LOOOOK, I AM YOUR FATHER
Ten years ago, Cha Mi Rae (Lee Yoo Ri) broke Han Yeol’s (Lee Dong Gun) heart and left his to pursue a prestigious hospital internship in the U.S. Ten years later, she’s a neurosurgeon and a single mother of the headstrong Sa Rang (Lee Re). After discovering that she has terminal cancer, Mi Rae’s thoughts are only about what will happen to her daughter. She seeks out Yeol to turn this man-child into the best possible father for Sa Rang.
tvN has a knack for churning out fun, weekend romcoms. They’re often wacky, feature lovable characters and accompanied by a great OST. On the downside, they tend to be formulaic and predictable. Still, I find that I can look past many of those faults as long as the drama is enjoyable.
SPICA – 너 때문에 (Because of You)
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Lee Dong Gun in a drama as he seemed to have gone on hiatus after the army. However, I loved him as the second lead in Lovers in Paris and watched him in Night After Night despite the disappointing plot. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the Yoon Eun Hye vehicle, Mirae’s Choice. He’s been around for so long that it comforting to see him back on the small screen.
Lee Dong Gun is convincing as the man-child Yeol, who learns what it means to be a father and have a family. He’s never quite gotten over being dumped by Mi Rae. To him, she chose her career over him and, to add insult to injury, he forgoes being by his mother’s deathbed just to impress her on the baseball mound. Now, he just wants to live his life without any complications.
Without allowing Yeol to have much of a say, Mi Rae forces her way back into his life. Sure, she’s intrusive and could easily be hated for her manipulative tactics. However, the drama plays up her illness as the main thing that drives her into this contract marriage. Considering the fact that it’s for her daughter and that it’s also a comedy, I didn’t really mind how she goes about getting what she wants.
As Yeol adapts to his changed lifestyle at home, he deals with a stubborn junior, who is not unlike himself. Ryu Hyun Woo (Choi Min) is the star pitcher of the Shin Woo Phoenix baseball team who has been jilted by a woman and has major trust issues. As Yeol learns how to trust Mi Rae again, he shows Hyun Woo that people can be loyal and renews Hyun Woo’s passion in baseball, again. It’s a nice B-story that parallels Yeol’s own history. If there was a mentor that was there for him when Mi Rae broke his heart, how differently would Yeol’s story have been?
Certainly, the star of the drama is Sa Rang, as dramas featuring kids tend to be. She’s the force that drives Yeol to become the father that she needs and she learns to trust him.
As for Mi Rae, they have a unique relationship. Even though they love each other very much, there is a lot that is left unsaid between. Either because they can read each other’s minds or they don’t want to become a burden to each other. Through this new family dynamic, they all learn how not to take on the burden alone but depend on each other.
Seo Ye Ji, Seo Joon Young, Choi Dae Chul rounds out the cast of wacky sidekicks. They’re there for the leads when they need someone to lean on to, provide laughter and help keep the story moving as the second leads. I enjoyed seeing Shik Sang Hae’s (Choi Dae Chul) friendship with Yeol and Hwang Ji Hye (Seo Ye Ji) and Shin Woo Hyuk (Seo Joon Young) gave us another couple to ship for. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
The drama incorporates a lot of sound effects to enhance the comedy and slapstick nature of some of the characters. In a way, it’s pretty manipulative, like a sitcom laugh track, telling its viewers what’s funny and when they should laugh. There may be some viewers who are turned off by this but mostly, the drama creates a really nice beat for when these SFXs are heard that I do think it enhances the punch line and the reaction shots.
The thing that concerned me the most about the drama was what it had aimed to do with the big C. It’s a plot point that looms over most of this drama because it’s the catalyst that drives Yeol, Mi Rae and Sa Rang together. It’s a cheery drama so I didn’t want to see Mi Rae succumb to her illness but I also think it would be realistic if she were miraculously cured. I think the drama delivers on this point as we got the best of both worlds without sacrificing either.
Ultimately, the drama is predictable but if I were to rephrase it in another way, it knows where the story needs to go and what emotional elements it has to drive home. In that way, the drama delivers on its promise and provides an entertaining story. I mean, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?