Gentlemen’s Dignity

13. He Confesses

In the episode 2, time 48:04, they are sitting in a very expensive looking restaurant. They are both looking at the menu, and Yi-soo notices that one bottle of wine costs about $300 to $700, and she can’t help but look at the man sitting across from her murderously. Because Do-jin knows she’s buying.

After they clink their expensive wine in toast, she gets to the point, “When do you plan on writing the settlement paper…”
Taking time to savor the wine, “We haven’t gotten the check yet.”
Forcing a smile, “We pay when we go out.”
“Let’s talk after you pay. How would I know if you’ll just take off?” Without paying the check. He adds, “You even stole my pen.” So, how can I trust you, he means.

Not amused, she looks at him as such. He notices the look, “Why are you looking at me like that? Don’t you know that a pen thief can become a cow thief?” (This is a twist of a popular saying in Korea that a needle thief can grow up to be a cow thief, meaning that a habit of stealing even a small insignificant thing can lead to stealing something much bigger)

She’s had enough, “I’m really not in any position to talk like this since you know all my secrets, but I think I’ve allowed myself to be dragged around long enough. Am I being punished like this for not remembering you, by any chance? Your previously mentioned poetic justice?”

Amused, “That’s not it.”
“Then, what is it?”
“Because this is the only way I can see you. Because I fell in love with you at first sight.”
Getting irritated, “Please don’t joke like that.”
Still smiling, “Then, how about falling for you every time I see you?”
Starting to get angry, “Listen here…”
He interrupts her, “Why do you like Tae-san?”

That takes her by surprise, and she takes some time to size him up. Finally, “I don’t know why I have to brief you on my unrequited love, but truthfully I didn’t even have enough emotional latitude to think about why I liked him. I just liked him since the first time I laid my eyes on him, liked him even more each time I saw him, and now I like him even when I don’t see him.”

While she’s baring her soul, he closes his eyes for a moment as if it’s too painful for him to listen to. He calmly tells her, “Then don’t you think it’d be best for both of you if you resolve it one way or another? Either you find someone else or cheat with your roommate’s boyfriend.”

Just as calmly, she puts him in his place, “My unrequited love, I’ll take care of it.” Now smiling somewhat sardonically, “It suits my personality, and I happened to be quite good at it as well.”

She, no longer smiling, “So stop trying to peek into my love life, because I don’t need an audience.” He looks at her thoughtfully without saying anything. She adds, “And this is a request, please keep my secret to yourself.”

Smiling affably, “Sign the settlement paper, keep a secret… You have a lot of demands. Doesn’t that go against etiquette?” She doesn’t say anything. He goes on, “This morning, I’ve sent the signed settlement paper to the police station. You can take care of the rest with the assigned officer.” Taken by surprise, she bows, “Ah, thank you…” He interrupts her, “Thank you for the wine.” Then, he abruptly gets up and leaves. Not so sure of what she thinks of the man now, she ponders.

14. Yooni & Ah-ri

In the episode 2, time 53:00, the first of its kind and representative conversation between Mae Ah-ri and Yoon ensues. Yoon has just thwarted a come-on from a woman he helped with her divorce, and she left after giving him a box of chocolate as a token of her appreciation. Mae Ah-ri comes into his office demanding to know why he’s not coming home (Yoon’s temporarily staying at Tae-san’s). She wants to know if it’s because of her. He tells her that even before, he often didn’t sleep at home, and there were many women who gave him lodging.

She sarcastically comments how kind the woman is, giving him lodging and even chocolate. He ignores her comment, “What brings you here?” Brightening, “What are you doing later tonight?” With only a slight deliberation, he tells her the whole litany of tight and full schedule for the night. She accuses him of lying, and he looks at her dolefully. She stays sad only for a second. Smiling brightly, “Okay, I’ve got it. Have a good time, oppa.” But as soon as she turns to leave, the cheerful smile disappears and is quickly replaced by melancholy. He doesn’t look all that happy, either.

