Drama Recaps
The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House / My Too Perfect Sons
by | May 17, 2009 | 78 Comments

The weekend KBS drama Sons of Sol Pharmacy House [솔약국집아들들], which also goes by the title My Too Perfect Sons, isn’t the type of drama I usually go for. It’s a family drama with 50 episodes, and therefore has lower production values than a primetime weekday drama, and feels rather like a daily drama.

Still, as I was flipping through KBS America on TV, I started watching in the middle of an episode and found it quite charming. It’s light-hearted and very cute and even laugh-out-loud funny. Since it’s so long, there’s no way I’d do recaps (sorry), but I did set the season pass on my TV and plan to watch more of this series.

SONG OF THE DAY

The Sons of Sol Pharmacy OST – “사랑 멜로디” (Love Melody) by Eru [ Download ]

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I’ve seen four episodes so far, so the following descriptions and relationships describe what has happened in these first four hours only.

 
PREMISE

A mother has doted on her four sons all their lives, but has interfered with their relationships when deeming the girlfriends “not good enough” for her perfect sons. Now she despairs that they are growing older and will never marry, particularly as the eldest nears his 40th birthday.

What I like about this drama so far is that there’s a very clear, strong premise backing up these appealing characters. The reason I tend to shy away from daily and family dramas is because many of them are based very vague, general conceits with huge casts, and I find it tedious to have so many story lines muddling the plot. Here, the setup is clear right away, and you can see how these relationships are constructed. It doesn’t hurt that each of the sons is endearing in his own way, and that the drama has a strong sense of humor.

 
SON #1: JIN-PUNG

Eldest son Song Jin-pung (actor Sohn Hyun-joo of First Wives Club, What’s Up Fox) is nearing 40. He’s a pharmacist whose store is in the same neighborhood as his home, and as the firstborn, he feels the burden of marrying and caring for his family the keenest — he has two parents, a grandfather, and three younger brothers to look after. His personality is shy and awkward around women, although he’s a gentle and caring person.

Because he’s still single, the question he’s always getting — from his family, from customers, from strangers — is “When will you get married?” Jin-pung would like to marry, but he just hasn’t met the right person, which in his case is more difficult because he isn’t charismatic, or charming, or assertive. He’s a Nice, Boring Guy.

His mother does her best to set him up on dates, and has to resort to twisting the truth in order to secure one. Thus it isn’t until Jin-pung is on the date — and he’s getting along well with the woman — that they realize that some details got mixed up. He’s not the younger doctor brother Dae-pung, but the older pharmacist brother. The woman is insulted at the bait and switch, thinking he lied deliberately to get her to agree to the date, and Jin-pung is disappointed once again.

While his mother at first comes across as a bit shrill and commandeering, the series does put in a few scenes to make her position sympathetic. She genuinely loves all her boys, and although her interference may have hindered their relationships in the past, now she just wants them to secure their futures. Plus, frankly, it’s tiring for the woman to look after six men day in and day out.

Finally, she reaches the limit and takes out her anger on her sons, yelling at them to get married and breaking down into tears as she explains to her eldest that she lied to the date because nobody would agree to be set up with the firstborn, and she’d hoped that if they just went on the date, a smart woman would see his value — his kindness, his good heart. Jin-pung promises his mother he will marry this year — no, this spring — and will do everything in his power to do so. He’ll go on dates and sign up for a dating service, even.

Jin-pung had a first love whom he’s never quite gotten over losing. He thinks about her from time to time, and it’s only a matter of time before he will run into her again, because she’s just moved back to her childhood home across the street from the pharmacy — with her husband and two children.

Enter Su-jin (Park Sun-young of Winter Bird). She’s a smart, tough lawyer whose older brother married Jin-pung’s first love. They first meet when Su-jin is walking by the pharmacy one night, where Jin-pung is taking out his frustrations of his failed blind date on his brother’s business sign. Although Dae-pung had nothing to do with his date, it hurts that his date was so disappointed to be set up with him thinking she was getting the younger brother, and Jin-pung comes back drunk and sees the new sign for his brother’s clinic. He grabs some paint and starts doodling on it, and Su-jin takes him for a weird creep, threatening to report his suspicious behavior.

Su-jin eventually figures out that Jin-pung is a decent person, and takes advantage of the sign incident to blackmail him into doing some errands for her.

 
SON #2: DAE-PUNG

The second son is Song Dae-pung (Lee Pil-mo of You Are My Destiny, who may be this drama’s breakout star — he’s fabulously hilarious). In contrast to his older brother’s cautious and responsible personality, Dae-pung is the endearing rascal who’s gotten into his fair share of scrapes. He’d actually be quite annoying to deal with if not for his boyish charm.

