I really hoped Should We Kiss, First? (키스 먼저 할까요) was a solid drama because we dropped Cross in order to recap it. Y’all, I am happy to say that it is, it is so good, it has an old school USA romantic comedy vibe to it that gives me all sorts of warm feelings. Right away I got a vibe of You’ve Got Mail with Kim Soon-ah taking on the Meg Ryan role and Kam Woo-sung portraying Tom Hanks. This story is all sorts of different though. A woman isn’t trying to save her quant bookstore from a huge conglomerate that is about to take all their business. Yet somehow, it still evokes the same feeling.
I really love how Should We Kiss, First? has lots of emotion without being emotional. You know those dramas that try their hardest to milk every tear and you feel them trying to do that so you put your walls up to guard against it and maniacally laugh, ha drama you will not get meeeeeee! Yeah, this isn’t one of those dramas. The feelings feel natural and the comedy feels realistic and hilarious. I don’t know how this production team captured that glorious balance, I just hope they maintain this tone for the entire series and then do it again in another drama.
Should We Kiss, First? airs at 22:00 Seoul time, so if you want to watch live, you just go to the SBS page and click on their On-air link, that is how we watched the first two episodes. You have to watch it live though, so if you are in the USA, that means waking up at 8am EST, 7am CST, 6am MT, and 5am PST. You need to enable Adobe flash player on your computer as well. Also, I’m not sure if this link works for every country or if it will continue to work. Alls I know is that it worked on Tuesday for us, in the USA.
On Demand Korea is great because they let you see each episode basically right after they air, membership free, you just have to sit through their commercials. It takes them about an hour or two to get it up, but sometimes they have shows up within 30 minutes of airing live. The only caveat is that they don’t have English subs up right away, subs usually take them a couple of days.
Viki is doing something new (at least to me) where it looks like they are showing a “First Look” when the drama airs, but then turn on their Viki Pass Plus and keep everyone else, even Viki Pass members, from watching it for 20 days. (I am so annoyed with this Viki Pass Plus, but that is a conversation for another day).
If anyone else has any other ways to legally watch Should We Kiss, First?, then let us know. I try to stay away from the illegal or questionable sites because they are usually rife with malware. Don’t nobody got time for that.
Update: This drama is also airing on Kocowa, but you need to have a membership for $6.99/month.
SHOULD WE KISS, FIRST? RECAP: EPISODES 1 + 2
Where the road ends
There is still a road
Where the road ends
There is still a person to be the road
There is a person who became a spring road and walked forever
The river flows and stops
and the bird flies and never comes back
Even though all the flowers and leaves between the sky and land go away
Look, where love ends, some people remain as love
Mu-han (MH) is on a beach and Soon-jin (SJ) is which him. They are standing apart, but they walk to each other.
Love wasn’t part of the plan
It was my mistake
SJ cries, she thinks, “Mistake?”
There is a person who became love itself and walked on the spring road.
Cut to a person drawing the skyscape of Seoul with several pens. It is MH, he writes, “What should we build now?” and he thinks, how should he leave this short life? He walks down the street with his dog and it is snowing and bright outside. A jazzy song is playing and it looks great.
Meanwhile, SJ runs outside on her balcony terrace in the snow. She thinks that dying is scary but living is the scary thing. She looks at a dry tree next to her and says that you are lucky because your life is short, but she has to live for 40 more years. She looks over the side of her building and sees a man come up with a dog. Meanwhile, someone bangs on the door and says open up, I know you are here. But no one answers so he leaves. SJ goes back inside, she is living in 401 and MH is living in 501.
Cut to a meeting. MH is drawing again and a woman is talking to the group about a commercial about kids playing with an appa and the car is turning the corner and automatically stops like it is autopilot. MH rolls up his paper and throws it at the main lady, it bounces off her head. He asks if she has written (ridden in it?) it and she says she hasn’t because it isn’t out yet. But she says this car is safer than any human driving. They have a polite confrontation about this, the woman talks to MH about this and he comes back at her with questions. He even picks his ear as he is talking.
