Gentlemen’s Dignity

43. Not Tonight, Honey

In the episode 12, time 55:60, the two lovebirds are now eating steak for dinner in a fancy restaurant, and Do-jin wants to know, “If you’re building a house, what kind of house do you want to live in?” She becomes alarmingly still and after a brief pause, she stammers, “Why do you ask?” Busy cutting steak, “Because I can find out about a person’s tendencies depending on the kind of house the person wants to live in.” Looking up and smiling at her, “Think of it as an occupational disease.”

Unusually quiet and serious, he becomes alarmed. She finally speaks, “A house where no one leaves. Even if you leave for a short while, you always return… that kind of house.” She looks up and smiles. Sensing something, he tries a lighter approach, “I guess I’ll have to build it in an expensive area, where the rise in house price will ensure that no one would want to leave.” Because no one would want to miss out on the profit. She forces a smile, but Do-jin has other things on his mind, “If you’re done, let’s go up.”

“To where? To the lounge?”
Smiling suggestively, “To the room.”

Smiling smugly, “Do you think the architect built this hotel just for eating? If you want to just eat, you go to restaurant. You drink in a bar, you buy medications in a pharmacy, and if you come to hotel, you stay the night.”

Sighing, “You brought me all the way here because you’ve had an ulterior motive?”
Shrugging, “What can I say if you’ve just come to that realization?”

She can only marvel at his ingenuity and persistence, but she remembers that she had put on very bland brassiere and panty this morning, not the ones she had bought specifically for this kind of occasion. She puts the brake on, “No! Absolutely not! Definitely not tonight.”

Smiling amusingly, “Then, when is it possible?”
Grimacing, “First of all, today is positively out.”
Suavely, “Then, tomorrow.”
Anxiously, “Let’s talk about that tomorrow. It’s past 6 o’clock. I’m a civil servant, you know.” As in, she has to go to work tomorrow.
Giving her I’m-onto-you look, “It’s a weekend, you know.”

He throws her the car key, and she catches it by reflex. Surprised, “You want me to drive?” Smiling, “You expect me to drive after you put me in the depth of despair? Think of it as an opportunity to become better acquainted with Betty.”

44. Marry Me

She drives while he naps, and that’s how she finds him when she parks the car in front of her house. Unable to wake him up from deep slumber, she walks around the car and stands watching him sleep through the car window with a faint smile on her face.

She examines his face closely, when suddenly the passenger side window starts to open without any stirring from him. Startled, she jumps, and he slowly opens his eyes. Narrowing her eyes, “You were pretending to sleep.” His voice sleep-filled, “I just got up.” He unbuckles his seat belt, leans forward with both of his arms on the window, and peers at her intently. He speaks ban-mal (lower form of language) but earnestly, “Suh Yi-soo. Live with me.”

Surprised, “What did you say?”
“Let’s live together.”

Perplexed, “What are you saying right now…” He interrupts her, “In your next life, I won’t meddle regardless of whom you sleep with, but in return, live with me in this lifetime. You’ll be happy. I promise you that.”

This scene moves onto the episode 13, time 04:00. Yi-soo’s shocked and becomes speechless for some time. When she does find her voice at last, she changes the subject, “By the way, why are you talking ban-mal to me?” Unfazed, “Because I felt like it.* (I mean,) if you can kiss a window…”**

*(Literally, he said, “It’s my mind.” He means it’s his call.)   **(It’s a cute, unexpected, and illogical response on his part, that if she can kiss a window, he should be allowed to talk ban-mal to her.)

Not ready to tackle his idiosyncratic rationale, “Never mind. What did you say you want to do? How long has it been since I opened my heart to you? Has it been a year or two? We’ve just started to date, so how can you talk about marriage already?”

“Is time that important?”

She tries a different angle, “You once said you are a confirmed bachelor. You’ve told me that you didn’t think you could love or live a lifetime with one woman.” Calmly, he replies, “I still don’t know if I can do it, but at least now I want to try.” She is speechless again for a moment, “Be that as it may, my answer is no.”

Smiling faintly, “As of now?” With spunk, “In any case.*” *(Ah-moo-tun, 아무튼 , means regardless of, no matter what… the answer is still no.) After a slight pause, she tells him, “Go home!” And then she abruptly turns and walks toward her house.

Somewhat sadly, he calls to her, “I’m leaving. Sleep well.” His conversation is back to elevated language form. Barely turning her head while steaming toward the door, “I don’t care if you go or not!” He smiles affectionately, but what he doesn’t know is that as soon as she goes into the house, she bellows like an excited little kid, no longer able to contain the happiness that was threatening to erupt out of control.

