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King’s Family: An overview

KBS’s six-month-long weekend juggernaut of a drama King’s Family (also called Wang Family) just wrapped up its 50-episode run a week ago, and for some inexplicable reason I watched the whole thing. I even liked it sometimes!

And because watching such a bizarrely entertaining show for no reason leaves me vaguely dissatisfied at having given it so much of my time when there are so many better shows still on my to-watch list (not to mention feeling shame* about what this says of my time management priorities), I figured I would write about it, and then wash it cleanly from my hands. I can’t promise everything will make sense; I just needed to work all these thoughts out of my system. Phew.

(*I kid, somewhat. I’ve long outgrown feeling shame over my drama-watching preferences and firmly believe that there is never a reason to feel legitimate embarrassment over your choices, nor should we feel compelled to have to explain it away with excuses. We likes what we likes! Our time is our own! Still, there’s a useful neatness to the term guilty pleasure—even when I refuse to feel any sort of guilt about it.)

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King’s Family is not by any stretch of the imagination a quality drama, in any sense of that word—its story doesn’t cover ground that dozens of family dramas haven’t trod before, its characters aren’t especially lovable, its dialogue is more on-the-nose than clever, and its plot is laughably bereft of anything resembling logic. Nor is it well-produced, amazingly acted, or witty about its histrionic story tendencies.

Nope, King’s Family is a straight-up makjang angst-fest, above all else designed to push emotional buttons. The tactic worked—if not for the Olympics, I do believe viewership ratings would have topped 50% in its final week, though it ended up having to settle for a not-so-shabby 48.3% instead as its peak rating.

If you’re unfamiliar with dramas in the weekend family or daily categories, watching one may be a jarring experience, especially if you’ve set the slicker, higher-budgeted mid-week miniseries as your standard for production, story tropes, pacing, and all that good stuff. I grew up watching these family dramas on endless repeat at home (if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, right?) so I went through a long period of avoiding them, only to come back around in recent years. So it’s only now that I’ve rediscovered (or perhaps discovered for the first time) an affinity for this type of storytelling—obvious, simple, unsubtle—which my preference for taut, well-plotted miniseries had overshadowed for years.

These are dramas about interconnected worlds more than a central premise—relationships and neighborhoods more than single characters. Comfort food, familiar and easily digested, not haute cuisine.

Even so, I’d say King’s Family is more obvious, more simple, and more unsubtle than many dramas in the genre, choosing to hit you over the head with its plot rather than let anything develop on its own. Characters are extreme to the point of absurdity, and also given hilariously Dickensian names to underscore their personalities. Consider the following:

The punny humor is hard to translate, but we’ve got characters like the macho Choi Sang-nam (read as choisang nam, the name means manly man), the cautious Go Min-joong (gomin joong means in the throes of dilemma), the terrible runaway mother Oh Man-jung (arrogant), her sweet sister Oh Soon-jung (pure), the huffy peacock of a father-in-law Choi Dae-se (latest trend), our conceited Heo Se-dal (full of it), his brash mother Park Sal-la (smash!), the little girl Gu Mi-ho (gumiho, just for lulz), the mistress Eun Mi-ran (secret), and Wang Dae-bak (daebak!).

It may be for that reason that right from the get-go, the drama drew complaints for being over-the-top—even as it clocked in sizable audiences week after week. It’s enough to make you wonder why people would bother to come back to a show to watch horrible people doing horrible things, which could spike your blood pressure to dangerous heights if you let it.

Still, for the past six months this show has (mostly) entertained me with its outrageousness. I would argue that what makes King’s Family compelling (if not quite addicting) is that despite the constant barrage of conflict, the show was also very diligent in dishing out steady doses of gratification. It wasn’t always as fast as I wanted, but every time I thought, Arggggh I wish I could reach into my screen and slap him/her/it, the show would oblige you by delivering that slap shortly.

The show divides rather neatly down the middle between characters who are terrible (cheaters, sneaks, and generally selfish bastards) and characters who are paragons of virtue (often getting beat down or abused, always unfairly, like Cinderella living in a village of stepmothers). There’s a loud, sprawling family at the center, and I would say that roughly half of them are what we might deem normal people in terms of sanity and general reason, and the other half are perhaps operating on another realm of logic where selfishness and resentment form the chief motivators for any and all interaction.

For example: In the first half, we had to deal with not only bad behavior but also frustrating reactions to that behavior. People being mean, I can understand. People reacting to that meanness in this drama, however, I often couldn’t understand. A wife (Lee Tae-ran) discovers that her husband (Oh Man-seok) is cheating, and then begs him to come back and forgive her for pushing him toward adultery rather than kicking him out or holding him responsible for his lapse in morality. The husband is willing to leave behind his two kids to shack up with his mistress and sugar momma, who’s a hotel heiress, yet the wife keeps begging.

There’s also the good husband working his ass off doing menial labor to recover from a business bankruptcy. His wife screams at him for being incompetent, all while being proud of never having washed a single dish in her life. She’s also proud to tell people she doesn’t know how to raise her kids, as though being rich enough to afford help means she’s too good to provide it.

Then there’s the strangeness of watching “Korea’s Mom” Kim Hae-sook put in her time as an off-puttingly shrill, materialistic matriarch who actively shuns one daughter (the hardworking one) in favor of the useless one (because she’s pretty).

