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[2005] Cô giáo và kẹo bông gòn / Hello my teacher – Gong Yoo, Gong Hyo Jin

   Tên khác: Biscuit teacher and star candy

Thể loại: Tình cảm, lãng mạn

Quốc gia: Hàn Quốc

Số tập: 16

Đạo diễn: Oh Jong Rok, Kim Hyung Shik

Kịch bản: Park Kye Ok, Kim Jung Ah

Diễn viên:

Gong Hyo Jin …………. Na Bo Ri

Gong Yoo ……………… Park Tae In

Kim Da Hyun…………… Ji Hyun Woo

Choi Yeo Jin …………… Noh Jem Ma


Giới thiệu: Na Bo Ri (Gong Hyo Jin) là một phụ nữ 25 tuổi, rất muốn được trở về trường cũ của mình để dạy học. Nhưng ở trường cũ, cô bị đuổi học vì đã làm cho giáo viên hiểu lầm về chuyện làm chấn thương một nhóm nam sinh trong trường. Sau khi tốt nghiệp, Na Bo Ri từ chối các lời mời dạy của các trường khác mà lại xin về dạy học tai ngôi trường cũ của mình, cũng là nơi mà Bo Ri có thể gặp và làm việc chung với mối tình đơn phương thời trung học của mình, thầy giáo mỹ thuật Ji Hyun Woo (Kim Da Hyun). Tuy nhiên, để có thể làm việc tại trường, Bo Ri chỉ có một cách duy nhất là ký hợp đồng làm bảo mẫu cho Park Tae In (Gong Yoo), một anh chàng quậy phá có tiếng tại trường.

Review Hello My Teacher

Posted on March 11, 2013

Hai nhân vật chính của phim. Bích quy, rất giỏi võ, người là huyền thoại được lưu truyền trong giới học sinh vì một phi vụ quậy tanh bành đến thầy cô giáo trong trường nhớ lại cũng chết khiếp. Vài năm sau, Bích quy trở thành cô giáo, à mà chưa trở thành cô giáo. Vì xin vài chục trường ai cũng không nhận vì ngại ngần thành tích bất hủ thời học sinh của cô. Bích quy sống cùng với em gái trong một căn nhà nhỏ, nhà Bích quy cũng chẳng giàu có gì nhưng hai chị em gái thương yêu nhau. Chỉ có một vấn đề là cô chị không kiếm được việc.

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Kẹo Bông, năm nay 19 tuổi, lúc nhỏ, mẹ kẹo bông mất, ba đi bước nữa, và vui vẻ với người vợ mới, hàng năm ông cũng quên đến thăm người vợ đã khuất của mình. Việc đó làm kẹo bông tổn thương, vì chuyện đó mà cậu nghịch ngợm từ bé. Tuy nhiên cậu sống rất tình cảm, thậm chí đi đâu xa cũng không đi lâu, vì cậu sợ mẹ mình sẽ buồn, vì ngoài cậu ra chẳng ai trông nom.

gong-yoo-btsc-2Bố mẹ Kẹo bông muốn kẹo bông sống khuôn khổ hơn, qua một vài việc họ tìm người có thể trị được đứa con trai nghịch ngợm của họ, đó là Bích quy. Một bản hợp đồng được tạo ra. Vậy là từ giờ Bích quy là cô giáo, nhiệm vụ của cô là quan tâm và uốn nắn Kẹo Bông. Ngoài ra mỗi học sinh trong lớp tuy khác nhau nhưng có điểm chung là tất cả rất nghịch ngợm, lần đầu tiên là cô giáo, Bích Quy làm sao có thể trị được đám học sinh của mình?

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Thứ sáu cuối tuần, thỉnh thoảng tôi lại liếc nhìn đồng hồ, chỉ mong nó quay nhanh đến 6 giờ chiều. Hết giờ làm việc, tôi phóng nhanh trên đường, làm nhanh nhanh xong việc nhà rồi bật màn hình lên. Cũng thấy mình hơi buồn cười, nói chung là lâu không có cái cảm giác thèm xem phim như thế sau Thank You hồi năm ngoái. Cái cảm giác phải xem cho bằng được rồi cười khoái trá, thích thú trước những phân cảnh thú vị trong phim.

gong-yoo-btsc

Tôi thích mối quan hệ cô giáo – học sinh được mô tả trong phim. Tôi thích cái kiểu quậy tưng bừng đúng kiểu học sinh trong phim. Tôi thích những câu chuyện cảm động về số phận của những em nhỏ học sinh. Hành trình Bích Quy từ chỗ xa lạ trở nên gần gũi và thân thương với các em cũng là hành trình để cô trưởng thành hơn, trở thành một cô giáo thực sự. Ban đầu có thể khó khăn cho Bích Quy, nhưng điều quan trọng cô ấy có cái tâm với học sinh và cái tâm với nghề, sự chân thành chình là cách để đến trái tim nhanh nhất phải không?

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Mối quan hệ giữa Bích Quy và Kẹo Bông cũng được phát triển tự nhiên như thế. Ban đầu, với Bích Quy, Kẹo Bông chỉ là học sinh. Còn với Kẹo Bông, Bích Quy là cô giáo. Thế rồi, Kẹo Bông thấy hình ảnh của người mẹ đã mất ở Bích Quy, và ngược lại mỗi khi buồn, mỗi khi khóc, bờ vai của cậu học sinh cũng giống như bờ vai của người cha của Bích Quy. Họ thích nhau nhưng cũng chẳng thế tránh được lòng vòng như người khác yêu nhau, bởi vì Kẹo Bông cũng là đàn ông; mặc dù có nhiều điều muốn nói, nhưng cũng chẳng bao giờ nghĩ cô giáo yêu mình, lại càng không muốn cô giáo vì mình mà không hạnh phúc. Bởi vì Bích Quy cũng là phụ nữ, luôn mơ mộng về những tình yêu như tranh vẽ, mà đâu ngờ tình yêu lại rơi trúng cậu nhóc bên cạnh mình. Âu cũng là cái thơ thẩn, bối rối của tình yêu, như mối tình đầu của chúng ta, trong trẻo và ngây ngô.

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Nếu bạn từng yêu quý bộ phim Cô Bạn Gia Sư nổi tiếng của Hàn Quốc thì chắc hẳn bạn cũng sẽ thích Hello My Teacher. Với diễn xuất duyên dáng của Gong Hyo Jin và nét manly xen lẫn nghịch ngợm của Gong Yoo, tại sao bạn không thử một lần đặt chân vào những yêu thương chân thành, không màu mè, không hoa lá, dù đơn giản nhưng đầy rung cảm, ngọt ngào. Tại sao bạn không thử?

