The Couch Potato : Record of Youth (K-Drama,2020) – Episodes 1 to 4 recap

The October 2020 releases have me really excited as we have some anticipated year end releases with the last quarter of 2020. Thankfully the lockdown and the quarantine has ruined many things but thank god for the internet as well as all the OTT platforms that have kept providing the content we need! This time I am back with my exploration into the drama “Record of Youth” which is streaming on Netflix now.

I already have a post up with the Synopsis and expectations before I started watching the series. As I watch it, I will update the episode recaps, a mid run review once I reach halfway through the series and a final spoiler free review. You can catch all those posts just by clicking here! So without any further lag lets get into the episode recaps.

As always, the episode recaps will have my commentary in bold italics.

Episode 1

Sa Hye Jun

We get introduced to our lead in the story Sa Hye Jun. The first scene shows a director watching his audition tape with interest. He has performed his whole heart into the audition and the production team are interested in him. The scene then swaps to him as a body guard for a famous actor Park Do Ha. While Hye Jun is on guard, Do Ha’s ex comes in, slaps him and leaves. Do Ha is furious at Hye Jun for the lousy job he did and fires him and the two have a slight altercation. Hye Jun wonders how a trashy person like him became such a famous actor when he couldn’t.

Won Hae Hyo and Jin Woo, Hye Jun’s best friends from childhood

We then flit to a scene where we are introduced to Hye Jun’s best friends – Won Hae Hyo and Jin Woo. Won Hae Hyo seems to be having better luck as he has finished a photshoot and is about to leave. Jin Woo mentions about an audition for a movie that both Hye Hyo and Hye Jun auditioned and worries as only one of them will get the role. Hye Hyo mentions that he will take care of Hye Jun is that is the case, which is when he receives a call from his mother.

Hye Hyo’s mother and Ahn Jeong Ha

His mother is at a salon and is pestering him to come for a hair do as well. She becomes impatient that the make up artist isn’t here yet and asks Ahn Jeong Ha, the assistant there, to do her makeup. She initially refuses but mother is not ready to wait and she finally does her makeup. She is impressed at how professionally Jeong Ha does the work and compliments her in front of the make up artist, whose her senior, who ran late and forced Jeong Ha to do the makeup. She warns Jeong Ha that she is a junior and should know her place. We also come to know that Jeong Ha is a fan of Sa Hye Jun as well.

Hye Jun is not having things that great though. As he demands his manager Lee Tae Soo to be paid for his work he is denied that. Eventually the office staff Min Jae screams at Lee Tae Soo for the injustice he did to Hye Jun and resigns. Hye Jun also signs a termination document without receiving any compensation as he knows he won’t get any from Tae Soo. Tae Soo feels sure that Hye Jun is not going to succeed at all. On his way out Hye Jun asks Min Jae to be his manager, but she declines it because although she was excited for a moment, she is not up the job. A dejected Hye Jun is cheered up by his grandfather, who obviously dotes on him.

Meanwhile we are introduced to Hye Jun’s family. His mother works at Hye Hyo’s home as a househelp. His father does manual labour by doing furnishings but seems to be suffering from a hurt shoulder, and his brother seems to have completed his university studies and landed a job at a bank. It seems apparent that Hye Jun’s father is not pleased with how his career is taking him. Meanwhile at Hye Hyo’s home, it seems his mothers involvement to help grow his career is troubling him as he wishes to make his name on his own. I guess this is how the silver spoon, dirty spoon concept that I mentioned in the inital post might play out.

We are then shown a snippet of Jeong Ha being given the task of assisting her senior at a fashion show tomorrow. Hye Jun meets up with his friends and it is reveaed that Jin Woo is dating Hye Hyo’s sister. Those two look really cute together, by the way and I am guessing both Hye Hyo and Hye Jun don’t know. I expect a storyline to branch out that way!

Jin Woo with Hae Na, Hye Hyo’s sister.

