Drama Recaps
Manny: Episodes 1-2
by | April 17, 2011 | 111 Comments

Cable station tvN has entered the midweek prime-time fray with Manny, its new 16-episode romantic-comedy about a male live-in nanny who comes to care for the two kids of a single mom. He’s the consummate pro, she’s the frazzled careerwoman, and together they’ll clash and bicker and romance their way to true love.

I was hoping it would be funny and engaging, and so far my expectations are met (and exceeded) — the drama is pretty simple, but hits that sweet spot of feel-good fun and touching moments. It’s a light, easy watch that makes you smile, bolstered by an engaging cast and amusing scenarios.

SONG OF THE DAY

Monni – “망설이지 마요” (Don’t Hesitate) [ Download ]

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CHARACTERS

KIM YI-HAN (Seo Ji-seok) is the manny, aka male nanny, which is a word he uses unironically and unabashedly. He’s highly sought-after in his native terrain of New York City, because he’s exceptionally good at his job, and earns a handsome living at it. Initially he gives off the impression of being an insensitive jerk, but we soon see that he’s acting in the interest of the child’s welfare, which sometimes includes purposely making one cry to assess the condition of his health (asthma, in this case).

Yi-han picks up clues with the precision of a CSI detective, is sensitive to signs of a child’s psychological troubles, and is skilled in first aid and establishing rapport with even the most troublesome kids. He’s a veritable 21st-century Mary Poppins, only he’s traded the magical umbrella for rock-hard abs.

SEO DO-YOUNG (Choi Jung-yoon) is a thirtysomething single mother raising two kids while juggling her career as a successful one-woman design house. Her chic little shop caters to the women, mostly posh moms, of her tony Cheongdam-dong neighborhood.

Do-young has a sunny disposition and is a caring mother, but is often scatterbrained from being stretched thin between her work and home. Her ex-husband isn’t part of the picture, and we can infer that he doesn’t care to be a regular presence in his kids’ lives. Do-young does the best she can with the help of her older sister and her best friend Hyun-jung, who works in her clothing shop.

Older sister JANICE (Byun Jung-soo) is happily, gratefully child-free, satisfied with her successful career as a former supermodel turned modeling agency CEO. She’s got a pretty high opinion of herself (her trademark phrase: “You know who I am? I’m JANICE!”) and tsk-tsks at her sister’s juggling act, saying she shoulda fobbed off the kids on the ex. Still, she’s a good aunt who cares for her niece and nephew.

Janice is a tough agency president with a hot temper, demanding the best from her models, which usually means nitpicking the state of their six-packs and the quality of their runway walks. Her latest project is to land the job of celebrity judge on a Korean version of Top Model, and is in the running to be its Janice Dickinson-like resident bitch. Heck, she’s more than halfway there already, with the supermodel background and the name. And the ego. And the borderline crazy.

The kids: Six-year-old JUNG-MIN is a sweet, quiet boy who likes to read. He doesn’t talk much in general, but his usual introversion has been getting more pronounced recently.

Older sister EUN-BI is 10, a princess with a decidedly bratty streak. She is Youthful Disdain, Personified; just check out that look of “Oh, puh-lease” she’s shooting our manny. She’s borderline snotty, but there are indications that her stubborn pride is a mask for her softer side. She’s often trailed by Dong-yi, a chubby, happy classmate with a crush on her; their mothers are friends and co-workers.

 
EPISODES 1-2

Yi-han lands in Korea to promote the new book he’s written, Manny In N.Y., which is a hit due to its photogenic author and the novelty of the premise. He’s confident in his masculinity and his skills, betraying no insecurity when various Koreans express their surprise and amusement at hearing that — gasp! — there is such a thing as a man who takes care of kids, as though he is descended from a strange, alien planet. Oh, Korea, we are miles from progressive.

Do-young is a fan, and attends Yi-han’s book signing to pick up a copy. It’s on her way out that she runs into him just as he’s being ditched by his vindictive driver, and he jumps into her car and instructs her to pursue the runaway car. They fail.

Yi-han’s own behavior is partly to blame for his ditching — he ignored the guide’s instructions to attend an interview, getting the guy into trouble with the publisher — and now he finds himself without his luggage or much money. Furthermore, his credit cards have been frozen, because of an incident back in New York when he was jumped by his employer’s amorous wife and discovered by the rifle-toting cuckolded husband. The less said about that flashback, the better. (Cringe-cringe-cringe, but in a hilariously kooky way.)

His lawyer advises him to stay in Korea till the scandal blows over, so he checks into a cheap motel for the time being and starts the job-hunt.

That leads him to a job interview with Janice that quickly goes sour. Janice is looking to improve her English skills for the Top Model gig, but when she hears about Yi-han’s profession, she scoffs, and he retorts that educating children is a more noble profession than teaching adults how to walk. They emerge from the meeting equally pissy.

Meanwhile, Do-young needs to find a new caretaker for the kids, because she’s maxed out the nanny service she regularly uses. Her kids have acquired the reputation for being unrepentant horrors, so now nobody will agree to work for them.

