Every so often, a family drama comes along that feels worthy of the 50+ episode investment.
To be honest, for a solid 20+ hours, I sincerely thought that Mother Of Mine was one of those. For a while, I found myself slurping up an episode or three, or four, each day, to the point where I was legit afraid to run out of new episodes. That’s quite something, isn’t it?
Unfortunately for me, at around the episode 53 mark (this show does half-hour episodes instead of hour-long ones), Show started feeling less fun and less charming to watch. Also unfortunately for me, this really doesn’t seem to be a self-correcting trend.
68 episodes in, I’m finally deciding to call it quits with this one.
THE FUNNER EARLIER STRETCH
1. The hidden chaebol arc
No lie; the hidden chaebol arc was my favorite, in Show’s early stretch.
I thought Hong Jong Hyun was charming as the cheerful hidden chaebol prince earnestly wanting to do well at work while staying incognito.
I also found Kim So Yeon well cast as his supervisor-cum-love interest, with her hard and prickly outer shell belying the vulnerable fragility she harbored on the inside.
And I really liked the idea of the warm charming prince disarming and melting his ice princess supervisor, in spite of herself.
Granted, the chemistry between Hong Jong Hyun and Kim So Yeon isn’t really the best, but this OTP does have its moments, and I lapped those up eagerly.
I knew in my head that this was working better in concept than in execution, but I enjoyed this storyline enough, to be willing to embrace its shortcomings.
2. Mom and her daughters
Kim Hae Sook is one of my favorite moms in Dramaland, having played so many mom roles in so many of my formative kdramas, that my mom and I refer to her as Everyone’s Mom, heh.
It’d been a long minute since I’d last had Kim Hae Sook on my screen, and I welcomed the chance to see her in a warm family story, with her loving on her screen daughters.
This really was one of Show’s highlights for me; even though Mom bickered with her daughters endlessly, there was always so much warmth and love behind it all, that even if there were sometimes tears and shouty angry words, the warmth and love always shone through and won out, in the end. <3
3. The thing with CEO Mom [MINOR SPOILERS]
Very quickly into our story, we find out that second daughter Mi Ri (Kim So Yeon), besides meeting a hidden chaebol prince at work, also gets plonked in a situation where the birth mother who’d abandoned her when she was 6 years old, is now her new CEO. Gasp!
Not only that, we find out that CEO Mom (Choi Myung Gil) now has a mother-son-esque relationship with hidden chaebol prince Tae Joo (Hong Jong Hyun). Double gasp!!
I could immediately see a great deal of potential drama excitement in this, and, at least in Show’s first half, I found that I actually rather enjoyed the melodramatic flair that this narrative arc gave the show.
I also loved that in any eventual confrontation with CEO Mom, that even in the midst of heartbreak and tears, Mi Ri was staggeringly sharp and eloquent in telling it as it is. Yess.
4. Harmless annoyances that I found mildly entertaining
As with every other family drama out there, Show has a fair number of characters who are designed to be annoying but who are generally harmless, for the most part.
In this show, we have the entitled mom-in-law, the annoying husband who refuses to grow up, and a somewhat tantrum-prone maknae daughter filling Show’s quota for harmlessly annoying characters.
I found it exasperating yet entertaining to watch these characters and their antics, and as I’d expected, where I’m leaving off Show at episode 68, these characters have all begun their reformative arcs, to varying degrees.
THE MUCH LESS FUN LATER STRETCH
Unfortunately, at around the episode 53 mark, Show starts to get more and more melodramatic in its general tone and vibe, with less and less of its signature family warmth to balance it all out.
Additionally, while I wouldn’t say Show’s earlier stretch was exactly perfectly written, the writing in Show’s later stretch felt noticeably less organic to my eyes as well. There were logic stretches lurking in just about every corner, and I found them harder and harder to overlook.
One thing that niggled at me for episodes on end, is how Tae Joo, who’s supposed to be so caring and so in love with Mi Ri, is so weirdly oblivious to her general unhappiness, even as she does a weak and far from successful job of putting up a happy front when she’s with him. This did not feel at all organic to Tae Joo’s character, I felt.
