Why You Should Watch: Father, I’ll Take Care of You
We’re trying out a new feature, which we’re calling Why You Should Watch, because we’ve been wanting to open up more avenues for talking about dramas outside of recaps and series reviews, and to give you guys a chance to participate directly as well. The title’s pretty self-explanatory: Here’s your chance to present a case to the world for why people should be watching a drama. Be your drama’s best advocate!
We know there are holes in our coverage and wish we could give every drama a chance in the spotlight. We also know that you all, the readers and drama fandom, are sometimes itching to chime in, and we wanted to open up more places for discussion to flourish about dramas that don’t get regularly recapped here—we have What We’re Watching threads and Open Threads and Drama Hangouts, but sometimes a body just wants more. I feel that pain too. When you’re a hardcore fan, those thoughts and feelings and giddy exclamations just want to come pouring out regardless of time and place and propriety, and we want to make room for them here, at K-drama addicts central.
So I’ve decided to kick things off with the inaugural post, to make a case for why more people should be watching Father, I’ll Take Care of You. (To be totally transparent, I may have thought up this Why You Should Watch feature after being frustrated that the latest What We’re Watching was just too short to explain all the reasons I’ve gone giddy for this show, and wanting to talk about it to somebody, anybody, without committing myself to six months of recaps. So maybe the idea was mostly selfishly motivated, but hey, sometimes selfishness can lead to helpful things!)
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Father, I’ll Take Care of You may seem like an odd show to get all bouncy and excited about, given that it’s a simple, straightforward, fifty-episode weekend family drama that is populated with lots of characters you’d like to shake. It’s not cleverly plotted, it’s not a new idea, it’s standard lighthearted weekend fare. So why care?
I present to you Exhibit A:
I have more exhibits, but come on. Isn’t that enough? *rewatches* *loops over and over* *mesmerized*
I firmly believe that a family weekend drama lives or dies by the pull of its youngest loveline—there are always tons of other characters and a myriad of other life issues represented (housewives, working life, in-law relationships, and so on), but if you have a dull-as-dirt youthful romance, you’re toast. Conversely, if that maknae romance gets the viewers excited, then it can nigh carry the whole show—if I’ve realized anything after watching family weekenders, it’s that I’ll go through a lot for the sake of a cute, satisfying loveline.
Park Eun-bin (Age of Youth, Secret Door) and Lee Tae-hwan (W, Come Back Ajusshi, High School King of Savvy) take up this role in this drama, and boy are they ever pulling their weight and more. The show definitely understood this, since it started with them and launched into their story right away, and despite the attraction unfolding a lot quicker than I understood in my head, I was so charmed by it that I didn’t care. Why is he so moony-eyed over her already? Shouldn’t he be more guarded about the weird stranger? I don’t know if I quite get it. GO ON, GIVE ME MORE.
One thing the drama does well is in building up their moments from the start, delivering just enough morsels to keep me eager for more. In the beginning, I would watch everything so that I would understand the family dynamics, and found myself sitting up and my heart speeding up anytime either of these characters showed up onscreen, even when not directly involved in a loveline moment.
Then as the episodes went on, I found myself so impatient for their scenes that I fast-forwarded everybody else, and found that I didn’t miss not watching those stories. On the contrary, it made me love this show even more, because it was 100 percent good stuff, and I was eating it all up.
But to give some context, here’s what the show is about:
The “father” in the title refers to the family patriarch played by Kim Chang-wan. He and his wife live on the second floor of a three-story villa that they own. The family matriarch (played by Kim Hye-ok) has worked tirelessly for forty years taking care of children, parents, and in-laws, and now that her children are grown and her mother-in-law (Grandma Na Mun-hee) has moved out (albeit to the apartment above, on the third floor), she is beyond thrilled have her life all to herself. She’s in her golden years and determined to make the most of it.
That’s until—long story short—two of her grown sons run into tough times and come crawling back to live with Mom and Dad, ruining her golden retirement.
