Just Bananas About: Week of 5/8/15

What is a chaebol to do when his secretary overlaps his appointment with his wife and his mistress?  Heard It Through the Grapevine continues to be a hilarious in this black comedy about the rich Han family.

What started out as a drama about a poor girl getting impregnated by her rich boyfriend turned out to be this interesting character study of chaebols.  I like that the drama can balance the hilarity with some real truths about classism.

As a result of Ji Young Ra’s (Baek Ji Yeon) tiff with Choi Yun Hee (Yoo Ho Jung), I wasn’t quite prepared for Yun Hee’s response to Han Jung Ho (Yoo Joon Sang).

Jung Ho definitely ends up in the doghouse but they end up taking it out on all their household staff and the kids.  Yun Hee feels as if her house is out of order ever since In Sang (Lee Joon) brought along the pregnant Seo Bom (Go Ah Sung).  It doesn’t help that Bom and In Sang bring up the suit involving an accident with Bom’s uncle and Han Song Group.  But more on that later.

So she orders all the staff to go back to the way her mother-in-law had run the house with the servants wearing their uniforms and standing around at their beck and call.  In Sang’s sister Yi Ji (Park So Young) must go on a stricter diet and exercise regime while even the baby Jin Young must spend more quality time with his grandparents.  I find it amusing that the kids and the staff compare these rules with the Joseon era.

However, this time around the staff and the kids don’t just take to the new orders very well.  Perhaps Yun Hee is right.  Ever since the arrival of Bom, the mindset of the servants and the kids in the household has changed.  At the forefront of the fight, Yi Ji is not going to take things lying down as she vehemently fights to be dressed up like the proper doll that her mother wants to make her.

As for the staff, they realize that they never got a copy of their contracts when they signed it.  They’ve always served the family faithfully but never quite had a close look at the fine print.  With the help of Secretary Yang, the staff get a chance to look at the contract.  Bom helps to highlight some key terms of the agreement behind the scenes but the In Sang and Bom’s Teacher takes the lead in negotiating with Han Jung Ho.

Obviously, Jung Ho and Yun Hee are miffed that the staff aren’t happy failing to see anything beyond their own reasoning.

Meanwhile at the Seo household, Bom’s uncle is moving forward with the suit with the help of Lawyer Yoon Je Hoon (Kim Kwon), who is also dating Bom’s sister, Nu Ri (Gong Seung Yun).  Je Hoon is upfront (as he can be) to Han Jung Ho but I can’t see how conflict-of-interest won’t play a part in the suit at all.  After initially worrying about the suit and its affect on Bom, Bom’s mom seems to support her brother-in-law.  It’s not that she doesn’t worry about how her daughter will be treated but she knows that Bom is smart and able to handle a great deal of pressure.

Seo Hyung Shik (Jang Hyun Sung) feels quite differently.  He certainly wants justice for his brother but the fact that his youngest daughter is tied to the Han family, he can’t help but worry about her place in the family.  Hyung Shik’s mentality is a little backwards but this is something that exists in the patriarchal culture of Korea.  In a traditional sense, a husband and his family have a lot of influence over the wife and their children.  In fact, when referring to the wife’s family, it often starts with the prefix “외 (wei)” meaning outside or other family.  So there’s a stigma of a woman losing her family when she gets married as she doesn’t take on her husband’s surname like women do in Western cultures but she is expected to be dutiful to her husband’s family.  Obviously, this has changed over the times but that’s where Hyung Shik’s fear for her daughter is coming from.

Back at the Han household, I was all Norma Rae along with the Han household staff as they walked out on the Jung Ho and Yun Hee.  They’ve been served hand and foot and I’m eager to see them fend for themselves.  Sure, Jung Ho and Yun Hee could clean house and get a whole new staff but their existing staff has been pretty loyal for many years.  It’s not going to be easy.

I’m so glad that we’re getting to see more of Yi Ji and her defiantly rebellious attitude.  She may have grown up in that home but she certainly doesn’t think the way her parents do.  My favorite scene this week was of Yi Ji running into the kitchen to tell In Sang and Bom that Baby Jin Young did number two.  Since the staff went on strike, it has fallen to the kids to prepare the meals for the family and they took on the task dutifully.  However, they can’t be in two places at once.  It was so satisfying to see Yi Ji casually tell her parents, as they’re eating their breakfast, that her brother and sister-in-law were so busy making the food that they couldn’t help but wash Jin Young dirty bottom in the kitchen sink.

Haha.  Priceless.

Unfortunately for Bom, Jung Ho and Yun Hee turn their wrath towards to her.  However, I think the parents will be surprised that their kids will end up being more loyal to Bom than to them.

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