꽃보다 청춘 (Youth Over Flowers in Africa)

I obviously can’t get enough of the reel and real bromance among the boys of Ssangmundong. Na PD continues his variety magic as Youth Over Flowers Africa opens with his scene showing how he conspired with Reply 1988’s Shin PD to “kidnap” the boys during their reward trip. That reward trip happens to be in Phuket, Thailand where I just had my own vacation exactly one month ago! The show just had to remind me that I was at the right place at the wrong time. Oh well, I guess it’s not meant to be. 😐

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The boys of Reply 1998 Ryu Joon Yeol, Park Bo Gum, Go Kyung Pyo and Ahn Jae Hong aka Jung Hwan, Choi Taek, Sun Woo and Jung Bong went straight to Namibia.

I loved how the whole hidden camera was carefully planned and executed. Na PD went to Thailand but couldn’t go out of his room so as not to get caught. He also knows that the moment the boys see him, they’d immediately figure out that something fishy is going on. Na PD sent a PD spy to work with the Reply 1988 crew for months. Actor Kim Sung Kyun was informed about Na PD’s “small event”.  Ra Mi Ran and Kim Sun Young also became accomplices. I miss the Ssanmundong ahjummas and Madam Cheetah Ra Mi Ran is just as funny in real life as she was in the drama.

When Na PD walked in as if on cue, the boys were left with astounded reactions. The hidden camera event was a huge success! Ryu Joon Yeol was in denial and joked that it must’ve been just someone who looks like Na PD. Ahn Jae Hong was initially all concerned about the heat in Thailand but now his sweat from high temperature turned into sweat from utter shock. Then Go Kyung Pyo’s eyes just started to well up with tears. Aww, Sun Woo. Later on, he explained that only people who are “loved” by the public gets to be in this show and he feels unworthy to be in that position. Given his previous roles as well as his recent SNS issues with netizens, I can somehow understand why the whole surprise became overwhelming for him. I personally didn’t care about him that much before. He didn’t stand out in most of the dramas I’ve seen him in. Kim Ji Hoon’s charisma overpowered him and the other flower boys in Flower Boys Next Door and I was totally disappointed with his portrayal of the Korean version of Ryutaro Mine in Naeil Cantabile since that role was originally played the talented Eita.  In the film, Coin Locker Girl, he played a villain. But it only takes one good role to turn things around and I’m glad that things are now going well for Go Kyung Pyo.

Ryu Joon Yeol was completely unknown before Reply 1988. He is totally the older brother type in this trip. He has some obvious passion for travelling and his conversational English skills come in handy, but what I love more about him is that just like the rest of the world, it seems that he hasn’t gotten over the fact that Deok Sun ended up with Taek. “He took away my wife and now I have to pay for him too.”, he said jokingly when they arrived at the data plan counter in Namibia. And when he had a heart-to-heart moment with Bo Gum at the desert, he said he just can’t use the word ‘nampyeon’ yet.. Totally not over it. LOL.

Ahn Jae Hong is just like his comic relief character in Reply 1988. He made a distressed Joon Yeol post-car-rental-fail smile again by suggesting they take a groufie, then there was a hilarious bathroom exposure moment when he mistakenly changed the camera angle. He brought out the most laughs when he accidentally ripped his one and only pants. He’s also the designated chef. I wonder how his msg-sprinkled dishes taste like.

Maknae Park Bo Gum was ambushed in Seoul separately. “Omo! Omona!” He had the cutest reaction when he received the guys’ phone call from Phuket and when it finally dawned on him that he is really going to Namibia all of a sudden. Being sweet boy is not a mere image he’s portraying. With the way the other guys make fun of his constant gratefulness and how the staff reacts to him, it is apparent that Bo Gum is genuinely kind and well-mannered. He’s type who’d apologize to his kidnappers and even offer them drinks. The staff even felt bad about ambushing such a kind person. haha. I remember that time when 1N2D wanted “Choi Taek” to appear on their show. I thought,”How can a gentle kid like that survive the harsh eating and sleeping conditions in 1N2D?” Who would’ve thought that Bo Gum would actually go for something as extreme as 10 days in the desert. I just wanted to give him a hug when he missed his flight and is all teary eyed.

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I love how the hyungs took care of Bo Gum the way they took care of baby Taek. I feel like I’m watching a Reply 1988 spin-off that focuses on their bromance. My favorite scene is Yoon Jeol and Bo Gum’s heartfelt one-on-one while watching the sunrise.

Youth Over Flowers is a show that reveals the side of the actors that we’ve never seen before. Flaws and all, we get to appreciate their real life personalities and now I love the Reply 1988 boys even more.

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