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Three Dads, One Mom: Episodes 1 & 2

Finally caught the first two episodes of the new KBS Wednesday-Thursday drama Three Dads, One Mom, and have a bit of a mixed reaction. On one hand, there’s a very cute quality to the drama, helped in no small part by its appealing cast — and while they’re not quite superstar-famous, all four main cast members are fairly established and known names.

There are some things I like about the series and the setup; there are other things I don’t. Right now, I’m not sure which way the balance tilts. Eugene is adorably gorgeous as the one mom amidst three possible dads, best-friend bachelors played by Jo Hyun Jae, Jae Hee, and Shin Sung Rok. Their interactions, laced with a healthy dose of good-natured male camaraderie, are one of the more appealing aspects of the drama for me. I’ll wait to see how things develop before making a final judgment; for now, I plan to catch a few more episodes.

SONG OF THE DAY

Instant Romantic Floor – “Same Thing (Song For Me)” [ Download ]

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THE CHARACTERS

Simple setup: Start with four best friends who’ve grown up together since childhood.

Despite growing into vastly differing personalities, the four have stuck together all these years into adulthood.

SUNG MIN was the first to fall in love, and married his sweetheart NA YOUNG (played by Eugene). He’s perhaps the most emotionally mature of the four, and also the sweet-tempered one. He dotes on his wife, and she returns his affection wholeheartedly. Both have had somewhat tough childhoods, which heightens Na Young’s desire to become a mother and have a loving family of her own.

Sung Min’s best friends are all single and live together in their messy bachelor pad: SU HYUN (Jo Hyun Jae) is the good-looking, money-obsessed financial manager working in stocks and bonds. He’d like to marry and settle down in theory, although he’s never met anyone worth settling down for. Stingy bastard.

KWANG HEE (Jae Hee) is a manhwa artist who doesn’t believe in settling down and is always seeing one woman after another. Smooth (and fast) talker, somewhat irresponsible.

KYUNG TAE is the hotheaded cop, a little dumb on the outside but softhearted on the inside. He goes by two last names, Na Hwang, in a strange (to Korea) practice of observing his mother’s maiden name (Hwang) along with his father’s family name (Na). That should tell you all about him right there. He’s the sloppiest eater and the messiest dresser, but the kindest in heart.

 
THE STORY

Na Young mostly likes her husband’s three best friends, but they try her patience constantly by making a mess of her home playing poker all night, dragging Sung Min out with them drinking, and generally being well-meaning but insensitive. And vice versa — the guys like her and think she’s a good match for Sung Min, but she’s kinda naggy.

Na Young desperately wants to become a mother, but attempts at conception have failed. Lately her frustration has her fighting with Sung Min because while he’s accepted that they’re probably not going to be able to have children (he’s sterile, having no sperm), she wants to exhaust their possibilities and see doctor after doctor. He’s being realistic, but she interprets it as not taking her seriously.

Sung Min talks over his problem with his friends, who offer suggestions. They could adopt, or go to a sperm bank, but those are deemed out of the question. Sung Min off-handedly mutters that it’s too bad he can’t use his friends’ sperm… which gives him the brilliant idea to use his friends’ sperm. He knows them all personally and can vouch for their character. They won’t tell Na Young, naturally, and the baby will be raised as his. He won’t make demands afterward or dump them with fatherly responsibility. Furthermore, nobody will ever need to know whose sperm of the three was used. No burden. Su Hyun, Kwang Hee, and Kyung Tae — cheerfully drunk — agree. When they sober up, they’re horrified because they don’t really want to go along with it.

Sung Min, feeling desperate (Na Young is growing despondent, and he doesn’t want to lose her), pleads with each in turn go along and donate his sperm. Finally, they’re guilt-tripped into agreeing, and drag their feet to the clinic to make their donations. Sung Min has told Na Young he wants to see the doctor for one more try at insemination, and she happily agrees.

After the friends leave the clinic, they brood — each has the fear that fathering a child now will come back to bite them later, despite Sung Min’s assurances to the contrary. They call Sung Min and tell him they can’t go through with it: Rescind the decision! Sung Min concedes, to their relief — but then grimly progresses with his plan.