What makes it all worth it, though, is in the payoff. And here’s where the show’s oversimplistic storytelling becomes gratifying, because everybody gets exactly what they’ve had coming to them, with interest:

Take that cheating husband with the mistress. Well, after berating his wife into giving him a divorce he insists on, he gets kicked to the curb in his underpants. Literally. He goes from preening gigolo to homeless man overnight, having lost both wife and mistress, and damn if it isn’t satisfying.

The eldest daughter’s storyline is perhaps the most aggravating of them all (and that’s saying something), but I will allow that the character of Soo-bak (played by Oh Hyun-kyung) seems too terrible to be real. And once someone crosses that line into cartoonish evil, it becomes easier to swallow their antics, however horrible they are. And they are horrible:

Early on she disdains her sincere husband (Jo Sung-ha) for going bankrupt, and is mortified when he takes up a menial job as deliveryman to make ends meet. She reconnects with her old flame and starts something on the side, after which she seeks divorce intending to swap husbands—then lets her family believe that her husband was the one cheating. He is so good-natured that he lets them believe that rather than snitching on her.

At one point she declares her children a burden that she wishes she never had, so forgive me when I react to her motherly turn later with a massive eye-roll. She’s the one who’s always using her former glory as Miss Korea pageant contestant as an excuse not to do things, like cook or earn a living or be a functional adult, and while that grating refrain gets old real fast, it is perhaps mitigated by the in-joke that the actress was the 1989 Miss Korea.

But Soo-bak gets her just deserts, not in the form of death or destruction, but in the much harder-to-swallow form of realization. She gets her divorce, but right away is cheated by her old flame, who flees the country after taking her money—and also the house deed she stole from her parents because she was soooo sure he was right about doubling her investment overnight. And kicking her parents out of their home has a way of making her feel a shame that she somehow was able to avoid through being a horrible wife and mother.

Meanwhile, the (now-ex-)husband lands back on his feet and sets up a new business, returning to his former white-collar comforts just as she is losing hers. She realizes that she threw away a good man and angles for reconciliation… just as the husband finds love again (with the woman named Pure, of course). Adding insult to injury, the sweet new wife offers to raise Soo-bak’s children, and Soo-bak has nobody to blame but herself for her misery. Best/worst of all, she understands this and accepts it as her due.

Am I making this show sound horrible? I’m making this show sound horrible, aren’t it?

All that said, King’s Family isn’t dreary or even angry as a show. It moves quickly from plot point to plot point, so that no single bout of angst lasts very long, and before you know it the situation has resolved and we’ve moved on to the new crisis of the day. Because the action flies by, we don’t really get too attached to any one storyline, but sometimes all you want is swiftly moving surface entertainment. We don’t always have the mindspace or the mental wherewithal to pour ourselves into the worlds of our characters, and a show like this is designed to offer quick hits of payoff.

For instance, we know that Lee Yoon-ji is going to get her man, so we don’t need to fall into the trenches with her to feel her Sturm und Drang about the rocky courtship—it’s enough to see that the couple struggles, then gets their happy moment. And I suppose if we must have some parental opposition to gum up the works, why not go for that laugh factor full-force by putting on a Daughter-in-Law Audition? (In one of the show’s silliest segments, Dad-in-Law decides he doesn’t like her and wants an excuse to pick any girl instead, and therefore puts out an open casting call for his son’s wife-to-be. What chicken-leg-fights or tire-dragging races have to do with marriage I’ll never understand, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be understood.)

And ultimately, this is an upbeat show that doesn’t leave its characters in misery. They all cycle back round and find some measure of happiness or peace in the end. We get to indulge our schadenfreude when the hateworthy characters hit rock bottom, but it’s also safe to enjoy their lows because the show predictably digs them out of those holes eventually. It would be mean of us to gain pleasure in their long-term desolation, but we can feel a moment of vindication in momentary struggles before they manage to escape, having learned some valuable lessons (we hope).

For instance, the cheating husband begs his wife to take him back, and while he hardly deserves a second chance, the wife agrees on the condition that he become the housewife. Er, house-husband. He’s so relieved not to be homeless that he accepts the arrangement with alacrity and soon finds himself enjoying the role, even earning a spot with the neighborhood ajummas in their gossip sessions.

So he learns to appreciate his wife, and eventually the two settle into a new dynamic that works much better. Turns out that things were rough when the wife was being held to unrealistic expectations of both keeping house and breadwinning, and now the roles are split—contravening traditional gender expectations, to boot. And wouldn’t you know, they’re happier that way.

In a sense, watching King’s Family feels like an exercise in indulging your id, where the situations provoke basic, childlike emotions in us—whether it’s fear, indignation, giddiness, or satisfaction—and then allow us to experience those petty thrills vicariously through the character. We’ve probably all silently stewed in situations where we dearly wanted to throw a glass of water in someone’s face, or say “If I died you’d all be sorry!” or live in a pity party after experiencing heartbreak, only to be forced to do the mature thing and act responsible. No wallowing, no tantrums, no hair-pulling.