Mae Ah-ri tries to drown her sorrow in booze, and her teacher Suh Yi-soo has similar ideas, both in a bar in the episode 2, time 53:54. Mae Ah-ri downs a sip of Soju, “Can you believe that for a man of few words, he was going da-da-da-da, I thought he was rapping.” Because Yoon was talking so much and so fast with his itinerary.

Half drunk already, Yi-soo rationalizes, “He could’ve really been busy.”
Brightening, “You really think so?”
Not even looking up, “How is that possible? He rejected you.”
Not amused, she grumbles, “Ah, really.” But she becomes cheerful again, “But what about you? My brother doesn’t know? That you like him?”

Alarmed, she looks up at her for the first time tonight, “Why does he have to know that? Ah, how come everybody knows about my unrequited love?” Yi-soo asks her to keep it a secret in not-so-subtle fashion, but Mae Ah-ri protests because Yi-soo liked him first. Yi-soo reasons that doesn’t matter, because whoever confesses first gets to keep him. Suddenly it occurs to Mae Ah-ri, “You didn’t, by any chance, develop an interest in Do-jin oppa, have you?”

Offended, “Hey! What do you take me for? Just because it’s one-sided love, don’t treat it so lightly.” They console one another with booze and chocolate, but later Mae Ah-rie strong-arms Yi-soo into buying a replacement chocolate for her, but Ah-ri craftily sends it to Lim Tae-san.

Ah, there is something to be said about female intuition. Mae Ah-ri senses a growing something between Yi-soo and Do-jin, but as usual Yi-soo is clueless at this point.

15. She confesses, too… sort of

In the episode 2, time 57:30, Yi-soo gets a text that a box of chocolate she has ordered is set to be delivered to Lim Tae-san’s office. Having confirmed that it has already left, she laments to the mail person, “Why do you have to be so diligent?” She calls Do-jin as she frantically gets out of her house, “Are you by any chance in your office right now?”

“Why? Would you prefer that I be in front of your house?”
Impatiently, “Can you answer me with either yes or no, because I’m very busy right now. Is Mr. Tae-san in the office by any chance?”

Being told that Tae-san will not be in the office, she warns Do-jin not to be surprised to find her there. When she hangs up abruptly, Do-jin regrets signing the settlement so easily, “You dare hang up on me like this? No need to be nice after the settlement, huh?” At that moment, a sinfully large basket of chocolate arrives in Tae-san’s name. Given the knowledge that his soul mate is about to arrive any minute, his desire to impress her overwhelms him. He tidies up his desk, rearranges things to look busier than he really is, and at the last moment decides to put the basket on his desk.

At that very moment, Yi-soo comes rushing in and, like a mad woman, starts to look for the chocolate basket. He can’t keep quiet, “If you have something to say to Tae-san, you should call him directly. Why do you insist on making me a switch operator? Since everything’s out in the open, you feel you can use me freely now?”

She is about to have a mental breakdown, “It’s not anything like that. It’s just that something very urgent has come up. This is odd.” For the first time she barged into the office, she looks toward Do-jin, “Have you by any chance…” Then she spots the basket. Seeing her eye the basket, he does everything but pound his chest, “Ah, I told her that I don’t like sweets…”

Catching onto him, she slowly slumbers toward him, “You must be very popular with the ladies?”
“I even get them from ladies I don’t even know. It’s a hopeless situation*.” *(난감할 정도 – Nan-gam (난감) means intolerable, unbearable, at wit’s end, so literally it means intolerable level)
Exaggerating her sympathy, “I see. That must be why you even accepted one from me.”

In full alert, he slowly looks up to see her pointing an incriminating finger toward the basket with a knowing smile. Immensely enjoying his constipated look, she rubs it in, “A most expensive one, at that.” She gloats, and he feels like slithering away until a booming voice welcomes her, “Ms. Yi-soo?” Panicking, she turns around hoping to block the basket from Tae-san’s view. Glad to see her, he bounds toward her, “What are you doing here and so early in the morning?” She can only stutter, “How.. are.. you?”

