What’s Up Fox? – Episode 1 Recap

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-14h22m25s181Recap by Jomo

Reminder that we will be maintaining these recaps as spoiler free as we can, so keep your comments within the current episodes, s’il vous plait. It is nicer to the new viewers and more fun to pretend we don’t know what happens next.

Conquerors on horseback invade a town, knocking market stalls and sending the citizens running.  A couple steals into a shed-like building and start to get sexy. She pretends to be the conquered one, arms up on the post, but not tied, while he says suggestive things.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-14h30m47s87The woman relishes his lewd behavior, smiles and removes her clothing.  Confirming their mutual attraction, they decide the time is now and she calls him….  “Oppa?” (Hold on – not Oreboni?) He pushes her more forcefully against the post, when it falls over from their weight, and they crash down with it. Like dominoes, that sends the next post down, too, then the walls, revealing their tryst to the whole town.  The attackers stop mid kill, the townspeople look up in surprise.

The couple giggles in embarrassment as a voice over clarifies the situation. This is a pair of extras on the set of Jumong getting it on on the set.vlcsnap-2013-05-19-14h38m20s10

A woman, Go Byung-hee, pushes herself away from her keyboard congratulating herself on what a novel idea this story has.  She laughs and comments that film sets may look grand, but they really aren’t that stable.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-14h48m38s48She twists her face, looking for inspiration to finish the scene, but stalls, then tells herself to just carry on – no reason to dwell on this specific part.

She types the dialog between the pair in a high-pitched sexy voice that includes such gems as “You must be hungry for it” “Do you like that?” “I’m going crazy…” and climaxes in time with the phone ringing, typing her “Oh oh oh oh oh’s” in ecstasy.

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She answers the call “This is C’est Si Bon magazine, how can I help you?” A customer complains that the item he received  wasn’t working for him. As she offers advice for his sex-toy, we get a visual tour of the office and an idea of what the company is like. Old fashioned and a little shabby. Posters of scantily clad girls with come hither looks paper the walls. Spilled water and ice cubes are left untouched. “Men’s” magazines are displayed and piled here and there and a weight-lifting bench sits idle near a small fridge.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h36m25s139When nothing she offers helps, she tells Mr. Customer he can send it back. Suddenly he says it works, and that her voice is sexier than the dolls.  She musses her hair and hangs up agreeing that indeed she does have a sexy voice.

Needing to stretch, she struts away from her desk towards a stand-up mirror, detailing all her sexy traits while caressing  herself: A perfect S line. Shoulders that are the envy of others. Abs like Lee Hioris. Wild hair style and kissable lips and beautiful eyes.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h42m32s234She doesn’t notice a man, Bae Hee-myung,  has entered the room in the midst of her self-adoration until after she says something to the effect of “Give it to me BIG boy!”

vlcsnap-2013-05-03-21h53m22s99 throwing her head over her shoulder. The man stifles a smile and asks if now is not a good time.vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h42m53s184

Very coolly, she says, no it isn’t. He is about to leave, when he tells her he did knock but she didn’t hear it, to which she responds that she was busy.

A delayed, but very embarrassed reaction follows.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h43m15s149In shock, she covers her mouth, then repeats, “What to do?”  trying to figure out when he came in and what he heard while banging her head on the copier. LOL  The noise wakes up her co-worker, Jo Sung-ran, who was out cold at her desk the whole time

Did he hear the part about shoulders, Lee Hiori stomach, the “Give it to me, Big Boy?”

In the hall, Hee-myung laughs and looks at the shabbiness of the place, wiping dust from a poster.  Another man, Hwang Yong-gil,  comes up the stairs. They know each other. Yong-gil apologizes for being late for their appointment, but he had to make a trip to the Board of Censors to defend an article about “Five Types of Massage” in a past issue.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h44m19s19Yong-gil goes into the office wondering why his friend stayed out in the hall.

Once inside, he addresses the woman as “Miss Go” kidding that she’s not going to break the copier with her meager strength, the goes to his desk complaining about the heat. Hee-myung keeps laughing.

Miss Go lets the boss know she handled another call from “that magazine inspector.”  The boss asks where Sung-ran is, who pops up wiping drool from her mouth. Her man radar goes off, though, and she quickly puts her glasses on to see the new specimen in the room.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h45m05s226 Boss grumbles she needs to stop sleeping and clubbing and orders her to get coffee.

