Live Recap: Trot Lovers Episode 1
Here we go. KBS’ new Monday-Tuesday drama, “Trot Lovers,” premieres tonight, and I am here to live recap.
You guys know the drill- I’ll be translating as fast as possible while I am watching the drama live on my TV and updating this post in as small as chunks as possible so readers can get fast updates on how the drama is going. I’ll additionally update at the end of the drama with screen caps, things I missed, and commentary as soon as I am able to download the ep and watch it again.
I am really excited to see Ji Hyun Woo again in a drama after falling hard for his Kim Boong Do in “Queen In Hyun’s Man.” When I first heard about the drama and its title, I thought I would stay far away from it because while I enjoy singing some trot music at noraebang, I didn’t want a whole drama full of it. Then I saw stills of Ji Hyun Woo looking sharp, as well as the stills of the other cast, and I just smelled a good ol’ fashioned kdrama.
Drama starts in 30 minutes. Anybody have live streaming links to share?
Character Key for live recap shorthand
Choi Choon Hee (CH)- loves the unsophisticated trot music
Shine Star staff
Other minor characters
Bang Ji Sook (JS)- Choi Choon Hee’s marathon coach and mentor
Shin Ho Yeol (HY)- Jang Joon Hyun’s rival
Jin Soo High School, marathon, and girls cheer for CH as she runs fast toward the end. Coach is telling her to stop, but she doesn’t and she ends up lying on the floor, far from the finish line.
CH sings a trot song to herself as she trains, running around the track. Coach throws CH her bag, telling her to empty her locker. CH promises to work harder, giving it her everything, but coach says that’s the problem with CH; she doesn’t know when to stop when she has too. Someone like her shouldn’t run a marathon.
CH clears out her locker and cries as she takes out her name plate off the door.
Four years later. By the Han River for the city’s marathon, CH is giving out salt to runners, telling them safety is first and to pace themselves. A van drives past her and screaming girls are chasing the car.
Inside the van, JH is inside saying he won’t do it, he is an artist and will only does music. His manager, TS , says JH can show his masculine side through this marathon. Vain, JH is easily persuaded. He’s wearing a flower patterned tracksuit, sticking out like sore thumb among the lowly commoners.
CH is running the marathon behind a guy telling him to run slowly. Guy doesn’t listen and ends up being driven away to the hospital. Nearby, CH spots a large dark van, and man in a flower patterned tracksuit runs up to it, steps inside. Another comes out, dressed exactly alike. It is JH, pulling a switcheroo, and TS sprays water on him to make it look like sweat.
CH is at finish line with some other runners when she hears screams. JH runs toward the finish line like he just won the gold medal at the Olympics. He collapses dramatically as he receives a medal for completing the marathon and in interview, he claims he wanted to quit so many times, only pushed on by his fans’ support. CH, hearing all this, scoffs.
JH sits in his van. He mocks the medal and trot music playing throughout the park. JH puts on headphones to drown out the trot music, and we hear Ji Hyun Woo’s own song, “Good Addiction.”
Someone knocks on the window. JH thinks it is his manager, but it is CH. JH thinks she came for his signature and obligingly tries to give one, but CH is just here to get back the medal. She saw him cheating. He shouldn’t get the medal for completing the marathon. JH says it is just a completion medal, not gold or bronze. She stills asks for it back. JH gets in the car, pretending to fetch it, but doesn’t give it to her. He drives away instead. CH starts chasing after him on foot. It’s man vs machine. No, woman vs machine.
It’s a wild chase through the parking lot, and unbelievably, CH catches up to JH. Astounded, JH tells her to take the medal, but instead of giving it to her nicely, he drops it on the floor. CH gets mad- does he know the meaning of finishing a marathon- you have to overcome the feeling that you are dying as you keep pushing toward the end. CH is furious and teary-eyed.
TS catches up to the van. CH tells him she saw JH cheat. TS signals to JH to stay out of it, and JH rolls up the car window. TS pleads with CH to just look over this once; not for JH, but for the children this marathon is for. He gives her his business card.
After party for the marathon. Friend asks why CH gave up marathon running. CH doesn’t answer and just volunteers to sing. She sings a trot song. It’s the same song she sang in the beginning. It’s the famous trot song “With You” (님과 함께).
CH sings quietly to herself as she walks home alone. She starts singing louder. Then tells herself she’s worked hard today.
CH goes to convenience store her dad runs. Dad and little sis are eating. Dad takes out spinach in the kimbap before little Byul eats it. Hmm…what’s up with that? Dad wants CH to watch the store so he go to the sauna and get some heat for his aching back. They can’t close the store since Dad owes a lot of debt. CH can’t because she has to work at the gym. She complains, saying she and mom always had to clean up after Dad. Despite the coarse exterior, CH is sad to see her dad with worn out clothes and a dirty apron. She takes it to wash at home and goes home with her little sis.
