22 July 2013

1% OF ANYTHING (Full Review)


Well I already wrote a ‘First Impressions’ review for this drama but now I have finished I just wanted to do a proper one as well so I can go into a little more detail. 
Which I have. 
Possibly too much detail, considering this is a drama that is not really popular.  

I am actually not sure whether anyone will even be bothered to read this unbearably long review.....

Anyway, I am hardly even sure why it is that I enjoyed this drama so much?

Its clichéd certainly, even kind of sexist with all the older wives waiting on their menfolk hand and foot, also the male lead is the hardcore Jerk type of character, being sometimes so cranky and truly horrible (and a little bit too physically aggressive!) that you wonder how our heroine will ever fall in love with him.
And even the plot moves along at a glacial snail pace with lots (and lots and lots) of sitting around in restaurants and drinking of tasty looking juices whilst glaring (Seriously! so many juices....) and then later lots (and lots and lots) of parental lectures and whinging.

The storyline itself is also rather small, no sweeping grandness or intricate plotlines here, just a contained family drama which relies almost entirely on the interactions and dynamics between its characters to keep the story moving (because in hindsight, not a lot really happens...)

Seriously there was a large portion in the middle where I was absolutely addicted, desperate for the next episode......but be warned it is looooong (not just my review I mean, but the actual show itself!)!!  And its possible that by the end some (a lot) of the magic has worn off....
Yet somehow this drama has still managed to capture my love nonetheless.

I would put this down to two reasons:
 Firstly Kang Dong-won is playing the petty chaebol heir (I would probably watch him in anything) and secondly, the heroine of this drama Da-hyun is actually... pretty damn cool.

I think it can be quite difficult to find an awesome heroine in most Korean romantic comedies, the women tend to be either helpless candy pushovers, conniving bitches or bumbling idiots. I mean sometimes that works well in a drama and I am definitely not trying to say I hate all dramas that use those character types, but it’s also definitely nice to come across something different every once in a while.

 Therefore a strong and capable romantic comedy female lead such as Da-Hyun is a breath of fresh air to me, a woman who is cheerful and smart and not at all the type to let our grumpy male lead walk all over her.  She is no one extraordinary, she comes from a nice normal middleclass family, is kind but not unrealistically so, even her character trait of constantly losing her stuff coming across as more of an endearing quirk then a bumbling uselessness (probably because she is so thoroughly intelligent and capable in all other aspects of her life). Da-hyun is likeable, normal and oh so relatable, the type of woman that you would want to have as a friend, trustworthy and compassionate, but not at all boring or two dimensionally sweet.

Lee Jae In on the other hand is the exact type of Jerk Chaebol Heir male lead that you have probably already imagined from my description of this drama as being clichéd. 
But hey, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke! (I think?)
Jae In is a man under serious pressure from his family in regards to his job and his life. At the start we understand from tidbits of information that due to some unexplained event the year before he has left home and now lives apart from his mostly estranged family. His father is gone, having been unable to stand the pressure laid upon him by the matriarch grandfather who runs the company, now passed away without ever having repaired their strained relationship, and his mother is weighed down by the constant shame of being from a poor background and only being part of the family due to a hasty shotgun wedding. Subsequently her character is relegated to the role of downtrodden servant in this heavy with tension household. She and her daughter (Jae In’s sister) tiptoe around the Grandfather, trying their best to live to his liking.
This family background makes it seem kind of understandable that when we first meet Jae In he is a nasty abrasive young man harboring some very serious daddy/grandpa issues, with only one friend to his name. He also constantly takes out his frustrations on his employees and basically every other person he meets whilst avoiding his family home and his manipulating grandfather.
And that pretty much sums him up!

It is interesting to me that the Grandfather is always so kindly and sweet to Da-hyun, yet we see how manipulative and pressuring he can be from Jae In’s perspective, (as well as being obvious from the fact that Jae In’s father had also run away from home to get out of his clutches) but this is not to say he is a bad man because he is not, in fact he is very likeable.
On top of this though there is Jae-In’s poor mother being treated like a second rate member of the Grandfather’s household, never told anything and constantly made to feel on edge (also why the hell does no one ever say thank you to her after she brings them tea or cooks their dinner?! Infuriating!). The family Grandpa heads is filled with nasty and manipulative people so it is no wonder Jae In wants nothing to do with them.

