Five drama recommendations… for when you miss your mom
by DB Staff
When we watch a drama, we’re often so focused on the OTP (or the second lead syndrome!) that we forget how much the stories are also about families — and in particular, moms. They play every and any role the story might need, and have done everything from abandon their children to sacrifice themselves wholly for them. Dramaland might not always be kind to them, but there’s definitely a stack of dramas that can make you cry over a mom that isn’t even yours.
Go Back Spouses (2017)
When I think of dramas with moms I can’t forget, Go Back Spouses is the first one that pops into my head. It not only has a lovely premise, but features a fantastic pairing of actresses: Kim Mi-kyung and Jang Nara. They can make me feel all the things on their own, but together as mother and daughter?!
Although Go Back Spouses is more about a tired married couple rediscovering why they chose each other, and then bringing that joy back to their present, the storyline with Jang Nara and her mother was the one where all the tears were to be found. When Jang Nara and Sohn Ho-joon magically travel back to their college days, they do more than heal their marriage — Jang Nara is also able to spend time with her mom, and effectively say “goodbye” to her in a much more intentional way. Just the thought of being able to go into the past and be with someone you lost in the present is enough to bring on the waterworks, and this drama sells its healing (read: heart-wrenching) premise 100%. Tissues are mandatory. –@missvictrix
Hi Bye, Mama! (2020)
Not all mothers are nurturing and caring, but this drama focuses on Yuri, a woman who was seemingly born to be a mom but tragically died before she got the chance to hold her child. Her love for her daughter was so great that she refused to pass on into the afterlife, and she instead lingered to watch over her child and husband. While the main focus of this drama is on Yuri and her desire to protect her daughter from both worldly accidents and ghosts, there are several other maternal and women-centric relationships featured in Hi Bye, Moma! that elevate the story beyond typical amusing ghostly-hijinks.
For one, there is the relationship between Yuri and her own mother, who is still navigating the grief incurred by a parent who has outlived her child. And then there is Min-jung, who is slowly adapting to her role as Seo-woo’s step-mother. Although each of the mother-daughter relationships come with their own-ups-and-downs, the message is largely wholesome and uplifting. There are plenty of moments that will make you laugh out loud at the crazy antics of this superb female-led cast, and then there will be times where you will have to pause to blow your nose, dab your eyes with tissues, and call your mother.
I Hear Your Voice (2013)
It’s a classic for a reason, and is an all-around great drama with a little bit of everything. But in the case of dramaland moms, I Hear Your Voice also has a great one — possibly one of the greatest — played by the wonderful Kim Hye-sook. Usually, moms exist in dramas as a help or a foil or for important childhood context, but I Hear Your Voice took its mom character and made her into a crucial part of the drama’s plot.
In order to seek revenge on our heroine (played by Kim So-hyun and later Lee Bo-young), the baddie sets his sights on her mother, and he’s as two-faced as he is brutal. But even when faced with a terrifying maniac threatening her life, this mom stands her ground, tells him the truth, and is a true and fearless heroine.
This drama is sure to put your emotions through the wringer, but as much as it will make you cry and scream, it makes up for it with wonderful warm moments, and a renewed appreciation for how deep a mother’s love goes (even when she might not always show it). –@missvictrix
While You Were Sleeping (2017)
There’s something almost magically fantastical about a K-drama mother who always seems to have her child’s back, even when her child tells her something outlandish — like she has prophetic dreams. So props must be given to Hong-joo’s mother, Moon-sun, for not only consoling her daughter when Hong-joo dreamt that Moon-sun would die, but for also going into action and preemptively arranging all of her affairs just in case. Then, in the future that almost happened, Moon-sun literally worked herself to death trying to pay for Hong-joo’s medical bills. If there was a Mother of the Year Award in Dramaland, she — hands down — deserved it.
A single parent, Moon-sun has an enviable relationship with Hong-joo. At times, the line between mother and daughter is distinctly drawn, but they are also able to joke around and converse as though they’re friends. I know from personal experience that it’s not always easy for adult children and their parents to transition out of their defined roles as a parent and child, so I greatly appreciate how Moon-sun can find balance between doting mother and friendly confidant. –@DaebakGrits
Answer Me 1988 (2015)
For me, Answer Me 1988 is all about family. With a large ensemble cast, the story weaves between the lives of five close-knit families whose children grew up together in the same neighborhood, set against the backdrop of 1980s South Korea. Although all of the different family dynamics are memorable, Ra Mi-ran and Ryu Joon-yeol’s mother-son relationship will always be one of my standouts. Both being gruff and not overly affectionate in personality, it’s the little moments that speak volumes – aided by a stellar performance by both actors – the small changes in their facial expressions and their efforts to show appreciation in their own, sometimes subtle, and often awkward ways. The misunderstandings are comical and yet so relatable, and it really hits the heart to see both mom and son wrestle with the many layers that complicate family relationships and trying to figure out how to be the best mom/son they can be. –@tccolb