When I decided to split this day into parts, I had no idea how hard this part was going to be. I truly have picked one of the hardest dramas to choose a piece of dialogue from. With most dramas there are several gripes and complaints about characters and follow-thru but this drama hits all the right buttons, even if you don’t agree with every move or thought. It was definitely hard to narrow down which piece of speak I wanted to yap about but I enjoyed every minute of revisiting one of the best portrayals of best friends on television, making me wish to see a grown-up Vada and Thomas.
My third installment is a 2-part dialogue from episode 12 of 9 End 2 Outs. I watched this drama at a time when I fully understood and related immensely with each character. The drama is about transition and fulfillment and I believe that everyone gets to a point in their lives where they begin to take stock of what their dreams were and have become, where they are in life and where they thought they’d be. The great thing, is that even with all that introspection, the drama still had time for romance.
Dialogue Setup: Byun Hyung Tae (Lee Jung Jin) and Hong Nan Hee (Park Su Ae) have been friends since birth. They know all there is to know about one another, therefore, throughout the course of their friendship there have been times that both of them have entertained the other as a romantic partner. Unfortunately, it’s never really worked out, pretty much all due to timing. One day, Nan Hee needs a place to stay and ends up as Hyung Tae’s roommate and during that time Hyung Tae begins to have true feelings for her and confesses. For a brief moment, while on vacation they decide to date but then Nan Hee gets cold feet and they promise to return to the way things were (between them) once they return. But this is harder than expected so they give it a try once more. However, on the night of their first unofficial date Hyung Tae’s ex-love of his life, shows up and he forgets all about their plans.
Hyung Tae: You should yell at me. I said I’m sorry. You want to hit me? I’m a jerk. It was supposed to be our first date.
Nan Hee: I’ll forgive you since you’re sorry.
Hyung Tae: Really?
Nan Hee: It’s understandable since it was a shocking incident today.
Hyung Tae: Is there another girl as great as you? You’re my best friend and my girlfriend. I’m really a lucky guy.
Nan Hee: But let’s end it. It wasn’t as if we were officially a couple, but still let’s forget about this confusing relationship.
Hyung Tae: Hey!
Nan Hee: Sung Ah came back to get with you. Are you really going to ignore her?
Hyung Tae: Why does it matter? I don’t care. Can’t you trust me?
Nan Hee: There’s that line all men use.
Hyung Tae: Nan Hee.
Nan Hee: I don’t like this. It’s uncomfortable to hear things come out of your mouth that hasn’t for last 30 years. I think Byun Hyung Tae, the boyfriend, is lame. I can’t even say what I want. Same for you too. It was so much easier before. When one of us was feeling trashy, the other would be the trash can. Sometimes we would cheer for each other no matter what. We were able to stop and go for each other and that’s the kind of friendship we had. Whenever I wanted to cry, you were the first on my mind. You probably were the same. Look at us now. It wasn’t long ago when you spent my money to go to Spain. I doubt you forgot about her already. She meant a lot to you. I bet it was killing you inside to act like nothing happened today. You’re hurting more than anyone right now. And you’re trying so hard to hide that from me. Don’t you think I know how you feel? Because I know how you feel, I can’t really do anything.
Hyung Tae: Aish! Seriously?!
Nan Hee: Hey, are you crying?
Hyung Tae: Shut up. Can’t you pretend you don’t know?
Nan Hee: It was too obvious to pretend.
Hyung Tae: I’m so angry.
Nan Hee: Do you want a hug?
Hyung Tae: Oh my.
Hyung Tae: She asked if canceling the phone meant that I’m over her. Nan Hee: She definitely came back for you.
Hyung Tae: How did you know?
Nan Hee: I never thought she would be back but she came back.
Hyung Tae: I feel better now that I told you.
Nan Hee: You like me better as a friend, right?
Hyung Tae: Half and half. I wish there were two of you. I really do like you. If you didn’t reject me, I wanted to keep dating you. I don’t think I ever had that much courage before. I knew if I told you how I feel, there was a lot we could lose. I thought about it and thought about it. But after, it was so much fun. I can finally date someone with ease and joy. Just the fact I can date like this at age 30 was great. The hand that I held thousands of times before became something more. The small jokes I spit out suddenly had meaning. I enjoyed it a lot. It amazed me that it was happening. I can’t do this with any other woman, these are things that I can only do with you.
Nan Hee: As sweet as that sounds, I like it hot.
Hyung Tae: You’re talking about that brat.
Nan Hee: I hope you and Sung Ah feel something hot as well.
Hyung Tae: Don’t push me. I’m a little confused.
Nan Hee: The ball is on your side now. Just hit it. It will either complete your love, or if it doesn’t work out, just walk out and leave. Make sure your heart can have a resolve. At your state now, no matter whom you meet, Sung Ah will always be in your mind.
