Recap, Review, and Reality Rating: We Got Married Taemin/Naeun Episode 1

[We Got Married episode 167 airing 130427]

Where to watch with English Subtitles (as of 5/18/2013): KShowNow

 

What’s in Each Section of this Post

I’ve broken my recap into distinct sections with headers so you can skip the parts that don’t appeal to you.

Recap: a straight recap of the episode with very little opinion or interpretation

Review: my highly opinionated review of the episode

Reality Rating: a completely non-serious +/- rating of the most realistic-seeming and scripted-seeming moments of the episode

Important note: I am not a native Korean speaker and rely almost fully on subtitles to understand the dialogue, so if I’ve made mistakes please send me a message and I’ll update the post (crediting you for bailing me out, if it’s ok, and pledging my eternal love and devotion).  Since I’m not doing these posts before the subtitles appear and I’m not a native Korean speaker, I see the main point of them being the review portion and the links to additional information, although I include a detailed recap in case people want it.

1

Backstory

For those new to Korean broadcaster MBC’s We Got Married—often shortened to WGM by international fans—the show pairs celebrity men and women in reality show “marriages.” The “husband” and the “wife” do married couple things such as going to the amusement park, crawling around in the garden, and going for physical exams. These days, there are three couples per “season,” so each hour-longish episode is divided between three WGM “marriages.” The couples tend to be composed of a mix of actors and idols, with some of the participants rocketing to greater fame based on their personalities and the public’s favorable perception of their pairing.

When I first heard that SHINee‘s maknae Taemin would star on We Got Married, I suspected that it was a ridiculous rumor.  There have been rumors about band mate Minho starring on WGM in the past and hopes that Key might win a place on the show, but I thought the world had decided quite resolutely that Taemin would never appear on it unless he was cheering on one of his hyungs.

As evidence mounted, pictures surfaced, and news sources reported the story, I still expected this to be a vast misunderstanding that everyone would forget when the next scandal hit in 18 hours. Taemin–who is 19 and famous for his gift of losing everything he touches–seemed like a truly odd choice for WGM. Not only is Taemin a bit on the young side for entering even a reality tv “marriage,” but his variety skills have never been considered particularly brilliant, even within variety-challenged SHINee. That’s actually an understatement. On some shows, whether due to exhaustion or natural spaciness, Taemin seems almost lobotomized. In other instances, Taemin appears so shy and eager to please that he smiles sweetly and shows very little personality. In short: my opinion of Taemin before We Got Married was “variety disaster.”

Official confirmation arrived very soon after the first reports. Taemin’s partner would be Son Naeun, also 19 years old and a member of girl group A Pink. I knew zero about Naeun before the announcement. Her Wikipedia page helpfully shared that she is also pursuing various acting projects and enjoys drawing.

As I shared in a previous post, I love We Got Married, but find the show to be almost entirely scripted—and badly scripted, at that. What makes WGM fun to watch is seeing what bits of a person’s personality slip out between the lines and planned excursions.  So the question going in to the first episode of Taemin and Naeun on We Got Married would be whether their pairing could possibly be interesting.

Taemin and Naeun episode 1

The segment starts and we see the exterior of SHINee’s dorm, presumably in near the SM Headquarters. We’ve been seeing that dorm living room more lately than the SM cloud practice room, not that fans are complaining.

2

There’s a red mailbox in the hallway outside the apartment. While most people would open the box and bring in the letter, Key answers the door and brings the whole thing inside. The camera comes in to show Onew on the couch with his phone, presumably preparing to beat his Candypang record or send one-word tweets, and Taemin appearing to be on the house phone.

3

Key assumes that he has been selected for WGM and gives his acceptance speech. Given Key’s past experience on variety programs and excitement at the prospect of appearing on the program with Boa, Key wasn’t the only one expecting the invitation to be addresses to him.

4

The card reads, “In romantic Jeju, start a new love with your hypothetical wife,” a first hint to Onew, Taemin, and Key that producers have someone else in mind.

5

The name of the husband is under a scratch-off sticker, which Key excitedly removes with a coin. The name isn’t his. He throws an adorable fit. I’m not certain what has happened to Key lately—perhaps his time in London with Minho resulted in some aegyo upgrade training—but his aegyo has somehow gotten cuter lately.

6

Onew grabs the card and screams. Taemin sees it next and exclaims. It’s Taemin. Da-dun.

The show introduces Taemin and gives a brief look at the recent Dream Girl and Why So Serious? promotions.