But maybe Grandfather has turned over a new leaf since he decided to retire and perhaps he now regrets his past actions because he seems quite benevolent towards Da-hyun and even Jae In to some extent, wanting the best for his grandson, hoping Jae In will also see the kindness in Da-hyun that he can, and thus securing her as a daughter in law.

Which is actually pretty damn controlling when you think about it, not to mention old-fashioned!

And speaking of old fashioned, one thing that worried me a little going into this drama was how dated it might be considering it was filmed in 2003 (10 whole years ago now....how time flies!). Some of the fashion from those years is enough to make me cringe, and in the past this has actually served to pull me out of a drama's world and back to reality.......
This happened to me while watching 'Full House' quite often, as I found I just couldn't take Rain's emotional scenes seriously whilst he was wearing such ridiculous outfits (practically unbuttoned hot pink shirts and flowing white pants for instance...and zebra print scarfs!!).  I know this is completely shallow of me but I don't want to spend an entire drama just waiting for the next fashion disaster instead of actually enjoying the story but thankfully, although there definitely is some old school fashion in '1% of Anything' there is nothing too atrocious, probably because the characters are mostly normal people instead of idols, meaning their clothing choices are a little more conventional then in Full House. (All I can say is thank goodness the lead male character of Jae In doesn't drench his head in hair gel like every other dude on set...ugh.)

However one fashion moment that did bring on the giggles for me was when Jae In is madly running around his hotel during the bomb scare at the beginning (...a weird plot point that never went anywhere come to think of it...) wearing a massive business suit. The cut is so loose and he is so skinny that as he runs around it is like watching a big jellyfish wibbling along the hallways, all floaty arms and legs.
Funny stuff!

Plot Outline (sort of):
The Grandfather has two grandsons but he wishes to leave his fortune and business to Jae In, though he also wants Jae In to bend to his will first, hence the marriage clause in his (literal) will. After meeting the kind and cheerful Da-hyun on a train trip to his wife’s gravesite, the Grandfather decides that she would be the perfect granddaughter-in-law and changes his will to leave his entire fortune to her, on the condition that she marries into his family, either of his grandson’s will do.  (And yet he only lets Jae In know about this plan, giving him the edge over his cousin, who seems to be as conniving as the rest of the family.)

At the start Jae In seems pretty irredeemable (though I should have learned from Boys Over Flowers that you can even be redeemed into a sweetheart when you start off a drama by bullying a teenager into suicide, so nothing is impossible).  Jae In yells non-stop, constantly calls Da-hyun all sorts of uncool names (wily fox for instance) and is suspicious as hell of her motives, refusing to believe that she actually doesn’t have any.  Seriously, the horrible stuff he says!  

But the wonderful thing about this drama is that Da-hyun doesn’t take his crap for a second.  She may not be the type of lead to fly kick the hero in the head (she is a sophisticated adult after all) but the way she generally deals with his accusations and unreasonable anger  is quite admirable, not above teasing him but still never lowering herself to his petty level as she somehow still manages to gain the upperhand nonetheless. Even Jae In is a little impressed by her despite himself.

And despite all their constant fighting I like that Jae In straight away insists on calling Da-hyun by the nickname Da Da, a pet name only her family is privileged to use, something that annoys her greatly but still works to immediately cement him into someone close to her.  Jae In's choice of using this name to address Da-hyun serves to unconsciously raise their level of intimacy marking him as someone important to her, which was a sweet portent of what was to come.

  Another thing I liked, despite the sexism that I mentioned earlier and the downtrodden role of Jae In's poor mum, there are definite moments of change shown for the younger generation where these old rules obviously aren't so relevant. One such scene was when Grandpa chaebol asks the still unaware of his identity Da-hyun whether she made the kimbap herself that she has so kindly brought for his lunch.  Firstly she says of course she did because she has great skill, but then she immediately laughs at herself, clarifying that she actually bought it from a convenience store because she couldn't have made it if she tried.

This was one of the moments that first made me love Da-hyun as a character, she is such a normal and unaffected woman, never embarrassed of herself or her shortcomings, always ready to tease herself (and others) and never taking anything too seriously.

