Summary from wiki:
After being in a relationship with Yoon Ja-young (Lee Tae Ran) for nearly ten years, Lee Sang-min (Kim Ho Jin) dumps her for a richer woman. He plans to marry the president of his company, Jo Min-joo (Choo Sang Mi). Things go astray, though, when Lee finds out that Ja-young is pregnant. He tries to convince her to get an abortion but fails. Nevertheless, he marries Jo Min-joo in a loveless relationship. On the other hand, Yoon raises the child with her mother, grandmother, sister and brother, waiting for him to come back. Jo Sun-joo (Han Ga In) is Jo's stepsister, a warmhearted girl who seems very cold. She learns the meaning of love through Yoon Ja-young's brother (Yeon Jung Hoon), but things don't go well for them either, especially when there is a pestering neighbor always on the watch. Forgiving and waiting, Yoon Ja-young rises from her hard times to become a successful businesswoman. In the search for success, love is obstructed by greed until the feelings of forgiveness and yearning is realized.
This korean drama is an old series aired in 2003 with 169 episodes. But I watched the shortened version, which is only 155. It's 30 minutes per episode, so if I go by the usual 1-hr drama length that I'm used to, it's only 77.5 episodes ^_^. Still, it's the longest drama I've watched yet. Luckily, since it's only 30 minutes each, even if one skipped an episode, one wouldn't be missing much, I'd say. In fact, I fast-forwarded quite a lot, especially towards the end because I just can't wait to see the ending.
This is a family drama, and as with any other family dramas out there, there are a lot of characters and relationships. The main story however would be circling around the character Yoon Ja-young played be Lee Tae Ran (Comrades) and her interactions with ex Lee Sang-min (Kim Ho Jin of Two Wives) and his wife, played by the petite beauty Choo Sang Mi of City Hall, as well as her new love interest Jung Young Joon (East of Eden's Jo Min Ki). If I remember correctly, this would be my first Lee Tae Ran and Kim Ho Jin's drama. In terms of acting, these four leads are pretty excellent. Ja-young character has such a quiet demeanor that it could easily fall flat or frustrate if the actress was no good. But Lee Tae Ran managed to make her look dignified and easy to root for. She made a cute couple with Jo Min Ki. I was actually falling in love with Jo Min Ki here. He's like my ahjusshi crush. haha. He was all evil in East of Eden, but he was charming and cute in this series. Especially in the earlier episodes when his character was always smiling and laughing and being a fun fella. But all fun, talkative people got a little bit scary when they are mad or sad, like his character after half-way thru the series. Then he's back to being cute towards the end so all was good.
Choo Sang Mi and Kim Ho Jin also made a pair of good-looking couple. In the beginning, I find the character Jo Min Joo a little bit hard to warm up to. She would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. But I suppose that attitude has some plus points too, which we would see gradually in the series as her character grew. She was not getting along well with her father-in-law and that always created rift between the couple. But with the father-in-law's small-minded and stubborn character, I couldn't really hate her for being all sensitive when it came to him. She did give it her best though, just not above and beyond. The husband Lee Sang-min was very capable at work and was one of the reasons that attracted Min Joo to him. He was quite a bad guy for two-timing Ja-young with Min Joo, and most believed he dumped Ja-young because the new woman is richer. While that might be true, I personally think he did fall out of love with Ja-young and was falling for Min Joo, and throughout their marriage, he did come to love her sincerely.
Another couple in the drama (Tae-young and Sun-joo) is the now husband and wife Yeon Jung Hoon (Vampire Prosecutor) and Han Ga In (The Moon that Embraces the Sun). They met after a traffic accident and kept seeing each other which eventually led to mutual romantic interest. The young love however was interfered due to different social standings, but more due to the fact that Sun-joo's brother-in-law was the one who betrayed Tae-young's sister. Also, Tae-young's neighbor Na Mi-ryung, played by Lee Yuri became a third-wheeler in the relationship and she created a scandal between herself and Tae-young which forced him to take responsibility by marrying her. These people's stories emphasized that two people who are in love are not necessarily suitable for each other. And there's more to a good match than mutual interest.
I actually took initial interest in this series because of the real-life couple, who met on the set and married 2 years later. I have nothing much to say about Yeon Jung Hoon, but Han Ga In was really disappointing. Of course, I do not know her as a person, but as an actress, she is rather boring. She was a little better at playing rebellious, but when she's being good and quiet, it was really flat. It's the same issue I have with her in The Moon that Embraces the Sun. I preferred watching Lee Yuri's acting. Even though her character was immature and spoilt, she's very caring when it came to Tae-young, whom she loved since they were kids. And she sure have cute parents who were all lovey-dovey with each other and very protective of her, especially her father. They also have a nice funny story of their own.
Another young couple is Ja-young's sister Na-young (So Yi Hyun) and her boyfriend whom she met on the internet, but was actually her senior at work. Prior to knowing each other's true identities, these two bickered all the time and I have to say I didn't fancy this couple much. The guy was unnecessarily rude to her before he took the romantic turn and I just can't stand rude guys. Na-young character started off mildly annoying before going all-out annoying later in the series. To be honest, I never like her acting in any of her dramas anyways. Her cheerful and cutesy acts always look fake to me. Add bad character role to that and that's enough to make me fast-forwarded most of her/this couple's scenes. At one point, I was totally flabbergasted at her gall to cheat on her boyfriend. It was a stronger reaction than what I had towards Lee Sang-min who cheated on her sister. I hated her even more when she played that mean in-law role toward Mi-ryung, being all bit**y and calling her dim (as if she's a genius herself) and accused her of being lazy and letting their grandmother do all the work when seriously, she was no better in that department. I found it weird in Korean culture that daughter-in-law is expected to be a 'slave' in the family. What aggravated me even more was a scene where she was scolding Mi-ryung for taking a nap and letting her grandmother doing some household chores. The stupid thing was, she was spewing all those nonsense and being all self-righteous without lifting a finger to help the grandmother herself. I was about ready to slap her in the face, if only I could. The sister-in-law was pregnant for God's sake. Seriously, she sounded and acted more selfish and arrogant that the supposedly selfish and arrogant Jo Min-joo.
In general, this is a nice series, if I minus the boring/annoying couples/characters. I would prefer if it's shorter and just focused on the four leads. This drama also highlighted the Korean law regarding family registry, which I found interesting.