Dae-pung runs a small clinic right above Jin-pung’s pharmacy, with one employee, nurse Bok-shil (Yoo Sun of Terroir). She’s very good-hearted, ordinary, and a little bit in love with Dae-pung, although she’s never admitted it. Frankly, he doesn’t treat her so well because he tends to take her for granted, and often takes out his anger on her. When Dae-pung discovers the sign that Jin-pung has graffiti’d, he wrongly punishes Bok-shil and tells her to write her resignation, which she does, and which he then rescinds. When she puts the letter away into a drawer, we see a whole stack of unopened resignation letters, which pretty much describes what their constant back-and-forth relationship is like.

Bok-shil doesn’t have any family and lives by herself in an apartment in the neighborhood, and comes by to the Song household daily to help their mother cook and clean. It’s almost like she’s in a daughter-in-law role, only she hasn’t married any of the sons, and Dae-pung doesn’t see her in a romantic light (yet?). She’s a lovely character, and probably too good for Dae-pung, but I definitely am eager to see how he comes around to deserving her.

As an example of typical Dae-pung rascally behavior, a recurring gag is his inability to break up with his latest girlfriend, who won’t accept no for an answer. Instead, she sobs and wails and refuses to be discarded, no matter how much he tells her he’s bad for her. In fact, he lies and tells her he’s married with three kids, hoping that’ll throw her off his trail, but she clings even more tighly, arguing that she’ll challenge his wife to win him. Thus another recurring gag is Dae-pung calling various people in his life — his mother, his brother — and calling them “honey” and “wife” to put on a show for his clinging ex.

He also happens to meet Su-jin and proceeds to hit on her, which she is not at all impressed by. By a twist of chance (this IS a kdrama, after all), Su-jin is also friends with Dae-pung’s ex, and finally gets tired of the girl crying her eyes out over her (supposedly) married boyfriend. Su-jin calls Dae-pung out to give him a piece of her mind… and hilarity ensues.

One aspect that makes the relationships interesting is that the official character relationships (as we can see in posters and from the descriptions on the website) are already defined, but even so, there are multiple relationship possibilities forming for each brother. For instance, eldest brother Jin-pung is being aligned with Su-jin — but she and second brother Dae-pung also have some chemistry going, albeit mostly bickering. I doubt they’ll entertain a serious loveline, but if I wasn’t aware of the “official” relationship chart, it could be a viable pairing. Furthemore, although Bok-shil is clearly set up to be with Dae-pung, there are hints of another possible partnership there, too.

 
SON #3: SUN-PUNG

Third brother Song Sun-pung (Han Sang-jin of White Tower, Yi San) is totally my favorite brother. He’s a vegetarian, animal-lover, and news reporter at broadcast station KBC. He’s also earnest, sweet, honest, and a little dense when it comes to romance. His brand of awkwardness is different from Jin-pung’s, however — while the eldest knows exactly when he’s making a mistake, Sun-pung is blissfully ignorant.

Take, for instance, his interactions with Eun-ji (Yoo Hana of First Wives Club). She’s a pretty, spoiled, lively budding actress whose father is the KBC news director and Sun-pung’s direct boss. The director is very fond of Sun-pung and sets him up with his daughter — a prospect Eun-ji detests, even though her father insists the man is a prime catch. He may not have money or background, but he’s a wonderful person who would be perfect for her. However, she so detests the idea that she shows up to the date dressed in her costume from her drama as a tacky, loudmouthed pregnant woman, ready to repel her date… only to find herself stood up when Sun-pung is distracted with a work-related situation.

He doesn’t immediately realize his mistake, and his failure to grovel at Eun-ji’s feet further pisses her off. How dare he! Doesn’t he realize what a catch she is? How can he treat her so poorly? On the other hand, Sun-pung remains oblivious of the situation until his boss talks to him about it — and then he’s horribly apologetic. He appeases Eun-ji’s anger by waiting for her for over three hours and taking her to a fancy dinner, and she comes home mollified. He’s not what she looks for in a man, but she concedes that he’s not so bad, actually — all the while insisting that she’s absolutely not interested in him, of course.

On the other hand, it rankles her that Sun-pung didn’t ask for her number, or a second date. His lack of interest just piques hers further.

Eun-ji is another character who might seem annoying on the surface, but she’s acted in an adorable and hilarious way, and provides a nice foil for Sun-pung’s thick-headedness. While a man who indulges her every whim might just encourage her selfish and prissy behavior, a guy like Sun-pung is just the right person to give her a much-needed ego set-down — without even realizing he’s doing it.

For instance, after the dinner date, they see each other in the KBC dining hall, and he bows respectfully in greeting. She’s not actually angry at him, but she pretends to be upset and ignores him. She reluctantly accepts the tea he buys her, acting like she doesn’t want it but actually pleased at his solicitousness. In fact, it’s like she deems his actions good enough that she deigns to converse with him… but she’s not even midway through a question before she finds that he’s already turned away on a business call and is walking away from her.

