You know a show’s gotta be Quite Something, if it’s luring me out of the writing-hiatus-cum-drama-rut I’ve found myself ensconced in for the last couple of months.
I literally just finished watching the last episode of Father Is Strange today, and liked it enough to start poking around to craft a review right away.
Considering that 1, Father Is Strange is a 52-episode family drama, and 2, I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired on both the writing and drama fronts, this is a Big Testament to how likable I’ve found this show and its characters.
Even if you’re not usually into family dramas, I really do think you might like this one.
STUFF I LOVED
Given that this show’s screenwriter is the same one who wrote Ojakgyo Brothers – which happens to be one of my favorite family dramas of all time – it’s no surprise that Father Is Strange boasts similar strengths to 2011’s Ojakgyo Brothers.
It’s engaging and well-paced despite its sprawling cast and multiple narrative arcs, and the characters feel like real people, even when things lean a little treacly at times.
There’s a lot to love in this show, and it would be near impossible (not to mention intimidating) to try to talk about them all. Instead, here’s a quick run-down of my favorite things in this show.
1. That warm hearty family warmth
There’s a particular brand of cozy, toasty family warmth that I prize in family dramas; the atmosphere of the drama is so tangibly snug that I almost feel like I’m a marshmallow wrapped up in soft woolly blankets as I soak it all in, and feel my face being toasted lightly by its warmth.
Father Is Strange possesses exactly that warmth. From start to finish, whether the family members are laughing together, or bickering with and making faces at one another, that warmth is never far away, and I found myself lapping it all up, episode after episode.
2. Lee Yoo Ri as Hye Young
I enjoyed almost every character in this show, but my hands-down favorite is Lee Yoo Ri as Hye Young. She is – in a word – Awesome. I think I didn’t even know what I wanted in an awesome female character, until Hye Young exploded onto my screen.
You know how some dramas try to create strong female characters, and in doing so, often end up making them unreasonable, violent and unlikable instead? Not so here.
Hye Young manages to be strong, feisty and flawed, without ever coming close to being unlikable. I loved Hye Young all the way through, for all that she was.
I loved how Hye Young is a hardass and a tenderheart, all at the same time. She loves passionately, is loyal to a fault, and best of all, is completely unafraid of showing it.
I love too, that she’s a professional who is kickass at her job, and proud of it. Yet, she’s got her moments of ridiculous aegyo as well, and manages to laugh at herself too, to boot.
How awesome is this woman??
Kudos to Lee Jung Sun writer-nim for writing such a fabulous character, and, mad props to Lee Yoo Ri for delivering Hye Young in a way that is unapologetically fierce and yet genuinely funny and lovable at the same time. Just, Hye Young rocks. So Freaking Much. ❤️
3. Mi Young and Joong Hee’s loveline
Among the sibling lovelines, my favorite is the one between second daughter Mi Young (Jung So Min) and prickly actor Joong Hee (Lee Joon).
Jung So Min (who kinda reminds me of Anne Hathaway, with her endearingly slightly droopy doe eyes and wide toothy smile) is great as the sweet, shy and bashful Mi Young, and Lee Joon is just pitch perfect as the proud, sensitive, slightly awkward Joong Hee, who’s flashy on the outside, but a bundle of insecurities on the inside.
I loved watching Joong Hee soften towards Mi Young in degrees, going from angry, to accepting, to hyper-aware, to completely smitten over the course of the show.
Watching him think of ways to make Mi Young happy without blowing the cover right off his fast-growing crush, was absolute gold, and put a goofy grin firmly on my face.
4. Dad & Mum’s loving relationship
In the myriad of romantic relationships in this drama world, the one that stood out to me the most was between Dad and Mum (Kim Young Chul and Kim Hae Sook, who coincidentally also played Dad and Mum in my favorite family drama of all time, 2010’s Life Is Beautiful).
Beyond the flush of courtship that their kids went through at various stages of our story, to me, the longstanding affection and care that Dad and Mum had for each other was even more beautiful and moving.
I love that in the big and little things, they unfailingly stood by each other, and supported each other, and demonstrated love, care and concern for each other.
Even when they disagreed and argued, it was clear that they never stopped caring about each other.
If anything, any disagreement they had tended to be rooted in a deep sense of concern for each other.
Serious relationship goals, truly. ❤️
5. Joong Hee’s budding relationship with Dad [MODERATE SPOILERS]
My favorite relationship between a non-couple in this show, has to be the growing bond between Dad and Joong Hee.
I found the entire arc completely moving. From Dad’s desire to let Joong Hee finally feel a father’s love, to Joong Hee finally opening up to Dad and allowing himself to be loved, this relationship moved me, so much.
Major kudos to Kim Young Chul and Lee Joon, for their stellar performances that totally pulled me into Dad and Joong Hee’s world.