7

Taemin recounts his “dating history” with a 4th grade girlfriend. He is asked by an unseen interviewer if he has ever kissed anyone before. He gets embarrassed and questions how someone can ask such a harsh question. Excellent dodge, Taemin. He says he is not even sure if he and his old flame held hands.

Taemin says that if his “wife” also has no experience, maybe they could be each other’s first loves.  The panel in the studio comments that Taemin is the youngest WGM husband in the show’s history.

8

Onew, Taemin, and Key are given a clue in the form of a photograph of a woman sitting in front of a window. Key thinks it looks like Franceska from Hello, Franceska. Onew remembers something and looks it up. It turns out to be the female lead sitting in the house from Architecture 101.

9

Based on the theme of first love from the movie, the producers are sending Taemin and his partner to the filming site of Architecture 101 on Jeju Island to experience their first love together.

Taemin is next instructed to draw his dream wife. Since Taemin is 21 in Korean age, the boys speculate that his wife could be older because it would be difficult to find someone younger than him to participate on the show.

10

Key suggests that she could be Kim Na-young. Taemin says he likes Lee Na-young. Key tells Taemin that he should remember he is Taemin. Taemin begins to stutter or hiccup and pinches his own neck to calm down.

11

Taemin says it would be nice to have someone younger. Key and Taemin decide that if the girl were younger, Taemin could show a new, manlier side of himself.

12

Key and Taemin roleplay manly aggressiveness, but Taemin is too aggressive when coming on to the wall, as he did in Boa’s Disturbance MV, and Key says that’s too much manliness.

Taemin explains that he would like to have his wife be a dongsaeng because he wants to have his chance at last to take care of someone else.

13

Taemin draws his ideal girl: double eyelids, chic, but pretty nose, and lips like cherries. Onew says Taemin is discussing his dream girl like he is a plastic surgeon.

Key and Onew make fun of Taemin’s line drawing and tell him to redo the drawing to make it better. Taemin manages to produce something somewhat better, but still quite bad.

14

Key then asks what Taemin will do if he doesn’t like his wife when he meets her. Key explains that Taemin is very obvious about his emotions and reactions, so even if he says nothing you can see what he thinks on his face.

Onew plans a program for the romantic encounter on Jeju: clay shooting and fishing. Taemin suggests a horror program, presumably meaning a haunted house. The WGM panel in the studio is—yes—horrified.

15

Key reminds Taemin that he isn’t going to Jeju with a friend.  Key suggests to Taemin that if the girl doesn’t like him on first sight, he needs a talent.  Taemin says that he doesn’t have one.  Key suggests skinship.

16

Taemin is overwhelmed at the thought of doing skinship and asks for a demo.  Onew, who has otherwise been sidelined in the conversation, grabs Taemin’s hand to demonstrate.  Taemin thinks that he might put on his wife’s seatbelt, and roleplays with Key.  Key suggests that Taemin’s approach should be modified to make it less provocative.

17

Key asks Taemin about the last time he did skinship.  Taemin responds that he thinks the last time was when he did a photoshoot and put his arm around someone.  Onew reminds everyone of his presence by saying that he liked it best when he did a photoshoot with chicken, to which Key replies that making such statements will forever bar him from being asked to participate as a husband on WGM.  Taemin promises to call Key and give him an update on how things go.

18

At this point, we see a glimpse of a woman in the airport and on a plane.

19

The show cuts back to Taemin at the airport and on the plane. He appears nervous and clutches his chest.

20

Taemin arrives on Jeju and we see beautiful shots of the island, which is often featured in Korean tourism promotions.  We see Taemin driving a red Hyundai Genesis on the way to meet his “wife.”

21

Naeun appears sitting in the window of the house from Architecture 101, but we only see her from a distance.  She is finally introduced and clips from her A Pink MVs and acting roles in dramas play.

22

In the interview segment Naeun states that she is 20 years old (in Korean age reckoning) and has never dated or kissed anyone romantically.  She dreams of a never-ending love like in vampire movies, and wants a reliable and manly husband.

Taemin arrives at the house and walks in looking for his wife.  He eventually spots her sitting outside on the patio and he sneaks up beside her.  When Naeun realizes that he is next to her she appears to be scared and a bit creeped out.

23

Taemin is also flustered and asks if she is his marriage partner.  Naeun says yes. This scene has all the spontaneity of a foreign language class skit. Taemin immediately responds, “cute cute!”

