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[Dramaland Catnip] Surprise, you’re a daddy!


Two Weeks

By Ladytron333

You know that newbie phase of drama watching when you’re gobbling up content like you’re in a cake factory and the building is on fire? That was when I first stumbled on Wonderful Life with Kim Jae-won and Eugene. I’d only been watching Korean dramas for a few months at that point and I wasn’t exactly a discerning fan. I’d already seen Can You Hear My Heart, and since Kim Jae-won was pretty cute in it (what can I say, I’m shallow like that), I wanted to see more of what he had to offer. I settled in for the promised contract-marriage hijinks and waited to be entertained.

The attraction was instantaneous. My heart wouldn’t stop fluttering. I grew sweaty and anxious and couldn’t tear my eyes away from the computer screen. But my cold sweats weren’t because of the bickering OTP or late-in-the-game jealousy. I’d accidently discovered my number one drama catnip: the “Surprise, you’re a daddy!” trope. Watching how the main character went from being an immature kid forced into fatherhood to a man who would do anything for his daughter filled me with a heart-melting feeling I’ve never been able to re-create.

I now flock to any show where there is a hint of baby-daddy drama, trying to achieve that initial high. I’m not interested in the old birth secret switcheroo, where some poor schmoe finds out he’s the heir to a massive tomato paste fortune. The ones that get me, no matter how whiffy the writing or acting, are dramas where a father is reunited with a child he never knew he had, usually growing up and getting the girl in the process.


Wonderful Life

Probably the best use of the surprise child trope is the drama Two Weeks. Lee Jun-ki stars as Tae-san, a low-level gangster and ex-con living without direction or happiness. Over the span of a few days, he learns he has an eight-year-old daughter, that his first love is about to marry someone else, and, oh, that his beautiful little girl has a terminal illness and he’s the only person who can save her life. Did I mention he also ends up on the run from people who want him dead? Talk about some big stakes.

In typical Jun-ki fashion, he spends sixteen episodes kicking ass and looking gorgeous. Every trial Tae-san goes through is just one more step in his journey to save his child and grow as a man. The scene when Tae-san and his daughter, Soo-jin, are finally reunited is one of my top ten K-drama moments. The acting is pure, raw emotion, and it almost feels like you’re a voyeur peeking in on the most private of moments. I tear up at every rewatch, even though I always know it’s coming. Because in the end, Soo-jin isn’t the only one who’s saved. Tae-san’s love for his daughter helps him remember what it means to be part of the world again. Through fighting for his own life to save hers, he no longer has to live under the thumb of his evil boss and fear for those he loves. Instead of just surviving, Tae-san is finally living. And what could be a better gift than that?


Two Weeks

Sometimes it takes a while for a secret father-child relationship to be revealed. In A Gentleman’s Dignity, the hidden paternity trope is stretched out for much of the drama, causing misunderstandings, miscommunications, and missed chances for our main cast of characters. We are introduced to Colin early on, and while our initial glimpse of his arrival in Korea shows that he is connected to our middle-aged foursome in some way, it isn’t until past the halfway point that our gentlemen even know about his existence, let alone the fact one of them is his father.

I never felt fully invested in the main characters lovelines in A Gentleman’s Dignity. Colin’s journey however, was exactly the kind of thing to keep me coming back to the show week after week. And while the answer to his question turned out to be somewhat predictable, I loved how the fallout reinforced the growth our characters had achieved up to that point. When Do-jin (Jang Dong-gun) stepped up to his role as a parent, even though it meant he might lose the woman of his dreams, their father-son journey was perfectly realized. For a drama about men in their forties finally growing up and accepting responsibility, the inclusion of my catnip was the perfect way to encapsulate the ups and downs of being an adult.


A Gentleman’s Dignity

Dramaland loves to reinvent and reuse, so it wasn’t much of a shocker when the surprise child trope recently got paired with the time slip trend. What makes a fish-out-of-water plot more exciting? Giving our poor clueless hero an adult child he never knew he had! In Tunnel, Detective Park Gwang-ho (Choi Jin-hyuk) is sent to the future to help solve a thirty-year-old cold case that has gone hot again. Unlike our previous fathers, Gwang-ho is already a mature guy: He’s responsible, hardworking, and loves his wife. It’s not like he needs a kick in the pants to grow up.