She’s persuaded by her best friend Hyun-jung to take advantage of her newfound acquaintance, Mr. Manny, and gives him a call. However, another mom shares the juicy gossip that he had to flee to Korea because of his scandalous affair in New York, and when Do-young tentatively asks Yi-han about it, he gets defensive. She assumes it’s true and ends up accusing him of giving gyopos (Koreans abroad) a bad name.

She leaves in a huff, only to get the bad news that her son Jung-min has disappeared after getting into a little trouble at daycare. (He’d sneaked up on another boy and shoved him, then ran away.)

The boy’s fine, if a little smudged and nervous after his unexpected outburst. Yi-han finds him on the street — or rather, Jung-min finds Yi-han, mistakes him for his father, and grabs him in a surprise hug.

Yi-han quickly assesses the boy’s condition and engages him, and it’s this sight that Aunt Janice witnesses. She jumps to the conclusion that Yi-han’s out to no good — kidnapper? ransom attempt? — and calls the cops.

Yi-han insists he’s innocent and says that the boy approached him first, but it’s not so convincing, particularly given the gossip and his less-than-sanguine first encounters with the sisters. So the police detain him overnight, while the boy is reunited with his mother.

It’s not until later that Mom realizes she may have drawn the wrong conclusion, when Jung-min spies a man walking in front of them, runs up to him, and hugs him while crying out, “Daddy!” Oof, talk about a kicker to the heart. It was a little sad when he did it with Yi-han, but now it’s downright gut-wrenching.

Do-young asks her son if he’d done the same thing with Yi-han, and he nods, saying that both men were wearing the same jacket that Dad wears. Understanding the underlying message about her boy’s lack of father figure, she hugs him close, feeling aggrieved and inadequate.

Abashed, she heads to the police station in the morning when Yi-han is released, and offers him breakfast. And while he’s at their home, his eagle eyes pick out the clues in one of Jung-min’s drawings, in which the boy has drawn his family of four — yet with the “Dad” image represented as the tiniest stick figure.

Yi-han explains to Do-young that young children often have difficulty expressing their feelings in words, and that pictures can reveal a lot more. He asks to talk to the boy, whom he suspects is falling into depression, and eases into the conversation with talk about baseball.

He then broaches the topic of why Jung-min got mad at his friend on the playground. Jung-min’s voice trembles as he searches for words, and utters, “I-I… I have a dad, too… b-but he kept saying I don’t!”

Aghhhh. Break our hearts, why don’t you. If the earlier scene kicked you in the heart, this one grabs hold and sinks its claws in and gives it a good, strong twist. Just to remind you what pain feels like.

It’s tough for Do-young, who’s doing a good job as a mother, all things considered — but no matter how great a mom she is, she’ll just never be a dad. And that’s got to be hard for her to come to grips with.

Do-young takes to heart Yi-han’s advice about the boy lacking a male role model, and asks him to work for the family. He agrees, but when he shows up in the morning, Janice freaks out and accuses him of being a creep. Yi-han’s too proud to skulk around where he’s not wanted, and takes off, declaring himself un-hired.

He walks right by Jung-min outside, who’s wearing the Mets cap Yi-han had given him. The boy understands that Yi-han’s not sticking around, and what’s sadder than disappointment is his resignation about it. Like, Sigh, another one leaves. That pricks Yi-han’s conscience, but just then, he gets the phone call from his lawyer that he’s free to come back to the States now, and that a plane ticket awaits him.

Despite misgivings, he heads on to the airport, though memories of Jung-min cause him to hesitate. And when Do-young calls him to plead for him to stay, he decides to give it a shot.

One kid down, one more to go. Now it’s turn for him to meet older daughter Eun-bi, who’s been away at English camp. He greets her warmly, but she eyes him up and down and tells him haughtily that they have no need for the likes of him. Sizing her up (and her antagonism), Yi-han cheerfully agrees to leave of his own free will, if she can solve a riddle.

She perks up at that, until he lays out a story of the rabbit (of the Tortoise & The Hare fame) wanting a rematch with the turtle who beat him, and a second race taking place. Alas, the results came out the same: So how did the turtle beat the rabbit the second time?

Stumped for now, Eun-bi has to grudgingly accept the new member of her household, although she’s determined to solve the riddle to get rid of him asap. She’s not alone in her dislike, since Aunt Janice also has a few grievances against him: He put in a call to his friend that took her out of the Top Model running, and then played a prank on her by agreeing to set up a meeting for her to get the job back…which turned out to involve a hotel room and a scenario involving escort services. Heh.

In the meantime, Yi-han quickly establishes a firm, authoritative presence in the household, which requires a bit of an adjustment from the family members.

The family aren’t the only ones needing adjustment: When the moms have one of their regular meetings, the ringleader (mother of Eun-bi’s classmate Jong-seok) is put off at the way Yi-han contradicts her decision and gains the approval of the other moms.

(Note: In Korean, the moms are referred to by their children’s names, which is used almost as their name. As in, “Hi, Jong-seok’s Mom, this is Eun-bi’s Mom.” One way to interpret this common practice is that it’s one of the many ways in which the patriarchal culture has institutionalized the marginalization of women — by stripping them of their own names and building their identities in relation to other people. Once a woman marries, she becomes so-and-so’s wife, or so-and-so’s mother. One of these days I’ll have to write my screed on it. I have Things To Say about this, I do.)

