Oh My Baby: Episode 1
The rom-com queen, Jang Nara, is back to reclaim the throne with Oh My Baby, a story about a modern working woman with a simple dream to be a mother. Of course, the dream is everything but simple for our heroine, who faces the pressures to demonstrate the traditional experiences of motherhood and marriage at her age. Love, marriage, and children in that order are a steep ask for a woman gradually aging out of child-bearing age, and we’re introduced to these challenges and potential solutions (read: targets) alongside our heroine. This first episode leans toward the comedy in the rom-com spectrum, so get ready for plenty of laughs.
EPISODE 1: “If you ask why I can’t marry”
We first meet our heroine, JANG HA-RI (Jang Nara), at the hospital as she’s rushed into the delivery room. After a successful birth, Ha-ri eagerly goes to the hospital nursery, where her mother is fawning over the baby. But when her mother turns around, she’s holding an adorable puppy, and Ha-ri’s anticipation shifts to anger. Obviously, this is all a dream, and Ha-ri wakes up on the bus on her way to a doctor’s appointment as the radio features her submission.
The radio host reads Ha-ri’s submission, and we learn about 39-year-old unmarried Ha-ri and her hope in the miracle of love. The relatable submission wins her a box of snacks, and Ha-ri celebrates the small miracle.
At the appointment, Ha-ri shares that she’s been having severe period cramps to the point of hospitalization, but she was too busy with work to have it checked out. She’s quickly dropping by today for painkillers and an AMH test to test her fertility. With no plans to marry but a desire for children, Ha-ri plans on freezing her eggs until she meets her match.
On her way out of the clinic, Ha-ri walks by a handsome gentleman and looks hopeful for an interaction. The man asks Ha-ri where the nearest pharmacy is, and when she turns around, the pervert drops his pants. Ha-ri immediately reports this and slides a nearby shovel toward the hopping man. The man steps on the shovel, which catapults the other end to his sensitive parts (serves him right!), and other passersby help get the pervert off the streets.
Childcare magazine journalist Ha-ri meets up with her chief reporter, Park Yeon-ho, to pick out a microphone prop for their next interview with Pororo at Jambi Studio. After the interview, Jambi Studio photographer Kim Sang-hee scrolls through social media and discovers that photographer HAN YI-SANG (Go Joon) has returned to Korea. She immediately reports this to the studio manager, Nam Soo-chul.
The studio pair scroll through Yi-sang’s posts, which start out looking like idyllic scenes of a photographer capturing falling snow. Then, they see that he’s been picking up a random selection of hobbies that he’s never tried before. Soo-chul tells Sang-hee to not mention Yi-sang’s return to Ha-ri. Hmm, curious.
Yi-sang is in high demand, and he already has people requesting his collaboration. A close management representative even helps him move in to convince Yi-sang to sign under his company, but Yi-sang has the luxury to decline because he wants to rest longer. He receives notifications from his social media, and they’re all from Soo-chul angrily commenting that Yi-sang has time for all these hobbies but not for him.
Before her aerobics class Ha-ri’s mother receives a call from YOON JAE-YOUNG (Park Byung-eun) and grants permission for him to move in with Ha-ri. Jae-young is hesitant because he’s scared of Ha-ri, but he reluctantly agrees to move in. Mom comments that it’s a great day for an accident, and I think she’s implying a one-night stand? With Mom’s permission, we see Jae-young with his adorable baby daughter checking out their new home.
Ha-ri greets their baby model and mother at the studio, and she’s completely enamored by the baby. The mother shares that her baby’s routine — play, eat, sleep in that order — is keeping her up, and Ha-ri correctly deduces that the baby falls asleep while the mother is nursing. She recommends listing out the current patterns to identify how to adjust the routine, and the mother responds that Ha-ri should get married soon with all this baby knowledge.
When Ha-ri and Yeon-ho return to the office, new team member CHOI KANG-EU-TTEUM (Jung Geon-joo) calls out to Ha-ri from afar by calling her “Aunt.” She’s mortified by the title, which drunk Ha-ri approved during a company outing because she’s the same age as his youngest aunt. She hopes that he’ll be sensible enough to drop the title that accentuates their age difference.
As they enter the building, Ha-ri folds over in pain from her menstrual cramps. Kang-eu-tteum isn’t embarrassed by the topic (“My mom had me run period-related errands since I was young,” he explains.), and he helps Ha-ri get to the elevator. It’s a sweet gesture until he announces to the whole crowd that Ha-ri is suffering from menstrual cramps in order to get priority elevator access. Thanks to the announcement, Ha-ri gets on the elevator, but she shrivels in embarrassment and runs out when she arrives at their floor. Haha, he is completely imperceptive!
