Drama Recaps
It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl: Episode 1
by | November 25, 2010 | 45 Comments

It seems to me that SBS’s newly unveiled Monday-Tuesday drama It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl (replacing Dr. Champ) really needs two episodes before forming a full opinion, but because of recent pre-emptions, we only got one this week. I figured I might as well weigh in with thoughts on the premiere, although I’m still waiting to see what direction the story heads before making a decision.

It’s not a very original drama, but there are some aspects that I liked enough that I’ll tune back in next week. I don’t suppose this will be a challenging or fresh/creative series, but its strength lies in its relatability. And also, as the title suggests, in Moon Chae-won‘s charm and her relationship with her father, played with warmth and heart by Park In-hwan.

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EPISODE 1

Let’s start with the EUN family, who make up the center of this drama. Dad is a retired chief accountant for a large corporation, and currently is helping out a friend by working at his apparel company. Mom is somewhat shallow but pretty typical, as far as upper-middle-class Korean mothers go, wanting the best for her children and thinking the key lies in good jobs, good clothes, and good marriages.

The children are, in birth order: eldest daughter AE-RYUNG, younger sister CHAE-RYUNG, and middle son HO-RYUNG. Uncle Man-soo (Mom’s younger brother) is also often hanging around, a timid type who’s still single.

Now for our heroine, Chae-ryung (Moon Chae-won), a student at a third-rate university who’s been studying fashion design abroad. She’s lively and cheery, enough so that you can’t quite write her off as a total spoiled brat, even though she is. She’s a few degrees shy of having a complete “princess complex,” thanks mostly to her sensible, grounded father who keeps her in check. Or tries to.

She wheedles and pouts with Daddy whenever she wants him to buy her something (which is always), to which he usually gives a dryly worded denial. Though he usually caves eventually. They have a close relationship, enough that when she pouts, “Daddy, I hate you,” Dad can say “I hate you too” right back with the understanding that they’re both totally unserious about it.

This time, she really, really, really wants — no, needs! — a new handbag, which is totally different from all the other handbags he’s bought her before because it’s a bag WITHIN a bag! See, Daddy can stop worrying that she’ll misplace things and therefore the bag is totally for HIS benefit! It’s really an act of filial piety! (Dad retorts that she can take that piety and stuff it. In a nice way, of course.)

Chae-ryung returns to Korea with her friend BO-RA and her sunbae JONG-SEOK (Jeon Tae-soo). (Chae-ryung greets her father sulkily at the airport, still annoyed about the bag incident, until he agrees to buy it and perks her right up.)

Bo-ra doesn’t seem terribly important at the moment, but Jong-seok’s an interesting character. At first he stirs a bit of sympathy, because it’s obvious he likes Chae-ryung but she sees him in no such light and maintains a firmly platonic relationship. For instance, while she’s pouting about the bag, he suggests that he could buy it for her — thinking nothing of the $1,500 price tag — and you almost feel sorry for him because he likes her that much. (She laughs it off and dismisses his offer.)

Jong-seok is the son of successful lawyer parents who have their own law firm, but he’s got that misunderstood-angry-neglected-rich-boy vibe about him. His parents have sent him to law school in the U.S., but he’s already flunked out. He tells Bo-ra that his parents are meeting him at the airport to save face, but takes a taxi home.

Chae-ryung’s unni Ae-ryung, played wonderfully by Lee Hee-jin, works at an art gallery under a terribly snooty rich snob of a director. The director’s son, whom she’s been dating secretly, is a meek mama’s boy who sits by quietly while his mother’s talking down to Ae-ryung, but then whisks her away outside and talks big about how they can come clean about their relationship soon.

Ae-ryung, however, is under no illusions and tells him that she’s done with all this; she has no desire to be treated like that wrong-side-of-the-tracks lowlife that his mother will see her as, and breaks it off.

Ho-ryung is the baby of the family, currently on a leave from school while he serves out his military obligation. On a brief furlough, he visits his girlfriend’s family, who treat their future marriage as a matter of fact and call him son-in-law. It makes him nervous — you get the sense he’s not gung-ho about marriage — although his girlfriend is completely onboard.