And this isn’t even getting into stuff like Chairman Dad (Myung Kye Nam) making a sudden about-face, from strongly opposing Tae Joo’s relationship with Mi Ri, to vehemently insisting that he wanted her as his daughter-in-law.
This, all because his business associate casually suggested that he was being shortsighted. Really, Show?
Show’s melodramatic touch getting heavier and heavier by the episode, combined with all of the logic stretches, just made it a lot less fun to watch than at first.
The thing, though, is, I found that even though I so was not having a good time with each passing episode, I found myself stupidly checking back in, for the next episode, and then the next.
Sadly, the relationship between Mi Ri and Tae Joo, which had been a personal highlight in earlier episodes, had become really boring, and Mi Ri continuously keeping her real feelings and her real concerns from Tae Joo, and just smiling and being sweet to him, was making me feel less and less for their relationship.
At the same time, all of the melodrama around them was being amped up to the level of More Makjang Than I Signed Up For. That.. didn’t help.
I found that I’d also lost interest in most of the other characters, and the arc I found myself perking up for the most, was weirdly, the loveline between maknae daughter Mi Hye and Chief Editor Kim Woo Jin (Kim Ha Kyung and Ki Tae Young).
Which, really, isn’t saying a lot, coz I felt mild interest in their loveline, at best. I liked the concept, but again, the execution just didn’t land that well, for me. I found it too exaggerated and cutesy as a general rule, though I did very much enjoy the following highlight, in episode 64.
I was cringing through Mi Hye’s blunder with the rice cake skewer, with her wiping the sauce off his face with her finger and then sucking on said finger, before she even realized it, but Chief Editor’s response was gold.
His expression of shock after she’d scuttled away, was mixed with what looked like an almost ravenous desire to go grab her and kiss her senseless, and then his single utterance, “I’m doomed,” was so great. That made all the cringing worth it, ha.
I realized that the deeper I got into Show’s episodes, the more my head said it was time to drop this one, even though my heart was willing to keep tuning back in, out of an illogical affection for the characters.
The thing is, I don’t think Future Me would’ve approved much at all, so I’m going with my head on this one, in hopes of getting on Future Me’s good side, heh.
I’ll still think of Show’s first half fondly, though.
WHERE TO WATCH:
The series is available on YouTube on KBS World TV’s channel, subbed and in HD.
If you’d like to watch the funner first half, or if you’d like to just see Mi Ri and Tae Joo’s meet-cute where she literally takes the shirt off his back, here’s episode 1 for your easy viewing pleasure.
PS: If you just want to check out the meet-cute, you can start watching from the 18:15 mark. You’re welcome. 😉
I somewhat managed to finish this ( skip many scenes) but i am happy to finish the show and satisfied in it’s ending.
Mi ri and Tae-joo’s love story- I agree with you that their love story is good in concept but lacking in execution. Their chemistry is off. I don’t feel the physical tension and I find their sweetness awkward at sometimes. And when they were preparing and on the day of their wedding I don’t see why Tae- joo don’t see that something was bothering Mi ri, you can see it and feel it in her deamenor.
But I really enjoy them as married couple -Love how they love and support each other. I also like how the show manage to solve the issue when Tae-joo learn that Mi ri was the daughter of her mother( the one who raised him). He reflect and took time to fully comprehend their dilema. I also like that Tae-joo choose to reveal to Mi ri that her mother was sick. You kinda feel that Tae-joo really understand her. That he knows how much she value and love her mother and it was right for her to know the situation even though it was not best for her physically and emotionally because of her preganncy.
Mi-ri as a person and daughter – she was my fav character in the show. I love how excellent she is in her job and way she carried herself, always oozzing with confidence. Love the way she speaks, she is tough but respectful whether to her staffs, store representatives, executives or chairman.
She is the most understanding, loving, sweet and sensitive daughter to her mother ( the one who raise her). Love the scene that after she have bonding to her biological mom she also go to her mom ( the one who raise her) and bond with her.