King’s Family steps in to provide that secondhand glee, and while it may not be very enlightened of me, I’m for sure going to get my yuks when the horrible Soo-bak has to move into a rundown shack with an outhouse and literally craps her pants because she’s too fussy to use the toilet. At least in the context of this show, we get to wish dire things on meanies and then laugh when karma turns around to bite them.

The series dishes up a whole mountain of mundane crises to keep us zipping from week to week, and somehow manages to preserve each character’s quirks—annoyances and all—while strangely, magically, making them gradually less off-putting. By the end, we’re downright attached to many of them, even the ones who said and did some really unlikable things earlier, whom we’d written off as unredeemable.

Perhaps it’s a case of the characters rounding out and smoothing out their rough edges, and ending up in happier places. Or perhaps that’s just what happens when you stick with people (even fictional ones) through times of emotional turmoil and come through the crisis together. It’s a classic example of miwoon-jung, or hate-affection, which Koreans use to describe growing fond of something you don’t really like much at all.

Maybe that’s an extension of the family themes at the heart of King’s Family, which depcit family as a sort of beloved hell, one you cannot change (at least not usually, and without great effort). One you must learn to love or be doomed to spend the rest of your life resenting—it’s a scab you cannot resist picking at, for the momentary gratification it gives you despite the lifelong scar it leaves. And one day it’s healed and you’re recovered, and all that drama seems like such a small thing in the larger scheme of the universe.

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Yay you heard my pleas!!!

I'm so glad this is finally over and done with, which means no more recapping on my part! Soonish!!

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Just wanted to say that I've been following your recaps of this drama for most of its run :) Thank you so much for all your hard work!

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Thank you!!

I'm sorry I haven't been the most consistent recapper around, but I'll work my way around no access to the fourth dimension to get the recaps for the last 2 episodes out ASAP!

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I stop watching this awhile ago... was taking too long to wait for episodes with subtitles. I really appreciate reading your recaps instead!

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I am also one of those who followed your recaps (I have your page bookmarked). They were really good and reflected how I felt about the show. Thank you so much for doing it because I could no longer keep up with the show.

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Yes, thanks for recapping! I couldn't bear to watch the show, but still wanted to know what happened, so I followed your recaps. :)

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awww I love you all! =)

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I'm so glad knowing that you do watch those long daily dramas (!) like me... Now I just wait for them to finish then watch insanely thinking I can marathon watch but then realize just watch one episode at a time when able... Thanks so much from a fan who will slowly watch this drama...

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I prefer the wait and marathon watch method. With the long series, I find that not a lot happens in 2-3 episodes. A LOT of reflection, unnecessary flashbacks, staring off into the distance and too many 'near misses' for my liking to keep up with it week to week. So I wait for at least 10 epis to pass then watch, then allow another 10-12 epis. That's how I got through Lee Soon Shin. I adored the OTP, but the mother mystery was too drawn out. It's also how I'm getting through Kings Family.

I find just about every character to be completely unlikable. At this point, I ONLY like Daebak and Miho.

Subak- I want to punch her in the face for being such a spoiled brat

HobaK - I hated how she became such a doormat to her family. I also hated the fact that her husband pretty much raped her in order to get pregnant and prevent her from going abroad.

Kwangbak - I hated how she became such a moron after getting married. I actually hated how stupid she was all along. Who gets dating advise from a child? WHo has no sense of how to act around her in-laws? Plus her crying was truly annoying. The barking with Sang nam was...weird

The mother, a great, phenomenal actress, was such a screaming banshee that I also wanted to punch her in the face. Especially when Subak screwed the whole family over, but she was still making excuses for her.

Sedal's mom, how can she raise such a loser son and think it ok for him to mooch off his wife?? How can she encourage him to have an affair with a rich woman, just because she has money?

Sedal, seriously dude. You have a law degree. You can't find a job doing SOMETHING? Librarian, teacher, coffee shop, delivering newspaper.

Good lord, glad this is over.

Wouldn't recommend it.

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You perfectly summed up every character in WF. I really hated how after 49 episodes of being horrible to HB, the mother is "redeemed" with one apology scene. But I watched this drama to the end, which I can only attribute to some variation of rubbernecking a car wreck as I slowly drive by.

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Agree with you to the END of it .. I'm also GLAD that this show is no more PHEW.

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I guess your point is: it was really bad, but you watched it anyway. So it must have had something compelling enough to make you stick somehow through the show long enough for you to "hate" it.

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I agree 100% with Whatsthescenario. I couldn't stand most of others characters as well. Wimp-ass-father, Ignorant-Foolish-Petty FIL, Moocher-loser-worthless MIL (Hobak's) I stopped this watching drama the episode the DIL audition was introduced. I'm sooooo glad I did. Apparently, all of the characters experienced pain, pain and more pain but no growth or development, (except for maybe 'Loser' who isn't mentioned in this recap), and Sedal stooped to the lowest of the low in using women.

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King's Family was awesome, one of the best dramas for 2013 in my opinion. The true gem within this drama is the dialogue. The dialogue and wordplay is downright unsubtle, shrewd and at times obnoxious.....making it that much more awesome!! I can see why this was a huge ratings hit within Korean households, it encompasses a lot of cultural themes in our society (which every Korean person understands and knows about but never talk about with others) and puts it "in your face" through various plot mechanisms. Yes, the overall plot and characters are at times ridiculous but......intertwined with the character development and dialogue coordination it becomes very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed this, it is very addicting! Highly recommended!

