Gentlemen’s Dignity

57. He loves her

Later in her bedroom in the episode 17, time 48:59, still inebriated, Yi-soo’s deliriously happy because she’s in her bedroom and Kim Do-jin is “here as well” with her. She practically drags him to lie next to her on her bed and promptly falls asleep in his arm. Sometime later, she wakes up from the booze-induced coma and becomes embarrassed to find her face so close to his and her body plastered to his.

Her fidgeting wakes Do-jin up. Without opening his eyes or stirring, he admonishes her, “Your eyelashes are tickling my cheeks. Do you plan on continuing to ggam-bbak-ggam-bbak*?”

*(깜빡깜빡, is to repeatedly open and close your eyes, but it has stronger connotation than깜박깜박, which means blinking, suggesting that he knows she’s wide awake. It also means being hazy in memory or consciousness)

Yi-soo pretends to be sleeping and rolls away. Amused Do-jin, “I know you’re awake.” She pretends to sleep talk, “I.. am.. not awake…” Chuckling, he hugs her from behind, “If you’re embarrassed, then listen while you pretend to sleep.” She pretends to snore while she’s wide-eyed and all ears.

As he hugs her even tighter, “I’m sorry for pretending to love you less than I actually do. When it’s obvious I can’t part with you, I’m sorry for pretending that I could. I’m sorry for making you cry a lifetime’s worth today. I’m going to stop saying I’m sorry, because from now on, I plan on saying I love you instead. I love you. I love you, Suh Yi-soo. I’m going to go now. I have to change clothes and go to work.” He tells her he loves her in ban-mal, which is significant because it makes them seem closer.

Digesting what he said, the door closing sound sends her into one of her famous mini-outbursts. She pounds the bed, smells her clothes, and berates herself for drinking so much. She also blames Do-jin, “All that time I was waiting he didn’t do anything. Why did he have to back-hug me now…”

All of sudden she stops talking because she realizes that Do-jin’s standing by the door, trying very hard to stifle a laugh. Mortified, she lies down with her back turned to him and pretends to sleep talk. He smiles at her and leaves, but not before telling her, “Then, I guess it’s safe to assume that you’ve heard everything I said, even though you were sleeping.” That he loves her.
Groaning, she pulls the blanket over her to hide from the embarrassment.

58. The Hand

Later in the episode 17, time 01:01:05, as Do-jin and Yi-soo are walking down the sidewalk, he rather imperiously holds up his hand and tells her, “The hand!” When she looks at him quizzically, he explains, “You told me to do everything straightforward (대놓고*). The hand!”
*(Remember, it also means ill-mannered, disrespectful, offensive, without constraint)

She smiles and holds his hand, “It’s been such a long time since I held your hand, it’s a bit unnerving.”
“You want me to make you even more unnerving?”
Thinking he means to kiss her, she covers her mouth with the other hand.
“Ah, this woman… so sly (엉큼하다)*. (I meant) the arm.” *(Has connotation of having ulterior desire usually beyond what one should have)

She happily crosses her arm with his, and they both seem deliriously happy. He tries to up her one, “Uh? This woman seems no longer unnerved. The shoulder!” As he wraps his arm around her shoulder. Undaunted, she wraps her arm around his waist. Seeing this, he bristles, “Uh? You were waiting for that, huh?” She just shrugs happily.

“So these things don’t faze you, huh? Then, I have no choice. You want to go vacationing?”
Pretends to be long-suffering, “Ah, really! The classic Kim Do-jin comeback.”
“It just means that you have more to smile about.”
She croons in part-English, “Aaaah. You beautiful man, you.”
“What did you just say?”
“I said that you’re my flowery man.” She knows Do-jin likes this adjective.
“You sure you want to be like this? If you are this alluring during daytime, how can you expect me to work?”

She deadpans, “I know. If I’m like this in broad daylight, how do you think I’d be in the dark?” A light bulb goes off in his head. “I’m not working today. In fact, I’m not going to let you out of my sight until the dark.” Laughing, “Says who?” “Says me.”

59. Mae Ah-ri’s Destiny

I thought I’ve seen the most moving scene of Mae Ah-ri when she cried in front of Yoon’s wife’s memorial asking her permission to love Yoon in the episode 16, time 01:00:54, but I was wrong.

In the episode 17, time 27:54, Yoon stares at the water by the fountain from the deck, remembering Ah-ree’s happy reaction when he had playfully tussled her hair on the very deck. He turns around when he hears her walking toward him. She stands in front of him looking uncharacteristically somber.

He asks her, “Did you get scolded by your brother? Harshly?” For crying in front of the memorial asking Yoon’s deceased wife for permission to love him. “Yeah. That’s why I’m getting kicked out… from Korea. My brother wants me to go to the U.S. He even got me an airline ticket. I think he’s serious.” She speaks ban-mal (lower form of language) with ‘yeah.’

He tries to fight the sudden and overwhelming sadness. She goes on, “So, for the last time, I came to ask you a question. I really can’t be the one (for you)?” When he doesn’t say anything, she gets emotional, “Why not? For what possible reason? You can’t stand up to my brother (for once)? So what if you don’t get to see your so-called friends for a little while? Why can’t you?” She screams at him.

Calmly, he tells her, as he has done countless times before, “Go home.” She counters right back, “I don’t want to! I’m not going anywhere.”
“Go, already.”

She’s on the verge of crying, “I’m begging you to hold onto me. Please ask me to stay!”
Sounding angry, “You’re not going to leave?”
Crying now, “How can I leave? If I leave now, I may never see you again. So, how can I leave?” She speaks all ban-mal now.