Jong-seok’s Mom doesn’t take kindly to this interference, and she retaliates by taking it out on Do-young, spreading gossip that Do-young is involved in a sordid affair with her scandalous manny. Do-young tries to fight back, but nobody does the Mean Bitch routine as well as Jong-seok’s Mom, who slyly continues to undermine Do-young at every turn.

As a result, Do-young irritably orders Eun-bi not to play with Jong-seok anymore, ignoring the fact that the kids have activities planned.

Yi-han continues his plan to draw Jung-min out of his depression, which involves provoking the boy out of his gloom. He prods at him until Jung-min gets angry, and encourages Jung-min to work out his aggression outwardly.

Finally, Jung-min has enough poking and starts to pummel him back with his tiny fists, shouting, “I don’t need any of this! I hate everything!” Yi-han urges him to let it all out, until Jung-min breaks down sobbing, “I miss you…Daddy…”

(Heart? Rip. Floor. Stomp.)

Eun-bi’s acting more withdrawn as well, but Do-young chalks it up to her daughter’s usual fussiness and doesn’t worry. But it’s clear that she’s got something weighing on her mind, and from the way she and Jong-seok send each other conflicted looks, we can see they’re both feeling caught between their mothers’ petty warfare. The two used to be friends, but now that they’ve been ordered not to associate with each other, they reluctantly obey.

It’s bad enough being a kid who has to deal with the usual issues of precarious friendships and school cliques, but this just makes everything worse. And it looks like Jong-seok has come out on top of this friendship divorce by bagging the friends, which leaves Eun-bi alone and ostracized. (She’s still got the loyal Dong-yi by her side, but that’s a friendship she’ll probably not learn to value till she’s well into her adulthood, siiigh for pretty princesses who don’t realize what a good thing is until she’s lost it.)

Yi-han picks up on the extra tension and tackles the issue in his usual way — not head-on (the kids’ll never open up that way), but by gaining a bit of trust and then working with that. He offers to teach her a cool move in a video game in exchange for a favor, and thus gets Eun-bi to draw him a picture. As we know, a lot can come out in self-expression, and he sees the clear signs of anxiety and stress in her drawing.

He brings this to Mom’s attention, but she’s feeling defensive herself (Jong-seok’s Mom is working her own insecurities to the hilt) and isn’t ready to hear Yi-han’s suggestions.

So he tries another tactic, this time engaging the boys to help in his plan. Dong-yi invites the other classmates to a party (the lovable little lunkhead is a terrible liar and stumbles through the explanation), while Jung-min brings his sister.

There, Yi-han kicks things off with a cool magic show that engages the kids’ interest, then calls Eun-bi as his volunteer. For this trick, he’ll turn the girl into a boy, and asks her to enter a covered box.

Inside, she’s disgruntled to find Jong-seok sitting in the dark, having also been called forth as magical accomplice. While they unhappily sit there in tense silence, outside the boys quietly instruct the partygoers to exit quietly. (Hee! It’s a move worthy of 1N2D.)

That affords plenty of time for Eun-bi and Jong-seok’s fight to brew as they start name-calling about “Dummy” and “Piggy” and “Your stupid mom” and “My mom’s not stupid, yours is the mean one!”

The fight escalates as both mothers arrive at the restaurant, called by Yi-han, and hear their children crying and yelling at each other. And where common sense didn’t work, the sound of the kids’ misery is enough to recall their forgotten sense of shame, and they both look uncomfortably at each other while Yi-han asks them if this was what they wanted to come of their stupid little battle.

Do-young’s the first to approach and tells the kids she was wrong to tell them they couldn’t be friends anymore. Grudgingly, Jong-seok’s mother agrees, and the kids adorably perk up, tears forgotten.

Another problem solved! Yet Yi-han’s still plagued by one more enemy in the household: sore-loser Janice, who has to deal with the ignominy of having a VIP client insist he wants Yi-han (seen in passing) to be the model for his clothing ad campaign. Janice grits her teeth to request the favor of Yi-han, who agrees, but not without a price: She has to throw out all her fancy exercise equipment, which are child safety hazards.

Forced to put on a smile, Janice goes along with his demand, but can’t resist her chance to get back at him for his prank. After he finishes his shoot, she swipes his clothing from the locker room as he showers. Feigning innocence when he makes the discovery, she gives him some temporary clothing to wear till he can find a change of clothing…and then sets up a hidden camera, snickering all the while.

Which, naturally, ends up on the internet. Heh.

 
COMMENTS

The drama started out a little loose and wacky, but by the end of the first episode it had settled very nicely into its groove, hitting an emotional nerve to lend some depth to the light comedy of the rest of the show.

The show is a little simplistic, maybe, but it’s shaping up to be a guaranteed pick-me-up show. A feel-good 50 minutes with cute kids, a nice message, and some poignant beats thrown in the mix. It’s sort of what I think Oh My Lady could have or should have been — it doesn’t have some of the lame outside plotlines cluttering up the main characters’ storylines, and it looks like each episode will center around a small, everyday sort of issue and how Yi-han brings the family together while addressing the issue. There’s no huge dramatic arc here, no big mystery, no birth secrets — just a cute cast and a refreshing series of small (but no less interesting) stories.