Tae-san is clueless: “Maybe it’s because I’m seeing an unexpected face, but it’s really good to see you.” She just smiles uncomfortably, and he asks her, “What brings you here?” Seeing her discomfort, Tae-san automatically blames Do-jin, “You, scoundrel. You must not have settled it with her…” Do-jin interrupts him by pointing a finger at the basket, “She said she sent this to you.” Shocked beyond belief, she turns around to look at Do-jin with an expression, How could you crawl this low? Wearing a smirk grin, he continues to hold the finger steady.

“To me?” sound echoes the office from Tae-san, and Yi-soo is forced to turn and face the source of the voice. “I think she means to confess her feelings to you.” She hears the agonizing sounds coming from Do-jin behind her. And she can’t help but react violently when she hears her name following the Do-jin’s beans spilling, “Mr. Kim Do-jin!” She turns around to face Do-jin, silently beggging him to stop, but he just grins and savors the moment.

Tae-san’s confused, “Confession?” She turns around to face him with a pained expression and can only shake her head, no. Not getting a satisfied answer from her, Tae-san looks at Do-jin, “To me?”

“There are only you and me here. What, you think it’s me?”

That gives her an idea. Faster than a speeding bullet, she turns around to face Do-jin, “Yes! That’s correct. It’s Kim Do-jin.” She silently motions him to help her, but he just gives her an incredulous and pitiful smile.

Left alone to carry on, she does it admirably, “Even if there were 100 men here, it would be Kim Do-jin, my whole world is full of Kim Do-jin, and the only person in this world that I want to confess to till my dying breath is… Kim Do-jin.” She speaks at a supersonic speed and falters a bit at the end as well, probably because I’m sure even she finds the last bit hard to swallow.

Do-jin smirks and frowns at the same time as if to say, You poor thing, you shouldn’t try so hard. Well, she does. She puts the heavy basket closer to Do-jin, and with her voice faltering, “You.. are.. going to accept this, right?”

He really seems to enjoy the spectacle of her groveling… silently.

Seeing that he’s not going to cooperate, she rambles on as this scene continues onto the episode 3, time 03:15, “I know this is unexpected and preposterous, and you’re thinking, what kind of woman is this, how many times did we see each other…”

Do-jin interrupts her, “You sure it’s okay with you?” Reality sinking in, she sounds apprehensive, “What?” Motioning to the basket, “If I accept this now…” Do-jin pauses and looks at her, “We may have to live happily ever after.”

Immensely relieved and grateful that he’s not going to ruin her plan, she becomes effusive, “That’s all I can hope for. I would be a shrew if I wished for more than that.” She sticks a candy on his sweater to seal the deal, and after bidding him adieu she runs out, her contorted face belying her earlier gushy happiness.

16. Looking for Mr. XX

Do-jin wants something to remember his soul mate by when she’s not around, but he does so in his own idiosyncratic way in the episode 3, time 04:10. We see the two sticky notes stuck on his calendar. The first one reads, Wishing that the next sun-yak* is me… I’ll wait for your call. *(remember, previous engagement), but he has clarified the second one, A guy who looks like XX, by adding a few personal definitions of what XX could mean,

훈남 (A likeable man. Hoon-nam: nam means a man, hoon means likeable. Hoon actually is short for hoon-hoon 훈훈, which means making one feel warm inside),

연옌 (A famous entertainer or a celebrity. Yun-yen: short for yun-yae-in 연예인), and

귀족 (A nobleman or an aristocrat. Gui-jok).

17. Romeo and Juliet

In the episode 3, time 05:37, Yi-soo, while in the midst of one of her convulsing, freaking out session, gives Mae Ah-ri a punishment for sending the chocolate basket to her brother. Yi-soo laments to her that it’s already the fifth time Do-jin has called, while furiously pressing the ignore button, repeatedly saying, “I’ll not answer, I can’t answer.” Mae Ah-ri offers a solution. Pinching her nose to sound nasal, she answers the call and pretends to be an operator, but when Do-jin says, “Is this Mae Ah-ri?” the nasally and nosy one hangs up and tells Yi-soo calmly, “He knows it’s me.”

Yi-soo reacts her typical way by suggesting they both kill themselves, but offers to choke Mae Ah-ri first.