Acting angry, “You rascal. I’ve told you not to interject ban-mal here and there to me, didn’t I?”
“(You’re just picking on me), because you have nothing else to say…”
He yells at her, “This IS what I want to say. THIS! Do you know what our age difference is?”
She relents while still crying, “Okay, I got it. I won’t do it again. I’ll talk in Jon-dan-mal (존댓말)!”

And she does speak in higher language henceforth while crying, “I love oppa! Oppa is my destiny. I can’t live without oppa! Please don’t let me go.” She utters the last words while stomping her feet as if she’s throwing a tantrum.

His eyes moisten, but he gallantly tries a different tactic, “No one cares more about you than your brother. If your brother says you have to go, then you have to go. Because I’m sure he chose what’s best for you.”

She feels hopeless, and he seems downright melancholy as he tells her, “Study hard there. Stay healthy, also.” Trying to fight back the tears, he walks away. Now desperate, she shouts to his back, “Okay, I understand. I understand, so wait one moment! I have one last thing to say. So, please.” That stops him, and she tearfully tells him, “I can’t guarantee that I can forget you. But if we really cannot be (together), if I’m really not the one for you, then it’s okay if you forget me.” His eyes well up with tears.

She bids him tearful and soulful, “Good… bye.” And as she sobs, he can no longer stop the big tears from flowing down his cheeks, but he doesn’t turn around. He just walks away from her, and as her wailing becomes louder and more anguished, his face becomes more and more contorted. And he cries more openly back in his place while he continues to hear her desolate wail in his mind.

60. Mae Ah-ri’s Hero

Mae Ah-ri sends Yi-soo a text saying that she’s on the verge of leaving the country and to tell Yooni oppa a fib that she’s doing well with another guy… two months later. Subsequently, Do-jin, Yi-soo, and Jung-rok all try to convince Yoon to prevent Mae Ah-ri from leaving without much success. After they leave his office, Yoon contemplates alone for some time, when suddenly he grabs his coat and cell phone to bolt out of the office. In the mean time, Mae Ah-ri looks around the airport terminal both nostalgically since she may not return to her native country for a while and also hoping against hope to see Yoon. Having finally accepted that Yoon is not going to show up, she turns to walk to her gate, when Yoon comes out of nowhere to grab her wrist.

In the episode 18, time 05:30, Yoon puts Mae Ah-ri’s bag in the backseat of his car and turns around to face astounded Mae Ah-ri. The only thing she can say is, “If my brother finds out…”

Yoon suddenly hugs her as if his life depends on it and tells her, “I love you, Lim Mae Ah-ri. I’m sorry for making it so hard on you. I’m also sorry for a very belated confession.”

He pulls her off him and sees the tears streaming down her face, “You can’t go anywhere from now on, because I’ll see to it that you’re never out of my sight.” She can only say, “Oppa.” He tenderly wipes the tears from her face, “I stopped you, not because I don’t want you to go abroad. It means that I want you to be with me. It also means I’ll not hide my feelings from now on.”

She nods vigorously, not trusting herself to speak lest she’ll falter. Determinedly, he tells her, “From now on, just follow my lead. I’ll take care of everything.” Beside herself with joy, she nods her assent even more vigorously. He warns her, “I’m sure we’ll have to overcome many obstacles. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’ll never let you go. Never again will you have to cry alone.” She nods some more, and he hugs her again.

61. Finally

In the episode 19, time 45:45, our other lovebirds, Mae Ah-ri and Yooni, walk hand in hand. Yoon notices that Mae Ah-ri appears to be in a daze. Rightly so, since her brother has finally relented and gave them both green lights to marry “as soon as possible.”

But Yoon wants to make sure. “If anyone saw you, they’d think you were being forced into this marriage.” Still feeling dazed, “It’s just that it happened so suddenly. It feels strange, like it’s all a dream.” Turning to look at him, “I’ve imagined getting married to you a lot, but this is not a dream, you know.”

“Is there a wedding you’ve dreamed of? Because we might not be able to…” I think he wants to make sure that he really is her dream husband material and not some young macho virile hunk of flesh. Without hesitation, “I don’t have anything like that.” No longer dazed, she looks at him with complete conviction, “My dream has always been just a wedding with you in it.”

She smiles at him with utmost assurance, and he smiles back warmly, “I’ll make sure that you don’t regret it. I’ll be a good husband.” She nods in acknowledgement, while he continues his solemn promise, “I’ll count my blessings and be grateful for every single day.”

She smiles wide and hugs him. He hugs her back.

62. Farewell

One of the most touching moments come in the episode 20, time 17:50 when Yoon, with his voice breaking, stands before his deceased wife’s memorial, “I’m sorry, Jung-ah yah*, but now I want to become happy with the kid.” (*Lee Jung-ah is her name, and calling someone’s name followed by yah (야) shows affection)

“(So,) give me your blessing… and your forgiveness. I… have to… let you go now.”
He puts his wedding ring next to his wife’s picture inside the memorial.

His mother-in-law has in the past implored him to move on and even asked his friends to find him a suitable woman, but he has steadfastly performed his wife’s mourning ceremony every year since her passing. He was willing to stay devoted to his wife for a long time, but I guess he couldn’t help succumb to Lim Mae-ahl’s single-minded devotion too long, either.

63. Two Crybabies

Yi-soo’s mother may be a lot of things to Yi-soo, most of them unpleasant I’m sure, but her mother certainly has a dry sense of humor. She, through Yoon and his business card given to the two thugs, sits across from Do-jin in a café and asks him in the episode 19, time 36:46, “It’s just that I’ve heard Yi-soo has several brothers, but I don’t recall giving birth to anyone other than Yi-soo.”

