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January 10, 2013

Seoyoung My Daughter – Episode 21-22

Alright, alright, I admit it. I have reconciled with Seoyoung My Daughter. You know how some dramas get stuck in an interminable, excruciating, who-can-be-the-most-dysfunctional loop for episode after episode after episode, kind of like a Kdrama marathon hosted by Jerry Springer? I feared Seoyoung My Daughter had gone down that road, but it seems to have pulled itself back before it got hopelessly mired.

Park Hae Jin, in particular, is growing on me. I can’t always make out exactly what Sang Woo is feeling, but he’s feeling something, and that’s a big improvement. I saw Park Hae Jin on an entertainment show a couple of weeks back, and he was just as cool (in the sense of not warm) and remote as his character. I thought he’d been typecast. However, he, Lee Bo Young, Lee Sang Yoon, and Park Jung Ah just appeared on Happy Together, and a more accessible side of his personality emerged.

You never know what you’re going to get on Happy Together. Some casts aren’t very harmonious, and it can be uncomfortable to watch. However, the cast members of Seoyoung My Daughter seemed to genuinely get along.

13 men and women in matching bathrobes sit on benches along the walls of a set that looks like a sauna

The actors discussed the family vs. love dilemmas that their characters experience in Seoyoung My Daughter. There’s a cultural conversation playing out in Kdrama about finding a new balance between the two, so it was interesting to contrast the attitudes of actual Koreans (the actors) with Kdrama characters.

Lee Bo Young said her character (Seo Young) was getting a lot of criticism from the Korean viewing audience for cutting ties with a father whose behavior had caused her years of suffering. The actress had grown more sympathetic to her alter ego as she explored her motivation, and hoped the audience would also. Cast members role-played scenarios out of the drama with other guests. This is Kdrama at it’s best, IMO – engaging emotion and imagination to get people thinking about and discussing real life issues.

Getting back to the episodes, I love how Kim Hye Ok has transitioned from envying Seo Young to observing her as a role model. Although one would never associate her with the word, this is an embryonic feminist transition. What changes will result from her blurting out her husband’s dirty little secret?

Song Ok Suk is excellently anchorless as she tries to figure out what to do in life besides manage everyone else. Shim Hyung Tak seems to be rattling around in the drama for no good reason, so far. Which means they have something planned for him. My money is on alternate love interest for Mi Kyung, though he hasn’t seemed likeable enough so far to be worthy of her. Does anyone besides me think he’s got some kind of big secret? Much like his dad!

Now that Ho Jeong has finally learned how to let go, will she get a chance with Sang Woo after all? I suppose there’s no hope for Mi Kyung and Sang Woo, given the in-law incest taboo. Yet, that can’t have been an absolute deal-breaker, or Sang Woo wouldn’t have agonized for two episodes over what to do, right? ‘Tis a puzzlement.

I liked them together, but all the ground Sang Woo gained with me was lost when he was extra nice to Mi Kyung because he had decided to break up. Boo, hiss! Don’t you realize that getting her all happy and hopeful again only to dash those hopes is the cruelest – and most demeaning – thing ever?! I know some men think that’s a good way to end a relationship on a positive note. It isn’t.

I wonder what Sang Woo thought of his father’s revelation that Seo Young’s departure knocked some much-needed sense into him. Still waiting for his apology to Seo Young, and where’s her backbone when dealing with him, BTW? Weepy, trembly eonni is hardly recognizable.

I think Seo Young’s secret is racing towards its expiration date. Potential breaches yawn on every side. Given that conversation about infidelity that she and Woo Jae just had, I wonder whether he’ll see her meeting Sang Woo and draw the wrong conclusion. Which would make the truth a lot more palatable by comparison. Or will Seon Wu take her revenge?

Love the way Seo Young’s dad dodges Woo Jae’s interrogations by spouting elder wisdom. The poetic irony of Seo Young’s estranged father becoming an alternate father figure for Woo Jae is delicious, obvious setup for the future unveiling though it may be. Chun Ho Jin really shines in these scenes.

Song Ok Sook looks horrifed as Ho Jeong shows her a stuffed reindeerAnd speaking of irony, isn’t it somehow perfect that Ho Jeong’s declaration of independence comes in the form of stuffed animals? Mega-control mom still hasn’t got her own daughter’s age right. Have you noticed that dad thinks she’s older than she really is, while mom thinks she’s younger?

And where IS Sang Jae’s tutor getting her inside information from? I keep wondering if she’s that girl he so coldly dumped on their 100th day in a very brief scene back around episode 15. If he told her every detail about his former love/current in-law while they were dating, that would explain a lot (except why she stuck around to be dumped in the first place). But would he really not recognize her??

I’d like to know how Sang Jae and Ho Jeong both managed to go to different colleges than their parents thought they were paying for. Didn’t they notice they were signing checks for art school tuition??

So many questions, not the least of which is what they’ll do with 28 more episodes.

Related posts:
My Daughter Seoyoung – Episode Reviews

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