(7,5/9)

My Thoughts on the 2005 Kdrama Biscuit Teacher Star Candy

So I started watching the 2005 Kdrama Biscuit Teacher Star Candy (aka: Hello My Teacher) two nights ago. Even though this is an older drama, I wanted to watch it because it stars Gong Hyo-jin and Gong Yoo. Gong Hyo-jin (from Pasta and Master’s Sun) and Gong Yoo (Coffee Prince and Big) are two of my very favorite Kdrama and Korean Movie Stars. 

Biscuit Teacher Star Candy
Biscuit Teacher Star Candy (aka Hello My Teacher)

I haven’t finished watching this yet, so I’ll probably follow up on it and comment some more when I’m done. My opinion on the drama may also change since I’m only about 7 episodes in at the moment. 

What it’s about: Na Bo-ri (Gong Hyo-jin) is a 25-year-old woman who wants to be a teacher at the high school she was kicked out of so she can work side by side with her longtime high school crush, the art teacher Ji Hyun-woo (Kim Da-hyun). To become a teacher at that school, she has to make sure Park Tae-in (Gong Yoo), stays out of trouble. Tae-in, is a lonely 20-year-old youth, who is a trouble maker, but also very popular. 

The cast and the acting: So Far, I’m not disappointed by the performances of the lead characters. As usual, they are fantastic. Gong Yoo is just wow, as always. He looks so handsome and makes you want to cry in moments where he is sad. Gong Yoo always makes me feel what he feels. He emerges himself into his characters to the point that I forget he’s acting. The character he plays has many layers. On the surface, he looks like an arrogant trouble maker but very quickly we discover he’s very lonely and has suffered a lot of hurt and abuse. 

Hello My Teacher

Student and Teacher

I can’t ever say anything negative about Gong Hyo-jin. She also becomes the roll she plays. She’s a very professional actress and I never notice her coming out of character. Even though this was back in 2005, she was still a seasoned professional.

It’s Pretty Funny: 
Some scenes really make me laugh. It has a good balance between drama and just plain hilarity. Some of it can be pretty ridiculous. There’s one scene where Na Bo-ri dresses up and dances and it’s pretty funny. 
Hello My Teacher

Who will she end up with? Her High School Teacher who has always been her love crush or her student?

I want to know what happens: I don’t want to get into any spoilers, so I’ll be careful to try not to reveal too much in case you haven’t seen it yet. What I will say is, I see a love triangle forming and I can’t tell at this point who she will end up with. Normally I would say she’ll end up with Gong Yoo’s character, whoever, he’s supposed to be a high school student so I’m not sure. 

Hello My teacher

Na Bo-ri and Park Tae-in

It’s a little corny and exaggerated: This isn’t really terrible though. It can be quite comical, but some of the fighting and scenarios are not very realistic. 

The OST is not that strong compared to some other dramas: I say this, but it is starting to grow on me. I can’t be too hard on it though, because it’s an older show.

If I were to rate it now, I’ll say 3.8/5 but this might change depending on how the drama develops. Have you seen this drama? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts!

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Drama: Biscuit Teacher & Star Candy

I like watching two dramas at the same time – a new one that’s currently airing and an old one to watch while I’m waiting for episodes/subs.  In the middle of Dream High, I started watching 건빵선생과 별사탕 (SBS 2005), which is literally translated as Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy but is often also known as Hello My Teacher.  Oh my gosh.  I love this drama so much.  I can’t even articulate how much I love it, especially the adorable, happily-ever-after ending.  It’s easily one of the best dramas I’ve ever seen!

Summary: Twenty-five year old Na Bori (Gong Hyojin) isn’t your typical high school teacher.  She takes over as homeroom teacher to a bunch of rowdy seniors – at the same school she herself was expelled from.  Why?  To teach alongside her first love, art teacher Ji Hyunwoo (Kim Dahyun).  But Bori, who doesn’t have the qualifications to teach at the prestigious school, doesn’t get hired as a real teacher.  Instead, she gets hired as a personal babysitter for the school principal’s undisciplined, unscrupulous stepson Park Tae-in (Gong Yoo).  Tae-in treats her with contempt at first but her warmth and quirkiness wins him over.  And soon, Bori becomes not only his teacher, but also his best friend, mother figure, and… first love?

Thoughts:  First of all, I’m a sucker for a good teacher drama.  I fall for them again and again (e.g. Dream High, Gokusen, Ohitorisama, etc.) so I couldn’t pass this one up.  At first I was concerned by the fact that Gong Yoo (who was 26 at the time) was cast as a high school student when he doesn’t really look… youthful.  Plus I’d already seen Coffee Prince so it was a little weird to think of him in a school drama.  And, to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Gong Yoo at first… but now I am.  I was sold by his performance.  His acting was on par, his character was heartbreaking and endearing and sweet all at once.  I think if I’d seen this drama before Coffee Prince I would have enjoyed his performance in Coffee Prince better.  As for the plot, there isn’t anything extremely special about it but then again, this drama is about relationships (and not just the romantic kind).  It’s about how to grow as a person, how to treasure someone, how to find out what’s important to you in life.  I loved that.

I’m proud to say that I understood a lot of this drama without subtitles!  The vocabulary was quite simple, but here are some that stood out:

  • 보리 건빵 (n.) = barley biscuit; “Bori” means barley in Korean so Na Bori’s nickname was 건빵 선생 (Biscuit Teacher)
  • 쎔 = 선생님
  • 외삼촌 (n.) = maternal uncle
  • 새엄마 (n.) = stepmother
  • 결혼 약속 (n.) = engagement (lit. “wedding promise”)
  • 취하다 (v.) = to be drunk
  • 유학 (n.) = studying abroad
  • 조카 (n.) = nephew
  • 아내 (n.) = wife
  • 남편 (n.) = husband
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Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy Korean Drama 2005 Review

The reality to choose this drama was the male cast Gong Yoo and Kong Hyo-Jin. Other than the cast it was a school based drama which reminds us our school fun days. On the weekend we started Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy also known as Hello My teacher. Previously we watched many dramas of Gong Yoo like The first shop of Coffee Prince, Big, My Tutor friend, She is on duty, Finding Mr destiny and Kong Hyo-Jin in Pasta, The greatest Love, Master's Sun, Volcano High. So we had high hopes for this drama story and cast chemistry.
It was a story of a school teacher Na Bo Ri. She was fallen for her art teacher when she was a student and wanted to marry him. But the story turned out she was fated with her young student Park Tae In who was the nephew of the arts teacher. The whole story revolves around the relations and emotions.

Many scenes made us love at the same time hate the plot. It wasn't giving much impression to the couple, the old female teacher and the young student. On the other hand the old art teacher and young female trainee teacher.

Many time Park Tae In made a difficult and embarassing situation for teacher Na Bo Ri which also make us irritate. Park Tae In like to play basketball and Na Bo Ri loves to teach. Both were opposite of each other with a big age difference. But the K drama romance started between them. Some times due to Park Tae In the position of Na Bo Ri become ackward. The couple wasn't looking much ideal as we thought nor the story of school. 