Another such moment was the crazy marriage meeting between the love sick second lead schoolteacher's father and Da-hyun's parents, where the father also finds out she is totally useless in the kitchen after some sexist comments about a woman's place in the home. The younger man says he doesn't mind a wife who can't cook, he would be happy to do his equal share and help her out, a statement that straight away raised his level of worth for me. Go modernity!! You rock!
But also....poor school teacher, you stood no chance at all against the might of the OTP.

The Start:
The lead couple's dynamic is mainly just on the bickering (or outright fighting) side until their dating contract has finally been fully drawn up a few episodes in. This contract states they must meet at least once a week  to uphold the rules of dating for ten months.
And so the fun begins.

When Da-hyun arrives to her first proper date with Jae In straight after a forced marriage meeting her mother set up earlier, (during which she was also tailed by her lovesick school teacher colleague), everything gets off to a really bad start. When she arrives still holding the flowers the school teacher has just given her Jae In absolutely blows his lid, becoming waaay more unreasonable than he has any right to be considering how horrible he has been to her so far. 

After she calms him down a little, Da-hyun insists they go get a meal at a place of her choice and they end up in a tiny crowded deli with Jae In staring in shock as he watches her eat and eat and eat.  Things go well for about two seconds but Jae In just can’t let the presence of the flowers go and keeps prodding Da-hyun to tell him who gave them to her. When she does explain about the marriage date and the school teacher he completely explodes again and screams about her two-timing him with two other men. This of course happens in front of all the other patron's watchful eyes and a mortified Da-hyun attempts to calm Jae In down as she apologises to the customers.
But that of course totally doesn’t work and he roughly grabs her by the wrist (The Wrist!) and drags her out into the street as she tries to pull away from him.   It really looks like he is about to go mental but some police officers turn up at the commotion, asking Da-hyun if she is alright.  And because Jae In seriously cannot even control his anger for a single moment even just to pacify the police, Da-hyun ends up telling the officers she hardly knows Jae In and then just leaves him there getting arrested in the street.

The whole scene is pretty heated and Jae In’s unreasonable fury is very uncool.  And yet we see that Da-hyun hasn’t really left at all, she stands giggling behind a wall enjoying the sight of Jae In getting roughhoused around and arrested by the policemen who are ignoring his protests. 

Eventually she does go and save him (I am not sure that maybe he deserved to be left there though) and they head to a classical music concert at the department store which his family are all expected to attend. Things turn cute now after all that yelling, and Jae In walks in pulling Da-hyun along by her wrist, only to remember his family and reporters are watching which makes him let her go and push her away like her hand was on fire.

Left alone, Da-hyun tries to purchase some little phone chains on sale in the foyer but Jae In comes blustering over and buys it for her despite her protests. He is still not exactly charming by a long shot but it is still an improvement, the fact that he does anything nice for anyone else at all is in itself a bit of a revelation. He acts like its not a big deal but I kind of feel like it is.

During the concert their dialogue and exchanges are sweet and mundane, her jokes even drawing a laugh out of him, showing their relationship is already slowly being built as they get to know each other better.
By the time they go for (another) juice after the concert they are getting along quite well, again their conversation just mundane though it is now clear that Jae In is becoming much more animated in her presence, laughing and enjoying her company.

But as he drives Da-hyun home again, he can't help but bitterly bring up her two-timing again (dude...let it go!), getting increasingly angrier as they drive along.  His frustration eventually causes her to ask him why he is reacting so strongly.  He isn't her husband or boyfriend, so why is he getting so jealous?

And this gives Jae In pause because he just can't quite find an answer.

He blusters for a while, and then Da-hyun cheerfully gives him one of the phone chains she bought, keeping the matching one for herself, a gesture which leaves Jae In surprised and very quiet.  She does mention that its no big deal considering that he actually bought them himself, but he still silently clutches the little chain in his hand as he drives, making me feel that it is a bit of a momentous gift for him.