Like I said, the main couplings have been outlined for us, but there’s also something in Sun-pung’s attentiveness to Bok-shil that suggests a second possibility of a romantic connection with her. While Bok-shil is often ignored or taken for granted by Dae-pung (whom she likes), Sun-pung treats her with friendly concern. He’s not very interested in other women — and it doesn’t even seem like he’s that interested in Eun-ji, not yet — but he’s very kind to Bok-shil, and seems to sense that she’s got feelings for his brother. Given how dense he is about other things, it’s unusually keen of him to pick that up from Bok-shil.

 
SON #4: MI-PUNG

Last of all, we have the youngest, 19-year-old Song Mi-pung (Ji Chang-wook). Mi-pung has just graduated from high school and has failed to be accepted to university, so he’s in the middle of studying for a retest. He’s very sweet, very pure, and unintentionally hysterical in how sensitive he is.

Perhaps given the age difference between him and the rest of the family, he speaks to everyone (even his brothers) in super-formal language. It’s a character quirk, and his mother even speaks in jondae formalities back at him in a (gently) mocking manner.

Mi-pung is gifted with sewing and crafts and often gets mocked for being too girly. However, he has recently made a deal with Mom to focus everything on his studies, and gives up sewing with noonas in a quilting circle. He has very good intentions to stick with that plan, but they get sidetracked a little when he reconnects with his best friend, Yong-chul, who dropped out of school and has been out of touch. Turns out that Yong-chul has discovered he’s a father, and has been saddled with his five-month-old daughter, Hana (the mother left the baby with him).

Now a dad, Yong-chul has to focus on feeding his baby, and works multiple jobs to scrape by. Mi-pung grows attached to Hana and starts to come by often to play with her and makes her dolls. What he doesn’t yet realize is that Yong-chul is wrestling with a problem — he has just received his army papers and may have to go away soon. What will become of Hana?

We haven’t seen Su-hee yet, but she is the baby’s mother, who will be returning once she gets over her initial fear of raising a baby alone. She gets back in touch with Yong-chul, but finds that Hana is in the care of his best friend, Mi-pung…

 
COMMENTS

One thing I appreciate is that this series flips the cliche that’s been emerging in recent years, of the thirtysomething spinster out to find love. Whether it’s Sam-soon or Dal-ja, there’s a whole slew of career women who either have been unable to find love or are happy being single adult women in a modern society (e.g., My Sweet Seoul). And while I think Koreans may still be harsher on unmarried young women, this drama takes a look from the other side of what it’s like to be a reluctant bachelor, at least in the case of Jin-pung. He’d like to find love, really, and just hasn’t had the luck or the opportunity.

While the conflict may seem exaggerated to a Western perspective (why would a mother be so crushed that her four lovely, competent sons are unmarried?), there’s a ring of truth in there. In such a family-oriented society, it’s almost like a failure of the individual to be unable to provide and support his own family, and the fact that Jin-pung is the eldest of four is like an additional condemnation of his masculinity. The other brothers don’t feel this so strongly, because they don’t have the burden of being the firstborn who is expected to care for the rest of the family. Second-born Dae-pung can afford to be irresponsible and selfish, because he hasn’t grown up with the same burden of expectation. Yet in modern society, there’s also the newer opinion that the individual has his right to live for himself, rather than throwing himself on the altar of family, and the drama makes a few mentions of the conflicting views of a person as an individual versus his entire family (although thankfully, these themes aren’t hammered in heavily, just dropped into dialogue here and there).

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for male bonding and brotherly love storylines, and this drama has that in spades. What makes Sons of Sol Pharmacy House work is a mix of the amusing, appealing characters and the comic storytelling that is both fun and fresh.

A drama like this could get too slapstick with its humor, but perhaps it’s the strong casting that suits it to a tee, because the humor is just broad enough to make some use of physical comedy without being too much. Second brother Dae-pung (Lee Pil-mo) is particularly wonderful at hitting the comedic notes, although he’s probably my least favorite brother character. Yet all of them are distinct and different, and I’m sure everyone will have his or her own favorite brother.

An example of a moment that made me laugh out loud is in Episode 3, when Mom has sunken into a depressed funk after being yelled at by the matchmaker for lying. (The matchmaker not only takes her to task for switching her sons in the blind date, she vows to never help her sons again, and to tell everyone she knows not to help her sons so that the Song brothers remain alone forever.)

Father calls his boys home early that night to apologize to Mom and bring her out of her doldrums, and gravely tells eldest son Jin-pung to “take care of the others.” Jin-pung grabs two spoons, and sternly tells his brothers to follow him. The implication is a severe beating of some sort. Dae-pung protests strongly, saying he’s too old for this kind of behavior, but his protests go unheeded. And after the brothers follow Jin-pung out of the room, we get……

Hehehehe.