Every time Dad or Joong Hee teared up, so did I, and every time they took a tiny step forward in their relationship, my heart cheered. More than a couple of times, these two made me smile and cry, all at the same time. ❤️
Ra Young and Cheol Soo’s loveline [MODERATE SPOILERS]
While the loveline between Ra Young (Ryu Hwa Young) and Cheol Soo (Ahn Hyo Seop) wasn’t my favorite all the way through, I will admit that there was a nice stretch of episodes where these two were the main couple that lit up my screen.
Mostly, these were the episodes where Ra Young mistakenly thought Cheol Soo was gay, ha. The way she let down her guard and treated him as a casual bestie instead of a boy she was trying to impress, felt nicely refreshing.
More than that, I enjoyed watching Cheol Soo’s awkward discombobulated reactions to her sudden chummy behavior. Too cute.
STUFF I DIDN’T LOVE
Mum-in-law being a dramatic drama queen
The one thing that I didn’t care for so much, was the character of Hye Young’s mother-in-law, played to shrill perfection by Song Ok Sook.
For most of the show, Mum-in-law comes across as petty, self-centered and completely unreasonable, and I often found myself wishing that her scenes would hurry up and finish coz she was being so awful.
The silver lining is, Mum-in-law isn’t completely bad, and by drama’s end, she’s softened up a whole lot and even becomes marginally likable. That’s.. not bad at all, really.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
As can be expected of a family drama of this ilk, all’s well that ends well, and we leave all of our characters on a cheerful, happy note.
I like that Dad’s given the chance to reclaim his identity, and that we get positive hints that his retrial will give him back the justice that was stolen from him all those years ago.
I like too, that each of our couples gets a happy ending. Joong Hee’s eagerness to marry Mi Young is quite adorable, and I love how involved the entire family is, when Joong Hee formally asks for her hand in marriage.
I enjoyed too, the fact that Hye Young and Jung Hwan (Ryu Soo Young) chose to end their marriage internship and get married for real – each bringing out a set of rings for their proposals, no less, heh.
On the other hand, I thought it was rather convenient that Chairman Dad (Lee Byung Joon) came around so thoroughly to Cheol Soo and Ra Young’s relationship.
Similarly, I thought the refreshed relationship between Hye Young’s in-laws rang a little too sweet to be true as well.
But, in the interest of happy endings and new beginnings, I’m happy to accept a little bit of convenient storytelling – especially for characters that have endeared themselves to me so well.
Most of all, I loved where we ended our story, with Dad and Mum going on the road for a bit, to reclaim and relish the freedom that they’d given up all those years ago when Dad chose to protect his family by taking on his friend’s name.
Now, with their hearts light and their consciences free, Dad and Mum can experience and savor all the little things that they couldn’t before. Knowing that they were taking steps to live the lives that they couldn’t before, just made me very happy.
In this kind of family drama where I know going in, that we’re highly likely to get a happy ending all around, it’s more important to me how we get to that happy ending, and the nuances around the journey, rather than the happy ending itself.
And I hafta say, Father Is Strange got us to its happy ending with a boatload of emotional resonance, feeling and heart.
Well done, Show. Well done. ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Just the right balance between earthy and aspirational, wrapped in extra layers of warm fuzzies.
FINAL GRADE: A
KBS World has the entire series up on YouTube, subbed – woot! Here’s episode 1, in case you’d like to dip your toes into this one right away!
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..And yet again On your recommendation I checked out this drama. And did enjoy it quite a bit.
It was really nice to see Jung Somin in a longer drama as I only knew her from the movie ‘Twenty’ where I thought she was amazing.
From the amazing short drama “The Sound of your Heart”(which I’ll highly recommend to Anyone!)
And also her brief Cameo in my favourite drama Be Melo.
Secondly I really adore the actor Kim hae sook playing the mom. She was amazing in hospital playlist and continues to be wholesome here.
Lastly Byun Ra young, the maknae of the bunch was adorable but mostly I was super glad to see her here after “Hello my Twenties” as she was one of my favourite character from that show.
Having a show with 52 long episodes, I must say I was scared walking in. But this was a fun ride.
To be honest this reminds me of ‘Friends’.
But not in a comedy style or any other element.
But the fact that ‘Friends’is a show which is very near and dear to everyone’s heart even though it’s not like ‘The best show’.
I much prefer shows like Community which is better than friends in every aspect. But still on my down days, I find myself binging Friends!
Similarly. Father is strange is in no way shape or form a “Perfect show” and Honestly it has a lot of older kdrama feels which you can somewhat even associate with makjangs.
But still it has a feel to it which is comforting to say the least.