Although the mom/manny relationship hasn’t gotten romantic, there are a few hints, such as when Do-young puts a bandage on Yi-han’s shoulder and gulps nervously at their proximity. I’m not sure whether he’ll get romantic beats with Janice as well, but I can see where that would emerge, because they’re so constantly at each other’s throats. If that doesn’t develop any further, though, I’m fine with that because I’m satisfied just watching those two adults acting like little kids in their petty revenges.

But by far, the emotional center of the show is the relationship between Yi-han and Jung-min. While watching Episode 1, I was enjoying it in a general sense, right up until Jung-min’s first scene with Yi-han, which was unexpectedly moving. Each encounter built on that progressively and by the end of the episode, the drama had wrung a few tears with their budding rapport.

There are hints that Yi-han has father issues of his own — not big angsty issues, but perhaps an absentee dad, and the whole baseball motif is his stand-in for that. Maybe that’s why he’s perfectly fulfilled being a manny, and doesn’t have any snobby airs or insecurity issues about it. In fact, one of the things I find so refreshing is that he’s so matter-of-fact about his job, while everyone else is doing the exaggerated pearl-clutchy reaction shots, gasping, “A male? As a nanny? HOW can this BE?” And he’s like, “Yeah, so what of it?” — like he’s daring you to have a problem with it.

In fact, while I have no complaints with the show, I’d say the one concern I have is that the manny is TOO perfect. Sure, we never get into Mary Poppins’ deep-seated emotional issues, either, but she wasn’t a romantic lead. Whereas, Yi-han is going to be a romantic hero, and as much as I like ‘em dreamy, I also like them to have substance — growth, development, conflicts. Right now he’s mostly there to swoop in and save the day, and I don’t know how long that’ll be interesting. I’ll be hoping he gets more opportunities for growth in the coming week.

Argh, I don’t know what I’m going to do about Manny. I’d LIKE to keep recapping it, but I’m aware of the upcoming clusterfuck of trendies, and don’t want to commit if I can’t follow through. I may have to do some reprioritizing.

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111 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Mimi

    Thanks! I was waiting for this! Off to find the episodes! :D

  2. Alex

    Coolio…More projects from you guys, always nice :)

  3. Mac B.

    aww…looks cute!

  4. snow

    thanks, jb! this drama sounds adorable, and i loved reading the recap. what did you think of the acting so far? i do hope you continue recapping it, or maybe one of the guest bloggers could step in?

  5. joongkijunkie&ELF

    upcoming clusterfuck of trendies? bring them on! i love whatever i get from your lovely site. although this one seems cute and endearing, i know you will choose which is best. fighting!

  6. stars4u

    Can’t wait to watch!
    Thanks for the recap!

  7. mizzxtiffany

    OMG! Thanks JB for recapping Manny!

    Noo, please continue recapping this drama! It’s so good so far! Pretty please? Thanks again :)

  8. aznboy

    Anyone know if anyone will sub the show??

    • 8.1 Haruko

      no major groups have picked it up, but darksmurf is adding it to his site, and it’s generated enough interest there that I think it will get fast/decent subs.

      • 8.1.1 Quarki

        Viki is subbing it.
        I watched it few days ago on viki. It was very good. It’s my first cable drama. It’s different feel but it’s good. It’s very well done and I’d recommend it for a feel good show.

    • 8.2 JiHwan

      Viki has it subbed.

    • 8.3 DeeDee8906

      It’s subbed on viki :]

    • 8.4 kiotzo

      viki subbed the first 2 episodes very quickly and they will continue

      • 8.4.1 tinnybo

        I saw it’s on kimchidramas.net. I saw it there sub in english.

    • 8.5 crazy4kdramas

      I watched it on dramacrazy. So far, it’s cute and funny. I’ll continue watching it, especially for that crazy, “Janice” character!

  9. Haruko

    While I’d love to have you continue re-cap this one….lol there IS a lot coming up, isn’t there? I watched it without subs and got the same thing you did – the manny/little boy relationship totally sucked me in.

    Luckily, I just found out that darksmurf is adding this drama, so there is hope for us non-korean speakers even if you don’t re-cap it….though, your re-caps are amazing :D

  10. 10 Dara

    Watched 1-2, Manny was hot hawttttttt! and him with little boy was so cute, like father like son(perm!). The ost was nice. IT’s a really feel nice show.

    Me too, wondered at the end of ep2, how they are going to keep the drama interesting, so far it’ more like the manny sorted out the kid’s problems ep by ep.

    Aww…check out Manny advisory footage after the preview so cute. *drools* ^^

    I didn’t like the little girl tho.

  11. 11 Birdie

    This drama so far provides a few predictable laughs. There is zero chemistry between Manny and the two female leads. The two female leads overact,which make it annoying sometimes. If you are looking for a light and simple drama with average acting, then it is for you, but I expected more.

