In this episode, Taemin stuns Naeun (and fans) with a confession of his feelings while the couple moves into their We Got Married home.
[We Got Married episode 171 airing 130525]
Where to watch with English subtitles (as of 5/26/13): KShowNow (parts 1 and 2)
Previous recap: episode 1
Note: I’m jumping ahead this week to review the most recent episode—I plan to go back and review episodes 2-4 when I have a chance, but I don’t want to miss out on the excitement unfolding on WGM right now.
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
The episode opens on Taemin and Naeun driving to their new We Got Married home. Taemin asks Naeun why she isn’t asking about his hair—which was blond when they met, but is now suddenly brown. Naeun claims that she noticed it before, but acts like it isn’t a big deal. She asks Taemin why he changed it and he replies that he did it to look better for her.
In the interview Taemin expresses his disbelief that Naeun didn’t notice the change in his hair. Naeun says in her interview that Taemin’s hair color change makes him look more handsome, but that it would be awkward to tell him so outright. She uses the phrase ogeul ogeul to express the feeling that it would be too fluffily romantic and sticky-sweet to compliment Taemin on his new hair. Yet Naeun also expresses regret at having failed to let him know about her feelings about his hair.
The couple arrives at the We Got Married village, where all the couples have houses. In the past, couples used to live in entirely different neighborhoods and have almost no contact with each other, but with the start of the last season, the couples all moved into the same compound, which allows them to interact more.
Taemin and Naeun drag their suitcases toward the house and notice that the flowers spelling J heart J planted by Jinwoon and Junhee have withered in the flowerbed. They also notice the scarecrow guarding the flowers and Taemin pulls it a bit too hard, causing it to come out of the ground. They manage to get in back into the ground. Naeun notices that the scarecrow has no mouth, so the couple draws a mouth and three strands of hair on him.
The living room of the house has been transformed to look like the tropical paradise of Jeju Island, where the couple met in episode 1. The living room is actually covered in an inviting-looking grass sort of carpeting or rug. A framed portrait of the couple’s meeting is framed and sitting on a chair, presumably to remind them of an event that happened all of one month ago.
Taemin hops on the rocking horse, bringing to mind his playful approach to the Yunhanam dating show in which SHINee participated when Taemin was still a middle schooler. Taemin puts on the same background music that played during their romantic adventures in episode two and asks if they should sit as they did that day on Jeju Island. Taemin sits directly next to Naeun on the couch and the couple pretends to be okay with the closeness.
Taemin breaks the tension by noticing that they’re both wearing the socks they bought in Myeong-dong Market in episode four. Taemin is not only wearing two pairs of socks on each foot (?!), but the couple on his socks have their backs facing each other. He explains that he tends to cross his legs, so the couple will reunite anyway.
Taemin then notices the piano in the room and goes over to play. He plays beautifully, and tells Naeun quite suddenly to come over, patting the bench beside him. The ladies in the studio that comment on We Got Married go wild at Taemin’s direct approach.
Taemin asks Naeun to play the piano for him and watches the keys closely. He asks her to play again. When Naeun asks why, Taemin replies that he wants to play together. Taemin attempts to find the chords to accompany Naeun’s melody by ear, but fails to find the right ones at first. He decides that he needs to write the chords down so he can play better.
After writing down the proper chords, the couple starts the song again and plays perfectly. In her interview, Naeun professes that she once again felt strongly that Taemin is a singer and that his ability to play the chords by ear was amazing and cool, giving her butterflies. Naeun gives one of her trademark adorable laughs and wonders why she can say so much during her interview when she says so little to Taemin about the same feelings.
Taemin and Naeun go upstairs in their house and check out the master bedroom. The bedroom is decorated with an island theme, but Taemin immediately notices how tiny the bed is. He decides to lie on the bed first, and Naeun just circles the room laughing rather than joining him on the single bed.
Taemin points out a coffee table at the foot of the bed and he tells Naeun that she can sleep there. He offers to make her a pillow out of his feet. In the interview Taemin reflects on the moment and says that he made the joke because that’s what he does when he gets embarrassed. He also says that he didn’t want for them to get awkward. Honestly, given the expectations of a lot of fans, Taemin, you two are doing a great job of keeping things far from awkward.
