Welcome to the inaugural edition of Split Screen, a new Talk This! Blog Series! I’m one of your hosts, Madelyn. Still a host, even when it’s a blog, not a podcast!
While I was visiting Talk This! DC-Metro HQ a few weeks ago, I not only got some long over-due time with my dogs, but also got to see my co-host (and sister) in-person and take advantage of her vastly superior electronics! Not only did I get to experience the joys of having a PS4 and fully functional Nintendo Switch, I also reveled in having a TV larger than a notebook. In the process, I ruined Emma’s Netflix recommendations forever.by starting several terrifically bad K-dramas. Oops
However, like my Stardew Valley pigs rooting around in the mud, we managed to come up with a few truffles. Or, for the less metaphorically inclined, we started a few shows we wanted to continue! However, since the two of us live approximately two hours apart, we needed to find a creative way for me to continue to annoy Emma with my constant commentary. Thus, Split Screen was born! Each week, we’re watching an episode of My Hero Academia, an undisputed classic, and half an episode (because nobody got time for seventy minute episodes) of Boys Over Flowers, more of a “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” kind of guilty pleasure.
Long time readers might remember our Watch This! blog series, where Emma and I watched television adaptations of video games and tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t when bringing these stories to a new medium. Split Screen is a spiritual successor to that series (although Watch This! will return! Someday!), mixed with the Sidequest 4.0 segment, Off-Topic Corner.
We’re only a few episodes into each series, so we welcome one and all to join our Split Screen watch club! Boys Over Flowers is available on Netflix, and My Hero Academia is available on Hulu. They’re probably available elsewhere too, but that’s where we’re watching them. Both shows are about outsiders attending very strange high schools under very bizarre circumstances, so between these and Persona 5, I’m very on-theme.
Boys Over Flowers Episode 2 (up to minute 36)
Last time on Boys Over Flowers: Geum Jan-di is delivering dry cleaning from her father’s shop to a student at Shinwa Academy, when she finds herself an unexpected hero in the right place at the right time. As a reward, she is offered a scholarship to this most exclusive school in the country. However, her common upbringing makes her an immediate target, and her integrity and willingness to stand up for what she believes in makes instant enemies out of F4, the school’s most elite and powerful clique. F4, led by Jun-pyo, sets out to destroy her. Their first attack? Pouring flour and eggs on her. Next? Sending a group of boys to jump her in the girls’ locker room. What craziness will come next?
M: So, we picked up episode two with lawsuit waiting to happen as our heroine Geum Jan-di gets jumped in the girls’ locker room . Not that everyday at Shinwa Academy doesn’t feature half a dozen opportunities for litigation, but this episode already seems to be more loaded than the first.
E: There are many opportunities for lawsuits in this episode. The main crux of this half is the kidnapping-chloroform combo that neatly transitions into classic romcom geek turned gorgeous plot device. There’s a lot of creepiness to both of these aspects, but Boys Over Flowers is just so over-the-top that it doesn’t bother me as much as another story that used these might. Did you feel the same way?
M: It doesn’t seem to be trying to be realistic, which is a point in its favor. Boys Over Flowers is so utterly ridiculous you can just enjoy it for the trash it is. Still, you have to be ready to do some major suspension of disbelief. Speaking of which, why on earth would Jun-pyo punish himself by offering to make Jan-Di his girlfriend in exchange for her being nice to him at school? He hates her. She literally just roundhouse kicked him in the face.
E: It’s that classic characterization of the narcissistic jerk. Jun-pyo is so shocked that Jan-di isn’t falling head over heels and fawning over him, and it’s become a point of pride more than anything else. So, of course he’s rationalizing it as her trying to hide an attraction because it’s literally the only thing that makes sense to him. The girlfriend offer seems like a bit of a way to prove this interpretation to himself.
M: It just seems like an abrupt change of heart. Maybe I’ve been playing too much Persona.
E: He seems to be having a bit of a mental break to be sure. I would take a Persona 5-Boys Over Flowers crossover episode though. Unfortunately, this came out far before the Phantom Thieves came about.
M: That said, I would have taken the deal, no question.