The song is the following noraebang staple from ’90s ballad duo The Classic (featuring singer Lee Seung Hwan):

The Classic – “Magic Castle” (마법의 성). [ Download ]

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THE VERDICT

If you’re a fan of family and/or daily dramas, this is an example of that genre done well. At least, that’s what I can say from the first four episodes. Tonally, it’s not too far from Queen of Housewives or Last Scandal of My Life. I don’t particularly enjoy this genre, but there’s always room for well-acted and humor-rich family comedy-dramas, so I’ll be watching this one for a while longer.

 
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78 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. yumi-chan

    The fourth son is a cutie.
    & is that Kang Eun Bi paired up with the cutie?

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  2. kellie

    You got me! Gotta find a download of this show with Engl subs. Han Sang-jin—one of the most interesting actors in K-drama right now. Thanks, Dramabeans.

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  3. kimchii

    Looks really interesting (:
    I think I’ll try and find subs for this..

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  4. ndegeocello

    Sohn Hyun Joo is excellent evidence in showing you don’t need good looking people to produce good chemistry between actors. He often plays the bad guy, but sometimes he gets the endearing fool role and he does it so well that despite his looks, I can totally feel the chemistry between him and his love interest. A lot of people will feel a guy like him with a girl like Park Sun Young is completely unbelievable and think there would be absolutely no chemistry, but wait until you watch Sohn Hyun Joo in action and you’ll be feeling the chemistry.

    I really like him because he’s a straight up ajushi, maybe even creepy looking to casual viewers, but he’s so good at acting that you rarely even notice his looks and really fall for his character. What comes so easily for good looking leading men, is that viewers are automatically drawn to them and are often partial towards the actor rather than the character. With guys like Sohn Hyun Joo, even if he were playing the good guy against the evil spawn of Satan portrayed by Yoon Kye Sang (for example), it would be hard to find rational fans rooting for the former instead of the latter. But like I said, he’s so good at acting that it’s not hard at all for me to cheer for Sohn Hyun Joo over a Yoon Kye Sang or a Lee Min Ho and so on.

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  5. questions846

    Is anyone going to pick up the subs for this show? I was just at the sub map and it looks like no subs – I can’t watch it without subs!

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  6. ndegeocello

    I want to add: Lee Pil Mo is THE definition of overacting. Eeevery-THING! he DOES! is exaaaaaaaageraTED!!!

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  7. anna

    Oh sweet jesus, why are there such drama with 50 episodes? How do people go through it? I can’t even finish a 11-eps drama. It’s amazing how they have so much storyline for it though.

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  8. majata

    To #5

    The first 2 episodes with English subtitles can be downloaded from http://www.d-addicts

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  9. Kender

    It really looks adorable, but unfortunately none of the subbing teams seem to have picked it up. :/ I might give it a go once I have more hard drive space, though, because I love cheesy story lines about perpetual spinsters/bachelors. ^^

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  10. 10 Anonymous

    I’ve been planning on watching this because of Sohn Hyun-joo. He was one of my favorite things about How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor along with the relationships between the men. His character was so unbelievably sweet.

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  11. 11 alchocoholic

    @ndegeocello: I couldn’t have said it better myself. I first saw SHJ in My Rosy Life as the cheating husband and I thought his face (prejudiced I know) suited the role to a tee. Then I saw him in more dramas like HIT, Terms of Endearment, What’s Up Fox? and How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor and he just grew on me. He’s not the stuff fantasies are made of but his comedic timing and goofball expressions have made him one of my favorite actors. I know all the pretty boys get all the love in korea but I really hope they have some left for ahjussi SHJ after this drama because he’s fantastic in it.

    Side note: It’s still early on so I have no idea what future his character holds but brutus is a hoot with his english – “Oh My God!”

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  12. 12 gail

    ahh, sounds interesting. i like park sun young. i want to give this one a try.

    #8, are you saying someone is subbing this and making it available on d-addicts?

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  13. 13 Alvina

    When I first heard of this drama, I was truly excited to see how it would turn out. The light-hearted storyline with a topic that particularly hits home.

    Whether it’s my Indian family or Korean family, they both say that 26 is my cut off to getting married XD (You guys must hear the hushed whispers when my family talks about my 34 year old unmarried—male—cousin).

    That said, the fifty episodes kind of turns me off. If this was a shorter drama, I’d know I wouldn’t have to deal (as much) with drawn out storylines and angsty subplots…

    maybe, I’ll watch the beginning and then come back towards the end to see how it turns out? >_<

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  14. 14 Taohua

    Sounds interesting and it’s being subbed! Definitely will have to check it out!