Miss Go hesitates to bring up another problem with the “Cyborgs” (I can only imagine…), but Boss wants to know, “Cyborgs –what about them?” So she tells him there were a lot of defectives.

Boss offers one to Hee-myung, who objects, “Hyung!” before his friend retracts the offer saying an expert like him would have no need.  Byung-hee eyes him considering what the Boss said.

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The air conditioner is on the fritz so the boss wants to leave with his friend.  He tells Sung-ran to put the coffee on ice, and, advisers her to stop eating so much ice as it is bad for her stomach.  As he leaves, he asks Miss Go when she would be done for the day. This time, she corrects him, saying she is “Reporter” Go not “Miss” Go. He tries to blow off her concern, but you can tell it rankles.

Then the boss, who has been complaining about the heat, says. “It’s really cold,” and turns off Byung-hee’s fan.

The two men leave, and Hee-myung has a parting shot “You really were sexy back then.” A “Hehn?” of shock is her answer, and she gripes that he couldn’t have pretended not to see it.

Sung-ran rushes over asking who the handsome man was and wonders how such a classy guy could have a crude friend like their boss.  Byung-hee agrees that the fact that he flirted with her makes him OK in her book. Sung-ran’s face shows disgust.

To some sexy background music, we see the printing press and production line for  the “C’est Si Bon” magazine –  ending with the delivery to the stores.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-15h57m03s139 This segue ways to the introduction to a very scruffy fellow buying a copy.   He walks through the streets, weighed down by a large back-pack, drinking a bottle of water,

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h46m16s170then bangs on an apartment door yelling, “Noonah.” To his surprise an old man opens the door giving him a dirty look.  He tries to call someone from a phone booth, but can’t remember the number.

Hoping to find a room in another inn,  he rings the doorbell at the green door entrance of a house, to no response again. Not letting that stop him, he climbs over the wall and opens the door from the inside. He obviously has been there before since he finds the hidden key under the flower pot and goes in, proceeding to feed himself while reading from Byung-hee’s article.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h47m31s149We see her hard at work writing the words that he scoffs at asking “Isn’t that from last year?”

Byung-hee shops at the market, texting her mother from her real estate office on what she wants. vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h48m01s189She buys fish and frog’s legs.  At a high end fashion boutique, we see a gorgeous model, Byung-hee’s s sister, Joon-hee,  in a stunning gown, texting that she will be late because she has to try on some dresses.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h48m18s104Byung-hee goes into the house Scruffy just entered. She calls out for her mother  – surprised she would be home already. The shower is running so she continues the conversation about the frog’s legs while cleaning up the bowls of food left on the table. Embarrassed to see her magazine out, she folds it in half, hiding it. She asks  “Why did you spend money to buy it” when she could bring it home for free?  Her mother doesn’t answer from the shower.  She walks closer, notices a shirt on the floor. Did her mother buy some new clothes? Flash to the shower, thank you very much, and Scruffy is looking mighty manly in his bare shoulders, chest and arms.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-16h11m29s89  Byung-hee sniffs the shirt seconds before a call comes in from her mother,

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h48m53s199then it dawns someone ELSE is home with her.

Mom starts to apologize that she won’t be able to make it on time for dinner because of a client meeting when Byung-hee freaks out, telling her the man who stole their panties is in the shower.

The water stops and Byung-hee  panics, her mother, rushing out of her shop,  tells her daughter to go get a weapon from the shoe cabinet.

Suddenly Scruffy comes out of the bathroom in a towel. Without seeing who it is,  Byung-hee grabs a floor lamp to protect herself.  She keeps her eyes clenched tight, warning him to not come closer, taking a couple swings at the intruder.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h49m07s87Scruffy is very amused at her, grabbing the lamp and taunting, “Do you want to have fun, missy?”