My sister (Naureen) watching this drama as if i (Ambreen) was torturing her to watch it with me till the end ehehehe. But we watched it till the end. We won't recommend you to watch it. If you want it will be at your sole risk. This is for now lets meet in next K drama review.

BISCUIT TEACHER AND STAR CANDY: EPISODE 1

I don’t know if it’s something in the air, or something I ate in May, but here I go again, completely charmed by a show within two minutes of its opening!

Thank you, drama gods, for a wish come true. My favorite Gong Hyo-jin role reinvented for the small screen, and with her as female lead this time! A high school setting, just like in Conduct Zero (2002). But instead of 99 minutes (the movie’s running time), I get sixteen hours of our actress at her kickass best.

No wonder I have jaw ache by the time I finish Episode 1 of Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy (2005). It’s all that grinning and giggling. Because that first episode? It’s the stuff of dreams.

The year is 2005. Eleven students huddle in a conspiratorial circle, transfixed by a tall tale that one of them is spinning, said tale growing taller by the second. Once upon a time in their high school, or in 1999 to be exact, a most momentous event did take place, one that shook the school to its foundations. A girl single-handedly caused a bunch of bullies from a neighboring school to crap their pants in fright. Who was she? None other than legendary Na Bo-ri.

One swish of her magic umbrella and Bo-ri was airborne. She could fly!

 

She could also kick some butts and kick them hard. The bullies fell like bowling pins, their faces kissing the mud. Holy smoke, gasps everyone in the circle as they try to imagine this mythical creature that they have never seen. Each is secretly envious and also secretly relieved. To have missed all that excitement, damn! And to have been spared all that excitement (and muddy close encounters), phew!

 

As punishment for her thuggish behavior, Bo-ri was given 300 lashes but still she kept mum, refusing to explain to the school what had made her ballistic.

 

But then the lashings and goading got too much and Bo-ri became majorly pissed.

So she summoned the spirits of the wind and rearranged in one fell swoop the furniture in the teacher’s lounge and the noses of the teachers. Well, just one nose, specifically.

And then, as the other students stared in awe at this larger-than-life figure who could command even the forces of nature, she swaggered out of the school and into notoriety.

You go, Na Bo-ri! Go far away and do not deign to step foot ever again on the grounds of a school that expelled you simply for being awesomesauce. We, your fellow students of Jung Suk High, will always remember you!

The year is still 2005. A woman on her way home from the public bathhouse spies a group of schoolboys bullying another student. So she calls them over and gives them a taste of The Na Bo-ri Special. Think tender bums (or lips) meeting not-so-tender gravel (or mud) and you get the picture. A passing policeman smiles in bemusement. Every town should have a Na Bo-ri to help keep law and order!

 

The boys sent packing, our heroine goes on her way. First, a stop to greet three adorable pups. Next, a hair makeover. Because today’s like no other day. Today is the day that she has waited six long years for!

As she gazes at the sky, her happiness so full she can scarcely contain it, a plane flies overhead. Little does she know that on that very plane sits a guy who will shatter her long-cherished hopes and also piece them back for her, the latter against his will.

 

Ah, this guy. This guy looks simultaneously five years old and twenty-five. Everything about him spells T.R.O.U.B.L.E. Thank goodness he’s too old to be in school because God have mercy on his teachers. As it is he can’t be left alone, thus explaining the presence of the guy sitting next to him.

(Not only is this shaping up to be my most favorite Gong Hyo-jin role ever, it might turn out to be my favorite Gong Yoo role as well. Just look at that impish smile!)

 

Recalled home (from America) on his parents’ orders, Park Tae-in knows there’s nothing like a little excitement to raise his father’s blood pressure. A simple diversion is all it takes. So, as soon as his plane touches down, our escape artist gives his guard the slip and leaps into an old flame’s waiting convertible.

 

Right around the same time, Bo-ri arrives at an intersection and looks up at a billboard. Wearing a borrowed dress and with her hair and face all prettied, she imagines herself up there in that advertisement. She and her groom, on their happiest of days.

 

But who should come careening down the road at that moment, forcing a delivery rider to swerve abruptly and sending bowls of noodles flying into the air…

 

…and onto Bo-ri’s borrowed dress and pretty hair?

 

You jerk! May every stoplight that you approach turn red and may you get a flat tire one mile from here! How am I going to go for The Interview with noodles and sauce in my hair, you stupid jerk! I slogged through university, I turned down offers from thirty-three schools, I waited six years for today! A pox on you and that bimbo beside you, you first-class jerk!

Well, she doesn’t exactly yell those words, but the expression on her face says it all. But Bo-ri being Bo-ri, and today being today, she doesn’t stay mad for long. She skips into Jung Suk High, finds some water to clean herself, and promptly meets two teachers whose shudders upon seeing their old student can be felt two school blocks away.

“You don’t remember me? I’m Na Bo-ri! The one who got expelled! Don’t you remember how you came after me with a broom? And beat me shitless because I fell asleep in class? All of us called you Crazy Teacher! Oh, I’m so happy to see you again!”

 

Why is she back?

For revenge, perchance?

No way!

Why not? A student in Japan who was expelled returned and killed his teacher.

Fear not, teachers. Bo-ri’s mission is not murder but torture. She’s coming back as your colleague, bwahaha!

But first there’s a slight problem. Her soiled dress. Not the best thing to wear to Most Important Job Interview. Well, nothing that Bo-ri can’t resolve in a jiffy. Sorry, fellow interviewee.

 

It’s Bo-ri’s turn to be interviewed. The head teacher—the one, as legend has it, whose nose got flattened from a wayward picture frame six years ago when the teacher’s lounge went suddenly berserk and all manner of things went flying—can’t believe his eyes.

She’s the one! The only student to ever assault a teacher in the history of Jung Suk High! And that teacher had to be me! I caned her and she hit me back with the frame and broke my nose! I’ve spent a fortune on three rounds of corrective surgery and my nose is still flat! I’ll never have Lee Min-ho’s aquiline features, waaahhh!

 

Hell hath no insecurity like a man with Lee Min-ho envy. Thus Bo-ri is thrown out, for a second time.

So what if she says she wants to return to the school as a teacher, in order to repay the one who inspired her? So what if she pleads for a second chance to prove that she’s no longer troublemaker Na Bo-ri but a reformed soul whose goal in life is to teach the young? Her words are no match for Mr. Flat Nose’s GET OUT!!

 

As she walks away, downcast and tearful, the flowers in the school remind her of a day of yore. An art lesson outdoors. He standing close, his voice gentle and encouraging. Should such a day call for a diary entry (and should Bo-ri be enamored of cheesy wordplay like some people), said entry might be titled thus:

Brushes and Blushes

Or maybe “The day I fell in love with my teacher” would be a more befitting title.