Ha-ri reviews the magazine copy and asks her staff writer, Choi Hyo-joo (Lizzy) about the traditional medicine endorsement piece that claims a cure for subfertility. Hyo-joo says that the advertisement team requested this addition, and Ha-ri confronts the advertisement department manager Kim Chul-joong about this misleading claim. She refuses to include a misleading advertisement credited to their writer, who would be responsible for any lawsuits on these unproven claims.
Determined to remove this advertisement, Ha-ri follows Manager Kim into Vice President Joo Seung-tae’s office to contest this addition. Ha-ri lies down on the couch to make the point that she’s doing whatever she wants in his office since they’re doing whatever they want despite her editor privileges. Point taken, Vice President Joo agrees to the removal of the advertisement, and Ha-ri agrees to compensate for the losses with the editing department’s funds.
Jambi studio manager Soo-chul has a drink with Yi-sang and tries to woo him over to share their studio space. Yi-sang rejects the proposal and notes that Soo-chul works with Ha-ri. He seems to have a negative association with her.
Ha-ri’s editing team works late into the night, and they eagerly accept Ha-ri’s snack offering for their break. They ask why Ha-ri isn’t married yet, and Yeon-ho teases her for falling in love easily, like with that one guy outside the studio. Ha-ri recalls that the man was crying.
Flashbacking back to that moment, we see Ha-ri marveling at the snow and Yi-sang looking up to use his eye drops. When he turns to look at her, it looks like he’s crying. Ha-ri admits that this was the first time she saw a man crying and that made her feel some type of way.
Yi-sang remembers this moment with Ha-ri tells Soo-chul that he was spooked by the look in her eyes. He isn’t fond of forward women. We don’t know what happened after they met, but Ha-ri also isn’t fond of Yi-sang and tells her coworkers that the crying man was a crazy person.
Ha-ri has tried all the dating and marriage services, and she sighs that she’s at the age where remarriage websites are targeting her. Yeon-ho asks their coworkers to introduce Ha-ri to a handsome rich guy, but Hyo-joo says that handsome rich guys would never marry an older woman. Ha-ri doesn’t take offense and says that at 39, any decent guy is already taken or dead.
With no other options, maknae reporter Lee So-yoon suggests that Ha-ri give up on marriage and just live alone. Yeon-ho teases Ha-ri that her insistence on marriage is highlighting the generational gap, and Ha-ri glares at her friend. Before she walks away, Ha-ri offers a scary prediction that she’s their future. The younger reporters spit out the drinks in alarm.
Ha-ri returns to work and scrolls through the comments that criticize the new acting editor (Ha-ri) for lacking the personal experience, namely marriage and bearing children. She received the same comment from the baby model’s mother and Vice President Joo.
After resolving the advertisement issue, President Joo asked Ha-ri to stay behind to discuss her options for advancement. He suggested that once Chief Editor Nam returns from maternity leave, Ha-ri move to another magazine under the parent media company, since she can’t advance at “the baby” magazine as a single childless woman.
Yi-sang drops by his neighborhood restaurant with a menu that only features the chef’s choice, and the owner assures him that the saury gratin special isn’t too fishy. The rest of the customers, including Ha-ri, disagree with that claim and try to warn Yi-sang not to order. Yi-sang doesn’t catch the signs and suffers the consequences. He also doesn’t catch Ha-ri leaving the restaurant. Turns out, they both live in the same neighborhood now.
The next morning, Ha-ri hears movement from downstairs and cautiously investigates the intruder. It’s her childhood friend Jae-young moving in with Ha-ri’s mom’s permission but without Ha-ri’s consent. Jae-young tries to normalize the move-in, but Ha-ri won’t agree to it. Jae-young says that he has nowhere to go and still seems distraught from his divorce, but Ha-ri isn’t sympathetic to her friend, who cut ties for the past 5 years because his ex-wife didn’t like her.
Ha-ri can’t believe that Jae-young has the audacity to have a casual face-to-face conversation with her now, so Jae-young turns his back to her to continue the conversation, heh. Knowing Ha-ri’s weakness, Jae-young points to the room with her 8-month old daughter, Do-ha, and Ha-ri immediately finds delight in the adorable child. Checking on Do-ha, Ha-ri immediately nags Jae-young about washing the baby and getting the appropriate bottle size.