24

Taemin states immediately that he thinks Naeun is pretty and that he had always thought so.  Naeun says she was scared on the way to Jeju to film the show, but felt happy when she saw Taemin.  Naeun and Taemin try to do small talk about flights and not being able to sleep.

25

Taemin tells Naeun that when A Pink debuted he thought she was the prettiest girl in her group. Taemin repeats again that she is really pretty and that he picked her as one of the prettiest idols. Naeun responds that Taemin is also good looking. He reassures her that she doesn’t need to say that just to be nice, but Naeun states that she means the compliment.

26

Taemin asks Naeun if he was one of her top choices among all the male idols. She giggles and admits that he wasn’t.

27

Taemin brings up the fact that they played brother and sister in the drama “Salamander Guru” and says that now they’re married. Naeun emits a completely unexpected and endearing squeal of discomfort.

28

Taemin and Naeun go through all of the things they have in common. They attended the same junior high school.  Naeun says that she saw Taemin at lunch and in Phys Ed class, but Taemin doesn’t remember seeing her.  Naeun calls Taemin sunbaenim and he reminds her that he is her husband, eliciting another squeal from Naeun.

29

Taemin notices Naeun’s ring and recognizes it as a rosary ring.  She says that she received it from her mom because she is Catholic, as is Taemin.  Her baptismal name is Marchella. Taemin shares that his is Francesco while making an adorable flirty face. Taemin says they must be destined for each other due to their similarities.

Taemin says that he is excited to meet someone younger than him. He asks outright what Naeun thinks of him and she says she likes him.  Taemin then asks if they can speak informally and Naeun answers yes.

30

Taemin asks Naeun if she has experience with dating and she replies that she doesn’t. She admits that she did have an unrequited love, though—when she was in kindergarten. Taemin claims that he doesn’t have dating experience either, but Naeun questions him outright. Taemin insists that it is true and that his band mates say that he is single since birth.  Naeun has a hard time believing him because he is too good-looking not to have dated.  Taemin responds that Naeun is prettier.

Taemin and Naeun continue to trade compliments and get to know each other better.  Taemin says that he is proud because Naeun is his ideal type of girl.  Naeun says that she has difficulty believing his claims about always being single because he is too popular and handsome not to have dated before.  Taemin shares in the interview clip that he wondered the same thing about Naeun, but trusts her after meeting her.

31

The couple next show each other the drawings they made of their ideal spouses. Taemin shares his drawing and says that Naeun fits it perfectly.  Naeun’s drawing is much prettier and Taemin says that they should hang it up somewhere.  The WGM panel notes that Taemin pays compliments well.

32

Taemin asks Naeun what she likes to do. He points out a random dog walking nearby and says that that’s his dog. He is joking. She laughs. The heavens part: these two actually seem to get along well together, and this show might actually be entertaining.

33

Taemin says that he wants to take Naeun somewhere, so they head off to the car.  Taemin helps Naeun with the door and attempts to help her with putting on her seatbelt, but fails and comments that he has short arms.  Taemin says in the interview that it was too awkward to put on Naeun’s seatbelt as he had planned because he doesn’t have enough experience to do it smoothly, but Naeun found his fail cute because it wasn’t too perfect, making his claim of having no dating experience more believable.

34

Naeun comments that she has never been in a car with a man before, aside from her dad and manager.  Taemin echoes her statement.  (This is significant because idols are known to use cars as their primary sites for dating and romantic encounters, since cars offer some privacyFormer WGM husband and ZE:A member Kwanghee shared a particularly hilarious story about idols dating in cars on Strong Heart.)

Taemin asks Naeun if she likes extreme sports even though Onew and Key warned him never to try to take a girl on a date involving extreme sports. Naeun is game and says that she wants to do extreme sports with Taemin.  Don’t we all, don’t we all.

35

Taemin asks Naeun to speak comfortably—informally—again and she agrees.  She asks what to call him.  He says Taemin oppa because he never gets to hear it due to always being younger than the people with whom he speaks.

36

Naeun asks Taemin about his favorite food and he tells her it’s beef. She says that’s her favorite, too, and they compare the amount they are able to eat in one sitting: Naeun wins.

Naeun sees Taemin’s rosary bracelet and says that she had one, but lost it, as she did her ring.  Taemin is surprised because he loses things easily, too.  His nickname is Magic Hand because everything he touches either disappears or breaks.  They wonder who will take care of them if they both lose things.