JH is on a live music talk show. Host compliments JH on his songwriting skills, calling him a genius. JH denies this, he is not a genius but a music god. The modesty on this one!
It’s time for listening to viewers’ stories coming in live through chat. A story is being told, which sounds very similar to JH’s run-in with CH at the marathon. It looks like CH is typing this message. JH panics, afraid his name is going to be revealed. The host tries to connect to the viewer on the phone. Manager TS tries to tell JH to sing and play the piano to distract. JH doesn’t understand him and gets made in front of everyone, creating an awkward situation.
Eventually, the production team of the show says the viewer will reveal next week. At the end of show, JH tells TS to find that marathon girl.
CH is working part time at the gym. Guy asks for help, he can’t find his key for his locker. At the locker room, CH finds GW trying to open his locker. Turns out GW picked up the other guy’s key by mistake and has been trying to open own with the wrong key. But GW doesn’t show the reactions that normal people would, embarrassment or even apologetic. He just laughs, saying he found he key for the guy; isn’t he thankful?
CH gets a call and has to run out. She ends up in same elevator as GW who is going home after his workout. A phone rings. It keeps ringing with no one picking up. Finallly, GW tells CH that her phone is ringing. But CH knows it’s not hers. It’s actually a phone ringing in GW’s pocket. He has once again mistaken someone else’s stuff for his and grabbed it. GW stares at the phone- “Why is this here?”He laughs. CH asks if he has a case of the sticky fingers. GW thinks she is overreacting. He asks her to return the phone for her.
Outside the elevator, GW can’t find his ticket to validate for his car. This guy has a serious case of forgetfulness or is a total airhead. I’m loving this strange character.
TS has called CH out to tell her to keep her promise- she said she wasn’t going to tell anyone- what was that music show about? CH doesn’t know what he is talking about. She always keeps her promise and follows the rule of a competition. JH is listening inside he van, not believing her. As CH tries to leave, he stops her, suspicious that she might even be recording this conversation.
CH’s phone starts ringing and the song is trot. JH can’t believe his ears- how could she listen to music like that? This hits a nerve with CH. What’s wrong with this music? It is wrong for young people to like it? JH disagrees; no, it is not wrong. It’s perfect for her, sarcastically saying she is high classed and cultured. CH hears the sarcasm, and asks him how cultured is he? Coming here to throw a fit like this. She doesn’t know who sent in that story to the, but she might as well reveal the story herself now. JH blows his top, really hearing bells in his ears when she says he is low-classed with no right to do music.
Before CH can walk away, JH calls her back, seemingly to go at her, but he lets his manager block him, and JH is afraid of other people’s eyes. He gets back in the car to yell at her behind the door. He won’t forget this! He won’t let this go!
JH leaves, huffing and puffing. CH runs into GW in the parking lot. GW is on the phone saying he is in Hawaii. His dad, on the phone, knows he is lying. It seems his dad wants GW to come run the company. Dad wants to retire? GW asks if dad has finally found the first love he has been searching for. GW knows how to get under his father’s skin; a slippery little sucker he is, sly and slick.
CH is at home with her family. Dad gets something, bill, loan? CH wants to know what her dad is hiding, and starts fighting with him to get the paper. Byul tells them to stop fighting, again!
Next day at work, the gym manager is ragging on her about the phone yesterday. Why did she bring it back? He tells her he knows her family has been having a hard time, and implies she is stealing; things from the gym have been disappearing more often since she has been here. He fires her.
CH runs out her anger and frustration at a local track. She gets a phone call. Collectors are taking things from dad’s convenience store. She begs them not to, but they just keep packing. The one thing she definitely can’t let him take away is the CD player and a certain CD.
Collectors gone, CH listens to the CD on the CD player. It is trot music. She watches an old CCTV recording (or imagining) of her dad at store. She cries as she watches her dad suffering. She strokes the CD, trot music, and it looks like her mom was the singer, Oh Sung Joo.
GW’s dad receives pictures of CH’s family; the family of the woman he has been searching for. It seems CH’s mom might have been his first love. CH’s mom is dead.
JH is at Shine Star, here to sign a contract with him. He is given the best of everything. SI, a singer in training, flirts with him and you can tell JH likes her. He gives her a gift. It is a song he wrote.
SI kisses him as thanks after she hears the song. Oh dear. He really likes her but she is totally just using him.
GW’s dad has come to see CH’s family. He sees the siblings from afar. Byul had been waiting for her sister outside, along, and for a long time. CH starts singing for her sister to comfort her. In their imagination, CH is brightly shining trot singer and Byul is the cute dancer of the sibling duo.
