Better late than never?
Rewatching this drama now, two months after it has ended, actually reminds me why I was so drawn to it in the first place. As a simple family comedy, there are no big stars, special effects, or cutting-edge stories — just relationships that are heartwarming and familiar and easily enjoyed.
SONG OF THE DAY
Rumble Fish – “Sorry” [ Download ]
The relationship grows between Jin-pung and Su-jin to the point where they are comfortable showing affection with each other. However, they are choosing to keep the relationship quiet from their families for the time being, enjoying keeping it on the downlow.
For instance, there’s a cute moment when Jin-pung gives Su-jin a rabbit stuffed animal (saying she looks like one — she’d once made that angry rabbit face at him). She’s delighted, but Mari has a fit of brattiness and claims the doll for herself, saying that adults don’t play with toys. Su-jin finds herself unable to explain why this doll means something important to her, so she just snatches it back and makes Mari cry. LOL.
Of all the family members, only Dae-pung knows about their romance, but he’s so bummed about Bok-shil’s disappearance that he can’t muster much interest in his brother’s love life. The rest of the Song family is upset that he hasn’t been able to find her, but none more so than Grandpa, who is severely disappointed in his grandson for driving her off.
Speaking of whom, Bok-shil (aka Jennifer, aka “Bokifer”) is now back at the luxurious mansion where her father and younger sister live. Although we don’t get the full details of the family strife, here are the basics:
Bok-shil used to live in this house, but it’s been a while since she’s been back. She had lived in New York with her mother, who died three years ago. Her father came to New York to see her, but she had already left and they could find no trace of her. Bok-shil and her sister are half-siblings, and the issue of their father having had two women in his life is sore point. But while her sister is flippant about it, the pain is much worse for Bok-shil, whose love for her mother is the reason she distanced herself from the family in the first place.
Although reluctant at first, Bok-shil goes shopping and buys herself a new wardrobe — all are fancy clothes from a department store. She straightens the perm she’d gotten with Mama Song, and throws away her old clothing in a symbolic gesture.
Bok-shil’s father, Dr. Kim, is the director of a hospital and an imposing man of exacting standards. Now that he knows where Bok-shil had hidden herself for the past three years, he has the neighborhood investigated, and is dismayed to hear about the kind of people she used to associate with in the Sol Pharmacy environs. On paper, they sound a little questionable (one son’s a playboy, one had scandals with an actress, one showed up with a baby and “claimed” that he was raising it for “a friend”), and to Dr. Kim’s ears, they sound like lowlifes. He’s glad Bok-shil is no longer in their company.
Sun-pung is still suffering for his mistake in admitting to Eun-ji that he once liked Bok-shil. She’s still feeling miffed, and Gwang-ho tells his son that he was dumb for being too honest. He coaches him in the way to respond to a wife’s probing questions, under the philosophy that even though honesty is a good thing, sometimes he needs to know when to keep his mouth shut.
Gwang-ho tests Sun-pung, haranguing him and pinching him while asking questions like: “Did you like anyone before me?” “Have you ever been to a room salon?” “Do you have an account I don’t know about?” “Did you send your parents money without me knowing?” (Sun-pung adamantly denies them all. Adorably, when he answers the last one Gwang-ho gets offended at his hypothetical denial — what an ungrateful son!)
Dae-pung tries to hire a replacement nurse, but that meets with a dissatisfactory end. She’s a professional who won’t put up with his temperamental ways, and she finds it offensive that he would ask her to pick up his dry cleaning or fetch him lunch. (Dae-pung, on the other hand, is finally starting to see that it was rare of Bok-shil to be so accommodating.) The nurse quits in a huff, telling him he was a horrible boss to her.
So Dae-pung boards up his clinic with an “under construction” notice and takes to his room in a depressed funk, living off of ramen and soju and surfacing only rarely.
Mama Song decides that they can send Sun-pung and Eun-ji to live with her parents now, which works out better for everyone logistically. The Song household is awfully crowded, and Eun-ji’s parents are thrilled to have her back. (Note: Newlyweds are expected to live with the groom’s family, so it’s Mama Song’s prerogative to make this suggestion. No matter how much the Ohs would have loved this, it would have been rude for them to suggest it, and it would have been seen as ungrateful for the kids to broach it. Therefore, everyone is happy that Mama Song has come up with the idea.)
Well, almost everyone. Sun-pung is the lone dissenter — his mother-in-law is difficult and stressful to be around, and he prefers living with his parents. (Eun-ji, of course, prefers living with hers.) However, he can’t protest to his in-laws (that would be rude), so he begs his parents to change their minds. But the grown-ups are too preoccupied with Dae-pung’s continued depression to worry about Sun-pung, and tell him to suck it up.
