THE SANG-SANG (AKA IMAGINATION) OF A NORMAL KOREAN FAMILY
Korean sitcoms are mad long and these days they are usually filled with inexperienced idol actors. However, they are real rating winners in Korea so I was curious to see what the fuss was about.
A couple things to remember about Korean sitcoms: 1) They are usually over 100 episodes in length, 2) K-sitcoms tend to be very slapstick with cheesy jokes. You don’t get The Office type of sarcastic jokes on K-sitcoms, 3) K-sitcoms have huge casts where the stories center around families, communities, schools, 4) The episodes are half hours (approximately 23 minutes in length), 5) They air weeknights, 5 times a week. Another thing to remember about the High Kick series in general is that they use the actor’s names synonymously with their character’s names for the most part.
The story centers around Ahn Nae Sang and his family (Yoon Yoo Sun, Lee Jong Suk, Krystal) as they go from happily, dysfunctional family one minute to being completely destitute because of Nae Sang’s company going bankrupt.
Creditors are after them and after bumming around for a couple days, the father finally admits defeat and goes to Yoon Kye Sang’s house, his younger brother-in-law.
They ultimately form one big household.
Other characters in the sitcom are related somehow to this one household.
So the big thing was the comedy in this drama as after all I want to see the wacky, joke-filled, pratfall moments that make for a good sitcom. While I’m always a bit skeptical to see an idol actor in any drama, I’m even more skeptical to see them do anything comedic. Comedy takes a special-brand of skill and it’s hard to deliver. It’s all about timing, delivery and confidence. And for the inexperienced actor, you know how to deliver the moment or you don’t. Perhaps my recent FOB-ism is to blame but despite the cornball jokes, I actually found it to be moderately funny. Not all the jokes have me cracking up but I do find it humorous.
Yoon Kye Sang is seemingly the innocent, sweet doctor. Not so different from his character in Greatest Love and yet I love the dynamic between him and his brother-in-law. While they both irritate each other, Kye Sang believes that he and Nae Sang get along because they both have “Sang” in their names. Hehe. It’s this brand of ridiculousness that makes me chuckle. It’s very family-oriented, PG programming but the fact that it still manages to make me chuckle makes it charming.
I also like the sibling rivalry between Jong Suk and Soo Jung (means Krystal in Korean). The fighting is petty and realistic while remaining lighthearted and silly. Soo Jung just got back from LA and wants to return so she is often throwing insults at her brother in English. Krystal herself is a Korean-American. She speaks English pretty well but if I may nitpick at her sibling insults… my sister and I throw far more clever, PG-related insults at each other than just a mere “shut up”. I feel that Krystal can weigh in here and should ad lib a little bit. I don’t think I can go 120 episodes if the only thing she can say back is “shut up” in that high-pitched, annoyed shrill the way American teenagers so often do it.
I’m not sure if I can make it to the end but I watched through 4 episodes straight this weekend and it was really entertaining.