What happens when a former girl group member and a part-timer at a convenience store bond over music and guitar lessons? The possibilities are endless and their love for music grows stronger.
Kim Sung-cheol and Jung Chae-yeon star in this 2-episode KBS drama titled ‘To. Jenny’ about a young man named Jung-min who helps his first love Nara in her pursuit for music and fame.
To. Jenny: Episode 1 Recap
Episode one starts off with musicians busking outside on the street in front of an interested and captivated audience. Inside a convenience store, an employee named Park Jung-min (Kim Sung-Cheol) sings the same song with his guitar in front of his younger sister. She’s not too impressed so she wanders around the store. A little kid enters the store to buy himself some candy. Although he doesn’t have enough money, Jung-min allows him to eat the candy for free.
Back at home, Jung-min’s mom and younger sister are watching ‘Moonlight Drawn by Clouds’ starring Park Bo-gum. Mom lies that her son is much more handsome than Park Bo-Gum, but Mom and Sister knows that it’s all a lie.
Younger sister encourages Jung-min to record a video of him singing while playing the guitar. They can upload it on the internet afterwards so Jung-min won’t have to keep performing in front of her. And so Jung-min plays his guitar and sings about the time he and his friends went to go get some food at a restaurant. Sister stops recording out of embarrassment.
Uncle interrupts the two and scolds Jung-min for playing the guitar and singing. He wants Jung-min to stop pursuing music and to instead find a job to help his mom pay the bills. Of course, Mom is understanding of Jung-min and supports her son’s passion for music.
Sister creates an Instagram account for her brother and uploads the video on his account. He only has 6 followers so far, but it’s a start.
Jung-min’s two friends visit him while he’s at work. They celebrate his 10,000th day as a single man and tease him for only having 6 followers on his Instagram account. As he and his friends hang out at work, Jung-min suddenly freezes upon glancing at his next customer. Her name is Kwon Nara and she was a member of the disbanded girl group Cocoa (Jung Chae-yeon). He rings her up at the front register and watches her exit the convenience store. He still hasn’t forgotten about her.
We find out that Jung-min and Na-ra used to attend high school together. While she was the popular and outgoing star of the school, he was the quiet and reserved student who harbored a secret crush on Na-ra. It isn’t until he participates in the school’s art festival and plays the piano while singing that he stands out to her.. for the wrong reasons. He messes up while trying to impress her and has suffered from stage fright ever since that day. He denies that he has feelings for Na-ra, but it’s obvious that he still does.
Jung-min shares with his younger sister about seeing Nara at work the day before. Younger sister has her brother follow Nara’s Instagram account and he panics. Omg, what is he gonna do now?! Of course, Nara is a celebrity so she’s popular and has many followers. She won’t notice him. As Younger Sister explores Nara’s account, she notices that she likes tiramisu cake. This can be a good first step.
The next time Nara visits the convenience store to buy some tights, Jung-min hands her a free slice of tiramisu cake. She finds it suspicious at first, but doesn’t think too much of it. As she walks out of the store, Jung-mins bids her farewell by calling her by her name Nara. She stops and grows curious as to how he knows her real name. After a few attempts, Jung-min finally manages to get Nara to recall who he is. He was the student who kept on singing in the wrong key at the music festival. Nara finally recognizes Jung-min as her high school colleague and exchanges greetings. She’ll see him around since she lives near the neighborhood.
Jung-min receives inspiration for his next song. He writes about tiramisu cake! Haha. As he works on his song about tiramisu cake and Nara, Younger Sister walks into his room to show him the latest post that Nara posted on her account: it’s a photo of the tiramisu cake that he gave her at the convenience store. Score!
Jung-min gets excited and shows Younger Sister the new song he made about tiramisu cake and Nara. She actually likes it and even sings along to the song. The song gives him butterflies and he can’t stop thinking about how Nara will react to his song. Younger Sister records a video of Jung-min singing to his song which he uploads onto his account. He updates the description on his account as ‘to. jenny.’
Nara is busy practicing her dancing in the training room of her agency building. It’s been seven years since she’s been a trainee with the agency, but she hasn’t achieved much success yet. The CEO of her company discusses with her his change of plans for her: he wants her to become a singer-songwriter instead of an idol. Although Nara is reluctant at first, she eventually gives in. She has to learn how to play the guitar and prove to her CEO that she’s worthy of staying in the agency.
So Nara sets off to buy herself a guitar. She starts by watching video tutorials, but they’re a little too advanced and difficult for her. She makes a post on her Instagram account of her struggles in learning how to play the guitar. Jung-min sees the post just in time and rushes to work with his guitar. Hahaha.
He waits and waits at work for her to stop by, but she never does. When he gets home from work that night, Jung-min has his younger sister role-play Nara so he can practice how he’ll talk to Nara if she visits him at work. However, things don’t go according to plan when she does stop by the convenience store. She notices the huge guitar he has on his back, but doesn’t pay much attention to it. It’s not until he starts to dramatically play the guitar as she’s walking out of the store that she notices him. Nara is easily impressed and asks Jung-min to teach him how to play the guitar. They exchange numbers and he’s now her guitar teacher. This will be funnn.
Jung-min is invited to Nara’s house on the first day of guitar lessons. Before he starts to teach her how to play the guitar, she pleads for him to speak to her casually and comfortably. He lets go of the formal language and so the guitar lessons begin. However, he’s clearly nervous and touching her hand makes him even more nervous he has the hiccups. She tries to get his hiccups to stop by having him hold his breath with some water in his mouth while she scares him, but it only backfires. Jung-min spits the water in her face. Okay.. they’re kind of cute together.
