Friday, January 07, 2011

Hes Beautiful Episode 2

You’re Beautiful: Episode 2

I have a good feeling about this drama. Everyone is well-cast and the writers do a great job subverting cliches and twisting angsty moments into a punchline. Love that. I enjoyed this episode even more than Episode 1, which was already pretty jam-packed with hilarity.
Lee Seung-gi – “꽃처럼” (Like a Flower) [ Download ]
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Mi-nyeo wakes up from her dream and finds herself, shockingly, asleep on the floor with the three other guys. Startled and overwhelmed, she tries to get her bearings and figure out what happened. She has no idea how she got back to the house, but her shirt is dirty and her lip has an injury.

Her split lip triggers a memory — she had fallen off the bench and the boys had rushed to break her fall. When she landed on top of one of them, her lips mashed with another set. But she can’t remember which set of lips!
She closes her eyes, trying to convince herself that this is a dream, and starts praying.

Jeremy comes out to scold Mi-nyeo and give her the stinkeye for her drunken behavior. From his disapproving attitude, Mi-nyeo assumes he’s the one she offended, and apologizes. Jeremy instructs her to apologize to the person she offended most: “hyung.”
This means it wasn’t Jeremy, so she approaches Shin-woo next. He’s sitting down for some morning tea and says he was shocked at last night’s unbelievable events. Mi-nyeo again apologizes profusely and begs him to consider her actions as being hit by a rock falling from the sky. (As in, unfortunate and random.)
Hilariously, Jeremy sees her sitting with Shin-woo and yells, “Hey! I told you to go apologize, and you’re just sitting here drinking tea?!” Mi-nyeo answers, “But I am apologizing.”

They set her straight: it was Tae-kyung she violated. With this additional information, we return to the flashback, when she had fallen on top of Tae-kyung, mouth landing on his — but that’s not where the story ends. After she had landed, she had gagged… and vomited… right into his mouth.
(I’m not exaggerating when I say that I had to pause my video and laugh until my sides literally ached. This is exactly what I mean by the Hong sisters spinning cliches in clever ways. The “oops I fell and landed on your lips” is a familiar scenario, and I was sorta going to let it slide… but now it goes from an expected gag to clever twist.)
This also explains everyone’s horror — they’re not reacting in prissy shock because of a mere kiss. It’s an appropriate level of response, I think, to vomiting into someone’s mouth. The two guys advise her to patch things up with Tae-kyung — if he’ll let her, that is.

Tae-kyung wakes up and freaks out to recall last night. We have seen how compulsive and uptight he is, so now he fixates on getting to the shower to wash himself clean of his revulsion. When Mi-nyeo comes by to ask for forgiveness, he’s so agitated that he tells her he can’t talk to her now. Also, “Why would I forgive you?” She answers thoughtfully, “Because you’re a good person.”
Tae-kyung bites out, “When I’ve disliked a person in the past, I kept disliking them, because they kept doing things I disliked. I disliked you from the moment I saw you, and sure enough you did the thing I hate most. It’s clear that you’ll keep doing things I hate and that I’ll keep hating you. So that forgiveness you talk about won’t happen now, or ever.” He yells at her to get out.
But he’s not a complete ogre, because when he heads to the bathroom to wash up, he mutters (a little guiltily) that Mi-nam should’ve listened when he asked for time to shower and calm down. It suggests that he knows he could have handled it better and that Mi-nam didn’t mean to do it.

Mi-nyeo leaves a cup of tea and a fragrant candle on his desk to enjoy later, but in so doing she spills wax on the ground. When she bends to wipe it up, the hot wax makes her recoil. That makes her crash right into his CD rack. The contents of the shelves come crashing down, and she frantically holds up the rack to keep it from also falling, and is stuck holding up the frame. (It’s like one of those Mousetrap chain-reaction games gone awry. LOL.)
Unfortunately, a remote control also falls and sets off the fan, which causes sheet music to flutter down, which land next to the flickering candle…

Mi-nyeo frantically tries to rectify the situation while Tae-kyung showers (topless Jang Geun-seok scene!). She tries reaching for the remote control, but it’s out of her reach. She then tries blowing out the candle, but she’s too far.
She concludes that she must douse the candle and looks around for water. Seeing none, she gets the idea to use her own spit…
(I’m starting to see how she got into so much trouble at the convent.)

Tae-kyung, refreshed from his shower, emerges JUST as she spits at the candle. On the plus side, the candle goes out. On the down side… well, everything else.
Tae-kyung glowers at her (“Did you just spit on my floor?”) and demands to know what she’s doing. When she says she’s here to beg his forgiveness, he growls, “Then should I forgive you using your methods?!” and slams his hand on an empty shelf.
He only hits the case for emphasis, but the sudden movement causes a heavy trophy to fall, hitting her on the head. Tae-kyung didn’t mean to hurt her, and is alarmed as she crumples to the ground. Blood seeps from a wound on her forehead.