MH says that the commercial isn’t hers, but the woman says that he just doesn’t like everything. MH mentions that the kids in the office call him worthless and zombie, which makes the kids uncomfortable in the office. MH says to remake her story again with facts and to leave, next. But then he tells her that she has nothing to do so can she boil some water?
The woman goes outside upset, she gets a text that she should do something trifling to MH, like use toilet water instead of real water in his tea. Cut to MH drinking his tea and everyone looking on in anticipation. He drinks it and they all smile in victory.
SJ is on a bus going somewhere. Her head is rocking on the bus, but then it stops and she gets out. Kyung-su (KS) sees her from his car and he says that SJ should wear some more clothing because of the weather. But his wife, Ji-min (JM), is with him and wants to know if he is talking to her. He should focus more on her. She smiles and gets out of the car.
But then KS sees SJ again and gets out of the car, It seems like he wants to talk to SJ, but he plays it off and he tells his wife to wear more clothes; she tells him to get back in the car. Then, inside the airport, we see SJ walking and talking on the phone. JM watches her from behind with a smug look. But then SJ sees someone in all black and tries to avoid him, she even takes off her shoes so as not to make any unnecessary noise. But JM notices this and yells Su-jin! at that moment which causes the man in black to notice SJ trying to sneak away, he gives chase! SJ takes off running! She is running hard, y’all. So hard that her skirt tears. It is a chase scene in the airport as SJ hops down the stairs and hops into an airport passenger car. She takes off!
A voice-over (VO) starts to say that MH should get married again to a nice person. We cut to MH and his friend In-su (IS) talking in his office. IS tells his friend to get married again. He shouldn’t want to die by himself in his home. But MH is just packing a lot of books and tying them with string. His friend wants to know why he is packing all his books and MH says that he is going to fill up the area with new books. But the friend tells him that he should fill it up with new women. He talks about that woman and MH says that it wasn’t a god given fate, because if she is his god given fate, he already should have met her.
Cut to SJ running into a meeting of flight attendants. All is good until JM says that SJ has been reported for missing her flight. Bewildered at this news, SJ walks right up to JM to hear it straight. JM says that it isn’t her fault and she shouldn’t use banmal to her. If she doesn’t like it then she should try to be promoted, she has been there long enough. SJ thinks that JM made her miss the flight so she won’t be promoted but JM says, promoted? She is the first in line to be fired or pushed out (due to retirement age). But that doesn’t matter because she doesn’t even have any retirement money. She doesn’t even care how people look at her or what she looks like (the camera scans over SJ’s torn clothing and stockings).
But SJ doesn’t shrivel away, she tells JM that she is a living fish and SJ is a dead fish, but JM will eventually be made into sushi or soup. JM snaps back that it is time for SJ to leave, she is getting too old. Everyone calls you eunnie, but do you think they say it because they like or respect you? SJ swallows hard at this and timidly scans the room, she tells everyone, good luck and starts to leave. JM yells at her that she looks like she has some screws loose, but SJ just keeps on walking.
MU HAN HOME
MH gets home (to 501) and tells his dog hello, he has raised this dog since he was a little baby, but now the dog is old. He goes to get something from the fridge, then we cut to SJ’s home (401). She is taking a lot of pictures of her things, then she sees a picture of her father and KS. Her father wants her to live to an old age, at least as old as him. She asks him, how did you endure your hard life?
Cut back to 501, MH is sitting for dinner alone and talking to his cell phone as if it is a real person. He asks it how old it is and the cell phone answers like a cell phone. Then he starts to play a game with the cell phone.
Meanwhile, we get a look at SJ’s home which is filled to the brim with all sorts of things, almost like she is a hoarder. There is no place to sit. Her sister calls SJ and SJ tells her that she is doing fine, she will stop by tomorrow, really, really. The sister doesn’t believe her, but she really wants to check on her. They have a nice playful sisterly talk and then the sister asks about the dates SJ has been on.