45. Dryer and Thugs

Another cute dating scene occurs in the episode 13, time 24:22, when Do-jin calls on Yi-soo unannounced at the very moment she was zapping her legs with a laser hair removal device that looks like a big hair dryer. He happened to run into Sa-ra outside, and he came in with Sa-ra. Embarrassed, Yi-soo pretends to dry her hair with the same apparatus – without any air coming out.

Later, Yi-soo excuses herself to her bedroom, and Do-jin follows her. In her room, Yi-soo gives him the third degree, “How can you just suddenly show up at a woman’s place unannounced like this?”

“If I had called, then I would’ve missed that adorable scene I’ve just witnessed.” She suddenly starts to yell at him, “I’ve told you it was a dryer! A dryer!” Taken back a little, he concedes, “Okay. It was absolutely not a depilatory device, but a dryer.”

Frowning, “Ah, really. Only if you weren’t so glib.” (It’s a common saying in Korea: Only if he were mute, then at least he would get sympathy. It has backdoor complimentary connotation that he’s a smooth, glib talker) “I probably would be doing something different with the lips.” Instead of talking, he means.

She scoffs, and he gives her a kiss on the hand, “Something like this.” He gets up and gives a kiss on her cheek, “Or something like this.” She sighs, and then suddenly gives him a kiss on the lips.

Smiling cutely, she replies, “Or do something like this.” He smiles warmly and gives her a hug, and she hugs him back. While embracing, he lets out a pretended deep frustrated sigh, “I wonder if Sa-ra’s leaving anytime soon.” Literally. Smiling, “Oh, you.”

“Did you hear the news? I was scouted by the Blue Cats.” The baseball team.
“Scouted? That’s not possible. Do you even know how many stitches there are on a baseball?”
Teasing, “For someone who’s imprisoned (in his grasp), you certainly have a very impudent tongue.”
Smiling, “You’d better let me go if you don’t want to get thrown out of the game.” By her, an umpire.
“If I let you go, will you live with me?”
“Ah, is today that time already? The time to get love lashing.” (It’s a common saying in Korea, the love punishment. Punishment doled out because it’s for your own good, in the name of love)
“Hum… your head’s getting too big.” For her britches?

With that he steers toward the bed while still embracing, when Yi-soo gets a telephone call.
With a playful, “Oh! It’s my phone.” she flings him across the room to answer her cell phone.

His male pride hurt for being manhandled by a woman, he protests, “What kind of behavior is this?” Playfully, she explains, “Free at last from the imprisonment.” She makes a gesture of unlocking her smart phone in the air. (She’s referring to her imprisoned embrace) No longer in the mood for the prison game, she smiles, “Wait outside. Let’s go out to dinner.” He smiles back, “Dinner at the H hotel. The 9th floor restaurant is good.”

Of course, they never make it to the restaurant, because the call was from the two thugs, who are the sons of a man her mother married after abandoning Yi-soo when she was only 12 years old. Her mother has raised the two thugs for 24 years, but they still call her Yi-soo’s mother.

46. Jekyll and Hyde

Do-jin appears in front of teary-eyed Yi-soo after the confrontation with the two thugs in the episode 13, time 29:55, and tenderly wipes her tears. He tells her that he came, not from jealousy, but because he was concerned. He asks her what this is about, but when she doesn’t answer, he tells her that she can tell him when she’s ready. But he wants to make sure that she knows he’ll always be there whenever she needs help.

She suddenly smiles at that and tells him, “Right now… I’m hungry.” He smiles radiantly, “Let’s go eat. I wonder what Suh Yi-soo likes to eat when she’s starving. Let’s find out each other’s culinary preferences while we eat.” She looks at him warmly and smiles despite tears flowing down her face.

Do-jin is so understanding, patient, and loving here, but when a beast called jealousy strikes him, he turns into one ugly Hyde.

In the episode 13, time 46:34, Yi-soo’s walking out of the school at the end of the day with two fellow teachers. The busybody older teacher, who thinks that Yi-soo got dumped by Do-jin, tries to console her, “My brother-in-law really doesn’t care about woman’s looks. So, don’t you worry about a thing and just meet with him.”

Yi-soo tries to set her straight, “I’m sorry, but I’m seeing someone right now.”
Not easily convinced, “Oh, you don’t have to be like that with me. It’s no crime to get dumped, especially at your age.”
Frustrated, “No, I really didn’t get dumped.”
“Yes, you may not be even aware that you were dumped. But, think about it. How can that man of sculpture even associate with someone like you…”

She stops talking at that moment, and she looks like she’s seeing an apparition, because the scene changes to Do-jin, in his dark attire wearing dark sunglasses, looking every bit like a sculpture, standing right in front of them by his Benz waiting just for Yi-soo. And he even waves and smiles at Yi-soo.

