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Thoughts on TTBY Episodes 3 and 4

Episode 3 gave me whiplash. I spent the first half of it grinning from ear-to-ear and the latter half cringing in disgust.

Episode 3 started off great. Cuteness all around. Who can deny the cute? We have Jae-hee pushing an unconscious Tae-joon around in a wheelbarrow.

Sangchu also hitches a ride home.

Eun-gyul experiences men-boong.

Eun-gyul wonders if there is something wrong with his heart.

And Sangchu makes any scene cuter.

I really love how this drama is shot, especially the framing and the color tone. The drama feels warm and, appropriately, youthful. This scene is a perfect example.

I laugh during the montages. I think it’s turning into a characteristic of this PD- spending lots of time with musical montages. We saw tons of it is Boys Over Flowers and I expect we’ll get just as much in this drama. I can see why this PD does it- with this amount of flower boy presence and production cost, you’ve got to provide the fan service and product placement. Of course this means we end up with an episode in which we feel like nothing happened.

My overall problem with this drama is that it is treading a very thin line between earnestness and taking-itself-too-seriously. I don’t mind that this drama is not as comical or zany as I thought it would be. Rather than focusing on the hilarity and impossibility of the situation of a girl cross-dressing as boy, this drama is choosing to take each conflict seriously and tighten the emotional threads. I thought the drama was doing a good job of creating an earnest tone…you know, when kids think this is the hardest thing ever, or the biggest love ever, or the funniest thing ever.  I found it earnest and the character emotions believable because the drama kept the world enclosed around this youthful fantasy.

But then this drama went over the line and threw us into the “taking-itself-too-seriously” area. Why the heck was that pervert character thrown in there? Couldn’t the writer find a less creepy and illegal conflict to have the hero rescue the damsel in distress? I was so disgusted and I spent the latter half of the episode screaming, “No, no, no, please don’t go there!” There is no hilarity in that kind of situation and it really has no place in this kind of drama. Especially because I know it is not going to be handled properly. And episode 4 proved me right. Of course nobody reports this guy to the police. Of course things are kept under wraps by the hero and heroine. Of course more time is spent glorifying the hero rescuing the damsel through an extended dramatic music slow-mo fight scene. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I don’t know if I was supposed to be swooning during this scene because I just fast-forwarded through the ridiculousness. I didn’t find it heroic or romantic. At all.

End rant. That being said, I enjoyed the rest of episode 4, thanks to Eun-gyul and his fantasies. Poor boy. He’s such a goner.

And these are just here for the pretty.

37 Comments Post a comment
  1. never2muchcoffee #

    The creeper dude story line is in the manga, so it didn’t bother me that the drama included it. As for reporting him, from Jae Hee’s perspective she would probably be worried that he would expose her as a girl…not that it makes it right that she didn’t report him.

    August 25, 2012
    • I am mad at the writers.

      I can absolutely see why JH’s priorities right now do not include keeping the rest of society safe from this predator. BUT, at least, couldn’t ONE adult character find out other than TJ?

      Take out 2 mins away from the fifth montage, and close up the issue with some quick dialog.

      Couldn’t there have been a secret conversation – first of all WHY DID YOU FIGHT WITH HIM? WHY IS JH’s lip split? I would have liked a hug from Mom, “There there, honey, you are scared. We told the police to be on the look out for this guy. He won’t hurt anyone else.”
      I would feel better if we had some sense that justice will prevail.

      August 25, 2012
    • joonni #

      Yeah, I get why JH didn’t report him.
      I haven’t read the manga myself but since everyone is telling me that creep is also in the manga, I’m going to say that I object to that being in the manga too. It’s something I object to in the whole female-targeted Asian literature/media genre and I know it appears quite frequently in that genre. I’m used to it. Still, that scene really irked me in this drama. But really, it passed, I got over it. I expected as much from dramas. Let’s just say I don’t enjoy this drama any less because of it but I don’t enjoy it any more.

      In the japanese version, this didn’t happen and the seungri/nanbai’s mother found out that Jae-hee was a girl. Did seungri’s mother also find out in the manga? It would have been nice if that happened in the k-drama so there was one adult figure who could have handled the situation properly.

