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Five drama recommendations… for when you miss your mom

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.
@DaebakGrits

 


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


 
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I don't know how a list like this could not include Mother. That drama was amazing, although I guess I could see forgoing it because they're not ACTUALLY related...

Here's my list:
1. Mother
2. Marriage Contract

... and oddly enough most of the other touching relationships I found were actually between a FATHER and daughter, which I find interesting considering how often the father is just dead in western tv/movies.

So honorable mentions to the fathers:
1. Defendant
2. Healer
3. Train to Busan
4. Tunnel
5. **worst dad** Hometown (the fake one for sure, the real one was good once he figured it out)

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And I guess I should caveat these are all dramas where the parental relationships really touched me, not necessarily where they made me miss my mom. If we're going on pure sentiment, probably Marriage Contract, Healer, Pinnochio (for the dad-son relatioship, NOT the mom) and... I dunno :)

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OH! I can't believe I forgot about this one:

Nobody Knows.

I loved the relationship between the main character and the student. It was so touching and motherly, even though they weren't related. Also, the relationship between him and his actual mom was also fun to watch as it unfolded. Very good drama.

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One million times, yes. I don't think there's been anything else like this. Etched in my mind forever. We need more of those sorts of relationships.

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I haven't seen Mother, but a ringing endorsement to everything else on both your lists, especially Marriage Contract. The 1-4 fathers were all wonderful in their own way.

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I was thinking about Healer too!

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My favourite dramaland Dads are definitely Appa Chae Chi-su in Healer, and also the heroine's Dad in Miss Korea! He lets his daughter call him "Mum" because she's never had one to call 😭

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Miss Korea is now on my list.

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Yay! It's great for other reasons too.

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Would that reason be Lee Sun-kyun, perchance??

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Absolutely, yes 😂
But the story is actually really interesting, it has an ensemble of cool characters, and the OST features Every Single Day a lot! All wins, in my book!

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I went looking for it some time ago and couldn't find it, so I will have to go to the darkside. Really can't get enough of LSK. Everything else will be a bonus.

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I thought the FL had a wonderful relationship with her father in Lost/Human Disqualification. The ML had a running internal conversation (him only) with his deceased father. It was a good drama for depicting family dynamics. I remember My Unfamiliar Family as being quite good at showing the Mother and Father in positive ways.

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For me the one that always makes me miss my mom is Another Oh Hae Young. The FL's mother in this was so well written. When she left a note for her falling-apart daughter, that it was time for her to move out, I laughed so hard. And then when she realized that her daughter had been so terribly hurt by her fiance's way of breaking up, and had lied and fallen apart because of it, she was devastated remembering all the times she had been hard on her daughter. When she cried as she remembered her harshness towards her daughter, it made ME cry remembering my mother's tears through the years for me and my siblings. An excellent drama all around, with a moving mother-daughter relationship.

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And the dance at the beginning- what a classic.

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Yes!! So glad to see love for Oh Hae-young Again. Hae-young and her mom are on a class of their own. I loved how that mother-daughter relationship was considered just as important as the central romance by the writer. And there are just so many great moments.

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Yes! Thought her mother was the best!

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Out of these, I've only seen While You Were Sleeping and I've just started Reply 1988, as a result of everyone's love for it. It's good to see and hear of the dramas that represent mothers well. It's been one of my beefs to see how many bad mothers (and even more so, MILs) are useful plot devices: the absent, deserting, neglectful, weak, dependent, toxic, sickly ones. One mother who truly impressed me was the mother, Mun Mi-ran, in You are My Spring. I love her because
1. she told twisted fairy tales
2. she had a dark humour
3. she did not expect her children to take on the debt
4. she had a life of her own
5. she was there for them and for others too
6. For how she handled the ML, Yoo Yeong-doo as the prospective boyfriend (she established her own relationship with him)
7. Most of all for her line about the conception of the younger brother as a cautionary lesson against day-time drinking.

Loved her and her dark lines. Such a great secondary character, so well written and nicely acted.

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These are all great choices. I especially have to agree with the inclusion of Go Back Spouses and Reply 1988. The mother-child relationships in those two in particular remain as one of the, if not the most, memorable aspect of those dramas. Ra Mi-ran and Ryu Jun-yeol’s relationship reminds me of my own relationship to my mother so much. Although I’m the only one who’s gruff and introverted - my mom is usually bright and sunny, but many of our interactions and everyday dynamics are very similar to the onscreen pair. It felt like seeing myself in the show itself. I loved them so much.

