This little pig went to market;
This little pig stayed at home;
This little pig had roast beef;
This little pig had none;
This little pig laughed “Hee, hee, hee!”
All the way home.
You will not believe what happened to me today. I can’t even believe it myself.
I’m a top star, right? Stars get chased by fans all the time. Do stars get chased by pigs? If a pig likes me, it should wait in line for an autograph like the rest. When it’s the piggy’s turn, I will smile charmingly and say, “Your name?” The hog will answer, “Oink here.” I will sign “To Oink, Best Wishes, From Hwang Tae-kyung.”
So I was at this village today, just standing alone in a sea of grass, listening to my iPod and soaking up the sun. I closed my eyes and imagined myself as a sunflower, the tallest and most perfect one in that field. A breeze teased my hair and tickled my face; it was heavenly! I opened my eyes and saw an old man in the distance. He seemed to be waving his arms in tandem with me, how sweet. So I smiled, took off my earphones, and the first thing I heard was “PIG!!”
That wretched thing, that ungulate, chased me from one end of the field to the other, like it was drunk on swill soju. I was shrieking my head off, so of course I did not see that stupid pile of dung. As I sat on the ground, gingerly trying to peel my shoes off, trying not to get that green shit on my fingers, I wanted to die, to die!
Poor Tae-kyung. The confounded close encounters he has to suffer in Episode 7.
For starters, he now finds himself reluctant boyfriend to Yoo He-yi. Because the latter knows Mi-nam’s real gender and is threatening to reveal that knowledge to the media, he must do all he can to stop her.
So, as she storms off, headed for the reporters downstairs in the A.N.JELL building, he grabs and pulls her close. To the gasps of everyone looking, he kisses her hungrily, his hands gripping her head, like how a vampire would suck its victim’s blood.
Except… their lips never touch.
In a gravity-defying act that will become the subject of intense research by the nation’s scientists, Tae-kyung pushes He-yi’s head up toward his, forces his own head down toward hers, in a sort of reverse tug of war, and pretends to kiss her. The sheer effort to keep their heads close but their mouths apart turns both of them blue in the face.
Naturally she is livid. Which dimwit wrote the script? This is not how it’s supposed to be! Their kiss should be long and passionate, his tongue exploring hers, the pounding of his heart loud enough for the reporters to hear. But no, the way he recoils from her, it’s like she has mouth sores or something.
But that’s okay, she will have the last laugh. They are front-page news now, so he has no choice but to behave like they are indeed a couple.
So what if he’s scowling? He is Mr. Reticent after all; no one is going to suspect anything untoward. In fact, so convincing is the charade his distraught fans wail like a family member has died; it’ll be two days before they are back to their normal “Oppa, we love you!” clamorous selves.
Just as believing is Mi-nam.
Although herself an imposter, it never occurs to her that Tae-kyung and He-yi’s relationship is fake. She sees them kissing and suddenly an unfamiliar weight descends on her chest. No longer is her heart racing. No longer is her skin tingling, like saplings coming alive at the touch of rain. This new feeling hurts like hell.
You were surprised, weren’t you? I was surprised, too. If you feel out of sorts, it must be because you are his fan. Look at how badly his fans are taking the news of the relationship.
Dear Shin-woo. Trust him to behave like a kindly wraith, lurking in the shadows when she’s hurting, emerging with a comforting word when she’s ready to talk, then disappearing again in order to give her space. He is as unintrusive as a certain someone is officious.
For reasons still hazy (to him, not to us), Tae-kyung has taken upon himself the task of being Mi-nam’s nanny. Perhaps because he thinks she’s an orphan and lacking parental instruction, he is now constantly telling her what to do. Ah, the irony. He hates how domineering He-yi is with him, but he is doing the same thing to the youngest member of A.N.JELL. Thus,
Go Mi-nam, come here.
Go Mi-nam, get up.
Go Mi-nam, stay.
If she’s not in his bedroom by a certain time (they are still sharing the room), the invisible antennas on his head start beeping (only he can hear the sound) and he must go in search of her. It used to be that he could not sleep with the lights on. Apparently now he can’t find repose if Mi-nam’s not in the vicinity.
Speaking of antennas, crossed signals abound in this episode.