Yet his time in 2017 turns his life upside down, causing his relationship with his daughter to start on some pretty bad footing. But as Gwang-ho learns more about Jae-yi, he begins to see what an amazing person she is. When the final piece is revealed—that she is his daughter who suffered through a painful childhood as an orphan—the truth helps Gwang-ho realize that not everything in the world is black and white. I absolutely loved watching the gruff Gwang-ho trying to parent the blossoming Jae-yi. Their relationship humanized both characters, and brought another dimension to the dark and twisty plot.

Recently, The Best Hit teased us with another time slip/secret child thread that is driving me crazy. It’s my current drama crack, and I can’t wait for Friday nights. How strange to be 23 years old and to meet your father/son who’s the same age. It’s like a twisted Back to the Future scenario, where our hero has absolutely no interest in making sure he gets the girl in the past. I’m beyond excited to see where the story takes me. Besides sitting in front of my computer every weekend, endlessly refreshing streaming sites, waiting for subs. What can I say? I’m an addict.


The Best Hit

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I ain't mad at it

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Best, catnip, title, no question.

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This catnip's popularity is also pervasive in the western culture judging by the shows like TLC's I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant and its reprised series I Still Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.

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I don't know these show so I'm asking ... are they also Surprise, I'm a Mommy?

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Yes, and it is a "medical docu-drama" including interviews with real people who narrate over re-enactment of their ordeals. One gotta watch it to believe it.

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LOL. I called this a sub-catnip of the lovers-reunion catnip in a previous post. To think it's your catnip too!

Actually, the daddy-child pair don't even have to be biologically related. I just want the immature man-child paternal shenanigans. I'm gleeful with the little bit I saw in Suspicious Partners yesterday 😛.

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Oh oh oh!

Choi SiWon as Sung MinWoo in Oh! My Lady with his totally adorable and winning on-screen kid YeEun played by Kim YooBin (who also played fiesty SaetByul in God's Gift).

I luuurved that one so much. A childish "oppa" and his precocious kid who would totally roll her eyes at him all the time if she could. I LARVA IT.

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Oh no, how did I forget Oh! My Lady?! I absolutely love that drama, and it ticks off all my boxes - an immature lead, an adorable "surprise" kid, a satisfying story arc, and a sweet couple. I'm kicking myself!!!

I loved yesterday's SP episode too! So much fun. That little boy is the cutest.

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Good post. I'm normally kind of so-so on this trope, but I absolutely love what The Best Hit is doing with it and can't wait to see how it plays out.

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Two Weeks is EPIC!!! I love this drama so much!!! I really do not like Ryu Soo-Young, I'll admit that. But Lee Joon Gi is incredible as always in Two Weeks!!!!!

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Yeah, I'm glad I found out about Two Weeks although it's 3 years late after the drama ended. I marathoned 16 episodes and it felt like only 1 hour

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Two Weeks has remained my favorite LJG drama since it was aired. Still makes me cry whenever I re-watch it from time to time.

It's also the reason why I have faithfully watched his next dramas no matter how the drama plot works out, good or bad.

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Oh, this article made me rewant to watch 2-weeks all over again!! This is totally my catnip...

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You just made made me realize that I like this trope. Or maybe I just like dramas that have awesome/memorable child actors, idk. I sometimes like the dynamics that play out between child actors and their respective parents/caregivers. Oh My Geum Bi and Stars Falling From the Sky don't really count into this particular trope but I love those two dramas as well. I'm digressing...

This trope really throws me back though. Wonderful Life was one of the very first dramas I ever watched. I had just finished My Love Patzzi and Save the Last Dance so I decided to give this drama a shot after liking the leads. Oh man, I was hooked. I remember re-watching that drama over and over again because I loved watching the main characters grow and mature. Kim Jae Won was such a man child and I wanted to punch his character in the face multiple times but I always looked forward to the next episode. I even bought the damn bootleg dvd online haha...

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Kyaaaaaa Two Weeks was so good and I loved the chemistry between dad and daughter. They were so cute and heart wrenching together!

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Lee Jun-ki as daddy in Two Weeks was 💗. Or was it the little girl that captured my heart. Maybe both.

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This catnip is not really a favourite of mine but Lee Jun Ki could do no wrong in my book. He had great chemistry with the little girl and for once, that I can actually believe that my love LJK is actually someone's father.

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You should watch the Korean movie Baby and Me staring JangGeunSuk. I saw it years ago and its hilarious! And moving. JGS is great in it.