SJ says that she went on some dates and the sister uses that as a moment to tell her that this is great! The sister says that SJ will be old when she has menopause and she will die alone. She just needs to lower her standards, loosen her buttons and zippers, and go on a blind date. SJ isn’t really listening and starts to eat some old moldy leftover pizza, she casually agrees with her sister as she spits the pizza out, ugh!
Then she goes to take a shower, but the ceiling is leaking all onto her. In 501, MH’s dog is barking about something amidst a very clean and gorgeous apartment. MH sees that his dog has diarrhea and quickly picks him up to go to the hospital. As he leaves we see that the security team called him.
Cut to SJ is outside with the security guard, she is staring daggers at the home on top of hers. The security guard says that a lot of people live alone now, SJ mentions poor middle-aged people and the security guard tells SJ that she must also be lonely now since she mentioned poor middle-aged people. He tells SJ that these people give him a hard time because they never come to their meetings…or report fines….they have to pay for things….but then SJ takes off and pretends like she has to talk to someone on the phone.
The cancer came back to MH’s dog. There is nothing he can do about it. The doctor also wants to check dementia in the dog, MH is shocked…dementia?
Back in SJ’s place, the water is still dripping in her house, drip…drip…drip. Upstairs MH just hears bad news on the news, a man with liver disease died alone. he gets a call, ding ding at the door. SJ tells him from his video that he needs to check the leak as a neighbor, he can’t hide that much, she doesn’t have time tomorrow, can he open the door, please?
The door opens and closes right away.
SJ just looks at it, what kind of foolishness was that? She mutters that he is a jerk and leaves. But then MH gets locked inside his bathroom! he bangs on the door and screams that someone is in the restroom. Downstairs we see SJ cleaning something for a disabled person. MH goes to his drain and yells at 401, this is 501, I am trapped! Can you call security?
But SJ had left at this point and sees a girl eating bread alone. The girl sees her and they both smile. The girl runs to great SJ, emo! But SJ tells her that she is not her emo. Suddenly we don’t hear what they say, we only see it. SJ basically says that their relationship is like a makjang. Her appa and umma were having an affair. So, SJ is “Ex-wife”, not “Emo.” The girl calls her Ex-wife and smiles, SJ smiles as well, good job. We see a boy that is deaf looking at them. SJ waves at him and he smiles and goes back behind the counter. Then SJ asks the girl where the affair woman is and the girl asks, who is that women? SJ tells her, your mom. And they happily eat dessert treats together.
Cut to the affair woman with KS in the car. They kiss cutely for a moment until JM asks when KS had his first kiss. Was it College? Highschool? But he says Middle school. She hits him, how can he kiss someone in middle school? He should study instead! They start to argue about it and somehow SJ gets thrown in there. JM is jealous of SJ, (perhaps they were high school sweethearts). But KS says that it is different. SJ didn’t break their love, the two of them broke it. JM apologizes and says he loves her which seems to straighten everything out. They hug in the car, but KS feels something, he turns and sees SJ looking at him through the window.
They get out and their daughter runs to them. JM says “My princess!” and the daughter says “Affair woman!” Um….no. JM wants to know who taught her that and the daughter says “Ex-wife told her,” they learned a lot of Korean together!
Inside, we see “Affair, Liar, Witch, Second Wife” written on the board, but it only makes sense in Korean because it is in Korean alphabetical order (so more like A-affair, B-Bitch, C-Cheater, D-Devil). It is written just like a Korean lesson. JM tells KS to take JS and not come in. She storms inside, smashes cake in SJ’s face, and throws coffee on her. I will kill you! Die, just die!
But it was all in JM’s mind. Instead of any confrontation, JM just sits nicely at the table and tells SJ that she will have to pay for this, you know. But SJ tells her that she is eating everything for free forever, that is what KS told her. JM shoots a look at her husband outside. JM says that her missed flight was her mistake and if not, she will tell her daughter everything that she has done to her in detail. In one month she will have worked 20 years, she wants to finish it. It will feel like her era will end and she doesn’t want to be kicked out of her past, so let her leave, herself. JM tells her not to teach her kid Korean anymore and SJ says that it depends on what JM does. Outside, KS is banging his head on the window and says mutters that all of this is his fault.