Manager Ma sees Mi-nam so morose and jumps to the conclusion that it’s because she felt used by He-yi. The latter was cozying up to Mi-nam in order to cover up her relationship with Tae-kyung!
“What?” cries the indignant aunt. How dare anyone use her nephew for their own agenda! (And the lizards in the room snicker and exchange knowing glances, they who can see EVERYTHING that’s going on in the house, and not just at ceiling level, mind you.)
“What?” cries Jeremy in his heart, he who sees everything through a glass darkly. Mi-nam is sad because he likes He-yi? Wouldn’t that put them all in a tragic love rectangle? He likes Mi-nam (he admits that fact now), but Mi-nam likes He-yi. And He-yi likes Tae-kyung!
Ah, but who does Tae-kyung like?
Don’t ask him, because the guy may write songs that stir your heart, but when it comes to his own feelings he’s as dense as they come. All he knows is that he’s got to look after Mi-nam.
After all, isn’t he the A.N.JELL leader? With the aunt calling him “Leader” all the time, all the more he must behave like the one in charge. No shirking around the house, no going off to your dad’s hometown for his death anniversary and thinking you’re scot-free from work.
I’m driving you to your dad’s village because you haven’t been singing properly at practices. I’m so busy and yet I have to monitor you all the time and follow you everywhere! And don’t think I’m simply taking you there and leaving. We’re coming back together.
The aunt has left for the village first, presumably to prepare for the anniversary rites. But she’s really there early to whip up the villagers’ excitement. Her famous nephew and his even more famous band leader are coming!
In a hilarious scene, the welcome party of motley villagers waits for this unfamiliar A.N.JELL band. Three elderly ladies (LOVE them) emerge from the crowd, their tongues as sharp as judges in a courtroom. They rattle off the yardsticks for one to be considered a celebrity (appearances on variety shows and so on).
Sadly our A.N.JELL pair fail on every score except this one: “Seems vaguely familiar, so must have appeared on TV.”
Moreover, the two look decidedly ordinary. The taller guy, especially, is wearing a too-short pullover and way-too-short pants (Manager Ma’s) after spilling a drink on himself (and blaming Mi-nam for the mishap). Their car isn’t a grand limousine as befitting celebrities but a modest number that can seat only four. Nothing about them spells “star” or “singer” at all.
The villagers disperse in disappointment and our out-of-towners set off for the cemetery.
Unknown to Tae-kyung, his mom has also come to the village. She lingers at the grave just briefly, long enough to instruct the cemetery caretaker to clear the graveside regularly.
Mi-nam’s aunt sees the graveside cleared of the overgrown grass and wonders if the overdressed lady that they just passed was responsible. On hearing her words, Mi-nam immediately runs after the mysterious woman and at the same time calls Tae-kyung (who’s supposedly waiting in the car) for help.
Alas, the guy is absorbed in his MP3 player and does not hear his mobile phone ringing. Also, he will soon be calling out for help himself, all because of a certain hooved one.
Can I pause here and tell you how much I love the whole scene of Tae-kyung and the pig? Yes, every hammy, hair-raising, hysterical frame.
Our A.N.JELL star on that field, his face uplifted, hands outstretched, like one immersed in worship. The Shayne Ward song that plays. The lyrics of the song: “And if our love was a story book, we would meet on the very first page…” The old man. Tae-kyung misreading the old man’s frantic gestures for him to flee for his life. The chase itself.
Ah, I can’t get enough of it. Thank you for making me laugh so hard, Jang Geun-suk.
Tae-kyung’s little adventure with Oink is relayed back to the village by the old man. The pig, a wicked glint in its beady eyes, is spanked for not recognizing one of the country’s most famous singers and duly denied supper.
One pig accounted for… but where is the singer? Turns out he slipped on something squishy as he was running and had to make a hasty trip to some stream to wash the damned thing off.
(You know the guy’s a clean freak. Imagine him trudging to the stream, every step a reminder of that thing coating his shoes. Next, imagine the pong that’s wafting into his delicate nostrils every tortured step. The embarrassment is unbearable. Can you understand now why he has to put a continent between him and other humans?)