Even with the baby in her arms, Ha-ri demands that Jae-young move out in the next day, but Jae-young doesn’t seem to take that seriously, since he has Mom’s blessing. Unwilling to accept this living arrangement, Ha-ri calls her mom to argue against this decision. Mom is more sympathetic to Jae-young’s situation and asks Ha-ri to take care of him. When Ha-ri refuses, Mom orders Ha-ri to also move out of the building with Jae-young, since she owns the building. Mom wins.
At the health and welfare department, Ha-ri presents a new report proposal to follow a couple working through subfertility in their year-long process from the beginning to delivery. It’s received favorably, but the department staff suggests that Ha-ri partake in a pregnancy simulation in exchange so that her pitch is better received by higher-ups.
Ha-ri reluctantly agrees and wears the pregnancy simulation outfit at the studio. After she’s forced into smiling for the camera, she looks longingly at her fake pregnant belly and decides to keep the outfit on even in transit. She claims it’s for the full experience, but she actually likes feeling pregnant.
At the mall, photographer Sang-hee photographs Ha-ri’s pregnant simulation day, and she shares that Soo-chul is looking for someone to share his studio with. She mentions Yi-sang, and Ha-ri shows a knee-jerk reaction to that name. Yeon-ho seems amused by the memory and says that Yi-sang left Ha-ri with a curse that seems to affect her dating life even now.
Flashback to the 2017 New Year’s Day party. Soo-chul offered to introduce Ha-ri to Yi-sang, and she was eager to get the relationship started and on the path to marriage. But Yi-sang had no plans for marriage and told Soo-chul that he’s sticking with his bachelor life. They expressed completely different interests for their future. Ha-ri wanted a family, a friend-like partner, and children. Yi-sang wanted no nagging wife nor children in his future.
Yeon-ho advised Ha-ri to be forward and touch him slightly, citing her experience with her current husband. Meanwhile, Yi-sang complained to Soo-chul that the need to marry and have children seemed too primitive for him. At those comments, Soo-chul gave up on setting the two up.
Unaware of this conversation, Ha-ri practiced her interaction in the bathroom and followed Yi-sang to the balcony. Ha-ri clumsily started a conversation with Yi-sang and went for a stiff touch and rub of Yi-sang’s arm as she complimented his photography skills. Oh dear, she’s so awkward. Her motives are so blatantly obvious that it’s cringey and hilarious.
Yi-sang seems disillusioned by romance and tries to break Ha-ri’s romanticism in her advances. He says that her interest in him is simply lust fueled by her hormones, nothing close to her romantic imagination. Ha-ri stops him and tries to neutralize his claims, saying that he’s not that attractive to trigger desire. Then, Yi-sang offers some unsolicited advice: “If you’re lonely, then raise a dog,” he says. Ohhh, this ties back to the opening scene!
Back at the mall, Ha-ri says that if she ever runs into Yi-sang, she’ll just ignore him. Right after she makes that claim, Yi-sang appears in front of her. Ha-ri’s company quickly flees, and the two make eye contact. At first, Ha-ri hides her fake pregnant belly, but then she decides to flaunt the belly that Yi-sang had disparaged.
As Yi-sang passes by, Ha-ri lifts her hand and almost greets him, but Yi-sang completely ignores her. Mortified, Ha-ri runs away to her friends and says that she ignored him first. Suddenly, Ha-ri leans over in pain from her menstrual cramps and tells her friends to go ahead while she takes care of her cramps.
Ha-ri drops her pill bottle under the lounging chairs, and then two children accidently spill water on her leg. She’s bent over in pain with water all over her bottom half, and this is a misunderstanding just waiting to happen. Two ajummas walk by and make the perfect conclusion that Ha-ri’s water broke and is currently experiencing labor pains. The ajummas are so excited and overly helpful while Ha-ri can barely get words out through her menstrual pains, so the situation escalates quickly.
When the elevators are too slow, the helpful ajummas lead Ha-ri to the escalators, where they push aside an ajusshi in the way. The ajusshi is none other than Yi-sang, who’s offended by that title. Ha-ri does her best to deny the ajummas’ assumptions, but at the sight of Yi-sang, she protrudes her belly to perpetuate the misunderstanding. Haaaa.
In the parking lot, the ajummas chaotically try to find Ha-ri’s car, and Yi-sang watches them frantically search the lot. He decides to intervene and carries Ha-ri to his car to take her to the hospital. The ajummas cheer for Ha-ri’s successful delivery, and Yi-sang speeds out of the lot. This has gone too far for Ha-ri to resolve.