Bokifer resumes work as a neurosurgeon and operates alongside her father. At the hospital, everyone knows her as Jennifer Kim, and she is well-liked. She does her work well and puts on a polite face to everyone, but we can see she isn’t happy — neither with her living situation nor her father, with whom she remains aloof. She still holds a grudge for how he treated her mother.
She runs into an old friend, Hyun-woo, who is a medical school buddy and who now works at the hospital. He’d tried to get in touch with her over the past few years, but couldn’t get her contact info. When he asks where she’d been, she merely answers that she was “in a good place.” Hyun-woo is clearly interested in Bok-shil, and although she doesn’t return the sentiment, she treats him with warm friendliness.
She can’t, however, forget about the Song family, and a flashback tells us how she first came to meet them. We already know how Mama Song found her outside of Dae-pung’s clinic and brought her home, but now we see the scenario leading to that.
Because her mother had wanted to return to Korea, Bokifer had come to bring her mother’s remains back to her homeland. She had intended only to see her mother buried and then return to New York, but while she was bawling her eyes out at the gravesite, a sympathetic grave digger had offered her a ride to Seoul. Once in the city, she had wandered the streets listlessly, then headed into Jin-pung’s pharmacy for some tonic. Spotting Dae-pung’s “nurse wanted” sign, she had headed to the clinic.
The first time she had told him her name was Kim Bok-shil, Dae-pung had laughed in her face — it sounds old-fashioned, like a dog’s name. Right from the start, they’d established their bickering dynamic, and as a result she had left without taking the job. After falling asleep on the steps, Mama Song had found her, seen her weakened condition, and taken her home for some food.
Dae-pung finally emerges from his den of depression after a month of living in squalor. He decides he won’t run his own clinic anymore — he’s tired of all these nurses who drive him crazy. He tells his mother he’ll get a job at a hospital, which makes her happy.
Dae-pung cleans up and heads for a meeting based on a colleague’s recommendation… which happens to be at Daejin Hospital, where Bok-shil works.
As Dae-pung heads up to meet with the director, he accidentally crashes into a nurse and falls to the ground in a loud clatter. The commotion makes doctors look over curiously, and Bok-shil turns her head to see who that man is on the ground causing such a ruckus…
…but just as Bok-shil is about to catch a glimpse of Dae-pung, her attention is diverted and she continues on her way.
None the wiser, Dae-pung proceeds to his interview with the director, Bok-shil’s father, who eyes him with suspicion. Despite Dae-pung’s top marks at a top medical school, he hasn’t had an ambitious career. He didn’t opt to publish papers or accumulate experience in prestigious positions. Instead, he set up his own modest practice and now admits that he closed up shop because of “one bad nurse” who left his office in chaos.
The director isn’t particularly impressed, but gives him the job. Dae-pung starts off already on the wrong foot, because when he had crashed into the nurse, he had blamed her for the collision. Now, he has to work with her, and all the nurses at the station eye him with disdain.
With Su-jin spending much of her free time with Jin-pung, Bruce starts to suspect his sister is dating someone. He even asks Jin-pung for help, so he can watch his sister’s comings and goings from the pharmacy in order to beat up her boyfriend.
Nervously, Jin-pung asks why. Bruce: “I don’t like Su-jin having a boyfriend. All men except for me are bad! They’re all wolves! And she’s a pretty rabbit.” So when Su-jin happily pops by after work, not seeing her brother lurking behind her, Jin-pung uneasily pretends indifference. She doesn’t pick up on it and starts to act like her usual affectionate self, so he signals behind her — Bruce is glaring protectively. They manage to cover this up by saying she’s here to pick up Mari’s vitamins.
Since they didn’t get to talk much that night, Su-jin sneaks out later when everyone’s asleep to meet Jin-pung in front of his store, where he has prepared something for her. Earlier, he had presented her with a jump rope, because she had never gotten to play it as a child, and tonight the game is Korean-style jacks (gonggi).
Little do they realize that Bruce has followed her outside and witnesses the scene. They don’t see him, so in the morning she doesn’t understand why he’s peevish and won’t talk to her.
Bruce confronts Jin-pung directly about liking Su-jin, lapsing into English out of frustration. Jin-pung answers, in English, “I love Su-jin.” Bruce tries to control his freakout but his reaction is a mix of the logical and illogical: Bruce had trusted Jin-pung, who’s taken Su-jin away. Jin-pung was also his wife’s friend. Plus, he has the worst style in the neighborhood and dresses badly and has horrible hair like a schoolteacher. Jin-pung apologizes in his meek way, and when Bruce asks whether he truly loves Su-jin, he answers, “Yes.”
