If there’s one thing I take away from Standby, the sometimes-amusing, sometimes-frustrating sitcom on MBC, it’s that I love Ha Suk-jin and want to see much more of him. So I’m happy to hear he’s got a new drama lined up, and with a hitmaker writer too.
Granted, I’ll admit my Ha Suk-jin love is largely due to his awesome character, who is so offbeat and humorlessly hilarious that you can’t help but love his quirky ways. (He’s also pretty much the only Standby character given any emotional arcs at all.) So dryly funny. And when you’re in a sitcom playing a character bearing your own name, it tends to blur the lines. So my love is plentiful and undiscriminating when it comes to which Ha Suk-jin I care about.
The new drama is (roughly translated) Childless Good Fortune, and it’ll be the next project by veteran writer Kim Soo-hyun. Yes, her last project Thousand Day Promise did kind of end up on my shit list (have a plot, ferpetessake, other than “She’s dying, in the most depressing way possible”!), but she’s really quite a respected and talented writer; she also has Life Is Beautiful, Mom’s Dead Upset, and My Man’s Woman on her resumé, big hits all. PD Jung Eul-young from those previous dramas will also be onboard.
It’s a cable drama slated for weekends on JTBC, and is centered around the three generations of a family living in one house in the suburbs of Seoul. Hm, I wonder if the title is ironic then, like, “Man, NOT having kids would’ve been the good life!” Lee Soon-jae (everybody’s grandpa ever, from My Princess, The King 2 Hearts, and High Kick 1 and 2), plays the patriarch at the center, who has three married sons and a handful of grandchildren. He apparently wants them all procreating, stat. Which, ha, makes him different from every other grandpa how?
So here’s how the family breaks down: Lee Soon-jae’s character is married to Seo Woo-rim, who are the grandpa-grandma pair at the top of the family tree. First son Yoo Dong-geun (Athena) is married to Kim Hae-sook, and Eom Ji-won (Can Love Become Money) is their daughter. Aww, Kim Hae-sook is the best mom actress ever, whether she’s cool and reserved (Thousand Day Promise) or boisterous (My Mom), and Eom Ji-won has got a bubbly charm of her own, which means I’ll probably love them together.
Second son Song Seung-hwan is married to Im Ye-jin, and third son Yoon Da-hoon is married to Kyun Miri. Dunno much about their characters yet.
In the show, Ha Suk-jin is a grandson and will play a dental surgeon. So, my worst nightmare. But he sounds cute, described as having a “scatterbrained charm” as a guy who looks like he’s put together and posh, only all his salary goes to pay a debt and he even has a part-time job… which he uses to buy clothes. Heh.
Rounding out the cast are Jung Joon (Thousand Day Promise) as a bank employee, paired with Kim Min-kyung (Padam Padam). And youngest Baek Jong-min (My Daughter Flower) plays an “aspiring barista,” to which I say, PFFFFT. What is it with dramas and their insistence that being a barista is something requiring years of schooling abroad and careful study? I take my coffee seriously, and even I know that’s a stretch.
The drama premieres on October 13 and is set for 30 episodes.
- Dramabeans Podcast #13: Standby
- Standby: Episodes 15-29 (Highlights)
- Standby: Episodes 5-14 (Highlights)
- Standby: An introduction
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 1
- Thousand Day Promise writer Kim Soo-hyun tackles two dramas at once
- Life Is Beautiful cuts out gay vows, angers writer