      August 25, 2012
      • In the manga, seungri’s mother did find out. And at first she was very motherly and told her that what she was doing probably wasn’t the best idea, her parents wouldn’t be happy if they knew, etc. But she decided that as a fellow woman, she was supportive and all “go get your man!” However she also counseled jae-hee that there was only a limited amount of time she’d be able to keep up the charade and that she needed to decide what to do afterwards.

        August 26, 2012
      • nonski #

        i am loving 2tbu, but was quite disappointed with how they handled the rapist part of the story. there was no reaction whatsoever as to how JH and TJ end up like that and they just accepted the whole situation.. a complete opposite to how it was handled in the other versions. even if the situation was not reported but JH received care from seungri’s mom. she was even chastised for posing as a boy in an all-boy’s school.

        August 27, 2012
  2. jomo143 #

    Yeah. Assault and attempted rape committed against a minor is bad, but not having the characters deal with it makes it worse.
    Then you have the criminal just disappear after abandoning the van but nobody bats an eye. I love the incongruity. Mom says “The police called and told me they found the van.” In the next breath, “Have a nice drive back to school, kids!”

    Someone said the creeper and the attack are in the manga, so I can see how it ends up in this show.
    In the J version, part of JH’s motivation to move to Japan was that TJ saved her from peril in the States.
    That was a pretty good debt for JH to owe TJ, so it made sense. But she is already here. What plot related thing is this writer going to use it for? Other than like you said, a way to show off some cool fight scenes?

    We talked a little about when TJ knows she’s a girl, and why he acts so protective of JH.
    I’ll skip asking about the shielding from the big bus puddle splash, because it was a beautifully shot scene that made me breathless. Let’s pretend, TJ was moved my hyung/dong-sang feelings. Maybe, but

    My biggest question is:
    Why does TJ want to cover up his male room-mate’s collar bone with a sweater?
    Joonni – please explain this to me. Do you think there was some really high level psychology being revealed there? That even though TJ thinks JH’s a boy, he KNOWS JH’s a girl?

    I don’t understand.

    August 25, 2012
    • joonni #

      I think we are supposed to believe that most people have this unconscious bodily reaction to the opposite sex so even while our head tells us that she is a boy, our body immediately want to protect her. This seems to be the psychology behind every cross-dressing drama.

      August 25, 2012
      • That actually makes sense. Thanks.

        August 26, 2012
      • nonski #

        at that point, i believed TJ already knew she was a she. it is sometimes hard when u already have your biases basing on the previous version. it was early on episode 1 when JH fainted that she was discovered by TJ, which explains his protectiveness of her. giving her his sweater was just natural, believing he knew she was a girl it came as a shock to me after episode 4 when TJ was talking to sangchu, as if it is only now that he knew about it. and Min Ho, i read on soompi, even said in a presscon that TJ only knew JH was a girl in after episode 4. *headdesks*

        August 27, 2012
  3. I think TJ knows and they just haven’t revealed it to us yet. From back when he first carried her to the doc. That’s how he discovered it in the manga.
    Also, in the manga, although they didn’t call the police, the mom had a private word with him and told him to scram or else.

    August 25, 2012
    • joonni #

      Interesting scenario. But it seemed like in episode 4 that it was really the first time that TJ found out that JH was a girl. I’m all confused.

      August 25, 2012
      • never2muchcoffee #

        It confused me too. One thought I’ve had is that some scenes were re-arranged post-production, and that the scene where TJ overhears JH’s conversation with her brother was supposed to happen earlier. On the other hand, maybe the brother scene was simply confirmation to what TJ already suspected. Like sparksofember said, in the manga Sano finds out when he carries Mizuki to the doctor. Perhaps the show will reveal the same through a flashback or something at a later date.

        The only other thing that has bugged up until ep 4 was JH’s motivation. In the Jdrama, Mizuki blames herself for Sano’s injury and feels responsible to help motivate him to jump again, which is understandable. (A different girl is responsible in the manga, and Mizuki finds out about it after entering the school, which to me is even more stalkerish!). Up until now, I was worried that the Kdrama would take the manga route, which peeved me. However, something she says to her brother in ep 4 makes me think that perhaps TJ motivated her to overcome something and now she wants to return the favor. When I rewatched ep 1 with my daughter a couple of nights ago, I noticed that JH is in a hospital when she’s watching TJ win the gold medal on TV. I’m just speculating of course, but that would make for understandable motivation.

