The past few months I have been really busy with office work, sacrificing sleep, weekends and public holidays. Kind of stressful at times, so I went through my collection of drama series yet to be watched and decided to put on something light-hearted on a side screen to accompany me while I'm doing my work. And I think I've picked just the right drama.
It's Okay, Daddy's Girl is decidedly a heartwarming series for me. It manages to stay low key, non-stressful, despite the main storyline revolves around a murder case and life-changing experiences. It tells the journey of a family from rich to rags, their ups and downs, and the wonderful people they meet along the way.
Moon Chae Won (Princess' Man), plays a spoiled daddy's girl. The father is a super kind-hearted man that loves his children very much and will do anything for them. Moon Chae Won is the youngest child (Chae Ryung) with not much care in the world. Her eldest sister (Ae Ryung) is a PhD student and working part time at an art gallery, while her brother (Ho Ryong) is serving his mandatory army duties. Their mother is busy scouting potential rich son-in-law for the eldest. Their uncle (mother's brother) also lives with them. He is not a bad person at all, but is prone to making mistakes and always make bad investments, causing huge loses and is debt-ridden. The whole of this family fully relies on the father to provide and support each member financially.
Their fall from grace starts one night when Chae Ryung is harassed at a club. It was planned by her very own friend who wants to attract her attention by being sort of a knight in shining armor. The plan however goes downhill when a fight occurs between the harasser and her father, ends up with the paid guy getting hurt and a few days later is found dead. The father becomes the prime suspect and loses his job, which subsequently paralyzes the family. The father who's been suffering from high-blood pressure gets a stroke and falls into coma.
Now all his children have to survive on their own, even do some sacrificing themselves, willingly or not. The mother is more keen than ever now to marry her daughter off to the son of a hospital owner, super rich family, who unbeknownst to them has some 'skeletons in the closet' and is desperately in need to marry their son off too. Ae Ryung, despite not liking the rich guy, see the advantages of being into the family and gets married. Ho Ryong has a girlfriend prior to going to the army, but loses her as soon as her family finds out about their predicament (I say, good riddance to that!). He is the head of the family now but freshly out of the army, he has yet to established himself. The young man is pretty much clueless. With the mother and uncle suddenly gone off to catch a friend who took away their huge sum of money, he has to take care of the father by himself, yet at the same time needs to get jobs and gain money for living. Chae Ryung is still a useless kid at this point. Not used to being in this poor condition, she even resorts to being a hostess at a bar for a good income, but her venture lasted only for a very very short time as she realizes that this is not what his daddy would want her to do.
Choi Ji Hyuk (Panda and Hedgehog, I Need Romance) and Lee Dong Hae (Panda and Hedgehog) are the brothers of the murder victim. What makes this drama easy to watch is the fact that it stays away from revenge plot and gives us a totally different reaction from these brothers. Not only are they calm and level-headed, but also very kind and generous. They end up taking care of the sick father and prove his innocence. It's exactly this part of the storytelling that warms my heart.
What this drama does well is the portrayal of each character. I like the fact that with the exception of the evil friend, the rest are simply 'normal' human beings. They hate, they love, they feel sad, they feel hopeless, or happy, hopeful, but none of them ever went the makjang road or over the top like so many characters in so many other dramas (which makes the evil friend a little bit like a sore thumb among the rest of the character ensemble). No matter how dire the situation or how dark the secret, the series itself manages to remain calm and collected, and not make such a big deal out of things. Some viewers may think the lack of heavy reaction makes this drama rather bland. But for some reason it makes me appreciate the series more. It makes me want to keep watching because it sort of give people hope. It feels real. It doesn't give you headache.
The series ends abruptly though. I don't know what happened during its run, but the ending feels rushed. But it's okay because by then we can see the growth in each character, everyone finds their place in this world, living life, and becomes better people.
On a side note, I notice that besides Choi Ji Hyuk and Lee Dong Hae, some of the supporting actors/actresses from this series ends up doing another drama together which is Panda and Hedgehog. Panda and Hedgehog comes from the same screenwriter. It has the same tone and quite breezy to watch. But the downfall of that series, I must say is the lead actress and her character. Chae Ryung character in It's Okay, Daddy's Girl is easy to dislike because of the selfishness and spoilt mannerism, but Moon Chae Woon is so winning and makes the character lovable. The girl in Panda and Hedgehog however is so insipid I just don't give a care. And the actress is not strong enough, which makes it worse.