Na Young becomes pregnant (I’m assuming in vitro fertilization), blissfully unaware of the baby’s true parentage. Sung Min’s friends are suspicious about the timing and demand to know if he used their sperm; Sung Min insists (nervously) that the baby is his own, which is why they’re calling her/him Ha Sun, “gift from heaven.”

But about six months into the pregnancy, Sung Min is killed in a car accident, leaving behind a bereaved wife and three devastated friends.

For once, the guys think of Na Young’s welfare before themselves — she’s alone, pregnant, and completely overwhelmed. She has a hard time keeping herself together, much less taking care of closing bank accounts and official death-related administrative tasks. The guys promise to handle everything for her, and find among Sung Min’s things a DVD. It’s labeled for his unborn baby, and the friends watch Sung Min’s self-videoed clip. Onscreen, the three friends interrupt the video; after they’ve left, Sung Min resumes taping, now a little tipsy.

Sung Min tells the video that the baby’s three “uncles” are his best friends, people whom the baby should consider with the same regard as a father. He alludes to the uncles’ “priceless gift” without which the baby never could have been born — and they realize with dread that Sung Min must have used their sperm.

 
THE PROS

Episodes 1 and 2 were cute and light-hearted (death notwithstanding, since we were expecting that anyway). The three friends (or four, depending on the scene) have nice chemistry with each other, and I love male-bonding stuff. Always cute.

The characters are diverse; and despite my love for Jae Hee, Shin Sung Rok completely steals the show for me as Kyung Tae. His bumbling cop is supposed to be the most “unattractive” among the three — messy, hygienically suspect, a little dense — but has a heart of gold.

I presume Jo Hyun Jae’s Su Hyun character will be the one to pair with Eugene, because he’s the one who’s placed in the most traditionally leading-man role. He’s the best-dressed, most conventionally handsome, and the most strait-laced. Plus, he’s the one with the coolest relationship with Na Young (he doesn’t hate her, but he’s a little distant), so it’s highly possible that this means he’ll be the one who falls for her. Even if I can’t help hoping that they’ll go with the unconventional but lovable Kyung Tae instead. (Sorry to say, I don’t see much chemistry between Eugene and Jae Hee.)

 
THE CONS

First off, the drama takes an exceedingly simplistic approach. Everything is painted in broad strokes, and the characterizations are really one-note. I understand the need to differentiate among the bachelors when there are so many characters, hence the exaggerated differences, but I think we’re all familiar enough with the actors not to run into the trouble of mixing them up.

As far as story goes, it’s hard to say. The first two episodes went by very slowly for me, because we knew everything that would happen based on the setup. I wish they’d scrunched up everything in the first two episodes into one, because the drama doesn’t really get going until after Sung Min dies and the three friends find out one of them is the father. To have waited until the end of the second episode to bring us to that point seems a waste of the first week’s worth of programming.

The characters are made interesting and likable by the actors portraying them, but on their own they’re kind of flat. They border on stereotypical, in fact. (The finance manager ONLY talks in money-related terms. The artist is single-minded — GIRLS — and we see very little else.) Plus Jae Hee’s affecting some weird nasally tone of voice, which drives me bonkers. Those of us who’ve seen him previously know he’s got a nice, normal voice, so he must be using it as part of his “character work.” Perhaps it’s to make his flighty character seem even flightier, which is compounded by the extremely fast way he talks. All I know is, I wish he’d stop.

And then there’s Jo Hyun Jae. I swear, this has nothing to do with the recent army controversy, but I can’t seem to find him compelling. He’s good-looking, and he’s not a bad actor. But it’s like he has all the ingredients of a strong leading man, but lacks the alchemy to really spark. He’s kind of blank in the charisma arena. Very pretty to look at, for sure, but I’ve just never been drawn to his characters; it feels like watching a well-programmed robot.