Yi-soo has never been happier to see him, but the old teacher, now over the initial shock, looks for an explanation she can mentally grasp to, “He must really be a nice person. Hum… maybe he’s not good with closures.” Not letting that bother her, Yi-soo milks it all she can, after saying goodbye to them, “Now, really. He didn’t have to come to the front of the school like this. Will it kill him not see me just for one day.”

She bounces up to where he’s standing and gets in his car, but she’s surprised and embarrassed to see him buckle her seat belt. She reminds him, “We are in front of the school.” Suavely, he replies, “Yes, but I’m in front of Suh Yi-soo.”

As the old lady watches them from a distance, she is puzzled because she tells the other lady that tall women tend to have bad luck with men, but even that logic can’t seem to prevent her from feeling envious.

The two lovebirds eat in the restaurant in the episode 13, time 48:01. Still beaming, Yi-soo asks Do-jin, “Aren’t you busy? Can you afford to leave work early often like this?”

“I’m busy. I’m crazy busy, but what can I do when you get off at this time? If it worries you that much, you can live with me. That way, we don’t waste time.”
Chuckling, “Hah! I distinctively said no, didn’t I?”
“I believe that woman’s special prerogative is to change her mind.”

She gives him a sage advice or two. “Finish your meal. And don’t be a picky eater.” He smiles and starts to eat. At that moment, a commotion occurs in the other room separated by a see through window. The fans crowd around Jung Yong-hwa, the lead singer for CN Blue.

Seeing Yong-hwa, Yi-soo beams, “Oh, it’s our Yong-hwa.” (The word, our, is used commonly to denote closeness or intimacy, not necessarily and usually not sexual)

Do-jin takes exception to her using the word, because he can’t stand Yi-soo being closer to any male other than him, “Our Yong-hwa? Are you an e-mo* fan?”

*(E-mo, 이모, is maternal aunt. But since Korea is a paternalistic society, paternal aunt, go-mo, 고모, is “ranked” higher than maternal aunt, thus e-mo, but not go-mo, is widely used to address any woman, especially older waitresses, small bar owners, etc. E-mo used that way sounds more personable and friendlier than calling them ah-jum-ma)

Do-jin’s still steamed, “You don’t think I have stars I follow. Let’s see, I wonder what Tae-hee* is doing these days. I wonder if our Binnie’s doing okay in the military.” *(Kim Tae-hee is widely considered to be the most beautiful Korean actress alive, and I’m sure Binnie doesn’t need introduction)

Yi-soo finds jealous Do-jin cute, “Are you being jealous, again? Come to think of it, since he’s here, you think I should entice Jung Yong-hwa? I mean, he’s a Hallyu star, handsome, and young. Come to think of it, he doesn’t lack anything. He just might go for someone like me, what do you think?”

Bewildered, he looks at the various food on the table, “What did you eat for you to act like this?” She chuckles, “I take that as a yes, okay?” She then waves to Yong-hwa.

Yong-hwa, noticing Yi-soo, brightens and bolts out of his chair to come over to her table. Triumphantly, she tells stunned Do-jin, “You saw that, right?” Yong-hwa, walking toward them, excitedly addresses her as, “Teacher!” Do-jin silently mouths to himself, “Teacher?”

Yi-soo greets him warmly, “Hi, it’s been a while. I didn’t think we could run into each other like this.”
Nostalgically, “Ah… you haven’t changed a bit. I recognized you right away.”
“I’ve aged, I’m sure.”

Yi-soo turns to Do-jin, “I was his 9th grade teacher.” She introduces Do-jin as her boyfriend to Yong-hwa. Reluctantly, Do-jin tells him, “It’s nice to meet you.” Yong-hwa bows and asks him to talk ban-mal to him, “After all, you are almost my father’s age.”

Well, Do-jin wasn’t crazy about Yong-hwa before, but now all Do-jin sees is fiery red. Yong-hwa, as he takes the chair from the next table, tells him that he’s going to briefly sit down with them.
Sarcastically, Do-jin tells him, “You don’t have to. I’m sure you’re busy.” Yong-hwa feels the inappropriateness of Do-jin’s comment, but he’s not sure why.

Yi-soo asks Yong-hwa, “You must be very busy. A short while ago, I’ve read an article that you went to Hong Kong.” Do-jin disdainfully sets the record straight, “It’s not like no one else’s been to Hong Kong.” Yong-hwa looks at Do-jin again quizzically, and Yi-soo tries her best to divert Yong-hwa’s attention, “I’m very proud of you. Not because you’re famous, but because you always try your best.”

