I’ve been meaning to write something about Yoon Si Yoon being officially added to the crazy team of my beloved variety show but I feel like I had to wait for a while until the awkwardness subsides. It did, quite quickly.
To separate his acting persona with his variety one, 1N2D chose to call Yoon Si Yoon by his real name, Yoon Dong Gu. It takes some getting used to since I’m a drama fan and I prefer the sound of his screen name.
Yoo Il Yong PD took over the lead while Yoo Ho Jin PD is taking a break. The former used to work with 1N2D and is known to have extreme seasickness. The members don’t know what lies ahead under the new direction but they certainly couldn’t hide their excitement as Yoo Il Yong PD reveals that their next special will be held in an all-female university.
Ewha University used to be exclusive for women but has opened its doors to men. The members who are dressed in their preppy “date” outfits act like exchange students as they received the IDs that placed them in a department that fits their character: CEO Kim Joon Ho in the Department of Business Administration; father of 3 Cha Tae Hyun in the Department of Early Childhood Education; glutton piggy Defconn in the Department of Food and Nutrition; resident idiot Kim Jong Min in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; rocker Jung Joon Young in College of Music, and bookworm Dong Gu in the Department of Library and Information Science.
The members didn’t get to have their wish ‘to be university boyfriends’ granted but the excitement returned when PD announced the mentoring system. Each member will be accompanied by an Ewha student to explore the beauty of the university, learn about its history and accomplish their missions. But there was a halt in the celebration when they remembered that Ewha isn’t an all-female university anymore and one member gets to be paired with a male! They paired up by the traditional way of gathering items and picking their match. Most of them happy, one isn’t too lucky. (Although I actually think this member purposely chose his male mentor.) They walked around the campus with their mentors and some members were obviously more popular than others. Dong Gu has just gotten discharged from the army and is the last one to join the show but he causes hysteria wherever he goes. The lunch mission has to be done alone though. So the members set out to different school areas to accomplish the task on the paper that they’ve chosen. The thing is, returning first doesn’t guarantee your meal. They have to do their tasks completely and accurately to be able to enjoy the tasty items from Ewha’s campus menu.
After the fun one-on-one interactions, the second part of the Ehwa University special features some group action. The show invited broadcaster Heo Jun, announcer Jo Eun-Jeong, and former football player Lee Chun-soo, as commentators for the members’ friendly soccer match against the incredible players of ESSA (Ewha Spor
ts Soccer Association). ESSA didn’t go easy on them but the 1N2D team played better than expected as they ended with 3 goals vs. ESSA’s 11. Every goal for ESSA is equivalent to one massage tool plus a bonus ₩1,000,000 for dinner if they score more than 7. The members, on the other hand, surprisingly scored 3 goals which exempts them from their morning mission.
The highlight came as the dinner bokbulbok was announced: an impromptu lecture. In a room filled with 500 students, each member should share “The story that I want to talk to about”.
Dong Gu went first and his earnestness shows. He started his speech with a thought provoking question, inserted some humor, a concrete example, his own experiences and a final message. It’s by the book but more than just fluency, his sincerity is in it. His words were so moving.
How should I live? Everyone in that auditorium and most people who are watching this episode at home were probably asking themselves the exact same thing. I do too. Every.single.day.
Now I understand Yoon Si Yoon’s sudden disappearance from the limelight even though his previous projects were huge successes. I liked his dramas but I wasn’t really a fan ( I liked Joo Won more in King of Baking: Kim Tak Gu and I was rooting for Kim Ji Hoon in Flower Boy Next Door) but seeing this side of Yoon Si Yoon made me appreciate him more as a person and eventually as an actor. I am currently watching Mirror of the Witch and he’s doing a good job in it. Boryeong, Mokpo, now Seoul.. He was overly enthusiastic, slightly awkward, so-so at everything and terrible at table tennis but after this “lecture”, I’m impressed to know how he’s mustered up the courage to take the variety challenges and reveal all these weaknesses to the world. This is just his third trip and I can already see how much he’s embraced his Dong Gu persona as much as the audience welcomed him as the new member. And it’s a win-win situation for him and 1N2D to have him on the show.
The first lecturer was a tough act to follow but with dinner on the line, the other members were unwavering. Defconn spoke about his struggles and his miracles. Kim Jong Min showed his evolution from handsome to stupid and impressively ended his speech with a quote about being positive in life, and sometimes the perks of being negative. Jung Joon Young talked about what he knows best: women and music. He gets plus points for serenading the audience. Kim Joon Ho shared the secret to his longevity in the world of comedy and devious as always, he used Dong Gu for a special impromptu fanservice moment. I also personally liked Cha Tae Hyun’s lecture. Instead of saying something, he acted as a listener and genuinely answered questions from the audience. He admitted how the media has romanticized his marriage. He also implied that his most recent movie was a flop. He never should’ve agreed to it anyway. My Sassy Girl without Jun Ji Hyun is impossible. But amidst the failure and questioning his self worth, he encouraged the students to overcome the hurdles just as he does. His line “Live as __” hit me hard. I’m a 20 something and the 30s is just around the corner. I see my friends getting married, having babies and travelling the world. The woes of being a constant social media user: I can’t help but compare my life with those that I see online, forgetting the fact that people mostly post the good things and try to hide the bad ones. I sometimes forget how to properly live my life since I’m too busy wishing to live someone else’s.
I thought I was able to successfully hold back my tears after all the members’ heartwarming speeches but when an unfamiliar lecturer walked in and shared her ups and downs in life and in school, there’s no holding back anymore. It was an emotional and deeply inspiring moment. Her words are exactly what the students need to hear these days. What I need, too.
The audience made their choice and the results came as no surprise, with the top lecturer receiving an overwhelming number of votes. The sleeping bokbulbok, however, was so lame they edited the entire thing out. We didn’t even get to hear the sleeping mission rules. Good thing, the members don’t play by the rules as the mat hyung-maknae status was disregarded when Kim Joon Ho let out his deadly gas and Joon Young got his revenge by farting straight to Joon Ho’s face! Gross! But it was so funny I didn’t mind not seeing the sleeping game after all. hahaha.
It’s only been a few episodes since Dong Gu joined the gang and “Tired Lobster” PD even took a break but 1N2D maintains its energy. It deserves the top spot among its competitors on the same time slot as it manages to give me another memorable episode: one that makes me laugh and cry as much as I did with their ‘Seollal in Seoul’ and ‘Harbin’ specials.