        August 26, 2012
        • nonski #

          i’m with you in being confused as to what motivated JH cuz it was never shown how TJ got his injury. what came to mind and i connected was her conversation with daniel and the scene at the hospital when she was cried watching TJ win the gold. maybe she is responsible somehow.

          another deviation this version has is the relations of JH to his brother. on all other version he is blood related to here.

          August 27, 2012
        • joonni #

          I’m guessing that JH was ill for a long time, hence her hospital stay, and watching TJ jump gave her the motivation to get better. This is enough for me but I wouldn’t mind more of an explanation later on.

          August 27, 2012
  4. duckie #

    The manga has it all. I like how they are treating the story. Sure they did gloss over some bits but I love how the writers are trying to put eun gyul in a better light. I ship eun gyul and jh more. But tj has some redeeming points :-). The show is shot beautifully and it does feel so fresh 🙂 . Read the manga.. it will help you understand what is going on

    August 25, 2012
    • joonni #

      I always thought the Eun-gyul character was a very likable character in whatever version- JPN and TW. I don’t ship JH with anyone yet but Eun-gyul definitely has his merits. 😀

      The drama is going to reach audiences who for the most have not read the manga or will have time to read the manga along with the drama. So I’m judging the drama entirely on it’s own storytelling ability.

      August 25, 2012
  5. I have to admit it took me a while scrolling down your post because I just can stare at Sanchul forever and *g* and make very silly babbling noises.
    I was guessing what bugs u in 3, and didn’t give this plot another thought coz I’ve read and seen it b4. It is irking, we’ve seen worst offenses in shoujo though.

    August 25, 2012
    • joonni #

      I think I spent more time trying to get the perfect screencap of Sangchu than anyone else. He’s the prettiest boy in the drama.

      August 25, 2012
  6. jaz #

    I remembered that there was also a creepy maniac guy in the TW version but he was young not a hyung. I think what makes it so disgusting was because they made an ajusshi looking guy play that role, not that it would matter since I also don’t like scenes like that in youth dramas because it’s kinda disturbing. But he really looks scary and pervy to me that’s why and the fact that JH and TJ hid it under wraps was more disturbing.

    Anyways, the good thing is Eun Gyul was there to help me forget about it. And boy! was he successful! Although I already know where his character is going but still I have been rooting for him…in fact since Day 1. I have nothing against TJ though but since he gets to get the boy…er…girl…I think it’s just fair that EG gets 99%of my attention and support. LOL

    Btw, baby Yoogeun made a cameo all for his favorite Minho appa! Awww…so cute! That kid is definitely becoming a flower boy like his dad… 😀

    August 26, 2012
    • joonni #

      The young minho jumping was Yoogeun? I forgot what Yoogeun looked like.

      August 27, 2012
      • jaz #

        No not that one. The kid in Eun Gyul’s fantasy daydream…his kid with Jae Hee. The little boy who was crying and asked who gave birth to him between his two dads was Yoogeun. 🙂

        August 28, 2012
        • joonni #

          oh, that’s him! He got so big!

          August 28, 2012
  7. Fiza #

    Hi all. just want to share my thoughts here. ive watched in J version n in my opinion i found it having less romantic scene/plot compare to TTBY. in fact, if u guys notice d emotion is the strengh of most of d K drama. i just want to say that i really love the main leads chemistry so far. they have done a good job eventho most of them r not originally actors. Sulli is so natural in acting and above all, she is super cute to be d guy. hope Jooni not going to skip the recap since u mention that ur interest is decreasing by now towards d drama 🙂

    August 26, 2012
    • joonni #

      I enjoy that aspect about k-dramas too- the higher level of romance.
      I think Sulli is doing a great job for her first drama and I also love the chemistry between the leads.
      I unfortunately decided to stop recapping TTBY until my wrists get better but I haven’t lost interest in the drama. I hope to continue in the near future.

      August 27, 2012
      • Fiza #

        Thanks so much Jooni. pls get well soon!

        August 28, 2012
  8. chasen8888 #

    I have watched the Japanese version and am currently watching this one, did not read the manga, nor care to. The first 10-15 minutes of ep 4 made me feel very upset with the writer and PD, because in essence this scene could have been avoided all together and did not make sense with the following precedence set about the heroine in the 3 episodes. These are (1) she is a track star/athlete student, with a “world record 100m sprint time- this bothered me a lot considering that I am from the home of world class sprinters – fiction yes but using world record times – not good” by running fast even in the water, she should not be caught so easily/at all by the assailant (2) she is a fairly decent fighter therefore she could defend herself better (3) she is suppose to have a bit of common sense and know basic self defense tactics – (knee to groin anyone?). The 10-15 minutes in that episode literally negated all of that to the nth degree. I do not blame the girl but based on what I just stated makes it look very bad in some viewer’s eyes. Yes there is the damsel in distress syndrome with Tae Joon rescuing her, but there must be another way to do this.