This terrifies her, calling him a psycho and vainly attempting to hit him blindly.  He remarks that her violent nature makes her even more attractive to him, so she charges, again, without seeing her target.  The top of the lamp hits the ceiling and she falls onto her back on the floor. vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h49m30s54She groans in pain, and even Scruffy winces in sympathy.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h49m32s75 He smiles, crouches down to her very closely, saying, “Long time, no see, Miss Go.” She opens her eyes, and says, “Chul-su?”  It is Park Chul-su.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h49m40s160Next scene Chul-su is ducking flying videos at a rental store. He calls the woman, “Noonah” who is trying to kill him by DVD case, yelling at him that he never called, and she regrets having not killed him.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h50m13s227He keeps trying to apologize that no news is good news right?  Byung-hee is running here and there trying to clean up after the crazy sister, Park Seung-hye. The last thing Seung-hye picks up to throw causes Chul-su to cry, “Not that!  Careful! Careful!” but she tosses it anyway and he manages to grab it before it his the ground.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h50m48s73Seung-hye calls him nuts, and says she is more precious than whatever that is, but he didn’t care about her.

His response that Brother-in-law must not be doing his job right if his sister is that bad off. His sister finally breaks down in tears saying all men are jerks, and Byung-hee fills him in on their divorce.

Now, very remorseful, he sits on the floor across from his sobbing sister, taking her repeated blows and hugging her.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h51m18s111Byung-hee tells him was Seung-hye was so worried about him she never stopped calling and emailing the embassies looking for news, but heard nothing. He pats his sister’s back calling her his “Crybaby sister,” and she keeps hitting him while he holds on.  Byung-hee complains if she ever sticks her nose into their arguments again, they should call her Ok Kyung, but smiles at their peaceful, in the end, reunion. They keep hugging as Byung-hee collects the DVDs off the floor.

Seung-hye leads them all down a darkened staircase to a machinery, garbage and cob-webbed filled basement.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-22h51m32s253The reason she chose this site for her store was this basement, where once he fixes it up with his carpentry skills, Chul-su can live for a low monthly rent. Chul-su complains at first, since it really is a dump, but Seung-hye says he can live in the subway instead and storms out. She had to sell her house and afterwards there was only enough money for a single bedroom apartment. We find out, as Chul-su walks through inspecting his new digs, with Byung-hee on his heels, that Seung-hye’s divorce happened as a result of her ex going millions into debt.

Byung-hee says the couple was at the courthouse getting divorced so quickly she didn’t have a chance to talk them out of it.  In-ho, Chul-su’s former brother-in-law, was too honest, to which Chul-su replies, “Sometimes a person’s good point can turn out to be bad.” This sagacity impresses Byung-hee.

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While cleaning up the DVDs, she had found a bag of bracelets that she thinks is pretty and wonders why he bought so many. He claims he couldn’t say no to the hawkers.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h43m06s97The fact that he bought them in Nepal also makes her say “Wow.” Byung-hee’s yearning to travel the world comes out in her questions about his trip.  Wasn’t he in Italy? And now she finds out Nepal.  But Chul-su brushes off her curiosity saying he’s tired. She thinks he’s pretending.

He pulls his precious cargo out from the bag Seung-hye launched into the air. It’s two bottles of wine. Excited now, Byung-hee asks/orders him to open a bottle to celebrate them meeting again, but he refuses.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h43m50s24 It isn’t ordinary wine, and anyway, he said he was tired.  She hits him in the stomach, saying, “Faking again!”

She must have felt his tight abs because she exclaims “Ooooh!” complimenting and feeling him up more.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h14m44s97 He takes the molesting for a few seconds, then brushes her hand away, asking where the bathroom is. But now that she has felt him a little, she can’t resist more feels. She gets grabby with his biceps remarking his arms have grown bigger, too.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h14m54s197 Chul-su goes about his business ignoring her as much as he can, asking again about the bathroom.  She tells him where it is and continues her cooing that he has grown up a lot, slapping his shoulder. She is grinning so large it is funny.  She’s so proud: He went on his trip alone, he grew up well.  She can remember as if it were yesterday him running around with the little chicks.

She touches his beard, recalling when his first facial hair came in in high school. His face shows that he is getting less and less patient with her prodding. She even makes a remark that if she were a few years older, he could have grown up drinking her milk. As he bends over to pick something up, she hits his behind, which brings his head up fast in shock.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h15m43s175She is delighted saying how springy it feels, then taps him again and again  – he is not enjoying this as much as she is.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h15m51s251“Don’t pretend you have grown up. You are forever a baby to me. Got it?”

After a series of slaps, each one annoying him more than the previous one, he has had enough. He turns and grabs her wrist twisting her arm and bringing her to face him.  He glares at her and asks what exactly she is doing.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h16m21s38 But she doesn’t understand what she did wrong, and protests. He takes her hand and plants it squarely on his manhood, and holds it here.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h16m23s59She is beyond surprised.  “Next time, “ he says clearly and slowly, “if you want to touch me, isn’t it better for you to touch here directly?”