In the mean time, Do-jin hangs up his cell phone and looks at the chocolate basket still in his office, and makes a dry comment meant for Yi-soo, “You have committed way too big of an accident for you to think you can get away with it.” He then happens to notice a note that came with the basket, which reads,

Dear Tae-san,
My achingly heartbreaking… despairingly beautiful… Tae-san…
But you’re really naughty…
My beloved… T.T
Why did you take my heart without my consent?
Thus, I now have no heart
So, can’t I just be your* woman?    
*(In ban-mal – lower way of talking)

– Suh Yi-soo –

Speaking of heartaches and despair, Do-jin experiences some of that while reading the note. He seems positively disgusted that his soul mate wrote something so nauseatingly sweet nothings to someone else.

After slamming the note back into the basket, Do-jin tries to go back to work, but he can’t concentrate, so he makes a house call for Yi-soo only to run into the golf pro Sa-ra, who wisecracks that he couldn’t have come for her. He tells her he’s looking for Suh Yi-soo, because not only did she “commit a crime,” she won’t return his calls. They both are unaware that Yi-soo has barely ducked away from their sight a couple of houses away.

Sa-ra gives Do-jin a sage advice, “There are only two reasons why a woman won’t return the call. Either she is completely enamored with you, or she’s utterly disgusted at the very sight of you.” Do-jin counters right back, “Or she’s just completely disgusted with herself for being utterly enamored with me.” She quips, “That’s a level possible only in a Romeo and Juliet kind of situation. Bye.”

But Do-jin proves to be an admirable adversary for Yi-soo in the episode 3, time 11:57, because he has parked his car near her house to wait for her. Spotting her coming out of the minister’s house, he sends her a text message while watching her amusingly from his car only a few feet away. Too skittish to look at the message, she looks at it in a peek-a-boo fashion, which reads, Is this any way to behave after such a confession?

After watching her do her convulsing tirade, he sends her another message, I sincerely hope you don’t get caught. ^^ By him, he means. The message sends her into another tirade, and in the process of gyration, she comes face to face with him in the car. Taking advantage of her temporary catatonic state, he gets of the car and stands in front of her, “I’ve told you not to get caught, O’Ms. Suh Yi-soo, who loves Tae-san but confesses to me.”

Not being able to look him in the eyes, she timidly asks, “You’ve been well?”
Smiling prankishly, “No, not particularly.”
“But I’m sure not as bad as me, though.”

He sympathizes with her plight, sarcasm-tinged, “You were so embarrassed you couldn’t return my call, couldn’t sleep well, or able to eat much, huh?” Grateful for the unexpected understanding, she looks up at him smiling, “Yes.” He brings her down to earth, “Because you used me.” Dejectedly, “Yes.”

“A man strays from the path exactly three times in his lifetime. When his pen gets pilfered, when he reads Post-it notes full of personal defamation, and when he receives chocolate from the woman who wrote the very notes.”

She tries coquettishness by saying in a childlike manner, “I’ve told you I didn’t steal the pen, but you keep saying I did, you rascal you.” He doesn’t bite, and she, now feeling completely humiliated, “Do you want to go somewhere to talk?” Still wearing that condescending grin, “You want to?” She tells him that there is a café nearby and does he want to walk?

He has a better idea, “I’d rather be in a more personal place where there is an expensive sofa and alcohol… a place that provides four walls to give us freedom from noisy background and unwanted stares as well as a roof, such as a living room or… a bedroom.” He says the last word suggestively.

“You want us to go to… a hotel?”

Probably wondering how anyone could be so clueless, “Your house doesn’t have any walls or roof?” She does her enlightened, “Ah…” while Do-jin can’t help but tease her, “Do you live in a wilderness? You’re sick of houses? We can go to a hotel, if you so desire.”

Once in her living room, she gives him a beer and timidly asks him to sit, but he stays standing. She sits on the sofa drinking out of a mug telling him that she can’t drink because yesterday’s booze came out greeting, which is a unique Korean way of saying she’s still hung over.

