Ah! So bittersweet!
I loved this drama – despite all the cliches, the story lines that stretched believability, and the crammed ending – I loved it.
And look! No cross dressing required!
It was simply heartwarming – and I think this drama effectively used the kids they had in the cast. Kids tend to tug heartstrings and are SUCH AN EASY PLOT DEVICE to get people interested. But these kids weren’t just plot devices – they were the glue that held the series and the adult characters together.
*Some Spoilers Ahead*
There was a time jump, as I had predicted – but it was reasonable, and it was a good one. The growth of Kang Ha in this drama was done really well – he changed slowly and as the circumstances allowed it. First he started off by backing Pal Kang’s credit – his interest in her was slowly developing but he was doing it from a distance. Soon he got more and more involved, and it was through his relationship with Pa Rang that he became more human.
I loved that until the very end, Kang Ha and Pal Kang kept up their bickering relationship. Aside from the first couple of episodes (when she was still lovestruck with him) her relationship with Kang Ha was mostly based on nonsensical comebacks and trying to outdo each other. It was ridiculously funny. By the end, it was as though Kang Ha knew her too well; soon he was talking to himself and indirectly criticizing her, and his lines came out as though he were taking it right from her mouth before she even had a chance to say it.
Now as for Jae Young’s character – her personality did a complete 180 degrees in the last two episodes. My first reaction was: “Thank God – she’s woken up!” but then my second thought was: “Wow, that’s really fast – all of a sudden she’s OK with Pal Kang being her cousin!?” Jae Young is actually pretty when she smiles and is happy, but I thought it was so belated when she finally began to appreciate Jun Ha as a friend. I feel that Jun Ha deserved more credit than that, and I thought that she should have been a little more hostile to Pal Kang. But the time jump of a year I guess would provide enough time for a person to move on.
In fact, the ending hinted that Jun Ha and Jae Young would end up together. I would have wished Jun Ha move on from Jae Young, but they are perfect each other. They understand each other so well (or, he understands her more than she does) that they complement each other. Much like how Pal Kang knows things about Kang Ha that he doesn’t even know, the same goes for Jun Ha knowing about Jae Young. I’m happy if they end up together, and I’m happy if they don’t. They’re just a good couple – whether as friends or lovers.
Tae Gyu was the only consistent character – he totally wanted Pal Kang for himself, and if he couldn’t have her, no one could!!! Which made him all the more pathetically lovable as the naive nephew.
And now, for some fan service:
The kids – OMG NAMI IS SO CUTE! No, as in REALLY. REALLY. CUTE. As in, he was the shining star of this drama. (And next is Pa Rang, and then Kim Ji Hoon.) Nami laughs on cue, claps on cue – it might have taken a while to get the particular shot they needed from him, but I feel that he is such an easygoing baby that it wasn’t too hard to get the reaction. And Kang Ha/Kim Ji Hoon is so comfortable with holding him that it’s actually kind of funny. Kang Ha and Pal Kang really evolved into a real family by the end – and they looked like parents (even though technically, all those little kids are Kang Ha’s brothers and sisters-in-law).
That’s another thing – the theme of family was nicely done here. It wasn’t until the last few episodes that the message of “a family is what you make of it – it doesn’t have to be based solely on blood ties” was pounded over all our heads. The majority of the series just showed the developing relationships between the siblings and the kids with the adults – and that was the best part. It was more showing than telling. Once the storyline about Kang Ha and Jun Ha being half-brothers came out, then there was more “telling” going on. Not too good, but what can you expect? They handled that issue very quickly with another drama cliche (Jun Ha knew already).
Overall, I still enjoyed this series. It was lighthearted and cheered up my Monday-Tuesday nights. And the hour always passed by incredibly fast – and time only goes by quickly when you’re having fun, right?! The flaws were in the writing; screenwriter Jung Ji Woo’s last drama was in 2008 called Family’s Honor. And before that, it was How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor. I don’t know either of these dramas – but it’s ok – practice makes perfect..!?
This is my favorite shot. Pal Kang (in the yellow scarf) had caught the bouquet, which would mean she’d marry Kang Ha sooner than she planned to. So she tosses it up in the air and lets Jae Young catch it, who stares back at her in surprise. And Pal Kang is leaning far from Jae Young and the bouquet… yeah – suuuuure – the farther you lean away, the more you didn’t touch it eh?
Rating: 7/10 (extra point for it’s fun-ness)