She gasps again.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h16m18s13“That’s more honest.” He finally releases her hand  and she stares at it like it was bitten. Chul-su walks away moving a mattress and she stays speechless.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h16m30s131“Weren’t  you leaving ?” He demands. To add insult to injury, he asks this in reference to her writing, “What kind of reporter are you?” and accuses her of recycling old material.

She walks towards him, still quiet but now angry, and kicks him in the back.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h16m58s159 She admonishes him further, reminding him that she considers him a little kid who can’t tie his own shoes. A baby.  He grimaces in pain and holds his lower back, but when she has gone up the stairs and out, he grins,

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h17m32s236 then continues to move his mattress, now whistling.

On the way home, Byung-hee calls him a jerk, wiping the stone wall to rid her hand of the feel of his privates.

vlcsnap-2013-05-19-23h17m40s62Then looks back wondering he he got mixed up in gangs, and if she should tell Seung-hye on him.

She goes inside. At the dinner table, Mom asks if Chul-su is still alive and agrees Seung-hye should have beaten him for worrying her so. Byung-hee says, yes but he may not make it through the night.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h47m41s36Byung-hee picks at Joon-hee’s salad and they talk about the fashion show the next day. She is so exited about going to one, her sister asks “How old are you anyway?”

Mom replies that she is old enough to have a few children already, which gives Byung-hee and idea. Shouldn’t she have a child quickly so he can become an actor who makes lots of money for her? Her joke that the child’s success may be hampered because he has a single mom falls flat. Both sis and mom walk out leaving her to eat and clean up alone.  She calls after them “What am I a trash can?”   Then picks at the left-overs, wondering why they were ignoring her today.

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The next day, at Joon-hee’s fashion show, models and dressers run around getting ready.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h51m03s255Joon-hee does her turn on the runway –getting scolded for doing it wrong. She apparently wasn’t showing enough emotion. The PD hands the mike over to someone else who singles her out and makes her walk alone.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h51m30s18He finds out she is number….NINE, and tells her to stop before she leaves the stage.  She turns around to his criticism. He calls her Arthritis, and the other creative people look at him worriedly. We find he is Park Byung-gak, the president, and the PD defends her, which causes the man to get angry and hit him with his cane. He throws her out. Backstage, Joon-hee’s friend tells her he is Bulldog, or Poison Fire. He’s a control freak, but a successful one. He has a lot of power. They gossip that he’s the one who killed his own wife.

Speak of the devil, he walks up with his cane and yells at the friend and asks Joon-hee what she is still doing here, then walks through criticizing everyone.  It is clear nobody likes him.

As Joon-hee departs down the hall, Bulldog stops her, calling out “Arthritis!” and waves her over. She approaches warily while he stares her down, then grabs her face.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h51m50s222He asks her name, when she repeats it, he stares at her more and tells her to take off her clothes  – but what he meant was to go back into the fashion show and change into the clothes there.

Later Byung-hee calls Joon-hee from the gynecologist office asking if she has to pretend to be married to see the doctor.vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h55m37s188Her sister’s like wtf and hangs up.  Byung-hee smiles at the cell picture of her and a man – speaking Japanese lines from the film “Love Letter” to him.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h55m52s73 She takes a deep breath and goes in. The doctor finds out there are some irregularities and pain in her menstrual cycle. Possibly her dizziness could be caused by anemia. When asked, Byung-hee  tells the doctor her last sexual relation was the previous week, which we have to guess is a lie, right?

The doc instructs her to change into a skirt for the internal exam, and  leaves the room. Very awkwardly, Byung-hee climbs onto the table – the one with the stirrups. The doctor comes back in and yells at her for waiting until her thirties to get examined for the first time. Holding a ultrasound wand for the internal probe, the doc tells Byung-hee to lie back and relax.  Byung-hee is beyond afraid and makes a big deal about it, finally admitting she really is still a virgin, but was embarrassed to tell her.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h56m53s179She wants to maintain her virgin status, so is there any other way to look inside? Maybe just use the one on the belly?  But the doc tells her there is a way, it is through her anus.   Ha!