The situation at Hye Jun’s home is not that good. The mood is good when celebrating their eldest son’s new job as they see him as a model student, but the relations between grandpa and Hye Jun’s father is not good, as it looks like grandpa has been conned a lot and Hye Jun’s father had to undergo the struggles which he faced. Now with Hye Jun’s military enlistment arrives there is a hot debate and things get pretty harsh with even his father asking him to make himself useful by going to the military. Ouch. There is another scene that shows his father building a new door for his brother who has his own room whereas Hye Jun shares a room with his grandfather that has a run down door. I am going to go a little off topic but it reminds me of a lot of my friends who were unjustly differentiated by their parents. Sure, a modelling and acting career may not seem “sensible” to a middle class family, but this is just too harsh. It feels like this differentiation may have been there even before Hye Jun’s choice of work. I think we are in for some serious family drama!

On the other hand it looks like Jeong Ha is the symbolism of stability. She works hard and diligently at her job and also seems to be creating some really well made content on make-up for her YouTube channel. We also see that Jeong Ha has taken a thirty year loan and has bought the house she stays in. She also used to work at an office before quitting that to become a make-up artist. Jeong Ha’s life seems to have been hinted as to be quite unstable before, which is why she firmly has stability as her goal. I don’t see or hear her parents being mentioned, so I am guessing this instability that she refers to may be her parents?

The next day at the fashion show we see several models including Hye Hyo and Hye Jun practicing before the show. The designer, Charlie Jung seems to be really strict with everyone but Hye Jun whom he praises. I sense a storyline between the two coming up.

As Hye Hyo and Hye Jun go to do their makeup they end up being prepared by Jeong Ha. Her senior however walks in and gives her an earful and mocks her on stealing her client. Next we see an upset Jeong Ha who cries a little and then fondly looks at the picture of Hye Jun on her phone and says that he is her relief. At that exact moment, Hye Jun walks in. Of course. I am sure no one is surprised, I half expected to come a little earlier.

Episode 2

Hye Jun stops in and assumes she is his fan but she corrects him saying that she is actually Hye Hyo’s fan as her phone wallpaper has both of them, although Hye Jun is bigger. He doesn’t look completely convinced but gives in. Hye Hyo learns from his mother he landed the film role. He is however worried about how this will affect Hye Jun as he did say he will enlist if he did not get this role.

Hye Jun meanwhile introuduces his new friend Jeong Ha to Hyeo Hyo and the Jin Woo and they all warm up to each other pretty fast. While Hye Jun asks the show director to pay him directly as he has terminated his contract with his agency, we see what happened between him and Charlie Jung. A few years ago, the two seems to have spent a nice evening together which ended in Charlie confessing his feelings for Hye Jun and him subsequenetly rejecting it. Seeing how he is struggling. he gives him another week to think it over.

Meanwhile it looks like Hye Hyo’s mother has a lot of influence on how his career is shaping out as she is shown to be buying a few thousand followers him on the internet. Sigh, I can almost a sense an emotional altercation between the two coming.

Smiling through the tears 😢

It is then revealed to Hye Jun that he didn’t land the role in the film. Disapointed at how things are turning out for him, he goes out for some depressing drinks with his friends. Things are not so great at home as they rebuke him for going out and drinking comapred to his elder brother who is doing so much better than him. He breaks down and is comforted by his grandfather. This just breaks my heart. I think this sequence of scenes is something we can really relate to. The symbolism of the rotten doors that is never replaced and how its sad to see he has to share a room. But coming to that, the bond between Hye Jun and his grandfather is so nice. I think its the most meaningful relationship we got so far in the series. This set of scenes really goes to show that if your own family won’t be there for you, then it is really difficult. The mother character seems to be the understanding type, but one that doesn’t side here nor there for the moment.

Min Jae forms her company “Jjamppong” on a

Meanwhile Min Jae creates a make shift company on the spot calls “Jjamppong” and gets Hye Jun an opportunity at a fashion show in Paris which he attends. She asks if he really is going to quit as she feels that maybe they could work together after all. Throughout the course of the next few days he is shown thinking about it, and how he is different and shines different from how Hye Hyo is. The episode ends with him visiting Jeong Ha to get a haircut to join the military.

Episode 3

The scene starts with Hye Jun and Hye Hyo. Hye Hyo tries his best to have Hye Jun tag along for his appointments but that seems to be making him feel worse than better, especially after the altercation with his father. This is further highlighted in another scene between Hye Hyo’s and Hye Jun’s mothers as they talk about their sons and how a military enlistment for Hye Jun now will surely ruin his career.