This show is like a Warm blanket in cold winter (Too much? Lol)
I found it very interesting that they went with the whole mental Trauma of finding your loved is related to you and the Impact it had on both of them.
Also I wanna point out that the actor playing Hye young’s mother in law did a great job playing a character who was shallow and pretty uncouth for most parts.
And Honestly, I liked her wayyy more than the mom’s character in ‘Secret garden’
Cuz even though I didn’t agree with anything she said or did, I could still somewhat see where she was coming from. (even though none of that was anyway near rational)
Thanks for your Recommendation!
Full disclosure: I only watched this show because you had given it an A rating. And once again you have kept the faith – this show is so great!!
I could not get enough of Hye-Yeong. She puts so many female leads to shame – not just Kdrama leads but I’d argue also American show leads. I’ve literally never seen such an independent, bold and strong character ever. And I loved how she knew she was amazing and didn’t shy away from letting others know that she knew. I just, I feel like it’s so rare to ever have female characters who are not only smart but flaunt their intelligence in such a way. So inspiring! I also really loved her relationship with Jeong-Hwan, especially how he was so supportive of her. Just so wonderful to see! In the beginning of the drama, I was actually way more into them than the other couples.
On that note, I was surprised to see how invested I ended up getting into Miyeong and Jung-hui’s relationship. Seeing their angst in the last few episodes was so hard and I actually squealed in happiness when he proposed on the roof! I was really worried about the way their romance would play out because I am really not into the whole incest/ brother-sister love thing. But the writers actually handled it really well – aside from that gross kiss scene between them when Jung-hui was acting and needed to get women’s lipstick on his face.
Also, it’s so weird but I lowkey felt like I was a part of the family LOL. Just seeing various scenes of the family together, getting invested in their stories, etc. The show had the perfect mix of warmth and coziness and spending so much time with them over the course of episodes…ah I just felt so connected. One of my favourite scene’s in the entire show is near the end when Cheol-Su meets Ra-yeong’s family – and Ra-yeong, Jun-yeong and Yuju are writing fan comments for Jung-hui on the roof when he show up and the rest of them urge him to sit down. A few mins later, Jung-hui reminiscences on how he’s spent time with the family in the form of flashbacks. And ah man, those flashbacks brought me to tears – I felt like I grew with the family just as Jung-hui did. Just so wholesome and wonderful to see.
And another thing I really liked was how the writers took the time to really flesh out the characters. Like Yuju – I hated her so hardcore in the beginning but man did she come around eventually.
That said, I will say, the poop humour got old really fast and I was really not into Hye-Yeong’s mother-in-law’s stuff. That character was just such a bitch. I’m a little sad she didn’t get her comeuppance. But ah well, guess everything cannot be perfect.
Thank you for the wonderful review and recommendation!
This is my FAVORITE family drama and just reading your comment to the BELOVED KFangurl made me realize it is time for another rewatch! Thanks for the reminder.
Just finished watching all 52 episodes now ( whew! I was worried I might not even make it halfway, but every episode offered something interesting that kept me engaged throughout).
Agree with you on Hye Young – she’s also my favorite character here (certainly, and rightfully a female icon on many levels). Brilliant Lee Yoori was just perfect for this role. Lee Joon as an arrogant, confused, insecure, yet sensitive Joong Hee showed some serious acting chops in several episodes here- I’m a new fan.
Definitely an A (rating) for me, too.😊
BTW, would it be possible to find/search dramas in your blog based on ratings? I would like to watch all of your reviewed dramas that earned A ratings. ☺
How funny just yesterday I ended watching a REWATCH of Father is Strange. I really enjoyed watching 17 But 30 and remembered the actor that played Chan was in FIS (and that I liked him) so I decided to rewatch it since I am NOT watching anything else at the moment. It really is a gem of a show. Will always be in my top 3 for family dramas.
Hi there Edith! I’m so glad you loved Father Is Strange, it really is quite the gem. And OMG yes, Hye Young is just 😍😍😍. I loved her, so much. <3 And Lee Joon was fantastic as well, for sure. He's definitely got some acting chops there!
In terms of looking for reviews based on ratings, you might like to look at this page. It’s got all the reviews I’ve done listed in alphabetical order, with the grading next to each title. I hope that helps! 🙂
Thank you for the recap ! I fiiiinally finished FATHER IS STRANGE last night! (I started on May 3rd and it’s been a marathon through every k-drama-devoted-hour I could spare… lol)
What a delightful, heart-warming show !! I’m really glad I watched it and it deserves all the accolades for being THE best family weekend kdrama out there !
What I loved about the show:
The family bond and the many beautiful couples!
Mum & Dad and how they support and love each other so much, even after 30+ years of marriage.
Hye Young and Jung Hwan, and their zany antics of love! They’re sooo cool ! Hye Young is badass !!