  12. 12 ohemgee

    NEW FAVE SHOW. i can’t get enough of mr. manny!

    • 12.1 ohemgee

      btw does anyone find janice’s circle lenses as distracting as i do?!!!

      as if she wasn’t annoying enough already! heheh i have a love/hate relationship with her character as of now…it will most likely improve in the near future though.

      i LOVE manny and his charges. they are too cute.

      • 12.1.1 nauna

        I don’t find the circle lenses as distracting as I do her pseudo – mullet. I can’t decide if her hair is fabulously hideous or so hideous that it’s oddly fabulous. You could say I have a love/hate relationship with her hair! Haha

        • 12.1.1.1 kay

          lol that’s the funniest thing i read all day. thanks =]

        • 12.1.1.2 Deeliteful

          OMG..Her hair bugged the whole time! I thought it was just me!

          I actually like his chemistry between the two females…

        • 12.1.1.3 Ani

          It’s a combo of her green lens and the mullet she’s got going that I can’t stand. And I like that actress too. ARGH!

      • 12.1.2 tinnybo

        I thought the same thing as well. It’s as if she is hiding behind those big frames.

      • 12.1.3 crazy4kdramas

        I think that is the whole point – the weird hair, the glasses, the clothes… Her character is quirky-tastic! LOL

      • 12.1.4 Brandi

        circle lenses?

  13. 13 questions987

    I have to say that I like this drama but if I hear the phrase “I’m Janice” (janice being said with a korean accent of Janice-su) I am going throw my laptop out the window.

  14. 14 bee

    Aw, I watched this a couple days ago and really liked it. Simple, cute, but not without some deeper emotion. Ack, that scene where Jung-min is punching Yi-han and crying about hating everything and missing his dad… I was a mess watching that. I don’t think I can ever be a parent (or work with kids) cos watching cute kids cry makes me fall apart ;__;

  15. 15 Ace

    For some reason, I didn’t like the first episode. One reason might be because I had a certain level of expectation about the show and felt it didn’t deliver. (And ouch JB about Oh! My Lady. I loved that one!)

    Another reason is I hated the editing of the drama. Somewhat like how I hated the editing of the first few episodes of Playful Kiss or Personal Taste, but somehow I didn’t mind because the characters and/or the storyline carried it off. So what I’m thinking is to maybe watch this again starting with episodes 3 or 4 and see how it goes.

    But it’s going to be hard because like what JB says, there’s a lot of upcoming dramas that I’m looking forward to especially Best Love (can’t miss a Hong Sisters drama). Since this airs Wed-Thurs, it’s going to go up against the last half of 49 days, Best Love, Romance Town, and City Hunter when they all air on May.

  16. 16 Daniela

    I like this drama very much. I just feel it misses a little thing for me to love it, but eventually it´ll get there.
    Aw the kid. I love every scene of the manny with the kids and every fight with Janice. I love her (I think she has green eyes. are those real?) she is funny.
    I´ll keep watching Manny. I know that you are already recaping 49 days and may is going to be full of dramas, but if sometimes you feel like leaving a note here or there about manny, that´ll make me happy.

  17. 17 E

    I actually shed a few tears watching this – it’s been a while since a korean drama could do that to me. I’ll be watching this one – it’s nice to see a drama not based on betrayal and some kind of inheritance and evil witch mother in law.

  18. 18 crook

    favorite new drama! I need mindless at the moment, and Manny is just so easy, and not just on the eyes. Janice/Manny and Manny/little boy moments are the best. I hope the romance doesn’t take over the story, I like this one with more of a family drama feel

  19. 19 J-star

    i agree with you, the manny was so perfect its like there’s no room for changes and plus, he is so damn sexy!! what can you get with manny + model + mr. popular?

  20. 20 nauna

    My only real gripe with this show so far is the female lead. She leaves almost no impression on me, other than being kinda wimpy. As a matter of fact, when she’s on screen with Janice unnie and the manny she almost fades into the background. I’m hoping that changes soon because I did get some frothy, fun enjoyment from the first 2 episodes.

    • 20.1 kay

      i agree! i wish our leading lady wasn’t so frazzled. she’s like the cardboard cutout of korean bumbling, weak lady who ends up getting saved by the hero every time. and that little boy, jong seok, really reminded me kim bum.

  21. 21 Hajung

    Wait, an upcoming clusterfuck of trendies? What ones exactly? It’s not ringing a bell.

    • 21.1 javabeans

      Best Love (Hong sisters)
      Lie To Me (Yoon Eun-hye)
      Romance Town (Sung Yuri)
      Baby Faced Beauty (Jang Nara)
      City Hunter (Lee Min-ho)
      Ripley (Lee Da-hae)

      All begin in May!

      • 21.1.1 jyyjc

        omg T_T that’s 6 dramas for me to look forward to.

        Of course there’s always the chance that 1 or 2 will turn out bad and then I’d drop it.

      • 21.1.2 jinkzz

        looking forward to Lie to Me (KJH/YEH), Best LOve (Hong sisters), Romance Town (Sung Yuri) ===> the other three will have to wait until after they finish airing
        ===> I wonder who will come out as the winner/s in the ratings game…hopefully Ji Hwan will get his ratings wish though.