Because Bo-ri was half-fibbing when she claimed at the interview that she wanted to teach in order to repay a debt of inspiration. It was really more than that. For six years this was what she remembered and longed for:

His face. Her feelings. Their future.

 

That future now in tatters because of a jerk who drove like he owned the road! If that whole incident with him hadn’t happened, she would have gotten the job at Jung Suk High for sure. That jerk was sheer bad luck!

That jerk, incidentally, is sitting outside a departmental store’s changing room, still tousled-haired and sleepy-eyed (and also still cute as a button).

 

The woman who had rescued him at the airport earlier is now a live mannequin, modeling dress after dress for him. Such a sweetie, this Park Tae-in. Giving her a surprise present without it being a surprise. Allowing himself to feast on her gorgeous figure without making it too apparent that he’s feasting. What a guy!

 

This guy, incidentally, is about to get the shock of his life.

As Tae-in and Noh Jem-ma (Choi Yeo-jin) step out of the store, he is pounced upon by a group of black-suited men. No, this is not the shock I mentioned earlier. This is nothing in comparison, just wait and see.

Turns out the men are underlings of his dad, Dr. Park Joong-seop. Because obviously it’s just wrong that a veritable hospital chief should be repeatedly embarrassed by his son’s antics.

Outnumbered and pinned down, Tae-in is dismayed to see the dress that he bought now lying on the ground. (And I wonder: Who is that dress for? Since it’s not for Jem-ma, then who?)

At the entrance to his dad’s hospital, Tae-in is stopped by someone yelling at him: “Hey, YOU! You are going to be so dead when I’m done with you!”

“You talking to me, ajumma?”

 

Oh, the chemistry between these two is so crackling I’m salivating just thinking of fifteen more episodes with them. Bring it on!

Why are the two outside the hospital at the same time? Because she’s just finished receiving medical treatment from her sister (a trainee doctor) for the multiple bruises she sustained (having noodles rain upon her and being unceremoniously bundled out of her old school). He’s there to get treatment for something that isn’t quite clear yet. Maybe chronic Escapinitis.

 

He doesn’t remember her right away, but at the mention of “the accident this morning,” the cogs in his head click into place and his face lights up.

“Ah! The noodles! Ajumma, why do you eat noodles with your face and not your mouth?”

Uh oh, way to make a lady madder. You are so going to regret this, Park Tae-in. That smile? Hang on to it while you can because you won’t be smiling when you receive the Na Bo-ri Special repackaged just for you.

She demands that he pay her for two dresses, one which he ruined and one more for good measure because of the emotional trauma she suffered. Sensing yet another opportune moment, he tells the men to release their hold on him so that he can take out his wallet and repay her. Then, before the men can even blink, he walks toward Bo-ri and abruptly grabs her in a chokehold.

 

Oh boy, Tae-in. No one cuts off Bo-ri’s oxygen supply and lives to tell the tale.

 

She didn’t even soar that high in 1999. Which means… someone is going to be in deep shit when it’s all said and done. If you can find his remains, that is.

Take that, you jerk. You bearer of ill wind and crusher of dreams.

 

Provocateur and assailant are hurled off to the police station. There she learns that being taken hostage by him matters not one iota. He’s a high school student whereas she’s an adult who should know better.

What? There’s no way you’re nineteen!

Come here and give Oppa a kiss.

You really want to die, don’t you?

Oh, Show, you’re killing me with your awesomeness. Bicker some more, don’t ever stop!

 

Tae-in’s mother arrives. Who’s really his stepmother. Who also happens to be Principal Ji Young-he of Jung Suk High, one of the three people who interviewed Bo-ri that eventful morning.

In a swift exchange that reveals a different Tae-in from the cheeky chipmunk that we’ve seen so far, we learn that stepmom and stepson don’t exactly like each other. And that maybe she’s one of the reasons he keeps running away.

 

Principal Ji retrieves Tae-in and the two leave. As Bo-ri runs after the older woman and begs to be released, in walks the principal’s brother.

A stunned Ji Hyun-woo (Kim Da-hyun) stares at Bo-ri and she stares back, the usually loquacious one managing only a weak “Teacher” this time, a greeting he does not acknowledge. After a few awkward moments of silence, he walks off, leaving her still in handcuffs.

 

Don’t cry for him, Bo-ri! Wait till you see what he has been drawing in the quiet of his house. To think you thought he was a great teacher and artist!

I mean, I can’t draw to save my life, but even I know a bad drawing when I see one. Is that supposed to be a likeness of you, Na Bo-ri? By a long stretch, maybe. And why has he been secretly drawing you, six years after he last saw you? It’s all rather creepymysterious.

 

Miles away from the lockup where Bo-ri is spending the night, an agitated Dr. Park learns that his son, who’s supposed to be confined to his hospital room, has escaped yet again.

 

What follows is one of the most exhilarating scenes I’ve watched in months. The fire alarm has gone off, no doubt Tae-in’s doing, activating all the ceiling sprinklers. It is pouring inside the hospital. In the midst of that confusion, one man is dancing atop a reception counter. Oh, how he dances.

That kind of joyous abandon. Let’s bottle it up and sell it, shall we? Bet you it’ll be all sold out within the hour.

 

Have I told you how much I love this episode? Love, LOVE.

 

A desperate situation calls for desperate measures.

Remembering her brother’s bread-and-charcoal analogy (Bo-ri as bread and Tae-in as charcoal, the former being the only thing that can absorb or remove dust from a charcoal drawing), Principal Ji reluctantly agrees to accept Bo-ri into Jung Suk High as a new teacher. On several conditions, however (and we’re not told in Episode 1 what these conditions might be).

 

And so our Bo-ri finally realizes her dream. Yippee!!

Meanwhile, Hyun-woo has persuaded his sister to let Tae-in move into his house. Make yourself comfy, says the boyish-looking uncle to his step-nephew, but don’t touch that painting over there. I’ll be back to collect it.

Must I live here?

You have two options. Live in my house and go back to school. Or no house and no school but go back to the hospital. Freedom or confinement. You choose.

 

To celebrate her new job, Bo-ri and her friends go out for drinks. Sufficiently inebriated and emboldened, she tells them that for years she has wanted to do something. Before the night is over, she must do this one thing. Do it, they chorused. And so the five of them stagger to Teacher Ji’s house.

 

Taking a deep breath, Bo-ri shouts:

Teacher! I’m also a teacher now. I can stand next to you now. I’ve really worked hard these six years so that I can stand next to you. Teacher…

 

The lights inside the teacher’s house come on and the front door flings open.

WHO’S CREATING SUCH A RUCKUS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?!

Dear show, you are too good to be true. Pinch me, someone!

 

BISCUIT TEACHER AND STAR CANDY: EPISODE 2

Gong Hyo-jin is really pretty in Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy, perhaps the prettiest I’ve ever seen her. That “you’re putty in my hands” sneer is so captivating I go crazy screencapping it. At this rate (500 screencaps for episode 1 and 829 for episode 2), I’ll need a restraining order by the fourth episode. Stop being so cute, Show!