Byung-hee isn’t any happier about that. And says it is inhuman, acting like a big thirty year old baby. The doc stifles all her complaints and begins, and Byung hee yells in pain.

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Chul-su is showering at a public bath, and  nicely naked.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h57m22s205Here, too.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h57m31s48He gets a hair cut and shave. He looks 100% better. Outside, he puts on his motorcycle helmet, sunglasses and starts the engine – revving it like a champ.

vlcsnap-2013-05-04-09h25m12s95Only the real owner walks up and knocks on the helmet giving Chul-su the get the hell off my bike look. So Chul-su does, rapidly, and hands over the helmet, bowing in respect as he gushes that this guy must be one of Sang-hyk’s regulars, just like him. He tells him he’s cool, then finally hands over the sunglasses and the much much cooler guy drives away.

He goes into Sang-hyuk’s bike shop, where he used to work, looking around.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-07h57m58s57He picks out a model he can almost afford. The boss quotes him a price which Chul-su attempts to convince him to lower because of their close and long relationship, but no go.  He says, “I’m Chul-su,” which doesn’t move Sang-hyuk at all.

vlcsnap-2013-05-04-09h25m46s170Then repeats, “I’m Chul-su…CHUL-SU, Park Chul-su…”  Eventually, they make a deal, since Chul-su accuses him of making alterations to the bike without disclosing it.  Deal struck, Chul-su grins like a little kid, and offers to pay… later.

Byung-hee gets the bad news from her exam. She has a 8cm growth in her uterus. This upsets Byung-hee, but the doctor assures her it most certainly NOT cancer.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h03m20s210That they will have to remove it eventually, but nothing should stop her from getting and staying pregnant. They just need to take some blood samples for now. Byung-hee cries at her sad fate. Her voice over tells us that she has taken her a healthy uterus for granted, while she paid attention to innocuous rashes on her hand.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h03m52s14She deserves this since she has lived in ignorance and turned blind eye. But this seems like too much punishment for her actions.

She shops at a medical supply store and purchases a doctor’s stryro-foam model of  a woman’s bottom, complete with all the reproductive organs.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h04m51s88She writes “Byung-hee’s I love you. ^.^” on it.

Flashback to mom’s real estate office, they chow down on black-bean noodles. Her mom regaling her with a story about some lady who had such big stomach pains, she thought she was pregnant, but turns out she had cancer with six months to live.

Byung-hee sings a comforting song to herself.

Another flashback to Sung-hee talking about a 35 year old woman who had to have her womb taken out. She called herself a Bingung mama, which makes Byung-hee laugh, back then. (The words palace and womb are similar in Korean, and “mama” means your highness.) As she reflects on having cancer or having her uterus removed is worse, but she doesn’t want it to happen. She has never even used her womb, at all, yet.  She comforts herself by staring at the old cell picture of her and the man.

Out on the highway, powerful motorcycles pass Chul-su trotting along on his little bike, though he smiles contentedly as they go by.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h05m42s94Cut to Byung-hee on the same road in the back of a taxi clutching her box of womb, looking worried.

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Chul-su rides into the bay of a auto-mechanics garage, scaring the folks working there.

Byung-hee arrives at somebody else’s work place and watches the man on her phone walk out with a box, as in he-is-leaving-the-company box.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h06m00s15Flashback to young Byung-hee sitting next to him – crying – we hear the film Love Letter from the screen.

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In the present,  she follows right behind him, then calls him on his phone. She addresses him as Sunbae, all giggly and silly,

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h06m30s53 and gets him to go drinking. He greets her very friendly, rubbing her hair, and calling her “girl.”

They go to a makgeoli place and he comments how she can drink better than she used to.  She yammers on a little, then she lets him know she had heard the news of his divorce,  bad news or him, but good news for her.

He wants to know what she wants. A job? Money? She asks if he remembered when they came there as students, and got him to pay for their food and drinks. She remembers he recited a poem that day, and she was impressed. He said it wasn’t him, but someone else. She seems shocked that she got the memory wrong.  He doesn’t understand why this news is earth-shattering, so she confesses the only reason she took the boring class with him was because of her crush on him.