      • 21.1.3 Haj

        WOW. Clusterfuck indeed. I dont know if my schoolwork can handle it.

      • 21.1.4 maria

        have you picked yet which ones you’re going to recap? …I’M SO EXCITED!!

      • 21.1.5 WeWe

        i’m not thinking may yet.
        but manny vs 49 days?????
        both have same airtime….wed/thu….arrrggghhhh
        i wanna watch booootttthhhhhh

    • 21.2 Ani

      I was gonna ask if you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, until I remember that I’m just as bad at keeping up with news too. Truthfully, I thought we were expecting five dramas in May, but the count seems to be six. But I’m still only interested in four of them: Best Love, Lie To Me, Romance Town, and Baby Faced Beauty.

      Manny will overlap into May, but I’m still kind of so-so on it. I’m enjoying the kids, but not so much of the drama overall as of yet. But I can appreciate what jb said about there being “no huge dramatic arc here, no big mystery, no birth secrets”.

  22. 22 Casie J.

    I found the scene where Daughter and Mother both stomped into the house while the boys were playing jenga so adorable. LOL. AW~and I’m glad the petty momma fight was resolved fairly quickly. It’s one thing when we see catty behavior from kids/teens but when it comes to adults it just gets old.

    “Once a woman marries, she becomes so-and-so’s wife, or so-and-so’s mother.”

    Is this only pertaining to women though? I feel like men also end up being stripped. Granted, I’ve never heard my dad called “so-and-so’s husbad” but my dad is been plenty referred to as “so-and-so’s dad.”

    BUT I would love to hear your thoughts on this. You always write the most intelligent and thought-provoking posts!

  23. 23 yumi

    This is the first time I’ve seen a Black person on a Korean drama who sounded like a human being, instead of a cartoon, when he spoke.

    Also, one of the few times I’ve seen a African-American who wasn’t a villain.

    It was almost an antidote to ONE FINE DAY. Well, nothing could be an antidote to the Black henchman on that drama. His acting alone was torture.

    • 23.1 tjack

      I was thinking the same thing! He reminded me of a Miles Davis like baseball player/happy person. I hope we see more of that flashback.

    • 23.2 Brandi

      The black guy here isn’t that much of an actor either, but his laughter is infectious. I’m glad he plays such a good fatherly role too.

  24. 24 park713

    it looks like age has caught up with seo jiseok (much like jo hyunhae… sigh).

  25. 25 AuntieMame

    “(Note: In Korean, the moms are referred to by their children’s names, which is used almost as their name. As in, “Hi, Jong-seok’s Mom, this is Eun-bi’s Mom.” One way to interpret this common practice is that it’s one of the many ways in which the patriarchal culture has institutionalized the marginalization of women — by stripping them of their own names and building their identities in relation to other people. Once a woman marries, she becomes so-and-so’s wife, or so-and-so’s mother. One of these days I’ll have to write my screed on it. I have Things To Say about this, I do.)”

    Oh, I have been having my say on this issue for years. Even to my mother, when I heard her call out to our neighbor as ‘so-so’s mom’. I made the point that the person has her own name. She is not just ‘so-so’s mom’. As expected, my mother’s defense was that’s how everyone refers to each other. So, I said then, we can call her as ‘Buster’s owner’ because Buster is their dog. Unfortunately, the conversation didn’t go anywhere, except for me to get yelled at … again.

    • 25.1 Alvina

      LOL, Buster’s owner.

      I had the same discussion with my mom and she said that it wasnt just one country and that you can find such a system everywhere (ex. Mr/Mrs So-and-so). She said that calling someone by their name is fine and all but it also takes away a level of respect.
      But then, calling a woman respectfully (ie. Mrs So-and-so) would be degrading on some level. It’s a cultural thing reinforced by language haha.

      Most times though, it’s no big because I just end up calling everyone Aunty or Uncle.

    • 25.2 park713

      but fathers also get called “so-and-so’s dad” as well. it’s just that they get a chance to have their names called because they work and it’s not professional to call someone “so-and-so’s dad.” mother’s don’t hear it as much because in korea most mom’s used to be stay at home moms. now i find a problem with the whole “women should be bare foot and pregnant” theory but i don’t think it’s such a degrading thing to be referred to as “so-and-so’s parent.’

  26. 26 MistyqCat

    I already watched this yesterday…LOVES it!
    So quirky, perky, funny and adorable! I’m glad that so far there are no “dark” concepts or tear-fountain girlies running around without having what to do..
    Personally I am not too fond of the mom..she doesn’t have a spine, which puts a big question mark on HOW is she able to handle 2 kids AND a designer job? hopefully the growth will come soon to her, otherwise she feels like one more child in the story..

    Manny on the other hand – where was he when I was growing up T_T lol agree with the fact that he seems too ‘perfect’, but from the short flash-backs of his baseball friend it seems that there are unsolved issues that might become an open wound soon (also..look at his attitude towards most of the people..Mr Arogancia much?)

    Kids are kind of.. too much in some places. The girl is too much of an evil-mastermind and the boy is just too much of a wimp for now. Hopefully with the Manny To The Rescue things will change.