I would also like to add in an additional personal favourite of mine, Oh Hae-young Again. There were some incredible moments between the mother-daughter pair, played to perfection by Seo Hyun-jin and Kim Mi-kyung. There was definitely a bit of a tough love thing going on, but you couldn’t doubt for a single second that the two didn’t love each other fiercely.

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Strongly agree about Ra Mi-ran and Ryu Jun-yeol in Reply 1988. K-dramas very often focus on mother-daughter relationships and Reply 1988 did too - such as Bo-ra being protected by her partially barefoot mother. But this mother-son relationship was definitely my favourite. That scene with the passport for example was just so real and relatable.

Another mother that was very memorable to me, and definitely made me miss mine, was Ji-ho's mom in Because This Is My First Life. The letter she writes to Se-hee for the wedding moved me to tears. Kim Sun-young's performance was pitch-perfect.

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Oh yes...
Jiho mom’s letter to Sehee left me with terrible swollen eyes.

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I cannot count the amount of time I re-watched that scene. Swollen eyes, indeed!

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That mother's wedding letter is one of the best letters ever written, not just in the world of k-drama but in any tv show ever. It brings me tears every time I re-read it.

"I'm Ji ho's mom. I don't know how to call you yet. We haven't met many times. I'm sorry for how I behaved at the first family meeting. She's my first daughter, you know. She's like my husband sometimes, and she's also like my friend. She's scared of her dad, and she had to give up a lot because of her younger brother. Because she met someone like me as her mother, she has gone through a lot. Thankfully, not like me, she's really smart. I was relieved because I thought she was not going to live like me. I guess being smart is nothing if you don't have a rich family these days. Se Hee, can you please do me just two favors? If Ji Ho says she wants to write in the future, can you let her do that? I will do the house chores if that helps. So.. If she ever wants to write again in the future, please don't let her give up on her dream. I don't want her to live like me. Please do that for her. And.. it's hard for Ji Ho to stop crying when she starts. So.. please don't let her cry alone. Even though you make her cry, just be with her when she's crying."

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Reply 1988 is THE drama about mom-daughter-son relationship.
I’m currently binge-watching, 7 years behind everyone.

Another Hae young is next best one, for me. Eomma and Haeyoung are so dynamic. They yell at each other but they find solace in each other. And yes, the dance 😂😂

My Ahjussi. The unconditional love of a mother for her 3 sons is so touching. Her soft spot for her second son, her grumpiness to her other 2, is a depiction of how a mother always says she loves all her children the same, but shows it in different ways. As a mom myself, I understand it very well.

I lost my mom 5yrs ago, with a chronic liver illness, she turned from a cheerful lady to a quiet one, slowly disappearing from this world. I never really recover from the loss. I guess that’s why I love Kdrama, which often shows and includes the important role of a mother in its character(s).

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😢 😭

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BEAUTY INSIDE~ the airplane scene just made me cry so hard

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Hiiiiii, spelling police here! It’s “put through the wringer”, referring to Old Tyme washing machines that didn’t spin dry. Instead you took the wet clothes from the wash water and fed them through a contraption with two rotating horizontal cylinders that squeezed the liquid out. My grandmother still used one and it was great fun for me as a kid to put the towels, sheets and clothes “through the wringer”.

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I actually read the article again just to spot the misspelling 😅

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I remember the contraption from my elder relatives too!

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It’s pretty ingenious and I always think of it when I see kdrama characters stomping their laundry in the tubs and then wringing it out by hand, taking two people to do it. What a lot of work!

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My choice would be Go Back Couple and Marriage Contract. The maternal bond was tight. And yes just as missvictrix mentioned, I did visit home for a few days while I was binging Go Back Couple. Should I say Go Back Couple printed a particular fear of being alone in me that didn't end till I saw my parents faces.

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As I started reading, I immediately thought of I Hear Your Voice and lo behold, it’s a a pick by @missvictrix! I always knew she has great taste.

Anyway, this mama is forever iconic to me as she was the first drama-mom in memory that made such a lasting impact on me, so much so that i always get excited when i see KHS’ name in a cast. Drama-moms aren’t always the antagonist they’re made out to be, sometimes just like in real life, they’re that precious, unconditional support a child could ever hope for.