But don’t stop doling out the surprises. Because you should see how my eyes widened when THIS GUY appeared.

 

At first it was blurry. Then it got clearer.

After I had picked my jaw up from the floor and ascertained (from a quick check on the Internet) that I was not hallucinating, I squeaked the way my chinchilla squeaks after getting an extra-large raisin.

See why I detest spoilers in any form? Ah, the glee when a favorite actor—whom I have no idea is supposed to be in a particular drama—suddenly appears when I least expect it!

Jung Gyeo-woon‘s appearance in Episode 2 is especially meaningful because Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy is his debut drama. No wonder he looks a tad uncomfortable. His character has no name as yet or maybe he does but I didn’t hear it because I was too busy squeaking. When he eventually says a few lines, you’ll feel a chill down your back. No, not because he speaks awkwardly (his voice is exactly the same in 2005 and now) but because of what he says. I’ll explain more afterward, but for now let’s just say he has a few screws loose in his head.

Oh well, no need to worry about a few loose screws when Teacher Na Bo-ri is in charge. Surely her magic powers will ensure that everything is in its right place!

Provided she survives her first day of school, of course.

Ah, Bo-ri, Bo-ri. So many times in this episode I wanted to hug her. For being sweet but also silly, gutsy but also gullible. For making me all giggly and protective. For reminding me of how the eve of a big day feels like, when my nerves are all knotted and I can’t sleep. Or I manage to sleep but my mind continues to wander and worry.

So Episode 2 begins with our new teacher in dreamland, literally. In the first dream every teacher at Jung Suk High is cheering as she walks down the hallway. Her arms overflow with bouquets of flowers; up ahead a beaming Hyun-woo has his arms wide open, ready to welcome his sweetheart as colleague. (Or maybe he’s just practicing for the day when he’ll have as many fans as Lee Min-ho and he’s standing there and gesturing symbolically above the cacophony of delirious voices: “Thank you, I love all of you, too.”

 

That dream ends abruptly and she’s stumbling along the same hallway, now dimly-lit and deserted. Up ahead a vampirish Hyun-woo awaits.

 

Her screams rouse her sister and the latter opens the door to see what’s causing the din. Seeing her, an already jumpy Bo-ri shrieks even more loudly.

I know. The neighbors absolutely love this family. Never a dull moment even in the dead of night, no siree.

 

For six long years Bo-ri has waited for this day. She looks at her watch, sees the time as 8.20 instead of 4.40, and gasps. “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be late!”

 

And so our newly minted teacher sets off for The Best Day of My Life, puzzled that the streets are still dark and empty at 8-plus in the morning but not letting that anomaly dampen the joy bubbling inside her. My heart swells as I watch her hurry along. Hwaiting, Na Bo-ri!

She arrives at the school, sees that the gates are still locked, and checks her watch again. Ha, it’s not even dawn. So she tucks herself into a corner and promptly falls asleep.

How much do I love you, Gong Hyo-jin and Na- Bo-ri? A lot.

 

The gates are still locked when our teacher awakes so she figures she’ll have to find another way to get into the school.

Did you forget that you can fly, Teacher Na? Or are you keeping your powers under wraps for now?

As she’s scaling the railings, Bo-ri overhears what sounds like derisive laughter nearby. Since nothing galvanizes the vigilante in our heroine like bullies ganging up on a hapless victim, off she goes, like an arrow bearing down on its target. Blink and it’s all over.

 

Hmm, the city needs to hasten with its plans for a special clinic, one that treats only neck cricks.

 

The first guy, the one who spun that tall tale in Episode 1, can’t believe his eyes. So the legend is not merely a figment of some students’ fertile imagination, it is true! As for the second guy, freshly rescued, we will learn later that he is Tae-in’s step-brother, now a shoo-in for president of the Na Bo-ri fan club.

Also, see that affectionate chokehold? I wonder where Bo-ri learned that from. Or, more precisely, who she learned that from. Was the lesson just yesterday, you think?

 

An irate “Why aren’t you here yet, it’s your first day and you’re already late?!” phone call from Mr. Flat Nose gets Bo-ri scrambling. As she walks toward the main school block, dozens of students begin to scream and wave. Some toss their jackets into the air. Others jump like there are springs in their shoes. The atmosphere is electrifying.

Overwhelmed, our new teacher waves back. So her dream last night was a foreshadowing of the rapturous welcome she would receive today. How absolutely wonderful!

 

Yes, students, I am here. Na Bo-ri is here! I will be a good teacher. Thank you!

Ajumma, what are you doing?

No, not that voice. Not him! But maybe it’s just a dream. Yes, everything is so faint I must be hearing and seeing things. I’ll just sleep some more.

Turns out she’s not dreaming. Turns out the welcome isn’t for Bo-ri but for the school’s F5, with the loudest shrieks reserved for their leader. How embarrassing! Still, she’s a teacher and he’s a mere student. How dare he talk down to her like he’s older or more senior?

Hearing her rattle on about respect and dictionaries, he leans into her face. What are you doing? she asks, flustered at his proximity. He pretends he’s about to bite her. Um! he says, like a playful lover. Mom! she screams, as he grabs her wrist just as she’s about to fall backward into the fountain. I was so surprised, she gasps, relieved that he caught her in time. Haha, he mouths wordlessly as he releases her hand.

 

PARK TAE-IN! YOU WANT TO DIE?!

It’s not so much a question as it is a statement. Not that it bothers the incorrigible one in the least; the guy is too busy chuckling and collecting money from his underlings for winning their Drive-Ajumma-Bonkers bet.

 

It’s not every day that a new teacher reports for work dripping wet, but in this instance no explanation is necessary; the principal knows her son DID IT. So she reminds Bo-ri of the first condition in her contract: Keep Tae-in out of trouble or kiss her job goodbye.

Maybe cloning dodos would be easier. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The scorecard may be in his favor right now (yesterday’s proceedings a distant memory), but wait till Park Tae-in sees how far her determination can take her. No way is she allowing that jerk to derail her dreams! She will march into class, she will win every battle, she will show Tae-in and the other students who is boss!

 

But nothing seems to be playing out the way she has envisioned. Hyun-woo’s first sight of her after six years and she has to look like a drowning duck. Instead of a classroom of students cowering in fear before her, most of them aren’t even in the room when she opens the door. Why bother studying when something much more interesting is brewing inside the gym, between Tae-in and the leader of another gang?

No, no! Don’t you dare make more trouble, Park Tae-in! Don’t do anything until I get there!

Thankfully Human Shield Na Bo-ri arrives just in the nick of time. One second later and that shoe would have landed on its intended target. Phew.

The blow is so hard Bo-ri passes out. Ah, is that concern on your face we see, Tae-in? She saved you, so surely it’s your turn to come to her aid, no? Show everyone that deep down you’re a sweet boy with a gentle soul. Do your bit to protect your teacher.