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Me too! I find this drama entertaining and addicting. :-)

Thanks JB for this overview.

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Can't believe you'd do an overview for this, giving us a chance to rant! TQ.

1. I really want those hours back.
2. I haven't ever thought that such nonsense can pass for a script. Why would anyone pay for that? It should be criminal.
3. This series, on the heels of The Best LeeSS, has finally cured me of the urge to watch another Weekend drama again. I mean, EVER. So that's sth to be thankful for.

So much potential, all shot to hell, by the crazy inner workings of the 'writer's' brain!

Really feel sorry for the actors to have to act out their scenes that make no sense any where on planet earth!

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I think a person has to really grow in a "Korean" household to understand why the drama is the way it is. It's really the dialogue and bickering between characters that makes this show what it is. If a non-Korean or a Korean with little native cultural understanding were to watch this, I also agree that it would look ridiculous from their point of view. Subs and translations just don't provide justice for this type of drama because you can't understand the true essence of Korean culture that is embedded in each and every script.

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I may not be Korean myself but I completely disagree with you.
The dramas dont represent korean family are or their supposed culture. I may be wrong because watching dramas and documentary dont make me an expert on that subject but more than anything, the reason why those dramas full of makjang stuffs are made and why they are popular is because viewers will watch it for the nonsense plot, hateful and pitiful characters ... Viewers know how lousy and bad written those dramas are . Thats why, they were outraged when Hundred Years Legacy won for Best Drama/Best Writer (cant remember which one).
This is also why Gag Concert segment, The King of Ratings, love to make fun of those dramas.

You are talking about Korean culture and I would have agreed if you talked about a drama like Unexpected You which highlighed the importance of marriage/in laws in the family and helped international fans to understand THE korean culture. Hilariously enough, the drama makes fun of those makjang (?) filled stuffs by saying «how those mother in-laws can exist, its such a lie» ... etc. If I didnt watch this drama, I would have thought that all mothers in laws and daughters in laws were like the ones in You Are My Destiny, New Tales of Gisaeng, ... etc. I may agree that obviously, korean family aint perfect and have a lot of strict traditions going on but those families portrayed in most dramas are a disgrace.

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Oh my gosh' you shouldnt think like that ! Not all korean family dramas are like that !
Well, at least, you should give Unexpected You a try and I swear, you wont think anymore that all of them are bad. Not going to go in details in the storyline but the drama did amazingly what Wang Family/YATBLSS couldnt do at all : talking about family and relationship with in-laws. There is no big conflict where you want to kill someone like in this drama, characters like Sedal or Subak. You may find the youngest daughter in law annoying because she loves to bother the main heroine but the latter is so fierce that they have hilarious interactions. Of course, you gotta have a dramatic storyline with a lost boy findind his parents 30 years latter but it isnt overdramatic and full of makjang stuffs. All the characters are loveable and you will find yourself not bothered because they all shine. If you aint impressed by what I say, go watch the first episode, the heroine and her husband are amazing together and individually and they stay this way until the very end.
And the writer is Park Ji Eun, the one writing Man From Another Star so you can be sure that the drama doesnt take viewers as fools.

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I agree with you! Unexpected You is a great family drama that I think change my opinion on family drama. Did you watched My daughter Seoyoung?

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In my opinion, 3 of the best dramas I've seen, whether family or otherwise, are Unexpected You, My Daughter Seoyoung and The Ojakkyo Family. All 3 are wonderful.

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I couldn't finish My Daughter....because the network I was watching on stopped the subbing, so I only got to watch about 22 episodes. Loved Ojakkyo Family too. I would love to see Son of Sol... but don't know where to view it in the USA.

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I agree with you for 2/3 (Unexpected You and Ojakgyo Brothers) but would add Sons of S

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I agree with you for 2/3 (Unexpected You and Ojakgyo Brothers) but would add Sons of Sol Pharmacy as the first. (My ranking would be Sons, Unexpected, Ojakgyo).

I've heard good things about My Daughter Seo-young but wasn't able to watch it. I'd definitely be interested in catching it, if I could find it online.

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I absolutely loved the drama with three names :)
My Husband Got a Family (English title) / You Who Rolled In Unexpectedly (literal title) / Unexpected You (U.S. title). I would watch it again.

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If you could get hold of the episodes for Seoyoung, I could send you the subs.

Sons of Sol Pharmacy is also good, but not as good as the 3 above.

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don't give up yet.

I've had the good luck of watching a few good family dramas.

They're great when done right.

For example : ojakgyo brothers, sons of sol pharmacy, smile you, high kick 1&3, currently airing melody of love as far as i've seen it.

The thing is I think I can spot built in makjang stuff a mile away and run like hell.I think it's a god given gift of mine coz I maybe allergic to over the top craziness.hehehe.
makjang done right on the other hand is kind of good.

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I liked Sons of Sol Pharmacy, Childless Comfort, Smile you. They made sense. I like things that make sense.

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My mom likes to watch the long daily dramas when they're shown on my local channels, and grumble to me how selfless the heroine is and what a terrible daughter I am.
But they're quite addictive, sometimes I find myself sitting next to her watching day after day oops (as she sighs to me that if only she had a daughter like etc etc)

Thanks for the review, I'm pretty interested in dramas that brings out all my meanness, er I mean let me enjoy the gratifications :D

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and grumble to me how selfless the heroine is and what a terrible daughter I am.