    All in all it’s definitely a refreshing drama for this season, looking forward to other eps!!!

    p.s. just how adorable were the Manny’s Tips in the end??? I know I’ll be drinking that apricot/grapefruit/broccoli thing XDDD

    • 26.1 Maracarrero

      I found the tips to be endearing. I think it’s a great
      hook and Mr. Manny looks so sweet giving the advice.

  27. 27 Cin

    Hey!
    thanks a lot for the recap!! :)
    I don’t know how much time you need to do one, but maybe, if you want to continue recaping this drama you could make a recap a week, just like you did, one recap for 2 episodes. Isn’t it faster to do?

    Now we just have to go and get some pop corn! May is gonna be a busy month!!
    PS: with a major event for those who can go: Korean connexion in paris, on may 8th :)

  28. 28 maria

    can’t one of our awesome regulars pick it up if you can’t? this sounds so awesome, i’d hate to miss out! :(

  29. 29 michi

    JB, thanks for this!!
    i wanna watch this!! hope it will be subbed soon! :)

  30. 30 k-soup

    will you recap this drama?

  31. 31 diadda

    I like this show and i hope you will do regular reviews of it. I really do.

  32. 32 jojo

    Thanks for the recap JB. I’ve been watching and pretty much agree with your critique except that he’s too perfect. If he were perfect, he’d be a NY Yankee fan!

    • 32.1 mizzxtiffany

      hahaha, agreed. I wish he was a Yankee fan instead! ;p

  33. 33 Steph

    I have a feeling that I am either going to like this show like how I like Dal Ja’s Spring…

  34. 34 ahjummabunny

    I had just rewatched will it snow for christmas and I needed a pick me up and manny was it for me last night. I don’t even mind if they leave the romance out between manny and parent ( I’d like to see do yong date though!) and just let suh ji seok take more photos for janice.

    • 34.1 Jomo

      I could watch 40 mins each week of Manny photoshoots.

      I have never seen him before. He reminds me of Hyun Bin and Baek Seung Jo (meaning permed KHJ)

      As far as how the mom reacted to putting on the patch for the Manny: Stop.that.now.

      Here is a married woman who birthed two children. She would have had regular “contact” with a man.
      She is now, we assume not dating. Attractive, and, so far, kind man arrives in her life, in her HOME. Why wouldn’t this woman show appreciation along with the shyness?
      She looked like she was touching roadkill. Really?

      Maybe it is just bad acting, and not how the character really feels…This is why Kim Sam Soon is one of my favorite ladies in a drama. Before she even liked Sam Shik, her body reacted to him.

      I would have liked to see a “Oh my my” from her once he left, not because she is a horny old ahjuma, but because she is human.

      • 34.1.1 Casie J.

        Agreed. I kind of cringed when watching her put the patch on Manny. The behavior seemed more fit for a junior/high school girl touching a guy for the first time. It just seemed over the top. Yes we have a bare shoulder. . .ohmygod!

        • 34.1.1.1 Jomo

          Another measure I have for sensual realism in a show, is how the writers deal with the sense of smell.
          One of the most powerful attratctions between folks, and it carries accurate memories, more than any other sense.

          So when they mention it at all, I love it. When the characters react to it, it makes me very happy.

          There’s a scene in What’s Up Fox where a male character finds a female character’s sweater in his car. As soon as he picked it up, I started yelling, “Smell it, smell it!” Bless his heart, he did! That is real, that is what we do!

          • 34.1.1.1.1 Alvina

            I am soo glad you mentioned What’s Up Fox. What I loved about the drama was that it explored feelings so very very realistically despite the fact that it was a pretty unconventional relationship.

            I soo agree with you OP. A woman who birthed TWO kids, who’s strong enough to deal with DIVORCE in a society like Korea reacts like a 13 year old girl playing spin the bottle for the first time haha. And, even then, there are kids that are waaay more progressive >_<

            I'm not saying that she rip off her clothes, beat her chest in some sort of woman&sexuality empowerment thing. I just wish she was normal :D

          • 34.1.1.1.2 Jomo

            (Totally fell in love with What’s Up Fox in minute 24 of ep 1.! Totally want my own Chul-su-ah.)

            It would nice in the future to see Mom hesitate to touch the Manny in a “what if he can read my mind?” moment, because of how attractive he is and how lonely she is.

            Then, contrast that with the way her sister, who treats all of the guys like property, reacts to him. “Another day, another set of rock-hard abs.”

      • 34.1.2 ahjummabunny

        I only know him from gloria but he has a following from hearts of 19 and obgyn doctors. I think they played it that way to show that she thinks of him as a man ( which is impossible not to do!) and his reaction to it to make the turn about more ironic I suppose. As in ho “ho ho fate has got you both!” But I think they played it too straight or too true to life.

  35. 35 pumpkinattack

    Oh, yay! I’m so happy for this. Thanks, jb! (o=

    • 35.1 pumpkinattack

      (She’s still got the loyal Dong-yi by her side, but that’s a friendship she’ll probably not learn to value till she’s well into her adulthood, siiigh for pretty princesses who don’t realize what a good thing is until she’s lost it.)