Bruce lets that sink in, then makes a few requests. First, “You must never hit her.” Second, “Don’t drink.” Jin-pung agrees. “And third, never hurt her.” If Jin-pung ever breaks his promise, Bruce will never forgive him.
Bruce’s overprotectiveness is really very sweet. He may be an exaggerated, loutish characterization of the ugly American in Korea, but he does the emotional scenes so well. Later, Su-jin comes upon her brother to give him a heartfelt hug, understanding that his reaction is out of love for her.
Meanwhile, Su-hee has been warned to Mama Song to make sure Mi-pung sticks to his studies. (The message is that she and Hana should stay away.) So, she sneaks in to Mi-pung’s room to give him present: a room freshener. It’s a combination housewarming gift (he has taken Sun-pung’s old room) and encouragement to study hard. She explains that she and Yong-chul weren’t good students, but it would be nice to have someone close to Hana going to college.
Dae-pung faces an uphill battle with the nurses, who complain to Bok-shil that everything about the new doctor is annoying. He’s loud and brash and calls them “Kim-gan” and “Park-gan,” which is a shortened (and overly familiar) way of saying Nurse Kim and Nurse Park. (It’s akin to calling a doctor “Doc.”)
As she passes by, Bok-shil and Dae-pung miss seeing each other — but his voice carries as he tries to win over the nurses. As the conversation continues, she recognizes his voice.
Dae-pung glances down the hall just as Bok-shil quickly turns her head — but the brief glimpse of her face strikes him as familiar. Starting to sense who this is, he calls out after her, and Bok-shil hurries down the hall, keeping her head down.
Dae-pung catches up to her and whirls her around, eyes widening in shock when he recognizes her. Bok-shil, meanwhile, tries to assert that he has the wrong person and feigns ignorance, but he’s positive that she’s Bok-shil, and grabs her to him in a hug.
He’s so crazed with surprise and relief that he insists — quite loudly — that she’s Bok-shil, and slips into his favorite Bok-shil puppy refrain, barking jokingly. He’s just glad to see her and is bad at containing his excitement, but given the circumstances, he comes off rather like an ass. She slaps him.
Honestly, Dae-pung has totally earned his pain, so it brings me satisfaction to see him suffering even though I actually really like the character. Seeing him having to suffer for his selfish and careless actions actually enables me to like his character more, because at least he’s reaping what he’s sown. If he had gotten away with treating Bok-shil like crap, then it would be near-impossible to root for him. But since she has moved on and left him in his own misery, he has to make up for all his bad behavior before he deserves to win her back.
The drama makeover scene is always symbolic, and the hair scene is particularly significant in this case. Beyond just shedding her old look, Bok-shil’s ajumma perm is a link to the Song family, because it’s something she had gotten done with Mama Song (who, I believe, gave it to her as a gift). That’s why even when Dae-pung insisted she straighten it out, she stubbornly kept the hairstyle.
Now, seeing Bokifer back in her native wealth, we know that her attachment to the perm has nothing to do with a lack of style — she’s quite stylish, actually. She dresses herself in chic clothing and expensive designer accessories now that she has made the choice to resume her old life as a well-off doctor. She has decided that Dae-pung is out of her life, so she may as well look forward.
I love this scene! Sun-pung moves into the Oh house with misgivings, feeling out of place and uncomfortable here, particularly with Oh-Ma and her oppressive politeness. But his brothers help him move (sans Dae-pung, who is depressed), and Young-dal eagerly dons a spare blue tracksuit. The brothers assure him that they have things under control, but Young-dal jumps into the activity and happily includes himself.
He even tells the boys to call him “Father,” which is what they would call their father’s friend, or a close family friend with no actual family ties. (Once there are official family relationships, there is a specific term by which to address him, which is more appropriate but also more formal.) The guys oblige him and call him “Father,” which makes him happy and brings the BIGGEST SMILE to my face.
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 29-31
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 26-28
- Sol Pharmacy’s finale makes it top-rated drama of the year
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 22-25
- Another Sol Pharmacy son gains endorsement power
- Sol Pharmacy son Lee Pil-mo enjoys sharp rise in popularity
- KBS orders extension for Sol Pharmacy
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 19-21
- Sol Pharmacy reclaims top weekend spot
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 17-18
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 13-16
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 9-12
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House: Episodes 5-8
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House / My Too Perfect Sons