21 December 2019

K Drama Review: What Happens to My Family (2014) 4

While I was watching Wonderful Days on YouTube, What Happens to My Family kept popping up as a suggested video. I just ignored and forgot about it because I got busy with other K dramas. Then I got hooked on Park Hyung Sik. And What Happens to My Family came up on the list of his K dramas. So I had to watch it, of course.

Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I watched it last among Hyung Sik's shows because it appears to have only been uploaded to YouTube recently. Mabibitin lang ako kung nagkataon.

This was another 50+ episode drama like Wonderful Days. I think I prefer these long dramas over the 16-episode ones because I get to spend more time with the characters. (Naks!)

I took my time watching this show because it coincided with the UAAP basketball season. I would skip watching it on days when we watched the games live. I totally stopped watching it during the playoffs until my team was eliminated, hehe. So I watched the finale around 2 weeks after I watched the second to the last episode.

I was immediately hooked to the show because the opening was really catchy. Kang Seoul (Nam Ji-hyun) was running up the steps of the Namsan Seoul Tower to meet the love of her life, Dal-bong (Park Hyung Sik), who promised to marry her when they met in her hometown several years ago where she saved him from drowning. They were supposed to meet on that date at the tower to fulfill that pact. The music was so lively that you can't help but feel excited about the whole thing.

Well, Dal-bong did not show up. Turns out that the boy Seoul saved several years ago was actually Dal-bong's friend, Eun-ho (Seo Kang-joon). However, Eun-ho introduced himself as Dalbong, creating confusion. Dalbong was there too when Eun-ho met and proposed to Seoul several years ago and Dalbong has loved Seoul since then in secret.

Seoul fortuitously meets Dal-bong after leaving the N Seoul Tower. She's convinced that Dal-bong promised to marry her but Dal-bong is perplexed because he does not recall ever making that promise. Seoul ends up living with Dalbong's crazy family composed of his dad, Sun-bong (Yoo Dong Geun), his aunt, Soon-geum (Yang Hee Kyung, the endearing mom/housekeeper in High Society), his siblings Gangshim (Kim Hyun Joo) and Gangjae (Yoon Park), his cousin, Young-seol (Kim Jung Nan) and her husband, Joong-baek (Kim Jung Min).

The Cha family, Dalbong's family, is a crazy one. His eldest sister Gangshim is a head secretary for a big company while his eldest brother Gangjae is a doctor. Among the three, Dalbong appears to be the loser with no stable job and he always gets into trouble. Their father became a widower when his wife died while giving birth to Dalbong. He raised his three kids all by himself through his own tofu shop.



The drama shows you the usual nuances of families, quite similar to the Wonderful Days plot. What set What Happens to My Family apart was the plot twist of Sun-bong being diagnosed with cancer. He chose to keep it from his family. He made all these weird demands from his kids, which even led to him filing a lawsuit against them for being unfilial towards him. He dropped the case after his kids agreed to do various things for him like Gangshim dating for 3 months, Gangjae and his wife moving back to live with the Chas, and Dalbong giving him $1,000 monthly. His kids also need to call and eat breakfast with him everyday, and have dinner with him once a week. The kids found all of these demands weird. But they finally understood what these all meant when they found out that he was terminally ill. From that point forward, Sun-bong's family tried to make each day count. Gangshim got married. Gangjae showed his softer side. Dalbong matured and became responsible by taking over his father's tofu shop. Yes, Sun-bong died and it was a heartbreaking moment. But his death brought his family closer and it brought out the best from all of his family members.

Over-all, What Happens to My Family was worth the 50+ hours I spent watching it. It was interesting to see a father's point of view in raising all of his children by himself. We usually see the mother toiling and sacrificing for her family so it was refreshing to see a father do this.

The actors were okay although I found the supporting cast more effective than the supposed lead stars. Gangjae was overly stiff. Gangshim was so lousy in the drama parts that you'd end up laughing instead of crying. Among the three kids, Dalbong pulled off the drama parts really well. His pain and grief upon knowing of his father's illness was the most believable.

Some parts were quite slapstick for me, especially the parts where parents would hit their grown up kids. I just found it off and unnecessary although this appears to be a K drama staple. Not sure if it's normal in their society though.

I was able to relate to the show a lot because of the father-children storyline. It's no secret (I think) that I love my father so much. But just like Sun-bong's kids, I do have the tendency to take my father for granted. Life gets in the way, unfortunately. And I would always feel guilty everytime my father would say that he missed me after not seeing me for a long time. My father's not getting any younger. And I know that I would have to face the inevitable sooner or later. And just like Sun-bong's kids, I don't think I would ever be ready for that time. So yes, it was so heartbreaking for me to see Sun-bong's family trying their best to be strong for him. They all tried to show him they were happy despite the circumstances. I can only hope and pray for such strength and strong support group if and when the time comes.

Just like any other show, this one's not perfect. There were flaws and unnecessary and petty storylines (which long dramas have the tendency of having perhaps in an effort to stretch things). But it's still worth watching for anyone who loves his/her family. We can all learn a thing or two about valuing our family and how important it is to find time for our family no matter how much life gets in the way. :)

Noona says...it's a 4.