Gentlemanly, “That’s because we’ve decided that Yi-soo was in a difficult situation. I’m sorry if we offended you.”
“It’s not something for you to be apologetic about. Thanks to you, I’ve also benefited. Actually, I’m the one who should be apologetic. I’m sure those two acted like thugs.”
“We’ve acted just as badly, I’m afraid.”

She thanks him and also asks what his occupation is. Do-jin tells her, but he also volunteers his age. When she asks him if he’s single or divorced, he tells her that he’s single but has 19 year old son. She asks him if Yi-soo knows, and he tells her that she found out recently. He tells her, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. I have no right to say anything concerning Yi-soo’s life.” She asks for his name, but as soon as Do-jin utters his name, the same name reverberates throughout the cafe by Yi-soo, but a bit more indignantly. She wants to know what he’s doing in the cafe, and why her mother asked to see him. Her mother calmly tells her that since she had to endure 40 hours of labor to deliver her, her mother may not have to right to object, but she feels she is entitled to at least see him.

Embarrassed that Do-jin now knows the unpleasant details of her family situation, she storms out of the café, ignoring their pleas to sit with them. He worriedly watches her leave, and her mother lets him in on a secret, “She may look docile, but when she’s angry, she can be vicious because I’ve caused her so much pain. My daughter, please take good care of her. That’s what I’ve wanted to say.”

He reassures her, “I don’t think you have to worry about your daughter. I’ll always love and cherish her.” Reassured, “Thank you. You can go to her now.” Do-jin bows formally and leaves, while her mother sheds a tear as sudden sadness overwhelms her.

Do-jin catches up with Yi-soo in the episode 19, time 40:05. He runs up to her and stands in front of her. Still tearing, she lashes out at him, “You should’ve told me that you were going to meet my mother.” As he tenderly wipes the tear from her face, he calmly tells her, “I did tell you… that I was going to meet a very beautiful woman.”

Crying anew, “This is so humiliating. I’m just so ashamed of these sordid details of my family.”
“But you’ve discovered even worse things about me.”
“And I could have used that as leverage to make you love only me.”
Chuckling while wiping her tears, “That kind of leverage, I’ll gladly give it to you every day, so stop crying.”

Then he makes a teasing observation, “My Yi-soo cries way too often.”
Pouting, “I cried the most when you dumped me, you know.”
Smiling, “I also cried the most when I dumped you, you know.”
Cutely, she pouts, “Chi. Then, why did you dump me?”

Smiling, he tenderly caresses her cheek, and tells her in ban-mal, “I did it because I loved you, dummy.” Then he hugs her, gently patting her back. She hugs him back tighter.

64. Wedding Vows

In the episode 20, time 20:37, Mae Ah-ri and Yoon exchange their wedding vows. Mae Ah-ri goes first , then Yoon in italics:

I pledge not to be tardy in paying off credit card debt.
I pledge to exercise diligently not to have paunchy abdomen.

I pledge not to cause alcohol (so-ju) related scenes.
Even though my birthday comes earlier, I pledge to be good to my older brother* Tae-san.

I pledge not to look down on Yooni oppa for being older.
I will do facials often.

I pledge to become Yooni oppa’s… proud dream.
I will never forget the people who approved of our love.

*(In Korean culture, if you marry a sister, then you have to address her older brother, even though you may be older than him, as an elder. Thus, Yoon refers to Tae-san as an older brother. And even though he’s technically a brother-in-law, it’s more polite to refer to him as brother)

65. The Proposal

In the episode 20, time 55:36, Do-jin and Yi-soo make a nostalgic visit to the previous crime scene where her derriere had attacked his bag almost a year ago. Do-jin senses that Yi-soo is not happy with him, and he tells her that with guys, she has to spell it all out, because men are too dense to read minds. She tells him that she’s not angry, but what she is feeling is insecurity.

“The happier I feel, the more I worry when this happiness might end. I seem to be preparing myself for the eventual heartbreak. It doesn’t help that you give me strange gifts, so I’m confused as to whether you’re just joking or being serious.”

“Look here, Ms. Suh Yi-soo. Just how many times do you think I’ve said to you, live with me? What else could I have done? You are the one who has never said, yes.”
“That’s because you don’t seem to be really serious.”
“Really? I wonder how many times I’ve told you I was serious. Maybe you just don’t trust me? Then, I guess I just have to make you trust me.”

He takes his trusty pen out and tells her to listen, not just by herself, but with everyone here in the café. He then goes inside the café, plugs the pen into a lap top, causing his past recorded renditions of his proposals to blare through the café speakers. The messages are in essence asking her to live with him or marry him. The last message in the recording is, “Turn around, Suh Yi-soo. If you don’t like it, then marry me.”

When Yi-soo turns around, all of Do-jin’s friends, his office workers, Yi-soo’s students, the annoying teacher, and even supposedly pregnant Sa-ra perform dance routines in succession to the blaring music with lyrics concerned with only one theme: Will you marry me?

His secretary, carrying a sign that says, Consent*, does a dancing routine solely dedicated to begging Yi-soo to say, yes. *(Sung-nak, 승낙 , means approve, agree)

As the song winds down, emerging through the crowd is Do-jin carrying a bouquet.

She gets up from the chair to greet him, and he first hands her the paper architectural drawing of their dream house decorated with the red yarn. She looks up at him quizzically, and he explains, “I’ll build you a house like this. Live with me in this house. I promise you that nobody will leave this house, because every architect has the responsibility to his own creation.”

Moved to tears, she covers her mouth, and he continues, “This architectural design has 130 lines, so you should be happy for the next 130 years. I promise you.” He looks at his watch, “The time right now is 5:25 pm. From this moment on, let’s ride the time wave together with me… without missing out on even one second of it.”

Yi-soo can’t seem to stop the flowing happy tears, and Do-jin gets down on his knees, offers her the bouquet, and asks her, “Will you marry me?”