Doormat First Son and his wife end up living in the basement with their two children. Selfish Second Son and his wife claim the first floor for themselves and their son. Mom was planning to rent out the first floor and enjoy the extra income, and is indignant at her foolish children for ruining it. But Father, despite being soft-hearted and gentle, is unmovable in his stance that they take care of the kids in their time of need.
But on to the good stuff!
Lee Tae-hwan plays the third son, Sung-joon, a successful mid-level director at a large company who has worked the past two years in Taiwan. It’s there that he first runs into Park Eun-bin’s character, Dong-hee, and they have a few bonding moments before they go their respective ways. Then he returns to Korea, moving back in with his parents (on the second floor)—and finds out that the strange girl he ran into in Taiwan is now living in his villa’s rooftop room. Moreover, she’s his in-law—and while he seems chuffed at the former prospect, the latter is distinctly disappointing.
Park Eun-bin’s Dong-hee isn’t very related to Sung-joon: He is the younger brother of her sister’s husband, and her sister is actually a second cousin.
On top of that, a birth secret hints that Sung-joon isn’t actually Father’s third biological son, but likely an adopted one. Fauxcest averted!
Dong-hee’s brother (actually second cousin) has ruined their family financially: He fleeces his brother-in-law (First Son) and wrings his own grandmother dry, then flees abroad (hence Dong-hee’s trip to Taiwan to find him).
That’s how Dong-hee and her grandmother (let’s call her Grandma-in-law) end up moving into the rooftop room, because Father hears of it and is too compassionate to ignore their plight. Of course, that means that we now have five levels of one villa chock-full of one family and its in-laws, and all the relationship clashes that ensue.
Among Oppa’s victims is Sung-joon’s company, and they decide to go after Dong-hee instead, and because she’s a decent person with a sense of guilt that her brother doesn’t share, she finds herself backed into all sorts of financial corners. In a convenient turn of events, Sung-joon’s colleague insists on hiring Dong-hee to work for free, to pay off the amount Oppa stole, which brings the couple into constant contact both at home and in the office.
There is a dreaded Rival Woman, but Sung-joon is so smitten with Dong-hee that it’s not angsty in a bad way. I mean, come on, just compare how he looks at Dong-hee (above) to how he looks at his leech-ladyfriend (below).
The romantic elements are very simple, and it’s not like there’s anything exceptionally fresh or different about the romance to make it so addicting. And yet, I get excited anytime Sung-joon and Dong-hee run into each other accidentally, or all the times he loiters outside her door trying to find excuses to talk to her, or how he seems to love taking her by the hand whenever an occasion presents itself. *eeeee!* The details are dropped in tantalizing bite-sized pieces, and add up to something much more giddy-making than each of the parts.
The show also thrives on its knack of throwing them together in all sorts of situations that are squee-inducing even when they’re blatantly transparent, because they push all the right buttons anyway. I don’t care why they’re together now, I just care that they’re together! Washing dishes! Making kimchi! Babysitting nieces! Yes, please, and thank you!
As for the rest, well, I’ll let the clips do the talkin’.
Sung-joon to the rescue:
Library week was a great week:
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And now it’s your turn!
If you’d like submit an entry for Why You Should Watch, email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few guidelines:
- Your entry can be short or long (but let’s not go crazy here; we may edit if it’s insanely long).
- Include at least one image and one video clip.
- It can be a show that has been recapped, because the idea is to appeal to people who have not yet seen it—so even if we’ve written twenty recaps, the new viewer probably hasn’t read any of them. We do, however, think the idea is particularly useful for unrecapped and/or underrepresented dramas.
- Write for an audience who has not seen the show yet. Assume no prior knowledge! (And don’t give away major spoilers.)
- Please, to the best of your ability, use proper grammar and spelling, and spell out full titles and names (no acronyms).
Happy writing! We look forward to being persuaded into watching tons of new dramas we can’t possibly have the time to add to our watchlists but will, come hell or highwater, manage to anyway! It’s the addict’s way. *dramaholic salute*