Ra Young (the nosy younger sister) and how she always knew before anyone else about her older sisters’ secret romances. In spite being the tallest girl, her sisters always cuddled her like a baby and it was sooo cute!
Kim Yoo Joon’s character arc, from bully to amazing addition to the family. It’s the 1st time I’ve seen someone grow soooo much in a show. The 52 eps definitely made sense, in terms of fleshing/growing out every one in the family !
Of course, cutie pies Joong Hee and Mi Young – but mostly Joong Hee and how he navigated in & around the family. He really just needed that fatherly hug and it was so satisfying to see him bloom within this wonderfully close-knit family. What made me especially happy early on in the show was that he was NOT a jerk! Surprise! The way he would apologize to Mi Young when he knew he’d done her wrong, and how humbled he was in the presence of soooo many family members! I also really liked that he wasn’t oblivious to things going on around him, especially when Joon Young was feeling inferior and down about his relationship with Dad.
Like you, I found the ending “strangely & sweetly convenient” for Cheol Soo and Ra Young’s relationship, as well as Hye Young’s in-laws, but overall, how could one NOT want a happy ending for everyone?
Hi Kethy!! How fun, that you marathoned this one! I bet this steeped your life with lotsa warm fuzzies all through your marathon! <3 YES to everything you listed – I loved Mum & Dad, LOVED Hye Young (Such! A! Badass! 😍😍😍), loved the family dynamic, loved the bully's turnaround, loved Joong Hee and Mi Young's loveline, and really loved Joong Hee's arc with his newfound family. <3
Since you loved this so much, might I recommend my all-time favorite family drama of all time, Life Is Beautiful? Mum & Dad make an amazing loving couple there too, as a bonus 😉
This drama was the ONLY family drama i breezed through without wanting to die halfway through and feeling like i ran a marathon at the end. It was wayyyyy tooooo shhhooorrrtttt for me
Aw, I’m glad you enjoyed this one, loza! There’s definitely a special x-factor about Father Is Strange that makes it such an inviting watch. 🙂 If you’re keen to try other family dramas that I feel have a similar x-factor, I’d like to recommend Life Is Beautiful and Ojakgyo Brothers. These are my top 2 family dramas, and I also felt like both were lovely and warm and inviting to watch. 🙂
I can’t believe that this review came out last September! I had every intention of watching it straight away and then forgot. A couple of weeks ago we had mid-winter break and since my youngest and I were not feeling well I finally got to have half a week in bed and so I turned to Father is Strange for company. What a gem of a show. I was sad when it ended. I loved all of the couples. I agree 100% that Lee Yoo Ri was the best thing about this show followed closely by Lee Joon. The father and “Son” relationship just slayed me. Lee Joon jealous is so much fun to watch it harkens backs to Hwang Tae-young in You’re Beautiful (the gold standard for adorable jealousy). I struggled with getting enough sleep for a few days because I did not want to stop watching and I have not done that in years. So happy I had your 2017 Year in review to remind me that I needed to see this show. Thank you!
Aw, I’m glad you did give this one a try, Amy! 😀 It really is quite the gem, and I was sad to get to the end of this one as well. Lee Yoo Ri was SO GOOD in this, I just loved her and wanted her to play this character, forever. 😍😆 Glad the Year in Review came in handy in reminding you about this show! <3
I meant the OTHER oppa (Lee Joon) but your point is taken. At least this youth obsession applies to boys as well as girls, so that’s something. Also find it super interesting that there is so much “beefcake” (the showers! The abs!) and almost no “cheesecake.” Vive le difference! 🙂
That could be because (I think) most of the Kdrama writers are women? 😉
Ah, I didn’t realize you were referring to the other Oppa! I guess there were just too many Oppas in this drama world! 😆 Also, I think the emphasis on the beefcake shower scenes, is partly because the majority of viewers are women.
This may seem random, but it seems as good a place/time as any to ask..why are the actors so often noticeably younger–sometimes a LOT younger–than the characters they play in Kdrama world? How can anyone believe that this character is 36 years old? Are all the appropriately-aged actors in the military? Fangirl, can you explain this phenomena to me? Is it a cultural thing? I mean, westerners are used to actors paying younger than they actually are, not the other way around.
Actually, for his particular drama, I don’t even understand why they made the siblings so old. Why not let them be in their 20s- early 30s? Poor Oppa is 35 years old, still trying to pass that test and doesn’t seem to have had a job? Why couldn’t they have played characters closer to their real age?
I find this so puzzling.
I’m not super sure of the reason myself, to be honest. I suspect that part of the reason is because the agencies are working harder to market their younger actors, and possibly because younger actors tend to be more popular generally speaking. Not because of acting talent all the time, sadly, but often more for their good looks.
