In the Soop: Friendcation (JTCB, Disney+, Viu) rounds out the second day of the holiday and takes us into day 3. Now that all the guys have settled in, we start to see them truly relax in each other’s company. They’ve not completely forgotten the constant cameras in every corner but seem to be able to disregard them while focusing on each other.
|Winter 2022, 4 days and 3 nights in Goseong, Gangwon-do, Korea.
Unwitting Cast (and their group-presumed roles):
See our previous stories 1 and 2 for more background.
After a quick recap, we return to the evening of Day 2 at nearly 10pm as the guys wrap up at the fire and prepare to watch Woo-shik’s Our Beloved Summer. He’s still hoping to avoid the inevitable. Denied.
Finally, the beer can chicken is ready too. They repair to the TV room to watch and snack while father Seo-joon feeds everyone a taste. As soon as Woo-shik appears on screen they all focus on the drama.
During a scene with veteran actress Cha Mi Kyung, the actors all talk about having worked with her on different occasions. Seo-joon says that on the set of Itaewon Class, she talked about Hyung-sik, with whom she worked on Juror 8. He must have made a he11 of an impression as she’s praised him to Woo-shik as well.
They continue to watch, narrate and tease Woo-shik. For having wanted to avoid this moment, he does seem to be enjoying their absorption in the show. By the end, he’s unanimously declared the Rom-Com King even as he talks about how difficult it is to convey emotion.
It’s quite a technical discussion about finding the appropriate level of sentiment to portray a persona. Seo-joon, perhaps especially mindful within this group of younger guys, tells him he’s now getting older if he can understand a character’s feelings. (I’m sure he meant to say more experienced, right?)
Hyung-sik and Woo-shik agree that there’s catharsis in acting out extreme reactions, releasing feelings that are a bit tougher and possibly inappropriate to express in daily life. Seo-joon notes that Woo-shik inspires him as an actor, saying he’s got a perspective that Seo-joon doesn’t have.
Woo-shik scoffs at first but they go deep and finally agree that there’s a synergy among them that provides a positive effect. He goes on to talk about a time before they all linked up, when it was just Seo-joon, Sung-hwan and Woo-shik – and Seo-joon was having a hard time.
They agree that watching each other go through struggles has a benefit, helping them all mature and grow. Like group therapy, perhaps. Seo-joon talks about Sung-hwan, building his career on his own, working part-time jobs to keep going.
Sung-hwan opens up about having felt anxious then and how Seo-joon encouraged him. He’d said, ‘There’s a time for a flower to bloom. You’re doing well. There will come a time for you to bloom too.’
Seo-joon shares more wise words about everyone having different starting points in a race but that the goal isn’t to win, it’s to finish. ‘What’s the point in being first?’ he waxes. Well said.
As a bumper to the sensitive discussion, they get a chance to meet J-hope over video call. Then the karaoke purge begins. With the mood set over serious conversations, they sing sad songs and love songs, including V and Peakboy’s ‘Snowflower.’
Finally spent and ready to rest, they push the beds together in one room to maximise group time. They chat, of course, instead of sleeping, talking about goals for 2022. Woo-shik says he’ll seek true happiness, admitting that acting has become less fun. Whilst Hyung-sik is keen for more challenging work.
Taehyung hopes he won’t be sad. The guys take that in and try to hearten him, as they notice his distress. He confesses 2021 had been disappointing and they all encourage him. Woo-shik even hands over his own forecasted luck for 2022.
On day 3, after a vacation-y morning, two meals and a makeup lesson from Seo-joon they finally head toward the sea. In the car they decide to go backpacking for their next trip and ponder bucket lists.
Hyung-sik is keen to skydive and heli ski. Taehyung would like to live abroad. Sung-hwan wants to take a family portrait this year. Woo-shik is interested in directing and producing. The once sceptical Seo-joon likes that idea, proposing they film and produce their backpacking trip.
Then we delve again as Taehyung presses Seo-joon on his bucket list. Seo-joon admits he’s worried because there’s nothing he wants to do and everything feels like work. This sounds like the last few years for many people, doesn’t it? He continues to ponder why he’s been working so hard. Bazinga®. Here is the magic question the world over.
They comfort him saying it’s important to rest. Which leads to further pondering on what resting well means. They land the idea that it’s about putting down your phone and getting real. This is straight from celebrities. Who of us puts down our gadgets often enough – or ever? And getting real? Simple Not Simple.
After heaving some heavy internal loads, they land at the beach, excited to see the sea in winter. Referring to the weather, Taehyung jokes that he’s made a nice day, as its their last one together. Noting a feeling of being healed, they agree they’ll remember this trip for a long time.
The Episode Review
Overall, another night and day of singing, laughter and introspection. While the gang considers that viewers will probably think they don’t know how to have fun, what they’re revealing is so much more compelling and real. And in a way, relaxing.
The more they explore tough topics and deep inner thoughts, the more affirming it feels on the other side of the screen. Yes, everyone struggles and questions their purpose – even the rich and famous. Even while at the top of their game.
Because they’re not all in the same field, not all at the same level in their careers and at different crossroads in their lives, you could easily be the 6th chair and fit right in. You could talk about your own hardships, big or small, and they’d all nod along with you, maybe passing on some heartfelt advice.
Such a rich episode, there’s a lot to explore here. Like when Woo-shik nudges them all a bit further over Taehyung’s quiet revelation, commenting, ‘Taehyung is at an age where he has to overcome difficult moments and experiences, but I think we viewed it from our own perspectives.’ He’s probably spot on there.
Taking the timing – January-ish 2022 – into account, what could be on Taehyung’s mind? Regrets over his injury in October 2021 where he couldn’t fully perform live? Or perhaps he’s already tuning in to the gradual direction of conversations that may have led to BTS taking a break from group activities more recently?
All is forgiven, In the Soop: Friendcation. I take back everything I said in the Ep 1 review – from a slow start, it has become super compelling and a massive dose of real (rather than reality).
I admit it. Typically, I resist reality shows. Because they are so damn contrived, always angling toward an explosion. It feels cheap. However, I find myself smiling throughout Ep 3 as this collective of friends compassionately considers tangible topics.
Seriously, can someone please revise the reality TV format? This is way more interesting. Simon Cowell, I hope you’re taking note! Drink it in, viewers, we’ve only one more episode to go.
What bits of conversation touched a nerve or made you smile? Which insights rang most true? Share away in the comments section below.
For more stories on all sorts of content from this reviewer, click here: Kristen Lazur
You can read our full season review for In The Soop here!