When she leaves the car she of course forgets her house keys and is unable to get inside, but Jae In has noticed and turns back to bring them to her, finding Da-hyun a little further down the street. He is obviously quite pleased with himself to be her rescuer and when a bike zooms by, coming a little too close to them, he steadies her by placing his arms around her waist.
Caught up in the moment but genuinely seeming to feel some sort of connection, Jae In leans in slowly for a kiss, only to end up with kicked shins as a furious Da-hyun stalks off leaving him alone in the street.

The middle:

 The next couple episodes are just a mish-mash of fighting, nasty bickering from Jae In, constant juice drinking from everybody (now mostly without the accompanying glaring however which has been replaced on the most part by some sweet sidelong glances) and finally some very cute roller-skating.  About the closest this drama gets to true dramatics is the scene where Da-hyun almost falls over whilst skating and Jae In rushes forward like some skinny knight in shining armour (filmed from many many different angles of course) to save her.
But then he yells at her and she falls over anyway, basically summing up their entire romance, one step forward two steps back.

Things change a little though when Jae In (actually through no fault of his own) misses an important  introduction dinner with Da-hyun’s family.  He is genuinely upset by this mistake and gets incredibly worked up, seeming to realise that a mere sorry in this case won’t solve anything. When he finally does get up the guts to go and apologise it is a very genuine and serious moment, and I particularly liked the very slow and gentle hug goodbye that he gives Da-hyun before she goes back inside.
Hard to stay mad in the face of a hug like that, even if Jae In is the pettiest, shoutiest dude in the world.

This hug interested me because this same kind of scene (surprise hug, sorry hug, romantic hug, back hug etc) is constantly used to play for romantic feels in kdramas, but for some reason I never seem to find them a very exciting progression in the OTP relationship.  Maybe it is because I come from a western culture where hugs just aren’t considered such an important bonding moment between men and women (unlike say a romantic kiss) but either way, I usually find that drama hugs just leave me waiting for something more.

This hug however somehow did speak to me, the slow uncertain way Jae In pulls Da-hyun towards him and the gentle way he holds her was quite lovely, really reverberating a sense of genuine regret from Jae In, an action all the more appealing when coming from such an blunt abraisive man.

The next problem they encounter on the road to romance though is a huge one. And it is entirely Jae In’s fault. 
Jae In is being his usual stupid jealous self by dragging Da-hyun very roughly around by the wrist as she attempts to fight him off (seriously not romantic at all, even a little too akin to actual physical violence….so uncool Jae In) and this is the scene Da-hyun’s father walks in on.

In my opinion Jae In totally deserves the intense yelling sessions and lectures he receives from Da-hyun’s horrified (but slightly controlling) family over the next few episodes, although for some reason their concerns change from 'he might physically hurt our daughter' to 'his family are too rich'.
Not too sure that the second concern is quite as important…but anyway.

It doesn’t take long for our sympathies to fall back to the unhappy lead couple though as Da-hyun’s dad ends up shutting in and grounding his twenty-six year old daughter after Jae In and her pull an all-nighter to watch the sunset.  Way too controlling Dad!

The sunset scene is actually lovely, though once again it’s a definite ‘one step forward two steps back’ kind of event.  Jae In actually confesses to Da-hyun in a roundabout way as they stand on a pier watching the sun rise over the ocean. He asks her nervously if he is alone in this, is this situation one sided or is she in it with him too? 
It is an unexpectedly sweet and genuine moment amid all the yelling and nasty teasing, but the problem is that he still doesn’t know fully how he feels about Da-hyun, except that he is not ready to let her go. I am not sure that he even believes in real unconditional love to be honest, though he is definitely already halfway there (though he doesn’t know it yet). Da-hyun is also having the same problem, not being sure exactly how deep her feelings for Jae In run. She spends all her time bagging him out and complaining about their fights, but when he is not around she misses him.