    The other thing that bothered me was how the situation was handled very poorly and it does not bode well for that culture (no offense people). I have watched too many Asian shows (not only Korean) where the attempted rape or the act itself lets the assailant get away with it or in some cases rewarded for providing such an “honorable service to the victim – check out Thai dramas”. This gives a very poor perception of how the culture treats this serious matter of rape/attempted ones (though it’s worldwide), not seriously with the victim either male or female having to somehow pick up the pieces. Even if Jae Hee was a boy, the attack was made she was still a victim, plus they could have told the doctor who would somehow help them deal with the matter. They brushed it away as if it was a triviality which is very insulting and hurtful to those victims or those related to them and know of it.

    I do however like Eun Gyul’s imagination, it’s so funny and remind me of Natsuki (J-version) and he’s a cool dude. I get the impression that Tae Joon had suspected that Jae Hee was a girl but did not get a true confirmation until he overheard the conversation between Jae Hee and her brother, that’s just my take on it. It appears that the upcoming episodes will focus on the changes with Tae Joon due to her influence. Hopefully there are no more slip ups/misses like the last time. You can tell/ direct the story but it should flow accordingly and make us like the characters and show more.

    I like the show, still will watch it but my enjoyment will not be as much/the same as before. Gone for now and thanks Jooni for the recaps, hope your wrists get better.

    August 26, 2012
    • joonni #

      I’ve gotten used to females suddenly losing all their toughness and skill for the sake of a dramatic save by the hero in k-dramas. But just like you, I thought this drama could have avoided the entire scenario. You hit the point on its head. The way the handled the “almost rape” scene bothered me because I know how South Korea handles rape in real life. It makes me mad and sad to see the media continue to portray “almost rape” in this manner. They have so many people, young people watching. Can’t they provide a better example? So what if it was in the manga?

      Thank you for your concern!

      August 27, 2012
    • Adnana #

      It bothered me too that, even though the heroine is supposed to be this really fast runner, she wasn’t able to outrun her attacker. But then I remembered that she had recently hurt her ankle (in a previous episode), and indeed, when the doctor checks her wounds later at the house, he tells her that she had reopened her old injury. So it’s understandable why she couldn’t outrun the baddie.
      As for self-defense… I thought she did quite well holding her own against him in the car. As for the knee to the groin, I don’t think she got the chance to do it before he threw her to the ground. Besides, even if we all know the ‘theory’ of what we should do in such a situation, the reality is a bit different, when you’re a girl facing off against a much stronger guy, and you’re all scared and panicked.

      August 30, 2012
  9. Hey Joonni!
    I haven’t watched TTBY yet, but based on your description of what happened in episode 4, that would really bother me too. It almost feels like a trend of this director where he takes what is truly a heinous potential crime and taking it too lightly. Especially after hearing rumors about him, I just feel disgusted about who he may be as a person too. That said, man, those screencaps sure look pretty!

    August 26, 2012
    • joonni #

      Really? Bad rumors about the director? Is about the way he treats women? Ugh.

      August 27, 2012
  10. On the night it aired, I actually replayed that scene just to make sure and couldn’t believe TJ and J did not tell the others. It pissed me off that they let him get away with it. The other bizarre part was the creep was about to unlock the spa door to peek in on J, but he has zero interest to spy on Hanna? What makes J so special?

    What I also found so confusing was that before TJ found out the truth that she was a girl, he kept hugging her in one scene then turning around and being a butt other times. The guy blows hot and cold so often I don’t get what he is supposed to be feeling. like this whole quitting high jump and then kicking her out. Preview shows he goes back to high jumping. All this time he said he was quitting but then he would look up the coach or keep track of the info about high jumping. Why does he keep saying one thing and then doing the opposite.