... ... aaaaand I would reply with "you want me to be a stupid doormat?!"

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Man I should have used that! It's just a little hard to butt in a reply in the midst of her Confucian-philosophy-is-wonderful we-should-all-give-unconditional-respect-to-elders speech.

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Lol, my mom sounds similar to yours but unlike you, I'm super quick to shoot down any thing that makes no sense to me. It must be the genes on my dad's side.

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I wonder if any of the dramabeans recappers are watching Empress Ki? A end of series recap for that would be amazing...

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LOVING Empress Ki, and not just bcos of HaJW. I've discovered the wonderful acting of Ji JW in this drama. Baek JH is pretty good too. Too bad JoJM doesn't get a lot to do besides looking mournful. Ki is definitely too Perfect to be real, but I love her smart badass ways in dealing w her opponents and puppy emperor alike. Enjoy the story lines, every one of them. My highlight in KD watching at the moment. So glad it'll last 50 eps, or more! (Sorry if this is off topic; just want to shout its praises, somewhere).

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While we're at it, may I just that I would so love an end of series recap for Miss Korea. It's such an underrated show that deserves more publicity.

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i love Miss Korea! Always watch it first on Wed-Thu before I watch YFAS. On thursday after Miss Korea I watch 'Let's eat' - talk about food porn that show is it!

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Me too! So underrated, and so awesome.

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For those interested now The Talking Cupboard recaps Empress Ki. :)

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i think HeadsNo2 is... not too sure if she'll write about it though.

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Definitely over the top. The amount of abuse and bad luck the sincere husband (jo sung ha) and 2nd daughter (lee tae ran) sustained would make most go nuts. Kang ye bin provided some comedic relief with grandma. 4th daughter might as well not be part of the show, hardly part of the storyline..writers must have had a hard time working her into the mix.

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Help me list more "over the top"
1) lee yoon ji's father in law was strict and particular with her actions around the house, and yet he conducted a frivolous open contest for any women to win his precious son in marriage.
2) 2nd daughter some how convinces her exercise instructor to stage a kidnapping of her and hubby. Ruse was part of overall plan to prove whether hubby still cared for her..lol

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My parents just got into Korean dramas again, and this was their first drama in a very long time. They got hilariously invested in this drama no matter how stupid some of the episodes were, but the ending just takes the cake. wtf?! Was that ending?!

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Even after watching the last episode raw, i'd still watch it in subs. The whole show is just so frustrating. Over the top character and horrible ending tsk tsk. But its so addictive. Give me back my time!

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Oh noooo why its horrible? Don't tell me Subak is accepted again by her ex-husband??? I'm fine with everyone having a happy closure but Subak a big NO!

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gawd it sounds so horrible!!!! And the charactor names take the cake. loved reading the post.

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Is anyone watching Well Brought Up Daughter Hana??? It's at ep 50ish now. The plot is all-makjang + You're Beautiful/SKK Scandal. I don't know what keeps me going but I can watch 10 eps in half an hour with super fast forwarding! :)

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This is the one drama that my Korean godmother and her family absolutely loved to watch week after week. I couldn't get behind it, but i could certainly understand why it was such a ratings juggernaut in south korea.

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I don't think I really, truly liked any of the characters in this drama, not even the long-suffering Ho-bak. There were actually too many that I actively disliked, including the one played by "Korea's Mom" - ironically, I told my mom about the actress' moniker just yesterday as we were watching this on KBS World.

(OK, maybe I liked baby Joong-ji because all he did was look adorable.)

I also agree that the writing wasn't at all logical.

And yet I couldn't stop watching, if only to hope that the people I disliked the most would get their just desserts.

This was a crack drama for me, and I can't believe it's already been 6 months.

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I dropped this drama because I was frustrated with all the characters except the main OTP (though they had their own moments of shame) and the annoying mother ugh.. the less said the better.

Even so, I'm really happy knowing that the older sister got what she deserved. Because if she reconciled with her nice husband.. I would've been pissed.

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I'm still waiting for the last 2 eps in KBSW.

I do sometimes feeling shame with my drama's choice, especially when my friends also watch it, dissed it and asked me "how come you can endure watching this kind of crap?! “

I love family dramas and sometimes I even crave for some makjang ones. I guess I just an ajuhmma in the making.

Wang Family is not that makjang, I love some parts of it, but I hate every characters in it (except for daddy Bong, and Lee Yoonji's character), yet I just can't stop watching it. Wouldn't recommend this to friend though.. :D

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Daily Dramas are the epitome of additive drama.

I grow up watching makjang, spanish drama where the main character name is always maria, followed with crazy Hongkong drama and now Makjang Korean Drama.

While i always hated the characters and tell myself that the drama sucks and that there is no point in watching when everything is so predictable. Of course, ill come back to watch day after day.

sigh guilty pleasure indeed...

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I'm still 3 eps behind before the finale,n finally my six month drama come to an end,but fon't worry cos taecyeon amd seo jinnie just around the corner 😉

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My first family drama was Smile You, which is a good start.. But my all time favorite must be Unexpected You .... I'm not a family drama guy and I watched that drama twice (50EP)... The best drama to watch if you never have watched any other family dramas... There are none of the over of the top craziness like wang family, which I dropped after 5 ep.... and thanks for your final thoughts javabeans, your comments made me laugh...