So even though I have been severely ribbing our hero out for his behaviour (please note he does marginally improve after Da-hyun’s father's shouty session) I still think his family background is a very real reason why he acts so atrociously.  The tension and pressure and scheming all the different factions of his family are constantly involved in is just horrible and I can’t imagine trying to grow up mentally healthy in such a household.
And please somebody just give Jae In’s poor mum a big hug......please…..she makes me feel so sad.
As a side note, there is an interesting conversation between Jae In and the teacher second lead around this point, where the teacher tells Jae In to leave Da-hyun alone because she is an angel from heaven and Jae In is corrupting her. 
I particularly liked Jae In’s response to this as, laughing in disbelief, he tells the teacher that Da-hyun is not an angel at all.  Has he ever come across an angel that can be annoying, or who wears a sexy red dress to make a man jealous?  Or who stays out all night without her parents permission? Jae In also asks whether the teacher thinks it’s possible for an angel to end up with a villain like him, and then he walks away with an evil smirk.
Jae In has a very real point here (although I do hope he realises that he is way more annoying then Da-hyun has ever been), and if the teacher truly believes that a real flesh and blood mid-twenties woman is as innocent as an angel then he clearly doesn’t understand her at all.   She may seem like that to him, but that is just because he hasn’t truly gotten to know her, unlike Jae In who has seen more sides of her personality and has a much better understanding of her character, probably because she doesn’t need to be constantly polite with him.   
Around Jae In she is able to be herself, even if being herself is just yelling back at him constantly when he is being a stupidhead. Even constant yelling and fighting is better than dealing with a man who believes you to be an innocent and naive angel (cough*gross*cough).

Things finally start getting back on track after this for Jae In and Da-hyun as our couple are allowed to start dating again, neither one admitting they are doing it because they like each other but each very happy about getting permission nonetheless.

Exit second male lead, enter second female lead.....sigh.   
 I really wish you didn’t exist second female lead.

Me too, Grandpa....me too.

Actually the second female lead storyline wasn’t quite as horrific as I initially expected. In fact it became a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, watching her constantly crashing and burning as Jae In shuts her down (turning his innate rudeness on someone who actually deserves it for a change.....Heh!).  She is one of those clingy, can’t take no for an answer types, going around declaring she will be marrying Jae In even though he doesn’t pay her even the slightest bit of positive attention.

Now secretly, this is the only type of second female lead I can really enjoy. If the main lead actually pays her attention or god forbid starts having wavering feelings, this can really upset me and turn me off a drama completely (a la 'My delightful Girl Choon-hyung') but the long as he constantly ignores her and she embarrasses herself (rather than the main female lead) then it is all good. And this female second lead was definitely of the moronic bitchy kind with no chance whatsoever.

One moment I particularly enjoyed was the scene where Da-hyun goes to visit Jae In for the first time at his apartment, walks in and sees that the evil secondary character is scoring a hug from Jae In whilst crying (because he just told her he will never love her and she is crap) and instead of getting into a Big Misunderstanding, she just says she totally understands what has happened, she believes Jae In when he says that nothing is going on between him and evil second lead and, if they are engaged like evil second lead says then where the hell is her engagement ring? Oh, and also she and Jae In are in an Official Relationship. 
So there.

Jae In watches all this looking particularly chuffed and pleased with himself (which is actually quite adorable), going over to stand with his arm around Da-hyun’s shoulder at the end of her speech. Evil second lead leaves in a sad lonely huff having caused much less damage then she had hoped to, but none of this stops Da-hyun from giving Jae In a ribbing later when they are alone (though he is a bit too pleased that she got jealous to be very much offended by her words).

This second lead’s entire purpose in the plot is pretty clear from the get go, her presence being used by manipulative grandpa to push Jae In and Da-hyun towards true commitment and marriage as apparently they were taking too long developing their feelings for his liking (?!).   Having another woman fighting for Jae In’s affections really does force Da-hyun to make up her mind and step up, breaking her out of Mopey Mode which she was indulging in for way too many episodes as she warred within herself over her confused emotions. 

And it’s a really good thing she finally decided what she wants because every single person ever is apparently against the match (even Grandpa is pretending on the outside that he is all good with the evil second lead – manipulative old fellow that he is) and also Jae In’s long suffering mum has a talk to Da-hyun about the hardships she will face if she does marry into this family.  
I guess she is just trying to be helpful as she has ended up so thoroughly unhappy living within this suffocatingly awful family but still, does no one believe in true love in this drama?

I mean everyone spends all their time telling Jae In that the evil second lady lead would be a more appropriate match for him (she is even telling him how useful she will be business wise- so romantic!) with no one sparing a single second to wonder what Jae In wants for himself.  Does it not matter to anyone that he is already in love with someone else? Do they seriously believe he will be happier in a loveless marriage with someone he doesn’t care about?