I suspect Ho-ryung is waiting for the right time to break it off, based on the way he warns his father against his girlfriend’s father. The girlfriend’s family is working-class (the Euns are upper-middle) and, worse yet, her parents are shameless about how much they love his family background. He suspects that Not-Father-in-Law is about to ask for money, and warns his father to avoid the man and to not agree to his requests.

True enough, Not-Father-in-Law presses himself on Daddy Eun and brazenly asks for money. Dad is too polite and well-mannered to shut him down, but a timely emergency with work extricates him from this delicate situation. For now.

Mom is eager to get Ae-ryung married off to a rich prospect, and begs the matchmaker to set up her daughter with a prime catch. Knowing better than to fight, she lets her mother dress her up in designer duds and resigns herself to the mat-seon.

The ladies are taken aback at the off-putting behavior of the so-called catch, JIN-GU (Kang Sung), who is so privileged that he has seen no need to cultivate manners. The meeting is strained, and it seems as though his family will deem them too bourgeois for their aristocratic blood.

So it’s curious that after the date, they get the word that the family liked Ae-ryung — Jin-gu did seem a little impressed when Ae-ryung showed some spine. But Ae-ryung argues with her mother and resists going on further dates, detesting being pushed around.

Ae-ryung’s outburst is spurred by her raw feelings over her breakup, and Dad senses that she’s fallen for someone and is nursing a wounded heart. They have a touching heart-to-heart where he says what he most wants in her husband is a man who values her, who thinks that all hardships are worth it to have her by his side. She jokes that men aren’t like that these days, and Dad says that he can’t give her up to anyone lesser.

She tells him that she only wants one thing: A man who treats her father well. “If he treats you well, I think he would be the kind of man to put up with me the way you do.”

A problem crops up at work when Dad’s friend, the CEO, receives a blackmail letter threatening to sell their new designs to a competitor unless they pay up.

Dad’s diligent secretary screws up her nerve to confess that this is her fault; her no-good brother is behind it. He had demanded money from her, a frequent occurrence, and she had put her foot down. So he stole her laptop and took the designs, and sent the letter. The woman is miserable and afraid — even if she comes clean, she’ll be fired for sure — but Dad assures her with his kind, generous way that he will find a solution for this, and that she need not worry.

And now for the villainous turn. If you were feeling sorry for Jong-seok, you can stop now. Instead of playing the noble Duckie role — meaning, standing by with pathetic lovestruck eyes as the girl of his dreams falls for another — he decides to take matters into his own hands. And if you’ve seen him being the evil mastermind in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, you’ll know that his hands are capable of being plenty evil and twisted.

This time he buys the designer bag to use as “bait.” He pays a contact who works at a hot nightclub to be his accomplice in winning over his girl. (From the way they talk, this isn’t the first time, either.) Jong-seok decides that the “white knight” act is most likely to succeed, which means the nightclub employee will engineer a situation that puts Chae-ryung in danger so that Jong-seok can swoop in and save her.

The trap set, Jong-seok invites Chae-ryung and Bo-ra to have a drink at said club. The girls oblige, but unbeknownst to him, Chae-ryung is about to step aside in order to give her friend the opportunity to confess her feelings for Jong-seok.

This works with his plan, because that means she is alone and vulnerable as she steps out of the club to await her ride. The club employee (and an accomplice) approach her and try coaxing her to hang out with them. Sensing danger, she declines, but they grab her anyway.

Chae-ryung manages to get off a phone call and pleads with her father to come save her. He’s almost at the destination and pulls up to the curb in time to see his daughter being dragged away by two men.

He jumps out of the car, almost colliding with a young man on a motorcycle, and leaves his car right in the middle of the road. The biker and a couple bystanders helpfully move his car to the side as Dad dashes off to save Chae-ryung.