 

Okay, you didn’t have to interpret that “protect” bit so literally, Tae-in. What’s your stepmom the principal going to say when she sees this? She’s totally going to blow her lid!

 

Just when it looks like the morning couldn’t be more miserable, guess who should come along to make the sun come out?

Mr. Sunshine hands her a mirror and some ointment and explains that he couldn’t help her in the gym earlier because he was a coward didn’t want rumors to fly. He then chirps: “Teacher Na Bo-ri. No matter what happens in the future, I will always support you! Teacher Na Bo-ri. Congratulations on becoming a teacher! My name is Ji Hyun-woo. I’m an art teacher. Please take care. Teacher Na Bo-ri.”

I don’t know about you, but if anyone utters my full name and profession thrice in the span of thirty seconds, and also introduces himself in the same breath when I already know him, I’m totally hightailing it out of town.

 

Mr. Creepy walks away and is thus spared the sight of Bo-ri’s heart bursting out of her rib cage and doing cartwheels. Then, in a sure sign that she’s caught whatever queer bug he has, she chirps back: “Teacher Ji Hyun-woo. My name is Na Bo-ri. Although I’m not yet a good teacher, I will become one. I will wait for that moment when I can stand next to you.”

Watching and listening with his jaw on the ground, Tae-in turns to his F5 members and asks: “Is she for real?”

Her face still flushed with joy, Bo-ri is scrubbing the restroom (because apparently this is a school where the students rule) when she receives a rude surprise.

No, don’t ask me why the toilet doors are bolted from the outside. Or why Bo-ri isn’t pissed like she should be but is instead crying and consoling herself with this sorry excuse: “Never mind, Na Bo-ri. At least you can be by Ji Hyun-woo’s side.”

I love you, dear drama, but that doesn’t mean I can’t roll my eyes sometimes.

 

Tae-in is mildly surprised to see that Bo-ri is wet again, this time not of his doing. As she walks past him, her mood somber, he jabs: “Are you giving up already? That’s no fun. I thought you would continue fighting with me.” He then takes out a copy of her teaching application form and mocks her real motive for wanting to be a teacher.

 

Is it for Hyun-woo? I’m disappointed. I thought you would be different but it seems you are just the same. I expected too much from you. Well, have a good time falling in love.

Yes, it’s for Ji Hyun-woo, so? I’m not a good teacher now but I will be. Because that’s what you want, isn’t it? You’re lonely; you want someone to take care of you. You’re such a troublemaker because you are seeking attention. You’re doing all this because you want love!

Don’t talk nonsense! Who says I’m lonely?! And I don’t care whether you are concerned for me or not!

You just wait. I will become a great teacher because of you!

In that war of words, I don’t think Bo-ri knows if Tae-in is really lonely. She’s just saying it to taunt him because he made her angry. But her words hit home because, as we will learn shortly, he is indeed lonely and hungry for love and attention.

On his end, her words hit a raw nerve because they are true. And even though his pride is wounded because the last thing he wants is for a near-stranger to call him out for what he is (they just met yesterday and already she’s acting like she knows him better than anyone else), somehow he isn’t seething mad. Or is he? If we need an explanation for what he does at the end of this episode, could it all be due to this hallway diatribe?

 

Bo-ri returns to her desk in the teacher’s lounge and finds an envelope from Hyun-woo. As further evidence that no personal information is private or sacred in this school, the envelope contains details of Tae-in’s past.

Thus we learn that his mom killed herself, that Tae-in blames his dad for his mother’s death, that he became stepson to the principal when he was eight, that he misses his mom terribly and that’s why he wants to come back to Korea so that he’s at least under the same sky as her body (or ashes, RIP), and that Hyun-woo can’t be trusted as a step-uncle to keep his nephew’s secrets. Boo.

 

So her words about him being lonely weren’t just a wild shot in the dark.

For the first time, and because her sister asks her pointedly, Bo-ri thinks about what kind of teacher she wants to be. All along she had wanted to teach in order to be with Hyun-woo. But now that she’s an actual teacher, what kind of legacy does she want to leave her students?

 

In class the next day, Bo-ri announces to the students that she’s trained to teach Korean but that she won’t be teaching just yet because her role is to be a homeroom teacher first. In that spirit she’ll be a student just like them, so could they please take care of her? And oh, during that brief introductory session Tae-in winks at her and she mouths back: “You want to die?”

 

All in all, a most uneventful first class. No buckets falling on her head, no objects (or humans) defying gravity. No student acting out of the ordinary… except Jung Gyeo-woon’s character?

After Jem-ma announces to Tae-in that it’s a given that both of them will get married and that her mom wants to see him, Ho-joon (we’re not told his name in this episode but that’s what I got from the dramawiki page) says matter-of-factly that it’s just Jem-ma’s ploy. The person she really likes is not Tae-in but him. Hmm, okay, if you say so.

But when Ho-joon says the same thing about Bo-ri after the latter sidles up to Tae-in, that’s when we begin to suspect the guy’s a little batty. This time Tae-in is more than miffed; he practically wants to beat Ho-joon up. Hmm, why so worked up, Park Tae-in?

 

Anyway, now’s not the time to worry about an underling who’s off his rocker. Of more pressing concern is a teacher’s indecent proposition.

Will you go out with me after school?

Are you interested in me, Ajumma?

(She nods giddily.)

But I’m not interested in you.

Hey, you can’t judge me from my appearance alone. You never know. You might like me in the end. Let’s go out, c’mon!

And so she waylays him after school… as Hyun-woo watches them in the distance, his enigmatic expressions (first a smile and then a slight grimace) sending a chill down my spine.

 

The odd couple’s first stop is for yogurt. He asks what she wants to know; she replies that she wants to find out more about Hyun-woo. What he likes to eat, what he wears at home, what sort of girls he likes, and sundry other small but intimate details.

Hyun-woo’s flatulence is first-class. Stinks like hell.

Okay, noted. Park Tae-in is the king of farts.

Hey, I meant Hyun-woo!

Don’t be rude.

This conversation is no fun at all. So he leaves in a huff, then gets an idea that makes his eyes gleam. He turns back and puts his face next to hers.

Teacher. Do you really want to get to know me?

She nods hesitantly. Must he always lean so close to her?

 

He makes a call, grinning adorably mischievously as he speaks. They walk—and it must have been an extremely long walk because now it’s night—and stop when they come to the front of a hotel.

She protests that the place is too expensive and she can’t afford it. The food is free, he says. You like free food, don’t you? She blushes that he should know her secret.

 

I don’t know what is it with the guy, but when he’s up to no good, that’s when he looks so yummy you just want to eat him up.

For goodness sake, behave, Park Tae-in!