Apparently so…..

But then the second female lead goes full batshit crazy and kidnaps Da-hyun and drugs her in a completely weirdo attempt to destroy her relationship with Oppa! Actually it was all pretty damn funny and only led to her finally being outed for the crazy mental cake she actually is.
Da-hyun of course very selflessly lets the second lead go (sigh...I would have totally sued her arse!) in the hopes that she will become a better person.....?!  Which she actually does?!
 ...and exit second female lead.

Meanwhile Da-hyun’s best friend/sister is involved in a hugely melodramatic and TV soap opera-ish romance with Jae In’s cousin, all their scenes pretty damn cheesy (rich charming man swoops in and saves poor pitiful domestically abused woman) but embarrassingly enjoyable nonetheless. Seriously, this drama is so bad for me……but so addicting! 

The End:

Next up we get about a million episodes of cranky whining parents who all don't want their kids to marry whoever it is the kids do want to marry. But the parents all know best of course and so we get hours (and hours and hours) of worrying and pushy speeches which finally culminate in everyone being allowed to marry exactly whom they wanted all along!

A particularly hilarious and also oddly touching scene is where Jae In proposes to Da-hyun (for about the millionth time) by singing a love song to her in a crowded restaurant as he plays piano. It is half horrific because apparently Kang Don-won can't actually sing in key (but boy does he try...) and half gorgeously sweet. The character of Jae In is not a particularly romantic man and certainly not given to grand romantic gestures (as in he was even embarrassed just buying some flowers for his lady love...) so therefore I feel his choice to perform in front of a crowd was probably something that truly horrified him, making it an even nicer gesture when you consider it was all done for Da-hyun's sake.

And then we are finally treated to a nice intimate kiss which takes place in front of a multitude of watchful restaurant goers. How romantic! (Though to be fair it actually was quite romantic in a female- lead- closes-her- eyes-and-doesn't-move-whilst-looking-terrified kind of way).

After consent to the marriage is finally granted we get some really weird storylines regarding Da-hyun needing to learn to cook etc. as she plans to move into Jae In's family home and must therefore provide for him and his family, including his Grandfather.
There is a sense of traditionalism (not to mention sexism) present in these storylines that is quite foreign when coming from a Western background where children aren't really expected to stay living with their folks forever, and (let's face it) most families send their aging parents to a home and certainly do not stay living under the shadow of an overbearing 'Man of the House' kind of father or grandfather figure for the rest of their lives.

Not much really changes after the wedding, with Jae In too busy working and Da-hyun now having to deal with his overbearing family, though she manages to handle this pretty damn well. I cannot even imagine how utterly awkward it would be to move into an already established household as a young bride and be expected to fit into their old-fashioned expectations of your role as a wife. Terrifying!

This drama aired 10 years ago (2003) and it is interesting to see that through watching more modern Korean dramas things really seem to have modernised quite a bit for young Korean couples, with none of the more modern drama couples I have recently watched needing to discuss or go through the issues that Da-hyun and Jae In face in the lead up to their marriage. Obviously dramas aren't an exact representation of a culture so I may be wrong in this opinion but it does seem to me that a lot of these issues (such as a woman even needing to voice that she wants to and so must be allowed to continue working after marriage for example) are no longer as relevant in Korea's more modern society. Well hopefully anyway.

One thing that drove me crazy about this drama is the way the two grown up daughters are treated by their family. Imagine being given a curfew of 10pm when you are 26 years old and have a full time job! The hours of lecturing about these daughters apparently unacceptable attitudes was pretty hard to handle considering that both of them are extremely responsible young women with good heads on their shoulders who basically never do a single thing wrong!
But whatever, that is dramaland for you. If there is no real drama just create some for no reason out of thin air!

As our main couple are now married (which I must admit has not made much of a difference at all regarding their relationship issues...sigh) it means that its time for them to take a backseat to some of the secondary couples in the drama. This isn't exactly a bad thing as unfortunately by this point most of our main couple's problems and dramas seem a little recycled, like the writers don't really know what to do with them now they are married. (I could have told you what to do with them....bring on the cute happy couple times!! Duh!)