She finally takes her hand off her mouth, with tears smeared all over her cheeks, she smiles brightly. “Of course. You don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear that.” Accepting the bouquet, she tells him, “I’ve told you to be straightforward with me, didn’t I? You don’t know how scared I was back there.”

He stands up and smiling smugly, “I’m already seriously handsome. You don’t have to add scary to that.” Yes, I warned you, didn’t I? His humor knows no juvenile bounds. Well, what’s important is that Yi-soo finds his humor funny. She smiles and hurls herself at him.

The crowd roars with happiness at the long-awaited embrace, but there always seems to be at least one disorderly soul in a crowd. Jung-rok loudly voices his discontent, “Hey! What did you drag everybody here for? If you have nothing to show us, then at least do some kissing!”

Everybody thinks that’s a great idea and starts to chant, “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” Do-jin and Yi-soo don’t disappoint them, and the crowd erupts with cheer when they do kiss each other.

Yoon, catching the kiss fever, stoops toward Mae Ah-ri to steal a kiss, but her brother is faster. He grabs Yoon, and they both pretend to kiss each other.

After the kiss, Yi-soo takes a flower from the bouquet, places it through the lapel hole of his jacket, and tells Do-jin tenderly, while a single tear flows down her cheek, “I love you, my flowery man, Kim Do-jin.” Do-jin smiles at her warmly, while the crowd once again erupts in cheerful celebration of their love.

The following night, as the four gentlemen and their ladies celebrate their youth, right before the men-only group picture taking session, Yi-soo tells Do-jin that since his proposal, “We have been together for exactly 27 hours and 35 minutes. They were the best moments of my life.”

As the four gentlemen get ready to take the picture, we hear Do-jin’s voice in the background, reminding us of their mantra, “Boys don’t grow up. We just get older. However, boys who are older know… how to make the time flow at our own pace and how to illuminate our lives in the new world we create.”

As the photo session continues with the ladies, Do-jin reflects on the effect the ladies had on them, “Thanks to them, we were given a chance to become, not just run-of-the-mill guys, but real gentlemen. Thus, we are passionately known as, Goodbye Boys.” I think “Goodbye Boys” refers to the movie of the same title, a coming of age story about boys in Soviet society during 1930’s and 1940’s.


In the episode 20, time 01:04:40, apparently in their dream house, Yi-soo communicates with Do-jin silently, both lying down, facing each other on their spacious bed, “You don’t know how surprised I was when I woke up from sleep last night.”

“Because you were lying next to me.”

He smiles fondly at her, “Still?”   Now resorting to more corporal method of speech.

She smiles back, “Still.”

Savoring her essence, “Me, too.”

Smiling faintly, she asks him the quintessential question of human existence, “Love me?”

Never taking his eyes off her, he lets his slowly broadening smile be his answer, and she reciprocates the smile as Lee Jong-hyun of CN Blue celebrates their love in the background with my most favorite song from the original sound track, My Love.

To say that the epilogue is my most romantic scene of the drama may sound like a hyperbole, but allow me to give you my reasons.

One, how can it not be when both Yi-soo and Do-jin are still so much in love that they pinch themselves to make sure they are not dreaming when they wake up at night next to each other. I mean, wouldn’t we all love to feel that way about someone we love.

Two, I love the fact that they can communicate how they feel with very little words. Their eyes speak volumes about love they feel for each other. In fact, I feel their love here much more so than the bathroom scene or the lavish proposal scene that, while entertaining, felt more like a Broadway show than a heartfelt exchange of love.

Lastly, the inflection of the Yi-soo’s last two words, “Love me?” definitely sounded to me like a question rather than a proclamation, but regardless, I loved that the two simple smiles can convey so much contentment, tranquility, and happiness.

34 thoughts on “Gentlemen’s Dignity

  1. Dear Michael and CJ,

    First of all… WOW, what a labor of love and what a special treat!! Thundie’s Prattle is not worthy!

    Thank you, both of you, for collaborating on this amazing review and recap. When I first saw the draft, I wondered what motivated you to write 46,000 words (!!) on a drama that hasn’t been blogged about much (but what do I know, this cave dweller who has finished all of one drama the entire year). But as I read one scene after another, the story began to grow on me and pretty soon I was lapping up every word and eager for more. I had no idea this drama was so cute and funny and also super romantic; no one told me until now!

    For the untold hours that you spent writing and screencapping, for being so thoughtful with the numbering (that made it so easy to follow the plot), and for friendship, patience and everything else, thank you!!


    • Hi Thundie,

      We are thrilled that you liked it so much. The dialouge was what attracted me to the drama initially, but it felt laborious early on, because it took a while for me to like the Do-jin character. More than once, I wanted to scrap the whole project because I just wasn’t warming up to the Do-jin character, but I couldn’t because I’ve already amassed so much Q&A material intercontinentally with CJ. I didn’t have the heart to “waste” all the work CJ did for me, so most of the credit should go to CJ.

      And thank you, Thundie, for all the behind-the-scene work that you do to make this post a reality.

  2. Second the WOW! It was enjoyable reading about a drama that was definitely one of the highlights of the year! Why? Because the characters, in age, not maturity were closer to mine so I enjoyed every moment! Amazing screencaps and write-up! I wish I could be as eloquent! Good job to both of you!

  3. Could a sweet TP reader post a link to this review on Soompi (Gentlemen’s Dignity, Jang Dong-gun and Kim Ha-neul threads)? Thank you so much! I know fans of the drama would really love this review because it’s so compelling and delightful a read and is full of helpful notes on the meanings of words, etc. Please help spread the word, muah!