E: He’s got a cool bathroom
M; My bathroom light doesn’t even turn off. It’s probably half the size of just his bathtub. Basically, for Jan-di, it’s a win-win-win situation. Nobody has to know because she’s only going to be his girlfriend in private, she gets a ton of money and a full-time pampering staff, and the bullying stops. Who knows? Maybe love will blossom. He’s got the most normal hair of the bunch.
E: Clearly she has a thing for bad wigs. Only, like somewhat bad wigs, not the bad wig of that one member. We’ll have to put a picture here so that people can see what we mean by bad wigs.
M: It must be an unconscious thing, since she literally couldn’t tell the difference between his hair and the kind of bad blonde wig of Yoon Ji-Hoo. Anyway, how have we not talked more about the chloroform yet…what?
E: The chloroform goes along with the over-the-top aspect of this show. Literally, because that chloroform must have packed a serious wallop. The spa people managed to wax almost all of her legs before she woke up which, honestly, is not a bad side-effect.
M: Chloroform always makes me think of that one episode of Community
M: So, what will happen in the second half of the episode? That pregnancy plot is still dangling out there, unresolved.
E: Well, she’s got violin and pancake-loving boy’s clown shoes. I have not learned his name yet. Ji-Hoo? That’s right, right? But I figure she’s going to go return those, and he’ll somehow be instrumental (eh? eh?) in closing those rumors down. He’s got some amount of sway with Jun-pyo, so maybe he can get him to back off on that front.
M: What’s with the shoe obsession anyway? Both episodes have had major moments that featured footwear.
E: I love a good pair of shoes. I love Jun-Pyo’s shoe collection in particular. Except the ones he actually picks to wear. He’s got good taste overall but bad taste on the day-to-day basis.
M: Since this is a romance show, I think we need to check in each week about who our heroine will ultimately end up with. Which love interest is in the lead for you this week, Emma?
E: I think she’ll end up with smiling manager. He’s smiley. He’s supportive, as based on his smiley-ness. He can cook. He hasn’t fired her despite her frequent absences and drama. What else do you need?
M: That’s the foundation of all good partnerships. I think that if we don’t end up with some kind of brother-husband polygamy situation with all of F4, Jan-di will fall in love with one of the minor F2. It would be too obvious for it to be one of the guys we’ve already learned a fair bit about. There’s plenty of series left to go, after all.
My Hero Academia Season 1 Episode 4: Start Line (Dub)
Last Time on My Hero Academia: Izuku Midoriya has wanted to be a hero since he was a little kid, but his dream seemed hopeless when he learned at age six that he was born without a quirk. Still, he set his sights on attending UA, the most prestigious hero training program in the country. When he serendipitously met his favorite hero ever, All-Might, Izuku needed to know: could he be a hero without a quirk? Little did he know that All-Might had a secret: he was too weak to maintain his powers, and was looking for a successor. After a foolhardy and heroic charge to save a friend, Izuku so impressed All-Might that he agreed to help Izuku train, and even pass on his quirk, One-for-All, to him. Now, Izuku faces his entrance examination to UA.
E: So I’m in an interesting position in watching these back with you. Apparently, where I am in the anime right now (I’m currently watching the 3rd season subbed if people are wondering) is about where the manga was when the anime started. I imagine I’m feeling a bit like the manga-readers did then. It feels like going back to the simple days of Izuku Midoriya.
M: It already seems pretty complicated to me! Granted there was basically no suspense up to this point. The show is called My Hero Academia so it’s not like Izuku was going to be rejected from UA.
E: Very true. One of the things I appreciate about My Hero Academia, however, is that it is rather straightforward. There are some surprising moments, but nothing’s particularly shocking. It doesn’t use “wow, what a twist!” very much (disregarding one particular episode title, ha ha).
M: Twists are very trendy right now, and it’s a problem for TV. A lot of showrunners are prioritizing these “gotcha” moments over actual narrative development. That’s 2018 for ya. Speaking of twists, sort of, those broken limbs were too much. I’m squirming just thinking about it.
E: Yeah, they make me cringe too. But I’ll just say, get used to them.