She really liked Sunbae then and still, she wants to sleep with him. Her inner voice cheers her on for the confession; she did well. Sunbae doesn’t respond the way she expected. She backs down on the statement. “No, I wasn’t thinking of having relations with you.” He says her name, you can tell he isn’t comfortable with hearing this. He cuts her off, telling her that is why he got divorced.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h07m00s98He never loved his wife or any other woman. Byung-hee’s heart soars – Is it because he has always loved her?  But, he says, he only likes men. She thinks he is joking, and she is shocked, speechless.

vlcsnap-2013-05-20-08h07m01s113He is moving to Canada to help a friend with his bookstore. He apologizes for not being able to fulfill her wish. She is crushed, but she claims to be fine and she cries,  apologizing over and over for liking him.

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We hear her thoughts:

“At first I thought I was crying because of Sunbae.   For all these years, how much hurt he’s been through.  For these years, I had bottled up everything.  But then, I finally understood. I was crying for myself. Comparing to the pains Sunbae was suffering, I was even sadder for my fruitless love. People are really selfish.”

Byung-hee cries out louder.

end

park chul-su

Jomo’s Comments

Reading this instead of watching it, feels like a LOT of people were introduced in a short period of time, which is true.  It didn’t feel forced, however, but unfolded at a leisurely pace. It is also a lot funnier to watch than to read, since physical humor is tough to describe, um, humorously. GHJ’s physical comedy is really well done, and her sexy act in front of the mirror had me cringing and laughing at the same time. Her over dramatic scenes at the doctors, with the womb and with her Sunbae play a lot lighter than they read. You have sympathy for the woman because even though she seems to be over-reacting a tad, she is so earnest you want to be on her side.

For the most part, we leave episode one with a clear idea of the personalities of the players, with a hint of what is to come with the OTP, if you have guessed who they may be yet. The irony, of course is Byung-hee keeps hammering home the point that Chul-su is so young, when she herself has a lot of growing up to do. We get  some insight of how she could end up a 33 year old virgin when we see she has been carrying a torch passively for a married man since college!

I will be asking this question on every episode recap: Is she physically attracted to Chul-su?

EE’s Comments

To me, this show is all about relationships. Jomo is right, we get set up with several relationships and their dynamics right from the start. At the core, there is Byung-hee. Byung-hee seems more “head of the household” than her mother, who is almost like a Queen in her mannerisms. Mom is from the Grace Kelly school of polish and poise, even though she is “working class” she is not the type of lady who leaves the house with a hair out of place. She isn’t haughty, just refined. Likewise, her sister Joon-hee is the Princess. Praised for her beauty and she knows she doesn’t have to work too hard because she can get by on her looks. It isn’t unusual for grown children to live at home in Asian cultures, but I think even if this story were told from a Western perspective Byung-hee would still live at home because moving out would never occur to her. She has the “father” role here, and the ladies need her.

We also meet Byung-hee’s boss, who calls her Miss Go. It’s a little demeaning, like she is a gal from the secretarial pool. I get the feeling he doesn’t mean it that way, that to him calling her “Miss Go” is more formal than just calling her by her first name. Clearly she takes responsibility for several duties around the office (like dealing with complaints on the mail order “toys”), and in a small company has a good share of authority.
Then there is Seung-hye, Byung-hee’s best friend from childhood. She is brash, outspoken, and feisty. Immediately you get the sense that she is the one who stood up for Byung-hee on the playground and probably tossed out a few punches. And maybe that’s why Byung-hee takes a back seat in her own conflicts, she is used to Seung-hye fighting for her. Byung-hee won’t tell her mom to cook for herself or her sister to do her own laundry because Sung-hee isn’t there to back her up.

Finally, we have Seung-hye’s younger brother Chul-su. Byung-hee probably didn’t have a lot in common with him growing up; the difference between a 7 year old and a 16 year old is huge. But something weird happens when you reach adult hood, those differences aren’t a big chasm anymore. I have a cousin who is nearly 7 years younger than me, and as we grew up with 15 other cousins and an age span of 26 years from oldest to youngest we broke off into sub units to play. I was off with her brothers, who were the three oldest. My cousin and one of my other younger cousins followed my sister around, copying how she wore her jeans or styled her hair. Four years ago, I ended up moving closer to where my cousin lives and we would meet up. She’s no longer the bratty kid that wouldn’t sit still while I French braided her hair; we ended up having a lot of things in common. Byung-hee is still approaching Chul-su from almost an “auntie” standpoint. I am sure a big part of that is that he left home and she is addressing him as the child she remembers and not the man he has become. His body (that she literally cannot keep her hands off of) is not united with the persona she remembers.