Dad’s arrival breaks up the brewing trouble, allowing Chae-ryung to run to safety. But Dad isn’t about to let some punks get away with threatening his daughter, even if they are younger and stronger. Chae-ryung begs him to leave, but Dad threatens to call the police, and that escalates the confrontation. The punk belts him one and sends him to the ground.

 

COMMENTS

To be honest, most of Episode 1 felt sorta boring and familiar — so what kept me watching was the potential I sense. Despite a ho-hum start to the drama, which almost felt more like a weekend family drama than a prime-time miniseries, for some reason I’m intrigued enough to keep going. It’s like I’m watching more for what it COULD be rather than what it currently is.

I actually enjoyed the drama a lot more on second watch, because I could focus on the things I liked while skimming over the things I didn’t. What’s forgettable: A bunch of the supporting characters like Bo-ra, Dad’s office problems, the grasping would-be in-law asking for money, Mom being shrill and pushy (she’s not so evil as she was in Bad Guy, nor as eccentric as she was in Sons of Sol Pharmacy — which is to say, she’s a lot less interesting), Ae-ryung’s wussy boyfriend and his snobby mother.

What I liked? Chae-ryung and Dad are the best things about the drama. Dad is warm and sweet and hard-working, and perhaps there are aspects of him that will make us all think of our own fathers. Although he is financially well-off, he hasn’t let money spoil him, and at home he is the one who silently goes around cleaning up messes, picking up after everyone. He knows his kids are spoiled but loves them anyway, and tries to keep them grounded.

I suppose Chae-ryung may turn people off with her immaturity, but I think she’ll be shaping up pretty quickly, like Choi Jung-won did in Wish Upon a Star. Even when she’s being spoiled, she shows flashes of depth — such as the scene where she happens to hear the touching exchange between her sister and her father, which brings tears of emotion to her own eyes. She whispers to herself that Dad seems like he’s in a great mood… which means tomorrow will be a good time to ask for that bag. But I don’t think she’s being entirely selfish in the moment, because she has a wistful, teary expression on her face — it’s like that’s her way of undercutting her own emotion.

Lee Hee-jin is also a lovely presence in this drama as Ae-ryung, and in fact I thought to myself that this unknown face was out-acting the star in some points. I looked her up, and was surprised to realize that she is a former idol star in her own right — she was a member of late-’90s girl group Baby V.O.X. (which is these days best known for being Yoon Eun-hye’s springboard to early fame). Lee Hee-jin only has one acting credit prior to this, and that’s way back in 2002 in a sitcom, Zoo People.

So that proves a couple things: First, that if some idol-turned-actors can be so strong when they’ve had so little experience, surely we don’t have to insist that all idols who are bad be automatically given special consideration for their lack of experience. And second, that having an idol background doesn’t preclude one from having acting ability. Lee has a very gentle, wounded warmth to her acting that makes Ae-ryung very sympathetic.

As for Jeon Tae-soo, I find him oddly compelling. I know he’s an out-and-out bad guy here, but his character has such an great mix of traits that I can’t help feeling pity for him mixed in with that whoa-crazy-guy-alert wariness. I’m glad to see he’s giving his eyeballs a rest and is playing Jong-seok with a chilling vibe rather than In-soo’s furious perennial glaring. He’s still green as an actor, but I already see an improvement from Sungkyunkwan.

Episode 1 ends just as the stage is starting to be set for the rest of the drama, which is why I don’t feel like I can make a decision until I see the result in Episode 2.

[SPOILER ALERT in case you don't want to know anything further, but keep reading if you don't mind preview discussion and speculation about future episodes.]

In the next episode: After he gets punched, Dad gets helped out by the guys who park his car, and the whole group gets taken to the police station. There, Dad gives the main perpetrator a heartfelt warning speech about straightening out his ways, and the guy sheds a tear, moved at Dad’s words. (I’m going to guess that Dad might even drop the charges in an act of mercy.) In fact, the guy is so affected that he tells Jong-seok that he’s been swayed over to Dad’s side instead — and Jong-seok glares in fury, then hits him with a car. The crime apparently gets pinned on Dad instead.

