Playful Kiss Episode 1 and 2 Recap

I’ve gotten some pings for some more Playful Kiss (“PK”) thoughts, and since Dramabeans won’t be recapping PK right away (due to their schedule and the voting swaying to recapping My Girlfriend is a Gumiho first), let me see if I can keep up with doing succinct recaps for this drama. There will be hardly any screen caps to accompany my brief recaps. I’m sad about that, too, but I’m terribly technologically unsavvy.

I have to encourage all of you interested in this drama to actually WATCH it, because really not much happens in the way of plot, but a lot happens in the way of interaction. It’s all about how the OTP spend time together (going from strangers to distant classmates to reluctant friends to a romantic couple), and that is something no one can recap with words. You have to watch it unfold, that is the sole enjoyment of PK in my mind.

Let me start off by saying that I simply adored episode 2. The problem with episode 1 was that it was soooooo slow, not much happened and way too much time was spent on filler daydreams (one would have been enough, three was overkill). But episode 2 kicks off the main story and everyone has settled into character and we’re off to the races.

Quickie recap of episode 1:

Oh Ha Ni is a thoroughly ordinary high school girl, who day dreams. A lot. The subject of her day dreams is her crush, resident high school cold genius Baek Seung Jo. Ha Ni is not terribly bright, and her lack of academic focus means that she’s in the slacker class at school, with her slacker friends. Bong Joon Gu is her classmate who worships her – alas, Ha Ni only has eyes for Seung Jo, who barely knows that she is alive.

Seung Jo humiliates Ha Ni at school when he publicly rejects her love letter and tells her that he would never be interested in a girl as dumb and academically-challenged as she is, testing at the bottom of the class. Seung Jo tells Ha Ni that he will give her a piggy-back ride if she tests high enough to enter the self-study classroom (which only the top 50 test scorers can enter into).

As fate would have it, the house that Ha Ni and her father lives in collapses, and they are invited to move in with good friend of Ha Ni’s father, who happens to be Seung Jo’s dad. A fortuitous house collapse puts our Ha Ni and Seung Jo in the same house. Will sparks fly? Oh you betcha!

Episode 2:

Ha Ni is shocked to find out that Seung Jo lives in the house, and is the son of her father’s good friend. As the family gets acquainted, Seung Jo’s younger brother humiliates Ha Ni when she cannot even answer a problem in his elementary school text book. But Ha Ni has an ally in Seung Jo’s mom, who has two sons but always longed for a daughter, and Ha Ni is like a present that has fallen into her lap.

Mom has prepared a girly room for Ha Ni, and treats her like the daughter she never had. At school, Ha Ni continues to be unable to focus on her studies, while it’s clear Seung Jo is smarter than everyone around him and rather bored with it. Ha Ni is late coming home one night and gets accosted by a perverted flasher.

She tries valiantly but futilely to dissuade the flasher from flashing her, who makes off with one of her new shoes that was a gift from Mom, and she agrees to view his flashing if he’ll give her back the shoe. Thankfully Seung Jo actually was a teeny bit worried about her (after glimpsing the flasher in the neighborhood earlier in the day) and arrives in time to shield her from seeing his man parts, and gets her shoe back for her.

Ha Ni vows to test higher at the next exam, chafing at Seung Jo’s dismissal of her as not up to his intelligence standard. But she really isn’t that bright, and can’t focus on studying. Mom shows her hilarious pictures of Seung Jo when he was a kid (Mom dressed Seung Jo as a girl since she bought only girl stuff when she was pregnant thinking she was having a girl baby), and Ha Ni uses the picture to blackmail Seung Jo into tutoring her. Smart girl!

When Seung Jo gets Ha Ni to step outside to exchange their P.E. uniforms (which likely Mom mixed-up on purpose), she proclaims that he should have just worn it since he’s used to girl’s clothes.

First Seung Jo tries to take that picture back forcibly, and he chases her around the school yard while the entire school watches, transfixed by a scene that looks like a boy who likes a girl chasing her around. Hee.

When Seung Jo realizes that he has to tutor Ha Ni to get that picture back, he’s aware that it means he’s tutoring her to win over himself, since he has to piggy-back her if she tests high enough. Ha Ni says that if Seung Jo tutors her, that pledge is no longer valid, she’s not that pathetic. Plus, she has no interest in him anymore. Seung Jo corners her against the tree after Ha Ni proclaims that she no longer has a crush on him, as a tacit reminder that she is full of crap, and clearly he makes her heart beat wildly still.

