Just Bananas About: Week of 9/16/13

I don’t usually watch the talk show, Taxi, but I definitely tuned in to watch guests Lee Seo Jin and Na Young Seok PD from Grandpa Over Flowers.  The Monday before last was mostly centered around Lee Seo Jin when hosts Kim Gu Ra and Hong Eun Hee stopped for another guest.

Lee Seo Jin and Na Young Seok PD are hilarious to watch because they are totally the Odd Couple.  They grumble and make slight digs at each other which makes their friendship hilarious for viewers to watch.  As soon as they pick Na Young Seok PD up, Seo Jin makes a dig at Na PD’s outfit saying that’s what he wore to Europe to which Na PD responds that he didn’t have anything else to wear.  Then he tries to open a travel mug but has a hard time and then Seo Jin teases him as he begrudgingly opens it up for him.  He says, “It’s hard to believe I went to Europe with this kind of person.”  To which Na PD retorts, “Hyung, were you always a bit of a jerk?”  “It’s not that I’m a jerk, this is just my style.”  Haha.

I also love that you can take Na PD out in front of the camera but you can’t take the PD out from him.  Sure, 1N2D and Grandpa Over Flowers is a different set up than a talk show but he becomes so fascinated with the camera setup.

As they start their conversation, Na PD tries to play the humble type but Lee Seo Jin doesn’t let him have it.  Saying that Na PD has his own star signature and even scored free desserts in the process.  They get into how they first met and Hong Eun Hee assumes that they have had a long friendship but Na PD immediately says they met because of work.  For the friend special, Lee Seung Gi brought Seo Jin to 1N2D and that’s when they first met.  He started off with this reputation of distinguished actor but got reduced to a disheveled looking Art School Hyung by the end of the shoot.  Na PD even demonstrates how the nickname came about from the way he flipped his hair.

Onto Grandpas Over Flowers, Na PD met with Lee Soon Jae first and while Lee Soon Jae was intrigued with the concept, the issue was his busy schedule.  Afterwards, Na PD met with Shin Gu who liked the idea and immediately came on board.  From there, the other halbaes slowly came together.

As for Lee Seo Jin, Na PD only wanted to go on a trip with the halbaes but after several meeting with the stars, he realizes he needed a younger person to help them along without the staff constantly intervening.  It was Lee Soon Jae’s manager who brought up the idea of Lee Seo Jin as they had worked so closely together on Yi San.  Whenever Lee Soon Jae wanted ramen, Seo Jin would get it for him.  That was a side that Na PD didn’t know Seo Jin had.  Plus, Seo Jin’s friends and Lee Soon Jae’s son are schoolmates and he spent time in New York with Lee Soon Jae’s daughter.  So he’s always viewed him like a father.

So since Na PD was familiar with Seo Jin’s agency rep since Lee Seung Gi was from the same agency.  So Na PD brings up the idea of casting Seo Jin as a joke said wouldn’t it be funny if we tricked him into coming.  To which the rep just ran with the lie and went ahead with the tall tale to Seo Jin.  The lie just got bigger and bigger.  The hilarious thing is that with any big celebrity who goes to the airport, it’s going to make news waves so Na PD and the rep were anxious about Seo Jin finding out.  In Na PD’s words, ‘You know this hyung too, he came out of college…” Wouldn’t he have checked?  I think we all know what happened with that story.  He was expecting Sunny but got the halbaes.

For Seo Jin, he was so gullible that even after seeing the halbaes, he just assumed it would be the halbaes and also the girl idols.  He just couldn’t say no to the halbaes for the obvious reason but even more so because Park Geun Hyung was just so scary.  On the show, he presents Seo Jin with an ultimatum.  “If you want to go home, then decide to go home now.”  Seriously, what is Seo Jin going to say to that?

There were a number of things that Na PD learned about Seo Jin during the two trips (Europe and Taiwan) and a few time when Na PD got annoyed with Seo Jin.  During times of great stress (e.g. the Baek Il Sub/marinated beef kicking incident), Seo Jin grew quiet and stared at his phone searching for things.  Na PD was expecting someone to hurry up and be helpful on camera while Seo Jin’s the type who needs to calm down and get his bearings.

While Seo Jin was obviously stressed about many things, he admitted that even he couldn’t keep up with Lee Soon Jae because his need to constantly walking straight without even knowing if he’s walking in the right direction.  Plus, he was concerned about Baek Il Sub who would always complain about walking.

So he was often found in-between the two opposing forces.  As for the group dynamic, it was split down the middle.  There was the take-it-easy booze lovers, Shin Gu and Baek Il Sub.  Then the intellectual, non-drinkers, Lee Soon Jae and Park Geun Hyung.

For Seo Jin and Na PD, it’s clear that the trips weren’t easier for either of them.  They often spent time in Europe staying up late and drinking and relieving stress that way. It sounds like this is when they really became friends.  However, Seo Jin shared a room with Lee Soon Jae who was and early riser.  Even though he wanted to wake up early, he just couldn’t because of all the drinking the night before.

As for the Taiwan trip, Seo Jin was more stressed out during that leg because the more he got to know the halbaes, he wanted to meet all their needs.  Na PD tells of the first day when Seo Jin was schedule to come a day later.  To which Seo Jin takes the opportunity to make a dig that Na PD tricked the halbaes.  Lol.  It was Na PD who stepped in to fill the gap left by Seo Jin.  So when Seo Jin finally arrives with Sunny, he begs Seo Jin to hurry up and come because there so much to do.  Spitefully, Seo Jin says that Taipei is much more confusing than Paris so he’ll take his time.  We know he spent his time peacefully eating with Sunny.

As for getting Sunny on the show, they called SM to see if she could just even make an appearance at the airport like Choi Bool Am but she was already scheduled to come to the US to make an appearance with Ryu Hyun Jin of the L.A. Dodgers.  They thought that was that but then SM called back saying they would work something out.  The hosts note that the popularity of the first season helped.

To top that, the halbaes loved so much that Sunny was treated like family while, in Na PD’s words, Seo Jin was look upon like a “downstairs” staff.  After hearing that she was only staying one night, the halbaes (and most especially, Baek Il Sub) that insisted she stay another day.  Her manager worked all night to make it happen.

Kim Gu Ra compares Na PD and his ingenuity in variety television with Kim Tae Ho PD from Infinity Challenge.  While they both have very different styles, they both have had very popular shows that have run for many years, which is pretty unusual in television.  The hosts even get the sheepish Na PD to send video message to Kim Tae Ho PD and Seo Jin snickers off to the side while sends one.

Before the episode ends, Na PD mentions that a 3rd season is in the works for next year.  They even have a date for the next program but Seo Jin is all like, ‘Really?  Where are we going?’

The group ends up back at the TVN studios where Seo Jin notes that they don’t have his cutout next to the other halbaes in the lobby.  But if they did, he’d probably be all the way in the back.  Ha, he’s so self-deprecating.  I love it.  According to the previews, it looks like two of the halbaes have schedules in place and must leave early.  I’m bummed but here’s hoping the Taiwan trip continues to provide lots of laughter and thought-provoking insights.

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