To be honest, I wasn’t really planning on continuing the Lettuce Love series. For one thing, the show’s over and done with, long gone and both Hyunjoong and Hwangbo have gone on to do a lot of other projects. Another thing, I have finally gotten the Ssangchu/Joongbo fangirlism out of my system after more than a year. I didn’t think it would be as much fun to have to write about their episodes and try to analyze them as I don’t necessarily have a strong opinion anymore. But I’m the kind of person who likes to have a keepsake and to me, by writing this, it feels like I have a keepsake of my Ssangchu fangirlism.
Alrighty. So we start this new outing with Hwangbo and Hyunjoong at the house. Hwangbo is knitting while Hyunjoong is lounging around. They chit chat about how the other is doing and Hyunjoong discloses that he hasn’t been able to sleep recently. Opening the mission envelope, they find ‘Spending the day together’ and mull over what activity they should do before deciding to go to an outdoor swimming pool. One notable information that I caught was that Hyunjoong, who is so uncomfortable around Hwangbo, tries to ask for her phone number so that he can call her up and talk over Soju, to get rid of that awkwardness and to get to know her better. To his dismay, Hwangbo leaves the shooting early.
Once they arrive in the recreation center, Hwangbo changes into a two-piece swim suit, with Hyunjoong remarking that he hates bikinis and that she looks R-rated (aka too sexehhh) for the family friendly environment. It’s interesting to see even this early, Hyunjoong displays that particular traditional notion of hating skimpy clothing on his girls. On the other hand, Hwangbo is doing some ogling herself! She is surprised that Hyunjoong’s got some muscle action going on because she initially thinks that he’s the tall and skinny type. With a little giggle, she notes that it’s kinda funny to see his body for the first time.
One of their most major skinships is coming up! As the couple are warming up before swimming, Hyunjoong suddenly comes behind Hwangbo and picks her up, pretty much using his chest aided with his arms around her. It is such an unconventional pose that we are overlooking the degree of skinship in that simple movement. Hello! It’s body to body, man! Coming down from this high, Hyunjoong once again surprises us and Hwangbo when he tries to give her a foot massage after she comes out of the water looking tired. Hwangbo, understandably, literally freaks when he touches her foot. She reveals that instead of helping her relaxed, Hyunjoong’s warm up technique and foot massage make her more uneasy.
It’s clear that Hwangbo is still mindful of the attention she is getting from being ‘married’ to Hyunjoong, the younger pretty boy idol, whose fans can be vicious with their comments. I think this is one of the biggest obstacles that hinder Hwangbo from interacting and getting to know her partner beyond what is required professionally by the show. Famous model Lee Sora recently said that if she were 10 years younger, she would go for Hyunjoong. The funny thing is that even as she was excitedly talking about meeting SS501, she kept mentioning about the scary fans and her fear of getting antifans if she was all over Hyunjoong. Antifans don’t make much difference in the western entertainment, but they are a lot more influential in the Korean entertainment world.
Hwangbo and Hyunjoong continue to play in the water, betting on buying ice cream for whoever loses in the game ‘Catch Me’. If during the honeymoon, Hyunjoong is the one running to catch Hwangbo, today Hwangbo is the one catching Hyunjoong. Unfortunately, even though she utilizes the neighbouring army of kids to catch Hyunjoong, he is way too fast. She loses and has to buy ice cream. A funny little twist, they end up sharing a can of beer instead of the promised ice cream, hahaha. As they sit around, they begin to talk about Hwangbo’s defunct girl group, Chakra. In the exceeding interview, Hwangbo says that their moment of silences have decreased a little bit, meaning that now they talk more and have more conversations.
There’s more in store. Apparently, on that same day Crown J and Seo Inyoung are also on the swimming pool. Glad to see each other, the couples decide to stick together. Imagine Inyoung’s delight at finally seeing the pretty idol that she had been coveting for. So off they go and play together. First, they go to this diving cup where people jump into it. After Hyunjoong dives in, he calls for Hwangbo to do the same. Initially Hwangbo is going to do it, but in the end she chickens out, because heck, it DOES look scary. The water level is probably 5-6 meter high, and she has to jump from a plank another 1-2 meter over than the surface.
In the interview, Hyunjoong gives a contradicting statement that he actually doesn’t want her to dive in for fear her bikini might loosen up and fall off. Anyways, the diving actually gives Hyunjoong a little cut, but Hwangbo makes such a fuss out of it. It’s really cute actually that she just rants about how they (Ant couple) make ‘her hubby’ do this and that and end up injuring himself over it. On the other hand, her ‘I’m the Noona so I have to take care of you’ tendency is rearing its ugly head again. I think Hwangbo, by nature, is someone who is caring and attentive. THAT, coupled with having a younger guy and her desire to make a good impression on the viewers magnify her caring quality a little bit too much, perhaps?
Not much going on. Ssangchu couple and Ant couple continue to do stuff together, playing water volley, and eating lunch. An advice that the Ant couple give out to Hyunjoong is to be more expressive and to care a little more. I gotta agree with this. It might be what the producers are aiming for his image, but I just felt that Hyunjoong should have worked harder to achieve harmony. To me sometimes it looks like Hwangbo is the only one trying hard to start up conversations and make worthy enough show for their segment while Hyunjoong is so wrapped up in his discomfort that he’s just there trying to adapt to the situation instead of working hard to create a good mood and environment.
So they go back to the house and Hwangbo pulls out her sewing machine, announcing that she has something to make. This is a funny moment. Suddenly the phone rings and Hyunjoong seriously says it’s from the Freckled Ahjumma from 407 who wants Hwangbo to move her car. Hwangbo believes him when it’s really the security office. This situation prompts Hwangbo to comment about how Hyunjoong is able to pull her into his world. I remember watching a bunch of TV analysts (presumably) commenting about how Hwangbo is in WGM and in her other show, Infinity Girls. While in IG, she’s the one who sets the pace and has people around her following her lead, Hwangbo is unconsciously following Hyunjoong’s pace and train of thoughts in WGM. I thought it was something interesting.
As Hwangbo continues with her sewing, Hyunjoong decides he will finally give Hwangbo her first present. A peanut necklace!! So Hyunjoong is munching on a bag of peanut chips, and the idea comes to him to link the peanuts with a needle and a thread to make a necklace. I love how Hwangbo is welcome to this idea. She cracks up when he puts the necklace around her neck but conceeds that more than new shoes or rings, a Peanut Necklace is the best of them all.
But Hyunjoong isn’t the only one making presents. What Hwangbo is sewing turns out to be a vest, her present for his birthday. Even though the show doesn’t formally state it, apparently it was Hyunjoong’s birthday (or close to it) and there is a cake and a bunch of food on the table. According to Hyunjoong, Hwangbo also makes him some seaweed soup (Korean tradition for birthday). Hyunjoong promises designer ‘Giorgio Hwangbo’ that he will wear her masterpiece to the airport when he goes to Thailand. Hwangbo counters that he should send her a photo mail so she can see him wearing it. Hyunjoong uses this chance to ask for her phone number.
This outing ends with an interview of Hyunjoong and Hwangbo reflecting on their day together. Hwangbo says that she loves the intersting conversations she has with Hyunjoong while Hyunjoong says that he wants to give her a lot of laughs.
I really really love these few episodes. We get to see them simply having fun in the waterpark, playing around in the sun and talking for a bit. There’s no particular mission they have to achieve other than being with each other and spending time together. The appearance of Crown J and Seo Inyoung is helpful, I think, to help them relax a little and interact with other people instead of having to do the shoot alone. It was really an enjoyable day.