At home, the parents are all giddy that Seung Jo is tutoring Ha Ni (and they are spending lots of quiet time together). Seung Jo gets exasperated with her inability to learn and remember anything. Ha Ni shows off her super Super Junior memory skills by rattling off all the names of the members (haha, so meta). They fall asleep studying and Mom comes bearing snacks and is all ecstatic at seeing her dream come true take a small step forward, Ha Ni becoming her daughter-in-law.

D-day comes, and the test results are released. Ha Ni is the last name on the list of the top scorers. She barely made the cut, but its light years better than her dismal showings of the past. Seung Jo acts like he just wants his picture back, but a small smirk shows that he’s not unhappy about Ha Ni’s academic improvement. Ha Ni’s teacher is so proud of her that she announces that Seung Jo needs to fulfill his vow to piggy-back Ha Ni around the school yard!

Some PK Thoughts:

This drama has launched with abysmal ratings, which means nothing to me as to whether I want to continue watching it. And I’ve decided to continue to watch it, because I find that I do like it. I LOVED It Started With a Kiss, and the story was always so very sweet and charming to me. PK is tickling my cute spots all over, even if it’s not terribly innovative or well-done.

The pace is really my biggest gripe – it’s like a half step too slow in everything. For example: episodes 1-2 could be condensed into one episode. Which is why this drama may not be for everyone, the story is not exciting, the plot is rather ordinary (opposites attract), and currently the visual feel is identical to Goong (with less visual eye candy from all the glorious Goong set pieces) so you won’t see anything new there.

But Kim Hyun Joong has absolutely stepped up in episode 2, and Jung So Min continues to just own her character and shine in every scene. They have a very nice chemistry (which is critical for this drama to succeed), like they are actually aware of each other and connecting via their characters. And like ISWAK, the quirky and loveable secondary characters, like Mom (best mom evar!!!) and goofy Joon Gu, are wonderfully brought to life here and a treat to spend time with.

I hope the writer and Hwang In Roi ups the pace soon. I have a feeling they will, since they finished the test-taking sequence by the end of episode 2 already. I think they will transition to college by the end of episode 6 or 7.

I like this story because there are no evil villains, no makjang histrionics, no life-or-death situations – it’s a story about falling in love and finding your soulmate, and done with lighthearted flair. Most importantly, it has a genuine heart inside of its fluffiness, and that warms my cockles immensely.

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Playful Kiss Episode 1 and 2 Recap — 23 Comments

  1. a lot of ppl who have watched it didnt seem to like it but for some reason i do…it looks a lot like goong but for some reason it doesnt feel like it and i LOVE Jung So Min…..Kim Hyun Joong is till awkward as hell but he seems to suit this role better than Ji Hoo…thanks for the recap 😀

  2. My sister asks the following question “what’s with K-dramas and the shoes?!?” Well, she stuck an expletive in there, but I haven’t encountered that many shoes in doramas, but it’s like every freaking k-drama has a shoe motif going. Other than the “give shoes and your lover runs away” thing, I have no clue….what’s with the shoes?

    • As soon as I saw the scene where Seung Jo’s mom gives shoes to Ha Ni, I knew someone was going to bring this up because it was used so prominently in another popular drama, BOF. But honestly, I can’t think of any other dramas besides these two, the 2008 drama “I am Happy,” and the currently airing “Giant” that used shoes as a motif for the story itself.

      I think shoes may appear as a motif more frequently in period dramas because in the past, the poor wore straw shoes (Joseon ear) or rubber shoes (1900-1960). So being given more proper shoes (silk shoes during the Joseon era) and sneakers (1940s-1960s) was a big deal for the recipient.

  3. NO!!! I’d be reading the recaps too if you did it! I’ve been waiting for recaps since Sept 1 but no one’s done any that I know of…… I read your guest posts over at Thundie’s and I do muchos enjoy it, so plsplspls with a cherry on top do recap PK (although could I not refer to it as PK in future… it’s not a good word in Cantonese colloquialism)


    ps. seeing the last picture of KHJ up there reminds me that he said that he gave it his all during the filming – by shaving 3x a day. and still i see the faint shadow lolz!

  4. @ ripgal – yeah. using PK gave me pause too cuz I also flashed back to Team Park Kyu!

    @ momosan – shoes? o_O I’ve never noticed a shoe recurring motif in K-dramas? Well, other than HTK throwing UEE’s shoes in the lake in YB. Hee, that was hilarious! The shoe thingie here was cute and the flasher bit was ridic but worked in the end.