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  15. 15 Anonymous

    Yup, it’s available at d-addict with english subs. I think it’s the KBS America version. For those who can read chinese and want to watch ahead, it’s available with chinese simplified subs at koreaxu

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  16. 16 Biscuit

    Sohn Hyun-joo is so funny! Han Sang-jin is also funny (it was a teary moment at the awards show when he received his first reward for his role in Yi-San in all his years of acting.)

    I saw this show, but never watched it. It’s totally something my mom would love to watch. She’s been looking for a good series after Aeja/Minja series.

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  17. 17 jongmin

    ahh i love family dramas… they tend to be overacted and overly dramatic but so far this one is just very light and fun. i love seeing relationships form and grow, i think that part of television is very entertaining and these days, with soo many of these “epic” dramas revolving betrayal and revenge and lust and crap like that, there isn’t much room for growing relationships. we’re just told, certain characters are best friends or others fell torridly in love which is boring to me. love this show glad you like it too ^_^

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  18. 18 paula

    Wow, thanks DB — i was pleasantly surprised to see you talk about a family drama. Nice recap of characters + story. I know that miniseries are usually where K-dramas are at, but i also enjoy the chance to see characters and story develop over a longer time frame. This cast is first-rate and I am looking forward to it.

    I want to point out two interesting themes I’ve noticed so far, watching eps #1-4 on my local KBS affiliate.

    1) ep 4 introduces Brutus, Su-jin’s brother-in-law. Gee, a subtle name! He is 교포 (korean-american) who speaks Korean _pretty_ well but often stumbles or mishears/mispronounces and throws in a lot of English words and American slang. He is indeed a brute — a biker who loves his bike more than his wife, a big hulk of a guy with long hair, dressed in a muscle t-shirt, ill groomed, overfed — ok, let’s face it — the (common? I dunno) Korean stereotype of the ugly relatives back in the states. And we can see just how painful it is for Sujin’s sister (sorry, missed her name) to live with him. I am Caucasian, but i am wincing (while LOL) at these scenes. ::ouch:: Curious to see how his character plays out. I can’t think of another time when I’ve seen such a blatant stereotype of a gyopo character.

    2) I LOVE Mi-pung!! what a cutie. I’m fascinated by the “sissy” theme. He makes dolls, so he has to have his head shaved? yowie. And the introduction of Hana, the little baby he’s starting to care for, is adorable. Even his friend Yong-chul calls Mi-pung a sissy for missing Hana when he’s away from her. This boy is too sweet for the harsh world of macho Korea. Eager to watch what happens!

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  19. 19 Anonymous

    I loved watching Sohn Hyun-joo in the drama How to meet a perfect neighbor, he was one of my favorite characters in that show. Thanks for the information on this series Sarah, I think I will be able to finish this series (and I really hope that someone will sub this drama) .

    I will be look forward to watching this series. Thanks Sarah :)

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  20. 20 yvhsien

    Thanks, DB. I’m not a fan of long dramas but will probably check this out after reading your synopsis/review.

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  21. 21 koalabear

    thanks for the initial recap for this drama, I wanted to watch this bcoz of Sohn Hyun-joo, Lee Pil-mo and Park Sun-young but I don’t have the time yet, but it looks like a good drama, many said that Sohn and Park’s scenes were hilarious so I would look forward to that…this is actually my type of drama , but lately long episodes are taking me to nowhere but hopefully I could get me hands on this drama soon

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  22. 22 FAN

    I can’t wait for this to be out. LEE PIL MO’s fantastic!! He’s an awesome actor! ICHIBAN!!!!

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  23. 23 epyc

    What a surprise to find a solid fan base here for Sohn Hyun-joo! He is one good actor who delivers for every role he plays. This drama sounds adorable but how am I going to find the time. I am already committed to City Hall and Good Job Good Job (another weekend family drama which is a gem on its own). Shining Inheritance can now be dropped off from my list though. I am beginning to like family dramas more and more because they usually build around appealing characters whom you grow to care but they are just far too long for time poor people!

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  24. 24 Yoo Jin

    Ah i love Sohn Hyun-joo! XD
    This drama looks cute…i actually like the long 50+ episode dramas (when it doesn’t drag out the story to much lol)

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  25. 25 bbm

    the funny thing is that i’ve watched the scene in the clip, and i laughed all the same…
    KBS world had started to aired My Son (the title is too long, i kinda shorten it :P), for about 2 weeks now and i haven’t been able to actually watched it, coz none of the sons interest me, but maybe i’ll try it out this weekend…
    the third and second son looked alike alot… but shouldn’t sun pung be the second child, idk he looked older than dae pung…
    the drama look quite promising, but i kinda afraid it to be draggy n turn out to be typical daily drama, well i hope not

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  26. 26 hmmm...

    I heard about this drama recently, it’s quite popular in korea. So i started watching it couple of days ago. So far i’ve watched 1-2 espisodes and i like it so far. It’s one of those family dramas you won’t mind watching with your parents, it’s very lighthearted and fun to watch.