Awkward silence ensues, and she tries to break it, “I’m sure you were taken back yesterday, weren’t you? It’s just that…” Suavely, he asks, “Since when did you like me?” Shocked Yi-soo notwithstanding, the ambience changes again to the springtime terrain to match Do-jin’s mood, and he asks her again, “What is it about me that you like so much?” She gives him an evil eye, but timidly, “I.. am.. sorry.”

He just loves to tease her, “You must have been dying to confess your feelings to me. The chocolate basket was thiiiis big, wasn’t it? So big that it would’ve been dangerous to lift if you were pregnant, old, or feeble.”

Meekly, “I.. am.. really sorry.”
“Oh, it’s not that I find you hard to understand. Even if you try not to, you find me achingly heartbreaking and despairingly beautiful, don’t you?”

Realizing that he has read the note, she gasps. (Now, here is where the writer lost me. If Mae Ah-ri wrote the note, and Yi-soo wasn’t privy to the note, unless the little minx told her teacher about it already, how could Yi-soo know what was written on the note? Okay, so we’ll assume that Ah-ri, to avoid more corporal punishment, told her.)

Not only does she gasps, but she also looks at him disgustingly. Smirking, “You look like you disagree with my statement. Boldly so, I might add.” He’s telling her that he’ll tell Tae-san her secret if she’d be so bold as to disagree with him. She refuses to buckle under his duress. “Because the word, achingly, was so monstrous (엄청난)* that I didn’t hear the rest of it. Uh, did you say, you are despairingly wicked?” *(Uhm-chung-nan usually means tremendous, excessive, extraordinary, but in this case, it means unbelievable, awful, or monstrously dreadful)

That comment breaks the spell for Do-jin, and the scenery goes back to her living room, “Is that how you’ve heard it?” Do-jin asks her dryly. She asks him, “Oh, I’m sorry. Was it despairingly… busy? You are busy, right?” Now, who’s playing with whom.

Despairingly, “A man strays from the path exactly four times in his lifetime.”
Irritated, “You’ve said three times before.”
“You’ve just insisted (굳이)* on adding one more.” *(Goo-ji means obstinately or insistently make it happen)

She tries a nauseatingly sweeter tactic, “Oh, my. What am I thinking? Director Kim is flowery, right? No wonder, because every time I see you, I’ve always thought you were despairingly pretty.” He sees right through her ruse, and she takes umbrage at his incredulous expression, “What? You no longer think you’re flowery? Umo! I really could see why you’d think that (you’re flowery). How sad. Don’t you think you’re too modest?”

“Did you always have this multiple personality trait? Is the teacher Suh Yi-soo in there? Her pen name is thief, she has talent for unrequited love, and her specialty is pretending not to remember someone she knows.”

Subdued, “There is no need to over-praise. Why did you say you came here for?”
Getting serious, “Because I was worried about you. Tae-san was there when you confessed, you know.”

She also becomes solemn, “I was thinking about that. We could still salvage the situation if you just say to him, ‘I broke up with her, I don’t like her…’”
Grinning, “But I don’t not like her.”
“I have no intention of doing that.” He means he still wants to continue to like her, bug her, and generally make a pest of himself with her.

Getting a rise, “Why? It’s not like that’s a hard task to do. And it’s not like I can go to him and say I was dumped.”
“I’ve already told you why.” Because he likes her.
Clueless as usual, “When?”
Ignoring her question, “Are you going to continue to not answer my calls?”
“Are you going to continue to call me?”
Gauging her for a moment, “You don’t want to answer my calls?”
“This is not an issue about whether I like or don’t like to answer your calls…”
“Then, answer them.” And he leaves, and she’s not sure what to make of it.

18. Betty

In the episode 3, time 23:50, Do-jin makes some wheeling and dealing moves behind the scenes so that he could be alone with Yi-soon in the car to a baseball game out of town. Just as Yi-soo comes out of her house gate, she sees Do-jin get out of his car. She does a 180 degree turn to walk away when his words stop her, “Yes. I’m very happy to see you as well.” Grimacing, then smiling, she turns around, “I wasn’t avoiding you. I left something in the house.”