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Yes! Unexpected You is only the second family/weekend drama I've ever seen, and I loved it to bits. It set the bar so high for me, I don't think I can ever like another family drama.

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You should try My Daughter Seoyoung. For me Seoyoung was just slightly better than Unexpected You, though both were wonderful.

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Thirded?

Unexpected You was the first family drama that I've FINISHED watching all throughout. I don't know for others but for me its definitely engaging and there's no dull moment. I felt like all of the characters complement each other and all of their sub-story arcs combine wonderfully for the main story arc.

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You may try Mom's Dead Upset. It's very good drama.

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i'm watching this too. Yes, some episodes are bordering to rediculousness (is that even a word =), but i also stick with it. Waiting for the last episodes now. But judging from the the last pic here, it seems they would be able to get their house back. I wonder how it will happen.'

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At first I like SD but in the end I love Samchon and his wife more. Although I skipped most of the part still I love Korean family drama especially the weekend and daily.

I even avoid to watch the popular drama like YFAS and The Heirs.

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I started watching this 'cause I love Lee Yoon Ji, and I was hoping that this would be another Dandelion Family experience for me: even though the drama wasn't really my cup of tea and I had to fast forward through much of it, watching Lee Yoon Ji fall in love in an adorable way made the watch totally worthwhile. I didn't get the same satisfaction from watching King's Family~ I think JB's right that it was my id that kept coming back for more.

I still have a few eps. to go, but atm I'm more interested in strangling the writers than I am in finishing the drama because they did something I find appalling: (SPOILERS):

They legitimized marital rape. Upset that your wife who you've always belittled has the opportunity to go to Italy for work and is receiving attention from other men, but she isn't paying enough attention to you? No problem, just (intentionally) impregnate her while she's passed out drunk. Making her have another baby (that she had no intention of having) is the solution. WTF? The way the writers treated this storyline is what infuriates me~ right after the non-consensual sex was intimated, they made a tee-hee, wasn't-that-marital-rape-funny scene. They totally made light of it and I presume that they made it seem like that event led to a happier family. I can forgive a drama for a lot of sins, but not that one.

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They legitimized maritial rape... ... I can forgive a drama for a lot of sins, but not this one.

I concur! I was disgusted. Excuuse you, writer!

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Even though I griped after each episode, I kept coming back to watch on Sat/Sun mornings when posted on KBSWorld YouTube channel. As the recapper mentioned, the reactions to the behavior was many times worse than the protagonists' initial actions. However, the crap piled on the 2nd daughter's storyline inexcusable.

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WTF. Talk about antiquated ideals. Just WTF.

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I HATED this drama and all the characters. as Jb pointed out, the good too unbelievably good the awful, just too awful. just yesterday, watching an episode where su bak keeps trying to get the husband back and having to hear all the sisters delusionally believing the ex to be he bad one when all along it was their USELESS sister just made me wanna punch something.

why did I watch? coz when I am at my mom's on weekends, there was nothing else on TV. I get sooooo irritated though. just CAnnot believe the ratings!!! what did people see in it??!!

you can see I have gone nuts :p

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I love Lee Yoonji but I just couldn't bring myself to finish this drama. The plot is totally ridiculous. I stopped watching once I saw the daughter-in-law audition (which is completely illogical since the son has free will to choose his future bride). I have no respect for heroines who puts romance ahead of everything else (romance is important but have some self-respect please).

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I dropped this drama after 10 episodes, I just couldn't take it anymore. Glad to know that everyone got what they deserved, though.

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I haven't quite finished the drama yet, but so far I liked it despite its flaws.

The first daughter was so absurd that I stopped paying attention to her, but other than that I could see where she came from. Not that I felt for her, but whatever.
I loved her husband. Just because usually the woman is the cindrella, but it got time to show that he could manage on his own, being a man and all, but family makes life easier. I love how hopeless he felt and showed it to someone instead of keeping it to himself, that really moved me. If Wang Su Bak would've been super duper totally lame on her own as a character, I think her husband would've still have had a nice storyline.

The second daughter was awesome (if you let the kidnapping plot incident aside because it was awful and unnecessary). I loved the gender reversal although I thought at some point that she just needed to let her cheating husband go and be done with it. I didn't especially like her husband (even if it was Oh Man Seok's part! he was great) who thought money came first because he didn't feel like he had a role in society because of his unemployment and his marriage was not what he thought it'd be. He'd ran away the first time his wife got pregnant, he cheated during the drama, became homeless and it was fine. Because when he came back it was according to his wife's rules.
I think that part of the drama showed the limit of having ONE person at home attending the needs of others (kids, spouse) and doing nothing else. It wasn't just the idea of equality between women and men that made me like it, but also the idea that if you're alone all the time because you "need" to be there and just wait for others to come back home where you are, then cooking and cleaning isn't enough to keep you sane. Your world becomes too narrow, no matter if you're a man or a woman.
So sure enough, the drama had to spoil it by insinuating that it's alright to have sex with your drunk sleeping wife when she clearly said no when sober (also, they got a divorce weeks ago, not she wasn't technically his wife, but whatever). And get her pregnant to make it alright and preventing her to go for a month abroad, which was a great opportunity, so that she'd be pissed but forgive you, 'cause she's pregnant, she doesn't have any other choice, eh? ... (I'm pretty sure this plot is the show's harmatia, but whatever, let's not go there and hate the show.)