Mi-seon and Min-hye as daughters – I find them disrespectful at times. Kinda spoiled brat. The way they talks back to their mother was really painful to digest.
Mi-seon’s life – I find her struggle as a working mom realistic and relateable. I feel and root for her to find solution to her predicament and for her to be at peace on her decision on whether to continue working or fully devote her time to her daughter. I feel sorry for her that she have childish and selfish husband and annoying mother in law ( in the beggining of the show). I also feel sorry for her daughter that she always witness how her parents argue almost everyday because of their struggle as working parents.
Min-hye – kinda skip almost all of her scene. I find her immature until the very end of the show and I am not sold in her love story. I thought somehow she will ends up to Jae-beom. That she will finally open her eyes and finally see Jae-boom’s devotion to her and Jae-boom was the one for her.
Mi ri’s staffs – I can’t stand them in the beginning of the show but I appreciate them in the later part of the show. Love their loyalty, respect and care for her.
Mi ri’s relationship with her biological mom. I appreciate that the show manage to show the other side of her mom. I really want to kill her mom in the beggining of the series (hooo hoo hooo). Love that they reconcile and heal their wounds in the end of the show.
The 3 daughter’s relationship. I love them as siblings. You can really feel throughout the series their understanding and love at each other. I overcome the heartbreaking finale because of how they manage to show their support at each other.
The 3 daughter’s mother, wow the love and devotion she shows to her children until the very last day of her life. I feel sorry for her most of the time maybe because the show mostly focus on her struggles and the show’s theme for her life is based on the poem that “I Thought it was Okay for Mother to do that”. Like her wish, I also wish that she was able to live for at least another 3 years for her to be able to see how Mi ri heals her wounded heart, to see that Mi ri is safe now to her in laws and living a happy life with her husband and child. I wish she was able to see that Mi-seon go backs to work and have an improve marriage life and that Min-hye was right in choosing her husband.
The satisfying on finishing this series was that they were able to show to the viewers that it unfolds to Mi ri’s eyes that eventhough she was abandon she was also blessed because she ends up to a loving mom and sisters who accepts her wholeheartedly and love her tenderly and not end up to her biological mom’s mess family. It also goes to her adoptive mom, that she was also blessed because Mi ri came to her life. She becomes her source of pride and joy and a source of warm and sweetness for her heart.
Wow, thanks for summing up everything so that people who dropped it – like me – can learn about what happened in the end. That makes our hours invested feel less futile, somehow.. I think it’s coz it gives a bit of closure, at least! 😅 Glad you found the long watch worthwhile, and that your trusty fast-forward button served you well! 😉
Hey so have been watching and thrs one question on this series thts bugging me like hell… So tae joo’s father and Mrs Jeon have mistress kinda relationship??? Was that guy with her after wife’s death???and why did mrs Jeon abondon Miri?
Oh hi -five, kfangurl!!! I dropped this one waaaay earlier than you, so I think I should bow to you in respect for being able to manage your composure until epi 68 hahaha….
Agree with you on Taeju geting farther and farther away from his initial character. I was also annoyed at how Mi Ri was being made to sacrifice herself more and more as the episode goes. Well, practically I agree on everything you said here. Except for Mihye-Woojin pairing. I adore them from the very beginning, probably because I am such a lousy sucker for cold guy hahaha… (oh, and I also want to give Mihye a chance to retaliate with that lousy ex of her hihihi)
Now, I am off for some hardcore sageuk. Haechi and Nokdu is on top of my list right now. Ciao!!!
Even though you dropped it, this is still a nice and generous review. I always love how you can find and squeeze moments, scenes, and characters, etc to appreciate in your reviews.
I caved in a few times and watched some family shows, (meaning 50 + ep, daily dramas) but they tend to flounder mid-way and some of the characters are over-the-top makjang or screechy which kills the enjoyment. (Usually the Mother-in-laws) I’m so out of the kdrama loop now though. But this summer has been absolutely crazy. (Not all in a good way. 🙁 ) I can barely squeeze time to watch. So I hope to catch up A LOT come the fall and winter.