  4. This is why I adore your reviews! I fell in love at this drama, not at the beginning I have to admit, but later after few weeks of awesome intros and more awesome JDG. It came like summer breeze, and stayed as flower ahjussi. At 1st it was all about fun, and JDG made it happen with his pals. I loved intro for every episode, it was clever way of showing, family ties aren’t only ones, friends can be more then right family. Drama was super cute, funny, well acted, romantic and warm.
    Thanks girls, for amazing review and smile on my face right now! Keep up, good job!

    • Thank you, mtoh. Yes, I also loved the intros for giving us not only funny moments like the Girls’ Generation cameo appearance but also using the intros as a vehicle to give us insights into the F4 characters.

  5. Wow Michael, you and your cousin CJ really did an amazing job with this. It took days to read through all of it. You can tell this was the work of two people cuz of all the details. Thank you both for all your effort in putting it together – so glad you decided not to abandon it. You are right – it would have been a pity to lose all the hard work your cousin put into this. I love reading about dramas from your perspective cuz you always add your masculine touch by noticing things women wouldn’t – like for example that scene when her skirt unravels. I laughed when I read about how you wondered why the sales vendor wouldn’t complain or question why he wanted the table cloth and just hand it over to him. I can tell you it’s cuz he looks like that and probably gave her a smile as he asked. If he gave a wink, she would have handed over her entire stock I bet. I never did finish watching this drama all the way through and only caught a few scenes here and there on cable reruns. I had the same problem as you and had issues with the lead male character DJ. How can he go from being a womanizer to someone who is willing to go so slowly in the relationship overnight – it’s just not realistic. Out of all his friends, I liked Yoon the most just like you. The other two sort of bugged me with their choices in life. TS should have fallen in love with a woman worthy of his love and I still say he chose poorly. As for that other playboy friend, his best scene was when he sang over the intercom to his wife as she walked through one of her stores and made her cry. His motive for doing that might have been off, but at least he gave her a moment of happiness she deserved for staying with his cheating butt all those years. My biggest problem with this drama was Yi Soo. Her character annoyed me at every turn. Everything she did and said the first few episodes frustrated me and it only got worse as the series progressed. That whole scene you described where she doesn’t notice DJ right in front of her cuz she is so “one track minded” was the most ludicrous of all – more so cuz DJ finds that amusing. I know I shouldn’t compare, but I had a hard time believing this was the same writer for SG. She dropped the ball in this drama if you ask me cuz the characters she created here just didn’t measure up to the ones in SG.

    I started watching cuz I am a huge JDG fan, but it turns out my interest in him must have waned over the years cuz I didn’t last very long after the drama started – partially cuz he is a family man now and he has aged a lot. Instead of marveling over his looks, I started counting all his wrinkles and questioned just how many botox injections these guys must have had to keep up their appearances. That bathroom scene where he pins her against the door by merely hovering over her still traumatizes me cuz I noticed wrinkles on his upper body no fan should ever have to see. That scene literally hurt my eyes and I had to look away in sadness muttering about how cruel time is on some people. As his fan, I should have avoided watching this drama cuz now I look at his photos in magazines wondering just how much they photoshopped his wrinkle lines. Arghh…ignorance was bliss before AGD came along.

    Anyway thanks for giving us something interesting to read for those who didn’t follow or catch this drama. If I knew this was coming, I would have waited just to read this and skip the drama itself.

    Hey Thundie – bet you are happy cuz after reading all these pages, you can count this as another drama watched for this year. 🙂

    • Hi Softy,

      It’s sad getting old, right. I think if they made this a more of a sophisticated F4 group involved in a story that is mature, intelligent, and yet have smart repartees that I know the writer is capable of, then it would’ve been great. Trying the same physical attraction formula with aging stars without a whole lot of substance just didn’t cut it for most part.

      I agree that Tae-san should’ve gone for Yi-soo, but I thought this was a realistic depiction, because life is sometimes like that where you can’t help but feel attraction for someone when others think you shouldn’t. Even though Tae-san appreciates Yi-soo as a good person, I guess he really didn’t feel attracted to her, or maybe he didn’t think she would fall for someone like him as evidenced by his initial reaction when he finds out that Yi-soo likes him. The second rationale sort of makes sense, because both Tae-san and Sa-ra have a lot in common. They both have fiery personality, short fuse, basically inconsiderate to others, and somewhat egotistical.

      Regarding the other playboy, Jung-rok, he technically didn’t cheat on his wife, Park Min-sook, if we go by what he said. He tells his friends that he only drinks tea (or wines and dines, I forget his exact words) with other women, alluding that he never slept with any of them. His singing over the intercom was nice, but I thought his best scene with his wife was the bicycle scene, when he essentially tells her, when he thinks she can’t hear him because she’s listening to music, that she is not young or pretty, and the only thing going for her is her money, but she is still “sticky,” meaning that he’s inexplicably attracted to her despite all that. She smiles at that, probably because that may be the only time he was really being earnest and truthful with her.

      Over time, I grew to really like Park Min-sook character. Her love doctor ability aside, I really liked her straight, no-phony-allowed kind of attitude. I especially liked the scene when she forces the woman who slapped one of Yi-soo’s students apologize to the student, when she saves Sa-ra from the golf bully at the golf range, and when she stands up to Sa-ra, telling her in no uncertain terms that she has every right to give Sa-ra’s car that she was holding as a collateral to Tae-san because he is her husband’s friend. And that’s not counting the fact that she’s leasing one of her buildings to her husband’s three friends dirt cheap just because they are her husband’s best friends.

      I also liked the fact that not everyone gets to have everything. Yes, Min-sook is filthy rich, but she cannot have one thing that she probably would’ve have exchanged all her riches for – her own baby. Jung-rok and Min-sook probably would’ve become closer sooner if they had their own baby, but they resolve that problem eventually and become closer because of the adversity.