That’s all interesting stuff, complicated by the fact that Mom squeals to hear that Chae-ryung is being wooed by the son of such a prestigious family and urges her to accept Jong-seok’s suit. Of course they can’t know that he is the Evil of All Evils, but that oughtta spice things up. Oh, and the fancy rude boy falls for Ae-ryung (he eagerly tells his mom, “I’ll marry her!”), just as her wimpy ex begs her to reconcile.

And this is BEFORE we even get to meet half our main cast, including our hero:

That’s Choi Jin-hyuk (Pasta) on the left, playing Hyuk-ki, a down-to-earth guy. Hyuk-ki is currently serving in the military — that gives us a clue to how he meets Chae-ryung — and on leave from studying at a prestigious law school.

Super Junior member Donghae, middle, is his hard-working younger brother. At right is CN Blue’s Kang Min-hyuk, who plays a delivery boy who is also the drummer in a ragtag band playing at a third-rate bar.

So. Even though the drama got off to a slowish start and remains in a narrative limbo at the end of Episode 1, I found plenty of little bits to hook me. Who knows, maybe the drama won’t improve at all and will maintain this level of middling energy, and if that turns out to be the case, I’m probably out. But if it capitalizes on what I think are some promising story elements, it has it in it to be much better.

 
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45 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. A

    OMG!!! Yess!!! I love Moon Chae won! Finally!!! thank you

    • 1.1 Atomicitrus

      I think I’ll check it out for MCW as well. I loved her in Shining Inheritance and thought she was the only wonderful character in that drama that Yoon Eun Hye did last year (can’t remember the name…I quit half way when it got unbearable).

      Anyway, yay MCW! Finallly :)

  2. rayray

    who is the main lead guy? :D

    I totally dont feel hooked (yet?) and agree about maybe giving the 2nd episode a chance and deciding after whether to be loyal to this drama or not.

    • 2.1 javabeans

      Choi Jin-hyuk.

      I’m with you in not feeling hooked yet, but I feel I oughtta at least wait till the hero makes an appearance before deciding.

      • 2.1.1 Mel

        thanks JB, pls give this a chance….

      • 2.1.2 pabo ceo reom

        Yeah I couldn’t shake the weekend family drama vibe watching the first eppy. This might be one where I’ll marathon it after everything finishes airing.

      • 2.1.3 rayray

        so true!! I ve actually never seen a drama like this where the main lead man wasnt introduced to us in the first episode!

  3. aX

    I’m rooting that this Kdrama does fairly well and I’m interested to see where Jong-Seok & Chae-ryung’s relationshionship leads, too. Is it wrong for somehow already root for them just skimming through this summary?

  4. kahji

    idk. Casting seems good but i doubt with the way the plot was executed. :(

  5. Annie

    I hope this one will be good. I don’t know why, but I don’t have the feeling to follow this drama.

  6. orangelauren

    Even though it’s only the first episode, I’m still kind of iffy about the premise. I thoroughly enjoyed Wish Upon a Star and Prosecutor Princess, both dramas about a spoiled/self-centered girl who is forced to mature, so maybe I’m approaching this drama with skepticism (I don’t think it will be up to par).

    That kid who reveals his shady side made me do a double take and seems to be the only thing that piques my interest at this point.

    I always appreciate your (and everyone else’s) recaps, JB!

  7. kitkatx

    Woah, Jeon Tae-soo got a new drama fast! Happy for him! He deserves some attention even though he wasn’t a main part of the Joseon F4. :)

  8. Audrey

    I love Moon and I love the drama~~~~!!
    It reminds me much of Brilliant Legacy!
    Thanks! Keep it up…..!!!

  9. pohonphee

    Jeon Tae-soo with eyeglasses is cute…> <

    I want to see how he carries out bad guy character without glaring.

  10. 10 Sobia

    Whoa! The end of your recap is total cute boy overload!

    Thanks for the recap. It’s really cool to hear your initial thoughts, before recapping begins in serious and loyalty to a show comes into play.

