Just Bananas About: Week of 7/8/13

Na Young Seok PD is back and he’s got a new variety show.  I’m going to wait until a few more episodes have aired before I review Grandpas Over Flowers but it’s like a good ‘ol friend has come back to television.  How I’ve missed thee!

Dick Punks – Viva 청춘 (Viva Youth)

딕펑스(Dick Punks) – Viva 청춘

There’s a lot of laughter in the first episode of Grandpas Over Flowers but truth be told, a lot of it I have already seen in the promos for the show.  The cast is made up of four veteran actors and from oldest to youngest are: Lee Soon Jae (age 80), Shin Gu (age 78), Park Geun Hyung (age 74) and Baek Il Sub (age 70).  We follow them as they go backpacking through Europe bringing one guest with them.  How much do I love when Na PD asks about what backpacking is, Lee Soon Jae answers June 25th as in the start of the Korean War and how he had to carry rice on his back while he was fleeing with his family.  Elderly people often refer back to the war a lot.  Just when you think nothing will relate, they’ll find something.  Lol.

While packing, I was really amused and surprised by the shots of these veteran actors when they’re not working.  Cranky gramps Lee Soon Jae listens to everything his wife says as they’re packing his bag.  Shin Gu packs a whole bunch of soju and rice in his suitcase (a man after my own heart).  Park Geun Hyung is really close to his grandkids.  Baek Il Sub is close as well but he’s the only one out of the group that seems to resemble his characters.

Na PD offers the option of recruiting another guest to help them around.  Unfortunately, the guest is so the halbaes (a slang term for hal-ah-buh-jee or grandfather) have someone to help carry around their luggage and act as their translator.  More unfortunate is that guest is told they will be traveling to Europe with Girls’ Generation’s Sunny and 4minute’s Hyun Ah.  The victim?  Actor Lee Seo Jin.

I love that he’s all happy to be going away with girl group idols and then he shows up at the airport to be surprised by the H4 aka 4 Halbaes.

At first, he thinks it is mere coincidence and reality doesn’t sink in for a while until Na PD finally has to tell him the truth.  The Halbaes give him a way out but it’s not like he can say no without saying no so he goes along the trip.  Promising to fire his manager when he returns.  Hee hee.

I love that Na PD is like, “Are you gonna hit me?  Are you gonna hit me?”  Lee Seo Jin just doesn’t know how to respond because he’s so stunned.  Aww, but it’ll make for a great show though!

They head to Paris and have to make their way to a Korean hostel on their own using only the funds provided to them for the whole trip.  Some Korean exchange students are at the airport to greet them (apparently they knew about the filming) and they help the group with directions and a tip about pickpockets.

Of course riding the subway in Paris isn’t easy for the Halbaes.  Especially for Baek Il Sub who has bad knees must lug his suitcase up and down the difficult stairs.  His wife gave him salty marinated beef for his trip which made his bag extra heavy for him.  I was a bit surprised that nobody offered their seat for the elderly group.

At the sight of another round of stairs at their stop, Baek Il Sub gets so frustrated that he kicks away the beef.  The staff retrieves the Tupperware which Lee Seo Jin ends up carrying himself.  Park Geun Hyung did warn that Baek Il Sub tends to get cranky and throw tantrums.  I can totally see him as the Eun Ji Won of the group.

The group finally makes it to the hostel and Lee Seo Jin is completely exhausted.  This is not the trip that he envision when he agreed to do the show.

After some dinner, he brings up the issue of money again after complaining earlier they had spent so much just getting from the airport to the hostel.  There just isn’t enough money to take the Halbaes around to the sites that they want to visit so Na PD finally relents at the insistence of the Halbaes and agrees to pay for a show at the Moulin Rouge.  I love that Na PD is another character on this show and literally can’t establish much authority over the Halbaes.

At the end of the night, Lee Seo Jin gets the chance to talk to some of the other young boarders at the hostel and I love that the first thing he tells them is how he was tricked with the promise of Girl’s Generation just so that he would come on this trip to escort the Halbaes.  Haha, they call Na PD’s tactic a total con.  Lol.  However, it’s Na PD who has the last laugh as we’re left with the last comment: “You know the most frightening thing?  Today’s the first day!”

This first episode was a bit slow but I think that’s because too much was revealed for the promos.  Sure, it got me excited and I laughed at all the same jokes again but combined with the setup of the show, it was slow going.  However, the editing is tight and I have really missed Na Young Seok witty puns and music cues.  Now that we’re all setup, I’m looking forward to the next episode and hopefully this will be a great new show to add to my TV queue.

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