Although I have not caught any of Na PD‘s (in)famous 1N2D, the camaraderie between the cast on Journey is palpable from the start of ep1. (and…you think Dramabeans will recap this and let me off recapping job???)
It’s obvious that tvN has produced yet another winning variety in Journey, but…can the preamble be juz a little bit shorter?
1. Intro to the cast
The intro, imo, takes a seriously loooong time. Ep1 is shy of 40mins, of which more than half is devoted to introducing the cast. Yesyes, we know it’s been a while since all of you met up…but watching 4 grown men jostling and joking with each other at the back of a mini-bus can be rather boring after a while. (more so when a) you have to read subtitles, and b) you haven’t watch any of them in their prev 1N2D hijinks to get their inside jokes)
Anyway, a quick summary of who’s who:
- Lee Seung-gi (Monk Xuan Zeng): the first to be picked up, and he admits to being a little nervous and hardly had any sleep. (but dear, you look too fresh and preppy to NEED any sleep) The editing crew dubs him as the “most innocent and guiltless”. I suppose that is why he eventually becomes Xuan Zeng (the monk who leads the legendary Sun Wukong and team on their epic journey).
- Kang Ho-dong (Zhu Bajie): second to board the bus. He is the total IT-idiot of the whole team, having little (ok, zero) experience wrt the internet, smart phones, etc…and he doesn’t even know how to create a group chat. (cos he has no Katalk account…gasp! horrors!) Like Seung-gi, he knows a smattering of Mandarin — which will be useful, since they are going to Xi-an, China.
- Eun Ji-won (Sha Wujing): third to board. He loves to whine… (really). And teases Ho-dong mercilessly on his lack of IT-savviness. I actually think he is more of a trouble maker than “Sun Wukong” Su-geun, but is juz too street smart to get caught.
- Lee Su-geun (Sun Wukong): He gets picked on immediately to be Wukong. Meaning: he gets to wear the specially crafted headband (which Na PD kindly informs us and the cast that it cost about 1.3m won to made-to-order), and a electro-pulse massager. The massager is stuck onto his back, and the remote will be passed to whoever becomes Xuan Zeng in ep2 (when they complete their mini games). Poor him. (but at least by the end of the show he may have very un-tensed shoulder muscles?) And oh, he gets to wear a(n) (embarrassing) monkey tail too. The tail is the cast’s only lifeline of sorts — cos it is linked to a phone charging battery pack. And we all know the usefulness of Google Maps when we are outdoors, don’t we?
2. When in China…
The tone of Journey begins to mimic tvN + Na PD’s earlier Over Flowers series when the cast touch down in Xi-an. The first game given to them is to make them find their apartment on their own without the crew’s help.
And of cos, Na PD has to hire a guide to recite the accommodation’s address entirely in Mandarin. Even Seung-gi and (maybe) Ho-dong, who know a smattering of Mandarin, are stumped. Whatever the case, the 4 immediately whip out their smartphones to record the recitation of the address.
Seung-gi and Ji-won bond into a team to work together, and thanks to Seung-gi’s popularity in China, he is immediately recognised by a couple of air stewardess who accorded them MUCH help (after agreeing to a wefie with them). They help Seung-gi transcribe the address — but that doesn’t really help much eventually. Cos when the pair show the written address to the taxi driver and tell him they only have 100RMB (which is like PEANUTS) for the cab fare, no driver is willing to send them anywhere.
Ho-dong and Su-geun wander around rather aimlessly for a long while, before they get their act together and decide to seek out the info counter. The nice Chinese ladies manning the counter decide to help them — in English. A language which Ho-dong and Su-geun are not proficient in. Hilariously, Ho-dong asks if they know Mandarin… (face palm) Which (of cos) they do…but Ho-dong + Su-geun don’t understand their Mandarin instructions either. (double face palm) In the end, a saviour in the form of an airport security descends upon them, and decides to physically show the two lost sheep the way to the airport bus terminal to catch the public transport to their accom. (phew)
Seung-gi and Ji-won by now have also managed to get on a public bus towards their destination. However, as they don’t have Wukong’s tail with them, Seung-gi’s phone batt drains down and finally conks off on him. Thankfully, Seung-gi’s basic Mandarin manages to let him borrow a battery charging unit from another traveller — who seems to have brought the entire electronic shop with him, cos he keeps digging out more wires, charging units, tablets, phablets, and whatnots from his bag. o_0 (wow)
I muz admit, after the preamble winds down and the cast and crew arrive in China, Journey gets a lot more interesting. Will be catching Journey, since Three will have ended its run. (and hopefully I don’t need to recap this series…)