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Not sure it’ll make one miss their mom, but for her sheer determination to avenge her daughter, I recommend to you the most riveting drama about a mom EVER:
What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law

https://youtu.be/2ZIP0F4Yw-s

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I'm not gonna read this - because I always miss my Mum, so I know I'll cry buckets - but I wanted to say that I really love this new feature! I like the idea of looking back on meaningful and memorable older shows instead of constantly making the discussion be about what's hot RIGHT NOW. There's so much pressure to keep up with that, and chasing what's current also means that older shows tend to fall through the cracks and get forgotten about easily. This is a nice way of stopping that from happening, and a nice way to get to know the current DB staff!

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Moon Sun of While You Were Sleeping taught me something I can never forget even though years past since I watched it. She had once mistreat/ refuse to be nice to the male lead thinking he will bring danger to her daughter. It turned out otherwise but when she apologized she said: I was only thinking of my daughter that I forget that you are a son to someone too.
It changes my view, everytime I looked at someone, I tell myself that she is a mother/ father/ daughter/ son to someone out there and they are also dear to them like my family is to me. It helps me to control my emotion when dealing with issues involving the people surrounding me.

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Not all moms are the kind that you miss. These dramas just make me sad for not having had a kind and caring mom who would protect you and have your back. All I can do is aspire to be that kind of mom with my own kids.

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Apologies for this post! Having not the best of days...

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No need for apologies. Bad moms should be called out as much as good moms. (Can we also make a post about terrible mothers too?) I have my own mixed feelings about my upbringing. But I have soooooo much love inside of me (as a result of feeling scarcity of it) for my nieces and nephews and that love is returned in such a degree of magnitude that that provides a degree of satisfaction in later life and even makes up for past scarcity somewhat.

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I had a very good mom so I can't personally relate to your experience with yours, but I just wanted to give you a virtual hug and say that your decision to love your children in the way you wished you were loved is amazing.

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Han Seo Jin (Sky Castle), the diamond ahjumma (Uncle) and Hyun Soo's fake mom (Flower of Evil) are my favorite moms 😂

Now seriousky, the writer of 'Go Back Couple' and 'Hi Bye Mama' knows how to write beautiful mom-daughter relationships. And in Reply my favorite parent-child relationship was the one Taek and his dad had, but Mi Ran ahjumma's relationship with Jung Pal was my second favorite.

So what I'm saying is that this list rocks.

I don't remember much about the mom from BTIMFL, but I remember a really sad but sweet call between Ji Ho and her mom the first time JH was homeless. JH missed her mom so bad that night.

I live in a different city from my mom and there are times where I'm supposed to miss her, but I don't and I've come to the conclusion that's because must of the time I have mother-like friends and they help me with stuff my mom would or the do mother-daughter things with me.

I've seen similar situations in dramas like "Fight for my way", "Be Melodramatic", "The Red Sleeve", "Into the Ring", etc.

Ps. "Angry mom" should be on this list too.

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Yes to Angry Mom!

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Hi Bye Mama! was a very good show. The characters and acting was very good and the story ended in a proper way.

In an interview after the show, Kim Tae Hee mentioned that she could not do the role unless she was a mother. She had two children during her three year hiatus from acting. But she said she also felt "guilty" about taking the role because she was away from her children. It is a sad situation when you cannot have both a family and a career.

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Go Back Couple is the show I immediately think of for its sweet portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship.
A few others that come to mind are:
Lie After Lie-A pregnant woman is convicted of murdering her abusive husband and has to give up her baby to her (evil) MIL. When the woman gets out of jail ten years later, she sets out to find her daughter and is determined to be a mother to her daughter, even if it means taking on a new identity and marrying the girl's adopted father.
The Great Show-This may seem like an odd choice since the girl's mother dies before the start of the drama and is only seen in a few short flashbacks. However, the mom has a major impact on the story. The mom's decision to keep her baby when she gets pregnant unexpectedly, and affirmation to her daughter that having her was the best decision she ever made, allows her daughter to also find the courage to keep her baby when faced with a similar situation.

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This reminds me of a Movie I watched when I was younger, I cant remember the name of it but it was really sad. It was of a girl who went to find her missing mother who was, i think, kidnapped because of debt? But even after 16 or 20 years, I forgot, she still couldnt find her. I hope anyone who reads this can help me find the movie, I've been searching for it everywhere and can't seem to find or remember the movie name

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