But this gives us more time on Jae In's younger sister's romance (actually a pretty fun storyline) and the very soapy relationship between Jae In's cousin and Da-hyun's sister who are involved in a big Noble Sacrifice plotline (soapy indeed but still oh so melodramatically satisfying and dare I say it, quite romantic). But Da-hyun's sister wins out in the end and we get treated to some much deserved heartwarming moments spent with the new dragon Mother In Law.
Nothing new of course, but certainly very enjoyable!

The awesomeness of Da-hyun raises its head again in the last episode where she takes her new family aside and tells them that they absolutely must eat at least one meal together everyday and also everyone has to help with the cleaning. This is mainly directed at Jae In.  (But not Grandpa of course...which was a bummer because I would have quite enjoyed seeing him trying to make his own tea for once...I'll bet he doesn't even know how the kettle works.)

This was a lovely scene for me because Da-hyun's assertiveness and love for her new family is actually changing them and bringing them closer together, that stale tension that seemed to radiate from that house now all but disappeared and with it all of Jae In's mother's worst fears and past experiences of being an outsider in her own house are gradually washed away by the fresh life that is Da-hyun.

At first I was utterly horrified by the concept of the newly married couple moving into the family house, but by the end I could see the benefits that is has brought for everyone. The way Da-hyun has changed the family dynamic is actually lovely and reminds me once again just why I love her character so much.

And then everyone gets pregnant!
No, seriously.

It is sweet seeing Jae In fussing over his newly pregnant wife, even insisting that he be the one to proudly inform her family about it (along with everyone else in the whole world) which I thought was a lovely turn around from his earlier relationship with her family which was so fraught with tension.We get heaps of insane fussing from parents and husbands as well as a continuation of the cute relationship between Jae In's sister and her lawyer boyfriend who finally get their act together only to be told by the Lawyer's father that they can never be together because the parents don't approve.

Seriously, WTF Drama! So close to the end goal and the only plotline you could think of was some more parent disapproval? I can't even handle it!

So basically the last two episodes are just parental whining and lectures before everyone just gets to do exactly whatever it was they wanted to do in the first place! Which pretty much sums up the whole show really....

So....this really isn't that good, and it definitely wore my patience thin before the end (Shut The Hell Up parents!). But there is still a lot to enjoy if you like a fluffly romance or are a hardcore Kang Dong-won fan.

I think that if it had been 16 Episodes long it would have been so much better. Realistically there was barely enough story to even fill 16 let alone 26 episodes but even so I still had heaps of fun with this drama, even if objectively I can say it was pretty bad.



  1. I really love this. I've watched this many years ago and I still do watch it. I don't know why but it's kinda addicting.

  2. Yeah it really is right? But I just have no idea why! I was so obsessed with this!! :-)

  3. Great review! very enjoyable to read. So great to know that another person noticed the Juice thing. Seriously! how much unfinished juice was invested in this drama. Like you I was strangely addicted to this drama and loved the normal and rational female lead.

  4. Thanks so much for reading Meera, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!! It is such a long rambling drama but somehow very weirdly addicting!
    Haha and I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the endless juice drinking, I guess acting is hot thirsty work!! :-)
    Thanks for visiting my blog!!

  5. I liked this drama and I am not exactly an ardent fan of modern Kdramas. The grandpa was my favourite character,so naughty but so wise.But I really hated the way Han Ju Hyeon was portrayed as a crazy stalker while Teacher Kang as a good man who earnestly went after what he wanted. the only difference between him and Ju Hyeon is that kidnapping one of the lead characters never occurred to him. Otherwise his refusal to take no for an answer and his antics of trying to win the family over amounted to stalking in my opinion.

  6. I am almost done with my marathon for this series and finally checking out other people's reviews. I was curious coz I enjoyed watching this even though it was pretty longer than the average. I also liked the grandpa (I saw him in a recent series Pinocchio) and I was surprised to know that this series was more than 10 years old.
    And yes, the juice, number one being orange juice by the leading lady. This was indeed 10 years ago. What I've noticed from some series nowadays is the ubiquitous soju. Things have changed.
    I can't believe how much this series made you write this entry. Thanks for sharing and I won't hijack this blog coz I don't think I can write even half of this. Cheers!