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The baby was soooo cute ! What is his real name again? Is it Moon Mason? Aah.. I wonder how he looks like now that he is older

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yeah, and the baby voiceover was some kind of thug ahjussi voice, LOL.

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I just watched probably half of Superdaddy Yul and yes I love this

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I didn't realize that this is my catnip until I saw the title and thought "oh yes". You said it so well, Ladytron333! I'm just a sucker for forced maturity and the inevitably heartwarming baby daddy situation.

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I've mentioned before my love of A Gentleman's Dignity. While I was invested in all of the lovelines (with the exception of the child and the widow) I LOVED the who's-the-daddy plotline with Colin. It gave our main girl--who had spent a large chunk of the show waffling--another opportunity to full court press Do-Jin. But, I also just really loved Do-jin and Colin's relationship once it started. I had already begun to love Colin and his forming an F44 of his own with a baby Kim Woo Bin but watching Do-jin trying to parent a teenager and watching Colin trying to cautiously accept the parenting? So sweet. I don't know why but I absolutely love Do-jin trying to decorate Colin's room and his taking his dear sweet time to pick out the perfect chair for a teenager and place it in his perfectly decorated 2nd bedroom that he had given to Colin only to go into Colins bedroom later and see that the room had been trashed. Clothes and posters of scantily clad women were everywhere and the perfectly placed chair had been unceremoniously shoved in a corner and Colin's excuse--"its ugly". Made me all heart melty. OH! And the fight! And Do-jin gets into a fight with another parent and claims Colin and baby Kim Woo Bin's character as his sons. Y'all. I know that some of you don't like this show but I love it so SO much. With the exception of the child. Who threw a full scale crying, screaming, temper tantrum on more than one occasion and that somehow made the widow fall in love with her. I really can't mention that show without mentioning how much I dislike her. Maybe if it had been played by a better actress? One who had a concept of subtlety? Pah.

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And also oh my geum bi! Because of the presence of these children, they help the main characters grow more mature and loving and selfless.

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Ha! This catnip name cracked me up 😂😂
But I sure like secret babies popping up after time skips :-P

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YES THIS I LOVE THIS!!! May I also mention Super Daddy Yeol? I started it now that I'm on a Lee Dong Gun binge after 7DQ. I'm about halfway through now, it's not that good of a drama, but if you just shut your brain off and enjoy LDG as a daddy it's pretty cute.

Oh! My Lady is another good one for this catnip, Choi Siwon and the daughter are just so adorable!

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Yup! I totally get it! It happened to me with Siwon in Oh My Lady! with Chae Rim.

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Hehe... again, not my number 1 catnip but definitely have seen a few dramas with it that I liked...

1) My Love Eun Dong - so the reason I watched it was not b/c of the daddy/secret son part but even so, I was waiting until both mom & dad would find out. Hated how the story turned out but nice drama.
2) Only You - mentioned before in another catnip but it's mostly the secret child that kept me watching and when daddy would find out.
3) Oh My Lady - everything everyone else said
4) Dong Yi - not exactly surprise since the king knew about the son but he didn't know what the prince looked like. It was so cute.
5) Fated to Love You - love it love it

There has to be more... but I can't recall.

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Love and Secret!
This Week My Wife Will Have An Affair (?)
Another Oh Hae Young!
And the fake out in Secret Romance.

I know there are so any more...

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Wow! I have literally just seen one show out of all that are mentioned! That has never happened before in a catnip post!! Time to get to work and watch a lot of kdramas! :P

Also, wouldn't Fated To Love You fall in this category? I mean Jang Hyuk is surprised that he is 'going to' become a daddy and acts like the unborn baby's dad.. But yeah probably not!

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Not my catnip but I seem to be always interested in dramas with this trope.

I already liked and been a fan of LJG since his My Girl days, but I truly loved him and what cemented his place as my Ultimate Bias in all of K-ent was Two Weeks. I still sometimes re-watch the series, and I still end up crying.

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I think writers should give a spoiler warning for this column. We can at least read half and skip others.

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This isn't a catnip that makes me look forward to it, yet it is funny when it appears in a storyline. The most unforgettable one was in the film "Breezy Scandal" when Cha Tae-hyun's hero gets the biggest shock of his life upon finding that he has a grown-up daughter with a grandson to boot! And he's only 37, if I remember!