Another part of the story, I think, is Korea’s preference for youthful looks. Therefore, in order to have a youthful looking 40 year old character, they might cast someone in their early 30s, to create the visual that they are looking for.
For me personally, I’m not typically bothered by the actors being younger than their screen ages, unless it’s distractingly obvious, eg, a 21 year old actor playing, say, a 35 year old character. In Oppa’s case though, the actor playing him is an 86’er, which would make his Korean age 32 or 33, which is just a couple of years younger than his character. I personally thought he looked the part, and didn’t question his age while watching the show. That could be the whole Ageless Asian sort of phenomenon. I personally get mistaken for sometimes 10 years younger than my age, simply because most adult Asians tend to look kind of the same age for a couple of decades. 😛
Dear Fangirl, though I absolutely loved Ojakgyo Brothers, I wasn’t planning to watch this one as the set up of this drama looked similar to me. But I wanted to try this knowing that there were three couples and also as I am rooting for Jung So-min since I have started watching because this is my first life. At first, it looked cliched and somewhat similar to OB drama but after 10 episodes it completely took me by surprise how the main couple story Mi Young and Joong Hee started to unfold in the later episodes. I loved how Joong hee’s initial disgust towards Mi young turned into acceptance, confusion then realization and then those eyes <3 …! I am going to watch those scenes again and again for Lee Joon again and again!
Aw, glad you gave this one a chance, Bharati! 😀 It really is a sweet watch, and I have to agree, Lee Joon was excellent! I loved his arc with Jung So Min, they are so cute together 😍😍
While I really enjoyed the eldest daughter’s role in Father Is Strange, I felt like the romance between Lee Joon and Jung So Min was not given enough screen time and just languished until the very end.
I’m not saying the entire show want good, but for someone like me who watched Kdrama mainly for the romances, I was disappointed in what they showed (didn’t show)
That’s true.. I did love Lee Joon and Jung So Min together, but I agree, their loveline could’ve most definitely used more screen time. And absolutely, these family dramas ARE all about the relationships – with romance as one big piece of that puzzle – so more focus on these two as a main couple makes sense. 🙂
Thanks Kfangurl for your recommendation. I thoroughly enjoyed this drama and couldn’t wait to watch each episode. The writing was very good and the mix of drama and zany humor was perfect. I propose that some Director create a new movie pairing Park Shin Hye with Byun Hye-Young because those two look like sisters and even sound similar. Lee Yu Ri as Hye Young was my kinda gal! Beautiful, smart, and loyal. Every time she was on the screen, she really stole the show and her acting chops are top notch! She was really easy on the eyes too and she can be my gal crush along with Yoon Sohee !!! This was one of the longer dramas to watch, but every episode stood well on its’ own. Loved it!!!!!
Hi there Michael! Thanks for coming out and leaving a comment – it’s always so cool to know that a drama recommendation worked out! 😀 I’m so pleased that you enjoyed Father Is Strange, it really is lovely <3 And I wholeheartedly agree, Lee Yu Ri was such a scene stealer in this! I LOVE her as Hye Young, and would've watched her in her own spin-off. 😍
i’m glad to see you back 😀 <33
Sunny!! 😀 So great to see you around! 😘 Yep, I’m back, finally! Now to catch up on backlogged posts and dramas – hopefully! 😅 I hope you’ve been well my dear! <3
Real life is…. * cries in frustration * haha. This year is going to be a tough one. Again. Lol. But I’ll definitely be here. I’ll post soon about what’s been going on with me the past few weeks. By the way, do you know if Nirvana in Fire – season 2 will air this fall?
Aw, I remember you said that this was going to be a tough period for you.. Glad you’ll still be around despite the challenges you’re facing! <3 I've heard that NIF2 is expected to start airing on 20 November, so yes, it's coming! But I'm tempering my expectations coz with a brand new cast and a different story, it might or might not manage to retain the NIF Awesome.. 😅
YAY!!! i have missed you. Ok Ok 2 things i dont normally get into family dramas and LOOOOONNGGG drama. But I’ll give it a try. maybe this can be my go to for like a year where i watch 1 episode a week or something LOL. Great review as usual and I second all those forest of secrets endorsements. Its like signal but better with no supernatural elements.
Shountz! Great to see ya, I’ve missed you too! <3 Yes, do give this one a try.. you might surprise yourself by wanting to watch more than an episode a week! 😉 It's not my favorite family drama ever, but it's high up on the list!