Yong-hwa gets bashful and looks down embarrassed, but he looks up when Do-jin makes another snide remark, “Oh, yeah. And other recording artists are just all dawdling away.”

Yong-hwa had enough. He asks Yi-soo, “Does he always talk to himself like this?” Chuckling, and giving Do-jin a pretended evil eye, “I’m not sure, because I haven’t dated him that long. Ah! I really like one of your songs.” Brightening, “Really?” “Yes! I sing it often.” (I think she’s referring to the song, Intuition, 직감, by CN Blue that she sang on the street while she was drunk, and Do-jin following her from behind in the episode 4, time 19:00)

At that very moment, Do-jin starts to sing one of Big Bang’s song, Blue, “I’m singing my blues… (I’m used to) blue tears, blue sadness…“ Big Bang and CN Blue are under two different management companies, so in a way they are competitors.

Yong-hwa looks disappointed, and Yi-soo gives Do-jin the real evil eyes. Do-jin stops singing, “Oh, this must not be the song. (I thought it was, because) she sings this song often.”

Yong-hwa asks her, “You like Big Bang?” Sounding disappointed, “That’s not fair. When I was in school, I really liked you.” Yi-soo beams, “Really? I have to brag about that from now on.”

Do-jin doesn’t like that idea one bit. He addresses Yong-hwa in English, “Hey, you! Your entourage is waiting. You’re now a complete loner*.” *(This is in reference to one of CN Blue’s hit songs, I’m a loner, 외톨이야) Yong-hwa, now not puzzled, tells him coolly, “I was leaving.” Yong-hwa turns to Yi-soo, “You’re absolutely too good for him. A man can tell about another man better, you know.”

Do-jin doesn’t like that comment one bit. Yong-hwa tells Yi-soo that he’ll keep in touch, and she tells him to be healthy. Yong-hwa wishes the same for her, stands up and bows to her. He then turns to Do-jin, stares at him coldly, then without bowing turns and leaves.

Do-jin takes it out on Yi-soo, “You had better not answer any of his calls.”
Smiling, “I can’t even take a call from one of my students?”
Yelling, “Of course, you shouldn’t! You had no problem ignoring my calls before.”

Then he throws a mini-temper tantrum like a kid, “I’m not eating!” She good-naturedly chuckles, apparently finding his behavior amusing.

47. Pitter Patter

In the episode 13, time 51:25, Yi-soo tells Do-jin to stop as he’s walking out of the restaurant. He stops, and she walks up to stand in front of him, “Let’s put a closure on that issue.”

Perplexed, “What issue?”
“I’m not going to live with you.”
Surprised, “Why not?”

“Because I want to continue to date. Not the one-sided kind of date, but one where both are of the same mind. The kind where hearts go pitter patter from unadulterated euphoria so that other people are ready to burst from envy. Pure and innocently.”

“I don’t know about others, but you’ve already caused me to burst (with envy) just a moment ago.”
“Don’t change the subject. You are going to date me like that, won’t you?”
“Exactly how do you date like that?”
“How can you ask jjak-love expert that? Aren’t you the one with oodles of women experience?”

Innocently, “It’s just that I’ve never met a woman who wanted her heart to go pitter patter from unadulterated euphoria. Pure and innocently.”
Getting a rise, “As if that’s something to be proud of. What? The other women must have wanted dress, bags, and jewelries? Pure and innocently.”

His face hardening, he gets close to her face and tells her to, “Go ahead. Give me more.” In Eastwood style. As in Clint Eastwood’s Make my day tone.

Defiantly, “What? Did I say something I shouldn’t have?”
“So, I want you to give me more.”
Standing her ground, “If I give you more, what are you going to do then?”

Now pushing her against the car, “What you are imagining right now would be correct.”
Her eyes daring him to, “You’d better not do it.”
Glibly, “Specifically, where do you want me to do it? Here?” Then, he lightly but loudly kisses her lips.

She was afraid that he would show public affection like this, and now that he has done it, she’s all embarrassed and frustrated, “Ah, really!” Smiling, he acts innocent, “I was just asking because I didn’t know. Is this what patter patter means, teacher?” Smiling back, she shows him, “No, this is.”

She then covers both of his hands with hers and sighs, “Ah, dating is hard. Where do I begin to teach this naughty man?” Smiling, he offers her hope, “I’m a pretty quick study, though.” She can’t help but laugh at that.