I was really tempted to start this but the sheer number of episodes kind of scared me off. Seems like I made the right choice, haha. To me, the key to a good show is good, realistic writing — too melodrama and makjang shows that are unrealistic just kill the mood and takes me out of the show which just defeats the point of watching in the first place (at least that’s for me). Even if the show is a fantasy, if the characters are true to how they are characterised and it is written in a logical way then I’m good with it. So thanks for the drooped post! Saved me many drama watching hours 😅
Another dropped show? Seems like a lot of time invested. The episode count rivals ton of anime. I did watch a couple of episodes of Witch’s Romance as you recommended. I like it so far. I’m not taking it serious and just going with it. It’s fun. She plays a good tsundere. of course the other side of the OTP was good in Secretary Kim so being a dude, I didn’t watch this show for him. Just saying. I’m watching Hotel Del Luna (should be de la luna but then again who fact checks anymore). IU is amazing (first time watching her and avoiding her Scarlet Heart Ryeo), Hong sisters on point (liked Master’s Sun, first Kdrama). Hope it has a good ending.
Hi there, if you like IU, please please watch My Mister (Eng) / My Ajusshi. She’s incredible in it. Everyone is incredible in it. It’s just an amazing show. I’m also highly biased because it’s my top Korean drama and top few TV shows of my life haha, but the point I wanted to make is that she does a fantastic job in it. Totally not like her cutesy singing persona.
Thanks for the recommendation. I’m still kinda new to kdrama as I crossed over from anime. New Fruits Basket adaption is quite good and would be a weird kdrama. Heard of My Mister and has been in my queue like so many others. Hotel Del Luna is reminding me of American Horror Story meets Picture of Dorian Gray.
Long family dramas can be a bit of a gamble, as you never know how they will eventually turn out. The chance of them going full on makjang crazy is always there. Which is why I seldom check out framily dramas these days. Bad makjang allergy, you see. 😉
I stopped on episode 30 about two weeks ago and haven’t gone back to it. Which generally means I will drop it (I dropped two other dramas last week). I know many who have commented they ffwd like crazy 😜
I think this is Kim Hae Sook’s best role in a long time, and she has played some good ones along the way.
As for Hong Jong Hyun he is okay in MoM and I have found him far more likeable in this than some of his other, more recent, efforts. Kim So Yeon is very good and I can see, with the right material, a real force to be reckoned with.
As for the other useless men in this drama, boy oh boy, I wont say any more other than, except I do like the eldest daughter’s father in law (who I spotted in Hotelier today, back from 2001). The mother in law is not bad or evil, she’s just a bag (as we say over here). Now that we have banned plastic bags from shopping centres in my neck of the woods I have lost the perfect opportunity to respond to the check out person when out shopping with my wife. The question would always be “would you like a bag for your shopping?” My response would always be “no, I have one right here.” The response would then get me quite a swift punch in the arm each time and a “just ignore him, he’s also going to get a smack for his troubles.” 😂
There are certainly much better shows of the same length or longer on at the moment. I have also watched a number of other shorter format shows of late that are far better than expected and perhaps one or two more that might get the D treatment 😊
Sean, the bag joke reminds me of Abbott and Costello show, in a Supermarket skit, Costello picks up a crumpled paper bag and tries to straighten it out, etc. then says in an uncharacteristic mean voice – “Get a load of the old BAG” Which promptly earns him a slap from a middle age (spinsterish looking 50’s woman) standing nearby. I crack up every single time.
Hello Lady G, I enjoyed Abbott and Costello very much. Even Tarantino is influenced by them and has woven their concepts and sayings into key plot and character moments in his films. Of course I have made sure my children are familiar with their skits (especially Who’s On First), given some of the stuff they watch that passes for comedy these days.
I can understand. My father raised us on the old comedies, especially Abbott and Costello, Little Rascals, Three Stooges, classic films etc. We loved Shirley Temple, to this day know most of the songs by heart. lol. Who’s on First? is such a classic. a Brilliant sketch!