How sweet. I am already loving their mother-son banter.

Then, it’s mom’s turn for a comeback. She hilariously mimicks his “thump, thump, thump” moment, and just irks Jae Heon. With his mouth full of rice, all he could spit out to his mom was , “하지마!!” with a pout.

Jae Heon enlists the help of his friend to apply for a university. He decided he only needs to apply to one because of the high application fee. His friend of course are incredulous to the fact that he wants to major in acting. Jae Heon retorts that he spend all his life acting anyway (Ha!). He points a random university for his friend to apply for him and left the PC bang. But before he left, his friend called out and asked him again about how he can’t dance or sing. Jae Heon says he can’t do those stuff. Next thing we see was his friend typing Musical major for Jae Heon. Little does she know that she just helped him to be one step closer to his unknown dream.

Audition day comes to all hopefuls of Han Wool College of Culture and Arts.

Now we meet Park Tae-I  (Kim Ji Won) riding the subway. We get the impression that she isn’t familiar with Seoul. She talks to herself about the directions on how to get to the university. But we quickly realize that she is talking to her father, the very man that died during the accident with Jae Heon. Uh-oh, conflict! The world of KDrama is small. She’s spirited and naive, I find her a bit charming. I am not annoyed with her..yet. This subway ride also marks the first meeting, although unofficially, of Jae Heon and Tae-I.

On campus, an auditorium is busy in preparation for the upcoming auditions. One of the judges is Yang Soo Jeong 영수정 (Kim Mi Kyung). Beojin’s mom! Heee.

A lot of applicants are warming up, some more nervous than others. One of the nervous wrecks is Kim Byeong Geon (Jo Jeong Seok). Eun Chae Young (Jang Hee Jin) appears in front of him (who glows literally in his eyes) and gives him a friendly advise not to be nervous, that the judges are not different from them. He was starstruck. I think he is gonna be a the comic relief of the show.

First audition is with Ji Eun (Yang Ji Won). Yang Soo Jeong’s look would crash and burn my confidence level if I was standing in front of her. We don’t see Ji Eun perform Thank you for the music by ABBA because the scene cuts to Jae Heon, running.. again. Seriously, this drama made Lim Ju Hwan run so much!

Jae Heon is lost and couldn’t find the venue where the audition is taking place. The campus guard quickly figured out he didn’t send the application himself, since if he did, he would have known already where the venue is located. He makes excuses by saying he was busy so a friend helped him a little.

The campus guard asks him to look at this documents again to figure out where he needs to go, and he was shocked when he saw the words “Musical major” under his name. In the background, we see Tae-I running back and forth, lost as well. Heee.

Next up on the audition floor is Eun Chae Young. Yang Soo Jeong acknowledges her by name, as she is a longtime actress. (Applicants are identified by number only, not by name) She wants to know why she applied for a musical major instead of an acting major. Chae Young answers her question with another question, if she wants a an honest answer or scripted one like a press conference? Hmm.. she’s not one to back down easily, huh?

Arriving at the audition venue is Oh Doo Ri (Lim Ju Eun) and her mom (Yang Hee Kyung). (Anybody having Tamra Island flashbacks right now?) Doo Ri’s mom is a typical stage mom, with her constant pep talk and posture coaching to her daughter. Doo Ri follows everything her mom says with a smile. It soon fades into a frown once out of sight of her mommy dearest. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I have a feeling this princess is about to break free.

Kim Byeong Geon totally fails his audition. His singing was off key, and flat. His acting was robotic and monotone. The only thing that the judges took a hint of interest in him was when he said he memorized already all the lines of that book he just “acted”. He quickly recites it front of the judges, in fast forward speed. I say, he should apply to be a news anchor instead.

In the waiting room, Tae-I sits besides Do Seong asking him to practice lines with her. Do Seong is shy and passive, and very bad at rock-paper-scissors game. Jae Heon interrupts them by asking.. “What is a musical?”   ……………. Say whut?! HAHAHAHA. Clearly Jae Heon is like a fish out of the water in this bunch.