The others arrive in the doorway to see Tae-kyung hunched over an unconscious Mi-nam, holding the business end of a heavy award trophy. He’s frozen in guilt and shock. I LOVE how Tae-kyung answers, in this thoroughly incriminating pose, “I didn’t do it.”
(He means he didn’t make the mess, but his stricken expression makes me giggle.)

Mi-nyeo awakens as she is being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, with Hoon-yi sitting by her. Despite her weakened condition, she points out that if she goes to the hospital, they’ll find out she’s a girl.
Good point. They pull over at a neighborhood park and treat her injury with over-the-counter medicine instead. Mi-nyeo does say that Tae-kyung didn’t hit her, but Hoon-yi believes she’s too good-hearted and is merely covering up for him.

Tae-kyung calls and wants to talk to Mi-nam, asking about her injuries. It’s very cute how he plays it off like he’s not worried, and says he just wants to clarify that he didn’t hit her. Mi-nyeo tells him that she’s fine and he doesn’t have to worry, and that she’s being treated in the emergency room.
What she doesn’t know is that he’s actually AT the hospital, looking for her. At the emergency room, a nurse informs him that he can’t use his cell phone here. That stops him short, and he asks Mi-nyeo how she’s on the phone when they aren’t allowed.
Uh-oh. Mi-nyeo fumbles for an explanation as Tae-kyung narrows his eyes in suspicion — just as a truck passes through the neighborhood (Mi-nyeo’s), peddling groceries. Tae-kyung hears the loudspeaker.

A fan-shot video surfaces online, which shows the four A.N.JELL members in the parking lot the night of the party. Jeremy carries an unconscious Tae-kyung (he’d fainted in shock after the vomiting incident), while Shin-woo carries drunk Mi-nam. This leads to online speculation — was there a fight?
Therefore, when Mi-nyeo heads to A.N. Entertainment to discuss things with the manager, a snoopy reporter is lurking in the lobby. He prods for gossip, hinting that there’s bad blood between Mi-nam and Tae-kyung.
Mi-nyeo protests in her sweet way that Tae-kyung didn’t hit her. Tae-kyung arrives at that moment, sizes up the situation, and storms off.

The reporter doesn’t believe Mi-nam’s denial, and puts up a story about the injury to Mi-nam’s face, saying Tae-kyung hit him. Articles continue to appear online that contain few facts but a lot of suggestive speculation about group strife. Fans, led by the fiercely loyal fanclub president Sayuri, jump to the conclusion that Go Mi-nam must be the problem — how dare he endanger Tae-kyung’s image? Everything was fine before Mi-nam arrived.
Sayuri’s a little unhinged (in an entertaining way), and thinks this is a ploy by Mi-nam to garner sympathy for himself. She leads a protest to kick him out of the group.

Jeremy’s an interesting character, because he’s a happy-go-lucky type, but in this circumstance he’s peeved at Mi-nam because his hyung Tae-kyung is suffering. He (half-jokingly) sics his dog at her, which jumps at her playfully and slobbers over her face. (Btw, the dog is named Angelina Jolie.)
Jeremy scolds Mi-nyeo for ruining Tae-kyung’s room. She’s glum from all the drama and because of the bloodthirsty fanbase, and promises to clean up the mess she made.
When she starts to leave, he grabs her because he’s not done talking to her. Being suddenly in close quarters makes her panic, and she runs away. Interestingly, her frantic reaction makes Jeremy uncomfortable. He thinks it’s because it makes him seem like the bad guy (like he was a pervert for grabbing Mi-nam), but I’m also going to suggest that he feels an odd attraction to her that unnerves him.

Shin-woo is more kind, asking how she’s doing and indicating her injury. He reaches for her forehead, and she recoils. Shin-woo says, “If you flinch like that, everyone will catch on.” Mi-nyeo is alarmed, thinking he means that they’ll catch on to her girl identity, but he clarifies that they’ll assume she really was hit by Tae-kyung.

Mi-nyeo heads to Tae-kyung’s room to clean up before he gets back. Among the scattered items, she finds a lot of old CDs and videos of Mo Hwa-ran, a singer famous in the ’90s, and guesses that he must be a fan. When she spots a photo of the singer with a young boy, however, she wonders if Tae-kyung is the boy in the picture.
Of course, this is when Tae-kyung arrives, displeased to see her rooting through his stuff. Fed up, he grabs Mi-nyeo’s arm and drags her downstairs to confront managers Sung-chan and Hoon-yi, who have just arrived. He wants Mi-nam kicked out, or he’ll leave instead — then makes good on that threat by storming out of the house.