  11. 11 red

    i really hope u keep recapping….the drama sounds interesting

  12. 12 Haina

    I haven’t made up my mind about this drama yet. I’m looking forward to your next recap! It’ll probably make up my mind for if I’ll picking it up.

  13. 13 lalala55h

    I liked the first episode and I cried a lot (don’t know why). The father and the daughter, their relationship is great. I’m not sure about the love-line though, i’m interested in Jeon Tae-Soo’s character. Cause, oddly I’m feeling, he might not be a total bad guy…

  14. 14 Louise

    I quite like it. As you say, there’s nothing groundbreaking original/fresh (yet) with this drama, but Moon Chae Won is a pretty solid actress, and her combi with her dad here is heartwarming and sweet. No one from the casts did bad jobs. As for now, it at least on par with it’s precedessor, dr. Champ. Luckily, dr.Champ also not a really soaring/striking drama, so it helped people to warming on this quicker.

    Oh, and just a request: Javabeans/Girlfriday, can you inform us about the drama which will be the one for replace “Secret Garden” later? The title “신기생뎐 (New Story of Gisaeng)” intriguing me. WithS2 already planning for subbing despite the lengthy 50 eps. Also there’s rumor of Lee Da Hae being casted but apparently not, but Go Na Eun from “Assorted Gems.”

  15. 15 hellochloe

    Whoa. This is a whole new level from In Soo

    All this for a girl? o_O

  16. 16 dinna

    Love Moon Chae Won. Hopefully this drama will become more interesting to watch.

  17. 17 supah

    Ditto on the weekend family drama vibes Daddy’s Girl is emitting. There is a surprisingly heavier and intriguing tone to it, I was expecting another WUAS-style opener.

    I checked it out as I was curious about the lead guy (since he’s relatively a n00b) and how he’d fare against MCW. Shame he hasn’t appeared yet. Also, I have a little crush on HJW’s badboy dongsaeng.

    Also, agree about keeping an open mind when it comes to idol stars. The general consensus is that they suck and shouldn’t give up their day job, but then you get exceptional cases like UEE, who is such a natural.

  18. 18 @.@

    actually, this sounds like a great beginning to a great drama! i will definitely be watching this!

  19. 19 Faith

    Wished I could watch the drama as I like the lead actress a lot but alas no SBS channel for us here.

    • 19.1 @.@

      you can watch it on viikii (google it) if you aren’t in the US or Canada, in practically any language, but if you are in the US or Canada, you can watch it on dramafever(link below in the section that says “LINKY”)

      hope that helps :)

      • 19.1.1 Faith

        Thanks, @.@

  20. 20 ecl75

    Immaturity doesn’t turn me off if it brings sweetness, cuteness or even happiness. But these seem to disappear in recent dramas.

  21. 21 anonymous

    when i read “trap” word, suddenly remembered another “trap” drama like PP, but the differences is the villain in this drama for the first episode is get revealed.
    This drama seems interesting

  22. 22 yui

    DONGHAE OPPA..SARANGHAE HAE HAE HAE…*sorry fangirl..*
    seriously love him and can’t wait for seeing him in a drama..oppa hwaiting..

    and for sure..thanks for the recap,,i’ll be here waiting for ur recap..thank u..

  23. 23 Rachel

    I think i will keep watching. I like MCW and JTS looks like he is going to be a good villian. I wonder if they will find out about him the end.

    Choi Jin-hyuk was in a drama on KBS IN 2006 called Just Run
    http://www.kbs.co.kr/drama/police/

  24. 24 Kender

    I actually really enjoyed this show, for pretty much the same reason you gave. It’s pretty standard fare, but the potential is there for more.

    I really enjoy JTS’s brand of evil here. It’s different from Insoo, and more sinister than rage-y. It’s making me really curious to see what other nefarious deeds Jong-seok will get up to over the course of the show.

    Also, can we talk about Kang Sung? He’s adorable! I can’t wait to see his character’s relationship with Ae-ryung blossom, because I imagine they’re going to be good influences on each other.