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  27. 27 reenna

    same here dramabeans….
    I also usually not watching this kind of drama (50 eps is just tooooo long for me…:p). but as I first wacth this drama at eps 3, i love it right away. the brothers are hillarous, and their ‘love story’ is very interesting to watch. i definitely going to watch it again every weekend. hope it will not become draggy and still be this good untill the end of the 50 eps….(“,)

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  28. 28 Tammy

    Wasn’t Yoo Hana the main lead in the Taiwanese series, My Lucky Stars? That was the first time I saw her and even though her voice was (obviously) dubbed, I thought she did a great job in that series. I would definitely watch this series just for her storyline! :)

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  29. 29 Samsooki

    This drama seems interesting, as I’ve not really been able to watch dramas that revolve around guys struggling through life. If I watch this drama, maybe I will see parts of my past life, or maybe I will identify with bits and pieces of each of the sons, maybe I’ll see my mother in a new light or in an old light, and so on. I doubt it can be as fun or as cleverly written or as engrossing or addictive as MNIKSS or Dal Ja’s Spring, but that’s no knock on this particular drama.

    THEN AGAIN, without having seen this drama, but after reading this summary and looking at the pictures and clips, I am beginning to feel that one omnipresent part, one little piece of the essence of being a guy is… just being skipped (just as it is skipped in the majority of k-dramas out there). Maybe this little part is a dark side that should not be brought to light, maybe it is the side that nobody wants to talk about, or the side that is not fun or interesting… but as a guy I can say that it is there, and it is an important part of who we are. And so, portraying guys as “good guys” or “bad guys” or whatever, but not at least alluding to a fundamental part of our nature is a little disingenous I think.

    Here’s what I know. Sometimes, guys do stupid things, sometimes mean-spirited or immoral or even criminal, for no reason at all or for really illogical reasons. And we do them without really caring (at that moment) what the consequences are. Whatever the cause, that’s what happens sometimes, and it makes guys imperfect, it makes all guys potentially really dangerous, and these happenstances will affect guys differently depending on their character – some will sweep it under the rug in an amoral fashion, some will actively try to deny it every happened, others will take on a penitent posture, and others will just block it out entirely.

    But regardless, however the consequential reaction, the fact remains that we are flawed creatures, always not-entirely sympathetic because we are always capable of great evil or wrongdoing for no real reason whatsoever. Maybe it is hormonal, maybe it is partially cultural, or a mix of genetics and upbringing, who knows. We can be just awful creatures for a moment (or moments) in time, and in that moment, we are just bad for no good reason, and while we may be able to control themselves as we mature, we still are capable of being a complete jerk even inapposite to our basic character and nature.

    And this essence of being a guy is almost never brought to light in k-dramas. Either a guy is a good guy, or a guy is a bad guy. The bad guys are stereotypical, and so are the good guys. And this is… kind of fake. It turns guys into caricatures, like high school plays or fairy tale stories.

    ***

    In this drama, there are 4 brothers of varying ages, and I don’t see one of these guys being portrayed with the honesty that would be refreshing and a little bit sad perhaps, because of our internal flaws are probably the single biggest reason why we do find ourselves alone in the universe.

    And I’d like to see that kind of honesty, but not because “all guys are evil,” or because a “guy got drunk,” or because the guy is a coward or was abused as child, or because he was trained to be bad by an evil dad, but just because that’s what most guys are like, sometimes, hopefully not often, but just sometimes. And I’d like to see guys who are basically decent people also have their awful sides exposed too, because its there.

    If in the future, when I see that kind of honesty being shown in an acting performance, or written into a particular character, I’ll know that guys are being validated or at least acknowledged for what they are – not just male versions of females, but something really different from women altogether.

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  30. 30 hjkomo

    I’ve been wanting to watch this one, as I’ve heard good things about it. I love Sohn Hyun Joo and Lee Pil Mo (though I haven’t watched You Are My Destiny). They are both comedic riots!

    The only problem is…where to find the time? :(

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  31. 31 Sere

    @JB
    ACK, I thought I had already knew all the dramas worth watching this season. Apparently, I was wrong. *facepalm*

    @Samsooki
    Interesting post. But…are you sure you’re not overthinking the whole thing? Cos I don’t see much difference between how the female characters and the male characters are portrayed: both are stereotyped. True, in different ways, but the clichés? are all there. I don’t really see what you’re talking about. If anything, the kdramas guys are a lot more layered than the girls imho. In fact, I’m most likely to keep watching a drama if the male characters are good even though the plot or the female characters are boring. And look, the eyecandy has nothing to do with it.