      –And here I’m saying, don’t do it!!!! He’s going to grow up to look like Matty from 13 going on 30!!!! Love him now!!!!

      • 35.1.1 Alvina

        Not unless he’s like that guy from Hi My Sweetheart (T-drama). Then, he’ll grow up to be hot and you’ll have alll sorts of regrets.

      • 35.1.2 ahjummabunny

        matty!!! I actually liked that movie.

  36. 36 Linda165

    Ohh what a nice show! Lite and doesn’t rise your blood pressure, a perfect show to watch after Thorn Birds (which I love, btw). And how cute are the kids??? They even have their own love triangle.
    Manny is my new feel good drama :)

  37. 37 Linda165

    JB didn’t tell her real reason for liking this drama: Seo Ji-seok’s perm (so much KHJ-like)

  38. 38 Evma

    Thanks JB for recapping this sexy hot MANNY. I love the lightness its story. The bonding development between the Manny and the children is quite true to life. Hope to read more of your recaps on this drama.

  39. 39 @.@

    i saw the first two episodes already, and i must say, i loved it. it’s a feel-good drama, and since city hunter and ripley aren’t coming up till next month, i’m satisfied with this genre for now.

  40. 40 asianromance

    Thanks for the recap!

    I’m still unsure abt picking this series up because as you’ve said, the Manny is just too perfect and he gets to be the rescuer while everyone else is sort of a victim. But I do find this sort of solve-an-issue-per-episode stories engaging to watch. This series reminds me a bit of how jdramas are done.

    • 40.1 Alvina

      yes. I see how the J-drama comparison fits.

  41. 41 tjack

    Speaking about calling the Mom by the kids name and such, I have not gotten used to that yet.

    But, don’t they do the same thing with men? You would call the Dad “so and so’s father” or something like that too right?

    • 41.1 ahjummabunny

      they do, do the same with men. the first time I noticed it was while watching a man’s story. I find it sweet sometimes and sometimes it seems pathetic. I like to believe that women don’t just become daughter-in- laws and mothers when they marry in Korea it seems so unfair. Especially since they seem to have to go through so many hoops to meet an ideal husband.

    • 41.2 Jomo

      When I don’t know people from school/sports well, I will refer to myself as “Frankie’s mom,” and if I don’t know other mom’s names, I will refer to them like that.

      I don’t know if I have ever addressed them in that term. If so, it was jokingly, or as a way to get their name. “I’m sorry, Phedre’s mom, I don’t know your name.”
      “Oh, its Pasiphaë.”
      :D

      I am always sad to read people’s email names, or ebay IDs as Gracesmom, or motherofted. It tells you a lot of where they are with their identity.

    • 41.3 tjack

      I asked my hubby about it and he was like “yeah, that is what everyone does.” So for fun we call each other our potential baby names to see if we like it or not.

      One confusing thing though is he said it is usually for the oldest child. They would say “[oldest child name] Mom or Dad” but not for the 2nd or 3rd or so on.

  42. 42 9to5

    i want that red Torch the sister is sneaking pictures with!! and preferably with the pics still on it ;)

  43. 43 mskmouse

    a pleasant surprise! simple yet engaging. one of the best dramas this period before the highly anticipated ones start in may!

  44. 44 Alvina

    I’m not convinced enough to be sold (although Seo Ji-Seok’s variety show appearances have made me like him as an entertainer).
    It’s definitely a drama that’s watchable.

    I might as well jump on the bandwagon though; I have a problem with ignoring dramas that have a lot of outspoken mania fans. :( I dont even know why.
    Last time I ignored a drama out of too much praise was for Prosecutor Princess and totally missed out haha.

  45. 45 kou

    I had a Yoochun vibe while watching Seo Ji-seok. :) That’s always a good thing.

  46. 46 Linh

    I really like this drama so far. It’s such an easy watch and I cried at some of the scenes. Thanks for the recap. So many good dramas coming up and wayyyy to many to watch. I can’t imagine deciding which ones to recap

  47. 47 Lilian

    I watched this without any expectations at all but I must say I really enjoyed it thoroughly. I love the kids especially! and the lead actor was good too! Never saw him in any drama before though!

  48. 48 yumesan

    This has the cute kids like “Wish Upon A Star” and the relationships between the two sisters and Mr. manny are quite funny for now. Hope it’ll keep up.

  49. 49 Houstontwin

    I really enjoyed Manny a lot. I’ve seen the lead actor before in Gloria and OBGyn but this character is more appealing.
    JB, Please don’t feel obligated to recap Manny. It is yummy junk food but I doubt that it will ever have the substance to require your wonderful commentary.

  50. 50 kirara

    I wasn’t planning to watch this at all, because the title didn’t seem so inviting, I also don’t know any of the actors, except for the Single mother who was in Smile, You, which I did not like her character there..

    Anyways, I just kept thinking it would be a mess, but after reading your recap and some other people’s thoughts, it actually sounds quite interesting. I may give this one a try.. I’m liking the battles of Janice vs Manny.. bring on the two former models to fight it out!! :D

    Thanks for posting.. Hope you’ll recap some more. :)

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