All of these elements will go into the pressure cooker that is our story. What aspects will change? Which relationships will be challenged? How will these characters evolve? So many delicious possibilities . . .

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21 Responses to What’s Up Fox? – Episode 1 Recap

  1. mystisith says:

    Thanks ladies! I watched many MVs of this drama but never the whole thing. Now that the current programme of K rom-coms is letting me down, I’m going to correct that: I like the tone and the modernity. Lately, it’s like the good writers deserted and the censorship tightened its grip (on MBC at least). How is it possible? (Answer: New SK president seems… special.)

  2. mary says:

    This sounds hilarious! No wonder my younger sis refuses to say anything except: “Just watch it” when I ask her what it’s about. Ehehe it’s embarrassing to describe the story to someone else but it sounds like a real riot.🙂
    Thank you so much for digging this up and recapping it!

  3. snow_white says:

    this drama is definitely on my plan to watch list…..thanks for the recap….🙂

  4. Julia says:

    My heart broke all over again that BH put all her romantic yearnings for a man who wasn’t the one who recited the poem. BH is an odd mix of inexperience and sexuality. When she vamped in front of the mirror, I was captivated. That she blushed when caught was adorable. When she writes forum-type letters with all her fantasies, they are HAWT. She has been simmering for years and ready to burst, just needs the right man. Yet oddly. she can’t really see the men around her for what they really are.

    When that 24 year old man appears, ripped jeans, beard, long hair, I had a moment JoAnne would describe as my panties evaporating. Whoa! Literally, I was completely enthralled. I wasn’t thinking, just all hormones responding. He looked so sexy to me! He was all man. He was wet shower taking towel wearing dripping with testosterone. I couldn’t get enough.

    Then the show cut his hair and shaved his beard and he looked like a little boy. He looked average, boring, unremarkable. I can’t tell you my disappointment.

    The basement scene where BH is feeling up CS made me very uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe she just saw him as a kid. I was so glad when he grabbed her hand and put it to his crotch, to finally get thru to her that pawing him isn’t acceptable. Yet I also could relate to an incident in my life where a much younger man suddenly made a grab for me and I had never thought of him that way.

    So it is time for BH to treat CS as a man not her friend’s little brother, but that doesn’t mean that CS and BH have anything mutually romantic yet. BH has been romantically oblivious crushing on a married gay man, so breaking thru to her will take a lot. Hello girl, this is your slap to the head, wake up already! Notice the hot men around you and heck, here’s an idea, why not date?

    • jomo143 says:

      I do love the dichotomy between the simmering Penthouse letter writer and the woman who crushes on gay married men- lol – like you said – with no experience at ALL but a great imagination.

      I fell in love with Byung-hee/GHJ at first sight. Does she stick out from the crowd of boring pretty actresses, or what? What a screen presence, and since I saw her in this first, she will always be BH to me.

      I thought of Chul-su as boyish, too, because of the smile and the pout, both of which he tries to use to his advantage. Was I attracted to him? Not even a little – even now when I rewatch, I don’t remember noticing that he was a bulky as he looks to me now – he was just a little kid. Maybe I was buying into what BH kept saying.

  5. Julia says:

    I felt immediately comfortable with Byung-Hee, just all around LIKE her. I compare that to a batch of leading females I’ve seen lately that I end up frustrated with – Da Hua in Substitute Princess, Seo Won in Level 7, chubby from Incarnation of Money, Se Kyung from CDD Alice, Chung Jo from Gu Family Book, for example. There is a difference between a flawed character with room to grow and an unlikeable person.

    BH has relationships. There is her family relationships with Mom and sis. There is work relationships with boss and coworker. There is the deep friendship she has with her girlfriend, one I admire a lot. I feel already in episode 1 that BH is a real person who is living a full life, if missing one important aspect of True Love.

    I wouldn’t mind going out for drinks with Byung-Hee. Seung-hye, and Chul-Su. 🙂 Add in Jomo, EE, JoAnne, Kakashi, and Shuk and I think we’d have a party.