The two walk together to their respective part-time jobs. On the way, Jung-min shares with Nara his background story and how he learned to play the guitar. We find out that his dad used to also the play the guitar, but passed away in a car accident when he was younger. Jung-min’s been playing the guitar for about ten years now which could explain for his advanced and professional guitar skills. Before the two go their separate ways, Nara plans on paying Jung-min for the guitar lessons although he’s willing to teach her for free. If he refuses her money, she won’t be taking his lessons anymore.
Nara pays Jung-min for his lessons, but it’s not in the form of cash. For every guitar lesson, she has to buy something from the convenience store to give to him. They’re mostly snacks that Jung-min’s younger sister wants to eat. Although Nara struggles at first, she slowly starts to improve with each passing class. She and Jung-min also start to become more comfortable with each other.
Jung-min has another song in mind, but he needs some help with the melody. His friend Dae-seong helps him on the song in exchange for some fried chicken. Together, they work on the song which Jung-min was inspired to write once again because of Nara. And just like with his other songs, Jung-min finishes making the song perfectly.
Nara’s guitar skills are picking up and improving. As she prepares to exit the recording studio, she comes across a solo artist named Aileen from the same agency. They exchange greetings and Aileen compliments Nara’s guitar skills. However, her attitude and personality totally changes once Nara leaves. Aileen anticipates the day Nara’s contract with the agency will be over. Ooh, she a snake.
Nara pays Jung-min for another round of guitar lessons, but it’s a little different this time. Instead of meeting at the convenience store, they spend time together at the high school they attended together. With Nara’s persistent request, Jung-min sings the same song he sung on the day of the art festival. He completes singing the song this time though and doesn’t mess up like he did the first time around.
Nara is impressed and asks him more about the song. He reveals that he wrote it for his crush so she questions who his crush was (IT’S YOU NARA, IT’S YOU!). Jung-min nervously flips the question on Nara and asks her if she has a boyfriend or a crush. To Jung-min’s detriment, she does have a boyfriend named Ji-ho and has to leave at that moment to go meet him.
Jung-min is heart-broken over the news and has a talk with his younger sister about it that night. She cheers him up and encourages him to wait patiently for Nara. Meanwhile, Nara’s meeting with her boyfriend didn’t go so well. She seems upset once she gets dropped off at her house.
Jung-min remains gloomy and sulky even while at work. His two friends anticipate Nara’s arrival at the store and find it weird that she hasn’t stopped by yet. Speaking of Nara, breaking news that her boyfriend Ji-ho and Aileen from her agency are in a relationship with each other. Jung-min panics upon finding out and worries for Nara.
Wow, this was such an interesting and surprising watch. I had no clue or expectations going into this drama and I really didn’t even know what it was going to be about. As shallow as this was, the title was what got my attention so I decided to watch it and recap this first episode. The drama has your typical first-love kind of plot and employs the same tactics used in other dramas. Jung-min has a secret crush on Nara and has always liked her and easily gets nervous around her. He even cries in disappointment and sadness upon finding out she actually has a boyfriend. These things aren’t new and we’ve clearly seen them before in other dramas, but ‘To. Jenny’ plays things out in a refreshing, funky, and wacky kind of way which is why I wasn’t really bored with this episode.
I totally wasn’t expecting the music scenes and the singing from Jung-min and at times it felt a little like ‘High School Musical’ to me. Instead of singing on stage or singing in front of a crowd (because he has stage fright), Jung-min utilizes his singing and songwriting talent in his bedroom where he’s safe from people’s judgements and expectations. I can see how being with Nara will encourage him to crawl out of his comfort zone as he did when he sang the same song from the art festival in front of her again. Ironically, she was the reason for his stage fright, but he ended up performing the same exact song from that traumatic night for her. What’s even more interesting is that he still has a crush on her both back when he first performed that song at the festival and then now. In a way, she’s helping him grow and learn and the only difference now is that they’ve become comfortable with each other.
The love for music is what motivates our two leads to come together and to bond. Although Jung-min and Nara have their own reasons to learn and to love music, it’s a factor that has brought them together and has allowed the two to connect. It was so sweet and cute watching the two during the guitar lessons and witnessing the two bond.
Not only was Jung-min and Nara’s relationship so cute, but I’m also loving the relationship between Jung-min and younger sister. Although she’s much younger than him, it seems like she’s the older one in the sibling relationship because of the way she comforts him, takes care of him, and supports his dreams of becoming an artist. They have such an open, honest, and supportive relationship where Jung-min can easily go to his younger sister for advice. She’s so wise and smart for her age and she’s someone Jung-min often relies on. I find it adorable that he goes to her for relationship advice and I love it even more that Younger Sister knows what to say because she too has been through it all. She’s sassy and mature and reliable when she needs to be for her brother, making her the best sister in the entire world.
Regarding our two leads, this is my first time ever watching anything with Kim Sung-cheol. Granted, he’s a rookie actor with only a few projects under his belt, but he’s made a pretty decent impression so far with this drama. Meanwhile, I love Jung Chae-yeon and know her more for being a member of DIA and I.O.I. Coincidentally, I also follow her official Instagram account. The two are doing wonderful in this drama and I can kind of sense the chemistry between the two.
The drama is predictable so I’m assuming that Jung-min will eventually win the love and heart of Nara’s. He’s waited for her since he first saw her back in high school and he’s still been waiting this entire time. Jung-min is heart-broken and so is Nara with the recent break-up she had with Ji-ho, but that heart-break won’t last for long. They have each other.