Through a series of deductions (see above), Mi-nam manages to find Tae-kyung at the stream. He’s a surreal picture of calm, like people who have just tripped and fallen flat on their faces in public and who then get up and walk off nonchalantly, whistling even. Perhaps stepping on manure is an everyday thing for Hwang Tae-kyung?
You sure ran a long way from the pig, she says. I wasn’t running away, he snaps in reply, I was merely avoiding it because it’s dirty.
The twosome make their way back to the village. Dusk falls as they walk and Tae-kyung starts fidgeting; the guy can’t see at night. He hears a sound and jumps. Is it that annoying porker again? Or worse, rabbits? He can’t stand rabbits because they bite. Vicious creatures.
On account of having run at record-breaking speed earlier (and simultaneously screaming at the top of his lungs), the poor thing quickly tires. They see a table and decide to rest awhile. He sinks down on it, his bones creaking in relief, today’s events having aged him fifty years.
Enraptured by the night sky, Mi-nam says, “How pretty, there are so many stars!”
I can barely see you here, how can I see the stars?
(And I fall off my chair, like I did in Episode 5 when he first smiled, except this time I’m clutching my tummy and howling. The guy is just priceless!)
An impromptu astronomy lesson follows. The teacher teaches the pupil the difference between stars, satellites and planets, but the pupil hears only one thing: his voice… and what it means to her. Her eyes fill with tears as she tries to hint to the teacher that he’s her star, the only one twinkling so brightly for her. But he doesn’t get it, not even when he turns and is startled to see her eyes wet.
As he stares wonderingly at her, his eyes full of concern, who should show up but the teacher’s girlfriend.
Thanks to Mi-nam’s aunt, He-yi has zipped into the village, rubbing her hands in glee. Tae-kyung got chased by a pig? Muahaha, serves him right! He was so mean to her the last time they met, the day of her movie premiere, let’s see what the pig did to him.
Unfortunately, as though underlining their shared fate, He-yi has a close encounter of her own too, except it’s not with Oink but with dung. That thing got on his foot, she got it on her hand. Cursed coincidence! Superstitious people will see it as a good omen, but the pragmatic two merely damn all creatures great and small and vow they’ll not touch beef for a month.
When she has a moment alone with Mi-nam, He-yi remembers how close Mi-nam and Tae-kyung had seemed as they sat under the stars. So she tells her sweetly:
We’re both really busy people, my boyfriend and I. You’ve got to stop causing him trouble. He’s not going to like how you cling to him. Leave him alone, buzz off, okay?
Because of He-yi’s words, Mi-nam decides to stay behind when the fake couple leave. (Dang, I want Tae-kyung to stay! I want to see his face when he sees the pig again!)
(Also, I have no idea what the whole village experience did to Tae-kyung’s psyche, but by golly, would you just compare his hair and dressing here to the earlier images before he met the pig? I’m unsure yet if I like it. Hmm, on second thought, I do!)
Three days pass, and the A.N.JELL guys grow more worried. Why hasn’t Mi-nam returned and why isn’t she answering her phone? As expected, Shin-woo swings into action.
What do you do when the sight of you makes someone unhappy? What do you do when the person you’ve come to see runs out and then her face falls because she’s expecting someone else?
Well, if you care enough about that person, if her well-being matters more to you than your own feelings, you tell her this, as gently as possible:
Would you like to stay here? You can stop doing the things that pain you and just stay here. Would you like to do that? Tell me what I can do for you. I won’t add to your troubles, so please just relax when you’re with me.
Touched by his words, Mi-nam decides it’s time to go back. Jeremy runs in excitedly to tell Tae-kyung, but instead of being pleased, he is irked that Shin-woo’s the one who went to fetch her. If she had waited one more day, he would have done the deed himself. Confounded timing!
Mi-nam returns to the recording studio, armed with this advice from Manager Ma:
Let your feelings explode.
And so she does, singing with so much emotion the entire studio is astounded. All her feelings for Tae-kyung she channels into the song, this song that he wrote and which he wanted her to sing. Only special people can sing my songs, he had said.
But what’s the aftermath of an explosion? Everything shatters.
So Mi-nam runs out, her emotions utterly spent, her tears falling uncontrollably. Shin-woo follows and takes her into his arms.
Right behind them, watching with outraged eyes, is Tae-kyung.