Meanwhile Min Jae informs Hye Jun that it was not because of acting skills, but rather the number of social media followers that led Hye Hyo to be selected instead of him. We all know how that came to be. Min Jae tries convincing Hye Jun to keep trying but he has decided to join the miltary.

Meanwhile we see a montage of scenes where both Jeong Ha and Hye Jun meet up both after depressing days and have some time at the library and a cafe. He mentions about how his grandfatehr also tried to become an actor back in his day but got scammed a lot because of how trusting he is. He also mentions to Jeong Ha that his grandpa is now looking for a job.

Back at Hye Hyo’s home, the two mothers have a dialogue between them on the role they must play in their children’s lives in order for them to succeed. Hye Hyo’s mother is all about “helping” while Hye Jun’s mother is not thinking along those lines (or maybe she can’t afford to?) A flashback shows to when Hye Jun’s mother starts working at Hye Hyo’s home and how things become awkward when Hye Hyo recognises her. She later reveals the same to a young Hye Jun who is devastated at first. He asks his mother not to quit thinking of him as her life is her own. She promises to try her best to support Hye Jun always and he promises to take care of her once he succeeds too. I love how mature his thinking was. A lot of kids won’t be happy that their mothers are working at their best friend’s home at all, but this flashback just throws more light into how Hye Jun’s character is as well.

The mother-son flashback

As Hye Jun walks Jeong Ha to the bus stop amidst the rain, she mentions how she doesn’t like the rain as it makes her feel lonely. A flashback shows her alone at a bus stop with her mother calling her only to ask about money. Things between her senior at the salon don’t seem to be improving either as her increasing closeness to Hye Hyo and Hye Jun and them preferring her to be their stylist is getting on her nerve. Jeong Ha also finds a job recommendation for Hye Jun’s grandfather – to be a senior model. Hye Jun is apprehensive at first, but seeing his grandfather’s enthusiasm he signs him up at a senior model agency.

Min Ja informs Hye Jun of a small role in the movie that he has been offered, the same one he didn’t get an audition for. Understanding that he is meant to shine different than how Hye Hyo is, he deicdes to postpone his military enlistment one last time and take a shot at this movie. But hearing this drives a huge argument between Hye Jun and his father and the episode ends with him throwing the meat he had brought as a farewell dinner for Hye Jun before he joins the military. Honestly, did this episode give us a lot? It was just an hour long story of how Hye Jun turned his decision around? Okay let’s not judge this one yet and keep going!

Episode 4

The ex girlfriend

As Hye Jun talks to Min Jae about picking the role for the movie, they broach on the topic of his ex-girlfriend and whether he is still hung up on her. A flashback shows Hye Jun going to pick her up from the library only to see her lie to him over the phone and meet up with another man. Hye Jun reveals that he knows and the two decide to end it.

Jeong Ha is instructed by her senior to come in for a session on her day off, but Jeong Ha rejects it plainly saying she has other plans. Jin Woo also stops working with his senior at the studio as well after he was shouted at for tripping and breaking some equipment. Meanwhile its out in the open that Jeong Ha is Hye Jun’s fan and the two meet up again.

The movie shooting

Our three characters then have their story revolving around the new movie they are about to shoot which is with Park Do Ha as the lead. Jeong ha is asked to be their makeup artist for the movie as well and this and other incidents leads to her senior hating her even more. As Hye Jun takes a voicover he explains about the silver spoon-dirty spoon concept. How ideas of class will always split them and not be favourable in getting equal amount of opportunities as they should. This is further accentuated by a scene between Hye Hyo, his manager and his mother who is having a meeting with some reporters on his new movie role and promises to buy them an expensive meal.

The movie shooting has started and although Hye Jun’s scene is small he does an impressive job at it. His scene is being a rich goon who is bating up the lead Park Do Ha (LOL). While working on set he thinks on how he realizes now why he wanted to be an actor in the first place. Looks like some new built confidence is coming in on him so that he may rise even further in coming episodes? Let’s find out! The links to the others will be at the top!

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