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yes. Speedy Scandal!
then it turns though he had such a big scandal but nobody cares because he's not famous enough to get public attention LOL

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I love this bit in Tunnel. Park GwangHo acting all sweet towards his grown up daughter. Also acting all protective and pushing SunJae away from JaeYi.

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Those are our sweetest, memorable scenes... Oh, how I miss Tunnel...

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This isn't my catnip. I did enjoy "Two Weeks" and Lee Jun Ki was amazing in it.
But in "Wonderful Life" the hero was such an immature, spoiled, selfish bastard that I could never really get into the drama.
The one drama with this troupe that I really loved is actually a Taiwanese drama: "Autumn's Concerto".

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It was definitely the adorable connection between Tae San and Soojinnie that was the trump-ace of Two Weeks but it is not a catnip for me. I normally don't care for kids.

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Two weeks was an emotional rollercoaster... Lee Jun Ki was awesome, as always. What about Bride of the century? (Spoilers ahead!)

I know, it's not the central plot, but it was nice..... I mean Lee Hong Ki as a father? That was precious!

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OMG YES,YES triple quadruple times YES! Another ultimate catnip! I need MOAR of these dramaland!

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I'm watching The Best Hit and I watched Tunnel but I haven't seen any of the other dramas you mentioned Ladytron333. It sounds like this is a powerful catnip when it strikes.

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I haven't watched A Gentleman's Dignity but I will surely watch Two Weeks! ^_^

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I can't believe I clicked just because I saw Lee Jun Ki! He is seriously too hot to handle! **

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Cute writing! Thanks for the post.

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"In typical Jun-ki fashion, he spends sixteen episodes kicking ass and looking gorgeous."

Preach!

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Is there an anti-catnip? Because if so, then this would be it for me. I haven't seen any of the shows listed above and I void anything with kids (and not surprisingly I'm childless by choice LOL!)

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I've been a fan of Lee Jun Ki but I haven't watched Two Weeks yet! I love this catnip. Thanks for sharing!

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Love these. It's one of my favorites.

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I like this trope but not to the level of catnip. I personally just love seeing a man being a good father. Like Marriage Contract for example.

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This scenario always guarantees laugh. Except Shin Sung rok in Thank You. I always love the actor for being a baddie, but sorry, oppa, in Thank You, you're a jerk.
Love him in Three Dads One Mom though, but am not sure the drama's fallen to this category.

The Best Hit daebak!

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For this catnip, "Wonderful Life" is definitely a classic for me, and it was a bonus to have Lee Ji Hoon on my screen for the 16 hours of my life haha The guy doesn't do many dramas to start with, and I feel like he's done even less in the recent years T.T "Two Weeks" is definitely one that uses this trope in the right ways to tug at the heartstrings and hits it right back home with me, as I grew up in a single-parent household with my mom and my dad was hardly, if ever, present XD

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I don't know if this is necessarily catnip for me, and it definitely has to be done correctly for me to enjoy it. Having said that, Two Weeks is one of my favorite k-dramas because of the father/daughter relationship. I bow to the writer for daring to write a drama with almost no romance.

For T-dramas there is Sunny Happiness with Mike He though I had to overlook how the whole "I didn't know I had a son" scenario came about as it made little sense.

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Sang Doo Let's Go to School with Rain and Gong Hyo Jin, best ever Surprise, You're a Daddy!

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Okay I'm going to watch two weeks.... I don't know what I was waiting for

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Now I'm sure this is my kind of catnip too. I've seen all the shows you mentioned and love them all for the same reason as yours.
I remember watching Wonderful Life on tv years ago (with dubbing and all the censored, even nothing needs to be censored) and loving it to bits, even at the time I found Kim Jae Won so so looking and not worthy for Eugene (I know it doesn't make sense)

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My absolute favorite cat nip is "surprise, you're a parent!" It's a real test of character for the "new" parent (and necessarily of the writer's ability). And I love the coming together of a family and how a child who wasn't known to a parent one week can suddenly become the catalyst for huge self-sacrifice the next. I love the idea of immediate, profound--yet non-romantic--love. Lee Joon Gi's turn as a "surprise parent" in Two Weeks is such a perfect example (and it also happens to be my favorite drama)!

I even love the plot set ups that are related to this one, like "surprise, you're parenting these kids in your orbit!" (a lá Stars Falling From The Sky).

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Not really my catnip, but I love whenever the male lead in a drama has good interaction and bonding with little kid(s). I've such a soft spot for a guy who loves kid! And this post is making me wanna watch Two Weeks!

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