 
 

The place is a jazz bar and Tae-in proceeds to impress his teacher (and me!) with his mean English and piano skills. As she watches entranced, one of the F5 guys is there in a prior arrangement with Tae-in which Bo-ri is not privy to. Pretending to be a waiter, he spikes her cocktail when she’s not looking.

 

It’s the next morning. Bo-ri awakes, in a strange place and in just her lingerie. On the nightstand is a note. It reads:

Teacher.

Until I die, I will never forget what happened last night.

Signed: Park Tae-in


Biscuit Teacher Star Candy: First Impressions (Episodes 1-4)

Another day, another noona romance! And what better than a bit of Gong Yoo bad boy cuteness to compliment some foxy adorableness? And just in time for his return to dramas, too. I don’t even understand what’s happening in the poster above (Is she going to beat him over the head with that bat? Did they just murder the other students because they found out about their wildly inappropriate classroom romance? Did that dude just poop his pants?) but it perfectly captures the atmosphere of the series–breezily fun and exuberant.

This show actually reminds me a lot of the first season of the jdorama Gokusen. They both have a physically gifted, optimistic woman teacher who defends her misfit students, and a troubled student who loves her. At least, I think they do. Most of what I remember from Gokusen 1 is Matsujun’s fabulouslylayered and highlighted hair.

Na Bo Ri , Storytelling /Education, & Park Tae In 

Na Bo Ri, played by Gong Hyo Jin, is cheerful and full of  and full of hope; it’s almost as if she runs on it. She was kicked out of high school six years ago, and ever since then she’s been working towards one goal: triumphantly returning so that she may stand beside Ji Hyun Woo, her old art teacher, whom she’s had a crush on the entire time.  She has a group of friends she’s known since her high school days, and one who she’s roommates with. They all tease one another about their former lives as teenaged delinquents, but Bo Ri gets the most flak because she hasn’t been able to get a teaching position–at least, that’s what they think. The truth is that Bo Ri has been turning down teaching positions because there is really only one place she wants to teach. It’s a small detail that we get in the first episode, but I think it’s essential to her character, and to the character of the show. Bo Ri is like a trickster character. The classic tricksters are Coyote and Brer Rabbit and Anansi, figures considered fools by their peers, but who outwit those with more power than them so that they can get what they want. Tricksters are catalysts, they initiate change, they mess things up and create whole worlds in their wake.

 

Now, Bo Ri doesn’t go around lying and tricking people into doing things for her. But if Bo Ri is not exactly a trickster, then the show itself is. It follows the conventions of Dramatic (naturalistic, traditional) theater–it moves chronologically, there is narrative progression, with is character growth, conflict, and resolution. But it’s true intentions lie in the ways in breaks these conventions. For example, in episode 4 we have a scene where Bo Ri and her friends come to save Tae In from a gang who is trying to recruit him. They stride in, the camera filming them from below so that they seem larger than life, a classic Western theme playing. They’re backlit and in slow motion worthy of Jon Woo (or Boys Over Flowers), their hair flowing in nature-defying wind. And they proceed to kick ass. But after the episode ends Bo Ri So tells us that that scene was a result of the students’ excited imaginations. We are shown what really happened, which was them scrambling in like a bunch of neighborhood ajhummas and cowering over Tae In until the police came.  It leaves us, the audience, to wonder, who is telling this story? Is it Bo Ri, who’s voice comes up in times of reflection, or is it the students, who were the ones to begin the story in the first place? After all, Bo Ri herself has a pretty wild imagination, envisioning herself as a superhero-cum-teacher who can anticipate all the tricks her rowdy students might play on her. It makes me think of Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator who argued for a kind of education where students were more than just receptacles of information, but were active participants who taught themselves and taught the teacher as much as he taught them. I think this is important, considering that  we’ve already seen that one of the teachers is corrupt and that Bo Ri wants to be more than just any older educator.  It also reflects the dual nature of the show, how it veers from quiet moments of sadness to almost cartoonish moments of hilarity.

Park Tae In (Gong Yoo), meanwhile, is the classic abused, misunderstood, bratty teenager who’s really just a puppy who needs love. And also happens to look like a really, really hot 25-year-old man. Tae In actually does play tricks on people. He finds ways to slip from the grasps of the bodyguards who always surround him; when his father locks his up in a psychiatric ward, he breaks free, setting off a fire alarm and dancing in the water from the sprinklers; when Bo Ri refuses to leave him alone, he gets her drunk and takes her to a hotel where he leaves a note, leaving her to think that she spent the night with him. This last trick, though, gets him in real trouble, because it affects people other than himself. His response to the way it impacts Bo Ri’s life is the catalyst that starts his transformation from arrogant brat to love-sick puppy.

 

Irreverence & Genre

If I were to describe this drama in one word it would be irreverent. (It’s a word that could be used to describe trickster characters, too.) Honestly, it’s the only way for a romcom about a high school teacher-student romance to work. The only other way to go would be full on drama, a la  Green Chair or Majo no Jouken.

I’m going to file teacher-student noona romances under a genre all it’s own, because it brings up narrative considerations that other noona romances don’t. The questions don’t lie in whether Tae In will be able to financially support Bo Ri or if he’s too immature for her. Instead I found myself considering the fact that the narrative was making Jem Ma, Tae In’s peer and Bo Ri’s student, Bo Ri’s main romantic rival. Bo Ri doesn’t see herself as this girl’s rival. As of episode 4 she doesn’t even see Tae In in this light, but Jem Ma certainly does. I have no problem with Bo Ri and Tae In dating, but I am uncomfortable with Jem Ma being a villain in this story. My discomfort comes more from her characterization than from her age. Bo Ri is older and officially has more power than her, but Jem Ma is more than capable of defending herself. My issue is that Jem Ma is just as lost and damaged a person as Tae In, and I’m hoping that in making her a romantic rival the narrative doesn’t dismiss these things about her.

I want Na Bo Ri to find a way to mentor both Tae In and Jem Ma. They both have empty family lives, both wield their power in school to compensate for their total lack of power anywhere else. And while Jem Ma’s actions are despicable and inexcusable, (she takes photos of Bo Ri at the hotel and publishes them online so that her reputation will be ruined and she’ll be fired), she is still Bo Ri’s student. And I gotta say I love her and Tae In causing trouble together. The scene where they both start screaming their heads off so Tae In can escape from the hospital is hilarious. Why can’t Bo Ri be a superhero and these two are her sidekicks?

And then we have the other issues the teacher-student noona romance brings up. It’s kind of creepy to hear Hyun Woo talk about how he wasn’t able to get Bo Ri out of his mind for six years. Notice that so far the romance is developing from Tae In’s side, not Bo Ri’s. Tae In’s crush is cute, but Hyun Woo’s infatuation is  worrisome, especially if we take into account that because of it he is using his power for Bo Ri’s benefit–getting her the job, giving Tae In a place to stay, etc. Why does he try to help Tae In now? Why not before?