I have a feeling I’ll be rooting for this trio.

Doo Ri’s audition started out boring, with her fake sweet voice, excessive gestures, and very little emotion. The judges are not impressed and Doo Ri was pissed at her “acting”. She suddenly spits out her lines with more conviction in her voice, (and a little spite in her tone) and walked confidently up to the judges table with her final line. Now that is how you make an impression! I think she wasn’t acting at this point, and just letting out her real feelings, her real self. Yang Soo Jeong had no comeback at that!

Tae-I’s audition was unremarkable, doing a monologue  out of a line from a movie. It is cute though that Do Seong half expected for her to give him another high five just like earlier. A pseudo rejection? Awww cute.

Now it’s Jae Heon’s turn to audition and he signals the music assistant, Ahn Jeong Dae, to start his audio track. The thing is.. he doesn’t have any track for him.

Jae Heon comes up to Jeong Dae looking for his track, all the while muttering stuff to him about ” don’t joke around, “he was supposed to take care of it”, and calling him “hyung”. This is suspicious of course in the eyes of the judges and asked if they know each other. Jeong Dae vehemently denies their acquaintance in which Jae Heon couldn’t hide his disappointment and disbelief.

Jae Heon: I thought that I knew him.. that I know him very well.. that (we) loved each other.

SHOCKING!

Just when Jeong Dae’s fist was about to fly straight to Jae Heon’s beautiful face, he bows and asks the judges how was his performance? He didn’t really prepare anything for the audition so he decided to just improvise.

He confidently says he thinks he did a good job acting earlier. This left all the judges and the poor music assistant dumbfounded and speechless. HAHAHAHA!

Last audition of the day is with Ha Do Seong. Music starts for This is the moment from the musical, Jekyll and Hyde. Do Seong squirms in front of the judges and his voice shakes, but as he closes his eyes, he slowly finds his confidence.

His powerful voice started to fill the room, and he captivates the judges, including the formidable Yang Soo Jeong. His voice reverberates even outside the audition hall and caught the attention of Eun Chae Young. As Do Seong finished the song, it took a moment for him to realize what he had done, and immediately stood up, bowed his head and tried to cover his face with his hair. Reflex? Instinct? I think both, since it seems like he lived his life hiding his true self, which is sad and heartbreaking.

Cue the squeal of the lady assistant recording the auditions at the back of the room after his performance. Like a fangirl.

 

Comments

I certainly was confused with the tone of the drama when I first watched it. The first half of the episode was certainly darker and more serious, but that doesn’t mean the execution was bad. Writing is good, with each character slowly being introduced. I like how the characters all wants to find themselves, prove themselves and just be themselves. There’s a lot of potential for the characters to grow which I am looking forward to. With such a big cast, it will be difficult to present everybody as a complex 3 dimensional character, but I am hoping they will develop each one as much as the story can allow. I have high hopes for this because of it is pre-produced, but also wary, because, we cannot change the outcome anymore. And we are still missing one key cast member to be introduced, so we just have to continue anticipating his entrance until the next episode.

 

Credits: BigBangupdates and Big Bang VIP forum; Kaede_jun from Dramabeans

 

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. autumn rain
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 17:31:18

    Ju Hwan is so great. He doesn’t disappoint me!

    Reply

  2. Autumn Rain
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 02:52:42

    You and I, Ju Hwan sung in his fan meeting in Japan!

    Reply

  3. =dorothy=
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 08:45:49

    I freaking love this drama~~

    Reply

  4. autumn rain
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 21:01:50

    @xiaoxin: Do you know that MBN changed broadcast time of What’s up from 9pm to 11pm (Korea hour) last week? I don’t know why but I feel sad. I’m afraid of the rating is low.

    Reply

  5. Maria 마리아 (@xiaoSxin)
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 23:31:36

    Ratings are not good. Barely 1%. For cable, a rating of at least 1% is acceptable, a 2% is considered a hit/success. But I haven’t checked the recent numbers since I decided not to dwell on the numbers. It doesn’t matter to me what the ratings are anymore.

    Reply

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