    But back to the main point: I don’t think female characters in kdramas are depicted with that quality you mention either, the one that makes a character a little more “real” and “realistic”, honest if you will. The essence of being female is overlooked oftentimes. It’s like fictional girls -except a few exceptions (Sam Soon for one)- are waaaaayyyyyyy over the top. In what they do, in their reactions, in pretty much everything.

    Psst: I read your post about male characters on MNIKSS on the open thread. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and I keep starting my reply, deleting most of it, starting again, thinking some more, deleting again and so on. I just wanted to tell you I AM going to reply. As soon as I’m not conflicted about it anymore. Heh.

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  32. 32 Samsooki

    @Sere –

    Maybe this is a product of me just not having seen enough dramas. Maybe you guys have seen enough dramas, so that you can say that the male roles and female roles are all treated about the same…

    For me, maybe because I’ve only seen around 20 dramas, I can think of a few iconic female roles, but not really any iconic male roles. For example, off the top of my head, I can think of 4 unique characters that are lead roles played by women – Oh Dal Ja (neurotic, loveable, irrepressible, vulnerable), Kim Sam Soon (talented, crass, loyal, honest), Joo Yu Rin (habitual liar, adventurous, bold, charming), and Go Eun Chan (hardworking, trustworthy, pretender). You can argue reasonably that each of these characters shouldn’t be applauded because of such-and-such reason, and that kind of rainbow color shading really makes the character real. You may dislike Kim Sam Soon, you may adore her, but you have an opinion and the character is real.

    What guy roles can you name that have that kind of depth of character, the kind of character that can be argued for or against, depending on how you feel? I was thinking, yeah, maybe Choi Han Gyul of CP (Gong Yoo), but maybe that’s about it?

    And so, if there is a drama revolving around guys (like the one discussed by JB in this thread), I just want there to be some realism and not stock characters who then move in geosynchronistic orbit around their respective love interests, so that we can really see what Korean guys (and maybe guys in general) are made of.

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  33. 33 cute girl

    I watched the drma till Ep6 & it’s really an enjoyable drama, It’s so funny how the mother keep hittin their sons no matter how ols are they.. she keep yelling & crying cuz they still unmarried.. the funniest is that the song they played when Jin Pung remebered his memories with his first love which it happen to be th lawyer’s sister in law, also when the playboy Dae Pung keep annoying & teasing the nurse Bok shil, he keep teasing her when she works, when she eats, when she went to have meals on his house & also when she don’t even prepare the meals for him, such a wierd guy it seems he hired a multi-employer not a nurse ^^ I enjoy thier scenes togethe, it’s obvious that they’ll end together cuz she seems the only one who can stand his temper..
    the third son Sun pung, want to see foolish but he is not foolish exactly he is too kind hearted whose boss ( which happen to be his father classmate but the really HATE eachother) want to get him amrry his daugther but Eun Ji & her mother doesn’t like him, he always care bout animals & get into troubles..
    The fourth son Mi pung who failed to pass the university entrance exam & love to sew dolls, he had to quit cuz his mother didn’t let him do it & keeps calling him girly, he had to take care of his friend’s daugther who had to insult to military but on Ep6 the mother kicked him with the baby but she’ll take her in since they show that on the preview.. the most annoying characters to me is the lawyer & her brother..

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  34. 34 hjkomo

    @ Samsooki
    Interesting points…but you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for in a weekend/family drama. Check out Que Sera Sera.

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  35. 35 Samsooki

    @34, hjkomo -

    This is JB’s summary:

    “Took a few episodes to fall in love, but boy did I. Intense and unapologetic. Not for the casual watcher. (8 / 9)”

    More than a few ppl said this was really interesting to watch, and I would love to watch this, but in actuality, I am a bit scared since JB says “intense, unapologetic, not for the casual watcher.” If JB had said, “Took a few episodes to fall in love, but boy did I. Don’t be scared”, then I would have bought the drama already. But JB attached a warning label…

    Isn’t kind of scary to watch something that isn’t apologetic? What if I want the drama to apologize, and it just won’t apologize? It is freaking UNAPOLOGETIC, you dunce! You knew it was unapologetic before you bought it! There are no refunds, no apologies! You got the warning from JB before you started watching! You have nobody to blame but yourself!

    scary stuff, you know? Can’t there be a nice soft drama with interesting iconic male roles? That’s what I want. :) :)

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  36. 36 hjkomo

    ^ “Can’t there be a nice soft drama with interesting iconic male roles?”
    Um, nope. You’ll have to open the rift and jump to an alternate universe. ;)

    Although I enjoyed Que Sera Sera, it didn’t reach mania status for me (unlike others). It is intense and unapologetic. Perhaps, you should put a few more dramas under your belt before tackling this one. :)

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  37. 37 GLarr

    I love this drama, it is just too sweet and takes you back to korea in a much simpler time.