 

Family
For all this show’s zany escapism, it has an undercurrent of violence, and not the cartoon action-adventure kind.

Tae In’s family is characterized by his father’s violence. When we first meet Tae In’s stepmother it’s clear that they have a strained relationship. Informed by cliche’s of evil stepmothers and terrorized stepkids, I at first thought she was a villain in the story. After all, she leaves Bo Ri in jail and states that Tae In is not her “real son.” But then something happened in episode 4 that made me re-think this. The day after Jem Ma has posted the pictures of Bo Ri online, a female student takes Tae In aside and looks him over. She asks him where all his bruises are, if his father hasn’t beaten him up over the pictures and the alleged indiscretion. So corporal punishment (and the pretty severe kind, if his classmates can see the lingering effects of it on his person) is a norm in the relationship between him and his father. It’s then that I realized the problem isn’t the stepmother at all. Sure, Tae In, as  a small child grieving his mother’s suicide, initially rejected her, but the reason he keeps on spurning her is because if his father. His father is this domineering male figure, always commanding people around, always yelling and glaring. He lords himself s much over his son as he does over his wife, and so Tae In’s relationship with his stepmother isn’t defined by them two, but by his father, whose will she is constantly trying to appease. Th true villain here is the father, whose job as a doctor mostly consists of striding down hospital hallways surrounded by white-coated minions with a look on his face as if he’s just swallowed a turd. I mean, the man wants to institutionalize his son, despite the fact that Tae In is in no way psychologically ill.

 

Jem Ma, meanwhile,  has an absent mother and non-existent (at least as-yet-to-be-mentioned) father. There is this furious resentment towards and condemnation of parental control and disregard and  outright mistreatment in this show. It extends to the teachers, too. The adults these students are surrounded by and are in the care of cannot be trusted.

It’s weird the way violence is used in this drama. The father’s violence towards Tae In  and his wife is bad, but Bo Ri’s violence toward the students, a violence that is used against bullies who are themselves violent, is good.

Anatomy of a Scene

In episode 4, when Tae In goes home to apologize, his father immediately grabs a golf club–a golf club–to beat him up with. His home is an unsafe place. It is his stepmother who intervenes. Tae In is scared, his eyes are wide and earnest and flit back and forth as they fill with tears, he fidgets while on his knees, and his voice shakes as he apologizes and gives in to every demand his father has ever made: he’ll move back in, he’ll go to school, he’ll stay out of trouble–he even swears on his mother’s grave and calls his stepmother “new mom.” And when he gets up to follow his father into his study alone, his stepmother stops him and tells him not to go, that he’ll be killed. The threat in this family is the father, not her. She’s genuinely concerned about him. And she’s right, his father does beat him up, and badly, too. He gets a black eye and a cut above the other with blood pouring from it. (And I noticed that he’s wearing a cross in this scene; it dangles from his neck as he collapses on the ground. That’s some pretty heavy Christian iconography; it’s like he’s Christ, turning the other cheek–especially considering he’s apologizing not for what he actually did do which was spike Bo Ri’s  drink and take her to the hotel, but for the pictures, which was Jem Ma’s doing. Also interesting because Bo Ri is a Buddhist and her father is a Buddhist monk. Mmmm, anyone know anything about Buddhism? I’m embarrassingly ignorant about it. Leave something in the comments for me!) It is his stepmother who rushes in to care for him as he passes out. His injuries are so bad he has to be brought to the hospital, and again, she’s the one who stays with him there. Furthermore, she’s the who describes their relationship perfectly: “Usually this boy pretends so well. But in actuality he really fears his dad. When he sees [him] his face turns pale.”

   

Loneliness

“One should understand loneliness from the beginning.” – Na Bo Ri, Episode 4

Loneliness is another dark theme in the show. It’s full of characters who are lonely, who are cut off from the rest of the world, and end up reaching out to other people in destructive ways. There’s an exploration of how cruel isolation can be, how it can warp a person to the point that even being acknowledged for being an asshole is preferable to it.

Even though all three of them are surrounded by friends, Tae In, Bo Ri, and Jem Ma are all profoundly alone. Tae In’s mother committed suicide when he was very young, leaving him behind with an emotionally distant, physically abusive, psychologically manipulative father, and a new stepmother. Bo Ri has been in love with an unattainable man for the past six years. Unattainable because he was her teacher, but also because she thought herself unworthy of him. You can see it in the way she idolizes him, turning him into more of a god to be awed with than a human being to love. When he sees her in handcuffs at the police station you can see the shame on Bo Ri’s face. Is there an emotion worse than shame? Bo Ri tells Tae In that a person can be forgiven for accidentally killing someone, but not for knowingly humiliating someone. What emotion is there closer to humiliation than shame? I can already see that theirs is a romance that could never work, because putting someone on such a pedestal immediately dehumanizes them, and it’s inevitable that they’ll fall. And then we have Jem Ma, who has gone from school to school in different countries so that now she cannot speak Korean well, whose mother only sees her when she flies in for a fashion show, and who is so desperate for love that she’s willing to wait and cling onto a boy who repeatedly tells her he has no interest in her. She wants so badly to be wanted by Tae In, to be wanted the way she wants him, the way her mother doesn’t seem to want her.

 

Their loneliness is compounded by their waiting. Bo Ri and Jem Ma for the men they’re in love with, and Tae In for his mother. His is a perpetual waiting, because she is dead and can never come back. Loneliness was the reason she committed suicide, and even now, even in her death, she remains lonely. The one solution she thought of to deliver her from it only plunged her deeper into it. She had “no friends, no relatives” Tae In tells us, and she has none who come to visit her now.

The real solution to loneliness, then, is not to cling to someone else, like Jem Ma, or commit suicide, or act out, like Tae In, but to find community. You can’t fight loneliness with just one other person, romantic an idea as that is. It’s like the kid from About A Boy says at the end of that movie, “All I meant was I don’t think couples are the future.You need more than that. You need backup. The way I saw it, Will and I both had backup now. It’s like that thing he told me Jon Bon Jovi said: ‘No man is an island.’”

Biscuit Teacher Star Candy is about creating community, about coming together and undoing the rents wrought by family violence, teacher ignorance, and general adult incompetence. That’s what Bo Ri does, and I think it’s one of the ways in which she’s like a trickster character, fostering change. What Bo Ri creates in her short time at the school is a kind of family. She creates it everywhere she goes. She builds alliances. She gives her students her phone number for emergencies and tells them “It’s not just for emergencies. If the boys want to go on a date with me, it’s ok to make the call.” So long after leaving school she’s still close with her old group of friends, and now she has students who call her when they need help. When Tae In tells her about his mother’s loneliness, she promises to visit her and to bring her friends to visit her, too. Her students are so excited for her return they actually peek out the door to await her arrival and jump over their desks to get to their seats when she walks in. The bullies she punished to defend another student are her biggest fanboys.

 



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