M: Oh no. Now, here’s something that was bothering me throughout the whole hero test. Was there a real possibility of death? Because the kids sure seemed to think so. Did they sign waivers?
E: I’m sure waivers for injury were signed. That just seems like a given. But I don’t think that the fear of death is necessarily from the waivers. They’re teenagers. My Hero does a good job of making the character’s feel like teenagers, meaning that everyone’s a bit over dramatic in a “if this happens, my world’s over!” kinda way. Also, there’s the whole adrenaline thing making everything seem more dire than it might actually be.
M: Many of these kids must be very talented but they’re also very new to the hero business and untrained. They shouldn’t have to face death in an admissions exam. Like, the SAT only metaphorically feelings like dying.
E: Well, one aspect of being a hero in the MHA ethos is the ability to act in times of fear or pressure. That’s why All Might chose Izuku after all. So perhaps the test is meant to measure that.
M: Surely there’s some information out there about about what they’re getting into with this test, like a forum or a website or tutors? But there must have been some quirkless idiot like Izuku pre-One-for-All who tried this and almost got himself killed.
E: Izuku mentioned in the first episode that they only recently got rid of quirk rule so quirkless students could apply. Plenty of precautions could be taken though. Robots could be programmed to do non-lethal damage. Not to mention, DJ man (Present Mic officially, in case you were wondering) was on scene to help in cases of emergency.
M: The real question is, which school is more in danger of a lawsuit, UA or Shinwa? Unclear at the moment. Another thing that was bothering me is that I dunno how All Might thinks he’s going to be able to teach all day without his secret getting out.
E: Well, maybe he’s a guest lecturer.
M: Do the other heroes know? He looked like pointy All-Might when we saw him in the exam room.
E: I’m pretty sure they address that later.
M: Literally all I do is list things that bother me, which is why Emma secretly hates watching TV with me, but here we go again. When did crybaby Izuko’s suddenly gain the ability to hold in his emotions? Is this part of One-For-All? Because I would have been crying from the moment that envelope arrived at my door all the way through the video and probably for days on end afterwards. Plus, what a jerk move for All-Might to jerk this kid around knowing everything he’s been through.
E: Izuku seemed to have passed into the dead-inside stage of grief, although you’re right, he held it together admirably. Maybe it’s a sign of growth for him. As for All Might, he’s just an over-the-top guy. Based on his hero persona, it’s clear he loves the dramatic flair of it all. Don’t worry though, there’ll be lots of Izuku crying. All Might showboats, Kacchan yells, Izuku cries. That’s a good summary of the show actually.
M: I guess I’m the only one who can make predictions.
E: I will just emoji it up to show my responses to your predictions.
M: These shows have a lot of similar themes, but mostly the trope of an outsider in a school where they don’t belong. So I predict that Izuku will be turned into a pancake. Maybe literally. That might be someone’s quirk.
M: Seriously though, he’s gonna be a real disappointment. All-Might can only do his hero thang for like 3 hours at a time before he withers up. Izuku might literally fail out because he can only do like two seconds of power.
E: To be fair, the physical injury doesn’t pass on to Izuku. That’s what’s causing the limit.
M: The point of the physical injury though is that he’s weaker than he once was. Izuku is kinda buff now, but he isn’t nearly as strong as I assume All-Might was pre-injury, at full power. So he might just literally explode next episode, and that’s the end of the show. Other predictions: we’ll have an animal hero friend, because we gotta.
M: And what’s his face, Izuko’s old school friend who he saved from the slime villain (E: Bakugo. Or Kacchan.), will like start an F4 against him. Like the Fantastic Four.
E: Somebody write this fanfiction for me.
Hey guys, Emma here! We hope you enjoyed our discussion of Boys Over Flowers and My Hero Academia and are maybe even watching them both alongside us! No spoilers btw! Although if anybody wants to talk season 3 with me (my boy Kirishima!), I am down.
Next week! We’ll see how the shoe return goes in the second half of Boys Over Flowers Episode 2. Also, we’ll be watching My Hero Academia S1E5: What I Can Do For Now in which school life begins and Madelyn gets to officially meet the character that makes me go “that’s so Madelyn” every time I see him.