Yi-sang asks where he should drive to, and Ha-ri asks him to just drop her off at a pharmacy. He uses his best judgement and decides to speed to a hospital instead. As Yi-sang carries Ha-ri into the hospital, Ha-ri pulls his hair to manage her pain, but that image makes it seem like she’s actually in labor. When he puts her down, she seethes through her teeth that she didn’t want to come here.
The doctor tries to check on Ha-ri’s contractions, but Ha-ri won’t let her look under her shirt. With Ha-ri not cooperating, the doctor places her stethoscope on Ha-ri’s belly instead. She’s alarmed by the lack of any sound, and she pulls aside Yi-sang to talk privately. While they’re distracted, Ha-ri makes a run for it.
Ha-ri tries to run through her menstrual cramps, but suddenly the pain becomes too strong to handle. She faints, and Yi-sang and the doctors find her on the ground unconscious. When Ha-ri wakes up, she’s out of her pregnancy suit and no longer in pain.
Ha-ri’s doctor suspects that she’s suffering from endometriosis and says that she can get surgery for this. Then, the doctor shares the results of Ha-ri’s AMH test, which shows a low concentration ovarian reserve. The doctor says that it will be difficult to collect a healthy egg from Ha-ri at her current age and regrets that Ha-ri didn’t freeze her eggs earlier.
Deflated by this news, Ha-ri asks if there are any other possibilities, and her doctor shares the shocking reality that Ha-ri’s changes of natural pregnancy is less than 7%. She tells her more discouraging figures about the low chances of pregnancy in your 40s and higher chances of miscarriage. Ha-ri asks if she can have any children in her future, and the doctor states that her chances of pregnancy reduce every month and are even lower with the endometriosis surgery, which requires a year-long drug therapy.
Meanwhile at home, Jae-young searches for a baby cloth in Ha-ri’s room, convinced that she’s brought some from work. He finally finds the drawer with baby items, but his successful scavenger hunt reveals Ha-ri’s earnest desire for a baby. In the drawer, Ha-ri has labeled all the clothes, bottles, and shoes as items addressed to her future baby. Jae-young looks emotional at this realization.
Disheartened and lost, Ha-ri tearfully carries her diagnosis and searches for a pharmacy. In a flashback, we see young Ha-ri deciding on her future aspirations. Mom advised that being smart or rich can’t beat being happy, so Ha-ri wrote down “Mom.” She observed that Mom was always happy when seeing children, and all children like her, so she wanted to be a mom.
Yi-sang finds Ha-ri in her emotional state looking around for the nearest pharmacy. Shaking her head in denial, she tells herself that this can’t be the end. Then, she turns to Yi-sang and asks, “Do you want to marry me?”
This was the perfect introduction to our heroine and this story, balanced with hilarity and plenty of heart. I was happy to find most of the episode leaning more heavily toward comedy, with all three of potential baby daddies. I love how every potentially romantic or sweet moment was paired with an unexpected laugh, like the eyedrops with Yi-sang and the mortifying menstrual cramp announcement from Kang-eu-tteum. If the comedic punches from the first episode are an indication of how the rest of the show will be, my excitement just boosted a couple of levels. The laughs are greatly appreciated.
In addition to the laughs, this first episode did a great job of laying down the groundwork for Ha-ri’s dilemma and motives. It’s interesting that the pressures to be married and have kids comes from Ha-ri’s work life more than her personal life, at least from this introduction. Her career depends on the sharing experiences with women her age who have followed the traditional marriage and motherhood trajectory. Her passions clearly lie in babies and motherhood, and while she’s actively engaged in these passions in her work life, she hasn’t been unable to pursue those in her personal life. Considering these dynamics, the ending packed an emotional punch that felt fitting.
I’m intrigued by Yi-sang’s character and his relentless cynicism. His cockiness doesn’t put me off yet because it’s harmless and serves as a point of contrast for some of the comical scenes. His callousness towards romance and partnership indicate to me that he’s overcompensating for something, so I’m curious to see how his story unfolds. I already feel invested in this character and his relationship with Ha-ri, so I have a feeling that
I’m Ha-ri’s going to have a hard time choosing her partner.
Even though Ha-ri feels like a familiar character for Jang Nara, it’s still a delight to watch her in the role. I also can’t think of anyone more perfect for the role. Ha-ri is independent and accomplished but still a sucker for love, and Jang Nara portrays all of that with such ease. I also love all three potential suitors so far, and I’m looking forward to see how Ha-ri charms and gets charmed by all of them. I’m hoping for some stiff competition and plenty more hilarity as Ha-ri establishes her priorities and the order of operations.