    @ junaly and Carol – I’ll keep writing if you’ll want to read it! I was waffling between calling it Mischevious Kiss (MK) or Playful Kiss (PK) but I always go by what the Goddess decrees, and if Javabeans calls it Playful Kiss that’s what I’m calling it, too!

    • My sister has very limited k-drama viewing experience -and yet she says the following – YB – Shin Woo and the green shoes; BOF – which she notes was obsessed with shoes – from the ones she throws over the fence at his out, to Ji Hoo’s sneakers, to the ones given to her by Ji Hoo’s first love, to the ones in Macau; Coffee Prince – he gives her shoes as a present before she goes to Italy. So, she’s 3 for 3 there. Got a point, I must say, especially since off the top of my head, I can add Chuno’s Ruby slippers (Dae Gil!!!! omg the slippers – weeps quietly into the pillow)….and if I think about it probably more.

      BTW, she’s watching Tamra now – she says she’s going to fast forward through the potty humor, which she has zero appreciation for…..

  5. Interesting… I loved the first episode, I thought the opening dream sequence was very different although it reminds me of some show we’ve had here in the states but I can’t put my finger on it now. But yeah, I can’t imagine why this show would get low ratings whatsoever… maybe the style/plot seems unoriginal to others but other than the dream sequence it really doesn’t seem like much of anything that i’ve seen…. I am new to kdramas though, I’ve only seen BOF and seen I started watching PK i’ve been watching the other versions until the next episode with subs comes in… not to mention rewatching SS501 videos since I listened to kpop for a while and never took much notice of Hyun Joong until BOF… it’s weird rewatching his videos and live perfs. If i’m being honest when i’m watching the live perfs of SS501 I think he was smart to move to acting… I love their songs but when singing live they weren’t very strong vocally, although their dancing was still really good 🙂 I hope he is also happy with his decision…

  6. Momosan… aren’t Koreans really into their shoes? I’ve heard from a couple teaching English there that americans/canadians will be jealous if they don’t have a small shoe size because their shoes are ridiculously cute… I would think it’s partly because you have to take your shoes off at the door, if I had to do that i’d pay more attention to wear shoes I wear too.

  7. It did not give good impression except so many kisses, which cause eye brows to the older falks. There is no any good lessions to viewers except causing more toward kiss, and then it might cause sex. Most of long peorid of surviving dramas are giving inspirations not just showing kissing mashine.

  8. Hi Ockoala. Why am I reading your recap 1 and 2?
    I like it that you say to watch the show, don’t just read the recap. I hate it when people leave ther anti comment without bothering to watch the show.

  9. Bem… se vcs assistiram ISWAK vão entender o q vou dizer…
    Como foi dito a química entre eles tem q ser a melhor e aqui ñ vi muito isto, ate q ele se esforçou, mais ela deixou muito a desejar, ñ se viu em seus olhos um verdadeiro amor, muito diferente de ISWAK… tão real. Gosto muito destes atores mais ñ conseguiram me convencer, acredito q ñ haverá nhm versão q conseguira superar Joe e Ariel neste papel.
    Assisti, gostei, mais eu esperava q fosse melhor….
    Assisti muitos dramas já… e este ñ foi e nunca será um dos melhores…

  10. the ugly woman when handsome men …..
    Should I just finished, I was with shin min ha ….
    I should also just my gf is a gumiho alas

  11. This is the drama that makes me swim into the k-world ^.^
    Got curios from watching ISWAK
    First got the y~tube episodes, didn’t like the female lead, looks old, but curios nevertheless
    it moves in a more fast pace than iswak, cause i’m not a movie fans its refreshing to see iswak in speed XD
    Love the mom best then got curios bout the lead male and all entailed
    <3 been browsing yt for all ss501 vids, khj, and his bff ^.^

  12. Ooohh. . . very thank u for all the recaps esp pk & ptb
    Will be reading for a few days <3
    u'r choice of words is very endearing ^.^

  13. Having watched all 3 versions of this Manga, I definitely like Playful Kiss the best with the Taiwanese version a close 2nd. The Japanese version, while possibly following the Manga more closely (haven’t read it but since it’s a Japanese Manga, I’m making that leap!) there is just too much “ham with the cheese”. I like actors who played the lead men on each of the versions but the Japanese is played too stiffly and the Taiwanese is too human with everyone except the lead gal which totally refutes the fiancé when she says he’s only human when he’s with the lead gal (sorry don’t remember the character’s name.) Kim Hyun Joong has been criticized for playing the role too stiffly but in my opinion, he actually did the best!

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