The third daugther was lovable and I liked how she communicated with her soon-to-be husband. Then, drama to be together, she got to wear a really nice Kath Kidston apron and stay home and get yelled at by her in-law who apparently can't open the fridge to get his own beer. Right. Also she has to tell someone when she leaves the house to go see her parents or go grocery shopping and when she'll be back, so no freedom on top of being a home slave... well, she had some cute moments with her husband but seriously?? I didn't feel like her character had any growth, just that her life got easier near the end.

The Dad I didn't like or dislike. He was fine. The Mom was awesome. I loved how they kept referring to her as being nicer before, different, and all. How she didn't mean to love only one of her dauthers but it just happend because of the way she was treated back then (in-laws, bring it on one more time!). She made sense somehow, trying hard to keep the huge and extended (weird) family on their feet but then seeing them...

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(sorry, my comment was too long)

... but then seeing them behaving the way she never expected them to. Not that she never infuriated me during the show, but I could feel and understand why she was like that. And I liked it when she still manage to love her husband and laugh with her mother-in-law despite everything. Or maybe I just have a thing for gradmas' storylines, I don't know.

Anyways, thanks for the overview!

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I haven't quite finished the drama yet, but so far I liked it. The first daughter was so absurd that I stopped paying attention to her, but other than that I could see where she came from. Not that I felt for her, but whatever. I loved her husband. Just because usually the woman is the cindrella, but it got time to show that he could manage on his own, being a man and all, but family makes life easier. I love how hopeless he felt and showed it to someone instead of keeping it to himself, that really moved me. If Wang Su Bak would've been super duper totally lame on her own as a character, I think her husband would've still have had a nice storyline. The second daughter was awesome (if you let the kidnapping plot incident aside because it was awful and unnecessary). I loved the gender reversal although I thought at some point that she just needed to let her cheating husband go and be done with it. I didn't especially like her husband (even if it was Oh Man Seok's part! he was great) who thought money came first because he didn't feel like he had a role in society because of his unemployment and his marriage was not what he thought it'd be. He'd ran away the first time his wife got pregnant, he cheated during the drama, became homeless and it was fine. Because when he came back it was according to his wife's rules. I think that part of the drama showed the limit of having ONE person at home attending the needs of others (kids, spouse) and doing nothing else. It wasn't just the idea of equality between women and men that made me like it, but also the idea that if you're alone all the time because you "need" to be there and just wait for others to come back home where you are, then cooking and cleaning isn't enough to keep you sane. Your world becomes too narrow, no matter if you're a man or a woman. So sure enough, the drama had to spoil it by insinuating that it's alright to have sex with your drunk sleeping wife when she clearly said no when sober (also, they got a divorce weeks ago, not she wasn't technically his wife, but whatever). And get her pregnant to make it alright and preventing her to go for a month abroad, which was a great opportunity, so that she'd be pissed but forgive you, 'cause she's pregnant, she doesn't have any other choice, eh? ... The third daugther was lovable and I liked how she communicated with her soon-to-be husband. Then, drama to be together, she got to wear a really nice Kath Kidston apron and stay home and get yelled at by her in-law who apparently can't open the fridge to get his own beer. Right. Also she has to tell someone when she leaves the house to go see her parents or go grocery shopping and when she'll be back, so no freedom on top of being a home slave... well, she had some cute moments with her husband but seriously?? I didn't feel like her character had any growth, just that her life got easier near the end. The Dad I didn't like or dislike. He was fine. The Mom was awesome. I loved how they kept referring to her as being nicer before, different, and all. How she didn't mean to love only one of her dauthers but it just happend because of the way she was treated back then (in-laws, bring it on one more time!). She made sense somehow, trying hard to keep the huge and extended (weird) family on their feet but then seeing them behaving the way she never expected them to. Not that she never infuriated me during the show, but I could feel and understand why she was...

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Thanks for series review. I watched every episode of this drama! Not a Korean but from an Asian family nonetheless. Got glimpses of my family here n there. Series was funny, cute and dramatically sad n over wrought at times but was highly entertaining for me.

Good cast. They made some of the plot workable.

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Why the most popular Korean dramas overseas are the short ones? it would be nice a long plot ,in my country Mexico, we for the first time since long ago ,have a Brazilian Telenovela on prime time ( Avenida Brasil ) and it has 129 episodes! a single long Korean plot would be epic and well reminded too ; )

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I only watched a bit here and there but this was really OTT. I hated LYJ's storyline and her father in law, it's like she got married to become a maid. I can't stand the way her FIL looks down on her and screams insults at her every chance he gets.

This drama was bad imo, please give me something like Unexpected You. PLEASE. Not this makjang crap.

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Thanks for this! I was wondering how it ended. I watched about 16 episodes or so before I dropped it. I just could not stand the mom and Soo-bak. They were just too much to stomach.

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Same here - I can see how it was so addictive, but Su-bak and to a lesser extent, Se-dal, made me ragequit.