Taemin asks Naeun about her sleeping habits while they perch at the end of their micro bed and he flips through a magazine. Naeun confesses that an ophthalmologist told her that she sleeps with her eyes open. Taemin asks if she is actually sleeping right now, then. Naeun laughs and collapses back onto the bed. Naeun says that she didn’t know until lately that she sleeps with her eyes open, and Taemin inquires whether people thought she might not be sleeping, but weren’t sure and therefore didn’t ask.
Taemin asks if they should unpack their suitcases. Naeun flops hers open first and reveals that it is like a clown car filled with a never-ending supply of snacks.
Naeun also brought Buzz Lightyear and Woody dolls, as well as a teddy bear that she always hugs in bed when she sleeps. WGM cuts to a two-year-old clip of an interview with Naeun and Eunji, Naeun’s A Pink band mate, where Naeun discusses her beloved bear. In the clip, Naeun claims that she washed it once. Taemin asks if Naeun washed the bear. He smells it and asks if she’s certain that she has washed it, earning him hits from Naeun. He says that they will wash it.
Taemin sees a book and inquires about it. Naeun responds that it is letters from her A Pink band mates, but she has yet to read them. Taemin opens one letter. It’s from Eunji, who says that she was uncertain about what to give Naeun on this special day, but eventually decided on a strawberry-looking bib because Naeun spills a lot. Eunji wrote that while Naeun doesn’t express her feelings well, she is a person who always follows her heart.
The couple opens a gift from Chorong, which turns out to be an electric deep fryer. Naeun expresses fear at fire and gas, but Taemin is delighted with the gift and promises to use it well.
Naeun next reveals her elementary school diaries. Taemin checks July 18th, his birthday. It turns out that in fourth grade on July 18th, Naeun was in a bad mood. Naeun wrote that when she is in a bad mood she talked to a friend in the heavens, and Taemin replies that she was talking to him.
Taemin opens his suitcase and reveals lots of fruit and strawberry milk. The next thing is a ukulele, which seems to be quite a serious instrument given that it has its own case. The panel is expecting another show of romantic and manly charms, but Taemin strums and sings a silly song that makes Naeun giggle. He says that he doesn’t actually know how to play, but got it as a present and wanted to bring it.
Taemin next shows off his baby photos, which are soul-crushingly adorable. One shows Taemin making a little peace sign, another is him as a dissatisfied baby, and another is deemed 19+ due to showing Taemin’s bare baby torso. Naeun says that he should show her the 19+ photo anyway because she’s 20 and he was just a baby when the photo was taken. True to his Magic Hands nickname, Taemin says that he had more photos, but was tired and left them somewhere.
Taemin lets Naeun keep any of the old photos that she wants, and she picks the one of him making a peace sign. The panel notes the significance of allowing a girl to keep an old photo.
Taemin also brought some DVDs to the house. His selections include The Secrets that Cannot be Told, Once, and Romeo + Juliet. He says that the reason he brought the DVDs is because he wants to watch them with Naeun on account of them being beautiful and invigorating love stories.
Naeun asks if Taemin likes sad movies and he responds that he doesn’t cry much. Upon being asked why, Taemin discloses that he doesn’t think he’s cried since he debuted, and he’s the member who cries the least in SHINee. Taemin tells Naeun that maybe later she will be the one to make him cry—there’s a possibility. This romantic declaration earns a shocked outburst from the panel in the studio.
Naeun tells Taemin that she thinks he is good at expressing himself to her. Taemin says that he’s good at expressing himself to her because she is a happy person, declaring that he is really going to express himself a lot to her, more than to anyone else. Taemin tells Naeun that with her he wants to be more honest.
Naeun, in her interview, says that she is surprised that Taemin is not always so honest with people. And she realizes that with Taemin she is also the happy person that he sees. When asked why Taemin said that Naeun might make him cry, Naeun wonders aloud that if she makes him cry wouldn’t that make her a bad person? She asks why Taemin is making her a bad person.
Taemin explains in his interview that if his feelings for Naeun grow then he might be upset at some point and cry. He says that although the statement was made in a roundabout way, he was expressing his interest in Naeun.