      But you’re right. The writer didn’t quite reach the same lofty standard she set with Secret Garden in this drama.

      • I still have a problem remembering all these names or else I could cite more examples in my response. Dummy me just realized Min Sook is my mom’s name so no wonder that sounded so familiar all this time.
        Despite its faults, you are right – this drama did have its moments. I totally agree with you about those great scenes, especially that one where Min sook lies that she is the aunt of that kid in trouble and how she “owned (put her in her place)” that snobby rich woman was priceless. Out of the 4 female characters, MS was my favorite cuz she had a good head on her shoulders.
        So her husband never cheated on her? I find that surprising cuz now I don’t get why the other 3 tried so hard to prevent her from finding out where he was every time he was with a new young woman. I thought it was pretty messed up that his bad behavior trained her not to trust him and lowered her sense of self worth and now I’m to believe that all happened cuz he had tea or wine with all those gorgeous young women. Yeah I don’t buy that at all. The man looked and acted way too guilty just for having some wine with a woman. Sorry, but no sane husband would risk his marriage over tea or wine.
        I just realized I left out some of my other fav scenes – the ones with Yi Soo and the student who had a crush on her. It wasn’t just her lectures to do better that got to him and made him change his behavior, but the fact that she cared enough to be there for him whenever he needed someone to believe in him. The other one was when an angry client threw something at one of the architects who work for DJ and he allowed himself to get hit and how it angered DJ so much he unleashed his wrath on the client and walked away from losing all that money. Totally loved how DJ cried over the lost income only after his anger subsided. On a shallow note, I thought those good looking architects at DJ’s firm should have come out more. 🙂

        • I think we are both speculating as to whether or not Jung-rok slept with other women after he married Min-sook. I admit that I really didn’t watch Jung-rok and Min-sook couple or Tae-san and Sa-ra couple scenes that carefully, so I could be wrong but I don’t recall anybody saying that Jung-rok committed adultery. Maybe that’s what the writer wanted, for the viewers to speculate.

          My take on Jung-rok, and mind you it’s a complete speculation on my part, is that he may have slept around before the marriage, but I like to give the man the benefit of doubt because we don’t have a definitive proof of his infidelity. I believe in being innocent until proven guilty. Maybe his habit of flirting with other women is hard to break, but what if he really couldn’t find it in him to break his wedding vows. What if it’s not insanity but immaturity, addiction of his old ways, and stupidity of feeling inferior to his wife are what he’s suffering from.

          Then why did his friends work so hard to protect him if he’s not really guilty? Well, you’re not his wife, and yet you don’t believe him. Imagine how hard it would be to believe him if you were his wife. And you’re much nicer and less scary of a person than Park Min-sook. And beside the friendship thing, his friends are financially vested in Jung-rok not to get Min-sook angry. And Min-sook doesn’t strike me as a person who would wait for something like definitive proof before getting angry or jumping to conclusions.

          By the way, you’re not the only one who doesn’t believe him. I asked my cousin, and her more or less exact words to me were: Based on his character depiction, I think he did sleep around.

          On a different topic, yes, your other favorite scenes of Yi-soo and Do-jin were mine also. But unfortunately, while Yi-soo’s character was more or less consistent, I thought that Do-jin’s was being incongruous and annoying, flipping between being mature and downright juvenile.

          • I’m totally in agreement with your cousin CJ on the idea that he cheated either before or during the marriage. It’s like that saying where there is smoke there is fire. I knew his friends covered for him cuz they were protecting their own interests, but at the same time, they genuinely cared for MS’s feelings and didn’t want to see her get hurt or angry so that’s why they covered for him. I inferred from their looks of disappointment every time they caught him with someone new that they believed something more than just drinks was going on. So even his friends didn’t believe in his innocence. Plus MS was a smart woman and since she was burned so many times, it’s no wonder she lost her ability to trust. I doubt she would have been relegated to such a state that she cant believe a word of what her husband says unless she genuinely believed he was cheating. Isnt there some kind of saying about how it’s semantics to argue about the degrees of cheating cuz even emotionally stepping out on a marriage is being unfaithful. I think what it comes down to is that it doesn’t matter how platonic his flirting was after marriage, just the fact that he sought out the company of all those young women was wrong. Whether he did anything to warrant all those accusations is not the point cuz based on his “wandering eyes” past, he should have kept his urges in check. Using the excuse that he felt inferior to her as a basis to cheat is just plain selfish. I can’t rememeber how this drama ended now, but I was happy when she decided to divorce him cuz that was a healthy decision for her so she can learn to get back her self worth. He shook up the foundation of their marriage so I thought it was a little too late in the game to make amends.
            Now I remember why I wasn’t able to sit through entire episodes of this drama. The actions of these characters frustrated me cuz I just didn’t get where they were coming from. I like my dramas to blur the lines of reality and not step over to the realm of improbability so often. 🙂

            • Ah, Softy, I love how you think because that’s how I view marriage and “cheating” as well. I think since Bill Clinton, the line became somewhat blurry as to what really constitute as sex, but regarding what infidelity should be, I absolutely agree with you that Jung-rok committed infidelity even if we assume that he didn’t actually sleep with other women.

              This discussion all started because I wanted to point out that “technically” he may not have crossed the line of no return, because Min-sook does take Jung-rok back, telling him that they’ll live their lives with realization that they could divorce at any time, but that’s really no different than any other relationship.

