Happy Halloween! With all of these new dramas starting up recently, my head has been spinning. And yet when I saw the trailer for The Man Living in Our House, I just couldn’t resist because the premise sounded so ridiculous that it made me laugh-out-loud and ever since I fell in love with Kim Young Kwang in D-Day, I couldn’t resist checking him out again. So far, I’m enjoying the fun, wacky vibe of it all.
Henry – 니 맘에 들어갈래 (feat. Mark Of NCT) (Want to Be in Your Heart (feat. Mark Of NCT))
The story starts off with Hong Na Ri (Soo Ae), a flight attendant. On the day she receives a proposal from her fiancé, Jo Dong Jin (Kim Ji Hoon), she receives a call telling her that her mother has passed away.
Skipping 10 months ahead, Na Ri and Dong Jin are still together and are making preparations for their wedding but things have changed.
Namely, Do Yeo Joo (Jo Bo Ah), a junior flight attendant with the reputation of stealing other women’s boyfriends.
One day after work, she returns to the airport and sees her boyfriend waiting there. Dong Jin has something that he needs to tell Na Ri but doesn’t have the courage to do so and lies by saying that he has to work so he can’t go out with Na Ri. She doesn’t suspect anything but remembering that she had a gift for him, she chases after him. Only to find Yeo Joo embracing Dong Jin.
She goes to her mother’s grave for some comfort but ends up calling the lovers. She threatens them but it doesn’t make her feel better. After her call, she encounters Go Nan Gil (Kim Young Kwang) who had been napping nearby. He doesn’t reveal who he is but she assumes that he must have enjoyed listening in on her embarrassing conversation with her cheating boyfriend and his lover. Instead, he teases her by yelling snake which she’s deathly afraid of.
Go Nan Gil returns to Hong Mandoo to find Kwon Deok Bong (Lee Soo Hyuk) there. Deok Bong tries start up some small talk by saying that he doesn’t like waiting on lines but Nan Gil irritably responds that if he doesn’t want to wait, he can just leave. However, Deok Bong’s actual purpose in befriending Nan Gil is to retain ownership of the land occupied by the Hong Mandoo restaurant.
After coming across Dong Jin again at a friend’s baby’s birthday party, the two go out for drinks in which Na Ri gets drunk while Dong Jin tries to apologize for cheating on her. Dong Jin brings up how her uncle had come to see him several times after her mother’s funeral to borrow money. Surprised by the news, she says that she’ll sell her mother’s house to repay him but he says that he didn’t bring it up to show hold the money over her but rather show that they are already family. At this point, she’s drunk and retorts that if they are family then he should track down her uncle and get his money back. She stumbles into a store to buy a shovel and gives her ex-boyfriend one last glare before getting into a cab to head over to her mother’s house where she could confront her uncle.
Instead of finding her uncle, she finds a strange man at her house. It’s Nan Gil and although she demands to know why he’s there, he refuses to give an answer because she’s too drunk. All he tells her is that he owns the house and that he’ll tell her everything in the morning when she’s sober.
The next morning, Nan Gil rehearses how he’s going to Na Ri who he is but he stops when he hears Na Ri scream. Upon waking up, Na Ri realizes that she is not able to see anything. Nan Gil sees that she had taken sleeping pills with alcohol and immediately decides to take her to the hospital. Out front, they encounter Deok Bong who agrees to drive the two. Although Deok Bong doesn’t like Nan Gil, he had come to the conclusion that Nan Gil might be a conman because he saw that the deed to the house had changed hands to Nan Gil upon the death of Na Ri’s mother.
Na Ri’s sight returns at the hospital and she decides she wants to go home. She meets Deok Bong who tells her of his suspicions. She wants to find out exactly who Nan Gil is and why he’s living there. Nan Gil’s wary that Na Ri won’t believe her but tells her that he married Na Ri’s mom and now owns the house. He is Na Ri’s step-father. At first, she doesn’t believe him and demands to see proof and he produces a picture of the two at city hall on the day they got married.
Still, that doesn’t stop Na Ri from snooping around Nan Gil’s room to find proof that her mother was conned in marrying him. Nan Gil catches Na Ri and she tries to feign that she got confused and stepped in the wrong room but it’s clear that she’s not going to take his word for granted.
What’s even more bizarre is that he tells Na Ri that he married her mother because he loved her. Na Ri begins to realize how similar his tastes are to her in the way he joked about seeing a snake on the day that they first met. It’s the same joke her mother played on her. Also, she notices that his ringtone is his mom’s favorite song. She doesn’t completely trust Nan Gil but agrees to go along with father-daughter routine until she can find out more information.
Going along with the father-daughter routine also means Nan Gil inviting Dong Jin over for dinner so he could get to know his future son-in-law. He makes Na Ri make dinner for 3 people not telling her who the special guest is. She’s not happy to see Dong Jin and makes her dissatisfaction known but speaks in a respectful, honorific tone. In return, Nan Gil speaks to her in banmal. The whole situation is confusing for Dong Jin who can clearly tell that Nan Gil is younger than the both of them. Upon learning that Nan Gil is Na Ri’s step-father, he also tells her not to trust this strange man but Na Ri doesn’t want to hear lectures from Dong Jin and tells him that she’ll handle things on her own. She’s biding her time until she can actually find proof that he’s a conman.
And that proof might come sooner rather than later. As she returns home one day from her job, she gets a call from her missing uncle. He apologizes for not making it to the anniversary of her mother’s death and when Na Ri tries to press further, he hangs up. She finds out that he made the call in town and tries to look for him but she discovers strange men standing around her house instead. Nan Gil grabs her and tells her it’s not safe. She tries to tell him how she got a call from her uncle and that he’s in town. He tells her that he knows and tells her to go home while he encounters the men. The gangsters greet him but Nan Gil isn’t happy to see them. He tells them that Na Ri’s uncle isn’t here and warns that if he sees them around again, he won’t hold back.
When Na Ri asks what’s going on, Nan Gil tries to assure her that it’s nothing and says that they should try and trust each other from now on. The whole situation is strange for Na Ri and she goes to Nan Gil’s door and overhears him on the phone telling her uncle that he should stay away from town in a threatening tone. After hanging up, he proceeds to change his clothes, where she sees the tattoos on his back, until he realizes that he’s being watched.
The setup for the drama is quite contrived and even a bit convoluted but I’m quite intrigued by the mystery surrounding Nan Gil. The drama is written by Kim Eun Jung and Yoo Hyun Sook, the latter being the writer of the webtoon series. They were both the writers behind Flower Boys Next Door which I loved for its depth of characters. They have a knack for making quirky characters seem relatable and I enjoyed the quick, witty pace of their dialogue. As for this drama, I was immediately struck by the importance of first impressions as Na Ri’s voiceover at the very beginning illustrates how she liked the job of being a flight attendant because everyone looked up to her, whether it was men, women or children. And yet, the first impressions of each of the characters filters their views of each other. What’s most important is Na Ri and Nan Gil’s views of each other and I’m looking forward to seeing how that changes over time.