Poor MH is still trapped and freezing in his bathroom. He thinks back to his friend telling him that he will die alone, he shouldn’t live by himself or he will die by himself.
We open with SJ chilling at her fabulous friend’s place. She just went there to hang out. Her friend, Mi-ra (MR), looks so fabulous, but SJ looks like a college student who just studied an all-nighter. SJ asks where MR’s husband went (IS) and she says that he went to Tokyo for a meeting. Then they talk about all that went down at the airport.
Cut to KS and JM at home. JM’s legs hurt so KS gives her a leg massage with hot water. They have a cute loving moment but then JM thinks that he has done this before…after SJ’s flights, he did this every day? KS tells her not to think about it. But JM is beyond this moment, she hits him and leaves. KS sighs and slaps himself on the face as if each moment between these two women causes him torment.
At the fabulous friends home, the MR says that she will just beat up JM and starts swinging her jacket around the room. SJ laughs and they start to talk money and dating. SJ paid 5k USD so she will meet 2 more men. The friend MR says that she has a really good guy to introduce her too. They have the same reason of divorcing and the same time period of divorce, they are a good match. He is a copyright genius and they will be great together. But SJ’s eyes glaze over.
MH is still trapped in the bathroom and sitting in his tub, but then he hears someone come in! It is 401. He yells, 401! 401! It is 501, can you hear me? If you can hear me then knock twice! But SJ thinks 501 is crazy and leaves. He tells her not to leave, rescue him, rescue him! But it is to no avail, she has left.
MH sinks back into the tub and imagines a tv news report, a man in his 50’s died, he couldn’t get out of the bathroom. He was found 2 weeks later.
MH’s team talks badly about him at work, but MH is at home trying to survive. Tomake matters worse, the security guard tells everyone in the building that there won’t be water for a few hours as they change the meter. MH can’t believe it…water….water…
MR is walking with SJ and still talking about this perfect guy for her, but SJ doesn’t care. MR says SJ said she will be a parasite and suck all of someone’s money and the friend goes off on her. Everyone in their vicinity looks at them but they keep on carrying on. The friend wants SJ to meet a nice man, but SJ is not interested at all. MR says that the 5,000,000 won isn’t her money, it is JM’s. JM paid for the dating service.
All the while, MH is trying to eat salt in the bathroom. He also writes a thank you note. Meanwhile, SJ is busy working at work. But then she gets home and sees that the water is still leaking, she runs upstairs and tells 501 that the water is still leaking.
Cut to an ambulance coming and breaking down the door. The friend is with them and they find MH passed out in the bathroom.
SJ comes home at that time and asks what has happened. The guard tells him that 501 was trapped in the bathroom for 4 days! He has hypothermia. SJ thinks back to all the times that 501 called to her. 401, hey 401, 401! The ambulance drives off.
Later on, MR is steady talking about this guy she wants to hook SJ up with. He almost died and came back to life! He is vulnerable now! He hasn’t met any woman for 5 years. She is setting all her bags and jewelry out as she talks to SJ. SJ comes out from the back looking oh so pretty in a short brown curve-hugging dress. The friend loves the look and tells her to take this bag and wear this jewelry and this fur jacket. She makes sure that she looks great and then escorts her out with compliments. She looks 20 years younger!
At the blind date, SJ is sat looking fabulous and sees a man walk in who also looks well put together. But he passes by her and goes up to another woman who is wholesome looking and overweight. Sj sighs. But then MH comes in with full-on winter clothing on as if he is on an Alpine team. He still has a cough. SJ sees him and everything closes in on her, lightning strikes, and everyone freezes except for the climber walking towards her.
VO – The door opened and I saw the mountain climber, I felt as if it has already ended. With the stick and the cough, his face, it was so…eyesore.
He stops right in front of her and she thinks that he is supposed to be a pretty middle-aged man, like a flower. Where is this man? A funny song plays as they meet and shake hands.
But MH doesn’t talk to her, he might be looking at her or not, he is wearing shades so it is hard to tell. But then he starts coughing and takes some medicine. SJ wonders if this pill he takes is viagra? She tells him to sit first, but then their eyes meet and she pulls off his glasses.
