Part 1 of a 2 part Christmas special was filled with plans for friends, family, food, and a performance. Right off the bat, the suggestion to invite Jin Young Park (the famous JYP) to produce and direct the entertainment had Jackson in a tizzy. When Se Ho shot out the email invitation, Jackson turned a whiter shade of pale. The next day, Jackson and Se Ho headed to the JYP studio to meet up with The Man. I can’t decide if I like Jackson’s “I’m only 20 and not from here” free behavior with everyone, including boss man JYP. I’m not saying the traditional formalities are always practiced in idol town these days, but sometimes Jackson comes across as borderline rude with his protocol omissions. JYP appears to tolerate rapper manners (or lack thereof) by his idol flavor of the week. It’s Jackson’s image to cross the line by just a hair so that stepping back over with, “Who me? What?” and an infectious grin makes him a real charmer. Henry (Super Junior) is that way, too. So Jackson accused JYP of treating males and females differently in the agency, and basically JYP agreed and said that he can be strict with the guys but can’t be with the girls. Jackson, Se Ho and JYP messed around for a while, and Se Ho tried his best to get JYP to come to the Christmas party. With December’s busy schedule, JYP declined the invitation. Then I’m not sure what happened, but with some smooth talk and slight of hand moves Se Ho got him to agree to come. Jackson’s comment to JYP that, “You are my Korean dad” helped, too. Before you knew it, JYP was planning the event and said that he and his band would accompany the roommates’ entertainment. Huh. They wrapped things up with a sweet video message to Jackson’s mother in Hong Kong wishing her a Merry Christmas and good health.
Gook Ju, Kang Joon, Se Ho, and Jackson met up at the studio to practice. Gook Ju was truly awesome as she danced to Coming of Age Ceremony. JYP was genuinely pleased and did that rapid head wagging hand clapping thing of his. He is hard to read: his reputation as a perfectionist makes him scary. If you’ve watched him as a judge on all four seasons of Kpop Star, you know that he can’t hide how he feels about contestants’ singing and dancing. The roommates came prepared to practice. For act 1, JYP’s idea is for Gook Ju to do I Have a Woman but change it to I Have a Man with Kang Joon and Jackson as her beaus. It’s so in keeping with their roommate relationships. Act 2 is the JYP brothers (JYP, Joon-hyung, and Jackson) singing g.o.d.’s song, I Love You and Remember You. Prolific songwriter that he is, JYP said that of the 500 songs he’s written, his all-time favorite line, “when I look at you I start crying for no apparent reason” is from this song. JYP directed Jackson to sing in pain. Jackson suggested calling Ga Yeon to give him low kicks for that pain emotion to come through. I’d like to see that again. Act 3 is Se Ho singing Honey. Act 4 – here’s where they lost me – is a Christmas carol. Kang Joon is heading up a snazzy, soulful version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town in Korean with ad lib. First of all, Santa Claus etc. etc. is not a carol, and the soulful rifs and never-ending ending is super cheesy. On second thought, it will be perfect for the Roommate party.
Nana offered to cook. Everyone was skeptical. She teamed up with Gook Ju and Jong Ok and they decided on a menu of sausages, fried eggs, steamed kimchi, and ribs. Ryohei sat on the floor in a mass of wires and tree lights and looked adorably tangled. The tree went up, ornaments decorated the house from top to bottom, an the table was set with red plaid and evergreen boughs. Cucumber didn’t escape the festivities, and received a bath and a new outfit – so cute! It was a riot watching Cucumber scoot sideways along the tub edge and jump out. She’s such a funny little pooch. Young-ji is very attentive to the house pet, and even brought a special doggie hair dryer for Cucumber’s groom. Jackson jumped in to help dry and dress Cucumber. Those two – together again.
Gook Ju and Dong-wook tackled the big job outside of heating up the fire for the huge cauldron of ribs. At some point, they secretly threw in packaged seasoning (I”m guessing MSG) to perk up the flavor and agreed it was the right thing to do after tasting the improvement.
Red plaid, red polka dots, red tees, festive sweaters, and reindeer antler headbands – everyone was ready in their merriest for the guests to arrive!
JYP’s black car pulled up first. He is clearly a Roommate fan. He greeted Cucumber and knew whose room was whose as he toured the house and played with the moving cameras. “Yo! Wassup JYP?” Joon-hyung greeted his friend/producer casually. I’m not sure what Se Ho’s intention was when he mentioned to Joon-hyung that JYP said he didn’t practice very hard. I’m glad it didn’t amount to anything as it is apparent that JYP and Joon-hyung mutually respect each other and are close. They sat around slumber party style and reminisced about the crummy good old days sleeping in a flooded basement apartment with mold. When asked about his first impression of Jackson’s audition, JYP admitted that he wasn’t as impressed as other staff members were because Jackson tried too hard and wasn’t natural. We know the key to JYP’s heart is half air, half voice, and being natural. Joon-hyung’s sister said Jackson was just like him 20 years ago, and you have to admit they do have the same disposition and devil-may-care presence. They like that they are alike, too.
But the real surprise will be Jackson’s hidden camera prank. Unbeknownst to Jackson, JYP arranged for his mother to come from Hong Kong to the roommate party. JYP, Dong Wook and Se Ho planned how they would set up her entrance to surprise Jackson. We got a sneak preview of Jackson’s response ~ poor baby! I wanted to hug him and say, “It’s okay. You’re only 20 and not from here.” Dang, that charm of his got to me. I can’t wait for part 2 – the Christmas party that rocks the roommate house!
Missing Min-woo and Sunny.
Here are a couple of sites I checked out on Christmas in Korea.
http://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Culture/view?articleId=123919 – korea.net write-up on the Nutcracker productions ~ (I went to see it last week.)