  6. Julia says:

    The first time I saw this, I was really moved by the last scene where she was crying for herself. Some times tears, like laughter, can catch you by surprise. Tears are a way to release tension. They often mark those turning points in our lives. She has spent a decade pining for someone unattainable, and now faced with the possibility that she has cancer, the future she imagined for herself seems crumbling before her eyes. Regret for time lost. Regret that maybe she can’t be a mother. Regret that she is 33 and hasn’t yet had love like her friends.

    In the midst of all the funny, there are these nuggets of real emotions that touch you. That’s KDrama at it’s best.

    • EE says:

      Regret is SO the name of the game in What’s Up Fox.. Everyone has their missed opportunities, times when they should have zigged instead of zagged. And I agree, there is something so honest in those tears at the end to where even Byung Hee doesn’t understand them.

  7. Laica says:

    Hi Jomo! I’m finally done with my final project of summer school (yay!) – no school til September.🙂 So now I have some time to read your blog. I love it! The “When a man…” posts are hilarious.

    Reading this first episode recap brings back so many memories. I watched it in the first year of my kdrama addiction, back in 2009 I think. I forgot how much I loved it from the start. Byung-hee is such an endearing character, with her blunt honesty and her tendency to induce secondhand embarrassment, but at the same time having an endearing and relatable vulnerability. And Chul-soo is just… cuteness on two legs. You’re so right about this being one of the best OTPs ever.

    Also, I love your recapping style, and am looking forward to catching up with the rest of the recaps!🙂

  8. sputnikfire says:

    Best noona romance ever. I remember watching it eons ago and really liking it. Currently re-watching it on the spur of the moment and man, it still feels relevant.

    One quick q: I didn’t quite catch how long he was away for on his grand gesture of a trip. One year? Correct me if I am wrong!

    • jomo143 says:

      I think it is 3 years, but I don’t remember exactly where the say it.
      He’s 24, and although he got into college, decided to go on the world tour instead.
      I must have heard it somewhere during the show, right? Maybe in a conversation with Seung-hye?

      • sputnikfire says:

        THREE YEARS?! But that sounds about right if he was expecting to come back to a possibly married/pregnant noona.

        I only thought it was a year because the sis mentioned how she spent an entire year phoning embassies for his whereabouts but… the timeline just didn’t gel (for the above-mentioned and his sister’s divorce).

        Thanks anyway!😀

  9. sputnikfire says:

    I forgot to add this in earlier but any other similar series to recommend?😀 Doesn’t have to be noona romance, but would like it to be realistic + comedic + layered with shizz that makes you go awwww without the complications of falling in love with possible long-lost siblings, facing a cruel stepmom or crazy/revengeful nemesis… you get the drift😀 (I didn’t like and couldn’t complete M2F cos’ of the contrived draammmaa.)

    I don’t really watch a lot of k-drama because… I almost always find myself dropping them after 1-2 eps. BUT there are hidden gems. Like this one.

    • jomo143 says:

      This is my favorite of all time – for all the reasons you mention.
      Similar is tough, but there were some oldies and other that I enjoyed because of how the OTP interacted, and how the story didn’t get bogged down by crazy Moms. The ones I listed are mostly fluff. No heavy makjang to make you want to throw the remote.

      Of course, you may not have the same perspective, and you may have already seen them.

      Taiwan
      My Girl – Noona all the way with a gorgeous and sexy Ethan Ruan.
      Down With Love – Don’t write it off because of Jerry Yan. He is good in this!

      Korean
      I Need Romance (2012) I know! I was surprised I liked it, too!
      Love Marriage (2008) – Kim Ji-hoon and Kim Min Hee even act like they like each other!
      Stars Falling from the Sky (2010) – Have to put more love into the lead man’s relationship with the kids rather than his girl, but I still liked him with her. Choi Jung Won plays every part like she has no brain, this one included. Why do I still like her?
      Dalja’s Spring (2007) – another Noonah romance. The lead characters are great, even the bad guys aren’t detestable. And Lee Min-ki, sigh, makes me a puddle of goo in this.

      J-Dorama
      Long Vacation (1996) LOVED LOVED this one. LOVED. Noonah romance

      Why do I like so many Noonah Romances? Probably for the most part, we don’t have to watch unrealistically chaste female characters who spend so much wasted time trying NOT to be touched by some of the handsomest and sexist men EVER. I like when women act like real women, whereas the virginal Candy characters do not make me sympathetic to them at all.

      PS Dramafever history is limited, so that was all I could access for now.

  10. dammy says:

    nice recap

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