6 YEARS AGO
MH is on an airplane looking at his family picture. The pilot says that they will have turbulence so sit and buckle your seat belt. The turbulence was an understatement though, it is super bad, things start falling from overhead, and the oxygen even comes out! SJ is in full flight attendant mode and tells MH to put on his seatbelt, but he is strangely calm in this situation and isn’t listening to her. She won’t leave though.
SJ tells him that she won’t die like this, but dying like this is better than suicide. He tells her that he is sorry for making her think that and he bows his head. He notices that she is bleeding from her eye and she says it is because of someone! He hands his family picture to her and ask her to throw away or burn it. She says that she will burn his picture, really! And the airplane shakes again and forces them into a protective embrace.
SJ looks at him as if she is super annoyed. It is not clear if he remembers her or if she remembers him though. SJ thinks that MH doesn’t’ care about anyone which is why he is dressed like this. MH says that he is from the mountain, not from his home. She asks what the tea is and he says it is Soursop tea. She laughs, he cares about his health a lot. She laughs again and thinks he lives alone and cares about his health. But he used to be a long distance father? (This is a joke that doesn’t make sense in English. She is not good at using correct words). They keep talking back and forth but then MH says that he will not get married again. She asks why he is there and he says it is because of her name. She thinks…my name?
SJ asks, because her name is Ahn Soon-jin? He says, yes. But SJ thinks, is he there to see if she is just like her name (Ahn Sae-jin = Not naive or Not Honest), even though he doesn’t want to get married? She starts super cursing in her head and MH thinks, don’t you remember me?
SJ wants to know, what if her name was different, would he not be there? He thinks that he just came here to see. SH wants to know, did he come here to have a sex partner, not a wife? He says yes. But then she thinks, not her? He thinks that they should wrap this conversation up. SJ wants to know how much more revealing she should be to make him think that she is not honest and naive. But MH just gets up to leave. SJ tells him to look at her. She says that outdoor ajusshi shouldn’t dump her, she should dump him! She thought that he would not be her match but she was just enduring it so as to not judge someone by their look.
He leaves and she gets up and yells, let’s just do it 7 times! Lucky seven! Lets just meet 7 times! If we are still lucky then let’s just live together. Do you want to go to the room to see if I am honest or naive or not naive, you can check it out yourself, you can’t judge a woman by her appearance, especially me.
Cut to MH staring at the rain outside. Meanwhile, SJ is inside thinking of how expensive this meeting was. She sees the rain and thinks that she doesn’t’ have an umbrella, that A-hole. (she curses a lot). SJ goes outside and sees MH, she also sees an expensive car so she tells MH that they should go together, she didn’t know that it would rain and she is wearing expensive clothing, she needs to take care of them.
He says that they can go together and SJ goes to get into the expensive car. But someone tells her that the car isn’t for her. It is the overweight ajumma from before and the handsome man, this is their car.
SJ slinks to MH and tries to gather her pride, she tells him that she recognized him at first sight. She recognized that he was a bomb and it was unlucky to see him. She takes off the expensive coat, wraps it in her arms, and leaves into the rain.
HE KEEPS IT
6 YEARS AGO
MH gets off the plane and sees someone yelling appa, but it is not for him.
THE THING SHE FORGOT
Then he sees SJ and starts to follow her. She is barely keeping it together as she walks with her luggage. She sits on the bench outside and starts to mix beer and whiskey together in a mug and drink it. Then she starts to walk to the trash and puts MH’s family picture in the trashcan. But she comes back and picks it up again, cleans it, and puts it in her bag pocket. She gets on the bus and we see that MH got on the bus as well. The bus leaves and they both look out the window at the countryside.
I love these opening two episodes so much. I am immediately drawn right into the story and the characters. I was a little worried because the posters make this drama look more like a melo, but then the trailers made it look like a romantic comedy. I am happy to say that they first 4 episodes leaned very romantic comedy, though we all know that Kdramas can turn on that melo switch at any time. Hopefully they keep it off.