48. Freckles

In the episode 14, time 05:00, Yi-soo spots Do-jin’s car in front of her school with all the windows down, but no Do-jin. She peeks inside the car on the passenger side, “Where could he have gone, leaving his briefs in the car?” At that moment, Do-jin comes right next her carrying two cups of coffee, “Is there anything good to steal?”

Startled, she straightens up, “You scared me. Where did you go?” Giving her one cup, “To get coffee.” She takes the cup, and he asks her in a teasing tone, “Did my girlfriend enjoy her lunch, today?”

Coyly, “What, you think I can’t eat without you?”
“What did my girlfriend have for lunch?”
Chuckling, “Your girlfriend had squid over rice, and in 20 minutes she has to go back to her class.”
“We have whole 20 minutes left? You’re not pretty enough for me to part with 20 minutes of my life, you know.”

She chuckles, but then realizes she should get mad. She raises her voice in mock anger, “In all of my life, I have never heard an insult quite like that before.” Immensely enjoying it, “Uh? You’ve gotten even uglier. You want to go someplace dark? In this broad daylight, it really shows.” Giving him a glare, “Now, really.”

Grinning, he puts his hand above her face. Glancing at the hand, she asks, “What are you doing?” “So that you don’t get freckles. You’re not that good looking as it is.” And he gives her a wink. Knowing that his action belies his words, she smiles affectionately.

Then remembering, she asks him, “By the way, are you going anywhere? I saw an airline ticket in the car.”
“Oh, that. The kid. He is the one who’s leaving. (You know,) I can’t go anywhere without Suh Yi-soo.”
In serious tone, “He wants to leave?”
“Even if he doesn’t want to, he should go… because he’s still young, and I’m also worried.”
Searching his face, “Whom are you worried about? Your first love, Kim Eun-yi?”
“No. You. You are stressing over it, I know.” She smiles somewhat painfully at that.

He tells her, “I’ll drop him off, so wait for me. Let’s have dinner together.”
Surprised, “Today? We just saw each other, but you want to see me again?”
“How many times do you eat a day?”
Automatically, she answers, “Three times.”
“You eat three times a day, but you can’t see me twice in one day?”
Smiling, “What kind of logic is that?”
Smiling back, “So that when you’re alone, I want you to pi-sik* laugh at the absurdity of it.” *(Pi-sik, 피식, means a short laugh made by letting the air escape briefly from the lips)

As he walks around her to get to the driver’s side, thinking about what he said makes her laugh, and he points to her, “See? I was right. Bye. I’ll see you later.” He waves her good-bye, and he drives off. She can’t help but let her smile linger long after he has left.

49. Collin

But their pure, innocent, and fairytale dating comes to a screeching halt due to Hurricane Collin in the episode 14, time 12:10, when Do-jin somehow feels in his heart that Collin is his son based on the boy’s birth date.

The beginning of the episode 14, where our lovebirds had a cute little repartee (“Freckles”) is where their happiness ends for now, because Do-jin never shows up for the dinner with Yi-soo and avoids her like a plague since then until the early part of the episode 17. This period proves to be the toughest angsty time for me, because initially Yi-soo (and me) doesn’t understand why Do-jin wants to end their relationship. Mainly because Do-jin never spells it out for Yi-soo, other than telling her in the episode 14, time 46:47, that he’s sorry, but he can’t keep his promise to make her happy.

Yi-soo asks him point blank if Collin is his son, and he replies, yes. He tells her that it wasn’t that he didn’t know if he could live a lifetime with one woman, but rather it was because he didn’t have the right to. He thinks it’s his just punishment for living his life “immodestly,” causing emotional pain to so many women in his life. Yi-soo asks him if there’s anything else he wants to tell her, because she wants to hear that he still loves her, but the only thing he says is goodbye. But what she doesn’t realize is that he’s doing it in essence out of his love for her. He doesn’t want to “ruin” or “tarnish” Yi-soo by her marrying a man saddled with a teenage son. And in Korean culture, unfortunately, it’s a big issue.

In the episode 14, time 57:00, Tae-san helps Yi-soo begin to understand Do-jin’s actions. Yi-soo tells Lim Tae-san that Do-jin dumped her without giving her time to ponder or without even asking her thoughts on the matter. Tae-san tells her that he probably would’ve done the same if he were Do-jin, because giving her time to ponder is in essence same as begging her to stay despite the circumstance. Tae-san tells her that Do-jin probably thinks that’s too thick-faced and self-serving. Tae-san tells Yi-soo, “The Do-jin that I know did what he did because he wanted to protect you.”

Continue reading >>> Page 9: Eun-yi

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