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Oh my gosh, I loved this drama so much. It was like a long extended communal fairytale -- with the symbolic names and the flaky permutations of family trials. There were times when I thought they were being very over-the-top manipulative with the plot but there were times when the simplicity of the story grabbed me. It was like watching a little experiment with each storyline being controls. In that way, there was something claustrophobic about it because every character/situation had to have some correlation with some other character/situation. But dang, it was addictive!!!

Some of the heartfelt speeches in this drama..wow! Hobak's monologue! WOW! Se Dal's speeches! WOW! The heart and the way it felt as if those were speeches we wanted to hear from our own families. That's why it connected to people i think. The characters, although extreme, connected to everyone. We all are or have been hurt or insulted as LOSER, GOOF-OFF, etc. And we all have had older women/mother figures who didn't see our worth...or who were hard to please. Dang, this drama was so cathartic. I cried so often. And wow, that OST! Was that a perfect OST or what? Depending on how slow or how fast it was, you were either blubbering or jumping around in joy.

Am not sure if I thought Mom was truly redeemed at the end. The weird thing is how thickheaded she was...the difficulty of her changing throughout-- wow, the drama showed us how wilful some characters could be and how locked in their own minds.

It'll be one of my favorites (although i skipped four of the last episodes because of the drawn-out misunderstanding and birth secret stuff.)

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I know you didn't consider it a hardship, but 50 episodes is a lot to get through and I salute you for it. and even though I gave up it's easy to see that there is a certain addictiveness to it - I gave up because I hated some major characters, not because I was indifferent to the show. So it definitely does make people feel, even if its crazy was OTT. And I went back for the Lee Yoon-ji/Han Joo-wan kiss scenes on someone's rec, and weirdly for a recent network kdrama, they actually kissed like two people who wanted to kiss! lol.

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I've only ever watched two 50 episode weekend dramas: You're the Best Lee Soon Shin, and The Baker King Kim Tak Ku. Loved the latter, and watched the former with varying degrees of waxing and waning interest. How does King's Family compare to Kim Tak Ku? Tak Ku was apparently another 50% ratings juggernaut, and I understood why, though admittedly, there were some truly head-scratching elements in certain of its character and plot points.

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Baker King Kim Tak-gu wasn't a weekend drama (I think it aired Wed/Thurs)...and it was only 25 eps. It was a makjang fest but I liked that drama as well...more so because of Tak-gu and his quest to becoming a baker.

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Oops, my bad...I need to correct myself -- it was 30 eps.

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I had such high hopes for King's Family...since I had enjoyed the writer's previous weekender Three Brothers. But I'd have to agree that this was way over-the-top in more than a few aspects and some of the plotlines and characters made for annoyed watching. Which is why I dropped it mid-way...but it was the curiosity in me that led to tune in again.

In comparing KF to TB, which had similarities in some ways but ended up comparing apples vs. oranges, KF felt less streamlined and more geared for the over-the-top craziness that it will likely be known for. I guess it's unfair of me to say that it did not meet my expectations...but I guess it's just my preference.

I've missed watching the last 5 or 6 eps due to being busy with other things, but tuned in to the finale (and guess it was better to have missed those eps anyway). Decent end to what was sometimes a frustrating watch...

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I felt like this about Wonderful Mama. But I have to say, I don't think I would marathon a show like this. It's way better to watch as it's happening. If I see more than 16 episodes in a list, I usually start panicking and looking for a jdorama. So, what's cool about these weekend shows is that they keep you in the moment.

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How coincident dramabeans, me too. i've came across this family drama by accident, and amazingly it got me hooked. not in a sense crazily hooked. but literally weekend drama and if i just happen to catch it i will catch it.

lightly entertaining and just like what you said, its literally a typical korean family drama, and pretty well written due to its fast pace.

did you happen to catch the other one? the woman who married three times. that is pretty good, to my surprise. literally weekend drama, so its not like those wed thurs drama, but omg it tugs the heart so much. the woman's struggles inside the drama, esp now this week's one!! maybe because of the ost too, its an emotional one this week.

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I just started watching King's Family drama series yesterday. It was quite a calm storm since the plots were tangled with one another smoothly.

From an episode to its next made me feel pain and subtle happiness. Each made me realize the truth outside our daydreams. Although many said that this Korean telenovela's ridiculous, horrible or even surreal because of its story line, I still believe that this is one of those perturbing stories that would help awaken our minds to see what's in front of us, to face reality. More than that, I've read something earlier, so I wrote the next part. Writers of such or of any literary material grab onto ideas based on their surroundings - the way they live and survive this world, and on other references, to be able to make the plot more realistic and heart-felt.

Watch this, and I could assure you that you'd be moved to tears right from the start while fuming red as either for being too excited or so aggravated.

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I was going to trash this drama but then I felt ashamed because as bad as it was, I watched ALL 50 episodes. Who is crazier, the people who made whatever horror show that was, or a person who spent 30-odd hours(I had my finger on the fast-forward button for the most part) watching it. I can't even judge the writers because i watched what they wrote. So I'll just push my shame down...way down, and tell myself to make better choices next time. also.. waaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiil

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So full of crazies but everyone gets karma in the end. I'm 50% hopeful for Rim. :|

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