  25. 25 saranga

    watched this last night and i must say, i really really really like moon chae won. my mom and i were cracking up at some of her bits. the spoiled daddy’s girl with a heart of gold is such a commonplace character in kdramaland, but it seems like everything MCW does (acting wise), she brings a freshness and her own twist to things. it’s very subtle, but it makes all the difference from being forgettable to charming and new (to me anyway). i didn’t i’d like it as much as i did, because the premise felt a lot like one of those 60 episode family dramas with most of the makjang elements. oh man too many things to watch for the monday tuesday slot now..

  26. 26 yansi

    “I’m glad to see he’s giving his eyeballs a rest”

    HAHAHA A+++

  27. 27 decoderblue

    That biker is actually Min Hyuk ^^

    • 27.1 lambayyx

      LOL really?! i didn’t realize that.

  28. 28 asianromance

    thank you for the recap!!

    So I’m guessing Jeon Seok is the reincarnation of Ha In Soo? I can’t believe he has such a devious side. He looks so innocent with his glasses. I wonder if he has ever tried something so simple as telling Chae-ryung that he liked her and shower her with roses.

    And shouldn’t Jeon Seok be nearby to swoop in to save her? or was he planning to save her after she’s been hauled far, far away?

    I’ve been excited for Moon Chae Won to get a lead role, but I actually feel slightly more interested in the older sister, Ae-ryung. I hope she doesn’t end up being all wishy washy like the older sister in Smile, You.

  29. 29 jackie

    Thanks for the recap!!

    I also have a feeling that there are more intriguing things to come in this drama. From the 5-min preview I saw before it aired, I sense some serious family problems/conflicts. Plus, like you said, half of the main cast have not appeared yet so who knows. I really hope it will be so much better in the next episodes. I read somewhere that ratings for the first episode was actually good. /fingers crossed for tonight’s episode

  30. 30 lambayyx

    jb, I think the reason that the main perpetrator’s death gets pinned on Dad’s head isn’t because of the car (Jongseok’s car is white, while Dad’s is black). In the preview, Dad was hitting the guy’s chest, which caused him to fall over and hit his head. I’m thinking that he died from a head injury caused by Jongseok’s car but Dad gets the blame.
    Also, Idk if you know this or not, but that guy (the perpetrator) is also the brother of our main male leads.

  31. 31 Alone amidst the majority

    I can’t believe there’s so few comments!!! I was pretty satisfied with everything!!! The actors (my, I can’t believe how good looking everyone is), the storyline, and the production, etc, all come together to make this drama really solid. And I was really impressed with Donghae’s acting!! I should have expected more from him!! I always felt that he and Hankyung had many similarities, and in this drama, he and Hankyung just seem even more similar, the gentle eyes, the gentle voice, and the overall serious character, though softened with a warm smile~~~

  32. 32 nguyenguyen

    Where can I watch it’s okay daddy’s girl with english sub?

  33. 33 odynia

    thanks for the recap JB!!

    does anybody know the brand of the bag which the main character wanted? my sister loved it and if i can, i want to buy for her ..

  34. 34 =_=

    hate to say this but DongHaee is damn handsome in this drama
    an
    im a boy….=_=

  35. 35 ARA

    I like the start of the drama. I like it because, it focus more about the realities of life. That’s why it have a lot of moral lessons. Moon Chae Won reminds me of Oh Yeon Seo and Kim Hee Sun. Because of all of them have the same shape of face and almost the same eyes.

    It’s nice that she finally got the chance to shine this time. It’s just that I need to watch her more since I always remember her roles in Take Care of The Young Lady and Brilliant Legacy.

    • 35.1 ARA

      I forgot to mention, that I totally like the bag on the magazine she was pointing. Anyone knows what brand it is? Really cute! I also like Moon Chae Won’s style here. It’s also been a while since I saw Hee Jin; Happy New Year to ALL!

  36. 36 jenny

    does anyone know that brand of the new cell phone. it’s big and looks cool? I can’t seem to google it. and I’ve also seen it in secret garden drama which is also an awesome drama.

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