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  38. 38 WINNIE

    thanks JB for the recaps. i will surely love this drama. i’m a sucker for lighhearted comidies. and with SOHN HYUN JOO in the lineup i can see already that this will be a good one for me.

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  39. 39 whoa

    ive watched 1-2 ep through kbs world and laugh so hard. i admit its a bit cliche, but i like the character. esp the meanie doctor and the fruity youngest son, lol
    being first born and almost 30, i can totally relate to jin pung character. i hope if i failed to get hitched in the next five years (or ten!) my mom wont start beating me and cry like theirs

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  40. 40 KKim

    I think the brotherly love is wonderful, but the two dads are HILARIOUS. I especially love the Song Father, as he is ridiculously adorable. He has the ability to make me say, “awww” and crack up at the same time. Maybe it’s because he looks like, and talks like my own father, but he really has the ability to reach out to me. I especially remember a specific scene in “Love Can’t Wait” when he played Hong Kyung Min’s father in which his eldest daughter got revenge for what she felt like years of fatherly neglect by leaving him at a countryside rest station. As he chased after the bus and saw his daughter turn away from him as he called out her name, I bawled like a baby and felt like going to my own dad and apologizing. Just because. Thank you for introducing me to this delightful drama!

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  41. 41 Samsooki

    DL’ed and watched the two episodes. (Took me a WHILE to figure it out, LOL), but I didn’t have subtitles so I could only get maybe 80% of it.

    I think this drama is clever, has a lot of heart, the characters are interesting, and there really are some laugh at loud moments as people have said. And I think this is so unrealistic, that one could argue that it is doing a disservice to guys. Guys aren’t like that, at least not the eldest two guys, and it bothers me to see them in such states.

    I have guy friends who are in their mid-to-late 30′s, single, and I can also extrapolate based on all the guys that I have known, how they would be if they were never married and had a strong mother for a mother. I can also look at my life, and see how I would have turned out if I lived as they do, and I can’t see it.

    Anyway, I am recommending to my wife that we watch this (because it’s funny and it has heart and it is interesting to watch), but I am also a little bit sad, because they had an opportunity to make a couple of real, live, korean males who aren’t caricatures. I can guess that these 4 sons will start to change and find strength and honesty and everything else that they are lacking (sort of like the Wizard of Oz and needing a brain, courage, heart, etc.) as the drama progresses, but they could have had done so much more…

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  42. 42 loveydovey

    the first episode was really funny i love the youngest one (so adorable and hilarious).and hey i recognized Yoo Hana from My Lucky Star!

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  43. 43 KBSfaninNJ

    Hey gang!
    You can see My Too Perfect Sons on KBS World Saturday and Sunday Evenings. KBS owns the show and produces the english subtitled version.
    Also, KBS World is on Facebook!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/KBSWORLDi/82906919432?ref=mf
    If you want to chat about great Korean shows on KBS (and others) just say hi!
    Laterz!

    Jessica S. Tooma
    KBSfaninNJ

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  44. 44 In

    I watched ep 1-4 and laughed so hard omgz! th four bros will definitely light up my weekends! whoopie

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  45. 45 Jae Young

    You know, I actually caught this on tv when I was hanging with the ‘rents and I was like “This is actually sort of decent for a family drama!” I’m glad you are enjoying it too. I seriously would get cable just to watch even family dramas on tv. My current laptop isn’t great for downloading stuff. Hmm, so tempting….

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  46. 46 asianromance

    I’ve also begun this drama- was sold when 1. Mama Song looked at all four boys..wishing she had stopped giving birth after the first two cuz having 4 of them was too much work…but then realized that the last two were just as precious as the first two and resigned herself to having and loving all four and 2. the Sun-pung and Eunji pair. Sun-pung so quiet and animal-loving (omg…the poor chickens!) and Eunji so brash and bold (even to be wearing her fake pregnant belly to an arranged date.)- what a pair! and i loved Yoo Hana from her tw drama, my lucky star.

    i also love Bokshil too- i can’t wait to see how her relationship with Daepung pans out. it was so weird to see lee pil mo as daepung. He was like the furthest thing away from a playboy in his You Are My Destiny role. Thought he was more naural in You Are My Destiny than in here.

    i probably won’t keep up with it as it’s coming out, but i am definitely interested in seeing more.

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  47. 47 go

    i have never really been into korean family dramas as usually they are a mix of interesting and boring side plots, but this is really hilarious, not draggy, and has interesting characters, not just one couple, but achieves a balance between all the plot links. wish to see more!

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  48. 48 Gracegracegrace

    I tried to watch this last weekend on my KBS station, but it was some old empress show! Is it at 755?

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  49. 49 ivycious

    love it!!!!!!!! since b.o.f over ;)

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  50. 50 midori

    hye rim’ daughter is soo cute.. n always crying when i saw mipung crying missing hana.. he’s so sweet!!!

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