The couple then goes into the kitchen. Taemin asks if Naeun knows how to cook. She says yes, but admits that she really doesn’t know how to make things like broths and rice. He asks what she can make, and she remains silent. Taemin says that he always imagined waking up to the smell of breakfast and a wife asking him to wake up. He says that it would be nice if Naeun did that. She asks if he will still want it even if it doesn’t taste good, but he says that it’s the heart that counts.
Naeun asks if Taemin has tried cooking before. Taemin recounts the time he made ramyun and added chili powder, honey, and milk, causing his members to ask him to never cook it again. He promises to make it for Naeun next time, but she expresses doubt at the proposition.
Taemin decides to peel some fruit, but he is still unsure about how to do it. He ends up jamming a knife into the pear and trying to filet it like a fish. The episode ends with the couple baffled by peeling a piece of fruit.
After four episodes where Taemin and Naeun got better acquainted on Jeju Island and back in Seoul, moving into the We Got Married house slows the action down quite a bit, and we’re left with just the couple in a normal environment, where their personalities and connection will determine how entertaining the show is to watch. Granted, after last week’s horrifying debacle in which members of a crowd following the couple swore at Naeun, some time at home might be a relief for them.
Taemin continues to stun viewers and Naeun with his direct and confident approach to communication. While one wouldn’t expect a young man to hop off of a rocking horse, then walk over to a piano bench and call a girl over to sit next to him in the manliest way possible, Taemin is showing how he has no problem bridging the divide between childlike and totally adult behavior.
The biggest problem for the show is actually its greatest strength: Taemin and Naeun seem to get along well and have great chemistry. For the show to remain entertaining, though, some sort of tension or conflict needs to remain—it’s more interesting when that comes naturally out of legitimate things the couple needs to work through, but for Taeun, it seems that we’re in for a lot of Taemin being direct and Naeun pretending to be oblivious or unable to open her heart fully to him.
Fangirls may be feeling the pain of seeing Taemin paired with Naeun on We Got Married, but I have a feeling that his incredibly confident and direct communication style, 4D personality, and opportunity to showcase his musical talents will produce many more opportunities to see Taemin on other shows and projects that in no way involve a fake marriage. Korean netizens are pleasantly surprised by his manly behavior, and his comments show an emotional intelligence and self-awareness that can only bring greater success for him.
Naeun is likewise earning praise for her role on the show, demonstrating her sense of humor and cool personality. I’m particularly impressed that at moments when I was screetching while watching the show due to Taemin’s directness, she remained calm and collected.
Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind these days is how real is this televised romance? As I mentioned in an earlier post on “How Much of We Got Married is Scripted?” the vast majority of the storylines and activities are planned by the writers—and we certainly saw that in this episode; there’s no universe in which two people who are pretty cool with each other are going to make that much fuss over a hair color change that was likely ordered by some executives. That said, if actors can fall in love while clearly performing a fictional romance, it is certainly possible that blurrier lines between truth and fantasy could produce a lot of confusion and even romantic attachment.
-10: for the storyline about Taemin changing his hair for Naeun; 10 for the number of SM executives who actually handle (and mis-handle) idols’ hair changes
+3 for 3 instances of Naeun’s adorable laugh-wheeze
+1 for Taemin knocking at the door of his own master bedroom once.
+5 for Taemin admitting that he uses humor to diffuse awkwardness and embarrassment; the weirdness of the joke made the moment seem real. On a related note, Taemin’s self-awareness is amazing and only makes him more charming. Five for a high five from this fangirl.
-2 for the second different Hyundai car we’ve seen Taemin drive; I suspect these aren’t in any way Taemin’s actual car, but rather product placements—possibly in connection with Taemin’s (and SM’s) PYL contract.
-3 for the number of times I rolled my eyes at the exaggerated problems in the kitchen; I can see the show heading straight toward the inevitable “problems with cooking” storyline that requires visits from band mates and in-laws for a cooking lesson. There must be a more realistic way to get people to guest star and do some kimchi fridge product placements.
+4 for the four times I squealed at Taemin’s directness
Give your thoughts on the episode and reality ratings in the comments. What’s real in this episode and what’s part of the writers’ storylines? Which of Taemin’s baby pictures is the cutest? What are your predictions for future storylines on WGM?
- How Much of We Got Married is Scripted? (fanserviced.wordpress.com)
- Recap, Review, and Reality Rating: We Got Married Taemin/Naeun Episode 1 (fanserviced.wordpress.com)