Hyung Tae: You think you’re so great, don’t you?
Nan Hee: I’m going to work on my book. The deadline’s coming up, and I don’t have time to be apart of a love triangle. I’m doing this for my mom, I have to make it.
Hyung Tae: Okay, stop. I got it. Us…How long do you think we can be friends? When we were in our 20’s, we drifted due to dating. But now we have to get married. We would still see each other. But it’s going to be different. I don’t know where we would be, but one day we would say something like, “Was there ever a time when we were actually friends?”
Nan Hee: Stop thinking that. Let’s just go on as much as we can.
Hyung Tae: Okay?
Nan Hee: Okay.
In the setup, it may sound as though Hyung Tae just ditched Nan Hee or blew her off for his ex but this isn’t what actually transpires. Hyung Tae forgetting to continue their date was truly understandable, given the circumstances. They both were a little stunned by Sung Ah’s return and Nan Hee actually gives Hyung Tae some time alone. The date slips his mind but not entirely and that’s where this dialogue picks up.
Together, Nan Hee and Hyung Tae are masterful. They are blunt, cheeky, vulnerable, crabby and adorable. They simply, are best friends. There are so many lovely moments between these two that it’s close to impossible to pick the absolute best but I chose dialogue that hits the heart of their matter in a way that is so vivid and honest I couldn’t not share it. These two are always forthright and genuine with their thoughts and emotions that every conversation deserves a re-listen, if for nothing more, than to learn from them. They had something together that neither has found with someone else and I believe when you have this bond with someone it’s to your service and theirs to reassess your future.
What I loved about these moments especially, is that, even at this point, neither one of them knows how to deal with the situation they are both in. However, they still remain emotionally transparent with one another. Being (just) friends is hard for men and women, then tacking on romance somewhere in the middle is bordering insanity. But, it really can be done. It’s just terrifying. Having a friend so long, seeing them through so many trials and triumphs makes it all the harder to transition to lovers, for the very reasons Nan Hee points out. And truly, women have a tendency to notice this far quicker than men. I won’t say that women are more sensitive overall but I do believe that women have a tendency to be more intuitive. Nan Hee is being a bit of a coward but not for a completely selfish or self-serving reason. Her best friend’s girlfriend comes back and honestly what was she supposed to do? The situation would be completely different if their “revelation” for one another wasn’t so fresh. It’s easier, in her mind, to chalk it up to hormones, loneliness or bad timing (again), than to soldier through and perhaps lose their friendship in the process.
It’s interesting, though, that in this situation, Hyung Tae is the more adventurous concerning his feelings. In personality, Nan Hee is the bolder type but she shies away from every opportunity (until the very end) to begin a relationship with Hyung Tae. This drama is magnificent in it’s portrayal of men and women in this predicament because Nan Hee and Hyung Tae act so naturally. Both want to keep their friendship but as a man Hyung Tae wants to conquer new territory, where Nan Hee wants to cultivate and nurture what they have.
The series speaks alot about Nan Hee’s insecurities and Hyung Tae’s inability to confront his feelings. Hyung Tae fights this by telling Nan Hee how he feels but then reverts back in the dialogue above(and subsequent episodes). While, Nan Hee hides behind her feelings of inferiority to Sung Ah and Hyung Tae’s past with her, using his feelings and Sung Ah’s resurface as an escape route. However, even with these glaring issues, no one is truly right or wrong. They are really just people living and trying to make a relationship work.
Friendship can be just as hard as any romantic relationship because it needs all the things you give to romance: time, trust, patience, care, honesty, respect and love. Hyung Tae and Nan Hee loved one another and that love kept them struggling to keep their friendship but to also make sense of the changes happening within it. Hyung Tae’s questions, “How long do you think we can be friends?” and “Was there ever a time when we were actually friends?” were quite valid because I think all opposite sex friends come to this crossroad. Whether it’s ever verbalized or not, it’s a thought that swims between men and women. Some can honestly answer “yes,” while others (most), can’t. They are most certainly the latter but it’s scary to think that they would somehow live their lives without one another someday.
Therefore, what I loved most was Nan Hee’s answer to go as far as they can. All relationships run their course but that doesn’t mean they have to end. Seeing something through to the end is key in every bond we share. Nan Hee’s answer wasn’t one given from knowing the right answer but more from being able to realize that everything couldn’t be agreed on in one conversation, rather this aspect of their relationship needed to be tabled for the moment.
The process of 9 Ends 2 Outs is far more than Byun Hyung Tae and Hong Nan Hee’s love relationship but their friendship is a large chunk of the foundation of their individual lives. As they moved along in their careers, grew a little older and loved a little more, they realized all the things they truly wanted to accomplish and all the things they never wanted to do without. And thankfully, it’s conversations like these that helped them challenge themselves to see it.