Thanks for the Forest of Secrets endorsement – sounds like I need to check it out real soon, no one seems to have a bad thing to say about it! My curiosity has been effectively piqued, thanks to you guys 😉
Watching a family drama, that too a drama that runs for 52 episodes was way out of my interests, but I needed something to watch and there was this one person who kept pushing me to try “Father Is Strange”, and I started it without any hope, assuming it would be like any other soap opera with too many complicated people. BUT, this drama completely wrecked me. Just 2 episodes in, and it quickly became my must-watch, which meant giving up on any other drama for about two weeks. I must admit, HYE YOUNG IS LOVE, and one of those female characters you will never get annoyed with or hate. I loved that they made her amazing but at the same time a bit flawed, cause her sunbae made up for all that. The moment I loved her the most was when she quit her job to help her dad, that’s daughter goals right there, and any parent would be proud to have someone like her. She definitely is 50% of the reason why I was so hooked to the drama, the other 50% being of course, Joong Hee and Mi Young.
Lee Joon as Ahn Joong Hee was amazing, and his acting was so on point that Joong Hee felt like a real person to me, and many times throughout the show I kept on wondering why they said he acted bad when he was acting so well. Lee Joon was completely Ahn Joong Hee to me, and he completely nailed his character. In real life, being someone who likes to stay alone at home, and who isn’t interested in marriage, Lee Joon completely floored us with his acting- his haughtiness, goofiness, playfulness, and his absolute love for Miyoung was remarkable.
HATS OFF TO THE DAD, THOUGH. This one particular scene in the court where he begs them to punish him was so emotional.
Also, I loved Rayoung so much that all my hatred for Hwayoung and the T-ARA incident completely vanished.
I honestly thought I would skip a lot of scenes, but I found every character and arc to be delightful, and I also loved how they spent enough time to develop all the characters and make us fall in love with each and every one of them.
I feel ya, Anya – after a while, I found myself watching Father Is Strange exclusively too! It’s definitely more addictive than your average family drama! And yes, I have to agree, Lee Joon is fantastic in this. I had no idea that he’s so different in real life, extra kudos to him for pulling off the role so convincingly! I really did believe he was Joong Hee. Everyone else was good too, but Dad and Mum are acted by such amazing veterans that they deserve an extra shout-out 🙂
By the end of the show, I was so reluctant to finish it and say goodbye to these characters.. I would watch them for another 100 episodes, not even kidding <3
And let’s not forget the game quiz show Halmoni! I like that actress too!
Oh yes, Halmoni! Heh, she was pretty great at that quiz show. And her post-show celeb diva behavior was pretty funny too!
Halmoni was hilarious!
oh and Min Ha is suuuuch a cutie pie kid ! I loved him! (for the few moments he was on screen)
I dropped it halfway but glad to see most of the story threads got tied up nicely.
Aw, that’s too bad that you didn’t end up liking this one, junny. And yes, the story threads got tied up pretty well, even though I felt like certain aspects could’ve been better handled. 🙂
Well, I didn’t like Hye-young’s trajectory at the point. She was doing so well with not getting married and dating Jung-hwan on her own terms. Then there was a big fuss about her cohabiting with Jung-hwan and lots of shrieks, so that got tiring. Then she went and got married, which was like sigh, whatever. Also, I really disliked Joong-hee and couldn’t root for Mi-young to end up with him.
Ah, I know the portion of the show you’re referring to! Yes, I can see why you decided to wash your hands off this show at the time. I personally don’t enjoy shrieking either. I guess I just chose to believe that the shrieking would soon stop, and that positive character development would take over. Which it did, but it did take a bit of time. Joong Hee really grew on me later in the show as well, as we got to see more of his internal struggles. Not sure if that would entice you to pick this one up again, but this really is one of the better family dramas I’ve seen! 🙂
Nah, that means wasting time staring at Lee Joon’s face. Family dramas are too shrieky for me.
The actress who portrayed Sunbae’s (that “Sunbae” got on my nerves but at least she sometimes called him “Nutcracker” 🙂 mother plays grating and annoying really well and must be an excellent actress, because as much as she grated my nerves in Father Is Strange and in Five Children, she is oppositely (that’s a word right?) equally endearing in Fated to Love You.
Ah, I’d forgotten that she was in FTLY! Yes, she seems exceedingly good at these whiny annoying roles.. She ought to balance it out with more warm and endearing ones, so that we all don’t automatically think of her as Unreasonable Mom..! 😝
Your timing is perfect. Just yesterday I posted to a local group on FB that I need to get myself out of my K-drama rut and asked what they thought of Father is Strange. I have hard great things and like you my all time favorite family dramas are Life is Beautiful and O’ Borthers. So this review is just the push I need to get over the metal hurdle that is “54 episodes!” Thank you so much.