Mi-nyeo sits in a funk, telling Hoon-yi that she’s finding it increasingly difficult to endure; she’s all out of energy. Her manager, however, takes the glass-half-full approach: this is a good thing for her. If she grew too friendly with Tae-kyung, she’d be in greater danger of being found out. The benefit of being hated is that he’ll keep his distance, and she’ll be able to last the month.
He points out that Mi-nam has shot to the top of internet search results, reminding her that being famous will help find her mother.
We also introduce actress Choi Ran, a Hong sisters regular, as Mi-nam’s aunt. She brags about being related to Mi-nam, although her friends remind her that she dumped the kids off at the orphanage. The flighty, selfish aunt says that she’s still family — she’s better than the mother who abandoned them, whom they don’t even know. It’s clear that while the twins were a burden as children, now that one is famous, she’s willing to rekindle the relationship in the name of “family love.”

I find it a little curious that Mi-nam and Tae-kyung both have mother-abandonment issues, but I’m going with it for now. Tae-kyung runs into the glamorous woman from Episode 1, and we realize that this is Hwa-ran, his mother. He freezes when they come face to face with each other in the elevator, and he tries to cover up the intensity of his reaction with coldness.
For instance, he calls her “madam” rather than “mother,” saying that he only called her Mother in the past out of childish naivete, thinking biology made someone a parent. He warns her not to act familiar with him — back when he was a kid, she was the famous one and didn’t act like his mother, but now the tables are turned and he’s the famous one. He doesn’t want her causing trouble.

Shin-woo has been remarkably perceptive, and we sense he knows more than he’s letting on. Jeremy, on the other hand, is cheerfully oblivious. He wonders what Shin-woo’s thinking about, and Shin-woo replies that Jeremy should figure it out himself, although he doubts that that’s possible since he’s so dense.
To prove that point, Jeremy brings up how strange Mi-nam is — first, he’s weirdly sensitive and even cried after Tae-kyung left the house. On top of that, he’s too soft and smooth: “It makes me feel bad.” Jeremy sees that Shin-woo doesn’t share his opinion, and comments that he must like Mi-nam. After all, he took care of him the night of the party.

This leads us to a flashback, when Shin-woo had helped Mi-nam out of the party. He’d looked closely at Mi-nyeo’s face, and as he held her, he’d started to sense the truth — that Mi-nyeo is really a girl.
Jeremy: “You must be enjoying hanging around with that girly guy.”
Shin-woo: “I’ll have fun watching for now.”
Jeremy doesn’t get that he means he’s going to enjoy her antics posing as a guy, and shrugs off the comment.

Mi-nyeo is thrown another hurdle when Sung-chan announces that Mi-nam will be making his stage debut at the Asia Music Festival, which is in two weeks. Hoon-yi and the stylist (who’s a good friend of Hoon-yi and knows the truth) both protest, saying Mi-nam isn’t ready yet, but Sung-chan is eager to strike while the iron’s hot.
Mi-nyeo doesn’t think she can do it, but she is thrust into activity — photo shoots, dance rehearsals.

Stylist Wang is impressed with Mi-nyeo’s hard work, but Mi-nyeo confides that she’s looking forward to righting everything when her brother returns. She’s wronging everyone by lying now, so she must endure the hardship that comes with it.
The stylist is sympathetic, and they share a nice dramatic moment — only to cap off the scene with the stylist telling Mi-nyeo that she has gone overboard with the stuffing. OF HER PANTS.

Sung-chan has a webchat with Tae-kyung, who has moved out and is now staying on his own at a hotel. The manager tries to convince Tae-kyung to participate in the Asia Music Festival, and we can tell Tae-kyung’s anger has cooled a little because he grudgingly agrees to consider it.
Sung-chan sends the wrong email, however, and has to rush off to find the right information. He instructs Tae-kyung to sit still and not move. As he leaves, he inadvertently moves his webcam, and a few moments later, it captures a different scene altogether.

Tae-kyung watches as the stylist bursts into the room with Mi-nam. We know that she has found one of Mi-nyeo’s fake balls (literal and figurative) in the dance studio and is frantic to correct the mistake before someone notices, but to Tae-kyung’s eyes this scene takes on a different slant as the stylist whispers that they’ll be private here and fumbles for Mi-nam’s pants.
Tae-kyung does a spit-take — and just then, the light goes out at a crucial moment as the re-stuffing takes place. When the lights come back on, the stylist prods Mi-nyeo’s chest to check that the bindings are tight. There’s not not much to bind in the first place, “But still, you’re a girl.”