Their little happy imagination ends, and they go into their house. GW’s dad has gotten a taste of CH’s talent.
WG, the Midas CEO, is upset that JH is leaving his company for Shine Star. He pretends not to be, but you can tell he feels betrayed and finds JH conceited. JH says he made a lot of money for Midas, and is now ready to make music he wants to make.
Farewell party for JH at club. He parties hard and gets really drunk.
CH is trying to contact her dad, but to no avail. Byul is asleep. CH leaves a voice message, angry, but also worried.
Next day, CH is back at the gym, reminding herself that she has to take care of her sister. She bends her pride and begs the manager. She has worked at the gym for two years, never late or absent. The gym manager knocks her pleading hand away. CH sees a banner with JH and the gym manager all friendly. CH realizes JH asked the manager to fire her. CH calls TS, but he says he can’t do anything; only JH can get her rehired.
CH calls JH, but he won’t pick up. JH is knocked out at a hotel. Unknown girl has taken pictures of him sleeping in his underwear and spread them online. She picks up JH’s phone and sees the missed calls from TS and an unknown number. Girl hears CH’s voice message from the unknown number and sends a text to her telling her to come to hotel, pretending to be JH.
JH finally wakes up to the call of TS. JH can’t remember anything that happened last night. TS has called to tell him about the photos.
CH comes into hotel room at that moment. JH is trying to get her to leave, but reporters starting coming down the hallway. JH hides in the closet with CH (earning a smack meanwhile), drags her around, trying to get away from the reporters. CH struggles to get away from him, but JH warns her her pictures will be taken by the reporters.
CH and JH make it to the parking lot. JH sees his van, tries to make run for it, but ends up running into the door, fainting flat onto the floor. Reporters take all the embarrassing pictures they want. CH is safely hiding behind a pole, grimacing in embarrassment for JH.
JH’s pictures are all over the newspapers.
CH is at home making dinner, with food from the convenience store. Byul wonders where dad is. CH gets text from dad- simply “I’m sorry.” CH is shocked. She says, “This is the first time he has said sorry.”
JH is in self-confinement at home. He hears fans chanting outside and thinks to himself that those fans will protect him and be his wings. Alas, they all start to go away one by one. No one is left.
Three months later, CH is trying to get a job and also find her dad.
JH is pigging out. JH is mad his agency is not doing anything to rebuild his image. TS says JH is about to be cut, and he is also going to lose this house. JH blames CH for all this.
SI calls and JH is all happy.
They meet in a café. JH asks SI, “You believe me, right? It was a trap.” SI is cold and hands him money for her debut song, saying condescendingly she knows he is having a hard time now. JH is hurt, deeply wounded.
JH goes to a TV station, trying to get an appearance on a show, but the department head cuts him down.
TS has driven JH home. All dramatically, JH finally calls TS “hyung” for the first time. He says you’ve worked hard, go, you’ve always wanted to get away from me. TS tries to say something, but JH thinks TS is just having a hard time saying goodbye. Nope, JS needs to get out the van so TS can return the car to the company forever now. JS is left all alone in front of his house, which is soon to get kicked out of.
CH files a missing person report for her dad.
JH walks into Shine Star. Other staff tries to stop him from meeting GW’s dad, but GW’s dad agrees to meet him. He makes a deal with JH. JH will train someone to be singer.
JH goes to that certain someone’s house. He finds out it is CH. After the initial shock, JH is all drama queen, telling her all his misfortunes are her fault. Somehow. It is all her fault. ALL HER FAULT!
End of episode.
What??? No preview for tomorrow.
A very light, fluffy deal. It’s just beyond the reach of campy because it lacks a certain sleekness to the comedy. This first episode moved fast, setting up the conflict and characterizations. While Jung Eun Ji as Choon Hee gave it her all, I was left a little cold to her plight. It’s my first time seeing Ji Hyun Woo being the comedic character in a drama, and so far, he doesn’t really seem that comfortable in the role. Comedy is hard with all the necessary timing, emotional control, and flexibility, but I look forward to seeing Ji Hyun Woo grow into his role and for his character to mature. Shin Sung Rok is doing great with his Geun Woo character, but the character itself feels a little off. There was no normal human interaction for him yet which makes me wonder if Geun Woo is capable of it.
What is with kdrama dads that just run off and leave their young kids to fend for themselves? Ugh. So much competition for the worst dad of the year award. Leaving two young girls to survive on their own. I weep for these kids. Still, that was really a sweet moment between the Choi sisters, their imagination offering a little bit of solace and color in their dark and debt-ridden life.
How will our tough Choon Hee become a star, receiving all the spotlight she deserves? How will our immature Joon Hyun grow up, learning to care for more than just himself? We’ll have to watch to find out.