Hey there Amy!! Ha, once again, we are aligning in weird and wonderful ways! So pleased that this review came at the right time for you! I’m hopeful that you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did. It’s not perfect, but it hits all the right notes when it matters most, and that’s enough to make me very happy indeed. 🙂
I enjoyed this family (lonnnng) drama for the same reason you did – the attorney daughter. I kept seeing Mi Young and Joong Hee listed as the OTP, but their relationship moved too slowly for me. I’m not saying it should’ve been resolved any sooner, but they spent a relatively small amount of screen time together. I would’ve preferred to have them thrown together more with more angst at their “think they can never be”. Instead, Lee Joon’s realization of his feelings were limited to him [re]dating his psychiatrist. That would’ve been okay of we had seen conflict between the two of them over Mi Young.
Oh well, I did enjoy it but would recommend Five Children to anyone who enjoyed this. Five Children had a main female lead that I’ve never seen before in Kdrama. She’s powerful but not shrill or unlikable. You root for her as you watch her in amazement. She manages to respect her brew in-laws without caving in to them. And these include not only get new husband’s family, but also his dead wife’s family. And then there’s the second couple – Sung Hoon and Shin Hye Sun who almost steal the show. Unlike my gripes about the romance in Father is Strange, this couple had lots of screen time given to the man trying to win her over and once that happens, them navigating their relationship. It’s worth the 54 episodes.
You’re right, beez – I did think that Mi Young and Young Hee could’ve used more screen time, so that we could’ve spent more time delving into their relationship, both before and during their romance. That would’ve felt more satisfying. And having seen how endearing and adorable they could be in the time that we did get with them, it only whets my appetite for more, heh.
Ah, I enjoyed Five Children too. I liked the female lead there too; she had her own brand of awesome, and dramaland could use more characters like her too. 🙂 I guess I have a soft spot for Hye Young coz she’s painted with slightly more impulsive colors; when she gets mad defending the ones she loves, all the cuss words and wild eyes start coming out, and I find that so hilarious and endearing – thanks in large part to Lee Yoo Ri’s delivery. All that said, I do agree that Five Children is worth the watch. Here’s my quick review of Five Children, to anyone who might want to check it out! 🙂
I’ve become a new fan of that actress thanks to Father is Strange and I’ll definitely be checking out your review of Five Children. Thanks for the link.
I’m a new fan of Lee Yoo Ri too! I haven’t seen her prior works because she’s apparently done quite a few makjang dramas, and I am mostly allergic to makjang dramas! 😅 But I do love her here, and hope to see more of her going forward!
Hope you enjoy my quickish review of Five Children; I found it very heartwarming as well <3
This show was an emotional roller coaster, in the best possible way! I think it was a combination of the excellent writing and the terrific performances that got me so invested in the characters and their happiness. There were so many moments and details that made the characters feel real and relatable, and the cast was really solid, with a few stand-out performances. I thought Lee Joon knocked it out of the park, capturing the emotional growth of his character perfectly. And the scene where Mum comes to Joong Hee’s apartment and kneels in front of him could have been an OTT melodramatic mess if it hadn’t been for the emotional honesty of both actors’ performances.
There were a few things I wasn’t fully satisfied with about the ending, which I thought was a bit rushed to be honest. I agree that Cheol Soo’s dad did a quick 360 at the end. I was a bit disappointed with how his resistance was overcome all of a sudden for no real reason, and the way Ra Young and Cheol Soo’s story more or less disappeared towards the end. However, I was more than happy that after all the angst with Mi Young and Joong Hee’s romance, which was by far my favorite, we finally got some payoff there. I also would have liked to see Dad get exonerated at the end. This is one time when I think a time jump would have been a better way to go. And am I the only one who would have liked to see Tae Boo and Mr. Kang for longer than 10 seconds at the end (not to mention Al–is he okay?)?
You’re right, I would’ve loved to have seen Dad get exonerated at the end. After all, it’s a key piece of our story! So yes, a time jump would’ve been good. Or, as Timescout mentioned in another comment, we could’ve started wrapping Dad’s identity arc earlier. That would’ve given us time at the end to see his retrial. That definitely seemed an odd choice from writer-nim, to only take us partway there. Or perhaps the whole message is that life is a journey that goes on indefinitely, and we’re only here to witness a portion of these characters’ journeys? 😁
And yes, I would’ve loved to have seen a little more of Tae Boo and Director Kang. I found them both endearing throughout the show, and even when Director Kang was losing his temper, he always struck me as a warm and caring person. As for Al.. poor little guy, we saw less and less of him as we got deeper into the show. Maybe Joong Hee should’ve made Al deliver the proposal article or something! 😂
I love the idea of Al ‘helping’ Joong Hee propose…as long as no actual effort on Al’s part was required, otherwise Mi Young (and the rest of us) would still be waiting! 😴
I agree that Dad being cleared of the manslaughter conviction seemed like a key part of the story. It was the obvious end point for me, that he reclaim not only his name but also his reputation. I think the writer just ran out of time in the end. But any quibbles I have about the ending are so minor when I remember how great the journey was.