37

Yet again Taemin says in the interview that he and Naeun are destined for each other, and Naeun remarks that they have a lot in common.

One of the things the couple has in common is that they both say that they kept their casting in WGM a secret from band mates and family.  They discuss the impact of the news that they’re starring on this season of WGM; at the moment of filming, Naeun is second in the Korean search rankings and Taemin is third.

38

After some prompting, Naeun finally calls Taemin oppa. Taemin claims that he only wants to hear it every once in a while.  He asks Naeun if guys hit on her and quickly says that theirs is a forced marriage and apologizes if she doesn’t like him.

While driving, Taemin says he likes men—err—hanging out with men.  But he also likes hanging out with Naeun.  In the interview segment, Taemin is informed that Naeun admitted to liking him.

39

Naeun and Taemin enter a parasailing shop and find out they can’t do it today due to weather and wave conditions.  Da-dummmm.

Review

The theme of the Taemin and Naeun couple is fated first love, and the writers are so heavy handed about it that the interview segments groan under the weight of the obvious script. Whenever the couple gains some footing in the legitimate cute department they seem to be coached right back to the oppressive theme of first love and fated connection.

If the goal of the show was to show a manlier side of Taemin, SM could have spared fangirls a lot of anguish by simply getting him cast in a car commercial; seeing Taemin behind the wheel of a red Hyundai did more to thrust him into his 20s, image-wise than gallivanting with girl idols or hyungs ever has. While I claimed earlier that Taemin is a variety show disaster, his artlessness and quirks work well here. Some couples such as Kwanghee and Sunhwa are fun to watch because they’re so aware of the show on a meta level, but other couples such as Kim Hyun Joong and Hwangbo are fun because they seem to have a fun chemistry and willingness to let their personalities (read: 4Dness) burst forth.

I didn’t do research on Naeun beyond her Wikipedia page before watching the show, in part because the web seemed to be exploding in a fiery ball of Naeun hate and hate firefighting after her participation on WGM was announced. When actually watching the show, I found her to be charming and willing to find humor in Taemin’s quirks. The couple shows surprising natural and friendly chemistry, which is necessary for carrying the show through the creaky and recycled scripting.

One thing I’m going to be including here would be critiques of Naeun’s appearance. I saw some articles that seemed unnecessarily harsh and speculated about a possible recent nose job or other plastic surgery. She’s a lovely young woman. And more importantly, she seems to accept Taemin’s quirks and laugh at his jokes–this is a miracle.

This is a promising beginning for the couple, but a dreadful first episode for the writers, who seem to be going to same well yet again for material.

Reality Rating

+2: Taemin makes a joke that really isn’t funny; +2 for two people in the world who would think that joke is funny (Taemin and Onew)

+2: Naeun has a unique laugh; +2 for two squeal-laughs

-10: Interview segments where Taemin and Naeun to have never seen the opposite sex–never, ever–except parents; -10 for the number of times I rolled my eyes

+3: Taemin drives?!?; +3 for being three years ahead of the age when I thought he would drive

+10: Taemin creeps up on Naeun all creepers-like and she gets creeped out; +10 for being a 10 out of 10 perfect response to creepers!Tae

-3: Onew makes an OnChicken joke; -3 for how many years ago this was relevant (I’m guessing the writers thrust this one on him because it is so in their style to go with three-year-old material)

-5: Taemin is clearly styled by the SHINee cordinoonas; -5 for five members who suffered at their hands during the Dream Girl era

+8: but he happens to be wearing the greatest white pants in TaeHistory; +8 for the number of different edits of TaeButt in those pants that I’ve reblogged

+5: Taemin is free with compliments; +5 for the high five he deserves for being so blunt and unhesitating in saying nice things

-10: Taemin and Naeun had multiple forced-seeming, strangely timed conversations about their similarities; 2 X -5 for slapping me across the face with the destined first luv theme twice

Total: 2

The We Got Married writers are relying on old material, but Taemin and Naeun are doing a good job of keeping up the cute.

This work by fanserviced is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

3 responses to “Recap, Review, and Reality Rating: We Got Married Taemin/Naeun Episode 1

  1. Pingback: Recap, Review, and Reality Rating: We Got Married Taemin/Naeun Episode 5 | fanserviced·

  2. Pingback: Recap, Review, and Reality Rating: We Got Married Taemin/Naeun Episode 6 | fanserviced·

  3. Pingback: Recap, Review, and Reality Rating: We Got Married Taemin/Naeun Episode 7 | fanserviced·

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