    You know what cracked me up tho? That bus splash scene. Common sense says you hold out the umbrella so that both of you are behind it and angle towards the splash. You don’t drop it and allow both of you to get splashed and rained on at the same time. Yes it looked beautiful but I was thinking “oh good grief – logic is not his strong suit” 🙂

    August 26, 2012
    • nonski #

      *waves at Softy*
      the creepy guy irks me sooo much too. i think the reason why he is into J is he knew J was on cover and would prolly be afraid to blow it by telling others about what happened to her in case the perv succeeds.

      i think TJ had been thinking of quitting because of his yips syndrome and after hearing daniel talk to J about going back to the US and living her life. he kicked her out and got angry on her cuz he doesn’t want her to be stucked up with him.

      the bus scene… lols, that is just, well… logic flying out of the window.

      August 27, 2012
    • joonni #

      Tae-joon is an adolescent version of the “noble idiot.” Sure, let’s both get wet instead of shielding ourselves from the water. He going to grow up and dump his girlfriend for her own good one day.

      August 27, 2012
  11. ngocng08 #

    Hello Joonni, it’s my first time commenting here (but I’ve been stalking your blog for some time now). Regarding your feelings about how they handled the sexual assault situation, I think the PD or the screenwriter, or whoever they are, have done a very poor job of adapting the original manga. In fact I’d say I have feeling they are torn between wanting to take as much source material as possible, and as the same time trying not to be similar to it; which results in a mixing bowl which a lot of random incidents.
    First thing first, Sano/TJ finds out about Mizuki/JH’s gender almost right after she transfer to the school but keeping it a secret from her as well, so that explains many of his protective attitude towards her through out the manga.
    Secondly, the hyung in this incident was actually a university student doing part-time at Nanba/SR’s mom’s place. In fact there are also other uni students working atm. Makita (named in the manga) is notoriously a playboy, and he DIDN’T know that Mizuki/JH is in disguise. He just thought of JH as a tomboyish girl and decided to seduce her. And after the harassment failed, everyone in the guesthouse ARE INFORMED about the case, although they did not report to the police, he got beaten up and was fired. And they told him the Mizuki/JH is a GUY, the hyung actually got creeped out thinking he was attacking another man. (Which is incidentally hilarious bc he was guessing it right, Mizuki is a “she”)

    Also, Nanba/SR’s mom found out Mizuki/JH is a girl during this time too, and she becomes like a parental figure, giving her advices and “support” (Mizuki fainted bc the chest bandage was too tight so SR’s mom got her very nice sport bra/denim vest, etc)

    Even if the manga has elements of Japan culture that may sound “freak-ish”, at least the story flow is much more comprehensible. Imho, if they decided to do TTBY as just a “remake” then please spin off properly, like what Jversion ’07 did, or adapt it almost panel to panel like the TW drama did. By making TTBY with the assumption that most audience were familiar with the manga, they are making first-time watcher having headache.

    ps: and why oh why my creepy-funny-openly gay Umeda sensei was reduced to half of his awesomeness?? 😦 Mr.Eugene is always nice to look at though.

    August 27, 2012
    • joonni #

      Thank you for the detailed story about the hyung situation. The manga version sounds much more reasonable.

      About Umeda sensei…I know, right? I was hoping that Doc would be so much more hilarious but unfortunately, a lot of the comedy is toned down in this drama. I love how you call Ki Tae Young Mr. Eugene. Definitely much easier to remember him this way.

      August 28, 2012
  12. kerstin #

    I have to agree with the comment that the story flow in the manga was more comprehensible. I have watched all drama versions of this manga (read it, too) and sometimes it feels like the korean version mixes all of them together and not in a good way.
    The whole near rape scene and the stuff happening before were stupid. In the manga Namba’s mother finds out that Mizuki is a girl when she enters the bath house, here they put up that creepy guy first, trying to unlock the door and then that girl, who’s name I’ve forgotten comes in and soon afterward Eun-gyul enters. This is clearly a sign for me, that the pds/writers went for the laughs instead. Sure there is a scene in the manga when Nakatsu comes into the shower and Mizuki is still there (he gets knocked out before he can see, that she is a girl) but it’s a different scene.
    Why not handle this situation like it was written in the manga or leave it out completely? I really don’t understand that. I could rant on forever like that…

    September 3, 2012
    • joonni #

      The thing is that I did even laugh during the whole Eun-gyul and girl scene in the sauna. This drama has it’s strong points but comedy is not one of them.

      September 4, 2012

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