Ah yes, you’re so right, curious_scholar! I too feel like it’s easy to forgive this show its flaws, because it did so many other things right. I will always think of this one fondly <3 And possibly watch it again sometime too 😉
i luv, luv this drama also. it has the right amount of poignancy for dad’s real identity and characters that you can actually root for (i think the bullying arc was well-handled, that mi young was able to get closure from her sister-in-law)… it also helps that the actors & actresses played their parts so well. same shout-outs to hae young (she’s a hoot!), mom & dad (yup, their actually my fave parents for exactly the same reason you mentioned, life is beautiful), and lee joon (his foot-acting is comedy gold!).
have you tried forest of secrets? just might be the drama to get you out of the rut:)
Hi5, bugs_bunny! Glad you loved this one too! 😀 I agree, the bullying arc was solidly handled, and I felt satisfied with how it was wrapped up in the end. I’m glad we went back to it after the initial apology, to give Mi Young proper closure. 🙂 And OMG Lee Joon is fab! It’s actually my first time seeing him in action, and he’s so good! Before, I’d seen him in stills from other shows, all intense and broody and possibly evil, so it was a huge surprise to see him acting all goofy and awkward, AND slaying the emotional scenes to boot! I need to look out for his other works now 😉
I’ve been hearing such good things about Forest of Secrets, so it’s on my list of dramas to check out. Hopefully I’ll love it as much as everyone else seems to!
Forest of Secrets is really, really good! Probably the best Korean crime show I’ve ever watched and definitely the best kdrama this year so far. It’s one of those rare of rarest dramas with the trifecta of great script, directing and acting. I was even compelled to write about it at length, which doesn’t happen very often these days. 🙂
Wow, that’s high praise indeed! Especially coming from you, Timescout, coz I know you keep strict standards with the shows you do watch! I had let Forest of Secrets slip past me coz I wasn’t in the mood for crime when it came around. But, with all the glowing praise, I guess I should check it out soon! 🙂
If you like Lee Joon you’ll love his show “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”. (Or as I like fyi call it “What Happens After a Candy Gets Her Chabeoul Prince”.
It’s dark, funny, and thought provoking and gives you an inside view of S. Korea’s upper crust. You’re kind of privy to those irritating in-laws we always see in K-dramas who can’t accept a daughter -in-law frim the wrong side of the tracks. They’re not sympathetic characters but you do see the inner workings of their household in an “Upstairs Downstairs”/”Downton Abbey” sort of way.
Ah, thanks for the recommendation, beez! I did have mild intentions of checking it out the year it came out, but got distracted by all the other shinier newer dramas and just never went back to it. I’ll put it back on my list – Lee Joon strikes me as an actor to keep on the radar. 😉
His co-star, Go Ah Sung is amazing too! And if you knew me, you’d know I don’t often have much to say positive for the K-actresses.
Heh, I feel like I’m with you on the k-actress thing. My list of favorite k-actresses is definitely shorter than my list of favorite k-actors! 😆 It sounds like Go Ah Sung is pretty great, if you endorse her so strongly! I will bump the show back up on the list, thanks beez! 😘
You won’t regret it. Now that I’ve been around Kdrama a while, I’m always looking for something a little different. I still love Kdrama but I’ve become a bit worn down by the tropes. I Heard it Through the Grapevine busts those tropes wide open from the inside out. It’s not hilariously funny, but rather realistic dark humor that makes you chuckle.
You’re so right about the tropes, beez. After a while, the tropes start to wear thin, and it’s easy to feel jaded with kdramas – particularly because so many dramas don’t seem very creative and seem to be trotting out the same old tropes over and over again, to the point that the dramas feel perfunctorily written, almost. 😛 Gosh, now I sound like such a jaded drama soul! 😂 But yes, Grapevine does sound like a promising departure from mainstream kdrama! 🙂
That just about sums it up. 😀
Good family dramas without The Crazy are not that easy to come by, so I’m happy how warm and fuzzy this one turned out to be.^^ In addition to what you mentioned, I also think they should have settled that daddy Byun’s identity thingy several episodes earlier. It took far too much time to get it all in the open.
You’re so right, Timescout – good family dramas without The Crazy are rarer than one might expect! I feel like it’s a simple enough ask – just give me the warm slice-of-life stuff, and don’t try to be too weird or exciting. But it does take skill and talent to make that slice-of-life stuff pop; I’ve seen other dramas attempt it – and fail. So yes, I’m very pleased that Father Is Strange managed to deliver the warmth so well! And yes, I do agree, Dad’s identity thing could’ve been tied up earlier; that would’ve given us time for a proper glimpse of the retrial, and some relationship screen time for everyone too. Still good, though! The warmest and fuzziest I’ve seen in a while! <3