I’m hoping Sung Min’s death spurs the three bachelors to develop some maturity. The three may be carried by the charm of their actors, but as characters they’re kind of annoying. They’re selfish and immature — I think their flaws are supposed to make them endearing, but they’re hammered in so strongly (like I said, simplistic) that it’s overkill. I start to hate Su Hyun’s stinginess (thriftiness can be cute, but extreme miserliness makes him seem petty in character as well as in pocketbook) and get tired of Kwang Hee’s libido. (I love Kyung Tae, so no complaints.)

Overall, the drama is good-natured, but it’s not complex, and it’s not exciting. It’s pleasant. I hold out hope that things develop more intriguingly in future episodes, and I’ll stick with the show for now. But I’m not convinced.

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I KNOW THAT JAE HEE IS A TRUE DADDY

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i like the drama so much because its driving me crazy.everytime i watch it making me laugh all the time"""

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i like three dads and one mom.........

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I love it!!!!!!...................

Eugene and Jo Hyun Jae have a good chemistry..................

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I LOVE YOU JO HYUN JAE!!!!!!!to those who are saying bad things about JO HYUN JAE!!!!!all of you are sucks...POOR DELUDED BASTARD..!!!compare to the 2 jo hyun jae has more talent when it comes to acting and he is such a HOT and HANDSOME MAN!!!!!!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this tele-novela. I could not stop cracking-up, it is so funny. It is great to start the new year with a good laugh (yes, especially that part where one had to keep their 'jewels' cool. I like all the 3 men who are very different from each other, yet all of them have a big heart. I have a feeling that the director and casting director chose the men appropriately for the characters.
I beg to differ from the person who wrote the write-up. He/she failed to realize that some scenes will be showed at least 3 times since it is necessary to depict how the particular moment relate to each of the men. After all this is a story how a child can touch people in different ways.

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hello guys!!!....for those who don't appreciate these series.....get out of here!!!!..you do not belong to us!!!!.you don't know what you are saying..........so.....Back off.......

The series is great and I must admit..It made a different yet alive primetime shows on ABS CBN here in the Philippines..The series has the consistency in each every characters and scenes which I don't usually see from other Korea novelas and even tv series here in the Philippines!!!!!!!!
The series had ended last November 14, 2008....and since, we, the fans of Kim eugene and Jo Hyun Jae got addicted and hooked to their series and to them of course..we made a site fan for them.......

the site I made for Jo Hyun Jae fans!.....here is the link guys!!...
http://johyunjaeonboard.activeboard.com
and for Kim Eugene!........ here is the link guys!!...
http://sake.activeboard.com

hope you guys could visit the sites especially the hyun jae site ..I made it myself because I believe that he deserves to have it.................

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The series has the consistency in each every characters and scenes which I don't usually see from other Korea novelas and even tv series here in the Philippines!!!!!!!!

Hope you guys could visit the site

http://johyunjaeonboard.activeboard.com

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hi ...
pls insert more picture with episode

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ganda

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I just finished watching Three Dads and a Mom and I have to say that I totally enjoyed it and all the characters are all well-played by the actors even in the supporting role. However, I beg to differ with those of you finding fault in the way Jo Hyun-Jae played his character. A number of you said that he does not have the charisma despite his good looks. The fact that you hated his character for being stingy to a fault meant that he portrayed his character extremely well because he drove you to identify the actor with the character. He actually played it low-keyed since the two other characters are the comic-relief of the series. It is so easy to play the character of a sloppy-kind-hearted cop or a skirt-chaser mediocre cartoonist cum baby-sitter cause you know audiences tend to lean towards these goody-two shoes characters. And according to an article that I read, JHJ came back to the set of the series despite his sickness and so I applaud him not only for putting up a brave and cheerful face despite his injury but also for his choice of role, it was a risk to play a very non-charismatic and unlikeable character but I think he portrayed it without going overboard. I remember seeing this actor in period drama years ago and I dare say he is versatile and has a good future as a leading man. I am not Korean neither I'm an avid fan of JHJ but I think the man deserves a better review.