              I think Thundie thinks we are fighting. Okay, Thundie, we are not quarreling anymore. You can take the blue background off, because I can’t read anything. 🙂

            • Hey Michael,
              This reply might go to the wrong spot cuz there was no reply button after your last one. Guess we commented too much. Hahaha I don’t think Thundie thought we were fighting since we were just having a casual conversation about AWG- I just assumed she was trying out a new christmas background on this theme and realized the one she chose just took over the entire page so she changed it back. I can see why you had a hard time reading the page though cuz I did too.
              I think cuz of A Wife’s Confidential, I’ve been on the fence about affairs. Before that drama came along, my stance on cheating was pretty firm, but that character’s situation made me realize sometimes in life people end up married to the wrong person. So when the right person comes along, what are they supposed to do – turn their back on potential happiness just to stay committed and be miserable. Once they discover who they were meant to be with, I don’t think it’s wrong to get a divorce and start over. This is all just based on that drama and not something I would do in real life.
              Anyway, it was very interesting to get your take on things cuz it cleared up a lot of questions I had about AGD. Glad we got this chance to share our thoughts. 🙂

              Hey Thundie, still working on the rest of those recaps, but it’s gonna be rushed. Hoping it won’t end up being too long. 🙂

  6. Thank you!

    This was great fun to read. I watched the show and though it was flawed I still enjoyed it. Reading your thoughtful analysis gave me some wonderful cultural nuances I had been unaware of and a smattering of the male perspective. I only wish I could have you around for all the dramas I watch.

    Again thank you for your hard work.


  7. Thank you, Amy, for reading. And for your wish. I know what you mean, because for me, having CJ around is great because I no longer have to listen to lines I can’t quite understand 20 times over. I just give her the episode number and time, and viola, I get my answer. 🙂

    • Can you loan out your cousin for those of us with no Korean relatives? Just kidding! You’re very lucky to have that resource. Thank you for paying it forward by giving us great read alike this.


  8. Hi Michael, CJ and Thundie!!!!

    Thank you all for your hard work and for this long recap / review. I am just halfway done and probably need a few more days to finish but I thought I should really thank you now. I love AGD. Really… love it. It’s one of the very few (*sad face) dramas I have watched and completed this year. Admittedly, this show is littered with holes in plot, theme and characterization, but there were also an equal number of LOL moments for me. From a smile to a chuckle, a guffaw to hysterical-back-slapping-rolling-tears kind of laughter, yup, this show did produce!

    In that sense, I would say that AGD was probably THE most enjoyable show I watched in 2012.

    I am really sad that there seems to be a dearth of good dramas to watch nowadays, especially of the romcom variety (*my particular brand of crack). I was just now looking at my viki list and was shocked that this year, I only got to finish 3, yes THREE! k-dramas (and one j-dorama, Rich Man Poor Woman). (I did drop many after a few eps) Pathetic! My love is not waning, but now I have been relegated to re-watching favourite dramas, AGD among them. (BTW, I am watching King of Dramas now, which I am enjoying so much, hence has a very good potential to increasing the number to 4 finished dramas in 2012! yey!)

    For me, AGD is really about the enduring friendship among the F44, the four gentlemen trying so hard to maintain, nay, nurture, their dignity. Their brotherhood, care and love for each other is a sight to behold – so precious and lovely.

    This is the first time I have ever watched Jang Dong Gun in anything, and just with this one show, he has shot up above all the other most-loved k-drama actors in my list to sit atop the throne to rule them all. Yup, now, I can understand the legend (and this is just a romcom!). I am so excited to see him in Dangerous Liaison, where just from the previews, he looks so hot!

    Michael, you know I am your fan, and I continue to savour your writing. I even take notes! (because I so want to understand the Korean language and culture). CJ, thanks for your help and adding more details. And Thundie, it’s always good to read from you. Thank you, thank you for hanging on… *hugs to all

    • Hi wits,

      You’re so right about the F4 brotherhood. I could’ve just as well written about the elder F4 and the young budding F4, because there was enough material there to rival this post. The most touching scene for me was when Yoon’s wife died, and all three of his friends instantly dropped everything to be with him. Their camaraderie was enduring and precious.

      In a recent interview, Jang Dong-gun said that one thing he regrets about this drama was that he was not in a better physical shape. That may be why he looked so gaunt in this drama. I may be wrong, but I think the last time he did a drama was “All about Eve,” and if you love Jang Dong-gun, you would love that one. I thought that was his best drama.

      And thank you for being one of my most ardent fans and my most diligent student of the Korean language. 🙂

  9. Hello!

    Thank you your post. I actually watched and enjoyed watching AGD when it first aired. I suppose I enjoyed the drama as the characters were my age and I actually have a group of male friends who continue to be bachelors. My boyfriend was on the receiving end of a lot of questions of “do guys really do that?”

    However, as I am not of Korean descent, I have to rely on the efforts of the submerse. As you know, a lot of meaning (spoken and cultural) can be lost in the translation. Reading your thoughts and explanations gave me a better insight into the AGD world. I teared all over again.

    Thank you, again!

  10. Hello again Michael and Thundie! Hi CJ!

    I watched AGD while it was on it’s regular run via cable (…yes, I had the Korean package installed to our monthly cable subscription, uhm..despite of the fact that I do not understand nor speak a word of Korean!) I solely depend on recaps and I patiently wait for English subs so that I could fully understand and enjoy the dramas.

    Occasionally, I stumble upon rare treats. I have been your fan Michael, ever since your post on LTM. You made me appreciate the drama’s richness with your little nuggets of cultural wisdom. Up till present, that recap, stands to be the best one I have read…ever!

    Thank you for recapping AGD. It’s one of the dramas I enjoyed watching this year. Hehe, I have now rearranged my weekend schedule to accommodate an AGD marathon. Because of this post, you made me want to watch it again, this time guided with your language and cultural annotations!