Tae-kyung is incredulous: “She was a girl?”
I LOVE THIS. (More on this later.)
Tae-kyung pushes “record” on his laptop to get the last snippet, as Mi-nyeo says with relief, “Thanks to you, nobody will find out I’m a girl.”

Tae-kyung drives to the studio to “confirm something important,” and walks in on rehearsal where the A.N.JELL guys are practicing with the other dancers. Everyone watches curiously as he beelines for Mi-nyeo, and he stares at her intently.
Suddenly, he grabs her in a hug. And feels the truth for himself.
He says incredulously, “Go Mi-nam… you!”

But he doesn’t get to finish that thought. Sung-chan walks in with a reporter, who starts snapping photos happily. Sung-chan is pleased at the sight of the two members seemingly on good terms (and this also suggests to the others that this was a photo op).
Tae-kyung tries to get the manager alone to tell him his important news, but Sung-chan blows him off. So when Tae-kyung insists they have to kick Mi-nam out of the group, it comes out sounding petty and he is waved aside.
Mi-nyeo is just relieved that nothing weird(er) happened with Tae-kyung, and is instructed by her manager to the second-floor bathroom to avoid showering with the other boys. However, they’re unaware that the downstairs shower is broken, and that the boys are headed upstairs.
Jeremy notices, “Mi-nam really doesn’t wash.” Shin-woo knows the real reason why, but since Jeremy is so endearingly thick, he concludes, “Like Tae-kyung hyung said, he must really be dirty!”

Hoon-yi had been guarding the door, but a phone call makes him wander away, so Mi-nyeo freezes to hear their approach. Thankfully she’s done showering, but now she’s stuck in the locker room, and the boys are all getting nekkid! I LOVE the censoring — laugh-out-loud hilarity, folks! — as everyone’s modesty is preserved with animated clouds.
But what’s an innocent almost-nun to do??? As she does in times of stress, Mi-nyeo appeals to the Mother Superior, who appears (in her imagination) to give her some advice. She reminds Mi-nyeo of the cherubs in religious paintings, which have never given her a sense of shame: “Think of them as cherubs appearing as God made them.”

It is hysterical. (I couldn’t stop laughing.)
It does do the trick, though, since Mi-nyeo is able to peacefully walk toward the exit without shame, as she pictures all the boys as angelic babies.

She snaps out of her reverie when Shin-woo covers her eyes with a towel. Smiling, he tells her: “Since you’re done washing, you can leave. If you’re here, I can’t shower.”
She totally misses the meaning behind that, and she rushes out. She sighs in relief, “Great, I wasn’t found out!”
But she gets the response, “You have been found out.”

Tae-kyung stands facing her, arms akimbo. Coming closer, he announces, “I’ve found you out.”
Uh-oh. Mi-nyeo prays, “Mother Superior, what do I do now?”

I was thinking we’d get another Coffee Prince with conflicted emotions and attractions and ten episodes of anticipation, but Tae-kyung finds out the truth now?? THIS IS FANTASTIC.
The setup to this drama (crossdressing and romantic comedy) means that there are a few predictable elements that must happen, like someone finding out the truth early, and someone being uncomfortably attracted to Mi-nam. However, what makes this drama strong from a narrative perspective is that it swiftly takes us PAST these cliches, so that instead of dragging out the obvious ending for episodes, we address that point right away and move on. That makes me more excited for what’s to come, since there’s more of an element of surprise.
Aside from that, I again have to point out the great casting for all four idols. Jang Geun-seok has a wonderful sneer, and he really commits to it — I feel like this is the most committed I’ve seen him to a role in a long time.
I also love the manager’s overreliance on English phrases. Oh, it’s hella cheesy but that’s why I love it — he thinks it’s cool but it makes him look silly.

I love Jeremy for his dunderheadedness — how oblivious is he? He’s the first one sensing an inkling of attraction because his body takes note of the signs — Mi-nam’s girlish mannerisms, smooth skin, vaguely feminine ambiance — but his brain is a step behind his body, so he’s the last one to know.
And while Tae-kyung is a great character who I’m sure I will end up rooting for, HOW GREAT IS SHIN-WOO? I like him so much. He’s the Rui that Kim Hyun-joong couldn’t quite be. I have in the past suffered from Second Lead Crush Syndrome, where I felt bad for secondary characters who never got the girl despite treating her better than the hero, and I think Shin-woo will continue this trend. But I think of this in a positive light, because the benefit to a strong conflict like this is that the love triangle actually feels tense and engaging.

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