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hi jo hyun jae...
im your no. 1 fan here in the philippines and i really want to see you in person
advance happy birthday and i am looking forward to see you again in television together with the whole cast of 3dads w/ 1mom
take care always

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amy, i agree with you. JHJ deserves a better review - the fact that some people ended up hating his character here because of his stinginess means that he played his role so well. in the first few episodes he really played it low key, he had to because that is part of his character - reserved, livens up only when money is involved, very subtle in showing his love for his friends. in the later episodes his great acting talent will come to the fore, so i hope people who read dramabeans' blod will give JHJ a chance to captivate their heart.

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I liked this dramery very much. I found it very cute and entertaining. It reminded me a lot of the American movie: Three Men and a Baby (based on the French movie: Three Men and a Crib).

I came to like Jo Hyun Jae while watching The Ballad of Seo Dong Yo (Potato Boy) and later Love Letter. JHJ may not be the greatest actor, but people like him (he must have charisma). This is the first comedy I've seen him in and he did well playing it straight.

When watching dramas or movies, people forget that on screen the actors are playing a role that someone else created (the writer). It's frustrating to hear people whinning because they don't see what they would like to see: characters doing or not doing, looking or not looking a certain way or saying or not saying what they would like hear. Why don't they write their own script?

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i love this drama very much especially my favorite actor was acting in this drama.. i love JO HYUN JAE N JAE HEE. they look so amazing and awesome.. OUTSTANDING!!!

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ohh..i almost forgot!! to girls outside, i WARNING you that don't try to take my handsome boy JO HYUN JAE..huhu...

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i just hope there will be another series foe eugene and jo hyun jae. love-comedy story. i really like them as a couple. and they both sing too.

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i am so glad that for once I didn't let Javabean's opinion of a drama and an actor influence me. I watched this drama despite JB's negative review and I fell in love with it right away. The humor may tend to be slapstick-y in some areas, but this drama has a lot of heart.
On SSR - I love his brand of comedic acting. But if his acting in that scene where he discovered he is not Ha Seon's real father is any example of his dramatic acting, then I say he should stick to comedy.

On Jae Hee - I have never been a fan. I have never seen any of his dramas or movies outside of 3D1M. And after watching him act in 3D1M, I still don't have any inclination to check out his previous works.

On Eugene - she is a decent actress, her character is weak in the beginning but the drama showed her transformation to becoming a more independent woman in the latter eps. At the end of the drama, I like the mixture of independence and gentleness in her character. She did a great job portraying Na Young's ineptness in the early eps without making her irritating.

On Jo Hyun Jae's performance - JHJ played it really low key in the first few eps. I think it was intentional, not only on his part but on the part of the director and writer. Director and writer need him to play it really low key so that the audience will turn their eyes on Jae Hee, SSR and the boss (can't remember his name) as possible love interests to Eugene, just to keep the audience guessing as to who she will end up with. Director and writer used many devices to downplay JHJ's role in the early eps: he has less dialogue, less people to interact with, his scenes are less funny, he is always positioned on the side and not in the middle, and positioned far from Na Young and Ha Seon. But JHJ upped his performance in the latter half of the drama, when his character started taking charge of the various situations they (3 dads & mom & baby) find themselves in. And I say that he performed brilliantly. Besides that, how can you expect a serious fund manager whose serious life goal is to be among Korea's top 1% to be all over the place and loud? I believe JHJ handled his role as the stingy fund manager brilliantly - funny in an understated way.

It is a credit to Jo Hyun Jae's great acting talent that he was able to make the audience dislike his character so much because of his miserly, stingy ways despite being the most handsome of the 3 dads + that 1 boss. I also applaud his decision to take on a role that is so far away from his acting comfort zone. That is a true mark of an actor who is serious about his craft and who is not afraid to challenge himself and his abilities.

on the drama - a good watch, lighthearted but very meaningful. it might be billed as a romcom, but it dealt more about friendship and love for family.

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I can't believe Shin Sung Rok here is the same psycho guy in "My Love From The Stars"!

I enjoyed watching him in TDOM and totally hated his character in MLFTS. What an actor. A chameleon. He deserves all the awards.

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