Lettuce Love, part 1

It’s been more than a year since the SS501’s Kim Hyunjoong and Ex-Chakra’s Hwangbo first appeared on the then popular variety show, We Got Married, starting their life as a fake couple pretending to be married. Yet, the fire has not really died down. To be precise, the fire from the torch that the fans are holding. There are still a lot of speculation and a lot of guessing around whether this couple did have something and/or does have something now. Whether they are friends outside the show, if they contact each other, or to go on an extreme, if they were just acting.

I’ve been wanting to do this for sometime now. I’ve wanted to do a full episodical write up on what I think of Hyunjoong and Hwangbo couple on WGM. I’ve written several fanfictions of the Ssangchu Couple, and even if they convey my thoughts and feelings about them, they are hardly objective. In my defence, it’s hard to fully be objective and clearheaded on what they are supposed to be OUTSIDE the show, but I will try to incorporate those off cam elements into this review type of writing.

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1. First Meeting, Honeymoon, Jeju Island


Even before their first episode aired, I was really excited to see this couple. I had always thought Hwangbo to be a super awesome girl personality wise and so gorgeous looks wise. I also liked Kim Hyunjoong the few times I’d watched him. Their first meeting in episode 9 is ridiculously awkward. Hwangbo found out about her partner before the shooting, but I guess Hyunjoong did not because he is surprised and quite put off being paired with an older girl. When I first watched the episode, after anticipating it, I was rather disappointed by Hyunjoong’s reaction. It’s honest and blunt, but it’s not exactly a good reaction. The problem stems from the fact that Hyunjoong tends to be stiff and overly

formal toward anyone older than him. In his words, he has never spoken informally to anyone older.

Hwangbo, on the other hand, is very casual. She loses her formal speech right away and treats Hyunjoong like he’s one of the neighbourhood kids she’s known for a few years now. And in a way, he is. They are in the same industry for a while and have met sporadically on variety shows and perhaps other events over the span of 3 years. It’s not like they are completely in the dark of who the other person is, but nevertheless, they are mostly stranger to each other. This couple is the one who takes the most time to get closer too as we later found out throughout their run in WGM.

So, Hyunjoong and Hwangbo’s first day on honeymoon is spent checking into the hotel (beautiful hotel, by the way) and going fishing. Immediately on the ride to the hotel, Hyunjoong discloses that he hates mushy, romantic things, like ‘catch the stars for me’ type of nonsense. That confession renders Hwangbo in a big laugh, the first of the many more to come. In the hotel, Hwangbo asks Hyunjoong to do exactly one of the things he hates, wearing couple mickey mouse t-shirts. Hyunjoong meets this request with hesitant resistance, but Hwangbo pushes on. They compromise, meeting in the middle, by reforming the t-shirts so they don’t look too alike. Right away, I was struck by how… different this couple is. Their conversations are short and rare, but the few things they do talk about end up being interesting and fun.

Done with the whole outfit business, off they go fishing. For hours and hours they brave the Jeju sea wind in order to catch some fish. In the end they give up, empty handed. They wine and dine a little and they go back to their hotel for a real bbq dinner. Here, we are shown the first glimpse of Hyunjoong’s teasing nature and Hwangbo’s guillible personality. As a joke, Hyunjoong asks Hwangbo to put on a dress for dinner while he himself is decked in a casual (reformed couple) T-Shirt. Hwangbo, who thinks he is serious, comes out wearing a sparkly black dress and high heels, leaving Hyunjoong bewildered. In this dinner, we establishes the nickname that follows them until today, Ssangchu, borne from Hyunjoong’s uncommon way to pronounce lettuce (sangchu). Also established is Hwangbo’s nickname, Buin. And therefore, Hwang Buin is created.

Their honeymoon continues. The first night, we find out about Hyunjoong’s aversion towards mosquitos and bugs in general. After helping each other kill mosquitos, Hwangbo suggests they make a pact, a marriage contract from both parties, listing all the things they want in this marriage. To be an oxygen-like husband, to not look at other women, etc. Obviously it’s for the show and they are not expected to carry those things out, but regardless of that, it’s a really sweet scene.

The next day, after having breakfast together, they head out to the beach, where they have fun walking in the sand, playing with water and taking pictures. They also write things on the sand, a habit they keep up whenever they go to beaches throughout the course of their on-screen marriage.

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I really like the fact that the awkwardness is palpable. Awkwardness of meeting for the first time and yet having to act as if they are married. At this point, I think Hwangbo exudes professionalism. She’s a regular to variety shows and she knows how to present herself to make the show more interesting. She treats Hyunjoong well, she keeps him on a familiar level, and she tries hard to coax reactions out of him. Some comment that Hwangbo seems too eager, but in my opinion, she’s actually treating this ‘job’ just like any other job she has. She throws herself into it and determines to show great things. Off screen, we probably would never know how she is. I don’t like how people comment she’s a desperate old lady, because she’s not. Hwangbo, from what I know, is nice to everyone. She’s fun, she’s got a hoard of friends and know a lot of people in the industry. She doesn’t treat Hyunjoong specially because she’s into him but merely because a)this is national TV and b)why should she treat a supposed husband any less?

Hyunjoong is an interesting person. I thought it’s strange that he bluntly says that he expects someone ‘cute’ as his partner, not someone like Hwangbo. He does not express disappointment, but it’s clear that there is an amount of surprise in his unexpected wife. He’s quiet, but the few things he says is funny and absurd. Quirky does not even begin to describe it. Sometimes I just go right down to ‘weird’ or ‘out of this world’ a tribute to his image as a 4-Dimensional personality. This is one of the sources of entertainment because Hyunjoong makes Hwangbo laugh through his absurd talks, no matter how weird they sometimes are.

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3 responses to “Lettuce Love, part 1

  1. Oh I love this. One of the things that makes the fans carry the torch this far is because both of them does not seem to have relationships since they left WGM. When most celebrities would deny and say it was work, it was over and done with, these two kept their silence or remained vague when asked about each other. This was a good one so please keep it going! =)

  2. I watched few of their episodes and to think I watched the latest ones, which I considered the funniest and the most romantic. It really made me feel that they were’nt acting at all. Hyun Joong’s expressions and actions can definitely testify that and HwangBo’s reactions and happiness can also assure us that she or they rather are having fun.=)

    • Please note that I don’t mean they were acting all the time. The acting I am referring here is more like ‘trying to portray being married’ and being ‘more intimate’ while clearly, they don’t know each other. Things became a whole lot different in the latter episodes where it did look like they were more intimate and definitely friendlier.

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