    Ahh…AGD, I fell in love with it’s soundtrack…hmm, IDK, I even tolerated “High, high!” I discovered three actors Jang Dong Gun, Kim Hae Neul and Lee Jong Hyuk. I finally understood the hype around Jang Dong Gun, why he is considered “beloved” in Korea. When he’s together with KHN on screen, you can’t help but notice how charismatic they can be…truly. So, despite of his wrinkles and flab (err…yes, flab), I’m a newly minted Jang Dong Gun fan…oh and Kim Hae Neul’s too! Lee Jong Hyuk took a lot of getting used to because I knew him before as the villain in most of the dramas I’ve seen him in, (think: Chuno); in AGD, he was the worst in the lot, but to my surprise, his comedic timing was impeccable. I ended up laughing at his antics more. (I understand, LJH is currently enjoying a second wind in his career post-AGD, especially with CF’s.)

    Lastly, I love stories on friendships. I especially loved the mini stories before each episode – the prologues. The writer brilliantly used them to give us a hint of the episode’s content. They were like mini stories introducing each character and his quirk, that was a clever way to give us insights on the character’s personality.

    So I guess this is au revoir? I hope I don’t get to wait for another year for a new & awesome recap! Michael and CJ, your collaboration rocks! Really, really cool!

    • Hi drmjs,

      Lie to Me was actually much more enjoyable for me to write than this one, especially early on, but what makes it all worthwhile are comments like yours and others. Thank you.

      I think you may be psychic, because what determines when I write again depends on a drama and my work schedule, and unfortunately, for the entire year of 2013 I’ll have additional workload added to my already insane work hours, which means no time during weekends as well, so it would be almost impossible for me to write again until early 2014. See you then, unless, of course, I win a lottery or something. 🙂

  11. This is one of the best romantic comedy series ever. I like how mature their roles are but they still depict the natural humor of a true gentlemen. They all look so adorable and nice.

    • Yes, as romantic comedies go, this one was pretty good. And I’ll take your word for it, that the guys all look adorable and nice. 🙂 Maybe that was the problem for me.
      Compared to guys, there was a dearth of true ladies for my taste. Other than Yi-soo, Sa-ra was too coarse and selfish, Min-sook too bossy, and Mae Ah-ri too sassy.
      I know, I’m being two-dimensional and hypercritical, but hopefully I’ll come across a drama with female F4 to drool over sometime in my lifespan.

  12. I have a problem with dramas…why is it OK for the lead male character to be a jerk/immature/non respectful person in the first episodes and then turns out to be a good boyfriend later on? Is it OK for women to be “wooed” this way? Can’t someone fall in love without having been upset and looked down upon?

    • I agree with you, Mello. If I could, I would write nothing but mature, sophisticated, and interesting characters and plots, but some may view that as vanilla. Unfortunately, conflicts, angst, and generally despicable things have to co-exist to some degree with good, noble, and happy things to make it interesting. I guess that’s why they call it a drama. But you’re right. Too much of going to one extreme is not good. Kdramas, I think, tend to take it to an entirely off-this-world kind of level with this particular issue.

  13. Because I am a compulsive obsessive nerd, I just have to correct you on one particular: it was Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, not Won Bin.

    • Thanks, Jiamin, for being compulsive and obsessive. 🙂

      Just the other night, while I was in the midst of writing an important email, my daughter came into my room and asked me if I have a SD card. Not wanting to interrrupt my train of thought, I told her what I instinctively thought would be the best answer for her not to engage in any further conversation with me, “No. I don’t even know what a SD card looks like.” Which is partially true, since while I have seen a picture of SD card before, I have never used it, and at that engrossed moment, visualization of a SD card was the farthest thing from my mind.

      I couldn’t help but look up and smile at her though, when she replied, “What kind of a nerd are you, when you don’t even know what a SD card looks like.” She has called me a nerd a few times in the past affectionately, because she says while I’m obsessed with technology, I don’t understand technology.

      So, I guess I’m not even a passable nerd anymore. It’s so hard getting old. 🙂

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  15. These men look the part that they ought to be gentlemen. Are you sure they’re wack jobs interested in sex? I doubt it, I think they’re gansta type people who title themselves gentlemen, or maybe people call them gentlemen because they look so similar to one. I don’t know very much about pseudo, I might be a pseudo-poshie for all I know, I promise you no one is pseudo- anything on purpose, it just happens because the people do things a little differently or because of the white lies used as compliments about them, that’s all. A pseudo-normal is one who’s Catholic, thinks it’s the one true church, drinks iced coffee and does things people ”think” are a little odd sometimes. Same thing.

  16. Hi @softy, I don’t think you’re a JDG fan at all as you claimed you are. You’re most probably a JDG hater than a fan. What kind of a fan would say horrible things against her idol? So I don’t really believed you’re a JDG fan. Don’t you think some things are better left unsaid? Most especially if you don’t really what you’re saying. And who says no one doesn’t age? Everyone of us will reach that point whether we like it or not. But I’m sure JDG looks better than most of us as he aged. I’m sure even without the wonder of science, he will age gracefully. It was just so evident because it took him 12 years to return to Kdrama land. So most of our memories of him was his AAE days when he was just 28 yrs old. So there was really a drastic change in his looks (as he got older) but he’s still as handsome nonetheless. That’s probably the reason why you’re telling us that he has undergone aesthetic procedures or photoshopped looks. But how sure are you? Even without wrinkles, most celebrities featured in magazines are “photoshopped” especially if they don’t have flawless skin. And most Korean celebrities went under the knife and obviously most Kpop idols. That’s why they look so fake. But mind you, JDG is 100% pure and natural and was born with pretty boy looks. I should know because I’m an avid JDG fan for almost two decades now.

  17. Hi his is kinda of off topic buut I was wondering if blogs
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