“Of course, because no women would avoid me.” When he was 20 years younger, maybe…

After he explains to her how he, instead of the lawyer Yoon, came to pick her up, in time 25:44, Do-jin and Yi-soo embark on a car journey together. She asks him what position he plays in baseball, because the last time… He tells her that the last time he was blackmailed into playing by Tae-san, “I don’t like baseball. With the exception of golf, ball sports in general just seem like gang fights to me.”

As a matter of factly, “But you like gang fights.” She’s referring to the fight he supposedly had with her students. He gives her the look, and she acts as if she didn’t say anything inflammatory at all. She asks him why he’s going to the game then, and he tells her that the baseball team, the Blue Cat, needs someone to be in charge of “visual,” as he preens himself in the rearview mirror. I think Koreans use the word, visual, to mean taking videos, but I think Do-jin comes out with an entirely different meaning here… as in I’ll be the most visual (handsome, brightest…) star on the field. Yi-soo looks at him like he just upchucked all over himself.

Do-jin, suddenly, starts to sniff, “Do you, by any chance, have something to eat in the bag?”
Excitedly, “I have seaweed rolls and boiled eggs.”
Frowning as she offers, “This unidentifiable smell is seaweed rolls?”
Perplexed, “I’ve thought (we) might get hungry during this long ride.”
“Who?” Who might get hungry.
“You secretly love Tae-san, yet you confess to me, but you’ve made seaweed rolls for Yoon?”

She frowns as if she’s not sure what his point is, but she decides to be cordial anyway, “You want some?” With certainty in his voice, “No, thank you.”

With sudden chirpiness, “Then, at least have an egg,” as she cracks an egg against the dashboard.

Mortified, “What did you just do?”
Perplexed, “What did I do?”

“I don’t even meet women with Rooster (Chinese Zodiac) sign because I hate chicken. Did you just crack an egg laid by a chicken? Don’t you see the (immaculate) condition of the car? This car is clean enough to perform sterile biological experiments in. My car is like this 365 days out of a year. What do you think that means?” That he’s a germicidal psycho?

“That someone you know owns a car wash?”
Impatiently, “No, that’s not it. It means I love this car. I can’t tolerate eating in, putting adhesive things on, or dropping things in the car…”
Sarcastically, “Before long, you’re going to give this car a name, too.”

He suddenly shuts up, and noticing his expression, it dawns on her, “You’ve got to be kidding me…” He tries to change the subject, “You don’t have to go the restroom?” She erupts in laughter, “You really did give it a name. What’s her name? Is it a male or female name?” He doesn’t reply, but stops at the next rest area, comes around and opens the passenger side door, and tells her, “Get out, with your bag.”

Shocked, “Are you going to leave me here…”
“The food in the bag, since you can’t ride with them, put them in your stomach first.”

She makes a face, but once out, she eats up a storm, and Do-jin looks at her incredulously, “Do you always eat so much at one sitting?”

Happily stuffing her face, “I really enjoy eating this kind of food at a highway rest stop.”
“You can’t hear when you’re eating? My point is what kind of woman eats so much.”
Sighing as if tired of his nagging, “That’s why I’ve offered to share.”
“No, thank you. I don’t eat face to face with a confirmed thief.”
She’s had enough. She gives him an eyeful, “Now, really.”
Unfazed, “By the way, you really don’t know who I am?”

Not expecting that, she almost chokes on her food, but he’s not letting her slide that easily, “Red yarn thread, attack-oriented derriere, you really don’t remember?” She does choke this time, on her soda.

Smugly, “You’re choking on food all over the place, but we’ll still make believe you don’t remember.”
Screaming at him, “I don’t know! I don’t know! How many times do I have to say that? Even if you ask me a hundred times, I still wouldn’t remember.”
“Ah, I see. You don’t remember to that degree, huh? Okay, I’ve got it. Then, let’s go.”
She stops him from taking her tray, “I’m not finished yet.”
“I saw how much you ate. You are finished. Let’s go.” And he takes her tray.

Continue reading >>> Page 4: Love Guru

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34 Responses »

  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
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
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